VLADRUSHKA by John Linton Roberson (c) 2022.
I Didn't Write That!
31 May 2005
  What Exactly Are We Now?

We need to buy Gitmo detainees?


  A Fine Tradition

They don't allow gays. They grossly inflate the number of black members. And they really hate atheists and agnostics. But they will let in large numbers of child molesters, which works out because the job naturally attracts such people. And worse.

No, I'm not talking about the Catholic Church or Republican Party. Guess who I am talking about.


  Bush: I'm A Propagandist

"Townhall meeting," May 24, Greece, NY:
See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.
There's such a thing as being overconfident and shameless. Unfortunately, he passed that point a long time ago and still he's there.


  Thank Goodness For Right-Wing Bloggers

Without their outrage we might never have this piece of entertainment:
(click to enlarge)

As usual, those who say they'd love to wipe out dissident opinions still spread them about more virally than those who support them. It's the Censor Paradox!


  Florida: Where It's Fun To Be An Asshole

Behold further antics of Bizarro California, this time those of spoiled white boys with parents that can buy them out of anything.

Hey! Maybe they can claim he was
threatening them.

Fla. Teens Accused in Homeless Killing

...Christopher Scamahorn, 14, and Jeffery Spurgeon, 18, confessed to beating the 53-year-old victim with their fists and sticks and kicking him, sheriff's spokesman Brandon Haught said Sunday...

The teens said they attacked the man "for fun" and "to have something to do," Haught said. They went back to the woods three times after the initial attack to beat the man again, he said.


  Shred Your Documents! Go Nuts!

No justice.


29 May 2005
  While Chicago Is Hurting For Money...

...Dennis Hastert, our representative who is also the Speaker of the House, gets all the pork for his birthplace of Aurora that he can get, in all sorts of interesting ways. And it takes the Washington Post to report it.

Our governor, enmeshed in barely-won budget battles that might have, for instance, resulted in radical cuts to public transport here in the city, should have a look at this, shouldn't he?


  A Thousand Words from Venezuela

From Reuters:


28 May 2005
  They Threatened Coup d'Tat

Noticed this over at Search & Destroy. In light of what the Bush administration has turned out to be like, and especially in light of recent events like the attempt to virtually dissolve the Senate, this quote during the Florida recount from James Baker might take on entirely new meaning:

It is important, ladies and gentlemen, that there be some finality to the election process. What if we insisted on recounts in other states that today are very, very close; for example, in Wisconsin or in Iowa, or if we should happen to lose it in New Mexico? If we keep going down the path we're on, if we keep being put in the position of having to respond to recount after recount after recount of the same ballots, then we just can't sit on our hands, and we will be forced to do what might be in our best personal interest - but not -- it would not be in the best interest of our wonderful country. And what's happening now, if I may say so, is not in the best interest of our country. And there is a way to stop that. There's a way to bring this thing back before it spirals totally out of control.

Two things.

One: they established early on that they don't see their "best personal interest" as being the same as ours.

Two: Imagine what they might have done if the vote count had enough time to go against them.


  Who Is This Idiot?

John Tierney once again proving why it's probably a good thing that the New York Times op-ed section will soon only be available to those willing to pay $50 a year for it. God knows this kind of imbecile deserves a much, much smaller audience.

I wrote another letter. I'm sure he'll never read it, as it's probably too negative. But you can.
Only the worst idiot would draw from events in the world that include the collapse yesterday of the talks over the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty, a siege of Baghdad, a genocide ongoing in Darfur, and so many other things that, gee, LOOK a hell of a lot like war, that war is on its way out. Are you going to quote from "the End of History" next, or perhaps reach back further to something equally irrelevant, like a Chamberlain speech?

You're a complete idiot, Tierney, or an irresponsible propagandist. Either way you're not worth reading.
What's so outrageous? Here's a sample of his column. Just think of the kind of mind that imagines it can get away with this kind of nonsense:
"I predict that the incidence of war will decline," he told me in 1996, two years before his death. He based his prediction on the principle that there is less and less to be gained economically from war. As people get richer and smarter, their lives and their knowledge become far more valuable than the land, minerals and natural resources they used to fight over.

Um, back me up on this: if a nine-year-old prediction based upon a completely different set of circumstances turns out to be utterly false, doesn't that make it, well, in some way less true?

Why does the New York Times employ this man? Comic relief?


27 May 2005
  The New Postmodernists, part 2

Seems I'm not the only one to pick up on this irony:

Conservative academics have long attacked "postmodernist" philosophies for questioning whether "truth" exists at all and claiming that what we take as "truths" are merely "narratives" woven around some ideological predisposition. Today's conservative activists have become the new postmodernists. They shift attention away from the truth or falsity of specific facts and allegations -- and move the discussion to the motives of the journalists and media organizations putting them forward...


  Time For Schadenfreude!

Bwah hah ha ha ha ha ha...

We see no good reason at this time to continue to vote for Republican candidates for the Senate or to support their calls for re-election. If the Senate Republicans cannot handle the responsibilities inherent in the majority, they do not deserve that majority. Watch, listen, learn, and vote accordingly."
They say eating your own can be very nutritious. (Be sure to check out the comments below that post, they're priceless)


  I'll Avoid The Obvious Joke

Apparently Viagra can make you go blind.

No word as to whether it gives you hairy palms too, though.


But We'd NEVER Flush It!

At least five cases of Koran desecration confirmed at Gitmo.
In three of the five cases, the mishandling appears to have been deliberate. In the other two, it apparently was accidental.
But Newsweek only alleged there was one!

So, Radical Right Scream Machine: time to shut up.


  "A Good Person Is A Good Person and a Creep Is a Creep"

Wise words from Adam McKay.


26 May 2005
Someone's All Sensitive

Republicans are such a bunch of whiny little crybabies.

Producer Dick Wolf, creator of the "Law & Order" franchise, took a swipe at DeLay in his own statement on Thursday, saying, "I ... congratulate Congressman DeLay for switching the spotlight from his own problems to an episode of a TV show."

The flap came as ethics questions swirling around DeLay mounted with a Texas judge ruling on Thursday that a political action committee formed by the congressman violated state law by failing to disclose $600,000 in mostly corporate donations.

The show's season finale drew 14.5 million viewers, but DeLay wasn't one of them. An aide said he heard about the show through his wife, who learned of it from someone else who saw the episode.

What a pussy. Seriously. No other word for it.

DeLay, stop walking around with your fly open if you don't want people to point and laugh.


  The Least of What He's Done
Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill penalizing employers for locking workplace safety exits.


  A New Word For Anti-Choice



25 May 2005
Ann Coulter: There Is Someplace Lower She Can Go

It's been rumored for years that Ann Coulter, the hatchet that walks like a woman, left Wall Street because, well, too many Jews about, apparently, made her uneasy. So what's one to make of this statement she made on Hannity & Colmes in the midst of mocking Bill Moyers?
...she actually said that conservative media had made only "tiny little inroads"compared to the vast liberal networks. Complaining about the critics of Fox News, Coulter made a point to say that Hannity & Colmes was the #1 cable talk show but still the numbers were small compared to "Fake News on CBS." Making one of her bizarre analogies she said,"It's like 1930's Germany and Bill Moyers is the Jew."

Meaning what, that he's something she imagines is in charge of everything but isn't, and that she hopes and plans to exterminate?

Uh...huh. Just keep babbling, Ann. You make my arguments against the GOP for me every time you open that nasty, thin slit you call your mouth.


  Gotta Love That Murdoch


  Frist Goes, "Ahh, Fuck It."

Looks like Frist is going for the nuclear option anyway. Sweet Jesus.


24 May 2005
  Stem Cells, Bolton, and A Soft Underbelly Pierced

Now this will provoke the RRR.

This too. How's that for seizing the moment?

Even better, how's this?

The pendulum swings back, ever so slowly.


That's My Line, You Chinless Little Weasel!

Scott McClennan apparently has a flawed understanding of current media recording technology, because in his White House press briefing today he tried to say he didn't say something he, well, said, at length, on as many media outlets as he and the right-wing radical smear machine could. And now, he has given us a cue to forget. It's too bad it's all on tape, and you have to wonder just what grade of coke these folks are snorting to give them such an illusion of balls.

And what an unprofessional little weasel he is. Compare him to the likes of Ari Fleischer. If you're a reporter, Ari was horrible, but it isn't the press secretary's job --if you've ever seen an episode of the West Wing you see this illustrated again and again--to do anything but spin. And from that perspective, Ari was an evil genius. He was a wall of stone. And he did not go on a prolonged vendetta against, for instance, Bill Maher when it came Ari's turn to intimidate the press into silence. He knew just one sentence and one suggestion were enough and he let corporate media timidity do the rest. Now that's a bastard. Recently Ari was on the Daily Show and managed to get Stewart from pleasantly hostile to seeming as though he'd like to lick Ari's balls within about two minutes, and all it took was a harmless admission that he had been evasive with the press, which is like saying that Saddam Hussein was a bit on the authoritarian side.

Whereas little Scott is rather inelegant, clumsy and sad by comparison. He came at Newsweek roaring like a grizzly with so much overconfidence that the press cowered in surprise. Here he was actually blaming the magazine for deaths in the riots in Afghanistan, because they reported that interrogators at Gitmo had tormented prisoners by desecrating the Koran.

MR. McCLELLAN: I mean, it's -- this report has had serious consequences. It has caused damage to the image of the United States abroad. It has -- people have lost their lives. It has certainly caused damage to the credibility of the media, as well, and Newsweek, itself.

The mere assertion that this was so was enough for the Masochistic Mainstream Media to run with. Soon after, Newsweek retracted only a small part of the story--that this was to be in a now-published report on treatment of prisoners at Guatanamo--but it didn't matter; the perception was planted that Newsweek had crumbled and was defeated and the Radical Right Message Machine has been chastising them ever since. Of course, lots of other stories similar to that one were published before and proliferated after the slapdown. But, like the issue of Bush's lack of service to this country, now any future stories of torture would be discredited. Even better, one more bit of outdated revenge no one else cares about: as the magazine is owned by the Washington Post, Nixon gets his revenge from beyond the grave. An elephant never forgets.

McClennan even felt emboldened to tell Newsweek and the press what to report to make the emperor happy:

Q Scott, you said that the retraction by Newsweek magazine of its story is a good first step. What else does the President want this American magazine to do?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, it's what I talked about yesterday. This report, which Newsweek has now retracted and said was wrong, has had serious consequences. People did lose their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged; there is lasting damage to our image because of this report. And we would encourage Newsweek to do all that they can to help repair the damage that has been done, particularly in the region.

And I think Newsweek can do that by talking about the way they got this wrong, and pointing out what the policies and practices of the United States military are when it comes to the handling of the Holy Koran. The military put in place policies and procedures to make sure that the Koran was handled -- or is handled with the utmost care and respect. And I think it would help to point that out, because some have taken this report -- those that are opposed to the United States -- some have taken this report and exploited it and used it to incite violence.

Q With respect, who made you the editor of Newsweek? Do you think it's appropriate for you, at that podium, speaking with the authority of the President of the United States, to tell an American magazine what they should print?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not telling them.

Fox, in a strangely paternalistic and condescending tone(even for them), on Hannity & Colmes soon afterward, referred to a Washington Post article on the same subject as "bad behavior." They were oddly emboldened. Then you look at the filibuster battle, and at least in that case, they were gearing up for something, and perhaps their boldness in telling the press, explicitly, what to write might be cross-referenced with this.

The filibuster fight, fundamentally, wasn't about judges, abortion, the Supreme Court or any of that, though it would have enabled previously unimaginable conservative agendas to get their way in all these areas and more. It was about the final GOP consolidation of power. Ironically, though in the Senate the filibuster is a tool of the minority, the fight against it was in aid of a minority in the country at large, the Radical Religious Right, and its wish to impose its absolutist views on us all if it so wishes--or anything it so wishes.

Without the filibuster, the GOP would have been able to rule by fiat, for all intents and purposes. They would have been able to rubber-stamp anything James Dobson or the like wanted, and instantly pass any legislation they wished. And we've already seen that, given the chance, they're not at all conservative about what they want to make into laws. They're also not about issues that matter a shit to any of us.

They were very sure that sometime today they would have destroyed the legislative branch and been well on their way to destroying the judiciary. Frist was about as smugly confident as you could imagine, even feeling free to say that Democrats were trying to "assassinate" the judicial nominees and having the balls to say this exactly at the same time as Judge Joan Lefkow, whose family was murdered by a guy with a grudge, said this in a nearby chamber:
I ask you to publicly and persistently repudiate gratuitous attacks on the judiciary such as the recent statement of Pat Robertson on national television and, unfortunately, of some members of the Congress, albeit in more measured terms. We need your help in tempering the tone of the debates that concern the independence of the judiciary. I have come to know scores of judges during my 22 years as a magistrate judge, bankruptcy judge, and district judge. Whether liberal or conservative, I have never encountered a judge in the federal judiciary who can remotely be described as posing a threat "probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings." In this age of mass communication, harsh rhetoric is truly dangerous. It seems to me that even though we cannot prove a cause and effect relationship between rhetorical attacks on judges and violent acts of vengeance by a particular litigant, fostering disrespect for judges can only encourage those that are on the edge, or the fringe, to exact revenge on a judge who ruled against them.
But their hubris continued unabated. No doubt they already had a Christmas list of items to push into law on Wednesday. They were so close to absolute power they could taste it, and they thought the Democrats were taking the bait of these judges. Cheney, almost salivating, said he'd be glad to break any ties, and Bush kept up thre belligerent pressure.

And then the moderates said "Enough of this childish shit," and gave them blue balls.

You can tell it was really them that lost in this compromise, because they've been shrieking about it in the MSM and the Blogosphere like the truly cockblocked always do for the past 24 hours, some swearing vengeance on McCain, others on Frist. Though they got three of their judges, what they really wanted was to trick everyone into a major structural change in the Senate, and that was stolen from them.

Any compromise is a tragic and grievous loss to the RRR, and you'd think they want to cause civil war over this madness. But polls say nobody cares about their squabble, and though the likes of Priscilla Owen will get through, the Senate remains the Senate, rather than the Reichstag.

Worse, the president of Afghanistan comes to the White House and says straight out that Newsweek had nothing to do with the riots and deaths, explaining the fact that somehow the MSM never picked up, that it was related to recent elections there. He stood right next to a no doubt very uncomfortable

And right away, McClennan doesn't so much repudiate what he said as feign amnesia:

Q One other question. Karzai was quite definite in saying that he didn't believe that the violence in Afghanistan was directly tied to the Newsweek article about Koran desecration. Yet, from this podium, you have made that link. So --

MR. McCLELLAN: Actually, I don't think you're actually characterizing what was said accurately.

Q By whom?

MR. McCLELLAN: As I said last week, and as President Karzai said today, and as General Myers had said previously, the protest may well have been pre-staged. The discredited report was damaging. It was used to incite violence. But those who espouse an ideology of hatred and oppression and murder don't need an excuse to incite violence. But the reports from the region showed how this story was used to incite violence.

Q But Karzai seemed to think that that wasn't what led to the violence, that it was --

MR. McCLELLAN: That's right, he actually -- he talked about -- President Karzai spoke about how the demonstrations were aimed at undercutting the progress being made toward democracy in Afghanistan, and the progress on elections. They have elections coming up soon. And I spoke about that, as well, last week.

Q So could it be said that the Newsweek article played a role, but was not --

MR. McCLELLAN: John, I think we've made our views known when it comes to the discredited report. There are some that want to continue to defend what is a discredited report that has been disavowed by Newsweek, and that's their business. We're perfectly willing to trust the American people to make their own judgment about it.

Q Who's doing that, exactly?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?

Q Who wants to defend it?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you can see in the media coverage, there are some that want to continue to do that.

Sorry for remembering what you were blaring in our face for an entire week, Scott.

Now--why the sudden slinking away? Could it be that Scott thought that by today he'd be able to tell the press what to write? Even more interestingly, after being caught in such blatant bullshit and then showing such weakness, how long will he remain useful as a press secretary? How long do those guys last when they themselves become the story? And what kind of enemy has he created unnecessarily in Newsweek?

I expect within four weeks, tops, that a story will appear in Newsweek telling us exactly who homosexual prostitute/typist Jeff Gannon was visiting in the White House(as the logs indicate) all those times that there were no press conferences scheduled. It would be particularly fitting if Michael Isikoff, not only the target of the White House smear but also previously beloved by cons as the man who broke the Monica Lewinsky story, were the one to report it.

Have any of you considered what just almost happened--and may have only been delayed till this summer, when the Supreme Court battle will begin and "extraordinary circumstances" may ensue--and what exactly any of us would have done had a dictatorship begun today?

'Cause it could have.

"What are you going to do about it?"--Thomas Nast.

Labels: , , ,

  Who Won?

It's hard to figure out exactly who won on the Senate compromise yesterday. Bill Frist, left sputtering out obsolete objections and weak excuses to pander to his base(who are already furious at him), is the obvious loser, but still, Priscilla Owen and two other rabid radical righties are going to be confirmed. But the radicals lost in that they did not get their excuse to turn the Senate into the president's rubber stamp, whivh was their real agenda.

But have a look at this and tell me who lost, or will in November 2006:

Meanwhile, according to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup poll taken Friday through Sunday, Bush's job approval ratings dropped six points during the month of May, to 46 percent. That missed by just one point his lowest rating to date for the ongoing USA Today poll.

Additionally, the paper finds, "Satisfaction with congressional Republicans also has sagged. By 47%-36%, those polled say the country would be better off if Democrats controlled Congress. That's the best showing for Democrats since the GOP won control of both houses of Congress in 1994."


23 May 2005
  Vomiting It Up

If you're interested, here's a postmortem of the whole Terri Schiavo debacle by Joan Didion at the NY Review of Books.

I tried to read it but then the very subject made me feel sick, like something I'd eaten enough of to never want it again.


21 May 2005
  "And maybe when the blade sinks in, he'll go, 'Perhaps O'Reilly was right.'"

And even more of Rwanda Radio US. Apparently the theofascists are thinking an awful lot about our blood, and how much they want a sip of it.

It's not winning, for them, until they have eaten and shat out their enemy.


  Bush 43, Percent That Is

And falling.

I realize how paranoid I can be, but just the same, I'm going to be very wary of days with clear skies in big cities for the next few months, I think.


20 May 2005
  Rwanda Radio US

More from the Republicans-Calling-Ever-So-Subtly for the physical intimidation(as Rush Limbaugh in fact proposed, in those words, toward liberals last year) of their enemies.

From Search & Destroy:

FOR Izzy helpfully sends the following, which reminds me of my friend's adage--"It's OK if you're Republican!" Without a doubt, I would have been fired from KFI Radio had I uttered something similar about a Republican public figure.
(From Media Matters)

Why is this (below) okay?!!!

Why aren't 20 federal agents dragging this a-hole off to the Black Hole of Calcutta, like they would be if some terrorist-supporting lefty blogger (ahem) had said something even remotely similar about one of the right-wing fascista?
How can this double-standard continue???
We are soooo screwed.


Radio host Glenn Beck "thinking about killing Michael Moore"

Clear Channel radio host Glenn Beck said he was "thinking about killing [filmmaker] Michael Moore" and pondered whether "I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it," before concluding: "No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong?"

From the May 17 broadcast of The Glenn Beck Program:

BECK: Hang on, let me just tell you what I'm thinking. I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong? I stopped wearing my What Would Jesus -- band -- Do, and I've lost all sense of right and wrong now. I used to be able to say, "Yeah, I'd kill Michael Moore," and then I'd see the little band: What Would Jesus Do? And then I'd realize, "Oh, you wouldn't kill Michael Moore. Or at least you wouldn't choke him to death." And you know, well, I'm not sure.

Beck's program is syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks (owned by radio conglomerate Clear Channel Communications) on more than 160 radio stations across the country to an estimated audience of 6 million listeners. He has previously falsely accused Moore of "taking help and money from Hezbollah" and calledMichael Berg, who criticized the Bush administration after his son Nick was beheaded in Iraq, "despicable" and "a scumbag."
Think as well about the judge-bashing in the House of Representatives of late, and more besides. This is a pattern, not an isolated thing.

Labels: ,

  More Important Than a Koran In A Toilet?

We do think of symbols as more important than people. I suppose that's the inevitable result of a culture in which corporations are more important individuals than actual people are.

This for instance, from a 2,000 page report that got almost no notice and certainly no play in the MSM as the ritual flogging following the setup of Newsweak continued. (thanks to Tom Tomorrow)

Even as the young Afghan man was dying before them, his American jailers continued to torment him.

The prisoner, a slight, 22-year-old taxi driver known only as Dilawar, was hauled from his cell at the detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan, at around 2 a.m. to answer questions about a rocket attack on an American base. When he arrived in the interrogation room, an interpreter who was present said, his legs were bouncing uncontrollably in the plastic chair and his hands were numb. He had been chained by the wrists to the top of his cell for much of the previous four days.
Skip to next paragraph

Dilawar was an Afghan farmer and taxi driver who died while in custody of American troops.

Mr. Dilawar asked for a drink of water, and one of the two interrogators, Specialist Joshua R. Claus, 21, picked up a large plastic bottle. But first he punched a hole in the bottom, the interpreter said, so as the prisoner fumbled weakly with the cap, the water poured out over his orange prison scrubs. The soldier then grabbed the bottle back and began squirting the water forcefully into Mr. Dilawar's face.

"Come on, drink!" the interpreter said Specialist Claus had shouted, as the prisoner gagged on the spray. "Drink!"

At the interrogators' behest, a guard tried to force the young man to his knees. But his legs, which had been pummeled by guards for several days, could no longer bend. An interrogator told Mr. Dilawar that he could see a doctor after they finished with him. When he was finally sent back to his cell, though, the guards were instructed only to chain the prisoner back to the ceiling.

"Leave him up," one of the guards quoted Specialist Claus as saying.

Several hours passed before an emergency room doctor finally saw Mr. Dilawar. By then he was dead, his body beginning to stiffen. It would be many months before Army investigators learned a final horrific detail: Most of the interrogators had believed Mr. Dilawar was an innocent man who simply drove his taxi past the American base at the wrong time.


  Roxy Music

Nice article at the Guardian on the profound influence of one of my all-time favorite bands.


19 May 2005
  Lars Von Trier on Dubya

"Mr. Bush is an asshole."

Well, I can't imagine anyone's surprised he'd say that...


  As Though We Didn't Know Already

...but here's more proof that Bush lied, lied, lied to get us into this endless, bloody, pointless war. The Downing Street Memo, which you may have heard of.



From: Matthew Rycroft
Date: 23 July 2002
S 195 /02

cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell


Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.

This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.

John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. Saddam was worried and expected an attack, probably by air and land, but he was not convinced that it would be immediate or overwhelming. His regime expected their neighbours to line up with the US. Saddam knew that regular army morale was poor. Real support for Saddam among the public was probably narrowly based.

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

CDS said that military planners would brief CENTCOM on 1-2 August, Rumsfeld on 3 August and Bush on 4 August. The two broad US options were:

(a) Generated Start. A slow build-up of 250,000 US troops, a short (72 hour) air campaign, then a move up to Baghdad from the south. Lead time of 90 days (30 days preparation plus 60 days deployment to Kuwait).

(b) Running Start. Use forces already in theatre (3 x 6,000), continuous air campaign, initiated by an Iraqi casus belli. Total lead time of 60 days with the air campaign beginning even earlier. A hazardous option.

The US saw the UK (and Kuwait) as essential, with basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus critical for either option. Turkey and other Gulf states were also important, but less vital. The three main options for UK involvement were:

(i) Basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus, plus three SF squadrons.

(ii) As above, with maritime and air assets in addition.

(iii) As above, plus a land contribution of up to 40,000, perhaps with a discrete role in Northern Iraq entering from Turkey, tying down two Iraqi divisions.

The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change.

The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors. Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD. There were different strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change. The two key issues were whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan the space to work. On the first, CDS said that we did not know yet if the US battleplan was workable. The military were continuing to ask lots of questions.

For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began? You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary.

The Foreign Secretary thought the US would not go ahead with a military plan unless convinced that it was a winning strategy. On this, US and UK interests converged. But on the political strategy, there could be US/UK differences. Despite US resistance, we should explore discreetly the ultimatum. Saddam would continue to play hard-ball with the UN.

John Scarlett assessed that Saddam would allow the inspectors back in only when he thought the threat of military action was real.

The Defence Secretary said that if the Prime Minister wanted UK military involvement, he would need to decide this early. He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route. It would be important for the Prime Minister to set out the political context to Bush.


(a) We should work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action. But we needed a fuller picture of US planning before we could take any firm decisions. CDS should tell the US military that we were considering a range of options.

(b) The Prime Minister would revert on the question of whether funds could be spent in preparation for this operation.

(c) CDS would send the Prime Minister full details of the proposed military campaign and possible UK contributions by the end of the week.

(d) The Foreign Secretary would send the Prime Minister the background on the UN inspectors, and discreetly work up the ultimatum to Saddam.

He would also send the Prime Minister advice on the positions of countries in the region especially Turkey, and of the key EU member states.

(e) John Scarlett would send the Prime Minister a full intelligence update.

(f) We must not ignore the legal issues: the Attorney-General would consider legal advice with FCO/MOD legal advisers.

(I have written separately to commission this follow-up work.)

[Rycroft was a Downing Street foreign policy aide.]


  New Site Being Built

The new address--which, at least for now, still leads here--is jlroberson.org. A newer, bigger site is coming, and will include all of Vitriol. Keep checking for details. Hell, keep checking anyway.


18 May 2005
  Okay, I Lied

You will have to change one bookmark.


  From Keith Olbermann...

...who is the only broadcast journalist(apart from Jon Stewart et al at The Daily Show) I can stand:

The Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee have called a forum for next Tuesday about media bias, reports that some outlets are avoiding stories because they're fearful of Bush Administration retribution, and the Administration's response to the Newsweek story...

On Sunday, May 1, the New York Times reported that as the military investigated abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, the paper had spoken to a former detainee named Nasser Nijer Naser al-Mutairi. He said that in his three years at Gitmo, there were three major hunger strikes by detainees — one of them after guards there had piled up copies of the Qu'ran, and stepped on them.

Al-Mutairi said that action was so bad, that even a senior officer at Gitmo got on the camp public address system, promised that abuse of the Qu'ran would stop, and apologized for it.

The Times also quoted an unidentified former U.S. interrogator at Guantanamo, who confirmed the hunger strike, and the broadcast apology, although he evidently did not witness the piling up of, and stepping on, the Qu'rans.




This I hadn't thought of.

This is all about W and Rove hanging Frist out to dry, so as to further some other right-winger. Frist wins - he destroyed the Senate. Frist loses - he’s insufficiently conservative (which he’s already been called, by others on the Right, for taking so long to move).

Comment by dave — May 18th, 2005



Some words from Joshua Micah Marshall on the lunacy in Washington at this moment:

Whether you call it the 'nuclear option', the 'constitutional option' or whatever other phrase the GOP word-wizards come up with, what "it" actually is is this: the Republican caucus, along with the President of the Senate, Dick Cheney, will find that filibustering judicial nominations is in fact in violation of the constitution.

(Just to be crystal clear, what the senate is about to do is not changing their rules. They are about to find that their existing rules are unconstitutional, thus getting around the established procedures by which senate rules can be changed.)

Their reasoning will be that the federal constitution requires that the president makes such nominations "by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate" and that that means an up or down vote by the full senate.

Nobody believes that.

Not Dick Cheney, not any member of the Republican Senate caucus.

For that to be true stands not only the simple logic of the constitution, but two hundred years of our constitutional history, on its head....

You can think the filibuster is a terrible idea. And you may think that it should be abolished, as indeed it can be through the rules of the senate. And there are decent arguments to made on that count. But to assert that it is unconstitutional because each judge does not get an up or down vote by the entire senate you have to hold that the United States senate has been in more or less constant violation of the constitution for more than two centuries.

For all the chaos and storm caused by this debate, and all that is likely to follow it, don't forget that the all of this will be done by fifty Republican senators quite knowingly invoking a demonstrably false claim of constitutionality to achieve something they couldn't manage by following the rules.

This is about power; and, to them, the rules quite simply mean nothing.

Labels: ,

  Lest We Forget

In the wake of the Newsweek matter, in which it was said that the story in the magazine cost lives...well, we also might recall some irresponsible words that cost a lot of lives. Do you remember them? They were a mere three in number:


Now, who said that?


Site Temporarily Down

Just a note to the five or six people there who ever click on those links to my comix at the right: I am in the process of changing web hosts from my former ISP to, well, a real web host with a domain, so there may be nothing there for perhaps a month, except the links to my Eros Comix work and, of course, the shop below.

This blog will remain throughout, however, so no need to change any bookmarks and stuff like that--this only affects the rest of the site, not this page or the blog archives.

Apologies for any annoyance this may cause. On the plus side, when this is all done there will be much, much more stuff to look at(one reason I'm changing is for more webspace), including all of Vitriol, instead of just the last third. Keep checking right here for announcements, and keep returning for my rants. They will continue unabated.


17 May 2005
  Nutshell Version

(Click thumbnail to enlarge)



Ashes In The Fall

Ain't it funny how the factory doors close
Round the time that the school doors close
Round the time that the doors of the jail cells
Open up to greet you like the reaper


Why Don't Any Of Us Have Galloway's Guts?

It's rather odd that a British MP gets hauled before the US Senate--and before the mediocrity that is Norm Coleman, whom we can hope Al Franken slaughters in the elections next year, at that(a man whom it took the murder of Paul Wellstone to get into the Senate)--but it appears today the Senate, looking for a scapegoat, have instead a wolverine on their hands. He spoke bravely, unapologetically, and without a hint of brainwash. My god, I forgot what that looked like.

"Now, Senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted. I gave my political life's blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq which killed one million Iraqis, most of them children, most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis with the misfortune to born at that time. I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies.

“I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.

"Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.

If the world had listened to Kofi Annan, whose dismissal you demanded, if the world had listened to President Chirac who you want to paint as some kind of corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and the anti-war movement in Britain, we would not be in the disaster that we are in today. Senator, this is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported, from the theft of billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth.

"Have a look at the real Oil-for-Food scandal. Have a look at the 14 months you were in charge of Baghdad, the first 14 months when $8.8 billion of Iraq's wealth went missing on your watch. Have a look at Halliburton and other American corporations that stole not only Iraq's money, but the money of the American taxpayer.

"Have a look at the oil that you didn't even meter, that you were shipping out of the country and selling, the proceeds of which went who knows where? Have a look at the $800 million you gave to American military commanders to hand out around the country without even counting it or weighing it.

"Have a look at the real scandal breaking in the newspapers today, revealed in the earlier testimony in this committee. That the biggest sanctions busters were not me or Russian politicians or French politicians. The real sanctions busters were your own companies with the connivance of your own Government."

Now why do none of us have the courage to speak the truth as Galloway has done today? Why are we such a spineless, castrated nation? Why do we not realize that if enough of us simply start speaking the truth, it cannot be shut up? Is our guilt that tremendous, our shame over our stupidity and cowardice so thick, that now the die is cast and we'll back up Bush just to avoid it? We don't deserve our nation, y'all.

We all know what the truth is, and Galloway, a Brit, is saying it for us. Odds on whether he gets out of this country alive.

"Trust a Brit to tell you your own history." --Spalding Gray


  Buying Gas?

Want to stick it to the US and Saudi oil interests, but want to still drive your car?

Citgo is a U.S. refining and marketing firm that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil company. Money you pay to Citgo goes primarily to Venezuela -- not Saudi Arabia or the Middle East...By buying your gasoline at Citgo, you are contributing to the billions of dollars that Venezuela's democratic government is using to provide health care, literacy and education, and subsidized food for the majority of Venezuelans.
Just a thought.


  They Watch Fox So You Don't Have To

Just discovered News Hounds, and if you want to break your TV when watching Fox(a sign of masochism, I know) as much as I do, you'll love this. Particularly funny are the e-mails they receive that were meant for Fox, which they gleefully reproduce. Some of which are actually critical of Fox, believe it or not. Well, when you see the manner in which they're critical, you'll probably believe it. A sampling:

Date: 25 Apr 2005
My husband and I used to enjoy watching your show and would still like to be able to but PLEASE STOP ARGUING and TALING OVER ONE ANOTHER!!! Just report the news so we don't have to go to a liberal station and hear only one side. THANK YOU

Date: 25 Apr 2005
Subject: Illegal Immigration
Steve, E.D., Brian;
It seems to me that illegal immigrants are in fact fugitives. Why is it then, that businessmen that hire them, are not charged with Harboring A Fugitive?
Just a Thought, *** from W.V.

Date: 5 Apr 2005
Subject: Colmes
Is it necessary that Colmes be on your show? He is really one backward person! This is putting it mildly.

Date: 29 Mar 2005
Subject: our troups by and old vet
Dear Mr. O'rielly I would like to set the record streight as what has been comming out is wrong. As a second class signalman on ship I know that you have to follows orders from above or your out there is no two ways about It you have a very good program and i enjoy it very much, but sometime i agree and sometimes not but that is the way the world works as far as Pres Bush goes I am proud i voted for him he is a good man under a lot of pressure. this is a time for the sentent and congress to get it togeher and do some thing at least give it a try if it dont work try someting else. the only thing they agree on is a raise in pay which they dont deserve. Thank You God Bless

Date: 26 Mar 2005
Subject: tell your blonde to report the real news
come on FOX! i wanted to urp when your blonde newslady was interviewing teri's brother. how can you all allow such speculation about teri being abused. don't you think teri was examined closely when she was taken to the hospital when she collapsed? had the doctor's even thought she might have been a battered woman i assure you the police would have been called. lets get real, okay? how come teri';s family is just now bringing this up? after all, she collapsed in 1991! quit speculating!!! as for teri's brother he better be worring about a slander suit filed against him. i've got some questions for you all. how many of you know people who have lost a spouse? i have some friends who did and later remarried yet still had love for the spouse who died. mr. schiavo's situation is much the same except his wife isn't physically dead. so he meets another woman and she becomes pregnant but i suppose everyone would have been happier if mr. schiavo's girlfriend had opted for an abortion. what hypacrites you all are. since we are all speculating why not throw out some speculation for both sides instead of crucifying michael. perhaps out of his love for his wife he is indead honoring her wishes. my husband and i have often told each other never to allow artificial means to keep the other alive. i can never remember talking to my friend or parents about it. there are many things i discuss with my husband that i don't with others. if my husband were to ever get in the same situation that teri is in i would run around the world to insure his wishes were carried out even if his parents wanted to care for him and he wanted to die. wake up people! what you have here are 2 fueding families who have suckered an entire nation into their fight, even a president who went against the constitution to help them. thousands of families in this country are in similar situations and you news media expounding on one family and fueling their fued. why don't you all insist that something be done about these child molesters that are running rampant. why doesn't congress get a bill signed by the president to have electronic tracking devices imbedded under the skin of these monsters so they can be tracked? oops, sorry, after all, monsters have rights. thanks for listening. ***-fed-up in idaho

Date: 26 Mar 2005

Date: 25 Mar 2005
Subject: WHO'S NEXT
THANK YOU, FOX NEWS We need to return to GOD. This country are going down the tube because our country is no longer practicing under GOD'S Law. We have a tube fed daughter she is precious and no different than Terri. If this judge and his horrid discussion can make a judgment to end Terri's life he could come in and tell us we have to remove Gail's feeding tube.. PLEASE pray pray friend of Fox news thank you, ***


16 May 2005
  The New Conservatives: They're You

My hand's still recuperating, so more quotes without much comment. This is from Scott Rosenberg. I realize sometimes it seems I read nothing but Salon, but this is a good one. It appears we liberals, just by virtue of actually believing in the American system as it stands, are now the conservatives, in the Edmund Burke definition of the word:

The heart of conservatism, as elucidated by its progenitor, Edmund Burke, is a healthy respect for the messy, inconsistency-laden reality of human institutions as they have actually evolved across generations. Such institutions are necessarily imperfect, but have value by the simple virtue of having withstood pressure over time. You discard such institutions only with great caution; what is destroyed overnight can take decades to rebuild. This is where we get the very term "conservative"; conservatives believe in the conservation of human institutions and values. Conversely, the word "radical" derives from the Latin for "roots," because radicalism is all about digging things up at the roots and starting over.

Both impulses have their place in society. But our national politics have reached the strange tipping point at which the two labels have become reversed: they now hang from the necks of our politicians and parties like mixed-up nametags.

The Republican, "red state" agenda can be called "conservative" only by force of habit. Abroad, President Bush pursues a messianic vision, one part religious war and one part democratic crusade, neither pursued with any consistency but both leading to regime changes, bloodshed and the casual abandonment of carefully built institutions and alliances. At home, Bush, having enacted massive changes to the federal tax structure that are steadily bankrupting the government, seeks to scuttle Social Security, the most successful social program in American history.

The president is a radical. It is his Democratic opponents, fighting a rearguard action to protect the institutions of the liberal state that their predecessors built over the last century, who are now conservatives.


Class In America

A very interesting series you should read, just beginning at the NYT, on a subject that gets not nearly enough media attention in this country. It even has a handy-dandy interactive graphic that will tell you just where you lie as far as class in America.

I ended up averaging squarely to the middle, which surprised me.

In a nutshell: Horatio Alger is long since dead and rich people laugh as they take turns fucking his desiccated corpse.


  Learn More About Bullshit

Or propaganda, as some call it. Really useful site, this.


  Why There's No Point In Satire Any More  From Salon's "War Room":

A report last week on the blog News Hounds led us to a May 6 exchange between anti-abortion activist Neal Horsley and Alan Colmes on Colmes' FOX News radio show. In the interview, Horsley, a vocally religious proponent of posting names of abortion doctors on the Web so that anti-abortion extremists will know how to find them, admitted to having engaged in bestiality.

"You had sex with animals?" Colmes asked, with regard to reports of Horsley's past experience with bestiality and homosexuality. "Absolutely. I was a fool. When you grow up on a farm in Georgia, your first girlfriend is a mule."

When Colmes suggested that maybe that's not the case for everyone who grows up on a farm in Georgia, Horsley shot back, "It has historically been the case. You people are so far removed from reality ... welcome to domestic life on the farm ... You experiment with anything that moves when you are growing up sexually. You're naïve…If it's warm and it's damp and it vibrates you might in fact have sex with it." (And if it has ovaries, a vagina, and it has the ability to lactate, you might in fact make it your mission to take away its control of its own body!)

It is not without irony, folks, that the man's name is Horsley.

Since listeners obviously just can't get enough of this stuff, Horsley returned to Colmes' radio show on Thursday, May 12 and allowed the host to press him on whether or not he'd also engaged in homosexual acts as a horny young buck. "Certainly," responded Horsley. "If we had a warm watermelon out in the field, I might give it a name."

Of course, watermelons and mules have no need for safe, legal and accessible reproductive rights.

In its reports on the Horsley confessions, News Hound also noted a conversation in March between Colmes and Randall Terry, the anti-abortion activist who worked on behalf of the Schindler family to keep the late Terry Schiavo alive. (Apparently, Colmes has become a kind of health-teacher/confessor for the junior high-school boys who make up the multi-tentacled life crusaders.) In Terry's interview with Colmes about the Schiavo case and his past statements about his beliefs that abortion doctors should be executed, Terry bizarrely changed the subject and asked Colmes, "Are you drinking Red Bull ... You’re like on drugs … Are you snorting coke? I think that it's time that you and I just admit to the whole world that's listening that we used to be homosexual lovers …" It seemed to be a joke , but an odd one coming from a loudly anti-gay Christian.

Let me explain something for the benefit of our friends overseas who may wonder why people like these are listened to or tolerated by anyone, let alone in positions of power and prominence. Two reasons, actually. (1) We're stupid, gutless morons. (2) They're crazy, dangerous and would kill us if they could. My apologies, world. We're trapped in here with them. Please understand.


13 May 2005
Conservatives: A Cult?

That's the only way to explain this celebration of dead man walking Tom DeLay. I wonder what it's like to be a spineless, asskissing phony that never thinks long-term and has absolutely no integrity, that exists only to do the bidding of the stupid, evil and insane and whose power is only for accomplishing that, nothing else, and to never, ever have a mind of one's own. Or put more quickly, what it's like to be a Republican member of Congress.

I didn't have a point. I just felt like saying that.


11 May 2005
  An Example To Follow

The political-purging baptist pastor in North Carolina has quit.

Well. My prayer got through. The rest must be queued up then.


Guess What, Christsucker

Now, historically speaking, does God approve of hubris?

The Baptist minister who expelled members of his congregation for not voting for Bush(and now pretends he never did any such thing), it appears, violated IRS regulations regarding electioneering. It seems that to maintain its tax-exempt status, a church cannot engage in, well, what this guy did.

On Monday, Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent a letter to the IRS asking the agency to investigate the matter, on grounds that Chandler's comments violated the no-electioneering laws governing churches and other charities.

"Pastor Chandler seems to have confused his church with a Republican Party caucus meeting," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, the group's executive director, in a statement. "It's time for the IRS to give him a swift reminder of the laws of the land."

Now I wonder, first, if the IRS will bother(ha), but if they do, if if this will catch up to a number of other churches, including the already suspect Catholic Church(which attempted to convince parishioners in many places that voting for Kerry would be a mortal sin), and these corrupt places that, frankly, make all religion look bad, will get auctioned off. They might make good schools. To paraphrase Peter Weiss, perhaps at last something useful will be learned in them.


Update: Indeed they are investigating:

I.R.S. rules bar clear-cut politicking by tax-exempt groups. In October, days before Mr. Bush won a second term, the agency said it was investigating roughly 60 charities and other tax-exempt groups - about a third of them churches - for potentially breaking rules that bar them from political activity.

The outcome of those investigations is not known; the I.R.S. is prohibited from naming the groups it investigates or announcing results.


10 May 2005
  Muting The Messenger

An incredibly stupid column at the New York Times.

My e-mail to its author:

Just read your new and innovative column. If news makes people feel
bad, it shouldn't be reported. How brilliant you are! Working for the
paper of record as you do, that's a perfectly appropriate sentiment.

And I suppose if you were a doctor you'd bring back the old technique
of not telling patients they have cancer. Because, you know, it might
make them despondent.

Jesus Christ, if you're what passes for a journalist these days it's
no wonder the public remains so dumb. You are an irresponsible,
frivolous disgrace to your profession and you should be ashamed. "not
arguing for censorship." Yes you are--you're arguing for

So how much is Scott McClennan paying you? Hope it's a lot.
very best,
John Linton Roberson


"Eternity in the company of Beelzebub, and all of his hellish instruments of death, will be a picnic compared to five minutes with me & this pencil."
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JLRoberson Self-Portrait 2005.
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July 2017:
Steve Pugh and the Flintstones

Interview of Steve Pugh by John Roberson & Tim Young!

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With Emmet O'Cuana & Kumar Sivasubramanian

October 2015: 
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Discussion with Tim Young; also featuring Dale Lazarov & Tim Pilcher.

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Discussion with Tim Young.

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Discussion with Tim Young, Deb Aoki, & Jason McNamara.

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