VLADRUSHKA by John Linton Roberson (c) 2022.
I Didn't Write That!
30 June 2005
I'm Not Sure Who To Root For Here...

By which I mean this thing about Time saving Matt Cooper from jail by callowly turning over the information Cooper, and Judith Miller, refuse on ethical grounds to give up, regarding the Plame leak.

On one hand, journalists being jailed for not revealing their sources is a hideous, fascist thing that does not bode well as a precedent and I'm against that.

On the other, it will be revealed who leaked Valerie Plame's identity to Robert Novak.

Speaking of whom, neither of the reporters to be jailed actually reported first-hand on this, whereas Novak actually outed a CIA agent and we know he had direct contact with the leaker. Why exactly is Robert Novak not the one going to jail? Apparently he's an associate of Judith Miller's, which only reveals what a shit Novak is. Judith Miller also played a major part in spreading the WMD myth and thus, to me, has in large part abrogated any claim to "ethics" anyway. It's interesting that important principles always necessitate defending such hideous jerks; I'm thinking, for example, way back when having to defend 2 Live Crew in conversation. It was an issue of freedom of speech, but they really did suck as well. I can't say my heart bleeds for Miller, though, personally. And to think, she did such favors for the administration in her WMD stories, full of what we now know to be utter lies. Fascinating that in the same week the Bushes demonstrate complete ingratitude to two prominent women who allowed them to accomplish so much evil.

And Time Magazine has proven for all time that it is merely a corporate newsoid piece of nonsense with no spine and no pride. To give in so easily; for shame. The magazine pretends it's about journalists not being "above the law." David Andelman has a better explanation, and it's nothing to do with respect for the law, at least not in the sense they say.
Time's lawyers believed that if the company didn't comply, it could be exposed to legal liability or government sanctions that could rise even higher than the $1,000 a day the judge had threatened. After all, if Cooper held out for a year at $10,000 a day, that $3.65 million could make quite a dent in the income statement of a company that books $40 billion a year in revenue.
It took some looking to find the magazine's statement on Cooper, incidentally. They're so dead set on pushing out all important news that they headline and cover-feature Lincoln. Nixon also used to talk about Lincoln when he wanted to change the point from himself. Hell, they even headline an indie film at Sundance. It's not like this was a slow news week.

Though it's a good ethic to not reveal your sources if they don't wish to be revealed, this is a good principle being used for a bad purpose. But that ethics are used by a scoundrel does not mean the ethics are wrong. But Miller and Cooper have done much propaganda work for the Bush regime and are hiding a person who has committed a federal crime in furtherance of bad policies.

So I'm torn. But as it's a fait accompli, I guess I can just sit back and wait for the juicy, juicy information to finally be revealed. My money is still on Karl Rove, or at least a member of his staff; last week's bout of Tourette's on his part aside, he's not a man stupid enough to get his own fingerprints on such a thing. Even a burglar knows that.

Well, if one looks back in history, maybe some don't.


  Man, That's Low

...the approval ratings for presidents as recorded by Gallup (all for March):

Truman, 1949: 57%.

Eisenhower, 1957: 65%.

Johnson, 1965: 69%.

Nixon, 1973: 57%.

Reagan, 1985: 56%.

Clinton, 1997: 59% .

Bush, 2005: 45% .



No poll bounce whatsoever from Bush's speech. He might as well not have made it at all. His ratings actually dropped a point to 43%.

That must be galling to him. It was such hard work, as he likes to let us know.

This must be too. Not to me though. It makes my day, because it suggests the system is starting to correct itself:
Another poll result that's "not good" for the president: The concept of impeachment is slowly sinking in for a substantial portion of the American people. It's not a majority, but 42 percent of the public, including 25 percent of the Republicans surveyed, now say that Bush should be impeached if -- and is this really an "if," now? -- he misled the country about the reasons for going to war.
And he did, and everyone knows it! So what could that portend?

He should have realized: you don't spend capital. You invest it and live on the interest. And now he wasted it all on Terry Schiavo and other such crap.

And Republicans are, if very slowly, starting to realize that Bush is not exactly good for them either.

In a sign of the continuing partisan division of the nation, more than two-in-five (42%) voters say that, if it is found that President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should hold him accountable through impeachment. While half (50%) of respondents do not hold this view, supporters of impeachment outweigh opponents in some parts of the country.

Among those living in the Western states, a 52% majority favors Congress using the impeachment mechanism while just 41% are opposed; in Eastern states, 49% are in favor and 45% opposed. In the South, meanwhile, impeachment is opposed by three-in-five voters (60%) and supported by just one-in-three (34%); in the Central/Great Lakes region, 52% are opposed and 38% in favor.

Impeachment is overwhelmingly rejected in the Red States—just 36% say they agree Congress should use it if the President is found to have lied on Iraq, while 55% reject this view; in the “Blue States” that voted for Massachusetts Democrat John Kerry in 2004, meanwhile, a plurality of 48% favors such proceedings while 45% are opposed.

A large majority of Democrats (59%) say they agree that the President should be impeached if he lied about Iraq, while just three-in-ten (30%) disagree. Among President Bush’s fellow Republicans, a full one-in-four (25%) indicate they would favor impeaching the President under these circumstances, while seven-in-ten (70%) do not. Independents are more closely divided, with 43% favoring impeachment and 49% opposed.

How Terry Lost Her Groove Again

Celebrity schadenfreude time! Because conceited celebs annoy me almost as much as evil politicians.

This time we witness the awesome power of irony, toward one of the most narcissistic, self-indulgent, ego-masturbating writers of our time:

Terry McMillan has lost her "groove" -- or at least the guy she thought had returned it to her. Jonathan Plummer, the young Jamaican guy whom McMillan met at a resort and married six years ago -- and upon whom the author based her book "How Stella Got Her Groove Back"-- is, it turns out, gay. Now, the estranged couple is locked in a messy divorce. She claims he used her to get U.S. citizenship and to get his hands on her fortune. He says he didn't know he was gay when he met her -- at age 20 -- and that she has harassed him since he informed her of his orientation. "She is an extremely angry woman who is homophobic and is lashing out at me because I have learned I am gay," Plummer, now 30, contended in court papers, later telling the San Francisco Chronicle that McMillan scrawled the following label on a bottle of Jamaican hot sauce: "Fag Juice Burn Baby Burn." McMillan and Plummer have taken out restraining orders against each other. (N.Y. Daily News)
Awww. And such a nice lady, too. Just proves the old adage that a happy ending is just a story that hasn't been allowed to finish.

Incidentally, very clever and witty message on the hot sauce label! Such wording and punctuation, not to mention originality and subtlety! I can see why those bestseller writers make the big bucks.

As far as the idea that he "became" gay since he's been with her...fill in your own snark here.


  "This is another example of the administration's inability to distinguish between a strategy and a wish."

Stinging words from the NY Times' Bob Herbert on Bush's speech and Iraq. Here's one reason our lack of manpower over there is rendering any pacification pointless:
...the president, who never listened to warnings that he was going to war with too few troops, still refuses to acknowledge that there are not enough U.S. forces deployed to pacify Iraq.

The Times's Richard A. Oppel Jr. wrote an article recently about a tragically common occurrence in Iraq: U.S. forces fight to free cities and towns from the grip of insurgents, and then leave. With insufficient forces left behind to secure the liberated areas, the insurgents return.

"We have a finite number of troops," said Maj. Chris Kennedy of the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment. "But if you pull out of an area and don't leave security forces in it, all you're going to do is leave the door open for them to come back. This is what our lack of combat power has done to us throughout the country."

Like holding back a flood with a sieve, basically.

And here's some dismayed reaction from all points of the political spectrum to the same desperate speech. This one epitomizes the national consensus emerging:

I am a Republican. And like many other Republicans, I am scared. I am scared that my president has lost even a fleeting relationship with reality. I want terrorism stopped, and I fear now that he is making it broader.

Why did he even give the address? What did he tell us? How many times are we going to be asked to pretend there was a connection between 9/11 and Iraq?

I believed my president when he took leadership after 9/11. I no longer believe that he knows what is going on.

So he's even breaking the hearts of his base. Better he should have said nothing. Oh, wait, he did, but he let his lips move and let sounds come out.

Has there ever been such a painful, awkward, willfully ignorant failure as this president? It would be funny if he didn't kill people with his stupidity.

Put simply: what a dick. What a stupid, stupid dick. And to think that to some it's so important a Republican, any Republican, be president that they gave up their souls and their nation for this creature. I don't hate the rank-and-file Republicans who did this. I pity them and can't imagine how they live with the blood they probably never imagined on their hands. I doubt they were wishing for it, though. But it's too late for them to change their course now.

Or is it?


29 June 2005
  Like These Guys Need To Be More Tense?

To, I'm sure, the delight of prison guards all across the state, California has banned smoking in prisons. You know, in otherwise happy and calm places like San Quentin. A fine demonstration of the state's usual wisdom in most things.

They say "goodbye" when they mean "hello" there too, you know.


"Hollow Resonance"

Sidney Blumenthal, David Corn, and Andrew Sullivan on Bush's amazingly pathetic speech. Also the Guardian's Julian Borger on Bush's obvious attempts to once again conflate Iraq and 9/11.

And these were the ratings of the most bloodless, painfully boring, and pointless speech in presidential history.

There's a pattern forming. Remember the press conference that happened a few months back which was so full of his usual talking points, nothing new as usual, that the networks, no doubt incensed at kind of having been fooled into pre-empting the start of sweeps into covering what was meant as a speech but disguised as a press conference, cut away from him before he was done? Each of his appearances has been limper than the last. Karl Rove had to go out and attack on his behalf, in person.

They're looking more desperate and seem to have prematurely ejaculated their political capital, and this looks like flailing to me. But what will we do with four more years of such flailing?

Of course, they could always let another terrorist attack through--that might perk up his poll ratings. I'm sure they're nostalgic for that; it was the neocon's Woodstock. But if another terrorist attack occurred, it would only prove that he has never actually cared what the terrorists do to us.

So even if they are so evil and cynical as to have done such a thing--on the bare facts, we can only call them apathetic, rank incompetents in that matter--they're trapped.

Nasty things snap when they're trapped. They take fingers. So this isn't a pleasant thought exactly. Polls say we're no longer afraid. They have stimulated and relied upon fear. What can they do without it? Are they capable of doing without it?

"What must I do to be taken seriously?" --George IV, The Madness of King George


28 June 2005
No New Tale To Tell: Bush's Speech

This was supposed to win support for the war? This was supposed to be a big speech that would soothe the nation? This was supposed to revive his poll ratings among independents, who now stand with Democrats at around 78% against the war?

I'm at a loss. I thought he'd say something new in the face of all that.

It was nothing but a summarization of the same bullet points he's said again and again about the war, with the magic words "9/11" sprinkled liberally throughout. I found myself thinking, Does he pay people to write this for him? Aren't big, important speeches supposed to seem big and important? Stirring, inspiring, that kind of thing?

An admin assistant could have written this merely by cutting and pasting from all his speeches on Iraq since the war began. And probably did.

Add to this incredibly dull delivery and the same light blue background Fox uses to make Alan Colmes look weak, and I can't recall when I've been so bored in my life. It didn't help that he chose to deliver it at Fort Bragg, to an audience that couldn't applaud(they were standing at attention) when he walked to the stage, in utter silence. It had a grim, gangplank air to it.



27 June 2005
  Cheney Summary

From Salon.

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Cheney Update: Cover-Up, But How Come?

More from Huffington Post:
As you may know by now, we reported here on Friday that Vice President Dick Cheney had visited the cardiac unit at the Vail Valley Medical Center.

After the hospital denied the vice president had been there at all, Cheney’s office put out the story, swallowed whole by the AP, that he had simply gone for a routine visit to orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Richard Steadman.

Indeed, the local paper, the Vail Daily, reported yesterday that "he dropped by to say hi to his favorite knee doctor, Richard Steadman.”

Finally, sources close to Dr. Jack Eck, whom the vice president saw in the cardiac unit, were acknowledging yesterday in Vail that he had been to the cardiac unit (the AP has still not updated its story to include this) but AFTER he had seen Dr. Steadman, and that he had had a prophylactic EKG while he was there.

Wow. So now in the space of 48 hours, we have three stories:

First, denial that Cheney was ever at the hospital.

Second, an acknowledgement that he was at the hospital after all, but only for an old knee injury.

Third, that after he was checked for the knee injury, he was taken to the cardiac unit to have an EKG, but only prophylactically.

So: why all the secrecy? And if this was only a routine knee check-up, why check in under a false name, Dr. Hoffman -- which sources tell us is the name of the vice president’s doctor in Washington.

And if it was a routine knee exam, why not have Dr. Steadman go out to Beaver Creek, where Cheney was staying?

And why is the White House so forthcoming with health details about President Bush, including his cholesterol increasing from 167 to 170 and his body fat percentage increasing from 14.5% to 18.25%, but somehow the nation doesn't have the right to know what exactly the vice president was doing at the Vail hospital?

So many questions...so little leveling with the American people.
Incidentally, compare all this secrecy with the excess of openness Reagan always demonstrated with his health, knowing his age and the concerns of the American people. He was responsible by comparison. I don't know what else you'd call letting the American people see his polyps via a camera in his ass. Of course, part of this at the time was to draw a difference between that and the Soviet habit of preventing any details of their leader's actual health from being known.

Whereas Dick Cheney responds to almost all questions with a hearty "Go fuck yourself." Times do change, don't they?

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26 June 2005
  Rumsfeld Gives Up

Rumsfeld has admitted that we cannot win in Iraq and that the Iraqi forces will also face hell battling the insurgents.

Then let's cut to the fucking chase and bring our troops home. What's the delay, if we know the war cannot be won? What did all those soldiers and civilians die for?

And why hasn't that lying, amoral, incompetent bastard resigned yet?


  Rich on Tomlinson, and Tierney Waxes Moronic on Deadwood

Frank Rich is here.

The intent is not to kill off PBS and NPR but to castrate them by quietly annexing their news and public affairs operations to the larger state propaganda machine that the Bush White House has been steadily constructing at taxpayers' expense. If you liked the fake government news videos that ended up on local stations - or thrilled to the "journalism" of Armstrong Williams and other columnists who were covertly paid to promote administration policies - you'll love the brave new world this crowd envisions for public TV and radio.

There's only one obstacle standing in the way of the coup. Like Richard Nixon, another president who tried to subvert public broadcasting in his war to silence critical news media, our current president may be letting hubris get the best of him. His minions are giving any investigative reporters left in Washington a fresh incentive to follow the money.

That money is not the $100 million that the House still threatens to hack out of public broadcasting's various budgets. Like the theoretical demise of Big Bird, this funding tug-of-war is a smoke screen that deflects attention from the real story. Look instead at the seemingly paltry $14,170 that, as Stephen Labaton of The New York Times reported on June 16, found its way to a mysterious recipient in Indiana named Fred Mann. Mr. Labaton learned that in 2004 Kenneth Tomlinson, the Karl Rove pal who is chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, clandestinely paid this sum to Mr. Mann to monitor his PBS bête noire, Bill Moyers's "Now."

Now, why would Mr. Tomlinson pay for information that any half-sentient viewer could track with TiVo? Why would he hire someone in Indiana? Why would he keep this contract a secret from his own board? Why, when a reporter exposed his secret, would he try to cover it up by falsely maintaining in a letter to an inquiring member of the Senate, Byron Dorgan, that another CPB executive had "approved and signed" the Mann contract when he had signed it himself? If there's a news story that can be likened to the "third-rate burglary," the canary in the coal mine that invited greater scrutiny of the Nixon administration's darkest ambitions, this strange little sideshow could be it.

After Mr. Labaton's first report, Senator Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, called Mr. Tomlinson demanding to see the "product" Mr. Mann had provided for his $14,170 payday. Mr. Tomlinson sent the senator some 50 pages of "raw data." Sifting through those pages when we spoke by phone last week, Mr. Dorgan said it wasn't merely Mr. Moyers's show that was monitored but also the programs of Tavis Smiley and NPR's Diane Rehm.

Their guests were rated either L for liberal or C for conservative, and "anti-administration" was affixed to any segment raising questions about the Bush presidency. Thus was the conservative Republican Senator Chuck Hagel given the same L as Bill Clinton simply because he expressed doubts about Iraq in a discussion mainly devoted to praising Ronald Reagan. Three of The Washington Post's star beat reporters (none of whom covers the White House or politics or writes opinion pieces) were similarly singled out simply for doing their job as journalists by asking questions about administration policies.

"It's pretty scary stuff to judge media, particularly public media, by whether it's pro or anti the president," Senator Dorgan said. "It's unbelievable."

Not from this gang. Mr. Mann was hardly chosen by chance to assemble what smells like the rough draft of a blacklist. He long worked for a right-wing outfit called the National Journalism Center, whose director, M. Stanton Evans, is writing his own Ann Coulteresque book to ameliorate the reputation of Joe McCarthy. What we don't know is whether the 50 pages handed over to Senator Dorgan is all there is to it, or how many other "monitors" may be out there compiling potential blacklists or Nixonian enemies lists on the taxpayers' dime.

Elsewhere at the Times, token Republican noisemaker Tierney, light-brained as always, completely misses the point again, this time regarding David Milch's brilliant and addictive Deadwood. I find it hard to believe he's ever watched it.

I know how Tierney hates being woken from his mental nap, but please.


Cheney Update

Still complete MSM and White House silence on the Cheney story and the orthopedist story is still the one you can find. While it's possible that story might be so, I doubt Cheney's old football injuries are of any general interest to the public, whereas his cardiac problems very much are.

So it seems to me very likely there would be few other reasons to have what, if true, would be of such minor interest reported so widely, unless you needed a cover story seen by many, to divert interest from the fact that he just checked into a hospital, which one way or another someone would have noticed.

And of course, there are important security concerns that would definitely motivate any secrecy in such a matter; I don't question that.

But if I were the White House I certainly would want to quash any rumors Cheney's life may soon end, as quickly as possible--if there was no truth to it. So far the White House has said nothing, and that's interesting. The rumor, if it's reached Washington, must be leading to some ambitious ideas starting to form in McCain's or Frist's heads. Though Bush would be suicidal to appoint McCain as VP in all sorts of ways. Frist would be likelier; it might make the base happy. If he's gone completely insane it'd be DeLay.

I'd like to see some kind of second source on this one way or another. I'm also curious about Huffington's source.

Obviously no one is wishing Cheney ill but knowing this definitely is in the public interest. Not that this White House cares much about information or the public interest.

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"We Don't Negotiate With Terrorists." --Ronald Reagan

US 'in talks with Iraq rebels'

Despite months of American military assaults on supposed insurgent bases, General John Abizaid, the regional US commander, admitted to Congress last week that opposition strength was “about the same” as six months ago and that “there’s a lot of work to be done against the insurgency”.

That work now includes secret negotiations with rebel leaders, according to the Iraqi sources.

Washington seems to be gingerly probing for ways of defusing home-grown Iraqi opposition and of isolating the foreign Islamic militants who have flooded into Iraq to wage holy war against America under the command of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The talks appear to represent the first serious effort by Americans and Iraqi insurgents to find common ground since violence intensified in the spring. Earlier informal contacts were reported but produced no perceptible progress.

Zarqawi’s group, which has been blamed for many suicide bombings and beheadings, has not taken part.

According to both Iraqi sources, preparations for this month’s meetings were supervised by Ayham al-Samurai, a Sunni Muslim and former exile who lived in America for 20 years. He returned to Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein to become electricity minister in the interim government.

One of his main challenges was to persuade both sides that they could meet without being ambushed. Both eventually provided pledges that no hostile acts would be attempted.

The American contingent is said to have arrived in a convoy of four armoured Humvee vehicles and at least two armoured personnel carriers. The military escort remained outside the compound while the four US negotiators were greeted by tribal sheikhs who had agreed to host the meeting.

The Pentagon had no immediate comment to make on the Iraqi claims despite repeated requests for confirmation.

Incidentally, it was our previous dealings with so-called "terrorists"--in Iraq and Iran, to get money to fund the Contras, that originally got us into what led to all this mess to begin with.


25 June 2005
  Last Throes

Huffington Post is reporting that Vice President Dick Cheney is in a Vail cardiac unit.

If this is true and he's not, as was inexplicably reported earlier today in a way that makes it look like a cover story, at his orthopedist(shades of Soviet premiers and their "colds"), we can
only hope God, if he's there, will do what is best.

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  That's What You Call Music?

Well, yes. I've built a free radio station on Launchcast and you can all listen to it here. (Internet Explorer only, sorry--I prefer Firefox myself for all other browsing)

Eclectic is the word. 
  The Daily Scribble On Rove



Bush and The Kant Test

Instructive words passed along by Andrew Sullivan from one of his readers:

I was reading a fairly obscure Kant essay called "Misperceptions of Morals and Politics" (appended to Towards a Perpetual Peace.) In it, Kant distinguishes between the "clever" but ultimately immoral politician who views everything in terms of political expedience and manipulates a superficial or false morality for political gain and that rarest of creatures, the moral politician, who recognizes the ultimate harmony between morality and good government.
Kant then cites the three tests which can be applied to discern the immoral from the moral politician. Under three Latin rubrics, as follows: (1) Fac et excusa - does he use thin pretexts to seize power in his own country, or, after coming to power, to invade and conquer another nation? (2) Si fecisti, nega. When his policies bring about ruin or failure, does he blame his own subjects for the failures, or place the blame on other nations? Or does he admit mistakes and change course to reflect this recognition? (3) Divide et impera. Does he maintain his position of power by sowing domestic hatred and discord; through the demonization of a portion of his own citizenry? (Immanuel Kant, "Sämtliche Werke vol. 5, pp. 695-97.") I'm scoring the Bush administration a perfect 3 for 3 on Kant's test. One can accept or reject the war, but it seems clear (increasingly after the Downing Street memo documents) that the label of "thin pretexts" is fair. The president's refusal to assume responsibility is legendary. And Rove's remarks on which you reflect is a perfect example of the "divide et impera" approach."


24 June 2005
  Oops, say Conservatives

It appears there's parts of the Bill of Rights they like too, and it's more than the 2nd Amendment!

This, however, is an issue I'm in agreement with them on. The right to property is what underpins all our other rights, and this was a shitty ruling. And just imagine how this could be used by politicians to take care of people they consider enemies.

I'm glad I live in a state that already has heavy laws covering eminent domain.

But in any event...you guys should have been paying attention to more than abortion.


23 June 2005
  Time To Go, Karl

The Republicans, in their ever-astounding arrogance and hypocrisy, have set a standard that any insults--or, indeed, criticism--by their opponents in the Democratic party, or the press, or anyone, have to be apologized for in the most humiliating way possible. As you know, Dick Durbin was only the latest victim.

If the rules apply to Dick Durbin,
they apply to Karl Rove. Unless they're just GOP intimidation tactics, which we all know they are.

It's time the GOP had to practice what it vomits. Karl Rove must resign.


22 June 2005
DeLay Deathwatch: Update

Said by John McCain at today's hearing of DeLay crony and noted evil swindler Jack Abramoff:

"Today's hearing is about more than contempt," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who called on the Justice Department to investigate materials released today for possible mail and wire fraud. "It is simply and sadly a tale of betrayal."

Records examined by the committee also showed that a charitable foundation created by Abramoff directed 80 percent of its funds to an all-boys Jewish academy established by Abramoff. The Capital Athletic Foundation -- which had received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Indian tribes -- also paid a monthly stipend to a high school friend of Abramoff's living in the Israeli West Bank, and made loan payments on his jeep, according to the committee's investigation. The friend was conducting sniper workshops for members of the Israeli Defense Force, records show.

Cut 985, 986...and counting.



You may enjoy this...


19 June 2005
  Brad Hall and The Perfect Symbol of This Administration

...My dream was bouncing along happily as administration lies about other areas of policy were admitted, repented, and the damage done reversed, when it took a weird and frankly unpleasant turn: Laura Bush appeared in a diaphanous gown and proceeded to narrate a ballet sequence choreographed to the tune of “Onward Christian Soldiers.” In the ballet President Bush repeatedly attempted to milk a male horse.

Which is, I guess, what we're doing when we dream things will get better with this President. We’re just milking a male horse.

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"It sounds like a grudge between Bush and Saddam."

Money quote:

In one of the memos, British Foreign Office political director Peter Ricketts openly asks whether the Bush administration had a clear and compelling military reason for war.

"U.S. scrambling to establish a link between Iraq and al-Qaida is so far frankly unconvincing," Ricketts says in the memo. "For Iraq, `regime change' does not stack up. It sounds like a grudge between Bush and Saddam."


18 June 2005
  "The White House is completely disconnected from reality."--Sen. Chuck Hagel(R-NE)


  More Downing Street Fun

British bombing raids were illegal, says Foreign Office


  PETA: We Kill Animals All The Time

Besides the comment to the last post, take note of this.
This is not the first public mention of PETA's large-scale euthanasia program. In May 2005 the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) unveiled a giant Times Square billboard and a new website (http://www.PetaKillsAnimals.com). CCF had obtained official records from the state of Virginia showing the militant animal-rights group had put over 10,000 dogs and cats to death since 1998.

In 2003 PETA euthanized over 85 percent of the animals it took in, finding adoptive homes for just 14 percent. By comparison, the Norfolk SPCA found adoptive homes for 73 percent of its animals and the Virginia Beach SPCA adopted out 66 percent. PETA's required report documenting its 2004 record is currently over 4 weeks late according to CCF.

A Bertie County (NC) Deputy Sheriff told The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald that Cook and Hinkle assured the Bertie Animal Shelter "they were picking up the dogs to take them back to Norfolk where they would find them good homes." Pittman added that persons identifying themselves as PETA representatives have picked up live dogs from that shelter during the last two months.

"This is disturbing behavior on the part of self-professed animal lovers, and I hope the public takes notice," said Center for Consumer Freedom Director of Research David Martosko. "PETA raked in nearly $29 million last year alone, but apparently it couldn't spare any money to care for the flesh-and-blood animals entrusted to its employees. It's ironic -- If anyone else were caught red-handed with 31 dead dogs, PETA would be holding a press conference to denounce them."

Martosko added: "Last month when we launched PetaKillsAnimals.com, we warned the public that PETA was not the warm and kind group it claimed to be. Now it's clearer than ever that Americans who truly want to help animals should donate to their local animal shelter, not to PETA."

According to PETA's website, PETA has spent more than $240,000 in the past few years in one county in North Carolina alone, making improvements for animals. Each dollar spent means a needy animal helped—cold abated, shade provided, water and food given.

PETA claimes they seek to solve the animal overpopulation problem in North Carolina by subsidizing spay/neuter services, "but we do not and will not hesitate to roll up our sleeves and do the dirty work at our own expense," the group proudly proclaims referring to euthanasia.
I'm sure a cat or dog would rather be dead than be fed, taken care of, petted and live in a comfortable home, don't you? If you've ever owned a cat or dog, you know how much they hate being loved.

And on their likening of pet ownership to slavery--so, by this logic, after slavery was abolished in this country, all the slaves should have been killed? Is that what they're saying? Never mind that every African-American should be insulted by their making that comparison in the first place.
PETA kills animals. By the thousands.

From July 1998 through the end of 2003, PETA killed over 10,000 dogs, cats, and other "companion animals" -- at its Norfolk, Virginia headquarters. That's more than five defenseless animals every day. Not counting the dogs and cats PETA spayed and neutered, the group put to death over 85 percent of the animals it took in during 2003 alone. And its angel-of-death pattern shows no sign of changing.
Received Adopted
Killed Transferred % Killed % Adopted
2003 2,224 312 1,911 1 85.9 14.0
2002 2,680 382 2,298 2 85.7 14.3
2001 2,685 703 1,944 14 72.4 26.2
2000 2,684 624 2,029 28 75.6
1999 1,805 386 1,328 91 73.6 21.4
* 1998 943 133 685 125 72.6 14.1
Total 13,021 2540 10,195 261 78.3 19.5

On its 2002 federal income-tax return, PETA claimed a $9,370 write-off for a giant walk-in freezer, the kind most people use as a meat locker or for ice-cream storage. But animal-rights activists don't eat meat or dairy foods. So far, the group hasn't confirmed the obvious -- that it's using the appliance to store the bodies of its victims.

In 2000, when the Associated Press first noted PETA's Kervorkian-esque tendencies, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk complained that actually taking care of animals costs more than killing them. "We could become a no-kill shelter immediately," she admitted.

PETA kills animals. Because it has other financial priorities.

PETA raked in nearly $29 million last year in income, much of it raised from pet owners who think their donations actually help animals. Instead, the group spends huge sums on programs equating people who eat chicken with Nazis, scaring young children away from drinking milk, recruiting children into the radical animal-rights lifestyle, and intimidating businessmen and their families in their own neighborhoods. PETA has also spent tens of thousands of dollars defending arsonists and other violent extremists.

PETA claims it engages in outrageous media-seeking stunts "for the animals." But which animals? Carping about the value of future two-piece dinners while administering lethal injections to puppies and kittens isn't ethical. It's hypocritical -- with a death toll that PETA would protest if it weren't their own doing.

Take note, folks. These aren't sick animals who are dying; these are animals they took with the claim they'd find them homes, a claim they know people think sounds good. (Hypocrisy is always the tribute vice pays to virtue) This is an extremist group that cares nothing about animals, but cares everything about getting donations and publicity. You are right to be disgusted. Spread the word.

For my own part, my cat seems to be happy enough purring in my lap right now. I know, I know, Loki's just pretending to enjoy my scratching his ears. He'd really rather be dead. But, horrible slavemaster that I am I will just keep scratching them. The poor, oppressed fuzzy boy.

If you want to give money to help animals, why not give to your local no-kill shelter?

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17 June 2005
  People for the Convenient Treatment of Animals

I'm only gloating a little, I swear.

PETA Workers Arrested for Alleged Cruelty

AHOSKIE, N.C. - Two employees of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were charged with animal cruelty for allegedly picking up dogs and cats from shelters and dumping their dead bodies in the garbage.

Police said they found 18 dead animals in the bin and 13 more in a van registered to the activist group, all from shelters in the state's northeastern corner.

Investigators arrested the two workers after staking out a garbage bin where animals had previously been dumped, police said Thursday.

PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said the workers were picking up animals to be brought to PETA headquarters for euthanization. Veterinarians and animal control officers said the PETA workers had promised to find homes for the animals rather than euthanize them, according to police.

Neither police nor PETA offered any theory on why the animals might have been dumped.

PETA spokeswoman Colleen O'Brien said the organization euthanizes animals by lethal injection, which it considers more humane than gassing animals in groups, as some counties do.

The group scheduled a news conference Friday in Norfolk, Va., where the group is based.

Police charged Andrew Benjamin Cook, 24, of Virginia Beach, Va., and Adria Joy Hinkle, 27, of Norfolk, Va., each with 31 felony counts of animal cruelty and eight misdemeanor counts of illegal disposal of dead animals. They were released on bond.

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Oh, my god, it never, ever fucking ends, does it?

Look, Jeb Bush is jerking off the Religious Right! What a shock!

Why the hell are they hounding Michael Shiavo? I swear, the whining, lunatic Schindlers won't be happy, I think, until they drive him to suicide. And why? What for? And how did the Schindlers gain the power to have every one of their personal gripes solved on the taxpayer's dime?

I guess if you're stupid, insane and obsessive enough there's no limits to what you can get.


16 June 2005
  How Grotesque Can It Get?

This much.

From William Saletan:
The judge in the Schiavo case notes that elsewhere on the hours of videotape her father "tried several more times to have her eyes follow the Mickey Mouse balloon but without success." The Times reports that at one point

her father gets gruff while trying unsuccessfully to get her to follow [the] balloon. "Come here, Terri, no more fooling around. No more fooling around with your dad." He pokes her in the forehead to make sure she's awake. "No more fooling around with your dad. Listen to me. You see the balloon? You see Mickey?" Later, he apologizes, telling her others have admonished him for his tone.

This is what happens when you deny reality. First you lose your senses, then your mind, then your soul. It isn't Terri Schiavo who's refusing to see what's happening in that awful scene. It's her dad.


  Update: The Ultimate Answer of Life, The Universe and Everything



Sanity slowly washed over the nation as it woke from a long and fevered sleep, feeling the beard which had grown down to its toes, and lo, the nation muttered with a bone-dry rasp, "What the fuck?"


Bill Frist's Second Opinion: There Was No First Opinion

I really don't understand how Bill Frist--or any Republican who dissembles so readily as he, Bush, Cheney or Delay do--thinks he can get away with it for so long in an age of videotape, particularly over an issue over which he made himself a prominent public nuisance. If you recall, during the sickening Terri Schiavo nightmare, Bill Frist saw his chance to wriggle his tongue straight and firmly up the rectum of the Religious Right and do a full felch in return for their future support for his delusion that he can be president in 2008. I mean, you couldn't get away from him--or Schiavo--on TV. Indeed, his clenched, solemn face is inextricable from the frequent shots of her in her hospital bed we all know so well.

He planted himself as the face of the Senate in the controversy, not only calling federal judges enemies of the "culture of life" in James Dobson's recent theofascist Sunday infomercial, but during the debacle itself he stood on the Senate floor and argued from authority, being a doctor and all(in the same way Star Jones is a lawyer--which is to say, mainly when they need to win an argument, or need good seats at a restaurant) . Yes, the heart surgeon made the following remote diagnosis:

Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), a renowned heart surgeon before becoming Senate majority leader, went to the floor late Thursday night for the second time in 12 hours to argue that Florida doctors had erred in saying Terri Schiavo is in a "persistent vegetative state."

"I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office," he said in a lengthy speech in which he quoted medical texts and standards. "She certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli."

His comments raised eyebrows in medical and political circles alike. It is not every day that a high-profile physician relies on family videotapes to challenge the diagnosis of doctors who examined a severely brain-damaged patient in person. Democrats were quick to note that Frist was getting rave reviews from conservative activists who will play a major role in the 2008 presidential primaries he is weighing.

...Some medical professionals questioned the appropriateness of Frist challenging court-approved doctors who have treated Schiavo. Laurie Zoloth, director of bioethics for the Center for Genetic Medicine at Northwestern University, said she was surprised to hear Frist weigh in, given that he has not examined Schiavo. "It is extremely unusual -- and by a non-neurologist, I might add," Zoloth said in an interview.

And he never even was in the same room, or city, or state with Schiavo either. But maybe cutting up kitties that you fraudulently adopted from animal shelters gives you special wisdom the rest of us lack. This goes well, of course, with equally responsible diagnoses of his, like this one mentioned in the same story:

It is not the first time that Frist has created a stir in medical and political circles. In December, on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos," he repeatedly declined to say whether he thought HIV-AIDS could be transmitted through tears or sweat. A much-disputed federal education program championed by some conservative groups had suggested that such transmissions occur.

After numerous challenges by Stephanopoulos, Frist said that "it would be very hard" for someone to contract AIDS via tears or sweat. The Web site of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says: "Contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV."

But in any event, Frist put his medical reputation--such as it is--on the line, in front of millions of Americans. And it turns out, now that the autopsy Terri's parents demanded(and now dispute because, as usual, the truth contradicts what they want to think, but then the Schiavos would probably try to sue the sun not to rise) has been performed, that not only was Terri Schiavo not responding to visual stimuli--like that balloon her mother kept shoving in her face--she could not have. Most of her brain, including the centers of vision, was gone. She was no more responsive or conscious(despite their ghoulish and bizarre lie she yelled "I want to live!"--dear god) Her eyes could not have seen anything with nothing to receive and interpret the data. Her apparent responses to stimuli occurred whether there was any stimulus or not; it was nothing more than wishful thinking on the part of desperate and, well, kind of stupid parents being manipulated by the Religious Right.

It takes a big man to admit he's not only wrong, but was wrong in front of the entire world.

Bill Frist: Not a big man.
"I never made the diagnosis, I wouldn't even attempt to make a diagnosis from a videotape," said Frist, a heart surgeon.
Or, apparently, a man at all, if it's measured by integrity or decency.

Meanwhile, an aide to Tom DeLay--who also chose to make an ass of himself over Schiavo, even implying retribution against federal judges that were disobedient to GOP whims--just lost himself a communications director, because rats will always, wisely, be the first to leave a sinking ship. And, I mean, imagine being anyone connected to getting DeLay's message out.

And the Democrats sit back, block, and wait, because next year lots of voters will know who to blame for the mess so far since the re-election of Bush. With no Kerry to attack, the public now realizes: it can't be anyone's fault but the GOP's. They made sure they had no one else to blame, and then tried to split this country apart merely for fun.

The bastards will be out next year. They just can't help being stupid when there's no one to stop them. Their worst enemy is, and always has been, themselves.

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  So You Want To Read The Downing Street Memo

Actually, it's more like a bunch of them.


15 June 2005
  The Decline of the Fascists

It begins.


  Tomlinson Bribed Officials?

Perhaps PBS & NPR may end up not quite so dead.

Scratch a conservative ideologue, find corruption that sticks to your fingers.


  Hey, Religious Right

Told you so, fuckheads.


  Media Begins To Grow Balls Back

Well, well. With no Michael Jackson to report on, it's amazing how quick the MSM remembered the Downing Street Memo's existence.

This may soon be very relevant indeed. Again, if a blowjob is impeachable, fucking America up the ass should be too.


  All Hail

No comment needed.


14 June 2005
  Because I Never Want To See Norm Coleman's Face or Hear His Voice Again

Yes, Al. Do it.


Christians: Assholes?

Please show me some that aren't. I'm curious.

And those of you that aren't: do you not mind Fred Phelps, James Dobson, Bill Frist and the like giving you a bad name? Same thing I wonder about moderate Muslims who are strangely silent while the Islamists are so very visible.

If you let that be your face, don't be surprised when you get a pie or a punch in it. Your religion, and its image, is your responsibility.

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  Utah Taliban

...Gideon is one of the "Lost Boys," a group of more than 400 teenagers — some as young as 13 — who authorities in Utah and Arizona say have fled or been driven out of the polygamous enclaves of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City over the last four years.

His stated offenses: wearing short-sleeved shirts, listening to CDs and having a girlfriend. Other boys say they were booted out for going to movies, watching television and staying out past curfew.

Some say they were sometimes given as little as two hours' notice before being driven to St. George or nearby Hurricane, Utah, and left like unwanted pets along the road.

Authorities say the teens aren't really being expelled for what they watch or wear, but rather to reduce competition for women in places where men can have dozens of wives.

"It's a mathematical thing. If you are marrying all these girls to one man, what do you do with all the boys?" said Utah Atty. Gen. Mark Shurtleff, who has had boys in his office crying to see their mothers. "People have said to me: 'Why don't you prosecute the parents?' But the kids don't want their parents prosecuted; they want us to get the No. 1 bad guy — Warren Jeffs. He is chiefly responsible for kicking out these boys."

The 49-year-old Jeffs is the prophet, or leader, of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The FLDS, as it is known, controls Hildale and Colorado City.

The sect, which broke from the Mormon Church more than a century ago, has between 10,000 and 15,000 members. It believes in "plural marriage," that a man must have at least three wives to reach the highest levels of heaven. The Mormon Church forbids polygamy and excommunicates those who practice it.


  You Know Your Social Security Program Is Dead When...

...you're left with only an idiot like John Tierney listing your talking points.

Nothing quite like a distinguished-looking, well-dressed old gentleman with eyes of Prozac calmness lecturing the old on their greed and sloth. He must be quite the hit at the country club, but as a columnist...he's very well-dressed.


Now I Know How Bush Got Re-Elected

Though I probably shouldn't have even looked at TV last night, I have an addiction to Countdown with Keith Olbermann and so, at the very least, there was one last installment of Michael Jackson Puppet Theatre to see. And, of course, the jury, eager(and smiling!) as they explained to the press why they acquitted Jackson. Two of the jurors struck me in particular. Both were illustrations of the consensus on the trial, which is that the jury didn't so much find Michael Jackson innocent as they found his accusers not credible.

One was a lady in her thirties who didn't like the alleged victim's mother because "what kind of mother would let her son sleep in Michael Jackson's bed?" Absolutely! As everyone knows, just as with a drunk girl at a frat party, the molestation was obviously being asked for. If you put your son in Jackson's bed you should know what to expect. Who couldn't agree with that?

Another was an old lady who didn't like the mother's attitude and the way she snapped her fingers a few times at the jury. That she was loud, and emotional. Obviously if someone's loud and emotional they must be lying. In Prozac Nation we all know this. Or at least nothing they say, given it sounds unpleasant, could be true. The mother really should have understood that this was a popularity contest, not a...trial or something. Likeability was everything here. Hasn't she ever seen American Idol? Sheesh. People just don't value their Q rating anymore. Obviously Jackson did it--not a single juror seemed to doubt this. But the family were just not likeable--you can't send Jackson to jail for harming unlikeable people! What are you, a terrorist?

What we've learned is a time-honored American value: if you wrote and performed Billie Jean it is your God-given right to molest and endanger as many children as you like. (Of course, if you're poor and ugly, the same old rules still apply, you disgusting pervert) I'm very happy to live in an America where the famous never pay for their misdeeds. It's something for us all to look up to in these dark times, isn't it?

God bless America!
...there is a new and profound cultural problem to contend with: as a society, we no longer understand power. The power of kings and dictators was always visible, tangible, understandable. The power of elected officers is by definition (if not always in reality) an expression of popular power. But the power of mega-corporations is as faceless and nebulous as it is pervasive. It hides in plain sight and communicates in code. Even the most powerful people in the world now seem harder to understand. George Bush is not the figure of gravitas, wisdom and trustworthiness we need a president to be. Bill Gates is not the charismatic, visionary egomaniac we expect the richest man in the world to be. They are ciphers, and they make their very power unintelligible. And so not only do we feel more powerless in front of a more absolute power, but we also feel unable to "relate" to it at all.

Celebrity trials provide people the sense of witnessing a form of history up close and personal. But the cultural dynamics represented in the trials always point to the fact that celebrities are ultimately "weird," and that mere mortals getting too close to them are (intentionally or not) inviting trouble -- which means they must also be weird. What we understand about celebrities is ultimately that we do not, cannot, understand them.

It's a tragedy of unknowing and incomprehension, suggesting the larger tragedy of incomprehensible power.


13 June 2005

The musical thing from beyond is free, and no doubt on its way to Brazil at the earliest opportunity, a place where someone of his means and fame can pursue his interests, you'll pardon the term, unmolested. As the media fall all over themselves to make it seem as though they believed Jackson innocent(and by the way, I don't), and as I find myself completely unshocked by this turn of events, I come across this by the 75% reasonable conservative Andrew Sullivan:
The trial is about class in America at its most extreme - the topic Americans most want to avoid. Jackson represents an extreme case of the increasingly powerful and isolated over-class, the super-wealthy who, in a society where money is the ultimate source of power, have become used to creating gated, sequestered universes of their own. They are free from limits or middle-class morality. And they are never satisfied. But Jackson's accusers are also a symbol of the inverse phenomenon: a white underclass whose preferred method of self-enrichment is the victim culture of lawsuits and celebrity manipulation. Ask yourself what virtues or values Jackson shares with his accusers and you uncover an obsession with material wealth, a never-slaking thirst for fame, an ethics-free approach to the shakedown of others. The Jerry Springer culture embraces the very high and the very low. It's what they have in common.

All very true. Highest and lowest always meet in that way. The highest need to exploit and the lowest have nothing to give but the consent to be exploited; and incidentally to steal whatever they can along the way. (If you've ever worked a minimum-wage retail job, you know what I mean)

It's starting to seem very Justine in this country lately.


  No, The World's Still Round, Tom

Alexander Cockburn with a nice antidote to Thomas Friedman's tiresome blather about Bangalore.


11 June 2005
  "How does it feel now making that big contractor money?"--A United States Marine

What In Hell Is Going On In Iraq? Or is that a redundant phrase?

From the AP:
Contractor Says Marines Abused Him in Iraq

Security contractors were heckled, humiliated and physically abused by U.S. Marines in Iraq while jailed for 72 hours with insurgents, one of the detainees said Friday.

"It was disbelief the whole time. I couldn't believe what was happening," said Matt Raiche, 34, an ex-Marine who was one of 16 American and three Iraqi contractors detained at Camp Fallujah last month.

"I just found it crazy that we were being held with terrorists, that we were put in the same facility with them," he told The Associated Press in an interview at his lawyer's office. "They were calling us a rogue mercenary team."

Defense officials disclosed on Thursday that the security guards for Charlotte, N.C.-based Zapata Engineering were detained for three days after they fired from trucks and SUVs on Iraqi civilian cars and U.S. forces in Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad.

The military has denied the contractors were abused. No charges have been filed against any of the contractors, who the military said were separated from suspected insurgents.

Company president Manuel Zapata said the only shot fired by his workers was a warning blast after they noticed a vehicle following them.

Raiche, of Dayton, Nev., said the contractors were stopped and taken into custody on May 28. He said a Marine told him that shots had been fired, and Raiche told him, "It wasn't us."

Raiche said several of the contractors were interrogated before they were released June 1 with no official explanation for their detention.

Raiche said guards intimidated the detainees with dogs, made them strip and told them to wear towels over their heads when they went to the restroom so insurgents in the facility would not recognize and harm them, Raiche said.

One of his colleagues was slammed to the ground by a guard, he said.

"His head bounced off the asphalt." Raiche said. "He told me he heard one guard say to another, `If he moves, let the dog loose.'"

Raiche said his colleague told him that a guard then reached down and "squeezed his testicles so hard he could barely move."

When Raiche first arrived at the facility, he said a guard ordered him to the ground and put a knee in his back. He said he heard one Marine say, "How does it feel now making that big contractor money?"

Raiche said the Marines handcuffed them with "zip lock ties." When the detainees complained they were so tight they were losing circulation in their hands, they were cursed at and told to shut up, Raiche said.

Raiche returned to Reno on Thursday night. He said he had been in Iraq for about two years before returning to Nevada earlier this spring, then headed back to Iraq on May 2.

An estimated 20,000 Americans, many of them former military personnel, are believed to be working in Iraq for contractors. More than 200 private workers have died in Iraq.

Zapata Engineering contracts frequently with the Defense Department and Zapata said he was waiting for completion of the investigation before he draws conclusions about how the military treated his workers.


"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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