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.
...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% .
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.
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.
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.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)
...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?
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.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.
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.
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.
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.
US 'in talks with Iraq rebels'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.
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.
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."
"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.
...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.
"It sounds like a grudge between Bush and Saddam."
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."
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.
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.
|Year ||Received||Adopted ||Killed||Transferred||% Killed||% Adopted|
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.
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.
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.
Labels: terri schiavo
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."
"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.
...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.
...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.
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.
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.
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