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May 9, 2004 - The World's Laziest Journalist: Reelect Wolfowitz and Halliburton in 04?

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Reelect Wolfowitz and Halliburton in ’04?



The World’s Laziest Journalist


By Bob Patterson


[COLUMN WARNING:  This is a column and not a news story.  It will contain opinions, hunches, guesses, and predictions all based on personal preferences and predilections.  If you want all facts and only facts go buy an Almanac.  Otherwise, this is what I think and have to say about events from the week of May 2 to 8, 2004.]


Is there a columnist or commentator anywhere who doesn’t maintain that they will provide remarkably perceptive insights and unique observations?  Does anyone claim that they are going to be part of pack journalism and sing in tune with the rest?  Weren’t mimeograph machines called “ditto machines?”  Wouldn’t you like something more than press release journalism?


Everybody is expressing outrage at the photos that portray the conditions for the prisoners in Iraq.  Is there any aspect of the subject that hasn’t been considered by now?


Isn’t most of the news analysis like seeing chess experts critically inspecting one particular move?  Usually the importance of one move is what possibilities it opens up and what tactic it exemplifies.  One particular move may be inept or a stroke of genius but by itself it just like one piece of a jigsaw puzzle.  Examining just one move from a game in progress is a bit myopic.


Each week, we will try to take a look at various and sundry items and make it something that doesn’t make you think of the hall of mirrors sequence in The Lady From Shanghai.  For the next few months, we will try to not become hypnotized by the one election in the USA.  It’s a great big wide world out there thanks to the Internet and readers from other countries will not only be welcome, but actually encouraged to check in every seven days for (if all goes according to mission statement) some unique subjects, some remarkably clairvoyant predictions, and display of infallibility that will make the guy in Rome jealous.  If we hit our stride, you might even notice occasionally that we’ve made you chuckle. 


Have you ever worked for a boss who would be brutal in his treatment of the employees who were his responsibility, but would be ferocious in protecting his “people” from management from outside the department?  You might not like him or his methodology, but didn’t you really respect him for his protection and loyalty?


The president has been protective when the press persecuted two young ladies in Texas who may have purchased and consumed alcohol while under age, but when it comes to a young lady who was trying to do what her unit had been assigned to do, the administration is apparently willing to toss her to the wolf pack of journalists.  It (apparently) boils down to:  “Your on your own, Toots.”   


Great shades of Orwell, Batman: “Do it to Julia!  Not me!”  It’s not very inspiring to see the top guy shifting the blame to a young lady with a cigarette. 


In the bind he’s in, he can’t please everyone, so shouldn’t he just say what he thinks?  Nothing he says is going to placate the folks expressing outrage.  How about a scene from “Judge Roy Bean?”  Wouldn’t it be better to say something like:  “Sure, we’ll give you a trial; judge, jury, everything and then the culprits will be found guilty.  Then, I’ll issue a presidential pardon, but only this once.”


Folks say they want to back the troops and then they let el jefe, who sent them there, shrug and indicate:  “Don’t blame me for what they did.” 


Didn’t George W use his superior debating skills to bend the CIA into agreement that there were indeed WMD’s in Iraq?  Now, the top management is saying that the grunts on the ground were free to raise objections to any phase in the processes of softening up prisoners for interrogation.  The CIA adjusts their thinking to synchronize with the top man, but the MP’s can think for themselves?  We don’t intend to use profanity in this weekly column; but if we did, there’d be some following that last sentence.


The hell with an apology from the president.  There’s been none for 9/11 either. 


Is it too much to ask Bush to back the troops right along with taxpayers who are bankrolling the ousting of Saddam?  Doesn’t his attitude toward the soldiers in the pictures remind you of the “w” word that drove his father to distraction?  He did a preemptory strike and then goaded the enemy to “Bring it on!”  He could at least back the folks who are guarding the ones who were taken prisoner after they did indeed bring it on.


OK, so some extreme measures were used in the interrogation process.  Only a sadist would come up with the observation that either:  A. the methods weren’t extreme enough or B. torture couldn’t make them reveal the locations of the WMD’s, therefore it might be logical to assume that perhaps they would have if they could have, but no amount of “abuse” can get people to tell interrogators the information that doesn’t exist.


The conservative talk show hosts ridicule John Kerry for not being a dynamic public speaker.  That’s a valid point if you think that the president is an animated and inspiring orator to the degree that his speaking abilities would be analogous to Tom Jones’ gift for entertain a Las Vegas audience.  Otherwise it brings to mind the bit in the Cliché Hall of Fame about the pot calling the kettle black.  


As this is being written, Rush just attacked Kerry on another front.  He attacked Kerry for not having a plan for Iraq.  Fair enough.  Who is going to be in the Iraqi interim transitional government?  It will be installed in less than 60 days.  If there is a plan for that day, then it seems that the details are none of the American taxpayers business or haven’t been hatched yet.  Why are the details of the Bush plan “off limits” and the fine points of the Kerry playbook extremely important?  He isn’t the one who will call the plays in a few more weeks?


Later in the same day we hear Hugh Hewitt say that when a Hollywood film company quashed the distribution of the new Michael Moore movie Fahrenheit 9-11, it was good business, not politics.  We thought we heard another talker on the radio, wonder about the possibility that they were seeking to continue Florida tax breaks and keep the good will of that state’s governor.  If you called Hugh with that point, how long would you have before he hit the kill switch for your call?  Writing an Internet column is a much better release.


Edward R. Murrow said (Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations 16 edition page 724) “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty.”


We’ll try to take a unique look at the contemporary scene each week here at Just Above Sunset online magazine.  Don’t you dare quote the Woody Allen line about the only culture to be found in LA.


Now, if the disk jockey will put on Ray Stevens’ “Ayhab the A-rab” from 1962 we’ll nomad our way out of here and hope that you return for the next installment.  For our roster of regular readers, take a look around at the other items in this nifty new venue.  For new readers, if you like what we have to say, tell two friends about it (the circulation department might name us employee of the month if we can significantly boost the number of hits.)  If you don’t like this column write the editor and publisher and tell him just how much you didn’t like it.  Have a good week.





Copyright © 2004 – Robert Patterson


We asked veteran journalist Bob Patterson for a bio and he sent this along: 

Bob was born and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania.


Graduated from the University of Scranton in . . . make that "way back when."


He has worked as a reporter and photographer for daily newspapers in California, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.  During the "way back when" phase of his life.


Did photo stringing for the AP’s Los Angeles bureau in the seventies.


Has done some freelance work.


Held other jobs to pay the rent and provide meals money.


Has written book and movie reviews, and columns for Delusions of Adequacy online magazine for the last four years.


Recently the DOA management reportedly traded him to the Just Above Sunset online magazine team for an undisclosed sum and two future draft choices.


He is known to be in the LA area and is considered dangerous.  If you see him, call for backup before attempting to get his autograph or some such fanboy nonsense. 


Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
See the Details page for the relevant citation.

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