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As I noted earlier today, Karl Rove can’t be bothered to honor a congressional subpoena, but he’s got time to fly off to Yalta to appear at a panel sponsored by a group that says it wants to spread democracy in Ukraine. Curiously, the group’s board includes one of the most notorious of all Ukrainian “oligarchs,” Victor Pinchuk.
Here’s how the local press described the conference Rove attended last week:
The two-page photo spread from Yalta in this week’s ‘Sobitiya’ magazine was nauseating enough. The saccharine images in this sister publication of Victor Pinchuk’s Fakty newspaper group show Pinchuk cutting an oversized cake with his wife, Olena Franchuk; of Franchuk sitting with her father, the foul-mouthed former president, Leonid Kuchma; of Franchuk being chatted up by U.S. Ambassador William Taylor…
The ostensible aim of Pinchuk’s 5th annual Yalta European Summit (YES) is to bring Ukraine closer to joining the European Union by inviting foreign dignitaries to mix with hundreds of flown-in journalists and other guests. Sadly, many of the journalists — still lacking professionalism and respectable expense accounts — allow themselves to be wined and dined at the host’s expense.
It’s not going to work, guys. Do you want to bring Ukraine closer to the European Union? Then stop pretending that Ukraine is a normal democracy. Start solving all Ukraine’s great unsolved crimes. Were the events exposed on the Melnychenko tapes true? Who poisoned Yushchenko? Who ordered Gongadze’s murder? Give us a full accounting of how the greasy oligarchs acquired their wealth in the slimy privatizations.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”