Thursday, September 08, 2005

Search for Missing ‘Noble Cause’ Continues


Washington, Sept. 8 –

FBI spokesman Alvin Smithers acknowledged today that agents have questioned Juanita Robinson, 38, a White House cleaning lady, in the disappearance of the “noble cause” which President Bush has frequently cited as the reason for the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. Ms. Robinson is employed by a temp agency which the White House, in its privatization efforts, has contracted with to clean various government offices.

Smithers said, “Ms. Robinson is a person of interest in our ongoing investigation, but she has not been charged and is not being held at this time.” Robinson’s name was initially floated as a suspect in the case by administration officials anxious to assign responsibility for the missing “noble cause,” preferably to someone with no political connection to the White House. Interest in Ms. Robinson accelerated when her fingerprints were found on items on the President’s desk. An angry Ms. Robinson has vehemently denied any involvement in the disappearance of the missing “noble cause.”

“The only reason my fingerprints were on that autographed baseball and those other toys was I picked ‘em up to dust, and then put ‘em right back where I found ‘em,” said Ms. Robinson. “I didn’t take nothin’! The whole month of August, while the President was on vacation, I came in every day and dusted and vacuumed his office so it’d look nice when he came back. And this is the thanks I get!”

Ms. Robinson said, “I want to find that ‘noble cause’ just as much as anybody else. Maybe more. My oldest boy Malcolm’s in the Army, and he just got sent back from Iraq. He’s in Walter Reed right now for rehabilitation. He lost part of his right leg and his spleen and one of his kidneys when a roadside bomb exploded under the truck he was ridin’ in. Now Malcolm be tellin’ me there ain’t no ‘noble cause,’ an never was one. How could I take somethin’ that don’t even exist? And why would the President say there was a ‘noble cause’ if there wasn’t? I don’t understand politics, but this jes’ don’t seem right.”

Malcolm Robinson, Ms. Robinson’s son, is well-known in D.C. athletic circles. He was a track star in high school, and won several hurdle events in the district championships. According to Ms. Robinson, he gave up a college track scholarship to join the Army after the tragic events of September 11, saying that he wanted to defend his country from further attacks. The son is not a suspect in the disappearance of the “noble cause.”

© Tony Russell, 2005

Monday, September 05, 2005

Searching for the ‘Noble Cause’


Washington, Sept. 6 –

White House Spokesman Scott McClellan, in this morning’s press conference, admitted “with a great deal of embarrassment,” that the White House has been unable to locate the “noble cause” for which over 1,900 U.S. troops and perhaps 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died.

In response to a question from a reporter with the Hur Herald, McClellan said that White House officials, after a “thorough, extensive, and painstaking search” of administration offices, have found no trace of the missing cause. President Bush has repeatedly cited the “noble cause” as justification for the invasion and continued occupation of Iraq. When asked if the absence of a noble cause would affect the U.S.’s willingness to continue with the bloody, horrendously expensive conflict, McClellan replied that the President saw no reason to stop prosecuting the war while the search for the missing cause goes on.

The missing “noble cause” was last seen, McClellan said, in the office of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, but Wolfowitz has disavowed any responsibility for the cause’s disappearance. “It was in Dick Cheney’s office, it was in Don Rumsfeld’s office, it was in Condi Rice’s office,” complained Wolfowitz. “Everybody in the administration had their hands on it at one time or another.”

“We are determined to get to the bottom of this,” declared McClellan, “and the search will continue until the cause is located.” Hopes have been raised on numerous occasions, but as each false sighting is ruled out, prospects for finding the cause—now missing for over three years—have grown increasingly slim.

McClellan read a brief statement from the President in which Mr. Bush said, “If any member of my administration acted wrongly or was involved in the disappearance of the noble cause, I will fire that person immediately, and he or she will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” In the afternoon, the President issued a clarification, saying, “What I meant was that I would fire anyone who was convicted for the disappearance of the noble cause.”

Reacting to the announcement, media commentators immediately began comparing the vanished “noble cause” to the missing eighteen minutes on White House tapes during the Watergate investigations. When asked if the President had at any point had the “noble cause” in his possession, McClellan angrily responded, “This President is a manager and delegater. At no time did he personally touch the noble cause, and we deny categorically that he has any knowledge of or responsibility for its disappearance.”

First reactions to the disclosure have been mixed. Some officials have speculated that a White House cleaning lady may have inadvertently disposed of the “noble cause” while the President was at his Texas ranch for his most recent month-long vacation.

Congressional Republican staffers have announced a prayer breakfast tomorrow morning to pray for the speedy return of the missing cause. Other party loyalists have taken the position that the administration has been so busy trying to dismantle the remnants of the Great Society, shred the United Nations, promote state religion, and manage wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that the “noble cause” has simply been misplaced in the swirl of activity, and will—as one supporter put it—“turn up in somebody’s drawer, and then you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about.”

© Tony Russell, 2005

Thursday, September 01, 2005

“A Winning Issue: The Search Continues”

Democratic headquarters had nearly emptied out, as staffers headed home to the suburbs or their Georgetown digs. Danny and Barb, who had stayed behind to go over the latest polling numbers on possible campaign issues, were the last ones left in the office. They were clearing off their desks when the cleaning lady maneuvered herself through the door, pushing a mop and a bucket in front of her while balancing the vacuum cleaner strapped to her back. “Hope I’m not interruptin’ anything,” she said. “I thought everybody was gone.”

“That’s okay, Juanita, go ahead and work around us,” said Danny. “We’re about to head out of here.”

“Is it still raining?” asked Barb. “I just had my hair done yesterday, and I’m afraid it’s going to get ruined.”

“Still rainin’,” said Juanita. “But not like down in Louisiana. I been trying to reach my sister to make sure she’s okay, but the lines must be down.”

“Gulf Coast oil supplies are going to be cut off for a good while,” said Danny thoughtfully. “The price of heating oil is going to go through the roof this winter!”

“Oh, Lord,” said Juanita. “I had to borrow money from my aunt to pay the heating bills last winter. I been workin’ two jobs, but seems like I just can’t get ahead when I’m only makin’ minimum wage. Hasn’t gone up since 1997!”

“Has it been that long?” said Danny curiously. “Gas and oil prices were only half then what they are now. If you’re not making any more now than you did then, you’ve lost a heck of a lot of ground.”

“I know the pressure you must be under,” sympathized Barb. My husband and I together barely make $100,000 a year, so I share your pain.”

“Why don’t you go on the budget plan?” said Danny. “That’s the way to go. It evens out your payments year ‘round.”

“Doesn’t make any difference if I’m on the budget plan,” said Juanita. “It can be too much for me to pay every month, twelve months a year, or it can be way too much four months a year. Why don’t they just put a lid on fuel prices, and say you can’t gouge people no more?”

“Why don’t you do what we’re going to do?” suggested Barb. “We’re going to put some solar panels on the roof. You can actually get a tax break for that, so it won’t end up costing that much.”

“’That was an important Democratic initiative,” said Danny. “Tax breaks encouraging solar energy. We just don’t get credit for a lot of our good ideas.”

“Huh,” said Juanita. “Didn’t notice I got any tax breaks. Rich folks get all kinds of tax breaks. Then they get their taxes cut. Now they wanta do away with the estate tax, and put more of the load on my back. It just ain’t right.”

“Something else we’re doing you might want to think about,” said Barb helpfully, “is a wood burning stove. Lots of experts are recommending them.”

“In a third-floor walkup in Washington, DC?” asked Juanita incredulously. “You think the landlord’s gonna let me install a wood burnin’ stove in my apartment? And what am I gonna burn? My furniture?”

“I guess that’s not too practical,” admitted Barb. “But how about double-pane windows? We’re putting them in every window in the house. They really cut heat loss.”

“My landlord don’t care nothin’ about double-pane windows,” said Juanita. “He don’t care nothin’ about windows. All he cares about is that rent check, and he better have it in his hand by the first of the month. Tenant’s responsible for the heating bill, so he don’t care how much the bill is.”

“That’s just terrible!” exclaimed Barb. “If I were you, I’d buy my own place, or find an apartment with more responsible management.”

“Yep,” said Juanita, “if you were me, I expect that’s what you’d do.”

“Well, see you tomorrow, Barb,” said Danny. “Maybe, after a good night’s sleep, some issue will jump out at us in the morning. There’s got to be something to show Democrats are champions of the common man.”

© Tony Russell, 2005