25 October, 2020

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How To Solve A ‘Problem’ Like ‘Uthayan’

By Malinda Seneviratne –

Malinda Seneviratne

The ‘Uthayan’ newspaper was attacked a few days ago.  It was not the first time.  Not the second. Not the third.  It was the thirty sixth time that ‘Uthayan’ was attacked.  That it still stands, still publishes and still defies testifies to admirable resilience.

Uthayan, over the years, has been a newspaper that has a clearly identifiable political position and one with clearly identifiable political loyalties. As is the case in such publications, political expedience overrides journalistic ethics. Truth is not important; political convenience is.  Balance is not important; required slant is. Informing is not important; misinforming is.  But wait, isn’t that also what the BBC does, what Al Jazeera does, what Channel 4 does, what people who are invested in political projects do all the time?

What Uthayan does (or does not do) may be interpreted as attempts to wreck rather than facilitate post-conflict processes of rehabilitation, resettlement, reconstruction and reconciliation, but those who interpret thus need to understand that nothing comes easy.  They need to understand that there will be ‘spoilers’ real or imagined. They need to understand also that good and lasting solutions need to a) factor ‘spoiler’ into the process, and b) deal with spoiler within the larger framework of the law.

It is not easy, of course.  If it was about money and guns in an earlier era, today its money, guns and media, working in concert of course.  So ‘Uthayan’ is part of that larger story, one could argue.  On the other hand, the moment Uthayan is attacked, the hack gets visibility and respectability, and what is patently slanted is legitimately taken as biblical truth.

Even if none of this was true, any attack on any establishment or person is an affront to democracy as well as an indictment on the law and order situation in the country.  If any entity is attacked as many times as Uthayan has and no one has been apprehended then it implies that the law enforcement authorities are utterly incompetent or else complicit. The state can and must do better than this.

The best way to counter a lie is by confronting it with truth.  There’s a reason why the so-called human rights activists whose safety Navineethan Pillai was ‘concerned’ about can’t find friends outside their tiny circle of party-going, cocktail-sipping, dollar-hungry fellow-travelers: they have been effectively dealt with solid arguments.

This is why, a couple of weeks ago, attending a session of Colomboscope 2013 devoted to alleged war crimes, where Prof Rajiva Wijesinghe and two spokespersons for the Sri Lankan security forces spoke, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu didn’t utter a word.  No, not out of fear for everyone knows what his positions are and he walks around without looking over his shoulder.  He just doesn’t have the arguments; he’s been undressed enough with logic.

That’s how democracy works.  It doesn’t stop Saravanamuttu from lying through his teeth of course and it won’t stop those who are ready to accept lie as truth and reward with bucks the liar from continuing to harass Sri Lanka at every turn, true.  On the other hand, it stops outsiders from scripting anarchy in this country.

In the case of the Uthayan, on the other hand, what we’ve seen is action and inaction that not only provide frill to the lie-manufacturing mill, but upsets those who value democratic processes and the democratic culture of engagement, including those who are wont to consider Uthayan as a propagandist rag.

The same goes for attacks on political opponents, physical or otherwise.  It betrays a reluctance to fight word with word or indeed a certain impotency in debate.  Worse still, it raises the questions of arrogance and implies an inherent weakness when it comes to dealing with criticism.

The two uniformed gentlemen at Colomboscope, it is reported, showed admirable composure, which only buttressed argument and moreover helped floor critics.  That’s maturity.

When the Government will get its act together, no one can tell. For now, all that needs to be said is that just as it might be hard to stand with the Uthayan on the same political platform, standing for democracy necessitates an unambiguous condemnation in the strongest terms of the attack.

We condemn. Unreservedly.

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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Latest comments

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    This jackass is propounding yet another of his thinly-veiled “final solutions” which he constantly trots out as a means of earning his daily bread (or is it caviar) at the Rajapaksa table.
    Any dissent from or disagreement with those who pay you is “sedition” in your book, isn’t it Malinda?
    What surprises the hell out of most of us is what you are doing here instead of parking yourself in one of the ex-Soviet Republics, Saudi Arabia or the like. They’d certainly fit your notions of democratic practice even though they probably wouldn’t be ideal for one who’d have been most at home in the Third Reich.

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      Spot on Appochi!
      Dood Malinda where are your “journalistic ethics”? Up your ASS?

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        How to solve a problem like MS? Ignore the half-witted, unethical moron!

        The task of a good journalist is to SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER.

        MS is an absolutely UNETHICAL bugger who speaks UNTRUTH FOR POWER, defends the corrupt and criminal Rajapassa military dictatorship, and runs behind power for personal gain.

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    For the racist-chauvinist-extremist “Uthayan” has become a problem that needs to be silenced by the “State Terrorist”.
    Seniviratne is one of those so called Sinhala journalist who are supporting such a misadventure singing for his supper, promotions, and free trips abroad.

    Even Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu has become an inconvenience than a member of the civic society who exposes the Sinhala racism, chauvinism and state terrorism. Only reason those bastards cannot give the Uthayan treatment to Saravanamuttu’s organization is that they are too scared of his foreign connections and backings.

    Otherwise Seniviratne himself will be part of the racist mob, who have now targeted Tamil speaking Muslim businesses out of sheer envy, jealousy, and personal greed.

    Is Seniviratne arguing that he should be sent on another free trip to Geneva to lobby, canvass on behalf of the Sinhala racist and state terrorist? It sounds like that..

    He should know, Uthayan, Saravanamuttu nor others around the world who speaks on behalf of the terrorized voiceless Tamils in Sri Lanka cannot be silenced uncder any circumstances…

    Uthayan or Saravanamuttu nor the Tamil diaspora are the problems? It is the racism, chauvinism, extremism and State Terrorism is the problem.

    • 0
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      Well said Donald, there is no ethics to talk about journalist ethics,[Edited out]

  • 0
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    Malinda did you really say “We condemn. Unreservedly.” !!

    Was it tongue in cheek…..or elsewhere?!!

    • 0
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      MNZ:
      I presume that was a rhetorical question because if I were to suggest where Malinda’s tongue would be going it would have to be in the kind of language that his “handlers” revel in and that would REALLY lower the tone of this discussion!

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    The learned Malinda Seneviratne says “As is the case in such publications, political expedience overrides journalistic ethics”

    What about political expedience where this hate monger is
    concerned? Paid by a Casino owner, Seneviratne has now descended
    to the ranks of commenting on how Pepsi Cola tastes or how Super
    Markets are selling pol toffee. What kind of expediency is this?

    Every week, when I read what he says, I puke.My regret is that I
    cannot show Pepsi Cola Malinda how it happens. Ask him not to get closer to me.

  • 0
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    Mirror Mirror look at me.

    ” Truth is not important; political convenience is “

    so glad that you continue to entertain us mutts.

    • 0
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      Very good comment.

  • 0
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    Could someone somewhere in this universe choose one or more of the following descriptions best fit him:

    Tamil in me talking
    Muslim in me talking
    Sinhala/Buddhist in me talking
    Fascistic tendencies in me talking
    Stupidity in me talking
    Need to impress my girl friend, partner or wife in me talking
    I don’t know what I am talking about, in me talking
    I am endowed with a small organ in me, talking
    I guess an Aryan Brahmin, in me talking
    I despise the poor, in me talking
    A patriotic scoundrel, in me talking
    I hate myself, in me talking
    I am not a racist but love myself more than others, in me talking
    I am not a friend of David Blacker, in me typing



    Please feel free to add yours here.

    • 0
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      Mr.Blocker and Malinda yalu…raata kannay maalu…That is the “one government stooge recognises another government stooge” in me talking.

      ONE Country. ONE People. ONE Sinhala Nation. That’s the racist in me talking.

      Dawal Migel Raa Malinda at embassy cocktail parties. That’s the party animal in me talking.

      …over to you Mr.Native Vedda

      • 0
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        Namalie Rajapaksa

        Thanks for your contribution.

        One more

        It is not Veddah, in me talking

      • 0
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        Namalie Rajapaksa

        “ONE Country. ONE People. ONE Sinhala Nation. That’s the racist in me talking.”

        “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer”

        At the end Ein Führer committed suicide.

        “Democracy is beautiful in theory; in practice it is a fallacy.”
        Benito Mussolini

        At the end his body was hung upside down from a post.

    • 0
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      You got so much in you. I don’t know how you look like. Keep away from white vans for your own safety.

  • 0
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    No coincidence that the purported unreserved condemnation appears only in tlast line of the article. I wonder what this idiot’s views are on the ‘journalistic ethics’ of the State Media?

  • 0
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    Malinda is [Edited out]

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0
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    Yes, state media is biased. Then shouldn’t those who purport to fight against that follow the ethics of good journalism? Similarly shouldn’t the so called human rights activists who claim to fight the lies of the government desist from spreading disinformation at the behest of Eelam fascists? I’m glad Malinda couples Uthayan with Pakiasothy. No worse indictment of each other is possible.

    I admire Malinda’s honesty and courage in calling a spade a spade. He is not beset by the pretense of political correctness in criticising the gutter yet deadly journalism of Uthayan. People in the know in Jaffna refer to the paper as “oothayan” meaning SCUM. Uthayan is causing irreparable damage to the process of reconciliation and reconstruction in the north. It is provoking violence against people coming forward to engage with the government and the Sinhalese people to work towards genuine reconciliation. The fact that this criminal activity in the name of journalism is allowed to continue at all gives the lie to the exaggerated claims that there is no journalistic freedom in Sri Lanka. The LTTE rump’s disinformation flows into the country daily through Virakesari and Thinakkural published from Colombo.

    Any crackdown by the government on journalistic freedom is unacceptable. But criminals using the smokescreen of journalism to disturb law and order is indefensible.

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      Rambler:
      When you say, “I admire Malinda’s honesty and courage in calling a spade a spade. He is not beset by the pretense of political correctness,” you certainly refer to where your mental(?) faculties are!

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        Aney Apochchi

        Some days you’re the dog, some days the hydrant.

        [Anyways, I’m beginning to like you. You must be looking like a cuddle bear I like to snuggle up to !!!!!!!!!!!!!]

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        Milinda is licking the boots, for his crumbs that faLL OFF the table

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    Malinda,

    A few Journalist have been killed. Udayam has been attacked thirty six times.
    How come no one really bothers to attack you they way they attack Udayam ?

    Is it really that difficult to guess ?

    But then, you don’t even let us dumbos make that guess. Because you give the answer ” today its money, guns and media, working in concert of course “

    Please keep us entertained.

  • 0
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    Why are you hating Navineethen Pillai (is is because she has a Tamil origin. Why don’t you find out bit about her exemplary performance as a presiding judge of the international Criminal Court held to deal with the culprits of the Genocide in Rwanda. In that capacity she was able to introduce, for the first time, the rape during a war as a war crime. claim to being an editor of a newspaper you ought wag your tong about people only if you have made a thorough investigation of what they have done and stood for.

    • 0
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      Keerthi:
      Don’t be silly in asking such questions because Malinda wouldn’t want to sully his reputation by dealing in the truth or facts!

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    Harvard educated, DEAR Malinda Seneviratne Sir.

    DID YOU SAY;
    “standing for democracy necessitates an unambiguous condemnation in the strongest terms of the attack.
    We condemn. Unreservedly.”

    IS IT LOUD AND CLEAR?????,

    Did you send a copy of this to
    M O I, Media gilmart House,
    MOD, Secretary to defence,
    Any opposition party leaders.

    to show your allegiance to free madia.

    from an O/ L educated villager.
    J A.

  • 0
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    Uthayan is merely reporting what is happening in Jaffna. It does not pander to the regime like other state controlled media. Hence the attacks. Uthayan is not the problem, it is the military controlling Jaffna.

  • 0
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    Once again the insidious nature of the writing is shown-
    1. The article purports to be a condemnation of state terror on a media organisation. Yet apart from a perfunctory line or two in that regard the entire article is aimed at providing justification for provocation. If this was truly an unreserved condemnation, there would have been just one line devoted to the provocation on the part of uthayan. The rest of the article would have been a severe indictment on the state.
    2. The irony of malinda referring to reputed news organisations’ biases when he appeared via video conference not too long ago and vehemently (albeit, rather pathetically) attempted to defend the government is not lost on anybody, but him. That is just one instance of his clear political biases. At the least he should acknowledge his own bias.
    3. By saying that money guns and media are working in concert he subtly perpetuates the myth that there is violent opposition to the government.the only guns that sound today are those of the tgovenment and those sanctioned by it. Subtle insidious fear mongering.
    4. The power of logic argument defies logic and reality. First, Dr. P.S. Is still making statements. Just because he didn’t speak at one conference doesn’t mean that was sure to the power of logic. If he was so worried about being confronted with the truth he would stop communicating altogether.second, the truth doesn’t stop hacks from spouting their piece-just look at Malinda.
    5. Worst of all this makes the whole attack sound like a wrong response to a grave provocation. Much like his kinds take on the 83 riots and his piece on the bodu bala sena.this is the worst piece of skullduggery. The attack was intimidation, revenge, impunity and the desire to ensure that no one speaks out against the regime. By taking this route he conveniently sidesteps the issue. This is the government that took tissanayagam to court. If they want to they can use the law. The CHOOSE. not to

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    Rambler

    “Uthayan is causing irreparable damage to the process of reconciliation and reconstruction in the north.”

    ……….

    “The LTTE rump’s disinformation flows into the country daily through Virakesari and Thinakkural published from Colombo.”

    If all these Tamil news media are reprehensible state should intervene and take appropriate actions against these “Scums” such as,

    Buy out these media organisation under duress.

    Intimidate members of staff or their families

    Shutting down completely under bogus charges.

    Nationalise all media and appoint Malinda as the editor in chief.

    Drop bombs on those gutter presses.

    The easiest way to contain these Scum media is to bump off the senior editors.

    This is good for the country, good for the people who own it and exercise power over majority people.

  • 0
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    I consider Udhayan trash and a curse on the Tamils. The few times I try to read it out of curiosity, were disgusting experiences. However, it is not for the state or its affiliates to terrorise it. It is for the Tamils to shun it. As long as the Tamils want to patronise it, it has a right to exist. Further, I have been told by many that Udhayan is thriving because of the state support it receives through advertisements. I am also told that many buy this newspaper to look at advertisements for jobs. Is it a case of what one hand does, being not known to the other?

    Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

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    I come from a different angle. There are no terrorists in Jaffna as per Gotha and all the terrorists are living abroad. Still these type of attacks happen in a democratic environment ( Gotha says the environment is Democratic), then only assumption a person can have is that the forces in Jaffna are either the attackers or are incapable and weak to protect property and people. In both instances it shows that the forces in Jaffna are incapable of monitoring and providing protection. In such an environment how are they going to protect the country, if another group of terrorists raise their heads?

  • 0
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    So Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu didn’t utter a word and therefore Malinda infers that Paikiasothy just did not have the arguments and that he had been undressed enough with logic and as a consequence Malinda prescribes the government to follow this logic in the case of Uthayan as well.

    One thing is certain.

    Milinda has no doubt about the identity of the attackers of Uthayan

    But Milinda doesn’t care about the rule of law for the crime committed for the thirty sixth time am d these criminals need not be punished in line with the longstanding government policy.

    Malinda you still want to behave like a democrat?

    But blame Navineethan Pillai as a convenient scapegoat?

  • 0
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    Malinda just wants Paki attacked the way Udayan is.

    Malinda the best way to earn some credibiliy is for you to get your self attacked.Then you can write an erudite article condemming it. Given your affiliations I am sure you can organize it.

    There is also another option. Do it your self and blame it on Paki or Jehan.
    :)

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    Just a word about Navi Pillay:
    1. First South African to go to Harvard Law
    2.First non-white woman to open her Law office in South Africa
    3. Defended anti-Apartheid activists for 28 years in South Africa, when she was not even allowed to enter judges’ chambers
    4. Nominated by Mandela as the first non-white woman to serve on the South African High Court
    5. Elected by UN General Assembly to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda where she served as judge for eight years.
    6. Interpreted Rape as a war crime
    7. Elected to the International Criminal Court

    If Navi Pillay is concerned about the safety of some persons I would say that it is very valid. She is not someone who was appointed to her positions because she is the cousin or brother-in-law of the President of a country. She has dedicated her life to human rights protection. She is not a journalist who defends the government and gives homilies twice a week. If she is concerned it is because she has seen what happens in different parts of the world. Dont think that this regime is unique – there are several commonalities between tyrants all over the world!

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      8. She went beyond the mandate of her office to indict Sri Lanka at the behest of US.

      9. Her partiality to Diaspora LTTE, one of the worst violators of human rights in the recent past, calls into question her integrity and competence.

      10. Her Tamil origin also casts a shadow on her handling of the Sri Lanka file and raises the issue of possible conflict of interest.

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        OutRider

        11. Therefore she is best suited to deal with Sinhala/Buddhist child abusers.

        12. She will have no hesitation in dealing with LTTE war criminals.

        13. You are used to Sarath Silva, Mervyn and Clan hence seeing beyond your nose is next to impossible.

        14. Would like to replace Navi Pillai with Mervyn, Sarath, Gota, Basil, …………….and other crooks and criminals?

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          Native Vedda

          I think I achieved my goal. You sound confused like someone who didn’t have his morning ganja.

      • 0
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        Outrider,
        Don’t fall into the trap set by Malinda and crowd, my friend. Think critically. Consider the following:
        1. Have you seen Navi Pillay’s harsh criticism of the US on the continuation of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre? Surely an American stooge would not be criticising her master?!! In any event, did you know that the US initially resisted her appointment as High Commissioner due to her views on abortion and subsequently relented?

        2. It is not only the US – 25 countries in the HRC voted expressly against us. These countries dont vote only because the US asks them to (they have voted against the US on several issues). This means that Sri Lanka is doing something wrong in the eyes of the majority of the world.

        3.Remember the role the US played in our conflict. The LTTE was banned by the US and people were prosecuted. The US gave us intelligence during the war which helped us defeat the LTTE. Though the US is far from pure and has its share of accountability issues, the reason many countries in the world are supporting Resolutions against Sri Lanka is that they don’t want other countries to start following the “Sri Lanka Model” of fighting a war. The number of civilian deaths were totally unacceptable. If all countries keep doing this (preventing media access etc) the world will go back to the dark ages.

        4. The Office of the High Commissioner puts out reports on human rights abuses in a lot places in the world. The Report submitted on Sri Lanka is not limited to the Resolution 19/2 but flows from the general mandate given to that office as well. So simply saying that she has exceeded her mandate is not accurate.

        The point I made, my friend, is this – look at Navi Pillay’s record. She has fought her entire life against discrimination and has been a judge who has looked seriously at war crimes. She was recognised by no lesser person than Mandela. She is doing her job of pointing out that we are making mistakes. Instead of combating the issue on facts we keep taking irrelevant objections about her ethnic origins and purported US links.

        Let us focus on what we as a people can do to make this country regain its international standing. That requires making changes within not slinging mud at others.

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    Malinda’s second para could well describe himself. Just substitute his name and the similarities are startling!

    “Malinda, over the years, has been a hack that has a clearly identifiable political position and one with clearly identifiable political loyalties. As is the case in such hacks, political expedience overrides journalistic ethics. Truth is not important; political convenience is. Balance is not important; required slant is. Informing is not important; misinforming is….”

    Need he say more?

  • 0
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    Well the biggest liar of all here in SL is our government when it comes to national security matters, which Malinda explicitly avoids calling out. But Uthayan is on the opposite side, hence ripe for the calling. So Malinda’s side is well known. The fact that 36 times attacked and no one arrested or charged shows that the bigger terrorists are members or auxiliaries of the Sinhala regime. Malinda is one of their mouth pieces, hence indirectly culpable in the Uthayan attacks, could we not assume?

    The larger problem I see is the Sinhala and English media houses in Colombo with wide circulation promoting racism and terror by not giving prominent publicity to these attacks. The recent terror tactics used by the police to stop Tamil people from the northern province coming to Colombo for a peaceful protest is another example of the Sinhala and English media supporting state terrorism. That is Sri Lanka’ biggest Problem – State terrorism! Put the government institutions right and the rest will be sorted. Nuff said.

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    This guy’s journalism qualifies for the Gutter and Sewerage Prize- he should seriously think of changing his career without bringing this profession to a new low. Succint, rational thought and analytical reporting is something this joker will never understand. He might be more sucessful if he opens a viagra shop to cater to his impotent political allies.

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