Author's posts

Curveball: ‘I should be treated like a king’

The guy behind the ultra-successful marketing campaign known as “IRAQ HAS WMDs!!!! IRAQ HAS MOBILE WEAPONS LABS!!!!” believes he should have been better-rewarded for his efforts.

In a series of interviews with Los Angeles Times reporters John Goetz and Bob Drogin, the Iraqi Intelligence Salesman Formerly Known As Curveball whined about how he isn’t appreciated in his own time.

The guy has a point. I mean, when you think about how much money has been made by leveraging the dubious-at-best assertions made by a guy who graduated with a D average from university – and, just to be clear, I’m talking about Curveball here, not any leaders of the free world – you’d think someone, somewhere could’ve seen fit to at least throw the guy a half a pallet or so of shrink-wrapped $100 bills, right?  

Conyers Ulysses: Some work of noble note

Reposted, with minor edits, from February 2008

The story of a once-proud warrior

with one last battle left to fight.


by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

IT LITTLE PROFITS that an idle king, By this still hearth, among these barren crags, Match’d with an aged wife,

I mete and dole Unequal laws unto a savage race,

Hillary Math: Ambition, Distraction, Uglification and Derision

The construct is not mine; you can thank Charles Dodgson for that.

Not that Hillary’s campaign bothered to thank him – my guess is they adopted the Mock Turtle’s curriculum strategy all by their brilliant selves. I mean, it does seem like it was tailor-made for the campaign they ran, doesn’t it?

`I couldn’t afford to learn it.’ said the Mock Turtle with a sigh. `I only took the regular course.’

`What was that?’ inquired Alice.

`Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with,’ the Mock Turtle replied; `and then the different branches of Arithmetic — Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.’

`I never heard of “Uglification,” Alice ventured to say. `What is it?’

The Gryphon lifted up both its paws in surprise. `What! Never heard of uglifying!’ it exclaimed. `You know what to beautify is, I suppose?’

`Yes,’ said Alice doubtfully: `it means – to – make – anything – prettier.’

`Well, then,’ the Gryphon went on, `if you don’t know what to uglify is, you ARE a simpleton.’

On crap detection and the media

You’ve read, of course, the New York Times story from last week, yes? The one about how retired military officers were paid by the Pentagon to sell the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq by spewing administration propaganda to the “news” media?

It was a breathtaking and horrifying account of the lengths this administration will go to to lie to the American public so that certain people (not you and me) can get richer, and the level of disgrace that certain members of the military are willing to bring upon the uniform by prostituting themselves for an illegal war that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars.

As I read the article, I thought of a snippet from a book I had read and re-read in high school:

[I]n the early 1960s, an interviewer was trying to get Ernest Hemingway to identify the characteristics required for a person to be a ‘great writer’. As the interviewer offered a list of various possibilities, Hemingway disparaged each in sequence. Finally, frustrated, the interviewer asked, ‘Isn’t there any one essential ingredient that you can identify?’ Hemingway replied, ‘Yes, there is. In order to be a great writer a person must have a built-in, shockproof crap detector.’

                   – Teaching as a Subversive Activity,

                     by Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner

                     (excerpt; PDF file)

Jeremiah Wright = “states’ rights”?

I’ll be quick.

Had a brief conversation at lunch yesterday with someone I’ve known for nearly 20 years now. This gentleman – let’s call him Solley – is a longtime Democratic supporter, to the tune of scores – perhaps hundreds – of thousands of dollars over decades. He and other family members used to be active in Democratic politics and were very well connected within the party, but not so much anymore. He’s a World War II veteran.

We were talking about the presidential race, and about the respective prospects for Hillary and Obama. Solley brought up his concern about the Rev. Wright issue, and expressed the view that it could be a very serious matter in terms of Obama’s electability.

President Obama – promise me you’ll clean house?

Do these people have no shame?

The LA Times is reporting that the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles has been trying to ring up impressive numbers – by having his prosecutors going after, well, parking violators:

The disgruntled prosecutors in Los Angeles say they are now spending an exorbitant amount of time working on less significant cases — mail theft, smaller drug offenses and illegal immigration — to reach quotas. They cited the recent disbanding of the office’s public integrity and environmental crimes section, a unit with a history of working on complex police corruption and political corruption cases, as evidence of a shift toward high-volume, low-quality prosecutions . . .

Bush plugs defense contractor – US Atty. drops case

Talk about burying the lede. The Washington Post reported that the U.S. Attorney’s office in Nevada refused to prosecute a Pentagon procurement scandal last year – a scandal which involved (mirabile dictu!) President George Bush. The Pentagon’s Inspector General, which just two weeks ago found serious problems with the testing and procurement of billions of dollars of body armor contracts, looked into the awarding of a $50 million contract to Strategic Message Solutions, a company that, as the Post says, “barely existed” (all emphases added):  

[I]nvestigators concluded that [Air Force Maj. Gen. Stephen M.] Goldfein and others worked inside the Air Force contracting system to favor SMS and its owners, despite an offer by the company that was more than twice as expensive as another bid.

America’s Night and Fog…


The reasons for Nacht und Nebel were many:

   * First, distinct complaints by other governments or humanitarian organizations against the German government were made far more difficult because the exact cause of internment or death, indeed whether or not the event had even occurred, was obscured. It kept the Nazis from being held accountable.

   * The decree and hidden events afforded the Nazis the ability to act cruelly and unjustly without public outcry.

   * It allowed an across-the-board, silent veto of international treaties and conventions: one cannot apply the limits and terms of humane treatment in war if one cannot locate the victim or discern his destiny.

   * Additionally, it lessened the moral qualms and confrontations of the German public as well as that of servicemen, in an agreed and/or ignorant silence.

wapo editorial sept 06…

the actual decree……

keitel letter

Efficient and enduring intimidation can only be achieved . . . by measures by which the relatives of the criminals do not know the fate of the criminal. The prisoners are, in future, to be transported . . . secretly, and further treatment of the offenders will take place at the new destination]; these measures will have a deterrent effect because – A. The prisoners will vanish without a trace. B. No information may be given as to their whereabouts or their fate.Prisoners taken . . . are subjected to military procedure only if particular military interests require this. In case [any authorities inquire about such prisoners, they are to be told that they were arrested, but that the proceedings do not allow any further information.…

Boycott the Olympics? Here’s a better idea

The Olympic Games have been the scene of several high-profile political statements over the past three-quarters of a century. Take a look at these photos and see which ones made an impact:

Diary ideas

Quality, as it relates to journalism, and the inclusion of people like John Yoo and Doug Feith on the faculties of major universities

New diary: Hillary has a hidden strategy to win the general election

Talk about the electoral College.  Do some research to see how those electors are pledged.  Compare and contrast that with Hillary’s declared intentions about pledged delegates.

New diary: the fact is, not conspiracy, defeat Hillary

Discuss how the fact of Mark Penn’s work for Columbia, as opposed to the lie about old bomb is involvement with the Canadians, worked against her.  Similarly, discuss how the fact of her Bosnia sniper story proved to be so inconvenient; also, the story about NAFTA and North American Free Trade Agreement.  Also, the story that she opposed the Iraq war before old mama did.  Also, the fact of her fund-raising shortfalls.  Also, the fact of her poor decision-making surrounding her campaign, undercutting her “experience” and “judgment” strategies.

Body armor: BILLIONS in contracts awarded improperly

This will come as no surprise to anyone who has followed this issue over the past two-plus years:

The Army can’t be sure some of its body armor met safety standards, partly because it didn’t do proper paperwork on initial testing of the protective vests, a Defense Department audit said.

Boycotting the Olympics is a terrible idea

For the Olympic diary: the United States is a country could decide to retire its athletes in uniforms of the component that specifically and explicitly addresses the issue.  The IOC might object, but the IOC of what object much more strenuously to an American boycott.  Were they going to do throw all the American medalists out?

For the Olympic diary: in 1980, the United States had a fresh crop of women swimmers, the like of which had never been assembled before, ready to redress the unfair shellacking they had received at the MontrĂ©al games of 1976 at the hands of the steroid enhanced East German women.  Or: Tracy Caulkins, Mary T. Maher, Tim Lenihan, Cynthia Woodhead, Joan Pennington,-these drug-free Americans had demolished the East German women at the world championships two years previously.

And who exactly remembers the 1980 Moscow Olympics, and any quote “political statement” that might have been made by the American boycott?  Or, for that matter, who remembers the effects of the 1984 boycott of the Los Angeles games, led by the Soviet Union-or even the reason for the boycott, for that matter?

Imagine, instead, this: an entire US contingent marching in to the opening ceremonies, every member wearing an armband of orange

One of the supreme ironies of the Olympic movement is that the ideal of the games themselves on the one hand engender and showcases world unity through the colorful and delightful intermingling of thousands of athletes from all over the world, and at the same time, are intensely nationalistic: after all, that’s how the games are set up-athletes represent their countries.

Sometimes the nationalism is delightful, as when the United States hockey team upset the Soviets at the 1980 Winter games.  That was a totally unexpected win, and it is difficult for those who did not experience it in one way or another to completely understand the symbolic importance of that game, coming as it did on the heels of the Iranian hostage crisis, a time full of shame for the American people.  Coming as it did on the heels of the Iranian hostage crisis in the Cold War.  Similarly, who I will gain between Hungary and is so union and at the 1956 games in Melbourne Australia was equally symbolic if not more so.  Hungary had just been brutally invaded by the Soviet Union, and feelings were intense as; blood.; the water literally ran red with blood.  As two of the world’s strongest teams faced off in the pool.

But I can deal with a cocky victory also came after President Carter’s announcement of the Olympic boycott, so Americans knew that the only opportunity that they would have during the Olympic year to express their pride in their country on the athletic venue was at Lake Placid.

Other times, the nationalism can get ugly.  At the 1984 games in Los Angeles, for example, which the Soviets and other Eastern Bloc countries boycotted in response to the 1980 US led boycott, I was saddened to see the over-the-top chance of USA USA USA exhibited by the home crowd at many venues for the US dominated.  It was an ugly display of in your face and nationalism, the kind of nationalism that is so closely associated the United States position in the world today.

olympic charter PDF…

51 Advertising, Demonstrations, Propaganda


3. No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.

Bye-law to Rule 51

1. No form of publicity or propaganda, commercial or otherwise, may appear on persons,

on sportswear, accessories or, more generally, on any article of clothing or equipment

whatsoever worn or used by the athletes or other participants in the Olympic Games,

except for the identification – as defined in paragraph 8 below – of the manufacturer of

the article or equipment concerned, provided that such identification shall not be marked

conspicuously for advertising purposes . . .

Any violation of the provisions of the present clause may result in disqualification or

withdrawal of the accreditation of the person concerned. The decisions of the IOC

Executive Board regarding this matter shall be final.

dalai lama opposes boycott…

Load more