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November 11, 2003
Terrible Tuesday

I'm in a bad mood, okay? Every single person I talked to yesterday was making an effort to misunderstand everything I said, so I spent most of the afternoon explaining to whiny consultants and clients that things worked, yes, exactly the way we promised things were going to work and no, nothing had changed just because they had a sudden epiphany that what they asked for wasn't what they wanted.

We understood what they wanted and that's what we gave them, so shut up and get on with it. And? If you're a consultant that we're paying to work for us, you'd be advised to be a little less obnoxious and hard to work with.

Under the heading of "stupid idea of the week," let's put this. Enough said.

I don't know if oil transparency is a good thing or not as far as the international community goes, but certainly I think our dealings with Iraq's oil industry should be transparent. As for other countries, if the government is making money from selling oil, I think citizens are probably entitled to know how much.

I think it's time and past time that the blasted government stopped approaching the USofA voter base as a consumer group. I'm sick of them wasting taxpayer money on ads and billboards to sell themselves. It's just all too Orwellian for comfort, okay?

If they want publicity, they can get all they want, free of charge, just by putting Shrub in front of a microphone. I'm not aware of a news agency or newspaper in the country that doesn't cover press conferences. Wanting to avoid answering hard questions is insufficient reason for hiding from the public. It's the Republican Party's own stupid fault for buying the presidency for an inarticulate dweeb.

This morning on NPR I heard that Bush's Veterans' Day speech, given in conjunction with laying a wreath on a soldier's grave, included a line about how today's veterans are an inspiration for the nation and encourage others to join the fight against terrorism (paraphrase) and I'm thinking that the dead soldiers probably aren't quite the recruiting tool he thinks they are. Story.

Coverage of deaths and casualties varies , depending on what paper you're reading but I'd have found this article more interesting if they'd been interested in more than just papers from towns around military bases.

The war we keep forgetting about is still being waged in Afghanistan, you know. People are fighting and dying and in some places the terrorists are winning so let's have a little attention to the story, okay?

There's no easy out for the Bush Administration on steel tariffs so let's all just wait and see which road they decide to take.

The road to "economic globalization" seems to be lined with potholes. Good.

Looks like looters have returned a couple hundred more items taken from the Iraq Museum during the invasion. I like that. I like it that the stuff is being returned and I like it that the idiots on the right who said it was all looted by Hussein years ago and had nothing to do with the breakdown of law and order when we bombed the city are having to admit that they were wrong.

The Republican Party, home of the billionaire's club for private campaign funding, thinks it's hypocritical for those on the Left to fund their own issues and campaigns. 'Sanctimonious twerps' is the phrase that comes to mind. Quite frankly, I'd rather be owned by Soros than by Halliburton.

I am so crabby.

If I were the U.K., I'd tell Bush to stay home. It's bad enough that there are No Free Speech zones routinely established here in the USofA but they don't really have the right to try and shut down London. If Bush doesn't already know that his invasion of Iraq and the bungle his Administration has made of the occupation are unpopular, it's time someone let him in on the secret. (Yeah, I know, disgruntled citizens can be dangerous, but it's London, not prohibition-era Chicago. If getting yelled at is more than Bush's bitty ego can take, he should stay in the White House residence and not answer the phone.)

Torture is bad. It wouldn't seem like we'd need to keep explaining that, but in view of continuing stories about how the USofA hands over 'detainees' to countries less squeamish about that sort of thing than we are, it bears repeating.

Also, some people need to understand that the ongoing situation in Iraq not only confirms our worst fears about how bad an idea it is to invade a nation that isn't engaged in the act of menacing you, but is part of the original protest against the invasion. It's all related, see? You invade, you occupy...it's like a series of connected events, okay?

It's apparently okay to be a peacenik if you're not talking about Iraq, though. (Actually, I approve of this one, but I'm cranky, so I ain't saying so today.)

And in an interesting and, I think, convincing parallel, Maureen Dowd points out that Iraq is not Vietnam. It's Afghanistan, we're the Soviets, and it's the 80s again. She also debates, briefly but entertainingly, the reasons Bush II and his cronies each had for lusting after this invasion.

"The more successful we are on the ground, the more these killers will react," Bush said ... The Moscow Times doesn't think much of that and points out a few potential historical parallels to this fallacy.

And add one more country to the list of Middle East nations who have regretfully had to decline to help us pacify Iraq. The latest one is Iraq.

And maybe another nail in the career coffins of those who supported Chalabai and the rest of the DoD's handpicked 'governing council members' for Iraq.

The United States is deeply frustrated with its hand-picked council members because they have spent more time on their own political or economic interests than in planning for Iraq's political future

Imagine that. You installed a council of expat opportunists and they turned out to be, well, opportunists. Who'd have believed it? Bush&Co aren't happy with their appointees, which pretty much breaks my heart.

And it's Brooks who's na´ve, not those who suspect that government contracts can be "steered" toward friends. Brooks' main point seems to be Drezner's statistical analysis that shows that political donations aren't directly connected with contracts. I believe that, but I also believe, based on my own experience with government contracts, that there are few things easier than a little gentle "steering" of funds toward a favored contractor.

However, all of that aside, there aren't many companies out there with the resources or experience to do what needs to be done in Iraq. And that's the truth, okay? There just aren't an unlimited number of oil well fire fighting experts, and the same goes with a lot of the services needed in Iraq right now. The government doesn't have dozens of choices and there's a great deal to be said for working with a firm that, aside from overcharging for some things, has a reputation for doing decent work.

You know what you should be worrying about? Worry about the legislative process in Congress, okay? I say, from now on, any bill that isn't important enough to stand on it's own and that can't take an open and public debate, should never make it to the floor. No more riders. No more wasteful and dangerous pork.

Here's a little rule-of-thumb you can all use. Any time those around you, or opposed to you, are clearly possessed by the spirit of evil, you need to understand that you're sick. No, it's not them. It's you.

And that goes double for politicians who think some deity has given them a mandate to wipe someone else off the face of the planet.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:56 AM