We live in a strange world.

From the news today: In response to a mounting scandal over the firing of federal prosecutors for failing to prosecute enough Democratic candidates and political targets, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has said that “mistakes were made,” presumably by space aliens or some other third party.

Halliburton, the contractor formerly run by now-VP Dick Cheney, and recipient of over $25B in no-bid Iraq contracts (several of which are under investigation for things like fraudulent cost overruns) has announced that it plans to move its corporate headquarters to Dubai. Predictably, people are not amused.

And Israel recalled its ambassador to El Salvador after he was found drunk and wearing nothing but bondage gear and a ball gag in the embassy complex. (You know, Israeli politics is just fascinating some days…)

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Published in: on March 13, 2007 at 13:49  Comments (24)  
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24 Comments

  1. Those Tricksy space aliens!
    I couldn’t help but notice that passive voice as well.

  2. Those Tricksy space aliens!
    I couldn’t help but notice that passive voice as well.

  3. Re: Those Tricksy space aliens!
    I was trying to figure out if there was some original, canonical use of the phrase which made it such an icon of trying to avoid responsibility, but apparently its use is so widespread that it’s almost impossible. Maybe we should ask Will Safire.

  4. Re: Those Tricksy space aliens!
    I was trying to figure out if there was some original, canonical use of the phrase which made it such an icon of trying to avoid responsibility, but apparently its use is so widespread that it’s almost impossible. Maybe we should ask Will Safire.

  5. I’m waiting for the other side of the story, a la Halliburton opening a new office in Dubai (not relocating the corporation), but so far it’s just looking worse and worse for the WH.
    Why do the federal prosecutors hate America so?

  6. I’m waiting for the other side of the story, a la Halliburton opening a new office in Dubai (not relocating the corporation), but so far it’s just looking worse and worse for the WH.
    Why do the federal prosecutors hate America so?

  7. Oh yes! I knew there was another news story I was planning on posting up there. I’ll add a link to that one now.

  8. Oh yes! I knew there was another news story I was planning on posting up there. I’ll add a link to that one now.

  9. Heh. Yeah, that would be the one. Doesn’t this:
    “The company will maintain its existing corporate office here as well as its legal incorporation in the United States, meaning that it will still be subject to domestic laws and regulations.”
    mean that the issue is really a tempest in a teacup? I’m no fan of the no-bid KBR contracts either, but I’m trying to understand what’s to get worked up about here once you realize they’re not moving the corporation to Dubai.
    (And aren’t Halliburton and Dubai just made for each other? It’s the soulless megacorp’s version of peanut-butter and chocolate!)

  10. Heh. Yeah, that would be the one. Doesn’t this:
    “The company will maintain its existing corporate office here as well as its legal incorporation in the United States, meaning that it will still be subject to domestic laws and regulations.”
    mean that the issue is really a tempest in a teacup? I’m no fan of the no-bid KBR contracts either, but I’m trying to understand what’s to get worked up about here once you realize they’re not moving the corporation to Dubai.
    (And aren’t Halliburton and Dubai just made for each other? It’s the soulless megacorp’s version of peanut-butter and chocolate!)

  11. It probably is — but the outcry is going to make them stop the move anyway. Reminds me of the noise over having a Dubai-based company operate ports in the US a while ago.

  12. It probably is — but the outcry is going to make them stop the move anyway. Reminds me of the noise over having a Dubai-based company operate ports in the US a while ago.

  13. Re: Those Tricksy space aliens!
    IIRC, it first gained notoriety with Reagan; http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/6044.html seems to reinforce this.

  14. Re: Those Tricksy space aliens!
    IIRC, it first gained notoriety with Reagan; http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/6044.html seems to reinforce this.

  15. Re: Those Tricksy space aliens!
    Haven’t you heard? It wasn’t Gonzales, it was Harriet Miers (already resigned)!
    “A Justice Department official said Tuesday that Miers, in a February 2005 discussion with Sampson, suggested firing all of the U.S. attorneys. White House spokesman Tony Snow described the idea as a move to get fresh faces in the 4-year term jobs.

    Perino said deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, the president’s top political adviser, vaguely recalls telling Miers that he also thought firing all 93 was ill-advised.”

    So nice of Gonzales (cough, cough) to scale that back to only 8.

  16. Re: Those Tricksy space aliens!
    Haven’t you heard? It wasn’t Gonzales, it was Harriet Miers (already resigned)!
    “A Justice Department official said Tuesday that Miers, in a February 2005 discussion with Sampson, suggested firing all of the U.S. attorneys. White House spokesman Tony Snow described the idea as a move to get fresh faces in the 4-year term jobs.

    Perino said deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, the president’s top political adviser, vaguely recalls telling Miers that he also thought firing all 93 was ill-advised.”

    So nice of Gonzales (cough, cough) to scale that back to only 8.

  17. There was an awesome quote from an Israeli official about the ambassadorial incident, too:
    It was the first time Rephael, who had held a technical position in the ministry before his posting to San Salvador, had ever distinguished himself in any way, the official added.

  18. There was an awesome quote from an Israeli official about the ambassadorial incident, too:
    It was the first time Rephael, who had held a technical position in the ministry before his posting to San Salvador, had ever distinguished himself in any way, the official added.

  19. Heh, the emphasis on passive form in official government documents always amuses me. Like if they don’t name exactly who screwed up, everyone will magically forget.
    That…must have been a very disturbing scene. Weren’t there several other scandals with their ambassadors as well? It seems like they just ship the worst of the lot out to whatever country will take them in.

  20. Heh, the emphasis on passive form in official government documents always amuses me. Like if they don’t name exactly who screwed up, everyone will magically forget.
    That…must have been a very disturbing scene. Weren’t there several other scandals with their ambassadors as well? It seems like they just ship the worst of the lot out to whatever country will take them in.

  21. It ain’t just the ambassadors. (Although those have recently been pretty colorful) I remember watching TV news a few months ago, and having them discuss the new parliament coming into session, and who’s under indictment for what. It took them several screens to go through the list. Not to mention the President who’s been indicted for various counts of rape, sexual harassment, and the usual obstruction of justice etc., or the previous and current PM’s both being under suspicion of various corrupt dealings, or — my personal favorite — the Shas party (known for standing firmly for religion and corruption) re-electing Aryeh Deri as party chairman while he was in prison for various bits of corruption when he was Minister of the Interior.
    Corruption is a real problem in Israel; there’s an increasingly strong public sentiment that it needs to be fixed. I’m guessing a few more years (and preferably some that aren’t a continuous military crisis) before that hits critical mass and things change to a more American model.

  22. It ain’t just the ambassadors. (Although those have recently been pretty colorful) I remember watching TV news a few months ago, and having them discuss the new parliament coming into session, and who’s under indictment for what. It took them several screens to go through the list. Not to mention the President who’s been indicted for various counts of rape, sexual harassment, and the usual obstruction of justice etc., or the previous and current PM’s both being under suspicion of various corrupt dealings, or — my personal favorite — the Shas party (known for standing firmly for religion and corruption) re-electing Aryeh Deri as party chairman while he was in prison for various bits of corruption when he was Minister of the Interior.
    Corruption is a real problem in Israel; there’s an increasingly strong public sentiment that it needs to be fixed. I’m guessing a few more years (and preferably some that aren’t a continuous military crisis) before that hits critical mass and things change to a more American model.

  23. Ah, the passive voice. One of the greatest advances in politics since the invention of the pointed finger.
    I can’t find the original context of Reagan’ famous use of the phrase, but here’s a thoughtful little excerpt from some book about this kind of thing.

  24. Ah, the passive voice. One of the greatest advances in politics since the invention of the pointed finger.
    I can’t find the original context of Reagan’ famous use of the phrase, but here’s a thoughtful little excerpt from some book about this kind of thing.


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