Saturday, June 18, 2005

Public relations is the most important thing in the world

In act that defines the term “adding insult to injury,” Halliburton is given a $30m contract to build a permanent prison at Guantanamo Bay. (Update: the LA Times calls it an “improved prison.” I doubt the detainees will see a prison intended to hold them permanently as an improvement.) It may just be an elaborate scheme to see how many elements of scandal you can add together, Lincoln-log style (Gulags of our time + Tea Pot Dome + ...), without attracting significant media attention because it lacks a missing white woman.

To celebrate the belated addition of comments to this blog, I invite you to post mottoes for Haliburton to use in promoting this fine venture. For example, “Building the Gulags of Tomorrow... Today!”

Krugman’s column on Star-Wars-Action-Figure-Gate Coingate contains a detail that jumped out, because it shows how thoroughly the system can be gamed if you drop enough coin (sorry) in the right slots: “[Tom] Noe’s contributions ranged so widely that five of the state’s seven Supreme Court justices had to recuse themselves from cases associated with the scandal.”

Pakistan’s Gen. Musharaf admits, hell, practically brags, that it was he who imposed the travel ban on Mukhtar Mai, the woman who was ordered by a village council to be raped because of something her brother did. Musharaf said she was going to “bad-mouth Pakistan” in the US. He did not of course attribute agency to Mai, but blamed Western NGOs, which he said are “as bad as the Islamic extremists.” “Public relations is the most important thing in the world,” he added.

And accessorizing. That’s pretty important too.

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