Rumsfeld/Cheney/Wolfowitz Use of WMD Lies Goes Back To The 70s

BBS Doc Exposes Rumsfeld Scam

(Note that while the article is hosted on, its contents come from a BBC documentary, not some tinfoil-hatted nutjob bloggin’ on the intarweb.)

Apparently Nixon’s attempt to wind down the Cold War by reaching accord with the major Eastern powers was undermined by a bunch of very familiar names telling familiar stories about imaginary weapons of mass destruction in the hands of powerful enemies.

Playing Politics with Earthquake Aid

So I heard on NPR this morning that the deal with the President announcing his “coalition” of nations who are going to work together to help out victims of the disaster — well, the thing is, there already is an organization that helps nations work together to coordinate disaster relief. Duplication of efforts in these things is a serious problem because people die when aid that could have helped them goes someplace where the same aid is already present. That’s why an international agency already exists to coordinate this kind of aid. You know, so people don’t die needlessly and time and money isn’t wasted.

Of course, that international agency is run by the U.N. And the U.N. can’t be trusted, because they thought that invading Iraq was a bad idea and it probably didn’t have weapons of mass destruction. Therefore the U.N. must be sidelined, ignored, and discredited at all costs in favor of alternative organizations which will not inconvenience, disobey, or contradict the Bush Administration.

Even if it means a few extra people in the Indian Ocean basin have to die because aid was badly coordinated.

Thank you George W. Bush. Always protecting us from the dangerous U.N.

Ah well. This is based on a radio report that I heard this morning on npr and I could be misremembering it or misunderstanding the significance of it. I hope so.

Reading Dogs

I’ve just started reading D. Vincent Baker’s Dogs in the Vineyard. It has to be the single best written roleplaying game I’ve ever read. I don’t remember ever reading a roleplaying game that kept me coming back to it as if it were a novel or something. Here’s a section about the ceremonial coat of office that the Dogs wear:

You’ll serve actively as a Dog for three or four years, usually, sometimes less and sometimes more — sometimes lots more — and your beautiful new coat won’t hold up. It takes a fierce beating in the field. It becomes the responsibility of the communities you serve to maintain your coat, patching, piecing, repairing, even replacing it as you need. Some dogs come out of their service with three or four coats, the earlier ones packed carefully away to preserve them. Some come out with only their original coat, and it’s torn and battered and ruined. In later life, as you’re called to higher and higher sacred offices, you are always allowed to replace whatever vestments accompany your office with your old Dog’s coat, no matter how beat up it is. And if you end up in the Dogs’ Temple training and initiating new Dogs, your old coat is powerfully significant.

(Picture one of the Dogs’ teachers. His coat’s so faded and stretched across his shoulders that you can see his shirt through it. It has an old stain and a crude patch under his left arm. The boyfriend of the woman he loved stabbed him, so long ago, and he had to stitch his coat back up himself. How high in the esteem of the new Dog initiates he is! He regards them all with hope, love, and very mixed feelings.)

All of the above: typical case.

Equites Mixalotus

patriam deserimus casei gratia – a musical interlude

magnae clunes mihi placent, nec possum de hac re mentiri.
(Large buttocks are pleasing to me, nor am I able to lie concerning this matter.)
quis enim, consortes mei, non fateatur,
(For who, colleagues, would not admit,)
cum puella incedit minore medio corpore
(Whenever a girl comes by with a rather small middle part of the body)
sub quo manifestus globus, inflammare animos
(Beneath which is an obvious spherical mass, that it inflames the spirits)


New Year’s Resolutions

You can be invincible,
if you never go into a contest,
which is not in your power to win.

Look out lest seeing some more honored
or with great power or otherwise blessed with fame,
you are ever carried away by the impression.

For if the essence of the good is in your power,
neither envy nor jealousy have a place;
and you yourself will not wish to be a magistrate,
nor a president or consul, but free.

–Epictetus, here, (another translation here, thanks to MeFi.

Epictetus’ advice is interesting to understand in the context of New Year’s Resolutions, and also the book One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer. It is about taking small steps. It is about applying to one’s personal life the business philosophy called “Kaizen” in Japan, and based on the work of W. Edwards Deming, a brilliant management theorist whose ideas are constantly referred to but almost never actually put into practice in America.

Kaizen is about improving one’s business by small and unambiguously achieveable steps, rather than dramatic “innovations.” This is of course alien to American big business, because it’s the big changes which impress the stock market and inflate your stock options, even if they end up ruining the business.

Anyway, Maurer’s book suggests trying to improve one’s life by means of small, nonthreatening steps, which are insignificant one by one but which add up to change.

There are a lot of things about the book that make sense to me, but I haven’t actually done anything with Kaizen yet. My wife and I thought of Kaizenning ourselves towards exercise, but we chose a step that wasn’t small enough and ended up not doing it. (That’s the test of whether you’re doing it right: if the step is non-trivial enough that you fail to do it, it was too big a step.)

So I’m trying to think of areas where I’d like to improve my life, and completely trivial steps I can take to achieve them.

  • Draw more. I could resolve to cover one sheet of paper per day with markings of some sort.
  • Exercise more. TODO. Don’t know what I can use as a trivial step for this.
  • Keep the house clean. How about take one object which is lying out of place and put it in its place per day.
  • Create a job I really love. For this one I’m thinking maybe “take a minute every day to imagine what it might be like to have my ideal job.” Imagining things is a good first step for difficult and complex changes.
  • Escape my caffiene addiction. Not sure about this one. Have to think.

Those are a few to start with. Just thinking.