the buzzard's prodigal relative

Opinion-makers are cheap. However, managing opinion-makers is still a profitable biz. Thus the interest in the unraveling of some of Lincoln Group’s tricks in today’s NYT. In the old days – the 1830s – the American expansionist typically inclined to coonskin caps, long rifles, the cheerfully racist views of slaveholders, and homespun penny sheets. Today’s filibusters are infinitely more sophisticated – at least, in their haberdashery.

While the old filibusters would recognize a kindred spirit in the Lincoln Group, they would also frankly recognize that the group is a collection of carrion eating pinheads whose lack of conscience would embarrass a buzzard. Here is the Lincoln Group in a typical moment, cannibalizing the dead, rolling in their viscera and insulting their memory in Pakistan, according to the Pakistan Press:

“Washington based Lincoln Group is demonstrating keen interest for continuous relief activity going on in quake hit areas of Azad Kashmir and NWFP. This was stated by Mark Gillespie, WP Business Development, of the group and Carol Fleming, Country Director Pakistan in a meeting with Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat here Thursday.”

“They further told Faisal that their group could shape opinion through strategic communications that focus on the culture community and people to create measurable results. The group works around the world in locations others may view as "inhospitable." The group prefers to call such locations "challenging." Mark Gillespie and Carol Fleming told Faisal that they rely on innovative creative ability, extreme flexibility, real experience, the quality of their people and a low profile to get the job done. Their expert teams immerse themselves in the environment to keep their finger on the pulse of local perceptions and behaviours.”

The economic opportunities growing out of the death of half a million people are limitless if you have the right go getting spirit. And the Lincoln Group has been keeping its talons on the pulse of perceptions in this country by putting tips in the garter belts of rightwing commentators, who, one would think, would not require bribes to support their vanity project war. The NYT has a nice little bit about a frequently quoted AEI guy, Michael Rubin, who was immersing himself profitably in both the highest reaches of D.C. imbecility and in Iraq itself on the Lincoln Group tab:

“Lincoln has also turned to American scholars and political consultants for advice on the content of the propaganda campaign in Iraq, records indicate. Michael Rubin, a Middle East scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington research organization, said he had reviewed materials produced by the company during two trips to Iraq within the past two years.

"I visited Camp Victory and looked over some of their proposals or products and commented on their ideas," Mr. Rubin said in an e-mailed response to questions about his links to Lincoln. "I am not nor have I been an employee of the Lincoln Group. I do not receive a salary from them."

He added: "Normally, when I travel, I receive reimbursement of expenses including a per diem and/or honorarium." But Mr. Rubin would not comment further on how much in such payments he may have received from Lincoln.”

And just when LI was despairing that a public intellectual, a writer, can’t make a decent wage! We forgot all about honorariums. Plus, of course, all you can eat of the casualties.

“The Lincoln Group officials told the minister that they had realisation that efforts would have to be maintained for arranging US dollars 5. 2 billion for Pakistan to cope with the situation arising out of the quake devastation. Mark Gillespie and Carol Fleming told the minister their group had the ability to help reach, communicate and influence outcomes in the communities that mean the most.”

In the Bush culture, a scavenger is free to be all he wants to be – the sky, and the body counts, are the limit. Dig in, and while you are gobbling remember – that’s the sound of freedom you hear in the bloodscented wind!