McCain’s Dismal Foreign Policy Expertise

John McCain is going to run as an expert on foreign policy, an experienced heavyweight with security his centerpiece strength.

Which makes this pretty fucking alarming (via Greg Saunders at TMW, emphasis mine):

The foolishness of this John McCain “gaffe”, to use the media’s favorite understatement, should terrify anyone who actually thinks the commander-in-chief should have a basic understanding of the wars we’re fighting :

Sen. John McCain, traveling in the Middle East to promote his foreign policy expertise, misidentified in remarks Tuesday which broad category of Iraqi extremists are allegedly receiving support from Iran.He said several times that Iran, a predominately Shiite country, was supplying the mostly Sunni militant group, al-Qaeda. In fact, officials have said they believe Iran is helping Shiite extremists in Iraq.

Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives “taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back.”

Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was “common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.” A few moments later, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in the presidential candidate’s ear. McCain then said: “I’m sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda.”

Wow. If foreign policy is supposed to be the area in which McCain is an expert, I’m terrified of what he might do to the economy.

McCain’s being transparent.  He wants to yell “boo, Al-Qaeda!” when pressed with a foreign policy question, even when it makes less than zero sense to do so.  If McCain’s experience amounts to staring at a wall while people whisper the answers in his ear he’d better come up with another angle to market his presidency.


Advertisers are Sneaky

National Techmark (site is mostly text with stock photos) left an odd comment on my About Page:

advertising inquiry:


I’ve recently looked over your site and believe that your reader-base and visitors might be a possible advertising venue for us.

I am interested in traditional link advertising as well as using link “blurbs” on certain pages of your site, or on certain articles – perhaps even submitting articles. This includes but is not limited to purchasing a post also. We are open to any idea that would allow us to capture interested readers, but would prefer to avoid the traditional “Ads by Google” and “Sponsored Links” sections.

Please let me know if you’d be open to discussing advertising possibilities further.

Thanks in advance,
National Techmark

As I don’t like spam, I removed the comment.  But I thought it was very interesting, so here I am writing about it.  Rather than email me, this fellow stating he works for NT decided to leave a very public post on my About Page.  But it is his request that truly intrigued me:

perhaps even submitting articles. This includes but is not limited to purchasing a post also. We are open to any idea that would allow us to capture interested readers, but would prefer to avoid the traditional “Ads by Google” and “Sponsored Links” sections.

Right off the bat, he’s talking about deceptive advertising practices.  Purchasing a post?  Avoiding “Ads by Google” and “Sponsored Links” would blend his ads into my site, mixing them with the causes and sites I proudly support.

In any case, this is all moot.  As a blog, I can’t add advertising to my site.  And frankly, given the level of robust service provides, for free, I’m not inclined to care.

If I could send any advice NT’s way, it would be to really tighten up their wandering marketing text, ditch the stock photography for something a little more personal and authentic, and stick to advertising that lets people know its advertising.  Playing secret games was cute in a toilet humor way when advertisers first discovered it, but now a good chunk of your target market has savvied up to the trickery, and we don’t like it.

Democrats: The 2006 Victory vs the 2007 Failure


It has been a frustrating year for the Democrat-controlled Congress.

They came to power on an anti-war ticket but have so far failed to change the course in Iraq or bring American troops home.

The Democrats rose to power vowing to fight.  While a few individual Senators and Representatives have fought, the party as a whole has been ineffective at best, purposefully weak at worst.  If you consider those fearful and calculating individuals who worry their spines might be perceived as evidence of treachery, we are in a really bad place.  Anyone who would consider a vote in line with the principles and the policies you ran on to be a liability is not in your core market.  They won’t vote for you no matter how much you pander.  The people who get angry when you slink away from the courage you ran on are the people who go door to door, talk to neighbors, friends and family, and vote for you.  That’s your target market.

Democrats ignoring liberals and pursuing conservatives is akin to the Yankees saying “we can count on our fans no matter what, and maybe if we throw enough games to the Red Sox, maybe their fans will like us too”.

AT&T Building Censorship into New Terms of Sevice


From slashdot:

marco13185 writes “AT&T’s new Terms of Service give AT&T the right to suspend your account and all service “for conduct that AT&T believes”…”(c) tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries.” After cooperating with the government’s violations of privacy and liberties, I guess AT&T wants their fair share. AT&T users may want to think twice about commenting if they value their internet service.”

I’d say this adjustment to the their Terms of Service damages the name and reputation of AT&T, its parents, affiliates, and subsidiaries. A brand is a difficult thing to build, and AT&T appears to be doing a great job of marketing their new brand as a censored communications firm.

(original image from AT&T)

iPod or iSurge?

Now I know you folks are hankering for a shiny new iPod touch.  But have you considered dropping a few billion dollars and some deaths on a seriously cool iSurge (via Shakespeare’s Sister)?

Its a small price to pay (Blue Mass Group):

Comcast’s False Advertising

There’s some discussion about the fairness of Comcast’s invisible bandwidth limits. There’s two problems with this. One is the difficulty of complying with an unknown or unmeetable requirement:

This is where the secrecy creates problems, really. Sure, maybe an invisible something or another is better than a low explicit one, but you can’t defend yourself if they’ve got it wrong, because there’s no documentation. They don’t even always tell the subscriber how much the subscriber has downloaded, and it appears that they may even lie about that. They don’t want anyone knowing anything, basically. “Just cut back”.

This is quite literally insane. We are invited into a house for tea, then warned by the frothing host “don’t cross the line!”. When we ask “Which line?”, the host reveals nothing. But step over that line? Baseball bat to the face!

The big problem I have with their invisible limits is that this is a corporation getting away with false advertising. If you advertising “unlimited”, you had better provide unlimited. Comcast does not. And this same company tries to assure us to trust them when it comes to Net Neutrality. Why should we, both as customers and as citizens, believe a word they say?

This is bad for their brand. When it becomes clear that Comcast stands for false advertising, poor customer service, and and a psycho-authoritarian approach to bandwidth, this can’t be good for the company. Supposing more competitors step up to the plate, they will find themselves losing customers.

In the meantime we can support Net Neutrality.

That Eliminationist Demographic

XicanoPwr digs into an offensive ad:

There seems to be an offensive ad running loose around the net called “Shoot The Rapper!” The advertisement features an animated rapper that resembles 50 Cent and a photographer whose camera you have to position to “shoot the rapper.” If you can, “You will win $5000 or 5 ringtones guaranteed.”

The advertisers are playing a clever game here:

Even though a camera is used to “shoot” the rapper and not the “gun” one would expect, the desired effect is to trigger a perception in which the person assumes a weapon would be used if they click the ad. Considering a camera is used when they actually play the game, the advertising company actually played on an average person’s own prior conditioning and frame of reference with the use of the cross hairs, which is the trigger that actually fools the person.

Here’s a fun experiment.  Head down to the old psycho-linguistics laboratory.  Here’s the basic method:  Show a slide for a short interval before showing participants either a picture of a gun, or a picture of an elephant.  For the slide, show either this ad, a picture of a watermelon, or a shot of an actual photographer snapping a photo of a celebrity.  Track recognition time for that sentence.  I’ll bet you find that time significantly decreases for the picture of the gun with the slide containing the advertisement.  I’ll bet an off the cuff experiment like this has been repeated a number of times with increasing sophistication by marketing firms.  When you engage in good marketing, you don’t shoot blind.

The key to a good hit is twofold.  Find an existing hook to grab onto, and create a firm and lasting impression.  Its the hook that interests us here.  What are the marketers aiming at?