We’re open honest Americans trying to do a good job. If they don’t like what we’re doing then [snaps fingers ] cut off that revenue steam right now.

— Erik Prince, founder and owner of Blackwater Worldwide, which has seen its revenue from the federal government grow from $1 million to $600 million since 2001, defending his company’s reputation from critics who call it an “out-of-control, mercenary force”; Oct. 13.

In this administration, accountability goes by the boards. That goes equally for misconduct and for incompetence. If you get caught, they will get you immunity. If you get convicted, they will commute your sentence.

— Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), a member of two committees that oversee the State and Justice departments.

[Attorney general nominee Michael B. Mukasey] spent four pages responding and still didn’t provide an answer to the question ‘Is waterboarding illegal?’ Judge Mukasey makes the point that in the law, precision matters. So do honesty and openness. And on those counts, he falls far short.

— Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Waterboarding is a torture technique – period.

— Malcolm Nance, an adviser on terrorism to the US departments of Homeland Security, Special Operations and Intelligence, Nov. 1.

They should know what it is. It is not a complicated procedure. It is torture. … All I can say is that it was used in the Spanish Inquisition, it was used in Pol Pot’s genocide in Cambodia, and there are reports that it is being used against Buddhist monks today.

— presidential candidate and former POW John McCain in an Oct. 26 rebuke of candidate Rudy Giuliani’s statement that he was unsure if waterboarding, a technique that simulates drowning, constituted torture.

The Republican brand is not selling very well. There are a lot of frustrated people. They are not seeing anybody who has sent them over the top.

— Christine Todd Whitman, a former New Jersey governor, Bush Cabinet member and 2004 Ranger, Oct. 17, explaining why “[m]ore than a third of the top fundraisers who helped elect George W. Bush president remain on the sidelines in 2008, contributing to a gaping financial disparity between the GOP candidates and their Democratic counterparts.”

There is currently a lack of energy, a lack of enthusiasm, a lack of optimism about the near-term future of the party. If it doesn’t change quickly, it’s a leading indicator of what kind of problem we are going to have next fall.

— John Weaver, a former senior adviser for Sen. John McCain’s campaign, arguing that the fundraising disparity with Democrats speaks to a larger problem for the Republican Party.

We have a relationship. He’s a smart guy and he comes in and we just talk about foreign policy, and he gives you good advice.

— an unidentified administration official who has met with Robert D. Blackwill — the former influential Iraq director on the National Security Council, a former deputy national security adviser, a former United States ambassador to India and a veteran of decades in government and now a principal at lobbying firm Barbour Griffith & Roger— who has received $300,000 from Ayad Allawi to make him prime minister of Iraq again and whose clients include “India, Serbia, Taiwan, the Kurdistan Regional Government, the Alfa Bank in Moscow and Thaksin Shinawatra, a former prime minister of Thailand and a billionaire communications tycoon who was ousted in a coup in 2006.” Mr. Blackwill has induced foreign governments to provide nearly $11 million in fees to his firm.

Shame is for sissies.

— the late Edward von Kloberg III, “once known in the capital as the lobbyist to dictators, represented Saddam Hussein, Nicolae Ceaucescu of Romania and Mobuto Sese Seko of the former Zaire.”

As a teenager, he learned that money talks. As an adult, he learned that liquidity speaks volumes. Traditionally, one of the challenges of having significant wealth has been getting sufficient access to liquidity. At U.S. Trust, we work with clients to maintain a uniquely personal approach toward providing the necessary flexibility to pursue opportunities whenever and wherever they arise. And with the resources of one of the world’s most established financial institutions, our highly trained credit specialists can develop and underwrite innovative solutions that will give your wealth more voice. One that opportunities will surely take notice of. WEALTH MANAGEMENT FOR TODAY’S WEALTH.

— Text of a full-page ad in the Oct. 29 New York Times for “U.S. Trust / Bank of America Private Wealth Management.”

Lloyd C Blankfein (Goldman Sachs) | $54.3 million
E. Stanley O’Neal (Merrill Lynch) | $46.4 million
John J. Mack (Morgan Stanley) | $41.4 million
James E. Cayne (Bear Stearns) | $40.0 million
James Dimon (JPMorgan Chase) | $38.3 million
Richard S. Fuld Jr. (Lehman Bros.) | $28.2 million
Charles O. Prince (Citigroup) | $24.9 million

— from a Oct. 31 New York Times illustration showing fiscal 2006 compensation for CEOs in the financial services industry.

It was obscene the amount of money I had to spend.

— Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio), who is retiring from Congress, who said “she was turned off by the vitriol [in her last campaign] as well as the more than $4.5 million she had to raise and pour into her own attack ads.”

I want to try to use my knowledge and experience and tell young kids that serving in government can be very productive and you can make a difference. There are a lot of bad things about this place, but there are a lot of positives as well. I marvel that the system works as well as it does.

— Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio), who is retiring from Congress, who still sees virtue in a life of public service.

I don’t think anything will change until Americans revolt and get it into their heads that they need to be informed voters instead of just listening to the paid political ads.

— Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio), who is retiring from Congress, who said her last campaign convinced that negative attack ads work.

All the news that’s fit to print.

— text of a full-page ad in the Oct. 29 New York Times.

Bombardier and Goodrich have completed a full review of the Q400 landing gear system [built by Goodrich] and results have confirmed its safe design and operational integrity.

— John R. Arnone, a spokesman for Bombardier, defending the safety record of its Dash 8 Q400 commuter plane after “Scandinavian Airlines announced Sunday that it would abandon a fleet of 27 planes made by Bombardier of Canada that have been involved in [four] crash landings”; Oct. 29.

Confidence in the Q400 has diminished considerably, and our customers are becoming increasingly doubtful about flying in this type of aircraft.

— Scandinavian Airlines chief executive Mats Jansson, Oct. 28.

If you took all the landing-gear incidents and put them in one pot, you would find that landing-gear failure is not common.

— Fred Mirgle, chairman of the aviation maintenance science program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., “disput[ing] Transport Canada’s suggestion that landing-gear failure happened with some frequency.”

The ‘politics of hope’ doesn’t mean hoping you don’t have to answer tough questions.

— Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton after presidential candidate Hillary Clinton endured a difficult debate performance Oct. 30.

Quotabull is a weekly feature of Scholars & Rogues appearing Thursdays.

2 replies »

  1. I got to tell you, Denny, some of this just pissed me off to no end. So I have some comments.

    On Erik Prince: Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) is introducing legislation that would phase out the use of “private security contractors” on battlefields where American troops are present. I am Rep. Schakowsky’s newest fan.

    On Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.): I’m pretty sure the law doesn’t allow them to, you know, pardon themselves. So if they’re out of line, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

    On GOP pols who can’t decide if waterboarding is torture. I can think of at least one way we can help them make a more informed decision.

    On Robert D. Blackwill: Hey, I’m a good conversationalist. I have good ideas. I’ll come in and talk to you and I’ll charge a lot less.

    On Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio), who is retiring from Congress: Happy trails, and enjoy your retirement in Never-Never Land.

    On Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio), who is retiring from Congress, who said her last campaign convinced that negative attack ads work: Of course they work. We have an educational system and an anti-intellectual culture that breeds the ability to think out of the electorate. The more base and emotional the appeal, the better.

    Thanks for the opportunity to say these things. Maybe someday I can say them in person to these fine folks.