BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

MORE FREEDOM FRIES

From yesterday’s AP:

WASHINGTON Oct. 27 — President Bush on Monday blamed rising violence in Iraq on U.S. progress being made there, saying coalition successes are making insurgents more desperate.

Bush spoke only hours after bombings in postwar Baghdad killed dozens of people and after conferring at the White House with the top U.S. general and civilian official in Iraq.

"The more progress we make on the ground, the more free the Iraqis become, the more electricity that's available, the more jobs are available, the more kids that are going to school, the more desperate these killers become," Bush told reporters.

Bush, sitting next to Bremer in the Oval Office, said those who are continuing to engage in violence "can't stand the thought of a free society. They hate freedom. They love terror. They love to try to create fear and chaos."

(Hmmm.)

Coalition successes? Progress on the ground? With all due respect, sir, are you out of your mind?!

“No, he’s not. The Iraqis hate our success in Iraq.”
“Soldiers are getting killed everyday, suicide bombers are terrorizing central Baghdad…where’s the success?!”
“The Baghdad Burger King is now among the top FIVE FRANCHISES in the world. Some Iraqis hate that kind of success.”
“Huh?”
“Read this.”

October 28 – Baghdad.

Ansar Al-Habaj, a local restaurant owner, went into ‘a rage’ as soon as he found out that that the Baghdad BK was in the top five franchises worldwide.

“I can’t compete with that kind of success,” said Al-Habaj. “They are using non-union employees and a limited menu to keep their costs low. It’s going to put me out of business, and it makes me feel like blowing up the Red Cross or an Iraqi police station.” When asked about his next move, Al-Habaj told reporters that he was going to consult with his local cleric, but added that he was “very much interested” in learning more about American fast-food franchises, specifically Quiznos. “It is my opinion that Quiznos would be huge in Iraq. Maybe the Taco Bell/Pizza Hut combo thing. But if the Americans don’t give me the opportunity to open up my own fast-food restaurant, I’m gonna go postal on someone.”

“See? I told you.”
“But…the Burger King is just for the soldiers.”
“That’s why the Iraqis are upset. They can see the BK, they can smell the freedom, but they’re not quite there yet. And it makes them angry.”
“Oh, what’s the use?”
“Get on board, man. There’s gold in them thar hills.”

More later…

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Great news from EE-rack.

BK is now open for bizness. Here’s a few excerpts from a recent WashPost article:

U.S. Troops Order Comfort, With Fries on the Side
Soldiers Looking for a Taste of Home Make for a Booming Business at Iraq's First Burger King

By Theola Labbé
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 19, 2003

BAGHDAD -- Welcome to Iraq, home of the Whopper.

Deep inside Baghdad International Airport, past a vehicle search, a body search and four checkpoints, soldiers are lined up for burgers and fries. They have come by plane from Mosul, 220 miles north, for onion rings. They have picked up Chicken Royale sandwiches while picking up buddies flying back from a two-week home leave. They have begged and borrowed Humvees, making up any excuse for a trip to the airport and a reminder of what the pink mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise oozing from a fresh Whopper tastes like.

"It tastes like home, yes it does," said Staff Sgt. Mark Williams, 50, from Pittsburgh, after tearing off a chunk of his Whopper with cheese.

The former Saddam International Airport now houses Iraq's first Burger King. Part creature comfort, part therapy for homesick troops, its sales have reached the top 10 among all Burger King franchises on Earth in the five months since it opened. The shiny metal broiler spits out 5,000 patties a day.

“The takeout stand is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and offers six sandwiches; a normal menu has 16. There are no milkshakes.”

Doo bee doo bee doo. (Wait. What? No milkshakes?!)

Quick question. Any chance the Baghdad BK is busting out the new Chicken Baguette Sandwich? God, I hope so. It’s awesome. Tastes like freedom and liberty. The Whopper, the chicken Baguette…that’s all you need. Another question. Will the Baghdad BK be offering the incredibly popular Simpsons/Halloween toys with its Fun Meals? And who did BK have to f*ck to beat McDonald’s to this particular free and liberated country? Trust me. Ronald is NOT “lovin’ it.” Yo.

Kudos BK for snagging a chunk of that 166 Billion dollars. (That's 87 billion plus the previously allocated 79 billion. Thank you.)

Hmmm. I wonder if this BK is as scary as the BK franchise in Layton, Utah. (Whoa, nelly. That place is really frightening. Scary, blonde white kids making hamburgers. Ugh. Pack a lunch if you have to drive through Utah via 1-15.)

Here’s another great comment from the article. Are you sitting down?

“Adrian Miller, 19, of Bascom, Ohio, a platoon leader with the 82nd Airborne Division, is stationed in a southwest section of Baghdad, where guerrillas continue to fight U.S. forces. But a trip to the airport to pick up soldiers returning from leave in Qatar brought him to Burger King.”

"We're lucky if we can get over here once a month, we're so busy RAIDING HOUSES and KICKING DOWN DOORS in the middle of the night," said Miller, who bought $84 worth of food. "When we get free time and no one is using the trucks, then we come out here."

Cool.

Do I need to…ah, forget it.

More later…


Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Yo.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the latest and greatest news from Iraq re: the “letter from a soldier” that was sent to a number of papers around the U.S. Please read the following excerpts from ABCNews.com:

“The letters appeared in roughly 12 newspapers across the country. From Massachusetts to California, and many places in between, family members and local newspapers received letters from soldiers of the 2nd Battalion of the 503rd Infantry Regiment detailing their successes in northern Iraq.”

“Each letter was signed by a different soldier, but the words were identical:

"Kirkuk is a hot and dusty city of just over a million people. The majority of the city has welcomed our presence with open arms. After nearly five months here, the people still come running from their homes, into the 110-degree heat, waving to us as our troops drive by on daily patrols of the city. Children smile and run up to shake hands and in their broken English shouting, "Thank you, Mister."

Amy Connell of Sharon, Mass., knew as soon as she received the letter from her son Adam that he did not write it. "He's 20 years old and I don't think his language or his writing ability would have entailed that kind of description," she said.

She was right. Her son didn't write the letter. In an e-mail to ABCNEWS today, the commander of the battalion, Lt. Col. Dominic Caraccilo, said the "letter-writing initiative" was all his idea.

(Hmmmm.)

This one isn’t hard to figure out, is it?

I’m wondering what would happen if Ms. Connell’s son had the time to write his own letter.

“Dear Ma: Hope you don’t mind, but I think I’m gonna shoot my foot off. I gotta get outta here, man. It’s hot as fuck, the hajis hate us, and one of the local kids took off with our last copy of Maxim. This place fucking sucks. See you soon. I’ll be on crutches. Your son, blibbity blah.”

Do you think they’d reprint that one in the Boston Globe?

More later…






Wednesday, October 08, 2003

What a fucking night. Cubs lose...Arnold wins.

God damn.

Good job, California. Thanks. Thanks alot.

(Does this mean that "T4" is on hold until...?)

Been listening to the right-wingers this morn via KFI and KABC (the two Los Angeles Am stations that have been driving the recall train from day one) celebrating, gloating...and screaming about the death of the "Democrat" party in California.

Fuckers.

They really wanna destroy the LA Times, too, for "attacking" Arnold. KFI just ran a quick report that 1,000 people have canceled their subscriptions to the "liberal" L.A. Times. (Liberal?! The L.A. times?!!!! Right. I forgot. A story about Rod Stewart selling his Bel Air home promotes socialism in some way. Jesus.) It's almost comical...the intensity of their hatred...but really, really scary. Those listeners are mobilized, man. Pro-Arnold, pro-Bush, anti-Hollywood. O'Reilly went on and on this morning about how we're in a culture war right now and asked his listeners needed to buy his latest book to find out what was really going on. Five minutes later, Rush Limabaugh is asking his listeners to buy his brother's book ("Persecution" - about the liberal war against Christianity) and..

Fuck it. I really can't think straight. I do know this: it'll be tough for Arnold to do much except campaign for Bush...and get rid of the Enron case. Other than that...a few photo ops...kids...Maria...push-ups...Gary Busey and Chuck Norris.

Let's hope that Sgt. Shriver can knock some sense into his son-in-law if he gets too far out of line.

(By the way...what the HELL was Jay Leno doing in the Schwarzenegger camp last night?! Jackass.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Election day. The Right continues to come up with awesome sexcuses for Arnold. Here's the latest.

"He didn't beat them."

That quote belongs to Peggy Noonan.

Wouldn't expect anything less from Peg. I'm sure she'll right an article about how Arnie represents the "new" look of the Republican party (big and strong vs. old and white) as soon as he's elected.

Aw, man. My head hurts.



Monday, October 06, 2003

Over the weekend, one of Arnold's campaign aide's basically said (of the Gropinator's past behavior), "He didn't know that he'd be running for governor some day."

Genius.

The following article is a must read re: all things Arnold. Thank the sweet baby Jesus for Greg Palast.

http://www.gregpalast.com/detail.cfm?artid=283&row=0

Arnold Unplugged - It's hasta la vista to $9 billion if the Governator is selected
Friday, October 3, 2003

"It's not what Arnold Schwarzenegger did to the girls a decade back that should raise an eyebrow.  According to a series of memoranda our office obtained today, it's his dalliance with the boys in a hotel room just two years ago that's the real scandal.

The wannabe governor has yet to deny that on May 17, 2001, at the Peninsula Hotel in Los Angeles, he had consensual political intercourse with Enron chieftain Kenneth Lay.  Also frolicking with Arnold and Ken was convicted stock swindler Mike Milken.

Now, thirty-four pages of internal Enron memoranda have just come through this reporter's fax machine tell all about the tryst between Maria's husband and the corporate con men.  It turns out that Schwarzenegger knowingly joined the hush-hush encounter as part of a campaign to sabotage a Davis-Bustamante plan to make Enron and other power pirates then ravaging California pay back the $9 billion in illicit profits they carried off.

Here's the story Arnold doesn't want you to hear.  The biggest single threat to Ken Lay and the electricity lords is a private lawsuit filed last year under California's unique Civil Code provision 17200, the "Unfair Business Practices Act."  This litigation, heading to trial now in Los Angeles, would make the power companies return the $9 billion they filched from California electricity and gas customers.

It takes real cojones to bring such a suit.  Who's the plaintiff taking on the bad guys?  Cruz Bustamante, Lieutenant Governor and reluctant leading candidate against Schwarzenegger.

Now follow the action.  One month after Cruz brings suit, Enron's Lay calls an emergency secret meeting in L.A. of his political buck-buddies, including Arnold.  Their plan, to undercut Davis (according to Enron memos) and "solve" the energy crisis -- that is, make the Bustamante legal threat go away.

How can that be done?  Follow the trail with me.

While Bustamante's kicking Enron butt in court, the Davis Administration is simultaneously demanding that George Bush's energy regulators order the $9 billion refund.   Don't hold your breath:  Bush's Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is headed by a guy proposed by … Ken Lay.

But Bush's boys on the commission have a problem.  The evidence against the electricity barons is rock solid:  fraudulent reporting of sales transactions, megawatt "laundering," fake power delivery scheduling and straight out conspiracy (including meetings in hotel rooms).

So the Bush commissioners cook up a terrific scheme:  charge the companies with conspiracy but offer them, behind closed doors, deals in which they have to pay only two cents on each dollar they filched.

Problem:  the slap-on-the-wrist refunds won't sail if the Governor of California won't play along.  Solution:  Re-call the Governor.

New Problem:  the guy most likely to replace Davis is not Mr. Musclehead, but Cruz Bustamante,  even a bigger threat to the power companies than Davis.  Solution:  smear Cruz  because -- heaven forbid! -- he took donations from Injuns (instead of Ken Lay).

The pay-off?  Once Arnold is Governor, he blesses the sweetheart settlements with the power companies.  When that happens, Bustamante's court cases are probably lost.  There aren't many judges who will let a case go to trial to protect a state if that a governor has already allowed the matter to be "settled" by a regulatory agency.

So think about this.  The state of California is in the hole by $8 billion for the coming year.  That's chump change next to the $8 TRILLION in deficits and surplus losses planned and incurred by George Bush.  Nevertheless, the $8 billion deficit is the hanging rope California's right wing is using to lynch Governor Davis.

Yet only Davis and Bustamante are taking direct action to get back the $9 billion that was vacuumed out of the state by Enron, Reliant, Dynegy, Williams Company and the other Texas bandits who squeezed the state by the bulbs.

But if Arnold is selected, it's 'hasta la vista' to the $9 billion.  When the electricity emperors whistle, Arnold comes -- to the Peninsula Hotel or the Governor's mansion.  The he-man turns pussycat and curls up in their lap.

I asked Mr. Muscle's PR people to comment on the new Enron memos -- and his strange silence on Bustamante's suit or Davis' petition.  But Arnold was too busy shaving off his Hitlerian mustache to respond.

The Enron memos were discovered by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, Los Angeles, www.ConsumerWatchdog.org"

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

THE FIRST LADY GOES BERSERK IN MOSCOW

All right. I know. That’s not the official headline.

I wish it was, though.

"Laura Bush, in Moscow, Scolds Americans"

By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer

MOSCOW - In a Kremlin library thousands of miles from home, Laura Bush chided U.S. parents for letting their children watch too much television and pleaded with them to spend more time reading with and to their kids.

"American children, I'm afraid, are addicted to television," she told the first ladies of Russia, Armenia and Bulgaria on Tuesday, citing studies that place average TV consumption in the United States at several hours a day.

(She neglected to point out that her husband’s friends at McDonald’s, Disney and Coke were “elated” and “thrilled beyond belief” to find that “children were addicted to television.” “They’re supposed to be,” said one top executive. “If they weren’t, we’d have to rethink ‘things.’ Do things differently. Like, take over the schools or something.”)

Mrs. Bush came to Moscow as the guest of Lyudmila Putin, the wife of the Russian president, who has organized a book festival focused on children's literature. The festival, modeled after events Mrs. Bush has put on for years, begins Wednesday.

Mrs. Putin came to the United States last fall to attend Mrs. Bush's festival and started discussions with Library of Congress officials about how to stage one herself.

On Tuesday, the Russian first lady gathered Mrs. Bush and their fellow first ladies, Bella Kocharian of Armenia and Zorka Purvanova of Bulgaria, for a round table on the relationship of books to family and education.

(And a discussion on the virtues of Stepford-wifing.)

When Mrs. Bush's turn came, she told of her main mission as first lady: trying to spread the word that reading to children, starting when they are babies, not only helps them develop richer vocabularies but makes them feel loved.

"When you read with your child, you show them that reading is important, but you also show them they're important — that they are so important to you that you will spend 20 minutes a day with your arm around them," she said. In that context, she termed TV-watching a big no-no.

(Waitaminute. 20 minutes a day? That’s all you gotta do? To raise kids? That’s not so bad. Thought it was harder than that. Thought you had to play with them, like, non-stop. You know, to show them that “they’re important.” But, hey, fuck it, one of the twins made it to Yale; the “20 minutes a day thing” obviously worked for the first family. Good enough for me.)

Back to the article…

“Mrs. Bush also passed around several American children's classics that she said showcase "the values that had to do with living a good life."

(Like the autobiography of J. Paul Getty?)

Dr. Seuss' "Hop on Pop" was popular in the Bush household when her twin daughters were young, she said, describing how they acted it out by jumping onto their father as he lay on the floor reading it to them.

(She did not mention if “he” was still drinking back then.)

"Frog and Toad" is another good choice for early readers, Mrs. Bush said. "Frog and Toad are best friends. It's a story of friendship," she said.

(Kind of. It’s more like a bunch of stories of Frog and Toad doing dopey things like swimming, looking for buttons, hibernating and “saying hello” to the spring.)

More later…