BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Money, money, money

A few things today.

The not-so-subtle headline from Forbes.com:

"U.S. Companies Eye Trans-Afghan Pipeline"

Hey, hey!
American companies might join a long-delayed trans-Afghan natural gas pipeline project expected to be launched in 2006, the U.S. ambassador to Turkmenistan said Tuesday.
You're kidding!
"We are seriously looking at the project, and it is quite possible that American companies will join it," U.S. Ambassador Tracey Anne Jacobson said, speaking in Russian, after a meeting with Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov.
Seriously looking at the project, or just kind of looking at the project? That's so nice of you. You totally don't have to do that!
The Turkmen government said Monday that a feasibility study for the project for a pipeline from the gas-rich Central Asian nation through Afghanistan and Pakistan was complete, and that construction would begin in 2006.

U.S. company Unocal Corp., based in El Segundo, California, was considering participation in the project in the 1990s, but plans were abandoned when the United States fired cruise missiles into Afghanistan in 1998 in pursuit of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network, blamed for two U.S. embassy bombings that year in East Africa.
Wait. Didn't Hamid Kharzai work for Unocal?

"He was the Unocal consultant. On the pipeline project."

But...now...he's...the...President...of...Afghanistan?

"Yep."

Good! He's up to speed, then.

"He certainly knows a lot about the whole thing."

I bet!
Since the U.S.-led offensive that ousted the Taliban from power, the project has been revived and drawn strong U.S. support. The pipeline would allow formerly Soviet Central Asian nations to exports rich energy resources without relying on Russian routes.

The project's main sponsor is the Asian Development Bank.
The Asian Development Bank? Cool. They sound...important. Wonder what they do?
Speech of President George Bush to the ADB

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

MAY 9, 2001

I am pleased to send warm greetings to those attending the 34th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank. I am delighted that Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, Chairman of the Board of Governors, is present to represent my Administration.

The Asian Development Bank continues to be a vital catalyst in promoting economic growth, creating jobs, and raising living standards in some of the world's most dynamic economies. The Asia Pacific region is a crucial partner to the United States. Although the past few years have posed challenges to the region, my Administration has the utmost faith that continued reforms and hard work will ensure that growth and prosperity will continue. And I give you my personal pledge that the U.S. market will remain open so that we can continue to contribute to Asian Pacific prosperity.
Shit. They are important. Back to the previous article:
The 1,680-kilometer (1,044-mile) pipeline is to run through Herat and Kandahar in Afghanistan, the Pakistani cities of Quetta and Multan and on to the Indian border town of Fazilka.
Wow. That's some dangerous fucking territory, yo. Won't the project be...dangerous? With all them evil-doers lurkin' about?

"Don't worry. We've got troops there already. To protect our interests."

Thank God!

And...an absolute must read article from the Washington Post re: a new GOP strategy on the whole Social Security thing here.

The headline: "Options Sought on Social Security Proposal - GOP Lawmaker Wants Alternatives to Diverting Payroll Taxes for Bipartisan Support"

Key excerpts:
Republicans want to ADJUST Social Security benefits to bring them in line with the demands of aging baby boomers. But at the same time, they are demanding the creation of PERSONAL INVESTMENT ACCOUNTS to give Americans more CONTROL of some of their tax dollars.

Democrats say they would ACCEPT personal investment accounts, but they will not accept diverting taxes now destined to Social Security beneficiaries to fund those accounts, as virtually all payroll taxes are.

"If the price of admission is the diversion of any money out of Social Security, we're not going to be a part of it," said Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), a specialist on retirement issues.

The ANSWER, Sperling said, is to GIVE REPUBLICANS THE ACCOUNTS BUT FINANCE THEM THROUGH SOME OTHER SOURCE OF TAXATION.
Some people want that money real bad.

(Personal plea? Pass on this blog to friends. Thanks much)

More later...

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