BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Monday, January 31, 2005

Shenanigans

You know, I was so busy dancing and clapping yesterday (re: the Iraqi elections) that I forgot to mention:

"Halliburton to End Iran Operations"

Iraq?

"No. IRAN."

You don't say.
HOUSTON — Halliburton Co. will pull out of Iran after its current contracts there are wound down, its chief executive said Friday.

"The business environment currently in Iran is not conducive to our overall strategy and objectives," Chief Executive Dave Lesar said in a conference call.
Pulling out before the bombing, eh?

Wait, what?
The Houston-based company, formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, has been criticized for its work in Iraq, where it is the largest private contractor with revenue totaling more than $10 billion.

Halliburton said in July that it had received a subpoena seeking information about operations in Iran of its Cayman Islands subsidiary, Halliburton Products & Services Ltd.

The company has argued that using a Cayman Islands subsidiary EXEMPTS IT from a U.S.-imposed trade embargo against Iran, which is accused of seeking nuclear arms and funding terrorist networks.
So, what you're saying is...If you set up a subsidiary in the Caymans --

"You don't have to worry about RULES. You know, the stupid rules that US companies have to deal with. But the best part? You don't have to pay taxes."

Really?

"Yeah. All you gotta do is, you know, show up every once in awhile, play golf, have a couple of drinks. Golf. Girls, maybe. It's awesome."

I bet
Halliburton provided no details on when its current contracts in Iran would be completed or on the value of the work. The company generated about $80 million in revenue in Iran in 2003.
Axis of evil? Axis of money!

Hey, speaking of money, check out this headline from the Guardian:

"Audit: $9 Billion Unaccounted for in Iraq"

D'oh!

Back to the bad, B-movie.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. occupation authority in Iraq (the CPA) was unable to keep track of nearly $9 billion it transferred to government ministries, which lacked financial controls, security, communications and adequate staff, an inspector general has found.

The U.S. officials relied on Iraqi audit agencies to account for the funds but those offices were not even functioning when the funds were transferred between October 2003 and June 2004, according to an audit by a special U.S. inspector general.

The inspector general said the (CPA) disbursed $8.8 billion to Iraqi ministries "without assurance the moneys were properly accounted for.''

U.S. officials, the report said, ``did not establish or implement sufficient managerial, financial and contractural controls.'' There was no way to verify that the money was used for its intended purposes of financing humanitarian needs, economic reconstruction, repair of facilities, disarmament and civil administration.

Some of the transferred funds may have paid "ghost'' employees, the inspector general found.
That old trick? Come on, people. Think outside the box!
CPA staff learned that 8,206 guards were on the payroll at one ministry, but only 602 could be accounted for, the report said. At another ministry, U.S. officials found 1,417 guards on the payroll but could only confirm 642.
U.S. officials, including former CPA head Paul Bremer, are denying the conclusions of this report.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Sunday the (CPA) was hamstrung by ``extraordinary conditions'' under which it worked throughout its mission.

``We simply disagree with the audit's conclusion that the CPA provided less than adequate controls,'' Whitman said.
You're kidding.

CUT TO:

EXT. IRAQI SOMETHING MINISTRY, GREEN ZONE - NIGHT

PRIVATE SECURITY FORCES (employees of "American Eagle Security") stand by as an armored vehicle backs up the loading dock of the old Iraqi Treasury Building, located in the middle of Baghdad's "Green Zone." An IRAQI OFFICIAL, wearing semi-military garb, jumps out of the passenger seat. He begins to bark orders the IRAQI SOLDIERS who are waiting on the dock's main platform. The doors of the armored vehicle swing open.

The soldiers begin to load the vehicle with large, unmarked crates.

The Iraqi official nods at LT. JAKE PILEDRIVER, the commander of the Private Security forces. Lt. Piledriver smiles and extinguishes his cigar on his left arm.

LT. PILEDRIVER - Move 'em out!

The soldiers close the doors of the armored vehicle. The Iraqi official jumps back into the passenger seat and gives a "thumbs up" to Lt. Piledriver. The armored vehicle moves away from the loading dock and speeds away into the night.

CUT TO:

EXT. BAGHDAD AIRPORT - NIGHT

The armored vehicle drives straight into a (heavily guarded) transport plane on the outskirts of the Baghdad airport.

INT. TRANSPORT PLANE - MOMENTS LATER

The Iraqi official gets out of the truck and is greeted by an Iraqi MILITARY OFFICER. The two men hug.

MILTARY OFFICER - What took you so long?

IRAQI OFFICIAL - The traffic on the 405 was a nightmare.

The cargo doors of the gigantic transport swing shut, and the plane pulls away from the hangar.

CUT TO:

INT. FIVE STAR HOTEL - BEIRUT - NIGHT

A myserious LEBANESE BUSINESSMAN, an IRAQI GENERAL and an AMERICAN OFFICIAL are smoking cigars on the deck of the "Presidential Suite." A number of bikini-clad woman are lounging around the hotel's massive, tropical-themed pool. The Iraqi General leans over the balcony and points toward a tall, naked blonde...swimming in the pool.

IRAQI GENERAL - Now that's what I'm talking about, dog.

The men share a laugh. The American official grabs a giant glass of brandy from a female SERVANT in a French maid's outfit.

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - Gentlemen, a toast.

The men raise their glasses.

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - A toast...to opportunity.

ALL - To opportunity!

The men drink and we...

CUT TO MORE LATER.




Sunday, January 30, 2005

Dancing in the Streets

Well...

The buzzwords and catch-phrases re: the Iraqi election are flying all over the place this morning.

The breaking story?

"They're dancing in the streets!"

Let's get into the spin by taking a look at Mariam Kam's post on the AP.
Iraqis danced and clapped with joy Sunday as they voted in their country's first free election in a half-century, defying insurgents who launched eight suicide bombings and mortar strikes at polling stations. The attacks killed at least 36 people.
Soy confusado.

The Iraqis danced and clapped with joy...but 36 people bought the farm.

WTF? WHAT'S THE REAL STORY?!

The real story is "More Dancing in Iraq":
At one polling place in Baghdad, SOLDIERS and VOTERS joined hands in a DANCE, and in Baqouba, voters JUMPED and CLAPPED to CELEBRATE the historic day. At another, an Iraqi policeman in a black ski mask tucked his assault rifle under one arm and took the hand of an elderly blind woman, guiding her to the polls.

In Ramadi, U.S. troops coaxed voters with loudspeakers, preaching the importance of every ballot.
Again with the dancing and clapping. Why is that...anytime you get an article about freedom...or democracy...or an election in a lousy part of the world...you ALWAYS get bits about DANCING AND CLAPPING?

"Because freedom loving people dance when they see freedom. That's something you freedom-haters do not understand, because you hate freedom."

Right.

"You dance for non-marital sex. We dance...because we love freedom."

I've heard that --

"You wouldn't understand why soldiers and voters would join hands in a dance."

I wouldn't. It's creepy --

"You wouldn't understand voters jumping and clapping to celebrate this historic day."

Right. Calm down and get home. Before you get shot --

"And you wouldn't understand why an Iraqi policeman in a black ski mask would tuck his assault rifle under one arm and take the hand of an elderly blind woman in the other."

Actually, I'd think, "Who came up with THAT bit? Did he get the rest of the day off? The other writers must have been pissed." I'd also think, "I could write that stuff. That's a good gig. Where do I sign up? The CIA? The State Department?"

Believe it or not, there was some violence around the dancing and clapping:
In the most deadly attack, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a polling station in western Baghdad, killing himself, three policemen and a civilian, officials said. Witness Faleh Hussein said the bomber approached a line of voters and detonated an explosives belt.

In a second suicide attack at a polling station, a bomber blew up himself, one policeman and two Iraqi soldiers.

In a third suicide attack at a school in western Baghdad, three people and the bomber died, police said.

And in a fourth, at another school in eastern Baghdad, a suicide bomber killed himself and at least three others. Another five people died in other suicide attacks.

Also, a suicide bomber blew himself up near the home of Iraq's justice minister in western Baghdad in an apparent assassination attempt. The minister was not home but the attack killed one person, an Interior Ministry official said.

The rest were killed in shootings and explosions in several communities north of Baghdad.
In other words, JUST ANOTHER DAY IN IRAQ.

"Except for the dancing and clapping."

Right.

Get ready for some dancing and clapping in Washington and score this round to the Bushies.
The election is a major test of President Bush's goal of promoting democracy in the Middle East. If successful, it also could hasten the day when the United States brings home its 150,000 troops.
Just like the "handover" of power last summer.

Wonder if the new Iraqi government will set up "personal savings accounts" for the worker-bees?

"Sounds good to me."

More later...

(BTW - Condi made the rounds this morning with more tales of dancing and clapping. And people CARRYING EACH OTHER to the polls. That's a good bit, too.)

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson

EXT. SOAP FACTORY - DAY

Two Iraqi men, TAL and MANSOOR, scour through the rubble of this blown-out soap factory on the outskirts of Baghdad. They are members of Hussein's elite "Imperial Guard," but are dressed down as "insurgents." Tal wears a Fila sweat-suit, and Mansoor wears a pair of beat-up Dickies and a Laker t-shirt. Both men are carrying (US issued) AK-47's and smoking cigarettes.

MANSOOR - My money is on the patriots.

TAL - You are crazy. They will stay at home on Sunday. The people are living in fear.

MANSOOR - I mean to beat the Eagles. 24-13. Terrell Owens will not make a difference.

TAL - Hmph. Only a fool would bet on pro-wrestling.

A thundering "boom" is heard in the distance. The two men pause...and continue scouring through the rubble.

MANSOOR - My wife will kill me if I don't find this.

TAL - Don't worry. We will find the damn ring.

A stray dog races out of the rubble.

MANSOOR - Have you been on the internet lately?

TAL - "Suicidegirls.com," but that's about it.

MANSOOR - I like the one who is named Vikki. With two k's.

TAL - She is a fox. I am sure she would break my heart, though. She probably only dates rock stars. Like a guy from Velvet Revolver or something.

MANSOOR - Wait. I remember what I wanted to show you. I got a funny e-mail from a friend the other other day. (laughing) Here.

Mansoor pulls out a crumpled piece of paper from his back pocket.

MANSOOR - It says:
We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world, a nation of bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts. We are human scum, and that is how history will judge us. No redeeming social value. Just whores. Get out of our way, or we'll kill you.

Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads? Who among us can be happy and proud of having all this innocent blood on our hands? Who are these swine? These flag-sucking half-wits who get fleeced and fooled by stupid little rich kids like George Bush? They are the same ones who wanted to have Muhammad Ali locked up for refusing to kill gooks. They speak for all that is cruel and stupid and vicious in the American character. They are the racists and hate mongers among us; they are the Ku Klux Klan. I piss down the throats of these Nazis. And I am too old to worry about whether they like it
or not. Fuck them.
TAL - Ouch. Whoa. Hey now. Who said that?

MANSOOR - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.

TAL - The "Fear and Loathing" guy?

MANSOOR - Yes.

TAL - Damn. The Americans are beginning to...question the Bushies.

Pause.

MANSOOR - Not good.

TAL - No. Not good at all. Not good at all.

Pause.

MANSOOR - Dr. Hunter better watch his back.

TAL - He does not care. He'll be too drunk to feel the bullet.

More loud rumbling. Tal and Mansoor extinguish thier cigarettes and turn their attention toward the highway on the other side of the soap factory.

MANSOOR - Again with the Humvees. Jesus f'ing Christ, when will these people learn?!

TAL - Grab the rocket launcher. Ten bucks says I hit the thing on the first try.

MANSOOR - You're on.

Mansoor hands Tal a rocket launcher. The men prep the weapon and we...

CUT TO:

More later...




Friday, January 28, 2005

B-Movie Stuff

Iraqi elections on Sunday. Great piece on the front runner here.

Bad, b-movie stuff.

And speaking of bad b-movies:

"Gitmo Soldier Details Sexual Tactics"

Uh oh.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Female interrogators tried to break Muslim detainees at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay by sexual touching, wearing a miniskirt and thong underwear and in one case smearing a Saudi man's face with fake menstrual blood, according to an insider's written account.
D'oh!
A draft manuscript obtained by The Associated Press is classified as secret pending a Pentagon review for a planned book that details ways the U.S. military used women as part of tougher physical and psychological interrogation tactics to get terror suspects to talk.

"I have really struggled with this because the detainees, their families and much of the world will think this is a religious war based on some of the techniques used, even though it is not the case," the author, former Army Sgt. Erik R. Saar, 29, told AP.

Saar said he witnessed about 20 interrogations and about three months after his arrival at the remote U.S. base he started noticing "disturbing" practices.

One female civilian contractor used a special outfit that included a miniskirt, thong underwear and a bra during late-night interrogations with prisoners, mostly Muslim men who consider it taboo to have close contact with women who aren't their wives.
B-movie writers of the world, unite and take over!
Beginning in April 2003, "there hung a short skirt and thong underwear on the hook on the back of the door" of one interrogation team's office, he writes. "Later I learned that this outfit was used for interrogations by one of the female civilian contractors ... on a team which conducted interrogations in the middle of the night on Saudi men who were refusing to talk."

Some Guantanamo prisoners who have been released say they were tormented by "prostitutes."
The ones who walk Sunset, or the ones who walk Santa Monica? BIG DIFFERENCE.
In another case, Saar describes a female military interrogator questioning an uncooperative 21-year-old Saudi detainee who allegedly had taken flying lessons in Arizona before the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Suspected Sept. 11 hijacker Hani Hanjour received pilot instruction for three months in 1996 and in December 1997 at a flight school in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"His female interrogator decided that she needed to turn up the heat," Saar writes, saying she repeatedly asked the detainee who had sent him to Arizona, telling him he could "cooperate" or "have no hope whatsoever of ever leaving this place or talking to a lawyer.'"

The man closed his eyes and began to pray, Saar writes.
To Jesus?
The female interrogator wanted to "break him," Saar adds, describing how she removed her uniform top to expose a tight-fitting T-shirt and began taunting the detainee, touching her breasts, rubbing them against the prisoner's back and commenting on his apparent erection.

The detainee looked up and spat in her face, the manuscript recounts.
Sat through that bad scene...one too many times.
The interrogator left the room to ask a Muslim linguist how she could break the prisoner's reliance on God. The linguist told her to tell the detainee that she was menstruating, touch him, then make sure to turn off the water in his cell so he couldn't wash.

Strict interpretation of Islamic law forbids physical contact with women other than a man's wife or family, and with any menstruating women, who are considered unclean.

"The concept was to make the detainee feel that after talking to her he was unclean and was unable to go before his God in prayer and gain strength," says the draft, stamped "Secret."

The interrogator used ink from a red pen to fool the detainee, Saar writes.
What, no ketchup?
"She then started to place her hands in her pants as she walked behind the detainee," he says. "As she circled around him he could see that she was taking her hand out of her pants. When it became visible the detainee saw what appeared to be red blood on her hand. She said, 'Who sent you to Arizona?' He then glared at her with a piercing look of hatred.

"She then wiped the red ink on his face. He shouted at the top of his lungs, spat at her and lunged forward" — so fiercely that he broke loose from one ankle shackle.
Great scene. Keep it.
"He began to cry like a baby," the draft says, noting the interrogator left saying, "Have a fun night in your cell without any water to clean yourself."
You know, I was gonna CUT TO: INT. GITMO DETENTION CENTER - NIGHT, but I don't have to. It's all in the damn article.
"Who sent you to Arizona?"

"Have a fun night in your cell?!"
Man. "Final Draft" won't let you put those lines in a script.

More later...

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The script is getting weirder

Must read speech by Seymour Hersh here.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist gave this recent presentation re: the "war" in Iraq at the Steven Wise Free Synagogue in New York.

My favorite excerpt:
There's a lot of anxiety inside the -- you know, our professional military and our intelligence people. Many of them respect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as much as anybody here, and individual freedom. So, they do -- there's a tremendous sense of fear. These are punitive people. One of the ways -- one of the things that you could say is, the amazing thing is we have been taken over basically by a CULT, eight or nine neo-conservatives have somehow grabbed the government. Just how and why and how they did it so efficiently, will have to wait for much later historians and better documentation than we have now, but they managed to overcome the bureaucracy and the Congress, and the press, with the greatest of ease.
Tough.

And then this:
I think there's a way out of it, maybe. I can tell you one thing. Let's all forget this word “insurgency”. It's one of the most misleading words of all. Insurgency assumes that we had gone to Iraq and won the war and a group of disgruntled people began to operate against us and we then had to do counter-action against them. That would be an insurgency.

We are fighting the people we started the war against. We are fighting the Ba'athists plus nationalists. We are fighting the very people that started -- they only choose to fight in different time spans than we want them to, in different places.

We took Baghdad easily. It wasn't because be won. We took Baghdad because they pulled back and let us take it and decided to fight a war that had been pre-planned that they're very actively fighting. The frightening thing about it is, we have no intelligence. Maybe it's -- it's -- it is frightening, we have no intelligence about what they're doing. A year-and-a-half ago, we're up against two and three-man teams. We estimated the cells operating against us were two and three people, that we could not penetrate. As of now, we still don't know what's coming next. There are 10, 15-man groups. They have terrific communications.
Think about that for a second. Just think about the possibilty...that many of the Iraqi "insurgents" are former members of Saddam's army.

CUT TO:

INT. IRAQI MILITARY BASE - NIGHT

An Iraqi SOLDIER stares into a radar screen as his superior OFFICER paces frantically in the background. The officer is smoking a Marlboro Red. An alarm sounds. The soldier removes his headset and turns to his boss.

SOLDIER - The American pig-dogs have left Kuwait

The officer extinguishes his cigarette.

OFFICER - Get me the Imperial Palace.

The soldier presses a large red button on the right side of the radar screen.

INT. IMPERIAL PALACE WAR ROOM - SAME

A number of highly decorated Iraqi MILITARY OFFICIALS are gathered together in this elaborate "war" room. Most of the men are standing in front of a massive map of the Middle East (which takes up an entire wall of the room). Suddenly, a large red phone begins to ring. All eyes focus on the four-star GENERAL who sits next to the "hot-line." The general picks up, nods and turns to his colleagues.

GENERAL - It has begun.

The general snaps his fingers...and the rest of the officials spring to action.

CUT TO:

INT. IRAQI MILITARY BARRACK - MOMENTS LATER

Hundreds and hundreds of Iraqi soldiers file into a giant miltary barrack on the outskirts of Baghdad. The men are members of Hussein's elite IMPERIAL GUARD. The men ready themselves for combat...by shedding their miltary garb. A number of soldiers pass out traditional Iraqi clothing to the men...who don their new outfits with speed and efficiency. A young soldier burns the miltary gear...as the Imperial Guard members trade in their assault rifles for grenades and small arms.

EXT. IRAQI MILARY BARRACK - SAME

The soldiers file out of the barrack and split up into teams of two and three. Many of the men drive away from the base in Fiat sedans and beat up Hyundais.

CUT TO:

INT. IMPERIAL PALACE - MOMENTS LATER

The camera pans across the ornate library of the Imperial Palace. Then room is filled with books, expensive art and large pictures of SADDAM HUSSEIN. UDAY HUSSEIN is speaking into a cell phone. He closes the phone and turns to his father...who is staring out of a large picture window that overlooks the city of Baghdad. Saddam is holding a Bengal tiger cub in his left arm.

UDAY - Father, 'Operation Iraqi Get Even' is...a reality.

Saddam grunts and turns to Uday.

SADDAM - Remember this, my son. Rasta say, "He who runs from fight today...lives to fight another day."

UDAY - This is so.

Pause.

SADDAM - Yes. This is so.

The two men begin to laugh demonically. The tiger cub lets out a small roar and we...

CUT TO:

INT. WHITE HOUSE, OVAL OFFICE - SAME

PRESIDENT BUSH is sitting on a large leather couch in the Oval Office. DICK CHENEY and DONALD RUMSFELD are seated at the President's desk. The men are drinking maritnis.

PRESIDENT BUSH - You guys are sure about this, right?

DONALD RUMSFELD - Trust me. We're gonna be greated as liberators.

DICK CHENEY - Hey. Have we ever steered you wrong?

The men begin laughing and we...

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Holy Bible passage, Batman!

For those of you who were baffled by W's Inaugural Adress, check out Matthew Rothschild's latest editorial in The Progressive. The title?

"The Hidden Passages in Bush’s Inaugural Address"

Meaning...hidden BIBLICAL passages.

D'oh!

Excerpts:
Bush’s Inaugural Address contained many explicit references to God, but there were even more hidden allusions to the Bible that may have been lost to many in his audience, as they were to me, before I did some research.

When Bush thanked the American people for granting him patience in “good measure,” he was echoing Luke 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure. . . .”

When Bush talked of the “ideals of justice and conduct that are the same yesterday, today, and forever,” he was echoing Hebrews 13:8, which says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

When Bush talked about the “untamed fire of freedom” in a passage that included the phrase “hope kindles hope,” he was echoing passages from Jeremiah. For instance, Jeremiah 17:27 says: “I will kindle an unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem.” And Jeremiah 50:32 says: “I will kindle a fire in her towns that will consume all who are around her.”

There are many other passages in the Bible that have a raging fire in them. For instance, Isaiah 33:14: “The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: ‘Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?’ ”

When Bush talked about the day when “the captives are set free,” he was echoing Ephesians 4:7-9, which says: “He led the captives free.”

Toward the end, when Bush said, “Freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul,” he was echoing Psalm 107: “For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Such as sit in darkness. . . .”

In these passages, Bush may have been intent on reassuring his evangelical base that he is one of them. But in the process, he was also doing something dangerous to our democracy.
Agreed.

Unfortunately, Bush did not bust out my favorite Biblical passage. Revelations Ch. XIII, v. 18.
"Woe to you, Oh Earth and Sea, for the Devil sends the Beast with wrath, because he knows the time is short...

Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the Beast, for it is a human number. Its number is Six Hundred and Sixty Six."
I left alone, my mind was blank, I needed time to think to get the memories of my mind. What did I see? Could I believe? That what I saw last night was real and not just fantasy? Just what I saw, in my old dreams, were the reflections of my warped mind staring back at me. Cause in my dreams, it's always there. The evil face that twists my mind and brings me to despair!

Yeah!!! (Dug uh duh duh duh duh! Dug uh duh duh duh duh! Dug uh duh duh duh duh duh duh!)

"Up the Irons!"

More later...

Monday, January 24, 2005

More James Bond Stuff

The US is looking into the missing Iraqi "defense" cash (please read the pevious postings below).

The cast of characters involved in this bad, b-movie? Getting bigger, yo.

Here's the latest bit from Reuters.
U.S. authorities are investigating why $300 million in American bills was taken out of Iraq's Central Bank this month and flown to Lebanon, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq said on Sunday.

The envoy, John Negroponte, said that he did not know if the money was missing or if it had been used to buy weapons, as some Iraqi officials have said.

Negroponte, in a taped interview from Baghdad on CNN's "Late Edition," said no U.S. government money was involved.
"Wait. John Negroponte? THE John Negroponte?"

"Yep."

"The dude who...?"

"Let me quote my main man and number-one homey, Noam Chomsky. 'In Honduras, proconsul Negroponte's task was to supervise the bases where a terrorist mercenary army - the Contras - was trained, armed and sent to overthrow the Sandinistas." (You can read Noam's full comments re: Negroponte's role in Iraq and Central America here.)

"Whoa."
The New York Times, which reported the incident on Saturday, cited unidentified Iraqi officials as saying the cash had been used to buy tanks and other arms from international dealers in a rush to put together an armored division for the fledgling Iraqi army.

Iraqi Defense Minister Hazim al-Shaalan and Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi have traded charges regarding the cash transfer, with Chalabi accusing Shaalan of sending the cash abroad without cabinet authorization, and Shaalan threatening Chalabi with extradition to Jordan, where he is wanted in connection with the collapse of Petra Bank.
"Wait. Ahmed Chalabi? THE Ahmed Chalabi?"

"Yep."

"The NEO-CONS (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz) wanted that dude to be president, right?"

"Originally."

"Because they thought the dude was the 'George Washington' of Iraq."

"Yep."

"And he's the same dude who gave them 'intelligence' before the war?"

"Yep."

"Damn. How deep is this rabbit-hole?"

"You and I...will never know."

More later.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Crazy, Crazy James Bond Stuff

Okay...

Hope you read the piece on Dale Stoffel, the American "defense contractor" who was gunned down in Baghdad shortly AFTER blowing the whistle on possible corruption within the new Iraqi Defense Ministry. (Scroll down a few posts to get to the story.)

Quick recap. American-dude got pissed after the Iraqis failed to cough up $24,700,000 for his goods and services. The Iraqis told the dude to cool his jets and claimed that he'd be paid by a "MYSTERIOUS LEBANESE BUSINESSMAN." Dude figured that the Iraqis were taking kickbacks on that money and complained to American officials. Dude was summoned back to the Green Zone to talk with the Iraqis about the "situation" and was gunned down in the streets of Baghdad...right after that meeting.

So...

Here's the headline from yesterday's NY Times:

"Mystery in Iraq as $300 Million is Taken Abroad"

Taken where?
Earlier this month, according to Iraqi officials, $300 million in American bills was taken out of Iraq's Central Bank, put into boxes and quietly put on a charter jet bound for LEBANON.

The money was to be used to buy tanks and other weapons from INTERNATIONAL ARMS DEALERS, the officials say, as part of an accelerated effort to assemble an armored division for the fledgling Iraqi Army. BUT EXACTLY WHERE THE MONEY WENT, AND TO WHOM, and for precisely what, remains a mystery, at least to Iraqis who say they have been trying to find out.

The $300 million deal appears to have been arranged OUTSIDE the American-designed financial controls intended to help Iraq - which defaulted on its external debt in the 1990's - legally import goods. By most accounts here, there was no public bidding for the arms contracts, nor was the deal approved by the entire 33-member Iraqi cabinet.
Wink wink, nudge nudge? Eh, eh, eh?

Connect the dots. The $300 million bucks that was sent to Lebanon was to be used to buy weapons from international arms dealers...LIKE DALE STOFFEL.

And now...the money is gone. And at least two contractors (Stoffel and his partner) involved in this particular biz are dead.

Hey now!

Cue the James Bond music, and cut to a high-speed Humvee chase through the streets of Beirut.

Much more later...

Again - remember - Stoffel was told that he'd be paid BY A MYSTERIOUS LEBANESE BUSINESSMAN.

WTF?!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

The VP


Cheney
Originally uploaded by blacksab67.
Round-trip ticket from Portland to D.C.? $264.

One night stay at the Motel 6 in Capitol, MD? $49.

Hitting the Vice President's limo with a snowball? Priceless.

Any word on a missing, Portland-area man?

"Article 2,037, sec d, line 4 of the Patriot Act CLEARLY states that any individual who..."

Friday, January 21, 2005

Holy Fucking Shit

CRAZY, crazy, James Bond stuff from the LA Times. The headline:

"U.S. Contractor Slain in Iraq Had Alleged Graft - The weapons dealer had accused officials in the (Iraqi) Defense Ministry of a kickback scheme"

Whoa.
An American contractor gunned down last month in Iraq had accused Iraqi Defense Ministry officials of corruption days before his death, according to documents and U.S. officials.

Dale Stoffel, 43, was shot to death Dec. 8 shortly after leaving an Iraqi military base north of Baghdad, an attack attributed at the time to Iraqi insurgents. Also killed was a business associate, Joseph Wemple, 49.

The killings came after Stoffel alerted senior U.S. officials in Washington that he believed Iraqi Defense Ministry officials were part of a kickback scheme involving a multimillion-dollar contract awarded to his company, Wye Oak Technology, to refurbish old Iraqi military equipment.
Totally fucked up.
Stoffel, of Monongahela, Pa., made his allegations in a Dec. 3 letter to a senior Pentagon official and in a meeting with aides to Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.). Soon after, Stoffel was SUMMONED to the Taji military base in Iraq by COALITION MILITARY OFFICIALS to discuss his concerns about his contract. He complained about payment problems with a MYSTERIOUS LEBANESE BUSINESSMAN designated by the Iraqis as a middleman, sources said.
"The American pig-dog has been...talking."

"You know what to do." (click)
As Stoffel, Wemple and an Iraqi interpreter left the Taji base in a car Dec. 8, ANOTHER VEHICLE RAMMED theirs head-on. Two masked men jumped out and EXECUTED THE TWO AMERICANS in a fusillade of bullets, according to news accounts at the time. Their interpreter fled and is missing.
"Where is he?"

"That should not be a concern to you." (click)

Stoffel was an interesting cat, too.
Stoffel's killing drew scrutiny from investigators not only because of his whistle-blowing activities but also because of his mysterious and controversial past. Stoffel worked on a top secret U.S. program in the 1990s to buy Russian, Chinese and other foreign-made weapons for testing by the U.S. military, according to documents and interviews.

Stoffel's Iraq deal was the FIRST LARGE-SCALE CONTRACT issued and funded directly by the Iraqi government for military purposes, and was crucial for training and equipping the Iraqi army, considered a key component of the U.S. strategy for exiting Iraq.
Stoffel tried to cash in on a "great opportunity" and got more than he bargained for.

Another bad, b-movie element of the story goes something like this:
As part of the contract, senior Defense Ministry officials required Stoffel's payments to be processed through a LEBANESE MIDDLEMAN appointed by the ministry, according to the Dec. 3 letter.
That's a part for...who? Andy Garcia? Michael Madsen? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
By November, Stoffel was seeking a payment of $24.7 million, submitting invoices directly to the Defense Ministry. The ministry, in turn, cut three separate checks, sending each of them to the Lebanese businessman for "processing," people familiar with the contract said.
"That ain't right. That's not the way we do things in the US of A."

"My fren, een case ju have not notice, dees...ees not the US of A."
The middleman's role was to act as a sort of escrow account for the financial transactions, reconciling invoices and dispensing the payments, sources said. But after the businessman failed to send him the money, Stoffel complained to U.S. officials in Washington that he suspected that the middleman's true role was to route payments back to Iraqi officials in the form of kickbacks, people familiar with the contract said.
This is just a small glimpse into the business of war, folks. The "privatized" part of the war. And it ain't pretty.

In a related article from PittsburghLIVE.com, Stoffel was described in the following manner:
"He was an experienced military SPECIAL FORCES guy who knew what he was doing, how to handle weapons and was always heavily armed," said Irey. "He always felt if ever there was an altercation, he'd get them before they got him."
Not this time.

Crazy.

Read the LA Times article by clicking on the link above.

More later...

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...

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Duff-heads Unite!

Need another reason to hate the rock band Fuel? (The number one reason being...they suck?)

"Singer Curses at Inaugural Youth Concert"

Rock and roll.

Read the full story here.

Yes, Fuel appeared at BushTwinapalooza, along with Hillary Duff, Jo Jo and 3 Doors Down. (Wow. What a bill.) The PRO-FAMILY types and "Hillary Duff moms" are upset this morning because Fuel's front-man, Brett Scallions, gave the following shout-out to the crowd...a crowd largely made up of Hillary Duff fans (i.e. little girls and Republicans);
"Welcome to the greatest fucking country in the world!"
Like I said...rock and roll.

Man.

People, Brett's comment was not offensive. It was just...lame. And so...not rock.

"Welcome to the greatest fucking country in the world?!" Don't know what kind of moment you were having, Brett. Wasn't a rock moment, that's for sure.

But fear not. There is hope. Mark McGrath did a fine job on "American Idol."

You know what? The lamest thing about this whole story is the fact that...Fuel even agreed to do this gig in the first place! Tells you all you need to know about the band.

"That they're lame?"

And they broke the rule.

Rock and Roll Rule #1265, sec "a," paragraph 2.
"If you get an invitation from a conservative-leaning organization, like from Wal-Mart or the White House or something, to play some fucking benefit or a concert or to make an appearance with one of their fucking people? Tell them to "go fuck themselves." Then tell them to call Toby Keith. Or Hillary Duff. Or 3 Doors Down. Or Nugent."
A more..."rock and roll" approach to the above mentioned situation would've gone something like this:
"God Dammit. Look at all the fucking...conservatives here tonight. Jesus fucking Christ. I feel like I'm at a fucking Promise Keepers meeting. Fuckin' A!"
Hey, speaking of Nugent, here's one of my favorite Nugent quotes (lifted from a live recording);
"Did anybody come here to get mellow?"

"(Crowd)No!"

"Ain't nobody come here to get mellow. (Pause) If you came here to get mellow you can turn around and get the fuck out of here!"
Now that...is rock and roll.

Believe it or not...it came from a conservative.

"Spirit of the wild! Cowabunga!! Ow!!!"

Maybe Brett needs an elk-hunting trip to the Gros Ventre Indian Reservation.

"Spirit of the wild!"

More later...




Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Onward, Christian Soldiers!

Well...here's the headline (re: the tsunami) from Yahoo! India:

"Villagers furious with Christian Missionaries"

Uh, oh.

I think I know where this is going
Samanthapettai, Jan 16 (ANI): Rage and fury has gripped this tsunami-hit, tiny Hindu village in India's southern Tamil Nadu after a group of Christian missionaries allegedly refused them aid for not agreeing to follow their religion.
Long story short: a bunch of people were freaking out after their village was destroyed, some missionaries showed up, they told the people that they had to convert to Christianity to get biscuits and water, the people refused but rushed the relief trucks anyway, and the missionaries took off. (If you want, you can read the whole story here.)

Apparently, this little conversion scenario is playing out...all over South-East Asia...as a number of foreign aid groups bring comfort to the largely MUSLIM population stricken by the tsunami. Because many of the aid groups...are Christian.

And some of them have decided to do some serious MISSION work...while they pass out biscuits and water.

It's a delicate little negotiation that's been going on for a long, long time.

OLD SCHOOL

"Heathen, we've leveled your temple and killed your king."
"(Aztec translation)Water."
"You will accept the Lord as your God?"
"(Aztec translation)We are all god."
"Okay then."
Whack!

MID SCHOOL

"Mister, can you spare a biscuit? 'M starvin' ta death."
"You must first swear off your allegiance to the Pope and convert to English Church."
"Jesus Christ! You're a dirty Orangeman! Fuck off!"
Whack!
"Fer fuck's sake! What'd you do this fer?!"
"Back to the pub, you Irish dog!"
Whack!

NEW SCHOOL

"You must be suffering."
"I...lost my entire family...wife...three kids...home...parents."
"Horrible."
"Must...eat. No clothes. Please."
"I will give you some new Wrangler jeans, a Laker t-shirt, a Teriyaki Chicken sandwich from Subway, and some water from Aquafina...if you accept Jesus Christ as your lord and personal savior."
"I'm...a devout Muslim."
"Perfect!"
"Won't do it."
Whack!
"D'oh!"

Many of the Christian aid groups are fighting back, though, because they're tired of feeling the heat from people who are trying to restrict their missionary/relief work.. And because they believe that it's their duty...to preach the Word of God...24/7. (Especially in the aftermath of...a biblical-sized disaster.) The Indonesian government, which is in a constant state of crisis, has been very pissy re: the aid effort, because they can't stand the presence of the West in SEA. And because they can't stand the fact that the Christian aid groups are preaching Christianity to their Muslims.

(Word is...the Indonesians rejected help from Israel...becuase they did not want "Jews" bringing relief to their country.)

Fascinating stuff.

I'd like to post a few comments from Gary Bauer, one of the far-right's leading "activists," on the issue of Christian Aid in the Muslim world, but...he's a nut...so I won't.

More later...

Monday, January 17, 2005

Bush Speaks

The Washington Post put the transcript of Bush's Air Force One sit-down on-line.

Here's the whole enchilada.

A few key excerpts. Let's start with...Osama Bin Hidin.'
The Post: Why do you think [Osama] bin Laden has not been caught?

THE PRESIDENT: Because he's hiding.

The Post: Our allies have done all they can do to help catch him?

THE PRESIDENT: We're on the hunt.
The bugle sounds...the charge begins.
The Post: Do you think others are on the hunt, too? Are you happy, content with what other countries are doing in that hunt?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

The Post: Anyone you're not happy with? (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Look, bin Laden is elusive, and he is in a remote part of the world. And we are -- I am -- I can't think of anybody in the world who is our ally who isn't willing to do what is necessary to try to find him. And so I am pleased about the hunt, and I am pleased that he's isolated. I will be more pleased when he's brought to justice, and I think he will be.
ME: Sir, are you using dogs in this hunt? If so, what kind? If not, why? Every coalition nation has at least one breed that could, if called upon, do the job. No comment? Well, let's move on to Social Security.
The Post: Will you talk to Senate Democrats about your privatization plan?

THE PRESIDENT: You mean, the personal savings accounts?
Ooh. He's good. You won't catch him on that one.
The Post: Yes, exactly. Scott has been --

THE PRESIDENT: We don't want to be editorializing, at least in the questions.

The Post: You used partial privatization yourself last year, sir.
I spoke too soon!
THE PRESIDENT: Yes?

The Post: Yes, three times in one sentence. We had to figure this out, because we're in an argument with the RNC [Republican National Committee] about how we should actually word this. [Post staff writer] Mike Allen, the industrious Mike Allen, found it.
Wait. The Post has an argument with the RNC about how to word...what? Questions relating to "privatizing" Social Security? "Will you talk to Senate Democrats about your privatization plan?" WTF?!

Do not buy into their fucking language. Come on.
THE PRESIDENT: Allen did what now?

The Post: You used [the term] partial privatization.

THE PRESIDENT: I did, personally?

The Post: Right.

THE PRESIDENT: When?

The Post: To describe it.

THE PRESIDENT: When, when was it?

The Post: Mike said it was right around the election.

THE PRESIDENT: Seriously?

The Post: It was right around the election. We'll send it over.

THE PRESIDENT: I'm surprised. Maybe I did. It's amazing what happens when you're tired. Anyway, your question was? I'm sorry for interrupting.
Yes. It's amazing what happens when you're tired. You go to sleep...and you wake up to find that the conservatives have completely rewritten Webster's Dictionary.

Man.
The Post: Secretary Powell said this week that American troops will begin leaving Iraq this year. Is that true?

THE PRESIDENT: The way I would put it is, American troops will be leaving as quickly as possible, but they won't be leaving until we have completed our mission. And part of the mission is to train Iraqis so they can fight the terrorists. And the sooner the Iraqis are prepared -- better prepared, better equipped to fight -- the sooner our troops will start coming home.

The Post: Can you be sure that by the end of your second term, that there will be a significant reduction?

THE PRESIDENT: I'm still on the, as quick as possible.
So am I.

More later...

Sunday, January 16, 2005

El Presidente

El Presidente Jorge Bushto gave a sit down interview (to some journalists!) on Air Force One...this past Friday. Dude was wearing a semi-miltary looking Air Force One jacket while doing so.

The headline from the Washington Post?

"Bush Says Election Ratified Iraq Policy"

What 'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis?
President Bush said the public's decision to reelect him was a ratification of his approach toward Iraq and that there was no reason to hold any administration officials accountable for mistakes or misjudgments in prewar planning or managing the violent aftermath.

"We had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 elections," Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post. "The American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates, and chose me."
And that, my friends, is a perfect example...of an alcoholic brain...hard at work. Straight-up, 12-step stuff. Our Kid is in complete DENIAL about the reality of the situation in Iraq, and still trying to JUSTIFY his behavior re: the war.

Strangely, the "American people" have become Bush's ENABLERS by sending him back to DC. (Trust me, he sees them like an alcoholic would: as people who understand that he does not have a problem.)

Unbelievable.

Let me put it this way - the alcoholic mind will go to great lengths to justify it's own destructive, alcholic behavior, and will come up with elaborate excuses to do so. Egs; Hey, it was my friend's wedding, I've been under a lot of stress lately, I'm in so much pain because of my last operation, it was happy hour, blah blah blah. For the most part, alcoholics will only face accountability moments...after great disaster.

Nes pa? Onward.

Osama bin Laden came up during the sit-down on AF1. Check out this next excerpt. It's very wordy - methinks to hide Bush's response.
As for perhaps the most notorious terrorist, Osama bin Laden, the administration has so far been unsuccessful in its attempt to locate the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Asked why, Bush said, "Because he's hiding."
Because he's hiding.

Okay then. Good enough for me.

(Feel free to rewrite that little excerpt in your own head. Here's mine; "Bush was then asked why Bin Laden had not been captured...despite the billions of dollars spent to that end. His response? "Because he's hiding.")

The Washington Post article ends with this little gem:
On the election Bush said he was puzzled that he received only about 11 percent of the black vote, according to exit polls, about a 2 percentage point increase over his 2000 total.

"I did my best to reach out, and I will continue to do so as the president," Bush said. "It's important for people to know that I'm the president of everybody."
Actually, I think it's important for BUSH to know that he's the president of everybody.

But, hey, that's just me.

More later...

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Final thoughts

Forgot to mention the e-mails the NYTimes obtained re: the Graner case. (Here's the article from Editor & Publisher.)

Yes, the dude made a couple of references to the good times at Abu Ghraib in the e-mails he sent to friends and family:
In one of the graphic messages, titled “just another dull day at work,” Graner wrote, "The guys give me hell for not getting any pictures while I was fighting this guy,"referring to a photograph of a bound and naked detainee howling with pain, his legs bleeding.

Graner, in another message, referred to the “really cool stuff” he got to do at the prison.

The court has said it would not publicly release the e-mail, which had been retrieived from Graner’s U.S. Army account. It was given to the jury by the prosecution on Tuesday, and, according to the Times, copies were given to the newspaper by “a person close to the defense.”

Included were new photographs Graner had sent to friends and family, including his young children.

One message referred to Take Your Children to Work Day with the comment, "how about send a bastard to hell day?"
Yeah. How about it?
Attached was a photograph of a detainee's head bloodied beyond recognition.

Another photograph showed him stitching a cut over a prisoner’s eye. Graner wrote: "Things may have gotten a bit bad when we were asking him a couple of questions. O well."

Attached to a similar photo in one e-mail was this comment : ”Like I said, sometimes you get to do really cool stuff over here.” Graner sent the same photo to another friend, advising: "Try doing this at home, and they'll lock you up if you don't have some type of license," adding, "Not only was I the healer, I was the hurter. O well life goes on."
Enough.

The biggest drag about this whole case is...now that they have the ringleader...an obvious scum-bag...the higher-ups are gonna go scot-free. The mainstream media will buy into the "few bad apples" narrative (easy to do with a villain like Graner), and the "digging" will end. We'll hear a few more comments about the handful of misguided soldiers at Abu Ghraib, and that's it.

On that note, the headline on Drudge this morning is "Torturer IN-CHIEF Convicted." The message? "They got the top guy."

No they didn't.

More later.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Super Romantic...and Guilty

Graner Found Guilty in Iraq Prisoner Abuse

Read on...

Wow. He's SUPER Romantic

QUICK NOTES on the fake restaurant thing? Come on. If you've ever eaten at a Home Town Buffet or a Cracker Barrel or a Bennigan's or a Red Lobster...you know what I mean. The "food" is sent to the restaurants...frozen...portioned out...in plastic bags. Snip snip, microwave, serve. Yum.

It's just a touch better than a Hungry Man meal...and probably loaded with just as much sodium.

And the fake "theme decor?" Whether it's a "roadhouse," or an old school "rib joint, or a "shack on the beach?" Makes me sick. Thank god they all serve beer.

Now...

Excellent news from the Chuck Graner hearing.

My main man had ANOTHER girlfriend at Abu Ghraib.

"You mean...Lyndie England?"

Nope. Megan Ambuhl.

"Who let the dogs out?! Woof, woof , woof, woof , woof!"

Everbody, this is Megan . Megan, this is everybody.

From Reuters!

"Abu Ghraib Guard's Lover 'Mocked' Prisoners"

Yay! More "romantic" games!
A former U.S. military policewoman testified on Thursday that an intelligence officer at Iraq (news - web sites)'s Abu Ghraib prison asked her to mock the genitals of naked detainees, supporting defense contentions that guards were following military intelligence orders.

In the strongest defense testimony so far, Megan Ambuhl told the court-martial of Spc. Charles Graner, portrayed as the leader in the 2003 prisoner abuse scandal, that interrogators would tell the guards what to do with detainees.
The defense is trying to show that the abuse orders came from the higher-ups.

Good luck!
Seven U.S. military police and one intelligence officer were charged in the case in which detainees were photographed naked in sexually humiliating positions. Four Americans have pleaded guilty; Graner's case is the first to go to trial.

Ambuhl, who worked with Graner at the prison and admitted under cross-examination for the first time in public to having a SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP with him, pleaded guilty last year to one count of dereliction of duty and was spared prison time.
Chuck Graner...SUPER romantic.
"They would come down with their detainees and let us know what they wanted us to do with them," Ambuhl said, referring to military interrogators. "They might say this guy is cooperating, not cooperating."

In one instance, she said an intelligence interrogator asked her to watch a male detainee shower. "They wanted me to go in the shower and point at the genital area and laugh at them," she said.
Um. Megan? Hate to tell you...but...they told you to do that...so they could have a laugh...at YOUR expense.

Pathetic.
Another time, a civilian interrogator ordered her to deal with a detainee called "al Qaeda" because he was a suspected member of the network, said Ambuhl, who was present when a naked Iraqi prisoner was leashed and photographed.

The interrogator "told us we were doing a good job and that breaking al Qaeda (the prisoner) would have a global impact and save a lot of lives," she said.
Yeah. Right. Ordering a female soldier...to stand near a naked prisoner...is just a really sad way...of getting your rocks off. These guys should do time...for being lame.
The defense had said Graner, 36, would testify but unexpectedly rested their case on Thursday afternoon. "I feel fantastic," Graner told reporters. "I am still smiling,"
Chuck will have plenty of time to write a Harlequin Romance (re: his romp through Iraq) in the big house. Me bets there's a publisher or two...linin' up for that tale.
The court viewed photos of the three bound prisoners from that October 2003 night taken by Pfc. Lynndie England, a clerk with whom Graner later fathered a child and who also is facing a court-martial later this year.

The photos of England holding a naked prisoner on a leash shocked the world and turned the abuse scandal into a major U.S. foreign policy setback.
Hey, did Lyndie England name their baby?

More later...

Thursday, January 13, 2005

A Very Costly Burger

By now, many of you have seen the web-sites devoted to "exposing" the political leanings of our nation's restaurants and stores by posting the sum-total of their politcal donations. Buyblue.com and Choosetheblue.com are just a couple. Check 'em out.

Those sites claim that, "All (the) numbers used...pertain to the 2003-2004 election cycle and were gathered from information in the public domain, including data from the Federal Election Commission's website (www.fec.gov) and from the Center for Responsive Politics (www.opensecrets.org) as available on December 12, 2004, unless otherwise noted." Fine.

The idea behind those sites is quite simple; if you knew that the Olive Garden and Outback Steakhouse were turbo-Republican...you wouldn't give 'em your biz...if you were turbo-liberal. Or vice versa. Or something like that.

Now...

According to Choosetheblue, most of the companies involved in the food biz are turbo-Republican. Great. Nice to know how much money the Outback Steakhouse sent the Bushies. (Strangely, ARBY'S is not! They gave most of their cash to the Dems. How the hell did that happen?)

However, the most interesting thing about the donation charts...is the exposure of the PARENT COMPANIES involved in the food biz.

Simply put: all the restaurants you see at the mega-mall-sprawl ARE OWNED BY THE SAME G'DAMN PEOPLE.
Brinker International, a company that (alledgedly) gave 92% of its cash to the Repubs, owns THE CORNER BAKERY, CHILI'S, BIG BOWL, MAGGIANO'S, ROMANO'S MACARONI GRILL, ON THE BORDER and the ROCKFISH SEAFOOD COMPANY.

Darden Restaurants, a company that (alledgedly) gave 91% of its cash to the Repubs, owns THE RED LOBSTER, THE OLIVE GARDEN, BAHAMA BREEZE, and SMOKEY BONES.

And our dear friends at McDonald's, who sent a measly 80% of their cash to the Repubs, run CHIPOTLE, BOSTON MARKET, PRET A MANGER and the AROMA CAFE.
I could go on and on...so I won't.

One thing is clear, though: we've been Disneyfied. Goodbye mom & pops, hello HomeTownOliveCornerBostonMacaroniMarket.

Why anyone would eat at a Maggiano's...when there are tons of great mom & pops nearby...totally beyond me. Yes, I know, the Maggiano's at The Grove is the same as the Maggiano's at the Twin Pines mall, so blah blah blah. But...come on. It's killing us and turning us all into f'ing robots. We're eating CONCEPTS...measured out to the nth degree...and not eating authentic meals.

I imagine a giant Brinker factory...out in the middle of nowhere...making food for Maggiano's AND Chili's...from the same damn vat of yellow goo.

You know what I'm saying.

Let's stop eating at fake restaurants. Please?

More later...

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Horribly Sad News

Horribly sad news this morning. Horribly, horribly sad news.

KID ROCK WILL NOT BE A PART OF NEXT WEEK'S INAUGURATION FESTIVITIES.

"Oh, god!"
"No!"
"Say it ain't so!"

This information comes to us from WorldNetDaily...one of the web's leading sources for Wackoland news. Key excerpts from this article:
Kid Rock, the vulgar rock-rapper who initially had been lined up to headline the youth concert next week as part of the inauguration festivities for President Bush, will not be apppearing after all.

"He's not performing," a spokesman for the Presidential Inauguration Committee confirmed for WND.

Word that the rapper will not join JoJo and Hilary Duff as performers at the Jan. 18 concert, which will be hosted by Bush twins Barbara and Jenna, comes after WorldNetDaily and other outlets publicized the fact that the committee was planning to feature Kid Rock, which caused several pro-family organizations to ask their supporters to protest his appearance.
Please note the use of the term PRO-FAMILY.
As WorldNetDaily reported, the Detroit-based rapper, who dedicated his first album to songs about oral sex and who was voted the Sluttiest Male Celebrity at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards, has a history of vulgar lyrics.
Wow. Someone actually remembered the Sluttiest Male Celebrity Award. Amazing.
Kid Rock's first album, "Grit Sandwiches for Breakfast," fixates on oral sex, including one song, "Yo Da Lin In The Valley," that describes the lyricist's exploits with multiple women in detail. Another similar tune is "Wax the Booty."

Some of Kid Rock's songs include the F-word in their title, such as "F–- U Blind" and "F–- Off."

After reading some of Kid Rock's lyrics, Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, was outraged the rapper would be a part of the president's festivities.

"I just read Kid Rock's sexually explicit lyrics and feel ashamed and dirty for even looking at his songs," he told WND.
What year is this?
"If this sex-crazed animal, whose favorite word is the F-word, is allowed to sing at Bush's inauguration this will send a clear message to pro-family Americans that the Republican Party has taken them for a ride and ditched them in the gutter."
Please note the use of the terms "sex-crazed animal" and PRO-FAMILY AMERICANS.
Besides Thomasson's group, other pro-family organizations, including Concerned Women for America and the American Family Association, decried the planned appearance of Kid Rock and asked supporters to express their outrage to the inauguration committee.
You gotta check out the American Family Association web-site (www.afa.net). Super good times. Really.

They definitely ain't down with the Kid.

And they definitely ain't down with YOU, you ANTI-FAMILY AMERICAN.

No word from the Bush Twins. Me hopes their protest went something like this:

"God fucking dammit!"
"You fucking promised us!"
"Honey, I -"
"He played for you in fucking New York, daddy!"
"Sweetie - "
"He's our fucking friend!"
"Angel -"
"Our party is gonna fucking suck!"
"No one gives a fuck about Hillary Duff!"
"And fucking...Jo-Jo!"
"He's the fucking Kid!"
"He...he...bothers some of my people, sweetheart."
"Oh, Jesus fucking Christ!"
"Here we fucking go again!"
"With your fucking people!"
"We are so fucking sick of your fucking people!"
"Tell them to go fuck themselves!"
"Jenna!"
"He's playing at this fucking party, daddy!"
"Whether you fucking like it or not!"

More later. Hopefully.



Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Next Stop, Wackoland! Part Deux

Good morning.

Well, there's some hard-core lawyerin' going on at the hearing for Abu Ghraib-star Charles Graner. He...the accused ringleader of the prisoner abuse scandal...and the dude who knocked up Lyndie England. (Hubba hubba)

Let's cut right to the chase. The headline from Reuters:

"Iraqi Abuse Was Like Act of 'Cheerleaders' -- Lawyer"

Yeah.

Get ready, 'coz here it comes:
FORT HOOD, Texas (Reuters) - A lawyer for Charles Graner, accused ringleader in the Iraq prisoner abuse scandal, on Monday compared piling naked prisoners into pyramids to cheerleader shows and said leashing inmates was also acceptable prisoner control.

He compared this to pyramids made by cheerleaders at sports events and parents putting tethers on toddlers.

"Don't cheerleaders all over America form pyramids six to eight times a year. Is that torture?" Guy Womack, Graner's attorney, said in opening arguments to the 10-member U.S. military jury at the reservist's court-martial.
Yes they do. Excellent point. Case closed. Read on, please. Here's some more kick-ass lawyerin' from Guy Womack
Womack said using a tether was a valid method of controlling detainees. "You're keeping control of them. A tether is a valid control to be used in corrections," he said. "In Texas we'd lasso them and drag them out of there."
"And sometimes, when them injuns broke outta the jail cell, we'd git 'bout ten a Link Holler's men...and we'd hunts 'em down. Like a buncha peach-orchard boars!"
The most dramatic testimony on Monday came from Pvt. Ivan Frederick, sentenced last year to eight years in prison in the case, who discussed the episodes portrayed in photographs that outraged the world after their publication last year.

After prosecutors screened grainy video that was previously not made public showing naked and hooded Iraqi male prisoners masturbating, Frederick said Graner and England joked about the incident.

"He (Graner) said something to the fact that it was a present for her birthday," said Frederick, who, like Graner, was also a prison guard in civilian life.
Wow. Charles Graner...super romantic. Who knew?

Take note. Valentine's Day is coming up. If you've been wondering what to get your significant other...
Apart from saying the methods were not illegal, Graner's defense is that he was following orders. "He was doing his job. Following orders and being praised for it," Womack told the court, adding later that Graner would testify in the case.

The chief prosecutor, Maj. Michael Holley, asked rhetorically: "Did the accused honestly believe that was a lawful order?"
Doesn't matter. The dude probably "believed" that he'd taken care of...by the higher-ups...if anyone questioned the "job" he was doing.

As the mighty Nelson (of Simpson's fame) would say, "Ha ha!"
Womack tried to establish that civilian intelligence officers and others wanted the guards to maltreat prisoners to get information.

The Bush administration has blamed the abuse on a small group and said it was not part of a policy or condoned by senior officers.
Meaning...they ain't going down for some idiot just because he wears a uniform. And they ain't comin' to his rescue.
Graner, 36, faces up to 17 1/2 years in prison on charges that include mistreating detainees, dereliction of duty and assault. He has pleaded not guilty. The trial was expected to last at least a week.
Good luck, Mr. Graner. You'll have plenty of "inmates" to fuck with in prison. (They love ex-prison guards!) I'm sure you'll be able to find a few dudes for one of your "cheerleader pyramids."

More later...

Monday, January 10, 2005

Good News, Frat Boys

Time for the Ronald McDonalds, Mickey Mouses and Cow McMoos of the world to stand up and unite!

"COLUMBIA HOUSE PLANS PORN CLUB"

Hey now!

Read the whole article here. The key excerpts:
Penny for your dirty thoughts?

Columbia House, famous for its "12 CDs for a penny" record clubs, will launch its own adult video club with Playboy Entertainment at the end of this month. The service, called Hush, will sell pornography through direct mail and a Web site.

While 50-year-old Columbia House is eager to cash in on the $12 billion porn business, officials are pretty hush hush about Hush.

Columbia House, the nation's largest direct distributor of DVDs and home video, will handle distribution, while Playboy, which has an adult direct-mail list "in the millions," according to Litwak, will handle marketing.

Litwak added that his company estimates that total adult video sell-through and rentals total $5 billion a year.

He said Hush can grab a significant amount of the marketplace because of Playboy's wide reach and Columbia's direct distribution methods. The club would work similarly to the company's record groups — subscribers would select from a monthly catalog of titles.
I hated CH because...orerding junk from CH was just a step above buying a cheap bootleg off a guy on the subway platform. Back in the early 80's, CH used to put really bad covers on their cheap-ass cassettes...so you could always tell when someone had a CH tape. (Remember? They had two, pink lines on the side.)

Still, it was fun to watch those CH deliveries roll into the dorm. Or the fraternity house. Law was...the shipments were "first come, first served" since everyone was using fake names, ie it's cool to steal from someone who's stealing.

"The Sperminator" and "Schindler's Fist" for a few bits? Sound like a plan.

More later. (Please read the previous post...if you have the chance.)

This morning's headline from the Chicago Tribune:

"Investment pros see bonanza - Social Security proposal would add billions to investments and fees"

Once again, the Bushies get ready to back the truck up to the back of the national treasury.

Do you really need to know anything else about this story? Read the full article here.

A few key excerpts:
The prospect of 100 million Americans each having $1,000 of their Social Security contributions to invest every year has investment professionals salivating at the potential financial bonanza.

About $100 billion a year would be freed up for stocks, bonds and other investments under a tentative plan President Bush has floated to fix the Social Security retirement system by creating private investment accounts.
Which the White House calls PERSONAL SAVINGS ACCOUNTS.
The fees paid to brokers and money managers could run into the billions.

"The potential for investment firms has to be mouthwatering," said Michael Falk, chief investment officer with Chicago-based ProManage LLC, which helps workers manage their employer-sponsored 401(k) accounts. "We're talking about billions of dollars."
Here's the big secret; the Average Joe will NEVER get his hands on that $1,000. He will not get a thousand dollar check...to "invest every year" or spend as he sees fit. By law, his money will go to the big investment houses, and THEY'LL invest or spend it as they see fit.
As Bush says, nobody will be taking their payroll taxes to the racetrack.
Just Charles Schwab. And the Lehman Brothers. And...you get the idea.

"Who Profits?"

The only question you ever need to ask.

More later...

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Next Stop, Wackoland

Well, we've finally arrived.

The headline this morning on MSNBC.com:

"The Salvador Option - The Pentagon may put Special-Forces-led assassination or kidnapping teams in Iraq"

Uh...

Fantastic.
Jan. 8 - What to do about the deepening quagmire of Iraq? The Pentagon’s latest approach is being called "the Salvador option"—and the fact that it is being discussed at all is a measure of just how worried Donald Rumsfeld really is. "What everyone agrees is that we can’t just go on as we are," one senior military officer told NEWSWEEK. "We have to find a way to take the offensive against the insurgents. Right now, we are playing defense. And we are losing." Last November’s operation in Fallujah, most analysts agree, succeeded less in breaking "the back" of the insurgency—as Marine Gen. John Sattler optimistically declared at the time—than in spreading it out.

Now, NEWSWEEK has learned, the Pentagon is intensively debating an option that dates back to a still-secret strategy in the Reagan administration’s battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s. Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government funded or supported "nationalist" forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers. Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success—despite the deaths of innocent civilians and the subsequent Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal. (Among the current administration officials who dealt with Central America back then is John Negroponte, who is today the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Under Reagan, he was ambassador to Honduras.)
The key sentence in that last passage?

"Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success—despite the deaths of innocent civilians and the subsequent Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal."

"Many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success."

"Many U.S. CONSERVATIVES consider the policy to have been a success."

"Many U.S. CONSERVATIVES consider the policy to have been a SUCCESS."

By what fucking measure? The number of potential lefties (and workers) killed?!

Once again, we're witnessing the awesome power of time travel. And life in Wackoland. Courtesy of Dandy Don Rumsfeld...and John Negroponte.

God damn.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Bill Frist: Working For You!

Here's the quote of the week, courtesy of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Wackoland):
"Get some devastation in the back."
Yes, that's right. Bill was touring the southern part of Sri-Lanka, basking in the afterglow of the tsunami, and ordering an AP photographer to get a good picture before he took off for the Ritz-Carlton (or wherever he was staying - you know what I'm saying).

What a guy.

Happy Saturday.

Sean Penn rules in "The Assassination of Richard Nixon," btw. Lousy title for a good movie...

And special "thanks" to all those who've told me about VERA DRAKE - the abortion movie (mentioned below).

Friday, January 07, 2005

Boxer


boxer
Originally uploaded by blacksab67.
God, I love her.

I'd like to think that this is the face of a woman...who has some hard-core information...and is simply overwhlemed with the TRUTH.

Or maybe she's bracing herself for the inevitable...attack.

Like a story on Drudge...about a Mexican nanny or shady business deal. Or a story on Newsmax...where Barb uses "your" money to pay for every abortion in the world. Or a bit on Limbaugh...about her whispered "relationship" with Hitlery.

Good luck, Barb. They're coming for ya. I hope your Deflector Shields are at full power.

"When they kick at your front door/how you gonna come/with your hands above your head/or on the trigger of your gun?"

More later. Don't forget to vote on the films mentioned below.

Crazytown

Crazytown.

Another name for Newsmax.com, one of the right's most fucked up sources for "news" and lunacy.

Here's a quick blurb from this morning:
Mel Gibson - More Hollywood Snubs of Gibson's 'Passion'

Jesus is being shut out of this year's movie awards in favor of abortion, Che Guevera, sex reseach and euthanasia. No Golden Globe award, no Producer's Guild award ... and "The Passion" wasn't even mentioned in Variety's Oscar report.
Hmm. Didn't know that Jesus was in "The Passion." I know Jim Cavaziel was in the movie...but Jesus? Was he...what...a supporting actor? An extra? Did he adapt the screenplay from, uh, the Bible?

Let's play a game. Let's match the Newsmax refs with the actual movies. My guess goes...I have no fucking idea about the abortion movie, Motorcycle Diaries, Kinsey and Million Dollar Baby.

I'd love to hear your comments on the "abortion" movie. Kill Bill Vol 2? Anchorman? The Notebook?

More soon...

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Boxer

Boxer signed on re: the Ohio vote challenge. Don't ask me how I did it - I just know people. (Hint - has something to do with my V.O. work on "The Incredibles," my current hit single, and my recurring role on "King of Queens." Wink wink.)

Read about it here.

So, there will be a discussion regarding the Ohio vote in the House and Senate. Albeit a brief one. Still, a few 'Mericans might finally get to hear about (Ohio Sec. of State) Ken Blackwell's role as a Bush campaign official, the insane lines in minority precincts, the mystery vote-count in Cincy, and the Triad employee who came to "fix" a tallying machine (after the count began). Unfortunately...
The action seems certain to leave Bush's victory intact because both Republican-controlled chambers would have to uphold the objection for Ohio's votes to be invalidated. But supporters of the drive hope their move will shine a national spotlight on the Ohio voting problems.
Meaning, the best thing that supporters can hope for is some air-time on CNNMSNBCABCNBCCBS.

"Good luck."

Don't think anyone is holding their breath re: FOX. There's...more...important things going on in the world.

Like Ash Simpson gettin' booed at the Orange Bowl. (Countdown to an overdose at the Chateau Marmont!)

More later...

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Dean

Great interview with Howard Dean today re: the future of the Democratic Party.

Here.

More later...

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Who's Your Daddy, Part Deux

Once again, it takes a UK paper to fill in the blanks here in 'Merica.

The headline from today's Guardian: "No sex is safe sex for teens in America - Joanna Walters in Killeen, Texas, reports on the $170m Bush-backed abstinence drive that teaches condoms are useless"

"Damn straight."

You know where this is going. I mean, come on.

A few key excerpts:
On a bright but breezy Texas winter morning at the high school on Clear Creek Road, next to the vast Fort Hood military base, the talk is all about sex. Or, rather, about how you absolutely must not do it or anything close to it outside wedlock. It is part of the sexual revolution in US schools called Abstinence-Only Until Marriage, a programme being cascaded with funding from the Bush administration.

Karen Koehler smoothed her demure skirt, adjusted her green blazer and looked out intently at the class as the 15- 16 -and 17-year-olds fidgeted in their seats. 'Give me an example of risky behaviour,' said Koehler, sex education teacher at Shoemaker High School, Killeen, about an hour north of the state capital Austin.
And a few miles from Hell. Sorry, back to the article.
The teenagers started with easy stuff. 'Cheating in tests,' called out one. 'Smoking,' said another.
"Picking up a 'hooker' on Santa Monica, between Highland and Las Palmas."
Not what Koehler was after. 'Something to do with sexuality. What about girls in short skirts?' Silence from the class of 25 pupils. 'If you wear provocative clothing it makes people think things about you. Guys, what does that say to you - she is loose? She is easy?' asked the teacher.

The boys tittered. Koehler ignored them: 'Girls, how far are you going to take the first date?'

From this educational foreplay, the lesson progressed to the dangers of sexually transmitted infections and an insistence that condoms do not prevent disease or pregnancy.

The climax came with the message now being taught in schools across the US: abstaining from sex until marriage is the ONLY FORM of protection. The federal government will put around $170 million into abstinence-only sex education programmes in schools in 2005, a $30m increase over last year.
No word on the amount of money the federal government will end up spending on "kids having kids," teenage dead-beat dads, depression, drug abuse and shattered lives.
The abstinence funds go to educational, medical or religious groups at local level who devise sex curriculums for the schools. There is no federal quality control of the material, just the edict to teach abstinence and limit discussion of contraception to failure rates.
Anyone have a problem with that?
Koehler continued her lesson by listing the sexual activity that fell in the 'danger' category. 'Regular intercourse; anal intercourse; oral intercourse; skin-to-skin under clothes; genital contact; and there are some problems with deep passionate kissing - these are risky behaviours.'
Skin to skin under clothes? Skin to skin under clothes?! I'm a fairly open guy, not afraid of, you know, stuff, but I've never heard of skin to skin under clothes. WTF? I...uh...why am I confused by "skin to skin under clothes?" Yes, I agree, there are major problems with deep, passionate kissing, but skin to skin under clothes? I'm not sure I know what that is.

And...what if I...wear special underwear? Does that mean I can't get preggers?
Holding hands, hugging with clothes on and 'light kissing' were OK, the teens were told.
All lies.
Koehler then ran through the gamut of sexual diseases. 'How are you going to keep yourself safe?' she asked the class. 'Abstinence,' they chorused.

'What do you also hear will keep you safe?' she asked. 'Condoms,' they answered.

'Do they keep you safe?' she asked. 'No,' they chorused.

Koehler believes young people are unreliable in their use of contraception. She is banned by law from promoting the benefits of correctly used condoms.
But not banned by law from lying to kids.

Oh, by the way;
Joint research by Columbia and Yale Universities found that 88 per cent of Americans between the ages of 12 and 18 who pledge abstinence do not wait until they get married to have sex, compared with 99 per cent of 'non-pledgers'.

Teens who 'pledge' wait around 18 months longer than their peers to have sex and have fewer partners, but once the pledge is broken only 40 per cent of males use condoms compared with 60 per cent of 'non-pledgers'.

'By 18 to 24 they catch up with their non-pledging peers in sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy rates,' said Professor Peter Bearman of Columbia University.
No word on whether or not THE WAIT was worth it.

More later...

Monday, January 03, 2005

Who's YOUR Daddy?

Apparently, Rupert Murdoch is Tony Blair's "daddy."

While the debate over Fox's latest reality-suck-fest rages across 'Merica, check out this article from the Guardian UK re: Rupert's quest for total, global media domination.

The title? "Files show extent of Murdoch lobbying - Tycoon won ministers' assurance that he could bid for Channel Five"

Hey, hey!

A few key excerpts:
Freedom of information files released to the Guardian reveal how the media tycoon Rupert Murdoch wields extensive lobbying clout over the Blair government.

Mr Murdoch secured private reassurances from ministers during heavy lobbying that he would be able to buy Channel Five if he wanted to, according to partly censored documents released by the culture secretary, Tessa Jowell.

In previously undisclosed meetings, representatives of the Murdoch empire were able to lobby ministers six times in a crucial five-month period when an important bill was passing through parliament.

Citizens' groups have said they were unable to get similar face-to-face access to ministers.

There has been longstanding speculation that Mr Murdoch wants to buy Five, although he has denied that he intends to do so. His opponents fear that he would exert too much power if he was able to own a terrestrial channel as well as the satellite station Sky and four national newspapers.
That's it?

Hopefully, Mr. Murdoch will be able to do the same...here in the US. I'd like the New York Post to become our true, national paper...so we can wake up to THIS KINDA STUFF everyday.

It's all about the "Page 3" girls. And the "Tiniest Groom." And "Cops." "Who's Your Daddy?" "Idol." "Paradise Hotel." Yada yada.

Good times.

More later...

Saturday, January 01, 2005

My prayer for 2005


thumb_anders_guttormsen
Originally uploaded by blacksab67.
People of Los Angeles.

Quit "Googling" each other.

Before dates, at work, whatever.

Please.

Stop it.