BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Monday, February 28, 2005

Good Job, Geniuses!


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Originally uploaded by blacksab67.
Well...

A couple of weeks ago, a group called "Citizensunited.org" erected the billboard (on the left) on Hollywood Blvd. - in hopes of sending a "nyah nyah nyah" message to the evil celebs on Oscar night. You know, the evil celebs that are destroying our "childrens" and our country. (I know - the image is small. It's Bush - taunting Penn, Moore, Babs, Fletch, et al.) From their website:
"On Hollywood's biggest night, this is what the liberals will see as they walk down the red carpet outside the Kodak Theater."
Uh, not quite.

One - The billboard was 4 BLOCKS away from the "red carpet," and tucked above Hollywood Toys. Plus, the damn thing was facing east...away from the red carpet. Sorry, dudes: NO ONE SAW IT.

Two - Hollywood Blvd. (east of Highland) was completely shut down to traffic yesterday - so all the celebs came into the Oscar's via Highland and Franklin. Sorry, dudes: NO ONE SAW IT.

Three - the red carpet was completely walled off in front of the Kodak. The celebs couldn't see anything - except Joan, Melissa and the cameras in front of 'em.

Not Hooters, not Baja Fresh, and definitely not that stupid billboard. Sorry, dudes: NO ONE SAW IT.

Good job, geniuses. Your money was well spent!

More later...

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Coming to a Town near You?

Good times in Texas.

Remember Warren Jeffs, the leader of the polygamist sect based in Hilldale, UT - Colorado City, AZ? (He of "Under the Banner of Heaven" fame?) Well, the dude is building a new TOWN on the outskirts of Eldorado, TX, a small community located in the center of the Lone Star state.

Needless to say, the locals are FREAKED; freaked by the speed of construction on Jeff's 1,600 acre compound and freaked by the sight of women wearing pioneer-style dresses.

The local paper, The Eldorado Success, is keeping track of things here.

One article caught my eye - an internet letter to Jeffs from Winston Blackmore, another "famous" polygamist who's been cast out of Jeffs' tribe. Here goes:
“I was so impressed when you told us that your father would live 320 years into the future that I could have bet it would happen. I was so impressed when you told us that when the DOW hit 9000 that it would be the ultimate end of the economy that I traded off my investments and gave you the money. When you predicted the end of the world in 98, I bought a generator. When you changed the date twice in 99 I bought another generator. When you changed the date to 2000, I traded again on a new, bigger one. When you called for last minute donations, I sold my generators and donated my thousands.”

“I knew that the Olympics would never happen because you said it wouldn’t. I traveled hundreds of miles around Salt Lake City, stayed away from California, sold my trucking company, and gave the money because I believed.

“Why did Uncle Rulon not live 320 years into the future? Why is the economy prospering while the DOW is beyond 10,000? Why did the Olympics happen? Why did you ruin the Barlows? Why the sacking of the UEP?

“I confess that I was troubled when I heard about Zion being in Texas. Throughout our history we have been taught by real prophets that Zion would be built in Jackson County, Missouri.

“I confess that I was troubled when I saw that you had taken your fathers wives for your own as Uncle Roy (former FLDS Prophet Leroy Johnson) had taught us that that practice was an abomination in the sight of God and was the reason for the destruction of great nations. I confess that I struggled when I saw what you have done to Allan Steed (an early worker at the YFZ Ranch who was later excommunicated). You took his millions and then took his wives and family. You have killed Uncle Allan as surely as if you had sent him to the front lines to battle. In a time of peace, you have practiced family genocide on a weak and believing people.”

“I confess that you are a hypocrite when it comes to those Canadians. You go there and let them have meetings and let them pretend to be so much better. I know why. If you cut any of those guys off like you have done to the Barlows, you would have to sleep with one eye open. As long as a steady stream of log houses comes your way they are needed good guys. When they find out that you have no plans for even one of them to come live in Zion, not now or ever, they may not like it at all.”

“You will be known in history as the Prophet of Doom. You will have to go through all you have put us through, and in the end God will confess, “Paul I know, Jesus I know, but you— I don’t know you.”
Hey now.

More later...

Friday, February 25, 2005

Gay Shrek, Part Deux

We, the new-traditionalists of the Focus on the True American Family Council, have done some more digging into the subversive world of some of today's most popular gay-makers.

Here's another list of unacceptable "entertainment" for traditional American children.

Finding Nemo - This movie is a giant mess; it promotes being gay and being Jewish. Here's why: 1) Nemo meets Ellen Degeneres, the Queen of All Gays. Ellen's friendship is hurtful to Nemo...because her lesbianism has clearly brought on an early case of adult dementia. Sends the wrong message to kids...that it's okay to befirend a crazy gay. 2) Nemo's father (Albert Brooks) is a whiny Jew. 'Nuff said.

The Wiggles - the idea that four gays are singing to children? Unbelievable.

Barney - we all know that Barney is gay. However, he's much more subversive than that. His hit song, "I Love You, You Love Me" promotes the idea that you should love people...even if they're "once born." (You shouldn't.) Also, Barney is a dinosaur. We all know that there were no dinosaurs - a clever, secular invention, yes, but nothing more.

Ice Age - There was no "ice age." Another secular invention - designed to promote the idea of global warming.

Rugrats - Tommy is voiced by a woman (E.G. Daily). Promotes the idea that babies are gay.

Fairly Odd-Parents - This show promotes witchcraft and the idea that parents can be odd. (They can't.) We're hard at work on a show that will restore respect and honor to the family, by creating a family with a strong patriarch at the helm. And a wife who understands her role as a wife.

On that note:

The Incredibles - An "incredible" mess. Elasti-girl had it right when she decided to be a HOME-MAKER. The minute she put on the "suit," she became a feminazi...a feminazi who promotes the idea that women should have lives outside the home. Also, Mr. Incredible's "friendship" with Fro-zone is problematic, and we're worried about Dash.

Puffy Ami Yumi - Promotes the idea that it's okay to be gay and Japanese.

Snagglepuss - pink and gay.

The Banana Splits - A complete mess. This drug-fueled monstrosity, hosted by an elephant, a monkee, a dog and a thing, promotes the idea that you should be friends with people who are different than you - a secular invention designed to get you to befriend people outside your congregation.

Little Bear - this little gay bear gets everything he wants from his parents. Sets up unrealistic expecations for our children - another secular invention designed to rip apart the traditional American family.

More later...

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Gay Shrek

Good news, citizens.

From the Canadian Press:

"Shrek character is latest target of anti-gay religious group"

It's about time.
That other jolly green giant could be in trouble.

Shrek 2 is the latest animated film title to be "outed" by Christian fundamentalists in the U.S.

On its website the TRADITIONAL VALUES COALITION is warning parents about the cross-dressing and transgender themes contained in the hit DreamWorks feature, now on DVD.

"Shrek 2 is billed as harmless entertainment but contains subtle sexual messages," says the coalition, which describes itself as a grassroots inter-denominational lobby with more than 43,000 member churches.

"Parents who are thinking about taking their children to see Shrek 2 may wish to consider the following." The article then proceeds to describe one of the characters, an "evil" bartender (voiced by Larry King) who is a male-to-female transgender in transition and who expresses a sexual desire for Prince Charming.

In another identified scene, Shrek and Donkey need rescuing from a dungeon by Pinocchio and his nose, which is made to extend as an escape bridge by getting the wooden boy to lie about not wearing women's underwear.

The TVC report, 'A Gender Identity Disorder Goes Mainstream', raps DreamWorks for helping to promote crossdressing and transgenderism.
This is good.

Christian activists (Jim Dobson, his pals, et al) are finally going after the people (Spongebob, Shrek, Patty Simpson) who've been turning our poor children into gays. If we can just stay after these gay-makers...we might be able to reclaim some great homes and buildings in West Hollywood and the Village.

Other people we should investigate:

Shaggy - Obviously, we've been concerened about Shaggy's heroin addiction since 1969. But what we haven't looked at...is Shag's love for the dog. You know what I mean - he's been shagging Scooby for three decades, and promoting bestiality to our children. And another thing - why haven't we gone after Velma? CLEARLY GAY.

Mr. Clean - Gay, gay, gay, gay. So gay. Teaches our MALE children that it's "okay" to be gay and to "stay at home and clean" (at a time when they should be learning about running their own business, keeping their labor costs low, and outsourcing.)

Powerpuff Girls - Gay feminazis. The PG's promote the idea little girls can be gay and have super-powers.

Hamm's Beer Bear - Promotes homosexuality, alcoholism and the idea that it's okay to not have a job.

We should look into any muppet that's not married.

Dora - Promotes the idea that it's okay to be gay and hispanic.

Sabrina - Promotes the idea that it's okay to be gay and a witch.

Ed, Edd, And Eddy - Gay, gay and gay.

Ronald - Before there was Michael Jackson, there was Ronald. Luring children with cheeseburgers since 1963.

Yogi and Boo Boo - Everyone talks about Bert & Ernie, but these two fags have been dating since the late 1950's! Plus, they promote that weird, gay "bear" culture - fat hairy men who like fat hairy men.

Juan Valdez - Have we ever met "Mrs. Valdez?" No, because there is no "Mrs. Valdez." Because Juan is gay. Promotes the idea that it's okay to be gay, hispanic, and a socialist. (Arguably funneling profits to leftist guerrilas.)

Tom & Jerry - Tom's obsession with Jerry goes way beyond Tom's natrual drive to kill Jerry. Because Tom is gay for Jerry. He doesn't want to eat Jerry - he wants to fuck him.

Man...

I've worked myself into a bit of a snit. Need a time-out. There are TOO MANY GAY PEOPLE OUT THERE!

More later...

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Sign Me Up

From the on-line version of New York magazine:

"Tom Crusie Wants to Assist With On-Set Scientology"

Surprise, surprise, surprise!
In the upcoming Steven Spielberg remake of War of the Worlds, one family fights for survival when Earth is invaded by Martian war machines. But on the set of the movie, there’s been an invasion of another sort: Scientologists! Tom Cruise, the film’s star and the religion’s most well-known adherent, has set up a Scientology tent with a volunteer minister. “It’s a GIFT from Tom to the crew,” says Lee Anne De Vette, Cruise’s sister and spokeswoman. “You can receive what’s called an ASSIST there,” a Scientologist practice that, as she describes it, seems to be a glorified mini-massage. “If someone has an injury in a certain part of their body, if their back is killing them, they can come in and get an assist. It’s something that helps the body get in better communication with itself.” Actual Scientology literature is available, too, in case “someone walks in looking for a solution.” All of which has caused a certain amount of grumbling. Scientology watchdog Rick Ross says that he’s received e-mails from crew members wondering, “Where are the booths for the Catholics and the Jews?”
That...is a great question.

I'm ready, guys. Come and get me.

Throw a cool party at the Celeb Center. Or something.

More later...

Monday, February 21, 2005

Hunter S.

Yes, it's true. From The Denver Post
Aspen - Hunter Stockton Thompson, who coined the term "gonzo journalism" to describe the unique and furiously personal approach to reportage exemplified in his 1972 book "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," died Sunday night of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his Woody Creek home. He was 67, family members said.
F'ing sad.

Part of me wants to believe that the dude was, well, you know, taken out. Because in Hunter's view, that kind of stuff happens everyday.
Back in June, when John Kerry was beginning to feel like a winner, I had a quick little rendezvous with him on a rain-soaked runway in Aspen, Colorado, where he was scheduled to meet with a harem of wealthy campaign contributors. As we rode to the event, I told him that Bush's vicious goons in the White House are perfectly capable of assassinating Nader and blaming it on him. His staff laughed, but the Secret Service men didn't.
Wouldn't think so.
Kerry quickly suggested that I might make a good running mate, and we reminisced about trying to end the Vietnam War in 1972.

That was the year I first met him, at a riot on that elegant little street in front of the White House. He was yelling into a bullhorn and I was trying to throw a dead, bleeding rat over a black-spike fence and onto the president's lawn.

We were angry and righteous in those days, and there were millions of us. We kicked two chief executives out of the White House because they were stupid warmongers. We conquered Lyndon Johnson and we stomped on Richard Nixon -- which wise people said was impossible, but so what? It was fun. We were warriors then, and our tribe was strong like a river.

That river is still running. All we have to do is get out and vote, while it's still legal, and we will wash those crooked warmongers out of the White House.
Some of his final thoughts. Get ready:
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.
Hmm.

More bits from "Fear and Loathing: 2004."
Presidential politics is a vicious business, even for rich white men, and anybody who gets into it should be prepared to grapple with the meanest of the mean. The White House has never been seized by timid warriors. There are no rules, and the roadside is littered with wreckage. That is why they call it the passing lane. Just ask any candidate who ever ran against George Bush -- Al Gore, Ann Richards, John McCain -- all of them ambushed and vanquished by lies and dirty tricks. And all of them still whining about it.

That is why George W. Bush is President of the United States, and Al Gore is not. Bush simply wanted it more, and he was willing to demolish anything that got in his way, including the U.S. Supreme Court. It is not by accident that the Bush White House (read: Dick Cheney & Halliburton Inc.) controls all three branches of our federal government today. They are powerful thugs who would far rather die than lose the election in November.
We've lost a fearless voice.

Here's a link to his final column for ESPN.com, "Shotgun Golf with Bill Murray." Much lighter faire than the above mentioned comments.

More later...

Sunday, February 20, 2005

LOL

Great editorial on the Gannon thing in The Guardian.

And a softball interview with Gannon's employer, Robert Eberle, in the New York Times:

Comic moments from the Times article:
Mr. Guckert said Saturday that he had no journalism experience before arriving at Gopusa, apart from working for his high school and college newspapers. Asked why he did not, in his function as a White House reporter, even try to interview White House officials, he said, "I thought there was a lot of meat that came out of the press briefings."
Uh...

Gonna let the obvious Gannon joke ride. Make up your own.

"I thought there was a lot of meat that came out of the press briefings."

CUT TO:

Robin Williams: "And how! Like Santa Monia Blvd on a Sunday afternoon. Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee!"

Sorry.
"You may say that lacks some kind of journalistic ambition," he added.
Come on. Go easy on yourself, James-Jeff.
Mr. Guckert denied seeing a Central Intelligence Agency memorandum disclosing the identity of Valerie Plame, a C.I.A. operative, even though he had strongly insinuated as much in an interview with her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, the transcript of which he posted on the Internet.

Mr. Guckert's phrasing in that interview so strongly suggested he had seen the classified memorandum that it brought F.B.I. officials to his house as part of the Plame leak investigation, he said.

But he said referring to the memorandum as though he had seen it was merely an interview technique.
Really lame cover. Not gonna work. Let's hope that someone gets to the bottom of this issue.
Mr. Eberle said that he and some friends founded Gopusa out of his Houston home about five years ago and later created Talon News. They expanded by buying another conservative site called MillionsofAmericans.com.

Mr. Eberle, who once worked for Lockheed Martin and says he prefers to keep his current employer unidentified, said that he was not bankrolled by any backers and that he and his wife had made few Republican contributions. Texas Republicans said he was not well known in the party.
Wow.

Firewall construction.

Nice try.

"Did Bobby tell the Jew from The New York Times that he's not really a Republican?"

"He was supposed to."

"Good. That oughta stop this whole damn thing. (Pause) Fore!"
Before engaging Mr. Guckert on "a volunteer basis," Mr. Eberle said he himself got temporary press credentials to attend a White House briefing. "I think I asked a question about a U.N. resolution on Iraq," Mr. Eberle said.
Eberle and Gannon have set the bar super high re: the time between starting a web-site and getting a WH press pass.

I have less than two years.

Does anyone know anyone?

More later...

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Rovian

The quote of the week comes from Karl "The Architect" Rove. Dude spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference this past week, which is an annual gathering of conservative pundits, pollsters, lobbyists, advertisers, and other assorted right-wing nutjobs.

As attributed to The Boy Genius by The Washington Post:
WASHINGTON - Karl Rove, President Bush's top political strategist, on Thursday pronounced conservatism the "dominant political creed in America" and coached fellow conservatives on how to support his boss.

"The next time one of your smartypants liberal friends says to you, `Well, he didn't have a mandate,' you tell him of this delicious fact: This president got a higher percentage of the vote than any Democratic candidate for president since 1964," Rove said.
SMARTYPANTS liberal friends.

Wow.

SMARTYPANTS liberal friends.

We've been called a lotta things before (commies, pinkos, faggots), but "smartypants?"

Ouch. That's low.

Here's a list of important historical figures who've used the word SMARTYPANTS in a complete sentence:
Barney Rubble, Dudley Do-Right, Fozzy bear, Snagglepuss, Witchypoo, Velma, Sigmund the Sea Monster, Elmo, Heatmeiser, Josie OF the Pussycats, Honk Kong Fooey, Burger Chef & Jeff, Tennesee Tuxedo, Fozzy Bear, Underdog, Moe the Bartender, Mushmouth, the Grimace, Penelope Pitstop, Boo Boo, the Grape Ape, the Pillsbury Doughboy, and Fozzy Bear.
"What company!"

Any other "delicious" facts out there?

1,475 soldiers dead since the start of this war. (At least, that's what the Pentagon tells us.)

But don't worry 'bout that, Karl. You just keep pushing that "domnant political creed." Everything else will just sort itself out.

"We smartypants liberals outta just start killing ourselves."

Yeah.

Here's another quote:
"You dick!" - Jeff Spiccoli
More later...

Friday, February 18, 2005

24 Hour Party People

Well...

Good news for The Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses, and New Order.

Here's the headline from The Guardian:

ECSTASY TRIALS FOR COMBAT STRESS

"How old are you? Are you old enough?"
American soldiers traumatised by fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are to be offered the drug ecstasy to help free them of flashbacks and recurring nightmares.
"Should you be in here watching that?"
The US food and drug administration has given the go-ahead for the soldiers to be included in an experiment to see if MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, can treat post-traumatic stress disorder.
"And how old are you? Are you owning up?"
Scientists behind the trial in South Carolina think the feelings of emotional closeness reported by those taking the drug could help the soldiers talk about their experiences to therapists. Several victims of rape and sexual abuse with post-traumatic stress disorder, for whom existing treatments are ineffective, have been given MDMA since the research began last year.
"Should you be in here with...twenty four hour party people, plastic face can't smile the white out!"
Michael Mithoefer, the psychiatrist leading the trial, said: "It's looking very promising. It's too early to draw any conclusions but in these treatment-resistant people so far the results are encouraging. People are able to connect more deeply on an emotional level with the fact they are safe now."
"Twenty four hour party people, plastic face can't smile the white out!"

Wow.

Good times.

Wonder if there's some cash in that new ($82,000,000,000) budget request for cigarettes, orange juice, and silly string?

"Hallelujah, hallelujah, we'll take a bit of, we'll take a bit of this and that!"

Have people ever listened to Toby Keith while ex-ing?

"God. What does that sound like?"

More later...

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Good News, Citizens!

Good news, citizens!

"Carlyle doubles return to investors"

And there was much rejoicing.
The Carlyle Group returned $5.3 billion to investors last year, more than double the $2.1 billion it returned the previous year, according to a summary the firm released Monday, Feb. 14, of its investment activities for 2004.

"It was our best year ever," said William Conway Jr., the Washington-based private-equity group's co-founder and managing director.
Does their "best year ever" have anything to do with WAR?

"No."

Right. Of course not.
Carlyle is not alone. Over the past two years, as the stock market has recovered, (private equity) shops have been able to exit a backlog of investments.

But Carlyle's numbers were substantial. In 2004, it raised $7.8 billion and invested $2.7 billion. It said it made 107 investments and 71 exits.
Wahoo!

This is great. My $10,000,000 just got turned into $20,000,000.

Party! Havasu! Cabo! South Padre!

Chicks, drugs, cars...I'm going on a rampage!

Wait. I'm not a Carlyle investor.

"Who is?"
More than 600 investors from 55 countries entrust Carlyle with their capital and their reputations.
Oh. The big boys. Damn.

"Look, just stick to the two dollar tables. You'll be much happier."

Yeah.

I wonder if Poppy Bush will slap a new coat of paint on the place in Kennebunkport?

"He's got the cash to do it."

And how.

Hey, Gannon stuff is breaking in the New York Times, big time:

Frank Rich

Maureen Dowd

And a great piece from Sydney Blumenthal in today's Guradian.

More later...

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Mercs Gone Wild

Here's the story from MSNBC"

"U.S. contractors in Iraq allege abuses - Four men say they witnessed shooting of unarmed civilians"

Mercs gone wild, yo.
There are new allegations that heavily armed private security contractors in Iraq are brutalizing Iraqi civilians. In an exclusive interview, four former security contractors told NBC News that they watched as innocent Iraqi civilians were fired upon, and one crushed by a truck. The contractors worked for an American company paid by U.S. taxpayers. The Army is looking into the allegations.
That company is - drum roll, please - Custer Battles!
The four men are all retired military veterans: Capt. Bill Craun, Army Rangers; Sgt. Jim Errante, military police; Cpl. Ernest Colling, U.S. Army; and Will Hough, U.S. Marines. All went to Iraq months ago as private security contractors.

"I went there for the money," says Hough.

"I'm a patriot," says Craun.

"You can't turn off being a soldier," says Colling.

They worked for an American company named Custer Battles, hired by the Pentagon to conduct dangerous missions guarding supply convoys. They were so upset by what they saw, three quit after only one or two missions.
"Dangerous missions guarding supply convoys."

I wonder how much they charge Uncle Sam for that kind of service.

"More than you can imagine."

Ya think?
"What we saw, I know the American population wouldn't stand for," says Craun.

They claim heavily armed security operators on Custer Battles' missions — among them poorly trained young Kurds, who have historical resentments against other Iraqis — terrorized civilians, shooting indiscriminately as they ran for cover, smashing into and shooting up cars.

On a mission on Nov. 8, escorting ammunition and equipment for the Iraqi army, they claim a Kurd guarding the convoy allegedly shot into a passenger car to clear a traffic jam.

"[He] sighted down his AK-47 and started firing," says Colling. "It went through the window. As far as I could see, it hit a passenger. And they didn't even know we were there.
Did he clear the traffic jam?
Craun, in an e-mail two days later to a friend at the Pentagon, wrote: "I didn't want any part of an organization that deliberately murders children and innocent civilians."

Errante says he also quit after witnessing wild, indiscriminate shootings on two other missions.  

"I said I didn't want to be a witness to any of these, what could be classified as a war crime," says Errante.

Once back in the U.S., Craun — recipient of the Bronze Star — took the allegations to Army criminal investigators. The Army tells NBC News it's looking into the matter.
I'm sure they'll get to the bottom of this.
This is not the firm’s first brush with controversy. Custer Battles is a relatively new company in the booming field of so-called "PRIVATE MILITARY COMPANIES" in Iraq providing veteran soldiers from around the world for various SECURITY jobs. Named for founders Michael Battles and Scott Custer, who are military veterans, the company quickly nabbed lucrative contracts in Iraq, where U.S. authorities needed firms who were willing to accept high-risk assignments.

The company is already under criminal investigation for allegations of fraud centering on the way it billed the government. Those allegations are also at the heart of a lawsuit by former associates. In September, the military banned the firm and its associates from obtaining new federal contracts or subcontracts.

Custer Battles denies it committed any fraud, and says the company has been the target of "baseless allegations" made by "disgruntled former employees" and competitors. It has said it hopes that the government will overturn the suspension on new contracts.
Which is much more important than investigating allegations of abuse.
Custer Battles declined to be interviewed on camera. The CEO calls the allegations "completely baseless and without merit" and says there's "no evidence" to support them. He adds that the Kurds worked for a subcontractor, not Custer Battles.
There's the great "they worked for a subcontractor, not us" excuse again.

Where have we heard that before?

"The work (in Iran) was done by a subccontractor. Not Halliburton."

Right.

Quick question: How many "PRIVATE MILITARY COMPANIES" are working in Iraq?

And...do you think the average Iraqi-Joe makes a distinction between American soldiers and gun-totin' white dudes in semi-miltary garb?

"Nope."

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

It's Getting Weirder and Weirder

Okay...

A month ago, I wrote a quick bit about Dale Stoffel, an American defense contractor who was gunned down in the streets of Baghdad SHORTLY AFTER accusing Iraqi Defense Ministry officials of corruption.

The Iraqis owed Stoffel some major cash for "defense work," the Iraqis welched on the payments, dude complained to American officials, dude was gunned down by "insurgents."

Well, here's another one. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Suspicion surrounds missing Bay Area man - His fellow military contract worker pointed to kickback schemes -- and then was killed"

"Cliff Notes" version: American defense contractors drum up some biz with the Iraqis, American defense contractors might have been privy to some shady deals, American defense contractors end up missing and dead.
Tikrit, Iraq -- In the midafternoon of Oct. 9, 2003, Kirk von Ackermann, an American contract worker from the Bay Area, used a satellite phone to call a colleague from a lonely desert road between Tikrit and Kirkuk in northern Iraq. He told his colleague he had a flat tire and needed a jack.

About 45 minutes later, the colleague found von Ackermann's car, abandoned. There was no sign of von Ackermann, who had been alone when he called. No hint of struggle, not even a footprint. All that remained was his satellite phone, his laptop computer, and, on the car's backseat a briefcase holding $40,000 in $100 bills.

"It was as if he had been abducted by aliens," Ryan Manelick told The Chronicle shortly after von Ackermann disappeared. Manelick was one of von Ackermann's colleagues at Ultra Services, a civilian contracting company they both worked for in Iraq, supplying U.S. military bases with tents, mobile homes, toilets, computers and Internet access.

Just over two months later, on the morning of Dec. 14, Manelick was shot dead near Camp Anaconda, a U.S. military base about 50 miles north of Baghdad, and about 50 miles south of where von Ackermann had disappeared.
Again, von Ackermann missing, Manelick dead.
U.S. military officials looking into both cases will not comment on the progress, if any, of their investigations.

For the families of the two men, there is grief, frustration and anger. And there is also suspicion and paranoia -- and the belief that perhaps both men were eliminated because they knew too much.
Here's where it gets really weird.
On the same day Saddam Hussein was hauled out of his spider hole, Ryan Manelick was driving a 4x4 just south of Tikrit, near the Iraqi town of Balad, 10 miles from Camp Anaconda. A car pulled up alongside and someone inside opened fire with a machine gun. Manelick died instantly, a bullet through his brain. It was two days before his 31st birthday.

Later that week he was to fly home to Pennsylvania for a Christmas break with his family.

Manelick may have been a random victim of a vengeful Hussein supporter. Balad, a fiercely pro-Hussein town in the Sunni triangle, was the source of constant rocket and mortar attacks on Camp Anaconda.

But Manelick had said something startling THE NIGHT BEFORE HE WAS KILLED.

"I'm in fear of my life, you know," he said to a gathering at a Baghdad restaurant, at which a Chronicle reporter was present.

"It's not Iraqis I'm worried about, either," added Manelick. "IT'S PEOPLE FROM MY OWN COUNTRY."

His father, Greg Manelick, and a team of up to 20 investigators from the Army's Criminal Investigation Command have been trying to figure out ever since what Manelick meant.
What the hell is going on over there?!
According to Greg Manelick and other former associates, Ryan Manelick had earlier told Army investigators looking into von Ackermann's disappearance that large sums of money were being paid in KICKBACKS to a U.S. Army officer in Iraq in return for doling out lucrative contracts to another a business associate at Ultra Services.

Von Ackermann, who as a contract manager for Ultra Services spent a lot of time at various U.S. military bases in Iraq, knew all about it, did not approve and was about to blow the whistle to U.S. Army authorities, Ryan Manelick reportedly had maintained.

Manelick made that assertion to investigators, according to his father and former associates, shortly before his fateful last supper in Baghdad.
Wow.

CUT TO:

INT. IMPERIAL PALACE, CPA OFFICE - DAY

An AMERICAN OFFICIAL sits at the giant mahagony desk in the CPA's main office. The room used to be Saddam Hussein's favorite library, but is now decorated with American flags and pictures of George Bush.

The phone rings. The American official picks up.

AMERICAN OFFCIAL - Hello?

INTERCUT WITH:

EXT. BALAD - SAME

TAL and MANSOOR, former members of Saddam Hussein's elite Imperial Guards, are driving their beat-up LeCar through the dusty streets of this small Iraqi town, located ten miles from the city of Tikrit. Both men are armed to the fucking teeth. Metallica's "Sad But True" is blasting from the car's speakers.

Tal speaks into his cell phone headset.

TAL - "Operation Iraqi Defense Contractor" checking in, yo.

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - I have caller ID.

TAL - Good for you. (then) We have the target in sight, dog.

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - We clear on this one?

TAL - Is the Pope about to die?

Tal and Mansoor hi-five.

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - (agitated) Look, you clowns botched the last job. Too messy. People have been asking questions about the American defense -

TAL - Hey, hey, come on, man. Yesterday's news.

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - I'm serious -

TAL - So are we, motherfucker. You want to take out this new guy, you fucking do it yourself.

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - Easy, easy, we're on the same page.

TAL - No we're not. We're not on the same page.

MANSOOR - Tell him it's going to cost him more money to get on the same page.

TAL - You hear that?

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - Fine, fine. Just get the job done.

TAL - Don't you fucking worry. Seacrest out.

Tal clicks his cell phone shut as Mansoor makes a sharp turn down a busy street.

TAL - (indicating) Over there. The dude in the Jeep.

Mansoor hits the gas and screeches toward a Jeep 4x4...stopped at a crowded intersection. Tal pulls out his AK-47 and we...

CUT TO:

More later.

Monday, February 14, 2005

More B-Movie Stuff

Here we go. The headline from the AP:

"U.S. officials in postwar Iraq paid a contractor..."

IN CASH.

Hey hey!
WASHINGTON (AP) U.S. officials in postwar Iraq paid a contractor by stuffing $2 MILLION worth of crisp bills into his gunnysack and routinely made cash payments around Baghdad from a PICK-UP TRUCK, a former official with the U.S. occupation government says.

Because the country lacked a functioning banking system, contractors and Iraqi ministry officials were paid with bills taken from a basement vault in one of Saddam Hussein's palaces that served as headquarters for the Coalition Provisional Authority, former CPA official Frank Willis said.

Officials from the CPA, which ruled Iraq from June 2003 to June 2004, would count the money when it left the vault, but nobody kept track of the cash after that, Willis said.

''In sum: inexperienced officials, fear of decision-making, lack of communications, minimal security, no banks, and lots of money to spread around. This chaos I have referred to as a 'Wild West,''' Willis said in testimony he prepared to give Monday before a panel of Democratic senators who want to spotlight the waste of U.S. funds in Iraq.
And now...the good part:
Describing the transfer of $2 million to one contractor's gunnysack, Willis said: ''It was time for payment. We told them to come in and bring a bag.'' He said the money went to Custer Battles of Middletown, R.I., for providing airport security in Baghdad for civilian passengers.
Quick bit about Custer Battles ("Transforming Risk Into Opportunity") from their website: "Custer Battles, LLC, an international business risk consultancy, is a veteran owned business that provides objective risk management and security consulting services of the highest quality and within an ethical framework."

Right on.
Willis said a coalition driver would go around the Iraqi capital and disburse money from the a pickup truck formerly belonging to the grounded Iraqi Airways airline. The reason is because officials ''wanted to meld into the environment,'' he said.
CUT TO:

INT. IMPERIAL PALACE, CPA OFFICE - DAY

An AMERICAN OFFICIAL sits at the giant mahagony desk in the CPA's main office. The room used to be Saddam Hussein's favorite library, but is now decorated with American flags and pictures of George Bush.

The phone rings.

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - Hello?

INTERCUT WITH:

EXT. BAGHDAD, GREEN ZONE - SAME

CPL. JIMBO SNODGRASS, C.B.'S Exec VP of Field Operations, is driving around the Green Zone in a Humvee limo. Cpl. Snodgrass is dressed in semi-military garb and is armed to the fucking teeth. A FOXY YOUNG SECRETARY sits beside Cpl. Snodgrass and pours a vodka martini for her boss. Cpl. Snodgrass adjusts his cell phone headset.

CPL. SNODGRASS - Jimbo checking in.

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - My friend, where are you?

CPL. SNODGRASS - Ah, you know, just blowin' off some steam.

AMERICAN OFFCIAL - Glad to hear it. All work and no play makes Jimbo a dull boy.

CPL. SNODGRASS - You know it.

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - Time for payment, my man.

CPL. SNODGRASS - Now we're talkin.'

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - Come on in. And bring a bag.

CPL. SNODGRASS - Love it. Wait. Hold on.

Cpl. Snodgrass hits a button; the Humvee's back window rolls down. Cpl. Snodgrass pulls out an AK-47 and points it toward the street.

CPL. SNODGRASS - Hold your ears, honey.

The foxy young secretary jumps out of the way as Cpl. Snodgrass sprays the street with his assault weapon.

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - (alarmed) Jim, what's going on?!

CPL. SNODGRASS - Nothing. Just a bunch of kids playin' soccer.

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - You mean "future insurgents."

CPL. SNODGRASS - Right. Whatever. I'll be at your office in ten.

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - Got it.

CPL. SNODGRASS - Snodgrass out.

CUT TO:

EXT. IMPERIAL PALACE, CPA OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER

A large pick-up truck with an "Iraqi Airways" logo on its side pulls away from the loading dock of Saddam's former palace; the loading dock is surrounded by armed AMERICAN SOLDIERS. Seconds later, the Humvee limo pulls up to the ramp; Cpl. Snodgrass jumps out of the limo and salutes the soldiers.

CPL. SNODGRASS - At ease, gentlemen.

The American Official emerges from the building's interior; he's carrying a large briefcase and is surrounded by PRIVATE SECURITY GUARDS.

AMERICAN OFFCIAL - JIm!

The two men embrace.

AMERICAN OFFCIAL - Did you bring a bag?

CPL. SNODGRASS - Are liberals gay?

The men share a laugh.

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - It's all here. Two million big ones.

CPL. SNODGRASS - Hmm. Gee. How will I spend it?

Cpl. Snodgrass stares at the foxy young secretary. She giggles. Cpl. Snodgrass pulls out a gunnysack and begins to stuff the cash into the bag.

CPL. SNODGRASS - We ain't doin' the receipt thing this time, are we?

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - (deadpan) What's that?

CPL. SNODGRASS - I like your style, Craig. Have for years.

Cpl. Snodgrass grabs a wad of cash and hands it to the American Official.

CPL. SNODGRASS - Here. Here's a little something, you know, for your efforts.

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - Oh, Jim, I couldn't.

The men share another laugh as the American Official takes the cash and we...

CUT TO:

Some final excerpts from the article:
Willis' allegations follow by two weeks an inspector general's report that concluded the occupying authority transferred nearly $9 billion to Iraqi government ministries without any financial controls.

The money was designated for financing humanitarian needs, economic reconstruction, repair of facilities, disarmament and civil administration, but the authority had no way to verify that it went for those purposes, the audit said.
You're kidding.

More later...

Sunday, February 13, 2005

On a lighter note

Well, the Republican Attack Machine has been turned to "11."

Target: Howard Dean.
Weapon: Murdoch's New York Post
HOLY HOWIE BLASTS GOP ON VALUES

WASHINGTON — On the brink of taking control of the Democratic Party today, Howard Dean was his old outspoken self as he claimed Republicans lack moral values.

"How can Republicans get to talk about moral values when they don't have any?" Dean asked yesterday as he summarized a question that was far less pointed.

"I don't want to hear any lectures about Christian values from the Republican Party — they are the Pharisees and the Sadducees," Dean said — referring to Jewish sects that opposed and were condemned by Jesus.

Republicans quickly shot back at Dean's blasts — made as he spoke at the Democratic National Committee meeting in D.C. that will crown him as chairman today.

"I was worried that a year's worth of stunning defeats had humbled him. Glad to know he's no less delusional and bitter," said GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway.
"We hates the fat hobbit, Gollum, Gollum!"

Of course, the Post "forgot to mention" that Dean was talking about the importance seizing the "moral high ground" from Repubs by taking on poverty and protecting children - areas that BushCo seem to be, uh, struggling with right now (see THE BUDGET).

I'm sure they'll post Dean's full comments...soon.

Right?

(Please read the previous post.)

F'ing Sad

Well...

Here's the story that punched me in the face this wonderful Sunday morning:

"Over my dead body"
Sgt. Curtis Greene loved the military; the structure, the stability. But eight months in Iraq changed him. And the thought of returning led him to a stark proclamation.
Excerpts:
SPRING HILL - The words haunt Lisset Greene as she struggles to understand what happened to the man she loved. Home from fighting in Iraq, he had grown depressed and distant as he witnessed thousands of his fellow soldiers head off to war.

Curtis Greene was angry about the war and frustrated with Lisset for not understanding what it had been like there. They argued, so fiercely that twice the police had to break it up.

Gone was the man smiling with her and the kids in family photos. "He was not the person I knew when he came back from Iraq."

One night he disappeared from their home outside Fort Riley, Kan. Lisset and the kids went to stay at her father's house in Hernando County. When he called her to apologize for running out, he promised he would come home to Fort Riley. But he wasn't about to return to Iraq.

"Over my dead body are they going to make me go back."

"I knew he was having dreams, nightmares," Lisset said. "He would wake up at night really sweaty."

On Dec. 6, he showed up for work, his uniform pressed, his boots polished. He sang cadence.

That night, he was found hanging in his barracks. Sgt. Curtis Greene, 331st Signal Company, was 25.
What can you say?
Lisset said her husband shared his worst experience: A soldier next to him was shot in the face and died instantly. He told her he screamed until he got to his destination, then watched as the man was placed in a body bag.

He felt guilty because they had switched seats in the car shortly before the shooting.

"He said they treated the body like a bag of trash," she said. "He said that he was supposed to be in the passenger seat, and the bullet was for him."
Man.
Lisset said he had nightmares and couldn't sleep. He cried easily, but avoided talking about Iraq.

"He just said it was ugly, and that you don't know what it's like until you're there," she said. "He always said he wouldn't wish it on his worst enemy."

When the evening news reported deaths in Iraq, he would weep and ask her to turn off the TV.

"He really cried, like it was someone he knew," she said. "He'd say that we shouldn't be there. He always wanted to know why we were there."

He was terrified that his company would be deployed to Iraq. That company remains at Fort Riley.
No comments.

More later...

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Saturday

Quote of the Week:

"It's a shame. You take away the guys and the booze and she'd take on Saddam Hussein himself." - Deanna Allen's grandmother, defending the young soldier from charges of flashing and mud wrestling in Iraq.

For those of you who've read "Under the Banner of Heaven," Jon Krakauer's book on the history of violence and polygamy in the Mormon church, check out this little snipet from Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird":
The renegade Mormon splinter group headed by Warren Jeffs and holed up mostly in a few small towns in Utah and Arizona was largely responsible for the collapse of the Bank of Ephraim, according to Utah regulators interviewed for a December Associated Press report. Church officials had taken a secret oath to borrow, furiously, as much money as they could, because according to Jeffs, the world was about to end anyway, and they wouldn't have to pay it back. [Associated Press, 12-6-04]
Sounds good to me!

If you haven't read "UTBOH," Warren Jeffs is basically the "king" of Colorado City, AZ and Hildale, UT, which is, in a sense, a giant polygamist between St. George and Lake Powell. Population: 10,000.

Besides ordering his citizens to borrow loads of cash, "Uncle Warren" gets to pick what you do and who you marry.
A solid plan if you have zero ability to think for yourself.

"i like it!"

More later...

Friday, February 11, 2005

Aaron Brown

The Jeff Gannon thing has finally hit the mainstream media; CNN, The Washington Post, even the NY Times.

Please take the time to read this transcript from "News Night with Aaron Brown." Excellent stuff from Americablog's John Aravosis and Salon's Eric Boehlert.

Their simple point? "This ain't about 'liberals going after a conservative journalist.' This is about media manipulation and White House propaganda."

Quick excerpt:
ARAVOSIS: This isn't personal. It's important.

BROWN: OK. Well, OK.

BOEHLERT: And the way it works in Washington, if you want to cover the White House, first you go to Capitol Hill. That's the first stop. You have to get credentials for Capitol Hill.

ARAVOSIS: Right.

BOEHLERT: And then if you want a hard pass, a permanent pass to the White House, you go to the White House. You fill out an application and then the Secret Service does a background check. If you don't have Capitol Hill credentials, the White House won't even submit your application.

BROWN: For a hard pass.

BOEHLERT: Yes. Jeff Gannon went to Capitol Hill. They said "You're not a real reporter. This is not a real news organization."

ARAVOSIS: Right.

BOEHLERT: And then he spends two years in the White House Press Office getting his daily passes.

ARAVOSIS: How did he get -- how did he get to ask the president a question two weeks ago? I mean, Eric you know and Aaron you know as well, YOU DON'T JUST GET TO ASK THE PRESIDENT A QUESTION. THAT'S PLANNED IN ADVANCE. These guys, there's something else going on here.

This isn't just some journalist who happened to get in and happened to get a pass. THEY WANTED HIM THERE. They scripted this and I'm frankly wondering again how did he get involved with Valerie Plame?

It's just there are some unanswered questions here higher up of somebody in the White House and it brings us to the larger question of Armstrong Williams and everything else as far as the whole propaganda White House.

BROWN: We'll leave it at that. It does raise lots of questions on having to do with media, having to do with what's appropriate and, in fact, having to do with the White House and how it operates, good to see you both tonight. Thank you for coming in tonight.
Good stuff.

BTW - here's "Jeff Gannon's" last question to the Prez, re: working with Democrats on the Hill: "How are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?"

A hard-core journalist at work!

More later...

Thursday, February 10, 2005

A Lotta Stuff

Great piece on "Jeff Gannon's" involvement in the Joe Wilson/Valerie Plame Affair at The Daily Kos.

Spiderleaf's conclusion?
Jeff Gannon was planted by the administration to disseminate their talking points unfettered by any journalism ethics or investigation shortly after the Iraq war, when the failure to find WMDs was becoming apparent. He became incredibly useful in L'Affaire Plame to continue to push the dual stories that a) Plame's name was already common knowledge and therefore `outing' her was not a crime and b) to continue to help discredit the CIA and Wilson.

Based on the evidence, I believe the 2002 CIA memo was leaked to Gannon when Novak became unusable and when the `mainstream' reporters with CIA contacts were not pushing the WH's preferred story line. They needed cover, and they got it.

And as is evidenced by his remarkable access to Scott McClellan and President Bush in the White House press room, to this day, he was rewarded handsomely.
Cool.

The NY Daily News has an article on the whole deal here.

We'll see if this story has legs. The mainstream media spin (courtesy of Wolf Blitzer and Howard Kurtz) has been, "This poor bastard is the victim of an angry liberal smear campaign!"

What else? Oh, yeah.

"The March to War, Part IV. Destination Iran!"

From the AFP: "Pentagon regularly reviews war plans: Centcom"

You're kidding?
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The Pentagon is regularly reviewing its war plans against Iran, but it is not in an active phase of preparing a military campaign against the country, the deputy head of the US Central Command, General Lance Smith, said.

"I'm not spending any of my time worrying about the nuclear proliferation in Iran," the general told a Pentagon news conference. "I haven't been called into any late-night meetings ... to sit down and go plan for Iran."
CUT TO:

INT. PENTAGON WAR ROOM - MORNING

A number of Pentagon and Defense Department officials shuffle into the WAR ROOM, the Pentagon's central planning center. A foxy, young SECRETARY places an elaborate tray of bagels, pastries and donuts in the middle of the room's massive conference table, while a foxy, young STAFFER wheels a coffee cart into the room.

US Central Command's GENERAL LANCE SMITH enters the room and takes a seat at the head of the table. The room is silent, and all eyes turn to General Smith.

GENERAL SMITH - At ease, gentlemen. I think you all kow why we've been called into this meeting this morning.

The General tosses a giant file onto the conference table and glares at his staff.

GENERAL SMITH - Nuclear proliferation in Iran. (Pause) Goddammit, someone explain this to me!
At the same time, he said, the Defense Department was regularly updating its war plans for various regions, and that process included Iran.

"We have a requirement on a regular basis to update plans," said Smith. "We try to keep them current, particularly if the region is active."

But he insisted the military was not in a "heightened state regarding Iran."
But said that they do update their war plans, and that the process included Iran. But insisted that the military was not in a heightened state regarding Iran. But said that they do update their war plans, and that the process included Iran. But insisted that the military was not in a heightened state regarding Iran. But said that they do update war plans, and that process included Iran. But insisted that the military was not in a heightened state regarding Iran. But said that they do update war plans, and that process included Iran. But insisted that the military was not in a heightened state regarding Iran.

Got it!

More later...




Wednesday, February 09, 2005

More on Gannon

A simple breakdown re: Jeff Gannon from Editor & Publisher.

Here.

(Please read the previous post.)

Required Reading

If you're not familiar with "Gannon-gate," you can get up to speed at The Daily Kos.

This is such an important story.

Quickly - seems that Jeff Gannon, a White House press reporter for "Talon News," is a COMPLETE FAKE. A number of devoted bloggers have figured out that Gannon (not his real name) simply writes turbo-GOP/turbo-Bush pieces for a "news organization" that gets its funding from...the Radical-Right. And players in the GOP.

"Gannon" has also been a "go-to-guy" for WH Press Sec. Scott McClellan; McClellan will simply call on "Gannon" when he gets sick of answering questions from actual reporters.

Long story short - "Jeff Gannon" is a plant. We'll see if the money trail heads back to the Bushies.

Click on the links to Atrios and Media Matters for more info.

BTW - "Jeff Gannon" retired today.

"Jeff Gannon" is also linked to the following websites; hotmilitarystuds.com, militaryescorts.com, and militaryescortsm4m.com.

No joke.

One more thing. Here's a neat example of a Jeff Gannon article: Kerry Could Become First Gay President

Now, the above mentioned matter brings me to this phenomenal article on the rise of the Right Wing media machine.

Here.

Key excerpt:
The story of the conservative rise that Stein portrays begins back in the early 1970s, when there was panic among conservatives, especially in corporate boardrooms, that capitalism was under serious attack, and something drastic had to be done about it. The National Chamber of Commerce asked Lewis Powell, a former head of the American Bar Association and member of 11 corporate boards, to write a blueprint of what had to be done. The result, says Stein, is one the most prescient documents of our time. The memo lays out the framework, the goals and the ingredients for the conservative revolution that has gained momentum and power ever since.

Two months after penning the memo, then-President Richard M. Nixon appointed Powell, a Democrat, to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Powell told the conservatives that they needed to confront liberalism everywhere and needed a "scale of financing only available through a joint effort" focused on an array of principles including less government, lower taxes, deregulation and challenging the left agenda everywhere. The conservative right, starting with seed money from the Coors Brewing family and Richard Mellon Scaife's publishing enterprise, moved forward to implement virtually every element of the Powell memo. It is a story of how the conservatives – in spite of political differences, ego, and competing priorities – were able to cooperate and develop a methodology that drives their issues and values relentlessly.
Control the media, and you control the message.

Brando

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Girls Gone Wild: Baghdad!

You know, my attitude toward the military is changing.

Apparently, the time to join is now.

It's a party over there!

"Army red-faced over new prison antics - Startling pictures of wild Iraq party"

From the NY Daily News:
Female soldiers stripped to their skivvies for a mud-wrestling bout, and sergeants allegedly were lending their rooms to G.I.s for sex last year at the Army's Camp Bucca prison in Iraq.
Spring break!
Photos of a wild Oct. 30 party at the camp show women soldiers baring their breasts to male onlookers, and other female G.I.s clad only in bras and panties wrestling and cavorting in a mud-filled plastic pool as men cheer, leer and snap pictures.
Havasu!
The episode, which experts called a serious breakdown of military discipline, prompted a probe in Iraq and still is under investigation by stateside military authorities.
Cabo!
A series of 30 photos of the goings-on were leaked to the Daily News recently.
They have not shown up on Ebay. Yet.
The soldiers involved had been assigned to guard Iraqi prisoners being transferred to Camp Bucca from the scandal-scarred Abu Ghraib prison.
Out of the frying pan and into a smaller one.
A commander's inquiry was conducted at Camp Bucca but a report was not filed until Dec. 8 - nearly six weeks after the incident and more than a month after most of the soldiers involved had returned to the U.S.

The more serious allegations - that various sergeants had organized the party, lent their rooms to soldiers for sex and were seen "noticeably drunk" during the episode - are being investigated by military authorities in the U.S.

"Soldiers have access to nonalcoholic beer, but alcohol is strictly prohibited under General Order 1," Johnson said.
Non-alcoholic beer. Right.

I'm sure he said that with a straight face, too.
"There is no evidence that alcohol was involved."
Except for the above mentioned behavior.

One soldier featured in the photos, Deanna Allen, has been demoted for "flashing." Her grandmother has come to her defense.
Photos of the 19-year-old military policewoman smiling and baring her breasts for leering male soldiers are the centerpiece of a series of scandalous snapshots taken during a mud-wrestling sexcapade at the camp in Umm Qasr.

Allen "is very patriotic and 100% American," Tomlin said. "She was a leader and she had tremendous potential but she wants to fit in so much she doesn't always use as much discretion as she should."

"She is a very beautiful young woman," the grandmother said, "and she is built like the proverbial ... well, you know. She gets a lot of male attention."
Come again, grandma?
"It's a shame," Tomlin said. "You take away the guys and the booze and she'd take on Saddam Hussein himself."
And that...is the quote of the week.

More later...

Monday, February 07, 2005

And the Jingo Award Goes To...

Well...it happened. During the Superbowl.

Courtesy of our very dear friends at Anheuser-Busch.

On Saturday, I wrote:
Do you think we'll ever see a BUDWEISER or Ford commercial with a subtle "join the military" message on the side? That would be "the end of days" for me.
I was joking, of course, so I wasn't really prepared for A-B's "Thank You" ad to the troops.

Not really a "join the military" ad, but definitely jingo-istic.

The ad started in the fairly busy "gate" area of a typical American airport. (Didn't look like LAX. Maybe the terminal they built for the "Terminal?") All of the sudden, a traveler stands up and starts clapping. Then another. And another. And another. Pretty soon, everyone near gates 14-28 is giving a standing ovation for a few dozen troops. Men and women...in full desert gear.

Troops who've just returned from Iraq.

The screen goes black, a "Thank You" graphic appears, followed by the corporate logo for A-B, and we're out.

Ballsy. Ballsy and jingo-ey. Ballsy, jingo-ey and really creepy.

So here's my thing; yes, absolutely, "thank you" for doing a job I'd never do (unless we were invaded by Martians). And, yes, "thank you" for putting your life on the line. What you're doing? Very brave. Don't agree with the folks who sent you there, but God bless 'ya.

So I couldn't help but think (as I was watching the ad) that the only appropriate message we "freedom-loving" citizens could send our returning troops is, "Don't go back, you poor bastard." Maybe, "Hey, you're being lied to. You aren't figthing for freedom; you're fighting for Cheney and Rumsfeld and the people they work for. So get out before you get your leg blown off."

Who's got the balls to produce that commercial?

A crowded airport, a bunch of troops get off a plane, and people start screaming, "Dude, two words; Mexico" "Quick! Before you go crazy and shoot your wife, get a boyfriend. They'll kick you right out!" "Hey, man, take three hits of acid when you report back for duty! They'll give you a discharge on the spot!"

Or how about a "Thank You" ad that features a single camera shot of the recovery room at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany? Hmm? The camera pans around the room...showing a few dozen soldiers just out of surgery? Soldiers trying on their prosthetics for the first time?

(Not one amputee or wheelchair among the "returning servicemen" in the "Thank You" ad, BTW.)

Or maybe a few shots of some soldiers sitting around a room...talking about "post-traumatic stress disorder?"

That's the ad I want to see.

According to The UK's Guardian:
"Though the (British) Ministry of Defence does not publish statistical predictions, military psychiatrists in AMERICA have been warned to expect PSYCHIATRIC DISORDER to occur in a remarkable 20% of servicemen and women RETURNING from Iraq."
Don't think the "Thank You" ad featured THAT KIND of soldier. (I'll check Can't imagine they'd cast an actor with "that kind of look" in his eye.)

Those are the types of soldiers we really gotta "thank."

And take care of.

Capice?

More later...

PS - Apparently, the soldiers in the ads were "real."

PSS- NPR broke down the Superbowl Ads this morn. Their favorite? The above-mentioned "heart stopper." Their least favorite was the ad for GoDaddy.com, which mocked the wave of (conservative) morality that's currently slamming into our shores.

Figures.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Superbowl, Super-elections

Superbowl prediction: Pats 24, Iggles 17.

Why? Because we're not done with "the promo." The slow-motion promo featuring Corey Dillon running in from the 21 INTERCUT WITH slow-motion footage of American soldiers running across the desert.

"You're crazy!"

Slow motion footage of Adam Vinatieri kicking the winning field goal...and Coalition soldiers playing soccer with Iraqi children.

"Conspiracy theorist!"

Slow-motion footage of Tom Brady pointing toward the sky (God/victory) and footage of Iraqi soldiers DANCING AND CLAPPING with Iraqi voters.

"God, what is it like to be you?!"

Look. I love my soldiers. I'm serious. God bless 'em. They're doing work I could never do 'coz me ain't getting up at 4am for nobody. Not even my "freedom."

Having said that, I'm fed-up with the jingoism during the games. The cut-aways to the troops (at some base in Kuwait) watching the game. The pre-game story of some cornerback's cousin who's fighting "for our freedom" in Fallujah. And the onslaught of recruitment commercials throughout the day.

Get ready; it's gonna be fierce on Sunday. You'll never see more.

Do you think we'll ever see a Budweiser or Ford commercial with a subtle "join the military" message on the side? That would be "the end of days" for me.

"Video game commercials, dude."

Right.

One more thing:

"U.S. 'in for a shock' - In early election results, Shiite cleric's alliance trouncing Washington's favorite"

Say what?
Baghdad -- Partial results from Sunday's election suggest that U.S.-backed Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's coalition is being roundly defeated by a list with the backing of Iraq's senior Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al- Sistani, diminishing Allawi's chances of retaining his post in the next government.

The partial totals so far show the Iraqi List headed by Allawi, a secular Shiite and onetime CIA protege, trailed far behind with only 18 percent of the votes, despite an aggressive television ad campaign waged with U.S. aid. A lopsided majority of votes, 72 percent, went to the United Iraqi Alliance list, topped by a Shiite cleric who lived in Iran for many years and whose Sciri party has close ties to Iran's clerical regime. More than a third of the alliance's vote came from Baghdad, the cosmopolitan capital where Allawi had been expected to fare well.

Safwat Rashid, a member of Iraq's Independent Election Commission, and international election officials warned observers not to read too much into the early numbers, which did not include tallies in the country's Sunni or Kurdish provinces.
Meaning...there's plenty of time to get the "correct" result.

The U.S. "Grade-A Approved" result.

As in..."A is for Allawi."

(Ooh. That's an idea for Lynne Cheney. Another primer for american school-kids and the newly liberated Iraqi children! "A is for Allawi, the George Washington of Iraq. B is for Baghdad, the Washington D.C. of Iraq. C is for Coalition soldiers, the liberators of Iraq. D is for Don, the architect of freedom. E is for Enron, who can get those Indian power plants running again.")

More later.


Thursday, February 03, 2005

Did they Really Do That?

Wait. Did they really yank out an Iraqi woman and a (dead) soldier's mom during the SOTU address last night? Was I dreaming?

"Nope."

Women Provide Emotion at State of Union

Ballsy move.
WASHINGTON - They met just before the speech began: the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq and the daughter of a man killed by Saddam Hussein's regime. They found some comfort in a spontaneous moment that electrified President Bush's State of the Union address.

The two women, both touched by death in Iraq, reached out for each other while lawmakers, military leaders, the president and the nation watched. Their locked embrace inspired the longest applause of the evening.
Well done. Well produced. Wonder who thought of that bit?
On Thursday, the parents of Marine Corps Sgt. Byron Norwood said the Iraqi woman, Safia Taleb al-Suhail, had turned and introduced herself just before the speech.

"She thanked us for our son's sacrifice and made sure we knew the people in Iraq were grateful for the sacrifices that were made not just by our son, but by all of them," Janet Norwood said.

"I just told her how happy we were that the elections were successful and told her our son would have been pleased," said Norwood, appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America" with her husband, Bill.

Al-Suhail's father was killed 11 years ago by the Iraqi intelligence service. Now the leader of the Iraqi Women's Political Council, she watched the annual presidential address Wednesday night at the Capitol as a guest of first lady Laura Bush.
Hmm. Iraqi Women's Poltical Counsel, eh?

Who dey?

Time for a Google search. No luck yet. Still wondering. Any bets? Friends of the Bushies, clearly. She was sitting next to Laura. Some sort of Iraqi elite. Dad was killed by the Iraqi intelligence service. Hmmm. Always another story. Hmmm. Think, think, think.

But the best part about the last night's speech?
A wave of purple fingers went up at each mention of the Iraqi vote, a gesture organized by Rep. Bobby Jindal, R-La., to demonstrate solidarity with Iraqi voters. In a letter to fellow lawmakers, Jindal said he wanted to display support for "people throughout the world who seek freedom."
My prayers (see the previous post) were answered.

Praise Jesus.

More later...



Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Purple Fingers

Good morning.

Traveling today - will have a full post tomorrow.

However...I do have time to point out the follwing from "D.C.'s Inside Scoop":
In the latest sign that the G.O.P. is intent on politicizing everything Iraq-related, Congressional Republicans are reportedly planning to show up at tonight's State of the Union address with purple ink on their fingers to send the message that they support Iraqi voters.
Please, Jesus, make this happen.

CUT TO:

INT. CPA OFFICES, GREEN ZONE - DAY

An Iraqi MINISTER, escorted by two PRIVATE SECURITY GUARDS, walks into an unmarked office in the CPA building. Inside, an AMERICAN OFFICIAL sits at a large desk; he, too, is surrounded by PRIVATE SECURITY GUARDS.

The American Official finishes off a line of cocaine and greets the Iraqi Minister.

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - My friend --

MINISTER - No time for small talk. The transport is waiting.

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - Of course. Should I make the check out to "blank?"

MINISTER - You should give me cash.

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - You want three hundred million US dollars...in cash?

MINISTER - Correct.

Pause.

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - I like your style, Tariq. Have for years.

The two men laugh and we...

CUT TO MORE LATER

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Good News, Citizens!

Good News, Citizens!

From the AP:

"Exxon Mobil Earns Record $8.42B in 4Q"

Hallelujah!
DALLAS - Exxon Mobil Corp., the largest U.S. oil company, said Monday it earned a record $8.42 billion in the fourth quarter and $25.33 billion for all of 2004, as higher prices for oil and natural gas erased a slight decline in production.

Exxon Mobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, just missed $300 billion in sales for the year.
I'm proud to report that we are doing our part here in Los Angeles. "Regular Unleaded" is back up to $2.15 at the Sunset/Farifax Mobil.

"We can do better!"

You bet.

What else? Oh, yeah.

More on the missing 8.8 BILLION DOLLARS from The Australian:
A review of 10 payments -- ranging between $US120million and $US900 million -- made by the CPA between October 2003 and June last year found none included documentation such as budget spending plans.
Come on. Who needs "documentation and spending plans?" Totally unnecessary.
One of the main benefactors of Iraq funds was Vice-President Dick Cheney's former company Halliburton, which was paid about $US1.7billion to bring in fuel for Iraqis.
There's the "H" word again.
Mr Bremer rejected the audit findings.

"The draft report assumes that Western-style budgeting and accounting procedures could be immediately and fully implemented in the midst of war," he said in a statement.
I'm pretty sure the investigators would've been happy with ANY-style of budgeting and accounting.

I assume that EASTERN-style budgeting and accounting was out of the question because it's...what...done by hand? Without those pesky, Western computer thingees?
Mr Bremer said any delays in paying Iraqi public servants' salaries would have raised the security threat to Iraqis and Americans and cost more lives.
Well that worked.
But the report said: "The fact the Iraqi ministries ceased to or had never functioned, lacked basic tools and operated in a cash economy was precisely why the CPA should have provided oversight of the financial management of the funds."
Okay. Tricky bit in that last sentence. "The fact that the Iraqi ministries ceased to or had never functioned...was precisely why the CPA should have provided oversight of the financial management of the funds?" WTF?

"Are you saying that money went to 'ministries' that didn't exist?"

"Dunno. There's no paper trail."

"Cool."

"Hey, make the check out to the old 'Iraqi Ministry of Parks and Fun Places.' Right?"

"Actually, I'd just ask for a blank check."

"Wow. You're right."

More later...