BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Chaos

Don't even know where to start with New Orleans...

The stories keep getting darker and darker - as the flood wreaks havoc on the area.

No law, either.

'Times-Picayune' Announces New Home -- in Houma -- Reports Looting by Cops and Firemen

Man:
The battered Times-Picayune of New Orleans, which evacuated its downtown office this afternoon, posted a simple note to it staffers on its Web site late this afternoon: "We are working at the Houma Courier for a few days. If you have news, call 985-850-1182. We plan to set up a longer term newsroom in Baton Rouge. Call the Advocate to find out where we are."

Meanwhile, two staffers published a story on one of the Web site's blogs, reporting on the looting in the city -- joined in by cops and firemen who had been called to the scene.

Other reports, and TV footage, have shown brazen looting at many sites around the city. One compared the current climate in the increasingly desperate city to "Sodom and Gomorrah."

One looter shot a local police officer, but Tuesday night word came that the officer was expected to survive.

*

At the Times-Picayune Web site, Mike Perlstein and Brian Thevenot wrote that at a Wal-Mart on Tchoupitoulas Street, mass looting broke out after a giveaway of supplies was announced at that location. While some did indeed carry away food and essentials, others "cleared out jewelry racks and carted out computers, TVs, and appliances on handtrucks. Some officers joined in taking whatever they could, including one New Orleans cop who loaded a shopping cart with a compact computer and a 27-inch flat screen television.

"Throughout the store and parking lot, looters pushed carts and loaded trucks and vans alongside officers. One man said police directed him to Wal-Mart from Robert's Grocery, where a similar scene was taking place. A crowd in the electronics section said one officer broke the glass DVD case so people wouldn't cut themselves.

"The police got all the best stuff. They're crookeder than us," one man said. Most officers, though, simply stood by powerless against the tide of law breakers.
Really sad.

(Happened on 9/11, too. A few bad apples in the NYPD/FD went underground - below the Towers - and started looting. Probably died as a result.)

It gets worse:

Another Person Dies At Superdome, Possibly From Suicide

25,000 refugees inside the Superdome - right now:
Officials had earlier reported two deaths at the Superdome, and now, they report that someone died Tuesday after plunging from an upper level of the stadium. They say the person probably jumped.
The saddest story has disappeared from the Web.

Last night, ABC News had a report on its web site about a "prison riot, hostage crisis" at an area correctional facility. Apparently, a prison guard took his wife and four children BACK to the prison...thinking the prison would be the safest place to "deal" with the storm and flood.

You know what comes next.

That story...is GONE: It's been "erased" from the net.

Let's hope it never happened.

*

UPDATE.

That story is back.

Official: Prisoners Riot, Take Hostages In New Orleans

Excerpts.
Inmates at a prison in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans have rioted, attempted to escape and are now holding hostages, a prison commissioner told ABC News affiliate WBRZ in Baton Rouge, La.

Orleans Parish Prison Commissioner Oliver Thomas reported the incident to WBRZ.

A deputy at Orleans Parish Prison, his wife and their four children have been taken hostage by rioting prisoners after riding out Hurricane Katrina inside the jail building, according to WBRZ.

Officials are expected to hold a press conference regarding the riots at 9 p.m. ET.

A woman interviewed by WBRZ said her son, a deputy at the prison whose family is among the hostages, told her that many of the prisoners have fashioned homemade weapons. Her son had brought his family there hoping they would be safe during the storm.
God help them.

*

And in Iraq?

695 Dead, 180 Hurt in Iraq Bridge Stampede

Total chaos.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Trampled, crushed against barricades or plunging into the Tigris River, about 700 Shiite pilgrims died Wednesday when a procession across a Baghdad bridge was engulfed in panic over rumors that a suicide bomber was at large.

Most of the dead were women and children, Interior Ministry spokesman Lt. Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman said. It was the single biggest confirmed loss of life in
Iraq since the March 2003 invasion. Health Ministry spokesman Qassim Yahya said 695 were killed and 180 injured.
Meanwhile, Our Kid is finishing up his vacation.

I'm sure his people are trying to put together a strong photo op.

They've been doing a lousy job lately.

More later...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Last Tuesday of August

Lotta stuff, kiddos.

First up, some "new" news re: an old friend.

Back in February, I wrote this blog about Safia Taleb al-Suhail, the Iraqi "woman" who sat with Laura Bush during Our Kid's last State of the Union address. She with the purple finger and she who hugged the mother of a "fallen" American soldier.
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.
Back then, I wondered who Safia really "was" and how she got to sit with the most powerful family in the world:
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. (Safia) 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.
Well, me prayers have been answered:

"Iraqi activist taken up by Bush recants her views"

Hey now!
Back in February, with blue ink on her finger symbolising the recent Iraqi election in which she had just voted, SAFIA TALEB AL-SOUHAIL was invited to sit with the first lady, Laura Bush, and listen to the President claim in his state of the union address that success was being achieved in Iraq. Her picture went round the world after she turned to hug Janet Norwood, a Texas woman whose son had been killed in Iraq.

But now it appears Ms Souhail, an anti-Saddam activist who became IRAQ'S AMBASSADOR TO EGYPT, may be having second thoughts about the "success" she celebrated with a two-fingered victory sign.

Having seen the negotiations for the country's constitution fall into disarray and the prospect of a secular constitution severely undermined, she expressed her concerns last week.

"WHEN WE CAME BACK FROM EXILE, we thought we were going to improve rights and the position of women. But look what has happened: we have lost all the gains we made over the past 30 years. It's a big disappointment. Human rights should not be linked to Islamic sharia law at all. They should be listed separately in the constitution."
"When we came back from exile."

"When we came back from exile."

There's that pesky word again - exile.

My point? Safia "is" an Iraqi elite - like Ahmed CHALABI - and not just a plain Iraqi Jane who's "fighting for her freedom."

Fighting for money, maybe.

Iraqi exiles.

People who wanted to take over the country - people in bed with the Bushies.

And now...things is turnin' out different, yo.

Think the ol' "exiles" are happy 'bout that?

"No."

Fascinating.

*

This is great:

Venezuela to sell cut-price heating oil to U.S. poor

Days after Pat Robertson calls for his assassination --
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said on Monday his government plans to sell as much as 66,000 barrels per day of heating fuel from its U.S. CITGO refinery to poor communities in the United States.

The offer, made after populist Chavez held talks with U.S. civil rights activist REV. JESSE JACKSON, would represent 10 percent of the 660,000 bpd of refined products processed by Citgo. The deals would cut consumer costs by direct sales.
Jesse went down to make nice-nice with Chavez.

The Bushies can't be too happy about that.

Get ready for another round o' stories re: Jesse's insatiable libido.

We'll be hearing about a girlfriend - or a love child - or a something - w/in the next few weeks.

Guaranteed.
Venezuela's Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said officials were still working on the details on how the oil would be sold from Citgo, a unit of the state oil firm PDVSA.

"We are going to direct as much as 10 percent of the production, that means 66,000 barrels, without intermediaries, to poor communities, hospitals, religious communities, schools," Chavez told reporters at a press conference.
Hey, Citgo! Can you guys dump off some of that gas in Hollywood?

East Hollywood?

Christ, I'll drive to Koreatown.

Bring it.

*

Finally, news that Starbuck's has been trying to make us gay:

Tempest brews over quotes on Starbucks cups

First the Teletubbies, then Spongebob, now Starbuck's:
Starbucks says it was hoping to inspire old-fashioned coffee-house conversations when it introduced a campaign this year featuring the words of notable Americans on its coffee cups.

But at least a few of those words are sparking more discord than discussion.

A national Christian women's organization is accusing the Seattle-based coffee maker of promoting a homosexual agenda because of a quote by author Armistead Maupin, whose "Tales of the City" chronicled San Francisco's homosexual community in the 1970s and 1980s.

Maupin's quote — one of several dozen in "The Way I See It" promotion — says his only regret about being gay is that he repressed it for so long.

"I surrendered my youth to the people I feared when I could have been out there loving someone. Don't make that mistake yourself. Life's too damn short."

Concerned Women for America, which promotes itself as the antithesis of the National Organization for Women and boasts 8,700 supporters in Washington, says most of those quoted on the coffee cups are LIBERAL.
Well, most intelligent quotes are.
The group believes corporations have a responsibility to reflect the diversity of their customers by taking a BALANCED approach — or staying out of divisive social issues altogether.
You guys want a balanced approach?

Then...why don't you just ask Starbuck's to print PAT ROBERTSON'S QUOTE re: assassination on the side of their cups?
And while the group is not calling for a boycott, its position nonetheless raises questions about what role — if any — corporations should take on potentially sensitive matters, especially at a time when the nation is divided, largely along religious lines, on issues such as gay rights.

"Corporations have deeper pockets and therefore more influence than individuals do," said Maureen Richardson, state director of Concerned Women for America of Washington.

"I think it's wiser for them to stay out of these issues so that they don't offend conservatives and people of faith."

To these companies, she says: "If you want my money, support some of my causes."
Good luck, honey.

Don't think Starbuck's will be supporting the idea that the Earth is 6,000 years old anytime soon.
"The Way I See It" campaign does not set out to take a political stand but rather to encourage discourse, Starbucks spokeswoman Audrey Lincoff said.

"If you think back to the history of the old coffee houses, before the Internet, these were places to converse," she said. "That's part of what the coffee culture has been for a century or more."
Yeah.

The Starbuck's under the Target at Santa Monica & La Brea? A great place to hear "conversations" between off-duty transvestites.

Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

Eh, eh, eh?

More later...

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Happy Mondays

Lotta stuff today.

Gas is $2.99 on the corner of Magnolia & Hollywood Way.

'Kin bastards.

Speaking of:

U.S. crude surges 7 pct on Hurricane Katrina

Over $70/brl.

Add "Mother Nature" to the growing list of high oil price excuses.

"Dirty pagan."

What?!
SINGAPORE, Aug 29 (Reuters) - U.S. crude prices surged 7 percent to a new record high above $70 a barrel in opening trade on Monday as Hurricane Katrina, one of the most powerful U.S. storms ever, shut in oil production and closed refineries.

Oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange soared nearly $5 to a new record high of $70.80 a barrel, above last week's previous record $68, after producers and refiners shut down operations ahead of the maximum power Category 5 hurricane.

It was later trading up $3.72 a barrel, 5.6 percent, at $69.85 as traders feared the storm could do lasting damage to infrastructure, further straining an industry that has struggled to keep up with robust demand growth for the past two years.
Angelenos will be payin' $3 (for regular unleaded) by Friday.

Damn.

*

Remember when "they" told that a "free Iraq" would equal a $20 brl of oil?

Yeah.

*

Speaking of Iraq:

Senator Will Ask Rumsfeld to Testify to Panel on Iraq

Ha!
WASHINGTON, Aug. 28 - With lawmakers facing tough questions at home about the war in Iraq, Senator John W. Warner, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, says he intends to summon Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld quickly for a hearing when Congress returns next week.
"Mr. Secretary, how's it goin' in Iraq?"

"Fine. As the President said this morning, 'We're making progress.'"

"Good enough for me."

"Anymore questions?"

"Nope. Good to see you, Don."
"I think the public is losing patience with the effort because they don't see it succeeding," said Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House. "In fact, from their perspective, they see the attacks increasing. We haven't done what we need to do for the infrastructure in Iraq. We haven't got the economy going."

Other ALLIES of the ADMINISTRATION said they saw clear signs of PROGRESS.
If you're an administration ally...are you allowed to see anything else?
"We are talking about a constitution here that's going to be, by Middle Eastern standards, extraordinarily enlightened, that is going to be approved in all likelihood in October, and you'll have a democratic government elected in December," Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said on "Fox News Sunday."

He noted that it had still been less than three years since Saddam Hussein was toppled. "It took us in this country 11 years to get from the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE to the Constitution," Senator McConnell said.
Yeah, but we didn't have the internet back then.

Sent messages to each other via horse and pigeon.

Took a year to gallop between NY and Philly.

No McDonald's. Target. Home Depot.

Continued retarded comparison.

*

The Evangelical "Exodus to South Carolina" is back in the news again!

Strategizing a Christian Coup d'Etat

"A group of believers wants to establish Scriptures-based government one city and county at a time."

Hallelujah!
At a time when evangelicals are exerting influence on the national political stage - having helped secure President Bush's reelection - Christian Exodus believes that people of faith have failed to assert their moral agenda: Abortion is legal. School prayer is banned. There are limits on public displays of the Ten Commandments. Gays and lesbians can marry in Massachusetts.

Christian Exodus activists plan to take control of sheriff's offices, city councils and school boards. Eventually, they say, they will control South Carolina. They will pass GODLY legislation, defying Supreme Court rulings on the separation of church and state.

"We're going to force a constitutional crisis," said Cory Burnell, 29, an investment advisor who founded the group in November 2003.

"If necessary," he said, "we will secede from the union."
Please do.

Hey, speaking of "Christian Exodus":

Texas Gunman Kills 4 in Church, Then Self

Angry white dudes just love shootin' up churches, don't they?
A gunman killed four people at a rural church in a small north Texas town, then held off police in an nine-hour standoff before apparently killing himself, officials said Monday.

At least one other person was wounded.

The gunman reportedly knocked on the door of the Sash Assembly of God church Sunday night, then started firing when the door was opened. Three people were shot, including the pastor, according to WFAA-TV in Dallas. It was not immediately clear if the pastor was the wounded person or one of the two dead.

Two women in a car outside the church were then shot and killed, police said.

"These two ladies, from what it appeared, happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time," Fannin County Sheriff Kenneth Moore said.

The man fled and was later tracked to his home near the church in Sash, an unincorporated community about 80 miles north of Dallas near the Oklahoma border.
'Kin sad.

More later...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Good News, Bad News

Good news, bad news.

First, the bad:

Nearly 1,000 Released From Abu Ghraib

D'oh!
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.S. military announced Saturday that it released nearly 1,000 prisoners from Abu Ghraib prison over the past few days in response to a request by Iraqi authorities.

The move, the largest prisoner release to date, followed appeals by Sunni representatives to start releasing thousands of prisoners who have been languishing in the jail for months without being charged.

After a meeting with President Jalal Talabani on Thursday, Sunni negotiator Saleh al-Mutlaq said the president agreed to release many detainees before the Oct. 15 referendum on the constitution. Al-Mutlaq said hundreds of detainees, most of them Sunni Arabs, were to be set free.

The U.S. command said the prisoner release "marks a significant event in
Iraq's progress toward democratic governance and the rule of law."
It also marks the single biggest recruiting day (in recent months) for the insurgency.

"It's awesome," said Mujur al-Salaq, an Iraqi businessman and insurgent donor. "1,000 really pissed off guys? Trust me, it's gonna help a lot."
"Those chosen for release are not guilty of serious, violent crimes — such as bombing, torture, kidnapping, or murder — and all have admitted their crimes, renounced violence, and pledged to be good citizens of a democratic Iraq," the U.S. statement said.
Rrriiiggghhhttt.

"Do you swear on the Koran to be a good citizen of a democratic Iraq?"

"Uh. Yes."

"You sure you won't take that...bed-sheet stuff...the dog stuff...or the leash stuff personally."

"Water under the bridge, man."

"You are aware that your captors were members of private security companies - hired by your own government - and not members of the US military?"

"I didn't know that until now, but...I'll take your word for it. They all look the same to me."

"What?"

"I mean, yes, I'm aware of that."

"So...you won't join the insurgency?"

"No way, man. I'm gonna open up a Quizno's."

"Okay then."
Later Saturday, Iraqi police said they released an unspecified number of people arrested this week in the region of Madain, 12 miles, southeast of the capital.

Sunni politicians had complained to Talabani that the Shiite-controlled police picked up 132 Sunnis in the region TO PREVENT THEM from registering for the constitutional referendum. The deadline for voter registration is Sept. 1.
Yes, freedom is on the march!

*

Now...the good news:

Iron Maiden rock Leeds to triumphant close

Yes!
Betraying their earlier nerves, IRON MAIDEN delivered a headline performance that was nothing short of SPECTACULAR - a deafening, colourful feast for the eyes and ears. It marked the end of a satisfying first day of rock at the Leeds Festival.

The show was a tribute to the band's early history, and was mostly drawn entirely from their first four albums. Defying their age, all of the band members were impressively energetic. A high spirited Bruce Dickinson was running up and down ramps for the entirety of the 90 minute set and seldom stopped to catch his breath.

A touchingly diverse range of ages stood open-mouthed at guitarist Steve Harris dazzling virtuoso fretwork - compromised only by the high jinks of bandmate Dickinson who, in a moment of extreme metalness, attempted to strum the guitarists strings with his microphone, breaking one in the process!

Later on, the singer-cum-clearly-frustrated-comedian couldnt resist quipping: "He's lost his plectrum - its in there somewhere", as Harris' fingers disappeared into another breakneck speed solo.

At the end of the set, the bands giant 20ft undead mascot, Eddie, hobbled onstage with flashing red eyes.

Tonight's show was the band's first since their unfortunate experience at Ozzfest in the States on August 20, which saw them pelted with eggs and their set sabotaged - allegedly - by event boss Sharon Osbourne. Maiden continued their dignified silence on the episode at Leeds, to the surprise of many.
Maiden headlines the Reading part of the Carling weekend on Sunday.

Up the Irons!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Magic Johnson's TGIFridays

Lotta stuff today.

1. Gas Station Workers Face Angry Customers

Finally!
DALLAS - It's a scene gas station workers say is becoming increasingly common and frightening: Customers angry over gas prices nearing $3 a gallon storm in and decide to take it out on the employees.
ADVERTISEMENT

"They just yell and scream," said Selam Berhe, assistant manager at a Dallas Tetco station. "They think it's only us that are high-priced."

Incidents of consumer anger and gas-station crime have made headlines across the country, including the killing of a gas station owner in Alabama last week by a driver attempting to steal $52 worth of gas.
What?!

How'd I miss that story?!
Alvin Benefield, 42, surrendered Thursday and was being held on theft and manslaughter charges in the death of Husain "Tony" Caddi, police said.

Berhe recalled the particularly belligerent behavior of a man who ranted about the prices to everyone in the station.

"He walked in the store and said, 'Do you work here? This is ridiculous,'" Berhe said. "He was telling each and every customer. I was like, I don't make the prices."

Gas prices are about $2.56 in Texas, up from $1.80 at the same time last year.
$2.89 all over Hollywood.

Glad the rest of the country is catchin' up.

2. Poll: Many Back Right to Protest Iraq War

Many = 9 out of 10.

90% of us.
WASHINGTON - An overwhelming number of people say critics of the Iraq war should be free to voice their objections — a rare example of widespread agreement about a conflict that has divided the nation along partisan lines.

Nearly three weeks after a grieving California mother named Cindy Sheehan started her anti-war protest near President Bush's Texas ranch, nine of 10 people surveyed in an AP-Ipsos poll say it's OK for war opponents to publicly share their concerns about the conflict.

"Part of the Constitution is the First Amendment," said Mike Malone, a salesman from Odessa, Fla. "We have the right to disagree with the government."
You wouldn't think that if you listen to the folks on CNNFOXMSNBCABCNBCCBS.
With the U.S. death toll in Iraq climbing past 1,870 with an especially bloody August, the public's opinion of the Bush administration's handling of the war has been eroding over the past two years.

Overall attitudes about the war — while negative — haven't changed dramatically through the summer and a solid majority, 60 percent, want U.S. troops to stick it out until Iraq is stable.

The poll found that most people disapprove of the Bush administration's conduct of the war and think the war was a mistake. Half believe it has increased the threat of terrorism.

Democrats overwhelmingly question the president's policies, while Republicans overwhelmingly support them.

*

The AP-Ipsos poll found that Republicans are the most likely to disapprove of people voicing opposition to the war.
You're kidding.
Robin Brown, a Republican from Douglasville, Ga., says the U.S. troops will eventually achieve their mission "if people will hang in there with them."
Um, what's "the mission?"

Don't think we're gonna be able to PRIVATIZE the entire country.

That was the original mission.
Vivian Snyder, a Republican from Staten Island, N.Y., said she disagreed with the decision to invade Iraq, but doesn't want troops to leave yet. "Otherwise, it's all for nothing."
No comment.

3. Atrios

Dude posted an old story from the Washington Post today re: the "Domino Theory," a theory the Reaganites used back in the 80's to, uh, make their case against "Marxist" forces in Central America.
Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger yesterday referred to the stakes in EL SALVADOR'S CIVIL WAR in terms of global competition between the United States and Soviet Union, saying a communist victory in El Salvador could pressure the United States to pull out of Europe and Asia to defend its southern borders.

Weinberger, interviewed on "Face the Nation" (CBS, WDVM), also said that "there is no question" that with additional U.S. military aid, the Salvadoran army "can prevail" over the Marxist guerrillas.

If that happens, "WE'LL ALL BE ALOT SAFER than having another communist foothold such as Cuba right on the mainland," he added.
Fight them there VS fight them here.

We'll all be a lot safer.

IS THAT CLEAR?

Enter GARY HART:
Speaking yesterday on "Meet the Press" (NBC, WRC), Colorado Sen. Gary Hart, an announced candidate for the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination, said he would OPPOSE further aid to El Salvador unless strict conditions are attached to it because it is not possible to "achieve democracy out of the barrel of guns."
CUT TO Hart's presidential bid.

Hart had a strong showing in '84, and was 20 points ahead of Dukakis in '88 when the Donna Rice thing broke.

Methinks that comments like "it is not possible to achieve democracy out of the barrel of gun" will, uh, piss certain people off.

And will put you in their sights.

Capice?

"Because IT IS possible to achieve democracy in that particular manner."

Right.

Back to the WaPo piece.

Read this next bit carefully:
Weinberger suggested several times yesterday that the Salvadoran civil war poses a THREAT to the United States' southern borders.

"The simple fact is the El Salvadorans have chosen a government, and it is certainly very much against our interests to allow that freely choosen government to be subverted and turned into another very repressive regime that would be then much more in a position to make that kind of communist gain further north up toward Mexico and toward our own borders," he said.

"Their purpose is, as we see it," he said, "TO ATTACK THE UNITED STATES in . . . this incremental way, from the south, knowing that as they got closer that would mean that we would have to--or would at least have strong pressures formed--to pull ourselves out of Europe, and out of Japan and Korea, and establish some sort of a Fortress America concept, which would serve the Soviet purposes very well globally."
Where have we heard that before?

"Don't you remember when Marxist rebels flew planes into the Sears Tower?!"

No.

Finally, Sharon Osbourne.

Mrs. Ozzy released a press statement last night - directed at Maiden's MGR Rod Smallwood:
On closing, yes, I DID cut Iron Maiden's sound.

This is the way I look at it: Ozzfest is our tour. We built it into something that's lasted 10 years now. We've been responsible for breaking many new bands and resurrecting the careers of former superstars. Part of our success stems from the fact that when a band is on Ozzfest we treat them with nothing but kindness and respect just as if we had invited them into our home. You can ask all of the bands who have been on the tour. They all describe it as the "ultimate summer camp." It's like one big family. Unfortunately Dickinson doesn't have the manners to realize that when you are invited into someone's home, are seated at their dinner table, are eating their food and drinking their wine, you shouldn't talk disrespectfully about them (Ozzy, Black Sabbath and Ozzfest), otherwise you just might get your ass handed to you. Every action has a reaction. Was Dickinson so naïve to think that I was going to let him get away with talking sh*t about my family night after night? I don't think he realizes who he's dealing with.

I will not endure behavior like this from anyone.

I know you would love to keep talking about this because this is the most press that Iron Maiden has had in the U.S. in twenty years, but let's move on, shall we?

Sincerely,

The "Real" Iron Maiden

Sharon Osbourne
Classy.

Needless to say, my dear friends on Maiden's Message Board are pissed.
"I Say Eff that Dried up old doeche bag sharon osbourne, She's a shitty mother who has raised impolite, spoiled rotten, nasty little drug addict childen..."

"The woman really needs meds and a therapist asap."

"Well, that's how crazy people repay kindness. No one EVER said she should've been let out of the institute."

"What a selfish bitch. She acts like she is proud of her stupidity. She admitted to turning off the sound???????????? What the fuck? I didn't pay for that crap. Get a clue Sharon, BEG THE FANS FORGIVENESS cuz you fucked them. Whatever you feel towards Bruce needs to be settled in private or better yet in Court. Put you getting judgement handed down on you by the judge on your pathetic show, it would be better than watching Kelly eat easy mac or Jack partying with chicks that will never do him, or ozzy mumble and stumble."
She should've just cut Bruce's mike.

The total power cut felt like a train hitting a brick wall.

Up the Irons!

More later...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

What Would Jesus Wear

PHENOMENAL article re: Rove-gate from the LA Times.

A must read:
Wilson appeared to be an eyewitness to administration dishonesty in the march to war.

The State of the Union speech had been a pillar of the administration's case for war, and Wilson was raising questions about one of its key elements: the claim that Iraq was a nuclear threat.

At the time of Wilson's disclosure, U.S. and United Nations officials had yet to turn up evidence of biological, chemical or nuclear weapons. A ragtag Iraqi insurgency had begun to strike back.

In public, the White House was predicting that weapons of mass destruction would be found. But behind the scenes, officials were worried about the failure to find those weapons and the possibility that the CIA would blame the White House for prewar intelligence failures.

Wilson seemed a credible critic: His diplomatic leadership as charge d'affaires in the U.S. Embassy in Iraq just before the 1991 bombing of Baghdad had earned him letters of praise from President George H.W. Bush.

That made him dangerous to the administration.
And so, to paraphrase Pat Robertson, they tried to "take him out."

KEY PASSAGE W/IN THE PIECE:
Rumsfeld's Pentagon established an independent intelligence operation, the Office of Special Plans, which essentially provided the Defense Department and White House with an ALTERNATIVE to CIA and State Department intelligence. The competing operations would create confusion in preparations for the invasion of Iraq.
Don Rumsfeld, in the business of war, needs "evidence," creates office.

Capice?

Read the whole thing.

*

The next story (From the "Agape Press" via Huffingtonpost) is simply bizarre:

Court Sides with Student on Right to Wear Scripture-Bearing Shirt

Dig this, yo:
(AgapePress) - A federal judge has told an Ohio school district it can NO LONGER BAR a middle school student from wearing a t-shirt with a Christian message.

Judge George Smith has ruled that Sheridan Middle School in Thornville violated the constitutional rights of student James Nixon by prohibiting him from wearing a t-shirt bearing a quote from the Bible verse John 14:6. The front of the shirt reads: "Jesus said, 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.'"
So far so good.
The back of the shirt contains the statements: "Homosexuality is sin. Islam is a lie. Abortion is murder."
Hey now.

When I was in "middle school," my tee collection included shirts from Van Halen's "Fair Warning" tour, Rush's "Moving Pictures" tour, and Pac-Man.
Although no complaints were filed over Nixon's t-shirt, a few school officials -- described by the student's attorney as "overzealous" -- deemed its message may be "offensive" to some individuals and "potentially disruptive," and thus could not be displayed.
Yeah.

I'm guessin' there ain't too many folks in THORNVILLE who'd be offended by the above mentioned shirt.

Don't worry: Those "overzealous school officials" will be, uh, dealt with accordingly.
Nixon's attorney, James Nelson of the Orlando-based American Liberties Institute, says the decision handed down by Judge Smith has a "broad, sweeping significance," especially for students in the southern district of Ohio, MANY OF WHOM HE SAYS WERE WATCHING FOR THE OUTCOME.
Wait.

There are more kids ready to bust out with the "Homosexuality is sin, Islam is a lie, Abortion is murder" shirt?!

Yikes.
"Other students and parents had been waiting for this decision to know whether or not their own children and students may now wear their shirts," Nelson shares.
Uh...

WHERE'D THEY GET THE SHIRTS?

Can you say, "Youth group?"

I knew that you could.
Nelson asserts the judge's ruling sets a persuasive precedent. "We believe that Judge Smith really worked through the issues well, in a way that some courts don't," the attorney says. "He truly picked apart the precedent and the cases from the Supreme Court and other jurisdictions and tried to make a very comprehensive and coherent opinion which could be utilized by other courts across the country."

The attorney feels that due to the jurisdiction of Smith's court over other schools and school districts, the ruling will allow students to freely express their viewpoint on THE SAME ISSUES and to wear the same t-shirt to school.
Did you get that?

"The ruling will allow students to freely express their viewpoint on THE SAME ISSUES and to wear the same t-shirt to school."

That's key.

You KNOW that wearin' a Marilyn Manson shirt or a "Bush Lied and Our Soldiers Died" tee would get you 18 to life in Thornville.

But "Islam is a lie?"

"Bring it!"

Man.

No need to move to South Carolina, people. Thornville is well on its way...to becoming a truly holy place.

*

Speaking of "holy places," Our Kid made a tour stop in ID.

Bush praises families of troops in Iraq

As long as they're conservative and down with the plan.

(Warning: The following info comes from the Washington Times via Drudge, so there's a decent chance that it never really happened.)
NAMPA, Idaho -- President Bush yesterday paid glowing tribute to family members of soldiers serving in Iraq, telling hundreds of Idaho National Guardsmen that America owes them a debt of gratitude.
If you've seen "Napoloeon Dynamite," you'll get a pretty good picture of the crowd in Nampa.
The president singled out TAMMY PRUETT of Pocatello, Idaho, who now has FOUR SONS IN IRAQ and whose HUSBAND and ANOTHER SON returned from war last year.
"That's the kind of mom I like!"
"Tammy says this -- and I want you to hear this -- 'I know that if something happens to one of the boys, they would leave this world doing what they believe, what they think is right for our country,'" Mr. Bush said.

"And I guess you couldn't ask for a BETTER WAY OF LIFE than giving it for something that you believe in."
Hmm.

What about...being Mick Jagger? Brad Pitt? Owen Wilson.

That'd be cool.
"America lives in freedom because of families like the Pruetts."
NO.

NO.

NO.

"America lives in freedom" because Coke, McDonald's and Ford (et al) need us to.

Period.

Entiendes?
The crowd, made up mostly of military family members, broke into cheers and "USA" chants.
That would've been the perfect time for Napoleon's dance.

"I already made, like, 'affinity' of those at scout camp."
Throughout Mr. Bush's 45-minute speech, the crowd of about 10,000 gathered in this Boise suburb offered thunderous applause -- rivaling that of supporters during his last presidential campaign.

The crowd stood in applause for a full minute after the president, leaning into the microphone to make his voice boom through the hall, vowed: "So long as I'm the president, we will stay, we will fight, and we will win the war on terror."

*

Singling out Mrs. Pruett appeared to be a direct rebuttal of anti-war protester CINDY SHEEHAN, who has camped out for much of August near the Bushes' Texas ranch demanding a meeting with the president to discuss what she calls a "senseless war."

Mr. Bush, who after his speech yesterday met for the 25th time with family members of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, on Monday told reporters, "I've met with a lot of families. [Mrs. Sheehan] doesn't represent the view of a lot of families I have met with."
Because he doesn't meet people - or speak to people - or stand in front of people - who disagree with him.

"What are you gonna do today, Mr. President?"

"Whatever I feel like I wanna do. Gosh!"

More later.

"You guys are retarded!"

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Cops Gone Wild

Lotta stuff today.

Pat Robertson, Maiden, Iran, cops beatin' on kids in Utah.

Here goes...

CHILLING VIDEO of Utah "cops" - in full freakin' military gear - breaking up a "rave" in the mountains outside Salt Lake City.

Watch it.

Here's a brief excerpt from a Daily Kos diary re: the Utah police action.
The helicopter dipped lower and lower and started shining its lights on the crowd. I was kind of in awe and just sat and watched this thing circle us for a minute. As I looked back towards the crowd I saw a guy dressed in camoflauge walking by, toting an assault rifle. At this point, everyone was fully aware of what was going on . A few "troops" rushed the stage and cut the sound off and started yelling that everyone "get the fuck out of here or go to jail". This is where it got really sticky.

No one resisted. That's for sure. They had police dogs raiding the crowd of people and I saw a dog signal out a guy who obviously had some drugs on him. The soldiers attacked the guy (4 of them on 1), and kicked him a few times in the ribs and had their knees in his back and sides. As they were cuffing him, there was about 1000 kids trying to leave in the backdrop, peacefully. Next thing I know, A can of fucking TEAR GAS is launched into the crowd. People are running and screaming at this point. Girls are crying, guys are cussing... bad scene.

*

One of the promoters friends (a very small female) was attacked by one of the police dogs. As she struggled to get away from it, the police tackled her. 3 grown men proceeded to KICK HER IN THE STOMACH.

The police confiscated 3 video tapes in total. People were trying to document what was happening out there. The police saw one guy filming and ran after him, tackled him and his camera fell, and luckily.. his friend grabbed it and ran and got away. priceless footage. That's not all though. Out of 1,500 people, there's sure to be more footage.

The police were rounding up the staff of the party and the main promoter went up to them with the permit for the show and said "here, I have the permit." The police then said, "no you don't" and ripped the permit out of his hand. Then, they put an assault rifle to his forehead and said "get the fuck out of here right now."
Don't think that officer was LDS.

Dude used the "F" word.

*

Dateline Iran!

"The March to war!"

Today's WaPo headline:

"No Proof Found of Iran Arms Program - Uranium Traced to Pakistani Equipment"

D'oh!
Traces of bomb-grade uranium found two years ago in Iran came from contaminated PAKISTANI equipment and are not evidence of a clandestine nuclear weapons program, a group of U.S. government experts and other international scientists has determined.

"The biggest smoking gun that everyone was waving is now eliminated with these conclusions," said a SENIOR OFFICIAL who discussed the still-confidential findings on the condition of anonymity.
"Senior official?!"

"Yes, sir."

"Not anymore. You're gonna find this f*ing 'senior official' by lunchtime. Entiendes?"

"Yes, Mr. Cheney."
Scientists from the United States, France, Japan, Britain and Russia met in secret during the past nine months to pore over data collected by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, according to U.S. and foreign officials.

Recently, the group, whose existence had not been previously reported, definitively matched samples of the highly enriched uranium -- a key ingredient for a nuclear weapon -- with centrifuge equipment turned over by the government of Pakistan.
"Scientists. Hmm. Okay. We can work with that. The 'base' won't believe a bunch of...scientists."
Iran has long contended that the uranium traces were the result of contaminated equipment bought years ago from Pakistan. But the Bush administration had pointed to the material as evidence that Iran was making bomb-grade ingredients.

The conclusions will be shared with IAEA board members in a report due out the first week in September, according to U.S. and European officials who agreed to discuss details of the investigation on the condition of anonymity. The report "will say the contamination issue is resolved," a Western diplomat said.
Right.

The Bushies will totally respect that report.
U.S. officials have privately acknowledged for months that they were losing confidence that the uranium traces would turn out to be evidence of a nuclear weapons program. A recent U.S. intelligence estimate found that Iran is further away from making bomb-grade uranium than previously thought, according to U.S. officials.
Time for Plan B, then.

"The Iranian people want to be free."

Sounds good to me.

*

Back to PAT ROBERTSON.

Did some research.

Pat was totally quoting the Bible when he called for the assassination of Hugo Chavez.
ROBERTSON: There was a popular coup that overthrew him [CHAVEZ]. And what did the United States State Department do about it? Virtually nothing. And as a result, within about 48 hours that coup was broken; Chavez was back in power, but WE had a chance to move in.
That's Matthew 6:19.
He has destroyed the VENEZUELAN ECONOMY and he's going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent.
John 14:27.
You know, I don't know about this doctrine of ASSASSINATION, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I THINK WE REALLY OUGHT TO GO AHEAD AND DO IT.
Romans 12:21
I THINK WE REALLY OUGHT TO GO AHEAD AND DO IT.
Hebrews 13:2.
It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war.
Acts 20:35
And I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United ... This is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen. We have the MONROE DOCTRINE, we have other doctrines that we have announced.
Judges 5:32
And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator.
John 3:16.
It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.
John 3:18.

*

Finally, the latest statement from Maiden's manager...Rod Smallwood:
Maiden are currently returning from America and preparing for UK festivals this weekend and don't wish to waste time giving Sharon Osbourne's statement the dignity of a reply. Considering the disgraceful nature of the events that occurred they feel it's a pretty dismal effort at self justification and they don't think Metal fans are at all gullible and that they will easily see through it. They want no more to do with this sorry incident and are very much looking forward to headlining Reading and Leeds Festivals this weekend.

I would however like to add my own comment on this.

In 30 years in this business and after attending hundreds of gigs l have never seen anything anywhere near as disgusting and unprofessional as what went on that night. I was standing on our sound desk out front as usual but ran to the stage as soon as the hail of missiles began and from then on watched from the front of the stage right next to Bruce's walkway. The scale, viciousness and concentration of the throwing made it obvious that this was a premeditated and co-ordinated attack. Assaulting musicians while performing by throwing bottle tops, lighters and eggs at them from just a few yards away is vile, dangerous, criminal and cowardly. It is incredible that Ozzfest security apparently did nothing about it - aren't they there to protect the bands too? Especially when the band is concentrating on a performance in front of 45,000 people and the missiles are coming out of the glare of the spotlights. And to spit at a band on stage is unforgivable.

Iron Maiden, like all the bands on Ozzfest, had to sign quite onerous legal documents part of which was promising not to throw anything into the audience, even wristbands!!! Ironic isn't it.

It is well documented on the web who was responsible for planning and participating in this attack and for musicians to join in this assault on other musicians is a shocking disgrace akin to treachery. You should all be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves.

We know who authorised the making of the 'ozzy - ozzy' chant tape the day before and how it was played secretly through the PA at the very beginning and end of our set.

We also know who continually turned off the power interrupting our set at crucial moments. It is a good thing that the power was turned back on before there was a riot as you could sense on stage a lot of the huge audience were getting totally pissed off at this continual onslaught on the band.

The great majority of the Ozzfest crew throughout the tour were terrific and we thank them. Those who participated or stood idly by and watched as this all went down should also be ashamed of themselves and l would certainly hope they never come near a tour with which we are involved.

There is little point in my commenting on the chap with the flag or their trying to hold up Eddie or Sharon's speech as the audience made their feelings very clear on each occasion.

And in the end what was all this about?? If l had any sort of problem or misunderstanding with a band working on a tour we were involved in l would go and talk to them or their manager - not wait until the end of a tour and assault and ambush them. Or was that really it?

I find it staggering that this ambush would take place in front of any audience, let alone in San Bernardino, the biggest audience of the tour. Didn't that audience merit any consideration? They pay an awful lot to be there in terms of prices for tickets, parking, food, beer etc. Surely if they spend this sort of money they deserve to watch the bands they paid to see be able to put in a full unhindered performance. Free of danger and intimidation. If I had paid I would ask for my money back!

And this audience really were outstanding, giving the band incredible support and many voting with their feet in disgust after the set and the speech, which to many was the final insult.

I have to say l was immensely proud of Maiden who stood up to it all and showed great courage and just got better and better through the adversity. Their heads never dropped, instead they went on the offensive. It was a truly memorable moment when Bruce went to the very front of the stage during Trooper - something which he never normally does as he is usually on the ramps - waving the flag whilst avoiding the hail of missiles and yelling 'This is a fucking British flag, and these colours don't fucking run!'. The imperturbable attitude and ability of the band shone through and in the end made this a truly remarkable rock and roll event, even if for all the wrong reasons.

We will have no more to say on this matter except that l do think the band deserve an apology from a number of people, and you know who you are.
Up the Irons.

More later...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Man of God

Well...

Here's the latest from PAT ROBERTSON (and the the August 22 broadcast of The 700 Club), courtesy of Media Matters.

Dude wants to take on Hugo Chavez.
ROBERTSON: There was a popular coup that overthrew him [CHAVEZ]. And what did the United States State Department do about it? Virtually nothing. And as a result, within about 48 hours that coup was broken; Chavez was back in power, but WE had a chance to move in.

He has destroyed the VENEZUELAN ECONOMY and he's going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent.
MUSLIM extremism?

Wow.

Dude, where'd you go to school?

"The 700 Club."

Right.
You know, I don't know about this doctrine of ASSASSINATION, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I THINK WE REALLY OUGHT TO GO AHEAD AND DO IT.
One more time:
I THINK WE REALLY OUGHT TO GO AHEAD AND DO IT

It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war.
That's right out of Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians.
And I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United ... This is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen. We have the MONROE DOCTRINE, we have other doctrines that we have announced.

And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator.
John 3:16.
It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.
Luke.

Joshua, Judges, Ruth?

"It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

Sounds like a plan.

He's a man of God, you know.

No need to post anything else.

He's a man of God, you know.

Up the Irons...

Monday, August 22, 2005

War

"Our Kid" is taking a time out from his Texas bike-tour to promote the war.

Bush plans bid to rally Iraq support

Dude's gonna compare the "War on Terror" to WWII.
CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) -- President Bush will launch a new round of speeches to rally support for the war in Iraq, advisers said Sunday, as protesters camped outside Bush's Texas home and polls showed weaker support for the two-year conflict.

Senior aides say Bush will attempt to portray the Iraq conflict in the context of long wars like World War II, which U.S. forces fought from 1941 to 1945 --
And most Americans have only seen in movies.

Like "The Final Countdown," "1941," "Abbot & Costello In the Navy."
They said the president also will invoke the September 11, 2001, attacks, arguing once again that the insurgents battling American troops in Iraq share the same ideology as the al Qaeda operatives who crashed hijacked jetliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.

On Monday, Bush travels to Salt Lake City, Utah, to speak to veterans at 1:35 p.m. ET (11:35 a.m. MT).
Wonder if he'll stop off at the Missionary Mall in Provo (522 S University Ave)?

Dude could save over $400 on suits!!!
In a previous attempt this summer to boost sagging support for the war, the president delivered a prime-time, nationally televised address in June to a military audience in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In his speech, Bush assured Americans that the conflict in Iraq was worth the sacrifice. (Full story)

The sacrifice includes 1,862 U.S. troops deaths, including a soldier who was killed by a roadside bomb Saturday near Baghdad, the U.S. military said.

"Our mission in Iraq is clear: We're hunting down the terrorists. We're helping Iraqis build a free nation that is an ally in the war on terror," Bush said in June.

"We're advancing freedom in the broader Middle East. We are removing a source of violence and instability, and laying the foundation of peace for our children and our grandchildren."
Let's break that down this way:

1. We're hunting down the terrorists.

2. We're helping Iraqis build a free nation that is an ally in the war on terror.

3. We're advancing freedom in the BROADER Middle East.

4. We are removing a source of violence and instability.

5. We are laying the foundation of peace for our children and our grandchildren.

Entiendes?

He did not say:

6. We are making moves to secure control of broader Middle Eastern oil.

7. We are doing our part to keep the price of oil UP for our friends in that particular industry.

8. We are creating A TON of business opportunites for our friends in the "Private Security" business.

9. We are hoping to create "other" opportunities for our big $ friends.

10. We are building bases that will help us in the war on Iran, Syria, and eventually...Saudi Arabia.

11. Let me explain something to you. I'm not Mr. Lebowski. You're Mr. Lebowski. I'm 'the Dude.' So that's what you call me. That...or 'duder.' Or 'el duderino,' if you're not into the whole brevity thing.

*

Hey, speaking of Utah:
(AP) A Utah television station is refusing to air an anti-war ad featuring Cindy Sheehan, whose son's death in Iraq prompted a vigil outside President George W. Bush's Texas ranch.

The anti-war ad began airing on other Salt Lake City-area stations Saturday, two days before Bush was scheduled to speak in Salt Lake City to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

However, a national sales representative for KTVX, a local ABC affiliate, rejected the ad in an e-mail to media buyers, writing that it was an "inappropriate commercial advertisement for Salt Lake City."
Appropriate commercial advertising in SLC?

More "wedding" and "baby" stuff than you can possibly imagine.

Trust me.

You'll never see a billboard with FOUR generations of women - great grandma, grandma, ma, daughter - on Sunset.
In a statement Saturday evening explaining its decision, KTVX said that after viewing the ad, local managers found the content "could very well be offensive to our community in Utah, which has contributed more than its fair share of fighting soldiers and suffered significant loss of life in the this Iraq war."

Bush carried nearly 70 percent of the vote last fall in Utah, one of the most conservative states north of the so-called Bible Belt.
Which is a nice way of saying "in the Book of Mormon Belt."
Station General Manager David D'Antuono said the decision was not influenced by the station's owner, Clear Channel Communications Inc.
Ah! There is is! Clear Channel.

That wouldn't have anything to do with it, would it?

"No."

Right!

*

Here's the latest re: Iron Maiden v. $haron Osbourne:
IRON MAIDEN wish to thank all the 45,000 Metal fans at Ozzfest in San Bernardino on Saturday night for sticking with us and giving us such a great response at the end of a difficult set. It was obvious to all there that we had a 'series of unfortunate events' throughout! These made it difficult for us to keep our momentum but your incredible support certainly helped us get through it. We guess it all adds up to a pretty memorable gig though!!!

This is, however, a Metal Festival. It is supposed to be fun for all. You fans pay very good money to be there and deserve to get a full and unhindered performance from all the bands. This was not the case last night.

So with this rather bizarre end to a good tour we are returning to the UK today for the Leeds and Reading Festivals and once again thanks to all of you who came out to see us these last few weeks.
Up the Irons!

More later...

Sunday, August 21, 2005

It's On

Good morning, boys and girls.

Well, there's a new war on.

"US vs Iran?"

No.

"US vs Syria?"

No.

"Venezuela?"

No.

$haron Osbourne vs IRON MAIDEN.

Last night's show in Hell, er, San Bernardino was BIZARRE.

I'll let the fans from the Iron Maiden Message Boards break it down for you:
"About 10 minutes before MAIDEN came on, I was in the center of the pit a few feet from the front railing when a guy comes barging in from the right escorting 4 or 5 people. At first, I tell him to F-off because I thought he was trying to take my spot, but he said he worked for Ozzfest and showed me his passes. He also told me that Ozzy's daughter was with the entourage he brought with him.

There were a few girls with him and one of them looked a little like KELY OSBOURNE, but I couldn't tell for sure because all of them were wearing bandanas over their noses and mouths. After I heard her speak, I was pretty sure. At that point, I tapped her on her arm and said, 'I really liked you on the show. You were great,' to which she responded, 'Thank you.' There was no doubt at that point. The bodyguard who came with them starting getting chumy with us because he needed a few of us to help him protect the girls from the moshing that would start when MAIDEN came on.

I saw the girls passing eggs, and I said, 'What's that for?' The bodyguard said something to the effect, 'You'll see. Something big is going down. You'll hear about it everywhere after tonight. It's all because Bruce Dickinson made some comments in Detroit dissing the 'Osbournes' reality TV show.' He also said that there were about 60 people in the pit who were going to participate in the mayhem. Most of them were wearing the same Ozzfest shirts. Before MAIDEN came on, they all started chanting, 'Ozzy, Ozzy...' I actually saw Bruce off to the left of the stage before they came on. His mike was on and he said something like, 'What the fuck?' — probably in response to the 'Ozzy' chanting.

"When MAIDEN came on, eggs started flying and all these guys were flipping off the band. Nicko had to stop after one song to clean his set. Bruce was obviously very pissed. Thank God they continued their set. At one point, someone through a cup of corn with milk or something. It got all over Bruce, me, and about a dozen other people.
Trust me, eggs where flying everywhere.

I was there.
Then the technical problems started. The sound went out on about three songs — 'Phantom of the Opera', 'Hallowed be thy Name', and one other one I can't remember. I could not believe what was going on. I was furious because I didn't want the guys in MAIDEN to think badly of the fans who love them. I do think that Bruce understood because the band continued to play the full set, and Bruce made comments to distinguish the fans there from the guys throwing stuff. Towards the end of the set, Bruce started yelling at a guy in the pit to my left about 10 feet. Bruce said he saw him throwing stuff and wanted the fucker out. It took a long time for security to get him out. The reason why is that one guy from Kelly Osbourne's entourage was holding down the guy security was trying to take out.

Eventually security pulled both of them out. After MAIDEN's set, it was obvious that Sharon Osbourne was in on it, because she came out to say that 'Bruce Dickinson is a prick.'

"Needless to say, it was insane. I was really pissed that MAIDEN got treated this way. I wanted to enjoy their set and instead got drama from egg throwing and songs cut short by someone pulling the power. Bruce was obviously pissed and the rest of the band seemed a little irritated. It showed in their playing too because some of the songs were sloppy, but of course you couldn't blame them given the situation."
Another great account:
2) Maiden hit the stage to thundering applause, despite the fact that they are the ONLY mainstage band NOT to be introduced by some guy that comes on stage...and despite the fact that the idiot is screaming "Ozzy...Ozzy...Ozzy" as Maiden's intro tape (Doctor Doctor) is playing.

3) Some prick is throwing eggs up on the stage. It doesn't occur to me till later, but this person HAD to be planted in the audience, because there is NO WAY any fan could have snuck in 36 fucking eggs. They patted us down so good, I felt like asking for a cigarette afterwards.

4) Bruce is in fine rant form (got 5 or so tonight...LOL), and mentions how Maiden will never be on the radio, or MTV...or reality tv shows. He also mentions that they're supposed to do a shortened 55 minute set tonight, but just like someone sang that they can't drive 55, they can't PLAY 55....they're going to play their full show.

5) Maybe 30 seconds or so before TPOTO is to end, the PA cuts out. A minute or two later, it's back on an they go into RTTH. This happens again 2-3 times the rest of the night. Once near the end of HBTN, and the crowd is so into it, we all decide to help Maiden finish the song anyway. We sang the rest of it for them, as we could just barely hear their stage monitors going.

6) In spite of all the problems with the planted egg thrower, the "Ozzy...Ozzy..." asshole, and someone pulling the fucking PA plug, the band are on FIRE, and are determined to give us the best show possible. There was no big Eddie during the song Iron Maiden, just the walk on Eddie. Is this how it was at the other Ozzfest shows?

7) Maiden come back out for their encore, and Bruce says that the band is back out there for one reason, and one reason only...after all the bullshit...it for us...the fans. They put on a fucking killer encore, and the crowd was fucking totally into it.

8) Maiden are on stage still, and taking their bows...and this cocksucker starts the "Ozzy...Ozzy...Ozzy..." shit through the PA system again. Well, almost IMMEDIATELY, seemingly the entire crowd starts chanting "Maiden...Maiden...Maiden..." over the guy....over and over....and we drowned that mother fucker out! Bruce was up there like an orchestra conductor, waving his arms as we chanted MAIDEN...MAIDEN!

9) The band aren't off the stage 10 seconds, when that cunt Sharon Osbourne comes out and tells us she needs us quiet just for a moment. She proceeds to tell us how they love Iron Maiden and think they're cool...but then says that Bruce Dickinson is a real prick, and has been disrespecting Ozzfest from day one. That's all I heard out of the bitch, cause we all immediately went back into "Maiden...Maiden...Maiden!" and she was completely drowned out after that.
Here's the audio of Sharon's rant.

WILD.

Needless to say, Maiden fans are pissed.

More quotes from the Message Boards:
FUCK $haron Ozzbourne. She can suck my dick off. FUCK the entire Ozzfest crew. That cock sucker who made "OZZY OZZY" chants just prior to Maiden walking on stage should have been shot.

*

I feel so fucking aweful for Iron Maiden. I take this shit personally. I can't even believe how classless one woman can be. I will never ever ever support her or Ozzy for the rest of my life. I left before Sabbath came on. Maiden will surely never play the USA again after this. THANKS $HARON! YOU STUPID FUCKING WHORE!

*

i just heard some f#$ked up sh#t about the ozzfest show in los angeles believe me or not but i was just talking to H (Maiden's Adrian Smith) on the phone and i was told sharon osbourne kept cutting the power out on maiden while they were performing and then got some of the sabbath road crew to throw eggs @ maiden while they were performing all because bruce had said something in an interview about ozzy. grow up sharon!!!!!

*

Ok, who wants to get Sharon back? She does a UK TV show called "The X factor". How about we try and get tickets for the final show and pelt her with eggs. We can make custom Bruce shirts etc! I think the tickets are free to go and see TV shows being made, well at least for the BBC but this would be ITV, still think its the same though. So, who's in?
Good times.

Back to politics manana.

Up the Irons!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Maiden


Bruce
Originally uploaded by blacksab67.
Maiden tonight in San Bernardino.

Me can't wait.

Here's a review of Thursday's show in AZ:

"Iron Maiden Rules at Ozzfest"

*

"...because the crowd at Cricket Pavilion did get crazy - DURING IRON MAIDEN'S SET. Ozzfest may be Ozzy's show, but last night was all about MAIDEN. The band turned in what was easily the BEST performance of the night, and everyone lapped it up.

Lead singer Bruce Dickinson had everyone on their feet for most of the band's one-hour set. From the band's stirring rendition of "The Trooper," which saw Dickinson bounce madly all over the stage with Union Jack, to the belting out of "Run to the Hills," Iron Maiden put everyone else on Ozzfest's lineup to shame.

Its set never faltered as the band let loose with Maiden mainstays such as "Revelations," "The Number of the Beast" and "Hallowed Be Thy Name." Dickinson was in complete control of the crowd, never letting them settle down. He was always on the move, running from end of the stage to the other, encouraging the crowd and letting loose with his distinct voice. By the last song, he had everyone else singing along to "Running Free."

Much of the audience had apparently not seen Maiden in concert perform. When Dickinson asked how many people were seeing Iron Maiden for the first time, the crowd roared back. That could be the most amazing part of the performance - even though crowd wasn't full of old-school diehards, you would never have known it. Everyone was completely in synch with Maiden, banging their heads and screaming."

Up the Irons!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Chuck Hagel

Chuck Hagel, (R) of Nebraska? Meet your fellow Republicans!

The story:

Reuters In U.S. heartland, anxiety over Iraq, oil

Excerpts:
BROKEN BOW, Nebraska (Reuters) - In the solidly Republican state of Nebraska, voters are expressing deep anxiety about rising gasoline prices and the war in
Iraq, a possible early warning sign for President George W. Bush in one of his most reliable strongholds.

When Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel traveled around his home state this week, citizens at every stop brought up Iraq policy and the inexorable rise in fuel prices.

*

Hagel, a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2008, responded that gasoline prices were likely to stay high for the foreseeable future because of rising world demand and the U.S. failure to develop new energy sources and conserve.

Earlier the same day in Lincoln, an elderly woman asked about Iraq. "Why are we there in the first place?" she asked.

On Tuesday in the central Nebraska town of Lexington, after a meeting with law enforcement officials on drug problems, three sheriffs expressed serious doubts about what the United States was doing in Iraq and whether it could succeed.

Hagel, a Vietnam veteran, acknowledged the U.S. military presence was becoming harder and harder to justify. He believes Iraq faces a serious danger of civil war that would threaten Middle East stability, and said there is little Washington can do to avert this.

"We are seen as occupiers, we are targets. We have got to get out. I don't think we can sustain our current policy, nor do I think we should," he said at one stop.
Which brings us to the CONSERVATIVE reaction to Hagel's new stance via the Yahoo Message Boards.
gfg10: Hagel Traded Bible for Koran! He just wants cheap oil? Appeasing terrorists will be a small price for him- for a short while.

not_a_clu_aclu: I LIVE IN THE HEARTLAND...No 'Anxiety' here. Why does Yahoo print this shit?
Most of the Yahoo posts are from "libwads," though, celebrating Hagel's turn from the Bushies.

Having said that...get ready for some bitchin' anti-Hagel rants from the Right, courtesy of Rush, O'Reilly, Hannity, et al.

Should be fun.

I'll post some of those comments tomorrow.

*

Great Krugman peice today in the NY Times:

What They Did Last Fall

The Professor reviews a new book from the UK ("Steal This Vote") which covers recent election shenanigans in the States.

Cliff Notes version of the book? Election fraud is the "American way."

And...Gore won in 2000.

And...Kerry probably won in 2004, but what can you do?

Enter Krugman:
We aren't going to rerun the last three elections. But what about the future?

Our current political leaders would suffer greatly if either house of Congress changed hands in 2006, or if the presidency changed hands in 2008. The lids would come off all the simmering scandals, from the selling of the Iraq war to profiteering by politically connected companies. The Republicans will be strongly tempted to make sure that they win those elections by any means necessary. And everything we've seen suggests that they will give in to that temptation.
More later.

Too much coffee. Can't think straight.

Must eat eggs...

Thursday, August 18, 2005

KILL ALL LIBS

The "Message Board posts" have not been edited in any way shape or form.

*

Was gonna cover Venezuela today...

But the following AP story brought me back to the on-line, Yahoo message board party:

Al-Qaida Leader in Saudi Arabia Killed

Our dear friends on the other side of the fence are very excited about this news...and are using the internet to celebrate in their own special way.

Currently.

Here we go.

Rebellious1 writes, "BURN A LIBERAL ALIVE..."
In celebration of this $hithead's death.
Party games.

Pin the tail on the donkey. Bobbing for apples. Burn a liberal alive.

(Actually, I watched some Ozzfest fans burn some small children alive during last year's Slayer set. Horrific, I can tell you.)

Cwsnrps gives "thanks"
"to the guy who plugged his sorry ass."
Well said!

Chris44gw reports that, "Libs say 'He was a leader and a friend'"
That's why you america hating libsurgent twats will never be in control of anything again. Go hate america somewhere else, libsurgent traitors.
NY Times Op-Ed material, to be sure.

Baron Von Frankenstein reminds us that, "FREEDOM IS ON THE MARCH AGAIN LIBTURDS..."
"not thanks to your whining and fifth-column treacherous conduct."
Noted, sir.

Urban Cat Hunter asks,
"Does he still get the virgins? or do you have to strap a bomb to your chest, and blow up little kids to get the virgins?"
Dunno.

That...is a great question.

One heartless b itch beats the top reporters in Washington by reporting that Clinton will attend this "Al-Qaeda leader's" funeral and...
will be presenting a eulogy for his fallen friend.
Memo to EJ Dionne & Tom Oliphant: You've been scooped!

Justballinbigd takes a stab at poetry with:
"Oh happy day...when al qaida leader in saudia arabia got blown away."
Simple...yet powerful.

Scirroso responds to Justballinbigd's poem by claiming that,
"all those towell headed sand niggers as well as there leberal butt buddies should be hung out and dried.
Justballinbigd then responds to Scirroso's post by stating,
"being an American...."nigger" i fail to see the honor in your choice of description but it is your right, but be it know Arabs from Saudia Arabia pride them selves in the fact of having anglo features and pale complexions, they can afford the rags."
You know, sometimes it's hard to follow brilliant minds.

Chomsky, Zinn, Gore Vidal...

Gonna add Justballinbigd to that list.

And finally, Boffo04 has a plan:
Just bring the a$$hole back to life...and then kill him again over and over."
Good times.

Good times.

Good times.

More later...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

LIBTARDS MUST DIE

The most important political commentary on-line?

"Talking Points Memo?"

No.

"Kos."

No.

"Atrios?"

No.

Yahoo Message Boards.

Every news story on Yahoo has a message board - which gives Yahoo members an infinite number of opportunities to share their (conservative) "thoughts" and "feelings" with the world.

I can tell you this: The Cindy Sheehan thing has truly "inspired" some phenomenal postings from the other side of the fence. Yes, "libtards" post, too. But for the sake of today's blog, I'm just going to give you the Re-PUG-lican POV.

And so...today's greatest hits...miss-spelinngggs and all...and member reactions to one simple story:

Bush Neighbor Lets War Protesters Use Land

Here we go.

Macintosh-4-ever writes, "I wish, they'd just leave."
"Their trash, KFC boxs. beer & coke cans, and used kotex are blowing all over the place and it's smells lke a hog farm. It's just horrible. The Shehan disciples are filthy."
Well said.

M-4-E also reports that, "Local 7/11's...of Beer, Condom's, Tampons, Beef Jerky (?), and Asprin because of Sheehan protesters." (Solid reporting!)

Rgt Wng Patriot opines, "ONLY Homos and Whiners r w/ Her."
Look at all the people who support these folks. The demographics speak for itself. Ask the average WORKING American.
Interesting observation.

Mister Camel Toe writes, "I STOLE A LIBERALS PEACE SIGN LAST NIGHT."
"It was some big fancy hand painted one. I put it in my SUV and drove to the river and tossed it off a bridge.

I laughed to myself today as I drove by and the sap was out front in his yard, drinking his cafe late, and yelling about his missing sign.

I waved as I drove by."
Thank you for your continued service, Mister Camel Toe.

(To be fair, "libtard" Traynor Howe responds to Mister Camel Toe's post by asking, "Hey Cameltoe - was that before or after...you masturbated to you life-sized posters of Jessica Lynch and Lyndie English?" Comedy.)

Hard-core analysis from Ateitsuk: CONDOM MEMORIAL DESTROYED?
"Libs have found JESUS. libs have FOUND the CROSS. Libs now allow religion on PUBLIC PEOPERTY. PRAISE THE LORD. NAW, just libs using a brokenhearted non FORGIVING, VENGEFUL CATHOLIC mother. If those were "condoms" and not crosses,representing those dead soldiers I would know LIBS are flying their TRUE COLORS"
Huh?

Ateitsuk follows up his briliant op-ed piece with, "UH, CINDY, SAY THE HAIL MARY FOR LIBS":
Another "put on" is upon us, by a liberal wailer who uses crosses as a prop, to promote her vengence and hate. Now, you will not see this CATHOLIC mother say one HAIL MARY in public for the CAMERAS and especially AIR AMERICA. AIN't GONNA HAPPEN, since saying the HAIL MARY is REVULSIVE TO LIBS, and their humanist brothers in hate of JESUS.
Clearly, Ateitsuk is an up-and-comer!

From Freejorandvandersloot: CINDY'S VAGINA SMELLS LIKE ASS SOUP
"Her smelly vagina could become an environmental hazard, then you will have more of you lib protesters protesting the protesers!!!"
A new angle for Mr. O'Reilly.

Roadtrip26 follows up the previous post with this gem:
"Cindy paid me $10 to pee on her."
That has not been reported in the mainstream media, but will probably show up on Drudge this afternoon.

Clydelangford writes, "Who cares if he ran over..."
"that groups trash. The governor has got to send out the prison clean-up crews to pick up their trash anyway. Most of the protesters know what thats ALL ABOUT, LOL."
Yes!

And finally, Gopackinapex writes, "WHEN WILL STUPID ASS LIBS REALIZE..."
That the the only way to deal with muslims is war? They do not care who is President, they do not care about peace and prosperity and the good of human kind..Every conflict in the world today involves muzzies, and unfortunately the only way to deal with their crazy asses is war...Kill them before they kill you.
Finally, some honesty from the Right.

Methinks some Bushies are thinkin' the same thing as our dear friend Gopackinapex.

Almost 15,000 posts to the above mentioned story.

More later...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Summer Reading

Good news, citizens.

Bush Salts His Summer With Eclectic Reading List

"He is tackling three historical sagas while on vacation, impressing even the authors."

I thought Dr. Seuss was dead.

Am I wrong?
According to the White House, one of three books Bush chose to read on his five-week vacation is "Salt: A World History" by Mark Kurlansky, who chronicled the rise and fall of what once was considered the world's most strategic commodity.

The other two books he reportedly brought to Crawford are "Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar" by Edvard Radzinsky and "The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History" by John M. Barry.
No snarky comments re: the other books on Dude's summer reading list.

That "Why Do Men Have Nipples" book is right behind Harry Potter on Amazon.
Bush, a former oil company chief, has not said why he picked Kurlansky's 484-page saga.
"Former oil company chief" is a nice way of saying "failed oil executive who, somehow, ended up in the White House."
"The president enjoys reading and learning about history," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.
Learnin' 'bout Cuba and havin' some food. Ha ha.
But the analogies between salt and oil are striking.

For most of recorded history, salt was synonymous with wealth. It established trade routes and cities. Adventurers searched for it. Merchants hoarded it. Governments taxed it. Nations went to war over it.

More than four centuries ago, Queen Elizabeth I warned of England's growing dependence on foreign salt. France's salt tax, the gabelle, was one of the grievances that gave rise to the Revolution of 1789.

Then, in the early 20th century, salt became ubiquitous. Refrigeration reduced its value as a preservative, and geological advances revealed its global abundance.

"It seems very silly now, all of the struggles for salt," Kurlansky said. "It's quite probable that some day, people will read about our struggles for oil and have the same reaction."
"What? Were they retarded?! They were sitting on top of all that dirt!"

*

Editor & Publisher has more on Dude's vacation. Specifically - the bike riding.
"It brings out the child in you," (Bush) said, according to Bill Adair of the St. Petersburg Times. "I think it's okay for a 59-year-old guy to still seek that youth, chase that fountain of youth. And I hope to be mountain biking for a long time."

*

According to participants, Bush had opened his latest 17-mile, two-hour, trek with what comedian Bill Maher might call “New Rules”-- principally that NO ONE would be allowed to pass him on the trail.
THAT is CLASSIC Bush.

Dude's supposed to ride with Lance Armstrong this week.

He'll resent Lance for getting out in front. For sure.

Don't think he'll call his sponsor, though, 'coz he doesn't have one.
A few miles from where he rode, antiwar activists were demanding that he speak with Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in the Iraq war.

“I think it's important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say."

"But it's also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life."

"The people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy. And part of my being is to be outside exercising."
Obviously, those 'crisp decisions' are paying off for everyone.

Like these guys:

Gas prices soaring, but they'll keep on boating

Quick piece on Texas boaters and high gas prices.
At the Three Amigos marina near Seabrook, the bigger the boat, the smaller the bite from the gasoline price of $3.07 per gallon.

"If you can't afford the gas, you can't afford the boat," said Tommy Moore, of Houston, who used about 1,400 gallons of gas to bring his Hatteras down from Virginia. "The gas is the least expensive part."

Moore did take note of the sudden and steep price increase, however. He said that, only three weeks ago, he had bought gas in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for about $2.75 per gallon.

"I guess we're helping the Texas economy," Moore said. "Now, let's go burn some gas," he told his boating companions.
Where have I heard that before.

Oh, I know:

"Now, watch this drive."
Many boat owners echoed that view about the expensive, but relaxing, way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

"I love these prices. THE HIGHER, THE BETTER," said Frank Gafke, of Galveston, a senior service leader for HALLIBURTON on the Texas Gulf Coast.
Still looking for Cheney's quote from the late 90's...saying the same thing.
Gafke said Halliburton's profits - and his savings account - had increased markedly since fuel prices began rising. He predicted that prices soon will reach $3 per gallon for automobile drivers, as well as for recreational boaters.

And, he said, relief at the pump probably won't come anytime soon.

"Oil just hit $66 per barrel and gas jumped up 6 cents," Gafke said. "And if we take any action against IRAN, that's only going to cause more price increases.
Did you get that?

Action + Iran = Future oil industry profits.

A done deal, people.

One more quote from the dickhead in the article:
"But if you can afford the boat, it doesn't matter what gas costs."
Which brings us to today's final lesson...Conservatism 101:
If you can't afford the gas, you can't afford the boat.

But if you can afford the boat, it doesn't matter what gas costs.
Man.

We are so fucked.

More later...

Monday, August 15, 2005

Merc-O-Rama, Part II

Yo ho.

Not gonna bitch about gas prices here in Hollywood. ($2.77 - $2.85 - everywhere.)

Bike riding has been...fun. Gives one a new perspective on the mean streets of La La Land.

Saw (2) different Gandalfs working the sidewalk in front of the Chinese Theater this past weekend.

Memo to the Spongebob Guy: Take another pass at your costume.

*

Now, a few weeks ago, I posted the following story about the "outsourcing" of MERCS in Iraq:

Worry Grows as Foreigners Flock to Iraq's Risky Jobs

Actually, the headline should've read, "Foreign Mercs working in Iraq...for US COMPANIES"

On your dime.
WASHINGTON — For hire: more than 1,000 U.S.-trained former soldiers and police officers from Colombia. Combat-hardened, experienced in fighting insurgents and ready for duty in Iraq.

This eye-popping advertisement recently appeared on an Iraq jobs website, posted by an AMERICAN ENTREPRENEUR who hopes to supply SECURITY FORCES for U.S. contractors in Iraq and elsewhere.
"Security Forces" = Mercs.
If hired, the Colombians would join a swelling population of heavily armed private military forces working in Iraq and other global hot spots. They also would join a growing corps of WORKERS from the developing world who are seeking higher wages in dangerous jobs, what some critics say is a troubling result of efforts by the U.S. to "OUTSOURCE" its operations in Iraq and other countries.

In a telephone interview from Colombia, the entrepreneur, Jeffrey Shippy, said he saw a booming global demand for his "PRIVATE ARMY," and a lLUCRATIVE BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY in recruiting Colombians.

Shippy, who formerly worked for DynCorp International, a major U.S. security contractor, said the Colombians were willing to work for $2,500 to $5,000 a month, compared with perhaps $10,000 or more for Americans.
There's gold in them thar hills.

CUT BACK TO this weekend.

Phenomenal NY Times piece on the bigger MERC STORY in Iraq.

Here.

It's an absolute MUST MUST READ, people. There might be over 25,000 mercs, er, "private security forces," fighting, er, "providing security" in Iraq.

Right now.

Excerpts:
The firms employ, in Iraq, a great number of armed men. No one knows the number exactly. In Baghdad in June, in a privately guarded coalition compound in the Green Zone, I talked with Lawrence Peter, a paid advocate for the industry and -- in what he called a ''private-public partnership'' -- a consultant to the Department of Defense on outsourced security. He put the number of armed men around 25,000.

(This figure is in addition to some 50,000 to 70,000 unarmed civilians working for American interests in Iraq, the largest percentage by way of Halliburton and its subsidiaries, doing everything from servicing warplanes to driving food trucks to washing dishes.)

But the estimates, from industry representatives and the tiny sector of academics who study the issues of privatized war, are so vague that they serve only to confirm the chaos of Iraq and the fact that -- despite an attempt at licensing the firms by the fledgling Iraqi Interior Ministry -- no one is really keeping track of all the businesses that provide squads of soldiers equipped with assault rifles and belt-fed light machine guns.
Good times.
Peter's best guess was that there are 60 companies in all. ''Maybe 80,'' he added quickly, mentioning that there were any number of miniature start-ups. He continued: ''Is it a hundred? Possibly.''

Triple Canopy now has about 1,000 men in Iraq, about 200 of them American and almost all the rest from Chile and Fiji. Its rivals include British firms that draw from the elite units of the U.K. military and outfits that draw from South African veterans of the wars to save apartheid. Australians and Ukrainians and Romanians and Iraqis are all making their livings in the business. Many have experience as soldiers; some have been in law enforcement. The firms guard the huge American corporations struggling to carry out Iraq's reconstruction. The private gunmen try to hold the insurgents at bay so that supplies can be delivered and power stations can be built. And companies like Triple Canopy shield American government compounds from attack. With guns poking out from sport utility vehicles, they usher American officials from meeting to meeting. They defend the buildings and people whom the insurgency would most like to reach.

Throughout his time as head of the C.P.A., L. Paul Bremer III, whom the insurgency may well have viewed as its highest-value target, was protected by a Triple Canopy competitor, Blackwater USA.

Private gunmen, according to Lawrence Peter, are now guarding four U.S. generals.

Triple Canopy protects a large military base. And throughout Iraq, the defense of essential military sites like depots of captured munitions has been informally shared by private soldiers and U.S. troops.

If the 25,000 figure is accurate, the businesses add about 16 percent to the coalition's total forces.

Yet it is hard to discern who authorized this particular outsourcing as military policy. No open policy debate took place; no executive order was publicly issued.

And who is in charge of overseeing these armed men?

One thing is sure: they are crucial to the war effort. In April 2004, within a few months of Triple Canopy's arrival in Iraq, its men were waging a desperate firefight to defend a C.P.A. headquarters in the city of Kut. The Mahdi Army had launched an onslaught.
PLEASE read the whole piece.

It covers the awesome amount of money mercs can make in Iraq, the screening process (or lack thereof), the ridiculous amount of cash the CPA threw at the "private security companies" during Paul Bremer's time in Baghdad, and the growing role of mercs in this war.

Who are doing the same things our soldiers and Marines used to do...

ON YOUR DIME.

"Bet we're paying a lot less for those services."

Right

*

I'd like to remind you - that Cheney & Rumsfeld - have been working on ways to PRIVATIZE PARTS OF THE MILITARY (thus creating BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES for their friends) since the NIXON ADMINISTRATION.

And here we are.

*

If you're in the business of war...

"You've got to have war to make money."

If you don't have war?

"You've got to create your own 'opportunities.'"

That's the problem.

"No it's not."

(Grr.)

More later...

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Original Expectations

$2.91 for the low grade stuff on the corner of Topanga Canyon & Ventura.

*

Drudge continues his assault on Cindy Sheehan. Me woke up to this:

BUSH PROTESTING MOM CALLS FOR 'ISRAEL OUT OF PALESTINE'; VOWS NOT TO PAY TAXES
Anti-war protestor Cindy Sheehan, whose soldier son Casey was killed in Iraq, is calling for Bush's "impeachment," and for Israel to get out of Palestine!
Oooooooooh.
"You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism," Sheehan declares.

Sheehan, who is asking for a second meeting with President Bush, says defiantly: "My son was killed in 2004. I am not paying my taxes for 2004. You killed my son, George Bush, and I don't owe you a penny...you give my son back and I'll pay my taxes. Come after me (for back taxes) and we'll put this war on trial."

"And now I'm going to use another 'I' word - impeachment - because we cannot have these people pardoned. They need to be tried on war crimes and go to jail."
(4) smears in just a few sentences: Cindy is anti-Israel, pro-terrorist, doesn't pay taxes, and an impeachment nut.

They hate this woman.

I'm sure we'll "find out" that Cindy is gay...sometime this week.

Because she's drawing unwanted attention to their shenanigans - and "regular folks" are beginning to wonder what we're really doing in Iraq.

And why we went there in the first place.

Speaking of:

U.S. Lowers Sights On What Can Be Achieved in Iraq

"Administration Is Shedding 'Unreality' That Dominated Invasion, Official Says"

Excerpts from the Washington Post:
The Bush administration is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved in Iraq, recognizing that the United States will have to settle for far less progress than originally envisioned during the transition due to end in four months, according to U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad.
Meaning...the Neo-Cons will have to settle for far less than they "originally envisioned."

"The hell we do!"

Calm down, DICK.
The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say.
Got that?

We'll get to their "original expectations" in a second.
"What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."

Administration officials still emphasize how much they have achieved despite the chaos that followed the invasion and the escalating insurgency. "Iraqis are taking control of their country, building a free nation that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself. And we're helping Iraqis succeed," President Bush said yesterday in his radio address.

*

"We set out to establish a democracy, but we're slowly realizing we will have some form of ISLAMIC REPUBLIC," said another U.S. official familiar with policymaking from the beginning, who like some others interviewed would speak candidly only on the condition of anonymity. "That process is being repeated all over."
Good job.
U.S. officials say no turning point forced a reassessment. "It happened rather gradually," said the senior official, triggered by everything from the INSURGENCY to shifting budgets to U.S. personnel changes in Baghdad.

*

U.S. officials now acknowledge that they misread the strength of the sentiment among Kurds and Shiites to create a special status. The Shiites' request this month for autonomy to be guaranteed in the constitution stunned the Bush administration, even after more than two years of intense intervention in Iraq's political process, they said.
Those "misreads" ultimately fall on Cheney, Rumsfeld & Co.

Because they were the ones who wanted this "war."

"Why?"

Once again - I'll direct you to Naomi Klein's brilliant article, "Baghdad Year Zero," for a breakdown of the ORIGINAL NEO-CON PLAN re: Iraq.

She wrote this article LAST September, BTW.

"She's a leftistpinkocommiefaggot."

Read the article, DICK.
It was only after I had been in Baghdad for a month that I found what I was looking for. I had traveled to Iraq a year after the war began, at the height of what should have been a construction boom, but after weeks of searching I had not seen a single piece of heavy machinery apart from tanks and humvees. Then I saw it: a construction crane. It was big and yellow and impressive, and when I caught a glimpse of it around a corner in a busy shopping district I thought that I was finally about to witness some of the reconstruction I had heard so much about. But as I got closer I noticed that the crane was not actually rebuilding anything—not one of the bombed-out government buildings that still lay in rubble all over the city, nor one of the many power lines that remained in twisted heaps even as the heat of summer was starting to bear down. No, the crane was hoisting a giant billboard to the top of a three-story building. SUNBULAH: HONEY 100% NATURAL, made in Saudi Arabia.

Seeing the sign, I couldn’t help but think about something Senator John McCain had said back in October. Iraq, he said, is “a huge pot of honey that’s attracting a lot of flies.”

The flies McCain was referring to were the Halliburtons and Bechtels, as well as the venture capitalists who flocked to Iraq in the path cleared by Bradley Fighting Vehicles and laser-guided bombs.

The honey that drew them was not just no-bid contracts and Iraq’s famed oil wealth but the myriad INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES offered by a country that had just been cracked wide open after decades of being sealed off, first by the nationalist economic policies of Saddam Hussein, then by asphyxiating United Nations sanctions.

Looking at the honey billboard, I was also reminded of the most common explanation for what has gone wrong in Iraq, a complaint echoed by everyone from John Kerry to Pat Buchanan: Iraq is mired in blood and deprivation because George W. Bush didn’t have “a postwar plan.” The only problem with this theory is that it isn’t true. The Bush Administration did have a plan for what it would do after the war; put simply, it was to lay out as much honey as possible, then sit back and wait for the flies.

*

The honey theory of Iraqi reconstruction stems from the most cherished belief of the war’s ideological architects: that greed is good. Not good just for them and their friends but good for humanity, and certainly good for Iraqis. Greed creates profit, which creates growth, which creates jobs and products and services and everything else anyone could possibly need or want.

The role of good government, then, is to create the optimal conditions for corporations to pursue their bottomless greed, so that they in turn can meet the needs of the society. The problem is that governments, even neoconservative governments, rarely get the chance to prove their sacred theory right: despite their enormous ideological advances, even George Bush’s Republicans are, in their own minds, perennially sabotaged by meddling Democrats, intractable unions, and alarmist environmentalists.

Iraq was going to change all that. In one place on Earth, the theory would finally be put into practice in its most perfect and uncompromised form. A country of 25 million would not be rebuilt as it was before the war; it would be erased, disappeared. In its place would spring forth a gleaming showroom for laissez-faire economics, a utopia such as the world had never seen. Every policy that liberates multinational corporations to pursue their quest for profit would be put into place: a shrunken state, a flexible workforce, open borders, minimal taxes, no tariffs, no ownership restrictions.
Enter...Paul Bremer & the CPA.
The people of Iraq would, of course, have to endure some short-term pain: assets, previously owned by the state, would have to be given up to create new opportunities for growth and investment. Jobs would have to be lost and, as foreign products flooded across the border, local businesses and family farms would, unfortunately, be unable to compete. But to the authors of this plan, these would be small prices to pay for the economic boom that would surely explode once the proper conditions were in place, a boom so powerful the country would practically rebuild itself.

The fact that the boom never came and Iraq continues to tremble under explosions of a very different sort should never be blamed on the absence of a plan. Rather, the blame rests with the plan itself, and the extraordinarily violent ideology upon which it is based.
The Neo-Con ideology.

Their "original expecation" was a fully privatized country - under their complete control.

Not an Islamic Republic.

One big mistake:
The soldiers and workers (Paul Bremer & the CPA) laid off without pensions or severance pay didn’t all disappear quietly. Many of them went straight into the mujahedeen, forming the backbone of the armed resistance. “Half a million people are now worse off, and there you have the water tap that keeps the insurgency going. It’s alternative employment,” says Hussain Kubba, head of the prominent Iraqi business group Kubba Consulting. Some of Bremer’s other economic casualties also have failed to go quietly. It turns out that many of the businessmen whose companies are threatened by Bremer’s investment laws have decided to make investments of their own—in the resistance.

It is partly their money that keeps fighters in Kalashnikovs and RPGs.
In otherwords, the insurgency is (partially) made up of pissed off Iraqis who lost their jobs, and funded by men who (sort of) lived the good life under Hussein.

Read the who piece if you haven't already.

It's relevant today because:

Five US soldiers killed by roadside bombs in Iraq

More later...