BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Friday, September 30, 2005

Etan Thomas

Simple blog today.

The war is on, people. "They" are in counter-attack mode...and going after Sen Minority leader Harry Reid.

Drudge just posted this headline from the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

"Money connected to Reid - Senator arranged for grant now involved in indictment of pastors"

Which means that the triple headed Rushseanbill monster has something to scream about today.
WASHINGTON -- The money that led to the indictment this week of two Las Vegas pastors and the wife of one of them came from federal grants arranged by Sen. Harry Reid in September 2001, a Reid spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Moving to distance Reid from a possible scandal, aide Tessa Hafen said the senator sought the money on behalf of a nonprofit social services agency and not for the churches or persons who have been accused of mishandling the money.

"The money was administered by the Department of Justice, and it went to the agency in Nevada (Alliance Collegiums Association of Nevada)," Hafen said.
Snore.

The paper is owned by? The Stephens Media Group.

"Who dey?"

Gee, I wonder.

*

Earlier this week, I wrote that the Coulter-robot would explode upon hearing the news that Pat Tillman, a man she described as “an American original — virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be," was a fan of Noam Chomsky.

(A little fact that will drive the RWNJ's crazy.)

Well, she appeared on Hannity & Colmes and simply said she "didn't believe it."

Crooks & Liars has the video.

Face!

*

Been scrolling through the Yahoo Message Boards this morn...getting' the far-right reaction to the news that Judy Miller is out of jail and talkin.'

My favorite post comes from "ulibsrhistory":
HEY LIBS! CLEAN UP YOUR PLANATATION! YOU FILTHY SCUM!"
Huh?

*

Moving on to...

Etan Thomas.

Center, Washington Wizards.

7.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG.

Syracuse grad.

My new favorite guy.

Here's why: Alternet just posted the speech Etan made at last weekend's march in D.C.

It's a motherf'ing doozy.

Read the whole thing.

*

"Giving all honor, thanks and praises to God for courage and wisdom, this is a very important rally. I'd like to thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts, feelings and concerns regarding a tremendous problem that we are currently facing. This prblem is universal, transcending race, economic background, religion and culture, and this problem is none other than the current administration which has set up shop in the White House.

In fact, I'd like to take some of these cats on a field trip. I want to get big yellow buses with no air conditioner and no seatbelts and round up Bill O'Reilly, Pat Buchanan, Trent Lott, Sean Hannity, Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, Bush Jr. and Bush Sr., John Ashcroft, Giuliani, Ed Gillespie, Katherine Harris, that little bow-tied Tucker Carlson and any other right-wing conservative Republicans I can think of, and take them all on a trip to the hood.

Not to do no 30-minute documentary.

I mean, I want to drop them off and leave them there, let them become one with the other side of the tracks, get them four mouths to feed and no welfare, have scare tactics run through them like a laxative, criticizing them for needing assistance.

I'd show them working families that make too much to receive welfare but not enough to make ends meet. I'd employ them with jobs with little security, let them know how it feels to be an employee at will, able to be fired at the drop of a hat. I'd take away their opportunities, then try their children as adults, sending their 13-year-old babies to life in prison. I'd sell them dreams of hopelessness while spoon-feeding their young with a daily dose of inferior education. I'd tell them no child shall be left behind, then take more money out of their schools, tell them to show and prove themselves on standardized exams testing their knowledge on things that they haven't been taught, and then I'd call them inferior.

I'd soak into their interior notions of endless possibilities. I'd paint pictures of assisted productivity if they only agreed to be all they can be, dress them up with fatigues and boots with promises of pots of gold at the end of rainbows, free education to waste terrain on those who finish their bid. Then I'd close the lid on that barrel of fools gold by starting a war, sending their children into the midst of a hostile situation, and while they're worried about their babies being murdered and slain in foreign lands, I'd grace them with the pain of being sick and unable to get medicine.

Give them health benefits that barely cover the common cold. John Q. would become their reality as HMOs introduce them to the world of inferior care, filling their lungs with inadequate air, penny pinching at the expense of patients, doctors practicing medicine in an intricate web of rationing and regulations. Patients wander the maze of managed bureaucracy, costs rise and quality quickly deteriorates, but they say that managed care is cheaper. They'll say that free choice in medicine will defeat the overall productivity, and as co-payments are steadily rising, I'll make their grandparents have to choose between buying their medicine and paying their rent.

Then I'd feed them hypocritical lines of being pro-life as the only Christian way to be. Then very contradictingly, I'd fight for the spread of the death penalty, as if thou shall not kill applies to babies but not to criminals.

Then I'd introduce them to those sworn to protect and serve, creating a curb in their trust in the law. I'd show them the nightsticks and plungers, the pepper spray and stun guns, the mace and magnums that they'd soon become acquainted with, the shakedowns and illegal search and seizures, the planted evidence, being stopped for no reason.

Harassment ain't even the half of it.

Forty-one shots to two raised hands, cell phones and wallets that are confused with illegal contrabands.

I'd introduce them to pigs who love making their guns click like wine glasses.

Everlasting targets surrounded by bullets, making them a walking bull's eye, a living piñata, held at the mercy of police brutality, and then we'll see if they finally weren't aware of the truth, if their eyes weren't finally open like a box of Pandora.

I'd show them how the other side of the tracks carries the weight of the world on our shoulders and how society seems to be holding us down with the force of a boulder. The bird of democracy flew the coop back in Florida.

See, for some, and justice comes in packs like wolves in sheep's clothing. T.K.O.d by the right hooks of life, many are left staggering under the weight of the day, leaning against the ropes of hope. When your dreams have fallen on barren ground, it becomes difficult to keep pushing yourself forward like a train, administering pain like a doctor with a needle, their sequels continue more lethal than injections.

They keep telling us all is equal.

I'd tell them that instead of giving tax breaks to the rich, financing corporate mergers and leading us into unnecessary wars and under-table dealings with Enron and Halliburton, maybe they can work on making society more peaceful. Instead, they take more and more money out of inner city schools, give up on the idea of rehabilitation and build more prisons for poor people. With unemployment continuing to rise like a deficit, it's no wonder why so many think that crime pays.

Maybe this trip will make them see the error of their ways. Or maybe next time, we'll just all get out and vote. And as far as their stay in the White House, tell them that numbered are their days."

*

Wow.

I'm gonna pull for Etan...all season long.

He's also written a book of POEMS entitled "More Than An Athlete."

You bet.

More later...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

As I DeLay Dying

By now, you've heard the news re: Hot Tub Tom.

What you haven't heard...is the true, behind-the-scenes freak-out.

Blunt picked to replace DeLay as US House leader

Fine. They replaced one RWNJ with another RWNJ:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously elected Roy Blunt of Missouri as their majority leader, replacing Tom DeLay, who was forced to step down after being indicted by a Texas grand jury, lawmakers said.

After a closed-door meeting of House Republicans, lawmakers said Blunt's position was an interim arrangement for the rest of the year and that he would share some leadership responsibilities with Rep. David Dreier of California. Blunt had been the third-ranking Republican member of the House with the title of majority whip.
And now...the key freak-out moment:
But Republicans praised DeLay, WHO RECEIVED AN OVATION AT THE PARTY MEETING, and many predicted he would be exonerated from what they described as a politically motivated prosecution.

"We all believe that he (DeLay) will return once this indictment is out of the way, and be the leader again," Blunt said.
I'm back, Roy. Now gimme back my seat!"

"No!"

(Punch.)

"Ow!"
DeLay said his legal problems will not derail the Republican agenda.

"If the Democrats think we're going to go crawl in a hole and not accomplish our agenda, I wish they could have been a fly on the wall and seen these members come together for a bold and aggressive agenda," he said.

"What I told the members basically was, we all know what this is -- a political witch hunt," he said.
No.

What Tom "told the members basically was" --

"AAAAGGGGHHHH! RRRAAAGGGHHH! MOTHERFUCKERS! WAR! BLOOD! KILL! KILL THE DIRTY LIBTARDS! AAAGGGHHH! FUCKING BASTARD MOTHERFUCKERS! RRRAAAGGGHHH!!!"

KnowwhatImsaying?

*

GUARANTEED: They'll go after a top Dem.

Who's it gonna be?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

*

Moving on...

THREE new-old claims from the White House.

First?

"There will be an upsurge in violence in Iraq (fill in the blank)."

Guesses?

1. When we transfer power to the interim government.

2. As the Iraqi poeple work to build a new country.

3. When we arrest Saddam.

4. When we put Saddam on trial.

5. Because it's Thursday.

Today...the excuse is "vote in October on their 'new' constitution."
WASHINGTON (Sept. 28) - President Bush is sending the top U.S. commanders in Iraq to Capitol Hill to try to convince lawmakers -- and their skeptical constituents -- that the United States is making progress in the war.

*

"WE'RE ON THE OFFENSE," Bush said Wednesday. "We have a plan to win." Still, he warned of an upsurge in violence before Iraqis vote Oct. 15 on a new constitution. He said insurgents ultimately will fail.
Okay. I was wrong.

FOUR new-old claims. Two in that last sentence.

"We're on the offense," and "the insurgents ultimately will fail."

The insurgents might fail...but they're showing no signs of slowing down.

Iraq's First Female Suicide Bomber Kills 6

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A woman disguised in a man's robes and headdress slipped into a line of army recruits Wednesday and detonated explosives strapped to her body, killing at least six recruits and wounding 35 — the first known suicide attack by a woman in Iraq's INSURGENCY.

*

The U.S. military announced Wednesday that two more American soldiers and an airman were killed in violence and a Marine was killed by a non-combat gunshot.
That means...4 AMERICAN MILITARY DUDES DIED on Wednesday.
The deaths brought to 1,929 the number of U.S. service members who have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
At least we're on the offense.

The 4th new-old claim?

"We killed the NUMBER 2 evil-doer in Iraq."

Yes, you've heard that claim before. So has Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball.
Sept. 28, 2005 - U.S. intelligence officials and counterterrorism analysts are questioning whether a slain terrorist—described by President Bush today as the “SECOND-MOST-WANTED AL QAEDA LEADER IN IRAQ”—was as significant a figure as the Bush administration is claiming.

*

“This guy was a brutal killer,” BUSH TOLD REPORTERS in remarks that were also carried live on cable TV. “He was one of [Abu Mussab al-]Zarqawi’s top lieutenants. He was reported to be the top operational commander of Al Qaeda in Baghdad.”

Bush’s comments came one day after Gen. Richard Myers, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at the Pentagon that the U.S. military considered Abu Azzam the “No. 2 Al Qaeda operative in Iraq, next to Zarqawi.”

But veteran counterterrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann said today there are ample reasons to question whether Abu Azzam was really the No. 2 figure in the Iraqi insurgency.

He noted that U.S. officials have made similar claims about a string of purportedly high-ranking terrorist operatives who had been captured or killed in the past, even though these alleged successes made no discernible dent in the intensity of the insurgency.

“If I had a nickel for every No. 2 and No. 3 they’ve arrested or killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, I’d be a millionaire,” says Kohlmann, a New York-based analyst who tracks the Iraq insurgency and who first expressed skepticism about the Azzam claims in a posting on The Counterterrorism Blog (counterterror.typepad.com).

While agreeing that Azzam—also known as Abdullah Najim Abdullah Mohamed al-Jawari—may have been an important figure, “this guy was not the deputy commander of Al Qaeda,” says Kohlmann.

Three U.S. counterterrorism officials, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject, also told NEWSWEEK today that U.S. agencies did not really consider Abu Azzam to be Zarqawi’s “deputy” even if he did play a relatively high-ranking role in the insurgency.

The characterization of Abu Azzam as No. 2 to Zarqawi is “not quite accurate,” said one of the officials. According to this official, it would be more correct to describe Abu Azzam as a “top lieutenant” to Zarqawi who was involved in “running” terrorist operations in Baghdad—not all of Iraq.

Other top lieutenants operate in other parts of the country, the official indicated.
Which means that Iraq is filled with a ton of 2's and 3's!

A No-Prize for the Brandoland reader who can predict the next capture/killing of a NUMBER 2.

Can be a calendar date...or a "date" around an important event.

Like the day Karl Rove gets indicted for his role in Plame-gate.

Finally...

Katrina was God's wrath on sinful area says Alabama senator

That's what I've been saying.
A STATE SENATOR IN ALABAMA says Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment on a sinful part of America.

State Sen. HANK ERWIN, R-Montevallo, wrote in a weekly column for news outlets: "New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast have always been known for gambling, sin and wickedness. It is the kind of behavior that ultimately brings the judgment of God."
"WHAT DID HE SAY?"

He said that, you know, gambling, sin and wickedness ultimately brings your judgement.

"WHAT?! IT'S HURRICANE SEASON."

I know, but he wants to --

"WHAT?"

Make the point that, you know, people who don't live like he does will, you know, suffer.

"OH. HE'S ONE OF 'THOSE PEOPLE.' RIGHT. GOT IT.
"Warnings year after year by godly EVANGELISTS and preachers went unheeded. So why were we surprised when finally the hand of judgment fell?" Erwin wrote. "Sadly, innocents suffered along with the guilty. Sin always brings suffering to good people as well as the bad."
"WHAT ABOUT WARNINGS, YEAR AFTER YEAR, FROM THE ARMY CORP OF ENGINEERS?! HUH?!"

He doesn't care about that.

"I ENJOY A GOOD GAME OF '21,' YOU KNOW."
He said he didn't think the hard-hit residents of the low-income lower 9th Ward in New Orleans were singled out for especially harsh punishment but were merely in the way, as were the shrimpers in Bayou La Batre.
"THAT'S A LIE. I TOTALLY WENT AFTER THE SHRIMPERS IN BAYOU LA BATRE. I HATE THOSE DUDES. THEY LISTEN TO COUNTRY MUSIC AND THEY SMELL FUNNY."

(Pause.)

"OKAY. THAT'S A BAD JOKE."

Don't worry about it.

More later...

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Nanny

(Quick personal plea: Pass this blog on to one new person today. Thanks, yo.)

You've heard this by now:

TV Show May Help Both Bush, Victims Recover

"'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' episode will feature the first lady at a Mississippi shelter."

Pickles to the rescue!
Laura Bush will travel to storm-damaged Biloxi, Miss., to film a spot on the feel-good, wish-granting hit "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." Mrs. Bush sought to be on the program because she shares the "same principles" that the producers hold, her press secretary said.

*

It's not clear exactly what Mrs. Bush will do — reality shows are unscripted, after all --
Um, no. They are completely "scripted," in that, the writers - I mean"producers" - plan out all the story beats and manipulate the actors - er, "contestants" - into executing the intended drama.
But Tom Forman, executive producer and creator, said he is hoping that she'll just pitch in and help unload.

"I think we say, 'Mrs. Bush, the stuff is over here, the people are over there, could you grab the other end of that mattress?'"

Forman said. Press secretary Susan Whitson envisioned something closer to her handing out clothing and thanking volunteers.
Make her grab the other end of the mattress.

*

Can we get "Our Kid" on "The Nanny?"

That would be awesome.

I realize the show can't happen without his parents.

If they won't do it...maybe Dick and Condi?

"He told Americans to conserve gas!"

"Yeah!"

"Well, the next time he does that, make him go stand on his 'special spot.' He'll get the message."

*

Moving on...

A white Republican lawmaker from Tennessee tries to take on the state's "Black Caucus" and ends up looking like...a white Republican lawmaker from Tennessee.

White Lawmaker Likens Black Colleagues, KKK

No joke.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A white Tennessee lawmaker lamenting his exclusion from the state's Black Legislative Caucus claimed Tuesday the group was less accommodating that even the Ku Klux Klan.
That move.

Dudes like the above mentioned try it all the time.

"No, seriously, I wanna pledge this here fra-ter-ni-ty. Kappa Alpha...whatever you guys are."

"A black fraternity."

"See? You guys is racist. 'M gonna report you! Take away the money y'all get from the school!"

"And you...are a stupid cracker."
"My understanding is that the KKK doesn't even ban members by race," said Rep. Stacey Campfield, adding that the KKK "has less racist bylaws" than the black lawmakers' group.
How does he know?

Does he have a copy of the KKK's by-laws?

What year is this?!
The freshman Republican from Knoxville was rebuffed earlier this year when he asked for the Black Caucus' bylaws and inquired about joining. There are 18 black state lawmakers in Tennessee.

Caucus chairman Rep. Johnny Shaw, a Democrat, dismissed Campfield's request and called him a "strange guy" who was simply interested in stirring up trouble.

"He is using this as a joke. This is an insult coming from him," said caucus member Rep. Larry Miller, also a Democrat. "Why he chose to focus on the Black Caucus, I have no idea other than he is crazy and a racist."

The 37-year-old Campfield defended himself Saturday in a message on his Web journal, or blog, under the heading "I too dream."
His blog (lastcar.blogspot.com) is f'ing unreadable.

Unless you "think" like he does.

Otherwise...ramblings of a right-wing nutjob.

His picture (posted on the blog) tells you all you need to know about Rep. Campfield.

"Hey, that's racist!"

Too bad.

*

Hold on...

ONE OF THE GREATEST STORIES EVER, PEOPLE! And it's breaking right now!

3 Charged in Killing Of Fla. Businessman

"Boulis Slain After 2000 ABRAMOFF Deal"

Oops!

This is an absolute MUST READ.

It's a bad B-movie:
Fort Lauderdale police said yesterday that they charged three men in the 2001 gangland-style slaying of a Florida businessman who was gunned down in his car MONTHS AFTER selling a CASINO CRUISE LINE to a group that included WASHINGTON LOBBYIST JACK ABRAMOFF.

Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis was killed on a Fort Lauderdale street on Feb. 6, 2001.

Two of the three men charged had been hired as consultants by ADAM KIDAN, one of Abramoff's partners in the SunCruz Casinos venture.
Oops!
Anthony Moscatiello, 67, identified by authorities as a former bookkeeper for the Gambino crime family, was arrested Monday night in Queens, N.Y.

Anthony Ferrari, 48, was arrested in Miami Beach. Both were charged with murder, conspiracy and solicitation to commit murder.

James Fiorillo, 28, was arrested in Palm Coast, Fla., yesterday and charged with murder and conspiracy.

Boulis, millionaire founder of the Miami Subs sandwich chain, sold SunCruz to Abramoff and Kidan in September 2000, at a time when Abramoff was one of Washington's most powerful lobbyists.

Abramoff and Kidan were indicted last month on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy in connection with a $60 MILLION LOAN they obtained to purchase the casino company.

Abramoff is at the center of a federal investigation into lobbying for Indian tribes and influence-peddling in Washington. Abramoff used contacts with GOP Reps. Tom DeLay (Tex.) and Robert W. Ney (Ohio) and their staffs as he worked to land the SunCruz deal, interviews and court records show.
Oops!
Attorneys for Kidan and Abramoff said their clients have no knowledge about who killed Boulis. The two men were on a business trip abroad the night Boulis was shot.
Duh.
Dealings between Boulis and the Abramoff group were often tense. At key points in the negotiations, Ney placed comments in the Congressional Record -- first sharply criticizing Boulis and later praising the new ownership under Kidan. Ney later said he had been unaware of Kidan's background.

Also during the negotiations, Abramoff brought a lender he was trying to impress to hobnob with DeLay in Abramoff's FedEx Field skybox at a Redskins-Cowboys game. DELAY has said he does not remember meeting the lender.
Bet he's met a lot of people in that particular skybox.
After the sale, the friction led to a December 2000 FISTFIGHT between KIDAN and BOULIS, who had remained as a minority partner.

Kidan told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that Boulis had said, "I'm not going to sue you, I'M GOING TO KILL YOU." Kidan said that SunCruz thereafter barred Boulis from its casino boats.
Here's the key piece of info, people:
Homicide detectives have been investigating payments made to Moscatiello, his daughter and Ferrari in the months before the killing. SunCruz paid $145,000 to Moscatiello and his daughter for catering, consulting and "site inspections," Kidan said in a 2001 civil court deposition.
Oops!
There is no evidence that food or drink was provided or that any consulting documents were prepared, according to court documents.
No shit.

That old trick? C'mon, people. You gotta think outside the box to play this game!
The checks to Jennifer Moscatiello were made at Anthony Moscatiello's instruction, although his daughter provided no services for the money, Kidan said in his deposition.

*

Kidan has denied that the SunCruz payments to Moscatiello and Ferrari had anything to do with the slaying. In 2001, he told the Miami Herald: "If I'm going to pay to have Gus killed, am I going to be writing checks to the killers? I don't think so. Why would I leave a paper trail?
Good question!

Read the whole piece.

Josh Marshall is all over this story, and reporting that more arrests...are coming.

Finally, the Seattle Times asks a simple question:

Who profits the most when gas prices rise?

"Uh...the consumer!"

Gameshow buzzer SFX indicating "wrong answer."
WASHINGTON — When the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline peaked at $3.07 recently, it was partly because the nation's refineries were receiving an estimated 99 cents on each gallon sold.

That was more than THREE TIMES THE AMOUNT they earned a year ago when regular unleaded was selling for $1.87.

Companies that pump oil from the ground swept in an additional 47 cents on each gallon, a 46 PERCENT JUMP over the same period.

If motorists are the big losers in the spectacular run-up in gas prices, the companies that produce the oil and turn it into gasoline are the clear winners.

*

The spikes caused by Hurricane Katrina — which heavily damaged oil production and refining in the Gulf region — accentuated gains the refiners and producers already were enjoying over the past year.

EXXON Mobil, the Irving, Texas, behemoth that produces and refines oil, reported in July that its second-quarter PROFIT was up 32 PERCENT, to $7.64 billion. Analysts expect Exxon's profit to soar again this quarter.

The rapid run-up in prices at the pump when KATRINA hit — and their slow decline — has infuriated drivers, many of whom complain that oil companies used the storm as a pretext for boosting prices and profits.

Politicians, including Washington state Gov. Christine Gregoire, echoed that sentiment and are calling for investigations of the oil industry.

But interviews with analysts, consumer advocates and participants in the oil markets indicate that typical MARKET FORCES were at work in the price run-up.
Ah, yes! Those mysterious MARKET FORCES.

Market Forces (mar-ket forss-es), n - 1. A well placed phone call from the CEO of a giant corporation to the White House. 2. A timely phone call between business leaders in any given industry. 3. A great excuse when the "rabble" start asking questions about economics, a subject they know nothing about.

4. "Who profits?" - The only question you ever need to ask.

More later.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Conserve, Citizens!

Our Kid has spoken:

Bush Says He Would Tap Petroleum Reserve if Necessary

"He did what?!"
President Bush, saying "gas prices are on our mind," today promised that the government is again prepared to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to alleviate any crude oil shortages caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

"It's important for our people to know that we understand the situation and that we're willing to use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to mitigate any shortfalls in crude oil that could affect our consumers," Bush said.

*

Bush called on Americans to "pitch in" and conserve gas by reducing non-essential travel, teaming up in carpools and using mass transit.
"He called on who to what now?!"

"He called on Americans to conserve gas, sir."

"Jesus Christ! Get that monkey on the phone!"

"Yes, Mr. Cheney."

"Ow! My fucking leg!"

Which brings us to an important moment from yesterday's White House press briefing:
Q: Scott, beyond the President's travel tomorrow, what is the President going to do TO CONSERVE HIS OWN GAS use and energy use here by White House staff?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the directive will go out to the entire federal government, and it will be going out later today. And I highlighted some ways that people can take steps to conserve energy. So that's what we'll be looking to do here at the White House, as well.

Q: Will you consider fewer cars in the motorcade? We've asked you previously how much gas the motorcade uses and you guys won't tell us. So I'm curious, can you tell us how much gas the motorcade --

MR. McCLELLAN: We will take steps here at the White House, as well. And I'll keep you posted, once the directive goes out.

Q: WILL YOU TELL US HOW MUCH GAS THE MOTORCADE USES?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?

Q: How much gas the motorcade uses?

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me take your question. I'll look into it.
Wow.

Tough questions from the White House Press Corp.
Q: Is the President paying any attention to this protest outside, that's happened over the last few days?
That's a really nice way of asking, "Are you guys aware that there were over 300,000 people marching in the streets on Saturday...against the war in Iraq?"
MR. McCLELLAN: I haven't spoken to him about it. He was tending to business last -- oh, you're talking about over the last few days?
Ha.

Cheeky.
Q: Yes.

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, he's very much aware of the people here who have come to Washington, D.C., SOME TO EXPRESS SUPPORT FOR THE STEPS WE'RE TAKING, AND A NUMBER OF OTHERS THAT EXPRESSED A DIFFERENT VIEW.
Unbelievable.

300 Vs. 300,000.

Man.

From now on, "a number of others" equals 300,000.
It's the right of the American people to peacefully express their views, and that's what you're seeing here in Washington, D.C.
Gee, thanks for reminding us, Scott.
Q: Is he worried that Americans have lost confidence in his ability to conduct the war?

MR. McCLELLAN: Look, here in Washington, D.C., this weekend -- I mean, the President talked about some of this the other day in remarks at the Pentagon.

He recognizes that there are differences of opinion on Iraq and our role in the broader Middle East. Some people want us to withdraw from Iraq and withdraw from the Middle East. They are well-intentioned. But the President strongly believes that withdrawing from Iraq and the Middle East would make us less safe and make the world more dangerous.
Blah blah blah.
The President recognized on SEPTEMBER 11TH that we were engaged in a global war on terrorism, and that meant that we needed to go on the offense and take the fight to the enemy -- and that's exactly what he's done.
Right.

Final moment, and it's key:
Q: Our colleagues are saying that CINDY SHEEHAN was arrested. Does the President approve of her arrest --

MR. McCLELLAN: I hadn't heard that until just now.

Q: Scott, a follow-up on David's question. Colleagues at the Pentagon say that they have not talked to anybody at a senior level in the military who thinks that this idea of an automatic trigger is a good idea.
It happened that fast. The "name" was brought up, ignored, and thrown under the couch.

Not one follow-up question from the WH journos re: Cindy Sheehan.

Spineless bastards all.

*

Final story from the LA Times:

Katrina Takes a Toll on Truth, News Accuracy

Cliff notes version: The press freaked out and pushed the Crazytown stories...which hurt the relief effort.
Fox News, a day before the major evacuation of the Superdome began, issued an "alert" as talk show host Alan Colmes reiterated reports of "robberies, rapes, carjackings, riots and murder. Violent gangs are roaming the streets at night, hidden by the cover of darkness."

The Los Angeles Times adopted a breathless tone the next day in its lead news story, reporting that National Guard troops "took positions on rooftops, scanning for snipers and armed mobs as seething crowds of refugees milled below, desperate to flee. Gunfire crackled in the distance."

The New York Times repeated some of the reports of violence and unrest, but the newspaper usually was more careful to note that the information could not be verified.

The tabloid Ottawa Sun reported unverified accounts of "a man seeking help gunned down by a National Guard soldier" and "a young man run down and then shot by a New Orleans police officer."

London's Evening Standard invoked the future-world fantasy film "Mad Max" to describe the scene and threw in a "Lord of the Flies" allusion for good measure.

Televised images and photographs affirmed the widespread devastation in one of America's most celebrated cities.

"I don't think you can overstate how big of a disaster New Orleans is," said Kelly McBride, ethics group leader at the Poynter Institute, a Florida school for professional journalists. "But you can imprecisely state the nature of the disaster. … Then you draw attention away from the real story, the magnitude of the destruction, and you kind of undermine the media's credibility."
Bottom line? Katrina coverage was "produced" like a live episode of "Cops."

And "Cops" is popular because...?

Think about it.

More later...

"Rumors supplanted accurate information and media magnified the problem. Rapes, violence and estimates of the dead were wrong"

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Last MONDAY in September

Interesting article on Pat Tillman today:

FAMILY DEMANDS THE TRUTH

"New inquiry may expose events that led to Pat Tillman’s death"

You might remember that the former Arizona Cardinal star signed up with the Army Rangers right after 9/11 and was killed during a gun-battle in Afghanistan.

Turns out that wasn't the case: Pat was killed by "friendly fire."
The battle between a grieving family and the U.S. military justice system is on display in thousands of pages of documents strewn across Mary Tillman’s dining room table in suburban San Jose.

As she pores through testimony from three previous Army investigations into the killing of her son, former football star Pat Tillman, by his fellow Army Rangers last year in Afghanistan, she hopes that a new inquiry launched in August by the Pentagon’s inspector general finally will answer the family’s questions:

Were witnesses allowed to change their testimony on key details, as alleged by one investigator? Why did internal documents on the case, such as the initial casualty report, include false information? When did top Pentagon officials know that Tillman’s death was caused by friendly fire, and why did they delay for five weeks before informing his family?

“There have been so many discrepancies so far that it’s hard to know what to believe,” Mary Tillman said. “There are too many murky details.” The files the family received from the Army in March are heavily censored, with nearly every page containing blacked-out sections; most names have been deleted. (Names for this story were provided by sources close to the investigation.) At least one volume was withheld altogether from the family, and even an Army press release given to the media has deletions. On her copies, Mary Tillman has added competing marks and scrawls — countless color-coded tabs and angry notes such as “Contradiction!” “Wrong!” and “????
Read the entire piece for more details.

But the weirdest detail from the article?
Interviews also show a side of Pat Tillman not widely known — a fiercely independent thinker who enlisted, fought and died in service to his country yet was critical of President Bush and opposed the war in Iraq, where he served a tour of duty. He was an avid reader whose interests ranged from history books on World War II and Winston Churchill to works of leftist NOAM CHOMSKY, a favorite author.
An Army Ranger...who reads Chomsky?!
(Yet ) other Tillman family members are less reluctant to show Tillman’s unique character, which was more complex than the public image of a gung-ho patriotic warrior.

He started keeping a journal at 16 and continued the practice on the battlefield, writing in it regularly. (His journal was lost immediately after his death.)

Mary Tillman said a friend of Pat’s even arranged a private meeting with CHOMSKY, the antiwar author, to take place after his return from Afghanistan — a meeting prevented by his death.
Hmm.

I'm sure Pat would've had some interesting info for Prof. Chomsky.

Bet there was some interesting stuff in his diary, too.
She said that although he supported the Afghan war, believing it justified by the Sept. 11 attacks, “PAT WAS VERY CRITICAL OF THE WHOLE IRAQ WAR.”

Baer, who served with Tillman for more than a year in Iraq and Afghanistan, told one anecdote that took place during the March 2003 invasion as the Rangers moved up through southern Iraq.

“I can see it like a movie screen,” Baer said. “We were outside of (a city in southern IRAQ watching as bombs were dropping on the town. We were at an old air base, me, Kevin and Pat, we weren’t in the fight right then. We were talking. And Pat said, ‘You know, THIS WAR IS SO F---ING ILLEGAL.’ And we all said, ‘Yeah.’ That’s who he was."

"HE WAS TOTALLY AGAINST BUSH.”
Wow.

Not the same guy that the Bushies tried to USE - I mean portray - after his death.
The Pentagon immediately announced that Tillman had died heroically in combat with the enemy, and President Bush hailed him as “an inspiration on and off the football field, as with all who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror.”

His killing was widely reported by the media, including conservative commentators such as ANN COULTER, who called him “an American original — virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be.”
Wonder what Coulter would say now...given the fact that Pat read Chomsky.

"He's...he's...he's a commie...who...who...who...deserved to die."

But, Ann, you said that he was 'virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be.' WTF?

"But that was before I heard that he...that he...that...he..."

BLAM.

Oh, drag. The Coulter robot exploded.

Again, read the whole piece.

*
More news from Saturday's march in downtown Los Angeles --

Awesome but uneventful. A handful of punk rock teens yelling, "Fuck the pigs!" A lotta people - I'd say over 20,000 - easy.

Much bigger than the "Get Clinton Out of Office!" march that went down in '99.

Oh. Wait a minute. THAT MARCH NEVER HAPPENED.

Still, a big crowd for L.A. - no matter the event - unless we're talking about a Galaxy v Mexico game at the Coliseum - or Morrissey at the Rose Bowl.

And - the crowd was incredibly DIVERSE. White, brown, yellow, red, Green Party, purple, young, old, and punk-rock.

If there had been a "Get Clinton Out of Office" march, that march would have been 100% White, annoying, and overwhelmingly Brooks Brothers.

No counter protest...except for one typical downtown crazy...who walked along Broadway...with a WRENCH...screaming, "You're all stupid!"

Dude would've done that yesterday...anyway. March or no march.

Probably doing it today.

"You're all stupid."

Chant of the day: "No mas gasolina!"

Memo to Sheen: Love ya, but please drop the "as the President of the United States" line from future speeches. Your private service is outstanding - but it's too easy to make fun of you when you bust out the "West Wing" schtick.

*

THE article of the day:

Blackwater Down

It's Jeremy "Democracy Now" Scahill's piece on MERCS in NoLa:
Others have been hired by the wealthy elite, like F. Patrick Quinn III, who brought in private security to guard his $3 million private estate and his luxury hotels, which are under consideration for a lucrative federal contract to house FEMA workers.

A possibly deadly incident involving Quinn's hired guns underscores the dangers of private forces policing American streets. On his second night in New Orleans, Quinn's security chief, Michael Montgomery, who said he worked for an Alabama company called Bodyguard and Tactical Security (BATS), was with a heavily armed security detail en route to pick up one of Quinn's associates and escort him through the chaotic city.

Montgomery told me they came under fire from "black gangbangers" on an overpass near the poor Ninth Ward neighborhood. "At the time, I was on the phone with my business partner," he recalls. "I dropped the phone and returned fire."

Montgomery says he and his men were armed with AR-15s and Glocks and that they unleashed a barrage of bullets in the general direction of the alleged shooters on the overpass. "After that, all I heard was moaning and screaming, and the shooting stopped. That was it. Enough said."

Then, Montgomery says, "the Army showed up, yelling at us and thinking we were the enemy. We explained to them that we were security. I told them what had happened and they didn't even care. They just left." Five minutes later, Montgomery says, Louisiana state troopers arrived on the scene, inquired about the incident and then asked him for directions on "how they could get out of the city." Montgomery says that no one ever asked him for any details of the incident and no report was ever made. "One thing about security," Montgomery says, "is that we all coordinate with each other--one family." That co-ordination doesn't include the offices of the Secretaries of State in Louisiana and Alabama, which have no record of a BATS company.
Mercenary (n) 1. a professional soldier paid to fight for an army other than that of his or her country 2. somebody who works or serves only for personal profit.

*

Back on 9/19, we found out that the White House was thinking about removing "regulatory barriers to awarding federal funds to RELIGIOUS GROUPS housing hurricane (Katrina) victims."

Church and state, Katrina relief, tax money, blah blah blah.

On that day, I wrote:
Quick memo to the Church of Scientology: I need you people in NoLa.

NOW.

I'm dead serious. Get down there and start building "assist" centers and housing for Katrina victims.

Please. I'm begging you.

The White House is about to give away tons of $ to other "churches," and I'd like you guys to get in on the action.

I'm not kidding. Seriously. Let's see how the WH is gonna play this.

If the Bushies try to shut you out -- let us know.
Well, it's 9/23 and I'm happy to report that...they made it.

Here's the opening from Naomi Klein's brilliant article Purging the Poor:
Outside the 2,000-bed temporary shelter in Baton Rouge's River Center, a Church of Scientology BAND is performing a version of Bill Withers's classic "Use Me"--a refreshingly honest choice.
No. Not Beck. Not Chick Corea. Not Isaac Hayes.

Just a band.
"If it feels this good getting used," the Scientology singer belts out, "just keep on using me until you use me up."

Ten-year-old Nyler, lying face down on a MASSAGE TABLE, has pretty much the same attitude.
Nyler is about to get an "assist."

That same "massage table" is available on the set of "Mission Impossible 3." Fact.
She is not quite sure why the nice lady in the yellow SCIENTOLOGY VOLUNTEER MINISTER T-shirt wants to rub her back, but "it feels so good," she tells me, so who really cares? I ask Nyler if this is her first massage.

"ASSIST!" hisses the volunteer minister, correcting my Scientology lingo.
God. Sorry. Calm down.
Nyler shakes her head no; since fleeing New Orleans after a tree fell on her house, she has visited this tent many times, becoming something of an assist-aholic. "I have nerves," she explains in a blissed-out massage voice. "I have what you call nervousness."
Good times. Good times. Good times.

News from the set of MI3 is that...an "assist" is a just really lousy massage. If you keep coming back, though, your assist-er will tell you that you might have some deeper problems....problems need special attention.

Meaning...you need "Dianetics." And Sci-ti.

That's all I'm gonna say.

I'm really glad they're down there. I really am.

Seriously.

Not sure if the poorer residents of NoLa can afford Sci-ti, but hey, what the fuck do I know?

I'm sure they'll work it out.

Maybe we'll see some Katrina victims working at the Celebrity Center (or the Psychiatry Kills Museum) in the near future.

Wink wink.

BTW: If I just lost everything I had (which ain't much), I'd definitely FAIL my personality test.

Capice?

Please read the rest of the article. Klein deals with the land grab that's about to take place in New Orleans.
Listening to Drennen enthuse about the OPPORTUNITIES opened up by the storm, I was struck by his reference to African-Americans in New Orleans as "the minority community."

At 67 percent of the population, they are in fact the clear majority, while whites like Drennen make up just 27 percent. It was no doubt a simple verbal slip, but I couldn't help feeling that it was also a glimpse into the desired demographics of the new-and-improved city being imagined by its white elite, one that won't have much room for Nyler or her neighbors who know how to fix houses.

"I honestly don't know and I don't think anyone knows how they are going to fit in," Drennen said of the city's unemployed.
"They" won't.

Peace out...

Friday, September 23, 2005

Chang VS Wu-Tang

Final installment, people.

Gov. Bush & his mystical buddy
After more than an hour of solemn ceremony naming Rep. Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, as the 2007-08 House speaker, Gov. JEB BUSH stepped to the podium in the House chamber last week and told a short story about "unleashing Chang," his "mystical warrior" friend.

Here are Bush's words, spoken before hundreds of lawmakers and politicians:

"Chang is a mystical warrior. Chang is somebody who believes in conservative principles, believes in ENTREPRENEURIAL CAPITALISM, believes in moral values that underpin a free society.

I rely on Chang with great regularity in my public life. He has been by my side and sometimes I let him down. But Chang, this mystical warrior, has never let me down."

Bush then unsheathed a GOLDEN SWORD and gave it to Rubio as a gift.

"I'm going to bestow to you the sword of a great CONSERVATIVE WARRIOR," he said, as the crowd roared.
CUT TO:

EXT. WU-TANG MOUNTAIN - DAY

The camera pans over a gorgeous mountain range on the northern edge of the Manchu Province...and focuses on a snow capped peak.

This is Wu-Tang Mountain.

EXT. WU-TANG TEMPLE - SAME

We see the Wu-Tang Temple, a spectacular Chinese monastery built around 7,000 B.C., on the far side of the peak.

INT. WU-TANG TEMPLE - SAME

Two WU-TANG SWORDSMEN are engaged in combat in the common area of the Temple. MASTER LIU, the head priest of the Wu-Tang, barks out commands from his throne.

MASTER LIU - Flying sparrow!

The Swordsmen go through the Flying Sparrow sword technique movements.

MASTER LIU - Tiger stance!

The Swordsmen go through the Tiger stance sword technique movements.

MASTER LIU - Eight divine sword technique!

The Swordsmen go through the Eight Divine Sword technique movements. We hear the sound of a gong, then...

MASTER LIU - Excellent! Your progress is impressive!

V.O. - Yes, but is it as impressive as my ENTREPRENEURIAL CAPITALISM?

MASTER LIU - Huh?

ANGLE ON: A mysterious figure dressed in peasant clothing.

MASTER LIU - Stranger! Reveal yourself! Who dares enter the Temple of the Wu-Tang?!

Master Liu whips out his sword and slices off the "peasant's" clothing...revealing CHANG. Chang is wearing Shaolin monk pants...and a Blackwater Security t-shirt.

MASTER LIU - A Shaolin monk! Fair warning, stranger! Your Shaolin Kung-Fu is no match for my Wu-Tang swordplay!

CHANG - That may be, Master Liu. But your Wu-Tang swordplay is no match for the men of Blackwater Security!

At that moment, dozens and dozens of Blackhawk helicopters begin to circle the skies above the Wu-Tang Temple.

MASTER LIU - Huh?

ANGLE ON: THE TEMPLE GATE.

There is a loud BOOM as the Temple Gate explodes into a thousand pieces. Moments later, hundreds and hundreds of BLACKWATER SECURITY GUARDS storm the Temple. The Wu-Tang priests try to fend off the private security forces...but their swords are useless against the high powered assault rifles...and gunfire from the helicopters.

Blood everywhere as the Wu-Tang priests fall one by one.

MASTER LIU - No!

Master Liu grabs a bigger sword from the altar of the Temple and FLIES toward Chang. Chang easily avoids Master Liu...and thumps him on the head with a briefcase.

CHANG - Foolish man! You have obviously never fought a CONSERVATIVE WARRIOR!

Chang flies toward Master Liu, grabs him by the throat, and drags him towards one of the helicopters.

MASTER LIU - Dog! Take your hands off me!

CHANG - Not until you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior!

MASTER LIU - Who?! How dare you desecrate the Wu-Tang Temple!

CHANG - It's not the Wu-Tang Temple anymore, Master Liu. It's the Asian headquarters for Halliburton International. Take him away!

Chang throws Master Liu into the cargo hold of the Blackhawk helicopter. Two Blackwater guards pin Master Liu down...and the pilot pulls the giant bird towards the sky.

Chang flips open his Razr, then...

CHANG - Yes, Dick Cheney's office please.

Chang smiles and we...

CUT TO:

More later. (But no more Chang.)
In a 1989 Washington Post article on the politics of tennis, former President George Bush was quoted as threatening to "UNLEASH CHANG" as a means of intimidating other players.
Now you know.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

"Unleash Chang!" starring Jet Li

CUT TO:

EXT. SHAOLIN TEMPLE - DAY

The camera pans over a beautiful Shaolin Temple in the mpountains of the Manchu Province. As we move in closer, we can see two men engaged in combat in the Temple's main square. They are surrounded by hundreds of SHAOLIN PRIESTS.

EXT. SHAOLIN TEMPLE - MOMENTS LATER

CHANG, a young Shaolin Monk, is engaged in combat with the JUSTICE OFFICER (an older, buffed-out Shaolin priest). The fighting is fast an intense. (Insert wire stunts here.) The Justice Officer is using butterfly knives; Chang uses a three-sectioned staff.

Chang makes an aggressive move and attacks the The Justice Officer with two sections of his staff. The Justice Officer uses his knives to block the attack. Chang then flips over the Justice Officer and pulls the old priest back over his head.

When the Justice Officer ends up on his back...Chang uses a butterfly knife against the old priest. Chang holds the blade an inch from the Justice Officer's throat. Then...

ANGLE ON: GONG

A Shaolin priest bangs the giant gong behind the main altar. (SFX)

ANGLE ON: SHAOLIN MASTER

MASTER LO, the master of the Shaolin Temple, claps his hands as he sits up in his throne.

MASTER LO - Chang!

Chang and the Justice Officer quit fighting. They jump up...and turn toward Master Lo.

Master Lo grabs his long white beard...and smiles.

MASTER LO - Brother Chang, you have completed the 36 Chambers of the Shaolin Temple!

Chang bows to the Justice Officer. The Justice Officer takes his place with the other Shaolin priests.

Chang approaches Master Lo.

MASTER LO - You have truly become...a great Shaolin priest.

CHANG - Thank you, Master.
Here are (Gov.) Bush's words, spoken before hundreds of lawmakers and politicians:

"Chang is a mystical warrior. Chang is somebody who believes in conservative principles, believes in ENTREPRENEURIAL CAPITALISM, believes in moral values that underpin a free society.
At that moment, Chang pulls out a large contract and hands it to Master Lo. Master Lo is beyond confused.

MASTER LO - Brother Chang, this is highly irregular. What is this piece of paper?

CHANG - It's the title to the Shaolin Temple. My Shaolin Temple.

A rumble through the crowd as the Shaolin priests react to Chang's statement.

MASTER LO - Your Shaolin Temple? Ha! The Shaolin Temple belongs to all of us...just as the sun and the sky. How can it be "your" temple?

CHANG - I own it.

MASTER LO - Brother Chang, the Shaolin Temple is not yours to buy. It's been ours for over 10,000 years.

CHANG - Not anymore. Not according to Citibank and the good people of KPMG. Not according to this piece of paper.

Chang claps his hands. At that moment, hundreds and hudreds of "private security forces" pour onto the grounds of the Shaolin Temple. These are the men of BLACKWATER SECURITY. They are armed to the f'ing teeth...and point their assault weapons at the Shaolin priests.

Master Lo raises his fists (crane-style kung fu) but is stopped by Chang. Then...

CHANG - Master Lo, be wise. Your crane-style kung-fu is no match for the men of Blackwater Security.

MASTER LO (protesting) - This is outrageous!

CHANG - No. This is entrepreneurial capitalism. For too long you have squandered the resources of this magnificent piece of property. Prime Chinese property. Poperty that could be turned into a world class Amangani resort, a golf course, or condo units. At the very least, the Shaolin Temple should be a private school. You could easily charge $50,000 a year to train on these grounds.

ANGLE ON: the Justice Officer.

JUSTICE OFFICER - I told you he was a fraud! He always carried himself with an air of superiorty!

A Blackwater guard smacks the Justice Officer with the butt of his assault rifle. The Justice Officer falls to the ground. Chang turns back to Master Lo.

CHANG - You see? Resistance is futile. I'm giving you 10 minutes to get out of here. It shouldn't take you long to gather your things...because you fools do not believe in "possessions."

MASTER LO - Hear my words, Brother Chang. You will live to regret this day. We shall return!

CHANG - You'd better return with cash fucking money, bro. Otherwise, ya ain't getting in. Now get the fuck out of here.

The Blackwater guards begin to shove the Shaolin monks toward the Temple gates.
Chang flips open his Razr. Then...

CHANG - Yes, Washington D.C.? The Carlisle Group, please.

Chang smiles as we...

CUT TO:

More later...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Unleash Chang!

Happy Wednesday.

The big story:

Gov. Bush & his mystical buddy

Oh no.
After more than an hour of solemn ceremony naming Rep. Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, as the 2007-08 House speaker, Gov. Jeb Bush stepped to the podium in the House chamber last week and told a short story about "unleashing Chang," his "mystical warrior" friend.

Here are Bush's words, spoken before hundreds of lawmakers and politicians:

"Chang is a mystical warrior. Chang is somebody who believes in conservative principles, believes in ENTREPRENEURIAL CAPITALISM, believes in moral values that underpin a free society.
"Who dares disturb Chang?!"

"It's Jeb, Chang. Need a few tips on entrepreneurial capitalism."

"ABC! A-Always, B-be, C-closing!"
"I rely on Chang with great regularity in my public life. He has been by my side and sometimes I let him down. But Chang, this mystical warrior, has never let me down."
"Interest. Are you interested? I know you are, because it's fuck or walk!"
Bush then unsheathed a GOLDEN SWORD and gave it to Rubio as a gift.

"I'm going to bestow to you the sword of a great CONSERVATIVE WARRIOR," he said, as the crowd roared.

The crowd, however, could be excused for not understanding Bush's enigmatic foray into the realm of Eastern mysticism.

We're here to help.

In a 1989 Washington Post article on the politics of tennis, former President George Bush was quoted as threatening to "UNLEASH CHANG" as a means of intimidating other players.
"40-love, sir."

"Serve the damn ball. Gonna unleash Chang on ya."

"What?"
The saying was apparently quite popular with Gov. Bush's father, and referred to a legendary warrior named Chang who was called upon to settle political disputes in Chinese dynasties of yore.
Wonder if Jeb's son tried to "bust out" Chang on Officer Phil Asabedo the other night?

"Let's see some I.D., son."

"Fug you, Serpico. 'M 'onna unleash Chang on ooo!"

Yep.

Waitaminute.

It's not Rove, people. It's Chang. "Our Kid" has been unleashing Chang on us for the past four years.

"Decision! Have you made your decision for Christ?!"

Enough.

"Coffee is for closers!"

Moving on...

For the past few days, I've been dealin' with the following:

What has happened to Iraq's missing $1bn?

Again:
ONE BILLION DOLLARS has been plundered from IRAQ'S DEFENCE MINISTRY in one of the largest thefts in history, The Independent can reveal, leaving the country's army to fight a savage insurgency with museum-piece weapons.

The money, intended to train and equip an Iraqi army capable of bringing security to a country shattered by the US-led invasion and prolonged rebellion, was instead siphoned abroad IN CASH and has disappeared.

"It is possibly one of the largest thefts in history," Ali Allawi, Iraq's Finance Minister, told The Independent. "Huge amounts of money have disappeared. In return we got nothing but scraps of metal."

*

The Iraqi Board of Supreme Audit says in a report to the Iraqi government that US-appointed Iraqi officials in the defence ministry allegedly presided over these dubious transactions.

Senior Iraqi officials now say they cannot understand how, if this is so, the disappearance of almost all the military procurement budget could have passed unnoticed by the US military in Baghdad and CIVILIAN ADVISERS working in the defence ministry.
Those "civilian advisers?" The old CPA.

Another piece of the puzzle -- originally posted on this blog -- last January:

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

*

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

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

Ex-Iraqi DEFENCE MINISTER wanted over $1bn fraud

The plot thickens:
Iraqi authorities are preparing an arrest warrant for the country's former DEFENCE MINISTER in connection with a massive fraud case involving the "disappearance" of more than $1bn from ministry coffers.

Judge Raid al-Radhi, who is head of Iraq's commission on public integrity, said yesterday that he had given Iraq's central criminal court a dossier of evidence against Hazim Shaalan, who was minister of defence UNDER the former government of AYED ALLAWI.

"What Shaalan and his ministry were responsible for is possibly the largest robbery in the world. Our estimates begin at $1.3bn [£720m] and go up to $2.3bn," Judge Radhi, who is Iraq's senior anti-corruption official, told Reuters.

The "robbery" is believed to include the signing of multimillion-dollar deals with companies to supply equipment that was sometimes inappropriate for the new army or was years out of date. It is also alleged that the ministry paid huge premiums for some military hardware.

*

Mr Shaalan, who is understood to be living in JORDAN, has denied complicity in the scandal, saying that his actions as defence minister were ultimately the responsibility of the US AUTHORITIES in Iraq.
Okay.

All of this "missing cash" brings me back to a story I "blogged" about (ugh, what a horrible word) back on March 16th.

A tale that has always stayed with me.

It's the story of Dale Stoffel, an American "DEFENSE CONTRACTOR" who was gunned down in Baghdad AFTER he complained to US and Iraqi officials about the 27 MILLION BUCKS the Iraqis owed him for "services rendered."

The headline from the Los Angeles Times:

Army Ignored Broker on Arms Deal - U.S. general supervised an Iraq contract that a slain American said was tangled in kickbacks.

Keep going.
The U.S. contractor working on (a defense project) repeatedly warned the task force headed by Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus that a Lebanese middleman involved in the deal might be routing kickbacks to Iraqi Defense Ministry officials.

But senior U.S. military officials did not act on the contractor's pleas for tighter financial controls, according to documents and interviews.

"If we proceed down the road we are currently on, there will be serious legal issues that will land us all in jail," the contractor, Dale Stoffel, wrote in a Nov. 30 e-mail to a senior assistant to Petraeus.

Eight days later, STOFFEL WAS SHOT DEAD in an ambush near Baghdad. The killing is being investigated by the FBI, according to people who have been interviewed by the bureau.
Again, Stoffel was hired by the interim Iraqi government and the Iraqi DEFENSE MINISTRY to "to refurbish Iraq's tanks and personnel carriers and buy new equipment from Eastern European sources." Dude eventually billed the Iraqi to the tune 27 mil. The Iraqis then told Stoffel that the money would come to him via a LEBANESE BUSINESSMAN, now identified as Raymond Zayna by the LA Times.

But...
The money was never delivered to Stoffel, who in October began complaining to U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad. He wrote letters, previously disclosed by The Times, to Sen. Rick SANTORUM (R-Pa.) and a senior Pentagon official spelling out his suspicions about Zayna.

Stoffel also e-mailed U.S. Army Col. David Styles, Petraeus' assistant on the project. He asked Styles to have Petraeus intervene to stop millions of dollars being funneled without oversight through Zayna.

"There is no oversight of the money and if/when something goes wrong, regardless of how clean our hands are, HEADS WILL ROLL and it will be the heads of those that are reachable, and the people who are suppose to know better (US citizens, military, etc.)," Stoffel wrote in the November e-mail to Styles.
Then...things got really weird.
By late November, Stoffel had returned to the United States to seek help in getting his payment. He asked Pentagon officials and Santorum's office to pressure the Iraqis to release the $24.7 million to him.

Stoffel suggested that an international accounting firm be brought in to supervise the contract's financial transactions and clear up questions about the missing money.

He warned of consequences if the money was not recovered.

"NEWS of it will be on the front page under the photos of President BUSH, [Defense Secretary Donald H.] RUMSFELD, ME" and Petraeus' task force, Stoffel wrote to another military officer in early December. "Jobs will be lost and congressional hearings will be held."
Man.

Do you understand why I keep --

CUTTING TO:

The EXT. of a FIVE STAR HOTEL - JORDAN - NIGHT?

"An IRAQI MINISTER, a mysterious LEBANESE DUDE and an AMERICAN BUSINESSMAN are smoking cigars on the deck of this hotel's "Presidential Suite." A number of HIGH END CALL GIRLS are lounging around the hotel's massive, tropical-themed pool.

The Iraqi Minister leans over the balcony and points toward a tall, naked blonde...swimming in the pool."

Entiendes?
U.S. military officials informed Zayna about the allegations of corruption, according to several people familiar with the matter. British Brig. Gen. David Clements summoned the parties to a Dec. 5 meeting in Iraq. Afterward, Clements ordered Zayna to release the money to Stoffel, sources said.

As of Dec. 8, Stoffel still had not received the money.

That day, after he left the Taji military base outside Baghdad, his SUV was rammed by another vehicle. Stoffel and a business associate, Joseph Wemple, were cut down in a hail of bullets.

Another occupant of the vehicle apparently escaped unharmed, leading to suspicions among the victims' friends that he may have been involved in the attack.
Ya think?
About a week later, a previously unknown insurgent group, Brigades of the Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility.
Umm...

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON OVER THERE?!

HUH?!

AM I CRAZY FOR THINKING THAT WE'RE LIVING IN A BAD B-MOVIE?!!

HUH?!

Please read the full LA Times story re: Dale Stoffel. You can draw your own conclusions.

*

More later...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Shenanigans?

Okay. Stick with me today.

Gonna tie a new story...to an old one.

The new story:

What has happened to Iraq's missing $1bn?

Dealt with this yesterday - however, it's more important today:
ONE BILLION DOLLARS has been plundered from IRAQ'S DEFENCE MINISTRY in one of the largest thefts in history, The Independent can reveal, leaving the country's army to fight a savage insurgency with museum-piece weapons.
Schtick from yesterday --

Museum piece weapons?

Like...swords, spears and shields?!
The money, intended to train and equip an Iraqi army capable of bringing security to a country shattered by the US-led invasion and prolonged rebellion, was instead siphoned abroad IN CASH and has disappeared.

"It is possibly one of the largest thefts in history," Ali Allawi, Iraq's Finance Minister, told The Independent.

"Huge amounts of money have disappeared. In return we got nothing but scraps of metal."

The carefully planned theft has so weakened the army that it cannot hold Baghdad against insurgent attack without American military support, Iraqi officials say, making it difficult for the US to withdraw its 135,000- strong army from Iraq, as Washington says it wishes to do.

Most of the money was supposedly spent buying arms from Poland and Pakistan. The CONTRACTS were peculiar in four ways.

According to Mr Allawi, they were AWARDED WITHOUT BIDDING, and were signed with a Baghdad-based company, and not directly with the foreign supplier. The money was paid up front, and, surprisingly for Iraq, it was paid at great speed out of the ministry's account with the Central Bank.

*

The Iraqi Board of Supreme Audit says in a report to the Iraqi government that US-appointed Iraqi officials in the defence ministry allegedly presided over these dubious transactions.

Senior Iraqi officials now say they cannot understand how, if this is so, the disappearance of almost all the military procurement budget could have passed unnoticed by the US military in Baghdad and civilian advisers working in the defence ministry.
Right.

Now...the OLD story...originally posted on this blog...last January:

"Audit: $9 BILLION Unaccounted for in Iraq"

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

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

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

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

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

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

CUT TO:

EXT. IRAQI SOMETHING MINISTRY, GREEN ZONE - NIGHT

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

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

The Iraqi Minister winks at CAPT. JAMBO PILEDRIVER, the commander of the Private Security forces. Capt. Piledriver smiles and extinguishes his cigar on his left arm.

CAPT. PILEDRIVER - Move 'em out!

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

CUT TO:

EXT. BAGHDAD AIRPORT - NIGHT

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

INT. TRANSPORT PLANE - MOMENTS LATER

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

MILITARY OFFICER - What took you so long?

IRAQI MINISTER - Traffic on the 405 was a nightmare, yo.

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

CUT TO:

INT. FIVE STAR HOTEL - BEIRUT - NIGHT

The Iraqi Minister, a mysterious LEBANESE MAN and an AMERICAN BUSINESSMAN are smoking cigars on the deck of this hotel's "Presidential Suite." A number of HIGH END CALL GIRLS are lounging around the hotel's massive, tropical-themed pool. The Iraqi General leans over the balcony and points toward a tall, naked blonde...swimming in the pool.

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

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

AMERICAN BUSINESSMAN - Gentlemen, a toast.

The men raise their glasses.

AMERICAN BUSINESSMAN - A toast...to opportunity.

ALL - To opportunity!

The men drink and we...

CUT TO:

An update on YESTERDAY'S story:

Ex-Iraqi DEFENCE MINISTER wanted over $1bn fraud

The plot thickens:
Iraqi authorities are preparing an arrest warrant for the country's former DEFENCE MINISTER in connection with a massive fraud case involving the "disappearance" of more than $1bn from ministry coffers.
The same guy from the above mentioned scene, Methinks.
Judge Raid al-Radhi, who is head of Iraq's commission on public integrity, said yesterday that he had given Iraq's central criminal court a dossier of evidence against Hazim Shaalan, who was minister of defence UNDER the former government of AYED ALLAWI.

"What Shaalan and his ministry were responsible for is possibly the largest robbery in the world. Our estimates begin at $1.3bn [£720m] and go up to $2.3bn," Judge Radhi, who is Iraq's senior anti-corruption official, told Reuters.

The "robbery" is believed to include the signing of multimillion-dollar deals with companies to supply equipment that was sometimes inappropriate for the new army or was years out of date. It is also alleged that the ministry paid huge premiums for some military hardware.

*

Mr Shaalan, who is understood to be living in JORDAN, has denied complicity in the scandal, saying that his actions as defence minister were ultimately the responsibility of the US AUTHORITIES in Iraq.
Hey now.

Draw your own conclusions - write your own script - talk amongst yourselves.

There's a really fucked up story out there.

(Grr.)

Wait.

Is it ONE BILLION or NINE BILLION?

"Dunno"

Right.

More Later...

Monday, September 19, 2005

"Cindy Sheehan is a clown."

The next bit of info is from the Huffingtonpost:
"Karl Rove, President Bush's top political advisor and deputy White House chief of staff, spoke at businessman Teddy Forstmann's annual off the record gathering in ASPEN, Colorado this weekend. Here is what Rove had to say that the press wasn't allowed to report on.

On Katrina: The only mistake we made with Katrina was not overriding the local government...

On The Anti-War Movement: CINDY SHEEHAN IS A CLOWN. There is no real anti-war movement. No serious politician, with anything to do with anything, would show his face at an anti-war rally...

On Bush's Low Poll Numbers: We have not been good at explaining the success in Iraq. Polls go up and down and don't mean anything...

On Joe Wilson: Joe Wilson and I attend the same church but Joe goes to the wacky mass...

In attendance at the conference, among others were: Harvey Weinstein, Brad Grey, Michael Eisner, Les Moonves, Tom Freston, Tom Friedman, BOB NOVAK, Barry Diller, Martha Stewart, Margaret Carlson, Alan Greenspan, Andrea Mitchell, Norman Pearlstein and Walter Isaacson."
AND NOT YOU.

*
Let's go back to that "success" in Iraq.

What has happened to Iraq's missing $1bn?

Did Karl mean that?
One billion dollars has been plundered from IRAQ'S DEFENCE MINISTRY in one of the largest thefts in history, The Independent can reveal, leaving the country's army to fight a savage insurgency with museum-piece weapons.
With...museum piece weapons?

Like...swords, spears and shields?!

WTF?
The money, intended to train and equip an Iraqi army capable of bringing security to a country shattered by the US-led invasion and prolonged rebellion, was instead siphoned abroad IN CASH and has disappeared.

"It is possibly one of the largest thefts in history," Ali Allawi, Iraq's Finance Minister, told The Independent.

"Huge amounts of money have disappeared. In return we got nothing but scraps of metal."

The carefully planned theft has so weakened the army that it cannot hold Baghdad against insurgent attack without American military support, Iraqi officials say, making it difficult for the US to withdraw its 135,000- strong army from Iraq, as Washington says it wishes to do.

Most of the money was supposedly spent buying arms from Poland and Pakistan. The contracts were peculiar in four ways.

According to Mr Allawi, they were awarded without bidding, and were signed with a Baghdad-based company, and not directly with the foreign supplier. The money was paid up front, and, surprisingly for Iraq, it was paid at great speed out of the ministry's account with the Central Bank.
Umm...

Remember the bits about contractors being paid IN CASH?

What bad movie is this?!
Many Iraqi soldiers and police have died because they were not properly equipped.

*

The Iraqi Board of Supreme Audit says in a report to the Iraqi government that US-appointed Iraqi officials in the defence ministry allegedly presided over these dubious transactions.

Senior Iraqi officials now say they cannot understand how, if this is so, the disappearance of almost all the military procurement budget could have passed unnoticed by the US military in Baghdad and civilian advisers working in the defence ministry.
Okay.

"They cannot understand?"

Umm...

That's it, I'm stopping. Too far down the rabbit hole on this one.

Please re-read those last two paragraphs...and draw your own conclusions.

Then...CUT TO a FIVE STAR HOTEL somewhere in the world and imagine a giant pool surrounded by HIGH END CALL GIRLS, US BUSINESSMEN, AND IRAQI DEFENSE MINISTERS.

Capice?

*

After Katrina, Republicans Back a Sea of Conservative Ideas

God...are they good.

ABC: A-always, B-be, C-closing.
Congressional Republicans, backed by the White House, say they are using relief measures for the hurricane-ravaged Gulf coast to achieve a broad range of conservative economic and social policies, both in the storm zone and beyond.

Some new measures are already taking shape.

In the past week, the Bush administration has suspended some union-friendly rules that require federal contractors pay prevailing wages, moved to ease tariffs on Canadian lumber, and allowed more foreign sugar imports to calm rising sugar prices.
Gonna put that in list-form for ya.

"To Do!"

1. Suspend "union-freindly" wage rules (read below)

2. Ease tariffs on Canadian lumber

3. Increase foreign sugar imports (Huh?!)
Just yesterday, it waived some affirmative-action rules for employers with federal contracts in the Gulf region.
4. Destroy stupid affirmative action rules.
Now, Republicans are working on legislation that would limit VICTIMS' RIGHT TO SUE, offer VOUCHERS for displaced school children, lift some ENVIRONMENT RESTRICTIONS on new refineries and create tax-advantaged ENTERPRISE ZONES to maximize PRIVATE-SECTOR participation in recovery and RECONSTRUCTION.
"Wish List"

1. Tort reform

2. School vouchers

3. Deregulation

4. Privatization

Haven't seen anything about banning "gays" from NoLa.

"We're working on it."

I'm sure.
Yesterday, the House overwhelmingly passed a bill that would offer sweeping protection against lawsuits to any person or organization that helps Katrina victims without compensation.

"The desire to bring conservative, free-market ideas to the Gulf Coast is WHITE HOT," says Rep. Mike Pence, the Indiana Republican who leads the Republican Study Group, an influential caucus of conservative House members.

"We want to turn the Gulf Coast into a magnet for free enterprise. The last thing we want is a FEDERAL CITY where New Orleans once was."
I'm sorry...say that again?

"The last thing we want is a federal city where New Orleans once was."

A what?

"A federal city."

A what?

"A federal city! What are you...some kind of commie?!"

Old motto --

New Orleans: Let the Good Times Roll

New motto --

New Orleans: Not a Federal City!
Many of the ideas under consideration have been pushed by the 40-member study group, which is circulating a list of "FREE-MARKET SOLUTIONS," including proposals to eliminate regulatory barriers to awarding federal funds to RELIGIOUS GROUPS housing hurricane victims --
Quick memo to the Church of Scientology: I need you people in NoLa.

NOW.

I'm dead serious. Get down there and start building "assist" centers and housing for Katrina victims.

Please. I'm begging you.

The White House is about to give away tons of $ to other "churches," and I'd like you guys to get in on the action.

I'm not kidding. Seriously. Let's see how they're gonna play this.

If the Bushies try to shut you out -- let us know.

ASAP.

Back to the article:
Waiving the estate tax for deaths in the storm-affected states; and making the entire region a "flat-tax free-enterprise zone."

Members of the group met in a closed session Tuesday night at the conservative HERITAGE FOUNDATION headquarters here to map strategy.
Ah, there they are: The Heritage Foundation.

Knew they were around here...somewhere.
Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R., Kan.) said that the plans under development "are all part of a philosophy of lowering costs for doing business."
Man.

Today's GOP: "Lowering costs for doing business...for you!"

Like LABOR COSTS.

Which brings me back to one of the first moves "Our Kid" made after the storm.

Back on September 11th.

Bush lifts wage rules for Katrina

"President signs executive order allowing contractors to pay below prevailing wage in affected areas."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush issued an executive order Thursday allowing federal contractors rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to pay below the prevailing wage.

In a notice to Congress, Bush said the hurricane had caused "a national emergency" that permits him to take such action under the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act in ravaged areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

The Davis-Bacon law requires federal contractors to pay workers at least the prevailing wages in the area where the work is conducted. It applies to federally funded construction projects such as highways and bridges.

Bush's executive order suspends the requirements of the Davis-Bacon law for designated areas hit by the storm.
STILL NO WORD ON AN EXECUTIVE ORDER LIMITING EXECUTIVE PAY AND/OR DISASTER PROFITEERING.

*

"Know Your Rights!"

This is a public service announcement...with guitars!

Know your rights!

All 3 of them!

Number 1: You have the right not to be killed.

Murder is a CRIME (unless it was done by a policeman or an arist-o-crat).

Number 2: You have the right to food money...providing of course you don't mind a little humiliation!

Investigation!

And if you cross your fingers...rehabilitation.

Know your rights!

Number 3: You have the right to free speech...as long as you're not dumb enough to actually try it.

Know your rights!

These are your rights!

More later...

Saturday, September 17, 2005

You Know the Scene

You know the scene:

Jeb Bush's son arrested for public intoxication, resisting arrest

You know how it went down:
John Ellis Bush, the youngest son of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, was arrested early Friday and charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest, law enforcement officials in Texas said.

The 21-year-old nephew of President Bush was arrested by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission at 2:30 a.m. Friday on a corner of Austin's Sixth Street bar district, said spokesman Roger Wade.
CUT TO:

EXT. 6TH STREET BAR DISTRICT - NIGHT

Patrons are pouring out of the popular clubs along Austin's 6th Street Bar District. Most of the young men and women are UT students, affluent and white.

One young man, JOHN, stumbles out of the Blind Pig Pub: He is obvioulsy hammered. Annhiliated.

A HOT YOUNG BLONDE hangs on John's arm. John grabs the hot blonde and pulls her close.

JOHN - Gimmee a kissss.

HOT BLONDE (protesting) - Waaggghhh.

JOHN - I said gimmee --

John tries to kiss the hot young blonde...but falls onto the sidewalk instead. Then...

JOHN - Fug! Bitch. Wha'appened?

HOT BLONDE - You went boom boom! Ha!

At that moment, OFFICER PHIL ASEBEDO arrives on the scene.

OFFICER - Closing time, kids. Gotta clear the area.

JOHN - Fug 'ew, copper. This's m' town. You kin fug off.

OFFICER - Excuse me?

JOHN - Said, "Sug my cock!"

OFFICER - Alright, let's see some I.D., son.

JOHN - Yeah. Tha' how you wanna be? Wanna see some D?

John pulls his pants down and "moons" the officer. Officer Phil pulls out a pair of plastic handcuffs.

OFFICER (indicating handcuffs) - One more chance, son. Let's see some I.D.

JOHN - Fug you, Serpico. Don' you know who I yam?! 'M th' preznit's neph-ooo. Aaaggghhh!

John tries to push Officer Phil...but falls over once again.

OFFICER - That's it.

Officer Phil grabs the young man and attempts to "cuff him."

JOHN - L'me go, you fugging asssssshole. 'M a fugging Bush!

HOT BLONDE - He's a fucking Bush, you asshole. You're a dead man!

JOHN - My grandpa's gonna have you killed. 'N no one will ebber know!

OFFICER - That's a good one. Haven't heard that before.

JOHN - 'S true! He's gonna use mind control on your fambly!

Officer Phil gets one handcuff on the young man.

HOT BLONDE - You're a dead man!

OFFICER - Miss, can it or you're next.

HOT BLONDE - You wish, you fucking pervert!

JOHN - L'me go!

John tries to kick Officer Phil just as two other COPS arrive on the scene. Then...

OFFICER - This one says he's a 'Bush.' Doesn't look like any Bush I've ever scene.

COP #1 - Yeah. Them other two is long gone.

COP #2 - Thank God.

Officer Phil opens the squad car and begins to put the young man in the back seat.

JOHN - You're all gonna die! All 'f you fugging assssshooollleesss!!!

OFFICER - C'mon, buddy. Let's find out who you really are.

CUT TO:

INT. AUSTIN P.D. - NIGHT

Officer Phil stands next to the Sgt.'s desk: He looks like he's just seen a ghost.

OFFICER - Wwwhhhaaattt?!

CUT TO:

INT. POICE LOCKER ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

Officer Phil sits next to his locker. He is holding his police report...and CRYING.

*

KnowwhatImsaying?

More later...

Friday, September 16, 2005

Friday

Through all the chaos and confusion in this post-Katrina -- I mean...this post 9/11 world -- "Our Kid" found some time for comedy:

'Has the place blown up?'

Huh?
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - John Bolton's reputation as a difficult diplomat gave his boss, U.S. President GEORGE W. BUSH, an opportunity to tease the new American ambassador to the United Nations.

"How's he doing? HAS THE PLACE BLOWN UP?" Bush asked U.N. Secretary-General KOFI ANNAN as the president and Bolton arrived at U.N. headquarters on Tuesday for a world summit.
Outstanding schtick.

HAS THE PLACE BLOWN UP?

Plays on many levels; John Bolton's reputation for, uh, being mean to people...and 9/11.

You know, when terrorists BLEW UP the Twin Towers.

Outstanding.

More comedy from the Bush Administration. This time, it's Condi's turn.

She was a guest on Bill O'Reilly's show.
O’Reilly: The truth of the matter is our correspondents at Fox News can’t go out for a cup of coffee in Baghdad.

Rice: Bill, that’s tough. It’s tough. But what — would they have wanted to have gone out for a cup of coffee when Saddam Hussein was in power?
Wink wink, nudge nudge, eh eh eh?

"No they wouldn't! Ha! He would've thrown them in a 'rape room!' Ha! 'Yeah, I'd like an Ultimate Mocha with no whipped cream, please.' ' Are you an American pig-dog?' 'What? Hey, let go of me! I'm a reporter!' 'You are under arrest, in the name of Saddam!' Ha ha! Good point, Condi!"

Man.

How about some more comedy from Bill O'Reilly?
Now, what's the real story? The real story is this: Ten percent of Americans, and 10 percent of any society, simply are so chaotic for whatever reason that they're never, ever going to be able to fend for themselves and make a living.

They are either substance abusers, they're mentally ill, they're screwed up emotionally beyond -- they can't carry on a conversation, they're catatonic, schizophrenic, whatever it may be.

No matter how much money you pour in, they're always going to be in that condition. It's not massive neglect, it's not; it's human nature.

Now, our government has a duty to provide a safety net so these people aren't living under bridges.

But some of them are anyway, because all the entitlement money they get they spend on heroin or crack or alcohol.

So they can't pay their rent because the money that they're given they spend on drugs and alcohol.

So what do you do? Give them more money?

They're not going to pay their rent, they're going to spend it on drugs and alcohol. And therefore, they're going to be out on the street with their hand out.

Many, many, many of the poor in New Orleans are in that condition. They weren't going to leave no matter what you did. They were drug-addicted. They weren't going to get turned off from their source. They were thugs, whatever.

Now the tragedy is that a lot of times these people have children, and society has to take care of their children. Now, to me, I'm much more punitive than -- I would take the children away from these people. If you tested positive for heroin or crack, I'd take your child away, out of the house. All right, I'd rather have the kid in the system than under your control. It's a tough call, but that's what I would do.
Ha!

Great monologue!

Kinison-esque!

"So what do you do? Give them more money? Oh, ooohhh!"

"They're not going to pay their rent, they're going to spend it on drugs and alcohol. Oh, ooohhh!"

"Now the tragedy is that a lot of times these people have children. Oh, ooohhh!"

Ha.

(Pause.)

Hey, waitaminute.

HE WAS BEING SERIOUS.

So was Jeb's son:

Jeb Bush's son arrested for public intoxication, resisting arrest

Alcoholism is a family disease
John Ellis Bush, the youngest son of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, was arrested early Friday and charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest, law enforcement officials in Texas said.

The 21-year-old nephew of President Bush was arrested by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission at 2:30 a.m. Friday on a corner of Austin's Sixth Street bar district, said spokesman Roger Wade.
"Let's see some ID, son."

"Fug you. Don' you know who I yam?! 'M th' preznit's neph-ooo. Aaaggghhh!"
It's not the first time Florida's first family has experienced legal problems with one of their children.

Noelle Bush, the governor's daughter, was arrested in January 2002 and was accused of trying to pass a fraudulent prescription at a Tallahassee pharmacy to obtain the anti-anxiety drug Xanax. She completed a drug rehabilitation program in August 2003 and a judge dismissed the drug charges against her.
Hey now.

More later...