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06 December 2003

How strange?

"It's the oil, stupid!" is a document that was written by Joseph Clifford and submitted to the Media Monitors Network shortly after 911 and the invasion of Afghanistan. I thought the original work was rather smart and that it might be a good idea to try and substantiate the little factoids espoused within through the use of links to relevant articles elsewhere on the marvel that is the Internet; below is the result.

Must get back into doing this sort of thing again... I think Gandhi once said something along the lines of, "Whatever you do will make little or no difference but you must do it anyway".

--
The Russians got into their Vietnam right after we got out of ours? Isn't that strange?

We supported Bin Laden and the Taliban for years, and viewed them as freedom fighters against the Russians? Isn't that strange?

As late as 1998 the US was paying the salary of every single Taliban official in Afghanistan? Isn't that strange?

There is more oil and gas in the Caspian Sea area than in Saudi Arabia, but you need a pipeline through Afghanistan to get the oil out. Isn't that strange?

UNOCAL, a giant American Oil conglomerate, wanted to build a 1000 mile long pipeline from the Caspian Sea through Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea. Isn't that strange?

UNOCAL spent $10,000,000,000 on geological surveys for pipeline construction, and very nicely courted the Taliban for their support in allowing the construction to begin. Isn't that strange?

All of the leading Taliban officials were in Texas negotiating with UNOCAL in 1998. Isn't that strange?

1998-1999 the Taliban changed its mind and threw UNOCAL out of the country and awarded the pipeline project to a company from Argentina. Isn't that strange?

John Maresca VP of UNOCAL testified before Congress and said no pipeline until the Taliban was gone and a more friendly government was established. Isn't that strange?

1999-2000 The Taliban became the most evil people in the world. Isn't that strange?

Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, was told by senior American officials in mid-July that military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October. Isn't that strange?

9/11 WTC disaster. Bush goes to war against Afghanistan even though none of the hijackers came from Afghanistan. Isn't that strange?

Bush blamed Bin Laden but has never offered any proof saying it’s a "secret". Isn't that strange?

Taliban offered to negotiate to turn over Bin Laden if we showed them some proof. We refused; we bombed. Isn't that strange?

Bush said: "This is not about nation building. It's about getting the "terrorists". Isn't that strange?

We have a new government in Afghanistan. Isn't that strange?

The leader of that government formerly worked for UNOCAL. Isn't that strange?

Bush appoints a special envoy to represent the US to deal with that new government, who formerly was the "chief consultant" to UNOCAL. Isn't that strange?

The Bush family acquired their wealth through oil? Isn't that strange?

Bush's Secretary of Interior was the President of an oil company before going to Washington. Isn't that strange?

George Bush Sr. now works with the "Carlysle Group" specializing in huge oil investments around the world. Isn't that strange?

Condoleezza Rice worked for Chevron before gong to Washington. Isn't that strange?

Chevron named one of its newest "supertankers" after Condoleezza. Isn't that strange?

Dick Cheney worked for the giant oil conglomerate Halliburton before becoming VP. Isn't that strange?

Haliburton gave Cheney $34,000,000,000 as a farewell gift when he left Haliburton. Isn't that strange?

Haliburton is in the pipeline construction business. Isn't that strange?

There is $6 Trillion dollars worth of oil in the Caspian Sea area. Isn't that strange?

The US government quietly announces Jan 31, 2002 we will support the construction of the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline. Isn't that strange?

President Musharref (Pakistan), and Karrzai, (Afghanistan -Unocal) announce agreement to build proposed gas pipeline from Central Asia to Pakistan via Afghanistan. (Irish Times 02/10/02) Isn't that strange?

"It’s the Oil, Stupid!"

11 November 2003

Rage Cookies

More courtesy of Jessica Zafra (she's very good!):
Rage Cookies

Ingredients:

10 kilos of all the resentment you've ever felt but never expressed towards your parents, grandparents, elder relatives, teachers, government officials, office superiors, role models, and authority figures who have betrayed you, lied to you, or failed to follow their own grand pronouncements, and in doing so destroyed your faith in the human race.

10 kilos of all the bitterness you've ever felt towards the people you were in love with who didn't love you back, who mocked you, toyed with your emotions, abandoned you on the darkest nights of your soul, and never appreciated your willingness to tear your guts at their bidding, and in doing so obliterated your belief in real love.

10 kilos of all the revulsion you feel towards a society that worships mediocrity, that rewards phoniness and cheap sentimentality because it appeals to the lowest common denominator, that eats its young and pukes them out, that condones corruption and greed, and scoffs at honesty and ethical behavior because No one gets rich being honest and ethical, and in doing so destroys itself.

10 liters bile

1 cup vinegar

Directions:

Throw everything into a large vat and mix thoroughly to form a batter. Knead the batter with your bare hands. Beat merciliessly until it is soft. Make dozens of fist-sized lumps, then shape then into the people you despise.

Bake in 2000 degrees of anger.

Excerpted from "Planet of the Twisted" - Jessica Zafra. Published by Anvil Publishing Inc.

04 November 2003

Where is Jessica Zafra?

I find it superbly interesting the way in which corporations attempt to transfer the burden of one of their most fundamental business risks to their customers and it appears I'm not the only one. Let me explain...

It was ridiculously early on a Sunday morning when I found myself trawling the web for someone by the name of Jessica Zafra. I had no idea who she was, or what she did, but I found the following excerpt in a Usenet post which came from something she penned entitled, "An Opinion On Piracy". The article rather nicely explains how I feel about the whole piracy deal and is reproduced, in part, below:
"Does anyone else find it funny that people who make
much more money than we do are appealing to us not
to deprive them of their income? You have the nerve
to charge me P450 for a CD that is being sold on the
street for P60 and you expect my sympathy?

The campaign against pirated software, CD's, VCD's,
audio and cassettes, would have us believe that
piracy is our problem. Really? How is shelling out
P100 for a disc that contains P50,000 worth of
software a problem for me? It would seem that the
pirates are doing me, and my shrinking wallet a big
favor. Why should it bother me that a movie which
has not yet opened in theatres is being
peddled on VCD on the streets for P90? I have no
fights with the pirates. They are selling me
information I might otherwise not have access to
because of prohibitive costs. Yes they are thieves
and thieves should be punished, but they are not
stealing from me. Oh sure, you can lecture me about
in the long run I will pay for buying bootleg but by
then I will have used the information for my
benefit.

So let me make a correction. Piracy is the problem
of the manufacturers - the software houses, record
companies, and motion picture companies - whom I
shall refer to from hereon as the corporations. By
telling us not to buy pirated materials "for the
good of everyone", corporations make it appear that
corporate interests and the public interest are the
same thing. This is unlaughably untrue. Corporations
makes noise about working in the public interest -
these noises are called public relations, PR - but
their duty is to their owners."
Everything wants to be free. If this wasn't the case, corporations wouldn't need to go to such extreme lengths to make it not so.

02 November 2003

Moodwatch - There are only two constants in this life; chaos and pandemonium.

and you open the door and you step inside - we're inside our hearts. now imagine your pain is a white ball of healing light. that's right, feel your pain, the pain itself, it's a white ball of healing light.

I don't think so.

this is your life. good to the last drop. doesn't get any better than this. this is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time. this isn't a seminar and this isn't a weekend retreat. where you are now you can't even imagine what the bottom will be like.

only after disaster can we be resurrected. it's only after you have lost everything that you are free to do anything.

nothing is static, everything is appalling, everything is falling apart.

this is your life. it doesn't get any better than this.
this is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.

you are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. you are the same decaying organic matter as everything else. we are all a part of the same compost heap, we are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world. you are not your bank account, you are not the clothes you wear. you are not the contents of your wallet. you are not your bowel cancer. you are not your Grande Latte. you are not the car you drive. you are not your fucking khakis.

you have to give up,
you have to give up.

you have to realize that someday you will die. until you know that, you are useless.

I say let me never be complete. I say may I never be content. I say deliver me from Swedish furniture! I say deliver me from clever art. I say deliver me from clear skin and perfect teeth. I say you have to give up. I say evolve, and let the chips fall where they may.

this is your life. it doesn't get any better than this.
this is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.

you have to give up.
you have to give up. (I want you to hit me as hard as you can)

welcome to fight club, if this is your first night, you have to fight.

-- dust brothers (featuring tyler durden), "What is Fight Club?"

Choice

When did I make the choices that I didn't know I'd made?

Black Gold

For those of you that didn't know before the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq that there might be some value in controlling the countries which hold the world's largest oil reserves, CNN reports, "World oil and gas 'running out'".

Basic supply and demand theory states the more scarce a resource, the greater its value - especially in times of increasing consumption. Oil fits this profile very nicely and America happens to be the single largest consumer of oil on the planet.

The countries with the largest oil reserves (measured in billions of barrels) are:

1 Saudi Arabia (265.3)
2 Iraq (115)
3 Kuwait (98.8)
4 Iran (96.4)
5 United Arab Emirates (62.8)
6 Russia (54.3)
7 Venezuela (47.6)
8 China (30.6)
9 Libya (30)
10 Mexico (26.9)

Source: Aneki

The largest oil producer, Saudi Arabia, is already on-side (Osama Bin Laden and the vast majority of the 911 hijackers are/were of Saudi origin but that's neither here, nor there), Iraq has the world's second largest oil reserves and Iran the fourth largest. Both Iran and Iraq, coincidentally, feature in George Bush's list of 'axis of evil' countries that he targeted in his State of the Union address in early 2002. The list was later expanded to include Cuba, Libya and Syria. One down...

Iraq had insisted on being paid for oil in Euros rather than dollars. Russia is thinking of switching oil trade from Dollars to Euros and, according to Youssef Ibrahim, managing director of the Strategic Energy Investment Group in Dubai and a member of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, "a number of countries within OPEC would prefer to trade in euros." Ibrahim maintains that this currency switch was one of the reasons that the US attacked Iraq and goes on to say, "There is a great political dimension to this. Slowly more power and muscle is moving from the United States to the EU, and that's mainly because of what happened in Iraq."

If the US was upset by Iraq's shift to the Euro, they're going to be more than mildly irritated should Russia and bunch of other OPEC countries wish to do the same. Given that it is oil trading in dollars that literally gives the US a license to print money, any further shifts by any of the major players is going to have serious repercussions on both the American economy and the balance of global power.

25 October 2003

Chutney Ferrets

"When my boyfriend told me he wanted to take me up the Oxo Tower for my birthday, I was a bit hesitant at first because I didn't really think it was my scene. How wrong I was! I mean, yeah, so it's a bit of a strain on the old back pocket, and I admit I did feel a bit uncomfortable initially. But a couple of cocktails helped me relax and soon I was really getting into it - we carried on well into the night. It was a great experience and I really loved it - so much so that I won't let my boyfriend take me anywhere else now! So if anyone ever wants to take you up the Oxo Tower, just throw caution to the wind and go for it!"

Source: London Eating

19 October 2003

All the President's votes?

"A quiet revolution is taking place in US politics. By the time it's over, the integrity of elections will be in the unchallenged, unscrutinised control of a few large - and pro-Republican - corporations."

Private Profit at the Expense of Public Service

Not one, but two tube train derailments in as many days this weekend. The derailments occurred on the Piccadilly Line and the Northern Line, both of which have just been handed over to Tubelines under a 30-year Public Private Partnership (PPP) deal.

Tubelines is a consortium of three firms, including none other than Jarvis PLC and Bechtel, both of whom were involved in maintenance on the West Coast Main Line. The third party in the consortium is cash-strapped Amey. All three firms are united by powerful political contacts and a poor safety record which they appear to be replicating on the London Underground.

Both Jarvis and Amey have recently pulled out of their day-to-day rail maintenance contracts to avoid the costs and negative publicity of high-profile accidents on track they maintained. Of course, we all know about Bechtel now, don't we?

What's especially concerning about these underground train derailments is the fact that, with the notable exception of Radio 4's Today programme on Monday morning, none of the media seems to be catching on to the fact that it's the same organisations that were behind failing to adequately maintain overground track that are also responsible for not adequately maintaining underground track either! The Today report is here, however, the archived version contains no mention of Jarvis' role in the Tubelines consortium.

Update: London Mayor Ken Livingstone, as quoted in a Guardian article, "You could call them the usual suspects. This is not out of step with their record elsewhere." Well said that man!

16 October 2003

Free Press

I stumbled across a rather interesting publication from The International Federation of Journalists entitled, "European Media Ownership: Threats on the Landscape". From the executive summary in that document:

--
This report concludes that there are major threats in Europe's media landscape. Some of the threats identified are political and private threats to public service broadcasting, power over global media in the hands of few, more and more media concentration, the threat to emerging markets in Eastern and Central Europe and regulation getting weaker as media power grows.
--

Major rant to follow soon, unfortunately this little thing called work keeps getting in the way of me doing anything useful with my time.

Silent Volume

I get bored very easily. That's why this blog is here and why I dream up a whole variety of random stupidness to amuse myself.

How many people check their mobile phone profile settings regularly? Not many!

My latest bit of idiocy involves resetting the 'Silent' and 'Meeting' type profiles on people's mobile phones so that any incoming calls and messages result in the phone ringing with the most irritating ring on the phone, and at the loudest possible ringing volume. This is a superb way of ensuring that even those wily people who set their phones to silent to obtain a bit of peace and quiet are contactable whenever you want them to be.

14 October 2003

Government Funded Cannabis

According to scientists at Buffalo University, smoking marijuana can lead to men having a reduced sperm count. Inexplicably, the results of this research are presented as some cause for concern.

Details of the study were presented to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine in San Antonio. However, lead researcher Dr Lani Burkman has conceded that many men who smoke marijuana have fathered children and, further, that many other factors, such as diet, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking and exercise also have an impact on fertility.

So, exactly what is the point of this new research? All it does is tell us that, along with hot baths, tight pants, and being too pissed to walk, marijuana may also contribute to a reduction in sperm count.

Consider this 'research' in the context of the recent news regarding the provision of free fertility treatment for infertile couples in the UK, the genetic predisposition of males and females of almost all known species towards promiscuity, and the fact that 1/3 of the population growth in the world is the result of incidental or unwanted pregnancies (Source: Germany World Population Fund, Dec 28, 1998), and reduced sperm counts seem like a positively good thing.

With humans living longer and exponential population growth it could be argued that there are already for too many people on this planet as it is. Furthermore, until such time as we can resolve the gross inequities in the distribution of basic survival requirements like water, food and shelter, I suggest we hang fire on this reproduction thing for at least a little while.

In fact, what better way to kick back, relax and keep the virus-with-shoes (humankind) from spreading like wildfire than having a toke? All of which brings us nicely to the argument for government funded marijuana supplies for all males above the age of consent! Let's face it, if the male contraceptive consisted of smoking a couple of hearty spliffs every day, that's half the 'fucking' problem sorted!

In the interests of equality and the furtherance of human knowledge, I am undertaking further research to determine the effects of marijuana consumption on female fertility. These scientific experiments will consist of getting a few chicks very stoned, fucking 'em, and seeing how many of them end up pregnant. Of course, as a control measure and in the interests of ensuring fair results, I'm also going to have to fuck a load of women that aren't stoned. Willing females who wish to partake in this research should be between the ages of 18 and 32 and contact me at the usual address including a recent photograph and indicating whether they wish to be fucked stoned or straight.

Eubank arrested over Downing Street protest

"If I come in to your house with a gun, people will react against me. It's called terrorism." -- Chris Eubank

Why can't all famous type folk (I refrain from use of the word 'celebrity') occasionally do a little something for the greater good?

Man in a box

While we're on the subject of David Blaine (can you feel the magic?), to date we've had the following performance art:

I. Buried Alive
II. Frozen in Time
III. Vertigo
IV. Above the Below

What do these things have in common? Well, he doesn't actually do very much in any of them! And, unless watching someone piss through a tube is your idea of fun, none of it is particularly entertaining.

It's patently obvious that there's going to be a fifth stunt, followed by a grand finale performance, details of which are magically contained in the letters of the man's name. So, don't be surprised when, in another fit of self-aggrandising publicity, he announces:

Bland idea VI

Current thinking indicates that this final stunt will miraculously involve even less movement than his previous performances as David attempts to bring the story of Rip Van Winkle to life by sleeping solidly for 20 years, without the use of a safety net.

Naturally, full 24 x 7 coverage will be available on all the usual Pay Per View channels with full interactivity along the lines of, "Press the RED button to perform a urine analysis on David's last liquid excretory product, or the BLUE button to listen to David snore."

Subliminal hits

What goes on below the threshold of conscious perception?

13 October 2003

Mind control?

Harping back to the Derren Brown Russian Roulette stunt for a minute...

When they originally started advertising for candidates eager to try and get Mr Brown to blow his brains out, the advert stated that the event would take place live on October 26th 2003. Googling for "Derren Brown" and "October 26" brings up this summary:

--
Derren Brown
Derren Brown plays Russian Roulette live! On October 26 world television history will be made. Derren Brown will play Russian Roulette live on Channel 4.
www.derrenbrown.co.uk/roulette.asp - 9k - Cached - Similar pages
--

The same page on Derren's web site now reflects the actual screening date of the event, October 5th 2003, and Google's cache no longer holds the original page.

Using my mentalist powers and reading Derren Brown's mind, I'm guessing that rescheduling might be due to this man emerging from his little box on Sunday 19th October 2003?

11 October 2003

Do not misunderestimate me

This is positively surreal:

"Roses are red
Violets are blue
Oh my, lump in the bed
How I've missed you

Roses are redder
Bluer am I
Seeing you kissed by that charming French guy.

The dogs and the cat, they missed you too
Barney's still mad you dropped him, he ate your shoe
The distance, my dear, has been such a barrier
Next time you want an adventure, just land on a carrier."

Ladies and gentleman, I give you the poetic genius of the one, the only, Mr George W. Bush.

Unfortunately, I don't recall the finer points of the poetry critique techniques covered during the early years of my indoctrination, so I can only end with, "That's shit, that is!".

Copycats

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding a stunt pulled by Derren Brown that involved him playing Russian Roulette 'live' (i.e. with a bit of delay, just in case) on national TV. This one-off show had around 3-4 million viewers. A lot of people got quite excited about the whole thing and complained that it was entirely irresponsible to show this sort of depravity on national television.

Meanwhile, on another channel, a popular UK soap had an entire storyline revolving around a woman plotting to kill her yob-like ex-boyfriend/shag/husband/lover/whatever. One episode featured the distraught woman loading a gun in her living room while shaking with fear/guilt/anger/bitterness/resentment/whatever. There were also two other people in the room, one of whom was her young child. As if this wasn't enough, a box of live rounds was left lying around within easy reach of aforementioned brat. This show gets around 18 or so million viewers four times a week.

Derren Brown is a very talented illusionist and performs 'illusions'. A soap is a 'real life drama' that creates an on-screen reality that is watched, followed and discussed religiously by many.

It appears we should be concerned about the guy that says it's all a trick rather than a soap that that purports to reflect everyday life and advocates gun-toting in front of toddlers.

09 October 2003

ATM fun

More lunacy from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3157214.stm:

--
Fraud at ATMs [has] increased significantly in the last five years.

An increasingly common problem is "shoulder surfing" - where criminals watch as a PIN number is entered then steal the card using either a 'Lebanese loop' or a door swipe.

Earlier this year Barclays and HSBC in Manchester began piloting a scheme designed to stop shoulder surfing. It involved painting a yellow box around ATMs to give the person using the machine privacy.
--

How fucking tall is that paint?

The only lines The Antagonist has seen might well stop ants, termites and earwigs but they ain't gonna stop a 6'8" knife-wielding mugger!

More Arnold?

From http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3173898.stm:

--
"Mozart is no longer the world's most famous Austrian," Dieter Hardt-Stremayr of Graz tourist office told AFP news agency.
--

Hitler, perhaps?

08 October 2003

Bush wasn't doing enough damage so they've brought in the Terminator

California now have an obsolete T800 as governor. If you're going to elect film stars as politicians, think about it carefully.

Still, if a chimp can become president with a little bit of 'creative accounting' then, I guess, anything is possible.

07 October 2003

Bowling for Bush

Michael Moore has a new book out entitled, "Dude, Where's my Country?" The Guardian printed an article containing seven questions he wishes to ask of Governor G.W. Bush[1] which appeared as cryptic little adverts in the New York Times Arts section. The article is well worth reading and contains links to other Michael Moore articles. Mr Moore has also done a whole bunch of other cool stuff, details of which you can find on his web site here.

[1] None of which are likely to get answered, obviously (or am I just being particularly cynical and jaded?).

03 October 2003

Fundamentalism

"In this time of war against Osama bin Laden and the oppressive Taliban regime, we are thankful that our leader isn't the spoiled son of a powerful politician from a wealthy oil family who is supported by religious fundamentalists, operates through clandestine organizations, has no respect for the democratic electoral process, bombs innocents, and uses war to deny people their civil liberties. Amen."

Smoke

Like most other humanoids The Antagonist too prostitutes time and effort for currency in order to fund an existence, of sorts. A number of The Antagonist's colleagues (read: fellow wage slaves) are addicted to nicotine. A number of other colleagues who are not afflicted with this nicotine dependency have noticed that the terms and conditions of being an addict are that one must feed one's addiction on a regular basis. The non-addicts have also noticed that the addicts are required to take a break to indulge in their poison and have deemed it appropriate to alert 'management' droids to this fact.

What is it about the complainants that results in their lack of ability to think with any degree of clarity? Why do they assume they have the right to interfere with the lives of others simply because they perceive a degree of inequality?

If you don't smoke and you would like a brief respite from your own workplace banality - and here's a revolutionary idea for you - take a break yourself! Solutions really don't get much simpler than that and, this way, everyone can have a break which is infinitely better than nobody having any breaks at all!

Print

The Chinese were printing using movable wooden blocks back in the 8th century. Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press in Germany around 1450. Several hundred years later, a space monkey can communicate with the world via the Internet.

The Antagonist has a blog.

Please allow me to introduce myself...