Sunday, 9 March 2008

The Darkside of Ebay


Ebay got into a bad spot this week. It became apparent that on more than one occasion a seller attempted to sell a E-Meter on Ebay....and Scientology stepped in to halt the sale. All Scientology had to do....was say that this was church property.....and the Ebay dudes rolled over.

Its kinda funny.....how powerful Scientology has become and how they can simply say something....and its absolute in belief.

For you folks with E-Meters sitting in the garage or attic.....first we have to pity you a bit....but a word of advice.....ifing you want to sell it....just toss it on the table at a garage sale......and let it go for $20. Thats about the only way to dump the damn box.

The Irwin Zoo and the Banking Episode

This week in Australia....it became apparent that a lawsuite is progressing....to go against the Steve Irwin Zoo and Ms. Irwin. The company carrying the episode....is a collection organization....working primarily for a off-shore organization. The Zoo is facing a $2.5 million episode, and Ms. Irwin....$60k. Amongst this entire mess...is the fact that Bob Irwin...Steve's dad.....has resigned from the Zoo and said adios. Rumors swirl around him and Ms. Irwin having serious differences.

So what is going on? The papers and news media are leaving people hanging. They won't piece the puzzle together or spell out the actual big picture.

So allow me to analyze the episode. Sometime in 2005....before Steve died....the Zoo needed to prepare itself for the next big step. They were very profitable and intended to stay that way. Steve Irwin would readily admit that he knew nothing about business....and left everything to his wife to handle.

Ms. Irwin went to business smart bankers and started to "shop" for a loan. They eventually found a off-shore operation that gave very good rates....but also wanted a percentage of profits. The loan rate? Probably two to three points less than what you'd ever get. For tax purposes....this was very good for the off-shore bank.

After Steve died....there was some vision of a differing direction....my speculation. The large amount of money necessary.....wasn't necessary. The percentage that the Zoo operation was paying the off-shore group.....now became a problem. So in 2007....the Zoo attempted to settle the loan and just walk away. That wasn't the game plan of the off-shore bank.

So in 2007....a secondary problem arrived...where numerous long-term employees of the Zoo....Steve's operation for so many years.....started to have inter-personal relationship issues. Several of the employees were having affairs with other members. Bob Irwin...Steve's dad....began to address this sad aspect and the media's attention of the banking situation. The Zoo is basically run by Terri Irwin and no one else. While her media business experience is strong....her actual leadership ability is probably less than what is desired.

So this stew is heating up. The public will begin to figure out a number of things....from the Zoo trying to avoid taxes....to special under-the-table loans....to the sexual relationships at the Zoo. My guess is that the business side of the Zoo will start to slide and within three years be taken over by the state or another organization.

Jill Metzger: Now and Then

In September 2006....Maj Jill Metzger was apparently kidnapped while on duty (actually shopping downtown in a department store), in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan for you folks from Ripley). The Air Force operated an installation nearby and had personnel there on 120-day rotations. Major Jill was there as a public relations officer. So at some point toward the end of the 120-day deployment....she went downtown....disappeared, and then reappeared three days later. She claimed....a kidnapping. They actually put a hand grenade in her back pocket of her jeans....so she says.

After she reappeared....the story just didn't work. The Bishkek cops....although not the dandy 4-star type you'd find in Seattle or Montreal....they are pretty smart. They checked out the entire story told.....and quietly smirked. They actually laughed....but we won't talk about that.

Major Jill came back to the states....sat around for about a year....with various comments and questions tossed at her....and finally about twelve months ago....got disability pay and went into a deferred status as a officer. She could come back....if her medical condition "improved". The amazing thing....the idiots in the Air Force actually granted 100 percent disability....over $25k per year....free.

So what actually happened in the three days she was "disappeared"? Well....newly married before the deployment.....Major Jill tied up the marriage just a week prior to the deployment. Here after almost 110 days in the location near Bishkek....she was now two months pregnant (yep, we kinda know for sure because the militarycorruption.com site has some inside info finally). The problem facing Major Jill....she had to leave shortly and could not appear back in the states pregnant. The missing month of the pregnancy just couldn't be explained away.

So Major Jill went to a local doctor who did the procedure and then there were issues...so he knocked her out to let her rest....and when she woke up finally....three days had passed. So she had to make up a grand story.

Most folks really don't care. It did screw up morale trips downtown. But what does bother folks now....is that she is collecting a disability check....for using some shoddy off-base medical establishment in Bishkek....which has nothing to do with military operations or military health care. She will continue to collect this check....for years and even decades. So eventually....because she is only around 35 years old.....she will collect well over $500k from the government. Thats your money. Its amusing in some ways....the Air Force went way beyond anything you'd expect.....to protect her....and actually rewards her in the end.

Repent & Be Saved!

Yes, my son (or daughter)....you too can be saved. Repent and pay for your carbon credits. Feel good about it later, and then drive more than you ever drove before.

The Quiet Hugo

Just around ten days ago....more or less....down in Colomibia and Venezuela.....there was this episode of working out a FARC prisoner release. The FARC, for folks in Ripley, is a semi-bad-ass gang which runs 20 percent of Colombia....completely. The FARC will tell you that they are revolutionary in nature and helping the poor folks of that region. FARC is more of a protect racket....covering the butt of coco growers and the drug cartel in this region. FARC has held several hundred prisoners over the past ten years. They rarely release their prisoners.

Our buddy....Hugo Chavez of Colombia....the dopey idiot who makes a 3-hour show every Sunday on Venezuelan TV....got involved. The hostage negotiation makes him look really good for the folks in Latin America. Hugo puffed up the talks and they went on and on.....till finally FARC was ready to cough up a release.

Somewhere out there.....for weeks or months....someone had been watching things in the jungles. We won't say the word CIA....but someone was there. So they noticed at some point.....a satellite telephone operating in a certain area and they eventually put one and one together. They knew the number of the guy calling. It was the number two guy of FARC.

So this little analyst of sorts....reasoned that after this prisoner release....Hugo would be stupid enough to call the leadership in FARC to say some kind words. They waited. Eventually, the call came, and the Colombians did a signal display.....working out the coordinates....and eventually knew precisely where the FARC dude was standing. Within hours....their attack force crossed over the border in Ecuador a mile or two....and killed the number two guy of FARC.

After this little killing.....Hugo for some reason moved troops to one particular region of the border. Logic would have dictated a wider spread....so smart guys started to dig again. The number one guy of FARC....was now reported fairly sick and very ill.....and had crossed over the border of Colombia....to a town just inside of Venezuela. Strangely enough...this is the region where the troops were massed. So....bluntly....Hugo was protecting the number one guy of FARC.

The public now knows the entire story....its spreading across various newspapers in the region today. It was across the internet last night. Strangely enough.....neither Fox or CNN is carrying much of anything on the story. Perhaps waiting for more developments or confirmation. It is more of a embearessment now....because Hugo actually triggered the killing of his "good" friend....by a mere call. He is now being taught the lessons of Ossama Bin Laden....where you sit and avoid any satellite telephone or cellphone....because someone is watching your calls.

So what else is happening? Well....there is a prisoner being held by FARC by the name of Betancourt, who is a dual Colombian/French citizen and a former presidential candidate. Rumor has it that the FARC is working extra hard to arrange this release of Betancourt.....possibly this week. Both Ecuador and Venezuela are trying to deny the rumor....but its pressing ahead. Also....the three US contractors held for several years as FARC prisoners....they are on this rumor list too.

Why a rush now to dump some big-name prisoners? I would guess that the US is now boldly gathering intelligence and coming to some swift analysis. Its not a limited scoop anymore. The number one FARC member is probably in a position where he can't communicate very well....and is in dire health. The new number two or three boss....is likely in a bind because he is seeing more swift reaction and better Colombian penetration of FARC. Things aren't going well. So it might help to get the heat off FARC and lessen the potential future impact.

Lets face facts...the purpose of FARC is to cover the drug cartels....and not much else. They aren't revolutionary in nature and certainly not going to ever gain any major support in Colombia. If the Colombians gain enough intelligence to kill off the new number two and three bosses.....FARC might collapse very quickly. There aren't any university programs producing this type of leadership.....and they have to be rather protective of themselves.

So.....somewhere tonight in Venezuela....sits Hugo....thinking over his old friend.....and how a simple phonecall from his office....killed the guy. He has to be thinking that a number of things that he thought was secure....aren't secure. I'm guessing Hugo is pretty upset and just plain angry with himself. Thats our world tonight.