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My Letters to George Argyros

April 4, 2003
Ambassador George Argyros
American Embassy
Madrid, SPAIN

Dear Mr. Argyro:

What the hell is going on in Spain?

You’re the American ambassador there, right? Which means you pretty much run the country, yes? Well, it’s been two years since you’ve been our ambassador in Madrid, and to tell the truth, I think you’re bungling the job.

Here’s why: In March, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar — the guy who reports to you, right? — flew off to the Azores to meet Britain’s Tony Blair and George W. Bush.

So far, so good. Next, the three of them issued an ultimatum to the United Nations. “Tomorrow is a moment of truth for the world,” Bush said.

OK. Here’s the “moment of truth” Bush was talking about: Britain, Spain and the United States gave the United Nations 24 hours to authorize military force against Iraq. After 24 hours, Britain, Spain and the United States would go to war without U.N. approval.

Moment of truth, my ass. Twenty-four hours later, do you know what Spain’s Prime Minister Aznar said? “Spain will not participate in any attack or offensive missions,” that’s what.

What the hell was that about?

Aren’t you supposed to be on top of these things? Isn’t Spain your job? Sure, over one million Spaniards protested the war, but you’ve got to learn from your mistakes, George. You always get the political guys lined up, but you always forget the regular people who vote. Remember when all those Orange Countians protested your proposed airport at El Toro? You had the Board of Supes pretty much reading your script — any quicker with your trousers and they might have kissed your ass in public. You spread cash around City Halls from North Orange County to South — practically owned Newport Beach for a while. How much did you spend? Two million? Two and a half? You got the politicians, but you forgot that Orange County politicians don’t bring votes. They don’t have coattails — they don’t even have coats. You lost El Toro in the voting booths because you played old-school politics.

It’s time to get your fat head in the game, George. Clamp down on these red protestors. Tell Aznar if he’s not with us, he’s against us. I want to see some Spanish butt on the line in Baghdad, ASAP. If not, I want to see some American troops banging on the door to Madrid.

Yours for an Empire!
Nathan Callahan

April 8, 2003
Ambassador George Argyros
American Embassy
Madrid, SPAIN

Dear Mr. Argyros:

Still haven’t received a response to my first fax — not that I’m surprised. I have to send you a fax? What the fuck is that? Do you commute to work on a horse? Did you know that your people at the State Department told me that because I’m “just a citizen,” a fax is the only way I can reach you? Shouldn’t “just a citizen” be able to EMAIL his overseas embassy? What gives? Is there a shortage of computers in Madrid?

Oh well, enough of the small talk. Let’s talk about what you’re really interested in — MONEY. I’ve got a winner for you, George. It hit me the other day, when I visited Chapman University’s School of Business in Orange — the one they named after you.

Here’s my idea: You own an real estate firm in Orange County called Arnel Management. Arnel manages 19 apartment complexes--from Rowland Heights to Laguna Hills. I work for the OC Weekly. Our newspaper goes out free to all of Orange County — from Rowland Heights to Laguna Hills.

Cha-ching! Let’s put our two businesses together. I did a little advance work and checked out Arnel’s website. It needs some work, but I like the use of the words “luxury apartment home living.” And talk about kismet — there’s even an Arnel luxury apartment home living complex in Anaheim called Casa Madrid. Did you come up with the idea of naming it after your embassy? Good thinking!

Picture this for an ad in the Weekly: Ambassador George Argyros in front of the U.S. Embassy in Madrid with Anaheim’s Casa Madrid luxury apartment home living complex Photoshopped into the background.

Here’s another idea. I know that things are dicey in Spain what with all the anti-war protesting. In February, you created a scandal when you invited a bunch of Spanish political party leaders to the embassy for a “Why the U.S. Wants to Bomb Iraq” breakfast. They refused to show up. One of the party leaders said accepting your invitation would symbolize that “the seat of Spanish sovereignty would be moved to the American ambassador’s house.” I’ve got his seat of Spanish sovereignty right here.

Some people around the Weekly said the breakfast boner was evidence that you’re a lousy diplomat. Someone said, “What do you expect for $30 million?” That’s a joke, see, because usually people say “What do you expect for free?” But in this case, you raised $30 million for George W. Bush’s presidential campaign and all you got in return was a bed in Madrid and 40 million Spaniards who hate America. That’s why I guess it seemed funny when he said that.

But you know what? When you’re handed lemons, you make Sangria. What about a Spanish Pax Americana discount at Casa Madrid? It would go like this: The first month of luxury apartment home living is free if you’re Spanish and you support pre-emptive strikes in defense of freedom anywhere. I bet some of those protestors from Madrid would try to move to Orange County to take advantage of that offer.

Sounds pretty exciting, don’t you think? Email me right away and let me know when I can get started on our business plan. In the meantime, have fun in Madrid and say hi to King Juan Carlos for me.

Today Iraq, Tomorrow Iran!
Nathan Callahan

April 17, 2003
Ambassador George Argyros
American Embassy
Madrid, SPAIN

Dear Mr. Argyros:

Last week I monitored the OC Weekly fax machine every hour, waiting for a message from you. It never came. To tell you the truth, I was pissed-off. Then I went online, punched in your name and hit paydirt. No wonder you’re not writing back: You’re planning for a secret summit!

It takes place this June in Scotland. (Don’t ask me how I found out; it’s a secret.). Scottish construction millionaire Sir Fraser Morrison has invited you to join some of the world’s top business leaders and politicians in a hush-hush meeting to examine the effect of the Iraq war on the global economy.

I guess you guys are going to try to figure out whether war is good for business. Good luck.

The secret meeting is for members of the U.S.-based Chief Executives Organization (CEO). A secret spokesperson for the CEO summit, Frances Crow-Kyles, refused to supply a list of participating delegates and said, “There will be no pre-event publicity.”

Well, I’ve got news for Crow-Kyles: too late now. Everyone at the Weekly knows that George Argyros will be there. In fact, I’m emailing all my friends and asking them for their thoughts. I’ll try to keep it as secret as possible. I’ll send you a fax soon, George, with all their suggestions. (No need to respond. We all understand about the secrecy thing.)

There is something you ought to know about Sir Fraser. He’s currently being sued by the Anglian Water Group, a British utility company. You were sued too, George. Remember? It was after District Attorney investigators and lawyers determined that your company, Arnel Management, fleeced apartment renters by withholding security deposits, overcharging for repairs and billing for imaginary expenses. What a sweet deal! Anyway, I figure you should tell Sir Fraser about how your buddy, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, stopped his lawyers from filing the suit, removed your name after careful deliberation and then stalled for time until George W. Bush found you a home in Madrid. Maybe Sir Frances has friends in high places, too. Who knows? He might get to be an ambassador some day, just like you.

So, now that I know that the secret summit is the reason you’re not responding, here’s the plan: While you’re secretly preparing for your secret summit, I’ll be working secretly on a layout for your ads in the Weekly. I’ll send some drafts along to you soon.

Be cool. Don’t write back.

Oh, I almost forgot. Congratulations on the liberation of Iraq.

Let’s roll,
Nathan Callahan

April 17, 2003
Ambassador George Argyros
American Embassy
Madrid, SPAIN

Dear Mr. Argyros:

This has been a crazy month. When I emailed my friends for input on your “war is good for business” meeting, I got some real negative vibes. I think I must know a lot of pacifists — maybe they’ve got Spanish blood. All I know is that my friend Eric went ALL CAPS on me about the protests in front of your embassy. He said that war is good for business only if you’re a “corrupt mother-fucking fat corporate son-of-a-bitch like George Argyros.” (Please excuse the French, I’m just repeating what he said.) According to Eric, 50 people had their heads cracked open at your front door by black helmeted baton-swinging Spanish police.

Another friend, Mike Kaspar told me that Spain has more war protestors than any other European country. He said that you and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar are both “assholes.” (Excuse the French, again.) Then he quoted Spanish opposition leader Jose Zapatero: "Most of the people believe Anzar has failed and that he’s lied — lied to this Parliament and to the people."

That’s not good, George. I’m not a Socialist, but I warned you before about getting people — not just the politicians — on your side. I stood up for you anyway.

“At least the Spanish have a pro-war leader,” I emailed him back.

That really set Mike off. He told me my head was full of pro-war propaganda.

I told him that you had taken my advice and notified Spanish Prime Minister Jose Anzar that either the Spanish get in line behind George W. Bush or Donny “Evidence of Absence” Rumsfeld would smack down hard on Madrid. I called it our “Spanish Strategy.” Mike almost shit in his pants. He’s not speaking to me anymore. But to hell with him.

Our Spanish Strategy must have really worked on Anzar. Just last week Bush invited him to the White House to thank him for his help with all the U.S. reconnaissance flights over Iraq originating in Rota on the Southwest Spanish coast. It’s amazing what a little threat by a nuclear superpower can do. I just hope Bush pronounced Anzar’s name right. Remember when he called him Azner? Like in “Ed AZNER.” What was Bush up to anyway? Watching reruns of Mary Tyler Moore? If you get a chance to talk to W. tell him that “n” comes before “z.” That ought to click in his head.

You can also tell him that Nathan thinks that war is good for business. Especially if you’ve got connects with Halliburton and Bechtel. They’re picking up construction contracts in Iraq like vases in a Baghdad museum. Oh, by the way, Do you know what they call people from Baghdad? Bag Daddys. It’s the truth. I’m not kidding you.

So here’s the deal. I’ll keep sending strategies. You keep implementing. OK? In fact, if you’d like, I could be your right hand man at that top secret meeting. Let me know and I’ll be there.

Be real and represent,
Nathan Callahan


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