Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who is a Terrorist, Who Will Fall? Updated

Well, we are pretty sure it won't be Osama-aren't we Dearest Readers?

Dead guys rarely cause much trouble-which could explain why there are so many of them turning up that way who have been involved in some dirty Enron stuff.

So, where is that latest tape "thought to be coming from Osama", ABC? Hmm?

Hot Links

WaPo Tech Trouble in the Voting Booth

So far, in this year's primaries, the problems have been related to the machines breaking down or being used incorrectly by election officials. For example, optical-scan machines used in a May primary in Cuyahoga County in Ohio could not read the ballots because the black lines separating sections were thicker than on ballots elsewhere in the state, and the fill-in ovals were in a different place, a review recently found. The result was a long delay in ballot counting.

Numerous other localities have experienced problems, most notably the delay in results of a March primary in Cook County, Ill.

The National Research Council analysis notes several potentially problematic areas. Some states may be unable to comply with the 2002 law's deadlines for upgrading technology, meaning it is not yet clear whether they will use old or new technology this year. There are questions about whether voters will be able to use the new equipment without confusion, and whether there is enough time to train poll workers.

"When organizations roll out technology, they do it in a small way. They do a lot of testing and prototyping. We're doing it in one fell swoop and that creates certain kinds of risks," said Herbert S. Lin, a senior research scientist who served on the staff of the committee.

Science? Technology? Gasp... And here the Ohio Republican Party thought they ran on Ken "Sambo" Blackwell magic.

Insight A case of stupid people calling someone else dumb! Dump Condi: Foreign policy conservatives charge State Dept. has hijacked Bush agenda

Conservative national security allies of President Bush are in revolt against Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, saying that she is incompetent and has reversed the administration�s national security and foreign policy agenda.

The conservatives, who include Newt Gingrich, Richard Perle and leading current and former members of the Pentagon and National Security Council, have urged the president to transfer Miss Rice out of the State Department and to an advisory role. They said Miss Rice, stemming from her lack of understanding of the Middle East, has misled the president on Iran and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

"The president has yet to understand that people make policy and not the other way around," a senior national security policy analyst said. "Unlike [former Secretary of State Colin] Powell, Condi is loyal to the president. She is just incompetent on most foreign policy issues."

The criticism of Miss Rice has been intense and comes from a range of Republican loyalists, including current and former aides in the Defense Department and the office of Vice President Dick Cheney. They have warned that Iran has been exploiting Miss Rice's inexperience and incompetence to accelerate its nuclear weapons program. They expect a collapse of her policy over the next few months.

Condi gets a warm welcome while traveling abroad

Harpers The Minister of Civil War Bayan Jabr, Paul Bremer, and the rise of the Iraqi death squads

Two of those pushing hardest for Jabr's removal were Michael Karem, Bremer's special adviser for housing and reconstruction, and Rick Clay, one of Karem's top aides. They accused Jabr and several of his deputies of demanding kickbacks, and of complicity in the theft of huge amounts of equipment belonging to the Housing Ministry. A memo Karem sent to Bremer on April 12, 2004, referred to “increasing allegations of corruption at the Ministry,” complained that Jabr had been “less than forthright about his practices,” and detailed what it called his “more egregious management practices,” including his engineering of “systematic work stoppages of time sensitive projects which you had designated a priority.”

The CPA officials were also alarmed by Jabr's ties to the Badr Brigade and his sectarian tendencies. The Iraqi minister, Karem wrote in the memo, “has shown an increasingly authoritarian style of leadership that is affecting work at all levels of the ministry and created a climate of fear and retribution among employees.” Karem reported a “growing pattern of religious discrimination at the Ministry,” particularly in recruiting Shiites for the “Facilities Protection Service,” a police force created by Bremer that later was suspected of playing a major role in political murders.

A few days after sending the memo, Karem and Clay were called to a meeting with Vice Admiral Scott Redd, the CPA's deputy administrator, and several other U.S. officials. “We were thrilled at the end of the meeting,” Karem recalled. “Everybody was shaking their head about the corruption. They said that they were going to get rid of the minister.” Days later, he and Clay were asked to return to Redd's office. They walked in expecting to hear that Jabr had been fired. Instead they were told that their services with the CPA were as of that moment terminated; the minister would stay on. “We were told that we had lost effectiveness because we couldn't work with the minister,” Karem recalled. “We were in shock.”

No doubt-that's how things work in Bushworld. Nice guys and gals finish last.

The Hill-Also in today's Hill-Fifty of the Most Beautiful People on the Hill Prissy can't believe they wasted the ink on tabloid entertainment...Line-item may get Sept. vote

Senate Republican leaders may bring a White House-backed proposal for a line-item veto to the floor in September, even if it appears likely to fall on a filibuster.

White House budget chief Rob Portman continued a fierce lobbying blitz for the measure yesterday, even as Republican senators conceded they still do not have the 60 votes needed to ensure its passage.

Portman, director of the Office of Management and Budget, met first with members of Republican whip operation of Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and then with individual senators outside the party’s weekly policy luncheon.

“We’re still very optimistic about its passage,” said Portman, a former U.S. trade representative and House member from Ohio. “The timing is still in question.”

Prissy is guessing the ole fools forgot they tried this before: Supreme Court Deletes Line-Item Veto Clinton disappointed; Opponents of veto call it a victory for the Constitution June 25, 1998

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said the law of the land -- the Constitution -- applies to all, including the president. Levin

"Congress, in this particular line-item veto bill struck down today, tried to bend the Constitution. The court said it will not allow that to happen. Thank God it did, because this particular line-item bill would have given the president the power to repeal the law of the land without Congress participating," said Levin.

The law let the president sign a bill and within five days go back to reject specific spending items or tax breaks in it. Congress could then reinstate the item by passing a separate bill.

Nearly every president in the past century has sought the line-item veto as a tool for controlling "pork barrel" programs added by lawmakers. Most governors have similar authority over state spending.

CNN Report: Proposal would allow hearsay evidence against detainees

According to the draft, hearsay evidence would be allowed unless it was deemed to be unreliable. Defendants also would be barred from their own trials if it necessary to protect national security.

The legislation also would declare that a provision of the Geneva Conventions would not apply to detainees, meaning terror suspects could not file lawsuits in the future saying their Geneva rights were violated, the Times said.

The Supreme Court ruled last month that the international conventions do apply.

At the same time, however, the legislation would offer a few expanded protections for defendants, including a ban on statements obtained by the use of torture for use as evidence, according to the Times.

As Granny says "That's mighty white of them." Hearsay evidence is not allowed in the American justice system. Prissy cannot get over how these cads continue their attempts to bypass long held standards of justice.

Scotsman Investigation into claims of Scottish link to Israeli arms

As the crisis in Lebanon worsened after four UN observers were killed in an Israeli bombing attack, it was reported that some of the weapons used by Tel Aviv's forces had been shipped via Prestwick Airport.

The Israeli military needs the £5000 smart bombs to attack the bunkers being used by Hezbollah leaders in Lebanon.

It was claimed that two chartered Airbus A310 cargo planes filled with GBU28 laser-guided bombs landed at Prestwick for refuelling and crew rest after flying across the Atlantic at the weekend.

The move followed criticism of the alleged use of Prestwick and Edinburgh airports for CIA "rendition" flights to carry terrorist suspects for interrogation in countries where torture was used.

Arab American NewsA thousand protest in nation's capital

Last Tuesday, in the sweltering heat of Washington, DC, more than one thousand protestors gathered in front of the White House to demand an end to Israel's bombardment of Lebanon and the Palestinians. Sponsored by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the rally drew support from numerous national and Washington, D.C.-based groups.

With major media on hand, former Arab League Ambassador Clovis Maksoud, ADC Presdient Mary Rose Oakar and the Arab American Institute's James Zogby delivered speeches through a bullhorn. They called for an end to the senseless violence.

The largely Arab-American crowd marched in a circle in front of the President's residence, chanted, carried flags and held signs.

Washington Post 2 Dead, 2 Missing After U.N. Post Hit

BEIRUT, Lebanon -- An Israeli bomb destroyed a U.N. observer post on the border in southern Lebanon, killing two peacekeepers and leaving two others feared dead in what appeared to be a deliberate strike, U.N. chief Kofi Annan said.

The bomb made a direct hit on the building and shelter of the observer post in the town of Khiyam near the eastern end of the border with Israel, said Milos Struger, spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon known as UNIFIL.

An Israeli military vehicle drives inside Lebanon after crossing over the border from northern Israel Tuesday, July 25, 2006. Israel will carve out a An Israeli military vehicle drives inside Lebanon after crossing over the border from northern Israel Tuesday, July 25, 2006. Israel will carve out a "security zone" in south Lebanon until an international force is deployed there or Hezbollah guerrillas and their rocket launchers are pushed back from the Israeli border, Israel's defense minister said Tuesday.

Annan issued a statement saying two U.N. military observers were killed with two more feared dead. Earlier, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said the Security Council was informed that four officers were killed, but he had no other information.

Nor does Bolton care to-war is a good thing to him...Bolton throwing one of his infamous temper tantrums, as the world calls for an immediate cease fire in Lebanon.


Pastor Rod Parsley stood on a flag-bedecked dais on the steps of Ohio’s Statehouse last October and, amid cheers from the crowd below, proclaimed the launch of “the largest evangelical campaign ever attempted in any state in America.” A nationally known televangelist and the leader of a twelve-thousand-member church on the outskirts of Columbus, Parsley had gathered a thousand people for the event, and attracted bystanders with a multimedia performance involving a video on a Jumbotron and music by Christian singers and rappers broadcast so loud that it reverberated off the tall buildings south of the Statehouse. TV crews from Parsley’s ministry taped the event. “Sound an alarm!” he boomed. “A Holy Ghost invasion is taking place. Man your battle stations, ready your weapons, lock and load!” In the course of the performance, Parsley promised that during the next four years his campaign, Reformation Ohio, would bring a hundred thousand Ohioans to Christ, register four hundred thousand new voters, serve the disadvantaged, and guide the state through “a culture-shaking revolutionary revival.”

Among those who spoke at the rally were Senator Sam Brownback, of Kansas, and Representative Walter B. Jones, of North Carolina, both Christian conservatives, and J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio’s secretary of state, who is now the Republican nominee for governor. All talked about the need to bring God and morality back into government. “We refuse to give up or back up or shut up until we’ve made a better world for all,” Blackwell said.

Blackwell, a six-foot-four African-American former college football star, is a thoroughgoing conservative. He’s a supply-sider who for years has advocated a flat tax and a constitutional limit on state spending. His views on abortion, gay marriage, school vouchers, and stem-cell research coincide with those of the religious right, and his position on concealed weapons with that of the N.R.A. He is also a media-savvy politician who has held statewide offices for the past twelve years, and he is well connected in George Bush’s Washington. (His backers include Grover Norquist, Newt Gingrich, Governor Jeb Bush, and Senator John McCain.) With rimless glasses and a small mustache, Blackwell, at the age of fifty-eight, has an air of authority, and he is at ease with all kinds of audiences. At a breakfast for young executives in Columbus, in April, he began, as he often does, with a humorous story about his days as a football player, then told them what he had learned from a peanut seller he had worked for as a kid about the importance of “asset building” as a way out of poverty. (Blackwell is, in fact, a rich man, thanks to an investment he made in a broadcasting company in the nineteen-nineties.) Turning to the economic problems facing the state, he spoke about confiscatory taxes inhibiting capital flows and the need for a new budgeting process. No one challenged him—though some certainly held doubts. In debates, he is aggressive and given to cutting one-liners. He said of one opponent, “He has a difficult time holding a consistent position for six months without fainting from exhaustion.”

Now if Blackwells connections aren't enough to make one run from the room get this: Rumor around Ohio is that Rod Parsley sexually harrasses women. Prissy can tell you she isn't getting close enough to find out...but he certainly would not be the first religious leader that mistreats women.

And this one really makes Prissy and Betty Buckaneer laugh in a mocking manner that will take the big boy down a notch or three. With rimless glasses and a small mustache, Blackwell, at the age of fifty-eight, has an air of authority, and he is at ease with all kinds of audiences.

Would that include the white supremist organization-he takes money from them too.

Axis of Logic Did you know? hat tip to WRH

“I, Tsilli Goldenberg, Israeli citizen 'Accuse you - Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister of Israel, Amir Peretz, Minister of Defense, Dan Halutz Head of Staff Chief Commander of the Israeli Army, of committing this bestial barbaric slaughter in Lebanon.

I accuse you of committing Crimes against Humanity towards the Palestinian People. I accuse you of deserting our soldiers, when their lives could be saved by negotiations, and I accuse you of starting an unjustified war in my name.” - Tsilli Goldenberg, Masarik 11, Jerusalem 93106 Israel

Did you know that “the daughter of Israel’s newly elected prime minister added her voice to those of the anti-Israel [sic] forces around the world when she actively participated in a demonstration outside the home of IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, calling him a ‘murderer’”?

Why not?

Did you know that “45% of those killed in Lebanon are children and of the 500,000 people who have fled to safety, some 200,000 are children”?

Let me remind you hate is taught, nothing like the trauma of a war to make sure the lesson is well learned.

The Thin Line Between War and Genocide...

A Call For a Worldwide "Up-Wising" July 25, 2006 by Steve Bhaerman

Here’s the problem with war: It’s always justified. So let’s get it out of the way right now. The Israelis are justified for wanting to secure their borders from rocket attacks and homicide bombers. The Palestinians are justified in not wanting to live in refugee camps under the thumb of an occupying army. With the war fully “justified,” all sides then take the “logical” step of justifying whatever actions are necessary to win. Inevitably, every war starts out as a “just war,” and ends up as ... just war.

So here we are again, round 5,736,428 of that self-destructive habit we humans just haven’t been able to shake. And in this shrinking world that could definitely use a good shrink, this time the dysfunctional pattern and its deadly fallout is more in our face than ever -- and will be until we turn the corner and find an alternative that works. Because as it stands right now, the “right” to make war (and the “might” behind the right that gives war its “punch”) is the bottom line every country holds to “when all else fails ... “

But then again, why wait till all else fails? Why not initiate the war against the enemies who have vowed to kill you, and save all that grief at the other end? Consider that the enemies of Israel have declared their intention to put Israel out of existence. It’s not a big stretch at that point to pick up the gauntlet and intone, “Not if I put you out of existence first.”

And so, out of a combination of disheartenment with the peacemakers and manipulation by the war-makers, the Israeli people -- and, unfortunately, many Jewish people and others who support Israel’s right to live in peace -- have fallen in line with this latest military escalation. Yes, it was in “response” to Hezbollah’s capture of soldiers. But like our own Iraq misadventure, the invasion of Lebanon (by leaders still trying to prove their macho credentials, something Ariel Sharon didn’t have to do) has been in the planning stages for some time. A pro-Israel demonstration held in San Francisco (and many other American cities) this past weekend blindly reinforced the belief that this latest attack was necessary for Israel’s survival. But those who showed up to support Israel, and the pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel counter demonstrators all missed the point: War isn’t the solution, it’s the problem.

Steve is such a reasonable guy. We could all take a lesson from that. See below for our other problem:

CNN Money Surfing the Web with nothing but brainwaves

SAN FRANCISCO (Business 2.0 Magazine) - -- Two years ago, a quadriplegic man started playing video games using his brain as a controller. That may just sound like fun and games for the unfortunate, but really, it spells the beginning of a radical change in how we interact with computers - and business will never be the same.

Someday, keyboards and computer mice will be remembered only as medieval-style torture devices for the wrists. All work - emails, spreadsheets, and Google searches - will be performed by mind control.

If you think that's mind-blowing, try to wrap your head around the sensational research that's been done on the brain of one Matthew Nagle by scientists at Brown University and three other institutions, in collaboration with Foxborough, Mass.-based company Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems. The research was published for the first time last week in the British science journal Nature.

Nagle, a 26-year-old quadriplegic, was hooked up to a computer via an implant smaller than an aspirin that sits on top of his brain and reads electrical patterns. Using that technology, he learned how to move a cursor around a screen, play simple games, control a robotic arm, and even - couch potatoes, prepare to gasp in awe - turn his brain into a TV remote control. All while chatting amiably with the researchers. He even learned how to perform these tasks in less time than the average PC owner spends installing Microsoft (Charts) Windows.

US Politics flashback Bush Appointee Husband of CIA Case Reporter

President Bush has appointed Democratic lawyer Robert D. Lenhard to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). Neither the White House press statement nor the Washington Post notes that his wife is Viveca Novak, who recently testified before Special Counsel Fitzgerald in the Valerie Plame case. Novak's testimony provided "the foundation for Karl Rove's defense" according to Firedog Lake. Editor & Publisher laments the fact that Novak, like Bob Woodward, failed to tell her editors about her involvement. Moreover, she "had a two-hour chat with the special prosecutor about it well before telling her superiors:" But keep in mind that the key is exactly when Novak spoke with Karl Rove’s attorney, Robert Luskin. This might even determine if Rove is indicted. Exactly when Luskin spoke with Novak suggests whether Rove had lied to special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald about his conversation with Cooper, or honestly forgot about it until Novak nicely helped him recall it (via Luskin).

Blog BereiutThe future is bright!

Over the past few days I have been inundated with photos of dead children strewn on the streets. Their decapitated carcasses mutilated and mangled almost beyond recognition. These are purportedly the victims of the current Israeli invasion on Lebanon.

I am unsure about the authenticity of some of these photos (I heard some may be of Iraqi children in Baghdad and not Beirut) who cares, it does not make me any less sad to see them. Pictures of dead children whoever they may be are simply diabolical and unacceptable. Not only do they show the unjust and premature termination of tender lives, but also our primitivism as adults and how on par or less than monkeys we truly are.

Once upon a time the halls of human history were graced by great men like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and others who triumphed over evil through non-violence. These great men had insight and understood the mechanics of life and evolution. They recognized that all oppressive systems are destined to implode and self destruct given the right time. All that was required from them was to keep their people calm in the face of the storm until their imminent victory. When the inevitable eventually transpired and their oppressors fell to the ground, the oppressed won by default without even lifting a finger. The Art of War by SunTzu teaches us that the best way to win a war is not by fighting.

ABC 'They Know Everything'

— On the Israeli border today diplomacy meant very little as troops prepared to expand the war into southern Lebanon. On one road in the north, we counted 20 tanks lining up and more on the way.

Israeli officials said they plan to form a security zone running the length of the border with Lebanon, while sending more forces along more crossing points.

They won't say how far into Lebanese territory they'll go, but some of the troops will remain until an international force is deployed and Hezbollah positions are destroyed.

"They really cannot be destroyed from the air," said Maj. Michael Oren of the Israeli Defense Forces. "There's really no alternative but to send in ground forces."

Maybe Charlie Rangel was right when he said, "they say rich kids can't fight." Prissy doesn't want any kids to fight, not even the rich kids.

More tomorrow...Sing, sing and sing some more! Prissy adores their spunk.

Quotes of the Day

"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."-- Carl Jung

"Whenever I dwell for any length of time on my own shortcomings, they gradually begin to seem mild, harmless, rather engaging little things, not at all like the staring defects in other people's characters."-- Margaret Halsey

None but a coward dares to boast that he has never known fear.--Ferdinand Foch (1851 - 1929)

It is when power is wedded to chronic fear that it becomes formidable.--Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983), The Passionate State of Mind, 1954

Remember this warriors...You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.--Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983) Dubya's finally safe!