Sunday, August 27, 2006

They Have Created a Monster

What shall we do about this, Dearest Readers? Prissy will tell you all her plans. Better they know up front. Prissy will be making the rounds to demand that military JAG's start doing their job. In short, Prissy will "nag the JAG's."

Not the ones like Paul Hackett and Lt. Commander Charles Swift-they have done their jobs well. But we continue to need their expertise and their voices on this matter.

Are you a JAG? Write Prissy if you are, tell JAG's if you know one. Prissy Patriot will be insisting they stand firm on the side of the law. We have plenty of case law on our side, domestic, military and international-you name it. The paperwork is all ready for them.

Get ready DC, because as Constant said, "there is no appeal when you lose on the battlefield" only in a court of law. Prissy will say a prayer they will choose their country and Constitution, over their commander-in-chief...

Hot Links

MSNBC The Man Who Said Too Much

Sept. 4, 2006 issue - In the early morning of Oct. 1, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell received an urgent phone call from his No. 2 at the State Department. Richard Armitage was clearly agitated. As recounted in a new book, "Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War," Armitage had been at home reading the newspaper and had come across a column by journalist Robert Novak. Months earlier, Novak had caused a huge stir when he revealed that Valerie Plame, wife of Iraq-war critic Joseph Wilson, was a CIA officer. Ever since, Washington had been trying to find out who leaked the information to Novak. The columnist himself had kept quiet. But now, in a second column, Novak provided a tantalizing clue: his primary source, he wrote, was a "senior administration official" who was "not a partisan gunslinger." Armitage was shaken. After reading the column, he knew immediately who the leaker was. On the phone with Powell that morning, Armitage was "in deep distress," says a source directly familiar with the conversation who asked not to be identified because of legal sensitivities. "I'm sure he's talking about me."

This story does not pass the smell test...nor does it change the actual dynamics of the case. Perhaps Armitage should have consulted with Rover, since he was leaking too...

Reuters Soldiers' families question Rumsfeld on deployment

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (Reuters) - The wives of soldiers whose duty in Iraq was extended to add troop strength to Baghdad peppered U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with tough questions, some that he could not answer, at a closed-door meeting in Alaska on Saturday.

Rumsfeld, who received a mixed reception from a crowd that offered more applause for the questions asked than the answers provided, praised the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. He would not commit to a date for bringing those soldiers home, but told a 12-year-old girl in the audience, "I'd bet your daddy gets home before Christmas."

He also told the estimated 700 to 800 family members at the meeting in an Army gymnasium that what the soldiers were doing was necessary to ensure terrorism does not strike the United States.

"In five or 10 or 15 years, you'll all be able to look back and appreciate the importance of what's being done and the value of what's being done," he told the crowd.

Yeah Rummy, in 10 or 15 years we will still be cleaning up your mess...a quote from Prissy's friend in Alaska in the same article.

"I think it was a show," said Jennifer Davis, the wife of one soldier in Iraq. She declined to give her husband's name.

Way to go Jennifer, Prissy is proud of you for standing up for our troops.

Independent Another miserable milestone for Bush's war

Sadly, this argument that worked so well in 2002 and 2004 works no longer. Even the wilfully blind can see that Iraq is a disaster. Bush, who yields to no one in that category, lambasted the Democrats for pusillanimity. But even he could not bring himself to use the word "progress" apropos of events in the country that he once claimed would be a beacon of peace and democracy for the entire Middle East.

Nor does the terror card have the force it once did. True, the President's ratings went up slightly after the foiled UK airliner bomb plot (but they could hardly have sunk much lower). Far more revealing, Chris Shays, a Connecticut Republican who had supported the war, last week broke ranks with the White House and called for a firm timetable for withdrawal. If you're seeking re-election to the House in November, there's really no choice.

Bush's problem is that two-thirds of Americans - according to a recent poll - no longer buy his argument that Iraq has become "the central front in the war on terror". Iraq, they now realise, had nothing to do with 9/11, and the foreign fighters who are now in Iraq went there only after the 2003 invasion. They believe the Mesopotamian adventure has made them less safe. Put another way: if you start a war that lasts as long as the Second World War, you'd better have something to show for it. George Bush does not.

If the republicans cannot see what a disaster they continue to support, the party will drown in the blood bath of its own making. Prissy will remind you the new buzz word in politics is progressive...and yes there are republicans calling themselves progressive republicans. Do they understand that progressive means incorporating new facts, as they become available, into their world view?

Al-Jazeera Chad orders oil giants to leave

Talking on state-run radio on Saturday, Idriss Deby, the president of Chad, asked both the companies to leave the country for refusing to pay taxes:

"Chad has decided that as of tomorrow [Sunday] Chevron and Petronas must leave Chad because they have refused to pay their taxes."

The president gave the oil production consortium that is led by Exxon Mobil, a deadline of just 24 hours to start making plans to leave.

Neither Kuala Lumpur-based Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) nor the California-based Chevron immediately commented on Derby's declaration.

New Zealand Iraqi businesses cling on for better times

The HMBS factories in the capital operate for barely an hour a day because of power cuts, while machinery parts don't arrive and workers are often too scared to leave home.

"You are in a war zone. Security is extremely difficult. You can barely manage to operate one shift a day. But you need to continue," said Bisha, speaking from the company's headquarters, which have moved to Amman, capital of neighbouring Jordan.

"You can't just stop life. People are depending on these jobs to support their families," he said.

Efforts to foster private enterprise are also being stifled by soaring inflation, almost 70 per cent year-on-year in July, which is crimping profits badly unless producers can pass on the higher costs to consumers.

Christian Science Monitor Freed journalists: despair, then hope

Officials at the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority (PA) said they had exerted "huge efforts" in recent days to secure the journalists' release, but still did not know exactly who was responsible for kidnapping the men.

The Interior Minister said Hamas officials had not had any direct contact with the kidnappers, but that the Popular Resistance Committee (PRC), an amorphous group of Palestinian militants from different factions, played an intermediary role in negotiating with the abductors.

The kidnapping was unprecedented in that it was the longest period of time foreign reporters have ever been held in Gaza. Moreover, several videos made of the men, in the style of those made by the Iraqi insurgency, were released to local and international news channels - another first in Gaza.

Haaretz Nasrallah: Wouldn't have snatched soldiers if thought would spark war

Nasrallah also said he did not believe there would be a second round of fighting with Israel, and that Hezbollah would adhere to the cease-fire despite what he called Israeli provocation.

Nasrallah said that Israel was trying to press new demands such as the deployment of United Nations forces at Beirut airport, at Lebanese ports and on Lebanon's border with Syria.

But he added: "Their displaced people are going back and they have started to rebuild the north. Someone who acts like that doesn't seem to be going to war. We are not heading to a second round."

The Hezbollah leader also said that negotiations on the release of the abducted IDF soldiers have already begun.

Ansa, Italy Pope to grapple with Darwin

The closed-door think-in at the pope's summer residence of Castelgandolfo is expected to nail down a firmer position on evolution, which has been keenly debated since Pope John Paul II's famous pronouncement that Darwinism was "not just a theory" .

The Church has been accused of sending mixed signals, with Schoenberg's views being challenged by prominent Catholic scientists and some theologians. Schoenborn, a former university pupil of the pope's, grabbed headlines a year ago with a New York Times editorial seen as backing moves to teach intelligent-design theories alongside Darwinism.

LA Times For Bush, No Vacation from Demonstrators

The president was spending the weekend at the Kennebunkport estate of his parents, former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush, to attend a wedding and relax.

"Hey George, while you're golfing and fishing, kids are dying. Sleep well," said one protester's sign. Another placard read, "We were misled and tens of thousands are dead."

Wired Engineers Doubt Big Easy Levees

NEW ORLEANS -- The head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conceded Saturday that despite aggressive efforts to repair the levee system in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, it was unclear whether it could hold up to a sizable hurricane this year.

Lt. General Carl Strock, the commander of the Corps, said the agency was carefully tracking Tropical Storm Ernesto, which was spinning in the Caribbean and projected to reach hurricane strength by Tuesday.

He was confident the Corps had done all it could to repair and reinforce 220 miles of levee walls, but he conceded he couldn't be sure whether the system would withstand Ernesto if reached Category 3 status and struck near New Orleans, as Katrina did Aug. 29, 2005.

News 24 UN chief expected in Beirut

Beirut - UN chief Kofi Annan will arrive in Beirut on Monday to discuss with Lebanese officials the deployment of a beefed up UN peacekeeping force as well as measures to secure the border with Syria, a Lebanese official source said.

He said Annan, who will spend the night in Beirut, will meet with Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, Defense Minister Elias Murr and parliament speaker Nabih Berri.

The source said Annan was not planning on meeting with Lebanon's President Emile Lahoud, who has come under criticism by the international community for his close ties with Syria.

News 24 63% Israelis want Olmert out

Cameron Brown, an analyst at Israel's Herzliya Centre, said Olmert's political troubles were compounded by a string of embarrassing government scandals, including an investigation into whether the Israeli president coerced a female employee to have sex with him.

"These politicians are under fire from several different directions at the same time and I think Olmert is clearly having a rough time.

"The question is will this force him to step down," said Brown.

Israel, please do us all a favor- elect someone who isn't a bully...we have seen first hand how that turns out. Diplomacy, please.

WaPo In Israel, a Divisive Struggle Over Targeted Killing

In Israel, targeted killing has become a select weapon. In Lebanon last month, Israel targeted a bunker that officials believed held Hezbollah's leadership, pounding it with 23 tons of explosives. The hit list in Gaza, Halutz said in an interview, consists of 15 names.

"It is the most important, the most important, method of fighting terror," Halutz said.

It is also, arguably, the most morally complicated. Since the beginning of 2006, Israel has targeted and killed 18 Palestinian fighters, according to B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization. Fifteen civilians were also killed, the group said.

But aside from the military incompetence displayed while killing innocent civilians, it is the wrong way to fight terror tactics. Geez, why don't they even bother to understand why "the enemy" uses terror tactics?

Why Gonzo's international money tracking system doesn't work on the bad guys...CBC Money-transfer systems, hawala style from June 2004

What is a hawala? Hawalas are unregulated international financing networks. Hawalas are not limited to specific geographic regions, and are found throughout the world. The word hawala means “in trust” in Hindi. The money-transfer system is used primarily by individuals to transfer cash, locally or overseas, to people who do not have access to a bank. Hawalas are commonly used by immigrants in Canada. Transfers are usually from one blood relative to another. They leave no paper trail and offer anonymity to both the originator and the recipient.

Register Ex-Comverse chief turns fugitive Aug 16 2006

A warrant for his arrest was issued last week when Department of Justice officials in Brooklyn, NY, charged him and two former colleagues - Comverse CFO David Kreinberg and former general counsel William F Sorin - with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud.

And...Kreinberg and Sorin were arraigned in federal court and and granted bail for $1m each.

Alexander has dual American-Israeli citizenship. An Interpol notification for his immediate arrest has been issued.

The trio resigned from Comverse, the world's largest voicemail software provider, on 1 May in the midst of an internal investigation into stock option grants. Investigators accuse them of profiting from backdating options and making misleading public financial statements between 1998 and 2002

Man or animal?

Quotes of the Day

“It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.”--Voltaire quotes

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”--Patrick Henry

“Must a government be too strong for the liberties of its people or too weak to maintain its own existence?”--Abe Lincoln

“An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger.”-- Confucius

“A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inferences”--Thomas Jefferson