September 2006


We wonder if Tourette’s Syndrome could be a root cause here: 

(CNN) — Calling President Bush “the murderer and spiller of Muslim blood,” al Qaeda’s top deputy released a videotape Friday accusing the U.S. president of being a “deceitful charlatan” who has lied to the American people.

Ayman al-Zawahiri also blasts the Bush administration for holding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, an alleged 9/11 conspirator, in a secret prison and alleging that Mohammed gave interrogators “valuable information which has helped the crusaders to kill and arrest a number of al Qaeda.”

“I ask this lying failure, who are the leaders of al Qaeda whose killing or capture was facilitated by the information extracted from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?” al-Zawahiri asks. “Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, may Allah free him, has hurt you thousands of times more than you have hurt him.”

On another portion of the tape, which appears to have been recorded at a different time and location, the terror leader addresses recent controversial remarks by Pope Benedict XVI and the situation in Darfur, Sudan.

Notably missing from al-Zawahiri’s remarks is any mention of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who has been the subject of unconfirmed reports that he is dead or ill.

Full article here.

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David Walker is a modern-day Paul Revere, but rather than the Red Coats, he’s warning of the red ink. The nation’s comptroller general and head of the Government Accountability Office is ringing alarm bells all over the country, trying to raise awareness of the coming fiscal crisis. He sees clearly what few of us do: mounting liabilities and debts so massive and debilitating that he equates America’s future to that of ancient Rome.

Just to put some numbers on the problem, right now each fulltime American worker carries a $375,000 burden that represents the amount owed toward future financial commitments made by the federal government. These are promises already made, primarily for Social Security and Medicare. In total, it comes to more than $46 trillion in outstanding net commitments and liabilities — the kind of number that makes one choke on one’s bran flakes.

When Walker says our fiscal policy is “unsustainable,” and “we cannot simply grow our way out of this problem, tough choices will be required,” he is speaking with the restraint of a buttoned-down accountant. What he really means is, this nation is in-thetoilet doomed if we don’t start electing grown-up leaders who are not afraid of the word taxes and the notion of cutting spending and entitlements.

But our current president, whose life has been one big free lunch, has little stomach for demanding sacrifice. His war in Iraq is now costing $8 billion per month — all of it essentially borrowed — and he’s still pushing for more tax cuts for America’s rich. When we were attacked by a group of Islamic terrorists, Bush suggested we all go shopping, an injunction made even as our national savings rate was plunging to less than zero. Party on.

Full article here.

… It was one of Stevens Creek’s three “Giving Kiosks”: a sleek black pedestal topped with a computer screen, numeric keypad and magnetic-strip reader. Prompted by the on-screen instructions, Marshall performed a ritual more common in quickie marts than a house of God: He pulled out a bank card, swiped it and punched in some numbers.The machine spat out a receipt. Marshall’s $400 donation was routed to church coffers before he had found his seat for evening worship.

“I paid for gas today with a card, and got lunch with one,” said Marshall, 30. “This is really no different.”

Baker came up with the kiosk idea a couple of years ago. He had just kicked off a $3-million building drive, but noticed that few people seemed to keep cash in their wallet anymore for the collection bag.

So he began studying the electronic payment business. He designed his machine with the help of a computer programmer who attends Stevens Creek, and found ATM companies willing to assemble it for him. In early 2005, he introduced the first machine at his church.

Since then, kiosk giving has gradually gained acceptance among his upper-middle-class flock. The three kiosks are expected to take in between $200,000 and $240,000 this year — about 15% of the church’s total donations.

“It’s truly like an ATM for Jesus,” Baker said.

Full article here. I wonder if it matters at all what you’re buying.

Meanwhile, from RaptureReady.com’s “Glossary of Prophetic Terms“:

“He causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” The Mark of the Beast will likely be a microchip implant that operates like an ATM or credit card. Remember, everyone who receives the Mark of the Beast will be cast into hell, so don’t take the mark!
(Rev 13:16-18)

Japan could lose a major contract to develop an Iranian oilfield unless it moves quickly to finalise a $2bn deal, AFP reported. Iran’s oil minister Kazem Vaziri Hamanah said the onshore Azadegan project would be handed to a domestic contractor if agreement is not reached. The US has been calling on Japan to abandon the project.

Via AMEInfo.

Hell

Howard Stern will talk a guy out of jumping off a bridge. … check
My vacuuming will be be done by a robot.  … check

Madonna will find religion, settle down, start a family and write children’s books.  … check

More of Shawn McGhee’s Signs of the Apocalypse: The Official Checklist, here.

Daniel Freedman on It Shines for All blogs the following familiar thought:

“Washington has not yet seriously tackled the economic dimension of the current crisis — or explored the financial levers by which Iran can be confronted,” Ilan Berman writes in the Wall Street Journal.


This amounts to a critical oversight, because Iran’s economy is deeply susceptible to foreign pressure on at least three fronts. All that is necessary is the proper political will to exploit these weaknesses.

Iran’s first vulnerability is its dependence on foreign investment. Today, though a bona fide energy superpower that produces some 3.9 million barrels of oil daily, the Islamic Republic still requires sustained international engagement. Studies say that the regime in Tehran currently needs $1 billion a year to maintain current oil output levels, and $1.5 billion to increase them — and that without it, Iran could quickly become a net energy importer …

Iran’s second weakness stems from its centralized economic hierarchy. For all of its lip service to fiscal reforms and grass-roots prosperity, the vast majority of the regime’s wealth remains concentrated in the hands of a very small number of people … By impeding their access to global markets and curtailing their capacity to engage in commerce, the international community can immediately capture the attention of these key decision-makers.


Far and away the biggest chink in Iran’s economic armor, however, is its reliance on foreign gasoline. Today, Iran’s antiquated, socialist economy — where a gallon of gas still sells for roughly 40 cents — has become a major Achilles’ heel …

But the West’s window of opportunity to implement such measures is rapidly closing.

According to reports by MSNBC, Mel Gibson made statements that were indirectly referring to the condition of the United States during a promotional tour of his new film called “Apocalypto” which is about the fall of the Mayan empire.. . . Gibson made comments that suggested that the Mayan civilization and the United States have a lot in common. Gibson said, “The precursors to a civilization that’s going under are the same, time and time again.” He also said, “What’s human sacrifice if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?”

Us Magazine reported that Gibson also said jokingly, “I just wanna draw the parallels. I don’t wanna be a doomsayer, but the Mayan calendar ends in 2012. So have fun, boys and girls!”

Full article here.

I’m not going to say he’s crazy because he sees parallels between Mayan civilization and U.S. civilization. After all, it is hard to ignore that pesky matter of Detroit. I’m just going to say Mel Gibson’s crazy. Because he is. Certifiably.

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