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Via Agence France-Presse

THE USE of locally-manufactured contraceptives will be encouraged through a United Nations subsidy to the Philippines, where surveys show only a minority of adults use any form of birth control, officials said Thursday.

The 56-million-peso (1.02 million-dollar) program of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) will also help wean the Philippines government from dependence on foreign-donated contraceptives following announcements the donations will end in three years.

Under the program, a local non-government organization, DKT Philippines, will set up outlets in different parts of the country to distribute contraceptives at subsidized prices.

Sounds like a good plan, maybe. UNFPA funds have been given to the Philippines previously only to find they were diverted, and or wasted. Given the omnipresence of the Catholic Church here I doubt any improvement in the current situation will result. With three years before the first locally produced contraceptives are needed the chances of this money still being available are slim to none. And to count on any Turtle Bay institution to maintain a track on the money is shear lunacy.

Assuming the program gets off the ground the Church will really turn up the heat. The first facility attempting to open will be protested out of existence. If that fails there are local regulations to contend with. Some local governments, including in the capital Manila, have blocked distribution of contraceptives by local health units.

I hearby go on the record (and doff my Soothsayers Hat): The money will be “misplaced” and a much needed program will never get off the ground. For more background on the Church’s influence I have provided the links below.

Background:
Filipinos Don’t Understand Sex
Go Forth and Procreate
Christian Terrorists
Population Propaganda

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Soothsayer Reigns Again!

Was there any doubt? So… it was said, and so it is, Pats win and his Royal Supremacy the Soothsayer “mandates” the winner… again!

What? You say it wasn’t the predicted blowout. And your point is?

Exactly, there is no point, a win is a win. Now you’ll have to excuse the Soothsayer he’s off to purchase the tropical island he promised himself.

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The Obligatory Super Bowl Post

It’s not often I post anything related to sports around here but today’s Super Bowl is the normal exception. It always requires me to don the “Soothsayers Cap” and “mandate” the outcome.

Yes I said mandate, As you can see by last years “directive” the Soothsayer is seldom if ever wrong. In fact he was so spot-on last year if Soothsayer would have bet on the “mandate” he would have been lounging on a Marlon Brando style tropical island, sucking umbrella drinks and fighting off grass skirted island hotties, and various and sundry Hollywood starlets. (Not to mention hucksters, scam artists and Viagra salesmen)

Instead as a result of that oversight in “financial planning” the Soothsayer is still available and graces us with his Royal Supremacy.

So… the Soothsayer says:

Pats 41
Beagles – Eagles 20

And it won’t seem that close, 10 of the Beagles Eagles points come in the last 10 minutes.

So… it is said.

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The Philippine Government has been spinning faster than a whirling dervish the last few days in its efforts to paint a happy face on former Abu Sayyaf hostage Gracia Burnham’s testimony. What’s more disturbing are the flat out lies. To say it is a sordid tale would be a vast understatement.

But that has been normal in President Arroyo’s first three years, no reason to believe it would change now that she has a new six year “mandate.” A mandate that was called into question before voting started on May 10th. And continues after with charges she used government money to buy influence and effect the outcome. And it’s one of many that have been filed. Defeated presidential opponent Fernando Poe Jr. has also filed an official protest to the Supreme Court charging election fraud and demanding recounts of ballots.

Friday all was peaches & cream after former hostage Gracia Burnham testified Thursday in a closed door hearing, and identified 6 of the 8 Abu Sayyaf members on trial. The president went out of her way to thank Gracia for her service.

“Her testimony upholds the integrity and uncommon valor of our Armed Forces and I thank her for her concern for our people’s peace and security,” the President said.

“I admire Gracia Burnham’s courage and faith and her determination to bring terrorists to justice,” Mrs. Arroyo said.

Burnham, who arrived under heavy security, (including US FBI agents) Monday, was invited to testify under a mutual legal-assistance treaty between Washington and Manila. She was escorted to the US Embassy in Manila where she stayed during her appearance before the Court. Members of the media were barred from getting close to Burnham and covering the trial, which was held at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City. In fact during her entire stay in the Philippines she has made no public statements to the press. And there is considerable controversy over what she was allowed to testify to.

Lt. Gen. Romeo Dominguez, commander of the Northern Luzon Command who was rumored to have harbored ties with the Abu Sayyaf, welcomed Ms. Burnham’s testimony absolving the Armed Forces of collusion with the Abu Sayyaf. There were allegations that officers took a cut of the ransom money supposedly paid to the Abu Sayyaf for the release of at least two hostages. Dominguez was the commander of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division which led rescue operations for the Dos Palmas hostages.

“What Mrs. Burnham testified was in her book … Just the same, my thanks to Mrs. Burnham,” said Dominguez, referring to “In the Presence of My Enemy” which detailed Ms. Burnham’s more than a year in captivity.

State Prosecutor Nestor Lazaro, however, said Burnham denied the alleged collusion between the military and the Abu Sayyaf during her testimony and Presidential deputy spokesman Ricardo Saludo said he would rather not comment on the matter since it is still pending in court.

So, in summation, we have one Lt. General who was earlier accused of, and “cleared” of collaboration with Abu Sayyaf by selling arms to the group and skimming the ransom paid. And one State Prosecutor, both saying the Burnham testimony has cleared the government, and one Presidential Spokesman who declined comment. No defense attorneys, and no one in the media has made the same claim. Odd isn’t it. No… it’s called normal in the Philippines.

By Saturday the governments story started to unravel.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel on Saturday accused Malaca�ang of deceiving the public for claiming that former American hostage Gracia Burnham had cleared the military from allegations of colluding with the Abu Sayyaf.

Pimentel said Burnham, who testified in the Pasig Regional Trial Court for three hours Thursday, never had the chance to clarify the alleged collusion between certain military officials and the bandit group.

He said this was because government prosecutors objected to attempts by defense counsels to bring up the matter during her cross-examination.

Sunday’s Philippine Daily Inquirer (print edition) contains a view into the courtroom that the Palace tried very hard to keep undercover. The Inquirer reported a video tape of Burnhams testimony surfaced on Friday. The footage showed Burnham on the witness stand. In the background, a defense lawyer could be heard asking her if there had been collusion between military and the Abu Sayyaf group.

Immediately, the government prosecutors objected, saying the issue was irrelevant to the case. Judge Pahimna was heard instructing her staff not to record Burnham’s answer.

The defense continued to press the judge, but were over-ruled by Pahimma who said the defense lawyers could ask Burnham later. All the while, Burnham was seen on the video seated and not uttering a word.

No definition of “later” was given and it would be safe to assume “later” means never, Burnham returned to the States on Friday evening. In Monday’s edition of the Sun-Star the government is still sticking to their story. Arroyo aide Ignacio Bunye said it would be up to the court to decide if there is still a need to make public the testimonies of Burnham

“We go by the declaration of Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors that she did not make any statements about the alleged collusion. I’m not sure what purpose it (making public the testimonies) will serve but maybe Ms. Burnham did not intentionally mention it because she already wants to move forward,” he said.

Yet the video of the portion of the court proceedings aired on ABS CBN’s TV Patrol Friday [and Sunday that I personally viewed] showed Burnham sitting in silence as defense and prosecution lawyers argued over whether to let her testify on the allegations of collusion.

Lt. Gen. Romeo Dominguez is quoted in Mondays Philippine Star laying the blame on the mass media and that some politicians “blurred the line between fact and fiction” when they insisted that military officials colluded with Islamists in extorting money from hostages. “The monster was a creation of mediamen who failed to validate their source of information,” he said.

I tend to agree with the General, there are “monsters” about but it’s becoming plain were they reside and they are not in the homes of the media. Here is the timeline of events surrounding the Jolo hostage drama. Pay particular attention to the dates June 9th, August 5th, and August 7th were the government “confirms” over $5 million in ransom was paid. On September 9th the Philippine armed forces commander at the time Angelo Reyes [himself possessing a “colorful” past] also confirmed the ransom payments.

Question; who would be the least likely person to dispute the governments current position? A reasonable person would think a lawyer for the Abu Sayyaf would be a fair choice. But that is far from the reality:

GRACIA Burnham, in her court testimony, never cleared the Armed Forces of the Philippines of allegations that some of its officers had connived with the Abu Sayyaf, according to a defense lawyer.

“I was there when Gracia Burnham testified. She did not say anything about clearing the military of collusion with the Abu Sayyaf,” Oliver Lozano, a lawyer for the Abu Sayyaf, said in an interview on ANC television yesterday.

“She did not say that there was no collusion between the military and the Abu Sayyaf,” Lozano added.

Talking to the Inquirer, Lozano said that Burnham uttered not a single word in court when the issue came up.

“All throughout, she was silent when the issue of collusion was discussed,” he said.

It has been quite some time since I doffed my Soothsayers Hat, way back in March in fact. I think it’s time.

Arroyo has been riding a very rough wave the last year or so. The recent elections cycle hasn’t helped settle that wave. And the Angelo dela Cruz fiasco only added to her problems and created a diplomatic firestorm. She heads a government that freely allows tax payments to be paid to communist rebels (NPA) for the right of candidates to campaign in there “controlled”areas and has opened a terrorist EBay by dealing with Iraqi terrorists. Journalists and broadcasters are a frequent targets for assassination, three this year alone. The country is short of qualified doctors and nurses, yet just today Saudi Arabia announced its need for 2,000 nurses and other medical personnel from the Philippines for employment. The same is true for the teaching profession, the US and Canada raid the Philippines of its best teachers every year.

The government is near financial collapse due to extensive debt and one of her proposals is to hike petroleum excise taxes, (how insane is that), a move opposed by most due to the already high prices world-wide. Arroyos complete capitulation to the Catholic Church over birth control issues has led to the highest population growth rate in Asia and makes her target of 10 million jobs being created during her second term a hullucination.

So the Soothsayer says “Ate Glo” will be gone, and reasonably shortly, within two years. Either thru a successful coup attempt, assassination, or successful legal means, she will never finish her six year term.

Remember you heard it here first. The Soothesayer speaks!

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Back in January “The SoothSayer” detailed the ease with which a band of Islamofacists could seize a ship and turn it into a floating WMD.

The thought of an LNG tanker carrying thousands of metric tonnes of natural gas being commandeered, and sailed into one of the many under protected ports of the world is disturbing, but I believe possible.

Now both Fox News and The Tampa Bay Observer are scrambling to catch up with the All knowing SoothSayer by publishing this story.

SINGAPORE (AP) – The al-Qaida terror network likely is planning an unprecedented maritime attack, hitting targets on land with ships carrying chemical, biological or dirty bomb weapons, a defense analyst said Wednesday.

The terrorist network could easily exploit weaknesses in shipping companies’ crew selection procedures by planting sleeper agents on vessels to eventually seize them, said Michael Richardson, a senior researcher at Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies who writes extensively on Asian security issues.

SoothSayer claims no expertise as advanced as Mr. Richardson, he does however possess practical knowledge after thousands of hours patroling the waters off the coasts of the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia. In twenty years of performing this thankless task it was common to have 3 to 5 ships reported “missing” at any given time. They would be hijacked by pirates/criminals and found days, months, or years later on the other side of the world, repainted under a new name. This runs counter to Richardson’s claim.

Al-Qaida operatives could easily get jobs on ships by buying fake seafarer credentials, which are widely available, he said. But al-Qaida’s past pattern of disciplined, coordinated attacks makes it unlikely that the network will risk hijacking a ship, or seeking help from pirates outside of its circle of zealots.

While I agree maritime documentation is easy to get I believe, with the exception of 9/11, Islamofacists take the path of least resistence, car/truck bombs, boats used as torpedos. Without ruling out the possible use of chemical, biological or dirty bomb weapons, the “SoothSayer” sticks with his LNG tanker scenario. A 250 meter ship laden with hundreds of thousands of pounds in liquified natural gas and detonated by small satchel charge is a threat in any world port.

UPDATE via The Agonist The CS Monitor also has a story on SE Asian Piracy

When the pirates came, the Pilion’s crew was ready. The skipper had already spotted two or three suspicious boats edging closer during the approach into Singapore. Finally, a boat emerged from the darkness and a man climbed onto the deck of the Pilion, a cargo ship on its way from South Africa to Japan.

Resources:
Full Richardson Report (PDF)
Voice of America Report
International Maritime Board (IMB)
IMB Weekly Reports

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And a hope and a prayer. After losing 16 straight primaries/caucuses he still refuse’s to give up the fight. This despite the fact the ships rats are fleeing. Its plain to see the presure is getting enormous from the DNC leadership to get out so they can get on with the “Annoited” John Kerry.

Its also plain to see the eventual outcome. Despite sounding like a 1952 Desoto, run, quit, run, quit, run, quit, The SoothSayer believes he speaks the truth this time. The SoothSayer says sometime late Friday he will announce the continuation of his pathetic march to oblivion as an Independent.

What indications do I have of Dean going Independent? Ben & Jerry’s did a lot of promotion and campaigning on behalf of Dean in New Hampshire. Ben a co-founder of the ice cream company also was a large supporter of Ralph Nader’s Green Party Presidential bid in 2000. All good Bush haters believe he siphoned off enough votes to cost Al Gore the election. Their is some belief that Ralph will mount another try at the White House, this time as an Independent. So there you have it, the circle is closed. Ben is pissed because his horse, Dean, was a miseable failure as the “Internet Campaign Maven,” and he also harbours an intense hatred for Bush and Nader, so he plays the Dean trump card and the “Independent Dean” is born. So The SoothSayer says again Dean will be an Independent by weeks end.

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The “Salacious” Bowl Results

Yes, there it is, for all to see another successful SoothSayer prediction. Pats win! Pats! win. What’s that; did I hear a note of desention? You say the blow out never happened, it was a close game til the end. So what, that’s like telling Bill Gates he won’t get a Christmas bonus this year, he already WON, by the Billions, check his IRS statements, and so did the SoothSayer, Ahh.. ho hum… again. But thats enough of my boasting lets get on to the “Salacious Bowl.”

The “Salacious Bowl” the name by which this year’s Super Bowl halftime show will forever be remembered, was seen by an estimated 1 BILLION viewers. For those currently residing with Osama and had TV reception problems, I’ll recap. Janet (where has my career gone) Jackson, and Justin (shakin the good boy image) Timberlake did this little “Dirty Dancing” number, wherein he exposed her bare breast. Just one mind you, not the pair, so maybe its only half stupid. Which only proves one thing. You can never be overly stupid before a planet-wide live audience of 1 BILLON.

But like the, “exposure” that’s only half the story. They then proceeded to insult everyone’s intelligence.
From Justin – “I am sorry that anyone was offended by the wardrobe malfunction during the halftime performance of the Super Bowl,” Timberlake said in a statement. “It was not intentional and is regrettable.”
From Janet – Nothing, silence, guess she headed to Osama’s dressing room with those that missed the show to reclaim her dignity, if possible.
From the SoothSayer – “Malfunction” my ass, the still photos that reveal a strategically placed metal pastie indicate otherwise. And MTV despite issuing a contrite statement, saying the incident was “unrehearsed, unplanned, completely unintentional.” didn’t show much remorse by splashing “Janet Gets Nasty!” all over it’s website.

The NFL, an organization that guards its image so tightly it regulates how it’s players wear their socks during games is pissed, real pissed. This statement was issued within minutes of the incident, “We were extremely disappointed by elements of the MTV-produced halftime show,” Joe Browne, NFL executive vice president, said. “They were totally inconsistent with assurances our office was given about the content of the show. “It’s unlikely that MTV will produce another Super Bowl halftime.”

The bottom line is this, Justin and Janet have no self respect, or common sense. They were placed in a position of power, on camera live, in full control of their own actions. Then failed to act in an adult manor and put on a shameful display before millions of kids watching. You hurt the image of America abroad, and the image of those that hired them, and opened the opportunity for everyone involved to suffer heavy monetary fines by the FCC.

Here is another “SoothSayer” prediction. Janet, your career has been one step from the crapper for a while this will continue its slide into nowhere. Justin, you have been riding a wave of popularity that will now see a slow erosion of CD sales and concert attendance dictated by parents that take closer control of what kids see and hear.

An just because you have choosen to act with less than the intelligence of a 6 year old school child, here is your class assignment. To be completed by morning, in no less than 50 words each, the definitions of each of the following:
Honesty, humility, decorum, propriety, and opportunistic. Thank you class, have fun, and see you all in the morning.

UPDATE: 05 Feb. 04 As predicted, Janets downfall has started. CBS has axed her Grammy opening number with Justin, depriving her of any free publicity.

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