Archive for November 6th, 2007

What do Sun Myung Moon and Rich DeVos have in common?

Nov 06, 2007 in Uncategorized

They’re both scumbag hucksters.   I’ve been watching Scoobie Davis wage war on these charlatans for years and now he’s mounted a two prong attack.  Scoob’s got two separate blogs doing the Lord’s work.  One is dedicated to Amway and the other is dedicated to the Unification Movement.

The man is strong like bull.

-mg

Welcome, military voters!

Nov 06, 2007 in Christian Right, Clueless Conservatives

The rightwing social police just can’t help themselves.

Dozens of religious and anti-pornography groups have complained to Congress and Defense Secretary Robert Gates that a Pentagon board set up to review magazines and films is allowing sales of material that Congress intended to ban.

“They’re saying ‘we’re not selling stuff that’s sexually explicit’ … and we say it’s pornography,” says Donald Wildmon, head of the American Family Association, a Christian anti-pornography group. A letter-writing campaign launched Friday by opponents of the policy aims to convince Congress to “get the Pentagon to obey the law,” he adds.

As long as I breathe, I will defend the right of soldiers to jack off to porn.

How is it the right still commands military votes? They’ve been trying to discredit liberals for years now for swearing (to which I say 2 plus fucking 2 is still fucking 4), and now they’re going after titty rags. Not to mention most are chickenhawk cowards who dodge any real combat but consider themselves brave to keep dreaming up new wars for the American soldier.

Welcome to the Democratic Party, soldiers. You get porn and body armor!

-jb

Hat in hand.

Nov 06, 2007 in Economy

Can’t believe I missed this:

Banks shut out of the market for short-term loans are finding salvation in a government lending program set up to revive housing during the Great Depression.

Countrywide Financial Corp., Washington Mutual Inc., Hudson City Bancorp Inc. and hundreds of other lenders borrowed a record $163 billion from the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks in August and September as interest rates on asset-backed commercial paper rose as high as 5.6 percent. The government-sponsored companies were able to make loans at about 4.9 percent, saving the private banks about $1 billion in annual interest.

Now that the credit markets have shriveled the Big Boys are going to Big Government hat in hand.  So much for moral hazard.  And besides some wonks at Cato, how many Republican bloggers do you think are jumping up and down about the welfare queens at Countrywide?  Or decrying Washington Mutual for violating the sacred laws of free-market capitalism?  I can say with some degree of confidence that the number is likely hovering around zero because it’s simply easier to beat up on Graeme Frost than it is Ameriprise.

-mg

Fred Phelps takes one on the chin.

Nov 06, 2007 in Christian Right

Nobody around here is shedding any tears over Fred Phelps getting dealt an $11 million judgement for picketing the funeral of an Iraq War veteran.

-mg 

Pakistan Coup Part Deux

Nov 06, 2007 in Foreign Policy, Middle East, Pakistan, Politics

As the title mistakenly suggests, this is not a second installment of a previous post.

Pakistan has been all over the news lately, and provides the US with cannon fodder for their exploits, I mean war in Afghanistan.

So here I am a Pakistani American, offering my analysis of the situation.  I apologize in advance, for the length of this post, but, it’s as short as I could make it.  I could go further in length, on any of the issues or subjects brought up here.

The first was to topple the democratically (fairly?  Well as fair as a US election….) elected gov’t, a few years ago.  It was a bloodless coup, and without much protest. The democratically elected prime minister at that time, was a political and religious conservative.  He privatized many industries in the country and improved general infrastructure.  However he also allowed the religious fundamentals to prosper and grow into the 9 headed hydra we see today.  So during the first coup, Musharraf played to the hearts and minds of those that did not want Pakistan to become another Saudi Arabia. 

Musharraf started off good and set towards a path of actually reviewing what the madrassahs (Islamic religious schools) were actually teaching.  For example were they teaching ballistics training or transcendental meditation?  Or….  How to behead a white devil vs. learn to read and write Arabic.

To his credit, the first and only female Prime Minister in a Muslim country, Benazir Bhutto did nothing to reform these institutions, and actually supported the Taliban regime whilst she was ruler of Pakistan (TWICE).

Fast forward to today.

Musharraf’s current coup is against a supposedly independent branch of gov’t that offers checks and balances to the other branches, the judiciary.

Why?  You might ask?

Where the first coup went wrong……

First of all, please understand that Musharraf is the head of the army and has access to the military at his disposal.  Musharraf really didn’t make good on his promises.  All those mullahs and madrassahs that were picking up poor disenfranchised youths and turning them into suicide bombers, that Musharraf promised to do away with.  He didn’t.  Instead, they became his friends too and maybe he gave them some money and other support.

He claimed to be helping their US in their fight against Al Qaeda and Taliban.  Under Musharraf’s watch, for the first time in Pakistan’s history, in the most secular city in the country, militants held the city hostage, undeterred.   I’m talking about the Red Mosque scandal.  Where for almost a year, it was being used as a safehouse for Al Qaeda.  No one in the country, believes for a second, that Musharraf didn’t know what was going on.  It was only after they kidnapped a Chinese national, did the Chinese pressure Musharraf to take care of it.

Secondly, 50% of the country which borders Afghanistan has become a safe-haven for Al-Qaeda and Taleban.  Mountainous areas in the north which were tourist and vacationing spots, known for their peace-loving and docile people, are falling under the oppressive yoke of militants kicked out of

Afghanistan.  All under Musharraf’s watch.
So back to the Why?

Musharraf’s answer:

I’ll paraphrase from what I’ve seen and heard through various news outlets.

Basically he claims that the judiciary are to blame for the current lawlessness.  He also accuses them of allowing militants and religious extremists to operate undeterred.

Based upon what I mentioned about, you be the judge.

All the judiciary can do is pass judgements, they have no way of enforcing any edict or law or ruling.  He’s the head of the army.  If there are militants running amok, he has the wherewithal to at least try and stop it.

What I believe are the 3 main reasons:

1) The Supreme Court was questioning the legitimacy of Musharraf’s rule, and whether or not he can even stand for elections as President of Pakistan without giving up his position as Chief of Armed Forces.

The backdrop for this is that the Bush Administration has been pressuring Musharraf to have “free and fair” elections.  He finally agreed, but also put himself in as candidate.  The Supreme Court is trying to block his candidacy, as being unconstitutional.

Also for the first time in history, the judiciary has grown some balls.  Under all previous coups and dictatorships, the dictators have altered the constitution and coerced the judiciary to claim their regime as legitimate.

Basically, Musharraf tried the same thing that other dictators before him tried.  That is, to get the blessing of the Supreme Court for the legitimacy of his rule.  No such luck.  They were actually “debating” the legitimacy of his rule and the legitimacy of his candidacy for President. Well, if they were actually debating it, rather than giving him a carte blanche, that meant they were going to come to an unfavorable decision.

2) The Supreme Court was getting ready to repeal the amnesty offered to Benazir Bhutto.  They have several charges of corruption against her, as does Interpol.  In addition the Government of Switzerland already found that she had looted some billions of Rupees from the people of Pakistan.

This ruling doesn’t suit Musharraf’s or the US interest.  Benazir has always been a golden girl for the

US.  Brought up in the US and educated in Harvard, she is someone that is easy to talk to, for the US gov’t.  They pushed Musharraf to pardon all the crimes she committed and allow her to come back to Pakistan.
The people of Pakistan have suffered for 2 terms in the past under Benazir.  They don’t want a repeat of that.  However, hers is the most organized political party.  She can draw crowds.   Incidentally, Musharraf served in the army while she was Prime Minister.  Their relationship goes way back, they supported terrorists in Kashmir, and were 1 out of 2 nations that supported the oppressive Taliban regime.

3) The third and final nail in the coffin was an actual ruling by the Supreme Court.  They ruled the exile of former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif as unconstitutional, and that he be allowed to return immediately to Pakistan.

A small footnote to this, is that there were several cases pending in the Supreme Court where they were investigating the “disappeared” of Pakistan.  The prisoners of conscience.  This also works against Musharraf’s interests.

Below are links to the analysis of the situation by Pakistani scholars and journalists based in the US. 

A more eloquent and concise writer than myself, is the Pakistani Scholar/Novelist/Historian, Tariq Ali, an infrequent guest on Democracy Now.  He sums the situation up pretty nicely here:

http://thenews.jang.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=79015

Another analysis is by Liaquat Ali Khan, a professor in Kansas:

http://www.counterpunch.com/alikhan11062007.html

-aa

There is no legal argument against Bush’s impeachment.

Nov 06, 2007 in Middle East, Politics

Andrew Sullivan tells us what he really thinks:

It tells you all you need to know about some neoconservatives that they now side with the arguments of the Gestapo against the arguments of the US to defend their own willful ignorance and power.

Of course, this reveals how elementary and relevant to centrism Chomsky is:

Also, bear in mind, people ought to be pretty critical about the Nuremberg principles. I don’t mean to suggest they’re some kind of model of probity or anything. For one thing, they were ex post facto. These were determined to be crimes by the victors after they had won. Now, that already raises questions. In the case of the American presidents, they weren’t ex post facto. Furthermore, you have to ask yourself what was called a “war crime”? How did they decide what was a war crime at Nuremberg and Tokyo? And the answer is pretty simple. and not very pleasant. There was a criterion. Kind of like an operational criterion. If the enemy had done it and couldn’t show that we had done it, then it was a war crime.

We’ve tortured, thus it’s not a war crime anymore.

-jb