Friday, December 17, 2010

Pakistan as a Safe Haven -- A Lily for Obama

It's making us all nuts--money poured into Pakistan to be a US "partner" in settling down Afghanistan and yet the Taliban lives there, goes across the border to fight, and then goes home to their safe haven.

The Pakistani military and intelligence agencies know where they are but seem unable to do anything to disrupt their operations.

The way to resolve this is not to bluster, bully, beg and wheedle with the Pakistani government or to give them more money, weapons or anything else.

From what "they" let me know, it appears that the solution to this problem lies in resolving the Pakistanis and the Indian struggle that rivals--no, actually surpasses--the tenure of that of the Palestinians and the Israelis.  This allows Al Qaeda, the Taliban and anyone else who finds it in their interest to do so, to play off one of these nuclear powers against the other. This is dangerous.

Again, from the information that we have, the Pakistanis find it in their interest to keep India occupied with "Muslim extremists" of the type who attacked Mumbai.  This is a perilous strategy for the Pakistanis, of course, as the existence of the Taliban and Al Qaeda on their soil not only impugns their international integrity, it undermines their own internal security.

I don't know how the Indian-Pakistani "crisis" can be resolved, or even whether it can.  But I do think that trying to somehow convince the Pakistanis turn loose of their unsavory non-allies any other way than to eliminate the advantage they see in cleaving to them is an example of us pursuing a goal that  seems reasonable, even though it is ineffective. 

Maybe the President knows something I am not allowed to know about this dynamic, but until I figure out what that could possibly be I have to be cynical about American policy vis a vis both Afghanistan and Pakistan.  If one wanted a "bulwark" against Iran, wouldn't peace between Pakistan and India be something to think about?

Or, how about just dismantling our empire in the Middle East and ...

Sorry, Mr. Obama, a Lily for you.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Where's My Right of Conscience?

So, it's been on my mind for a while now:  how is it that "pro-lifers" get to make the government jump through hoops to ensure that none of their tax money gets used for abortion?  Most recently, we watched Congress go up and over the top on this during the health care debate without anyone asking how come they get to make those kinds of demands.

I am morally opposed to war on conscientious grounds and it is certainly clear to me where God is at on that--especially considering the amount of rationalizing theological notions and notional holidays our imperial priesthood has to lay down to obscure the issue to condition and manipulate us into going off to  kill total strangers for the most secular ends.

Millions and millions of tax dollars spent by my government to kill innocent people--and some that those who prosecute wars want to dub "guilty" to make their deaths OK.

So, when do I get to make the government guarantee that my tax money isn't spent for war because it's "against my religion?"

And if I don't get that guarantee why do to the "pro-lifers" get it?

This is about integrity, of course, but it's also about equality.  Why are some people's religious views "more equal" than those of others?  And, in this country, given the First Amendment, why is "it's against my religion" a cogent argument in how tax money gets spent?

I think there's a big Cynical Lily Award to give out here, I am just not sure to whom it should be given.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I do not defend the use of drones to attack leaders of Taliban  inside of Pakistan, or any attacks on anyone at any time.  

I do, though, want to say a little something about the integrity of the government and people of Pakistan. 

Their condemnation of those attacks comes as they receive millions (billions?) from the United States government to support the effort in Afghanistan and, while doing so, they are tolerating and even supporting the activities of the Taliban in Pakistan that are part of their effort to topple the Afghan government.  

If the Pakistani military and intelligence folks were doing what the United States is paying them to do the drone attacks of which they complain might not be happening, or might not be so extensive.  

The government of Pakistan is playing this duplicitous game because it has to.  The government of Pakistan does not really exercise sovereignty over the territory inside its boundaries.    The government of Pakistan is as afraid of Al Qaeda as it is of that of India.   Most of all, the government of Pakistan should be afraid of the United States--afraid that the money will stop. 

Should we be afraid of that?  Should we be afraid that the government of Pakistan will be replaced by a Taliban government that has nuclear weapons?  Should we be afraid that this government will face off with that India--also a nuclear power?

I am not sure of everything I am supposed to be afraid of, anymore. 

I do know that I am afraid of what we have been doing in the Middle East for a good long time,  This situation vis a vis Pakistan is but one manifestation of that course of action.   This can't go on, and it won't.  The consequences of whatever happens from now on are going to be terrible and dire.

We are about to learn what shock and awe really mean.

Monday, April 26, 2010

could it be...

Now, I am not an expert on all the banking stuff but when the guru of guru's testified to Congress a while back that he could not believe that the people running Wall Street did not act in the best interest of their firms I wondered whether they might not care, at all, about those firms or its shareholders.  Seems to me they made a pile of money, personally, while driving their institutions off of the cliff. 

A good source on this, it turns out, is available on line.

Where was the down side for them?  And when I hear someone say that  X% of their savings disappeared in the crisis I have to wonder if a good part of that didn't disappear, at all, it just went from the person's savings into the bonuses of the people who were at the wheel.  It's still there--it's just not in the "there" place it was before.

This all came to mind again this morning, listening the preview of the Goldman Golden Guy heading to Congress to talk about how they were not betting against the economy and making money off of the impending crash--they were valiantly fighting to protect their shareholders.

Why, the rhetorical question is expected to come from him to keep the Senators at bay, would we act in a way that would not benefit the bank or its share holders?

There's a Lily in this for the GGG.  Cynicism on a stick--both deep fried and candy coated.

If any of the institutions that these guys work for go under won't they just surface again in another institution where,  once more, their own bonuses and golden parachutes and such will insulate them from any accountability for failure? 

This is especially true since there is a corporate propaganda machine standing by to blame all the failure on the government--Fannie Mae and all that jazz.  Even if I am CEO and I drive the ship onto the rocks, on my way to my own personal Bermuda, I can just shrug and tell Fox and Friends all about how it was "Guv'ment regulation and bureaucracy that stifled the free market to such an extent that my valiant efforts on the bridge could not avoid the rocks they kept putting in the middle of shipping lanes."

My Republican father used to say of scoundrels, at least the ones wearing suits, "You have hand it to them." 

But times change.   Now you don't have to hand it to them.   They just take it and claim it was never yours, anyway.. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Snap!" or is it "Click!"

When I heard Glenn Beck say that we have captured the second in command in the Taliban (although he said that the man was the second in command of Al Qaeda) and that we should "shoot him in the head" I heard a huge snapping or clicking sound in my head.

I have long been mystified as to why so many people want to be mean to terrorists--torture them--lock them away for ever--no trial no due process no nothing except a lot of pain and agony.

But I understand it, now.

It's just sadism.

It's taking pleasure in inflicting pain on people--even if it doesn't help us do anything constructive about the terrorism of which we are so, well, terrified.  We know, in fact, that the way we have treated captured terrorists has created support for them and their brothers and sisters still in field.

And speaking of snapping to something...this whole thing about insisting that we are at "war" with terrorists, that these are not criminal acts but acts of war is legitimizing the people who do the terrorist stuff.

Al Qaeda wants Muslims to see them as knights errant, roaming the world to confront the infidel.  And they aren't that, at all.   They have hijacked Islam and set out to re-configure it as a vehicle to justify their violence that is bent on setting up reactionary theocracies.

And we are helping them by buying into their narrative.  They are actually criminals.  They are criminals on a grand scale but they are still criminals.  They are not soldiers, they do not comprise an army.  They are just plain criminals.

It should not be forgotten, though, that their criminality is a response to how the West has controlled and exploited the Middle East for decades.  We are not "innocent" victims of this criminality.  We need to start implementing policies in that region of the world--throughout the world--based on simplicity, harmony, integrity, community and equality.

When we do that we will have a lot less to worry about from either soldiers or criminals, and national security will be something we can take for granted.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010

another Lily...unsafe at any speed

So I heard Ralph Nader on Tom Hartman's radio show riffing on how bad the Supreme Court decision on corporate political spending is.

Not a word did Mr. Nader utter about how this was his fault. Not a word about how, if he just let Mr. Gore run for president without him sticking his "it doesn't matter which party is elected" nose into things, neither Mr. Roberts or Mr. Scalia would have been in a position to make this happen.

So, a Lily for you, Mr. Nader. You are responsible for something happening and you blame someone else.

No matter how cynical I get, Mr. Nader, it's hard to keep up with people like you.