Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tiptoe Around the Taliban

Taliban, you say? In Pakistan?

No, we don't have Taliban in Pakistan.

Ohhh, THAT Taliban.

Well, we do have some of them, but they blow themselves up.

A creeping disaster is continuing to run its course in northwest Pakistan, in the border regions with Afghanistan. Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf is reaping the rewards for mollifying Islamist factions in his country:

Isolated politically, he is incapable of making the strategic changes necessary to meet the challenges the country faces today. Five years ago, he threw in his lot with the clerics of the MMA [Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal]. He gave them political space by driving secular parties into the wilderness. Some selective rigging saw them come to power in the NWFP [Northwest Frontier Province] and in Balochistan as a coalition partner. In exchange, the clerics used their suddenly expanded presence in the assemblies to allow him to remain army chief. Now, the same religious parties have turned against him.

And like this month's showdown at the Lal Masjid mosque, any attempt to bring the Islamists to any civil order will be messy. Just this week, a Taliban commander, Abdullah Mehsud, was discovered in a pakistani border town 350 km northwest of Quetta. When security forces found him, on a tip from some locals, he blew himself up.

Sure, you could say "well, thant's one less militant", but the bigger question is why do Taliban have such free reign in northwest Pakistan and southern Afghanistan? You can chalk it up to a combination of diverting US forces to Iraq, and political maneuvering from Musharraf. the situation is becoming intolerable.

AS bouquets and brickbats are being flung at the government following the Lal Masjid operation, the tough questions are sure to follow. Even as the corpses of the victims and the villains are being buried, most Pakistanis are already asking how events were allowed to come to such a bloody pass.

One of the hallmarks of military governments is that they all pretend to be very keen on accountability. So who will be the scapegoat for allowing the six-month old stand-off at the mosque complex to drag on? Clearly, the Ghazi brothers used this time to stock up on arms and ammunition, apart from sneaking in dozens of trained militants.

Musharraf is not long for the political scene if he cannot defuse the Islamist timebomb under his arse. His maneuvers to preserve his autocratic rule are coming home to roost, as debated in the pakistani Supreme Court last week:

In the 60 years of our tumultuous and mostly star-crossed history, nothing of greater importance has ever come before the Supreme Court. Other famous cases in the past – Tamizuddin, Dosso, Nusrat Bhutto, etc – helped legitimise one martial law after another. In doing so, the highest court in the land became a party to the twisting and distorting of our history, helping to turn Pakistan into a congenial playground for civil and military dictatorships.

In this case alone has the opportunity arisen to mend that history by putting a rein and bridle on military adventurism. For the central issue in it is not just about the person of Justice Chaudhry and the treatment he received when he defied the wishes of Army House, the source of so much of Pakistan’s many discontents.

It is about something far greater: whether Pakistan’s destiny – and this was put well by Fakhruddin Ebrahim, one of the lawyers defending the Chief Justice – is to be ruled by the power of the gun or the power of the law.

Unfortunately, Musharraf's "power of the gun" has been the only thing keeping Pakistan from completely sliding under the power of the Islamist bomb. The vaunted "power of the law" usually wilts in the face of the Islamist threat, which is why the Taliban has such haven in the northwest, and why the Lal Masjid situation mushroomed into the bloodbath that it did.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Back on the Street Corner

I am going to take whatever I have left and go home. I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost. I will try to maintain and nurture some very positive relationships that I have found in the journey that I was forced into when Casey died and try to repair some of the ones that have fallen apart since I began this single-minded crusade to try and change a paradigm that is now, I am afraid, carved in immovable, unbendable and rigidly mendacious marble.

She said she was leaving. She said she'd go home. But the lure of the red-light district in D.C. was too much. Yes, Cindy Sheehan is back.

"The Democrats will not hold this administration accountable, so we have to hold the Democrats accountable," Sheehan said outside Conyers' office after the meeting. "And I for one am going to step up to the plate and run against Nancy Pelosi."

So, what happened to going home and reconnecting with her family? Did she get home and find out that they've decided to "move on" without her? Was the solitude frightening? Were there no news cameras to capture the histrionic wailing and gnashing of teeth?

Well, if she tries to run for office, I'm sure she'll get the rabid pacifist vote, but the cooler heads will vote for someone more stable.

Telling Omission

The screen behind the democratic candidates for President caught my eye, and I noticed a telling omission that really speaks to the flaw in their foreign policy ideas. Here's the backdrop:

A good deal of the background image is from the great seal of the United States, but with a curious part left out. I circled the omission above, so that you could reference it to the seal in it's entirety:

Yes, they took the arrows from the Eagle. They think that the United States can protect its liberties with olive branches alone. They prefer to throw aid packages, abortion doctors and condoms at the world's problems. What a sorry lot.

All of them are for retreating from Iraq. To avoid his obligations, Onan, too, was eager to pull out. So much for fearless leadership from the Left.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Unseen Blogger Nails It

From the Unseen Blogger:

Isn't it interesting that the New York Times can keep the ending of the new Harry Potter book a secret, yet they'll publish top secret documents from the Pentagon and jeopardize national security?

What else can be said?

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Pig by Any Other Name

Nobody knows the trouble that Genarlow Wilson's seen.

The courtroom was packed with supporters and cameras Friday as Georgia's top justices heard arguments over whether a young man serving a 10-year prison term for consensual oral sex with a fellow teenager should be freed.

Poor boy, somehow got busted for what the media's calling "consensual oral sex" with a minor. Only It wasn't some awkward episode in the back of his parents' car. This was a romp at a party that included sexual contact with multiple underage, inebriated females, videotaped for future self-aggrandisement. So lurid was the video, it was labelled as Child Pornography by federal authorities.

The sex act was videotaped by another partygoer -- and that tape shows the faces of several underage girls. David Nahmias, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, said earlier this week: "We have advised that the videotape at issue constitutes child pornography under federal law and should not be knowingly distributed, received or possessed outside of law enforcement and judicial proceedings."

Wilson was acquitted of a rape charge, stemming from the same party, for having sexual relations with another girl that prosecutors asserted was too drunk to consent. This kid, though only 17 at the time of the offense, has perfectly emulated his hip-hop heroes in their objectification of women and using them for careless sexual gratification. Whatever his mother may say, he's far from innocent.

You may see the smiling visage of the young man on CNN, clean cut, with a cross dangling around his neck. Here's a shot from the party:

Sorry, but this image has been deemed Child Pornography. If you were to see this image, you'd see a smiling, happy Genarlow Wilson at a gang-bang. Sorry to disappoint.

Wilson's supporters are pushing for retribution against the D.A., who released the tape to media and other judicial bodies. Ostensibly, the outrage is that the tape makes their unfairly persecuted angel look like just another pig.

"Why do you care about this, St. Jimbob" you may ask. I've got daughters, and believe me, after a stunt like this, jail is the safest place for guys like Genarlow Wilson.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Mowing and Musing

I’ve had a lot on my mind, recently, and it’s been swirling around without any focus. Until last night, when I was mowing my lawn, when it came to me:

“Santino, come're. Whattsa matter with you? I think your brain is going soft from all that comedy your playing with that young girl.

Never tell anybody outside the family what you're thinking again!

Yes, words of wisdom from Vito Corleone.

America’s brain has gone soft. Soft from all the comedy it’s playing with it’s culture of consumption and gratification. From the overweight kids playing their Playstations, to the parents over-leveraged with consumer debt (spent on stuff that the debt will outlast) to the politicians who pander to the self-indulgent.

Thanks to our Incontinental Congress, and their Media enablers, everyone in the world knows what we’re thinking (or that we’re not), and knows the limits of our fortitude.

Everyone now knows that 2.500 dead troops will make our people squeamish and our politicians start looking for something white to wave. Everyone now knows that if a force can keep us tied up for more than a year or two, we’ll throw in the towel. Everyone now knows that if they can bloody our nose, they can expect an apology FROM US for making them angry.

What’s now to stop China from taking Taiwan?! Or is Chuck Hagel (or any in the Yellow GOP) thinking beyond the next election? Don’t pander to the American people, as they’ve become too soft-headed from a couple generations of affluence without sacrifice.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Live Squat

Live Earth is a 24-hour, 7-continent concert series taking place on 7/7/07 that will bring together more than 100 music artists and 2 billion people to trigger a global movement to solve the climate crisis.

So, the archsongsters of environmentalism are convening a global community sing to proclaim their looming apocalypse, otherwise known as 'Global Warming'. A scant 22 years ago, another band of well-meaning musicians put on a similiar event, called 'Live Aid', to eliminate hunger in Ethiopia. It was a smashing success, as far as raising money is concerned. £150M successful.

Ethiopian President Mengistu Haile Mariam was very grateful for the generous donations. So grateful, in fact, that he was able to expand his army and maintain his fleet of soviet-made armor, needed to secure his Marxist government against surging domestic rebel groups. His starvation of opposition populations in his own country was what spurred the Live Aid project to begin with, so the whole decade from 1976 to 1986 was win, win, and win. Some figures claim Mengistu's Derg party was responsible for 1.5 million dead Ethiopians. So, Mengistu's government got paid £1000 for each person they killed. Nice.

So, who's the money going to this time, and who are they being paid to kill?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Grace Under Fire

So, the goings on in Pakistan have finally hit the fan and the headlines here in America. The al Masjid, the Red Mosque, has been a thorn in Pakistan's side for quite a while now. The students of al Masjid have been kidnapping various people and demanding implemantation of Sharia Law as the ransom. Pakistan already has an anti-blasphemy law, severely punishing anyone who blasphemes Muhammad (I'd be hanged within the hour I touched down in Karachi). The tribal areas already do Sharia, with little intervention from any real government. Women are properly oppressed. What are the students complaining about?

Well, now that the military has moved in to administer some perspective, the students have been armed and are resisting. Where's the teacher, you may ask? He went that-a-way:

MAULANA Abdul Aziz, the leader of the Lal Masjid brigade, was arrested while trying to flee in a burqa.

“After all the things he has said and all the oaths he took from his students that they should embrace martyrdom with him, look at this man,” Minister of State for Information Tariq Azeem said.

Maulana Aziz was caught after a group of 50 burqa-clad women from the mosque started screaming as they were taken to a nearby school for security checks after giving themselves up, saying the procedure was un-Islamic.

“Our officers spotted his (Aziz’s) unusual demeanour. The rest of the girls looked like girls, but he was taller and had a pot-belly,” an official said.

So much for the courage of the righteous. Intending to die last, I guess he was figuring Allah would be out of virgins by the time all the students in the mosque were killed.

Pakistan is beset by a bevy of conflicts. Most people are fixated on the conflict between President Musharraf and the Chief Justice of Pakistan's supreme court, while there are Taliban in Waziristan, and rebels and natural disasters in Balochistan. The country is poised to become another Afghanistan. With nukes.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Horror

I don't watch TV much, as it's usually a waste of time. It can occasionally be instructive, or so the producers would hope, but you can also learn more about the culture than what the show is actually trumpeting. I happened across a show call 'On The Lot', a reality show about budding film producers having to make short films in different genres. Last night's episode was an excercise in horror films, or so it was announced. The last short was 'Profile' by Mateen, an African-American film student. Just what kind of horror story was it? I'm sure you can guess.

An African-American driver is pulled over by a white cop, and faster than you can say "license and registration, please," the driver is in a bathroom being brutally assaulted by three white cops. Explaining his choice of drama, the filmmaker said he wanted to convey a horror that people could actually relate to.

Here's a horror that would be more helpful for African-Americans:

In 1999, firearm homicide was the number one cause of death for Black men ages 15-34, as well as the leading cause of death for all black 15-24 year olds.[1]


In 1998, 94 percent of the Black murder victims were slain by black offenders.[2]

As much as the brother wants to spin a yarn about evil white cops, the larger horror is still wrought by his own people. While race-agitating shakedown artists keep the focus on the White Devil, the Black auto-genocide of violence, family disintegration and drug use will continue.

Bill Cosby, anathema to the victimhood mafia, proposed a solution on CNN's 'Situation Room':

It's not outrage as much as sadness that Dr. King started us in a winning position with nonviolence and that our youthful people are picking up guns, knives, and voices against each other, against their parents, against the school system, and a great deal of it has to do with the fact that we need to start in pre-K through 12th grade talking to the children in school, in school, because it isn't happening in the neighborhood, about nonviolence and how to solve one's sadness issue that has grown into frustration and then outrage.

For Cosby, it's not just a 'black thing':

The most important thing, Wolf, is, as time goes by, how many of these candidates, like Mr. Martin said, will address the invisible white people who are not graduating from college, who are teenage pregnancy at the age of 13, who are broke, who are looking for subsidy, who are looking at schools that are broken down? It isn't just blacks.

It's the poor. It's the lower economic people, the lower middle economic. And these people have to speak up. They have got to get themselves together. They are the most powerful. You have politicians who care about them, as opposed to some of these other things...

But will anyone in the Black community hear it? Maybe someone can do a film about that?
1. National Center for Health Statistics, 2002
2. FBI Uniform Crime Reports, 1998

Monday, July 02, 2007

Pope Writes to China, pt II

To begin, let's look at a statement, early in the Pope's letter to Chinese Catholics:

I realize that the normalization of relations with the People's Republic of China requires time and presupposes the good will of both parties.

Yes, presupposing the good will of both parties. Well, one party doesn't have the same concept of good will:

Some Catholic websites in mainland China that uploaded Pope Benedict XVI's letter to Catholics in the mainland shortly after it was released were ordered hours later to remove it.

A priest in charge of such a website registered with the government told UCA News on July 2 he felt helpless because he strongly believes that "China Church websites should publish the pope's letter."

The priest, who asked not to be named, said some government officials who came to his office on June 29 asked about the letter but did not explicitly say he could not carry it. The next evening, he uploaded the letter to his site, but he was told on July 1 morning he was not allowed to upload the text.

China's good will seems to have a price, and they want the goods up front:

The Vatican should take actions, instead of creating barriers, if it wants to improve ties with China, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Saturday.

"China's stance on improving relations with the Vatican is consistent. Namely, Vatican should sever the so called diplomatic ties with Taiwan and recognize the People's Republic of China is the sole government representing China," said Qin.

"We hope the Vatican can take actions (to improve relations) and no longer creates new barriers," Qin said.

I will continue to hope for the best, but I won't hold my breath for good fruit from a wicked tree.

I'm still waiting for free trade and the market economy to bring freedom to Chinese christians. Any day now, right? Right?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Post # 250, Swiss Cheese

A blogger dedicated to revealing the truth (condemnations) about Catholicism had posted the following:

"...Peter: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!" ... Jesus: "You are right Peter, Upon this ROCK (THE TRUTH that I AM GOD'S SON), I will build my Church. And the gates of hell (extra-biblical doctrines and man-made rituals for salvation), will not prevail against it!" Matthew 16:18"

The first problem is that he cannot even disclose the truth about the scripture he's using! Here's the entire section of Matthew 16 he was editing:

16 Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

Now, I'm a context junkie, and really get annoyed when people turn Holy Scripture into holey scripture. I'd hate to tar all Protestants with the same brush, but like Jack Chick's cartoon theology, I see too much strategic omission when Protestants try to make a case against the Church. Why is that?