Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bounced From TODAY.COM

I was recently banned from posting my articles to a political blog site known as TODAY.COM. The reason, or reasons, for my expulsion remain unclear though I confess I have developed a seemingly obvious theory. What troubles me most is the outright fabrication I was given by the administration as cause for my dismissal. I will attempt to give you the abridged version of what transpired so as not to bore you.

This saga began some weeks ago when a sudden influx of the Christian Right (fundamentalists) began posting their articles in the political forum at TODAY.COM. One article in particular, : Contradictions In the Bible, was the catalyst for the ensuing firestorm. For purposes of clarification; TODAY.COM is structured in a fashion that enables the writers to engage in debates concerning the articles posted. It's important to note that my own feelings regarding religion are not pertinent to this argument. The objection many of us had was with the propagating of religious views in a venue that was dedicated to politics.

One particular writer; one of great passion and well respected, became increasingly agitated as more of these articles began to appear. I can assure you-he was not alone. I should inform you that there is a separate section at TODAY.COM designated for articles pertaining to religion. The aforementioned was very outspoken, as is his way, concerning the presence of these articles as well as their content. A rather heated debate broke out and in one of his replies; the administration censored his comment claiming that courtesy was more important than content. This is an odd perspective in a political blog site. I found it rather ironic to find a blatant infringement of the 1st Amendment perpetrated in said forum. They refused to post his comment and informed him of that via e-mail. He then proceeded to post the e-mail, which was censored, and this resulted in his expulsion. Many of us were of the opinion that we were all being punished since we were now going to be deprived of his unique style and perspectives on both domestic and foreign issues. A couple of writers, myself included, voiced our objection by way of articles and tributes-all to no avail.

On Sunday of this week; I made a personal and, what I thought to be, a respectful plea for his reinstatement.

"I respectfully request that you reconsider your position concerning dsent (Naked Emperor) and allow him back into your political section. His passion and perspectives are sorely missed..."

The reply I received was a nonsensical attempt at rationalizing their decision by citing how he had violated the "Terms and Conditions" of their site. Heil Hitler! Though I confess to expecting nothing less; they included completely false allegations against myself.

"Please know that we've had no problem with your published content but are concerned with your efforts to repeatedly contact us with complaints about other bloggers without merit for the mere fact that their politics are different than your own or because a fellow blogger/friend of yours was dismissed."

Ignoring their grammatical errors and that incredibly long run-on sentence; I have NEVER contacted them to complain about any bloggers' differing views. When I responded to refute these ridiculous assertions; I found myself in the same company as my friend-BANISHED!

"We are sorry that you are not happy blogging in the network and since you feel the need to keep contacting us repeatedly in this manner we have no recourse but to deactivate your account... Our decision is based on your actions of the past few weeks where you've continually complained about other bloggers and how works."

Once again; I have never complained about another blogger to them and I have challenged them to back up their bullshit. I do admit to inquiring why one particular author, who just happened to be the central figure in the previously mentioned debate, was consistently being given the "Featured Blog" slot. TODAY.COM is a site where you are paid (if you want to call it that) based on the amount of traffic your article generates. Being given that slot is a definite advantage. The fact that I find her articles to be nothing more than baseless, unsubstantiated rants is irrelevant. I made my inquiry utilizing TWITTER and once I received their horseshit explanation; I let it go. END OF STORY! Apparently; along with being lousy writers, they are a bit reactionary as well.

What I find disturbing is both their unfounded allegations directed at me and their ability to expel anyone who disagrees with their convoluted view of what is acceptable to post. They seem to have no problem allowing racial slurs to be posted on their site. Since their claim that I "repeatedly" contacted them is easily refuted; I am unable to come up with any other explanation. What confuses me is the fact that advertisements pay for their site yet they chose to expel two writers who contributed to their readership. However: what truly bothers me is that I had developed an enjoyable camaraderie with a number of fellow writers, albeit via e-mails and comments to articles, that I am sure to miss.

To close: for good or bad-I will be posting here on a regular basis where there is no fear of censorship. I will definitely miss the interaction available at TODAY.COM but I can live without the hypocrisy. My friend also posts here and you can find him at: I strongly recommend you visit his site as I have no doubt you will enjoy reading his articles as much as I do.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pakistan Needs To Make Up Their Mind

An article recently published in the New York Times has both infuriated and confused me. This article deals with complaints made by Pakistani officials concerning our increased presence in Afghanistan. I admit that this entire situation has a personal side to it. One of my best friend’s sons, whom I babysat as an infant, is an officer in the USMC. He is presently deployed in Afghanistan and as a platoon leader; is in the middle of this “increased presence.” I have previously written articles voicing my objection to their president’s, Ali Zardari, method of requesting aid via the Washington Post. Presently, we have pledged $1.5 billion per year for the next 5 years to help stimulate Pakistan’s economy. Considering we have done such a superb job stimulating our own; forgive me if I find a considerable amount of irony in that gesture.

“Pakistani officials have told the Obama administration that the Marines fighting the Taliban in southern Afghanistan will force militants across the border into Pakistan…”

I have apparently been mistaken in my perception that this was a joint effort. I had assumed that the Taliban posed as great a threat to Pakistan as it does to the U.S. In fact; after my posting about Zardari on a different site; I received the following comment from a Pakistani national. (I wasn’t aware I had such a broad readership.)

Zameer said:
this author from USA has critized upon the opinion written by our elected president of Pakistan in Washington post ; Remember ,Zardari has all the basic rights to write , speak or propagate for Pakistan and people of Pakistan has given him this right ; I am a common man in Pakistan ; i think if president Zardari is demanding more and more support from USA , then he is doing very well ; his Pakistani troops (both civilian and army are being killed by Taliban ; and if Zardari does not stop them , then Mr. author , your throat will also be cut by some Taliban leader one day ; face the facts and do not mix up the things ; When your own secretary of state Hilary Clinton admits and takes the responsibility of creation of alqaeda and Taliban then why you cry over Mr. Zardari if he writes the same truth in Washington post ; please do not bother regarding nuclear arsenals of Pakistan rather bother your own pentagon which was attacked by alqaead in 9/11 despite all security arrangements ; Zardari is not corrupt ; no court has been able to find proofs of his corruption ; correct your record accordingly '; Mr. Zardari is not only leading anti terrorism war for Pakistan’s survival rather yours survival as well;

OK Zameer; you got it. Though I find my friend’s accusations to be absurd; it displays why I am so confused over this sudden change in attitude regarding the pursuit of the Taliban. It’s important to note that Zardari was quoted as saying; “This is our war. It is our wives and children who are being killed.” Wrong again Zardari! Has he forgotten that 3,000 innocent Americans were killed by these people? He has consistently sought our help in fighting these insurgents and now they consider our more concerted effort to be a threat to their security.

“Pakistani officials still consider India their top priority and the Taliban militants a problem that can be negotiated. In the long term, the Taliban in Afghanistan may even remain potential allies for Pakistan…” WHAAAAT?

Yes, the Taliban has long been applauded for their willingness to negotiate. You need only ask the innocent civilians in Afghanistan to find out how willing the Taliban is to reach peaceful resolutions. My confusion is based on the sudden change of heart. It was less than 2 weeks ago that the Pakistani Army confronted the Taliban in the Swat Valley with considerable success.

“Last year, Washington presented evidence to Pakistani leaders that Mr. Haqqani, working with Inter-Services Intelligence, was responsible for the bombing last summer of the Indian Embassy in Kabul that killed 54 people.”

Ah hah-now I’m starting to get it! Haqquani is an Afghan Taliban leader who the U.S. contest is operating under Pakistani protection. So, apparently, as long as the Taliban strikes at India from time to time-they get a pass. Joe Klein writes in Time Magazine:

“In the latest National Interest, Bruce Riedel-who led the Obama Administration’s Afghanistan and Pakistan policy review-suggests that a coup led by Islamist, Taliban-sympathetic elements of the Pakistani army remains a very real possibility. Pakistan has at least 60 nuclear weapons. The chance that al-Qaeda sympathizers might gain access to those weapons is the real issue in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

From what I can ascertain from all of this is that while our young men and women are risking their lives; Pakistan has redirected their focus from the Taliban back to India. Of course; India has always been Pakistan’s biggest threat. However, to attempt to detract our focus away from our objective is bullshit. To Pakistan I say: If you don’t wish to join us anymore-stay the fuck out of the way. This is our fight and always has been. To even suggest that we change direction is a slap in the face to our soldiers. So step aside Pakistan and let our troops do their job and when we’re done-you can do all the negotiating you want with those murdering pieces of shit. What do you have to say for yourself now Zameer?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

With China Looking Elswhere; America Needs Another Sucker

I have recently purchased a subscription to BUSINESS WEEK for the sole purpose of further educating myself on subjects of finance. I don’t consider myself ignorant regarding the economic climate prevalent today or ignorant to the ways of corporate America. However, when it comes to global and even governmental investments; I often find myself perplexed. There are many on this site whose knowledge far surpasses mine and I’m not the type who is content with “limited knowledge.” I suppose my competitive nature is responsible for that and it is also what drives me to better understand subjects that confuse me. Unlike some; on matters that I don’t feel qualified to comment on-I refrain from doing so. I have learned a great deal from writers on this site regardless of political ideology and I’m grateful for that. OK-enough of my introduction.

In the July 27th issue; an article on China’s investment philosophy provided me with a better understanding of our national debt. Our reliance on China to purchase U.S. Treasury notes has helped our economy remain afloat-barely. This practice now appears to be in serious jeopardy. “Why would we want to keep subsidizing irresponsible U.S. behavior that will inflate the dollar and hurt us?” This question was posed by Wenran Jiang, a political science professor at the University of Alberta. Because of this; there is a growing trend to purchase hard assets (yes-I know what that means) as opposed to purchasing relatively worthless pieces of paper. China presently owns $2.1 trillion worth of “low-yield, inflation sensitive U.S. Treasuries.” Scary!!

While China is yet to call in those markers; they are beginning to take a different course. Just in the last two months, China has either purchased or shown interest in such diverse foreign companies as GM’s Opel in Germany, an appliance manufacturer in New Zealand, as well as oil fields in Iraq. Allow me stray a bit and ask this question: Considering the money and, more importantly, lives we have sacrificed in defense of the Iraqis-shouldn’t they be negotiating a sale with us? Just a thought. According to BUSINESS WEEK, China’s overseas investments last year doubled to a total of $52 billion. This brings their overall foreign investment total to $170 billion which equates to 1/30 of U.S. overseas investments. I’m not even going to attempt the math but that’s a shitload of investing. Next question: What happened to OUR investments?

Recently, I posted an article citing profits reported by such companies as Bank of America, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase. Though many have explained this with examples of government incest and other “smoke and mirror” explanations; there may be another one. China is considered to be relatively new to the world of mergers and acquisitions so they have sought advice and counsel from outside sources. This is where my confusion comes roaring back. “The mergers-and-acquisitions craze is good news for lawyers, accountants, and investment bankers. JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley have both worked on high-profile China bids.” WHAAAAT? Aren’t these the same idiots who were involved in ridiculously speculative investments that have contributed to our financial demise? I can tell you this much: If I’m going to stake someone in a poker tournament-it won’t be someone who just busted going all-in with deuce-seven. (How do you like that analogy?)

From what I can see; should China continue to venture into the world of mergers and acquisitions, we’re going to need someone else willing to gamble on us. Given our current situation; that is not going to be an easy task.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tailback's Gay Weekend

My wife and I recently returned home from a brief vacation which included visiting our dear friends. Our friends happen to be a married couple of the same sex. Normally; I would not feel compelled to even mention that but considering the crux of this article deals with the gay community; I felt it was pertinent. I consider Tara and Trish to be two of my closest friends. Though I have only known them for about 3 years; they have become very important to me. My wife has known them for much longer and has worked with Trish in the medical field for over 13 years.

On Friday night; we sat around a campfire surrounded by gays from every walk of life. I confess to having laughed harder and longer than I have in years. It’s important to note that I wasn’t laughing at them but with them. While doing this; I couldn’t help but think that these are the very people that some deem to be threats to our way of life. I also thought of Sal Hepatica’s (nobebop) article that focused on the treatment that gays are still subjected to in the military. How ANYONE could consider this group to be a threat to anything is beyond me. The fact of the matter is that they would prefer to be left alone but righteously seek the same rights accorded to all Americans.

Many of the recent debates in the blogsphere have revolved around government intervention in the private sector and the concern over the Obama administration’s attempt at increasing the control it has over individual’s rights. These concerns are definitely without merit and I have chosen to address the control concerning the gay community. I have no intention of taking a partisan stand on this subject since members of both parties are guilty of this. Of course, running point for this asinine opposition to gay rights is the Christian Right. Given the recent revelations of hypocrisy by a couple of their more outspoken leaders; my advice to them is to shut the hell up for a while. I digress.

While researching, I came across a couple of judicial decisions that speak directly to our right to pursue “liberty” in accordance with the 14th Amendment. In Lochner v. New York (1905) it was deemed that “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” This decision protected all citizens from any intervention by the state. Though the decision focused on employment issues; the content of the decision is precedent setting by its very verbiage.

In Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925), the ruling dealt directly with the Due Process Clause found in the 14th Amendment. “Justice James Clark McReynolds went on to list other rights guaranteed by the Due Process Clause, including ‘the right of the individual…to marry, establish a home and bring up children…and generally to enjoy these privileges long recognized at common law as essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.” Does anyone else notice the absence of the word heterosexual? However; “happiness by free men” does jump out at me. More on these decisions can be found at:

As an aside; one of the people I met was the grandson of the infamous Al Capone, Chris Knight. Chris was kind enough to give me a copy of his book SON OF SCARFACE: A MEMOIR BY THE GRANDSON OF AL CAPONE. It’s a story of Chris’ frustrating search for the true identity of his father and the omnipresent roadblocks he confronts in his quest. You can purchase the book from Amazon and I strongly recommend that you do. I have found it to be fascinating and the reader begins to formulate their own theories as each chapter poses more and more questions.

In closing: I would like to say that our country faces far greater threats than the possibility of people of the same sex marrying. To date: 6 states have legalized gay marriage while 30 states have constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. Disgusting! I’ll leave you all with one question: Does the fact that Sue and Jill from across town wish to be married affect you in any way? If the answer is no, and it certainly should be; I suggest you follow the advice I gave to the Christian Right.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Time To Wipe That Egg Off Your Face DICK!! Pt.2

In mid-January of this year; I stood on a hill and watched as George W. Bush rode silently into the sunset-back to his beloved Texas. As I waved goodbye, excitedly, I suddenly noticed something that disturbed me greatly. There was only one horse! “Come back George”, I screamed, “You forgot something.” Unfortunately, he was too far away and couldn’t hear me. He continued to ride, while leaving behind the biggest ass this country has ever seen. While our former president has remained relatively obscure, with the exception of an interview or two; one in which he stated he couldn’t recall ANY mistake he had made (OK George-keep riding)-DICK Cheney has continued to be a very large pain in my ass. With assistance from his daughter; he has consistently blustered about the benefits of such things as torture and the ignoring of the 4th Amendment. All the while; his conservative sheep hang on his every word. Get on the goddamn horse DICK!

In an excellently written article yesterday; my friend guitarman called for all of us to attempt to see both sides of the aisle. With sincere apologies to my buddy; I can’t do that in this particular article. Though I am in complete agreement with him; when it comes to Cheney, my disdain for the man far outweighs my desire to refrain from partisan commentary. However, I will take this opportunity to voice a bipartisan opinion (emphasis on “opinion”) regarding the current circus taking place on the Hill concerning this “secretive” CIA program. Yesterday, my conservative friend scotty starnes( and I do consider him to be a friend) contended that this program was exposed in 2002 in the NY Times. That assertion is refuted in an article in today’s Washington Post: “The program was active in fits and starts, and it was essentially killed in 2004 because it was deemed ineffective, former and current intelligence officials said. It reemerged briefly in 2005 but remained largely dormant until this year.” I am of the opinion (again, opinion) that the Democrats are making “much ado about nothing.” Though I don’t subscribe to the theory that this is a way to detract attention away from Nancy Pelosi; I do believe it is merely another case of political chest thumping. The fact of the matter is that this program has never been considered “fully operational” (whatever that means) and has not produced a single success story. This appears to me to be more of an indictment against the effectiveness of our intelligence community than it does of any deception. Grow up Congress! Our country is going down the toilet and you’re engaging in pissing contests.

OK-back to DICK. I have often fantasized about Cheney extolling the virtues of torture in a small venue filled with former POWs from the Vietnam War. Clearly, my fantasies have been a bit altered from the ones I had in my teens, 20s, and even 30s. (Whoa; a vision of Angie Dickinson just popped into my head-whew!) There have been Cheney disciples who have contended that “waterboarding” is nothing more than pouring water over someone’s head. Anyone who has had the misfortune of witnessing a “waterboarding” session will tell you that it is a hell of a lot more than that. Morons! This point may prove to be a moot one given the very real possibility that a special prosecutor will soon be named to investigate this topic. In an article in NEWSWEEK entitled "INDEPENDENT’S DAY: Obama Doesn’t Want To Look Back, But Attorney General Eric Holder May Probe Bush-Era Torture Anyway": it describes the difficult position Holder finds himself. Torn between his allegiance to Obama (which shouldn’t even be part of the equation) and his pledge to uphold the law’s of the country; Holder has been hesitant to pull the trigger. However; after carefully reviewing all of the CIA tapes available-many claim his decision has been made. Bad news for Bush and the boys! From the NEWSWEEK article: “As he pored over reports and listened to briefings, he became increasingly troubled. There were startling indications that some interrogators had gone far beyond what had been authorized in the legal opinions issued by the Justice Department, which were themselves controversial. (DUH-look out John Yoo) He told one intimate that what he saw ‘turned my stomach’”. Given Holder’s past history as a rather strict judge and one who didn’t hesitate to dole out severe punishments; my guess is that he witnessed a little more than waterboarding.

As I said; the past couple of weeks haven’t been kind to DICK. The Inspector General has determined that the 8 year long wiretapping program was proven to be ineffective at best. Forget the fact that this program pissed all over our rights protected by the 4th Amendment. Cheney, in his infinite wisdom, has insisted that this program was invaluable in the battle against terrorism. Time to pull your pants up DICK-bagged AGAIN! This revelation begs the question: What was the price tag for this useless program? The conservatives have justifiably complained about the excessive spending by the Obama administration. I haven’t heard of any complaints voiced by them regarding this example of excessive spending by the previous administration. This is not to say that Obama’s programs have been productive-they haven’t been but let’s be careful with the hypocrisy. From what I can see: Obama certainly inherited a lousy situation but he has done little to improve it and has, in fact, exacerbated it.

I would be remiss if I didn’t address one more thing my conservative friend commented on yesterday. He had the audacity to compare Cheney’s deceit with that of Joe Biden’s. I have no intention of going to bat for Biden but I do have two questions. 1) Has Biden’s deceit ever resulted in the denial of a state’s right to sovereignty? 2) Has Biden’s deceit ever resulted in the death of over 3,400 Americans? I challenge anyone to refute the notion that DICK played a crucial role in our invasion of Iraq. His “vision” for the Middle East (see Pt.1) along with his role in deceiving all Americans were both major contributors to our entering into a war we had no business being in. There were no WMDs! Iraq posed no threat to the U.S.! No ties between Iraq and al Qaeda have ever been established!

In closing; I confess that my perception of Cheney may be construed as obsessive. The very sight of this vile creature ignites my long forgotten violent tendencies. I am left with the hope that Holder’s investigation comes to fruition and this blight to our history is finally held accountable for his criminal acts. With any luck; he can continue his pontificating from the confines of Leavenworth where he is sure to see the “benefits” of real torture. Don’t even try to deny me this fantasy! Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Time To Wipe That Egg Off Your Face DICK!! Pt.1

The past couple of weeks have not been kind to that beloved humanitarian, Dick Cheney. A couple of issues have come to light that have confirmed my belief that he is, and always has been, a cancer to our way of life. There are few, if any, figures in our country’s history that I detest more than Cheney. Much of my disdain for the sociopath began with his role in the Iraq War and his part in running Colin Powell out of town. Though Powell left of his own accord; it was Cheney’s deceitful nature that the General had grown tired of. As Secretary of State and the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Powell was undoubtedly the most knowledgeable in regard to military matters. Though originally a proponent of our invasion of Iraq; Powell quickly saw through the charade the Bush administration had employed as a justification for the invasion. As a man of honor; he simply could not be part of an administration that had used faulty intelligence and admitted forgeries as a means to con the American people and Congress. For those who disagree, I have but one question: How many of those pesky WMDs have we found?

Cheney’s secretive and deceitful nature can be traced back to 2001 when he headed an energy task force. Not surprisingly; this task force worked without any oversight and was secretive in its very existence. If ever there was a conflict of interest; this was it! From Howard Fineman’s THE THIRTEEN AMERICAN ARGUMENTS : “Earlier in that year of 2001, in one of the Bush administration’s first official acts, Cheney had convened a task force to study the country’s energy needs, and how to meet them. Its membership and meetings were shrouded in secrecy, but there was no hiding Cheney’s personal agenda, which he had brought with him from his job at the energy company Haliburton…” (I’m not done with Haliburton) While Cheney advocated, and eventually prevailed in his quest to deny the recently held right of individual states to deny the installation of gas, oil, or electrical lines; he purchased a $2.67 million dollar home in Maryland. Cheney’s home had a beautiful and completely unobstructed view of the Chesapeake Bay-no power lines blocking the VP’s view.

Let’s fast forward to 2003. While the White House is already under fire concerning the veracity of the administration’s reasons for entering the war in Iraq; Nobel Prize winning journalist Nicolas Kristof uncovered another case of deceit perpetuated by the Bush/Cheney dynamic duo. The alleged purchase of uranium from Niger by Iraq had been deemed to be bullshit. Worse yet; it was discovered that the documents used as evidence of these purchases had been forged by the CIA. Ooops!! No one expected the ever vigilant and sworn protector of our Constitution to take this lying down. From Scott McClellan’s (Bush’s Press Secretary) book WHAT HAPPENED: INSIDE THE BUSH WHITE HOUSE AND WASHINGTON'S CULTURE OF DECEIT : “The vice president, whose credibility and integrity were specifically being questioned (imagine that), and his office would take a leading role in these efforts, beginning in late May 2003…the vice president’s office quickly learned the identity of Kristof’s unnamed source. It was former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who’d been sent to Niger to investigate the uranium allegation in January 2002. Under the cloak of anonymity, the vice president and trusted aide Scooter Libby began an effort to discredit Wilson with selected journalists.” Apparently, the much ballyhooed “liberal media” was left out of the loop.

Both Fineman and McClellan shed some light on Cheney’s vulgar, pretentious, and arrogant “vision” for the Middle East. (I’m close to vomiting) From Fineman: “He (Bush) drew upon theories that had been offered to him in his earliest briefings, by Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, and others. World peace, they advised him, required that Arab and Muslim nations be modernized and democratized. They had to be made, or at least reformed, to understand if not fully accept the Western idea of pluralism and secular democracy.” UNBELIEVABLE!! Many have stated that the Islamic world detested us long before the Bush regime assumed power and of that; I have no doubt. Iran alone has every reason to despise us considering the fact that their coup in 1953 was masterminded by, you guessed it, the CIA. Couple that with our support and the eventual granting asylum to that vile, sadistic piece of shit, The Shah; and I for one, don’t blame them. That being said; this attitude the Bush administration had concerning the entire Middle East did little to change their perception. Given the fact that Bush rarely went to the bathroom without first consulting Karl Rove or Cheney; his adoption of this Middle East approach was a given. From McClellan: “For Bush, removing the ‘grave and gathering danger’ that Iraq supposedly posed was primarily a means for achieving the far more grandiose objective of reshaping the Middle East as a region of peaceful democracies.” Is anyone else feeling ill?

I have dedicated too much time and effort into the history of Cheney’s propensity to be both secretive and full of shit; not to mention his sordid ideology. Because of this, I have chosen to make this into a two part article in the hope that I don’t bore you to tears. So, for those of you who are interested in reading more about the adventures of that great American after he left office; stop by tomorrow. Until then…

Friday, July 3, 2009

Zardari and The Washington Post

President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan has been using the Washington Post as his forum for requesting aid from the U.S. while, at the same time, engaging in defaming our country. In January of this year, he wrote an op-ed in the Post congratulating President Obama on his victory. The agenda of Zardari became obvious when he went on to encourage the President to influence Congress to pass the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act which called for $1.5 billion in aid to Pakistan annually for 5 years. See: http:// Though the bill passed; Zardari’s attacks on the U.S. appear to be hypocritical considering his own record of corruption among other allegations. In the article; he basically blames the U.S. for the present state of Pakistan. He cites our withdrawal from the region in the 80s after the Soviet invasion as the reason for the influx of Islamic extremists such as al Qaeda and the Taliban. Conversely, he goes on to say; “This is our war. It is our children and wives who are dying.”

Yesterday; The Washington Post chose to publish another of Zardari’s unusual pleas for aid. In it, he points to our “debacle in Vietnam” and our propensity to court dictators naming the Shah of Iran and Marcos of the Philippines as examples. http:// As stated earlier; Zardari is the last person to be questioning the actions of any government or individual. One would think this approach to be counter-productive yet he knows that the future of Pakistan is a major priority of the Obama administration. “Pakistan has repeatedly been identified as the most critical external problem facing the new administration.” Obviously using this as leverage; he implores the governments in Europe to join the U.S. in providing financial aid as well as equipment and technology to help fight the insurgents.

What infuriates me is that we continue to coddle this less than reputable con artist. I must confess that my anger is exacerbated by the fact that there is some validity to his accusations. That being said; this is a man who has spent close to 11 years in prison for crimes ranging from corruption to murder and conspiracy to commit murder. See: http:// For a man who persistently cites the poverty prevalent in his country; his own financial worth is estimated to be close to $2 billion. Much of his fortune is alleged to have been amassed illegally. He rejected a capital gains tax that would have helped the poor in Pakistan. Though I admit to not putting much stock in Wikipedia; it is reported that Zardari and his wife, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, embezzled $1.5 billion from the government.

The problem I find is that we are not in a position to allow Pakistan to take on the Taliban alone. Presently; the Taliban has been able to infiltrate deep into Pakistan. Some reports claim that they are only 40 miles outside of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital. Access to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal poses a very real threat for the U.S. and its’ allies. Never known for my own diplomatic abilities; I do believe it’s time we tell this thief that if he wants our support; it may be time to cease with his personal attacks on our country. While our granting asylum to the likes of the Shah may be despicable; it’s not for this criminal to criticize us.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Obama's Conundrum

“I wish I hadn’t said that.” How often have we all thought that? Certainly, some more than others but we’ve all said things that we wished we could have taken back. I would think our President is thinking along those lines as the chaotic climate in Iran continues to escalate. When the election results were announced and the protests began; Obama stated that there were no significant differences between the incumbent and alleged victor President Ahmadinejad and his opponent, Mir Hossein Mousavi. The President’s statement, in my opinion, was a safety net of sorts implemented to maintain the possibility of future negotiations with Iran.

In light of the continued violence and statements made by those who are truly in charge, the clerics; that difference appears to become more and more significant. Ayotollah Ahmed Khatami, a senior cleric, declared in a prayer sermon (yeah, a prayer sermon) “that the government should punish leaders of protests, who were supported by the united States and Israel, strongly and with cruelty so it will be a lesson for everyone.” How very holy of him!! I confess that I originally thought that the President’s olive branch extension was a wise move considering the previous administration’s position proved to be fruitless. Well, my new position is a simple one: Screw them!!

A recent article in Newsweek entitled Theocracy and Its Discontents by Fareed Zakaria outlines the power structure in Iran and the possibility of its complete collapse. While President Ahmadinejad can promise to be receptive to the West’s new approach (which is bullshit anyway); the fact remains that he does not set foreign policy. Foreign policy is set by those men of God, the Guardian Council and its Supreme Leader, Ayotollah Ali Khamenei. The persistence of the protestors is perceived by many to be a serious blow to the religious regime. These protests are akin to those in 1979 which enabled these hypocritical bastards to assume control. “Although Iran is Shia and most of the Islamic world is Sunni, Khomeni’s rise to power was a shock to every Muslim country, a sign that Islamic fundamentalism was a force to be reckoned with.” Now, the very tactics employed by the late Ayotollah Khomeni are being used to bite his successors right in their holy asses.

The point of this article (I admit to being derailed) is that though Obama may be right when he says he sees little difference; it has nothing to do with Ahmadinejad and Mousavi. It has to do with the fact that as long as the present regime, cloaked in religious dogma, has control; there is no chance of any reversal in Iran’s dealings with the U.S. They have long memories and vindictive tendencies. They will never forgive the U.S. for masterminding the coup of 1953 or its unholy alliance with the Shah preceding and following (not our finest hour) his removal from power.

Perhaps the President doesn’t need to retract his statement but clarify it. There is no difference, and there won’t be, until those men of God are removed from power. We have enough to deal with here at home with our own religious zealots who justify violence with religious rhetoric (abortion clinic bombings and murders). In regard to Iran; it may be prudent to step back and wait and see how effective these protests turn out to be.