Archive for the 'Politics' Category

Thumbs On the Scales of Justice

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thumbsup.jpgWASHINGTON — More than a year before the Bush administration has said it first considered firing US attorneys, a top Justice Department official asked lawyers to determine how the administration could temporarily fill vacant US attorney positions with appointees who had not been confirmed by the Senate.

In a September 2003 memo, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which answers legal questions for the president and his appointees, described a way to install a replacement US attorney who could serve up to 330 days without Senate confirmation.

But the memo also said that any appointee would eventually still have to win confirmation from the Senate or be approved by a federal court to continue serving. Two years later, the administration quietly got a provision inserted into the USA Patriot Act reauthorization bill giving itself the power to permanently appoint replacement US attorneys without Senate or court approval.

from the Boston Globe

This might be the hook this story needs to grow some legs. The mass firings of 8 Federal Prosecutors has been a hard sell to the American public, mostly because they “serve at the pleasure of the President” which in the popular mind means he can fire them whenever he wants. It is difficult for most folks to conceptualize in a few sound bites or column inches in the Metro the difference between the customary dismissal of prosecutors at the end of a president’s term and the politically motivated dismissals which oozed out of the back corridors of the White House and infected the Justice Department.

But everybody understands the separation of powers and the checks and balances built into the American political system, at least everybody who usually votes. They are taught repeatedly from 4th grade to high school to the citizenship exam. The quietly inserted provision in the Patriot Act designed to subvert this is precisely the kind of sneaky fascist chicanery undermining the bedrock principles of American democracy that could capture the national imagination and spark a wave of righteous indignation against the regieme.

It may not be enough to jump start the impeachment movement all by itself, but it could get the ball moving in the right direction.

Hillary’s Guys

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Trying to reconcile politics and history is both difficult and dangerous. While the one is the essence of here-and-now action, with real-time polling constantly taking the pulse of the electorate and triggering actions in an incestuous feedback loop between the public and professional politicians, the other requires temporal perspective, dispassionate analysis and the benefits of big-picture thinking.

Yet it is clear to this half-wit pundit that the two-headed political monster sometimes refereed to as Billary is destined to be remembered as the consummate and dominate political operation of our generation. Electoral junkies like the Dowbrigade should feel privileged to have witnessed the entire arc (thus far) of their career as the ultimate power couple produced by the American system of post-democracy.

But getting back to the here-and-now, today Billary is faced with perhaps the greatest challenge of their storied career. How to get the her-half of the beast elected to the pinnacle of power when over a third of her own party hate her guts and wouldn’t vote for her even if the only other candidates on the primary ballot were Kinky Friedman and Howard Nifong?

Of course, another third of the electorate are passionate supporters, ready to not only vote but to work for and contribute to the cause.

The problem is the remaining third, the "swing" voters. For the most part, these are clueless average Joes and Joans who have been so hypnotized and hornswaggled by Modern Major Media that they wouldn’t recognize a sound political argument if it simultaneously appeared on every LCD panel and speaker in their environment. On the playground of American politics, these voters rotate betweeen the swing set, the see-saw and the jungle gym.

How to reach a sector of the electorate whose idea of breaking news is the latest results of American Idle voting and a live camera crew at Brittany’s rehab spa, when you are selling a candidate with such obvious and attackable negatives that Republicans are slapping each other to keep from chortling as she worms her way closer to the nomination?

How to offset the inevitable sniping on her war support, her flawed family life, the presidential pardon payoffs, her thinly disguised disdain for traditional femininity, her own carefully controlled feral furies? Why, by finding fitting competition from a candidate even more deeply flawed than herself, who despite an attractive patina of vigor and value, features flaws so deep future historians will marvel that he was ever successfully sold to the American public as a viable presidential candidate, even for the few months he is destined to serve in that role.

This is where Barak Hussein Obama comes into the picture. (see "Hillary’s Stalking Horse")

Can you really picture an American President, in these times, whose Grandfather was a Muslim, who speaks Arabic, who studied for four years in a Muslim country, who has no experience on the national or world stages? Dream on. However deserving he may be, how many Americans are going to be able to stand in the voting booth and pull the lever, push the button, fill in the circle or touch the name on the screen which sounds so much like the names of this country’s worst enemies?

Could it be any clearer that the Barak Hussein Obama campaign is a brilliant creation of the Clinton brain trust, designed to siphon attention, money and support away from more viable, dangerous democratic challengers to the Billary master plan? Poor Joe Biden, Christopher Dodd, Bill Richardson and Wesley Clark can’t even get onto the first section of the newspaper or the six-o’clock news through the media barrage being afforded to Hillary and Barak. Al Gore had to win an Oscar and John Edwards needed to be called a homo by Ann Coulter to break through the media monopoly of the Big Two.

By the time Mr. Obama flashes his Aw, Shucks smile and graciously bows out of Hillary’s way, in the name of Party Unity and the good of the country, it will be so late and the others so far behind that the race, or so Billary hopes, will be locked up. Payback for Barak will probably consist of a cabinet post, or maybe heading some high-profile, low-impact federal agency.

We don’t even hold out much hope for Obama long-term. We met the man at the last Democratic National Convention, and he struck us as, well, conventional. He is, in a very real way, the hope of the Democratic party. He is the embodiment of vision of the boys in the back room, perhaps now electronically wired rather than smoke-filled, but still as corrupt and manipulative as ever told in sordid tales of hoary political lore.

Obama was designed and manufactured by party hacks to draw a new generation of American voters into the moral morass of major party politics. He is a standard-issue, special-interest-sponsored, bought-and-paid-for corporate shill, honing his shtick on the primary party circuit, hoping to perpetuate a bankrupt system long after its healthy shelf-life has expired.

If there is anybody who can get us out of this mess, they aren’t coming out of the Democratic or Republican parties. But that’s a post for another day.

The True Price of Failure

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Are we the only one to note that in all the wailing and thunder over the President’s "Surge" speech, no one is even mentioning the two ton black elephant in the drawing room: What’s going to happen once we’re gone?

The Dowbrigade gets an uplifting sense of real national unity in this country these days, more so than at any time in recent memory. The far majority of the American public and the pundits all agree – Bush’s plan has less chance of succeeding than a bagel shop in Sadr City.

What nobody wants to think about is what that means to the balance of power in the region and our immediate access to energy supplies. And yet these are the very factors that are driving our foreign policy in this case.

What is playing out today in Iraq is nothing more or less than the final stage of the Iran-Iraq war, the most recent iteration of which broke out in 1980 when Saddam Hussein, with covert and overt American support, invaded the recently installed Islamic Republic. Of course, there has been rivalry between kingdoms of Mesopotamia and Persia since the dawn of history in the region.

We picked sides in this one over 30 years ago, when the Ayatollahs took over the US Embassy in Tehran. First, in a time-honored practice of empires since Rome, we backed local strongman Saddam Hussein as our surrogate in the struggle. When he proved unsuccessful, unreliable and unacceptable to our other surrogates, the Israelis, we had to invade the country and carry on more directly.

As has been becoming depressingly common during our lifetime, our leaders bet on the losers again. And when we finally throw down our cards and walk away from the table, Iran is going to rake in all of the chips.

With a multicultural Iraq now a tattered, smokescreen pipe dream, the 70% Shi’ite majority is already halfway into the Iranian embrace, receiving daily financial, social, political and military support from across the porous border between the two countries. Both of the main forces we are fighting – the Sunni insurgency and the Shi’ite militias, are being supplied by the Iranians.

When we leave, or shortly thereafter, the majority of what is now called Iraq will be absorbed into a radical Shi’ite "Greater Iran" or "Iran-Iraq Republic". The 80-year European conceit which never really existed except as lines on a map and power-lust in the minds of despots and dominators will vanish like a mirage in the desert, leaving only the bedrock of Islam and tribal survival.

Greater Iran will have a significant percentage of world proven oil reserves, more than Saudi Arabia and the US combined, and be very close to having nuclear arms. And they will hate our guts. How’s that going to affect the price of gasoline?

Believe it or not, the emergence of a rabidly anti-American Greater Iran is actually the best-case scenario. Equally likely, when examining historical and geopolitical tendencies, is the emergence over the next 10 years of a Greater Islamic Republic stretching from the Horn of Africa, across the entire Middle East and into vast stretches of Asia.

We have written of this coming unified Islamic colossus before. It would be dangerous stupidity to ignore this increasingly probable eventuality, which is the declared goal of the Ayatollahs, Osama bin Laden and fundamentalist Muslims everywhere. If the powers in the Islamic world can overcome the sectarian divisions between Sunni and Shi’ite, the Muslim world could transcend the western imposition of the nation-state model, and become what it has always been underneath, a militant religious empire, determined to convert or annihilate everything in its path.

It would hold almost a billion people and would include Afghanistan, Pakistan (making it definitely a nuclear state) Saudi Arabia (kiss your car goodbye), several ex-Soviet Socialist Republics (aiming a dagger at the heart of Europe) and even parts of China. It would be a fulcrum which could move the world, and would signify the end of life as we know it .

As far as we can see, the only concrete moves the US is making to forestall or deal with this eventuality is building up a future state of Kurdistan as a possible buffer against the Islamic Empire.

Bringing us to a final. macabre irony. The way things are shaping up, the only force with a chance to derail the Greater Islamic Empire is exactly what President Bush is trying to quell – sectarian violence.

Maybe, if the bloodshed and hatred between Sunni and Shia is deeper than the unifying force of Islam itself, we will merely have to deal with a "Greater Iran" and can keep our access to the rest of the oil, at least for a while.

Opening Up the Rabbit Hole

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LEAKING a sensitive government document can mean risking a jail sentence – but not for much longer if an online service called WikiLeaks goes ahead. WikiLeaks is designed to allow anyone to post documents on the web without fear of being traced.

The creators of the site are thought to include political activists and open-source software engineers, though they are keeping their identities secret. Their goal is to ensure that whistle-blowers and journalists are not thrown into jail for emailing sensitive documents. That was the fate of Chinese journalist Shi Tao, who was sentenced to a 10-year term in 2005 after publicising an email from Chinese officials about the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

According to the group’s website, its primary targets include China, Russia, and oppressive regimes in Eurasia, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. It is not limited to these countries, however, and people anywhere will be able to use the site to reveal unethical behaviour by governments and corporations.

Normally an email or a document posted to a website can be traced back to its source because each data packet carries the IP address of the last server that it passed through. To prevent this, WikiLeaks will exploit an anonymising protocol known as The Onion Router (Tor), which routes data through a network of servers that use cryptography to hide the path that the packets took. Bruce Schneier, a cryptographer based in Silicon Valley, California, explains it like this. "Imagine a large room jammed full of people in which many of them are passing around envelopes. How would you know where any of them started?"

The WikiLeaks team do not plan to control what is disclosed on the site, raising fears that the anonymity it offers could be misused. "The initiative could drown in fabricated documents, pornographic records or become hijacked to serve vendettas," warns Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists in Washington DC.

The safeguard against this, according to the WikiLeaks team, is that false postings will be sniffed out by users, who will be free to comment on what is posted."WikiLeaks will provide a forum for the entire global community to examine any document relentlessly for credibility," the site claims. WikiLeaks is raising funds and testing its software. It hopes tolaunch in February.

from New Scientist Press Release

From the Wikileaks site: "Wikileaks opens leaked documents up to a much more exacting scrutiny than any media organization or intelligence agency could provide. Wikileaks will provide a forum for the entire global community to examine any document for credibility, plausibility, veracity and falsifiability. They will be able to interpret documents and explain their relevance to the public."

From the White House to the Big House

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"The President does not know him. Nor does the President recall ever meeting him." – White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan – January 2006.

"I frankly don’t even remember having my picture taken with the guy. I don’t know him."
– George W. Bush on ABC News – January 2006

Abramoff: “[Bush] has one of the best memories of any politician I have ever met. … The guy saw me in almost a dozen settings, and joked with me about a bunch of things, including details of my kids. Perhaps he has forgotten everything. Who knows.”

The photo is from a fundraiser in December 2003 and was recently dug up by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). Here’s hoping these two rascals get a reunion and plenty of time to reminisce in the Big House…..

President Pelosi – A Question of Time

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The feeling here is that Hillary may be too late to become the first female President of the United States. According to the 25th amendment, the only thing standing between us and President Pelosi is the simultaneous resignation, or incapacitation, or impeachment, or abdication of the sitting President and Vice President.

That may not be as farfetched as it seems at first view. We may be living in a fool’s paradise, but we believe this is still a nation of laws to which no one is immune, and we are absolutely convinced that both George Bush and John Cheney have committed multiple felonies, high crimes and misdemeanors in the course of deliberately misrepresenting intelligence findings, misleading the country into war for personal and political reasons, illegally arresting, detaining and torturing citizens and foreign nationals alike, wiretapping, eavesdropping and warrantless searches of same, illegal fundraising, rigged contract adjudication and financial/regulatory manipulation of the media. For starters.

Furthermore, as these guys are no smarter than your average power-mad megalomaniacs, we are convinced of the existence of multiple smoking guns, paper trails and incriminating recordings pertaining to the above-mentioned transgressions. The principles have all been so thoroughly cutthroat for so long we are sure they have all collected insurance policies in the form of incriminating photocopies, emails or tapes. Once the shit starts hitting the fan for real, this whole rotten regime is going to collapse like a house of losing scratch tickets.

Or maybe that is just wistful thinking. As incompetent and traitorously fraudulent as Bush and Cheney have been, there are powerful interests invested in preserving their legacy and keeping their asses out of jail. The sanctity of the office, and the lingering odor of sulphur, and Skull and Bones. They may yet wriggle out of actual hard time, but the both of them belong in jail, for what they’ve done to dishonor the sacrifices of so many, for so long.

So supposing that the Democrats grow some real balls, and start putting pressure on the principals, some modern-day John Dean is going to crack, and the sordid details will start to pour out. At that point, it will all come down to timing.

If the righteous wrath of the Democrats is turned first against the Price of Darkness, aka the Vice President, as a prelude or warm up to going after the Bushman himself, the Republicans will just replace Cheney with a bland Mitch McConnell or Dennis Hastert or somebody, so that if Bush gets impeached or resigns a Republican stalwart reigns.

After all, this is the Gerald Ford blueprint. First, the improbably named vice president was replaced with a Ford, as the powers that be doubted America would withstand a President named Spiro. And let us not forget, as Maureen Dowd reminded us yesterday, it was Gerald Ford who brought us John Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld in the first place.

Conversely, if the Democrats go after Bush first, on the theory that he would be the more likely to carelessly leave his fingerprints on a crucial document, or that the VP will be harder to get to in his still undisclosed location, this would allow Cheney to ascend to the top job directly, despite his well-know aversion to public events, the press, and direct sunlight. Flushed out of his crypt, there is no telling what he would be capable of.

Which makes it imperative to concoct a scenario wherein both of these dudes take the fall together, or at least more or less simultaneously. Perhaps if they are co-defendants in the same case? Who knows? But here’s hoping the Democratic leadership has some pretty smart sleaze bags and shysters of its own working on the case as we sleep…..and dream of the ascension of President Pelosi and all that it would entail.

English teacher’s afterthought:

“This is an historic moment,” Mrs. Pelosi said in her first remarks as speaker of the 110th Congress. “It’s an historic moment for the Congress. It’s an historic moment for the women of America. It is a moment for which we have waited for over 200 years.”

from the New York Times

Now, this is not an auspicious start, from a language point of view. As we all know, the indefinite article "an" is used in front of words that begin with vowels, or words that begin with a silent "h", like "an hour" or "an honor". Now, the last time we checked, the "h" in "historic" IS pronounced, unless one is from Liverpool, like the "h’s" in "a house" or "a hearty meal". Is it too much to ask of our next President that she take a bit more care of the language than her predecessor?

Obama Hillary’s Stalking Horse

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WASHINGTON — Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois are already rewriting the script of the 2008 Democratic presidential campaign, driving potential Democratic rivals to the sidelines.

Trading on their star power, capacity to raise tens of millions of dollars with relative ease, and ability to dominate news media attention, the two senators are casting a huge shadow over all others who may run.

What once shaped up as a sizable field of Democratic candidates is now shrinking. Senator Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana, announced on Dec. 16 that he would not seek the Democratic nomination, a surprising decision that came just days after he had witnessed firsthand Obama’s drawing power in New Hampshire.

from the Boston Globe

It seems increasingly clear that the media-driven mania for one Barack Obama is an artfully concocted but completely artificial frenzy whipped up by the imaginative and indefatigable media magicians behind the Clinton Cabal.

Whether an explicit pact was signed in blood, or there is an unspoken dance of wink-wink, non-nod going on, it is clear to this observer that Mr. Barack Hussain Omama hasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of capturing the Democratic nomination for President, or even cracking double digits in electoral support. Why, even in Massachusetts, where they just elected a smoother, gelded version of the Senator as governor, Hugo Chavez could probably;y beat Omama in the open court.

What is he doing in the race, then? Quite simply, he is a stalking horse, a lightning rod, a candidate manqu

Pot Top Crop In United States

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The $35-billion market value of U.S.-grown cannabis tops that of such heartland staples as corn and hay, a marijuana activist says.

SACRAMENTO — For years, activists in the marijuana legalization movement have claimed that cannabis is America’s biggest cash crop. Now they’re citing government statistics to prove it.

A report released today by a marijuana public policy analyst contends that the market value of pot produced in the U.S. exceeds $35 billion — far more than the crop value of such heartland staples as corn, soybeans and hay, which are the top three legal cash crops.

California is responsible for more than a third of the cannabis harvest, with an estimated production of $13.8 billion that exceeds the value of the state’s grapes, vegetables and hay combined — and marijuana is the top cash crop in a dozen states, the report states.

The report estimates that marijuana production has increased tenfold in the past quarter century despite an exhaustive anti-drug effort by law enforcement.

from the Los Angeles Times

The continued easy availability and increasing potency of domestically produced marijuana is both a testament to American ingenuity and the utter futility of attempting to prohibit a weed that can be grown just about anywhere, indoor or out.

According to our informants in the drug underground, back in the "heyday" of hippie-era pot consumption, most of the marijuana consumed in the United States was imported from Mexico, Jamaica, or Colombia. Hashish from Nepal, Afghanistan, Morocco, Turkey, Lebanon, and Pakistan was also widely available (according to our sources).

Today, in a complete turn-around running directly contrary to economic trends in almost every other field, production, processing, packaging and distribution are now over 90% domestic! Think of all of the jobs created by this $35 Billion industry. Imported jobs! Insourcing! A rare American success story, in terms of freeing the US from a dangerous foreign dependency. If only the energy industry could follow suit!

How long will venal politicians be able to ignore this colossal source of potential revenue? Of course, the current pot policies do generate some revenue from fines and seized property but this pales in comparison to the costs of enforcement and incarceration. For the past 50 years pot prohibition has been an invaluable tool of social control, a convenience handle to weed out troublemakers and put the screws to that creative underclass whenever they start whining about things like due process or pointing out inconsistencies in the official version of how things were going down.

But now that the majority of our potential presidential candidates have at least a passing acquaintance with the evil weed, and there are so many other tools available to the forces of law and order, and if the members of Congress were subjected to the same drug testing policies as baseball players they would have trouble reaching a quorum, perhaps the day is coming when the costs of this particular front in the war on drugs will so obviously and overwhelmingly outweigh the benefits that some kind of equitable truce can be declared.

See No Evil

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Millions of commercial Web sites and personal blogs would be required to report illegal images or videos posted by their users or pay fines of up to $300,000, if a new proposal in the U.S. Senate came into law.

The legislation, drafted by Sen. John McCain and obtained by CNET News.com, would also require Web sites that offer user profiles to delete pages posted by sex offenders.

article from Cnet

McCain’s proposal, "Stop the Online Exploitation of Our Children Act" (click for PDF)

Now that’s not very sharing of Sen. McCain, now is it? At the theoretical rate of $300,000 per image, why the US Government could fund a whole day of the war in Iraq on just what they could collect from an insignificant blog like yours. Theoretically, that is.

When will people see that with this guy what you see is not necessarily what you get….

Half-Cocked to Vote

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To the true fan of American Democracy, that bastard mix of egalitarian fundamentalism and high-tech sleazy showmanship, Election Day is the Ultimate Holiday, combining the best elements of Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, the 4th of July, Eid, the Jewish High Holy Days, the Easter of the Resurrection and the Mexican Day of the Dead.

So it was with a celebratory air that we bounded from the house this morning, across the street to the Hellenic Cultural Center where to do our democratic duty – double-duty in fact. For not only were we exercising our democratic franchise, but also dusting off our Citizen’s Journalist Union Card to act as a sort of Cyber-Sentinal on patrol against subterfuge, chicanery or other electoral improprieties. Eternal vigilance, after all, is the ultimate price of liberty.

A few days earlier we came across the web page for Video the Vote. What a great idea! It said, "Stopping voter suppression, by observing the vote. And sharing the results—on Election Day." Wow – so simple, so effective. A hundred thousand citizen journalists video-recording at every precinct in America! Catching the bastards red-handed as they try to steal the election. Whoever the bastards turn out to be. So simple, so perfect an idea that we didn’t think we had to read the fine print. We didn’t think we had to officially register as a Video the Vote Videographer. Mostly, we didn’t think at all.

Instead, we stumbled into our precinct with our eye behind a lens and the bytes rolling, narrating as we walked – right into a gigantic cop.

"Where do you think you’re going?" he asked.

"To vote, officer," we replied respectfully.

"Not with that camera," he opined.

We went into our best authority-bluffing bullshit mode. We claimed to be an "official registered observer" for a national poll watching organization. We claimed to be a citizen journalist covering the voting for an independent publication. We argued that this was the quintessential public event, and so of course it was eligible for press coverage. We noted that every election day we see footage of the President, Governor and other candidates casting their ballots, so if its OK to film George Bush voting, then why not the Dowbrigade. We even insinuated that not allowing the camera into the voting hall would be taken as evidence that there was something there to hide. "What is it you don’t want the public to see?" we wondered aloud.

We are extremely fortunate we weren’t arrested. Instead, we were politely asked to take a seat while the poll manager called the City Director of Electors. After about 15 minutes, the local manager, accompanied by the cop, came back to deliver the verdict.

"You can vote, but the camera stays here."

We politely declined, either to vote or to leave our camera there, and beat a hasty retreat. We were late for work. As soon as we got to the office, we checked the Video the Vote web site, looking for the Hot Line number to call for legal assistance. And finally read the instructions.

Of course, we had gotten it completely wrong. We were not supposed to take our cameras into the polling places. We were supposed to interview voters OUTSIDE the polling place, after they had voted, and ask them if they had had any problems or noticed anything strange. Cameras are allowed in polling places only when accompanied by official press passes and previous written permission from the local Election Board. Neither of which we had.

After work we returned to the polls and apologized to the manager. And voted. Anyone interested in seeing the embarrassing video of the Dowbrigade making an ass of himself by trying to film the vote, can CLICK HERE. For some reason, we are unable to embed the video tag in our posts in this Manila-based blog, although it takes most other html tags.

Bottom line – we didn’t notice anything weird or irregular – except when we looked in the mirror.

For Research Purposes Only

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Rev. Ted Haggard admitted yesterday that he bought methamphetamine and received a massage from a male prostitute. But the influential Christian evangelist insisted he threw the drugs away and never had sex with the man.

Yesterday, Haggard said that he received a massage from Jones after being referred to him by a Denver hotel and that he bought meth for himself from Jones.

But Haggard said he never had sex with Jones. And as for the drugs, "I was tempted, but I never used it," the 50-year-old Haggard told reporters from his vehicle while leaving his home with his wife and three of his five children.

from the Boston Globe

The entries in the "Waddeva you say" World’s Weakest Excuse contest are literally pouring in. It’s been a bad year for sanctimonious psuedo-religious hipocrites. This particular entry falls into the "Didn’t Inhale" Finger-Crossed category. The eponymously named Haggard is the favorite to take home the Jim Baker trophy this year….

Uncle Fester’s Head on Lou Ferrigno’s Body

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Richard Armitage was mainly unknown to most Americans until recently.
But now Armitage, the quintessential Washington insider can’t; seem to
stay out of the news. First it was revealed that Richard Armitage was Bob
Novak’s source for his story on Valerie Plame and now a report comes in
about a bomb threat made by him after 9/11.

Pakistani leader General Pervez Musharraf said that former Deputy Secretary
of State Richard Armitage threatened to bomb Pakistan "back to
the stone age" unless they cooperated with 9/11/2001-related
intelligence gathering.

by By Jack Kramer in the National Ledger

Central casting couldn’t have genetically designed a better
heavy for the mutant crew of the Cheney-gang. Armitage looks like the Adam’s
Family
Uncle Fester’s head spliced onto Lou Ferrigno’s body.

Although he claims not to have been authorized to
threaten and therefore, ipso facto, he could not have threatened (the
logic of which
somehow escapes
us), it seems clear to the Dowbrigade’s overactive imagination that Armitage’s
rap went something like this: "Now look here General, all due respect,
but these psychopathic killers are using your territory to train terrorists
and coordinate attacks against the United States. We are committed
to exterminating these scum wherever they are hiding. These human vermin
have infected your country, and if we don’t have your complete and immediate
cooperation on the ground we are going to take our each and every one of the bastards with a
massive bombardment of high-tech aerial weapons systems which will effectively
transport Pakistan back to the stone age."

See, it doesn’t sound so bad when its put in those terms. Despite this Realpolitik offer that couldn’t be refused, the begrudging
acquiescence of General…..General is just delaying the inevitable. He
knew he was in a lose/lose situation, and was just hoping to somehow get out alive. And looked at from within that context, he hasn’t done bad at all.
Now he feels he has
he has done his time, played his part, narrowly escaping over a dozen assassination attempts,
and as partial compensation has bribed Bush to endorse his book, building
buzz on a world stage, as he quickly feathers his nest for a pampered and
protected retirement far from the threatening streets of Islamabad, a retirement which
may come sooner rather than later.

Because, make no mistake, he is hated in his homeland, as are we, and
Pakistan’s restless young millions, without oil riches to placate them,
represent radical Islam’s best bet and easiest path to nuclear arms. Uneasy
rests the crown on General….General’s head, and we may all pay the price when it falls. Buy the way, the book comes out Wednesday….