Venezuelan Elections: All signs are pointing to a public turning its back on dictator Hugo Chavez and his failed 13 years of socialism. The big question coming up on Oct. 7 is whether he'll accept defeat. or November 6th
As if there wasn't enough turmoil elsewhere in the world already, bubbling up from Caracas is the prospect of a violent explosion over a hotly contested election where Hugo Chavez is facing his strongest challenge ever.
Vote for Chavez or "expect a civil war," Chavez told voters last week, which is pretty much the tone of the campaign now. As for his challenger, Henrique Capriles Radonski, Chavez said the latter could be expected to leave this election "on a stretcher." Fausta noted that he couldn't draw a huge crowd in one of his strongholds, cut his appearance short, and in general looks like the Big C is taking its' final toll....
A Venezuelan consultant, who asked to remain unnamed, met with all five of the country's top pollsters Monday and found they all had one common conclusion: Chavez's support is capped at 48% of the vote.
sound like anyone we know?
So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: Display the Muhammad cartoon daily, until the Islamists become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.
When Salman Rushdie mocked Islamic sanctities in his magical 1989 realist novel "The Satanic Verses," Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini did something shockingly original: He issued a death edict on Rushdie and all those connected to the production of his book. By doing this, Khomeini sought to impose Islamic mores and laws on the West. We don't insult the prophet, he effectively said, and neither can you.
That started a trend of condemning those in the West deemed anti-Islamic that persists to this day. Again and again, when Westerners are perceived as denigrating Muhammad, the Koran, or Islam, Islamists demonstrate, riot or kill.
Khomeini's edict also had the unexpected side effect of empowering individuals -- Western and Islamist alike -- to drive their countries' policies.
Fleming Rose, a newspaper editor, created the greatest crisis for Denmark since World War II by publishing 12 cartoons depicting Muhammad. Florida pastor Terry Jones sowed panic among American commanders in Afghanistan by threatening to burn a Koran. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and friends prompted a crisis in U.S.-Egyptian relations with his amateurish "Innocence of Muslims" video. And the satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo caused the French government to temporarily shut down diplomatic missions in 20 countries. Plans by the German satirical magazine Titanic to publish attacks on Muhammad likewise led German missions to be closed.
On the Islamist side, an individual or group took one of these perceived offenses and turned it into a reason to riot. Khomeini did this with "The Satanic Verses." Ahmad Abu Laban did likewise with the Danish cartoons. Afghan President Hamid Karzai goaded his people to riot over burned Korans by American soldiers, and Egyptian preacher Khaled Abdullah turned "Innocence of Muslims" into an international event.
Any Westerner can now buy a Koran for a dollar and burn it, while any Muslim with a platform can transform that act into a fighting offense. As passions rise on both sides of the divide, Western provocateurs and Islamist hotheads have found each other, as confrontations occur with increasing frequency.
Which prompts this question: What would happen if publishers and managers of major media outlets reached a consensus -- "Enough of this intimidation, we will publish the most famous Danish Muhammad cartoon every day, until the Islamists tire out and no longer riot"? What would happen if Korans were recurrently burned?
Would repetition inspire institutionalization, generate ever-more outraged responses, and offer a vehicle for Islamists to ride to greater power? Or would it lead to routinization, to a wearing out of Islamists, and a realization that violence is counter-productive to their cause?
I predict the latter. A Muhammad cartoon published each day, or Koranic desecrations on a quasi-regular basis, would make it harder for Islamists to mobilize Muslim mobs. Westerners could then once again treat Islam as they do other religions -- freely, to criticize without fear. That would demonstrate to Islamists that Westerners will not capitulate, that they reject Islamic law, that they are ready to stand up for their values.
So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: Display the Muhammad cartoon daily, until the Islamists become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.
I predict the latter. A Muhammad cartoon published each day, or Koranic desecrations on a quasi-regular basis, would make it harder for Islamists to mobilize Muslim mobs
Burning Koran or cartoon fatigue? Sort of like listening to Obama polluting the boob tube everyday?
Even if they didn't get inured to all this, they would most likely run out stuff to burn--much of it being their own. Send them some more fake U.S. flags, the one's with the "special treatment" that does you in if you burn it.
When Salman Rushdie mocked Islamic sanctities in his magical 1989 realist novel "The Satanic Verses," Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini did something shockingly original: He issued a death edict on Rushdie and all those connected to the production of his book.
And here I was thinking it was for the execrable writing.
Meanwhile, this last week has seen the publication of two controversial magazines in France: One, called Closer, showed Prince William's lovely bride, the Duchess of Cambridge, without her bikini top on. The other, the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, showed some bloke who died in the seventh century without his bikini top on. In response, a kosher grocery store was firebombed, injuring four people. Which group was responsible? Yes, frenzied Anglicans defending the honor of the wife of the future supreme governor of the Church of England rampaged through Jewish grocery stores yelling, "Behead the enemies of the House of Windsor!" The embassy-burning mobs well understand the fraudulence of Obama and Clinton's professions of generalized "respect" for "all faiths." As a headline in the Karachi Express-Tribune puts it:
"Ultimatum to U.S.: Criminalize Blasphemy or Lose Consulate."
Last night Hanity said "we don't even know if Ambassador Stevens knew Sufyan Ben Qumu". I hope it was not the case, but what an absolute disaster if Stevens was coordinating a meet between Qumu and the MANPAD team. There has got to be yet even more to this story.
Murder and a giant cluster phuck are hard to cover up after all GO DNC thanks for the convention and the broadcast of crapping on God bet it went over well in the Middle East and Africa! They do love the Rand corp also!
Susan Rice looks even more like a dim-witted fool. Jay Carney is repeatedly shown to be a dissembling asshat. Victoria Nuland is a lying boot Prada licker.
But hey! Obama's still clean, right? WaPo says so
Posted by: Frank G ||
Lots of low hanging fruit for the debates. If Romney, can't hit a home run with what he has got to use, he does not deserve to be president. He can ask Obama why his administration lied about the Libyan ambo murder. Why his administration lied and covered up Fast and Furious? Why he engaged in crony capitalism with people who were his bundlers--Solyndra for example? Why did all these companies fail and what happened to the assets? ACORN and election rigging. New Black Panther and voter intimidation--no prosecution. Why did he screw the GM bond holders to pay back the auto unions for their support in the election? Mideast policy and why it is failing. Why he threw our only ally in the mideast under the bus. Why he has no viable domestic energy policy. Univision did the only real interview I've seen since he became President. He did not like being questioned by the Univision interviewers. Obama could be in for a rough time in the debates if the Pubs are willing to play hardball.
They have to view this race as a war which if they lose, the country as we know it does not exist. Hope they are to the war. Romney needs to come out of the corner swinging because he is going to be dealing with a lying president and a press made up of Obama sycophants who get tingling feelings up their legs over Obama.
Grenade fishing? I can recall of doing this sort of thing with a 1/4 stick of dynamite as a much younger person. Those were the days when you could buy dynamite in the hardware store to blow out stumps.
[Dawn] WHILE cut-thoat organizations, especially those associated with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain, might have suffered some pounding at the hands of the military in the Bajaur, Kurram, Khyber and Mohmand Agencies, it is far from the truth to even conjecture that active militancy has been defeated in Fata and other parts of Pakistain.
Five events, measures and steps adopted in succession over the past six weeks by cut-thoat organizations across Pakistain, especially in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa ... formerly NWFP, still Terrorism Central... and Fata, indicate strategic patterns and operational tactics for broadening their resource-base, intensifying recruitment and strengthening the cut-thoat network.
Mediapersons received a seven-page letter addressed to the Learned Elders of Islam of Pakistain, ostensibly sent by the TTP spokesperson. It presents an extended argument to convince holy mans of various hues to accept the TTP's tactics as valid 'jihad'. Eyewitnesses from Hangu, Kurram Agency ...home of an intricately interconnected web of poverty, ignorance, and religious fanaticism, where the laws of cause and effect are assumed to be suspended, conveniently located adjacent to Tora Bora... , Beautiful Downtown Peshawar ...capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province), administrative and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, convenient to the Pak-Afghan border. Peshawar has evolved into one of Pakistan's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, which means lots of gunfire. , Swabi and Charsadda report campaigns in mosques by cut-thoat organizations exhorting the faithful to contribute to the 'jihad' in terms of their selves and in terms of cash.
Stories in the press say that the TTP put up posters in Matani town in the suburbs of Peshawar ordering the local shopkeepers to refrain from confrontation or else face the TTP's wrath. The posters remained up for almost three days and no one, not even the police, dared to remove them.
First-hand information received from Khyber Agency divulges that a batch of almost 120 young men was taken to an unknown location for 'jihadi' training. Some of the parents and guardians who were searching for their sons and wards were threatened and told to keep quiet and wait for the news of either 'martyrdom' or that their sons and wards had become 'ghazis'.
According to news reports, the TTP spokesperson has exhorted the youth of Pakistain to join hands with the organization and teach a lesson to the infidels and their cohorts. This came after the situation in some Moslem countries, including Pakistain, became volatile as a result of an anti-Islam movie.
The research wings of various security agencies need to analyse the above events through, on the one hand, the framework of discourse construction, the social contagion of the discourse and social control of the discourse.
On the other, they should look at the sociocultural, politico-economic and strategic levels of active militancy in Pakistain. It should not need more emphasis that cut-thoat organizations keep modifying their strategies and tactics in response to various local, provincial, national, regional and international realities as they emerge.
Keeping in view the measures, steps and processes initiated by cut-thoat organizations recently, one reaches certain conclusions.
Firstly, cut-thoat organizations have started identifying areas and geographical units where they can achieve their targets with relatively more ease. In this way, they can easily broaden their resource-base without incurring any or much loss vis-à-vis their network and personnel. They continue to keep the populations fearful while targeting only those that might be a threat to them.
Hence, there seems to be a decrease in the number of suicide kabooms and kabooms but there is a concomitant increase in assassinations, kidnapping and the intimidation of target populations. This provides cut-thoat organizations with the leverage to recruit from areas which are not under their territorial control.
Secondly, by adopting the specific target strategy, these organizations also get the space to present their views to the public on the lam in order to spread their discourse. The media and mosques they can penetrate easily. By using these spaces, they are able to emotionally stir the common population, especially the youth.
Militant organizations have also refined the use of communication strategies in recent times which again provide them with the leverage to interact with the common people and enlarge their recruitment opportunities, as well as collect donations.
Thirdly, by combining the strategies of fear and emotional exhortation, cut-thoat organizations have been able to broaden their resource-base, increase their recruitment and keep their network intact. They have been able to defeat the security agencies on the sociocultural and politico-economic fronts.
Over the past several months, cut-thoat organizations have been able to diversify the generation of funds. They have been able to engage several groups and populations by successfully putting in place an economy of war.
They have also been able to strengthen their organizational structures and modernise their training strategies. They are now able to use the sectarian, ethnic, cultural and geographical fissures that are present in society to their own advantage, whenever it suits them. In this way, they have considerably reduced space for a pluralist discourse and the economy of peace.
To stem the tide of active militancy, the government, security establishment, civil society and academia must work in tandem on the sociocultural, politico-economic and strategic levels.
Civil society and academia need to take the responsibility of constructing and disseminating the discourse of pluralism and the acceptance of diversity.
There is substantial lack of coordination among various civil society organizations working in different parts of Pakistain. Most of the programmes initiated by such organizations in various parts of the country, especially in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Fata, work in isolation. This needs to end.
The security agencies must share their information and understanding of cut-thoat strategies and tactics with other agencies and amongst themselves on a regular basis. They also need to coordinate with the government and agencies working under the civilian administration to locate and curb strategies developed by cut-thoat organizations.
[Dawn] THE predictable unfolding of events since the inauspicious 'release' of an amateur film that has offended the sensibilities of Moslems across the world has once again underlined the major divisions that exist in our society.
While conservatives with a virtual monopoly on the vernacular press and TV media play their inexhaustible 'anti-West' card, progressives restricted mostly to the English-language press are lamenting the irrationality of the Pak mind.
The fact that this article is being read on a hastily declared public holiday, and that the major party in government has put in its two cents with the protesters would suggest that the conservatives have won this particular battle. The more pessimistic amongst the progressives would likely venture that the 'other' side is also winning the war.
As in all such cases, the polemic tends to focus on the 'anti-Islam' posture and actions of 'America'. In this simplistic narrative, 'America' is somehow responsible for every negative thing said or done against 'Islam'.
I share the frustration of those progressives who worry about the incredibly insular worldview of many ordinary Paks. But I find the desperation and even nihilism of at least a segment of progressives rather incongruous, because surely the point is not only to harp on about our 'America' problem, but to try and address it.
The panic sets in only when one becomes convinced that the problem cannot be addressed at all, that ordinary Paks are somehow incapable of moving beyond the polemic and seeing the world for what it really is. And therein lies the quandary: just as the conservatives are convinced that their worldview is the right one, some of the progressives feel that their worldview must be adopted by all Paks if we are to move beyond our 'dark ages'.
Such a diagnosis is dangerously close to an orientalist account of the 'other', particularly inasmuch as the 'rationalists' view the common hordes with suspicion at best, and contempt at worst. If nothing else, the 'common hordes' are anything but a monolith.
Is it true that those involved in the protests in major urban centres are representative of Pak society? Is there outrage being expressed in the tens and thousands of villages across the country? Is the government trying to appease its voters or the small but powerful rightist lobby?
And if we do assume that a vast majority of Paks that have not been touched by the magic wand of rationality represent a threat to themselves and the rest of us civilised lot, then what are we doing about it (other than fearing an imminent takeover by the mullahs)?
My humble submission is that if -- and I emphasise if -- progressives want to challenge the siege mentality that is an increasingly prominent feature of our social landscape, then they need to first change their own siege mentality about the 'other' in their own society.
In short, the rationalists need to spend less time reacting to, and more time engaging with, ordinary people. Whomsoever believes that there is a set of rationalist principles that should inform the functioning of modern society must actually go out and tell that to those who have not yet been enlightened.
Some context might assist in clarifying my point. I have written a number of times about a bygone era in which progressive politics and ideals occupied a prominent place in society. Many white-collar professionals of a progressive bent were deeply involved in organising workers, peasants, students, and the like. That many of these one-time revolutionaries are no longer excited by the idea of radical transformation is by the by. The problem is that other would-be revolutionaries have taken their place.
Indeed, the 1980s marked not only the eviction of progressive ideals and politics -- along with individuals and organizations -- from the social and intellectual mainstream, but the attendant propagation of a competing set of ideals and politics.
Conservatives were inducted into educational institutions, the media, and all government departments. Much is made of the role of madressahs in facilitating the rightist shift, but overstating this case actually distracts from how deep the Ziaist transformation was.
Meanwhile the same worker, peasant and student stomping grounds that were once the exclusive preserve of progressives were literally handed over to the right. At least 110 million out of Pakistain's 180 million people were born after 1977. This population has never known anything other than the conservative worldview.
I want to emphasise, however, that the Pak establishment has peddled a siege mentality amongst its people since the inception of the state. The difference between the post-1977 period and that which preceded it is that in the past progressives resisted this mentality, and the politics associated with it, in an organised, holistic manner. Now there is only lament, isolation and contempt.
Screaming until one is hoarse about our 'America' problem betrays the fact that progressives have not managed to reorganise themselves as a force to be reckoned within Pak politics and society on the lam.
Having said this, it is never too late. The exclusion and exploitation that runs rife throughout Pak society in the past still blights us. There is no shortage of avenues for progressives to once again make common cause with ordinary people.
Of course, this means that we have to do away with our irrational fear of the common hordes and recognise that human beings are not progressive or retrogressive by birth, but that their socialisation explains the values they espouse and the actions they take.
We have a problem, yes, but it existed back in the day when our now ex-leftists were also happy and willing to decry the excesses of American imperialism, while the mullahs were celebrating the alliance with ahl-e-kitab against the godless communists. The problem continues to exist today and is likely to do so in the future, regardless of whether conservatives remain true to their currently favourite pastime of America-bashing.
Progressives, now confined to their four walls, English-language newspapers and computer screens, need to remind themselves what the crux of the matter really is. The Pak state and those that claim to defend its ideological frontiers will do what they do. If we once again start to do what we once used to do without hesitation, our 'America' problem will eventually work itself out.
People across the globe seemingly fell in love with President Barack Obama during his presidential campaign of 2008 and shortly afterward. But now that love affair is over. In addition, there's little evidence that his popularity overseas did anything to boost relations with our allies ---- or our enemies, Politico reports.
"For conservatives, it's a 'Told you so' moment, proving -- as they believed all along -- the notion that Obama could remake America's image through the power of his personality was a fantasy," the news service states.
Whereas for progressives, it's a moment to put their fingers in their ears and sing loudly...
"There was rapturous narcissism," Kori Schake, a senior foreign policy adviser to Sen. John McCain during his 2008 presidential campaign, told Politico. "It was rapturously self-regarding to think that the change from President Bush to Obama would, all by itself, improve our standing."
Actually, Obama's election did improve our standing temporarily, she says. "And that disappeared as the result of his policies."
Mitchell Reiss, a foreign policy adviser to 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, says Obama has conducted foreign affairs with a scatter-shot approach.
"Essentially, American foreign policy was personalized," Reiss, a State Department official in the George W. Bush administration, told Politico. "I think what we're finding now is that you actually need policy in order to promote American interests and values around the world. . . . You can't simply rely on your own estimation of your own magical personality."
Nations have enduring interests regardless of who is in charge. The Russian Bear has been interested in a route to the Indian Ocean for a few centuries. That the head cheese is called Czar, Comrade, General Secretary or President doesn't change that. The Mad Mullahs™ want to black our eyes regardless of who is in charge. And so on. You'd think the smart folks here would know this.