Thursday, April 30, 2009

Good Policy?

I was looking for the show "Lie to Me" since I heard FOX was not running the President's Press Conference. In the end FOX had thrown in with the other national television stations and carried the conference, sharing the loss of millions in advertising dollars for the networks.

(our local FOX station went with the conference while the national broadcast was "Lie to Me")

I was initially dumbfounded by the President's remarks on Pakistan, a nuclear power. Spoken with a tone that does not come through in the transcript. Maybe I was being a bit too hard. Here is what he said:

I am gravely concerned about the situation in Pakistan, not because I think that they're immediately going to be overrun and the Taliban would take over in Pakistan. I'm more concerned that the civilian government there right now is very fragile and don't seem to have the capacity to deliver basic services: schools, health care, rule of law, a judicial system that works for the majority of the people.

And so as a consequence, it is very difficult for them to gain the support and the loyalty of their people. So we need to help Pakistan help Pakistanis. And I think that there's a recognition increasingly on the part of both the civilian government there and the army that that is their biggest weakness."

This is a good outline of the battle parameters. But was it wise to criticize the Pakistani government in a way that compliments the strategy of the Taliban, or any other radical Muslim group? Could President Obama have been more complimentary of the Pakistani government's efforts or image before its own people as he was speaking on the '100 Day' world stage? If you understand how these radical organizations operate maybe you would agree with me that this was a shot in the arm for the Taliban cause.

I went to a lecture of an urban geographer on Beirut some months ago. I found it fascinating how President Obama's statements shadowed what she explained as the operations of Hezbollah in Beirut, or Lebanon in general. In fact fighting corruption, providing social services, education and even running public works are all part of the program whether it is Hezbollah, Hamas, Fatah or the Taliban. All terrorist groups bent on the destruction of the western world, most notably the United States.

I was listening to the BBC World Report on the radio the other day and, though it is not in their print, they linked the recent 'woman's legislation' in Afghanistan with President Obama's policy. That is that under Bush democratic practices and freedoms were emphasized while under Obama the consolidation of power to keep al-qaeda and the Taliban suppressed take priority. So supposed torture that saves lives degrades us all but suppressing woman's rights is good policy? But I've wandered away from the topic.

the civilian government there right now is very fragile and don't seem to have the capacity to deliver basic services: schools, health care, rule of law, a judicial system that works for the majority of the people."

"don't seem to have the capacity,..." So who does? Not the way I would put it.

Swine Flu

So is it time to panic?

In Milwaukee some years ago now a popular ethnic grocery was raided with the veracity of busting a crack house filled with well armed gang members. The drugs they were after; antibiotics. Antibiotics sold without prescription off the shelf as is common in Mexico.

Yes, it was a Mexican grocery and though the flu is a virus and not bacterial the use of antibiotics kills good bacteria, weakening the body, and hinders the normal development of the immune system. Is it a mystery why the number of deaths are far larger in Mexico? Could it be that some took antibiotics when the symptoms presented? We have one death in the U.S. so far that I have heard of. A young Mexican child who was brought to the country for treatment.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Friend or Foe

I attended the Tea Party in Madison Wisconsin today. A semi-impromptu gathering of the masses who are beginning to sense that our governments fiscal foolishness is unsustainable. Signs of the new Internet age. The picture above is of a Homeland Security vehicle as it circled Capital Square. Sorry for the picture quality; it's from a cell phone. There were also at least three officers from Homeland Security on foot.

There were to be buses from the parking area but the organization was blundered and we decided to walk. We were told it was 1-2 miles; more like at least 2 miles. We arrived just in time after a 40 minute walk while many who waited for buses didn't arrive until half the event was over. Eight shuttle buses, five of which decided to gather at Capital Square in the morning rather than the parking area at the Alliant Energy Center. The upside being a parade of protesters along one of Madison's major streets.

They say there were over five thousand of us Right Wing Extremists there. Half the Capital Square was covered. And they were people of all ages from the elderly to young children.

Well, if this doesn't start things to change....

God Bless Texas!