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Total number of comments: 31 (since 2013-11-28 15:55:14)


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  • On the Fourth of July: None of us has Inalienable Rights if American Muslims don't
    • The Dhaka killers were young, wealthy and educated; and native - they were not coping with "assimilation" into an alien society, or the economic stresses of the recent immigrant. This simply raises the level of fear and suspicion.

      Further, the Founding Fathers would not have welcomed Savanrola to the new United States.

  • Top 5 things that Make Bangladesh a natural Target for Extremists
    • This is what the NY Times reported on June 8:
      link to

      "Bangladesh Says It Now Knows Who’s Killing the Bloggers"

      "In a lengthy interview, the chief of the police counterterrorism unit, Monirul Islam, who assumed his post in February, laid out the findings of his investigation in minute detail.

      But secularism is far from universally accepted in Bangladesh, and has always had to contend with a conservative Islamic culture.

      To a surprising extent, the militants have succeeded in their aim of discrediting secularism, the chief investigator said.

      “In general, people think they have done the right thing, that it’s not unjustifiable to kill” the bloggers, gay people and other secularists, he added. "

  • 5 Reasons India's new BJP ("Tea Party") Government may not be so Great for Business
    • #1 Narendra Modi was very good for business in Gujarat, the state he presided over for over a decade. His campaign was wholly about jobs and development, and Indian voters believed him.

      2. Doniger's publisher, Penguin, withdrew her book, faced with a private lawsuit. The book is not banned. As to science, the Vajpayee government (BJP) was an enthusiastic supporter of Indian science establishments. Congress's Manmohan Singh always seemed skeptical of Indian capabilities and seemed more inclined toward import rather than indigenous development of technology. It remains to be seen how Modi will do.

      3. Modi's state of Gujarat actually has the third lowest Gini coefficient of the states in India, and the Gini coefficient improved a wee bit (i.e., more equality) during his tenure as Chief Minister.

      4. The correct way to put it is that Pakistan-backed terrorists attached the Indian Parliament, and army encampments in Jammu & Kashmir. That almost led to war.

      5. India's real GDP growth rate per the UN
      link to

      Year - India - Developing countries average
      2000 - 4.0% - 5.8%
      2001 - 5.2% - 3.0%
      2002 - 3.8% - 4.3%
      2003 - 8.4% - 5.3%
      2004 - 8.3% - 7.3%
      2005 - 9.3% - 6.7%
      2006 - 9.7% - 7.3%
      2007 - 9.1% - 7.6%
      2008 - 7.3% - 5.4%
      2009 - 5.9% - 1.9% (partly estimated)
      2010 - 6.5% - 5.3%

      The war scare in 2002 did not dampen growth in 2003, it would appear.

  • Top 7 Surprising pieces of Good news in Afghanistan Presidential Election
    • "As the US and NATO draw down their presence, Afghanistan could become a focus again for India-Pakistan rivalry, with potential for renewed violence." --- as though what India is doing and what Pakistan is doing in Afghanistan are equivalent!!!

      Why not be honest like Carlotta Gall, in "The Wrong Enemy" and simply say that Pakistan may back Taliban or other factions that will undermine Afghanistan's government and sovereignty?

  • Broken Democracy: Republicans poised to take Senate, Americans Reject their Platform
    • No, House Democrats won 50.5% of the overall vote in 2012, but nevertheless won only 46% of the seats.

  • The Cheapening of American Politics: Why did Obama reward O'Reilly with an Interview?
    • As I remember from TV:

      Journalist Gabriel Sherman: Fox News is a political operation that hires journalists.

      Sherman does not deny that Fox News commits acts of journalism (on occasion) - it after all hires journalists. But it is a political operation run by Roger Ailes. Sherman sees Fox News as an expression of Roger Ailes' will just as Apple was to Steve Jobs.

  • India Flap derives from America's Gulag Practices and Far-Right Supreme Court
    • An Indian story on how the US treated Saudi and Russian diplomats who committed worse offences.
      link to

    • One-time Pakistan Ambassador to the US writes:
      link to

      Quote: As Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, I found myself at the center of a similar but much worse row in January 2011 when Raymond Davis killed two men in a crowded street in the city of Lahore.

      The U.S. claimed that Davis carried a diplomatic passport and therefore enjoyed diplomatic immunity. Pakistan’s Foreign Office found that Davis’ name had been included on the list of diplomats serving in Pakistan only after he had committed the murders, which did not extend him immunity under the Vienna Convention."

      "The ends of justice would not have been compromised if Khobragade had been treated with courtesies similar to those extended by Pakistan to Davis. American diplomats are extended considerations over and beyond the law in most countries."

      "Pakistan’s government could not free a killer without due process. But once he had been identified as a U.S. government functionary, our government ensured that Davis was treated with courtesy. American officials were immediately provided access to Davis and he was not subjected to a strip search. Once The Guardian revealed that he was, in fact, a CIA contractor, special arrangements were made for his security in prison in case other inmates might attempt to hurt him."

    • Remember the American Raymond Davis? He shot and killed a couple of Pakistanis in Pakistan, but "diplomatic immunity" (after the fact) saved him.

    • Ms. Khobragade was strip searched by the US Marshals' service. Until 2010, at least, they had to have reasonable suspicion of contraband or weapons or security, escape or suicide risk in order to conduct a strip search; and they needed to file paperwork recording and justifying the strip search.
      See their directives here:
      link to

      It is the Supreme Court decision that has made possible strip searches for no reason and with no accountability.

      When you consider that the arresting authorities have considerable discretion on strip searches, and on where to hold the arrested - this was a deliberate effort to humiliate Ms. Khobragade, who stands accused of a white collar crime.

      Anyway, this is the Indian Ambassador to the US on twitter:
      link to

    • You have to remember that one cause of the great war in the Mahabharata epic was the attempted disrobement of the princess Draupadi.

    • Listen to both sides. The Khobragade story is that
      (1) the bulk of the wages were sent to the maid's family in India
      (2) the maid was fine until she asked Khobragade to help her get permanent residence in the US, and K. said no.
      (3) the maid has parlayed her testimony against Khobragade into permanent residency for herself and her family.

  • Top 10 Ways the US is the Most Corrupt Country in the World
    • William Jennings Bryan, back in 1905, described the British rule in India as conducted by honorable people, yet nothing more than a system of legalized pillage.

      "...I do not mean to bring an indictment against the English people or to assert they are guilty of international wrongdoing. Neither do I mean to question the motives of those in authority. .... While he has boasted of bring peace to the living he has led millions to the peace of the grave; while he has dwelt upon order established between warring troops he has impoverished the country by legalized pillage. Pillage is a strong word, but no refinement of language can purge the present system of its iniquity."

      If you examine Professor Cole's indictment of US corruption, you will notice that very little of it runs afoul of the law. This seems to me, then, to be the genius of the Anglo-Saxon system. It legalizes what in other places would be considered corruption. Other countries fall into disorder because the corrupt are scoff-laws. In the US (and in the British Empire) the corrupt are upholders of the laws, of the system.

  • Does the Road to Mideast Peace Run through Tehran?
  • Dear Tea Party: The Gov't Shutdown is Hurting White People, Too
  • Al-Qaeda as Fringe Cult: 12 Years Later, Heretical Text of 9/11 Hijackers Still Withheld by FBI (Kurzman)
  • How US Grand Strategy in Syria led to the idea of Missile Strikes
    • "the idea that people keep the ideology you pay them to have is simplistic" - but is true to American internal political experience.

  • Former Iranian President Slams Syria for Gassing own People: Sign of deep Divisions in Tehran
  • Eight things to consider before intervening in Syria (ECFR)
    • Eventually if Syrian officials want to set foot in any place other than Iran, China, North Korea or Russia, they should be subject to arrest, imprisonment and trial.

    • How about: anyone in the current Syrian government abve a certain rank faces arrest, trial before the International Court of Justice, and a mandatory minimum one year imprisonment regardless of outcome? No statute of limitations, no diplomatic immunity. The demand will also be that any future Syrian govt will be required to extradite them.

  • Rush to Western Strike on Syria slows, but does not Stall
    • And of course, the British House of Commons has voted against any British military action against Syria!

      link to

    • Given the Republican eagerness to impeach Obama, I hope that Obama seeks Congressional authorization for whatever military strikes in Syria that he is contemplating.

      Otherwise a Syrian crisis could morph into an American constitutional crisis.

  • Top Ten Surprises on Libya's Election Day
  • Death of Pakistani Secularism Much Exaggerated
    • 5. The MQM not only controls Karachi, it has become a swing party in parliament, the ruling Pakistan People’s Party needs the MQM secularists to stay in power. That is, the story-line of the Western press about Pakistan’s descent into fundamentalist barbarism has to be tempered with a narrative of how an unabashedly secular party is the pillar of the political establishment.

      -- Since when is a swing party "a pillar of the political establishment"? MQM has 25 members in the 342 seat national assembly. That is 7.3%. Equivalently about 9 members in the 120 member Israeli Knesset. The Shas party in Israel has 11 seats. I believe Netanyahu has 66 members backing him, so Shas is a "swing party". Is Shas "a pillar of the political establishment"?

    • 4. The people of Karachi vote for the militantly secular if rather thuggish MQM (Muttahidah Qaumi Movement) party, which runs their municipal government and represents them in the national parliament. The MQM vehemently denounced the killing of Taseer. Fundamentalists are not important in Karachi politics, except insofar as they are violent infiltrators.

      --True, but Karachi is population-wise, about 10% of Pakistan. What really matters is the situation in Punjab, which comprises 56% of the population and is the heart of army recruitment.

      Further, the MQM has not stinted at using the blasphemy law against its opponents.

      e.g., 2006:
      HYDERABAD, Aug 22: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement on Tuesday called upon President Gen Pervez Musharraf to order registration of a blasphemy case against Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Qazi Hussain Ahmed and other MMA legislators for their alleged involvement in tearing up of copies of Hudood Ordinance (amendment) bill containing sacred names of Allah and Holy Prophet (pbuh) and Quranic verses.

    • 3. The rally of 40,000 in favor of the blasphemy law just isn’t that big in Karachi, a city of over 15 million people.

      The appropriate comparison is the number of people who came out to rally against the blasphemy law or to mourn Salman Taseer.

  • Cloughley-- "Against a Rush to Judgment: Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban"
    • Brian Cloughley conveniently uses his Portmanteau Word to slur over what it is that Pakistan is doing. There are, at a minimum, the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani Taliban. In reality within each, there are factions. The Pakistani Army supports certain of these factions; and fights some of the others. By lumping all of the Taliban together and ignoring these different groups, Cloughley is able to make arguments like "It is lunacy to imagine that the chief of the Pakistan army helps kill his own soldiers." (i.e., "how can Pakistan both fight and support the Taliban?") This is intellectual dishonesty of a high order. For Professor Juan Cole to reproduce this here is a betrayal of his own standards, because he knows better. e.g., he mentions at least two factions of Taliban here:

      "Of course, that issue raises the question of which faction of Taliban is active in Marawara. Is it the Old Taliban of Mulla Omar (which tends to have its power bases in the West) or the Pakistani Taliban (Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan), based over the border in Pakistan?"
      in his post here.

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