Someone tell me I am just being paranoid

Am I just being paranoid?

Someone tell me I am.

Six minutes and ten seconds into this interview with David Frost, Benazir Bhutto refers to Omar Sheikh as the man who “murdered Osama bin Ladin”. The interview was about who she thought was behind the first attempt on her life back in the autumn.

Mike Malloy noticed as well. So did a bunch of people. Did she misspeak?

I have spent a day or so rolling this around in my head. Did she mean “the man who murdered Daniel Pearl”?

so… y’know, it doesn’t do my paranoid mind any good that RIGHT ON CUE, another Bin Laden tape turns up from the usual sources yesterday.

If you, like me, are struggling to make sense of what is happening in Pakistan, you could do a lot worse than going and reading this article, and hunting down any information you can find from Tariq Ali. You can also get a great rundown on what is happening inside Pakistan by listening to this broadcast of Democracy Now! featuring Ali and also Manan Ahmed, historian of Pakistan and South Asian Islam.

See also:Juan Cole, particularly this and this and this as well.

Also, Robert Fisk has some interesting things to say about the view from inside Pakistan. Not surprisingly, he mentions Tariq Ali as a good source to seek out for more information.

Alright, folks. You have your reading assignments. I’ll be back to talking about music here shortly….

Drool, really.

Stupid fucking dipshit. Really. I mean…. hello? Someone got paid to write this…

I THINK ALL intelligent, patriotic and informed people can agree: It would be great if the U.S. could find an Iraqi Augusto Pinochet. In fact, an Iraqi Pinochet would be even better than an Iraqi Castro.

Both propositions strike me as so self-evident as to require no explanation. But as I have discovered in recent days, many otherwise rational people can’t think straight when the names Fidel Castro and Augusto Pinochet come up.

Who could be that stupid? Oh, I think you know… you do. Close your eyes and guess.

Bingo. Jonah Goldberg.

Of course. That sort of stupidity has a special odor, sort of like the way one knows skunk spray when one smells it. This kind of stupid is the smell of a rotten tooth that’s metastasized into the brain.

OK, someone help little Jonah back into his chair so we can administer the medicine.

As TBogg so aptly points out, Iraq HAD a Pinochet. His name is Saddam Hussein. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. The current SecDef took cash from Contra cocaine sales and bought weapons for him in the ’80s.

Gates also was implicated in a secret operation to funnel military assistance to Iraq in the 1980s, as the Reagan administration played off the two countries battling each other in the eight-year-long Iran-Iraq War.

Middle Eastern witnesses alleged that Gates worked on the secret Iraqi initiative, which included Saddam Hussein’s procurement of cluster bombs and chemicals used to produce chemical weapons for the war against Iran.

Gates denied those Iran-Iraq accusations in 1991 and the Senate Intelligence Committee – then headed by Gates’s personal friend, Sen. David Boren, D-Oklahoma – failed to fully check out the claims before recommending Gates for confirmation.

Small fucking world, huh?

I told you this would happen

If one digs a hole in the desert, pours money into it while setting it on fire, then prints more money in order to cover the gap caused by pallets of billions of dollars gone missing, what results is a massive devaluation of currency. See also: inflation, causes of.

Welcome to the five dollar gallon of gas, coming soon to a city near you:

The US trade deficit is near all-time records. By itself, this proves nothing: the US supplies reserves to the world system, and it can run any deficit that the world is prepared to finance. But, sooner or later the world may start to get other ideas.

So here’s the big question: is the age of the dollar economy lurching toward an end? Are China, Japan, Saudi Arabia and other big holders of T-bonds about to start a rush, or even a stately promenade, toward the exits? Let’s hope not, because the world is unprepared to replace the dollar with anything else. The euro is not suited for the job, and a joint dollar-euro system would need better central bankers than either America or Europe has got. An end to the dollar system would therefore be chaotic, inflationary, and very tough on world trade. The best argument for the dollar has always been: it’s not in anyone’s interest to bring it down.

Could it happen, though? Yes, it could. And it could be connected to that other unfolding disaster. As the “Pax Americana” goes to hell in Iraq – producing a nervous breakdown among the pro-war elites – let’s remember that security and finance are linked. Typically, the country that provides global economic security enjoys the use of its financial assets in world trade. And when the security situation changes, that privilege can be revoked. The consequences are unpleasant. Ask the British: after the sterling area folded, it took a generation for the UK to come all the way back.

Yay, us.

If you really want to know what’s actually happening in Iraq

It might help to turn off the US news and watch this.

There are Shi’ite death squads roaming the streets of Baghdad and if you want to know how they got there, you should google “Salvador Option Iraq” and see what you discover.

Especially this article.

What to do about the deepening quagmire of Iraq? The Pentagon’s latest approach is being called “the Salvador option”—and the fact that it is being discussed at all is a measure of just how worried Donald Rumsfeld really is.

Now, NEWSWEEK has learned, the Pentagon is intensively debating an option that dates back to a still-secret strategy in the Reagan administration’s battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s. Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government funded or supported “nationalist” forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers. Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success—despite the deaths of innocent civilians and the subsequent Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal. (Among the current administration officials who dealt with Central America back then is John Negroponte, who is today the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Under Reagan, he was ambassador to Honduras. There is no evidence, however, that Negroponte knew anything about the Salvadoran death squads or the Iran-Contra scandal at the time. The Iraq ambassador, in a phone call to NEWSWEEK on Jan. 10, said he was not involved in military strategy in Iraq. He called the insertion of his name into this report “utterly gratuitous.”)

Um. Yeah. As if Negroponte had any reputation left to protect.

I like it. I like it a lot.

Offense. Sometimes defined as “the best defense.” The democrats have spent way too much time “explaining” the “nuances” of their positions.

Well. Not so much this week. The Big Dog (who I like a LOT more as an ex-president than I did as a president, but that’s between you and me, ok?) got in there and threw some punches the other day. Now who’s explaining?

Oh, exactly the same folks who OWE us an explanation:

“What we did in the eight months [between Bush’s inauguration and 9/11] was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding years,” Rice told the New York Post in comments published Tuesday.

“The notion that somehow for eight months the Bush administration sat there and didn’t do that is just flatly false.”

Rice’s remarks followed Clinton’s TV interview on “Fox News Sunday” in which the ex-president defended his efforts to track down and kill al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Clinton lashed out against “the right-wingers who are attacking me now,” saying the same people had accused him of being “obsessed” with bin Laden.

What was it JC Watts said?

The Silly Brigade would like you to sign their petition

But I think you know better. Matt Yglesias has the lowdown on the latest Loyalty Oath Pledge Drive.

I am reminded of something I mentioned before….

Almost overnight the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was in full flower, and Captain Black was enraptured to discover himself spearheading it. He had really hit on something. All the enlisted men and officers on combat duty had to sign a loyalty oath to get their map cases from the intelligence tent, a second loyalty oath to receive their flak suits and parachutes from the parachute tent, a third loyalty oath for Lieutenant Balkington, the motor vehicle officer, to be allowed to ride from the squadron to the airfield in one of the trucks. Every time they turned around there was another loyalty oath to be signed.They signed a loyalty oath to get their pay from the finance officer, to obtain their PX supplies, to have their hair cut by the Italian barbers.

To Captain Black, every officer who supported his Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was a competitor, and he planned and plotted twnety-four hours a day to keep one step ahead. He would stand second to none in his devotion to country. When other officers had followed his urging and introduced loyalty oaths of their own, he went them one better by making every son of a bitch who came to his intelligence tent sign two loyalty oaths, then three, then four; then he introduced the pledge of allegiance, and after that “The Star-Spangled Banner,” one chorus, two choruses, three choruses, four choruses. Each time Captain Black forged ahead of his competitors, he swung upon them scornfully for their failure to follow his example. Each time they followed his example, he retreated with concern and racked his brain for some new strategem that would enable him to turn upon them scornfully again.

Without realizing how it had come about, the combat men in the squandron discovered themselves dominated by the administrators appointed to serve them. They were bullied, insulted, harassed and shoved about all day long by one after the other. When they voiced objection, Captain Black replied that people who were loyal would not mind signing all the loyalty oaths they had to. To anyone who questioned the effectiveness of the loyalty oaths, he replied that people who really did owe allegiance to their country would be proud to pledge it as often as he forced them to. And to anyone who questioned the morality, he replied that “The Star-Spangled Banner” was the greatest piece of music ever composed. The more loyalty oaths a person signed, the more loyal he was; to Captain Black it was as simple as that, and he had Corporal Kolodny sign hundreds with his name each day so that he could always prove he was more loyal than anyone else.

“The important thing is to keep them pledging,” he explained to his cohorts. “It doesn’t matter whether they mean it or not. That’s why they make little kids pledge allegiance even before they know what ‘pledge’ and ‘allegiance’ mean.”

–Joseph Heller
p. 122-123 of Catch-22

That’s the way to fight those Islamoterroristnazifascists…. make everyone sign a petition, then just LOOK AROUND AND SEE WHO DIDN’T SIGN IT! BAMMO! Instant positive ID!

It’s Genius, this plan! Why didn’t we think of this before???

Today I am reading the words of Arundhati Roy

You can read the full essay here.

To call someone anti-American, indeed, to be anti-American, is not just racist, it’s a failure of the imagination. An inability to see the world in terms other than those that the establishment has set out for you: If you don’t love us, you hate us. If you’re not good, you’re evil. If you’re not with us, you’re with the terrorists.

Last year, like many others, I too made the mistake of scoffing at this post-September 11 rhetoric, dismissing it as foolish and arrogant. I’ve realised that it’s not. It’s actually a canny recruitment drive for a misconceived, dangerous war.