The View From 1776

Benazir Bhutto Misperceived?

She may not have been the saint portrayed by Western media and liberal politicians.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/28 at 06:16 PM
  1. Speak ill of the dead? Used to be we'd wait for them to be safely in the ground and cold before digging up their past.

    Still, politics must go on.

    The two articles paint very different pictures of her; the one cunning and ruthless, the other well-meaning and ineffective. Which is the real Benazir Bhutto? Where they are similar is in trying to find meaning in her death. The meaning of her death is clear, she was sufficient threat someone repeatedly risked exposure to kill her. Reveal the threat and you will find the meaning.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/30  at  05:34 PM
  2. Al Qaeda & Taliban
    The suggestion is that Bhutto was an affront and threat to Muslim extremists; yet, as a threat, she can have been little more than an irritation and distraction. She was no more a threat of closing Pakistan off to extremists or their activities than is Musharraf. Her reforms have been sugarcoated precisely to avoid giving offense. Wealth distribution is no threat to Islam and the two have a long history of accommodation. Therefore, if it was fundamentalist-extremists who killed her, it can only be because of what she represents as a woman taking a place reserved to men. Even that, however, is suspect as a motive, else why would so many who are obviously and passionately Muslim support her, and why only now. Fundamentalists disliked her in the 1990s but did not try to kill her. Her mother has also been chairwoman of her party and was never threatened.

    The real answer may lie in Pakistan
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/30  at  06:58 PM
  3. Amendment to last remark above regarding Pakistan's Constitution: Muslims 'leadership' will, therefore, see any move toward a weakening of Sharia as a threat to [their] Muslim political supremacy.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/30  at  07:02 PM
  4. The reality of the world always has been plan A, if you can defend your way of life you defend it. Plan B, if you can't defend your way of life you honor the martyrs. We now hyper-analyze everything to the point that we are no longer capable of using the attack on an innocent to advance our cause by making the attackers unpopular. She was a martyr in the cause of democracy, not a saint.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/31  at  09:00 PM
  5. Charles,

    That's an excellent point. Saint or sinner, she didn't deserve to die.

    The only point I was trying to make is: it is unclear who the real killer is. Blaming this on Al Qaeda fits neatly with their profile and satisfies our expectation of them, but it is unlike them to murder someone and then not take credit. Also, their motive seems weaker than for some other candidates. They haven
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/01  at  07:29 PM
  6. That was all I wanted to say about Benazir Bhutto. Except on another site asking if it would help Hillary I wrote:

    Almost all women are incapable of having any other sentiment toward the military than "bring those boys home now." Women are unable to use the military for anything other than handing out bread to tsunami victims, for the same reason that men can't plan weddings. I would only accept a woman as commander in chief with either of the following two conditions. Either we have 51% of all of our combat deaths be women, proving women are equal to men. Or else we have a constitutional amendment that makes the position of commander in chief appointed by the pentagon, so it would continue to be a man. Equality is not a threat; special treatment under the guise of equality is the threat.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/01  at  09:16 PM
  7. Generally, true. However, there have been notable exceptions. Margret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, Elizabeth I, Cleopatra, Golda Meir, &c. I agree Hillary is not in their class, but, then again, neither are a lot of men who think themselves fit to be commander-in-chief.

    Moreover, women have been shown, in recent studies, to be just as capable of violence, the main difference being man v. woman violence is an unequal contest.

    Women in combat are another matter. I have known some women who'd make good warriors, but they are rare. Also, don't overrate men as warriors any more than women. Many who go into combat serve best by keeping their heads down, and it is their numbers more than aggression that matter. Most people in uniform never see combat and are just so many REMFs. I was one of those. Their role is supporting the real warfighters when necessary and providing structure when the fighting is done in order to capitalize on their accomplishment. This is a role women can and do fill admirably.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/02  at  09:48 AM
  8. What is disturbing is our meddling in their elections. If we want to say we support this or that person, we can do that but, it carries risk. If the other side wins, they may not do business with us as they would have if we stayed out of it. It is one thing to declare war against a nation and even to help it rebuild but, when you take sides with any nation, their enemies become your enemies.
    Posted by JanPBurr  on  01/04  at  08:22 PM
  9. You are worried they won't do business with us? Business with whom? Whose elections? Pakistan? The Taliban? Al Qaeda? Women?

    I'm afraid you lost me on that one. I can't see we'd be terribly concerned about any of their business except the last, and they are part of us.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/04  at  08:45 PM
  10. We do a lot of business with all nations one way or the other. And we have been pushing Bhutto and a "democratic election" in Pakistan.

    quote for Pakistan trade

    U.S. Trade: exports to U.S. $3.67 billion;
    imports from U.S. $2 billion (2006)

    And of course, we want a "friendly nuclear power."

    We are meddling in everything they do and yet, not taking out the taliban terrorist leaderhip that hides in Pakistan.

    As you know, this election was a big deal that the U.S. was working very hard to have come off in a "democratic manner." We encouraged Bhutto to return and run.

    Benazir Bhutto's death presents the U.S. with a major foreign policy challenge. Washington helped engineer her return to Pakistan in October after eight years in exile. And the Bush administration encouraged a power-sharing deal between her and President Pervez Musharraf, as a way to return the country to civilian rule and to help stabilize it. The U.S. now must consider other options in the wake of Bhutto's assassination.

    Without question, Pakistan is a key national security concern for the U.S. The nuclear-armed state is home to al-Qaida and pro-Taliban militants, and the U.S. has provided roughly $10 billion to help Pakistan fight terrorism.

    Several months ago, when Musharraf's regime began to wobble, the Bush administration revived its relationship with former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

    Yes, much of our trade is probably "not needed" as we could get what we get from other sources and sell what we do to other places but, "fear" of their nuclear capability drives many of our decisions.

    Yet, if we weren't a "threat" to anyone in the Middle East would they be a threat to us? Why were we so involved in that area? Only two reasons. Keeping oil sales in dollars (the 1971 deal with OPEC) and undermining Russia during the cold war by funding terrorist groups and radicals that would force Russia to spend billions in defense. Now they use the same weapon against us we used against Russia. Russia is even helping Iran which, in turn, helps unrest in Iraq. That makes us spend more.

    We are rapidly spending ourself into the same type of hole Russia found itself in.
    Posted by JanPBurr  on  01/04  at  09:19 PM
  11. Jan,

    Re-read the CRS report you supplied above. Although it discusses the Pakistani economy, it no where makes a case this 'economic relation' is vital to us other than as a means to other objectives. Pakistan's importance is that it is a) one less Muslim nation arrayed against us (putative ally), b) potential as a nuke-armed enemy, c) gives us a forward staging area nearby radical-Islam country, d) damps the spread of terrorism through Kashmir, and e) slows the proliferation of nuclear capability to rogue nations. Where economics is discussed it is in the context of keeping Pakistan on our side. You neglected to mention in those trade figures some $4-billion in direct aid plus $1.6-billion in security related aid, making the balance the other way altogether. If this were just about our trade balance (or even significantly about that) we'd be soooo... out of there.

    If we have few qualms over invading Iraq, deposing that government, and then encouraging democratic reforms there; why so squeamish we are merely 'meddling' in Pakistani affairs. Without said meddling isn't it highly probable Pakistan would, long ago, have gone rogue and we'd be looking at a 'real' militant-islamic nuclear-weaponed threat today? If Pakistan comes through this relatively intact, democratic, and stable, it will only be because we've been there making that possible.

    Our only real worry is we may fail in this laudable endeavor (moderate probability). In that event, we will be called some ugly names (will anyway) and told we should have minded our own business. There are times I'd agree with that latter assessment, but this isn't one of them. If we are serious about breaking up Al Qaeda, Pakistan is one of the places we're going to have to do it. Pakistan without our presence becomes open-range for them and similar militants, and one of the first things they'll do is make the place decidely unsafe for us. Then we'd have to invade Pakistan to get back to where we are now. As Patton said, "I don't like having to pay for the same realestate twice."

    Making Pakistan into a secure democracy is an important step and what happened to Bhutto was deplorable, but it is not our first priority. The first priority must remain keeping Pakistan from becoming a second Iran. Pakistan as a secure democracy is just a means of keeping it on the side of reason without the huge investment that goes along with us providing all their security for them.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/05  at  01:29 PM
  12. Bob you said
    no where makes a case this
    Posted by JanPBurr  on  01/05  at  02:09 PM
  13. Regarding Rockefeller and the global elite, he said this:
    Quotes from David Rockefeller's Memoirs (Random House, New York, 2002) Chapter 27, pages 404 and 405. Cited by Dr. Dennis Cuddy:

    "My lifetime pursuits as an internationalist might best be summarized by one rather extraordinary day in 1995. October 23 was a busy day at the Council on Foreign Relations. The fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations had drawn almost two hundred heads of government to New York, and many had asked to speak at the Council. but even then the day was unusual for the diversity of the speakers: Jiang Zemin, president of the People's Republic of China and heir apparent to Deng Xiaoping; Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic... Yasser Arafat... and, finally, Fidel Castro.... With the exception of Havel, these men had vowed to fight to the death against imperialist America. Now, with the end of the Cold War, they flocked to the center of world capitalism, eager to meet and close deals with American bankers and corporate executives, or at least to be seen with them -- even Castro....

    "For more than a century ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents such as my encounter with Castro to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure--one world, if you will. If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.

    "The anti-Rockefeller focus of these otherwise incompatible political positions owes much to Populism. 'Populists' believe in conspiracies, and one of the most enduring is that a secret group of international bankers and capitalists, and their minions, control the world's economy. Because of my name and prominence as the head of the Chase for many years, I have earned the distinction of 'conspirator in chief' from some of these people.

    "Populists and isolationists ignore the tangible benefits that have resulted from our active international role during the past half-century. Not only was the very real threat posed by Soviet Communism overcome, but there have been fundamental improvements in societies around the world, particularly in the United States, as a result of global trade, improved communications, and the heightened interaction of people from different cultures. Populists rarely mention these positive consequences, nor can they cogently explain how they would have sustained American economic growth and the expansion of our political power without them."

    He boldly proclaims in that, "Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure--one world, if you will. If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it."

    Proud of being a "one worlder" because he believes that is best for the world and the U.S. and as the major power in the world, the U.S. was the lead in nation after nation to get it to "join" the one world with a puppet government that would eventually do their bidding when they wanted it done. They don't care if nations are dictatorships, ruled by democratic governments, are socialist or capitalist as long as they do what the elite demand when they demand it. Eventually, they might care but, only after they have gained enough control of the world to do it.

    They are some of the most patient people in the world. The wait for crisis or create crisis to get people all over the world to surrender more power to their goals. But, their "intentions" are "pure." They believe that once they have full control, there won't be any wars, there will be stable economies, little poverty, etc.
    Posted by JanPBurr  on  01/05  at  02:16 PM
  14. Jan writes
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/05  at  04:02 PM
  15. (cont.)

    The situation facing the Soviets simply does not apply here. A command economy is not the equivalent of free-markets. Free-markets are far more flexibly resilient and command markets are disrupted by anything unplanned. We didn
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/05  at  04:17 PM
  16. Jan,

    Your second point has a chicken and egg quality. To whom are we a threat or perceived threat? At what point did we become this threat? America is a threat to no one except when threatened. Militant-Islam does its best portraying us as a threat, only to wind up with egg on its face when we confront it. Our interest in oil has not resulted in us invading anyone. Despite invading Iraq, we have yet to profit from it and even Haliburton is not keen to invade other countries because that hinders the flow of oil
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/05  at  04:46 PM
  17. Don't believe the Percent of GDP BS. In 2002, Rumsfeld said they couldn't account for $2.2 trillion in spending by the Pentagon. Defense as a part of the budget is about 1/5 and just four departments, it, Health and Human Services, Social Security and interest on debt is about $2.3 trillion of a $2.8 trillion budget that we have to borrow to fund. A balance budget includes borrowing. We increased interest $30 billion just this year.

    We are already bankrupt. The GAO has informed Congress we owe more than we own. We have a $50 trillion unfunded liability. We are unable to raise taxes enough to balance the budget. We are going downhill faster than most realize because of phony "percent of GDP" numbers because the GOP number itself is phony. We have been in a recession for a while now if real inflation is used to adjust nominal GDP.

    44% of national income is government spending, up from the 12% of 1929 and 21% after we came back down after WW II. GDP includes government spending. Thus, theoretically, GDP could be 100% government spending but can't be in reality because long before that, there isn't enough money coming it from tax revenues and lenders stop lending which is the point we are at now.

    Japan and China are backing off on loans. Our "salvation" has been OPEC that has increased purchases of our debt to replace the loss because they can't spend the billions they are getting buying hard assets fast enough to get rid of all the money pouring in with oil at these prices.

    The U.S. has lost over $900 billion in cities and states in tax revenues due to the housing problems. They are running huge deficits that they have to borrow to cover at a time when bond ratings for cities and states are dropping. We have a recession and that means lost tax revenues for the Federal government from profits, capital gains, and income. We have just had 1.5 million real estate agents lose most of their income. We have financials laying off 250,000 workers. WE have transportation industries laying off drivers.

    States are looking for ways to cut spending. Add that to the consumers who are tapped out because of too much debt, and you have even more lost federal tax revenues at a time that people are starting to call for "stimulus spending" and rate cuts.

    The U.S. is in deep, deep economic trouble but because of the phony reports on GDP, Inflation, Defense Spending (much higher than reported in the budget), job growth over reported numbers (really phony now that we are in a transition (under reported when we started growing) and the risk of nations moving away from the dollar even more than currently are.

    Yes, we can be facing the same economic collapse Russia faced but, we could recover much quicker. However, remember it isn't just the U.S. facing this risk due to the credit issue. Several nations with fiat currencies are at risk. The euro is at risk too.

    That is why your statement
    We didn
    Posted by JanPBurr  on  01/05  at  05:07 PM
  18. Most nations that hate us, do so because we are puppets to the global elite that control us and send us around the world to do their bidding. Yet, the two nations that really were the greatest threats because of Communism have no desire to attack us, just bury us economically and they are. We can't survive the way we are going and our own government has warned Congress of this 3 years in a row.

    Why do you think our own government is telling Congress they are on an unsustainable course and that we face a gradual if not "sudden" loss of our standard of living if it isn't true.

    Talk about fictionalize. Our nation is running on fiction and has been for quite a while now.
    Posted by JanPBurr  on  01/05  at  05:15 PM
  19. By the way, Bob, do you have a link for that budget? Is that a revised one from the $2.9 the 2008 was supposed to be?

    2008 budget

    Regarding the budget for defense.
    For 2007, the budget rose to US$532.8 billion.[1] This does not include many military-related items that are outside of the Defense Department budget, such as nuclear weapons research, maintenance and production (which is in the Department of Energy budget), Veterans Affairs or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (which are largely funded through extra-budgetary supplements, e.g. $120 billion in 2007).[2] Conversely, the military budget does allocate money for dual-use items, such as the development of infrastructure surrounding U.S. military bases

    Our infrastructure is all in decay. All sectors. Ratings by the society of engineers has all of it at "C", "D", or "F" and it would take nearly $2 trillion just to bring bridges up to grade.

    It isn't just that we are spending too much but that we can't spend where we should. We have a socialist nation based on centralized power and wealth redistribution that has been in decline for decades but because of "fictionalized" reporting, Americans have been convinced that we are advancing. It takes 125,000 to 150,000 jobs a month just to keep up with population growth and yet, the will announce a 90,000 job growth picture as good? The change how inflation is calculated to keep GDP looking better and reduce COLA adjustments and say that food and energy don't count? They hide defense spending and say it is only such and such a percent of a phony GDP number? Just like they put food to the needy in the department of Agriculture, $59 billion, I believe, to bury that cost in a department most wouldn't associate with welfare, they do all kinds of smoke and mirrors to keep the American voter from finding out what really goes on.

    If we ended "pork" it would put some states into a recession because they are so dependent on pork.

    One last thing on job growth, I check it every month and "government employment" is one of the main reasons for "job growth," yet, that requires more spending and more borrowing by cities, states and federal governments. It isn't just the federal government that is creating the possible collapse. State and city debt and declining tax revenues are now adding to the problem. Personal debt is also a problem because we don't save as a nation and if you don't save, you can't make payments when you lose your income for an extended period while you look for new employment. Thus, we have millions, this time, in this slowdown that will lose their homes even though they don't have a "subprime" loan.

    It doesn't matter if you are capitalist or socialist or communist if the economy is based on debt. It doesn't matter if the Federal debt "is manageable," if the individual and corporate debt is so high that an downturn risks a domino effect on consumption that spirals the nation into bankruptcy because it can't borrow enough more to "spend its way back to prosperity."

    That is why the current credit problem is serious. They may not be able to increase spending by offering more debt to people who can't pay the debt they already have. Only time will tell if that is true now, but eventually it will be true and especially once 78 million workers start ending payments of payroll taxes and start drawing from tax revenues or reducing them by not having as large a surplus to loan to the general fund.
    Posted by JanPBurr  on  01/05  at  05:37 PM
  20. Bob, don't put too much stock in my pessimism. While I think we are headed for collapse, it may not be for years or a decade.
    Posted by JanPBurr  on  01/05  at  05:46 PM
  21. I just ran across a new article that updates the debt from credit cards
    Consumers have a lot of card debt to deal with. Even before the 2007 holiday spending season began, Americans added more than $50 billion to their credit cards in the first 10 months of the year to reach a record total of $928.5 billion in October, according to the Federal Reserve. The additional spending in November and December undoubtedly pushed balances even higher.
    Money News
    So, we may have run up close to a trillion in debt if the consumers continued the trend and adding Christmas spending.

    The article points out that the consumer has to start paying that debt down but, to do that, I believe, that means less spending and driving us into a recession for the first half. Then, maybe we can get recovery in the 2nd half if other unknowns in the credit problem that is affecting so many nations, doesn't show up.

    Russia is now one of our main bankers as is OPEC and others who keep our deficit spending going. We have to remember that as we do things that Russia says would be viewed as an attack on them.

    What would they do? What they have already said they were interested in. That would be ending the sale of oil in dollars. What does that mean?

    It means they wouldn't have dollars they have to spend on us. They wouldn't have to loan us money. The could sell in Euro's or their own currency. If they do, look for some OPEC nations to bail out of the dollar because the dollar would drop severely. We have to have global sales of oil in dollars to keep the value up. As a major source of oil and natural gas, this could be a dramatic change. Demand for the dollar is the only thing that gives it value. Now that we owe more than we own, demand for the dollar is very important.

    Also, if the consumer spending on imports drops, dollars drop that other nations loan back to us. Many of the loans made to us are due to the need to get rid of dollars that flowed in as goods flowed out to us.

    And, even if we climb to the euro and pound and other currencies, we import more from China and their currency is climbing. It has risen 11% in just the last couple years and the rate of rise is increasing lately which would mean higher prices for us. The Fed and Central Banking has to make the right moves to have a 2nd half recovery. Also, if they start implementing protectionism, we may find we are hurt more than helped. If they raise taxes or let the Bush cuts expire in a couple years, that will really hit our economy. The U.S. is facing a "perfect storm" of economic factors that could unwind the economy very rapidly.

    Here are what I have identified as some of the "winds" in that perfect storm.
    Weak individuals

    Individuals in deep debt.

    Individuals addicted to consumption
    A nation deep in debt

    A nation that depends on government spending for it GDP

    A nation that is not only in debt but in debt to foreign powers

    A nation not only in debt to foreign powers but to its competitors.

    A nation that is losing its manufacturing base
    A nation who citizens don
    Posted by JanPBurr  on  01/05  at  07:29 PM
  22. This article explains why consumer debt is the key to what we face, not Federal debt and not government spending as percent of GDP or Defense spending even if at the real rates. While Federal debt is important and would eventually be a huge problem, I don't think we will ever get close to it. Consumer debt is where I think the problem lies and a possible "Depression" after 2010 is possible. The 2nd half of this year, I think from what I read will pick up and lead to renewed confidence in the economy only to set the stage for something worse after 2009 has run its course.

    What Is Peak Debt?
    I will limit the discussion to the US. If one looks at the long-term graph of Total Debt as a percent of the GDP (see graph in the above reference) one sees a Longwave Cycle type of behavior whereby the debt grows for a long period, decades, reaches a crescendo and then seems to fall down rapidly, in a crash-like fashion, and remains low for a long period. Since the process is cyclical in nature, it repeats. Thus, Peak Debt, unlike Peak Oil, is not a theory but an observed reality of our economic system.

    What happens at the Peak Debt is that the Total Debt of the economy, as a percent of the GDP, or nominal debt in current dollars, or both, stop going up and start to go down. The last time that the Peak Debt occurred in the US was in early 1930s and I can confidently predict that the next Peak Debt will occur within this decade, because the forces pushing debt higher and higher are reaching a point of exhaustion. The rising Consumption Debt exerts a depressionary effect on future consumption and at some point the debt service reaches a high enough portion of the income that the current consumption must be cut down.
    Peak Debt

    Also, you may want to listen to the third hour of

    Financial Sense

    They too, mention a depression after 2010 and tough first half for 2008, better half in the 2nd part.

    More and more analysts are starting to see some very disturbing signs. By the way, the article the quote is from does a comparison of the U.S. to Russia and also mentions why we aren't really a "free market economy," because of the Federal Reserve interventions.

    The more I study what has gone on since 1913, the more I see why the trends we have exist, why the events we had, happened, and where we are headed. What I can't say with confidence is how we come out of the other side of the collapse caused by debt and a depression or very long and hard recession that causes people to totally lose confidence in the current government and two parties.
    Posted by JanPBurr  on  01/05  at  09:17 PM
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