Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Private Security in Pakistan, No More Gourmet Wahabism

Abbas Milani
Henry Kissinger
Eugene Robinson
Dana Milbank

"It's typical Washington inside poop ... it means nothing... But the one thing I've always said from day one is that i don't do policy, I do politics."  - Michael Steele
"Everyone is saying about the Americans, ‘Told you so.’ ”  - Jahangir Tareen

The bidding war for the next site of the 2016 Summer Olympics has generated articles on the violence of both Chicago and Rio, where rampant gang shootings kill hundreds of teenagers each year. At least an effort will be made to clean Rio de Janeiro during the next six years, while Chicago will continue to fester. Many other American cities are just as dangerous and authorities are ignoring the problem like ostriches... Maybe they are waiting for authorization to hire private security firms, then they can have Blackwater and DynCorp do the dirty work for them and incarcerate the offenders in privately run prisons. After all, we don't want everything being run by the government, do we?

note to Hillary...
Pakistan is having paranoia over increasing US influence. The US approved $1.5 billion in aid to Pakistan, but there are some strings attached and it adds fuel to their fears of becoming another occupied country: 'The fierce opposition here is revealing deep strains in the alliance. Even at its current levels, the American presence was fueling a sense of occupation among Pakistani politicians and security officials, said several Pakistani officials, who did not want to be named for fear of antagonizing the United States. The United States was now seen as behaving in Pakistan much as it did in Iraq and Afghanistan, they said.

In particular, the Pakistani military and the intelligence agencies are concerned that DynCorp is being used by Washington to develop a parallel network of security and intelligence personnel within Pakistan, officials and politicians close to the army said."

We already know the problems of abuse an unprofessional conduct that comes from hiring private security firms to protect embassy personnel. DynCorp, with contracts in Britain, France, and Spain, is still in Afghanistan and Iraq, and plans on increasing its presence in Pakistan. Blackwater, who's owner has admitted that he is funding a Christian Crusade, is also in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, running the drone program. Hey, if there's civilian deaths from the drones, it's not the military's fault, it's that damned Xe...

The State Department hasn't explained why they are still hiring private companies to do the jobs that our military used to do, and pay them three times as much as soldiers make, so we're not saving any money. I know that it began bigtime during the Bush administration, but like so many other things still being carried over, we can't use that for an excuse anymore. It was done then because Bush and Cheney didn't like or trust the CIA. Perhaps some reporter could ask Hillary why she evidently approves these contracts and continues this unprofessional and unpatriotic practice... in the famous words of Ricky Ricardo: Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do!

Here's a list of the top ten magazines that have folded so far this year. It's taken from the database of mediafinder.com.

1. Country Home - 1,200,000 circulation
2. Domino - 1,100,000
3. Nick (Nickelodeon) Magazine - 1,000,000
4. Gourmet - 977,000
5. Hallmark Magazine - 750,000
6. Travel & Leisure Golf - 650,000
7. Time Style & Design - 550,000
8. (tie) Cookie - 500,000
8. (tie) Best Life - 500,000
10. Condé Nast Portfolio - 450,000

If you have a subscription to these magazines, I hope they have offered something else to you. The big headline today was the folding of Gourmet like sugar into egg whites. To some of my friends, it is irreplaceable.

beware the aliens...
Here's an interesting twist. The last place that you would expect some defense of women's rights and the teaching of subjects like science comes from Saudi Arabia. A new $7 billion science and technology college was opened and named after the king. A top cleric made a stupid statement about segregating the students and censoring the subjects: "The cleric, Sheikh Saad al-Shethry, said the mixing of sexes in any university was evil and a great sin. He demanded the curriculum should be vetted by Islamic scholars to prevent teaching of "alien ideologies". Do you want a little Wahabi with that?

King Abdullah is more fair minded and trying to institute some reforms in his country, but it is very slow going. A few months ago a film festival was canceled on the evening it was supposed to open, because it promoted decadent western culture. In this case, the king issued  "a royal decree and removed Sheikh Saad from Saudi Arabia's most senior council of religious scholars, or ulema. No reason was given publicly for the removal." No wonder Iran is paranoid about its Sunni neighbors...

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