Friday, May 7, 2010

BRIC To The Rescue, Simple Analysis of Times Square Wannabomber

Michelle Goldberg
Charles Faddis
David Brooks

"God, why must you take New Orleans and Nashville when Philadelphia is just f**king sitting there?!" – Jon Stewart

A couple of things in the news today caught my eye and sent my mind to dancing like the swirling cream in my coffee. The first, is that some American troops were marching in a review with the Russian military in Moscow, signaling another end to the cold war mentality. Barack Obama has been criticized for being too aloof and not bonding with other world leaders. I know, it's hard to cuddle up with many of them, few you'd want to spend an evening in a snuggie watching chick flicks on the tube... But Obama and Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev get along pretty well, and more and more our two countries foreign policies converge, or at least are more tolerant of each other. Just think, if we could get Putin on board, together we could rule the world...

Another thing that happened at the NPT meeting this week is that the Western block on the UN Security Council - the US, Britain, France, and Germany, just got outmaneuvered by Iran and Brazil, which Russia had a hand in. As Pepe Escobar puts it, it now creates a nuclear samba: "Iran has agreed with the Brazilian proposal for a nuclear fuel swap deal for the Tehran research reactor, which produces medical isotopes for cancer treatment. The proposal will be discussed in detail when Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva visits Tehran by the end of next week." This gives some clout to the BRIC - Brazil, Russia, India, and China - as a rival influential force in global politics as well as economics. By agreeing to swap fuel with Iran, Brazil has defused the escalating situation and separated the issues of a nuclear weapon versus a civil nuclear program for Iran. Coupled with the Egyptian-led idea of a nuclear weapon free Middle East, it appears that other countries are feeling more confident in proposing solutions, no longer content to waiting for the US to lead or dictate. Again, I think this is a subtle effect Obama has had, by his ability to listen to opposing views and actively seeking them out, we are seeing the rise of a global consensus style of politics. More cooperative, less dictatorial. less hawkish...

Yet, at the same time, we have things like an approved CIA hit list, comprised of people it's looking to assassinate, and we have expanded the hiring of mercenaries to augment our dirty black operative actions in Afghanistan and Pakistan...

It also seems to me that the media is missing the key psychological elements involving Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square Wannabomber. It's assumed that some event turned him bitter and sour against the US, enough to build a bomb and set it off. But the way that he went about building the bomb suggest that he is really a reluctant bomber, and was happier to have been caught and consequently spill all that he knows.

The events barely touched on is what happened to his wife and children, and the break-up of his marriage. It happened quickly, and I suggest that the wife and children were being used as leverage to make him into a bomber. Her whole family, parents, brothers, aunts and uncles packed it up and moved back to Pakistan, we don't know what the catalyst is. His wife goes back to Pakistan to give birth to a second daughter, and next thing we know he is living alone and switching jobs, making a crappy living.

He goes back to Pakistan, where he says he was trained by the Taliban, yet the Taliban says no way would we accept and train such a dufus... More possible is that members of her family became couch potato Talibans, or Taliban Light, less training, more rhetoric. They influenced him with the bad Timothy McVeigh impressions of how to build a car bomb, told him to do it if he wanted to see his children alive again, and off he went... The rest, as captured on film, is recent history. The hawkish among us want to use the situation to kill more Pakistanis, the Pakistanis want to use it to obtain more military toys, and he becomes an embarrassment to his father, an influential retired military officer. Oh yes, and crazy Joe Lieberman wants to use it to strip away the rights of American citizens fuzzily determined to support a terrorist organization. What's worse, he got the naive and impressionable Scott Brown to co-sponsor his bill, and the hawkish Hillary to go - hmmmmmmm, not too bad of an idea...

Late Night Political jokes:

Wannabombers -

"Folks, we're starting to learn more and more about that man arrested in the New York SUV car bombing case. His name is Faisal Shahzad. He's from Pakistan. What tipped off the authorities he might be the bomber? His name is Faisal Shahzad. He's from Pakistan." –Jay Leno

"Anyway, the bomb turned out to be a dud, thankfully. But had it exploded, it would have been the biggest bomb to hit New York since the Knicks, I guess." –Jay Leno

"Authorities say Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bombing suspect, used the wrong kind of fertilizer, which is what happens when you don't watch Martha Stewart." –Jimmy Kimmel

"It was reported that Shahzad went to terrorist camp in Pakistan. Honestly, who are these parents that are sending their kids to terrorist camp?" –Jimmy Kimmel

"Hey, great news. They made an arrest today in that failed Times Square bombing attempt. It turns out the suspect is a foreign-born, naturalized American citizen. You know what that means? He would have been fine in Arizona." –Jay Leno

"Well, the amazing part, they arrested this guy. He was already on the plane. It was taxiing down the runway. They called the plane back. And they're calling it great work by Homeland Security, and I guess it is. I mean, that's one way to look at it. I mean, how about the fact that a Pakistani guy who bought a one-way ticket to the Middle East, reeking of fertilizer, made it through security and got on the plane. How did that happen?" –Jay Leno

"Yeah, they plucked a guy off a plane. His name is Faisal Shahzad. They say he was a moody loner. Last year, he vacationed in the tribal regions of Pakistan. Well, no red flags there." –David Letterman

"But don't you feel secure, ladies and gentlemen, knowing that the only thing standing between you and terrorism is a T-shirt vendor?" –David Letterman

"Experts say the FBI is saying potentially this thing could have been the biggest bomb on Broadway since Peter Pan, starring Kirstie Alley." –David Letterman

Arizonians -

"Hey, did you know about this? Tonight, to protest Arizona's new immigration law, the Phoenix Suns are all wearing jerseys that read 'Los Suns.' Thankfully, they can get the jerseys made quickly using an illegal sweatshop." –Jay Leno

"So, the Phoenix Suns are wearing jerseys written in Spanish, made in China, modeled after their best player, Canadian Steve Nash. There you go. That is America." –Jay Leno

"I was thinking about this. Here's what I came up with. Now, in Arizona, you know about the new immigration law, where if you don't look like you belong there, they can run you out of the state? And they've got patrol cars driving around, pulling up to people, saying: 'You don't look like you belong here. Get out!' So the deal is, in Arizona, they don't like immigrants. And I was thinking, well, that's odd, because right across the river there in California, they elected one governor." –David Letterman

"Happy Cinco de Mayo. If you don't know what that means, maybe you're a little out of touch — or maybe you're the governor of Arizona." –Craig Ferguson

"A lot of the U.S. used to be part of Mexico, including Arizona. But they're a bit touchy about that right now." –Craig Ferguson

"I don't drink anymore for Cinco de Mayo. I celebrate with Mexican food, or as it's known in Mexico: 'food.'" –Craig Ferguson

"Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican Army's surprise victory over sobriety back in 1862." –Jimmy Kimmel

"Oddly, Cinco de Mayo is more popular here than in Mexico. Cinco de Mayo to us is what David Hasselhoff is to Germany." –Jimmy Kimmel

"It's Cinco de Mayo, or as they call it in Arizona: May 5th." –Jimmy Fallon

BP Gulf Spills -

"Let's see what's going on at BP, which stands for, of course, big problems." –Jay Leno

"On Monday, British Petroleum promised to pay all necessary cleanup costs for this oil spill. And they said they will do it, no matter how much they have to raise gas prices." –Jay Leno

"Well, here's something kind of embarrassing. The government has called off the Safety Awards for Excellence ceremony that was supposed to take place this week, in honor of outstanding safety and pollution prevention. And British Petroleum, the one that was responsible for the big oil spill in the Gulf, was one of the three finalists for the award. I believe the other two were China and the volcano in Iceland." –Jay Leno

"You folks been following the big British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? I'm telling you, British Petroleum has put more birds in oil than Colonel Sanders." –David Letterman

"This bombing plot here in Times Square is upsetting. Are we more upset about that than the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? Which do we hate worse? I think you've got to go with the oil spill. British petroleum, these boobs running this operation, they said: 'O.K., now wait a minute. It's just going to be a P.R. nightmare. What can we do? We'll give everybody a free tank of gas. All you have to do is drive your car right down next to the Gulf of Mexico.'" –David Letterman

"But BP plans to pay for the cleanup. Then they're going to ask for the bailout." –David Letterman

"But they say the oil spill has the potential to kill more wildlife than a Sarah Palin hunting trip." –David Letterman

"So it's British Petroleum, or BP. BP, of course, as in broken pipe." –David Letterman

David Letterman's "Top Ten Things Overheard At BP Headquarters"

10. 'Huh?'
9. 'Happy Cinco de Mayo. 'Nother margarita?'
8. 'We got a nice thank you note from the Toyota people'
7. 'Any way we can pin this on the Times Square bomber?'
6. 'We just got a nice thank you note from the Goldman Sachs people.'
5. 'I hope they get Robert Wagner to play me in the TV movie.'
4. 'One day, 10,000 years from now, we'll be able to look back on this and laugh.'
3. 'Let me tell you something, you can't buy this kind of publicity.'
2. 'Tell everybody it's our free oil giveaway bonanza.'
1. 'Everyone gets a bonus.'

Misc -

"You know who was in town yesterday? Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was here, and his Members Only jacket. He was speaking at the U.N. Now, seriously, New York City is not this guy's kind of town. Everybody here is either gay or Jewish. He had to get out. He said, 'No thank you.'" –David Letterman

"Police in Texas arrested a man who was using the alias 'Barack Obama' while trying to steal money from 35 ATMs. They could tell something was up when a guy named Barack Obama was trying to take money from banks instead of giving it to them." –Jimmy Fallon

"Nissan is recalling almost 135,000 Infiniti G35s to address an airbag problem. When Toyota heard that, they said, 'Airbags! I knew we forgot something.'" –Jimmy Fallon

"A new survey found that 12 percent of parents punish their kids by banning social networking sites. The other 88 percent punish their kids by joining social networking sites." –Jimmy Fallon

"I don't understand the United Nations. They have selected Iran to sit on the U.N.'s women's rights panel. Iran! Also on the panel — Ben Roethlisberger, Chris Brown, Phil Spector, Robert Blake and committee chairman O.J. Simpson." –Jay Leno

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