The Deaf Claque

Because they’re worth clapping for…probably…

The Unsettling Situation Under Musharraf

By Theo O’Brien

President Musharraf, reacting to the current crisis in Pakistan, declared the nation to be in a state of emergency and installed martial law, suspending the country’s constitution. The declaration incited mass protests—primarily by lawyers. The use of military force seems to have accomplished the opposite of its purpose by further contributed to the civil unrest it hoped to quiet.

“The move appeared to be an effort by General Musharraf to reassert his fading power in the face of growing opposition from the country’s Supreme Court, civilian political parties and hard-line Islamists. Pakistan’s Supreme Court was expected to rule within days on the legality of General Musharraf’s re-election last month as the country’s president, which opposition groups have said was improper.” (1)

The president seems to be attempting to restore order and reclaim lost power but it may be his ultimate undoing as political opposition could finally grasp the public attention and support necessary to seize power—although this is currently just speculation.

The U.S. and Pakistan

The United States had insisted on free democratic elections and Musharraf’s withdrawal as military chief but President Musharraf instead defied the American pressure by resorting to military rule—though he has said he planned to step down as the military leader. The United States has urged Pakistan’s President Musharraf to restore civilian rule and to make steps toward a democracy.

Press freedoms have been curbed and independent television stations taken off the air.

Bush said Monday he recognized the threat Musharraf faces from extremists, citing past attempts on Musharraf’s life, but said the emergency measures ‘undermine democracy.’

‘We expect there to be elections as soon as possible and that the president should remove his military uniform,’ Bush said.” (2)

This recent tension between the two countries signifies a possible end to a close relationship founded primarily on a shared desire by both presidents to quell terrorism. Pakistan was considered a key ally in the United States’ war on terror both geographically—Pakistan borders Afghanistan—and politically—many countries have opposed U.S. involvement in the Middle East.

[In light of this current instability in Pakistan—increasing violent Islamic extremists, a president struggling to maintain dominance, censorship of media and rising political opposition to the current regime—it is important to note that the country is currently a nuclear power.]

November 7, 2007 Posted by | George W. Bush, Nuclear weapons, Pakistan, Theo O'Brien | , | Leave a comment

UPDATED:”…Like Déjà Vu All Over Again” (Video)

By Theo O’Brien

Today, in a joint press conference, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced new sanctions against Iran. The sanctions specifically target two Iranian military groups and essentially prevent any United States citizen or private organization from participating in any financial transactions with numerous Iranian banks and citizens accused of supporting terrorism.

Rice accused Iran of ‘pursuing nuclear technologies that can lead to a nuclear weapon; building dangerous ballistic missiles; supporting Shia militants in Iraq and terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories; and denying the existence of a fellow member of the United Nations, threatening to wipe Israel off the map.’

‘Many of the Iranian regime’s most destabilizing policies are carried out by two of its agencies: the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or the IRGC, and the Quds force, an arm of the IRGC,’ she said.” (1)

 

These new sanctions are especially troubling when coupled with the harsh rhetoric the Bush administration has recently adopted toward Iran. Tensions between the United States have continued to mount after Vice President Cheney’s reference to Iran as “…a terror-supporting state” with the chief goal of securing a nuclear weapon. (2)

Am I the only one who feels as if I have seen these tactics before? The threat of nuclear weapons, linking a nation with terrorism and harsh sanctions seems oddly familiar. of course, this is all speculation and maybe the similarities are merely coincidental and I’m just reaching. And maybe I’m just having a bad episode of déjà vu.

UPDATE: Here is the video of the announcement: -Nathan Schmitt

Vodpod videos no longer available.

October 25, 2007 Posted by | Condoleeza Rice, Dick Cheney, Iran, Nuclear weapons, Theo O'Brien, Video, White House | , , , , | 1 Comment

That Whole Iran Thing…

There has been A LOT of buildup from the Bush Administration in the past week regarding Iran and their nuclear activity and already, I have covered a decent amount of it. Here is a list of additional stories for those of you more interested in what’s going on. These are all from ABC because they had a particularly well organized related article library and for no other reason. Recognize that these stories are all from one source and therefore are more likely to be one-sided so keep that in mind while you’re reading them. If you want confirmation on any specific stories, let me know and I’ll get on it.

White House Requests “Bunker Buster” bombs (speculative article)

U.S. Military Opens Camp on Iranian Border

Ahmadinejad: U.S. will not attack Iran based on math and God

After 27 Years, U.S. and Iran talk

Columbia U. President: Ahmadinejad Speech ‘Extremely Important’

So, there it is.

October 25, 2007 Posted by | George W. Bush, Iran, Nuclear weapons | , , , , | Leave a comment

Valerie Plame Wilson: Iran Opinion (Video)

Valerie Plame Wilson was on Countdown (external video link) with Keith Olbermann tonight weighing in on the current situation with Iran and their nuclear ambitions, as well as how the media covered the leak of her name.

Olbermann: “You’ve dealt with intelligence, you’ve dealt with Iran […] what are the questions that we should be asking that haven’t been asked yet about this topic?”

Wilson: “There’s no doubt that there’s malevolent intent on behalf of Iran, that they are seeking nuclear weapons; there’s no question about that. But we are a great country and I believe that as a great country we can afford to speak to everyone, even our enemies, and the idea of not using every single tool that we have available to us, primarily diplomacy, is unfortunate. And obviously our international credibility, moral authority, has been severely eroded in the debacle in Iraq.” (1)

Plame on surviving the Washington spy game
Valerie Plame Wislon discusses Iran and the leak of her name (Click for external video link)

October 23, 2007 Posted by | Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Iran, Nuclear weapons, Valerie Plame Wilson, Video | , , , , | Leave a comment

Cheney: “Iran out of ideas…lets just use the Iraq template again.”


This new development with respect to Iran reminds me of something I’ve seen before. I vaguely recall the Bush Administration saying something about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction…like…a million times. It went something like this,

Our country, and the entire international community, cannot stand by as a terror-supporting state fulfills its grandest ambitions” (1)

Not exactly. That quote was Vice President Dick Cheney earlier tonight referring to Iran.

Cheney’s words seemed to only escalate the U.S. rhetoric against Iran over the past several days, including President Bush’s warning that a nuclear Iran could lead to World War III.” (1)

What happened to the good old days when rhetoric was creative and original? At least they’re avoiding “WMD” terminology, that would just be insulting.

The complete lack of thought that went into the spokeswoman’s statement is hilarious:

“‘I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing [Iran] from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon,’ Bush said.

“Bush’s spokeswoman later said the president was not making any war plans but rather ‘a rhetorical point.'” (1)

A “rhetorical point?” What? I don’t even know what to say to that. The threat of World War III goes just a little bit past the line as far as “rhetorical points” are concerned. Regardless of whether Bush intended it or not, this is a textbook scare-line. I’m not playing to partisan passions or saying Bush is actively and consciously trying to deceive the American public. Regardless of who it is, from Obama to Vladimir Putin, warning of World War III is a scare tactic.

I don’t know if Iran has WMD’s or not because that’s not a judgment I’m qualified to make. Therefore, I don’t. The recycled rhetoric kills me almost as much as the recycled policy, but not quite.

October 21, 2007 Posted by | Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Iran, Nuclear weapons | , , , | 1 Comment

Nuclear Iran: Consolidation of Power


Ali Larijani, Iran’s top nuclear envoy, has resigned. In sum,

“While the most immediate impact of the announcement bears directly on nuclear negotiations, which are supposed to resume Tuesday between Iran and the European Union, it also speaks to a broader consolidation of power for Mr. Ahmadinejad and his allies in domestic affairs.” (1)

Without respect to this specific nuclear situation, I’d like to make an observation about this move. This reminds me of the Bush Administration. There seems to be an overwhelming amount of this sort of consolidation of power in contemporary politics. Perhaps it stems from Western culture’s obsession with polarized duality. The mentality seems to be something like “It’s me against them; I need to get all the support I can to beat them.” The Bush Administration is no stranger to this and there have been countless examples in the mainstream media. There is one example, however, that I feel hasn’t gotten enough media coverage over the past 7 years.

The President has appointed the entire Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, 7 (though 2 spots are currently vacant) of the 12 voting members of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) since he has been in office. This is the voting majority, in case you couldn’t tell. Each member of the Board has a term of 14 years and it is set up so that one member’s term expires every 2 years. This spacing is intended to minimize executive influence on the Board. In short, the FOMC is in charge of monetary policy and here is what that means:

“The term ‘monetary policy’ refers to the actions undertaken by a central bank, such as the Federal Reserve, to influence the availability and cost of money and credit to help promote national economic goals.” (2)

Generally, when people say that we don’t have a free market, this is arguably their strongest support (though I can’t speak for everyone). The Fed controls monetary policy which in turn affects inflation through the manipulation of the Federal Funds Rate etc…. It’s all very complicated but worthwhile to research. My point is this: Bush has appointed the voting majority of the people who control monetary policy.

I’m not insinuating that there is some conspiracy theory to control the market–I personally don’t find such theories particularly productive–, I just think it’s something people should know about. It doesn’t have much to do with Iran’s nuclear program but that’s where I took it, so there it is.

October 21, 2007 Posted by | Economics, George W. Bush, Iran, Nuclear weapons | , , , , | 1 Comment