Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 28, 2009

TUESDAY'S MINI-REPORT.... Today's edition of quick hits:

* The virus spreads: "Two new swine flu cases were confirmed in Israel and as many as 11 in New Zealand, bringing the number of countries with confirmed cases to at least seven on Tuesday. But all, with the exception of Mexico, said the patients were recovering or had been hospitalized with only mild symptoms, leaving health officials struggling to determine why the disease has killed only in Mexico."

* The CDC expects to see Americans die from the swine flu virus. The U.S. now has 64 confirmed cases across five states, with the most cases in New York, which has 45.

* Pakistan starts taking the Taliban menace a bit more seriously.

* President Obama isn't happy about yesterday's fly-over in Manhattan, and has ordered an official investigation of what happened.

* Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell believes Arlen Specter's party switch represents a "threat to the country."

* Note to Michael Steele: Republicans really have to drop "no one could have predicted" from the list of talking points. It's a cliche Atrios uses to make fun of you.

* Chrysler may avoid bankruptcy after all.

* In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court decided today that the FCC can punish television networks for isolated incidents of profanity, known as "fleeting expletives."

* Russ Feingold released a report card of sorts, evaluating the Obama administration on judicial issues and the rule of law. The president fares pretty well, though Feingold is justifiably critical on the issue of state secrets.

* 42% of Americans now support gay marriage. That's obviously not a majority, but it's an all-time high for support of marriage equality, and a big jump from the support of just a few years ago.

* Ross Douthat's first column in the New York Times ran today. There are plenty of interesting takes on the piece, but I'll just say this: Douthat is already an infinitely better columnist than Bill Kristol.

* Florida Republicans don't want stimulus aid for the state's unemployed, either. I'll never understand this.

* Dawn Johnsen was endorsed yesterday by a bipartisan coalition of scholars. Will Arlen Specter get his career in Democratic politics off to a very bad start by voting against her nomination?

* I get the impression that Joe Scarborough is getting worse as an on-air hack.

* And finally, the Quote of the Day, by way of Michael Crowley: "Two wars, economic collapse, and now a possible global pandemic. When do the locusts arrive? During the '08 campaign the GOP ran an advertisement mockingly comparing Obama to Moses. But if he can get us through all this...."

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (44)

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Comments

"fleeting expletives."

Great name for a band!

Posted by: martin on April 28, 2009 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

The Swine Flu is rapidly reaching its tipping point. It's going to have a dramatic impact on the world wide economy, driving GDPs down even further.

And all because Smithfield Farms didn't like our EPA regulations so they moved their farm to Mexico where they could dump pig shit with reckless abandon.

Boycott Smithfield Farms.

Posted by: doubtful on April 28, 2009 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

SCOTUSblog has a full explanation of the Supreme Court case for those who are interested. http://www.scotusblog.com/wp/court-upholds-dirty-words-ban/

Basically, the court wasn't deciding whether the First Amendment protects TV stations who air "fleeting expletives." All the court was looking at was whether the FCC regulation that led to the station being fined was rational or if it was "arbitrary and capricious." The Federal law that governs administrative agencies such as the FCC says that agency regulations can't be arbitrary and capricious. The court will probably consider the First Amendment issue on another occasion.

Posted by: Alan on April 28, 2009 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Expect Specter to be as awful as he's always been. As a Democrat he'll suck as bad as he did as a Republican, just as Ben Nelson would probably suck as much as a Republican as a Democrat. It doesn't matter. If he doesn't get better, the D's have another great grassroots opportunity to primary him.

On the other hand, just because he said he'd oppose Johnsen and card check means exactly nothing. He's spectacularly spineless. As Greenwald wrote today, "The moment most vividly illustrating what Specter is: prior to the vote on the Military Commissions Act of 2006, he went to the floor of the Senate and said what the bill "seeks to do is set back basic rights by some 900 years" and is "patently unconstitutional on its face." He then proceeded to vote YES on the bill's passage."

But as I've been feeling all day -- given that the guy would suck either way -- the good thing is that the GOP is taking it on the chin. I'm not celebrating for a filibuster-proof majority (Reid would blow it anyway). I'm celebrating because the GOP is being totally exposed for the far right party they are.

Posted by: Jay B. on April 28, 2009 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

"Fleeting Expletives." Yes, a great name for a rock band. Also: Shep Smith, get out your wallet (I'de send you some $$).

"I'll just say this: Douthat is already an infinitely better columnist than Bill Kristol."

That ain't saying much.

Posted by: bdop4 on April 28, 2009 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you. Excellent round up of events, of interesting happenings and things yet to take care of.
I arrived home to check happenings on this, a favorite political website. With Arlen Specter seeing the light, for whatever reasons, I am reminded of the Jeffries switch, and how I enjoyed a picture of him and other Dems, including Ted Kennedy, descending the Capitol steps. What a power play.

Posted by: consider wisely always on April 28, 2009 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK
Florida Republicans don't want stimulus aid for the state's unemployed, either. I'll never understand this.

Its not really hard to understand: anything that decreases the pain of being unemployed reduces employees willingness to tolerate whatever conditions their current employer decides to impose.

Its not like the Republican Party's position on labor v. capital issues is particularly murky.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 28, 2009 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Will Arlen Specter get his career in Democratic politics off to a very bad start by voting against her nomination?

I suppose Specter - though he is completely untrustworthy - has given us Democrats a gift of sorts. He's changing parties about a year before the primary. So we can use the threat of a primary challenge to make sure he votes with us instead of against us on things like Dawn Johnson. If he's going to change his party and still vote against us, we still have the opportunity to run a real Democrat in 2010.

Posted by: Rian Mueller on April 28, 2009 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

"The CDC expects to see Americans die from the swine flu virus. The U.S. now has 64 confirmed cases across five states, with the most cases in New York, which has 45."

Over 3,000 die in the U.S. every year from flu; it happens to be one the leading causes of death in the country, and has been for a long time. I'm not saying there might not be a problem here (though I'm beginning to doubt it), but honestly...how many people die in alcohol-related auto accidents? Or accidental gunshot wounds? Heart disease? Cancer? We have far larger "emergencies" in these areas than we do with the swine flu!!

Posted by: winddancer on April 28, 2009 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

They had Blackwater, we have BlackRock

From yesterday's 5000 word front page article in the NYT...
Geithner, Member and Overseer of Finance Club:

Mr. Geithner has also faced scrutiny over how well taxpayers were served by his handling of another aspect of the bailout: three no-bid contracts the New York Fed awarded to BlackRock, a money management firm, to oversee troubled assets acquired by the bank.

BlackRock was well known to the Fed. Mr. Geithner socialized with Ralph L. Schlosstein, who founded the company and remains a large shareholder, and has dined at his Manhattan home. Peter R. Fisher, who was a senior official at the New York Fed until 2001, is a managing director at BlackRock.

Mr. Schlosstein said that while he and Mr. Geithner spoke frequently, BlackRock’s work for the Fed never came up.

“Conversations with Tim were appropriately a one-way street. He’d call you and pepper you with a bunch of questions and say thank you very much and hang up,” he said. “My experience with Tim is that he makes those kinds of decisions 100 percent based on capability and zero about relationships.”

For months, New York Fed officials declined to make public details of the contract, which has become a flash point with some lawmakers who say the Fed’s handling of the bailout is too secretive. New York Fed officials initially said in interviews that they could not disclose the fees because they had agreed with BlackRock to keep them confidential in exchange for a discount.

The contract terms they subsequently disclosed to The New York Times show that the contract is worth at least $71.3 million over three years. While that rate is largely in keeping with comparable fees for such services, analysts say it is hardly discounted.

Mr. Geithner said he hired BlackRock because he needed its expertise during the Bear Stearns-JPMorgan negotiations. He said most of the other likely candidates had conflicts, and he had little time to shop around. Indeed, the deal was cut so quickly that they worked out the fees only after the firm was hired.

But since then, the New York Fed has given two more no-bid contracts to BlackRock related to the A.I.G. bailout, angering a number of BlackRock’s competitors. The fees on those contracts remain confidential.

Vincent Reinhart, a former senior Federal Reserve official, said a more open process might have yielded a better deal for the taxpayers.

“They may have been able to convince themselves that this was the only way to go, but it sounds to me like nobody stepped back and said, ‘What’s this going to look like to the outside world,’” he said.

Posted by: koreyel on April 28, 2009 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

"I think the threat to the country presented by this defection really relates to the issue of whether or not in the United States of America our people want the majority to have whatever it wants without restraint, without a check or a balance," McConnell said Tuesday.

Mitch, Americans are getting exactly what they wanted when a majority of them elected a majority of Democrats into office. Ass.

Posted by: Grumpy on April 28, 2009 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Sebelius was just confirmed by the Senate for HHS, 65 to 31. Brownback was among the ayes.

Posted by: nothingmuch on April 28, 2009 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Douthat better?

Just a different flavor of stupid.

Posted by: henry lewis on April 28, 2009 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

While I'm not wild about Specter, the next 18 months or so should see him tacking fairly noticably to the left. If he's reelected, I suspect he'll reverse course again, but we've got a decent period here where he should be able to be pressured to vote for Obama's agenda more often than not.

Posted by: TG Chicago on April 28, 2009 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Swine flu is a symptom & an indicator. It is a symptom of lack of caring for our fellow human beings, and an indicator of our broken healthcare system. Instead of marginalizing the people who have the flu and denying them adequate treatment if they lack financial resources to pay for it, we might want to look at its origins (and, I don't mean Mexico)and what we can do, as a society, to prevent its spread and the spread of other preventable and curable diseases. At some point, the captains of industry & leaders of governments will come down with some form of incapacitating condition, from which their money & power will not and cannot shield them. It may take a global pandemic to awaken us to our vulnerability and our interrelatedness. Unfortunately, we have had them in the past and not learned. Will this be The One? Or will we, yet again, deny the cause and try to hide. I can only hope that this is the time for our transformation.

I am committed to Oneness through Justice and Transformation
peace,
st john

Posted by: st john on April 28, 2009 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

"Douthat is already an infinitely better columnist than Bill Kristol."

Depends on what you mean by better. Here's Kristol in the WaPo on Specter's defection:

Good News for the GOP

Not many columnists can make me laugh for hours...

Posted by: hells littlest angel on April 28, 2009 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Boycott Smithfield Farms.

I've been trying to buy Niman Ranch products, which are more expensive but the company does make an effort to operate humanely and in an environmentally sound way.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on April 28, 2009 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Winddancer has a point although his/her numbers are wrong. According to the CDC, flu and pneumonia together account for 63,000 deaths annually, making them the 8th leading cause of death in the United States. Cardiovascular diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, and cancer are still the top 3.

Posted by: Chocolate Thunder on April 28, 2009 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

Swine flu and the Conficker computer virus

Are they analogous?
I don't know. But it is insightful to quote here some paragraphs from Bruce Schneier's Conficker article in the Guardian to stir your intellectual pot. Let's begin with the lede:

Conficker's April Fool's joke – the huge, menacing build-up and then nothing – is a good case study on how we think about risks, one whose lessons are applicable far outside computer security. Generally, our brains aren't very good at probability and risk analysis. We tend to use ­cognitive shortcuts instead of thoughtful analysis. This worked fine for the simple risks we encountered for most of our species's existence, but it's less effective against the complex risks society forces us to face today.

I've been doing some thinking lately about what I think is our species most fundamental trait: story telling. We do this incessantly of course. Even our tireless self-dialogue is nothing but story-boarding. Schneier scratches this itch:

We also respond more to stories than to data. If I show you statistics on crime in New York, you'll probably shrug and continue your vacation planning. But if a close friend gets mugged there, you're more likely to cancel your trip.

But far and away the next paragraph, probably than anything else you read today, is rife with wisdom. Read it carefully grasshopper:

Conficker's 1 April deadline was precisely the sort of event humans tend to overreact to. It's a specific threat, which convinces us that it's credible. It's a specific date, which focuses our fear. Our natural tendency to exaggerate makes it more spectacular, which further increases our fear. Its repetition by the media makes it even easier to bring to mind. As the story becomes more vivid, it becomes more convincing.

Here is an open question:

Given our species innate tendency to tell stories (as fundamental to us as "dance"), and given the repetition of the media, and given that these two tend to reinforce each other and run together to convince us of some impending doom, given all that: Are the odds of a pandemic increased or decreased?

Posted by: koreyel on April 28, 2009 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Consensus in Pennsylvania with the move of Arlen Specter to the Democratic Party:
The Republican Party is clearly doomed in the northeast.
Solid majority in the Senate. Even my conservative dental hygienist is worried. Hot coals, walk on...a crisis for the out ot touch Republicans.
Health care, new energy in our future, education...Specter will sign on.
And labor will lobby him on EFCA. I have to say that Arlen has supported working families
over the years.
This is big.

Posted by: consider wisely always on April 28, 2009 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Good points, koreyel. Let's not forget the great pandemic of swine flu that didn't happen in 1976, the Y2K bug of influenza.

On another topic, wouldn't you know that right wing bloggers are falling over eachother in their eagerness to blame Obama personally for the jet flyover of New York and New Jersey yesterday, to cite it as "yet another in a series of gaffes," and in at least one case to claim that "this is how those affirmative-action types behave toward other people?" Brace yourself for the next faux outrage of the week, my friends, this will be cited as far worse proof of Presidential failure than, oh, for example, starting a war on erroneous intelligence extracted by torture.

Posted by: T-Rex on April 28, 2009 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the correction Chocolate. Typo. Accidents (unintentional injuries) are the 5th leading cause of death - guess that includes gunshots, auto accidents and other causes (like falling in bathrooms). Nearly 118,000 per year.

Posted by: winddancer on April 28, 2009 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

st john wrote: "Swine flu is a symptom ... of lack of caring for our fellow human beings ..."

Actually swine flu is a symptom of our lack of caring for our fellow non-human beings, namely pigs.

Swine flu is a direct result of modern industrial animal "agriculture".

More than nine billion non-human animals are slaughtered every year in the USA alone so that human beings can eat their flesh.

This causes unspeakably hideous suffering to the animals, massive environmental destruction, and epidemics of preventable disease in humans.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 28, 2009 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

Well said, secular animist.

Posted by: far thinker on April 28, 2009 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Ed Rendell worked for Specter as assistant D.A.--and the connection is there. But Specter did stand up to the stoopid right wing republicans. And he seems pretty healthy now, inquisitive and knowledgeable.
Bring it on.

Posted by: an armchair psychologist on April 28, 2009 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

"In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court decided today that the FCC can punish television networks for isolated incidents of profanity, known as "fleeting expletives."
no shit?

Posted by: mellowjohn on April 28, 2009 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Florida Republicans in addition to refusing unemployment benefits, also want to prevent people from voting , now they have shown a prdisposition to voting Democrat. They are trying to ram a bill through that make registration more difficult.
From the Palm Beach Post
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/opinion/content/opinion/epaper/2009/04/26/a18a_elections_leadedit_0426.html

The outcry over the GOP's sore-loser bill could be heard all over the state. It angered elections supervisors, nonpartisan elections groups and civil rights groups, whose lists of needed elections reforms were ignored. House Bill 7149 and Senate Bill 956 wouldn't enhance voters' rights; they would weaken those rights. Senior citizens who rely on identification cards issued by community associations would have to get a different kind of ID card to vote. The bills would add more confusion to Election Day by ending a decades-old practice that allows a voter to file a change of address form at the polls.

The bills attack grass-roots groups that lead mass voter registration drives, which usually benefit Democrats. Behind the move is anger at the Association of Communities Organized for Reform Now, the liberal group accused by many Republicans - but not Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning - of fraud while signing up more than 1 million new voters nationwide before the November election in which President Obama carried Florida. Instead of 10 days to submit registrations, the House bill would allow two. Groups like ACORN would have to register. Fines would increase tenfold. "Those fines can put organizations like ours out of business," said Pamela Goodman, past president of the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County.

Real 'Merikans you know

Posted by: John R on April 28, 2009 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

Mellow is the feeling I get.

"Today is the best day to watch Fox News since the election -- mass grieving flavored by impotent bitterness."

From Glenn Greenwald

Posted by: far thinker on April 28, 2009 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Today is the best day to watch Fox News since the election -- mass grieving flavored by impotent bitterness.

Sounds like a rainy day tea party to me.

Posted by: Danp on April 28, 2009 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK
I'll just say this: Douthat is already an infinitely better columnist than Bill Kristol.

That should be given along with the definition to illustrate the meaning of the term "Damning with faint praise."

Posted by: Rick B on April 28, 2009 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

I understand the hoo-hah about Specter's switch but, even that should not have knocked out the other bit of today's important news:
http://senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=111&session=1&vote=00172
Sebelius got confirmed, with a nice, comfortable margin. Even the newly-minted Dem voted for her confirmation.

Obviously, Obama's conspiracy to put pepper under Repubs' tail and import panic-inducing swine flu has worked, to a nicety.

Posted by: exlibra on April 28, 2009 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

There are reports that the fatalities in Mexico from swine flu are principally among 20-40 year olds rather than old people and infants who are most affected by conventional flu:

CNN: Sanjay, one question that we haven't gotten to ... most of the people who died from swine flu in Mexico were in the prime of their lives really, and this usually hits infants or the elderly. What does that say to you as a doctor?

Gupta: This is interesting. And the same thing happened in sort of a nonintuitive way when we were talking about SARS and when we were talking about avian flu.

Think about it like this: Typically, you think of someone who has a weakened immune system, who's going to be most adversely affected by an infection. Their immune system simply can't fight it.

But in these cases, it's the immune system itself that reacts robustly, and it's the immune system in that reaction to the virus that is causing death in these patients. So the virus starts that cascade, but all that fluid builds up in the lungs, and all those inflammatory cells throughout the body -- that's what's causing the problem. We saw the same thing with SARS and with avian flu as well.

Which is why exactly as you said ... [people in their] 20s and 30s and 40s, this hospital behind me, they say that's been the bulk of their patients with regard to swine flu.

It's the cytokine storm that will get you - cool name though.

Posted by: blowback on April 28, 2009 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

Virginia's State Republicans also rejected 125 million in stimulus aid, much targeted for unemployment. Democrats are running consumer law attorney Robin Abbott against Phil Hamilton, VA Delegate in the 93rd. Her website is http://robinabbott.com, check it out.

Posted by: Neil B ♪ on April 28, 2009 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

Over 3,000 die in the U.S. every year from flu; it happens to be one the leading causes of death in the country, and has been for a long time. -winddancer

The recurring annual deaths are typically the very old, very young, or otherwise compromised. We're dealing with a virus now that is shown to be potentially fatal for otherwise healthy adults.

I agree wholeheartedly with you concerning gun violence, drunk driving, and cancer related deaths, we should be concerned about those, but none of those annually compare to the Spanish flue of 1918.

All the WHO, CDC, and the worldwide governments are trying to do is prevent the suffering and death another plague would bring.

Posted by: doubtful on April 28, 2009 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

This about torture is similar to what you've heard, but well put:
http://theamericanscene.com/2009/04/22/torture-tactics-and-strategy
Simply, American has done better than the sort of nations that torture, and that's revealing.

Posted by: Neil B. ♫ on April 28, 2009 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of Bill Kristol, he thinks that Spector's defection may be good news for Republicans. So I guess Dems can rest easy.

Posted by: Cyan on April 28, 2009 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

Where's Grover Norquist today? Would love to read his explanation of the Specter switch. Any news on it Steve?

Posted by: angler on April 28, 2009 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Arlen, what a man of principle, thou art - when, you were a Democrat, but, you needed Republican support, you became a Republican - When, you needed Democratic support, you became a Democrat - Please, stand tall and apologize for your shabby treatment of Anita Hill and helping to foist Clarence Thomas upon this nation.

Now, when is Lieberman going to announce his switch to the RepuGlican Party?

Posted by: berttheclock on April 28, 2009 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

Note to Michael Steele: Republicans really have to drop "no one could have predicted" from the list of talking points. It's a cliche Atrios uses to make fun of you.
-------------------------
Jeezus, Steve! If you tell people everything you know, they'll know what they know and what you know!

Sha shtill, dude ...

Posted by: Please correct the error on April 29, 2009 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

Jay B.: But as I've been feeling all day -- given that the guy would suck either way -- the good thing is that the GOP is taking it on the chin. I'm not celebrating for a filibuster-proof majority (Reid would blow it anyway). I'm celebrating because the GOP is being totally exposed for the far right party they are.

Alas, so true. After all the Democratic lobbying to get Specter to their side, it was apparently an insult by DeMint during Senate debate that pushed Specter across the line.

He was a RINO, and most commentators here did not like him. Now he's a DINO, and most commentators here still will not like him. That said, he cements the Democratic lock on chairmanships for years to come.

DeMint seems to have achieved what he wanted, a solid 30 votes in the Senate. I guess that means that the Republicans will attempt to tie an "anti-abortion" ammendment to every bill introduced into the Senate. As a swing voter I don't like the Democrats much, but this is pathetic.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on April 29, 2009 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

Florida Republicans don't want stimulus aid for the state's unemployed, either. I'll never understand this.

It's because they feel it's better to let hundreds of thousands of workers and their families lose their healthcare, homes, and go hungry rather than run the risk that a few years down the road, businesses might see a slight increase in their unemployment taxes. From a Republican perspective, the choice is easy: screw the (erstwhile) workers.

Posted by: jonas on April 29, 2009 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

I offer this as one possible response to the swine flu: Marianne Williamson is a serious spiritual leader and political activist.
Pray Away the Swine Flu

peace,
st john

Posted by: st john on April 29, 2009 at 5:55 AM | PERMALINK

OOPs. Sorry about the link: copy and paste:
http://www.mwblog.com/journal/archives/2009/04/pray_away_the_s.php#more or go to www.marianne.com/ and open her journal.
peace,
st john

Posted by: st john on April 29, 2009 at 5:58 AM | PERMALINK

* Pakistan starts taking the Taliban menace a bit more seriously.

How would you know? All we know is that they announced they would send troops into a small town and then, after a couple of days, moved troops into this one town while providing ample opportunity for cameras to capture everything... I for one don`t even know if there were many "bad guys" left after all the warning. I mean taliban fighters tend to know what the Pakistani army is up to quite well anyway, then there was all the ongoing/suspended/ongoing again negotiations, then there was talk about military action, so I doubt showing the whole thing on TV gave the taliban much of an edge they didn`t already have. There is plenty of safe places for Taliban/Pashtun/criminal fighters in the immediate area.

Sure it could be that the Pakistani military has changed its mind and now is getting more worried about a bunch of lightly armed friendly-ish rebels than it is about Afghan warlords on god knows whose payroll and the military might of India.

Its also possible that the Pakistani military is still thinking about the nuclear armed neighbor with which it fought war after war after war and is more than happy to put on some show to placate its biggest arms supplier, the US.

I hate to brake it to Americans but thats what the US is to the Pakistani military... their dealer.

My point is, there is stuff going on in Pakistan but I wouldn`t presume to know what is going on inside the minds of its generals. Also the Pakistani military != "Pakistan". Its safe to say that Pakistani civilians feel rather similar about the Taliban today than they did yesterday.

It might seem like nitpicking but when dealing with the most volatile faultline between nuclear powers I just don`t like seeing sloppy summaries.

Posted by: rt on April 29, 2009 at 7:29 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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