Denver Loves Mookie

In preparation for the DNC bruhaha in Denver to select their nominee for the Presidential elections in November cadres of kooks are demonstrating to prepare the path for “THE ONE“. As you can see this particular group is fond of Mookie. More at LGF “The Denver Games Opening Ceremony“.

Much more now at Denver Stuff: Furries, Death symbols, Giant puppet heads and Code Pink, what more could the last charge of the moonbat brigade, the last hurrah of the huffington horde ask for?

Housing Problem: McCain or Obama?

This is Capitalism vs. Crooks.

Who cares if McCain’s wife and kids have 7 or 8 homes between them if they earned the money to buy them with? Isn’t that what america is about? Is one of your dreams to have a second vacation home somewhere? In the US, with the exception of a small minority of socialists chanting about social justice, we aren’t about envy or begrudging what others might have.

Confirmed by AQ: Abu Yazid “Saeed” Al Masri Still on the HVT List

As Sahab, Al Qaeda’s media outlet, has released eulogies for two recently killed commanders, but Abu Yazid was not among them and he signed the message. This confirms that the August 12th reports of his demise from unamed Pakistani officials were false reports and leaves Saeed Al Masri on the high value target list.

My previous reports on him here. More at Jawa, and at CT Blog.

In other news another missile strike in Bajaur has taken out at least 8 Al Qaeda or Taliban militants.

Red State Rails

If you follow the old highways of the midwest you get into farm country pretty quickly, and you will see the infrastructure used to supply energy. It’s not oil and gas lines I speak of. You see instead rail lines, switchyards, and depots used to supply the older forms of energy: food from grain and animal crops, and coal to power our industrial processes, towns, and cities. 

The tracks snake for millions of miles across our landscape, but they are largely forgotten, or thought of as quaint. They are however a fundamental part of this nation, and not just in memory. If the trains stopped tomorrow we would be in a world of hurt. Without them bulk goods don’t go very far, and there aren’t enough Peterbilts and Macks to carry the freight they do. Without the daily bulk runs of dirty coal cars our nation would fall so far behind on the energy curve that we would quickly degenerate to third world status.

engine 2184Our rail system is antique, here you can see  my great grandfather and his engine, and sad to say, the basics of rail technology haven’t changed much at all since he retired back in the ’60s.  I would not be surprised to find the engine you see him standing on in 1969 still in service.

It’s time to build modern 21st century rail, we need a high speed coast to coast freightline and while we are at it one for passengers too. It’s time to create a new coast to coast rail right of way and make it serve triple-duty as a power intertie and high speed fiber route as well. What would it take?

Congress creating that coast to coast right of way is the first step.

Musharraf and the Bear’s Bad Bargain

While many are portraying the resignation of Musharraf as either a bad thing or a good thing, in effect it happened two months or more ago. His old friends and associates have been ignoring him, the stalwarts in PML-Q and MQM have deserted him, and even General Kayanni who he appointed as his replacement Chief of Army Staff has deserted by ducking meetings. His popularity with the Pakistani people of all stripes is almost as low as the US congress is with the American People. He lasted the six months past the elections that I previously predicted he would make it at least as far as, but not much further.

The religious conservative nature of more than half of Musharraf’s base has been decaying since 2006 — it started when he turned his back on the government sponsored terror camps for Kashmiri Jihadis, and this turned some factions within the army and ISI as well.
It accelerated as he started flushing the Afghanistan Refugee camps and repatriating them, with the hudood ordinance wrangling for women’s rights, with the de-certifying of madrassa diplomas, and sped up more with the well-constructed Al Qaeda’s cape of Lal Masjid Mosque to Musharraf’s bull.

Then he lost the urban moderate part of his base with the barring of the Judiciary and the censoring of media in the run-up to elections. If there’s someone in Pakistan that Musharraf hasn’t pissed-off, I’m certainly not aware of who it is. At some point you have to step back to admire his tap-dance across the razor wire of Pakistani politics, and the panache with which he carried off several actions of his tenure as president in a country so factionalized you need a score card to know how to dress when you travel.

In the end patronage is what got him post election. The political and business communities in Pakistan thrive on patronage, and without his partie’s people in the bureacracies and positions of power Musharraf has been a thin paper icon and not a real power the past few months, and the final dregs of his support trickled away.

With Musharraf now gone, the US got the bear’s bad bargain from him, as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have been securely in Taliban hands the past two years, and during the last year and a half they’ve made steady progress in trying to take over the North West Frontier Provinces (NWFP). Ayman Al Zawahiri and Bin Laden have been directing events, and they’ve created the next generation of Jihadi leadership under his nose. There’s been billions in aid and hardware spent, and now like the bear in the story, we are rambling off with empty paws.

The effects of Musharraf’s departure, like all multi-faceted events, are much more complex than any single pundit can predict, but I will do my best to sketch some possibilities here.

This will put Zardari, a questionable character in his own right, in charge of PPP, as the likely next president – if it’s not then it will be a puppet of his. (This goes with the usual codicil in Pakistan: If he lives, his name probably heads Baitullah Mehsud’s assassination list of 300.) There’s a slim potential to make Nawaz Sharif president, but the chances of that aren’t likely.

I think you will see Al Qaeda declare that PPP is just the newest US puppet, and they will continue their war against the government of Pakistan; they need to do that to survive. Brokering peace in the frontiers isn’t likely except under one scenario, and it’s probable that it will be floated or tried at some point so watch for the following possibility:

I would wager that the the new government would be willing to turn Jihadi ire away from Afghanistan and back towards India and the Kashmir standoff if they think that will bring them peace. With the Kashmir intifada heating up, it’s a likely ploy and scenario to regain the conservative sympathizer vote and to shore up the peace in the frontiers. Without an external enemy to focus the jihadis upon the jihadis will continue to eat the state of Pakistan.

The other challenges before the government are many, and how they answer them will be instructive over the next few months. The economy is floundering, in stagflation from energy and food inflation, coupled with decreased productivity and increased joblessness. Hunger is beginning to stalk the subcontinent once again, and that’s something that could snap the populace into their face very quickly if not abated.

Pakistan is energy deficient, which leads to many of their other woes for you can not support a dense population without abundant, cheap energy.

If they agitate in the Kashmir too much, they will find food supplies shortened, which certainly won’t help matters.

Then of course there are the Islamists, who are trying to overthrow the Government of Pakistan, and if they fail in that, they will next attempt to create the breakaway state of Pashtun land (there are many spellings for the envisioned state to be carved out of FATA, Southern Afghanistan, and NWFP, I’ve anglicized it.)

So lots of challenges, and at this point I have no firm predictions.

For a run down on potential candidates, here’s a list from Pakistan policy blog.

 Also just a couple notes to correct some misconceptions in other articles I’ve seen in the blogosphere:

It was Richard Armitage who took the message to Pakistan that we would bomb them to the stone age if they did not cooperate according to Musharraf’s memoirs.

It was under Bhutto that the Kashmir genocide through forced migration started, and prior to that General Zia al Haq had been using Bin Laden and AQ to cleanse the hinterlands of Pakistan, like Chitral etc.

Tonight’s Ribs

Here’s tonight’s baby backs, the spare are already off.

Mullah Faqir Mohammed Death Confirmed in Urdu Paper: False Report

UPDATE: The International News has him quoted and confirms he’s still alive:

PESHAWAR: Eleven more tribal militants were killed in ferocious bombing by six Pakistan Army gunship helicopters and artillery and mortar shelling on militant hideouts in Bajaur Agency on Friday as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) vice chief Maulana Faqir Mohammad denied reports about his killing in the ongoing military operation.
There were reports of Maulana Faqir Mohammad’s death in an air attack by two gunship choppers on Thursday. “I did not suffer even a minor injury in the attack on my vehicle, which was indeed destroyed by choppers’ shelling,” Faqir Mohammad said while talking to this correspondent from an undisclosed location on Friday morning.

You just can’t trust reports out of Pakistan, especially those coming from Pakistan Military sources it seems.

Previous report:

As Previously reported Pakistan Army Helos hit a two truck weapons convoy carrying the Leader of the TNSM from the Seway village/Mohmand area, Mullah Faqir Mohammed. There wasn’t confirmation at the time, but an Urdu paper is now reporting official confirmation. Faqir was one of the Talban / AQ leaders set free in the 2006 peace accords which were promptly broken by the Taliban. He was also very close to upper ranks within Al Qaeda per intelligence Sources. More at Memri:

According to the report, the Pakistani officials confirmed that Maulana Faqir Muhammad was killed during the fighting between the Taliban and the Pakistani security forces in the tribal district of Bajaur Agency.

My earlier report here.

Obamarxism at Zomblog

Take a stop by Zombie’s for an interesting new Pic and speculation.