Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday News Round Up

-Musharraf resigns as president of Pakistan. Juan Cole's analysis:
Musharraf could only have stayed in power in one of three ways. He would have had to be able to block a 2/3s impeachment vote against him in the senate, where his Muslim League (Q) still holds a plurality of seats. Or he would have had to be able to convince the military to declare martial law. Or he would have had to get Bush to intervene somehow.

But the Muslim League (Q) senators and MPs have deserted Musharraf in droves since it became clear that substantial documentation would come out on his corrupt and repressive actions in the course of his impeachment. The provincial assemblies have been passing resolutions against him one by one. He obviously will be impeached if the proceedings go forward beginning Monday.

The officers are said to have refused to intervene on his behalf. A long period of military dictatorship is actually well known in history to worry professional officers, since it promotes corruption, diverts the army's energies into the civil bureaucracy, and makes it a less disciplined and effective force. (It also comes to be blamed for all the country's problems by the public). Given the challenges the military faces in the tribal areas, and with Kashmir heating up, the officer corps has enough ot its plate and seems to be willing to let the civilian politicians take back over politics. (Similar developments occurred in 1988 when Gen. Zia ul-Haq died in a mysterious airplane crash, ushering in a decade of civilian rule).

As for Bush, well, he is said not to be taking Musharraf's calls. After making such a big deal about democratization in the Muslim world, he can hardly intervene to overturn the proceedings of an elected parliament on behalf of a military dictator.

Musharraf seems to have therefore decided to bargain his resignation for immunity from further prosecution and for permission to reside in the country rather than being forced into exile abroad.
-A union within Walmart!:(via openleft)
GATINEAU, QC - August 15,2008 - UFCW Canada members at a Wal-Mart location in Gatineau, Quebec have made history by becoming the only Wal-Mart workers in North America to have a union contract, after a Quebec arbitrator imposed a collective agreement on Friday. The contract raises average wages of the Gatineau Wal-Mart members by more than 30%. Improved vacation provisions are also part of the three-year agreement. The terms of the collective agreement are effective immediately.

A spokesman for Wal-Mart said the company is unhappy with the decision and it is "incompatible" with the company's way of doing business.
Unions "incompatible" with the Walmart's way of doing business. Well, I can't argue with them there!

-Press release from the Obama Campaign:
From the release: "Barack Obama offers a new, tough foreign policy approach that is neither Republican nor Democratic. Obama will implement a strong, smart American foreign policy that makes us more secure at home and advances our interests in the world by ending the war in Iraq responsibly and focusing on the threats of the 21st century -- al Qaeda, nuclear weapons, and energy security."
What the fuck does that even mean? This post partisan crap drives me out of my mind.
Still, this just doesn't make sense to me. Obama is the Democratic nominee and he's presenting this foreign policy to Democrats at the Democratic National Convention, a convention designed by Democrats to elect the Democratic nominee for President. How is his foreign policy approach not the approach of the Democratic Party? As the leader of the Democratic party, he sort of defines what being a Democrat means. Doesn't he?

Moreover, isn't this reasonable foreign policy approach - one that emphasizes ending the war responsibly - something that other Democrats would want some sort of shorthand to run on? Doesn't it seem foolish to just sort of give away the brand of being against the war in Iraq and allow Republicans to avoid the responsibility incurred when they started it?
-Don't worry, stupidity doesn't stop there!:

General Wesley Clark is not attending the Democratic National Convention. I was told by General Clark's personal office in Little Rock that he would not be attending. Clark was informed by Barack Obama's people that there was no reason to come. General Clark has been given no role of any kind at the convention.
What I wrote on Thursday about Gen Clark as a potential VP:
The best choice of the remaining candidates in my opinion. He is a fantastic surrogate and attack dog, progressive on the vast majority of issues and would end debate of Obama's national security experience. Unlike almost everyone else he is unafraid to mention that McCain is a moron without first talking about what a great person he is. At this point Clark would be great, and so much so that with the way Obama's campaign has been running of late I'm not getting my hopes up.
Well, at least I was right about not getting my hopes up... (Bang head on table)
Not VP is one thing, but out of the convention all together? Who the fuck is in charge here?

-Speaking of the VP, Sirota writes about my ideal pick.

-On a lighter not, for those of you wanted more reasons to love Alex Ovechkin other than the ones mentioned on Friday... (via JP)


  1. You know, it's a damn good question: given that an Ohio win would basically give Obama the election, it's astounding how little Sherrod Brown's name has come up. I guess winning Virgina is just so much more exciting?

  2. I don't think Obama would be comfortable with a populist like Brown on the ticket. Obama's cycles of criticizing NAFTA then repeatedly taking it back shows how uncomfortable he is with populist attacks, something that you can't tell Sherrod Brown not to do.

    Brown would should be a slam dunk pick but when you're scared to to go left on the economy you have to make some sacrifices... and get ready to tied in easily winnable states like Ohio.