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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Killing Ourselves Globally - How to Avoid a Nuclear 9/11

We are killing ourselves globally. Mistakes made in our policies (going back to the closing days of "Charlie Wilson's War" in Afghanistan) are setting us up for a nuclear 9/11.

Since 9/11, our government has given the Musharraf government $10 billion dollars to fight Al Qaida, which has been using Pakistan's Northwest frontier as a base and staging area for attacks into Afghanistan - and now Pakistan with the death of Benazir Bhutto.

Our shortsighted policies aren't solving the root problem to radical Islam. The answer is in the closing minutes of "Charlie Wilson's War." Our leadership is continuing to make the same mistake.

The "War against Terror" will fail unless we solve the issue of the 30,000 Madrassa's in Pakistan that are used as schools for the next generation. They don't teach math, language, history or science. They teach hate. In Charlie Wilson's war we funded billions for weapons to shoot at Soviets, but when it was over Congress and the President had no interest in spending even $1 million for schools in Afghanistan.

So instead Osama bin Laden moved in, kicked girls out of school, killed professionals and anyone who didn't wear a beard and launched 9/11. Now, because of blunders in failing to get him at Tora Bora and getting diverted by Iraq, Osama has a bigger prize at his fingers: Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. The death of Benazir makes that possibility all too real.

With millions of recruits for Osama growing up because we are so shortsighted not to fund a "Marshall Plan for Schools" in Pakistan --real schools that teach both girls and boys about reading, writing, math, world events, science and other things.

Imagine if we had a free school system that taught only boys. And only taught one thing: reading only one book. In Pakistan's Madassa's students study the Koran (even if they can't actually read it) and nothing else. They are taught to hate everyone who is different. All they know about us is that our President supports Mr. Musharaff, whose poll ratings had him losing to Benazir Bhutto, a moderate woman Muslim leader. Osama can't stomach moderates or women in charge.

So our shortsighted policies adds up to millions of the next generation being taught hate in a country that already possesses 30 to 50 nuclear warheads -- some of which could eventually be used on a terrorist attack against Europe and the U.S.

Saddam and Iran only wanted nukes. They exist only in their dreams, but the real thing already exists in Pakistan.

The time bomb is ticking. Every day millions of young Pakistanis are being taught a "jihad of hate" against the West. Every day that we don't launch a massive effort to provide real schools to these kids, millions more of these children will be brainwashed by Bin Laden's associates to kill U.S./NATO soldiers in Afghanistan, and eventually civilians in America. The same problem even exists in places like England and France because they have isolated young Muslims who have nearly 50% unemployment - a breeding ground for future bombings like those in London's subway on 7-7.

Every day that we don't have a smart strategy to solve the root issues creating terrorism in key countries like nuclear Pakistan increases the risk to our security from a nuclear disaster for America.

If you don't believe me, go see "Charlie Wilson's War" and pay attention at the end. Then realize how that decision at the end led to Osama's rise and 9/11.

It's time that we got smart and had leadership with the expertise and a global strategy to avoid future 9/11's. If we pick another leader who continues failed policies--policies that favor funding arms over education -- we are in serious trouble.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Clueless Candidates

The U.S. Presidential race just got turned on its ear with the horrible events in Pakistan.

Folks just realized that the President is in charge of more than domestic pothole issues. And a couple of the candidates appeared clueless on something that will be on the next President's Top 10 to-do list: Pakistan.

Mr. Huckabee seemed to not know anything about Pakistan; others made remarks so general they said nothing. I was wondering if the American public would wake up and realize that the President has a GLOBAL job. We don't need someone sitting as President who has to guess about different cultures and how best to address complex international issues that impact our future. After having been in places like Pakistan, India and China, I can't imagine how someone who hasn't been there would have any idea how to deal with them without just guessing (or relying on potentially bogus advice).

That is like picking a ship captain who has been a businessman and never made a trans-oceanic cruise -- and doesn't know a rock from shallow water.

We have the same issue in local Congress races - people who may have been great Mayors or doctors who have never been out of the country and have no idea about how actions going on in places like far-away Afghanistan or Pakistan are best handled. It's a good way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, as happened at the end of the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

At the end of movie "Charlie Wilson' s War," the Congressman is in a committee meeting, begging for a tiny $1 million to build schools in Afghanistan. The same people who readily voted for a $1 billion in weapons to fight Russians, "didn't give a crap about some school in Pakistan" Charlie was told.

It was the lack of those schools after the Aghan/Soviet war that let people like Osama bin Laden take over Afghanistan -- and kill teachers and punish women who didn't cover themselves in burlap bags. It is that lack of foresight by leaders that makes the world more dangerous for Americans and democracies worldwide.

If we elect Congress reps who are not as worldly as Charlie Wilson was, we will have the blind leading the blind in Washington. I've heard people say that, if elected, "they would get tough on people who don't support us." They miss the point - if we pick the right leaders we can get support.

We need reps and Presidents with the global experience (and advisors with the same) to keep us from a nuclear 9/11 and find solutions to the complex global issues that bear on America's future.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated in Pakistan - The Most Dangerous Place in the World

Photo: Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto was finally assassinated in Pakistan today. I say finally because it is the third attempt on her life since her return to Pakistan to run for President. This is important because Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world. It ranks with the death of JFK. Benazir Bhutto had been the first woman leader of a Muslim country when she was 35. That era is over.

Pakistan has gone from democratic hopeful to nuclear nightmare. Either Al Qaida or even Musharraf himself was behind this horrible act. It was a suicide bomber, an Al Qaida trademark. But then the shooter first shot her in the neck with a bullet before blowing himself up. That is NOT an al Qaida trademark. It's been reported that the head wound was what killed her. For Musharraf it is a convenient way to suspend the Constitution and avoid the only opponent that could beat him in January's election. But Al Qaida has also tried to kill him as well.

I just saw "Charlie Wilson's War" yesterday, and how we dropped the ball in Afghanistan after one man helped bring down the Soviet Union. Charlie was in Islamabad about the same time I was there on business negotiations - but we never met.

What comes out in the movie is how the then Pakistan President Zia had killed his predecessor, who was Benazir Bhutto's father. (The movie doesn't say that Zia himself was later killed in an assassination when his plane was shot down).

We risk the same thing in Pakistan, the only major nuclear power with a growing nest of Islamic militants, including Osama Bin Laden who live in Pakistan's safe havens and are turning their attention from Afghanistan to Pakistan (according to Robert Gates).

Great turmoil and risk is ahead for the U.S. as much as the people of Pakistan. The killing of Ms. Bhutto in the Pakistan-equivalent of Washington DC leaves her moderate bases without a leader. They could turn to the extremists who could gain at least 30 nuclear warheads. This will happen even if Musharraf succeeds in becoming a dictator, now that democracy has died with Ms. Bhutto. It's a worst-case scenario.

Americans should pay attention to this. Start by seeing "Charlie Wilson's War" to educate yourself on that part of the world. If one of their nukes or the technology falls into the hands of Al Qaida sympathizers we are in serious trouble. A nuclear 9/11 would make the first event feel like a gnat bite in comparison.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Lessons from the front line of Charlie Wilson's War

Charlie Wilson's war is a must-see for Americans who don't remember the early 80's. It is a remarkable story about how one person (or two) can really make a difference when they want to.

It starts with the Soviet Union invading Afghanistan, and no one was doing anything about it - not even the U.S. government. Yep, the same place NATO troops are today, because when the Soviets left we did too, leaving the vacuum that Osama bin Laden filled. It is ironic that he was trained with some of Charlie's CIA money. It shows the danger of leaving a failed state in a vacuum.

At the time the real Charlie Wilson was going from hot tubs and naked women to providing the mujaheddin with $70,000 stinger missiles to shoot down million dollar Soviet gunships, I was being sent into that neck of the woods (to places like Pakistan, Dubai, etc.) to negotiate contracts for Fortune 500 companies as a young attorney. I have been to Islamabad, Karachi, Damascus, Cairo, etc. and watched the whole episode unfold.

That experience was an eye-opener of what is going on elsewhere in the world that will influence our future, for better or worse. The moral to me was that we better pay attention. The first wake-up call was the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. The second was 9/11.

9/11 came because we lost sight of the ball. After helping the Afghans regain their country when the Soviets left after Charlie's (and Joanne Herring's) war succeeded, we lost interest. The country was left broke and open for people like Osama to buy his way in to a safe haven while he plotted attacks against us. From there, the attacks against the USS Cole and the bombings of US Embassies in Africa were planned.

The moral of that story is that America cannot afford not to pay attention to these failed states. It is in our best interest to do what we can to help them succeed, with international community assistance, to foster their development and stability, so that their exports are things like coffee or machines instead of opium and terrorists. The Iraq war has diverted resources away from Afghanistan. The Taliban sanctuary in the Pakistan mountains remains secure to launch new waves of extremists into Afghanistan. Ignoring the source of trouble will not solve the problem.

Charlie's war was a success. But Afghanistan also shows that success can turn to tragedy if we do not engage on a worldwide basis. Much of the bitterness of Russia's Mr. Putin stems from the fact that when the Soviet Union collapsed, he felt we did too little to help and showed them no respect. Now they are rich and determined to kick some sand in our face. They have the nuclear power to do it.

It will take an American President with a global strategy to address these issues in 2008 and beyond. It won't take a Charlie's War from here on out, but a Charlie's peace...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Medical Miracles

I spent over 7 hours at the Texas Medical Center today, a friend was having surgery and the doctors had given her only a 50% chance of coming out of it alive. That was not good news to her 12 year old daughter and husband. Fortunately, by late this afternoon it was pronounced a success.

All of this from a traffic accident. Apparently people who had these kind of injuries before 1990 died from them. This new procedure was invented and has been saving lives since.

We are lucky to live with this 21st Century medical technology. I was impressed with the intensity at the Methodist Hospital and the long time the doctors took explaining what was happening to the family waiting. It takes a village to sometimes figure out what is going on in these cases.

I tested the Blackberry World phone, by not charging it all day while spending a ton of time in a waiting room working the internet, etc. on it. The Treo would have run out of juice in a couple of hours. The Blackberry World edition went all day and still had 2/3's charge after a heavy day of use.

I found the address book had a lot of duplicates, so I deleted them. When i got home I plugged it into the computer and it automatically synced up and transfered the data to the laptop, and some stuff from the laptop to the PDA, in less than a minute. Very impressive tool. It was even easy to do google and people searches for address checks, etc.

For a birthday, it was a good day, even though i was too tired when I got home from a day of people watching at the hospital to bother eating dinner. lol.

We are lucky indeed to live in these technology times and witness medical miracles having every day in places like the Texas Medical Center.

After all, if you don't have your life, the Blackberry's, Starbucks and other toys we enjoy won't mean a lot, will they?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Hold the (World) Phone

A fierce north wind blew in and tilted Clear Lake, exposing old pilings from a long-gone pier extending out into the lake that had been hidden inches under the surface, waiting to rip out the bottom of an unsuspecting boater. Pelicans have taken advantage of the temporary sitting posts. Other parts of the lake are now mud flats.

Yesterday I met the anniversary date and switched phones on my plan, going from a Treo to a Blackberry World phone. There is no comparison.

The Treo had stopped accessing the internet and was hard to sync. The Blackberry 8830 synced over 1,100 entries right away, and in a few seconds. The Treo is as heavy as a brick; the Blackberry World Edition is light as a feather, and slim. It even dials number by voice, a major safety improvement over trying to "dial and drive."

The baseball scandal over steroid use by something like 80 sports players can't go without comment.

We seem to have a double standard even on illegal use of drugs. Marion Jones loses her Olympic medal for "juicing" while baseball players sign multiple million dollar contracts. This sets a horrible example for millions of kids. Their conduct encourages hundreds of thousands of young boys to think that bulking up on drugs is the way to win, even if it kills them. It says "cheating to win" is OK, and very profitable!

While baseball players and radio jocks walk free despite abusing drugs, hundreds of thousands are locked up for possession or use of other illegal drugs.

That does not sound like American justice or American values. We should treat all drug users the same -- or change the laws so that is the result. Why should a kid caught with pot go to jail while the kid "juicing" on steroids gets a multi-million dollar sports contract?

Anything less diminishes our unique American values of equality, justice and truth. Steroid or Oxycontin (sp?) use is more dangerous than Marijuana, so this does not make sense.

The good news is that there was a last minute deal in Bali, Indonesia to begin addressing global warming on a worldwide scale -- no leaving out developing countries like India and China.

I couldn't believe the U.S. delegates attending initially refused to offer to help with clean technology - they deserved to be booed for that idiot position. It's like the spoiled rich kid refusing to chip in for the poker hand, while expecting everyone else to donate. Out of 200 countries, ours was not willing to set a real timetable to address this issue. It reminds me of the story of the mother watching a parade and says: "They are all out of step except for my son!"

To their credit, the American delegation changed their mind and made the offer to help with "clean technology" and some money, etc.

Scientists say that we have at most 10 years to make the changes we need to avoid catastrophic climate degradation that will negatively impact or child and grand children's -- and future generations -- future.

That should have been a "no-brainer." Instead we have leadership with no brains.

Americans ask me "why people hate us." World polls show our image is now in the dirt. If attitudes toward Americans have gone down, it is because of this type of strange behavior coming from DC.

Being the only country on the entire planet that has opposed taking any action to avoid a global environmental disaster that affects all of us would provide a reason for them to feel that way.

The fact that we consist of only 5% of the world's population and yet burn 33% of the energy makes us look wasteful and arrogant, as Mr. Huckabee recently stated.

Bali marks a first step in a long journey. The Chinese have a saying that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. It's time to use our world phones to continue that journey towards a greater American future and a better image.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Politicians v. Leaders

What is the difference between politicians and leaders?

A politician tells people what they want to hear.

A leader tells people what they need to hear.

There are a couple examples of this in the current Presidential campaign. What we need in 2008 is a leader.

We need someone willing to tell Americans that we need to clean up our fiscal mess.

We need someone willing to address serious environmental issues that are critical to our future survival as the human race. Remember this simple truth (and reality) --If we screw up the planet's environment, we have no suburb to move to.

We need someone willing to talk to our neighbors around the globe to find common ground and solutions for jobs, global migration trends, terrorism, trade, ad in infinitum. A one way conversation doesn't work.

That is what people should be looking for in 2008.

But I wonder how many Americans will look for a politician instead --candidates telling people sweet nothings people want to hear, like how you can borrow forever and never pay the price, or spend trillions on wars without paying for them.

If we keep electing politicians instead of leaders, America's future is in serious jeopardy. Think about it as the candidates whisper their siren songs...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Al Qaida's Global Car Bomb Day

Photo: Lebanon - One target of Al Qaida's global car bomb day

Yesterday car bombs set by Al Qaida went off in Baghdad, Algiers (Algeria), and Lebanon. The 11th (including 9-11) is a popular day for Al Qaida to set off its killing sprees. So it had a day of global car bombings.

But that kind of killing has turned against Al Qaida in Iraq. Even the minority Iraqi Sunnis, who a short time ago were shooting Americans, have turned against Al Qaida and its indiscriminate killings. In Indonesia, Al Qaida followers were caught after beheading a couple young schoolgirls. That type of idiot behavior even disgusted the Sunni militas, who are now working with American soldiers. Iraqi Muslims have been as offended by Al Qaida's treatment of women as Americans.

The change in Iraq has come only after the military did something that I suggested years ago at the beginning -- get the tropps to mingle with the people and set up units that work with people instead of being holed up in isolated compounds as they were at the beginning.

The British had used this model in the south and it worked. it only took 4 years for Washington to figure it out.

Al Qaida is still a global force that has not been eliminated. Europe continues to isolate its Muslim community (unlike America), with a 50% unemployment rate among frustrated young men, a recipe for more car bombs in the future until things change. So while Americans may be obsessing over a possible recession, we face even greater threats than a housing bust and stock market meltdown.

And that means we need to upgrade not just our storm protection, but also protection in our homes and offices from future car bombs. That has become my focus with Armor Glass International.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dual Processors in the Fog

It's been extremely foggy on the Texas coast the past few days. Even the birds are flying on radar. Often the lake, less than 50 feet away, is invisible. On nights like this it makes working inside preferable.

I've got one computer busy processing website video updates. Another is making disk copies (it also serves as a news monitor while I'm working on the other). I loaded some video of XO Armor, our product, stopping 2x4's shot by a machine that looks like a cannon and bullets.

The new laptop has "dual processors" and supposedly can do more work at the same time. If Vista weren't so huge it probably would. It does seem to take multiple computers to do everything we need to do these days. I kept "freezing up" the old one because i had too many applications open at the same time (writing, editing video, website stuff, etc.). So now my work is split between two machines and it's much better.

The video is at the Armor Glass website. It is amazing who contacts me with a problem that only our product can solve. This week it was a museum in Philadelphia that is moving into a building with glass doors. Even a kid knows that glass provides zero protection for vandals, thieves, storms, etc. in a building housing the artifacts of one of America's most historic cities.

Armor Glass International has the solution to protect people from hurricanes, bomb blasts and petty thieves, fog or not fog...and it doesn't take two computers to figure that out.

P.S.: The collapse of the housing market in the U.S. is not an isolated event.

There has been a similar housing meltdown going on in Europe, etc. I've heard some analysts who fear it could spark a global recession. I think some smart leadership would avoid it getting that bad (and if they aren't too smart, we pay the price, which won't be much fun).

Friday, December 07, 2007

2008 Hurricanes: Predicting 7. Question of Intensity

This new report predicts that next year, 2008, we will have a higher than average change of at least 7 hurricanes, with 3 big ones.

In 2005 we saw Wilma reach a record low pressure. The warmer water from global warming could mean that the hurricanes and storms we get are more intense, like Wilma. That means we will need more protection and stronger building codes, as Mayor Bill White has suggested.

It doesn't impact just us who are within 100 miles of the U.S. coast, Mexico and Central America. Japan, Taiwan and China's east coast get hit hit by Typhoons, Asia's hurricanes, with equally devastating results.

We need to prepare now. Six months from now the next hurricane season begins and it takes time to install protective window film or whatever else you need to do to prepare. That's why I set up Armor Glass International, to provide security products that benefit people.

The window film I'm talking about has passed the Miami Dade Large Missile test would have a second benefit - it would protect people in glass structures from car bombs. We haven't had one yet but we have had truck bombs, such as Tim McVeigh in Oklahoma City. London has had them and our technology would help them too.

If put on in layers it can stop bullets --perhaps to protect employees from mad idiots like that kid in Omaha or security officers in hospitals surrounded by glass walls.

Buildings near refineries worldwide need it to protect employees and the surrounding neighborhood from glass shrapnel if an explosion blows out the windows.

I spent 9-11 on TV as a terrorism expert, but just talking about potential threats made me feel incomplete. I finally found a technology, a new nano-technology,that actually protects people in their homes and offices. The weakest link in every building is the glass. I found something I could actually do to make it safer for people, their kids, pets, etc. in the next storm or human disaster. It even stops burglars from "smash and grab."

I'm not into just talk. I prefer to take action, finding a solution. Few places in America or elsewhere have this protection, so there's a lot of "walking" to do. Check out the second linked site and email me with any questions.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Viking Tequila

I went to a Norwegian American chamber lunch yesterday - the traditional drink is "Glogg" which also describes how you feel after having only one drink. When it started in the 90's they had maybe 15 or 20 people. This time it was over 300 and they had to have it at the Houston Country Club.

Most of them were oil companies. It shows how international the business has become. In the early days, the North Sea technology was used in the Gulf of Mexico. Now some of the Gulf of Mexico technology is used in the North Sea.

After the meal they serve "Aquavit." A Norwegian from Oslo described it as "Viking Tequila." I think they should rename it "Jet A."

Speaking of Tequila, there is a weird trend of drug smugglers in Mexico killing musicians whose songs offend them. In the past 2 years over a dozen have been shot execution styple They are also killing a lot of each other, policemen, reporters, etc.

The "War on Terror" should include the narco-terrorists operating on both sides of our border.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Spy in the Sky, Drones and Iran

Big spy news.

It turns out that the global spies dramatically changed the story on IRAN - that there are "No active weapons testing program in Iran since 2003."

So it seemed very surreal yesterday to see the President coming out and acting as if it were "WMD's-in-Iraq" all over again. Why hype the potential of World War III after this new report was made available to the administration stating the opinion of 16 U.S. agencies views that there was NOT a big weapons program going on. It dramatically reversed earlier intelligence reports. Are we on the same planet? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me...

Then it turns out that Houston police have been secretly testing a flying drone over the skies of Houston. Apparently it is someone's idea of replacing helicopters flown by HPD officer-pilots to using the same type of drones flying over Afghanistan looking for Osama bin Laden. The operators don't even need to be pilots! They just sit in front of a monitor with a joystick. I wonder if they plan to attach a hellfire missile to it? Take out any speeders with the push of a button! LOL.

Private pilots are concerned about it because of the potential of a collision with the huge variety of small planes using the same airspace.

I am a pilot and share that concern. I also have reservations about the privacy issue. Exactly WHAT are these drones looking for?

What happens if a drone hits a plane and brings it down? They have cameras on board. Will a drone operator be tempted to photograph a nude sunbather in her backyard? Will it do anything in the skies over Houston that a real officer can't do in a helicopter?

It sounds like "1984" ... Fortunately Mayor White has put the plan under review. President Bush should do the same on Iran.
Our troops are tired and maxed out in Iraq and Afghanistan, facing repeated, long tours. Starting another unneeded conflict when there is no imminent threat makes no sense. It would overwhelm the American taxpayer who is already facing a $2 trillion bill on Iraq and Afghanistan.

Iran, and the rest of the global issues facing America, is a problem for the next President, whoever that is.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Democracy Wins in Venezuela/Hong Kong; Loses in Russia and Nuclear Pakistan

Mr. Big Mouth Hugo Chavez, who wanted to be "President" for the next 50 years, was given a big NO by the people of Venezuela. Strike a blow for freedom. No "President for Life" for Hugo. LOL.

Ten percent of our oil comes from Venezuela. It's OK to buy gas at citgo again! (Citgo is always cheaper than the other gas stations in my neighborhood).

But the situation continues to deteriorate in Russia and especially Pakistan, which has a nuclear arsenal and is more important to future security than Iraq or Iran in many ways. One of two Presidential candidates, Mr. Sharif, was ruled "ineligible" to run. He has to appeal to judges who were put in place by Mr. Musharraf after firing the former judges, all moderate believers in the rule of law instead of the rule of dictators.

That is the same as Al Gore being declared ineligible to run against George Bush in 2004 - it makes it easier to stay in power if your competition can't get on the ballot.

Ms. Bhutto, the only challenger to the General-in-a-suit, Mr. Musharraff, has been put under house arrest.

Meanwhile, Mr. Putin won over 70% of the vote. Why? Simple. Russia used to be broke, and was when he took office 9 years ago. Now Russia is RICH. Mainly due to oil. People now have jobs and ordinary Russians are beginning to have a future and some have even started to SMILE on the streets. No more dour, sour Russians linking up in front of empty store shelves.

The vote for Putin is a yes vote for better economic opportunities, but it comes at a hugh cost to democracy.

however, one bright spot is that for the first time Hong Kong has elected a legislator who was NOT a China puppet. It means that democracy may be taking root on the edge of China, which has amassed billions in foreign exchange reserves and is funding our deficits while challenging us for future space ventures.

But hey, not everyone's mind is on "global affairs" between states. Some folks want something more personal, like this story on older white women seeking young lovers on vacation in places like Kenya.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

P.S. Global Biz -

P.S. Must add this to today's post. In the past few days I've received two inquiries from two different parts of the country from different people, asking for videos on doing business in places like Vietnam and India.

What's really odd is that when I tell them that the videos are over 10 years old they STILL want them! One guy said in his message that they can't find videos like mine anywhere else. Ummm.

Checked last night. Before i ran out of funds I had made videos on doing business in Russia, India, China, East Europe, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, and oh yes, Mexico. They have clients going global, desperate for information apparently. So I'm dusting them and making copies...

Musharraf Reminds me of Tom DeLay

Ms. Bhutto - She even looks better than Musharraf

If you want to see how democracy dies when a leader can fire the Supreme Court, read this article on what is going on in Pakistan under Musharraf - judges being barred from going to court unless they pledge "loyalty" to the "President" even when its to give him a Constitutionally-barred third term.

Reading it reminded me of Tom DeLay - and his war on our courts and judges. Fortunately under our system he did not have the power to fire any judges, or the same thing would have happened. That is what makes our system so great - petty politicians have a tough time making it entirely one-sided.

It is in the U.S. interest that Musharraf lose his election to someone like Ms. Bhutto - not that we should interfere with the voter choice, but we should make sure the process is as open as possible. Without it, democracy dies and extremism will be the result. Our President should insist on "No rigged elections" if he is to represent the true values of this democracy.

So what if Bhutto is elected instead of Musharraf? She's a moderate. I can't believe our national reporters go to Pakistan, like the one I saw on Channel 8, and come back with the idea that Musharraf is the only choice. It shows how little our media know about the place, and the consequences of what is going on.

If Tom DeLay was still in power -- with his animosity towards our own judges -- I wonder if he'd be applauding Musharraf's firing of the Pakistan Supreme Court judges (not to mention throwing lawyers in jail for protesting the abuse of the justice system)?

If he did, it would show our leadership is going down the wrong trail. If not, then why hasn't he publicly made a strong statement deploring Musharraf's abuse of Pakistan's judges and democratic system? Why hasn't our leadership done the same?

I wonder how those running to take DeLay's seat in CD22 (now held by Nick Lampson) feel on this vital issue involving our national security? Is it OK to game the system to stay in power? What would YOU do about nuclear Pakistan's slide towards dictatorship?