Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving - 2007

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

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This post with its old hymn of Thanksgiving is dedicated to those citizens of Pakistan, who, as we gather together, are working to secure for themselves and their fellow citizens the blessings of liberty that we so richly enjoy. Please keep their efforts to establish freedom and justice in their land in your prayers, and ask God to guide them on their path and give them strength and courage in the coming days.

* * * * *
Last year, I did a week of posts on Thanksgiving, available in the November, 2006 archives.

Monday, November 19, 2007

60th Anniversary Salute

In an age of disposable and transitory relationships, based on convenience and whim rather than promise and principle, Wilmette salutes Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, upon their 60th wedding anniversary.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Brief Pause While We Spend All Day With AT&T Tech Support

No, I haven't disappeared, it's the DSL, again. Two and one half hours from the time I called tech support, AT&T has thanked me for using AT&T, and believe me I deserve it.

It's hard to blog, hard to get email, and hard to be out and about on the Internet without a connection to the Internet. When no solution I could devise worked, I called placed a call. Debbie took me carefully through the steps, and I was getting somewhat impressed that we might be getting somewhere she said, "Now take the cable from the computer and connect it to the wireless router and connect the cable from the wireless router to the computer."

While this one didn't end very well, there is one blessing--at least I did not have to listen to the stories on how a blazing fast 182kbps download speed gosh-golly-gee sure beats the dial-up on the farm!

In truth, I am still suffering from flood after effects. Usually I have one computer connected to the Internet through a modem, and a laptop connected wirelessly. During the great August storm, everything had to be removed and we (ok, I) lost a cable in the process. That's the cable that allows both computers to be connected. In the meantime, we've been wireless only. In the past few days even that hasn't been working--wirelessly or plugged into the modem.

After spending this amount of time, I barely have enough time to put up a quick post. It's 1:45 am, and come to think about it, it must have been well over 2 1/2 hours that I patiently followed instructions. While I would blame it on cheap labor through outsourcing, domestic tech support also seems to have unlimited amounts of time to devote to solutions that don't work. These techs are making a leisurely living the way they do this, but if you can't get online, finding a something both useful and fast is pretty near hopeless.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tribute to American Veterans - Remembering America's Fallen

Today is Veteran's Day, when we honor all American soldiers who have given their lives in battle. The photo above was taken yesterday, in Paris. Gathered above is a group of students who are demonstrating for justice in their home country, Pakistan. I cannot think of a finer tribute to those men from World War I and World War II who rest eternally in French soil than this picture. Without their sacrifice, France would not be free, and these students would not have the right to express their views in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

It is unlikely that these students are thinking of that sacrifice. Some of the signs are uncomfortably anti-American. But it is those signs that are the greatest tribute of all, a living testament to the right of the Free to speak out against their government without hesitation or fear of reprisal.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

USA Cannot Solve the Problems of Pakistan

Today's Op Ed in the New York Times aptly describes the current situation in Pakistan, asking

"Why do General Musharraf and his army feel a sense of kinship with the very people they are supposed to be fighting against? Why are he and his army scared of liberal lawyers and teachers but happy to deal with Islamist Pashtuns in the tribal areas? "

Private TV shows have been removed from the air, Police are out intimidating average citizens and TV personnel, and the world knows of the wholesale roundup of lawyers and judges. In worse news, citizens are disappearing.

A lawyer who runs a charity puts it simply about Musharraf: "He has lost his marbles."

Pakistan asks the West how it can be so easy on Musharraf? I don't think they get it. There have been a number of extremely harsh statements against the Emergency (now more properly and aptly referred to as Martial Law) from Washington, every amount of encouragement for General Musharraf to do the right thing. The people of Pakistan are generous in their criticism of the Bush adminisration, but they offers no suggestions for solutions. The leaders of the Western world figure those solutions are up to the people of Pakistan, and believe that if there are free and fair elections the rest should fall into place. Meanwhile, from the look of things, the good citizens are going to have to put on their thinking caps, examine their alternatives, and come up with a plan that will work.

If you click on the above picture, you will be able to see a larger verion of the ad by Pakistani TV station, Geo, where you can read the text.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Pakistan General Stages Coup Against Self as President, Thousands of Lawyers Arrested

Think that headline is bizarre? If you think you have an early script for Saturday Night Live, read the news. I don't know what possessed me to do that post on Newsweek's coverage of the political situation in Pakistan the other day. Little did I know that within the space of 24 hours that Martial Law would be declared in the country, and within 48 hours there would be a wholesale round-up of lawyers, hundreds of whom, as of a few hours ago, were in various police stations across the country, under arrest. Judges have been removed from office, and some arrested. At least one Bar Association president has been arrested. While Pakistan's head of state quoted Lincoln in his speech the other night, we are wondering if who he really is reading might be Shakespeare.

Some bloggers have given foreigners in the general region access to their blogs in an attempt to get the Pakistan story out while not violating the law, which prohibits any speech against the government, and the Trib's online edition has the details about the lawyers, if you are interested.

In the meantime, the most sense I can make of the entire situation is that General Musharraf has had a coup against President Musharraf (being the same person but wearing two hats) and imposed martial law. TV stations have gone off the air, and there are reports that broadcasting equipment has been confiscated. Arrests are continuing; hundreds of arrests, thousands of arrests, mostly aimed against the middle class.

I thought you might like to see a picture of a protest held Monday evening at the Karachi Press club (which is 10 hours ahead of CST), uploaded to Flickr. You will note that this picture of protest in Pakistan is far different than the cover of that Newsweek, which is now covering the story of current protests. While the photo above won't sell newspapers, middle class protesters rarely make good press. As you can see here, there are a number of citizens of that country who have better things to do than to be off to Jihad.

Meanwhile, there isn't any news of the arrests of the type of terrorists that trouble the Free World with their deadly views. Could it be possible that if they don't disagree with the General they are safe? We will leave that analysis to the professionals.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Worst of News for Freedom: Emergency in Pakistan

In the worst of news, President Musharraf has declared a State of Emergency in Pakistan. Live TV coverage of the Situation is available over the Internet at IBN from India. The picture, above, is from ARYOne television, which has somehow continued to broadcast abroad, despite reports that all private TV stations are off the air in Pakistan.

The Chief Justice has been arrested; the 8 remaining Justices have met en banc and overturned the emergency, but the Declaration of Emergency attempted to nullify the effect of any Supreme Court Order .

Private Geo TV said the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association has been arrested, according to Al-Jazeera, which also reports that all telephone lines have been cut in Islamabad.

There is a call for all persons concerned about Democracy to gather in New York City at the Pakistan Consulate at 65st between Madison and Fifth avenue TODAY at 2:30 pm.

Further info on the Supreme Court order:

ISLAMABAD: The seven-member bench of the Supreme Court has rejected the imposition of the PCO.

The emergency bench consists of chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Javed Iqbal, Justice Rana Bhagwandas, Justice Mir Shakirullah Jan, Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed and Justice Ghulam Rasani. The SC bench has given verdict that the emergency cannot be imposed and the PCO cannot be issued.

It has also been said in the decision that no judge and chief justice of the Supreme Court and High Courts can take oath under the new PCO.

Under this decision, all corps commanders, chief of army staff and all civil and military officials have been bound that they would not abide by any order of the government which go against the constitution or the law.

The prime minister and the president have been made parties in the decision.

The chief justice and all members of the bench are present in the building of the Supreme Court while the chief justice called the IG Islamabad in connection with cordoning off the Supreme Court building and stop the media from entering the building but he did not appear.

The bench said that it would make every such decision which would be in accordance with the law and the constitution and nobody would be allowed to break the law.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Are American Liberals (inadvertently) Flacking for Muslim Hardliners?

This isn’t a political blog, and today I really wanted to write about the animals, but that will have to wait. Yesterday I had my first look at Newsweek’s issue on Pakistan, and read this:

“At independence in 1947, the country's whisky-swilling founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, used Islam to forge a sense of national identity.”

Newsweek’s highly unflattering characterization of Pakistan’s founder represents the viewpoint of Muslim hardliners, who fault the Father of the Pakistan Nation for failing to be Islamic enough. The more likely truth is that Jinnah was too Western for their taste. We are disappointed that even Newsweek has bought into this hardliner propaganda, and in doing so insulted the father of the country of our ally. Have American Liberals, have fallen for the jihaddist propaganda that Osama bin Laden says is 90% of their struggle?

Pakistan is suddenly big news. In a desire to distance themselves as far as possible from the policies of George Bush, we hear a mounting drumbeat by Liberal Democrats seeking to be elected for “redeployment” of our troops, which usually boils down to moving American troops from Iraq to Pakistan to go on a hunt for terrorists. Jihaddists want America to fail, so is it any wonder that they want the United States to move the focus of attention from Iran to problems in Pakistan? I cannot think of a faster way to destroy American credibility and honor than to make plans to occupy a friendly nation.

Today, Condoleezza Rice said that Pakistan must go ahead with elections planned for next year, and the United States opposes any move by President Pervez Musharraf to impose martial law. Moderate Pakistanis spend a great deal of time worrying about such a possibility, which, from the evidence, is not an unwarranted concern. On behalf of a pre-election assessment mission of the US National Democratic Institute (NDI), Tom Daschle has just returned from a visit to Pakistan. Daschle’s cordial reception in Pakistan is surprising, given his strong support for “Occupy Pakistan” candidate Barack Obama.

With Pakistan now looming large in the news, there is no need to get your information through the jihaddist filter of the Liberals. Pakistan has no shortage of English speakers and English online publications. At Karachi’s Times, there is a transcript of a very frank exchange by Daschle and members of PILDAT (Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency). which was reported last week, and an op-ed yesterday on election rigging. We would recommend both to you. Pakistan’s future is important to America’s future, and there is no need to take your information second-hand.

Long time readers know of Wilmette’s concern for Pakistani bloggers, who have fought a tireless fight to keep their blogs visible both to themselves and to the world in hopes of a better future for their country, their families, and themselves.

H/t to freedom of speech advocate and Pakistani nationalist, blogger Teeth Maestro (with whom I occasionally agree) for the "Telling it as it is to America" story.