Palin Resigns (ZOMG?!)

by matttbastard

Shorter: “You won’t have Palin to kick around any more!”

Yeah, yeah, I know — quitters never win.  Still, as Adele Stan warns, we (as in ‘progressives’) shouldn’t start singing the ‘na-na-na’ song just yet (h/t Jennifer Pozner):

For some reason, the very ambitious Sarah Palin finds the need to take herself out of public view. It’s hard not to speculate that there’s another shoe yet to drop. But don’t count her out; she’s as tenacious a political fighter as I’ve ever seen. She’ll no doubt put the time gained of her early exit from the governor’s mansion to good use — perhaps studying up on issues for her visits to the people of Iowa and New Hampshire.When I first speculated that she would be John McCain’s vice presidential pick, people said, Sarah who? Despite colossal missteps, she emerged from the 2008 presidential election as the darling of the Republican Party, her running mate returning to the Senate as a has-been. Mark my words: She’ll be back.

We (again, as in ‘progressives’) should remember what happened in 1968, after liberals and upper-class elites at the time had prematurely dismissed Sarah Palin’s political forefather, the man who wrote the book on exploiting class/racial grievance for electoral gain.

A book that the soon-to-be-former Governor of Alaska has studied well.

Much, much more over at Memeorandum.

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Musharraf Resigns

by matttbastard

Was never a matter of ‘if’, but, rather, when:

Speaking on television from his presidential office here at 1 p.m., Mr. Musharraf, dressed in a gray suit and tie, said that after consulting with his aides, “I have decided to resign today.” He said he was putting national interest above “personal bravado.”

“Whether I win or lose the impeachment, the nation will lose,” he said, adding that he was not prepared to put the office of the presidency through the impeachment process.

Mr. Musharraf said the governing coalition, which has pushed for impeachment, had tried to “turn lies into truths.”

“They don’t realize they can succeed against me but the country will undergo irreparable damage.”

In an emotional ending to a speech lasting more than an hour, Mr. Musharraf raised his clenched fists to chest height, and said, “Long live Pakistan!”

Good riddance.

So what happens next? As Kamran Rehmat notes, the resignation likely signals the end of the uneasy ruling coaltion between Asif Zardari’s PPP and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N:

The dominant view is that the desire to remove the former president was the glue – and part of an understanding – that held them together following a spectacular showing at the February 18 national elections, which saw Musharraf allies drubbed.

For starters, the PPP will be under tremendous pressure to restore the judges Musharraf deposed.

Pakistanis are not likely to quickly forget that the PPP has twice failed to restore them despite public assurances.

The PPP fears the deposed judiciary will revoke the indemnity granted to Asif Zardari, its leader, under a so-called National Reconciliation Ordinance.

Musharraf had decreed the ordinance last year, removing decade-old corruption cases against Zardari and his wife Benazir Bhutto, the slain former premier.

However, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, who pushed Zardari into making a pitch for Musharraf’s ouster early this month, will unlikely settle for anything less than the reinstatement of judges and a consensus president.

In that, the end of Musharraf’s rule may signal the beginning of real political drama.

Stay tuned, true believers.

Related: Arif Rafiq of Pakistan Policy Blog provides a minute-by-minute breakdown of Musharraf’s rambling resignation speech (h/t Abu Muqawama); BBC News has extensive coverage, including ‘key excerpts’ from the speech, a look back at Musharraf’s ‘mixed legacy’ and the impact his resignation will have on the ‘war on terror’; Pakinstani blogger Teeth Maestro calls for Pakistanis to “hold strong” and  “rebuild Pakistan” and  expresses concerns about the likelihood of a Zardari presidency (“Run for the hills!”)

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Farewell, Fidel

by matttbastard

fidel-castro.jpg

Castro quits, Cuban exiles yawn ( “It’s very good that Fidel resigns. But if Fidel dies, it’s better”–geez, tough crowd.) UK journo John Harris notes the enigmatic record Castro’s time in office presents to both leftists and free-marketeers:

Hagiographies are surely being hacked out as we speak, full of awed tributes to Cuba’s long-standing defiance of the US, Castro’s signature mixture of revolutionary romance and crafty realpolitik, and the achievements of Cuba’s health and education systems. On the other side of the argument, plenty of people will be roundly decrying his record, looking forward to Cuba’s belated opening-up, and chastising those who’d have you believe that Castro’s retirement represents the beginning of the end of a glorious story packed with emotive abstract nouns: courage, strength, indefatigability … you name them.

This, needless to say, is all pretty pointless stuff. Not that you’ll read it in a lot of today’s coverage, but much the most rational response to Castro’s record is a profound ambivalence. If you’ve been to Cuba as a tourist, you may be familiar with the beguiling sense of a society run according to a communitarian ethos, tempered by a nagging fear that you’ve essentially enjoyed a cheap holiday in other people’s misery. One minute, a seductive mixture of revolutionary iconography and jaw-dropping health statistics threaten to pull you towards the idea that the revolution has a lot going for it; the next, you’re reminded of the regime’s truly malignant aspects. As of a sobering reminder to leftist romantics, the absence of free trade unions and lack of recognition of the right to strike usually does the trick.

Sober social democrat Cernig explains why Castro’s resignation may ultimately prove beneficial to socialists of a less dictatorial bent:

One of the ways in which Castro was useful to the American Right – as people like Chavez are now – is in enabling them to muddy the waters of American debate by pretending that modern socialism and dicatorial communism are identical – a meme that has widespread currency in the U.S. How often do you hear rightwingers complain about Tony Blair being a socialist, for instance? Yet the Labour Party which he was head of has always been avowedly a socialist party. Gordon Brown is the current party leader and British PM. How often does his socialism come up in US mainstream reporting?

Hey, fuck the champagne-sipping Commie symps–as Jon Swift modestly illustrates, this is truly a momentous victory for–and vindication of–proponents of the US’ harsh myopic counterproductive freedom-affirming Cuba policy:

All of those liberals who complained that sanctions were not working and said Castro was thumbing his nose at the United States should apologize to the ten Presidents who have methodically plotted Castro’s downfall since 1959 now that Castro has finally said, “Tio.” While it may have appeared to some that Castro emerged unscathed from the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the 638 attempts by the CIA to assassinate him using poison cigars and exploding, mollusks, the embargo, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Mariel Boat Lift, which deprived the country of some of its finest criminals and mental patients, we can now see that each of these incidents chipped away at Castro’s power little by little until he had no choice but to surrender.

So does this mean that the wingnut welfare scheme better known as the Office of Cuban Broadcasting is now doomed to be scrapped on the slagheap of dubious history? And, more importantly, will legal Cuban cigars be puffed by powerbrokering superdelegates in the smoke-filled rooms @ this year’s Democratic National Convention? As Edward Abbey famously quipped, “Democracy—rule by the people—sounds like a fine thing; we should try it sometime in America.”

Update: Sheesh– Miami resident Mustang Bobby sure is a killjoy. Homeboy seems less than impressed with the blessings of liberty that have been bestowed upon the oppressed Cuban populace over the years by the US:

In terms of oppression and denial of freedom, Cuba is in the same league with China, Vietnam, and a host of other countries that we not only do business with but welcome their leaders to our country to sign lucrative deals for the buying and selling of watches, bicycles, and child-labor-produced sportswear. If we had bombarded Cuba with McDonald’s and NAPA Auto Parts instead of John Birch Society rhetoric and Radio Marti, chances are that Fidel Castro’s revolution would have been marginalized by a stampede of Nikes and iPods. As it is, we have left the natural flow of exporting capitalism to Cuba to Canada, the EU, and the rest of the Americas, leaving our influence fifty years to leeward. It’s a lot easier to effect a change in a country when you’re standing in the middle of it counting your money rather than standing outside the fence and screaming at them.

On that note, the embargo will continue for the foreseeable future, as per Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte. Hey, why mess with a successful formula?

Via Memeorandum

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