With Pakistan and the Taliban now center stage, I found this story from The Dawn Blog interesting. Women in Karachi are meeting because of their concerns about events there:
…On Friday, the Karachi chapter of the Women’s Action Forum (WAF) invited members of the civil society to help craft a comprehensive strategy to stem the Talibanisation of Pakistan and respond to the recent passage of the Nizam-i-Adl Regulation 2009. On short notice, about 60 women gathered at the Aurat Foundation’s Clifton premises to brainstorm ideas for concrete action against the spread of militant ideology. Participants included the crème de la crème of Karachi society – revered activists, teachers, artists, filmmakers, professionals and many women who described themselves as ‘concerned citizens’ and ‘mothers’ (I could start name-dropping but someone might mistake this for the social pages and not the Dawn Blog).
The general mood was somber and, as the discussion proceeded, panic and passions flared. As one long-term women’s rights activist put it, ‘we came of age in the Zia years. Then, we were fighting the state. Now, we’re fighting against public misogyny being encouraged by non-state actors who have grown more powerful than the state – and they don’t play by any rules.’ In short, the women assembled at Aurat’s offices knew they were there to put up a fight.
Let’s hope we don’t see the women of Pakistan have the same fate as those in Afghanistan.
Caught a brief segment a few days ago on BBC America’s nightly newscast with the French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, but she’s been speaking about the latest IMF report elsewhere, too. Here’a link to a transcript of her inteview on Lateline which airs on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). It’s a worthwhile read if only to get a better understanding of what the people in charge of the money elsewhere are thinking.
But what caught my attention in the BBC segment was her comments about how unimpressed she was with the idea of creating stimulus package after stimulus package without getting a clear idea of how useful they really are. She noted that France was early in pumping up government spending on infrastructure projects, like public buildings, etc. and programs versus cash payments, but the results were only just beginning to trickle in. She was very pointed about how the French had started their stimulus efforts earlier than the U.S. and was quite clear that an idea of how effective the spending has been–and if it is getting to the right places–is needed before more spending is approved. She also pointed out that the money really hasn’t started flowing yet, so it’s going to be a while before anything is really known here in the U.S.
Although Lagarde is “on the same page” with the Obama Administration in many ways, we’ll have to see if the Obama crowd and Congress keep creating more “stimulus packages” in spite of Lagarde’s warnings.
Here’s a something Lagarde said toward the end of the interview:
My personal belief is that this crisis stems from excess, abuses of the system. I don’t suggest, though, that it would be the end of free enterprise. I think that a liberal economy can also have its social dimension and that liberal economy, as liberalism is understood in economic terms, can only survive if it is properly regulated. And I think it would be a complete deterioration if you will, or abuse of liberalism itself, if it wasn’t regulated. So, when he says that government is back and policies are back, I totally agree with him if he means regulation, ownership of the development of a free market economy by politicians, by those who have been elected by the people to represent the general interest and to make sure that proper functioning of the economy is actually respected. And to that end, we need a combination of sensible and strong regulations, but also sensible and strong bodies that will make sure that regulations are actually applied. And if there are violations, that such violations are sanctioned appropriately.
“And if there are violations, that such violations are sanctioned appropriately.”
I’m not holding my breath here in Obamaland, are you?
Kenosha Marge spotted this article in the Financial Times….seems like Timothy Geithner still hasn’t dispelled a sense of mistrust among financial leades:
By Francesco Guerrera, Deborah Brewster, Henny Sender and Aline Van Duyn in New York
Published: April 24 2009 02:03 | Last updated: April 24 2009 02:03
The Obama administration will on Friday get the first indication of investor interest in its $1,000bn toxic assets plan amid fears that the threat of government intervention and banks’ reluctance to sell will deter fund managers from participating.
Applications to become one of the five asset managers charged with raising funds to buy mortgage-backed securities from banks are due today and groups including BlackRock, Pimco and Bank of New York Mellon are set to apply.
However, financial executives warn that the plan is in danger of missing its goal of quickly shifting billions of dollars in troubled assets off banks’ balance sheets unless the government dispels investors’ concerns.
Potential buyers of assets complain that, a month after Tim Geithner, US Treasury secretary, unveiled the public-private investment programme, the authorities have yet to reassure them they would not be subjected to draconian Congressional scrutiny.
The Treasury did say that, aside from the small group of asset managers, investors who receive the generous loans available under the PPIP will not have to abide by restrictions on employees’ pay imposed on the banks that got funds from the troubled assets relief programme.
Yet some fund managers fear Congress and the government may change the rules mid-course, as they did with Tarp. Wesley Edens, chief executive of Fortress Investment Group, said: “The most important thing for the government is consistency.”
Wonder what Christine Lagarde thinks about all this?
Stumbled across this site which is a huge list of UK Political Blog Feeds. It’s fun to check out what’s on the minds of folks across the pond.
THE PAST WEEK
Labour (UK) Facing Poll Meltdown After “Smeargate” Allegations–Brown’s Fmr. “Spin Chief” (Now Political Director of a Union) Involved
The Past Week: April 12-18, 2009 (Newsweek Death Spiral?; Anti-Abortion Wars; Susan Boyle and Human Grace)
Filed under: Current Politics | Tagged: "stimulus package", Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), BBC America, Congress, Financial Times, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, Karachi, Lateline, Obama Administration, Pakistan, Taliban, The Dawn Blog, Timothy Geithner, toxic asset plan, UK political blogs, Women's Action Forum (WAF) | 5 Comments »