Saturday, September 04, 2010

More Fun With the Grand Old Party

Today is Saturday, 4 September 2010.

The Bush-Cheney regime and the Republican Party: gifts that just keep on giving. Now it’s possible that American taxpayers may pay for a bailout of the Afghan banking system.

Seems that Kabul Bank, the country’s largest, was run at least partially as a piggy bank for the benefit of its largest shareholders, who include Mahmoud Karzai (the brother of president Hamid Karzai), Haseen Fahim (the brother of first vice president Muhammad Fahim), the chairman, Sherkan Farnood, and the CEO, Kahlilullah Frunzi, both recently dismissed.

The chicanery began to come to light as a result of the collapse of luxury real estate prices in Dubai, where the large shareholders had invested sweetheart loans from the bank. Rumours had been circulating for weeks that the bank was in trouble, and finally earlier this week the Karzai government was forced to assume control of the bank and provide a cash infusion of more than $100 million. The latter was necessary to enable the bank to pay the salaries of more than 250,000 government workers, including the military and national police.

The bank seems to have had some $1 billion on deposit before these events began. Reports indicate that some $200 million was withdrawn on Wednesday and Thursday. By mid-day today, the bank was paying only Afghanis, having apparently run out of U.S. dollars. Crucially, there is no deposit insurance in Afghanistan.

The Karzai government claims it has enough cash on hand to prevent the collapse of the entire national financial system, but who knows. While it’s probable that most Afghans don’t keep their savings in the banking system, major disruptions of the latter would threaten the entire war against the Taliban, and would seem to require, as a last resort, USA/USE financial rescue.

It’s instructive to note that Karzai’s family has been looting the country for generations, going back to its support of the monarchy. This would have been well known to the W. Bush-Cheney regime when it handpicked Karzai for leadership.

Mission accomplished, Republicans!

(Both The New York Times and Washington Post are covering the story.)

Meanwhile back in New York state, a bruising battle has developed for the Republican nomination for governor. Rick Lazio, former member of Congress and failed 2000 Senate candidate against Hillary Clinton, is facing upstart Carl Paladino, a wealthy real estate mogul and political novice from Buffalo. Republicans go to the polls on 14 September.

Lazio is best remembered in New York for the moment during a debate when, against the rules, he left his podium, crossed the stage, and shoved a paper (“New York Freedom from Soft Money Pledge”) in Clinton’s face, demanding she sign it. She refused; Lazio’s blatantly male chauvinist bullying lost him support even among women who identified themselves as Republicans. He was recently employed as a managing director of J.P. Morgan Chase.

Paladino is an archetypical “anti”-government candidate. His companies are the largest landlords for state government offices in Buffalo, while he campaigns on a platform of “cleaning out the dirty trash in Albany”, the state capitol. Paladino claims he would reduce taxes by 10% in his first six months in office, while also cutting state spending by 20% in his first year.

Recreationally, Paladino has enjoyed distributing white racist e-mails to friends and acquaintances. He claims that he was simply forwarding e-mails sent to him, and that, at any rate, racism, “It’s a device used to hide behind”. Paladino also has enjoyed distributing e-mails featuring women being sexually violated by horses. No word on what kind of device that is.

You’ll recall that failed senatorial and presidential candidate Rudy “Frisky Family Values” Giuliani courted his second wife while married to his first, and courted his third wife while married to the second. Giuliani thoughtfully informed his second wife that he was filing for divorce through the medium of a news conference.

New York state male Republican politicians: keepin’ it classy!


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