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American Politics

During the (generally miserable) Obama Years, a majority of Americans complained that the government neither saw or heard them. In 2016, they voted.

And it’s interesting that the Democrat Party and their propaganda wing in the lying, corrupt, smug, sly, elite media are still not listening.

Ok, there is one Democrat who claims to be listening, and he’s the champion of the downtrodden. He’s willing to give up his seat in the US Senate on principle (except that he did it after he found out that he would’t get into trouble.)

And he claims to be Spartacus…

Am I Spartacus?

Today, I stripped the bedsheets to be washed and removed the pillow cases and almost without thinking, I cut one of those annoying tags from the pillow. I think that federal law prohibits it. And now I think about it, I may have violated the law. But I don’t care! I am Spartacus… If you have any ‘Spartacus moments’ you can include them in the comments below.

In Islamabad… On 4 September, the new government in Islamabad announced the creation of a nine-member cabinet committee on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The official announcement said, 

“Showing commitment for the successful implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided to constitute a nine-member committee, which will focus on the progress of the project in various areas of energy, infrastructure and industrial zones.”

The CPEC committee is one of three cabinet committees that Prime Minister Imran Khan created as part of his reform program. The other cabinet committees are on Privatization and Energy.
On 9 September, the Financial Times published an article indicating that Pakistan intended to renege on its commitments to China. The article was constructed around selected quotes from an interview with Abdul Razak Dawood, Prime Minister Khan’s advisor for commerce, textile, industry and production, and investment. 

In the interview, Dawood said, “The previous government did a bad job negotiating with China on CPEC… they didn’t do their homework correctly and didn’t negotiate correctly so they gave away a lot.” 

“Chinese companies received tax breaks, many breaks and have an undue advantage in Pakistan. This is one of the things we’re looking at because it’s not fair that Pakistan companies should be disadvantaged.” 

“I think we should put everything on hold for a year so we can get our act together. Perhaps we can stretch CPEC out over another five years or so.” 

The Times article was picked up and enlarged by other western news outlets. None of them reported the original statement of purpose by the Prime Minister’s Office on the creation of the CPEC committee — to show commitment to the CPEC’s successful implementation.

Quoting the Chinese official response: ‘The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a major economic cooperation project that is carried out to meet with the needs of the Pakistani side… At present, there are a total of 22 cooperation projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor framework, of which nine have been completed and 13 are under construction. The total investment amount is $19 billion, which contributes to Pakistan’s economic growth by 1 to 2 percentage points per year and creating 70,000 jobs.’

The Washington Post reported the CPEC investment total is $62 billion, which is a factual error. But they have a problem with reporting facts as we all know.
But Mistrust of Chinese Intentions IS Growing
In July Malaysia canceled a Chinese financed east coast railroad project that is estimated to cost $20 billion and a $2 billion gas pipeline project. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir said Malaysia cannot afford and does not need these projects and two other Chinese investment projects.
Malaysia’s action has spawned multiple reports about countries reconsidering their debt exposure to China, such as Burma. They also prompted Chinese leaders to soften their sales pitch, as during President Xi Jinping’s announcement of $60 billion in additional investment in Africa. 
Pakistan is too committed and deeply in debt to hedge its involvement in CPEC. Prime Minister Khan wants to save money and would like to make better deals for Pakistani companies. Nevertheless, the Pakistani economy increasingly is tied to China’s economy, and Khan can do nothing to reduce the dependency.
The Chinese might renegotiate more favorable terms and greater local participation in some projects. Pakistan, however, has not shown that it can provide security for or prevent corruption in the financing of the projects already in progress.
The Chinese need access to facilities that enable it to import resources without using the Malacca and Singapore Straits. Gwadar port and the infrastructure China is building in Pakistan that links it to western China are critical to achieving this strategic objective. 

17 thoughts on “Observations

  1. "In the interview, Dawood said, “The previous government did a bad job negotiating with China on CPEC… they didn’t do their homework correctly and didn’t negotiate correctly so they gave away a lot.”
    “Chinese companies received tax breaks, many breaks and have an undue advantage in Pakistan. This is one of the things we’re looking at because it’s not fair that Pakistan companies should be disadvantaged.” "
    Has he been listening to Trump?

  2. President Trump has changed the way a lot of people look at China and it is causing them some difficulties. Pakistan is so poor and totally corrupt that they will become a vasil nation and their government may eventually have some sort of Chinese governor to oversee the Chinese investment if they don't already. Others, however, are reviewing the situation and it remains to be seen whether they give themselves over or not.

  3. I walked the dog and bought a coffee at the Pick 'n Steal, giving business and employment to the downtrodden underclass of asset-stripped Texas.

    That's my SPARTACUS moment.

    Didn't the fabled British Indian Empire, which I'm obviously in favor of, start with business interests? I somehow doubt that Pakistan's new rulers will be as beneficent.

  4. My Spartacus moment was yesterday. I bought a new blouse and it had one of those silly plastic cords on the neckline supposedly to help keep it on the hangar. What to do? What to do? I finally took a scissor and cut the stupid thing off. Yay, Spartacus!

  5. Being the scofflaw that I am, I wantonly ripped off the tag on my mattress and out of nowhere a squad of heavily armed, jack-booted Mattress Tag Nazis kicked in my door, sprayed machine gun fire throughout the house, hauled out the bullet riddled bodies and dumped them into the front yard to serve as a warning to those who would follow in my footsteps.

    Luckily for me, I had a box of Band-Aids at the ready, treated my gunshot wounds and survived to write this warning to others who might flount their scofflaw ways as I did.

    That Spartacus guy was over-rated.

  6. They can HAVE Djibouti. Been there, done that, puked my guts out! And that was a 'good' restaurant. The USSR built the harbor in the 60s-70s, and that was their African 'homeport.' They are welcome to it. And the folks at Lemonnier would probably agree!!!

  7. You forget that pirate blood (the blood of pirates) runs through my veins. The Navy didn't vet my genealogy well enough before they put me forward to Congress for a commission.

  8. You have eclipsed Spartacus both in the incident cited and because of your willingness to eat Aunt Sally's cooking. You're the greatest among us, Fredd. We should erect a statue to you (which would be defiled by jealous college students and would be pulled down in a fit of righteous indignation.

  9. My building has the proper Progressive ecoconscious 2-gallon-tank toilets installed (used to have 5-gallon, then they replaced them with 3.5-gallon tanks, then…).
    When I flush, I wait a moment for the 2 gallons of water to finish, then I flush again to make sure the crud went down the drainpipes (hey, it's a 50-year old apartment building – gots problems).
    I violated the law. But I don't care! I am Spartacus…

  10. I left out the part about holding in front of me one of Aunt Sally's pies to deflect the gunfire, since nothing known to mankind can dent that pie crust of hers. I actually credit Aunt Sally with saving my life.

    Thank God she's a cruddy cook.

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