FROM David Armstrong
Tumult in Pakistan and the World Economy With thousands of troops on the streets of Pakistan, President Pervez Musharraf stopped a protest rally today before it ever began. Benazir Bhutto was kept at home, but she may be playing a double game by leaving open the prospect of negotiations. From Texas, where President Bush is spending the weekend, the National Security Council called on President Musharraf to allow the opposition leader freedom of movement and to release jailed members of the political opposition. There's been no mention of any reduction in financial aid to Pakistan, even though it's contingent on promoting "the transition to democratic rule." Meantime, Wachovia is the latest bank hit by fallout from the sub-prime mortgage crisis. With that news, the Dow dropped 100 points as the stock markets opened today. Meantime, the dollar is falling and oil prices are rising. Is a nuclear power spinning out of control? What are the possible consequences for the global economy, including the price of oil? What about America's financial position, already battered by the falling dollar?
Violence Greets Bhutto's Return to Nuclear-Armed Pakistan Benazir Bhutto's return to Pakistan yesterday was made possible by a deal with Pervez Musharraf, who offered her amnesty from charges of stealing millions of dollars during her two terms as Prime Minister in exchange for Bhutto's party allowing Musharraf to be reelected President by the parliament, even though he is still the head of the Army. Last night's bombing turned a festival into a tragedy, killing almost 150 people and wounding hundreds more. Now, recriminations are fueling uncertainties about the deals between Musharraf and Bhutto, deals which are already being challenged in court. If that were not enough, it is being reported that the US and Britain ignored Pakistan's illegal nuclear weapons trade for 30 years, all the way back to the Presidency of Democrat Jimmy Carter. Did concern for the alliance allow Pakistan to become a nuclear power and illegally spread the technology to Libya, North Korea and Iran? What can the US do now?
The free-flowing leaks in the Trump White House President Obama tried to clamp down on leakers, but the Trump Administration is besieged almost as never before. Are the "anonymous sources" partisans or worried professionals? Are they endangering the republic or performing a public service?
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.