Thursday, June 12, 2008

Stupid Things People Say: Pakistan and US Edition

Yesterday’s budget was a sane, sober document with little to complain about with so I’m only going to point out one minor issue that’s bugging me. What in the name of Iftikhar Chaudhry does increasing the size of the Supreme Court have to do with the budget? And isn’t this statement by Prime Minister Yousuf Gillani one of the stupidest things you have ever heard?

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Wednesday the proposed increase in number of Supreme Court judges from 16 to 29 in the national budget reflects a clear commitment of the government to reinstating judges.

Gilani’s logic reminds me of a college debate I once heard. The topic was something like "Peace won’t be achieved in the Middle East as long as the Arab governments are anti-Semitic." One guy arguing against the motion said that the Arab governments couldn’t be anti-Semitic since they were Semites themselves. On the face of it what the debater and Gillani have said is true but it so completely misses the point that you can’t help but feel contempt for both. Dude, playing games with semantics might not be the wisest thing to do right now. What you might consider to be logical brilliance is not going to convince anyone who thinks the PCO II judges should be hung, drawn and quartered.

Yesterday I made a post suggesting that the media might be in the tank for Barack Obama. The one exception I forgot about is….wait for it…yeah, you guessed it… Fox News. Yesterday they ran a news item with the headline “Outraged Liberals: Stop Picking on Obama’s Baby Mama!” Slate explains the ugly racial connotations behind the phrase “Baby Mama”. But then, should we surprised at Fox doing this. Earlier, one of the network’s anchors had described the Obamas’ adorable fist bump as a “terrorist fist jab”.

1 comment:

AKS said...

Adding a 'rider' to a legislative bill is commonly used by members of the US Congress to further their own (and their lobbyists) agendas. The Pakistani Parliament seems to be fast learning all the tricks of the democratic trade!

The government’s ploy to increase the size of the Supreme Court is abominable. I don't think of any other country where the Supreme Court is this large. The Supreme Court is the highest constitutional authority in the land and remains the authority that charts the trajectory of a country’s national conscience (though Iftikhar Chaudhry’s tried his level best to overturn this entire concept by embroiling the court in administrative matters such as the traffic in Karachi). It is essential for the Supreme Court to: (a) reach a decision on important constitutional matters; and (b) ensure that the judgment is not easily overturned and that there is uniformity in the judgments of the Supreme Court.

With 23 judges on the Bench it is unlikely that all the judges will sit together to hear an importance case – as is the norm at the moment. This will probably mean that separate ‘larger benches’ will be constituted to hear matters of constitutional importance thus raising the possibility of conflicting judgments and / or short lived ones. Such constitutional uncertainty throws the entire legal system into confusion and robs dilutes the status of the Supreme Court as a final arbiter.

Perhaps even more importantly, where the hell are they going to find 23 people able enough to sit on the Supreme Court (not that everyone who sits there can be called able).

Lastly, The Colbert Report showed a montage of Fox News items on Obama's terrorist fist jab - friggin mental!