Africa

Start the Revolution Without Anybody

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Hosni Mubarak seems to have gotten another day to pursue his bold vision of remaining president of Egypt for another day. After Mubarak declared his intention to stay in office in a late-night address, President Obama called to deliver what is being characterized as a stern talking-to, which doesn't sound as stern as all that.

Ayman Nour being beaten to a pulp in better days.

The fecklessness of U.S. foreign policy, in contrast to the generally pro-protest tone of the American media and (as far as I can tell) population, makes me wonder what all this says about the American "street." As Reason's man about town Charles Paul Freund wrote extensively back in the days of the Bush Administration's "Freedom Agenda," the choice between Islamists and dictators may be a false choice. But one fact stands out: In all but one of the places you can credibly claim a "Jasmine Revolution" is occurring, the protesters are trying to bring down a government that is to some degree (in the case of Egypt and Jordan, a very great degree) an American ally. Only in Lebanon, where Hezbollah's procedural takeover prompted violence from followers of Saad Hariri, was any part of the pan-Sunni uprising tilted toward a U.S. friend. (And Lebanon, which is dealing with its own cluster of catastrophes, can't really be considered part of this movement.)

That's not an intractable situation. Mark LeVine argues here that Obama needs to get past his aversion to talking democracy, and Ronald Reagan's last-minute turn on Ferdinand Marcos is still the great example of a successful realignment of policy toward a teetering dictator.

The question is who's lined up to take over Egypt. Ayman Nour, the Mubarak challenger who spent four years in prison following the 2005 election, has reportedly been injured in the demonstrations. Nobel laureate Mohammad ElBaradei, who just two days ago seemed like a joker trying to jump in with the winning side, has had his reputation burnished by being hosed down and put under house arrest by the regime. He also has a history of opposition to U.S. policy that makes it hard to tag him as an American puppet. But those are both long shots. Mubarak's prisons hold plenty of innocent people and honorable dissidents, but they also hold some of the worst people on this planet.

Mubarak's going down at all is another long shot. Apparently phone usage has been restored and the internet can't be turned off forever. But what is euphemistically called Egypt's "extensive security apparatus" plays out in reality as a situation where a great many people are implicated in the regime's crimes and have a lot of incentive to keep it in place. In a world where you can't even count on The New York Times to go out of business, you can never underestimate the ability of a discredited institution to linger.

Obama is not to blame for this. Nor was Bush, or Clinton, or the other Bush, or any other president from living memory. You could go all the way back to Franklin Roosevelt and his great ambassador James S. Moose (who famously described Arabic as a language that "opens the door to an empty room") and still not have the first thread of America's potentate-oriented Middle East policy. It's a long-ingrained habit, and it will take a long time to lose. But you have to start somewhere.

And in answer to Michael Moynihan's calumny against Omar Sharif, here's a lesson in what happens when you try to kill the king and miss: Sharif as a Nazi with a conscience in the fantastically great and almost totally forgotten Night of the Generals:

Update: Maybe he won't get another day after all. Mubarak's sons evacuated to London. Al Jazeera caller says cops and army have abandoned central Cairo to looters. Wikileaks scuttlebutt on the new vice president. Notes on the new prime minister. Michael Totten has grim polling numbers suggesting what a democratic Egypt might look like. Is this what we can expect for Egypt's great unislamic idols?

NEXT: Father and Son Paul Out to Audit the Fed

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  1. I can’t think of a single instance in his public life where Obama has publicly favored freedom over government control. Of course he would favor a tin pot dictator like Mubarak over the choice of the Egyptian people. That is just how he rolls.

      1. You never know. I wouldn’t be surprised if that were true. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it were bunk either.

        1. Our “intelligence agencies” have been known to work both sides of street. I mean, if you’ve got a pal in power, but it looks like he may come down, they might not want to go “all in” with him, IYKWIM.

          1. That is so profound. Your fake name links to something called “urkobold.” Is he The One? Can we trust Him?

            1. I went there and got this. What does it mean? Is it code for masturbation? Help me. Thanks.

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              1. Whoa|1.29.11 @ 8:29PM|#
                “Help me. Thanks.”

                OK, get lost.

            2. “Can we trust Him?”

              Can you trust a force of nature?

              The Maker of Nations!

              The Sage of Sulu!

              Can you trust him?!

              He’s a chimpanzee circus, a tidal wave and the 50 Cent Party–all rolled into one!

              Of course you can trust him.

              1. sevo, Ken, thanks. I couldn’t handle how profound he was…

    1. As much as I dislike BO, it’s not necessary for him to really oppose freedom to explain his foreign “policy”. It seems more likely he’s just trying to keep the status quo going overseas (and thus not get blamed for anything new happening) so that he can concentrate on looting the treasury here at home.

      1. It will all go away if I spend enough time on the links.

        1. I thought it was ridiculous and insulting when Bush gave up golf as a way of “sharing the sacrifice” of the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

          But now that years have passed, it seems like more of a nice gesture. Obama doesn’t seem to be willing to give up any of the comforts of his wealthy lifestyle no matter what happens. Perhaps it’s an old money vs. new money thing.

          1. “Hey we’re movin’ on up (movin’ on up)….”

            1. You know who else sang that…

          2. I mean, except for the fact, he didn’t, and that’s not true…

            …do you believe all the propaganda?

      2. You don’t have to hate democracy to think the devil you know (Hosni) is better than the devil you don’t know (Islamists). Besides, given the hate of the US in the Middle East the US President coming out for either side is probably like Obama endorsing a GOP presidential nominee.

        1. I vote “present” regarding this matter.

        2. You do have to hate democracy to think that the US, rather than the people of Egypt, has the right to choose the government of Egypt.

          1. “He who has the gold makes the rules”

          2. They don’t have a right to choose a government that infringes on individual rights and supports terror groups.

            1. You take that back, asshole. I was duly elected.

            2. I’m afraid rights-infringing governments are all that’s on the menu, Cyto. As for the terrorism bedwet, we certainly have no right to prop up a government that terrorizes its own people just to allay our terrorism fears.

              1. Well, there are somewhat rights-infringing governments (US gov) and serious rights-infringers (MB). And yes, America/Israel has the right to destroy any government that supports terror against it.

                1. The menu I was speaking of was for an Egyptian government. The choice isn’t between a US-type government (which is decent [at least domestically] despite a few rights infringing warts) and tyranny, it’s between one sort of tyranny or another.

                2. And yes, America/Israel has the right to destroy any government that supports terror against it.

                  I agree in principle, but the standard should be that there is material support for an imminent, credible danger of a significant attack, not simply a government leader mouthing off about how terrible he thinks Israel or America is.

                  And keep in mind the possible MB government doesn’t even exist yet, so it ipso facto does not support terror.

              2. sometimes i wax nostalgic for the iran-iraq war. they kept each other occupied and too busy to meddle with others.

            3. Uh, its democracy, that’s what it means. Sorry if it doesn’t match up with your view of “rights” – but then again, what government does?

            4. You’re right. We should choose one for them.

          3. So should he support the protests or not? Wouldn’t both be the US trying to influence or choose the leader of Egypt?

            1. In a perfect world he would state that it’s none of our business and pull all non-humanitarian aid to the Egyptian govt regardless of who’s in charge.

              But I’ll settle for not having his underlings go on TV and say nice things about Mubarak as a start.

              1. In the real world, I’ll probably come out in support of the right to require women to wear the hijab.

      3. Although there was this story from back in July 2010 on Egypt, which noted in passing:

        The Obama administration ended support for a small fund operated by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo that supported groups promoting Egyptian democracy and that bypassed any clearance from the Egyptian government.

        That would be the money funding the activities mentioned in the recent Daily Telegraph article (note that the funding in the article happened in 2008.)

        One explanation seems to be that the Egyptian government found out about it, and demanded that the Obama Administration stop it.

    2. It’s hard to say whether the future will hold something better than Mubarak when we don’t know what the future holds.

      It’s more than just preferring the devil we know too–was Iran under the Shah better than under the Mullahs? That’s a question for the Iranian people to answer, but it’s a question American presidents need to answer too.

      There’s no saying that Egypt will end up like Iran, but there’s no saying it won’t either. I have a hard time imagining the Muslim Brotherhood relegating themselves to the loyal opposition should they lose an election, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

      1. Much like in American politics, there are always more than 2 choices.

        BO doesnt have to support Mubarak or the MB, he could support the pro-democracy Egyptians.

        1. Ahem, we’re suffering too! A shout out for us would be nice.

          1. I would assume that you are part of the pro-democracy camp.

            1. Of course! It’s just the looming possibility of more persecution and dhimmitude after the dust settles and the fire is out that has us concerned….

              1. If by “looming possibility,” you mean “absolute certainly,” then I would have to say you’re right to be concerned.

                My guess is that the Coptics are waiting for the internet to come back up so they can access Expedia and get the fuck out of there.

              2. Dhimmitude isn’t so bad. We’ve been doing it for years.

                1. But the health care is free and everyone lives a charming artiste lifestyle.

                2. Stupid threads. I’m going to pass legislation where threading can not be limited. Reason will have to allow as many as The People demand.

                  To infinity and onward!

                  1. I find the concept of infinity to be limiting.

                    We have a right to demand more.

              3. My understanding is that the Muslim Brotherhood has stated that Coptics will be able to live in Egypt!

                Isn’t that great news?

                Oh, but they will have to pay a tax for protection–just like the Christians of yore under the Caliphate.

                Of course, that was their position when they weren’t in power–once they’re in power?

                I’d say all bets are off.

                I mean, we can put that on the list, right?

                Death, Taxes, Gaining Power Making People Forget Campaign Promises?

                1. We’re not starting from Day 1 Of The Universe, Ken. The Copts aren’t exactly thriving under the Mubarak regime either.

                  1. That’s absurd.

                    If Coptic Christians are under siege in Egypt, it’s coming from Islamic extremists.

                    Mubarak may not have been nice to anybody, the Coptic Christians included, but he’s largely seen as the enemy of Islamic extremism–by Islamic extremists.

                    1. The Quran states that Muslims are not to harm Jews or Christians because of their religion, so if MB does that they are violating their own religion’s basic tenets.

                    2. “The Quran states that Muslims are not to harm Jews or Christians because of their religion, so if MB does that they are violating their own religion’s basic tenets.”

                      Am I supposed to pretend nobody’s ever done anything like that?!

                      …wait! That was sarcasm, wasn’t it.

                      Wasn’t it?

                    3. “The Quran states that Muslims are not to harm Jews or Christians because of their religion, so if MB does that they are violating their own religion’s basic tenets.”

                      You were kidding, right?

        2. Or even better he could state that the question of what government Egypt will have is none of our business, and cut off all non-humanitarian aid to Egypt regardless of who is in power.

          1. True. But I have no problem with him stating a preference towards democracy. And then cutting off aid* even if they get in power.

            *notice my lack of a qualifier on the aid. It isnt the governments obligation to provide humanitarian aid.

            1. As that other president whose father was also president put it:

              Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be.

              But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.

              She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.

              She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.

              She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.

              She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.

              The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force….

              She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit….

              1. Now watch this drive.

              2. That’s so 18th century.

                Now STFU, pay your taxes and enlist your kid’s in the glorious freedom crusade.

          2. “Or even better he could state that the question of what government Egypt will have is none of our business, and cut off all non-humanitarian aid to Egypt regardless of who is in power.”

            I don’t know how much of a security threat the Muslim Brotherhood presents to the United States.

            …but if it does present a security threat to the United States? It’s our business.

            But who knows?!

            Perhaps if we’re nice they’ll just go away.

            1. Any security threat posed by MB is purely speculative.

              Furthermore, we do NOT have a right to keep oppressive governments in power in other countries just to allay our speculative fears about what might follow them. That I even have to state this on a purportedly libertarian site is shocking. It’s as if the wonderful, holy, self-evident principles of the Declaration of Independence are assumed to only apply on American soil.

              How would you feel if Iran started interfering in our elections because they thought a particular candidate posed a threat to them? (And in the case of some candidates, the Iranians would probably be more provably right about that.)

              It’s sad to see that your position on the mosque wasn’t an abberation, but evidence that you’ve fully swung to the neocon side. Enjoy the company of your new pals, but stay away from the urine stains on the mattress.

              1. “Furthermore, we do NOT have a right to keep oppressive governments in power in other countries just to allay our speculative fears about what might follow them.”

                The sole legitimate function of government is protecting our rights.

                …from foreign threats among other things.

                Make themselves a threat to the people of the United States, and not only do we have a right, we have a duty to defend ourselves.

                I’m not a CIA analyst. I don’t know how much of a threat the Muslim Brotherhood et. al. pose to the American people. How many times have I said that over the last 24 hours?

                If they were a significant threat, then we had a right to defend ourselves–and as bad as Mubarak was, he probably cost a lot less and did a lot less civilian damage than some of the other options.

                We certainly shouldn’t take any options off the table out of concern for anything other than American interests! I feel very strongly that American foreign policy should be run with American interests in mind.

                If the Muslim Brotherhood comes to power and we see some kind of Iranian style theocracy–and they become an enemy of the U.S. like Iran has?

                I’ll certainly support embracing that government if it’s in our best interests to do so.

                1. American foreign policy should never include oppressing, or aiding the oppression of innocent human beings unless there is a clear and present danger of significant harm to individual Americans. A Rube Goldberg sequence of events involving a government that does not exist yet and quite possibly will never exist does not even come close to meeting that threshhold.

                  America is not an ethnic-based nation, it is a nation based on an ideal, that all humans have basic rights and should govern themselves. It would be pragmatically ill-conceived for the US to protect the rights to people outside our borders, but we certainly shouldn’t be involved in violating them ourselves! Again, I can’t believe I’m having to state this.

                2. Sole legitimate function…says who? You and your ideology?

                  Get over it.

                  1. It doesn’t matter whose ideology.

                    Anywhere there are people plotting to attack the American people? It’s our business.

                    …not that the Muslim Brotherhood is planning anything like that–but then I’ve already said that 20 times in the last 24 hours, so from now on, let’s just consider that an automatic disclaimer.

                    1. So all other countries have the right to invade us if we contemplate invading them?

                      I get it, you’re a neocon. Problem is you’ve been wrong about everything since the dawn of time.

                      If you would understand cause and effect, you’d realize its your very policy of invading countries worldwide that is creating the very terrorists…which you purport to be the reason you need to invade.

                      The war and drugs and war on terrorism are from the same cloth.

                      Since when was this a neocon site?

                    2. You’re so out of it, you think I’m a neocon?!

                      I’m arguing straight up pragmatism, and you think I’m a necon?!

                      I gave specific examples–I talked about opposing the Iraq War! How our foreign policy should be America’s, not Iraq’s, not Egypt’s, not anybody else’s interest–but America’s, and you think I’m a necon?

                      I bashed neocons daily here for years, and you think I’m a neocon?!

                      For pity’s sake!

                    3. Actually, thanks for the stroll down Memory Lane.

                      I don’t know why insisting that American foreign policy should ultimately be about American interests makes people so nuts, but it does!

                      Here’s a thread from 2005–one of my all time faves!

                      https://reason.com/blog/2005/03…..tcontainer

                      The neocons show up in force in that thread–someone suggested my comment towards the top tripped an “instalanche”.

                      The neocons called me a racist in that thread because I thought that American troops should only be used for American interests.

                      I kept arguing that the American people wouldn’t have supported the Iraq War if it hadn’t been sold to them as a war of self-defense, and oh, did that ever make the neocons crazy!

                      I’ve been called all kinds of things by neocons, but–up until this day–I’ve never been called a neocon!

                      It’s been like eight years–all the way through the Iraq War and everything else. I’ve been called everything except a neocon.

                      You win the door prize!

                    4. No, you said that we should whatever is in our interest, even if that is invading other countries…the same rational provided by the neocons. You didn’t think it was “wrong” to invade Iraq, you just didn’t think it was good “policy.” See, even the neocons disagree sometimes.

                      That said, if you were truly using a rational calculus, you’d determine if invading countries had a worse effect in the long run, even if it was helpful to invade them in the short term. Plus, you’d consider the violation of international law, the obvious deaths that would ensue, etc – and the fact that the gross majority of invasions have failed to reach their “objective” or actually promote democracy in the long run.

                      So, you are wrong on policy, and wrong on principle. Next.

                    5. “No, you said that we should whatever is in our interest, even if that is invading other countries…the same rational provided by the neocons.”

                      I never said we should invade whatever country that’s plotting against us–I said if anybody presents a security threat to the American people, then wherever they are, that’s our business!

                      I’m actually still a big believer in the Powell Doctrine. I don’t think we should ever commit troops unless we pass all those tests.

                      I’m also a pragmatist. That sometimes means working with unsavory types wherever our enemies happen to be–when it’s in our best interest to do that.

                      Tulpa suggested we don’t have a right to use vicious dictators against our enemies–I would argue we have a right and a duty to protect the American people from those who mean us harm. …in all sorts of ways.

                      That makes me the opposite of a neocon. If supporting democracy in some despotic country is in our best interests–I’m right with that. But sometimes? We need to work with some unsavory types.

                      The regime in Pakistan isn’t exactly my idea of a bunch of nice guys. To whatever extent the official regime continues to work with us against Al Qaeda and the Taliban? That’s to our benefit.

                      Like I said, the regime in Pakistan–there probably aren’t any good guys in Pakistan to work with. So, what are we supposed to do–nothing?! They have nukes!

                      I think it’s in our best interests to work with them even if they aren’t nice people.

                      Again, that makes me the opposite of a neocon. If America hating, Al Qaeda allies took control of the Pakistani government and Pakistan’s nukes, do you think I’d support them–just because they came to power by democratic means?

                      Hell no!

                      Really, it’s time to stop being so naive. We won the Cold War with some pretty brutal pragmatism–a lot of which came back to bite us in the ass. In other words, a lot of that really wasn’t in our best interest…’

                      Doesn’t mean we should abandon all that stuff when it’s in the best interest of the American people.

                    6. “That makes me the opposite of a neocon. If supporting democracy in some despotic country is in our best interests–I’m right with that. But sometimes? We need to work with some unsavory types.”

                      …which is why the neocons have us invading Iraq, and not Saudi Arabia…

                      …listen, you’re a neocon. You guys just can’t agree on exactly who to attack…but you are using the same shortsighted framework.

                      And your shortsighted history of the Cold War further proves my point…

                      You think the world is a game for the US imperialists to play with – and we have more of a right to exist than anyone else. You will kill every other person in the world if that’s what it takes to promote “our” interests…which i’m sure we can’t even agree on.

                      Your “morality” is so low it doesn’t rise to the level of repugnant. I’m glad you can live with that; i’m hoping the majority of us can’t, for humanities sake.

                    7. If that boils down to focusing on American interests and not getting distracted by horrific invasions of places like Iraq?

                      Fine.

                      The kind of imperialism I’m advocating is when we don’t invade, occupy and bomb the hell out of third world countries, but…

                      At least I’ll never be duped like an idiot into supporting bombing, invading and occupying a third world country–because the President says we’re helping them! …but maybe that’s your problem?!

                      Maybe you’ve been beholden to people telling us we should squander our own resources and our own troops on other people’s problems for so long–you think anybody who questions that is somehow evil?

                      I don’t know; it’s just a guess. All I know is that you’re the kind of person who calls people racist for insisting that American policy should serve America’s interests…

                      That’s what you do. That’s who you are.

              2. “It’s sad to see that your position on the mosque wasn’t an abberation, but evidence that you’ve fully swung to the neocon side.”

                My position on that stupid mosque was, is and always will be that the jackhole building that thing is a jackhole for doing it, but he should be allowed to build whatever he wants on his own property–even if he wanted to build a memorial to the hijackers!

                How is that neocon?!

                1. I’m really bothered by the fact that you refuse to come out against committing genocide to lower gas prices.

                  It’s really not hard to see what American foreign policy priorities should be:

                  1. Do not harm innocent Americans or deprive them of their civil rights.
                  2. Counter any foreign material, credible, imminent threat of significant harm to Americans.
                  3. Do not harm any innocent human beings or deprive them of human rights, or support those who do.
                  4. Protect other American interests.

                  You seem to be conflating #2 with #4.

                  1. You know why it doesn’t bother me when you call me a racist, Tulpa?

                    …’cause I know you were just in a hurry to get to soccer practice.

                    You couldn’t put a clap together with two hands.

                    1. It takes two hands to clap, but only one hand to slap.

        3. Well, as mentioned, the Bush Administration was supporting the pro-democracy Egyptians. But the Obama Administration decided to end that support, and to only channel funds through the Egyptian government directly rather than upset our ally.

      2. …was Iran under the Shah better than under the Mullahs?

        Did the CIA kill Mossadegh, or was it M5? Either way, it changes the calculus.

        1. I don’t see how.

          I feel the same way about this as I did about Iraq. …in Iraq, whether the invasion was worth all the Iraqi bloodshed wasn’t the primary question for Americans to answer. That was a question for the Iraqi people to answer.

          Our question is whether what we did in Iraq was worth it relative to what we got out of it strategically in terms of American interests, costs and especially American casualties.

          I think Iraq is in Iran’s orbit now. I opposed the war on those strategic grounds at the time right here at Hit & Run, and I opposed it on humanitarian grounds too. So much Iraqi bloodshed! Seemed a high price to me.

          I see Iran that way too. It’s hard to imagine the Iranian people wanting to go back to the time of the Shah, but American interests are another question entirely.

          The President had to decide whether supporting the Shah was better for the American people–given the context of the Cold War. If supporting the Iranian Revolution was in America’s best interests all along?

          Then I’m all for the President supporting American interests.

          Somebody’s gonna have to make that case though. If the new government of Egypt comes in and it’s a legitimate reflection of the Egyptian people, then the Muslim Brotherhood will–at the very least–have a big seat at the head of the policy table.

          Somebody… Anybody? Say it’s a necessary evil? Okay. But go ahead and make the case about how the Muslim Brotherhood sitting at the head of the policy table is a good thing by itself for the American people, and…

          I’d to hear somebody make that case.

          1. Hello, Ugly American. You act as if the world is a fucking board game, with non-Americans as just so many different colored pawns.

            Tell me, if slaughtering every man, woman, and child in the Middle East would drop the price of gas by 10 cents a gallon, would you support it?

            1. Yeah, that’s exactly what I said…

              I could care less about the blame American first crowd, the suggestion that American foreign policy should be run with the interests of anyone other than Americans in mind gets all the laughs from me.

              The suggestion that we shouldn’t do anything unless it’s in the best interest of both us and everyone else is even funnier still!

            2. Well, not really “different colored”…dark is dark to neocons.

              1. Anyone who thinks American interests should be the focal point of American foreign policy is a…?

                You guys are sounding like neocons now.

                Seriously.

                The last time I heard someone suggest I was a racist was because I was against the Iraq War.

                https://reason.com/blog/2005/03…..ent_218498

                …because obviously anybody who was skeptical that Dubya’s righteous neocon foreign adventure would automatically spark revolutions throughout the Arab world was a racist?

                If anything?

                Attack All Pragmatism + Let’s Use American Foreign Policy to Transform the Arab World = Necon.

                Can’t say it looks good on you.

            3. Tell me, if slaughtering every man, woman, and child in the Middle East would drop the price of gas by 10 cents a gallon, would you support it?

              Of course not.
              A price drop like that would hurt the profitability of our oil companies.

              Now if mass murder raised the price…

            4. Funny Tulpa at this very moment on Meet the Press they are talking about the game board.

              1. Ha! Now they’re talking about Middle East 2.0 and Obama 2.0. Where’s the beta?

    3. Hooray anarchy! Where da’ archaeological treasures at?

  2. Its entertaining to hear Mubarack’s party is a member of the socialist international

    http://order-order.com/2011/01/28/solidarity/

    1. Now I’m relieved.

  3. I guess it’s a never ending entertainment spectacle – that Americans are ‘responsible’ for this, or ’caused’ that, or can ‘influence’ some other thing.

    Well, guess what. We can’t, don’t, and won’t. Collectively ‘we’ sit on the sidelines looking at our Boob tubes chattering away about the shaky and grainy images presented to us by our media outlets seeking eyeballs they can charge their advertisers for hemorrhoid creams and hair lotions about.

    Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt – they all totally depend upon how much crap their people are willing to put up with, and what will make them take to the streets and proclaim ‘fuck this shit’. The mobs will either get behind ‘change’ or just burn stuff down.

    And there’s not a goddamn thing anyone on this side of the planet can do, except marvel in the sunshine of yet another fucking day.

    That’s my optimistic take, at any rate.

    1. We’re indirectly responsible for it, as we have been (and apparently will continue to be) propping up Mubarak’s regime.

      1. Only insofar as our clueless leadership class has mindlessly thrown money at the currently top of the heap dog pack ‘running’ shit in some other place besides here. Present American ‘leadership’ toadies are really only about responsible for not peeing their own underwear (if they have any on) as they do a reactionary tap dance feigning relevance to the media echoed tune being covered wall-to-wall on just about every channel except the fucking food network on television, and every column-inch of any sort of textual information feed. The ‘Hope and Change’ that scares the shit out of them at this poijnt is that folks may just catch on that their only two real choices in the matter boil down to a) shit, or b) go blind, because in actuality while they love to tell themselves that the world would grind to a fucking halt on its axis absent their glorious manna of wisdom from on fucking high, the reality is that their activities really have about as much actual impact on the larger scheme of things than two water beetles preening and strutting because a leaf randomly fell into the pond.

        They’re in no position, or of cognizant ability to do so at any rate, to have any sort of ‘role’ other than clown car side show for the events unfolding. Even ‘effective’ leaders could do little better. But they keep up the noises in hopes that if the bunch that ends up on the dogpile after all the barking is done with likes to sniff butts and pretend niceties with our assholes what pretend to be big shots, then they can claim credit, despite their fecklessness, and if the dogs that run the pack tend to growl and bare teeth in the end, they can pretend to be ‘serious’ and ‘concerned’ while promising to ‘fix’ things – in actuality about as well as a diamond polisher using a 10 pound sledgehammer.

        1. “You certainly have a dizzying intellect”

          1. For someone that doesn’t know a fucking thing, perhaps.

            1. Oh, come on!

              That was supposed to be funny.

              Around here? You gotta have a sense of humor about yourself or no one will take you seriously.

              Except for me, of course. …but I’m perfect.

    2. Pretty much this is it… which is why the whole “America must solve the Palestine-Israel crisis” is such bullshit.

      Yes, we’re the world hegemon… but we can Saddam Hussein every despot the world over.

      Rise up people, rise the fuck up.

  4. Forget it, Reason. It’s Chinatown.

  5. My greatest concern for Egypt is that any party that will take over from Mubarak is likely to instil the wrong kind of economic policies. They likely increase food and fuel subsidies, so that less foreign reserves are available to purchase needed capital goods from abroad. In such a situation, people will likely flock to the populist Muslim Brotherhood, making things even worse.

    1. “Wrong”…in who’s world? Your ideological vacuum? How would you purport to know what is best for their people or what they want?

      You people are hilarious…

      1. Are you going to take part in this discussion or just repeat the “How dare you have an opinion!” line over and over again?

  6. Hard-hitting journalism.

    Governor Brown is proposing the elimination of nearly 400 local redevelopment agencies (RDAs), which use a portion of local property taxes in certain blighted areas to invest in construction, redevelopment, and beautification projects. With the state on the hook for reimbursing schools for that lost tax money ? to the tune of about $1.8 billion a year ? Brown is suggesting that California can no longer afford that cost.

    He has come under criticism from dozens of mayors who say the move will be catastrophic. Some have gone out of their way to call his idea “hypocritical,” in that Brown’s own residential loft in Oakland was an award-winning example of development funded partly by the kind of agency Brown wants to eliminate. Moreover, Brown’s eight years as mayor of Oakland were arguably one of the most ambitious urban-restoration periods in modern California history.

    “This budget proposal to eliminate redevelopment is more budget smoke and mirrors that will bring little financial gain for the state but will cause widespread and significant economic pain in communities throughout California,” wrote John Shirey, head of the California Redevelopment Agency, in a statement.

    These are government programs; of course they are unequivocally beneficial to the community!

    Where would beautification come from, if local development agencies weren’t there to provide it?

    1. “Where would beautification come from, if local development agencies weren’t there to provide it?”

      Katy Perry?

      1. Your taste in women is about as good as your political views.

        1. If we can’t agree that Katy Perry is hot as hellfire then there may be nothing we can agree on…

          1. I think its safe to say that we have different ideas on what hellfire is though

          2. I’ll agree with you on this one MNG and twice on Sundays

            1. When I think of Katy Perry I think of colors not found in nature and uncomfortably sticky nectar.

              And I start to taste saccharin, for some reason.

  7. I bet you feel safer, now, don’t you?

    A program that allows airports to replace government screeners with private screeners is being brought to a standstill, just a month after the Transportation Security Administration said it was “neutral” on the program.

    TSA chief John Pistole said Friday he has decided not to expand the program beyond the current 16 airports, saying he does not see any advantage to it.

    ——–

    But on Friday, the TSA denied an application by Springfield-Branson Airport in Missouri to privatize its checkpoint workforce, and in a statement, Pistole indicated other applications likewise will be denied.

    “I examined the contractor screening program and decided not to expand the program beyond the current 16 airports as I do not see any clear or substantial advantage to do so at this time,” Pistole said.

    ——

    A union for Transportation Security Administration employees said it supported the decision to halt the program.

    “The nation is secure in the sense that the safety of our skies will not be left in the hands of the lowest-bidder contractor, as it was before 9/11,” said John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees. “We applaud Administrator Pistole for recognizing the value in a cohesive federalized screening system and work force.”

    1. Fucking tools. Worthless tools, at that.

  8. “”The nation is secure in the sense that the safety of our skies will not be left in the hands of the lowest-bidder contractor, as it was before 9/11,””

    Well, I think that is a valid concern. Even von Mises in Bureaucracy talked about how certain public safety measures should be done by governments (iirc his example was security at a munitions plant).

    1. 9/11 is a red herring, as the weapons used in the attack were NOT banned from being carried by passengers. It’s not as if the private airport security just missed them.

      And considering how often the TSA misses banned items today, it’s not obvious they’re an improvement over the lowest bidder anyway.

    2. We won’t really be safe until the TSA screeners unionize. The union will place top priority on security. Job security, that is.

      1. I should think that much like who rules Egypt should be a question for Egyptians, whether workers in a particular workforce decide to unionize should be a matter for those workers.

        1. Not if they are public sector workers. Even FDR, yes fucking FDR, saw the danger in allowing such douchebaggery.

        2. Not when their employer can extract funds from me at the threat of imprisonment to pay their wages.

        3. Open your mind, ming

        4. “…whether workers in a particular workforce decide to unionize should be a matter for those workers.”

          I absolutely agree and they can form a soft-ball club, too.
          But no way does the government negotiate with either one as regards employment.

      2. Uh, they already are unionized and have been from the start.

  9. The Muslim Brotherhood are some of the worst people on the planet? Huh?! Islamists are not great people by and large, but they’re not all Taliban or al-Qaeda. Good grief.

    1. Yeah, they’re swell folks.

    2. Many of the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt support them simply because they are the most organized opposition to Mubarak. It’s like a bunch of people voting for Kerry just to get rid of Bush. It doesn’t mean they liked Kerry.

  10. I learn via Instapundit that King Fuad of Egypt is still alive.
    http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuad_II_of_Egypt
    I’ve heard worse ideas.

    1. Obviously, I was behind the ball a few days ago, but I’m caught up now and ahead of the curve, so stop picking on me!

      We should divide Egypt into three nations, Nubia in the South, Cairo-stan in the middle and Greater Alexandria in the North. While succeeding human control of the Nile to the crocodiles.


  11. Before we hear the words “systemic failure” again, we should take another look at regulation-based security and recognize that compliance with procedure is not enough when it comes to stopping terrorism threats.

    Fear-mongering bureaucrat Kip Hawley wants you to know… something.

    No matter how hard they work to take away your freedom to travel, and how many new hoops they contrive to make you jump through, if something bad happens, you have only yourself to blame.

    …ownership of the security result must be jointly shared. TSA, the airports, airlines, law enforcement, vendors and, yes, the traveling public all share responsibility for our security outcomes.

  12. Well, I think that is a valid concern.

    Well, of course you do.

    1. Now, now P Brooks…just because MNG has an over-developed sense of centralized authority doesn’t mean s/he doesn’t care about public safety. Or liberty.

  13. First, who is to say the Muslim brotherhood is that popular? It amazes me how racist people are. Everyone on this board assumes that the people who are doing this must want some kind of a whacked out Muslim law. Bullshit. They want a government that doesn’t oppress the hell out of them. Maybe I am naive but I don’t buy into the fact that every disatisfied person in the middle east is just dying for a fundementalist muslim government.

    1. John, you fancy yourself a student of history…would you like to lay odds on the likelihood of a Sunni theocracy?

      1. I would lay it as really low. The only real Suni theocracy in the region is Saudi Arabia and they are likely to be next on the chopping block after Egypt. I would also point to the experience in Iraq. Al Quada tried to set up a theocracy in Suni areas that they were able to contol in 2004 and 2005. And the Sunis after about decided to hell with that shit and started working with the Americans.

        Most Muslims and Arabs are not fundementalist whackjobs. And they don’t want a fundementalist government. They may not want a fully decadent western style culture. But they don’t want a theocracy either. Yeah, maybe the nut cases will have enough guns to take over and enforce one. Most Russians didn’t want a communist state. But, if that happens it will be the result of the failure of the majority to stop a fanatical minority.

        1. It depends on what the Egyptian army decides, the real power behind the throne. I could see, based on history going much farther back, how such a unifying ethos could take hold. I maintain that Islam, even so-called “moderate” Islam, is incompatible with either direct democracy or a constitutional republic. When the Islamic Martin Luther appears on the scene, I’ll then lend much more credence to your view.

          And yes, Russians did want a strong, centralized authority, of course after both Lenin and Stalin got through with them.

          Iraquis worked with the Americans as a Hobson’s choice, largely using them to depose Hussein. “Enemy of my enemy is my friend” and all that drivel.

          1. I’m not sure which is funnier, your ignorance of the existence of Muslim republics such as Turkey, or your crediting Martin Luther for making democracy possible in Christendom. The Magna Carta was written in a Catholic country, you know.

            1. Did the Magna Carta institute democracy in England? Iirc Parliament came later.

              1. Yes, Parliament came later, but England was still Catholic at that point. It was Parliament, remember, that passed the Act of Succession making Henry VIII the head of the Church in England.

                And of course, outside Protestant influence didn’t really penetrate the Anglican Church for nearly a century after that.

            2. your ignorance of the existence of Muslim republics such as Turkey

              True, but Ataturk had to instate a massive program of secularization.

              1. Democracy didn’t come easy in Christendom either. Democracy (and more importantly, liberty) never comes easy, it has nothing to do with the predominant religion.

                1. it has nothing to do with the predominant religion.

                  I respectfully disagree with this premise.

                  Gaia-worshipping, eco-theology is just SO compatible with liberty and democracy.

                  As is the religion of psuedo-science and outright quackery, yes so compatible as well. Read: Social “Science”, climate “chaos”, and other tomfoolery.

                  And outright secular humanism, the religion of strong centralized government with bureaucracy as deity. Nope, no conflicts there.

                  And you are correct, Christendom, has more often than not, been dragged kicking and screaming towards liberty and democracy (wisely, regarding a direct democracy, IMO), but at least it got there, and is now in danger of being snuffed out by the aforementioned factors.

                  1. Any religion, if believed fully in all its tenets, is going to have trouble dealing with democracy and liberty. The west didn’t become democratic until Christianity got watered down and powerless.

                    1. Watered down? Yes. Powerless, not so much.

                      Christianity, while some of it’s adherents do have issues with liberty in the classical sense, i.e. busybody interloper types, I still submit, of the aforementioned ethos, the Christendom is most compatible with liberty and limited government.

                    2. Christianity is only compatible with liberty after it’s been watered down with contradictory beliefs. A government that coerces moral behavior is going to result in a lot fewer people going to hell than a government that allows liberty.

                    3. Are you suggesting Government is God(tm) then?

                      If so, then you’re view of salvation is severely warped, which I find perplexing in such a remarkably intelligent individual as yourself.

                    4. Well, the jury’s still out on my intelligence, but I’m definitely not a Christian anymore, so the beliefs I state are not mine. Indeed, they are not the beliefs of most Christians in the US, as beliefs in the importance of freedom of speech and freedom of religion have been grafted on top of more (small-o) orthodox Christian beliefs that would seem to contradict that importance. Thus, most Christians in the US are not really Christians in the full sense.

                    5. Well, you are certainly smarter than me. For one, you have nary a grammatical error and horrid misuse of contractions and homophones unlike me.

                      I’m just a schnook with opinions looking for consistency, hobgoblins notwithstanding.

                    6. A government that coerces moral behavior is going to result in a lot fewer people going to hell than a government that allows liberty.

                      That doesnt follow as moral behavior has nothing (directly) to do with heaven/hell. I know you arent a Christian but you are blatently misrepresenting fundamental tenets.

                    7. OK, you got me there. I was speaking from a Catholic perspective, which I believe also lines up with an Orthodox/mainline Protestant perspective on that issue.

                      I assume you are a full-blown sola fide Protestant, in which case I regret to inform you that your fundamental tenets fly in the face of both early Christianity and pre-Christ Judaism. Sorry, your argument is not with me, it’s with the Epistle of James (“faith without works is dead”).

                    8. Tulpa|1.29.11 @ 2:45PM|#
                      Christianity is only compatible with liberty after it’s been watered down with contradictory beliefs. A government that coerces moral behavior is going to result in a lot fewer people going to hell than a government that allows liberty.

                      Which is a fundamental mis reading or Christian theology. In which, god gave humans the freedom to accept or reject him and no government of men can claim to do what he did not, ie force belief.

                2. While liberty often leads to democracy, they are certainly not synonymous.

                  And in many cases (including here in America), democracy leads us far, far away from liberty.

                  1. While liberty often leads to democracy, they are certainly not synonymous.

                    I submit these terms suffer from great conflation and are mutually exclusive. The Founding Fathers wrote extensively on this subject and I also believe much of our current woes stem directly from the ratification of the 17th amendment. Direct democracies implode under mob rule.

                    1. I submit these terms suffer from great conflation and are mutually exclusive.

                      Somehow, I think Patrick Henry would have strangled any asshole who would have declared, “Give me Democracy, or give me death.”

                    2. The Founding Fathers wrote extensively on this subject and I also believe much of our current woes stem directly from the ratification of the 17th amendment.

                      Just about every amendment passed during the Wilson era was pretty bad for American society.

            3. I’m not sure which is funnier

              Why not all of you? Arguing with strangers on the internets. Hilarious.

              1. Someone’s estrogen levels are high today…

        2. Some of these poll numbers are not promising though:
          http://pajamasmedia.com/michae…..c-opinion/

    2. And Islam is a religion, not a race.

      1. The MB think it’s a race to end all other religion.

    3. Everyone on this board assumes that the people who are doing this must want some kind of a whacked out Muslim law.

      Everyone? Ive seen very few state that.

    4. “Maybe I am naive but I don’t buy into the fact that every disatisfied person in the middle east is just dying for a fundementalist muslim government.”

      Yeah, it’s not like you were a champion of Bush’s campaign to plant spreading democracy in the Middle East via invading Iraq.

      Oh wait, you were! Every long timer here remembers that.

      So maybe it is naivete…

      1. Or maybe it is your paternal western liberal racism coming out. In the end MNG, you leftists are all the same. You don’t think anyone can do well without the help of the good white man. Thank you for continueing the centuries old tradition of white supremacy.

    5. Those polling numbers say otherwise.

    6. Not liking Islamists is not racism, is like being bigoted towards the KKK.

    7. What does the popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood have to do with race? This is ideology not a race.
      And no one is saying that every dissatified person in the Middle East wants an Islamic theocracy. But then again, neither did the disparate groups that united against a common enemy– namely the Shah– during the 1979 Revolution in Iran. But that is what they got.

  14. Tee hee.

    At the University of California-Irvine, student Ricardo Sparks, co-chairman of the university’s Black Studio Union, lodged a formal complaint when the Pippin Commons cafeteria tossed together a last-minute meal and sign reading “MLK Holiday Special: Chicken and Waffles” without university oversight, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    UC Irvine spokeswoman Cathy Lawhon acknowledged that the cafeteria’s choice of menu on Jan. 17 was not in “good taste,” and said all managers and chefs will undergo cultural sensitivity training.
    -MSNBC.com

    1. And if the event was catered by “Roscoe’s”? Would there be such a outrage?

    2. WTF. Chicken and waffles is a big deal in the south. And it is some good stuff to. What the hell is wrong with people? Chicken and waffles is just good food that southern black people happened to invent and like. What is insulting about that? Hell I bet MLK himself enjoyed his share of chicken and waffles.

      1. “What is insulting about that?”

        I mean, it’s almost as if black people were often insultingly depicted as chicken eating inferiors for decades or something!

        1. Hey, I have friends who are chicken-eating inferiors.

          1. I’ll bet they’re not some of your best friends, though.

            1. “I’ll bet they’re not some of your best friends, though.”

              Actually yes, all my best friends are black.

              Well, I bet you’re not married to a black person.

              Actually I am.

              Well I bet you don’t really love her.

    3. As an Irish-American, you can imagine how I feel about people eating corned beef and cabbage on St Patrick’s Day.

      1. Would you like a pro-biotic and some Gas-X?

      2. Does that mean we can’t have tacos on quatro de mayo?

      3. It pisses me off weena you peepole eat pizza on Columbus day.

        1. Hysterical laughter ensued.

        2. Hysterical laughter followed from that.

  15. I was never aware of a racist dogwhistle factor in chicken and waffles; but my hearing isn’t very good.

    The part about “sensitivity training” for the staff is a nice touch. I cannot help speculating about the demographic composition of the kitchen staff.

    1. Clarence Thomas and Thomas Sowell are black, and we know how culturally insensitive they are.

    2. As true racism becomes more and more marginalized and non-existant, it has and will be even more apparent that the cudgel of race card will be applied to more and more ridiculous things and will become examples of res ipsa loquitur in idiocy and imaginary bogeymen.

      “I didn’t get what I want and when I did, it wasn’t given the way I want == TEH RACISM”

      The race card is like welfare and power: insidious, addicting and never given up willingly. Political correctness, your sown seeds have be reaped.

      1. I don’t see anything in the blurb about racism, just it not being in “good taste.” And it probably wasn’t a smart idea given the history of the matter to do that. If you ran a business and your manager did that for MLK day you’d probably call him in and say “Man, c’mon and use your head dude” even if you thought it was silly to get upset over it.

        1. I mean, the only thing more tiresome than the outrage of political correctness is the feigned outrage over the outrage of political correctness. “Why I can’t imagine what they thought was wrong about that, why what thin skin they have, I’m outraged at their outrage!”

          1. I see you have a PhD in hyperbole, yet you precisely have gotten it correct. Accidental tourist much?

            And yes, I don’t see the problem, skins are too thin, and what the fuck is wrong with expecting consistency in the application of this “new sensitivity and civility” cutting both ways?

        2. Please give a reason unrelated to ‘racism’ that the menu would have been ‘not in good taste’.

          1. Maybe they just don’t like how chicken and waffles taste?

          2. We made it El Pollo Loco style, not fried.

      2. Funny, I never thought of chicken and waffles as being “black folks food”. If Mr. Sparks had let it go, I would have never have known about the stereotype.

  16. There’s always roome for Jello doom.

    The world’s current economic model is an environmental “global suicide pact” that will result in disaster if it isn’t reformed, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon warned Friday.

    Ban said that political and business leaders need to embrace economic innovation in order to save the planet.

    “We need a revolution,” the secretary-general of the U.N. told a panel at the World Economic Forum on how best to make the global economy sustainable. “Climate change is also showing us that the old model is more than obsolete.”

    He called the current economic model a recipe for “national disaster” and said: “We are running out of time. Time to tackle climate change, time to ensure sustainable … growth.”

    1. “Climate change is also showing us that the old model is more than obsolete.”

      And the “NEW MODEL” would be? Sorta like the ones that screwed their eco-systems the worst?

      1. That Moony guy gets it.

  17. BTW, Wiki is reporting that Sueliman ‘has been Egyptian VP since January, 2011’.
    Checked where I could, find no link between him and MB. But then he’s in the business of secrets, so who knows.

  18. Realpolitik sucks at moments like these, and unfortunately Obama campaigned on realpolitik thinking that freedom loving neo-conservatism was a load of bullshit.

    Apparently, the neo-conservatives were damn near right about freedom and the “Arab Street”.

    1. Yeah, in fact why wait for the results? It’s not like any of the neo-cons’ previous five-minute enthusiasms — for democracy and whiskey and sexy or the purple-finger revolution or the Beirut “freedom babes” — turned out to be premature.

      1. Maybe it won’t work out Tim. But I would rather be on the side of the good than on the side of “keep the animals in the zoo under a dictatorship”. Which side are you on?

        No one is saying invade Egypt. But why is it so damned hard for you to admit that maybe the people in Egypt have the right to get rid of their piece of this government and that maybe they aren’t all the fundementalist animals you apparently think they are.

        Fuck you Tim. Really, fuck you. That any so called “libertarian” would be fretting about a piece of shit like Mubarack finally gettting his is pathetic.

    2. Yeah, the Egyptians’ love of George W. Bush is what’s prompting all of this!

      …first the Tunisians and now the Egyptians are so enamored with what we did in Iraq, they want to emulate it.

      Puh–lease!

      Are you kidding?!

      1. Is there anything that could have made the Muslim world hate American style democracy more than 8 years of the Bush Administration?!

        How snowed do you have to be think the Egyptians want to be like Iraq?!

        1. Just what are you saying here? Do yout think the Egypitans would rather live under Saddam? Do you think that the Egyptians have seen Iraq and decided that tyranny is the wave of the future and that is why they are revolting? Is it even possible in your mind for an Arab to want a better government or better life? Or in your mind do they all just revolt and constantly long for an even more muderous and oppressive goverment?

          What do you want the US to do? Send troops in to prop the government up? Tell the Egyptians that “we know your government sucks but we don’t trust you crazy bastards to govern yourselves so you are just going to have to take one for the team here”? That really seems to be your position here.

          1. IIRC, there were quite a few Iraquis who had no problem with Saddam Hussein’s rule.

            1. Sure they loved the place, especially the Shia and the Kurds. You are the one worried about the Copts below, but here you think Saddam was a wonderful popular ruler. Whatever.

              1. I never said he was a wonderful despot, loved unequivocally by all his people. I never posited such a thing. I simply pointed out that Hussein’s ouster was not supported unilaterally.

                BTW how are the Kurds making out with Iraq’s foray in democracy?

          2. I’m reacting to the suggestion that George W. Bush’s Reverse Domino Theory was right all along!

            If there’s anything nobody needs to poll for? It’s the Arab world’s collective opinion of George W. Bush and his record in Iraq.

            It’s in the toilet.

            You know what one of the biggest things driving this is…?

            Food inflation.

            Not emulating Iraq.

            If you told all those Egyptians that everyone was interpreting their actions these past few days as an endorsement of George W. Bush’s Iraq policy? They’d have half a mind to go home, close their doors and leave Mubarak to do his worst.

            But they wouldn’t do that–they’d probably just laugh. They’d laugh and laugh and laugh.

  19. >>”President Obama called to deliver what is being characterized as a stern talking-to”

    And we can be sure that Mubarak was ever so concerned indeed as this image instantly displaced in his mind those dreadful stern words.

  20. … and I’m glad Christopher Hitchens is still alive to see this.

  21. Those poll number scare the shit out of me. I’m starting to regret supporting this revolution and kind of wish someone in the army would go all Ataturk on Egypt.

    1. What do you mean? Freedom is at hand.

      Freedom to stone adulterers. Freedom to put to death anyone with the nerve to abandon Islam. Freedom to act like wild animals in any number of ways.

      They just haven’t had enough freedom yet. And who can blame anyone for wanting more freedom?

  22. whether workers in a particular workforce decide to unionize should be a matter for those workers.

    Exhibit “A” in Why MNG is a Fucking Moron.

    “Counterparties? What counterparties? Employers only exist to provide stable guaranteed employment at a living wage, as determined by the NLRB.”

    As much as I despise the term, as a “stakeholder” I believe I have a right to provide input.

  23. Guess what?

    The USA is more unequal than Tunisia, Egypt, or Yemen.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com…..yemen.html

    1. WAAAAAAH THAT GUY HAS MORE MONEY THAN ME. WE WANT TO BE MORE LIKE TUNISIA WHERE EVERYONE IS POOR.

      1. Trickle-up poverty works the world over!

        1. What’s more of a scandal is that OUR poor children eat too much.

          1. The scandal, by your estimation, is of what they are eating too much.

            1. But for *whom*, the proles grouse, is the fun house a house; who lives there when push comes to shove?

    2. Even worse,
      Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Bangladesh all score higher the the US.

      Why or why can’t we be like those countries?

  24. The Truth|1.29.11 @ 1:11PM|#
    “Guess what?
    The USA is more unequal than Tunisia, Egypt, or Yemen.”

    Ah, yes. There’s a greater difference between Bill Gates and me than there is between some goat herder and his goat.
    Guess what? That’s happy horse shit.

  25. From the linked poll numbers:

    In Egypt, 82 percent want stoning for those who commit adultery;

    84 percent favor the death penalty for any Muslim who changes his religion.

    Asked if they supported “modernizers” or “Islamists” only 27 percent said modernizers while 59 percent said Islamists:

    Forget democracy, that country is proper fucked. The only hope for the (clearly very few) reasonable, thoughtful people who manage to survive growing up in a society like that with their humanity intact is to simply get the hell out and leave the country to the backwards medieval mentality inculcated in the masses by a barbaric religion based on the musings of a child molester.

    1. I agree, unless of course they go the way of Turkey, all secular and such. Fat Chance!

      This Tulpa, is precisely why I referenced Luther and his Great Protestant Reformation, which did eventually quell the great majority of medieval fondness for torture and amputation so prevalent in Islamic societies today. Not to mention imposition of Sharia Law in societies they infiltrate and gain sizable percentages of the population they inhabit. When such proclivities and attitudes are tempered by some religious figure in a fashion as Luther, then I will buy that Islam dominated society and liberty are compatible.

      1. Bullshit. Protestants tortured and burned people at the stake just as much as, if not more than Catholics did. And Luther supported this, by the way.

        1. Indeed, yet how often do you hear of the Jesuits, Benedictines, Anglicans and other religious orders holding such views today, or most Protestant groups openly advocating such barbarity, including the Lutherans?

          I have yet to hear of such repudiation from even so-called “moderate” Islamic groups.

    2. With polls like these there’s always a much stronger version of the Wilder effect going on. ie, poll respondents may fear retribution for their answers.

      1. Or Stockholm Syndrome. Or the even more likely situation that these answers reflect honest beliefs.

        Using that logic Tulpa, the answers from the US servicemen to those DADT surveys suffer from the same Wilder effect.

      2. Retribution from whom? The current Egyptian government would be more likely to exact retribution on those expressing a view deemed too Islamist, not on those who fail to express such a view. If anything that would tend to suppress the true support for Islamists, not exaggerate it.

        1. Nothing in that poll has anything to do with Mubarak’s regime. I was talking about retribution from one’s local jihadist death squad.

          1. Those don’t seem to be a problem in Egypt.

          2. Nobody said the poll had anything to do with the regime or with “local jihadist death squads.” Obviously the question is who would be more likely to pressure people to respond in a given way.

            So who would a person be more fearful of knowing how one answered a question – the all-invasive government that can shut down internet and eavesdrop on phone conversations at will, or the “local jihadist death squad”?

            At any rate, poll numbers like these are not to be taken as exact by any means. But, even if the numbers are off by a significant amount (and who knows what direction they’re off) the original point stands. So what if only 70% want to stone women to death? The barbaric mindset you’re dealing with is still pervasive.

  26. Should I really bother debating with someone who thinks that, say, JFK Airport is superior to this:

    http://images.beijing2008.cn/2…..264295.jpg

    Or that Penn Station is better than this:

    http://strawdogs.files.wordpre…..tation.jpg

    ?

    1. Wow, those are beautiful buildings. Now, how is that relevant?

      And Sevo, how can he dabate with someone who thinks this is superior to this?

      It’s unpossible, I tell ya!

    2. Q: Should we bother to debate someone who refuses to recognize the US government is totally fucking broke, and can’t afford any more massive government projects?

      A: No, because they’re either really stupid, or a troll.

      1. Please define “broke” and the concequences…also, reference debt/GDP after WWII and the repercussions…

        …we’ll wait right here.

        1. Perhaps, instead of getting people to make your argument for you, you should actually lay out the argument using facts, statistics, and their relation to our current economic situation, you passive-aggressive goon. Or would that simply cut into your OKCupid and Reddit browsing time?

          1. I have several times…tired of having to disprove every false assertion. How about one of you prove the sky is (insert random color here) for once?

            If you read between the lines, i just proved that our country can handle much more debt than we actually have, and have prospered at those levels…still waiting for a response…

            1. Link please?

            2. I have several times…tired of having to disprove every false assertion.

              Really? Where? I’ve seen a lot of commenting splooge on your part, but no actual facts or evidence. Your primary MO seems to be “Throw out a random academic theory, then try to make the commenters prove a negative using the random theoretical framework typed up out of thin air.”

              If you read between the lines,

              What is this, relationship counseling? Save the mind-reading exhortations for your neglectful boyfriend.

              i just proved that our country can handle much more debt than we actually have,

              You do realize part of that debt was paid down through 1957, correct? Christ, the whole point of Eisenhower’s farewell address was to warn against the very thing you’ve been vigorously advocating (academics, bless their tunnel-visioned hearts, only focused on the military-industrial side and ignored the rest).

              You seem to be contending that we can ramp up debt exponentially forever, particularly when simple interest payments on the debt alone took up 4.63% of federal spending last year, and 18% increase–which will get worse as the government will likely have a deficit north of $2 trillion next year.

              Secondly, your debt-to-GDP ratio doesn’t mean shit when most of that GDP growth is due to deficit spending.

              http://www.market-ticker.org/a…..st=2338971

              You cannot run deficit spending that counters actual production forever. It’s as simple as that, but your “deficits don’t matter” stance is duly noted.

              Debt, all debt, has to either be paid back or defaulted on. There’s no other choice, which is likely the reason why the Fed is now the largest shareholder of our debt–if you didn’t realize this, you should probably ask yourself if it’s really wise to have our country’s finances in the hands of an organization that aided and abetted the housing bubble.

              1. Again, debt to GDP ration was worse after WWII than it will ever be on our current budget path, as soon as we fix our healthcare costs in the out years like every other industrialized nation has. SS requires a minor tweak equivalent to the bush tax cuts for the rich over the next 75 years. Small potatoes.

                Again, fake debt fear mongering…you people should be smarter than getting duped by conservatives…

                …and you realize as soon as its fixed, its these same exact conservatives that will gain power again and blow another big hole in the budget?

                The third option to pay down the debt is the dreaded I word: inflation…which is what actually paid down the debt after WWII. We can have steady 2% inflation forever – and use it to stimulate the economy.

                I know you people think that’s “stealing” and all that…but for the sake of a discussion of the consequences of government debt…it is a policy that will work to prevent the consequences you are warning against.

                1. Again, debt to GDP ration was worse after WWII than it will ever be on our current budget path, as soon as we fix our healthcare costs in the out years like every other industrialized nation has.

                  Jesus christ, you really are a dumbass college student. You obviously paid no attention to the actual mathematical facts in the link I posted, presumably because it didn’t fit into your idiotic psuedo-academic bubble.

                  Healthcare costs have gone up at twice the rate of inflation, and you’re full of sand if you’re dumb enough to believe Obamacare is going to fix that. Even the CBO admitted that it had to double-count to get the figures where the Democrats wanted them.

                  SS requires a minor tweak equivalent to the bush tax cuts for the rich over the next 75 years. Small potatoes.

                  What are you, some agent provocateur deliberately spouting dumb crap? Your beautiful theory of fixing social security is even more long-term than Paul Ryan’s roadmap for fixing the deficit. 75 years? After the Reagan fix of 1983 crapped out after less than 30 (even while bolstered, in no small part, by the inflation you say will save us)? You must be high.

                  …and you realize as soon as its fixed, its these same exact conservatives that will gain power again and blow another big hole in the budget?

                  LOL–you honestly think the Democrats are going to be in power for the next 75 years to prove your theory correct?

                  The third option to pay down the debt is the dreaded I word: inflation…which is what actually paid down the debt after WWII.

                  Wrong, dumbass–otherwise we would have paid down the debt every year since the end of the war.

                  We can have steady 2% inflation forever – and use it to stimulate the economy.

                  Clearly you have no concept of compound interest if you’re actually foolish enough to think we can inflate our problems away. Are you even paying attention to what’s going on in Egypt? You realize that their pound, pegged to our dollar, inflated at over 18% this past year, and has been inflating for years? How well is that working out for them? And you REALLY think that isn’t going to come back and bite us in the ass eventually? I’ll take that bet with you any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

                  I really can’t make it any plainer–we’re on the verge of a fiscal meltdown with a total debt to GDP ratio of 350%. Bernanke is making it worse with his money-printing and debt-purchasing–if you hadn’t noticed, the upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt were sparked by inflation on commodoties that made things like bread more expensive. If you remember history (and you’re a dumbshit college student, so I know that’s not the case), that’s all it took for the French Revolution to start.

                  I really don’t give a shit what your college professors say, because they have no clue what they’re talking about and live on theories, not facts (as you so aptly demonstrate every time you post). Come back when you have some actual facts and figures to back up your claims other than wildly presumptuous bullshit and you might not get so heavily abused.

                  1. I know you people think that’s “stealing” and all that…but for the sake of a discussion of the consequences of government debt…it is a policy that will work to prevent the consequences you are warning against.

                    Your Zimbabwe-style economic theory is well-noted. Completely ignorant and historically disproven, but noted.

    3. Has traffic. That makes it superior. Don’t bother with your narrow world view.

  27. The Truth|1.29.11 @ 1:37PM|#
    “Should I really bother debating with someone who thinks that, say, JFK Airport is superior to this:”

    Debate? Don’t flatter yourself.

    1. Why do I bother to try? You fools wont learn anything.

      1. Certainly not from you.

        1. Not that all of you won’t keep trying.

          1. won’t learn how to spell from you.

  28. cops and army have abandoned central Cairo to looters

    First, we grab the loot. Fuck property rights. God is great!

  29. The secularists in Egypt will be liquidated by the Muslim Brotherhood once they (the Brotherhood) achieve power, just like the the secularists in Iran were liquidated once the Shah was deposed.

    I pity the Copts should this play out like it appears to be playing out. Their days are numbered.

    Anybody saying “the Brotherhood is not like the Taliban or Al Qaeda” is a fool. The Brotherhood is one of the largest Islamic terror groups on the planet. They are very much for strict application of Sharia law and the global supremacy of Islam, exactly as the Quran and Muhammad prescribed. CAIR is a Brotherhood front group. The Brotherhood ships imams all over the world; it is estimated that most US imams are Brotherhood or Saudi trained.

    1. Riiiiigggghhhht.

      1. Which of the things I’ve said isn’t true? All of it is verifiably true.

        Also, don’t forget Egypt is home to Al-Azhar “University”, the closest thing Islam has to a papacy and the leading institution of Islamic thought, calling for Islamic global supremacy and strict Sharia law. Its students have been known to execute their own professors for insufficiently strict adherence to Sharia.

      2. The U.S. should not encourage the MB anymore than it does Mubarak — your personal prejudices notwithstanding.

  30. YOU FOOLS!! OPEN YOUR EYES!! OPEN YOUR EYES!!

    1. “But this time, it’s different.”

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      1. This time, dammit, we’ll PROVE there’s a new communist man!
        Honest, really, just give us some time….

  31. God, you stupid fucks might as well be rioting in Egypt. I’d bet you would be doing the same thing here if your stupid fucking tea-party anarchist fucktard friends started a riot.

    1. Damn, when I pay you for the full S&M bondage package, I sure get my money’s worth.

      1. I loves me some authoritarianism!

        1. Are you a member of some sort of Hate Group?

          1. Stupid fucking fucktard fuck fucks.

            1. A dollar is a dollar
              And a dime is a dime
              He’d sing another chorus
              But he doesn’t have the time….

  32. Mubarak’s sons evacuated to London.

    With a stop in the Cayman Islands en route?

  33. The sound of the Egyptian “revolution.”

  34. forget about king fuad, Manuel Zelaya is the man for the job!

  35. I think “Urkobold” has the answers. He’s so bold and erudite. Not to mention superfluous. Is that the word? Wait. No. “Effluent.” That’s it. He’s effluent. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  36. As with every news event on planet earth, John and FOX News’s primary concern is finding a way to trash Obama.

    1. I have plenty of programs that drool over my every word.

    2. Tony|1.29.11 @ 11:26PM|#
      “As with every news event on planet earth, John and FOX News’s primary concern is finding a way to trash Obama.”

      And given Obama’s incompetence, they don’t have to try very hard.

  37. Glad to see half the “libertarians” come out as pissed off conservatives…

    …add this to the list of topics you shouldn’t discuss on this site…you guys are dwindling as a group…

    1. There’s no end to your infantile comments is there?

    2. “..add this to the list of topics you shouldn’t discuss on this site…you guys are dwindling as a group…”

      No, SM, you still don’t get the key to the door; assholes are excluded.

  38. The revolution will not be televised, but the abortive attempt at….something….was a welcome diversion. Thank you, Egyptians.

  39. So I guess polls now determine if you are allowed to run your own country? So fucking what what the polls say. If the Egyptians want to set up some fucked up theocracy that is their business. As long as they don’t harbor terrorists against us that is their business.

    Aren’t you people always the ones claiming that the terror threat is a myth? If that is true, why shoul anyone here care what kind of government the Egyptians choose to have? And if you are going to wet your pants over this, you might ask yourself why

    1. If the Egyptians want to set up some fucked up theocracy that is their business. As long as they don’t harbor terrorists against us that is their business.

      It would necessarily follow that if the US is to have no say so in whatever type of government Egypt wishes to adopt, including if they wish to harbor anti-US terrorists, then the US cannot interfere with this policy. Isn’t placing such a condition (read: no harboring anti-US terrorists) de facto having a hand in how they implement Egyptian self-governance?

      1. Every county in the world lives under the condition that they can’t make war against other countries. Harboring terrorists who attack other countries is making war on those countries. So, yeah it is a condition. But it is one that comes with nationhood. You can’t make war on other countries and not expect them to fight back.

        1. The act of harboring terrorists is making war how, exactly?

          I thought having a country full of liberty means accepting that other countries may have associations with unpleasant people with nefarious motives, up to and including allowing safe haven for such peoples, who by the definition of liberty, have a right to self-determination.

          1. Part of your duty as a sovereighn is to make sure that you control you borders. If you allow people in your country to make war on other countries, that is no different than making war yourself. That has been the case for hundreds of years. That is just the barbary pirates case.

            By your logic, the US had no right to attack the Taliban even though the Taliban harbored terrorists who attacked the United States and refused to turn them over. Not even the UN thinks that. You may think that being a nation means that it is okay to encourage and harbor organized groups who attack other countries, but you are the only person who thinks so. And there is good reason for that. It is a nonsensicle position. If you can’t use your army to make war on someone, you can’t allow private armies in your country to do the same. And further, the nation attacked has a right of self defense, meaning they can attack your country to stop the people from attacking them.

            1. And by your logic John, you make the case for the US having every right in the world for the US to dictate the terms of a new Egyptian government. Yet you scream “Yay! Freedom and liberty and self-determination for the Egyptians (who are looting, raping and running roughshod over individual rights left and right. I wonder how the Coptics are doing right now?)”

              Perhaps you so quickly forget the Iran debacle and reaping seeds sown on that clusterfuck?

              You sound like a Carter worshiper. In fact, you might as well support Barack O’Carter II.

              1. You are just being pedantic and stupid. They can have whatever governmetn they like. But if they attack someone else, be it us or Israel or whomever, that country has the right to fight back. And that right extends to when they harbor terrorists. That is just page 2 of international law. That is not telling them what kind of government they can have. That is telling them they can’t attack other countries.

                1. I’m being consistent John. As for international law, Islamic countries have a long and cherished history of thumbing their spited noses at international law and “Imperialist American Pigs” in particular.

                  I suppose you believe Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful as well. You suggested earlier that you are naive, and this line of convoluted logic of yours confirms it. If the new Egyptian government (and the UN) chooses to turn a blind eye to brutalization and marginalization of the Copts, would you support that under the logic of Egypt can have whatever government it wants?

                  1. If and when that happens, then we will deal with it. But you can’t say, “people of Egypt you can’t revolt against your corrupt horrible dictator because we think the new government might do bad things”. And that seems to be your position.

                    1. And your position seems to be “Egypt can do whatever the hell it wants and the US or UN has no say so, because that would infringe on Egypt’s sovereignty.”

                      My position is let Egypt do what it wishes to do and the US stays out of it period, and when the Coptics are either decimated or reduced to even lower sub-Muslim status, I don’t to hear one iota of outrage when it happens. John, your train of thought sounds terribly progressive.

              2. And what do you want to do about it? Support Mubarack? Tell the Egyptians to fuck off? That isn’t going to help. If the people of Egypt will no longer tolerate that regime, the regime is done. The only thing we could do about it is send in troops to prop up the government. And I don’t think you would like that very much.

                1. No John, I wouldn’t. But be consistent please. Either you support Egypt’s right to choose whatever government they want (Coptics and their right to self-determination be damned) or you don’t.

                  1. They can do what they like. They can revolt against Mubarack and put in a new govenrment. That government, like every other government, will have to live by the same international law everyone else does. If they are stupid enough to harbor terrorists or start a war with Isreal, then they and the Egyptians will face the consiquences.

                    1. John is right SI is idiot.

                    2. How, exactly?

                    3. It’s Libertarianism 101, SI. “Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose,” just applied to the ‘community’ of nations rather than to individuals within a community.

  40. Maybe you guys are right. Maybe the majority of Egypians and the majority of Muslims in the middle east want an aggressive theocracy like Iran. If that is the case, you might want to think about what that means. Look we can’t continue to control the middle east through friendly oppressive dictatorships. Egypt is showing us those days are over. Maybe the whole “war of civilizations” thing is true. Maybe these people have taken leave of their sense and they are not going to quit until we or someone else kills them. What other conclusion can you make if the majority of the middle east wants a theocracy intent on making war on anyone who is not Islamic?

  41. One other thing to think about. The Iranians thought Islamism was a great idea thirty years ago. Now they hate it. The next regime in Iran is not going to be an Islamist one. At some point people have to learn the hard way. Egyptians think Islamism is great because they have never had to live under it. The more we oppress it the better it will look. Long term, they are going to have to learn for themselves. You guys act like an Islamist state is the end of history or something.

    1. And yet these Islamic countries have yet to learn such lessons which are very recent history. Yet they keep repeating them, proving that liberty and Islamic theocracy is incompatible.

      You tout that Mubarak is horrible for liberty (true) yet the freedom to choose an equally, if not more repressive government is just wonderful and dandy and peace, love and liberty will steer the stars?

      I asked you earlier if a theocracy is likely in Egypt and you replied “I would lay the odds as really low.” I submit this Egyptian revolution is Iran recycled and a theocracy will be instituted with the Egyptian peoples blessing, more of that cutting one’s nose to spite the face so prevalent in Islamic theocracies.

      Care to retract that statement?

      1. No I won’t retract that statement. I still lay the odds of Egypt turnign into another Iran as pretty low. The fact is some people really are religous. And they wouldn’t care if they banned booze in Egypt and made it a more conservative country. But, it is their country not mine. So I am not too concerned about that.

        Beyond that, what is your position here? My position is that we can’t stop this by propping up dictators anymore. And that we are going to have to let this run its course and let the people of Egypt figure out for themselves what kind of government they want. And if that is a more conservative religious government, so be it. If they decide to go crazy and make war on us, they can live with the consiquences.

        What is your position? I can’t make it out. It seems to be that the Egptians are all crazy fundementalists and can thus never be allowed to have any say over their government. If your position is not that, what is it? And if it is that, it is first immoral. Who are we to say that entire countries should have no say in how their governments are run. And it is also completely unrealistic. We cannot continue to pay people like Mubarack to oppress these people. They are not going to take it anymore.

        1. No, I’m not saying that ALL Egyptians are crazy fundamentalists; however I believe that the segment of the crazy fundies will come out on top, instituting one form of oppression for another, and the US should butt out. And if the Coptics pay the price for this “Egypt can have whatever government it likes at the expense of those pesky Copts (who have only been in Egypt since the 2nd century)”, I don’t wish to hear feel good crap about liberty when the Coptics are denied their right to self-determination in lieu of “Yay! Revolution!” The UN sure as shit won’t speak up for them.

        2. Important caveat: no one has the right to oppression. Free nations such as America have the right to invade, annex, and otherwise precipitate regime change as long as the country is freer after than before. That doesn’t mean we should do it but we have the right to.

          1. Free nations such as America have the right to invade, annex, and otherwise precipitate regime change as long as the country is freer after than before.

            ????

            Where does this particular caveat come from? If America has to invade, annex, or otherwise precipitate regime change in a country in self defense, why is there any obligation to leave the country “freer after than before”?

          2. Even pretending you could ever know in advance whether an invasion will actually make the country freer, war necessarily involves killing large numbers of innocent civilians. Life is more important than freedom, unless the person whose life is in question has explicitly decided otherwise.

  42. Yes! Awesome film.

  43. Why am I supposed to give a damn about egypt?

    1. Because you touch yourself at night and not your son, like a good Daddy.

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