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9701  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: February 02, 2011, 11:06:00 AM

Shanghai, China (CNN) -- It all started with the lure of the glitz, the glamour and the dream of being China's next pop star. But, as with many reality shows, Lou Jing's instant fame came with unanticipated consequences.

Lou Jing was born 20 years ago in Shanghai to a Chinese mother and an African-American father. According to her mother, who asked not to be identified in this report, she met Lou's father while she was still in college. He left China before their daughter was born.

Growing up with a single mom in central Shanghai, Lou Jing said she had good friends and lived a normal life. "When I was young, I didn't feel any different," she said.

But as soon as she stepped into the national spotlight on a Chinese reality television show called "Go! Oriental Angel," Lou Jing became a national sensation -- not necessarily because of her talent, but how she looked.

"After the contest started, I often got more attention than the other girls. It made me feel strange," Lou said.

The reality show hosts fondly called her "chocolate girl" and "black pearl." The Chinese media fixated on her skin color. Netizens flooded Web sites with comments saying she "never should have been born" and telling her to "get out of China."

Lou Jing's background became fodder for national gossip, sparking a vitriolic debate about race across a country that, in many respects, can be quite homogenous. There are 56 different recognized ethnic groups in China, but more than 90 percent of the population is Han Chinese. So people who look different stand out.

"We lived in a small circle before," said her mother. "But after Lou was seen nationwide, some Chinese people couldn't accept her."

It has been a shocking ordeal for someone who says she always considered herself just like every other Chinese girl.

"Sometimes people on the street would ask me, 'Why do you speak Chinese so well?' I'd just say, 'Because I'm Chinese!'" Lou said.

But, as any curious child would, Lou Jing certainly thought about why she looked different. In a clip reel aired on the show, her classmates say they tried to protect her from feeling out of place.

"She used to wonder why she had black skin," said one classmate. "We thought about this question together and decided to tell her it's because she likes dark chocolate. So her skin turned darker gradually."

Another classmate weighed in, "We said it's because she used to drink too much soy sauce."

Even Lou Jing's maternal grandmother admitted in a taped interview, "I told Lou Jing she was black because her mom was not very well and had to take Chinese medicine."
9702  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: February 02, 2011, 10:58:37 AM

Koreans Reassess Concept of Blood Purity

By Bae Ji-sook
Staff Reporter

A heated debate is mounting over the term ``blood purity'' as the United Nations advised the Korean government to refrain from using the term.

A particularly nasty strain of racist propaganda has enabled North Korea's dictatorship to maintain power, according to this fascinating cultural survey. An American-born, South Korea-based instructor of North Korean literature, Myers (A Reader's Manifesto) combines his cultural and linguistic fluency with sharp analysis to throw light on one of the world's most closed-off cultures. Examining North Korean books, news broadcasts, and films, Myers finds that the country's supremacist propaganda can be traced to imperial Japan, which sought to convince Koreans that they were part of the "world's purest race." Myers acidly discredits Western interpretations of North Korea as "hard-line communist" or "Confucian," noting the prevalence of maternal rather than paternal imagery and the societal scorn for the former Soviet bloc. Esoteric cultural markers-e.g., the heavy use of flashbacks in film and literature-are mined for compelling clues to the North Korean sensibility. Myers' greatest feat is his explanation of how the regime has maintained power despite its failures in almost every area of governance-how it has convinced average North Korean citizens that shipments of U.S. food aid, for example, are actually reparations for past "Yankee" crimes. A sharp and smart introduction to one of the world's most secretive societies.
9703  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: February 02, 2011, 10:36:51 AM
As far as JDN's post, most every country is founded on a shared race, ethnicity, religion. The US was founded on a set of ideas.

On the topic of race, east asians tend to make a Klansman from the deep south look liberal. Japan is no exception.
9704  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: February 02, 2011, 10:33:11 AM
"I understand that the world can be a dark, dangerous place sometimes and that sometimes we need to deal with bad people, but this brings with it its own costs."

We also have opportunities when we ally with less than free nations. Aside from rebuilding Germany and Japan after WWII, we took a brutal, oppressive South Korea and a Taiwan that had a thuggish strongman running it and grew them into free nations with civil liberties. It took time, but it happened. If we had shunned them, I doubt very much this would have happened.
9705  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: February 02, 2011, 10:25:52 AM
What I've observed from first gen immigrants is a true appreciation of how good America is. Those born here tend to be complacent about our freedoms and standard of living.
9706  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: February 02, 2011, 10:23:15 AM

The anti-semitism slur against Glenn Beck is the same as the racist slur against the Tea Party. Those that make it can't debate the points, so they try to defame their political opponents.
9707  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: February 02, 2011, 10:20:10 AM

Well, if we only deal with decent upstanding countries, then we better get out of the UN!

Say, that's not a bad idea.....   wink
9708  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama’s Brotherhood Moment on: February 02, 2011, 09:51:12 AM
Obama’s Brotherhood Moment

Posted By Robert Spencer On February 2, 2011 @ 12:45 am

Game over: Barack Obama has endorsed a role for the Muslim Brotherhood in a new, post-Mubarak government for Egypt.

This should come as no surprise. Obama has behaved consistently all along, from his refusal to back the protesters in Iran, who were demonstrating against an Islamic Republic, to his backing of these protesters in Egypt, to whom he has just given a green light to establish a government that, given numerous historical precedents, will likely be the precursor to an Islamic Republic.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Monday that a post-Mubarak Egyptian ruling group “has to include a whole host of important nonsecular actors that give Egypt a strong chance to continue to be [a] stable and reliable partner.”

Robert Malley, an Obama adviser and Mideast negotiator for Bill Clinton, explained that Obama’s expression of willingness to see the Brotherhood as part of a ruling coalition in Egypt was a “pretty clear sign that the U.S. isn’t going to advocate a narrow form of pluralism, but a broad one.”

In The Post-American Presidency, Pamela Geller and I profile Robert Malley, Samantha Power, and other fierce foes of Israel in the Obama Administration. In light of the information we reveal in the book, the Administration’s stance toward the Muslim Brotherhood comes as no surprise. But the ideology and goals of the Muslim Brotherhood will come as a surprise to most Americans, especially now that the mainstream media is retailing numerous soothing falsehoods about the group. Thus they warrant a closer look.

Contrary to claims that it is a moderate organization, the Muslim Brotherhood is actually the prototypical Islamic supremacist, pro-Sharia group of the modern age. Founded by Hasan al-Banna in Egypt in 1928, the Brotherhood emerged as a response to colonialism and Western influence in the Islamic world. Al-Banna wrote that “a wave of dissolution which undermined all firm beliefs was engulfing Egypt in the name of intellectual emancipation. This trend attacked the morals, deeds and virtues under the pretext of personal freedom. Nothing could stand against this powerful and tyrannical stream of disbelief and permissiveness that was sweeping our country.” His remedy? Restoration of Islamic law as the ruling principle of governance.

Al-Banna consequently decried Kemal Ataturk’s abolition of the Caliphate in secular Turkey, which he complained separated “the state from religion in a country which was until recently the site of the Commander of the Faithful.” Al-Banna characterized it as just part of a larger “Western invasion which was armed and equipped with all [the] destructive influences of money, wealth, prestige, ostentation, power and means of propaganda.”[1]

Al-Banna’s Brotherhood had a deeply spiritual character from its beginning, but it didn’t combat the “Western invasion” with just words and prayers. In a 1928 article al-Banna decried the complacency of the Egyptian elite: “What catastrophe has befallen the souls of the reformers and the spirit of the leaders?…What calamity has made them prefer this life to the thereafter [sic]? What has made them…consider the way of struggle [sabil al-jihad] too rough and difficult?”[2] When the Brotherhood was criticized for being a political group in the guise of a religious one, al-Banna met the challenge head-on:

We summon you to Islam, the teachings of Islam, the laws of Islam and the guidance of Islam, and if this smacks of “politics” in your eyes, then it is our policy. And if the one summoning you to these principles is a “politician,” then we are the most respectable of men, God be praised, in politics . . . Islam does have a policy embracing the happiness of this world. . . . We believe that Islam is an all-embracing concept which regulates every aspect of life, adjudicating on every one of its concerns and prescribing for it a solid and rigorous order.[3]

Al-Banna wrote in 1934 that “it is a duty incumbent on every Muslim to struggle towards the aim of making every people Muslim and the whole world Islamic, so that the banner of Islam can flutter over the earth and the call of the Muezzin can resound in all the corners of the world: God is greatest [Allahu akbar]! This is not parochialism, nor is it racial arrogance or usurpation of land.”[4]

In the same article al-Banna insisted that “every piece of land where the banner of Islam has been hoisted is the fatherland of the Muslims” — hence the impossibility of accommodation with Israel, against which the Brotherhood and its offshoots still struggle. But the problem was not just Israel, which after all did not yet exist when the Brotherhood was founded. According to Brynjar Lia, the historian of the Muslim Brotherhood movement: “Quoting the Qur’anic verse ‘And fight them till sedition is no more, and the faith is God’s’ [Sura 2:193], the Muslim Brothers urged their fellow Muslims to restore the bygone greatness of Islam and to re-establish an Islamic empire. Sometimes they even called for the restoration of ‘former Islamic colonies’ in Andalus (Spain), southern Italy, Sicily, the Balkans and the Mediterranean islands.”[5]

Such a call might seem laughable except that the Brotherhood also had weapons and a military wing. Scholar Martin Kramer notes that the Brotherhood had “a double identity. On one level, they operated openly, as a membership organization of social and political awakening. Banna preached moral revival, and the Muslim Brethren engaged in good works. On another level, however, the Muslim Brethren created a ‘secret apparatus’ that acquired weapons and trained adepts in their use. Some of its guns were deployed against the Zionists in Palestine in 1948, but the Muslim Brethren also resorted to violence in Egypt. They began to enforce their own moral teachings by intimidation, and they initiated attacks against Egypt’s Jews. They assassinated judges and struck down a prime minister in 1949. Banna himself was assassinated two months later, probably in revenge.”[6]

The Brotherhood was no gathering of marginalized kooks. It grew in Egypt from 150 branches in 1936 to as many as 1,500 by 1944. In 1939 al-Banna referred to “100,000 pious youths from the Muslim Brothers from all parts of Egypt,” and although Lia believes he was exaggerating at that point, by 1944 membership was estimated as between 100,000 and 500,000.[7] By 1937 it had expanded beyond Egypt, setting up “several branches in Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, and Morocco, and one in each of Bahrain, Hadramawt, Hyderabad, Djibouti and,” Lia adds matter-of-factly, “Paris.”[8] These many thousands, dispersed around the world, heard al-Banna’s call to “prepare for jihad and be lovers of death.”[9]

The Brotherhood’s ability to attract Muslims in all these disparate societies indicates the power of its religious appeal. It wasn’t offering Muslims a new version of Islam, but a deeply traditional one. The call to restore the purity and vitality of Islam has always struck a chord among Muslims; and the Islam the Brotherhood preached was the traditional one of a total Islamic society, one that could not abide accommodation—let colonial subjugation—to the West. Al-Banna told his followers: “Islam is faith and worship, a country and a citizenship, a religion and a state. It is spirituality and hard work. It is a Qur’an and a sword.”[10]

Al-Banna is a revered figure in the Muslim world today, and by no means only among radicals. His grandson Tariq Ramadan, the well-known European Muslim moderate, praises his grandfather for his “light-giving faith, a deep spirituality, [and] personal discipline.”[11] And many of al-Banna’s writings are still in print and circulate widely.

The Brotherhood has never rejected or renounced al-Banna’s vision or program. And now it is closer to implementing it in its homeland than it ever has been before – no little thanks to Barack Obama.

[1] Brynjar Lia, The Society of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt, Ithaca Press, 1998. P. 28.

[2] Lia, p. 33.

[3] Lia, pp. 68-9, 75-6.

[4] Lia, p. 79.

[5] Lia, p. 80.

[6] Martin Kramer, “Fundamentalist Islam at Large: The Drive for Power,” Middle East Quarterly, June 1996.

[7] Lia, pp. 153-4.

[8] Lia, p. 155.

[9] Jonathan Raban, “Truly, madly,deeply devout,” The Guardian, March 2, 2002.

[10] Shaker El-sayed, “Hassan al-Banna: The leader and the Movement,” Muslim American Society,

[11] Tariq Ramadan, “Foreword,” in Hassan al-Banna, Al-Ma’thurat, Awakening Publications, 2001. Reprinted at

Article printed from FrontPage Magazine:

URL to article:
9709  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: February 02, 2011, 09:26:41 AM
So, if I was to discuss the history of organized crime in the US and I mentioned Meyer Lansky, is that anti-semetic?

So then how is Glenn Beck's discussion of various leftists, some of whom are supposed to be Jewish, anti-semetic? Anti-semites hate Israel, so how exactly do the accusers explain this?
9710  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: February 02, 2011, 09:09:57 AM

You posting this because you find it interesting or because you agree?
9711  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / From 2005 on: February 02, 2011, 08:50:11 AM

According to the report, between 1990 and 2003 Egypt used its two research reactors at Inshas in the Nile Delta to irradiate “small amounts of natural uranium,” conducting a total of 16 experiments. 

According to the IAEA, none of the experiments fully succeeded; but in each case, they should have been reported to the agency under terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act.

Finally, Egypt had to admit that it had not fully disclosed the extent of its nuclear facilities.

It failed to declare the pilot plant used for the plutonium and uranium-separation experiments and did not provide design information for a new facility under construction, also at Inshas.

This facility could be used for more extensive experiments, the IAEA believed, and noted that Cairo should have notified the IAEA of its decision eight years ago.

Chided, but not accused of clandestine action
The IAEA declared the lapses a “matter of concern” and promised to pursue verification.

“The agency’s verification of the correctness and completeness of Egypt’s declarations is ongoing, pending further results of environmental and destructive sampling analyses and the agency’s analysis of the additional information provided by Egypt,” the report said.

Still the IAEA did not accuse Egypt of having a clandestine nuclear weapons program and the Egyptian government, in a statement issued in response, tried to downplay the concern, claiming “differing interpretations” of Egypt’s safeguards obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty had led to the problems.

And Cairo continued to emphasize that its “nuclear activities are strictly for peaceful purposes.”

Albright and others are not so certain.

Cause for concern?
“Egypt has been playing games and it just doesn’t fly that they didn’t know what they had to report. They knew, but didn’t want to report it, and the elimination of this doesn’t eliminate the concern,” Albright said. “Egypt is developing very slowly a capability if they decide to go nuclear.”

William M. Arkin, an NBC News analyst, said that Egypt’s revelations show that “it had gone a lot farther than Iran” in terms of experimentation with separation of plutonium, adding that if the United States had discovered such experiments in Iran, it would no doubt be raising the stakes in the current standoff with Tehran.

One reason Arkin and others cite for the seeming imbalance in criticism for the two countries’ nuclear advances is the U.S.-Egypt relationship.

The U.S. has provided Egypt with $1.3 billion a year in military aid since the Camp David peace accords in 1979, as well as an average of $815 million a year in economic assistance.

By most estimates, Egypt has received more than $50 billion in U.S. aid since 1975 and has proven one of the most reliable U.S. allies in the war on terror.

In fact, Albright, Arkin and National Defense University researcher Judith Yaphe believe that there is a connection between Iran’s nuclear ambitions and those of Egypt.

Efforts to counter Iranian program
Yaphe, who has written extensively on the effect an Iranian nuclear weapon would have on other countries in the Middle East, says part of the issue is pride.

“How can you, as an Egyptian, sit by and let Iran go past you in this area? For Egyptian scientists, it’s a loss of face,” Yaphe said. “Egyptians look very hard at what Iran has done. Iran has the money, but you don’t need a lot of money if you already have the basic infrastructure.”

Albright agreed that Iran is driving Egyptian plans, but suggests it’s more about strategy than pride. “Now, they have to be worried about Iran, as well as Israel.”

A former senior U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, noted that it may not just be Iran and Israel that worry Egyptian defense officials.

“They now know that Libya, with whom they have had volatile relations the past two decades, had a nuclear program under way,” the official said, noting Libya’s admissions that it had acquired nuclear weapons development technology from Pakistan in the 1990’s.
9712  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Headlines from the future..... on: February 02, 2011, 08:35:04 AM
A headline from the future with President Obama: "The Sunni-Shia Nuclear Arms Race Escalates".

I wonder how much gas will be then....

America is not short of allies in its quest to thwart Iran, though some are clearly more enthusiastic than the Obama administration for a definitive solution to Iran's nuclear designs. In one cable, a US diplomat noted how Saudi foreign affairs bureaucrats were moderate in their views on Iran, "but diverge significantly from the more bellicose advice we have gotten from senior Saudi royals".

In a conversation with a US diplomat, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain "argued forcefully for taking action to terminate their [Iran's] nuclear programme, by whatever means necessary. That programme must be stopped. The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it." Zeid Rifai, then president of the Jordanian senate, told a senior US official: "Bomb Iran, or live with an Iranian bomb. Sanctions, carrots, incentives won't matter."

In talks with US officials, Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed favoured action against Iran, sooner rather than later. "I believe this guy is going to take us to war ... It's a matter of time. Personally, I cannot risk it with a guy like [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad. He is young and aggressive."

In another exchange , a senior Saudi official warned that Gulf states may develop nuclear weapons of their own, or permit them to be based in their countries to deter the perceived Iranian threat.

No US ally is keener on military action than Israel, and officials there have repeatedly warned that time is running out. "If the Iranians continue to protect and harden their nuclear sites, it will be more difficult to target and damage them," the US embassy reported Israeli defence officials as saying in November 2009.

There are differing views within Israel. But the US embassy reported: "The IDF [Israeli Defence Force], however, strikes us as more inclined than ever to look toward a military strike, whether launched by Israel or by us, as the only way to destroy or even delay Iran's plans." Preparations for a strike would likely go undetected by Israel's allies or its enemies.

The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, told US officials in May last yearthat he and the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, agreed that a nuclear Iran would lead others in the region to develop nuclear weapons, resulting in "the biggest threat to non-proliferation efforts since the Cuban missile crisis".

The cables also expose frank, even rude, remarks about Iranian leaders, their trustworthiness and tactics at international meetings. Abdullah told another US diplomat: "The bottom line is that they cannot be trusted." Mubarak told a US congressman: "Iran is always stirring trouble." Others are learning from what they describe as Iranian deception. "They lie to us, and we lie to them," said Qatar's prime minister, Hamad bin Jassim Jaber al-Thani.

WikiLeaks: tension in the Middle East and Asia has 'direct potential' to lead to nuclear war
Tension in the Middle East and Asia has given rise to an escalating atomic arms and missiles race which has “the direct potential to lead to nuclear war,” leaked diplomatic documents disclose.
9713  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War, WMD issues on: February 01, 2011, 08:23:19 PM

Wikileaks doc: Al Qaeda on the brink of a dirty bomb, feds seeking missing 9/11 suspects

posted at 9:12 pm on February 1, 2011 by Allahpundit

Drudge is giving this banner treatment but I’m not sure why. Of course Al Qaeda is on the brink of a dirty bomb. Their comrades-in-arms in the Taliban are the jihadist proxy of one of the world’s biggest nuclear proliferators, aren’t they? If the filthbags in Pakistani intelligence want Al Qaeda to have nuclear material, they’ll find a way to smuggle some out of the state supply, I’m sure. In fact, according to a new piece in the NYT, Pakistan’s practically swimming in fissile material these days. Never mind the dirty bombs; how long before AQ or Lashkar e-Taiba or some other arm of Pakistan’s terror apparatus has itself a fully-functioning atomic weapon?

    New American intelligence assessments have concluded that Pakistan has steadily expanded its nuclear arsenal since President Obama came to office, and that it is building the capability to surge ahead in the production of nuclear-weapons material, putting it on a path to overtake Britain as the world’s fifth largest nuclear weapons power…

    “We’ve seen a consistent, constant buildup in their inventory, but it hasn’t been a sudden rapid rise,” a senior American military official said. “We’re very, very well aware of what they’re doing.”…

    But the bigger worry is the production of nuclear materials. Based on the latest estimates of the International Panel on Fissile Materials, an outside group that estimates worldwide nuclear production, experts say Pakistan has now produced enough material for 40 to 100 additional weapons, including a new class of plutonium bombs. If those estimates are correct — and some government officials regard them as high — it would put Pakistan on a par with long-established nuclear powers…

    “The biggest concern of major production, to my mind, is theft from the places where the material is being handled in bulk — the plants that produce it, convert it to metal, fabricate it into bomb parts, and so on,” said Matthew Bunn, a Harvard scholar who compiles an annual report called “Securing the Bomb” for the group Nuclear Threat Initiative. “All but one of the real thefts” of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, he said, “were insider thefts from bulk-handling facilities — that’s where you can squirrel a little bit away without the loss being detected.”

Read the story being touted by Drudge and you’ll see that most of the Wikileaks docs come from 2009, which is already a different world from what’s happening in Pakistan today. Why they’re ramping up nuke production now, especially with their economy teetering, remains obscure, but according to one foreign analyst it’s simply to boast some sort of numerical advantage over their longtime nemesis India. Or maybe it’s a form of insurance against state collapse: The west will never let Pakistan crumble since it knows the consequences of letting influential lunatics in the government make off with the nuclear crown jewels. It’s precisely because Al Qaeda is perpetually on the brink of having a dirty bomb or something worse that we’re forced to be conciliatory with these cretins at all.

The other Wikileaks story being passed around tonight is more interesting and more inscrutable. Via the Telegraph, apparently there was a team of verrrry suspicious men from Qatar making some verrrry suspicious moves around the country right before 9/11. Among the remarkable coincidences: Possible surveillance of the World Trade Center shortly before the attack, “pilot-type uniforms” seen in their room by hotel housekeepers, and the fact that they were scheduled to fly from L.A. to D.C. on September 10 aboard the very same plane that ended up being steered into the Pentagon the next morning. (They ended up flying to London instead.) I’ve read the piece twice and still can’t decipher what the plot might have been. Were they going to try to use the uniforms to get past airport security somehow? No other 9/11 cell used that M.O. Were they going to plant weapons on the plane for the hijackers in D.C. to use the next morning? Again, there’s no evidence that any other cell had help like that. Maybe they were prepared to pull a hijacking of their own? But in that case, why’d they bug out to London instead of following through? All theories welcome.
9714  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / From 2007 on: February 01, 2011, 01:57:32 PM

US Attorneys slap down Bloomberg
Posted by David Hardy · 8 February 2007 03:39 PM

VCDL has the report.The Exec Office of US Attorneys informs the mayor that they will not prosecute any of the dealers he targeted, and warns that his engaging in "stings" without law enforcement authorization could jeopardize real operations and expose him and the city to liability.

The latter is pretty apparent. The dealers would have the defense that they didn't realize that the gun was going to the person who didn't sign the forms, but the buyers have no such defense -- they knew exactly that that was the plan. So there's no doubt that the buyers broke the Gun Control Act, and that those who set them to it were liable as aiders and abettors, not to mention on a conspiracy theory. I'd assume that Bloomberg and company (1) figured it was worth it for the publicity and (2) figured that the laws don't apply to the rich and powerful. They may just have been right on both.
9715  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Meet the new boss..... on: February 01, 2011, 12:04:45 PM
Far worse than the old boss.....,0,7079100.story?track=rss

Reporting from Washington —
The Obama administration said for the first time that it supports a role for groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned Islamist organization, in a reformed Egyptian government.

The organization must reject violence and recognize democratic goals if the U.S. is to be comfortable with it taking part in the government, the White House said. But by even setting conditions for the involvement of such nonsecular groups, the administration took a surprise step in the midst of the crisis that has enveloped Egypt for the last week.
9716  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / American Liberals and the Streets of Cairo on: February 01, 2011, 11:56:12 AM

American Liberals and the Streets of Cairo

      Leon Wieseltier

The contours and consequences of the uprising in Egypt—which, after decades in which Hosni Mubarak destroyed the civil society of his country and stifled the most elementary aspirations of his people, was perfectly inevitable—are still unclear. About the justice of the protestors’ anger there can be no doubt. But the politics of the revolt are murky. Its early stages have not been the work of the Muslim Brotherhood, but it is hard to believe that the Islamist organization will not be tempted to play the Bolshevik role in this revolution: it has the ideology and the organization with which to seize control of the situation, and it is the regime’s most formidable political adversary. The army may decide, with the government seriously wounded and robbed of any semblance of legitimacy, to do more than bring order to the streets. Mubarak, in a characteristic act of a failing dictator, has fired his cabinet, as if the ire of the Egyptian people was directed at his ministers: a pathetic move that brings to mind the memory of the Shah of Iran’s eleventh-hour reshuffle of his doomed government. We know this script. The political popularity, and political authority, of Muhammed ElBaradei is also hard to measure.

What is not unclear, however, is that the Obama administration, and American liberals more generally, have been caught intellectually unprepared for this crisis. The administration’s predicament, it must be said, is strategically complicated: since Mubarak may fall, it cannot afford to alienate the protestors, but since the protestors may fail, it cannot afford to alienate Mubarak. Our officials have been improvising, not altogether brilliantly. Joe Biden fatuously declared that “I would not refer to [Mubarak] as a dictator.” Robert Gibbs said that “this is not about taking sides.” Hillary Clinton, who used to speak warmly of Mubarak as “family,” has called for “restraint” and “reform” and “dialogue,” and warned that a crackdown could affect American aid to Egypt—as if anything but a crackdown is to be expected from Mubarak. And Barack Obama is also trying to finesse things, urging Mubarak to transform “a moment of volatility” into “a moment of promise”—the eloquence is irritating: there are times when the power of language is not the power that is needed—and proclaiming that “the United States will continue to stand up for the rights of the Egyptian people.”

Continue? There is nothing wrong with crisis management in a crisis, but the problem that the Obama administration now confronts is precisely that it has not been a cornerstone of American policy toward Egypt to stand up for the rights of the Egyptian people. It has preferred cronyism with the regime occasionally punctuated by some stirring remarks. What we are witnessing, in the confusion and the dread of the administration, are the consequences of its demotion of democratization as one of the central purposes of American foreign policy, particularly toward the Muslim world. There were two reasons for the new liberal diffidence about human rights. The first was the Bush doctrine, the second was the Obama doctrine. The wholesale repudiation of Bush’s foreign policy included the rejection of anything resembling his “freedom agenda,” which looked mainly like an excuse for war. But whatever one’s views of the Iraq war, it really does not seem too much to ask of American liberals that they think a little less crudely about democratization—not only about its moral significance but also about its strategic significance. One of the early lessons of the rebellion against Mubarak is that American support for democratic dissidents is indeed a strategic matter, and that the absence of such American support can lead to a strategic disaster. Such are the wages of realism. It is a common error that prudence is thought about the short-term; the proper temporal horizon for prudential thinking is distant and long. Realism does not equip one for an adequate appreciation of the historical force of the democratic longing. In this sense, realism is singularly unrealistic. It seems smart only as long as the dictators remain undisturbed by their people, and then suddenly it seems incredibly stupid.

Obama replaced the freedom agenda with an acceptance agenda. His foreign policy has been conducted in a vigorously multicultural spirit. He rightly sensed that an emphasis upon democratization was a critical emphasis—a castigation of the existing dispensations in countries ruled by autocracies and authoritarianisms, and he did not come to castigate. He came in friendship, to “restore America’s standing.” He sought to do so with an embrace of differences, an affirmation of religions, a celebration of civilizations. As a matter of principle, such assertions of respect are right and good. But what if the positive tone misses the point—not about the dignity of other peoples, but about their actual circumstances? Of what use is happy talk to unhappy people? Do societies desperately in need of secularization and its blandishments really need the American president to cite their Scripture to them? In accordance with his warm new priorities, democracy was the fourth of Obama’s five themes is his speech in Cairo in 2009, the one called “A New Beginning.” When he finally got around to it, he introduced it this way: “I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: no system of government can or should be imposed by one nation by any other.” Or: the United States will no longer bother you about how you are living. He then proceeded to a fine little sermon about the virtues of government “through consent, not coercion,” but said nothing about the political conditions in Egypt. The Cairo speech did not discomfit the Mubarak regime. I imagine that many of Obama’s listeners in Cairo that day are on the streets of Cairo today, and some of them attacked the American Embassy.
9717  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: February 01, 2011, 11:42:19 AM
"I know that this thread is now going to be full of indignant fulmination against Israel."

It is?
9718  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Opposition And Army Plan Mubarak's Demise on: February 01, 2011, 11:25:21 AM

Opposition And Army Plan Mubarak's Demise

1:17pm UK, Tuesday February 01, 2011

Dominic Waghorn, in Cairo
The Muslim Brotherhood has told Sky News it is in talks with other opposition groups and the army about the removal of President Hosni Mubarak.
9719  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Soros' Media Matters blames the JEWS on: February 01, 2011, 11:22:36 AM

Monday, January 31, 2011
Media Matters Blames The Egyptian Crisis on Those Foreign Policy-Controlling, Media-Owning JEWS

The George Soros funded Media Matters has been waging a months-long attack on Glenn Beck trying to brand the commentator as a card carrying anti-Semite. Perhaps before making false charges against Beck, Media Matters should examine its own house of cards.

In a column published today on Media Matters political correction site, MJ Rosenberg claimed that the current Egyptian crisis was the fault of AIPAC and the "Israel Lobby." For those of you who have lived on a different planet till today, "Israel Lobby" is a polite way of saying "Jews." It is based on the old anti-Semitic canard that it is the Jews who control the United States government.

Two years ago, Media Matters who has received major funding from financier George Soros, hired Rosenberg, a Jew to chip away at the image of the Jewish State, similar to what Soros did in creating J-Street. MJ Rosenberg was perfect for this role as Jewish-Lobby conspiracy theorist, bully with a keyboard, and a self-proclaimed violator of national security.

To be honest I have only crossed paths with Rosenberg's writing twice before, in the matter of Chas Freeman President Obama's pick for NIC Chairman who was a tool for both the Saudi and Chinese government and in the matter of Steve Rosen, the former AIPAC who was wrongly charged with espionage (the charges were dropped this year). In both cases, Rosenberg’s strategy has been is to attack people personally, throw around the “N” word (neo-con), twist words around (including mine) and accuse those of us who differ from his point of view as hell-bent to run the foreign policy of the United States of America.

In today's piece, Rosenberg says the reason for the Egyptian rebellion is the failure to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian issue:

    If one needs additional proof that the "pro-Israel" lobby and the policies it dictates to US policymakers are bad for both the U.S. and Israel, look no further than what is happening in Egypt.

    The regime that the Israeli government and its U.S. lobby have depended upon to enforce the status quo is going down. It is not clear when, but it's going to be soon, much sooner than anyone ever anticipated. And you can be sure that any democratic government that takes Mubarak's place is not going to play the role of America's (let alone Israel's) enforcer in the Middle East.

    Hopefully, the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty will survive — thousands of lives on both sides have been saved by President Carter's Camp David Treaty — but there are no guarantees. Far from it.

    Of course, no one would even be worried about the peace treaty if the Israelis had agreed to implement the critical second part of the Camp David Accords.

    That was the part that would have ended the occupation. But the Israelis chose to ignore it and the lobby and the ever-faithful Congress blocked Carter's efforts to push it through.

Its interesting that when one goes through the Wikileaks documents about the Middle East not the secret cables ties the Palestinian/Israel to issues in the other countries. In both the recent unrest in Tunisia and in Egypt not once was there a mention of the Palestinians or Israelis except for mentioning the fact that both parties would prefer to see Mubarak remain in power.

Rosenberg indicates that the reason for the lack of Israeli/Palestinian peace is Israel, Congress and of course the Israel (Jewish) Lobby. I guess he forgot the fact that Yasser Arafat walked away from a favorable deal at the end of the Clinton Administration and Mahmoud Abbas walked away from a similar deal at the end of the Bush Administration.

    I am often accused of harping on the lobby's baleful influence. I plead guilty. But it's my obligation because (1) I know from personal experience — 15 years on Capitol Hill and four at AIPAC — how it operates, (2) I know how little it really cares about Israel, and (3) I am free to tell the truth about it. If I worked in the mainstream media or in the U.S. government, I wouldn't be.

How do you like that, we Jews control US foreign policy and the run the media--damn we are good. But wait there is more, according to MJ Rosenberg of Media Matters if it wasn't for the Jews, American would be best friends with Iran.

    Another area where the lobby has done so much damage is in our relations with Iran.

    AIPAC is dedicated to "crippling" sanctions and eventually war with Iran if sanctions don't bring down the regime. Later this spring, AIPAC will host its annual conference which will, as has been the case for a decade, feature mind-numbing warnings about the danger posed by an Iranian nuclear bomb.

Dang those Jews are so horrible. Not only do we control everything, but we made the last two Presidents push sanctions on those innocent Iranians and those sanctions are only being imposed to help Israel. Wow the guilt is going to keep me awake for days.

Perhaps the Media Matters columnist should have read the recent accounts released by Wikileaks

According to the leaked document, part of the conversation between King Abdullah and the US officials touched on Saudi attitudes towards Iran, its influence in Iraq and the need to increase pressure on the Islamic Republic.

**Read it all.
9720  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Egypt sneezes..... on: February 01, 2011, 11:10:34 AM

Going around.
9721  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Mandate on: February 01, 2011, 10:42:55 AM|mostview

Bill would require all S.D. citizens to buy a gun
9722  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: February 01, 2011, 10:28:21 AM

A clear strategy to support Mubarak from the start would have made a difference. The right incentives for Egypt's military could have had them quickly put down and isolate the protests/riots.

You fight a fire when it's small, not when the whole forest is ablaze.
9723  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why Coptic Christians Fear a Revolution on: February 01, 2011, 06:36:55 AM
- FrontPage Magazine - -

Why Coptic Christians Fear a Revolution

Posted By Robert Spencer On February 1, 2011 @ 12:35 am

Forgotten in all the excitement over the revolution in Egypt has been the precarious situation of Coptic Christians there. Yet just weeks ago, Copts in Egypt experienced an unprecedented reign of terror. An Islamic jihad-martyrdom suicide bomber murdered twenty-two people and wounded eighty more at the Coptic Christian Church of the Saints in Alexandria, Egypt on New Year’s Eve. Just days later, as Christmas (which Copts celebrate on January 7) 2011 approached, an Islamic website carried this ominous exhortation: “Blow up the churches while they are celebrating Christmas or any other time when the churches are packed.” And if the Muslim Brotherhood takes power in Egypt, the treatment of the Copts is likely only to get worse.

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton recently injected a note of realism into the mainstream media euphoria over the heroic “pro-democracy” demonstrators in Egypt. “The overthrow of the Mubarak regime,” Bolton warned, “will not by any sense of the imagination lead to the advent of Jeffersonian democracy. The greater likelihood is a radical, tightly knit organization like the Muslim Brotherhood will take advantage of the chaos and seize power.” And that will be bad news for Egyptian Christians: “It is really legitimate for the Copts to be worried that instability follow Mubarak’s fall and his replacement with the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Apparently aware of this, the head of the Coptic Church, Pope Shenouda III, has forbidden Copts from participating in the demonstrations. It has been widely reported in the West that many Copts are defying this ban; on the other hand, however, a source on the ground in Egypt tells me that the news reports are wrong, and that Copts are not participating. Whatever may be the truth of the matter, it is certain that a Muslim Brotherhood state in Egypt would make their situation even worse than it is already.

Coptic Christians have suffered discrimination and harassment for centuries. A law dating from 1856 and strongly influenced by classic Islamic restrictions on subjugated non-Muslim dhimmi communities remains on the books to this day, and severely restricts the construction of new churches. That law is part of a pervasive tendency toward discrimination: Human Right Watch reported in January 2011 that “despite the fact that the Egyptian Constitution guarantees the equality of rights, there have been reported cases of widespread discrimination against Egyptian Christians.”

Discrimination and harassment have been daily features of Coptic life for years. In February 2007, rumors that a Coptic Christian man was having an affair with a Muslim woman – a violation of Islamic law – led to a rampage that resulted in the destruction of several Christian-owned shops in southern Egypt. A similar rumor induced Muslims to torch Christian homes in southern Egypt in November 2010. And besides physical attacks, Christians have been restricted from speaking freely. In August 2007, two Coptic rights activists were arrested for “publishing articles and declarations that are damaging to Islam and insulting to Prophet Mohammed on the United Copts web site.”

Authorities have even asserted that restriction on speech outside Egypt itself, in connection with people discussing the plight of the Copts. When Pope Benedict XVI spoke out in January 2011 against the persecution of Christians in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East, Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the world’s most prestigious Sunni Muslim institution, reacted angrily, breaking off dialogue with the Vatican and accusing the Pope of interference in internal Egyptian affairs. In a statement, Al-Azhar denounced the pontiff’s “repeated negative references to Islam and his claims that Muslims persecute those living among them in the Middle East.” This was not the first time Al-Azhar had moved against those who decried the persecution of Christians in Egypt rather than against the persecutors: just weeks before taking issue with the Pope’s statements, Al-Azhar demanded that Copts repudiate a U.S. report on Coptic persecution. The Mubarak government of Egypt, meanwhile, recalled its ambassador to the Vatican.

Mistreatment of Christians in Egypt frequently meets with indifference – or worse yet, complicity — from Egyptian authorities. In November 2010, Egyptian security forces opened fire on a crowd of unarmed Christians who were protesting against the discrimination and harassment they faced in Egyptian society; four people were killed. In June 2007, rioters in Alexandria vandalized Christian shops, attacked and injured seven Christians, and damaged two Coptic churches. Police allowed the mob to roam free in Alexandria’s Christian quarter for an hour and a half before intervening. The Compass Direct News service, which tracks incidents of Christian persecution, noted: “In April 2006, Alexandria was the scene of three knife attacks on churches that killed one Christian and left a dozen more injured. The government appeared unable or unwilling to halt subsequent vandalism of Coptic-owned shops and churches…”

The ordeal of Suhir Shihata Gouda exemplifies the experience of many Egyptian Christians, and principally of Christian women, who are frequently victimized by Muslim

men. According to the Jubilee Campaign, which records incidences of Christian persecution, a group of Muslims kidnapped Suhir and forced her to marry a Muslim. When her father complained to police, they beat and cursed him instead of registering his complaint. Finally, her new Muslim husband joined a mob that went to her father’s house and threatened to kill all the Christians in the area if the family complained to authorities again.

This persecution combined with denial in Egypt itself is bad enough, but even worse, Muslims are also targeting Copts worldwide. The Canadian Press reported in December 2010 that “the Shumukh-al-Islam website, often considered to be al-Qaeda’s mouthpiece, listed pictures, addresses and cellphone numbers of Coptic Christians, predominantly Egyptian-Canadians, who have been vocal about their opposition to Islam.” Accompanying this information were calls to murder those listed.

And all this has happened while Egypt has been ostensibly a secular state. If the Muslim Brotherhood ultimately succeeds in imposing Sharia in Egypt, Copts may come to look back at the age of Mubarak as the good old days.

Article printed from FrontPage Magazine:

URL to article:
9724  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: February 01, 2011, 05:11:38 AM
Were I a NYC resident, I'd be more concerned about things like the clearance of snow from the streets.....
9725  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: January 31, 2011, 11:42:35 PM

Pentonomics - The GDP Joke
January 28, 2011 - 8:13am — mpento
Friday, January 28, 2011
Michael Pento

The MSM is running around today applauding our 4th quarter GDP report, which increased at a 3.2% annual rate. However, the current dollar or nominal GDP growth rate was 3.4%. That’s correct; the BEA is suggesting that inflation grew at just over a .2% annual growth rate in Q4 2010! Does anybody that’s not a politician or central banker really believe that the rate of inflation for goods produced domestically was growing at a .2% annual rate?


To make matters worse, personal consumption expenditures were up 4.4% and final sales surged 7.1%. I say worse because the savings rate is dropping as consumers and business ramp back up their borrowing. Household purchases, which account for about 70 % of the economy, rose at a 4.4% pace last quarter, the most since the first three months of 2006. The increase added 3 percentage points to GDP.


To be able to consume one must first have produced. If you consume without having produced, you are spending either borrowed or printed money. And the money that is being spent isn’t used to purchase capital goods, which can expand the productive output of the economy. Consumer credit is up two months in a row and we are spending borrowed and printed money, not money earned from growing real incomes.


 The Fed’s preferred inflation metric, which is tied to consumer spending and strips out food and energy costs, climbed at a 0.4% annual pace, the smallest gain in data going back to 1959. So we should expect more borrowing and more Fed printing, as Mr. Bernanke feels inflation is perilously low.

Michael Pento, Senior Economist at Euro Pacific Capital is a well-established specialist in the “Austrian School” of economics. He is a regular guest on CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox Business, and other national media outlets and his market analysis can be read in most major financial publications, including the Wall Street Journal. Prior to joining Euro Pacific, Michael worked for a boutique investment advisory firm to create ETFs and UITs that were sold throughout Wall Street. Earlier in his career, he worked on the floor of the NYSE.
9726  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: January 31, 2011, 11:17:30 PM
Did they purchase salt and soft drinks in AZ as well?   shocked
9727  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: January 31, 2011, 11:15:18 PM
His age and cancer were not an issue recently, were they? Was a transition announced before the riots/protests?

Do you think that if we had a president with an actual resume, that there might be a different outcome?
9728  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 31, 2011, 05:53:42 PM
It's my understanding that the only place in the world currently producing M1-Abrams tanks is the factory in Egypt.
9729  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Muslim Brotherhood Wants War With Israel on: January 31, 2011, 04:20:58 PM

Mohamed Ghanem, one of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, calls Egypt to stop pumping gas to Israel and prepare the Egyptian army for a war with it’s eastern neighbor.

Speaking with Iranian television station Al-Alam, Mohamed Ghanem blamed Israel for supporting Hosni Mubarak’s regime. Ghanem also said that the Egyptian police and army won’t be able to stop the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

There are doubts about the loyalty of the Egyptian army to president Mubarak. If the brotherhood takes control over Egypt, it will be very messy from the whole region.

9730  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / I'm not shocked on: January 31, 2011, 02:54:44 PM

Israel shocked by Obama's "betrayal" of Mubarak


By Douglas Hamilton

JERUSALEM | Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:54pm EST

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - If Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak is toppled, Israel will lose one of its very few friends in a hostile neighborhood and President Barack Obama will bear a large share of the blame, Israeli pundits said on Monday.

Political commentators expressed shock at how the United States as well as its major European allies appeared to be ready to dump a staunch strategic ally of three decades, simply to conform to the current ideology of political correctness.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told ministers of the Jewish state to make no comment on the political cliffhanger in Cairo, to avoid inflaming an already explosive situation. But Israel's President Shimon Peres is not a minister.

"We always have had and still have great respect for President Mubarak," he said on Monday. He then switched to the past tense. "I don't say everything that he did was right, but he did one thing which all of us are thankful to him for: he kept the peace in the Middle East."

Newspaper columnists were far more blunt.

One comment by Aviad Pohoryles in the daily Maariv was entitled "A Bullet in the Back from Uncle Sam." It accused Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of pursuing a naive, smug, and insular diplomacy heedless of the risks.

Who is advising them, he asked, "to fuel the mob raging in the streets of Egypt and to demand the head of the person who five minutes ago was the bold ally of the president ... an almost lone voice of sanity in a Middle East?"

"The politically correct diplomacy of American presidents throughout the generations ... is painfully naive."

Obama on Sunday called for an "orderly transition" to democracy in Egypt, stopping short of calling on Mubarak to step down, but signaling that his days may be numbered.

**History will reflect that the biggest anti-semites in the US were those that voted for Obama, no matter the intent.
9731  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Egypt military promises no force against protests on: January 31, 2011, 02:11:48 PM

Egypt military promises no force against protests
By MAGGIE MICHAEL and HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press Maggie Michael And Hamza Hendawi, Associated Press 7 mins ago

CAIRO – Egypt's military promised Monday not to fire on any peaceful protests and said it recognized "the legitimacy of the people's demands" ahead of a demonstration in which organizers aim to bring a million Egyptians to the streets to press for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

The military statement was the strongest sign yet that the army was willing to let the week-old protests continue and even grow as long as they remain peaceful, even if that leads to the fall of Mubarak. If the 82-year-old president, a former air force commander, loses the support of the military, it would likely be a fatal blow to his rule.

The announcement came after the latest gesture by Mubarak aimed at defusing the upheaval fell flat. Protesters in the street and his top ally, the United States, roundly rejected his announcement of a new government Monday that dropped his interior minister, who heads police forces and was widely denounced by the protesters.

In Washington, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs dismissed the naming of the new government, saying the situation in Egypt calls for action, not appointments.

The new lineup was greeted with scorn in Tahrir Square, the central Cairo plaza that has become the protests' epicenter, with crowds of more than 10,000 on Monday chanting for Mubarak's ouster.

"We don't want life to go back to normal until Mubarak leaves," said Israa Abdel-Fattah, a founder of the April 6 Group, a movement of young people pushing for democratic reform.

The mood in Tahrir — or Liberation — Square, surrounded by army tanks and barbed wire, was celebratory and determined as more protesters filtered in to join what has turned into a continual encampment despite a curfew, moved up an hour to 3 p.m. on its fourth day in effect. Some protesters played music, others distributed dates and other food to their colleagues or watched the latest news on TVs set up on sidewalks.

Young men climbed lampposts to hang Egyptian flags and signs proclaiming "Leave, Mubarak!" One poster featured Mubarak's face plastered with a Hitler mustache, a sign of the deep resentment toward a leader they blame for widespread poverty, inflation and official indifference and brutality during his 30 years in power.

A coalition of protest groups called for a million people to join protests Tuesday — and many protesters spoke of marching out of Tahrir Square to move toward one of the several presidential palaces around Cairo. That would be a significant step: For days, the military has allowed the crowds to gather freely, but only within the confines of Tahrir.

The military's statement suggested the army may allow the protesters to march out of the square as long as they don't engage in violence.

"Your armed forces, realizing the legitimacy of the people's demands and out of concern to carry out its responsibility to protect the nation and citizens, states the following," the spokesman, Ismail Etman said in the introduction of the statement. He said the military "has not and will not use force against the public" and underlined that the "the freedom of peaceful expression is guaranteed for everyone."

He added the caveats, however, that protesters should not commit "any act that destabilizes security of the country" or damage property.

Looting that erupted over the weekend across the city of around 18 million eased — but Egyptians endured another day of the virtual halt to normal life that the crisis has caused, raising fears of damage to Egypt's economy if the crisis drags on. Trains stopped running Monday, possibly an attempt by authorities to prevent residents of the provinces from joining protests in the capital.

Banks, schools and the stock market in Cairo were closed for the second working day, making cash tight. An unprecedented complete shutdown of the Internet was in its fourth day. Long lines formed outside bakeries as people tried to replenish their stores of bread.

Cairo's international airport was a scene of chaos and confusion as thousands of foreigners sought to flee the unrest, and countries around the world scrambled to send in planes to fly their citizens out.

**A big fcuking deal, as our esteemed VP would say.**

9732  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: January 31, 2011, 01:10:47 PM
"He notes this guy ElBaradei who is being touted by the media is actually no friend of the West it sounds."

I caught a bit on the radio from Limbaugh, who correctly pointed out how friendly the MSM is to the Muslim Brotherhood and how the same MSM is so biased and hostile towards the Tea Party.

9733  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bastards on: January 31, 2011, 01:04:29 PM
In much of the world, you are stuck with the choice between one version of a corrupt thug and his crew and a worse thug and worse crew. Just as we had to ally with Stalin to beat Hitler, then ally with various strongmen bastards across the globe as we faced down the Soviets, the realpolitik can and should be informed by our morals and long term strategy.

I wouldn't want to be an Iranian under the Shah, but I'd like even less to be an Iranian under the Mullahs. I wouldn't want to live under Mubarak, but I don't see a better life for the Egyptians waiting in the wings. Not now anyway.
9734  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 31, 2011, 12:50:38 PM
"Naturally the various Iraqi players read the writing on the wall , , , just as the various Afpakia players are doing now."

As are the players in Egypt, Jordan and elsewhere in the ME.
9735  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cancer, Carter and Obama on: January 31, 2011, 08:00:38 AM

Cancer, Carter and Obama
January 30, 2011 - by Michael Ledeen

There are some eery similarities between Egypt 2011 and Iran 1979, and some of them are unfortunately about American leadership.  There are some big differences, too, but for the moment let’s just look at some parallels and try to draw some necessarily tentative conclusions.  After all, everything is up for grabs right now and things will probably change a lot in the next few hours and days.

First of all is prostate cancer.  The shah was dying of it and Mubarak is afflicted with it.  We know Mubarak’s got it.  We didn’t know the shah had it.  One of the effects of the disease and its treatment seems to be that the person has difficulty making tough decisions, and it inevitably forces him to think about his legacy.  The shah didn’t want to go down as a bloody dictator, and he rejected all appeals from his generals to open fire on the demonstrators.  This encouraged the opposition and discouraged the military commanders.

Second is the role of Washington.  Carter did not know what to do, and he was operating on the basis of very bad intelligence.  Above all, he (thanks to his CIA) had very little good information about Khomeini.  He and advisers like Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and Iran desk officer Henry Precht and NSC staffer Gary Sick all permitted themselves to believe that we could continue to have very good relations with Iran even if the shah were overthrown.   They failed to see the nature and extent of the  Khomeini movement, saw it as a “progressive revolution,” and UN Ambassador Andrew Young famously called the ayatollah a holy man, and even “some kind of saint.”

I don’t know the quality of our intelligence on the Egyptian opposition, but if former Ambassador Martin Indyk is correct (and all I’ve got to go on is a Tweet saying he said it on BBC Arabic), the White House and State Department may be signaling approval of Mohammed al-Baradei.  According to Al Jazeera — a very unreliable source to put it mildly — Obama has told leaders in the Gulf that the United States favors a “peaceful transition” to greater democracy.

Well, so do I.  But Baradei is one of the last men I would choose for that role.  He doesn’t like America and he’s in cahoots with Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.  He would be likely to try to replay the ghastly catastrophe of 1979.  Bad for freedom, bad for the Egyptian people, bad for America.   Does our intelligence community not know this?  And if they do, why is Obama tilting towards this outcome?  If he is, that is…

In 1979 we came down hard on the shah to show restraint towards the demonstrators, just as we are today with Mubarak.  I understand that no American government, let alone an Obama government, can openly say to Mubarak: “What are you waiting for?  Put it down!”  I don’t know what we’re saying privately.  Gates has apparently spoken to his counterparts in Cairo and Jerusalem.  What did they say?  I don’t know, obviously, but that conversation would go a long way to clarify the real facts.  I’ll bet you that there was some sort of deadline to Mubarak:  if you can’t establish control within x days, we will have to work with the opposition.  That would be normal and sensible.

The greatest American sin in 1979 was to confuse the shah.  He didn’t know what we wanted.  From the State Department he heard calls for sweet reasonableness, entreaties not to use live ammunition against the mobs, and so forth.  From Brzezinski he heard pleas to be strong.  Maybe even to crack down violently.  The shah didn’t know who to believe.  Then it got worse.  We sent a General Huyser to Tehran with two sets of instructions:  a) to support a military coup and b) to prevent a military coup.  So the shah and the generals stood by and watched, and Khomeini’s multitudes, who knew exactly what they wanted, fought all-out and won.

It follows that Mubarak has to know exactly what we want.  Do we know what we want?  My impression is that we are confused, just as in 1979.  Obama’s statement the other day (yesterday if I remember rightly) was not encouraging.  “The future of Egypt will be determined by the Egyptian people” and we will support them.  What does that mean?  There’s a fight going on, and we have to take sides.  I think Mubarak is entitled to wonder just what we want, and that’s dangerous, because it means that his decisions will be driven at least in part by guesswork and suspicion.

As I’ve said, that we have come to this impasse shows a long-standing policy failure, just as it did in Iran in 1979.  We should have supported democratic opposition forces all along (footnote:  it’s quite amusing to hear former officials proclaiming “we can’t support dictatorship” when they did precisely that when they were in office.  Including some, like C. Rice, who promised to support democrats and then didn’t.).  But we didn’t, the London Telegraph’s misleading headline writers notwithstanding.  Now we have no attractive options.  Too bad.

So even if our intelligence is weak, we still have to make decisions, and the basic rule has to be the same as Hippocrates’ injunction to doctors:  don’t make things worse.  Don’t inflict an even worse tyranny on the Egyptian people, one that is likely to plunge the region into a big war.  If that means working with the generals to create a transition government that promises to shape a more attractive polity, so be it.  The lesser of two evils is a legitimate policy decision.

In fact, it’s the most common one.  I’m sure Obama hates being in this position, as any of us would.  But he’s got to make decisions.  Clearly and emphatically. And stay on top of it, which is not at all his style or inclination.

And that’s the final similarity with 1979:  the wrong American in the wrong job at a crucial time.  Let’s hope that the Almighty truly does protect the blind, the drunk, and the United States of America.

It’s even better to be lucky than to be smart.
9736  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / From Michael Yon on: January 30, 2011, 10:28:44 PM


I asked General (ret.) Barry McCaffrey for his thoughts on the evolving situation in Egypt:

    Egypt is a few steps short of a disaster.  The corrupt, incompetent regime will not survive.

    Most likely outcome--- the Generals take charge, announce a reform government, start  the process of responding to the injustice and despair of the common citizen. Then the situation staggers along for some period.

    Worst outcome the Generals stand with the same gang that has looted the nation--- probably minus Mubarak. Then there is a possible civil war with the soldiers in many cases siding with the people not their officers. The only organized opposition is the Muslim Brotherhood which could then possibly gain power.

    Our central US foreign policy concern is the stability of the Peace Treaty with Israel.  At the end of the day if required--- we would go to war to prevent the annihilation of the Israelis.  This would be a terrible outcome for the entire region.

    And--- oh by the way---there is the matter of the Suez Canal and the flow of oil to a Europe with an increasingly ant-Israeli political stance.

    We have few good options.  The President and Secretary Clinton are carefully walking the line.  Oddly enough--- only the last Administration with President Bush and Secretary Condi Rice has ever taken a strong reform position with Mubarak.

    This one is important.  Egypt is central to peace in the region.  Their people have been ill-used by the Mubarak Regime.  Watch the enlisted soldiers of the Egyptian Army. If they go with the people--- there will be incredible bloodshed.

    Barry McCaffrey
9737  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: January 30, 2011, 10:09:48 PM
I hope your analysis is correct.
9738  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: January 30, 2011, 09:46:09 PM

Will Egypt's Military Officers Free the Revolution?

9739  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: January 30, 2011, 09:27:24 PM
I think the generals are loyal to Mubarak, I think there are serious questions as to the entire military structure's loyalty.
9740  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 30, 2011, 08:36:37 PM
I would much prefer a free and democratic Egypt with the rule of law, free markets and protection of minorities.

That's not going to happen here. So, I'd rather have Mubarak or another that will preserve the status quo of an authoritarian ally rather than a major domino of the caliphate falling into place, and setting up other middle eastern allies to fall as well.

The MSM is badly misleading the public right now. Losing Egypt will shape the future, and not in a good way for anyone on the planet.

I hope I'm wrong. I really do. I'll take no joy seeing my predictions coming true.
9741  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama lost Egypt because of Glenn Beck on: January 30, 2011, 05:21:03 PM

Jimmy Carter will go down in American history as "the president who lost Iran," which during his term went from being a major strategic ally of the United States to being the revolutionary Islamic Republic. Barack Obama will be remembered as the president who "lost" Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt, and during whose tenure America's alliances in the Middle East crumbled.

The superficial circumstances are similar. In both cases, a United States in financial crisis and after failed wars loses global influence under a leftist president whose good intentions are interpreted abroad as expressions of weakness. The results are reflected in the fall of regimes that were dependent on their relationship with Washington for survival, or in a change in their orientation, as with Ankara.

America's general weakness clearly affects its friends. But unlike Carter, who preached human rights even when it hurt allies, Obama sat on the fence and exercised caution. He neither embraced despised leaders nor evangelized for political freedom, for fear of undermining stability.

Obama began his presidency with trips to Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and in speeches in Ankara and Cairo tried to forge new ties between the United States and the Muslim world. His message to Muslims was "I am one of you," and he backed it by quoting from the Koran. President Hosni Mubarak did not join him on the stage at Cairo University, and Obama did not mention his host. But he did not imitate his hated predecessor, President George W. Bush, with blunt calls for democracy and freedom.

Obama apparently believed the main problem of the Middle East was the Israeli occupation, and focused his policy on demanding the suspension of construction in the settlements and on the abortive attempt to renew the peace talks. That failure led him to back off from the peace process in favor of concentrating on heading off an Israeli-Iranian war.

Americans debated constantly the question of whether Obama cut his policy to fit the circumstances or aimed at the wrong targets. The absence of human rights issues from U.S. policy vis-a-vis Arab states drew harsh criticism; he was accused of ignoring the zeitgeist and clinging to old, rotten leaders. In the past few months many opinion pieces have appeared in the Western press asserting that the days of Mubarak's regime are numbered and calling on Obama to reach out to the opposition in Egypt. There was a sense that the U.S. foreign policy establishment was shaking off its long-term protege in Cairo, while the administration lagged behind the columnists and commentators.

The administration faced a dilemma. One can guess that Obama himself identified with the demonstrators, not the aging dictator. But a superpower isn't the civil rights movement. If it abandons its allies the moment they flounder, who would trust it tomorrow? That's why Obama rallied to Mubarak's side until Friday, when the force of the protests bested his regime.

The street revolts in Tunisia and Egypt showed that the United States can do very little to save its friends from the wrath of their citizens. Now Obama will come under fire for not getting close to the Egyptian opposition leaders soon enough and not demanding that Mubarak release his opponents from jail. He will be accused of not pushing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hard enough to stop the settlements and thus indirectly quell the rising tides of anger in the Muslim world. But that's a case of 20:20 hindsight. There's no guarantee that the Egyptian or Tunisian masses would have been willing to live in a repressive regime even if construction in Ariel was halted or a few opposition figures were released from jail.

Now Obama will try to hunker down until the winds of revolt die out, and then forge ties with the new leaders in the region. It cannot be assumed that Mubarak's successors will be clones of Iran's leaders, bent on pursuing a radical anti-American policy. Perhaps they will emulate Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who navigates among the blocs and superpowers without giving up his country's membership in NATO and its defense ties with the United States. Erdogan obtained a good deal for Turkey, which benefits from political stability and economic growth without being in anyone's pocket. It could work for Egypt, too.
9742  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "Glenn Beck" translates to "ElBaradei" in Arabic on: January 30, 2011, 04:14:51 PM

The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest opposition group,is in talks with other anti-government figures to form a national unity government without President Hosni Mubarak, a group official told DPA on Sunday.

Although the Muslim Brotherhood is officially banned from running for elections for parliament, some movement members have presented candidacy for parliament as independents.
Egypt protests - AP - Jan 29    

An army officer, borne on the shoulders of anti-government protesters, tearing up a picture of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in downtown Cairo, January 29, 2010.
Photo by: AP

Gamal Nasser, a spokesman for the Brotherhood, told DPA that his group was in talks with Mohammed ElBaradei - the former UN nuclear watchdog chief - to form a national unity government without the National Democratic Party of Mubarak.

The group is also demanding an end to the draconian Emergency Laws, which grant police wide-ranging powers The laws have been used often to arrest and harass the Islamist group.

Nasser said his group would not accept any new government with Mubarak. On Saturday the Brotherhood called on President Mubarak to relinquish power in a peaceful manner following the resignation of the Egyptian cabinet.

Speaking to CNN later Sunday, ElBaradei said he had a popular and political mandate to negotiate the creation of a national unity government.

"I have been authorized -- mandated -- by the people who organized these demonstrations and many other parties to agree on a national unity government," he told CNN.
9743  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: January 30, 2011, 01:53:07 PM
"GM, good posts.  This one I don't think was Glen Beck's fault."


As far as Glenn Beck goes, you can accuse him of anything with no standard of proof required. I think he was behind JFK's assassination and smallpox in N. America as well. And if you disagree, you are obviously worse than Hitler.   wink
9744  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glenn Beck founded the Ikhwan on: January 30, 2011, 09:39:35 AM

The Muslim Brotherhood is the Enemy
Posted by Frank Gaffney Jan 30th 2011 at 3:31 am

Suddenly, Washington is consumed with a question too long ignored:  Can we safely do business with the Muslim Brotherhood?

The reason this question has taken on such urgency is, of course, because the Muslim Brotherhood (or MB, also known by its Arabic name, the Ikhwan) is poised to emerge as the big winner from the chaos now sweeping North Africa and increasingly likely to bring down the government of the aging Egyptian dictator, Hosni Mubarak.

In the wake of growing turmoil in Egypt, a retinue of pundits, professors and former government officials has publicly insisted that we have nothing to fear from the Ikhwan since it has eschewed violence and embraced democracy.

For example, Bruce Reidel, a controversial former CIA analyst and advisor to President Obama, posted an article entitled “Don’t Fear Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood” at the Daily Beast.  In it, he declared:  “The Egyptian Brotherhood renounced violence years ago, but its relative moderation has made it the target of extreme vilification by more radical Islamists. Al Qaeda’s leaders, Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri, started their political lives affiliated with the Brotherhood but both have denounced it for decades as too soft and a cat’s paw of Mubarak and America.”

Then, there was President George W. Bush’s former press spokeswoman, Dana Perino, who went so far on January 28th as to tell Fox News “…And don’t be afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. This has nothing to do with religion.”

One reason we might be misperceiving the MB as no threat is because a prime source of information about such matters is the Muslim Brotherhood itself.  As the Center for Security Policy’s new, best-selling Team B II report entitled, Shariah: The Threat to America found:  “It is now public knowledge that nearly every major Muslim organization in the United States is actually controlled by the MB or a derivative organization. Consequently, most of the Muslim-American groups of any prominence in America are now known to be, as a matter of fact, hostile to the United States and its Constitution.”

In fact, for much of the past two decades, a number of these groups and their backers (including, notably, Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal) have cultivated extensive ties with U.S. government officials and agencies under successive administrations of both parties, academic centers, financial institutions, religious communities, partisan organizations and the media.  As a result, such American entities have been subjected to intense, disciplined and sustained influence operations for decades.

Unfortunately, the relationships thus developed and the misperceptions thus fostered are today bearing poisonous fruit with respect to shaping U.S. policy towards the unfolding Egyptian drama.

A notable example is the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).  A federal judge in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial – which successfully prosecuted the nation’s largest terrorism financing conspiracy – found that CAIR was indeed a front for the Ikhwan’s Palestinian affiliate, Hamas.  Nonetheless,  Fox News earlier today interviewed the Executive Director of CAIR’s Chicago office, Ahmed Rehab, whom it characterized as a “Democracy Activist.”

True to form, Rehab called for the removal of Mubarak’s regime and the institution of democratic elections in Egypt.  This is hardly surprising since, under present circumstances, such balloting would likely have the same result it did in Gaza a few years back: the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood and the institution of brutally repressive theocratic rule, in accordance with the totalitarian Islamic politico-military-legal program known as shariah.

An important antidote to the seductive notions being advanced with respect to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt – and, for that matter, in Western nations like ours – by the Ikhwan’s own operatives, their useful idiots and apologists is the Team B II report.  It should be considered required reading by anyone who hopes to understand, let alone to comment usefully upon, the MB’s real character and agenda.

For example, Shariah: The Threat to America provides several key insights that must be borne in mind in the current circumstances especially:

    * “The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928. Its express purpose was two-fold: (1) to implement shariah worldwide, and (2) to re-establish the global Islamic State (caliphate).

    * “Therefore, Al Qaeda and the MB have the same objectives. They differ only in the timing and tactics involved in realizing them.

    * “The Brotherhood’s creed is: ‘God is our objective; the Koran is our law; the Prophet is our leader; jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.’”

    * It is evident from the Creed, and from the Brotherhood’s history (and current activities)…that violence is an inherent part of the MB’s tactics. The MB is the root of the majority of Islamic terrorist groups in the world today.

    * The Muslim Brotherhood is the ‘vanguard’ or tip-of-the-spear of the current Islamic Movement in the world. While there are other transnational organizations that share the MB’s goals (if not its tactics) – including al Qaeda, which was born out of the Brotherhood – the Ikhwan is by far the strongest and most organized. The Muslim Brotherhood is now active in over 80 countries around the world.

Of particular concern must be the purpose of the Brotherhood in the United States and other nations of the Free World:

    * “…The Ikhwan’s mission in the West is sedition in the furtherance of shariah’s supremacist agenda, not peaceful assimilation and co-existence with non-Muslim populations.”

    * “The Ikhwan believes that its purposes in the West are, for the moment, better advanced by the use of non-violent, stealthy techniques. In that connection, the Muslim Brotherhood seeks to establish relations with, influence and, wherever possible, penetrate: government circles in executive and legislative branches at the federal, state and local levels; the law enforcement community; intelligence agencies; the military; penal institutions; the media; think tanks and policy groups; academic institutions; non-Muslim religious communities; and other elites.

    * “The Brothers engage in all of these activities and more for one reason: to subvert the targeted communities in furtherance of the MB’s primary objective – the triumph of shariah.”

In short, the Muslim Brotherhood – whether it is operating in Egypt, elsewhere in the world or here – is our enemy.  Vital U.S. interests will be at risk if it succeeds in supplanting the present regime in Cairo, taking control in the process not only of the Arab world’s most populous nation but its vast, American-supplied arsenal.  It is no less reckless to allow the Brotherhood’s operatives to enjoy continued access to and influence over our perceptions of their true purposes, and the policies adopted pursuant thereto.
9745  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Again, Glenn Beck's fault on: January 30, 2011, 09:10:00 AM

Egypt and Iran: Will We Again Fuel the Fires of Revolution?
If Obama emulates the horrendous decisions Jimmy Carter made during the Iranian revolution, radical Islam will spread through the region like a forest fire.
January 30, 2011 - by Abraham H. Miller

Egypt is the largest nation in the Arab world and the fulcrum of American foreign policy among Arab nations. Its streets are ablaze with fires; its police have been withdrawn and replaced by the army; an attempt by President Hosni Mubarak to quell the rioters has only inflamed them further. The Obama administration is responding as if it is tiptoeing through a mine field. Those waiting for American leadership have to contend with the empty platitudes of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is urging restraint on the Mubarak regime.

The scene is all too reminiscent of the Iranian revolution of 1979. Then, President Jimmy Carter not only demanded restraint but also had his administration work behind the scenes to bring down the shah. Carter believed he was watching a democratic revolution unfold, one led by Mehdi Bazargan, Sadegh Ghotbzadeh and Abulhassan Banisadr. Neither Carter nor his advisers understood that this democratic-centrist revolution, like those in Europe, would be short-lived. Bazargan resigned from the government over its authoritarian turn; Ghotbzadeh was shot by a firing squad; and Banisadr fled to France, where he currently lives under heavy police protection.

As someone who spent decades studying riots, revolutions, and other forms of civil violence, I have some advice for the administration:

Hillary Clinton might consider remaining silent for the duration of the event. One of the dramatic non-PC findings of the Kerner Commission Report on our own experiences with civil unrest is that even a legitimate government that hesitates in the face of riots will both inflame and contribute to the duration and intensity of violence. Riots end when there are swift, decisive, and appropriate responses to the violence. Riots persist when the police hesitate, when the police are restrained, and when the rioters feel they are in control.

Studies of revolution, including the Russian Revolution, show that the loyalty of several companies of armed, disciplined, and well-led soldiers willing to continually fire into the mobs would crush any revolution. Such an observation sounds barbaric until you consider the millions of lives that are needlessly wasted in a revolution and its aftermath. Imagine if the second Russian Revolution, the October Revolution, the one the Communists made, had been stopped in its tracks: no Lenin, no Civil War, no Stalin, no Gulags, no invasion of Poland, no totalitarian dictatorship. The taking of a few hundred or thousand lives in the streets of St. Petersburg would have saved the lives of countless millions.

Revolutions are like a cart running downhill, as Alexis de Tocqueville observed in his brilliant analysis of the French Revolution.  The American media is focused on the demand for democratic reform voiced by the mobs in the streets of Egypt. But revolutions don’t stop with the initial demands. Revolutions create power vacuums that draw new players with different agendas from those who initially sought to make the revolution. Revolutions move to the extremes, usually to the left. Those who join the mob to demand more liberty will ultimately create a regime that extinguishes all liberty. Did those who ran through the streets of Paris in July 1789 think they were revolting for the ensuing “Terror”? Did the workers who charged the Winter Palace in 1917 think they were fighting for the Gulag? Did Banisadr and Ghotbzadeh think they were replacing the shah of Iran with a theocracy?

The choice in the streets of Egypt is not Mubarak or democracy. It is Mubarak or the Muslim Brotherhood. It is the Muslim Brotherhood, like the ayatollahs of Tehran, who are the best situated to benefit from and direct the revolution, unless of course the Egyptian military holds firm.

If the Brotherhood comes to power, it will behave as did its proxy in Gaza: one man, one vote, one time, with the opposition shot in the legs and thrown off rooftops.

I will not write a brief for the oligarchy nor would I have written one for the shah. But just because you can visibly see evil does not mean that its elimination will produce something better.As the aphorism of revolution states, “Like Saturn, the revolution devours its own children.” And in so doing becomes something its creators never intended.

Our first order of business in Egypt is to produce stability and then to do something we have not done before: Assist the Egyptians in finding a mechanism for a transition to reform through an evolutionary rather than revolutionary path. The only institution capable of doing this is the Egyptian military. They should not be abandoned as was the Iranian military.

Had Obama done more than basked in the adulation of his Cairo speech and actually leaned on the regime to evolve toward a more legitimate and inclusive government, we might not be confronting the mess ahead of us.

For decades we have been dumping billions of dollars worth of advanced weapons into Egypt. A revolution means that those weapons could fall into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood. This will tilt the balance of power in the Middle East. Emboldened by success in Egypt, radical Islam will next show its power in the Gulf and threaten the world’s oil supply. Already there are riots in Yemen.

The world as we knew it might just spin out of control. It remains to be seen if the Egyptian military, with or without our support, will rise to the task of restoring order and stability in Egypt and become a vehicle for vital political change. But if Obama emulates the horrendous decisions Jimmy Carter made during the Iranian revolution, radical Islam will spread through the region like a forest fire with the Saudis facing the ultimate conflagration.

Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science and a former head of the Intelligence Studies Section of the International Studies Association.
9746  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / This too, Glenn Beck's fault on: January 30, 2011, 08:47:58 AM

If Brotherhood takes over, IDF will face formidable enemy
Analysis: This year is turning into critical one for Israeli isolation in the Mideast. Turkey is gone and Egypt appears to be on way.
The collapse of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in Egypt is not yet about Israel but soon will be, depending on his successor.

If the Muslim Brotherhood grabs the reins in the massive Arab country, Israel will face an enemy with one of the largest and strongest militaries around, built on some of the most advanced American-made platforms.
9747  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glenn Beck's fault on: January 29, 2011, 10:50:28 PM

Friday, January 28, 2011
What the President Knew (and Didn't Know)

As the situation in Egypt spirals out of control, the Obama Administration is trying to play both sides of the fence--and put the best possible spin on a worsening crisis.

Friday evening, the White House announced that Mr. Obama had a 30-minute phone conversation with embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, encouraging him to restore cell phone and internet service in his country. Those communication channels were cut earlier in the day, part of Mubarak's attempt to complicate organization efforts by the opposition.

And, in an effort to distance the administration from Mr. Mubarak--a reliable U.S. ally for three decades--the White House trotted out political advisor David Axelrod for an "exclusive" interview with Jake Tapper of ABC. During their conversation, Mr. Axelrod eagerly volunteered that President Obama has "confronted" Mubarak on Egypt's human rights abuses "on several occasions" in recent years.

That message was clearly aimed at the growing throngs of protesters in the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities. While the riots have not acquired an anti-American tone (at least not yet), many of those participating in the uprising openly chastised the U.S. for its long-time support of the Mubarak regime. That criticism will likely grow in the hours ahead, with word that the Muslim Brotherhood is now taking an active role in the protests. The Brotherhood (which has been officially banned in Egypt for decades) never misses an opportunity to attack the U.S., through propaganda or other channels. It's almost certain that the protests will become stridently anti-American in the next few days--if not sooner.

That's one reason Washington sent out feelers to the opposition on Thursday. But, on the other hand, we're not quite ready to thrown Mr. Mubarak overboard--at least not yet. When PBS anchor Jim Lehrer pressed Joe Biden on the Egyptian president's record, the Vice President refused to describe him as a dictator. That showed continuing support for the Mr. Mubarak--for that moment. But a few hours later, as protesters clogged the streets of Cairo once more, it became apparent that Washington was hedging its bets, demanding the Mubarak regime respect human rights, and that both sides refrain from violence. Mr. Mubarak wasn't exactly tossed under the bus, but it was hardly a rousing show of support.

Meanwhile, there are nagging questions about the U.S.'s role in forementing the rebellion and whether the President was surprised by the sudden threat to Egypt's stability. As for the first issue, the U.K. Telegraph reports that American diplomats aided an Egyptian dissident's participation in an activist's conference in New York in 2008, hiding his identity from Mubarak's security services. In return, the dissident told American diplomats in Cairo that a coalition of regime opponents would attempt to topple the Egyptian leader in 2011. So, if the Telegraph report is true--and they published a classified U.S. cable that supports the story--then Washington helped put these events in motion.

We should note, however, that the British paper failed to put this development into proper context; as the American Spectator reports, the dissident's support was part of a program, advanced by the Bush Administration, to support legitimate democratic reforms in Egypt and elsewhere. Since then, the Obama team has discontinued the initiative, and appears to be "winging it" on the current crisis. Foreign policy expert Robert Kagan told the Politicio that he was "stunned" by the lack of planning in response to (or in advance of) the current upheaval in Egypt.

The lack of preparation apparently extends to the State Department, which forgot about the Egyptian dissident's vow about a coup attempt in 2011. Indeed, the Obama Administration has been ad-libbing its way through the crisis all week. One of the key indicators: Friday's Presidential Daily (Intelligence) Brief, or PDB. Last night, NBC White House Correspondent Chuck Todd breathlessly reported that Mr. Obama's daily brief lasted 40 minutes and it was devoted entirely to the situation in Europe.

The focus is unsurprising, but the length is. During my own career as a spook, I briefed senior officers and civilian officials during several conflicts and crises, including the invasion of Panama; the First Gulf War and Operation Allied Force. The longest brief I ever delivered for any of those events was 10 minutes--including questions from the audience. Of course, my audiences were fully prepared for what was unfolding. Friday's marathon PDB suggests a commander-in-chief playing catch-up on fast-moving events.

If it's any consolation, he's not alone. This type of situation is the most difficult for any administration. There's little they can do, except observe and issue periodic statements designed not to inflame any of the factions.

But this situation is slightly different. The "dominoes" of U.S.-backed Arab governments are beginning to topple, across North Africa and into the Middle East. Think about the consequences of Islamist governments in control of Egypt (and the Suez Canal); Jordan and Yemen, among others. American access to key waterways could be effectively blocked, making it much more difficult to move warships between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, to the Persian Gulf.

Ironically, the canal is less important for U.S. trade; many of the tanker and container vessels moving crude and products to North America are too large to pass through the canal. However, access problems at the canal would have a devastating effect on the European economy, so there will be pressure from our NATO allies to keep the waterway open.

The loss of Egypt and Jordan would also have dire consequences for Israel. Thirty years of peace with those Arab neighbors would come to an end, and Tel Aviv would (again) be surrounded by hostile foes, committed to the eradication of the Jewish State, and supported by an Iranian regime on the verge of going nuclear. That must be a part of our strategic calculus as well. If Mubarak goes, the tenure of Jordan's King Abdullah will be measured in days, and the West Bank will probably fall under the control of Hamas as well. Meanwhile, Israel's most implacable foe (Syria) sits on the Golan Heights, while Hizballah controls the "new" government in Lebanon. If that isn't a nightmare scenario for Mr. Netanyahu, we don't know what is. What is the U.S. prepared to do to ensure Israel's security in that sort of environment.

And beyond that, how do we respond when the protest movement advances to the Persian Gulf Region? Those oil-rich states, long controlled by autocratic monarchs, are ripe for revolt as well. This is hardly a movement that is limited to Egypt or Tunisia, and there are plenty of Islamists (read: terrorists) ready to stoke the fires of revolution in places like Saudi Arabia; Oman, Dubai and Kuwait.

Despite those past "lectures" to Hosni Mubarak, it seems likely that Mr. Obama (and his administration) was blind-sided by this crisis. We can only hope that he gets up to speed quickly and develops some sort of strategy to protect U.S. interests, including the Suez Canal. The consequences of inaction would be enormous.
ADDENDUM: Recent bulletins from Cairo report that Mr. Mubarak has installed his intelligence chief, Omar Sulieman, as Egypt's new vice president. That's not the sort of move Mubarak would make if he was planning to surrender power. The new VP is well-known to U.S. intelligence officials; he's ruthless, extremely competent and not shy about cracking skulls to keep the regime in power. If Mubarak can retain the support of his army, the situation in Cairo (and other Egyptian cities) may resemble Tiananmen Square before the end of the weekend. What happens then is anyone's guess.

One more thought: that 40-minute PDB is also significant in this regard. While the presentation likely included video from media reporting, the unusual length also suggests a substantial stream of intelligence reporting on the uprising. That is encouraging, but it also raises the question of how much information Mr. Obama had received on conditions in Egypt before the uprising began.

9748  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / I blame Glenn Beck on: January 29, 2011, 09:53:06 PM

A sobering reminder—based upon hard data—from an essay of mine published in April, 2007:

In a rigorously conducted face-to-face University of Maryland/ interview survey of 1000 Egyptian Muslims conducted between December 9, 2006 and February 15, 2007, 67% of those interviewed-more than 2/3, hardly a “fringe minority”-desired this outcome (i.e., “To unify all Islamic countries into a single Islamic state or Caliphate”). The internal validity of these data about the present longing for a Caliphate is strongly suggested by a concordant result: 74% of this Muslim sample approved the proposition “To require a strict [emphasis added] application of Shari’a law in every Islamic country.”
9749  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Reagan/Obama cover on: January 29, 2011, 05:24:06 PM

Flip side.
9750  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / What Egyptian democracy would look like on: January 29, 2011, 05:03:37 PM

    The chances for democracy and liberalism are different in every country. Tunisia has a good chance because there is a strong middle class and a weak Islamist movement. But in Egypt look at the numbers in the latest Pew poll.

    In Egypt, 30 percent like Hizballah (66 percent don’t). 49 percent are favorable toward Hamas (48 percent are negative); and 20 percent smile (72 percent frown) at al-Qaida. Roughly speaking, one-fifth of Egyptians applaud the most extreme Islamist terrorist group, while around one-third back revolutionary Islamists abroad. This doesn’t tell us what proportion of Egyptians want an Islamist government at home, but it is an indicator.

    In Egypt, 82 percent want stoning for those who commit adultery; 77 percent would like to see whippings and hands cut off for robbery; and 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:

    Is this meaningless? Last December 20 I wrote that these “horrifying figures in Egypt…one day might be cited to explain an Islamist revolution there….What this analysis also shows is that a future Islamist revolution in Egypt and Jordan is quite possible.

I worry that the 59 percent of Egyptians who prefer Islamists to modernizers are going to have to learn the hardest way possible–as the Iranians have and the people of Gaza are learning right now–that modernizers are better. There may not be another way.
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