Mubarak Displays Huge Pair – An Open Thread on Egypt


(UPDATE) Following Mubarak’s speech a large contingent of pro-Mubarak protesters have come out and confronted the demonstrators in Alaxandria with the military trying to keep the two crowds apart.

I’ve been glued to Al Jazeera’s live coverage of Egypt all day long at work today and while the security forces have pulled back in the last several days, Dictator Mubarak himself is not.  Only about 30 minutes ago Mubarak addressed the crowds through state television and in the face of a week of unrest, hundreds if not thousands dead, and a military that is ostensibly protecting the right of the Egyptian people to protest Mubarak said he would not step down until after the end of his current term as president.  The crowd never let him finish, shouting the broadcast down with calls of “Get Out! Get Out!”  So neither the large crowds nor the President appear willing to back down at this point.

If your interested in what is going on, I highly suggest heading over to Al Jazeera.  They certainly have the best coverage even as the Egyptian government has revoked their broadcast license and shutdown their Cairo offices.


  1. lizard19

    it’s important to listen to what the wealthy and influential think about these current events, like the attendees at the Alfalfa club dinner:

    Between courses people jammed the aisles, cruising the crowded ballroom to schmooze with a cornucopia of well-known names and faces. Spotted in the throng: Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas, Warren Buffett, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Senator John McCain.

    of course the scary scenes of hundreds of thousands of dark skinned protestors causes “concern.”

    Along with the frivolity, the main topic was the violent protests engulfing Egypt. Henry Kissinger said he was “very, very concerned” and feared a “radical takeover.” “The best possible scenario is a secular takeover, but I think that’s in doubt,” he said. Maine Senator Susan Collins agreed: “Egypt is our ally and was the source of relative stability, if they topple Mubarak we don’t know what the consequences will be. It could be the Muslim Brotherhood. I am very worried, but I think the administration has set the right tone.”

    corporate media will faithfully fall in line. the Muslim Brotherhood will receive the full propaganda treatment.

    • Craig Moore

      Well Lizard you can hang with your homies in the brotherhood. Some of us will take a pass. Now when these riots spread to France and Germany, what say you?

      • lizard19

        i like your use of the urban vernacular, but “homies” isn’t an interchangeable term. unless you think darkies are darkies.

        also, i’ve said nothing about either supporting or condemning the muslim brotherhood; you are misrepresenting my comment.

        but don’t worry, i don’t expect an apology.

        • Craig Moore

          I don’t expect for you to stop and think either.

          France already convulsed in riots a couple of years ago from arab immigrants.

          • lizard19

            craig, are you really that dense?

            the protests in France entailed lots of different segments of their society.

            it wasn’t just those darkies, craig. only a stupid, bigoted mind would think so.

            • Craig Moore

              Stop with the asinine race card. That is the refuge of idiots.

              The issues that put the Arab rioters in France into the streets are almost the same as Cairo demonstrators– poverty, political disenfranchisement, etc.

              • lizard19

                what i’m saying, craig, is there were much more than just arabs in the streets of France. to imply otherwise is ignorant, homey.

              • Craig Moore

                Lizard, given your discourse with others here, your head is lodged in a dark and smelly place not allowing the oxygen of reason to enter.

                Of course it was more than just Arab immigrants… and of course it was Arab youth, like Tunisia today, that led those riots in France like Tunis and Cairo.

              • lizard19

                source craig? i would like to see something other than your say-so that substantiates your claim that arab youth “led those riots”.

              • Craig Moore

                Lizard, look it up it’s readily available. Do you own homework.

              • Carfreestupidity

                The discourse between you to is getting old fast.

              • lizard19

                i think it’s important to see how craig’s comments reflect a conditioned fear of muslims, and how easy that fear can be stoked and exploited.

              • Craig Moore

                Lizard, where did I ever indicate being Muslim had anything to do with the riots and protests?

                You are quite despicable and desperate. Again you make up things that have no basis in fact nor rational reason.

              • lizard19

                i said “reflects”.

                the original point i was trying to make before you flame-baited me is that the muslim brotherhood will be demonized by corporate media.

                that was the point i made before you made your stupid “homies” remark.

                you are not arguing in good faith, and you are bothering the host of this post, so i’m going to stop responding to you now.

              • Craig Moore

                Lizard, your corporate media conspiracy hysteria doesn’t reflect reality.

                Read up on the history of the Muslim Brotherhood and why Abdel Nasser banned them in 1954. They tried multiple times to assassinate him. Nasser retaliated by executing their top leaders. Sadat was assassinated by the Brotherhood.

        • “”

          If Craig must remind you of 2005 – Not just Arabs, but Arabs and Africans, all from primarily Muslim countries, led the protests/riots. That includes something like a half a million Tunisians, who demonstrated in France in solidarity with their compatriots back home. Craig also has a point that the Muslim brotherhood essentially caused the Mubarak presidency by killing Sadat and necessitating, in Mubarak’s mind (and many other Egyptians) the ’emergency law’ that has been in place during nearly the entirety of the last three decades.

          Now, do I think the corporate media is playing up the Muslim brotherhood element? I don’t honestly know; the most recent stories in the BBC have hardly mentioned it, but US news outlets might be making a bigger deal.

          I think the biggest question is what the Egyptian people actually want. Do they want more violence and disruption? Does the majority actually want Mubarak gone now, or has he swayed the center by promising not to run for re-election? Time will tell. I will point out that the only faction here not killing people, at least not to the same extent as the protesters and police, is the army.

          • Kptrng

            …by killing Sadat and necessitating, in Mubarak’s mind (and many other Egyptians) the ‘emergency law’ that has been in place during nearly the entirety of the last three decades.

            That is reductionism in the extreme. The problem at the time of the Sadat assassination was the sellout of Egypt under American pressure to submit to Israeli dominance of the region. Israel had been a prime force in Arab unity, and pulled the plug. The repression of the last thirty

            Does the majority actually want Mubarak gone now, or has he swayed the center by promising not to run for re-election?

            So, you’ve found a center? Citing polling data? 87% of Egyptians have a negative view of the US – is your “center” within that other 13%.

            “Running for “re-election?” That is the Obama line – that he was ever elected in the first place. Your perceptions are under strict management.

            • Sadat put his country above some abstract, self-destructive vendetta against the fait accompli that is the existence of Israel. He got back Sinai in return, and got an army that could face Israel if it had to. It was a good deal for Egypt. It was the Arab League that rejected him rather than seeing the wisdom of cutting his losses.

              I never said the center supported the US – merely that the center may be willing to wait until September to choose a new leader. Now you’re just making up words for me. Is it inconceivable that a majority of Egyptians want to elect their leader rather than just seeing who comes out on top of these protests? I don’t know that to be true, but it’s not an impossibility.

              • Kptrng

                Sadat put his country above some abstract, self-destructive vendetta against the fait accompli that is the existence of Israel.

                I am so glad that you think it was a good deal for Egypt, no matter what Egyptians think. Thus does imperial hubris spaketh.

                And again your notion that there is some kind of “center” in Egypt that wants to slow down the transition to democratic rule is a construct of your own imagination. You have nothing to support such an idea other than a vague notion of demonstrators somehow not being representative of public opinion.

                Protesting in public in a terror/torture state is an act of extreme courage, and I would suggest that each person doing so represents the suppressed rage of a thousand others.

              • “I am so glad that you think it was a good deal for Egypt, no matter what Egyptians think. ”

                15,000 Egyptians died fighting Israel. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs were displaced, never to return home. Nasser’s policies also led to thousands of deaths of Yemenis and Egyptians, as well as widespread use of poison gas in combat. All of this did nothing for Arab unity and worse than nothing for the Palestinians. Sadat put an end to all of it, and for it he is properly venerated in Egypt.

                Demonstrators not being representative of public opinion is not a vague notion. Allende and Mossadegh were both toppled by protesters who didn’t represent public opinion. Neither you nor I have any idea what Egyptian public opinion is. Why is it absurd to believe that there may be a political center that just wants to get back to business as usual and hope for the best in September?

              • Kptrng

                Allende and Mossadegh were both toppled by protesters who didn’t represent public opinion.

                As Howard Cosell used to say, “You have a scoop.”

                Read a little history.

              • Ok Mark, ignore everything else I said. I suppose I’m glad you did, because it’s better than actually trying to defend Nasser’s policies. Yes, Allende was toppled by a coup but his government was first rendered ineffective by ‘mass’ protests that were organized by business coalitions. the lead up to the Iranian coup was pro-shah protests bought and paid for by the CIA and Mi6.

                That’s a small part of the long history of a simple tactic – vocal minorities trying to pass as majorities. I’m not saying that it is the case in Egypt, but we certainly don’t know at this point. Consider the history read.

            • Craig Moore

              Kptmg, the “plug” as you call it was the peace treaty that ended the war. That treaty obligated the US to support Egypt. Before that Egypt’s alliance was with the Soviet Union back to the Nasser days. As I wrote above, it was Nasser that banned the MB when they opposed his social and govt secular policies. The MB wanted sharia law. Nasser became one of the most loved and greatest leaders in the Arab world as he attempted to move Egypt towards a more modern and progressive society. The MB tried 3 times to kill him. He retaliated. Sadat had been with Nasser for many years. He too was allied with the Soviet Union in the beginning.

              • Kptrng

                Alliance with the Soviet Union is of no consequence unless you view them form the propagandistic Evil Empire mindset. The Soviets were far more popular around the third world than ever acknowledged here, which is why the US so often had to resort to violence to suppress that support.

                Nasser was seen as a threat here in this country, as he advocated Arab unity, which was the one thing the US feared more than anything. So long as they fought among themselves, we were OK. Ever heard of “Hitler of the Nile”?

              • Craig Moore

                Nasser’s alliance with the Soviet Union was seen as the threat because of Suez and oil supplies. Britain tried to hold Suez in the ’56 war and asked for US help. Eisenhower said “No!” Britain pulled out. People tend to forget that when pushing the anti-American meme.

                I brought up the Soviet alliance as there is this mindset that the US has been pulling the strings all along. Just ain’t so.

              • Kptrng

                The Soviets were in the Middle East, of course. They, just like the US, formed alliances where possible.

                But again, even after Suez, Nasser was a problem because of The United Arab Republics – a whole region of the world sitting atop massive resources, and demanding value for value. Drove US planners buggy. The object of foreign policy in those days was to back some against others, arm them all, and promote warfare. Iraq/Iran is a good example.

                By the way, there is talk ehre of Muslim Brotherhood in the sense of eeevildoers, instead of mere players in a deadly game, the other side having Amned Daula and Moochabarat, the Egyptian secret police, omnipresent and deadly, as in all terror states.

              • “he advocated Arab unity, ”

                And how effective he was, what with fighting and gassing Arabs who disagree with him.

          • Kptrng

            I pulled the plug above: Should ahve read “Egypt had been a prime force in Arab unity, and the US pulled the plug. The repression of the last thirty years in in response to popular unrest about government policy.

        • ““homies” isn’t an interchangeable term”

          Really, lizard, you’re going lecture us about urban vernacular and what it means? WE all live in Montana, ain’t none of us experts. “Homies” doesn’t even have specific racial affiliation; it’s used by Latinos and blacks and whoever else is in the culture. I imagine it’s used by Africans in Europe, because they draw a great deal of inspiration from black American culture. It may well be used by Arabs in France, too, because there is a strong hip-hop culture there that probably also is in dialogue with US hip hop.

          It’s not “darkies are darkies.”, but oppressed groups the world over identify with each other, and since the oppressed in the US have the loudest cultural voices, their vocabulary and style is often adopted.

          • lizard19

            you know wolf, i put up with a lot of shit from folks who would rather sneer and ridicule me, so why don’t you keep your snout out of this one. you are way too eager to jump on any opportunity to criticize me, including your weak-ass attempt to depict one of my comments as borderline racist.

            i made a comment, which included an interesting link, then craig used a bit of flamebait instead of responding seriously to that comment.

            if you want to continue his pathetic line of attack, that’s fine, but it makes you look rather petty.

            • Craig Moore

              What a crybaby! You wrote a whole post out of the blue recklessly and fallaciously attacking me, and I chide you a little bit and you fall to pieces in a whimpering puddle without even grasping my point — if you want to lionize the MB as a force of democracy and deny their violent anti-democracy history, then hanging with your new buds makes you look very silly.

              • kptrng

                And you too should acknowledge that Egypt is a terror/torture state, supported for thirty years by the US. Your focus on MB is to focus you away from real terrorists.

              • Craig Moore

                Egypt is what it is for historical and cultural reasons. That US support for Egypt has kept another war from breaking out with Israel for those 30 years.

                There are no perfect choices or options. There haven’t been any good choices. The choice has been to select the lesser evil IMHO until the future reveals a better option that doesn’t include another war.

              • kptrng

                There would be peace in the region this afternoon if Israel wanted peace, but that would entail removing itself from the West Bank, Syria, easing up on Gaza, and stopping threats to Lebanon. The Arab states have long been united in a settlement that allows for a Palestinian state and Israel in its 1967 borders. So the threat of war comes not from the Arab states but from Israel.

                And that is why the US bought off Egypt, and has kept in under rule by terror and torture for 30 years – doing so allows Israel free reign to carry out its expansion policy.

                Of course it ain’t all that simple, but that’s a framework for you to start with.

              • “There would be peace in the region this afternoon if Israel wanted peace,”

                Then why wasn’t there peace before 1967? If all the Arabs want is for Israel to get back behind its 1967 borders, why was there still terrorism and tension when Israel was at its ’67 borders?

                Maybe because “”Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight.”” -Nasser upon signing a mutual defense treaty with Jordan, 1967.

                Perhaps the Arabs have changed their minds, but can you blame Israel for not wanting to take that chance?

              • Kptrng

                Popular myth says that the 1967 war was preventive, when it was merely a land grab. It was the 73 war that nearly did Israel in.

                Anyway, your meme that Israel merely defends itself while all the others are aggressors is official truth. Not true, but official truth cannot be contradicted here in the land of the free.

                And, as I said, there are words for public consumption and private words. Bennie Morris has written a pretty concise history of Israel that puts some of your opinions in perspective. She has always been aggressive, and history did not start in 1967, or even 1948. But the larger point is that Israel could vote all of the Middle East and want to attack all of its neighbors, but only does so in actuality because of US support. So by removal of the middleman, it’s not hard to conclude that the US is the true aggressor there.

                And anyway, at the bottom of all your opinions lies one ugly prejudice, so common that people don’t even realize they have it: You’re saying that Israel is rational, everyone else not.

                Not hardly.

              • Mark – 1967 was not a pre-emptive war, Israel has essentially admitted that. That’s why I didn’t say it was, even though you assumed I did. You assumed I did because by assuming that you can tote our your stock answers like always without having to think.

                I said there was terrorism and tension. Considering the fact that Egypt had illegally blockaded Israel, had driven UN peacekeepers out of the buffer zone, and announced its desire to destroy Israel, I think it’s pretty fair to say there was tension.

                Given the indisputable fact that the PLO had launched repeated attacks on Israel from the West Bank, it’s clear that there was either terrorism or insurgency.

                That isn’t peace. Why do you assume that there will be peace if we go back to that same situation?

                And I am assuming perfect rationality by the Arab states right now. They only lost ’67 because they weren’t prepared, they only lost ’73 because the US was squarely behind Israel. Since 1977, Egypt has caught up on that score, having an equivalent air force and far superior land forces.

                Having military parity, the Arabs would have no reason to try to contain continued Palestinian militancy. There is absolutely no reason to believe that any Palestinian government would be willing or able to contain them either. So, having given away their 1967 gains without achieving recognition from Syria or Hamas, Israel would be in the exact same situation as in 1967 – under constant terrorist threat, with hostile borders and an indefensible strategic position. Why would they agree to that?

              • lizard19

                ok, i’m going to put my kid-gloves on, craig.

                i am so very very very sorry i psychologically traumatized you with my reckless fallacious attack on you. i hope some day you can find it in your heart to forgive such a grievous incident.

                now, moving on, you continue to misrepresent my original point.

                i did not “lionize” the MB as a force of democracy, i simply made the prediction based on the link i provided that western media was going to use them to make Americans scared.

            • You’re right, Lizard. I did unnecessarily criticize what was an interesting post. Actually, I liked your post quite a bit – it’s interesting that Kissinger was concerned; after all, he was instrumental in setting up the status quo.

              I merely disagree with you when you say outrageous or false things things. Like, Muslims didn’t lead the riots in France. Like, ‘homie’ can only apply to one race of people. Like, the Western media is playing up the connection to the MB – some news outlets may have over-hyped that story, but none that I’ve read.

              I don’t think people try to bait you, lizard. They try to contribute, and if that involves anything other than complete agreement you respond as if we are attacking you personally. you make assumptions that make you right – you assume Friedman is referring to an election when he is referring to a civil conflict. You assume Craig is referring to the most recent riots in France and not the ones that were lead by Muslims. That gets you in lots of unnecessary fights.

              • lizard19

                when i have mischaracterized someone’s position, i try and hold myself accountable.

                no where have i claimed to support the muslim brotherhood, or to be well informed about what all they represent, but that doesn’t stop a false, snide, mischaracterization of my comment from craig.

                and like i said, i don’t expect him to apologize; he’s obviously comfortable being a hypocrite.

                one of the results is i didn’t catch him say “a few years ago” about the riots in France, so instead of these riots i thought he was talking about the recent riots over pensions.

                craig could have cleared up my confusion by providing a source, but he didn’t. of course that whole worthless exchange could have been avoided if he just responded to the substance of the comment instead of making false insinuations the MB are my homies.

              • Craig Moore

                Lizard what a load of BS you spew and crocodile tears you said playing victim. What part of riots by Arab immigrants that you didn’t understand and how on earth could you confuse yourself that I meant pensions? You jumped to conclusions and didn’t do your homework.

                Since all of this came to pass over your thin skin and mischaractization of my position, are you going to hold yourself accountable as you claim to do?

              • lizard19

                craig, i have no problem admitting i made a mistake, which is what i just did. it happens; i’m not perfect.

                and how about you? care to acknowledge that you mischaracterized my comment about the muslim brotherhood?

              • Craig Moore

                Lizard, what part of me saying I was chiding you that you don’t understand?

              • lizard19

                that depends, were you speaking in angry or displeased rebuke, or were you reproaching in a usually mild and constructive manner. :)

                any, let’s move on; this spat does good for no one.

  2. Ingemar Johansson

    Throw a couple riots and your leader steps down.

    Can we start protesting tomorrow?

    • Carfreestupidity

      A week long series of protests, demonstrators and riot police clashing as if it was the middle ages, and hundreds dead is something we don’t have the will for in this country.

      • Craig Moore

        CFS, you must be very young. Some of us have lived through such dark times.

        • Carfreestupidity

          Back during the era of union busting I’m sure this country saw clashes very similar to what is happening in Egypt… You must be very old toremember that era.

          • Craig Moore

            Actually I was thinking of the social convulsion across the US in the 50’s and 60’s. Hundreds died. In the 67 Detroit riots alone over 50 died with hundreds more injured. There were times when I thought the whole country would fall apart. Then there was the Los Angeles riot of 1992 where something like 60 people died. Our own history demonstrates there is the will to go to the barricades. Les Misérables!

            • Carfreestupidity

              The difference is that a large scale demonstration/riot in one or two cities in this country can happen and still not affect most Americans. The shear scale of our geography prevents the whole country shutting done and thus the tipping point for such actions to have an effect is much harder to reach.

              • Craig Moore

                CFS, my view is different than yours. That social convulsion led to major social legislation successes including the Civil Rights Act. Johnson, like Mubarak, chose not to run again.

              • Carfreestupidity

                I agree with you… But it took decades of social injustice/unrest to change the reality in the country. Partly because what happened in the south had little effect in other places.

                Maybe the difference is also that in America we are free to debate, thus leading to endless debate, posturing, and delay of change. Compared to Egypt where social/political discourse is stifled to the point that a lot of resentment boils underneath the surface until enough energy builds that can’t be contained ultimately resulting in the downfall of a government.

      • lizard19

        i agree, CFS. i don’t see any kind of principled resistance happening here, though we are experiencing similar domestic conditions which are producing unrest around the world.

        we’re more geared toward attacking immigrants and muslims than the wall street crowd, who, it should be noted, have had a direct hand in creating all this destabilizing inequity.

        • What would ‘principled resistance’ accomplish here? Kill a bunch of people and…? We could drive the Wall Street bankers from the country, but they would just leave with their money (most of them already have, for tax purposes anyway). We can’t seize their liquid assets and as for the illiquid ones – experience has shown that those are more likely to be destroyed than captured. Unless we’re willing to live on a GDP more akin to Venezuela than our current one, we’re pretty much stuck with this lot.

    • Didn’t the TeaParty do that? Didn’t lefties fo it? The American government is very good at ignoring protests.

    • Kptrng

      In the US, protests are about as meaningful as our imagined “free speech” – a nice outlet for us, but otherwise having no impact. (If it did have meaning, they would clamp down on it.)

      It was interesting to watch the media ignore protests in Washington at the White House recently, a massive demonstration on Wall Street, yet whenever a few dozen Tea Party people got together, there were cameras and coverage. What does that say about the Tea Parties … that they are perhaps tools?

      • Craig Moore

        Protests in the US drove Johnson from office and the US to withdraw from Viet Nam. Protests in the US were the impetus for the major social legislation of the ’60s. That’s what protests in the US have accomplished.

        • Kptrng

          The US stayed in Vietnam until 1975, long after the protests had diminished. LBJ withdrew because of a poor showing in New Hampshire.

          Civil rights and war protests were significant, as leaders did fear armed insurrection. But most had no impact, other than to cause Nixon to end the draft and so to remove the prime driver behind them.

          The last protest I recall here in this country that had any impact was the Battle In Seattle, where the people in the street gave courage to the smaller countries inside to resist the more powerful ones. The WTO was temporarily stalled because of that.

          • Craig Moore

            I was in Seattle on business when the WTO riots occurred. The guys with the turtle shells on their head were interesting. I was in a suit. Being spit on was not fun. The tear gas was nasty and indiscriminate. Those protests accomplished nothing.

  3. lizard19

    Mubarak needs to be driven from Egypt now. if he’s allowed to languish through the end of his “term”, that could mean imprisonment, torture, and death for those who have put their lives on the line to help organize this uprising.

    and then there’s oil. the scare tactic of oil prices is effective because the threat is real, and with prices reaching 100 dollars a barrel, the prospect of a desperate dictator clinging to power for months could drive prices even higher.

    Mubarak is toast. in his speech he condemned the chaos the protestors created, but even the Washington Post is now reporting that some of those infamous “looters” were in fact undercover Egyptian police.

    Peter Bouckaert, the emergency director at Human Rights Watch, said hospitals confirmed that they received several wounded looters shot by the army carrying police identification cards. They also found several cases of looters and vandals in Cairo and Alexandria with police identification cards. He added that it was “unexplainable” that thousands of prisoners escaped from prisons over the weekend.

    “Mubarak’s mantra to his own people was that he was the guarantor of the nation’s stability. It would make sense that he would want to send the message that without him, there is no safety,” Bouckaert said.

    Over the past three days, state television has been reporting alarmist news about violence and criminals among the demonstrations in an attempt to discredit the democratic movement.

    so it appears my initial skepticism was justified when the looter meme popped up, which is nothing special, because using provocateurs is not a new tactic.

    • Oh yeah – the looter thing has been completely shot to hell.

      Social media is amazing in all this.

      Mubarak need to go. Quickly. Now. This morning (The sun is rising on Egypt right now).

      The longer he stays, the greater the chance the thugs take over.

      I hear there were few pro-Mubarak mobs out today (200-300 in size). Bet they had police ID cars too.

      You should tweet Lizard – you could see words and pics pretty much live. It’s been extremely helpful to the people there.

      • lizard19

        i’m still stubbornly not tweeting, but my resolve is waning. it’s apparently a force to be reckoned with.

        • I follow (& actually tweet back and forth, on occasion, using a translate page) w/a # of china dissodents. For quite a long time now.

          Followed the Iranian uprising last year…and now in Egypt, I even got a thank-you for providing some links.

          Amazing stuff. YOU would love it. It’s only mindless if you make it that way.

  4. lizard19

    i reread Obama’s Cairo speech, which was considered a great speech back when his veneer of hope was still shiny.

    this seemed relevant:

    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 upon one nation by any other.

    That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.

  5. Egypt’s unrest, it’s revolution if that is what it will be, deserves our support but for one reason:

    “…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

    We, America, have no right to decide what will provide the “Safety and Happiness” of these people. We have only the right to watch as Egyptians rise and fight for their freedom, their rights, and their lives. We have only the right to abide by the words that slapped a king in his face, and led to a long bloody fight for our own freedom long ago. America is not a people, a group bound by religion and race. No. America is better than that: we are a nation bound only by the vague idea of what it means to be free (I say vague because one man’s freedom is another man’s tyranny; one man’s tyranny is another man’s happiness). And so we know all too well that ideas, and a sense of freedom, can bind a people tighter than the hollow words of petty men.

    There is an argument to be had that Mubarak’s eventual dismissal (a dismissal that may end, as most tyrants do, with his head on a platter) will leave fanatics in power, that the people will not move forward, but merely move from Tyrant A to Tyrant B.

    But the right of the people cannot be ignored.

    How this ends, and what Egypt comes, will hopefully be of the people. And, an Egypt by the people may be more violent and chaotic — a terrible force of war — but it also may be more peaceful, more resilient to radicalism and religious zealotry.

    An Egypt of the people has not existed for some time, and it may turn out to be a beautiful thing. And at the very least: one less tyrant.

    • Craig Moore

      At this site you will find what is represented as a letter from an Egyptian student:

      IT is worth the time to read.

      Where Egypt will go from here is an enigma. In a sense everything will be the same. The army that has ruled Egypt since 1952 will continue to rule it and the country will still suffer from a huge vacuum of ideas and real political alternatives. On the other hand, it will never be the same again. Once empowered, the Egyptians will not accept the status quo for long.

      On the long run the Egyptian question remains the same. Nothing has changed in that regard. It is quite remarkable for people to be talking about the prospect for a democratic transition at this moment. A population that was convinced just two months ago that sharks in the Red Sea were implanted by the Israeli Intelligence Services is hardly at a stage of creating a liberal democracy in Egypt. But the status quo cannot be maintained. A lack of any meaningful political discourse in the country has to be addressed. Until someone actually starts addressing the real issues and stop the chatterbox of clichés on democracy, things will not get better at all. It will only get worse.

      • kptrng

        Amazing that with either of you the role of the US in backing a totalitarian government does not come up.

      • Dammit, Craig, I was just coming over here to post the exact same link. ~smile~

      • I’m not saying it will be a democracy tomorrow. You can reread my comment. What I am saying is that one tyrant destroyed by the people will be a great start to a new Egypt. As the above letter says, “…from here is an enigma.”

        • Kptrng

          But the status quo cannot be maintained. A lack of any meaningful political discourse in the country has to be addressed. Until someone actually starts addressing the real issues and stop the chatterbox of clichés on democracy, things will not get better at all. It will only get worse.

          I thought for a second while reading that that he was talking about the US.

          It’s an interesting article in that it says the neoliberalism was working and Al Jazeera was lying about everything. I’d be a little more amenable to the second line if he hadn’t said the first. The Washington Consensus was wrought trouble wherever it has been imposed on people.

          But it’s time to hold out judgment. What is apparent is that there is no fallback for the US, so that Mubarak or some protege has to be kept in power at any price. It is getting ugly over there from reports now.

          • Totardski, it’s a simple fact that their poor are vastly worse off then our poor. It would be nice if you quit with your delusions before equating America to Egypt, not that there’s any hope of that.

          • Kptrng

            “Totardski”? Nice that you come up with these Larry Krajl-like names for people – why don’t you CAPITALIZE while you are at it?

            I don’t need to be lectured by the likes of you on equations of anyone anywhere regarding our own system of government, as you plainly don’t get it.

            Here’s a comparison that will be lost on you, no doubt, and only for example of how dense you are: Iran has an elected president, but it is well understood by the observant that he has no real power, that the Mullahs behind him are who matter. The US is a mirror image, but our Mullahs live on Wall Street. Our president, as theirs, has very little real power.

            So, in the case of Egypt, Obama’s only task is to be smooth – to talk good duckspeak while the people behind him work to see that real democracy does not break out in Egypt. He’s not in charge – he is merely the face paint we put on our thugs.

            Now, quisling, go play with your friends, if you have any, or yourself, if you don’t.

            • Craig Moore

              Gosh Mark, calling Obama a thug puppet?

              To paraphrase a mindful piece from the MT Desert:

              I suggest you expose yourself to some information not borne of the raging fantasies and fears in your own mind. You’ve constructed imaginary monsters. He is a person, like you and me…

            • Mark – care to address the actual comment? The American people, even most of the American poor, are relatively rich. They are being constantly delivered new goods and services. Why would they want to end that?

  6. Another must read exposition of the Egyptian situation.

    Why Mubarak is out.

    • Craig Moore

      Rob, that’s the best analysis I have read. Interesting to see the comment about the binary lenses of liberal naivete. Must be that rose colored tint.


  7. lizard19

    hmmm, something nasty is afoot, and it doesn’t bode well for Egyptians:

    The International Network for Rights and Development has claimed that Israeli logistical support has been sent to Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak to help his regime confront demonstrations demanding that he steps down as head of state. According to reports by the non-governmental organisation, three Israeli planes landed at Cairo’s Mina International Airport on Saturday carrying hazardous equipment for use in dispersing and suppressing large crowds.

    In the statement circulated by the International Network, it was disclosed that Egyptian security forces received the complete cargoes on three Israeli planes which were, it is claimed, carrying an abundant supply of internationally proscribed gas to disperse unwanted crowds. If the reports are accurate, this suggests that the Egyptian regime is preparing for the worse in defence of its position, despite the country sinking into chaos.

    and it’s being reported Anderson Cooper was attacked by pro-Mubarak thugs.

    is Obama going to sit idle while our bestest friend in the whole world, Israel, help Mubarak violently crackdown on protestors?

    things are going to get ugly.

    • They’re already ugly. I amazed that you can’t see that.

      • lizard19


  8. lizard19

    Mubarak won’t go quietly, and he may be getting help.

    if Obama missteps, AIPAC and their ilk will make sure he’s one term.

    i don’t envy his position. but then he does something like send
    Frank Wisner.

    From inside the bowels of Washington’s power elite, Frank Wisner emerges, briefcase in hand. He has met the President, but he is not his envoy. He represents the United States, but is not the Ambassador. What is in his briefcase is his experience: it includes his long career as bagman of Empire, and as bucket-boy for Capital. Pulling himself away from the Georgetown cocktail parties and the Langley Power-point briefings, Wisner finds his way to the Heliopolis cocktail parties and to the hushed conferences in Kasr al-Ittihadiya. Mubarak (age 82) greets Wisner (age 72), as these elders confer on the way forward for a country whose majority is under thirty.

    Obama came to Cairo in 2009, and said, “America does not presume to know what is best for everyone.” Those words should have been cast in gold and placed in the portico of the White House. Instead, they drift like wisps in the wind, occasionally sighted for propaganda purposes, but in a time of crisis, hidden behind the clouds of imperial interests (or those of Tel Aviv). America presumes to know, and presumes to have a say equivalent to those of the millions who have thronged Egypt’s squares, streets and television sets (one forgets about the protests of the latter, too tired to get to the square, nursing sick children or adults, a bit fearful, but no less given over to anger at the regime).

    The Republicans have their own ghouls, people like James Baker, who are plucked out for tasks that require the greatest delicacy. They are like diplomatic hit-men, who are not sown up by too much belief in the values of democracy and freedom, but to the imperatives of “stability” and Empire. The Democratic bench is lighter now, as the immense bulk of Richard Holbrooke has departed for other diplomatic assignments. He had been given charge of Pakistan and Afghanistan, where he found little traction. The Taliban could not be cowered, and nor would the Pakistani military. Holbrooke had much easier times in the Balkans, where, according to Diana Johnstone, he instigated the conflict by refusing the road of peace. Wisner comes out of the same nest as Holbrooke. He is the Democrat’s version of James Baker, but without the pretend gravity of the Texan.

    Wisner has a long lineage in the CIA family. His father, Frank Sr., helped overthrow Arbenz of Guatemala (1954) and Mossadeq of Iran (1953), before he was undone in mysterious circumstances in 1965. Frank Jr. is well known around Langley, with a career in the Defense and State Departments along with ambassadorial service in Egypt, the Philippines, and then India. In each of these places Wisner insinuated himself into the social and military branches of the power elite. He became their spokesperson. Wisner and Mubarak became close friends when he was in country (1986-1991), and many credit this friendship (and military aid) with Egypt’s support of the US in the 1991 Gulf War. Not once did the US provide a criticism of Egypt’s human rights record. As Human Rights Watch put it, the George H. W. Bush regime “refrained from any public expression of concern about human rights violations in Egypt.” Instead, military aid increased, and the torture system continued. The moral turpitude (bad guys, aka the Muslim Brotherhood and democracy advocates need to be tortured) and the torture apparatus set up the system for the regime followed by Bush’s son, George W. after 911, with the extraordinary rendition programs to these very Egyptian prisons. Wisner might be considered the architect of the framework for this policy.

    • Kptrng

      It’s not so simple as to prop up Mubarak – he’s old, and his usefulness was close to an end anyway. No doubt our state planners, who are also Egypt’s, have someone lined up to take his place. The demonstrations are a problem – they cannot yield to demands for democratic rule, but it must appear that they have done so. The crackdown, violent and ugly, cannot be shown in pictures, as pictures will inflame other such uprisings.

      So the task at hand is to talk the talk about self-governance and non-interference, while interfering and preventing self-governance. We msut also appear peaceful while using violence.

      It is not easily done, and few besides the American people will be fooled. The stakes are very high – buying off Egypt was a crucial step in conquest of the region, and they will not let it go. You ain’t seen ugly yet – the ugly is in store.

  9. Elektro zigarette apache smoke in deutschland berlin.

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