“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, January 31, 2011

This May Be the Single Most Important Event Since the End of the Cold War

Egypt protests: Telegraph

Live news of the protests in Egypt against President Hosni Mubarak's Government in January 2011

• Police return to the streets of Cairo after two days
• David Cameron adds voice to calls for restraint
• Foreign Office Egypt hotline: 0207 007 1500'
09:51 Tony Blair, the Middle East peace envoy and former Prime Minister, has been speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live about Egypt (photo: BBC):
"People want change but they don't want chaos. There's going to be change - there's no doubt about that.
"And there will be a move, I think, to free and fair elections. But it's got to happen in such a way that political parties have got a chance to compete properly in those elections and so that there is a sense of order and responsibility as this process of change gets under way."
He downplayed the risk of an Islamist revolution, saying:
"I don't think there is a majority for that in Egypt, in fact.
"I don't think that's the risk. Funnily enough, I don't think they [the Muslim Brotherhood] would win an election. I think the danger is if you get chaos and then out of that chaos comes the wrong sort of change."
It was "perfectly possible that you (will) get a democratic government that is prepared to work with the government of Israel to bring about a Palestinian state".
He stressed that "Hosni Mubarak is not Saddam Hussein" and said he had done "an immense amount" for the peace process.
But he said it was not "sustainable" for out-of-touch elites to go on "governing in the way that they've been governing for decades".
09:47 And some analysis, also from overnight: Richard Spencer asks whether the revolution will turn out to be a blow to Western interests in the region:
"For most of his rule, Mr Mubarak has portrayed himself as a bulwark against two Middle Eastern forces; anti-Israel militarism, and Islamist politics, whether in the semi-establishment guise of the Muslim Brotherhood or the radical form of al-Qaeda. The latter's second in command, Ayman Zawahiri, is Egyptian. The protesters say this argument is wearing thin. Egypt's variegated society, its liberal, secular middle classes, its bloggers and tweeters, and its religiously devout shopkeepers and farmers all want democracy, however it turns out."
"President Barack Obama telephoned David Cameron to discuss the crisis, signalling a toughening of the Western position on Egypt after more than 100 people were killed in six days of protests against President Hosni Mubarak's rule.
"'The Prime Minister and President Obama were united in their view that Egypt now needed a comprehensive process of political reform, with an orderly, Egyptian-led transition leading to a government that responded to the grievances of the Egyptian people and to their aspirations for a democratic future,' a spokesperson for Mr Cameron said."
09:38 Omar Sharif, the great Egyptian actor, has joined the voices calling for Mr Mubarak to step down. The 78-year-old, best known for his role in Lawrence of Arabia, said in a radio interview:
"The president should have resigned. Given that the entire Egyptian people don't want him and he's been in power for 30 years that's enough.
"The president hasn't improved the standard of living of Egyptians. There are some people that are very rich – maybe 1 per cent – and the rest are all poor trying to find food."
Sharif also says he is worried about a rise of Islamism in the country now that the authorities' suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood has ended:
"I don't want the Muslim Brotherhood. They were trapped and now are starting to come out. They have 20 per cent of the population and it's frightening for me."
09:32 Tourism, one of Egypt's largest sources of income, is taking an understandable battering during the protests. The US State Department is evacuating its citizens from Cairo to Cyprus, using several flights over the coming days. US Assistant Secretary of State Janice Jacobs says that they may also send charter planes to other cities in Egypt, such as Luxor, if there are Americans stranded there, according to AP. Turkey and India are also evacuating their citizens.
09:29 As Richard Spencer reported, thousands of Egyptian prisoners escaped during the protests, either released by protesters or simply escaping in the chaos as security forces evaporated. Egyptian state television is now showing images of dozens of recaptured inmates, handcuffed and guarded by soldiers.
09:25 More news from last night in Cairo, where, as the 4pm curfew loomed, two Egyptian air force F-16s swooped low over the crowd in Tahir Square in the city centre, in an apparent and unsuccessful attempt to intimidate them into breaking up and going home:
(Photo: PA)
09:18 Israel, for whom Egypt is a strong regional ally, has been pushing its diplomats around the world to support the Mubarak regime, according to Israeli daily Ha'aretz:
"Israel called on the United States and a number of European countries over the weekend to curb their criticism of President Hosni Mubarak to preserve stability in the region.
"Jerusalem seeks to convince its allies that it is in the West's interest to maintain the stability of the Egyptian regime. The diplomatic measures came after statements in Western capitals implying that the United States and European Union supported Mubarak's ouster...
"Senior Israeli officials... said that on Saturday night the Foreign Ministry issued a directive to around a dozen key embassies in the United States, Canada, China, Russia and several European countries. The ambassadors were told to stress to their host countries the importance of Egypt's stability. In a special cable, they were told to get this word out as soon as possible."
Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, left, and vice president Omar Suleiman, centre, on Egyptian state TV (Photo: AP)
09:09 Police are back on the streets of Cairo for the first time in two days. Richard Spencer, who is in the Egyptian capital, has sent us the following:
"The Egyptian authorities returned police to the streets of Cairo this morning in an attempt to reestablish order in Cairo and other major cities.
"Gangs of vigilanties roamed the suburubs overnight to protect their homes from looters, some allegedly released from prisons stormed on Sunday morning.
"Mohamed ElBaradei renewed his calls overnight for the army to meet him to discuss the formation of a transition government.
"There was no immediate sign that the army was prepared to abandon President Hosni Mubarak, a former general. But protesters announced there would be a 'million-strong march' on Tahir Square in the centre of Cairo on Tuesday to renew their demands for Mr Mubarak to go.
"Protesters claim that poilice were withdrawn on Friday and over the weekend as a deliberate tactic to force protesters out of the city centre to protect their homes and families.
"This morning police were seen outside the Israeli embassy, but major junctions were still under the control of army tanks."
The streets of Egypt's major cities have been in chaos over the weekend: this is Alexandria on Saturday. (Photo: AFP)
08:54 David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has joined Mr Hague and Mrs Clinton in calling for the Egyptian government to refrain from cracking down harshly on protesters, according to Reuters, but has stopped short of demanding Mr Mubarak leave office:
"It's very important that if it's (U.S.) President Obama or whether it's me, we're not saying who should run this country or that country.
"It's sensible to say that you do have a choice here, this repression, if you opt for that, that will end badly for Egypt, badly for the world. It's the wrong choice to make."
Monday 31 January 2011 08:42 Good morning: Tom Chivers here with coverage of day seven of the continuing protests in Egypt against President Hosni Mubarak's regime.
Here's a run-down of the situation overnight.
Alex Spillius and Richard Spencer report that Mubarak has come under increased pressure from the West, as Hillary Clinton and William Hague call for an "orderly transition" to democracy:
"As an anti-government revolt raged for a sixth day, with thousands of protesters still on the streets, the US Secretary of State and William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, only just stopped short of demanding that Mr Mubarak end his 28-year rule immediately.
"But in a clear sign that their support for his regime is wavering, they made it clear they could envisage a time without the 82-year-old in charge in the not too distant future."
Meanwhile, in the absence of any sort of police presence on the streets of Cairo, looting has engulfed the city:
"Cairo residents boarded up homes and set up neighbourhood watches of citizens armed with guns, clubs and knives as looting and violence engulfed the capital.
"Thousands of inmates escaped prisons across Egypt, including at least one jail that housed Muslim militants northwest of Cairo, adding to the chaos engulfing the country as anti-government protests continue to demand the longtime President Hosni Mubarak step down."
We weren't running rolling live coverage yesterday, but take a look through our coverage of Friday and Saturday's protests as they happened here:

The Telegraph team covering Egypt:

Adrian Blomfield covers the Middle East from the Daily Telegraph's Jerusalem bureau. He has been writing for the paper since 2001, based first in Nairobi and later in Moscow.
Richard Spencer is one of the Daily Telegraph's Middle East correspondents. He was China correspondent for six years before moving to Dubai, where he lives with his wife and children.
Colin Freeman is the Chief Foreign Correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph. He has worked for the paper for five years, covering stories in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Rob Crilly is the Telegraph's Pakistan Correspondent. He previously reported on the Middle East and before that was East Africa correspondent of The Times, travelling extensively through the continent’s wars in Somalia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Alex Spillius is the Telegraph’s Washington Correspondent. He covered the 2008 campaign in its entirety and has since documented the tribulations of the Obama administration and the rise of the tea party.


  1. Is it be possible, that a new era is upon us, where a rapidly expanding Muslim middle class will put an end to Islamic fanatics dominating politics in the Muslim World?

  2. By the way, The Telegraph is the single greatest paper in the English language. It simply has no equal.

  3. Deuce, for several weeks I have expected that after the WikiLeaks revelation, people who have been oppressed and marginalized for decades, may react in consequential ways. On this blog the question was asked, should Julian Assange be given a medal or hanged?

    It is a wake-up call for all those countries which are now ruled by families, military or otherwise who are tyrants. People who have been oppressed and marginalized for decades are being heard. The iron fist is losing her grip.

    People, specially in the Muslim world, need to understand that democracy in a real sense the only viable solutions to the problems of the common person. The American experience is the human experience.

    Egypt is the most important country in the Islamic world. This is an important event with the probability of it being profound to the region and the world.

    Democratization, the will and rule of the democratic majority, enforced by the democratic majority, in action, before our eyes, should renew respect for that American experience.

  4. Power to the good people of Egypt.

    Down with ALL dictators.

  5. This has nothing to do with wikileaks. Why so many people like yourself worship that freak Assange I will never undesrtand. I suppose every current event is down to wikileaks as far as you are concerned. Give me a brake.

  6. We did ask the question, a medal or a hanging. Rufus suggested a medal first and then a hanging.

    Stella, how was your trip to the mall?

  7. CAIRO — Egypt’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood and the secular opposition banded together Sunday around a prominent government critic to negotiate for forces seeking the fall of President Hosni Mubarak, as the army struggled to hold a capital seized by fears of chaos and buoyed by euphoria that three decades of Mr. Mubarak’s rule may be coming to an end...

    ...The announcement that the critic, Mohamed ElBaradei, would represent a loosely unified opposition reconfigured the struggle between Mr. Mubarak’s government and a six-day-old uprising bent on driving him and his party from power.

    Though lacking deep support on his own, Dr. ElBaradei, a Nobel laureate and diplomat, could serve as a consensus figure for a movement that has struggled to articulate a program for a potential transition. It suggested, too, that the opposition was aware of the uprising’s image abroad, putting forth a candidate who might be more acceptable to the West than beloved in Egypt.

  8. I always thought this Dr. ElBaradei was bad news.

  9. Deuce: Is it be possible, that a new era is upon us, where a rapidly expanding Muslim middle class will put an end to Islamic fanatics dominating politics in the Muslim World?

    Look what happened to Anwar Sadat and Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan. Islam is rigged such that only ruthless leaders survive, neocon dreams of a spreading democratic tradition notwithstanding.

  10. Adam Smith:
    Disc, or Drum?


    Gotta love this American ride.

    Winter gettin' colder, summer gettin' warmer.
    Tidal wave comin' 'cross the Mexican border.
    Why buy a gallon, it's cheaper by the barrel.
    Just dont get busted singin' Christmas carols.

    Thats us, that's right
    Gotta love this American ride.
    Both ends of the ozone burnin.
    Funny how the world keeps turnin.
    Look ma, no hands.
    I love this American ride.
    Gotta love this American ride.

    Momma gets her rocks off watchin' Desperate Housewives.
    Daddy works his ass off payin' for the good life.
    Kids on the YouTube learnin how to be cool.
    Livin in a cruel world, pays to be a mean girl.

    Thats us, Thats right
    Gotta love this American ride.
    Both ends of the ozone burnin.
    Funny how the world keeps turnin.
    Look ma, no hands.
    I love this American ride.
    Gotta love this American ride.

    Poor little infamous, America's town.
    She gained five pounds and lost her crown.
    Quick fix plastic surgical antidote.
    Got herself a record deal, cant even sing a note.

    Plasma gettin bigger, Jesus gettin smaller.
    Spill a cup of coffee, make a million dollars.
    Customs caught a thug with an aerosol can.
    If the shoe don't fit, fits gonna hit the shan.

    Thats us, Thats right
    Gotta love this American ride.
    Both ends of the ozone burnin.
    Funny how the world keeps turnin.
    Hot dog, Hot damn.
    I love this American ride.
    Gotta love this American ride.
    Oh yeah,
    na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na........... nanananananana

    The Women of EB

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Wayne superintendent's $1M retirement package creates storm

    Thompson, 64, who retired in December after 15 years with the district, already has received more than $800,000 of his retirement deal, which included a year's base pay at more than $225,000, as well as contract provisions that kicked in hundreds of thousands more.

    But that's not all.

    The contract also created the position of superintendent emeritus -- a position that has been paying Thompson $1,352 a day since his retirement to advise his successor, among other duties.

    That amount, over the 150 days laid out in the contract, would pay him more than $200,000 -- bringing the total to more than $1 million.

    In addition, the contract called for one other perk -- a onetime $15,000 stipend for "retirement planning."

    "It's just a terribly difficult time because Terry Thompson did terrifically wonderful things for Wayne Township," said board member Shirley Deckard.

  13. "...a position that has been paying Thompson $1,352 a day since his retirement to advise his successor, among other duties"

    Why, oh why do we shortchange education?

    Children are our future:

    Pay up Dudes,
    ...and Dudetts.

  14. Nomination for the

    EB Hall of Fame -

    David Hasselhoff:

    "On May 3, 2007, a home video clip surfaced of Hasselhoff apparently in a drunken stupor. The video showed him shirtless, lying on the floor, drunkenly trying to consume a cheeseburger in a Las Vegas hotel room.

    His daughter, Taylor Ann, who shot the video, can be heard saying,

    "Tell me you are going to stop, tell me you are going to stop."

    The daughter also warns her father he could be jeopardizing his spot on the Las Vegas production of The Producers.[42] In the wake of the leaked clip, Hasselhoff issued a statement saying it was filmed by Taylor Ann so that he could see how he behaved when intoxicated and was deliberately released.[43][44]

    As a result of the video, Hasselhoff's visitation rights with his two daughters were suspended on May 7, 2007 for two weeks until the video's authenticity and distributor were determined.[45] On May 14, 2007, a news report questioned whether the video had impacted negatively on the sale of the UK broadband and hosting company Pipex, a major advertising campaign in the UK for the company featured Hasselhoff as "King of the Internet."[46]

    On May 3, 2009, Hasselhoff was rushed to the hospital. Radar Online attributed this to alcohol poisoning, reporting Hasselhoff's blood alcohol content (BAC) at 0.39.[47]

    Although Hasselhoff has publicly admitted past treatment for alcoholism,[48] his representatives denied the reports that alcohol poisoning was the reason for hospitalization.[49]

    On September 21, 2009, Fox News reported that he was again hospitalized for alcohol-related reasons; Hasselhoff's representatives again denied the allegation.[48]

    On November 27, 2009, Radar Online reported that Hasselhoff was rushed to hospital after suffering a seizure at home.[50]

    On May 26, 2010, he was once again rushed to hospital following a three day drinking binge.[51]

    Hasselhoff is currently a practicing Lutheran.

  15. So that Butt Ugly thing in the
    "What is the Internet"
    America's Sweethear?

    Let's hear it for makeup, plastic surgery, behavior modification, and baby fat.

  16. Let's see how secure 1,000 main battle tanks make Mr Mubarak.

    The tear gas canisters that the police are using have, I have read, large letters on their sides:
    Made in US

    I wonder, how many Egyptians can read English?

  17. The Tanks are running on empty.

    So to speak, and for real.

    Where's Rufus when we need a solar powered M-1?

  18. England, the Ruskies, and the USA should get a

    Green Thumb Award

    for the seeds we have sown.

  19. Another Exceptional post, Deuce. You're turning into the Best Blogger on the internet.

    This is becoming one of the best sources of "News" anywhere.

  20. 90. Teresita

    So it begins… the revision of the Muslim Brotherhood’s history. In the coming days the Left will claim they’re not extremists.

    Tharkun: Well, back during the Clinton admin days they used to just say “the previous statement is now inoperative”…

    That was Ron Zeigler, Nixon’s press secretary, April 30, 1973. Jeez! Kids these days, probably watching Sesame Street instead of Watergate coverage.


    Another story I've told before:

    Mr. and Mrs. Doug realized we needed additional input to the NPR party line when the kid disclosed that he believed that all black people are nice.

  21. Doug, if it was as easy as men licking their own balls then life wouldn't be so complicated.

  22. If Egyptians are angry over unemployment, why doesn't Obama just give them a bailout, and tell them to invest in green technology?

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. ObamaCare FL Court Ruling:

    Judge rules against mandate

    It is Unconstitutional!

    This is a suit brought by 26 (GOP) State governors and/or Attorneys General.

    Not serverable, entire act void.

    (This is breaking news on Twitter, and subject to a "never mind" later when more news comes in)

  25. Mon Jan 31, 02:52:00 PM EST


  26. Let's take a look at the Achilles' heel of some of the best-known candidates:

    l Haley Barbour: The Mississippi governor virtually invented lobbying - not exactly the ideal background in a very anti-Washington Republican electorate. And his Southern roots - and the gaffe he committed late last year when he seemed to suggest that the civil rights movement wasn't a big deal where he grew up - might not play well in the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary, the first two nominating contests of 2012.

    l Mitch Daniels: The Indiana governor drew widespread criticism among the party base when he suggested that the next president would need to call a "truce" on social issues until the country moved beyond its current economic woes. Social conservatives dominate the Iowa caucuses and the South Carolina primary - and they won't forget Daniels's truce talk anytime soon.

    l John Thune: The senator from South Dakota - like many of his Republican Senate colleagues - voted for the Troubled Assets Relief Program in late 2008. Many conservatives view the vote as a sort of scarlet letter, a massive government bailout that is anathema to their limited-government philosophy.

    Have Flaws

  27. Against a sitting President, the GOP needs a Ronald W.Reagan.

    Well, let me tell you something. I knew Ronald W. Reagan. He was a friend of mine. And the current crop of GOP aspirants, not a one of them are Ronald W. Reagan ...

    Not by a long shot.

  28. Palin isn't worthy to fetch Reagan's slippers.

  29. Sarahbaby ain't no Ronnie Raygun; thass a fact. But, she ain't That bad.

    She does have a big problem right now, though. Is called Ioway. She really needs to win it, and it's hard to see "how."

  30. In the last two days Rick Santorum, and Newt Gangrene have both expressed their love of the evul ethanol. The TP'ers are pissed.

    McNutz trashed ethanol and lost Ioway, Mn. Wi, Il, Oh, Pa, and God help us all, Indifuckingana.

  31. Quite by accident, Bachmann opened an intriguing picture of the past. She never said so, but the aging Adams served in the House with a thoughtful younger man from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, for a brief time in the 1840s.


    And so on. The former president and the future president (one Harvard-educated and one self-educated) are two of the most brilliant men ever to be elected president.


    Candlepower sparked in a talk between Bachmann and Palin, leading ladies of the right, might start out as a strong vivid light and fade out into a long winter night of American history. Too dark to read a darn book.

    Palin Falls

  32. I myself trash subsidies for ethanol. This isn't a charity outfit here.

  33. The last time these columns were lambasted by a presidential candidate in Iowa, he was Democrat Richard Gephardt and the year was 1988. The Missouri populist won the state caucuses in part on the rallying cry that "we've got to stop listening to the editorial writers and the establishment," especially about ethanol and trade.


    Mr. Gingrich was particularly troubled by our January 22 editorial about food inflation, "Amber Waves of Ethanol," saying that we "at least ought to use facts that are accurate." For the record, we cited figures from the Agriculture Department showing that four of every 10 rows of corn now go to ethanol, up from about one of 10 a decade ago.


    Given that Mr. Gingrich aspires to be President, his ethanol lobbying raises larger questions about his convictions and judgment. The Georgian has been campaigning in the tea party age as a fierce critic of spending and government, but his record on that score is, well, mixed.

    Professor Cornpone

  34. The Federal Government is sending a plane to evacuate Australians stranded in Egypt as violent protests continue to rock the country.


    But the evacuation comes too late for some Australians who have told the ABC of their ordeals trying to escape the chaos.


    Some family members of Australians in Egypt have also told of their frustration in trying to get help and information from DFAT.

    Stranded in Egypt

  35. Aw, come on Sam. Saudi Prince Alwaleed is the second largest shareholder of Newscorp (owner of the Wall Street Journal,) behind only Rupert Murdoch, himself.

    To give you an idea, they don't mention that you get back 40% of that "4 out of 10 rows" through Dried Distillers Grains, the co-product of corn fermentation, or that we "export" the same amount of corn, wheat, and soybeans as we ever did.

    They intimate that flefuel vehicles cost more than non-flexfuels (they don't, the only difference is the computer program,) and they don't mention that due to E85's lower price at the pump those FFV drivers normally save money even when they get lower mpg.

    They, also, don't mention the ISU study (undisputed) that the presence of ethanol in the marketplace (now, 925,000 bbl/day) lowered the price of gasoline by approx. $0.35/gal at the pump.

    Nor did they mention that all of the new ethanol that will come online will be from cellulosic (non-food) sources.

    It was just the typical Big Oil, Saudi/Exxon bought and paid for hit piece.

  36. In Nov, 2009, China used 7.7 million barrels of oil/day.

    In Nov, 2010, China used 10.4 Million Barrels of Oil/Day.

    This, at a time when Global Oil Production hasn't risen since 2005 (and, isn't going to rise from here on out.)

    How much do you suppose the 2 Million Barrels/Day of Global Ethanol Production is costing the Oil Companies, and the Sauds?

  37. By the end of this summer when unleaded is selling for $3.50/gal, and E85 is selling for $2.25 those proud owners of the Regal 2.0 Turbo will be driving for $0.09/mile on E85 vs $0.14/mile on unleaded. That's $0.05 mile savings (with more power,) or about $600.00, annually, for the average driver.

    This might be why over 400 more stations have added E85 in just the last four, or five months. You can't fool ALL the people All the time.

    BTW, The American Oil Companies receive about Six Times the Subsidies in the U.S. than does ethanol.

  38. Huh, didn't know that about the prince. Shouldn't there be some kind of law against that, or something?

    Does that make Fox News evil?

    Ethanol is more powerful than unleaded?

  39. Very much so, Sam. Ethanol is 114 Octane. You can compress it till the cows come home; you can't make it "knock."

    NASCAR is going to E15 this year; Rusy Wallace said the only difference (and, this is between E15 and Race Gas) is E15 delivers more power.

    "The more ethanol we added, the more power we got," was his words.

    For example, in the above cited Regal 2.0 Turbo: Although the mileage is roughly the same (with the heated injectors in 2012 E85 might give better mileage,) E85 outperforms unleaded by 220 HP to 187 HP.

    It makes'em "evil" in my book.

  40. FOX News, foreign and immigrant owed. The immigrant only becoming a US citizen, to own the broadcast stations.

    Foreign influenced media barons as Kingmakers, in the USA.

    Embraced as "Real Americans" by the Tea Partiers, ignoramuses that they are.

  41. It seems that the US supplying 1,000 main battle tanks to the Egyptian Army allows US to bypass the President, there, and deal directly with the Egyptian Army.

    A peaceful US backed coup de la démocratie seems to be underway.

    Score another one for long term bi-partisan US foreign policy.
    The neo-cons may have been on target, if off schedule.