“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."

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Who will be next to walk like an Egyptian?

"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, 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."


Egypt protests - live updates

 Judges have joined the demonstration, according to Heba Morayef, from Human Rights Watch, who is in Tahrir Square.

A group of senior judges have joined the demonstration with a banner which reads: "The Judges and the People are one Hand together" One senior judge made a speech from a loud speaker in which he called for the Minister of the Interior and others to be held accountable and for an end to state of emergency (loud cheer) and for free elections under full judicial supervision.

 The organisers claim that a million people have joined the protests, al-Jazeera reports. Tahrir Square is more packed than it has ever been since the protests started, it said.
This image only represents a third of those people gathered, its reporter claimed.

 Israel remains very twitchy about events in Egypt, and some feel betrayed by the Americans.
One comment by Aviad Pohoryles in the daily Maariv was headlined "A Bullet in the Back from Uncle Sam", according to Reuters. 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?"
Even the usually moderate Ha'aretz newspaper chose to splash (left) with a picture of an angry Muslim being held aloft in Cairo.
 "Everyone is coming" a protester in Tahrir Square predicts in this video shot yesterday. "We are not going anywhere until our demands our met," she said.

To watch the video in full turn off the auto-refresh button at the top of the pageAljazeera English:10:54am Security officials say authorities have shut down all roads and public transportation to Cairo, where tens of thousands of people are converging to demand the ouster of President Mubarak.-------------------------------Tony Blair, the Middle East peace envoy, warned that Egypt might take a backward step "into a very reactionary form of religious autocracy". ________________Standard & Poor's has just downgraded Egypt's credit rating by one notch to BB , S&P is concerned that the government will "eventually take measures to alleviate poverty by increasing food and fuel subsidies", thus pushing up its budget deficit ._________________The most powerful opposition in Egypt is the Muslim Brotherhood,_________________Many non-Copts in Egypt want shariah law. ___________________


  1. 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.

  2. If the people of Egypt want shariah law, well, they should get it.

    It would not be the "American Way", but then again, Egypt is not the United States.

    I would support the protection of minority rights, the Coptics ability to pursue happiness, while protecting their life and liberty, but the Egyptians have not called, for my advise in that regard.

    I heard a former US ambassador to Israel saying that Egypt could well look like Pakistan, when this is over. Our alliance will remain strong, if that is the case. Just look at how well we get along, with Pakistan.

    They still take our arms shipments

  3. Getting just what the US has been working towards, in the Islamic Arc, the policies of GW Bush & Company, finally bearing fruit.

    Love it when a plan comes together.

  4. Israel, The US and most of Europe would prefer the devil they know to the one unknown.

    Ruling a country requires organization, commitment and the support of the military. It requires a stable or growing economy

    No matter how determined the masses might be, the future of Egypt and all other states will be determined by a handful of people, some good, more bad and worse.

    The generals will choose a leadership group and that will be it.

    Others will have opposing ideas.

    The masses will go back to their jobs, studies and homes. Mubarak may go, but the replacement will be democracy and an end to corruption only if there is a leadership group, backed by the military, which has an interest in such things.

    Generally, leaders are interested in power first and the people second. If they can take power without the people, why risk it all on democracy? Better to dictate the future.

  5. Cowboy, I am sure that you agree.

  6. With both Pakistan and Iraq as the models, Stella, what could possibly go wrong?

    Jordon will be the next domino to fall to the coup de la démocratie.

    Who needs a King, now-a-days, any way?

  7. When the King is gone, the Palestinians will have their "Homeland".

    It's all good.

    The appearance of democracy is almost as good as the real thing, look at Chicago.

  8. The West Bank will revert to Jordanian sovereignty, Gaza to Egypt.

    Life will be good, all around.

    Israel will then have to deal with a fully armed and military capable Palestine, in Jordon.

    Abbas will be a historical footnote, the Israeli longing for "The Deal" they spurned, with regards those settlements.

  9. All these things mostly end with a clash between great expectations and same old, same old.Then it boils down to managing disappointment.

  10. The "Two State Solution" will move forward, but on the basis of sovereign equivalency.

    Both sides armed with US weaponry, F16s and main battle tanks.

    The Pakistani supplying the nuclear deterrent to Israeli first strike capacity.

    Gotta love those moderate Sunni.

  11. Will secularism submit to Sharia or will religious fanaticism triumph? Events to date do not lead one to be optimistic.

  12. I think that your conflation of Sharia Law with Islamic fanaticism could well be misplaced, Deuce.

  13. The attention span of US media will start waining sometime this afternoon. We will be relieved by something from Dr.Phil.

  14. The Saudi Kingdom is a staunch US ally operating under the Sharia System, void of fanaticism.

    Or they'd not be receiving US arms shipments.

  15. I don't think so, absolutism usually does not bring out the best in human beings.

  16. Perhaps the Egyptians will prove to be exceptional, too.

    Or not.

    Regardless, we are seeing the success of US foreign policy unfolding before our eyes.

    It is time to celebrate that success!

    The Two State Solution will be moving forward, soon. Based upon a standard of sovereign equivalency.

    The Palestinians will soon have their State, and Army, too.

  17. If CNN and ABC were the only sources, one would think that the Muslim Brotherhood was an off shoot of the Boy Scouts of America, that they spend their days helping old Egyptian mummies across the street.

    Today those "Boy Scout" wannabes acted in a way that would surprised its network defenders.

    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.

  18. President Mubarak, Ms T, exemplifies that the Egyptian Army is independent of local politics, while dependent upon the US.

    Just as Mr Obama showed the whirled that the IDF is dependent upon US munitions, by shutting down "Cast Lead" when he took office.

    We hold the hole cards, not the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Though they could well shut off the energy exports to Israel, if there really are any to shut off.

  19. But the Egyptians would be well within their rights, to shut off those exports, if they choose to do so.

    Just as many folks, here at the Elephant Bar, advocate for import/export controls, with Charlie Chi-cap.

    Sovereign States can do that sort of thing.

  20. Google launches Twitter workaround for Egypt.

    Seems the dictator there forgot to pay off Google like China did.

  21. According to claims by the Chinese and roughly verified by The Economist, Chinese exports to the US, saved consumers about $78 billion a year, or $780 billion over the decade.

  22. Yeah, and look at those millions of Americans "freed up" from having to go to work, thanks to those "imports."

  23. Dallas and all pre Super Bowl activities are closed today due to the weather. Folks from WIsc. And PA are asking WTF?

  24. Yea the Steelers are used to balmy Pittsburg winters and The Packers are more accustomed to tropical breezes.

  25. Revolt threatens historic Israeli peace treaty


    BEIRUT— From Monday's Globe and Mail
    Published Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011 6:52PM EST


    lthough there were very few anti-Israel slogans during the Egyptian protests over the past six days, and despite the long peace treaty, the Egyptian public is one of the most hostile of Arabs toward Israel.

    Their anger toward their government intensified a few years ago after it openly became an ally of the Israeli occupation in Palestinian territories, helping it maintain the brutal siege on Gaza.

    “As long as the masses in Egypt and in the entire Arab world continue seeing the images of tyranny and violence from the occupied territories, Israel will not be able to be accepted, even it is acceptable to a few regimes,” wrote respected columnist Gideon Levy in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper.

    The Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty has allowed Israel to concentrate its forces on its northern front and around the Jewish settlements on Israeli occupied West Bank, and earlier in Gaza, enabling it to reduce its huge defence budget.

    Mr. Mubarak – who has worked with eight different Israeli prime ministers since he became president in 1981 – has also proven a reliable mediator between Israel and the Palestinians.

    Mr. Mubarak’s “fading power,” said commentator Aluf Benn in Haaretz, “leaves Israel in a state of strategic distress. Without Mr. Mubarak, Israel is left with almost no friends in the Middle East.”

    “If there’s one thing shared by all factions of the Egyptian opposition, it is their seething hatred of Israel. Now their representatives will rise to power, and Israel will find itself in a difficult situation,” Mr. Benn said.


  26. maaaan, this place is boring without the knock down drag them through the mud bloody bar fights!

  27. Having too much fun on the Belmont Club right now, Ash.

  28. This has been the day for taking care of business, getting ready for the storm, checking batteries, shopping, etc.

    Egypt just doesn't have that "armageddonist" feel to it. Some fairly well-fed (it appears,) well dressed, actually, kind of "yuppyish" looking 20-somethings walking around, lobbying for a "new government."

    No evident interference with "commerce." The Canal, and pipeline are operating smoothly.

    Admittedly, there could be "interesting" consequences down the road, but right now, it's kind of a yawner.

  29. Southern California Edison has contracted for 250 Megawatts of Solar Power for Less Than Natural Gas.


    These are smaller, "distributed" projects (20 MW, or less.) They could have bought 2,500 Megawatts.

    It's figured the Solar came in somewhere under $0.11/kwhr.

  30. "This is so complex because the Egyptian opposition has so many faces," said Peter Morici, a University of Maryland business professor and former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission.


    Morici said overhanging the whole issue of possible ramifications is the possibility of a tightening of oil supplies by oil-producing states that might be unhappy with the turn of events in Egypt's governance.

    With just a 5 percent reduction in production, "you could hit $120 a barrel and that's $4 a gallon gasoline." That could torpedo a still fragile recovery, he said.

    US Role

  31. This song is played along with a video during the third quarter at every Steelers home game.

    A brief history

    I'm sure all you football fans already know this but it gives me an excuse to play you some tunes.

  32. We're going to see one of these "Egypt" deals every now, and then. Syria would be a tough nut, but they're looking about as crappy as Egypt.

    Jordan is in a weak spot, but the "King" is pretty well-liked, and seems to have tried pretty hard to do a decent job.

    Yemen is, neocon blather to the contrary, a Democratic Republic with regular elections. Yeah, that's right, Bushies; Iraq is NOT the first Arab Democracy.

    Opinions are mixed on Saudi Arabia.

    If we really wanted to help those people over there we would assist them in turning all that Sunlight into Usable Energy. But Exxon, Saudi Aramco, and BP wouldn't like that.

  33. Just searched around and found my nearest E85 station, Rufus. Not too far down the road. Might go for a drive this weekend and see what they're charging.

  34. Kerry said of Mubarak's announcement: "It remains to be seen whether this is enough to satisfy the demands of the Egyptian people for change. . . . Much work remains to be done to turn this auspicious moment into lasting peace and prosperity.


    Earlier, a State Department spokesman said the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, Margaret Scobey, spoke Tuesday with opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei "as part of our public outreach to convey support for orderly transition in Egypt."

    ElBaradei, 68, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who formerly headed the International Atomic Energy Agency, rejected Mubarak's announcement Tuesday, demanding that he step down by Friday. ElBaradei returned to Cairo last week with the aim of leading a transition to democracy.

    Obama Admin

  35. These protesters are like mot others. College age kids with nothing better to do. They really get it going when the cameras are on, then go back to laughing and cutting up when they are off. Ho hum.

  36. el-Bareidi is not being helpful

  37. When six people died in Tucson, it was called it a "massacre". But when 300 people die in Egyptian riots, it's called a "peaceful demonstration."

    Conan O'Brian's advice to Egypt: "If you want people to stay at home and do nothing, you should turn the Internet back on."

    Joe Biden says he will include Cairo in his upcoming South American tour.