“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."

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Egypt's military leaders, who took control of the country after Mubarak's ouster, were keeping a wary eye on the developments, according to a statement released by the Egyptian armed forces and read on state-media. “The armed forces are watching with sadness and worries the current developments in the country, with its consequences and how it led to divisions."

Egypt's military leaders keep eye on political crisis

By Reza Sayah and Amir Ahmed, CNN
updated 8:25 AM EST, Sat December 8, 2012

Cairo (CNN) -- Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy is pushing forward with talks Saturday in an attempt to end a political crisis that threatens Egypts stability despite calls by the opposition to boycott the meeting.

Morsy's call for talks are an attempt to end a political divide that has spilled into the streets, pitting the president's supporters and opponents against one another, and raising questions about his ability to lead the fragile democracy.

Egyptian authorities said at least six people were killed in violent clashes in recent days, while the Muslim Brotherhood -- the group that backs Morsy -- has said eight of its members have been killed.

The crisis erupted in late November when Morsy issued an edict allowing himself to run the country unchecked until a new constitution is drafted, a move that sat uncomfortably with many Egyptians who said it reminded them of ousted dictator Hosni Mubaraks rule.

Morsy said the powers are necessary and temporary until a new constitution is adopted. But that promise has done little to quiet the opposition.

Anger at Morsy's move led to protesters reoccupying Tahrir Square, the scene of the Arab Spring uprising that saw Mubarak ousted in 2011. Thousands later protested outside the presidential palace, where the opposition clashed with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The anger only grew when the Islamist-dominated Constitutional Assembly pushed through a draft despite the objections of the secular opposition, including some members who walked out in protest. Morsy said a constitutional referendum will be held on December 15. Following the announcement, tens of thousands of protesters -- for and against Morsy -- took to the streets.

Egypt's military leaders, who took control of the country after Mubarak's ouster, were keeping a wary eye on the developments, according to a statement released by the Egyptian armed forces and read on state-media.
"The armed forces are watching with sadness and worries the current developments in the country, with its consequences and how it led to divisions," the statement said, according to state media.

"...We stress that dialogue is the ideal and only solution to reach an agreement that realizes the interests of the nation and its citizens. Anything other than that will lead us into a dark tunnel with catastrophic consequences, which we will never allow to happen."

Adel Saeed, a spokesman for Egypt's newly appointed general prosecutor, said Friday morning that opposition figures Hamdeen Sabahy, Mohamed ElBaradei and Amr Moussa are being investigated for allegedly "conspiring to topple" the government.

All three are well-known internationally; ElBaradei being a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Moussa a onetime head of the Arab League, and Sabahy is an Egyptian political figure. They are now being probed for their role in the opposition against Morsy.

ElBaradei said on Twitter: "I call upon all the national forces and figures not to participate in a dialogue that lacks all the basics of a truthful discourse. We support a dialogue that is not based on the policy of arm-twisting and forcing the status quo."

During an interview with Al-Arabiya, an Arabic news network, ElBaradei called on Morsy to postpone the referendum vote and to "rescind the constitutional declaration." He added that "only then will the opposition engage in dialogue."

Those taking part in the protests around the North African nation say the scenes are similar to those of the 2011 uprising that led to Mubarak's ouster. This time, they say, dissent is being vigorously stamped out by Morsy's backers in government and on the street.

Specifically, they spoke of thugs with knives and rocks chasing activists, presidential backers belittling opponents and pressure from various quarters to go home and be quiet.

"It's exactly the same battle," said Hasan Amin, a CNN iReporter.


  1. We may very well see a military coup.

  2. ...but delaying the constitutional referendum might hold the military off.

  3. Excellent video in the preceding thread, Deuce; thanks.

  4. That is why I Hate wasting our Defense Dollars dicking around in some shithole like Afghanistan.

    We'll piss of $60 Billion, or so, over there in 2013; just think of the B-2's, F22's, and Missile Interceptors we could have funded with just half of that money (the other half going to build ethanol refineries, of course.) :)

  5. BTW, did you know that the Federal Govt. Outlays were $60 Billion Less in 2012 than in 2011?

    Treasury Statement

  6. Pearl Harbor: how why and what applies today

    Aside from the implications of the PNAC document the country has carefully avoided Muslim internment. I haven't decided if that's good or bad the question of "the moderate Muslim" remaining open. (The uglier side of that issue - since we are celebrating free speech - is that precious American values contributed less to this circumstance than the unholy alliance between USA and the Saudis that DR writes about. And if you really want to wallow and wax righteous about corruption joined at the hip with mind-numbing sybaritic indulgence, take a gander at that extended family of princes and princesses.)

    The second thing or issue that comes to my mind is the viability of the "long game" I think it's called which is not the "long war" but closer to the concept of "long con" as in Jim DeMint's career path. of which his Congressional stint was little more than a temporary sidebar to his longer term ambitions in service to ... that depends on who you ask.

    Also as in the John Kerry consideration for Secretary of State being rethought because it's part of the Republican plan to regain control of Senate.

    Also as in the redistricting at the local level (ref Rufus.)

    The Long Game is alive and well in USA. As Jenny mentioned in earlier post the federal "planners" are busy dealing with "the arc of instability."

    Aside from walking around Muslim internment another historical difference is the energy context as discussed ad nauseum. In 1941 USA had recently completed construction of very large dams on big rivers of the west - complete with hydropower. That electricity enabled the industrial mobilization of war materiel on an unprecedented scale. Sure the hardy women went to the factories but that remarkable feat of production was about energy.

    I will watch the video later today. I had the good fortune to make one wonderful trip in my life - to Hawaii where The Memorial was one stop on our too short visit when I learned about the humiliating treatment accorded the Japanese during the signing treaty which of course was appropriate. Both of my parents maintained a strong suspicion that escalated into dislike of Japanese immigrants for the duration of their lives. It is actually painful to return to that singular period of history. But with this group of elites the country and the world are likely to exceed that level of horror probably during my lifetime.

    1. Now I have a sticky comma key. Lenovo Thinkpad that I paid a little extra for because it was supposed to have superior audio and video (plus I ordered extra RAM.) It is now about four years old and keypad is going. At any rate imagine a paragraph with commas. Or not.

    2. And, of course, this. More here.

      At what point does "dismissing red flags" become intentional inaction? I doubt we'll ever know. About any of it.

    3. Check for potato chip fragment between keys, spilled wine or pepsi also possible for sticky keys.

    4. Comedy Central will pay you for your services.

    5. Doris, thank you for your excellent response to the post.. I never gave much thought to the energy from the large western dams and their contribution to the WWII effort.

    6. See Marc Reisner, "Cadillac Desert"

  7. Best line of the day on the Republican route on the tax issue:

    “At the end of the Battle of the Fiscal Cliff, the GOP may be left in the position of the lady who sold her virtue — and didn’t get paid."

    1. Left without proper funding, like a Secret Service hooker in Cartegena....


  8. The information, contained in a declassified memorandum from the Office of Naval Intelligence, adds to proof that Washington dismissed red flags signalling that mass bloodshed was looming and war was imminent.

    “In anticipation of possible open conflict with this country, Japan is vigorously utilizing every available agency to secure military, naval and commercial information, paying particular attention to the West Coast, the Panama Canal and the Territory of Hawaii,” stated the 26-page memo.

    If I had received a memo like that I would have "done something" depending on more specific circumstantial knowledge, such as decentralizing the fleet, both short-term (sending some out on training exercise) and long-term. I would have to research the names and details but a short time prior to the attack a Navy Admiral (?) ordered fleet consolidation, moving a substantial chunk from San Diego to Hawaii. That's just ignorant.

    1. Admiral James O. Richardson, who was fired by President Roosevelt for refusing to station the Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor,[101] blamed the President for the "initial defeats in the Pacific" as "direct, real and personal."[102] Richardson believed stationing the fleet in Pearl Harbor made the ships extremely vulnerable against attack and provided a poor and unstrategic defense.[103]

      (from first link)

    2. Another issue in the debate is the fact neither Admiral Kimmel nor General Short ever faced court martial. It is alleged this was to avoid disclosing information showing the U.S. had advanced knowledge of the attack. When asked, "Will historians know more later?", Kimmel replied, "' ... I'll tell you what I believe. I think that most of the incriminating records have been destroyed. ... I doubt if the truth will ever emerge.' ..."[115] From Vice Admiral Libby, "I will go to my grave convinced that FDR ordered Pearl Harbor to let happen. He must have known."[116] It is equally likely this was done to avoid disclosing the fact Japanese codes were being read, given there was a war on.

      I haven't made up my mind on the question of whether FDR had advance knowledge of the attack (I am convinced that the military commanders "knew"), but that last statement is pure BS.

    3. I'm kinda thinkin' they just misunderestimated our dear, Japanese brethren.

    4. Statements by High-Ranking Officials

      One perspective is given by Vice Admiral Frank E. Beatty, who at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack was an aide to the Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox and was very close to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's inner circle, with perspicuous remarks as:

      Prior to December 7, it was evident even to me... that we were pushing Japan into a corner. I believed that it was the desire of President Roosevelt, and Prime Minister Churchill that we get into the war, as they felt the Allies could not win without us and all our efforts to cause the Germans to declare war on us failed; the conditions we imposed upon Japan—to get out of China, for example—were so severe that we knew that nation could not accept them. We were forcing her so severely that we could have known that she would react toward the United States. All her preparations in a military way—and we knew their over-all import—pointed that way.[63]

      Another "eye witness viewpoint" akin to Beatty's is provided by Roosevelt's administrative assistant at the time of Pearl Harbor, Jonathan Daniels; it is the telling comment about FDR's reaction to the attack - "The blow was heavier than he had hoped it would necessarily be. ... But the risks paid off; even the loss was worth the price. ..."[64]

    5. misunderestimated our dear, Japanese brethren

      The hazards of ethnic homogeneity reinforcing the misplaced implications of "purity" possibly. (Same for the Germans under Hitler.) The Japanese "had" a mean streak. The Rape of Nanking was vicious and brutal.


  9. The Blog
    A Major Benghazi Terror Bust
    Directly tied to al Qaeda.
    1:20 AM, Dec 8, 2012 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN

    The Egyptian government has nabbed a major terrorist tied to the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, according to the Wall Street Journal. And that terrorist has direct, longstanding ties to al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri.

    The captured terrorist is Muhammad Jamal al Kashef (a.k.a. Abu Ahmed), who served as a senior Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) terrorist in the 1990s and was imprisoned for years. The EIJ was headed by Ayman al Zawahiri, who merged the group with Osama bin Laden’s operation.

    We'll get more truth out this guy than we having been getting out of Barky & Company.

  10. NYTimes

    December 8, 2012
    Egypt’s Leader Seen on a Path To Martial Law

    CAIRO — Struggling to quell street protests and political violence, President Mohamed Morsi is moving to impose a version of martial law by calling on the armed forces to keep order and authorizing soldiers to arrest civilians, Egyptian state media announced Saturday.

    1. The flagship state newspaper Al Ahram reported that Mr. Morsi “will soon issue a decision for the participation of the armed forces in the duties of maintaining security and protection of vital state institutions.” The military would maintain its expanded role until the completion of a referendum on a draft constitution next Saturday and the election of a new Parliament expected two months after that.

    2. Martial Law ...

      That would be the Egyptian Army, the best. US client in that country. It is still 'Good To Go' for US interests in Egypt.

      Further exemplified by the capture of that terrorist involved in the Benghazi episode.


    3. Egypt’s Leader Prepares Plan to Impose Martial Law
      Tara Todras-Whitehill for The New York Times

      Published: December 8, 2-12

      CAIRO — Struggling to quell street protests and political violence, President Mohamed Morsi is moving to impose a version of martial law by calling on the armed forces to keep order and authorizing soldiers to arrest civilians, Egyptian state media announced Saturday.

      If Mr. Morsi goes through with the plan, it would represent a historic role reversal. For decades, Egypt’s military-backed authoritarian presidents had used martial law to hold on to power and to punish Islamists like Mr. Morsi, who spent months in jail under a similar decree.

      A turn back to the military would also come just four months after Mr. Morsi managed to pry political power out of the hands of the country’s powerful generals, who led a transitional government after the ouster of the longtime strongman Hosni Mubarak.

      The US supplies parts they need. Obama is MB friendly.

  11. But after taking office Mr. Morsi spent months courting the generals, sometimes earning the derision of liberal activists for his public flattery of their role. In an August decree, he relied on the backing of some top officers to remove the handful of generals who had insisted on maintaining a political role. And then last month, despite the protests of the same activists, the new Islamist-backed draft constitution turned out to include protections of the military’s autonomy and privileges within the Egyptian government, suggesting an understanding between the two sides that may now come into effect.

  12. boobie, look out, DEATH PANELS!!!!

    "Hassan Rasouli’s end-of-life case in the hands of the Supreme Court

    A faint smile flickers over Hassan Rasouli’s face when family members update him on their landmark legal fight to keep him on life support. Or, at least, so the Rasouli family believes.

    “We reassure him everything is going well,” said his 29-year-old daughter, Mojgan. “My father has become a representative of the value of life. ”

    But on the other side of a chasm that divides the family from the medical team at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre that keeps Mr. Rasouli alive, doctors see a man with no quality of life and no hope of recovery.

    To them, Mr. Rasouli’s facial movements are involuntary and mechanical; they believe there is no realistic course of treatment to offer, aside from a dignified death.

    The result is a clash between deeply religious Islamic family members who believe life must be maintained at all costs, and a medical team that believes keeping Mr. Hassan alive borders on torture.

    Two critical-care physicians at Sunnybrook, Brian Cuthbertson and Gordon Rubenfeld, have taken the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

    On Monday, the court will hear arguments in the precedent-setting battle. When it releases its ruling, likely several months from now, it could decide that doctors are free to withdraw life support unilaterally. Alternatively, the court could say the wishes of a patient and his family are paramount. Or, the court could opt for a middle road, giving the last word to a board of neutral arbiters.

    Lawyers who work with mentally disabled or elderly clients are looking to the Supreme Court to bring clarity to an uneven, emotionally fraught area of law.

    Jan Goddard, a Toronto lawyer who specializes in the field, said there has been a strong move in recent years for people to create documents expressing their wishes for when they would want to be taken off life support if they are ever incapable of deciding themselves.

    Ms. Goddard said the Sunnybrook case could throw a wrench into these efforts.

    “Termination of treatment that supports life is probably the issue most commonly raised by clients making advance directives,” she said. “I wonder what those conversations might be like between lawyer and client – or a person and his or her substitute decision-maker – if the court agrees with the doctor’s position that consent is not required?”


    1. Doctors and legislators also hope the court decision will provide much-needed guidance for dealing with people whose brains or minds have been irretrievably damaged.

      “Every single intensive-care unit has at least one patient who is not benefiting from being kept alive,” said Mark Handelman, a Toronto lawyer who represents families and doctors in end-of-life cases.

      “Listen, I understand why politicians aren’t debating this – nobody wants another abortion-type debate,” Mr. Handelman said. “But we have to address it. Frankly, I think this debate is going to make the abortion debate look like a Tuesday tea party.”


      There more there worth reading, but the actual DEATH PANEL:

      "Ontario Consent and Capacity Board a neutral arbiter in complex disputes


      The board – which has no equivalent outside Ontario – acts as a neutral arbiter in cases where a person is incapable because of psychiatric incapacity or a state of unconsciousness.

      It has more than 100 members, who generally hear cases individually or in panels of three. One-third of its members are lawyers, another third are psychiatrists and the rest are community members. They weigh medical opinion and submissions from family members, and assess any wishes a now-incapable patient may have previously expressed verbally, by letter or through power of attorney.

      “Every single case the board hears determines at least one very fundamental right of a human being – whether they can keep you locked up in a mental-health facility; who should be making your health-care decisions; whether you have to go into a nursing home; or whether the plug can be pulled on you,” Mr. Handelman said.

      Currently, disputes in other provinces between intensive-care doctors and the families of patients in vegetative states end up in the courts.


    2. Doctors and legislators also hope the court decision will provide much-needed guidance for dealing with people whose brains or minds have been irretrievably damaged.

      Your fate hangs in the balance, belly putter.

    3. If the Rasouli family wishes to care for the poor unfortunate in their home, then let them.

    4. Ole boobie likes having for profit insurance companies run the DEATH PANELS.

  13. Morsi's recipe for Islamic State

    Win the election,
    consolidate power,
    bake at 450 until golden brown.

    I don't think we'll be seeing any coups.

  14. There are 3 countries in the Middleeast that, although once minor oil Exporters, no longer produce enough oil even for their Own needs.

    Do any of these names sound familiar?




    1. hmmm...they're neighborhoods in East L.A.?

    2. After reading this thrice, can't figure out your point. It's not always about oil, or something?

    3. They need to go to fracking?

    4. They need to grow corn and go to ethanol?

  15. And by the way, remember those big payroll gains in September and October, right before the election? Forget it. The Labor Department has revised down its job estimates for those two months by 49,000.

    Read More At IBD:

    Jobs report actually sucked. Worse to come.

    1. 49,000 is not a particularly large revision for a two-month period (in fact, it's kind of on the small side.)

      That said, however, it's likely that the coming months will see worse. The Extended Unemployment Benefits, and Payroll Tax Cuts expiring on Jan 1 will strike a blow to the economy, and it is pretty weak as it is.

      Borrowing more, and more money to keep the Saudi Oil-derived gasoline in the tanks of the poorest 1/3 so they can drive to their below minimum wage job at Walmart where they sell Chinese-made goods to McDonalds employees, who, themselves, can't survive without food stamps is not a sustainable strategy.

      The Net Worth of the 9 Walmart Heirs is greater than that of the 150,000,000 people that comprise the lower 40% of Americans.

      Think about it.

    2. I got scrambled, there. Walmart jobs are Not Below minimum wage (although, they're not much, if any, above the minimum.)

    3. Until we get our Corporate Tax Code, and foreign tax shelter problems straightened out, and get our balance-of-payments under control the Median Worker is going to continue to lose ground.

  16. Another example of Rufus Excusus.

  17. According to the 2011 Private Wealth Report, 27% of Chinese entrepreneurs worth more than 100 million RMB ($15.9 million) have already emigrated, while another 47% say they are considering doing so. The number of these so-called “naked businessmen” is massive. The main reasons for businessmen emigrating are: their children’s education, protecting assets, and preparing for retirement.

    Increasingly, the general Chinese public has grown aware of this dramatic trend. Last year, out of 5,000 investment immigration visas issued by the U.S., Chinese people accounted for two-thirds of them.

    Undoubtedly, the most dazzling fact in all of this is that over 70% of China’s privileged have either emigrated or are on the way to emigrate. It is definitely not normal for 70% of a country’s wealthy class to want to leave the place where they were born and made their fortune. When we connect this piece of news to another study conducted a few years back in which it was said 80% of China’s wealth is in 20% of people’s hands, then it is easy to imagine the scale of the loss of China’s national wealth.

    As opposed to .... New Zealand or ...

    1. The flight of the rich also helps to reverse the deep-rooted “eating philosophy” pursued by China’s rulers, where development is the supreme ideal, and as long as the people have enough to eat, all dissatisfaction will disappear. Compared to this, universal values such as rule of law, freedom, and human rights are just quaint ideas.

      Nevertheless China’s wealthiest, the people who eat the most, are voting with their feet. This may indeed mark the end of the “eating philosophy.” The fleeing wealthy show us that, as human beings, we have spiritual needs and need to be respected beyond just having enough to eat. When the citizens of a country turn to other states for these things, we should not blame them. What we should rather think about is the quantity and quality of public service that this country provides.

      The toothless tiger threat of socialists who "keep the train running on time." Pssft.

      From what Xi Jinping said in November’s Communist Party Congress, we can undoubtedly see that China’s new generation of leaders has started to take stock of the problem. Since Xi became China’s leader, “livelihood” and “anti-corruption” have become the most repeated expressions in his speeches.

      Well now.

  18. Did you know that if you buy a new car it most probably has a black box recorder in it? Almost all do now. Though the dealer doesn't seem to tell you.

    This brings up the question as to just whose black box is it? Presumably yours, to whom else could it belong?

    Can the black box be subpoenaed by a court? I would think not, since you can't be compelled to give evidence against yourself. Unless of course it is terms of your license, or terms of access to government funded highways, etc.


    1. Seat belt, speed, braking, weaving is the stuff it records according to what I have been reading.

  19. Pearl Harbor: how why and what applies today

    How have we changed since Pearl Harbor? After WWII and through the Cold War we were entreated to the fear of the Red Threat in Southern Europe, in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, all of Latin America and of course right at home. After the fall of the Berlin Wall we moved on to the feral war on terrorism

    All countries in the world have the right to self determination. However, the evolution of an America empire does not want that to occur.

    We have continued to enforce our objection to the present. The ‘truth’ is that since Pearl Harbor, the US sticks its nose overtly into the business of other nations.

    If you believe that the US cares about the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iran or anywhere else for that matter you are delusional or simply watching too much Fox TV. But what can you expect from a culture that embraces torture, black ops romance and interventionist doctrines?

    The founding fathers had a concept of what a republic was supposed to be and made a claim for self determination. The founders made a universal claim to such rights. Their claims were based on reading, debate and philosophy.

    The big change is that the American People of 2012 are not the same as 1941 and have demonstrated that they have forfeited their aptitude for responsible self-government.

  20. Well, you did good on the last two paragraphs anyways.