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A beginning not an end emerging in Egypt

Mark Mardell | 16:43 UK time, Thursday, 10 February 2011

In the White House, they appeared almost stunned watching TV reports from Egypt. President Barack Obama aboard his jet Air Force One was kept up to date through a telephone briefing from the head of the National Security Council.

On the ground he told students: "What is absolutely clear is that we are witnessing history unfold."

That's is a pretty safe prediction.

He added: "It is a moment of transformation that is taking place because the people of Egypt are calling for change."

Again, little doubt about that.

The Egyptian army almost certainly felt events were slipping away from its control, and that it has to act because of the demonstrations and protests.

But the next part of his brief remarks commits his administration: "Going forward, we want those young people and we want all Egyptians to know that America will continue to do everything that we can to support an orderly and genuine transition to democracy in Egypt."

That means the president's team will be keeping a wary eye on their friends on the Egyptian army.

If Hosni Mubarak goes, the White House will see this as a beginning, not the end.

Western diplomats believe the Egyptian army saw the demonstrations growing and the demands from America hardening and feared that events were running away from them.

If Mr Mubarak goes it will be seen here as more than a simple symbol that the demonstrators' demands are being met. It will be seen as a vital removal of an obstacle that was getting in the way of the opposition engaging in talks.

And that is important to America. Perhaps the most important thing for the administration is stability and continuity, not least because Egypt is a friend of Israel and supporter of the peace process.

But that doesn't mean they will be happy if the army merely takes over and people leave the square. They are stressing the importance of real change and free elections.

This is not because of an abstract commitment to democracy, which many observe has been lacking in the past. It is down to a worry that if the army tries to cling to the status quo, there will be more demonstrations further down the line, perhaps with an added anti-Western tinge.

America craves stability in Egypt. But Mr Obama believes the only way to achieve it is through change.

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  • 1. At 6:23pm on 10 Feb 2011, Nick Gotts wrote:

    The Americans certainly don't want really free elections - elections in which a candidate or party they don't have enough leverage over might win - for precisely the reasons you identify: "because Egypt is a friend of Israel and a supporter of the peace process". (Of course, for "Egypt", one needs to read "the Mubarak dictatorship", and for "the peace process", to read "continued American-Israeli regional dominance".) What they want is the appearance of free elections, but in which every possible winner or winning coalition can be effectively managed by the US. However, the unexpected continuing growth of the popular uprising against the corrupt dictatorship they have supported so long - and through both Republicrat and Demican administrations, make this look increasingly unlikely. If forced to choose between a brutal army crackdown, and really free elections, I predict they will choose the former - but I'd love to be proved wrong.

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  • 2. At 6:27pm on 10 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Good luck Egypt, and Mr. President!

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  • 3. At 6:48pm on 10 Feb 2011, doubledoubt wrote:

    it is about time to stop being worried about Israel - and its government that some have said is semi fascist
    what ever it is thanks to Wikileaks we know Israel turned down an offer that should never have been given
    further - less that 50 percent of American jew support extreme zioniosm = time to be serious -

    let them live in the world they created - sadly - but that is life

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  • 4. At 7:02pm on 10 Feb 2011, michael693 wrote:

    To paraphrase Churchill, there seems little point in not being optimistic. If the harmony demonstrated by the protesters translates into a Parliamentary system of mutually respected views then the country can only win from it. It would disprove the stereotype that Arabs are somehow not wired to embrace demoncracy as we in the West understand it, as insultingly implied by Suleiman. Surely he has to go as well as Mubarak, he is there only as a placeman. The generals must be prepared to meet the aspirations of the revolution and give democracy a chance, even if eventually it sheds some uncomfortable light on how they have been among the beneficiaries of the corrupt status quo. If the pro-democratic camp don't demonstrate the disciplines and compromises to make democracy work, the Army are still there to prevent the country from sinking into chaos. It served as a guarantor of a police state, why not now of a new democracy?

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  • 5. At 7:02pm on 10 Feb 2011, Max Coutinho wrote:

    I agree that it is only the beginning and not the end. From the moment President Mubarak resigns, we will have to be attentive to see how the army will behave: will it really step in to control the confusion (until the elections), or will it want to take over power for good (and I ask this because armies are known for coups d'état)? Even if the army doesn't take charge of the nation, whom will be the next leader, and will he (although it would be interesting if it were a she) be friendly? But for now, one thing is for certain: the People willed and the People won!

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  • 6. At 7:04pm on 10 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    1. At 6:23pm on 10 Feb 2011, KG wrote:

    "The Americans certainly don't want really free elections..."

    ___________

    Americans are not a monolith.
    There are clearly some people whose motives are not pure.

    But, on the whole, of those Americans who have actually thought about it, or paid attention, my guess is that you are quite wrong in your assumption.

    There is a profound goodwill toward others that is typical of Americans. You underestimate it.

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  • 7. At 7:06pm on 10 Feb 2011, pretinama wrote:

    3. doubledoubt

    Much less than 50% of Israeli Jews support extreme Zionism too. What was your point?

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  • 8. At 7:08pm on 10 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Mark wrote:

    "If the reports and predictions are correct, the White House will welcome it. But it will be seen as a beginning not the end."

    _________

    Quite so. Possibly a beginning of so many things.

    Perhaps, with luck, this is the first sound of a logjam finally breaking up. One can only hope.


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  • 9. At 7:18pm on 10 Feb 2011, Agbeje Martin wrote:

    As events are unfolding in Egypt, we are almost always made to understand that America and the West as a whole have no much to do other than to pass some "deplomatic advice", then wait in hope of the (un)known. We all know that Egypt is a sovereign country, as such, there is a limit to which outsiders can meddle in her affairs. Be that as it may though, the onus is on America and her allies to establish peace in the Middle East - or Israel will be ensneared by forces beyond western control.
    The standing down of Hosni Mubarak will only signal the beginning of the end of the crisis and not the end of the beginning of the crisis. The agitation and yerning for ideal democratic government despenciation in Egypt is unquestionable but the potent danger inherent is inconcealable. People's power as we had seen in the recent protests can be " extrememistic". The protests, the struggle, the destruction, the stand-off and the stand down most likely, will not end with Mubarak's standing down. The one people of Egypt today will obviously become many groups and people that will want a role in subseqent governments. May this not snowball to the era of abortting democratic government terms in the regiom - the people have now found a new tool against any government they loathe.

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  • 10. At 7:22pm on 10 Feb 2011, Jackturk wrote:

    3. At 6:48pm on 10 Feb 2011, doubledoubt wrote:

    "it is about time to stop being worried about Israel - and its government that some have said is semi fascist
    what ever it is thanks to Wikileaks we know Israel turned down an offer that should never have been given
    further - less that 50 percent of American jew support extreme zioniosm = time to be serious -"


    I agree with some of what you say, but unfortunately this is the very time that we do need to be worried about the Zionists in Israel because they will be worrying that their edifice is crumbling.

    The spiteful, Zionist extremists are prepared to see the end of all of us if they don’t get their way in the Middle East. If anyone in Europe or the USA thinks that being a supporter is going to save them they are fatally mistaken. There are many examples of Zionist treachery against their ‘friends’, they will use anyone and anything to achieve their aims, they are the most dangerous group of zealots in existence.

    Alan Hart ex BBC correspondent:-
    "I recall the words spoken to me many years ago by Golda Meir, Mother Israel, when she was prime minister. At a point during an interview I did with her for the BBC’s Panorama programme, I interrupted her to ask, “Prime Minister, I want to be sure I understand what you’re saying … You are saying that if Israel was ever in danger of being defeated on the battlefield, it would be prepared to take the region and the whole world down with it?" Meir without the shortest of pauses for reflection, and in the gravel voice that could charm or intimidate American Presidents according to need replied: “Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.”

    Again, Alan Hart talking to an ex IDF officer about the Yom Kippur war, after which he had decided Israel was not a place in which to bring up his children and had moved to the USA.

    IDF officer: “Two missiles were armed with nuclear warheads and targeted; the targets were Damascus and Cairo, “I said, I believe you” “You ought to. I was the one who received Dayan’s order and did the targeting ...... "one day they’ll do it” “I recalled what Golder Meir had said to me about Israel’s willingness in a doomsday situation to take the region down with it.”

    Right, I'm going to set my clock to see how long it takes for the usual Zionist sympathisers, Nostrano, Mirrorman, MagicKirin, LucyJ etc., to receive the alert and get typing to have a pop at my post :-)

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  • 11. At 7:27pm on 10 Feb 2011, baircash wrote:

    Hope this does not have the same result that the West had as result of the 1968 student rebellions.

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  • 12. At 7:32pm on 10 Feb 2011, Nick Gotts wrote:

    InterestedForeigner@6,

    Yes, I meant the American government - just as Mark Mardell did when he talked about "What is important to America". Of course Americans vary tremendously and there will be many who genuinely support Egyptian democracy - but it is also true that many, even among "liberals", are prone to confuse the interests of the American political-business-military elite with universal values: even if the USA is conceded to have made "mistakes", or been "clumsy" in its foreign policy they assume, wrongly, that it is fundamentally on the side of democracy and social justice.

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  • 13. At 7:36pm on 10 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    people seem so happy, almost as if they're waiting to witness the birth of a new baby

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  • 14. At 7:41pm on 10 Feb 2011, jack wrote:

    Bring on the "brotherhood", bring on the new "i"slamic "s"tate, Iran must be brimming with anticipation and ready to move, as the isalmists surround Israel. A new dangerous order is being formed before our eyes, the weakness of the Western economies and islamic terrorists seemingly on every street corner, a new and very frightening era is about to begin, lets hope it doesn't perpetuate a World War. Mubarak the last brick in the damn holding back the tide of the islamic tide!

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  • 15. At 7:57pm on 10 Feb 2011, Agbeje Martin wrote:

    After over 30 years in power, it is overly obvious that Hosni Mubarak will STAND DOWN in a matter of hours.
    His stepping (if that happened) will give credence to the democractic principle that says POWER BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE.
    Ego may tend to subvert his decision momentrily but the resolve and yerning of the people for an accountable government in Egypt is unquestionable. It is hoped HISTORY WILL BE MADE TONIGHT. Let power return to the people - to choose their leaders/representatives for the first time in a long while and that will be it; History. However, it may not be the end of the crisis.

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  • 16. At 8:01pm on 10 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    birth of democracy and freedom in this case (i hope they won't be disappointed later on, but this is not the time to think negatively)

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  • 17. At 8:05pm on 10 Feb 2011, Politicalobservor wrote:

    10. At 7:22pm on 10 Feb 2011, Jackturk wrote:
    In response from me:
    This is a fact not fiction what you have written, except times have changed and Israel will have to think twice before they even attack any Arab neighbour without a legit reason. The word anti-semetic is so loosely used that it has lost it's effect.
    Good luck to all Egyptians throw that corrupt regime out and also purge the whole system that has any legacy of Mubarak.
    Make sure that your state does not go the same way the Iranians went "theocracy" of fanatics who have ruined the whole country of Iran and the lives of poor iranians.
    GOOD LUCK AND MAY GOD BE WITH YOU ALL! INSHAH ALLAH!

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  • 18. At 8:22pm on 10 Feb 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #1

    "(Of course, for "Egypt", one needs to read "the Mubarak dictatorship", and for "the peace process", to read "continued American-Israeli regional dominance".)"


    The peace treaty with Israel was signed by Mubarak's predecessor.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_David_Accords


    Instead of reading what you want to read into things, occasionally it pays to read what it actually is written. Propaganda and sloganeering makes for a very distorted lens through which to see the world.

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  • 19. At 8:25pm on 10 Feb 2011, Agbeje Martin wrote:

    After over 30 years in power, it is overly obvious that Hosni Mubarak will STAND DOWN in a matter of hours.
    His stepping down (if that happened) will give credence to the democractic principle that says POWER BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE.
    Ego may tend to subvert his decision momentrily but the resolve and yerning of the people for an accountable government in Egypt is unquestionable. It is hoped HISTORY WILL BE MADE TONIGHT. Let power return to the people - to choose their leaders/representatives genuinely for the first time ina long while and that will be it; History. However, this may not be bring us to the end of crisis.

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  • 20. At 8:30pm on 10 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #1,3

    What possible benefit do the Egyptian people that so many are saying this is abouthave in ruining relations with Israel.

    the only ones who benefit are the Moslem brother hood and other islamic terrorist supporters.

    The Palestinians in Gaza have done nothing for Egypt or for that matter the rest of the world.

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  • 21. At 8:39pm on 10 Feb 2011, BluesBerry wrote:

    In the White House, I'll bet they are stunned because one thing has become very clear: the Egyptian People will not allow Sulieman to step into Mubarek's shoes without a complete regime change.
    Yes, this will be a really historic change...unless, Sulieman turns loose his private army, financed by the United States of America, to crush the anti-American Egyptian revolutionaries. Even if this happens, I think we will see the Middle East and Northern Africa convulse: How dare Sulieman suppress these people!
    I believe that the Egyptian People will win, and winning means
    1. Mubarek and Sulieman both go.
    2. The army sides with the People.
    This will cause the thirty-year old regime to crumble, and at last offer the hope of true democracy in Egypt.
    Obama: "Going forward, we want those young people and we want all Egyptians to know that America will continue to do everything that we can to support an orderly and genuine transition to democracy in Egypt."
    What hyprocracy! What Obama really means is an "Orderly and genuine transition" from Mubarek to Sulieman. By "democracy" he means the type of feigned election that has pretty well always occurred throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa where the winner is known, but the steps must be followed.
    If Mr Mubarak goes, but Mr. Sulieman stays, it will be seen by the United States as victory, but the people of Eygpt will not be saisfied.
    The most important thing to the United States is the stability of the old regime and the continuity of the old regime.
    The people, however, want real change. And for real change to happen may require a Peoples' Coup to fulfill The Nile Revolution.

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  • 22. At 8:58pm on 10 Feb 2011, strontiumdog wrote:

    re#10
    you seem to be stating the obvious.. whats the point of having nuclear weapons if you are not prepared to use them.. that's why it's called a deterrent.. Kennedy was prepared to use them in the Cuban crisis and the Russians knew this and wanted to do a deal instead..

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  • 23. At 9:07pm on 10 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    How out of touch can that man be?

    Unbelievable.

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  • 24. At 9:15pm on 10 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    i thought this would happen.

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  • 25. At 9:22pm on 10 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    A disappointing decision. I hope Egypt can stay the course until the elections.

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  • 26. At 9:22pm on 10 Feb 2011, Leila Youssef wrote:

    I would like to share my view of what is happening in the Middle East from a place of a non-political Egyptian who loves her country of origin and who has been living for some years in the West because of the regime oppression.
    My view is based mainly on my professional psychological experience of human nature.

    The West does not yet grasp that the rising of radical Islam has taken place largely because Muslims see that the democracy the West preaches is neither a real nor practiced democracy. They have come to see the talk of democracy as a political tactic of the West to continue to oppress them.

    Muslim fundamentalists hit Western democracies in their most vulnerable place—their ideals. The West has failed to show the “people” in Tunisia, in Egypt, in Jordan, Yemen, etc. what democracy is. Supporting autocracies and dictatorships like Mubarak’s and Saudi Arabia’s is doing nothing but contributing greatly to the rapid expansion of the extreme fundamentalist model of Islam.

    Western democracy and radical Islamic fundamentalism are a reflection of each other—with one big difference. Western democracy as propounded to others is a kind of cleverly disguised game (the motives differ from the words), whereas fanatic Islam is upfront and visceral. Psychologically speaking a non confrontative person is cunning and hits from the back while smiling at you. A confrontative person will scream, yell and hit his opponent straight in the face while calling him a deceitful liar. Now that is the game going on now between the West and the Middle Eastern fanatic movements.

    Muslims have realized that the democratic model being sold to them is not valid. It has not made people in the West happy, nor has it fulfilled people’s hearts. The East sees the human crisis of Western society for the emptiness that it is.

    I myself remain totally against any type of fanatism, be it religious, cultural, or social. I believe in the universality of human rights, and that under the sun we are all brothers and sisters.

    I travelled to Israel to be face to face with my, so called, enemy. I wanted to know this enemy and have my personal experience of him. I worked for the first travel agent in Egypt who went to Israel after the Camp David Accord, and brought some Israeli travel agents to Cairo. I dove with them in Sinai.

    I even danced with a military man who told me while dancing that I would see his photo in the newspaper in a few years. I thought it was a joke of an old man who was simply trying to get a young Egyptian woman in his bed. Eventually some years later he became prime minister and I realized he was not joking at all!.

    I have no problem relating to Israelis, Palestinians, Americans or Hottentots! The irony of destiny also made me work at the American embassy when President Carter came to sign the Camp David accord. I danced with one of his private bodyguards in the few free hours he had between shifts of guarding his beloved President. Human beings are the same all over the world united by their commons human needs. It does not matter what or how their governments act.

    As a psychotherapist, in Spain, I worked with a young Spanish woman who spent sometime in Saudi Arabia because of her father’s job. She was traumatized by this experience. She told me that until she was 16 her only dream was to die bombing herself in an act of martyrdom like others have done killing Israelis. This is what she was taught in school. She was taught that this was the highest honor for any Muslim and that it was a guarantee to heaven. It took me a long time to help her get over this traumatic brain washing.

    Now, as we know, the West has tried to impose its culture on Muslims, Fundamentalism was a movement that rose to fight against this imposition. The more the West tries to impose its way of living, of governing, of being, the more extreme the movement against it will become. It is a law of nature.

    Denial of identity breeds destruction. This is a very well known psychological principle. There is only one consequence to such denial: perpetual destruction of the “other” in order to preserve your own identity.

    America feeds the rich in every country and ignores the poor. Fundamentalism feeds the hungry, illiterate and poor people wherever they are. The rich suppress these masses of hungry humans given bread by fundamentalists. The more suppression, the more hatred; the more hatred, the stronger the resentment, until an explosion like what we are seeing today in Egypt takes place. Finally the masses take to the streets to say enough is enough. In Egypt we see Christians, Muslims, atheists, and fundamentalists joining together in a common cause. The universal cry of these people is for their basic human rights!

    In my view the only way to counter Muslim fundamentalism is to educate people in the true essence of their religion. Islam is a deep religion that provides a complete social structure to rule and govern. In the golden age of Islam during the Caliphates, Muslims experienced true democracy. They created a vast empire and ruled the world. They built the bridges through which Greek knowledge made itself known to the west. The West must stop depriving Muslims of their glory and their place in history and practice tolerance, respect and brotherhood.

    This is the only way to uproot that fundamentalist mentality embraced by the poor, hungry and angry which makes them proud of blowing themselves up as human bombs as their “way” to give you their message.

    It is time for the West to start honoring ISLAM and open up to rediscover IT without judgment and most importantly without identifying IT with fundamentalism and fanaticism.

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  • 27. At 9:25pm on 10 Feb 2011, rodidog wrote:

    Not surprised.

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  • 28. At 9:29pm on 10 Feb 2011, Nick Gotts wrote:

    The peace treaty with Israel was signed by Mubarak's predecessor... Instead of reading what you want to read into things, occasionally it pays to read what it actually is written. - JMay

    The reference - from Mark Mardell - was not to that treaty but to "the peace process", so I suggest you try taking your own advice. The "peace process" refers to the on-off negotiations between Israel and the corrupt, brutal and unrepresentative Palestinian Authority; negotiations which everyone knows are going nowhere, and which serve as a distraction from the fact that Israel and the USA are quite content with the situation as it is - one of near complete American-Israeli regional dominance.

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  • 29. At 9:30pm on 10 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #10
    Right, I'm going to set my clock to see how long it takes for the usual Zionist sympathisers, Nostrano, Mirrorman, MagicKirin, LucyJ etc., to receive the alert and get typing to have a pop at my post :-)


    ___________

    what are you then, an islamic terrorist sympathizer? You seem to have a problem with a country defending itself. You also seem to have a problem with to the victor goes the spoils( but only when its Israel.

    If an middle eastern moslem could look beyond religion identification they would realize the Palestinians and Lebanese are in the wrong and deserve no support.

    And that Iran is the sucessor to Nazi Germany and Pol Pot in it desire for genocide.

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  • 30. At 9:33pm on 10 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    stubborn old man...

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  • 31. At 9:34pm on 10 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    BluesBerry, (#21. At 8:39pm on 10 Feb 2011)

    "... Yes, this will be a really historic change...unless, Sulieman turns loose his private army, financed by the United States of America, to crush the anti-American Egyptian revolutionaries ..."
    My perceptions of the Cairene unrest did not include significant anti-American sentiment. Why are you referring to "anti-American Egyptian revolutionaries?" I must have missed them.

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  • 32. At 9:34pm on 10 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    "2116: Another quote from Mr Mubarak's speech: "I believe that the majority of Egyptians know who Hosni Mubarak is and it pains me what has been expressed by some people from my own country. I am aware of the dangers facing us and out of my belief that Egypt is going through a very significant phase in its history, this compels us all to put the interests of the nation first and put Egypt above any consideration."

    ___________

    Take your own advice man, and go.

    People may very well die because of the foolishness.

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  • 33. At 9:36pm on 10 Feb 2011, Nick Gotts wrote:

    MagicKirin@20,

    What Egypt's relations with Israel should be is a matter for a government chosen by the Egyptian people in free and fair elections to deicde. You ignored the question I asked on the previous thread, so I'll repeat it: do you support the demands of the demonstrators for the immediate departure of the dictator Mubarak, and multi-party democracy, or do you support a continuation of dictatorship? A straight answer, please.

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  • 34. At 9:37pm on 10 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    16. At 8:01pm on 10 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:
    "birth of democracy and freedom in this case (i hope they won't be disappointed later on, but this is not the time to think negatively)"

    Amr, this is precisely the time to think negatively. The reason why the US was so successful is because the founding fatherstried to think what could go wrong and guard against it. They made some mistakes, and the result was a horrendous civil war almost a century later, but the negative tjinking enabled them to create a government that has lasted more than 200 years.

    So, hope for the best but plan for the worst.
    Best wishes to you and your country.

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  • 35. At 9:46pm on 10 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    to be honest, i have no problems with being patient, but if some people are in that much hurry for him to leave, then i guess i'll have accept their wish (too bad that even the way we want to move to democracy is as far as ever from being democratic)...

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  • 36. At 9:50pm on 10 Feb 2011, Nick Gotts wrote:

    "In the golden age of Islam during the Caliphates, Muslims experienced true democracy. They created a vast empire and ruled the world. They built the bridges through which Greek knowledge made itself known to the west. The West must stop depriving Muslims of their glory and their place in history and practice tolerance, respect and brotherhood." - Leila Youssef

    The Caliphates were all absolute monarchies. They certainly created a vast empire - by bloody conquest - but most certainly did not rule the world. Arabic science both preserved many of the achievements of the ancient Greeks, and added considerably to them, and this should indeed be acknowledged far more than it is - but pretending the Caliphates were anything whatever to do with democracy is utterly ludicrous.

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  • 37. At 9:50pm on 10 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    10 Jackturk ..you raise a very interesting point...and if I hadn`t known a few jewish refugees and their families and witnessed the emotionally deforming and psychologically destructive consequences of the anti-semitism of ALL nations...it didn`t start with Hitler and it isn`t over yet...I might think that Zionists are another species..a sort of dangerous genetic abnormality made flesh in Israel.
    But it`s nothing like that.

    SOME Jews attracted dislike by remaining culturally apart and lending money and being aggressive businesspeople.

    Usury was more of a curse than a salvation....though there`s no pretending that it has its benefits and that Zionists are not massively influential.

    But in the poetic irony of so much that goes on around us ...you can be TOO powerful for your own good...as the jewish heretic Christ said......what profiteth a man that he gains the whole world and loses his own soul.

    What you see in psychopathic Zionism is despair...it`s a very human response to rejection and hatred ...and you won`t "chrysise" it away with calls to logic or reason or regard for Palestinians....because damaged people aren`t "kind" or easily convinced by argument in our easy prosperous way...they hurt too much for that!

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  • 38. At 9:57pm on 10 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    35 Amr...just remember that if we tried to change our government in England by peaceful protest of this sort we would be silenced and dispersed by our police....and we don`t live in a real democracy either!

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  • 39. At 10:18pm on 10 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #33 KG wrote:
    MagicKirin@20,

    What Egypt's relations with Israel should be is a matter for a government chosen by the Egyptian people in free and fair elections to deicde. You ignored the question I asked on the previous thread, so I'll repeat it: do you support the demands of the demonstrators for the immediate departure of the dictator Mubarak, and multi-party democracy, or do you support a continuation of dictatorship? A straight answer, please.
    ________

    It's not a yes or no answer, the protesters do not represent all of Egypt. And demands mean they won't comrpomise either.

    Now since you think its reasonable for his immediate depature.

    will you support the protesters who want Chavez, Mugabe, Morales
    Burmase Junta and the Iranaian mullahs gone?

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  • 40. At 10:37pm on 10 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #26 Leila Youssef

    --- an interesting analysis !

    -- any ideas on sexual frustration -- suicide bombers--- paradise ?

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  • 41. At 10:58pm on 10 Feb 2011, Nick Gotts wrote:

    Magickirin,

    Well, as I predicted, you won't give a straight answer. In practice, you support the dictatorship.

    "It's not a yes or no answer, the protesters do not represent all of Egypt. And demands mean they won't comrpomise either."

    What they are demanding is the departure from office of a corrupt tyrant, and free and fair elections - in which, of course, we'd see who represents the majority. Rightly, they do not trust Mubarak or his cronies to run them.

    "Now since you think its reasonable for his immediate depature.

    will you support the protesters who want Chavez, Mugabe, Morales
    Burmase Junta and the Iranaian mullahs gone?"

    As I also predicted, you try to divert attention, since you can't give a straight answer. I will. Mugabe, the Burmese junta and the Iranian Mullahs - certainly I support any attempt to get rid of them. As for Chavez and Morales, I certainly support the right to demonstrate against them, and I admit Chavez has made some seriously undemocratic moves, but both were quite fairly elected, in both countries further elections are expected, opposition parties and press function, and AFAIK there are no political prisoners. Your real objection to them, of course, is that they don't do as they are told by the USA, have nationalised some industries, and have even tried to reduce the extreme socio-economic inequalities in their countries. Now, I predict that you will try to divert discussion away from Egypt altogether.

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  • 42. At 11:25pm on 10 Feb 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #28

    "The reference - from Mark Mardell - was not to that treaty but to "the peace process", so I suggest you try taking your own advice. The "peace process" refers to the on-off negotiations between Israel and the corrupt, brutal and unrepresentative Palestinian Authority;"


    My mistake, I thought you were talking about Egypt.


    "...negotiations which everyone knows are going nowhere, and which serve as a distraction from the fact that Israel and the USA are quite content with the situation as it is - one of near complete American-Israeli regional dominance."


    Yes, negotiations are distractions from the...wait a second. This is the sloganeering I mentioned earlier, and how this myopic lens distorts reality.


    Surely, the "dominance" you keep bringing up, manifests itself in many ways, among them being the US aid to Egypt, no doubt. Or perhaps it manifests itself in the way the US managed to convince Jordan and Egypt to sign peace treaties with Israel. Certainly it must, in some way, manifest itself in the way the US dictates things in the middle east, including the Arab positions vis-a-vis Israel. Surely all these things are examples of the "US dominance" in the region. Right?


    Myopia may be corrected by lenses, but it also can be induced by the wrong prescription.

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  • 43. At 11:30pm on 10 Feb 2011, d_m wrote:

    What a shame about Mubarak. I had hoped he would be smart enough to leave. But I guess it's like the old saying: There's no fool like an old fool. I wonder what will happen now.

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  • 44. At 11:32pm on 10 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    KG,

    While I too was a bit disappointed with his decision today, has not President Mubarak stood for reelection, and won, as have Chavez and Morales? Are elections not scheduled in September, in which he will not be a candidate?

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  • 45. At 11:36pm on 10 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    KG

    ---You are wasting your precious time.

    --logic is not appreciated (or understood)

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  • 46. At 11:48pm on 10 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    Chryses

    --- I believe the Egyptian constitution (including the perpetual emergency law) is being questioned by the protestors.

    ---also the last election results.

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  • 47. At 11:50pm on 10 Feb 2011, Norman Conquest wrote:

    I suspect the Americans didn't allow Mubarak to leave. They made him stay, I feel.

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  • 48. At 11:58pm on 10 Feb 2011, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    I must say that I'm extremely disappointed by Pres. Mubarak's speech. The time for concessions and apologies to the people of Egypt has long passed. If the presidential powers have largely been transfered to the Vice President then why bother staying in office? The man is clearly unfit and unable to govern at this point; his resignation is the only thing that will preserve what little honor he has left.

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  • 49. At 00:16am on 11 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    Mubarak was never going to go right now because the USA wanted him to go...in fact by talking about him going as soon as possible the US elite made it impossible.....for two reasons:

    1) ALL Egyptians resent being told what to do...they had years of it!

    2) The protestors represent an educated prosperous GLOBAL middle class world that can afford to protest and has its cultural reference in the west.They are not unemployed with no hope of a job or employed and losing money they can ill afford to lose.

    People like King Abdula and President Mubarak will know far better than us what "democracy" means to them....and it means a soft take over of their society by a largely American influenced global capitalist market oriented culture of asset stripping "markets" and multinationals and their media....

    I think it`s time WE woke up and looked at OUR societies and asked ourselves whether WE like what we see.....because I don`t think we have much room to boast about the extremist capitalist neoliberal world that we created.DO we live in democracies that look after us? NO!

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  • 50. At 00:16am on 11 Feb 2011, Scott0962 wrote:

    Only a politician could believe people will be fooled by the administration's newly found concern for the people of Egypt.

    The Obama administration is trying to avoid the appearance of throwing an old friend (Mubarak) to the wolves while simultaneously scrambling to position the U.S. on the side of those who it sees as the likely winners of the power struggle in Egypt, the anti-Mubarak protestors. "Never mind the last thirty years, we can't help you!" and "Never mind the last thirty years, we're with you!"

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  • 51. At 00:30am on 11 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #41
    As I also predicted, you try to divert attention, since you can't give a straight answer. I will. Mugabe, the Burmese junta and the Iranian Mullahs - certainly I support any attempt to get rid of them. As for Chavez and Morales, I certainly support the right to demonstrate against them,
    ____________

    You seem all right with dictators as long as they are anti america,. the majority of people don't want Chavez and the andean provinces are persecuted by Morales.

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  • 52. At 00:41am on 11 Feb 2011, _marko wrote:

    To #51 MagicKirin

    If you don't support the immediate departure of the dictator Mubarack and don't suppport a multiparty democracy and don't support a continuation of dictatorship, can you state what you do support in Egypt?

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  • 53. At 00:46am on 11 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    Well, the media was fooled pretty good!

    Everybody thought he was resigning, they were already practicing their speeches and counting hteir chickens b4 they hatched...

    Lol...

    Nope!
    No can do!

    Guess that Mubarack is a lot tougher than many gave him credit for...

    Welp, people will hafta go thru the VP now, as that is who has the Presidential power and just hafta live with that til election...

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  • 54. At 00:50am on 11 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    A resemblance with Chile is becoming apparent.

    Mubarak=Pinochet

    Army--secret police-- torture -- kidnapping -- disappearances -- and fear the wish for freedom could spread throughout the region.

    ----will America again support Generals and Dictators and murderers ?

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  • 55. At 00:52am on 11 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    If "democracy"(aka US dominated global cappitalism) is so wonderful why aren`t we being told about the effects on Eastern Europe (and countries like Greece and Ireland and Spain) of the Soros/CIA run European Union on their lives?

    Remember all those peaceful European "revolutions" ...well are they better off now or is it just that Germany and the UK are being bled dry to keep a bunch of capitalist dictatorships afloat.....because Germany is doing fine....but the UK is going to the wall?

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  • 56. At 00:56am on 11 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #53 LucyJ

    -- Yep ! --- a repeat of Pinochet and America´s steadfastness !

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  • 57. At 01:08am on 11 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    What would happen to the USA if it really promoted the independence of other countries and closed down the CIA and stopped doing what Wall Street wants by intervening in the rest of the world?

    You Americans would be a lot richer for a time ...but how would it pan out over the longer term?

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  • 58. At 01:10am on 11 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    23. At 9:07pm on 10 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    How out of touch can that man be?

    Unbelievable.

    _____________________________________________________

    A reference to BHO? Agreed. Instead of pouring gas on flames and applying Alinsky's rules for radicals to international relations, the community organizer turned president, from the very beginning, should have restrained himself and his administration from overtly taking sides on numerous occasions (including today's latest outpour in Michigan from BHO himself), and should have worked frantically behind the scenes with the army and Mr Suleiman, while publicly encouraging an orderly move to elections in Sept, and denouncing chaos. Now he owns the chaos.

    In the meantime, Obama appointee and DNI supremo, Gen. James Clapper, informs stunned US congressmen that MBrotherhood is ... "largely secular":

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/02/10/administration-corrects-dni-clapper-claim-muslim-brotherhood-secular/

    ... while BHO & Co have alienated one of US last allies in the region:

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/02/09/source-saudis-tell-obama-humiliate-mubarak/


    The darling of the democracy-will-win-all-over-the-world fetishists, the Twitter revolutionary ElBaradei, appeals for the army to take over, thus acknowledging his utter impotence as a political leader and player:

    http://financial-magazine.net/mohamed-elbaradei-egypt-explode-army-save-country/13859.html





    The GB Trident-START embarrassment wouldn't go either:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/259422/obama-s-foreign-policy-follies-conrad-black

    The State Dept has "debunked" the issue via an (un)official ... tweet statement claiming that 1991 START treaty authorizes US to disclose British top military secrets to Russia. Which treaty article number would that be?


    How more dilettante and dangeroud for US interests could this president and his administration be? Certainly, Egypt's not the limit?

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  • 59. At 01:11am on 11 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    quietoaktree, (#46. At 11:48pm on 10 Feb 2011)

    ”... I believe the Egyptian constitution (including the perpetual emergency law) is being questioned by the protestors.
    ---also the last election results.”

    Yes, it was a disappointing dénouement. I hope his intransigence will not cost his country too much more. Like President Chávez, his presence is doing his country no good.

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  • 60. At 01:16am on 11 Feb 2011, tuulen wrote:


    Mark Mardell wrote:
    "It is down to a worry that if the army tries to cling to the status quo, there will be more demonstrations further down the line,..."

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    What if the Egyptian army could not be powerful enough to maintain the status quo? Yes, a modern army is an awesome and powerful force, but consider that tanks can operate only when occasionally refueled and weapons can fire only when occasionally restocked with ammunition. Yet, this Egyptian uprising apparently was populated by hundreds of thousands of protesters and possibly more than that, all of whom could potentially become an adversary to the Egyptian army, meaning that should the Egyptian army attempt to refuel its tanks and resupply its weapons, such efforts could potentially be disrupted by an ad hoc guerilla action perpetrated by the Egyptian protesters, and that could lead to Egypt not having an army at all.

    In practical terms, perhaps the Egyptian army had and now has very limited options.

    It is the size and scale of this particular protest which allows such speculation.

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  • 61. At 01:18am on 11 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    53. At 00:46am on 11 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    "Welp, people will hafta go thru the VP now, as that is who has the Presidential power and just hafta live with that til election..."

    __________

    I don't know what is going to happen tonight, but my guess is that there are going to be riots. And if not tonight, then tomorrow. The streets of Cairo are going to be a very dangerous place tonight and tomorrow.

    There is at least a 50-50 chance that this could turn ugly in a hurry. There were a lot of women and children in that square. To make a speech like that under those circumstances was beyond irresponsible. Way beyond irresponsible. What was the point of making that speech, at all - and then going on for 20 minutes about it.

    What could the man possibly have been thinking?
    What was behind the 50 minute delay?

    Pray that those women and children make it back to their homes safely before this spirals out of control.

    Or pray that the Egyptian Army realizes that it only has one reasonable option left. That option isn't very good, either, but there isn't a better one.

    ----------

    What an idiot.
    Indeed, what a pair of idiots.

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  • 62. At 01:29am on 11 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    worcesterjim, (#55. At 00:52am on 11 Feb 2011)
    ”If "democracy"(aka US dominated global cappitalism) is so wonderful why aren`t we being told about the effects on Eastern Europe (and countries like Greece and Ireland and Spain) of the Soros/CIA run European Union on their lives?

    Remember all those peaceful European "revolutions" ...well are they better off now or is it just that Germany and the UK are being bled dry to keep a bunch of capitalist dictatorships afloat.....because Germany is doing fine....but the UK is going to the wall?”

    Although you remain mistaken about the equivalence of democracy and “dominated global cappitalism [sic],” the newly democratized Eastern European countries which emerged from the ruination of the Soviet Union’s totalitarian communism are doing quite well, thanks.
    Read and learn: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Development_Index

    The citizens of those countries which pursued irresponsible fiscal programs (Greece and Ireland and Spain) have paid, and will continue to pay the price for foolish economic policies.

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  • 63. At 01:38am on 11 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    Chryses I know how the EU works and don`t need the CIA to tell me what a corrupt fraud it all is....and if anyone wants a true picture they can always google the phrase "Corruption in EU" and "Effects of US involvement in EU" and spend the rest of their lives reading just how wrong you are.

    But the radio silence about the true effects of Soros/CIA "democracy" speaks for itself....in the BS empire we are held hostage in here in the UK.

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  • 64. At 01:40am on 11 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 26 Leila Youssef

    America feeds the rich in every country and ignores the poor. Fundamentalism feeds the hungry, illiterate and poor people wherever they are. The rich suppress these masses of hungry humans given bread by fundamentalists. The more suppression, the more hatred; the more hatred, the stronger the resentment, until an explosion like what we are seeing today in Egypt takes place. Finally the masses take to the streets to say enough is enough. In Egypt we see Christians, Muslims, atheists, and fundamentalists joining together in a common cause. The universal cry of these people is for their basic human rights!

    Leila -- very much enjoyed reading your thoughtful and passionate post. Thank you very much for taking the time to write it.

    Many posters here, and citizens of the 'West' generally, simply do not understand the hostility they see directed at them from the Arab world. Many assume that Islam itself is the source of the problem. Something which I, like you, believe to be false.

    I am hoping with you that a new political order rooted in the best of the traditions and culture of Egypt will emerge from this crisis, and that this new way will be better nourishment for hungry souls.

    And if you have the time and patience for it, please do continue posting here!

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  • 65. At 01:59am on 11 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    64 Yes Leila...my apologies for not commenting earlier on how inspiring it is to hear from you and Amr...but be careful and thoughtful about what you say because you have enemies on here who spend their lives misinforming and cheating others for a living....and you can guess who they are because I spend a lot of time tying them in knots!

    Be patient...people like Mubarak were supported for years by our countries and would be humiliated by going straight away under western pressure.

    And your security services were trained by the west...so before you attack them ask yourself where we have been since the Americans took over from the British and google SAYYID QUTB for an example of the support you can expect from us!

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  • 66. At 02:00am on 11 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    58. At 01:10am on 11 Feb 2011, peterbo, lent his support, once again, to defend a military dictator.

    Ah, to be known by the company ye keep.

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  • 67. At 02:00am on 11 Feb 2011, Maria Ashot wrote:

    I am reminded of one of those exquisite pithy quatrains of Pushkin's, Mr Mardell:

    "I'm the master," utters Moneybags;
    "I'm the master," counters Steel.
    "I can buy all," insists Moneybags:
    "I will take all," answers Steel.

    Of course, it is much more starkly elegant in the original, and the image is "Gold" -- but Moneybags scans better in English, and is a better fit for the moment.

    There is an eternal truth expressed in that neat little summary, which is, as powerful as Riches might be, in the end, it is the Arms that settle conflicts, and whoever wields them -- especially when skilled -- prevails in the end.

    By acting very much like the old woman who "saw something nasty in the woodshed" in "Cold Comfort Farm" (one of my permanent faves), Mubarak only seems more and more pathetic. He embraces his place in the ranks of Milosevic, Marcos, Ceausescu & their ilk.

    The Defence Minister & military chiefs, by contrast, seem at minimum earnest & patriotic. They have children too. And surely they must wonder why those children are worthy of less comfort & wealth &humbler prospects than Hosni's?

    I think the military gentlemen are acting rightly, and should be given a chance to act as caretakers for a short time period while a proper slate of candidates is put forth and a proper election can be held, with full transparency & international observers. And yes, there is no reason why a military man cannot also stand for office: U.S. Grant, Dwight Eisenhower and others with distinguished military records won fair electoral contests and led the US, after all.

    The point about being the people in control of the weapons systems is that ultimately the choices they make do make the biggest difference, in the end. Just as Pushkin noted.

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  • 68. At 02:12am on 11 Feb 2011, Jackturk wrote:

    29. At 9:30pm on 10 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    "what are you then, an islamic terrorist sympathizer? You seem to have a problem with a country defending itself. You also seem to have a problem with to the victor goes the spoils( but only when its Israel.

    If an middle eastern moslem could look beyond religion identification they would realize the Palestinians and Lebanese are in the wrong and deserve no support.

    And that Iran is the sucessor to Nazi Germany and Pol Pot in it desire for genocide."


    Sorry Magic, as usual, I haven't a clue what you are on about!

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  • 69. At 02:26am on 11 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    According to Wikileaks Egyptian security services were receiving training in "interrogation" techniques from the FBI as recently as 2009....but perhaps our experts on disinformation could give us a professional assessment of how accurate that claim is likely to be?

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  • 70. At 02:34am on 11 Feb 2011, Jackturk wrote:

    37. At 9:50pm on 10 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    "What you see in psychopathic Zionism is despair...it`s a very human response to rejection and hatred ...and you won`t "chrysise" it away with calls to logic or reason or regard for Palestinians....because damaged people aren`t "kind" or easily convinced by argument in our easy prosperous way...they hurt too much for that!"

    I think I know what you are trying to say but with respect I disagree with you. It's what Norman Finkelstein, whose whole family suffered in the holocaust, calls 'crocodile tears'.

    Why should the Palestinians suffer at the hands of the Zionists for the atrocities committed on Jews by others?. If anything, present day Jews should, and many of them do, weep for the plight of the Palestinians rather than that of the Zionist extremists who are in it for their own ends, much like any fanatics, be they Muslim, Christian or Jews.

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  • 71. At 02:48am on 11 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    worcesterjim, (#63. At 01:38am on 11 Feb 2011)

    ”Chryses I know how the EU works and don`t need the CIA to tell me what a corrupt fraud it all is ...”
    Evidence please.

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  • 72. At 02:59am on 11 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    KG and other Cynics,

    You really need a reality check.

    No one is going to inform you without your permission.

    Also, spin is used all around and especially in political speech.

    So what people are really saying behind closed doors is questionable.

    So, therefore, in the meantime, is there any other time?...there is no reliable information except a seemingly fluid situation intepretable in many, many different ways.

    For instance, if all protestors go to their jobs (jobs?) or retreat to homes and abandon protests that might mean something,

    But, I still see masses out there and it to me is an insult/statement of reality... to President Mubarak and his "power"...so therefore, there is still hope for change

    But, be careful what you wish for these Egyptian people.

    THEY JUST MIGHT GET IT!

    What is it you want for them, power to implement your wishes, though you say that they, the Egyptian people want something different--is that something you want? or something they want--and

    you are equating the people with the protestors (whom are young, probably unemployed and needful of better personal situations)

    Have you analyzed this situation there comprehensively? Or are you riding by the seat of your own frustration?

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  • 73. At 03:13am on 11 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    66. At 02:00am on 11 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    58. At 01:10am on 11 Feb 2011, peterbo, lent his support, once again, to defend a military dictator.

    Ah, to be known by the company ye keep."


    Mmmmm, where exactly does peterbo lend support to a military dictator?

    Aside from that, only a lalaintellect of a leftist can somehow conclude that Islam is compatible with democracy. Please read the deeply masochistic post of a true Muslima, Leila Yousef (#26), and try to reason.


    Egypt's moving from a traditional (6,000-yrs old) autocratic rule to a temporary military rule. Most probably, another authoritarian ruler will emerge at some not that distant point in future. Muslim culture, tribalism, Muslim masochism and fatalism are invincible. Theirs is not Mazhab, but Deen, right, Leila? You are trying to preach democracy and teach them good manners: nice try but they are already perfect.

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  • 74. At 03:22am on 11 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    I regret shattering the illusions of all the leftist posters, but this is what Egyptians would want for themselves: Islam, Sharia, etc:

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/02/10/muslim-brotherhood-win/


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  • 75. At 03:24am on 11 Feb 2011, CMS wrote:

    Much is being said about Egypt with respect to both the US and Israel, but it seems to me that not much is being said about the wider region. It seems to me that how Mubarak handles the beginning and/or end could be seen as an example, and therefore have an impact on neighboring countries.

    In the early stages of the protests, one of the questions being asked was "First Tunisia, now Egypt, who's next?". Any head of state in the region whose country and population have social/economic/political issues common to Egypt sees potential for unrest in their own country (if I recall correctly, the King of Jordan recently replaced his prime minister). With Ben Ali having been ousted, how Egypt plays out might be the difference between (relative) orderly move towards democratic reform in at least some ME countries, and governments falling like dominoes, resulting in chaos in the wider region. Perhaps, despite the pronouncements of the US, UK and Israel, it is the quieter persuasion of Assad, Abdullah, Ghadafi and other neighbors pleading their case for the stability of the wider region that is keeping Mubarak in office.

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  • 76. At 03:43am on 11 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Leila Youssef, (#26. At 9:22pm on 10 Feb 2011)

    "... the rising of radical Islam has taken place largely because Muslims see that the democracy the West preaches is neither a real nor practiced democracy ..."
    Why should anyone accept that you speak for the global Muslim community?
    What is it about the political processes in Great Britain, France, Australia, Germany, Canada, Belgium, and the United States that are "neither a real nor practiced democracy?" That group seems to be a representative sample of "the West," so please expand on your interesting claim.

    "... They have come to see the talk of democracy as a political tactic of the West to continue to oppress them ..."
    What evidence can you provide to substantiate this claim?

    "... The West has failed to show the "people" in Tunisia, in Egypt, in Jordan, Yemen, etc. what democracy is ..."
    I am intrigued, what definition of democracy do you use?

    "... Supporting autocracies and dictatorships like Mubarak's and Saudi Arabia's is doing nothing but contributing greatly to the rapid expansion of the extreme fundamentalist model of Islam ..."
    Saudi Arabia is a monarchy.

    "... Muslims have realized that the democratic model being sold to them is not valid ..."
    Repeating a claim does not validate the claim.

    "... It has not made people in the West happy ..."
    Most people I know are quite happy with the democratic process, if not with the results of the last election.

    "... nor has it fulfilled people's hearts ..."
    What is that supposed to mean?

    "... The East sees the human crisis of Western society for the emptiness that it is ..."
    In some circles it is considered better form to first establish that there is a "human crisis of Western society," and that it leads to "emptiness" before claiming that "the East" (whatever that might mean) sees that it is so.

    "... As a psychotherapist, in Spain, I worked with a young Spanish woman who spent sometime in Saudi Arabia because of her father's job. She was traumatized by this experience. She told me that until she was 16 her only dream was to die bombing herself in an act of martyrdom like others have done killing Israelis. This is what she was taught in school. She was taught that this was the highest honor for any Muslim and that it was a guarantee to heaven. It took me a long time to help her get over this traumatic brain washing ..."
    This paragraph is quite revealing. At the beginning of your post you wrote that the rise of radical Islam is the fault of the West. In the paragraph above, you write that it is taught to children by their teachers in school. A trifle contradictory, if you'll excuse the criticism.

    "... Denial of identity breeds destruction. This is a very well known psychological principle. There is only one consequence to such denial: perpetual destruction of the "other" in order to preserve your own identity ..."
    While interesting, and possibly even true, as no one's identity is being denied, it is also utterly irrelevant.

    "America feeds the rich in every country and ignores the poor ...
    Nonsense. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has been in business for almost 50 years. Read and learn: http://www.usaid.gov/

    "... Islam is a deep religion that provides a complete social structure to rule and govern ..."
    Yes, it does.

    "... In the golden age of Islam during the Caliphates, Muslims experienced true democracy ..."
    I am unsure what you are thinking about, but the caliphates of the Umayyads, Abbasids, Fatimids, and Ottomans were ruled by dynasties. They had nothing whatsoever to do with democracy.

    "... It is time for the West to start honoring ISLAM and open up to rediscover IT without judgment and most importantly without identifying IT with fundamentalism and fanaticism."
    No, it is not. The West, as you sweepingly refer to Europe and North and South America, is overwhelmingly secular, and it is contrary to the West's principles to honor any specific religion. The very best Islam can possibly expect from the West is to be treated as an equal to or on a par with other religions. The West already treats Islam considerably better than Islamic countries treat other religions.

    One safe way to ensure that the West stops identifying Islam with fanaticism is to stop the killing of innocents by Islamic fanatics.

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  • 77. At 04:02am on 11 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #68

    Of course you don't that would take an opem mind unpolutted by PC correctness

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  • 78. At 04:03am on 11 Feb 2011, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    worcesterjim: "Be careful and thoughtful about what you say because you have enemies on here who spend their lives misinforming and cheating others for a living...According to Wikileaks Egyptian security services were receiving training in 'interrogation' techniques from the FBI...perhaps our experts on disinformation could give us a professional assessment of how accurate that claim is likely to be?"

    As usual Jim your focus on the evils of Global Capitalism & the CIA, while interesting, are irrelevant unless you want to spread unnecessary suspicion & fear in a region that is already suspicious of the West. The majority of the world has moved on and indeed I have moved on; at this point, you either recognize that this is the end for Mubarak's government or you don't.

    This is a real Presidential resignation...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhI1xRUx8UI&feature=related

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  • 79. At 04:04am on 11 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    If Murbuark had resigned there would still be a caretaker govt of the same type.

    But if there were elctions in 30 days, the inolerant moslem brotherhood would take power which would be bad for the Egyptian people and the world.

    People who use Sharia as basis for goverment are athreat to humanity. Look at Iran and look how Turkey has become a terr orist enabler.

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  • 80. At 04:10am on 11 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    74. At 03:22am on 11 Feb 2011, peterbo wrote:

    ... more of his usual hogwash.

    Who is the principal shareholder of Fox News, again?

    ----------

    The constant, misleading spin.

    The attempt to tell people that what they see, live, is not what they are actually seeing, and that they cannot see for themselves whether this mischievous, deceitful, scaremongering spin has any merit...

    Readers can decide for themselves whether the people in the conga lines dancing in Tahrir square today were not religious fanatics that you portray them to be.

    ----------

    Seen this before, though, plenty of times. Saw it at the inquiry into the death of Robert Dziuekanski, too. Just like the lawyers and RCMP witnesses who "explained" to the public that Robert Dziekanski, holding a stapler, was a menacing threat to the police officers who killed him...

    Yes, just about the same level of credibility.

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  • 81. At 04:28am on 11 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    Oh shucks if I didn't come here (poster comments..W. Jim, Peterbo, and other negative filter/poster/posers) for guidance,

    What Would I Think?

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  • 82. At 04:36am on 11 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    But, here, and there, in democracies the truth..can sneak out...and be influential to..participating ...voters

    But, look at it this way, if it wasn't for this place (BBC) where would

    W. Jim hang out

    and try to "inform?" Obscure places on the web, no-doubt..so thank goodness for this blog..keeps some people intellectually aware of their own writing skills--many jobs in this world do not require "writing talents" so, for that ONE thing I applaud W. Jim

    for keeping current his writing skills

    I know he is caring of what I think..

    but shall we all hang out only with our listening choir only?

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  • 83. At 04:41am on 11 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    And remember the people who have left us:

    MarcusA II, and DemocracyThreat and others..

    who have left this place (hopefully for better venues)

    I do miss the one (won't tell you which one)

    though peoples blood pressures may have stabilized because of those departures..I miss the incendiary people who really made one think :)))

    :)))

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  • 84. At 05:26am on 11 Feb 2011, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    Peterbo: "Aside from that, only a lalaintellect of a leftist can somehow conclude that Islam is compatible with democracy."

    So your argument Peterbo is that Islamic majority societies are incapable of democratically electing representatives to govern their nations, and so they must live under paternalistic tyranny until they mature? I completely disagree with that assessment, and I am certainly no leftist from Las Angles.

    People say that Pres. Mubarak or some other autocrat like him should stay in power because dictatorship has brought peace and stability, but look again at what we are seeing; Pres. Mubarak and others resisted reforms for 30 years and the result today is poverty, political backwardness, and uncertainty. You worry, I worry, we all worry that Egypt will fall to fanaticism, but I refuse to be consumed by that concern.

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  • 85. At 06:24am on 11 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    From my observations on the ground in several ME countries:

    1. I don’t think Arab culture (either Mediterranean or Gulf sub-cultures) are inherently capable or incapable of creating and managing a functional democracy.

    2. Islam is a religion that lends itself quite well to blending of “Mosque & State.” After all the founder of that religion never said anything about, “Render unto Caesar…”

    3. Although Arabs are mostly Muslim, millions of Arabs are Christians and the majority of them live in the Mediterranean basin. Although, from my estimate of what I saw at an Arabic language Children’s Christmas Program, there are at least 5,000 Arab Christians in Al Ain alone.

    4. Arabs and Muslims seem to thrive under any form of government (as do most people); although they are a little more Stoic in their approach to life based on the prevalence of the term Insha’Allah and its literal meaning of “God willing.”

    5. The problem comes (one I think the US gov’t can’t seem to grasp) when a politician calls himself a President, but outlaws most opposition parties and holds sham elections. Arabs, just like the rest of us, do not like to be lied to, especially for 30 years…

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  • 86. At 07:53am on 11 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #59 Chryses

    --- anything new about the USA emergency law --has it been revoked (I forget) ?

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  • 87. At 08:00am on 11 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    If peace breaks there are gonna be A Lot of disappointed people here:)

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  • 88. At 08:33am on 11 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    78 Bien...I accept your and other criticisms and you are right to challenge my boring old left wing moaning about capitalism....in fact I think we badly need a new and well considered synthesis of the capitalist and socialist ideas that are full of potential if we drop all the false "competition" between them.

    Democracy is another religion...it`s an aspiration which we would be wise to take with a pinch of salt!

    The powerful never did willingly share power and have a multitude of means to subvert egalitarianism at their oilly fingertips!

    But it`s time the Wall Street/Bejing/Saudi nouveau riche remembered the old and tried concept of noblesse oblige.... and cancelled first world debt!

    We would ALL be inestimably "richer" for THAT!

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  • 89. At 08:45am on 11 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #87 Stevenson

    -- In this case --please define ´Peace´

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  • 90. At 08:57am on 11 Feb 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    "In the White House, they appeared almost stunned watching TV reports from Egypt." Mark Mardell

    Was Mark Mardell at the White House at the time?

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  • 91. At 11:18am on 11 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    quietoaktree, (#86. At 07:53am on 11 Feb 2011)

    ”#59 Chryses
    --- anything new about the USA emergency law --has it been revoked (I forget) ?”

    What law are you referring to?

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  • 92. At 11:21am on 11 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    worcesterjim, (#88. At 08:33am on 11 Feb 2011)

    ”... Democracy is another religion...it`s an aspiration which we would be wise to take with a pinch of salt! ...”
    More nonsense. Democracy is a political process in which governing power is derived from the people.

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  • 93. At 12:26pm on 11 Feb 2011, vs259 wrote:

    Let the people of Egypt decide their own future. Why is America showing such a keen interest in the "return to democracy" of Egypt? Each region has its own culture and mores. American concept of democracy may not exactly be what is good for Egypt.

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  • 94. At 12:28pm on 11 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    92 Forgive me Chryses...but your ivy leaves are showing!We have managed to move on to a higher plane far away from the plodding pedantic/literal world you inhabit.
    Either grow an imagination or face making yourself irrelevant in this debate.

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  • 95. At 12:47pm on 11 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    80. At 04:10am on 11 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    74. At 03:22am on 11 Feb 2011, peterbo wrote:

    ... more of his usual hogwash.

    Who is the principal shareholder of Fox News, again?"

    ___________________________________________________


    Time to get coherent, IF, and do some research before posting another mindless tirade.

    Douglas Schoen is a highly respected... Democrat pollster.

    Pew Research is a no less respected pollster institution leaning left.

    FOX, unlike the leftist media (NBC, ABC, CNN, etc), has already subscribed to the "fairness" doctrine, and provides opportunities for conflicting view points.

    It's highly unfortunate, but highly predictable, that Schoen and Pews' findings do not support your lalavision of the Egypt events.

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  • 96. At 1:03pm on 11 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    #76 chryses

    A couple of additional questions, Leila:

    1) What do we do about the 250+ Koran suras, revealed to Muhammed by Allah, that demand that Muslims subjugate, maim, kill, conquer infidels and their lands until Islam becomes the only religion on earth? Remember, Leila, a Muslim cannot pick from Koran what h/s likes, h/s is required to accept and apply it in its entirety, as every word there is revealed by Allah Himself

    2) Four of the pillars of Islam as a political system are: legislation by shura (consulting); accountability of govn't; independence of judiciary; equality before law

    In your opinion, Leila, do you find any of these principles applied in, say, Iran which is perceived as the closest to an Islamic state prototype, and where the dreaded, corrupting influence of western democracy is minimal, if non-existent?



    More useful reading for useful idiots on Islam as a political system:

    http://bora.cmi.no/dspace/bitstream/10202/166/1/R2003-03.pdf

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  • 97. At 1:13pm on 11 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    84. At 05:26am on 11 Feb 2011, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    "So your argument Peterbo is that Islamic majority societies are incapable of democratically electing representatives to govern their nations, and so they must live under paternalistic tyranny until they mature? I completely disagree with that assessment, and I am certainly no leftist from Las Angles."

    "People say that Pres. Mubarak or some other autocrat like him should stay in power because dictatorship has brought peace and stability, but look again at what we are seeing; Pres. Mubarak and others resisted reforms for 30 years and the result today is poverty, political backwardness, and uncertainty. You worry, I worry, we all worry that Egypt will fall to fanaticism, but I refuse to be consumed by that concern. "

    __________

    Thank you.


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  • 98. At 1:52pm on 11 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Further to Bienvenue's posting -

    Those who oppose democracy always find excuses to explain why reforms shouldn't be made. After all, they aren't against democracy, it's just the time isn't right; we need to prepare for a change; things are too unsettled; the world will descend into anarchy; ... and on and on and on.

    And so it is.

    And, following all that advice,

    It's a good thing that we didn't let people who don't own property vote.
    It's a good thing we didn't let "them n;ggers" vote;
    It's a good thing we didn't let women vote;

    ... because, if we had, civilization as we know it would have been destroyed, and the world would have come to an end.

    And now we see that "Islam is not compatible with democracy."

    Well who made you the judge of that?
    Do our islamic citizens not vote? Has that caused the sky to fall?
    Or should we, perhaps, not permit them to vote, since their religious views are inconsistent with democracy?

    Gosh, if that were a legitimate criterion for denying people the vote, 5/6 of the votes cast for Stephen Harper in the last election would have been disqualified, and the Conservatives would likely not have won a single seat. Further, a majority of the votes cast for Republicans in the US would have been disqualified.

    ----------

    Throughout the colonial era arguments were often made that (take your pick):

    Catholics;
    the Irish;
    Ukrainians, Poles, Ruthenians, Galicians, etc.;
    Italians;
    Aboriginal peoples;
    "Ch;namen";
    East Indians;
    West Indians;
    "N;ggers" or "Kaff;rs";
    Hispanics of any kind;

    and just about anybody else against whom whites of North-West European stock and Christian belief had a distrust or prejudice,

    could never be trusted with the vote;
    weren't intelligent enough to vote;
    were, (as in the case of Catholics), said to be the agents of an evil foreign power (i.e., the Pope, who, in those days, was known to be the agent and tool of the devil ...) to whom they owed their true allegiance;

    and so on.


    You'd think that this record would might be humbling, would give us pause, or would in some way lead us to greater wisdom, maybe a bit of skepticism of those kinds of views.

    But no.

    We still hear and see the same excuses trotted out, the same kind of scaremongering trotted out, in different clothing, even today, in spite of what we can see on the TV with our own eyes.



    The truth of it?

    Some people just don't believe in democracy, and no amount of evidence will ever change that, no matter how many times they are wrong.

    For them it will never be the right time for democracy.

    Those voices have been out in force on this blog, and elsewhere, all week.

    And it is no surprise, at all, to find the supporters of the Mubarak supporters of Sussex Drive among them.




    Over the weekend I may write a longer posting on this subject.

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  • 99. At 2:11pm on 11 Feb 2011, Nick Gotts wrote:

    You seem all right with dictators as long as they are anti america,. the majority of people don't want Chavez and the andean provinces are persecuted by Morales. - MagicKirin

    Exactly as I predicted, you prefer not to discuss your support for the Egyptian dictatorship. You fail to mention that I supported any attempt to remove the actual dictators you mentioned - Mugabe, the Iranian Mullahs and the Burmese junta - although all are anti-American. In short, your claim that I am fine with anti-American dictators is a barefaced and obvious lie.

    Neither Chavez nor Morales is a dictator, and however many times you make this false claim, it does not become true. As I have already pointed out, and you have not disputed, opposition parties and press remain very active in both countries. Both men have won and kept their Presidencies in elections accepted by foreign observers as free and fair (Chryses@44, this is one of the big differences with Mubarak - twice he was unopposed, and in 2005, there were oppressive conditions on the right to stand, and blatant vote-rigging - routine use of torture and thousands of political prisoners are others), and although Chavez certainly gerrymandered the electoral districts in the most recent Parliamentary elections, this is also standard practice in the USA. Morales has not "persecuted" any provinces - I notice you give no actual examples - and the depth of your ignorance is shown by your identifying "the Andean provinces" as those opposing him, when it is precisely the province furthest from the Andes, Santa Cruz, where opposition to him is strongest.

    "Surely, the "dominance" you keep bringing up, manifests itself in many ways, among them being the US aid to Egypt, no doubt. Or perhaps it manifests itself in the way the US managed to convince Jordan and Egypt to sign peace treaties with Israel. Certainly it must, in some way, manifest itself in the way the US dictates things in the middle east, including the Arab positions vis-a-vis Israel. Surely all these things are examples of the "US dominance" in the region. Right?" - JMay

    There are American military bases in Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Turkey, and Azerbaijan. All these countries plus Israel, Jordan, Egypt and the UAE are US allies. The armies of all these countries are largely supplied with American weapons - and of course, no general likes to be deprived of spares and upgrades, and no politician wants to get seriously on the wrong side of the army - so US aid to Egypt is indeed one of the important components of this dominance, because it is largely in the form of arms both for the armed forces, and for the police who have been the main murderers of protesters in the uprising. Israel is the only regional nuclear power, and itself has one of the most powerful and well-armed military forces in the world. There is little doubt that if faced with the same coalition as in the 1967 war - Egypt, Syria and Jordan - it would easily prevail in a conventional war, as it did then. In fact, though, because of the extent of American-Israeli dominance, Israel has not been under any serious threat of attempted invasion since the 1973 war. Various Arab states' ruling elites certainly indulge in anti-Israeli (and indeed, often antisemitic) rhetoric, but nothing more. So, as I said, American-Israeli dominance is near-complete.

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  • 100. At 2:15pm on 11 Feb 2011, Nick Gotts wrote:

    "Was Mark Mardell at the White House at the time?" - William Johnson-Smith

    Well of course he was! Barack always invites his old mate Mark around when there's something good on TV!

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  • 101. At 2:17pm on 11 Feb 2011, quasifini wrote:

    Why are we still so mistakenly falling for the unbelievably ignorant stance that we own the world. Do any of you ever read the papers in depth?
    Do you just sit back and watch our economy disappear as we provide incredibly huge amounts of money to a quarter of the world so that they can remain our serf? Well it never did work and it doesn't work now. If you have no job and are losing your home, perhaps already have, how can you possibly care what happens in the middle East. It's time to stop sending our tax dollars to all these backwards countries and take care of our own.

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  • 102. At 2:22pm on 11 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 103. At 2:36pm on 11 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 84 BEL "You worry, I worry, we all worry that Egypt will fall to fanaticism, but I refuse to be consumed by that concern. "

    Amen. And I would say the odds are it won't: civil society is quite strong and diverse. The Brotherhood will be a factor, but I have seen nothing to indicate they are interested in an Iraninan style theocracy. Nor would most Egyptians be interested in one.

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  • 104. At 2:45pm on 11 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    97. At 1:13pm on 11 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    84. At 05:26am on 11 Feb 2011, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    "So your argument Peterbo is that Islamic majority societies are incapable of democratically electing representatives to govern their nations, and so they must live under paternalistic tyranny until they mature? I completely disagree with that assessment, and I am certainly no leftist from Las Angles.

    IF: "Thanks you".

    ____________________________________________________

    Statements will not suffice. Examples of capably governed Islam countries by democratically elected representatives, please.

    In their own eyes (Leila), Muslims are not immature, but perfect, or at least much nearer to perfection than the rest of us, as they were revealed the Deen, the perfect way of life (Islam) by Allah Himself.

    If there are any imperfections, they are due to satanic western influences. Leila is another tortured Muslim soul trying to comprehend how, after Muslims were given the divine Islam/Deen, they may live as miserably as some secular infidels. In a true Muslim fashion, she decides that is not Muslims'/Islam/Deen fault.

    Remember, there was a meek attempt at something similar to the European Reformation (Ijtihad, interpretation of the Muslim scriptures), but that book was closed way back in the 10th century, at the expense of Taqlid, ie the imitation of the scriptures.

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  • 105. At 2:51pm on 11 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 96 peterbo ... Iran which is perceived as the closest to an Islamic state prototype, and where the dreaded, corrupting influence of western democracy is minimal, if non-existent?

    Why not choose Turkey, or Morocco for that matter, as the prototype?

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  • 106. At 2:55pm on 11 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    worcesterjim, (#94. At 12:28pm on 11 Feb 2011)

    ”... We have managed to move on to a higher plane far away from the plodding pedantic/literal world you inhabit ...”
    That could be true. I inhabit the planet earth.

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  • 107. At 3:08pm on 11 Feb 2011, eddyjames wrote:

    I'm sure that here in America we could get at least as many people to show up as did in Cairo, If only Obama would step down. I think he'd kick,scream and cry before leaving office on his on two feet.mumbling "it's not fair, what a bunch of racists, dang capitalists. any you comrades seen my little red chairman Mao book?" just like in the movie "guess who's coming to dinner" nobody ever warned he was a communist supporter. Who cares if he's only half white.he's a socialist bent on destroying the western world.How many nukes you got in the UK? or are you Europe now?

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  • 108. At 3:12pm on 11 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    59. At 01:11am on 11 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote REquietoaktree, (#46. At 11:48pm on 10 Feb 2011):

    “Yes, it was a disappointing dénouement. I hope his intransigence will not cost his country too much more. Like President Chávez, his presence is doing his country no good.”

    People who see the world through red colored lenses are unable to se the similarities between the Mubarak dictatorship and Fidel Castro’s, they don’t see the eternal leader, the unfair elections [if any] the oppression of the people because they share the underlying ideology and/or have been fed on the propaganda too long.

    Similarly, conservative Americans, through their red white and blue lenses, can not see that their pet tyrants are just as bad as those of the other side. In addition to a nuclear weapon reduction treaty, we need a treaty between the capitalists and the Internationale to ban dictatorships on both sides. We won’t get that, though, because ideologues can’t even see the other side’s points, much less compromise with them.

    To quote Shakespeare, “A pox on both their houses.”

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  • 109. At 3:20pm on 11 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    63. At 01:38am on 11 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:
    “But the radio silence about the true effects of Soros/CIA "democracy" speaks for itself....in the BS empire we are held hostage in here in the UK.”

    The notoriously insular American media were not silent, and neither were the Economist or the BBC. Therefore I am left to interpret your remarks as being rather Like Powermeerkat’s and MagicKirin’s remarks.

    The media were silent about your particular theories and explanations. They are silent about my theories and explanations, too, which is why I [and presumably yourself and those other worthies] present them here on this blog.

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  • 110. At 3:21pm on 11 Feb 2011, Nick Gotts wrote:

    "Examples of capably governed Islam countries by democratically elected representatives, please." - peterbo

    Turkey and Indonesia come to mind. Neither of them perfect democracies, certainly, but the same can be said of many - perhaps most - democratic non-Islamic countries.

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  • 111. At 3:28pm on 11 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    peterbo: since you seem very anxious about what events in Egypt might mean for Israel, I submit this essay for your consideration.

    The author is Aluf Ben, an 'editor at large' for Haaretz.

    He concludes:

    The instinctive and expected Israeli reaction to the upheaval in Egypt has been to try to preserve the status quo for as long as possible while planning a defense budget increase. A collapse or cooling of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel would bolster the right-wing argument that Arabs cannot be trusted and that peace with the Arab world is impossible. A more sober analysis could leverage the current crisis into a new opportunity for Israel. This, however, entails a change from the siege mentality underlying Netanyahu's foreign policy.

    That is, the threat is not to Israel's existence, but to Bibi's foreign policy. There is a difference, you know.

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  • 112. At 3:31pm on 11 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 85 oldloadr

    5. The problem comes (one I think the US gov’t can’t seem to grasp) when a politician calls himself a President, but outlaws most opposition parties and holds sham elections. Arabs, just like the rest of us, do not like to be lied to, especially for 30 years…

    Crikey ... a 'kumbaya moment.' Agree whole heartedly with your post.

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  • 113. At 3:34pm on 11 Feb 2011, Nick Gotts wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 114. At 3:41pm on 11 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    106 Chryses..Is that why you think like a mole?

    Please can you stop this unrelenting pedantry...your strength is in putting your case rather flat-footedly as a representative of the administration.Once out of that comfort zone you are in my territory......and I can float like butterfly and sting like a bee!

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  • 115. At 3:41pm on 11 Feb 2011, Nick Gotts wrote:

    Stevenson@72,

    What on earth are you babbling about?

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  • 116. At 3:46pm on 11 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    " 111. At 3:28pm on 11 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    peterbo: since you seem very anxious about what events in Egypt might mean for Israel, I submit this essay for your consideration."

    _____________________________________________________


    Which post of mine would that be? Please elaborate.

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  • 117. At 4:00pm on 11 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    105. At 2:51pm on 11 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 96 peterbo ... Iran which is perceived as the closest to an Islamic state prototype, and where the dreaded, corrupting influence of western democracy is minimal, if non-existent?

    Why not choose Turkey, or Morocco for that matter, as the prototype? "


    ____________________________________________________

    Republic of Turkey is (still) a secular entity. For Morocco, please see below.

    The litmus test is called Sharia law. Islam purists reject any form of governance that excludes Sharia from the legislative system and the courts. Autocracies are unacceptable as well to them, as they to not approve of a secular intermediary between the state and Allah. The 50+ Islamic states are a mixed bag of approximation: Iran comes closest to covering the Islam purists' requirements.

    The theoretical (should I say "theosophical" or "theocratic"?) basis of the structure are the first two principles of Islam political system:

    1) Sovereignty of Allah
    2) Khalifa of Mankind (vicegerency of man)

    For the other four, please see #96.

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  • 118. At 4:02pm on 11 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    112. At 3:31pm on 11 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:
    re: 85 oldloadr

    5. The problem comes (one I think the US gov’t can’t seem to grasp) when a politician calls himself a President, but outlaws most opposition parties and holds sham elections. Arabs, just like the rest of us, do not like to be lied to, especially for 30 years…

    Crikey ... a 'kumbaya moment.' Agree whole heartedly with your post.
    _______________________________________________________________

    Glad you agree (I think most people who have ever really studied politics, religion and the ME would probably agree). I have expressed this same sentiment in different ways a few times in the multitude of threads on the Egyptian crisis that MM has started. I can’t tell you where to find them since I’m not vain enough to document all of my pontifications. But, sometimes you have to say something several different ways for everybody to get it. Now, I know, you didn’t have to get it, you obviously knew it, but there are others here that only know what they read or see on TV about the ME. I’m trying to give background for those who have never actually traveled to the ME and looked an Arab in the eye who is proud of his country and wants it to prosper.

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  • 119. At 4:13pm on 11 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    95. At 12:47pm on 11 Feb 2011, peterbo wrote:

    "FOX, unlike the leftist media (NBC, ABC, CNN, etc), has already subscribed to the "fairness" doctrine, and provides opportunities for conflicting view points."

    Just when I was begining to believe that peterbo had some useful insights comes this gem.

    At least you had the decency to put parenthesis around "fairness" because, though FOX promotes its views as fair and balanced, there is little fairness and not much balance in the constant right-wing, pro-GOP and pro-TEA Party rhetoric. I tried watching FOX to balance CNN, but gave up on both of them.

    Where was the "fair and balanced" coverage of the "Mega-Mosque" controversy, of the "socialist/communist Obamacare" controversy, of the entirely phoney "War on Christianity" or "War on Christmas," of the "Christians becoming a persecuted minority in the US" wholly manufactured propaganda in a country where more than 75% of the population identify themselves as Christian?

    Your support of the FauxNews Propaganda Network really calls into question anything you say. I won't withdraw my previous comment because what you said was interesting, represented realistic points of view, and are points that need to be considered seriously. One should not be [FOXily] blind to what people say when their positions are not entirely on the same wavelength.

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  • 120. At 4:21pm on 11 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    OOPS! This post was not put in before 119 where it should be, as 119 refers to the part about peterbo.

    73 and 74 At 03:13am on 11 Feb 2011, peterbo wrote an interesting if somewhat acerbic post, which has a number of seemingly worthwhile points to consider.

    My experience living in several Muslim countries leads me to agree that most expressions of Islam are at odds with individualistic North American interpretations of democracy. However the religious right in the US favors laws and social policies that are scarcely more democratic or tolerant than those of conservative Islamic states. Thus everything is not quite as clearcut as depicted.

    The prediction of what probably lies ahead for Egypt is not pretty, but it is a one possible realistic assessment of what is, unfortunately, likely to happen.

    76. At 03:43am on 11 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    "’... Supporting autocracies and dictatorships like Mubarak's and Saudi Arabia's is doing nothing but contributing greatly to the rapid expansion of the extreme fundamentalist model of Islam ...’

    Saudi Arabia is a monarchy.”

    Your other points are well taken, but this is as obscure as that to which it is directed. Were you intending to imply that the traditional Islamic government is an autocracy, either a monarchy or dictatorship?

    Leila sounds like an educated Muslim woman who has been taught inexact ideas of what democracy is, and has not been taught that toleration and the need to treat other religions as equal to Islam is necessary for democracy.

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  • 121. At 4:24pm on 11 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    119. At 4:13pm on 11 Feb 2011, JMM wrote:
    Where was the "fair and balanced" coverage of the "Mega-Mosque" controversy, of the "socialist/communist Obamacare" controversy, of the entirely phoney "War on Christianity" or "War on Christmas," of the "Christians becoming a persecuted minority in the US" wholly manufactured propaganda in a country where more than 75% of the population identify themselves as Christian?
    ____________________________________________


    I have to say that I watch FOX News all the time and I saw differing POV aired on FOX on every one of these issues. Of course, I’m reminded that Hillary Clinton said (in 2008) that Fox was the only network that gave her a fair shake in the Dem’s primary process. All of the other networks had already anointed The One as the next POTUS.

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  • 122. At 4:29pm on 11 Feb 2011, Nick Gotts wrote:

    I have to say that I watch FOX News all the time - Oldloadr

    That explains a lot.

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  • 123. At 4:40pm on 11 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    Re: 116 peterbo

    'Which post of mine would that be? Please elaborate.'

    Chuckle.

    Well, I guess I assumed your concerns about, for example, the relationship between Ikhwan and Iran, and about Iran in general, arose out of some concern for Israel's security.

    But perhaps you are agitating on behalf of al Saud?

    Or not? Please, feel free to enlighten me.

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  • 124. At 4:45pm on 11 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    #119 JMM

    JMM, FOX offer both single-opinion-based programs (Beck, O'Reilly, Hannity), AND conflicting-opinion info blocks (too many left-leaning personalities to enumerate).

    My #74 provides a link to an opinion (on FOX) of a highly-trusted Dem pollster, Douglas Schoen (Clinton's pollster, no less). I've never heard/seen NBC/ABC/CNN quote Rasmussen.

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  • 125. At 4:57pm on 11 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    122. At 4:29pm on 11 Feb 2011, KG wrote:
    I have to say that I watch FOX News all the time - Oldloadr

    That explains a lot.
    _______________________________________
    What does that explain? The fact that I look at all sides of an issue instead of just the left side? Please enlighten me...

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  • 126. At 5:05pm on 11 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    120. At 4:21pm on 11 Feb 2011, JMM wrote:

    OOPS! This post was not put in before 119 where it should be, as 119 refers to the part about peterbo.

    73 and 74 At 03:13am on 11 Feb 2011, peterbo wrote an interesting if somewhat acerbic post, which has a number of seemingly worthwhile points to consider.

    My experience living in several Muslim countries leads me to agree that most expressions of Islam are at odds with individualistic North American interpretations of democracy. However the religious right in the US favors laws and social policies that are scarcely more democratic or tolerant than those of conservative Islamic states. Thus everything is not quite as clearcut as depicted."

    _____________________________________________________

    You may wish to google:

    "prof kevin mcdonald culture of critique" (not sure if the link will be approved by the moderator)

    The book is accessible in a pdf format, free download (or buy at amazon.com alone or as part of Prof McDonald's trilogy on Jewish anthropology and evolution, and their influence on US politics).

    The section that outlines the basic anthropological differences and incompatibility between Jews and North Europeans, is 100 per cent applicable to an anthropological comparison Muslims-North Europeans - because of the common Semitic origins of Jews and Arabs.

    You may find this section to be a much more refined and detailed confirmation of your observations.


    The rest of the paragraph: I am not aware of any Sharia-like laws and legislation pushed by "the right" in US.

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  • 127. At 5:15pm on 11 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 96 peterbo 1) What do we do about the 250+ Koran suras, revealed to Muhammed by Allah, that demand that Muslims subjugate, maim, kill, conquer infidels and their lands until Islam becomes the only religion on earth? Remember, Leila, a Muslim cannot pick from Koran what h/s likes, h/s is required to accept and apply it in its entirety, as every word there is revealed by Allah Himself

    I am loathe even to address stuff like this, because it so often leads to dueling scriptural citations -- which is both boring and silly.

    So let me approach it this way: have you ever considered how a religion so apparently dark and violent could have generated, just for example, a text like Rumi's Masnavi? Or how it allowed for the development of an intellectual climate in which a Maimonedes could flourish?

    My point being, that all religious texts are subject to a process of historical and human interpretation whereby certain aspects are emphasized, others are diminished, others are quietly (or noisily, with great wailings and gnashing of teeth, sometimes!) swept under the rug.

    As I see it, Islam has the same potential to generate pluralist democracies as Judaism or Christianity. That these democracies will have their own colours and flavours I see as a good thing.

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  • 128. At 5:23pm on 11 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    111. At 3:28pm on 11 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    "That is, the threat is not to Israel's existence, but to Bibi's foreign policy. There is a difference, you know."

    _________

    Amen.





    This is another subject I may write about at greater length this weekend.

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  • 129. At 6:44pm on 11 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    #127 chph

    I agree this is explosive stuff and a good can of worms, but Islam today is what it is, and it is not much different from what it was in its beginnings (please see my #104 on Ijtihad v. Taqlid - the botched Islam reformation attempt c. 1000 AD ). Now, as before, Muslims are required to "imitate" their scriptures, ie absorb them literally, and avoid any interpretation. That may give you some idea how far away in a distant future a potential for something different may lay.

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  • 130. At 6:57pm on 11 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    123. At 4:40pm on 11 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    Re: 116 peterbo

    'Which post of mine would that be? Please elaborate.'

    Chuckle.

    Well, I guess I assumed your concerns about, for example, the relationship between Ikhwan and Iran, and about Iran in general, arose out of some concern for Israel's security.

    But perhaps you are agitating on behalf of al Saud?

    Or not? Please, feel free to enlighten me. "

    _____________________________________________________

    This is my first post where I mention explicitly Israel. To claim that the relationship Iran-Hamas-MB is a concern of Israel solely, is a gross oversimplification.

    The stakes are much higher, as Egypt holds the key to North Africa (Gadaffi's Lybia, Morrocco, Algiers next?), Sudan, etc. In no time, Europe may find its southern flank in the hands of Muslim extremists.

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  • 131. At 7:01pm on 11 Feb 2011, Jackturk wrote:

    To those debating the merits or otherwise of FOX NEWS, take a look at this:- http://thinkprogress.org/2010/12/16/poll-fox-news-misinformation/

    http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/pdf/dec10/Misinformation_Dec10_rpt.pdf

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  • 132. At 8:03pm on 11 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    131. At 7:01pm on 11 Feb 2011, Jackturk wrote:
    To those debating the merits or otherwise of FOX NEWS, take a look at this:- http://thinkprogress.org/2010/12/16/poll-fox-news-misinformation/



    If you follow the “about us” link on your citation you get the following:

    Think Progress is a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. The Center for American Progress Action Fund is a nonpartisan organization. Through this blog, CAPAF seeks to provide a forum that advances progressive ideas and policies.

    ThinkProgress was voted “Best Liberal Blog” in the 2006 Weblog Awards and chosen as an Official Honoree in the 2009 Webby awards. It was also named best blog of 2008 by The Sidney Hillman Foundation, receiving an award for journalism excellence. In 2009, ThinkProgress was named a “Gold Award Winner” by the International Academy of Visual Arts.

    This is an endorsement for FOX, if these Lefty-loons want to spout misinformation about FOX, that’s a good thing. It’s like a state getting an F from the Brady campaign=means the citizens have real gun rights.


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  • 133. At 8:52pm on 11 Feb 2011, Jackturk wrote:

    132. At 8:03pm on 11 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:
    "ThinkProgress was voted “Best Liberal Blog” in the 2006 Weblog Awards and chosen as an Official Honoree in the 2009 Webby awards. It was also named best blog of 2008 by The Sidney Hillman Foundation, receiving an award for journalism excellence. In 2009, ThinkProgress was named a “Gold Award Winner” by the International Academy of Visual Arts.

    This is an endorsement for FOX, if these Lefty-loons want to spout misinformation about FOX, that’s a good thing. It’s like a state getting an F from the Brady campaign=means the citizens have real gun rights."


    I don't think you've quite got the drift .... you're not a Fox News follower are you??

    It wasn't 'ThinkProgress' that came to the conclusion through their surveys that Fox News viewers were the least informed and most easily misinformed, it was the University of Maryland in their 'World Public Opinion' survey.

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  • 134. At 9:25pm on 11 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 133 Jackturk wrote:
    “I don't think you've quite got the drift .... you're not a Fox News follower are you??

    It wasn't 'ThinkProgress' that came to the conclusion through their surveys that Fox News viewers were the least informed and most easily misinformed, it was the University of Maryland in their 'World Public Opinion' survey.”


    The University of Maryland?

    Are you crazy?

    Those notorious socialist communist Muslim pointy-headed elitist commie socialist leftie liberal pinkos?? Who probably believe in evolution and other such heresies???

    Why, if they say something, it must be false!

    (Moderators – obviously I don't believe this nonsense. I am being ironic – and saving some of our more conservative contributors the bother of saying pretty much the same thing....)

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  • 135. At 9:30pm on 11 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    #133 Jackturk

    How about this one:


    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703561604575282190930932412.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop


    I am aware of at least two other polls that would embarrass your overconfidence in the supra natural intelligence of the leftists/progressives.


    Anyway, I don't think a poll would make anyone look smarter, and I find the stigmatizing of FOX viewers ("you're not a Fox News follower (sic, no comma) are you?? (sic)" - now how dumb could that be?) pretty stupid. The viewer stats, falling influence and revenue of the left media don't lie.

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  • 136. At 9:34pm on 11 Feb 2011, Jackturk wrote:

    134. At 9:25pm on 11 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    "The University of Maryland?

    Are you crazy?

    Those notorious socialist communist Muslim pointy-headed elitist commie socialist leftie liberal pinkos?? Who probably believe in evolution and other such heresies???

    Why, if they say something, it must be false!

    (Moderators – obviously I don't believe this nonsense. I am being ironic – and saving some of our more conservative contributors the bother of saying pretty much the same thing....)"


    You had me worried there for a second John, I was almost saddling up my high horse again :-)

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  • 137. At 9:57pm on 11 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    126. At 5:05pm on 11 Feb 2011, peterbo wrote RE 120. At 4:21pm on 11 Feb 2011, JMM “The rest of the paragraph: I am not aware of any Sharia-like laws and legislation pushed by "the right" in US.”

    Constant repetition that the US is a “Christian country” despite words of the founding fathers to the contrary. Continuing efforts to impose “Christian” beliefs on the country [i.e. anti-gay marriage laws, anti-death with dignity laws] which are not held by all religions, and not all Christians in the US.

    Washington State passed a law permitting doctor assisted suicide, there was opposition to the law but it was upheld in the State of Washington in accordance with the constitutions of the state and the US.

    George W. Bush and those who supported him defied the US Constitution’s separation of Church and state as well as the 10th amendment, because they tried to enforce their religious belief on a state in defiance of the afore mentioned. How Taleban can you get? and there are other instances as well but this is the clearest and most eggregious.

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  • 138. At 10:04pm on 11 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 129 peterbo Now, as before, Muslims are required to "imitate" their scriptures, ie absorb them literally, and avoid any interpretation. That may give you some idea how far away in a distant future a potential for something different may lay.

    I am tempted just to snark that young Catholics still do the catechism, and I'm not seeing too much concern expressed about that.

    But seriously ... you are projecting images of the worst Pakistani or Saudi madrassas onto the whole of modern Islam, and assuming that is how all contemporary Muslims understand and transmit their faith.

    Which is simply absurd. For God's sake, something like 1/4 of the world's population are Muslim. Even you must acknowledge that they aren't all infidel hating adherents of al Qaeda's ideology.

    In Egypt itself, there is a wide spectrum of beliefs and believers. Even within the Brotherhood, there is a broad spectrum ranging from fire breathing pan-islamists to much more moderate nationalists. (See this at CFR for a reasoned assessment of the Brothers).

    It seems prudent to be cautious about Ikhwan, but on the whole I am optimistic about Egypt's chances to develop something much better (in terms of citizen's rights, and material well being) relative to the status quo which has been overthrown.

    And re your 130, as far as the maghreb 'in no time' falling into the hands of Muslim extremists ... that's just a paranoid fantasy. It's primarily Israel, and the Saudis, who are worried now.

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  • 139. At 10:10pm on 11 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 101 Scott "The spice must flow."

    Dang you!

    I've been wanting to use that line in a post and now you've beaten me to it!

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  • 140. At 10:11pm on 11 Feb 2011, Jackturk wrote:

    135. At 9:30pm on 11 Feb 2011, peterbo wrote:
    "I am aware of at least two other polls that would embarrass your overconfidence in the supra natural intelligence of the leftists/progressives."

    First, you can't cite the results of the Zogby pole to discredit the results of the other.

    Second, the subjects were Americans so I'm not surprised. (sorry :-) )

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  • 141. At 10:35pm on 11 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    worcesterjim, (#114. At 3:41pm on 11 Feb 2011)

    "... Chryses..Is that why you think like a mole? ..."
    How long have you known how a mole thinks? LOL!

    "... Please can you stop this unrelenting pedantry ..."
    If you stop posting false hoods, I have already offered to stop pointing them out.

    "... your strength is in putting your case rather flat-footedly as a representative of the administration ..."
    Evidence please. And just as a reminder, repeating your claim does not constitute evidence.

    "... Once out of that comfort zone you are in my territory ..."
    Possibly. We have already established that I inhabit the planet earth.

    "... and I can float like butterfly and sting like a bee!"
    Oh yes? When did you begin?

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  • 142. At 11:28pm on 11 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    141 Crisis.... That correspondence course you purchased from the "American School of Persuasion and Diplomacy"...just trust me and ask for a refund!

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  • 143. At 11:54pm on 11 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    worcesterjim, (#142. At 11:28pm on 11 Feb 2011)

    "... just trust me and ask for a refund!"
    Why on earth (the planet I inhabit) should I trust you? Have you given me any reason to do so?

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  • 144. At 00:03am on 12 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 145. At 00:34am on 12 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    Bye bye Chryses...hope you and the BBC are very happy together!

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  • 146. At 02:24am on 12 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    worcesterjim, (#145. At 00:34am on 12 Feb 2011)

    ”Bye bye Chryses...hope you and the BBC are very happy together!”
    So far, so good.

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  • 147. At 04:59am on 12 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 120 JMM "My experience living in several Muslim countries leads me to agree that most expressions of Islam are at odds with individualistic North American interpretations of democracy."

    I think the idea that there are a plurality of possible permutations of democracy is a valuable one. We in Canada lived with two very distinct traditions until the 1960's.

    Quebec was always a much more communal society. Church and state had a much, much closer relationship in Quebec than in Anglophone Canada, and it this made it in many ways 'backwards:' a self absorbed bucolic backwater. But it was a democracy, of sorts. More importantly, perhaps, it was eventually able to evolve in a really quite astonishing way (See this wiki link if the subject is of interest to you).

    Anyway, the point of raising the example of Quebec in the context of the current discussion of Egypt is merely to suggest that functioning democracies might not be contingent upon the kind of separation of church and state which we in present day North America take to be necessary and self evident.

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  • 148. At 08:03am on 12 Feb 2011, HeartOfOak58 wrote:

    Re #76, you seem to be missing the point of LeilaYoussef's post. As far as I could see she wasn't criticising Western democracy as practiced in the West; she was criticising the fact that while encouraging democracy at home, Western countries have been promoting tyrrany abroad over the last 50 years.

    We can argue about how well US/UK democracy is working but that would take us well away from the main point of this thread. Yes the US opposed Communist dictatorship in Eastern Europe, so if you are a Pole/Hungarian you may feel that the US was on the side of the good guys in history. But if you were from Nicaragua/Guatemala/El Salvador/Zaire (to name but a few), where for years Western countries have been supporting governments that perpetrate unspeakable atrocities, I could understand it if you had a lifelong hatred of the west.

    Getting back to the Middle East, don't forget that in 1953 the UK/US overthrew a democratically elected government in Iran. And for years (1979-1990) the US/UK supported Saddam Hussein, despite knowing about his campaign of genocide in Kurdistan and his invading Iraq and kicking off a war that cost 2 million lives.

    Let us hope and (those of us religiously inclined) pray that the transition in Egypt remains relatively democratic and peaceful. Yes there is always a high risk that democratic and revolutionary ideals could be betrayed, and one autocracy could be replaced by another, but that is always a possibility in revolutions (Iran 1979, France 1789).

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  • 149. At 3:19pm on 12 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    149. At 04:47am on 12 Feb 2011, Tony of Britain wrote an interesting and balanced post RE 100. At 8:49pm on 11 Feb 2011, JMM:

    I agree with your point that the US has behaved very badly, and the implied criticism that the bad behaviour is geographically and temporally restricted rather than always and everywhere the same.

    The problem I have with the leftist, anti-American, ideologues is that however much I agree that American actions such as interference in Chile and Guatemala were bad, they insist that all American actions are bad, and never criticize their own side's bad actions. Compare Cuba and Egypt, Fidel and Mubarak, very little difference, I'd say.

    You are right that the Marxist Greeks continue to moan that the Americans stopped their "liberation" by the Marxists, whereas Eastern Europeans moan about the US army NOT stopping the Red Army to their East.

    I prefer evaluations by thoughtful people like yourself, you are able to see both sides and avoid the blind loyalty that both left and right so often put on display here. Your criticisms, because they are fair and balanced, carry much more weight.

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  • 150. At 3:30pm on 12 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    chronophobe, (#147. At 04:59am on 12 Feb 2011)

    ”... Anyway, the point of raising the example of Quebec in the context of the current discussion of Egypt is merely to suggest that functioning democracies might not be contingent upon the kind of separation of church and state which we in present day North America take to be necessary and self evident.”
    Fair enough, but such political constructions are qualitatively different from those in which Church and State are explicitly separated. As such, the rules of interaction would be different for them. Take, as obvious examples, the instances of Iran and Pakistan. Are secular democracies supposed to accept the legal penalties applied to religious transgressions in those states as unremarkable?

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  • 151. At 10:10pm on 12 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re 150 Chryses "Are secular democracies supposed to accept the legal penalties applied to religious transgressions in those states as unremarkable?"

    No, certainly not. We should promote human rights in Pakistan and Iran with the same vigour, rigour, and zeal we show in such pursuits with, say, China.

    Sorry, couldn't help myself.

    Seriously, we should be concerned, and do what we can, when we can, where we can, to promote human rights. And I'd go much farther. It seems to me both pragmatic and moral to be, for example, actively supporting those who challenge Akhmedinejad's legitimacy on the grounds of his perpetration of electoral fraud.

    Fair enough, but such political constructions are qualitatively different from those in which Church and State are explicitly separated.

    They are different, but I'm not sure about them being 'qualitatively' so. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If one traces the long and winding road which is the path of democracy in the UK, for example, is there a point at which one can definitively say the polity changed state, becoming in that instant qualitatively different from what it had been before?

    Perhaps a better way to consider the issue (at least in some cases) is to use the language of crystallization or accretion: gradual changes over time resulting in the development of new structures.

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  • 152. At 02:58am on 13 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    147. At 04:59am on 12 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    "Anyway, the point of raising the example of Quebec in the context of the current discussion of Egypt is merely to suggest that functioning democracies might not be contingent upon the kind of separation of church and state which we in present day North America take to be necessary and self evident."

    __________

    A very interesting comment, indeed.

    The thing is, it didn't function very well. That stiffling, repressed political culture of corruption is what exploded in the strike at Asbestos. It led to the Quiet Revolution that cast off the weight of clericalism that had, almost as in Spain under Franco, held Quebec Society and culture back.

    Yes, that's a huge topic.

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  • 153. At 12:43pm on 13 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    chronophobe, (#151. At 10:10pm on 12 Feb 2011)

    ”... but such political constructions are qualitatively different from those in which Church and State are explicitly separated. ‘

    They are different, but I'm not sure about them being 'qualitatively' so. Sometimes yes, sometimes no ...”

    While circumstances change cases, governments infused with one religion’s precepts appear to me to be inherently different from those which purposefully exclude all. The social domain of the secular State is unconstrained by the theory of a religion, while the politics of a religious State may occupy only whatever space is made available by the religion. The coercive power of the State constrains the behavior of people in a religious state not only because social norms ease life, but also because there is often a supporting religious mandate.

    The “third way”, multiculturalism, the efforts to be all things to all people, has had a bumpy ride of late. German Chancellor Merkel has declared multiculturalism a failure, as has French President Sarkozy. I have yet to be persuaded that the UK’s attempts to integrate Sharia law into English law will benefit anyone other than BNP candidates. It remains to be seen if Europe’s efforts at multiculturalism can be successful.

    Now, it may be true that some socio-religious context may be the human ideal, thus justifying the repeated attempts over time to create one. My concern is that there seem to be no obvious intellectual paths humans may follow to reach that utopia. Further, none of the attempts, and there have been many, have been demonstrably successful.

    Perhaps it brands me as some version of conservative, but as all the alternatives to date have proven to be, based upon reasonably objective standards, inferior to secular democracy, I’ll stick with the devil I know.

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  • 154. At 3:03pm on 13 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    153. At 12:43pm on 13 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote RE chronophobe, #151: “Perhaps it brands me as some version of conservative, but as all the alternatives to date have proven to be, based upon reasonably objective standards, inferior to secular democracy, I’ll stick with the devil I know.”

    I don’t see how that would make you a conservative [in modern American use of the terms], the conservatives [if one believes the FAUX NEWS network] wish to make the US a Christian country.
    If you reference the founding fathers, who were ultraliberal or radical for their time, you could call yourself a liberal, though.

    The French have gone so far as to be anti-religion, as have other European countries. This is a reaction to the horrors inflected on the people by centuries of church-state collusion. The US founding fathers realized that separation of church and state was essential to keep religion honest and protected from being used by the state, as well as to protect the people from church interference in the state.

    In Massachusetts, in my youth, the Catholic Church was able to use its influence on the government of the state to ban even the mention of the words condom and birth control as well as banning the serving of meat in Public school cafeterias on Fridays.

    If that sounds minor compared to past church impositions it is, but it illustrates how easily people with clerical or religious convictions will try to impose them on everyone, even people not of the same faith, by using the power of the state.

    I fancy the conservative “Christians” trying to impose their values on the state would be furious if the Catholic Church imposed meatless Fridays on them, or the Hindus tried to impose beefless or even vegetarian lifestyles on them. This type of strife is what the separation of church and state is about preventing.

    The conservative “Christians” are perfectly able to teach their children Genesis and Leviticus at home and in “Sunday School.” They are free to do so and few if any secularists would deny them that right. It is just pure fanaticism and stupidity to keep trying to religify the state. Separation of Church and state actually protects them and their beliefs.

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  • 155. At 4:52pm on 13 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    Don't get me wrong, I think the carving out of a secular political space is a great achievement. The more secular, the better, precisely because (as JMM says) the separation of church and state allows for all creeds and religions to flourish within the private realm.

    Furthermore, I would certainly see secular public space as something at once incredibly valuable, quite fragile, and worthy of a very zealous defence. I would also recommend it as a worthy goal in any polity.

    But I would not expect it to arise, or even to be desired, everywhere on this great blue earth. Nor would I wish to ignore its particular shortcomings and pathologies ("We are the hollow men," as Elliot would warn).

    Which is all to say, in the context of the Middle East, that we are unlikely to see it spread as we might wish, at least in the short term. This should not, however, preclude our foreign policies from encouraging democratic developments of a less secular nature.

    Anyway, it is an interesting conversation.

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  • 156. At 5:15pm on 13 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    154. At 3:03pm on 13 Feb 2011, JMM wrote:
    I fancy the conservative “Christians” trying to impose their values on the state would be furious if the Catholic Church imposed meatless Fridays on them, or the Hindus tried to impose beefless or even vegetarian lifestyles on them. This type of strife is what the separation of church and state is about preventing.
    _________________________________________________________

    When I was growing up in Kentucky in the early 70s, the local Catholic school, for reasons I can’t remember since I was a self-absorbed teenager at the time, closed their high school and only operated K-8. Our 2 high schools at the time in Franklin County immediately started serving fish every Friday. Guess what, nobody complained (I don’t really know if the Catholics asked for it or the predominantly protestant school board did it out of neighborliness). So don’t assume any Christian group would complain about another. Personally, at the state level (as I have pointed out in other threads) the Catholic Church was well within its rights to lobby/campaign for what it views as moral priorities. Every society needs a moral compass why not the Bible? Moral relativism doesn’t seem to be working… Beside, fish is good for you. ;)

    Please remember that the phrase Separation of Church and State does not appear in the Constitution or the Federalist papers, only in a letter written by Jefferson to a Baptist Church in New England. Even with that the court rulings over the years have trampled on the 1st amendment as well. The whole passage says Congress shall make no laws affecting the establishment of religion, or prevent the free exercise thereof. Since the Bible commands all Christians to spread the Gospel, every time a court says a public servant cannot pray or mention God because of who he/she is or where he/she is that courts is trampling that person’s 1st amendment rights.

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  • 157. At 7:39pm on 13 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    156. At 5:15pm on 13 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:
    "Please remember that the phrase Separation of Church and State does not appear in the Constitution or the Federalist papers, only in a letter written by Jefferson to a Baptist Church in New England. Even with that the court rulings over the years have trampled on the 1st amendment as well. The whole passage says Congress shall make no laws affecting the establishment of religion, or prevent the free exercise thereof. Since the Bible commands all Christians to spread the Gospel, every time a court says a public servant cannot pray or mention God because of who he/she is or where he/she is that courts is trampling that person’s 1st amendment rights."


    With all due respect, you are conflating different issues. That you or anyone has a right to proselytise, is not in question. You do not have a right to use the levers of the state to impose it. I refer you to the recent passage of anti-Shariah laws [in a southern state] indicating that conservative and southern Christians understand that forcing another religion's strictures on them is abhorent. What they need to understand is that forcing their religion's strictures on others is equally abhorent. This is what separation of church and state is about, equality of respect for others and what one expects for oneself.

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  • 158. At 8:42pm on 13 Feb 2011, herecomesthemirrorman wrote:

    10. At 7:22pm on 10 Feb 2011, Jackturk wrote:

    Right, I'm going to set my clock to see how long it takes for the usual Zionist sympathisers, Nostrano, Mirrorman, MagicKirin, LucyJ etc., to receive the alert and get typing to have a pop at my post :-)

    -----------

    *Bleep bleep bleep*

    Oh dear, my GIYUS alert thing's going off again. Come on, boys, let's spring into action and fulfil the prophecy as mentioned in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion; time to take over all the world's media and banking institutions.

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  • 159. At 11:04pm on 13 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    158 Fear not my old reflective one the global capitalists have already got the world`s media and markets all singing from the same pro-Zionist psalter ...and you only have to look at the way they got away unpunished with perpetrating the 2008 sub prime heist to realise that!

    I would have thought anyone who seriously wants the ordinary jewish people of the world to escape from further persecution might avoid using references to anti-semitism the elders of Zion....but I have noticed that the small proportion of cynical fraudsters who exploit their jewishness to escape scrutiny are the first to fling these phrases around!

    Perhaps it`s time Israel and the majority of jewish people openly rejected their "friends" who are proved to be crooks?

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  • 160. At 00:58am on 14 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    chronophobe, (#155. At 4:52pm on 13 Feb 2011)

    ”... Which is all to say, in the context of the Middle East, that we are unlikely to see it spread as we might wish, at least in the short term. This should not, however, preclude our foreign policies from encouraging democratic developments of a less secular nature ...”
    I’ll buy that. Just don’t hold your breath waiting. Seriously, there’s a world of difference between our secular societies and the Islamic societies of the ME. Transforming the current grudging truce into a real peace will be the work of decades, not years. Check with JMM is you think I’m off base. While he and I don’t see eye-to-eye on a variety of issues, he also has firsthand experience in the region.

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  • 161. At 02:06am on 14 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    160. At 00:58am on 14 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:
    chronophobe,
    Check with JMM if you think I’m off base.

    Thanks but I have not been there for 10 years and things do change [even Saudi Arabia, and even if very little]. Likewise, my suspicion of hard core doctrinaire Marxists, the last encounter being a decade ago, but the formative encounters being in the '70's, doesn't go over well, even when nuanced.

    I am more sure of understanding the Koreans and Japanese than anyone else. I think I understand Arabs, Iranians and Turks to a degree, but I don't really qualify as an expert with only ten years on the ground and some university and self-directed study.

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  • 162. At 04:48am on 14 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    157. At 7:39pm on 13 Feb 2011, JMM wrote:
    That you or anyone has a right to proselytise, is not in question. You do not have a right to use the levers of the state to impose it. I refer you to the recent passage of anti-Shariah laws [in a southern state] indicating that conservative and southern Christians understand that forcing another religion's strictures on them is abhorent.
    ___________________________________________
    You are correct, but there are some problems with the courts, the secularists that run public schools and the ACLU.

    1. They believe that a student’s peer, e.g. class president, valedictorian etc. who prays or in any way invokes the name of Jesus is using the state to “coerce” the student body and therefore are constantly moving to suppress such valid speech and religious practices. Therefore the right to practice an evangelical religion is very much in question in parts of the Unites States.
    2. Oklahoma has the right to outlaw sharia law. However, if Muslims ever get a clear majority in any state, if we stick to the founding principles of the constitution, they could influence the laws to suit their world/cosmic view. I wouldn’t like it but I couldn’t (or shouldn’t) complain. After all, isn’t that what the SCOTUS said in reference to porn?

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  • 163. At 10:27pm on 14 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    oldloadr: Therefore the right to practice an evangelical religion is very much in question in parts of the Unites States.
    -------
    To me, the biggest show of this is not just in school or military, but also in the holidays...as a kid growing up everybody and all the tv shows would say Merry Christmas...

    Now many tv shows and people/businesses will only say Happy Holidays and it just sounds weird to me...even people I know who are not religious or other religions still say Merry Christmas...

    I think they possibly don't like it because it has the word Christ in it is my guess?

    Also, there is a giant cross on private property in Illinois that some atheists are always trying to tear down, but it still stands...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Effingham_cross.jpg

    There was a whole ordeal with a cross in Cali which was built for veterans then people made a big deal about it being religious, so someone changed it to private property, then thieves stole it and then lots more drama...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Soledad_cross_controversy
    ----------
    oldloadr: Oklahoma has the right to outlaw sharia law. However, if Muslims ever get a clear majority in any state, if we stick to the founding principles of the constitution, they could influence the laws to suit their world/cosmic view. I wouldn’t like it but I couldn’t (or shouldn’t) complain. After all, isn’t that what the SCOTUS said in reference to porn?
    --------
    Porn is pretty different than Sharia, tho correct?

    Well, if anywhere it would likely be Michigan...

    Did you notice our current Miss USA was born in Lebanon and moved to NY to Michigan?

    Anyhew, how could they instate Sharia law in America, when we have all our freedoms and whatnot?

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  • 164. At 10:30pm on 14 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    162. At 04:48am on 14 Feb 2011, Oldloadr
    Who said, "Do unto others what you would have others do unto you?"
    Who said, "Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you?"

    What you and others seem to be saying, to justify your actions, is that someone else might do the same or worse to you in some hypothetical and quite possibly never to arrive future.

    I would say, "I wonder what Jesus would say to this, which boils down to do it to others 'firstest and mostest' lest they do it to you?"

    Except I am quite sure what he would say, and I agree with Him [not you].

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