January 28, 2011 archive

Political Capital For Sale to the World’s “Scuzziest Dictators”

comprare levitra online sicuro Genova Cross Posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Rachel Maddow describes several political operatives who have squandered their political clout by representing nefarious overseas actors like Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Jean-Paul “Baby Doc” Duvalier, dictators in places like the Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea and the governments of Indonesia and Saudi Arabia that fund organizations that plot terrorist attacks against the United States and its citizens.

Both Bob Barr and Rudy Guiliani have indicated that they are interested in running for president in 2012.

In a lame defense of Mark Penn, the PR firm, Burson Marsteller, said it was unfair “to tie the company’s current leader to former clients that predated him. Penn joined Burson Marsteller in 2005, years after the junta, Indonesia and Saudia Arabian clients contacted the firm.”

Shortly after the Tuscon shootings, Mr. Penn let loose with this little “bomb” on November 4, 2010 when he told Chris Matthews that what Obama really needs to reconnect to the American electorate is an “Oklahoma City moment”. Both sides are guilty of this kind of political rhetoric but at least the left acknowledges that it has to stop and there is a need for a change in tone.  

Obama’s 13526 Mistake: ROTC Censorship

Some might recall the story, reported in early December, on the Columbia University memo to foreign policy students interested in working for the State Department. The memo instructed students to avoid writing or talking about information derived from the WikiLeaks releases. At the time, the government shrugged off the memo and articles as merely a leak by an unnamed source. However, yesterday, Dr. Stephan Zunes, a professor of politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco, in an article in the Mercury News, reignited the controversy of the government attempt to censor WikiLeaks material, and more broadly academic freedom, within the ranks of the U.S. Army ROTC program.

Reporting the Revolution: Protests in Egypt with Up Dates x 7

Cross Posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

click Mishima is providing the live updates- TMC

Mishima’s live blog

follow link I’ve been awake for 22 hours I’m going to bed- mishima

http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=omprare-viagra-generico-consegna-rapida This Is A Live Blog

News is breaking extremely fast. Both Al Jazeera and CNN are transmitting live images. You can watch the Al Jazeera broadcast live on line. Protests broken out all over Egypt and there are tanks on the streets of Cairo. Reports are that the police have withdrawn from the Alexandria.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, arrived in Egypt yesterday and it is being reported by numerous news agencies that he has been placed under house arrest

As I am writing this, the commentator is reporting that state security has entered Al Jeezera’s Cairo building in an attempt to shut down their feed. Communications have been hampered in the building. The cutting of cell phone connections and the Internet blackout the past three days is unprecedented and reporters and crews are missing, as per live reports.

It is prayer time and the protesters are organizing for evening prayer and the riot police has back off to give them time to pray.

There are reports of at least one person killed in Cairo and a curfew has been imposed for 6 PM Egyptian time (11 AM EST).

This is a video of clashes on a bridge that took place earlier today.

UP dates will continue as they happen.

Up Date #1: CNN reports that the Egyptian Army has been ordered to take over the security from the police.

Up Date #2: The New York Times has continuous up dates on the protests as they receive them.

Egyptian President is expected to give a live address.

Up Date #3: A curfew went into effect at 6 PM (11 AM) and is being ignored.

Al Jazeera reports that 5 Army tanks have entered Cairo as protesters take over security police armored personnel carriers and police stations, setting them on fire.

Further up dates and videos will be below the fold.

Sen. Murray: To Watch Repubs (T) “like a hawk”

So will I and many many Veterans Senator Murray, so will we!

The recent past is still fresh in the minds, the 108th and 109th Congresses and still ongoing two Wars of Choice, the ‘purple heart bandages’, the ‘magnetic ribbons’ {till they blew off} and lapel flag pins as well as the hate rhetoric which continues. The total lack of Demanding ‘Sacrifice’ from the Country especially in the just completed political campaign season as well as since the start of the 112th Congress. We will be watching, especially, the House, and your Senate colleagues “like a hawk” as well, we already started.  

Six In The Morning

Seizing a Moment, Al Jazeera Taps Arab Anger  





The protests rocking the Arab world this week have one thread uniting them: Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based satellite channel whose aggressive coverage has helped propel insurgent emotions from one capital to the next.

Al Jazeera has been widely hailed for helping enable the revolt in Tunisia with its galvanizing early reports, even as Western-aligned political factions in Lebanon and the West Bank attacked and burned the channel’s offices and vans this week, accusing it of incitement against them.

Live Blog Of Egyptian Protests Here  

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Time for a break from poetry…in order to create some art.

I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.

–Alexis de Tocqueville



Fuzzy 2

On The View From Egypt, Part Five, Or, The Emergency Is Here

It has been a couple of years since we first started writing about Egypt; at that time we did a series of stories that described how the country’s Constitution is designed to ensure that the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) remains the ruling party, how corruption and torture and rape are part of the justice system, how there’s a looming Presidential succession crisis, and how we better pay attention, because one day all of this was going to blow up into a national emergency, with the potential for disastrous consequences that ripple all the way from Turkey to Morocco to Pakistan.

And now…that day has arrived.

After protests that led to a change of government (sort of) in Tunisia, rioting is spreading across Egypt, quickly, the ISI (Egypt’s internal security police) is out grabbing citizens and doing what they do (we’ll talk more about that later), and the question of Presidential succession, which many people thought was headed in one direction, may now be headed off to a place that outside observers might not have previously considered.

Lucky for you, I have some reach inside Egypt, and we’re going to get a peek inside the story that you might not have seen otherwise.  

Late Night Karaoke

Zuckerberg, the Accidental Emperor of Facebook

With each passing day, the Facebook phenomenon looms larger as a precursor of a global networked society. It is such a potent political organizing mechanism that it has been central to the recent upheavals in North Africa, and it may prove instrumental in bringing down multiple dictatorships. But the most important story about Facebook is the one that nobody in the American media is willing to write. It is the story of an accidental emperor.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, is the world’s youngest Billionaire. At the tender age of 26, he personally controls the development of a global digital social network that is increasingly taking on the characteristics of a political entity. It is easy to conceive of Facebook creating its own currency, citizenship regulations, and judicial and legislative structures. Yet all of these profound potential developments are under the control of a callow young man who stumbled into fame and fortune by building a wildly popular Internet service.

Zuckerberg’s character is that of a bright super-achiever, intensely focused on growing a business. He has no interest, aptitude, or concern for governing a political institution. Indeed, his current focus is on raising vast sums to fuel further growth of Facebook. The frightening fact is that Zuckerberg doesn’t really care what Facebook becomes, as long as it becomes the world’s dominant social network. In this respect, he is quite similar to Bill Gates, who was once another young hyper-achieving billionaire. Had it not been for antitrust actions brought against Microsoft in America and Europe, Microsoft might have crowded out every competitor and put a virtual coin box on every desktop computer in the world.

Unlike the case of Microsoft, there is nothing to stop Facebook from becoming the defacto precursor of an Internet world government. This government would not be a democracy; it would be an empire, and its emperor would be 26 year old Mark Zuckerberg. What is wrong with a profit-seeking corporation, led by a super-competitive businessman, creating a global Internet social network? The problem is that corporations are not designed to govern people. They have no interest in justice or the public good. Corporations are profit-seeking engines narrowly devoted to the interests of the stockholders. In the case of Facebook, Emperor Zuckerberg controls the stock.

It is a peculiar irony of contemporary American politics that it is increasingly dominated by corporations at a time when the model of the corporation is increasingly unsuited to solving global problems. The environment is being poisoned by the toxic effluents of corporations that view pollution as an “externality.” Economic inequality is increasing everywhere as corporations tear down social safety nets and take over legislatures through bribery disguised as campaign contributions. Organized labor is being crushed by corporations intent on minimizing wages. Financial markets are destabilized by unchecked corporate greed and unlimited bailouts. The biggest corporations are not only too big to fail; they are too big to jail, and they flout the laws with impunity.

So behold Emperor Zuckerberg, he doth bestride the narrow world like a Colossus, and we poor citizens of his empire hope for justice and mercy. What will he decide to do to us tomorrow?

US Foreign Policy: Ignoring the Revolutions

In case you missed it because the American MSM mostly buried it, Tunisia had a revolution overthrowing it’s US backed dictator, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia with most of his family. The upheaval arouse from the streets out of the frustrations of a well educated public that is suffering with high unemployment and skyrocketing prices for basics. The streets protesters were joined by the police and the military. The “revolution” is spreading across Africa to Egypt with major protests in the streets condemning the rule of ailing President Hosni Mubarak and his hand pick successor, his businessman son. Inspired by the Tunisian revolution, Egypt poverty stricken youths have taken to the streets demanding the end of Mubarak’s 30 year rule.

For decades, Egypt’s authoritarian president, Hosni Mubarak, played a clever game with his political opponents.  

He tolerated a tiny and toothless opposition of liberal intellectuals whose vain electoral campaigns created the facade of a democratic process. And he demonized the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood as a group of violent extremists who posed a threat that he used to justify his police state.

But this enduring and, many here say, all too comfortable relationship was upended this week by the emergence of an unpredictable third force, the leaderless tens of thousands of young Egyptians who turned out to demand an end to Mr. Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

Now the older opponents are rushing to catch up.

“It was the young people who took the initiative and set the date and decided to go,” Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Wednesday with some surprise during a telephone interview from his office in Vienna, shortly before rushing home to Cairo to join the revolt.

ElBaradei, who has been targeted for assassination by Mubarak supporters, is returning to Egypt today. in his  statement issued prior to his departure, ElBaradei has some disparaging comments about Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton:

   When Egypt had parliamentary elections only two months ago, they were completely rigged. The party of President Hosni Mubarak left the opposition with only 3 percent of the seats. Imagine that. And the American government said that it was “dismayed.” Well, frankly, I was dismayed that all it could say is that it was dismayed. The word was hardly adequate to express the way the Egyptian people felt.

   Then, as protests built in the streets of Egypt following the overthrow of Tunisia’s dictator, I heard Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s assessment that the government in Egypt is “stable” and “looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people”. I was flabbergasted-and I was puzzled. What did she mean by stable, and at what price? Is it the stability of 29 years of “emergency” laws, a president with imperial power for 30 years, a parliament that is almost a mockery, a judiciary that is not independent? Is that what you call stability? I am sure not. And I am positive that it is not the standard you apply to other countries. What we see in Egypt is pseudo-stability, because real stability only comes with a democratically elected government..

   If you would like to know why the United States does not have credibility in the Middle East, that is precisely the answer…

(emphasis mine)

Now, it has spread to one of the poorest Mideastern countries, Yemen, as their youth take to the streets to protest their government.

BEIRUT, Lebanon – Yemen, one of the Middle East’s most impoverished countries and a haven for Al Qaeda militants, became the latest Arab state to witness mass protests on Thursday, as thousands of Yemenis took to the streets in the capital and other regions to demand a change in government. . . . . .

The demonstrations on Thursday followed several days of smaller protests by students and opposition groups calling for the removal of President Ali Abdallah Saleh, a strongman who has ruled this fractured country for more than 30 years and is a key ally of the United States in the fight against the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda. . . . . .

Yemen’s fragile stability has been of increasing concern to the United States. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a visit to Sana earlier this month, urged Mr. Saleh to open a dialogue with the opposition, saying it would help to stabilize the country. His current term expires in two years, but proposed constitutional changes could allow him to hold onto power for longer.

How many despotic regimes will the US continue to bolster? For how long? US policy in the region has been on the wrong track for decades. Time to reassess is coming fast.

Open Thread: Snow Flakes

Blowback: Hacktivists versus Dictators

  The Egyptian government shut down most of the internet on Thursday, on the eve of what should be a massive protest march.

 A group of internet activists collective, Anonymous, warned the Egyptian government against this very action just hours before.

 “Anonymous wants you to offer free access to uncensored media in your entire country,” it said in a Facebook posting.

  “When you ignore this message, not only will we attack your government websites, we will also make sure that the international media see the horrid reality you impose on your people!” it said.

“Operation Egypt” has already been in effect ever since Egypt cut access to Twitter on Tuesday. Today it kicked into full operation.

 An image posted on Facebook urged interested individuals to join IRC chat rooms, where, Netcraft said, new recruits were being asked to download and install the Low-Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC), software that makes DDoS attacks easy to stage.

 What we are seeing in Egypt, where the social media is on the front lines, is a repeat of events that happened in Tunisia just a few weeks ago, events that continue even today.

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