Remember the famous or infamous words of George W. Bush, “Spreading the seeds of democracy”. A phrase employed by Bush administration officials and their conservative Republican surrogates to justify the invasion of Iraq. An after the invasion rationale used because their initial justification – that Iraq has WMD and were an “urgent” threat to the national security of the U.S. fail apart. Juan Cloe, Glenn Greenwald and countless others pointed out the hypocrisy when the U.S. was supporting authoritarian military governments like that in Egypt. That real democracy meant that if given a chance many of those countries in the Middle-East (Libya, Saudi Arabia are two examples) were given the opportunity to participate in a truly democratic election they would in many cases vote in governments of which conservatives would not approve. Iraq was supposedly Bush’s legacy of – the planting of the seed of democracy – given the chance to vote, what did the people of Iraq do – they voted in some radicals – leaders of groups who had been fighting U.S. troops in the streets and with IEDs that killed and maimed U.S. military. Conservatives have been pushing for war with Iran. Iraq’s parliament enjoys fairly close diplomatic ties with Tehran. So democracy or something resembling a nascent democracy has started in Egypt. Who’s complaining that it was better to have a military dictatorship? Conservatives who sold us all that spreading the seeds of democracy garbage: Whiskey! Democracy!
This is also wonderful. Power Tools! (Power Tolls is the Republican blog PowerLine)
Let’s hope that the Obama administration doesn’t follow the Jimmy Carter playbook for dealing with revolutions in strategically vital Islamic nations.
Once upon a time, way back ten years ago, we had to invade a strategically vital Islamic nation to Create Democracy. Now we need to maybe consider attacking a strategically vital Islamic nation because of Democracy.
Power Tools explicitly informs us that the best thing we can do for the peoples of Strategically Vital Islamic Nations is to maintain proxy military dictatorships.
Truly, they hate us for Our Freedoms.
Rep. Allen – I see commie everywhere – West (R-FL) joins in the hypocrisy on his FaceBook page. West was stationed in Iraq and helped, as best as an insane ideologue can – to make Iraq a safe place for Islamic radicals to be voted into office and now he’s complaining. Both Power Tools and West don’t know what they’re talking about, but when has that ever stopped a conservative from blindly ranting nonsense. Egypt’s new government is certainly far from my dream of a democratic republic, but it is a step towards a more moderate state. There are some rational players who made it into the new parliament. Mursi and the Brotherhood in a Pluralist Egypt
That is, all the doomsaying about Egypt turning into Iran is to say the least premature, since Mursi at the moment is more Tantawi’s vice president than anything else.
Moreover, despite the Orientalist impulse in Western writing to see everything in the Middle East as black and white, as fundamentalist or libertine, Egypt’s political geography has been revealed by this year’s elections to be diverse. It isn’t just puritans versus belly dancers.
Here are the major factions according to the outcome of the first round of presidential elections, in which there were numerous candidates with strong ideological commitments. I was in Egypt for that election and did a lot of interviewing with Egyptians of all stripes, coming away impressed at how all over the place the electorate was. (Obviously I’m using the candidates below as a sort of political shorthand, and there is more overlap than the categories suggest, but this is ballpark):
1. The Labor Left, led by Hamdeen Sabahi (20.17%)
2. Classic liberals, led by Amr Moussa (11.13%)
3. Authoritarian secularists,led by Ahmad Shafiq (23.66%)
4. Muslim liberals, led by Abdul Moneim Abou’l-Futouh (17.47%)
5. Muslim fundamentalist, led by Muhammad Mursi (24.78%)
The military, headed by Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi, still retains quite a bit of power. President Muhammad Mursi is likely to appoint some less ideologically rigid followers to his government as a reward for backing him in the power struggle. While Egypt has some religious common ground with Iran one should always remember that Iranians are Persians, not Arabs and not Egyptians. Historical tribal loyalties also mean identity. Egypt is not about to give up its identity to the Iranian mullahs. As usual conservatives do not want to deal in very important details. Egypt is moving in the right direction. It may take a generation or more for them to become the Sweden of North Africa, but they’re closer now than they were a couple of years ago. The original ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, called the Bill of Rights were ratified in 1791. These included basic rights such as freedom of speech, freedom to petition the government, yet with these basic rights as part of our framework it would be almost another hundred years before African-Americans had those rights and it was not until 1920 women in the U.S. had the universal right to vote .
Back during the Bush-era I used to read conservative Kathleen Parker at the WaPo. As far as conservatives pundits go she could be fairly rational once in a while. In the end the kool-aid is just too strong, Kathleen Parker: Ann Romney has a horse. So what?
Thus, Ann Romney, wife of the presumptive Republican nominee, recently became a target of ridicule when it was revealed that she co-owns an Olympian horse that will compete in dressage, a sport she apparently enjoys.
Parker goes on to play the sympathy card, pointing out Ann Romney’s illness – of which we’re all certainly sympathetic, but that is not the point and Parker knows it. It’s Not About the Damn Ponies
It’s true that Romney makes most of his annual income off of dividends and capital gains he earns by investing his fortune. But he made $374,327.62 in 2010 on speaker’s fees alone. That’s a figure, by the way, that Romney characterized as “not very much” money. Kathleen Parker thinks people are just hating on the Romneys’ success out of some kind of pony-envy, but we’re really appalled about something completely different. We’re appalled that he wants to cut way back on programs to help the poor and middle-class survive and advance in our society at the same time that he wants to hand out a $250,000 annual income tax break to millionaires. Over a four-year presidential term, that would be a million dollar tax break to everyone who made a million dollars a year for those four years. You can’t make a proposal like that when you are worth a quarter of a billion dollars and then complain about the budget deficit and call for massive cuts in social spending, and then think you’ll be above criticism.
As for Ann Romney’s horse, Ms. Parker doesn’t get into the specifics for a good reason. Apparently, the Romneys formed a corporation to deal with this horse, and they declared a $77,000 loss in 2010 for that corporation. If the corporation ever makes any money by, for example, breeding this Olympic-performing horse, they can write off those losses. And you thought the Olympics were about amateur sports!
Because of the way tax laws actually pay rich people to buy stuff the government or the people are underwriting Romney’s horses. because of tax laws pertaining to mortgage deductions we’re also helping the Romney’s pay for their mansions. There was a time and place for some of this subsidizing certain economic activity as a way for the government to encourage, in this instance, buying a house. Building houses was one of the things that – having exported so much of our manufacturing – kept the economy going. Young guys that did not go to college stopped going to work at the local mill and got a fair wage framing houses or installing AC. Arguments can be made for and against continuing some of these tax incentives, but let’s not use them to shield very wealthy people from criticism. For taking advantage of those tax breaks in ways that take advantage of the system – and to defend them with tedious false outrage. I’ve had a couple of friends who have had MS, had insurance – while things were rough for a while medically and finacially, luckily they recovered. So it is also tragically ironic that Parker should use Ann Romney’s MS as a shield against criticism of tax breaks when it is possible that this week or next the SCOTUS may strike down the Affordable care Act (Obamacare) – Real People, Real Problems: The Stakes of the Obamacare Lawsuit
Do you care how the Supreme Court rules on health care reform this week? I don’t mean in the political sense. I mean in the personal sense—because the law’s fate is a very personal matter for many millions of Americans.
They’re the Americans who have diabetes and Crohn’s disease, cancer and hay fever. They’re the Americans who don’t have access to health benefits and the Americans who have access to health benefits but can’t afford to pay for them. There are a lot of these people, more perhaps than you realize—at least tens of millions and perhaps more than a hundred million, depending on how you want to define the categories. If by now you’re thinking, gee, maybe I could end up becoming one of those people, you’re right. Death and taxes aren’t the only certain things in life. Accident, illness, and injury are too. They’ve plunged the lives of plenty of Americans, even those who thought they had good insurance, into financial and physical chaos.
There is no opting out of health care in any rational view of being alive. This is what the ever supposedly empathic Parker would like to take away from people who don’t own dressage horses or mansions, and what Ann Romney would take way as well, 10 Things You Would Miss About Obamacare
1) Access to health insurance for 30 million Americans and lower premiums. More than 30 million uninsured Americans will find coverage under the law. Middle-class families who buy health care coverage through the exchanges will be eligible for refundable and advanceable premium credits and cost-sharing subsidies to ensure that the coverage they have is affordable.
2) The ability of businesses and individuals to purchase comprehensive coverage from a regulated marketplace. The law creates new marketplaces for individuals and small businesses to compare and purchase comprehensive coverage. Insurers will have to meet quality measures to ensure that Americans can access comprehensive coverage when they need it.
3) Insurers’ inability to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. Beginning in 2014, insurers can no longer deny insurance to families or individuals with pre-existing conditions. Insurers are also prohibited from placing lifetime limits on the dollar value of coverage and rescinding insurers except in cases of fraud. Insurers are already prohibited from discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions.
4) Tax credits for small businesses that offer insurance. Small employers that purchase health insurance for employees are already receiving tax credits to encourage them to continue providing coverage.
If after March 23, 2010 someone was denied insurance coverage because they had MS that was a violation of the law. If the SCOTUS strikes down the law and they’re still suffering from MS the insurance company could just cancel their insurance coverage. Though Ann will still have her horse therapy. Other MS victims will either pay out-of-pocket, hope a charity hospital will treat them for free or just suffer. If the Romneys are such good-moral people, why aren’t they outraged at the possibility that many Americans will die because of the lack of health insurance.