Red Apple Water Drops wallpaper – Republicans Show True Colors, Contempt for Democracy

summer, spring, water drops

Red Apple Water Drops wallpaper

 

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.

Hooray!

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.

Egypt is Making Conservative Bromides About Democracy Come Back to Haunt Them

Where should American and President Obama stand on Egypt. If you listen to Conservatives you’ll need to be capable of assuming multiple personalities. They seem to be grasping. Conservatives are the grand gurus of foreign policy? If you grew up in the good old US of A you grew up with that myth. It doesn’t matter how they botched everything they touched from Vietnam to Kosovo to Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention being asleep at the wheel when it came to the threat from al-Qaeda.  One would think that a movement with a track record of dismal failure would at least learn a little humility. But no. When it comes to second guessing what President Obama should do and how they see events in Egypt unfolding they are screaming and fist pounding from the peanut gallery. Everyone admits that revolutions are unpredictable and Egypt and Egyptians could end up with less freedom rather than more. With the next decade turning into a Middle-East French Revolution. A revolution that started out with high ideas and struggled through instability and hardships that made the old monarchy not seem so bad at times – though democracy ultimately prevailed. Republicans do not do messy, not in their sermons from the pulpit of conservative rectitude anyway. As we bounce around the floundering of conservative insight conspiracy theories, half-baked nonsense and the usual vitriol there is one relative constant. Whatever is wrong and whatever happens is Obama’s fault.

Right-Wing Media Claim Obama “Lost Egypt,” But Can’t Agree On Why

Dick Morris: Obama Should Be Standing With Mubarak. From Dick Morris’ January 30 syndicated column:

In the 1950s, the accusation “who lost China” resonated throughout American politics and led to the defeat of the Democratic Party in the presidential elections of 1952. Unless President Barack Obama reverses field and strongly opposes letting the Muslim Brotherhood take over Egypt, he will be hit with the modern equivalent of the 1952 question: Who Lost Egypt?

America’s foremost authority on prostitute toe sucking Dick Morris has sided with the authoritarian dictator we know rather than the scary possibility of the unknown. That unknown being the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is an enemy of al-Qaeda. Are there some radical elements within Egypt’s Brotherhood. There probably are just in the same way there are racists, anti-Semites and misogynists, social-Darwinists within the Republican Partay. Conservative has some doctor and cop killers, but they claim they should not be judged by the multitude of extremists within their ranks. So why is it so unreasonable to make an effort to see Egypt’s Brotherhood as the Republican Party of Egypt – a mix of  moderates with some extremists. What are wing-nuts like Morris, Beck, blogs such as American Power and all of Andrew Breitbarts’s blogs, with their Muslim Brotherhood paranoia, missing? Coptic Christians are part of the demonstrators pushing for change, Images of solidarity as Christians join hands to protect Muslims as they pray during Cairo protests

Striking photos of unity have emerged from the chaos in Egypt as Christian protesters stood together to protect Muslims as they prayed.

A group of Christians joined hands and faced out surrounding hundreds of Muslims protesters left vulnerable as they knelt in prayer.

[  ]…’I am hoping to turn out an impressionist painting of the scene of Tahrir Square with tens of thousands of protesters in it in front of a huge government building at night. The largest protestant church in Egypt, Kassar Debara, is hidden behind it.

‘Some Muslims have been guarding Coptic churches while Christians pray, and on Friday, Christians were guarding the mosques while Muslims prayed.’

This is what Breitbart’s Big Peace writes, Code Pink: Obama, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood Ally Raising (Tax Exempt) Money to Overthrow Egypt Gov’ta

Obama fundraiser group Code Pink issued an emergency appeal on Thursday for thousands of dollars to help the group overthrow the Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak.

Code Pink, which has a history of working with enemies of the Egyptian government Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, said in the appeal it wanted to raise $5,000 to fund “the next big uprising” against the Egyptian government on Friday.

Kristinn Taylor and Andrea Shea King present zero evidence that Code Pink has provided material support for any violent or radical behavior. They connect Code Pink’s donations of food, clothing and other humanitarian aid to support of terrorism. This is from Code Pink’s web site and their horrible connections with support for Hamas,

Providing Vital Aid to the
Women & Children of Gaza!

According to the United Nations, “Children are hungry, cold, without electricity and running water, and above all, they’re terrified. Women are at greater risk of maternal death and or injury…” With your help, CODEPINK will continue its ongoing efforts to hand-deliver humanitarian aid to the region and bring media attention to this urgent issue.

Probably anticipating that someone might investigate further they ask how does anyone really know where that money is going. That is not evidence, that is exploiting xenophobia and creating a nefarious conspiracy where there is no proof of one. One hopes they never find themselves in court accused of a crime with a jury who uses that kind of twisted thinking as compelling enough to convict them. Taylor and King’s bed wetting is what passes for journalism in Breitbart World.

Bill Always Wrong Kristol is trying to rack up one foreign policy right, Stand for Freedom – William Kristol

So, whatever our differences in historical interpretation or foreign policy tactics, we agree with our skeptical comrade that the United States must support the Egyptian awakening, and has a paramount moral and strategic interest in real democracy in Egypt and freedom for the Egyptian people. The question is how the U.S. government can do its best to help the awakening turn out well.

Kristol gets the substance of his analysis all screwed around, but his record is dismal that he deserves pity credit. He agrees with Charles Krauthammer’s assessment that we should get more behind the military and less supportive of the protesters. The fact is that Egypt’s military is the U.S. key to a stable transition of power. Some of the tear gas canisters used on protesters came from U.S. suppliers. Egypt is the second largest recipient of U.S. aid, after Israel. Much of that aid goes to the military. Also explained at the tear gas link is that Egyptian military officers regularly come to the U.S. for training. Bill and Chuck are out of the loop as usual. These are people who make a living off punditry. The military has been involved in some violence, including roughing up some journalists, but in comparison to other military crackdowns – Iran and Myanmar – they have been restrained in the context of how violent they could be. Mubarak’ has ostensibly been forced out of power. A move not possible without acquiescence by the Egyptian military leadership. Thus far the demonstrators have been largely successful despite some of the more violent scrimmages reported,

5. They demonstrated that they are a nation-wide movement, bringing hundreds of thousands out in Alexandria, Suez, Ismailiya, Mansoura, Luxor, Aswan and elsewhere.

6. They put pressure on the Obama administration to hold Mubarak’s feet to the fire about an early departure.

7. They so reassured Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that they are the future of Egypt that he took the risk of calling for Mubarak to step down.

8. By making a Mubarak departure seem sure, they tempted new presidential candidates into the arena, as with the Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, who visited the crowds at Tahrir Square to some acclaim.

9. The optimism created by crowd actions caused Nobel prize winner Mohamed Elbaradei to make an about-face and affirm that he would be willing to run for president if drafted.

10. Gave cover to to Ayman Nur of the Tomorrow (Ghad) Party and other leaders of opposition political parties to continue to demand Mubarak’s departure.

Back to little Chuckie Krauthammer who represents a sub-issue of Egypt – Obama is not doing enough or he is doing too much. Chuck recently called for President Obama, you know the guy is currently the official leader of  U.S. foreign policy and as such still speaks for the free world, to stop talking about Egypt,

…he still thought it was not advisable for Obama to be injecting himself into the story and questioned “why does he pop up on television right after the President of Egypt speaks? He did that on Friday and he does it again today.” Expressing general solidarity with people in the streets is fine, but Krauthammer feared “it looks as if it was our decision, our pressure, and I’m not sure that we want a direct connection between our President and Egypt.”

Some people, such as Chuck, are celebrating the myth of Saint Ronnie’s words, which alone were responsible for bringing down the Soviet Empire and Chuck thinks words expressing solidarity with and encouraging a peaceful transition to a more democratic state are not appropriate. The man Ann Coulter called a secret liberal in the mold of President Jimmy Carter, and perennial presidential bride Mike Huckabee is firmly in the Glenn Beck crazed loon camp on Egypt, Defending Egypt’s Autocracy, Huckabee Warns Of The ‘Cascading Effects’ Of Democracy Across The Middle East

The overall consensus is two-fold. First, real shock and surprise down to the average on the street Israeli citizen at how quickly the Obama administration abandoned a 30-year ally and a long standing friend to peace and stability President Mubarak. I don’t think anybody is trying to defend everything he did as President, but they would’ve liked to have seen at least an acknowledgement that he’s been a friend these years. […] The second concern is that this could have cascading effects across the Middle East.

Like so many other Republicans “experts” on foreign policy and current events Mike swings and misses. The Obama administration acknowledged during the initial protests that Mubarack was a stabilizing force in the region. The heavens would part, the moon would drop from the sky and cats would bark if Mikey and those who share his view would admit that handling Egypt is a delicate tight rope walk and that considering the close ties between the U.S. and Egypt over the last thirty years, Obama and company have walked that tightrope pretty well.

Justin Elliott has a great rundown of the anti-Egypt democracy fan club on the Right, The pundits and politicians who are siding with the brutal dictator over Egypt’s people. First up is Ralph Reed who has worked tirelessly over the years to give Christianity a bad reputation and last heard from entangled in the Jack Abramoff scandal,

Wrote Reed: “I sympathize with the protestors in Egypt. They want democracy and freedom. But if Mubarak is replaced by ElBaradei in a government that includes the Muslim Brotherhood, the solution is worse than the problem.”

A Google search of right-wing blogs mentioning ElBaradei and Egypt will turn up post after post of some livid hatred of the man. ElBaradei had the temerity to tell the world the truth about Iraq’s nuclear weapons program – it was non-existent. He later took an exacting nuanced view of Iran’s nuclear ambitions ( he pressed for inspections and sanctions against Iran). Both of these moderate positions has earned him the Right’s unhinged hatred. He is not particularly close to the Muslim Brotherhood.

John Bolton, known for his anger management issues and wet dreams of nuking Iran,

“We have a profound interest in the stability of the Israeli-Egyptian peace relationship. We’ve got an enormously strong relationship with the Egyptian military. Mubarak, while no Jeffersonian democrat to be sure, has been an American ally for 30 years. These are not things you toss away lightly against the promise, the hope, the aspiration for sweetness and light and democratic government.”

On what basis does the Bolton crowd and others on the Right believe an Egypt without Mubarak will be anti-Israel. Besides reading the right-wing Israeli press. It would not be in their interests economically and a rekindling of an Israel/Egypt conflict would undermine one of the protesters biggest concerns – jobs and economic security. They would certainly lose any American foreign aid. Lacking any proof to the contrary the threat to Israel is about as real as Iraq’s threat was to the U.S. – more about politics and paranoia than reality.

Queen of the Muslim hating bed wetters Pamela Geller,

The notoriously anti-Muslim blogger has distinguished herself with her sheer enthusiasm for the Mubarak regime. One headline on Geller’s “Atlas Shrugged” blog read: “GOOD NEWS: EGYPT ARRESTS MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD LEADERS.” She wrote in another post: “Mubarak has been a US ally for decades. We send three billion dollars a year to Egypt. And Egypt made a peace deal with Israel. But knowing Obama, he will throw another ally under the bus.”

Remember Iran’s brief and tragic Green Revolution. This is what Geller wrote, The Case for Iran: Fighting for Freedom

He (meaning Mousavi) is a Muslim — nothing much has changed about that, but he may bow to pressure from the Iranian people for a relaxation of Shari’a rule and a return to something like the way Iranian society was under the Shah. This could lead him to moderate things in Iran a bit: no bomb, and perhaps no Syria, Hezb’allah and Abbas as proxies by which to wage terrorism.

It is conceivable.  This result would be wonderful in light of the ongoing radicalization of Syria, Turkey, and Pakistan. A moderate Iran could be a very stabilizing thing in the region. This is why Obama’s failure to seize the moment is so shortsighted and stupid.

Many were horrified at the murder of Neda Soltan, the beautiful young woman who was shot dead by the mullahs’ thugs on a street in Tehran, but there have been many Neda Soltans. The most visible feature of this movement is the leadership role of the women in Iran. They are the heart, soul and fuel of this defiance in the face of crushing repression.

And while many protesters have been shouting “Allahu akbar,” this doesn’t in itself mean that they are fighting for more Shari’a. Many more have been shouting “Death to the dictator!” and “Freedom or death!”

Fighting for moderation in Iran is good. Making Mousavi who is a moderate in the context of Iran, but more fundamentalist than the relatively secular ElBaradei, is some mighty fine rationalization. Why wouldn’t a more moderate Egypt be a stabilizing force in the Middle-East. Why not cheer on the liberation of the women of Egypt as she did the women of Iran. Geller seems to get her foreign policy insights and consistency from a round glass ball sold in novelty shops. There are several more conservative Mubarak lovers at the link.

While some of the bigger name reporters from the networks are in Egypt are there for reasons having to do with network ratings and narcissism as they are there to report the news. They are also giving the protesters a face and voice to the world. While journalists are harassed, beaten and detained by pro-Mubarak forces, conservative pundits stifle laughs Video

That is why Rush Limbaugh said this, about New York Times reporters who’ve been detained by the Mubarak government:

Ladies and gentlemen, it is being breathlessly reported that the Egyptian army — Snerdley, have you heard this? The Egyptian army is rounding up foreign journalists. I mean, even two New York Times reporters were detained. Now, this is supposed to make us feel what, exactly? How we supposed to feel? Are we supposed to feel outrage over it? I don’t feel any outrage over it. Are we supposed to feel anger? I don’t feel any anger over this. Do we feel happy? Well — uh — do we feel kind of going like, “neh-neh-neh-neh”? I’m sure that your emotions are running the gamut when you hear that two New York Times reporters have been detained along with other journalists in Egypt. Remember now, we’re supporting the people who are doing this.

And that is why Andrew Breitbart’s “BIG PEACE” features a post by Hoover Institution research fellow Peter Schweizer headlined “I Don’t Have a Lot of Sympathy for Those Journalists Attacked in Egypt.”

A journalist walking into a crowd of tens of thousands of protestors facing off against tens of thousands of other protestors is akin to the foolish hikers you read about from time to time who end up getting trapped in a snowstorm and have to be taken off the mountain by helicopter. They made a foolish decision to ascend a mountain and simply were not prepared.

Hah, dumb reporters, attempting to broadcast uncensored images from the scene of a historic uprising in the ancient capital city of the Middle East’s most populated country.

Limbaugh snapped out of his cheer leading for journalist head busting when some Fox News crews were attacked.

While I have tried to place the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in some proper context – they do have some goals which I’m not fond of – but they are far less radical than al-Qaeda and there are multiple factions within the Brotherhood as there are in many political movements. A larger point that seems to be lost in making observations about the make-up of the Egyptian protesters is there are of multiple factions with both common and varied interests. I’ve already mentioned the Coptic Christians. Juan Cole gets into the various players in this excellent post, Why Egypt 2011 is not Iran 1979. Among the groups protesting are white and blue collar workers, secularists parties, merchants who rely on trade and tourism and various religious groups. Juan cites a poll that fully 60% of Egyptians are worried about religious extremism. That hardly sounds like the makings of the next Iran.