Posted by: quiscus | February 7, 2011

February 7, 2011

1.  “US envoy’s business link to Egypt

Obama scrambles to limit damage after Frank Wisner makes robust call for Mubarak to remain in place as leader.
Frank Wisner, President Barack Obama’s envoy to Cairo who infuriated the White House this weekend by urging Hosni Mubarak to remain President of Egypt, works for a New York and Washington law firm which works for the dictator’s own Egyptian government. ”

2.  “Israel supports democracy – except in the case of Egypt

There is a clear consensus in Israel about the necessity of democracy, but when it comes to Egypt, suddenly Israelis are shaking”

3.  Let us hope:

French Face Fallout From Tunisia, Egypt Aid

Will US Have Similar Soul-Searching Moment?

The French government is facing growing questions from voters following the revelation that they helped train the out of control Egyptian police ahead of the new uprising and, even more shockingly, that the government authorized a shipment of tear gas to the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia just two days in the middle of the uprising that eventually chased him into exile.

French historical ties to Northern Africa and the backing of dictatorships in the region were mostly shrugged off for decades, but as the regimes collapse and the dirty dealings come out, people are asking uncomfortable questions and imperiling the government.

So far this has not happened in the US, despite enormous US funding and training for the Mubarak regime, which continues even as the American public watches the popular revolt on the news and wonders how things ever got so bad in Egypt. It seems inevitable that these questions about the situation in Egypt will turn to the tens of billions of dollars the US has thrown at the regime.”

4.  “This Revolution Will Do Until the Real Thing Comes Along

The dangers that admittedly loom in Egypt stem from the moderate nature of the Egyptian people’s aims. They seek merely to change the structure and personnel of the government. The essence of the state – the apparatus of organized violence – would remain intact. As long as the state exists, there is a danger it will be seized by a military strongman, by theocrats, or by some other brand of oppressor.

In other words, the only true revolution is one aimed at abolishing the state – an anarchist revolution. (Peaceful, of course.) That’s the best hope for avoiding a revolution gone wrong.

Of course the Egyptians do not yet have an anti-state mindset, so in throwing off the Mubarak dictatorship they indeed run the risk that something worse could follow. Yet they apparently think it’s a risk worth taking. Under the circumstances, that position seems reasonable. The American people can help them by demanding that “their” government keep hands off.

This revolution will have to do until the real thing comes along.”

5.  “The Division of Egypt: Threats of US, Israeli, and NATO Military Intervention?

Although Mubarak’s thugs are also creating chaos in Egypt to try to keep his regime in power, the doctrine of “managed chaos” is being used by external actors with the Israeli Yinon Plan in mind. Making Egyptians fight against one another and turning Egypt into a divided and insecure state, just like Anglo-American Iraq, appears to be the objective of the U.S., Israel, and their allies. The building tensions between Egyptian Muslims and Egyptian Christians, which includes the attacks on Coptic churches, is tied to this project. In this context, on the thirteenth day of the protests in Egypt, the Mar Girgis Church in the Egyptian town of Rafah, next to Gaza and Israel, was attacked by armed men on motorcycles. [6]

The White House and Tel Aviv do not want a second Iran in the Middle East. They will do whatever they can to prevent the emergence of a strong and independent Egypt.

A free Egypt could prove to be a much bigger threat than non-Arab Iran within the Arab World to the objectives of the U.S., Israel, and NATO.”

6.  “The Student Loan Swindle

MW–Is it possible to “walk away” from a student loan and declare bankruptcy?

Alan Nasser— No, it’s not possible for student debtors to escape financial devastation by declaring bankruptcy. This most fundamental of consumer protections would have been available to student debtors were it not for legislation explicitly designed to withhold a whole range of basic protections from student borrowers. I’m not talking only about bankruptcy protection, but also truth in lending requirements, statutes of limitations, refinancing rights and even state usury laws – Congress has rendered all these protections inapplicable to federally guaranteed student loans. The same legislation also gave collection agencies hitherto unimaginable powers, for example to garnish wages, tax returns, Social Security benefits and -believe it or not- Disability income. Twisting the knife, legislators made the suspension of state-issued professional licenses, termination of public employment and denial of security clearances legitimate measures to enable collection companies to wring financial blood from bankrupt student-loan borrowers. Student loan debt is the most punishable of all forms of debt – most of those draconian measures are unavailable to credit card companies. ”

7.  “The first is that they have the effect of manufacturing the appearance that such problems exist only Over There, but not here.  One would never, ever find in The New York Times such a sweeping denunciation of the plutocratic corruption and merger of private wealth and political power that shapes most of America’s political culture.  Just like “torture”– which that paper has no trouble declaring is used by Egypt’s government but will never say is used by ours — such systematic corruption can exist only elsewhere, but never in America.   That’s how this genre of Look Over There reporting is not just incomplete but outright misleading:  it actively creates the impression that such conditions are found only in those Primitive Foreign Places, but not he

The second point is how adeptly the media morality narrative has been managed from the start of the Egypt crisis.  Any foreign story that interests the American media for more than a day requires clear villains and heroes.   What made the Egypt story so rare is that the designated foreign villains are usually first separated from the U.S. before being turned into demons; it’s fine to vilify those whom we have steadfastly supported provided the support is a matter of the past and can thus be safely ignored.  Thus were Saddam Hussein, the former Mujahideen (now known as The Terrorists) and any number of Latin American and Asian tyrants seamlessly turned into Horrible, Evil Monsters despite our once-great alliances with them; the fact that it happened in the past (albeit the very recent past) permitted those facts to be excluded.

But so intertwined are the U.S. and Mubarak — still — that such narrative separation was impossible.  Not even American propaganda could whitewash the fact that the U.S. has imposed Hosni Mubarak’s regime on The Egyptian People for decades.  His government is not merely our ally but one of our closest client regimes.  We prop him up, pay for his tools of repression, and have kept him safe for 30 years from exactly this type of popular uprising.


And yet it’s remarkable how self-righteously our political and media class can proclaim sympathy with the heroic populace, and such scorn for their dictator, without really reconciling our national responsibility for Mubarak’s reign of terror.  Thanks to this Look Over There genre of reporting, we’re so accustomed to seeing ourselves as The Good Guys — even when the facts are right in front our noses that disprove that — that no effort is really required to reconcile this cognitive dissonance.  Even when it’s this flagrant, we can just leave it unexamined because our Core Goodness is the immovable, permanent fixture of our discourse; that’s the overarching premise that can never be challenged.”

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