Re: Egypt

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Crooked Timber ...just started a thread on American confusion. Wilder, Puchalsky, and 'z' are making sense

Puchalsky:

Bruce, the commentary was no better on the usual liberal blogs. There's been tremendously stupid stuff like this*.

Neoliberals and left-liberals are unable to say anything about this because it's "Islamicists are bad" meeting "'Anarchists' are bad" (protestors are anarchists, evidently) meeting "Military coups are bad". All you can get, as with the WSJ, is someone saying plaintively that the one of those things that they actually favor isn't that bad.

OWS was just a symptom, not a cause, and not really an influence -- the Egyptian protestors were there before it and after it, as are the Turkish ones, and the Spanish indignadoes, and before that the Israeli J14 protests and the Argentine National Assembly Movement etc. Everyone gets their turn to wonder why people don't want to use the wonderful means of democratic change that have been presented to them by the system.

*is a link to Digby's as the stupid example.

Juan Cole ...isn't where you stop, but it is one good place to start.

But, you know, I would, as usual, really rather read.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 2:07 PM
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Jodi Dean quotes Alain Badiou on Turkey. There is a little more

the educated youth must take the steps that will bring them closer to the other potential actors of a historical riot. They must spread their movement's enthusiasm beyond their own social existence. They must create the means of living with the broad popular masses, of sharing the thoughts and practical innovations of the new politics with them. They must give up the temptation to adopt, for their own benefit, the "Western" conception of democracy, meaning: the simple, self-serving desire for a middle class to exist in Turkey as an electoral and falsely democratic client of an oligarchic power integrated into the world market of capital and commodities. This is called: liaison with the masses. Without it, the admirable current revolt will end in a subtler and more dangerous form of subservience: the kind we are familiar with in our old capitalist countries.the educated youth must take the steps that will bring them closer to the other potential actors of a historical riot. They must spread their movement's enthusiasm beyond their own social existence. They must create the means of living with the broad popular masses, of sharing the thoughts and practical innovations of the new politics with them. They must give up the temptation to adopt, for their own benefit, the "Western" conception of democracy, meaning: the simple, self-serving desire for a middle class to exist in Turkey as an electoral and falsely democratic client of an oligarchic power integrated into the world market of capital and commodities. This is called: liaison with the masses. Without it, the admirable current revolt will end in a subtler and more dangerous form of subservience: the kind we are familiar with in our old capitalist countries.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 2:13 PM
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Eight Thoughts on Egypt from New Left Project

Last one, now I go read


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 2:17 PM
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Just, well, shit of course it is the fucking army. It will always be the army in a real revolution.

What do you think revolutions are about?

They're about getting the army on your side.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 2:26 PM
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2: This is the theory that never ends -- it just goes on and on my friend -- some Frenchies started writing it, not knowing what it was, and they'll continue writing it forever just because...


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 3:05 PM
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I commented at LGM. I hope this one gets me banned there. I find SL despicable.

Nah. The Egyptian Army was given a choice. The alternative to a coup was mowing down the crowds, as was done in Turkey.

This is what I presume Lemieux and most of the commenters here think was the best plan, since, ya know, elections and rule of law and whatever. Shoot a few thousand kids.

If you, or in this case young secular Egyptians, can get a few million in the streets opposing a current gov't and keep them there, the Army is just gonna have to shoot somebody.

This is politics.

It is really fucking ugly the way those millions in the streets of Cairo are being written out of history, because I guess the only legitimate actors are the military and the elected government.

The kids did this. They forced the Army's hand.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 3:28 PM
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And a Detailed Analysis of Egyptian Politics from March, LRB, Hazem Kandil

via a comment at CT

(I am having trouble concentrating on global capital flows during the Nixon administration)


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 4:04 PM
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Even FDL is confused

But not "Bennett":

Morsi has said that democracy can only be expressed at the ballot box, but I strongly disagree. (Indeed, I think this is a profoundly anti-democratic statement.) Democracy can also be expressed in petitions, in protest, and on the street. In this case I think Egyptians have really voted with their feet; recent events have made it clear that a huge proportion of the Egyptian people did not see Morsi's gov't as legitimate... and the people are or should be the ultimate arbiters of legitimacy.

Does that mean I think the army was acting out of some sort of self-sacrificing noblesse oblige? Of course not. They're the deep state, and above all motivated to protect their own deep interests. The thing is, I'm not all that interested in motivation; what counts for me is action. Two days ago, the military acted in accordance with the will of the people; they demanded that Morsi go, and so he went. Tomorrow or the next day the military's decisions may well cease to reflect the people's will, at which point it is their task and duty to do something about it-to go out into the streets again! As two very eloquent young ladies put it over a year ago in an extract from a documentary, "if there's a new president and he makes a new constitution, and we're not convinced, we'll carry on the protests. If there's no change, we'll force him to resign. Because we won't shut up until we achieve what we want."

Now that's democracy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 4:32 PM
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I take this for the Egypt thread now.

My Egyptian friend (my college roommate) points to this place for intelligent commentary. Their Egypt page is here.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 6:14 PM
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She also points to the Tamarod twitter feed, but I'm not so much with the twitter myself.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 6:16 PM
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Bob is displaying the confusion that results when the popular will is identified with whoever has had the latest/greatest/coolest set of street demonstrations.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 6:34 PM
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A first in ideological history -- David Brooks and Bob McManus are as one. Here is Brooks strongly supporting the coup. Substantively speaking, 'radical Islamists' are incapable of democracy.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 6:41 PM
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12: I was going to make that comparison, but thought it was unfair. I'm still working out whether it was unfair to bob or to Brooks.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 6:47 PM
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Goddammit, PGD, I have clicked through to read Brooks.

Jesus christ, if only he weren't so mumble mumble .. Brooks. Facile.

It has become clear -- in Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Gaza and elsewhere -- that radical Islamists are incapable of running a modern government.

and

Islamists might be determined enough to run effective opposition movements and committed enough to provide street-level social services. But they lack the mental equipment to govern.

and

It's no use lamenting Morsi's bungling because incompetence is built into the intellectual DNA of radical Islam.

Oh, shut up.

Brooks aside (please!), I tend to support the 'coup' or whatever it is, chiefly because I think Egypt has only a few chances to get this right: it simply cannot allow the Muslim Brotherhood to consolidate power when the new democratic arrangements are so newly born. It was a mistake for the new Constitution not to be written until after Mursi took office.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 6:58 PM
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13: It's unfair to bob.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 6:59 PM
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A first in ideological history -- David Brooks and Bob McManus are as one.

I think the most surprising thing about this is that anyone here still pays attention to either.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 7:05 PM
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I have made no real comment or argument here about Egyptian Islamists, Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood, or any particular details of process or policy within or from the duly elected government of Egypt.

I have never read a single column by David Brooks and frankly lose respect for those who link to him, or discuss his columns. I see no point.

The link in 7 is worth reading and discussing.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 7:07 PM
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15: because David Brooks isn't enough of a petulant, racist, worthless shitbag to make a run at the title that is by rights mcmanus's, or what?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 7:07 PM
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Have I mentioned that Brooks is coming to speak at Heebie U and it's a terribly big precious deal?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 7:12 PM
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My take on Egypt at this point is that it's a nascent democratic society, and you just don't always get it right the first time. The notion that they should abide by the rules set in the first get-go (merely a year ago, and occasioned by popular uprising merely two years ago) is overly procedural in this case, yes, I do think.

Listen to how Egyptians themselves are discussing the matter:

here, and here. I'm sure there are additional informative links at that site.

There's a lot of talk about the role of and need for governmental institutions that can bring pressure to bear on one another: that is utterly right. Many feel that the military was the only institution strong and capable enough to force Mursi to step down. Apparently Tamarod did not wish an actual military coup.

In any event, I don't think the usual rules apply in Egypt's case. They decline to believe that they only had one chance to get it right. It's only been two years!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 7:32 PM
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Jaddaliya is good. Sarah Carr is good & a lot of fun to read: inanities.org. I like this blogger a lot too--less of the elegant prose styling but she posts more often: http://egyptianchronicles.blogspot.com


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 7:42 PM
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Jaddaliya is good. Sarah Carr is good & a lot of fun to read: inanities.org. I like this blogger a lot too--less of the elegant prose styling but she posts more often: http://egyptianchronicles.blogspot.com


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 7:42 PM
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19: I'd bet bob is cheaper, if you can figure a way to spend the money on something else.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 8:00 PM
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I looked at this crash course on contemporary Egypt to refresh my own memory.

Key points:

------

June 14 [2012] -- The Supreme Constitutional Court orders the dissolving of the Islamist-dominated lower house of parliament on grounds that a third of its members were elected illegally. The military swiftly closes down parliament.

Aug. 12 [2012] -- In a bold step, Morsi orders the retirement of the top Mubarak-era leadership of the military and cancels the military's last constitutional decree, taking back the powers that the generals gave themselves. The move was seen as way to curb the military's role in political affairs, but it also gave Morsi the power to legislate in the absence of parliament.

Nov. 22 [2012] -- Morsi unilaterally decrees greater powers for himself, giving his decisions immunity from judicial review and barring the courts from dissolving the constituent assembly and the upper house of parliament. The move came just ahead of court decisions that could have dissolved the bodies. The move sparks days of protests, with clashes between Morsi's supporters and opponents. At one point, some 200,000 people rally in Tahrir Square, with some of the first chants for Morsi to "leave."

Dec. 4 [2012]-- More than 100,000 protesters march on the presidential palace, demanding the cancellation of the referendum and the writing of a new constitution. The next day, Islamists attack a peaceful anti-Morsi sit-in outside the palace, sparking street battles that leave at least 10 dead. Days later, Morsi rescinds his initial decrees, but maintains the date of the referendum.

------

Read the whole thing if you're not up to date: basically the institutions that normally provide checks and balances were being neutered.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 8:14 PM
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Sorry, I should have been shorter, namely this part:

Morsi unilaterally decrees greater powers for himself, giving his decisions immunity from judicial review and barring the courts from dissolving the constituent assembly and the upper house of parliament.

You see, what USians would normally think of as the rule of law had already been obviated.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 8:19 PM
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Oops, the portion after "this part" should have been blockquoted.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 8:20 PM
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Erm, I realize I've been carrying on, but I've just seen a characterization of Brooks's column as "whitesplaining", and that is just so awesome.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 8:35 PM
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I can't stand it, but must share that apparently Brooks recently said:

Soon, we will no longer be an outpost of Europe, but a nation of mutts

Mutts? Seriously he said that? (Obviously there is no need to click through.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 8:51 PM
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19 "accidently" spill a drink on him, or go through a pie at him.


Posted by: Asteele | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 10:41 PM
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"I'm going through this pie at you, not with you."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 11:06 PM
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28, what's wrong with that?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 7:01 AM
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can a coup be democratic?

Very rarely.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 8:00 AM
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28: Did you read the piece? He thinks its a good thing.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 8:17 AM
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From the linked piece:

If you take sociology and culture seriously, it's sensible to wonder whether this is the sort of country we want to be.

Since Brooks takes neither sociology nor culture seriously, I was wondering what direction that train would veer.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 8:29 AM
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Then...

Finally, it would make sense that the religion of diversity, which dominates the ethos of our schools, would give way to an ethos of civic cohesion. We won't have to celebrate diversity because it will be a fact. The problem will be finding the 21st-century thing that binds the fluid network of ethnic cells.

Yep; he's definitely never actually gotten the point of "celebrate diversity." Epic point-missing. From Brooks?! Never!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 8:33 AM
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Huh, I was expecting to be enraged by the Brooks essay, and indeed the first half was nasty -- I hate it when someone tries to establish rapport with me by sharing his concerns about "non-Europeans" -- but the second half, where he speculates about what a multi-racial society might look like, is sort of interesting.

Unfortunately, this:


The problem will be finding the 21st-century thing that binds the fluid network of ethnic cells.

is bogus. Brooks' America may be mostly white and Protestant, but the America I know has always been a much bigger, broader, richer thing than that.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 9:21 AM
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All of you have thoughts. Only one of us has a plan.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 9:23 AM
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unfortunately that plan did not arise from coherent thoughts.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 9:33 AM
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knecht, that's a 404.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 9:38 AM
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Bind a fluid network of cells? Is he going for Friedman's job?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 9:38 AM
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The New York Times Public Editor (who seems like a definite improvement over the last two) did a piece on Brooks and the "mutts" column.

The thing that I think seems to fly over many people's heads is the power dynamic. You are not "reclaiming" a slur when you are using it against other people.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 9:38 AM
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My last point is responding to what Brooks said in his e-mail to the public editor, which she published. He wrote:

As for the use of the word "mutts," history is filled with examples of groups who have taken derogatory terms and embraced them as sources of pride. To take the word "mutt" as a derogatory term, you have to believe that purebred things are superior to mixed-breed things, whether it is dogs or people. But if you don't believe that, there is nothing to be ashamed of in the word mutt.
I seized on the headline after I was in a group of people talking about the future demography of the country and one participant said proudly, "We're mutts." That seemed to capture the message I was trying to convey, so I used it in the headline and the piece.

Punching up: I don't think he quite grasps the concept.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 9:40 AM
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39: Knecht's link fixed.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 9:40 AM
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Netflix linked.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 9:41 AM
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43: 'net fixed a link.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 9:43 AM
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Linknet fixed.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 9:44 AM
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Witt, thanks for pointing out the NYT public editor exchange. The most charitable reading is that Brooks is tone-deaf in the extreme, and a bad writer.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 10:07 AM
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43: To Knecht's fixed link, I have to say again that "democratically elected government" only goes so far.

The US allows for impeachment as a last resort for ousting an unacceptable president; what's the impeachment process in the Egyptian constitution, anyone know?

Again, see the recap in 24: Mursi had given himself the power to legislate in the absence of parliament; he'd given his decisions immunity from judicial review.

The normal functioning of government had already been abrogated: respecting such a 'democratically elected government' would be play-acting. How would we respond if a US President did the things (with respect to Congress and the Supreme Court) that Mursi's done? Seriously: would we just rally and organize for the next election? Which institutions would ensure that the next election would even happen? Maybe it would, but the situation would be so fucked up before that next election as to be unacceptable, it seems to me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 10:21 AM
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Sorry to be so shouty - I'm actually surprised to find myself so adamant on this - but it seems to me that quite a few western commentators on this matter are being a little dense, engaging in a bit too much black and white thinking. It is not a case of "is it a democratically elected government or not".


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 10:26 AM
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47: Yeah, Brooks lost his right to the benefit of the doubt a number of years ago, as far as I'm concerned.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 10:32 AM
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Ha, I just realized that Knecht's fixed link goes to a discussion here from two thousand ten! about the 2012 elections in the US, and urple, of all people, had suggested a military coup in the event of a Palin/Beck winning ticket.

Man. This place has had some interesting discussions.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 10:53 AM
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Helpful information via Jadaliyya on the current and historical state of affairs in Egypt:

Part One and now Part Two.

Do read Part One if you're interested in Egypt's current affairs.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 11:24 AM
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Now Tony Blair weighs in.

Seems like everyone who's either horrible/clueless is coming out of the woodwork to get on the coup bandwagon. It's making an unclear situation a little more clear to me.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 1:34 PM
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53:It's making an unclear situation a little more clear to me.

It has been clear to me at least since four died in Ohio.

Liberals love order and rule by law. They only talk a food game and cry crocodile tears.

Gezan Ozturan, Turkish political analyst in Istanbul

While a majority of the people in government continue to defy the military intervention in Egypt, they do not shy away from calling the military into action against peaceful protesters who are petitioning for recognition of their democratic rights and guarantees of internationally recognized freedoms.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 1:54 PM
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"talk a good game." Sorry, the rage at once more seeing the supposed left falling into line for authoritarianism has enraged me.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 1:56 PM
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55: Order ten pressure cookers from Amazon to show your solidarity with the downtrodden and to waste the oppressor's resources.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 2:19 PM
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54: It has been clear to me at least since four died in Ohio.

But when two men dared raise their clenched fists a few years earlier, it depends on whether you thought/think America was the scumbucket of the world and should be shamed at any opportunity.

Keep on fucking that chicken, Bob.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 2:56 PM
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57:Shit, you are dumb.

Of course I myself have always, since the cradle, enthusiastically believed America was the scumbucket of the world and should be shamed at any opportunity.

My point at the time was outrage that the black athletes, and their liberal defenders, having achieved bourgeois respectability and affluence, now deny their original heartfelt outrage and disgust at the American monster.

When I compared them to Huey Newton,, H Rap Brown, and Eldridge Cleaver, it was a compliment


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 3:28 PM
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since the cradle

Go on.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 3:55 PM
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58: Ah yes, that is where you did get to. Along the route, You know, there was an alternative gesture in 1968, involving a fist, but with the first and second figure extended and spread apart. This was essentially a "Stop The Fighting" message. But fuck the DFH's. They were mostly white.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 4:00 PM
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59:I am honestly trying to remember if I have ever had a patriotic moment in my life, going back to early childhood, and I can't find any. Not that I like any other place better.

It is probably more about being born alienated.

60:You are so tiresome.

I do find the reflexive desperate anti-racism of the current pseudo-left pretty interesting, since in practice they are about as effective in actually helping black people as they in protecting women's right to an abortion.

The more they miserably fail, the more they scream J'accuse.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 4:33 PM
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The more they miserably fail, the more they scream J'accuse.

Mumble Cirque du Soleil-esque feats of self-unawareness mumble.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 4:54 PM
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61 2: You're cute when you're world-weary.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 4:56 PM
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The more they miserably fail, the more they scream J'accuse.

Yes, Sayre's Law is all too applicable in many current instances.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 4:58 PM
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When I was a kid, I used to ride my bike around the Cairo suburb of Maadi. One Christmas I got an M-16 for a present, and then I rode around the neighborhood firing off my M-16 while on my bicycle. One day I made the mistake of wandering into private property (the ground floor of an apartment building), firing off my machine gun and making a ruckus. An old man in a galabayah came out, took my bike and started shouting at me. All I could do was say "ana aasif ana aasif" while stupidly holding my M-16, and he immediately softened and gave me my bike back. There is a lesson in there somewhere.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 12:20 AM
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Sorry, the rage at once more seeing the supposed left falling into line for authoritarianism has enraged me.

62 to this, also.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 7:11 AM
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ffeJ in 53 speaks for me, also.

If a coup by a notoriously self-dealing military is the best alternative for the people of Egypt (and I'm not saying it isn't), then the people of Egypt are fucked.

The pundits praising the coup are the same people - literally - who brought the U.S. into Iraq.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 7:20 AM
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To me the most depressing aspect of this so far has been the involvement of ElBaradei, who was always a bit of a western stooge, but one might have hoped he could bring a level head and a long sighted view to the situation. Fat chance.

Poor Egypt.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 7:33 AM
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I am afraid in my ignorance and humility, that I will have to rely on the hopeful assessment Juan Cole who sadly lacks the knowledge, wisdom, certainty, and high principle of the commenters here.

And I repeat, the only way Morsi and the MB was going to stay in power was if the military was unleashed on the young demonstrators. I find it shocking that the crowd here enthusiastically seems to find that the better option.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 7:54 AM
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Naw. Not shocking. Depressing.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 7:56 AM
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Bob, I don't think it's unreasonable for people to have strong instinctive reservations about a development which is welcomed in glowing terms by the war criminal Tony Blair, as just one example. But I agree with you that this is probably better than the available alternatives. I also agree that occasionally you have to "get your principles wet". Especially when you're along way away and unable to do anything meaningful.

However, Cole is being a bit disingenuous in conflating revolutions in which the grass roots movement has created an army which has gone on to win a revolutionary war, as in China, with those where the existing high command has intervened to take control of the mass movement, or where a populist faction in the officer corps has taken power and called for mass support. The most harmless example of the latter was probably Portugal, where a fairly benign state emerged, but even there the high command ensured that the revolutionary potential of the mass movement was constrained, rolling back spontaneous land seizures, for example.

Besides Portugal, the classic example of the populist officer corps in modern times was of course in Egypt. Now I will fight anyone who would prefer Faisal to Nasser, but we also know what became of the Nasserite state...

We are where we are. If the radical intelligentsia has thrown in its lot with the army, then that's that.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 8:25 AM
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Holy shit, I cannot imagine a more navel-gazing argument than forming an opinion because Tony fucking Blair holds the opposite. Has Nicki Sixx expressed an opinion? I'd hate to be on the same side as Motley Crue.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 8:52 AM
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Cole is hopelessly ambivalent about what he calls the 'revocouption', calling the actions of the military "extremely troubling" and "extremely dangerous", so he is hardly an simple endorser of it. Granted, all of the discussion in this thread (me included) has been a bit simplistic, but the most simplistic position of all is welcoming the coup because 'Egypt 'wasn't really a democracy'.

Large modern nation states (including the U.S.) are not democracies. They are massive bureaucracies that hopefully contain enough democratic elements to allow for some form of popular/civil society voice as a check on their authoritarian and elitist elements. In the U.S., our democratic institutions are old and secure in some ways, but also have quite a mixed record as a check on authoritarian and elite rule.

The democratic or popular-voice elements in each society's governance structure are highly idiosyncratic, evolve over a long period of time, and bear the marks of that country's unique history. Witness the undemocratic Senate in the U.S., the role of the monarchy in the development in British democracy, etc. The U.S. btw was founded as a republic, not a democracy, and the Constitution is painstakingly designed to limit democratic influence.

Democracy is just one element of good governance and not an end in itself, but disenfranchising significant groups in a society and denying them any role in governance is a bad bad thing. The Muslim Brotherhood represents such a disenfranchised group, namely the urban and rural poor who (as in many ME countries) are religious in a way that differed from urban educated elites. The violent overthrow of the popularly elected Muslim Brotherhood leadership followed by the arrest and (likely) torture of its leadership is hard to read as progressive. There is a clear public mandate for some form of popular Islamism in the ME, not simply for doctrinal reasons but because the mosques appear to offer forms of service and support for the lower classes that other institutions don't. They are trusted in a way that westernized elites aren't. Incorporating this element into a healthy and pluralist state instead of simply repressing it seems crucial in the development of the ME. What we are seeing in Egypt now seems like a step back toward the traditional violent repression of this element -- perhaps one reason why it is being welcomed by the Gulf monarchies.

Obviously Islamism contains repressive elements of its own so all this is complicated. But responding to it with a bunch of dumb Western pieties about who has observed the supposed forms of 'democracy' or with a romanticized view of a 1968-type urban youth rebellion against old men with beards seems silly.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 9:23 AM
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Quiggin made a smart comment over at CT. I would generalize it even more than he does.

Yeah, El Baradei. I haven't done or seen many class readings of events in Egypt, but it does strike me as typical of the class restructuring we are undergoing globally.

Morsi and the MB represented the slight majority rural undereducated "conservative" and less competent factions in Egypt (I gather the MB got along with the internal security services, which possibly also shows a class coalition) and the "Revolutionaries" included the usual urban creative and service aspirationals we all know so well.

IOW, Tea Party vs OWS (Rainbow coalition)

If the radical intelligentsia has thrown in its lot with the army

One big difference is how embedded the military, which is not a monolith, is in the Egyptian political economy.

It also shows, at least to me, that the American left has made a big mistake in not getting enough purchase in the US military and security apparatus, which by now has a huge contingent of sophisticated cosmopolitan intellectuals. The left has got to have friends with tactical training.

We should, well FDL actually is, be putting intense effort into supporting Manning and Snowden.

Bring back ROTC on campuses. The Left needs its own gun culture. More honoring our heroic comrades of the Russian and Chinese Civil Wars, the soldiers of Che and the ANC.

Huey Newton in the chair rather than Coates in the Tuileries.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 9:36 AM
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The Muslim Brotherhood represents such a disenfranchised group, namely the urban and rural poor who (as in many ME countries) are religious in a way that differed from urban educated elites.

Welcome to global neoliberal imperialism.

Who exactly do you think will get disenfranchised in Dixie by the recent SCOTUS decision? Rich black lawyers and Latino corporate executives and gay television producers?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 9:44 AM
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73. I think I more or less agree with that. One element of the situation which made military intervention inevitable is that the mass movement, however you like to describe it, seems to have no coherent programme beyond displacing the Morsi government. Maybe it has no points of agreement beyond that, I don't know. It's interesting that Elbaradei's appointment now appears to be in doubt because of Salafist objections - interesting in terms of light thrown on Mansour's thinking at the moment, I'm not making any judgment on that or any other aspect of the situation. We'll see. Whereof we cannot speak, etc...

Democracy is a process, or various processes. The goal is either majoritarian rule or pluralism, take your pick and pick up your appropriate musket. If democracy becomes a goal in itself, it's already failed, because that leads nowhere.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 9:48 AM
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Large modern nation states (including the U.S.) are not democracies. They are massive bureaucracies that hopefully contain enough democratic elements to allow for some form of popular/civil society voice as a check on their authoritarian and elitist elements. In the U.S., our democratic institutions are old and secure in some ways, but also have quite a mixed record as a check on authoritarian and elite rule.

I think this is a thoughtful comment, but I'm wondering when, other than to some very small extent during the short-lived New Deal coalition, US democratic have ever checked authoritarian or elite rule. And even during those few decades, I'm not sure how much of a check those institutions provided.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 10:48 AM
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Sorry, this is an Egypt thread, and I didn't mean to try to move it in another direction.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 10:48 AM
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And I repeat, the only way Morsi and the MB was going to stay in power was if the military was unleashed on the young demonstrators. I find it shocking that the crowd here enthusiastically seems to find that the better option.

More Iraq neocon logic. If you don't favor war, you're on Saddam's side.

The neocons made more sense, though. There probably weren't any real options to get rid of Saddam beyond invasion.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 11:01 AM
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77:Andrew Jackson?

Neither oligarchs or the "people" are monolithic, they can be diffuse and competitive; and oligarchs, whether Reagan or Obama, usually have a populist base in part of population, delusional or not.

Behind the Morsi Coup

...contains link to Irish Times. However many grains...

On June 15, Morsi met with radical Sunni clerics to advocate that Egypt invade Syria to overthrow Asad, preventing Asad from mopping up the remainder of Western supported cannibals who tried to deseat him.

from the comments:

A week ago as mass protests in Egypt swelled, Qatar's openly pro-Muslim Brotherhood Sheikh Hamad al-Thani surprisingly turned rule over to his 33-year old son, reported a moderate. The son immediately fired the pro-Brotherhood Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim. Qatar had given Morsi's Egyptian Btotherhood some $8 billion
Al-Thani's abdication is intriguing. Here's another one about Saudis influence on terrorist in Syria, wresting control away from Qatar. http://www.voltairenet.org/article179294.html

Bandar Bush, alleged head of Saudi intelligence services, hasn't been seen since 7/31/12.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 11:09 AM
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79: It is really neither your or my place to "favor coup" or not. It was the Egyptian military who gave Morsi the ultimatum and I chose not to second guess them from thousands of miles away.

Although honestly it didn't and doesn't matter who was "pro Iraq war" or "anti Iraq war". Bush was going to get his war, which is why Obama got a freebie to ride into the Senate.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 11:14 AM
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79: Is the Iraq war the new Munich, the only historical event all others must be compared to?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 11:15 AM
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73: the most simplistic position of all is welcoming the coup because 'Egypt 'wasn't really a democracy'.

I've begun to lose track of the variety of arguments put forth in support of the 'coup': who is favoring it because Egypt 'wasn't really a democracy'?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 12:40 PM
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Tangentially related:

Pew survey says 54% of Americans think stable governments in the Middle East are more important than democracy.

(For those of you whose snark meter is attuned to mine, Pew's answer to "But what does the Middle East think of OUR government?" is: Soon we will be releasing findings from 39-nation survey of opinions about the US. Though somehow I doubt that they asked that particular question.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 12:55 PM
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84: Heh. I heard some Sunday talk show commentary from a Middle East scholar who said (calmly, but firmly!) to the moderator: First of all, it's not always about us.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 1:14 PM
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Actually, that same guy referred to the current events as a "corrective revolution".


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 1:17 PM
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Is the Iraq war the new Munich, the only historical event all others must be compared to?

I wasn't comparing any event to Munich. I was comparing bob's rhetoric to that of the pro-war folks. I haven't expressed an opinion on whether or not the coup represents a good course of action, because I haven't got a fully formed opinion on that subject.

bob seems to want to make it clear that his epistemological process is similar to that of the neocons. I was merely noticing. You seriously don't see the resemblance?

It was the Egyptian military who gave Morsi the ultimatum and I chose not to second guess them from thousands of miles away.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 7:55 PM
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You didn't bring up Munich. You are brandishing the Iraq War the way neocons brandished Munich. I don't even really mean this as a big gotcha -- it's just a weirdly narrow lens to view this through.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 12:16 AM
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I cannot imagine a more navel-gazing argument than forming an opinion because Tony fucking Blair holds the opposite.

True. It's also illogical; I'm sure that I agree with a lot of stuff that Tony Blair thinks. The logical thing to do is not to instinctively oppose him, but simply to give whatever he says a zero weighting. (Yes, I've just read The Signal And The Noise. It's really rather good.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 1:03 AM
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72, 89: Eh. Tony Blair doesn't actually have opinions or positions on things. He has interests. Anytime he opens his mouth he's trying to move the world in his direction, and that's never been for the better.

One has a finite amount of time to read and learn things. Sometimes you need heuristics, and 'oppose what Tony Blair favours' isn't a bad one. Won't get you the right answer all the time, but it will do most of the time. Add bob and David Brooks on top of that, and you're pretty much gold.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 2:38 AM
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Has Bill Krisol weighed in yet? How about John Bolton?


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 2:40 AM
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Also, I love the scare quotes on 'coup' getting thrown around here. It's a coup, you clowns.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 2:44 AM
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That's an admirable commitment to laziness and ignorance, ffeJ.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 3:23 AM
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93. You do have infinite time to read stuff? How much do you charge for a ride on your time machine?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 3:29 AM
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That's an admirable commitment to laziness and ignorance, ffeJ.

This person commenting on a blog at work in the middle of the day is cut even unto the very bone by this most uncharitable remark.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 3:30 AM
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I don't think there's anyone for whom "oppose what they support" is a useful heuristic. Hitler, after all, was a vegetarian who liked dogs.

Seriously, you couldn't function at all in the real world being wrong about everything -- while people are slow, generally, they'd notice.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 3:50 AM
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I have 8 hours a day. What do you do at work?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 3:50 AM
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96: Well, sure. Everyone likes breathing, so interpreting things as you did, that would mean instant death, because me and Tony both like breathing, so I'd have to stop, right?

Also no one can do the converse anymore, that is form a position at least partly in trust of someone's already demonstrated competence/goodness, because no person, no matter how competent or good, is ever infallible!


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 3:59 AM
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"Oppose what Tony Blair supports" is obviously not a useful heuristic, as LB points out. "Oppose Tony Blair's recommended course of action on any matter to do with the internal politics of foreign states" may well be a useful heuristic, because he's never been right yet.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 4:01 AM
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98: The converse really does work better -- blindly supporting something because good people support it isn't a great idea because of the word blindly, but it's not useless. For someone to have an unusually strong track record of being wrong, they're still right a lot. For someone to have an unusually strong track record of being right, they have to be right almost all the time.

99: Oh, 'never been right' is a strong statement. I support his decision to, throughout the course of his tenure as Prime Minister, refrain from invading France and attempting to install a puppet government.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 4:09 AM
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100a: I do agree that the # of people you can trust to be right strongly outnumber the # of people you can trust to be wrong. But the latter do exist, and I think Blair is one of them.

Or, another way of conceptualising this would be something I hinted at in 90a. Rather than thinking about this in terms of us all being analysts who are putting together information and trying to arrive at correct judgments, and that Blair is just another one of these analysts, albeit with a bigger voice, think of Blair instead as a political actor, who is trying to shape the world into a certain form. I don't know precisely what he's doing, or what information he has, but I do know whatever he's doing, it's very likely not in my interest, nor in the interest of the Egyptian public, either.

It's no different in principle than say, the Chamber of Commerce or the Koch brothers. Their interests may very well align with yours from time to time, but on the whole, they're not on your side.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 4:24 AM
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96, 99: Hmm, that construction has appeared on this blog any number of times without the hypercorrection police feeling the need to make a showing.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 4:28 AM
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I support his decision to, throughout the course of his tenure as Prime Minister, refrain from invading France and attempting to install a puppet government.

Oh, quibble, quibble. Nor did he dispatch all the Fellows of the Royal Society to Dushanbe to paint the lampposts pink. Where he has recommended a course of action in relation to the internal affairs of foreign states, he has been wrong, if not every time, then to a first approximation.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 4:37 AM
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Or what Stormcrow said.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 4:40 AM
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I am quibbling, I admit. I just think the "even a stopped clock is right twice a day" problem is big enough to make 'disagree with Blair' a worse than useless heuristic, despite the fact that I mostly agree with 101.

And I'm quibbling because I don't have anything substantive to say about Egypt: this is one of those issues where I'm glad to have absolutely no relevant power or influence.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 4:43 AM
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I dunno, I think that "being opposed to Tony Blair" may well be one of the finest guiding principles of political life, post about 1990.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 4:54 AM
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Though I agree with Tony Blair on this one, I'm assuming he's only right for the wrong reasons. Not that I would take the time to read his opinion.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 5:26 AM
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I think that "being opposed to Tony Blair" may well be one of the finest guiding principles of political life, post about 1990.

Devolution, the Good Friday Accord, the MPC and the Human Rights Act are all good things, though.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 5:56 AM
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"All right, but apart from the Devolution, the Good Friday Accord, the MPC and the Human Rights Act what has Blair ever done for us?"


Posted by: Opinionated People's Front of Judea | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 6:02 AM
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John McCain opposes the coup.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 6:18 AM
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To be fair, none of those are particularly Blairite ideas, and several of those were basically forced on Blair by other actors.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 6:48 AM
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Walt, in 87, my first sentence was supposed to be "I wasn't comparing any event to Iraq." Not sure if that threw off the meaning of the rest of the comment.

You are brandishing the Iraq War the way neocons brandished Munich.

Because the neocons used Munich to discuss how conflicted they were about the whole Iraq situation? I'm not getting this at all.

bob is making an argument via an appeal to military authority (81). He accuses people who oppose military action of supporting the incumbent (69). He relies on dubious claims about the apocalyptic events that would have come about absent military action (6 and 69), and ignores the problems that directly result from that action. He advocates violence as a tool of social improvement (pretty much always).

This line of argument reminds me of something. Why ought I dance around mentioning what that thing is?

Is Iraq the new Godwin rule? Is it inherently unproductive to notice that reflexive advocates of violence share some common traits?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 6:49 AM
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112 was me, of course.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 6:49 AM
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AFAICT Morsi was basically running a slo-mo transformation of Egypt into a one-party state with himself at the helm. So the question at hand is not Democracy vs. Coup but merely how would nascent democracy in Egypt die. The coup opens up the possibility of trying again, hopefully this time with more robustness against the accumulation of excessive power by anybody. To me that favors the coup over the prior status quo. Also fuck Islamists generally.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 6:51 AM
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The debate in 112 et al (is or is not the Iraq War an appropriate analogy to describe what Bob may or may not be thinking about Egypt) may be literally the least interesting in the history of this comment section, and that's saying something. Can't you just insult each other personally or something?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 6:55 AM
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You suck.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 6:58 AM
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Also, guys, I think you're all banned. I certainly am.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 6:58 AM
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Although "let's take the one-off phrase 'whatever Tony Blair is for, I'm against' hyper-literally" comes close. Tony Blair poops! Does that mean you are AGAINST pooping?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 6:59 AM
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I'd prefer that it be kept largely out of the public sphere, certainly. What you degenerates get up to in private is none of my business.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 7:06 AM
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I've been eating oatmeal, if that isn't too much information.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 7:07 AM
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114: a slo-mo transformation of Egypt into a one-party state

From its prior status as a one party state?


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 7:11 AM
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Eating oatmeal is the moral equivalent of poplin on yourself.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 7:12 AM
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Poplin s/b oh fuck it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 7:13 AM
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106 is right. With whatever caveats you like as per above. But, as a first principle, assume you are reading the views of an evil fuck, acting as the wholly owned mouthpiece of a bunch of other evil fucks.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 7:13 AM
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I oppose all pooping of and by British politicians.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 7:16 AM
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121: It was a multi-party state during the Morsi regime, but it was in the process of being transformed, as far as I can tell. The real kicker would have been the next scheduled set of elections, which increasingly looked to my eyes like they would be run Zimbabwe-style. We'll never know, so it's all poorly-informed speculation, but I'm not willing to give Islamists the benefit of the doubt.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 7:22 AM
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Wait until you get gout, Halford. Then you'll be all "Why didn't I eat my oatmeal!"

Now that Egypt is rapidly descending into civil war, I guess the effectiveness of the Tony Blair rule is intact.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 7:24 AM
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I support his decision to, throughout the course of his tenure as Prime Minister, refrain from invading France and attempting to install a puppet government.

I don't think he ever made that decision.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 7:25 AM
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126: It was a single party state for decades, then nominally* a multi-party state for one year, and then a military coup. I really don't think it's accurate to talk about this as if the MB came in and corrupted a well functioning system.

* The old regime was never done away with. A lot of the authoritarian measures the MB took were partly an attempt to root these guys out.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 7:31 AM
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re: 128

Blair's decision to invade France is not bald.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 8:23 AM
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Wait until you get gout, Halford.

Everybody!

Just you wait, Robert Halford,
Just you wait.
Wait 'til you get gout, Robert Halford,
You get gout!
You'll be groaning like a Tory
You'll be swollen up and sorry*
Just you wait 'til you get gout, Robert Halford!

* Shut up. It would rhyme if Julie Andrews were singing it.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 10:28 AM
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Togolosh is getting it right, in my view, which is to say that I share his view.

As for Tony Blair, 90's One has a finite amount of time to read and learn things. Sometimes you need heuristics, and 'oppose what Tony Blair favours' isn't a bad one. Won't get you the right answer all the time, but it will do most of the time. Add bob and David Brooks on top of that, and you're pretty much gold.

is really just wrong-headed, sorry.

I realize this ship has sailed, but for god's sake, try on for size that those people might be supporting the right thing, but for the wrong reason(s). And ffeJ, you've been provided with links to intelligent and informative commentary many times in this thread: reactionary opposition to whatever Blair and Brooks have to say is lazy.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 5:27 PM
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101: Rather than thinking about this in terms of us all being analysts who are putting together information and trying to arrive at correct judgments, and that Blair is just another one of these analysts, albeit with a bigger voice, think of Blair instead as a political actor, who is trying to shape the world into a certain form.

Okay, Blair is interested in protecting the US-British-whoever axis of control/influence in the Middle East. That control is double: corporate-contractor money money money, and simple foreign policy objective seeking.

See this transcript from a Diane Rehm show recently, on Egypt.

SHEHATA: I think that the direct answer to your question -- what does the U.S. get out of the military aid to Egypt? -- is the following, right? The U.S. gets expedited passage of naval vessels through the Suez Canal. The U.S. is the only country that is allowed to have nuclear vessels pass through the Suez Canal. The U.S. gets thousands of overflight rights over Egypt. It gets intelligence sharing.
SHEHATA: This was, of course, very important in the so-called war on terrorism and so on, and it gets to some extent the pliancy of the Egyptian military and, previously under Mubarak, the Egyptian government with regard to foreign -- U.S. foreign policy in the region. That's quite a bit, and especially considering that there are beneficiaries in this country -- the military contractors -- that do quite well with regard to the aid.

Good information. Makes sense, a lot of sense. The US is not going to openly denounce the Egyptian military, because that cooperative relationship is far too important. And in fact it does seem important. If we keep our annual aid -- going chiefly to the military -- in place, we have some bargaining power, some ability to pressure the military to be sure to transition to new elections and withdraw (themselves) from governmental rule.

So ffeJ. If that is Blair's thinking, do you decide, per 101, that it's probably not in your interest, or in the interest of the Egyptian people? This is not a rhetorical question.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 6:25 PM
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Some of this is to say that if you're against the 'coup', you're with Rand Paul and John McCain. Your heuristics are really pretty worthless if you're not willing to put in the time to inform yourself. And I haven't even spoken to what Tamarod has to say.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 6:51 PM
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I really don't see why you have to be "for" or "against" the coup. How about "fucked up country I don't understand or know much about is fucked up" which would be the actually reasonable view for 99.99% of Americans.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 7:07 PM
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I guess that's a reasonable perspective to take, as long as you don't use fucked-up heuristics like "Is Tony Blair for or against it" in forming your don't-know-much-about-it opinion.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 7:18 PM
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My heuristic is m. leblanc, who seems for it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 7:21 PM
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Oh, I've been wondering how m.leblanc felt! Views from Egyptians or Egyptian-Americans or people of Egyptian heritage are valued.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 7:26 PM
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My heuristic is the use of the word heuristic. People who use it can't be trusted.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 7:26 PM
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It would be real ffeJ who introduced the term.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 7:31 PM
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He moved to Germany as an adult, which is what Hitler did.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 8:22 PM
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First name ends in f, last name starts with H.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 8:36 PM
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I don't believe in reincarnation, but...


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 8:38 PM
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SHEHATA: I think that the direct answer to your question -- what does the U.S. get out of the military aid to Egypt? -- is the following, right? The U.S. gets expedited passage of naval vessels through the Suez Canal. The U.S. is the only country that is allowed to have nuclear vessels pass through the Suez Canal. The U.S. gets thousands of overflight rights over Egypt. It gets intelligence sharing.

These are all features of the aid, but it skips over the main number one overall strategic reason for it, which is to pay off Egypt for not going to war with Israel. This subsidy was set up as part of the Camp David accord in 1979, which made peace between the two countries.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 5:04 AM
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Egypt gets less than Israel, because second place.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 5:38 AM
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I'm currently reading Theodore Zeldin, and Egypt since 2011 reminds me more than anything of 19th century France. Huge conflicts between sweeping ideological visions that only reflect their authors, but still involve the mass public. Seriously ambiguous politics. Military coups for liberalism, or possibly something else. Parliamentarian government for authoritarianism, or possibly somethig else.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 6:01 AM
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Egypt gets less than Israel, because second place.

IIRC the deal is that Egypt gets two-thirds of whatever Israel gets that year. So if Israel gets cut back to $1, Egypt gets 67 cents.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 6:09 AM
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That's about the same as the ratio of the payouts for first and second in a golf event.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 6:13 AM
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I think it's totally reasonable to just not have an opinion about the coup. I've read a whole bunch about the situation, and I still don't have a clear opinion.

I thought ffeJ was giving the Blair heuristic as a serious argument. If it was just a joke, then I'm the dickhead who didn't get the joke, and I apologize. You know, I find this happening more and more to me as I get older. My relationship with my wife is built on the fact that we talk trash each other. But now, she trash talks me, and I start explaining my poor lifestyle choices. Life has just drained the humor out of me.

The only thing that'll really make me laugh is when Halford gets gout. It'll be right after the Halfordismo revolution. He'll be walking up to the microphone, and the limp will kick in. The trained ninja librarians will be outraged because they swore only to serve a perfect physical specimen, so they will tear him to bits on stage. It'll be just like the end of the Bacchae. It'll be fucking hilarious.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 6:13 AM
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146: I have the same reaction, but it's almost the only historical example I know anything about, so I was wondering if was just me.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 6:15 AM
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The U.S. is the only country that is allowed to have nuclear vessels pass through the Suez Canal.

No, this is nonsense. It is open to all vessels, merchant and naval, without distinction. Here is a Russian nuclear-powered cruiser passing through the Canal. http://imgur.com/pkrfY

And here is a press release from the Royal Navy describing the nuclear submarine HMS Turbulent going through the Canal. http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/The-Fleet/Submarines/Decommissioned-Units/HMS-Turbulent

The "expedited passage" thing sounds like rubbish as well. It's not like non-USN ships have to hang around for a couple of days first.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 6:16 AM
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The trained ninja librarians will be outraged because they swore only to serve a perfect physical specimen, so they will tear him to bits on stage. It'll be just like the end of the Bacchae.

Actually it sounds like the end of "The Man Who Would Be King", when the Kafiristanis realise Sean Connery isn't actually the divine heir to Alexander when they see him bleeding, so they decide he has to die by being dropped into a ravine while singing "The Son Of God Goes Forth To War".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 6:21 AM
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Didn't they behead him in the story? I seem to remember Peachy wandering around with his head in a bag.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:43 AM
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153: yeah, but in the film he gets chased on to a rope bridge which then gets cut.

BUT THE METHOD IS IMMATERIAL. Halford will probably be fired from a giant catapult while humming "2 Become 1".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:44 AM
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154: That's in the original story too -- the "natives" give Peachey the head (with gold crown) to remind him never to come back.

My mom just translated this story into Hebrew.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:57 AM
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150.2 is interesting, so is 146. Walt, straightman dickhead is a perfectly cromulent monad of hilarity.

My contribution to thinking about Egypt is pretty slight-- apparently polls show a majority of Egyptians happy with religious parties running the country. To the slight extent that I understand Algerian politcs, urban middle-class people don't have much of a voice-- corrupt generals or imams who are both loony and often also corrupt are the political parties. Tunisia is looking like a more and more religious state. I don't know how much of this carries over to Egypt, or how sharp the ideological split between city and countryside is there. I also don't know how corrupt the Egyptian army is, that is how much of the economy there is run by the army with public funds for private gain. I wouldn't expect a soundbite answer.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:57 AM
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155: ah, right. Yes, in the film he's got Dravot's head (or rather skull) as well.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:01 AM
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And I just looked up the story text, and the bridge over the ravine is the same -- Peachey just carries the head around as a reminder, just as in the movie.

Mmm. Kipling.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:04 AM
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Why, you dirty woman, I've never kipled!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:25 AM
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Will there never come a season
Which shall rid us from the curse
Of a prose which knows no reason
And an unmelodious verse:
When the world shall cease to wonder
At the genius of an Ass,
And a boy's eccentric blunder
Shall not bring success to pass:

When mankind shall be delivered
From the clash of magazines,
And the inkstand shall be shivered
Into countless smithereens:
When there stands a muzzled stripling,
Mute, beside a muzzled bore:
When the Rudyards cease from Kipling
And the Haggards Ride no more.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:39 AM
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I was just about to type out "Every Bolsh is a blackguard" from memory, and then recalled that we'd done exactly the same thing two years ago.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:44 AM
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I ban myself.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:46 AM
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Rightly so. I'd ban myself as well, but I've been banned for so long it seems redundant.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:49 AM
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Been banned so long it looks the same to me.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 9:18 AM
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"Death by being torn limb to limb by all-female ninja strike force once weakness has set in" is actually one of the core attractions of Halfordismo. As is the construction of the worlds largest Ziggurat tomb, the Halfordosoleum, which will contain the eternal flame, the hall of veneration, and the kissable relics. Egypt, I await your inevitable call.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 9:55 AM
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I'm not Hitler, and heuristics are perfectly fine things to use and talk about.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 10:30 AM
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This is basically how I imagine Crossfit:
http://tragedyseries.tumblr.com/image/53386856005


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 10:31 AM
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Notice the careful phrasing that doesn't explicitly deny being the reincarnation of Hitler.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 10:32 AM
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I did return a wave from a student today so half-assedly that it looked like I was a senior Nazi officer acknowledging the Hitlergru├če (I am a terrible teacher and university employee whose contract should not be renewed).


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 10:38 AM
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Guess who did terrible things to German universities. And not Heidegger.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 10:40 AM
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Moby, everyone knows the old saying "he who calls Hitler is Hitler" so we all know what's going on here.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 10:57 AM
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Now that everyone knows thai, not calling someone Hitler is what marks you clearly as Hitler.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 11:38 AM
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He ran calling Hitttt-ler.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 11:42 AM
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151: Ajay! Thanks for the correction. I wish to hell someone had questioned that panelist when he said that; obviously I should know that "it must be true because I heard it on the radio" is bogus, but damn it's irritating to have false information go unchallenged on a program that's supposed to be shedding light. I'm annoyed with myself for not checking into it before repeating it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 5:07 PM
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Oh, one last link to an informative piece on events in Egypt. A good overview.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 6:20 PM
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Has parsimon sorted out what we should all think about Egypt yet?


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 6:29 PM
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This is what I think of Egypt.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 6:30 PM
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Has parsimon sorted out what we should all think about Egypt yet?

If you can give me something that would fit nicely into a two-minute speech, that would be great, since I'm going to a debate whether or not "we" "support" the coup in about 15 minutes.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 6:45 PM
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178: can you bring a boom box and a big piece of cardboard?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 6:48 PM
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176: Definitely! But seriously, this isn't a joke kind of thing to me; I'm taking it pretty seriously (and apparently am coming across as presenting just one voice among many viable ones) because a loved one has relations there, and knows a great deal about it. Not much different from how I view Iran: if ogged, say, says we should understand it this way, I'm going to listen.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 6:49 PM
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trapnel: whether we *should* support the 'coup'?

Awright: Mursi had obliterated the checks and balances of government. He'd declared himself immune from judicial review. Normal procedures (impeachment, say) had been rendered impossible.

Also the constitution adopted after his election was entirely rigged and unsupported by a large swathe of the citizenry. The reference for that is in the "Part One" linked in 52, but 15 minutes is not enough time to review it.

Okay, Here:

The November 2012 Constitutional Declaration arrived in the midst of a deep political crisis and ignited the most violent period in the country's modern history. The Ghariani Constitution was itself an amendment to the 1971 Constitution, which preserves the pillars of the authoritarian state while also denying society its basic social and economic rights and liberties. The Constitution is dedicated to centralizing and empowering the office of the president along two distinct axes: vertically, it preserves state power at the expense of the local government; horizontally, it situates the presidency above the legislative and judicial branches of government. Additionally, this constitution lays a foundation for an independent military empire by guaranteeing the autonomy of the military, and protecting it from the emergent political arena.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 6:59 PM
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I'm not sure if I'm getting old and crabby or what, but I feel like the soundtrack of the last year or so has been a lot of people who don't know much about the events of the day shouting, at the top of their pixelated voices, "Look at me! I'm an expert! There's a new Pope from Latin America! I know all about the juntas!* A bridge collapsed! I'm a structural engineer!** There's a coup in Egypt! I'm an expert on the Middle East!*** I want to write a blog post for HuffpoAtlanticWirefacebook! And parlay that into a recurring spot on MSNBC! I subscribe to The Nation!"

It's not actually that big a deal. And I don't think it's any more pernicious than other elements of the culture. But it does make me tired. Or maybe, as I said above, I'm just old.

* "I really don't. But I do speak a bit of Spanish and I read a bunch of magical realism during sophomore year of college."

** "I'm really not. But I've been to the Pacific Northwest. I think it's pretty cool up there, though the rain might be a bit of a downer over time."

*** "Yeah, now that you mention it, I don't really know a thing about the region. But I did think the schwarma scene in The Avengers was hilarious. And I marched for Palestinian rights one time. Oh, wait, I actually didn't. I guess I got really busy with work."


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:11 PM
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182 not directed to anyone here. At all. Seriously.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:11 PM
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All I know is that neither the Egyptian Lover nor Greg Mack ever murdered 51 demonstrators.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:13 PM
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Don't they say something about how people who can cure cholera shouldn't throw stones?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:15 PM
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There's an e-Gypt now?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:16 PM
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A bridge collapsed! I'm a structural engineer!

"but not the structural engineer whose fault this is!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:19 PM
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Gosh I hope trapnel reports back on his debate.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:19 PM
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Hey! A guy's shouting about people shouting about things they don't know much about! I know a lot about that! Read my blog comment on it!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:20 PM
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Anyhow, I don't need to know ANYTHING about Egypt to become its new Ptolemy.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:21 PM
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Other than that it had an old Ptolemy.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:26 PM
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Quietly I say: I do hope I haven't been shouting.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:27 PM
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I think the problem is probably that I stopped reading blogs (where, if one knows what's what, expertise can be found), mostly stopped reading here (where there are sometimes smart things said, though I mostly prefer to hear about the ever-expanding universe of Halfordismo), but haven't stopped reading facebook (where, yes, this isn't any kind of revelation, the stupid is pervasive).


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:32 PM
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Egypt had Ptolemys, but not in a way we can understand anymore. They lived and breathed Ptolemys, yet this was not a Ptolemocracy.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:32 PM
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In Halfordismo, blogs read you.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:34 PM
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As for Egypt, I'm pretty sure that I don't have a clue what to think. And I'm even more sure that my opinion, informed or otherwise, doesn't matter at all. At moments like these, one can take great comfort in being completely irrelevant to the workings of geopolitics.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:34 PM
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194: but where do the squirrels come into play?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:36 PM
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As this thread continues to be active, every once in a while I wonder if I should read it, so I check in and read the last few comments. Doing this just now has been more encouraging than the previous times.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:37 PM
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As for Egypt, I agree 100% with VW in 196.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:38 PM
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Looks like I misspelled "shwarma." I hope they don't cancel my show on MSNBC.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:39 PM
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So far I've been... Anti coup!
God debates make me hate myself and humanity.


Posted by: X. Trapnel | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:54 PM
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197: Ptolemy has a play sphere just for them.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:56 PM
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201: you do realize that, as a grown human being not running for anything, you don't have to participate in them, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:57 PM
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201: I ... I don't know what to say. What should a state do if over 10 million people are in the streets demanding that the leader step down, and he refuses to do so?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:58 PM
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200: I was raised spelling it "Shawarma".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 7:59 PM
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204: tell... Facebook?

I might not be following this thread closely enough.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:00 PM
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Oh boy, now parsimon and trapnel are going to debate the merits of the coup!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:02 PM
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While we're setting the ground rules, I'd like to insist that the debate be conducted in Arabic.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:03 PM
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Aramaic.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:06 PM
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I think they have to choose which side to argue by lot. Or they each have to select someone from the region and then hew closely to that person's position, no matter how horrible it may be, on the issue. Or they can, as per the rules of Halfordismo, see who can play the solo from "Run for the Hills" better.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:06 PM
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I don't actually recall if "Run for the Hills had a guitar solo. It must have, right? Regardless, Iron Maiden had a shitload of guitarists, way more than Spinal Tap had drummers.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:07 PM
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It was 10 million? Thought it was 2m. This changes everything!


Posted by: X. Trapnel | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:09 PM
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201: God debates make me hate myself and humanity.

God: Who gives a fuck? Sure, knock yourselves out. Change leaders, whatevs.

humanity: Tony Blair supports the coup! We hates it!

makes me hate myself: Yeah, what they said! Hitler hates the coup, too!

God: Once all the Eqyptians were warlike and mean
but that couldn't happen again.
I taught them a lesson in 1200 BC,
and they've hardly bothered me since then.

humanity: Christ, what an asshole.

God: Winning!

makes me hate myself: Pooping!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:12 PM
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It's Run TO The Hills, not FOR. Crocodiles, eat him! I have monuments to build.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:13 PM
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10 million guitars! Whoa, dude!


Posted by: makes me hate myself | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:15 PM
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214: I'm eating a piece of fresh sourdough bread slathered -- yeah, slathered; what of it? -- with cherry jam at the moment, so it's not like I was going to thrive under Halfordismo regardless.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:23 PM
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And THEN you have the nerve to tell me you think that as a coup that it's not fit
Well this is just a little Peyton Place and you're all Nile Valley hypocrites
No I wouldn't put you on because it really did it happened just this way
The day my little boy socked it to the Nile Valley PTA


Posted by: Hazel Corscadden | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:24 PM
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I hope the new Halfordismo government legalizes this. Possibly makes it mandatory.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:25 PM
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Halfordismo is for losers!


Posted by: humanity | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:25 PM
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... of ugly fat and pounds!


Posted by: makes me hate myself | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:25 PM
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I love the announcer who asks "how are we not hypnotized?!".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:27 PM
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I'd like to hear Ghostface Killah's thoughts on 218.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:30 PM
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Additionally, this constitution lays a foundation for an independent military empire by guaranteeing the autonomy of the military, and protecting it from the emergent political arena.

therefore, it is crucial that the military overthrow the constitution! Who are we kidding here?

The funniest thing about that link is the way it criticizes Morsi for bringing back the Mubarrak regime and being cozy with the military, which is supposed to justify...the military bringing back all the old leaders from the Mubarrak regime.

Anyway, I wish Egypt good luck and wish we could stay out.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:41 PM
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PGD, the constitution is a piece of shit and should be suspended and rewritten, which is exactly what Mansour has called for.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 8:53 PM
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Oh dear, I see from the very link I provided that the new constitutional process is not the most excellent it could be. Goddamn.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 9:00 PM
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Some observers have noted that the constitutional declaration deliberately does not envisage an entirely new drafting process and that the new assembly should work off the 2012 constitution, but that will not make much of a difference given that the drafters of the 2012 constitution were themselves heavily inspired by the 1971 constitution.

Well, shit. It's not looking good so far.

Now I'm just depressed.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 9:07 PM
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216: Crossfit seems to involve much limping, so you'll probably blend in just fine.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-13 9:54 PM
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Jesus christ, what is this? Al-Jazeera English alleges that the US bankrolled anti-Morsi endeavors.

I have no idea what to think at this point. May the journalistic powers that be enlighten us. Me, that is.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-10-13 12:11 PM
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228: Not surprising that the U.S. hedges its bets by helping all sides.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-10-13 12:23 PM
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229: Also not surprising that all sides hate us anyway.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-10-13 12:27 PM
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