Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Is Human Nature Ultimately Incompatible With Tyranny?

Is Human Nature Ultimately Incompatible With Tyranny?

How Do You Think Thomas Jefferson Would Answer That Question?

Will El Baradei Lead a Revolution?

Will America Begin To Change Its Backing Of Dictators?

By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd | AlterNet

Israel's Netanyahu Fears Egypt Could Go Way Of Iran

Israel News.Net

Monday 31st January, 2011 (Source: Canada.com)

JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday he feared Egypt could end up with a radical Islamic regime like in Iran. Netanyahu's comments were his sharpest since protests began last week demanding the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, Israel's most significant and oldest ally in the Arab world."Our real fear is of a situation that could develop.

. . and which has already developed in several countries including Iran itself ? Repressive regimes of radical Islam," he told a news conference alongside visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Netanyahu said he hoped Israel's three-decade-old peace treaty with Egypt would survive any changes that were taking place in Cairo."We are all following with vigilance, with worry and hope that indeed the peace and stability w..Read the full story at Canada.com

By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd | AlterNet

By Steve Benen | Political Animal

(Reuters) - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak overhauled his government on Monday to try to defuse a popular uprising against his 30-year rule but angry protesters rejected the changes and said he must surrender power.

On the seventh consecutive day of unrest in the Arab world's most populous nation, tens of thousands of protesters rallied in Cairo's Tahrir Square chanting "Get out ... We want you out" and singing Egypt's national anthem
Troops backed by tanks and armored personnel carriers made no effort to disperse the crowd even two hours after a curfew started, although helicopters flew overhead.

"This is all nonsense," said protester Omar el-Demerdash, 24, a research executive, adding:

"The demand is clear: We want Mubarak and his men to get out. Anything other than that is just not enough."

Egypt's powerful army now appears to hold the key to Mubarak's fate. Although the generals have held back from crushing the revolt, they have not withdrawn support for him.

The uprising, unprecedented in scale and intensity in this once tightly-controlled country, erupted last week when frustration over repression, corruption, poverty and the lack of democracy under Mubarak boiled over.

About 140 people were killed in clashes with security forces in scenes that overturned Egypt's standing as a stable country, promising emerging market and attractive tourist destination.

Mubarak, a close U.S. ally and a stalwart in Western policy toward the Middle East, responded by offering economic reform to address public anger over hardships.

On Monday he named General Mahmoud Wagdy, previously head of Cairo criminal investigations department, as the new interior minister. Wagdy's predecessor was reviled by many Egyptians because of the repressive tactics used by the police force to quash the opposition and criticism of the president.

Mubarak, clinging to power as his legitimacy vaporizes, on Saturday named his intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, a former military man, as vice president, a post vacant for 30 years. It was a move seen by some as a prelude to a transition in power.

He also appointed former air force commander Ahmed Shafiq as prime minister after sacking the entire cabinet.

But it appeared the moves would do little to turn back the groundswell against the 82-year-old ruler.

"This new cabinet is too little, too late. I think Mubarak will probably be gone well before 30 days is up," Zaineb Al-Assam, a Middle East expert at London-based Exclusive Analysis, told Reuters.

"There are some figures in the cabinet who are deeply unpopular. An example is General Wagdy. That's going to add to the protests. Mubarak will be seen by the army as a liability."

Taking Tea with Torturers | openDemocracy
By Craig Scott*
Not even close to an endorsement of such an “oversight” role (whatever that might mean, or not mean) let alone embracing the need for an independent international investigation of war crimes allegations. Not a word about the Office of ... On the Egypt front, Luke Johnson in the American Independent reminded us of Secretary of State Clinton’s interview with Al Arabiya TV in Egypt in March 2009.2 Clinton engaged in downplaying to the point of virtual dismissal the relevance of the annual Department of State’s country report on the human rights situation in Egypt.3 

That 2008 report (published in early 2009) discusses in considerable detail the extensive and systemic use of torture by the police and security services in Egypt. That apparatus has been instrumental to sustaining Mubarak in power for the past 30 years (not to mention to the US’ outsourcing of torture-for-intelligence). In response to a journalist’s question, Clinton commented, “We issue these reports on every country. We consider Egypt to be a friend and we engage in very forthright conversations with our friends. And so we hope that it will be taken in the spirit in which it is offered, that we all have room for improvement.”4

Despite all the hype, the Tea Party is not a “populist,” “libertarian,” or “constitutionalist” movement. Rather, it is a movement of grassroots frustration that has been co-opted by wealthy corporate interests to fight against the historic victories of Populism, against the key movements for civil liberties and civil rights, and against modern constitutional principles, argues a new report by Jamie Raskin of People For the American Way.

As the newly-empowered House GOP takes to the House floor to read the Constitution in its entirety, Raskin’s report questions the Tea Party movement’s asserted allegiance to the text and history of the Constitution, its claim to champion the liberty of the people, and its identification with earlier populist movements. “Americans who still love the promise of political democracy, the real Constitution and Bill of Rights, and the progress of human liberty and equality should carefully read the fine print, as well as  between the lines, before they drink the tea being served at this party,” Raskin writes.

Raskin, a Senior Fellow at People For the American Way, is also a Maryland State Senator and a professor of constitutional law at American University’s Washington college of Law.

The report, Corporate Infusion: What the Tea Party’s Really Serving America, discusses the modern Tea Party movement’s history and track record, including: ·     advocating in the 2010 elections for repeal of the 17th Amendment--popular election of U.S. Senators--a key victory of American Populism in the last century; ·         advocating in the 2010 elections for repeal of the 16th Amendment and attacking the federal power to impose an income tax, which is essential to modern democracy;·         fighting the 14th Amendment’s guarantees of equal protection and birthright citizenship and arguing for repeal of parts of the 14th Amendment, including its crucial first sentence; ·         asserting the unconstitutionality of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and defending the right of private establishments to discriminate on the basis of race and other arbitrary factors; ·         advocating for a return to the gold standard and thus assailing another great victory of the Populist movement for working people;·         opposing the reproductive rights of women and the civil rights and liberties of gay and lesbian citizens; and ·         calling for ever more “deregulation” and generating a host of silly and false political issues, like allegations about the president’s citizenship and religion, while ignoring and obscuring gigantic corporate scandals and crimes of our times, including the multi-trillion dollar sub-prime mortgage scam, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the lethal collapse of Massey Coal’s mines in West Virginia.

“Our Constitution reflects the American people’s historic fight for a strong democracy, civil liberties and the common good,” said Raskin. ”Although the Tea Party has been billed as embracing all of those values, it has been co-opted and channeled to fight for the power of big corporations, not the rights of the American people. We should take a close look at what the Tea Party’s words about the Constitution really mean.”

Responding to the planned Constitutional “read-out” by the Republican majority in the House of Representatives on Thursday, Raskin said: “It’s a fine idea to celebrate and study the Constitution, but the document they’re reading aloud is about two minutes longer than the one the Tea Party supports.  And what does it mean to read the Establishment Clause out loud when you support the teaching of creationism in our public schools? Or to repeat the words 'due process,' 'liberty' and 'equal protection' but deny their application to all citizens? Or to read the Commerce Clause and the necessary and proper clause but deny their use in advancing the public health and welfare? It's one thing to read the Constitution, quite another to defend its meaning.”

To:  Interested Parties
From: Marge Baker, People For the American Way
Date: January 19, 2011
Subject: Health Care Reform Repeal: Bought and Paid for by Citizens United
It is no secret that the health insurance industry spent tens of millions of dollars in its effort to prevent comprehensive health care reform from becoming law. But the insurance industry and its allies did not give up their fight against health care reform when the Affordable Care Act became law. In fact, empowered by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, corporate-backed groups intent on the repeal of the health care reform law spent an enormous amount of money to help defeat vulnerable supporters of reform and elect candidates who vowed to repeal it.

According to research by People For the American Way, in the 36 House races in which representatives who supported health care reform were defeated in November:

·         Nine cents of every dollar spent—including spending by campaigns, parties, and outside groups— came from a small set of outside groups focused on repealing the reform law.

·         21% of all of the money spent by or on behalf of successful anti-reform challengerswas spent by those same groups.  

This outside spending—one fifth of the over $100 million spent by and on behalf of challengers in 36 flipped health care races—came from a set of 20 national groups dedicated to the repeal of the health care reform law.  Three groups, US Chamber of Commerce60 Plus Association, and the Coalition to Protect Seniors received support from the health care industry according to news reports. The other groups identified as pro-repeal, Americans for Tax ReformAmericans for Limited GovernmentAlliance for America’s FutureAmerican Action NetworkAmerican Future FundSuper PAC for AmericaBIPACRevere AmericaClub for GrowthAmericans for Job SecurityAmerican Crossroads & Crossroads GPSAmericans for ProsperityCenter For Individual FreedomFreedomWorksNFIB, and the New Prosperity Foundation ran advertisements attacking health care reform, often including misleading claims, but were largely exempt from requirements to disclose their funders.

In some cases, the influence of these anti-health care reform groups was overwhelming. In Nevada’s third congressional district, almost $5 million was spent to defeat Democratic incumbent Dina Titus. 40% of that came from pro-repeal groups, including a $700,000 investment from the American Action Network, a secretive group started by GOP operatives, which ran an outrageous ad claiming that the Affordable Care Act had provided Viagra to convicted rapists.

In Pennsylvania’s 10th district, these pro-repeal groups footed 37% of the money spent to defeat incumbent Rep. Chris Carney. The biggest spender among them was the 60 Plus Association, a group that does not disclose its donors but which has a history as a front group for Big Pharma. Among other activities in the district, 60 Plus ran an ad claiming that the Affordable Care Act cut $500 million from Medicare—a common accusation that is also completely false.

In New Hampshire, 28% of the money spent to defeat incumbent Carol Shea-Porter came from the “Repeal 20”. Revere America, another group that did not reveal its donors, was particularly active in that race, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and running an ad repeating what became PolitiFact.com’s lie of the year: that the ACA created “government-run healthcare.”

In the 2010 elections, because of lax restrictions on corporate spending and disclosure laws rife with loopholes, 20 anti-reform groups were able to make substantial investments in congressional elections. At the same time, they were able to magnify the impact of their dollars by spreading misleading claims about the health care reform bill. This week, as the House votes to repeal a bill that would bring health and financial security to millions of Americans, they will see a powerful return on their investments. 

The total amount spent by outside groups was corrected on 1/20/2011.

Regarding accusations that he is guilty of war crimes, Sosa's daughter, Christina Sosa, told the LA Times that her father is being used as a scapegoat while ...

On Dec. 6, 1982, a squad of Guatemalan army special forces commandos entered the community of Dos Erres in northern Guatemala. By the time they left two days later, more than 250 men, women, and children had been massacred and the entire village razed to the ground.

Almost three decades later, Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes, 1 of 17 men accused of taking part in the infamous massacre, is being detained in Calgary, Canada, in relation to charges of immigration fraud in the United States.

Sosa, who holds Canadian and U.S. citizenship, was picked up by authorities on Jan. 18 on charges that he lied on his U.S. citizenship application. The masterkarate instructor made a brief court appearance in Calgary on Jan. 17, where a bail hearing was set for Feb. 23.

Sosa, 52, could be extradited to either the United States or Guatemala, where an arrest warrant for murder was issued for him 17 years ago.

With the Dos Erres massacre case finally making progress in Guatemala after years of legal wrangling,Lawyers Without Borders Canada (LWBC) says this is an opportune time to ensure that Sosa be brought to trial for the crimes against humanity he allegedly committed.”

Right Wing Round-Up | Right Wing Watch
By Kyle
Right Wing Round-Up. Submitted by Kyle on January 31, 2011 - 3:48pm. PFAW: Federal Judge Strikes Down Health Care Reform Legislation. Brian Beutler @ TPM: Heavy Hitters Rip Florida Federal Judge's Opinion Striking Health Care Law. ...Right Wing Watch - http://www.rightwingwatch.org/

1000 Unmask Right-Wing Billionaires' Secret Meeting | AFL-CIO NOW BLOG
By Mike Hall
The strategy meeting was organized by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch who have been instrumental in orchestrating the tea party movement and funding much of the modern right-wing infrastructure. ...
AFL-CIO NOW BLOG - http://blog.aflcio.org/

 How the Right Wing Stole the People's Media for the Big Corporations
By Len Hart
Those who defend the GOP/right wing assault on media and free speech defend media consolidation with an irrelevant 'factoid'. Before 'deregulation', they say, there were only three huge networks --CBS, NBC, ABC. This may be true on the ...The Existentialist Cowboy - http://existentialistcowboy.blogspot.com/

HCAN Joins 1500 to Protest Billionaires' Secret Meeting Charting ...
31, 2011 - Activists from Health Care for America Now (HCAN), the nationwide coalition that led the successful fight for health reform, joined 1500 people Sunday in Rancho Mirage, California, to protest a secret meeting of right-wing ...YubaNet.com - http://yubanet.com/

The Right Wing Doesn't Want You To Know Coates Is "A True Member Of The Team"
Media Matters for America (blog)
The right-wing media's smear that the Obama administration Department of Justice as engaged in race-based justice depends on the credibility of the ...

The Amazing Self-Reinforcing Paranoid Rube Goldberg Machine
"Persecution politics" is an excellent way to frame what's happening in the GOP and the right wing these days, and I'd like to bring up another important .

Utah Bill Supporter: Naming A State Gun Will Show They Are Useful (VIDEO)

Clark Aposhian of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, a supporter of the Utah bill which would make the M1911 .45-caliber handgun the official state firearm, says now is the appropriate time to honor the weapon.

"The Tucson shootings, the Virginia Tech shootings have portrayed firearms in a negative light and I think this will enlarge the debate and ultimately show that firearms are actually useful," Aposhian said, though noting that the bill was in the works before the Arizona shooting.

But State Rep. Jennifer Seelig (D) said that "a lot of people think this is a big waste of time, particularly since we are facing some economic challenges in the state."

"If we want to honor an historical figure that's great, but let's do this another way," Seelig said. "A state symbol is supposed to be something that unifies the population in the state and guns certainly are a divisive type of unit and it's polarizing."

Watch the video below:


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