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Whose side is the American right on?

Day of Departure Protest in Tahrir Square

I haven’t watched Fox’s coverage of Egypt (because I watch *actual* news) but let me guess what’s going on there: The Muslim Brotherhood is stirring up trouble, they’re going to take over the country, they’ll be an immediate threat to Israel, there will be chaos and looting, rending of garments and tearing of hair, the blind will lead the deaf, oil prices will spike, the Imams will call for jihad and all is lost, LOST, I say.

People who watch Fox, well watch Fox as their primary news source, since many of us are *forced* to watch that garbage in doctor’s offices and auto repair garage waiting rooms, are a certain kind of person.  They’re conservative, older, on limited incomes, religious and scared of their own shadows.  Fox has made them scared of their own shadows.

But what is the right wing noise machine trying to say about what’s happening in Egypt?  From all reports that I have read and first hand accounts (read Nick Kristoff in the NYTimes and here’s his latest from Tahrir square.) and every picture that I’ve seen, the protestors come from every socio economic background, every religion, they are of both genders and while many are young, the crowds today show a lot of middle aged people as well.  This is a popular and committed uprising against a brutal, undemocratic regime.  Is it the position of the right wing that supression of democracy in a country like Egypt, a country that hasn’t seen an honest election in 30 years, that has a violent and intimidating secret police and that has beaten up and detained international journalists and human rights workers, that this government and the person who refuses to leave are OK, respectable heads of state that we should do business with??

Is that really what the right is saying?

I guess it is.  Rush Limbaugh is on the case of the beaten and detained journalists:

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

My mom has two sayings. “Beauty is skin deep but ugly goes clear to the bone” and “The sexiest thing in a rich man’s pants is his wallet”.  Everytime I think of Rush, those two sayings pop into my mind.

Rush doesn’t seem to be at all concerned that an executive from Google was disappeared a few days ago without a trace.  He isn’t bothered by the fact that a Swedish journalist has been brutally stabbed, no one knows where he is and his producers have report the following ominous message:

… when his producer called him for another report from Tahrir square two hours later “a voice in Arabic answered and said Bert was being held. Then the connection cut,” producer Robert Wiström told SVT.

According to a Swedish translation posted on SVT’s website, the voice said:

“Your man is being held by the military. You sons of whores, if you want him back you will have to come get him. Your man is held by the Egyptian government. He is alive and awake.”

Yes, Rush is a Mubarek thug sympathizer.  Fox news is probably also not too keen on this recent turn of events.  Because, let’s think about it: If Mubarek leaves, Israel will be forced to deal with a new Egypt.  And while this new Egypt may not want to go to war, it’s likely to start issuing demands for things that Israel probably should have started to do earlier, like no more settlements in the west bank.  And if Egypt goes, so may Jordan, and Syria.  It could get very messy.  And Israel might have to start acting like a good neighbor instead of the tough kid on the block with a gigantic bodyguard.

Fox wouldn’t want that, especially if there’s no strong religious flavor to the uprisings.  But why would younger people living under repressive governments want to win a giant victory only to turn over their power to a bunch of regressive religious mullahs like they have in Iran?  The flavor of this revolution seems closer to the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union than to the Iranian Revolution.  In Egypt and Iran, the dictator had to go but there is no Ayatollah Komeini leading in Egypt.  A mid-east revolution without religious overtones would undermine Fox’s whole raison d’etre.

Americans used to support the overthrow of brutal regimes.  We turned into the fall of the Berlin Wall and cheered them on.  But Rush doesn’t want that.  Egypt is just the kind of government Rush likes: bleak, secretive, undemocratic and intimidating.  It carts away journalists and other witnesses.  Rush *likes* that.

But Rush can say whatever he wants in America.  It’s unlikely that he will ever encounter any crowds surrounding his door demanding his ouster, though he deserves it.  You see, here in America, we don’t do that anymore.  Peaceful assemblages to voice your dissent are penned up, removed from the targets of the messages and just as brutally suppressed.  Anyone who was in Denver in 2008 and saw anti-war protestors surrounded by hundreds of menacing crowd control police will attest to that.


There was no dissent in Denver because security wouldn’t allow it.  The place was a fortress.  Many streets were blocked off, demonstrators were confined to a large circular area and the perimeter was shrinkwrapped with guys like the ones shown above and other’s with armor.  Armor.  Black plasticky looking stuff.  These people were quick and merciless.  Step out of line even by a toe and you could get thrown to the ground, very roughly, and carted off to some remote holding pen.

THIS is YOUR government.  Not Egypt.  It was the DEMOCRATIC national convention.  These anti-war protestors probably ended up voted for Obama, for whom all of these measures were taken.  The protests and parades were scheduled and securitized within an inch of their lives.  No lawmaker need ever have heard a discouraging word.  Face it you dirty hippies, Obama doesn’t even know you’re out there.  He lives in a different world surrounded by lawyers and softly musked Wharton graduates in tailored Armani suits who are doing public service between their gigs in the finance industry.

Now, I ask you, who does Rush speak for?

Wednesday: Don’t step out of line

Sun Spotting:  I saw the sun as I was coming out of the grocery store yesterday.  There was this intense, glaring light in my face.  Seriously, I almost couldn’t figure out what was going on.  I had to shade my eyes with my hand, having ditched my sunglasses *weeks* ago.  “Bright light!  Bright light!”, I squealed.  It was the sun, that brilliant star from our illustrious past.  We have been in the Dark Ages in NJ for so long that we no longer recognize it and our pale, sweater swathed bodies have to reacquaint ourselves with the notion of light and warmth.

Alas, it did not last.  By the time we were ready to eat on the deck last night, it had started to rain again.  The clouds are presenting a united front this morning as well.  Solid, gray, endless.

I’m going to Puerta Vallarta:

John Dickerson at Slate covers the president’s press conference yesterday.  Is it just me or is there something Orwellian and creepy about the fact that you can’t eat your lunch anymore without seeing his mug on every TV in the cafeteria blathering on about something. Even though I tried to concentrate on my food, I managed to catch some of his remarks on Iran.  His words were a teensy bit stronger and I can understand why he doesn’t want the US to get involved, since that whole 1979 hostage crisis went over so well for Jimmy Carter.  But if you look carefully at his words, injustice and human rights apply only to protest and dissent.  He doesn’t say anything about the election being rigged and voters disenfranchised as being egregious and unsupportable.

Well, why would he?  He doesn’t believe in self-determination any more than Ayatollah Khamenei.  Sorry to tell you this, dear Iranian readers, but it’s true.  You may have missed our infamous 2008 Democratic presidential primary but it was no less a stolen election than yours.  The difference is we weren’t allowed to protest the way Iranians did last week.  No massive protest would have been possible in Denver.  I should know because I was there.  The city was on lockdown.  There were police in riot gear everywhere.  Step over the line even once and they’d simply force you to the ground, cuff you and haul you off to some gitmo-esque, wire holding pen an hour away from Denver until they got around to letting you make a phone call.

Juan Cole has a bit more to say about it in his comment this morning:

I applaud the Iranian public’s protests against a clearly fraudulent election, and deplore the jackboot tactics that the regime is using to quell them. But it is important to remember that the US itself was moved by Bush and McCain toward a ‘Homeland Security’ national security state that is intolerant of public protest and throws the word ‘terrorist’ around about dissidents. Obama and the Democrats have not addressed this creeping desecration of the Bill of Rights, and until they do, the pronouncements of self-righteous US senators and congressmen on the travesty in Tehran will be nothing more that imperialist hypocrisy of the most abject sort.

Juan seems intent on presenting only the Republican Convention police abuses.  He conveniently forgets about what the Democrats did last year.  Believe me, I saw it with my own eyes as a confrontation was brewing between a line of anti-war activists and the riot police in Denver.  The protesters didn’t have a chance and they were barely raising their voices.  I was on my way to a march for Hillary Clinton on the anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States.  Talk about irony and symbolism.

Tehran?  Nope.  Denver 2008.

Tehran? Nope. Denver 2008

It doesn’t surprise me in the least that Obama hasn’t made any moves to get rid of the draconian tactics and surveillance of those who will not fall in line for him.  He needs to preserve these options for the next time he and his crew decide elections for us.

Speaking of elections and people who covered themselves with shame, I got an email from Donna Brazile AND Claire McCaskill yesterday.  Lucky me!   What prompted all this attention all of the sudden?  Donna wrote to tell me:

In a decision announced this morning, the Supreme Court upheld the 1965 Voting Rights Act — a law that has done more to expand and strengthen our democracy than any other.

It’s good news — but the fight to protect voting rights doesn’t end there. Attacks on this critical law will not stop. And voter suppression tactics will continue to plague our elections.

Well, she ought to know.  She saw all the thuggery at the caucuses and, as a DNC official, did nothing to stop it.  She was a ring leader in the notorious RBC hearing where she accused Hillary Clinton of being a cheater.  Takes one to know one, Donna.  What was the point of this email?  It was so that we could make a contribution to the DNC based on our identification with voting rights issues.


Think of all the bandwidth the DNC could save if they just stopped sending these unbelievable messages to those of us who can’t stand the sight of Donna Brazile’s face.  I won’t buy Ms. either until she’s off of their editorial staff.  But once July 20 comes around, I might join and donate to NOW.  That’s the day that Terry O’Neill takes office and kicks Kim Gandy and her Obama groupies to the curb.  Maybe we can do it en masse.  More updates as the day gets closer.

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