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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?