Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Far From the Madding Crowd

The 19th Century was a century filled with Revolutions. We think of them mainly occurring in France, but in 1830 and 1848, inspired by the Revolution of 1815, they spread across Europe, fueled by Marx’ and Engels’ Communist Manifesto.

One French author caught up in the fever of rebellion was novelist Victor Hugo (“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Les Miserables”). His father, Leopold, a career soldier was made a count and then a general under Napoleon. When his parents divorced, he went to live with his mother and brother in Paris, where he attended Royalist salons.

But at heart, while accepting royal patronage, he was a Romantic, concerned with the plight of the poor, the dispossessed, and the social outcasts. He was inspired by Karl Marx and the social-progressive movement spreading throughout Europe, demanding shorter hours, better wages, and suffrage (the right to vote).

A true Romantic, the unabridged version of his novel “Les Miserables” ran over 1,400 pages. In the 20th Century, it became a wildly popular Broadway musical. Long before “The Coming Insurrection” he wrote the book on how to stage a revolution, including the formula for how to make gunpowder.

At the time of the Revolution of 1830, Louis-Phillipe was crowned King of France. The Revolution of 1815 had deposed the tyrant Napoleon. This period was called “The Restoration” ostensibly to restore what the French had gained in the French Revolution. What they regained, though, was the monarchy.

Louis-Phillipe was a difficult monarch to revolt against, not because he was a strongman but because he was peaceful. The “bourgeois” (middle class) wanted no part of any violent revolutions and disdained the lowly “proletariat.” “The Revolution of 1830,” Hugo notes, ground to a halt.”

“Les Miserables” addresses the period between 1830 and 1848, when more revolutions erupted throughout Europe, seeking the redress of social and economic inequities, Hugo tells us. “The Spring of Nations,” it was called. “The Springtime of the Peoples” and simply, “The Year of Revolution.”

An 1848 painting by Horace Verne, entitled Barricade on the rue Soufflé” depicts students erecting barricades. Hugo gives a fictional account of a group of students who erect a barricade across the city in 1832 – to prevent the streetcars from going through – when their leader is arrested and eventually dies. Historians have noted the useless deaths of these students, whom the government easily put down. The authorities quickly put down their rebellion and the city went back to normal.

Their victory, Hugo insists, was in the attention brought to Paris’ social problems, the awakening of the “bourgeois,” and the easing of the plight of the poor, as well as the advent of public education for all. He writes that the most successful revolution is the one that can bring about its goals without violence, something his lead character, Jean Valjean, eschews.

The riots in Tahrir Square are somewhat different. Ostensibly, the demonstrations are about poverty and the stranglehold the current administration has on the economy, which is no doubt true; it was the complaint of Mohammad Atta. There is one very telling video clip of a young woman (dressed in the habib) complaining that she has a master’s degree but hasn’t worked in years. Many Americans suffer the same plight. Overeducated and underemployed.

The young woman who edits our website publication is in, or at least faces, a similar dilemma. She has a master’s degree in communications, yet may be forced to take on a lower-paying, menial job under our company’s current plans for restructuring. She faces competition from many employees who are equally educated. A divorced mother with two children, she’s understandably worried.

The current news from Egypt is that Mubarak isn’t budging and neither are the protesters. However, the Egyptian president seems amenable to stepping down in favor of a transitional government that will hold elections in September, these eight months being the time needed for proper opposition parties to form. Meanwhile, Westerners are fleeing for their lives. The airports are being guarded by the military, businesses have shut down and are losing money, particularly the vital tourism industry, and terrorists are being freed from prisons.

The Egyptians authorities have promised Obama that they will not attempt to remove the protesters from Tahrir Square. And indeed, it would probably be a waste of tear gas and what not. The middle class protesters, upon whom the organizers depended for credibility, are beginning to get antsy. Just like our Tea Partiers, there is a limit to their time and patience. We who helped organize the Tea Parties recognized that fact.

But the organizers in the Middle East have different aims. Like the organizers in the 19th Century revolutions, they’ve spent months developing this crisis, with meetings in local hotspots and word-of-mouth advertising, which did not fail to reach the ears of our intelligence agents but went unheeded – or perhaps was even welcomed – by our socialist administration.

“All the problems the socialists raised, aside from cosmogonic visions, dreams, and mysticism, can be raised to two principal problems:” Hugo wrote, “First problem: to produce wealth. Second problem: to distribute it.

“Communism and agrarian law think they have solved the second problem. They are mistaken. Their distribution kills production. Equal partition abolishes emulation. And consequently, labor. It is a distribution made by the butcher, who kills what he divides. It is, therefore, impossible to stop at thee professed solutions. To kill wealth is not to distribute it.”

Hugo, apparently coined the term, “evil rich,” incidentally. That is what he called countries, like England, that enjoyed material power. “You will perish by violence, as Venice died, or by bankruptcy, as England will.”

Finally, Hugo goes on to describe two different types of insurrection: insurrection and emeute. “One is wrong; one is right,” he says. “In democratic states, the only governments founded on justice, it sometimes happens that a faction usurps power; then the whole rises up, and the necessary vindication of its right may go so far as armed conflict. In all questions springing from the collective sovereignty, the war of the whole against the faction, I may call “insurrection.” The attack of the faction against the whole is emeute.”

He goes on to say, “What universal sufferance has done in its freedom and its sovereignty cannot be undone by the street. The same foes for affairs of pure civilization; the instinct of the masses, clear-sighted yesterday, may be clouded tomorrow. The destruction of machines, the pillage of storehouses, the tearing up of rails, the demolition of docks, the mistaken acts of the multitudes, the denial of justice to progress by the people, [assassinations, stonings], is emeute…. The mob is traitor to the people… Usually, rioting springs from a material fact; insurrection is always a moral phenomenon. Universal suffrage is admirable in that it dissolves the riot in its principle and, by giving a vote to insurrection, disarms it.”

Whatever Hugo or Obama might say about riot and insurrection, it does get people’s attention, particularly in our media-obsessed modern world. Someone set the fire under this boiling pot and increased the heat for a reason, and not necessarily a noble one.

Republics are set up to guard against the rule of the mob, unscientific, subjective, and emotional. Yes, there are dangers in the corruption of leadership. That is why America set up three branches of government to serve as a check and balance against one another, and promoted a two-party system by which citizens can elect their representatives.

Still there is corruption. That is why in America we don’t hold riots or insurrections; we hold Tea Parties.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Ex Re Publica

Democracy; it’s the word on everyone’s lips and tripping off everyone’s tongues these days – especially Liberal Democrat Media tongues. The United States of America is not a democracy; it’s a federate republic that practices democracy. But what exactly do those words mean. So I opened up my well-worn dictionary. I found two (very long) definitions for “republic”:

Republic [F. republique, fr L. respublica, fr res thing, wealth, + publica, fem. of publicus, public] 1: a government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and is usu. a president; also: a nation or other political unit having such a government 2: a government in which supreme power is held by the citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives governing according to law; also a nation or other political unit having such a form of government.

I was a little troubled by The New Merriam-Webster’s Latin, so I consulted my Latin & English dictionary. The first Latin word, res, has a sibling, rei, and whole column of English definitions, beginning, yes, with “thing”. But nowhere in that long column does my Latin dictionary mention “wealth.” Here are the many “things” it does list: matter, affair, object, business, circumstance, event, occurrence, deed, condition, case, reality, truth – TRUTH – fact, property, possessions, estates, effects, benefit, advantage, interest, profit, business affair, transaction, cause reason, motive, ground, case, suit, operation, campaign, battle, state, government, politics, historical event, theme, topic, subject matter.

All that, but no wealth. Farther down, the Latin dictionary gives examples of uses of the words res and publica. For instance, ex re publica: constitutionally, for the common good, in the public interest.

The Latin words for wealth are divitiae, opes [in the singular] and copia and abundantia [in the plural].

Merriam-Webster gives no less than six definitions for “democrat” but no etymology for the word. I believe its origins were Greek, but the Romans took up the word and stuck in their vocabulary. The root word, demo, means to take away, remove, withdraw, subtract.

Democracy: (n.) 1. government by the people, especially: rule of the majority 2. a government in which the supreme power is held by the people 3. a political unit that has a democratic government 4. CAP the principles and policies of the Democratic party in the U.S. [there’s no such identification under “republic” for the Republican Party] 5. the common people esp. when constituting the source of political authority 6. the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges.

So what does the word “republic” have that “democracy” doesn’t? Two things: a presiding executive and laws. What’s more, Democritus, who it would be assumed was the inspiration for the Democrats, was called the “laughing philosopher,” was considered the father of modern science, and formulated the atomic theory for the cosmos.

Apparently, generations have been duped by these definitions of a democracy and a republic. There’s no excusing, at least on the surface, rulers who have extended their rule through emergency powers. Thirty years is a long time to suppress elections. Still, they’ve given the region the only stability it’s ever known. The literacy rate in Middle Eastern countries is horrendous, the poverty still worse. How can an uneducated public govern itself?

The Arabs want to know why they can’t decide for themselves if they want to live by Shariah law. That’s what it all boils down to. A republic and a constitution stand in the way of that kind of governance. For them, Shariah is the law, not some model of the U.S. Constitution granting freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Some countries, such as Iran, already operate under Shariah law. Others are nearly there.

Wherever did we Conservatives get the silly notion that Muslim extremists want to take over the world? That they’re hatching some conspiracy-nut plot to expand their territory from the Atlantic to the Pacific in a caliphate under the rule of one 12th Imam? Where do we dream these things up, the Liberals want to know?

I researched the Department of State’s country background list today to see just what kind of governments the Arab and North African countries consider themselves.

Unlike Global Warming, we don’t have to invent any statistics or facts. We don’t have to massage them to make them palatable to a gullible public. These facts were thoughtfully provided by the U.S. State Department itself. The facts rather speak for themselves – why some Arab countries are in flames, while others are content to sit and watch, professing nervousness all the while knowing they’re in no great danger. Take a look – straight from the State Department’s website:

Countries with Governments Under Protest:

Algeria - People's Democratic Republic of Algeria

Type: Republic.

Independence: July 5, 1962 (from France).

Constitution: September 8, 1963; revised November 19, 1976, November 3, 1988, February 23, 1989, November 28, 1996, April 10, 2002, and November 12, 2008.

Legal system: Based on French and Islamic law; judicial review of legislative acts in ad hoc Constitutional Council composed of various public officials, including several Supreme Court justices; Algeria has not accepted compulsory International Court of Justice (ICJ) jurisdiction.

Egypt - Arab Republic of Egypt

Type: Republic. Modeled after U.S., three branches of govt – Executive, Legislative (Bi-cam), Judicial

Independence: 1922.

Constitution: 1971.

Branches: Executive--president, prime minister, cabinet. Legislative--People's Assembly (444 elected and 10 presidentially appointed members; an additional 64 seats for women were created in 2009), and Shura (consultative) Council (176 elected members, 88 presidentially appointed). Judicial--Supreme Constitutional Court.

Tunisia - Tunisian Republic

Modeled after U.S., three branches of govt – Executive, Legislative (Bi-cam), Judicial

Syria - Syrian Arab Republic

Type: Republic, under authoritarian military-dominated Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party regimes since March 1963.

Independence: April 17, 1946.

Constitution: March 13, 1973. Since 1963, Syria has been under Emergency Law, which effectively suspends most constitutional protections.

Branches: Executive--president, two vice presidents, prime minister, Council of Ministers (cabinet). Legislative--unicameral People's Council. Judicial--Supreme Judicial Council, Supreme Constitutional Court, Court of Cassation, Appeals Courts, Economic Security Courts, Supreme State Security Court, Personal Status and local levels courts.

Lebanon - Lebanese Republic

Type: Republic.

Independence: November 22, 1943.

Constitution: May 23, 1926.

Branches: Executive--president (chief of state), prime minister (head of government), deputy prime minister, cabinet. Legislative--unicameral national assembly. Judicial--four Courts of Cassation, Constitutional Council, Supreme Council.

Yemen – Republic of Yemen

Type: Republic; unification (of former south and north Yemen): May 22, 1990.

Constitution: Adopted May 21, 1990 and ratified May 1991.

Branches: Executive--president, and prime minister with cabinet. Legislative--bicameral legislature with 111-seat Shura Council and 301-seat House of Representatives. Judicial--the constitution calls for an independent judiciary. The former northern and southern legal codes have been unified. The legal system includes separate commercial courts and a Supreme Court based in Sanaa.

Jordan - Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Type: Constitutional monarchy.

Independence: May 25, 1946.

Constitution: January 8, 1952.

Branches: Executive--King (chief of state), Prime Minister (head of government), Council of Ministers (cabinet). Legislative--bicameral parliament (appointed upper house known as the Senate, elected lower house). Judicial--civil, religious, special courts.

Arab Countries Not Under Protest (Yet)

Libya - Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

Type: "Jamahiriya" is a term Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi coined and which he defines as a "state of the masses" governed by the populace through local councils. In practice, Libya is an authoritarian state.


Official name: Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

Type: "Jamahiriya" is a term Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi coined and which he defines as a "state of the masses" governed by the populace through local councils. In practice, Libya is an authoritarian state.

Independence: Libya declared independence on December 24, 1951.

Revolution Day: September 1, 1969.

Constitution: No formal document. Revolutionary edicts establishing a government structure were issued on December 11, 1969 and amended March 2, 1977 to establish popular congresses and people's committees that constitute the Jamahiriya system.

Administrative divisions: 32 municipalities (singular--"shabiya", plural--"shabiyat"): Butnan, Darnah, Gubba, al-Jebal al-Akhdar, Marj, al-Jebal al-Hezam, Benghazi, Ajdabiya, Wahat, Kufra, Surt, Al Jufrah, Misurata, Murgub, Bani-Walid, Tarhuna and Msallata, Tripoli, Jfara, Zawiya, Sabratha and Surman, An Nuqat al-Khams, Gharyan, Mezda, Nalut, Ghadames, Yefren, Wadi Alhaya, Ghat, Sabha, Wadi Shati, Murzuq, Tajura and an-Nuwaha al-Arba'a.

Political system: Political parties are banned. According to the political theory of Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, multi-layered popular assemblies (people's congresses) with executive institutions (people's committees) are guided by political cadres (revolutionary committees).

Morocco – Kingdom of Morocco

Type: Constitutional monarchy.

Constitution: March 1972, revised 1980, 1992, and 1996 (creating a bicameral legislature).

Independence: March 2, 1956.

Branches: Executive--king (head of state), prime minister (head of government). Legislative--bicameral Parliament. Judicial--Supreme Court.

Turkey – Republic of Turkey

No U.S. Ambassador

Type: Republic.

Independence: October 29, 1923.

Constitution: November 7, 1982. Amended in 1987, 1995, 2001, 2007, and 2010.

Branches: Executive--president (chief of state), prime minister (head of government), Council of Ministers (cabinet--appointed by the president on the nomination of the prime minister). Legislative--Grand National Assembly (550 members) chosen by national elections at least every 4 years. Judicial--Constitutional Court, Court of Cassation, Council of State, and other courts.

Saudi Arabia - Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Type: Monarchy with Council of Ministers and Consultative Council.

Unification: September 23, 1932.

Constitution: The Holy Qur'an (governed according to Islamic Law), Shari'a, and the Basic Law.

Branches: Executive--King (chief of state and head of government; rules under the title Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques). Legislative--a Consultative Council with advisory powers was formed September 1993. Judicial--Supreme Court, Supreme Judicial Council, Islamic Courts of First Instance and Appeals.

Administrative divisions: 13 provinces.

Political parties: None.

Sudan - Republic of the Sudan

No U.S. Ambassador

Independence: January 1, 1956.

Type: Provisional Government established by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in January 2005 that provides for power sharing pending national elections. The national elections took place from April 11-15, 2010.

Constitution: The Interim National Constitution was adopted on July 6, 2005. It was drafted by the National Constitutional Review Commission, as mandated by the January 2005 CPA. The Government of Southern Sudan also has a constitution adopted in December 2005; it was certified by the Ministry of Justice to be in conformity with the Interim National Constitution and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

Branches: Executive--executive authority is held by the president, who also is the prime minister, head of state, head of government, and commander in chief of the armed forces; effective July 9, 2005, the executive branch includes a first vice president and a vice president. As stipulated by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and Interim National Constitution, the first vice president position is held by the president of Southern Sudan, assuming the president is from the North. Legislative--National Legislature. The National Assembly, the lower house, has 450 elected members; an additional 46 seats will be appointed under a political agreement between the two CPA parties to resolve disputes over the accuracy of districting based on the May 2008 census. There is also an upper house, the Council of States, which is composed of two representatives from each of the nation's 25 states, and two observers from the Abyei Area. Judicial--High Court, Minister of Justice, Attorney General, civil and special tribunals.

Somalia –  Somaliland

Provisional government - No embassy


Type: Transitional government, known as the Transitional Federal Government (TFG); mandate extended to 2011.

Independence: July 1, 1960 (from a merger between the former Somaliland Protectorate under British rule, which became independent from the U.K. on June 26, 1960, and Italian Somaliland, which became independent from the Italian-administered UN trusteeship on July 1, 1960, to form the Somali Republic).

Constitution: None in force. Note: A Transitional Federal Charter was established in February 2004 and is expected to serve as the basis for a future constitution in Somalia.

Branches: Executive--TFG President, TFG Prime Minister, cabinet (Council of Ministers). Legislative--Transitional Federal Parliament. Judicial--Supreme Court not functioning; no functioning nationwide legal system; informal legal system based on previously codified law, Islamic (shari'a) law, customary practices, and the provisions of the Transitional Federal Charter.

Afghanistan - Islamic Republic of Afghanistan


Type: Islamic Republic.

Independence: August 19, 1919.

Constitution: January 4, 2004.

Branches: Executive--president (chief of state). Legislative--bicameral National Assembly; Wolesi Jirga (lower house)--249 seats, Meshrano Jirga (upper house)--102 seats. Judicial--Supreme Court, High Courts, and Appeals Courts.

Iraq - Republic of Iraq


Type: Parliamentary democracy.

Constitution: October 15, 2005.

Independence: On October 3, 1932, Iraq gained independence from British administration under a League of Nations Mandate. Several coups after 1958 resulted in dictatorship, with the Ba’ath Party seizing power in 1963 and again in 1968. From July 1979 to March 2003, Iraq was ruled by Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party. Following the overthrow of the regime by a U.S.-led coalition in March-April 2003, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) assumed administrative and security responsibility for Iraq while Iraqi political leaders and the Iraqi people established a transitional government. On June 28, 2004, the CPA transferred sovereignty to the Iraqi Interim Government. A new 4-year, constitutionally based government took office in March 2006, and a new cabinet was installed in May 2006. On June 31, 2009, U.S. troops withdrew from urban areas, a step that reinforced Iraqi sovereignty. On March 7, 2010, Iraq held a second round of national elections to choose the members of the Council of Representatives and, in turn, the executive branch of government.

Branches: Executive--Presidency Council (one president and two vice presidents; this configuration may change following the March 2010 national elections and the formation of a new government; Council of Ministers (one prime minister, two deputy prime ministers, and 37 cabinet ministers). Judicial--Supreme Court appointed by the prime minister and confirmed by the Council of Representatives. Legislative--Council of Representatives (COR) consisting of 325 members.

Iran - Islamic Republic of Iran


Type: Islamic republic.

Constitution: Ratified in December 1979, revised 1989.

Branches: Executive--Supreme Leader (head of state), President (head of government), Council of Ministers, Assembly of Experts, Expediency Council, Council of Guardians. Legislative--290-member Majles (National Assembly, or Islamic Consultative Assembly). Judicial--Supreme Judiciary.

United Arab Emirates - United Arab Emirates


Type: federation with specified powers reserved for the U.A.E. federal government and other powers reserved to member emirates.

Independence: December 2, 1971.

Provisional constitution: December 2, 1971.

Branches: Executive - 7-member Supreme Council of Rulers (comprising the hereditary rulers of each Emirate), which elects president and vice president; prime minister is selected by president. Legislative - 40-member Federal National Council (consultative only). Judicial - Islamic and secular courts.

Administrative subdivisions: Seven largely self-governing emirates.

Political parties: None.

Oman - Sultanate of Oman

Type: Monarchy.

Constitution: None. On November 6, 1996, Sultan Qaboos issued a royal decree promulgating the Basic Statute which clarifies the royal succession, provides for a prime minister, bars ministers from holding interests in companies doing business with the government, establishes a bicameral parliament, and guarantees basic rights and responsibilities for Omani citizens.

Branches: Executive--Sultan. Legislative--bicameral Majlis Oman (appointed State Council and elected Consultative Council). Judicial--Civil courts are divided into four departments: criminal courts handle cases under the penal code; Shari'a (Islamic law) courts oversee personal status and family law issues; commercial courts adjudicate business and commercial matters; labor courts oversee labor and employment cases.

Political parties: None.

Qatar - State of Qatar

Type: Constitutional monarchy.

Independence: September 3, 1971.

Constitution: Approved by popular vote 2003; came into force June 2005.

Branches: Executive--Council of Ministers. Legislative--Advisory Council (currently appointed pending elections; has assumed only limited responsibility to date). Judicial--independent.

Subdivisions: Fully centralized government; seven municipalities.

Political parties: None.

Kuwait - State of Kuwait

Type: Constitutional hereditary emirate.

Independence: June 19, 1961 (from U.K.).

Constitution: Approved and promulgated November 11, 1962.

Branches: Executive--Amir (head of state); prime minister (head of government); Council of Ministers (cabinet) is appointed by prime minister and approved by the Amir. Legislative--unicameral National Assembly (Majlis al-'Umma) of 50 elected members who serve 4-year terms plus all ministers, who serve as ex officio members. Judicial--High Court of Appeal.

Administrative subdivisions: Six governorates (muhafazat): Al 'Asimah, Hawalli, Al Ahmadi, Al Jahra', Mubarak Al-Kebir, and Al Farwaniyah.

Political parties: None; formal political parties have no legal status, although de facto political blocs exist.

Elections: There are no executive branch elections; the Amir is hereditary; prime minister and crown prince are appointed by the Amir. National Assembly elections were last held May 16, 2009. Municipal council elections were held on June 25, 2009.

Djibouti - Republic of Djibouti


Type: Republic.

Constitution: Ratified September 1992 by referendum.

Independence: June 27, 1977.

Branches: Executive--president. Legislative--65-member parliament, cabinet, prime minister. Judicial--based on French civil law system, traditional practices, and Islamic law.

Administrative subdivisions: 6 regions (districts)--Ali-Sabieh, Arta, Dikhil, Djibouti City, Obock, and Tadjourah.

Political parties: People's Rally for Progress (RPP); National Democratic Party (PND); Front For The Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD); Djibouti Development Party (PDD); People’s Social Democratic Party (PPSD); Republican Alliance for Democracy (ARD); Union for Democracy and Justice (UDJ); Union of Reform Partisans (UPR).

Eritrea - State of Eritrea


Type: Transitional government.

Independence: Eritrea officially celebrated its independence on May 24, 1993.

Constitution: Ratified May 24, 1997, but not yet implemented.

Branches: Executive--president, cabinet. Legislative--Transitional National Assembly (does not meet). Judicial--Supreme Court.

Administrative subdivisions: Six administrative regions.

Political party: People's Front for Democracy and Justice (name adopted by the Eritrean People's Liberation Front when it established itself as a political party).

Suffrage: Universal, age 18 and above (although no national elections have been held).

Pakistan : Islamic Republic of Pakistan


Type: Parliamentary democracy.

Independence: August 14, 1947.

Branches: Executive--president (chief of state), prime minister (head of government). Legislative--bicameral Parliament or Majlis-e-Shoora (100-seat Senate, 342-seat National Assembly). Judicial--Supreme Court, provincial high courts, Federal Islamic (or Shari'a) Court.

Political parties: Pakistan People's Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Awami National Party (ANP), Pakistan Muslim League (PML), Muttahid Majlis-e-Amal (umbrella group) (MMA), and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).

Ethiopia - Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

cut off from the Red Sea by Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia.


Type: Federal republic.

Constitution: Ratified 1994.

Branches: Executive--president, Council of State, Council of Ministers. Executive power resides with the prime minister. Legislative--bicameral parliament. Judicial--divided into federal and regional courts.

Administrative subdivisions: 9 regions and 2 special city administrations: Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa.

Political parties: Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party, the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF), Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM), and other small parties.

Northern Mediterranean Countries

Islamism is no immediate religious or cultural threat to Greece and Italy. Their devotions to their respective religions (Greek Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism) are still too dominant. The Muslims must rely on the Communists to break these two stalwart countries down culturally and economically, as they’ve done in Spain and France. Greece is on the brink of economic collapse and Italy is basically already a communist country. Their religion and their Pope are under fire from Liberal/Communists.

Spain has been the target of terrorism by separatists who want to break the country up as the Islamists have done in the Soviet Union. France, of course, is the capital of all this unrest, having previously hosted the Ayatollah Khomeini and Ho Chi Minh. France’s cities and even her suburbs are under fire. Holland, Denmark and Germany are resisting both the communists and the Islamists but are paying a heavy cost for their defiance. Holland is a very liberal country, though, which is how their immigration laws were relaxed to allow Muslim insurgents into the country. Likewise for the Scandinavian countries to her north. Germany has a strong leader in Andrea Merkel, though they have a sizeable Turkish population, who were invited into the country after World War II to solve a labor shortage caused by the war.

Greece - Hellenic Republic


Population (2010 est.): 11,295,002. (Legal immigrants make up approximately 6.95% of the population.)

Population growth rate (2010 estimated): 0.1%.

Languages: Greek 99% (official), Turkish, others. Albanian is spoken by approximately 700,000 Albanian immigrants. English is the predominant second language.

Religions: Greek Orthodox (approximately 98% of citizens), with Muslim (1.5%), Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, and other religious communities.

Education: Years compulsory--9. Literacy--97.5%. All levels are free.

Health: Infant mortality rate--5.43/1,000. Life expectancy--male 77.69 years, female 82.35 years.

Work force (2009 estimated): 5.0 million.


Type: Parliamentary republic.

Independence: 1830. National Day: March 25 (1821).

Constitution: June 11, 1975, amended March 1986, April 2001, May 2008.

Branches: Executive--president (head of state), prime minister (head of government). Legislative--300-seat unicameral Vouli (parliament). Judicial--Supreme Court, Council of State.

Political parties: Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), New Democracy (ND), Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), and Coalition of the Left (SYNASPISMOS).

Italy - Italian Republic


Nationality: Noun and adjective--Italian(s).

Population (November 2009 est.): 60.3 million.

Annual population growth rate (2008 est.): 0.07%, mostly due to immigration.

Ethnic groups: Primarily Italian, but there are small groups of German-, French-, Slovene-, and Albanian-Italians.

Religion: Roman Catholic (majority).

Language: Italian (official).

Education: Years compulsory--16. Literacy--98%.

Health: Infant mortality rate--3.7/1,000 live births. Life expectancy--78.8 years for men; 84.1 years for women.

Work force (24.97 million, 2009): Services--67%; industry and commerce--29%; agriculture--4%. Unemployment rate is 7.8%.


Type: Republic since June 2, 1946.

Constitution: January 1, 1948.

Branches: Executive--president (chief of state), Council of Ministers (cabinet) headed by the president of the council (prime minister). Legislative--bicameral parliament: 630-member Chamber of Deputies, 315-member Senate (plus a varying number of "life" Senators). Judicial--independent constitutional court and lower magistracy.

Subdivisions: 94 provinces, 20 regions.

Political parties: People of Liberty, Democratic Party, Northern League, Italy of Values, Union of the Center, Movement for Autonomy.

France - French Republic

Well, they’re the French – what else is there to say? It’s where the Ayatollah waited for his revolution and Ho Chi Minh waited for his.


Nationality: Adjective--French.

Population (January 1, 2010 est.): 64.7 million (including overseas territories); 62.8 million (metropolitan).

Annual population growth rate (2009 est.): 0.5%.

Ethnic groups: Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Sub-Saharan African, Indochinese, and Basque minorities.

Religion: Roman Catholic 85% (est.), Muslim 10% (est.), Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%.

Language: French.

Education: Years compulsory--10. Literacy--99%.

Health: Infant mortality rate (2009)--3.8/1,000.

Work force (2009): 28.1 million (preliminary): Services--74.7%; industry and commerce--22.0%; agriculture--3.2%.


Type: Republic.

Constitution: September 28, 1958.

Branches: Executive--president (chief of state); prime minister (head of government). Legislative--bicameral Parliament (577-member National Assembly, 319-member Senate). Judicial--Court of Cassation (civil and criminal law), Council of State (administrative court), Constitutional Council (constitutional law).

Subdivisions: 22 administrative regions containing 96 departments (metropolitan France). Thirteen territories outside metropolitan France: four overseas departments which are also regions (French abbreviation is DOM-ROM)--Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, and Reunion; six overseas collectivities ("Collectivités d'Outre-mer" or COM)--French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna Islands, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthelemy Island, and Mayotte, which in March 2009 voted to become a full overseas department, and is likely to be recognized as such in 2011; one overseas country of France ("Pays d'Outre-mer" or POM)--New Caledonia; and the French Southern and Antarctic Territories and the atoll of Clipperton.

Political parties: Union for a Popular Movement (UMP--a synthesis of center-right Gaullist/nationalist and free-market parties); Socialist Party; New Center (former UDF centrists now affiliated with the UMP); Democratic Movement (former UDF centrists loyal to MoDem President Francois Bayrou); Communist Party; extreme right National Front; Greens; various minor parties.

Spain - Kingdom of Spain


Nationality: Noun--Spaniard(s). Adjective--Spanish.

Population (National Institute of Statistics (INE), January 1, 2010): 46,951,500.

Ethnic groups: Distinct ethnic groups within Spain include the Basques, Catalans, and Galicians.

Religion: Predominantly Roman Catholic (approx. 75%); Protestant and Islamic faiths also have a significant presence.

Languages: Spanish (official) 74%, Catalan-Valencian 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%.

Education: Years compulsory--to age 16. Literacy (INE, third quarter 2008)--97.6%.

Work force (first quarter 2010): 18.4 million.

Unemployment rate (first quarter 2010): 20.05%.


Type: Constitutional monarchy (Juan Carlos I proclaimed King November 22, 1975).

Constitution: 1978.

Branches: Executive--president of government nominated by monarch, subject to approval by democratically elected Congress of Deputies. Legislative--bicameral Cortes: a 350-seat Congress of Deputies (elected by the d'Hondt system of proportional representation) and a Senate. Four senators are elected in each of 47 peninsular provinces, 16 are elected from the three island provinces, and Ceuta and Melilla elect two each; this accounts for 208 senators. The parliaments of the 17 autonomous regions also elect one senator as well as one additional senator for every 1 million inhabitants within their territory (about 20 senators). Judicial--Constitutional Tribunal has jurisdiction over constitutional issues. Supreme Tribunal heads system comprising territorial, provincial, regional, and municipal courts.

Subdivisions: 47 peninsular and three island provinces; two enclaves on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco (Ceuta and Melilla) and three island groups along that coast--Alhucemas, Penon de Velez de la Gomera, and the Chafarinas Islands.

Political parties: Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), Popular Party (PP), and the United Left (IU) coalition. Key regional parties are the Convergence and Union (CIU) in Catalonia and the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) in the Basque country.

Portugal - Portuguese Republic


Nationality: Noun and adjective--Portuguese (singular and plural).

Population (2009 est.): 10.6 million. Ages 0 to 14 years--1.6 million (male 830,611; female 789,194). Ages 15 to 24 years--1.2 million (male 609,177; female 585,072). Ages 25 to 64 years--5.9 million (male 2,917,633; female 3,013,120). Ages 65 years and over--1.9 million (male 787,967; female 1,099,715).

Population density: 114 per sq. km. (44 per sq. mi.).

Annual population growth rate (2008 est.): 0.8%.

Ethnic groups: Homogeneous Mediterranean stock with small minority groups from Africa (Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique), South America (Brazil), and Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Romania).

Religion: Roman Catholic 92%, Protestant 4%, atheists 3%, others 1%.

Language: Portuguese.

Education: Years compulsory--12. Literacy (2004)--93.3%.

Health (2009 est.): Birth rate--9.4/1,000 (1.07 male/female). Death rate--9.8/1,000. Infant mortality rate--3.25/1,000. Life expectancy--78.70 years.

Work force (2008 est.): 5.6 million. Government and services (60%); industry and manufacturing (30%); agriculture and fishing (10%).


Type: Republic.

Constitution: Effective April 25, 1976; revised 1982, 1989, 1992, 1997, 2001, 2004, and 2005.

Branches: Executive--president (head of state), Council of State (presidential advisory body), prime minister (head of government), Council of Ministers. Legislative--unicameral Assembly of the Republic (230 deputies): PS=97, PSD=81, PCP=13, CDS/PP=21, BE=16, PEV=2. Judicial--Supreme Court, District Courts, Appeals Courts, Constitutional Tribunal.

Major political parties: Socialist Party (PS); Social Democratic Party (PSD); Portuguese Communist Party (PCP); Popular Party (CDS/PP); Left Bloc (BE); Green Party (PEV).

Administrative subdivisions: 18 districts (Lisbon, Leiria, Santarem, Setubal, Beja, Faro, Evora, Portalegre, Castelo Branco, Guarda, Coimbra, Aveiro, Viseu, Braganca, Vila Real, Porto, Braga, Viana do Castelo); 2 autonomous island regions (the Azores and Madeira).

The sore points in the midst of these political conflagrations appear to be, mostly, whether a country is a republic, whether it is governed by Shariah law, and whether they support Israel. Only Egypt and Jordan do so. The King of Jordan fired his cabinet, but named a pro-Israel prime minister. Jordan’s protesters are not seeking the abdication of their king; only the naming of an anti-Israel foreign minister. Things will settle down once he does.

If the Egyptian people’s true concern is corruption, unemployment, and repressed elections, no American could blame them for being frustrated. For reasons of our own, we’ve been frustrated with our government representatives, and formed the Tea Parties. We look upon the leader of our own republic as something of a tyrant, though hardly on the scale of a military strongman who tortures people and closes down elections.

But it will be very hard to sympathize with them if what they’re agitating for is an Islamic Republic with Shariah as their rule of law. A recent poll noted that 70 percent of Egyptians desired an Islamic form of government. Egypt is their country and there’s very little we can do about it. Their own propensity for violence and stability led to these events. Then again, hoards of Germans became members of the Nazi Party and we stood back until they began to threaten their neighbors. But for the time being, it seems all we can do is sit back and watch the events unfold.

What should concern us is that our own president is facilitating the instability, supposedly in the name of humanity. Moderate, nanny-state force voices coo at us like children disturbed by a nightmare to go back to sleep, that we’re just dreaming, that there’s no such boogeyman as the Muslim Brotherhood, that 9/11 was a long time ago and we should forget about it, that everything will be all right, and that we should go back to sleep.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Grand De-Unification Theory

I’m working towards my master’s degree in American political history through Beck University. Eventually, I’d like to get my doctorate from the Limbaugh Institute for Conservative Studies.

Prof. Beck has quite a syllabus. I’m already well-studied in the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital. One of the books on list is “The Coming Insurrection” authored by some group called “The Invisible Committee.” Published by MIT (as in Massachusetts Institute of Technology, of all schools), it is a plan for throwing the world into chaos, with absolutely no goal.

Quite a manipulative book (as all Communist books are), though mercifully short, at 123 pages, the first chapter is a foul, self-indulgent, middle-finger rant at civilized society. The French author, or author(s), when not exercising their profane vocabulary, runs around in circles of multi-syllable words about nihilism, the uselessness of life, and the evils of societal order and especially the nuclear family.

Throughout the book, even in subsequent chapters, the author(s) makes frequent reference to psychiatric treatment and medications. Are these the ravings of a collective group, or a sociopathic lunatic with multiple personality disorder?

Whoever they are, they may be crazy, but they’re not stupid. Having disoriented the reader with the self-indulgent, adolescent rantings of the first chapter, the author immediately switches track. Adults by now have tossed the book aside, leaving only the young, the stupid, and the mentally infirm to continue. The next chapters are perfectly lucid.

The author leads the reader down a fairly cognizant trail of arguments about materialism and consumerism. According to this author, we spend and consume too much. But before the chapter is over, they’re defending the rights of unions to strike and even resort to violence and vandalism to get their “fair share”. If what the author says is true, shouldn’t they be trying harder to “make do”?

Work and making money don’t matter to this lazy set of authors. They would much rather not work, sil vous plait. They admit that needing things like food, clothing, and shelter is a problem. Eventually, what exists will wear out or run out. But that’s someone else’s problem.

Their answer to such shortages is to steal. Steal with zeal is their philosophy. They don’t owe the world a living, they figure. They won’t beg one of the world, either. They’ll just take what they want. It’s so simple, so uncomplicated. So completely evil.

Besides the family and the police, whom they revile (“Everyone hates you,” they sneer at policemen), there’s one other set of people they hate. Given the fact that the book was published by the top engineering school in the country, their loathing for engineers and scientists, particularly particle scientists, seems strange. But these scientists and engineers represent everything they oppose: order, discipline, concentration, and growth.

Happily, just before I picked up The Coming Insurrection, I had read an article about particle theory in the December 2010 issue of Scientific American. I had meant to give the subscription to my engineering student nephew. Too late, I discovered he already had a subscription, so I kept it for myself instead.

The article, “A Geometric Theory of Everything” by physicist A. Garrett Lisi (a former surfer boy) and James Owen Weatherall, is about a search for the link between Einstein’s theory of relativity with quantum theory (the study of particles of matter). Lisi and Weatherall use geometry to study the link between the great and small, between energy and gravity.

The secret, they claim, lies in bundles of fermions. “The main geometric [the study of shapes] underlying the Standard Model is that every point in our spacetime has shapes attached to it, called ‘fibers,’ each corresponding to a different kind of particle. The entire geometric object is called a ‘fiber bundle.’ The electric and magnetic fields existing everywhere in our space are result of fibers with the simplest shape: the circle.”

These circles, Lisi and Weatherall tell us, attach to other objects in space. Electromagnetism consists of circles attached to every point of spacetime. Over time and space, these bundles of electrically-charged fibers twist around the circle, like threads around a screw. An electromagnetic wave is the undulation of circles over spacetime.

“One quantum of an electromagnetic wave – a photon – is a propagating particle of light.”

Yoda was right, then, according to this theory – “The Force” surrounds us and binds the universe together. The physicists haven’t figured everything out. With each collision in the particle matter collider, new particles are discovered.

Meanwhile, the Invisible Committee regards itself as the dark matter, the black holes of the universe. As earnestly as the physicists are trying to piece the puzzles together to discover a “beautiful” universe, the IC and comrades are just as determined to tear the universe apart, to create a permanent chaos.

The Invisible Committee urges its readers to throw off every sense of duty to family, employer, and society in general – even to themselves. There is no individual, either; only loyalty to the commune, which they advise us all to live in.

They have no qualms about committing violence and pride themselves on every victory against the police, the ultimate symbols of law and order. They advise followers to work in small groups, and use the element of surprise as their weapon. A few people strategically spread out like guerrillas can cause a lot of chaos and overwhelm the forces of law and order. Still, they admit the police, armed with technology and superior weapons, have them at a loss at times. The police have learned the art of deceit (an art the Committee boasts of employing itself), infiltrating their ranks to foil the insurrectionists. The Committee has not yet learned how to identify them. Perhaps they should consult the Hell’s Angels or The Outlaws.

The Invisible Committee turns its nose up at intellectuals, who only want to talk, yet they themselves are overly fond of using large, multisyllable words in long, run-on sentences. They prefer action, they say, to words. Politics is just a waste of time. They criticize the existence of Assemblies as a waste of time and taxpayers’ money. Whereas the Tea Parties are willing to suffer legislatures, as long as they answer to the people.

People like the Invisible Committee should have been committed to mental hospitals long ago. Thanks to the Liberals, they let these “useful idiots” loose upon society to commit murder and mayhem, robbery, vandalism, and chaos in order to create a power vacuum which they intend to occupy when the time is right.

The Invisible Committee would have us believe that life itself is futile. They are self-proclaimed “nihilists”. Life is senseless and useless, according to their unhinged views of life. Clearly, some of their mental and emotional “fiber bundles” have come unhinged. Their minds have spun off into the vacuum of space, unconnected to reality.

Certainly, their intentions are dangerous. As for their philosophy, the best defense is a little philosophy of our own: “Living well is the best revenge.” Our strategy should be one of positive enlightenment. The best way to defeat them is to be happy.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Three Cs

A triumvirate is quickly shaping up, as Cairo burns and the other Middle Eastern governments prepare to fall to Muslim theocracy: the Communists, the Clerics, and the Corporations.

Are you surprised at the third leg of this evil triangle? Don’t be. Capitalism is the preferred way of doing business. But no business wants union thugs or Muslim mobs destroying their offices and factories. The pragmatic philosophy is “go along to get along” and “let’s do business.”

While young communist idealists were brainwashing our children in the public education systems, and union thugs were tearing down businesses to the right of communist ideology and overwhelming every public sector, their counterparts were infiltrating big business, climbing the corporate ladder, and taking over the boardrooms. Some of them became CEOs who were able to turn over all that “greedy” money to leftist political campaigns like Barack Hussein Obama’s.

The Communists, of course, we know all about. The final nail in the coffin of freedom is the Muslim caliphate, with its legion of theocratic clerics ruling their flocks with an iron fist, beating up women, killing apostates, and wreaking terror, through their followers, around the world.

Fox News showed a map of the current Middle East situation, showing the various secular countries already on fire: Syria, Iraq, Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, and so forth. What they forgot point out was the countries that are already under, and will so be, Shariah law: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and of course, Iran. Even the non-Arabic countries near them are on fire, like Greece. The former Soviet Union is gradually dissolving into a federation of Muslim states and in Western China, the Islamists have not only come through the back door but are gradually overcoming the cities in the west and even in the north.

Not that, in my opinion, the Chinese care. If they imprison or murder a Christian, the Christians cry. If they were to imprison or murder a Muslim, they’d find their city in the same state as Cairo – in flames. Since they’re in league (again, in my opinion), they’ll make some official noise about it, but don’t really do anything. They’re simply letting their cities and their citizens be converted quietly. You’ll never hear the Chinese people themselves complain about it. In fact, when I asked my informant how the people felt about this conversion, he put a finger to his lips.

This triumvirate government will work something like this: the Communists will be the political rulers, or at least they think they will be. The clerics will keep the people obedient, and the corporations will keep them busy manufacturing whatever needs to be made or providing whatever service is required. But they’ll do it the Communist way.

The Communists know that business people are better at doing business than they are. In fact, the Communists are a rather lazy bunch. However, the Communists intend to be in charge of redistributing that wealth, making sure no one has any more than anyone else (except the elite committees, whom businesses will be forced to bribe to get whatever they need to stay in business). So it is that the Communist will see to the political, the Corporations to the production, and the Clerics to the social order.

The map shows a surrounded Israel. But India is also under siege, as is Australia and Europe. South America is completely corrupted by communism (and dictators). The Middle East, though is the last bastion for freely trading for oil (China controls the Southeast Asian oil fields – can anyone say ‘Viet Nam’ – and South America, led by Hugo Chavez, rules the oil fields there), save for the United States itself, and Obama has effectively shut down production here, setting the stage for the unrest and ultimate take-over of the Middle East.

Israel never should have been forced by the United States into surrendering the Sinai Peninsula. It makes you wonder if anyone in the State Department can read a map. They depended too confidently upon friendship with Egypt to keep the Suez Canal open and relied upon a strongman to keep the status quo. There is also the problem of the Strait of Hormuz, a very narrow passage hard on the shores of Iran. So many tankers, of various flags, have been fired upon and sunk in the Strait of Hormuz, it’s amazing any ships can get through anymore.

With Egypt almost certain to fall, when you look at this map, the only American ally left in the Middle East is Jordan and its Hashamite (direct descendant of Mohammed) king, Abdullah. The son of Jordanian King Hussein and an Englishwoman (whom Hussein divorced), he has his feet in the East and the West. He was educated in England and speaks perfect English. People shudder at the notion of Egyptian atrocities, but word on the “street” is, Jordan is not a place where you want to commit a crime. The Egyptians are angels compared to Jordanian security, and this guy once headed the country’s security before his father died and he ascended the throne.

Someone else we know was born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother, though he claims to have accepted the tenets of Christianity. Jordan is a poor country that depends heavily upon American aid. Were they to join a Muslim caliphate alliance, they wouldn’t have that problem anymore. Americans say the Middle East can keep its oil, and as far as the Arabs are concerned, we can go drill for our own oil. China alone would keep them in business for the next two hundred years or so.

Israel is a tough little country. If everyone abandons them – and it seems everyone will – they’ll still fight it out to the death. Jordan is our ally – now. How long that will last? Until 2012, I would guess. Abdullah, in many Muslim circles, is considered Mohammed’s heir apparent. Though the tribes may quarrel, if he plays his cards right, brokering peace here for the sake of Israel, and brokering peace in the Middle East, encouraging a union of Islamist states, he could become that ruler, their version of the Messiah that they’ve been yearning for. The caliph. The emir. The head honcho.

And the United States will encourage it, because of course, he’s our “friend.” Meanwhile, the Communists will be busy usurping Europe. France will fall first, easily, then Spain, Poland, Italy, Greece, Portugal, the Eastern European countries. The Scandinavian countries, save for Denmark, are already so socialist they’ll hardly notice the difference. Denmark, Holland, and England will remain free as long as they can. But without American military assistance – which they will get grudgingly from Obama but only for the purposes of demonstrating America’s “violent” nature – they won’t be able to hold out long against these forces of evil.

One last ally for freedom remains in the Pacific – Japan. By 2012, the American people will (I hope) finally have awakened and rid us of Liberals and RINOs bent on the destruction of freedom. These few allies – England, Denmark, Holland, India, Japan, and Germany (the irony of it all) – will be the final bulwark against the worldwide domination of a theocratic dictator. It will, I fear, require war and violence.

If all goes according to their plan (not ours), Obama will surrender the United States of America to this world government. “We’re not better than any other country,” he has told us repeatedly. The way events are unfolding, 2012 is not an unrealistic date.

Nothing is written in stone, however. We who are free will do what we can. One thing we must not do, ever, is give up hope. That’s exactly what they want us to do, so let us not give them that satisfaction.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Judicial Activism

Conservatives enjoyed a poetic justice victory yesterday when U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson, in Pensacola, Fla., ruled that the individual mandate requiring people to buy health insurance is unconstitutional and as a result, the entire law must be declared void.

“I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the act with the individual mandate,” he wrote. “That is not to say, of course, that Congress is without power to address the problems and inequities in our health care system. The health care market is more than one-sixth of the national economy, and without doubt Congress has the power to reform and regulate this market. That has not been disputed in this case. The principal dispute has been about how Congress chose to exercise that power here.

“While the individual mandate was clearly 'necessary and essential' to the act as drafted, it is not 'necessary and essential' to health care reform in general," he continued. "Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void.”

Department of Justice spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said the department plans to appeal Vinson's ruling to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

We won a battle yesterday, not the entire war. Our enemy is entrenched with a great propaganda machine. There’s no doubt some reforms in the health care system are needed but some reforms need to be made in terms of people’s health care awareness, like “insure yourself early.”

Yesterday was a welcome victory for personal responsibility, the economy, the taxpayer, and the U.S. Constitution. But it’s not over. An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but it’s going to take barrels and barrels of apple to keep pork-happy bureaucrats away.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Land of Landmines

Among the many cautions the U.S. State Department has issued to visitors and ex-patriates in Egypt (now overwhelming Egyptian airports in their anxiety to flee what is coming) is this notice about landmines:

“In addition, travelers should be aware that landmines have caused many casualties, including deaths of U.S. citizens, in Egypt. All travelers should check with local authorities before embarking on off-road travel. Known minefields are not reliably marked by signs, but are sometimes enclosed by barbed wire. After heavy rains, which can cause flooding and the consequent shifting of landmines, travelers should be careful when driving through build-ups of sand on roadways. Though mines are found in other parts of Egypt, the highest concentrations are in World War II battlefields along the Mediterranean coast west of Alexandria, the Eastern Desert between Cairo, and the Suez Canal, and much of the Sinai Peninsula. Travelers are urged to be especially prudent in these areas.”

The landmines are largely left over from the German army’s defense of its position in North Africa. Landmines are not the only souvenir the Nazis left behind; there is also the poisonous Muslim Brotherhood, whose members were attracted to the Nazis’ anti-Semitic policies.

If there’s any confusion in American minds that these Egyptian rioters are simply the Egyptian version of our Tea Parties, here is an on-the-scene account from the Jerusalem Post by correspondent Melanie Lidman:

“Cairo - Saturday’s optimism on the streets of Cairo for imminent political change gave way to anger on Sunday, as thousands of demonstrators became increasingly frustrated with the lack of response from major world leaders, especially the US. During the main protest on Sunday in -downtown Cairo, one man painted a 20- meter-long message in flowing Arabic cursive that echoed across the square: ‘Go Away, Mubarak, you are from the Americans, and you’re working for them!’

“Egyptians understand that the world is waiting to see if President Hosni Mubarak falls to popular pressure before major leaders decide which side to support. But this is infuriating the demonstrators, who realize that six days of unrest have not accomplished their goal and that they need united international pressure in order to topple the almost-30-year incumbent.

“The protests have lacked a clear leader to unite them and provide an alternative to Mubarak, and demonstrators are beginning to focus their wrath not just on Mubarak and the country’s widespread corruption, but also on the United States and, to a lesser extent, Israel. They blame Israel and the U.S. for supporting a government because it is convenient for them, not because it is good for the Egyptian people.

“’The USA does not support democracy; they’re supporting Israel, which is like their baby,’ said Ahmed, a 26-year-old Cairo resident. ‘They think Egypt is functional because it’s in favor of their considerations.’

“’I don’t care if we have peace [with Israel] or not,” Ahmed continued, echoing the indifference of many demonstrators who don’t have a clear agenda for what they want a future Egypt to look like, as long as it does not include Mubarak. ‘But will Israel allow us to have a real president? For example, Turkey elected an Islamic government, but it was their choice. Will Israel give us the freedom to make the same choice?’ he asked.

“Demonstrators are relying on the foreign press to get their message to Obama.

“’Isn’t this democracy?’” they asked me over and over when I said I was a journalist from America, incredulous that the country held as the pinnacle of world democracy could ignore such widespread popular sentiment.

“’Obama has to be on our side. Where is your democracy?” asked Osam L, who works at a foreign bank in Cairo.

“You say Arabs are just donkeys, but the USA is supporting the system, not the people.”

“Sunday’s protests were much less violent, although there was more anger directed at international leaders. The main protest in Tahrir Square continued to be attended by thousands of demonstrators from all walks of life – toddlers with small flags draped around their shoulders raising a fist in solidarity, old men in traditional garb walking slowly with canes near the sidewalks, giggling school girls, whole families marching arm and arm, young professionals as well as laborers.

“’Those people that say we’re out here because of food or oil prices, that’s not true,” said Osam L. “I have enough to eat, thank God. I’m here for my freedom.’

“’What you are seeing here is an explosion. We have no other choice,’ yelled one demonstrator.”

Finally, Andrew McCarthy offers a detailed, cautionary insight into the dangers of the Muslim Brotherhood in a column in today’s National Review Online,

“One might wonder,” McCarthy writes, “how an organization can be thought to have renounced violence when it has inspired more jihadists than any other, and when its Palestinian branch, the Islamic Resistance Movement, is probably more familiar to you by the name Hamas — a terrorist organization committed by charter to the violent destruction of Israel. Indeed, in recent years, the Brotherhood (a.k.a., the Ikhwan) has enthusiastically praised jihad and even applauded — albeit in more muted tones — Osama bin Laden.

“[Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna] was a practical revolutionary. On the one hand, he instructed his votaries to prepare for violence. They had to understand that, in the end — when the time was right, when the Brotherhood was finally strong enough that violent attacks would more likely achieve Ikhwan objectives than provoke crippling blowback — violence would surely be necessary to complete the revolution (meaning, to institute sharia, Islam’s legal-political framework). Meanwhile, on the other hand, he taught that the Brothers should take whatever they could get from the regime, the political system, the legal system, and the culture. He shrewdly realized that, if the Brothers did not overplay their hand, if they duped the media, the intelligentsia, and the public into seeing them as fighters for social justice, these institutions would be apt to make substantial concessions. Appeasement, he knew, is often a society’s first response to a threat it does not wish to believe is existential.”

Egypt has the largest population of any country in the Middle East – 80 million people (Iran is close, with nearly 77 million). One might think Egypt is a cosmopolitan, Westernized country. But its literacy rate is only 66.4 percent (up from 58 percent the previous year), compared with Iran’s 82.4 percent. Egypt’s GDP is only about half of Iran’s ($469.8 billion vs. Iran’s $827.1 billion). Iran also has a military budget three times that of Egypt’s ($9.59 billion).

Iran is the Middle East bully and the supporter of Hamas, a creation of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, the defense budgets of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are still greater. But no matter how wealthy they are, Egypt still controls the Suez Canal – from both sides. Still want to know why we supported Israel? The only other choice is to run the tankers around the pirate-infested Horn of Africa (Somalia) and take the long route around the tip of Africa.

All this unrest may force us right into the hands of Obama’s Greenies, who stand to make billions from the plight, since they use environmental arguments against drilling for our own oil or using natural gas or coal (which would be the only source for electrical power in the United States anyway).

It’s five minutes to midnight in America: do you know where your democracy is?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What's the Rush?

In less than three months, Egypt is due to hold its presidential elections. For thirty years, the Egyptians have lived under what they claim is a repressive government with no opportunities for the young, and increasing poverty for the general population.

That there have been no elections in 30 years doesn’t speak well for the present government, certainly. But if there are going to be elections in three months anyway, which the United States would probably be happy to insure, why are the people taking to the streets now, when the result would be a power vacuum filled either by a military or religious (i.e., the Muslim Brotherhood) dictator?

The Media, even Fox News, insists this has nothing to do with the state of Israel. But I wouldn’t be too sure of that. The reason the U.S. supported Mubarak was because he honored the peace accord with Israel. The will of the Egyptian people cannot and should not be judged by the thugs and looters running loose in the streets of Cairo.

The only “democratic” way of knowing the will of the Egyptian people is through the election process. Americans can certainly sympathize with the plight of a bad economy and lack of opportunities. But even our most desperate and destitute don’t run riot through the streets. What are the Egyptians saying, anyway? That April is too far away and that if they don’t get what they want, they’ll burn Cairo to the ground? This is the way to peaceful self-government? Through violence, threats, and blackmail?

The Media tells us the Egyptians have reached a boiling point. Are they so bereft of patience that they can’t see peaceful reform on their calendars? Or do they see in a democratic future an intact state of Israel? America, with Obama as president, is certainly no friend of Israel. His treatment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was disgraceful. We know which side Obama is on.

That leaves only two options for the issue of Israel, a violent destruction or a peaceful dismantling. That’s what I heard in Obama’s words on the Egyptian crisis. The Egyptians want Obama to keep his promise in the speech he made to them:

"I am ... proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: assalaamu alaykum.

“We meet at a time of tension between the United States and Muslims around the world: he said, “ - tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of co-existence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.”

In other words, the Arabs wanted to be left alone in their tribalism and feudalism. The last thing in the world they wanted was democracy.

“So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, and who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. This cycle of suspicion and discord must end.

“I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles - principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”

Obama went on to talk about the “negative” perceptions of Islam, which he said he would not support, even though the Muslims themselves are responsible for that negative image. The Left blames isolated Muslim factions for blowing up the Buddhist statues in Afghanistan. But who were those people trying to destroy the museums in Egypt. Why did the Egyptian military have to place extraordinary guard around the Egyptian pyramids, even after the tourists fled in panic? There’s no doubt in any sensible person’s mind about their goals – a worldwide caliphate, a theocracy ruled by the Muslims.

They say they’re not interested in America – now; that they only want to preserve their own lands. But those lands were not their own once upon a time, in the sense that they were Muslim lands. Mohammed conquered the Middle East through the sword, through cruelty and punishment. It was most undemocratic of him.

“There are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others,” Obama continued. We certainly know that here in America.

“No matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power. You must maintain your power through consent, not coercion [like Obamacare]. You must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise.”

The Muslims do no such thing. They do not respect the rights of women or of followers of other religions. To proselytize on behalf of another religion is a capital offense. They have no tolerance at all for the state of Israel. The Palestinians were a small, ancient tribe that lost the war millenniums ago.

“You must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.”

This last makes no sense, and they are words Obama himself certainly doesn’t follow. Groups like the Muslim Brotherhood are interested in politics and democracy; they’re interested in power and uniting all their various tribes under one, religious, not political or national, banner. That is why the unrest has gone on for centuries and will continue until they get their way.

They will listen to Obama, whom they look upon as a Muslim cousin, despite his protestations of Christianity, to a certain point. He cannot fully deliver to them what they want, but he and the Liberals will do everything in their power to pave the way – and hope we don’t notice.