by Lee, 01/26/2011, 6:55 AM

I’ve been trying to follow the news out of Egypt over the past 36 hours, but apparently the President gave some speech last night, so the only news is coming from foreign news outlets and the internet. Here’s some chilling audio from a Guardian reporter who was arrested and beaten by security forces.

29 Responses to “Egyptian Protests”

1. Troll spews:

They are protesting corrupt leaders who overspend and are loose with the public’s money.

Sound familiar?

2. Lee spews:

@1
Yes, it sounds like nearly every government on earth. The Egyptians want to be able to vote for different crooks every few years though, and they have a right to want that. As bad as things are here, they’re much worse when folks in government know that they don’t have to maintain a certain level of popular support to stay in power.

3. Deathfrogg spews:

@ 2 and 1

The government there is totalitarian. You can be arrested and held without trial for years on the basis of a rumor.

Mubarak is supported by the US Government. We give them pallets of cash to buy weapons American companies build in foreign factories.

4. Godwin spews:

Meanwhile, in the US, the left continues to worship at the altar of the party and politicians, using the right as the boogeyman to motivate the rank and file into compliance, as a containment against real progress.

5. Lee spews:

@3
The government there is totalitarian. You can be arrested and held without trial for years on the basis of a rumor.

We’re not as far from that point as we were before this last decade. A lot of the protections that we’ve historically enjoyed are being eroded – and we’re getting much closer to the point where the President can simply decree people as “terrorists” and keep them sequestered from our legal system.

@4
There’s a lot of truth to that. I think a lot of people ignore Obama’s horrendous record on civil liberties because they’re more afraid of Republicans. The real answer would be a viable third-party challenge rooted in establishing some basic rights. Unfortunately, that’s not likely to happen any time soon.

6. Rujax! spews:

@4…

Yeah. Paul Ryan and Michelle Bachmann are intellectual and policy titans.

You sir, are a complete moron.

7. Politically Incorrect spews:

As long as America stays out of it, I could care less what the Egyptians do.

8. Steve spews:

“using the right as the boogeyman”

While the right would never use octogenarian Weathermen to scare the shit out their drones. Look out, motherfuckers! Bill Ayers is coming to blow your ass up!

Yeah, the right is above it all.

Death panels!! The president is a Muslim! Soros! Acorn!

Fuck you.

9. Godwin spews:

@5: The real answer would be a viable third-party challenge rooted in establishing some basic rights. Unfortunately, that’s not likely to happen any time soon.

How long have we been hearing this rationale? Remember: the Greens steal votes that the Dems are entitled to; Nader cost Gore the election (not fraud), etc.

By suggesting that the real answer is to wait for the ascention of the third party (if you want an accountable third candidate, you need a party) is another way of saying we should do nothing. The system is designed to prevent such an option, unless it is a split from a major party, in which case, would carry the political DNA to simply behave the same (see Labor in UK, NDP in Canada, Socialists in Spain).

I am suggesting that the problem lies in the ideology of leftism itself, that we can always run to a party that is screwing us to save us from the other party that is screwing us. How is that any different then what the Tea Party is peddling as its leaders get co-opted into the Republicans, much like the greenies got co-opted by the Democrats?

Recognize the political system for what it is– a containment strategy for the disenfranchised.

11. Godwin spews:

@6, 8: You illustrate beautifully the limitations of the thinking in your camp: anyone who disagrees MUST be a right winger or some kind of tin foil hat libertarian. Just a mirror of what the zany right says about anyone who criticizes them– they must be some kind of liberul commie.

Oh yeah. Fuck. You. Too.

12. Steve spews:

My camp? Yeah, I can see how you’re bustin’ out of the paradigm with your generalizations about the “left”.

13. Godwin spews:

@12: Then defend your position. Bring it. I’m all ears (eyes).

14. Steve spews:

My position is that you’re just another dumbfuck who spews meaningless tripe like this,

Meanwhile, in the US, the left continues to worship at the altar of the party and politicians, using the right as the boogeyman to motivate the rank and file into compliance, as a containment against real progress.

Is that supposed to be some kind of deep thought?

15. Godwin spews:

@14: “OMG VOTE FOR MURRAY CUZ SHE IS PRO CHOICE CUZ ABORTION WILL BE OUTLAWED OTHERWISE”…even though congress didn’t legalize it in the first place. Need more examples? Where is the progress from Free Markets Murray, asshole? Or, how about Gregoire going after the WSF workers? Hows that progress working out?

16. Lee spews:

@9
I am suggesting that the problem lies in the ideology of leftism itself, that we can always run to a party that is screwing us to save us from the other party that is screwing us.

I’m not sure that’s “the ideology of leftism”, but I understand your point. The things that are necessary to achieve better governance are simply not possible right now. I’d like to think that I alone could fix that, but I’m not that naive.

As I’ve probably mentioned before, the single most important thing that Americans as a whole need to do is to get much smarter about figuring out when they’re being lied to. We’ve become a nation of people conditioned to believe in myths that suit the needs of a few at the expense of the vast majority of us.

18. Steve spews:

@15 ““OMG VOTE FOR MURRAY CUZ SHE IS PRO CHOICE CUZ ABORTION WILL BE OUTLAWED OTHERWISE”…”

That’s all you’ve got? That’s your best shot?

I’ll let Lee waste his time with you. I’ve got better fucking things to do.

19. Godwin spews:

@16: I’m not sure that’s “the ideology of leftism”, but I understand your point. The things that are necessary to achieve better governance are simply not possible right now

You answered your own question. Is “yes we can” only good when coronated by a charismatic leader? That is my point. It not politicaly possible within the framework of the rules of electoral politics. But it is possible outside that framework, when that internal no longer serves its function. If the traditional internal politcal process doesn’t work, and no other means to make changes are taken for a long period of time, that means the containment strategy is working. Unless your name is Steve, in which case, people like MLK should just fuck off.

Is “not possible” another way of saying that we don’t know how, and thus, isn’t worth learning or doing?

I pretty much agree with everything else you said, FWIW.

20. Godwin spews:

@18: like what? Voter registration in Wallingford? Yes, you are so indignant, because the work you do is so much more important that anyone else’s, and thus, is exempt from any kind of reflection.

21. Lee spews:

@19
You answered your own question. Is “yes we can” only good when coronated by a charismatic leader? That is my point.

“Yes we can” isn’t the “ideology of the left”. It was a campaign slogan. That’s what I’m taking issue with. Otherwise, I’m mostly in agreement with what you’re saying.

It’s worth noting that if MLK had been born in 1860, we wouldn’t know who he was. He was an extraordinary human, but he was only able to achieve what he achieved because he came along at a particularly crucial time in our history.

22. Lee spews:

@19
That is my point. It not politicaly possible within the framework of the rules of electoral politics. But it is possible outside that framework, when that internal no longer serves its function.

To further elaborate on this, I’m not talking about what’s politically possible in a technocratic “how our electoral process works” sense. I’m talking about what’s politically possible in an “our society is very apathetic and doesn’t pay much attention to politics” sense.

23. Godwin spews:

@21: “Yes we can” isn’t the “ideology of the left”

Should have been more clear: that is a symptom of the ideology, that we can only be inspired by leaders who are foisted upon us, but are not of us. Leftism continually justifies lesser evilism as a “pragmatic” approach, yet it always leads to less empowerment, not more, and more eroding of our human rights, not less. Hence it is self defeating. It is self defeating when we vote for a politician because they decided not to screw us on one issue (like Social Security) but screws us on 100 others. It is self defeating when we admire from afar what others are doing to change their governments and economic arrangements, while denying our own opportunity and possibilities.
Last post for me. Appreciate the discourse.

24. Steve spews:

My own work always stuck me as being at best, unimportant. At worst, I make my own small contribution to the degradation and destruction of the planet, one ugly building at a time. Sigh! I’ve long appreciated how the flora here in western Washington has helped to conceal much of the blight I’ve helped create.

25. Steve spews:

Lee @21, “He was an extraordinary human, but he was only able to achieve what he achieved because he came along at a particularly crucial time in our history.”

I’d say that his first major achievment was that he played a very large role in creating that crucial time in our history. It’s like he helped build the stage, took it, and then showed us that he was the right person at that crucial moment in time to do so.

26. Don Joe spews:

@ 23

that is a symptom of the ideology

Why do people who start from a given ideological position assume that everyone else, therefore, must have one? I don’t know, but it certainly doesn’t lend a great deal of intellectual rigor to the conversation when your starting point is made entirely of straw.

The left has no ideology, or, at least no single ideology. Rather, as a group, the left is dedicated to using a largely democratic process to address the problems we all face in the light of the fact that nearly everyone represents a different point of view.

This is a lot like science. Science isn’t characterized by any one set of propositions to which universal assent is given. At any given time, there are a variety of truths that are in dispute. Rather, science is characterized by the use of the scientific process as a method to distinguish between truth and falsehood.

One might call this “lesser evilism,” but I think it’s more an acceptance of reality and the law of diminishing returns. The fundamental problem with an ideology that starts from some presumptive value for a minimalist government is that it has no solution for problems involving cumulative effects.

Consider burn bans. If one or two people decide to grill some stakes over an open fire on a given evening, then there isn’t a problem. If a whole bunch of us decide to do so under certain atmospheric conditions, then the cumulative harm to other people is palpable. And, there is no market-based solution to this problem that is more efficient than a technocratic solution involving government bans. It’s why we have them.

The political divide in this country isn’t between a bunch of competing ideologies. Rather, the political divide in this country is between people who, for purely ideological reasons and regardless of real human circumstances, look askance at any form of government intervention in society and people who see government, at least some form of government based on democratic principles, as the only way to resolve social problems without having any one group of people run rough-shod over everyone else.

In a democratic system, the government is us. We decide, collectively, how big government should be. The result will, necessarily, be something with which some of us disagree, but there is no other system capable of producing a result that is more optimal in terms of our welfare, both individually and collectively.

27. Xar spews:

@23: Every group and every ideology has fanatics who don’t think about what they’re doing, saying, or believing. Saying that the problem is part of the “ideology of leftism” is about as useful as saying that conservatives are howling Christian fanatics. I.e. it’s not. At all.

President Obama has certainly inspired a certain cult of personality, but so have people like Palin and Beck (or for that matter, Ronald Reagan). It’s not a left/right thing, it’s a function of America’s obsession with fame for fame’s sake, and the fact that most people will spout whatever they see on TV without worrying about facts or logic. Obama, at least, is a policy wonk who actually understands at least some of the consequences of the decisions he makes. I don’t agree with him a lot of the time, but I know that he actually thinks about what he’s doing.

Real conservatives are not represented by Beck-ists or tea partiers. Liberals are not represented by the howling Obama-maniacs who agree with everything he says/does. Suggesting otherwise is silly.

28. Winston Wolf spews:

@24

damn steve, sounds like you been drinking….

cheer up bud, buildings are beautiful in their own right.

29. Winston Wolf spews:

@9

great post.