Saturday, February 12, 2011

Egyptian Revolution and America



By Clayton Swisher   on February 11th, 2011.

Finally a recent date has come to pass reflecting positively on the people of the Middle East. They richly deserve it. September 11, 2001, was a horrendous crime against the world. But on this day it's worth remembering that those who attacked on that day drew inspirations, at least in part, from the hands of their torturers in Egyptian jails.

On 11/2/11, the world can collectively celebrate, as it witnesses a persistent civilisation courageously revolting to earn their freedom, secret police be damned.  
That Mubarak was an authoritarian dictator kept on political life support by the West, especially the United States Congress, will remain fresh in people's minds, and a stain on America's own foreign policy.

But all that's for the historians. After dithering and taking wishy-washiness to new levels since the revolution began, President Obama's foreign policy team is resigned to the category of regional irrelevance that it merits. So too are the Johnny-come-latelies in the EU and elsewhere, who only phoned in their support once the presidential plane was wheels up for Sharm El Sheikh.  

The Egyptian people know they ousted Mubarak in spite of Washington, Brussels, or Tel Aviv.  The entire Arab world knew from the beginning that all those parties, especially the US, were singularly obsessed with one pathetic question throughout: whether the next Egyptian leadership would continue to support the peace agreement with Israel.

The American blinders were far narrower than the masses at Tahrir Square could have possibly appreciated.  As they stood outside day and night there was no time for them to watch episodically interested American networks. Spotty internet service probably denied them the ability to peruse the latest WikiLeaks revelations. If they had, they would have noted, perhaps to no surprise, that their unelected vice-president Omar Suleiman was so eager to do the US-Israeli bidding that in December 2007 he advocated seeing the people of Gaza (fellow Muslims no less) "go hungry but not starve" in response to the election of Hamas. There are much worse anecdotes in our recently released Palestine Papers.  How about that freedom agenda, America?

That logic taken further, it means the same Suleiman would do far worse to suppress the Muslim Brotherhood within Egypt, which is especially what the American Right and the eager-to-prove-their-security-credentials Left would like.  "The Muslim Brotherhood is a mortal enemy of our civilization," says Newt Gingrich, the revered Republican party strategist.  Even if they were, and they most clearly are not, Gingrich and any other US political parties will have to come to terms with a reality they have so far failed to grasp. The Arab and Muslim world are making changes with their feet. They draw their strength and power from the numbers they bring and the righteousness of their causes. They are unafraid and unshackled to take on the status quo.  

These are the same people who will determine their destiny, arbitrarily chosen for them by Westerners with last names like Sykes and Picot and by DC-based lobbies and think tanks that once mattered in the scheme of things but don't so much any more.

This is not a time in history to fear, though many would like us to. The devil we have known has not been good to the world either.

In its place, the Egyptian people step forward to offer this inspiring gift, a moment of change for the Arab people, and a real opportunity for the West to reflect on its sordid Middle East interventions.

The best lesson of all, of course, is the promise of what the Arabs can accomplish not on the back of an American tank, but through the coalescing of masses around information and ideas, which in the New Media age of Facebook and Twitter, is beholden to no dictator, lobby, or monopoly.  


So What’s Up In Egypt Now?

   I have had to reinstall my Windows 7 from a recent snap-shot, but not recent enough, so here is some of the latest from Al Jazeera blog feeds

(All times are local in Egypt, GMT+2)

4:00pm Al Jazeera's James Bays, reporting from Cairo, says the curfew hours in the country have been reduced, and are now in effect from midnight until 6 am. Meanwhile, state tv announced that the stock market is due to open on Wednesday.

3:29pm The New York Times reports on how Friday's events in Egypt seemed to take many news organisations by suprise - many except for Al Jazeera:

There was no hesitation on the English-language service of Al Jazeera, which covered the uprising 24 hours a day and provided an up-close, almost personal experience of populist revolt. At times, the coverage looked less like a front-row seat to history than a video game — World of Warcraft: Anti-Mubarak Edition.

3:11pm Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has just issued its fourth communiqué broadcast live on state television.

In the announcement, the country's new military rulers promised to hand power to an elected, civilian government. They also pledged that Egypt would remain committed to all international treaties - in an apparent nod to its 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

11:50 The Associated Press news agency has reported that Syria's state-run press is praising the fall of the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
The Al-Baath daily of Syria's ruling Baath Party said Mubarak's departure will change the "face of Egypt, the region and the entire world."

said Egypt under Mubarak was "at the service of the Zionist and American project."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Saturday Satire

    Another one of those hectic weeks has come and gone. Hosni Mubarak has left the Egyptian capitol for his massive palace to plot his next move. Mitt Romney has taken to scrubbing his support for mandated healthcare from his book which came out about a year ago. Another GOP two-faced piece of garbage.

     So let us have a few laughs from the late-night talk show crowd.

Conan O'Brien :

"The demonstrations are getting bigger in Cairo. The Egyptian government tried to disperse the crowd with tear gas, and when that didn’t work, a Black Eyed Peas halftime show."

"Christina Aguilera is bouncing back from her Super Bowl appearance by singing at the Grammys. She’ll be accompanied by a full orchestra and 135 teleprompters."

Craig Ferguson:

"Michelle Obama says her husband, President Obama, has quit smoking. Fox News reported this as 'Obama Destroying the Tobacco Industry.'"

Jay Leno:
"President Obama had lunch with Republican leaders at the White House today and had to do without salt, pepper and butter. Not for dietary reasons. The Republicans refused to pass anything.

"The problem in Egypt is that so many government officials are rich and the people are poor. I think it’s a pyramid scheme."

Jimmy Fallon:

"On the 'Today' show, Michelle Obama called the Bush twins 'magnificent' and Chelsea Clinton a 'solid young woman.' In fact, the only president’s kid she didn’t compliment was George Bush Sr.’s."

"Nancy Pelosi described Justin Bieber as 'adorable but also substantial,' while Justin Bieber described Nancy Pelosi as 'court ordered to maintain a distance of 300 feet at all times.'

"Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is the richest man in the world, with more than $70 billion in hidden assets. That will go up even more once his unemployment kicks in."

Gallop: Jobs Rank Number 1

    While the Republican Party, lead by their little Teabagger Party , run around looking for government programs to disembowel, they may wish to take a very good look at what concerns the American public. It surely is not the deficit, which seems to be the only thing that Republicans can focus on.

What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today? February 2011

All told, 7 in 10 Americans mention some economic issue when asked to name the most important problem facing the country, and the top two problems Americans cite as the most important ones facing the country directly reflect on the economic situation in the United States.


Mubarak Steps Down

Hosni Mubarak has stepped aside as President of Egypt and he has handed power to Supreme Council for the Armed Forces.

Watch Live


                       Celebration in Egypt


CAIRO — President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt turned over all power to the military, and left the Egyptian capital for his resort home in Sharm el-Sheik, Vice President Omar Suleiman announced on state television on Friday.

The announcement, delivered during evening prayers in Cairo, set off a frenzy of celebration, with protesters shouting “Egypt is free!”

The Egyptian military issued a communiqué pledging to carry out a variety of constitutional reforms in a statement notable for its commanding tone. The military’s statement alluded to the delegation of power to Vice President Omar Suleiman and it suggested that the military would supervise implementation of the reforms.

Update: CNN's Saeed Ahmed tweets:

Tanks outside prez palace turn their barrels away from crowd. Cheer goes up. One soldier climbs out of tank, hangs #Egypt flag on turret

Omar Suleiman, the vice-president, announced in a televised address that the president was "waiving" his office, and had handed over authority to the Supreme Council of the armed forces.

Suleiman's short statement was received with a roar of approval and by celebratory chanting and flag-waving from a crowd of hundreds of thousands in Cairo's Tahrir Square, as well by pro-democracy campaigners who attended protests across the country on Friday.

The crowd in Tahrir chanted "We have brought down the regime",  while many were seen crying, cheering and embracing one another.

"Tonight, after all of these weeks of frustration, of violence, of intimidation ... today the people of Egypt undoubtedly [feel they] have been heard, not only by the president, but by people all around the world," our correspondent at Tahrir Square reported, following the announcement.

16 House Republicans Learn the Cost Of Health Care

    Some of those new House Republicans are finding out for themselves just how expensive healthcare can cost when you have pre-existing conditions, and the government isn’t paying for your coverage.

Original Article

Hey Remember those 16 GOP that declined their healthcare?

by lanae     Wed Feb 09, 2011
Remember the 16 GOP members who declined their healthcare because the dems called them out of being HYPOCRITES of taking a government run plan but then denying others of the same plan? Remember they said they will repeal it because of their "PRINCIPLE" and wanting to defund that "MONSTROCITY" of a healthcare law. Well some are finally getting a taste of buying their own family's healthcare on the market out of their own pockets and they are going broke paying for it....hahahaha

Ask any House Republican about repealing President Barack Obama’s health care law, and you’ll get the same fiery, self-assured talking points about tearing down what Speaker John Boehner has called a "monstrosity."

But talk to some of the 16 freshman lawmakers who have declined their government health benefits, and you’ll hear a different side of the story — about tough out-of-pocket expenses, pre-existing conditions and support for health reforms that would help those who struggle with their coverage. As they venture into the free market for health insurance, these lawmakers — many of whom swept into office fueled by tea party anger over the health care law — are facing monthly premiums of $1,200 and fears of double-digit rate hikes.

The experience has caused some of them to think harder about the "replace" part of the "repeal and replace" mantra the GOP has adopted regarding the health care law.

"I have a niece who has pre-existing conditions, and I worry about her if she was ever to lose her job," said Florida Rep. Richard Nugent, one of the freshman lawmakers who declined federal health insurance benefits.

Maryland Rep. Andy Harris caused an uproar during freshman orientation when he demanded to know how long it would take for his federal health insurance policy to kick in. Since then, the question of whether lawmakers who ran against the health law should accept their own government benefits has become a favorite game of partisan ping-pong in Washington. Democrats are demanding that the lawmakers who voted to deny reform benefits to the American public turn down their own federal employee health insurance, and Republicans have argued that accepting benefits from the government is not inconsistent with GOP support for employer-based coverage.

The freshman members who declined insurance have had to find other ways to cover their health needs.

Louisiana Rep. Jeff Landry is enrolled in an individual health savings account. New York Rep. Nan Hayworth, an ophthalmologist, gets employer-based coverage through her husband, who is a doctor. Rep. Cory Gardner of Colorado purchases his plan through an insurer in his home state.

Now that Republicans have made good on their pledge to repeal the health care law, some of them are already feeling pressure to offer policy solutions that would address the problems in the insurance market — ones that the new members, having declined benefits, should have some experience with.

One new Republican House member, Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, recently told a local TV program that he needed a commitment from GOP leaders that they’d offer their own health care proposals before he voted to repeal the Democrats’ bill.

"My position during the campaign and today is, let’s reform the reform or repeal and replace. And so, I wasn’t going vote for it," Duffy said. "But I went and spoke to the leadership, and I got a commitment that we were going to bring forward our ideas on this replacement bill."

Looks like the new members of congress are feeling the heat of paying for their monstrosity of a healthcare cost. Serves them right. Now they get a taste of what 'REGULAR" folks out here are going through with regards to their heatlhcare.. I hope they go bankrupt.

Egyptian Protesters “Farewell Friday” Rally…

     is happening at this moment with the protesters once again chanting for former president Mubarak to leave.

  Al Jazeera Live

   It is also just now being reported by the AFP news agency  that Mubarak and his family have left Cairo, according to a government source. At this time, the dictators destination is unknown.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mubarak’s Vice President Gets The Job….

   ….which is pretty much be the same as George Bush stepping down as President and giving the job to Cheney. Nothing would change.

   Let’s take a look at some of the Egyptian Citizens feelings about Mubarak giving the post to his second in command.

RawyaRageh Important question arising after Mubarak's speech -- is there a split btw the military and the presidency? #Egypt #Jan25 #Tahrir 54 minutes ago · reply

RawyaRageh Many now wondering -- how come the military made the statement that it's standing by protesters, then this speech by Mubarak? #Jan25 55 minutes ago · reply

RawyaRageh #Tahrir protesters chant 'Where is the army, where is the army' - a call for officers to stage a coup? #Egypt #Jan25 about 1 hour ago · reply

RawyaRageh Mona Seif, pro-democ activist on AJE now saying protesters marched on State TV, 'never seen #Tahrir crowd this angry' #Egypt #Jan25 about 1 hour ago · reply

Mubarak To Step Down?

Al Jazeera Live

   That is the latest report coming from YahooNews this morning.

  They say that military commander Gen. Hassan al-Roueini told the protesters at Tahrir Square that, "All your demands will be met today."

   The military’s top brass has been meeting on Thursday and has told state TV that it supports the legitimate demands of the Egyptian people.

The statement was labelled "communique number 1," a phrasing that suggests a military coup.

The head of the ruling party, Hossam Badrawi, told The Associated Press that he expects that Mubarak will "address the people tonight to respond to protesters demands."         YahooNews

BUSTED: Anonymous Uncovers Corporate ( BofA) Proposal to Take Down Wikileaks


by an0nym0us   Wed Feb 09, 2011
   Anonymous counter-intelligence operations have uncovered evidence of an effort by Bank Of America (BoA) to disrupt both Wikileaks and Anonymous. Details of BoA's involvement began emerging on February 8th, 2011, during Anonymous' Operation #HBGary.

   Operation #HBGary was retribution against (in)security firm HBGary, and its associate company HBGary Federal, for threatening to release innacurate and fallacious information about Anonymous. During the operation, Anonymous double-penetrated HBGary's corporate network, compromised the personal email and social networking accounts of several HBGary employees (evidence of which is still online at the time of this document's creation), retrieved some 50,000 corporate emails, discovered HBGary "product" source code, and wiped Aaron Barr's personal iPad (for shits 'n' giggles).

   Among the emails retrieved from HBGary, Anonymous uncovered communications between Bank of America's legal representation, HBGary, Palantir, and BericoTechnologies detailing efforts to weaken Wikileaks through misinformation and targeted cyber attacks.

   In the proposal to be presented to Bank of America, representatives from the three security companies outlined strategic operations against Wikileaks and its supporters, including psy-ops and cyber attacks against the Wikileaks infrastructure and its supporters.

   BoA's interest in supressing/disrupting Wikileaks is evidence that they fear becoming the next focal point of Wikileaks, and that they, and their associates, will stop at nothing to protect their own selfish interests at the expense of innocent people around the globe.  Anonymous will not sit idle while corporate greed and government power-mongering wreak havok on civil liberties.

   The unedited emails are included at the end of this release and the proposal can be viewed on-line at:

Anonymous has a message for corporations and governments around the world:
Fuck with the truth at your own peril.

We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Expect us.

P.S.: The kind of "research" being conducted by HBGary and co. is a flagrant violation of Facebook's Terms of Service. See Article 5.7 for further clarification:

   * "Article 5. Protecting People's Rights. Subarticle 7. If you collect information from users, you will: obtain their consent, make it clear you (and not Facebook) are the one collecting their information, and post a privacy policy explaining what information you collect and how you will use it."

Read The Emails. After clicking the link, you must scroll down to the bottom of the article.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Muslim Brotherhood

  We hear a lot of stories about the Muslim Brotherhood since the outbreak of protests in Egypt, and we hear how terrible it would be if this group got a foothold in the political running of the country.

   Egyptian president Mubarak has been scaring his people with stories of how Egypt would be in turmoil if the brotherhood should ever get a stronghold in the country. It should be noted that they have had a pretty good influence in Egypt long before now. That is why its leaders are imprisoned and/or executed. The Muslim Brotherhood speaks out against Mubarak and they are then punished for doing it. Terrorist? Not yet.

Al Jazeera

Who's afraid of the Muslim Brothers

Western fears of 'Islamism' have been aided by Arab autocrats seeking to prolong their iron-fisted rule.

Mohammed Khan Last Modified: 09 Feb 2011

There are offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood in countries across the region [EPA]

"Islamism" has been sending jitters through Western political corridors over recent years readily aided and abetted by Arab autocrats who have exaggerated and harnessed the "Islamist" threat to prolong their iron-fisted rule.
In the case of Egypt, the biggest bogeyman in this long-running battle over political supremacy with the state is the Muslim Brotherhood (the Ikhwan al-Muslimun) whose influence extends across the Arab and Islamic world.
With the Middle East and North Africa currently convulsed by popular uprisings against political repression, the Muslim Brotherhood has been thrust into the limelight, not only by those seeking a better insight into the origins and goals of the movement as they try to peer into Egypt's future, but also by those whose entire raison d'etre consists of demonising the Ikhwan for ulterior political ends.

"I'm fed up" of ruling Egypt, complained Hosni Mubarak to an American news channel on February 4 as protests against his 30-year presidency accelerated. "But if I resign now, there will be chaos. And I'm afraid the Muslim Brotherhood will take over," he warned.
In a couple of short sentences, Mubarak wonderfully encapsulated the fear that his regime has generated over three decades in order to maintain control. With little concern for the sentiments of his people, Mubarak played directly to the fears of his Western backers: Either support my despotism, whatever its limitations, he was saying, or face having to deal with the "Islamists".
While leaders in the US and the EU stutter over how to respond to the new realities in the region, unfortunately for Mubarak, the people of Egypt are refusing to buy into his fear-mongering. The Muslim Brotherhood - whether Mubarak's regime and his backers like it or not - is part and parcel of Egyptian society.

The Ikhwan is the "father" of Islamic political activism, tracing its roots back to 1928 when it emerged as a movement advocating a return to Islamic morals. Its early political activism was against British rule in Egypt when it opposed the Westernisation of the country. While its formative years were devoted to overcoming imperialism, its history has been marked by challenges to the political status quo and, thus, to fending off state repression. The Muslim Brotherhood has alternately been tolerated, outlawed, its leaders assassinated and/or executed.
Despite the suppression, its popularity has grown owing mainly to a network of medical, legal, social and charitable services that it continues to provide. Where the state has failed Egyptians, the Ikhwan has helped prop up peoples' lives.
Such is its influence that it has spawned offshoots in Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan, Libya and Somalia in Africa, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Israel in the Levant, across the Gulf States and further afield in places such as Pakistan. Misconceptions in the West about the movement do not detract from the Brotherhood's popular following in Egypt and beyond. 

Milestones to where?

One of the most seminal works to emanate from the ranks of the Ikhwan, one which led the Egyptian regime at the time to clamp down massively against the movement, was Milestones, written by a powerful Brotherhood ideologue, Sayyid Qutb, in 1964.
The publication of Qutb's book, which called for the reinstatement of Sharia as the basis of Egyptian law and for the overthrow of what he labelled the "Jahili" (i.e. pre-Islamic) system prevalent in the country, led to his execution.
That Milestones is today considered the principal reference book for a myriad of armed Islamic groups across the world is testament to its influence. The book was used to discredit the entire Muslim Brotherhood with accusations that it advocated the violent overthrow of secular regimes. Anti-Ikhwan proponents felt little need to explain the circumstances under which Qutb penned his treatise: The fact that he was utterly disillusioned with the prevailing system after being subjected to years of solitary confinement and torture for his political beliefs made little difference to his opponents who sought to characterise his rejectionism as representative of Islamic political movements in their entirety.
Despite proclaiming to be a bottom-up "reformist" movement and eschewing violence, the charge of extremism has subsequently hung over the Brotherhood. Given the historical antipathy of the Ikhwan to the West, furthermore, Western governments have easily bought into the Egyptian regime's claims that the movement is a threat to their way of life. The old fears of, and tricks against, the Ikhwan are once again being employed as the most organised challenger to Mubarak's despotism joins (not leads) protesters in calling for his removal.

Although depicted as a regressive movement, the Brotherhood's membership is anything but unenlightened. The top tier of the movement is made up of doctors, lawyers, engineers and teachers, or the crème de la crème of the Egyptian middle class. The Ikhwan's social activism is derived from its members' ability to live and breathe the problems that average Egyptians face.

It is essentially a grassroots movement campaigning for the betterment of Egyptian society. That the movement gained an impressive 88 seats in the 2005 parliamentary election, or 20 per cent of the total, despite widespread electoral fraud (in 2010 it lost all its seats after Mubarak's National Democratic Party massively rigged the election once more, this time leaving nothing to chance) speaks volumes about its popularity.
Even in districts that are predominantly Christian, many voters opted to back the Ikhwan against the regime. Christian protesters are as resolute against Mubarak's dictatorship as their Muslim counterparts and many have expressed little worry about the Muslim Brotherhood despite the fear perpetuated by the regime.
In talks with senior US officials in 2006, the newly-appointed Egyptian vice-president, Omar Suleiman, termed the Ikhwan's parliamentary success in 2005 "unfortunate". Private US cables released by Wikileaks (from where the previous quote was taken) reveal starkly the obstacles that the Brotherhood has faced under Mubarak.

Opponents of the movement will continue to stoke fears about its apparent "clandestine" motives. The cry of "one man, one vote, one time" will be heard loudly and relentlessly from those seeking to deny the Brotherhood a role in Egypt's political future. This is one scare tactic, however, that the people of Egypt will not fall for. Political Islam is a force with strong roots in the country and in the wider Islamic world and will continue to remain so.

Algeria set a precedent in the early 1990s of the levels to which opponents of Islamic movements will sink to deny them a political role. A brutal civil war was the cost of voting for the Islamic Salvation Front back then. The people of Palestine are similarly being ostracised by the "international community" for voting in Hamas, an offshoot of the Ikhwan.
However, the people of Egypt, and only the people of Egypt, will decide what part the Muslim Brotherhood will play in Egypt's future development.
What will its detractors do in response? Scream, shout, curse and maybe try to prevent such an eventuality, if recent history is any guide.
Mohammed Khan is a political analyst based in the UAE.

Obama’s New Budget Adds More Cash For High Speed Rail…

… which is a good thing for this country. The problem is that the Republicans living over in fantasy land will argue that the United States cannot afford it due to the deficit.

    In case you have not noticed, the GOP is still the party of “no.”

   President Obama proposing to spend $53 billion over the next 6 years  adding to the $10.5 billion spent at this point in time.


"There are key places where we cannot afford to sacrifice as a nation -- one of which is infrastructure," Biden said in a written statement. There is a pressing need "to invest in a modern rail system that will help connect communities, reduce congestion and create quality, skilled manufacturing jobs that cannot be outsourced."

   Rethugnicans will have fun screaming bloody murder over the spending proposal only because they don’t have a corporate stooge sitting up in the White House, when deficits and such do not matter.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Florida: Why Many Hourly Workers Are Poor or Worse

   THIS is why many employers can’t get good workers in the state of Florida, those that are hiring. THIS is also why the unemployed would rather draw an unemployment check than to find a job.

looking for a mac+pc tech.
must know how to replace LCD screens & dc power jacks.
send phone number & work history.
flexible hours. (part time)

  • Location: Tampa
  • Compensation: minimum wage.
  • This is a part-time job.

   That job listing is representative of the earnings that many hourly workers find in this area.

The Post About Nothing…

…is exactly what this post is.

  I am doing this little post only because an exchange that I use stopped my rotation and flagged me with a warning. I can only surmise that a member complained about some of my content, which is pretty absurd since the only thing that a member will see is my recently posted page. That would be the post below this one.

    What is really messed up is that this particular exchange has no way to contact the administrator to find out what the content problem is, which makes it difficult to correct the problem. I used to run on another exchange not to long ago, and when there was a problem, I’d get an email telling me what was going on.  At least the group showed some common courtesy. The worst part is that I’ve been on this exchange for around 3 months or so posting all kinds of content that was much rougher than anything of recent.

  Hopefully this problem will be resolved in a quick manner, because I do like this group.  If not. Well, there are many more boats in the ocean to sail on.


Obama's Misunderstanding of Corporate America


by thereisnospoon    Mon Feb 07, 2011
President Obama's speech to the Chamber of Commerce today has been the subject of much praise and criticism. It deserves both, for in fact the critics and the enthusiasts are both right.

It's an extraordinarily well-crafted speech, from a rhetorical point of view. It makes a strong defense of progressive ideas; it shames the Right with their history of moral evil and factual inaccuracy; and it gently but strongly encourages business leaders to try to do the right thing. In that sense, the speech is a home run.

But the one blind spot in the speech is the one that plagues the entire Administration in its approach on everything from healthcare reform to recession abatement: a fundamental misunderstanding of economic incentives in the corporate world.

Obama's approach in the address was to request that business leaders do more to hire American workers rather than outsource jobs abroad; do more to stimulate the broader economy than their own bottom lines, and to ask not what America can do for them, but what they can do for America.

Sounds fair enough. But the President's speech, while intending to be conciliatory to business leaders, is actually incredibly insulting to them. In fact, a CEO of a major corporation with an ounce of intelligence would be more insulted by Obama's speech than by any Ed Schultz rant.

Without realizing it, the President essentially told every member of the Chamber that they've been bad little boys and girls, who put their own selfish interests ahead of those of the nation at large.  He tried to shame them, like a good parent would, into more altruistic behavior.

It would be nice to think that business leaders have all just had a moral lapse for the last 30 odd years.  But that's not the truth.  The truth is that any CEO who behaved morally in the ways Obama is asking would be in violation of the corporate charter, which demands maximum profit to the shareholder.  Corporations, by definition, exist to maximize shareholder return.  End of story.

So let's engage in a thought experiment.  Let's say that by chance, every major corporation in America were suddenly governed by high-minded altruists serving as CEO and Board of Directors.  Let's say that they did, each and every one of them, exactly as their President asked of them: they hired American workers rather than outsourced the labor overseas; ensured a fair and living wage for every employee; maintained the highest standards of safety in the workplace; made decisions for long-term stability rather than short-term profit; and did their best not to externalize their real costs onto the American public.  What would happen to those patriotic CEOs and Directors?

The answer is that they would get sued or forced out by their shareholders.  And rightly so, because they would be violating their charters and failing to do their jobs.

That is why big business and government will always necessarily be at odds with one another, if the system is functioning properly.  The key is balance: too much regulation and too much equality of outcome begets economic stagnation due to barriers to growth and lack of competitive incentive.  But too little regulation leads to massive exploitation, income inequality, loss of the middle class and destruction of social cohesion, which also begets economic stagnation and lack of incentive to uphold the common good.

There is no such thing as an economic utopia. The perfect economy, insofar as it ever can exist, lies in striking the perfect balance between the necessarily hostile forces of rapacious corporate profiteering, and burdensome government regulation. Both are necessary evils.

Obama's speech, sadly, fails to demonstrate an understanding of that fundamental principle.  This isn't about whether our corporate titans are behaving as good or evil moral actors. It's about whether they're incentivized to do the right thing or not.

The incentives and demands of the corporate charter are clear: maximize value to the shareholder.  Asking nicely of even the most beneficent and moral of the corporate titans that they explicitly violate that charter is worse than useless: it's an insult to their characters.

Only hostile regulation--regulation expressly opposed to the principle of shareholder return, and thus inimical to the individuals whose job it is to maximize that return--can do what is necessary to achieve the closest thing to economic utopia that we imperfect creatures will ever hope to attain.

Florida’s Lousy Wages

   THIS is why many employers can’t get good workers in the state of Florida, those that are hiring. THIS is also why the unemployed would rather draw an unemployment check than to find a job.

looking for a mac+pc tech.
must know how to replace LCD screens & dc power jacks.
send phone number & work history.
flexible hours. (part time)

  • Location: Tampa
  • Compensation: minimum wage.
  • This is a part-time job.

   That job listing is representative of the earnings that most hourly workers will find in the Tampa Bay area.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Florida Attempting To Screw The Unemployed…

…and that is another one of those things that creep out of the capitol city ( Tallahassee ) with an intent to screw the general public up.

  This time around, the legislature is looking at ways to replenish the states unemployment trust fund, so it is now time for those morons to come up with something to make some money. Of course, an increase in taxes is off the table because so many darned businesses already pay to much ( 5% ).

   So what can the legislature do?

Lawmakers may shorten the time the state pays jobless benefits, make it harder for laid-off workers to win disputes with employers and force people to take low-paying jobs instead of waiting for ones with salaries matching what they previously earned. Legislators may also change tax rates so businesses hit with steep layoffs are more responsible for helping pay for those workers' benefits.

   With so many out of work here in Florida, the state has had to borrow some $2 billion from the feds to be able to pay the unemployment claims. Interest on those loans are coming due in a short time from now, so now the state perps have to scramble to come up with something. I guess  that it would have been to hard on them to work on ideas from the beginning.

   This is a Repugnican run state so it is no big surprise that the ones needing those checks the most will in most instances be the ones to suffer.

Florida's maximum unemployment payment — $275 a week — is among the lowest payments in the nation. But lawmakers, including Detert, have started asking whether the state is doing enough to prod people into work.

    First off, there is not a lot of work in this sorry state, which has it growth in nothing but the construction industry and in tourism. The real estate industry falling to pieces did not help either.

    It does not help to be living in a “ right to fuck you

work state. These states pay no living wages to the hourly worker,but want that worker to come into the job every day and then bend over for table scraps.

   So what else are the House and Senate going to come up with? Try :

Arthur Rosenberg of Florida Legal Services said lawmakers are "blaming a victim for a situation out of their control." He was especially critical of the proposal in both House and Senate bills that would make it harder for employees to win disputes over benefits, saying it will result in fewer people getting anything.

Currently, a laid-off worker has an advantage, but Rosenberg said that's needed because jobless people can't afford attorneys to fight employers in court.

Both the House and Senate have revealed bills this week that would require an initial skills review for those seeking jobless benefits. Detert said the requirement would help people get direction on possible places that they might seek jobs.

"I don't think it's good for anyone's mental health to stay at home and collect a check," Detert said.

Wentworth also raised concerns about a proposal to require laid-off workers to search for low-paying jobs to retain their benefits. Someone who has received 12 weeks of unemployment checks would have to look for "suitable" work paying as little as $275 a week — or $14,300 a year.

        More Here

Dumbest Political Quotes

   Another Monday is here and it will be a busy day for me. so, I am leaving you with some of the best jokes and quotes according to those fine people over at

'''Refudiate,' 'misunderestimate,' 'wee-wee'd up.' English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!'''—-a Tweet sent by Sarah Palin in response to being ridiculed for inventing the word ''refudiate,'' proudly mistaking her illiteracy for literary genius, July 18, 2010

''If you don't hold us accountable, we'll do some real bad things in Washington, D.C.''—Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), who became the subject of a Senate Ethics Committee investigation related to the fallout from an affair he had with the wife of his best friend and co-chief of staff, Sept. 1, 2010

''The ocean will take care of this on its own if it was left alone and left out there. It's natural. It's as natural as the ocean water is.''—Rush Limbaugh, on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, May 3, 2010

''I could give a flying crap about the political process ... We're an entertainment company.''—FOX News Channel's Glenn Beck, Forbes interview, April, 2010

''What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]? That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.''—Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, interview with National Review, Sept. 11, 2010

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Egypt Protests: Sunday

   HERE is what happened on Sunday, February 6th concerning the unrest in Egypt and the attempts to calm things down a bit.

The US state department has said that Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, spoke last night with Ahmed Shafik, the Egyptian prime minister. Clinton emphasized the need to ensure that the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people are met, and that a broad cross-section of political actors and civil society have to be a part of the Egyptian-led process.

She also stressed that incidents of harassment and detention of activists, journalists and other elements of civil society must stop.


People continue to defy the curfew and rally in Tahrir Square, they say that they would rather sleep under a tank than allow anyone to evict them.


According to Reuters leaked diplomatic cables suggest Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian vice president, has long sought to demonize the opposition Muslim Brotherhood in his contacts with skeptical US officials.
This has raised questions whether he can act as an honest broker in the country's political crisis.


In a new travel advisory, the state department recommends that US citizens avoid travel to Egypt at this time.

On February 1, the Department of State ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. government personnel and family members from Egypt.  US citizens should consider leaving Egypt as soon as they can safely do so, due to ongoing political and social unrest.

US citizens who wish to depart Egypt should proceed to the airport and secure commercial passage out of the country.  Cairo airport is open and operating, and commercial airlines are reporting flight availability from Cairo.  Commercial flights are also operating from Luxor, Alexandria, and Aswan airports...

Another Sarah Palin Comedy Moment…

…and it does not get any better than this one.

   Palin did an interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network with wanna-be reporter David Brody, taking shots at the Obama administrations handling of the current affairs in Egypt.

WARNING! English speaking Americans may need the use of an English teacher for translation.

“And nobody yet has, nobody yet has explained to the American public what they know, and surely they know more than the rest of us know who it is who will be taking the place of Mubarak and no, not, not real enthused about what it is that that’s being done on a national level and from D.C. in regards to understanding all the situation there in Egypt. And, in these areas that are so volatile right now, because obviously it’s not just

Egypt but the other countries too where we are seeing uprisings, we know that now more than ever, we need strength and sound mind there in the White House. We need to know what it is that America stands for so we know who it is that America will stand with. And, we do not have all that information yet.”

Egypt: Some Of The Latest

   It is Sunday, February 6th, and as we all know, Egypt is still the important topic of the day for most of the world. in America, Egypt may take a back seat to 2 other events. First, there is the NFL's Super Bowl football game which is not all that important in the scheme of things, and then there is the conservative celebration of former scam artist and president, Ronald Reagan. This is an even less important happening.

    Go Green Bay Packers!!

   Back to Egypt.

(All times are local in Egypt, GMT+2)

3:28pm Several thousand anti-government protesters continue calling for the Egyptian president's resignation in Mansoura. Demonstrations across the country are anticipating a press conference later today during which Issam Al-Arian, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, is expected to announce the results of talks with Vice President Omar Suleiman.

3:20pm Abdul Monim Abo al-Fotoh, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, reiterates to Al Jazeera his group's stance on the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak:

We cannot call talks or negotiations. We went in with a key condition that will not be abandoned, which was that [Mubarak] needs to step down in order to usher in a democratic phase.

2:33pm Participants in talks between the Egyptian government and opposition groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, have agreed to form a constitutional reform committee, AFP quotes a government official as saying.

2:26pm US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has cautiously welcomed the Muslim Brotherhood's involvement in political dialogue in Egypt, telling National Public Radio that Washington would "wait and see" how talks develop.

Today we learned the Muslim Brotherhood decided to participate, which suggests they at least are now involved in the dialogue that we have encouraged ... We're going to wait and see how this develops, but we've been very clear about what we expect."

1:59pm Britain ramps up pressure on Egypt to resolve its crisis and introduce "real, visible and comprehensive change" and transition of power. Pressed on the details of the transition, William Hague, the foreign secretary, told BBC television it might entail "some mixture of a more broadly based government that includes people from outside the ruling elite of recent years."

We have to keep up the pressure for that orderly transition we have called for to visibly take place"

1:48pm The Egyptian stock exchange will remain closed for an eighth day on Tuesday, a stock exchange official tells Reuters. The exchange will announce the new reopening date 48 hours in advance.

1:33pm A Muslim Brotherhood leader tells Al Jazeera there will be a second round of talks involving the officially banned group and the government.

Obama Administration Backs Dictator Mubarak…

….which comes as no surprise seeing as how much President Obama has turned to loving the status quo.


U.S. Siding With Egyptian Regime (Updated)

by david mizner     Sat Feb 05, 2011
The central demand of the Egyptian protestors, the one unifying the disparate factions, is that Mubarak leave, and leave soon. They didn't rise up and risk their lives so that the primary cause of their anger and misery could remain. With Mubarak still in power, there would no reason for the reformers to trust the forthcoming pledges of reform. What's more, the protestors are counting on the momentum and publicity that a Mubarak departure would create. If they have a nonnegotiable demand, this is it.

So it's hardly a surprise that protestors are opposing this plan, which would leave Mubarak in power while his hand-picked VP negotiates with them. And it's impossible not to conclude that in backing the plan, the U.S is siding with the regime over the protestors. The signs are ominous.

Instead of loosening its grip, the existing government appeared to be consolidating its power: The prime minister said police forces were returning to the streets, and an army general urged protesters to scale back their occupation of Tahrir Square.

Protesters interpreted the simultaneous moves by the Western leaders and Mr. Suleiman as a rebuff to their demands for an end to the military dictatorship led for almost three decades by Mr. Mubarak, a pivotal American ally and pillar of the existing order in the Middle East.

Just days after President Obama demanded publicly that change in Egypt must begin right away, many in the streets accused the Obama administration of sacrificing concrete steps toward genuine change in favor of a familiar stability.

America doesn’t understand,” said Ibrahim Mustafa, 42, who was waiting to enter Tahrir Square. “The people know it is supporting an illegitimate regime.

There was some debate earlier this week about the meaning of Obama's statement, which was construed by some as supportive of the protestors. What does it mean for a transition to begin "now." Nothing, of course. It doesn't matter when a transition begins. It matters when it ends.

Yesterday I wrote a diary objecting to a plan to install CIA-backed thug Omar Suleiman as the leader of the interim government. I'm feeling a little silly now for getting ahead of myself and portraying that as a worst case scenario. The worst case scenario, which seems to be playing out as I write this, is that Mubarak stays in power until the fall, at which point another sham election gives the presidency to a Mubarak ally, and the regime carries on in only slightly reconfigured form.

There's ample historical precedent for this kind of American backed dictatorship protection plan, but it's nonetheless bracing to be reading about it in real time. Unless the protest movement finds a way to keep surging and make this plan untenable, then my guess is, change in Egypt will be negligible.

UPDATE: (h/t Muggsy)


Mohamed ElBaradei said on Saturday it would be a "major setback" if Washington backed Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak or his deputy to lead a new government and warned that protests could grow "more vicious."

ElBaradei, a veteran diplomat, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and leading opposition activist, was asked about remarks from senior U.S. officials that Washington could support Mubarak or his new Vice President Omar Suleiman to lead a transitional government in Egypt.

"If that were true ... that would be a major setback, I can tell you that," he told Reuters in a telephone interview from Cairo.

"If things that I hear today (are true), that would come down like lead on the people who have been demonstrating," he said.