Posts Tagged ‘Democracy’
02/10/2011 by Juan Cole
It is no secret that President Barack Obama has been in some regards a profound disappointment to the American Left, and his erratic and often disgraceful performance on the Egypt crisis exemplifies his faults in this regard. (Tom Engelhardt puts it best regarding the administration: “It has shown itself to be weak, visibly fearful, at a loss for what to do, and always several steps behind developing events.”) Obama just seems to lack empathy with the little people and is unwilling to buck the rich and powerful, even though they all opposed his run for the presidency. As Iran’s speaker of the house put it, the Obama administration, faced with a choice of supporting the youth revolution or the camels unleashed on it, has chosen the camels. It makes a person think there should be rule that no one can run for the presidency who didn’t have a proper father figure in his or her life (Bill Clinton, W., Obama), since apparently once they get into office they start thinking the billionaires are their long-lost parent, whom they have to bend over backward to please.
Obama dealt with the Wall Street crisis by rewarding with more billions the corrupt and/or grossly incompetent financiers who threw millions of Americans out of work and out of their homes, and by appointing persons to deal with the crisis who had been among its instigators. He declined to end the abuses against the Bill of Rights of the Orwellian-named ‘PATRIOT Act,’ even though he had a Democratic House and Senate. Indeed, the Left was put in the humiliating position of being grateful to Michelle Bachman for helping do what Obama would not, when she and other Tea Party Republicans joined the principled Democrats in the House to decline to extend the human rights abuses embedded in that infamous Act.
The worm turns….or twists in the wind, according to your view. It really was international Banksters that lit the fuse under Mubarak with their wholesale looting, so it’s almost fun to watch them scurry around trying to find someone to bail them out of this mess. Too bad power and wisdom don’t go together. And in the end the people pay with misery for the blunders of their bosses.
“Obama scrambles to limit damage after Frank Wisner makes robust call for Mubarak to remain in place as leader…..Frank Wisner, President Barack Obama’s envoy to Cairo who infuriated the White House this weekend by urging Hosni Mubarak to remain President of Egypt, works for a New York and Washington law firm which works for the dictator’s own Egyptian government. Mr Wisner’s astonishing remarks – “President Mubarak’s continued leadership is critical: it’s his opportunity to write his own legacy” – shocked the democratic opposition in Egypt and called into question Mr Obama’s judgement, as well as that of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The US State Department and Mr Wisner himself have now both claimed that his remarks were made in a “personal capacity”. But there is nothing “personal” about Mr Wisner’s connections with the litigation firm Patton Boggs, which openly boasts that it advises “the Egyptian military, the Egyptian Economic Development Agency, and has handled arbitrations and litigation on the [Mubarak] government’s behalf in Europe and the US”.”
Three US warships dispatched to Egypt signal that Washington is stepping up efforts to secure the embattled regime of Hosni Mubarak.
The IMF’s Epic Fail on Egypt (naked capitalism)
Over the last week, we’ve had the spectacle of the Western media speculating about what is going on in Egypt in the absence of much understanding of the forces at work (this article by Paul Amar is a notable exception).
Needless to say, there has also been a great deal of consternation as to how the West’s supposedly vaunted intelligence apparatus failed to see this one coming. This lapse is as bad as the inability to foresee the collapse of the Soviet Union (it’s arguably worse: a lot of people profited from the Cold War, and they’d have every reason to fan fears and thus look for evidence that would support the idea that the USSR was a formidable threat. By contrast, one would think that conveying word that the domestic situation in Egypt was charged would have led to more intense scrutiny which ought to have served some interests (like various consultants and analysts). That suggests the US was so wedded to Mubarak that anyone who dared say his regime was at risk would get “shoot the messenger” treatment, and thus nary a discouraging word was conveyed).
Driving Through the Gates of Hell and Other American Pastimes in the Greater Middle East
Date: January 28, 2011
Contact: Jenn Ettinger, 202-265-1490 x 35
WASHINGTON — A U.S. company appears to have sold Egypt technology to monitor Internet and mobile phone traffic that is possibly being used by the ruling regime to crack down on communications as protests erupt throughout the country. Boeing-owned, California-based company Narus sold Telecom Egypt, the state-run Internet service provider, “real-time traffic intelligence” equipment, more commonly known as Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology. DPI is content-filtering technology that allows network managers to inspect, track and target content from Internet users and mobile phones as it passes through routers on the Web.
The company is also known for creating “NarusInsight,” a supercomputer system allegedly used by the National Security Agency and other entities to perform mass surveillance and monitoring of public and corporate Internet communications in real time.
Narus Vice President of Marketing Steve Bannerman said to Wired in 2006: “Anything that comes through (an Internet protocol network), we can record. We can reconstruct all of their e-mails along with attachments, see what web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their [Voice Over Internet Protocol] calls.”
Free Press Campaign Director Timothy Karr made the following statement:
“What we are seeing in Egypt is a frightening example of how the power of technology can be abused. Commercial operators trafficking in Deep Packet Inspection technology to violate Internet users’ privacy is bad enough; in government hands, that same invasion of privacy can quickly lead to stark human rights violations.
“Companies that profit from sales of this technology need to be held to a higher standard. The same technology U.S. and European companies want to use to monitor and monetize their customers’ online activities is being used by regimes in Iran, China, Burma and others for far more suspicious, and possibly brutal, purposes.
“The harm to democracy and the power to control the Internet are so disturbing that the threshold for the global trafficking in DPI must be set very high. That’s why, before DPI becomes more widely used around the world and at home, Congress must establish legitimate standards for preventing the use of such control and surveillance technologies as means to violate human rights.”
For more information, read Karr’s story at the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/timothy-karr/one-us-corporations-role-_b_815281.html
I keep seeing articles written as if Obama might waken from his actual self and become the dream-self many thought he was. Why is it so difficult for many to face the current reality?
There was never any intention or even feint move to fulfill his supposed campaign promises. If we can’t get beyond that, we can never effectively stand up to the onslaught against the people by the banks and the mega-corps. The polls tell us the people’s views are being ignored with impunity. Because they can! The Lone Ranger isn’t coming this time.
This article is interesting for its statistics about people’s stand on issues. If only it mattered!
The New Silent Majority
|“Today there’s a New Silent Majority, and it looks very different from Nixon’s. The polling results are undeniable: This Majority is looking for somebody to fight the big banks, protect Social Security, and tax the rich to fund government’s vital role in society … If the President can let go of his attachment to his postpartisan self-image and embrace the policies most Americans want and need, they can be his North Star.”|
The American majority must be suffering from whiplash. It’s not just the sudden reversal on the deficit. Now the story of the day is taxes – which was a top priority for only one voter in fifty.
What else does the “new silent majority” stand for, besides jobs, protecting Social Security, and taxes for the rich?
- 72% want the government to crack down on Wall Street more than it has.
- 81% want the government to do more to reduce poverty.
- Eight out of ten oppose cutting Medicare.
Despite the widespread support for these views by members of both parties (bipartisanship at last!), the political and media landscapes are dominated by journalists and politicians who keep telling us these positions are “extremist” and politically unrealistic.
–read entire article here
By Paul A. Moore
January 22, 2010 –Schools teach that the United States of America is a democracy. The government was established as “of, by, and for the people” and later on, a President Abraham Lincoln called the nation’s people to join and die in a civil war that such a thing might never perish from the earth. Aside from the extent the lesson was ever in accord with the truth, it has today become an outright absurdity. The Supreme Court has declared once and for all that the corporations will rule. The United States of America is now better described as a corporatocracy. The government is owned and dictated to by these capitalist creations whose God is Mammon.
By Arundhati Roy Information Clearinghouse
What happens once democracy has been used up? When it has been hollowed out and emptied of meaning? What happens when each of its institutions has metastasised into something dangerous? What happens now that democracy and the Free Market have fused into a single predatory organism with a thin, constricted imagination that revolves almost entirely around the idea of maximising profit?