sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Egyptian Coup (Parallel)

This may be completely unfair, however I couldn't help draw a comparison between the understanding of democracy as we've come to understand it -- from a Muslim Brotherhood perspective, and that that we've felt from a Chicago perspective in the White House.

Though the mainstream media is not reporting it this way, Mursi's replacement exposed the narrow understanding of democracy that he and the Brotherhood practiced. One commentator called it majoritarianism. This is the exercise of absolute control based on the electoral majority. It includes no requirement to compromise with the opposition even in a close election, as Mursi's was.

The Obama Administration's concept of 'fundamentally transforming America' was not something that most voters genuinely bought off on. Certainly during the first two years of Obama's first term, many felt that the Democrats (almost always ineptly) tried to ram home legislation based on a narrow electoral majority. This almost immediately gave rise to the Tea Party, a genuine, spontaneous grass roots response to a form of Party absolutism that America hadn't experienced for well over a hundred years.
  • The establishment of "Czars" to run cabinet level programs to avoid the Congressional approval and vetting process.
  • Obamacare (no need to elaborate further on that one)
  • The rampant growth in partisan appointments and an expansion in government spending that is unprecedented in history (anyone's history).
  • The development of programs within departments to push secret programs that would force legislation and punish Obama's enemies:
    • ATF - Fast and Furious Scandal: Established to create a precedent for gun control legislation. That is backfired horribly doesn't mean that they didn't try.
    • IRS - Specific targeting conservatives for prosecution and halting applications for 503 (C) status for any organization that appeared to oppose the Obama agenda.
    • EPA - Targeted conservatives for prosecution.
    • ACORN - Backfired on Obama, but pre-scandal, it was the cornerstone of the program to 'fundamentally transform America'.
The Arab Spring showed Egyptian jihadists that they could achieve their goals of installing an authoritarian Islamist government through elections. Their idea of democracy was that it was a means of achieving a religious end state that did not include compromise, checks and balances and cooperation with those who lost the election. 

Elected government was never meant to be permanent in this political theory. Muslim Brotherhood members in Syria and Egypt have now confirmed this strategy in their denunciations of the Egyptian army. Their understanding of democracy is not remotely congruent with that of western elites, a point that gets lost in the press coverage.

In Egypt, the Army has always run things. Always has and likely always will. They receive 70% of their funding from the United States of America. Part of the funding is based in the treaty with Israel that the US signed when Carter was president. There is no parallel with this institution being run in this way. The US is a stable country and Egypt hasn't been (ever). A lot of that has to do with geopolitics and Egypt's place in the world both ancient and modern.

The Parallels between Mursi's government and Obama's administration (re-upped by popular vote for a second term) has more to do with how the respective governments viewed their stewardship. History won't treat Mursi kindly. I don't think that it will view Obama kindly either. It's a lesson that future politicians need to remember. Even though Bill Clinton was a Democrat, his term as president was nothing like Obama's. The difference comes in the willingness to compromise and the lack of will to use the Federal government as a cudgel against the American people.

Race Matters: Pirates

It's time for some blog housekeeping.

Regarding the Disney feature film, "The Lone Ranger", Race replied:

  1. Maybe its out there, but I haven't heard it - where is the uproar from the Native American community regarding Depp playing Tonto, and using face paint to hide his Anglo features? Oh 2002 Depp acknowledged that he would like to think he had Native American blood in his ancestry. Okay, good, that has to be at least 1/64th, or 1/128th...

    I have been accused by some (not in a good way) of being a pirate, and having pirate blood. That (in my opinion) gives me standing to voice this objection.

    Johnny Depp, poking fun at a class of people who are
    clearly under represented on the world stage -- Pirates.
    Which brings to mind some other disturbing thoughts. The Pirates of the world (and yes they still exist, primarily in Somalia and in the Philippines area) have not yet expressed outrage at Johnny Depp's performance as a pirate in the Disney franchise, "Pirates of the Caribbean". In case you haven't seen one of those movies, Depp casts pirates in a bad light. After all, pirates are people too and some of them might have sensitive feelings. After all (quoting the Disney song here) they, pillage, plunder, rifle and loot, kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot (drink up me hearties, yo ho). But none of those activities, however despicable mean that they (pirates) should be portrayed in a less than favorable image.

    And what about the baseball team? The people of Pittsburg have been disparaging pirates for years, using pirate images in less than favorable ways with their major league baseball team. Note the portrayal (left) of the sneering face, the suggestion bad hygiene and a bad attitude.

    Then there is the even more disturbing image of the Oakland Raiders football team, which equates pirates with unwholesome activities (raiding**).
    **That pirates raid is a given, but fundamentalist Muslims do too, they pillage, plunder, ravage and loot, kidnap, bomb, torture, etc. and if you display of an image of Mohammad-the-Pirate, they set out to murder you. After all, what was Mohammad if not a pirate? Portraying a Muslim in an unfavorable way is "Islamophobic" and is a crime in Britain and almost a crime in the US. I sense a double standard here too.
    I find that offensive. And I see no public outrage when inner city youths pick up the Oakland Raiders logo and use it as a gang totem? Am I the lone voice, crying in the wilderness for the rights of pirates worldwide? What about we who have pirate blood coursing through our veins? Pirates are always portrayed as one-eyed. How much more offensive can the stereotypes get? Can we of pirate spirit obtain reparations from companies who exploit our images and degrade us -- for all the wrongs that have been laid at our feet? (I'm talking a treasure chest full of gold dubloons and silver pieces of eight provided at US taxpayer expense -- maybe with the next trillion dollar stimulus...) Maybe I should call Gloria Allred? 

    And where is the offending Depp in all of this? Sure, he might be 1/128th Indian/Native American/"feather Indian" as opposed to "red dot Indian", but does pirate blood course through his veins? I've never heard him make that claim. Depp lives most of the year in France (Coneheads are not pirates, though they wear a type of pirate outfit in the Conehead Movie).