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Archive for February 9th, 2011

US tanks used to control Egyptian protests #cablegate #Egypt

Posted by Charles II on February 9, 2011

Robert Fisk on January 31st reported an important detail, which seems to have been missed by everyone else:

Many of the crowd produced stun-gun cartridge cases fired last week with “Made in the USA” stamped on the bottom. And I noticed the lead tank’s hull bore markings beginning “MFR” – at this point a soldier with a rifle and bayonet fixed was ordered to arrest me so I ran into the crowd and he retreated – but could “MFR” stand for the US Mobile Force Reserve, which keeps its tanks in Egypt? [Added: Fisk confirmed that it was today] Was this tank column on loan from the Americans? You don’t need to work out what the Egyptians make of all this.

This is a critical detail because of the implications: that the US government approved the US of US materiel for crowd suppression. To this detail can be added three others:

1. A car used to drive through the crowd in Tahrir Square, injuring people, has been identified as a US embassy vehicle. The US embassy reported it stolen… days after the incident.

2. The US is apparently continuing to ship tear gas to Egypt, although France belatedly (ca. 2/3) suspended such shipments. At the very least, as far as I can tell, it has not announced a suspension of shipments.

3. The man installed in the vice-presidency was long ago (Wikileaks 8/29/08) deemed acceptable by Israel as a replacement for Mubarak.

Juan Cole says he is puzzled by this. I am puzzled by Juan’s puzzlement. As with Honduras, no official is going to come forward to tell us whether the Administration was inept, succumbing to pressures from the Republicans, or was actively complicit in suppressing a democratic movement. We have to judge for ourselves.

Posted in Conflict in the Middle East, State Department, totalitarianism, transparency | 2 Comments »

The True Reagan Legacy

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 9, 2011

I spent so much time on this comment I made over at Renaissance Post, that I felt it deserved a post of its own:

The Reagan presidency is one of the many poisoned fruits of the deliberate rejection, by the various moneyed interests that back the people that rule us, of anything the least bit edifying.

Many business tycoons went along with FDR’s New Deal creation of universal public education from kindergarten through high school because they wanted an educated workforce. Then in the 1960s, they saw what happened when you gave tens of millions of kids a decent primary education and good preparation for college: They learned enough to see a) who was screwing who, and b) how to organize to stop it. As a result, big business largely stopped backing universal public education (the bogus “A Nation at Risk” report and the burying of the Sandia study debunking it shows the increasing hatred of the ruling classes for public education), and in fact stopped supporting non-ideological science and research unless it provided a direct financial benefit.

Not only did big business turn its back on schools and science, but on basic human decency as well. The whole point of the “Southern Strategy” is not that it plays on the bigotry of people, many but by no means all of whom live in the former Confederate states, but that Corporate America is allied with the persons inflaming the bigotry, and sees it as a tool for financial gain. They sell cutting taxes (especially for the rich), and thus cutting social programs, as a way to hurt blacks and other nonwhites. As Reagan strategist Lee Atwater put it in 1981:

”You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

”And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Nigger, nigger.”’

Bigotry isn’t just a mental habit of certain white working-class Southerners or even white-flight exurbanites; the very worst bigots, and the most dangerous ones, are, like the Koch brothers, extremely rich and not at all interested in using their money to help those who are less fortunate. That’s why Ayn Rand is so popular in these circles: She tells them through her writings that they are superior, that greed is good, and that they are justified in grinding the rest of us beneath their boot heels.

They turn their backs on education, on knowledge, on culture, on science, on simple human decency, all so they can justify living their lives without any type of restriction on their throbbing, over-gratified ids.

Posted in conservativism, corruption, libertoonians, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples, Silly Republicans | 4 Comments »

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