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Brian Trent's article "You Gotta Believe" has the right ideas, but I wish he were a little pickier with his references. The Twain quip alluded to may not have ever been uttered by Twain, and going along with the classification of the Middle Ages as the dark ages is looking at the years between the Roman Empire at its peak and the Renaissance through the lens of the Catholic church.

Not to get too wordy, but there were scholarly, even humanist activities peppered throughout the Medieval era, but the Catholic church did everything it could to cover it up, squelch heretical thought, push down culture that wasn't into their version of Christianity. If you want to say that the church's actions made the ages "dark," there's a point in there, but there were plenty of intellectuals and non-Christians (including Muslims) who were quite progressive during the 1000 or so years. The Renaissance didn't just pop out of nowhere. While many certainly looked to Classical Greco-Roman culture for inspiration during the Renaissance, there were plenty of Medieval manuscripts that came to light through things like sacking libraries during the crusades.

Unfortunately there isn't really enough time or space to list everything, but I suppose someone might come after me for this and I'll have to produce some goods. For the moment I'll just say that I gotten this from research for lectures I've had to prepare for music from 300-1600.

Oh and Twain's quip is traced back to a minister of all people - the REv. Spurgeon. Yes, I just looked that up.

Anyhoooo, If you're gonna get riled up over people ignoring the facts and going totally from faith, then you should probably be a bit more fastidious with what you say in your article.

You're coming along very well, Sister! I would only say that you should be fastidious in what you say in every possible situation - but then, I am a bit of a pedant.

you can't be sareus. ;)

In response to jonathanbecker in the other thread, I can tell you jonathan that npr's been covering the Tunisia et al story so that the information starved in the US have graps of the situation. I don't know about the mainstream media because tv receotion at home sucks, but it's been fascinating in a perverse way to hear about the protests and demonstrations going on in the Arab world. Here are a bunch of recent links:

http://www.npr.org/2011/01/28/133296647/egypt-protests-erupt-into-tear-gassed-violence

http://www.npr.org/2011/01/23/133156245/Tunisia-Among-First-Arab-States-Taken-By-New-Media

http://www.npr.org/2011/01/24/133117016/is-the-arab-world-ready-for-regime-change

http://www.npr.org/2011/01/27/133271610/foreign-policy-we-cant-doubt-change-in-the-arab-world

plus other types of links from life in the middle east if you just go to the home page of nrp; also if you use "arab" as your search term.

thanks g.s., and red7. i didn't mean to imply i didn't have enough "realtime" sources. got plenty of 'em, and have been following pretty closely what's going on there, since as you know i'm sort of in the "eye" of this "hurricane". i just don't bother posting them here, since a. they're not all so p.c. 1gm-wise, and b. they're not all in english. but don't worry. your loyal correspondant in the mideast is on top of the issues. and, according to many, to blame for them. :)

btw your comment on the trent article was right on the money. how do you do that stuff without offending people? i need some lessons...:(

YOu're very sweet. Please come by at the end of the semester and fill out a classroom evaluation form for me!

http://www.boingboing.net/2011/01/28/egypt.html

Boing boing also has some interesting articles.

Also -thanks for posting the media related articles; it made for interesting reading.

btw, fwiw, your intrepid mideast correspondant (who makes no claims to imartiality) take on "the situation":

much of the western media seems to want to portray what's going on in the arab world, and especially egypt, as a "democratic revolution", where the people rise up against oppressive (and usually u.s. backed) dictatorships that have been keeping them down for decades. this is true, in a sense. but the nature of the "revolutionaries" themselves is being badly misread, imho. yes, there are well educated, semi-secular arabs that just want the freedom to play on facebook or whatever. but they are a tiny minority, who are being hijacked/used by the majority of what's often called the "arab street". and the arab street, for a long time, has been moving more (not less) toward islamic fundamentalism and the naive belief that all their problems will disappear if israel and the u.s. just disappear from their part of the map.

yes, they want democracy- because they know they have the numbers, and that's ultimately what democracy is about. they KNOW that if these countries become true democracies, they will become, as a result of this, islamic theocracies, which is what they want. they want to throw out the u.s. backed dictatorships so they can get back to what they see as the true mission of islam- making the entire world islamic, by conversion or the sword, starting with themselves.

the "revolution" in egypt is, even as i write this, being hijacked by the muslim brotherhood, who are being welcomed with open arms onto the bandwagon they took a few days to decide if they wanted to jump on.

the protests in jordan, and what happened in tunisia, and just starting in yemen- same thing. we want democracy because we want islam, and there's more of us than there are of you, and, well...that's democracy.

erdogan in turkey has (wisely, for him) managed to stay above the fray by basically attacking israel at every oppurtunity (and not leaving the u.s. out of it either) and thereby maintining the loyalty of his people, even though turkey is not exactly a democracy as we know it.

bottom line: all these people don't care if it's democracy, or an islamic dictatorship- as long as it's islamic, and as long as it's anti-u.s. and anti-israel, and willing to implement sharia law.

believe me, i WISH the egyptian revolution we are now witnessing, and the others, were just a bunch of educated computer geeks who happened to be born muslim, seeking democracy and freedom so they can have their social networks etc. but that is NOT what's happening.

The 13 colonies were full of religious extremists that thought thier religion made women property, gave them permission to burn witches, and justified owning slaves.

Our own expereince is that democracy moderates a culture. I think we can be scared about who they will first elect and how their policies might change, but in the long run democracy is a good thing. And we might all be better off if we were seen as a the friend of the people and their right to self rule, the people might not be so adament about hating isreal if we weren't supporting dictators.

Our own expereince is that democracy moderates a culture. I think we can be scared about who they will first elect and how their policies might change, but in the long run democracy is a good thing. And we might all be better off if we were seen as a the friend of the people and their right to self rule, the people might not be so adament about hating isreal if we weren't supporting dictators.

i'm almost afraid now to argue/object, but i will try to be civil: "your own experience" is extremely limited, does not include arabs or islam and DOES include at least a historical understanding that hitler was democratically elected.

also: the reasons for arab/islamic hatred for israel and the u.s. have only recently (historically speaking) been interconnected in their minds. the history of this hatred is a long and sordid story which i won't go into here, and involves many perfidous moves by everyone involved, including sometimes israel, but mostly between the u.s. and the arab leaders- and, lest we forget, britain started the whole shebang. anyway, with all due respect, it's NOT like you seem to be saying.

history, red, history. it's IMPORTANT. and things are moving REAL fast right now.

and if you think the arabs hate israel because the u.s. (for a few decades) has been supporting arab dictatorships, and that if this support were removed they would cease to hate israel- do the words "kool aid" mean anything to you?

i'm sorry, was that too nasty? :) u no i luvs ya.

I luv yinz too, but I find it difficult not to see your comments as racist. Arabs and Muslims can't embrace an open society and moderate their views? In what world? My congressman in a Muslim. and a liberal.

And yes, I think that the current disdain for Americans is in large part fueled by the American and American interests support of our Dictator allies. Including BTW: Saddam Hussein, the Taliban, Saudi Princes, Kuwaiti Kings... And then the subsequent overthrow of such leaders accompanied by enormous economic damage to the region.

Not to mention the fact that American made tear gas and rubber bullets were being fired at these protesters or the "Made In" labels on Israeli ordinance.

Extremism and hatred can be encouraged by religion and culture, but their sources are generally the same, Poverty, insecurity, and ignorance. Three things we have not exactly worked to cure in Arab and Muslim nations.

Democracy (should that be the result) does pose a short term risk for Israel and the United states, but it does have a long term benefit for everyone.

Don't forget the Context in which Hitler was elected.

Economic sanctions, and terrible economic depression.

but I find it difficult not to see your comments as racist. Arabs and Muslims can't embrace an open society and moderate their views?

oh you find it "difficult", do you? well, please try. i'm here to help.

i remember a time here when "racist" was one of the worst epithets that could be thrown at another commenter (along with "anti semite") and norm simply wouldn't allow it. also, i personally object strongly to the implication. VERY strongly. so, lets make a deal: i'll forget you said that, and explain what i meant, and you'll forgive me for all the combative/insensitive/insulting things i've thrown your way, and we'll call it even, and start a new page, ok?

i was speaking of historical facts, and the tendancy of americans (understandably) to view the history and nature of democracy through the lens of AMERICAN democracy, and to confuse the two. a point i hope to expand on responding to joann below if i have time before i have to go. if not i'll get to it later.

anyway, the point i was trying to make is that historically, to the best of my knowlege, there has never BEEN an arab OR a muslim democracy, and that the reasons for this are deeply rooted in their religion, which is islam (in case you'd forgotten). sure there are christian arabs, but they've never had their own country, and are, even as we speak, being abused and intimidated and killed and hounded out of the middle east by their "bretheren in race", (their fellow arabs) who are MUSLIMS. there are few of them left, and probably more in america (land of the free) than in the entire middle east right now, though i can't back that up with links or facts right now.

sure, arabs/muslims can do just fine "adjusting" (and even attaining leadership positions, such as your congressman, and the many arab members of the israeli gov't/opposition) while living in OTHER peoples democracies. well done, etc.

as far as real racism, try asking your "liberal muslim" (?) congressman his opinion of israel and it's right to exist.

my point was not racist (fsm forbid) but historical, and didn't involve arab/muslim ability to participate in the democracies of OTHER countries, which they clearly can.

but if, given current fast moving events, a bunch of arab/muslim "democracies" suddenly appear on the map, they will be the first ones in history, and my call that they will use the oppurtunity to create yet "more of the same"- meaning theocracies- was not based on racism, rather on a basic tenet of 1gm. see if you can figure out what it is. hint: religion. history. facts, no matter how hard to swallow.

i'll forget you said that, and explain what i meant, and you'll forgive me for all the combative/insensitive/insulting things i've thrown your way, and we'll call it even, and start a new page, ok?

Ok, deal.

the tendancy of americans (understandably) to view the history and nature of democracy through the lens of AMERICAN democracy, and to confuse the two.

So here is what seems to be my problem understanding what you are saying. You keep saying that the AMerican perspective on democracy is somehow ignorant to the workings of the world because it went so splendidly here...

Well nothing could be further from the truth.

American democracy was one of the most brutal and racist countries in the history of time. It pretty much couldn't have gone much worse.

Slave trade kill millions, We slaughtered millions of native Americans, denied women and minorities rights, flirted with theocratic wing nuts and have been a party to countless additional atrocities.

Hitler was small potatoes in comparison to our track record.

But I still support the idea that people have a right to self rule and that democracy over a long period of time moderates a society. The level of democracy has varied withing the American Republic. Shrinking and growing according to the peoples willingness to surrender freedom. And because of the peoples attention the moderating force of democracy has focused on domestic issues and occasionally disappeared at times.

You keep saying that the AMerican perspective on democracy is somehow ignorant to the workings of the world because it went so splendidly here...

no, no no. between my lebowski reference, and joanns vonnegut quote, i would have thought you understood, if anything, that i meant more like the opposite of what you're saying.

the reasons that americans don't understand democracy, but rather only how it went (and is perceived) in america, have nothing to do with (imo) how "splendidly" it went. although there are idiots there who try to make that case, which vonnegut destroys with a few sentances, which i agree with.

no, it has to do with people's general tendancy to view things through the lens of their own experiences and, as i said, this is understandable.

for instance, a white male, living in 1950's america, might think that american democracy was the actual REASON he had it so good- when, from a world perspective, this couldn't have been farther from the truth. it was, rather, wars, and the business that america made from them, and it's own civil war, etc. etc. which led to the 'levittown" mentality that now infects your glen becks and your bill oriellys and your tea partiers. i'm saying, basically that you're giving democracy itself too much credit, and not enough to the actual people. democracy is not a panacea, but i agree with you in this way, as someone famous once said: "democracy is the worst form of government in the world. except for all the others."

still, this rests on "the people" being reasonable, and "the people" in these arab uprisings are NOT reasonable, not by virtue of being arabs- god forbid, that would be racist, and you'd be right- but by virtue of being muslims.

and if onegood move wants to start preaching about how "reasonable" the muslim religion is, well...at that point i wouldn't know what to say. which would be quite an achievement for 1gm- and also the death of all it stands for.

Our own expereince is that democracy moderates a culture

to paraphrase the big lebowski: "yeah, that- and a civil war."

"This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass"

In democracy after a hundred years you have to let your slaves go. And after a hundred and fifty years you have to let your women vote. And at the beginning of democracy is quite a bit of genocide and ethnic cleansing. It's quite okay.

~Kurt Vonnegut

you know how i love vonnegut, and your quote is one of my favorites by him, and is certainly true of american "democracy", and true in varying degrees of many european democracies, some better, some worse, and some that don't really fit the description because they only became democracies after they had already completed their genocides, etc., and become relatively civilized. but what he said here is more a "truism" than a truth. and the most obvious exception (from my point of view) is israel, a democracy that started out as one and has only been around 63 years or so.

from the very beginning of the state there was no "genocide" (i'm well aware of the arguments against this, but the point is re: the american genocide of the native indians there is NO argument about.) there was hard fighting, and dirty tricks on both sides, of course, but the fact remains that 20% of israel's population today is arab,the vast majority of them being muslims, and no one is trying to kill them off, and they can (if they want to, which they sometimes don't as "protest") participate fully in israels democracy.

israel never had slaves.

and women had the vote from the very beginning.

so, vonnegut's point is true and telling of american democracy, and (to varying degrees) european, but to think that he actually meant that these horrible things are actually NECESSARY to the formation of democracy would be wrong. these things are incidental, not necessary, and to use them to excuse what the arab world will do (imo) with their new "democracies" (if they ever achieve them) would be wrong, very wrong.

but Muslims would.... have the same problems as americans? be worse?

good question. assuming you're serious i'll try to answer it.

i think it will be worse for the muslims, specifically because they are united and homogenous in their religious beliefs- not entirely of course, and i can certainly see coming wars, for instance, between muslim countries ruled by shiites and those ruled by sunnni, and they have many other divisions, blah blah... but they are united in a way that the american "melting pot", or the israeli "melting pot", for that matter, are/were not. their very unification makes democracy unneccesary to them, only a tool, a path to theocracy. whereas america (and israel) had to take people from a zillion different countries, with a zillion different beliefs, and "forge a nation".

re: israel and it's unprecedented absorbtion of entire communities from all over the world: yes, they were jewish. but they were completely racially/culturally/linguistically and religiously divided- and our "founding fathers" weren't religious AT ALL. so in these cases, yes, democracy can prove useful.

in the modern arab/muslim world? pfffft. you really think any of them will become "switzerland on the med?" well, i don't, but if that's what you think, i sure as hell hope you're right.

In 100 years. Maybe half that if they find allies in the free world.

I have been lurking and reading, and (I hope) learning from the 'main'discussion here. Thanks to Red, JB and JoAnn for the opportunity. One normally gets a very restricted viewpoint on these things - especially here in the UK - and it is useful and enlightening to look outside the box once in a while.

still, this rests on "the people" being reasonable, and "the people" in these arab uprisings are NOT reasonable

There is a line in the movie Men in Black. What's his name says to Will Smith "A person is Smart, people are stupid." Part of what I have been saying in the past few posts is I think the opposite is really true. The only way for any lasting peace is to win over the people. Any short term alliance with a leader or long term feud with religious leaders is only as good as the will of the people behind it and people make their judgments primarily on their quality of life. If democracy makes life better its leaders get the peoples support.

good question. assuming you're serious I'll try to answer it.

Here is a another good question.

If you were supporting a dictator that currently was repressing my freedoms, denying my family members of life, liberty, and happiness. Would I be justified in wanting you dead?

saw the movie, got the line, think i understand your take on it, prefer the original myself, which is kind of what i've been trying to say here.

the rest of your first paragraph, i have no idea what you're talking about- honestly, not trying to be nasty.

re: >

My version is sort of the foundation of the scientific method. Obviously that's the high number of educated and credentialed scientists, I think it generally holds.

Listening to Nixon or LBJ, both Presidents that did some very smart things, you can't help but think, "This guy sounds like a moron.

We can all have those moments, Which is why dictatorships work badly and direct democracies don't go so well either.

We can all have those moments, Which is why dictatorships work badly and direct democracies don't go so well either.

well, thanks for the "hope". jk, i don't need it. but "the world" does, and i thought you were doing pretty well in the face of my objections, till now.

sorry, human error.

re:

If you were supporting a dictator that currently was repressing my freedoms, denying my family members of life, liberty, and happiness. Would I be justified in wanting you dead?

well, that's a pretty loaded question. for instance, democracy doesn't gaurantee those things-- that would be the american constitution. or bill of rights- i always mix them up.

so, let me help you rephrase that in a way more fitting to the current situation here:

If you were supporting a dictator that currently was repressing my freedoms, denying my family members the right to live under an islamic dictatorship rather than a pro-western one would i be justified in wanting you dead?

answer: you already want me dead, or converted to islam, under either circumstance. would you be justified? you already are. by your religion. and if by YOU you meant ME personally (considering who i am and where i live) you most certainly will want me dead, no matter which form of government you wind up with, or which branch of islam you belong to.

and before you say it: being paranoid doesn't mean they're not all out to get you. :)

It's true Sometimes they are out to get you.

i can certainly see coming wars, for instance, between muslim countries ruled by shiites and those ruled by sunnni, and they have many other divisions,

BTW, This already happens

you already want me dead, or converted to Islam, under either circumstance. would you be justified? you already are. by your religion

Sort of a cheap evasion. What if it was actually me and I am not a Muslim.

BTW, This already happens

And has actually been encouraged in American backed dictatorships

no, what you're saying is the "cheap evasion" since this isn't what's happening.

but, if i'm any judge of character at all, and i'm understanding correctly your (completely irrelevant) analogy, you wouldn't want me dead, or even the supporters of the dictatorships (u.s. supported) that were keeping you down. you'd just want democracy, and the chance to write a "bill of rights", which would include something not unlike the american version. but this isn't what's happening here, as i keep trying to point out.

and if your "people" were like you, they wouldn't want me dead either, just out of the way. remember, in your analogy, i'm just supporting the dictatorship that is actually keeping you down- not a member of the dictatorship itself. you could, theoretically, get me "out of the way" without killing me- merely by overthrowing your actual dictatorship. and, in a true "grassroots revolution", you wouldn't necessarily need to kill them either- just take to the streets in sufficient numbers to make it clear where the power really lies.

nobody "needs" to get killed for these sort of changes in power structure. and your (apparent) justification of this "need" is worrisome to me. try the "velvet revolution" in cheklosovakia if you want an example of how it can be done relatively bloodlessly. i can give other examples if you need.

we are not dealing with checklosovokians here, my friend. deal with it. the "bloodless coup" is not a figment of the imagination. but here, in this case, with the arab/muslim world, i fear that it is. and i fear that somehow, jewish blood will become involved. only for racist/religious reasons, which you here on 1gm are theoretically predisposed to understanding.

Iran and Iraq didn't spend ten years in a Sunni Shiite war funded by a USA USSR proxy war?

sure they did- funded/supported at least, i don't know if "proxy" applies here, imo just business- arms sales, etc., and maybe a revenge thing against iran for the hostage thing and the ousting of the shah- but in any case, did i try to deny your point?

in any case, you're just proving my point(s) again here. the "ousting of the shah" was "democratic" in the sense that it was the "will of the people"- again, to live under an islamic dictatorship. and it was the will of the american gov't to make them "pay" for this, all the while "raking it in" monetarily. not exactly a proxy situation, but close enough i'll let you slide.

anyway, i never disagreed with you on this point: the sunnis and shiites (arab or not) are mortal enemies, held together only by their hatred (possibly justified) of the u.s. and israel. which they are cultivating so as to avoid facing their own "issues" with modernity and the fact that the world, for some strange reason unbeknownst to them, is not already completely islamic.

This article has an interesting take on the lack of Arab Democracy. It was written by Shadi Hamid

he was a Hewlett Fellow at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. He has published widely on democracy promotion and Middle Eastern politics.

Some excerpts:

“the electoral performance of Islamic parties has generally been unimpressive.” After tallying the 89 parliamentary contests held throughout the Muslim world over the last forty years, they found that “median Islamic-party performance is 15.5 percent of votes and 15 percent of seats.” Given this poor record, suggest Kurzman and Naqvi, Western powers should let go of their paranoia about Islamists: Even if there were free elections, Islamists probably would not win.

This, of course, assumes that Islamists are trying to win.

Islamist groups exhibit several features that set them apart. To begin with, they do not necessarily need to rule in order to fulfill their original objective—the Islamization of society. Contrary to the experience of Western Europe’s socialist parties, which could make society “socialist” only if they held power—and perhaps not even then, really—society in the Middle East can be made “Islamic” even if Islamists consistently lose elections.

The case of the Egyptian MB illustrates this party-versus-movement conflict even more clearly. The Brotherhood, while sometimes acting like a party, is not a party. It is a religious movement, or gama’a, meaning “society.”

In Jordan, the MB and IAF have won a plurality in every single election that they have contested since the reinstitution of parliamentary politics in 1989. By comparison, liberal, leftist, and secular parties controlled exactly none of the 110 seats in the 2007–2009 Jordanian parliament. Meanwhile, the only time that an Arab Islamist party did actually try to win—the Algerian FIS in 1991—it succeeded. And even when Islamist parties are not trying to win, they sometimes do by accident, as Hamas discovered in 2006.

thanks for the "straight up", joann.

And even when Islamist parties are not trying to win, they sometimes do by accident, as Hamas discovered in 2006.

sorry, "straight up", mostly, but there's always the zinger of pure bullshit, and here it is. not your fault, it's in the article. hope you didn't buy it at face value.

by accident? rofl.

I am woefully ignorant re all that is happening in the Middle East, so I don't "buy" anything. I just read and attempt to understand this very complex situation. I've been reading Le Monde, Council on Foreign Relations, Foreign Affairs, the NYT, left-wing oriented articles, right-wing oriented articles, articles by Steven Cook, and anything else I can find to attempt to understand more. The more I read, the less sure that I am about anything.

As for the bit about Hamas winning by accident, that did come across as a strange comment.

it doesn't sound to me like you are "woefully ignorant"- rather, your sources of information are probably mutually self-contradictory and making it hard for you to attain any kind of real understanding. but your efforts are apprecieated (by me), as is your intellectual/anylitical capabilities to "read between the lines".

this, combined with what i have written here, should help to give you a clearer understanding of what's going on. and, of course, you'll have to "read between the lines" of what i write, too- but "knowing" you over the years, i have confidence in your abilities to do so. thanks, as always, for your input and honesty.

btw, i haven't even mentioned the most obvious (and only) example of what happens with a democratically elected leadership in an arab "country" (i use the term losely).

after the israelis withdrew unilaterally from gaza, the population democratically elected an islamic theocracy- many using the excuse that this theocracy was less corrupt than their main opponents, the western backed "palestinian authority".

so, after the elections, how did the newly (and legitimately) elected leadership behave? they eliminated their opponents. killing, arresting, torturing, whatever- they were "eliminated", and now there is no "palestinian authority" in gaza, only hamas- again, an islamic dictatorship, democratically elected.

the p.a. still exists in the "west bank", only because of western (and israeli) support, which they do their best to deny in order to maintain whatever may be left of their support by the "arab street". which is- wait for it- NOTHING. if the u.s. and israel were to remove their "covert" support for this "regime" tomorrow, try and take a guess what would happen. go on, take a few minutes to think about it. a few hours. a few days. by the time you're finished thinking about it, the "west bank" would be in the midst of a popular uprising against "western supported leadership" just as we're seeing everywhere else- and especially jordan, israels only other "ally" in the neighborhood (besides egypt, and we know what's happening there), 70% palestinian population, which is somehow keeping it's own "revolution" out of the main headlines for now....

meanwhile, the u.s., and obama's disasterous foreign policy, remains aloof, and unhelpful to it's other allies in the region- including jordan.

what are we supposed to think? i can only hope that the hated israeli foreign minister, avigdor lieberman, of russian origin and not known for his diplomatic skills, is cutting a deal with the russians right fucking now- because you guys aren't exactly showing yourselves to be useful allies to ANYONE.

I should probably read up more on this Egypt thing, but from what little I know, it's hard to tell who the good guys are in this whole mess. I think that's Obama's dilema. It seems no matter who he backs, there's a high probability a lot of people are gonna get killed, and as Red frequently points out, it's always our fault. Oh and the jews. Has Matthews blamed this on Palin or global warming yet? Just curious.

It seems no matter who he backs, there's a high probability a lot of people are gonna get killed,

that's the point- he's not "backing" anyone, rather abandoning his supposed "allies" (which i assume will be israel, too, in the near future.)

u.s. foriegn policy is, at this point, and oxymoron. he's not a bad president, imo, re: internal u.s. issues, but his/their foriegn policy is a disaster, which will have repercussions on the u.s.. so, putting 2 and 2 together, i think we may agree on more matters than we think.

If he learned anything Carter, evacuate our embassy!

meanwhile, i sit here, literally in the middle of the "west bank", in the middle of a hailstorm, listening to f16's/f15's fly north, toward syria, about 3 times a minute for the last hour, and have no idea what this might mean. but it's a little scary. i've lived here for 17 years, and heard plenty of these planes, but never like this, in such quantity over such a short period of time.

praying (is that the right word?) for peace. as always.

this, combined with what i have written here, should help to give you a clearer understanding of what's going on. and, of course, you'll have to "read between the lines" of what i write, too

Yes, indeed, jonathan, I have learned a lot about what's going on from your comments here, and of course I realize that what you say has to do with where you live.

And I do appreciate your participation on this blog. I know that this is a scary time for you. A lot of people are obviously quite concerned.

If Obama supports Mubarak, he'll be condemned. If Obama supports the grassroots uprising, he'll be condemned. If he stradles the fence, he'll be condemned. Difficult complex times we live in..

sorry, joann. you don't just abandon your allies of 30 years (and all attendant treaties, secret agreements, etc.) for fear of being condemned. and a true leader doesn't do/not do anything out of such fear.

the only thing i can figure is the obama administration WANTS mubarak out (don't know why) and probably arent just fence sitting but somehow secretly actively engaged in his "removal".

it's the only thing i can think of that allows a shred of respect for the americans here. not a pretty shred, but at least a shred.

iow, the "revolution" isn't exactly "grass roots"- remember those seemingly moderate computer geeks everyone was so excited about? where are they now?

but now i'm getting into "conspiracy theory" territory- which doesn't scare me either, except when it's MY theory. :)

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I'm no Israelphile, Israelerast, whatever, but,

I'm afraid becker is right. Fearful. If the revolutions spread to, say, China, the one child policy is history and World War III starts ,... soon.

"Democracy" is bullshit. Like "freedom" (freedom for Who to do WHAT to WHOM? Freedom to own slaves, obviously (see The Civil War, American)).

Even our god-inspired floundering fathers in all their infinite wisdom knew enough to found a republic-not-a-democracy.

I fear Mr. Cribb is right when he warns we are running out of food, soon. There's not enough for us all. Some of us must go.

To be sanguine about democracy is to wear rose-tinted goggles. The revolutions, the religions, Mormon, Catholic, Muslim, don't acknowledge limits, on population, wishes, lifespan. Jesus will return and feed millions with his little fishies (2 of 'em!).

Don't count on it!

We are in deep doo doo. Ready to leap into deep "don't don't"

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I for got to include Free market capitalism in the religions.

No i'm not a libertarian, nor a liberal. I'm an eco-fascist, a nature nazi. A non-fiction addict. A citizen of the so-be-it union.

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