Egypt is Burning by Ralph J. Dolan / January 30, 2011
Egypt, an economic colony of the American empire, is burning.
The hungry rabble, dispossessed by Mubarak’s thirty-year, American-financed dictatorship, is stirring.
“Enough,” they say. “Mubarak must go.”
Cracks are beginning to appear in the Mubarak regime. Firing upon the vast crowds of protesters will not save him. It’s too late for conciliatory measures like dismissing his cabinet or promising economic reforms.
The Obama Administration is in a bind.
It certainly does not want the Suez Canal to be controlled by a renegade group like the Islamic Brotherhood, one of the major factions calling for Mubarak’s resignation. Along with the murderous, Zionist government of Israel, Egypt has been a solid American toe-hold in this region, the recipient of huge American bribes and payoffs in the form of ‘foreign aid’ for whistling America’s tune. America must appear to support the basic rights of the people — the rights of assembly and free speech — and to abhor acts of violence. But losing the Mubarak regime is losing a key ally in the region.
The people are fed up throughout the northern African and eastern Mediterranean countries. The central, catalyzing issue is bread. But they are also sick of the American-backed dictatorships. They are sick of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. They are sick of Guantanamo Bay, extraordinary rendition, profiling. They are sick of America’s presence, America’s interference.
The natives are restless. Keeping the uprising non-violent is an impossibility. Violence is necessary merely for the people to get the attention of their leaders. It is acceptable for the brutal regimes to use violence upon the people. But when the people take the moral high-road and reject violence they are dismissed. Only the immediate, physical threat can make entrenched bureaucracies move. This, unfortunately, is the state of the art in our times.
Let the tyrants fall one after another! It’s a good lesson for America’s political class: you can push your displays of power, your dazzling life-styles and your contempt for the people only so far.
When the slumbering dragon is awakened, it is already too late.
Copyright 2011 Ralph J. Dolan
Ralph J. Dolan is a retired family therapist living in western Massachusetts.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appeared earlier on the website of Dissident Voice.
Shamus Cooke (January 30, 2011): Why Obama Fears Democracy in EgyptRaising Lazarus from the dead would be easier than reviving the Egyptian President. So Obama is on to plan B. And as it turns out, plan B looks a lot like the status-quo, minus a change of face. The new face is a man handpicked by the U.S., Mohamed ElBaradei, a UN bureaucrat who hasn't lived in Egypt in decades and is virtually unknown by the Egyptian people. Placing ElBaradei in power will take behind the scenes political maneuvering combined with military repression, a plan that will collide with the revolutionary demands of the people. ...
The U.S. media has shamefully tried to promote ElBaradei as a popular figure, attempting to assign him credibility by showing non-stop footage of him speaking through a bullhorn at a protest, even as they admit he lacks "deep support on his own." Few in Egypt know who he is. ...
[The Egyptian] army will find it difficult to suppress the inevitable protests if Elbaradei is installed as a U.S. puppet; inevitable because he will follow the path laid by Mubarak: support of U.S. military presence in the region; support of Israeli policy against the Palestinians; support of U.S. free-market economic policy; and support of further U.S. aggression against neighboring countries like Iran.
In short, any regime that continues to support U.S. policies will be a dictatorship, something the Egyptian people clearly do not want.
Further commentary by Ralph J. Dolan on February 12, 2011
Old Hosni is gone. Good riddance! My heart is with the hundreds of thousands of Egyptians who are now celebrating in Tahrir Square.
But wait! We can't just let this guy skip off with all the billions he's bilked from Egypt's coffers from thirty years of shady dealings. I was so happy to see that the Swiss Bank was freezing his assets.
He asserts that he will not leave Egypt. He proclaims that he will die on the soil of his Motherland. Well, then, when his stolen wealth is returned to Egypt's treasury, a little Old Age Fund should be set up for him. Say, twenty-five thousand dollars annually, plus subsidized housing and access to the local food bank. It's fair. It's just. It's humane for a scoundrel.
And while we're observing these historic events in Egypt we might take a lesson in justice. We might come to our senses and freeze the assets of Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Vikram Pandit of Citigroup, Brian Moynihan of Bank of America, Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan Chase and John Strumpf of Wells Fargo — for starters. Then we could go after the other major players in orchestrating the financial meltdown — Timothy Gaitner, Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke, Lawrence Summers, Robert Rubin, Alan Greenspan, etc. These guys who waltz away with billions in profits while they create misery and dislocation for many millions of struggling working people are beneath contempt. They should be summoned before a Congressional Committee and told that they can no longer can hold positions of responsibility in the US Government or US Corporations. All of their assets should be seized and distributed among the victims of distressed mortgages. They should all be allotted a modest stipend for basic living requirements comparable to that of citizens who subsist at the lowest socio-economic levels. And they all ought to be closely monitored, preferably with an electronic ankle band, to make sure that they no longer engage in theft, fraud, duplicity and violations of the public trust.
This is what we ought to do. But will we? No! We'll let them sail away with their boat-loads of cash.
Why? It's hard to fathom. My guess is that we all secretly press this myth close to our breasts, the myth that goes to the very heart of our capitalistic economic system — that if a person has wealth then he/she has earned it and deserves it. We are all simply agog with persons of wealth. It doesn't matter how they got it. The mere fact that they have it takes our breath away. We seem ready to kneel at the feet and kiss the hands of those who would rob us blind.
Enough! Let us bring these tyrants down!
- Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, 2011-02-16: Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail?
Financial crooks brought down the world's economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them.
[If you] want to win elections, you bang on the jailable class. You build prisons and fill them with people for selling dime bags and stealing CD players. But for stealing a billion dollars? For fraud that puts a million people into foreclosure? Pass. It's not a crime. Prison is too harsh. Get them to say they're sorry, and move on. Oh, wait — let's not even make them say they're sorry. That's too mean; let's just give them a piece of paper with a government stamp on it, officially clearing them of the need to apologize, and make them pay a fine instead. But don't make them pay it out of their own pockets, and don't ask them to give back the money they stole. In fact, let them profit from their collective crimes, to the tune of a record $135 billion in pay and benefits last year. ... [Financial crimes are crimes] made by people who are already rich and who have every conceivable social advantage, acting on a simple, cynical calculation: Let's steal whatever we can, then dare the victims to find the juice to reclaim their money through a captive bureaucracy.
- Danny Schechter, 2011-02-26: Will banksters get away with it?There is much more to this story. It's also more about institutions than individuals, more about a captured system that enables and covers up crime and, then, deflects attention away from the deeper problem. ... Several industries working together, through their firms associations, and well-paid operatives, collaborated over years to financialise the economy to their own benefit. .... When will we call a crime a crime? When will we demand a jail-out, not just more bail-outs. Unless we do, and until we do, the people who created the worst crisis in our time will, in effect, get away with the biggest rip-off in history.
"Le secret des grandes fortunes sans cause apparente est un crime oublié, parce qu' il a été proprement fait." — Honoré de Balzac
In English: "The secret of a great fortune without apparent cause is a crime that has never been found out, because it was properly executed."
Or as more usually stated: "Behind every great fortune is a great crime."
But in the U.S.A. in recent years many great crimes have been found out, but nothing has been done to bring the criminals to justice. The mind-boggling details of these crimes are given in the article by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone. Corruption is rampant within the SEC and the U.S. Dept. of Justice, institutions intended to protect U.S. citizens from high-flying financial criminals, but now, in a reversal of their intended purpose, they protect those criminals from prosecution. The result is that billions of dollars are stolen from the pockets of U.S. citizens. Such a corrupt government cannot last long, but the criminals will end their days in very comfortable retirement — unless they receive justice from the hands of those from whom they stole.
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