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Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Afternoon Roundup - From Obama to Khaddafi, a Tale ofTwo Tyrants

A Tryst of Two Tyrants

While Americans are going hungry and cutting back, not because Michelle Obama told them to, but because they can't afford it-- the White House is throwing yet another party. This time to celebrate the cultural accomplishments of Motown complete with performances by trendy musicians.

It's funny how the media breathlessly reports that Khaddafi spent 1 million dollars to fly in one singer or another for a performance, and yet the White House has flown in far more singers, at doubtlessly far greater expense to throw themselves a party.

If Khaddafi was a wastrel madmen for throwing himself parties like this, what of the Obamas who are doing far worse, under the pretext that this is a celebration of the form.

Motown is not some obscure form of music that needs to be revived with government sponsorship. It is more than popular and there are plenty who will pay for it. The public should not be footing the bill, so that the Obamas can once again hobnob with musicians.

But the very behavior that the media condemns in Libya, it celebrates in Washington. Tell me again the difference between this

The New York Times, citing cables obtained by WikiLeaks, says songstress Mariah Carey was paid $1 million to belt out four songs on the Caribbean island of St. Barts for Gadhafi’s son, Seif al-Islam, whom you may remember from the rambling speech that kicked off the recent carnage.

Another son, Muatassim, Libya’s national security adviser, allegedly hired Beyoncé and Usher to entertain at another New Year’s bash.

and this

The White House reverberated like a long-ago basement sound studio in Detroit on Thursday as the likes of John Legend, Seal, Jamie Foxx, Nick Jonas and Sheryl Crowe channeled their inner Motown before Michelle and Barack Obama. Musical pioneers Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder joined in for the celebration of all things Motown.

Tell me, what's the difference here? One is written in a condemnatory tone and the other in a celebratory tone.

We are supposed to pity the poor Libyan people whose evil overlords shamelessly squandered millions on concerts by famous musicians

-- and simultaneously thrill at the news that our own overlords are spending millions on throwing concerts in the White House.

The Libyan papers might well have it in reverse, condemning Obama for his spendthrift wastefulness, while celebrating the Khaddafi spawn for circulating with famous musicians to show the cultural amplitude of Libya. But it's propaganda either way. Wrap it in the wax paper of civil rights and some blather about Americanism-- and it still comes down to our leaders acting like the very Middle Eastern buffoons they claim to despise. Even as the American media fulfills the same role for the Obamas, that its Libyan counterparts do for the Khaddafis.

All this might have been forgivable, if the big zero hadn't been making constant noises about his commitment to cutting spending. If his first spouse hadn't appointed herself Czar of America's Kitchens, in between gorging during her constant vacationing. If they just admitted that they were rotten liars who are going to take us for all they can get-- then we could almost tolerate their thievery. So many Americans forgave Clinton when he smiled and winked, but wouldn't forgive him when he self-righteously shook his finger at us, when everyone knew he was lying. Obama has never stopped shaking his finger at us, while going from the party to the golf course.

Americans like to believe that we are better off than the Libyans. And we are... for now. But we won't be for long if this style of government continues. Leaders who play messiahs, wrap themselves in cults of personality, enforce only those laws they like and send out their thugs to assail and assault anyone who threatens their power.

We are not better off than then Libyans because of the government we have now, but because of the legal traditions and open elections that have not been completely eradicated by the left.

(In an added layer of irony, Khaddafi is boosting government worker pay by 150 percent. Comparisons to the Democratic party go begging to be heard.)

When the Democrats win they wreck the system through mismanagement. When the Democrats lose they wreck the system through sabotage. The Democrats lost in Wisconsin which means they have nothing to lose by tearing the system down. They still hold the White House and are mismanaging the country. There's no win scenario here.

Mass protests won't hurt the Democrats, but may hurt Governor Walker. And even if they don't, the Democrats will have radicalized union members, some of whom may have agreed on a few points with Republicans, and made other governors wary of a confrontation. It's a win-win scenario for them. Sure the unions could have scored some points with the public by cooperating, but they don't expect voters to hold Democrats accountable for their actions. And even if they do, it's a forced marriage with no way out.

Meanwhile the protest riots are continuing to spread throughout the Middle East. Libya's deranged colonel is showing how a regime which doesn't mind gunning down protesters reacts to such challenges. And putting into focus the absurdity of defining tyranny by Mubarak or Ben Ali. Khadafi is giving liberals a timely reminder of what a real tyrant looks like. And it isn't an oligarch like Mubarak.

The violence has spread to Iraq, which is already unstable enough, and shows that this really isn't curable by democracy, as so many neo-cons have insisted. Democracy is not an antidote to sectarian conflict or public anger over government policies. When a minority of protesters can overthrow the government through sheer violence, than the occasional elections are no curative measure. That is also the situation in Wisconsin, where a violently angry minority infuriated at the prospect of being robbed of its privileges is sabotaging the state.

Compare if you will, Sam Slom, the one Republican state senator in Hawaii, with the fleebager senators of Wisconsin. There is a pattern here. Republicans in the minority ask questions and challenge legislation, Democrats in the minority try to sabotage the system. Republican congressmen were being compared to terrorists for obstructing Obama's program. But Wisconsin Senators are heroes for absconding to Illinois. A Republican shutdown of the government is considered a worst case scenario, but Democratic shutdowns of the governments are much admire.

The law of the land is the law of the land-- until the Democrats decide otherwise. And then they just refuse to enforce them. As Obama is doing with DOMA. But imagine the outcry had a Republican president's attorney general had refused to defend civil rights legislation for gay rights. The law is the law, so long as it's liberal law. But that's no way to run a country.

In the roundup,

Revolution isn't just coming to the Middle East, it may also be coming to Ireland, with Fianna Fail finally set to take a well-deserved beating.

Lemon Lime Moon points out that the protests have centered on nations with ports in the Mediterranean, access to the Suez Canal, and the Gulf.
Why is it there is so little news on the importance of the Suez Canal, the Mediterranean Sea and the importance of Libyan oil to Europe? Is it a myopic view of things that is keeping news from looking at the overview of the middle eastern situation?

...

Controlling the flow of oil would give Moslem nations tremendous bargaining power in the world. Money talks. Money makes people do the worst things. The goal of the Moslem religion is control. If a Moslem brotherhood can control oil flow, they have a very powerful weapon indeed. If Europe can control the middle east, they will have a very great ace in the hole for themselves.

Read it all

Timothy Carney at the Examiner points out that Soros' investment fund is profiting from Obama's green energy programs. But there are levels beyond that.

Consider Soros' investment fund buys into a number of domestic energy producers and coal companies, such as Massey energy. An offshore drilling ban would lower the stock price off domestic energy producers. Obstructing coal would similarly lower the asking price. Also interestingly, Soros earlier dumped much of his holdings in Hess, which has an energy presence in Egypt. There's probably a story here for anyone with the financial knowhow to go properly digging. But just like Soros' Countrywide investment, no one seems to be following the money.

From the heart of Texas, a good ole Saudi boy plotted to blow up some reservoir dams. (See the whole story at Doug Ross' Director Blue blog.) But he probably never meant no harm.

But it gets better. Guess who funded his scholarship.

Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, the Saudi student arrested Thursday on charges that he planned to build bombs for terror attacks inside the United States, was granted a U.S. student visa after qualifying for a generous scholarship sponsored by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah,

Have we learned anything from 9/11 when Saudis could just waltz into the United States and murder thousands of Americans? No not really.

Aldawsari was one of more than 10,000 Saudi students granted student visas in 2008, an NBC News analysis of the visa program shows.

Indeed, the number of Saudi students approved for entry into the United States has jumped more than fourfold since 15 young Saudis helped carry out the attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. At the same time, visas granted to other Middle East nations dropped often precipitously or remained at the same level.

The analysis shows that 26,744 Saudi students received US F-1 and F-2 visas in 2010, up from 6,836 in 2001. The numbers have steadily increased as the Kingdom has provided financing for students, believing the students' exposure to the U.S. and its education system would help US-Saudi relations.

US-Saudi relations being a euphemism for Saudi manipulation of American universities, and of course a generous helping of murder. We're importing Saudis like 9/11 never happened, because the Saudi government is underwriting it. And so what if Americans get killed, as long as Ivy League deans get to built another facility or two for their campus.

In May of 2009 Aldawsari talks about learning English in Nashville, Tennessee and his dreams about working for Google. June of that year he writes in Arabic about the Book of Allah and his conquest that will depend on his Jihad.

As it turns out, there isn't that much of a contradiction.

At Cliffs of Insanity, a challenge for Rush Limbaugh to take a much more active role and make a real difference.

Joshuapundit has the latest Watcher's Council results.

Finally at Biased BBC, a question of blindness and what are we ignoring now

Many people suspect that “tyrants” were all that stood between the fragile stability and the dreaded clash of civilisations. However, for the BBC and, it seems, Cameron’s government, democracy is a thing with magical properties. If it comes, lo and behold, it will turn the Islamic street into a secular wonderland.
Meanwhile, (as if we had any choice) we’re plumping for toppling tyrants and keeping our fingers crossed this will bring about liberty, freedom and peace - and abracadabra, turn the Arab World into the West.

No longer must we turn a blind eye to tyranny. Now our blind eyes are turned to the baying mobs chanting “Death to Jews” in Tunis, the stars of David scrawled on Mubarak posters, and the sinister signs of religious bigotry rather than secular liberalism that are emerging from the angry rioting crowd. The BBC’s eyes are the blindest of all.

See Solomonia which quotes a rather relevant observation on the ethnic cleansing of Egypt's Jews

You will find no Jews in Tahrir Square. Or in Mansoura, where Grandfather Wahba had a drug store. I scan the architecture on CNN looking past the screaming demonstrators. I want to see Egypt, Dad’s Egypt, and imagine what he would be saying about the situation today; almost four years since he died.

Egypt is in the news and how I miss my father. I see “Rioting in Mansoura, Cairo, Alexandria,” flash on the news. Cities that were home to my dad, at different points in his life. Born to an old Egyptian family in Mansoura, “the Wahbas were real (not transplants from another country), Egyptians” he bragged. They were indigenous to the land, originally farmers, peasants, in Midghram.

When President Obama spoke in Cairo he didn’t ask, “Where are your Jews”? Once not so long ago Egyptian Jews were an integral part of Egypt’s infrastructure. Obama did mention the Copts (Egypt’s Christians,) another indigenous group who suffer discrimination and he asked for “tolerance”.

ASK WHERE ARE THE JEWS WHO LIVED HERE FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS I wanted to break through his eloquence. But yelling at the TV is not my style.

A little note now for all the commentators who approvingly quoted and celebrated Sandmonkey, treated him as a martyr during the riots, and discover that now he's joined the conventional liberal Egyptian line in essentially calling for tearing up the Camp David accords, remilitarizing the Sinai and opening up the border to Hamas. Oh he's phrasing it better than that, but that's what it amounts to.

Some like Barry Rubin are giving him the benefit of the doubt. I'm not. There's a certain commonality to these things. We got played. And it isn't the first time. The difference between Curveball and Sandmonkey isn't as big as you might think. There are no shortage of "dissidents" from the Arab world with a focused narrative, who are very good at telling us what we want to hear, when we want to hear it, and even capable of believing it themselves, before shifting on a dime. They are often members of prominent families, often with ties to previous regimes (according to his blog, Sandmonkey's grandfather was a general in the royal guard, that would be the royal family overthrown by Mubarak's predecessors) and often sympathetic and believable. Word to the wise, be wary. Be smart. And don't be taken in.

A final personal note, I have created a new Facebook account and one for the site here. Anyone I have lost touch with, please send me a request, if I haven't sent you one yet already.

6 comments:

Zilla/MJ said...

And Obama is having another lavish, extravagant affair on our dime on Monday!
http://gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com/2011/02/woo-hoo-another-white-house-shindig-gladys-knight-will-perform-for-obamas-on-sunday/

Anonymous said...

Sultan -
Regarding Obama, I am curious if you've happened to have read this article? I'm wondering why it took him two years to get around to placing it "on the public record"?

http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/02/meeting_young_obama.html

"Whatever impact our encounter might have had on him, I know something about what Barack Obama believed in 1980. At that time, the future president was a doctrinaire Marxist revolutionary, although perhaps -- for the first time -- considering conventional politics as a more practical road to socialism. Knowing this, I think I have a responsibility to place on the public record my account of this incident from our president's past."

Barry said...

With regard to Lemon Lime Moon's post pointing to the flow of oil from the gulf to the Med through Suez one should also realize that Iran has, according to reports from as far back as 2008, an alliance with Eritrea and now has the use of a base there on the Red Sea.
This should make things truly interesting if it wishes to put pressure on shipping to the Red Sea ports, Jordan's Aquaba and Israel's Eilat apart from being able to blackmail Europe and increase shipping charges to the US.
No one today sees the Obama admin doing anything to obviate such an eventuality.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

It's an interesting piece, well told, but yes certainly took a while to get it out there. It reads plausibly enough. It's well in line with what we know of BO.

Minna said...

Umm.. the singers flown in to entertain dictators' families were paid for, at great expense, paid for with money stolen from the people and diverted directly to the pockets of the ruling families. The musicians performing in the White House do it for free, mostly for the prestige/reputational benefits. That's the difference, and it is a very big one.

Read this comment now! Its negative, so it will be deleted in 3, 2, 1...

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

And there's no cost to the people to throw these parties?

Does the food, the work and everything else come free too for the family of our beloved dictator?

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