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Archive for January 31st, 2011

Funny how that happened

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 31st, 2011 5:41 am by HL

Funny how that happened
“Tyrant-for-Life” Mubarak is hard on the press…but not as hard as the Bush Administration who went out for blood.

That one news agency that so many conservatives wanted to have bombed out of existence (including George Bush) when they were in Iraq and Afghanistan…and sort of got their wish…has become indispensable to pretty much the entire Western World over the last few days in Egypt.

So, naturally, the Egyptian Government moved to shut Al Jazeera down.

It’s what John Bolton, Frank Gaffney, and Hosni Mubarak would do, although at least the latter hasn’t bombed them.

What Corruption and Force Have Wrought in Egypt

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 31st, 2011 5:41 am by HL

What Corruption and Force Have Wrought in Egypt
Our failures in the Middle East have consequences. We are soaked with the stench of these regimes.

By Chris Hedges

Our failures in the Middle East have consequences. We are soaked with the stench of these regimes.

Related Entries

Frank Dwyer: A Dispassionate Look at American Exceptionalism (Uh-Oh)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 31st, 2011 5:40 am by HL

Frank Dwyer: A Dispassionate Look at American Exceptionalism (Uh-Oh)
The US is as great as its people are smart and its leaders good….

Richard (RJ) Eskow: We’re Better off Than Egypt — Right? Let’s Take a Look.
Income inequality is actually greater in the United States than it is in Egypt. Poverty and unemployment statistics for U.S. minorities are surprisingly similar to Egypt’s.

Clinton Convenes Unprecedented Mass Meeting Of U.S. Ambassadors
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is convening an unprecedented mass meeting of U.S. ambassadors. The top envoys from nearly all of America’s…

Oklahoma Creationism & Anti-Abortion Bills Spark Concerns
With a Democrat no longer in the governor’s office to keep them in check, Republican legislators have filed numerous bills that could violate federal and…

Joseph A. Palermo: “Ripples of Hope” in Egypt
Democracy is breaking out in Tunisia and Egypt not because of U.S. actions in the Middle East, but despite them.

Foxy News: The Cable News Home For Sexism, Scantily Clad Women

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 31st, 2011 5:40 am by HL

Foxy News: The Cable News Home For Sexism, Scantily Clad Women

Recently, Fox & Friends‘ hosts and guests have made a series of sexist comments to and about women. Indeed, Fox & Friends has a long history of sexism which also permeates throughout Fox News and mirrors a culture at parent company News Corp that has led to numerous sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits.

Sexist comments have long found a home at Fox & Friends

Foxy News: Business

Foxy News: Primetime

Foxy News: Daytime

News Corp.’s history of sexual harassment and discrimination suites

Foxy News: Fox & Friends

 During Discussion Of “Mom Caves,” Kilmeade Asks Carlson, “Didn’t Men Give You The Kitchen?” On the January 24 Fox & Friends, co-hosts Brian Kilmeade and Gretchen Carlson discussed sanctuary spaces in the home for men and women, during which Kilmeade asked Carlson, “Didn’t men give you the kitchen?” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/24/11]

Fox & Friends’ “Mom Cave” Promotes Sanctuary Space Where Women Can Relax By “Mak[ing] List[s] Of Things To Do.” At the end of the January 28 broadcast of Fox & Friends, the hosts headed outside to a custom-made “Mom Cave,” which purports to be a room in which woman can find sanctuary while “your man watches TV.” Interior designer Elaine Griffin, who coined the term “Mom Cave,” suggested the room could also serve as a place for women to “relax” and “make lists of things to do” while “your man is getting ready for the Super Bowl.” [Fox & Friends, 1/28/11]

Napolitano On “Hot New” GOP Rep. Kristi Noem: She’s A “Good Looker, Too.” On the January 25 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox Business host Andrew Napolitano described Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) as a “good looker”:

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Judge, I want to find out what’s on your show tonight.

NAPOLITANO: Kristi Noem. That hot, new freshman member of Congress is going to be on to tell us why the president’s State of the Union is just a pep rally.

KILMEADE: And Judge, when you say “hot,” you mean exciting, intellectual lawmaker.

NAPOLITANO: And a good looker, too.


NAPOLITANO: You want to come on set, Kilmeade?

KILMEADE: I’m thinking about it. [Fox News’ Fox & Friends, 1/25/11]

O’Reilly Attributes Increased Criticism Of Bachmann And Palin To “Good-Looking Factor.” During a phone interview on the January 21 edition of Fox & Friends, Bill O’Reilly claimed that increased criticism of certain conservative women was due to something he described as the “good-looking factor” and stated that “the better looking these women are like Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, the more the left attacks them.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/21/11]

Kilmeade’s Response To Senator McCaskill: “That Voice Goes Right Through Me.” During the December 17, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends, after airing a clip of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) criticizing Republicans for being hypocritical of earmarks, Kilmeade stated, “That voice goes right through me, I don’t know about you.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/17/10]

Kilmeade’s Advice To Sports Reporter Allegedly Harassed By Players: “Get A Whoopi Goldberg Outfit, Like A Big Tent.” During the September 17, 2010, broadcast of Fox & Friends, Kilmeade stated his advice for a sports reporter who had allegedly been harassed by New York Jets players: “Get a Whoopi Goldberg outfit, like a big tent.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/17/10]

Guest-Host Jerrick Reacts To Comments About Lindsay Lohan: “This May Not Be The First Time Lindsay’s Been Spanked.” On the September 3, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends, after airing a clip of Jerry Lewis’ remarks regarding his desire to “smack” and “spank” actress Lindsay Lohan, guest-host Mike Jerrick stated, “This may not be the first time Lindsay’s been spanked.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/3/10]

Kilmeade Refers To Women As “Babes, Chicks,” And “Skirts” During Segment On Consumer Car Preference.” During a June 22, 2010, Fox & Friends segment about which cars were most popular among women, Kilmeade referred to women as “babes, chicks,” and “skirts.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/22/10]

Kilmeade Teases Carmen Electra Appearance By Saying, “She Is A Wonderful Actress, And She’s Got A Great Body.” On the April 30, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends, Kilmeade teased an upcoming segment with Carmen Electra by saying, “She is a wonderful actress, and she’s got a great body.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/30/10]

Marc Rudov: “Dating Is Legal Prostitution.” On the July 27, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends, guest Marc Rudov stated that “dating is legal prostitution.” He further stated, “If women aren’t going to show up unless they’re bought and paid for, that’s prostitution.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/27/10]

Limbaugh: “I Love Women. … I Love The Women’s Movement, Especially When Walking Behind It.” On the February 3, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends, guest Rush Limbaugh stated: “I’m a huge supporter of women. … Feminism is what I oppose. Feminism has led women astray. I love women. I don’t know how this all got started. I love the women’s movement, especially when walking behind it.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/3/10]

Fox & Friends’ Sexism Mirrors Fox News’ Other Programming


Asman Admits “Hot Stocks” Segment Is “An Excuse” To Show Racy Photos Of Miss USA Contestants. On the May 15, 2010, edition of Fox News’ Forbes on Fox, host David Asman teased a segment on “hot stock” tips by airing photographs of scantily clad Miss USA contests and saying,They are hotter than those steamy photos taken for this weekend’s Miss USA pageant. They’re our informers ‘hot stocks.’ How about that for an excuse to show these pictures?” [Fox News, Forbes On Fox, 5/15/10]

Cavuto Teases “SEC Porn Shocker” Story With Porn Clips. On the April 29, 2010, broadcast of Fox News’ Your World, host Neil Cavuto teased a story on a Security and Exchange Commission’s Inspector General report which found that dozens of SEC employees viewed pornography on their work computers by airing clips of pornography videos. Cavuto stated of the SEC workers: “Well, let’s just say, they got their happy ending.” [Fox News, Your World, 4/29/10, Associated Press, 4/22/10]

Cavuto’s “Big, Big Business Story”: He’s The First To Interview New Playmate Of the Year. On May 4, 2006, Cavuto interviewed Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and Playboy model Kara Monaco, who had just been named the 2006 Playmate of the Year. In introducing the segment, Cavuto offered a pre-emptive defense of the interview — presumably to those who would question its suitability for a “financial program” — saying: “[T]his really is a big, big business story. The winner becomes the new face of Playboy, itself an empire, for the next year, representing the company around the world and schmoozing with powerful business titans.” The ensuing interview, however, was light on business discussion but featured plenty of scantily clad and nude (though obscured) footage of Monaco. [Fox News, Your World, 5/4/06]

Porn Star’s Attendance At GOP Fundraiser Meant More Pole-Dancing On Your World. Just before adult film actress Mary Carey was to attend a March 16, 2006, fundraising dinner given by the National Republican Congressional Committee, Cavuto interviewed Carey about her professed intention to run for California governor for a second time in the upcoming election. Before hosting Carey on Your World, Cavuto teased the interview with video footage of Carey dressed in a French maid’s uniform performing a pole dance. Over video footage of Carey pole-dancing, Cavuto informed viewers, “Her political platform included taxing breast implants and making lap dances tax deductible. But before you laugh at porn star Mary Carey, remember this: She placed 10th of 135 candidates running for California governor. Wait ’til you hear what she’s up to now.” [Fox News, Your World, 3/16/06]

Cavuto’s World Populated By Victoria’s Secret, Playboy Models And A Pole-Dancing Pamela Anderson. As Media Matters previously noted, Fox News featured a series of photographs and videos of scantily clad or nude women on eight separate occasions between December 5, 2009, and December 15, 2009. Your World aired six out of eight of these segments. [Media Matters, 12/19/05]


O’Reilly Covers “The Great Breast Augmentation Scandal” To Air Gratuitous Boudoir B-Roll. On the July 14, 2009, broadcast of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly hosted a debate about a Norwegian model who was awarded a $500,000 default judgment stemming from a lawsuit in which she alleged a plastic surgeon put a photo of her breast on his website without permission. Throughout the segment, O’Reilly aired footage of the model dressed in lingerie. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 7/14/09]

O’Reilly Runs Scantily Clad B-Roll Of “Alleged Drug-Dealing Gang Leader.” On the February 26, 2010, broadcast of The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly repeatedly aired footage of a woman in lingerie during a segment on an alleged Columbian “drug-dealing gang leader.” [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 2/26/10]

Fox News Illustrates Segments On Crime In Mexico With Footage Of Bikini-Clad Women. Following a February 20, 2009, State Department-issued travel alert regarding the increase of drug cartel-related violence in Mexico, Fox News’ primetime programs ran several segments questioning whether Cancun and other Mexican resort cities are safe destinations for college students on spring break. Segments on Hannity,On the Record, and The O’Reilly Factor featured gratuitous video footage of young women in bikinis. [Media Matters, 3/13/09]

Miller Calls Out O’Reilly For Reporting On Mexico To “Show These Pictures Of” Girls In Bikinis. On the March 25, 2009, broadcast of The O’Reilly Factor, while video of girls in bikinis aired, O’Reilly asked Fox News contributor Dennis Miller if he would allow his sons to go on spring break in Mexico. Miller responded:

MILLER: I wouldn’t let my kids go to Mexico, because you get the runs from the water. I mean, that’s the simple fact.

But the other fact is kids are horny. And it’s the same reason you show these pictures of the girls, because people at home love the pictures of young girls in bikinis. It’s the same thing with my 17-, 18- year-old kid. He likes to see women in bikinis. I understand that part of it.

I just don’t trust Mexico more because of the Guadalajara — the drug war at the border. I mean, I don’t trust Mexico because of the drug war and that sort of thing. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 3/25/09]

Ingraham Calls Out Fox News’ “Midlife Crisis … Among The Male Anchors.” During a 2007 broadcast of The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly was ridiculed by guest Laura Ingraham for constantly airing gratuitous videos of scantily clad women. Ingraham stated: “I don’t know if there’s a rampant midlife crisis going on on this network among the male anchors, but I can tell you that my female listeners are basically saying … what is the purpose? … You can talk about cultural issues and cultural debates without running the constant loop of this video. It’s ridiculous.” [The O’Reilly Factor, 2/1/07]

Breaking Previous Vow Of “No More Bikinis,” O’Reilly Airs Bikini Segment. During a February 10, 2010, promo for The O’Reilly Factor, Fox News teased a segment on “sexy snow angels,” “sultry skiers,” and “steamy snowboarders.” The women in question were Olympic athletes posing in bikinis for Sports Illustrated. [Media Matters, 2/10/10]

Rudov: “Men Are Depressed … Because Men Are Allowing Women To Take Over The World.” During the March 26, 2008, edition of The O’Reilly Factor, Rudov informed guest-host Laura Ingraham: “Men are depressed, and it’s their own fault, because men are allowing women to take over the world. … I don’t have a problem with women, Laura. I have a problem with little girls occupying adult female bodies. And any women who feel entitled to wining and dining and jewelry and free vacations are not adults.” [The O’Reilly Factor: 3/26/08]


Kelly Uses Strip Club Footage To Illustrate Store On A Pole-Dancing Fitness Class Accident. On the February 17, 2010, broadcast of Fox News’ America Live, host Megyn Kelly aired video of strippers to illustrate a story about a women suing her gym after getting into an accident during a pole-dancing fitness class. [Fox News, America Live, 2/17/10]

Fox News Breaks Out “Pretty Young Thing” Bikini B-Roll To Discuss Mouse “Fountain Of Youth” Study. The October 5, 2009, broadcast of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom aired a segment on a study which found a genetic mutation in mice that could be manipulated to expand the mice’s lifespans. During the segment, Fox aired footage of women in bikinis. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 10/5/09]

America’s Newsroom Airs Pictures Of Hookers In Report On Earmark Spending. On the March 2, 2009, broadcast of America’s Newsroom, Kelly tied earmarks budgeted for railroads in the 2009 budget to a plan supposedly supported by Sen. Harry Reid to construct a high-speed rail from Orlando to Las Vegas. Despite the fact that Kelly reported that no earmarks existed for such a project, she nonetheless claimed that “one of the earmarks” in the bill was for a “super railroad of sorts. A line that will deliver you straight from Disney, we kid you not, to the doorstep of the Moonlight Bunny Ranch Brothel in Nevada.” Fox aired photographs of prostitutes during the segment. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 3/2/09]

Fox’s Parent Company News Corp. Has Been The Target Of Numerous Sexual Harassment And Discrimination Suits

Fox News Sued By EEOC For Retaliation Against Correspondent Who Accused The Network Of Age And Gender Discrimination. On September 30, 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit against Fox News for retaliation against homeland security correspondent Catherine Herridge. The EEOC alleged that Fox News retaliated against Herridge after she complained about discrimination by asking her to sign a contract which included an assurance that she would not allege discrimination in the future. The EEOC’s press release noted:

New York-based Fox News Network LLC, which owns and operates the Fox News Channel based in Washington, D.C., retaliated against news reporter Catherine Herridge after she complained to Fox that she was subjected to disparate pay and unequal employment opportunities because of her gender and age, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced in a lawsuit filed today. 

According to the EEOC’s complaint, during 2007 Herridge made several complaints to management officials at Fox News about employment practices that she believed were discriminatory. Fox conducted an investigation into Herridge’s allegations beginning around December 2007, but notified Herridge that no evidence of age and sex discrimination had been found.  

Around the summer or fall of 2008, Fox News included language in Herridge’s employment contract, which was set for renewal, that referenced Herridge’s discrimination complaints and was intended to stop Herridge from making more of them in the future, the EEOC charged.  Herridge refused to sign the employment contract until the language was removed. Thereafter, Fox refused to negotiate further with Herridge, would not respond to counteroffers as to substantive issues in the proposed contract, and ceased speaking to her agent or to her about her contract.

As a result of Fox’s refusal to proceed with a new employment contract absent the retaliatory language, Herridge became an “at-will” employee without any job protections, causing her considerable stress, the EEOC alleged.  It was only after Herridge filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, and an EEOC investigator conducted an on-site investigation, that Fox agreed to take out the retaliatory language and presented Herridge with a new contract with the retaliatory language removed, in June 2009 which she signed. [EEOC, 9/30/10]

Fox News Settled Sex Discrimination Suit, Which Alleged Fox VP “Used Obscene Terms To Describe Women And Their Body Parts.” According to an August 1, 2006, Bloomberg News article, Fox News Network agreed to pay $225,000 “to settle a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sex discrimination suit.” Bloomberg reported that the EEOC complaint included allegations that Fox News Vice President Joe Chillemi “used obscene terms to describe women and their body parts”; that women were “assigned to freelance positions with fewer benefits, less advancement potential and lower job security than others”; and that “Chillemi, during a department discussion about discrimination in the workplace, said that when choosing between hiring a man or a woman, ‘of course I’d pick the man. The woman would most likely get pregnant and leave.'” [The Washington Post, 8/1/06]

In 2004, O’Reilly Settled A Sexual Harassment Lawsuit From Producer. On October 29, 2004, O’Reilly settled a $60 million sexual harassment suit from a former producer who reportedly accused O’Reilly of “repeatedly engaging in offensive sex talk with her, of having unwanted phone sex with her while using a vibrator on himself, and of describing his fantasies about having sex with her in a shower.” O’Reilly also dropped the suit he had filed “against the producer, claiming that she and her lawyer had tried to extort money from him” and told his television audience that there had been “no wrongdoing in this case whatsoever by anyone.” [The New York Times, 10/29/04]

In Suit Against Harper Collins, Judith Regan Alleged “Clear Evidence Of News Corp.’s Double Standard And Discrimination Against Women.” In 2007, Judith Regan filed a wrongful termination suit against News Corp.’s publishing house Harper Collins, which was settled in 2008. In the suit, Regan alleged that her termination is “clear evidence of News Corp.’s double standard and discrimination against women.” As evidence of her claim, Regan stated that she “repeatedly complained” about her “success [being attributed] to nothing more than her ‘golden vagina’ ” but that “nothing was ever done” about “this sexist and insulting remark.” [MSNBC, 1/25/08Vanity Fair, 1/1/05]

Fox Sports Host Was Accused Of Sexual Harassment By Former Employee. In 2003, Lisa Brescher, a hairstylist for the show Best Damn Sports Show Period on Fox Sports Net, filed a lawsuit claiming sexual harassment against host and former NBA player John Salley. According to the complaint, Brescher “was subjected to an environment of unrestrained sexual harassment.” Brescher further claimed that host Tom Arnold “didn’t care” when she presented her complaints, and retaliated by banning her from the set. Arnold denied the allegations. According to court documents, the case was later settled. [WLKY, 5/2/03Park City Daily News5/2/03Media Matters, 10/1/10]

Poll Watcher To New Black Panther Party Videographer: ‘Don’t F**k Up The Story’ (VIDEO)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 31st, 2011 5:39 am by HL

Poll Watcher To New Black Panther Party Videographer: ‘Don’t F**k Up The Story’ (VIDEO)
Stephen Robert Morse was a freelance journalist and videographer working as a poll watcher for the local Republican Party in Philadelphia in 2008 when he got the call of his lifetime. Members of the New Black Panther Party, he was…

Big Time Dems Join GOPers In Support Of Iranian Terror Group
Last Thursday in Washington D.C., a prominent group of former government officials gathered for a panel on Iran. Among them were a former National Security Adviser, a former CENTCOM Commander, a former Democratic Senator, a former Democratic Presidential candidate, a former Republican Attorney General, a former Republican Homeland Security Secretary, a former CIA Director and a former FBI Director. Almost to a man — and they were all men — they expressed support for a group considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. The panel, organized by a consulting firm called Executive Action, LLC, was called “Iran’s Nuclear, Terrorist Threats and Rights Abuses: After Engagement and Sanctions, What?” and the group in question is the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization, also known as the MEK. The panel, organized by a group called Executive Action, LLC, was called “Iran’s Nuclear, Terrorist Threats and Rights Abuses: After Engagement and Sanctions, What?” and the group in question is the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization, also known as the MEK. The panel was called “Iran’s Nuclear, Terrorist Threats and Rights Abuses: After Engagement and Sanctions, What?” and the group in question is the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization, also known as the MEK.

Beck, Boehner, Limbaugh & Monsanto: Love America or leave it!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 31st, 2011 5:37 am by HL

Beck, Boehner, Limbaugh & Monsanto: Love America or leave it!
Once again I’ve just received yet another e-mail from someone telling me that if I don’t like America, then I should leave it. Me? I hardly barely even whine about America at all — when compared to all the right-wingers and corporatists who haunt the media, the White House, the Supreme Court, Congress and K […]

Huntsman Expected to Resign to Make Bid

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 31st, 2011 5:36 am by HL

Huntsman Expected to Resign to Make Bid
White House officials tell Politico and ABC News that they expect U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman (R) to resign his post this spring to explore a bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

“GOP allies of Huntsman have already begun laying plans for a quick-start campaign should the former Utah governor decide to enter the ill-defined Republican field.”

Axelrod’s Influence
The AP has a must-read profile of top Obama adviser David Axelrod, who left the White House last week to focus on President Obama’s re-election bid.

“Axe, as he is known, has had a huge internal influence. He and press secretary Robert Gibbs, who also is leaving, were at Obama’s side daily in his campaign and have been among the most trusted keepers of a remember-what-we-promised perspective. The whirling force of Rahm Emanuel also quit the chief of staff’s job in October to run for Chicago mayor.”

“Axe, Gibbs and Rahm. Few major conversations in or about Obama’s first two years didn’t include those words.”

Carter Guesses Mubarak “Will Have to Leave”
Former President Jimmy Carter is guessing that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak “will have to leave” in the wake of “the most profound situation in the Middle East since I left office,” the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports.

Carter “brokered the historic peace agreement between Israel and Egypt in 1978. He brought Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin together for an agreement that still stands today. As the Egyptian unrest has escalated, Carter said he has been watching closely on his computer the coverage on Al Jazeera, an international news network headquartered in Qatar.”

“Carter knows many of the players well. Mubarak — the man at the center of this storm — was vice president at the time the peace accord was signed and became president in 1981 when Sadat was assassinated. Carter, 86, called Sadat’s assassination ‘one of the worst days of my life.'”

Added Carter: “The United States wants Mubarak to stay in power, but the people have decided.”

Twenty-Five Arrested, Thousands Converge on Koch Brothers Billionaire’s Caucus in the California Desert

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 31st, 2011 5:35 am by HL

Twenty-Five Arrested, Thousands Converge on Koch Brothers Billionaire’s Caucus in the California Desert
Sunday’s protest against the Koch brothers’ right-wing pow-wow in Rancho Mirage demonstrated a growing boldness by progressive causes and activists.

23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism: Item #1 — There’s No Such Thing as a Free Market
Author Ha-Joon Chang dismisses the idea that any capitalist market is free and questions whether it can ever really be fair.

Ethos: New Documentary Calls for Consumers to Reclaim Power
In his new documentary, Pete McGrain details the ever-expanding systemic quandaries that plague our society and the steps necessary to resolve them.

TPMCafe Book Club: Blowing Smoke

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 31st, 2011 5:34 am by HL

TPMCafe Book Club: Blowing Smoke
The book club returns to TPMCafe this week with a special edition featuring the work of longtime blogger (and TPM reader) Michael Wolraich, Blowing Smoke: Why the Right Keeps Serving Up Whack-Job Fantasies about the Plot to Euthanize Grandma,…

Paranoia Doesn’t Mean They’re Not Out To Get You
As Michael Wolraich argues here, that some people no doubt enjoy feeling persecuted. Being downtrodden has the downside of all the trodding but the upside of moral superiority. It also allows the true believer to escape taking responsibility for…

Omar Suleiman: Egypt’s Own George Mitchell
Al Jazeera’s video of Egypt President Hosni Mubarak swearing in intelligence chief Omar Suleiman as the first vice president of Egypt in nearly three decades has many clamoring to learn whatever they can about this person who may actually succeed…

Opposition Leader ElBaradei: Threat of Muslim Brotherhood Is A ?Myth? Lacking ?One Iota Of Reality?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 31st, 2011 5:33 am by HL

Opposition Leader ElBaradei: Threat of Muslim Brotherhood Is A ?Myth? Lacking ?One Iota Of Reality?

Thousands of Egyptians continue to take to the streets in protest of President Hosani Mubarak’s 30-year-long authoritarian regime. But while the Obama Administration inches towards public support for the Egyptian people, many Republican hardliners are throwing up roadblocks to U.S. endorsement of democratic reform. Their delusion-du-jour? The threat of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Those who subscribe to Rep. Thaddeus McCotter’s (R-MI) and Amb. John Bolten’s fear-mongering warn that the inevitable result of this pro-democracy movement will be the enfranchisement of the Muslim Brotherhood and other anti-American “jihadist nutjobs.”

Today on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, former International Atomic Energy Agency director, Egyptian activist, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei blasted the delusion as a “myth” lacking “one iota of reality.” Intimately familiar with both Iranian and Egyptian politics, ElBaradei pointed out that the Muslim Brotherhood is not actually an extremist group and the idea that extremists would takeover the government is just a myth “perpetuated and sold” by the Mubarak regime:

ZAKARIA: One of the visions that haunts Americans is of the Iranian Revolution where a dictator was replaced by an even worse regime that was more anti-American and more threatening to the region. People worry about the Muslim Brotherhood. Are you confident that a post-Mubarak Egypt will not give rise to some kind of Islamic fundamentalist force that will undermine the democracy of Egypt?

ELBARADEI: I’m quite confident of that, Fareed. This is a myth that was sold by the Mabarak regime, that it’s either us — the ruthless dictators — or a Muslim al-Qaeda type. The Muslim Brotherhood has nothing to do with the Iranian movement, has nothing to do with extremism as we have seen it in Afghanistan and other places. The Muslim Brotherhood is a religiously conservative group. They are a minority in Egypt. They are not a majority of the Egyptian people, but they have a lot of credibility because of liberal parties have been a struggle for thirty years. They are in favor of a secular state. they are of –they are in favor of an institution that have bread lines, they are in favor that every Egyptian have the same rights, that the state is in no way a state based on religion. And I have been reaching out to them. We need to include them. They are as much a part of society as the markets that started here. I think this is a myth that has been perpetuated and sold by the regime and has no iota of reality. You know Fareed, I worked with Iranians, I’ve worked here. It’s 100 percent difference between the two societies.

Watch it:

While the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood had supported violence at one time, the conservative group is “Egypt’s largest opposition group” and “has disavowed violence and sought to participate in Egyptian politics” legitimately since the 1970s. Now allied with legal Egyptian political groups and tied to Egyptian professional unions, university campuses, and social welfare programs, the Brotherhood is a “peaceful” group that “could draw moderate Muslims who identify with [its] ideology to participate in electoral politics, thereby isolating violent jihadis.” Indeed, the Brotherhood denounced a recent terrorist attack in Egypt as a “cowardly act” and is not on the U.S. State Department’s terrorist list.

Though banned by Mubarak’s regime from participating in parliamentary elections, the Brotherhood has 17 supportive representatives in the Egyptian Parliament and is supporting ElBaradei’s leadership role in forming a new government without Mubarak. ElBaradei, who is now in Cairo to join the protests, called on Mubarak to resign “today” to allow for a “smooth transition to a national unity government to be followed by all the measures set in place for a free and fair election.” While avoiding support of his ouster, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endorsed the idea of fair elections today.