Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bob Park this week

Enjoy--

WHAT’S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 4 Mar 2011 Washington, DC

1. MASS EXTINCTIONS: FIVE OVER THE COURSE OF 540 MILLION YEARS.
The extinction of species is to be expected in a violent universe; that's why we have paleontologists. They have identified five mass extinctions over the past 540 million years in which the number of species declined by over 75% in a geologically brief interval. These mass extinctions mark the end of the Ordovician, Devonian, Permian, Triassic and Cretaceous Periods.  Recovery from each of these episodes took millions of years. There is a growing conviction among paleobiologists that Earth is on the brink of mass extinction-six. The only exception is Homo sapiens. By any measure, Homo sapiens is thriving at the expense of wild species. Now numbering almost seven billion, the population has doubled since Paul Ehrlich published the Population Bomb (Oxford, 1968) which warned of mass starvation by the turn-of-the-century. Ironically, the developed nations are today confronted with an obesity epidemic

2. MASS EXTINCTION-SIX: THE BALANCE OF NATURE IS A DANGEROUS MYTH.
A review article in yesterday's Nature by Barnosky et al. at UC Berkeley asks, "Has the Earth's sixth mass extinction already arrived?” The article answers in the affirmative. The current extinction crisis, number six, unlike previous episodes, results from the actions of a single species, Homo sapiens. The evidence is everywhere, global warming, enormous ocean garbage patches, destruction of the great ocean fisheries, deforestation, etc. Of the 5,487 known species in the class Mammalia, for example, 1,141 are considered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
to be "threatened with extinction." The ancient concept of a "Balance of Nature," described by Herodotus in 425BC, is still frequently invoked to explain apparent homeostasis between species. But there is no homeostasis; it was simply an illusion created by the short lifespan of humans. That's why we have paleontologists. The balance-of-nature gave way to Darwin's "origin of species by natural selection" in 1858. There are still frequent references to the Balance of Nature by those who don't understand evolution. More recently, the Gaia hypothesis has developed a following.  It’s a more spiritual version of homeostasis in which Earth is viewed as a single organism. That seems to imply a plan, which would put Gaia in the category of superstition.

Back to Normal

Last Fall the public's thoughts were fanned this way and that by professional bullshit artists, politicians.  There was an avalanche of anger out there in meeting and rally land.  Did you ever wonder much was ginned up and how much was heartfelt?

The elections have been over for a while and Congress is back and elected officials are doing whatever it is they do besides run for reelection.  Are our publics still frothing at the mouth over the same crap of which they formerly frothed?  Well, no.

We're not as angry.  We tend to prefer compromise over standing on principles.  Hell, trust in goverment is on the rise.  Gays are  back to pre-pander political driven drool evaluation levels, a bit over half of us are down with gay marriage.  And abortion has returned to it's legit status by over half of us.  Oh, unions have made some gains too.  Yep, without election propaganda, we seem to be a more reasonable than not bunch.  Enjoy it while you can, about this time next year we'll be waste deep in presidential election bullshit.

Shifting Political Winds

Muslim Organizations

If I say "Muslim Brotherhood" what crosses your mind?  Do you feel your saber start to rattle a bit?  Does hearing "Muslim Brotherhood" make you an advocate for a 10th Crusade?  Do you feel your anger build since you are certain that the Brotherhood, unless checked by a mighty Christian force, will establish the new world order--it will be the Caliphate of Caliphates.  Are MBs just Arabic Bolsheviks?  Is Osama Bin Laden how they pronounce  Vladimir Ilyich Lenin in Arabic?

Hold it, that's a tad extreme.  The MBs might not be a power mad, destructive, terrorist jihadi group at all.  How much do any of us really know about them?  What is the source of what we know?  Is our source of info a pol, his pundits or party produced bullshit?   Maybe the Brotherhood is more akin to the Masons?

Could it be MBs=Free Masons (without Christ of course)?  Or, perhaps, they are Allah's Arabic Knights of Columbus?  Maybe they are more a religio-socio-political  organization instead, kind of like our evangefundies vis a vis the GOP.  Could it be the MB merely wants to see their countries run by local folks instead of run by the descendants of colonial and cold war power empowered dictators.  Gee, all they may want are their nation' to be comprised of god fearing folks living in towns blessed with an abundance of churches where there is no separation between church and state.

Here's some food for thought--5 Myths About the Muslim Brotherhood

GOP Twits

I don't know how much attention you pay to GOP candidates these days.  If you do, especially it they are of the Huckabee, Gingrich, and Palin ilk, then I hope the reason you read about them is for laughs.  They are batshit crazy people who pander to fellow batshit crazy GOP primary voters.  Instead of me showing you GOP weirdness, I'll direct you to George Will and let him slap these twits for me--

Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and the spotlight-chasing candidates of 2012

Need Waste, Fraud and Abuse II?

Here's another place to find WFA or at least see how the pad has grown and left unchecked will drown us in our own debt.  Do you want to gurgle into oblivion or thrive for another couple of hundred years?  It's the voter's choice.  Damn I think we're screwed.

One Nation Under Contract

Need Some Waste, Fraud and Abuse?

If you feel a burning need to cut and slash government, but are uncertain where to find a target, then I have a report for you to read.  It's loaded with facts too.   Is it about evil teachers?  No.  Is is about evil entitled old farts sucking the lifeblood out yet to be born great grandchildren?  No.  Is it about socialists hell bent on spending us into one world United Nations government?  No.   Is it about the massively corrosive civil servant pay and benefits?  No.  Hm, what's left?  Oh, forgot to mention the pad.  Yep, contractors---

At what risk?
Correcting over-reliance on
contractors in contingency operations


And this is just one small bunch of contractors.  The pad is what's killing us.  Are you willing to end the pad?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Politifact

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A Pants on Fire for Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck rekindled an attack line the other day when he claimed that Michelle Obama had become a modern-day "Marie Antoinette" who employed 43 people. By contrast, Nancy Reagan (who faced a similar criticism in the 1980s) had only three employees, Beck said.

Rob Farley, a PolitiFact writer who does many of our fact-checks on Glenn Beck, dug into the numbers and found that Beck was way off -- so far, in fact, that we rated the claim Pants on Fire!

Rob's latest item is a reminder that we do more fact-checking of pundits and talk show hosts than any other news organization. You can always find the latest items on our Pundits page.

And while you're checking out our latest work, make sure you take a look at our new items on the budget dispute in Wisconsin, including one by PolitiFact Wisconsin writer James Nelson on Gov. Scott Walker's claim that the state is "broke" and another one by Rob on the collective bargaining rights for federal workers.

We've got some other interesting items coming later today and Monday on the Wisconsin controversy and sorting out the truth in a debate about whether U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas should recuse himself from a case. So check the site a little later.

Say What?

Could quitting smoking be a symptom of lung cancer?

Get Ready for a Zion-off

As we head towards 2012, will we have a Mormon-off?  The GOP has two Mormons ready to rally the reptiles.  Huntsman vs. Romney, now there's a political fight for us all to enjoy.  As the two pursue the nomination, think of the religious revelations the rest of us will receive.  Got your sacred undies yet?  What is an Urim anyway?

Presidential hopefuls Huntsman, Romney share Mormonism and belief in themselves


It would be a gas.  Willard already speaks for the batshit crazy.  He's drunk so much GOP Kool-Aid, he's a Trog for all factions.  Jonboy, on the other hand, may refrain from sipping factional beverages and opt to be a restorative voice for traditional and modestly reasonable GOP conservatism.  As the two vie for primary votes, the rest of will learn more about Mormonism than we ever dreamt existed.  If one of these clowns actually got the nod, then would the 2012 race for Air Force One devolve into religious claptrappery?  

Cost Cutting Gurgle

The Trogs blather on and on about cutting government cost and size.   Dems, now out of House power,  think voters may listen to these yammering toads.  As a result they now chime in with a chorus of "meet you halfway to less."  Have they met our carping batshit eaters half way?  Or do they seek to establish truth via repetition?  I think they've sampled some Yak shit--

Democrats keep misleading on claimed budget 'cuts'

Crusaders Take Note

As revolting Arabs continue to pursue liberation from dictators dropped upon them by colonialists and cold warriors of the past, where will they find new rulers?  Search no further than religion.  The dominant flavor of fantasy will find favor amongst most folks as they are already fully faithful.  The Middle East, without al Qaeda's assistance, may enable the Caliphate's restoration as Islamist states emerge from the demise of their despots.  Hm, if this is more fact than fancy, any bets on U.S. foreign policy rhetoric as we head towards 2012?

Obama administration prepares for possibility of new post-revolt Islamist regimes

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Well I'll be...

Gee, the teabags were a useful tool for the GOP.  All that manufactured anger helped the GOP take the House.  Of course, the teabags were just an added attraction of the the GOP.  Who gives shit about them now?  Will the Trogs call for teabaggers in 2012?  Of course they will, and they will be as used then as they were in 2010.  We're not dealing a full deck crowd now are we.

Tea party anger with government subsides

Legacyland

Life remains normal in the Shrub's gift to U.S. deficits--

...violence erupted on Thursday in the western city of Haditha, in Anbar Province as a suicide bomber attacked a line of people waiting to get into a bank, killing eight — including six soldiers — and wounding 13.

In case you thought the government, which formed several months after the election, would diminish sectarian violence, think again. The short lived coalition may be falling apart. If so, expect lots of tension exacerbation from both sides.

New Fissures Exposed in Iraq Coalition

Save States Some Money

It is time for states to get out of the higher ed business?  If public schools say they cannot compete with private schools, due to state rules, then maybe it's time to just cut them loose.   Cut the rules and cut all cash.  Put the schools on the block.  Sell them off to the highest bidder and be done with it.  If the bidder want to gut the school, tear it down and build a sports park, then that's okay.  If the new owner wants to run the school then that's just dandy.

Public Universities Seek More Autonomy as Financing From States Shrinks

Budget and Deficit Fans, Take Note

Our beloved federal government will not shutdown for at least another 15 days! Yeah!

A bold Congress sent our fearless leader a stopgap bill, it's the third continuing resolution for this year, to keep the borrowed cash flowing.  The Democrat in chief has signed it.  The fiscal year that began last October 1, has at least two more weeks of fully funded life.  What happens next depends on focus groups and polls.

Both parties are polling and focusing like mad to see which side voters will blame if there is a shutdown after March 18th.    If it's found that voters will blame the GOP and vote against them in 2012,  then there will be a mighty blast of rhetoric but no shutdown.  However, if voters will blame the Dems, then the GOP will do all they can to fulfill the voters future judgment and shut it down.  I wonder what will happen if voters get rational and they blame both parties for the mess they created for us?

Obama signs short-term spending bill, averting federal shutdown

Jews Receive Pardon!

Pope Ratzy has had an ecumenical moment!


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Labor Blues?

 A union is demanding fair wages for its members.  There may be a strike looming in the near future.  However, management thinks otherwise--they want to keep more cash for themselves, so perhaps we'll see a lockout instead.

Maybe the nation's Governors should step in and bust the pesky union.  The GOP has taught us that labor is always wrong and management is always right (they're divinely inspired or some rot like that).  Besides if management keeps more of the cash, then they will spend more cash to make more jobs, right?

Okay sports fans, for that city on a hill, support management and cut wages paid to labor to the bone.  It's time to bust the players union, let the owners keep all the cash.  It's the NFL that is having a labor dispute.

NFL labor dispute has prosperous league on the brink of shutting down

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

8 to 1?

The Supremes don't croon as a choir too often.  Usually they split into quartets and quintets.  This time Roberts and Robes sang a song in eight part harmony, almost a nonet, but not quite.  Alito sang solo.  What did they sing about?  Oh, the First Amendment, free speech, and the ever batshit crazy Westboro Baptist Church.

Supreme Court rules First Amendment protects church's right to picket funerals

Tax cuts

I know that the GOP wants tax cuts for the rich.  After all, if the rich have more money they will spend more money to create jobs.  Okay, here's a suggestion.  If you are a Republican and work for a living--salaried or hourly--then help out your boss.  Tell your boss you want to build a better America and ask him to reduce your pay by at least 10%, 20% would be even better.  While you're at it, help your boss retain more capital to invest in the nation by volunteering to pay 50% of all your benefits costs too.  Pay the rich to be rich, it's your patriotic duty.  Republican workers,  remember that the pay you don't receive today is  the foundation of jobs for your your unborn grandchildren.  

Note:  Democrats, on the other hand, will accept investment in their pay and benefits today, after all they are socialists. 

Hearts and Minds

There are at least nine hearts and mind that will never be won over to our side because we blew their young bodies all over the rubble.  They are dead.  Once again,  air strikes struck the wrong people, this time it was kids collecting firewood.   From the perspective of those on the ground, who's the terrorist these days?

Nine children reportedly killed in NATO airstrike that draws ire of Afghan President Hamid Karzai



End the bungled war and come home, it's the best thing we can do for the fiscal well being of our yet to be born grandchildren.   More war in the rubble or even more tax burden on the unborn?

Health Insurance Reform

Part of the Dems Health Insurance Reform Act involves Medicaid. How do you think the 32 million uninsured are going to get coverage? Yep, mostly through Medicaid. ObamaCo is trying to sweeten the bitterness, but hell, it's expensive no matter what you swallow. Don't expect much from Governors of either party on this.

Maybe states should just be allowed to opt out of Medicaid. If a state says "no more," then the feds should accept the rejection without any fight and direct that state's Medicaid money to budget and deficit reduction. Expenditures on health care and "expenditures" on deficit reduction are, in an odd way, about equivalent these days.  Hmm, let states reject federal dollars coming into their state and require that all rejected money be redirected to protecting America's unborn grandchildren's fiscal health by paying off our debt?  Sounds good to me, what say you?

Republicans shift focus to Medicaid complaints

Repetition Determines Truth

In the GOP, if you say something five times it's true, even when you know it's not.  The latest liar is Huckabee, he is a liar.  Three more times and he won't even have to say he was misspeaking.   Why can't the GOP candidates just come out and say "I'm white, vote for me?"  It's what they mean and it's what their fans want to hear.

Huckabee claims inaccurately that Obama was raised in Kenya

It's what happens when you vote asshole

I wonder how many of the good folks who elected the Trogs in Ohio and Wisconsin wanted them to do away with unions?  Attack state employees?    I saw somewhere, I don't remember where, that if the election were re-held today, Walker would lose by the same proportion as he won in Wisconsin.  The difference now being how labor would vote today.  It's to late folks.  Where were they in the last election?  If this is true, then screw the people of Wisconsin and Ohio.  They voted, Walker and the Trogs won in Wisconsin.  Kasich and the batshit eaters won in Ohio.  The voters sowed their votes and now they reap the results.  You can grow bitter fruit.  If they don't like what they grew, then they need to look in the mirror and protest themselves.  We'll see what happens in the next election.  Until voters realize the Trogs are owned byt USA, Inc. and will always screw working people.  None of us can expect much but more  Banana Republic of the U.S.

Protests grow in Ohio as vote on union rights nears


Even if the account above is not true, it's still the case, votes matter, who you elect does matter.  In essence the people of Wisconsin, by their votes, have put in place exactly what they wanted.  Protests and noise after the election are a waste unless directed at the next election.  Organize and elect better folks in 2012 and beyond.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A nice problem

The GOP has a problem, Barack Obama.  No matter how they cast the future, Obama seems to come out the winner.  That means the cast of presidential wannabes in the GOP are not all that great.  Each possible nominee, while popular within a GOP niche or two, flags when facing the nation's voters.  Come on, Palin?  Gingrich?  Huckabee?  Run through the long GOP contender list, no one can stand against Obama today.  Hell, Obama even has time to improve his numbers and popularity too.

The GOP has made this mess for themselves by the factions they've encouraged to dominate their primary process.  Be it values votes, fiscal fanatics, or warmongers, Inc., each is a mutually exclusive fringe which a candidate has to win over.   GOP candidates wind up looking like a factionated Frankencandidate.

To beat Obama the GOP has to select a person today, inform their crazies that he is the candidate and allow the candidate to engage with Obama on the road to the convention.   Instead of proving he's a gun loving, god fearing, anti-abortion, gay hating, lover of war he has to talk about what Obama has done and not done.

As we moved towards the 2008 election, the GOP had a good candidate.  However to get the nomination he had to prove himself acceptable to GOP factions. In the process he became a flip flopping, pandering, contradictory national joke.   Have we forgotten about Willard all ready?  Ultimately, he tried so hard that he proved himself unacceptable within the GOP.  Can you imagine how unaffiliated independents would have voted if Willard, rather than the other joke, McAncient, had won the nomination?

If the GOP decided it's time to be the party of of controlled, reasonable  government and fiscal moderation, then they could beat Obama.  They actually have a person who could beat Obama if he didn't have to become crazy and pull a Willard to get nominated.  Who is he?  He's Jon Huntsman. If Huntsman could avoid Willardification, he could beat Obama, but if he has to prove his crazy creds, he's just so much GOOP.

For Iowa GOP, 'the one' for 2012 is 'no one' yet

Shutdown Blame Game

If the feds shutdown  who will you blame?  Obviously it's the fault of the Demicans and Rebublicrats!  Over decades, both parties and the the assorted jerks in the White House have created this thing we call the USA today.  So who will we blame?  I'd suggest no one in Washington at all.

If we want to point fingers, then we need a lot of mirrors.  Yep, we voters have elected and reelected them.  They have done our bidding quite well.  This mess meets our electoral expectations.  It will remain so until voters decide to end party politics and begin to elect citizen legislators.  It's pleasant to think that the days of the GOP and Democratic parties could be over.   As long as we elect parties instead of people we will continue to devolve into the world's largest banana republic.

Poll: Blame for possible government shutdown is divided

Stalemate?

Libya is split into east and west.  Funny that's what it was 100 years ago.  Libya is not a nation, it's not a people, it's just another place with artificial boundaries that's been ruled by a strongman of various kinds for a thousand years.

Libya is a land of tribes.  Qadaffi has the west and will hold it until his paid praetorian  guard decide he's not worth the risk.  If by chance he were to prematurely fall, it would become even more chaotic and deadly than it is today.  If he remains in power, and he will as long as he has oil revenue, then he will retain the west part of the Libya.  Given his age, I would not be surprized to see two of his sons begin to battle for the dictatorship--one will fight from the east and one will battle from the west.  Oh, don't forget the wild card in this game--oil.  Who owns it, how does it flow, etc.  Without oil Libya is just a giant sand trap.

  

Gaddafi loyalists fail to retake territory in six-hour battle with rebels

Monday, February 28, 2011

For the fans of authority

The boss says it's okay?  Doctors say it's okay?  Generals say do it?  And the obedient fall all over themselves to obey.   Funny how the greater good is always at some poor sap's expense.  We don't torture at home any more, we still pull that rendition number.  We don't experiment on people at home either, we send it overseas.  There is no greater good, that's just a sop to justify otherwise illegal acts.

AP IMPACT: Past medical testing on humans revealed

Piracy Solution

Pirates are now taking children from the Indian Ocean.  It's time to end this atrocious behavior.  Nations seem to resist taking direct action--kill the damn pirates on the high seas.  Given their reluctance to act, I have a suggestion.   Create a Dead Pirate Merit Badge in the Boy Scouts.  If  a scout kills a pirate, he gets a merit badge.  I don't want to be sexist, so the Girl Scouts should create the counterpart within their organization.  Upon creation of the badges, the piracy problem should be cleaned up within a couple of days.

Danish family's sailboat hijacked in Indian Ocean
Gee, state pols, in the middle of an economic mess are blaming state employees for their woes, especially if they are unionized.  Wow, that's some bodaciously warped logic.  Look, if you buy into this crap, remember that government employees do what legislatures enable and fund.  Employees exist one budget cycle to the next.

Non-elected and non-appointed employees, i.e., civil servants,  cannot be creative.  They are bound by rules.  There are no new products brought to market by civil servants.  There are no new services invented by employees by profit seeking workers--there is no profit.  Government runs on votes in elections.  If there's no law or no rule, then there's no there, there in government.

There is nothing without elected officials providing tax money and law--legislatures--and elected officials administering  the same--governors.  Employees are created by elected officials to do the bidding of the same elected officials.   If a state government is in the shitter today, it's because of the people voters elected over a whole lot of years.  These messes are not made overnight.

If voters are angry, then why on earth do they keep reelecting the same problem creating assholes?  Maybe voters should wake up and replace both parties before they accept simplistic explanations and solutions from the same folks who created the mess.  If they don't, not much will be resolved, it will be just lead to the same old shit on a different day.

Ohio, Wisconsin shine spotlight on new union battle: Government workers vs. taxpayers

Consequences

How are we going to keep 'em down on the farm after they've gone to Annapolis, attended the U.S. Naval Academy, and blown some undetectable, synthetic dope? Yep, manufactured whacky tabaccy does well amongst our future Admirals. It seems to be doing well on our ships at sea too and in other branches of the service. Exactly what are folks volunteering for?

Oh well, we better just fire them all. As every GOP pol and assorted evangefundies have told us, once anyone smokes any dope, it's s straight shot, within a week, to heroin and crack cocaine addiction (and hell). Do you want drug addicts defending our shores and seas? Quick, write your Congressman and demand a court martial of the Navy. Shutdown that drug addict's den in Annapolis (and West Point). Or, we could get real and just legalize the damn shit, control it, tax it and be done with it.

Synthetic marijuana widely used at Naval Academy, some midshipmen say

Tea Baggers Past

I do not connect with, understand or have much desire to associate with today's teabaggers, they are just more GOP authority seeking thralls.  However, they are present and I am willing to learn why they exist.  There is a new book out that may assist me in a bit of political vector control.

Mad as Hell

MIddle East--Arab States

Change is in Arabic air.  Governments teeter this way and that.   A year hence, will anyone notice today's events?  As nice as it would be to answer yes, I doubt much will have changed except the names of the assorted dictators that rule Arabic people.

I think the foundation of unrelenting trans-generational, mind numbing sameness lies in the dominant religion of the Arabic world--Islam.  Does Islam restrain Arabic people?  What have they accomplished lately?  It does appear to have been downhill sine the 9th century.  If we absented today's oil, what's left?  Not much.

Does Islam prevent the development of property rights,  scientific rationalism, capital markets, and fast and efficient communications and transportation?  If so, then the Arab world will never join the industrial world.  They will be consuming on-lookers forever.   Hm, is economic primitiveness inherent in Islam or is it more  inherent in an Arabic world that happens to be dominated by Islam?

At any rate, change, along with assorted pollutants is in the air--Pressure for change builds across Arab world

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Public Unions

I am so damned tired of pundits and GOP assholes declaiming that state workers do not pay for their pensions or benefits.  They are and have been for decades.  It's their money that currently pays and has paid for them in the past.  State workers were smarter than their private sector counterparts.  The public workers did long term planning and being in a political fishbowl knew all along, trust sure, but always verify.  Pols  make strange bosses.  The private sector workers didn't do either.   I guess the that is what pisses the private sector worker off.

Look, the public sector employees opted to take payments to their pensions and benefits in lieu of salary increases that otherwise would have showed up in their take home pay.  Had they not, their pay today would be substantially higher than it is now.   Their money was paid to them but it was put into their pensions.  Their money was paid to them but it was put into their benefits.  Public sector wages, when you make apples to apples comparisons is, in most occupational categories,  much less than private sector.  Why?  Well, the public sector employees were smarter or at least more concerned about their futures than the private sector employees.  Would you rather have a defined benefit or a defined contribution pension?  Who's smarter?  

Funny, now that the private sector workers have given away all their pay and benefits away--I guess they still trust the boss--they are envious of public sector worker.  Instead of joining with the GOP and trashing unions and state employees, private sector workers need to unite. They have nothing to lose but their  impoverishment.  Hell, they might see their kids get pensions and benefits back, but to do so, they will have to stand up, get organized and kick the boss in his bank accounts.

I'd say the Middle Class still exists to the extent we have state and federal employees under unchanged work rules.  Gut the rules and the Middle Class will vanish.  We have been in a class war for several decades, but it's been the rich versus everyone else.  The rich are re-distributing the wealth, to themselves.  The Middle class that so many of us grew up with,  was made by us, at least by our parents and grandparents--it's a creation of government of the people, by the people for the people.  It's y'alls call,  do you want to regain what we lost?  I'm pessimistic about the answer, but then I'm an old fart.

MIddle East--Arab States

It's obvious to even the most casual of observers that Middle Eastern political life churns with change.  Dictators we've come to know, pay and love have fallen or will fall soon.  Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, and Lebanon will not be the same this time next year.  Even Jordan and Syria have their protester problems.  As the masses mass doing whatever it is that masses do, will the outcome be more democracy or just new dictatorships?

It would be nice to think democracy, but about the only place that might have a shot at one is Iraq.  The people of the Middle East have been under strongmen, dictators or foreign rulers for not decades but millennia.   Come on, Egypt has fewer than six years of experience with democracy and that was under Nasser during the years 1950-1956.  The rest of the time people were ruled.  Do you  really expect much change in Egypt.  

The rest of the Middle East is the same as Egypt or worse.  Hell, the countries we see in an atlas of the Middle East were created by European colonial rulers.  Tribalism was and is rampant throughout the Middle East.  Tribes do not make tidy straight border lines that we see in the atlas.  Tribal leaders do suck up to power--it pays well.  With nary a day's worth of experience of democracy and its institutions how can anyone expect more than a change of the top players in the Middle East atlas of dictators?    

Legacyland

The Shrub gave Malki his playbook before he retired to Dallas to write his book about goats.  Malaki has used the Shrubs advice.  He finally read the chapter on civil protest.  The Shrub knows protesters are disobedient.  If someone is disobedient they are not obeying authority.  If authority is challenged then chaos will reign.  If chaos reigns then current office holders, their friends, associates and thralls will lose their power.  If power is lost then you cannot leave a legacy.   Heavens, find the brains of the protest, crack their heads, spill their brains and power will be retained.  Legacy rules.

After Iraq's Day of Rage, a Crackdown on Intellectuals