Weekend Open Thread February 12-13, 2011

A great week of conversation. I have decided that with the posts coming more regularly as we move forward and that coupled with articles gaining hundreds of comments, I would start posting an open thread like this every weekend instead of simply continuing conversations throughout the weekend on the existing threads. So feel free to bring over conversations or start a new one. An open thread like this will now be posted each Friday night/Saturday morning for those who visit SUFA on the weekends.


  1. Testing the system.

  2. Good morning SUFA. Watched an interesting program conducted like a “man on the street” interview this morning in Cairo, Egypt. Several men were asked about Mubark resigning and what did they expect for the future. 100% thought it was great that Mubarak resigned and now they want freedom…..but did not know how to get there. They said that they were going to stay there until they got what they want. They want more but do not know what more they want. Just freedom was the word. When asked about the military, they each said that they did not want the military to take over but someone who would give them what they want…..which they did not know. When asked about running the country and having free elections, not one man on the street knew how to accomplish this….not one knew how to keep the infrastructure running and just assumed that it would. THey assumed that the banks would open and the economy will just take off and go and jobs are going to mysteriously appear. They believe that government will take care of them with raising their wages and providing food.

    Conclusion: In other words, they got what they wanted Mubarak is out. Now what? I bet the midnight lights were burning in the war rooms all across Egypt.

    • One other interesting note: I havenow seen three interviews on different stations: Fox, CNN, and BBC. All said the same thing but one hing stood out. I saw NO women in the background at the protests and NO women were interviewed. There were no children anywhere. How far does freedom go, I wonder?

    • gmanfortruth says:

      Good Morning Colonel,

      My guess is that they will end up with more of the same, just different faces. They are no better off post-Mubarak as they were pre-Mubarak. It smells of a socialist revolution, which has nothing to do with freedom.

      • gman

        I think you are oversimplifying to call this a “socialist” revolution.

        I agree there are many factions involved and that global groups may help these efforts. But their success depends on the place.

        What I see is that disaffected groups ban together to topple the power in place, all in hopes of gaining the power for themselves later.

        Thus the first appearance of a secular revolution which turns into something else later.

        So I think what we have seen and are about the see is more like Revolution for the sake of Revolution. It will be driven by many groups acting together and separately.

        But one thing I agree with. None of the groups are looking to further the cause of individual liberty and freedom. They may want Democracy but it is not the Democracy we Americans think of when we say the word.

        • gmanfortruth says:

          Oversimplify? I’m too simple minded to do that 😆

          I do agree with you, while Egypt is somewhat finished being in the eyes of the world, what country is next? The suucees in Egypt and Listeria(sp) have put hope into the minds of people with similar problems throughout the region. But I can’t help thinking of what some of them were revolting for, e.g., a brutal police force, high food prices, unemployment, the lowering of govt aid for food, ect. Sounds like a place we know all to well, or going to know. Food prices are rising, govt debts will at some point lead to lower govt aid, our police are getting more nasty by the week. Makes me ponder as to what our future holds.

        • You’re absolutely correct JaC. It will be the Muslim Brotherhood with their version of an Islamist State. Sharia for everyone! They are really going to be free now aren’t they…

          • gmanfortruth says:

            TC, I disagree here. The MB will not get into a power postion at all. The miltary would not allow that, because their funding is too tied to the US. The government members ahve changed, but it will be the same with a few changes to appease the people. Egypt is doomed to be the same (governmentally) as they were before this. The whole Muslim Brotherhood crap is another scare tactic by the MSM.

    • d13

      I was wondering about that the past few days myself. Those who helped organize this probably have a plan, but will run straight away into the military. The crowds are just a tool.

      What you describe reminds me of Lawrence of Arabia once the war is won. It will be the military that saves the day instead of the British.

      I also noted the absence of women and children about two days ago. Before that the cameras were finding many, then fewer and the few shots I saw yesterday had NONE.

      It could be that those who want to be seen are making sure they are around the cameras and not the others.

  3. Common Man says:


    Didn’t see the article, but get your drift. They are all screaming that they are ‘free’, but I don’t think the majority have any idea what ‘freedom’ really is. They only have what others have told them what freedom is, and the majority of those defining freedom are really preaching oppression and slavery.

    As a matter of fact ‘freedom and liberty’ as we define it here on SUFA, is a concept as foreign as hot dogs and apple pie.

    The word ‘democracy’, which the media touts like it is an absolute, has no meaning to these people. They don’t have any experience or knowledge with democracy or freedom, so how does the world expect them to migrate towards it?

    What they do have are a number of anti-freedom groups defining how life can be under their individual ideal, which ironically is still a life or oppression and tyranny.

    I suspect that those radical groups with the most money and influence will win over the larger majority of the people by pandering to the populace immediate needs and desires.

    Egypt will soon resemble every other Arab state within the Middle East and it’s people will be no more free than they were 19 days ago.

    I also suspect that shortly after whatever radical group takes over the US will begin talks and sending aid with hopes of winning that radical groups trust, and loyalty. In the mean time our government will do nothing to reduce our need for foreign oil, and gas prices will continue to climb.

    Hope you are well and looking forward to the next weeks weather.


  4. A Puritan Descendant says:

    Mathius? Buck? which one of you is responsible for this? Do you like this idea? Simply own property in N.Y. State and you are responsible for income taxes even if you are never in the state of N.Y.


    • News to me.. my guess is that this will get shot down one way or another. But either way, I live in New York, so I’m stuck with NY taxes regardless.

    • Buck the Wala says:

      I wouldn’t put too much thought in to this — NY does not have the constitutional ability to tax someone on their income who is not a resident of the state (except to the extent of their ‘New York source’ income).

      It’s been pretty clearly established that having a vacation home in NY is not sufficient to establish residency. What’s probably happening here is the state is cracking down and challenging those who have a presence in the state yet declare themselves as non-residents.

  5. Just thought I would put my two cents worth in here since I have my momentary internet connection up and running for the time being . . .

    According to my psychology professor from a very long time ago, if a person is raised under the iron fist of a tyrant and they somehow find themselves all of a sudden out from under that iron fist, they will actively seek out another iron fist to put themselves under and wholeheartedly believe that they are now better off than they used to be.

    The reason Joseph Stalin was so well received and tolerated in the Soviet Union was because of the Czars of past Russian history.

    It is the same reason a battered wife will continue to return to the husband who beat her to be beaten again, because it is all they know and have ever known.

    Because the people of Egypt have never known anything akin to what we have here in the United States, in their entire history, they will eventually seek out another Nasser/Sadat/Mubarak-type ruler to rule over them with his iron fist. It is their way of life. From the time of the Pharaoh’s until now, it is all they have ever known.

    And since a few of them realized way back in biblical times that they did not want to live like that any longer, they got kicked out and Moses led them around and through the desert for 40 years or so before they settled on a place to live and have been fighting for it ever since.

    It is going to take those in the middle east a lot more than one or two dictators to understand the concept of individual liberty and freedom, simply because they have no idea what it really is. We modern day Americans are the most fortunate people on this planet to have been born into liberty and freedom for several generations. All we have to do now is keep it.

    Easier said than done.

  6. I have the same reservations and concerns on the Egypt situation as have been voiced here, but the optimistic side of me does want to remind everyone that:
    1) In the US, we did not have much freedom for women when we started out. It took years. A lot of that was due to culture and a poor understanding of humanity and even the Christian faith. Egypt may be in this century, but their culture is similarly patriarchal, if not more so, than our was 200 years ago. It has nothing to do with the date, it is the evolution of a culture.
    2) We did not know what we were doing with freedom either. Some of the early stuff in this country was pretty screwed up, and our ready adopting of a lot of British Common law showed that we were not completely ready for our freedom. There are more barriers there than we had here, but there are advantages too. There are more examples of freedom around, at least in some ways. In other ways, to be honest, they cannot look at the US and others to get an idea of what freedom should look like. I hope we don’t try to make them copy us, unless we point to what we USED to be.
    3) I say give the people a chance. If they choose an alternate tyrant, then they fail. If they mess up and muddle along and evolve their freedom, then they are doing no worse than we did.

    • Very good point!

    • Hey Jon…..One major difference….we did not have a military that ran the country back then as the Egyptians do now. I think that is going to be pretty significant. They wanted Mubarak out and they got him out….I doubt veery seriously, if the military decides it does not wish to share power……the Egyptians will not be able to demonstrate again….

      But you are quite correct in the evolution of the US per se…..but we did evolve without a military style government.

      • Good point, D, altho even the military has limits. I doubt seriously our military could stop protests in the street here, I have some faith that there would be similar problems there.

        But it is a consideration and a concern.

    • I don’t agree with you on the American colonial assesment. We had been practicing democary here for 150 years before the Revolution. It started with the House of Burgess and the Mayflower Compact. Local political control was more the norm until the expenses incurred during the French and Indian War triggered the levying of taxes from GB. The dissolution of the colonial legislatures was a big reason for the split. We floundered for a few years at the federal level but the states had already instituted new constitutions, some written during the War.

      • Not all of us. There were socialistic groups (commonwealths), and a host of theocratic groups around. Certainly we were more democratic, at least in some places, than England itself, but that could be said of a variety of communities.

        Still, that is a good point, but I am not so sure the Egyptians are entirely without some ability to move forward, just because of their culture. They are not totally homogeneous anymore than we are or were.

      • T-Ray,

        After the Constitution, when it was declared, “all men are created equal”, blacks and women could not vote. Our culture and society was oppressive. It took time for us to evolve. Our religious foundations were part of it, where man was the head of the household, expected to beat his wife if she needed it…..Detailed even to how thick a stick you could use for the beating.

        Maybe Egypt is just starting a couple hundred years behind the US. I think it’s much worse than that, their culture is much more repressive to women. They lack the natural resources to provide food for themselves. Food shortages were a key driving agent during the French Revolution.

        • My point was that while Egypt and other ME countries have little experience with democracy, we had 150 years of experience before the Revolution. We may not have had all the particulars correct by modern standards but we understood quite well the principles as a people. By 1800 most of the northern states has either abolished slavery or were on their way to it. Importation of slaves was prohibited in the Constitution after 1808. Had the southern states not been so economically bound to slavery, it could have been abolished there as well without the bloodshed.
          Yes women got the short end of the stick for many decades but that does not change the fact that as a country we were in a far better position in 1776 than Egypt is today to establish a democracy.

  7. 😉

  8. gmanfortruth says:

    The Navy found they had too many officers and decided to offer an early retirement bonus. They promised any officer who volunteered for Retirement a bonus of $1,000 for every inch measured in a straight line between any two points in his body. The officer got to choose what those two points would be.

    The first officer who accepted asked that he be measured from the top of his head to the tip of his toes. He was measured at six feet and walked out with a bonus of $72,000.

    The second officer who accepted was a little smarter and asked to be measured from the tip of his outstretched hands to his toes. He walked Out with $96,000.

    The third one was a non-commissioned officer, a grizzly old Chief who, when asked where he would like to be measured replied,

    ‘From the tip of my weenie to my testicles.’

    It was suggested by the pension man that he might want to reconsider, explaining about the nice big checks the previous two Officers had received.
    But the old Chief insisted and they decided to go along with him providing the measurement was taken by a Medical Officer.
    The Medical Officer arrived and instructed the Chief to ‘drop ’em,’ which he did. The medical officer placed the tape measure on the tip of the Chief’s weenie and began to work back. “Dear Lord!”, he suddenly exclaimed,

    ”Where are your testicles?”

    The old Chief calmly replied, ”Vietnam”.

  9. 8)

  10. It is fun being a sports fan from Wisconsin right now!! This was just amazing….


    • Talk about a flash mob! Wanted to watch the game but it wasn’t on tv here. Taylor was hot! Way to go Badgers!

  11. So, to carry forward from the discussion the other day I was involved in or end of life/advanced directive planning I bring you this:

    “Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who is considering a run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, veered from his party’s orthodoxy on end-of-life care Friday, suggesting the nation cannot afford to provide every treatment and technology available for every single dying patient.”


    Seems one Republican is for the idea of death panels the rest so scream that the Dems are pushing with the ACA law.

    • plainlyspoken

      Whom soever supports Govt provided health care will by defacto rule of economics also support rationing, or “death panels”.

      It is an inevitable fact.

      • Of which I don’t disagree.

        Any health care, whether it be by government mandate or private insurers will end up being rationed at some point.

        Private insurers ration now and there is no reason to believe that will ever change, which means each company already has it’s own internal death panel.

        But at least private insurance is voluntary!

  12. I know that it has only been two days…but now you have the protesters defying the military on not moving out of the square. You now have police protesters that now want theirpolice chief fired, and you have protestors protesting the protestors in the square. Each defying the military orders to move out…..and now there is a group to protest the fact that the military has power (the same power it had under Mubarak)…….I say…..look behind the scenes. There IS a man behindthe curtain.

  13. Interesting issue coming up tomorrow……Iranian protestors are planning a rally. Wonder what will happen? If you were A-Jad, what would you do?

    • Provoke the military. One gun or bomb from a crowd of thousands. Make them attack the crowd. The military will be blamed, and excluded in any process of setting up a new government. The radicals are the only group organized. They will call it a democracy, even when they start rounding up the Christians.

      • Oh yeah….don’t think for a minute that uncontrolled protests are going to be allowed in Iran. They already have a history of violent put down,,,,,vis a viv……the last protest.

        • D13,

          Re: Iran

          Do not confuse Egypt with Iran – this is true, but not in the way you believe.

          Iranian “protests” were not a popular uprising – the protesters were in the vast minority and were dominatingly the rich, or middle class ex-Shah supporters.

          The Western media portrayed this to be much broader and larger than it was. Think about it, how many poor Iranians have iPods to send videos to the West??

          It was a small, but technically enabled, group pretending to represent the majority. But the vast majority have no interest in overthrowing the Iranian political regime.

          That is the difference between Iran and Egypt. A better comparison would be the Iran pre-Khomeni and under the Shah.

    • D13,

      Re: more on Iran….

      As I said above, the Iranians are not interested in overthrowing the political regime – their grievance is the corruption of the current Mullahs. In this it is similar to the USA, where people still want to hold on to the government system, but want to throw out all the corrupt Senators and Congressmen.

      The Iranians are in two camps – those that support secular government of Pres. Ahmadinejad to end the corruption of the Mullahs and the other camp that benefits from the more theocratic components of the government.

      Ironically, the US policies attack the secular and support the theocracy in the typical ignorance of US foreign policy that cannot discern the difference.

  14. Murphy's Law says:

    High school baseball team cuts legless player:


    Just saw the interview on Fox with the kid and his mother- I have no problem with him being cut if he in fact could not field bunts or whatever….however he claimed that the coach hasn’t seen him play and never had him try to field bunts. If that is true, then I guess they have a legitimate gripe. Sounds like he has a pretty amazing fast ball (80 mph) for a high schooler.


  15. Don’t you love martial law……constitution suspended, parliament dissolved…..promised to step down once the elections are made….elections in control of the military now that the constitution is suspended.

    Ohhh….Egypt, what have you done. Thrown out a despot for a………despot?

    • You’re stressin about this aren’t you Colonel? Tell me….since I have no clue…Why would it be so bad for the military to be in control? You military guys always have a hard time with civilians running our wars, and I agree, but what is the downside (besides tanks in the streets 😯 ) of a military running the government?

      • Murphy's Law says:

        All I know is I am watching this with great interest- I tend to look at things through red-white-and-blue glasses, since that is the only frame of reference I have…..I know nothing really of cultures other than my own and how the removal or ousting of a president (dictator) in Egypt is likely to play out.

        I also imagine that their military is far different from ours….but again I don’t know. USW, D13, and others will have to help me to understand all of this.


      • AS a military man, I have always been against and will continue to be against military governments. Military is for defense except in the middle east where it is usually the puppet of the President to maintain power. Now that the military has taken control, there is an amount of trust that is put into the fact that the military will do what it says. Parliament is disbanded….there is no civilian control. The consititution is suspended which means there is no habeus corpus (not that there was much anyway in those countries) meaning you have no civilian rights to courts. You do NOT have the right to remain silent…you do NOT have the right to an attorney and so forth (again, Egypt did not havemany personal rights anyway). The army has said that it will throw out the police rule…..do you think for a minute that means there will be NO rule……there is not much difference between police rule and military rule EXCEPT…the military does not have to answer to a civilian Parliament now that it is gone. There is now a vacuum in government. (ie. no civilian rule) UNTIL there are elections in September, I believe. ASSUMING there will be elections. Who is to force them? More protests? Lacking civilian police authority….it is military authority and they DO HAVE tanks and machine guns and a lot of soldiers who suddenly now have arresting powers. It is, in effect, martial law which has a tendency in eastern countries to be more violent and controlling. Now, if the military does what it says…..great. What if it does not? Who runs the elections if not the military? Clergy?

        The world is going hip hip hooray…..Mubarak is gone. Great!!! Yahoo!!! Ummmmmmm…now who is going to go there? IF someone decides to run….what if the military does not like him? YOu now have a Muslim Brotherhood that is pretty organized but the military, under the guise of national security, is not going to let this Muslim Brotherhood take any amount of control. They will pay lip service to them and meet with them and woo them to a point…..but if the Muslim Brotherhood does take control, there will be no Egyptian Military and they know this.

        IF there are elections to take place….it will be with the backing of the military over there. You will not see a true democracy or republic out of this. It will be an authoritarian regime.

        • Murphy's Law says:

          Damn…..I wish you were not right but I’ll bet you are.

          Question for you Colonel…..you are Amman Q. Citizen over there…..what do you do?


        • Another reason that I am stressing about this is that the United States does not know what to do either. Obama is about as stupid as a box of rocks when it comes to foreign affairs. If we continue to give aid…to whom does it go? How is it spent? Do you think we will have any say so? If we do not give the aid, then the Saudis will because they do not want a true democracy either. It Egypt goes true democracy, the heirarchy is dead in the ME. Egypt has no alternative than to keep the Saudis happy and the peace with Israel. Their military is reliant upon the US right now to keep it running. (BF and I both say…watch the back door for China).

          The other thing that I have not thrown into the mix…..as Iran goes, and as Yemen goes, with their protests…..will actually guide the way Egypt goes. Iran and Yemen and Syria and Jordan are not about to allow the protestors to win.

          That is the thinking of D13…..it is quite possible that I am wrong but I have not been so far. Remember, I called this a long time ago and the vacuum and Iran…..we can do nothing but watch now. Hope that I am wrong.

  16. I’ve been curious about what is happening in Tunisa and have had trouble finding out much about it-It seems Egypt has taken center stage. Read an article about many leaving and going to Italy, I believe it was, and an article about the temporary guy getting wider powers. Anyone know anything else about how things are going there?

  17. Not to dispute D13’s take on Egypt and the military – there is a lot of historical evidence to support his perspective….


    A difference between the US army make-up and Egypt (and the bunch in the region) is that the Army troops almost are all made up from the desperately poor, with the officer corp made up from the rich/middle class.

    The Egyptian army was sent in to quell the protests, but instead stood back.

    I do not believe it was because the officers ordered the troops to step back – the boots themselves did not intervene and I believe the officer corp did not want to risk contradicting the “boots” in this matter.

    I do not think the officer corp will have a wide free-hand. The “boots” will not stand for it.

    I think that is where the balancing act is going to be played out.

    • …along the lines of the quip:

      “Can you tell me where my men are and where they are going?
      I am the leader, and I have to lead them there…”

    • Hmmmm interesting take…….and I agree, however….I think the officer corps did not go in there and used the boots as a reason. My reasoning for such, is that in my experience in training and talking to Egyptian officers….they are not totally in to the regime….I think that the officer corps is really prone to the power…Mubarak was their puppet…..just a guess but that is the gist that I get. In recent years, a lot of the officer corps has been changing over to a more middle class type officer through normal attrition…however, BF is correct in the makeup of the 80’s and 90’s. I think that it is getting more moderate but power is power.

      • @ BF….think about this. The younger officer corps are the sons of the establishment 30 years ago…..however, their age is such that some of the Western culture has infiltrated their pea pickin’ brains….some moderation seems to be filtering in….dont know how much….but I wonder how deep it goes. I am talking about the captains and majors at this point. It is going to be interesting and I think as the other smaller countries and Iran goes, there will be influence on how they are handled.

  18. @D13;

    Colonel, don’t you think that having been trained in the USA and living in the USA for the time of their training would be something more than a casual influence on those officers?

    It is my guess, and it is just a guess, that after having spent anywhere from six months to two years of actual living here in the USA while undergoing training, all the while rubbing elbows with the realities of how we (the US military) treat and interact with our civilian population, some of that experience has to rub off. And over the last thirty or so years, just how many of those in the Egyptian military did we Americans expose to that?

    Just a thought.

    • In addition, I will be closely watching to see just how they go about re-forming a civilian government . . . . if in fact they actually do that.

    • Hmmm…at last count I have personally supervised the training of 714 Egyptian Officers and Senior NCO’s. I have interacted in war games with probably twice that many. In addition, I have personally supervised the training of 324 Israli officers and Senior NCO’s and they were all in the same classes together, slept in the same barracks, at the same foods, showered…etc etc….and there were absolutley no problems. They got along great. Even taught each other their dances and songs.

      So, to answer your question…..I think that our culture has on influence in that they like the things we do, have, and the freedom to move around…..so, I think that they understand more the speaking out.

  19. Chavez: Venezuela’s ‘revolution’ won’t end

    Published February 13, 2011

    CARACAS, Venezuela – President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that he has no intention of ceasing his efforts to make Venezuela a socialist country, and he expressed confidence that his allies would take the reins of his “Bolivarian Revolution” if he died or decided to step down.

    “There’s no end here, this is going to continue,” said Chavez, referring to the political movement he named after 19th-century independence hero Simon Bolivar.

    Chavez, a former paratroop commander who was first elected in 1998, said his close confidants would undoubtedly assume power and continue his efforts to steer the South American country toward socialism if he were to die or retire from politics.

    “I don’t fear death,” Chavez said during an interview broadcast on the local Televen television channel, adding that he believed a younger generation of revolutionary-minded allies would persevere in Venezuela’s ongoing political tug-of-war.

    Critics ranging from opposition leaders to representatives of the Roman Catholic Church claim Chavez has become increasingly authoritarian and poses a threat to Venezuela’s democracy by aspiring to cling to power for decades to come.

    Chavez scoffed at such suggestions Sunday, saying that some of his most outspoken critics have unfairly compared him to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who stepped down and turned over the government to the Egyptian military last week.

    “I laugh when some sagacious analysts from Venezuela’s opposition compare my government with that of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. That was a dictatorship,” he said.

    Chavez vowed to win Venezuela’s next presidential election in 2012.

    “If they don’t kill me or if some kind of catastrophe does not occur, I’m sure — there will be much work to be done — that I’ll be re-elected for six more years,” he said.

    Opposition lawmaker Alfredo Ramos said that a coalition of opposition parties has decided to choose a contender for next year’s vote through a primary, which will be held at the end of this year or in early 2012.

    “I don’t have the slightest doubt that Hugo Chavez will be defeated in 2012 because the people, not the political parties, are going to pick a candidate,” Ramos said in a telephone interview. “Chavez doesn’t have a chance of winning.”

    Chavez remains Venezuela’s most popular politician despite his administration’s failure to resolve pressing problems: a severe shortage of housing for the poor, widespread violent crime, economic stagnation, and Latin America’s highest inflation rate.

    During Sunday’s program, Chavez also raised the issue of reducing domestic gasoline consumption but he did not mention the possibility of raising the price of fuel, which is heavily subsidized in this oil-rich country.

    “Our objective is the decrease of gasoline consumption to substitute it with natural gas,” he said. “Venezuelan gasoline is the cheapest in the world.”

    A gallon of gasoline sells for approximately 8 cents in Venezuela.

    Venezuelan leaders have largely avoided raising gasoline since 1989, when more than 300 people died in rioting after the government increased gasoline prices.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/02/13/chavez-venezuelas-revolution-wont-end/#ixzz1DtDXGzOy

    Thought I would post this-looking at Egypt trying to obtain some freedom and most people even with reservations about the outcome, have to cheer people standing up against an oppressive government. Then we have Venezuela, we are watching the making of a dictator and surprisingly there are people who are cheering him on. Makes no sense!!!!!!

    • V.H.

      Venezuela vs Egypt.

      In Egypt, you could not afford gasoline.

      In Venezuela, it is 8 pennies a GALLON.

      In Egypt, you are hungry.

      In Venezuela, the government feeds you.


      Chavez has the cheer of the people for as long as he can loot the productive center of his country and pay off the masses.

      When it is all looted and the country is bankrupt, the People will “hang” Chavez too.

  20. This sounds really bad-Wonder why the new guy quit??

    Jobless Tunisians arriving at Sicilian island


    Published: Feb 14, 2011 00:46 Updated: Feb 14, 2011 00:46

    ROME: Hundreds of Tunisians are landing on a tiny Sicilian island by the boatload, swelling the numbers of illegal migrants arriving on Italian shores in just the last few days to well over 4,000.

    Palermo-based coast guard official Claudia Viccica has said that in less than 24 hours since Saturday night 16 boats had arrived. The Tunisians are fleeing confusion following street protests and the ouster of the longtime president.

    Many were kept in a fenced-in soccer field Sunday on Lampedusa island until ferries could take them to the mainland for document checks. Those ineligible for asylum risk deportation.

    Viccica said during the night alone 10 boats arrived.

    Authorities rushed to reopen a Lampedusa detention center that had been closed as the Italian government cracked down on illegal migration. The immigrants said they were fleeing poverty and continued unrest in the North African state in the wake of an uprising last month that ousted veteran ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years in power.

    “We are afraid. The revolution in January has changed nothing, absolutely nothing. We want to find a job in Europe. We are asking the Italian people for help,” said one man, interviewed by news channel SkyTG24.

    Another man said: “There’s no work there. None of my family can work.” The authorities in Lampedusa, which usually has just 6,000 residents, are swamped. Some immigrants have been put up in local hotels and officials on Sunday re-opened an immigrant detention center that had been shut down.

    Around 1,500 immigrants — almost all men — have been sleeping in the open.

    Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni, a member of the anti-immigration Northern League party, said: “The Tunisian system is collapsing. I will ask Tunisia’s foreign minister for authorization for our forces to intervene in Tunisia to block the flux,” he said in a television interview.

    “Europe is not doing anything…. As usual we’re on our own,” he said.

    Tunisian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abderraouf Ounaies, who was expected to visit Italy on Thursday, resigned abruptly on Sunday in a separate development.

    The EU’s foreign policy chief is also set to visit Tunisia on Monday.

    “I have asked for urgent intervention by the European Union because the Maghreb is exploding,” Maroni said, referring to the North Africa region.

    “It’s out of control,” Lampedusa mayor Bernardino De Rubeis told reporters as boats continued to arrive on the tiny island, which at just 110 km from Tunisian shores is closer to North Africa than to Italy.

    “There are people seeking political asylum but there are also people fleeing poverty and the strikes that have hit production,” said Federico Fossi, a spokesman in Rome for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

    “The situation is becoming quite critical. More has to be done,” he said.

    UNHCR has called for immigrants to be housed and fed and has said those that want to make a formal request for asylum should be able to do so.

    Italy has begun airlifting and shipping many of the immigrants from Lampedusa to detention centers in Sicily and on mainland Italy, but police estimate that more than 2,000 of them remain on the island.

    “The situation is very difficult,” the harbor master, Antonio Morana, told reporters. He said 977 people had landed so far on Sunday and more were coming.

    Italy’s cabinet on Saturday declared a humanitarian emergency in the area.

    A government statement said that the decision to call an official emergency would enable civil protection officers “to take immediate action needed to control this phenomenon and assist citizens who have fled from North Africa.”

    In comments to the Corriere della Sera daily on Sunday, Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said: “We have to mobilise Mediterranean countries that have boats, planes and helicopters” to patrol the Tunisian coastline.

    Frattini and Maroni appealed for immediate assistance from the European Union’s Warsaw-based border security agency, Frontex.

    Maroni said that immigrants were fleeing poverty but that there were also escaped convicts and “figures from terrorist organizations” among them.

    A young Tunisian migrant, meanwhile, drowned and another was reported missing when a boat carrying 12 people sank on Saturday off southeast Tunisia en route to Europe, the official Tunisian TAP agency said.


    • Everyone has been warning its gonna get bad. The whole world seems to be in trouble right now. GOOD! Isn’t this what we’ve been waiting for? Things will probably get worse for everyone before they get better but maybe we’re at a turning point…???

      • gmanfortruth says:


        Hope your day is a great one! 🙂

        Remember when Obama said he wanted to “fundamentally change America” ? The change we are about to experience is certainly not “good”. Preparation, strength and knowledge, is your way to survive, embrace it. My fear, is that it will take conservatives into an a place they choose not to go. The blood of patriots and tyrants will spill. It is in our DNA.

      • gmanfortruth says:


        Hope your day is a great one! 🙂

        Remember when Obama said he wanted to “fundamentally change America” ? The change we are about to experience is certainly not “good”. Preparation, strength and knowledge, is your way to survive, embrace it. My fear, is that it will take conservatives into an a place they choose not to go. The blood of patriots and tyrants will spill. It is in our DNA.

        • Hey G..yeah I remember his transformation speeches..I’m trying to be positive about all this and hoping that blood will not be on our hands. I’m hoping that the tea party is the start of our revolution and as more people realize what our govt is up to and see what is happening around the world that we can start making the changes that need to be made to make us a better, wealthier, safer, happier, free-er nation. I know I’m wishful thinking but its not like it couldn’t happen like that.

          • gmanfortruth says:

            People are waking up, slowly. Most conservatives are non-violent, quiet, peaceful people. It takes alot to piss them (us) off. That day is coming. I’m developing a plan called “The Community Defense Cooperative” here at home. Through organizations like local sportsman clubs and various veteran organizations like the American Legion and VFW, I’m hoping to implement this plan this spring.

            It starts small, but can grow without much work, with the right plan!

      • Maybe. My concern is that we are at the beginning of the bad stuff that leads to the turning point. In other words, it will get worse before it gets better for sure. Possibly a whole lot worse.

  21. Ron Paul wins CPAC DC straw poll. That’s 2 straws he has won now.

    He also delivered TexasChem in 1972 and my lil’ brother in 73. =)

    Notice how the media is bashing him while the young conservatives adore him? His way of thinking is influenced by Ayn Rand btw in case some of you missed it.

    • gmanfortruth says:

      RP will continue to get bashed, and that will reach the level of Palin in short time. It’s cool about his “deliveries” as a Doc!!


  22. So…A bit about our tax system…
    My dad retired last year after working the past 46 years of his life. He retired in June and started drawing his SS.
    He cashed out his 401k retirement package to buy some land and equipment.*WHACK* Govt. takes 20%.
    *WHACK* It’s taxable income according to them and they tack on another 33%.*Whack* He gets a letter from the Govt. stating that since he made more than 14,400 dollars last year being retired he has to pay back his SS he drew!

    So what’s the fracking use in saving for retirement when the Govt. is going to take so much of it? Mandatory Social Security deduction is a damned criminal offence. He will never see half of what he paid in the last 46 years of his life. It’s a damned shame that hard working folks have to put up with this bullshit to provide for the non-producing leaches in our society. These so called social programs are nothing but smoke and mirrors for the elitists to “provide” from the State to those that do not produce to gather their votes. I am sick of it.

    • gmanfortruth says:

      Join the crowd TC. How is this time much different to the time of those who wrote the Declaration on Independence?

    • Those that live frugally and save for the future are going to get screwed with respect to SS. Those that spent everything with no consideration for the future will get the full SS payments. In 1984, the bipartisan committee that RR set up raised SS rates in anticipation of the baby boom retirement. Unfortunately, the excess was “loaned” to the general fund and was spent. All that remains of that excess is paper at a measly 2% interest. SS is already in the red (the ponzi scheme is not keeping up with payments). Since the government is broke, we are have to raise taxes or borrow the money at higher interest rates to payback SS, or we are printing it thus diluting the 401K and IRA savings. It was a bad deal. Had we instead funneled the excess collections into private 401Ks, we would all be further ahead. Do the math. Find your SS statement and calculate the savings you would have if that money had been diverted to a private account. Even with the dot.com bust and the housing bust, the nest egg would still be substantial. Not only that it would be inheritable while SS vaporizes on your death.
      W tried to have a discussion on privatizing SS but got shouted down. We need that discussion without the fearmongering. I thought W did a poor job of articulating the issue but others should have filled in the gap. Instead everyone ran for cover. It will take 20-30 years to transition to a privatized system but we have just wasted 6 of those years.
      The same thing can be said for W’s push to drill for domestic oil. Everyone said it would be 10 years before we saw the benefits. Well 10 years have gone and nothing has changed. The ME remains a powder keg eating our soldiers while we get poorer sitting on our oil.

      • There has also been no domestic drilling to speak ok either….It is not the supply of oil it is the capacity of refinement. Remember that the family is in oil/gas…we have oil and no place to put it.

  23. Interesting words from one of those “moderate” Muslims everyone has been begging for.

    Oh, and proof that Pamela Geller is a loud mouth hate spewing fraud.



    • Hmmm-Told Jon, I’d try to use a better word in the future “political Islam” will that do? 🙂

    • Ummm…yeah…sure JaC,

      Of the 1.3 Billion Muslims in the world he has a whopping 200 members in his organization. The Islamic community sure is jumping in and supporting him ehh?
      Islam is and always has been a political/military idealogy developed to spread an empire by combining the state and religion. Period. It’s really quite simple. Spread Islam by any means necessary. Convert to Islam and be a second class citizen and pay taxes to your Islamic rulers or off with your head! Goodness man it’s written in their holy book the Quran. Try reading the Hadiths. The basic idealogy of Islam has not evolved nor changed ever.
      For one as well versed in history, philosophy and idealogy as yourself I have to ask your opinion of Islams impact upon human society since its beginnings in the 7th century and how incorporating Islam in todays modern world would play out please.

  24. d13,

    Several months ago you had a house fire. Is all back to normal now? Did insurance cover it all? Just curious.
    Last spring I broke a pipe in the basement and had a 3″ flood. Insurance paid off nicely but I decided to do the repair work myself so I could use better materials this time around. I am still at it almost 10 months later. I have remodeled about half of the basement, removed 2 walls, added an alcove in the laundry. Gutted the bathroom except for the shower, rebuild the vanity, build a deep medicine chest, tiled the bathroom floor, hall and lanudry, and replaced the bottom 2′ of plasterboard. I hung all new doors in the hall, I’ve stripped and sealed the cement blocks, insulated the walls, paneled the big room (family room and my office) with knotty pine, tiled behind and under the gas stove, stripped the ceilings and refinished. I have been finishing up the tile work this weekend, still need to do some grouting. Most of the trim work is done. Need to sand the beams and stain them. Then I have acres of wood to vanish. The last thing will be new carpet in the big room. I still need to work on two other bedrooms down there but there is no rush for that.

  25. Egypt Through the Lens of Iran’s 1979 Revolution

    By ROYA HAKAKIAN Roya Hakakian – Sun Feb 13, 12:35 am ET

    Ever since the crowds flooded into Tahrir Square, I’ve begun talking to the living-room television. “Drop that hand!” I shouted at the raised fist of a pro-Mubarak thug a few days ago. On Friday, watching the fireworks over the skies of Cairo, I enviously mumbled: “How come we didn’t do that?”

    We, as in the young Iranians who flooded Tehran’s own equivalent of Liberation Square, Azadi, on the same exact day 32 years ago. I was 12 at the time, but the events of that year remain my existential paradox, my life’s most cherished trauma. (See “official” photos of Iran from its state news agency.)

    The pundits now breezily call Iran’s 1979 revolution “Islamic.” But at the time, religious and secular, villagers and urbanites, educated and illiterate, all equally angrily, were marching in the streets and demanding the removal of the Shah. Iran’s future was as unknowable then as Egypt’s future is now.

    Comparisons between Iran and Egypt abound and the guessing goes on as to what number Egypt’s needle truly points on the Iranian time scale: 1979, or 2009 – the year the Green movement took the streets of Tehran. One of the dozen exuberant wallposts on my facebook page on Friday reads: “Egypt did it in 18 days. Iran will do it in a week!”

    Egypt is not Iran. No two histories or nations, no matter how much they have in common, are interchangeable. But movements striving for common democratic goals have consistently exchanged the lessons of their struggles to inform and warn their comrades elsewhere against the pitfalls and to also facilitate a change of their own. The fear that fleeing dictators exude is very potent. (See how democracy can work in the Middle East.)

    Today’s Egyptian democratic forces ought to heed the errors of their Iranian counterparts from 1979. Above all because those errors were, by and large, not rooted in malice or ignorance but in good intentions. And also because their sinister effects did not reveal themselves until long after the euphoria had ebbed and the crowds had left the squares to resume their lives once again.

    The first misstep of the Iranian secular movement came as early as 1978, when they blindly embraced a union with the religious opposition, having been perfectly disarmed by them. When the exiled Ayatollah Khomeini said that he had no political ambitions, and that, once the Shah was gone, his only wish was to hunker down with a Koran at a seminary in Qom, everyone believed him. When he spoke against the violations of human rights in the Shah’s prisons, the intellectuals called him their homegrown Gandhi. When he talked of gender equality and women’s rights, he was hailed unequivocally as if he’d been the heir to Betty Friedan. Before rising to power, the religious opposition to the Shah, headed by the Ayatollah, told Iranians what they wished to hear and they believed everything they heard.

    The few who were smart enough not to believe the Ayatollah made the common mistake smart people often make: they underestimated the intelligence of others. They were confident that they could outmaneuver the Ayatollah. The Western-educated, stylishly-suited secular leaders assumed themselves far too sophisticated to be outwitted by the plainly-dressed provincial clerics.

    See photos of the rise and fall of Iran’s shah.

    They also did not realize that keeping the movement peaceful and nonviolent was detrimental to keeping themselves relevant and credible. Once the army had opened fire and the first victims had fallen, the religious co-opted the movement. The seculars had no substantive plans for retaliation or political comeback in light of a military attack. But the shedding of blood was the cue for the religious to enter the stage and move into the spotlight. When it came to death, the religious had a full lexicon and complete repertoire of rituals to balance the strategic shortcomings of their secular counterparts. After all, death and all of its conceptual by-products, especially martyrdom, had always been the proverbial bread-and-butter of the clergy, the spring of their livelihood. (Comment on this story.)

    As time passed, it quickly became clear that the easiest part of the revolution was the very thing that had seemed the hardest all along: the overthrow. Navigating the future was a most daunting task for which individuals who had spent decades dreaming of the Shah’s fall had never planned for. With the revolution’s victory, the movement, overcome by joy, lost its direction. They became overambitious and gave into globalistic hubris. Freedom for Iranians, employment and education for the youth, or the implementation of civil liberties were no longer enough. Those bÊte noires, evil Uncle Sam and his bastard child, Israel, had to also be uprooted. Once they shifted their focus from domestic issues, they had empowered the religious once again. Within months after the fall of the Shah, Iraq attacked Iran and the Ayatollah dragged the nation into a decade of destruction because, he argued, the quickest way to annihilating the world’s two greatest evils was through conquering Baghdad en route to Jerusalem. Tehran, and its residents, did not satisfy the grand agenda. (See more about Tehran’s worry over the spread of the recent Middle East protests.)

    Iranians allowed themselves to be manipulated. The regime cowed them into making concessions by preying on their fears – of the return of the Shah, or the staging of a coup by his loyalists within the army. Instead of remaining uncompromising on the issues that defined them, they made compromises and bought into piecemeal, gradual, interim promises. Lest monarchy return, women were told to defer their demands for equal rights. Then in 1979 the U.S. embassy in Tehran was seized which the Ayatollah celebrated as a day second only to Feb. 11, the date of his revolution. Of course, he did. The seizure of the American embassy gave the Islamic radicals the ammunition they needed to conduct their assault on the hard-won and fledgling civil liberties in Iran because, the manipulative reasoning went, there was no telling how the angry Americans were going to infiltrate and avenge themselves on the nation.

    In the end, the religious proved too smart to be outwitted by the secular. It made no claim to power until it had fully seized it – a quest fueled by bloodshed and extraterritorial ambitions. Let us hope that the new, wired generation of Egypt will remain as vigilant in seeing their victory through as they had been in bringing it about.


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