Viva la revolution!!

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Viva la revolution!!

Postby daPyr0x » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:19 pm

I'm surprised nobody's brought this up. Is it that people aren't informed about what's going on in the middle east/northern Africa lately, or just don't care? Either's....well, not as surprising as I might like.

To summarize, for those who don't know;
- Tunisia recently had a revolution to oust their authoritarian leader. Not before he up and ran, taking with him 1.5 tons of the country's gold reserves
- Egypt has been seeing increasingly large protests over the past week in efforts to oust their president, who's held on to his power for the last 30 years by declaring a national emergency and never repealing it. Today, a reported 2 million people descended upon the downtown core, many with no intention of leaving until the current president leaves.
- Jordan, Sudan, and Yemen are all reported to be undergoing mass protests similar to that of Egypt, attempting to overthrow their leadership. Unfortunately, these governments have a firm grip on media publications, blocking much information from getting out.

I'm curious what other people think about this whole situation. Or, find out if I'm the only one who cares.
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Postby jotabe » Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:12 pm

Well... the biggest problem is that these revolts seem to be too spontaneous. Also power vacuum is bad, it's the ideal situation for islamic totalitarianism to stablis their own dictatorship. So, the sooner there is a transit from the dictatorship to a kind of constitutional comission, the better... meanwhile, it's too early to give an oppinion.

But it's not too early for western countries to start showing support and help them with the transition. Most of the Egyptian youth has their eyes set on the West as to the kind of society they want.
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Postby Caspian » Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:37 pm

I've been paying pretty close attention to the situation, especially in Egypt. Not to be flippant, but my opinion right now is pretty much: "Whoa! Crazy!"

I think government should come from the consent of the governed, and sometimes that point needs to be made dramatically--but I'd rather it wasn't, or rather it didn't have to be.

Basically, I'm watching with much interest.
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Postby Rei » Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:19 am

Also worth noting, the military in Egypt has said they will not use force against protesters. Assuming they stick to this, it probably ensures that Mubarak's days are numbered.
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Postby buckshot » Wed Feb 02, 2011 1:32 pm

This mess proves our government has to stop pandering to such dictator/presidents!

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Postby daPyr0x » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:29 pm

What do you Americans think about your government's reaction to these events? So far, the diplomats have been extremely careful to not support the protests or even outwardly condemn the actions the Egyptian government has undertaken. Yes, he urged them to reconnect the country after they forced cell phone and internet providers to shut down; but very little has been said regarding the use of live ammunition on peaceful protesters (before the army showed up) or really about the situation as it unfolds.

Does it bother you that last year $1bn of your tax dollars went to the government that's about to be overthrown by it's people in 2010 alone?
1:47 am Al Jazeera correspondent, reporting from just off Tahrir Square reports that dozens of Mubarak supporters have erected a barricades on either side of a road, trapping anti-government protesters. They are also gathering stones, breaking streetlights and putting on balaclavas, covering their faces, apparently in preparation for a fresh standoff with anti-government protesters. Sources tell our correspondent that the men preparing for the standoff are police officers.
That's fucking scary.
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Re: Viva la revolution!!

Postby Jebus » Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:17 pm

I'm surprised nobody's brought this up. Is it that people aren't informed about what's going on in the middle east/northern Africa lately, or just don't care? Either's....well, not as surprising as I might like.
Those are brown people right? Yea, I don't care about brown people.


I hope Egypt comes out of this with a fair and free democratic system, headed by a moderate who wants to maintain peace with Israel.

Probably too much to hope for though.

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Postby Jebus » Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:20 pm

This mess proves our government has to stop pandering to such dictator/presidents!
Hey hey hey... hey... Supporting greedy autocrats is as American as apple pie. Do you want to get rid of apple pie too, traitor?

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Postby Gravity Defier » Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:22 pm

Does it bother you that last year $1bn of your tax dollars went to the government that's about to be overthrown by it's people in 2010 alone?
Bother? Hard to say. Surprise me? No. The US government has a history of supporting dictators so long as it can be construed as politically advantageous for them and since they saw Mubarak as a better alternative to the unknown possible evil (I couldn't think of a better word there) that might replace him as head of Egypt, I'm not surprised they supported him and his regime. This is not a comment on whether or not I think that was the right or smart choice.

Otherwise, I'll just add that I have been following, as I tend to do with many current events, but simply don't discuss it on the board when possible. I have little faith in people's abilities to not resort to condescension or assholishness when opinions differ. I'll just say that, like many others, I'm watching the events with great interest.
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Postby starlooker » Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:07 am

I'm also watching with much interest and don't care to post a more detailed opinion -- in part because I'm still learning what my opinion is and in part because of disliking political pweb debate.

As far as how my tax dollars are used, well, it bothers me that my tax dollars have been used for a great many things. Frankly, this is quite a ways down the list. Exporting torture and/or funding torture at Gitmo would be number one. Which is when I take a deep breath and remind myself that my taxes are also used for a good many things that I do support, and that I have the right to vote, protest, and try to elect people I believe will support money being supplied to things consistent with my values, same as everybody else, and in the meanwhile, the world keeps spinning.
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Postby Dr. Mobius » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:44 pm

I've been following the Egyptian protests pretty closely on CNN and Al Jazeera since they began, though admittedly not as closely as my brother who discovered a couple weeks ago that our DirecTV even carried Al Jazeera (channel 375).
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Postby Jayelle » Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:53 pm

Okay, guys, I haven't been paying close enough attention to the news... and now I'm kinda having trouble piecing it together.

Can someone sum up what the heck is happening in Wisconsin?
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Postby mr_thebrain » Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:16 pm

the republicans of this fine state of wisconsin, elected a complete douche tube.

he wants to make wisconsin not be so badly in debt so he refused a high speed rail system that would have created tons of jobs and given us tons of money.

then he proposed a budget that will cut about a billion dollars in school funding. knowing that because the republicans have the majority and all republicans will vote the way he wants, the budget will get passed.

and since he knows that the budget will get passed, he thought he'd throw in some added bits that would strip collective bargaining from unions. so basically all that policeman, fireman, teachers... unionfolk can argue is their salaries. they can't negotiate their basic worker rights. not to mention other crappy things.

basically the budget is bad enough, but he made it really stink. so people are protesting. and the democrats in the state senate know that they can't really do anything because republicans have enough of a majority that they can pass the budget without the democrats even voting.

however, the law states that they have to have a certain amount of people present in order to vote.... or something like that. so the democrats left the state to hold up the process in hopes that the republicans will see that the people are protesting for a reason and maybe change their votes, or negotiate a better budget plan. and they had to leave the state because if they are found IN the state, the police can drag them to the senate and the vote can happen.

the democrats have basically said that they won't argue the budget, but they won't come back until the union bits are taken out.

the rest of the country is protesting what's going on here because they know if it happens here, it sets precedent and it WILL happen pretty much everywhere republicans have a majority like they do here.

yay politics.
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Postby Syphon the Sun » Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:27 pm

Facing a projected budget shortfall (somewhere in the range of a few billion dollars) and to avoid layoffs, Republicans proposed a bill that would (1) require state employees to contribute a higher portion of their salaries to cover their pension costs and health insurance premiums and (2) weaken the power of most public sector unions in benefits bargaining (but not salary bargaining).

Under the old scheme, things like insurance carriers could not be changed without negotiating it with the unions. And the unions were actually in the business of providing health insurance. Guess which insurance carriers were used (at much higher premiums), given that union members didn't contribute to the premiums?

So, yeah. There's was a problem and it definitely needed reform. Whether the Republican bill was the way to go, I don't know. But, in order to avoid losing the vote, Democrat lawmakers fled to Illinois (so that there was not quorum to actually have the vote).

Unions are protesting the capitol building. Teachers are taking sick days and some schools are cancelling classes. Supporters of the bill are holding counter-protests. Democrats are calling for the recall of Republican senators.

It's a mess, it's dirty politicking, and I can't wait until the temper tantrums are over so that they (1) leave my state and (2) actually do their jobs.

Oh, and by the way, Josh, the bargaining rights of public safety unions (police, firefighters, etc.) aren't changing.
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Postby mr_thebrain » Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:26 pm

i like my explanation better. :P
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Postby Jayelle » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:50 am

Thanks, guys.
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Postby daPyr0x » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:13 pm

Facing a projected budget shortfall (somewhere in the range of a few billion dollars) and to avoid layoffs, Republicans proposed a bill that would (1) require state employees to contribute a higher portion of their salaries to cover their pension costs and health insurance premiums and (2) weaken the power of most public sector unions in benefits bargaining (but not salary bargaining).
I'm in no way educated on the subject, nor am I a part of American politics; merely a spectator.

I was given the impression that this budget shortfall was less, something like $137 million, and it only existed due to $140 million in proposed tax cuts for businesses. I'm all for reform when it's needed, and I think the public can be convinced that reform is needed when it genuinely is - but the coverage I've been seeing seems to continually focus on the idea that this budget shortfall only exists due to tax breaks being offered to businesses.

I also heard something about a hidden clause enabling the sale of state utilities using a no-bid process. Also a terrible idea for the people - the rightful current owners of said utilities.
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Postby Syphon the Sun » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:04 pm

I was given the impression that this budget shortfall was less, something like $137 million
The shortfall for the fiscal period that ends this summer was $137 million. The state's projected shortfall for the next fiscal period (which covers two fiscal years) was $3.6 billion.
it only existed due to $140 million in proposed tax cuts for businesses.
It's true that one proposal would give tax breaks to businesses on a per-job-created formula, some which will be recaptured in income taxes on those new workers, which has been projected at a two-year cost between $67 million and $140 million. But that projected shortfall is for the next fiscal period, not the one ending this summer.
the coverage I've been seeing seems to continually focus on the idea that this budget shortfall only exists due to tax breaks being offered to businesses.
Then the coverage you've been seeing is more than a little misleading. They're relying on Robert Lang's analysis without actually, you know, reading it. All of this, including the frequent claim that the shortfall is actually a hoax because the general fund is projected to have a surplus at the end of the fiscal period (assuming unpaid bills remain that way and the expected shortfalls in Medicaid and the criminal justice system disappear), is in Lang's report.
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Postby Syphon the Sun » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:22 pm

Also, for those interested, Jim Lindgren (whom I respect a lot) has a new (fairly brief) working paper examining the 3/5 quorum requirement at issue, here, and concludes that much of the bill can be passed without the 3/5 quorum, if the Senate were willing to sever the few specific appropriations and taxation provisions.

(Not that most of you will be interested, of course, but I thought I'd pass it along nonetheless.)
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Postby zeldagirl1234 » Sun Mar 06, 2011 4:11 pm

well, my question is why would they want to be like us? Sure, America has had it's times of greatness, but all our government has done with in the last 10-12 years has gone on a major trip down hill. in many ways, they are.... more stable, as is
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Postby Olhado_ » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:03 pm

Also worth noting, the military in Egypt has said they will not use force against protesters. Assuming they stick to this, it probably ensures that Mubarak's days are numbered.
Well, at the same time I have heard reports that make it sound like the military is not going to give up power, like they originally promised. This does not surprised me, no one ever gives up power, once they have it...dating at least as far back as Caesar and probably further.


What really gets me is the following statement, which to those on Facebook will not be new is the following:
"And so with that relatively limited experience, the U.S. is scrambling to identify friends in Libya, people who could take over if Moammar Gadhafi loses power." From NPR
I am of the mind set of why should anyone else other then the Libyan's care what government that they have and I will not support "because that is the way of things".


As for why all of these things are happening all over the world now is because of money or specifically, inflation is finally catching up to us. It is worse in the "third world" and while I cannot speak for the EU and/or Canada, we in the US have been pretty isolated from it because of the dollar's place as the reserve currency and "safe haven". However, if you watch the market the dollar might not be very much of a "safe haven" this time around as it has been.
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Postby daPyr0x » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:26 pm

The US liked having Mubarak and Ghaddafi in power. That whole region has been living under the thumb of some very powerful, American supported, leaders for half a century now. Libya, Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, all are strategically powerful locations in which the US desires political sway. Otherwise, precious oil shipments might not make it to their shores.
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Postby jotabe » Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:33 am

I am of the mind set of why should anyone else other then the Libyan's care what government that they have and I will not support "because that is the way of things".
I don't like that my neighbours are both poor and desperate. For two reasons: first, because it doesn't seem fair that they are while right in front of them i live relatively well, and second, because it could end up coming to bite my backside.

So, if something happens that removes the dictatoship that causes both poverty and oppresion, i should only be too happy to help.
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