Progressive Calendar 01.27.11
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2011 01:08:25 -0800 (PST)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   01.27.11

1. Heinberg/KFAI     1.27 9am
2. Eagan peace vigil 1.27 4:30pm
3. Northtown vigil   1.27 5pm
4. CMPL/fight back   1.27 6:30pm

5. Palestine vigil   1.28 4:15pm
6. EXCO/food/word    1.28 6:30pm

7. Pentel/EcoParty   1.29 1pm

8. David Shove    - Pledge 2012 No vote for Obama/01.27.11
9. Ron Forthofer  - State of the Union speech reflects U.S. plutocracy
10. Glen Ford     - The Obama/GOP consensus
11. Thomas Naylor - The temple of doom/The politics of violence in America
12. Robert Fisk   - A new truth dawns on the Arab World

--------1 of 12--------

From: Christine Frank <christinefrank [at] visi.com>
Subject: Heinberg/KFAI 1.27 9am

On the Thursday, January 27, 9:00 am edition of "Catalyst:  Politics &
Culture" on KFAI Radio, hear part of a speech by Richard Heinberg at the
Neighborhood Sustainability Networking Fair in Minneapolis, which was put
on by the Alliance for Sustainability, a Twin Cities non-profit.
"Catalyst" intern Dusty Hinz provides commentary.

Richard Heinberg, the renowned speaker, author, and educator, on subjects
such as peak oil and the sustainable future of the planet, spoke at the
Neighborhood Sustainability Networking Fair at South High School this
past November. He has written nine books, including The Party's Over,
Peak Everything, and Blackout, and his new book, The End of Growth, will
be out soon.

"Senior Fellow-in-Residence at <http://www.postcarbon.org/> Post Carbon
Institute, Richard is best known as a leading educator on Peak Oil-the
point at which we reach maximum global oil production-and the resulting,
devastating impact it will have on our economic, food, and transportation
systems. But his expertise is far ranging, covering critical issues
including the current economic crisis, food and agriculture, community
resilience, and global climate change." - from his Web site:
richardheinberg.com <http://richardheinberg.com/> "Catalyst" is hosted by
independent journalist Lydia Howell.

KFAI RADIO 90.3 fm Mpls 106.7 fm St. Paul
ONLINE: live-streaming/archived for 2 weeks after broadcast on CATALYST page
at:
http://www.kfai.org <http://www.kfai.org/>


--------2 of 12--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 1.27 4:30pm

PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of
Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and
candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south
of the river speaking out against war.


--------3 of 12--------

From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 1.27 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com.


--------4 of 12--------

From: ElyDog <elydog [at] gmail.com>
Subject: CMPL/fight back 1.27 6:30pm

The Bipartisan Attack on Workers and the Need for a Labor Party
Defend Public Sector Workers and Social Security!

A meeting to discuss the attacks on public sector workers and how we can
all fight back
Thursday, January 27th from 6:30 to 8:00 pm
Walker Public Library - 2880 Hennepin Avenue in Uptown Minneapolis

Across the country, state and local budgets face deep deficits, and public
sector workers are being scape-goated and blamed for the crisis. At the
national level, the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson Commission has recommended
deep cuts in social services and Social Security. The Republican House of
Representatives has made it clear that all kinds of essential programs and
services are on the chopping block. President Obama has frozen the wages
of over 2 million federal workers and is sure to outline even more cuts
and "sacrifices" that need to be made in his State of the Union address on
Tuesday.

And yet, profits and CEO bonuses are back at record levels while millions
remain unemployed. There was plenty of money to go around to bail out Wall
Street, but very little when it comes to jobs, health care, education, and
infrastructure. The message from both the Republicans and Democrats is
clear: the rich minority is more important to them than the working class
majority.

Join the Campaign for a Mass Party of Labor (CMPL) for a discussion on the
impending cuts and how the labor movement can fight back in our
workplaces, on the streets and at the ballot box: with a Labor Party based
on the unions. Greg Gibbs of the CMPL will open the discussion, which will
include Andy Streasick of AFSCME and several other public and private
sector union members. Contact us for more information and to get involved!

If you have any questions or would like more information on this event or
on the Campaign for a Mass Party of Labor, please contact
info [at] masspartyoflabor.org or call 612-568-2675.


--------5 of 12--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Palestine vigil 1.28 4:15pm

The weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the
intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul. The Friday demo
starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30. There are usually extra signs
available.


--------6 of 12--------

From: EXCO <excotc [at] gmail.com>
Subject: EXCO/food/word 1.28 6:30pm

EXCO Reflection Event on Friday, January 28th 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Project
for Pride in Living (1035 E. Franklin St.) - open House-style with food, a
raffle, and spoken word

EXCO is hosting an open house-style reflection event. Join us for dinner,
hot cocoa, spoken word, and an evening with good people. We will also be
raffling off fun prizes throughout the night!

Participants will have the opportunity to visit themed stations to reflect
on the previous session, offer up ideas for improvement, and vision for
the future. Newcomers to EXCO are also welcome! Stations will be themed on
various aspects of EXCO, including the facilitator process, events,
publicity, our future mural, and more.


--------7 of 12--------

From: PRO826 [at] AOL.com
Subject: Pentel/EcoParty 1.29 1pm

Learn About the New Ecology Democracy Party
Saturday, January 29th
The Hennepin  County Downtown Library, 300 Nicollet, Minneapolis 55401
Room, N-202
1-3pm

We will discuss the Party:
    *   Platform and party documents
    *   Organizing  Vision
    *   Volunteer Opportunities

Please RSVP due to limited space.  612/387-0601

Ken Pentel


--------8 of 12--------

From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu>
Subject: Pledge 2012 No vote for Obama/01.27.11

[Here, after even more bad action by anti-people closet-Republican Obama,
is your chance to pledge no vote for Obama in 2012. Each month, week, day,
gives more reasons for the pledge. See articles posted below for more new
reasons. -ds]

Pledge 2012 No vote for Obama

Some of Barack Obama's bad actions:
 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan
 record high military budget
 bombing by unmanned drones in Pakistan
 continued Iraq war
 rejection of landmine treaty
 continued torture and coverup of past torture
 support for Honduras coup
 support for Israeli occupation of Palestine
 suppression of Goldstone Gaza war report
 bank bailout
 no prosecution or even investigation of Bush & Co
 reaffirmation of Patriot Act
 for insurance companies & vs single payer
 support for expanded nuclear power

For these, and many other bad actions,

 We the undersigned publicly pledge not to vote for Barack Obama for
 US president in 2012.

 Robert Halfhill
 Amber Garlan
 Tom Cleland
 David Weisberg
 Dave Bicking
 Andy Hamerlinck
 Doug Mann
 Ted Dooley
 Melissa Hill
 Dori Ullman
 Ryan Carey
 Jan McGee
 Bill Oldfather
 Carol Mellom
 Michelle Gross
 Mike Whelan
 Robert Palmer
 Tom Dooley
 Tim Nolan
 Johnny Hazard
 Suzanne Linton
 Michael Cavlan
 Steven Boyer
 John Simcox
 Louise Bouta
 Vanessa Vogl
 Lisa Grant
 M J Schoen
 Clinton Dietrich
 Lydia Howell
 Farheen Hakeem
 Jan Nye
 Margaret Beegle
 Dave Berger
 Brandy Baker (MD)
 Myles Hoenig (MD)
 Danene Provencher
 Donald L Maxwell
 Neil Lageson
 Molly Reiter
 Mustafa Adam
 Bob Schmitz
 Mary Metchnek
 Dan Dittman
 James Benthall [Rochester MN]
 Maria Balla
 Alan Maki
 Judy Bjorke
 Kenny Kalligher
 Diane Williams
 Paul Busch
 Tony Hunnicutt
 Alan Makinen
 Nolan Zavoral
 Hans Simons
 David Shove

 [room for YOUR name]


==end of pledge

To sign this pledge, send to shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu an email from your
standard personal email address, with your name, and the words: No Obama
2012 vote.

The above will be published regularly on the Progressive Calendar, Green
Party lists, etc. Continuing chances for additional people to sign.

 If you need to research any topic raised here, go to eg:
  CounterPunch    http://counterpunch.org
  Dissident Voice http://dissidentvoice.org
  Common Dreams   http://commondreams.org
 Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones

MD = Maryland

--------9 of 12--------

State of the Union Speech Reflects U.S. Plutocracy
by Ron Forthofer
January 26th, 2011
Dissident Voice

The State of the Union speech has become a well-scripted event full of
nice words but few ideas that will really benefit the public. This sad
situation results from our political system being corrupted by big money.
This corruption almost guarantees that the public interest will be trumped
by the interest of the rich and powerful.

To change this sorry state of affairs, it would take a courageous leader
who was willing to put the interests of the country over the interests of
a few. If there were such a leader, the speech could then be used to rally
the American people behind this leader's vision. However, we haven't had a
peoples' champion as president in a very long time. This situation is due
to a political system that pretty well ensures the nominees of both major
parties have been vetted by the rich and powerful. Even if there were a
candidate not acceptable to those pulling the strings, the
corporate-dominated media would work to marginalize or destroy the
candidate's campaign.

Thus it is not shocking President Obama's State of the Union address
offered few if any proposals that threatened the interests of the rich and
powerful. In reality, Obama, as is his custom, offered few specifics on
most of his ideas or vision. This lack of specifics allowed viewers to put
their own interpretation on his words. As a result, the speech resonated
with many.

However, for me, the speech was more an attempt to assure the American
people that the state of the union is not really that bad and, in fact, it
is pretty darn good and will continue to improve. In essence, Obama led a
big pep rally claiming over and over that the U.S. is number one. Thus no
major policy changes are required. Perhaps providing this assurance is his
role as President under our plutocracy.

Some key missing items

The things that were left unsaid in the speech were perhaps more important
than what Obama actually said. One of the most pressing problems facing
the world today is global climate change and Obama didn't directly mention
this issue. He did focus on innovation in clean energy technology, but the
impact of this effort will be far too little and much too late. The
situation is already dire and it was not discussed. Perhaps Obama felt
that it was useless due to staunch Republican opposition, but he missed an
opportunity to educate the U.S. public on the topic.

Obama did not seem to recognize the ongoing suffering due to the Great
Recession. In fact, he said that the worse of the recession is over and
that we should now focus on the debt. He did not propose a new jobs
program nor provide a strategy for dealing with the millions of
foreclosures. He did indicate that new jobs would come from innovation in
clean energy, from new trade agreements, and from a redoubling of efforts
to rebuild the infrastructure, but there was no overall plan or effort.
The previous plans on jobs and foreclosures that were implemented were too
small in magnitude and voluntary in nature. Obama also failed to address
the enormous budgetary problems facing the states and the implications for
increased job losses and loss of homes as well as for more cuts to the
Swiss cheese safety net.

There was no recognition of the connection between the U.S. attacks on and
occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq with the U.S. debt crisis. The costs
of these war crimes are: 1) trillions of dollars; 2) the devastation and
destruction of two nations and peoples; and 3) the alienation of much of
the world from America. The U.S. image, contrary to Obama's claim, has not
been restored. In addition, Obama did not address the Palestinian/Israeli
situation. The continued U.S. support for Israel shows our hypocritical
opposition to human rights and international law. This position is clearly
recognized by nations around the world and further harms our reputation.
This blatant hypocrisy also weakens our position on Iran's legal program
to develop nuclear energy.

Given the U.S. plutocracy, it was not surprising that Obama did not
suggest implementing a highly progressive income tax, similar to that
during the Eisenhower. He could have also proposed a fee on all
speculative financial transactions. The cap on contributions to Social
Security could be removed and unearned income could also be taxed for
Social Security and Medicare purposes. Obama could have also proposed
legalization and taxation of marijuana as another way of raising funds.
These are just a few of many ideas that would show that the U.S. was
serious about its budget deficit and long-term debt but, somehow, they
were not raised.

Unless and until we implement major reforms to our political and economic
systems, the U.S. will continue its downward slide and will likely take
the rest of the world with it.

Ron Forthofer is a retired professor of biostatistics from the University
of Texas School of Public Health in Houston and was a Green Party
candidate for Congress and also for governor of Colorado.


--------10 of 12--------

The Obama/GOP Consensus
by Glen Ford
Published on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 by Black Agenda Report

As far as President Obama is concerned, the state of the Union is now in
harmony, with the merging of Republican politics and his own. The new
consensus is an austere one for most Americans, as Obama joins the GOP "to
prevent the domestic arms of government from coming to the people's aid,
by freezing finances" for five years. But have no fear: corporate tax
rates will plummet, allowing the long-awaited trickle down to begin.

On the eve of President Obama's State of the Union address, Cynthia Gordy,
writer for the Blogging the Beltway column in TheRoot.com, asked the
question: "Will Obama talk about black unemployment?" Of course, Gordy
already knew the answer - "Hell no!" - but proceeded to discuss the
horrific state of Black jobless America with someone who actually cared,
Christian Weller, from the Center for American Progress. Ms. Gordy ended
the piece on a plaintive note. "Here's hoping Obama will at least have a
more elaborate plan to truly lift up all communities," she wrote. What a
strange and deeply sad relationship exists between many Black Americans
and the brown-skinned corporate politician in the White House. After two
years, there is no longer any expectation of reciprocity, only a muted
hope and prayer that Obama would behave decently.

He didn't. In announcing a five-year freeze on domestic spending, Obama
enters a new phase of aggressive - rather than furtive - collaboration
with the GOP. To ensure that catastrophe cannot be avoided for the tens of
millions battered and set adrift by the two (lesser and greater)
recessions of the 21st century, Obama will join with Republicans to
prevent the domestic arms of government from coming to the people's aid,
by freezing finances. With whole communities in a state of economic
dislocation, Obama burns the rescue boats and poisons the water, all the
while promising that the necessary budgetary savings will not be achieved
"on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens" - as if Wall Street's
bankers will shield the helpless with their well-bonused bodies.

The First Black President had nothing new or promising of substance to
offer anyone who is not rich, just repackaged items from his dismally
disappointing past. No dollar signs to give meaning to the president's
mystical and misleading rhetoric on jobs, which will somehow be made to
appear through a uniquely American process of "innovation" and
"self-invention" inaccessible to lesser peoples. This aspect of
exceptionalism will out-"green" China and overtake South Korean Internet
speeds, without costing the Treasury an extra dime. "Thousands" of jobs
will result, to take the place of the hundreds of thousands that will be
lost in the public sector, alone, as government implodes at all levels.

Remember Sputnik! says Obama. Of course, the shocking 1957 Russian leap
into space prompted the United States to embark on the greatest
educational spending spree in history. There will be none of that under
the Obama/GOP austerity regime. Instead, Obama's "Race to the Top" program
will force ever larger slices of the public education infrastructure into
the privately-managed but publicly financed alternative national charter
school system - a multi-billion dollar "market" for hedge funds and other
speculators.

By bringing down the corporate tax rate - a substantive promise from Obama
that only the wealthy can truly appreciate - additional profits will
accrue to companies that have already hoarded over two trillion dollars,
but who were doubtless awaiting Obama's coded signal, "Sputnik," before
investing in productive, job-producing enterprises. These investments
might also be delayed until Obama has, as promised on Tuesday night,
reorganized the federal government to the Republicans' satisfaction, and
purged offensive regulations from the public sphere.

Funny, how Obama seems so much more in his element in the wake of the
November defeat than when Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress.
Half of Obama's Blue Dog friends have been replaced by Republicans, but
the president seems even happier among the new guys, as if he's finally
within reach of the grand, "bi-partisan consensus" that is the ideal state
of being in a post-everything America.

 2011 Black Agenda Report
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at
Glen.Ford [at] BlackAgendaReport.com.


--------11 of 12--------

The Temple of Doom
The Politics of Violence in America
By THOMAS H. NAYLOR
January 26, 2011
CounterPunch

Although I am no fan of either Sarah Palin or the Tea Party crowd, blaming
them for the tragic shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords in
Tucson is patently absurd.  Equally problematic is the idea that the
Tucson massacre was caused by the uncivil nature of public discourse in
the United States.  The attack on Congresswoman Giffords was grounded not
in political rhetoric but in an all consuming culture of violence - the
same culture which brought down John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and
Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s.  Americans are obsessed with
violence and have been since the inception of our nation.  We have always
turned to violence when provoked by either domestic or foreign enemies.
Our penchant for intergroup violence - geopolitical, ethnic, racial,
agrarian, frontier, religious, and industrial - is without equal.

>From the very outset, early European settlers who came to America brought
with them a regimen for relating to Native Americans that was based on
demonization, dominance, destruction, and death - a regimen which still
provides the rationale underlying American foreign policy five hundred
years later.  Even though we are a predominantly Christian nation, our
love affair with the death penalty and our entire criminal justice system
are driven by revenge, not forgiveness.

Although our nation was founded on the principles of life, liberty, and
the pursuit of happiness, the story of how Native Americans were
relentlessly forced to abandon their homes and lands and move into Indian
territories to make room for American states is one of  arrogance, greed,
and raw military power.  Our barbaric conquest of the Native Americans
continued for several hundred years and involved many of our most
cherished national heroes, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson,
James Monroe, and Andrew Jackson, to mention only a few.  To add insult to
injury, we have violated three hundred treaties which we signed to protect
the rights of American Indians.

In over two hundred years, the North American continent has never been
attacked - nor even seriously threatened with invasion by Japan, Germany,
the Soviet Union, or anyone else.  Despite this fact, over a million
Americans have been killed in wars and trillions of dollars have been
spent by the military -- $13 trillion on the Cold War alone.

Far from defending our population, our government has drafted Americans
and sent them to die in the battle fields of Europe (twice), on tropical
Pacific islands, and in the jungles of Southeast Asia.  On dozens of
occasions our political leaders have used minor incidents as provocation
to justify sending troops to such far-flung places as China, Russia,
Egypt, Greenland, Uruguay, the Samoa Islands, Cuba, Mexico, Haiti,
Nicaragua, Panama, Grenada, Lebanon, and Iraq.  Today the United States
has over 1,000 military bases in 153 countries.

While accusing the Soviet Union of excessive military aggression, the
Reagan administration was participating in nine known wars - in
Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Chad, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Lebanon,
Morocco, and Nicaragua - not to mention our bombing of Libya, invasion of
Grenada, and repeated attempts to bring down Panamanian dictator Manual
Antonio Noriega.  President Bush I deployed over a half million American
troops, fifty warships, and over one thousand warplanes to the Persian
Gulf in 1991 at the "invitation of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia to teach
Saddam Hussein a lesson".  Most Americans were beside themselves over this
little war.  President Clinton's repeated bombing of Iraq invoked a
similar response, even though the Iraqi people had never inflicted any
harm on the United States.  It matters not whether we send troops to
Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia, or Kosovo or bomb Afghanistan or Sudan; few
Americans raise any objections whatsoever.  Indeed, they seem to like it.

Why does it come as no surprise to learn that bullying is on the rise in
public schools in America?  America is the world's global bully.  Our
foreign policy of full spectrum dominance is based entirely on the premise
that might makes right.  Either get out of our way, or be prepared to die!

Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech was nothing short of a
call to arms.  His hypocrisy in lecturing Chinese President Hu Jintao on
human rights is almost beyond belief.  Does Obama think that the
annihilation of innocent Afghan and Iraqi civilians by the Pentagon
constitutes a laudatory human rights posture on the part of the United
States?  What about the way the Israelis, with our full support, treat the
Palestinians?  Human rights, surely the White House has to be kidding!

To illustrate how absurd the politics of violence is consider the case of
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who now refers to himself as "the most
progressive member of the United States Senate".  So progressive is
Sanders that he currently supports: (1) all funding for the illegal wars
in Afghanistan and Iraq, (2) the deployment of Vermont National Guard
troops abroad, (3) military aid for the apartheid state of Israel, (4) the
replacement of the Vermont Air National Guard's F-16 fighter jets with
F-35s, and (5) the highly racist war on terror.  He is also promoting a
Vermont-based satellite station to be designed and built by the U.S.
government-owned Sandia National Laboratories.  Sandia designs, builds,
and tests weapons of mass destruction.

Unfortunately, Sanders, who claims to be a socialist, does not stand alone
in the hypocrisy which he brings to the culture of violence.  Like many of
his other left-wing Democratic colleagues in the Congress, Sanders is an
unconditional apologist for the Pentagon and the right-wing Likud
government of Israel.

Whenever there is a mass shooting such as the one which took place
recently in Tucson, liberals call for tougher gun control laws and
conservatives demand revenge - the death penalty.  Yet Vermont, which is
arguably the least violent state in the Union, has no death penalty and
virtually no state imposed restrictions on the use of guns.

So long as violence remains official U.S. Government policy at home and
abroad, neither tougher gun control laws nor the increased use of the
death penalty will prevent another Tucson, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, or
Columbine mass murder.

Since violence is inextricably linked to the Empire, there may be no
escape from violence in America - no escape from the Temple of Doom.

Thomas H. Naylor is Founder of the Second Vermont Republic and Professor
Emeritus of Economics at Duke University. His books include: Downsizing
the U.S.A., Affluenza, The Search for Meaning and The Abandoned
Generation: Rethinking Higher Education


--------12 of 12--------

A New Truth Dawns on the Arab World
by Robert Fisk
Published on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 by The Independent/UK

The Palestine Papers are as damning as the Balfour Declaration. The
Palestinian "Authority" - one has to put this word in quotation marks -
was prepared, and is prepared to give up the "right of return" of perhaps
seven million refugees to what is now Israel for a "state" that may be
only 10 per cent (at most) of British mandate Palestine.

And as these dreadful papers are revealed, the Egyptian people are calling
for the downfall of President Mubarak, and the Lebanese are appointing a
prime minister who will supply the Hezbollah. Rarely has the Arab world
seen anything like this.

To start with the Palestine Papers, it is clear that the representatives
of the Palestinian people were ready to destroy any hope of the refugees
going home.

It will be - and is - an outrage for the Palestinians to learn how their
representatives have turned their backs on them. There is no way in which,
in the light of the Palestine Papers, these people can believe in their
own rights.

They have seen on film and on paper that they will not go back. But across
the Arab world - and this does not mean the Muslim world - there is now an
understanding of truth that there has not been before.

It is not possible any more, for the people of the Arab world to lie to
each other. The lies are finished. The words of their leaders - which are,
unfortunately, our own words - have finished. It is we who have led them
into this demise. It is we who have told them these lies. And we cannot
recreate them any more.

In Egypt, we British loved democracy. We encouraged democracy in Egypt -
until the Egyptians decided that they wanted an end to the monarchy. Then
we put them in prison. Then we wanted more democracy. It was the same old
story. Just as we wanted Palestinians to enjoy democracy, providing they
voted for the right people, we wanted the Egyptians to love our democratic
life. Now, in Lebanon, it appears that Lebanese "democracy" must take its
place. And we don't like it.

We want the Lebanese, of course, to support the people who we love, the
Sunni Muslim supporters of Rafiq Hariri, whose assassination - we rightly
believe - was orchestrated by the Syrians. And now we have, on the streets
of Beirut, the burning of cars and the violence against government.

And so where are we going? Could it be, perhaps, that the Arab world is
going to choose its own leaders? Could it be that we are going to see a
new Arab world which is not controlled by the West? When Tunisia announced
that it was free, Mrs Hillary Clinton was silent. It was the crackpot
President of Iran who said that he was happy to see a free country. Why
was this?

In Egypt, the future of Hosni Mubarak looks ever more distressing. His
son, may well be his chosen successor. But there is only one Caliphate in
the Muslim world, and that is Syria. Hosni's son is not the man who
Egyptians want. He is a lightweight businessman who may - or may not - be
able to rescue Egypt from its own corruption.

Hosni Mubarak's security commander, a certain Mr Suleiman who is very ill,
may not be the man. And all the while, across the Middle East, we are
waiting to see the downfall of America's friends. In Egypt, Mr Mubarak
must be wondering where he flies to. In Lebanon, America's friends are
collapsing. This is the end of the Democrats' world in the Arab Middle
East. We do not know what comes next. Perhaps only history can answer this
question.

 2011 The Independent
Robert Fisk is Middle East correspondent for The Independent newspaper.
He is the author of many books on the region, including The Great War for
Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East.


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