Posts Tagged: Society

Feb 11

After Mubarak: Is Egypt Still A Stalled Society?

In the wake of Mubarak’s resignation, amidst the ongoing Egyptian unrest, it is worth recalling what became known as the “Kamshish Affair” from April, 1966 (following the assassination of peasant leader Salah Husain Maqlad), and its aftermath. The events of that era offer insights—mostly unchanged, 45 years later—that provide lasting insights into the political, social, and economic development of Egypt.

During March 1965, Gamal Abdel Nasser accompanied by Che Guevarra visited Kamshish a small village in the heart of the Nile Delta, some 40 miles north of Cairo. As described in Egypt, The Stalled Society,

Banners were hoisted and the solemn proclamation that “the revolution of Kamshish greets the leader of the mother revolution” was posted at the village gate. Nasser and Che Guevara were serenaded with folk songs that told the saga of the village struggle against feudalism and how the feudalists tried to isolate the leader from the peasant masses.

Kamshish thus became an iconic “Mecca” for the Left, to which not only Che Guevara, but other luminaries of the Left including Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, paid tribute. The village was ostensibly on the threshold of a socialist revolution, presumably destined to engulf the entire country. However, the anticipated “revolution” never materialized—despite the Nasserist governments creation of the self-explanatory “Higher Committee for the Liquidation of Feudalism.” And Nasser was subsequently replaced by Anwar Sadat, who released Nasser’s sworn enemies, most notably the Ikhwan, or Muslim Brotherhood. Sadat even allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to reorganize and publish its journal, Al-Da’wa. Egypt, The Stalled Society concluded (in 1986), regarding the Muslim Brotherhood,

Despite denials, the history of the Ikhwan remains inextricably intertwined with past violence and political assassinations in Egypt.

With Mubarak’s departure, given the Muslim Brotherhood’s stature as the largest and most organized “opposition party”— admitted even by delusive apologists for the jihadist organization—any rush to one man one vote elections will empower the Ikhwan, in accord with Sharia-based views (on the application of strict Islamic Law, including amputations for theft, stoning for adultery, and execution for apostasy) that are clearly shared by some ¾ of the Egyptian population.

Big Peace

Feb 11

Mubarak, Obama Cutting Funds for Civil Society in Egypt, and Counterterrorism: Today’s Qs for O’s WH- 2/11/11

TAPPER: Thanks, Robert. Before I ask my last questions of you in this room, good luck, and I hope you get to spend a lot of time with Ethan. I’ve also taken the liberty of going back and looking at…

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Political Punch

Feb 11

Menace to Society 2: Rick Scott’s ‘punch the homeless’ budget plan (plus: where is Jennifer Carroll?)

Florida Governor Rick Scott continues his quest to literally become a cartoon villain, zeroing out such things as aid to the homeless and transplants for the indigent in his “jobs” budget. Hey Gollum! Jan Brewer called. She wants her evil back… From the Miami Herald’s Naked Politics blog: Last year, agencies that help Florida’s homeless [...]
The Reid Report

Feb 11

Menace to Society: 7 Reasons Rick Scott is bad for Florida

When Rick Scott was running for Florida governor, he tagged his “let’s get to work” jobs plan “777.” Now that he’s in office and has issued his first budget, the numbers that come to mind are more like “666.” How bad is Scott for Florida? Let me count the ways … 1. He doesn’t understand [...]
The Reid Report

Feb 11

Federalist Society Debate about Miranda and Questioning Suspected Terrorists

(Paul Cassell)

 Professor Guiora (a colleague of mine at Utah) and I recently debate the appropriateness of Miranda warnings in the context of terrorism investigations.  Here’s a link to the Federalist Society’s podcast of the debate, which revolves around whether or not the “public safety” exception to Miranda  should apply in the context of questioning suspected terrorists.  I argue that, under current doctrine, the exception easily applies; Professor Guiora argues that using the exception would put us on a slippery slope, sliding toward the destruction of civil liberties.

The Volokh Conspiracy

Feb 11

Francis Maude defines and defends the Big Society


Feb 11

British PM says multiculturalism has failed, Muslims must integrate into British society

In pronouncing multiculturalism a failure, Cameron joins Angela Merkel, who said the same for multiculturalism in Germany. Hopefully, his words also signal a substantive U-turn from the Labour Party’s quiet but deliberate campaign to make Britain “truly multicultural,” as if that must necessarily be a good thing, and something Britain needed in order to be better than it was. After all, if it ain’t broke, keep on fixing it ’til it is.

“Muslims must embrace our British values, David Cameron says,” by James Kirkup for the Telegraph, February 5:

Entering the debate on national identity and religious tolerance, the Prime Minister declared an end to “passive tolerance” of divided communities, and say that members of all faiths must integrate into wider society and accept core values.

To be British is to believe in freedom of speech and religion, democracy and equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality, he will say. Proclaiming a doctrine of “muscular liberalism”, he said that everyone, from ministers to ordinary voters, should actively confront those who hold extremist views.

He warned that groups that fail to promote British values will no longer receive public money or be able to engage with the state.

His speech, to an international security conference in Munich, comes after The Daily Telegraph disclosed the extent to which the British intelligence community fears the “unique threat” of terrorist attacks by radicalised British Muslims.

Mr Cameron promised a new willingness to argue against and “defeat” extremist ideologies that lead some to engage in terrorism.

That means abandoning the notion that different communities should be able to live according to their own values and traditions as long as they stay within the law. “Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream,” Mr Cameron said. “We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong.”

No, society has bent over backwards to accommodate them. There can be no more waiting around for people to “want to belong.” If they don’t, why are they there?

All Britons should believe in basic values of freedom and equality, and actively promote them, he said. That means ensuring that immigrants learn to speak English and that all schools teach “elements of a common culture and curriculum”.

See below, regarding the enforcement of a core curriculum.

The Prime Minister accepted that multiculturalism has left some members of the white community feeling unfairly treated. Racism and intolerance are “rightly” condemned, he said. “But when equally unacceptable views or practices have come from someone who isn’t white, we’ve been too cautious, frankly too fearful, to stand up to them.”

Allegations of racism and hatred have been a highly successful emotional ploy to silence criticism of Islam and of unacceptable behavior by Muslims.

The speech comes after Baroness Warsi, the Conservative Party chairman, caused controversy by claiming that prejudice against Muslims was widespread and socially acceptable.

Still not touching that third rail:

Mr Cameron will drew a clear distinction between “Islamist extremism” as a political ideology, and the Islamic faith itself. “We need to be clear: Islamic extremism and Islam are not the same thing,” he said.

The Government is reviewing its entire strategy for counter-terrorism and community cohesion amid concern that the state is working too closely with Muslim groups that do not fully endorse liberal values. Mr Cameron said that community groups will be scrutinised in future to see if they promote democracy, equality and integration. Those that fail the “tests” will be cut off. “No public money, no sharing of platforms with ministers,” he said..

One must make sure the scrutiny is meaningful: one problem such attempts at quality control have encountered recently occurred when sympathetic Muslims were placed in charge of oversight, and whitewashed alarming findings on Islamic schools.

Jihad Watch

Jan 11

Video of Madison, Wisconsin Federalist Society Panel on the Individual Mandate Litigation

(Ilya Somin)

The Wisconsin Eye website has posted a video of a recent Madison, Wisconsin Federalist Society panel on the individual mandate, in which I spoke along with Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and Democratic state representative Jon Richards (who defended the constitutionality of the mandate).


The Volokh Conspiracy

Jan 11

Call to UN Human Rights Commission to denounce Hamas prayers for Jewish genocide shown at SOAS Palestine Society (University College, London) on 24 January

A letter from David G. Littman, representative to the UN-Geneva for the World Union for Progressive Judaism and the Association for World Education, to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay:

Case Postale 205 - 1196 Gland - Suisse
27 January 2011 (email & fax)
Urgent Appeal
High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay
Director-General UNO-Geneva Sergei A. Ordzhonikidze

Remembrance and Beyond
International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust
Assembly Hall, Palais des Nations, Thursday, 27 January 2011, 5:00 p.m.

* * * * *

Film shown on 24 January 2011 at SOAS Palestine Society - University College London
(We are reproducing the web-video links and descriptive information below.)

A call made by Hamas Imam on 24 January: “Please, Allah, kill all the Jews”

Allah is the greatest. He who thanks Allah will be rewarded. Oh Allah, loosen your power and strength on the Jews. (Amen.) Please Allah, kill them all… And don’t leave any of them alive. (Amen.) Oh Allah, with your great power. Allah! We are asking you with your infinite power, dear Allah. Allah! Please dear Allah, take revenge for our martyrs’ blood. Allah! Please Allah, get rid of the Jews. Bring them down. They are not as powerful as you. Please Allah, make the earth shake and destroy the pillars of their civilisation. Please Allah, cast fear and terror into their hearts. Oh Allah disperse them so they become lost once again. Oh Allah, show us a sign. Oh Allah, surprise them in a way they don’t expect. Oh Allah, cast fear and terror into their hearts.

* * * * *

Richard Millett (a London lawyer):

It is amazing what you hear at some universities these days: Last night [24 January 2011] the SOAS Palestine Society showed a new film called, bemusingly, To Shoot an Elephant, which is an almost two hour documentary about activists helping Palestinian paramedics in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. [Jan. 2009] The title seemed apt in that it was like watching tourists on safari trying to film a kill, except in the film’s case the kill were to be only young Palestinian children. There was lots of tragic footage of dead Palestinian children moments after they had passed away in hospital. The footage was heartbreaking but inexplicable in its lack of respect for the privacy of the dead and injured. We were also shown dead children in the hospital morgue. (…) Although the lack of protective shelters was obviously not mentioned in the film as one of the main causes of civilian casualties, it is so obvious that a biased audience is bound to miss it.

Before the film started we were warned that we will hear the term “Al Yahud” quite a few times, but although it means “Jews” in Arabic we should understand that in the Palestinian context it means Israelis. This is because, apparently, when the Palestinians see a Star of David on an Israeli soldier’s uniform they see him as Jewish even though he is Israeli. I tried to be open minded. I accepted that explanation even after seeing one Palestinian, who had had his fruit stall damaged, refer to Jews as “dogs”. However, then we came to a funeral where an Imam was saying prayers not for the souls of the dead children but for the murder of every Jew. When, at the end, I objected to this scene I was merely accused of playing “the anti-Semitism card” or taking the words out of context. Judging by the flags in the background the funeral seems to have been arranged by Hamas and, possibly, Hezbollah.

* * * * *

Madam, sir, we noted the Secretary-General’s remarks 2 days ago to the HRC: “The HCHR & her office are your great allies [ref. to NGOs].” We, therefore, call on you and the Director-General to speak out strongly today at the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust to condemn this growing ‘culture of hate’ (Jew-Hatred/Judeophobia /Antisemitism), following in the footsteps of Nobel Peace Laureate Henri Dunant, who strongly condemned ‘Jew-hatred’ when founding the Red Cross in 1864.

David G. Littman (NGO representative of the WUPJ and the AWE to the UNO in Geneva)

Jihad Watch (25 Jan. 2011)

P.S. In advance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day several Iranian websites published articles denying the Holocaust. The website of the Iranian “Adolf Hitler Research Society” recently posted an undated article titled “A Reassessment of the Holocaust,” claiming that photos documenting the Holocaust were doctored and forged by the Jews. Also, on January 26, 2011, the Iranian semi-official news agency Mehr published the first in a series of articles by French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson, titled “Holocaust: The Historic Fraud.”

MEMRI, Special Dispatch - N° 3538 - January 26, 2011

Jihad Watch

Jan 11

Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award Retired by Society of Professional Journalists

This item isn’t news but its low profile is:

Nobody knows better than journalists that the best way an organization can bury an announcement it knows will make news is to do so late on a Friday.

So it’s little wonder that the Society for Professional Journalists decided to announce its retirement of the Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award on January 14.

Of course, the SPJ’s release makes clear it’s not because the organization had a change of heart about Thomas’s worthiness of having a namesake award but because “No individual worthy of such honor should have to face this controversy. No honoree should have to decide if the possible backlash is worth being recognized for his or her contribution to journalism.”

It’s understandable they should want to retire it. A journalist getting the Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award would be kind of like an actor getting the Mel Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award. In either case, if someone Jewish got it he/she might feel a little (ahem) uneasy..

The Moderate Voice

Jan 11

Two More Americans Killed by Great Society Abroad

Just as the Great Society didn’t work in our own country on our own people, the Great Society Abroad doesn’t work on alien peoples in foreign cultures, either. It didn’t work in Vietnam, as discussed here by the late Peter Braestrup, and it doesn’t work in Iraq or Afghanistan. This means that it’s not a military defeat that faces us on what I wish were imminent withdrawal from the umma (oh, happy day and good riddance), but rather another costly validation of the fact that social engineering doesn’t work, even with guns.

The civilian leadership and the military brass must be held accountable for this travesty.

From the Associated Press:

BAGHDAD — Two U.S. troops were killed Saturday by an Iraqi soldier who apparently smuggled real bullets into a training exercise and opened fire, raising fresh concerns about the nation’s security forces as the Americans prepare to leave by the end of this year.

A U.S. military official said the shooter was immediately killed by American soldiers who were running the morning drill at a training center on a U.S. base in the northern city of Mosul. The U.S. official said the exercise was not meant to involve live ammunition, and an Iraqi army officer said the shooting appeared to have been planned.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information. A U.S. statement confirmed that two soldiers were killed and a third was wounded by small-arms fire by what the military described as “an individual wearing an Iraqi army uniform.”

“This incident occurred during a training event being conducted by U.S. forces as part of their advise and assist mission with Iraqi security forces,” the U.S. military said in a statement.

The Americans were not identified pending notification of next of kin, and the statement provided few other details. The U.S. troops were from the 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, based at Ft. Hood, Texas.

Our leaders deny it was jihad at home, and they’ll deny it was jihad abroad.

Additionally, another American soldier was killed Saturday during an unrelated military operation in central Iraq, making it one of the deadliest days for U.S. forces in the country in months. A U.S. military statement offered no details about that death.

The Mosul attack underscores the threats that U.S. forces continue to face in Iraq even though most of the estimated 47,000 troops no longer go on regular combat missions. The vast majority of American troops left _ down from nearly 170,000 in 2008 _ are all but confined to bases where they help train Iraqi police, soldiers and pilots how to protect the country from threats like insurgents and invasions….

“All but confined to bases” — in the “new” Iraq? Gee, that sure was a magnificent victory: We get to play rent-a-cop-and-trainer. Meanwhile, if Iraqi police, soldiers and pilots haven’t gotten the idea by now, they’re just not gonna get it.

Details about the deadly exercise were sketchy Saturday afternoon. A pair of Iraqi security officials said two assailants were captured after the shooting. The U.S. military official disputed that account. Such confusion is common immediately following a deadly event.

Make that after, during and before.

Big Peace

Jan 11

“The main concern here in Kurdistan is that religious leaders think that they must be the leaders of the whole society”

That’s the whole point of Sharia. In the first place, it is difficult to impose and maintain limitations on the power of government or ensure its accountability when it is recognized not as a government of citizens by citizens, but as the direct and unquestionably correct implementation of orders from on high.

Add to that the scope of Sharia, in which one may find rules for almost every imaginable aspect of human existence, and also the brutality it allows in order to maintain Islam’s dominance, and it is clear one is dealing with a mindset of “government knows best” on steroids. It is that mentality that drives the clerics’ sense of entitlement to rule.

“Kurds of Iraq May Ban Friday Sermons,” from AINA, January 15:

Secularists in the Iraqi Kurdistan region have pushed through a government ban on the Friday religious sermons, driving an ideological rift with the committed Muslims.

The move by some alleged intellectuals and feminists came after Mullah Farman Kharabaiy, the Imam of Majidawa Mosque in the capital of Arbil, accused a number of leading Kurdish feminists of blasphemy in his Friday sermon, reported Press TV’s correspondent in the city, Matt Frazer.

Those referred to by Kharabaiy have also complained to the police, alleging that the words by the religious authority constituted a direct threat to their lives.

“The main concern here in Kurdistan is that religious leaders think that they must be the leaders of the whole society…,” Mariwan Naqshabani, a political expert told our correspondent.

The parliament is currently discussing a law which would only allow the government to authorize and broadcast three Friday sermons, one from each of the Kurdistan region’s major cities of Arbil, Sulaymaniyah, and Duhok.

“Ninety percent of the people here are Muslim. Those who are gathering signatures and petitioning the government to make this law should consider its acceptance by the majority of the people in the region,” said Salim Koyi from the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan.

“Religious leaders talk about the failures of the political leadership and the absence of government. That’s why even the ruling parties are silent, when religious leaders are attacked by intellectuals,” he added.

Our correspondent said, “Many religious groups are ready to stage demonstrations if the law passes and experts agree that the vast majority of the population would oppose such a ban.”

Jihad Watch

Jan 11

Education and Society

By Andrew J. Coulson

The Washington Post‘s Valerie Strauss asserted yesterday that “public education is a civic institution” and laments that it is seldom talked about as such (kindly citing our upcoming Cloning “Superman” event in the process).

Certainly the way children are educated can have a powerful impact on the kind of society they go on to build. And there are many social goals on which Americans strongly agree: that schools should prepare children for the responsibilities of citizenship as much as for success in private life; that they should encourage harmonious relations among people of different backgrounds (or at least not foment conflict); and that they should ensure that every child, regardless of background, has access to a quality education.

But does anyone seriously believe that our existing school system is doing a satisfactory job in any of these areas? I doubt that Ms. Strauss herself believes that, and suspect that she was merely expressing the view that our education system should do these things rather than claiming that it already was. Consider the hundreds of community conflicts around the country documented by my colleague Neal McCluskey as having been caused by public schools in a single year. Consider, too, the literature review performed by the University of Arkansas’ Patrick Wolf showing that the civic outcomes of freely chosen (usually private) schools are consistently superior to those of public schools, after controlling for differences in student and family background. And one needn’t have seen the documentary Waiting for Superman to realize that public schools have been failing far too many children, especially poor and minority children, for far too long.

If we are to remedy these profound shortcoming in American education, our best hope is to set aside our preconceptions about what kind of school systems should produce the social goods we seek, and instead ask which systems actually do produce them.

Having reviewed the worldwide econometric literature of the past 25 years, I’ve found that it is the most marketlike education systems that have consistently done the best job of serving disadvantaged children (indeed, all children) both here and abroad. Wolf’s literature review also favors private schools in their civic outcomes. And when people can get the sort of education they value for their own children without being compelled to impose their preferences on their neighbors, the conflicts caused by public schooling are avoided. Even with regard to meaningful integration among children of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, the private education sector performs as well or better than the state sector.

If Ms. Strauss or anyone else has compelling evidence to the contrary, I’ll be interested to hear of it. And if she or anyone else would like to know what the social impact of decades of private school choice has been in a communitarian nation like Sweden, they’re welcome to come to Cato and ask Peje Emilsson on the 28th of this month.

Education and Society is a post from Cato @ Liberty - Cato Institute Blog

Cato @ Liberty

Jan 11

For your reading pleasure: Understanding Society

Here’s the topical table of contents for “Understanding Society,” a well-written blog with lots of analytical tools. Enjoy!

Recent quick hits

Jan 11

South Florida congressional spouse says husband, society shouldn’t retreat in wake of shooting

Jill Deutch, the wife of U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, said the Saturday shooting of one of her husband’s colleagues delivered a big jolt.

“It sort of rocked the orbit of my world. It really did,” she said in an interview Monday after she participated with her husband in a ceremonial swearing in for members of Congress in Fort Lauderdale.

Ted Deutch, a former member of the Florida Senate, was elected to a Broward-Palm Beach county congressional seat in a special election in April. He was elected to a full term in November.

Jill Deutch’s reaction on Saturday: “It was shocking and horrifying. The same as everyone else,” she said.

She participated in a bipartisan Sunday conference call among members of Congress, their spouses and top aides. She said she firmly believes that members of Congress, and the public, shouldn’t be frightened into changing their activities.

“I don’t think anybody should change their behavior,” she said. “We have to keep doing what we’re doing and be out in public with the people.”

Jill Deutch said she never considered skipping the Monday event at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. “Not for second.”

Broward Politics