Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

June 19, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

FREEDOM ON THE MARCH....Marc Lynch reports on the latest from Hosni Mubarak's Egypt:

I was bowled over by [an] al-Jazeera show discussing a draft law in the Egyptian Parliament to "combat rumours." The law, proposed by a member of Mubarak's NDP, would create a special unit assigned to combat the spread of "false information"....Egyptian NDP Parliamentarian Hisham Mustafa Khalil defended the draft law as necessary to protect national security and the Egyptian economy.

....Even if it can't realistically force a Mubarak to allow himself to be voted out of office, the US should be able to demand that its allies respect core values such as human rights and freedom of speech especially at a time when Egypt's aid package is sort of, kind of, open for discussion. If Egypt actually passed a law like this, it would make a complete mockery of America's democracy talk again.

If Mubarak and the State Department were smart, they'd deliberately set up some loyal party member to introduce a bill like this solely so Mubarak could kill it, thus earning brownie points for openness and liberalism. I have a feeling that's not what's going on, though.

Kevin Drum 12:57 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (38)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

I'm sure Bush would enthusiastically back such a law here in the US.

Posted by: craigie on June 19, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

...the US should be able to demand that its allies respect core values such as human rights and freedom of speech...

Do we still possess the ability to make these demands without being laughed out of the room?

Posted by: Nikki on June 19, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

I like the idea of muzzling of the free press being an overt activity of the government.

Why hide it under the guise of being predisposed to desire to have the intentions to engage in national security program related activities?

Posted by: nut on June 19, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

The law, proposed by a member of Mubarak's NDP, would create a special unit assigned to combat the spread of "false information". Even if it can't realistically force a Mubarak to allow himself to be voted out of office, the US should be able to demand that its allies respect core values such as human rights and freedom of speech especially at a time when Egypt's aid package is sort of, kind of, open for discussion.

I guess Kevin Drum has never heard of libel and slander laws. NEXT!

Posted by: Al on June 19, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK
Even if it can't realistically force a Mubarak to allow himself to be voted out of office, the US should be able to demand that its allies respect core values such as human rights and freedom of speech

Wouldn't that be rather more effective if the US actually itself respected core values such as human rights and freedom of speech?

(And isn't "core values such as human rights and freedom of speech" redundant? Isn't "freedom of speech" a component of "human rights"?)

Posted by: cmdicely on June 19, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

So what else is new?

As near as I can tell, the United States has never met a dictator it didn't like (we even backed Saddam unconditionally until he threatened Carlyle Group's profits by invading Kuwait). Mubarak stifling free speech is just A-Okay because he's OUR dictator.

Conversely, we have rarely met a democracy we did not want to overthrow. From Mosadegh back in the '50s to Hamas, Chavez, and a bunch of South American democratically elected presidents today, America DESPISES democracy and will work very, very hard to see a strongman dictator installed ASAP.

So what, exactly, makes you think the U.S. will lift a finger over an anti-rumor law in Egypt?

Posted by: Derelict on June 19, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Iran forces Jews to wear a gold star: Kevin Drum doesn't comment.
Egypt enacts laws similar to our libel/slander laws: OMGWTFBBQ fascism.

Expected.

Posted by: American Hawk on June 19, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk

At least be current on the talking point of the day.

The Iran issue has been debunked. Do your own research.

Posted by: nut on June 19, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

And another bit of performance art from our resident troll. Hawkie, aren't you getting tired of this by now? Guys, he's been outed as a troll who does not believe what he says and is in it just for the fun; let him alone.

Posted by: PaulB on June 19, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

a special unit assigned to combat the spread of "false information"....

If only we'd had this during the run-up to Bush's War.

Posted by: ckelly on June 19, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Iran forces Jews to wear a gold star: Kevin Drum doesn't comment.
Egypt enacts laws similar to our libel/slander laws: OMGWTFBBQ fascism.

Expected.

Yeah, not so much:

"OTTAWA, Canada (Reuters) -- A Canadian newspaper apologized Wednesday for an article that said Iran planned to force Jews and other religious minorities to wear distinctive clothing to distinguish themselves from Muslims."

Posted by: cyntax on June 19, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Egypt could hire Maggie Gallagher and Armstrong Williams to disseminate favorable information about the state.

Posted by: kc on June 19, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

So really, how much Mubarak-style clamp down might actually be necessary to effectively run a mid-east 3rd world Muslim nation?

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on June 19, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

"If Mubarak and the State Department were smart, they'd deliberately set up some loyal party member to introduce a bill like this solely so Mubarak could kill it, thus earning brownie points for openness and liberalism."

Yeah, I don't see that happening, ever!

Posted by: sheerahkahn on June 19, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Egypt has for the last three years led Arab League opposition to any effectual action to stop genocide being overseen by the government of Sudan.

Perhaps Kevin Drum should explain why some bogus proposal about fighting rumors in Egypt's rubber-stamp parliament is the most important issue we have to discuss with the government in Cairo.

Posted by: Zathras on June 19, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe, just maybe, even improbably, the Egyptian law is intended to combat the American Psy-Ops propaganda "rumors" such as the false 'babies thrown from incubators by Iraqis in Kuwait' and the false 'Iran forces religious minorities to wear cloth swatches' stories.

If free speech to have any use or any validity as a universal value, then adhering to Truth is a necessary component for the functioning of the free marketplace of ideas.

Had the US any confidence in the value of its ideas, the rightness of its cause, and the attractiveness of the political principles that (ostensibly) define our way of life -- wouldn't we just put the Truth out there and let it win out in the ensuing debate?

When those ideas can't outweigh plain old sovereignty, when we have to substitute rumor for an open and objective weighing of which party has a just cause and the wind of history at their back . . . then it's time to re-evaluate the conduct of our foreign policy.

The Pentagon's misinformation campaign is massive. It's flooded Iraqi media with cash. It is conducted at home, and in Iraq. It works to wholly distort any sort of functional debate, exchange of information, or evaluation of political events through the exercise of free speech.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on June 19, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Where's the Rendon Group when you need them?
Oh yeah - they're already working for OUR government....
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-peter-rost/how-a-public-relations-fi_b_22912.html

Posted by: Blue Steel on June 19, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

In Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, and other Middle Eastern nations, authoritarianism is probably the only thing holding down the Islamists. Go ahead, push your democratic values, and see who wins the elections.

You complain about the rise of Islam in Iraq when a secular regime fell, and then complain when another country's secular regime is using same techniques to keep Islamism in check.

Posted by: Saddams lawyer on June 19, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

it would make a complete mockery of America's democracy talk

I think Diebold already does that.

Posted by: Thumb on June 19, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

al, you're either an idiot or a fake. i'm not sure which after your last comment, since neither libel or slander have anything to do with rumors but rather defamation. and even defamation is not criminal in this country.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on June 19, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

I wouldn't worry overmuch about Egypt passing legislation
that makes a mockery of America's democracy talk.

Nope.

Worry instead about republicans winning the
midterms in this country and passing a law
that would prevent someone like me saying:

IRAQ IS LOST!
and...
BUSH LOST IRAQ!

Trust me Kevin.
The repugs in this country would love to eliminate truthful anti-bush speech.

That's what you need to worry after...

Posted by: koreyel on June 19, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Why would you support Egypts right for free speech? You don't even support that here. The left continues to harangue and shout down anyone that vocalizes opposition to their positions. They claim that the alternative media (mainly talk radio) is part and partial to the breakdown of freedoms, prefering to go back to the old days when we only received our news and information via the MSM and three networks.

The left will not allow any reference to God in the public square, will not tolerate opposition to abortion on demand, ridicules those opposed to same sex marriage and continues to belittle mid-America for their opposition to illegal immigration. And this is coming from the reality based community.

Posted by: Jay on June 19, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Well, you got one interesting point rigth. The NDP forced its representative to withdraw the legislation.

However, I am not sure this was all a big plan to earn Mubarak points. This particular representative won the elections as an independent, against Dr. Hossam Badrawi, a very powerful NDP star (and a close friend of Gamal Mubarak), and won. He later joined the NDP, but claimed he was subjected to a defamation campaign by Badrawi's supporters.

I only hope that Israeli harsh policies are subjected to the same close scrutiny accorded to Arab and Muslim plolitics. Don't get me wrong. Keep it up when it comes to Arab politcs. Just do the same with Israel.

Posted by: diplocai on June 19, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

The left will not allow any reference to God in the public square, will not tolerate opposition to abortion on demand, ridicules those opposed to same sex marriage and continues to belittle mid-America for their opposition to illegal immigration.

As a proud leftist I am overjoyed that we have so much power.

Posted by: nut on June 19, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

One of the claimed benefits to conservative foreign policy in Iraq is that since we acted tough and invaded, other nations will now capitulate without a fight fearful of the consequences of facing a wrathful and forceful Bush.

Oops.

96% of Americans don't think Iran will stop enriching uranium.

Bush backbone = wet noodle, according to the American people.

My how the theories of the "mighty" have fallen.

Jay: The left will not allow any reference to God in the public square . . .

This lie is just as bad as your lie about the prisoners at Gitmo not being prisoners and just as laughable.

And this is coming from the "values community".

. . . will not tolerate opposition to abortion on demand . . .

Yeah, the left has bombed dozens of offices of abortion opponents and killed or harrassed hundreds.

Oops! That would be the Right bombing dozens of abortion clinics and killing or harrassing hundreds of choice supporters.

You are such a joke, Jay.

The left continues to harangue and shout down anyone that vocalizes opposition to their positions.

BTW, "haranguing" is not an interference with freedom of speech; even if that were true, then conservatives would be the worse off in that argument because they've spent the last two decades foaming at the mouth and haranguing anyone who disagrees with them, Ann Coulter being the epitome of this conservative tactic, especially anyone objecting to the administration on the war in Iraq or its global whine on terrorism.

Really, Jay, you need to get out more or quit lying.

One or the other.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 19, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Jay: They claim that the alternative media (mainly talk radio) is part and partial to the breakdown of freedoms, prefering to go back to the old days when we only received our news and information via the MSM and three networks.

Since you aren't receiving any news and information via talk radio and wingnut alternative media, but merely fantasies, lies, disinformation, propaganda, and mewling whines about how white conservatives are so discriminated against to go along with your simpering fearful demands that our freedoms take a back seat to any risk of terror attack no matter how remote, the good old days of the "MSM and three networks" might be a refreshing change of pace for you: a good dose of reality.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 19, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

It's all part of the delusion of the left nut.

advocate, if the left is so confident on Roe v Wade being popularly supported, why the litmus test for judges and why the fear that it will wind up back in the courts. Explain SD and their popularly supported recent ban on abortion. I do not condone at all abortion clinic bombings or violence, but I also don't support the contention that the majority support abortion.

For everyone Ann Coulter I give you:
Michale Moore
Al Franken
Randi Rhodes
Susan Sarandon
Cindy Sheehan
Alec Baldwin, etc., etc., etc.
(there's just not enought time to continue)


96% of blah blah blah, enough with polls advo. I would think you would refrain from that after being miserably embarassed from the polls the last three elections.

FYI, There are no prisoners at Gitmo. They are detained enemy combatants. And you have the mendacity to say "wet noodle" considering the "Hero's" when the left has the likes of Dennis Kucinich, Howard Dean and Cynthia McKinney?

Posted by: Jay on June 19, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

"...the risk of attack no matter how remote...." advocate

Haven't you been telling us that GW is doing a poor job of protecting this country because of the complete lack of port security? Yet you seem to think the any attack is "remote". So why the bother, or were you playing polictics again?

And do you even listen to the shit you spew on a daily basis?

Posted by: Jay on June 19, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Jay the Liar: . . . why the litmus test for judges . . .

It is the Bush administration that has applied an abortion litmus test for judges, as you well know.

There are no prisoners at Gitmo.

There are no "prisoners of war" at Gitmo, at least according to the administration's self-serving and politically convenient opinion on the matter.

"Prisoners" is a generic term applying to any detainee.

You are too stupid for words.

Try a dictionary, and not the Dictionary of Convenient Conservative Misdefinitions that you use in making your claim that the detainees at Gitmo aren't "prisoners", if you don't under stand the meaning of the word "prisoner".

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 19, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

I am still waiting to find out the word "is" means.

You're right, Bush does have a litmus test. It's that all judges will interpret the constitution, not define it or alter it.

"..too stupid for words...". Your words hardly mean much.

Posted by: Jay on June 19, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Jay the Liar and Misuser of Words: And do you even listen to the shit you spew on a daily basis?

I don't listen to little voices in my head or talk to myself, as you apparently do.

And, assuming for the sake of argument that I did spew sh*t, it is far better than spewing lies AND sh*t in obsequious service to an incompetent, cowardly, and corrupt leader, like you do.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 19, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

It doesn't take much to unhinge you does it advocate.

btw, this fall there will be another "inconvenient truth" the left will have to contend with.

Posted by: Jay on June 19, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Jay: I am still waiting to find out the word "is" means.

That's what you get from using the Dictionary of Convenient Conservative Misdefinitions - you never know what the meaning of any word is, since it can mean anything to a conservative that is convenient at any given moment.

Sorta like your misdefinition of "prisoner".

Your words hardly mean much.

Yes, the truth never means much to the Right.

We understand that, so you don't need to remind us.

It's that all judges will interpret the constitution, not define it or alter it.

If that were true, he wouldn't be supportive of Thomas or Scalia, both of whom constantly alter or define it to suit their political agenda.

LOL.


Posted by: Advocate for God on June 19, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Jay: It doesn't take much to unhinge you does it advocate.

And it doesn't take a thing to get you to lie.

You even do it when it is unnecessary!

Just like your hero, George W. Bushliar.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 19, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Jay: btw, this fall there will be another "inconvenient truth" the left will have to contend with.

Not nearly as inconvenient as no massive stockpiles of WMDs and an approval rating that got nearly as low as Carter and Nixon and is mired consistently 13-18 points below Clinton's second-term worst.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 19, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

You are definitely more than qualified to lead the DNC into battle (ooh bad choice of words, I meant to say an understanding of the enemy). In fact if your positions are adopted by the party and become planks of the '08 platform (btw, how's coming along) you're sure to win, I promise. Even the polls will tell you that.

Advocate is a perfect example of the what left has become. Angry little people void of vision, leadership and a sense of what's right yet with a plethora of complaints and a firm knowledge of what's wrong.

Posted by: Jay on June 19, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

Hi,
Just a quick note.

Watching Lehrer interview Ben Bradlee -- and neither one, of course, gets it.

Ruminating over truth and lies, Lehrer leans over and says, 'Some people ask people who do what we do, ask me, when you have somebody on and you ask them a question and then the answer they give isn't factual, they ask 'why don't you say -- LIAR!!' "

"Why do people want less journalism? Less of what we do?"

[paraphrasing]

I thought it was telling that Jim Lehrer utterly inverts the situation, what people's understanding of it is, along with how he functions and what his role is in the public arena.


A good opportunity to take up the topic with him and Bradlee both.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on June 19, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

Jay: Angry little people void of vision, leadership and a sense of what's right yet with a plethora of complaints and a firm knowledge of what's wrong.

A perfect description of Bush and his supporters.

Exhibit 1: George Bush

Exhibit 2: Dick Cheney

Exhibit 3: Ann Coulter

Exhibit 4: Jay and all the other Bush lemmings

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 19, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly