“Prison Doesn’t Kill, Loneliness Does”: Filmmaker Dies In Prison For Video Mocking Egyptian President Al Sisi

Screen Shot 2020-05-04 at 7.33.18 AMAs the United States has continued to give the regime billions and President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi has been showered with praise from President Donald Trump, the Egyptian regime continues to wipe out free of speech, the free press, and other civil liberties.  The latest outrage is the death of Egyptian filmmaker Shady Habash, 24, who was incarcerated for two years without trial for a music video entitled “Balaha” mocking Sisi.  The American people has supported this lethally insecure authoritarian leader and a regime at war with the very founding principles of this country.  In a letter published by his supporters, Habash wrote “Prison doesn’t kill, loneliness does.”

Egypt has seen a dramatic rollback on civil liberties under al-Sissi with increasing pettiness and arbitrariness. A teenager was jailed for cartoons of Muhammad and a leading businessman was attacked for a cartoon of Micky Mouse with a beard. Then there was the three-year sentence given Amr Nohan, a 22-year-old law graduate for posting a Facebook image of Sisi with Mickey Mouse-style cartoon ears. A leading cartoonist Islam Gawish, 26, was arrested in Egypt by the hyper sensitive al-Sisi government. There was also the singer who simply complained about the lack of artistic freedom so the regime banned her from performing. It even banned yellow vests in fear that Egyptians might be inspired by the Paris protests.

Habash has been held in the notorious Tora prison in Cairo since 2018 when he was arrested for directing a music video for Ramy Essam, an Egyptian rock musician. Essam was a key artistic figure during the 2011 revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak. The video’s title “Balaha,” means date and is a widely used derisive nickname for Sisi.  

In Habash’s memory and in support for all of those still fighting for free expression in Egypt, here is the video (which seems from the flags in the background to have been shot in Arkansas):

 

The video has been seen millions of times — again showing the power of a free Internet despite rising calls for creeping forms of censorship from some American politicians and academics.

62 thoughts on ““Prison Doesn’t Kill, Loneliness Does”: Filmmaker Dies In Prison For Video Mocking Egyptian President Al Sisi”

  1. Egypt is the cradle of one of the major branches of Arabic dance. Dancers are getting jailed with some regularity as the country become militantly puritanical.

    Don’t forget about girls like Shakira and Bardis. No, not the Columbian Shakira.

  2. Most of the world does not share Western ideology. The United States even stands above the rest of the West in terms of free speech. We still have close ties with Europe, even though people are jailed or fined for speech. Bridget Bardot keeps getting into trouble with the law for opposing ritual animal slaughter.

    You cannot deal with the Middle East, India, or Asia at all if you require countries to abide by Western values. The Indian untouchable caste, the Dalits, alone should be enough to have prevented our ever speaking to India, let alone bride burnings, and the poor excuse for rape justice.

    That’s the problem with international relations. You have to smoothly deal with people whose values are totally foreign to you. If you travel to much of the world, you may meat people you find delightful. Be invited into their homes, and break bread with their families. You’ll make new friends. But every once in a while, they may do something that you find abhorrent. They are products of their culture, and may be fantastic people. But maybe they have a long tradition of arranged marriages, or women aren’t allowed to go places unchaperoned, or maybe antisemitism is the norm in the area.

    If you are a US President, you are guaranteed to have to cooperate, negotiate with, and maintain alliances with countries that engage with human rights abuses.

    I consider the erosion of free speech in Europe and Canada to be a human rights abuse. The penalty isn’t death, so it’s not yet at the same level as, say, China, where you can disappear after criticizing the government. Or God forbid you reside in Saudi Arabia and object to the change in succession that favored MBS.

    I’m not excusing this. It bothers me. But what are we supposed to do? The only other choice is to become isolationist. Require a certain standard to ally with any nation. I don’t think we can do that on the Russia/China/North Korea game play.

    The only meager suggestion I have to do anything about it is to withdraw, and take our money with us, from organizations like the UN. We funnel money into the coffers of dictators. I also see no point in further associating with an organization that put China and other abusers on the human rights committee. We need to control more of our charity money, rather than just dump it in the laps of bloated international organizations that do not share our values. Save the grin and bear it associations for politics.

    1. Karen, you misinterpret the present and are trying to withdraw from the future.

      The world is more like us than at any time in the past as conditions – health, longevity, enough to eat, and even wealth – improve for virtually all humans, including the 3rd world. This has occurred during a time when the chances of your meeting your end at the hands of another human are at an all time low.

      These facts are at least partly due to a long period without war and increased cooperation among nations and when the number of democracies are also at an all time high. The UN is not the cause of this, but it most certainly has been beneficial, as well as having been mostly on our side over the decades. Yes, things are not perfect and could turn south quickly and with deadly results – we have nuclear war and climate change hanging over our heads – and yes, there are still governments which seek to suppress their citizens, including murder (can I mention Kashoggi here, with the Chinese). But they are bastions of liberalism and tolerance compared to Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and Mao’s China. Don’t give up on the future based on a mistaken exaggeration of bad news. That’s how they sell newspapers and buy votes. If you have children – or not – reconsider.

      1. In what way are countries around the world just like us? Be specific. You know, help me out since I’m apparently confused as to what time period I’m living in.

        I am not under the misapprehension Xerxes is expanding an empire.

        You can still be jailed or killed for criticizing many governments around the world. MBS will hang his own cousins by the heels.

        A great many tourists die every year because they, like you, think that all countries are just like the US, they’re safe, and that individual rights are recognized. Girls go bicycling through remote extremist villages and just disappear.

        Do the Aztecs need to reincarnate and sacrifice humans again for the statement to be true that most of the world does not subscribe to Western values?

        1. Karen, maybe you’re too young to remember the cold war, the Iron Curtain, Mao, and various dictatorships in S and Central America – I’m too young to remember WWII – but there are more democracies now and the large repressive regimes of today are nowhere near as repressive as previously. You don’t have to like the Chinese government to recognize it is no longer communist except in name, cooperates internationally with us and other democracies on many common goals, and has allowed considerably more freedom to it’s people – who like other modern consumer cultures, like Iran, aspire to be like America – than imaginable only 20 years ago. Instead of instigating revolutions it seeks economic advantage in other countries – something we are doing a poor job under Trump of countering, but a challenge we should welcome.

          The world will never be perfect, but humans have become successful by cooperating on ever larger scale and in our current world the risk of not continuing that trend is as bad as the trend is good.

          1. Bythebook:

            Let me explain this to you.

            There have been periods of human history when terrible atrocities were committed. Baking Jewish people in ovens in Nazi Germany and Austria would be examples.

            That has zero to do with my statement that in international politics, Western leaders have to deal with most countries, who do not follow Western values. They have to negotiate and form alliances with leaders who do not follow Western values. That is because most of the world does not follow Western values.

            “Democracy” in planet Earth does not mean what it specifically does in the US. For example, Morsi was a democratically elected leader in Egypt who waived all law as it applied to him and set himself up as an autocrat. He was ousted, after a thousand or so deaths, by Sisi, who had a Lebanese journalist arrested for posting that the sexual harassment in Egypt made it an SOB country, and that they needed a more repressive leader than Sisi to control it. Ironic.

            Are you aware of the tribal warfare STILL going on in so much of Africa? You know, where they dig knives into little boys, stuff the wounds with drugs, make them go crazy and become insane rapist child soldiers? Now, does judging that atrocity require comparing it to the actions of the Vikings or Incas?

            None of your yeah buts detract from my point. We are expected to deal with foreign leaders whose actions we despise all the time. It’s either that, or ignore or conquer the world. How can you negotiate with North Korea in any capacity, if there is an objection to severe human rights abuses? Or how do we maintain an alliance with Saudi Arabia, since Jews are still not allowed to set foot there, unless they are historically brought by President Trump for a visit?

            This is one of the reasons why politics ensures that you have to make nice to people you despise. Nation building doesn’t work. I have no idea how to drag China, North Korea, and the Middle East into a Western ideal. There is no will there to reach for it.

            China has limited capitalism, not because it admires the West, but because Communist economies always crash. They had to allow some capitalism, of course without any individual rights that would have kept it fair. They had to do something about all the starvation.

            1. Karen, you fail to acknowledge that we always work in an imperfect world, but some times are more imperfect than others and some things work and others don’t.

              This is a very good time in the world for most humans to be alive – I note your weak attempt at making China somehow be worse now than during Mao – and we got this way through cooperation – and sometimes manipulation – with others with whom we don’t agree on basic values. Suck it up and face the future with hope. Your kids will thank you.

              1. Bythebook: You said:

                “Karen, you fail to acknowledge that we always work in an imperfect world, but some times are more imperfect than others and some things work and others don’t.

                This is a very good time in the world for most humans to be alive – I note your weak attempt at making China somehow be worse now than during Mao.”

                Actually, that’s not what I said, at all. I said that our leaders are required to interact with foreign leaders whose actions and values they despise. That’s part of their job description. It does not mean we endorse their laws or mores.

                I never said modern China was worse than during Mao. In fact, I never compared the two regimes at all. In fact, I indicated that it is illogical to claim that one cannot criticize modern societies because they are not operating at the scale of ancient human sacrifice.

                Why are you claiming my position is that I don’t want to work with other countries? Are you deliberately misrepresenting my position?

                I have only said I want to withdraw from the UN, not world affairs. We need more control over our money. I have said, repeatedly, that world leaders are called upon to negotiate, cooperate with, and form alliances with countries whose values are foreign to our own.

                1. Karen, forgive whatever misunderstanding I have of your position, but I continue to point out the incredible progress made over the last 75 years, including former despotic foes moving much closer to our values then previously. This is in some part due to increased cooperation and our international involvement. We cannot exit the UN, turn our back on NATO, hold former democratic allies at arms length, cut the throat of allies in the ME, and expect to continue to impact world events as favorably as we have in that productive past.

                  Hopefully now we agree that things are not terrible and certainly better than just a short while ago. Given that fact, your advocacy of abandoning our leadership position makes not much sense to me as an interpretation of what works for the future. Nothing the president has done – he seems to favor your position – has furthered global cooperation, nor has it benefited our own selfish interests. It is true that others more competent and trustworthy might be more successful instituting this policy, but that’s a gamble without a compelling rationale.

          2. We can cooperate with foreign nations without being members of the UN, the money sucking organization that puts human rights abusers in authority on human rights councils.

            When we pick and choose what international efforts we participate in, we have more control over where our money goes. Otherwise, it’s shut up and hand the money over.

            We also need individual control over our treaties. We should never be stuck in anything like the EU, for example. Member countries were stuck spending money to move the government between countries, monthly, at tremendous waste. Due to the organization of the EU, it would have gone on in perpetuity. They had lost control over their money.

            Engage in treaties, negotiations, and cooperation, but maintain a firm grip on sovereignty. I think the time has come to withdraw from the UN.

      2. http://poll2017.trust.org

        Check out the poll on the most dangerous cities in the world for women to travel. Mostly because they’re rapey.

        But, apparently, since the Aztecs no longer engage in human sacrifice it’s all just like us.

  3. I knew the Arab Spring would usher in more authoritarianism. They are the most organized. Egypt has been sliding down the black hole of extremism. It’s been going on for years. Dancers are jailed. Tourism was down before the pandemic, to the point that the touts were getting downright aggressive. Lord only knows how the Egyptian people fare now. A crisis tends to lead to further tightening by dictators

    1. I knew the Arab Spring would usher in more authoritarianism.

      It didn’t. What it ushered in depended on the specific country. Two countries suffered an internal breakdown of authority, a third suffered an exacerbation of an already troublesome insurgency, the liberal-democratic quality of political institutions got marginally worse in one country, marginally better in two or three countries, and were completely reconstituted in one country in a democratic direction. As for Egypt, they swapped out one military autocrat for another. Things didn’t get worse. They just didn’t get much better.

        1. “Sisi brought in the Muslim Brotherhood.”

          Morsi was Muslim Brotherhood. Sisi followed Morsi.

          1. Among other things. What ‘brought in’ the Muslim Brotherhood was a series of national elections. You want a fairly gross manifestation of the ways in which democratic institutions fail in the Near East and North Africa, that’s it. The 1991 and 1992 elections in Algeria are another.

            1. DSS, you can say that but I don’t think that accurately reflects the situation. You could probably say that the Muslim Brotherhood was the most organized political entity.

              1. That’s precisely what happened, in Egypt and in Algeria. The ‘most organized’ political entity in both places was the electoral vehicle of the country’s military. Egypt also had a menu of above ground political parties which had been ‘organized’ for several decades. The most popular of them one 8.5% of the vote. NB, the MB won 45% of the vote and a Salafist outfit won 28%. Nearly 3/4 of the electorate cast their ballots for revanchists.

      1. “But the euphoria faded as Egypt was whiplashed from one political extreme to another, from the oppressive government of the Muslim Brotherhood to the military regime that now rules. Five years after Egypt’s Arab Spring, the country is on shaky ground financially, unemployment is rampant and the people are angry. And an ISIS-linked insurgency is growing, the terror attacks becoming more brazen and frequent. Nothing seems sure in Egypt today, except that there’s bound to be more fitful change ahead.”

        https://www.cnn.com/2016/04/27/middleeast/egypt-how-we-got-here/index.html

        Protestors died in the Arab Spring, plus there were the rapes. Then many more died to get the next guy out. Islamic terrorism is a growing problem. After the Spring, there were so many attacks on foreigners, especially foreign women, that tourism essentially dried up. The touts just about kidnap you to get your money, they got so desperate.

        I would say that a couple of years ago, there were some gasps towards improving tourism in Egypt. But the sexual harassment and danger to women, especially, is still really intense. More so than under Mubarak. I don’t know if Russia ever did resume direct flights to Egypt. They took the loss of all 224 people on board an aircraft downed by terrorists very seriously.

        It was self destructive for the extremists to wreck the tourism industry of Egypt. It had kept the country afloat for many years. Egypt is still known as a difficult place for Westerners to visit, somewhat of a culture shock to women raised in a safe Western country.

        This might be off-putting to tourists planning their destination (at some time in the post Covid-19 future):

        “In early July (2018), Lebanese tourist Mona el-Mazboh was arrested at Cairo airport before her flight and days after sentenced to eight years in prison for “harming the Egyptian people” after a video she posted on social media went viral.

        A screenshot of Mona el-Mazboh wearing sunglasses in an apology video.
        Mona el-Mazboh’s harsh sentence and story of sexual harassment may deter other tourists.(Supplied: YouTube)
        She called Egypt “a son of a bitch country”, complained of sexual harassment and — referring to President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi — said “I hope God sends [Egypt] someone more oppressive than Sisi”.”

        Perhaps wait until you leave the country to post disparaging comments about Egypt.

        I follow Arabic dance, and too many prominent dancers have been jailed with immorality charges. Egypt has always been a strange dichotomy in the dance world. On the one hand, it is an Islamic country with its inherent prudishness. In many such, women only dance in multigenerational family gatherings. Women are controlled and repressed in many ways throughout the Middle East, but get them in a family gathering and they dance beautifully. Even the grandmothers. On the other hand, it is famous for its Egyptian dance style. Even if Egyptians won’t openly admit it, they all have their favorite dancers. Weddings usually have a dancer perform. With the rise of extremism, these dancers have been targeted and taken out. This destroys yet another source of income for Egypt – dance tourism. A great many dancers from all over the world used to go to Egypt to train, and even work for a while. I do not think that is wise anymore.

        Now they go to Greece and India and learn fusion styles instead of more authentic, specialized forms.

          1. Right. Are you asking if I blindly agree with everything you say while ignoring what I personally know on the matter?

            No, not usually. Rather a curmudgeon today, are we?

            1. Madam, you posted a ‘response’ to what I said that ignored the actual semantic content of what I in fact said and went off on some other tangent.

              1. “As for Egypt, they swapped out one military autocrat for another. Things didn’t get worse. They just didn’t get much better.” I responded to your statement.

                Regardless, you were deliberately rude. It does nothing for the conversation or edification of anyone.

  4. The American Founders established that the rights, freedoms, privileges and immunities provided by the Constitution and Bill of Rights were natural and God-given.

    They are universal.

    All people in all nations enjoy these rights.

    Some dictatorships around the world have not yet gotten the memo.

  5. i just noticed the performer has doc martens with red shoelaces. I can remember the days when only skinheads affected such a footwear fashion.

    the video was amusing I will admit

    1. Racism is funny like that. Skinheads in Europe were listening to Reggae and Ska somehow. The neonazi’s declared New Balances the official shoes of white people in 2016, yet young black men in philly and the dc area had apparently been wearing them for decades. There are national socialist black metal bands in Europe that espouse racist views. Yet metal is derived from rock, which was derived from blues performed from downtrodden blacks. Music and clothing know no color. Then we have SHARP, the skinheads against racial prejudice. You can never judge a book by its cover, and that Ramy Essam song rocks. It’s a shame dictators are so thin skinned. His desire to stamp out opposition by silencing dissenters like director Shady Habash will likely have the opposite effect. By striking him down his message becomes more widespread and he becomes more powerful than Sisi could possibly imagine, as does love of free speech

  6. It seems to me that the “Arab nationalist Strongman” is a stable form of government for the middle east and the US should NOT be sowing “civil liberties” shibboleths in that part of the world. Stability there is good for global stability and we do not need to “open more markets” nor “Spread democracy” with more belligerent military actions in the middle east, anywhere.

    It’s sad some people will be “human rights victims” but oftentimes stability is indeed more important than “freedom of the press” etc etc or other such factually unmoored, feckless jargon.

    1. Extremists always seem to be the most organized. More democracy seems to lead to more Islamic extremism.

      Nation building doesn’t work.

  7. I would estimate that if “free speech, a free press, and other civil liberties” were the only criteria determining what countries the US “supports,” then that list of countries would be very short.
    As Kissinger once philosophized “yes he’s a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.” (kind of like this upcoming election: sometimes you’ve got to pick your poison)

    1. “yes he’s a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”

      I don’t know if there is an accurate attribution for the quote. I thought it might be from Truman because it fit his type of speech but looking it up it seems to be have also been attributed to FDR and a couple of others.

    2. I would estimate that if “free speech, a free press, and other civil liberties” were the only criteria determining what countries the US “supports,” then that list of countries would be very short.

      It wouldn’t, and Kissinger never said that.

      As we speak, there are just three countries in the western Hemisphere that are systematically abusive (above and beyond the sort of abuses of which western liberals heartily approve – see Canada’s har-de-har ‘human rights tribunals’). The three are Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. The rest are often disorderly and have hopeless civil administrations, but do have electoral competition and public debate.

      You move to the Far East, and you see the abusers (in descending order) are North Korea, China, and the Indo-Chinese states. On the Indian subcontinent, a fairly impregnable political machine currently runs Bangladesh and there’s a lot of political violence in sections of Pakistan, but otherwise a parliamentary order prevails.

      In Tropical and Southern Africa, most are pluralistic political-machine states. About 1/3 of the heads of state and governments were armed men at one time, either soldiers or partisans. Most come out of their country’s professional and business class, with an abnormal number veterans of international agencies. Many of these quondam soldiers and quondam partisans have used controlled elections to legitimate military or partisan regimes, whereas others are electoral politicians who have a certain history. The most severe problem in Africa is not dictatorship, but the misery which attends failed states (as seen in the Congo, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, most of Somalia, and the state of Borno in Nigeria). The number of one-party states and explicit and thoroughgoing autocracies in Africa can be counted on your fingers.

      In Europe, the only thoroughly authoritarian state is White Russia. The Russian Federation is a pluralistic political machine state run by a boss. You’d be hard put to find a head of government in Europe regarded more congenially by the public in his home country.

      Even in the Near East, North Africa, and Central Asia you’ve developed some competitive systems and power sharing between elected officials and extant establishments. You see that in Morocco, in Tunisia, in Bahrain, in Kuwait, in Jordan. Cyprus, Israel, Armenia, and Georgia have been building a democratic order for some time. Kyrgyzstan and the more orderly parts of Iraq have evolving electoral institutions. Iran isn’t the totalitarian latrine it was 30 years ago. (Turkey, however, has suffered a notable regression).

  8. Professor, I’d be very careful drawing conclusions about Sisi and Egypt when one doesn’t recognize the circumstances that exist in that country. It appears almost impossible to have the type of government you find acceptable and that has been proven over the years.

    One has to remember that repression and dictatorship has been the rule in Egypt. Sadat tried to make peace and was killed by the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi from the Muslim Brotherhood was dangerous to western society. School books were religious and taught hate of the West, Christians, Jews and Israel heightening the mideast problems. Sisi replaced Morsi and removed that type of hate material while removing the Muslim Brotherhood. Yes, I admit he is a dictator whose methods I don’t like, but is he better for Egypt than his predecessor? Is he better for the world. That Sisi has survived this long I find very surprising. I thought he would be dead by this time replaced by the Muslim Brotherhood whose object is destructive to the world and us.

    From the Holy Land Foundation trial in the US. Just a taste of what the strategic plans of the Muslim Brotherhood are from their Declaration.

    “The process of settlement is a ‘Civilization-Jihadist Process’ with all the word means. The Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers…”

    I will add a number of the front groups listed by name in the Declaration:
    CAIR
    ISNA
    ICNA

  9. Art and artists are the gatekeepers of truth. Lonilness is killing some people today as we sit in our homes under house arrest as we wait for a virus to go away.

    1. Carole S La Duca – artists are fanticists and should never be gate-keepers of anything.

  10. Sooo, was Shady Habash jailed, or committed for being insane. Because if you live in Egypt, doing stuff like this is pretty crazy. Where did he think he was, the United States??? That was about as smart as having an LGBTQXYZ Parade in Cairo.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporoter

  11. I’m sure Trump will put Jared on this right after he gets to the bottom of the Kashoggi murder.

    1. Anon – don’t forget that YouTube is censoring everyone who does not kiss the ring of WHO, as is Facebook.

          1. Facebook and Twitter aren’t public forums. If you don’t like them, quit using them and start your own.

            Now about that Rutgers proff you all want fired.

            1. Facebook and Twitter aren’t public forums. I

              They can be publishers or they can be common carriers. Heretofore, they’ve insisted on privileges accorded to both common carriers and publishers.

              The left is unjust by default.

            2. Anon – please take this in the nicest way possible, but I will not be taking any advice from you. 😉

            3. “Facebook and Twitter aren’t public forums. ”

              That is a conclusion, not fact.

              There are all sorts of things that have to be considered and not just whether or not FB and Twitter are public forums along with what constitutes a public forum.

              There are all sorts of privacy rights, information transfers from the individual to the company, cookies, etc. There are many tools that can be used to restrain these companies. Additionally, they act as foreign actors and will provide hostile governments with help that they do not provide our government, something else to consider.

              Do States have a right to place control on these entities within the State? There are many laws that have been passed by states to protect sectors of the marketplace.

              Public airways are being used and one has to consider what that really means.

              The subject is extremely complex and requires deep thought and a lot of time. Thse are things that seems to repell the modern Democrat

            4. LOL i can hardly believe Democrats say stuff like this these days. I remember when I was in law school decades ago many years before social media, and my Democrat liberal ACLU professor raised the issue of how sometimes “private property” can become subject to 1st amendment censorship restrictions if a public forum is established. I chafed at the notion at the time, but wow, yes, now I get it Ma’am.

              Trust me if a Republican were doing the censoring at Google then immediately the opinions would change. Clearly, the censorship squads at Google and FB and Tweeter are dominated by Democrat party cheerleaders. I noticed Dan Crenshaw got censored on instagram the other day for a trifle. Thousands of examples like this, we all know it’s true, but feel free to maintain your illusions.

              1. Let’s be very crystal clear about this. If the current crop of Democrat party leadership were in charge, they would push as far and fast as they could to further erode civil liberties according to their own whims and advantage.

                The bill of rights only matters if it’s held dear by both major parties. If it’s just one side that clings to it, just as hillary mocked the deplorables for clinging to their guns and bibles and what have you, but if it’s just one side, then eventually Republicans will throw it overboard, too.

                This is a short jeremiad but yes it’s a prophecy and more like a prediction. Its coming. Actually it’s already here. The whole thing is probably unraveling now in ways that arent’ precisely clear, and maybe never will be. But we can see the fabric of liberty stretching and fraying beyond repair, before our eyes.

                Eventually what will matter is just survival. When it comes to that, the “principles of ordered liberty” go out the window, out of necessity.

                1. I’ll elaborate this a little further so it’s obvious even to those who are dense.

                  If you restrict Christian religious expression enough in the public sphere, then Christians are going to get sick of it and want to start restricting Jews and Muslims.

                  if you use the state to take opportunities away from whites, then whites are going to want to use the state to take opportunities away from nonwhites.

                  if you use the state to deprive natives of their rights, then natives will want to use the state to curtail migrants of everything they can.

                  We’re already at the last one, and the ones that came before it are not far off.

                  The liberterians, who are deeply flawed, at least were smart enough to understand this dynamic. Democrats, generally aren’t. Or maybe they are, and they just don’t care. They’re disciplined at focusing on short term gains, and it’s gotten them a long way!

                  And so it’s ironic and funny right because the Democrat party is apparently yet still very much controlled by native born white people and the voters who also just chose to elevate a heterosexual Christian white male to their primary position of leadership. Isnt that odd? What a strange country we live in and I can see why people think we are crazy.

                  The key that unlocks a lot of these questions is money. Ie, finance. understand how global finance capital operates, accumulates, & perpetuates itself, and then the manipulations of the people and the two party system and the American institutions all make a lot more sense.

                  It also makes sense to understand how and why the Federal Reserve is propping up financial asset prices now at a time of historic economic implosion.

                  I should go back to university and see if any of my old Marxist professors are still around and thank them for giving me some tools that even though i threw them in the bottom of the box, finally became useful to me for understanding “how things really work.”

                  America was from day one, and still is, by design and not at all by accident, essentially a plutocracy.

                  1. The key that unlocks a lot of these questions is money. Ie, finance.

                    It doesn’t unlock any of them.

              2. Kurtz, I don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account and somehow survive. I don’t care if the Koch brother buys it.

                NOw, how is it that the same GOP which fought tooth and nail to keep the internet free of government regulation of pricing, now want it policed by the Feds for political fairness. Say what? The GOP fought that back in the 80s for radio and TV, which is how we no longer have equal time rules on our airwaves.

                1. Kroch brothers are global capitalists whose interests are nearly identical with Geo Soros except that they are more reliant on exports for their billions, which is why they hate Trump’s guts probably even more than Soros.

                  the other policy you refer to was an issue like 40 years ago and is not germane to the present day.

                  1. “Kurtz, I don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account and somehow survive. I don’t care if the Koch brother buys it.”

                    Kurtz, this is Anon. If it doesn’t affect him he doesn’t care. If it does affect him he doesn’t care about right or wrong. He only cares about what he perceives is good for him.

  12. Your problem is that you are so immersed in pondering the legal, formal, and perhaps the theoretical aspects of political life that you’ve forgotten that the sociological and historical aspects are more consequential. You’re ignoring those.

    Larry Diamond offered 16 years ago that in studying the development of democratic institutions, he’d been convinced that the only necessary prerequisite was the determination of a political class to institute such a system. Electoral systems and open debate can survive if not flourish at any level of affluence and in just about any kind of culture.

    That having been said, it doesn’t mean there aren’t correlates of success and failure. The Arab world as it happens is the part of the globe where the quality of public life is least likely to nourish electoral competition and open debate. In those circumstances, responsible elites have to set priorities. Ernest Lefever put it thus: “the first duty of a government is to govern. The second is to govern justly. The third is to govern democraticlly”.

    Search your memory. Over a 29 month period in 2011, 2012, and 2013, we got to see what happens when you try to institute democratic institutions in Egypt. The result wasn’t pretty. Egypt has an authoritarian military regime because that’s the best you can do at this time in their history. See the history of Algeria over the period running from 1988 to 1999. Maybe Algeria’s political culture and social dynamics at this time could sustain democratic institutions. They certainly could not at that time.

    The Arab world is the part of the world where facts on the ground place the most severe impediments to constitutional government. Read Stanley Kurtz (a lapsed social anthropologist) if you want a satisfactory hypothesis as to why that is. Until then, figure out where you are on the map.

  13. I can not believe american politicians want to censorship this video unbelievable!!!!

  14. Far more devastation will be wrought by the hysteria created by governors who shut our lives down than any amount (including the padded coronavirus death totals) of injury directly attributed to actual cases of this virus. This is a very ugly vision of the proposed abandonment of our constitutional rights that have separated us from the rest of the world up until now.

  15. Egypt is different. One cannot change it. We in America named a town Cairo. That was in Southern Illinois. The Klan (K K K) had a political party called The White Citizens Council which elected the Mayor and all five aldermen. Crossed were burned on the lever on the Mississippi and on the Ohio Rivers. Those two Rivers join there.
    In the past 36 years Cairo dissolved.

    Egypt is ugly and they hate Christians and Jews.

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