Monday, February 21, 2011

What happened in Egypt...

The Clarion Content is not a fan of seeing United States foreign policy conducted on a strictly pragmatic calculus. We do, however, support a pragmatic understanding of how events on the world stage play out. That is to say, sometimes foreign policy's motives have to be idealist, but interpretations of outcomes and results must be realist.

It is through this lens that we want to note that we strongly agree with George Friedman and Strafor's analysis of events in Egypt in recent weeks.
The week began with an old soldier running Egypt. It ended with different old soldiers running Egypt with even more formal power than Mubarak had. This has caused worldwide shock and awe...We do not want to be killjoys now, since everyone is so excited and happy. But we should point out that, in spite of the crowds, nothing much has really happened yet in Egypt. It doesn’t mean that it won’t, but it hasn’t yet.

An 82-year-old man has been thrown out of office, and his son will not be president. The constitution and parliament are gone and a military junta is in charge. The rest is speculation.

The great majority of the Western media is running around foolishly asserting that there has been a revolution. This wild overclaim only shows the distortion between their hype-skewed lens and events on the ground. The Wikipedia entry on these events, for example, is hyperbolically headed, "Egyptian Revolution of 2011."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hooray for the Tea Party

A ringing endorsement for the right of privacy was heard from an unexpected quarter today. Freshman Republican Congressman and emboldened veterans provided a shocking Tea Party tumult during a presumably routine vote to extend portions of the Patriot Act.

Specifically twenty-six Republicans bucked their leadership, eight of them freshman lawmakers, and voted against the extension of the Federal Government's abusive invasions of privacy. Today's vote would have: 1) extended the newly granted authority of the FBI to use roving wiretaps on surveillance targets, 2) allowed the government to continue gaining warrantless access to "any tangible items," such as library records, in the course of surveillance, and 3) allowed the government to continue surveillance of targets who are not connected to an identified terrorist group.

In the Clarion Content's view none of this authority should have ever been bestowed on the government to begin with, it was in clear violation of the Constitution and it was a dangerous breach of the Social Contract.

Unfortunately, this is all so much theater as the provisions will likely be extended next week. The Washington Post reports that Republican leadership will be able to jigger the rules and hold a new vote.
The bill to reauthorize key parts of the counter-terrorism surveillance law, which expire at the end of the month, required a super-majority to pass under special rules reserved for non-controversial measures... the final tally was 277 members in favor of extension, and 148 opposed. The Republicans who control the House made plans to bring the measure back for a quick vote later this month under normal rules, requiring only a simple majority for passage.
Not surprisingly the tone-deaf, clueless, Nancy Pelosi had nothing of substance to say about the bill's blatant attack on the rights of Americans or how little has been gained after ten years of stepped up surveillance. Instead, her office focused on mocking the Republicans, "Disarray."

Why think about what she and House Democrats might be able to accomplish with these upstart, rebellious Tea Party Republicans? You didn't think she was actually listening to the State of the Union last week, did you, dear readers?

It was left to the lonely voice in the wilderness, Ohio's Don Quixote, Dennis Kucinich, to remind his fellow members of Congress, "The Patriot Act represents the undermining of civil liberties."