The court scholar serving Hermann of Thuringia.

The court scholar serving Hermann of Thuringia.
The scholar


Joke Line vs Krugman

Joke Line (Time Magazine's Joe Klein) is the guy who was supposed to be a liberal back during the build-up to the Iraq War, but apparently forgot which side he was supposed to represent and decided to go with the other team. Apparently, Klein is still confused about which team he's supposed to be playing for.

Are there problems with teachers unions and other public-employee unions? Yes, I'm afraid there are. Klein does a good job of sketching out what those problems are. Are those problems the reason, the cause, the focus of the protests in Wisconsin? Not in the slightest.

Paul Krugman does an excellent job sketching out what the protests in Wisconsin are really about.

So it’s not about the budget; it’s about the power.
In principle, every American citizen has an equal say in our political process. In practice, of course, some of us are more equal than others. Billionaires can field armies of lobbyists; they can finance think tanks that put the desired spin on policy issues; they can funnel cash to politicians with sympathetic views (as the Koch brothers did in the case of Mr. Walker). On paper, we’re a one-person-one-vote nation; in reality, we’re more than a bit of an oligarchy, in which a handful of wealthy people dominate.
Given this reality, it’s important to have institutions that can act as counterweights to the power of big money. And unions are among the most important of these institutions.

As Rachel Maddow pointed out via an interview with Wisconsin State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D), the fight is entirely about the continued existence and viability of unions. Are unions important to the non-wealthy? Heck, yes!!! Of the top ten institutions that contributed money to the 2010 Congressional campaigns, three of them were controlled by progressives and all three of them were unions. Without unions, progressives can't put much of anything into the field.

As Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) put it in the wake of the ACORN “sting” (James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles didn't actually uncover anything in the way of illegal conduct, but ACORN was disbanded anyway):

“Defunding the left is going to be so easy,” said Bachmann, “and it’s going to solve so many of our problems.”

The idea on the right wing of “defund the left” has a history that stretches back to the Civil Rights Movement as the Movement used the tax-exempt status of their foundations to fund voter-registration drives. Real pushback against the sources that provide funding for left-leaning political movements started with the Reagan Administration and The Heritage Foundation with the two of them working arm-in-arm to do as the anti-environmentalist Ron Arnold claimed: "We want to destroy the environmentalists by taking away their money and their members."

How useful is money to the left? Well, probably the most high-visibility project that the anti-war left in Philadelphia undertook in recent years was the “Sea of Tombstones” done by the Delaware Valley Veterans For America. It was lots of fun to take part in that project, but it involved a bit of money. We met in the backyard of one of our prime members, he purchased wood and hammers and nails and paint and rented a truck to get the “tombstones” down to the area of the Liberty Bell and spent several hours setting it all up. We all took turns guarding the set-up and answering questions and handing out literature.

The Coalition for Peace Action is also a reasonably successful peace group. If one does a Google search for “news of..” the CFPA, it's clear that they're a well-known group in New Jersey. They do fund-raisers and concerts and are active in nuclear issues. On the other hand, a search for the less-cash-rich Philly Against War comes up with not a whole lot other than the publicity that the group and allied groups have themselves generated.

The lesson here is that a peace group can have a fair impact on public perceptions without spending a lot of money, but money sure helps! Money magnifies your impact many times over. The right wing is absolutely correct in that going after progressive sources of funding is a good way to weaken the public impact of progressives in general.

The fight in Wisconsin is absolutely critical. Progressives must win or their influence on the rest of America will pretty much evaporate.


I thought so

Pleased to see that my prediction was correct. I felt all along that when the military was told that gays would be accepted as full members, that they'd salute and get cracking on making gays welcome within their ranks. There were a number of skeptics, Marine Commandant General. James Amos and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) among them. General Amos said: "...he addressed some 12,000 Marines about the change and “everyone said, ‘Sir, we got it. We’re going to do this thing.‘”
McCain felt that 12% of the military would up and quit in response to gays coming out, but although it's impossible to say with absolute certainty why people may decide not to re-enlist, the numbers of those not re-enlisting are essentially unchanged from before. There has been no surge towards the exit doors.


The Egyptian Revolution 25 January - 11 February

A summary of how various PhillyIMC contributors covered the Egyptian revolution of early 2011.
Past Philly IMC Feature: Young Philadelphia demand Egyptian president Mubarak to step down now! | | | IMC-US Features: Solidarity Builds for Egyptian Struggle | Celebrating People's Power in Egypt | | | Global Indymedia Feature: Tens of thousands on the streets say down with the regime
PhillyIMC first published a piece on the uprising in Egypt on 27 January. It was Mass Street Protests in Egypt by someone who posts very frequently to IMC sites, Stephen Lendman. He quoted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as saying:

"Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people."

But Lendman also quoted Facebook organizers, who wrote:

"People are fed up with Mubarak and his dictatorship and his torture chambers and his failed economic policies. If Mubarak is not overthrown tomorrow then it will be the day after. If it's not the day after it's going to be next week."

Aladdin Elaasar, who wrote The Last Pharaoh, also saw great significance in the uprising and sketched out how Egypt looked at this point:

"The 83 years old President Mubarak plans to run for another 6 years term this year and to have his son Gamal Mubarak inherit him as the next president of Egypt. Mubarak has ruled Egypt with an iron fist through oppression, cooptation and cronyism. Only a small elite connected to his regime has benefited. A sense of frustration, hopelessness and repression seems to be haunting Egyptian youth and the older people as well, struggling to make ends meet."

Elaasar provided many more details about Mubarak's regime the next day and urged Presidet Obama to support the uprising.

Zahir Ebrahim contributed a deep-think piece on the uprising, comparing it especially to Iran's unsuccesssful "Green Revolution."

Rich Gardner documented a rally in central Philadelphia that was in support of the Egyptian uprising on 1 February. He also contributed a summary of pieces around the blogosphere the next day.

Baba Bob Shipman covered another rally held shortly afterwards.

"Approximately 250 protesters marched from 22nd and Market streets in Philadelphia to City Hall in support of the Egyptian people calling for the ouster of the current president. The overwhelming theme of todays protest was freedom, stating 30 years is enough."

Between The Lines puts the uprising in persepective by showing that the uprising is just the latest in a long series f actions carried out against US-backed regimes in the region.

By 4 February, Stephen Lendman was wondering After Mubarak: What's Next?

On 6 February, Rich Gardner contributed a set of further thoughts and observations.

An anonymous person put out views on several personalities that were behind the uprising.

By 7 February, PCInt was documenting that Egypt [was] in flames and that:

"For 10 days the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and many other Egyptian cities have witnessed a great wave of anger among the masses who can no longer bear to live in unemployment, poverty and hunger: after Tunisia and Algeria now its Egypt's turn."

On 9 February, Seven Star Hand was of the opinion that the US and the Vatican were playing good-cop, bad-cop with Egypt.

Finally, on 13 February, Uhuru put out a statement of triumph "Victory to the People of Egypt!"

"However, now the tides have turned and the people of Egypt refuse to be used as cannon fodder for US imperialism, just as the African community right here is resisting."

Rich Gardner comments on whether or not the CIA could possibly have foreseen the uprising:

Potential Republican presidential candidate and former Governor of Minnesota Tim Pawlenty thinks that the Obama Administration “should have had one message that was clear and consistent and measured and appropriate” on Egypt. Which sounds really great in theory, but aside from the obvious goof-up of having a top diplomat, Frank Wisner Jr., go to Cairo and declare that Mubarak's "continued leadership is critical," there really wasn't much in terms of lack of coordination and poor messaging. (Also, Pawlenty's idea that America should forthrightly state its principles is fine, but the formulation of “One, we don't want a radical Islamic result. Two, we favor democracy,” is a complete mess as the two messages completely contradict each other.)

"I've had a very long-time interest in intel matters and in figuring out what the other guy is up to. I went to college in Washington DC (American University) where there were a number of Iranian students. I read some of the stuff they were posting around campus and spoke with a few of them. When the revolution of 1979 broke out, I was absolutely astonished to hear that the CIA had been caught completely flat-footed. They had no idea that a revolution had been brewing!

"But I really don't see that a failure to predict the Egyptian uprising of January 25th is anything to be ashamed of. As Panetta puts it: "People can tell you where the tremors are, they can tell you where the fault lines are," he said. "They can tell you the threat of something happening is close, but they can't tell you exactly when the earthquake will take place." (The Huffington Post piece goes on to look at events like 9-11, the nonexistent Iraqi WMDs and the economic weakness and later collapse of the Soviet Union. I'm not so sure these were CIA missteps as much as they were stories that both the elder and the younger George Bush's pressured the CIA into not seeing properly.)"


Did G.W. Bush support democracy?

Today, Charles Krauthammer attempts to assign some credit for the Egyptian Revolution to G.W. Bush.
This is incorrect. In 1984, Ed Herman, a professor from the University of Pennsylvania, wrote a book called “Demonstration Elections” where he showed that the elections in South Vietnam after the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem were not essentially distinguishable from the elections in Eastern Europe that were undertaken while those countries were under occupation from the Soviet Union's Red Army. Reading Krauthammer carefully, it's clear that Krauthammer doesn't really disagree that Bush pressed countries of the Mideast to elect the “right” parties and that his reaction when the Palestinians elected the “wrong” party in 2006 (Hamas, which is very hostile to Israel), demonstrated that he really wasn't all that committed to democracy. Bush may have liked the idea of democracy in the abstract, but he clearly wasn't prepared to live with the consequences of actual, real, live, messy and unpredictable democracy in the real world. One could argue whether or not Hamas was the correct choice for Palestinians to make (The Guardian showed that the Bush Administration started immediately plotting against Hamas right after it won the election), but democracy is an all-or-nothing proposition. A nation either trusts another nation to control its own destiny or it doesn't. A nation cannot pick and choose for another nation who gets to run it and to then claim they support democracy in any meaningful sense.
So, can the Bush Administration claim any credit whatsoever for the revolution in Egypt? No, because Egypt did not comply with the conditions laid down by Bush's “Freedom Agenda.”


Green Hornet

Saw Green Hornet tonight. Good stuff! Did I see the late 60s TV series? Eh, I was pretty young at the time, so not really sure. I do remember seeing him and Kato guest-starring in Batman (Ah yes, I remember Julie Newmar and Yvonne Craig in their respective catsuits...yowza!) around that time. The movie deals well with both Britt Reid's privilege granted by his wealth and with his white privilege in how he relates to Kato. The secretary, Lenore Case (played by Cameron Diaz) makes for a good foil against Reid's male privilege. The challenge for the actor was to have all that privilege and to still make Reid a reasonably sympathetic character, i.e., to not come off as a complete dick. I think all three of them did a reasonably good job with that. Of course, being an action film, there''s vast amounts of property destruction (Woo-hoo!) and scientific gadgets galore (Whee!).


Republicans substantiate talk about cutting budget

The National Journal shows in great detail just how the Republican-majority 112th 2011-2012 Congress plans to spend less of the taxpayer's money. Some of the proposed cuts show just how Congress sees cutting the budget as being a strictly one-way street. To Republicans, a cut is a cut is a cut. But it's hard to see how cutting Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by $899 million is going to benefit the country. In fact, that sounds to me like the very definition of “false economy.” If one is spending less on “energy efficiency,” then wouldn't one be spending more on energy? Wouldn't spending on efficiency be a better use of dollars than spending on non-renewable fossil fuels? And cutting Fossil Energy Research by $31 million along with Clean Coal Technology by $18 million? I dunno where anybody got the hare-brained notion that cutting spending was a priority that took precedence over the most simple, basic, common-sensical ways to actually benefit the country and make our energy dollars stretch further.

They want to cut State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance by $256 million. Gee, now there's a grand idea! Camden, NJ, has “the second worst crime rate of an American city, but also they're $26.5 million in the red.”

The mayor of crime-ridden Camden, New Jersey, has announced layoffs of nearly half of the city's police force and close to a third of its fire department.
One hundred sixty-eight police officers and 67 firefighters were laid off Tuesday, as officials struggle to close a $26.5 million budget gap through a series of belt-tightening measures, Mayor Dana Redd told reporters.

Gee, cutting assistance to local law enforcement when local law enforcement is already cutting back is such an awesome, swell idea! I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

Legal Services Corporation to be cut by $75 million, the Food Safety and Inspection Services by $53 million (For the FY10 budget) and the EPA by $1.6 billion. These are all easily predictable cuts for a Republican Congress to make as they are, after all, Republicans. Therefore, these are pro-rich and pro-business actions that rescue businesspeople against anything that might reduce their profits.

Job Training Programs take a $2 billion whack. High Speed Rail gets hit for $1 billion, the FAA Next Gen gets sliced by $234 million and Amtrak takes a hit of $224 million. Again, these strike me as false economies. How are ya gonna run an economy effectively when people can't get training? When we're already falling behind Europe and Japan in high-speed rail travel? Do we really want America to remain as dependent on air travel as it is when we're also so worried about security on flights that “porno scanners” (Which are not difficult to defeat) and body groping are issues that have caused all sorts of hate and discontent with air travelers?

Now, these cuts, Community Health Centers by $1.3 billion, Maternal and Child Health Block Grants $210 million, Family Planning by $327 million, Poison Control Centers by $27 million, Center for Disease Control $755 million, National Institute for Health by $1 billion and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services by $96 million, strike me as especially obtuse and counter-productive. The 112th Congress is especially and energetically against abortion rights. In theory, Republicans argue, they're not anti-women, they're just against “killing babies.” But by cutting the budget for poison control, they are killing babies! Obviously, old people may have problems with poisons, but it's especially the very young that are most likely to end up accidentally getting poison in their bodies. How on Earth is it “pro-baby” to cut poison control? Cutting the budget for maternal health is “pro-baby”?!?!!? Huh? As Daily Kos puts it:

...with these cuts, we once again see that those strong feelings Republicans' profess to have for life stops at the delivery room door ... assuming you can afford to go to the hospital, of course.

Pandagon has a typically cuts-to-the-bone comment on abortion as seen by the involved man and woman:

Because there are just a lot of men out there who really need to believe they made the baby by having an orgasm, and that no one should credit the person who gained weight, contributed a quarter of her daily nutrients for 9 months, threw up a lot, saw her feet change size, and then pushed an 8 pound human out of her genitals while suffering massive pain. Because if you admit that bitches can pull that stunt off, you might have to admit that they’re good at other things, too. 

Pandagon also has some worthwhile commentary on Lila Rose and her video “sting” of Planned Parenthood (That didn't sting very much as it didn't actually reveal any illegal conduct, though they did snag an idiot employee who “coached them to lie about the age of the girls’ sex partners.”).

Make no mistake: Lila Rose is out to make sure that low income and young women are deprived access to decent health care, including and especially contraception and cancer screening, both of which are the majority of Planned Parenthood’s work.

And when you remember that Lila Rose is getting all sorts of support from both elected Republicans and Fox News, it becomes pretty clear where they stand in regards to women's health.

And in their final wrap-up, we see that:

As things now stand, the budget deficit will be $1.500 trillion for this fiscal year. If the GOP has their way, it will be $1.477 trillion. That's a cut of merely 1.5% . Despite everything the GOP is going after, our budget deficit will be 98.5% of what it would have been otherwise -- virtually unchanged. In other words, the only thing they didn't slash was the budget deficit.

Bottom line is that cutting the budget to get a smaller, leaner government is a grand idea in theory. In actual fact, when the rubber hits the road and real, actual, on the ground decisions are called for, it's an awful idea.


Further updates on Egyptian revolution

Why did Egypt's revolution occur to begin with? The answer given by the reporter Robert Fisk is that the dictator Hosni Mubarak failed to keep the country infantilized. Egyptians had gotten used to a strongman telling them what to do to the point where they had been transformed

...into political six-year-olds, obedient to a patriarchal headmaster. They will be given fake newspapers, fake elections, fake ministers and lots of false promises. If they obey, they might even become one of the fake ministers; if they disobey, they will be beaten up in the local police station, or imprisoned in the Tora jail complex or, if persistently violent, hanged.

As Harper's Scott Horton suggests, Egypt's economy was doing reasonably well, but wasn't keeping up with population growth. Economic shortcomings, especially as they impacted the employment opportunities for young men, were ultimatley decisive in getting Egyptians to shake off Mubarak's hold over their imaginations. A writer at FDL makes the comparison between Egypt's long-abused population and a battered wife/family. The primary difficulty Egypt is having is convincing the batterer that he is not the hero/protector he imagines himself to be, he is the problem. The problem, of course, with Egyptians depending on the US to play the hero and to help them is that the US has an authoritarian problem of its own.

The Obama governing pattern is consistent: When the economic elites crash and loot the economy, devastating millions, tell the public you’ll fix this. But then make only superficial changes in the power structure, promise to oversee them better using the people who were asleep or complicit the first time, but leave the essential structure and those who crashed it or let it fail in power.

So how has the “Bush Doctrine” fared? Has it been verified or has it been discredited? A piece in Daily Kos argues that the Doctrine has been hopelessly discredited. What precisely happened in Iraq?

Instead of being greeted as liberators, we were greeted as invaders. Long-simmering sectarian tensions caused a bloody civil war. Civil institutions collapsed completely. Law and order disappeared. Millions became refugees. A trillion dollars borrowed, spent, and never repaid. And many, many, of our finest citizens cut down in their prime. All to build up a democracy that chose our worst enemy as its closest ally. This is the final verdict the Bush Doctrine of democracy by gunpoint: a fragile, weak state propped up by a coalition of gangsters and theocrats. This is not what America should stand for.

What has the revolution in Egypt cost the US? Virtually nothing as it's run pretty much entirely by “People Power.” What did the US have to do with sparking the revolution in the first place? Again, virtually nothing. The decision was made there, by the people themselves. As Horton points out in the piece cited above, it's far from clear that out of the neoconservatives and the war on terror fearmongers,

Neither group seems to have any real mastery of the dramatis personae of the conflict and its economic and social underpinnings, or to understand Egyptian law as it affects succession, and so forth. The message they deliver seems keyed to domestic partisan politics and not towards helping us understand what’s happening in Egypt.
It’s dangerous to venture summary opinions about the developments in Egypt without understanding something about the country’s culture, economy, history, and political structures. I know enough to recognize that the great bulk of the “experts” being offered up on the U.S. media feed are no experts at all.

What baffles Professor of History Juan Cole is that Europeans are sensibly preventing G.W. Bush from visiting Switzerland by threatening to put him on trial for torture, but at the same time are supporting Omar Suleiman

for interim president of Egypt, even though he was the one who undertook the torture for Bush? Suleiman tossed some 30,000 suspected Muslim fundamentalists in prison, and accepted from the US CIA kidnapped suspected militants, whom he had tortured. Some were innocent. One, Sheikh Libi, was tortured into falsely confessing that Saddam Hussein was training al-Qaeda operatives, an allegation that [went] straight into Colin Powell’s speech to the UN justifying the Iraq War.

So, if everything goes well anyway and Mubarak and his henchmen are tossed out of power and some legitimate person is placed in power, is local Philadelphia columnist Christine Flowers correct and will Egypt quickly turn into an even worse place than it is now, with a Western-inspired dictatorship being replaced by an Islamic fundamentalist-inspired one? Dan Froomkin of the Huffington Post thinks that's unlikely.

"There is a liberal tradition in Egypt of people who support strengthening the rule of law, constraints on state power, and the notion that government is accountable to the people," he said. "I don't think they'd support any kind of theocracy."
As for the Brotherhood: "It's a middle class institution. Its leaders are lawyers, doctors, engineers and so on, who have in a very careful and systematic way over the last 15 years, debated how to reconcile the principals of Islam with democratic governance and have come up with thoughtful ways to do that."

Things are still uncertain and there are many things that can still occur. It's hard to come up with any predictions at this point, but there appears to be good reason to hope that a democratic revolution is just a matter of time.

Update: Angry Black Lady has a hilarious take on Sarah Palin's latest talk on the situation in Egypt.


Getting my chair fixed

Looking SouthWest at my apartment's main section and going clockwise, there's my kitchen area, then my eating area, then a passageway/storage area, then my desk, then my TV section. The chair that I was using for my eating section is one that I use both as a dining room chair and as a desk chair as I do a lot of writing on my computer while sitting there. So, after a couple of years, my chair got pretty beat up and was quite loose, with most of the joints wobbling and with one of the arms falling off completely. I looked around at a local thrift shop, at a few used furniture stores and at stores like Wal-Mart and Target. Finally, I went back to the furniture store that I got my chair from to begin with (My sister described my furniture style choice as “Mission,” here's a description as to what that design movement was all about and while this is not an exact match to my chair, it's reasonably close) and asked how I could go about getting it fixed. Turns out they have a repair shop!
My sister came by this morning and picked me up with my chair and we got over to the furniture repair shop. We got it to the repair person and he's looking it over. I'm sitting there thinking “Okay, if he charges less than $100, I can do this. If he charges between $100 and $120, I'll have to agonize over it a bit, but will probably go along with it, over $120, then either we try to fix it ourselves or I'll look around for a reasonable replacement.” He announced “$35.” My sister and I both tried hard to keep our best poker faces on as we agreed that that sounded like a reasonable deal.
Aah (Sigh of contentment)! Having a good day.


Adventures in wifi

Went to a diner last night to get a light meal and so ordered the salad bar. Actually, the waitress suggested that I get a full meal, get some food right away from the salad bar and then take the rest of the meal home for later. Good idea! I'll do that next time. Anyway, I just had some soup, some coleslaw and a bit of seafood salad. The problem was that I used to be able to get wifi there.
Well, apparently, I still can. I clicked on the wireless connection icon on my laptop and it gave me two options, a small letters and numbers combination and "diner." Since this was the only diner in the immediate vicinity, I figured this must be where that connection was originating from. Problem: the symbol for the diner's connection had an icon next to it indicating it was shielded and that I needed a password to use it. I tried just "diner," but that didn't work. I asked the waitress and she said they didn't have any sort of wifi connection.
Now, I just don't think the waitress was properly informed and if I asked someone else, they'd probably know the password, but there was no one else nearby to ask. Ah well, I'll just make sure I have something saved on my computer to read when I go there again and I'll try my luck asking again then.


The revolution in Egypt reaches critical stage

Unfortunately, the British reporter Robert Fisk says that the US had short window of opportunity where

Had [Obama] rallied to the kind of democracy he preached here in Cairo six months after his investiture, had he called for the departure of this third-rate dictator a few days ago, the crowds would have been carrying US as well as Egyptian flags


But no. All this was squandered in just seven days of weakness and cowardice in Washington – a gutlessness so at odds with the courage of the millions of Egyptians who tried to do what we in the West always demanded of them: to turn their dust-bowl dictatorships into democracies. They supported democracy. We supported "stability", "moderation", "restraint", "firm" leadership (Saddam Hussein-lite) soft "reform" and obedient Muslims.

Personally, I supported Obama's stance, seeing a careful neutralism as the best chance for a good outcome, but Fisk is right. When you have an uprising where

Women in chadors and niqabs and scarves walked happily beside girls with long hair flowing over their shoulders, students next to imams and men with beards that would have made Bin Laden jealous. The poor in torn sandals and the rich in business suits...

You then have a real, live “people-powered” revolution that will simply not be denied. Is this revolution going to be good for the US? Will it serve US interests? Fisk states that he is not of the opinion that the revolution in Egypt is Islamic in character. He feels that it is Egyptian, that the people control how it's going and that no single group is in control. And you know what? That's not our problem. It's their country and how they conduct their self-government is their concern.

As Maureen Dowd pointed out today, for Americans to freeze up and mis-react would hardly be new. G. W. Bush and his Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice completely misjudged the appeal of Hamas to the Palestinians and forced the followers of Hamas into the open-air prison of Gaza instead of doing anything to try and work with Hamas. Bush's pretty words about democracy were revealed to be just that, pretty words. His words were revealed to be hollow and without substance as he had shown that he had no respect for the choices that Palestinians had made.

Obama, in his administration's latest responses, appears about to repeat Bush's sorry performance. As of February 2nd, the battle for Egypt's public spaces has reached a violent stage, with Mubarak's people acting in a very well-organized way and energetically pushing back against the protesters. Previously, we heard that they were ransacking homes in an attempt to divert protesters from the streets (See 5:25 & 5:00).

…Heck, even four Israeli journalists have been arrested for trying to report on events. The government doesn’t want anyone to see what happens next.

If Obama wants to get in front of events and place himself on the right side of history, he doesn't have much time left. If he's comfortable putting himself on the side of a dictator who conducts a massacre, well, he only has to keep dithering.

Update: A buddy of mine sends a source of lots and lots and LOTS of pictures! Another one sent me a set of photos from an Arab website. Warning! Plenty of pictures of bleeding people