I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Obama's Second Term and Other Reading

This brief but insightful observation of Obama's political aims by Connor Williams is something to remember as the next four years unfolds.  Barring unforeseen developments (foreign affairs or some economic or natural disaster) I agree with his assessment. 
To alter McConnell’s well-worn phrase just a bit: The single most important thing Obama wants to achieve is to destroy the Republican Party’s far-right fringe. If his moves seem confusing, that may be because they’re not necessarily calibrated to maximize anything (progressive policy victories, Democratic Party positioning, et al) in the short term. They’re calculated to—over the long haul—force Republicans to surrender their ideological purity as often as possible and on as many issues as possible. His governing strategy from now on has more to do with maneuvering his opponents than any other concern. And hey, that might be a good thing.
I sensed the same shift of gears within days of the November election. There is a new stiffness to this president that wasn't there during his first term. When "his team" transitioned from diversity to a men's club he got beat up pretty bad, a shift that rankles a lot of his supporters even now, he was able to brush that criticism aside, having carved his initials into every tree in the diversity forest. Nobody can say that Barack Obama hasn't paid his diversity bills to any group -- race, gender, religion or class.  Well, class may be going a little too far, since he seems to be sucking up to a lot of big shots and corporate shills, but no one will really know about that until important files are opened by future generations. This prediction about the second term  is specific. 
Mark my words: Obama’s going to troll the GOP for the rest of his term. He’s going to refuse to take the blame for their intransigence. Watch the coming immigration reform fight. There will be several moves (at least) that are designed to give Republicans a choice between 1) pure self-marginalization, and 2) stepping back from their radicalism. Best of all, perhaps, is the built-in “ratchet” effect. Each time the Republicans threaten Beltway paralysis over compromise proposals, they make it even harder to appear mature, moderate, and trustworthy.
QIZ: Egyptian jeans under the patronage of The Muslim Brotherhood  
QIZ is "Qualifying Industrial Zone. Think duty-free import/export space in the national economy.  No tax revenue. No tariffs  But integral to jobs and the national economy. 
This is a glimpse into how the global economy impacts an important part of the Egyptian economy. Just as in America (and most of the world) the global economy is the tail wagging most national political dogs, democracies and tyrannies alike. 
...why is Qandil’s government once again boosting this unfruitful agreement?
The answer lies in politics: This agreement was a cornerstone of the relationship between the US and Mubarak regime as it prepared to hand over power to his son.
Even after Mubarak has been ousted, it remains a US prerequisite for supporting the regime in Egypt.
As MP El-Shura pointed out in 2004, there is also the alliance with the small lobby that benefits from QIZ, headed up by Galal El-Zorba, chairman of the Union of Industries before and after the revolution. Speaking to Ikhwan Online website, El-Zorba welcomed the formation of "Ibdaa" (Begin) business society led by Brotherhood businessman Hassan Malek.
Day after day, the economic policies of Brotherhood rule reveal the depth and breadth of a socio-political alliance with Mubarak’s businessmen, even if this contradicts their positions in the past.
While official and non-official calls are being made in the West to boycott products made in Israeli settlements because of Israel’s fierce settlement policies, our government – which was appointed by a Brotherhood president – wants to expand economic and commercial normalistation with Israel, in order to defend and support exports of jeans trousers that are essentially manufactured by five businessmen.