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Pharaoh Mindedness in Washington

August 5, 2013 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

U.S. policy in Egypt has been a disaster. For decades Washington backed rule by an authoritarian dictatorship that persecuted religious minorities and socialized the economy. Now the short-lived democratic revolution has been replaced by military rule with a meaningless civilian veneer. Washington should cut off foreign aid and disengage.

Instead, the Obama administration has embraced putative dictatorship, refusing to characterize the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi as a coup. If only George Orwell was alive today.

The military worked with the opposition to encourage demonstrations threatening public chaos. The military arrested the president, top officials, and high-level members of his party and movement. The military leveled fantastic criminal charges against the president and his supporters. The military closed down allied television stations and arrested journalists. The military appointed dictatorial retreads as interim president and other high officials.

The military treated all opponents as “terrorists.” The military recreated the de facto secret police, the Interior Ministry departments which investigate political and religious activities. The military shot and killed protesters. But the administration says there was no coup. According to Secretary of State John Kerry, “the military did not take over to the best of our judgment so far.” Rather, “there’s a civilian government,” he claimed. “In effect, they were restoring democracy.”

Washington should cut off foreign aid to Egypt and disengage.”

The administration could have acknowledged that Gen. Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi ruled by force but then argued that the coup was justified. However, that would have been a difficult case to make.

There is obvious reason to suspect the Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi committed more than their his of mistakes. But the first elected leader in Egypt’s 5,000-year history was discrediting himself. Left alone he would have ruined the electoral appeal of political Islam without a shot being fired. Moreover, he had taken no irrevocable authoritarian steps. It would have been impossible for Morsi to become a dictator without the military behind him — which explains why real dictators Gamal Abdel al-Nasser, Anwar al-Sadat, and Hosni al-Mubarak all were military men, like Gen. Sisi.

The administration has ignored the obvious to avoid triggering the law that requires cutting off aid to “the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’état or decree or … a coup d’état or decree in which the military plays a decisive role.” You don’t need an English PhD …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Turning Fat into a Four-Letter Word

August 5, 2013 in Economics

By Patrick Basham, John Luik

Patrick Basham and John Luik

Discrimination against fat people is a disturbing trend throughout Western society. Public-health bureaucracies, in concert with their media and educational allies, are attempting to engineer the cultural environment so that the public becomes less tolerant of those people categorized as obese.

A key instrument in this crusade, according to Dr Colin McMillan, president of the Canadian Medical Association, is ‘denormalisation’ — that is, the process whereby the obese come to be perceived as abnormal, aberrant, even deviant individuals.

The denormalisation approach is confidently spelled out by Dr Kawshi De Silva, public-health director of the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand. She says: ‘The perceptions and beliefs in society about obesity can profoundly influence behaviour change and resistance to it.’ In practice, denormalisation means that public-health elites attempt to shame fat people into changing their lifestyle habits.

For the denormalisation campaign to succeed, the obese must be stigmatized. In other words, they must be placed apart from the rest of civilised society until, and unless, they learn to behave in the approved manner. Denormalisation pushes the obese from being a health hazard to being a moral hazard, nothing less than flabby blots on a nation’s moral landscape.

The most recent examples of denormalisation include a South African chef who has just learned he will be deported from New Zealand following Wellington’s refusal to renew his visa on the grounds that he is simply too fat. A fortnight earlier, America’s Boy Scouts announced they were excluding obese boys from their national jamboree.

Yet, here’s the twist: even in its own empirical terms, the denormalisation campaign is already a well-documented failure. In fact, new research from the US provides strong clinical evidence that denormalising the obese actually results in more, not fewer, obese individuals.

Between 2006 and 2010, medical researchers Angelina Sutin and Antonio Terracciano studied 6,157 Americans to determine whether weight discrimination is associated with the risk of becoming obese (that is, a body mass index (BMI) above 30) or with the risk of remaining obese. The researchers found that participants who experienced weight discrimination were approximately 2.5 times more likely to become obese.

Furthermore, participants who were already obese were three times more likely to remain obese than those who had not experienced such discrimination. According to the researchers, their findings demonstrate that ‘rather than motivating individuals to lose weight, weight discrimination increases risk for obesity’.

Although such a conclusion will be news to public-health …read more

Source: OP-EDS