Madame L is going to try to answer this question, posted in the Comments to her posting about Qaddafi:
Thanks for the answer. That helps. But now Jeff has raised more questions: Who's Mubarak? And, while I'm somewhat aware of what al-Qaeda is, what is a "Caliphate?" Maybe this isn't the forum to ask and answer these questions, so feel free to not, if you'd like.
Trying to Get It
Madame L knows it's hard to put this all in context. Of course you really do know that Mubarak has been president of Egypt for 30 years.
Madame L understands why Americans, with their tradition of democracy, elections, a free press, and a strong political opposition, find it hard to envision someone who is called "president" in the way the people of Egypt have seen him: as a cruel dictator who imprisoned thousands of people and allowed them to be tortured and killed without being charged with crimes, without any due process whatsoever; and as a man who got rich while his people couldn't afford to buy bread.
But that's what being "president" has meant for him.
Not so different from Colonel Qaddafi, after all. (By the way, Madame L read yesterday that Qaddafi never promoted himself to general because when he promoted himself from captain to colonel, after leading the military coup that brought him to power, he abolished all ranks above colonel.)
Madame L saw on TV last night Col. Qaddafi insisting that he will not step down, but will go through the streets killing everyone who has opposed him. He said he will fight to his last drop of blood and die a martyr. Madame L laughed when she heard an Arab journalist say that many Libyans will be happy to grant him that final wish.
And Madame L is frankly glad to see people in other Middle Eastern countries following the example of Egypt. She is hoping the U.S. government will open itself to the idea of actual democracies in those countries instead of supporting dictators and false presidents and fake monarchies as it has done in the past. She hopes we will trust the people to elect governments that will represent them instead of supporting repressive regimes in the name of protecting people from Muslim extremists (and for the real purpose of protecting rich American oil companies and investors).
"Al-Qaeda" of course you know is Arabic for "the base." It was started in 1989 as a group of mujaheddin or holy warriors fought to get the Soviets out of Afghanistan. The U.S. supported these people for years, and it's possible that some of the weapons the U.S. supplied them are now being used against American troops.
Finally, the caliphate: This word used to refer to the original Muslim system of government formed in Turkey that was supposed to unite the people under a caliph chosen by Sharia law.
Knowing that, Madame L still doesn't understand the stretch made by Glenn Beck in his ridiculous conspiracy theory. He claims that some "Caliphate" headed by the Muslim Brotherhood is going to take over throughout the Middle East, protests are going to spread throughout the world and even to America, and the end of the world will follow shortly. Mr. Beck points to the protests in Wisconsin as proof that he's correct.
Madame L has already commented on the differences between the protests of the people in the Middle East and the way their "leaders" are handling them and the protests in Wisconsin, Ohio, and New Jersey.
Yet Madame L believes there IS a connection, and it is this: Rich people throughout the world, people with no conscience or soul, will do anything they can to get richer. If this means turning back 50 years of union-led collective bargaining for public employees (i.e. teachers, nurses, social workers, firefighters, police officers, and so on) to save, say $300 million, while refusing to raise corporate taxes to the average U.S. level, which would save the state $50 billion, then they're fine with that. The corporations, after all, elected those politicians and can keep them in power or boot them out. Madame L hopes she is not the only person who sees this connection.
Madame L has appreciated this opportunity to point out the true evil worldwide conspiracy that reasonable and conscientious people must fight against: The conspiracy of greedy and corrupt politicians and businessmen to deprive hard-working people of freedom and democracy --- and to roll back those rights wherever they currently exist.
More questions? Thanks,