Tampa, FL –  Honk If I Need Education:  A Tampa mother is defending her decision to stick her teenage son on a street corner with a sign that says, among other things, “GPA 1.22 … honk if I need education.”

Ronda Holder says she and the boy’s father have tried everything to get their 15-year-old to shape up academically. They’ve offered help, asked to see homework, grounded, lectured him and confiscated his cell phone. James Mond III’s indifference at a school meeting last week was the final straw. The next day, Holder made the sign and made her son wear it for nearly four hours.

Experts criticized the move as humiliating and ineffective, and someone reported Holder to the Department of Children and Families.

Holder insists she’s fighting for her child’s education.

Basket Ball Wife Canned: Dwight Howard and his camp can silently breathe a sigh of relief. The mother of his young son, Royce Reed, is likely being replaced on VH1’s popular reality show Basketball Wives.

Shaunie O’Neal, who is the executive producer of Basketball Wives, recently told the Los Angeles Times Royce Reed has almost “no connection” to the show anymore due to her legal issues with Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard. Royce Reed is banned from mentioning Dwight Howard’s name on the show.

Snow Ice Flakes and Flavor Flav:

 This cabin fever thing can do so many things to the mind, especially when everything on TV is about carnage. Sure, it’s sad that the Congresswoman was shot in the head by a raving lunatic who everyone but the psyche ward knew.

And the two exploding BMW’s, within six miles  of each other seemed like some sort of foreshadowing of Julian Assange’s fear of ‘illegal rendition’ to the US. Turns out he has nightmares about Gitmo and drinking too much water at one time.

Too much sordid serious stuff, with every other channel featuring an Elmer Gantry with an answer to the plunging birds and drowning fish and submerging metropolises around the globe – End Times.

 The lesson, though, was that the channels that cable companies make mandatory, like MTV and VH1 actually serve a purpose.

With reruns of Flavor Flav and his unambitious harem, the androgenous Bridgitte Neilson complete with the sum of her remanufactured parts and base females like Delicious and New York, who cares about a little cabin fever?

Unusual News – Did You Miss This?

400 lb Shoplifter Caught:  A 400lb woman from Michigan was caught shoplifting when her motorized cart got stuck in the store’s door.

30-year-old Jerrie Perkins attempted to leave a store in Rochester Hills with more than $600 worth of stolen electronic equipment.

Police say Perkins set off the door alarm & hit a store employee who confronted her. When police arrived, she “took a fighting stance” & had to be tasered so she could be subdued.

Perkins has been charged with unarmed robbery, resisting & obstructing a police officer & second-degree retail fraud. Her bond was set to $15,000 on Thursday.

Source – UPI                                 

Baby with 12 Fingers 14 Toes:  (AP) YANGON, Myanmar – From almost the moment Le Yati Min was born, her mother knew the girl had a little something extra.

“I asked the nurses whether my kid was born complete with hands and legs,” says her mother. “They replied that the baby even has more than she needs.”

Born with 12 fingers and 14 toes, Le may be the most “digitally enhanced” person in the world. Now, the 16-month-old girl’s family in impoverished Myanmar is seeking a Guinness World Record to prove it.

A neighbor is helping her mother apply to claim the record hearing that a boy from India currently hold bragging rights for the most digits, with 12 fingers and 13 toes.

Polydactylism — being born with an extra finger or toe — is fairly unusual, but it is even more rare for someone to have spare functional digits on both hands and feet, as Le does.

Le lives with her family in a small wooden house on the outskirts of the Southeast Asian country’s former capital of Yangon, where she runs around with seven toes on each foot.

Proud mom Phyo Min Min Soe, 26, said Tuesday that she’d be happen to see Le gain a world record, but even without that, her daughter already has a happy life, and even some natural advantages.

“She seems to have a stronger grip on things — so she doesn’t drop things much,” she says, as Le plays nearby with a mobile phone.

According to the Guinness World Records website, the record for most fingers and toes for a living person is currently held by two people in India, who have 12 fingers and 13 toes each.

Very Polite Robber: SEATTLE (AP) — Authorities have made an arrest in a weekend convenience store robbery that a Seattle store owner found remarkable for the robber’s politeness.

Sgt. John Urquhart of the King County Sheriff’s Office says officers quickly identified a suspect from tips received after a surveillance video of Saturday’s robbery “went viral.”

The man is seen in the video telling White Center Shell station owner John Henry: “I’m robbing you, sir.”

He takes $300, apologizing and saying he has bills to pay and children to feed. If he ever gets back on his feet, he tells Henry, he’ll pay the money back.

Urquhart did not identify the 65-year-old man arrested Monday at a residence near the robbery site. The suspect has convictions for armed robbery and forgery.

Man makes 3 photocopies of his buttocks: CLAYTON, Mo. — Police arrested a man who allegedly dropped his pants in the crowded lobby of the St. Louis County Courthouse and made photocopies of his buttocks. Police found Daniel Everett holding two copies he had already made. He was making a third. ”What did I do? What did I do?” witnesses said Everett asked police. Everett, an immature 38, told police that the copies were intended as a practical joke for his girlfriend.

Bird Kills Man In Cockfighting Incident: It seems one of these guys finally got knocked off by an angry bird.  Jose Luis Ochoa, 35, of Lamont, California, was declared dead at a hospital about two hours after he was injured in Tulare County on Jan. 30, the Kern County coroner said.

An autopsy concluded Ochoa died of an accidental “sharp force injury” to his right calf.

“I have never seen this type of incident,” Sgt Martin King, a 24-year veteran of the sheriff’s department, told the Bakersfield Californian.

Ochoa and the other spectators fled when authorities arrived at the scene of the fight, King told the newspaper. Police found five dead roosters and other evidence of cockfighting at the location.  According to Kern County Superior Court records, Ochoa paid $370 in fines last year after pleading no contest to one count of owning or training an animal for fighting, according to the newspaper.  Speculation is that Jose simply got too close to the action and was sliced by the razor on one of the birds legs.

Japan Builds Chocolate Car:    Well, not quite. Just a Valentines Day car load of candy.       





Journalists Beware!

Sometimes we have to put things into context. We have to remember that the US is one of the most free societies in the world – though even that is relative.

It follows, therefore, that the concept of Freedom Of The Press, which is deeply seated in the US Constitution and its First Amendment will be defined according to US perception and understood as implementable by a society that sees freedom to report as a right.

So, before journalists leave the protective confines of US shores  or the shores of countries who respect the press’ freedom, journalism and its scope of operation should, as a matter of prudence, be redefined in geopolitical context by all those involved in the process.

There is also another sad component to the concept of freedom of the press that is rarely brought to the fore. That is the bigoted perception that a woman is fair game when she chooses to cover news. The recent locker room flaps in which female sports reporters were treated like merchandize at auction are still palpable, here in the US.

A few days ago, a female reporter covering the revolution in Egypt was the victim of a ‘sustained sexual assault’. The responses from some of her male counterparts, operating under the protection of the US Constitution were base and despicable.

And this leads us to attempt to figure out how in this non – barbaric, non-medieval era of humanity, a female reporter, plying her profession could be treated with such disrespect.

The analysis will not be over-intellectualized. It does not require that effort. Sexual interaction with a strange woman, without her consent, expressed or implied, is assault, plain and simple and constitutes an encroachment upon her person.

There are some societies that subordinate the rights of women and as a consequence dismiss a violation of this sort as just another day being female in a male dominant environment. That does not make it excusable but offers some grim plausibility.

But America, purportedly is not one of those societies. Yet some of its supposedly sensitized male journalists celebrated over this female reporters violation.  Others seem to be salivating over imagined lurid details of her encounter with a particularly rabid group of male troglodytes.

Attacks upon reporters at scenes of unrest are tantamount to firing upon the Red Cross during battle. It is reprehensible and the US State Departments or their equivalents around the world should be pushing for justice for the victims.

And as this is done, even veteran reporters like Lara Logan, male reporters like Miguel Marquez pummeled in Bahrain and Anderson Cooper pummeled in Egypt, have to remember that the concept of Freedom of the Press is directly proportional to the law and order of the lands of their assignment.

Dreams Deferrred With House 112

The President was shellacked in the November 2010 midterm elections and the new speaker of the House, John Boehner and the rest of his party declared that the ‘American People Have Spoken’.

What Boehner and Company heard was a still small voice that told them to extend their ideological approach to government, to disregard the flailing US economy, to disregard the 46 million American people who have no health Insurance, to disregard the 15 million unemployed and just to disregard anything that contravenes Republican and Tea Party politics.

What these new victors heard was that Collective Bargaining Rights was fair game and that they had been voted in to rescind these rights of the common people.

What they also heard was that the American People want the land mark  Health Care reform bill repealed and Roe versus Wade overturned.

They also heard that high speed rail is bad for the United States as it tries to compete on the world stage and that seeking alternative fuel sources are just socialist.

Now Egypt has come to Wisconsin as the victorious Republicans respond to the ‘American People’. The new Republican majority there and their swashbuckling governor have virtually seceded from the Union. They are rescinding collective bargaining rights from the State’s public employees.

Apparently the message that Mr. Boehner and his party received when the ‘American people’ spoke has been badly misinterpreted by the victorious Republicans. For  ‘The American people’, have now taken to the streets to refute the very changes that Speaker Boehner said that they had vote him and his party in to effect.

But the Republican Party has to stay on message, even when it is defied by common sense. The future for them is what infra- structure and modern advanced technology their children and grand children will not have to pay for, though these perceived gains will be zeroed out by the tab for pre-emptive wars and invasions their political ideology promulgate.

So they march bravely forward decrying all efforts to make America, the great country they claim it is with its backward technology, job outsourcing policy to benefit the private sector and its investors, poor academic graduation rates and underachieving academic curriculum. They support their ‘drill baby drill’ quest to fuel efficiency and scorn the science of global warming.

Spending is an expletive especially when it amounts to progress, so they are against bail outs, unemployment benefits, Medicaid and other entitlements that help the struggling middle class and the poor.

Their children and their grand children will not pay for that. But they will pay for exported health care and exported economic and military aid, especially because it makes their America appear mighty and affluent and makes their politics seem dominant.

So money budgeted for progress is being returned, en masse by the elected officials of the Republican Party, now buttressed by the Tea Party; a group that is Conservative and Libertarian, endorses reduced spending and reduced taxes for those in an upper income bracket, reduces national debt and Federal budget deficit and promulgates an originalist interpretation of the US Constitution.

Now the Republicans are running the House with a full complement of Tea Party ideologues.  The constitution gets read, sensible spending gets refuted and the elected House members get an opportunity to be openly disrespectful to a President that was elected by 52% of the electorate.

The rest of us get to see the Troubled Asset Relief Program bailouts repaid with interest that would not have been earned otherwise, and a car industry that was once the mainstay of America’s heartland survive, as Chrysler repays $1.9 billion of its $4 billion loan and General Motors repay $5.8 billion ahead of schedule – all programs that cause the Republicans and their Tea Party extension to demonize the politics of the Democrats.

There is a sense that the next time elections come around, ‘the American People’ would have delivered a different message.

Ron Paul Wins Again

The Conservatives have spoken; Ron Paul for President or at least Straw President, according to their straw poll drawing a few days ago.

The results were difficult to swallow. All of the likely suspects barely earned a straw. There was no overwhelming rush for Palin, Newt, Tim or any of the others that were headliners for the event’s advertisement.

And they performed so well, with their rehearsed one-liners and un-primed zingers. They had even brought in the artillery – Ms. Coulter who gets to the core, the base, the heart of conservatism with her divisive rhetoric.

And Mitt seemed duly perplexed that another year saw him second to Dr. Paul.  Plus there was no John McCain in the polls this year, though it was surprising that Mr’s. Beck and Hannity were not write- ins for this serious politicalevent.

But it was Dr. Paul’s platform that catapulted him to winning one third of the straws. He has proposed that we pay no taxes but 10% of our earnings and for that bonus, we keep government out of our lives.

I happen to like a lot of what the good Doctor says but this time he floored me because I began to envision the absence of the government from many things.

Imagine another Katrina without the help of the Federal Emergency Management Agency – at least functioning at its expected level of efficiency. Then let’s add to that California’s wild fires and mud slides. Then let’s add to that the bridges that are falling apart in Michigan and elsewhere. Then let’s add to that the blizzards of 2011.

Wait. I’m not done.

Let’s add to the above, drinking milk that is not inspected by the Food Safety and Inspection Services or eating canned food that is not inspected by them either.

But that’s just food.

Now, let’s add the elderly or the handicapped to the list. Let’s have them pay for their own medication and medical procedures with their fixed income social security and disability checks. Then let’s deregulate, handicap parking, handicap buses, handicap seating for them.

And now, for the best part. Let’s dissolve the Supreme Court. Let’s have cases tried at the state level; better yet; municipal level; better yet; between the feuding parties as in medieval times – the fight that has now commneced between The Doctor and The Donald.

More joy. Dr. Ron is pro gay, anti war, pro marijuana – all bona fide true Conservative values.

I read somewhere that with this win, Ron Paul is now a two-term President.  That may mean that he cannot run again.

That’s a good thing; because the socialism of the current regime, would keep us much closer to civilization than would the social chaos of a society without government influence over pertinent areas of society.

Meanwhile, Speaker Boehner is convinced that President Obama is not only American but Christian as well.

The assumptionis that he now passes Conservative muster, or at least, just barely.

As Egypt Moves Forward

Now that the interim government in Egypt has said it will play with Israel  maybe all of the Right Wing Conservatives who retreat into the war rooms of their minds when there is a meeting of the minds of people who do not pass their litmus test for democracy, will breathe a collective sigh of relief and use their Christian driven principles to work with this emerging community of human beings that they helped to contain for the past thirty years.

By now the West must be realizing that the stability they buy, by inundating  their Middle Eastern allies with economic and military aid has become the politics of a time now past.

And the fact that Israel’s Netanyahu was willing to come out in support of Mubarak, during Egypt’s darkest days testifies to the pawn politics that the West plays in that region.

Netanyahu is the byproduct of a twisted politics that empowers one group of people over another, paradoxically in the name of democracy. He and his people enjoy a one way peace treaty that exists between them and Egypt – one way because Egypt and the other Arab nations she influences have to keep the peace with Israel. Israel on the other hand can aggravate, antagonize and expel residents whenever she feels to flex her prima donna muscle. So Netanyahu has weighed in on the revolution in Egypt by wanting the outcome to be only that he gets to keep his title of regional bully.

And all this falls under the caption of ‘peace’ that the West tolerates by buying Israel’s peace from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordon and any number of oil –oozing Arab nations that want a seat in the United Nations and want to hoi poloi with Western first world nations.

The US alone gives Egypt USD 1.3bn not to retaliate to any of Israel’s provocations, to keep that oil oozing and to keep Egypt’s military preparedness at a constant ready; not to be used against Israel, of course.

But February 11th 2011 was the dawn of new day in both politics and history. The Egyptians showed the world, the power of uniting behind a common cause in peaceful orderly fashion. They showed that steadfastness and consistency could shake those whose power is rooted in fear mongering and bought favors. They showed that there is such a thing as a bloodless coup. They showed that even a bought military would not open fire upon its people.

They showed us why they are the backbone of civilization.

Now comes the finesse part. Egypt has done its bit. The rest of the West needs to follow suit. Netanyahu needs to stop his goading and stop dictating to the US what they need to demand of the new Egyptian Regime. Algiers, Yemen, Jordon, Saudi Arabia, need to take note that we live in an age in which people will demand to be set free from political captivity and totalitarian governments, irrespective of country, creed or color.

Back in the US, President Obama has been given an opportunity by the Egyptians to make his mark in this history. He heads a nation that is losing a vital tier in its societal structure. The middle class is disintegrating and becoming a part of the lower tier.

He has an opportunity to be a greater part of history now. He can be a part of a real peace treaty in the Middle East; one that does not favor one country more than the other.

He can also renegotiate that usurious USD1.3bn price tag of US tax payer’s dollars to Egypt and repackage some of that economic aid for use by hurting Americans who are struggling to stay afloat as the US doles out their tax dollars for many of the wrong reasons.

History has a way of unfolding and initiating thoughts and deeds that are precedent. What President Obama chooses to do now will hopefully ride in tandem with the robustness of this day’s history in Egypt, where precedent was the nucleus of the revolution. We will look for him to set a tone of change from business as usual, one that will negotiate a mutual tenancy in a region that has several creeds and equal right to occupation of territory. We will look for him to make bold and sweeping statements about what the US will tolerate from countries that are beneficiaries of its tax payer’s unwitting largesse.

We will expect him not to take his lead from Netanyahu’s tantrums. We will expect him to also reconfigure the money it doles out to Israel as well, all in favor of him diverting much of those funds towards saving the American middle class and quality living here in the US.

Egypt has just hit the reset button for many things in the realm of politics. One of those things is that the world is populated by human beings who seek liberty, prosperity and the pursuit of happiness irrespective which quadrant of the world they occupy.

There is also another great fall out to Egypt’s achievement. Those constricted conservative minds that thrive on a world in turmoil; whose wild imaginings resurrect words like caliphate and meld them with loosely interpreted biblical theories like one world order may now be relieved of their chalk and black board and possibly their jobs in the entertainment industry that is their cable news jobs.

The Bigger The Church The Bigger The Blessing ?

This may be naïve, but if there were a direct correlation between the size of the church and the number of felons that live within proximity to a mega church, then the academic conclusion could be that salvation is directly proportional to the size of the church. Equally, in neighbor hoods which are classified high crime, and have at least, one church on every corner, it would be prudent to expect a lower crime rate if churches were in the business of salvation.

Personally, I do not see the mega church fad as a modern phenomenon at all. Actually, the history of church began as a mega phenomenon. The feeding of the five thousand,  the four thousand and countless other thousands are recounted by Apostles Mathew Mark Luke and John. The thing to note here is that this was an expected volume of congregation because people were mesmerized by the value of the teachings they were receiving.

There was no sociological yardstick to gauge dynamics. It was church pure and simple with people streaming in to be taught the principles of a Godly philosophy.

Some may think it unfair to compare the first mega church to those of today. But there is wisdom to this comparison. There is actually a study that has been conducted on the modern day phenomenon of these huge congregations. It has been determined that there is a discernable general pattern to the way religion is packaged and delivered when it is size- sensitive.

So let’s get to the reason. Using the first mega church as an example and using the first Preacher/Teacher as its beacon, why in the name of all things  holy has the mega church become a phenomenon at all? Why, if the original irrefutable model is being followed, a special study has to be conducted to determine its dynamics?

Those questions are rhetorical, of course but shift, almost seamlessly into the next segment of this critique.

In the midst of this recession and fiasco with Fannie and Freddie jumbo mortgages are still being written with great frequency. The consumers in this case are not the earners of decided income on a consistent basis and therefore, would be least likely to default on mortgages. They are churches which seem to be getting incredible millions to build mega churches on real estate that fall far short of prime.

Indeed, we are in the era of the mega church, which, falls disastrously far short of its blue print. Often they are the manifestations of overly ambitious pastors who erect these behemoths more as an endeavor born out pride than out of practicality.

There is hardly another explanation for the construction of a $32m church in a sparsely populated area that is an economically low property tax base. Another clue would be that the church is of a specific religious and ethnic persuasion, could seat two thousand and garnishes a congregation of a hefty thirty or so on any given Sunday.

There may be some foreboding in the cheap signs that adorn many of there lawns, signs made out of quarter inch ply wood and painted by untrained hands.

Mega churches are now closing their doors to foreclosure for as much as $55 million. That is a stunning figure for an institution whose original blueprint was an open pasture and a real miracle that fed five thousand.



The Egyptians have booted their self-ascribed Pharoah from his throne, in a peaceful consistent demonstration of no confidence in his government.

Mubarak, remained proud until his eleventh hour, refusing to even appear shaken and taking the Presidential podium to still show his power by shaking his fist at the West.

In a  last stand performance, Mubarak, slapped America in the face when he said he would not allow outsiders to make decisions for him or for his people.

But it was all but  a feeble gasp, as Mubarak, hair hardly jet black, and jaw, not as square and set, seemed to be talking only to his microphone.

He was a dictator who was fattened by the West and an America that paid him USD 1.3bn tax payers dollars annually to be their gate keeper and chief middle eastern affairs broker.

Parting for him was truly sweet sorrow for him, hardly because he would miss his people.

Now the real history begins.

We have to celebrate with cautious optimism.

Hopefully the Higher Military Council will call for democratic elections very soon.

Hopefully, the elected government will be one that is as progressive and democratic as the people want.

Let’s hope that the El Bradei’s are properly vetted and that the Egyptian people do not fall victim to their understandably wild exuberance.

Let’s hope that they realize that the revolutionary’s job is done.

Now it’s time for them to elect  to begin the process of governing .

Mubarak’s Eleventh Hour

The uprising in Egypt has placed a fact that the west has been pretending not to notice squarely on the table – Arabs like Americans, want life liberty and the pursuit of happiness and the politics of many of these nations is focused on doing just this for their people.

What throws a wrench in their politics is scenes like the now viral you tube video of Egyptian rioters showing American journalists the “Made in USA” empty canisters of tear gas that the Mubarak mob is hurling at protesters demanding his resignation from their government.

The presence of this tear gas underscores their accusations: the US is willing to entrench any pro-western despot to secure the US’ access to an ample supply of Middle Eastern oil; fully aware that their henchman is denying his nation the very democracy that the US claims its nation was founded upon and its policies continue to support.

It is this politics of marginalization that foments much of the distrust and dislike for the US that comes from many factions in that region and  it is this politics that promotes the very fundamentalism that the US is fearful of.

With the advent of this new thing called protesting for democracy that seems to have inoculated the Middle East, the US must take note of the difference of the protests. They are more western in nature; no burning of Western enemies in effigy, no burning American flags, no American hostage taking. These are protests by nationals to control their own nation. They are rebelling against the slavery of capitalism and the incentive doled out to willing lackeys to enslave whole nations.

What is worthy of note here too is that since the these overt and organized riots for democracy have begun, the only talk of sharia law and global caliphate have come from US based conservative incendiaries.

This uprising is not sectarian at all. These Egyptians reject any attempt to box it in with The Muslim Brother hood, Al Qaeda, or any other sectarian label. They are demanding the removal of a dictator who has been serving the United Sates, more than he has been serving his own people.

Now they are tired and have come out en masse to show their disgust. America continues to waffle, unsure of how stern to be with Mubarak at this stage. They stood very diplomatic ground, pointing out to him that it is clear that his people are revolting against his totalitarianism. But they are also tentative in their rebuke, fearing that an abrupt and disorderly dissent by Mubarak may result in an unfriendly government and a real threat to the existence of Israel.

Mubarak continues to posture. He is pharonic and as he says, will not be dictated to by any ‘outsiders’. For the US this is a slap in the face., especially since they were supporting his dictatorship for USD1.3bn annually at the expense of dismantling the US middle class.

But the days are getting shorter. Mubarak may have played his last hand. He has already established a de facto President, in his VP when he passed the baton over to him. A rare meeting, of Egypt’s Higher Military Council was convened, only the third of its kind in the history of t the council. High ranking military officers promise that the protestors will get their demands.

But Mubarak remains planted, like a pharaoh not letting his people, go, implying that 80 million, less one,are all wrong and only he, Hosni, has the formula.

The tab is USD1.3bn. Hosni is not ready to give that up. The Higher Military Council may be seeing this incentive bar none. And the US watches and waits; issuing bungled diplomatic statements; embarrassed by this pharaoh who dares to defy their request for him to go.

The tab is USD1.3bn. The US middle class is on the verge of decimation. President Obama has an opportunity to re-negotiate this Suez gate fee. This is money that can revitalize his economy.

But Israel is calling. The Conservative Right is issuing ominous warnings. All o fthe puppeteers behind the curtain have already taken their places.

And the Egyptians must endure, yet another day of Hosni, who refuses to leave the life to which he has become accustomed, at the expense of American tax payers and a US government that regards a doctrine called the Freedom Agenda’.

We are seeing history unfold here. America continues to re-write its State Department lines. Its statements must be clear and unequivocal. After Tunisia, it has to acknowledge that freedom is better than stability. It has to realize that engineering the politics of a nation for America’s benefit is but a foolish and temporary solutionthat breeds universal contempt. There is nothing more combustible than a few million people who have been systematically denied basic human rights. The world becomes their enemy.

So, drum roll please, as Hosni exits the building.

Hosni Hunkers Down

It is day 16 now in the Egyptian crisis.

Hosni Mubarak has done all that he knows how to. He has shuffled then reshuffled his cabinet. He has addressed his rioting nation at least two times in fourteen days. He has showed defiance, acquiescence, impatience. 

Then he suddenly remembered what he refers to, so subtly, as his Pharonic ancestry and adopted the stature of a proud, unbending leader who will claim leadership irrespective of whether anyone is following. 

 Hosni will not budge.

Mubarak seems to know the leverage he has. He knows that Egypt has been the negotiation station for the US in the Middle East and that it has  served as an interrogation point to facilitate the detention and interrogation of terrorist suspects wanted by the West. He also knows that Egypt is the western country of the Middle East. Economically, it outperforms its North African neighbors and is actually the trail blazer for modernity in the region, with its culture and relative openness to technology and media.

But above all, Mubarak knows that he has contained and outlawed the fundamentalist group, The Muslim Brotherhood. To him, that was a gift to the West, as well as Israel, for his is the only government in that region that has taken such a firm political stand against this movement..

And for all this, the US has, for years, been doling money out to Mubarak; giving him, virtual cost of living adjustments on the usurious Suez gate fee.

And with this, Mubarak has been able to amass a human fortress of government servants who are completely vested in the cause of keeping the Mubarak government in place.

Who wouldn’t, when the fee is USD 1.3 billion annually to be divided amongst a few hundred men?

Mubarak has dug in and is determined to be regarded as the chief peace keeper and Middle Eastern Sage. His interview with Christiane Amanpour was used to project the foreboding he suggests that only a government under him could avert.  Mubarak told Christiane that President Obama  doesn’t know what could happen if the Mubarak government were not in place. And to this he added that President Obama had no clue about Egyptian culture.

 All very ominous, to say the least.

So now, Mubarak has pitched his tent and has dug in for the long haul – September. He has already established himself as the keeper of Gate Suez and the Keeper of Middle East peace. He goes about his daily business like the tyrant in charge, preoccupied withthe charade of running his country, irrespective of national sentiment.

Vice President Suleiman is now tasked with offering amnesty to the crowd of protestors. For Mubarak, this would be the way to show his pharonic qualities – slap the peasants on their wrists and send them back to their slums. They would see from this that he is truly a noble leader, who understands their petulance. And they would see from this that he is is the leader they deserve.

But a few things have interrupted the plot of this fairy tale. Rashad Al- Bayoumi of the Muslim Brotherhood has already spoken to the world, via a TV station in Japan. He has promised that when Mubarak steps down the peace treaty with Israel will be dissolved.

This petrifies the Conservative Right of America. That gate pass through the Suez that they have been buying annually for USD1.3bn could now be revoked. And even worse, their Middle Eastern home base, Israel, will now become the direct target of the wrath of the Muslim Brotherhood.

So, a time out had to be called. The calls by the US for orderly transition and a structured exit by team Munarak have subsided. President Obama and his cabinet have to go back to the drawing board. They have to show Mubarak the door and ensure that the gate to the Suez remains open. And as they broker the reinstatement of peace in Egypt, they have to do so ensuring that their Middle East home base, Israel, is not at the mercy of The Muslim Brotherhood or any other fundamentalist Muslim faction that may emerge during the crisis in Egypt. Saudi Arabia and Jordon, two more US allies in the Middle East, are begging for the US to keep Hosni in place a little while longer – until they figure out how to deal with a government of eighty million Arabs that could potentially be fundamentalist.

Until this happens, Mubarak will continue to play Pharaoh, the Egyptian masses will remain his people in bondage and he will go about, calling for normalcy, insisting that schools will reopen, insisting that the stock market will resume and that the current mayhem and social disarray is a mere Middle Eastern mirage.

The mirage here is that Mubarak is failing to see that his people are not burning the American flag this time; they are not burning Western leaders in effigy this time; they are not even engaging in immolation.

They are asking for things that are so germane to humanity, like food, jobs, education, opportunity, housing.

The prize for this one is big. USD1.3 bn is no chump change. Mubarak knows. He has already amassed USD 70 bn for his nest egg. And I am not saying that it came from his Suez gate keeping fees because I am not sure just yet.

I am just saying that it is a big one; big enough for President Obama to re-negotiate the price for his Suez gate pass, while simultaneously considering how much of that ridiculous fee that is paid to Mubarak can be pumped into the middleclass that is rapidly becoming an extinct social tier in his US society.

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