Mubarak Stays in Place

After a day of Will He or Won’t He, Hosni Mubarak has announced on Egyptian television that he won’t — he’s remaining in power.


Barack Obama, speaking from Michigan, 1:40pm ET:

“We are witnessing history unfold. It’s a moment of transformation that’s taking place because the people of Egypt are calling for change… It’s young people who’ve been at the forefront.”

Obama calls for “an orderly and genuine transition to democracy in Egypt.”

NBC, earlier:

Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak is to step down Thursday night, two sources told NBC News, as widespread protests against his 30-year rule continue to grip the country.

Following an all-day meeting of the country’s supreme military council, the army said all of the protesters’ demands would be met and that a further statement was due to be made later Thursday that would clarify the situation.

NBC News reported that a high-ranking source inside the president’s office said Mubarak would step down and the newly appointed vice president, Omar Suleiman, would take over. This was then confirmed by a second source.

Head of Egypt’s ruling party said he would be “surprised” if Mubarak was still President on Friday. Mubarak and family said to be “packing their bags” to leave the country, but an AJE correspondent is now cautioning against optimistic presumptions — Hosni’s still on the ground, and may not yet have formally relinquished power.

CNN: Protesters shouting “Civilian, Not Military!” leadership.


@SanFranLefty: Normally I’d bitch about that, but I’m waking up very quickly now.

I bet Nick Denton isn’t up this early.

@Benedick: Denton pays people to wake up for him.

Gad, this is developing like that first Friday night: Announcement of pending TV talk, crowds excited, nothing until post-midnight Cairo time, disappointment.

It’s coming up on 8 p.m. in Cairo. Mubarak could be hours away.

@nojo: Beeb says he’s talking at 10 pm Cairo time. Gives him time to catch the red-eye to Riyadh.

Barry’s up in a few minutes. Which is odd. He’s supposed to wait for Hosni, isn’t he?

Note that constitutionally, the prime minister is next in line. But according to CNN, the PM sez Hosni’s still in power. For Omar to take over, they’d be stepping outside the lines.

Barry still set to speak from Michigan, under a Bush-style “Winning the Future” banner.

1) WTF lives!

2) Obama banners are better designed than Bush banners.

I bet Nick Denton doesn’t have a cool iPad. I bet he’s all like Windows.

And from Barry, a few nice words, then on to the canned speech. Nothing substantial until Hosni speaks.

@Benedick: If Denton does have a cool iPad, he hasn’t used it to visit his sites this week. Major fucking bitch.

Reuters, via AJE: Army will act if protesters refuse to go along with the Not Coup.

AJE commenter: It’s all conjecture until we see what goes down. Even if it’s well-sourced, the situation is very fluid.

I bet Nick Denton couldn’t sing the score from Jesus Christ Superstar while doing the original ography.

@Benedick: I saw JC Superstar in the West End in 1978. I think you just stand in front of a microphone.

@nojo: Happy days, huh, big guy?

I bet our hamster could totally take down Nick Denton’s hamster.


just sent you a panicked email. nervously awaiting response.

the revolution will not be televised. except when it is.

I wonder if the news getting out in front might tempt him to dig in?

@Capt Howdy: Bear in mind that this isn’t the best moment to handle emergencies…

@nojo: I saw the concert tour of JCS about 40 years ago at the then shiny new Assembly Hall in Boomington. I don’t remember anything about it except the booming bass of Caiaphas (must have been Bob Bingham) that sounded like thunder inside the building. What an amazing voice.



also doenst have to happen this instant. just very soon.

Twitter’s “Reasons Mubarak is Late”:

He’s calling the Mossad to see about unleashing an army of killer sharks on Egypt’s beaches.

Downloading Skype.

Just one last hit of botox!

Setting up his new DC lobbying firm’s Facebook page.

Finishing his KFC dinner box.

You think it’s easy packing gold bullion bars into vintage Louis Vuitton luggage?

He’s Egyptian.

ADD: More of them:

Changing Facebook status to “It’s Complicated”

Still on hold with Egypt Air customer service.

Deleting his Craig’s List postings.

Still waiting for Hosni — Egyptian TV is showing bland promo for Egypt.

Promo over. Address “shortly”. We’ll see.

This is gonna be The Bummer Heard Round the World if he doesn’t quit. People are celebrating like the Berlin Wall just came down.

@nojo: The square will explode and go absolutely nuts if he doesn’t quit.

what I was wondering. if that will make him dig in.
on the other hand the meeting was with the army so he might not have the option.

@Capt Howdy: He’s been in power for a lifetime, and he’s survived other protests. Letting go has to be really hard.

Al Arabia, via Reuters, via AJE: Hosni may hand over power to Omar, but remain a figurehead. Might even lift emergency laws.

But nothing is certain until Hosni speaks.

State TV: Hosni now “minutes away”. Right.

And heeeeeere’s Hosni!

“I’m proud of you for the new generation of Egypt.”

“The blood of your martyrs will not be wasted.”

“I will not be easy in punishing the people reponsible for these injuries.”

“I will respond to your demands and your voices.”

“I am committed to carry out my promises.”

“I am embarrassed, and I will not respond to any foreign interventions.”

Restating plans to transfer power during elections…

“We have started a national dialogue, a constructive one.”

Committee studying constitutional amendments, committee studying implementation of commitments, blah blah blah…

Nothing new yet. This doesn’t bode well.

“The priority now is to restore the confidence among the Egyptians themselves.”

On economic hardship: “The people who have called for change will be the victims of these difficult times.”

Plays the War Hero Card: “Raised the Egyptian flag over the Sinai.”

“I have never succumbed to any international pressure.”

CNN: Crowd in Tahrir shouting “Get out, get out!”

Annnnnd… scene! Cue Angry Mob.

Doesn’t sound like a guy headed to exile in Switzerland.

He better lift martial law or that crowd is going to head straight to the Presidential Palace.

It’s 11 p.m. in Cairo. The night is very young. And tomorrow is Friday.

AJE reporting that the crowd is waving shoes. And we know what that means.

You gotta wonder what was going on behind the scenes today, for all that chatter to leak. This wasn’t a major protest day — the next Big Event was planned for Friday.

Crowds were even heading home from Tahrir when the rumors started breaking — and then everybody rushed back.

Major clusterfuck: Hosni would have been better off not announcing anything. It had been looking like he was just going to patiently wait it out.

CNN: “Some protesters appear to be heading for Egyptian state television.”

The night is very, very young.

And the fun continues: Omar to speak soon.

It seems ole Hosni likes power more than money. Good for him. Stand up for your, um, principles. On your way to the gallows it might be a little too late to remember what happened to stubborn oaf Ceaucescu who watched his security forces get crushed by the Army and was summarily executed.

Omar chattering now… Haven’t heard anything significant yet…

Tonally, they’re both trying to say Kind Words about the protesters. Practically, they’re both not announcing anything new.

Per AJE:

Mubarak said the current “moment was not against my personality, against Hosni Mubarak”, and concluded by saying that he would not leave Egyptian soil until he was “buried under it”.

Um, yes it is, and that can be arranged.

@Mistress Cynica: He’s really hanging on doing things Constitutionally — this in a country that’s been under emergency law for decades.

tj/Overheard at the gun shop while buying tear gas at lunch:

“Well, if you got a grenade launcher, what’s the point?”

There’s an interesting piece I just ran across in the Times Magazine:

Iraq’s Last Patriot

My favorite chunk from the piece:

It certainly was true in Sadr City. The brilliance of the movement loyal to Moktada al-Sadr, a populist cleric who holds sway in the neighborhood, is its ability to read the street. It takes pride in it, and as demagogues, its cadres can sacrifice truth for theater. There was plenty of that during the election and after, as leaflets made the rounds at the Friday prayers, where thousands gather each week. In one leaflet, Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni and ally of Allawi’s, was pictured over a passage that supposedly quoted him saying, “No place will be left for the Shiites to rule Iraq, even for a month.” Opponents are pictured with Ali Hassan al-Majid, the particularly bloodthirsty lieutenant of Hussein’s nicknamed Chemical Ali.

Sounds like Iraq’s got a teabagger problem…

Gideon Yago: “Mubarak is now officially the Jay Leno of dictators.”

Totally irrelevant T/J: I’m on a Southwest flight with WiFi. I like this.

@mellbell: Southwest flight from Columbus OH to Vegas. I’m connecting to LA; I doubt anyone else is. Every seat is filled with people who are very happy because it was 2 degrees in Columbus this AM and they think they are going to win big in Vegas.

Egyptian ambassador tells CNN that Omar is now de facto prez. That jibes with at least one of the rumors today, but it’s not exactly how the two speeches sounded.

ADD: It doesn’t seem like the ambassador has informed the U.S. government yet…

@Dodgerblue: Virgin America has had wi-fi on their planes for years. It’s awesome. I can’t fly across the country on any other airline now.

Ambassador: Hosni has transferred (technically, “delegated”) all power to Omar, except for the power to dissolve Parliament, which nobody has. Omar has the power to end the emergency law, but aside from the constitution talk, has not done so.

Per NYT: “We will not accept or listen to any foreign interventions or dictations,” Mr. Mubarak said.

Does Barry have the stones to cut off the $1.5 billion a year spigot and sale of weapons to Egypt so long as Hosni sticks around?

@Dodgerblue: We have no fucking clue. In this situation, the Egyptian ambassador to the U.S. is not a Trusted Authority.

Specifically, he was talking on the phone to Wolf. And while it sounded like government-approved spin, I’d wait for confirmation from other sources.

@Dodgerblue: For example, it was unclear whether Hosni could delegate power back at will. Revocable delegated power is still power.

@Mistress Cynica: Yeah, but Delta’s service sucks and their seat-pitch configuration is the worst, perhaps only Untied has worse configurations.

@nojo: Doubtful that the good people of Egypt would buy something that flaky.

AJE: “Mixed messages from Egyptian government,” mentioning CNN interview.

@Dodgerblue: “My sock puppet now has full authority to run the country.”

AJE reporter analysis: “Not everybody is on the same page.”

AJE: ElBaradei on Twitter: “Egypt will explode. Army must save the country now.”
I fear there will be blood.

How can we help?

How do you shout SKULL FUCK HIM! in Egyptian Arabic?

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: IS that going to be your campaign slogan? Pithy, yet to the point.

AJE: White House planning “paper statement” later. No Obama follow-up.

@Mistress Cynica:

Possibly. Also under consideration: “Everybody Calm the Fuck Down.”

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: I like “Oh for fuck’s sake” or “Chill the fuck out” as your slogan when you run as the nominee from The Rent is Too High party. You’d probably get more votes than whoever the Dems prop up to run for that seat…

@Dodgerblue: The Army’s still trying to play Ref right now — neither acting against the crowd, nor against Mubarak. But it’s a safe bet that if Hosni’s still in the palace, he’s there with the Army’s blessing.

@Mistress Cynica:

On the campaign front, I had a bit of a revelation following this drivel from CPAC this morning. The line responsible:

Gingrich also railed against President Obama’s handling of terrorism, in what were probably the first shades of Islamophobia in the CPAC speeches so far: “This is an administration that doesn’t even have the courage to tell us who wants to kill us.”

What I realized? The people who want to kill us are REPUBLICANS. Think about it – virtually every conservative cause will ultimately lead to deaths that could have been prevented otherwise. For instance:

– dismantling EPA regulations: duh

– making health insurance more expensive: duh

– dismantling workplace safety regulations: duh and a half

– reducing or eliminating access to basic reproductive health services in the name of Jeebus: duh squared

– Rand Paul’s ardent desire to eliminate the FDA: duh to the power of duh

– the jackoff in GA who thinks we shouldn’t have driver licensing: ditto

Add in the well-documented effects of declining real wages and increasing economic inequality, wars and the like and seriously: why do the Republicans want to kill everybody?

CNN: “A couple thousand protesters have arrived at Egypt’s presidential palace.”

Coming up on 2 a.m. in Cairo…

ADD: Al Jazeera is saying “a few hundred”.

@nojo: Nick Kristof’s take on things: Mubarak and Suleiman aren’t just delusional, they’re suicidal.

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: Club for Growth is backing Representative Flake for Kyl’s seat. I think we can all agree that Representative Flake is a laudable choice.

@Mistress Cynica: It was long, boring, and incomprehensible. Plus the translator kept conflating ‘persecute’ for ‘prosecute’. It needed Alito to be there shaking his head to spice things up.

White House just issued statement, being read aloud on CNN. I’ll post something soon as I find a printed version. has one section called “Speeches & Remarks”, another called “Statements & Releases”. No Egypt speech/remark/statement/release there yet.

White House statement…

The Egyptian people have been told that there was a transition of authority, but it is not yet clear that this transition is immediate, meaningful or sufficient. Too many Egyptians remain unconvinced that the government is serious about a genuine transition to democracy, and it is the responsibility of the government to speak clearly to the Egyptian people and the world. The Egyptian government must put forward a credible, concrete and unequivocal path toward genuine democracy, and they have not yet seized that opportunity.

As we have said from the beginning of this unrest, the future of Egypt will be determined by the Egyptian people. But the United States has also been clear that we stand for a set of core principles. We believe that the universal rights of the Egyptian people must be respected, and their aspirations must be met. We believe that this transition must immediately demonstrate irreversible political change, and a negotiated path to democracy. To that end, we believe that the emergency law should be lifted. We believe that meaningful negotiations with the broad opposition and Egyptian civil society should address the key questions confronting Egypt’s future: protecting the fundamental rights of all citizens; revising the Constitution and other laws to demonstrate irreversible change; and jointly developing a clear roadmap to elections that are free and fair.

We therefore urge the Egyptian government to move swiftly to explain the changes that have been made, and to spell out in clear and unambiguous language the step by step process that will lead to democracy and the representative government that the Egyptian people seek. Going forward, it will be essential that the universal rights of the Egyptian people be respected. There must be restraint by all parties. Violence must be forsaken. It is imperative that the government not respond to the aspirations of their people with repression or brutality. The voices of the Egyptian people must be heard.

The Egyptian people have made it clear that there is no going back to the way things were: Egypt has changed, and its future is in the hands of the people. Those who have exercised their right to peaceful assembly represent the greatness of the Egyptian people, and are broadly representative of Egyptian society. We have seen young and old, rich and poor, Muslim and Christian join together, and earn the respect of the world through their non-violent calls for change. In that effort, young people have been at the forefront, and a new generation has emerged. They have made it clear that Egypt must reflect their hopes, fulfill their highest aspirations, and tap their boundless potential. In these difficult times, I know that the Egyptian people will persevere, and they must know that they will continue to have a friend in the United States of America.

@nojo: too wordy – I could edit that to about 1/2 and it would have more impact.

@blogenfreude: I could edit it to this:

Get the fuck out now with your billions, Mubarak, before the mobs lynch you or we end the gravy train.

@blogenfreude: It was probably one sentence before the State Department saw it…

But as with any form of communication, consider the audience. It’s directed at the government, the protesters, Israel, other Arab states in the region. All that wordy nuance is serving many masters.

@SanFranLefty: Remote chance that I could end up over there, helping re- make the gravy into something just as nutritious, but less fattening.

Fucking Darrell Issa needs to get his ugly mug off my teevee. Now. Damn PBS and their in-depth interviews.

Very moving scenes from Egypt. Demonstrators have handled things brilliantly, it seems.

Breaking/Ex-astronaut, climate change denier Harrison Schmitt has withdrawn from consideration for appointment as the New Mexico Secretary for Energy Minerals and Natural Resources because he did not want to submit to a background check for the Democratic controlled state senate committee that makes the initial vote on nominees.

I ran through the state and federal court data bases and didn’t see anything. He did appear on the Alex Jones radio show to spew on climate issues and on how the enviro movement is full of commies.

On another front of a Mediterranean dictator who should leave now, Berlusconi is still spewing his vitriol against an independent judiciary. One theory which has been mooted is that he is a zombie. See here:

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