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Jul 16 2013

Must be a victim of liberal brainwashing

I like this kid. Somebody elect him president of Egypt.

49 comments

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  1. 1
    John Morales

    Yeah, pretty awesome.

    (I like the way the person in the background (his guardian?) facepalms at his audacity)

  2. 2
    Acolyte of Sagan

    Wow! I like this kid. Not only clever but incredibly brave too. I just hope this doesn’t land him in trouble; we all know how much that sort of regime despises intelligence.

  3. 3
    quidam

    I’m embarrassed, but my first thought was “he won’t survive long enough to be president”

    I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

  4. 4
    Nick Gotts

    We didn’t get rid of the military regime to replace it with a fascist theocracy.

    *sigh*

    And now the “fascist theocracy” has been replaced by another military regime.

  5. 5
    Gregory in Seattle

    @Nick Gotts #4 – Democracy is hard: The US has been working at it for years and we still haven’t gotten it right.

  6. 6
    bigdyterminator

    Do we have someone who speaks his language to verify this is what the kid is actually saying? If so I hereby endorse his coming to the US and holding the highest political office he possibly can.

  7. 7
    AussieMike

    WOW! Just WOW! He is dangerous in a very good way.

  8. 8
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    Wow. That is one smart, well-informed kid. Hopefully, once Egypt settles down a bit, he has a future in politics. I can see him doing the country a lot of good.

    Encouraging :)

  9. 9
    David Marjanović

    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

    (I like the way the person in the background (his guardian?) facepalms at his audacity)

    Oh yes. Oh yes… :-)

    @Nick Gotts #4 – Democracy is hard: The US has been working at it for years and we still haven’t gotten it right.

    In France it took three revolutions and a resoundingly lost war to make it work (never mind getting it actually right). In Germany it took two lost world wars and a tiny revolution…

  10. 10
    timanthony

    This is what can happen when elders fail to properly indoctrinate their children. That boy has gone and indoctrinated himself. In a few minutes, he spouts more wisdom than all the mullas and imams and clerics in the whole world added together have spouted throughout recorded history.

    That last statement might not be an exaggeration.

  11. 11
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    That last statement might not be an exaggeration.

    I would disagree strongly with anyone who said that it was.

  12. 12
    Lynna, OM

    Oh my, there is hope for mankind after all.

  13. 13
    Muz

    Wow. It started cool and then it just got better. Right now the remaining dictatorial and theocratic regimes are getting conservative Imams to preach about the evils of the internet and the true way of the infidel television. The Pokemon, the Dragonball Z, the Ben 10; these are the proper ways to occupy a child and not this dull internet.

  14. 14
    R Johnston

    @5:

    Democracy is hard: The US has been working at it for years and we still haven’t gotten it right.

    At least for my entire lifetime the U.S. has been working at some combination of plutocratic kleptocracy, idiocracy, and Randian christian theocracy. Democracy hasn’t really been in the picture at all.

    Even if you’re not quite that cynical, any nation that abides the existence of the electoral college, the Senate as apportioned, and the House as gerrymandered simply isn’t trying democracy out with any real effort.

  15. 15
    unclefrogy

    one example is not enough to prove anything but it does suggest that there is intelligent thinking involved in the “Arab World” and some real courage in confronting the existing order and a desire for change and a real voice. The only way to stop that is physical repression and that has shown of late to have a limited success
    Liberté, égalité, fraternité!!
    uncle frogy

  16. 16
    lesherb

    Assuming the captioning is accurate, this young child is inspiring. I imagine President Obama was similarly precocious at that age.

    I wish Egypt and everywhere had such clear thinking people in charge.

  17. 17
    Ole Olson

    This kid should run for President of Egypt. Seriously.

  18. 18
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    This kid should run for President of Egypt. Seriously.

    Screw that. Let’s make him dictator of the world.

    Seriously.

    Oh my, there is hope for mankind after all.

    Or even humanity.

  19. 19
    =8)-DX

    Even if you’re not quite that cynical, any nation that abides the existence of the electoral college, the Senate as apportioned, and the House as gerrymandered simply isn’t trying democracy out with any real effort.

    There are actually real, democracy-supporting reasons behind the US electoral college. As a Central European, it’s never been my cup of tea, but there are pretty good arguments that just abolishing it would not ensure a better or more fair democracy.

  20. 20
    Acolyte of Sagan

    According to lots of youtube commentors who claim to speak Arabic, the translation is more or less spot-on. It would appear the world has a Malala MkII.
    I just love intelligent children, they give me hope.

  21. 21
    Acolyte of Sagan

    David Marjanović
    16 July 2013 at 10:03 am (UTC -5) Link to this comment

    @Nick Gotts #4 – Democracy is hard: The US has been working at it for years and we still haven’t gotten it right.

    In France it took three revolutions and a resoundingly lost war to make it work (never mind getting it actually right). In Germany it took two lost world wars and a tiny revolution…

    All it took over here was lopping off the noggin of Charles I, a few years of religious austerity (to put it mildly) and a civil war*.

    *Is it really possible to have a civil war?

  22. 22
    Jafafa Hots

    I imagine President Obama was similarly precocious at that age.

    I see no indication that this kid felt that a an elected leader should be able to have a kill list.

  23. 23
    Rutee Katreya

    There are actually real, democracy-supporting reasons behind the US electoral college. As a Central European, it’s never been my cup of tea, but there are pretty good arguments that just abolishing it would not ensure a better or more fair democracy.

    No. There are explicitly not. It was designed to keep the uninformed plebeians from having a direct vote.

  24. 24
    Jafafa Hots

    There are actually real, democracy-supporting reasons behind the US electoral college.

    Name one.

  25. 25
    =8)-DX

    No. There are explicitly not. It was designed to keep the uninformed plebeians from having a direct vote.

    How it was originally designed is irrelevant. What it does is important. Just off the top of my head the arguments are:
    1) Balancing state interests – smaller population states would have a disproportionate disadvantage in a direct representative system.
    2) Political continuity and stability: direct voting would allow an outsider / inexperienced / rogue / populist candidate. The electoral college gives weight to existing political entities.

    There’s a reason not many places have direct democracy and reasons why representative democracy functions better. The arguments may be invalid for a particular tool such as the electoral college, and changing the system might ensure better government, more democracy, more civil engagement in the political process. But it’s bullshit to claim the electoral college has no explicit democratic function. There is no single ideal voting system to meet the needs and represent the interests of every single part of society to an equal degree.

    A similar democratic tool would be the veto of EU member states – the bigger countries don’t get a bigger veto.

  26. 26
    Sandy Small

    Both of those are problems with the electoral college. It imparts vastly disproportionate authority to less populous, invariably more conservative states, and helps to ensure a disastrous homogeneity among “electable” candidates. It’s a grossly antidemocratic institution and frankly, it needs to be expunged.

  27. 27
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    About the only advantage to the electoral college is that it restricts recounts to just a state or two, rather than the whole country (imagine the shitstorm if Florida 2000 had been repeated nationwide). But that’s a pretty weak justification.

    But it really should be more of a scandal that the Dems won more votes in the House elections last year (by a wide margin) and thanks to gerrymandering didn’t come close to a majority of seats.

  28. 28
    Jafafa Hots

    1) Balancing state interests – smaller population states would have a disproportionate disadvantage in a direct representative system.

    Having people in small states vote for electors who pledge (but are not bound) to vote the way the population votes doesn’t mean you have to have CA telling WY what to do.

    There are other ways of achieving the same thing without creating a system that doesn’t allow WY residents to be the ones voting for who WY is “voting” for.

  29. 29
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Such an intelligent, inspiring child. I hope he is able to grow up and explore his potential.

  30. 30
    =8)-DX

    There are other ways of achieving the same thing without creating a system that doesn’t allow WY residents to be the ones voting for who WY is “voting” for.

    Yes, but my point was only that merely abolishing it wouldn’t necessarily be an improvement. There are other ways to have democratic decision making than sending elected representatives to a common legislature.

    Unless you just consider direct democracy the best system in all cases by definition or something =S.

  31. 31
    =8)-DX

    Both of those are problems with the electoral college.

    In a way and I’m probably generally on your side. However they are the converse of other problems that could arrise from just abolishing the system altogether and moving to simple representative elections. As I mentioned those would be reductions in the influence of small states within the US and the danger of populist/outsider candidates without political backing.

    Interestingly enough we just moved to direct democratic presidential elections in our country (CZ – previously parliament elected the president) which basically lead to an interesting campaign, but also the election of a candidate who wouldn’t have much of a chance otherwise and who many people are not satisfied with. Direct voting doesn’t “fix” things because “democracy”. It’s like all libertarians claiming the market will fix itself as long as you don’t regulate it.

  32. 32
    Nick Gotts

    1) Balancing state interests – smaller population states would have a disproportionate disadvantage in a direct representative system. =8)-DX

    This is just weird: one of the key requirements of a democratic system is that as far as possible each individual voter gets the same degree of influence. Why the fuck should which part of the country you live in determine your degree of electoral influence, as it does now to a huge extent in the USA?

  33. 33
    Nick Gotts

    the danger of populist/outsider candidates without political backing.

    Danger? You mean, like, the Republican-Democratic duopoly might break down? Someone without huge corporate interests in their corner might win? Horrors!

    also the election of a candidate who wouldn’t have much of a chance otherwise and who many people are not satisfied with

    So? In a democracy it’s fairly routine for a lot of people to dislike the outcome of an election. From what I’ve read of the Czech system, when the President was indirectly elected the choice was made in backroom deals between politicians. Were you satisfied with the “free market” fanatic and climate change denialist Klaus, elected under that system?

  34. 34
    Rutee Katreya

    How it was originally designed is irrelevant. What it does is important. Just off the top of my head the arguments are:

    Shit, apparently.

    1) Balancing state interests – smaller population states would have a disproportionate disadvantage in a direct representative system.

    …Like being entirely ignored as irrelevant in the presidental campaign, because we already know where 56% of the state’s votes are going, and therefore where the electoral votes go? Are you even trying?

    2) Political continuity and stability: direct voting would allow an outsider / inexperienced / rogue / populist candidate. The electoral college gives weight to existing political entities.

    Oh fucking no, not an outsider or, HEAVENS,, a populist candidate. Anything but someone who might fucking help the common people. That would just totally fuck up the process of democracy. Populism is bad when you’re using it to do shit like boogeyman the gays, not because it’s a horrible thing on its own. When you use it to crusade for the downtrodden, such as farmers being crushed under bank notes and the gold standard, it’s good.

    There’s a reason not many places have direct democracy

    In spite of knowing at least one actually decent reason for this, I’mma just go ahead and remind you that a much larger reason for this is “It threatens the interests of the landed elite”.

    and reasons why representative democracy functions better.

    …because it protects the landed elite? And you know, none of that has shit to do with the electoral college (You would still have a representative democracy if laws were voted on by congressional reps, but the president was subject to direct election), especially not since the EC operates FPTP. One could conceivably assign seats or electoral votes based on the percentage of votes actually cast, rather than that bullshit.

    The arguments may be invalid for a particular tool such as the electoral college,

    Seeing as that’s the one you specifically claimed had a democratic purpose, rather than the concept of representation in government, what you’re really saying is “Okay, I fucked up.” in this sentence.

    But it’s bullshit to claim the electoral college has no explicit democratic function.

    In the sense that preventing the common people from having a voice in their future is a democratic function, I will concede that the Electoral College has a democratic function. Or perhaps, if ‘bullshit’ has become a phrase meaning ‘true and valid’, but that strikes me as slightly less likely.

    Yes, but my point was only that merely abolishing it wouldn’t necessarily be an improvement.

    Well, in the sense that it might be abolished because we suffered a military coup or similar, that’s true. In a practical one, switching from FPTP would be pretty great.

  35. 35
    =8)-DX

    Were you satisfied with the “free market” fanatic and climate change denialist Klaus, elected under that system?

    Most definitely No. (although he made a better president than prime minister in his first year.. but you’re right – and I’d add “anti-EU-separatist”) But I’m also definitely not satisfied with Zeman.
    The point is that neither systems provide results that are somehow magically better, or even more representative of people’s preferences or in their best interests.

  36. 36
    Nick Gotts

    or even more representative of people’s preferences

    This appears obviously false: in a direct election, people actually get to express their preferences and have them counted.

  37. 37
    =8)-DX

    Oh fucking no, not an outsider or, HEAVENS,, a populist candidate. Anything but someone who might fucking help the common people. That would just totally fuck up the process of democracy. Populism is bad when you’re using it to do shit like boogeyman the gays, not because it’s a horrible thing on its own.

    One word: Berlusconi.
    (and no, I don’t think it’s a horrible thing on its own – it’s just different – destabilising, and populism will always be problematic taking into account the large number of people who vote on gut-instinct alone.)

    …Like being entirely ignored as irrelevant in the presidental campaign, because we already know where 56% of the state’s votes are going, and therefore where the electoral votes go? Are you even trying?

    And I guess in a truly representative election, you’re saying no one would be ignored, and the small states wouldn’t become less relevant? I never said this wasn’t a problem of the electoral college, I just meant just that *every* system will have problems, and the electoral college is only one among other systems which have their own problems and provide their own advantages.

    In the sense that preventing the common people from having a voice in their future is a democratic function, I will concede that the Electoral College has a democratic function. Or perhaps, if ‘bullshit’ has become a phrase meaning ‘true and valid’, but that strikes me as slightly less likely.

    Having a hereditary ruler is non-democratic. Systems of voting as means to express the needs and will of the people are what democracy is about, and indirect elections are one way to do that. You’re off base even by definition. Right – you see the US EC as a barrier to better democracy and having the common person’s voice heard, I can concede that – fine.

    In my country we don’t have FPTP, we have representative division with a single condition that parties must get at least 5% of the vote. And our constant problem in the past 10 years has been 4 party semi-coalition nonsense and weak governments with single-seat majorities. I’m not saying I’d want FPTP, but not having it can lead to serious problems down the road.

  38. 38
    Sandy Small

    I’ll just go ahead and ignore that libertarian comparison. That was uncalled for.

    I will cheerfully admit that I don’t know the first thing about Czech politics, so I can’t comment on that (incidentally, if you’re unsatisfied with your president, I have a nothing but sympathy); while it would not do to put less popular states at a disproportionate disadvantage (your term), they certainly ought to be at a proportionate disadvantage—the EC ensures the opposite. For example, I live in California, the largest US state with a population in excess of 37 million and 55 electors between us; the least populous state is Wyoming, with 3 electors and a population of around 560,000 (approximately 2/3 that of San Fransisco alone, by the way); if I’ve done my math correctly (and I’m not entirely positive that I have), a WY resident’s vote carries almost four times the weight mine does. Does that seem even remotely fair to you, that the worth of a citizen’s vote varies depending on where they hang their hat?

    Furthermore, since we operate under a winner-take-all basis (notwithstanding a few flirtations with distributing electoral votes by congressional district in recent elections), and most states reliably vote the same way (e.g., Massachusetts pretty much always votes Democrat, Oklahoma pretty much always votes Republican, and so on), the concerns of most states—and their citzens’, hopefully needless to say—are summarily ignored by all candidates in favor of sucking up to the handful of states that ever end up actually deciding our presidential elections—that typically breaks down these days as Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and/or Pennsylvania. And not many others. Which means in practical terms that my Californian vote, as well as my hypothetical WY resident’s, are utterly worthless.

    As to your point about the possibility of a candidate winning without the backing of a major party, I seriously have absolutely no problem with that whatsoever. The US’s political system has ossified into an impenitrible two party system, with one party full of spineless, reactionary authoritarians, and one party of…you know that Goya painting of crazy-eyed Saturn lunging out of the darkness, violently devouring his child? Yeah, that. I am simply dying to experience “the danger of a populist/outsider candidate”.

  39. 39
    =8)-DX
    or even more representative of people’s preferences or in their best interests.

    This appears obviously false: in a direct election, people actually get to express their preferences and have them counted.

    I was talking about the *results* of either process. The elected person may worse represent the preferences of those who elected them. And why did you ignore the second part – best interests. Momentary popular preference doesn’t automatically translate into representation of best interests.

  40. 40
    Nick Gotts

    The elected person may worse represent the preferences of those who elected them.

    FFS, either this is trivially true – because any leader chosen by any method may do anything within their power – or it’s trivially false, if we’re talking about people’s preferences for who gets chosen.

    And why did you ignore the second part

    Because I agree with it, but it’s trivially true.

  41. 41
    Nick Gotts

    Having a hereditary ruler is non-democratic.

    So is the electoral college.

  42. 42
    John Morales

    [meta]

    I guess the boy’s patent precocious clueiness is so much a given that the debouchement of this thread into democratic systems’ merits is not unwarranted. ;)

  43. 43
    Rutee Katreya

    One word: Berlusconi.

    You know who wasn’t an outsider, rogue, populist, or inexperienced? Dubya. Did you kinda forget all that?

    Momentary popular preference doesn’t automatically translate into representation of best interests.

    Nor does it translate automatically into someone worse. When I look at some of the assholes William Jennings Bryant ran against…

    nd I guess in a truly representative election, you’re saying no one would be ignored, and the small states wouldn’t become less relevant?

    The small states don’t have a whole lot of relevance to lose in the presidential campaigns. Do you not know this shit? I mean, it’s a little generous to refer to Ohio as a ‘small state’, but small states have very few electoral votes to start with, and most of them lean heavily.

    And our constant problem in the past 10 years has been 4 party semi-coalition nonsense and weak governments with single-seat majorities. I’m not saying I’d want FPTP, but not having it can lead to serious problems down the road.

    Are you trying to say FPTP guarantees a strong representative branch?

    Have you not fucking looked at Congress?
    And you know, there’s the obvious problem of “I don’t give two fucks about the specific states” to start with, so much as people. Why should I care that abstractly, Rhode Island might be underrepresented in the presidential election’s campaigning (Except it can’t possibly be, because RI is one of the many states you don’t waste money or time on), when the people of Rhode Island got to cast a vote that actually fucking mattered?

    Systems of voting as means to express the needs and will of the people are what democracy is about, and indirect elections are one way to do that.

    …Like when Dubya lost the popular election and got in anyway because of the EC (And SCOTUS, but it wouldn’t reach the SCOTUS sans the EC)? Is that representing both the needs and the will of the people? Would it have been even without his brother throwing out the votes that gave Gore victory?

  44. 44
    Rutee Katreya

    Oh, and hte other obvious problem with saying “BUT THERE ARE VALID REASONS FOR THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE AND THEY ARE DEMOCRATIC”…

    …none of this shit is ever once on the mind of the people who do the lion’s share of the owrk in defending it – the democratic and republican establishments. None of this shit is really going through their heads when they fight to preserve the electoral college. They are solely motivated by fear that holy shit, we might get rid of this two party system. There might be good reasons to maintain the EC (There aren’t, but you know, hypotheticals), and that STILL doesn’t make them the reasons they stay in place.

  45. 45
    ajbjasus

    Top kid – the last time we had a “Political Prodigy” in the UK it was William Hague ! This lad would eat him for breakfast.

  46. 46
    David Marjanović

    a few years of religious austerity (to put it mildly)

    Heh.

    The funniest part is that The Natural History Museum is still on Cromwell Road. :-D

    There’s a reason not many places have direct democracy and reasons why representative democracy functions better.

    OFFS. Electing the president directly isn’t direct democracy. Having a president isn’t direct democracy!

    1) Balancing state interests – smaller population states would have a disproportionate disadvantage in a direct representative system.

    I know, I know: the idea was that the states would elect the President of the United States.

    But this isn’t even feasible anymore. In 2000, people started trading votes over the Internet: Democrats in safe states pledged to vote Green in exchange for Greens in swing states voting Democratic – a deal that benefitted both sides in making the Greens visible in the results while at the same time preventing them from splitting the anti-Bush vote. A court tried to forbid it; but that must not even be possible, because the vote must be secret!

    Have nationwide affairs decided nationwide, not on the state level.

    2) Political continuity and stability: direct voting would allow an outsider / inexperienced / rogue / populist candidate. The electoral college gives weight to existing political entities.

    I can’t see how the electoral college bolsters the two-party system. The lack of separation between head of state and head of government makes it inevitable.

    In fact, the electoral college would favor third parties that got the majority vote in a region as opposed to broad but low support across the country.

    the “free market” fanatic and climate change denialist Klaus

    :-o I had no idea Klaus was either of those!

    Oh fucking no, not an outsider or, HEAVENS,, a populist candidate. Anything but someone who might fucking help the common people. That would just totally fuck up the process of democracy. Populism is bad when you’re using it to do shit like boogeyman the gays, not because it’s a horrible thing on its own. When you use it to crusade for the downtrodden, such as farmers being crushed under bank notes and the gold standard, it’s good.

    That’s a completely different meaning of “populist”. Where I come from (right next to .cz), Haider was considered a populist, and the Greens were not: Haider said whatever he thought the least common denominator wanted to hear, while the Greens make actual arguments most of the time.

    And I guess in a truly representative election, you’re saying no one would be ignored, and the small states wouldn’t become less relevant?

    If They The People of the United States elected the president directly, instead of the states doing it for them, the states wouldn’t exist for the purpose of presidential elections!

    Right now, they do, with the result that candidates don’t even campaign in about half of them.

    In my country we don’t have FPTP, we have representative division with a single condition that parties must get at least 5% of the vote.

    That’s for parliament and therefore government, not for president. In the US, the government is independent of parliament and depends on the president instead.

    And our constant problem in the past 10 years has been 4 party semi-coalition nonsense and weak governments with single-seat majorities. I’m not saying I’d want FPTP, but not having it can lead to serious problems down the road.

    Well, where I come from, all parties that get at least 4 % of the vote get into parliament – and there are never more than 5 or 6 that do. Most of the time we get the same strong, boring two-party coalition over and over again, and by “most of the time” I mean most of both republics so far, the first 1918–1934 and the second since 1945.

    In stark contrast, in the US, you can get “split government”, when president + administration want one thing, Congress wants another, and they just block each other all the way to the next election. Over here, when the government wants one thing and the parliament wants another, the government is fired, and there are new elections instead of years of inaction!

  47. 47
    freemage
    …Like being entirely ignored as irrelevant in the presidental campaign, because we already know where 56% of the state’s votes are going, and therefore where the electoral votes go? Are you even trying?

    And I guess in a truly representative election, you’re saying no one would be ignored, and the small states wouldn’t become less relevant?

    I don’t know if he’s saying that, but I will.

    For one thing, we’re dealing with two definitions of the word “small”–population and land-mass. Rural states with no major metropolitan zones are the ones favored by the EC.

    The EC was valuable back in the horse-and-buggy era, because it meant that a would-be presidential candidate couldn’t just focus on the large population centers and ignore the rural territories. This was an issue at the founding because yes, it would definitely be cost-effective to just focus on Philly, NYC and Boston to get most of your votes. But in the age of television and the internet, this isn’t really a thing any more. I can reach the entire farm belt with a single well-publicized speech or debate appearance.

    If we’re making the broad assumption that people who live similar lifestyles will have similar concerns, then a state like Iowa or Montana–where there’s no major metropolis to speak of–is going to be dramatically easier to appeal to as a whole than a state like Illinois or California, where you have to tailor one message to the farmland, and a second to suburbia, and a third to the dense city zones.

    Furthermore, in my experience, rural life doesn’t change very much by crossing state borders, until you cross several. There’s differences between rural Illinois and rural Michigan–but there’s considerably more between Chicago and Detroit. Thus, it’s easier to appeal to, say, all of the farm belt states at once, by going after all the farmers, than it is to go after Los Angeles and Chicago and NYC.

  48. 48
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    And I guess in a truly representative election, you’re saying no one would be ignored, and the small states wouldn’t become less relevant?

    Bluntly, they are less relevant, because there are fewer people in them. I live in a city, and not a terribly large one at that, which has a larger population than Wyoming, Vermont and North Dakota put together. Why exactly should the people in those states have a bigger say than I do?

  49. 49
    David Marjanović

    The EC was valuable back in the horse-and-buggy era, because it meant that a would-be presidential candidate couldn’t just focus on the large population centers and ignore the rural territories. This was an issue at the founding because yes, it would definitely be cost-effective to just focus on Philly, NYC and Boston to get most of your votes.

    *lightbulb moment*

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