William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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PRETTY MUCH ACCORDING TO SCRIPT – AT 7:04 A.M. ET:  Well, the president of Egypt was a hero 48 hours ago.  According to the spin, he was helpful in arranging the Israel-Hamas ceasefire.

That was then.  This is now.  Apparently it went to his head and the esteemed president went the usual Mideast route.  I'd like to see the White House spin this one:

CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's Islamist president unilaterally decreed greater authorities for himself Thursday and effectively neutralized a judicial system that had emerged as a key opponent by declaring that the courts are barred from challenging his decisions.

Riding high on U.S. and international praise for mediating a Gaza cease-fire, Mohammed Morsi put himself above oversight and gave protection to the Islamist-led assembly writing a new constitution from a looming threat of dissolution by court order.

Does the word "dictator" come to mind?  Nah.

But the move is likely to fuel growing public anger that he and his Muslim Brotherhood are seizing too much power.

The Brothers?  Who would think?

In what was interpreted by rights activists as a de facto declaration of emergency law, one of Morsi's decrees gave him the power to take "due measures and steps" to deal with any "threat" to the revolution, national unity and safety or anything that obstructs the work of state institutions.

Morsi framed his decisions as necessary to protect the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak nearly two years ago and to cement the nation's transition to democratic rule. Many activists, including opponents of the Brotherhood, criticize the judiciary as packed with judges and prosecutors sympathetic to Mubarak. Brotherhood supporters accuse the courts of trying to block their agenda.

"He had to act to save the country and protect the course of the revolution," said one of Morsi's aides, Pakinam al-Sharqawi, speaking on Al-Jazeera. "It is a major stage in the process of completing the January 25th revolution," she said, alluding to the starting day of last year's uprising against Mubarak.

COMMENT:  Yeah, right.  They're completing the revolution.  They always are.  And watch Morsi become president for life.  The only difference between this president for life and Mubarak is that Mubarak was pro-American.  Smart move, Barack.

November 23, 2012