DEMOCRACY DEMOTION IN EGYPT….The Egyptian ruling party has passed a raft of constitutional changes and has set a date for a referendum to approve them: March 26, five days from now. Why so fast? Because that gives the opposition no time to mobilize protests. Marc Lynch explains the proposed modifications:

The changes are blatantly, almost absurdly, authoritarian and antidemocratic. Judicial oversight of elections will be eliminated….Contested Presidential elections will be virtually impossible….Parties based on religion would be explicitly banned….the regime, under NDP control, will retain an iron grip on the licensing of political parties….”Counter-terrorism” provisions will render a whole range of highly controversial, intrusive security practices Constitutional, making the de facto security state into a de jure security state.

Marc describes the scene after parliament approved the changes:

NDP deputies quite appropriatedly celebrated its “victory” by launching into the Baathist chant “With spirit, with blood, we sacrifice ourselves for you, oh Mubarak.” This is what America’s support for Egyptian “reform” has brought: Baathism on the Nile.

Read the whole thing for more gory details. You will be unsurprised to learn that U.S. reponse has been virtually nonexistent, yet more evidence that George Bush’s commitment to democracy promotion was never anything more than a nice sounding slogan.