Saturday, July 6, 2013

Happy Birthday Mr. President.

Sure wish he was our president now. 


Israel's Reviled Strategic Wisdom

On Wednesday, Egypt had its second revolution in as many years.

And there is no telling how many more revolutions it will have in the coming months, or years. This is the case not only in Egypt, but throughout the Islamic world.

The American foreign policy establishment's rush to romanticize as the Arab Spring the political instability that engulfed the Arab world following the self-immolation of a Tunisian peddler in December 2010 was perhaps the greatest demonstration ever given of the members of that establishment's utter cluelessness about the nature of Arab politics and society. Their enthusiastic embrace of protesters who have now brought down President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood regime indicates that it takes more than a complete repudiation of their core assumptions to convince them to abandon them.

US reporters and commentators today portray this week's protests as the restoration of the Egyptian revolution. That revolution, they remain convinced, was poised to replace long-time Egyptian leader and US-ally Hosni Mubarak with a liberal democratic government led by people who used Facebook and Twitter.

Subsequently, we were told, that revolution was hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood. But now that Morsi and his government have been overthrown, the Facebook revolution is back on track.

And again, they are wrong.

As was the case in 2011, the voices of liberal democracy in Egypt are so few and far between that they have no chance whatsoever of gaining power, today or for the foreseeable future. At this point it is hard to know what the balance of power is between the Islamists who won 74 percent of the vote in the 2011 parliamentary elections and their opponents. But it is clear that their opponents are not liberal democrats. They are a mix of neo-Nasserist fascists, communists and other not particularly palatable groups.

None of them share Western conceptions of freedom and limited government. None of them are particularly pro-American. None of them like Jews. And none of them support maintaining Egypt's cold peace with Israel.

Egypt's greatest modern leader was Gamal Abdel Nasser. By many accounts the most common political view of the anti-Muslim Brotherhood protesters is neo-Nasserist fascism.

Nasser was an enemy of the West. He led Egypt into the Soviet camp in the 1950s. As the co-founder of the Non-Aligned Movement, he also led much of the Third World into the Soviet camp. Nasser did no less damage to the US in his time than al-Qaida and its allies have done in recent years.

Certainly, from Israel's perspective, Nasser was no better than Hamas or al-Qaida or their parent Muslim Brotherhood movement. Like the Islamic fanatics, Nasser sought the destruction of Israel and the annihilation of the Jews.

Whether the fascists will take charge or not is impossible to know. So, too, the role of the Egyptian military in the future of Egypt is unknowable. The same military that overthrew Morsi on Wednesday stood by as he earlier sought to strip its powers, sacked its leaders and took steps to transform it into a subsidiary of the Muslim Brotherhood.

There are only three things that are knowable about the future of Egypt. First it will be poor. Egypt is a failed state. It cannot feed its people. It has failed to educate its people. It has no private sector to speak of. It has no foreign investment.

Second, Egypt will be politically unstable.

Mubarak was able to maintain power for 29 years because he ran a police state that the people feared. That fear was dissipated in 2011. This absence of fear will bring Egyptians to the street to topple any government they feel is failing to deliver on its promises - as they did this week.

Given Egypt's dire economic plight, it is impossible to see how any government will be able to deliver on any promises - large or small - that its politicians will make during electoral campaigns.
And so government after government will share the fates of Mubarak and Morsi.

Beyond economic deprivation, today tens of millions of Egyptians feel they were unlawfully and unjustly ousted from power on Wednesday.

The Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists won big in elections hailed as free by the West. They have millions of supporters who are just as fanatical today as they were last week. They will not go gently into that good night.

Finally, given the utter irrelevance of liberal democratic forces in Egypt today, it is clear enough that whoever is able to rise to power in the coming years will be anti-American, anti- Israel and anti-democratic, (in the liberal democratic sense of the word). They might be nicer to the Copts than the Muslim Brotherhood has been. But they won't be more pro-Western.

They may be more cautious in asserting or implementing their ideology in their foreign policy than the Muslim Brotherhood. But that won't necessarily make them more supportive of American interests or to the endurance of Egypt's formal treaty of peace with Israel.

And this is not the case only in Egypt. It is the case in every Arab state that is now or will soon be suffering from instability that has caused coups, Islamic takeovers, civil wars, mass protests and political insecurity in country after country. Not all of them are broke. But then again, none of them have the same strong sense of national identity that Egyptians share.

Now that we understand what we are likely to see in the coming months and years, and what we are seeing today, we must consider how the West should respond to these events. To do so, we need to consider how various parties responded to the events of the past two-and-a-half years.

Wednesday's overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood government is a total repudiation of the US strategy of viewing the unrest in Egypt - and throughout the Arab world - as a struggle between the good guys and the bad guys.

Within a week of the start of the protests in Tahrir Square on January 25, 2011, Americans from both sides of the political divide united around the call for Mubarak's swift overthrow.

A few days later, President Barack Obama joined the chorus of Democrats and Republicans, and called for Mubarak to leave office, immediately. Everyone from Sen. John McCain to Samantha Power was certain that despite the fact that Mubarak was a loyal ally of the US, America would be better served by supporting the rise of the Facebook revolutionaries who used Twitter and held placards depicting Mubarak as a Jew.

Everyone was certain that the Muslim Brotherhood would stay true to its word and keep out of politics.

Two days after Mubarak was forced from office, Peter Beinart wrote a column titled "America's Proud Egypt Moment," where he congratulated the neo-conservatives and the liberals and Obama for scorning American interests and siding with the protesters who opposed all of Mubarak's pro-American policies.

Beinart wrote exultantly, "Hosni Mubarak's regime was the foundation stone - along with Israel and Saudi Arabia - of American power in the Middle East. It tortured suspected al- Qaida terrorists for us, pressured the Palestinians for us, and did its best to contain Iran.

And it sat atop a population eager - secular and Islamist alike - not only to reverse those policies, but to rid the Middle East of American power. And yet we cast our lot with that population, not their ruler."

Beinart also congratulated the neo-conservatives for parting ways with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who counseled caution, and so proved they do not suffer from dual loyalty.

That hated, reviled Israeli strategy, (which was not Netanyahu's alone, but shared by Israelis from across the political spectrum in a rare demonstration of unanimity), was proven correct by events of the past week and indeed by events of the past two-and-a-half years.

Israelis watched in shock and horror as their American friends followed the Pied Piper of the phony Arab Spring over the policy cliff. Mubarak was a dictator. But his opponents were no Alexander Dubceks. There was no reason to throw away 30 years of stability before figuring out a way to ride the tiger that would follow it.

Certainly there was no reason to actively support Mubarak's overthrow.

Shortly after Mubarak was overthrown, the Obama administration began actively supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Muslim Brotherhood believed that the way to gain and then consolidate power was to hold elections as quickly as possible. Others wanted to wait until a constitutional convention convened and a new blueprint for Egyptian governance was written. But the Muslim Brotherhood would have none of it. And Obama supported it.

Five months after elections of questionable pedigree catapulted Morsi to power, Obama was silent when in December 2012 Morsi arrogated dictatorial powers and pushed through a Muslim Brotherhood constitution.

Obama ignored Congress three times and maintained full funding of Egypt despite the fact that the Morsi government had abandoned its democratic and pluralistic protestations.

He was silent over the past year as the demonstrators assembled to oppose Morsi's power grabs. He was unmoved as churches were torched and Christians were massacred. He was silent as Morsi courted Iran.

US Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson and Obama remained the Muslim Brotherhood's greatest champions as the forces began to gather ahead of this week's mass protests. Patterson met with the Coptic pope and told him to keep the Coptic Christians out of the protests.

Obama, so quick to call for Mubarak to step down, called for the protesters to exercise restraint this time around and then ignored them during his vacation in Africa.

The first time Obama threatened to curtail US funding of the Egyptian military was Wednesday night, after the military ignored American warnings and entreaties, and deposed Morsi and his government.

This week's events showed how the US's strategy in Egypt has harmed America.

In 2011, the military acted to force Mubarak from power only after Obama called for it to do so. This week, the military overthrew Morsi and began rounding up his supporters in defiance of the White House.

Secretary of State John Kerry was the personification of the incredible shrinkage of America this week as he maintained his obsessive focus on getting Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians.

In a Middle East engulfed by civil war, revolution and chronic instability, Israel is the only country at peace. The image of Kerry extolling his success in "narrowing the gaps" between Israel and the Palestinians before he boarded his airplane at Ben-Gurion Airport, as millions assembled to bring down the government of Egypt, is the image of a small, irrelevant America.

And as the anti-American posters in Tahrir Square this week showed, America's self-induced smallness is a tragedy that will harm the region and endanger the US.

As far as Israel is concerned, all we can do is continue what we have been doing, and hope that at some point, the Americans will embrace our sound strategy.

The Obamacare Jobless Rate Soars from 13.8 percent to 14.3 percent

The market got more bad news that’s good news- but not good in the sense that it actually helps you, me or anyone else- when the new jobs reports came out on Friday.

This "good news is bad news is good news" thing is getting tiresome. It's part of what our friend Mike Shedlock calls the Obamcare Effect. 

First the barely good news.

The report showed that despite the dire warnings from federal bureaucrats, politicians and K Street lobbyists, the jobs market didn’t fall apart because Republicans forced the government to spend less than it planned.

“U.S. job growth accelerated in June thanks to a big jump in hospitality and service workers,” said CNBC, “according to a report that is likely to trigger more debate about how aggressively the Federal Reserve will begin pulling back on monetary easing. Unemployment steadied at 7.6 percent for the month, as nonfarm payrolls grew by 195,000, according to a closely watched Labor Department report Friday. Economists expected 165,000 more jobs and a decline in the unemployment rate to 7.5 percent.”

Unemployment “steadied”? Well not quite. It actually went up, way up, as we’ll see below.

The bad news for the market is that as jobs growth expands, it’s more likely that the Federal Reserve will stop pumping an estimated $85 billion in new money into the stocks and commodities markets, commonly known as Quantitative Easing.

That means that markets will start to have to trade on it’s own merits. Not every trader will get a ribbon now. And that means Wall Street will have to figure out a different way to rig the game.

The real bad news is that job growth is being driven by policies coming from Washington, mostly Obamacare.

And of course, like anything else D.C.-related, the Democrat policies have it exactly backwards.

While it’s true that job growth was robust, it came from the growth of PART-TIME jobs, which are the only kind available. On a net basis, the economy lost 326,000 fulltime jobs.

Obamacare changes the definition of full time employment to 30 hour a week from 32 hours and requires companies over a certain size to purchase health benefits for all fulltime employees. As a result, companies are doing what we all knew they would: They are cutting fulltime employment and replacing it with part-time help.

There was some hope this phenomena, which Shedlock calls the Obamacare Effect, was mostly over in the employment arena.

More alarming still, U6 Alternative Unemployment went up a half percentage point from 13.8 to 14.3 percent. U6 unemployment counts the employed and those marginally attached to the workforce, people who don't get counted in the headline number that makes the nightly news. It's probably a more accurate way of measuring employment because of the uniquely poor economic policies coming from Washington.
U6 unemployment has remained stubbornly high, barely moving off of the 17.1 percent rate posted in late 2010 and early 2011.

Yikes! In other words U6 Unemployment is not “steady.” 13.8 percent to 14.3 percent in one month is a dramatic increase.

Another year of this and you’ll see Americans packing Tahrir Square calling for an end to rule by the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S.


“Last month there was no jump in part-time employment which had me wondering if the the bulk of the Obamacare effect (employers reducing hours from 32 to 25 and hiring hundreds of thousands of new employees to make up the hours) had mostly played out,” writes Shedlock. “This month, the trend of huge part-time employment resumed, and in a major way.”

But even without the Obamacare Effect, job growth has been pretty bad.

“Summarizing the ‘economy’ of Bernanke and Obama,” writes Zero Hedge, “in 2013 239,000 minimum wage restaurant and bar jobs have been created. As for manufacturing jobs: 13,000.”

Shedlock observes that year over year the number of jobs created is 1,610,000 while those who have dropped out of the labor force is 1,711,000.

And while labor force participation rates have backed off historic lows, the number of discouraged workers- those who have looked for a job in the last 12 months, but aren’t looking anymore- rose by 247,000 people this month.  These are called short-term discouraged workers.

If you add in the long-term discouraged workers, which we stopped counting in 1994, unemployment is around 24 percent. More importantly, the figure is going the wrong way and has been going the wrong way since 2009. Were it not for the statistical mirage of the government conveniently not counting long-term discouraged workers, unemployment would be setting records.

For over a year the market has lived in a “sweet spot” where economic growth was too slow and labor markets too loose for the Federal Reserve to justify cutting off quantitative easing (QE).

That they have signaled an end to QE isn’t because the labor markets have steadied.

It’s because QE itself has failed.

The hiring impulse is there. American companies can hire. The federal government has just given them no good reason to, and many good reasons not too.

Bribing them with QE just didn't work.

Muslim Brotherhood claims interim Egyptian president is Jewish

From Jihad Watch / Posted by Robert Spencer

Of course. What else could he possibly be? "'Muslim Brotherhood claims interim Egyptian president is Jewish,'" from the Jerusalem Post, July 5 (thanks to all who sent this in):
The Muslim Brotherhood claimed in a post on its official website that Egypt's new interim president Adli Mansour is Jewish, The Washington Post reported on Friday. The article on IkhwanOnline was subsequently removed. 
Mansour, who previously served as the constitutional court's chief justice was sworn in as interim president on Thursday after the army removed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi from power.
According to the Post, the article falsely stated that Mansour is “considered to be a Seventh Day Adventist, which is a Jewish sect.”
It is? Who knew? The things you can learn from the Ikhwan!
The authors also claimed that the Pope of Egypt's Coptic church had refused to convert Mansour to Christianity. 
The article on IkhwanOnline, according to the Post, posited that Mansour's appointment was backed by Israel and the US as part of a plan to eventually install leading opposition figure and former IAEA chief Mohamed ElBardei as president.
The Post quoted the article as saying that ElBaradei had turned down an invitation to participate in a conference that denied the Holocaust as "a token gesture offered to the Jews by ElBaradei so that he can become President of the Republic in the fake elections that the military will guard and whose results they will falsify in their interests. All with the approval of America, Israel and the Arabs, of course.”

Op-ed: As expected the Muslim Brotherhood shows its true self

By: Diane Sori
And so it began as the Muslim Brotherhood’s promised ‘Friday of Rage’ turns into a day of killing and bloodshed.

Doing what they do best…mayhem, violence, and murder… ‘the brethren’ were out in full force all across Egypt as these supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi called for acts of terror after the military ousted their puppet president…and they did just that.
Committing these very acts of violence and murder even as Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Ahmed Aref spewed out the lie that in spite of all the brutal repression and excessive violence that killed and injured thousands of pro-democracy, pro-Morsi demonstrators across Egypt,…which NEVER happened by the way…he said the Muslim Brotherhood would remain committed to peaceful protests and restraint.

NO…I don’t think so for even as Aref outwardly called for peaceful protests and restraint, ‘the brethren’ were busy killing at least 30 people and injuring hundreds more (the body count at the time I write this but sure to rise)…including 12 who died in Alexandria when hundreds of islamists tried to break up a rally by opponents of Morsi… as violence spread across Egypt…violence being egged on by Muslim Brotherhood leaders both behind closed mosque doors and in the public venue.

Leaders like Mohamed Badie, the supreme guide (spiritual leader) of the Muslim Brotherhood, challenging thousands of radical islamic loyalists to fight back against the military and anti-Morsi factions by saying, “The coup is illegal and we will never accept its results…we sacrificed so dearly to reach this point, and we will never return to the past again.” With these words Badie was also challenging the Egyptian army to “return to the arms of the nation.” Saying, “God make Morsi victorious and bring him back to the palace...we are his soldiers we defend him with our lives,” Badie shows that violence and hate are at the heart of everything the Muslim Brotherhood does.

Now add in the voice of Mukhtar Al-Ashri, Chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party's (FJP) Legal Committee, who said, “What is happening is a flagrant violation of freedoms, persecution a political faction based on political perspective – something which the whole world must condemn. These repressive measures will not succeed in thwarting justice or falsifying facts no matter the size of the spin, or how vast the tapestry of lies,” and you can clearly see that the Muslim Brotherhood agenda is NOT that of the Egyptian people.

These barbarians…and the Muslim Brotherhood and their offshoots are indeed barbarians…just do NOT get that the Egyptian people do NOT want to return to the dark ages of sharia law nor to the modern reincarnation of jihad against all who do NOT believe. The Egypt people want freedom NOT enslavement to antiquated ideals that chain the hearts of men to subjugation, intolerance, and hate.

And with the leaders of the protest movement insisting that what happened just a few short days ago was NOT a military coup but a peaceful demonstration of the will of the people who rallied to achieve and complete the original goals of the revolution against Hosni Mubarak…’bread, freedom, social justice and human dignity’…groups like the Muslim Brotherhood become outdated dinosaurs in the modern world who can only achieve their radical islamic agenda through violence, terror, and murder.

And so amidst yesterday’s self-started day of violence and rioting, supporters of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, who claimed to
be demonstrating in support of democratic, constitutional, and ballot-box legitimacy, issued their own sets of demands included in a 4-point statement:

1. Reinstatement of the legitimate elected President in accordance to the Constitution and the law.
2. Cancellation of all unconstitutional coup-related decisions, decrees and actions announced by the military council with which it usurped power.
3. Reinstatement of the Constitution approved by the people, and starting a dialogue for consensus on amendments thereof.
4. Holding accountable all officials responsible for oppressive tactics used, including the killing of demonstrators, the arrest of political leaders, and the closure of satellite TV channels.

In other words they issued a set of demands counter to everything the overthrow of Morsi had accomplished, including wanting a reinstatement of Morsi’s islamic driven constitution with sharia as law of the land. But that seems highly unlikely even as islamic extremists call for more violence to help them achieve their goal of turning Egypt into an islamic state…an islamic caliphate.

The truth is that Egypt’s final fate will NOT be decided by the recent military coup nor will it be decided by how much violence the Muslim Brotherhood initiates…Egypt’s fate will be decided only when the Egyptian people elect a new president…a president elected in a fair election…and write a new constitution. And a most likely scenario will be that neither radical islam nor the Muslim Brotherhood will be the driving force behind that new constitution as Egypt will probably return to much wanted secularism that in and of itself will reduce both radical islam’s role and the Muslim Brotherhood’s role…if NOT outright eliminating both completely.

And in the volatile Middle East that could help set the stage for more people taking control of their own destinies and throwing aside the barbaric, brutal, political system that hides behind the guise of calling itself a religion…the political system of oppression know as islam.

We proud infidels can only hope...