Thursday, January 31, 2013

I'm a Bit Shocked That 79 Senators Support Sending M1 Tanks and F-16 Fighter Jets to Egypt

Today, the Senate voted on legislation introduced by Senator Rand Paul that would have prohibited the sale of M1 tanks, F-16 fighter jets and other advanced weaponry to the government of Egypt.  This sounds like a pretty good idea considering the President of Egypt thinks that Jews are descended from apes and pigs and are "violent by nature" and then when called out for those remarks, blames the "Jew-controlled media".  It was only a couple of months ago that Morsi was openly threatening Israel with war.   He even has a senior aide who believes that the holocaust was invented by US intelligence.  How did the Senate vote?  19-79 against Senator Rand Paul's bill.  That is just shocking.  79 Senators voting to arm a country that is run by a bunch of people who have views about Jews that are indiscernible from those of the Nazis.

Here is the roll call (note that the motion was to "table" or essentially kill the legislation.  So that the Yeahs are people who voted to continue to send arms to Egypt and the Nays are voting to prohibit those sales):

Grouped By Vote Position
YEAs ---79
Alexander (R-TN)
Ayotte (R-NH)
Baldwin (D-WI)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Baucus (D-MT)
Begich (D-AK)
Bennet (D-CO)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Burr (R-NC)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Collins (R-ME)
Coons (D-DE)
Corker (R-TN)
Donnelly (D-IN)
Durbin (D-IL)
Enzi (R-WY)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Flake (R-AZ)
Franken (D-MN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Graham (R-SC)
Hagan (D-NC)
Harkin (D-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Heinrich (D-NM)
Heitkamp (D-ND)
Hirono (D-HI)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Johnson (D-SD)
Johnson (R-WI)
Kaine (D-VA)
King (I-ME)
Kirk (R-IL)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Manchin (D-WV)
McCain (R-AZ)
McCaskill (D-MO)
McConnell (R-KY)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Murphy (D-CT)
Nelson (D-FL)
Portman (R-OH)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schatz (D-HI)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Toomey (R-PA)
Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM)
Warner (D-VA)
Warren (D-MA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wicker (R-MS)
Wyden (D-OR)
NAYs ---19
Boozman (R-AR)
Coats (R-IN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
Cruz (R-TX)
Fischer (R-NE)
Grassley (R-IA)
Heller (R-NV)
Lee (R-UT)
Moran (R-KS)
Paul (R-KY)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rubio (R-FL)
Scott (R-SC)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Not Voting - 2
Kerry (D-MA)Murray (D-WA)

Note of course that not a single Democrat voting to end these arms shipments to Egypt.  But then again, most of them, even those supposedly very pro-Israel, will be voting for Chuck Hagel who openly hates Israel and has made anti-semitic statements in the past (his attempts to distance himself from prior statements were laughable today during his confirmation hearing given the extensive and repeated evidence of them).

At least now we know who the true friends of Israel are, those that both support Israel and have the correct view of the regime in Egypt.

Low Interest Rates are a Net Negative for Both Consumers and the Economy

David Kelly and David Liebovitz wrote a very interesting article in Morningstar on how our zero interest rate policy is actually doing much more harm than good:

The Consumer Problem

First, contrary to the assumptions of most commentators, the Fed’s policy of super-low interest rates is actually reducing consumer discretionary income relative to the alternative of raising interest rates. As shown in Chart 2, as of September 30, 2012, American households had $78.2 trillion in assets, of which we estimate roughly $15.2 trillion were interest-bearing, compared to $13.4 trillion in debt1.

Based on mortgage data from the Census Bureau2, over 90% of outstanding mortgages carry a fixed rate, as well as the vast majority of auto loans, allowing us to assume that approximately 70% of liabilities are fixed rate debt.

Determining the exact amount of variable rate assets is more difficult, but given that more than one-half of deposits are comprised of time deposits, savings deposits and money market funds, it may be reasonable to assume that more than 70% of household interest-bearing assets could be considered to be variable rate. Therefore, as an approximation, a +1% increase in interest rates could increase consumer interest income by $106 billion (on 70% of assets) and interest expense on household liabilities by $40 billion (on 30% of liabilities). While definitive numbers are more difficult to calculate, what is clear is that interest income would rise more than interest expense.


An even more serious problem is that the Fed’s policy of trying to engineer artificially low mortgage rates appears to be reducing the supply of mortgages. The problem is that, within the banking system, mortgages are long-term assets financed by short-term liabilities. Provided defaults are low, this is a profitable business in normal times, since, as can be seen in the chart below, 30–year mortgage rates are almost always substantially above short-term interest rates. However, while the current prevailing mortgage rate is 3.35%, in the long run, according to the average view of Federal Reserve officials themselves, the federal funds rate should be over 4%3. Banks issuing a 30-year fixed rate mortgage today, even allowing for a little profit in the first few years, should ultimately be saddled with a money-losing asset.

It could be argued that banks should not care about this – so long as they can package and sell these mortgages to other investors, it would no longer be their problem. However, recent history has shown a tendency for bad mortgages to return to haunt their issuers.

In the simplest terms it is akin to price-fixing, and by pushing prevailing mortgage rates down to unprofitable levels for lenders, the Federal Reserve is effectively constraining the supply of mortgages. In the oil shock of the early 1970s, the Nixon administration imposed price controls to prevent gasoline prices from rising to unreasonable levels. The good news, at that time, was that gasoline prices were kept at levels that consumers could afford. The bad news, as witnessed by the gas lines of the day, is that few wanted to sell them gas at that price. In a similar vein today, mortgage rates are an excellent deal for borrowers – the problem is finding willing lenders.


Easy Money and Slow Recoveries

In the last 30 years, the U.S. economy has suffered three recessions – the recession of 1990, the recession of 2000-2001 and the recession of 2008-2009. The first two were relatively mild – the last was extreme. However, one trait they all have in common is that they have seen slower than normal recoveries. This is regarded as a puzzle since, in each case, the Federal Reserve had responded to the recession in a very active way. However, a careful review of the supposed effects of “monetary stimulus” suggests that this stimulus may actually have done more harm than good, as we believe it has in the current case.

Economies, like humans, have natural immune systems that should lead them to recover from shocks and illnesses. A recession, on its own, will generate pent-up demand and once the shock that caused the recession has ebbed, this pent-up demand, combined with Americans’ desire to earn more, spend more and get ahead, should lead to a recovery. Often policy makers, like medieval doctors of old, claim credit for a recovery that would have occurred anyway and perhaps earlier without their services. We believe this is true in spades today when it comes to the U.S. economy and the Fed’s over-easy policy.


The banking system currently holds over $1.5 trillion in currency ($1.4 trillion of which is “excess reserves” that is over and above the reserves they are required to hold to meet reserve requirements). They do this because the Fed is paying them slightly more than they could get lending this money out at the federal funds rate. If the Federal Reserve raises the federal fund rate, it will have to raise this interest paid on reserves in lockstep or banks will simply lend the money on the federal funds market, defeating the attempts of the Fed to raise short-term interest rates. However this could get expensive. At an interest rate of 0.25%, the Fed is paying about $4 billion to maintain $1.5 trillion in reserves. However, at an interest rate of 4.0% (which would be about neutral given our current 2% inflation rate) it would cost the Fed $60 billion, wiping out most of the Fed’s profits.

A more serious situation would occur if the Fed felt that it needed to raise real short-term rates to a tighter than average level to combat rising inflation. At a rate of 6%, it would cost $90 billion, which, combined with the operating expenses of the Fed, could mean that the Federal Reserve would operate at a loss.


Also, in a rising rate environment, it is unlikely that consumers and international businesses would be willing to hold anything like $1.15 trillion in non-interest earning cash and, as that cash made its way back into the vaults of the banking system, it would further boost the reserves on which the Fed had to pay interest.

The Fed’s other option would be to sell its vast security holdings back into the market, which could lead to a disorderly surge in long-term interest rates and cause it to suffer capital losses. It could also raise reserve requirements, which would help reduce the number of bonds it has to sell. Or it could make the dangerous decision to forgo necessary monetary tightening, leaving the door open to higher inflation, which would be reflected in higher interest rates.

Moreover, the newly expanded QE policy, if maintained for another year, would add almost another $1 trillion to both the Fed’s assets and excess reserves, worsening this problem. We don’t know exactly how it is going to end. However, partly because of this extraordinary balance sheet expansion, it is hard to see any long-term scenario that doesn’t involve higher inflation, higher interest rates or both, a sober prospect for investors who are overweight cash and fixed income today and still moving money in the wrong direction.


Investment Implications

While this article only deals with two problems with the Fed’s current policy, there are others. Historically low U.S. interest rates are motivating cash flows into some emerging market economies, leading to unwelcome currency appreciation and, from time-to-time, into commodities spurring some overseas inflation. Additionally, low interest rates have affected pension plans, as driving down longer-maturity bond yields to their current levels has increased the present value of future obligations while simultaneously causing plan funding rates to deteriorate due to lower expected returns. Finally, although lower interest rates have made mortgages much more affordable for consumers, this is a double-edged sword; cheap access to credit can help Americans purchase a home today, but if they decide to move in the future, they will most likely be unable to obtain another mortgage at a similar rate, a trap that could further reduce already declining mobility.

From an investment standpoint, despite historically low interest rates, investors have continued to embrace low-yielding fixed income securities, rather than moving into riskier assets as the Federal Reserve intended. With the 10-year U.S. Treasury yielding less than inflation, holding these types of assets is a losing battle, as investors are essentially locking in a negative real return. Additionally, the system is awash with liquidity, and if inflation begins to increase, investors in high-quality fixed income stand to see their returns deteriorate even further. The FOMC has chosen two lagging indicators (unemployment and inflation) to dictate the future direction of monetary policy, but once these indicators reach levels that the Fed believes warrants a tighter monetary policy, it may be too late. That being said, when the FOMC begins to raise interest rates (likely due to stronger growth and/or higher inflation), investors could benefit from being invested in asset classes like equities and commodities, which have traditionally outperformed fixed income and cash when inflation and interest rates are rising.

Regardless of the wisdom of the Federal Reserve’s current policy, investors need to position themselves to deal with its ultimate consequences. The reality is that it is hard to see how this doesn’t end badly for bond investors, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to believe that it won’t, at some stage, also result in a bout of inflation. Given this prospect and current valuations, it makes sense for long-term investors, relative to their “normal portfolios” to be somewhat underweight bonds and overweight equities and traditional inflation hedges such as real estate.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Senior Morsi Aide: The Holocaust was Invented by US Intelligence

There really doesn't seem to be much of a functional difference between the Egyptian government and Neo-Nazis.  Both seem to have a virulent hatred of Jews and have a similar point of view about them and the Holocaust.  The fact that Obama continues to arm them with M1A1 tanks and F-16's would be farcical if it wasn't so tragic for both the Jews and the last remaining vestiges of the Egyptian opposition.  Anyway, check out these comments which appear in a very extensive column on the official Muslim Brotherhood website and are written by Fathi Shihab-Eddin the current Chairman of the Culture, Tourism and Information Committee in the Egyptian parliament and head of the Supreme Press Council, which allows him to choose the editors of the state run newspapers in Egypt.  Here is a key section as translated by the folks at FrontPage Magazine (you can translate the whole thing with Google Translate, you'll get the gist):

The myth of the Holocaust is an industry that America invented. U.S. intelligence agencies in cooperation with their counterparts in allied nations during World War II created it to destroy the image of their opponents in Germany, and to justify war and massive destruction against military and civilian facilities of the Axis powers, and especially to hit "Hiroshima and Nagasaki" with the atomic bomb.

He goes on to say that 6 million Jews actually moved to the United States and that they were only considered "murdered" for the sake of political ends.  Somehow nobody noticed this mass migration at the time.  Also, he says it is impossible for 6 million Jews to have been killed because the number of German Jews never exceeded 700,000.  Obviously they don't teach much history or geography in Egypt or else he would have known that there were millions of Jews in next door Poland, which had been overrun by the Nazis and millions more in Russia.  Much of the column is then spent saying how great the holocaust deniers were and how they were persecuted for speaking the "truth".  

I don't think people can even fathom how deep the Jew hatred goes in Egypt.  And we are giving them billions of dollars a year when we should be implementing sanctions.

The West is Deluding Itself on the Muslim Brotherhood

Read this great piece in Foreign Policy on how many are getting the Muslim Brotherhood completely wrong:

Long before the Jan. 25 revolution that ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, many academics and policymakers argued that his main adversary -- the Muslim Brotherhood -- had made its peace with democracy. This was based on the assumption that, since the Muslim Brotherhood participated in virtually every election under Mubarak, it was committed to the rule of the people as a matter of principle.


Yet since the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate, Mohamed Morsy, was elected president in June, the exact opposite has been true. The Brotherhood's only real "consultation" has been with the Egyptian military, which the Brotherhood persuaded to leave power by ceding substantial autonomy to it under the new constitution. Among other undemocratic provisions, this backroom deal yielded constitutional protection for the military's separate court system, under which civilians can be prosecuted for the vague crime of "damaging the armed forces."

Meanwhile, the Brotherhood has embraced many of the Mubarak regime's autocratic excesses: Editors who are critical of the Brotherhood have lost their jobs, and more journalists have beenprosecuted for insulting the president during Morsy's six months in office than during Mubarak's 30-year reign. And much as Mubarak's ruling party once did, the Brotherhood is using its newfound access to state resources as a political tool: It reportedly received below-market food commodities from the Ministry of Supply and Social Affairs, which it is redistributing to drum up votes in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.


While it is certainly true that Muslim Brothers, like America's Christian evangelicals, are religious people, the Brotherhood's religiosity isn't its most salient feature. Whereas Christian evangelicals (as well as devout Catholics, orthodox Jews, committed Hindus, and so on) are primarily defined by their piety, the Muslim Brotherhood is first and foremost a political organization -- a power-seeking entity that uses religion as a mobilizing tool. As a result, the political diversity within the evangelical community, including its quietist trend, cannot exist within the Muslim Brotherhood, which strives for political uniformity among its hundreds of thousands of members.

The Brotherhood achieves this internal uniformity by subjecting its members to a rigorous five- to eight-year process of internal promotion, during which time a rising Muslim Brother ascends through four membership ranks before finally becoming a full-fledged "active brother." At each level, Brothers are tested on their completion of a standardized Brotherhood curriculum, which emphasizes rote memorization of the Quran as well as the teachings of Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna and radical Brotherhood theorist Sayyid Qutb. Rising Muslim Brothers are also vetted for their willingness to follow the leadership's orders, and Muslim Brothers ultimately take an oath to "listen and obey" to the organization's edicts.

The Brotherhood's 20-member executive Guidance Office, meanwhile, deploys its well-indoctrinated foot soldiers for maximum political effect. The movement's pyramid-shaped hierarchy quickly disseminates directives down to thousands of five- to 20-member "families" -- local Brotherhood cells spread throughout Egypt. These "families" execute the top leaders' orders, which may include providing local social services, organizing mass demonstrations, mobilizing voters for political campaigns, or more grimly, coordinating violent assaults on anti-Brotherhood protesters.


U.S. President Barack Obama's administration took comfort from Morsy's handling of the November Gaza war: From Washington's viewpoint, the Egyptian president resisted using the conflict as a pretext to break relations with Israel, and instead authorized negotiations with the Jewish state to achieve a relatively speedy ceasefire.

From the Muslim Brotherhood's perspective, however, Morsy preserved the movement's anti-Israel agenda. He stood by his refusal to meet with Israelis by outsourcing those negotiations to Egyptian intelligence officials; the ceasefire strengthened Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood; and the Egyptian government accepted no new responsibilities to stem the flow of weapons into Gaza. Far from yielding to the reality of Egyptian-Israeli relations, Morsy simply deferred their reassessment so that he could focus on his more immediate goal -- consolidating the Muslim Brotherhood's control at home. Indeed, one day after the Gaza ceasefire, Morsy issued his power-grabbing constitutional declaration, and rammed through a new Islamist constitution shortly thereafter.

This is, in fact, the very order of events that the Muslim Brotherhood envisions in its long-term program. As Shater explained during his April 2011 unveiling of the Brotherhood's "Renaissance Project," building an "Islamic government" at home must precede the establishment of a "global Islamic state," which is the final stage in achieving "the empowerment of God's religion." To be sure, consolidating power at home could take years, and the fact that the Brotherhood doesn't totally control Egypt's foreign-policy apparatus will also prevent it from scrapping the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty -- for now.

But the Muslim Brotherhood does aim to scrap the treaty, which simply cannot be reconciled with the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hatred in which every Muslim Brother is thoroughly indoctrinated. This vitriol was perhaps most apparent in Morsy's now-infamous 2010 remarks, in which he called Jews "the descendants of apes and pigs." Even as president, Morsy's blatant bigotry remains irrepressible: In a meeting with a U.S. Senate delegation in Cairo, Morsy implied that the U.S. media was controlled by the Jews.

And while the Brotherhood's apologists claim that these are idle words on which the movement won't act, its leaders have repeatedly signaled the opposite. In recent months, the Brotherhood's political party drafted legislation to unilaterally amend the treaty, a Brotherhood foreign policy official told a private salon that Morsy was working to "gradually" end normalization with Israel, and Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie has twice called for Muslims to wage a "holy jihad" to retake Jerusalem.

Mark Levin: The Republican Establishment is Destroying the Republican Party

Can't really argue with that.  Enough of these people who don't stand for anything:

Monday, January 28, 2013

How Much Does the Sunday Times Hate Jews? So Much They Run an Anti-Semitic Cartoon on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Such a shockingly anti-semitic cartoon.  Notice how Bibi has an especially hooked nose, a stooped frame and scheming eyes as he uses the blood of Arabs to build a wall.  This is the kind of anti-semitic cartoon you would normally see in Nazi Germany or Cairo today, not in London.  And it came out on not just any day but on the day we are supposed to remember the Holocaust. I guess it has turned into Londonistan:

Israeli Sources Confirm Explosion at Iranian Nuclear Plant - Times of London

This is great news, if it's true.  When I first saw the report in WorldNet Daily, I was highly suspicious but now it looks like the Times of London has sources that confirm the report to be true.  Awesome.  And importantly, the Iranians are denying it so it may be possible that the Israelis will have launched some sort of strike on Iranian nuclear facilities (sabotage in this case) and the Iranians will have denied it in order to save face.  I guess the Iranians are crazy but they are not stupid.  Any regional war would probably end with many of those currently in power in Iran losing it and/or their lives.  Anyway, here is what was initially reported:

An explosion deep within Iran's Fordow nuclear facility has destroyed much of the installation and trapped about 240 personnel deep underground, according to a former intelligence officer of the Islamic regime.

The previously secret nuclear site has become a center for Iran's nuclear activity because of the 2,700 centrifuges enriching uranium to the 20-percent level. A further enrichment to weapons grade would take only weeks, experts say


According to a source in the security forces protecting Fordow, an explosion on Monday at 11:30 a.m. Tehran time rocked the site, which is buried deep under a mountain and immune not only to airstrikes but to most bunker-buster bombs. The report of the blast came via Hamidreza Zakeri, formerly with the Islamic regime's Ministry of Intelligence and National Security,

The blast shook facilities within a radius of three miles. Security forces have enforced a no-traffic radius of 15 miles, and the Tehran-Qom highway was shut down for several hours after the blast, the source said. As of Wednesday afternoon, rescue workers had failed to reach the trapped personnel.

The site, about 300 feet under a mountain, had two elevators which now are out of commission. One elevator descended about 240 feet and was used to reach centrifuge chambers. The other went to the bottom to carry heavy equipment and transfer uranium hexafluoride. One emergency staircase reaches the bottom of the site and another one was not complete. The source said the emergency exit southwest of the site is unreachable.

The regime believes the blast was sabotage and the explosives could have reached the area disguised as equipment or in the uranium hexafluoride stock transferred to the site, the source said. The explosion occurred at the third centrifuge chambers, with the high-grade enriched uranium reserves below them.

The information was passed on to U.S. officials but has not been verified or denied by the regime or other sources within the regime.

Though the news of the explosion has not been independently verified, other sources previously have provided WND with information on plans for covert operations against Iran's nuclear facilities as an option before going to war. The hope is to avoid a larger-scale conflict. Israel, the U.S. and other allies already have concluded the Islamic regime has crossed its red line in its quest for nuclear weapons, other sources have said.

However, this information was not revealed for security reasons until several days ago when sources said the regime's intelligence agency, through an alleged spy in the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, had learned of the decision to conduct sabotage on Iran's nuclear sites on a much larger scale than before.

As reported, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called an urgent meeting Tuesday with the intelligence minister, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization and other officials to discuss the threat, and now it's clear the meeting included the sabotage at Fordow.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

David Mamet on Gun Control

David Mamet writes a supremely logical piece on gun control and the role of government.  Here are some excerpts, read the whole thing:

It is not the constitutional prerogative of the Government to determine needs. One person may need (or want) more leisure, another more work; one more adventure, another more security, and so on. It is this diversity that makes a country, indeed a state, a city, a church, or a family, healthy. “One-size-fits-all,” and that size determined by the State has a name, and that name is “slavery.” 
The Founders recognized that Government is quite literally a necessary evil, that there must be opposition, between its various branches, and between political parties, for these are the only ways to temper the individual’s greed for power and the electorates’ desires for peace by submission to coercion or blandishment. 
Healthy government, as that based upon our Constitution, is strife. It awakens anxiety, passion, fervor, and, indeed, hatred and chicanery, both in pursuit of private gain and of public good. Those who promise to relieve us of the burden through their personal or ideological excellence, those who claim to hold the Magic Beans, are simply confidence men. Their emergence is inevitable, and our individual opposition to and rejection of them, as they emerge, must be blunt and sure; if they are arrogant, willful, duplicitous, or simply wrong, they must be replaced, else they will consolidate power, and use the treasury to buy votes, and deprive us of our liberties. It was to guard us against this inevitable decay of government that the Constitution was written. Its purpose was and is not to enthrone a Government superior to an imperfect and confused electorate, but to protect us from such a government. 
Violence by firearms is most prevalent in big cities with the strictest gun laws. In Chicago and Washington, D.C., for example, it is only the criminals who have guns, the law-abiding populace having been disarmed, and so crime runs riot. 
Cities of similar size in Texas, Florida, Arizona, and elsewhere, which leave the citizen the right to keep and bear arms, guaranteed in the Constitution, typically are much safer. More legal guns equal less crime. What criminal would be foolish enough to rob a gun store? But the government alleges that the citizen does not need this or that gun, number of guns, or amount of ammunition. 
But President Obama, it seems, does. 
He has just passed a bill that extends to him and his family protection, around the clock and for life, by the Secret Service. He, evidently, feels that he is best qualified to determine his needs, and, of course, he is. As I am best qualified todetermine mine
For it is, again, only the Marxists who assert that the government, which is to say the busy, corrupted, and hypocritical fools most elected officials are (have you ever had lunch with one?) should regulate gun ownership based on its assessment of needs
Q. Who “needs” an assault rifle? 
A. No one outside the military and the police. I concur. 
An assault weapon is that which used to be called a “submachine gun.” That is, a handheld long gun that will fire continuously as long as the trigger is held down. 
These have been illegal in private hands (barring those collectors who have passed the stringent scrutiny of the Federal Government) since 1934. Outside these few legal possessors, there are none in private hands. They may be found in the hands of criminals. But criminals, let us reflect, by definition, are those who will not abide by the laws. What purpose will passing more laws serve? 
Walk down Madison Avenue in New York. Many posh stores have, on view, or behind a two-way mirror, an armed guard. Walk into most any pawnshop, jewelry story, currency exchange, gold store in the country, and there will be an armed guard nearby. Why? As currency, jewelry, gold are precious. Who complains about the presence of these armed guards? And is this wealth more precious than our children? 
Apparently it is: for the Left adduces arguments against armed presence in the school but not in the wristwatch stores. Q. How many accidental shootings occurred last year in jewelry stores, or on any premises with armed security guards? 
Why not then, for the love of God, have an armed presence in the schools? It could be done at the cost of a pistol (several hundred dollars), and a few hours of training (that’s all the security guards get). Why not offer teachers, administrators, custodians, a small extra stipend for completing a firearms-safety course and carrying a concealed weapon to school? The arguments to the contrary escape me. 
The police do not exist to protect the individual. They exist to cordon off the crime scene and attempt to apprehend the criminal. We individuals are guaranteed by the Constitution the right to self-defense. This right is not the Government’s to “award” us. They have never been granted it. 
The so-called assault weapons ban is a hoax. It is a political appeal to the ignorant. The guns it supposedly banned have been illegal (as above) for 78 years. Did the ban make them “more” illegal? The ban addresses only theappearance of weapons, not their operation. 
Will increased cosmetic measures make anyone safer? They, like all efforts at disarmament, will put the citizenry more at risk. Disarmament rests on the assumption that all people are good, and, basically, want the same things. 
But if all people were basically good, why would we, increasingly, pass more and more elaborate laws? 
The individual is not only best qualified to provide his own personal defense, he is the only one qualified to do so: and his right to do so is guaranteed by the Constitution.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Great Bret Stephens Talk About Israel, Gaza and the Role of the United States in the World

A great and entertaining speech on some very serious subjects.  It's well worth a listen.  One of the points that sticks in my head is that the two state solution will only work when the Palestinians start acting like Canadians (h/t PowerLine):

Rand Paul: Any Attack on Israel Will Be Treated As An Attack on the United States

Looks like the Israel trip did him some good and he is NOTHING like his father:


Thursday, January 24, 2013

John Kerry Doesn't Think Morsi Hating Jews is a Reason to Cut Aid

In today's Senate confirmation hearing, Rand Paul asked John Kerry about Morsi's vile, vicious anti-semitic comments (he said Jews were descended from apes and pigs, were inherently violent and then blamed the Jewish-controlled media for the scandal that erupted) and how are we making Israel safer by arming a neighbor who thinks that way about Jews?

Kerry admitted that he doesn't really care that Morsi is a vile anti-semite, he will get his aid anyway.  He said "the fact that sometimes other countries elect someone you don’t agree with doesn’t give us permission to walk away."  It's not like the disagreement is over trade policy or global warming, the disagreement is over whether Jews are humans and have a right to live in their homeland.  Anyway, watch the whole thing, it's 10 minutes long and really gives a great glimpse into our future soulless Secretary of State:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Morsi: The Jew-Controlled American Media Is Behind the Scandal Over My Anti-Semitic Comments

Unbelievably, the Egyptian President alluded to a Jewish-controlled media at a meeting with United States Senators.  Senator Coons from Delaware spills the beans:

"We tried to give President Morsy an opportunity, now that he is the president, to put his comments in a different context because he was claiming that he was taken out of context. On their face they seemed to be very offensive and inappropriate," Coons said. "It was a difficult conversation."
Morsy told the senators that the values of Islam teach respect for Christianity and Judaism, and he asserted repeatedly that he had no negative views about Judaism or the Jewish people, but then followed with a diatribe about Israel and Zionist actions against Palestinians, especially in Gaza.
Then Morsy crossed a line and made a comment that made the senators physically recoil in their chairs in shock, Coons said.
"He was attempting to explain himself ... then he said, 'Well, I think we all know that the media in the United States has made a big deal of this and we know the media of the United States is controlled by certain forces and they don't view me favorably,'" Coons said.
The Cable asked Coons if Morsy specifically named the Jews as the forces that control the American media. Coons said all the senators believed the implication was obvious.
"He did not say [the Jews], but I watched as the other senators physically recoiled, as did I," he said. "I thought it was impossible to draw any other conclusion."
"The meeting then took a very sharply negative turn for some time. It really threatened to cause the entire meeting to come apart so that we could not continue," Coons said.
Multiple senators impressed upon Morsy that if he was saying the criticisms of his comments were due to the Jews in the media, that statement was potentially even more offensive than his original comments from 2010.
"[Morsi] did not say the Jewish community was making a big deal of this, but he said something [to the effect] that the only conclusion you could read was that he was implying it," Coons said. "The conversation got so heated that eventually Senator McCain said to the group, 'OK, we've pressed him as hard as we can while being in the boundaries of diplomacy,'" Coons said. "We then went on to discuss a whole range of other topics."

What's really shocking is that McCain still wants to press on with giving money to this guy.  If someone can make such statements and still get billions in aid as well as M1A1 tanks and F-16's, what exactly does it take for aid to be cut off?

Video: Rand Paul Rips into Hillary Clinton at Benghazi Hearing

A must watch video.  Essentially Senator Rand Paul tells Hillary that if she had done her job, the 4 Americans, including Ambassador Stevens, would still be alive and that he would have fired her if he were President:

The New York Bus Drivers Union Has Been Scamming Taxpayers for Years

It's unbelievable what's going on, though you can see why the bus drivers have decided to leave kids, even disabled kids, stranded, possibly for months.  It's a very lucrative gig they are in danger of losing with competitive bidding.   It costs the city $40 per day to ferry each kid to and from school.  Isn't public transportation supposed to be much cheaper than say, taking a cab two and from school every day, and not more expensive?  Check this out from John Podhoretz:
This strike is going to go on for a long time. The only card the drivers have to play is the inconvenience card. They're looking to make life so unpleasant that parents rise up and demand the city cave in.


The drivers have to do this because the strike itself is a desperation ploy. They don't have a legal leg to stand on. Three court decisions in the past two years have made it clear the goal of their action — preserving certain "employee protection provisions" amounting to lifetime job security — is illegal.

These workers aren't city employees. They work for private companies. The city's contracts with those companies are up in June. The city plans to bid out the work.

It has to. You want it to. Trust me: Under the terms of the current contracts, providing this bus service costs — I hope you're sitting down before you read this next clause — $7,000 a year per passenger.
That's seven grand per kid.

I have two children who ride a city school bus. If the city simply gave me the $14,000 it's paying for the two of them, I could afford to have them chauffeured to and from school every day.
In a Bentley.

All in all, the city spends — again, are you sitting down? — $1.1 billion on school busing.

The ruinously expensive contracts governing the city's schoolbus system date back to a 1979 strike, which followed the city's attempt to create competitive bidding and lower the city's costs.

Egypt's Morsi Has a Long History of Anti-Semitism

Andrew Bostom has an epic post on Morsi's (and Islam's) long history of vicious anti-semitism.  It's a must read, here are some brief excerpts:

Between 2004 and 2007 as reported by the Muslim Brotherhood's own Arabic (translated and published in English on 11/16/12 by The Investigative Project on Terrorism), when serving as an elected Muslim Brotherhood parliamentarian in the Egyptian People's Assembly, and/or a member of its Guidance Bureau, Morsi had enunciated the same Anti-Semitic and jihadist themes with more specific Koranic references., from November 21, 2004, quoted Morsi stating:

It is confirmed by the Quran that Jews are the most hostile of men to Muslims. The Almighty says: "Certainly you will find the most hostile to those who believe are the Jews and those who are polytheists." [Koran 5: 82] The verse confirms that Jews are the most hostile enemies of the Muslims, as the Almighty says "and prepare for them all you can of power, including steeds" [Koran 8: 60], [Note: The beginning of the verse is on the Brotherhood logo] a verse which urges preparation for this enemy with all our energy to prepare us to confront him at any time; because Zionists are traitors to every covenant and convention … there is no peace with the descendants of apes and pigs, [Koran 5:60]


This central motif is coupled to Koranic verses 5:60, and 5:78, which describe the Jews transformation into apes and swine (5:60), or simply apes, (i.e. verses 2:65 and 7:166), having been " … cursed by the tongue of David, and Jesus, Mary's son" (5:78). According to the earliest sacralized, pious Muslim biographies of Muhammad (by Ibn Ishaqand Ibn Saad), just before subduing the Medinan Jewish tribe Banu Qurayza and orchestrating the mass execution of their adult males, Islam's prophet invoked this striking Koranic motif for the Jews debasement, addressing these Jews, with hateful disparagement, as "You brothers of apes."

Muhammad himself also repeats the Koranic curse upon the Jews in a canonical hadith (Sunan Abu Dawoud, Book 37, Number 4322): "He [Muhammad] then recited the verse [5:78]: ' … curses were pronounced on those among the children of Israel who rejected Faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary' ."

The related verse, Koran 5:64, accuses the Jews of being "spreaders of war and corruption," — a sort of ancient Koranic antecedent of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion — invoked not only by Hamas and Hezbollah leaders, but "moderate" Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who cited Koran 5:64 during a January 2007 speech which urged Palestinian Muslims to end their internecine strife, and to "aim their rifles at Israel."

Indeed, the Koran's overall discussion of the Jews is marked by a litany of their sins and punishments, as if part of a divine indictment, conviction, and punishment process. The Jews' ultimate sin and punishment are made clear: they are the devil's minions (4:60) cursed by Allah, their faces will be obliterated (4:47), and if they do not accept the true faith of Islam — the Jews who understand their faith become Muslims (3:113) — they will be made into apes (2:65/ 7:166), or apes and swine (5:60), and burn in the Hellfires (4:555:2998:6, and 58:1415,16,17,18,19).

Classical Koranic commentators such as Tabari (d. 923), Zamakshari (d. 1143), Baydawi (d. 1316), and Ibn Kathir (d. 1373), when discussing Koran 5:82, which includes the statement "Thou wilt surely find the most hostile of men to the believers are the Jews", concur on the unique animus of the Jews towards the Muslims, which is repeatedly linked to the curse of Koran 2:61/2:90-91/3:112.

For example, in his commentary on Koran 5:82, Tabari writes:

In my opinion, [the Christians] are not like the Jews who always scheme in order to murder the emissaries and the prophets, and who oppose God in his positive and negative commandments, and who corrupt His scripture which He revealed in His books.

Between 2004 and 2010, Muhammad Morsi repeated direct citations of or references to Koran 5:605:64, and 5: 82during interview discussions of the Jews and Israel.

Scary stuff.  Why exactly are we sending Morsi billions every year again?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bibi Was Too Arrogant by Half

I knew Bibi's decision to call for elections 9 months earlier than scheduled would bite him in the ass, a subject I posted on back in October.  All politics and especially Israeli politics is unpredictable.  So it's no surprise that instead of coasting to an easy victory, Bibi just posted "Likud rule in danger" on his Facebook wall.  His merger with Yisrael Beitenu, which was supposedly going to create an unstoppable juggernaut, adding 15 seats to Likud's total, has been a disaster.  According to exit polls summarized by the Times of Israel, the combined party may not even muster 30 seats in the Knesset, meaning the merger may have only added a total of 2 seats to Likud's total.  It sure didn't help that Avigdor Liberman, head of Yisrael Beitenu, was just indicted.  Nor did it help that many of the pro-settler right wing Yisrael Beitenu voters seem to have migrated to Naftali Bennett and the Jewish Home party (many on the right trust Bibi about as much as tea partiers trusted Mitt Romney), which is now expected to have 16 seats compared to just 5 in the outgoing Knesset.  

Is Likud's rule really in danger?  Probably not.  It looks like the right wing parties can still muster about 61 seats in the next Knesset, down from a far more comfortable 67 seats which was the total expected around Christmas.  Also, there is still a big gap between Likud and the other parties, so its still expected to be the largest (it will likely have 29 versus just 16 for the runner up, either Yesh Atid or Jewish Home).  But what if there is a post election merger of some of the center left parties (e.g. Yesh Atid, Labor, Hatnuah and or Kadima)?  You could suddenly see a party that has a bigger total than Likud.  And given some animosity between Bibi's wife and Naftali Bennett, it's possible that you could see the Jewish Home join a center-left government.  And since Shas and UTJ go to whoever gives the most funding for their schools, they could also throw their weight towards a center-left government as well.  This may be a low probability scenario but so was Likud finishing at 30 seats just a little while ago.    

Anyway, let's hope that Bibi, who does have quite a few faults, retains his office.  Otherwise, Iran is all but guaranteed the bomb.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Why Israel Can't Do a Deal with the Palestinians

Netanyahu lays it out in terms anyone can understand.  If he agrees to divide Jerusalem and return to the 1949 lines, there will be a genocidal terrorist entity 400 meters from his home :

“It’s very easy to capitulate. I could go back to the impossible to defend ’67 lines, and divide Jerusalem, and we’d get Hamas 400 meters from my home.” That would not happen under his leadership, he said.

“It’s easy to do, and they’d applaud,” he went on, presumably referring to the US-led international community. “They’d applaud just like they applauded the parties (in the 2005 Israeli government) that pulled out of Gaza. Those parties got applause, and we got a rain of rockets.”

Friday, January 18, 2013

Now "Nullify" is a Code Word?

It's just amazing how just about every word in the English language is becoming a code word for something amorphously racist when used to criticize Obama.  If you call him socialist or arrogant, you're actually using some hidden racist code which is deciphered by a ring from a cracker jack box.  Hell, it's considered code to even call him by his full name, Barack Hussein Obama.  No word on what happens if you call him Barack "Insane in the Membrane" Obama.   The latest kerfuffle seems to be over Senator Rand Paul's decision to "nullify" Obama's executive orders on gun control.  First, we had Senator Tim Kaine from Virginia say it's code on CNN, but when challenged what it was code for, he didn't really have a response.  Joan Walsh at Slate also got into the action saying "to be fair, 'nullify' is an accurate word choice, but it does have a particular ring – especially alongside claims that the president has a 'king complex.'"  If it's an accurate and likely appropriate word choice, what exactly is the problem?  Should he have made an inaccurate word choice?  And what kind of ring does it have exactly?  Is it because it starts with the letter N or something?  These people really play the race card too much.  It seems the only word that isn't code for something is the dreaded N word which just puts it out there.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Union Strands 152,000 Kids Including 54,000 with Special Needs

Remember when unions were about making sure basic humanitarian conditions existed in the workplace?  Well, now they are about having GUARANTEED jobs and stranding tens of thousands of kids, including those with special needs, if that is what it takes.  Oh and did I mention their demands are actually ILLEGAL?  Read this:

More than 8,000 New York City school bus drivers and matrons went on strike over job protection this morning, leaving some 152,000 students, many disabled, trying to find other ways to get to school.


Those who rely on the buses include 54,000 special education students and others who live far from schools or transportation.


The city has put its contracts with private bus companies up for bid, aiming to cut costs. The Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union says drivers could suddenly lose their jobs when contracts expire in June.


The city doesn't directly hire the bus drivers and matrons, who work for private companies that have city contracts. The workers make an average of about $35,000 a year, with a driver starting at $14 an hour and potentially making as much as $29 an hour over time, according to union President Michael Cordiello.


Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said the city must seek competitive bids to save money.

The union sought job protections for current drivers in the new contracts. The city said that the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals, has barred it from including such provisions because of competitive bidding laws.