Friday, August 1, 2014

Hamas's Shift to Tunnel Warfare Catches Israel by Surprise

By Isabel Kirshner

Israel entered its latest conflict with Hamas armed with a high-tech arsenal, real-time battlefield intelligence and strong domestic support for dealing a heavy blow to Hamas.

But again on Friday, Israeli forces were taken by surprise, this time with two soldiers killed and one taken prisoner when militants once again attacked from a tunnel leading from Gaza into Israel.

As frustration grows in Israel over the military’s inability to neutralize Hamas, the militant Islamic group that governs Gaza, despite hitting 4,300 targets in 24 days of intense bombing, some military experts say it is increasingly evident that the Israel Defense Forces have been operating from an old playbook and are not fully prepared for a more sophisticated, battle-ready adversary. The issue is not specifically the tunnels — which Israel knew about — but the way Hamas fighters trained to use them to create what experts in Israel are calling a “360-degree front.”

“Hamas has changed its doctrine and is using the tunnels as a main method of operation,” said Israel Ziv, a retired general who headed the military’s Gaza division and its operations directorate. “This is something we learned amid the fighting.”

Israeli troops in Gaza described Hamas gunmen who vanished from one house, like magicians, and suddenly popped up to fire at them from another. And while Hamas fighters are able to use the tunnels to surprise the forces from behind and to attack those in the rear, Israeli soldiers find themselves having to improvise. In the Gaza war that began in late 2008, 10 Israeli soldiers were killed, four of them from friendly fire. This time, 61 soldiers have been killed, mostly in combat, and one has now been taken prisoner.

Read the rest here.

Does John Brennan Know Too Much for Obama to Fire Him?

By Conor Friedersdorf

When John Brennan assured the country that the CIA hadn't improperly monitored the Senate team that compiled a report on Bush-era torture, he fed us false information. That much is clear from Thursday's news that "the C.I.A. secretly monitored a congressional committee charged with supervising its activities." Either the CIA director was lying or he was unaware of grave missteps at the agency he leads. There are already calls for his resignation or firing from Senator Mark Udall, Trevor Timm, Dan Froomkin, and Andrew Sullivan, plus a New York Times editorial airing his ouster as a possibility.

President Obama could surprise the country by axing his former counterterrorism adviser, explaining that under Brennan's management, employees broke laws and undermined the separation of powers core to our democracy. Obama may well make a good-faith effort to act in the national interest. But it's impossible to believe that he won't be aware of the following: No U.S. official knows more than Brennan about Obama's many drone killings. Some of the killings were solidly grounded in international law. And others may have violated the Fifth Amendment, international law, or the laws of war.

In the past, Brennan has been willing to lie about those drone strikes to hide ugly realities. For example, he stated in the summer of 2011 that there had been zero collateral deaths from covert U.S. drone strikes in the previous year, an absurd claim that has been decisively debunked. What if he grew more forthright, either in public statements or by anonymously leaking information?

Recall how intimately Obama involved himself in many killings:

Read the rest here.

Next Week Rand Paul Tours Iowa; What Questions You Should Ask Him

On August 4, 2014, Senator Rand Paul will travel to Council Bluffs, Iowa to kick off a three day tour of the hawkeye state.  Multiple events are open to accredited media.

 UPDATED:
Monday, August 4

Iowa GOP Council Bluffs Victory Office
231 South Main Street
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
12:30 p.m.
1:30 p.m. MEDIA AVAIL


Iowa GOP Sioux City Victory Office
2526 Glen Avenue
Sioux City, IA 51106
3:00 p.m.

Steve King for Congress Fundraiser
The Barefoot Bar
24457 178th Street
Okoboji, IA 51355
6:30 p.m.


Tuesday, August 5

Cerro Gordo GOP Fundraiser
Mason City Airport Restaurant
9184 265th Street
Clear Lake, IA50428
8:00 a.m.

Iowa GOP Cedar Rapids Victory Office
1340 Blairs Ferry Road
Hiawatha, IA 52233
10:30 a.m.

Mariannette Miller-Meeks for Congress Fundraiser
The University Club
1360 Melrose Avenue
Iowa City, IA 52246
Noon

Von Maur Corporate Headquarters Tour
727 Veterans Memorial Parkway
Davenport, IA 52806
2:00 p.m.
2:30 p.m. MEDIA AVAIL

Iowa GOP Davenport Victory Office
311 W. Kimberly Road
Davenport, IA 52806
3:00 p.m.


Wednesday, August 6

Westside Conservative Club Breakfast
Machine Shed Restaurant
11151 Hickman Road
Urbandale, IA 50322
7:15 a.m.

Iowa GOP Des Moines Victory Office
2775 86th St.
Urbandale, IA 50322
8:30 a.m.


* All times indicate event start time not Senator Paul's arrival time.

I often get emails asking me what questions should be asked of Rand at events like this. Let's see how close to libertarian he is. If you get the chance ask him one of these questions:

  • Would you be in favor of a bill that repealed the part of the Civil Rights Act that forces private businesses to serve all individuals?
  • Are you in favor of stopping immediate funding to both Palestine AND Israel?
  • Do you think there is a difference  between  the US Navy shootdown of the Iranian civilian Air Flight 655 and the shootdown over Ukraine of Malaysian civilian flight MH17?
  • Should the minimum wage be abolished?
  • Do you believe the United States should return to a gold standard?
  • Would you be in favor in a reduction in Federal government spending, in the next 12 months, of 50%?


-RW





Rand Paul Pulls Out Alan Greenspan's 'High Philosophical Discussion' Defense

The great libertarian Murray Rothbard once called out Alan Greenspan for his alleged "high philosophical" advocacy of  laissez faire. It is, of course, a phony lassiez faire advocacy that justifiably galled Rothbard. It is a "high philosophical" advocacy that is never meant to touch the planet earth. Wrote Rothbard in 1987:
Greenspan's real qualification is that he can be trusted never to rock the establishment's boat. He has long positioned himself in the very middle of the economic spectrum. He is, like most other long-time Republican economists, a conservative Keynesian, which in these days is almost indistinguishable from the liberal Keynesians in the Democratic camp. In fact, his views are virtually the same as Paul Volcker, also a conservative Keynesian. Which means that he wants moderate deficits and tax increases, and will loudly worry about inflation as he pours on increases in the money supply.

There is one thing, however, that makes Greenspan unique, and that sets him off from his Establishment buddies. And that is that he is a follower of Ayn Rand, and therefore "philosophically" believes in laissez-faire and even the gold standard. But as the New York Times and other important media hastened to assure us, Alan only believes in laissez-faire "on the high philosophical level." In practice, in the policies he advocates, he is a centrist like everyone else because he is a "pragmatist."..Yes, the Establishment has good reason to sleep soundly with Greenspan at our monetary helm. And as icing on the cake, they know that Greenspan's "philosophical" Randianism will undoubtedly fool many free market advocates into thinking that a champion of their cause now perches high in the seats of power.
Guess who just joined Alan Greenspan's "high philosophy" approach to freedom? Rand Paul.



-RW

Obama: "We Tortured Some Folks"

During a press conference held today, President Obama said that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the United States did things that were wrong and crossed the line. He said, “We tortured some folks” and that it was wrong.

He was commenting on a Senate investigation on CIA interrogation techniques.

BREAKING: NYPD Chokehold Death Ruled a Homicide

Staten Island man Eric Garner’s death was ruled a homicide from the NYPD chokehold applied during his arrest for selling loose cigarettes.

Garner, 43, died of compression of neck (choke hold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police, according to a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office.

Contributing factors were chronic bronchial asthma, obesity and cardiovascular disease, the ME said.
Cops confronted Garner for allegedly selling untaxed cigarretes on Bay Street in Tompkinsville, Staten Island on July 17.




(Via NyPo)

BIZZARRE Former Goldman Sachs Crony Poses as Homeless Person

California Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari spent a week posing as a job-seeking homeless man.

Not surprisingly, the little in talent Kashkari couldn't find a job at the current California minimum wage.

I think this shows that outside of doing crony work for Goldman Sachs and crew (As interim Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability from October 2008 to May 2009, he oversaw the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which funneled hundreds of billions to the crony part of Wall Street), he is pretty much a worthless human being.

Here is the "homeless," useless Kaskari, with camera crew in tow:


New Bill to Address Fake Campus-Rape Epidemic

By Diana Furchtgott-Roth

Rape is a serious matter. That is why it is unfortunate that a bipartisan group of senators is exaggerating the problem of rape on campus and proposing legislation that encourages academic institutions to throw out due process for the accused.

On Wednesday, eight senators, including Democrat Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Republican Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Republican Marco Rubio of Florida held a press conference to announce the bipartisan Campus Accountability and Safety Act, which would give academic institutions strict guidelines on dealing with campus assaults. Democrat Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, another cosponsor, described the proposed law as “an enforceable bill of rights.”

The White House stated in a January 2014 report, Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action, that one in five women has been sexually assaulted while in college, an assertion repeated by Gillibrand during the press conference.

But this figure does not match data from the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, released in October 2013, which show rape/sexual assault rates of 1.3 per 1,000 people in 2012, both reported and unreported rapes. It assumes a crisis where none exists, and interferes in university affairs for no cause.

Read the rest here.

It’s counter-intuitive thinking, but …

By Robert Ringer

It’s counter-intuitive thinking, but it’s been my observation that often there is not strength in numbers, but weakness.

For example, suppose you want to help “the poor.” Rather than waste time becoming involved in the muddled bureaucracy of some organization where you would have to confer with others over such questions as who qualifies as “poor” and what, precisely, should be done for such people, it’s a whole lot easier, faster, and more efficient to make all of those decisions unilaterally and take immediate action yourself.

All you would need to do is decide which person or persons you deem to be poor, then decide how much of your OWN money you would like to give them. In fact, you could personally deliver the money to them — no middleman necessary. And just think, you could do all this without having to stop and consult anyone else.

Having accomplished your objective, you could then go on to other pursuits without harassing friends, neighbors, or strangers about your charitable beliefs. Simple, efficient, immediate results — the kind of results that are all but impossible to achieve through group action.

This is especially true if the group happens to be, or is involved with, the government.

ROBERT RINGER is a New York Times #1 bestselling author who has appeared on numerous national radio and television shows, including The Tonight Show, Today, The Dennis Miller Show, Good Morning America, ABC Nightline, The Charlie Rose Show, as well as Fox News and Fox Business. His books includeMillion Dollar Habits: 10 Simple Steps to Getting Everything You Want in Life and To Be or Not to Be Intimidated?: That is the Question 

To sign up for a free subscription to his mind-expanding daily insights, visit www.robertringer.com.
Copyright © 2014 Robert Ringer

Edelman China Chief Missing

The powerhouse corporate public relations firm Edelman reports that the CEO of its China group, Steven Cao, has been missing for more than a week.

 The disappearance comes following a police investigation into the agency’s links to a disgraced television anchor  Rui Chenggang.

“It is our understanding that Steven Cao is co-operating with authorities on the investigation,” Edelman said.

Rui, a celebrity anchor of a prominent financial news show on China’s state-owned CCTV, was detained by police on July 11.

FT reports:
Mr Cao joined Edelman from Pegasus Communications, which he founded with Mr Rui in 2002 and still runs.
After Mr Rui was detained, Chinese state media reported that he had been arrested on corruption charges, and that Pegasus was ensnared in the corruption case against him. Pegasus’s Beijing offices were visited by Chinese investigators on July 24, the company said.
In a statement on July 14, US-based Edelman confirmed that in 2007 it had bought a 78 per cent stake in Pegasus, while Mr Rui continued to own an 8 per cent stake until 2010...

Political observers have connected the case against Mr Rui to political intrigues in the upper echelons of the Chinese elite. Mr Rui appears to have been embroiled in a corruption case built against his former boss, CCTV’s financial news channel director Guo Zhenxi, who was arrested in June in a corruption investigation that has ensnared nearly a dozen top CCTV employees.
Family-controlled Edelman is the world’s largest public relations group by sales, according to the Holmes Report, an industry survey.

Netanyahu Floats Ann Coulter's Boat

By Chris Rossini

File under: Disgusting.
Conservative commentator Ann Coulter wants the United States to follow Israel’s lead and take a tougher stance on border control, saying, “We need a Netanyahu here.”

“We are being invaded, and I just wish people would talk about our border…the way we talk about Israel’s border,” Coulter said Thursday on Fox News’ “Hannity.”
So scores of innocent civilians, being picked off "like fish in a barrel," is what's desperately needed here in the Good 'Ole US of A!

Netanyahu found his way into Coulter's frigid cold heart.

"We are being invaded," she cries!

By children!

Get Lockheed on the phone, we need some missiles!

This whole debacle shines a bright light on the ridiculousness of arbitrary state-imposed "borders". In a private property society this garbage would be nonexistent. One can freely travel onto the private property of others, as long as the owner of the property approves.

Is Conservative Coulter afraid that the children will abuse government programs?

Those government programs are the real invasion!



Chris Rossini is author of Set Money Free: What Every American Needs To Know About The Federal Reserve. Follow @chrisrossini on Twitter.





Ralph Nader in San Francisco: Name Dropping Mises and Hayek

Ralph Nader spoke in San Francisco yesterday, at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel on the top of Nob Hill. The event was sponsored by the Commonwealth Club and he spoke about his new book, Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.

I am going to review the book separately sometime next week, so I won't get too much into the specifics of his view here, though, I do want to mention he does see political advocacy as the primary method for advancing social change, whereas political advocacy barely makes my list.

That said, he did make a number of observations and comments that I do want to report on now. He said that his advocacy for a Left-Right alliance to dismantle the corporate state was getting a much better reception among right wingers that left wingers.

He mentioned that the Koch brothers are pro-tax on solar power, and pushing the position, and implied that it was because of their large oil holdings.

At one point, he mentioned both Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek and called them "credible humanitarians." Unfortunately, he cited Hayek for his least libertarian position, that is, Hayek's support for government aid to the indigent, up to a “minimum of subsistence” for everyone.

Nader incorrectly pronounced Mises' name twice. He called him MYses instead of MEses.

He predicted that "The dynasty will return," in the 2016 presidential race. Predicting it will come down to Hillary Clinton vs. Jeb Bush.

He said he would like to see a couple of billionaires enter the race to split up the two party system and make it a 3 or 4 man race. He said he has written to 20 billionaires urging them to run.

He also said he would like to see, "None of the above" as a choice on the ballot.

He said he liked Elizabeth Warren's positions on the big banks (I cringed) but said she was not good on foreign affairs and chiefly held Obama's interventionist foreign affairs positions. He said it was probably because she doesn't know much about foreign affairs, but he said he held her to a higher standard.

He also said that when drugs are decriminalized you no longer will have "drug traffickers," you will just have store clerks.

He also told a story about the ban on smoking on airplanes that he helped push into law (Which BTW is not a libertarian position. Each airline should be allowed to set their own smoking policy.)

He said that the ban ended in 1988 and he actually had a flight on the last day smoking was allowed on planes. He said that he was the last person on the plane and that his seat was way in the back and that he could see the person's face light up that he was going to be sitting next to when he realized Nader was going to be his seatmate .

It turned out the seatmate was a smoker.

He said that as soon as he sat down, the guy next to him lit up cigarette after cigarette and blew smoke in his direction for the entire flight (Washington D.C. to Buffalo). And he gave Nader one final blow to the face after the plane landed.

Nader asked the guy after the flight, "Are you satisfied now?" The guy answered, "Yes." Nader replied, "Good because that's the last time you are going to be able to do that on a plane."

-RW

Bestselling Books at EPJ in the Month of July 2014

1. The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank  by Robert Wenzel. ---Because of thisThird month on list.

2. Austrian School Business Cycle Theory by Murray Rothbard---Because of this. Second month on the list.

HOT 3. Nixon's Secrets: The Truth About Watergate and the Pardon by Roger Stone---Because of thisSecond month on the list.

4. The Secret of Selling Anything by Harry Browne --On list because of this:  How to Get a Wall Street Job in One Hour Fifth appearance on the list.

5.  The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order by Benn Steil---Because of this.

6. The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ by Roger Stone--Because of this--- Second month on list.

7. Set Money Free: What Every American Needs To Know About The Federal Reserve by Chris Rossini. Because of this.

8. Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky ---Because of this: Alinsky's Rules for Radicals---Second appearance on list.

9. How the Indians Lost Their Land: Law and Power on the Frontier by Stuart Banner---Because of this.

10. The Professional Commodity Trader (Look Over My Shoulder) by Stanley Kroll---Mentioned in the EPJ Daily AlertSecond appearance on the list.

High Powered Law Firm on Proposed Bitcoin Regulations: They Will Crush the Little Guy

The white shoe law firm DavisPolk is out with an extended memorandum on the new proposed Bitcoin regulations published by the New York Department of Financial Services.

From the memorandum introduction (my highlight):
On July 17, 2014, the New York Department of
Financial Services (“NYDFS”) published proposed
“BitLicense” regulations

 Most virtual currency (e.g., Bitcoin) businesses
would have to be licensed to engage in business
with New York customers (retail or institutional) or
otherwise operate in New York

 BitLicense is the first comprehensive virtual
currency regulatory regime proposed in the United
States and would have a profound impact on the
industry

Costly compliance likely to cause high barriers to
entry, inconsistent with New York becoming a
virtual currency hub that promotes innovation

 BitLicense-regulated companies would likely find it
easier to establish banking relationships. Final
regulations would begin to lift the cloud of
regulatory uncertainty, facilitating the flow of
institutional money into the virtual currency space.

More from DP on the barriers to entry:
 High barriers to entry. BitLicense regime has no onramp
or de minimis exception but its impact is great: (1) detailed,
time-consuming and likely costly application process, (2)
requirement for audited financials, (3) requirements for
hiring or designating qualified compliance personnel, and
(4) AML requirements for certain businesses not covered by
federal AML requirements.
 Creates high barriers to entry for new or financially
unsupported players.
 Startups may need to exclude New York customers
and otherwise avoid New York jurisdiction to focus on
developing their products before subjecting themselves
to BitLicense until they receive significant funding.
 Problematic from standpoint of NYDFS’s goals of
establishing New York as an important virtual currency
hub and promoting beneficial innovation.
 Business benefits. Banks and other traditional financial
services companies may be more willing to open accounts
for and provide services to businesses licensed under the
BitLicense regime.

Bottom Line: As I expected the regulations are going to crush the little guy trying to enter the sector. To the extent Bitcoin survives, it is going to be for well-connected big boys only, who will have no problem seeing to it that every Bitcoin user will be identified and tracked.

Have I mentioned that Bitcoin is NOT a libertarian alternative currency?

-RW

(ht Felix Bronstein)

Peter Schiff and Doug Casey on the REAL State of the Economy

Here's a transcript of a recent Peter Schiff interview of Doug Casey.

Peter Schiff: Joining our program now is Doug Casey, and if you don’t know Doug, he is a libertarian economist. He is a bestselling financial author. He’s an international investor, entrepreneur, and founder/chairman of Casey Research. They publish a monthly newsletter, Casey International Speculator, and most recently Doug has produced a 30-minute documentary called Meltdown America, which I watched just yesterday on the Internet for free. I would encourage everybody to watch it. It’s a very entertaining half hour.
Doug, welcome to The Peter Schiff Show.
Doug Casey: Thanks, Peter. It’s my pleasure.
Peter: So in particular about your movie, which I thought was well done, the story that was most compelling to me was the interview with

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Frontline Protection Against a Terrorist Attack in the US?

File under: Security Theater in Action

It's really a good thing that there aren't many serious terrorists (if any) in the US.

Jaison De Montalegre sends this photo taken at Grand Central Station in NYC.

Would hardcore terrorists really tremble because of these two characters?


Enemies of America: Bloomberg, Stern, and Rand Paul

By Micahel Scheuer

There must be few occasions in history when a Fifth Column was as openly disloyal and flamboyant as is Israel First in the United States, advocating at every turn that Americans become involved in wars that are none of their concern. These Jewish and non-Jewish Americans have so corrupted the U.S. political system and media that they feel perfectly at ease in acting in ways that are certain, in the future, to get some of their fellow citizens — civilian and military — killed by Islamist insurgents. They also aggressively seek to turn more of the Muslim world against the United States, thereby deepening the war America already is losing to the Islamists. And all of this is done in the name of a country that could not be more irrelevant or more detrimental to genuine U.S. national security concerns.

In the past weeks, Americans have seen Michael Bloomberg travel to Israel to lend his support to his country of first allegiance.  Bloomberg is the great, rich, soda-pop forbidding buffoon of American politics, but apparently that kind of thing sells well in Israel. He probably is only the first of the Jewish-American politicians and businessmen who will travel to Israel to showboat and tell Israelis they are there to express America’s everlasting and unanimous support for their struggling and only democracy in the Middle East. Bloomberg’s words and those of other Israel-Firsters will have no impact on the war — Israel will kill who it must, for as long as it needs to. Their words, however, will, and are absolutely meant to, further incite the Islamic world and the growing army of Islamist fighters to hate and kill Americans. The applause that the words of Bloomberg and his ilk will earn in Israel and among disloyal U.S. citizens at home will be repaid by the Islamists with bullets, bombs, and a budget-draining, bankrupting war both overseas and in North America.

Bloomberg and his comrades want Americans to believe the United States and Israel are in the same boat, that they are brothers in arms fighting ever-growing numbers of Muslim madmen. Hogwash.

Read the rest here.

Is There an Austrian Economics Mole at NPR?

Charles Goyette emails:
Bob:

I don’t know if there’s an Austrian mole in NPR, but this report is well worth a listen! 

It’s one young girl’s story about irrepressible market forces in North Korea’s command economy.  It has all the archetypal elements: the grand socialist plan, fiat currency, starvation, black markets, price discovery, bribery, the crack-up boom, entrepreneurship. 

Charles Goyette is  the NY Times Bestselling Author of, The Dollar Meltdown and
Red and Blue and Broke All Over

He hosts the Daily National Radio Commentary Ron Paul's America
Ron Paul and Charles Goyette: The Weekly Podcast
and editor of The Freedom and Prosperity Letter

Mises Makes It to the Front Page of TheStreet.com

A column by EPJ friend, Rafi Farber, written for TheStreet.com mentions Mises' Regression Theorem in relation to the crisis in Argentina:
In order for an economy to function on the most basic level, prices have to mean something. They have to make sense -- calculate values of scarce resources accurately in order to allocate them in the most efficient way. In order for them to make sense, they have to relate to something that represents the actual market. So Argentina will have to peg to the dollar once again. More precisely, it will have to peg to something with a recognized value, or its economy will not function. It can't just hand out new pesos and say "Whatever." Nobody would know what to do with them.
Austrian School economist Ludwig Von Mises called this the Monetary Regression Theorem. In order for a money to work, there has to be an existing array of prices recognized for that money in the market already. Otherwise, nothing would make any sense. You can't just have a Master of Coin from the government, go ahead and declare what prices are for everything and start handing out tickets. If that were to work at all, his price declaration would have to reflect an array already in existence. It can't be conjured out of sheer government will.
Emails Rafi:
 I wasn't expecting them to put it on the front page. But hey, I take what I can get.
Rafi's full essay is here.

Ludwig von Mises was a key architect in what has become known as the Austrian School of Economics.

-RW