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Thursday, November 15, 2012

IDF calling up reserves ahead of possible Gaza ground operation

The IDF has called up a limited number of reserve soldiers ahead of a possible ground incursion into Gaza as part of Operation Pillar of Defense, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai said Thursday.

“It is a very limited call-up, with emphasis on Home Front Command units,” Mordechai said in an interview to Channel 2 News.

“IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz has authorized the army’s regular units to prepare for a ground operation,” said Mordechai. Some of those called up for reserves would be dispatched to replace those units in their routine duties.

Mordechai said it was “far too early to talk about a ceasefire,” and that the army planned to continue its attacks on terror targets until the operation’s goals were met.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday night announced the onset of a broad aerial and naval bombardment of Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, and said the country’s military was ready to widen its operations until its objectives were reached.

Netanyahu’s national security cabinet also announced it had tasked the Israel Defense Forces with calling up extra reserve units, should the need arise, a possible precursor to a wider ground operation.

The military said it was ready, if necessary, to send ground troops into Gaza. The defense officials who said a ground operation was likely in the coming days spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing sensitive military plans.

The prime minister reiterated the IDF’s report that Israeli Air Force planes had “damaged strategic targets of Hamas in a precise fashion” and “substantially damaged the launch capabilities of rockets from Gaza” at central and southern Israel.

“The terror organizations hurt our citizens with premeditation, while they deliberately conceal themselves behind their own citizens,” he said.

Speaking after Netanyahu, Barak told reporters that “the accuracy of the Shin Bet’s information and the sharpness of the IDF’s operation brought about the assassination of Hamas chief of staff [Ahmed] Jabari and the neutralization of Fajr missiles and Hamas’s infrastructures.” He added that most of Hamas’s Fajr long-range rocket arsenal was destroyed in IAF airstrikes.

Barak noted that Operation Pillar of Defense would not be completed in “one fell swoop,” but that the objectives would be attained in due time.

The defense minister delineated the operation’s objectives as “strengthening deterrence, damaging the rocket arsenal, damaging and hurting Hamas and minimizing injury to the civilians on the homefront of the State of Israel.”

“The IDF will receive all of the support to do everything necessary in order to return calm to the South,” Barak said.

In an earlier address to the press, former deputy chief of General Staff Maj. Gen. (res.) Dan Harel said that “Hamas thought [Israel] would not retaliate” to rocket barrages in recent weeks. “They were wrong.”

Hamas has escalated its smuggling of high-quality weaponry recently, Harel explained, and “felt it has enough power to face down Israel,” Harel said. “We are in the early hours of the clash, and where it goes from here depends on Hamas’s activity.”

Besides the killing of Jabari, he added, “some of the long-range rockets of Hamas were destroyed. Fighter jets are bombing rocket cylinders buried in the ground. We’re trying to take away [Hamas’] launching capability. It will be difficult, but we’re doing our best.”

Israel does not wish to launch a ground operation, Harel said, but is willing to do so to stop the rocket fire.

“We’re not looking at going further on the ground, but if we have to do it, we will do it.”

The Times of Israel

Jesse Ventura: Secrets of Tesla's "Death Ray" Revealed

Ron Paul Departs With ‘Our Constitution Has Failed’

“Our Constitution, which was intended to limit government power and abuse, has failed,” Paul said. “The Founders warned that a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people. The current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified.”

For the retiring Republican, 77, the “current crisis” isn’t quite what it is for other members of Congress, who routinely use that word to describe the economic recession that followed the 2008 financial crash. To the Texas Republican, that’s part of it, but the causes are deeper, and it’s also a crisis of governmental authoritarianism and the vanishing of personal liberty.

“If it’s not accepted that big government, fiat money, ignoring liberty, central economic planning, welfarism, and warfarism caused our crisis, we can expect a continuous and dangerous march toward corporatism and even fascism with even more loss of our liberties,” said Paul, an obstetrician-gynecologist by training.

The problem isn’t just government’s size, but its use of force, both in starting preemptive wars and as it coerces U.S. citizens with police power. To Paul, this is the fault of Americans who no longer prioritize liberty, and it will lead to the unraveling of orderly society unless people change.

Restraining aggressive behavior is one thing, but legalizing a government monopoly for initiating aggression can only lead to exhausting liberty associated with chaos, anger and the breakdown of civil society,” Paul said. “We now have a standing army of armed bureaucrats in the TSA, CIA, FBI, Fish and Wildlife, FEMA, IRS, Corp of Engineers, etc., numbering over 100,000 civil society.”

More than coercive, to Paul the government is also corrupt: “All branches of our government today are controlled by individuals who use their power to undermine liberty and enhance the welfare/warfare state-and frequently their own wealth and power,” he said.

Throughout his speech, Paul questioned not only the fundamental health of America’s social compact, but specifics like fiat money, the power of the Federal Reserve, the PATRIOT Act, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act modifications, undeclared war, the illegalization of medical marijuana, mandatory sentencing requirements for drug crimes, the illegalization of hemp, TSA searches, federal debt and borrowing, the White House’s authority to assassinate those it declares terrorists, the legalization of detaining U.S. citizens for national-security purposes, the political power of AIPAC, and the regulation of light bulbs and toilets in people’s homes.

For Paul, the list of grievances is long, and he might not have accomplished much in Congress: “In many ways, according to conventional wisdom, my off-and-on career in Congress, from 1976 to 2012, accomplished very little,” he said. “No named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways, thank goodness. In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues. Wars are constant and pursued without congressional declaration.”

In thinking about the champions of liberty, his lesson is a bitter one: “History has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely if ever fulfilled,” but his prescription is hopeful.

Paul left the podium, for the last time, offering an “answer” to all of these problems: that people should choose liberty and limit government, and seek change within themselves.

“The number one responsibility for each of us is to change ourselves with hope that others will follow,” Paul said, urging an end to two motives that have hindered U.S. society: envy and intolerance.

“I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out the plain truth of things. The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people worldwide, is to pursue the cause of liberty. If you find this to be a worthwhile message, spread it throughout the land.”


Russia expands treason law, critics fear crackdown

MOSCOW (AP) — Adding to fears that the Kremlin aims to stifle dissent, Russians now live under a new law expanding the definition of treason so broadly that critics say it could be used to call anyone who bucks the government a traitor.

The law took effect Wednesday, just two days after President Vladimir Putin told his human rights advisory council that he was ready to review it.

His spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies Wednesday that Putin would be willing to review the treason law if its implementation reveals "some problems or aspects restricting rights and freedoms."

But what Putin might consider a problem is unclear. His opponents say a series of measures enacted since Putin returned to the Kremlin in May for a third term show he is determined to intimidate and suppress dissidents.

One recent measure imposes a huge increase in potential fines for participants in unauthorized demonstrations. Another requires non-governmental organizations to register as foreign agents if they both receive money from abroad and engage in political activity. And another gives sweeping power to authorities to ban websites under a procedure critics denounce as opaque.

After fraud-tainted parliamentary elections last December, an unprecedented wave of protest arose, with some demonstrations attracting as many as 100,000 people. Putin still won the March presidential election handily, but the protests boldly challenged his image as the strongman Russia needs to achieve stability and prosperity.

Under the new law, anyone who without authorization possesses information deemed a state secret — whether a politician, a journalist, an environmentalist or a union leader — could potentially be jailed for up to 20 years for espionage.

While the previous law described high treason as espionage or other assistance to a foreign state that damages Russia's external security, the new legislation expands the definition by dropping the word "external." Activities that fall under it include providing help or advice to a foreign state or giving information to an international or foreign organization.

The definition is so broad that rights advocates say it could be used as a driftnet to sweep up all inconvenient figures.

"I believe this law is very dangerous," said human rights council member Liliya Shibanova, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency. Shibanova also heads Golos, Russia's only independent elections watchdog group.

"If, for example, I pass on information about alleged poll violations to a foreign journalist, this could be considered espionage," she said.

"It's very broad and it's very dangerous," Rachel Denber, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Europe and Central Asia division, told The Associated Press.

She said it's not clear yet how vigorously Russian authorities will enforce the bill, but says it recreates a "sense of paranoia and suspicion and uneasiness about foreigners."

Putin has repeatedly dismissed opposition leaders as pawns of the West and once accused U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of instigating protesters to weaken Russia.

The law, which was drafted by the Federal Security Service, the main KGB successor agency known under its Russian acronym of FSB, also introduced a punishment of up to eight years for simply getting hold of state secrets illegally even if they aren't passed to foreign hands.

The FSB explained in a statement run by the ITAR-Tass news agency that the new clause better protects confidential information. It said the previous law, which dated back to the 1960s, failed to provide efficient deterrence against foreign spies.

"Tactics and methods of foreign special services have changed, becoming more subtle and disguised as legitimate actions," the spy agency said. "Claims about a possible twist of spy mania in connection with the law's passage are ungrounded and based exclusively on emotions."

Tamara Morshchakova, a former Constitutional Court judge, told the presidential rights council meeting Monday that the new law is so broad the FSB no longer needs to provide proof that a suspect inflicted actual damage to the nation's security.

"Their goal was simple: We have few traitors, it's difficult to prove their guilt, so it's necessary to expand it," Morshchakova said. "Now they don't have to prove it any more. An opinion of law enforcement agencies would suffice."

The revised treason bill first came up in 2008, under then-President Dmitry Medvedev, who quickly shelved the bill after an outburst of public criticism.

Medvedev, now prime minister, was seen as more reform- and compromise-inclined than Putin and initially raised tepid hopes that Russia would turn away from the domineering policies of Putin's first two terms as president. But Medvedev was a comparatively weak leader and stepped aside to allow Putin to run for another term.

Now "there is an effort to recreate an old sense of fear," Denber of Human Rights Watch said, adding that the new legislation was apparently aimed at discouraging Russians from joining protests. "One of the aims is surely to never have that happen again and to demonize any ... people or organization that might be associated with that."

Along with the series of tough measures enacted this year, Moscow in October ended the U.S. Agency for International Development's two decades of work in Russia, saying the agency was using its money to influence Russian elections — a claim the U.S. denied.

Denber said her group already felt a new chill on a recent visit to one of Russia's Siberian provinces while doing a research on health care. Local officials demanded to know who invited them, who paid for the trip and the names of the group's local contacts.

"It was very hard. It was an echo of a different time," she said.

Read more: http://www.myfoxny.com/story/20098540/russia-expands-treason-law-critics-fear-crackdown#ixzz2CIQmFA3o

Israel has 'opened the gates of hell': Hamas warning

It was shortly before four o’clock when Ghalib al Hatour glanced up from sorting through spare parts at his streetside workshop in Gaza City.

Driving towards him in the distance was a grey, Kia saloon – a new model it appeared. As he bent his head down to continue his task, he was thrown backwards, an ear-splitting blast detonating in the relative confines of the quiet, mostly residential street.

Commander of the Hamas military wing Ahmad Jabari, who was killed in yesterday's attack

When the thick black smoke cleared, Mr Hatour could pick out the severed front of the Kia blazing furiously only yards away. But only the front. The rest of it was gone, strewn in charred pieces across the road, amid a carpet of glass, blood and blackened metal.

Looking around, he saw pieces of undercarriage and exhaust lying next to him. Blood was splattered on the white walls of one building opposite. Fragments of what appeared to be human flesh reached as far as a fourth floor window, above the height of trees in full leaf.

Mr Hatour could see nothing of the two men who had been sitting inside the car. “I had no idea the man inside was Ahmed Jaabari,” he said, pointing to the two deep, narrow holes driven into the asphalt which marked the impact of Israeli missiles that killed the Hamas man.

Nearby Rena Ahmad, a 20-year-old student, told The Daily Telegraph how she rushed to her window after hearing the explosion. She watched as panicked bystanders, mostly teenage boys, dragged two charred bodies in pieces from the blazing wreck. “It was the first time I have seen a dead body and there were only black pieces of them left. My brother and his friends from the neighbourhood were scooping up pieces of flesh from the road. I saw a head, separated from its body, just lying on the concrete,” she said.

“The little kids in my building were crying. It was terrifying for them.”

Within minutes of the blast, the street was swarming with Hamas police, toting guns and fighting off the crowds who had gathered.

As missiles started to fall across the Gaza Strip, the launch of Operation Pillar of Defence was confirmed by the Israel Defence Forces. Jaabari’s death was a targeted assassination, payback for “decades long terrorist activity”.

As many as 20 air strikes were reported; in Zaitoun in the East, Rafah by the Egyptian border and Tal Alhawa in the centre. Palestinian media claimed that up to nine people, including two children, had been killed. One child was reported to be the 11-month-old son of a BBC employee.

As night fell, the skies across the northern border were illuminated by blazes and the regular thud of artillery fired from Israeli naval boats hit unseen targets along the coast.

In Gaza City the muezzins’ call rang out from mosques across the darkening sky: “The martyr Ahmed Jaabari is dead. The one who was killed in fighting is not dead but lives on in paradise. God is great.”
The Telegraph

New Gene-Altering Drug Paves Way for Mass Modification

We’ve seen genetically modified mosquitoes, genetically modified plants, and genetically modified cows, but could we soon be dealing with our own genetic alterations – genetically modified humans? As the months and years pass, scientists seem to be getting closer to ‘manufacturing’ humankind, with some of the most recent ‘advancements’ revolving around a new approved drug therapy that is designed to ‘correct genetic errors’.

Glybera, the drug which was approved in Europe on November 1, was created to combat against a rare disorder leading to disrupted fat production. Those suffering this rare disease possess what scientists describe as a damaged gene; the drug is meant to repair the damaged gene.

While the drug is only meant to be given to 1 or 2 out of every million people, it paves way for further experimentation into the field of biotechnology and human alteration. Soon, doctors may be giving out drugs to treat any ‘defects’ in genes, whether it be for the so-called ‘fat’ gene or another instance where a damaged gene is present. It could even apply to purported ‘criminal’ genes that are said to predict an individual’s future ‘life of crime’. It may sound crazy, but scientists are already making even more serious moves that will alter or ‘create’ humankind.

Further Genetically Modifying Humanity
Although gene-altering drugs are indeed helping to pave the way for further human genetic modification, it is only a single move in the game. Just a few months ago, we reported on the very first group of genetically modified babies being ‘created’ in the United States. The scientists stated that 30 babies were born using genetic modification techniques. In addition, 2 of the babies tested were found to contain genes from a total of 3 different parents. Genetecists state that this genetic modification method may one day be used to create genetically modified babies “with extra, desired characteristics such as strength or high intelligence.”

Interestingly enough, that day may come sooner than expected – at least for some of us. Even leading scientists are now pushing for selective breeding based on genetic makeup, ‘handpicking’ genes of offspring, and even developing cloning technology to ‘grow’ human hybrids and other bizarre experiments.

While gene-altering drugs and GM babies may appeal to the general public, scientists and biotech companies heavily funded by the government have been working on achieving a much larger feat -genetically modified humans in the form of ‘super soldiers’. These GM humans go beyond even the imagination, not requiring food or sleep to perform Olympic-style physical feats, while being able to regrow limbs that were destroyed by enemy fire.

The fact is that humankind has been moving toward a genetically altered existence for some time now, unknown by the general public. While the mainstream media will have you believe that drugs to repair damaged genes is the answer, no one really knows the kind of dangers that could come with such advancements. We’ve already seen how genetically modified foods can cause tumors and even early death - why wait to see what happens when altering the human genetic code.

Waking Times


As of January 2013 the FDIC stops offering 100% coverage for all insured deposits. That amounts to $1.6 trillion in deposits, 85-90% deposited with the TBTF mega banks. Once the insurance ramps back to $250,000 the FDIC risk amelioration offered to large depositors will cause them to flee from the insecurity of the much reduced FDIC coverage. This money will rotate immediately into short term Treasury securities. The treasury, in order to handle this flood of money, will immediately offer negative interest rates. This financing will resemble the .5% negative interest rate offered by the Swiss and Germans on the funds flooding to their banks from Spain, Greece and Italy.
This will be a bank run much larger than the Euro banks flight to safety.

I have noticed two disturbing matters that will most certainly come as a result of the Fed MBS program.

1. The funds from the Fed purchases will rotate to the Too Big To Fail Banks. This debt is already junk bond status due to the nature of the underwater mortgages and delinquencies, hence the reason for the new Fed goon Squad going after borrowers.
This debt will be as bad or worse than the debt of Greece, Spain and Italy, rated CCC-

2. The banks receiving these funds will rotate the money immediately into short term treasury securities that will be priced at NIRP. the reason for that follows:

3. As of January 2013 the FDIC stops offering 100% coverage for all insured deposits. That amounts to $1.6 trillion in deposits, 85-90% deposited with the TBTF mega banks. Once the insurance ramps back to $250,000 the FDIC risk amelioration offered to large depositors will cause them to flee from the insecurity of the much reduced FDIC coverage. This money will rotate immediately into short term Treasury securities. The treasury, in order to handle this flood of money, will immediately offer negative interest rates. This financing will resemble the .5% negative interest rate offered by the Swiss and Germans on the funds flooding to their banks from Spain, Greece and Italy. This will be a bank run much larger that the Euro banks flight to safety.

4. The Social Security Trust fund must make at least 5-6% return to maintain its balance and provide income to the SS recipients. The TF is still guaranteed to go bankrupt by 2033, 21 years from now. The TF is required by law to invest in Treasury bonds. The actuarial problem now facing the TF is that they will be rolling old bonds yielding 5.6% into a yield pool averaging 1.4%, a 75% drop in income. This dramatic yield drop coupled with a 60% increase in SS recipients from 50 million to 91 million in the next 10 years will assure the TF will go bankrupt in about 10 years.

This irreducible math is going to prove an insurmountable obstacle to those who are recently retired, have long live genes or plan to retire in the next 10 years. If the SS TF goes bankrupt then benefits will be cut by 25% . Inflation adjustments were never able to front run the lost in income. The inflation rate of 8% today and 15% tomorrow will destroy the senior investment pool.
Another few unintended consequences of QE 3. Thanks Ben. May you rot in hell!
Silver Doctors

Eurozone falls back into recession

The eurozone has returned to recession as the region's debt crisis continues to hurt demand, figures show.

The economy of the 17-nation bloc contracted by 0.1% between July and September, after shrinking 0.2% in the previous three months,Eurostat said.

The eurozone was last in recession in 2009, when the economy contracted for five consecutive quarters.

The news comes a day after millions of workers in Europe held a day of action against austerity measures.

Protests in Spain, Italy and Portugal were marred by violence.

Countries such as Greece and the Republic of Ireland that have been bailed out by international lenders continue to see their economies shrink. Meanwhile larger economies such as Spain have imposed spending cuts in an attempt to avoid having to ask for a bailout.

"This [the fall into recession] was totally expected because of austerity policies combined with world growth slowing down and a dramatic fall in activity in Germany and the Netherlands," said Steen Jakobsen, chief economist at Saxo Bank.

"The last couple of days have created a new momentum for a major change in policy input, because up until this week, social tension was not part of equation. It seems like the tone has shifted dramatically."'Dangerous situation'

The austerity measures in many countries - mostly in southern Europe - have combined tax rises with cuts in salaries, pensions, benefits and social services.

"We are now getting into a double dip recession which is entirely self-made," said Paul De Grauwe, a professor at the London School of Economics. "It is a result of excessive austerity in southern countries and unwillingness in the north to do anything else.

"This divide, even hostility, between countries is stronger than I have seen in the last 20 years. The degree of austerity has now put so many people in terrible conditions that they reject all of this. That's a very dangerous situation."

Figures released in the past week show that the Spanish economy contracted by 0.3% between June and September and Portugal by 0.8%.

French gross domestic product rose by 0.2% in the third quarter compared with the previous three months. But the previous quarter was revised down to -0.1% from zero, according to French statistics agency Insee said Thursday.

The production of goods and services in France, Europe's second-largest economy, increased "after five quarters of near stagnation", it said.

Greece said on Monday that its economy had contracted by 7.2% in the third quarter compared with a year earlier. It did not give a comparison with the preceding three months.

The economy of the Netherlands shrank 1.1%, adding to signs that the previously-healthy north of Europe is suffering as the southern parts push through more austerity cuts in weak economies.

For the whole of the European Union, which includes countries such as the UK and Sweden, the economy grew by 0.2% in the quarter, after having contracted 0.2% in the previous three months.

The UK economy grew by 1% in the third quarter of the year, helped by one-off factors such as the Olympic Games. The eurozone is the UK's biggest trading partner and the decline in the bloc's fortunes helped push the UK back into recession earlier this year.

How some eurozone economies are faring

Q4 2011Q1 2012Q2 2012Q3 2012

Export demand
The eurozone's largest economy, Germany, is still expanding, although growth has been affected by the debt crisis.

Germany's economy grew by 0.2% in the July-to-September period, down from growth of 0.3% recorded in the previous quarter and the 0.5% figure seen in the first three months of this year.

The country's growth was driven mainly by "foreign demand", federal statistics office agency Destatis said.

Last month, the German government cut its forecast for economic growth in 2013 from 1.6% to 1%, blaming the reduction on the eurozone crisis and weaker growth in emerging nations in Asia and Latin America.

Germany's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 4.2% in 2010 and 3% in 2011.

"The negative data seen in recent weeks and months could very well lead to negative growth" in Germany in the fourth quarter of the year, said analysts at Natixis Bank.

Unlike most of its partners in the 17-nation eurozone, Germany has mainly escaped the worst effects of the crisis that has threatened to unravel the bloc.

Until now, it has benefited from the weaker euro, making its exports more competitive outside the eurozone.

However, German consumers are still spending. "Consumption by both private households and government was higher than in the second quarter when adjusted for price, seasonal and calendar variations," Destatis said.