The Vulgar Trader

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Israel Announces Massive West Bank Land Grab

From Reuters:

JERUSALEM, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Israel announced on Sunday a land appropriation in the occupied West Bank that an anti-settlement group termed the biggest in 30 years, drawing Palestinian condemnation and a U.S. rebuke.

Some 400 hectares (988 acres) in the Etzion Jewish settlement bloc near Bethlehem were declared “state land, on the instructions of the political echelon” by the military-run Civil Administration.

"We urge the government of Israel to reverse this decision," a State Department official said in Washington, calling the move "counterproductive" to efforts to achieve a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israel Radio said the step was taken in response to the kidnapping and killing of three Jewish teens by Hamas militants in the area in June.

Tensions stoked by the incident quickly spread to Israel’s border with Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, and the two sides engaged in a seven-week war that ended on Tuesday with an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.

The notice published on Sunday by the Israeli military gave no reason for the land appropriation decision.

Peace Now, which opposes Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank, territory the Palestinians seek for a state, said… the land seizure was the largest announced by Israel in the West Bank since the 1980s and that anyone with ownership claims had 45 days to appeal. A local Palestinian mayor said Palestinians owned the tracts and harvested olive trees on them.

Israel has come under intense international criticism over its settlement activities, which most countries regard as illegal under international law and a major obstacle to the creation of a viable Palestinian state in any future peace deal.

Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, called on Israel to cancel the appropriation. “This decision will lead to more instability. This will only inflame the situation after the war in Gaza,” Abu Rdainah said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu broke off U.S.-brokered peace talks with Abbas in April after the Palestinian leader reached a reconciliation deal with Hamas, the Islamist movement that dominates the Gaza Strip.

In a series of remarks after an open-ended ceasefire halted the Gaza war, Netanyahu repeated his position that Abbas would have to sever his alliance with Hamas for a peace process with Israel to resume.

US Hikes Fee To Renounce Citizenship By 422%

From Forbes:

To leave America, you generally must prove 5 years of U.S. tax compliance. If you have a net worth greater than $2 million or average annual net income tax for the 5 previous years of $157,000 or more for 2014 (that’s tax, not income), you pay an exit tax. It is a capital gain tax as if you sold your property when you left. At least there’s an exemption of $680,000 for 2014. Long-term residents giving up a Green Card can be required to pay the tax too.

Now, the State Department interim rule just raised the fee for renunciation of U.S. citizenship to $2,350 from $450. Critics note that it’s more than twenty times the average level in other high-income countries. The State Department says it’s about demand on their services and all the extra workload they have to process people who are on their way out.

As N.P.R. reported in May, services that “were once free, including those that are constitutionally required,” are now frequently billed to offenders: the cost of a public defender, room and board when jailed, probation and parole supervision, electronic monitoring devices, arrest warrants, drug and alcohol testing, and D.N.A. sampling. This can go to extraordinary lengths: in Washington state, N.P.R. found, offenders even “get charged a fee for a jury trial — with a 12-person jury costing $250, twice the fee for a six-person jury.”

NATO Meeting Encases Itself in Ring of Steel

Originally From Liberty Blitzkrieg:

It makes you wonder if the the change in threat level [in the UK] is being used in part to justify the extraordinary $80 million sum spent on building a fortress around the Newport and Cardiff city centers in Wales, which many are describing as “similar to the Berlin Wall,” or a “zoo,” in an unprecedented display of protection for many of the world’s most corrupt politicians.

The BBC reports that:

A security “ring of steel” is already in place at keys sites in Cardiff and in Newport – some 12 miles (20km) of fencing with pedestrian access points.

More than 150 heads of state and ministers including US President Barack Obama will attend the two-day summit.

Their entourage will include around 10,000 support staff, while 2,000 journalists are also expected to attend.

The man heading the security operation, which includes 1,500 officers from south Wales, has described it as “completely uncharted territory” for British policing and said “discreet” armed protection would also be used.

To mark the summit, the Royal Mint has struck a limited edition bronze commemorative “coin”.

Although not legal tender, the 150 coins feature the Nato logo and the words Nato Summit Wales 2014 in English and Welsh.

I’m sure glad they found time to create a commemorative coin amid all the imminent terror attacks.

Read the rest.

Somewhere, Mao sits

Somewhere, Mao sits

Obedience, docility, amorality and careerism will be duly rewarded. Those who can regularly suspend any desire they have to think from the perspective of another, or on behalf of a more universal or common good will be promoted.

Former Mob Boss: Don’t Trust Wall Street

From Marketwatch:

A self-described former boss of the Colombo crime family in New York says even he doesn’t trust Wall Street.

Michael Franzese, who spent 10 years in prison after he was convicted on federal racketeering charges, told CNBC that even the mob has better ethics than Wall Street. At his peak, Franzese said, he generated $5 million to $8 million a week from legal and illegal businesses, CNBC said.

“I did a lot of things at times with people on Wall Street,” said Franzese. “A lot of guys are shady, and they did shady things with me, and I don’t trust them.”

MarketWatch reached out to two industry lobbying groups but neither would come to Wall Street’s defense.

The former Mafia boss also believes there is a bubble in the market that will be ready to burst at some point, and he advises investors to keep their money out of Wall Street. But if they have to invest, make sure it’s diversified, he says.

War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.

—George Orwell

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. - An online gamer’s video shows the moment armed officers burst into an office in Littleton Wednesday afternoon to investigate a report of an “active shooter.” The report proved to be false, but the investigation caused nearby schools to enact security procedures and businesses to be evacuated.

Ferguson is a flash-point. Justifying the shooting is irrelevant. This is no longer a race riot, it is being seen worldwide as war waged by military troops pretending to be police and this crosses the line for that same level of force will be used against white protesters when the economy turns down. The goal is to be so harsh and cruel, like in Donetsk, anyone who disagrees better not show their face.

The history of other cultures is non-existent until it erupts in confrontation with the United States.

Edward Said