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After Peres, Is Peace Possible in the Middle East?

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The death of former Israeli president and prime minister Shimon Peres last week marks the last of the Zionist “old guard” who successfully fought for a UN mandate to establish the state of Israel in what was formerly British Palestine. Much has been written about Peres since his death. He was a peacemaker. He was a warrior. He was brutal. He was complex. It is possible for all of them to be accurate at the same time.

Was Peres a warrior? That is without question. Israel was established in bloodshed and Peres played an important role in that fight. Also, the brutal Israeli attack on a Palestinian refugee camp at Qana in 1996 took place under Peres’s command. In that attack more than 100 women and children were killed.
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Wells Fargo or the Federal Reserve: Who’s the Bigger Fraud?

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The Wells Fargo bank account scandal took center stage in the news last week and in all likelihood will continue to make headlines for many weeks to come. What Wells Fargo employees did in opening bank accounts without customers' authorization was obviously wrong, but in true Washington fashion the scandal is being used to deflect attention away from larger, more enduring, and more important scandals.

What Wells Fargo employees who opened these accounts engaged in was nothing more than fraud and theft, and they should be punished accordingly. But how much larger is the fraud perpetrated by the Federal Reserve System and why does the Fed continue to go unpunished? For over 100 years the Federal Reserve System has been devaluing the dollar, siphoning money from the wallets of savers into the pockets of debtors. Where is the outrage? Where are the hearings?
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Why Are We Sending $38 Billion to Rich and Powerful Israel?

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Last week’s announcement of a record-breaking US aid package for Israel underscores how dangerously foolish and out-of-touch is our interventionist foreign policy. Over the next ten years, the US taxpayer will be forced to give Israel some $38 billion dollars in military aid. It is money we cannot afford going to a country that needs no assistance to maintain its status as the most powerful military in the Middle East.

All US foreign aid is immoral and counterproductive. As I have often said, it is money taken from poor people in the US and sent to rich people overseas. That is because US assistance money goes to foreign governments to hand out as they see fit. Often that assistance is stolen outright or it goes to the politically connected in the recipient country.
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The Fed Plans for the Next Crisis

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In her recent address at the Jackson Hole monetary policy conference, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen suggested that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates by the end of the year. Markets reacted favorably to Yellen’s suggested rate increase. This is surprising, as, except for one small increase last year, the Federal Reserve has not followed through on the numerous suggestions of rate increases that Yellen and other Fed officials have made over the past several years.
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How to Solve the Illegal Immigration Problem

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s recent speech on immigration really missed the point. I understand Trump’s frustration over the US government’s inability to control the US borders and keep out those who would come to this country illegally. Trump was right that the media ignore legitimate questions we have on our immigration policy and he is right that special interests have a great interest in maintaining the status quo.

However when it comes to really solving the immigration problem he gets it all wrong. And instead of making us more free and prosperous, his solutions will accelerate our downward slide toward authoritarianism.
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The Right Lessons from Obamacare's Meltdown

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The decision of several major insurance companies to cut their losses and withdraw from the Obamacare exchanges, combined with the failure of 70 percent of Obamacare's health insurance “co-ops, ” will leave one in six Obamacare enrollees with only one health insurance option. If Obamacare continues on its current track, most of America may resemble Pinal County, Arizona, where no one can obtain private health insurance. Those lucky enough to obtain insurance will face ever-increasing premiums and a declining choice of providers.

Many Obamacare supporters claimed that the exchanges created a market for health insurance that would allow consumers to benefit from competition. But allowing consumers to pick from a variety of government-controlled health insurance plans is not a true market; instead it is what the great economist Ludwig von Mises called “playing market.”
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What Should We Do About Crimea?

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Is Crimea about to explode? The mainstream media reports that Russia has amassed troops on the border with Ukraine and may be spoiling for a fight. The Russians claim to have stopped a Ukrainian sabotage team that snuck into Crimea to attack key infrastructure. The Russian military is holding exercises in Crimea and Russian President Vladimir Putin made a visit to the peninsula at the end of the week.

The Ukrainians have complained to their western supporters that a full-scale Russian invasion is coming, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he may have to rule by martial law due to the Russian threat.
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Election 2016: Liberty Loses No Matter Who Wins

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For all the hand-wringing about the threat to liberty and constitutional government posed by the major party presidential candidates, there is little discussion of how this threat is due to the political class’s long history of supporting expanded presidential power. There is also little talk of how the imperial presidency is just as much a creation of Congress as it is of power-hungry presidents.

Since war is the health of the state, it is not surprising that presidential power expanded in tandem with the expansion of the warfare state. Perhaps the best, and most terrifying, example of how “national security” has been used to justify giving the president dictatorial powers is the Defense Production Act.
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The Phony Job Recovery

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Last Friday saw the release of a bombshell jobs report, with headlines exclaiming that the US economy added over 250,000 jobs in July, far in excess of any forecasts. The reality was far more grim. Those “jobs” weren't actually created by businesses – they were created by the statisticians who compiled the numbers, through the process of “seasonal adjustment.” That's a bit of statistical magic that the government likes to pull out of its hat when the real data isn't very flattering. It's done with GDP, it's done with job numbers, and similar manipulation is done with government inflation figures to keep them lower than actual price increases. In reality there are a million fewer people with jobs this month than last month, but the magic of seasonal adjustment turns that into a gain of 255,000.
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Americans Are Going to be Disappointed in Election Outcome

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It is a sad commentary on the state of political life in the United States that our political conventions have become more like rock music festivals than competitions of ideas. There has been a great deal of bombast, of insults, of name-calling, and of chest-beating at both party conventions, but what is disturbingly absent is any mention of how we got to this crisis and how we can get out. From the current foreign policy mess to the looming economic collapse, all we hear is both party candidates saying they will fix it, no problem.

In her convention speech Hillary Clinton promised that she would “fight terrorism” and defeat ISIS by doing more of what we have been doing all along: bombing. In fact we have dropped more than 50,000 bombs on ISIS in Iraq and Syria over the past two years and all she can say is that she will drop more. How many more bombs will defeat ISIS? How many more years will she keep us in our longest war, Afghanistan? She doesn’t say.
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