Mainstream Media Paint Power-Grabbing Saudi Dictator As Roguish, Visionary ‘Reformer’

Two weeks ago, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman carried out a brutal crackdown on his political opponents, arresting dozens of high-ranking relatives, kidnapping the prime minister of Lebanon, and seeing eight of his political rivals die in a convenient helicopter crash. The ‘consolidation of power’ by the de facto Saudi ruler comes as his government ramps up its siege of Yemen and gets even closer to its US sponsor, thanks to Trump’s dopey love affair with – and direct assistance of – the regime.
***
The cynical plan has been met, in some media quarters, with condemnation, but for many in the Western press, Mohammed’s self-serving power grab is the action of a bold ‘reformer,’ a roguish bad boy doing the messy but essential work of ‘reforming’ the kingdom – the ‘anti-corruption’ pretext of the purge largely repeated without qualification.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 21, 2017.

Why Is The DOJ Downplaying Reports Of Proof Linking Obama And Clinton To Russian Corruption

Following the release of the identity of the FBI informant, Justice Department officials in recent days said that informant William Campbell’s prior work won’t shed much light on the U. S. government’s controversial decision in 2010 to approve Russia’s purchase of the Uranium One mining company and its substantial U. S. assets.
***
However, The Hill’s John Solomon has reviewed 1000s of new memos from an FBI informant that clearly show illegal activity surrounding a Russian plot to corner the American uranium market, ranging from corruption inside a U. S. nuclear transport company to Obama administration approvals that let Moscow buy and sell more atomic fuels.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 21, 2017.

Thanksgiving: Celebrating the Birth of American Free Enterprise

This time of the year, whether in good economic times or bad, is when Americans gather with their families and friends and enjoy a Thanksgiving meal together. It marks a remembrance of those early Pilgrim Fathers who crossed the uncharted ocean from Europe to make a new start in Plymouth, Massachusetts. What is less appreciated is that Thanksgiving also is a celebration of the birth of free enterprise in America.
The English Puritans, who left Great Britain and sailed across the Atlantic on the Mayflower in 1620, were not only escaping from religious persecution in their homeland. They also wanted to turn their back on what they viewed as the materialistic and greedy corruption of the Old World.
Plymouth Colony Planned as Collectivist Utopia In the New World, they wanted to erect a New Jerusalem that would not only be religiously devout, but be built on a new foundation of communal sharing and social altruism. Their goal was the communism of Plato’s Republic, in which all would work and share in common, knowing neither private property nor self-interested acquisitiveness.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Nov 20, 2017.

Saudi Purge Claims Its Latest Corporate Victim As Kingdom Holdings Sees $1.3 Billion Bank Deal Collapse

For the past couple of weeks we’ve written frequently about the sudden political turmoil in Saudi Arabia that resulted in two Saudi princes being killed in a span of just 24 hours and dozens others being detained on charges of corruption while having their bank accounts frozen. Here are couple of our most recent background posts on the topic:
The Saudi Purge: The Middle-East Is On The Verge Of A New War If The Saudi Arabia Situation Doesn’t Worry You, You’re Not Paying Attention Now, per an exclusive report from Reuters, it appears as though the latest casualty of the Saudi shakeup is a financing deal sought by the $8 billion dollar Kingdom Holdings which is owned and run by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal…at least until he was recently arrested that is.
Kingdom Holding’s plan to borrow money to fund new investments has stalled because owner Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has been detained in Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption crackdown, according to four banking sources familiar with the matter. Kingdom 4280. SE had approached banks to obtain the loan, but the financing plan has been held up because the lenders are worried about potential repercussions if they lend to the prince’s company, the sources said.
One of the sources, who was approached for the loan, said it would have been worth roughly 5 billion riyals ($1.3 billion).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 20, 2017.

Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe – It’s back, but maybe not for long

When a nation adopts a foreign currency it will typically face significant hurdles when it tries to rid itself of that currency, or de-dollarize. But Zimbabwe’s autocratic ruler Robert Mugabe has appeared to have done the impossible. After dollarizing ten years ago, over the course of the last year or two he and his cronies have managed to throw off the U. S. dollar and re-introduce a Zimbabwean replacement.
We can see evidence of this new currency in Zimbabwe’s stock market. Below I’ve charted the country’s main equity index, the Zimbabwe Industrial Index, going back to 2011. What an incredible rise over the last year, right? Beware; these returns have nothing to do with real economic growth. Zimbabwean equities have switched from being claim on an a stream of cash flows denominated in U. S. dollars to a stream denominated in Zimbabwe’s new currency. Because investors expect inflation of the new currency to drive up future cash flows, they have responded by bidding stock prices up. In real terms (i.e. U. S. dollar terms), stock prices are probably flat – and may have even declined.

This post was published at GoldSeek on Monday, 20 November 2017.

AFTER ADMITTING TO SECRETLY EXPERIMENTING ON TROOPS, ARMY REFUSING TO PROVIDE THEM MEDICAL CARE

In a testament to how the US government views its military service men and women, for decades, troops were used as experimental test subjects and doused with chemicals, injected with drugs, and otherwise treated like human guinea pigs – leading to a slew of negative health effects. When these troops simply tried to get care for the onslaught of medical problems brought on by these experiments the government told them to kick rocks.
For decades, the military flat out denied medical care to those it injured through these unethical experiments. After being poked, prodded, and force-fed with everything from lethal nerve gases like VX and sarin to incapacitating agents like BZ, and given drugs like barbiturates, tranquilizers, narcotics and hallucinogens like LSD, soldiers were told that is what they signed up for and were offered no care after their end of active service.
After being told they were crazy for years, the Army finally declassified the details of these experiments. However, veterans were still denied care. In 2009, thousands of veterans – Vietnam Veterans of America and other plaintiffs who wanted to know which chemical agents they had been exposed to – filed a class action lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency, et al., for the experiments. It took seven years for a court to finally rule in the plaintiffs’ favor.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on NOVEMBER 17, 2017.

Everything You Need to Know (and Ignore) About the November OPEC Meeting

The last November OPEC meeting sent oil prices rocketing 20% higher in less than a month, and this year’s Nov. 30 meeting will be just as important for the energy market…
OPEC’s current agreement – the one negotiated during last November’s meeting – caps the total oil production of OPEC and 11 other countries. The agreement limits oil production to 32.5 million barrels a day, a 1.8 million-barrel-per-day reduction from last year.
By capping oil production below 2016 output, the cartel is helping end the global oil glut that sent prices tumbling from $107.95 a barrel in June 2014 all the way down to $26.19 by February 2016. That was a 75% drop.
In fact, the compliance rate among OPEC members for the production cap reached a high of 120% in September. That means they cut even more oil than the agreement asked them to.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on November 17, 2017.

Here We Go Again—Swell Numbers Which Aren’t

According to the financial press we have had some swell economic numbers in the last two days—so it’s giddy-up-and-go time for the stock market again. Thursday’s industrial production number was allegedly gangbusters and today’s housing start figure for October was described as a “boom” by the incorrigible headline writers at MarketWatch:
The Commerce Department on Friday said October housing starts surged, rising 13.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.29 million.
Obviously, “surge” is a very different thing than “flat” or “punk”, but those latter terms are exactly what was reported by the Commerce Department this AM.
Last October, for example, single family housing starts posted at a 871,000 SAAR (seasonally adjusted annual rate) and for October 2017 they came in at 877,000. Recalling that this minute difference represents an annualized rate, what we are really talking about here is roughly a 500 start gain for the month of October on a Y/Y basis. And that’s for the entire US of A where the total housing stock consists of about 135 million units!

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on November 17th, 2017.

Saudi ‘Corruption’ Probe Widens: Dozens Of Military Officials Arrested

After jailing dozens of members of the royal family, and extorting numerous prominent businessmen, 32-year-old Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman has widened his so-called ‘corruption’ probe further still.
The Wall Street Journal reports that at least two dozen military officers, including multiple commanders, recently have been rounded up in connection to the Saudi government’s sweeping corruption investigation, according to two senior advisers to the Saudi government.
Additionally, several prominent businessmen also were taken in by Saudi authorities in recent days.
A number of businessmen including Loai Nasser, Mansour al-Balawi, Zuhair Fayez and Abdulrahman Fakieh also were rounded up in recent days, the people said.
Attempts to reach the businessmen or their associates were unsuccessful.
It isn’t clear if those people are all accused of wrongdoing, or whether some of them have been called in as witnesses. But their detainment signals an intensifying high-stakes campaign spearheaded by Saudi Arabia’s 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
There appear to be three scenarios behind MbS’ decision to go after the military:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.

FBI Informant Has Video Of Russian Agents With Briefcases Of Bribe Money In Clinton-Uranium Scandal

An undercover FBI informant in the Russian nuclear industry who was made to sign an ‘illegal NDA’ by former AG Loretta Lynch, claims to have video evidence showing Russian agents with briefcases full of bribe money related to the controversial Uranium One deal – according to The Hill investigative journalist John Solomon and Circa’s Sara Carter.
The informant, whose identity was revealed by Reuters as William D. Campbell, will testify before congress next week after the NDA which carried the threat of prison time was lifted. Campbell, originally misidentifed by Reuters as a lobbyist is actually a nuclear industry consultant who is currently battling cancer.
As previously reported, Campbell was deeply embedded in the Russian nuclear industry where he gathered extensive evidence of a racketeering scheme involving bribes and kickbacks.
‘The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,’ a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U. S. or Russian officials. -The Hill


This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 18, 2017.

Zimbabwe: Reports That All Ten Branches Of Mugabe’s Zanu PF Party Passed No Confidence Votes

NewsDay, the privately-owned Zimbabwe newspaper, is reporting that all the provincial branches of President Mugabe’s party have passed votes of no confidence in his leadership.
In a dramatic twist of events, all the ten Zanu PF provinces have passed a vote of no confidence on President Robert Mugabe, and declared the 93 year-old leader – who has been in office for 37 years – too old and incapacitated to lead both Zanu PF and government. The move, which comes at the height of a drama-filled week that saw the military taking control of the country, is a huge knock on the veteran’s leader’s prospects of retaining his presidency for much longer.
It’s not clear where NewsDay got this information, although other sources are saying the central committee of Zanu PF could meet as early as Sunday to decide on Mugabe’s fate. In the meantime, Mugabe is reported to have resisted pressure to step down in negotiations with the Zimbabwe military and could face impeachment. The possibility of impeachment is being discussed by Zimbabwe politicians who are loyal to Mugabe’s former deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose dismissal precipitated the crisis.
The grounds for impeachment might include the wealth accumulated by the Mugabe family, corruption amongst his wife’s allies and the collapse of the Zimbabwe economy (now half the size it was in 2000). According to Bloomberg.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.

Next-Generation Crazy: The Fed Plans For The Coming Recession

Insanity, like criminality, usually starts small and expands with time. In the Fed’s case, the process began in the 1990s with a series of (in retrospect) relatively minor problems running from Mexico’s currency crisis thorough Russia’s bond default, the Asian Contagion financial crisis, the Long Term Capital Management collapse and finally the Y2K computer bug.
With the exception of Y2K – which turned out to be a total non-event – these mini-crises were threats primarily to the big banks that had unwisely lent money to entities that then flushed it away. But instead of recognizing that this kind of non-fatal failure is crucial to the proper functioning of a market economy, providing as it does a set of object lessons for everyone else on what not to do, the Fed chose to protect the big banks from the consequences of their mistakes. It cut interest rates dramatically and/or acquiesced in federal bailouts that converted well-deserved big-bank losses into major profits.
The banks concluded from this that any level of risk is okay because they’ll keep the proceeds without having to worry about the associated risks.
At this point – let’s say late 1999 – the Fed is corrupt rather than crazy. But the world created by its corruption was about to push it into full-on delusion.
The amount of credit flowing into the system in the late 1990s converted the tech stock bull market of 1996 into the dot-com bubble of 1999, which burst spectacularly in 2000, causing a deep, chaotic recession.

This post was published at DollarCollapse on NOVEMBER 17, 2017.

“Economic Development” Is a Corporate Welfare Scheme

The Beacon Center, a libertarian think tank based in Nashville, has released a new film highlighting and describing the impact of corporate welfare in Tennessee. Starring University of Tennessee professor Glenn Reynolds, Rigged tells the story of small business owners in Memphis who were harmed by the massive tax breaks which the Shelby County government bestowed upon the furniture giant Ikea for opening a location in the Memphis area. The film has sparked a renewed focus on cronyism across the state.
Just recently, the four largest media firms in the state published the results of a ten month investigation into Tennessee’s subsidy and incentive programs. They found that the volunteer state’s corporate welfare programs amount to $2.5 billion annually. The Times Free Press reports that the Department of Economic and Community Development, whose raison d’tre is to dole out state privileges, has increased its spending by 80 percent since Bill Haslam became Governor.
The investigation also lamented the lack of oversight and accountability. The Times Free Press concludes that it is impossible to conclude if these corporate welfare programs have succeeded even on their own metric, creating jobs. Some officials didn’t even have records of the size of their handouts. However, one does not need to have numbers to prove that cronyism is inherently detrimental to an economy.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Nov 17, 2017.

The Big Money Grab Is ‘On’ As Middle America Collapses

The stock market rejoices the House passage of the tax ‘reform’ Bill as the Dow shot up 187 points and the S&P 500 spiked up 21. The Nasdaq soared 1.3%, retracing its 3-day decline in one day. The tax bill is nothing more than a massive redirect of money flow from the Treasury Department to Corporate America and billionaires. The middle class will not receive any tax relief from the Bill but it will shoulder the burden of the several trillion dollars extra in Treasury debt that will be required to finance the tax cuts for the wealthy. The tax ‘reform’ will have, at best, no effect on GDP. It will likely be detrimental to real economic output.
The Big Money Grab is ‘on’ at the highest levels of of Wall St., DC, Corporate America, the Judiciary and State/local Govt. These people are grabbing from a dying carcass as fast and greedily as possible. The elitists are operating free from any fear of the Rule of Law. That particular nuisance does not apply to ‘them’ – only to ‘us.’ They don’t even try to hide their grand scale theft anymore because the protocol in place to prevent them from doing this is now on their side. This is the section in Atlas Shrugged leading up to the big implosion.
‘When you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed.’ – Atlas Shrugged

This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on November 16, 2017.

Identity of Secret Informant In FBI’s Clinton Probe Unveiled

More information about the Congressional probes into the Obama-era Uranium One deal leaked out Thursday when Reuters reported that Senate Republicans say their investigation into the Clinton’s role in approving the deal largely hinges on the testimony of a secret informant who was until recently the subject of a federal gag order.
But a month after Trump asked the DOJ to lift the gag order – a command that the DOJ promptly obeyed – the man has decided to speak out publicly for the first time in an interview with Reuters.
His name is Christopher Campbell, and was formerly a lobbyist for Tenex, the US-based arm of Rosatom, the Russian government’s nuclear agency.
At the time the Uranium One deal was approved, Campbell was a confidential source for the FBI in a Maryland bribery and kickback investigation that eventually led to the conviction of the head of the US unit of Rosatom, the Russian state-owned nuclear power company that received permission to buy Uranium One from a US strategic-resources panel, on bribery and corruption charges. Campbell was identified as an FBI informant by prosecutors in open court and by himself in a publicly available lawsuit he filed last year, but his identity as the informant was somehow not widely known, Reuters noted.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 16, 2017.

Saudi Arabia Offers Arrested Royals A Deal: Your Freedom For Lots Of Cash

As we noted shortly after the Crown Prince’s purge of potential rivals within Saudi Arabia’s sprawling ruling family, while the dozens of arrests were made under the pretext of an “anti-corruption crackdown”, Mohammed bin Salman’s ulterior motive was something else entirely: Replenishing the Kingdom’s depleted foreign reserves, which have been hammered for the past three years by low oil prices, with some estimating that the current purge could potentially bring in up to $800 billion in proceeds.
Furthermore, the geopolitical turmoil unleashed by the unprecedented crackdown helped push oil prices higher, creating an ancillary benefit for both the kingdom’s rulers and the upcoming IPO of Aramco.
***
And, in the latest confirmation that the crackdown was all about cash, the Financial Times reports today that the Saudi government has offered the new occupants of the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton a way out…. and it’s going to cost them: In some cases, as much as 70% of their net worth.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 16, 2017.

Three Strikes And You’re Out!

As we keep insisting, monetary central planning systematically falsifies asset prices and corrupts the flow of financial information. That’s why bubbles seemingly inflate endlessly and egregiously, and also why financial crashes and economic corrections appear to come out of the blue without warning.
Back in the winter of 1999-2000, for example, we were allegedly in the midst of a “new age economy”. The revolution in technology then underway, it was claimed, meant all historic valuation benchmarks–like PE multiples, cash flow and book values—– were irrelevant to stock prices.
Likewise, in the fall of 2007 there was nary a cloud in the economic skies. That’s because the Great Moderation superintended by the geniuses at the Fed had purportedly engendered a “goldilocks” economy destined to expand indefinitely.
Within months of the dotcom epiphanies, however, the highflying NASDAQ 100 crashed—eventually hitting bottom 83% below its new age apogee; and 15 months after the S&P 500 reached its goldilocks peak of 1570 in October 2007 it staggered around in smoldering ruins at 670—down 57% from its housing bubble high.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on November 15th, 2017.

Trump’s Border Wall Is No Match For Mexican Drug-Shooting Bazooka

While everyone salivates over the board game, ‘Cards Against Humanity’s’ latest political stunt in buying a small piece of border land in attempt prevent President Trump from erecting his proposed Mexican wall, there is a greater crisis lurking that no wall will stop: a Mexican drug-shooting Bazooka.
***
New evidence from Mexican daily El Universal suggests a wall would do very little to stem the flow of drugs across the border, as drug cartels have resorted to mobile vans using a tubular mechanism powdered by compressed-air to launch drugs and other illegal objects into the United States.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 15, 2017.

Corruption In China Risks A Soviet-Style Collapse – Party’s Graft Buster

Yang Xiadou is the Party’s number two man in Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption in the Chinese Communist Party – although some have seen this, in part, as a convenient way for Xi to bolster his power base.
During the 19th Party Congress last month, Yang was asked about the anti-corruption drive and how to achieve a balance between human rights and party discipline. Yang replied that, having worked in the Tibet Autonomous Region for many years, human rights was an ‘interesting question’. He recounted a conversation he had with a US assistant secretary of state where he likened Abraham Lincoln freeing slaves in America to China’s actions in Tibet.
‘I said in the hearts of Chinese people, Lincoln is a hero, because he freed the slaves.
On this point the Chinese people and the American people have the same understanding – this is a human rights issue.
In turn, we freed the serfs in Tibet, how come American friends cannot understand this? From Lincoln’s perspective, he should have supported China’s overturning of the serfdom in Tibet.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 15, 2017.

TRUMP’S HEALTH SECRETARY NOMINEE IS AN ESTABLISHMENT BIG PHARMA EXEC

Happy to announce, I am nominating Alex Azar to be the next HHS Secretary. He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2017

President Trump has nominated a former lobbyist and executive of a major pharmaceutical company to be U. S. Health Secretary.
On Monday, Trump announced his pick for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. ‘Happy to announce, I am nominating Alex Azar to be the next HHS Secretary. He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices,’ Trump tweeted. The nominee immediately came under scrutiny for his former connections to the pharmaceutical industry.
Azar formerly served as U. S. Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services under George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007. In June 2007, Azar began working as a lobbyist for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company. Azar also served as Eli Lilly’s spokesman as its Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communications. Beginning January 1, 2012, Azar was promoted to President of Lilly USA, LLC, the largest division of Eli Lilly and Company – a position which put him in charge of Eli Lilly’s entire U. S. operation.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on NOVEMBER 15, 2017.