GREAT! INTERNATIONAL SURVEY REVEALS 85% OF THE WORLD LIVES UNDER POLITICAL CORRUPTION

There is nowhere to run from and nowhere to hide from corrupt government. Planet earth is infested with those who abuse the power of government.
A recently released report by Transparency International (TI) measured people’s perceptions of government corruption in 176 nations, confirming what most of us seem to already know: the vast majority of people around the world live with government corruption as a normal feature of everyday life.
Corruption, as defined by TI, is:
‘Generally speaking as ‘the abuse of entrusted power for private gain’. Corruption can be classified as grand, petty and political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs.


This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on JANUARY 31, 2017.

Trump Slams “Astronomical” Drug Prices, Tells CEOs To “Get Prices Down”

In his latest close encounter with top US CEOs, President Donald Trump told drugmakers at a White House meeting Tuesday they were charging ‘astronomical’ prices and promised to get better bargains for government health programs, something even Bernie Sanders would agree with. He also said he would focus on finding ways to get new medicines to market faster.
‘The pricing has been astronomical,’ Trump said to CEOs of some of the world’s biggest drugmakers, who came to Washington after Trump’s criticism of the industry earlier this month sent drug and biotechnology stocks plunging. ‘You folks have done a very great job over the years but we have to get the prices down.’
At the meeting was Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America CEO Stephen Ubl, Merck & Co. CEO Ken Frazier, Eli Lilly & Co. CEO Dave Ricks, Celgene Corp. CEO Bob Hugin and others. They embraced Trump’s calls for lower taxes and fewer regulations. The gathering with drug CEOs came after Trump’s said on Jan. 12 that the industry was ‘getting away with murder’ and promised to act on drug prices. Since then, drugmakers have turned up their lobbying efforts with Congress as a potentially friendlier force that might counter Trump.
‘Some of the policies you’ve come out and suggested i think can help us do more — tax, regulations,’ said Lilly’s Ricks. Also at Tuesday’s White House meeting were Novartis AG CEO Joe Jimenez and Johnson & Johnson Worldwide Chairman of Pharmaceuticals Joaquin Duato.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 31, 2017.

Is Soros On The Ropes?

Although multi-billionaire hedge fund tycoon and international political pot-stirrer George Soros lost big with the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States and the victory of the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom, he stands to lose further ground, politically and financially, as the winds of political change sweep across the globe.
Soros, who fancies himself as the master of placing short put options on stocks, often cleaning up to the tune of billions of dollars in the process when the stock values collapse, has been dealt a few financial body blows. Recently, the Dutch securities market regulator AFM accidentally revealed on line all of Soros’s short trades since 2012. Soros’s trades were revealed on AFM’s website and were removed after the regulator realized the error. However, the Soros data had already been captured by automatic data capturing software programs operated by intelligence agencies and brokerage firms that routinely scour the Internet looking for such mistakes.
Among the bank shares targeted by Soros was the Ing Groep NV, a major institution and important element of the Dutch economy. After campaigning against Brexit, Soros bet against the stock of Deutsche Bank AG, which he believed would fall in value after Britain voted to leave the EU. Deutsche Bank stock fell 14 percent and Soros cleaned up. But Soros’s celebration was temporary. With Trump’s election, Soros lost a whopping $1 billion in stock speculation. Surrounded by his fellow financial manipulators, Soros explained his recent losses while attending the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Soros’s mega-wealthy cronies placed their own bets against smaller Dutch firms. Those firms included Ordina, an information technology firm; Advanced Metallurgical Group; and the real estate group Wereldhave N. V.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 29, 2017.

Drug Prices in the US vs. Canada – The Big Pharma Political Connection of Corporatist Democrats

This is a slide used by Bernie Sanders when he proposed making drug imports from Canada to the US legal.
The proposal was voted down in the Senate 52-46, with a few key Democrats helping overturn Bernie’s proposed legislation.
Among those voting against it was the recipient of big pharma campaign contributions Democratic rising star Cory Booker.
Booker used the Big Pharma talking point that ‘the bill did not include provisions requiring the protections of the FDA.’
Oh really? We think that the Canadian government’s regulation of medicine is weaker than in the US? Please, Cory, tell us exactly where they fall down on the job.


This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 29 JANUARY 2017.

In the Banker War on Cash, New Zealand and Canada Are the Next Major Countries on the Banker Hit List

As we warned more than 4 years ago in this article here, the criminal banking cartel’s end game involves restricting freedom of speech and curbing any criticism of their criminal banking industry by banning cash and imposing an end game of 100% digital money upon all of us. Now with the benefit of 4 more years, there can be little doubt that indeed, that the banking industry has advanced their war against all of us by accelerating their war on cash, and attempting to disguise this war on cash as a war on corruption.
Any logical person would understand the vast irony in such a statement, especially since bankers are leading these false charges of a war on cash as a war on corruption, not only given the fact that the banking industry is the most corrupt industry on the planet, but also given the fact that bankers provide much of the dirty money that feeds global stock markets by laundering tons of dirty money for the world’s most violent drug cartels. Recall that in 2012, HSBC bankers had to pay a $1.9B fine for willingly laundering hundreds of millions, and more likely billions of dollars, of dirty money for the largest and most murderous Mexican drug cartels. Though HSBC CEO Stuart Gulliver unconvincingly denied approving of these transactions, any logical person would conclude that it is next to impossible for the CEO of a bank not to know that origin of the source of hundreds of millions of dollars of cash flowing into his bank.
In addition to profiting handsomely by conducting business with the largest, most violent drug cartels in the world, such as the Sinaloa drug cartel, HSBC bankers were also convicted of openly conducting business with terrorists linked to Al-Queda, Hezbollah, and Russian mobsters, and for openly moving money for rogue states like North Korea and the Sudan. In fact, Jack Blum, a former US Senate investigative attorney, stated, ‘[HSBC bankers] violated every goddamn law in the book. They took every imaginable form of illegal and illicit business.’ Of course HSBC bankers were not the only bankers convicted of laundering huge sums of illicit money and profiting from this illegal act. Wachovia bankers, Standard Chartered bankers, Citibank bankers, Wells Fargo bankers, and dozens of other bankers were also found guilty of these criminal activities as well, exposing the systemic criminal nature of the banking industry.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 29 January 2017.

Trump Shuns Establishment ‘Board Meeting’

On Saturday, president Trump signed three more executive orders aimed at fighting terrorism and corruption. They follow yesterday’s order for a temporarily ban on immigrants from certain countries entering the U. S. Today’s actions are as follows:
EO #1: Implementing a five year lobbying ban on administration officials. “This is something I’ve talked about a lot on the campaign trail… and now we’re putting it into effect,” said Trump. EO #2: Calling for a reorganization of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council. EO #3: Calling on military leaders to present a report to the president in 30 days that outlines a strategy for defeating ISIS. “This is the plan to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, in other words ISIS. I think it’s going to be very successful.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 28, 2017.

“Exceptional” USA Only 18th In World For Transparency

After coming out of a 2016 Presidential election cycle in which one candidate was the subject of multiple federal investigations related to illegal pay-to-play activities as well as the illegal destruction of federal records subject to a Congressional subpoena, perhaps it shouldn’t be so shocking that the United States was ranked 18th on Transparency International’s 2016 “Corruption Perceptions Index.” But irrespective of our expectations, here is how the United States stacks up against other countries in terms of mass corruption of our publicly elected officials and the institutions they run.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 26, 2017.

Ukraine’s Problem Is Ukraine

Ukraine’s government has hired Washington lobbyists to fix its problems with the Trump Administration, but would do better to fix its internal problems, instead.
Ukraine’s problems are in four categories: a structural problem caused by the multiple overlapping entities involved in military strategy and procurement; the absence of a unified strategic vision for ordering equipment and supplies; a ‘Fifth Column’ of pro-Russian officials; and a staggering corruption that divides the self-interest of the elites from the national interest.
A recent Rand study highlighted the deficiencies in the command structure of Ukraine’s security sector. Defense procurement particularly has several overlapping structures with no clear lines of authority or unity of command. The President, Prime Minister, Defense Ministry, General Staff and the infamous state-owned defense company, Ukroboronprom, compete against and undercut one another. Each entity produces its own wish list, driven more by impulse than strategy, and each entity has separate financial controls, opening the door to insider dealing and corrupt sales of government property.
In Ukraine, citizens are played for suckers: local militias fight to preserve home and liberty, while the leaders focus on procedure, personal prestige, and offshore bank accounts. Ukroboronprom is infamous for selling arms to the black market, and domestic contracts are given to factories indirectly owned by President Petro Poroshenko, who still hadn’t divested his business interests as he promised to do when he took office in 2014.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 26, 2017.

The US Navy: A History of Waste and Corruption

The growth of US military power has rarely, if ever, been the result of legitimate concerns about defensive strategy, let alone about the national welfare. Instead, it’s more often a consequence of a waste, corruption, and imperial ambition that together have produced the modern military-industrial complex. This history receives some well-deserved attention in Paul Pedisich’s book Congress Buys a Navy: Politics, Economics, and the Rise of American Naval Power, 1881-1921, which offers an in-depth look at the history of Congressional involvement with the US Navy. I’ve written a more general review of the book for those interested (here), but in this post I want to focus on some of the economic implications of US naval history over these four decades.
The main emphasis of the book is on a series of Congressional battles over appropriations for the Navy, and how these disputes influenced its growth and change. This process, Pedisich argues, was not driven by strategic questions of national security, but by a wide range of political interests. Pedisich provides a wealth of information about Congressional voting blocs and committees, as well and the personal and professional ties between politicians, the Navy, and the war industries. These consisted most often of conventional rent-seeking: members of Congress wanted appropriations channelled to their own constituencies, and the Navy’s budget provided an excellent opportunity for those states that stood to gain from the Congressional spoils system (pp. 28-29, and throughout).

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Jan 23, 2017.

Aetna’s Takeover Of Humana Blocked As Anticompetitive

Back in August, we reported of a fascinating case of crony capitalism, whereby Aetna gave the DOJ a not too subtle ultimatum which boiled down to the following: “If the Humana deal is blocked, we exit Obamacare.”
Well, be careful what you wish for, because six months later, and with Obamacare well on its way out, moments ago a US federal judge blocked Aetna’s $37 billion deal to buy rival insurer Humana, thwarting one of two large mergers that would reshape the U. S. health-care landscape. The judge’s ruling, which was filed in Federal court in Washington, said the deal would be “anticompetitive”adding that the deal would have hurt competition among insurers.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 23, 2017.

A Look At Trump’s First Monday In Office: Executive Orders, Meetings, Cabinet Votes And More

As Donald Trump himself tweeted on Monday morning…
“Busy week planned with a heavy focus on jobs and national security. Top executives coming in at 9:00 A. M. to talk manufacturing in America.” -via twitter-
… the president’s first official day on the job will be busy, including a meeting with business executivesm congressional leaders (including a separate meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan), signing executive orders and getting his cabinet picks voted through.
According to the WSJ, Trump is also expected to sign various executive orders around 10:30am, which as previewed yesterday will include such topics as trade, immigration, government hiring, Obamacare and a lobbying ban. According to the White House, which released daily guidance for the president on Sunday evening, Trump’s Monday will include a ‘breakfast and listening session with key business leaders’ and a similar afternoon session with union leaders and ‘American Workers.’
Among this week’s key meetings, Trump is scheduled to with meet “top executives” at 9 a.m. today to discuss manufacturing, and British PM Theresa May on Friday.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 23, 2017.

Why Davos CEOs Think They Have Control Over Trump

While President Trump chose not to attend the elite extravaganza in Davos last week, choosing instead to lambast the great-est and good-est of the world’s executives in their crony capitalist safe space, the cognitively dissonant CEOs reassured each other by saying ‘ignore the tweets’, confident that “if [Trump] knows the facts, he’ll respond according to the facts.” It depends whose ‘facts’ those are, of course.
As Bloomberg so eloquently noted, executives gathered in the Swiss resort for the World Economic Forum this week keep repeating, like a soothing mantra, that Donald Trump is at heart a pragmatist who will avoid trade wars and regulations that make it harder to do business.
Everywhere you looked, and everything you were told confirmed that nothing has changed in the minds of the world’s elite community organizers… (as Bloomberg summarizes)

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 22, 2017.

A Preview Of Trump’s Seven Imminent Executive Orders

Having already signed a (mostly symbolic) executive order on Obamacare on Friday night, urging US agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation” of provisions deemed to impose fiscal burdens on states, companies or individuals, Trump is preparing to unload a volley of many more executive orders. Courtesy of Axios, which quotes “one of the best-wired Republican lobbyists in town”, here is a preview of the initial round of Trump executive actions, some of which may hit as soon as Sunday afternoon:
Look for a possible hiring freeze at executive branch 5-year lobbying ban on transition and administration officials Mexico City policy, which prevents foreign NGOs from getting U. S. family planning money if they provide abortions with non-U. S. funds. (It’s already illegal to use U. S dollars on abortions.) Task the Defense Secretary and joint chiefs to come up with plan to eviscerate ISIS Report on readiness, and something cyber security related Border/immigration: Something on sanctuary cities, expand E-Verify, an extreme vetting proposal Trade: Withdraw from TPP and a thorough review of NAFTA Axios also notes that “the Mexico City executive order could come as soon as today.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 22, 2017.

Brazilians Stunned By Death Of Supreme Court Justice Ahead Of “Explosive Testimony”

The death of Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Teori Zavascki who had presided over the sprawling “Carwash” corruption scandal, and who died yesterday in a freak airplane crash has sent shockwaves both around the globe and in Brazil, because while few in polite company will discuss it, it has opened the possibility of political assassinations as a means of “quieting” legal proceedings.
And as Reuters reports today, while the death of the judge will likely not derail the country’s biggest ever graft probe, it will delay it, “handing valuable breathing space to President Michel Temer” who many have accused of being even more corrupt than his predecessor.
While there is no evidence yet of “foul play”, the timing of the death is oddly coincidental, especially since the upcoming revelations could have had damaging implications for Brazil’s still relatively new president Temer.
As a reminder, Justice Zavascki was killed in a plane crash on Thursday, “just weeks before he was due to unveil explosive testimony from executives at engineering group Odebrecht SA that is expected to implicate as many as 200 politicians in a vast kickback scandal” Reuters notes.

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

The Right Stuff

Pledges for Trump
‘You boys know what makes this bird go up? Funding makes this bird go up. That’s right. No bucks, no Buck Rogers.’
– Gordon Cooper and Gus Grissom, The Right Stuff (film)
Things are looking up for the United States economy in 2017. You can just feel it. Something great is about to happen.
Earlier this week, for example, after meeting with the incoming President, Bayer and Monsanto announced they will spend at least half of their agriculture research and development budget – approximately $8 billion – in the U. S. over the next six years. It’s estimated the combined efforts of these two companies will add 3,000 new U. S. high-tech jobs.
Wal-Mart and General Motors also made job and investment pledges for Trump. Wal-Mart said they’ll add 10,000 jobs this year. General Motors announced $1 billion in investment, which would generate 1,500 U. S. jobs. Following these pledges, Trump tweeted:
‘Thank you to General Motors and Walmart for starting the big jobs push back into the U. S.!’

This post was published at Acting-Man on January 20, 2017.

Brazil Supreme Court Justice Presiding Over Carwash Corruption Scandal Dies In Plane Crash

Update: as feared, the Supreme Court Justice has died. Reuters with the update:
Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Teori Zavascki was killed in a plane crash on Thursday, his son said, raising doubt over who will take over his blockbuster graft investigation into dozens of politicians.
Rescuers found three bodies in the wreckage of the small, twin-prop plane that crashed off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state amid heavy rains, according to firefighters. “Dear friends, we have just received confirmation that our dad died! Thank you all for your thoughts,” his son, Francisco Prehn Zavascki, said on his Facebook page.
A judicial source earlier told Reuters that Zavascki was on board the aircraft.
Zavascki had been reviewing explosive testimony from dozens of executives at engineering group Odebrecht that has been expected to implicate hundreds of politicians in the biggest corruption case in Brazil’s history.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 19, 2017.

Where Is The Left-Wing When A Country Needs One?

I was about to write a detailed and favorable review of Greg Palast’s book, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits when a friend sent me a request to ‘share’ Palast’s Facebook LIVE broadcast of Palast’s documentary exposing ‘exactly how Trump and his cronies attacked the voting rights of a million minority voters to steal the White House.’
Let’s see, Trump won the presidency by winning 84% of geographical America, losing only the black, hispanic, and white liberal vote; yet he stole the election by disenfranchising one million blacks. These blacks don’t live in flyover America. They live in the 500 counties that went for Hillary. 2,600 counties went for Trump.
Here is the map. It tells the story: I am disappointed with Palast, a good investigative reporter, but I understand his frustration.
Palast, despite his virtues, has the failing of so many of those on the left-of-center. They are required to hate ‘conservatives’ and anyone identified as one, whether justified or not. The only thing in Palast’s book about voter suppression with which I disagree is his gratuitous, unexplained designation of Pat Buchanan as ‘a pinhead bigot.’

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on January 19, 2017.

Pharmaceutical Corruption

Here is the latest example of corrupt politicians voting in favor of their own self-interests. Bernie Sanders may be a bit fanatical, yet he has been trying to push a bill through to allow Canada and other countries to import prescription drugs to the U. S., which would significantly decrease the price that consumers have to pay for medication.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Jan 18, 2017.