Shock, Horror: ECB Not as ‘Independent’ as it Claims – Report

Transparency International whacks at a central bank. The European Central Bank has found itself in the rare position of having to defend itself in the public arena following the release of a scathing report on its perceived lack of political independence. The report, published by anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International, argues that the institution has accrued new power and influence in the wake of the financial crisis but its code of conduct has not kept up with that newfound clout.
It even suggests that the ECB should withdraw from the Eurozone’s Troika of creditors, precisely at a time that calls are rising for the creation of a European Monetary Fund.
‘The extraordinary measures taken by the ECB since 2008 have tested the ECB’s mandate (to ensure price stability) to breaking point,’ Transparency International EU said. ‘The ECB’s accountability framework is not appropriate for the far-reaching political decisions taken by the Governing Council.’

This post was published at Wolf Street on Mar 29, 2017.

Judge Napolitano Returns On Fox News, Stands By Claim Brits Spied On Trump

Fox News’ legal analyst Andrew “Judge” Napolitano returned to the air on Wednesday morning, nine days after the network benched him when President Donald Trump cited the Fox talking head as the source of claims that Barack Obama used British intelligence to wiretap him. Napolitano refused to change his story saying he stood by his claim about spying on President Donald Trump that got him benched by the network on March 21 for an indefinite period.
‘I stand by my statement on surveillance,’ Napolitano told Bill Hemmer.
According to Deadline, Napolitano was there to talk about a Fox News report that the FBI allegedly wired a staffer of former Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock, who has been charged with fraud and corruption. But first, Hemmer asked Napolitano about that Obama/Brit intel wiretap claim he first made on Fox & Friends. Napolitano said that was his story and he was sticking to it.

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

Visualizing NAFTA’s Mixed Track Record Since 1994

On January 1, 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) officially came into effect, virtually eliminating all tariffs and trade restrictions between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. As Visual Capitalist’s Jeff Desjardins reminds readers:
Bill Clinton, who lobbied extensively to get the deal done, said it would encourage other nations to work towards a broader world-trade pact. ‘NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs,’ said Clinton, as he signed the document, ‘If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t support this agreement.’
Ross Perot had a contrary perspective. Lobbying heavily against the agreement, he noted that if it was ratified, Americans would hear a giant ‘sucking sound’ as jobs went south of the border to Mexico.
IT’S A COMPLICATED WORLD
Fast forward 20 years, and NAFTA is a hot-button issue again. Donald Trump has said he is working on ‘renegotiating’ the agreement, and many Americans are sympathetic to this course of action.

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

Raiders Move to Vegas Gives Tax Payers Reason to Boo, Players Reason to Cheer

Yesterday the NFL granted Mark Davis his request to move the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas. The move creates multiple losers: Las Vegas hotel customers who will see room taxes rise to pay for the $750 million in subsidies for the new stadium, the city of Oakland who still carries debt from the Raiders old venue, and the infamous fans that made up the Raiders’ iconic ‘Black Hole’ who are losing their football team just after witnessing their first playoff performance in almost 15 years.
Beyond the blatant crony capitalism of government-financed stadiums, there are many reasons to doubt the wisdom of the team’s decision. After all, unlike the Rams and Chargers move to Los Angeles, Las Vegas has no history of supporting professional football. The most significant attempt, the Las Vegas Outlaws of the XFL, only averaged 22,619 fans, ranking 5th out of the league’s 8 teams. Other attempts, including multiple Arena League teams and the short lived UFL, were financial flops. Of course, none of these products have the power of the National Football League, so perhaps this time will be different.
At league meetings, a key part to selling relocation was the idea that fans of other teams would travel to Las Vegas to enjoy the city’s attractions along with the game. Of course, if the market had faith in this business model, investment wouldn’t have needed politicians to find investment. It is worth noting that the new Las Vegas NHL team will be playing at a facility backed entirely by private investment. Maxing out at 20,000 seats, it has one-third of the capacity of the Raiders venue – but cost less than a quarter of the projected costs of the Raiders’ future facility.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on March 29, 2017.

Kremlin Rejects US, EU Call To Free Detained Protesters As Court Fines Opposition Leader Navalny

One day after snap protests against corruption and Russia PM Medvedev broke out across numerous Russian cities, leading to the detention of hundreds of protesters as well as opposition leader Aleksey Navalny, the Russian opposition activist was found guilty of staging an unsanctioned rally, and will be fined 20,000 rubles (US$350) for his role in organizing what the authorities said was an illegal protest in Moscow on Sunday.
The Russian protests, estimated to be the biggest since a wave of anti-Kremlin demonstrations in 2011/2012, come a year before a presidential election that Vladimir Putin is expected to contest, running for what would be a fourth term.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 27, 2017.

Macedonia Reject Soros & the EU Socialism

For 26-days straight, thousands of people have taken to the streets in order to send the message to Soros and European leaders that the people of Macedonia are a sovereign nation who utterly reject the left-wing agenda to divide the nation and bring a socialist-Muslim coalition to power. Johannes Hahn is an Austrian politician, who since November 2014 is Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement. He went to earlier last week to Skopje, in Macedonia, where he held talks with political representatives in a bid to contribute to a solution to the political deadlock there to get Macedonia to join the EU.
There was considerable corruption where the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski was forced to resign in December 2015. The EU brokered elections in December 2016 to end the protests against the government of Gruevski. The December 2016 elections have left a transitional government was installed including from 20 October 20th, 2015 with the two main parties, VMRO-DPMNE and the Social Democratic Union (SDSM).

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Mar 27, 2017.

Big Pharma and the FDA vs. Nutritional Supplements

“While the idea of admitting that a bureaucracy is necessary, I must also admit that marketers are liars and if left unregulated will rival politicians in their dishonesty when making product claims. Both admissions shake my libertarian sensibilities to the core.”
First, a free market eventually corrects for the condition of “marketers are liars,” unlike with politicians. Furthermore, not ALL marketers are liars.
Second, what makes you think the FDA, or any government bureaucracy for that matter, doesn’t lie? If one thinks we need an FDA, then one should think that we also need an EPA, FED, NLRB, EEOC, and on, and on, and on … further violating your libertarian sensibilities.
The head administrator of the FDA is pretty much a revolving door with Big Pharma:
is government regulation always the knee jerk reaction to every ill that affects society? Can you creatively think of some other solutions that don’t violate the Constitution of the United States? Keep reading, and maybe some other ideas will present themselves.
More people die every year from legalized drugs than from taking supplements, not to mention the drugs the FDA eventually gets around to recalling, after they’ve already done their damage. In addition, the FDA is continually pushed by vested interests (Big Pharma and lobbied government officials) to cut corners so that drugs can get to market faster. So much for the efficacy of the FDA! So, you want more of the same?
lot of medical doctors are in the back pocket of Big Pharma, not to mention the AMA:
can go here to find out if your particular doctor is on the take:

This post was published at Gary North on March 25, 2017.

Correcting a Few ThingsTaken from the Mainstream Media…

There is a certain nagging annoyance that one gets when they see something in print that they know is just wrong, and write response to it, with documentation, in order to correct it.
And then for whatever cause including fat-fingered error, the comment is moderated into oblivion. If it was an opinion piece then fine. Opinions are not worth all that much. But if it is a straight up factual correction, that is a bit annoying when the original in the media was designated to reinforce some point that one feels is a bit unjust.
So here are two recent example of things that were just wrong that appeared without correction in the mainstream media.
From Jeri-Lynn Scofield over at Naked Capitalism who picked up this piece in the NY post:
Snooki inspires legislation to limit state university speaker fees NY Post. Moi: Speaking as a born and bred Jersey girl, I applaud the state legislature’s action. Nice to see the state of my birth lead the way in something other than corruption or toxic waste. And about time – $32K to hear Snooki speak at the Rutgers commencement? Are the administrators nuts? And the proposed $10k cap is too high. Why should any speaker receive more than expenses and a modest honorarium, e.g., $1K – which incidentally, anyone with any class would immediately donate back to the university.
I don’t normally read the Post, except perhaps for financial pieces by John Crudele, so I was glad to see this at a site where I do read on occasion.
This is no knock on Jeri=Lynn whose major point remains intact, that commencement fees may be far too generous.
And as an old fogey, it seems to me to be a correct sentiment about paying far too much money and attention to these reality tv stars, our current President notwithstanding.

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 26 MARCH 2017.

Watch Live: Navalny Arrested As Opposition Protests Sweep Russia

In a day of anti-corruption protests across Russia, thousands of people crowded into Moscow’s Pushkin Square on Sunday for an unsanctioned protest against the Russian government, part of a wave of demonstrations taking place throughout the country. For the Moscow demonstration, around 8,000 people took to the streets according to police. As the rally continued, police used loudspeakers to call on the protesters to disperse. A number of people were detained for disorderly conduct, among whom was the prominent leader of the anti-Putin opposition.
Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner who is leading the opposition to President Vladimir Putin, was arrested while walking from a nearby subway station to the demonstration, according to Associated Press journalists at the scene.

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

NAFTA’s Mixed Track Record Since 1994

On January 1, 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) officially came into effect, virtually eliminating all tariffs and trade restrictions between the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Bill Clinton, who lobbied extensively to get the deal done, said it would encourage other nations to work towards a broader world-trade pact. ‘NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs,’ said Clinton, as he signed the document, ‘If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t support this agreement.’
Ross Perot had a contrary perspective. Lobbying heavily against the agreement, he noted that if it was ratified, Americans would hear a giant ‘sucking sound’ as jobs went south of the border to Mexico.
It’s a Complicated World
Fast forward 20 years, and NAFTA is a hot-button issue again. Donald Trump has said he is working on ‘renegotiating’ the agreement, and many Americans are sympathetic to this course of action.
However, coming to a decisive viewpoint on NAFTA’s success or failure can be difficult to achieve. Over two decades, the economic and political landscape has changed. China has risen and created a surplus of cheap labor, technology has changed massively, and central banks have kept the spigots on with QE and ultra-low interest rates. Deciphering what results have been the direct cause of NAFTA – and what is simply the result of a fast-changing world – is not quite straightforward.

This post was published at The Burning Platform on March 25, 2017.

European North v South

Dijsselbloem’s comments regarding the Southern Europe reflect the political bias – not the general public at large within Europe. There are different cultures throughout Europe. In some places people will not cross the street until a light changes even if there are no cars. Other parts are like New York, lights are optional. There are many cultural differences in general between north and south, but even more between members. Even in Germany there is a divide between north and south.
The blame does NOT lie in cultural differences, corruption, or even easier spending in the south and excessive pensions as in Greece. The problem that has pushed Europe to the brink is:
(1) this failed idea that ending European War can be achieved by federalizing Europe. That will not change the cultural differences. Even in the United States, there are cultural differences between the Bible Belt (anti-Abortion & anti-Gay Marriage) compared to California or New York. It is the Federalization of the United States and the attempt to impose one culture upon the whole every since the Great Depression that is causing tensions within the United States. The same is TRUE within Europe.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Mar 24, 2017.

AFTER US REFUSED TO CHARGE THEM FOR LAUNDERING TERRORIST MONEY, MEGABANKS BUSTED AGAIN

An investigative reporting coalition recently released a report alleging a multi-billion dollar money laundering operation that has affected hundreds of banks and companies in 96 countries including the repeat offender, HSBC.
In 2012, HSBC, one of the world’s largest banks, settled with the U. S. Government, avoiding criminal prosecution of its executives, for helping to launder money for Mexican drug cartels as well as Al Qaeda. According to the US Senate’s report, which investigated the matter, HSBC provided a ‘gateway for terrorists to gain access to U. S. dollars and the U. S. financial system.’
Loretta Lynch, while serving as the U. S. District Attorney in NY, said HSBC engaged in a ‘sustained and systemic failure to guard against the corruption of our financial system by drug traffickers and other criminals and for evading U. S. sanctions law.’ As a result of the criminal charges for money laundering and admitted guilt in four counts against the global banking firm – the megabank was let off with a slap on the wrist.
‘HSBC has agreed to forfeit 1.256 billion dollars, the largest forfeiture amount ever by a financial institution for a compliance failure,’ Lynch stated.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on MARCH 24, 2017.

“Stinging Defeat For Trump”: House Delays Health Care Vote On Doubts It Can Pass

Lengthy standing ovation from the Freedom Caucus when @POTUS walked into the Cabinet Room just now. Big momentum toward #RepealAndReplace. pic.twitter.com/N1FLGAVFMN
— Cliff Sims (@CSims45) March 23, 2017

Summary of the chaotic day’s key events:
GOP House leaders delayed their planned vote Thursday to repeal and replace “Obamacare,” which as AP put it was a “stinging defeat” for Paul Ryan and President Trump in their first major legislative test. The decision came after Trump failed to reach agreement with a bloc of rebellious conservatives. Moderate-leaning Republican lawmakers were also bailing on the legislation, leaving it short of votes. At least 30 Republicans said they opposed the bill, enough to defeat the measure. But the number was in constant flux amid the eleventh-hour lobbying. The bill could still come to a vote in coming days, but canceling Thursday’s vote is a significant defeat. It came on the seven-year anniversary of President Barack Obama signing the Affordable Care Act, years that Republicans have devoted to promising repeal. “No deal,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N. C., said after he and his group of more than two dozen rebellious conservatives met with Trump to try to get more concessions to reduce requirements on insurance companies. The Republican legislation would halt Obama’s tax penalties against people who don’t buy coverage and cut the federal-state Medicaid program for low earners, which the Obama statute had expanded. It would provide tax credits to help people pay medical bills, though generally skimpier than Obama’s statute provides. It also would allow insurers to charge older Americans more and repeal tax boosts the law imposed on high-income people and health industry companies. The measure would also block federal payments to Planned Parenthood for a year, another stumbling block for GOP moderates.

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

Russian Billionaire Deripaska Responds To AP Story On Manafort Ties

In the latest attempt to stir the pot over allegations that Trump and members of his closest circle had ties to Russia, on Wednesday, the AP unearthed a 2005 memo from former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort – who was let go by the Trump campaign in the summer to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who became Russia’s richest man under Putin and whose key asset is a 48% stake in Russian aluminum giant Rusal, according to which Manafort would boost Putin’s agenda and reportedly undermine anti-Russian opposition across Europe, the U. S. and former Soviet republics.
“We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success,” Manafort wrote, adding it “will be offering a great service that can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government.”
As a reminder, Manafort worked as Trump’s unpaid campaign chairman last year from March until August. Trump asked Manafort to resign after AP revealed that Manafort had orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation until 2014 on behalf of Ukraine’s ruling pro-Russian political party.

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

How The Government Ruined U.S. Healthcare (And What We Can Actually Do About It)

Government’s meddling in the healthcare business has been disastrous from the get-go.
Since 1910, when Republican William Taft gave in to the American Medical Association’s lobbying efforts, most administrations have passed new healthcare regulations. With each new law or set of new regulations, restrictions on the healthcare market went further, until at some point in the 1980s, people began to notice the cost of healthcare had skyrocketed.
This is not an accident. It’s by design.
As regulators allowed special interests to help design policy, everything from medical education to drugs became dominated by virtual monopolies that wouldn’t have otherwise existed if not for government’s notion that intervening in people’s lives is part of their job.
But how did costs go up, and why didn’t this happen overnight?
It wasn’t until 1972 that President Richard Nixon restricted the supply of hospitals by requiring institutions to provide a certificate-of-need.

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

David Rockefeller Dead – Insider Info – Prepare Now The Collapse Is Coming

The following video was published by FullSpectrumSurvival on Mar 20, 2017
News broke that David Rockefeller has died. I received a call with insider information that we may see a change in the near future of our economy. Will that happen? We are in stage 1 of the collapse – What brings us to stage 2 and 3 is anyone’s guess.