In a development that will likely grab media attention in the US, Russian police detained Kremlin opposition leader Alexei Navalny, according to his Twitter feed on Monday, hours before he called on supporters to mount an unsanctioned protest against corruption near the Kremlin. Navalny’s wife wrote on his Twitter account that he had been detained near the entrance of his home but that plans for the protest in central Moscow hadn’t changed.
Earlier in the day, the presidential hopeful had announced rallies against official corruption Monday, the Russia Day holiday, and protesters gathered in numerous other cities. Similar protests led by Navalny drew thousands in March in Moscow and several other cities across Russia, in what the WSJ dubbed “a rare challenge to the rule of President Vladimir Putin.” Photos from cities around the country on Monday, an official holiday known as Russia Day, showed thousands of protesters at fresh rallies. Vladimir Putin vowed to punish people who broke the law after the March protests at anti-corruption rallies organized by Navalny that were mostly unsanctioned in 80 cities across Russia, the biggest unrest in five years. Police arrested 1,500 people nationwide, including more than 1,000 in Moscow, and a handful are being prosecuted for attacking police.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 12, 2017.
The only way to rebuild a Common Good is to radically decentralize political, financial and media concentrations of ownership and power. The theory of American civics is that the competitive process of every group advocating for its narrow self-interests will magically generate the Common Good, that is, a political and social order that serves everyone’s common/shared interests. Unfortunately, that’s not how civic life functions in real-world America. We have completely lost any sense of a Common Good. All we have now is a cut-throat competition between entrenched special interests for a fatter slice of the pie while the bottom 95% have essentially no political voice and a rapidly diminishing say in the economy. The problem with the theory that competitive advocacy magically generates the common good is advocacy is horrendously asymmetric: corporations and the wealthy have massively well-funded campaign and lobbying industries as their advocates, while the bottom 95% have no equivalent resources or organized efforts to advocate for their interests.
This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on SUNDAY, JUNE 11, 2017.
If you weren’t outraged before you certainly have reason to be now — both at Amazon and the press.
First, Amazon. They’re now “offering” to anyone on welfare reduced-price “Prime” memberships.
Let’s cut this down to size: There is utterly nothing that “Prime” offers that one can today, or should be able to now or in the future, buy with “food stamps” (electronic or not.) Prime’s “pantry” items are all, by definition (sorry folks, truly fresh food that is not laden with sugars and hydrogenated oils doesn’t ship well!) high carb trash.
A big part of the reason we have a monstrous obesity epidemic in this country, especially among poor people, is that we stopped handing out literal government cheese (and eggs, meats, etc) as “food assistance” and went first to coupons and then to what are effectively prepaid debit cards. Yes, there are “some” restrictions (e.g. no booze purchases, etc) but if you look at what’s in a typical EBT shopper’s cart you will find things that will both make you fat and diabetic.
True “government cheese”, when it was how food assistance was distributed, was both nutritious and did not promote obesity and metabolic dysfunction.
Amazon today cannot take an EBT card. But they are lobbying to be allowed to, and if they are permitted to do so that will simply make the obesity and diabetes problem worse among the poor. Unless you support abusing poor people that standing alone is enough to cancel your PRIME membership and tell Amazon to **** off.
This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-06-12.
As President Trump’s “Infrastructure Week” comes to an ignominious end, NIRP Umbrella’s Alex Deluce reminds us that spending money on bridges to nowhere and cities of the future is anything but the stimulating panacea it is talked up to be…
Is a Chinese credit bubble in the cards? Well, it will be interesting to see if China’s authorities can get through the unwind of US $3 trillion worth of excess credit and the distressed debt on banks’ balance sheets.
From 2009 to 2016, more than 10 trillion of Chinese investment was thrown at infrastructure, ghost cities, and corruption thanks to a helping hand from the Chinese banks and foreign lenders eager to participate in the Chinese growth story.
In fact, hundreds of new cities in China are essentially empty. The hope is that rural population someday move in.
Roughly 40% of the 300 million Chinese expected to move into a town by 2030 will mostly be moving to smaller cities in the ‘chengzhenhua’ system.
As OfTwoMinds’ Charles Hugh Smith recently explained, building bridges to nowhere isn’t just a waste of money in the present; it saddles the economy with productivity-draining costs for decades to come.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 10, 2017.
Nasdaq hits record, bounces off, plunges.
Wow, did you see that? That was quick.
Friday morning between 10:15 AM and 11:15 AM, the Nasdaq gallivanted around blissfully for an entire hour in record territory of around 6,340 with not a worry in sight, and then someone must have looked at the valuations or something, and it became infectious, and the sell-orders started pouring out, and by 2:48 PM, the Nasdaq hit a low for the day of 6,160, down 3.1% from peak to trough.
It closed at 6,208, down 114 points, or 1.8%, its biggest daily decline so far this year.
Meanwhile, the Dow rose nearly 90 points or 0.4% to 21,272. And the S&P 500 ended down a minuscule 2 points.
The market is so dependent on the infamous FAANG stocks: Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Alphabet (the Google in the acronym). And here’s how they did:
This post was published at Wolf Street on Jun 9, 2017.
President Donald Trump announced his nomination of Christopher Wray to take over James Comey’s job as Director of the FBI in a Tweet on June 7, the day before Comey’s much anticipated testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. In the Tweet, Trump called Wray a ‘man of impeccable credentials,’ which, undoubtedly, he is. He is also a man with a maze of conflicts of interests.
It appears that someone has tried to scrub some of those conflicts from the official web site of the Justice Department. For example, try this Justice Department press release link, which now turns up a dead page.
Fortunately for our readers, Google has cached the press release which is dated February 19, 2004. The opening sentence includes all three names making headlines today – Comey, Wray and Robert Mueller, the newly appointed Special Counsel who will investigate the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia and the firing by President Trump of James Comey as FBI Director. At the time of this press release, the three men were attached at the hip as part of George W. Bush’s Corporate Fraud Taskforce. All three men are quoted in this press release, as follows:
‘This indictment marks an important milestone in the life of the President’s Corporate Fraud Task Force,’ said Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey, who heads the Task Force. ‘The indictment alleges that Jeffrey Skilling and other Enron executives concocted a massive, complex scheme to give shareholders and the investing public the false appearance of financial strength and security at a time when Enron was, in fact, failing. Our investigators were able to cut through the maze of paperwork and financial trickery to get to the bottom of the scheme and charge Skilling, once the top executive at Enron, with fraud and other crimes that contributed to Enron’s collapse.’
This post was published at Wall Street On Parade By Pam Martens and Russ Marte.
It’s not just the mainstream media that’s been quiet about the murder of Seth Rich. Members of Congress are remaining tight-lipped as well, leading more to believe that his death is not the bold conspiracy the left is painting it as.
WND reported that they recently asked 125 members of Congress to weigh in about the murder of DNC staffer, Seth Rich. All the while, the media is largely silent about his death while at the same time labeling anyone concerned as a ‘conspiracy theorist.’ But those slinging around the term should remember that it’s only a conspiracy until it’s proven as fact, and things will unravel sooner or later. Out of 125, only five members of Congress even replied to WND’s request for an interview and all five declined to participate. In fact, the only member of Congress who has even gone on the record about the slain DNC staffer is Representative Blake Farenthold, a Republican from Texas. Farenthold was then attacked by the mainstream media for speaking out.
That is a large group of powerful people remaining silent about the murder of one of their own. Yet those who question this whole narrative are the conspiracy theorists? Things are beginning to go south quickly for the DNC and democrats all over the country. The lies and corruption are finally coming to a head, and people are taking notice. Silence speaks often just as much as words do. Wouldn’t one think that the left-leaning media would want answers to the murder of one of their own? No wonder so many people are questioning Rich’s murder. Those who even mention it are attacked and those who try to cover it are those who should be on the murdered man’s side.
This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on JUNE 5, 2017.
Nearly 500 North Carolina prison employees have been either fired for misconduct or charged with criminal offenses like smuggling drugs, weapons, and cellphones inside prisons since 2012, the Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday.
The Observer’s research is extensive and damning, covering everything from the state’s hiring of corrections officers with violent criminal histories to counselors and officers carrying on long-term sexual affairs with inmates. Former prison officers and inmates say the prevalence of corruption is largely due to the state under vetting and underpaying employees.
The state’s new prison leaders vow to change those problems. George Solomon, the state’s recently retired director of prisons, is under no illusions about the grim situation he has left for his successor, Kenneth Lassiter.
‘Do I think I have corrupt staff in every prison, in every (maximum-security) prison?’ Solomon told the Observer. ‘I would be naive to say I didn’t.’
This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on JUNE 2, 2017.
President Donald Trump’s announcement that he was pulling out of the Paris climate deal, a cornerstone of his predecessor’s legacy, was met with disdain from everyone on the left. That includes Elon Musk.
Musk is now threatening Trump saying that he will step down from the president’s advisory councils if Trump decides to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. Trump has said he intends to officially exit the agreement next week despite the insistence from the left that he stay. The CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX tweeted Wednesday that he’s done everything possible to lobby the president to keep the U. S. in the treaty. ‘Don’t know which way Paris will go, but I’ve done all I can to advise directly to POTUS, through others in WH & via councils, that we remain,’ Musk said.
‘Don’t know which way Paris will go, but I’ve done all I can to advise directly to POTUS, through others in WH & via councils, that we remain,’ Musk said.
Don't know which way Paris will go, but I've done all I can to advise directly to POTUS, through others in WH & via councils, that we remain
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 31, 2017
This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on JUNE 1, 2017.
This post was published at The Alex Jones Channel
I was standing in line in a phone store and the two women in front of me were talking about the press and how dishonest they are. The interesting thing was one did not like Trump and was starting to like him because the press was so negative. The other had been a Trump supporter and just listening to them made me think just how openly revolting the press has become.
Now a Harvard study published May 18th, 2017 reveals what many Americans are starting to talk about openly just how corrupt the press has become. Trump’s press coverage has set an all-time new historic record for negativity. The Harvard study says President Trump’s early days in office were subjected to almost universally negative news coverage, confirming what he has been complaining about. They reported that Trump presidency is ‘setting a new standard for unfavorable press coverage of a president.’ I personally have done significant research in political-economic history reading the commentaries throughout history to get a sense of the thinking process and its evolution. I have never uncovered such corruption in mainstream media in the entire history of the United States. This is bordering on the corrupt Communist press of the cold war – the new American Pravda.
This post was published at Armstrong Economics on May 31, 2017.
This post was published at OpenMind
Economic impact studies are everywhere.
Whether it’s to support a new highway project, special tax breaks for solar energy, the building of a civic center or sports complex, or to promote subsidies for Hollywood film producers, you can find an economic impact study, often touting how great the project will be for the state or local economy.
The formula is simple, predictable, and effective. A special interest group that stands to benefit from the project funds an economic impact study that purports to provide hard numbers on the number of jobs, the increase in wages, and the additional output that will be generated by the project or subsidy, and it will do this on an industry-by-industry basis. It makes grandiose claims about how much overall economic growth will be enhanced for the state or region generally. Once the report is completed, the special interest group that paid for the study will tout these results in press releases that will be picked up by the largely uncritical media establishment, ensuring that the political decision makers and others who determine the fate of the project receive political cover.
These studies all have several things in common. First, they typically use proprietary, off-the-shelf models with acronym names like IMPLAN (Impact Analysis for Planning), CUM (Capacity Utilization Model), or REMI (Regional Economic Model, Inc.). Rights to use the models are purchased by professional consulting firms who are hired by the interest groups to do the studies. Furthermore, seldom do those who actually perform the studies have formal training in economics. Instead, their expertise is in using one or more of the aforementioned proprietary models. And finally, all of these studies ignore basic principles of economics and, as a result, do not meaningfully measure what they claim to be measuring – the economic impact of the public policies and projects that they are assessing.
This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on May 29, 2017.
In the waning years of the Obama administration, the National Security Agency (NSA) swept up and reviewed the communications of Americans to an extent previously unknown, in direct violation of the Constitution and its own revised guidelines, recently unsealed documents reveal.
The NSA is authorized to collect intelligence on foreigners under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). With this type of intelligence collection, it is virtually inevitable that Americans’ communications will be incidentally intercepted, however there are procedures in place to keep those communications protected and anonymous.
Typically, when an American citizen is swept up in NSA surveillance, they are supposed to be ‘masked’ to protect their identity, but there are large loopholes in place that allow the NSA to spy on Americans without a warrant or any probable cause whatsoever.
When the NSA conducts what is known as ‘upstream collection’ of internet communications, it is impossible to target a single email, instead sweeping up ‘packets’ of data containing several messages. The NSA is supposed to sift through the data packets and discard all but the targeted email(s).
This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on MAY 26, 2017.
#SethRich was a hero#SethRich changed history#SethRich exposed the corrupt
Here is my statement > — Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) May 23, 2017
As promised over the weekend, Kim Dotcom has delivered his official ‘statement’ on the Seth Rich murder. Unfortunately, it’s a bit light on the details and more of a teaser along with a promise to disclose full details of his relationship with Seth Rich to Special Counsel Mueller in return for safe passage to and from the United States.
Here is the full statement as posted to Kim Dotcom’s website:
I know that Seth Rich was involved in the DNC leak.
I know this because in late 2014 a person contacted me about helping me to start a branch of the Internet Party in the United States. He called himself Panda. I now know that Panda was Seth Rich.
Panda advised me that he was working on voter analytics tools and other technologies that the Internet Party may find helpful.
I communicated with Panda on a number of topics including corruption and the influence of corporate money in politics.
‘He wanted to change that from the inside.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 23, 2017.
While tense trade negotiations between the US and Mexico over the price and quota for U. S. imports of Mexican sugar continue (a happy ending appears unlikely, especially after a Mexican sugar company on Friday called on the government to take action against American fructose producers and protect the local industry from US deals), a new protectionist measure involving sugar half way around the globe was unveiled on Monday when China – the world’s biggest importer of the sweet substance – said it will impose significant penalties on sugar imports following lobbying by domestic mills.
According to the ruling first described by Reuters, up to a third of China’s annual sugar imports will be impacted by an extra tariff for the next three years on shipments that the government said had “seriously damaged” the domestic industry.
The details: China currently allows just over 1.9 million tonnes of imports at a tariff of 15% as part of its commitment to the World Trade Organization. All imports above this amount are slapped with a 50% levy. After Monday’s ruling, the total sugar duty will nearly double, with Beijing imposing an additional 45% tax to these imports in the current fiscal year taking the total to 95%. This will fall to 90% next year and 85% a year later, China’s Commerce Ministry said in a statement. The ruling exempted 190 smaller countries and regions from the new duty, including smaller producers such as the Philippines, Pakistan and Myanmar.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 22, 2017.
Last week, Fox News dropped a bombshell report officially confirming, via anonymous FBI sources, what many had suspected for quite some time, that murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich was the WikiLeaks source for leaks which proved that the DNC was intentionally undermining the campaign of Bernie Sanders. In addition to exposing the corruption of the DNC, the leaks cost Debbie Wasserman Shcultz her job as Chairwoman.
Of course, if it’s true that WikiLeaks’ emails came from a DNC insider it would end the “Russian hacking” narrative that has been perpetuated by Democrats and the mainstream media for the past several months. Moreover, it would corroborate the one confirmation that Julian Assange has offered regarding his source, namely that it was “not a state actor.”
Meanwhile, the plot thickened a little more over the weekend when Kim Dotcom confirmed via Twitter that he was working with Seth Rich to get leaked emails to WikiLeaks.
I knew Seth Rich. I know he was the @Wikileaks source. I was involved. — Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) May 20, 2017
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 22, 2017.
Amid the chaos of James Comey’s firing, new questions about the timeline of his fateful investigation
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper appeared on This Week Sunday, and said some head-scratching things.
Clapper back in March told Meet the Press that when he issued a January 6th multiagency intelligence community assessment about Russian interference in the election, the report didn’t include evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, essentially saying he hadn’t been aware of any such evidence up through January 20th, his last day in office.
On Sunday, he said that didn’t necessarily mean there was no such evidence, because sometimes he left it up to agency chiefs like former FBI Director James Comey to inform him about certain things.
“I left it to the judgment [of] Director Comey,” Clapper said, “to decide whether, when and what to tell me about counterintelligence investigations.”
Clapper said something similar when he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Monday. In prepared remarks, he essentially said that there was nothing odd about his not being informed about the existence of an FBI counterintelligence investigation involving Donald Trump’s campaign.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 21, 2017.
In a move that will surely light the proverbial lightbulb over Donald Trump’s head, Brazilian President Michel Temer, having been officially dragged into Brazil’s massive corruption scandal after a record emerged in which he urged the payment of “hush money”, said on Saturday he would ask the Supreme Court to suspend its investigation into allegations he was also involved in the carwash corruption scheme, vowing to remain in power.
Speaking during a televised address on Saturday afternoon, Brazil’s deeply unpopular president, who replaced a just as deeply unpopular president last year when Dilma Rouseff was impeached, claimed the recording that implicated him in the scandal was doctored and said he would file a petition with the Supreme Court to suspend the investigation until it could be verified, the WSJ reported.
In the recording cited by Temer, which unleashed a historic crash of the Brazilian stock market and currency on Thursday when news of Temer’s involvement broke, the president can be heard chatting with Joesley Batista, chairman and heir of the beef-and-chicken JBS empire, apparently him his approval to pay the jailed former speaker of the House Eduardo Cunha – the man responsible for Dilma Rouseff’s ouster last year – to buy his silence. Batista, who made the recording and gave it to prosecutors in hopes for prosecutorial leniency against JBS, said the recording wasn’t edited.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 20, 2017.
Xiao Jianhua, the Chinese billionaire whose abrupt disappearance from Hong Kong in January made waves internationally, had engaged in a week-and-half long negotiation with Chinese anti-corruption agents before he agreed to return to Beijing with them, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.
The source, who is close to high-level discussions in the Chinese leadership headquarters at Zhongnanhai, also told The Epoch Times that the anti-corruption team is still in Hong Kong investigating other corrupt Chinese businessmen and officials residing in the semiautonomous city.
Xiao, a 45-year-old China-born Canadian citizen, suddenly went missing from his serviced apartment in Hong Kong’s Four Seasons Hotel on Jan. 27. Accounts in Hong Kong and Western press suggested that Xiao, who controls the holding company Tomorrow Group, was effectively abducted by the Chinese authorities and spirited back to mainland China.
But Xiao had consented to be brought in by the authorities, according to the source in Zhongnanhai. The source said that Xiao and anti-corruption teams based in the Four Seasons discussed the conditions of the engagement for over a week before Xiao finally agreed to leave with them. While details of what transpired are scarce, it is likely that some level of coercion was involved, given mainland authorities presumably continue to enjoy leverage over Xiao, his wealth, and his family members.
This post was published at The Epoch Times