I have fond affection for my sense of right and wrong – morally, spiritually and legally. But it’s becoming increasingly difficult to behave responsibly as a citizen given the thorough corruption which has engulfed nearly the entire population of elected officials and business leaders. Fraud, corruption, grand-scale theft and remarkable dishonesty is endemic to Wall Street, DC and across corporate America. Every single elected official at the Federal level, and at most State levels, is a paid servant of big banks, corporations and wealthy families/individuals. Obtaining a House or Senate seat is worth $10’s of millions. Getting into the Oval Office is worth $100’s of millions. For those you who still harbor disillusions of Obama’s integrity, recall that he campaigned aggressively on a platform in 2008 that promoted ‘cleaning up Wall Street’ as a high priority. Not only did he not clean anything up, he enabled the same fraudulent business activities that sunk the financial system in 2008 to become even more grand in scale and stealth. Now he’s greedily pocketing $1 million speaking engagement with the banks he bailed out in 2008 with $800 billion in taxpayer funds. Anyone who believes their vote matters has their head buried in sand. Even though he must believe his vote still matters, James Kunstler has written must-read commentary on the current plight of the U. S. political system:
An historic opportunity is being missed. The disastrous 2016 presidential election could and should have been a wakeup call. A corrupt political system that gave voters a choice between two terrible candidates is not democracy. This should have been the signal to face reality. The US political system is totally rotten, contemptuous of the people, serving the corporations and lobbies that pay to keep them in office. The time had come to organize a genuine alternative, an independent movement to liberate the electoral system from the grip of billionaires, to demand a transition from a war economy to an economy dedicated to improving the lives of the people who live here. What is needed is a movement for the pacification of America, at home and abroad. That is a big order. Yet this approach could meet with wide support, especially if vigorous young people organized to stimulate popular debate, between real live people, from door to door if necessary, creating a mass movement for genuine democracy, equality, and peace. This is as revolutionary a program as possible in the present circumstances. A moribund left should be coming back to life to take the lead in building such a movement. Quite the opposite is happening.
In a surprise move – and just months after the grandson of the company’s founder was jailed for corruption – the CEO of Samsung, Kwon Oh-hyun has resigned ‘to make way for new leadership’. In an odd turn of events, despite record profits, Kwon warned the company faces an “unprecedented crisis.” Kwon had emerged as the public face of Samsung Electronics after Jay Y. Lee, grandson of the company’s founder, was detained on corruption charges and then sentenced to five years in prison in August amid a scandal that brought down South Korea’s president. The share price slipped on the news…
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 13, 2017.
Markets are blowing off this uncertainty for now. On Thursday, the Senate confirmed Randal Quarles, President Trump’s first Fed nominee, as a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. During his confirmation hearing, Quarles said it was time to roll back some of the regulations that were imposed on banks after they’d imploded and threatened to take down the global financial system. He will become the chief bank regulator at the Fed, filling the slot that Daniel Tarullo left behind when he resigned unexpectedly in April. Quarles is founder of private investment firm, The Cynosure Group. Fed Governor Jerome Powell is also a Cynosure alumnus. Quarles had been a partner at private equity firm The Carlyle Group and served as undersecretary of the Treasury under President George W. Bush. WHIRRRR makes the revolving door. One down, four more to go. The Fed’s Board of Governors has seven slots, currently chaired by Janet Yellen. After Quarles’ appointment, potentially four more will need to be filled over the next few months. The seven board members are part of the policy-setting 12-member Federal Open Markets Committee. The other five members of the FOMC are the president of the New York Fed and on a one-year rotating basis four presidents of the remaining 11 regional Federal Reserve Banks.
As 21WIRE said last year, the Russian hacking, or Russiagate story was a political hoax from the start. What this story can now demonstrate, is that for the last 18 months, the entire mainstream media has been promulgating a highly politicised, and relentless campaign of fake news designed to implicate Russia in an imaginary scandal. Leading the pack are former ‘papers of record’ The New York Times and The Washington Post, flanked by America’s premier broadcast TV propaganda outlet CNN. Last week, we revealed how powerful politicians in Washington had pressured Facebook executives to come up with any evidence to support the Democratic Party’s theory of ‘Russian meddling,’ – demonstrating clear collusion between the Obama Administration and Silicon Valley corporation Facebook, with the goal of fabricating a scandal in order to scapegoat Vladimir Putin and the Russians for the electoral collapse of Hillary Clinton last November. As a result, US-Russian relations have been sacrificed at the altar of petty partisan politics and a failing deep state agenda. It certainly begs the question: with so much at stake, why would Washington and MSM lie and risk pushing global tensions closer to a world war level confrontation? If they are prepared to lie about this, what else are they prepared to lie about? Consortium News Exclusive: The U. S. mainstream media is determined to prove Russia-gate despite the scandal’s cracking foundation and its inexplicable anomalies, such as why Russia would set up a Facebook ‘puppies’ page. By Robert Parry What is perhaps most unprofessional, unethical and even immoral about the U. S. mainstream media’s coverage of Russia-gate is how all the stories start with the conclusion – ‘Russia bad’ – and then make whatever shards of information exist fit the preordained narrative.
First things first, what is a PABX? It is basically an acronym that stands for Private Automatic Branch Exchange. In layman’s language, a PABX is just a telephone system or a switchboard whose units are used as internal telephone systems in different organizations. Unlike the older systems that were made up of fixed telephone lines, the PABX system now interconnects with not just telephone lines but also with the internet. This has been made possible after the arrival of VolP (or Voice over Internet Protocol). Digging deeper, modern PABX phone systems are customarily hybrid in nature, incorporating both old telephone networks and packed switched networks. It is the use of these packed switched networks that enables cheaper and easier connections to reach the entire world. Therefore, if you have a company that has offices around the world, it will be ultimately easier for you to if you enlist the services of a PABX service provider. Essentially, it is a switching phone system that links a company’s telephone extensions with each other. The switching system also interconnects the same phone extensions with the outside telephone network. The system made up of incredibly complex machines that can be used not only as telephones but also as modems, fax machines, and internal communication devices. Therefore, any modern office could make good use of this hybrid innovation. The Benefits of PABX System – It is perfect for businesses -The PABX systems can be used in offices and/or businesses as auto attendants. Basically, the system handles the office calls to the extent that it picks up if there is no one in the office to answer the call. For this reason, the PABX system is highly beneficial, especially in large businesses that get lots of calls.
This post was published at ZenTrader on Sept 21, 2017.
Fox News Channel parent News Corporation may be wrapped up in the sexual harassment accusations surrounding host Bill O’Reilly, but, as International Business Times’ Lydia O’Neal reports, the company is facing another long-running scandal involving what appear to be exuberant payments to a Democrat – payments that occurred even as News Corp. was lobbying the New York State executive branch, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo oversees. *** The New York governor, whose memoir was published by the News Corp.-owned HarperCollins in 2014, saw his gross income more than double last year, to $417,748 for 2016 (from $196,243 the year before), the Buffalo News reported Tuesday. Cuomo attributed $218,100 of that increase to sales of his memoir, ‘All Things Possible: Setbacks and Successes in Politics and Life.’ In 2015, the governor reportedly earned zero income from book sales and in the nearly three years that it’s been on the market, it has sold just 3,200 copies. But Cuomo, the Buffalo News found, reported that he received a total of $783,000 from HarperCollins in book sales over the past three years, a number that would translate to royalty payments of nearly $244.69 per copy. Today, the book was selling on Amazon for $8.45.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 23, 2017.
‘Corporate fraud is a major challenge in both developing and advanced economies, and employee whistle-blowers play an important role in uncovering it.’ A truism that is, despite being quite obvious, has been a subject of too little research to-date. One recent study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (2014), found that the average loss to organisations experiencing fraud that occurs due to financial statement fraud, asset misappropriation, and corruption is estimated losses from impact of corporate fraud globally at around $3.7 trillion. Such estimates are, of course, only remotely accurate. The Global Fraud Report” (2016) showed that 75% of surveyed senior executives stated that their company was a fraud victim in the previous year and in 81% of those cases, at least one company insider was involved, with a large share of such perpetrators (36%) coming from the ranks of company senior or middle management. Beyond aggregate losses, whistleblowers are significantly important to detection of fraud cases. A 2010 study showed that whistleblowers have been responsible for some 17 percent of fraud discoveries over the period of 1996-2004 for fraud occurrences amongst the large U. S. corporations. And, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (2014), ‘employees were the source in 49% of tips leading to the detection of fraud’.
This post was published at True Economics on Saturday, April 22, 2017.
I claim no special power here, nor any inside information. This is simply arithmetic coupled with logic. I’ll give you a “decision tree” sort of format with the critical points outlined. Note that if you’re going to mitigate any of what I see coming around the bend you need to do it right damn now, not wait. By the time you get to those critical points it’s too late. For many people it’s already too late, but if you’re not in that batch then you need to make your lifestyle changes today. I am operating on the premise that the rank corruption that I outlined in the Ticker here will not be addressed. It will not be addressed for the same reason the 17th Amendment will be cited as the reason the American political experiment failed when the book on America is finally closed, as that Amendment permanently removed the ability of the States to call a hard-stop on any expansion of Federal Power they did not consent to. That was designed in to our government by the founders and it was removed intentionally by the 17th Amendment. That balance of power can never be restored absent a Revolution because to do so The Senate would have to literally vote themselves out of a job at a supermajority level which they will never do and there is no means to compel them to do so. For the same reason the 30-year trend in Medicare and Medicaid spending will not be stopped. It may be tinkered with around the edges but it won’t be stopped because to stop it without literally throwing people into the street and letting them die you have to break the medical monopolies and in doing so you will inevitably (1) destroy the graft machine that drives a huge part of DC and at least half of the jobs inside the Beltway, along with the asset values they support, (2) create an immediate and deep (15% of GDP, but temporary) recession on purpose which neither Congress or Trump will ever voluntarily initiate as it would cause a guaranteed 70% stock market crash along with the immediate detonation of about 1/3rd of all in-debt corporations in the United States and (3) expose the outrageous theft of trillions of dollars from taxpayers over the last several decades to fund the medical scam machine at all levels.
The world’s eyes and ears have once again turned toward Syria following last week’s chemical weapons attack and U. S. President Donald Trump’s subsequent air strikes on the Assad government. Mainstream media, independent media, and social media platforms are fixing fierce attention on the ongoing developments. These events undoubtedly deserve widespread, ongoing scrutiny. From the United States government’s lack of evidence that the Syrian government was behind the chemical attack to the media’s complicity in driving a pro-war narrative and president Trump’s hypocrisy in bombing Syria – after criticizing former president Barack Obama for doing the same thing – further critical analysis of the recent airstrikes is vital. But even as skepticism toward these events should remain heightened, so should awareness of countless other major developments. Here are five to follow: 1. Trump Appoints Pharmaceutical Consultant to Head the FDA – This week, the president appointed Scott Gottlieb, a pharmaceutical industry insider who has served the boards of multiple pharmaceutical companies, to chair the Food and Drug Administration. Gottlieb currently still works as a consultant for GlaxoSmithKline. He has received $414,000 from GSK, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals. He has also received tens of thousands of dollars in speaking fees from pharmaceutical companies like Merck and Mikart, as well as other corporations – including Goldman Sachs. He has taken several trips through Washington’s revolving door, with brief stints at the FDA mixed in with multiple positions consulting pharmaceutical companies. Trump’s pick follows in the footsteps of Barack Obama, who also appointed a pharmaceutical industry insider to chair the FDA.
With the recent crackdown on political “fake news”, where a handful of media mega-corporations such as Facebook and Google have emerged as the ultimate arbiter of what is real or isn’t, in the process unleashing allegations of conflicts of interest, it was only a matter of time before the SEC got the hint and brought the hammer down. That time is now, because as Reuters reports, the SEC on Monday announced a crackdown against “pump and dump” stock promotion schemes in which writers were secretly paid to post hundreds of bullish articles about public companies on financial websites. Some 27 individuals and entities, including a Hollywood actress (shown below), were charged with misleading investors into believing they were reading “independent, unbiased analyses” on websites such as Seeking Alpha, Benzinga and Wall Street Cheat Sheet. The SEC said many writers used pseudonyms such as Equity Options Guru, The Swiss Trader, Trading Maven and Wonderful Wizard to hype stocks. It was not immediately clear if bearish “pseudonymous characters” were also responsible for talking down stocks. While not as pervasive as alleged “fake news” in the political realm, the SEC said had it identified more than 450 problem articles, of which more than 250 falsely said the writers were not being paid. Unlike traditional cases where the SEC alleges fraud, usually involving trading on inside information, in this case the crackdown is not against improper market information but misrepresentation of conflicts of interest and marketing. “This is different from the fraud cases that you usually see us bring,” Stephanie Avakian, acting director of the SEC enforcement division, said on the conference call. “Here, we allege that the fraud was in presenting the analysis as impartial,” she said. “It was bought and paid for.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 10, 2017.
Rather than bemoan the inevitable failure of centralized “fixes,” let’s turn our attention and efforts to the real solutions: decentralized, networked, localized. Those looking for centralized solutions to healthcare, jobs and other “macro-problems” will suffer inevitable disappointment. The era in which further centralization provided the “solution” has passed: additional centralization (Medicare for All, No Child Left Behind, federal job training, Universal Basic Income, central banking “free money for financiers”, etc.) have all entered Diminishing Returns. The systemic costs of centralization–corruption, cronyism, soaring prices, declining quality, over-reach, insider rackets, regulatory capture by corporations and oligarchs– are soaring as the benefits of centralization plummet. ObamaCare was the penultimate flowering of centralization: every self-serving healthcare cartel and racket had a say in the centralized sausage-making, and the results were entirely predictable: highly profitable to the healthcare cartels and rackets, and soaring costs that rendered the program unaffordable.
February in Romania has brought 27 consecutive days of protests against the current government, at a scale unmatched since the Revolution in 1989. In a record day, more than 600,000 people gathered in the capital’s Victory Square and around the country to overturn a decision by the current ruling party to decriminalize some acts of corruption and abuse of office. This decision was especially self-serving given the high number of party members already serving suspended sentences for similar graft offenses. News outlets around the world have covered the events using flattering words, describing the peaceful riots as a ‘poetry of international resistance’ and a ‘massive political awakening.’ The resilience – and moderate success – of protesters, in spite of the government digging its heels in and the temperatures dropping, has been undeniably impressive, and has demonstrated an energetic interest in pursuing justice, which, rightly employed, could become the driver of a much needed change in Romanian politics. Yet at the same time, amongst the shouting against totalitarian measures aimed at changing the penal and civil code, other voices emerged as well. Equally numerous, and sometimes belonging to the same people, they call for stronger ‘democratic’ processes and offer public displays of affection for the European Union. Unsurprisingly, there have also been no mass protests against another fairly recent economic policy which forces supermarkets to ensure at least 51% of their grocery offers are of Romanian provenance. In this regard, many protesters might decry the ‘thieving multinational corporations’, and ask for a government crackdown on tax evasions, in order to provide for socialized healthcare and education.
On October 13th of last year, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Donald Trump gave a desperate speech at a desperate moment. A week after the surfacing of the infamous “grab them by the pussy” video, Trump presented himself as the common man’s only defense against a vast conspiracy of global financial interests: “There is nothing the political establishment will not do,” he said, “and no lie they will not tell, to hold on to their prestige and power at your expense.” Including running Donald Trump as an anti-corruption candidate! He went on: “For those who control the levers of power in Washington, and for the global special interests they partner with, our campaign represents an existential threat,” Trump said. “It’s a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class … and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.” In conjunction with this speech, which was sold as the “crossroads of history” address (and triggered a new hashtag, #TrumpTheEstablishment), Trump released a 100-day “action plan” that supposedly targeted “special interest corruption.”
One of the most favored propaganda tactics of establishment elites and the useful idiots they employ in Marxist and cultural-Marxist circles is to relabel or redefine an opponent before they can solidly define themselves. In other words, elites and Marxists will seek to ‘brand’ you (just as corporations use branding) in the minds of the masses so that they can take away your ability to define yourself as anything else. Think of it this way: Say you want to launch an organization called ‘Movement Blue,’ and you and others have gone through great struggle to grow this organization from the ground up. However, just as your movement is about to achieve widespread recognition, someone else comes along, someone with extensive capital and media influence, and they saturate every outlet with the narrative that your movement is actually more like ‘Movement Red,’ and that Movement Red is a terrible, no-good, bad idea. They do such a good job, in fact, that millions and millions of people start calling you ‘Movement Red’ without even knowing why, and they begin to believe all the negative associations that this label entails. Through the art of negative branding, your enemy has stolen your most precious asset – the ability to present yourself to the public as you really are. Negative branding is a form of psychological inoculation. It is designed to close people’s minds to particular ideas before they actually hear those ideas presented by a true proponent of the ideas. But beyond that, negative branding can also be used to trick groups and movements into abandoning their original identity. For example, the concept of economic freedom for individuals – the freedom from overt government interference or government favoritism for certain people over others, the freedom to compete with ideas and ingenuity to build a better business and a better product, the freedom to retain the fruits of one’s labor – used to be widely referred to as ‘free markets’, as defined by Adam Smith. The very basis of free market philosophy was to remove obstruction and economic oppression from the common man in order to inspire a renaissance in innovation and prosperity. The problem is, you rarely hear anyone but libertarians talk about traditional “free markets” anymore. Though Karl Marx did not coin the term ‘capitalism,’ he and his followers (and editors) are indeed guilty of the pejorative version now used. It has always been Marxist propagandists who have sought to redefine the idea of ‘free markets’ in a negative way, and the use of the term capitalism is how they did it. They have been so effective in their efforts that today even some free market proponents instead refer to themselves as ‘capitalists.’
This post was published at Alt-Market on 15 February 2017.
“George Soros and Clinton Inc. were nearly able to declare ‘Mission Accomplished’ on their vision of establishing an opaque ‘New World Order’,” Feierstein, a hedge fund manager who has spent 38 years working in the New York, Tokyo and London global financial markets, said on Tuesday. On Monday, Trump announced that he was scrapping the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that his predecessor President Barack Obama had sought to complete during his eight years in office. The top-secret TPP free trade agreement was one of the worst trade deals ever crafted by Washington’s pay-to-play culture of corruption, Feierstein stated. The TPP was deliberately crafted to ensure a form of “globalization” so that these same corporations who designed the “rules” could operate in the dark with total impunity while stripping member nations of their sovereignty and denying consumers of all their rights and protections, Feierstein explained. “TPP was Obama’s ‘Crown Jewel’ achievement after 35 years of failed neoliberalism funded by oligarchs for the benefit of oligarchies,” he observed.
Our food supply is being compromised and bastardized by corporations who profit handsomely by feeding the American public ever-more processed, modified, and chemical-laden foods. As if this were some kind of revolving door conspiracy, when food makes us sick, we spend more money on healthcare, and a look at the most prescribed medications of 2016 make it clear there is a direct link between poor food and poor health in America. The 2016 list of the 50 most prescribed medications in America, as reported by Lowest Med, includes among the top ten, nine medications used to address health problems that can be primarily associated with an unhealthy diet. The list includes the following: Medications for hypertension, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart problems:
Say what you want about the Obama economy, but one aspect of it must be stated up front: It was the ‘Happy Time’ of crony capitalism. I know this statement departs from the glowing narrative being promoted by mainstream sources, but facts are facts. Maybe Obama’s was left-cronyism, whereas Bush pushed a right one, but no matter. Crony capitalism has done well since 2009. It’s not hard to understand why. When an era’s political milieu is defined by Dodd-Frank, the Affordable Care Act, feeding the national security monster, climate-change-inspired central planning, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders, then you are going to increase costs of doing business. Large, well-connected firms will benefit, as a result if only because large, well-connected firms can afford to comply. Everyone else will go out of business, become an entrepreneur, do consulting, join the gig economy, or whatever else is necessary to just get by. Such is the conclusion of regulatory capture, and it’s no surprise. The sainted Franklin Roosevelt embarked on a similar round of unprecedented regulation during the so-called First New Deal. The large corporations of his day did very well – from 1933 to 1937 – and worked hard for his reelection. If you worked for one of these lucky organizations, you wouldn’t even know there was a Depression going on. FDR’S economy was one in which real incomes rose – a glorious thing to anyone earning an income in those days.
Where Bernie Went Wrong: And Why His Remedies Will Just Make Crony Capitalism Worse. By Hunter Lewis. Axios Press, 2016. 284 pages. Hunter Lewis has rendered a great service with his new book. Writing from an Austrian perspective, he has given us the definitive analysis of the Bernie Sanders phenomenon. Though Sanders did not win the Democratic nomination, he accomplished something remarkable. ‘If Bernie’s campaign was primarily an exercise in moving public opinion, it was wildly successful. He carried young people by wide margins. He shifted the Democratic Party and eventually its platform in his direction.’ (p.1) How did he do this? ‘Bernie often says out loud what others are privately thinking.’ (p.13) The middle class and the poor are not doing well, he says; and the fault lies in a ‘rigged’ system. ‘The economy becomes rigged because the rich, primarily represented by ‘greedy’ billionaires and corporations, use their wealth to subvert the political process and take command of government.’ (p.24) Lewis finds much truth in Sanders’s accusation. In a manifestly corrupt way, for example, failed banks and businesses were ‘bailed out’ after the financial crash of 2008. ‘[Hank] Paulson, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, was one of the architects of the Wall Street bailout of 2008 which not only rescued Wall Street, but also rescued his own firm, along with all the shares he still retained in that firm.’ (p.132)
As the dust settles from the recent presidential election, it’s becoming clear that a large part of the sentiment behind the vote for Trump reflects a deep dissatisfaction from middle and lower-class working families. The traditional fruits of prosperity have been rising higher and farther out of reach for them, as their ability to make a living wage has been eroding year-over-year, for decades. They’ve now reached the point where they no longer trust the empty promises that have been sold them by a steady stream of politicians — on both side of the aisle — who have lined their own pockets with lobbyist money while overseeing a tremendous shift of society’s wealth to crony corporations and the top 1%. Trump’s victory can largely be summed up as a defiant yelp from the masses decrying: “I may not know what the solution is, but I’m damn sure more of the same ain’t it!” Of course, we here at PeakProsperity.com are in full agreement with that righteous anger. Through borrowing way too much, bailing out rather than prosecuting bad actors, printing trillions of “thin air” dollars, a deliberate pursuit of financial repression and other schemes — the future prosperity of the “everyday American” has been stolen by those in power and those positioned closest to the trough. Mathematically, this orgy of excess needs to be balanced by severe austerity; an austerity the elites refuse to suffer but are forcing onto everybody else. No wonder the masses are pissed. Few visuals drive this injustice home better than this one of historical bank CD interest rates. Note how they’ve been in steady collapse since the mid-1980s: