Samsung CEO Steps Down Despite Record Profits, Warns Of “Unprecedented Crisis”

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.

Will Tax Reform Increase or Limit Liberty?

President Trump and the congressional Republican leadership recently unveiled a tax reform ‘framework.’ The framework has a number of provisions that will lower taxes on middle-class Americans. For example, the framework doubles the standard deduction and increases the child care tax credit. It also eliminates the alternative minimum tax (AMT). Created in the 1960s, the AMT was designed to ensure the ‘wealthy’ did not use ‘loopholes’ to ‘get out of’ paying taxes. Today the AMT is mostly a means to increase taxes on the middle class.
The framework eliminates the ‘death tax,’ thus enabling family-owned small businesses and farms to remain family owned. It also helps the economy by lowering the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, reducing taxes on small businesses. The framework also adopts a territorial tax system, which means US companies would only pay tax on profits earned in the United States.
However, the framework is far from a total victory for liberty. Concerns have been raised that, depending on what income levels are assigned to what tax brackets, the plan could increase taxes on many middle- and lower-income Americans! This is largely due to the framework’s elimination of most tax deductions.
The framework also contains a stealth tax increase imposed via the chained consumer price index (chained CPI). Supporters of chained CPI clam the government is currently overstating inflation. The truth is exactly the opposite: government statistics are manipulated to understate inflation.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on October 10, 2017.

Another Collusion Narrative Dies: New Emails Support Trump Jr.’s Account Of Infamous “Russia Meeting”

Another Trump-Russia collusion narrative has bitten the dust.
In a stunning revelation that goes a long way toward alleviating the cloud of suspicion that has hovered over Donald Trump Jr. since details about a meeting organized by Trump Jr. involving Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort along with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and her entourage were first publicized in July, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that newly disclosed emails between Veselnitskaya and Azerbaijani-Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov largely support Veselnitskaya’s account that the meeting focused on her years long lobbying effort to kill the Magnitsky Act.
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The emails, which were provided to WSJ by Scott Balber, a lawyer for Agalarov, cover a period of time leading up to the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower. They begin in October 2015, when Veselnitskaya first shared information about her anti-Magnitsky efforts with Russian Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 9, 2017.

MASS SHOOTINGS: THE MILITARY-ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEX’S CULTURE OF VIOLENCE TURNS DEADLY

‘Mass shootings have become routine in the United States and speak to a society that relies on violence to feed the coffers of the merchants of death. Given the profits made by arms manufacturers, the defense industry, gun dealers and the lobbyists who represent them in Congress, it comes as no surprise that the culture of violence cannot be abstracted from either the culture of business or the corruption of politics. Violence runs through US society like an electric current offering instant pleasure from all cultural sources, whether it be the nightly news or a television series that glorifies serial killers.’ – Professor Henry A. Giroux
This latest mass shooting in Las Vegas that left more than 50 people dead and more than 500 injured is as obscure as they come: a 64-year-old retiree with no apparent criminal history, no military training, and no obvious axe to grind opens fire on a country music concert crowd from a hotel room 32 floors up using a semi-automatic gun that may have been rigged to fire up to 700 rounds a minute, then kills himself.
We’re left with more questions than answers, none of them a flattering reflection of the nation’s values, political priorities, or the manner in which the military-industrial complex continues to dominate, dictate and shape almost every aspect of our lives.
For starters, why do these mass shootings keep happening? Mass shootings have taken place at churches, in nightclubs, on college campuses, on military bases, in elementary schools, in government offices, and at concerts. This shooting is the deadliest to date.
What is it about America that makes violence our nation’s calling card?

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on OCTOBER 6, 2017.

Fake News: The Collapse of the MSM’s ‘Facebook Russian Bot’ Story

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.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on OCTOBER 5, 2017.

NCAA Violations Are Now Federal Crimes?

Recent federal criminal charges of conspiracy and wire fraud brought against four assistant college basketball coaches and executives from Adidas seem to be popular in the mainstream media, judging from the numerous articles I have seen about the story. For that matter, even some libertarians, noting their belief that college sports are ‘corrupt,’ are cheering on federal authorities.
I am not one of the cheerleaders for this latest intrusion of federal criminal law into what essentially is peaceful, private activity, National Collegiate Athletic Association rules aside. While most journalists seem to see this as an example of federal authorities riding in on their white horses to save college basketball from the scourge of ‘corruption,’ I see this as the government destroying lives for no good reason and protecting the sources of the real corruption at the same time. Far from ‘cleaning up’ major college sports, this is a classic bait-and-switch operation in which federal authorities are conspiring to redirect resources from those that should have it (if we actually hold to the belief that individuals should be compensated for their contribution of added wealth to the economy), all the while claiming they are ‘protecting’ the very people being robbed.
As Gary North recently pointed out, the NCAA is a cartel – a multi-billion-dollar cartel, I would add – that claims to be protecting the ‘holy’ principle of ‘amateur athletics.’ All the while, it’s ensuring that the main factor of production for collegiate sports – the labor of individual collegiate athletes – receives minimal or even no compensation at all. The current compensation scheme – athletic ‘scholarships’ for athletes – is tantamount to a rule that states that Kevin Durant, the 2017 Most Valuable Player for the National Basketball Association, can receive compensation only equal to that of the lowest-paid player in the NBA, while NBA coaches and executives run off with the majority of the funds generated by professional basketball.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on October 2, 2017.

Vietnam Shows How To Clean Up The Banking System: Ex-Banker Sentenced To Death For Fraud

The lack of prosecution of US bankers responsible for the great financial crisis has been a much debated topic over the years, leading to the coinage of such terms as “Too Big To Prosecute”, the termination of at least one corrupt DOJ official, the revelation that Eric Holder is the most useless Attorney General in history, and of course billions in cash kickbacks between Wall Street and D. C. And, naturally, the lack of incentives that punish cheating and fraud, is one of the main reasons why such fraud will not only continue but get bigger until once again, the entire system crashes under the weight of accumulated theft, corruption and Fed-driven malinvestment. But what can be done? In this case, Vietnam may have just shown the way – sentence embezzling bankers to death. Because if one wants to promptly stop an end to all financial crime, few things motivate as efficiently as a firing squad.
According to the BBC, the former head of a major Vietnamese bank has been sentenced to death for his role in a fraud case involving some 800 billion dong (which sounds like a lot of dong, but equals roughly $35 million) of illegal loans. Nguyen Xuan Son, who served as general director of OceanBank, was convicted of embezzlement, abuse of power and economic mismanagement. Bank founder, tycoon Ha Van Tham, and dozens of other banking officials are also on trial, accused of lending violations.

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

FBI Arrests Several NCAA Coaches Amid Broad Crackdown On College Basketball Corruption

In a broad crackdown on college basketball corruption, U. S. prosecutors unveiled charges Tuesday against 10 coaches, managers, financial advisers and representatives of a sportswear company, accusing them of bribery, fraud and corruption in recruitment in college basketball. Additionally, a key part of the case includes allegations that an executive at a global apparel company bribed students to attend universities where the company sponsored athletic programs.
The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that college basketball coaches at University of Arizona, Auburn, University of Southern California, and Oklahoma State University had been arrested, as well as managers, financial advisors, and representatives of a major international sportswear company. The defendants include coaches at top U. S. college basketball programs, one agent, one financial adviser and a former referee. The coaches are Lamont Evans, an assistant at Oklahoma State University, Emanuel Richardson, an assistant for the Arizona Wildcats, and Chuck Person, associate head coach at Auburn University.
Jim Gatto, director of global sports marketing for basketball at Adidas, was also named as a defendant. According to the complaint, Gatto allegedly conspired with coaches to pay high school athletes to play at universities sponsored by Adidas (or as it is referred to in the complaints, “Company 1”).
According to Business Insider, Gatto and four other defendants have charged with “making and concealing bribe payments” to high school student athletes and/or their families. In one instance, Gatto and the other defendants reportedly funneled $100,000 to the family of a high school basketball player to convince the player to sign with a “public research university” in Kentucky.
In another case, Gatto and other defendants allegedly agreed to make payments up to $150,000 from Adidas to convince the player to join another team sponsored by the apparel company, a private university in Florida, according to filings. The university is not named, but based on information provided is likely University of Miami, which entered into a 12-year partnership with Adidas in 2015.

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

An Open Letter To The Okaloosa County Commission Pt 2

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.
The Okaloosa County Commission is by definition dysfunctional, corrupt or both. Any governmental unit that believes a 47% budget increase over the space of a mere five years is defensible has rocks in their head. That the Commission managed to paint over this by drawing down reserves when the cause was not a one-year hit from an event like a hurricane (which is what reserves are for) ought to be treated as criminal corruption and result in the incarceration of everyone involved.
The “escalating” expenses in the budget this year alone are primarily (1) reserve restoration (that is, paying back what the commission took through gross mismanagement), (2) adding to said reserves (possibly arguably ok), (3) more law enforcement (big shock) and (4) insane health care cost escalations.
If Okaloosa County wishes to improve its economic attractiveness it must address these issues along with the outrageous actions and inactions by the Commission not only over previous years, but on a forward basis.
Like many if not most counties Okaloosa County’s ad-valorem tax revenue almost exclusively goes to the Sheriff’s Office (and related expenditures, such as the county jail.) This is not unusual; there are in fact counties where more than 100% of ad-valorem revenue goes to law enforcement. If you’re wondering why county sheriffs like to write tickets, well, you just figured it out since traffic fines of course offset some of their ad-valorem tax demand.
But in this county, as in other tourist areas, there’s a problem: The majority of services provided by the Sheriff’s Office, most of which are quite-mundane (e.g. traffic accidents, etc) involve and are provided to tourists. The issue is that tourists pay almost zero ad-valorem tax; while if they rent someone’s condo that person does pay the tax they only occupy the building for a tiny part of the year and thus on a pro-rata basis, that is, on a per-capita/year basis, they pay almost nothing.
Yet on a per-capita/year basis tourists form the majority of the Sheriff Department’s load.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-09-23.

Elvis’s Own Personal Drug War

When Elvis Presley died in 1977 from drug abuse, he was an official, badge-carrying federal agent for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, an honorary appointment granted by President Richard Nixon.
To say that Elvis Presley had a respect for law enforcement is to drastically understate his enthusiasm. In another life, he would have liked to have been a police officer, and he was obsessed with collecting police badges and uniforms. When he would perform shows around the country, he always made an effort to obtain a badge from the local police force, sometimes by using his celebrity status and other times by donating money to police functions. In some cases, he would offer a $5,000 donation to a police ball in order to procure a badge. He was also known to give expensive cars to local sheriffs, including Sherriff Bill Morris of Memphis who gratefully deputized Presley after receiving a gift of a Mercedes-Benz.
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His generosity was so lavishly offered to members of the Denver police that it actually brought about suspicions of graft and corruption after the King’s death. Along with Cadillacs and Lincoln luxury cars, he paid for officers to take high-class vacations and gifted them with pricey jewelry. He purchased his own Denver police uniform and was made an honorary captain of the Denver Police Force. He would have been a police officer, Elvis once confided, but ‘God blessed him with a voice.’

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

Bannon Held Secret Meeting With China’s Second Most Powerful Man

Shortly after Steve Bannon visited Hong Kong last week to give a closed-door speech at a big investor conference hosted by CLSA, a Chinese state-owned brokerage and investment group, Trump’s former strategist flew to Beijing for a “secret meeting with the second most powerful Chinese Communist party official”, less than a month after the former chief White House strategist declared that America was at ‘economic war with China’, the FT has reported.
The meeting occurred at Zhongnanhai, the Chinese leadership compound, where Bannon meet with Wang Qishan, the head of the Chinese Communist party’s anti-corruption campaign.
“The Chinese reached out to Bannon before his Hong Kong speech because they wanted to ask him about economic nationalism and populist movements which was the subject of his speech,” the FT quoted a “person familiar” with the situation.
Mr Wang, who is seen as the second most powerful person in China after President Xi Jinping, arranged through an intermediary for a 90-minute meeting after learning that Mr Bannon was speaking on the topic, according to the second person, who stressed there was no connection to President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to China.
As the FT adds, the (not so) secret meeting between Bannon and Wang will “stoke speculation that the Chinese anti-graft tsar, who has purged hundreds of senior government officials and military officers for corruption in recent years, may continue to work closely with Mr Xi during his second term in office.” Under recent precedent, Mr Wang, who turned 69 in July, would be expected to step down from the Politburo Standing Committee, the Communist party’s most powerful body. But his many admirers argue that as China’s most knowledgeable and experienced financial technocrat, he should stay on to help Mr Xi force through a series of stalled financial and economic reforms.

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

SCIENTIFIC FRAUD AT THE CDC RESULTED IN UNTRUSTWORTHY VACCINE SAFETY INFORMATION

A new report is said to contain new evidence of ‘corruption and scientific misconduct’ at the CDC. It also states that employees and consultants for the government health agency engaged in ‘questionable ethics and scientific fraud’ that has ‘resulted in untrustworthy vaccine safety science.’
The press release from the World Mercury Project noted that there are a number of criminal acts allegedly committed by employees and consultants working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., whose work to expose the connection between mercury-laced vaccines and increased autism rates has earned him wide praise and plaudits, has released a new report, and it’s showing the rampant corruption surrounding the vaccine industry.
The report’s authors single out Dr. Poul Thorsen, a Danish scientist who has been indicted by U. S. authorities for allegedly stealing millions from the CDC and tainting research to hide the dangers posed by vaccines. Indicted in 2011, Thorsen remains on the loose.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on SEPTEMBER 20, 2017.

FREEDOM IS A MYTH: WE ARE ALL PRISONERS OF THE POLICE STATE’S PANOPTICON VILLAGE

‘We’re run by the Pentagon, we’re run by Madison Avenue, we’re run by television, and as long as we accept those things and don’t revolt we’ll have to go along with the stream to the eventual avalanche…. As long as we go out and buy stuff, we’re at their mercy… We all live in a little Village. Your Village may be different from other people’s Villages, but we are all prisoners.’ – Patrick McGoohan
First broadcast in Great Britain 50 years ago, The Prisoner – a dystopian television series described as ‘James Bond meets George Orwell filtered through Franz Kafka’ – confronted societal themes that are still relevant today: the rise of a police state, the freedom of the individual, round-the-clock surveillance, the corruption of government, totalitarianism, weaponization, group think, mass marketing, and the tendency of humankind to meekly accept their lot in life as a prisoner in a prison of their own making.
Perhaps the best visual debate ever on individuality and freedom, The Prisoner (17 episodes in all) centers around a British secret agent who abruptly resigns only to find himself imprisoned, monitored by militarized drones, and interrogated in a mysterious, self-contained, cosmopolitan, seemingly tranquil retirement community known only as the Village. The Village is an idyllic setting with parks and green fields, recreational activities and even a butler.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on SEPTEMBER 19, 2017.

Dear Jamie Dimon: Predict the Crash that Takes Down Your Produces-Nothing, Parasitic Bank and We’ll Listen to your Bitcoin “Prediction”

This is the begging-for-the-overthrow-of-a-corrupt-status-quo economy we have thanks to the Federal Reserve giving the J. P. Morgans and Jamie Dimons of the world the means to skim and scam the bottom 95%. Dear Jamie Dimon: quick quiz: which words/phrases are associated with you and your employer, J. P. Morgan? Looting, pillage, rapacious, exploitive, only saved from collapse by massive intervention by the Federal Reserve, the source of rising wealth inequality, crony capitalism, privatized profits-socialized losses, low interest rates = gift from savers to banks, bloviating overpaid C. E. O., propaganda favoring the financial elite, tool of the top .01%, destroyer of democracy, financial fraud goes unpunished, free money for financiers, debt-serfdom, produces nothing of value to society or the bottom 99.5%. Jamie, if you answered “all of them,” you’re correct. The only reason you have a soapbox from which you can bloviate is the central bank (Federal Reserve) saved you and your neofeudal looting machine (bank) from well-deserved oblivion in 2008-09, and the unprecedented, co-ordinated campaign by global central banks to buy trillions of dollars of bonds and stocks.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2017.

Bombshell Report Catches Pentagon Falsifying Paperwork For Weapons Transfers To Syrian Rebels

A new bombshell joint report issued by two international weapons monitoring groups Tuesday confirms that the Pentagon continues to ship record breaking amounts of weaponry into Syria and that the Department of Defense is scrubbing its own paper trail. On Tuesday the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) produced conclusive evidence that not only is the Pentagon currently involved in shipping up to $2.2 billion worth of weapons from a shady network of private dealers to allied partners in Syria – mostly old Soviet weaponry – but is actually manipulating paperwork such as end-user certificates, presumably in order to hide US involvement.
The OCCRP and BIRN published internal US defense procurement files after an extensive investigation which found that the Pentagon is running a massive weapons trafficking pipeline which originates in the Balkans and Caucuses, and ends in Syria and Iraq. The program is ostensibly part of the US train, equip, and assist campaign for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF, a coalition of YPG/J and Arab FSA groups operating primarily in Syria’s east). The arms transfers are massive and the program looks to continue for years. According to Foreign Policy’s (FP) coverage of the report:
The Department of Defense has budgeted $584 million specifically for this Syrian operation for the financial years 2017 and 2018, and has earmarked another $900 million of spending on Soviet-style munitions between now and 2022. The total, $2.2 billion, likely understates the flow of weapons to Syrian rebels in the coming years.
But perhaps more shocking is the following admission that Pentagon suppliers have links with known criminal networks, also from FP:
According to the report, many of the weapons suppliers – primarily in Eastern Europe but also in the former Soviet republics, including Kazakhstan, Georgia, and Ukraine – have both links to organized crime throughout Eastern Europe and spotty business records.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 13, 2017.

LET’S MAKE AMERICA FREE AGAIN: 230 YEARS AFTER THE CONSTITUTION, WE’RE WALKING A DANGEROUS ROAD

‘I tell you, freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The U. S. government will lead the American people in – and the West in general – into an unbearable hell and a choking life.’ – Osama bin Laden (October 2001)
Ironically, during the same week that we mark the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we find ourselves commemorating the 230th anniversary of the U. S. Constitution.
While there has been much to mourn about the loss of our freedoms in the years since 9/11, there has been very little to celebrate. Indeed, we have gone from being a nation that took great pride in serving as a model of a representative democracy to being a model of how to persuade a freedom-loving people to march in lockstep with a police state.
What began with the passage of the USA Patriot Act in the wake of the 9/11 attacks has snowballed into the eradication of every vital safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse.
Since then, we have been terrorized, traumatized, and tricked into a semi-permanent state of compliance. The bogeyman’s names and faces change over time, but the end result remains the same: our unquestioning acquiescence to anything the government wants to do in exchange for the phantom promise of safety and security.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on SEPTEMBER 12, 2017.

Why Nobody Can Trust Facebook

It becomes harder and harder to overstate the corruption and treachery of the online ad industry. Lord knows I’ve tried.
Among its other accomplishments, Facebook has become famous for its lunatic metrics and bizarre rationalizations.
You would think a company that built its business on the promise of putting sophisticated data to work for advertisers would have the sense not to release numbers that are patently ridiculous.
But time and again Facebook has undermined its credibility by making claims that are easily proven to be false, and then defended these claims with statements that are absurd.
This week it was reported that Facebook was claiming to reach 41 million Americans between the ages of 18-24. If Facebook reached every American between 18 and 24 they’d still be 10 million short. There are only 31 million of them

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 11, 2017.