America’s Decline And The Neglect Of Luther’s Principles Of Liberty

Authored by S. T. Karnick via Specator.org,
Freedom requires a sense of personal responsibility if it is to survive.
***
With the nation’s news dominated by reports of political corruption (most recently, the Clintons’ apparent use of ‘pay to play’ schemes during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as U. S. secretary of state), sexual harassment scandals pandemic among the nation’s elites, extreme vulgarization of political speech and the common culture, riots against freedom of speech on the nation’s college campuses, paralyzing partisanship in Congress, death threats and open assassination attempts against government leaders and police officers, and the rest of the dismaying parade of moral shortcomings on display among the nation’s leaders in all walks of life, it appears that we are in the midst of a war not just between political and cultural factions, but over the very definition of our civilization.

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

Bulgaria Government Shocked To Discover It Owns $3 Billion In Bitcoin

Bulgaria’s GDP is about $52.4 billion (2016), so it is quite a shock that the Bulgarian Government is sitting on an approximate $3 billion worth of Bitcoins seized in an anti-corruption operation back in May.
Putting this into a little more glaring context, Bulgaria is holding 18% of the national debt in bitcoins…
Fun fact: today's bitcoin prices have been interesting enough that there was a significant difference in how much Bulgaria had in USD between me writing this story and my editor editing it.
— Nikhilesh De (@nikhileshde) December 7, 2017

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

What Went Wrong In Charlottesville: At All Levels, Government Is Still The Problem

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,
Corruption. Graft. Intolerance. Greed. Incompetence. Ineptitude. Militarism. Lawlessness. Ignorance. Brutality. Deceit. Collusion. Corpulence. Bureaucracy. Immorality. Depravity. Censorship. Cruelty. Violence. Mediocrity. Tyranny.
These are the hallmarks of an institution that is rotten through and through.
We have been saddled with the wreckage of a government at all levels that no longer represents the citizenry, serves the citizenry, or is accountable to the citizenry.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about the federal government, state governments, or local governing bodies: at all ends of the spectrum and every point in between, a shift has taken place.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2017.

FORMER REP. DAVID STOCKMAN ON FLYNN: FBI INTERVIEW WAS ‘BLATANT ENTRAPMENT’

David Stockman, former Michigan representative and Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan, destroyed the Russian collusion hoax with incredible clarity in his latest column on Tuesday.
From Antiwar.com, ‘The FBI’s Perjury Trap of the Century’:
If you were a Martian visitor just disembarked from of one of Elon Musk’s rocket ships and were therefore uninfected by earth-based fake news, the culprits in Washington’s witch-hunt de jure would be damn obvious.
They include John Brennan, Jim Comey, Sally Yates, Peter Strzok and a passel of deep state operatives – all of whom baldly abused their offices. After Brennan had concocted the whole Russian election meddling meme to sully the Donald’s shocking election win, the latter three holdovers – functioning as a political fifth column in the new Administration – set a perjury trap designed to snare Mike Flynn as a first step in relitigating and reversing the voters’ verdict.
The smoking gun on their guilt is so flamingly obvious that the ability of the Trump-hating media to ignore it is itself a wonder to behold.
After all, anyone fresh off Elon’s rocket ship would learn upon even cursory investigation of the matter that the National Security Agency (NSA) intercepts electronically every single communication of the Russian Ambassador with any person on US soil – whether by email, text or phone call.

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

“Gnomes Of Zurich” In Panic As Saudi Corruption Crackdown Sparks Flood Of Money Laundering Inquiries

There are two divergent views on the crackdown on corruption by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), which led to the arrest and detention of 200 princes, ministers and former ministers.
On one hand, it was a masterstroke which will earn political capital with the Saudi people and catalyse an Arab Spring in which MBS is a modernizing reformer who will liberalise Islam.
On the other, it was nothing other than a cynical and desperate attempt to tighten his grip on power and weaken competing clans within the ruling family (especially sons of former King Abdullah) as the nation risks splitting apart due to political and economic fissures. Last week, we noted that former head of the National Guard and senior member of the Abdullah clan, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, purchased his freedom for a cool $1 billion.
If you put yourself in the position of being a Saudi prince or wealthy Saudi official, whatever your opinion of MBS’s motivation, you would be forgiven for taking additional measures to make it harder for his henchmen to seize your wealth if you found yourself in the crosshairs.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 5, 2017.

Obama DOJ Didn’t Bother To Interview FBI Informant Before Filing Charges In Uranium One Scandal

Do you ever get the sense that with certain investigations, primarily those targeting conservatives, the FBI has a tendency to dot every ‘i’, cross every ‘t’ and pursue charges at all costs, no matter how minor, but with others (think Hillary’s email scandal) even the most glaring violations of federal law seem to go unpunished?
For example, compare and contrast the Flynn charges versus how the Hillary email investigation was conducted by the Comey-led FBI. On the one hand, Flynn held perfectly legal conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States AFTER the U. S. presidential election, a common practice for presidential transition teams, yet for some inexplicable reason, probably having something to do with fears of being charged with a bogus ‘Logan Act’ violation in Mueller’s Russian collusion witch hunt, decided to lie about them during interviews with the FBI. As a result of his lies, Flynn has now plead guilty to two counts of false statements, has been ruined financially by mounting legal bills and could end up serving jail time.
On the other hand, compare that outcome to the Hillary email scandal where there is tangible evidence and first-hand testimony that Hillary and her team knowingly violated a Congressional subpoena by deleting 33,000 emails, habitually destroyed evidence with hammers so it could never be recovered and routinely compromised American national security interests by sending “Top Secret” communications via unsecured channels…something that Comey originally defined at “gross negligence” even though he later changed his language to “extreme carelessness” to assure that Hillary could never be pursued with criminal charges. So what were the punishments for all those federal crimes? Well, rather than pursue charges against Hillary and/or various members of her staff the FBI decided to “hand out immunity deals like candy.”
Now, in just the latest bit of evidence that the Justice department has been politically compromised, we learn from John Solomon of The Hill that the DOJ didn’t even bother to interview a key FBI informant before filing criminal charges in the Uranium One scandal back in 2014.
While he was Maryland’s chief federal prosecutor, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s office failed to interview the undercover informant in the FBI’s Russian nuclear bribery case before it filed criminal charges in the case in 2014, officials told The Hill. And the prosecutors did not let a grand jury hear from the paid informant before it handed up an indictment portraying him as a ‘victim’ of the Russian corruption scheme or fully review his extensive trove of documents until months later, the officials confirmed.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 4, 2017.

Transparency on Wall Street: SEC Chair Raises Weak Defenses

On November 8, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman, Jay Clayton, delivered a speech at the Practising Law Institute’s 49thAnnual Institute on Securities Regulation. His focus was transparency on Wall Street and he had this nugget of wisdom to share with the audience:
‘Looking back at enforcement actions, a common theme emerges – where opacity exists, bad behavior tends to follow. As Joseph Pulitzer said: ‘There is not a crime, there is not a dodge, there is not a trick, there is not a swindle, there is not a vice which does not live by secrecy.’ The remainder of my remarks will concentrate on topics that have proven over time to be fertile ground for fraud on investors. The SEC may not yet have policy or rulemaking answers in these areas, but we are on the lookout for ways to fight the type of opacity that can create an environment conducive to misconduct.’
The SEC was created to police Wall Street under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The legislation came on the heels of the U. S. Senate holding three years of hearings that showed Wall Street to be a cesspool of opaque self dealing and collusion that had led to the 1929 stock market collapse and ensuing Great Depression. The SEC has now had 83 years to hone its investigative skills and techniques. And yet, it wore blinders in the runup to the epic Wall Street crash of 2007-2009, which was caused by the same type of corruption that was ferreted out by the U. S. Senate after the 1929 crash. Its blinders remain securely in place.

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade on December 4, 2017.

Kushner Is “Senior Official” Who Ordered Flynn To Contact Russia

When commenting on the Flynn plea deal with Mueller, we said that while hardly evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia, especially since all events took place after the election, the real question is who was the “senior member of the transition team” that instructed Flynn to call Russia. Now, according to Bloomberg’s Eli Lake we may have the answer: none other than Jared Kushner, who as Lake says, “could be one of the next dominoes to fall.”
According to the Bloomberg report, “one of Flynn’s lies to the FBI was when he said that he never asked Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak, to delay the vote for the U. N. Security Council resolution. The indictment released today from the office of special prosecutor Robert Mueller describes this lie: “On or about December 22, 2016, Flynn did not ask the Russian Ambassador to delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution.” At the time, the U. N. Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements was a big deal. Even though the Obama administration had less than a month left in office, the president instructed his ambassador to the United Nations to abstain from a resolution, breaking a precedent that went back to 1980 when it came to one-sided anti-Israel resolutions at the U. N.
This was the context of Kushner’s instruction to Flynn last December. One transition official at the time said Kushner called Flynn to tell him he needed to get every foreign minister or ambassador from a country on the U. N. Security Council to delay or vote against the resolution. Much of this appeared to be coordinated also with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose envoys shared their own intelligence about the Obama administration’s lobbying efforts to get member stats to support the resolution with the Trump transition team. As Lake correctly notes, “for now it’s unclear what to make of all of this” especially since th most important part of a case is missing: motive.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 1, 2017.

Kushner Said To Have Ordered Flynn To Contact Russia

When commenting on the Flynn plea deal with Mueller, we said that while hardly evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia, especially since all events took place after the election, the real question is who was the “senior member of the transition team” that instructed Flynn to call Russia. Now, according to Bloomberg’s Eli Lake we may have the answer: none other than Jared Kushner, who as Lake says, “could be one of the next dominoes to fall.”
According to the Bloomberg report, “one of Flynn’s lies to the FBI was when he said that he never asked Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak, to delay the vote for the U. N. Security Council resolution. The indictment released today from the office of special prosecutor Robert Mueller describes this lie: “On or about December 22, 2016, Flynn did not ask the Russian Ambassador to delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution.” At the time, the U. N. Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements was a big deal. Even though the Obama administration had less than a month left in office, the president instructed his ambassador to the United Nations to abstain from a resolution, breaking a precedent that went back to 1980 when it came to one-sided anti-Israel resolutions at the U. N.
This was the context of Kushner’s instruction to Flynn last December. One transition official at the time said Kushner called Flynn to tell him he needed to get every foreign minister or ambassador from a country on the U. N. Security Council to delay or vote against the resolution. Much of this appeared to be coordinated also with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose envoys shared their own intelligence about the Obama administration’s lobbying efforts to get member stats to support the resolution with the Trump transition team.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 1, 2017.

Venezuela Arrests Former Oil Minister And Ex-Head Of PDVSA

Hoy la Clase soberana Petrolera recibe al compaero @MQuevedoF quin asume el @MinPetroleoVE y @PDVSA para continuar el legado de nuestro Comandante Chvez pic.twitter.com/6BH7IsgehW
— Eulogio Del Pino (@delpinoeulogio) November 27, 2017

As OPEC is set to celebrate the extension of the cartel’s oil production cut for another year in Vienna, Venezuela former-oil minister and the former head of the now defaulted state energy company PDVSA have no reasons to celebrate following their overnight arrests in Venezuela.
Taking a page out of the Saudi “anti-corruption” playbook, Reuters reports citing two sources that Venezuelan authorities detained former Oil Minister Eulogio del Pino and former state oil company PDVSA president Nelson Martinez overnight as a part of a broad anti-corruption probe.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 30, 2017.

Detained Saudi Prince Buys His Freedom For $1 Billion

One day you were the billionaire head of the National Guard in one of the world’s most brutal dictatorships. Although that carries some risk, you were probably reassured by your position as a senior prince in the ruling family, never mind your strong ties to the US military… oh and of course the many zeros in your bank account. The next day, in a turn of events akin to Shakespearian drama, you were imprisoned (kind of) with ten of your fellow princes and a bunch of ministers and former ministers in a 5 star hotel on charges of money laundering, bribery and general corruption.
Despite being a cousin of the Kingdom’s uber-autocratic crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), Prince Miteb bin Abdullah was a son of former King Abdullah and got caught up in a clan war in the ruling family. Former Riyadh governor and another of King Abdullah’s sons, Turki bin Abdullah, was also arrested in the crackdown.
Miteb was accused of conducting normal business practices in Saudi Arabia, such as embezzlement, hiring ‘ghost’ employees and awarding his own companies a $10 billion contract for walkie-talkies and bullet proof protection. However, after what must have been the worst three and a half weeks of his life in the Ritz Carlton ‘prison’, Miteb has purchased his freedom for a cool $1 billion.

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

How to gain permanent residency in Mexico without leaving home

As a world traveler and investor, I always try to find markets where there’s a huge difference between the ACTUAL risk and the PERCEIVED risk.
And this risk assessment applies not only to investing, but also to entire countries.
Mexico is a great example.
Sure, Mexico has some serious problems. Crime. Gangs. Drugs. Corruption. Tensions with the US over illegal immigration and American jobs.
But did you know that more Americans applied for residency in Mexico than vice versa over the past few years?
Do these Americans know something others don’t?
Maybe they know a foreign residency opens opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t have. A foreign residency gives you more options for work, business, investments, travel and living. It’s one part of a Plan B… in a location where you like spending time.
And residency in Mexico could be a solution for you.
Mexico’s story is more complex than what’s presented in the news. The country offers a lot more than its northern states where the drug war rages… and where the US media focuses all its attention.

This post was published at Sovereign Man on Simon Black, November 28, 2017.

Dictators Fall, but States Remain: Zimbabwe’s (Already) Missed Chance

Last week, the fall of Robert Mugabe’s regime made headlines across the world, and was greeted with relief and hope by international commentators as well as Zimbabweans. Overall, the general feeling was that of a new beginning, long awaited in a country that had been stuck for four decades under rampant inflation, corruption, and an oppressive rule. There seemed to be little doubt, given how the news was presented, that this is a pivotal and far-reaching transformation for this African nation.
And yet, if one looks closely, there are signs that, despite the current sense of hope in Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s removal will not bring the long awaited change. Mugabe “retired’ with immunity, a $US 10 million severance check, and a promise to be paid a salary for the rest of his life. He has now been succeeded by his vice-president, who lead the coup d’tat and capitalized on the year long public protests against his disputed predecessor. With the new president, the rule of the ZANU-Patriotic Front will continue, as will the party’s Marxist-Leninist ideology and its politburo.
How can one know that things won’t change? There are many similarities between the recent history of Zimbabwe and the not too distant history of socialist republics, like Romania, from the decades of oppression and poverty to the overwhelming hope of a new start following the revolution. But one important common aspect of the two regimes – Ceausescu’s and Mugabe’s – is that neither or them were actual autocracies, or ‘personal’ states. A forty year totalitarian rule is not a one-man feat, but must be necessarily supported by an entire state apparatus for which the dictator himself often becomes no more than a mouthpiece.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on November 28, 2017.

AMERICA’S SECRET WEAPON IN THE OIL WAR

As Saudi Arabia spins from crisis to crisis, U. S. oil hasn’t missed a beat. It’s stronger and more resilient than ever – and it has nothing to do with OPEC oil production cuts.
In this war, U. S. oil wins, and the recent purge of billionaire princes in Saudi Arabia is icing on the cake.
But when Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman arrested key members of the royal family on corruption charges two weeks ago all of them his rivals – oil shot up. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) spiked more than $2 a barrel, closing around $57 a barrel – a nearly two-year high.
OPEC cuts have done little to boost oil prices, and Royal Family arrests are welcome news for oil tycoons the world over, but it’s still not what’s kept the U. S. on the winning side in this war: Fracking bust the U. S. through the front line, and major advancements in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) are cementing the victory.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on NOVEMBER 27, 2017.

Hillary Calls Trump Administration a Dictatorship if She is Investigated

The Washington Post has no problem with a Special Prosecutor investigating Trump and any attempt to stop that would be a crime known as Obstruction of Justice. Yet, when it comes to Hillary, they do a backflip and have the audacity to write: ‘The Justice Department’s declaration that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering appointing a special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton in response to demands by Republicans should alarm anyone who cares about the independence of the department.’ So if a Special Prosecutor is ‘justice’ going after Trump and suddenly an abuse of power to investigate Hillary, to even take such a position seems to be the pinnacle of journalistic corruption.


This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Nov 26, 2017.

RT & Michael Flynn: Is That The Case Mueller Is Going To Make?

With every other attempt to put together a convincing Russiagate case having failed – the indictments against Manafort, Gates and Papadopoulos make no allusion to the collusion allegations at the heart of it, and the FBI has now admitted to Congressional investigators that it cannot verify the Trump Dossier, the document which appears to have triggered the whole inquiry – it seems that the pressure is now increasingly on Michael Flynn.
Shortly after the indictments against Manafort, Gates and Papadopoulos I speculated that an indictment against Flynn might be pending. News that his lawyers have broken contact with the President’s lawyers hardens that suspicion. There are also rumours that Special Counsel Mueller may also be considering an indictment against his son.
The trouble is that nothing that is known about General Flynn’s activities during the 2016 election campaign give any reason to think that he was involved in any sort of illegal collusion with the Russians.
The only case that can convincingly be made against him is that he failed to register under FARA in connection with paid lobbying work he did for a foreign government. However the government in question is Turkey not Russia.
I wonder whether this may explain the otherwise highly oppressive and legally dubious decision to force RT to register under FARA as a foreign agent?
Flynn did appear on RT on a number of occasions, and did attend an RT dinner where he was famously photographed sitting at the same table as President Putin.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 24, 2017.

FBI Warns Of Growing Threat Of Left-Wing Violence

Via Greg Hunter’s USA Watchdog blog,
Best-selling author Edward Klein’s latest best-selling book is called ‘All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trump.’
Klein reveals that this plot started in the Obama White House just weeks after Donald Trump won the 2016 election. Klein explains,
‘Susan Rice was invited to come to a dinner party and give the President (Obama) a plan, and her plan was to unmask the names of Donald Trump associates who had been inadvertently picked up by electronic intercepts by the National Security Agency (NSA). The names of these Americans were supposed to remain confidential. She (Susan Rice) suggested they would be unmasked, meaning they would become public, and they would be distributed widely throughout the intelligence community. Inevitably, therefore, she admitted those names would be leaked to the mainstream media (MSM), and the story would begin that there was collusion between Donald Trump and the Russians. This, of course, was always a fairytale because we have had an investigation going on for more than a year and a half, and no one has come up with a scintilla of evidence to prove that…
She (Susan Rice) wasn’t doing anything illegal, but clearly she was doing something unethical, to put it mildly, because President Obama and his national security advisor were using the intelligence community as a weapon against their political enemy Donald Trump.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 24, 2017.

In Escalating War Of Words, Saudi Crown Prince Calls Iran’s Ayatollah “New Hitler Of The Middle East”

Godwin’s law states that “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1.” Saudi Arabia’s powerful, and controversial, 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – who in just a few months has made more local (and foreign) enemies than most of his predecessors accumulated over a lifetime, decided he does not need to wait that long, and in a glowing interview with the New York Times‘ Thomas Friedman, which touched on everything from the accommodations of the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton, to the recent power grab anti-corruption campaign, to Donald Trump, to the Saudi social and religious revolution, called the Supreme Leader of Iran ‘the new Hitler of the Middle East’, escalating the war of words between the arch-rivals. For his part, Khamenei has referred to the House of Saud as an ‘accursed tree’, and Iranian officials have accused the kingdom of spreading terrorism.
MbS, as he is also known, and who after the recent purge is also Saudi defense minister, also slapped down the ISIS card and suggested the Islamic Republic’s alleged expansion under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei needed to be confronted.
‘But we learned from Europe that appeasement doesn’t work. We don’t want the new Hitler in Iran to repeat what happened in Europe in the Middle East,’ the paper quoted him as saying.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 24, 2017.

Matt Is Still Making Excuses (So Are You)

Matt Stoller and I, years ago, used to talk a fair bit on policy in the political realm. We have rather different views that could be reasonably-characterized by some “left:right”, but I think are more “socialist:libertarian”, when you get down to it.
But that’s all well and good, if you can confine your differences to policy and try to hash out how the government can function more-efficiently, which I think everyone can define as provides more benefit than it costs to a larger percentage of the population.
Of course we’ll differ on what defines “benefit” and “cost.”
The problem is that unlike my perspective on what happened, which hasn’t changed very much in quite a long time, Matt’s is basically the same perspective both the “right” and “left” hold. Here’s his perspective on where the Democrats went wrong:
It was January 1975, and the Watergate Babies had arrived in Washington looking for blood. The Watergate Babies – as the recently elected Democratic congressmen were known – were young, idealistic liberals who had been swept into office on a promise to clean up government, end the war in Vietnam, and rid the nation’s capital of the kind of corruption and dirty politics the Nixon White House had wrought. Richard Nixon himself had resigned just a few months earlier in August. But the Watergate Babies didn’t just campaign against Nixon; they took on the Democratic establishment, too. Newly elected Representative George Miller of California, then just 29 years old, announced, ‘We came here to take the Bastille.’
One of their first targets was an old man from Texarkana: a former cotton tenant farmer named Wright Patman who had served in Congress since 1929. He was also the chairman of the U. S. House Committee on Banking and Currency and had been for more than a decade. Antiwar liberal reformers realized that the key to power in Congress was through the committee system; being the chairman of a powerful committee meant having control over the flow of legislation. The problem was: Chairmen were selected based on their length of service. So liberal reformers already in office, buttressed by the Watergate Babies’ votes, demanded that the committee chairmen be picked by a full Democratic-caucus vote instead.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-11-24.