I have long said mobility is an asset. Well, no, I didn’t write any of this and didn’t know it was up until this morning when I saw it. But you really ought to read it, especially if you’re a young adult. It’s not just about a feeling. It’s about opportunity. There is quite a bit of data that says our mobility as a nation has decreased markedly over the last few decades. That’s a huge mistake and is a big part, in my opinion, of why we have the economic malaise that we do. Our nation was designed for personal mobility by the Founders. They designed a system of multiple political laboratories. They are called States and yet we have done much violence to the premise of those laboratories by trying to make them as “same” as we can. This is a grave error folks. You can’t peacefully change a political environment all of the time. Oh sure, it’s nice to believe you can, but the fact of the matter is that sometimes you can’t, whether due to corruption or simply stupidity of the people who live there.
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.’
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.
One year after Och-Ziff Capital settled a bribery case that led to jump in redemption requests and an exodus in high profile executives, on Tuesday the hedge fund reported that it suffered record net withdrawals in the first four months of the year, extending several straight quarters of outflows. The firm reported net redemptions of $4.8 billion in the first quarter and an additional $2.1 billion from April 1 and May 1. At the same time, assets under management declined from $37.9 billion as of December 31, 2016 to $32 billion as of the beginning of May, a record $5.9 billion decline, and a 24% drop from a year earlier. As discussed at the time, and as Bloomberg reminds this morning, the redemption wave started when the hedge fund settled a five-year bribery probe and saw founder Dan Och singled out by regulators for ignoring red flags and corruption risks. Och-Ziff agreed to pay more than $400 million in September to settle U. S. charges that it paid bribes to gain business in Africa. Its OZ Africa Management GP unit pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe officials of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 2, 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.
Reporting from Lake Atitlan, Guatemala… Interpol helicopters swam through the darkness outside my room. Scattered booms of M-80s cracked and whipped the rushing winds in celebration of Semana Santa. Dogs roared. Other strange animals, of which your editor is not yet accustomed to, howled, hooted and growled in vain efforts, it seemed, to beat back the chaos. Saturday evening, as my driver, Ricardo, pulled into Panajachel (the ‘New York’ of Lake Atitlan), so did a swarm of Interpol officers. They came to capture the fugitive ex-governor of Veracruz, Javier Duarte de Ochoa. Coincidentally, those who conspired to help Duarte make his way to Lake Atitlan, according to authorities, did so from Mexico City… from where I just flew in. (For the record, I’ve never seen that man before in my life!) Six months ago, Duarte resigned from his position as governor of Veracruz to, according to him, ‘fight the corruption charges’ made against him. (Racketeering, theft, money laundering, bribery… you know, the usual) A few days later, he vanished without a trace.
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.
It appears that at least one “Nigerian prince” had the cash to back his claims. Nigeria’s anti-corruption unit discovered more than $43 million in US dollars at an upscale apartment in Lagos, after receiving an anonymous tip. As CTV News reports, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission received a tip from a whistleblower who reported suspicious activity when they noticed someone moving bags in and out of the apartment, according to a Facebook post.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 16, 2017.
In Germany, Martin Schultz wants to give refugees the right to vote. So if he cannot win with Germans, he wants to give the right to vote to refugees to win by bribing them. The German politicians are now giving them apartments they are constructing that cost about 3 million each. The construction costs actually come out to about 1600 per square meter and since each apartment is about 470 square meters, the cost to build one apartment is more than 3 million. It is stunning that Merkel was so fearful of inflation that she would not yield to Greece and saw fit to impoverish the people to pay for the political corruption of their politicians. Yet building dwellings for refugees without language and job skills that cost 3 million each is some how not inflationary.
One of the reasons that Syria is ‘on hold’ is that the Russians are now leveraging the President with the connections formed in his campaign prior to the election. Paul Manafort, onetime manager of President Trump’s campaign apparently has received payments from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. An article covering it entitled Manafort firm received Ukraine ledger payout by Jack Gillum, Chad Day, and Jeff Horwitz was released on Thursday by the Associated Press. The bad news is that the ledger is substantiated by records booked by Manafort’s consulting firm in the U. S., already under a corruption investigation by the FBI with even more overlap. Apparently, the FBI and Congress are investigating Manafort’s activities with Russia and possible ties to Vladimir Putin regarding the President’s campaign. These activities which could have included payoffs allegedly occurred in 2016. But a distinct pattern is observable here. Tillerson is still ‘on the attack,’ today demanding that Russia oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad…and the President in the meantime has announced we wouldn’t be sending troops into Syria. Perhaps he is hesitant, as (if they have such evidence) Russia would certainly not shirk from releasing information that could be damaging to the President. At this stage, the threat of such a release appears to be keeping things in check: we haven’t launched another Tomahawk strike yet.
This post was published at shtfplan on April 14th, 2017.
News coming out of Venezuela over the past two years has reeked of corruption and failed political leadership: a long list of shortages, rampant poverty, incrimination of the opposition, and a recent move that puts the regime of Nicolas Maduro one step closer to a dictatorship. And these are only the developments that are recorded, with a recent LA Times Op-Ed suggesting that a Venezuelan homicide epidemic rages ‘unreported’ due to the country’s scrapping of crime statistics reporting over a decade ago. Despite all of this, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) expects Venezuela, endowed with the world’s largest oil reserves (depending on who you ask), to play a major role in the cartel’s plan to curb global supply. In OPEC’s November agreement, Venezuela accounted for almost 10 percent of the net supply cut from member nations (calculated as cuts minus allotted increases)
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 11, 2017.
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.
Submitted by James Durso ‘The lion is back in his den!’ Hosni Mubarak, former President of Egypt, walked free last week after six years in detention on charges of murder and corruption. What does the U. S. have to show for it? Nothing. In January 2011, Egyptian activists planned protests against corruption, lack of economic growth, and the heavy-handed police tactics of the recent years. The protests were scheduled for 25 January in Cairo and across Egypt. A broad swath of Egyptian activist groups participated, including the Islamists. The protests quickly escalated and became increasingly violent to the extent that the police were replaced by the military. At the end of two weeks, Mubarak had dissolved his government, appointed an interim leader, and announced he would not seek re-election in the September 2011 elections. In early February 2011, on the same day that Vice President, and former intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman announced that Mubarak would resign as President, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces suspended the constitution and dissolved both houses of Parliament for six months until elections could be held. In May 2011, Mubarak was charged with the murder of protesters and ordered to stand trial. The elections of June 2012 handed power to the only organized opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood and its leader, Mohammed Morsi, who promptly tried to install an Islamist constitution and grant himself broader power than had Mubarak. The secular opposition was upset that the Islamist opposition they helped usher into power would be so… Islamist. More violent protests ensued. The whole sorry mess came to an end in July 2013, when the military seized power and Morsi’s hand-picked minister of defense, General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, became Egypt’s leader and was elected President in May 2014 with a Chicago-like 93 percent of the vote.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 4, 2017.
The gap between the happy-story fantasies of easy fixes to institutionalized corruption and systemic stagnation and the fraying-rope reality is widening, straining the bonds holding the whole contraption together to the breaking point. Am I the only one sensing an increase in systemic vulnerability? I’m not talking about TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) so much as a sense of things fraying beneath the surface of normalcy. I for one have never seen the outpouring of negative emotional energy from partisan political disagreements. It has become more a matter of quasi-religious faith than a matter of fact as to whether the Russians “hacked” the U. S. election and the Democratic National Committee. The “facts” are highly dependent on one’s faith in this quasi-religious conflict; if you’re anti-Trump, the now-discredited report by a private firm reporting to the FBI (red flag #1–doesn’t the FBI have its own digital forensics assets? Why hire a flaky contractor to do this critically important national security work?) is the gospel truth. if you’re in the other camp, Julian Assange’s declaration that the DNC material was offered to him by an insider is the obvious gospel truth.
After being formally impeached just three weeks ago, former South Korea President Park Geun-hye was arrested on Friday in connection with a corruption scandal that led to her removal from office, Yonhap reports.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 30, 2017.
Transparency International whacks at a central bank. The European Central Bank has found itself in the rare position of having to defend itself in the public arena following the release of a scathing report on its perceived lack of political independence. The report, published by anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International, argues that the institution has accrued new power and influence in the wake of the financial crisis but its code of conduct has not kept up with that newfound clout. It even suggests that the ECB should withdraw from the Eurozone’s Troika of creditors, precisely at a time that calls are rising for the creation of a European Monetary Fund. ‘The extraordinary measures taken by the ECB since 2008 have tested the ECB’s mandate (to ensure price stability) to breaking point,’ Transparency International EU said. ‘The ECB’s accountability framework is not appropriate for the far-reaching political decisions taken by the Governing Council.’
This post was published at Wolf Street on Mar 29, 2017.
Fox News’ legal analyst Andrew “Judge” Napolitano returned to the air on Wednesday morning, nine days after the network benched him when President Donald Trump cited the Fox talking head as the source of claims that Barack Obama used British intelligence to wiretap him. Napolitano refused to change his story saying he stood by his claim about spying on President Donald Trump that got him benched by the network on March 21 for an indefinite period. ‘I stand by my statement on surveillance,’ Napolitano told Bill Hemmer. According to Deadline, Napolitano was there to talk about a Fox News report that the FBI allegedly wired a staffer of former Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock, who has been charged with fraud and corruption. But first, Hemmer asked Napolitano about that Obama/Brit intel wiretap claim he first made on Fox & Friends. Napolitano said that was his story and he was sticking to it.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 29, 2017.
One day after snap protests against corruption and Russia PM Medvedev broke out across numerous Russian cities, leading to the detention of hundreds of protesters as well as opposition leader Aleksey Navalny, the Russian opposition activist was found guilty of staging an unsanctioned rally, and will be fined 20,000 rubles (US$350) for his role in organizing what the authorities said was an illegal protest in Moscow on Sunday. The Russian protests, estimated to be the biggest since a wave of anti-Kremlin demonstrations in 2011/2012, come a year before a presidential election that Vladimir Putin is expected to contest, running for what would be a fourth term.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 27, 2017.
For 26-days straight, thousands of people have taken to the streets in order to send the message to Soros and European leaders that the people of Macedonia are a sovereign nation who utterly reject the left-wing agenda to divide the nation and bring a socialist-Muslim coalition to power. Johannes Hahn is an Austrian politician, who since November 2014 is Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement. He went to earlier last week to Skopje, in Macedonia, where he held talks with political representatives in a bid to contribute to a solution to the political deadlock there to get Macedonia to join the EU. There was considerable corruption where the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski was forced to resign in December 2015. The EU brokered elections in December 2016 to end the protests against the government of Gruevski. The December 2016 elections have left a transitional government was installed including from 20 October 20th, 2015 with the two main parties, VMRO-DPMNE and the Social Democratic Union (SDSM).
There is a certain nagging annoyance that one gets when they see something in print that they know is just wrong, and write response to it, with documentation, in order to correct it. And then for whatever cause including fat-fingered error, the comment is moderated into oblivion. If it was an opinion piece then fine. Opinions are not worth all that much. But if it is a straight up factual correction, that is a bit annoying when the original in the media was designated to reinforce some point that one feels is a bit unjust. So here are two recent example of things that were just wrong that appeared without correction in the mainstream media. From Jeri-Lynn Scofield over at Naked Capitalism who picked up this piece in the NY post: Snooki inspires legislation to limit state university speaker fees NY Post. Moi: Speaking as a born and bred Jersey girl, I applaud the state legislature’s action. Nice to see the state of my birth lead the way in something other than corruption or toxic waste. And about time – $32K to hear Snooki speak at the Rutgers commencement? Are the administrators nuts? And the proposed $10k cap is too high. Why should any speaker receive more than expenses and a modest honorarium, e.g., $1K – which incidentally, anyone with any class would immediately donate back to the university. I don’t normally read the Post, except perhaps for financial pieces by John Crudele, so I was glad to see this at a site where I do read on occasion. This is no knock on Jeri=Lynn whose major point remains intact, that commencement fees may be far too generous. And as an old fogey, it seems to me to be a correct sentiment about paying far too much money and attention to these reality tv stars, our current President notwithstanding.