Trump Preparing Counteroffensive; Begins Investigating Mueller’s Team For Conflicts

Over the past two days there have been some rather substantial developments in Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation into alleged ties between President Trump and the Kremlin. First came the news yesterday that Mueller planned to expand his probe to review Trump’s personal business transactions, an announcement which sent stocks tumbling on the day (see: Mueller Expands Probe Into Trump Business Transactions: Dollar Tumbles, Stocks Slammed). Meanwhile, just this morning we learn that the Trump legal team has been shaken up with Kasowitz out (not terribly surprising after his recent email meltdown) and Corrallo resigning (see Trump Legal Shake Up: Kasowitz Out As Personal Attorney, Corrallo Resigns).
Now, as the New York Times points out, Trump may be preparing a counter-offensive aimed at identifying potential conflicts of interest among the people hired by Mueller in order to force recusals.
President Trump’s lawyers and aides are scouring the professional and political backgrounds of investigators hired by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, looking for conflicts of interest they could use to discredit the investigation – or even build a case to fire Mr. Mueller or get some members of his team recused, according to three people with knowledge of the research effort.
The search for potential conflicts is wide-ranging. It includes scrutinizing donations to Democratic candidates, investigators’ past clients and Mr. Mueller’s relationship with James B. Comey, whose firing as F. B. I. director is part of the special counsel’s investigation.
The effort to investigate the investigators is another sign of a looming showdown between Mr. Trump and Mr. Mueller, who has assembled a team of high-powered prosecutors and agents to examine whether any of Mr. Trump’s advisers aided Russia’s campaign to disrupt last year’s presidential election.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 21, 2017.

THE CIA TOOK FOUR YEARS TO DECLASSIFY ITS DRESS CODE

America’s Central Intelligence Agency is among the most secretive of the 17 or so U. S. intelligence outfits, but when it isn’t covering up scandal and corruption, the agency’s obsession with opacity can be outright ridiculous.
MuckRock’s Mara Berg in 2013 sent written inquiries to several federal agencies, including the CIA, regarding the agencies’ guidelines for office apparel.

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

“Reading The News On America Should Scare Everyone, Every Day… But It Doesn’t”

Reading the news on America should scare everyone, and every day, but it doesn’t. We’re immune, largely. Take this morning. The US Republican party can’t get its healthcare plan through the Senate. And they apparently don’t want to be seen working with the Democrats on a plan either. Or is that the other way around? You’d think if these people realize they were elected to represent the interests of their voters, they could get together and hammer out a single payer plan that is cheaper than anything they’ve managed so far. But they’re all in the pockets of so many sponsors and lobbyists they can’t really move anymore, or risk growing a conscience. Or a pair.
What we’re witnessing is the demise of the American political system, in real time. We just don’t know it. Actually, we’re witnessing the downfall of the entire western system. And it turns out the media are an integral part of that system. The reason we’re seeing it happen now is that although the narratives and memes emanating from both politics and the press point to economic recovery and a future full of hope and technological solutions to all our problems, people are not buying the memes anymore. And the people are right.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 18, 2017.

Navy Unveils World’s First Active Laser Weapon In Persian Gulf

Three months ago we introduced China’s “silent hunter” experimental laser gun, and now, as CNN reports, in the waters of the Persian Gulf looms the US Navy’s first – in fact, the world’s first – active laser weapon.
***
The LaWS, an acronym for Laser Weapons System, is not science fiction. It is not experimental. It is deployed on board the USS Ponce amphibious transport ship, ready to be fired at targets today and every day by Capt. Christopher Wells and his crew.
CNN was granted exclusive access to a live-fire test of the laser.
For the test, the USS Ponce crew launched the target — a drone aircraft. Immediately, the weapons team zeroed in.
“We don’t have to lead a target,” Hughes explained. “We’re doing that engagement at the speed of light so it really is a point and shoot — we see it, we focus on it, and we can negate that target.”
In an instant, the drone’s wing lit up, heated to a temperature of thousands of degrees, lethally damaging the aircraft and sending it hurtling down to the sea. The strike comes silently and invisibly.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 18, 2017.

Judges Changing Transcripts in Federal Court Manhattan

A lot of people have in inquiring about changing transcripts by judges in federal court in Manhattan. Some have reported it is taking place in other courts now. Corruption is consuming the Judiciary and we have no power to stop it. The rule of law has been so destroyed that those in the legal profession do not grasp what they are doing to the nation. Once you become biased and start playing with court rules, documents, and evidence to win convictions and protect local industry, you have destroyed property rights. How can anyone do business in New York City with confidence that they can sue a bank and actually win? This is part of the decline and fall of the West. We are sealing our own fate with judicial corruption.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Jul 19, 2017.

Net Neutrality Strengthens Monopolies, Invites Corruption

When it imposed its net neutrality rules on the telecom industry, the FCC was fixing a problem that didn’t exist.
While proponents of Net Neutrality have long claimed that the regulations are necessary to impose fairness for internet usage, access to the internet has only become more widespread and service today is far faster for users – including ‘ordinary’ people – than it was twenty years ago.
Nevertheless, when the FCC in recent months – now under pressure from the Trump Administration – announced that it may step back from net neutrality, supporters immediately began claiming that net neutrality was necessary to keep internet access affordable and “fair.”
In truth, net neutrality has never fostered fairness or better access for consumers, and has instead created conditions that will encourage less competition and more monopolistic power for large firms within the industry.
Instead of relying on the market place to allocate goods, net neutrality ensures that politics will determine who gets what, instead. This is hardly a recipe for fairness or neutrality.
In the marketplace, goods and services tend to be allocated according to those who demand the goods the most. Where demand is highest, prices are highest.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on July 18, 2017.

Dershowitz Blasts Hypocrisy Of “Liberals” Looking To Adapt Corruption Laws To “Get Trump”

Over the past 9 months, as the media has launched an all out offensive on the Trump administration for crimes that have yet to be even identified with any level of specificity much less proven, former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has tried to be a voice of reason by appearing on numerous talk shows to discuss facts and legal precedents as opposed to innuendo and baseless accusations.
Just last week Dershowitz blasted the New York Times for suggesting that Trump Jr.’s meeting with the now infamous Russian lawyer was an “act of treason” saying that while such actions may be “reprehensible” they’re not technically illegal. Meanwhile, Dershowitz has argued all along that “not all political actions that smell or look like corruption can be prosecuted criminally without Congress specifically making such conduct criminal by precisely worded legislation.” Per an opinion piece from Dershowitz published by The Hill:
My critics have argued for an extraordinarily broad definition of corruption capable of being expanded to fit nearly everything Trump has done – from firing FBI Director James Comey, to asking him to consider dropping the investigation of General Michael Flynn, to his son’s meeting with Russian surrogates.
This is the way the New York Times put it in its story about the court’s narrowing the meaning of corruption in the context of federal criminal law: ‘There was a time when political corruption might have been described – as a former Supreme Court justice once said of pornography – as something you knew when you saw it.” In other words, it was in the eye of the beholder rather than in a precise statutory definition.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 17, 2017.

Feds Say Condo Involved In NYC’s Largest Foreclosure Tied To Nigerian Corruption Case

New York City real estate, particularly the luxury market, is a popular refugee for world’s corrupt, self-dealing public servants and the crooked businessmen who bribe them. China cracked down on wealthy citizens seeking to stash their wealth in international real estate by adding several deterrents to its capital controls earlier this year (Among them, Chinese investors moving money out of the country must now sign a pledge saying it won’t be used to buy real estate, or investment securities). Shortly after, the New York real-estate – literally half a world away – was rattled by a crush of stalled deals.
So, it’s unsurprising that the mystery behind the largest residential foreclosure auction in NYC history would have this kind of sordid backstory. Last month, we met Kola Aluko, a Nigerian oil magnate and the purported owner of One57’s Apartment 79, a $50 million apartment that will be sold next week in what appears to be the largest foreclosure auction in New York City history.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 16, 2017.

Abe’s Days Numbered? DB Warns Japan PM “May Be Forced Out” Leading To Spike In Yields

Almost exactly ten years ago, on September 12, 2007 Japan’s current prime minister Shinzo Abe resigned less than a year into a tenure dogged by scandals, the suicide of a minister, a raft of resignations and corruption allegations, and a humiliating election drubbing for his Liberal Democratic Party. Never one to shrink away from resposibility, Abe blamed it on crippling diarrhea:
Shinzo Abe resigned as Prime Minister, claiming that diarrhea was preventing him from carrying out his duties. The diarrhea was due to ulcerative colitis, a bowel illness caused by ulcers. Abe had suffered from this illness for decades, but after becoming Prime Minister, the stress of his job apparently made the symptoms worse. Apparently it did not prevent him from taking on the job again some five years later, when he was reinserted in the prime ministerial position again, largely as a smokescreen meant to keep the government together as BOJ’s then-new governor Haruhiko Kuroda unleashed the greatest “wealth creation” and bond monetization experiment in the history of Japan, which has culminated with the Japanese central bank owning nearly 100% of Japan’s GDP in Japanese Government Bonds.
Unfortunately for Abe, it may be time to buy Imodium again.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 16, 2017.

Haiti Official Who Exposed The Clinton Foundation Is Found Dead

The mainstream media’s silence over Klaus Eberwein’s death is deafening. Eberwein was a former Haitian government official who was expected to expose the extent of Clinton Foundation corruption and malpractice next week. He has been found dead in Miami at the age of 50.
The circumstances surrounding Eberwein’s death are also nothing less than unpalatable. According to Miami-Dade’s medical examiner records supervisor, the official cause of death is ‘gunshot to the head.’ Eberwein’s death has been registered as ‘suicide’ by the government. But not long before his death, he acknowledged that his life was in danger because he was outspoken on the criminal activities of the Clinton Foundation.
Eberwein was a fierce critic of the Clinton Foundation’s activities in the Caribbean island, where he served as director general of the government’s economic development agency, Fonds d’assistance conomique et social, for three years. ‘The Clinton Foundation, they are criminals, they are thieves, they are liars, they are a disgrace,’ Eberwein said at a protest outside the Clinton Foundation headquarters in Manhattan last year. Eberwein was due to appear on Tuesday before the Haitian Senate Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission where he was widely expected to testify that the Clinton Foundation misappropriated Haiti earthquake donations from international donors. But this ‘suicide’ gets even more disturbing…

This post was published at shtfplan on July 16th, 2017.

Five Takeaways from the House’s Yellen Hearing

On Wednesday, Janet Yellen testified before the House Financial Services Committee. Though the hearings lost much of their appeal when Dr. Ron Paul retired from Congress, the House Republicans have maintained a reputation for being far more hostile to the Federal Reserve than their colleagues in the Senate – managing to generate some worthwhile moments. While little news was made, with Yellen maintaining her support for generally low interest rates, there were some points made today worth noting.
1) Republicans Continue to Push on the Fed’s Subsidy to Wall Street Starting in 2008, the Federal Reserve has paid interest on excess reserves parked at the Fed. While this had never been done prior to the financial crisis, this policy has now become a vital tool for the Fed in setting short-term interest rates. As the Fed has increased the Federal funds rate, so too has it increased its ‘Interest On Excess Reserves’ (IOER), now paying 1.25% on the over 2 trillion banks hold at the Fed.
This policy has drawn increasing criticism from House Republicans, and Yellen faced criticism from both Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Rep. Andy Barr, who hold Dr. Paul’s old position as chairman of the monetary subcommittee. Accurately, both men highlight that this policy means the Federal Reserve – and by extension the US Treasury that would otherwise receive these interest payments – are directly subsidizing large Wall Street and foreign banks. Considering these IOER payments are projected to be $27 billion this year, it’s good to more attention be brought to this obvious example of Wall Street cronyism.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on July 13, 2017.

No ‘Trump Bump’ for the Economy

Crackpot Schemes POITOU, FRANCE – ‘Nothing really changes.’ Sitting next to us at breakfast, a companion was reading an article written by the No. 2 man in France, douard Philippe, in Le Monde. The headline promised to tell us how the country was going to ‘deblock’ itself. But upon inspection, the proposals were the same old claptrap about favoring ‘green’ energy… changing the tax code to reward one group and punish another… and spending more money on various humbug initiatives.
***
Subsidized green energy scams are mainly creating eyesores – other than that, they add up to nothing but cronyism writ large. After the one of the biggest solar company bankruptcies ever happened in Spain, a detailed economic study found that for every subsidized renewable energy job the government ‘created’ (at a cost of nearly $2 million per job!) 2.2 jobs were lost elsewhere. It is a good bet that the math isn’t much different elsewhere. To add insult to injury, there is precisely zero evidence that carbon emissions are reduced by even one iota due to these efforts. It is an apodictic certainty that no economy can possibly be ‘rescued’ by the subsidization of this nonsense. There is a widespread belief in government circles that ‘economic growth’ can somehow be conjured up by bureaucrats. That is a costly error that increasingly endangers the future of Western civilization. [PT]

This post was published at Acting-Man on July 12, 2017.

Anti-Cash Fanaticism in Scandinavia

First they came for the inmates’ cash. . . .
Apparently, the prevarications and base tactics of anti-cash fanatics know no bounds. In an announcement in May that garnered very little mainstream press coverage, the Danish government stated its intention to ban cash from its largest prisons. The ostensible reason, according to Justice Minister Soeren Pape Poulsen, is that “there is a risk that people in criminal circles exploit their friends’ incarceration to hide money.” Forcing inmates to pay for purchases electronically will make it “easier to follow the money flow in and out.” So let’s get this straight. The Danish government actually believes that it is more likely that inmates’ unincarcerated cronies will show up en masse and hand over wads of krone to stash in a government prison than that the inmates will figure out a way to use the electronic payments devices to contact and scheme with these cronies to commit more crimes. Of course government officials do not believe this nonsense. The real point of the measure is to reinforce the link between cash and criminality in the public mind so that citizens are more amenable when the day comes that their own cash is seized by government.
MISES WIRE

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on July 7, 2017.

Our Political Parties Are Obsolete

When the parties do finally implode, the general mood will be: good riddance.
History informs us that once something is obsolete, it can disappear far faster than anyone expected. While we generally think of obsoleted technologies vanishing, social and political systems can become obsolete as well. Should a poor soul who entered a deep coma a year ago awaken today, we must forgive his/her astonishment at the political wreckage left by the 2016 election. The Democratic Party, a mere year ago an absurdly over-funded machine confident in an easy victory in the presidential race, is now a complete shambles: its leadership in free-fall, its Fat-Cat donors disgusted, and its demented intoxication with pinning collaboration with Russia on the Trump camp eroding whatever feeble legacy legitimacy it still holds. What the party stands for is a mystery, as its Elites are clearly beholden to insiders, special interests and Corporate donors while glorifying the worst excesses of globalism and the National Security State’s endless war on civil liberties. The newly awakened citizen would also marvel at the chaotic war zone of the Republican Party, in which the Insider Warlords are battling insurgent Outsiders, while the same Elites that fund the Democratic machine are wondering what they’re buying with their millions of dollars in contributions, for it’s unclear what the Republican Party stands for: it’s for Small Government, except when it’s for Bigger Government, which is 95% of the time; it’s for more law enforcement and the militarization of local police, and more intrusion into the lives of the citizenry; it’s for stricter standards for welfare, except for Corporate Welfare; it’s for tax reform, except the thousands of pages of give-aways, loopholes and tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations all remain untouched, and so on: a smelly tangle of special interests masked by a few sprays of PR air freshener to the millions left behind by the globalization that has so enriched Corporate America and the class of financier-owners, bankers, insiders and technocrats–the same group that funds and controls both political parties.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on WEDNESDAY, JULY 05, 2017.

Why Wall Street Should Be Viewed as a Major National Threat

The day before the 4th of July, when most Americans were hustling about preparing for family barbecues, the New York Times finally decided to publish an editorial warning about Wall Street’s potential threat to the nation. Unfortunately, it did so with the kind of timidity we see regularly from cowed or compromised Wall Street banking regulators. The editorial writers noted that: ‘It’s entirely possible that the system is more fragile than the Fed’s stress tests indicate,’ and they called for ‘heightened vigilance of derivatives in particular’ without providing any detailed data.
A more accurate assessment of the situation would have been this: There is only one industry in the United States that has twice in a period of less than 100 years brought about a devastating economic crisis in the country. Wild speculation coupled with poor regulation of mega Wall Street banks brought about the Great Depression in the 1930s, leading to massive job losses, bank failures, poverty and economic misery for tens of millions of innocent Americans. The precise same combination of wild speculation and crony regulators created the Wall Street crash of 2008, throwing millions of Americans into unemployment and foreclosure while creating obscene bailouts and bonuses for bankers, and leaving the U. S. with such a low economic growth rate to this day that many Americans feel they are still living in the Great Recession.

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade on July 5, 2017.

New York Times Runs Editorial Today on the Mega Banks: You Need to Pay Attention

We have frequently called out the New York Times for running sycophantic articles on the big, mean, untamed Wall Street banking behemoths which just happen to be one of its home town’s largest industries and source of the biggest paychecks, which, in turn, boost its real estate markets, restaurants and retail sales – not to mention its own ad revenues. According to the Federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial activities represented 468,600 jobs in New York City as of April 2017. According to a report from the New York State Department of Labor on New York City’s largest industries, as of 2014 the ‘average annual wage ($404,800) paid in the securities and commodity contracts industry is nearly five times the all-industry average annual wage ($84,752) for 2014.’
But today, the New York Times’ Editorial Board has joined Wall Street On Parade in expressing skepticism about the Federal Reserve giving a green light on the stress tests for 34 banks last week. After sounding the alarm about the Trump administration’s plans to roll back Obama-era reforms of Wall Street, the New York Times editorial raises the following concerns:
‘It’s entirely possible that the system is more fragile than the Fed’s stress tests indicate. By the Fed’s calculations, capital held by the nation’s eight largest banks was nearly 14 percent of assets, weighted by risk, at the end of 2016.
‘Alternative calculations of capital, including those that use international accounting rules rather than American accounting principles, put the capital cushion much lower, at 6.3 percent. The difference is largely attributable to regulators’ differing assessment of the risks posed by derivatives, the complex instruments that blew up in the financial crisis and that still are a major part of the holdings of big American banks.

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade on July 3, 2017.

Jeff Zucker Should Stand Trial for Conspiring Against the United States For Corporate Profits – Enough is enough!

Project Veritas, which CNN and others try bad mouthing, has caught CNN’s Supervising Producer admitting (1) they are on a witch-hunt against Trump, and (2) they constantly bash Trump with Russia putting the entire world at risk of war simply to make money. They treat their viewers as idiots who lack enough intelligence to distinguish the truth from propaganda violating even the fiduciary duty and public trust they must maintain as directors of a public corporation. CNN has become the source for misrepresenting implicitly that Trump won office only with Putin’s help.
The CEO of CNN, Jeff Zucker, is a very dangerous man who is violating federal law pursuing money and to hell with ethics, God, or the country also violating the security laws that every other director of a public corporation must maintain or face 25 years in prison. Trump has made CNN because he has been their number one story – relentlessly. Zucker has lost all credibility but he loves it and Time Warner is becoming a really dangerous propaganda corporation since Zucker is the true face of just how unethical Time Warner has become. If a drug company made false claims about a product just to make money, they would be in jail. So why not Time Warner?


This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Jul 2, 2017.

Jeff Zucker & Jeff Bewkes Should Stand Trial for Conspiring Against the United States For Corporate Profits – Enough is enough!

Project Veritas, which CNN and others try bad mouthing, has caught CNN’s Supervising Producer admitting (1) they are on a witch-hunt against Trump, and (2) they constantly bash Trump with Russia putting the entire world at risk of war simply to make money. They treat their viewers as idiots who lack enough intelligence to distinguish the truth from propaganda violating even the fiduciary duty and public trust they must maintain as directors of a public corporation. CNN has become the source for misrepresenting implicitly that Trump won office only with Putin’s help.
The CEO of CNN, Jeff Zucker, is a very dangerous man who is violating federal law pursuing money and to hell with ethics, God, or the country also violating the security laws that every other director of a public corporation must maintain or face 25 years in prison. Trump has made CNN because he has been their number one story – relentlessly. Zucker has lost all credibility but he loves it and Time Warner is becoming a really dangerous propaganda corporation since Zucker is the true face of just how unethical Time Warner has become. If a drug company made false claims about a product just to make money, they would be in jail. So why not Time Warner?

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Jul 2, 2017.

It’s Not Just Illinois: Connecticut Faces Friday Day Of Reckoning

With Illinois facing a Friday night deadline by which it has to come up with its first fiscal budget in three years or face a downgrade to junk resulting in what a policymaker called a “death spiral“, another mini drama is taking place in Connecticut, which is also facing big budget problems as wealthy residents, hedge funds and major corporations flee the state’s high taxes and its fiscal future gets murkier by the day.
Just today, we reported that Aetna, the insurance giant founded in Hartford where it has been for the past 164 years, announced it would move its headquarters to New York City despite intensive lobbying efforts by Connecticut officials. The move, which followed a departure by GE of its Fairfield HQ of 40 years, is a blow to the company’s hometown, which is facing severe financial problems. Hartford’s problems are a representation of the troubles facing the entire state: while Illinois’ story is familiar, Connecticut has the distinction of the third-worst ratings in the country, only behind Illinois and New Jersey after S&P, Moody’s and Fitch all downgraded the state last month in what officials described as a “call to action” for state leaders.
‘We’ve been downgraded by everybody in the last six months, and in the last year two or three times,’ Senate Republican President Len Fasano said cited by Fox news. ‘If we don’t pass a budget, I think we will see a further downward spiral.’
And, just like Illinois (and 14 other states), Connecticut faces a Friday day of reckoning: the state has yet to pass a fiscal 2018 budget by the June 30 deadline.
‘We must immediately take the necessary steps to mitigate the current year deficit and then balance the … budget with recurring measures to reduce spending and structural solutions to our long-term problems,’ a spokesperson for the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management said in response to Moody’s downgrade.

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

Credit Agricole Demands 400,000 Euros For Premium Research Package

As the global equity research market continues to wrestle with how they will comply with the European Union’s MiFID II regulations, we noted a new study from McKinsey & Co. last week which effectively predicted that investment banks will have no choice but to fire a ton of equity research analysts who write a bunch of stuff that no one ever reads…which seems like a reasonable guess.
For those who have managed to avoid this particular distraction, the global equity research industry is in the midst of a major disruption which has been brought on by the European Union’s MiFID II regulations, enforced from Jan. 3, which aim to tackle conflicts of interest by requiring asset managers to separate the trading commissions they pay from investment-research fees.

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