Stockman And Stiglitz On Crony Capitalism: Agreements And Disagreements.

The role of government in the economy has been a major public policy issue for more than two centuries. Critics of capitalism, at least since Karl Marx, have argued that the system is skewed to benefit the political and economic elite at the expense of the masses: the proletariat over the bourgeoisie, as Marx put it, or the 1 percent over the 99 percent, as the Occupy Movement that began in 2011 put it.
Two recent books have looked at these issues, one from the vantage point of the political left and the other from the political right. Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate economist and frequent commentator on the political left, discusses the way the system is skewed to support the 1 percent over the 99 percent in his book The Price of Inequality (2012), while conservative writer and former Michigan congressman and budget director in the Reagan administration David Stockman addresses these same issues from the political right in The Great Deformsation (2013). Considering their political leanings, it is worth emphasizing how much their books have in common when describing the causes of the major economic and political problems they perceive in the United States.
Both Stiglitz and Stockman argue that corruption of the U. S. political system is damaging both the economic system and democracy. This article documents the commonality of ideas in their two books while recognizing the significant differences in their policy recommendations.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on November 17, 2014.

The How and Why Behind Obama’s Mysterious Rise to the Presidency

How does a man get elected President after serving less than one full term as a U. S. Senator? Does being a community activist/antagonist qualify one for the highest office in the land? Were the Soviet defectors correct in that Obama is the manifestation of a multi-generational plot to bring America to her knees? It is easy to comprehend how and why Putin would want to destroy America. But is Obama is his accomplice in this mission which could imperil all of us?
Former FBI Weatherman Task Force supervisor, Max Noel, noted that the FBI utilized a CARL test when it conducted background checks on various suspects. The acronym CARL stands for Character, Associates, Reputation, and Loyalty is used to assess candidates fitness to hold the highest office in the country. On each of these four points of power, Obama fails and fails miserably. Like many FBI law enforcementagents and officials, Noel was alarmed by the fact that someone like Barack Obama could capture the presidency. For some unexplained reason, Obama was never vetted before he became a candidate for the presidency by the FBI. This is an unacceptable result of our national security system and is wholly suggestive of internal plot to allow the installation of a blatantly communist advocate into the highest political position in America.
Soviet Defectors Warn of Deception and the Emergence of a Manchurian Candidate Did you really think Alger Hiss would be the last communist traitor to serve in a high level US governmental position?
Through the testimony of high-ranking Soviet defectors, it can clearly be established that the Russians have been engaged in a multi-generational plot to destroy the United States from within and from without. Domestically, the Russian communists are in the midst of completing a coup d’tat, with the help their communist stooge, Barack Obama. In the following paragraphs, the verbatim statements of high ranking Soviet defectors are offered as proof of these claims. The first three defectors tell how the Soviets are setting the table for America’s demise. Stunningly, the fourth defector warns our country of a Manchurian candidate type of leadership whose job it will be to hand over a weakened America to the Russians (see Part Two).
Today, many people have been in a position to now vet the President after Obama’s first six years in office and observed his ‘fundamental transformation of America’. This particular series will continue to connect the dots of the secretive and nefarious communist background of Barack Hussein Obama.

This post was published at The Common Sense Show on November 12, 2014.

SP 500 and NDX Futures Daily Price – Audit or End the Fed

“Politics is the loom that weaves and spins the fabric of our democratic social cohesion. The politics of democracy is the social blanket that we all willingly come together under, huddled awkwardly, for our national identity. The interwoven threads of multi-media, technology, financial, and shared social myths bind this political blanket into our national identity as a democratic republic.
When the democratic political process has been stealthy co-opted over many years by financialization, which seamlessly connects the financial industry and the government, we become members of a fascist form of state (inverted totalitarianism), without collectively knowing it yet.”
Joe, the Angry Hawaiian
The financial system in its existing form is excessively arbitrary and non-transparent.
An external standard provides a flywheel, which prevents the expansion of the money supply at the discretion of a central authority that also has the power to monetize debt and set interest rates, within some longer term limitations.
In its worst form, short of an overt tyranny, the central banking power has the ability to create money at will, and distribute as they see fit, to their cronies, for whom they are also a powerful friend and regulator governed by a self-defined class that moves freely between government and the financial industry.
This is the precise reason why President Andrew Jackson vetoed the Second Bank of the United States. The Banks speculated in the goods of the nation, keeping the profits, but using the power of their Central Bank to shift the losses to the public.

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 10 November 2014.

Obama Has No Friends

Obama has no friends in Washington, other than perhaps a few of his imported Chicago cronies. He has no close relationships with any elected officials. He is a loner, a man out for himself.
In my book Flimflam Man it was predicted that the Democrats who tolerated him would turn against him once they realized the damage he had inflicted on their cohorts and the Democrat Party. In the wake of the obvious recent election debacle, it appears as though Democrats have turned, if not yet openly at least off the record. Alex Griswold reports that elected Democrats are no longer keeping their dislike for the President to themselves and feel just as negatively about Obama as Republicans:
Legendary Washington Post reporter and editor Bob Woodward said on a ‘Face the Nation’ panel that when he speaks to Senate Democrats about Obama they are ‘on fire,’ and just as loud in the criticism of the president as Republicans are publicly.

This post was published at Economic Noise on NOVEMBER 9, 2014.

‘Islamic State Suffers Setbacks’ – Really?

A Case of Wishful Thinking? A recent AP headline breathlessly informs us that ISIS is finally being pushed back. It is reportedly suffering setbacks in Iraq and Syria. Hurrah, the good guys are finally winning! A few excerpts:
‘For a force that has built its reputation on an aura of momentum and invincibility, the Islamic State group is now dealing with a series of military setbacks in Iraq and a prolonged stalemate in the small Syrian border town of Kobani.
Gone are the days when IS was able to seize territory in both countries with relative ease. Its newfound problems, including a loss of oil revenue, raise questions about the extent to which it will be able to continue recruiting fighters who want to be with a winner.
‘ISIS has run a very effective psychological campaign to intimidate its rivals and attract support and recruits,’ said Faysal Itani, a resident fellow at the Atlantic Council, using an acronym for the extremists. But now, he said, the need to maintain its reputation is limiting the group’s options.
This is particularly true in Kobani, where a pre-emptive IS withdrawal in the face of U. S.-led bombings from the sky and ethnic Kurdish fighters on the ground could prove too costly.
‘They have invested a lot in this battle, and people are noticing. They will soon start asking what’s going on?’ said Ayed, a Turkey-based Syrian activist who travels back and forth to the group’s stronghold in the Syrian city of Raqqa. He declined to give his full name.
The prolonged fighting in Kobani is also distracting IS from more strategically important areas in Syria and Iraq where the militant extremists are already stretched on multiple fronts.
[…] Syrian and Kurdish activists estimate nearly 600 Islamic State fighters have been killed – its heaviest losses since taking over large parts of Syria and Iraq in a summer blitz.
Kurdish residents say the group appears to be struggling with personnel, bringing in inexperienced fighters and new recruits to reinforce the town. These include members of the IS police force known as Hisba, reassigned from nearby towns and cities, such as Raqqa and Manbij, under the group’s control.
‘Many Hisba members have left Raqqa in the past two weeks, telling people they were headed to Kobani,’ Ayed said. They are not fighters.’
Kobani residents say recent U. S. airstrikes targeting IS in Kobani have inflicted heavy damage. ‘Their bodies are left for days rotting in the street without anyone picking them up,’ said Farhad Shami, a Kobani-based activist.

This post was published at Acting-Man on November 7, 2014.

Crony Capitalism Tribute: Mafia Dons vs. Politicians; Who Really Won the Election?

Who Really Won the Election?
If you think Republicans won the recent mid-term election you are mistaken. PolicyMic has One Chart that Shows Who Won.
Most Expensive Senate Races

Money Won the Election!
The Center for Responsive Politics projects the 2014 mid-term election will cost roughly $3.67 billion.
When all is said and done, Team Red (all Republican candidates, parties, committees and conservative outside groups) will spend $1.75 billion on this election. Team Blue (all Democratic candidates, parties, committees and liberal outside groups) will spend a total of $1.64 billion. [Outside groups account for the rest.] Election Cost Estimate…

This post was published at Global Economic Analysis on November 07, 2014.

The U.S. Veteran Fighting ISIS in Syria is Obviously a Propaganda Shill

Last month I reported on a member of a Dutch biker gang who went to the Middle East to fight against ISIS. Truth be told, there are numerous foreign volunteers who are heading towards Iraq and Syria from all over the world, and the U. S. is no exception. Recently, Radio Free Europe interviewed a United States Army veteran Jordan Matson, who left his life in Wisconsin to help the Kurds in their fight against ISIS.
‘For over a year, people were being slaughtered by ISIS,’ the 28-year-old Sturtevant, Wisconsin, native told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Iraq (RFI), using another acronym for IS.
‘Anyone who didn’t conform to their way of life could either convert, be killed, or get driven off their land. So when Mosul fell and IS drove all the Christians and minorities from the town or killed them, I thought that enough was enough and I decided to come here to fight,’ Matson said via Skype.
For two months, Matson has fought in northeastern Syria alongside the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). He said he decided to join the Kurdish militia after searching the Internet for a way to fight IS.
‘I found that the YPG was the only force in the area that would let Christians and Muslims live in peace together so I decided to join them,’ he said.
Personally, I think it’s admirable that someone would volunteer their time and skills to put down those vile thugs. Many of us have seen the footage of their atrocities and read the grisly news reports of their exploits. No sane person would doubt that ISIS is a scourge against Christians and Muslims alike, and that they must be stopped if we want even any kind of peace for the Middle East.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on November 5th, 2014.

US Struggles to Keep Asia in Dark Age

US-funded newspapers promote US-funded NGOs in their efforts to halt infrastructure projects that would reduce flooding, produce clean, renewable energy, and provide jobs and development for millions.
‘The Irrawaddy,’ which claims to be ‘a leading source of reliable news, information, and analysis on Burma/Myanmar and the Southeast Asian region,’ has doggedly covered efforts by so-called ‘activists’ to prevent the construction of dams all across Southeast Asia – from Myanmar (still called by its British imperial nomenclature ‘Burma’ by the Western media), across Thailand, and in Laos.
Its most recent article, ‘Thai Power Firm’s Business Tactics ‘Use Burma’s Weak Laws’,’ is a typical representation of these efforts. It reports that:
One of the chief financiers of hydroelectric dams planned on Burma’s Salween River is accused of investing in countries where there is ‘oppression and limited transparency’ in order to achieve its objectives.
Having been restricted in its activities at home, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) wants to use Burma and Laos as proxy suppliers of electricity via environmentally damaging river dams, the US-based NGO International Rivers told The Irrawaddy.
Dams are undoubtedly disruptive to the surrounding, existing environment and surely governments and special interests regularly sidestep their responsibility to ensure dam construction results in equitable outcomes for surrounding human populations as well as wildlife. However, to oppose their construction entirely is a regressive, politically motivated agenda peddled by some of the most sociopolitically and environmentally destructive special interests on Earth.
To understand this, one must understand what both The Irrawaddy and International Rivers have in common, and specifically why their agenda has become entwined in the battle against real development across all of Southeast Asia.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on New Eastern Outlook / November 5th, 2014.

More Executive Orders on the Way: Republicans Take Control of the Senate

The American people showed their discontent at the polls yesterday by voting for the Republicans to take control of the Senate. The GOP also strengthened their hold on the House of Representatives and will be in control of both chambers of Congress for the first time since 2006.
Obama now has two choices during the final two years of his leadership:
Issue Executive orders that require no approval from Congress. Seek bipartisan support for his plans. Many people have no doubt of which choice he will make.
What you have to ask yourself is will it make a difference? The vast majority of those that seek to rule us are from white collar backgrounds and most of them worked in for-profit organizations prior to going into politics. Over half of these people are millionaires. (source)
We are deluded if we think that these men and women will not vote with their/their cronies business interests in mind and therein lies the problem. The gap between rich and poor, the haves and have-nots widens year on year. The rich get richer and the rest of us get squeezed more and more.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on November 5th, 2014.

1000s Of Veterans Busted For Massive Benefits Fraud

When work is punished and grift is not, is it any surprise that, as The Washington Times reports, nearly60,000 triple dipping Veterans picked up $3.5 billion in benefits (collecting their military retirement pay; and disability benefits from both the Veterans Administration and Social Security too). The arrangement is legal, but since everyone else is abusing the system, from crony banks to deadbeat dads to squatting slummers, it was only a matter of time before even veterans decided to dip, then dip again and dip some more. Sen. Tom Coburn, noted it was “hard to understand,” but perhaps the hardest thing to understand is why it took veterans so long to realize we live in a world without consequences.
As The Washington Times reports, tens of thousands of veterans collect their military retirement pay and disability benefits from the Veterans Administration and disability checks from Social Security too, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. All told, nearly 60,000 triple dippers collected $3.5 billion in benefits.
The arrangement is legal, but it raises questions about the generosity of the American safety net system at a time when disability programs are already under severe financial stress. “This report shows that, like other government programs, there is little coordination between these overlapping benefits, which increase cost[s] to taxpayers,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, the Oklahoma Republican who requested the GAO report. “We should fulfill our promises to the men and women who serve, but we need to streamline these duplicative programs.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 11/01/2014.

Pepe Escobar: The Caliph fit to join OPEC

Islamic State leader Caliph Ibrahim – aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – never ceases to amaze us – and most of all his powerful petrodollar-stuffed backers. The Caliph is for all practical purposes now an oil major worth of membership of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). His takfiri/mercenary goons – in theory – have for some time been extracting, refining, shipping and/or smuggling and clinching juicy deals involving vast quantities of oil, reaping profits of roughly US$2 million a day.
The Caliph's oil prices are to die (be beheaded?) for; after all, he's implementing the same low-price strategy concocted by the people he wants to dethrone in Mecca, the House of Saud. The caliphate's GDP across "Syraq" has only one way to go: up.
And oh, the irony Top customers for The Caliph's cheap oil happen to be "Sultan" Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Earthly paradise, aka Turkey – a North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally – and that King "Playstation" Abdullah II ibn al-Hussein's domain impersonating a country, aka Jordan.
Meanwhile, the awesome, immensely sophisticated military apparatus/intel agency acronym fest deployed by "free" U.S./NATO somehow is simply unable to register/intercept this racket.

This post was published at Asia Times

Unchained: You Need To Watch This Video: ‘Who Are The Real Oppressors In Our Community?’

A new video from the Rebel Pundit shows several black Americans standing up against the Democrat machine that has for so long stolen their wealth, made them dependent on a corrupt system, and indentured them to a life of servitude.
It’s an amazing video that should be watched and shared by every American, but not because it shows African Americans attacking President Obama or their state and city legislators. Rather, it speaks volumes about the plight of all Americans, be they White, Hispanic, Asian, Native American or Black.
Our system of governance is corrupt, and despite calls from both parties for equal justice under the law, the only people who ever seem to benefit are the politicians and their cronies in business.
Some issues cross political parties and racial divides.

This post was published at shtfplan on October 28th, 2014.

The Schizomedia Does It Again

With QE3 about to wind down, some are declaring that the age of Quantitative Easing is finally over. These probably forgot they said the same thing when QE1, QE2 and Operation Twist ended. Clueless “expertise” aside, who can really blame them: by now it has become all too clear that the Fed itself has absolutely no idea what it is doing and has bet (all in) not only the (taxpayer) farm but all of (crony) capitalism, that it can solve every problem just by printing free wealth for 1% of the population while at the same time impoverishing the rest, leading to precisely the record inequality… that the Fed itself rails against.
A script worthy of a soap opera, one that Kim Jong Un would shoot you just for watching it.
But at least one entity has got the Fed all figured out and knows exactly what is going to happen next. The Media.
Actually, scratch that.
Here is Reuters from a few hours ago…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 10/29/2014.

Chris Hedges: The Myth of a Free Press

The bias in the US media towards corporate and special interests is apparent in some sources more easily and readily than in others, especially if one has access and bothers to look at a broad base of international news sources.
The great change was institutionalized with the overturn of the Fairness Doctrine under Reagan in 1985 and the revoking of media ownership restrictions from 1934 and 1975 under the Clinton administration’s Telecommunications Act of 1996.
What has changed perhaps is the extreme marginalization of independent sources. For the most part media outlets declare themselves for one group or another. The bias of the financial media in policy issues has become so obvious and servile to its corporate interests that it is almost embarrassing. What is even more surprising is the reach of this sort of continuous advocacy journalism into ‘mainstream’ channels such as Fox and MSNBC that actively re-interpret reality to suit a class of viewers.
This balkanization of the issues attracts large classes of listeners into group think, and precludes any meaningful debate of the issues, even to the very framing of the questions and the issues, and ultimately their very perception of reality.

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 27 OCTOBER 2014.

Pensions and Private Equity – A Letter to the New York Times Editor

The ongoing racket between private equity firms and public pension funds in which they work together to earn billions of dollars in excessive fees at the expense of retirees across the country has been a key theme at Liberty Blitzkrieg this year. My most recent piece on the topic was published last week and titled, Another Pension Scandal – The Crony Love Affair Between North Carolina, Credit Suisse and Erskine Bowles.
Here’s an excerpt:
When it comes to how the U. S. economy of fraud functions in 2014, the following article has it all. A government official, a global investment bank and a businessman/politician, all working together to enrich themselves at the public’s expense. It demonstrates how big bucks are really earned by insiders in the new American Dream, characterized by extreme cronyism and corruption.

This post was published at Liberty Blitzkrieg on Oct 26, 2014.

Back To The Future Was Right: Hoverboards Are Just Around The Corner (video)

We are now less than a year away from the day when Robert Zemeckis and Michael J. Fox inspired an entire generation to expect nothing less from 2015 than flying cars. Sadly, as a result of the past 6 years of human “progress” being redirected to finding creative ways of preserving crony capitalism, the failed way of Keynesian life and masking insolvent banks as lipsticked pigs, the only automotive question we have of 2015 is whether there are any GM cars that haven’t been recalled; cars which one hopes will neverbe airborne. And yet, there is one aspect of 2015 that the Back to the Future trilogy may have gotten correct: that “other” thing which every 80’s kid wants to have more than anything: hoverboards.
As a recent Kickstarter campaign by Los Gatos, CA company Hendo claims, a campaign which has already raised well over $100,000 more than its goal of $250,000, the company is preparing to introduce “the world’s first REAL hoverboard and hover developer kit.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 10/25/2014.

21st Century Eugenics: Population Reduction Done Through Vaccine Poisons

Attitudes toward medical ailments and treatment vary widely, usually based upon the degree of trust in the type of health care practice that a patient believes to be the best healing method.
The American Medical Association (AMA) is an advocacy association that promotes the validity of medical therapy, but it’s heavily based upon manufactured designer drugs.
The establishment corporatist scientists have a tendency to claim a corner on proof. However, they often expound on their accepted view using selective memory. Facts can stand in the way of implementing the master plan when the ‘so called’ humanitarian benefits remain elusive or worse, detrimental.
Primum non nocere as stated in The Hippocratic Oath is the original casualty in the practice of NWO health care.
To shareholders of the Big Pharma cartels, whether a vaccine is truly needed is beside the point. Although the throw away soundbite, ‘Saving lives’, is used to market the endless list of vaccines, it’s not really the goal…
The profits involved with the introduction of any new vaccine are immense. The high priestess of orthodox medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes on their site, Possible Side-effects from Vaccines, and provides the obligatory disclaimer.
‘Remember, vaccines are continually monitored for safety, and like any medication, vaccines can cause side effects. However, a decision not to immunize a child also involves risk and could put the child and others who come into contact with him or her at risk of contracting a potentially deadly disease.’

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on OCTOBER 21, 2014.

Another Pension Scandal – The Crony Love Affair Between North Carolina, Credit Suisse and Erskine Bowles

In North Carolina, managing the retirement savings of teachers, police officers, firefighters and other public employees is big business. As the sole fiduciary of the state’s $90 billion pension fund, Treasurer Cowell, a Democrat, was recently named the world’s 18th most important institutional investor by the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute. The State Employees Association of North Carolina (Seanc) estimates that North Carolina is on track to spend a billion dollars a year of retirees’ pension money on fees to private financial firms. Roughly half of all North Carolina pension deals involve placement agents, and Seanc estimates that has generated roughly $180 million in placement agent fees – costs that are effectively paid by the pension fund, according to critics.
Credit Suisse’s own internal regulations say the company aims to ‘establish a management organization that avoids the creation or appearance of conflicts of interests.’ But the North Carolina agreement (the provisions of which were secret until Seanc’s open records request earlier this year) explicitly allows Credit Suisse to engage in ‘actual and potential conflicts of interest.’ The agreement noted Credit Suisse could receive ‘placement fees’ from the firms in which it invests North Carolina pension money.
– From David Sirota’s excellent piece in Investors Business Daily: Pension Deal Spotlights ‘Placement Agent’ Business, Raises Conflict-Of-Interest Questions
When it comes to how the U. S. economy of fraud functions in 2014, the following article has it all. A government official, a global investment bank and a businessman/politician, all working together to enrich themselves at the public’s expense. It demonstrates how big bucks are really earned by insiders in the new American Dream, characterized by extreme cronyism and corruption. As might be expected, this post highlights another excellent piece by David Sirota, who has been doing the best investigative journalism on the topic of public pension corruption. In this article, he zeros in on what’s known as ‘placement agents,’ which are often large financial firms with connections across the political spectrum, and are often money managers themselves, such as private equity giant Blackstone. However, they don’t need to have any expertise in financial matters, they simply need to be connected. As such, placement agents are sometime even former NFL stars.
These agents are paid by money managers to recommend their funds to huge pools of capital, such as public pension funds. In this article, global investment bank Credit Suisse plays the role of placement agent. The investment pool is played by the North Carolina state pension fund, led by Janet Cowell, while the asset manager looking to earn pension fund fees is played by Carousel Capital, a firm run by Erskine Bowles.
As a refresher, Janet Cowell is no stranger to this site. I covered her cronyism back in June in the post, Meet Janet Cowell – The North Carolina Treasurer Desperately Pushing to Keep Criminal Public Pension Fees Secret. Here’s an excerpt:

This post was published at Liberty Blitzkrieg on Oct 22, 2014.

The Misguided Push for STEM

The higher education system is a mess, and it seems the more we try to fix it, the worse it becomes. With a parade of unflattering test score comparisons constantly being trotted out, widespread unemployment, and a mismatch of skills between workers and producers, the public intelligentsia is ever more concerned about the future of our children and what can be done to improve their prospects.
The current trendy solution is to relentlessly push students into pursuing degrees falling under the unappealing acronym: STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Policymakers like these fields because they tend to be high paying and they ‘sound’ both prestigious and practically worthwhile. Why produce students who know about history or literature, when you can train them to do useful things like research new medicines or design bridges?
It sounds reasonable enough on the surface, but it is important to remember that students do not emerge from university into a vacuum, but rather into a complex system of markets that may or may not demand whatever skills they have to offer. In most markets, we (more or less) let prices freely fluctuate in order to manage the relative supply and demand of the good in question. If too much of the good is produced, the price drops, if too little is produced, it rises. This continues until the market clears, or rather, it is an ongoing process that continually pushes the price towards the market clearing level.

This post was published at Mises Canada on October 20th, 2014.