All Washington blames Putin and calls for investigations of Russian villainy: John Batchelor interviews Stephen F. Cohen

The character of events from week to week, and as discussed by both Batchelor and Cohen, is manifestly worsening. While the proxy wars are stabilizing to some little extent, we see the political wars in governments as fall out of the New Cold War in a constant state of escalation. Cohen notes a New York Times piece by Charles Blow that coined a name for what is happening as an ‘Era of Suspicion’ and the author considered this a positive thing for the country – where all the interest groups are being forced by the hate and fear campaign to align with the anti-Russian narrative whether it serves their interests or not. This past week Batchelor brings up the news about the Estonian Ambassador, Eerik Marmei and the Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pavlo Klimkin who spoke to a Senate subcommittee about Russia disrupting elections in Europe, and the danger of cyber warfare by Russia. Also mentioned were the Trump charges that Obama had his Trump Tower ‘bugged’. Cohen then launched into what the consequences of this new ‘Era of Suspicion’ and the professor describes how the pressure to conform has influenced all the politicos (Flynn debacle) and the masters of industry in the United States, who want to have business dealings with Russia, into remaining cautiously silent. These and other efforts are being used to isolate Trump and neuter or redirect any chance of dtente or even honest discussion of serious geopolitical events. It is working too – with Republicans also becoming divided. Some Republicans are looking at Vice President Pence for the president’s position.
Cohen also discusses the role of ‘expert consultants on Russia’ in the media and their efforts to vilify Putin and the Kremlin. All interviews using these people are factually untrue. The most egregious of these, for example, maintained that Putin was ‘deliriously happy that Washington was in complete chaos over Russian policies’. Batchelor exclaims that this is ‘complete rubbish’. It was also Batchelor’s opinion that it was serious that Trump did not mention Russia in his address to Congress. What this indicates is that dtente is getting much less likely. Cohen also mentions the resurrection of McCarthyism with a Committee of Un-American Activity being formed and concludes that disorder is the contrived tenure of modern Western diplomacy. In my opinion Trump has to decide whether folding to the will of his opposition will stop this campaign to remove him or will it show weakness that will lead to escalation. His reticence to talk about Russia may be testing the waters, or be showing weakness. Senator Graham, who talked with the president, seems to think the latter and the US will ‘push back’ against Russia. I think Trump is folding too.
The push back will see more support for NATO and perhaps more military help for Ukraine. Cohen discusses the quasi NATO presence now in Ukraine, and he also brings up a potential increase in US troop presence in Syria. He discusses the dangers of a combined military presence of US and Russian assets in Syria. Cohen then discusses the simple solution to ease the danger, and it really is simple. Disengagement. But Putin needs Washington (Trump) to cooperate. But Cohen now considers this as unlikely as he thinks Trump is folding to his opposition in Washington. In Ukraine the political and economic situation is worse and where President Poroshenko is having no control over the ukronazis – who are now embargoing coal imports from the Donbass. This hurts Kiev, but also illuminates the reality of a failing central government. A personal question: Will NATO continue to base troops there? It would mean contending with or working with nazis in a failed state environment? But would most of the West hear about it? That’s where we are, living behind a virtual information wall that George Orwell would immediately recognize.
From my point of view the Military Industrial Complex has shown no sense of danger in supporting a ‘confrontation for profit’ policy against Russia, and now the people of the West are effectively ‘walled off’ from learning about critical realities by a systemic corruption of the MSM. Washington is creating its own “Iron Curtain”. Not even discussions at the highest levels of Washington are tolerated unless they support the narrative. One wonders how long this can go on with the Military Industries dependent on tax dollars, and the financial sector and other interests looting the economy and destroying that same tax base. This becomes another reason to impose that ‘Era of Suspicion’ on the whole country; if one cannot advise or discuss an argument against war dangers (or government policies) without censure, then war becomes more inevitable in spite of the fundamentals that work against it. One could say, ‘unleash the dogs of war’ but first hugely increase the fiscal deficit.

This post was published at Audioboom

The Deep State Dystopia To Come

Long-time Congressional staffer Mike Lofgren refers to the murky agencies at work to ensure this planetary plan stays on track as the ‘deep state,’ in his book of the same name.
He writes that it includes key elements of the national security state, which ensure continuity of policy despite the superficial about-faces from one administration to the next. The deep state is effectively a warlike oligarchy, hell-bent on full spectrum dominance, driven by a lust for wealth and power, and anxious to inscribe its name in history. Specifically, Lofgren says, the deep state includes the Department of Defense, the State Department, the National Intelligence Agencies, Wall Street, the defense industry, and the energy consortium, among other major private players. They share common agendas, operate a revolving door of employees, and have a collective distaste for democracy, transparency, and regulation.
The deep state is the link between military interventions and trans-pacific trade deals, between sanctions and IMF loans. All of these tools, be they arms or loans or legal structures, serve a single purpose: the overarching control of world resources by a global community of corporate elites. One can also see how these three instruments of policy and power all do tremendous damage to a particular entity, the nation-state.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 12, 2017.

TRUMPDOM: The Curious World of Trump’s Foreign Policy Explained

It is barely seven weeks since Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States. Perhaps too early to figure out the details of America’s foreign policy during his presidency. However, some broad contours of his policies are taking shape, which may provide pointers to what he is likely to do in the next four years.
These pointers are based partly on what Trump said during his election campaign and partly on what has happened since he became President. Actually, quite a lot has happened in the last seven weeks or so, including considerable turbulence in US domestic and foreign policy.
Before proceeding further, it may be useful to recall that Trump’s victory in the Nov. 2016 elections was unexpected. Most opinion polls and the mainstream media (MSM) predicted victory for Hillary Clinton, who was the candidate of the US Establishment and the ‘Deep State’ (DS), which includes the military-industrial complex, the intelligence agencies, the MSM, Wall Street, and the Jewish Lobby.
The DS is a permanent, unelected, group of institutions, lobbies, and individuals which wields enormous power from behind the scenes and continues to do so irrespective of who is the President and which party controls the US Congress. It is driven by the quest for money and power, among other things.
The present DS began taking shape almost thirty-five years ago when Jimmy Carter was President. There was a DS before that too, going back to the 1950s, which came into existence after the Second World War. However, it was much less powerful and entrenched than the present one. John F. Kennedy tried to defy it but did not succeed. Some believe he paid for it with his life.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on MARCH 9, 2017.

Are Big Banks’ Dark Pools Behind the Run-Up in Bank Stock Prices?

The biggest banks on Wall Street, both foreign and domestic, have been repeatedly charged with rigging and colluding in markets from New York to London to Japan. Thus, it is natural to ask, have the big banks formed a cartel to rig the prices of their own stocks?
This time last year, Wall Street banks were in a slow, endless bleed. The Federal Reserve had raised interest rates for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis on December 16, 2015 with strong hints that more rate hikes would be coming in 2016. Bank stocks never do well in a rising interest rate environment because their dividend yield has to compete with rising yields on bonds. Money gravitates out of dividend paying stocks into bonds and/or into hard assets like real estate based on the view that it will appreciate from inflationary forces. This is classic market thinking 101.
Bizarrely, to explain the current run up in bank stock prices, market pundits are shoving their way onto business news shows to explain to the gullible public that bank stocks like rising interest rates because the banks will be able to charge more on loans. That rationale pales in comparison to the negative impact of outflows from stocks into bonds (if and when interest rates actually do materially rise) and the negative impact of banks taking higher reserves for loan losses because their already shaky loan clients can’t pay loans on time because of rising rates. That is also classic market thinking 101.
Big bank stocks also like calm and certainty – as does the stock market in general. At the risk of understatement, since Donald Trump took the Oath of Office on January 20, those qualities don’t readily come to mind in describing the state of the union.
Prior to the cravenly corrupt market rigging that led to the epic financial crash in 2008 (we’re talking about the rating agencies being paid by Wall Street to deliver triple-A ratings to junk mortgage securitizations and banks knowingly issuing mortgage pools in which they had inside knowledge that they would fail) the previous episode of that level of corruption occurred in the late 1920s and also led to an epic financial crash in 1929. The U. S. only avoided a Great Depression following 2008 because the Federal Reserve, on its own, secretly funneled $16 trillion in almost zero interest rate loans to Wall Street banks and their foreign cousins. (Because the Fed did this without the knowledge of Congress or the public, this was effectively another form of market rigging. Had the rest of us known this was happening, we also could have made easy bets on the direction of the stock market.)

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade By Pam Martens and Russ Marte.

Trump Slams “Astronomical” Drug Prices, Tells CEOs To “Get Prices Down”

In his latest close encounter with top US CEOs, President Donald Trump told drugmakers at a White House meeting Tuesday they were charging ‘astronomical’ prices and promised to get better bargains for government health programs, something even Bernie Sanders would agree with. He also said he would focus on finding ways to get new medicines to market faster.
‘The pricing has been astronomical,’ Trump said to CEOs of some of the world’s biggest drugmakers, who came to Washington after Trump’s criticism of the industry earlier this month sent drug and biotechnology stocks plunging. ‘You folks have done a very great job over the years but we have to get the prices down.’
At the meeting was Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America CEO Stephen Ubl, Merck & Co. CEO Ken Frazier, Eli Lilly & Co. CEO Dave Ricks, Celgene Corp. CEO Bob Hugin and others. They embraced Trump’s calls for lower taxes and fewer regulations. The gathering with drug CEOs came after Trump’s said on Jan. 12 that the industry was ‘getting away with murder’ and promised to act on drug prices. Since then, drugmakers have turned up their lobbying efforts with Congress as a potentially friendlier force that might counter Trump.
‘Some of the policies you’ve come out and suggested i think can help us do more — tax, regulations,’ said Lilly’s Ricks. Also at Tuesday’s White House meeting were Novartis AG CEO Joe Jimenez and Johnson & Johnson Worldwide Chairman of Pharmaceuticals Joaquin Duato.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 31, 2017.

“Exceptional” USA Only 18th In World For Transparency

After coming out of a 2016 Presidential election cycle in which one candidate was the subject of multiple federal investigations related to illegal pay-to-play activities as well as the illegal destruction of federal records subject to a Congressional subpoena, perhaps it shouldn’t be so shocking that the United States was ranked 18th on Transparency International’s 2016 “Corruption Perceptions Index.” But irrespective of our expectations, here is how the United States stacks up against other countries in terms of mass corruption of our publicly elected officials and the institutions they run.

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

The US Navy: A History of Waste and Corruption

The growth of US military power has rarely, if ever, been the result of legitimate concerns about defensive strategy, let alone about the national welfare. Instead, it’s more often a consequence of a waste, corruption, and imperial ambition that together have produced the modern military-industrial complex. This history receives some well-deserved attention in Paul Pedisich’s book Congress Buys a Navy: Politics, Economics, and the Rise of American Naval Power, 1881-1921, which offers an in-depth look at the history of Congressional involvement with the US Navy. I’ve written a more general review of the book for those interested (here), but in this post I want to focus on some of the economic implications of US naval history over these four decades.
The main emphasis of the book is on a series of Congressional battles over appropriations for the Navy, and how these disputes influenced its growth and change. This process, Pedisich argues, was not driven by strategic questions of national security, but by a wide range of political interests. Pedisich provides a wealth of information about Congressional voting blocs and committees, as well and the personal and professional ties between politicians, the Navy, and the war industries. These consisted most often of conventional rent-seeking: members of Congress wanted appropriations channelled to their own constituencies, and the Navy’s budget provided an excellent opportunity for those states that stood to gain from the Congressional spoils system (pp. 28-29, and throughout).

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

A Look At Trump’s First Monday In Office: Executive Orders, Meetings, Cabinet Votes And More

As Donald Trump himself tweeted on Monday morning…
“Busy week planned with a heavy focus on jobs and national security. Top executives coming in at 9:00 A. M. to talk manufacturing in America.” -via twitter-
… the president’s first official day on the job will be busy, including a meeting with business executivesm congressional leaders (including a separate meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan), signing executive orders and getting his cabinet picks voted through.
According to the WSJ, Trump is also expected to sign various executive orders around 10:30am, which as previewed yesterday will include such topics as trade, immigration, government hiring, Obamacare and a lobbying ban. According to the White House, which released daily guidance for the president on Sunday evening, Trump’s Monday will include a ‘breakfast and listening session with key business leaders’ and a similar afternoon session with union leaders and ‘American Workers.’
Among this week’s key meetings, Trump is scheduled to with meet “top executives” at 9 a.m. today to discuss manufacturing, and British PM Theresa May on Friday.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 23, 2017.

Week in Review: January 14, 2017

The Senate began working through President-elect Trump’s cabinet appointments this week, as Washington prepares for next week’s inauguration (which will cost taxpayers over $100 million.) One of the pressing concerns worrying libertarians is Senator Jeff Session’s view on the war on drugs, which has been one of the most successful areas for states’ rights in recent years. Obamacare has also been in the news, as the Republican Congress has begun taking steps to ‘repeal and replace.’ Unfortunately, as Per Bylund notes:
In the present debate on Obamacare, all possible alternatives are simply a move from one interventionist economy to another, and this only distracts us from the real alternative: a radical rolling back of the state.
Of course this approach of less politics, more markets is the approach needed in all facets of America today.
On Mises Weekends this week, Jeff talks about crony capitalism with Nick Sorrentino, proprietor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. Jeff and Nick discuss how huge public companies – think defense giants like Lockheed Martin and Boeing – engage in an obvious form of fiscal cronyism, while Wall Street funds and investment banks engage in what we might call monetary cronyism. And they also discuss how average people reap undue benefits in a million small ways, from selling their homes in artificially overheated markets to making money from small businesses made possible only by bubbles. Is that tech startup really “worth” a $50 million payout to the founders? Thanks to the endless distortions of crony capitalism, we may never know.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on January 14, 2017.

If You Think “Fake News” Is A New Phenomenon, You’re Wrong

The ‘fog of war’ erupts in the confusion caused by the chaos of war. And in the media, it’s an intentional phenomenon that makes it difficult to separate fact from fiction.
While the battles over war narratives evolve, they all have a common goal: to distort reality on the ground.
***
On Oct. 10, 1990, a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl identified only as ‘Nayirah’ told the Congressional Human Rights Caucus that she witnessed Iraqi soldiers removing babies from incubators and leaving them on a cold floor to die.
Her testimony was cited numerous times by senators and even President George H. W. Bush as justification for backing Kuwait in the Gulf War against Saddam Hussein, which erupted just three months later.
However, it was later revealed that ‘Nayirah’ was the daughter of Kuwait’s ambassador to the United States, and her testimony was arranged by a PR firm representing a Kuwaiti-sponsored group lobbying Congress for military intervention.

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

A Complete List Of What Trump Can, And Can Not Do, On Day One And For The Rest Of 2017

With the Trump inauguration just over 10 days away, attention has now shifted to what Trump will do the moment he steps foot in the White House, and as The Hill reported this morning, judging by his campaign promises, Donald Trump will be a busy man starting on his first day in the Oval Office: “Trump has pledged to take sweeping, unilateral actions on Jan. 20 to roll back President Obama’s policies and set the course for his administration. Many of Obama’s policies he can reverse with the simple stroke of a pen.”
The Hill then lays out some of the key agenda items in terms of Immigration, Environment, Lobbying, Trade and Healthcare.
The reality, however, is a bit more nuanced than captured in the report, and has to take into consideration not only what Trump’s intentions are, but how they would integrate with Congress, where simply structural limitations could put hurdles ahead of the Trump agenda.
So, for a more comprehensive preview of what Trump can – and can not do – both on day one, and for the rest of 2017, we present a recent analysis by Alec Phillips of Goldman Sachs (which, now that Trump has surrounded himself with Goldman alumni will be as critical when it comes to fiscal policy as Goldman was when it came to advising the Federal Reserve on monetary policy), which notes that the political agenda for 2017 is starting to take shape, with tax reform and Obamacare repeal seemingly at the top of the agenda.
Trump will be delighted to know that both items can be passed without Democratic support via the budget reconciliation process.

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

The Case Against Fed Reform

This week the 115th Congress was sworn in, and there are some indications that Fed reform may be on the agenda. The combination of populist anger fueled by Ron Paul’s Presidential campaigns and the 2008 financial crisis coupled with the repeated failings of the Federal Reserve to meet their projections has created a rare window for monetary policy to be both politically advantageous, as well as so obviously needed that even politicians can see it.
The question now is what sort of reform is on the table.
Congressional Reforms Last Congressional session saw proposals from both the House and the Senate.
From the House we have the FORM Act, which would require the Fed to adopt a monetary policy rule and explain to Congress whenever they deviate from that rule. The FORM Act also calls for an annual GAO audit of the Federal Reserve, doubles the number of times the Fed Chairman testifies before Congress, and makes some other tweaks to the makeup and protocol of the Federal Reserve Board. Since the FORM Act passed the House in 2015, there is a good chance we will see it resurrected in 2017.
On the Senate side, Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby has pushed for the Financial Regulatory Improvement Act. Not only does it lack a catchy acronym, but its reforms to the Fed are far more modest than the FORM Act. The meat of the bill focuses on changes to the Fed board. The head of the New York Fed would no longer be appointed the banks board of the directors, but would instead be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate – just like the Federal Reserve Chairman. It would also grant powers to the Fed’s regional presidents that currently only reside with the board of directors.
Though early drafts of the Senate bill called for the Fed to adopt rules-based monetary policy, this ended up being stripped from the final proposal due to Democratic opposition – largely because much of the Hill focus has been on the Taylor rule, which many Fed advocates fear is too restricting.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on January 5, 2017.

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, HOUSE GOP VOTE OVERWHELMINGLY TO EVISCERATE ETHICS WATCHDOG

Republicans in the U. S. House of Representatives didn’t even wait for the new congressional session to begin before betraying President-elect Donald Trump’s key promise ‘to drain the swamp’ of political corruption.
On Monday evening, in a closed-door party meeting, GOP lawmakers in the House voted overwhelmingly (119 to 74) to neutralize and reconfigure the Office of Congressional Ethics by stripping its independent authority and making it subservient to the very members of congress it was designed to oversee.
Though Trump himself has already showed (repeatedly) how the ‘drain the swamp’ mantra was nothing more than empty campaign rhetoric, the Republican Party’s decision to ditch independent oversight of themselves looked to many like an ominous way to kick off the New Year or the 115th Congress, whose members will be sworn in Tuesday.
The vote was an approval of an amendment put forth by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee. If finalized, as the Huffington Post explains, the change would:

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on JANUARY 3, 2017.

Forced Retirement: LBJ, Nixon, and Hillary

The three most hated modern American politicians were LBJ, Nixon, and Hillary. They were driven out of power by their enemies.
Nixon was long called Tricky Dick by Democrats. The Democrats hated him as they hated no other nationally famous Republican. Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn at the Democratic National Convention in 1960 persuaded LBJ to take the Vice Presidency slot under Kennedy, whom LBJ despised almost as much as he despised his brother Bobby, in order to defeat Nixon. He ate a big mud sandwich in the name of Party unity against Nixon.
Johnson quit in March 1968 before he was driven out of power by the Republicans in November. The anti-war Democrats had deserted him in the primaries.
Nixon was driven out of power in 1974 by a small contingent of Republicans in Congress, who went to him and said he would be impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate.
Hillary was defeated in full public view by the first man with zero political or government-employment experience to win the Presidency.
All three went into forced retirement.
THE HATED NIXON.
The conservatives trusted Nixon in 1948 when Nixon trusted Whittaker Chambers. Nixon was a first-term Congressman from California. In 1948, he was the member of a House Committee on UnAmerican Activities. (Note: there was never a House UnAmerican Activities Committee. “HUAC” was a phenomenally successful acronym imposed by the Left onto a Committee that should have had “HCUA” as its acronym.) HCUA was investigating Communists in government. President Truman had issued an executive order in 1947 to require a loyalty oath for federal employees. This order was an extension of Truman’s growing surveillance state. His executive order and Eisenhower’s 1953 extension of it were repealed by Bill Clinton in 1998.
Chambers, an editor at Time (and the translator of Bambi), testified to the committee that the Roosevelt Administration’s Alger Hiss was a Communist. Hiss had been an advisor at the Yalta Conference of February 1945. Then Chambers escalated his accusation in 1949: Hiss had been an informant to the USSR — in short, a spy. Chambers was ridiculed by the Establishment. Yet it was all true. Hiss went to prison for perjury in 1950; the statute of limitations against espionage had run out.

This post was published at Gary North on December 30, 2016.

Saudi Arabia Lobbying To Amend Sept 11 Law

Following last week’s report that Saudi Arabia is starting to apply pressure on the Trump administration by hinting it could move the Aramco IPO away from New York to some still undeteremined venue due to concerns the recently passed Sept 11 law could make business in the US problematic, on Sunday Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said he has been lobbying US legislators to change a law allowing victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks to sue the kingdom.
According to AFP, Adel al-Jubeir told reporters he had returned from an extended stay in the United States, which was partly “to try to persuade them that there needs to be an amendment of the law”, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). In September, the US Congress voted overwhelmingly to override President Barack Obama’s veto of the JASTA. While 15 of the 19 Al-Qaeda hijackers who carried out the 9/11 attacks were Saudi, Riyadh continues to deny any ties to the plotters who killed nearly 3,000 people, and is worried disclosures in court could lead to material complications about conducting business in America.
“We believe the law, that curtails sovereign immunities, represents a grave danger to the international system,” Jubeir said at a joint press conference with visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 19, 2016.

Obama Contradicts Clapper & Hillary – OOPS!

Hillary told her donor base at Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel last Thursday that Russian cyber attacks were both ‘a personal beef against me’ and meant to undermine ‘the integrity of our democracy.’ Of course, absent from the speech was anything realistic acknowledging that there is a global trend against corruption that is unfolding worldwide. Hillary will blame everyone and everybody but herself.
Obama in his press conference is trying to address the contradictions surfacing when Clapper told Congress there was no evidence of a Russian hack on November 17th. Obama now says when he saw Russian President Vladimir Putin in China in early September, he told him to ‘cut it out’ and that there would be some serious retaliation if he didn’t.’ Obama now says that after of that meeting, the government did not see further tampering of the election process. The Wall Street Journal says Obama goes off the Hillary script.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 19, 2016.

James Clapper Refuses to Brief Congress on the Proof That Russia Hacked the DNC

I am sorry, but he has not basis to refuse to show his evidence. He is clearly trying to instigate a revolution in the Electoral College. He should be held in CONTEMPT of Congress and he is clearly playing politics now with the intelligence community. This is just showing how far we have gone already from our model’s forecast that 2015.75 was the PEAK IN GOVERNMENT. This is becoming blatantly obvious. Congress should hold Clapper in prison on Contempt until he agrees to brief the nation showing the EVIDENCE that the DNC was hacked by Russia. Even if it was, the emails released have exposed unbelievable corruption and collusion between the Democrats and the media, who obviously will not really push this issue for their own conflict of interest issues.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 18, 2016.

What Should Trump Do? – Your Questions Answered

You Got to Know When to Fold ‘Em
What Happens If We Don’t Balance the Budget?
Howard Ruff, RIP
Washington DC, New York, Atlanta, and Florida
This will be a shorter letter, in keeping with the need for holiday fun and relaxation. However, last week’s letter with my thoughts on what Trump should do generated more responses than any other letter had in the last 17 years. As you might suspect, with a topic so controversial, not everyone agreed with me. But there were many good questions and comments and some thoughtful disagreements, so I want to address a few of those. And I will specifically go into why I seemingly deviate from core conservative principles regarding taxes. It’s all about debt and the consequences of debt – that’s the overriding factor for me. And I’ll try to make the case that there are times when we just have to make hard, even philosophically unpalatable, choices.
Some comments I will excerpt; others I will characterize in general terms; and where appropriate I’ll copy and paste whole comments. So let’s jump in.
Allen Jones Univ. of Arkansas
Please explain further corporate tax rate of 15% on income above $100,000 with “no deductions period.” Sounds like a 15% tax on sales. What do you mean no deductions? Are operating expenses deductions?
Allen, this was probably the most-asked question, and since you asked it most concisely, you get the recognition for it.
No, this is not a sales tax. It is a 15% tax on corporate income. That is normal GAAP accounting income. There are something like 3,400 different, legal, congressionally mandated corporate tax loopholes and deductions. (I can’t find the exact number right now.) Many of those tax loopholes apply to only one company or one very small industry and are favors from a Congressman or Senator to their main constituents. So when I say no deductions, I mean get rid of every one of those loopholes. I know, I know – I will be goring practically every business’s ox in some way or other. And that’s the problem: Too many people think their industry deserves some breaks and one little loophole is not that big a deal, and the next thing you know there are 3400 of these puppies. And then you find General Electric paying less income tax than I do while making multiple billions of dollars a year.

This post was published at Mauldin Economics on NOVEMBER 27, 2016.

Brazil’s New President Temer Threatened With Impeachment After New Corruption Scandal Emerges

Six months after Brazil’s former president Dilma Rouseff was removed from power as a result of a carefully orchestrated process by her former Vice President, Michel Temer, who as many suggested at the time, was merely trying to shift attention away from himself and to his former boss due to his “checkered past”, swirling with allegations of corruption on par with those of the deposed president, Temer himself may be in danger of impeachment when overnight, Brazil’s public prosecutor announced it was studying a possible investigation into whether President Michel Temer put pressure on a former minister to favor a Cabinet colleague’s property investment.
Marcelo Calero, who resigned last week as culture minister, told federal police that the president pressured him to resolve a dispute with another Cabinet member, Geddel Lima, president Temer’s top government congressional liaison, who was seeking a permit for an apartment building in a historic preservation area of his hometown, a federal police source said.
Calero’s accusations have set off new crisis for Temer for allegedly using his public office to obtain a permit for the luxury oceanfront building in the city of Salvador.
Following the news, the Brazilian real slumped as much as 2.2% to 3.4679 reais to the dollar, the biggest intraday drop since Trump’s unexpected victory. Traders cited concern that the controversy could derail an overhaul of government finances favored by investors. Simiarly, Brazil’s main stock market index, the Bovespa, fell 1.3 percent on concerns of continued political uncertainty delaying recovery from the country’s worst recession since the 1930s.
As Reuters adds, adding fuel to the crisis, the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper reported on Friday that Calero secretly recorded his conversations with Temer and Vieira Lima to back his case. If the chief prosecutor’s office finds grounds to investigate the allegations it would have to ask the Supreme Court for authorization to allow the probe involving the president, the spokeswoman said, effectively starting a new impeachment process. Confirming this, the leader of the Workers Party in lower house Afonso Florence said that former Culture Minister Calero’s allegation that President Michel Temer pressured him on Lima’s case is ‘very serious’ and may lead to an impeachment request.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 25, 2016.

Thanks For Nothing… And Everything

During this season of Thanksgiving, I would like to express my overwhelming gratitude…
Thank you, President Obama. Thank you for not upholding your oath to the U. S. Constitution to protect America’s southern border. Thank you for illegally granting amnesty via executive action and avoiding the unnecessary hassles of passing the legislation through Congress. And thank you for your efforts in turning the United States of America into a third-world refugee camp.
Thank you, Obama, for your broad support of Islam and for labeling American citizens as bitter, xenophobic racists clinging to their guns and religion. I would also like to express my gratitude to you, your enablers, and all of the sycophantically corrupt, establishment politicians for near doubling the national debt of the United States these last eight years.
Another heartfelt expression of gratitude goes out to all of the media pundits, talking heads, newspaper columnists, Silicon Valley moguls as well as the proprietors, purveyors and contributors of actual fake news websites who contort themselves daily to support leftist politicians and the progressive agenda. Without the blind commitment of those who have facilitated the Cloward-Piven strategy of sacrificing America to the global elite banking establishment, it would have been far more difficult for Obama to fundamentally transform our country over the last eight years.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 20, 2016.