For all the talk about Paul Manafort’s indictiment, one can’t help but feel that there is a distinct undercurrent amid today’s newsflow focusing on Hillary Clinton: from the resignation of one of the most powerful Democrats, Tony Podesta, who earlier today parted ways with the lobbying firm he founded after it became ensnared in the Mueller probe (and who is also brother of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta) to the sudden reemergence of the Benghazi attack narrative, one wonders if Trump is not preparing to launch a broadside attack on his former presidential challenger. Lost in the general newsflow, on Monday the AP reported that US special ops forces captured a militant Sunday who was the US says was instrumental in the 2012 attack on the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. The September 2012 assault killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, and led to allegations that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton failed to provide an adequate response to the attack, and subsequently blamed the attack on a Youtube video clip.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 30, 2017.
As the left and the media ramp up their Manafort-ian mania against Trump, it appears the trail of destruction from special counsel Mueller’s probe has spread to Democratic power-lobbyist Tony Podesta. As we explained in Aug 2016, Paul Manafort – now under indictment on 12 charges – and his deputy Rick gates previously worked with the Podesta Group, run by Tony Podesta, the brother of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. …emails obtained by the Associated Press showed that Gates personally directed two Washington lobbying firms, Mercury LLC and the Podesta Group, between 2012 and 2014 to set up meetings between a top Ukrainian official and senators and congressmen on influential committees involving Ukrainian interests. Gates noted in the emails that the official, Ukraine’s foreign minister, did not want to use his own embassy in the United States to help coordinate the visits. And this is where the plot thickens, because while the bulk of the press has so far spun the entire Ukraine lobbying scandal, which led to Manafort’s resignation, as the latest “proof” that pro-Moscow powers were influencing not only Manafort but the Trump campaign in general (who some democrats have even painted of being a Putin agent), the reality is that a firm closely tied with the Democratic party, the Podesta Group, is just as implicated.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 30, 2017.
Since the stunning election of Donald Trump, liberal news outlet CNN has gone on a 24/7 anti-Trump crusade, even going as far as to give ‘credibility’ to the infamous (and fake) Trump dossier while conveniently leaving out the fact that one of their main reporters on the topic is literally close personal friends with the founders of the company who commissioned it. That’s right, as CNN pretends to report the news, they are actually conducting cover for their friends in both the Democratic Party as well as at Fusion GPS, with the network’s lead reporter on the topic, Evan Perez, having a public friendship with the founders of the company. A key report by The Daily Caller conclusively proves that Perez has a long personal relationship with multiple founders of the company and that CNN has failed to disclose this startling conflict of interest in any of their reports on the dossier or Fusion GPS in general. As the DC article notes, CNN’s reporting on the dossier, led by justice correspondent Evan Perez, has been largely favorable to the firm and openly anti-Trump. The network has also hyped the dossier’s credibility despite the fact that the vast majority of the media has already revealed that its contents are completely unconfirmed. The fact that Perez has worked with and is personal friends with the founders of the company who paid for the dossier apparently isn’t important to the network.
As the public has finally began to realize the extent of the corruption surrounding Hillary Clinton, including the now infamous Russia Uranium One deal, the mainstream media has gone into hyper-drive to discredit and distract from documented facts and are now going as far as to float the idea that Trump may be committing a crime for simply investigation Clinton at all. That’s right, in the sick world of the establishment media, Trump is committing a criminal act by even considering an investigation into shady Clinton dealings with the Russians. After all, she is above the law right? Even more disgusting, the so-called reporters spewing this nonsense are using the fact that Mueller is conducting a deep state operation (now discredited) against the president that accuses him of working with Russia to win the election when in reality it is the exact opposite. In other words, Trump is being accused of something he didn’t do but because of this, he can’t investigate real crimes committed by Clinton. Absolutely unbelievable. During an appearance on MSNBC’s ‘AM Joy’ legal analyst Paul Butler laughably claimed that it ‘absolutely is’ obstruction of justice for the government to investigate Hillary Clinton because….. Russia.
This post was published at shtfplan on October 28th, 2017.
More than nine months after the DOJ and a handful of Congressional committees launched probes into Russia’s efforts to influence the election, President Donald Trump is finally pushing back by aiding Congressional Republicans’ efforts to investigate the Clinton’s Russia ties, which are as extensive than Trump’s, if not more so. Earlier this week, he reportedly ordered the Department of Justice to lift a gag order on an FBI informant, freeing him to testify before Congressional probes into the Obama-era Uranium One deal. And just minutes ago, CNN reported that the president has made it clear to the State Department that he wants to accelerate the release of any remaining Hillary Clinton emails in its possession as soon as possible. The order comes as calls for the DOJ to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the deal are growing following the revelation that the FBI had investigated possible corruption related to Russia’s push to buy up uranium in North America, but neglected to inform Congress. That probe led to the arrest of a Russian who was head of the US-based subsidiary of Rosatom, a nuclear energy company backed by the Russian state. Three Congressional committees have launched investigations into the deal. The central question is whether Hillary Clinton and her husband entered into a quid pro quo whereby she voted in 2010 to approve the sale of 20% of US uranium supplies to Russia – and in returned received hundreds of millions of dollars for the Clinton foundation from entities with ties to the Russian government. Her husband also received a $500,000 speaking fee from a bank with ties to the Russian government.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 27, 2017.
As discussed earlier, nearly 54 years after the assassination of JFK, in a release that was greenlighted by the president himself last week, and which Trump is eagerly awaiting… The long anticipated release of the #JFKFiles will take place tomorrow. So interesting! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2017
While this was met with great anticipation as conspiracy theorists everywhere hoped to close the books on their various ideas surrounding the death of Kennedy, at the last minute President Trump appeared to cave to persistent cross-agency lobbying and announced he would not order the release of the full tranche of records, instead following last-minute recommendations of his national security agencies that some of those records be redacted to give in to pressure from the CIA. Instead, the National Archives, in its role as custodian, has unveiled a smaller batch of so-called “JFK Files“: some 2,891 JFK Assassination records meant to shed more light on what happened in Dallas at 12:30pm on November 22, 1963. While it is hoped that the release will answer some questions about the assassination of John F Kennedy, with virtually everyone in the US who is next to a computer trying to access the files at this moment…
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 26, 2017.
As our elected officials in Washington D. C. continue to debate whether or not Trump’s proposed border wall would be an effective deterrent to those looking to come to the U. S. illegally, the one thing that is becoming increasingly clear is that Mexico’s drug wars are spiraling out of control…a fact that the Trump administration will almost certainly leverage as it seeks additional funding for border security. As PanAmPost notes, Mexico has recorded a staggering 24,000 homicides in 2017 through September with 73% of those murders being tied to organized crime. 2017 might be the most violent year in Mexican history, one NGO claims. Semforo Delictivo said that, due to the 24,000 homicides between January and September, the year is proving even worse than 2011, when President Felipe Caldern’s war on drugs led to 22,000 homicides. President of the organization, Santiago Roel, said that 73 percent of murders committed in the first eight months of the year were related to organized crime. He said that in 2007, there were 2,828 executions. Now, a decade later, 18,017 have been reported. All high-impact crimes have increased during the current year, including abductions, homicides and grand theft auto at gunpoint. According to Roel, the main cause of violence and corruption is the ‘Mrida Plan,’ which focuses on eradicating drug cartels.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 26, 2017.
Authored by ZeroPointNow, originally published on iBankCoin Tony Podesta and his lobbying firm the Podesta Group are under federal investigation by FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller in connection with the Russia investigation, three sources told NBC News. The firm, co-founded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta, was subpoenaed in late August along with three other public relations firms who worked with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort during a 2012-2014 lobbying effort for a pro-Ukraine think tank – the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU) – tied to former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. Two of the subpoenaed firms include Paul Manafort’s Mercury, LLC and the Podesta Group, founded by John and Tony Podesta and operated by the latter. Manafort’s firm earned $17 million between 2012 – 2014 consulting for Yanukovych’s centrist, pro-Russia ‘Party of Regions.’ During the same period, Manafort oversaw a lobbying campaign for the pro-Russia ‘Centre for a Modern Ukraine,’ a Brussels based think tank linked to Yanukovych which was pushing for Ukraine’s entry into the European Union. The Podesta group, operating under Manafort, earned over $1.2 million as part of that effort. In a statement to NBC, a spokesman for the Podesta Group said the firm “is cooperating fully with the Special Counsel’s office and has taken every possible step to provide documentation that confirms timely compliance. In all of our client engagements, the Podesta Group conducts due diligence and consults with appropriate legal experts to ensure compliance with disclosure regulations at all times – and we did so in this case.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 23, 2017.
Former President George W. Bush gave a speech yesterday implicitly slamming President Donald Trump for dragging down democracy. Bush told political cronies and other attendees: ‘We are gathered in the cause of liberty this is a unique moment.’ He assured listeners that freedom ‘should be the defining commitment of our country, and the hope of the world.’ Bush invoked the ‘high ideals’ of our nation, declaring, ‘We become the heirs of James Madison by understanding the genius and values of the U. S. Constitution.’ After the speech, much of the media exalted Bush as if he were the second coming of George Washington. Twitter showcased the spiel with an unusual summary in its ‘trending tweets’ lineup – “George W. Bush gve a powerful speech on democracy, freedom, and American values.” If Bush had never been president, it would be easier to understand the adulation. But Bush was one of the most disastrous, authoritarian presidents in modern American history. Bush committed more abuses of power than could be recounted in anything less than a book. But there was one issue which should forever define Bush in Americans’ memory. After the 9/11 attacks, Bush’s lawyers quickly assured him that the Constitution and federal law no longer constrained the president’s power. Bush proceeded to authorize the type of torture regime that civilized nations had formally abandoned hundreds of years earlier.
The Czech election is taking place today, with the ‘Czech Donald Trump’, Andrej Babis, expected to be voted in as Prime Minister. As we noted last week, Babis is the Czech Republic’s second wealthiest person, is demanding the return of greater sovereignty from the EU, rejects the Euro and is against Muslim immigration. He has pledged to run the country like a business, while eliminating corruption. Oh, and he is also facing criminal charges for fraud. Babis’s anti-establishment party ANO stands for “Action of Dissatisfied Citizens” and is also the Czech word for “yes”. *** The Prague Daily Monitor (PDM) reports that ‘ANO is the clear favourite of (sic) the election that will take place on Friday and Saturday. Opinion polls indicate that ANO is likely to win two times more votes than the CSSD, which may be narrowly overcome by the Communists (KSCM) and possibly even the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) movement of populist Tomio Okamura or the right-wing Civic Democrats (ODS).’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 21, 2017.
I predict the current investigations will widen and take a variety of twists and turns that surprise all those anticipating a tidy, narrowly focused denouement. The theme this week is The Rot Within. To those of us who understand the entire status quo is rotten and corrupt to its core, the confidence of each ideological camp that their side will emerge unscathed by investigation is a source of amusement. The fake-progressives (fake because these so-called “progressives” support Imperial over-reach and a status quo whose only possible output is soaring wealth and income inequality) are confident that a “smoking gun” of corruption will deliver their most fervent dream, the impeachment of President Trump, while Trump supporters are equally confident there is no “smoking gun.” One camp is confident that the wily Clintons and their army of enablers, from former FBI Director Comey on down, will finally be brought to long-evaded justice for their various perfections of corruption and collusion: pay to play, and so on. Clinton supporters are equally confident that there is no “smoking gun” that will bring down the House of Clinton, and by proxy, the organs of the Democratic Party.
President Trump and the congressional Republican leadership recently unveiled a tax reform ‘framework.’ The framework has a number of provisions that will lower taxes on middle-class Americans. For example, the framework doubles the standard deduction and increases the child care tax credit. It also eliminates the alternative minimum tax (AMT). Created in the 1960s, the AMT was designed to ensure the ‘wealthy’ did not use ‘loopholes’ to ‘get out of’ paying taxes. Today the AMT is mostly a means to increase taxes on the middle class. The framework eliminates the ‘death tax,’ thus enabling family-owned small businesses and farms to remain family owned. It also helps the economy by lowering the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, reducing taxes on small businesses. The framework also adopts a territorial tax system, which means US companies would only pay tax on profits earned in the United States. However, the framework is far from a total victory for liberty. Concerns have been raised that, depending on what income levels are assigned to what tax brackets, the plan could increase taxes on many middle- and lower-income Americans! This is largely due to the framework’s elimination of most tax deductions. The framework also contains a stealth tax increase imposed via the chained consumer price index (chained CPI). Supporters of chained CPI clam the government is currently overstating inflation. The truth is exactly the opposite: government statistics are manipulated to understate inflation.
Another Trump-Russia collusion narrative has bitten the dust. In a stunning revelation that goes a long way toward alleviating the cloud of suspicion that has hovered over Donald Trump Jr. since details about a meeting organized by Trump Jr. involving Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort along with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and her entourage were first publicized in July, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that newly disclosed emails between Veselnitskaya and Azerbaijani-Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov largely support Veselnitskaya’s account that the meeting focused on her years long lobbying effort to kill the Magnitsky Act. *** The emails, which were provided to WSJ by Scott Balber, a lawyer for Agalarov, cover a period of time leading up to the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower. They begin in October 2015, when Veselnitskaya first shared information about her anti-Magnitsky efforts with Russian Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 9, 2017.
It took Trump a little longer to get started on twitter Saturday morning, when shortly after 7am ET, the president launched a pair of tweets in which he unexpectedly offered a rare compliment to the Washington Post for its coverage of ‘wonderful small donors’ who have contributed to the Republican party. ‘Can’t believe I finally got a good story in The Washington Post It discusses the enthusiasm of ‘Trump’ voters through campaign contributions. The RNC is taking in far more $’s than the Dems, and much of it by my wonderful small donors. I am working hard for them!’ Can't believe I finally got a good story in the @washingtonpost. It discusses the enthusiasm of "Trump" voters through campaign…. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2017
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 7, 2017.
Markets are blowing off this uncertainty for now. On Thursday, the Senate confirmed Randal Quarles, President Trump’s first Fed nominee, as a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. During his confirmation hearing, Quarles said it was time to roll back some of the regulations that were imposed on banks after they’d imploded and threatened to take down the global financial system. He will become the chief bank regulator at the Fed, filling the slot that Daniel Tarullo left behind when he resigned unexpectedly in April. Quarles is founder of private investment firm, The Cynosure Group. Fed Governor Jerome Powell is also a Cynosure alumnus. Quarles had been a partner at private equity firm The Carlyle Group and served as undersecretary of the Treasury under President George W. Bush. WHIRRRR makes the revolving door. One down, four more to go. The Fed’s Board of Governors has seven slots, currently chaired by Janet Yellen. After Quarles’ appointment, potentially four more will need to be filled over the next few months. The seven board members are part of the policy-setting 12-member Federal Open Markets Committee. The other five members of the FOMC are the president of the New York Fed and on a one-year rotating basis four presidents of the remaining 11 regional Federal Reserve Banks.
‘I don’t think the ham-handedness of this action is fully appreciated.’ Wolf here. This is what Bill Tilles, one of the authors of the article below, wrote in an email about the article. It should see the light of day: As for the DOE action re subsidizing coal plants, there’s a real dog-bites-man aspect to the story, in addition to being extreme inside baseball. Conservative Republicans, eager to reward coal and nuclear interests, propose new regulations by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that aggressively favor coal and nuclear over natural gas to overcome the significant cost advantages that natural gas now has. To me, the real story is in the 19-page document that the Department of Energy sent to FERC. It was a polemic. In politics that’s permissible, even expected. But the unusual aspect is that DOE is directing FERC – the agency with real administrative expertise in the area – to make wide-ranging rate changes favorable to coal and nuclear interests based on no additional evidence other than a fake crisis! You have to think about that for a minute. FERC dockets are voluminous with every imaginable interest group weighing in. And time consuming. These folks in the Trump administration are in effect saying to FERC, ‘We don’t need no stinkin’ records.’ It’s a ginned up crisis. With a predictable, cronyist solution: Hand over money to that special interest. And do it fast, they say, or we’ll all be freezing come winter.
This post was published at Wolf Street by Leonard Hyman and Willian Tilles ‘ Oct 5, 2017.
Are you ready for mass chaos in Washington? There are lobbyists for just about every cause that you can possibly imagine, and they are always working hard to influence members of Congress on their particular issues. But when you are talking about a major tax reform bill, that is something that virtually every single lobbyist in the entire city will want to be involved in. Our tax code is over two million words long, and the regulations are over seven million words long, and any changes to our immensely complex system could have absolutely enormous implications. There will be winners and there will be losers with any piece of legislation, and lobbyists will zealously fight to defend the turf belonging to their particular clients. Often lobbyists from different sides will literally be pitted directly against one another, and it won’t be pretty. In fact, one analyst that works for Cowen Washington Research Group says that we could soon be watching ‘the corporate hunger games’… Almost every industry, special interest, and consumer group has an interest in the tax code, especially if the package ends up being as ambitious as Trump and Republican leaders want it to be. Chris Krueger, an analyst at Cowen Washington Research Group, told Business Insider that the battle over which loopholes to keep and which to throw out could get nasty.
Barack Obama is funding the anti-Trump movement through a series of backdoor deals and policies. Wall Street may be surprised to learn that it is also helping bankroll the anti-Trump ‘resistance’ whether they wanted to or not. Wall Street is fighting policies which would heavily favor it, including corporate tax cuts and the repeal of Obama-era banking and health-care regulations. We have the Obama administration to thank for the harsh anti-Trump movement by far left groups, according to an article by the New York Post. The Obama administration’s massive shakedown of Big Banks over the mortgage crisis included unprecedented back-door funding for dozens of Democratic activist groups who were not even victims of the crisis. At least three liberal nonprofit organizations the Justice Department approved to receive funds from multibillion-dollar mortgage settlements were instrumental in killing the ObamaCare repeal bill and are now lobbying against GOP tax reform, as well as efforts to rein in illegal immigration. An estimated $640 million has been diverted into what critics say is an improper, if not unconstitutional, ‘slush fund’ fed from government settlements with JPMorgan Chase and Co., Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp., according to congressional sources. The payola is potentially earmarked for third-party interest groups approved by the Justice Department and HUD without requiring any proof of how the funds will be spent. Many of the recipients so far are radical leftist organizations who solicited the settlement cash from the administration even though they were not parties to the lawsuits, records show. ‘During the Obama administration, groups committed to ‘revolutionary social change’ sent proposals and met with high-level HUD and Justice Department officials to try to get their pieces of the settlement pie,’ Cause of Action Institute vice president Julie Smith told The Post. -New York Post
This post was published at shtfplan on September 25th, 2017.
Shortly after Steve Bannon visited Hong Kong last week to give a closed-door speech at a big investor conference hosted by CLSA, a Chinese state-owned brokerage and investment group, Trump’s former strategist flew to Beijing for a “secret meeting with the second most powerful Chinese Communist party official”, less than a month after the former chief White House strategist declared that America was at ‘economic war with China’, the FT has reported. The meeting occurred at Zhongnanhai, the Chinese leadership compound, where Bannon meet with Wang Qishan, the head of the Chinese Communist party’s anti-corruption campaign. “The Chinese reached out to Bannon before his Hong Kong speech because they wanted to ask him about economic nationalism and populist movements which was the subject of his speech,” the FT quoted a “person familiar” with the situation. Mr Wang, who is seen as the second most powerful person in China after President Xi Jinping, arranged through an intermediary for a 90-minute meeting after learning that Mr Bannon was speaking on the topic, according to the second person, who stressed there was no connection to President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to China. As the FT adds, the (not so) secret meeting between Bannon and Wang will “stoke speculation that the Chinese anti-graft tsar, who has purged hundreds of senior government officials and military officers for corruption in recent years, may continue to work closely with Mr Xi during his second term in office.” Under recent precedent, Mr Wang, who turned 69 in July, would be expected to step down from the Politburo Standing Committee, the Communist party’s most powerful body. But his many admirers argue that as China’s most knowledgeable and experienced financial technocrat, he should stay on to help Mr Xi force through a series of stalled financial and economic reforms.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 22, 2017.