Ukrainian Lawmakers Disclose $45 Million In Bitcoin Holdings

As Ukraine’s crackdown on corruption continues, three lawmakers from Ukraine’s ruling party revealed this week that they own a combined $45 million in bitcoin, according to a report by RIA Novosti, a Russian foreign news service.
Their holdings came to light during mandatory financial disclosures by members of the Ukrainian parliament, part of an IMF-approved strategy to tamp down corruption in Ukraine. The country’s democratic institutions, which were never very robust to begin with, have been further destabilized by the civil war that’s seen pro-Russian separatists seize control of two regions in eastern Ukraine. Lawmakers must now disclose their assets and wealth in an online database.

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

Intel Memo: Marco Rubio Targeted For Assassination By Venezuela Lawmaker

Senator Marco Rubio may have been targeted for assassination by one of Venezuela’s most powerful lawmakers and long time secretive head of the country’s security services. According to the Miami Herald, the US Department of Homeland Security disseminated a sensitive memo to federal agencies last month which identified Diosdado Cabello Rondon as behind the “order to have Senator Rubio assassinated,” while also noting the intelligence to be unverified as ‘no specific information regarding an assassination plot against Senator Rubio has been garnered thus far.”
Cabello Rondon is widely believed to be Venezuela’s second most-powerful man and head of the country’s military and security services. US media has referred to him as “the Frank Underwood of Venezuela” (from the TV series House of Cards) for his well-known history of corruption, suspicion of drug trafficking, and Machiavellian plotting against rivals and involvement in pro-Chavez military crackdowns. As a behind the scenes influential military leader he’s kept both the late president Hugo Chavez and current socialist strongman Nicolas Maduro in power.

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

Republicans Strike Back: Congressman Circulates Letter Demanding Mueller Open Hearing

According to an exclusive report from the Daily Caller, Representative Brian Babin (R-TX) has apparently circulated a letter in DC asking for congressmen to sign onto an effort to force special counsel Robert Mueller testify publicly in an open congressional hearing. Among other things, Babin says that Congress has a right to question the independence of Mueller’s investigative staff and the scope of his investigation.
Babin’s letter, which was obtained by TheDC, was sent out to congressmen Thursday and asks for members to cosign a letter he plans to send to House Judiciary chairman Bob Goodlatte and Senate Judiciary chairman Chuck Grassley.
‘Every nominee for United States Attorney must be confirmed by the Senate, a process that brings to the forefront any concerns regarding the nominee’s ability to hold their position in a decent and impartial manner. However, as Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team of lawyers investigate our very own president, we as a nation wait in the dark with very little information about those given this great authority,’ Babin wrote in the letter to his fellow representatives.
Babin writes in the letter that there are ‘serious concerns’ about conflicts of interest with regard to members of Mueller’s counsel who donated ‘generously’ to Democrats or even represented Clinton herself.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 11, 2017.

A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack

Written by Patrick Lawrence of The Nation,
It is now a year since the Democratic National Committee’s mail system was compromised – a year since events in the spring and early summer of 2016 were identified as remote hacks and, in short order, attributed to Russians acting in behalf of Donald Trump. A great edifice has been erected during this time. President Trump, members of his family, and numerous people around him stand accused of various corruptions and extensive collusion with Russians. Half a dozen simultaneous investigations proceed into these matters. Last week news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had convened a grand jury, which issued its first subpoenas on August 3. Allegations of treason are common; prominent political figures and many media cultivate a case for impeachment.
The president’s ability to conduct foreign policy, notably but not only with regard to Russia, is now crippled. Forced into a corner and having no choice, Trump just signed legislation imposing severe new sanctions on Russia and European companies working with it on pipeline projects vital to Russia’s energy sector. Striking this close to the core of another nation’s economy is customarily considered an act of war, we must not forget. In retaliation, Moscow has announced that the United States must cut its embassy staff by roughly two-thirds. All sides agree that relations between the United States and Russia are now as fragile as they were during some of the Cold War’s worst moments. To suggest that military conflict between two nuclear powers inches ever closer can no longer be dismissed as hyperbole.
All this was set in motion when the DNC’s mail server was first violated in the spring of 2016 and by subsequent assertions that Russians were behind that ‘hack’ and another such operation, also described as a Russian hack, on July 5. These are the foundation stones of the edifice just outlined. The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths. By my reckoning, it required a few days to a few weeks to advance from each of these stages to the next. This was accomplished via the indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly in our leading media.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 10, 2017.

New Monsanto Emails Raise Questions On Safety Of RoundUp Products

Documents released yesterday in a lawsuit against Monsanto have resulted in new questions about the company’s efforts to influence the news media and scientific research and revealed internal debate over the safety of its highest-profile product, the weed killer Roundup.
As the New York Times notes today, new internal emails, among other things, reveal ethical objections from former employees to “ghost writing” research studies that were pawned off as ‘independent’ analyses.
The documents underscore the lengths to which the agrochemical company goes to protect its image. Documents show that Henry I. Miller, an academic and a vocal proponent of genetically modified crops, asked Monsanto to draft an article for him that largely mirrored one that appeared under his name on Forbes’s website in 2015. Mr. Miller could not be reached for comment. A similar issue appeared in academic research. An academic involved in writing research funded by Monsanto, John Acquavella, a former Monsanto employee, appeared to express discomfort with the process, writing in a 2015 email to a Monsanto executive, ‘I can’t be part of deceptive authorship on a presentation or publication.’ He also said of the way the company was trying to present the authorship: ‘We call that ghost writing and it is unethical.’
The newly disclosed emails also reveal internal discussions which cast some doubt over whether internal scientists actually believed in the company’s external messaging that Roundup was, in fact, safe.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 2, 2017.

House Judiciary Member Calls For Mueller Resignation Over Conflict, “Clear Violation Of Federal Code”

House Judiciary Committee member, Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ), is calling on Robert Mueller, special counsel for the Department of Justice’s Russia investigation, to resign over an alleged “conflict of interest” resulting from a personal relationship with James Comey who is a person of interest in the investigation. Per the Washington Examiner:
“Bob Mueller is in clear violation of federal code and must resign to maintain the integrity of the investigation into alleged Russian ties,” Franks said. “Those who worked under them have attested he and Jim Comey possess a close friendship, and they have delivered on-the-record statements effusing praise of one another.”
“No one knows Mr. Mueller’s true intentions, but neither can anyone dispute that he now clearly appears to be a partisan arbiter of justice. Accordingly, the law is also explicitly clear: he must step down based on this conflict of interest,” Franks said.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 1, 2017.

Berlin Calls For “Countermeasures” To US Sanctions Against Russia, Hints At Trade War

While the Pentagon may be already contemplating its next steps in the escalating conflict with Russia, which as the WSJ reported will likely involve supplying Ukraine with antitank missiles and other weaponry – a red line for the Kremlin not even the Obama administration dared to cross – there is minor matter of what to do with a suddenly furious Europe, which as we discussed previously, has vowed it would retaliate promptly after Trump signed the anti-Russia legislation into law, due to allegations it was just a veiled attempt at favoritism for US-based energy companies.
And, sure enough, on Monday, the Germany economy minister said that tew penalties against Moscow proposed by US lawmakers violate international law and officials in Brussels should consider countermeasures.
Speaking to Funke Mediengruppe newspaper, Brigitte Zypries said that “we consider this as being against international law, plain and simple.” She added that “of course we don’t want a trade war. But it is important the European Commission now looks into countermeasures.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 1, 2017.

Pakistan Plunges Into Political Turmoil After Prime Minister Ousted For Corruption

Pakistan plunged into political turmoil when its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resigned shortly after the Supreme Court ousted him from office on Friday following an investigation into allegations of corruption centering on undeclared offshore assets. As Reuters notes, The court disqualified Sharif for not being ‘honest’, a requirement for lawmakers under Pakistan’s constitution, something the US sorely needs to amend as well. The court also ordered a corruption trial against Mr. Sharif, whose family is accused of amassing wealth through corrupt means and purchasing expensive overseas properties with that money.
The case against Mr. Sharif centers on four upscale apartments in London, which the opposition party alleges were bought with money made from corruption. Details of the property, held in the name of Mr. Sharif’s children, were disclosed in the huge leak of documents from the Panamanian law firm Mosack Fonseca last year, known as the “Panama Papers”, detailing the undisclosed offshore holdings of people around the world. The Prime Minister said the apartments belonged to his children, not him, and were acquired as part of a settlement of an old family business deal with a Qatari prince.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 28, 2017.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judges Changing Transcripts in Federal Court Manhattan

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

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

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

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

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

Our Political Parties Are Obsolete

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Contagion from the 2 Friday-Night Bank Collapses in Italy?

This is how desperate the Italian Banking Crisis has become.
When things get serious in the EU, laws get bent and loopholes get exploited. That is what is happening right now in Italy, where the banking crisis has reached tipping point. The ECB, together with the Italian government, have just this weekend to resolve Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca, two zombie banks that the ECB, on Friday night, ordered to be liquidated.
Unlike Monte dei Pachi di Siena, they will not be bailed out primarily with public funds. Senior bondholders and depositors will be protected while shareholders and subordinate bondholders will lose their shirts. However, as the German daily Welt points out, subordinate bondholders at Monte dei Pachi di Siena had billions of euros at stake, much of it owned by its own retail customers who’d been sold these bonds instead of savings products such as CDs. So for political reasons, they were bailed out.
Junior bonds play a smaller role at the two Veneto-based banks. According to the Welt, the two banks combined have 1.33 billion (at face value) in junior bonds outstanding. They last traded between 1 cent and 3 cents on the euro. So worthless. Only about 100 million were sold to their own customers, not enough to cause a political ruckus in Italy. So they will be crushed.

This post was published at Wolf Street by Don Quijones ‘ Jun 25, 2017.

McCain Institute Donors Look Disturbingly Similar To Clinton Foundation – Soros, Teneo, Saudia Arabia…

Last fall, we spent a fair amount of time reading through John Podesta’s emails, courtesy of Wikileaks, and grew increasingly astonished with each passing day at the number of apparent conflicts of interest created by the Clinton Foundation which seemed to be nothing more than a front created for the Clintons to peddle their influence around the world in return for staggering “charitable” donations.
Take, for example, our posts which questioned whether the CEO of Dow Chemical, Andrew Liveris, made very sizable contributions to the Clinton Foundation just so he could get an audience with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss his failed $9 billion joint venture with Kuwait. Here are a couple of posts which provide some background:
New Hillary Emails Expose Bill Pushing Meetings With Foundation Donors, Requests For “Diplomatic Passports” Did Foundation Donor Dow Chemical Seek Hillary “Favor” To Settle $9 Billion Lawsuit With Kuwait? Or, there was that time that Hillary was offered $12 million from Moroccan King Mohammed VI just to host her annual “Clinton Global Initiative” meeting in his country.
And don’t even get us started on Doug Band who spent years with the Clintons before starting his own “consulting” practice called Teneo (see: Doug Band Exposes Foundation’s “For-Profit Activity Of President Clinton (i.e., Bill Clinton, Inc.)“)
Now, an exclusive report on the “McCain Institute” published earlier today from the Daily Caller (DC) has us wondering who else in Congress might just be running miniature Clinton Foundation-ish organizations and enriching their personal families in the process.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 20, 2017.

Flynn Probe Focusing On Former Business Partner

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn’s interactions with Turkish officials has expanded to include Flynn’s former business partner, Bijan Kian, Reuters reported Tuesday. However, the news agency said it’s unclear whether Kian is suspected of criminal activity, or if investigators are just trying to understand the role he played in a transaction involving their old company, Flynn Intel Group, and a Netherlands-based company owned by a Turkish businessman who’s believed to have connections with the Turkish government.
The announcement also has implications for the Trump administration. Kian had a hand in picking intelligence agency personnel and was privy to high-level conversations regarding US intelligence as a member of President Donald Trump’s national security transition team. He also led most of the Flynn Intel Group’s research and lobbying for the Turkish businessman in question, the Associated Press reported.
‘Investigators are also looking at whether payments from foreign clients to Flynn and his company…were lawful, according to two separate sources with knowledge of the broad inquiry into Flynn’s business activities. That includes payments by three Russian companies and a Netherlands-based company, Inovo, controlled by Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin, they said.
The FBI’s interest in Kian has not been previously reported. Kian played a central role in securing and overseeing the Inovo contract, two people with knowledge of that project said.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 20, 2017.

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Wants to Put a Bigger Blindfold on Consumers

The next leg of the insatiable Wall Street heist has begun under the new U. S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Under the guise of empowering Americans ‘to make independent financial decisions,’ the Treasury released its set of recommendations for financial reform on Monday. Far from empowering Americans, the new recommendations would effectively place a bigger blindfold on consumers, blocking further their ability to differentiate between serially corrupt financial institutions on Wall Street and those that make an effort at playing by the rules. (The latter being an almost extinct species.)
Wall Street’s fingerprints are all over the Treasury recommendations. The report has singled out for particular scalpel treatment the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which Wall Street loathes because of its independence. The acronym ‘CFPB’ appears 315 times in the 147-page report. One passage reads as follows:
‘A significant restructuring in the authority and execution of regulatory responsibilities by the CFPB is necessary. The CFPB was created to pursue an important mission, but its unaccountable structure and unduly broad regulatory powers have led to predictable regulatory abuses and excesses. The CFPB’s approach to rulemaking and enforcement has hindered consumer access to credit, limited innovation, and imposed unduly high compliance burdens, particularly on small institutions. Treasury’s recommendations include: making the Director of the CFPB removable at will by the President or, alternatively, restructuring the CFPB as an independent multi-member commission or board; funding the CFPB through the annual appropriations process; adopting reforms to ensure that regulated entities have adequate notice of CFPB interpretations of law before subjecting them to enforcement actions; and curbing abuses in investigations and enforcement actions.’

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade on June 14, 2017.