Trump Sued For Not Releasing White House Visitor Logs

Three organizations have filed lawsuits against President Trump’s administration for not publicly disclosing White House visitor logs.
According to The Hill, the lawsuits were filed against the Department of Homeland Security by The National Security Archive, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University after the administration failed to release the records pursuant to several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
‘We hoped that the Trump administration would follow the precedent of the Obama administration and continue to release visitor logs, but unfortunately they have not.’ CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement.
‘Given the many issues we have already seen in this White House with conflicts of interest, outside influence, and potential ethics violations, transparency is more important than ever, so we had no choice but to sue.’
‘President Obama routinely released the data we’re seeking with no damage to presidential privilege, and this information is central to the Secret Service mission and thus clearly agency records subject to FOIA,’ Tom Blanton, the director of the National Security Archive, said in a statement.

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

“Who’s Worth What” – White House Releases Financial Disclosures Of Key Staffers

President Trump night released details of the personal finances of his staffers late on Friday, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka, which once again confirmed that most of the people in his immediate circle are very wealthy. The legally required disclosure documents provided a snapshot of assets and positions held by personnel when they first entered their new jobs at the White House, and before they started selling stocks and other assets that could pose conflicts of interest, according to White House ethics officials.
Curiously, the White House did not actually create a public depository of the filings, so AP, Propublica and the NYT created a shared drive for all the disclosures so far.
.@nytimes @AP @politico And we're off. Since the White House is not posting the documents publicly, we ( @nytimes @AP) are: — ProPublica (@ProPublica) March 31, 2017

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

Raiders Move to Vegas Gives Tax Payers Reason to Boo, Players Reason to Cheer

Yesterday the NFL granted Mark Davis his request to move the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas. The move creates multiple losers: Las Vegas hotel customers who will see room taxes rise to pay for the $750 million in subsidies for the new stadium, the city of Oakland who still carries debt from the Raiders old venue, and the infamous fans that made up the Raiders’ iconic ‘Black Hole’ who are losing their football team just after witnessing their first playoff performance in almost 15 years.
Beyond the blatant crony capitalism of government-financed stadiums, there are many reasons to doubt the wisdom of the team’s decision. After all, unlike the Rams and Chargers move to Los Angeles, Las Vegas has no history of supporting professional football. The most significant attempt, the Las Vegas Outlaws of the XFL, only averaged 22,619 fans, ranking 5th out of the league’s 8 teams. Other attempts, including multiple Arena League teams and the short lived UFL, were financial flops. Of course, none of these products have the power of the National Football League, so perhaps this time will be different.
At league meetings, a key part to selling relocation was the idea that fans of other teams would travel to Las Vegas to enjoy the city’s attractions along with the game. Of course, if the market had faith in this business model, investment wouldn’t have needed politicians to find investment. It is worth noting that the new Las Vegas NHL team will be playing at a facility backed entirely by private investment. Maxing out at 20,000 seats, it has one-third of the capacity of the Raiders venue – but cost less than a quarter of the projected costs of the Raiders’ future facility.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on March 29, 2017.

AFTER US REFUSED TO CHARGE THEM FOR LAUNDERING TERRORIST MONEY, MEGABANKS BUSTED AGAIN

An investigative reporting coalition recently released a report alleging a multi-billion dollar money laundering operation that has affected hundreds of banks and companies in 96 countries including the repeat offender, HSBC.
In 2012, HSBC, one of the world’s largest banks, settled with the U. S. Government, avoiding criminal prosecution of its executives, for helping to launder money for Mexican drug cartels as well as Al Qaeda. According to the US Senate’s report, which investigated the matter, HSBC provided a ‘gateway for terrorists to gain access to U. S. dollars and the U. S. financial system.’
Loretta Lynch, while serving as the U. S. District Attorney in NY, said HSBC engaged in a ‘sustained and systemic failure to guard against the corruption of our financial system by drug traffickers and other criminals and for evading U. S. sanctions law.’ As a result of the criminal charges for money laundering and admitted guilt in four counts against the global banking firm – the megabank was let off with a slap on the wrist.
‘HSBC has agreed to forfeit 1.256 billion dollars, the largest forfeiture amount ever by a financial institution for a compliance failure,’ Lynch stated.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on MARCH 24, 2017.

“Stinging Defeat For Trump”: House Delays Health Care Vote On Doubts It Can Pass

Lengthy standing ovation from the Freedom Caucus when @POTUS walked into the Cabinet Room just now. Big momentum toward #RepealAndReplace. pic.twitter.com/N1FLGAVFMN
— Cliff Sims (@CSims45) March 23, 2017

Summary of the chaotic day’s key events:
GOP House leaders delayed their planned vote Thursday to repeal and replace “Obamacare,” which as AP put it was a “stinging defeat” for Paul Ryan and President Trump in their first major legislative test. The decision came after Trump failed to reach agreement with a bloc of rebellious conservatives. Moderate-leaning Republican lawmakers were also bailing on the legislation, leaving it short of votes. At least 30 Republicans said they opposed the bill, enough to defeat the measure. But the number was in constant flux amid the eleventh-hour lobbying. The bill could still come to a vote in coming days, but canceling Thursday’s vote is a significant defeat. It came on the seven-year anniversary of President Barack Obama signing the Affordable Care Act, years that Republicans have devoted to promising repeal. “No deal,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N. C., said after he and his group of more than two dozen rebellious conservatives met with Trump to try to get more concessions to reduce requirements on insurance companies. The Republican legislation would halt Obama’s tax penalties against people who don’t buy coverage and cut the federal-state Medicaid program for low earners, which the Obama statute had expanded. It would provide tax credits to help people pay medical bills, though generally skimpier than Obama’s statute provides. It also would allow insurers to charge older Americans more and repeal tax boosts the law imposed on high-income people and health industry companies. The measure would also block federal payments to Planned Parenthood for a year, another stumbling block for GOP moderates.

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

How The Government Ruined U.S. Healthcare (And What We Can Actually Do About It)

Government’s meddling in the healthcare business has been disastrous from the get-go.
Since 1910, when Republican William Taft gave in to the American Medical Association’s lobbying efforts, most administrations have passed new healthcare regulations. With each new law or set of new regulations, restrictions on the healthcare market went further, until at some point in the 1980s, people began to notice the cost of healthcare had skyrocketed.
This is not an accident. It’s by design.
As regulators allowed special interests to help design policy, everything from medical education to drugs became dominated by virtual monopolies that wouldn’t have otherwise existed if not for government’s notion that intervening in people’s lives is part of their job.
But how did costs go up, and why didn’t this happen overnight?
It wasn’t until 1972 that President Richard Nixon restricted the supply of hospitals by requiring institutions to provide a certificate-of-need.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 22, 2017.

Senator Hints That Trump May Resign: ‘I Think He Is Going To Get Himself Out’

It’s no secret that there is a concerted effort underway to do everything possible to remove President Donald Trump from office.
From Russian ties to business conflicts of interests, both Democrats and Republicans are actively working to find chinks in the President’s armor.
But for those with hope of change in their hearts, Democrat Senator Diane Feinstein says there is a possibility that Trump will eventually remove himself from office by filing his own resignation.
Speaking to a crowd during a town hall-style Questions and Answers session, Feinstein was asked how Congress is going to deal with Trump’s alleged illegal activities:
Journalist: We don’t know what’s happening but we know that he is breaking laws every day, he’s making money at Mar-a-lago, he’s getting copyrights in China, he has obvious dealings with Russia, the Dakota pipeline… there’s some many things that he’s doing that are unconstitutional… how are we going to get him out?
Feinstein: We have a lot of people looking at this… Technical people… I think he’s going to get himself out… I think sending sons to another country to make a financial deal for his company and then have that covered with government expenses… I think those government expenses should not be allowed.. we are working on a bill that will deal with conflict of interest… it’s difficult…

This post was published at shtfplan on March 18th, 2017.

New European Regulations Set To Crush Equity Research Budgets By $300 Million

Literally no one knows the true ‘value’ of equity research, not even the investment banks that are selling it. Up until now, equity research has been treated as a ‘freebie’ given away to institutional clients in return for trading commissions but that is all about to change thanks to the European Union’s MiFID II regulations, which require asset managers to separate trading commissions from investment-research payments.
Unfortunately, at least for the Investment Banks of the world, while the cost of generating equity research may be substantial, it turns out that the true ‘value’, as defined by institutional clients’ maximum willingness to pay for reports, may be much less. Which is shocking given the creativity required to constantly generate new variations of daily reports politely suggesting that you “Buy The Fucking Dip.”
As Bloomberg notes today, the regulatory change slated to take effect next January could cost the I-banks $300 million in fees.
Asset-managers in Europe and the U. S. will probably cut more than $300 million from research budgets in anticipation of regulations aimed at rooting out conflicts of interest in the market for investment information.
That’s according to a survey of 99 fund managers and traders conducted by consulting firm Greenwich Associates, which assessed the shake-up coming to the multi billion-dollar market for investment research over the next year.
The European Union’s MiFID II regulations, which require asset managers to separate trading commissions from investment-research payments, will have a ‘clearly negative’ impact on the amount of commission money that is spent on research and advisory services, according to the Stamford, Connecticut-based firm’s findings released Tuesday. While the budget cuts will be ‘relatively modest’ at individual asset-managers, research providers across the board fear the new law will prompt ‘a substantial decrease’ in buy-side spending.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 15, 2017.

Preet Bharara Fans Speculation He Was Probing Trump When He Was Fired

By the way, now I know what the Moreland Commission must have felt like.
— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) March 12, 2017

There may have been much more to the termination of US attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, than meets the casual glance.
According to Reuters, which cites a law enforcement source, two days before U. S. Attorney Preet Bharara was fired on Saturday, the high-profile New York prosecutor declined to take a call from President Donald Trump. Bharara reportedly contacted the DOJ for authorization to speak to the president on Thursday – one day before the DOJ announced it had requested all Obama-era attorneys to hand in their resignations. When he apparently did not receive it, Reuters adds that he called back the woman who had contacted him to say “he did not want to talk to Trump without the approval of his superiors.”
As reported previously, Bharara – in his role as chief federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York – oversaw several notable corruption and white-collar criminal cases and prosecutions of terrorism suspects. He was one of 46 Obama administration holdovers who were asked to resign by the Justice Department on Friday.

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

Trump Vows “Full-Court Press” As Opposition To ‘RyanCare’ Mounts

As the U. S. House of Representative marks up Paul Ryan’s American Healthcare Act, the battle between the moderate and conservative factions of the Republican Party continues to mount behind the scenes all while opposition from a variety of advocacy groups is also growing. ‘This is what good, conservative health-care reform looks like,’ House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday. ‘It is bold and long overdue. And it is us fulfilling our promises.’
Despite the public bickering, Republicans scored a victory early Thursday, pushing a measure through the House Ways and Means Committee repealing tax penalties on people who don’t buy insurance but otherwise progress on the bill has been slow.
As the Wall Street Journal notes, Ryan and House Republicans have to thread a very fine needle on healthcare legislation that appeals to a sufficient number of conservatives to pass the House while not alienating the more moderate factions of the party in the Senate.
House Republican leaders are under pressure to ease passage through the House by making changes that appease conservatives who want a more aggressive repeal of the ACA. Those changes risk further jeopardizing support in the Senate, where centrist Republicans have said they are concerned the proposal will cause too many people to lose coverage, particularly those with low incomes.
Underscoring the Senate’s central role, a group of Republican governors representing states that expanded Medicaid under the existing law have largely given up on lobbying the House and instead are focusing their efforts on the Senate, according to two people familiar with their thinking.

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

Great Moments In Local Government Tyranny

I focus most of my ire on the federal government because bad policy from Washington is the biggest threat to our nation’s freedom and prosperity.
But we also get plenty of bad policy from other levels of government. I periodically focus on the foibles of states such as California, Illinois, and New York.
Today, though, let’s contemplate the inane policies of local government.
I’ve shared plenty of examples in the post, even to the point of putting together two contests (here and here) to pick the craziest action by a local government.
Politicians and bureaucrats in cities and towns do lots of big things that are bad, such as creating massive unfunded liabilities, providing crappy schools, turning law enforcement into back-door tax collectors, and trying to turn children into wusses.
And they do lots of small things that are bad, such as shutting down children’s lemonade stands, arresting people for saving rafters from drowning, fining people for rescuing children from savage dog attacks, leaving a dead body in a pool for two days, requiring permits to be a bum, poisoning water supplies, and paying bureaucrats not to work for 12 years.
Let’s augment these lists.
As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, here’s an example of Chicago cronyism.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 5, 2017.

TURKEY: Reverse Regime Change, Replacing Secularism with Sultanism

Since 2002, the Republic of Turkey has been ruled by the Justice and Development Party (or AKP), founded Recep Tayyip Erdoan and other prominent figures hailing from Necmettin Erbakan’s Welfare Party (or Refah Partisi, better known under the acronym RP) that had made Islamist politics mainstream in 1990′s Turkey.
At first, Erdoan and his henchmen appeared to respect the rule of law and the political traditions established by Mustafa Kemal Atatrk (1881-1938) and his followers (colloquially known as Kemalists, adhering to the ideology of Kemalism). The economic boom of the early AKP years and the concomitant political clout have allowed AKP-led Turkey to go down a post-Kemalist path into distinctly Muslim waters where authoritarianism and Ottoman nostalgia have managed to seduce the bulk of the Turkish population.
In reality, the economic boom overseen by the AKP was nothing but a mirage, after all, largely financed by borrowed money and extreme privatization – ‘a flood of near zero-interest foreign capital.’ At present, the Turkish economy appears to be in the doldrums, with unemployment currently at 11.8%, the highest level reached since March 2010 according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (or TK in acronymized Turkish).
The well-respected Turkish economist Taner Berksoy, for example, opines that the Turkish economy will experience a major downturn this year, in spite of the government’s encouragement packages, citing internal political instability as well as geopolitical risks, including Syria’s not-so civil war next door, and a general slowing down of the global economy.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on MARCH 5, 2017.

Ukraine Tax Chief Gets Heart Attack After Arrest Over $75 Million Theft

While much of the media attention remains glued to Russia for various reasons, a more notable development took place in neighboring Ukraine overnight, where on Friday Ukrainian state agencies tried to arrest the head of the tax and customs service Roman Nasirov, i.e., the equivalent to the head of the IRS, over the embezzlement of around $75 million. However, their efforts were hindered when the man, Roman Nasirov, was allegedly struck by a heart attack during the detention attempt and was shown stretchered into an ambulance and taken to Kiev’s Feofania hospital late on Thursday.
Anti-corruption prosecutor Nazar Kholodnytsky said investigators believe 38-year-old Nasirov helped exiled lawmaker Oleksandr Onishchenko deprive the state of 2 billion hryvnias ($75 million) in tax revenue linked to a gas deal, Reuters reports. The crackdown was seen as a landmark case following patchy anti-graft efforts from the Western-backed authorities.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 3, 2017.

SEC Nominee Has Represented 8 of the 10 Largest Wall Street Banks in Past Three Years

President Trump’s nominee to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, Walter J. (Jay) Clayton, a law partner at Sullivan & Cromwell, has represented 8 of the 10 largest Wall Street banks as recently as within the last three years.
Clayton’s current resume at his law firm is somewhat misleading. It lists under ‘Representative Engagements’ in ‘Capital Markets/Leveraged Finance’ the following:
Initial public offering of $25 billion by Alibaba Group Holding Limited;
Initial public offering of $190 million by Moelis & Company;
Initial public offering of $2.375 billion by Ally Financial.
All three of the above IPOs occurred in 2014 – less than three years ago. A quick check of the prospectuses for the IPOs that were filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows that Clayton, as a law partner at Sullivan & Cromwell, was representing the underwriters in the offering, which include the largest Wall Street banks. Put the three deals together and you have 8 of the 10 largest banks on Wall Street being represented by the SEC nominee within the past three years. These are the same banks that are serially charged by the SEC for increasingly creative means of fleecing the public.
If that’s not enough to conflict Clayton out of consideration to Chair the SEC post, then conflicts of interest have lost all meaning within the legal lexicon of the United States.

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

In the Banker War on Cash, New Zealand and Canada Are the Next Major Countries on the Banker Hit List

As we warned more than 4 years ago in this article here, the criminal banking cartel’s end game involves restricting freedom of speech and curbing any criticism of their criminal banking industry by banning cash and imposing an end game of 100% digital money upon all of us. Now with the benefit of 4 more years, there can be little doubt that indeed, that the banking industry has advanced their war against all of us by accelerating their war on cash, and attempting to disguise this war on cash as a war on corruption.
Any logical person would understand the vast irony in such a statement, especially since bankers are leading these false charges of a war on cash as a war on corruption, not only given the fact that the banking industry is the most corrupt industry on the planet, but also given the fact that bankers provide much of the dirty money that feeds global stock markets by laundering tons of dirty money for the world’s most violent drug cartels. Recall that in 2012, HSBC bankers had to pay a $1.9B fine for willingly laundering hundreds of millions, and more likely billions of dollars, of dirty money for the largest and most murderous Mexican drug cartels. Though HSBC CEO Stuart Gulliver unconvincingly denied approving of these transactions, any logical person would conclude that it is next to impossible for the CEO of a bank not to know that origin of the source of hundreds of millions of dollars of cash flowing into his bank.
In addition to profiting handsomely by conducting business with the largest, most violent drug cartels in the world, such as the Sinaloa drug cartel, HSBC bankers were also convicted of openly conducting business with terrorists linked to Al-Queda, Hezbollah, and Russian mobsters, and for openly moving money for rogue states like North Korea and the Sudan. In fact, Jack Blum, a former US Senate investigative attorney, stated, ‘[HSBC bankers] violated every goddamn law in the book. They took every imaginable form of illegal and illicit business.’ Of course HSBC bankers were not the only bankers convicted of laundering huge sums of illicit money and profiting from this illegal act. Wachovia bankers, Standard Chartered bankers, Citibank bankers, Wells Fargo bankers, and dozens of other bankers were also found guilty of these criminal activities as well, exposing the systemic criminal nature of the banking industry.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 29 January 2017.

11/1/17: Mr. Trump’s Plan for Addressing Conflicts of Interest is a Fig Leaf of Corporate Governance

Why PEOTUS Donal Trump’s plan to donate hotels profits earned from foreign government payments to the U. S. Treasury is a fig leaf of corporate governance measures?
***
There are several reasons why a commitment to donate profits arising from foreign governments’ payments to his hotels will not reduce, nor even alleviate, business incentives for potential conflict of interest that may arise in the future. Firstly, donating profits from such activities requires that profits are declared on these activities in the first place. Since profits are declared across the entire business, not on the basis of individual transactions, Mr. Trump can use full extent of tax laws and accounting procedures, including cumulated losses deductions and tax shields on investment, to effectively reduce such denotable profits to nil over the next 4-8 years.

This post was published at True Economics on Thursday, January 12, 2017.

Is Trump Draining the Swamp or Filling It?

Trump has broken his word and is by no means draining the swamp – he is filling it. He has really betrayed a lot of people by his nomination of Gary D. Cohn as Director of the National Economic Council, which is a policy-making position for domestic and international economic issues.
The one legal firm in New York that defends the bankers is Sullivan & Cromwell. Trump has named a lawyer from that firm, Jay Clayton, to serve as Wall Street’s top cop as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. There is absolutely no possible way Clayton will call the bankers to account for anything. In fact, it would probably be a huge conflict of interest to bring charges against any bankers in New York when Sullivan & Cromwell will most likely represent them (including Goldman Sachs).

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Jan 11, 2017.

US Puppet Ban Ki-moon Finally Leaves the UN – After Gutting it from the Inside

21st Century Wire says…

History shows how the United States has staged dozens of violent coups worldwide since the end of WWII. Here the CIA will simply install its own compliant puppet leader in order to better streamline US interests with those of the target nation. This practice was not only confined to nation states, however, as we can see with the out-going UN Secretary General.
The whole basis of the UN charter was to avoid the kind of undeclared wars of aggression suffered at the hands of Nazi Germany. Back in October, 21WIRE’s Vanessa Beeleyexplained:
‘To compare Saudi Arabia’s belligerent actions in Yemen to Nazi Germany’s undeclared wars of aggression prior to WWII is no exaggeration. In fact, one could make the argument that this Saudi-US joint venture is much worse, and a far more dangerous precedent. Likewise, the failure of a corrupt UN (who effectively sold Saudi Arabia its seat on at the head of the UN Human Rights Council ), led by an impotent Secretary General in Ban-ki Moon, to censure Saudi Arabia for its flagrant violation of international law, the Nuremberg Principles and the entire Geneva Convention content and implied framework – leaves the UN in the exact same position as the League of Nations in 1938.’
Now that US puppet Ban-Ki Moon is finally on his way out, we can see the true scope of the corruption he’s presided over – and the irreparable damage he’s inflicted on this international institution…

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on JANUARY 10, 2017.