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.

The Housing Market Bubble Is Popping

As with all other highly manipulated data, the financial media has a blind bias toward the ‘bullish’ story attached to the housing market. Understandable, as the National Association of Realtors spends more on special interest interest lobbying in Congress than any other financial sector lobby interest, including Wall Street banks.
New home sales were down last month, according to the Census Bureau, 11.3% and missed Wall Street’s soothsayer estimates by a rural mile. Strange, that report, given that new homebuilder sentiment is bubbling along a record highs. Existing home sales were down 2.3%. You’ll note that the numbers reported by the Census Bureau and NAR are ‘SAAR’ – seasonally adjusted annualized rates. There is considerable room for data manipulation and regression model bias when a monthly data sample is ‘seasonally adjusted/manipulated’ and then annualized. You’ll also note that mortgage rates have dropped considerably from their December highs and May is one of the seasonally strongest months for home sales.
It’s becoming pretty clear to me that the housing market’s ‘Roman candle’ has lost its upward thrust and is poised to fall back to earth. I believe it could happen shockingly fast. Fannie Mae released its home purchase sentiment index, which FNM says is the most detailed of its kind.

This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on June 20, 2017.

A Homerun For The Donald – -Attack The Fed’s War On Savers, Workers And The Unborn (Taxpayers)

The central banks have gone so far off the deep-end with financial price manipulation that it is only a matter of time before some astute politician comes after them with all barrels blasting. As a matter of fact, that appears to be exactly what Donald Trump unloaded on bubble vision this morning:
By keeping interest rates low, the Fed has created a ‘false stock market,’ Donald Trump argued in a wide-ranging CNBC interview, exclaiming that Fed Chair Janet Yellen and central bank policymakers are very political, and should be ‘ashamed’of what they’re doing to the country…
He’s completely correct. After all, they are crushing real wages with their 2% inflation targeting; destroying savers with NIRP and sub-zero rates; and burying unborn taxpayers in monumental debts that today’s politicians are pleased to issue with reckless abandon because the short-run carry cost is nil.
Interest on the Uncle Sam’s $19.4 trillion of debt, for example, is easily $500 billion lower than its true economic cost based on a normal yield after inflation and taxes and elimination of the phony $100 billion per year in so-called Fed ‘profits’ that are booked by the treasury as negative interest expense.
Alas, when interest rates eventually normalize, the Treasury’s debt service costs will soar by hundreds of billions. At the same time, the entirety of the Fed’s ‘profits’, which are conjured from thin air because it buys interest-yielding government and GSE debt with printing press liabilities which cost virtually nothing, will disappear. That’s because it will be forced to take reserve charges for giant principal losses on the falling prices of its $4.5 billion portfolio of government and GSE bonds.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on September 12, 2016.

The Chinese Trade Slump Continues In July – – Sharp Counterpoint To Payroll Friday

Under traditional ‘rules’, devaluing of a currency is supposed to bring about a measurable, even obvious increase in the export sector of the country undertaking the manipulation. The Japanese have been notorious for believing in the paradigm, and not just in the past four years under QQE and the whispers of it. Some people still believe that China is merely the latest to desperately employ the tactic.
A more than 6 percent slide in the yuan against the dollar over the past year appears to have done little to help China’s exporters in the face of stubbornly soft global demand and weak commodity prices.
Exports in China fell 4.4% in July in dollar terms, another ‘unexpected’ contraction despite it being now the sixteenth out of the past seventeen months (with the only positive in March due to the Golden Week holiday and more than canceled out by February). June exports were revised significantly (and unusually) lower to show a 6% contraction instead of the -4.8% first reported. In local RMB terms, Chinese exports rose by 2.2% in the latest month which in reality isn’t any different from any of this. If it isn’t 30% in either dollars or RMB, then China is in big trouble.
As the Chinese economy sputters, it is both because of the global economy and further trouble for it. After imports were nearly flat in May, triggering an almost optimism panic of confirmation bias among economists and the media (redundant), they contracted sharply again in the months after; -9% in June and now -12.5% in July. This was, again, seasonality. In 2015, imports crashed to start the year, dropping more than 20% in January and February, before ‘improving’ to -6.3% by June 2015 and eliciting all the same optimism and confidence that the bottom had been reached. By September, imports were contracting by 20% again.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on August 8, 2016.

SP 500 and NDX Futures Daily Charts – Risk On! – Gamble, Gamble

It was damn the gloom over Brexit and full speed ahead, led by the SP futures which remain the tool of choice for those who wish to drive the markets here and there, particularly in periods of low volume/genuine commitment to just about anything.
The markets are broken, given over to manipulation and corruption. And those who continually point the finger at manipulation by the government are really missing the whole point of the need for reform, and too often willfully so.
The financialization of the economy has turned ‘the markets’ into wealth transfer mechanisms from the public to a crooked and corrupted few.
Let’s see if this was a real turnaround or merely a dead cat bounce.
Nike was down sharply after hours on real world things like earnings and revenues.

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 28 JUNE 2016.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

A Convocation Of Gamblers
The Wall Street Journal and BloombergView have just run articles on the shadow banking system in China. This has put me in a nostalgic mood. About 35 years ago when I was living in Japan, I made a side trip to Hong Kong.
I took the hydrofoil to Macau one afternoon and the same service back early the next morning. On the morning trip, I am sure that I saw many of the same faces that I saw the day before.
They had been gambling all night and were now heading back, blurry eyed and hungover, to their desks in Hong Kong’s financial district.
My fellow travelers now sit atop the world’s second biggest economy and a steaming pile of debt. What could possibly go wrong?
Lord, Make Me Financially Prudent… But Not Yet!
The WSJ article is the more detailed one. It describes the market for wealth management products (‘WMP,’ which is ominously and accurately close to the acronym for weapons of mass destruction). These are products sold to Chinese ‘investors’ – remember the boat back from Macao – by Chinese banks.
The former are looking to circumvent the interest rate caps on deposits and other restrictions on investment. The latter are looking to circumvent the limitations on lending and balance sheet growth.
Meanwhile, in the background, the Chinese government, which is supposedly trying to wean the Chinese economy off its debt-driven GDP manipulations, is paraphrasing St. Augustine: ‘Lord, make me financially prudent…but not yet!’

This post was published at Acting-Man on June 10, 2016.

Look Out! The Market’s Last Line of Defense Is Crumbling

Two things about human nature are pretty predictable. The first is that humans have short memories. Second, they never learn from their mistakes.
The same goes for investors. Markets change, the companies that dominate the markets change, technology changes, but human naturenever changes.
Not that long ago we experienced a huge financial crisis where many people watched their 401(k) turn into a 201(k). While the markets rebounded to new highs in recent years, a lot of individual investors sold at the bottom and never got back in. Others who did, won’t know to sell until it’s too late.
Meanwhile, central banks have fueled yet another bubble. This one could be even bigger than the last, meaning that when it bursts, it will burst more violently. Carnage will ensue, and some companies will be more devastated than others.
That’s why I focus so much of my energy looking at earnings quality.
In my newsletter Forensic Investor, I publish stock recommendations betting against companies that use accounting shenanigans – basically, companies that have jimmied their earnings. Often, companies will resort to this funny business to mask deterioration in their business. I also design, develop, and test models to help spot financial chicanery and predict where earnings could be vulnerable to manipulation.
The problem today is that the whole market may be manipulated.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by John Del Vecchio ‘ May 20, 2016.

Trump’s Right – – Paying Back The National Debt With ‘Discounts’ Is Already Official Policy

Donald Trump says a lot of whacko things, and his recent wild pitches about defaulting on the national debt and replacing Yellen because she is not a Republican sound as if they were coming right out of his wild man wheelhouse. Certainly these statements have gotten mainstream financial journalists and editorial writers in high dudgeon.
Said the NYT editorial page about Trump’s observation that if things got bad enough he’d seek to negotiate ‘discounts’ on Uncle Sam’s towering debt,
Such remarks by a major presidential candidate have no modern precedent. The United States government is able to borrow money at very low interest rates because Treasury securities are regarded as a safe investment, and any cracks in investor confidence have a long history of costing American taxpayers a lot of money.
Well, now. These ‘very low rates’ could not have anything to do with the fact that the Fed has vacuumed-up $3.5 trillion of Treasury debt and its close substitute in GSE securities since September 2008. Apparently, the law of supply and demand has been suspended until further notice – -except for the fact that when Bernanke even hinted that the Fed might sell-down some of its grossly bloated balance sheet in April 2013 treasury yields erupted higher in the infamous taper tantrum.
The fact is, ultra low rates on Uncle Sam’s mountainous debt haveeverything to do with central bank manipulation of interest rates; and ‘confidence’ in Washington’s fiscal rectitude is but an empty platitude.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on May 5, 2016.

Brazilian Stocks, Currency Tumble After Brazil House Chief Calls For Annulment, New Rousseff Impeachment Vote

Late last week, we shared what may be the most concise summary of the ongoing political theater involving the impeachment process of Dilma Rousseff, who as is well known has already been impeached, but where virtually every other actor is just as guilty of corruption and/or kickbacks. To wit:
A Brazilian Supreme Court justice ruled on Thursday that the powerful lawmaker who orchestrated the effort to impeach President Dilma Rousseff must step down as he faces graft charges, ratcheting up tensions in the country. And in a further blow to Brazil’s scandal-plagued political establishment, Vice President Michel Temer, the man preparing to take control of the government from Ms. Rousseff, had his conviction on charges of violating limits on campaign financing upheld earlier this week, a ruling that makes him ineligible to run for elected office for eight years.
The rulings are not expected to save Ms. Rousseff’s presidency. Support for her ouster remains strong in the Senate, which is preparing to vote next week on whether to remove her from office and put her on trial over claims of budgetary manipulation. But the decisions reflect the potential for greater political turmoil in the country.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 05/09/2016.

The War On Savers And The 200 Rulers Of Global Finance

There has been an economic coup d’tat in America and most of the world. We are now ruled by about 200 unelected central bankers, monetary apparatchiks and their minions and megaphones on Wall Street and other financial centers.
Unlike Senator Joseph McCarthy, I actually do have a list of their names. They need to be exposed, denounced, ridiculed, rebuked and removed.
The first 30 includes Janet Yellen, William Dudley, the other governors of the Fed and its senior staff. The next 10 includes Jan Hatzius, chief economist of Goldman Sachs, and his counterparts at the other major Wall Street banking houses.
Then there is the dreadful Draghi and the 25-member governing council of the ECB and still more senior staff. Ditto for the BOJ, BOE, Bank of Canada, Reserve Bank of Australia and even the People’s Printing Press of China. Also, throw in Christine Lagarde and the principals of the IMF and some scribblers at think tanks like Brookings. The names are all on Google!
Have you ever heard of Lael Brainard? She’s one of them at the Fed and very typical. That is, she’s never held an honest capitalist job in her life; she’s been a policy apparatchik at the Treasury, Brookings and the Fed ever since moving out of her college dorm room.
Now she’s doing her bit to prosecute the war on savers. She wants to keep them lashed to the zero bound – -that is, in penury and humiliation – – because of the madness happening to the Red Ponzi in China. Its potential repercussions, apparently, don’t sit so well with her:
Brainard expressed concern that stresses in emerging markets including China and slow growth in developed economies could spill over to the U. S.
‘This translates into weaker exports, business investment, and manufacturing in the United States, slower progress on hitting the inflation target, and financial tightening through the exchange rate and rising risk spreads on financial assets,’ she said, according to the Journal, which said she made the comments on Monday.
In the name of a crude Keynesian economic model that is an insult to even the slow-witted, Brainard and her ilk are conducting a rogue regime of financial repression, manipulation and unspeakable injustice that will destroy both political democracy and capitalist prosperity as we have known it. They are driving the economic lot of the planet into a black hole of deflation, mal-distribution and financial entropy.
The evil of it is vivified by an old man standing at any one of Starbucks’ 24,000 barista counters on any given morning. He can afford one cappuccino. He pays for it with the entire daily return from his savings account where he prudently stores his wealth.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on February 4, 2016.

“These Are Extremely Poor Results”: Deutsche Bank Reports Titanic $7 Billion Annual Loss

When it comes to picking a poster child for everything that’s wrong with Wall Street and the financial industry in general, it’s sometimes difficult to decide just who gets the blue ribbon for ‘most nefarious.’
Indeed, since 2008 we’ve learned that virtually every systemically important financial institution on the face of the planet has at one time or another engaged in some manner of chicanery be it the manipulation of the world’s most important benchmark rates, the peddling of worthless mortgage bonds, or the rigging of FX markets.
Having said all of that, Deutsche Bank may well qualify as the institution that ‘best’ exemplifies the banking industry’s penchant for greed, corruption, and general malfeasance.
From rate rigging to book cooking to deplorable HR procedures, the German lender has it all and last summer, the bank showed co-CEOs Anshu Jain and Jrgen Fitschen the door amid shareholder pressure to reform the corporate culture and improve performance.
To be sure, new CEO John Cryan has his hands full.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 01/21/2016.

CFTC Has Decade Of Audit Opinions Withdrawn After Massive “Error” Uncovered

If you are a victim of investment fraud, there may be implications for your federal taxes. Visit for details.
— CFTC (@CFTC) January 19, 2016

As regular readers are likely aware, we like to give the CFTC a helping hand whenever possible.
For seven years, we’ve warned about the danger the market faces from the parasitic ‘strategies’ of predatory HFTs and nefarious vacuum tubes and finally, the Commission as well as the DOJ listened, subsequently confirming that such practices are indeed illegal.
So concerned is the CFTC about rooting out any and all corruption and market manipulation that the Commission conducted an extensive investigation into the cause of 2010′s infamous flash crash on the way to uncovering the ‘mastermind’ behind the madness that sent the Dow plunging nearly 1,000 points in minutes.
So impressed were we at the Commission’s dedication to preserving the integrity of our beloved ‘markets’ that we sought last year to help the CFTC uncover further instances of manipulation in a series of articles (see here, here, and here) designed to help hapless regulators spot the very same type of tactics they swear Navinder Sarao used on the way to engineering the collapse of the entire US equity market from his basement.
Of course we jest and to the extent we believed there might be a shred of honesty and/or dignity buried somewhere in the bowels of the government body tasked with policing the derivatives market, our hopes were dashed on Tuesday when we learned that the Commission’s auditor has withdrawn ‘nearly a decade’ of financial opinions after discovering that the books may be cooked.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 01/20/2016.

Central Bank Money Printing – -The Rotten Philosophy Beneath

If advocates of freedom were to make up a list of New Year’s resolutions for 2016, one of the most important items should be ending government’s monopoly control over money. In a free society, people in the marketplace should decide what they wish to use as money, not the government.
For more than two hundred years, practically all of even the most free market advocates have assumed that money and banking were different from other types of goods and markets. From Adam Smith to Milton Friedman, the presumption has been that competitive markets and free consumer choice are far better than government control and planning – except in the realm of money and financial intermediation.
This belief has been taken to the extreme over the last one hundred years, during which governments have claimed virtually absolute and unlimited authority over national monetary systems through the institution of paper money.
At least before the First World War (1914-1918) the general consensus among economists, many political leaders, and the vast majority of the citizenry was that governments could not be completely trusted with management of the monetary system. Abuse of the monetary printing press would always be too tempting for demagogues, special interest groups, and shortsighted politicians looking for easy ways to fund their way to power, privilege, and political advantage.
The Gold Standard and the Monetary ‘Rules of the Game’
Thus, before 1914 the national currencies of practically all the major countries of what used to be called the ‘civilized world’ were anchored to market-based commodities, either gold or silver. This was meant to place money outside the immediate and arbitrary manipulation of governments. Any increase in gold or silver money required private individuals to find it profitable to prospect for it in various parts of the world; mine it out of the ground and transport it to where it might be refined into usable forms; and then mint part of any new supplies into coins and bullion, with the rest made into various commercial and industrial products demanded on the market.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on January 4, 2016.

Duke U. Study Suggests The Fed Consistently Leaked Non-Public Information to Select Insiders

This excerpt from a Duke University study is just in from my friend Professor Anthony Sanders at George Mason University, who writes at Confounded Interest.
This is the ‘money shot’ from the abstract of the paper which is tracks the distribution of stock market gains over the FOMC information cycle:
“High return weeks do not line up with public information releases from the Federal Reserve or with the frequency of speeches by Fed officials.
Systematic informal communication of Federal Reserve officials with the media and the financial sector is a more plausible information transmission mechanism. We discuss the social costs and benefits of this method of communication.”
And in related news, the Congress has just used its power to block an investigation of its own insider trading. Again.
Remember this blog post from 2011? Credibility Trap: US Congressmen and Their Staffs Regularly Engage In Insider Trading
It is hard to escape the credibility trap as a plausible explanation for the lack of serious financial reform and transparency in a system that has been shown to be plagued with a lack of sound regulatory oversight, price manipulation, and corruption in almost every major market.

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 03 DECEMBER 2015.

How Wilbur Ross And Other Hedgies Plundered Greece’s Banks

As if Greece didn’t have enough economic market woes, last week foreign investment funds managed to take control of four of the country’s largest banks – Alpha Bank, Eurobank, National Bank of Greece and Piraeus Bank – through $6.42 billion worth of capital increases and a complex set of legal manipulations. As a result, bank shares sold like penny stocks, diluting state ownership in these important institutions that have assets totaling $358 billion.
The country’s stake in the National Bank of Greece dropped to 24 percent from 57 percent, and in Eurobank it fell to 2.4 percent from 35 percent, while its stake in Alpha Bank was reduced to 11 percent from 64 percent and in Piraeus Bank it dropped to 22 percent from 67 percent. This translates to a loss of almost $44 billion that Greek taxpayers gave to bail out the banks over the past three years.
Greek stock market and legal experts believe that the maneuvers were engineered after a statutory legal provision was amended by the Greek Parliament that allowed private investors to price bank shares using a so-called ‘book-building method.’ Under this method, the share price in capital increases is not predetermined, and investors set the price at which they want to buy the shares.
It also made it mandatory for the country’s regulatory body, the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund, to accept book-building prices, even if they were not properly reflecting share values.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on November 27, 2015.

The World of Currency Manipulation

Why is the U. S. dollar so strong? Currency manipulation. Why did the Russian ruble recently crash to record lows? Currency manipulation. Why did India’s rupee crash to a record low, a year earlier? Currency manipulation. Why are the currencies of most Emerging Market nations trading at absurd discounts in relation to the currencies of the bankrupt economies of the West? Currency manipulation.
Currency manipulation is not a ‘conspiracy theory’. It goes beyond even conspiracy fact. It is a conspiracy conviction. The Big Banks of the West have been convicted of serially manipulating all of the world’s currencies. And when our blind/deaf/dumb officials were reluctantly forced to prosecute this crime syndicate (because their crimes were so large, and so blatant), they acknowledged that this serial manipulation goes back to at least 2007.
Indeed, it was immediately after the convictions of several of these Big Bank tentacles that the One Bank issued a new memo to its servants in the U. S. Department of ‘Justice’: no more prosecutions, ever. Naturally those corrupt lackeys immediately obliged, with a new, public directive. From now on, the DOJ intended to ‘combat corporate misconduct’ (by the Big Banks) by never again prosecuting corporations.
This is like a medical institute promising to ‘fight disease’, but refusing to kill any bacteria. It goes beyond the level of even an oxymoron. This is deliberate, systemic corruption. A ‘justice’ department which openly/publicly refuses to prosecute crime. Not just any crime. These are financial crimes, a thousand times larger than anything seen in our previous history, committed again and again and again.
Emphasizing this systemic corruption, of our entire System, we have the corrupt mouthpieces of Bloomberg immediately echoing (and approving of) the DOJ’s proclamation that it would never again prosecute the worst, corporate criminals in History.
The most amazing thing about the Justice Department’s new guidelines on prosecution of corporate crime is that the DOJ is effectively acknowledging there was a big problem with how it did things before.

This post was published at BullionBullsCanada on 04 November 2015.

‘Untouchables’: Obama Cronies ‘Protected Wall Street’s Most Criminal From Prosecution’

The slow motion financial holocaust has been underway for some time now.
Goldman Sach recently commented that we are in the third wave of the great crisis. What happened in 2008 remains directly relevant to the personal financial risk that most Americans face at the brink of the next phase of the collapse.
It’s almost like they’re looking for a sacrificial lamb… the banks have gotten away with murder too many times to count. Those who might be tried under a truly fair system instead stand firm with their understanding of impunity, an arrangement befitting their position and stature in society, that they will never be seriously investigated, much less prosecuted, for their role in the manipulation that caused the biggest problems.
Worse, it is utterly clear that Obama’s Justice Department went out of their way to avoid prosecuting Wall Street executives – even despite pressure from Congress’ Oversight Panel, created as a condition of TARP, to do so as a result of piles of evidence that criminal misbehavior was behind the worst of the collapse.
Attorney General Eric Holder was nominally in charge of the Justice Department’s investigations – and it is well worth pointing out that he spent the entirety of his time after being Clinton’s Deputy Attorney General, at Covington & Burling, a legal firm that specializes in representing top Wall Street institutions. Wikipedia notes:

This post was published at shtfplan on October 26th, 2015.

US Recession Watch – – An Update

In The Coming US Recession Charted (June 20, 2015) we argued that the US economy is heading toward recession, not escape velocity as the sell-side and Fed officials have been telling us. Today we will revisit the possibility of the US entering a recession in 2016 and by extension substantiate our argument for NIRP, and not lift-off, as the most likely next move by FOMC.
One of the most reliable predictors for the business cycle is the yield curve. Unfortunately, due to Federal Reserve manipulation, whereby the short end of the curve have been permanently pegged to zero, an inverted yield curve is more or less impossible. However, if we look at the relative change from trend we can construct an equally good predictor. The blue line in the chart below depicts difference in the 10/5 term spread vs. its underlying trend. Historically, a breach of 50 basis points have indicated an upcoming recession. While the current trend deviation is not giving a clear signal yet, it is close enough to suggest we are heading straight into another recession.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on October 11, 2015.

The NYT Prints More Unfit Propaganda On Ukraine – – Police Killed By Rightists, Not Putin

I read the latest example of The New York Times’ propagandistic coverage of the Ukraine crisis on Tuesday, it struck me that if these same reporters and editors were around in 1953, they would have cheered the coup against Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh as a popular ‘revolution’ putting the beloved and benevolent Shah back on the Peacock Throne.
Similarly in 1954, these credulous journalists would have written about another people’s ‘revolution’ in Guatemala removing President Jacobo Arbenz and restoring law and order behind well-regarded military commanders. The Times would have airily dismissed any suggestions of U. S. manipulation of events.
And, for decades, that was how the Central Intelligence Agency wanted American journalists to write those stories – and the current crop of Times’ journalists would have fallen neatly into line. Of course, we know historically that the CIA organized and financed the disorders in Tehran that preceded Mossadegh’s removal and pulled together the rebel force that drove Arbenz from office.
And, the evidence is even clearer that U. S. government operatives, particularly Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U. S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, helped orchestrate the 2014 coup that overthrew Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych. Indeed, journalists knew more about the coup-plotting in Ukraine in real-time than we did about the coups in Iran and Guatemala six decades ago.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Robert Parry ‘ September 3, 2015.

Capitalism Has Devolved Into Looting

…when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed. – Ayn Rand, ‘Atlas Shrugged’
There’s no such thing as markets anymore – only interventions. – Chris Powell, co-founder and Treasurer of GATA Ayn Rand is a pariah among those who believe that government is our benefactor. There are times and conditions when government can be a benefactor of the people. But not in the Western world at the present time. As Michael Hudson and I agree, Western central banks refuse to create money to finance economy recovery. Money is created only for the benefit of the oligarchs’ banks in order that the oligarchs can continue to control the governments.
In the US for the past seven years the Federal Reserve has provided cheap bank reserves for the banks to lend at a markup or to speculate with. Banks are no longer suppliers of capital for productive investments and employment. Instead banks invest in speculation, arbitrage, derivatives, financing corporate takeovers and stock buybacks. The Fed has made it unnecessary for banks to pay for deposits. Instead, the banks get free money and charge consumers with negative interest rates for making deposits. For seven years Americans have, thanks to the utterly corrupt Federal Reserve and US government, been deprived of interest on their savings. In the Western world today, savers are penalized, not rewarded.
In Greece and Europe the banks are the oligarchs’ method of control just as the Federal Reserve is in the US and the Bank of England in the UK and the European Central Bank in the EU. The same in Canada, Australia, and Japan. When an oligarchy controls the money, the oligarchy controls the country, so ‘Western democracy’ is only a pretense. There is no democracy in the West; only manipulated democratic symbols, the manipulation of which has allowed the One Percent to acquire the lion’s share of income and wealth, depriving the economy of the consumer purchasing power necessary to maintain full employment.

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on June 29, 2015.