Marx, Orwell and State-Cartel Socialism

When “socialist” states have to impose finance-capital extremes that even exceed the financialization of nominally capitalist economies, it gives the lie to their claims of “socialism.” OK, so our collective eyes start glazing over when we see Marx and Orwell in the subject line, but refill your beverage and stay with me on this. We’re going to explore the premise that what’s called “socialism”–yes, Scandinavian-style socialism and its variants–is really nothing more than finance-capital state-cartel elitism that has done a better job of co-opting its debt-serfs than its state-cartel “capitalist” cronies. We have to start with the question “what is socialism”? The standard definition is: a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. In practice, the community as a whole is the state. Either the state owns a controlling interest in the enterprise, or it controls the surplus (profits), labor rules, etc. via taxation and regulation.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19, 2017.

Has Middle Class America Been Fleeced?

Noah Smith, writing in Bloomberg, says that middle class America has indeed been fleeced by our national economic policies. We agree. But which policies have been responsible?
Smith mentions and immediately dismisses trade, immigration, economic regulation, and welfare policies. The real villain in his view is an alleged turn toward managing the economy on free market lines: ‘Your prosperity was taken by the very people who promised to ensure and enhance it. The decades from 1980 through 2008 were the age of neoliberalism — the ideology of the free market.’
This is a story that we hear more and more. Neoliberals, the favorite new epithet on the left for free market exponents, have ruled the roost for decades ( note how the Obama administration is simply ignored in the preceding quote), and have left the poor and middle class far worse off than they were.
The truth is that the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama era had much in common, and it was not free market principles. It was an era of unrestrained crony capitalism, in which special interests formed stronger and stronger alliances with government in order to secure economic monopolies and other privileges.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on April 8, 2017.

Big Pharma and the FDA vs. Nutritional Supplements

“While the idea of admitting that a bureaucracy is necessary, I must also admit that marketers are liars and if left unregulated will rival politicians in their dishonesty when making product claims. Both admissions shake my libertarian sensibilities to the core.”
First, a free market eventually corrects for the condition of “marketers are liars,” unlike with politicians. Furthermore, not ALL marketers are liars.
Second, what makes you think the FDA, or any government bureaucracy for that matter, doesn’t lie? If one thinks we need an FDA, then one should think that we also need an EPA, FED, NLRB, EEOC, and on, and on, and on … further violating your libertarian sensibilities.
The head administrator of the FDA is pretty much a revolving door with Big Pharma:
is government regulation always the knee jerk reaction to every ill that affects society? Can you creatively think of some other solutions that don’t violate the Constitution of the United States? Keep reading, and maybe some other ideas will present themselves.
More people die every year from legalized drugs than from taking supplements, not to mention the drugs the FDA eventually gets around to recalling, after they’ve already done their damage. In addition, the FDA is continually pushed by vested interests (Big Pharma and lobbied government officials) to cut corners so that drugs can get to market faster. So much for the efficacy of the FDA! So, you want more of the same?
lot of medical doctors are in the back pocket of Big Pharma, not to mention the AMA:
can go here to find out if your particular doctor is on the take:

This post was published at Gary North on March 25, 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.

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.

The Deep State Dystopia To Come

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

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

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

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

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

Drug Prices in the US vs. Canada – The Big Pharma Political Connection of Corporatist Democrats

This is a slide used by Bernie Sanders when he proposed making drug imports from Canada to the US legal.
The proposal was voted down in the Senate 52-46, with a few key Democrats helping overturn Bernie’s proposed legislation.
Among those voting against it was the recipient of big pharma campaign contributions Democratic rising star Cory Booker.
Booker used the Big Pharma talking point that ‘the bill did not include provisions requiring the protections of the FDA.’
Oh really? We think that the Canadian government’s regulation of medicine is weaker than in the US? Please, Cory, tell us exactly where they fall down on the job.


This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 29 JANUARY 2017.

Why Davos CEOs Think They Have Control Over Trump

While President Trump chose not to attend the elite extravaganza in Davos last week, choosing instead to lambast the great-est and good-est of the world’s executives in their crony capitalist safe space, the cognitively dissonant CEOs reassured each other by saying ‘ignore the tweets’, confident that “if [Trump] knows the facts, he’ll respond according to the facts.” It depends whose ‘facts’ those are, of course.
As Bloomberg so eloquently noted, executives gathered in the Swiss resort for the World Economic Forum this week keep repeating, like a soothing mantra, that Donald Trump is at heart a pragmatist who will avoid trade wars and regulations that make it harder to do business.
Everywhere you looked, and everything you were told confirmed that nothing has changed in the minds of the world’s elite community organizers… (as Bloomberg summarizes)

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

Buy C-R-A-P

We live in a modern world of acronyms and buzzwords, and the financial industry is certainly no exception. In fact, it may be one of the worst culprits, what with FANG, ZIRP, TINA, BREXIT, QUITALY, BRIC, etc. all entering the lexicon over the last few years. Yet, creating some catchy collection of consonants remains one of the most surefire ways to attract attention in this business since it, admittedly, makes for a great headline and gives strategists like us something fun to write about (‘fun’ being a relative measure). Well, now the new eye-catching acronym to watch, according to Tom Lee of Fundstrat is C-R-A-P – Computers, Resources, American Banks, and Phone Carriers – which are all levered to the investment recovery, inflation, and deregulation expected over the next year. Before I comment further on those recommendations, though, I want to point out that I like to follow Tom Lee’s thoughts because, like us, he lets the data do most of his thinking, and, like us, he was one of the few pundits last year who actually saw potential for the US stock market. He backed that up, too, with one of the highest S&P 500 targets among strategists for 2016 (2325), but now, according to Bloomberg, he has the lowest price target for 2017 among the fifteen strategists they track (2275), further proof that he doesn’t just parrot consensus numbers.
Reading between the lines of his comments, Lee does not see a substantial upside for the stock market as a whole in 2017, at least not without a pullback first, but he does believe a potential exists among individual areas of the market. This line of thinking is consistent with our view that passive indexing may be more frustrating for this type of investing environment because you will be dragged down by the underperforming sectors and the increased volatility may make it more difficult to hold onto positions long enough to achieve the eventual performance. We generally agree, too, that the C-R-A-P stocks should do well in the political and economic landscape that many expect on the horizon. If inflation does pick up, driven by fiscal stimulus and more robust economic growth, Fundstrat argues that the contemporaneous increase in wages will not hit technology company margins as hard given their reliance on more high-skilled workers, and we, too, continue to advise an overweight of Tech to benefit from the Computers sub-sector. The big acronym of 2015 and 2016, the so-called FANG stocks, may already be coming back into favor, as well, with Facebook Inc. (FB/$123.41/Outperform), Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN/$795.99/Outperform), Netflix Inc. (NFLX/$131.07/Outperform), and Alphabet Inc. (GOOG/$806.15/Outperform) all breaking out to new reaction highs last week.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 01/10/2017.

Nationalism, the United States, and Cyclical Crises

In the coming year, the United States will remain the overwhelmingly dominant geopolitical power in the global system, and President-elect Donald Trump will be at the helm. His presidency will mark a turning point as the first significant shift towards nationalism at the center of the US political system.
As explained in our 2017 forecast, this rise in nationalism is a global trend, and one of three critical consequences of the 2008 financial crisis that will play a pivotal role in shaping geopolitics in 2017. (The other two are economic stagnation and instability in export-dependent countries.) Its rise stems from the rejection of the internationalist model that has dominated international relations since the end of World War II.
In places like Europe, it is easy to see why internationalism is losing favor. It is less obvious for the US. The European Union (EU) put in place policies and regulations that prioritized the Union’s survival over national interests, and this inherently creates conflicts of interest between the bloc and member states.
This was exacerbated by the 2008 financial crisis. Member countries saw their economies crash while their hands remained tied by Brussels, which was slow to act and offered a narrow range of Band-Aid solutions.

This post was published at Mauldin Economics on JANUARY 2, 2017.

Trump Might Be the End of the Bush-Obama Consensus

Say what you want about the Obama economy, but one aspect of it must be stated up front: It was the ‘Happy Time’ of crony capitalism. I know this statement departs from the glowing narrative being promoted by mainstream sources, but facts are facts. Maybe Obama’s was left-cronyism, whereas Bush pushed a right one, but no matter. Crony capitalism has done well since 2009.
It’s not hard to understand why. When an era’s political milieu is defined by Dodd-Frank, the Affordable Care Act, feeding the national security monster, climate-change-inspired central planning, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders, then you are going to increase costs of doing business. Large, well-connected firms will benefit, as a result if only because large, well-connected firms can afford to comply. Everyone else will go out of business, become an entrepreneur, do consulting, join the gig economy, or whatever else is necessary to just get by.
Such is the conclusion of regulatory capture, and it’s no surprise. The sainted Franklin Roosevelt embarked on a similar round of unprecedented regulation during the so-called First New Deal. The large corporations of his day did very well – from 1933 to 1937 – and worked hard for his reelection. If you worked for one of these lucky organizations, you wouldn’t even know there was a Depression going on. FDR’S economy was one in which real incomes rose – a glorious thing to anyone earning an income in those days.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on December 26, 2016.

How You Become a Crony

Trump Bump
BALTIMORE – Who’s the biggest winner so far? ‘Government Sachs!’ Fortune magazine reports that the winningest person since Trump’s election is Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Goldman’s stock price is back to where it was just before the last crash in 2008. And Blankfein is back in high cotton, too; his holdings in the firm have gained $140 million in the last four weeks.
Donald Trump pledged to take the elite down a notch. So far, they’re going in the opposite direction. Worldwide, they’re up about $4.4 trillion, as their stocks have soared in the ‘Trump Bump.’
Many of America’s best investors – including Carl Icahn and Ray Dalio – think this is just the beginning. And with some of the nation’s most successful moneymen at his side, including a former Goldman guy in the Treasury, many people are betting that Trump will bring a sustained boom.
We’ve been looking at crony capitalism. Our hypothesis is that it is funded by the feds’ fake money and enabled by their regulations. So far, we’ve looked at ex-Goldman banker Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s pick for secretary of the Treasury.
While he was making a fortune at Goldman, a major Main Street company, Sears was turned into a Wall Street victim. Its stock is down quite a bit. And it is expected to declare bankruptcy in a few months. Wilbur Ross, Trump’s new man for the Department of Commerce, used federal regulation of imports to make a billion dollars in the steel industry.

This post was published at Acting-Man on December 22, 2016.

Mischievous Climate Worries

Modernity is a capitalistic phenomenon. It is the result of free-market industrial competition based on the security of private property, unregimented personal enterprise, specialized competence engaged via voluntary contractual exchange and unprotected profit-and-loss capitalization and management. While the results of such a social paradigm are eagerly sought the world over, the methods involved are often misunderstood, misconstrued, misapplied and even banned by force of arms, which leads to chicanery, corruption, waste, and failure.
Modernity is not universally welcome among all the people of the Earth. Many believe that modernity has whetted man’s energy and goods appetite to the point where natural resources are seriously depleted and the environment is seriously degraded.[1] These two concerns combine to provoke worry about the climate in which we live. Whether or not these concerns have an authentic foundation in science, they have evoked emotional consequences that have inspired public policy, which has spawned legislation aimed at natural resource conservation, environmental protection, and climate change inhibition.[2] The implementation of this legislation has resulted in a degree of industrial regulation and regimentation that is tantamount to de-industrialization. Among other things, these policies have more than doubled the cost of obtaining electricity from the community grid in less than a decade during which time the grid has begun to deny service on random occasions.[3]

This post was published at Lew Rockwell on December 10, 2016.

Here’s what happened when ancient Romans tried to drain the swamp

In late January of the year 98 AD, after decades of turmoil, instability, inflation, and war, Romans welcomed a prominent solider named Trajan as their new Emperor.
Prior to Trajan, Romans had suffered immeasurably, from the madness of Nero to the ruthless autocracy of Domitian, to the chaos of 68-69 AD when, in the span of twelve months, Rome saw four separate emperors.
Trajan was welcome relief and was generally considered by his contemporaries to be among the finest emperors in Roman history.
Trajan’s successors included Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius, both of whom were also were also reputed as highly effective rulers.
But that was pretty much the end of Rome’s good luck.
The Roman Empire’s enlightened rulers may have been able to make some positive changes and delay the inevitable, but they could not prevent it.
Rome still had far too many systemic problems.
The cost of administering such a vast empire was simply too great. There were so many different layers of governments – imperial, provincial, local – and the upkeep was debilitating.
Rome had also installed costly infrastructure and created expensive social welfare programs like the alimenta, which provided free grain to the poor.
Not to mention, endless wars had taken their toll on public finances.
Romans were no longer fighting conventional enemies like Carthage, and its famed General Hannibal bringing elephants across the Alps.
Instead, Rome’s greatest threat had become the Germanic barbarian tribes, peoples viewed as violent and uncivilized who would stop at nothing to destroy Roman way of life.
Corruption and destructive bureaucracy were increasingly rampant.
And the worse imperial finances became, the more the government tried to ‘fix’ everything by passing debilitating regulation and debasing the currency.

This post was published at Sovereign Man on November 25, 2016.

Wall Street Democrats Proved Yesterday That They Still Don’t Get It

After a humiliating election loss just eight days earlier, the Wall Street Democrats in the U. S. Senate laid the groundwork for another humiliating defeat in the midterms in 2018 by electing Senator Chuck Schumer to be the Senate Minority Leader.
Schumer is considered the poster boy for Wall Street – as their mouthpiece for lax regulation and a reliable Senate confirmation vote for Wall Street cronies to lead regulatory agencies. Over the past five years, Schumer has raised over $25.8 million for his campaign committee and Leadership PAC with the leading donors being security and investments firms and their outside law firms, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Schumer’s top ten largest donors over his entire political career include seven major Wall Street banks: Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, UBS and the now defunct Bear Stearns. Also in the top ten are two law firms that regularly represent Wall Street firms when they are charged with fraud: Paul Weiss and Sullivan and Cromwell.
The Democrats’ head-in-the-sand vote yesterday came despite progressive activists staging a sit-in in Schumer’s office on Monday to demand that he step aside and allow the Senate Minority Leader post to go to Senator Bernie Sanders – now widely seen across America as the true leader of the Democratic Party.

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade on November 17, 2016.

Health-Care Cronies Seek Monopoly Powers over Contact Lenses

Once upon a time, contact lens manufacturer Johnson & Johnson was on top of the world in terms of its market dominance. Today, it still produces nearly 40 percent of the world’s contact lenses, but this is nothing compared to the company’s heyday, when it enjoyed numerous government-granted monopoly powers over the contact-lens market.
Unfortunately for the nation’s 41 million contact lens users, the good old days of exploiting contact lens customers via government regulations might be coming back if the new Contact Lens Consumer Health Protection Act is passed into law. This legislation will strip consumers of their right to choose in an effort to further the financial interests of the billion-dollar medical lobby.
Conservatives Open the Contact Lens Market Before 2003, eye doctors had a virtual monopoly over the sale of contacts. They were not obligated to give patients a copy of their prescriptions, so they could more or less control where consumers purchased their lenses. This normally meant consumers could obtain contacts only directly from eye doctors at higher prices. It was a win-win for the medical lobby. Manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson made more money off the lenses, while doctors’ offices profited greatly from the inflated retail costs.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on October 11, 2016.

Five Things You Should Know About the Deutsche Bank Train Wreck

Too big to fail is about to get tested once again.
Deutsche Bank – Germany’s largest, and in many ways the embodiment of the global financial system – as you may have heard, is in a spot of bother.
The U. S. government is considering imposing a fine of around $14 billion on the bank for selling faulty mortgage-backed securities in the run up to the financial crisis. That’s on top of the fact that Deutsche and other European banks have been struggling with negative interest rates, which are squeezing profits. In all, Deutsche Bank’s DB 6.79% market cap has now shrunk to nearly its proposed fine, provoking fears that the bank might have to be helped out the German government, or be wiped out. So far, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that there will be no bailouts for Deutsche Bank.
But while Germany says it won’t stop a Deutsche bank failure, how worried should the U. S., and investors, be about it? Ultimately, the new regulations put in place since 2008 to contain Too-Big-To-Fail banks should mean that there will be no direct impact on the average American. But here are a few reasons why you should still keep an eye on it.
Too Big to Fail was always a bit of a misnomer. What really makes a bank a risk to the financial system as a whole is the degree to which it is interconnected with other institutions, i.e., its ability to spark chain reactions of non-payment if it should ever default. By this measure, Deutsche is frighteningly indispensable. It’s a counterparty to virtually every major bank in the world, in virtually all asset classes. This illustration from an IMF report in June gives you some idea. This is why I argued yesterday that the German government, which together with the European Central Bank is responsible for supervising Deutsche, would be highly unlikely to let it fail in a disorderly manner la Lehman Brothers.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on September 30, 2016.

They Are Not Fixed! U.S. Banks Need Billions of New Capital Under New Fed Tests

Wall Street would have to come up with billions of dollars in additional capital in a proposed revamp of the Federal Reserve’s annual stress tests that could also scrap some provisions that lenders have criticized.
As the Fed has signaled for months, it is considering changes that would raise the minimum capital that the biggest banks need for a passing grade, Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo said Monday. But the Fed is also mulling concessions that Wall Street has sought, such as eliminating its assumption that lenders would continue to pay out the same level of dividends and buy back shares during periods of financial duress, he said.
The plan shows that even after a litany of new rules and capital demands imposed on the biggest banks in response to the financial crisis, regulators still aren’t satisfied that Wall Street is safe enough to endure another economic tsunami. Tarullo, the Fed’s point person on regulation, conceded that the proposal ‘would generally result in a significant increase in capital requirements’ for the largest lenders.
The overhaul tries to incorporate all the new capital requirements into the stress tests, which already represent the highest hurdle that U. S. banks must clear to show they can survive a hypothetical crisis. A particularly heavy mandate for Wall Street giants is an extra surcharge each firm has to maintain based on their size and complexity. For JPMorgan Chase & Co., that surcharge means an extra 3.5 percentage points of capital.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Jesse Hamilton, Bloomberg Business ‘ September 27, 2016.

Dear Congress: Have You Received Money From These Pharma Companies

We have been following the latest melodrama involving a “greedy” Mylan, and numerous “humanistic” US politicians, all the way up to the Democratic presidential candidate, exchange blows over the company’s dramatic price increases of its EpiPen anti-allergy medication, with a healthy dose of amusement for one simple reason: if Congress wants to crack down on someone, it should crack down on itself.
After all, the only reason Mylan has been able to pass the kinds of price increases that Congress is now blasting it for, is because of US laws and regulations; laws which incidentally, have been determined in Washington’s backroom bribe parlor, i.e. the corner offices of thousands of local lobby organizations dispensing with billions of dollars in “client” funds.
Clients such as the companies listed below.
Which brings us to this question: dear Congress, have you received millions in lobby dollars from the US pharmaceutical industry.
Or perhaps Congress denies that virtually every single pharmaceutical company operating in the US has spent millions on influence peddling pardon lobbying, in recent years? Perhaps, just like in the case of the Clinton foundation defense, that money was not used to buy favors and influence legislation, but was purely for humanitarian reasons?

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