Brazil’s President Tells Supreme Court To Suspend Corruption Probe Of Brazil’s President

In a move that will surely light the proverbial lightbulb over Donald Trump’s head, Brazilian President Michel Temer, having been officially dragged into Brazil’s massive corruption scandal after a record emerged in which he urged the payment of “hush money”, said on Saturday he would ask the Supreme Court to suspend its investigation into allegations he was also involved in the carwash corruption scheme, vowing to remain in power.
Speaking during a televised address on Saturday afternoon, Brazil’s deeply unpopular president, who replaced a just as deeply unpopular president last year when Dilma Rouseff was impeached, claimed the recording that implicated him in the scandal was doctored and said he would file a petition with the Supreme Court to suspend the investigation until it could be verified, the WSJ reported.
In the recording cited by Temer, which unleashed a historic crash of the Brazilian stock market and currency on Thursday when news of Temer’s involvement broke, the president can be heard chatting with Joesley Batista, chairman and heir of the beef-and-chicken JBS empire, apparently him his approval to pay the jailed former speaker of the House Eduardo Cunha – the man responsible for Dilma Rouseff’s ouster last year – to buy his silence. Batista, who made the recording and gave it to prosecutors in hopes for prosecutorial leniency against JBS, said the recording wasn’t edited.

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

Brazilians Stunned By Death Of Supreme Court Justice Ahead Of “Explosive Testimony”

The death of Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Teori Zavascki who had presided over the sprawling “Carwash” corruption scandal, and who died yesterday in a freak airplane crash has sent shockwaves both around the globe and in Brazil, because while few in polite company will discuss it, it has opened the possibility of political assassinations as a means of “quieting” legal proceedings.
And as Reuters reports today, while the death of the judge will likely not derail the country’s biggest ever graft probe, it will delay it, “handing valuable breathing space to President Michel Temer” who many have accused of being even more corrupt than his predecessor.
While there is no evidence yet of “foul play”, the timing of the death is oddly coincidental, especially since the upcoming revelations could have had damaging implications for Brazil’s still relatively new president Temer.
As a reminder, Justice Zavascki was killed in a plane crash on Thursday, “just weeks before he was due to unveil explosive testimony from executives at engineering group Odebrecht SA that is expected to implicate as many as 200 politicians in a vast kickback scandal” Reuters notes.

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

Brazil Supreme Court Justice Presiding Over Carwash Corruption Scandal Dies In Plane Crash

Update: as feared, the Supreme Court Justice has died. Reuters with the update:
Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Teori Zavascki was killed in a plane crash on Thursday, his son said, raising doubt over who will take over his blockbuster graft investigation into dozens of politicians.
Rescuers found three bodies in the wreckage of the small, twin-prop plane that crashed off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state amid heavy rains, according to firefighters. “Dear friends, we have just received confirmation that our dad died! Thank you all for your thoughts,” his son, Francisco Prehn Zavascki, said on his Facebook page.
A judicial source earlier told Reuters that Zavascki was on board the aircraft.
Zavascki had been reviewing explosive testimony from dozens of executives at engineering group Odebrecht that has been expected to implicate hundreds of politicians in the biggest corruption case in Brazil’s history.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 19, 2017.

The Effort to Undermine Trump Continues

What is getting really interesting is just how desperate many in Washington seem to be about Trump. It seems they are really concerned that he will cut off the gravy train in Washington. Even the Republicans hoped they could train him, fearing that his ban on lobbying for five years could be a deathblow to their livelihood.
Trump is not a racist as the nutcases claim; they are prompted by the Democrats in the campaign. Nobody can discriminate against any class, race, or religion as president. He cannot even overrule abortion – that is the Supreme Court’s decision. So why all the hatred and exaggeration? Why are people saying he wants to stop Muslims coming from other countries? The overall nastiness of those on the left against anyone who disagrees with them is stunning.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Jan 12, 2017.

Brazil’s New President Temer Threatened With Impeachment After New Corruption Scandal Emerges

Six months after Brazil’s former president Dilma Rouseff was removed from power as a result of a carefully orchestrated process by her former Vice President, Michel Temer, who as many suggested at the time, was merely trying to shift attention away from himself and to his former boss due to his “checkered past”, swirling with allegations of corruption on par with those of the deposed president, Temer himself may be in danger of impeachment when overnight, Brazil’s public prosecutor announced it was studying a possible investigation into whether President Michel Temer put pressure on a former minister to favor a Cabinet colleague’s property investment.
Marcelo Calero, who resigned last week as culture minister, told federal police that the president pressured him to resolve a dispute with another Cabinet member, Geddel Lima, president Temer’s top government congressional liaison, who was seeking a permit for an apartment building in a historic preservation area of his hometown, a federal police source said.
Calero’s accusations have set off new crisis for Temer for allegedly using his public office to obtain a permit for the luxury oceanfront building in the city of Salvador.
Following the news, the Brazilian real slumped as much as 2.2% to 3.4679 reais to the dollar, the biggest intraday drop since Trump’s unexpected victory. Traders cited concern that the controversy could derail an overhaul of government finances favored by investors. Simiarly, Brazil’s main stock market index, the Bovespa, fell 1.3 percent on concerns of continued political uncertainty delaying recovery from the country’s worst recession since the 1930s.
As Reuters adds, adding fuel to the crisis, the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper reported on Friday that Calero secretly recorded his conversations with Temer and Vieira Lima to back his case. If the chief prosecutor’s office finds grounds to investigate the allegations it would have to ask the Supreme Court for authorization to allow the probe involving the president, the spokeswoman said, effectively starting a new impeachment process. Confirming this, the leader of the Workers Party in lower house Afonso Florence said that former Culture Minister Calero’s allegation that President Michel Temer pressured him on Lima’s case is ‘very serious’ and may lead to an impeachment request.

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

Gingrich: “I Think That We Are in for a Long, Difficult Couple of Years“

No matter who wins the presidential election, our divided country is in “for a long, difficult couple of years,” Trump supporter and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told NBC‘s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
“I think, tragically, we have drifted into an environment where if Hillary is elected, the criminal investigations will be endless; and if Trump is elected, it will be just like Madison, Wisconsin with Scott Walker. The opposition of the government employee unions will be so hostile and so direct and so immediate, that it will be a continuing fight over who controls the country.”
At one point in the interview, host Chuck Todd challenged Gingrich on his use of the phrase, “let the corruption continue.”
Gingrich was talking about establishment Republicans who “would rather have Hillary Clinton win and have a left-wing Supreme Court and have the corruption continue rather than elect Donald Trump.”
“You used the word (phrase) ‘let the corruption continue,’” Todd said. “Have we been too loose with some words?” he asked Gingrich. “Do you worry that we’ve let the language get too loose?”

This post was published at CNS News

DSK’d? IMF’s Lagarde Loses Fight To Avoid French Trial Over Corruption Case

Update: *IMF BOARD EXPRESSES CONFIDENCE IN LAGARDE AFTER TRIAL DECISION
‘As we have said before, it would not be appropriate to comment on a case that has been and is currently before the French judiciary,” International Monetary Fund spokesman Gerry Rice says in e-mailed statement.
‘However, the Executive Board has been briefed on recent developments related to this matter, andcontinues to express its confidence in the Managing Director’s ability to effectively carry out her duties. The Board will continue to be briefed on this matter’
As we detailed earlier, in December we warned of her career’s “terminal decline,” and it appears, just as with Dominic Strauss-Kahn, someone is upset at the IMF Director (perhaps she has just been too darn negative, or pushy towards policy-makers?). In a surprising twist for ‘the establishment’ Bloomberg reports that Christine Lagarde may face consequences for her actions (or lack of them). France’s Supreme Court rules that The IMF director will have to stand trial for alleged ‘negligence’ in accepting an arbitration panel decision in favor of a French businessman.
As we detailed previously,
It was over a year ago when we reported that a French court has put Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, under a formal probe for negligence in a corruption investigation involving famous financier Bernard Tapie, dating back to her days as finance minister.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 22, 2016.

Kill List: Smashing the ‘B’ in BRICS

The stakes could not be higher. Not only the future of the BRICS, but the future of a new multipolar world is in the balance. And it all hinges on what happens in Brazil in the next few months.
Let’s start with the Kafkaesque internal turmoil. The coup against President Dilma Rousseff remains an unrivalled media theatre/political tragicomedy gift that keeps on giving. It also doubles as a case of information war converted into a strategic tool of political control.
A succession of appalling audio leaks has revealed that key sectors of the Brazilian military as well as selected Supreme Court justices have legitimized the coup against a President that has always protected the two-year-old Car Wash corruption investigation. Even Western mainstream media was forced to admit that Dilma did not steal anything but is being impeached by a bunch of thieves. Their agenda; to stifle the Car Wash investigation, which may eventually throw many of them in jail.
The leaks also unveiled a nasty internecine carnage between Brazilian comprador elites – peripheral and mainstream. Essentially the peripherals were used as lowly paperboys in Congress for the dirty work. But now they may be about to become road kill – along the illegitimate, unpopular, interim Michel Temer ‘government’, led by a bunch of corrupt-to-the-core PMDB politicians, the party that is heir to the sole opposition outfit tolerated during the 1960s-1980s military dictatorship.

This post was published at Sputnik News

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.

Why Illinois Is A Fiscal Basket Case: 10,000 Retired Teachers With $100,000 Pensions

New numbers show that the 7,499 ‘highly compensated,’ six-figure school administrator/teacher retirees cost IL taxpayers nearly $1 billion per year. But in just six years, the problem of six-figure pensions will be three-times worse.
In 2014 I wrote in Forbes about a pair of union lobbyists who substitute taught for one-day in the public schools and then started collecting over $1 million of lifetime public ‘teacher’ pension payout – despite a state law expressly designed to stop them.
Now, after recent Illinois Supreme Court decisions confirming that pension benefits are constitutionally guaranteed (including the pensions for the pair of union lobbyists above), the public employee gravy train is running faster than ever.
This week, our organization at OpenTheBooks.com debuted our interactive info mapping platform giving context to the 7,499 retired Illinois educators who pulled-down a pension of $100,000 or more. These retirees cost Illinois taxpayers $900 million (2015). Individually, these pension millionaires contributed so little to the system that they ‘broke-even’ on their ‘cost-basis’ within the first 20-months of retirement.
It takes the equivalent of all income taxes paid by 330,177 individual Illinois taxpayers to fund the nearly $1 billion for the 7,499 ‘highly compensated’ six-figure retirees. By any estimation, this is unsustainable. Illinois only has 6.2 million people with jobs.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on April 25, 2016.

Washington’s Being Blackmailed By Saudi Head-Choppers – – -Obama Heading To Riyadh To Appease Dementia-Ridden King Salman

Do we have a more unattractive ‘ally’ than the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia? In order to find one, we have to go all the way back to World War II, when the US was allied with the Soviet Union while ‘Uncle’ Joe Stalin was murdering millions in the gulag.
The big difference, however, is that the national security propaganda machine isn’t trying to glorify the head-chopping barbarians of Riyadh as they prettified the Soviets: Hollywood isn’t cranking out pro-Saudi movies as they did with the ‘workers’ paradise’ in Song of Russia. Imagine a screenwriter scratching his head over Song of the Saudis! Op ed writers employed by the Saudi lobby aren’t excusing the execution of ‘heretics’ as Popular Front propagandists once praised the Moscow Trials. Not even the Washington ‘experts’ would fall for it. Saudi lobbying is more subtle, with pressure exerted on lawmakers and lots of cash being handed out – e.g. the Saudi ‘donations’ to the Clinton Foundation.
This stealth strategy has been largely successful. Ever since Franklin Roosevelt met with King Abdul Aziz and cemented the US-Saudi relationship as the linchpin of our Middle Eastern policy, our government’s collusion with one of the worst tyrannies on earth has gone largely unexamined – until now.
The New York Times reports that the Kingdom is telling the Obama administration that they would be ‘forced’ to sell some $750 billion in US assets if Congress passes a bill that would give a green light to lawsuits alleging that the Saudis played a key role in facilitating the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The families of the 9/11 victims have been pursuing the Kingdom in the courts for years, with judges routinely dismissing financial claims by the families on the grounds of ‘sovereign immunity,’ i.e. the ‘legal’ doctrine that governments cannot be held accountable for their actions. However, a little noticed Supreme Court decision reinstated the Saudis as defendants. The bill, sponsored by Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Chuck Schumer (D-New York), has broad support: if passed, it would pave the way for a close examination of the evidence that the Saudi government had a hand in 9/11.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Justin Raimondo ‘ April 18, 2016.

A Look Inside Iceland’s Kviabryggja Prison: The One Place Where Criminal Bankers Face Consequences

What do Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon, James Gorman, John Thain, Jimmy Cayne, and any of the revolving door of AIG CEO’s have in common? Three things come to mind rather quickly: 1) All were financial executives during the 2008 global financial crisis. 2) All of their firms received massive public bailouts. 3) None of them went to jail for their firm’s involvement in said crisis. As a matter of fact, most are still plugged in somewhere on Wall Street, presumably helping to facilitate the next great financial crisis.
While everyday Americans were (and still are) quite disgusted with the fact that absolutely nobody was actually held accountable for the creation of the financial crisis, it’s safe to say that most have given up hope that anyone will be convicted. As a matter of fact, US Attorney General Eric Holder once said thatbanks are so large that it would be difficult to prosecute anyone.
That’s nice.
Enter Iceland, a small country of roughly 330,000 residents, where as Bloomberg reports, bank executives are actively being prosecuted and sent to jail for their negligent actions.
Unlike the jellyfish in the US, Iceland appointed Olafur Hauksson as special prosecutor to investigate bankers and their roles in the financial crisis. The result? 26 convictions of bankers and financiers since 2010. In upholding the convictions, Iceland’s Supreme Court said that actions were ‘thoroughly planned’, and ‘committed with concentrated intent’ – refreshingly different than Holder’s let’s just let them get away with it because it’s hard to figure out verbiage.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 04/03/2016 –.

JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank, Rothschild Yanked Into Probe Of Goldman-Backed Malaysian Slush Fund

When last we checked in on the 1MDB saga, Goldman was busy tying up a few loose ends.
Tim Leissner, the banker who built the firm’s Southeast Asia operation from the ground up and the man behind a series of questionable deals that funded what would eventually become Malaysian PM Najib Razak’s personal slush fund, was essentially forced out in January, after bank investigators uncovered what they said was an unauthorized reference letter.
Apparently, Leissner tried to secure an internship for the son of a possibly shady businessman tied to an Indonesian copper mine. The story is absurd on all kinds of levels, but rather than recount the entire thing for the umpteenth time, we’ll simply give you the Cliff’s Notes version courtesy of Bloomberg:
Last year he was in talks to provide financing for a group of investors, including Sudjiono Timan, who were seeking to buy a controlling interest in Newmont Mining Corp.’s copper operations in Indonesia, according to two people familiar with the deal who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information.
Timan, whose ties to the Newmont deal haven’t been previously reported, was convicted on corruption charges in 2004. Even though Indonesia’s Supreme Court reversed the conviction in 2013, before the Newmont deal took shape, Goldman Sachs told Leissner it wouldn’t move forward on the transaction as long as Timan was a sponsor, the people said. Timan withdrew as an investor but acted as an adviser to the remaining sponsors, according to the people. When the New York-based bank learned of Timan’s continuing involvement, it decided not to proceed, they said.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 04/01/2016.

Forbes Yanks a Negative Article on JPMorgan While the Bank Pays for Content

Americans have painful recollections of how allowing ratings agencies to take Wall Street money and dole out bogus triple-A ratings on subprime mortgages tanked the U. S. housing market in the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. They fully understand that the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that opened the floodgates to pay-to-play corporate financing of elections has grotesquely disfigured participatory democracy in America. Now they’re about to learn how America’s ‘free press’ is able to be bought – literally.
This past Friday, March 18, Laurence Kotlikoff, a Forbes contributor, Professor of Economics at Boston University and bestselling co-author of Get What’s Yours: The Secrets To Maxing Out Your Social Security, tweeted the headline of an article he had just posted at Forbes: ‘JPMorgan Chase – The True Story of America’s Most Corrupt Bank.’ The Tweet linked to a two-page article by Kotlikoff at Forbes, which began with these two paragraphs:
‘Between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, we’ve heard a lot about the corruption on Wall Street. But, if you want to understand exactly what happened and why, read JPMadoff: The Unholy Alliance Between America’s Biggest Bank and America’s Biggest Crook.
‘Written by trial lawyers, Helen Davis Chaitman and Lance Gotthoffer, this heavily-researched, meticulously documented book lays out for the world to see the absolute corruption of JPMorgan Chase – America’s biggest bank. And the authors explain how Obama has furthered Wall Street crime by refusing to enforce America’s criminal laws against America’s biggest criminals – not Madoff, but JPMorgan Chase.’
By Friday evening, all that one got at the link to Kotlikoff’s article was a Forbes’ error message saying the page couldn’t be found. By this morning, even a partial Google cache of the article is giving the reader just a second or so to see the headline, then disappearing into thin air.

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

Toward A Grand New Bargain: How Donald Trump Can Clear The Field And Realign American Politics

It’s actually pretty easy. At an apt moment very soon, Trump should offer Governor Kasich the VP slot and Senator Cruz the vacant Supreme Court seat.
Such a grand bargain would not only clear the primary field and quash any backroom hijacking of the nomination by the Washington GOP establishment; it would also permit each man to play his highest and best role at this great inflection point in the nation’s history.
That is, Donald Trump’s job is to destroy the Republican/Neocon establishment and bring working class America back into a modern version of a McKinley-style Republican Party. Ted Cruz’ task is to spend a lifetime bringing strict constructionism back to the high court, thereby helping to restore constitutional restraints on a leviathan state that fundamentally threatens personal liberty and economic freedom and prosperity in America.
And, yes, there really isn’t much for a washed-out, me-too Republican pol like Kasich to do at all. Except to get out of the way and exercise his apparent talent for preacherly uplift as America’s eulogist-in-chief at foreign state funerals.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by David Stockman ‘ March 19, 2016.

RAND: OBAMA’S NEW SUPREME COURT JUSTICE WILL BE A ‘CONFLICT OF INTEREST’ TO DECIDE IMMIGRATION CONSTITUTIONALITY

It’s like no one knows math.
After the untimely (or, timely, depending on from who’s perspective you look at it) death of Justice Scalia, Obama is now set to nominate his third Supreme Court justice – out of only nine justices – for life. While campaigning for reelection in Kentucky, Rand Paul talked about the huge ‘conflict of interest’ this poses.
Via WKMS:
Citing the recent 5-4 Supreme Court ruling that halted Obama’s Clean Power Plan, Paul said that with the absence of Scalia, a sympathetic appointee would tip the scales in favor of the president’s immigration policies.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on FEBRUARY 23, 2016.

YET ANOTHER REASON HILLARY SHOULD BE DISQUALIFIED FROM RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT

Editor’s Note: But, hey, we thought she was going to be indicted any day now… (keeps waiting… seven… million… years… laterrrrr….)
Black’s Law Dictionary defines ‘recusal’ as ‘removal of oneself as judge or policy-maker in a particular matter, esp. because of a conflict of interest.’
In the federal judiciary – a coequal branch with the executive – judges as well as Supreme Court justices are expected to recuse themselves, and do recuse themselves, from hearing cases with conflicts of interest that are less pronounced as Mrs. Clinton’s.
For example, Wikipedia observes that ‘in the Supreme Court of the United States, the Justices typically recuse themselves from participating in cases in which they have financial interests.’
In the same rough sense, shouldn’t a presidential candidate recuse herself from the presidency after accepting more than a million dollars of speaking fees from the country’s most powerful investment banks, given the obvious conflicts of interest as potentially the country’s next chief policymaker? If not as a matter of current law, then out of a commitment to political ethics and respect for the office of the presidency?
According to a recent report by CNN, Hillary Clinton was paid more than $21 million for making speeches to private concerns from April 2013 to March 2015, and thus a mere one month prior to her formal announcement as a candidate for president in April 2015.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on FEBRUARY 23, 2016.

The Iraq War Was Not A Mistake, It Was A Crime Against Humanity

Either our minds have softened in the United States, or our hearts have hardened way beyond the callous stage. Or, likely both!
Just 13 years past his criminal decision to invade Iraq, George W. Bush is campaigning in South Carolina to get his younger brother, Jeb, in the White House. A fitting payback by an illegitimate and unworthy former president to return Jeb’s intercession as Florida’s governor in America’s mishandling, comical if it hadn’t been for the eventual very tragic consequences, of the 2000 presidential election. It might be worthwhile to remember that it was the US Supreme Court that basically decided to put George Bush, and not Al Gore, in the White House in a 5-4 decision eloquently, but incorrectly, authored by the just-deceased and widely admired justice, Antonin Scalia.
Time and time again we, Americans, keep referring to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 as a mistake; almost in unanimity: Democrats and Republicans. But it was not a mistake, not by a long shot! It was a calculated, belligerent act by a government clique of elitist war-hawks, Bush-Junior and Dick Cheney at the top of the criminal heap. Fortunately for these American leaders, and unfortunately for the rest of us, only leaders from nations vanquished are indicted and go to trial. If the Axis had prevailed in World War II, and we were living in Hitler’s Millennium, there would not have been those Nuremberg Trials (1945-9), or the subsequent enactment of important, critical international law, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), or the Geneva Convention (1949). No, no gallows for Bush and Cheney… only admiration from fools!

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on February 20, 2016.

Pluralism and Tax Exemption

The fat is now in the fire. A group has taken the Catholic Church into Federal court to protest its tax exemption. The reason? The Church has taken a public stand against abortion. The abortion issue is political, and therefore involves legislation, the plaintiffs assert. The Internal Revenue Code says that tax-exempt organizations that are involved in political lobbying must lose their tax-exempt status. Therefore . . .
A district court denied the claim, and the case has been appealed to the U. S. Supreme Court. The Court has decided to hear it. The justices will probably do their best to find some way to decide the case on narrow technical grounds in favor of the Church. The political repercussions of removing the Church’s tax-exempt status would be immense. It is unlikely that the Court will require this. But then how will the Court uphold the IRS principle of allowing tax exemption only for non-political (non-lobbying) organizations? The Court has a real problem.
There is no doubt that some priests have preached from the pulpit that abortion violates the law of God and is therefore immoral. There is no doubt that the Church has been active in trying to get legal limits placed on abortions. The Catholic Church is identified with the anti-abortion issue, even though not many of its parish priests have been active in the right-to-life movement. (if Catholics voted as a bloc on this issue, and consistently voted against all incumbent politicians who publicly compromised on this issue, abortion would no longer be a major political issue in the U. S.; it would be made illegal.)
The Court must deal with a fundamental constitutional question. It must find a solution to the question: is the tax exemption of churches sacrosanct — a sacred sanctuary — or is it merely a privilege granted by the IRS to those churches that conform their preaching and activities to guidelines in the Internal Revenue Code? Ultimately, this is the issue the Court must deal with: Which is the sovereign agent, church or State, or are both equally sovereign? Legal sovereignty in this case is visibly manifested in an institution’s legal ability to escape taxation. The church clearly cannot legally tax the State. Can the State legally tax the church? This issue has been debated for centuries in the West, and the issue has obviously not yet been settled.
Taxation and Sovereignty
“The power to tax is the power to destroy.” So said Chief Justice John Marshall in his famous decision in the case, M’Culloch v. Maryland (1819). The state of Maryland had imposed a tax on all bank notes issued by banks not chartered by the state of Maryland. M’Culloch, the cashier of the branch Bank of the United States in Baltimore, refused to pay the tax. Two legal questions were involved:
First, did the U. S. government have the right to charter a private bank? Second, was a state tax on such a bank constitutional?

This post was published at Gary North on February 04, 2016.

Hillary Clinton’s Lobbyist Fundraisers Want Baby Steps: America Needs a Political Revolution

Hillary Clinton was stumping in Iowa last week, promising supporters that if she is elected President she will fight to get rid of the U. S. Supreme Court decision, Citizens United, which allows unlimited corporate money to influence elections. At one campaign stop, Hillary said the decision is having ‘pernicious effects on our electoral system.’
Hillary elaborated further on her views in an opinion piece for CNN last week, writing:
‘It’s time to reclaim our democracy, reform our distorted campaign finance system and restore access to the ballot box in all 50 states.
‘That starts with reversing Citizens United. And that’s where my comprehensive plan to restore common sense to campaign finance begins. As president, I’ll appoint Supreme Court justices who recognize that Citizens United is bad for America. And if necessary, I’ll fight for a constitutional amendment that overturns it.’
That’s a pretty bold claim from a candidate that has opened the spigots herself to corporate money – big chunks of which are being raised for her by registered lobbyists who work for lobbying firms employed by the likes of Wall Street heavyweights JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Credit Suisse and every major trade association representing Wall Street.

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade on January 25, 2016.