Our Protected, Predatory Oligarchy: Dirty Secrets, Dirty Lies

If you want to understand why the status quo is unraveling, start by examining the feudal structure of our society, politics and economy. The predators reckon their aristocratic status in Hollywood/D. C. grants them a feudal-era droit du seigneur (rights of the lord) to take whatever gratifications they desire from any female who has the grave misfortune to enter their malefic orbit. The revelations coming to light about Hollywood Oligarch Harvey Weinstein perfectly capture the true nature of our status quo: a rotten-to-the-core, predatory, exploitive oligarchy of dirty secrets and dirty lies protected by an army of self-serving sycophants, servile toadies on the make and well-paid legal mercenaries. Predators aren’t an aberration of the Establishment; they are the perfection of the Establishment, which protects abusive, exploitive predator-oligarchs lest the feudal injustices of life in America be revealed for all to see. Anyone who protests or makes efforts to go public is threatened by the oligarch’s thugs and discredited/smeared by the oligarch’s take-no-prisoners legal mercenaries. (Recall the Clintons’ Crisis Management Team tasked with crushing any Bimbo Eruptions, i.e. any eruptions of the truth about Bill’s well-known-to-insiders predation of the peasantry.) The dirty secret is that the oh-so-hypocritical power elites of Hollywood and Washington D. C. circle the wagons to protect One of Their Own from being unmasked. The first weapons of choice in this defense are (as noted above) threats from thugs, discrediting the exploited via the oligarchy’s paid goons and lackeys in the mainstream media and dirty lies about what a great and good fellow the oligarch predator is. The last line of defense is a hefty bribe to silence any peasant still standing after the oligarchs’ onslaught of threats, smears and lies.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on MONDAY, OCTOBER 09, 2017.

In Early Tweetstorm, Trump Praises WaPo, Slams NBC And “Late Night Comedians”, Reaches Out To Schumer

It took Trump a little longer to get started on twitter Saturday morning, when shortly after 7am ET, the president launched a pair of tweets in which he unexpectedly offered a rare compliment to the Washington Post for its coverage of ‘wonderful small donors’ who have contributed to the Republican party.
‘Can’t believe I finally got a good story in The Washington Post It discusses the enthusiasm of ‘Trump’ voters through campaign contributions. The RNC is taking in far more $’s than the Dems, and much of it by my wonderful small donors. I am working hard for them!’
Can't believe I finally got a good story in the @washingtonpost. It discusses the enthusiasm of "Trump" voters through campaign….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 7, 2017.

Fake News: The Collapse of the MSM’s ‘Facebook Russian Bot’ Story

As 21WIRE said last year, the Russian hacking, or Russiagate story was a political hoax from the start. What this story can now demonstrate, is that for the last 18 months, the entire mainstream media has been promulgating a highly politicised, and relentless campaign of fake news designed to implicate Russia in an imaginary scandal. Leading the pack are former ‘papers of record’ The New York Times and The Washington Post, flanked by America’s premier broadcast TV propaganda outlet CNN.
Last week, we revealed how powerful politicians in Washington had pressured Facebook executives to come up with any evidence to support the Democratic Party’s theory of ‘Russian meddling,’ – demonstrating clear collusion between the Obama Administration and Silicon Valley corporation Facebook, with the goal of fabricating a scandal in order to scapegoat Vladimir Putin and the Russians for the electoral collapse of Hillary Clinton last November.
As a result, US-Russian relations have been sacrificed at the altar of petty partisan politics and a failing deep state agenda.
It certainly begs the question: with so much at stake, why would Washington and MSM lie and risk pushing global tensions closer to a world war level confrontation? If they are prepared to lie about this, what else are they prepared to lie about?
Consortium News Exclusive: The U. S. mainstream media is determined to prove Russia-gate despite the scandal’s cracking foundation and its inexplicable anomalies, such as why Russia would set up a Facebook ‘puppies’ page.
By Robert Parry
What is perhaps most unprofessional, unethical and even immoral about the U. S. mainstream media’s coverage of Russia-gate is how all the stories start with the conclusion – ‘Russia bad’ – and then make whatever shards of information exist fit the preordained narrative.

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

Welcome To The Hunger Games: Trump’s Tax Plan Is Going To Mean A Battle Royal Among D.C. Lobbyists

Are you ready for mass chaos in Washington? There are lobbyists for just about every cause that you can possibly imagine, and they are always working hard to influence members of Congress on their particular issues. But when you are talking about a major tax reform bill, that is something that virtually every single lobbyist in the entire city will want to be involved in. Our tax code is over two million words long, and the regulations are over seven million words long, and any changes to our immensely complex system could have absolutely enormous implications. There will be winners and there will be losers with any piece of legislation, and lobbyists will zealously fight to defend the turf belonging to their particular clients. Often lobbyists from different sides will literally be pitted directly against one another, and it won’t be pretty. In fact, one analyst that works for Cowen Washington Research Group says that we could soon be watching ‘the corporate hunger games’…
Almost every industry, special interest, and consumer group has an interest in the tax code, especially if the package ends up being as ambitious as Trump and Republican leaders want it to be. Chris Krueger, an analyst at Cowen Washington Research Group, told Business Insider that the battle over which loopholes to keep and which to throw out could get nasty.

This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on September 29th, 2017.

Retired FBI Agent Sues DOJ For Records On Contributions Made By A Clinton Ally To McCabe’s Wife

Over the weekend, Judicial Watch announced that it had filed a lawsuit against the DOJ on behalf of retired special agent Jeffrey Danik seeking records related to roughly $700,000 in political contributions made by groups tied to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a long-time Clinton confidant, to the wife of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe… the same Andrew McCabe who was conveniently overseeing multiple Hillary Clinton investigations at the time and even oversaw components of her email investigation. Here’s more from Judicial Watch:
The suit was filed in the U. S. District Court in the District of Columbia in support of Danik’s October 25, 2016, and February 28, 2017, FOIA requests for records about McCabe’s ‘conflicts of interest’ regarding his wife’s (Dr. Jill McCabe’s) political campaign, and McCabe’s reporting to the FBI of any job interviews or offers. Specifically, the two FOIA requests seek:
Text messages and emails of McCabe containing ‘Dr. Jill McCabe,’ ‘Jill,’ ‘Common Good VA,’ ‘Terry McAuliffe,’ ‘Clinton,’ ‘Virginia Democratic Party,’ ‘Democrat,’ ‘Conflict,’ ‘Senate,’ ‘Virginia Senate,’ ‘Until I return,’ ‘Paris,’ ‘France,’ ‘Campaign,’ ‘Run,’ ‘Political,’ ‘Wife,’ ‘Donation,’ ‘OGC,’ Email,’ or ‘New York Times.’
In 2015, a political action committee run by McAuliffe, a close friend and political supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, donated nearly $500,000 to Jill McCabe, wife of McCabe, who was then running for the Virginia State Senate. Also, the Virginia Democratic Party, over which McAuliffe had significant influence, donated an additional $207,788 to the Jill McCabe campaign. In July 2015, Andrew McCabe was in charge of the FBI’s Washington, DC, field office, which provided personnel resources to the Clinton email probe.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 4, 2017.

Podesta Group Subpoenaed By Special Counsel Mueller In Russia Probe

Just over a year ago we wrote about Paul Manafort resigning from the Trump campaign amid outrage over his consulting firm’s ties to a lobbying campaign designed to sway American public opinion in favor of the Ukraine’s pro-Russsian government (see: FBI Probes Firm Belonging To Brother Of Clinton Campaign Chair For Ukraine Corruption Ties).
The top political news on Friday was the unexpected resignation of Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, which was the result of emerging revelations that his political consulting firm, DMP International, had orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation in the period 2012-2014 on behalf of Ukraine’s then ruling political party, attempting to sway American public opinion in favor of the country’s pro-Russian government (which was overthrown in a CIA-orchestrated coup in early 2014).
As the AP reported yesterday, the lobbying included attempts to gain positive press coverage of Ukrainian officials in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press. Another goal: undercutting American public sympathy for the imprisoned rival of Ukraine’s then-president. At the time, European and American leaders were pressuring Ukraine to free her. Furthermore, under the U. S. Foreign Agents Registration Act (or FARA), US entities who lobby on behalf of foreign political leaders or political parties must provide detailed reports about their actions to the Justice Department.
Now, fast forward one year and it seems as though an honest attempt to destroy Trump’s campaign may ensnare another rather unlikely victim, namely The Podesta Group. As our readers are undoubtedly aware by now, The Podesta Group (PG) was co-founded by Hillary Clinton’s former campaign chairman, John Podesta, and is still run by his brother, Tony Podesta. Now, according The Daily Caller, PG, one of six lobbying firms that worked on Manafort’s campaign to get Ukraine into the European Union between 2012 to 2014, finds itself directly in the crosshairs of Special Counsel Mueller’s Russia probe.

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

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

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

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

Birkenstock CEO Accuses Amazon Of “Modern Day Piracy”

President Donald Trump might’ve been on to something when he accused the Washington Post of being a ‘lobbyist weapon For Amazon.’
In a rambling five-page email published by WaPo, the CEO of Birkenstock USA threatened to cut off authorized retailers who sell even a ‘single pair’ of its shoes to Amazon.com Inc., a continuation of his crusade against the online retailer, which began about a year ago when he demanded that the e-commerce powerhouse do more to ferret out fakes being sold on its platform. In the missive, CEO David Kahan blasted Amazon for soliciting Birkenstock retailers, offering to buy the company’s shoes from them for full price. Birkenstock stopped selling its shoes on Amazon earlier this year, citing a rise in counterfeit products and unauthorized sellers.
Though the paper disclosed its conflict of interest, the story was obviously intended to embarrass a business rival of WaPo owner and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, despite the paper’s smoothly neutral tone.
‘In the email, Kahan called the entreaty a ‘desperate act’ and a ‘PERSONAL AFFRONT.’ ‘Birkenstock does NOT sell [to] Amazon,’ he wrote in the email to retail partners. ‘And it is clear that they are seeking back-channel means by which to obtain our brand.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 26, 2017.

Of Russia Baiters And Putin Haters

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,
‘Is Russia an enemy of the United States?’ NBC’s Kasie Hunt demanded of Ted Cruz. Replied the runner-up for the GOP nomination, ‘Russia is a significant adversary. Putin is a KGB thug.’
To Hillary Clinton running mate Tim Kaine, the revelation that Donald Trump Jr., entertained an offer from the Russians for dirt on Clinton could be considered ‘treason.’
Treason is giving aid and comfort to an enemy in a time of war.
Are we really at war with Russia? Is Russia really our enemy?
‘Why Russia is a Hostile Power’ is the title of today’s editorial in The Washington Post that seeks to explain why Middle America should embrace the Russophobia of our capital city:
‘Vladimir Putin adheres to a set of values that are antithetical to bedrock American values. He favors spheres of influence over self-determination; corruption over transparency; and repression over democracy.’ Yet, accommodating a sphere of influence for a great power is exactly what FDR and Churchill did with Stalin, and every president from Truman to George H. W. Bush did with the Soviet Union.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 14, 2017.

Has Super Mario Draghi Met His Match?

And this might become a problem for the Fed.
ECB President Mario Draghi wields more power than just about any other public official in Europe, perhaps even including Angela Merkel. The organization he heads not only controls the monetary policy levers of the entire Eurozone, it also supervises the region’s 130 biggest banks. As we’ve seen in recent weeks, it even has the power to decide which of Europe’s struggling banks get to live and which don’t.
Yet it is answerable to virtually no one. Until now.
Emily O’Reilly, the EU Ombudsman, an arbiter for the public’s complaints about EU-institutions, has just sent Draghi a letter asking him to explain his role in the potentially compromising Group of Thirty (G30) and how he makes sure that he does not divulge insider information or runs into conflicts of interest. The tenor, tone and direction of O’Reilly’s inquiries make it clear that she means business.
The Washington-based G30 was founded in the late seventies at the initiative of the Rockefeller Foundation, which also provided start-up funding for the organization. Its current membership reads like a Who’s Who of the world of global finance. It includes current and former central bankers, many of whom now work or worked in the past for major financial corporations, such as:

This post was published at Wolf Street on Jul 10, 2017.

David Stockman: Horrendous Storm to Hit Stocks

David Stockman joined Boom Bust to discuss the massive storm that is building and about to slam into Wall Street. During the discussion Stockman reveals what he believes is ahead for the stocks in the market and the economy.
The interview began with the Boom Bust host asking the acclaimed author about his concern surrounding a government shutdown. David Stockman began ‘we’re in the midst of the biggest political train wreck in modern history… There will be no governance in Washington. There will be no tax bill, stimulus or infrastructure.’
‘We’re heading for an expiration of the debt ceiling and running out of cash that will create an enormous crisis by August or September. They’re not going to be able to cope with it.’

This post was published at Daily Reckoning

Stockman Slams Trump Administration’s Budget Projections As “Fantasy”

David Stockman joined Bloomberg Markets to discuss President Donald Trump’s latest budget projections. After the White House and current Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney released various statements on the budget proposal viability conversations already began within the GOP and Congress.
When prompted by host David Gura over his thoughts, even reflecting on former Treasury Secretary Summers comments that the budget is ludicrously optimistic, David Stockman did not mince words speaking on Washington.


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

Russian Embassy Implicates Hillary In Tweet Asking: “Who Killed Seth Rich?”

#WikiLeaks informer Seth Rich murdered in US but MSM was so busy accusing Russian hackers to take notice. pic.twitter.com/0XVezTyfHM
— Russian Embassy, UK (@RussianEmbassy) May 19, 2017

Earlier this week, Fox News dropped a bombshell report officially confirming, via anonymous FBI sources, what many had suspected for quite some time, that murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich was the WikiLeaks source for leaks which proved that the DNC was intentially undermining the campaign of Bernie Sanders. In addition to exposing the utter corruption of the DNC, the leaks cost Debbie Wasserman Shcultz her job as Chairwoman.
At the time, we mockingly wondered why the mainstream media seemingly overlooked a huge new development in a highly suspicious unsolved murder case.
Finally, we find it ‘shocking’ that while the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, etc are all too eager to regurgitate each others anonymously sourced stories that are critical of Trump, not a single one of them had a single reference of this Fox News bombshell on their website at the time this article was published.
Turns out we weren’t alone, as the Russian Embassy in the U. K. just sent out the following tweet:
“#WikiLeaks informer Seth Rich murdered in US but MSM was so busy accusing Russian hackers to take notice.”

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

The US Dollar and Stock Market Could Spike Higher Under Trump’s Tax Plan

President Trump, as part of his ‘America First’ program, has proposed lowering the US corporate tax rate to 15 percent and to close a myriad of loopholes in an effort to simplify the tax code, and to also encourage the nation’s largest businesses to bring production back home.
The proposal represents a tangible shift in the relationship between Washington and big business. In 2014, President Obama’s Treasury Department introduced new measures to crack down on corporate tax inversions, a strategy companies utilized to exploit gaping tax differentials between the United States and other countries. Burger King’s acquisition of Canada’s Tim Hortons, a coffee and doughnut chain, for example, was motivated in large part by Canada’s more hospitable tax environment.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 04/27/2017.

House Oversight Committee Confirms Flynn Likely Broke Law On Overseas Payments

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn likely broke the law by failing to disclose foreign income he earned from Russia and Turkey, the heads of the House Oversight Committee said Tuesday.
As The Washington Post reports, committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said they believe Flynn neither received permission nor fully disclosed income he earned for a speaking engagement in Russia and lobbying activities on behalf of Turkey when he applied to reinstate his security clearance, after viewing two classified memos and Flynn’s disclosure form in a private briefing Tuesday morning.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 25, 2017.

Wages, Productivity, and Inequality

“Inequality is a euphemism, a kind of shorthand, for all of the things that have gone to make the lives of the rich so much more delicious, year on year, for the last three decades. And also for the things that have made the lives of working people so wretched and so precarious in that same time.
This word inequality. It’s visible in the ever rising costs of healthcare and college, in the coronation of Wall Street, and the slow blighting of wherever it is that you happen to live. And you catch a glimpse of inequality every time you hear about someone that had to declare bankruptcy because a child got sick, or you read about the lobbying industry that drives Washington DC, or the new political requirement, the new constitutional requirement that every presidential candidate has to be a billionaire’s favorite, or a billionaire themselves.
Inequality is about the way in which speculators, and even criminals, get a helping hand from Uncle Sam, while the Vietnam Vet down the street from you loses his house. Inequality is the reason that some people find such incredible significance in the ceiling height of an entrance foyer, or the hop content of a beer, while other people will never believe in anything again.”
Thomas Frank
“People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage. Intellectual myopia, often called stupidity, is no doubt a reason. But the privileged also feel that their privileges, however egregious they may seem to others, are a solemn, basic, God-given right. The sensitivity of the poor to injustice is a trivial thing compared with that of the rich.”
John Kenneth Galbraith

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 24 APRIL 2017.

TAXPAYERS FUND LAWYERS TO DEFEND HIGHLY PAID FEDERAL MANAGERS UNDER FIRE

Taxpayers are forced to cover much of the costs of defense attorneys for highly-paid federal managers facing termination or criminal charges, thanks to a cozy deal engineered in part by a law firm whose lobbyists helped draft and gain passage of legislation requiring it, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group (TheDCNF) has found.
Lobbyists for the Washington, D. C., law firm Shaw, Bransford & Roth (Roth) – which earns its money representing federal employees who are being disciplined – ‘proposed’ and secured passage of the obscure bill Congress passed in 1996, according to the website of a group connected to the firm. That bill requires taxpayers to pay for legal insurance for management-level employees.
Roth lawyer Anthony Vergnetti then left the firm to launch the Federal Employee Defense Services (FEDS), just such a legal insurance business that, Vergnetti acknowledges, primarily steers clients to Roth when they have insurance claims, and profits off their premiums when they don’t.
Roth got its legislative sway by operating through the Senior Executives Association (SEA), which is ostensibly an organic group representing managers, but which is actually founded and run by the law firm’s partners and employees, as TheDCNF showed last year. SEA collects dues from members and pays lobbyists from Roth to conduct legislative advocacy, according to lobbying disclosures.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on APRIL 17, 2017.

NOT JUST SYRIA: 5 HUGE NEWS STORIES TO KEEP AN EYE ON AMID THE MADNESS

The world’s eyes and ears have once again turned toward Syria following last week’s chemical weapons attack and U. S. President Donald Trump’s subsequent air strikes on the Assad government. Mainstream media, independent media, and social media platforms are fixing fierce attention on the ongoing developments.
These events undoubtedly deserve widespread, ongoing scrutiny. From the United States government’s lack of evidence that the Syrian government was behind the chemical attack to the media’s complicity in driving a pro-war narrative and president Trump’s hypocrisy in bombing Syria – after criticizing former president Barack Obama for doing the same thing – further critical analysis of the recent airstrikes is vital.
But even as skepticism toward these events should remain heightened, so should awareness of countless other major developments. Here are five to follow:
1. Trump Appoints Pharmaceutical Consultant to Head the FDA – This week, the president appointed Scott Gottlieb, a pharmaceutical industry insider who has served the boards of multiple pharmaceutical companies, to chair the Food and Drug Administration. Gottlieb currently still works as a consultant for GlaxoSmithKline. He has received $414,000 from GSK, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals. He has also received tens of thousands of dollars in speaking fees from pharmaceutical companies like Merck and Mikart, as well as other corporations – including Goldman Sachs. He has taken several trips through Washington’s revolving door, with brief stints at the FDA mixed in with multiple positions consulting pharmaceutical companies. Trump’s pick follows in the footsteps of Barack Obama, who also appointed a pharmaceutical industry insider to chair the FDA.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on APRIL 11, 2017.

Trump Sued For Not Releasing White House Visitor Logs

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

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

Russian Billionaire Deripaska Responds To AP Story On Manafort Ties

In the latest attempt to stir the pot over allegations that Trump and members of his closest circle had ties to Russia, on Wednesday, the AP unearthed a 2005 memo from former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort – who was let go by the Trump campaign in the summer to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who became Russia’s richest man under Putin and whose key asset is a 48% stake in Russian aluminum giant Rusal, according to which Manafort would boost Putin’s agenda and reportedly undermine anti-Russian opposition across Europe, the U. S. and former Soviet republics.
“We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success,” Manafort wrote, adding it “will be offering a great service that can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government.”
As a reminder, Manafort worked as Trump’s unpaid campaign chairman last year from March until August. Trump asked Manafort to resign after AP revealed that Manafort had orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation until 2014 on behalf of Ukraine’s ruling pro-Russian political party.

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