Category: News Items

American Oligarchy – 400 Families Represent 50% of Money Raised by 2016 Presidential Candidates Thus Far

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Ever since I started this website in 2012, one of my primary objectives was to convince readers that the American system of government is nothing like what we are told in school and via the oligarch-owned mainstream media. That the country has become so captured and corrupted by sociopathic oligarchs, that a neo-feudal modern serfdom was emerging where the opportunities to enjoy rising standards of living for the vast majority of people was rapidly becoming a pipe dream.

I think many readers appreciated my warnings, but it wasn’t until an academic study from Princeton and Northwestern came out and factually proved it, that it become undeniable to many people. Here’s a brief excerpt from that post titled, New Report from Princeton and Northwestern Proves It: The U.S. is an Oligarchy:

Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.

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The Rent is Too Damn High – San Fran Residents Pay $1,000 a Month to Live in Shipping Containers

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There’s nothing quite like a grotesquely lopsided “economic recovery” in which a handful of cities boom, while the rest of the nation stagnates. Even worse, millennials living in such chosen cities face one of two options. Either live in mom and dad’s basement, or face a standard of living far more similar to 19th tenement standards than the late 1990’s tech boom.

With that out of the way, I want to introduce you to what a $1,000 per month rental in the San Francisco Bay area looks like. Shipping containers:

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Don’t worry, there’s a lovely garden out back:

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Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter Sounds Off on America – “It’s Just an Oligarchy”

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It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and congress members. So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election’s over. … The incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody’s who’s already in Congress has a lot more to sell to an avid contributor than somebody who’s just a challenger.

– Jimmy Carter, 39th President of these United States

You know it’s really, really bad when a former U.S. President feels the need to come out and publicly admit the above. While it’s completely accurate and needs to be said, it’s a truly sad moment, and provides further evidence of the Banana Republic America has become.

Of course, Mr. Carter’s comments come on the heels of former Senator Gary Hart’s blistering critique published in back June, which I covered in the post: Former Senator Opines on the Incredible Corruption in America and the Fourth Branch of Government. Here’s an excerpt:

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History is Repeating – German Government Launches Investigation of Journalists for Treason

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If it were up to the Federal Attorney General and the President of the German Domestic Security Agency, two of our reporters would soon be in prison for at least two years. Today, we were officially informed about investigations against our Markus Beckedahl, Andre Meister and an unknown“ party. The accusation: Treason.

– From Netzpolitik.org:  Suspicion of Treason“: Federal Attorney General Announces Investigation Against Us In Addition To Our Sources

Widespread outrage across Germany is erupting following the revelation that the nation’s Attorney General has launched an investigation into treason charges for two journalists working for Netzpolitik.

The charge is treason. The crime is journalism.

We learn from the Guardian that:

Germany has opened a treason investigation into a news website a broadcaster said had reported on plans to increase state surveillance of online communications.

German media said it was the first time in more than 50 years journalists had faced treason charges, and some denounced the move as an attack on the freedom of the press.

“The federal prosecutor has started an investigation on suspicion of treason into the articles … published on the internet blog Netzpolitik.org,” a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said. 

The public broadcaster ARD reported Netzpolitik.org had published an article on how the BfV was seeking extra funding to increase its online surveillance, and another about plans to set up a special unit to monitor social media, both based on leaked confidential documents.

“This is an attack on the freedom of the press,” Netzpolitik.org journalist Andre Meister, targeted by the investigation along with editor-in-chief Markus Beckedahl, said in a statement. “We’re not going to be intimidated by this.”

Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing accurately notes the shadiness and hypocrisy of it all:

The German prosecutors who dropped all action against the US and UK spy-agencies who trampled German law and put the whole nation, up to and including Chancellor Angela Merkel, under surveillance, have decided instead to open an investigation into the bloggers at Netzpolitik, who revealed the wrongdoing.

Netzpolitik are an important source of independent news, analysis and campaigning for privacy and freedom in Germany. This is a genuinely shameful moment for the nation. We stand with Netzpolitik and its supporters around the world.

While this is horrible news, there is a silver lining. The main reason the German government feels a need to go overtly fascist, is because they are scared shitless. They are scared of the truth, of the light and of their own citizens. Such a corrupt and compromised government can’t last very long.

Additionally, we should commend the bravery of the journalists involved. As reported by the Intercept:

Asked if Netzpolitik would continue to report using materials gained from whistleblowers, Meister replied, “That’s our job, so of course we will continue to report about publicly relevant information, which obviously includes information from whistleblowers from state and private entities. As a matter of fact, just [yesterday] we have exposed the new ‘cyber strategy’ of the German Federal Military ‘Bundeswehr’ about offensive cyber attacks.”

“If anything, all the support is showing that we must be doing the right thing, so we will continue what we do and maybe even step up the pace. … To paraphrase a Google engineer after yet another NSA leak: ‘Fuck those guys!’”

Bravo. These guys deserve our complete and total support.

For related articles, see:

Standard & Poor’s Warns on Germany as Anti-Euro Political Party Soars in Popularity

Video of the Day – “End the Fed” Rallies are Exploding Throughout Germany

Martin Luther King: “Everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was Legal”

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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Revolving Door on Steroids – New Bank of England Policymaker Allowed to Retain Financial Interest in Hedge Fund

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Can’t a guy enjoy a beautiful Friday in Colorado without being bombarded with another gigantic oligarch scam? I guess not.

Today’s article takes the revolving door theme to a whole other level. It even puts the recent revelation that law firm Covington and Burlington kept an office empty for Eric Holder while he was head of the Department of Justice to shame. You can’t make this stuff up.

From Reuters:

New Bank of England policymaker Gertjan Vlieghe will retain a financial interest in one of the world’s biggest hedge fund firms while he sets interest rates, an arrangement that Britain’s finance ministry said posed no conflict of interest.

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House of Representatives Passes Bill in 15 Minutes to Revoke Americans’ Passports without Due Process

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The “war on terror” is a status quo fraud perpetuated by the oligarch-controlled mainstream media and authoritarian members of Congress as a way to systematically strip the American public of its freedom and civil rights in the name of fighting an outside enemy. This tried and true tactic has been used by statists throughout history, and history is indeed repeating itself here in the “land of the free.”

Of course, I’ve spent innumerable hours writing on this topic for many years, even before I started this website. Here are a few recent examples:

The “War on Terror” Turns Inward – DHS Report Warns of Right Wing Terror Threat

More “War on Terror” Abuses – Spying Powers Are Used for Terrorism Only 0.5% of the Time

How the Department of Homeland Security Monitored and Tracked Peaceful “Black Lives Matter” Protests

Moving along, today’s story is so incredible it’s almost hard to believe. It appears our so-called “representatives” recently took fifteen minutes to pass a bill that allows the Secretary of State to revoke Americans’ passports with no due process. Did you know about this? Well neither did I, and what’s worse, these members of Congress are so cowardly they passed the bill with a voice vote to avoid going on record. Talk about anti-American.

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AP American History Framework is Revised to Include “American Exceptionalism”

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This is one of those tricky stories where it’s tough to really know what to think unless you’ve done a lot of research and know exactly what’s going on. I haven’t done that. Nevertheless, from what I read in Newsweek, I feel the situation is worth flagging for readers.

On the one hand, it appears that names such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and John Adams were somehow not included in the recent framework for AP U.S. History, and this has now been changed. Of course, omitting these names from such a course is absolutely preposterous, so that appears to be a positive thing.

On the other hand, insanely enough, the College Board apparently felt a need to include “American exceptionalism” in its new framework. This sounds like pure propaganda, and I don’t see how the inclusion of such a concept belongs anywhere near a history course. If America is exceptional, let students decide that on their own! Anyone who thinks Americans must be taught that America is exceptional is a propagandist who cares nothing for critical thinking. A secure, powerful and righteous nation is not so unbelievably insecure that it needs to run around telling everyone how exceptional it is. Such a fact, if true, would be self-evident.

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How UBS Sent Millions to the Clintons After Hillary Saved the Mega Bank While Secretary of State

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A few weeks after Hillary Clinton was sworn in as secretary of state in early 2009, she was summoned to Geneva by her Swiss counterpart to discuss an urgent matter. The Internal Revenue Service was suing UBS AG to get the identities of Americans with secret accounts.

If the case proceeded, Switzerland’s largest bank would face an impossible choice: Violate Swiss secrecy laws by handing over the names, or refuse and face criminal charges in U.S. federal court.

Within months, Mrs. Clinton announced a tentative legal settlement—an unusual intervention by the top U.S. diplomat. UBS ultimately turned over information on 4,450 accounts, a fraction of the 52,000 sought by the IRS, an outcome that drew criticism from some lawmakers who wanted a more extensive crackdown.

From that point on, UBS’s engagement with the Clinton family’s charitable organization increased. Total donations by UBS to the Clinton Foundation grew from less than $60,000 through 2008 to a cumulative total of about $600,000 by the end of 2014, according the foundation and the bank. 

The bank also joined the Clinton Foundation to launch entrepreneurship and inner-city loan programs, through which it lent $32 million. And it paid former president Bill Clinton $1.5 million to participate in a series of question-and-answer sessions with UBS Wealth Management Chief Executive Bob McCann, making UBS his biggest single corporate source of speech income disclosed since he left the White House.

– From today’s Wall Street Journal article: UBS Deal Shows Clinton’s Complicated Ties

The best part about Hillary Clinton’s run for the Presidency, is the endless series of scandals and shadiness that inevitably comes along with being part of an entrenched status quo family that prioritizes the accumulation of wealth and power above all else. The reason Barack Obama was able to generate so much genuine “hope” prior to his election in 2008, is because he was a complete unknown. He could say all the right things, and it was easy for people to believe the hype.

The exact oppositie is true of Hillary. No one believes anything that comes out of her mouth. Everyone knows she is dishonest, shady, and as Camille Paglia perfectly summarized in her Salon article today:

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Least Transparent Ever – IRS Used “Wholly Separate” Instant Messaging System to Hide Communications

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Barack Obama promised to have the “most transparent administration ever,” but as with pretty much every other promise he’s made over the years, the exact opposite is what has occurred.

From Hillary Clinton using her own private email server while Secretary of State, to the latest revelations that the IRS (which intentionally targeted American citizens based on their political views), used a “wholly separate” instant messaging system in order to conceal their internal communications. Of course, not only is there no transparency, but as is the case with all shady and undemocratic “elite” behavior, there is no accountability.

In the latest bit of information to emerge, we learn from Americans for Tax Reform that:

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4 Mainstream Media Articles Mocking Gold That Should Make You Think

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For those of you who have been reading my stuff since all the way back to my Wall Street years at Sanford Bernstein, thanks for staying along for the ride. I appreciate your support immensely considering that I essentially no longer write about financial markets at all, and for many of you, that remains your profession and primary area of interest.

There are many reasons why I stopped commenting on markets, but the main reason is that I started to recognize I wasn’t getting it right. In fact, in some cases I was getting it spectacularly wrong. Whenever this happens, I try to isolate the problem and fix it. In this case there was no fix, because much of why I was no longer getting it right was rooted in the fact that my heart, soul and passion had moved onto other things. My interests had expanded, and I started a blog to express myself on myriad other matters I deemed important. Providing relevant market information needs intense focus, and my focus had shifted elsewhere. I recognized that I wasn’t intellectually interested enough in centrally planned markets to provide insightful analysis, and so I stopped.

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