Tags: Crony Capitalism

The Pentagon Creates Partnership with Apple to Develop Wearable Tech

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Last week, in the post JP Morgan Hires Recently Retired U.S. General, Raymond T. Odierno, I made the following observation:

How can you ensure that the interests of TBTF Wall Street mega banks and the military-intelligence-industrial complex remain aligned? Create a revolving door of course.

Of course it’s much, much bigger than this. The genius of the current status quo system is that it has created a complicated and opaque interlocking system of crony partnerships and interdependencies between the government, mega corporations and academia so massive, wealthy and powerful it has become exceedingly difficult to challenge. This is precisely because almost everyone now depends on it for their paychecks.

Creating such corrupt networks often happens in the shadows, and in recent years has taken the form of “public-private partnerships” and secret trade deals such as the TTP, TTIP and TISA. This is how modern America operates in a nutshell, and it’s continued metastasis is rapidly destroying what’s left of freedom, common sense and free markets in this nation.

Moving along to today’s post, how free does it make you feel that the Department of Defense is partnering with 162 companies, universities and other groups to develop wearable technology? How independent can these companies and universities actually be when they are engaged in such schemes with the U.S. government. The answer is obvious: Not independent at all.

From NBC News:

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Jeb Bush’s Deep Love Affair with Lobbyists and Cronyism While Governor of Florida Exposed

 

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In September 2006, with real estate prices in free fall and panic seizing much of the state’s economy, Bush and state officials were debating the merits of a proposed $50 million purchase of forest and wetlands near Orlando, Florida, to protect it from possible future development. The land under consideration was called “Joshua Creek.” It was owned by a developer called Land South Hunters, which was itself an affiliate of Land South Holdings, a company that enjoyed the labors of a well-connected lobbyist in Tallahassee — Rancourt of the Southern Strategy Group.

Bush voiced concerns that the state was paying far too much at a time in which Florida real estate values were plummeting. “I get emotional when a guy a year ago bought something for $32 million and wants to sell it to us for $50 [million],” said Bush, according to minutes from the meeting. “The worm has turned on real estate prices. Every article in the paper, every paper is writing about it. And I just do not believe that we should necessarily be the purchaser that always shows up with the big number.”

After hearing from Bush, state officials opted to defer voting on land acquisition for two weeks. Rancourt then emailed Bush after the meeting seeking to get together to discuss the land deal.

“My purpose is not to make the case for any specific agreement but merely to ascertain if additional information would make it worthwhile to continue discussions on this piece of property,” Rancourt said. “I am happy to arrive alone or to have my client from Lakeland with me at the meeting if that would be beneficial. That is your call of course, as well as if you are interested in sitting down at all. I would appreciate the opportunity but will understand if you have made your decision.”

Bush responded later that night. “Thank you David. If we can schedule something, I am happy to meet,” he wrote. Bush said his aide would meet with Rancourt otherwise, and blind-copied two members of his staff on the email. Two weeks later, Bush and top state officials discussed the project again, with Land South Hunters’ owner and lawyer present.

“If we purchase this, you’re going to make a great profit without any development risk,” Bush told the lawyer, according to minutes of the meeting. “We’re buying it from you, and we don’t factor that into our appraisal. I think that’s just wrong.”

Those concerns notwithstanding, Bush and his cabinet voted to approve the terms of the deal. Not for the first time, Southern Strategy Group had appeared to deliver for its client.

– From IBT’s excellent article: As Florida Governor, Jeb Bush Provided Special Access to Lobbyists

The most disturbing part of the Clinton vs. Bush Presidential spectacle being shoved down the throats of the American public, is that you couldn’t find two more discredited, disingenuous, corruptible, self-interested political family dynasties if you tried. Naturally, this is exactly why the only people with political clout in the U.S., billionaire oligarchs and corporate executives, want these two clowns running against each other. Either way, they win.

While I’ve spent a great deal of time covering the cronyism and greed of Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush is cut from exactly the same cloth. One of the investigative journalists who has uncovered a lot of the dirt on Hillary, David Sirota of International Business Times, is now out with incontrovertible proof of how America would be governed under a third President Bush. How do we know? Well, because we have plenty of evidence of how he handled things for eight years as governor of Florida.

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Obama’s “Jobs Czar,”GE’s CEO Jeff Immelt, Threatens to Outsource Jobs if Export-Import Bank Expires

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Another year has come and gone, and it’s once again time to face the issue of a crony capitalist favorite: The Export Import Bank, also known as the Ex-Im Bank. Last year, I covered the contentious battle, which of course was ultimately won by powerful multi-national corporate interests. Here’s an excerpt from the piece, Officials at the Ex-Im Bank are Under Investigation as it Fights for Survival:

I think the most important aspect of this entire fight is the fact that on opposite sides of the debate are not Democrats versus Republicans, but once again Republicans vs. Republicans (as in the Dave Brat vs. Eric Cantor race). We again see tea party Republicans facing off against establishment RINOs. On one side we hear claims by the tea party wing that the Ex-Im merely serves as a conduit for crony capitalism and favoritism to large corporations, or those willing to bribe officials. On the other side, we see establishment Republicans, who are extremely cozy with mega-corporations, maintaining that the institution plays a crucial role in financing American exports to make them competitive.

Looking at this paragraph a year later, we have seen the revolting display of RINO Republicans pushing through the sovereignty destroying, corporate crony giveaway know as trade “fast track” of the TPP. We can once again marvel in disgust at how completely bought and paid for these establishment crooks really are.

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How the Clinton Foundation Paid Sidney Blumenthal $10K per Month as He Gave Horrible Libya Advice to the State Dept.

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Mr. Gowdy’s chief interest, according to people briefed on the inquiry, is a series of memos that Mr. Blumenthal — who was not an employee of the State Department — wrote to Mrs. Clinton about events unfolding in Libya before and after the death of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. According to emails obtained by The New York Times, Mrs. Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time, took Mr. Blumenthal’s advice seriously, forwarding his memos to senior diplomatic officials in Libya and Washington and at times asking them to respond. Mrs. Clinton continued to pass around his memos even after other senior diplomats concluded that Mr. Blumenthal’s assessments were often unreliable.

But an examination by The Times suggests that Mr. Blumenthal’s involvement was more wide-ranging and more complicated than previously known, embodying the blurry lines between business, politics and philanthropy that have enriched and vexed the Clintons and their inner circle for years.

While advising Mrs. Clinton on Libya, Mr. Blumenthal, who had been barred from a State Department job by aides to President Obama, was also employed by her family’s philanthropy, the Clinton Foundation, to help with research, “message guidance” and the planning of commemorative events, according to foundation officials. 

Much of the Libya intelligence that Mr. Blumenthal passed on to Mrs. Clinton appears to have come from a group of business associates he was advising as they sought to win contracts from the Libyan transitional government. The venture, which was ultimately unsuccessful, involved other Clinton friends, a private military contractor and one former C.I.A. spy seeking to get in on the ground floor of the new Libyan economy.

– From the New York Times article: Clinton Friend’s Memos on Libya Draw Scrutiny to Politics and Business

Keeping tabs on the shadiness, cronyism and ineptitude of Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State alone is a full time job. I’m not even kidding, it feels like every day I wake up to another story that in itself should be enough to disqualify her as a Presidential candidate. Yet she remains the front runner to win in 2016, which proves without a shadow of a doubt that America is not a functioning democracy, but a clownish oligarch-owned Banana Republic.

Before I get into the many disturbing and dangerous angles to the Sidney Blumenthal story, it’s important to highlight what a complete and total disaster U.S. foreign policy in Libya has been during the Obama Administration. Rather than helping the situation, NATO destroyed the nation and left it far worse than it ever was under Qaddafi. I highlighted this fact in detail earlier this year in the post, The Forgotten War – Understanding the Incredible Debacle Left Behind by NATO in Libya. Here’s an excerpt:

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David Petraeus – How This Leaker of Classified Information is Peddling KKR Funds as Opposed to Serving Jail Time

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David Petraeus, as much as anyone else in America, personifies the completely corrupt, unjust, and fraudulent application of the rule of law in these United States today.

I continue to think that the unequal application of justice in America is the single most important issue that must be faced. So many of our problems would be solved overnight if the masses weren’t locked up for Orwellian “victimless crimes,” and rich and powerful criminals were thrown in jail up for extended periods for their far more societally destructive actions.

The case of David Petraeus has been discussed here before, most recently in the post, Some Leaks Are More Equal Than Others – Hypocritical D.C. Insiders Line up to Defend General Petraeus from Prosecution. Here are a few excerpts:

The decimation of the rule of law in these United States has been the key theme at Liberty Blitzkrieg for several years now. The reason I put such an emphasis on this horrible development, is because I think it trumps all others in significance. While the world will always have crime and corruption, the inability for a society to deal with rich and powerful people who engage in such practices thrusts a spear directly into the heart of any given civilization or society. It results in an exponential increase in elite criminality, and a concurrent death spiral downward into a culture primarily defined by a depraved, unaccountable oligarchy. These are symptoms of a fallen society, and these symptoms are evident all around us.

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Meet Cyber P3 – The U.S. Military’s Public-Private Partnership to Create Corporate/Government “Cyber Soldiers”

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At a time when the Pentagon arguably is losing a battle with industry for top tech talent, the Army is offering companies the resumes of its best cyberwarriors.

The initiative is designed to pump out 3,500 to 5,000 Army reserve soldiers. So far, 21 private employers have signed up to transition service members into civilian careers at Citibank, Microsoft, Fox Entertainment and Chevron, among other companies. 

“We’re looking at how do we marry up cyber soldiers with their civilian career,” like a reservist doctor in private practice, Nelson said. “If they do that on a full-time basis and they are immersed in cybersecurity on their civilian job, they are going to be very perceptive cyber soldiers.”

– From the Defense One article: The Army Is Sharing Its Top Cyber Warriors With Hollywood and Wall Street

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that whenever you hear the term “public-private” partnership, brace yourself for a screw job of epic proportions. It’s in exactly the same vein as the classic observation uttered by the late comedian, George Carlin, about politics:

The word bipartisan means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. 

It makes perfect sense if you think about it. If you’re a large corporation, there’s nothing better than guaranteed profits; and there’s no better way to guarantee profits than by going into business with the one entity that can do this: government. On the other hand, if you are an ambitious and greedy politician, what better way to earn a fortune while ostensibly engaging in “public service” than by lining the pockets of big corporations, which will then line your pockets in return in various opaque ways. Extraordinary fees for speeches is one preferred way of doing this, as is the classic revolving door that gives the person a cushy corporate job after leaving government.

In many ways, the Clinton Foundation is proving to be the shadiest public-private partnership of them them. Naturally, it isn’t marketed that way, but when the founders of it consist of a former President, and his former Secretary of State and Presidential candidate wife, you can see that this is a money-making scheme masquerading as a charity. I’ve covered this angle in detail over the past few months (links at the end), but right now I want to highlight a much anticipated book that is about to be released by Peter Schweizer titled, “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.” One thing we found out from the New York Times is that:

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Warren Buffett the Slumlord – Predatory Loans, Kickbacks and Preying on the Poor at Clayton Homes

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The disastrous deal ruined their finances and nearly their marriage. But until informed recently by a reporter, they didn’t realize that the homebuilder (Golden West), the dealer (Oakwood Homes) and the lender (21st Mortgage) were all part of a single company: Clayton Homes, the nation’s biggest homebuilder, which is controlled by its second-richest man — Warren Buffett.

Buffett’s mobile-home empire promises low-income Americans the dream of homeownership. But Clayton relies on predatory sales practices, exorbitant fees, and interest rates that can exceed 15 percent, trapping many buyers in loans they can’t afford and in homes that are almost impossible to sell or refinance, an investigation by The Seattle Times and Center for Public Integrity has found.

Berkshire Hathaway, the investment conglomerate Buffett leads, bought Clayton in 2003 and spent billions building it into the mobile-home industry’s biggest manufacturer and lender. Today, Clayton is a many-headed hydra with companies operating under at least 18 names, constructing nearly half of the industry’s new homes and selling them through its own retailers. It finances more mobile-home purchases than any other lender by a factor of six. It also sells property insurance on them and repossesses them when borrowers fail to pay.

Former dealers said the company encouraged them to steer buyers to finance with Clayton’s own high-interest lenders.

Buyers told of Clayton collection agents urging them to cut back on food and medical care or seek handouts in order to make house payments. 

To maintain its down-to-earth image, Clayton has hired the stars of the reality-TV show “Duck Dynasty” to appear in ads…

– From the excellent Seattle Times article: The Mobile-Home Trap: How a Warren Buffett Empire Preys on the Poor

In so many ways, Warren Buffett and modern America are the same thing. An idea packaged and marketed so brilliantly, most of humanity unquestionably believes the myth. Warren Buffett and the U.S. both sell themselves as encompassing the very best of human qualities; highly successful, extraordinarily intelligent, yet at the same time, extremely ethical. It’s that last part that’s actually most important to the continued power and prestige of both the man and the nation-state. However, when you look beneath the surface, it becomes increasingly clear that neither of them actually come close to what’s printed on the package.

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NYC Residents Will Pay $2-3k a Month for “Micro-Apartments” as Luxury Car Sales Outpace Regular Car Sales

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 11.23.29 AMIn the past five years, global registrations of the seven largest ultra-premium car brands–a group that also includes Aston Martin and Lamborghini–have surged by 154 percent, far outpacing the 36 percent gain in overall car sales worldwide. 

Rolls-Royce registrations have risen almost five-fold. Almost 10,000 new Bentleys cruised onto the streets last year, a 122 percent increase over 2009, while Lamborghini rode a 50 percent increase to pass the 2,000 vehicle mark.

– From the Bloomberg article: Hyper-Luxury Cars Are Now Selling Faster Than Normal Ones

It’s an oligarch’s world, you’re just living in it.

One of the main reasons “hyper-luxury” cars are outselling regular cars, is because all of the wealth gains from the oligarch recovery are going to, well, oligarchs. This has been a regular theme here at Liberty Blitzkrieg, and is further evidence that global policies implemented since the oligarch created financial melt-down, have been used to cover up its criminality, and further advance the status quo’s consolidation of wealth and power. A continuation of this trend presents the greatest threat to liberty, free markets and an evolution of human consciousness on the planet today.

First, let’s take a look at how the average standard of living in my hometown of NYC is being impacted by the oligarch recovery. From the New York Post:

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Annaly’s CEO Accurately Compares Central Bankers to Witch Doctors; Possible “Blood-Letters”

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 11.05.28 AMThe story of bloodletting is intertwined in the mysterious fabric of medical lore; it originated from magic and religious ceremonies. The physician and priest were one and the same since disease was thought to be caused by supernatural causes. Witch doctors and sorcerers were called on to drive out the evil spirits and demons. Bloodletting was a method for cleansing the body of ill-defined impurities and excess fluid. The early instruments included thorns, pointed sticks and bones, sharp pieces of flint or shell, and even sharply pointed shark’s teeth. Miniature bow and arrow devices for bloodletting have been found in South America and New Guinea. A small bloodletting instrument resembling a crossbow was once used in Greece and Malta. Wall paintings dating from 1400 B.C. depict the use of leeches for drawing blood from human beings.

– From a PBS article: A Brief History of Blood-Letting

On a conference call today to discuss the mortgage-investment firm’s earnings, the chief executive officer talked about “blood-letting,” a “popular prescription for many ills” until the late 1800s, and the similarly abandoned view that life could be created by spontaneous generation to explain her “healthy dose of concern” over the potential results of all the stimulus.

“My hope is that as policy makers of the world continue to prescribe their remedies for the ailing economic patient, that they do not render it worse off,” she said. “As with their predecessors, I suspect there is no doubt in the minds of our central bankers that they are the smartest they’ve ever been. Yet, I fear they are not the smartest they will ever be.”

– From the Bloomberg article: Annaly’s CEO Sees Central Bankers as Possible Blood-Letters

One of my greatest frustrations during the post-financial crisis period has been the unwillingness of the rich and powerful to call out central banking for what it is: financial slavery. While I accept that many are simply ignorant or brainwashed, there are plenty who know exactly what’s going on and are merely trying to make as much money as possible from the Federal Reserve created scam before the music stops. For those with influence in society, this is a highly unethical choice.

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Hillary Clinton Exposed Part 1 – How She Aggressively Lobbied for Mega Corporations as Secretary of State

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That approach, which Mrs. Clinton called “economic statecraft,” emerged in discussions with Robert Hormats, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. investment banker who has worked in Democratic and Republican administrations and became an undersecretary of state. “One of the very first items was, how do we strengthen the role of the State Department in economic policy?” he says.

Early in Mrs. Clinton’s tenure, according to Mr. Hormats, Microsoft’s then Chief Research Officer Craig Mundie asked the State Department to send a ranking official to a fourth annual meeting of U.S. software executives and Chinese government officials about piracy and Internet freedom. Mr. Hormats joined the December 2009 meeting in Beijing.

Mr. Hormats says there was no relation between Microsoft’s donations and the State Department’s participation in the China conference.

Before every overseas trip, says Mr. Hormats, the former undersecretary of state, he helped prepare a list of U.S. corporate interests for Mrs. Clinton to advocate while abroad. 

– From the Wall Street Journal article: Hillary Clinton’s Complex Corporate Ties

If you can’t beat em, mock em. That’s essentially my motto going into the imperial spectacle known as the 2016 American Presidential election. With another Bush and another Clinton likely on the ballot, there’s basically only one candidate running, and I plan on proving this in no uncertain terms over the next couple of years.

Recently, I started a series known as “Jeb Bush Exposed” (read part 1 and part 2), so it’s only fair that I create a similar category for Hillary. Going forward, I plan on naming all future exposes on these two cronies in that manner, so all the stories are easily accessible as we head into next year’s charade.

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