Tags: Oligarchy

Trump to Sheldon Adelson Conference – “You’re Not Going to Support Me Because I Don’t Want Your Money”

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You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money.

That’s why you don’t want to give me money, OK, but that’s OK, you want to control your own politician. That’s fine, good.

– Donald Trump at the Sheldon Adelson-funded Republican Jewish Coalition

Earlier today, I highlighted an article in the Liberty Links section, detailing how all the Republican candidates for President had made it a point to attend today’s conference held by the Republican Jewish Coalition in order to grovel before supporters of one of the most dangerous American oligarchs, Sheldon Adelson. A man who earlier in this year proudly stated: “I don’t like journalism.”

Here are a few excerpts from the Haaretz piece, titled, Casino Magnate Sheldon Adelson Draws GOP Hopefuls to Jewish Conference:

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Mark Zuckerberg to Place Facebook “Philanthropic” Shares in a For-Profit LLC – This is Why

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Yesterday, all the media hoopla over Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement to “give away” 99% of his Facebook shares to philanthropic causes, came and went in the expected torrent of internet commentary. However, what you might have missed are the specifics around how he decided to safeguard those shares, and how unusual the for-profit LLC structure is for a charity.

Bloomberg reports:

The decision by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, to gradually give away 99 percent of their Facebook fortune is big news not just for the huge sum involved—about $46 billion—but for how the couple chose to achieve their philanthropic goal. Rather than set up a private foundation or charitable trust as Bill and Melinda Gates did, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will be structured as a limited liability corporation. 

It’s a highly unusual step for a massive philanthropy. “I’ve never seen someone set up an LLC exclusively for a philanthropic purpose before,” says Jane Wales, vice president of philanthropy and society at the Aspen Institute. “Normally they set up a foundation for the tax advantages of doing so.” Here are some significant ways that LLC status will shape what Zuckerberg and Chan do with their wealth.

1. There won’t be limits on lobbying

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A New Low – Hillary Clinton Claims 9/11 is the Reason She’s Owned by Wall Street

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That Hillary Clinton is owned by Wall Street is such an indisputable fact at this point, there’s no point in her even trying to squirm her way out of it. As such, it appears she took on a different tact at last night’s Democratic debate, straight out of the George W. Bush playbook. When asked about her Wall Street donors (her top career contributors are essentially all TBTF banks), she shamelessly replied:

CLINTON: So I represented New York, and I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked. Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy, and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country.

You could almost hear her political minions plotting earlier in the day…

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The American Banana Republic – GOP Debate Spent More Time Discussing Fantasy Sports than Wall Street Reform

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Fortunately for me, I don’t have cable so watching last night’s Republican debate was not even an option, despite the fact that the clownish spectacle was held right in my backyard of Boulder, Colorado. All indications are that I missed absolutely nothing of significance, which is far from surprising.

However, one thing that I found interesting based on the post debate commentary of those who had the painful experience of watching it, was the fact that more time was spent discussing fantasy sports regulation, than Wall Street reform.

As the New York Times notes:

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The Oligarch Recovery – U.S. Military Veterans are Selling Their Pensions in Order to Pay the Bills

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Moore soon found himself two months behind on rent and at least 10 days from payday. In bed that night, he saw a TV ad for Future Income Payments, a company based in Irvine, Calif., that buys pensions in exchange for a lump sum. The company said it had worked with military personnel and government workers. Ten minutes later, he got up and made the call.

The next day, a company representative called Moore back and explained that he would receive a $5,000 cash advance for selling part of his pension. In exchange, Moore would have to pay the company $510 a month for five years  — a total of $30,600.

If it were a typical loan, that would amount to $25,600 in interest — a rate of 512 percent.

Most of the companies advertise nationally on news sites and in military magazines, consumer advocates say. One ad highlighted in the recent congressional hearing on pension advances featured two smiling people in uniform below the words “This is our America.”

The effective interest rates charged by pension advance companies can be abusive, Cartwright said. But it is particularly “egregious” that the companies go after military retirees, targeting income streams that are backed by the federal government, he added.

– From the Washington Post article: Some Retirees are Making a Terrible Mistake with their Pensions 

Welcome to the oligarch recovery. An economic rebound so robust that an ever increasing number of Americans are being forced to borrow money at usurious rates just to pay the bills. Today, I want to introduce you to the latest scheme to profit from poverty: Pension Advance Companies.

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The Deterioration of America’s Corporate Balance Sheet

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I don’t comment frequently on the state of financial markets these days, but the following article from Bloomberg really grabbed my attention.

It relates to interest coverage ratios across corporate America, and quite frankly, I was stunned to see how badly balance sheets have deteriorated during the recent pitiful cyclical economic rebound which I have dubbed the oligarch recovery.

From Bloomberg:

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Cartoon of the Day – Wall Street Banks Attempt to Securitize Corporate Greed

No comment necessary. Well done.

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Rewarding Failure – Volkswagen CEO to Receive $32 Million Pension

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Last week, I tweeted the following with regard to my prediction about what would happen to the Volkswagen CEO after pretty much destroying the company’s reputation due to the emissions cheating scandal:

It didn’t take long for crony capitalism to kick in. You know, where the most destructive and inept members of society are consistently rewarded for failure. Bloomberg reports the following:

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New York Times Reports – “Fannie and Freddie are Back, Bigger and Badder Than Ever”

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Just in case you still harbored any doubt that absolutely zero lessons were learned from the cataclysmic financial collapse of 2008/09. We learn from the New York Times that:

AFTER the financial crisis of 2008, there was one thing that almost everyone agreed on. The government-sponsored mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, had to go. While shareholders and executives reaped the profits from Fannie and Freddie in good times, taxpayers were stuck with the bill in a crisis. President Obama described their dysfunctional business model as “Heads we win, tails you lose.” But here we are, seven years after the crisis, and nothing has changed.

In the 2008 crisis, when it looked as if Fannie and Freddie might go bankrupt, Henry M. Paulson Jr., then the Treasury secretary, argued that their fall would cause economic catastrophe. Foreign investors, stuck with their securities, would panic, and the mortgage market would shut down. So Fannie and Freddie were put into something called conservatorship, and are now government controlled, supported by a line of credit from the Treasury.

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A Message to the Peasants – Jeb Bush Says Americans Need to Work Longer Hours

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Over the past several years, as the U.S. economy has transitioned more and more into a corrupt oligarchy, we’ve seen an increase in statements by certain members of the so called “elite” class, in which they condescendingly lecture the average American. The message is always a variant of, “you need to work harder,” or “prepare for tough times ahead.” Of course, there’s never any reference to the fact that the entire U.S. economy has morphed into little more than a rigged fraud, intentionally set up to result in the current neo-feudal environment we see before us.

I first picked up upon this trend after witnessing a disgustingly ignorant appearance by real estate mogul Sam Zell on CNBC. It prompted me to compose a lengthy post titled, An Open Letter to Sam Zell: Why Your Statements are Delusional and Dangerous. Here’s an excerpt:

Your misdiagnosis of the root cause of the current dissent in America is a result of your obliviousness to the actual concerns of the 99%. A group about which you speak with such certainty, yet certainly know almost nothing about. In fact, my website is dedicated to highlighting all of the destructive trends happening in this nation today. From record high food stamp participation, to declining real wages and the reality that young people need to take on so much debt they become indentured serfs from the moment they enter the workforce. From a loss of 4th Amendment rights due to illegal NSA spying, to the militarization of the police force. From oligarch immunity from serious financial crimes that average citizens would be thrown in jail for life for, to trillion dollar bailouts with zero strings attached for the financial community. From the over-prosecution of some of our bravest citizens such as Aaron SwartzBarrett Brown and Private Manning to a fraudulent two-party sham political system entirely controlled by your socio-economic class.

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