Friday, October 28, 2016

I'm Not a Republican, But I'll Be Damned If I Support This (And Trump Might Win Just Due to This and the BREXIT States - Getting Deep Into Twain (Or Mencken) Territory)   Bayer-Monsanto Merger Mania  (Podesta Emails Reveal)  Double Government/Election Madness  (Eric Holder Says Nothing)

“The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable...”
H.L. Mencken, Prejudices:  Third Series
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No, Michael, wishing won't make it so.

As you say so well in the video at the end of the essay.

# librarian1984 2016-10-27 13:29 - What was revolutionary about the scientific method, its power, comes from its ability to predict. Even if you have the most darling theory, if it can't predict future events better than chance, it is worthless. So let's predict HRC's future behavior. If progressives are correct, after the election Clinton will:
Pass the TPP
Make explicit her strong alliance with Israel and AIPAC 
Open a no-fly zone over Syria
Escalate tensions with Russia
Invade a new country or step up existing actions
Be more focused on wars than domestic issues
Further deregulate Wall Street
Work entirely too well with the GOP
Begin the privatization of social security

She will not:

Close offshore tax havens
Close down the Clinton Foundation
Improve ACA
Close the pipelines
Stop drone attacks
Address jobs
Meaningfully increase infrastructure spending
Reduce citizen surveillance or direct her Justice Dept. to investigate policing
Focus on climate change or reduce fracking
Increase taxes on billionaires or corporations
Appoint populist SCOTUS justices
Bother much about the Dem platform
Be at all transparent
Let's see who is right.
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. . . with Hillary we are entering a new “self-serving-is-good” age.   

Kids, friends, Romans(?) here's why it seems just regular, usual behavior to Hillary and Bill?

It must seem almost insane for them not to partake?

To feast it seems.


Or with a few well-chosen friends at the most.

Guess we've found out (excruciatingly slowly it seems) where all the money that used to flow to the middle and lower classes went.

And it wasn't an accident.

Or a coincidence, Tony. (H/T NCIS)

One more thought on re-reading this pile of info before publishing for public delectation . . . after watching the video "Weiner" the other day, I wondered why that guy would think he was a good candidate (still) for "public service."

Asked and answered below.

Also who benefits from such expensive U.S. health care? (Every other first-world country's medical system doesn't allow institutions/corporations to make a profit without providing direct medical benefits for the health care business.)

And (insiderly) why there is no real difference between the Democrats who act and vote as Blue Dogs and the real dogs:  The Republicans?

Did all these people end up ruinously wealthy at public service expense? (Because we are paying waaayyy toooo much for this service.)

Do I hear "Hail to the Chief?"

(The following essay is pretty much getting into Mark Twain country. Not to mention Mencken's!)

Democratic Senate Candidate Evan Bayh Represents Everything Broken, Corrupt and Wrong With America

Whether participating in glittery dinners with heads of state, or tête-à-têtes in the Oval Office, Andrew Liveris, the chief executive of Dow Chemical, has regularly visited the White House.
He served as co-chairman of President Obama’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. He stood beside the president onstage at events.
Many of these Washington appearances by Mr. Liveris — which have totaled more than two dozen since 2009 — were arranged with the help of Teneo, an advisory firm with close ties to the Democratic establishment. Dow is Teneo’s biggest and most lucrative account, paying millions of dollars a year in fees, according to a 2014 lawsuit filed against Dow and interviews with two Teneo employees.
Other prominent employees have included former President Bill Clinton and Huma Abedin, who, starting in 2012, briefly worked at Teneo while employed at the State Department under Secretary Hillary Clinton. At the same time, Ms. Abedin held a paid position at the Clinton Foundation, the family-founded charitable organization. Last year, Teneo declined to answer questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Ms. Abedin’s employment…
Heather Bresch, the chief executive of the pharmaceutical company Mylan, was given two salons by Teneo in 2011 — one in a New York City apartment and a second at a private home in Washington that attracted a mix of media, finance and political elite. Then, in 2012, a Teneo employee and Ms. Bresch met with President Obama’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett at the White House, according to White House records.
This year Ms. Bresch was thrust into the spotlight after Mylan increased the price of its EpiPen, a lifesaving allergy treatment, sixfold. A Mylan spokeswoman, Nina Devlin, confirmed that the company had been a client of Teneo, saying the relationship ended in 2012. She declined to address specific questions about the dinners.
In Washington, Teneo salons — often home-cooked dinners that occasionally include homemade ice cream — are sometimes held in the home of Margaret Carlson, a columnist for Bloomberg View. Guests have included United States Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, and Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, according to several former Teneo employees. 
In a statement, Teneo said the salon dinners were an “extremely small part” of its operations and that they were “information thought leadership events” that were typically attended by heads of leading think tanks and nonprofit organizations, public officials and members of the media, including journalists from The New York Times. An individual inside the firm also said that all appropriate disclosures to participants were made.
– From the recent "New York Times" article:  A Constellation of Influencers:  Behind the Curtain at Teneo:
If you haven’t read the recent "New York Times" article on “advisory firm” Teneo, you should really take the time. It adds yet another piece to the disturbing puzzle of how the “real axis of evil;” government, media and big business, collude behind closed doors to concentrate money and power in an increasingly small number of hands. This is a very well-oiled machine — sophisticated, unethical, organized and incredibly destructive.

It’s what really runs this country, and it doesn’t care in the least about the suffering and despair of the American people.

From the beginning of time, big money has always attempted to buy off legislators and others in positions of political power. What separates successful societies from failed states is the relative level of cronyism that the stewards of the public good are willing to tolerate and participate in. In 2016 America, the level of corruption is at failed state/Banana Republic levels, and the citizenry is starting to figure it out.

Many of you will know the name Evan Bayh. He’s the son of three-term Indiana Senator Birch Bayh, and went on to become Governor of Indiana from 1983-1997, and then Senator himself from 1999-2011. Upon leaving “public service,” he did what most of these government prostitutes do — made millions and millions of dollars doing pretty much nothing

Many of you will know the name Evan Bayh. He’s the son of three-term Indiana Senator Birch Bayh, and went on to become Governor of Indiana from 1983-1997, and then Senator himself from 1999-2011. Upon leaving “public service,” he did what most of these government prostitutes do — made millions and millions of dollars doing pretty much nothing

As a recent article from Politico reveals, the Bayh family had assets worth $2.1-$7.7 million when he left the Senate in 2010, but it has since surged to a range of $13.8 million-$48 million. Making that kind of money isn’t easy for anyone, and it’s particularly suspicious in the hands of a man supposedly dedicated to public service.

So how did the couple make all this money? Evan, for one, joined law and lobbying firm McGuireWoods and became an advisor to private equity giant Apollo Global as upon leaving the Senate. Meanwhile, I can’t figure out for the life of me what his wife Susan does. She seems to be a “professional board member” for a variety of large companies.

Wikipedia notes the following about Susan:

A newspaper in her state has described her as being engaged in a profession it termed “professional board member” or “professional director”.

An Indiana newspaper listed eight corporations of which Bayh was a director, as of 2006. Bayh began serving on corporate boards in 1994 and has since served on the boards of 14 corporations, including the insurance, pharmaceutical, and food processing industries.
No, no conflict of interest there.
Meanwhile, a reference link on Susan’s Wikipedia page points to a 2007 article published at the "Fort Wayne Journal Gazette" titled, “Across the Boards.”  Unfortunately, it leads to the following result:


It’s not just Wikipedia. A Talking Points Memo article from 2009 referenced that same broken link, so it was clearly a meaningful article which seems to have disappeared from the internet.
Nevertheless, here’s some of what we learn about Susan from TPM:
Yesterday, Sen. Evan Bayh joined his colleague Joe Lieberman in suggesting that he may oppose health-care reform, citing concerns about the deficit. Bayh has long been one of the more conservative members of the Democratic caucus. But is his stance also affected by the fact that his wife has reportedly earned at least $2 million over the last six years as a member of the board of a major health insurer?
Susan Bayh’s affiliation with Indianapolis-based WellPoint isn’t news. But a new report on TheStreet digs into the details. It also finds that last year, Susan Bayh sat on four other corporate boards, in addition to WellPoint’s. She received over $656,0000 in cash and stock for all her board work, around half of which came from WellPoint. 
As the site puts it:  “Susan Bayh’s corporate directorships provide a significant chunk of the Bayh family income.”
It’s also worth noting that Susan Bayh was a mid-level attorney at Eli Lilly before joining WellPoint’s board in 1998, while her husband was governor. That suggests that the company, at least, may have felt that her value lay more in the access she offered to Evan Bayh than in her own accomplishments.

*Note:  Since this post was published, I was able to find an archive of the 2007 article Across the Boards. Excerpt below, but you can read the entire thing here.

WASHINGTON – Since leaving Indiana as a first lady, Susan Bayh has become a professional board member, earning more than $1 million a year in director fees for advice she gives to companies that make pharmaceuticals, operate radio stations, sell health insurance policies, offer online banking and distribute ingredients to fast-food restaurants.
In the past four years, Bayh collected more than $1.7 million in pre-tax income when she exercised stock options from two of the corporations. Her actual income from exercising stock options is higher, but the details of one transaction were not publicly reported.
During the same time, her husband, Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., cast more than 3,000 votes, including some on issues of keen interest to the pharmaceutical, broadcast, insurance, food-distribution and finance industries.
Bayh said his wife’s business interests never influence how he votes, the bills he introduces or the positions he takes.
Last year, Susan Bayh served on the boards of six publicly traded and two privately held companies, putting her into a class described as “professional board member..”
She was first appointed to a public board seat in June 1994 when she was named to the Emmis Broadcasting board. Since then, she has been named to the boards of 14 businesses, primarily in the insurance or pharmaceutical industries. As of last year, she sat on the governing bodies of eight companies:  Indianapolis-based Emmis Broadcasting and WellPoint Inc., the second-largest U.S. health insurance company; four pharmaceutical companies:  Curis Inc., Dyax Corp., Nastech Pharmaceuticals and Dendreon Corp.; and privately held Golden State Foods of California and E-Trade Bank of Virginia.
Bayh’s appointment to six publicly traded boards is at the extreme end of what the National Association of Boards of Directors considers reasonable. The organization recommends that a professional with a full-time job serve on no more than three boards and that a retired or unemployed person limit directorships to five.
Apparently, all this person does is sit on corporate boards while being married to a Governor and Senator. Yep, nothing dirty about that.

Unfortunately, this story of betraying the public trust isn’t over, as Mr. Cronyism Evan Bayh is once again running for the U.S Senate. He was initially up by over 20 points due to name recognition, but the race is tightening. "Politico" reports:

The Bayh name, which goes back six decades in Indiana politics, is under barrage — and this critical Senate battleground state will turn on whether Republicans can drive down his numbers even further in the next two weeks to stage what would be one of the biggest upsets of 2016.
Bayh, who’s never lost a race in 30 years in politics, acknowledges that his initial eye-popping advantage over Young was based mostly on name recognition. But he says that in his previous competitive races, for secretary of state in 1986 and then governor in 1988, he won by only single digits. He dismisses any notion that he is losing appeal with Indiana voters, whom he last faced on the ballot in 2004.
His 20-plus point lead is down to 6 points, according to the two most recent independent polls of the race. Shortly before those surveys, Young’s campaign announced his internal polling had him up a single point. Multiple Democratic operatives say their own internal polling finds Bayh still leading outside the margin of error.
However close it is, Republicans say the momentum is with Young, a hard-charging former Marine Corps officer who jumps at any chance to contrast his own background with the scion of Indiana politics.
Young’s strategy has been clear all along:  Turn Bayh’s last name, and the notion that he’s relying solely on it to win, into a liability. And couple that with the case that Bayh left Indiana to profit from public service after voting on controversial policies such as President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
Indeed, recently filed personal financial disclosure forms show Bayh has been compensated handsomely in his post-Senate life. He has banked nearly $6.3 million since January 2015 in salary, board compensation and speaking fees, according to those disclosures. Bayh and his wife, Susan, now report $13.9 million to $48 million in assets, compared with $2.1 and $7.7 million when Bayh left the Senate at the end of 2010.
Bayh doesn’t talk at length when asked to respond to charges that he profited from his time in the Senate.
“I’ve been proud to work with some good Indiana businesses, like Berry Plastics right here in Evansville, largest employer in town, to grow that company, to create jobs,” Bayh said in the interview, referring to one company that paid him $400,000 since January 2015 to sit on its board. “I’m proud of that.”
Young and his allies have latched onto a recent Associated Press report that found Bayh had more than four dozen meetings and phone calls concerning his future employment prospects between the time he announced his retirement from the Senate in February 2010 and the end of his term in December of that year. The Indianapolis Star subsequently noted that the Bayh campaign initially said Bayh did not meet with officials from Apollo Global Management, the private equity firm that has employed him since January 2011 — though the AP story revealed otherwise.
Another damaging AP report last week found that Bayh spent $3,000 of taxpayer money for trips to New York that included meetings with top banking officials and one job headhunter. Bayh denied using public dollars for personal use. But the AP stood by its report, which came out the same day Young earned the endorsement of the Star, the state’s largest newspaper.
I know absolutely nothing about his opponent, but I know this. Evan Bayh needs to lose this race.

Finally, I want to conclude with this recent clip from Michael Moore, who explains why so many people in Michigan, and around the country, will be voting for Donald Trump even though they don’t particularly like him.

Agriculture’s biggest deal ever — the Bayer-Monsanto merger —  would leave farmers and consumers paying more for less, and could accelerate a catastrophic decline in the diversity of what we plant and eat.
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Several top journalists and TV news anchors RSVPed “yes” to attend a private, off-the-record gathering at the New York home of Joel Benenson, the chief campaign strategist for Hillary Clinton, two days before she announced her candidacy in 2015, according to emails Wikileaks has published from John Podesta's purported accounts.
The guest list for an earlier event at the home of John Podesta was limited to reporters who were expected to cover Clinton on the campaign trail.
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[KR985] Keiser Report:  Observations on US Elections

October 27, 2016

We discuss howls at the moon as the Bank of Japan attempts to taper the Tokyo condo market ponzi. They also discuss the newly announced interventions by the UK government in the nation’s deflating property pyramid. In the second half Max interviews journalist and comedy writer, Charlie Skelton, about his observations on the US elections. He concludes that Hillary is the face in the machine of the Matrix and that the craziness is the system

[KR983] Keiser Report:  Double Government

October 22, 2016

We discuss the ‘double government’ and the "Wikileaks" that exposed it to be true. In the second half, Max continues his interview with Dr. Michael Hudson about his new book, “'J' Is for Junk Economics" and about the U.S. presidential candidates.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Rigging Rigeur  (Devil's Bankers Really Rule)  How To Steal Election Again  (Plutocrats Laugh/Brag)  Wiki Leaks Buzz  (The Truth About Markets – Obamacare and #PodestaEmails)

So, the FoB's (Friends of Bill) were first in line for the 10 billion in donations distributed by the U.S. State Department after the Haiti disaster?

Well, they do get credit for building two very nice shacks there.

And that's just the start of the story.

Max and Stacy have the evidence.

The US government is delegitimized, not only in the eyes of Americans, but also in the eyes of most of the world. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, their careers, their hopes, because corrupt bought-and-paid-for-Washington enabled Globalism to send the futures of the American people to China and India. Millions of Americans lost their homes, because the corrupt Federal Reserve came down on the side of five “banks too big to fail” at the expense of the American people. Millions of Americans along with much of the world know that the US government has been slaughtering millions of peoples in seven countries based on lies, wasting not only countries and the lives of millions of peoples, but trillions of American dollars that Americans needed for their welfare. Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. Assad did not use chemical weapons. Gaddafi was innocent of all the absurd charges that Washington used to destroy Libya, a country that had the most progressive social system on earth. Russia did not invade Ukraine. The Taliban had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11. Yet countries are in ruins because of Washington’s war crimes justified by transparent lies.

If the NY Times does not know this, the organization is too stupid to justify its existence. Of course the Times knows it. But the NY Times is no longer a newspaper. It is a cog in the Ministry of Propaganda that works to create a Matrix in which brainwashed Americans accept the dictates of the Oligarchs.

The purpose of the Times’ article is to discredit in advance criticism of an election that the ruling Oligarchs intend to steal. If the Times believed that Hillary would have a clear election victory, there would be no point to Fisher’s article.

. . . Trump says in the face of contrary ruling neoconservative opinion that he sees no point in conflict with Russia and no point in NATO’s continued existence a quarter century after the purpose of NATO collapsed with the Soviet Union. Trump might not be successful in appointing a government that serves his instincts, but at least he gives us hope of avoiding military conflict with Russia and China. With Hillary there is no hope whatsoever. My opinion is that the world would not survive Hillary’s first term. I have known the neoconservatives since the 1970s. They are crazed fanatics, and they hate Russia. Hillary is their agent.

. . . Leaked emails prove that the Trump-Putin connection was orchestrated as campaign talk to deflect attention from damaging content of Clinton’s released emails
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(Throw a contribution into the PayPal cup for the Fall Fundraiser if you'd like to support this blog. I apologize for using PayPal, but as you've probably heard, all the rest are just as rightwing in origin and/or ownership and yet offer even higher fees to effect the transfer of money. **Anyone want to start a better donation site?**)

Over the course of its history, the New York Times has reported on many American elections that have been rigged or stolen or are suspected of having been being rigged or stolen. For example, as a supporter of the black civil rights movement, the NY Times has many stories in its archives of elections rigged by disenfranchisement of black voters.

But this was when the NY Times was an independent voice before it became a whore for the Oligarchs who rule America. When the NY Times reported that black Americans could have no confidence in the integrity of American elections, the NY Times did not denounce itself for delegitimizing American democracy.

The NY Times forgot all of this when it published Max Fisher’s article yesterday. Fisher fished up “scholars” among the Hillary advocates, and they obligingly told him that Trump’s questioning of the integrity of American elections were the tactics of a would-be dictator who is at work delegitimizing democracy so that he can take over.

What Fisher and his “scholars” overlook is that the US government is already delegitimized in the eyes of the American population, as well as foreign populations. If the US government was not already delegitimized, Donald Trump would not have been successful in what, despite Trump’s damnation by the presstitutes, was an easy sweep-aside of the Establishment’s candidates for the Republican presidential nomination.

The US government is delegitimized, not only in the eyes of Americans, but also in the eyes of most of the world. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, their careers, their hopes, because corrupt bought-and-paid-for-Washington enabled Globalism to send the futures of the American people to China and India. Millions of Americans lost their homes, because the corrupt Federal Reserve came down on the side of five “banks too big to fail” at the expense of the American people. Millions of Americans along with much of the world know that the US government has been slaughtering millions of peoples in seven countries based on lies, wasting not only countries and the lives of millions of peoples, but trillions of American dollars that Americans needed for their welfare. Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. Assad did not use chemical weapons. Gaddafi was innocent of all the absurd charges that Washington used to destroy Libya, a country that had the most progressive social system on earth. Russia did not invade Ukraine. The Taliban had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11. Yet countries are in ruins because of Washington’s war crimes justified by transparent lies.

If the NY Times does not know this, the organization is too stupid to justify its existence. Of course the Times knows it. But the NY Times is no longer a newspaper. It is a cog in the Ministry of Propaganda that works to create a Matrix in which brainwashed Americans accept the dictates of the Oligarchs.

The purpose of the Times’ article is to discredit in advance criticism of an election that the ruling Oligarchs intend to steal. If the Times believed that Hillary would have a clear election victory, there would be no point to Fisher’s article.

. . . Trump says in the face of contrary ruling neoconservative opinion that he sees no point in conflict with Russia and no point in NATO’s continued existence a quarter century after the purpose of NATO collapsed with the Soviet Union. Trump might not be successful in appointing a government that serves his instincts, but at least he gives us hope of avoiding military conflict with Russia and China. With Hillary there is no hope whatsoever. My opinion is that the world would not survive Hillary’s first term. I have known the neoconservatives since the 1970s. They are crazed fanatics, and they hate Russia. Hillary is their agent.

. . . Leaked emails prove that the Trump-Putin connection was orchestrated as campaign talk to deflect attention from damaging content of Clinton’s released emails.

. . . According to Shyla Nelson, the co-founder of Election Justice USA, US elections are manipulated in many ways, including «voter suppression, unauthorized registration purges, district gerrymandering, gross exit poll variances, the privatization of voting machinery, and the lack of transparency in ballot processing – our elections will continue to rank among the lowest in the world in integrity.

. . . US elections are so corrupt that the US has threatened Russian diplomats with arrest if they attempt to monitor the US November presidential election.

Read the entire essay here.
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It certainly looks rigged.

From the odd TV crowd coverage to the long lines and vanquished poll booths to the mystery of the health of both of the candidates (and the efforts to portray all other candidates as either ignorant, stupid or developmentally deficient).

Completely rigged.

And not in "our" favor.

We lost that favor during the media-saturated, poorly reported primaries.

The U.S. now seems to be in the downward spiral of overarching power getting its way as long as it can by any means it can utilize.

But the end is in sight.

If attacking the Russians seems like a sensible plan to power.

Remember the Romans.

And how every other civilization of note ended.

Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert always have some vital information about the developing economic situation which affects the political endemically. They cover the news that is ignored by the U.S. media. Funny (almost) how no one in the U.S. seems to take this seriously.

And not that anyone wants Trump to win . . . but . . . it's just too incredibly evil to pretend that all the rigging talk is addressing merely fictional circumstances.

Because everyone knows exactly how rigged it all is.

The current cause celebre against Trump is his conditional statement that he might not accept the election results if they appear to have been rigged. The presstitutes immediately jumped on him for “discrediting American democracy” and for “breaking American tradition of accepting the people’s will.”
What nonsense! Stolen elections are the American tradition. Elections are stolen at every level — state, local, and federal. Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley’s theft of the Chicago and, thereby, Illinois vote for John F. Kennedy is legendary. The Republican US Supreme Court’s theft of the 2000 presidential election from Al Gore by preventing the Florida vote recount is another legendary example. The discrepancies between exit polls and the vote count of the secretly programmed electronic voting machines that have no paper trails are also legendary.
So what’s the big deal about Trump’s suspicion of election rigging?
The black civil rights movement has fought vote rigging for decades. The rigging takes place in a number of ways. Blacks simply can’t get registered to vote. If they do get registered, there are few polling places in their districts. And so on. After decades of struggle it is impossible that there are any blacks who are not aware of how hard it can be for them to vote. Yet, I heard on the presstitute radio network, NPR, Hillary’s Uncle Toms saying how awful it was that Trump had cast aspersion on the credibility of American election results. 
. . . The presstitutes have gone all out to demonize both Trump and any mention of election rigging, because they know for a fact that the election will be stolen and that they will have the job of covering up the theft.

Rigging is so de rigeur that it's almost a surprise to find out that there are no copyright ownership rights being bragged about yet.

A Devil’s Advocate Rings in a Bad Night for Bankers

I don't want to step on too many nuggets, but Secretary of State Clinton stepped in to do the negotiations with UBS. She required UBS to disclose only 4,700 out of 19,000 illegal account holders. Birkenfeld's curious, as we all might be, as to who made the selection and how, and why the names were never made public. Why was the fine so inadequate compared to long-term profits, and why did DOJ so carelessly offer undeclared account holders anonymity and repeated amnesties?
Who are these titans of favoritism? Will the real masters of the universe please stand up?
It brings to mind proposals for excessively reduced corporate taxes for repatriating money sloshing around abroad, but I digress.
In Washington's small world of startling coincidence, before the negotiated deal UBS only contributed sixty grand to the Clinton Foundation. Afterwards, notes Birkenfeld, it went up by a factor of ten. UBS also partnered with the Foundation providing a low-interest thirty-two million dollar loan for a Foundation program. And President Clinton, the First, earned over a million and a half dollars "for a series of fireside chats with the bank's Wealth Management Chief Executive, Bob McCann...Bill Clinton's biggest payday since leaving the office of the Presidency."   
I’m not a finance guy, but I’m getting better at the smell test. Ah,well, what's to worry? A legion of editorialists, commentators and spinners assures us there's no quid pro quo. The Trump gun at our temple is a curiosity killer.

In Washington, “pay it forward” is a concept not fully embraced.

Birkenfeld reckons Americans are on the hook for a trillion dollars escaping off-shore, so they ought be making demands.

The book balances entertaining asides and stark realities. One notable is how big players like UBS distribute business and retainers to put major law firms on the shelf as they avoid conflicts of interest. And the inescapable revolving door-- lubricated by so-called public servants sugaring up those they're supposed to ride herd on, while anticipating wildly better compensated employment elsewhere. Birkenfeld expresses particular fondness for DOJ prosecutors who shepherded him through his adventure in criminal prosecution. The lead prosecutor negotiated Birkenfeld’s plea and signed off on his motion for a sentence reduction. Then he sat quietly while a judge nailed Birkenfeld with a much longer sentence than Birkenfeld was led to expect.

Later, Birkenfeld discovered his lead prosecutor signed a secret non-prosecution agreement for the UBS kingpin who oversaw the 19,000 US accounts (including all of the North and South American offshore business), the show-runner for approximately $20 billion in assets. That banker was quietly allowed to go back to Switzerland two weeks later while the US Senate committee was on summer recess.

Birkenfeld's lead prosecutor then left DOJ to partner with a law firm that's now defending a Credit Suisse private banker who also handled US accounts (which Birkenfeld told the DOJ prosecutor about in 2007). The Credit Suisse banker is being prosecuted by another prosecutor, still at DOJ, that also dealt with Birkenfeld. Before leaving DOJ, Birkenfeld's lead prosecutor supervised the indictment of the Credit Suisse banker, which was signed by both prosecutors. The former prosecutor now with the law firm isn’t listed as attorney of record on the case. He’s merely a partner in the firm.  
No word on the future plans of the prosecutor still lingering at DOJ.

Speaking generally, the revolving door is powered by contacts left behind in government.

His book might not be on the White House wish list, but on Oct. 1st Birkenfeld dispatched Lucifer to President Obama, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Secretary of State John Kerry. It went with this letter urging action and answers. All members of Congress can look forward to Lucifer coming their way 
Among the questions posed, why was a key UBS official allowed to return to Switzerland after he agreed to cooperate but instead pleaded the Fifth at a Congressional hearing? Why was what Birkenfeld characterizes as a sham prosecution conducted against another top UBS official, who was acquitted and returned home after DOJ refused to call Birkenfeld to testify?

That’s high contrast with the French, Greeks, Canadians and others now eager for Birkenfeld’s assistance, which he’s giving, in government actions against the bank.

Note that UBS US employees have long poured money throughout America’s political system, including considerable largess to President Obama since he was a US Senator.

There's been press on Birkenfeld before, much of it sympathetic, when he blew the whistle, when he went to the hoosegow in 2010 and on his record IRS whistleblower award. He's since had plenty of time to ponder life. His book weaves together new threads connecting what happened and why. The resulting fabric is a brilliant lesson on how the fix is in. Read more at Birkenfeld's site. Can a movie be far behind?

Back to Washington's small world of coincidence. The first Sunday after Birkenfeld was sentenced, President Obama went golfing at Martha's Vineyard. His golfing partner was Robert Wolf, Chairman of UBS Americas.

Cue the Church Lady.   
. . . After reading Birkenfeld's book, and speaking with an FBI whistleblower at the launch party, I have to laugh at my quaint notion that government waits eager to ride to the rescue of the little guy, to champion even those dwelling far beneath potential headlines with political mileage. Nothing to do now but to try and tell the story. No payouts in cases like mine. But if Birkenfeld's book inspires the aggrieved to find voice, to tell their own stories of injustice at the ground level, they may awake others to the peril slack government places us in. That alone would make the book worth its ink.

But we're all gonna end up rich, right?

So don't go too hard on these poor guys.

They'll be running your next company (or bank).

How to Steal an Election (Again)

18 -- Step 5A -- Now that you, Mitt Romney, have plundered your way to make hundreds of millions of dollars (if not a billion or more) and have offshored thousands of jobs, have hid your true agenda from the "low information" voters and have been running for President for six years, it is time to buy a voting machine company, and you do so. 
19 - Step 5B -- You, your wife, your son and your brother are owners of a Private Equity Fund (named Solamere) which, invests in H.I.G. Capital, which, in turn, holds majority share in Hart Intercivic, the nation's third-largest voting machine company that owns the notoriously faulty electronic voting machines that will count the ballots in many states, including swing state Ohio, on November 7. Since H.I.G. Capital holds three seats out of the five Board members of Hart Intercivic, and two of these are major Romney fundraisers, and a third of H.I.G. Capital's leadership worked at Bain Capital, you are in pretty good shape. But, to ensure control and access, you made it your mission to have invested $10 million in this Private Equity Fund that is majority shareholder of Hart Intercivic. So far, so good. (
20 -- Step 5C -- Now that you have controlling ownership of Hart Intercivic, you, Mitt Romney, inventory what jurisdictions Hart Intercivic will count the votes for, and you come up with 17.7 million registered voters in 370 jurisdictions. Great! Lo and behold, one jurisdiction is Hamilton County, Ohio, which includes Cincinnati, a hotly contested battleground city which may determine whether the Democrats or the Republicans earn Ohio's electoral votes. Sweet, if you are the one counting the votes! ( )
21 -- Step 5D -- By serendipity (of course!!!), Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted just had "experimental" (uncertified and untested) software patches installed on vote counting tabulators in 39 Ohio counties! Couldn't be better!

October 20, 2016     Kansas City, MO
The New Democrats and their Republican counterparts’ economic policies have created a rigged system of crony capitalism.  Crony capitalism produces devastating epidemics of elite fraud that have shrunk the overall economic “pie” and distributed the “pie” overwhelmingly in favor of corrupt corporate elites like Donald Trump and their political cronies like the Clintons.  Wall Street has been open about being ecstatic about the rise of what Citigroup infamously labelled and celebrated — a “plutonomy.”
In a plutonomy there … are rich consumers, few in number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income and consumption they take.  There are the rest, the “non-rich”, the multitudinous many, but only accounting for surprisingly small bites of the national pie.
Citigroup, in 2005, years before Occupy Wall Street, identified the tiny slice of Americans receiving this “gigantic slice of income and consumption.”
In early September [2005] we … introduced the idea that the a Plutonomy – a concept that generated great interest from our clients.
[T]he top 1% of households account for 40% of financial net worth, more than the bottom 95% of households put together.
[These inequalities are] almost entirely driven by the fortunes of the top 0.1% (roughly 100,000 households).
Citigroup sounded a note of caution about the rise of the Imperial CEO, which it termed the new “Managerial Aristocracy.”  Their depredations could only continue as long as shareholders and voters failed to reclaim control of their corporations and nations.
[This top group represents a] Managerial Aristocracy indulged by their shareholders.
Society and governments need to be amenable to disproportionately allow/encourage the few to retain that fatter profit share. The Managerial Aristocracy, like in the Gilded Age, the Roaring Twenties, and the thriving nineties, needs to commandeer a vast chunk of that rising profit share, either through capital income, or simply paying itself a lot.
Citigroup made clear that the New Democrat’s and their Republican counterparts’ embrace of policies that enhanced crony capitalism would cause the already obscene inequality to increase.
We project that the plutonomies … will likely see even more income inequality, disproportionately feeding off a further rise in the profit share in their economies, capitalist-friendly governments, more technology-driven productivity, and globalization.
Lest there be any doubt where Citigroup was coming from, they evoked Ayn Rand’s fantasy in Atlas Shrugged that the Managerial Aristocracy was akin to the stud on the cover of cheesy romance novels – “the muscular arms of … entrepreneur-plutocrats.”
The earth is being held up by the muscular arms of its entrepreneur-plutocrats, like it, or not.
Really?  The data Citigroup cited said nothing about the plutocrats helping the overall economy much less the earth.  The story that Atlas held up the earth was a myth.  There is no “up” when it comes to earth and gravity is quite reliable in holding earth to paths that we can predict.  The plutocrats despoil the earth and are the gravest threat to life on earth.  Picturing the Managerial Aristocracy as muscular unpaid laborers selflessly protecting the earth is a farcical lie – but Citigroup was writing for the Managerial Aristocrats it hoped to attract to its “wealth” divisions and knew that the Trumps of the world demand abject sycophancy. Citigroup was honest about three key facts.
  1. Extreme inequality is fundamental to plutonomy
At the heart of plutonomy, is income inequality.

  1. Citigroup showed that it favored plutonomy
[A]n examination of what might disrupt Plutonomy – or worse, reverse it – falls to societal analysis….
  1. The key to whether plutonomy persists is not economics, but whether the public will summon the will to rise up to recover its Nation.
Societies that are willing to tolerate/endorse income inequality, are willing to tolerate/endorse plutonomy.
Citigroup also correctly framed the fundamental question that voters should have demanded each candidate answer with a resounding “No.”
 [W]ill electorates continue to endorse [massive inequality], or will they end it, and why?
Citigroup warned the Managerial Aristocrats that the great risk to their rigging of the system was that workers might vote the Aristocrats’ political cronies out of office.
Ray LaPan-Love | October 20, 2016 
Silly goose, we don’t “nominate” candidates, the political insiders give us a list to pick from based on which candidates are made viable by donors. The only exception being that someone such the Trumpl-down-trick-onomics candidate might slip through the gauntlet by having some money of his own, and some notoriety from being a celebrity of some sort.
Otherwise, we might have a choice of someone who doesn’t know where Aleppo might be. Or, of someone who seems to believe that the bailout total is $16 trillion. Or… there was Bernie who doesn’t realize that the NAFTA/CAFTADR and the WTO each have ISDS provisions, and that accordingly, ISDS provisions are here to stay whether the TPP passes or not. And this apparently applies to all of the candidates although HRC probably knows this but chooses not to seem too positive on the TPP. All things considered though, we have a choice now of someone uninformed, misinformed, lying about most everything, or just stupid. But the people have little if any say in the nominations in the first place.
  Charles Kondak  
When I talk to a good number of Hillary Clinton supporters in the way Mr. Black did in his article, I get an eye roll, and sometimes the comment: “Another one of those Rothschild/Illuminati conspiracy kooks”. Then in the next breathe they sigh, “President Obama could have done more if it weren’t for the Republicans and their corporate backers blocking him”. Obviously, there is a blind spot in their rear view mirror while driving 100MPH in a heavy fog. Facts will not change their minds. They are just like the Trump supporters they are so fond of demeaning. Actually, on a gut level Trumpers get it on the economics, it’s just the other emotions released aren’t always pretty, and the solutions proposed downright terrifying. Neocons (Republicans) fight social change. Neolibs (New Democrats) are led by it. On everything else the difference is in the wording of their presentations. I’m starting to believe the Democratic Party is more dangerous as their presentation is so seductive to the Commoners. In the end who benefits from New Democrat/Republican policies – the very wealthy.
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Just thought I'd run some informative comments about the Hillary Wiki leaks said to be "poisoning" from an interesting web site:

LAS VEGAS — Donald Trump is pointing to a stream of hacked emails as proof that Hillary Clinton would be a compromised president, but a surprising number of progressives are drawing similar conclusions — albeit for totally different reasons.
Some of the left’s most influential voices and groups are taking offense at the way they and their causes were discussed behind their backs by Clinton and some of her closest advisers in the emails, which swipe liberal heroes and causes as “puritanical,” “pompous”, “naive”, “radical” and “dumb,” calling some “freaks,” who need to “get a life.”
If polls hold and Clinton wins the presidency, she will need the support of the professional left to offset what’s expected to be vociferous Republican opposition to her legislative proposals and appointments.
But among progressive operatives, goodwill for Clinton — and confidence in key advisers featured in the emails including John Podesta, Neera Tanden and Jake Sullivan — is eroding as WikiLeaks continues to release a daily stream of thousands of emails hacked from Podesta’s Gmail account that is expected to continue until Election Day.
Liberal groups and activists are assembling opposition research-style dossiers of the most dismissive comments in the WikiLeaks emails about icons of their movement like Clinton’s Democratic primary rival Bernie Sanders, and their stances on trade, Wall Street reform, energy and climate change. And some liberal activists are vowing to use the email fodder to oppose Clinton policy proposals or appointments deemed insufficiently progressive.
John Peebles
Wikileaks didn't poison anything! She did that all by herself.
I don't get the disconnect between her actions and the consequences of those actions. Why are the media - and people who should know better - always giving her a free pass?
Bad email security like that of Podesta and others is the reason she got caught. Interesting to see Wikleaks publish more.
The behavior towards supposed allies is atrocious. Disrespect poisons relationship, and her exposure is warranted.
Why educated (college-educated) people still believe in her, I have no idea. Is it their hate of Trump? I assure you you aren't alone in your utter disdain for the man. But does that excuse anything she does? Does it make it righter just because he's all wrong?
I'll take an honest bigot over a compulsive liar any day. I guess the difference is that he can't hide it, as he's not yet a politician. Quite clearly, HRC is better polished--or is it burnished?--but underneath the well honed image she's something else.
Chris topher
Hillary has poisoned her relationship with all of us, not Wikileaks. What has emerged there is just the tip of the iceberg. the thing that is really the most ugly is the agenda to take over the world and our future for corporations via FTAS that is still largely unknown. The 1995 GATS agreement and the additions made to it in 1998 have already led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands or more likely millions of Americans from being denied healthcare, and trillions of dollars in losses caused by financial deregulation in GATS causing the repeal of Glass-Steagall and the 2008 crash

Clinton is NOT Presidential material and the attempt to force her down our throats even if it succeeds, will cost the country its respect for and trust in government due to the witches brew of horrible changes (a string of irreversible insanely intrusive and disruptive trade deals, each worse than the previous one in stripping people of all they value) in the pipeline ready for her signature.
Maybe thats what they want. Instead of money in politics, Trade deals contain "ratchets" which effectuate an invisible and criminogenic ever-worstening hobbling of government so everything governments used to do that was good is turned into bad, by changes being limited to only those which are more profitable for corporations (and likely then against the peoples interests) so each new law and new politician will only make bad things even worse, leading to an end to democratic rule of law all around the world so that corporations can stop governing by proxy and assume direct control

 Mike Zimmer
Oh, would that be the "We came, we saw, he died!" cackling Clinton? Thought so. She is poison, so Wiki Leaks is just pointing out the obvious. It is tragic that far too many on the left still can not see this.
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Posted on October 22, 2016 by Stacy Herbert
Max and Stacy in coastal Carolina with our commentary on the political conferences, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and more.
Download show here

It's Truth About Markets time!

One more excruciatingly interesting Max Keiser interview?

Sure, go ahead.

Knock them out.

Try to ignore the typos!

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Biggest Liars Win?  (Rigged? The Horror!:  The Bad and The Uglier)  No One Wins in a Rigged System (Except Those Who Rigged It)  Ignoring the Nastiness and Considering the Issues - But Wait . . . (War! Who Is It Good For?)

Because they know what's really important:

Hillary Clinton took the stage at the charity event, a respite of humor in a bruising campaign against Donald J. Trump.
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Damn it.

She is not that good.

I may have to give up Diet Coke!

Coca-Cola Marketing Guru Secretly Worked Behind the Scenes to Brand Hillary as a Super Hero
Emails released by WikiLeaks have led to the outing of an elaborate scheme to scour, buff and shine the decades of scandals attached to Hillary and Bill Clinton using the marketing, branding and messaging tricks employed by corporations to resuscitate a stale, discredited or sagging brand. We’ve also learned that at least one of those re-branders, Wendy Clark, had to sign a non-disclosure agreement with the Clinton camp, agreeing not to divulge details of her work. Clark acknowledged that agreement at a recent Fortune Magazine forum.
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We know, through Wikileaks, that Hillary and the Clinton campaign rigged, in many ways, the Democratic primary, using the State Department to influence the FBI, lying and deceiving within the DNC, collaborating with the mainstream media. Trump has every reason to believe that the Clinton campaign will do all it can to rig the election.

It appears that Trump will fight such rigging. He's started fighting it already. He's preparing his supporters to be furious, to take action. I don't know what kind of action, but they'll be ready for action.

. . . his message that he does not trust the election is not a bad one for democracy. It is a good one. It is getting millions of people to look more closely at the election system and process. The risk of corruption of electronic voting, with the inability to do a verifiable recount is very real, yet the mainstream media have literally mocked those who raise the concern as conspiracy theorists. Chuck Todd, current host for "Meet The Press," is one of the worst.

It's hard to know where to begin.

The very idea that trusted "pundits" and every clown imaginable on the nation's stage would not try to mislead the poorly informed (by necessity) population mindlessly (as much as possible), on and on, who are trying to carefully evaluate the purposely ambiguous election "festivities" is just over the top.

And it's all happening beneath the big top now. So get your cotton candy and snow cones, kids, as the elephants and asses are prancing in fanciful anticipation for the "shot from the cannon" finale.

Get out of the way!

And keep laughing heartily as they continually try to convince you that it's all real.

And you have no chance to change it.

‘Remember, it’s a rigged system. It’s a rigged election,’ said the candidate over the weekend. Is the election really rigged? Probably not in the way Mr Trump intends listeners to believe. But the ‘system’ is so rigged that the election results hardly matter. 
A real conservative would shift the debate away from fanny pinching and other ungentlemanly comportment to how it is rigged. Americans want to know. How come the economy no longer grows as it used to? How come most Americans are poorer today than they were in 1999? How come we no longer win our wars? He would explain to listeners that much of the rigging took place while Hillary and Bill Clinton were collecting more than $150 million in speaking fees, telling us how to improve the world! Then, he would help listeners put two and two together - explaining how the fake dollar corrupted the nation’s economy…and its politics, too. And he would offer real solutions.
As it is, nobody seems to care. Not the stock market. Not the bond market. Not commentators. Not Hillary. Not Donald. Nobody.

Hillary receives debate question in advance? She gets insider break on server usage illegality (not to mention all the other breathless press coverage of the first-woman-ever-President-of-the-USA USA USA)? Lloyd Blankfein is in charge of denying banking cabal agenda? Who'da thunk it? (Although it's seemed clear to me for quite some time now that this must be her payoff for screwing up that early 90's healthcare program.) THANK YOOOOU! (h/t Steve Martin)

And why not? Everything else is rigged.

There’s a new mantra making the rounds of Washington and Wall Street. No matter how big the lie you’re caught in, no matter how much documented evidence exists against you, just deny, deny, deny. That’s how Democratic National Committee Interim Chair Donna Brazile handled the email released by WikiLeaks showing that she leaked a debate question to Hillary Clinton; that’s how Hillary Clinton handled revelations about sending classified government material over an unclassified server in the basement of her home; and that’s how Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein is handling the widespread public perception that there’s a banking cabal meeting in secret to plot its continued dominance over the interests of the average U.S. citizen.
Yesterday, CNBC’s David Faber interviewed Blankfein and asked about the suggestion that Donald Trump had made on October 13 in a speech in West Palm Beach, Florida that there is an international banking conspiracy undermining the sovereignty of the United States. Faber asked Blankfein: “So am I to take it that you weren’t meeting in secret with international banks and Hillary Clinton to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty?” Blankfein responded:  “We could parse that clause by clause, but to every clause, the answer is no, we weren’t doing it. We weren’t meeting in secret and we certainly weren’t plotting destruction.”
The first half of Blankfein’s answer is flatly false and he knows it. The big Wall Street banks do meet in secret and have been doing it for decades. His own General Counsel, Gregory Palm, part of the Management Committee at Goldman Sachs, is part of the secret cabal
Just five days before Blankfein made his false denial, Bloomberg News’ reporters Greg Farrell and Keri Geiger had landed the bombshell report that the top lawyers of the biggest Wall Street banks had been meeting secretly for two decades with their counterparts at international banks. At this year’s secret May meeting at a posh hotel in Versailles, the following were among the big bank lawyers in addition to Palm according to the Bloomberg report:  Stephen Cutler of JPMorgan (a former Director of Enforcement at the SEC); Gary Lynch of Bank of America (also a former Director of Enforcement at the SEC); Morgan Stanley’s Eric Grossman; Citigroup’s Rohan Weerasinghe; Markus Diethelm of UBS Group AG; Richard Walker of Deutsche Bank; Robert Hoyt of Barclays; Romeo Cerutti of Credit Suisse Group AG; David Fein of Standard Chartered; Stuart Levey of HSBC Holdings; and Georges Dirani of BNP Paribas SA.
The Bloomberg report indicates that the meetings are secret and that this is the first time their existence has been reported to the public. But this is hardly the first time there have been reports of Wall Street banks huddling in secret.
Just this past July we raised the question as to whether the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, was violating anti-trust law by meeting secretly with competitors following a February 1 report in the "Financial Times" of “secret summits.”
. . . Secret summits that are by invitation-only, have no boards or bylaws, no public minutes would certainly appear to be both violations of anti-trust law as well as fueling the public perception of conspiratorial meetings.
The top Federal regulator of the Wall Street bank holding companies, the Federal Reserve, has also fueled the perception of banking cartels by allowing the New York Fed to sponsor its own bank groups like the Foreign Exchange Committee, which has been operating for the past 38 years and whose members, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, each pleaded guilty on May 20, 2015 to a felony count brought by the U.S. Justice Department for – wait for it – engaging in rigging foreign exchange markets. The New York Fed-sponsored group, among other things, writes best practices rules for Wall Street.
The New York Fed also bizarrely sponsors the Financial Markets Lawyers Group. Its web site is an extension of the New York Fed’s web site. Members of the group are from the same Wall Street banks whose General Counsels are meeting secretly in posh hotels once a year.
While the New York Fed sponsored groups (see its latest one here) have regularly scheduled meetings, bylaws and minutes, it’s an affront to common sense to suggest that Wall Street banks serially charged with crimes against the public should be writing their own best practices rules. This Ayn Randian concept that businessmen will do what’s best for the public interest without any interference from government has twice in the past century nearly bankrupted the United States – in the Great Depression when Wall Street banks were allowed to hold savings deposits and again in 2008 when the Wall Street banks crashed with the taxpayer on the hook for the trillions of insured savings deposits they held, thanks to the mass de-regulation of Wall Street in 1999 under the Bill Clinton administration.
We don’t believe that Wall Street banking executives have ever plotted the destruction of the United States. We believe the majority want their children and grandchildren to grow up in a socially stable America. But we also believe they have been blinded by their greed, their multi-million dollar bonuses, their mansions in Greenwich, their yachts and penthouses, from consciously acknowledging that their actions brought us to the brink and continue to endanger America’s economy and future.
. . . Following the financial crash in 2008, the Federal Reserve battled in court for years to avoid providing details of the money it funneled to the Wall Street banks and their global brethren during the years of the crisis. When the Federal Reserve lost that court battle, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) eventually issued a detailed report in 2011 that chronicled the mind-boggling secret Fed loans, all of which had been made at super low interest rates, many below 1 percent, without any public disclosure or authorization from Congress. The final tally came to $16.1 trillion in cumulative loans. (See Table 8 below from the GAO report.) It was not just Wall Street banks that got the bailout but their foreign competitors as well, as millions of families in the U.S. were foreclosed on by the same banks.
Since the crisis, the U.S. national debt has skyrocketed from $9 trillion to $19.5 trillion, more than doubling in just eight years while the $9 trillion took 232 years to accumulate while financing major wars and the Great Depression. In no small part, that debt growth came from the fiscal stimulus needed to shore up the economy as a result of the Wall Street-fueled financial collapse.

But don't worry about that debt (we are instructed).

It's not like household debt.

It's not real. We owe it to ourselves - okay - to anyone who wants to buy it actually (and those Red Chinese do loves them some American equity (bonds)).

So, yes, everyone's proud to be the biggest liar?

And we're stunned  . . . stunned that anyone thinks the candidates for the highest office in the land are also lying (or mentioning, even casually, that the election is rigged! Rigged! I tells ya!).

Shame on us.

Charles Hugh Smith always has to mention these facts about the consent of the governed. As if anyone else is paying attention to that. Or cares.


He is not a rigging fan.

(Probably not a sailor.)

Brimming with hubris and self-importance, the ruling Elite and mainstream media cannot believe they have lost the consent of the governed.
Every ruling Elite needs the consent of the governed:  even autocracies, dictatorships and corporatocracies ultimately rule with the consent, however grudging, of the governed.

The American ruling Elite has lost the consent of the governed. This reality is being masked by the mainstream media, mouthpiece of the ruling class, which is ceaselessly promoting two false narratives:

1. The "great divide" in American politics is between left and right, Democrat/Republican

2. The ruling Elite has delivered "prosperity" not just to the privileged few but to the unprivileged many they govern.

Both of these assertions are false. The Great Divide in America is between the ruling Elite and the governed that the Elite has strip-mined. The ruling Elite is privileged and protected, the governed are unprivileged and unprotected. That's the divide that counts and the divide that is finally becoming visible to the marginalized, unprivileged class of debt-serfs.

The "prosperity" of the 21st century has flowed solely to the ruling Elite and its army of technocrat toadies, factotums, flunkies, apparatchiks and apologists.The Elite's army of technocrats and its media apologists have engineered and promoted an endless spew of ginned-up phony statistics (the super-low unemployment rate, etc.) to create the illusion of "growth" and "prosperity" that benefit everyone rather than just the top 5%.

The media is 100% committed to promoting these two false narratives because the jig is up once the bottom 95% wake up to the reality that the ruling Elite has been stripmining them for decades. As I have tirelessly explained, the U.S. economy is not just neoliberal (the code word for maximizing private gain by any means available, including theft, fraud, embezzlement, political fixing, price-fixing, and so on) - it is neofeudal, meaning that it is structurally an updated version of Medieval feudalism in which a top layer of financial-political nobility owns the engines of wealth and governs the marginalized debt-serfs who toil to pay student loans, auto loans, credit cards, mortgages and taxes - all of which benefit the financiers and political grifters.

The media is in a self-referential frenzy to convince us the decision of the century is between unrivaled political grifter Hillary Clinton and financier-cowboy Donald Trump. Both belong to the privileged ruling Elite: both have access to cheap credit, insider information (information asymmetry) and political influence.

The cold truth is the ruling Elite has shredded the social contract by skimming the income/wealth of the unprivileged. The fake-"progressive" pandering apologists of the ruling Elite - Robert Reich, Paul Krugman and the rest of the Keynesian Cargo Cultists - turn a blind eye to the suppression of dissent and the looting the bottom 95% because they have cushy, protected positions as tenured faculty (or equivalent).

They cheerlead for more state-funded bread and circuses for the marginalized rather than demand an end to exploitive privileges of the sort they themselves enjoy.

Consider just three of the unsustainably costly broken systems that enrich the privileged Elite by stripmining the unprivileged: healthcare (a.k.a. sickcare because sickness is profitable, prevention is unprofitable), higher education and Imperial over-reach (the National Security State and its partner the privately owned Military-Industrial Complex).

While the unprivileged and unprotected watch their healthcare premiums and co-pays soar year after year, the CEOs of various sickcare cartels skim off tens of millions of dollars annually in pay and stock options.

The system works great if you get a $20 million paycheck. If you get a 30% increase in monthly premiums for fewer actual healthcare services - the system is broken.

If you're skimming $250,000 as under-assistant dean to the provost for student services (or equivalent) plus gold-plated benefits, higher education is working great. If you're a student burdened with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt who is receiving a low-quality, essentially worthless "education" from poorly paid graduate students ("adjuncts") and a handful of online courses that you could get for free or for a low cost outside the university cartel - the system is broken.

If you exit the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, etc. at a cushy managerial rank with a fat pension and lifetime benefits and are hired at a fat salary the next day by a private "defense" contractor - the famous revolving door between a bloated state and a bloated defense industry - the system works great. If you joined the Armed Forces to escape rural poverty and served at the point of the spear somewhere in the Imperial Project - your perspective may well be considerably different.

Unfortunately for the ruling Elite and their army of engorged enablers and apologists, they have already lost the consent of the governed. They have bamboozled, conned and misled the bottom 95% for decades, but their phony facade of political legitimacy and "the rising tide raises all boats" has cracked wide open, and the machinery of oppression, looting and propaganda is now visible to everyone who isn't being paid to cover their eyes.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

The demonization of Vladimir Putin is rigged. Nobody has seen evidence that he or his government did us the favor of informing us of the DNC's corruption. He proposed a ban on cyber "war" that was rejected by the United States, for goodness sake. There's no evidence that Russia shot down an airplane in Ukraine or invaded Ukraine or seized Crimea or plotted attacks on the United States. The United States pulled out of the ABM treaty, expanded NATO to Russia's border, built missile bases, arranged military "exercises," facilitated a Ukrainian coup, and pushed a string of hostile lies. Russia has shown even more restraint than your typical U.S. voter (who usually sits home and does not vote, especially in primaries).



Or goodly (for whom?).

But really rigged.


That's what we in the U.S. live with daily.

It's tough to get away from the idea that this election has been rigged against the interests of the citizens (voters) from the start.

So many people have theories about how.

And who.

David Swanson provides an excellent examination of our mea culpa moment (after this last so-called "debate" of the issues).


By David Swanson

The 2016 Republican presidential primary was rigged. It wasn't rigged by the Republicans, the Democrats, Russians, space aliens, or voters. It was rigged by the owners of television networks who believed that giving one candidate far more coverage than others was good for their ratings. The CEO of CBS Leslie Moonves said of this decision:  "It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS." Justifying that choice based on polling gets the chronology backwards, ignores Moonves' actual motivation, and avoids the problem, which is that there ought to be fair coverage for all qualified candidates (and a democratic way to determine who is qualified).

The 2016 Democratic presidential primary was rigged. It wasn't rigged by bankers, misogynists, Russians, Republicans, or computer hackers. It was rigged by the Democratic National Committee and its co-conspirators in the media, many of whom have helpfully confessed (in case it wasn't obvious) in emails leaked from the DNC and from John Podesta. The DNC chose Hillary Clinton and worked hard to make sure that she "won." Nobody has produced a hint of evidence as to who leaked the emails that added unnecessary confirmation of this rigging, but they should be thanked for informing us, whoever they are.

The FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton's misuse of email was as rigged as the non-prosecution of the CEO of Wells Fargo. The U.S. political system is bought and paid for. Without millions of dollars to funnel to television networks for advertising, any candidate is rigged right out of participating. This rigging of the system is not fixed by someone like Donald Trump pretending for a while that he won't take bribes, that he'll spend only his own money, because most people don't have that kind of money to spend. This rigging is not fixed by making someone like Hillary Clinton take her bribes through her family foundation or requiring that her political action committees remain theoretically separate from the campaign they are collaborating hand-in-glove with, because money buys power.

The debates are rigged by a private entity with no official status that calls itself the Commission on Presidential Debates and transforms open debates among multiple candidates into exclusively bipartisan joint appearances with many large and fine points negotiated beforehand.

Actual governance of the United States is rigged. Congress plans to attempt to ram through a number of intensely unpopular measures just after the election, including a supplemental spending bill for more wars and including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The hope is that most people will have tuned out after the election circus, and that most of them will forget what happened 2 or 4 years later.

The demonization of Vladimir Putin is rigged. Nobody has seen evidence that he or his government did us the favor of informing us of the DNC's corruption. He proposed a ban on cyber "war" that was rejected by the United States, for goodness sake. There's no evidence that Russia shot down an airplane in Ukraine or invaded Ukraine or seized Crimea or plotted attacks on the United States. The United States pulled out of the ABM treaty, expanded NATO to Russia's border, built missile bases, arranged military "exercises," facilitated a Ukrainian coup, and pushed a string of hostile lies. Russia has shown even more restraint than your typical U.S. voter (who usually sits home and does not vote, especially in primaries).

Military spending is rigged. Nobody knows it amounts to over half of U.S. discretionary spending. Nobody knows it's as much in the U.S. as in the rest of the world (allies and otherwise) combined. Nobody pays attention to the bribes from war profiteers, or to the threats held over Congress members to pull weapons jobs out of districts or states. Supporters of both big candidates claim their candidate plans to cut military spending. Both candidates have said the exact opposite. The debates and interviews steer clear of the whole topic.

The shapes of the districts are blatantly rigged by gerrymandering. The existence of the Senate, in which Rhode Island and Wyoming each have as much say as California is rigged against the popular will. The electoral college is rigged against the popular will and in favor of concentrating national campaigns in a handful of "swing states."

Voter registration is rigged. A handful of states have now made it automatic, as most states have long-since done for military draft registration. In the rest of the country, thousands of young people run around registering voters, imagining they are engaged in "activism." Meanwhile, the right to vote can be denied to anyone by claiming they aren't registered.

People's names are stripped from voting rolls through a so-called justice system that brands them as felons, and through the careful rigging of those rolls by corrupt and partisan state governments that intentionally strip out people likely to vote for a particular party. This includes racial profiling. Bob Fitrakis, Harvey Wasserman, Greg Palast and others have reported extensively on these practices.

Election day is rigged as well. It's not a holiday. Most people have to work. Poor districts and racial minority districts tend to have fewer machines and longer lines. ID requirements are used to deny people the right to vote. Intimidation and racial profiling by partisan activists serve the same function of rigging the election. The myths and lies about the virtually nonexistent phenomenon of "voter fraud" also serve to rig the election.

The election machines are also rigged. That is to say:  instead of verifiable paper ballots publicly hand-counted in front of observers from all interested parties in each polling place, we have a faith-based system of voting on black-box machines that can never, even in theory, be checked for accuracy. These machines have been very easily hacked in demonstrations. These machines have visibly flipped votes before the eyes (and cameras) of countless voters. These machines have almost certainly played a key role in flipping the results of numerous elections.

Now, the wider the margin of victory, the less likely an electronic flipping. And the fact that machines can easily be used to steal an election does not mean that they always will be. But it was very odd during the late summer of 2016 to watch the U.S. media announce that these machines were totally unreliable - just what many of us had been saying for years. But the media said this in order to accuse Russia of planning to sabotage the coming U.S. election, or in order to accuse Russia of exactly what these media reports themselves did:  plant seeds of doubt in U.S. minds.

Those doubts should be there. People should watch for visible problems with machines and with partisan and racist intimidators, and report all such to 1-866-OUR-VOTE, to county clerks, to secretaries of state, and to corporate and independent media. Then we should work for necessary reforms, including a respectful cessation of the U.S. government's routine practice of interfering in elections and overthrowing governments in other people's countries - a practice that has clearly resulted in the U.S. media projecting such behavior on others.

Ultimately, an unrigging of the U.S. system might take the form of amending the U.S. Constitution to slip in words like these:

The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.
Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities, established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law. The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.

The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.

All elections for President and members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate shall be entirely publicly financed. No political contributions shall be permitted to any federal candidate, from any other source, including the candidate. No political expenditures shall be permitted in support of any federal candidate, or in opposition to any federal candidate, from any other source, including the candidate. The Congress shall, by statute, provide limitations on the amounts and timing of the expenditures of such public funds and provide criminal penalties for any violation of this section.

State and local governments shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate's own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for state or local public office or any state or local ballot measure.

The right of the individual U.S. citizen to vote and to directly elect all candidates by popular vote in all pertinent local, state, and federal elections shall not be violated. Citizens will be automatically registered to vote upon reaching the age of 18 or upon becoming citizens at an age above 18, and the right to vote shall not be taken away from them. Votes shall be recorded on paper ballots, which shall be publicly counted at the polling place. Election day shall be a national holiday.

Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press. During a designated campaign period of no longer than six months, free air time shall be provided in equal measure to all candidates for federal office on national, state, or district television and radio stations, provided that each candidate has, during the previous year, received the supporting signatures of at least five percent of their potential voting-age constituents. The same supporting signatures shall also place the candidate's name on the ballot and require their invitation to participate in any public debate among the candidates for the same office.

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Must read.



Shake, Rattle, and Rickroll

And I have to tell you that I can’t stop thinking about this.  It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted.  So while I’d love nothing more than to pretend like this isn’t happening, and to come out here and do my normal campaign speech, it would be dishonest and disingenuous to me to just move on to the next thing like this was all just a bad dream.
Her voice was shaking so dramatically, I thought for a minute that First Lady Michelle Obama was talking about the latest lethal attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital by American forces or their Saudi surrogates. Or maybe she was reacting to one of the almost daily shootings of a black person by militarized American police, or the shocking news that one American citizen is being arrested on a drug charge every 25 seconds.

But why dwell on such mundane nightmares affecting vulnerable people, both near and far, when one can pretend to be shocked that Don John Trump is a vile-mouthed oafish sexual predator who forgot to take a charm school course in the Fine Art of Seduction? It's been common knowledge for decades that the man has been a gross serial groper of women, but nobody important much cared until the final weeks of the presidential campaign. When they weren't ignoring his criminal history, they were laughing at him. When they weren't laughing at him, they were giving him more than a billion dollars' worth of free advertising, the better to ignore Bernie Sanders's liberal policy ideas and Hillary Clinton's own scandals, lackluster campaign, and paranoid penchant for secrecy. As America's highest paid media mogul Les Moonves gushed to a group of Morgan Stanley bankers last winter, Trump "may not be good for America, but he's damned good for CBS." 

If disgust at Trump during the final weeks of the campaign isn't enough to propel consumer-citizens to the polls to vote for Hillary, then maybe shaming them and intimidating them and impugning their patriotism will do the trick.

Today's message from The Establishment: if you report on or even so much as read the hacked Podesta emails, you're going to hell in a deplorable hand basket.  

There's more than one reason that elite cores are shaking this week. As reported by The Hill, Clinton's Deep State advisers held a McCarthyesque emergency conference call with reporters on Friday to hysterically warn them that revelations about the shoddy inner workings of their corporate political party are a threat to national security and to democracy itself.

"I'm simply enraged by these Russian hacks," fumed Clinton surrogate and former acting CIA Director and CBS analyst Michael Morell.“It shakes me to my core. This is a direct assault on our democracy. It’s a direct assault on how we choose our leaders. And quite frankly, I can’t think of a more serious issue at the moment than Russia trying to interfere in our election.”

It matters little that no proof exists that Russia is actually behind the leaked emails. The truthiness is out there in a million Tweets and Retweets and Clintonoid propaganda in the New York Times and the Washington Post and CNN and MSDNC.

It matters little to Morell that the CIA's entire 70-year-old raison d'etre has been to interfere in the politics of other countries and to foment violence, coups, proxy wars, and death. It matters little that in the leaked emails, Hillary Clinton acknowledged - and not for the first time - that Saudi Arabia (recipient of billions of dollars' worth of American weaponry) is the prime backer of ISIS and other extremist groups.
What matters is the deflection of public attention away from the tawdry content of the Clinton machine's anti-democratic correspondence and toward the alleged source of the damaging information. What matters is ramping up the attack on press freedoms and the public's right to know what our candidates and our government are doing in all our names.

The waning days of this dreadful election season have devolved into the two kinds of pornography that sell the best:  sex and violence. The elites have all but abandoned any pretense at caring about poverty, health, jobs and most of all, climate change.

Thanks to the wall-to-wall coverage of Donald Trump's imploding campaign and psychopathy and the endless reverential coverage of the pseudo-rattled First Lady's feminist outrage at same, a meeting on Friday of her husband's National Security Council to weigh a deadly escalation of the undeclared American war in Syria went almost unnoticed by the media. Ditto for the US naval missile attack on poverty-stricken Yemen the previous day, in a direct escalation of that undeclared war. Ditto for the American-backed Saudi bombing of a Yemeni funeral last week that resulted in the deaths of 150 innocent people. Including many women and children.
But pay no attention to the mass atrocities and the looming World War III and unhinged American aggression abroad
. Instead, be outraged and amused and shaken to your very core by the unhinged Donald Trump and #PussyGate. Support President Obama's pledge to vanquish Putin by secretly launching an "unprecedented" cyber-attack of our own on the Kremlin.

In case you hadn't guessed, the media-political complex is attempting to punk, or "rickroll" the American public with the usual weapons of mass distraction. But their methods are becoming increasingly desperate. They're as inept at disseminating their self-serving propaganda as Donald Trump apparently is at consummating his own serial predations.

From all accounts, the Trump victims coming forward this week managed to escape his grotesque slimy tentacles right in the nick of time. It's too bad we can't say the same for the silent and silenced victims of the unending state-sanctioned economic, social, physical and mental violence directed at millions of innocent people all over this country and all over this world.
America you don't really want to go to war.
America it's them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen.
And them Russians.
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia's power mad. She wants to take our cars from out our garages.
- Allen Ginsberg, 1956.

I'm thinking about that Diet Coke right about now.

And I'm not smiling.

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FOCUS:  Glenn Greenwald and Naomi Klein Discuss the Podesta Emails
FOCUS:  The Question I Get Asked the Most
Internet sleuths connect Clinton to mysterious intelligence contractor associated with Assange false accusations 2