Category Archives: Cronyism

The Big Reveal, by Brian Wilson

Devin Nunes could reveal all of the FISA warrants in their entirety if he wanted, just by reading them from the floor of Congress, where he is protected by the Constitution. All it would take is a little guts. From Brian Wilson at lewrockwell.com:

With State Primaries hither and thither, the countdown to the Mid-Terms has begun. The Blow-Dried MSM Talking Heads and every cable and radio Talk show host is fighting sweaty palms in palpitating anticipation of the Big Blue Wave! Their websites have their Countdown Clocks posted and ominously ticking away.

Idealistically or Most Importantly – take your pick – is the Honor, Honesty, and Integrity at stake, sworn to by those elected officials, tossed around like gaudy Mardi Gras beads in pious Party speeches the closer we get to November “E” Day.

The Russia, Russia, Russia, Trump Kabuki continues but with some real rancid meat permeating the news cycle. The Carter Page FISA Memo story has been in and out of the headlines for months. All the coverage contends massive revelations and subsequent scandals, the likes of which will shake the foundations of the Republic – regardless that, to date, only the scant unredacted portions have been quoted.

Devin Nunes has been teasing the yet unseen toxic content, appearing on several FOX shows demanding Pres. Trump unilaterally declassify the entire recently released blacked out Cater Page FISA Application. On “Tucker Carlson Tonight”, he stated not only had he, as House Intelligence Committee Chairman, read all the redacted portions, but also that there is nothing of “national security interest” there; that the real “national security reason” for American Public is to see what the DOJ and the FBI has done to spy on the American people.”

To continue reading: The Big Reveal

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The Curious Case of Bill Browder, by Tom Luongo

Bill Browder has a story to tell about his Russian misadventures. It’s full of holes, but it serves Deep State purposes. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

“Deserve’s got nuthin’ to do with it.”
— William Munny, Unforgiven

A couple of weeks ago I told you the first U.S. Civil War was here.

What I didn’t tell you was the face of that Civil War is Bill Browder.

Browder was responsible for The Magnitsky Act. It handed our government insane sanctions powers on individuals and companies in the name of punishing rogue, evil regimes who torture innocents.

His story is the thing of spy novels.  It reeks of power politics, market collusion and psychopathology.

And if only half of it is true, he and his associates deserve a fate worse than anything dreamed up by Dante and his Inferno.

Putin tried him in absentia for $230 million in tax evasion. Browder talks about Putin’s global reach, but men like him are the real power brokers: shaping policy, moving markets and destroying lives the world over.

Their current target is President Trump.

Let’s connect some dots:

First, Facebook, to salvage its stock price, finds new “PROOF” of Russian election meddling, from the same troll farm Robert Mueller indicted in February.

Second, two days later, Lindsay Graham has a shiny new sanctions bill to get ‘tough on Putin to stop meddling.’

Graham‘s bill will:

1) Cut Russia off from selling sovereign debt,
2) Stop them from funding any energy project the world over
3) Force a two-thirds majority vote before the Trump can pull the U.S. out of NATO.

All to stop election meddling?????

That last part is “curious.” 

Trump hasn’t talked about leaving NATO. So, why is Lindsay got his panties in a bunch over this?

This bill blatantly interferes with the President’s job to pursue foreign policy.

It is unconstitutional and, ultimately, unenforceable.

Graham knows this.  He and McCain will ram it through committee anyway.

There’s a second bill ordering Trump to sanction all companies working on the Nordstream 2 pipeline.

Because Russia isn’t allowed to get rich and Europe isn’t allowed to be free of NATO’s control.

This is Congress over-stepping their bounds to implement a soft coup against the President.

This is espionage, if not treason.

To continue reading: The Curious Case of Bill Browder

 

Why the Boomers Are Going Broke, by Bill Bonner

It’s hard to accumulate wealth when the value of the supposed store of value is whatever central bankers and politicians say it is. From Bill Bonner at bonnerandpartners.com:

POITOU, FRANCE – We were taken aback on Friday by the ferocity of our dear readers’ comments. [Read more in today’s Mailbag.]

What were they so sore about? we wondered.

Son of Satan

Of course, we are frequently wrong about a great number of things. When connecting the dots, we are bound to draw a few stray lines. And we will no doubt be proven wrong in many of our opinions and predictions.

Will The Donald’s trade war pay off for Americans? We don’t think so.

Will the tax cut really boost the U.S. economy and reduce the deficit? There is no sign of it.

Will Mr. Trump really make America great again? The odds, based on what we’ve seen so far, seem very, very slim.

But what do we know? And we’d be happy to be proven wrong.

What was surprising – to us – was that readers did not write to correct us or help us get the lines in the right place.

Instead, they seemed to suggest that we were a son of Satan, sent to destroy all that the good patriots of the United States of America hold most dear.

In other words, the discussion seems to have hit a religious nerve… like setting fire to a cathedral; the faithful fear their most sacred relics will be incinerated.

We have no remedy for this condition, so we will cheerfully ignore it. Besides, cross readers may be right. And those who have a better idea of how the dots connect are invited to send their thoughts by clicking right here.

Goldilocks Report

So, what do we see today?

What we see is an economy staggering under the weight of phony wars and phony finances.

It took more than 200 years for the country to reach its first $1 trillion in debt; now, it adds that much every 12 months. In addition, the Fed increased the base money supply by roughly 400% over the past decade.

What do you get for that kind of money? The feds got the weakest recovery in history… with no real gains in per-hour wages… and GDP growth rates only half those of the 1950s and ‘60s.

In 1821, John Quincy Adams described American foreign policy: “She goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy…”

Here we are, nearly 200 years later, and U.S. troops are looking for monsters in every godforsaken sh*thole in the world. And where none can be found… they create one.

To continue reading: Why the Boomers Are Going Broke

Light It Up? by James Howard Kunstler

Why nobody trusts the mainstream media. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:


The Guardians of the Galaxy at National Public Radio were beside themselves Wednesday night reporting that “the lights are blinking red for a 2018 election attack by Russia.” Well, isn’t that an interesting set-up? In effect, NPR is preparing its listeners in advance to reject and dispute the coming midterm election if they’re not happy with the results. Thus continues America’s institutional self-sabotage, with the help of a news media that’s become the errand boy of the Deep State.

What do I mean by the Deep State? The vested permanent bureaucracy of Washington DC, and especially its vastly overgrown and redundant “Intel Community,” which has achieved critical mass to take on a life of its own within the larger government, makes up its own rules of conduct, not necessarily within the rule of law, and devotes too much of its budget and influence defending its own prerogatives rather than the interests of the nation.

Personally, I doubt that President Putin of Russia is dumb enough to allow, let alone direct, his intel services to lift a finger “meddling” in the coming US midterm election, with this American intel behemoth vacuuming every digital electron on earth into the NSA’s bottomless maw of intercepted secrets. Mr. Putin must have also observed by now that the US Intel Community is capable of generating mass public hallucinations, to the beat of war-drums, and determined not to give it anything to work with. That’s my theory about what Russia is up to. If you have a better one, let’s hear it?

Another curious incident played out on CNN earlier this week when Max Boot, senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations (the Deep State faculty lounge) faced off against Russia historian/scholar Stephen F. Cohen of Princeton on Anderson Cooper’s prime-time show. “Russia is attacking us right now according to Trump’s own Director of National Security (Daniel Coates)!” Mr. Boot shrilly declared.

“I’ve been studying Russia for forty-five years,” Mr. Cohen replied, “I’ve lived in Russia and I’ve lived here. If Russia was attacking us, we would know it.”

“You’ve consistently been an apologist for Russia in those last 45 years,” Mr. Boot riposted.

“I don’t do defamation of people; I do serious analysis of serious national security policy,” Mr. Cohen rejoined. “When people like you call people like me ‘apologists for Russia’ because we don’t agree with your analysis, you are criminalizing diplomacy and detante and you are the threat to national security.”

To continue reading: Light It Up?

Revolving Door: How Security Clearances Perpetuate Top-Level Corruption in the United States, by Philip Giraldi

A security clearance can be a valuable asset to a high ranking official after he or she leaves the government. From Philip Giraldi at strategic-culture.org:

President Donald Trump is threatening to take away the security clearances of a number of former senior intelligence and security officers who have been extremely critical of him. Most Americans were unaware that any ex-officials continued to hold clearances after they retired and the controversy has inevitably raised the question why that should be so. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer.

A security clearance is granted to a person but it is also linked to “need to know” in terms of what kind of information should or could be accessed, which means that when you are no longer working as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency you don’t necessarily need to know anything about China’s spying on the United States. Or do you? If you transition into a directorship or staff position of a major intelligence or security contractor, which many retirees do, you might need to retain the qualification for your job, which makes the clearance an essential component in the notorious revolving door whereby government officials transit to the private sector and then directly lobby their former colleagues to keep the flow of cash coming.

At top levels among the beltway bandit companies, where little work is actually done, some make the case that you have to remain “well informed” to function properly. The fact is that many top-level bureaucrats do retain their clearances for those nebulous reasons and also sometimes as a courtesy. Some have even received regular briefings from the CIA and the office of the Director of National intelligence even though they hold no government positions. A few very senior ex-officials have also been recalled by congress or the White House to provide testimony on particular areas of expertise or on past operations, which can legitimately require a clearance, though it such cases one can be granted on a temporary basis to cover a specific issue.

To continue reading: Revolving Door: How Security Clearances Perpetuate Top-Level Corruption in the United States

 

Why Trump Won’t Start a Real Trade War, by Bill Bonner

Another take on the “trade war” with China, and why it really happen. From Bill Bonner at bonnerandpartners.com:

The New York Times reports:

President Trump escalated his trade war with China on Wednesday, ordering his administration to consider more than doubling proposed tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent, as talks between Washington and Beijing remain at a standstill.

Mr. Trump instructed the United States trade representative to look into increasing tariffs on Chinese imports like fish, petroleum, chemicals, handbags, and other goods to 25 percent, a significant escalation in a dispute that is beginning to take a toll on industries and consumers in both countries. A final decision on the size and scope of the tariffs is not expected before September.

Fake Wars

The Deep State welcomes war. But, especially in the case of a trade war with China, it must be a phony war.

And here is a good test. We’ll see how well, or badly, we have connected the dots.

According to the picture we see, the Deep State – the more or less permanent, but fluid and schismatic, group of insiders that controls U.S. public policies – uses war to gain public support for policies that actually serve only one purpose… to shift power, wealth, and status from the public to itself.

That’s why the trade war has to be fake.

Real wars threaten the Deep State’s survival. The wars in the Middle East (now also in Africa), for example, help justify trillions of dollars of wealth transfers to the military/industrial/surveillance complex.

But the U.S. has nothing really at stake in these fights; no matter what happens, it will not be invaded, bombed, or humiliated.

Likewise, the wars at home – against poor people and drug users – go on for decades. And no one is better off – except the Deep State industries engaged in the wars themselves (welfare agencies, prisons, police, drug pushers, etc.).

The Donald’s new trade war is a delight, too; already, the sidewalks are slick with greasy swamp water; lobbyists line up around the block to ask for special favors and dispensations. The insiders gain power and money by controlling crony trade deals.

But neither the president nor his crackpot advisors may realize the danger. And here is where it gets interesting: They mustn’t allow this war to get out of hand.

To continue reading: Why Trump Won’t Start a Real Trade War

Explaining the High Cost of US Health Care: No Skin in the Game, by Mike Mish Shedlock

Here’s a radical idea. Why not try the same system for health care and medical insurance that brings you a superabundance of reasonably priced groceries at any one of thousands of grocery and superstores: the free market. We’ve tried everything else and all we have is a gigantic mess. From Mike Mish Shedlock at moneymaven.io:

Costs are expensive because there is almost no skin in the game. Graft has taken over.

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on healthcare: Why Americans Spend So Much on Health Care—In 12 Charts.

The U.S. spends more per capita on health care than any other developed nation. It will soon spend close to 20% of its GDP on health—significantly more than the percentage spent by major Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations.

What is driving costs so high? As this series of charts shows, Americans aren’t buying more health care overall than other countries. But what they are buying is increasingly expensive. Among the reasons is the troubling fact that few people in health care, from consumers to doctors to hospitals to insurers, know the true cost of what they are buying and selling.

Contributions to employer-sponsored health coverage aren’t taxed, which makes it less expensive for companies to pay workers with health benefits than wages. Generous benefits lead to higher spending, according to many economists, because employees can consume as much health care as they want without having to pay significantly more out of their own pockets.

The prices of many medicines are hidden because pharmacy-benefit managers—the companies that administer drug benefits for employers and health insurers—negotiate confidential discounts and rebates with drugmakers.

Price Growth Since 2000

Hospitals are becoming more consolidated and are using their market clout to negotiate higher prices from insurers.

Tax Benefits

Contributions to employer-sponsored health coverage aren’t taxed, which makes it less expensive for companies to pay workers with health benefits than wages. Generous benefits lead to higher spending, according to many economists, because employees can consume as much health care as they want without having to pay significantly more out of their own pockets.

The tax benefit is the country’s biggest single income-tax break, costing billions to government revenue.

To continue reading: Explaining the High Cost of US Health Care: No Skin in the Game