Category Archives: Cronyism

Gingrich Questions Special Counsel’s Impartiality – “Republicans Are Delusional…Look Who He Is Hiring”, by Tyler Durden

James Comey’s good buddy and mentor Robert Mueller is not going to be any better than Comey. When official Washington hails anyone as fair and impartial, you can bet they’re anything but. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Since his appointment by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has enjoyed fairly bipartisan praise in Washington D.C. for his apparent impartiality.

That said, Newt Gingrich, a former ‘informal advisor’ to President Trump, thinks that Comey cast a dark shadow over Mueller’s independence last week when he admitted under oath, before the Senate Intelligence Committee, that he leaked FBI documents to the New York Times with the express intent of getting a Special Counsel appointed to investigate Trump and various members of his campaign team.  All of which prompted the following tweet from Gingrich early this morning:

“Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair. Look who he is hiring.check fec reports. Time to rethink.”

Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair. Look who he is hiring.check fec reports. Time to rethink.

As The Hill notes, several of Mueller’s early, notable hires have all been contributors to Hillary’s and/or Obama’s previous campaigns.

Michael Dreeben, who serves as the Justice Department’s deputy solicitor general, is working on a part-time basis for Mueller, The Washington Post reported Friday.

Dreeben donated $1,000 dollars to Hillary Clinton’s Senate political action committee (PAC), Friends of Hillary, while she ran for public office in New York. Dreeben did so while he served as the deputy solicitor general at the Justice Department.

Jeannie Rhee, another member of Mueller’s team, donated $5,400 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign PAC Hillary for America.

Andrew Weissmann, who serves in a top post within the Justice Department’s fraud practice, is the most senior lawyer on the special counsel team, Bloomberg reported. He served as the FBI’s general counsel and the assistant director to Mueller when the special counsel was FBI director.

Before he worked at the FBI or Justice Department, Weissman worked at the law firm Jenner & Block LLP, during which he donated six times to political action committees for Obama in 2008 for a total of $4,700.

James Quarles, who served as an assistant special prosecutor on the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, has donated to over a dozen Democratic PACs since the late 1980s. He was also identified by the Washington Post as a member of Mueller’s team.

Starting in 1987, Quarles donated to Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis’s presidential PAC, Dukakis for President. Since then, he has also contributed in 1999 to Sen. Al Gore’s run for the presidency, then-Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) presidential bid in 2005, Obama’s presidential PAC in 2008 and 2012, and Clinton’s presidential pac Hillary for America in 2016.

To continue reading: Gingrich Questions Special Counsel’s Impartiality – “Republicans Are Delusional…Look Who He Is Hiring”

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The Sideshow That Never Leaves Town, by Butler Shaffer

Many of us have been trained to serve the state, and the training becomes more ingrained and pervasive with the young. From Butler Shaffer at lewrockwell.com:

“There is nothing more frightening than active ignorance.” 

– Wolfgang von Goethe                

Growing up in Nebraska, I was delighted each September, when the State Fair opened. I enjoyed walking the midway – accompanied by the spirit of P.T. Barnum – listening to sideshow barkers peddling their shows for “just ten cents, one thin dime.” Bearded and tattooed ladies, two-headed calves, and fortune-tellers were among the offerings.

With last week’s closing of the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus, a significant part of American culture has disappeared: circuses and carnivals. With the exception of 1950s era network television circuses, these extravaganzas were largely performed at the local level, abetted by the main street circus parades that brought us downtown and enticed us out to the circus grounds. With network television bringing so many of our demands for entertainment to the national level, traveling circuses, carnivals, and fairground midways have largely disappeared; although the sideshows have not. Freak shows have gravitated to television news networks, with anchors tantalizing us with the “breaking news” of assorted cranks and misfits waiting to challenge the suspension of our intelligence. “See the lady who can speak endlessly without saying anything;” or, “see the SUV that will bring the world to an end;” or “see the lady carrying a severed head.” H.L. Mencken was prophetic – as usual – in labeling politics as a “circus”, and a “carnival of buncombe.”

My understanding of history has led me to the view that Western Civilization is in its final stages. The structuring and regulation of life-sustaining processes have proved as fatal to our culture as cutting off a bird’s wings would seal its fate. To forcibly deprive individuals of their self-directed, self-interested nature in order to serve some mythical collective, has brought us to where we are. Beneficiaries of this herd-oriented mindset are institutional interests with a highly-concentrated presence that could not be maintained without the coercive force of the state restraining the development of competitive alternatives that would arise in a free market. Those interested in seeing how the business system has benefitted from this economic structuring, are invited to read my book In Restraint of Trade: The Business Campaign Against Competition, 1918-1938.

To continue reading: The Sideshow That Never Leaves Town

Should U.S. Taxpayers Be Funding the Brookings Institution? by Michael Krieger

Well here’s a surprise. When a think tank receives funding from the government, its thoughts turn to the multitudinous  blessings of government. Imagine! From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Today’s post highlights an interesting audit on the Brookings Institution by Open the Books, which reveals considerable tax payer funding for the so-called “think tank.” The question is how much thinking is really being done, and are taxpayers getting their money’s worth?

Here’s some of what Open the Books’ Adam Andrzejewski had to say on the matter in a recent Forbes article, Brookings Institution — The Progressive Jukebox Funded By U.S. Taxpayers:

Washington, D.C. is known for its monuments, but it is also known for its “ivory tower” think tanks. These institutions can serve a valuable role in providing dispassionate and empirical analysis in divided times. One of the pre-eminent D.C. think tanks is the Brookings Institution, which has nearly half-a-billion dollars in assets and deep ties to political leaders on the left.

According to Brookings, its mission is to “conduct in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national and global level.” Brookings says it values the independence of its scholars and prides itself on “open-minded” inquiry.

Yet, public spending records captured by our organization at OpenTheBooks.com tell a somewhat different story. Rather than focusing on “open-minded” inquiry, Brookings seems swayed by “open-wallet” inquiry. In many cases, Brookings doesn’t resemble a think tank, but a jukebox – add a little coin and Brookings will play your tune, if the price is right.

And these aren’t just dollars provided by private donors — these are your tax dollars funding partisan advocacy projects and papers.

Since 2008, Brookings amassed nearly $20 million in contracts and grants from 50 agencies – including the Obama Administration’s Office of the President. Despite assets of $496 million (IRS990, FY2014), our OpenTheBooks.com audit shows it was not enough. Brookings instituted an aggressive strategy to pursue federal business over the past nine-years.

To continue reading: Should U.S. Taxpayers Be Funding the Brookings Institution?

Pigs at the Trough, by Bionic Mosquito

Executives at large corporations make ritual denunciations of regulation, but they actually cherish it as a way to keep smaller competitors in their place. From the Bionic Mosquito at lewrockwell.com:

I was thinking about writing a post containing the list of CEOs of major US corporations who have come out against Trump’s decision regarding the Paris Climate Accord.  I am overwhelmed.  I would make my life easier by writing a list of those who haven’t.

I cannot let it go unsaid regarding one of these: Elon Musk.  It is really hilarious to consider that he has no company without the government’s involvement in the climate.

None of these CEOs is a climate expert; all of them publicly complain about regulation.  You would think that this combination of characteristics would lead to either at best cheering the elimination of the horrendous regulatory burdens imposed by yet another international scheme or at worst shutting up on a topic that they really don’t know much about.

But, of course, we know better.

Big business loves regulation, and the more complex the better.  Complex regulation kills off the little guy, the start-up.  Complex regulatory requirements drive up the cost of the product, which drives up revenue and margins.

Big business loves government-created markets which force consumers to buy products (that only big business can produce) that they would otherwise not want to buy.

Big business loves government programs, as big business does not then have to market and sell to millions of individual consumers but instead to a handful of bureaucrats.

Big business is four-square against killing this deal.  I can offer words of hope to these CEOs: don’t worry, it isn’t over yet; Trump is looking to a repeal and replace strategy.  You can get an ever better deal if you focus on this.

Albeit, your respite will, eventually, prove temporary.  The economy cannot sustain continued decrease of the productive (those who provide market-demanded goods) in support of the increase in the unproductive (those whose primary service is supported, directly or indirectly, by the government).

To continue reading: Pigs at the Trough

Bilderberg 2017 is Here: The Rockefeller/Rothschild Hub Meets to Discuss Trump’s Presidency, by Arjun Walia

The world famous, super-secret Bilderberg confab is this weekend. Arjun Walia of lewrockwell.com provides some color:

“We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time Magazine and other publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march toward a world government. . . .  The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.”

 David Rockefeller (source)

The above statement comes from a 1991 Bilderberg group meeting in Baden, Germany. Bill Clinton also attended this meeting, I’m sure along with many other members of the elite class.

This is a global elite hub that gathers every single year, and whose meetings are highly secretive. Attendees include various heads of the private contractors that work with the military, intelligence agency higher ups, big bankers, and representatives from the IMF, the World Bank, the Trilateral Commission, and more.

As The Guardian points:

The secretive three-day summit of the political and economic elite kicks off on Thursday in heavily guarded seclusion at the Westfields Marriot, a luxury hotel a short distance from the Oval Office. The hotel was already on lockdown on Wednesday, and an army of landscapers have been busy planting fir trees around the perimeter, to protect coy billionaires and bashful bank bosses from any prying lenses.

As a result of independent journalists exposing what is happening here, the group has been forced to become a little more transparent. On this year’s agenda, the first topic of discussion is Donald Trump’s presidency.

To continue reading: Bilderberg 2017 is Here: The Rockefeller/Rothschild Hub Meets to Discuss Trump’s Presidency

Press Barking (Mad) Up the Wrong Tree, by Ann Coulter

The mainstream media continues to press the Russian collusion story, but it ignores the one aspect of the story in which there arguably may have been undue Russian influence on a person close to the Trump administration: Jared Kushner. From Ann Coulter at anncoulter.com:

he American media are so obsessed with their own Russian collusion story that they can’t see the possibility of actual corruption right in front of their noses. It’s gotten to the point that Trump could start shooting reporters on the White House lawn and The New York Times’ headline would be: In Trump’s New Tack, Echoes of Russia.

In fairness to the media, this is all part of the liberal proclivity to embrace any conspiracy theory under the right conditions. There are random conservatives who might believe nutty things from time to time, but conspiracy-mongering is a plant that doesn’t fully bloom except in the soil of liberalism.

The psychoanalyst Erich Fromm argued that because freedom is terrifying, one way to escape the anxiety is to have a strong belief system, providing a central magnet for all the metal filings to coalesce around.

Liberals have no strong belief systems, only base impulses. This is why their passions must be corralled into conspiracy theories, to bring conformity to their lives. They hate Trump, so everything he does must be on orders from Moscow.

Meanwhile, it is a known fact that the FBI is looking at Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. It is a known fact that the Kushner family has used its connections to President Trump to drum up Chinese investors for the family’s real estate portfolio. It is a known fact that Jared is looking for investors in his 666 Fifth Avenue building, which is underwater. It is a known fact that Jared met with the Russian ambassador — as well as a representative of a state-owned Russian bank — during the transition. It is a known fact that he neglected to mention those meetings on his security clearance forms.

All of this is probably perfectly aboveboard. But if you weren’t insane, the blindingly obvious question would be: Why did Kushner meet with the head of a state-controlled Russian bank?

To continue reading: Press Barking (Mad) Up the Wrong Tree

When the “Fix” Increases Systemic Fragility, Things Fall Apart, by Charles Hugh Smith

Sometimes purported cures don’t cure anything, they just mask the patient’s deterioration. Such has been the case with the economic cures for the last financial crisis peddled by policymakers. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

All the “fixes” have fatally weakened the real economy, and created a dangerous illusion of “wealth,” “growth” and solvency.

The “fix” of the last eight years worked, right? This was the status quo’s “fix”:
1. Massive expansion of debt: sovereign, household and corporate, all in service of a) bringing consumer demand forward b) fiscal stimulus funded by debt c) corporate stock buybacks to boost stock valuations d) asset bubbles in real estate, bonds, stocks, bat guano futures, etc.
2. Monetary stimulus, i.e. creating and distributing money at the top of the wealth/power pyramid so corporations and the super-wealthy could buy more assets with free money for financiers issued by central banks.
3. Gaming statistics such as unemployment and metrics such as stock indices to generate the illusion of “growth,” “stability” and “wealth.”
4. Saying all the right things: the “recovery” is creating millions of jobs, inflation is low, virtue-signaling is more important than actual increases in inflation-adjusted wages, etc.
As Dave of the X22 Report and I discuss in Central Banks Weakened The Economy To The Point Of No Return, Day Of Reckoning Has Arrived (42 min. podcast), this “fix” has fatally weakened the real economy. The cost of maintaining the illusions of “growth,” “stability,” “wealth” and solvency is extremely high, and hidden from view: systemic fragility has increased to the point of brittleness.
What is fragility? Fragility is the result of an erosion of resilience, redundancy, adaptability, accountability, honesty, feedback and willingness to sacrifice today’s consumption for tomorrow’s productivity and systemic stability.
The status quo “fix” has gutted resilience, redundancy, adaptability, accountability, honesty, feedback and willingness to sacrifice today’s consumption for tomorrow’s productivity. Can anyone who isn’t a lackey on the payroll of the Powers That Be provide any credible evidence that the U.S. economy is more resilient after eight years of debt-dependent “recovery”?