Corruption

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China Stamps Out "Rat Traders" To Boost Stock Market Confidence





The utilization of the Chinese market as both policy tool and 'wealth' creator - as The Fed has done with the S&P 500 - remains less than the PBOC would like. It appears the Chinese prefer their 'risk' in Baccarat and real estate and don't trust those stock markets shisters... so the government is doing something about it. While American investors have to worry about high-frequency traders front-running them; in China, it's a low-frequency trade called "rat trading" where fund managers use personal accounts to buy shares cheaply, then sell them at a profit after purchases from the funds they manage have boosted their value. China’s securities regulator has decided enough is enough and has stepped up its probe into insider trading, taking on “rat traders” in an attempt to restore confidence in the country’s stock market.

 
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Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin Sentenced To Decade In Prison For Bribery





Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was sentenced to 10 years in prison for bribery, money laundering and other corruption that spanned his two terms as mayor--including the chaotic years after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. Mr. Nagin was convicted Feb. 12 of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from businessmen who wanted work from the city or Mr. Nagin's support for various projects. The bribes came in the form of money, free vacations and truckloads of free granite for his family business. The 58-year-old Democrat had defiantly denied any wrongdoing after his 2013 indictment and during his February trial.

 
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Frontrunning: July 9





  • Xi Says China Conflict With U.S. Would Be Disaster (BBG)
  • Short selling drops to lowest level since Lehman (FT)
  • Scoping the new subprime as watchdogs cry 'bubble' (Reuters)
  • Carlos Slim to break up América Móvil empire (FT)
  • Jury Acquits Rengan Rajaratnam in Insider-Trading Case (WSJ)
  • Hamas rockets land deep in Israel as it bombards Gaza Strip (Reuters)
  • Hong Kong Buyers Queue for New Homes After Prices Plunge (BBG)
  • Rebel Stronghold in Ukraine Braces for Its Showdown (WSJ)
  • Tiny Houses Big With U.S. Owners Seeking Economic Freedom (BBG)
  • Chinese Cash-Bearing Buyers Drive U.S. Foreign Sales Jump (BBG)
 
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Vatican Bank Profits Plunge Following Clean-Up





It seems not even The Pope's private bank can make money when its only allowed to do it the legal way. As The FT reports, profits at the Vatican bank plunged last year after thousands of accounts were closed as part of an overhaul of the scandal-ridden institution. The Vatican bank, officially known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), now has 17,419 customers, down from 18,900 in 2012 and net profit fell from EUR86.6m in 2012 to EUR2.9m last year. So - in sum - accounts fell 8% and profits collapsed 97% - is it any wonder Pope Francis plans to replace the board and all the executives at the 'bank'.

 
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Saudi Human Rights Lawyer Jailed 15 Years For 'Free-Speech' Under New "Anti-Terror" Laws





Back in April, we warned of the consequences of Saudi King Abdullah has clamped down on all forms of political dissent and protests that could “harm public order”. Concerns that this law would be used to silence dissent and crackdown on basic human rights were apparently well justified, as the Wall Street Journal reported today that a Saudi court has sentenced human rights lawyer and activist Waleed Abu Alkhair to 15 years in prison for “inciting public opinion,” i.e., effectively utilizing free speech. We are currently living in one of the most interesting times in human history as we witness the transformation of society away from centralized, bureaucratic structures, into decentralized, networked organization. It’s imperative that each and every one of us does everything he or she can to make this revolutionary transition as painless as possible.

 
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Paul Craig Roberts: "The US Economy's Phantom Jobs Gains Are A Fraud"





Washington can’t stop lying. Don’t be convinced by last Thursday’s job report that it is your fault if you don’t have a job. Those 288,000 jobs and 6.1% unemployment rate are more fiction than reality. What you can take away from this is the opposite of what the presstitute media would have you believe. For the most part economists have turned a blind eye. Economists serve the globalists. It pays them well. The corruption in present-day America is total. No one serves truth and liberty. America has left us. We now have the tyranny of the Orwellian state that rules, not by the ballot box and Constitution, but by force and propaganda.

 
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"There Is No Honest Pricing Left" - The Epochal Error Of Modern Central Banking





"The system we have now is one in which the Fed decides, through a Politburo of planners sitting in Washington, how much liquidity is necessary, what the interest rate should be, what the unemployment rate should be, and what economic growth should be. There is no honest pricing left at all anywhere in the world because central banks everywhere manipulate and rig the price of all financial assets. We can’t even analyze the economy in the traditional sense anymore because so much of it depends not on market forces, but on the whims of people at the Fed."

 
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The Arab Spring Just Got Serious Again - Kuwait Is Burning





Same stuff... different country. Once again someone (former opposition leader Musallam al-Barrak) exposed the corruption among the elites (revealed documents that allegedly prove billions of illicit financial transfers were made to senior officials, including judges) and the leaders (Kuwait officials) decided he should be arrested and charged with slander. This has caused uproar among the people as hundreds of protesters rallied overnight in support of al-Barrack, marching from his house to the jail chanting: "The people want to cleanse the judiciary!" The police in the oil-rich nation of Kuwait used tear gas and stun grenades early Thursday to disperse the protesters. As we have noted previously, uprising against government corruption is a global trend and in the case of Kuwait (which is oil-rich, the last friendly place to US in the Middle East, and has the highest per capita Twitter usage on the planet), we suspect this 'spring' is far from over.

 
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Independence Day? 79% Of Americans Are Fine With The Current Level Of Tyranny





On July 4th, the United States will celebrate Independence Day once again.  But who in the world are we trying to kid?  Our founders intended to create a society where freedom and liberty would be maximized, but that is not what America looks like today.  Instead, we live in a country that literally has millions of laws, rules and regulations.  We have a government that is obsessed with spying on the entire planet and that tries to watch, monitor, track and record as much information about all of us as it possibly can.  A “Big Brother” surveillance grid is being constructed all around us, and our militarized police are becoming more brutal with each passing day.  Sadly, most Americans don’t seem too alarmed by any of this.  In fact, a new Gallup survey has found that 79 percent of Americans are “satisfied” with the level of freedom in this nation.  That is a very alarming statistic. If most people believe that everything is “just fine”, then our leaders are going to feel free to keep doing the same things that they have been doing.

 
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Frontrunning: July 2





  • France's Sarkozy faces corruption probe in blow to comeback hopes (Reuters)
  • Ukraine Says Military Offensive Against Rebels Yielding Results (WSJ)
  • JPMorgan Investors Show Support for Dimon in Cancer Fight (BBG)
  • World’s ATM Moves to Frankfurt as Yellen’s Fed Slows Cash (BBG)
  • Argentina Seen Backtracking on Fernandez Vows as Legacy at Risk (BBG)
  • Palestinian teen killed in possible revenge attack (Reuters)
  • The Bill and Hillary Clinton Money Machine Taps Corporate Cash (WSJ)
  • London House Prices Surge the Most Since 1987, Nationwide Says (BBG)
  • Last Jew in Afghanistan faces ruin as kebabs fail to sell (Reuters)
 
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Frontrunning: July 1





  • Ceasefire over, Ukraine forces attack rebel positions (Reuters)
  • No Good Iraq Options for Obama as Russia, Iran Jump In (BBG)
  • Japan’s Cabinet Agrees to Allow Military to Help Defend Allies (BBG)
  • Obama says to reform immigration on his own, bypassing Congress (Reuters)
  • South Stream Pipeline Project in Bulgaria Is Delayed (NYT)
  • Foreign Banks Still in the Dark About Missing Metals in China (WSJ)
  • Quelle indignity: several bankers at French bank BNP Paribas will face demotions and cuts to their pay and bonuses (FT)
  • Symantec Warns of Hacker Threat Against Energy Companies (BBG)
  • Shrinking Office Spaces Slow Recovery (WSJ)
  • Rand Paul Slams ‘Fat Cats’ With Hedge Fund in Top Donors (BBG)
 
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Guest Post: The Language Of Despotism





Long before 1984 gave us the adjective “Orwellian” to describe the political corruption of language and thought, Thucydides observed how factional struggles for power make words their first victims, "Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them." Orwell later explained the reason for such degradation of language, "Political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible." The bottom-line is that tyrannical power and its abuses comprise the "indefensible" that must be verbally disguised; which seems to have never been more appropriate than now in the stream of 'disguised' words we are fed every day...

 
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"What Do You Want For Free?"





"Why shouldn't the rich pay more taxes?" Simply put, there are not enough billionaires to pay the bill for everyone else. The problem is not that the rich do not pay enough, it is that government takes too much from the economy as a whole.

 
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Laundering Illegal Money? There's Ultraluxury New York Real Estate For That





Today, we can finally end any debate on the topic of just where the world's illegal money comes to roost. The answer: ultra-luxury real estate, primarily in New York, courtesy of a report in New York magazine that catches up with what we first said in the summer of 2012, and which is titled, appropriately enough: "Stash Pad."

 
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The Great War’s Aftermath: Keynesianism, Monetary Central Planning & The Permanent Warfare State





The Great Depression did not represent the failure of capitalism or some inherent suicidal tendency of the free market to plunge into cyclical depression - absent the constant ministrations of the state through monetary, fiscal, tax and regulatory interventions.  Instead, the Great Depression was a unique historical occurrence - the delayed consequence of the monumental folly of the Great War, abetted by the financial deformations spawned by modern central banking. But ironically, the “failure of capitalism” explanation of the Great Depression is exactly what enabled the Warfare State to thrive and dominate the rest of the 20th century because it gave birth to what have become its twin handmaidens - Keynesian economics and monetary central planning. Together, these two doctrines eroded and eventually destroyed the great policy barrier - that is, the old-time religion of balanced budgets - that had kept America a relatively peaceful Republic until 1914. The good Ben (Franklin that is) said,” Sir you have a Republic if you can keep it”. We apparently haven’t.

 
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