Corruption

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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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Turkey's "200 Tons Of Secret Gold" Trade With Iran: The Biggest, Most Bizarre Money Laundering Scheme Ever?





While Ben Bernanke once said that "gold is not money", it appears China, Dubai, and most especially Turkey and Iran would disagree. On the heels of the "Petrogold" wars we discussed previously, a leaked report of a secret plot to 'juice' Turkey's trade balance exposes gold at the heart of "one of the most complex illicit finance schemes [prosecutors] have seen."

 
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"The Gap Between Those With Money & Those With Knowledge Has Grown Catastrophic"





"The one unlimited resource we have on the planet is the human brain – the current strategy of 1% capitalism is failing because it is killing the Golden Goose at multiple levels. Unfortunately, the gap between those with money and power and those who actually know what they are talking about has grown catastrophic. The rich are surrounded by sycophants and pretenders whose continued employment demands that they not question the premises."

 
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Chairman Of China's Largest Copper Producer Commits Suicide By Jumping From Hotel





While news of high-ranking financial executive suicides in the west have become week to week news, the troubling trend has spread to Asia. A string of Chinese officials have killed themselves in recent months, with speculation linking many to a crackdown on graft. However, as SCMP reports, this weekend saw the head of China's largest copper producer 'fell to this death' from a hotel owned by his company with a state-run newspaper claiming the 52-year-old committed suicide (due to work pressures) following corruption allegations. The timing of Wei Jianghong, chairman of state-owned Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group, suicide appears catalyzed by the growing anxiety over the widespread implications of China's rehypothecation commodity-finance scandal. That leaves one question - what did he know that markets remain ignorant of for now?

 
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Frontrunning: June 25





  • Obama Administration Widens Export Potential for U.S. Oil (BBG)
  • WTI Pares Gains as U.S. Export Ruling Seen Limited (BBG)
  • Senator Cochran defeats Tea Party rival in Mississippi Republican runoff (Reuters)
  • Militants attack Iraq air base, U.S. assessment teams deploy (Reuters)
  • Maliki rules out national emergency govt (AFP)
  • Koch to Start EU Power Trading as It Plans LNG Expansion (BBG)
  • Obama Said to Ready Sanctions on Russian Industries (BBG)
  • Ghana Sends Plane With $3 Million to Calm World Cup Team (BBG)
  • Ghana’s First Hedge Fund Planned by Ex-Exchange Regulator (BBG)
  • SEC Is Gearing Up to Focus on Ratings Firms (WSJ)
  • Abe Declares Deflation End as Growth Plan Confronts Skeptics (BBG)
 
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Officials At The Ex-Im Bank Are Under Investigation As It Fights For Survival





Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im), the federally-backed bank which has been around since 1934, faces a very serious threat to its survival. The most important aspect of this entire fight is the fact that on opposite sides of the debate are not Democrats versus Republicans, but once again Republicans vs. Republicans. We again see tea party Republicans facing off against establishment RINOs. On one side we hear claims by the tea party wing that the Ex-Im merely serves as a conduit for crony capitalism and favoritism to large corporations, or those willing to bribe officials. On the other side, we see establishment Republicans, who are extremely cozy with mega-corporations, maintaing that the institution plays a crucial role in financing American exports to make them competitive. The battle against the Ex-Im bank, a 80 year old institution, is just another example of the sort of changes that happen in Fourth-Turnings. So what does Barack Obama think of the Export-Import bank? As usual, it depends on who you ask, Presidential-candidate Obama, or President-elect Obama.

 
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Heading Into Midterm Elections, Confidence In Congress Hits Record Low 7%





It’s no surprise to anyone that Americans have zero faith in their so-called “Representatives.” The vast majority of these folks are lying, thieving, white-collar criminals, and we all know it. The real question is what, if anything, are we going to do about it?

 
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