en Your Options: To Serve... Or Be Served <p><em><a href="">Authored by StraightLineLogic&#39;s Robert Gore</a> via <a href="">The Burning Platform blog</a>,</em></p> <p><strong>There are three ways for a person to obtain something of value from another person</strong>: <em>receive it as a donation, steal it by force or fraud, or exchange for it</em>. It&rsquo;s not much of an oversimplification to say that the advance of civilization has hinged on its movement from the first two methods to the third. The right to exchange, and the right to promise as part of a future exchange&mdash;the right to contract&mdash;are now taken for granted, but those rights are delicate and a whole complex of rights, assumptions, and obligations are subsumed by them.<strong> Their intellectual foundations are being undermined as the equality of rights implicit in contract and exchange gives way to a regressive inequality of rights: servitude.</strong></p> <p><strong>The essence of exchange is choice; it&rsquo;s voluntary. </strong>Both parties have the choice of whether or not to transact, and neither will do so unless they subjectively value what they receive more than what they give up. That is not to say that there will be equality of resources, bargaining power, or negotiating skill between the parties, or that they will be equally happy with their bargain, only that both parties have the same choice to accept or reject the proposed transaction. <strong>Exchange embodies that equality of rights between parties, but not an equality of outcomes.</strong></p> <p>The right to exchange implicitly assumes that parties are the best judges of their own interests, and that such determinations will be respected by both the parties and those outside the transaction. The rights to exchange and contract are individual rights, and the obligation to fulfill one&rsquo;s side of the bargain an individual obligation. A collective entity such as a business can contract and exchange, but either the members of that entity have agreed that they will, collectively, do so, or have, by their membership in that entity, recognized implicitly or explicitly the right of those directing the entity to do so.</p> <p><strong>The concept of a social contract is a contradiction in terms.</strong> With whom does a society contract? An entity cannot contract with itself. The notion has come to mean acceptance by the governed of the government, whatever its form. However, individuals have no choice to opt out of the collective entity known as society, as they would any other voluntarily chosen entity they joined, and the social contract supposedly binds not just those who were part of the society when the contract was made, but future generations.<strong> Thus, the term social contract wrongly connotes voluntary choice of an institution whose establishment has always been the product of chance and force, and has no meaning at all for the unborn who will nevertheless be compelled to live under the government so established.</strong></p> <p>Exchange evokes hostility because it is a private decision in which the resulting agreement excludes everyone but the two parties, and it increases, by their own evaluations, their wellbeing. As it increases wellbeing, a rational government will do all it can to protect the rights of its citizens to contract and exchange for any licit purpose. However, a government relegated to protecting private contracts and exchange is a government subjugated; there is no opportunity for the exercise of coercive power. When contracts are breached, the government&rsquo;s role is adjudication and remedy, not coercion. Even that role is unessential; parties can agree beforehand to nongovernmental dispute resolution.</p> <p><strong>Nobody goes into government to refrain from exercising power.</strong>&nbsp;Governments ban certain contracts and exchanges, or dictate their terms in the name of regulation. They are humanity&rsquo;s most rapacious and regressive institution; they arrogate to themselves the right to legally engage in theft. Outlawing or regulating certain exchanges furthers larceny as well; enforcement offers opportunities for extortion and accepting bribes.</p> <p><strong>Historically, there has been a virtually straight line relationship between the share of activity within a society demarcated by voluntary contract and exchange and the progress made by that society.</strong> Voluntary exchanges and the private choices they incorporate are, by definition, made only when they enhance wellbeing. Once a government &ldquo;escapes&rdquo; the subjugation of enforcing private agreements and choices, they constrict the scope of such agreements and choices and extract value by force, that is, involuntarily, from the citizenry. <strong>Notwithstanding the delusions and lies of their many proponents, constricting choices and theft cannot further progress, they only retard, stop, or reverse it.</strong></p> <p>Neither the relationship between donor and recipient nor between thief and victim is that of equals. The proper characterization for both is servility: recipients begging donors for donations and victims implicitly or explicitly begging thieves to spare some of their property or their lives. If a truth serum could be administered to ensure an honest answer, perhaps no single question would be more psychologically revealing than whether a person prefers relationships of servility or equality. A preference for the former is the most accurate marker for sociopathy available, and is not a bad one for psychopathy, either.</p> <p><u><strong>So runs the sociopathic, psychopathic scam known as government.</strong></u> The productive are robbed and just enough is doled out to the beggars to keep them quiescent and voting correctly. The rest lines the pockets of the sociopaths and psychopaths, the &ldquo;served.&rdquo; This can be the only result when exchange is replaced with theft and begging as the basis of social and commercial interaction. Collectivist hostility to exchange stems not from its misattributed flaws, but from deep-rooted psychological hostility to a process that involves free choice and confers equally to both parties the option not to engage in it. <strong>Exchange presumes that individuals are capable of directing their own lives, and protecting the freedom to contract and exchange enshrines that autonomy.</strong> Freedom, exchange, and <em>equality of rights under the law</em> are inseparable.</p> <p><strong>As exchange dies, the nation founded in revolution and independence descends into docile servility. </strong>Equality of rights under the law, a difficult but not impossible goal, gives way to a deluded and malignant drive for equality of outcomes. Exchange, contract, and freedom are inconsistent with equality of outcome. In order for voluntary exchange to occur, both parties must have something to exchange, which implies both parties have produced something and either retained it or exchanged it for something else of value. Productive ability is not equally distributed. Nor is the ability to benefit from exchange; some are better at it than others.</p> <p>Spurious promises of equal outcomes implicitly rely on begging, theft, and the coercive power of the sociopathic, psychopathic scam. <strong> There has never yet been a government in which the government, especially ones devoted to &ldquo;equality,&rdquo; did not become, in Orwell&rsquo;s words, &ldquo;more equal&rdquo; than its begging and enslaved citizenry</strong>. Keep that in mind the next time you hear a blowhard bastard bloviating bromides about the beauty and nobility of &ldquo;service.&rdquo; You&rsquo;re to be served... as the next course.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="504" height="351" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Sat, 28 May 2016 02:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 562129 at Forget Chinese Commodity Speculators, Meet North America's "Moms-and-Millennials" Oil Day-Traders <p><strong>We showed you the <a href="">&quot;bored&quot; Chinese workers who traded commodity futures for excitement</a> </strong>- Now, it&#39;s time to meet North America&#39;s oil day-traders... <em><strong>moms-and millenials.</strong></em></p> <p>The recent volatility in crude oil has gotten the attention of people who do not list trading as their day job, but are randomly attempting to day trade oil anyway the WSJ <a href="">reports</a>.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 601px; height: 399px;" /></a></p> <p>Take for example Erika Cajic, a 45-year old full-time parent who took a shot at trading oil via UWTI.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>When Erika Cajic woke before dawn one morning in early May and read that wildfires were breaking out in an oil-producing region of Alberta, <strong>she sat down on the family room couch with a cup of hot chocolate and her laptop and bought shares of an investment linked to crude</strong>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The 45-year-old full-time parent of two in Mississauga, Ontario, like many investors, reasoned that the production outages would drive up the price of oil. <strong>By buying the VelocityShares 3x Long Crude Oil exchange-traded note, she tripled down on her hunch, as the product uses derivatives that aim to rise and fall at triple the daily change in oil</strong>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Within about four days, she estimated she made about 500 Canadian dollars (US$384) on those trades after converting from U.S. dollars.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;The swings are gigantic lately,&rdquo; she said of the product, known by its ticker UWTI, and the other energy products she has traded in recent months.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>For Matt Krasnoff, an employee of LinkedIn, he just keeps his trades displayed on Yahoo Finance on his computer screen during the day and monitors his trades at work.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;<strong>I just thought, let&rsquo;s throw a couple of hundred dollars in it...and try it out,</strong>&rdquo; said Matt Krasnoff, 26, of New York, who bought shares of UWTI last year after hearing about it from a friend. &ldquo;I just enjoy the risk and the thrill of the market in general.&rdquo;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>Mr. Krasnoff works at LinkedIn Corp. in New York and keeps a list of his investments displayed on Yahoo Finance on his computer screen during the day</strong>. He said he typically invests in technology companies that he is familiar with and reads articles about the industry and watches Twitter to stay up to date.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">He ditched UWTI within a few months of trying it, after he lost money</span>. &ldquo;It was outside of the realm of what I knew...the last straw was realizing that I wasn&rsquo;t informed enough,&rdquo; he said.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Now, he says, he is going to stick to investing in what he knows, like tech</span>.</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>CME estimates that crude oil has been its second most traded contract among retail investors this year after the S&amp;P - such investors make up about 10% of the daily trading volume said Mark Omens, executive director of retail sales at CME.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="791" src="" width="400" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Frederick Bailey, of Savannah, Georgia is inbetween jobs so he figured he would put some money into UWTI in January as crude broke $30 a barrel. Although at least Bailey had some dealings with ETF&#39;s in the past.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>Frederick Bailey, 59, of Savannah, Ga., said he put a modest amount of money in UWTI in January as crude broke below $30 a barrel and rode it higher as oil prices rebounded. Mr. Bailey, who said he is between jobs, once worked at banks that dealt with exchange-traded funds.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Mr. Bailey also visits online chatter sites talking about oil, such as StockTwits, where one poster this week wrote: &ldquo;...once again the crude been rude to this dude.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>It also appears that millennials <a href="">in their spare time at their parents house</a> are also fans of day trading crude oil and related products on their smart phone.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>Grant Heimer, a 25-year-old in Dallas, trades stocks as a hobby and learned about commodity exchange-traded products from his friends last year, he said.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>An energy-industry software consultant who studied finance in college, <strong>he has traded oil and natural-gas exchange-traded products a few times using a smartphone app called Robinhood</strong>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;Oil just seemed to make a lot of sense to me,&rdquo; said Mr. Heimer. <strong>He has never held a position longer than five days and still has most of his portfolio in stock investments.</strong> <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Most of his oil trades made money, he said, but not all</span>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m not careless,&rdquo; said Mr. Heimer. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a very appealing thing to do for somebody like me who&rsquo;s OK with a small risk and a short amount of time.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Archna Jagtiani started trading on her own after the market came back after the crisis but her account had not recovered. She once traded exchange traded products but now trades futures, with a holding period of 15 minutes.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>Archna Jagtiani, a 42-year-old who lives in the Chicago suburbs, started trading after the financial crisis. <strong>&ldquo;After 2010 when the market was account had not come back and I was just paying fees,&rdquo; </strong>she said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s better this way. I cannot blame anybody if I lose money.&rdquo; <span style="text-decoration: underline;">She said she spends her days trading and tutoring kids in math after the market closes</span>.</em></p> <p><em>Ms. Jagtiani used to trade oil exchange-traded products, but a few months ago switched to buying and selling oil-futures contracts because of the quirks of holding some oil exchange-traded products for a long period of time.</em></p> <p><em>&ldquo;If oil goes from $43.50 [a barrel] to $43.70, you&rsquo;ve made a hundred bucks,&rdquo; she said of oil futures, <strong>which she holds for intervals as short as 15 minutes.</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>* * *</p> <p>Well,<strong> while <a href="">we&#39;re not saying that the &quot;professionals&quot; do any better</a></strong>, we suspect that the &#39;passive day-trading&#39; as a hobby may not be the best idea for those looking to preserve any discretionary income that may be left over after paying the monthly bills.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="536" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="700" height="465" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Crude Crude Oil Twitter Twitter Volatility Sat, 28 May 2016 02:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 562135 at Oregon Senator Warns - Government Is Dramatically Expanding Its Hacking & Surveillance Authority <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,</em></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>The&nbsp;Patriot Act&nbsp;continues to wreak its havoc on civil liberties. Section 213 was included in the Patriot Act over the protests of privacy advocates and granted law enforcement the power to conduct a search while delaying notice to the suspect of the search. Known as a &ldquo;sneak and peek&rdquo; warrant, law enforcement was&nbsp;adamant&nbsp;Section 213 was needed to protect against terrorism. But the latest government report detailing the numbers of &ldquo;sneak and peek&rdquo; warrants reveals that out of a total of over 11,000 sneak and peek requests, only 51 were used for terrorism. Yet again, terrorism concerns appear to be trampling our civil liberties.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ndash; From the post:&nbsp;<strong><a href="">More &ldquo;War on Terror&rdquo; Abuses &ndash; Spying Powers Are Used for Terrorism Only 0.5% of the Time</a></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Ron Wyden, a Senator from Oregon, has been one of the most influential and significant champions of&nbsp;Americans&rsquo;&nbsp;embattled 4th Amendment rights in the digital age. Recall that it was Sen. Wyden who caught&nbsp;Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, <a href="">lying under oath</a> about government surveillance of U.S. citizens.</p> <p>Mr. Wyden continues to be a <strong>courageous voice for the public when it comes to pushing back against Big Brother spying. </strong>His latest post<a href="">&nbsp;at <em>Medium</em></a> is a perfect example.</p> <p>Here it is in full:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><h2 class="graf--h3 graf--leading"><u>Shaking My Head</u></h2> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="6119"><em>The government will dramatically expand surveillance powers unless Congress acts</em></p> <p><em>Last month, at the request of the Department of Justice, the Courts approved changes to the obscure Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which governs search and seizure. <strong>By the nature of this obscure bureaucratic process,&nbsp;<span class="markup--strong markup--p-strong">these rules become law unless Congress rejects the changes&nbsp;</span>before December 1, 2016.</strong></em></p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p">&nbsp;</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p"><em>Today I, along with my colleagues Senators Paul from Kentucky, Baldwin from Wisconsin, and Daines and Tester from Montana, am introducing the Stopping Mass Hacking (SMH) Act (<a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="" rel="nofollow">bill</a>,&nbsp;<a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="" rel="nofollow">summary</a>), a bill to protect millions of law-abiding Americans from a massive expansion of government hacking and surveillance.&nbsp;<span class="markup--strong markup--p-strong">Join the conversation with&nbsp;</span><a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href=";q=%23SMHact&amp;src=typd" rel="nofollow"><span class="markup--strong markup--p-strong">#SMHact</span></a><span class="markup--strong markup--p-strong">.</span></em></p> <h2 class="graf--h4 graf-after--p" id="3810"><u><em>What&rsquo;s the problem here?</em></u></h2> <p class="graf--p graf-after--h4" id="9bc4"><em>For law enforcement to conduct a remote electronic search, they generally need to plant malware in?&mdash;?i.e. hack?&mdash;?a device. <strong>These rule changes will allow the government to search millions of computers with the warrant of a single judge.</strong> To me, that&rsquo;s clearly a policy change that&rsquo;s outside the scope of an &ldquo;administrative change,&rdquo; and it is something that Congress should consider.&nbsp;<strong><span class="markup--strong markup--p-strong">An agency with the record of the Justice Department shouldn&rsquo;t be able to wave its arms and grant itself entirely new powers.</span></strong></em></p> <h2 class="graf--h4 graf-after--p" id="25c1"><u><em>Let&rsquo;s get into the details</em></u></h2> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="c6b3"><em>These changes say that if law enforcement doesn&rsquo;t know where an electronic device is located, a magistrate judge will now have the the authority to issue a warrant to remotely search the device, anywhere in the world. While it may be appropriate to address the issue of allowing a remote electronic search for a device at an unknown location, Congress needs to consider what protections must be in place to protect Americans&rsquo; digital security and privacy. This is a new and uncertain area of law, so there needs to be full and careful debate. The&nbsp;<a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="" rel="nofollow">ACLU has a thorough discussion&nbsp;</a>of the Fourth Amendment ramifications and the technological questions at issue with these kinds of searches.</em></p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p">&nbsp;</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--pullquote" id="887a"><em><strong>The second part of the change to Rule 41 would give a magistrate judge the authority to issue a single warrant that would authorize the search of an unlimited number?&mdash;?potentially thousands or millions?&mdash;?of devices, located anywhere in the world. These changes would dramatically expand the government&rsquo;s hacking and surveillance authority.</strong> <strong>The American public should understand that these changes won&rsquo;t just affect criminals: computer security experts and civil liberties advocates say the amendments would also dramatically expand the government&rsquo;s ability to hack the electronic devices of law-abiding Americans if their devices were affected by a computer attack. Devices will be subject to search if their owners were victims of a botnet attack?&mdash;?<span class="markup--strong markup--p-strong">so the government will be treating victims of hacking the same way they treat the perpetrators.</span></strong></em></p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--pullquote">&nbsp;</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="7798"><em><strong>As the&nbsp;<a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="" rel="nofollow">Center on Democracy and Technology</a>&nbsp;has noted, there are approximately 500 million computers that fall under this rule.</strong> The public doesn&rsquo;t know nearly enough about how law enforcement executes these hacks, and what risks these types of searches will pose. By compromising the computer&rsquo;s system, the search might leave it open to other attackers or damage the computer they are searching.</em></p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p">&nbsp;</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="efaa"><em>Don&rsquo;t take it from me that this will impact your security, read more from security researchers&nbsp;<a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="" rel="nofollow">Steven Bellovin, Matt Blaze and Susan Landau.</a></em></p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p">&nbsp;</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p"><em>Finally, these changes to Rule 41 would also give some types of electronic searches different, weaker notification requirements than physical searches. Under this new Rule, they are only required to make &ldquo;reasonable efforts&rdquo; to notify people that their computers were searched. This raises the possibility of the FBI hacking into a cyber attack victim&rsquo;s computer and not telling them about it until afterward, if at all.</em></p> <h2 class="graf--h4 graf-after--p" id="d627"><u><em>A job for Congress?&mdash;?not the Justice Department</em></u></h2> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p" id="96a0"><strong><em>These changes are a major policy shift that will impact Americans&rsquo; digital security, expand the government&rsquo;s surveillance powers and pose serious Fourth Amendment questions. Part of the problem is the simple fact that both the American public and security experts know so little about how the government goes about hacking a computer to search it. </em></strong><em>If a victim&rsquo;s Fourth Amendment rights are violated, it might not be readily apparent because of the highly technical nature of the methods used to execute the warrant.</em></p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p">&nbsp;</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p graf--last" id="b794"><em>It is Congress&rsquo; job to make sure we do not let the Executive Branch run roughshod over our constituents&rsquo; rights. That is why action is so important: this is a policy question that should be debated by Congress. Although the Department of Justice has tried to describe this rule change as simply a matter of judicial venue, sometimes a difference in scale really is a difference in kind.&nbsp;<span class="markup--strong markup--p-strong">By allowing so many searches with the order of just a single judge, Congress&rsquo;s failure to act on this issue would be a disaster for law-abiding Americans.</span></em></p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p graf--last">&nbsp;</p> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p graf--last"><em>When the public realizes what is at stake, I think there is going to be a massive outcry: Americans will look at Congress and say, &ldquo;What were you thinking?&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p class="graf--p graf-after--p graf--last"><strong>By failing to act, Congress is once again demonstrating that it is not just useless, it&rsquo;s also dangerously corrupt and incompetent.</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="235" height="144" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Department of Justice FBI national intelligence Sat, 28 May 2016 01:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 562124 at China Warns The World: America Is The "Greatest Threat To Peace & Stability" <p>It is no secret that the relationship between the United States and China has been <strong>strained for quite some time</strong>. Earlier this month <a href="">when the US sailed its guided missile destroyer the USS William P. Lawrence within 12 nautical miles of Chinese-occupied Fiery Cross Reef</a>, it ended in China scrambling of two fighter jets and three warships to shadow the destroyer and convince it to leave the area.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="476" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>The US admitted that it sailed the USS William P. Lawrence by the disputed island in order to &quot;challenge excessive maritime claims&quot; made by China. In turn, China had this to say about the US effort: &quot;<strong>This action by the U.S. side threatened China&#39;s sovereignty and security interests, endangered the staff and facilities on the reef, and damaged regional peace and stability.</strong>&quot;</p> <p>As the US meddles in the South China Sea disputes, <strong>China has been increasingly vocal about its displeasure, and that came out very directly in recent comments made on Thursday.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img height="414" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>The United Nations is getting ready to rule on a maritime dispute between China and the Philippines, and in discussing that potential ruling Yang Yujun, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said at a briefing that US involvement in these types of disputes is the greatest threat to the region.</p> <p><em>From <a href="">Russia Today</a></em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>On Thursday, China said that it would not recognize the UN verdict on the issue, unless China&rsquo;s claims are honored.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;No matter what kind of ruling the Court makes, China will not accept nor recognize the adjudication,&rdquo; Yang Yujun, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said at a briefing. &ldquo;This is China&rsquo;s right conferred by the international laws. By doing so we are actually abiding by and observing the international laws.&rdquo;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>The tension is being exacerbated even further by a continuously growing American presence in the region</strong>, whose many allies also lay claims to the islands. China has called the US involvement in the dispute the &ldquo;greatest&rdquo; threat to the region.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;<strong>Certain countries outside the region frequently show its military strength in the South China Sea area and this is actually the greatest threat to peace and stability in the region</strong>. <span style="text-decoration: underline;">We urge them to stop stirring up a storm in a teapot and stop sowing seeds of discord so as to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea</span>, which conforms to the common interests of all parties,&rdquo; Yang said.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Yang went on to say that &quot;<strong>in essence, the root cause for security hazards and potential accidents in the air and at sea between China and the US is the long term, large-scale and frequent close-in reconnaissance activities against China by the US military vessels and aircraft.</strong>&quot;</p> <p>The statement made by Yang sums up perfectly what we have been saying for quite some time now. The more the US provokes China, and Russia for that matter, the likelihood of international incident increases. <strong>Of course, maybe that&#39;s what the United States has been after all along</strong>.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="314" height="153" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> China Sat, 28 May 2016 01:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 562125 at Clinton Foundation Snafu: Video Footage Catches FBI Probe Suspects Arriving At Hillary's House <p>Recently <a href="">we reported </a>that Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe was under investigation by the FBI and prosecutors from the Justice Department&#39;s integrity unit regarding donations to McAuliffe&#39;s campaign during his time as a board member of the Clinton Global Initiative. <strong>Specifically, investigators were scrutinizing a $120,000 donation McAuliffe received from Wang Wenliang, a Chinese businessman, who was also a donor to the Clinton foundation, pledging $2 million.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img height="380" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>While the details of the case are still evolving, being that US election law prohibits foreign nationals from donating to federal, state or local elections McAuliffe immediately went on the offensive early on in order to distance himself from the situation by saying <u><strong>&quot;I wouldn&#39;t know the man if he sat in the chair next to me.&quot;</strong></u></p> <p><strong>Ironically, <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Wang may have literally sat in the chair next to McAuliffe on many occasions</span>. </strong>The Daily Mail has obtained footage that shows the two men entering Hillary Clinton&#39;s residence off D.C.&#39;s Embassy row as they attended a fundraiser on September 30, 2013.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="304" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><img height="310" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="573" scrolling="no" src="" width="600"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Not only did the two men attend the same fundraiser at Hillary&#39;s house, TIME <a href="">reports</a> that the McAuliffe and Wang had interacted at least three times,</strong> and that it was <strong>McAuliffe himself who invited Wang to the Clinton fundraiser</strong>. TIME also goes on to say that according to McAuliffe&#39;s attorney James Cooper, the focus of the investigation is not on the Wang donations, <em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">but questions over foreign sources of personal income and whether the governor lobbied on behalf of foreign interests without registering as a foreign agent</span></em>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe invited the Chinese businessman whose donations to him have been named as a focus of Justice Department investigators to a 2013 fundraiser at Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s personal Washington, D.C., residence</strong>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>Wang Wenliang, a Chinese national with U.S. permanent residency, briefly shook Clinton&rsquo;s hand at the Sept. 30 event</strong>, a representative for Wang told TIME. <span style="text-decoration: underline;">An American company controlled by Wang made a $60,000 contribution to McAuliffe&rsquo;s campaign three weeks before the fundraiser. Less than a month later, a separate Wang company pledged $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation, the first of several donations that eventually totaled $2 million</span>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>The fundraiser was one of at least three interactions between Wang and McAuliffe, according to the businessman&rsquo;s representative</strong>. McAuliffe initially told reporters this week he could not remember ever meeting Wang, though he later clarified that his staff had informed him of several likely meetings. &ldquo;I did no deals,&rdquo; McAuliffe said Wednesday in a radio interview. &ldquo;I would not know the man if he sat in the chair next to me.&rdquo;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The relationship between McAuliffe and Wang has been under scrutiny since CNN reported that the FBI and Justice Department&rsquo;s public integrity division were investigating McAuliffe. Among the donations that were of interest to investigators, according to CNN, were a total of $120,000 in contributions to McAuliffe from a company controlled by Wang. Foreigners with permanent residency in the U.S. are allowed to make donations to campaigns under U.S. election laws, and corporations are allowed to make direct donations in Virginia.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>James W. Cooper, an attorney at Arnold and Porter who has been hired by McAuliffe, told reporters Wednesday that Justice Department officials had told him the focus of investigation was not the Wang donations, but questions over foreign sources of personal income and whether the governor lobbied on behalf of foreign interests without registering as a foreign agent. Cooper said that the Justice Department told him there had been no findings of wrongdoing by the governor.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>In a statement to TIME, the Justice Department declined to clarify the investigation&rsquo;s focus. &ldquo;As a matter of policy, the department generally neither confirms nor denies whether a matter is under investigation,&rdquo; Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr told TIME.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Cooper also went on to say <strong>&quot;all of this income is from the governor&#39;s time as a private citizen and the businessman who did deals that were well publicized around the world. So the fact that he had foreign income was not remarkable.&quot;</strong></p> <p>According to Wang&#39;s representative, a second meeting between McAuliffe and Wang took place in the state capital of Richmond <strong>after McAuliffe&#39;s election to discuss an expansion of a soybean export agreement between Wang and the state</strong>. A third meeting occurred at a dinner in Washington <strong>organized by former South Carolina governor Jim Hodges, who has registered as a federal lobbyist for one of Wang&#39;s companies</strong>.</p> <p>While it&#39;s unclear exactly where all of this tangled web leads, we eagerly await the end result of the investigation which will detail at best another case of crony capitalism, and at worst yet another case of flat out corruption.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1495" height="772" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Corruption FBI Personal Income South Carolina Washington D.C. Sat, 28 May 2016 00:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 562098 at Disillusioned Democrats & The Demise Of Democracy In America <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Ben Tanosborn,</em></a></p> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-article-body"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>It doesn&rsquo;t seem so long ago when an <strong>ambitious political couple holding preteen Chelsea Clinton by the hand</strong> was moving from the governor&rsquo;s mansion in Little Rock, Arkansas, to the august quarters of the White House in D.C.&nbsp; A young Democratic president had just defeated Ronald Reagan&rsquo;s heir, Papa Bush, and a prophetic populist with a Texan twang, Ross Perot, in the colorful presidential fray of 1992.</p> <p><strong>Was Bill Clinton then a young Democratic president, Kennedy-style, we now ask&hellip; or was he Scoundrel Willy cloaked in smart, glittering and deceitful-wear?</strong>&nbsp; For all the economic and social success attached to the two-term Clinton presidency, much of it could be easily reexamined and clarified using more appropriate historical light, as time has passed, should we dare revisit the causal variables, as well as the results, from published but never critically analyzed small-print statistics.&nbsp;<em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong> A micro-analysis of key employment statistics would certainly taint and modify much of the highly touted, yet unmerited, success showered on a charismatic and articulate Bill Clinton.&nbsp;</strong></span></em></p> <p><strong>In fact, if a bottom line were to be made of Bill Clinton&rsquo;s eight years in office, we could rationally claim that the Democratic Party had metamorphosed during this period into a new, and previously fictionalized, semi-compassionate wing of the Republican Party. </strong>In fact, Clinton&rsquo;s demo-republicanism had renounced and replaced the heritage of FDR&rsquo;s New Deal, and also Lyndon Johnson&rsquo;s Great Society&hellip; by deregulating Wall Street; also incarcerating millions, destroying welfare, and taking on globalization (NAFTA) without plan or recourse, creating the beginning of the end for much of America&rsquo;s economic middle class.&nbsp; <em>[We should add that the larger household income achieved during the period did come in great part from a very large increase in two-income families.&nbsp; Also, technological change and deregulation scrambled the&nbsp; employment dynamics which did result in the creation of 22 million new low-wage service jobs (mostly) which did mask the forced-exit of living-wage jobs, also extrapolating erroneous conclusions on the economy&rsquo;s future&hellip; a future now present with a sadder, much different face.]</em></p> <p>A short generation from the time Bill Clinton was installed as president has not only transformed young Chelsea into a mother, <strong>but also has transformed a principled party of advocacy for the least-favored lower and middle classes into the Republican-lite political entity that it is today.&nbsp;</strong> The Clinton-glue, present and accounted for during the two Obama terms, is still holding together an established mafia-clan of self-serving older politicians, <strong>a cadre of committed leaders that keep the rank-and-file in the Black and Latino communities/organizations walking the line at election time. &nbsp;</strong></p> <p>America lived much of the 1990&rsquo;s dancing to the wind ensemble of Alan Greenspan&rsquo;s clarinet and Bill Clinton&rsquo;s saxophone; <strong>the incredible duet comprised of a talented con-man, Bill Clinton, and an inarticulate gobbledygook-mumbler, Alan Greenspan</strong> &ndash; more adept at pleasing the occupant of the White House than providing sound economic advice on global economics.&nbsp; <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>An uncanny combination of two musicians playing the wrong long-term economic notes!</strong></span></p> <p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Amazingly, here we find ourselves in this United States of America less than six months from another presidential election with the likely prospect of electing a Weimar-worthy, anti-establishment savior, Donald Trump; or having as the sole alternative, at least for now, of calamitous Hillary and the prospect of a continuing, in-your-face, painful and shameless behavior towards much of America&rsquo;s Bill-betrayed working class.</strong></span></em></p> <p>Oops!&nbsp; Did Hillary just say that, as president, she would knight Bill as her economic czar?&nbsp; <strong>Obviously, bad judgment is a gene that neither Wellesley College nor Yale Law School can modify.</strong></p> <p><strong>Bill Clinton&rsquo;s demo-republicanism, not even a generation old, may be coming to an abrupt end as justified political anger, and (unfortunately) unjustified bigotry, artfully combines to deal Donald Trump a winning hand.</strong>&nbsp; Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s continuous courtship with bad judgment is sure to betray her during the summer campaign, even against a narcissist lowbrow such as Donald Trump.</p> <p><strong>So much for a revitalization of the Democratic Party and its return to its progressive roots</strong>; the last politico-masochistic act by the current demo-republican leadership is likely to take place at the convention in Philadelphia, as Bernie Sanders is permanently put to rest, or<strong> hypnotized/drugged to accept Hillary as a lesser demonic prospect to occupy the Oval Office</strong>.&nbsp; And that will spell disaster for the short-lived, Clinton-created, demo-republicanism.&nbsp; So much for Bernie&rsquo;s idealized revolution!</p> <p><u><em><strong>Democracy in America, we ask: is it our destiny, or political curse, to have to choose between the lesser of two evils at election time?&nbsp;</strong></em></u> Why? Are we terminally incapable of acknowledging a fundamental truth: that democracy will never take hold until we change the undemocratic process that keep us in chains&hellip; and learn to govern ourselves, selflessly, for the welfare of all?</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="237" height="145" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alan Greenspan Bernie Sanders Chelsea Clinton Donald Trump White House Sat, 28 May 2016 00:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 562118 at "People Who Live In Glass White Houses..." <p>Presented with no comment...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="476" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><em>Source:</em></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="688" height="546" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Sat, 28 May 2016 00:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 562119 at Bank of America's Winning Excuse: "We Didn't Mean To" <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Jesse Eisinger via,</em></a></p> <p>Back in the late-housing-bubble period, in 2007, Countrywide Home Loans, which was then the largest mortgage provider in the country, rolled out a new lending program. <strong>The bank called it the &ldquo;high-speed swim lane,&rdquo; or HSSL, or, even more to the point, &ldquo;hustle.&rdquo; </strong><a href="">Countrywide</a>, like most mortgage lenders, sold its loans to Wall Street banks or Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two mortgage giants, which bundled them and, in turn, sold them to investors. Unlike the Wall Street banks, Fannie and Freddie insured the loans, so they demanded only the ones of the highest quality. But by that time, borrowers with high credit scores were getting scarcer, and Countrywide faced the prospect of collapsing revenue and profits. Hence, the hustle program, which &ldquo;streamlined&rdquo; Countrywide&rsquo;s loan origination, cutting out underwriters and putting loan processors, whom the company had previously deemed not qualified to answer borrowers&rsquo; questions, in charge of reviewing loan applications. <strong>In practice, Countrywide dropped most of the conditions meant to insure that loans would be repaid.</strong></p> <p><strong>The company didn&rsquo;t tell Fannie or Freddie any of this, however. </strong> Lower-level Countrywide executives repeatedly warned top executives that the mortgages did not fulfill the requirements. Employees changed data about the mortgages to make them look better, sometimes increasing the borrower&rsquo;s income on the forms until the loan looked acceptable. Then, <strong>Countrywide sold them to the mortgage giants anyway.</strong></p> <p>At one point, <strong>the head of underwriting at Countrywide wrote</strong> an alarmed e-mail, with a list of questions from employees, such as, does <strong><em>&ldquo;the request to move loans mean we no longer care about quality?&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>The executive in charge of the decision, Rebecca Mairone, replied, <strong><em>&ldquo;So - it sounds like it may work. Is that what I am hearing?&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>To federal prosecutors&mdash;and to a jury in Manhattan&mdash;the hustle sounded like fraud.</strong></span> And in 2013, Bank of America, which had by then taken over Countrywide, was found liable for fraud and later ordered to pay a $1.27 billion judgment to the government.</p> <p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>But this week, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals looked at that judgment and asked this question: If a entity (in this case, a bank) enters into a contract pure of heart and only deceives its partners afterward, is that fraud?</strong></span></em></p> <p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>The three-judge panel&rsquo;s answer was no. Bank of America is no longer required to pay the judgment.</strong></span></em></p> <p>The Bank of America case was a rare outcome in the collapse of the financial system: a firm whose actions had contributed to the crisis was held to account by a court of law. The U.S. Attorney&rsquo;s Office for the Southern District of New York, which brought the case in 2012, used an ingenious strategy, charging the bank under a law dating from the savings-and-loan crisis of the late 1980s, called Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act, or FIRREA. And the government actually identified a human being, Rebecca Mairone, claiming she defrauded Fannie and Freddie. Though it was a civil action, rather than a criminal one, the case actually went to trial&mdash;unusual in this day and age&mdash;and the jury found Bank of America and Mairone liable. (The 2nd Circuit panel&rsquo;s ruling reversed a finding of fraud against Mairone and tossed out a million-dollar ruling against Mairone.)</p> <p><strong>The appellate-court panel accepted the main facts as described by the government. It acknowledged that Countrywide intentionally breached its contract but ruled that it had not engaged in fraud.</strong></p> <p>The ruling, written by Richard C. Wesley, a George W. Bush appointee, was unanimous, with another Bush appointee and an Obama appointee voting in favor. <strong><em>&ldquo;What fraud &hellip; turns on, however, is when the representations were made and the intent of the promisor at that time,&rdquo; Judge Wesley wrote. If the fraud is based on &ldquo;promises made in a contract, a party claiming fraud must prove fraudulent intent at the time of contract execution; evidence of a subsequent, willful breach cannot sustain the claim.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>The government hadn&rsquo;t set out to prove Countrywide&rsquo;s intentions&mdash;honorable or otherwise&mdash;of Countrywide at the moment it signed the contracts with Fannie and Freddie. Consequently, the court ruled that the government had not provided sufficient evidence for its contentions. &ldquo;The government had zero evidence of affirmative misrepresentations at the time of the bad conduct,&rdquo; Samuel Buell, a law professor at Duke University and the author of the forthcoming book &ldquo;Capital Offenses: Business Crime and Punishment in America&rsquo;s Corporate Age,&rdquo; says.<u><strong> But to other legal scholars, the ruling seemed nonsensical. &ldquo;Is the idea that a good state of mind initially can insulate you from fraud later on?&rdquo; Brandon Garrett, a professor of law at the University of Virginia and the author of &ldquo;Too Big To Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations,&rdquo; asked. &ldquo;That would be a very strange and troubling doctrine.&rdquo; He added, &ldquo;It almost seems like the 2nd Circuit fell victim to a lawyer&rsquo;s trick.&rdquo;</strong></u></p> <p><strong>For <a href="">U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara</a>, the court&rsquo;s ruling is yet another setback in his corporate-crime efforts.</strong> In 2014, the 2nd Circuit overturned one of the office&rsquo;s major insider-trading cases, throwing the law in that area into disarray.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s tempting to read something personal into these rulings. Courts often view themselves as a check on what they see as prosecutors responding to the pitchfork-wielding mob. In the 1990s, the 2nd Circuit overruled several high-profile Wall Street prosecutions brought in the &rsquo;80s by Rudolph Giuliani, who had been the Southern District&rsquo;s U.S. attorney. Now it is doing the same to Bharara, who (as Jeffrey Toobin <a href="">wrote in The New Yorker</a> recently) has antagonized the bench, and is viewed by some as overly aggressive and arrogant. The ruling also bolsters the argument, so often heard from prosecutors, that they didn&rsquo;t bring many big cases after the financial crisis because the laws required an evidentiary standard that couldn&rsquo;t be met. &ldquo;We thought it would be unfair to bring it as a criminal case, and therefore properly and fairly used our discretion to bring it as a civil case, but we thought it was clearly fraudulent,&quot; one former prosecutor familiar with the case said. <strong>The ruling, this person says, is &ldquo;extraordinary and dispiriting.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>The relentless criticism of its post-financial-crisis crackdown has taken a toll on regulators.<strong><em> &ldquo;This is a perfect example of how everyone thinks it is so easy to bring financial-crisis cases, but it isn&rsquo;t,&rdquo; the former prosecutor says. &ldquo;The Court of Appeals didn&rsquo;t agree, and now they&rsquo;ve undone a major, major case tried before a jury. We get criticized for timidity in taking on financial-crisis cases, but the appeals court clearly viewed us as too aggressive. So maybe everyone who rails about the failures to bring financial-crisis cases needs to understand that there is a legal system, and what seems so obvious to them, is in fact not.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>The ruling does not affect the many multibillion-dollar settlements that the government has reached with most of the top financial firms for mortgage abuses. The parties entered those settlements voluntarily. Settlements are highly unsatisfying as a matter of justice. Companies and their defense attorneys complain that the government extorts them out of unreasonable sums because they have no choice but to negotiate, while the public feels companies are not held accountable, punished only by being compelled to write checks that have little effect on their bottom line.</p> <p><u><strong>After this ruling, the government may be even less willing to fight it out in court. </strong></u>Worse, it may have less leverage with companies when trying to extract penalties and fines in settlement negotiations over misconduct allegations.<u><strong> The court has provided companies with a new piece of ammunition: the ability to argue that their deliberate misconduct was not actually fraud.</strong></u></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="247" height="125" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bank of America Bank of America Countrywide Crime And Punishment Fannie Mae Freddie Mac recovery Fri, 27 May 2016 23:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 562104 at Another Bubble Has Burst: The Miami Luxury Condo Market Is A "Ticking Timebomb" <p>Last year <a href="">we warned </a>that the luxury condo market in Miami was cooling down, and we also noted that one of the mail culprits was the fact that foreign buyers (especially Brazilians) were seeing their buying power crushed by the appreciating dollar.</p> <p><strong>Today, the bubble has officially burst and the Miami luxury condo market is a complete trainwreck</strong>. There are 3,397 condominiums available in the downtown Miami area, and <span style="text-decoration: underline;">at current prices it is estimated that it would take 29 months to sell those</span>. A strong US Dollar has continued to force South American investors to unload recently built condos, <strong>adding inventory to an area where 8,000 units are under construction and nine towers have already been completed since 2013</strong>.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="309" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Purchases from January through April fell 25 percent from the same period in 2015, and average prices have fallen 6 percent on a per-square-foot basis according to <a href="">Bloomberg</a>.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="295" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>And prices will continue to slide...</p> <p>&quot;<strong>The problem is that investors are no longer buying, and now they&#39;re going to be looking to sell</strong>. And what buyers are going to replace those other than vulture buyers looking for deals.&quot; said Jack McCabe, a housing consultant based in Deerfield Beach, Florida.</p> <p>During this latest construction boom, projects required cash deposits of as much as 60 percent, and contract cancellation had stiff penalties. Due to this, some investors have been able to cover costs as they wait to sell by renting the condo&#39;s out, but that isn&#39;t a viable option for everyone either, as apartment vacancies have been on the rise as well.</p> <p>&quot;<strong>The ticking time bomb is based on rental rates. When some of the foreign investors sitting on the sidelines have to dig into their pockets and subsidize renters, that&#39;s the fuse that will lead to a correction.</strong>&quot; said Peter Zalewski, owner of real estate development tracker CraneSpotters.</p> <p>Or said another way, will accelerate the current correction.</p> <p>Even billionaires are dumping their property in Miami. Apollo Global Management founder Leon Black, Ken Griffin, and former Saks CEO Stephen Sadove all have units on the market. Sadove has even lowered his asking price by almost 11 percent to $12.95 million - that unit may be there a while.</p> <p>Andrew Stearns of, which provides residential mortgages for foreign nationals, pointed out that of 14 new Miami towers,<strong> the share of resale listings range from 7 percent at MyBrickell tower to 40 percent at 400 Sunny Isles</strong>.</p> <p><em><strong>&quot;The concern is we&#39;re in a price-discovery phase, and the prices people are trying to get for their condos is a lot higher than the market will bear.&quot;</strong></em> Stearns said.</p> <p>A lot higher indeed. A slide from a recent <a href="">presentation</a> shows a snapshot of just how underwater some of these condos are at the present time.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="429" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It&#39;s also worth noting, that from the same slide deck, Stearns shows that <strong>22% of new units built since 2012 are for sale, and at the current sell-through rates there is a 126+ month supply!</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img height="438" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>* * *</p> <p>The note at the bottom of that last slide from Andrew Stears sums everything up perfectly: <strong>As additional resale inventory is added to the market, the market could get frightening.</strong></p> <p><a href="">Don&#39;t say we didn&#39;t warn you</a>.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="303" height="126" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Florida Ken Griffin Leon Black Real estate Saks Fri, 27 May 2016 22:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 562116 at First "Shocking" Deposition In Clinton Email Case Reveals She Did Not Use A Password <p><em>Submitted by Eric Zuesse, investigative historian and author, most recently, of&nbsp; <a href=";qid=1339027537&amp;sr=8-9">They&rsquo;re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010</a>, and of&nbsp; <a href="">CHRIST&rsquo;S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity</a>.</em></p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 350px;" /></p> <p>U.S. Ambassador Lewis Lukens&rsquo;s sworn testimony in the case of Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s privatization of the U.S. Secretary of State&rsquo;s email is the first evidence to be released in the Clinton email cases, and it was published on May 26th at the website of Judicial Watch, the organization that originally brought the suit. Headlining &quot;<a href="">First Deposition Testimony from Clinton Email Discovery Released</a>&rdquo;, it reported that:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>Judicial Watch today released the deposition transcript of Ambassador Lewis Lukens, former deputy assistant secretary of state and executive director of the State Department&rsquo;s executive secretariat.&nbsp; The transcript is available <a href="">here</a>.&nbsp; Amb. Lukens was deposed last week as part of the discovery granted to Judicial Watch by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in response to its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s unsecured, non-government email system (<a href="">Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State </a>(No. 1:13-cv-01363)).</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Lukens is the first of seven <a href="">depositions </a>of former Clinton top aides and State Department officials that Judicial Watch has scheduled over the next four weeks.&nbsp; Also to be deposed are Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, as well as top State Department official Patrick Kennedy, and former State IT employee Bryan Pagliano.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>In <a href="">his testimony</a>, Lukens described his State Department role:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>I&rsquo;ve been a Foreign Service officer for 27 years. I&#39;ve served in Southern China; in the Ivory Coast; in Sydney, Australia; in Dublin, Ireland; in Baghdad; Vancouver, British Columbia; Dakar, Senegal; and three tours in Washington, D.C., as well as my current position in San Francisco.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>While Clinton was Secretary of State, his role was heading &ldquo;logistics and management support&rdquo; and he had &ldquo;roughly 110 employees working for me&rdquo; including the &ldquo;IRM&rdquo; or Information Resource Management team. Also, during his questioning, he was asked &ldquo;You traveled with Mrs. Clinton on all of her foreign travel?&rdquo; while he was employed there, and he answered: &ldquo;Yes.&rdquo;</p> <p>Representative excerpts from his testimony will be presented here:</p> <p>While Clinton&rsquo;s office was being prepared for her:</p> <p><em>Q: Do you know if Mrs. Clinton &mdash; if the IRM office set up an e-mail address for Mrs. Clinton?</em><br /><em>A: I don&rsquo;t believe they did.</em><br /><em>Q: Do you know why they didn&rsquo;t?</em><br /><em>A: I don&rsquo;t think it was asked for.</em><br /><em>Q: Would Mrs. Clinton have &mdash; was it required for Mrs. Clinton to ask for an e-mail address for one to be assigned to her?</em><br /><em>A: Yes.</em><br /><em>Q: Was it unusual &mdash; at the time did you think it was unusual that Mrs. Clinton didn&rsquo;t want an e-mail address assigned to her?</em><br /><em>A: No.</em><br /><em>Q: Why not?</em><br /><em>A: I&rsquo;m not aware of former Secretaries of State having e-mail addresses on our system.</em></p> <p>In other words: her having an e-mail address assigned to her was &ldquo;required,&rdquo; but the custom at the U.S. Department of State was to ignore this &lsquo;requirement&rsquo;.</p> <p>(AUTHOR&rsquo;S NOTE: Regardless of whether violating the regulations or even the law has been ignored in the past, violations are supposed to be punished or prosecuted. Prior refusal to prosecute does not constitute legal excuse for continuing refusal to prosecute: it instead constitutes a government in which some persons who are supposedly in the service of, and who are <em>definitely </em>being <em>paid by, </em>the public, are, in practice, above the regulations or even the laws &mdash; in other words, a dictatorship. However, this aspect of the questioning was not pursued.)</p> <p>Lukens then said that her violation on that matter was ignored and that a &ldquo;BB&rdquo; or Blackberry account was instead requested by &ldquo;HRC&rsquo; Hillary Rodham Clinton. Lukens&rsquo;s notes indicated that he had asked HRC&rsquo;s agent, &ldquo;On the BB for HRC, can we chat this morning?&rdquo; and &ldquo;<strong>I may have thought of a workaround [to evade the State Department&rsquo;s regulations] but need more info on her BB use</strong>.&rdquo; He explained during this questioning of him: &ldquo;<strong>So the crux of the issue was that BlackBerrys and iPhones are not allowed in the Secretary&rsquo;s office suite, so the question was, how is the Secretary going to be able to check her e-mails if she&rsquo;s not able to have the Blackberry at her desk with her.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p><em>Q: And so what did you &mdash; did you propose a solution at that point?</em></p> <p><em>A: So my proposal was to set up a computer on her desk, a standalone computer [</em>not part of the State Department&rsquo;s system], <em>for her to be able to access the Internet to check her e-mails [</em>privatized &mdash; and therefore not subject to FOIA requests or historians&rsquo; investigations].</p> <p>However, Clinton&rsquo;s agent insisted on a private computer also being set up &ldquo;across the hall&rdquo; &ldquo;for her to check her BlackBerry&rdquo; even though no private BlackBerry was allowed on the premises. This was to be the &ldquo;workaround.&rdquo;</p> <p>In an email, Lukens had written, and the questioner referenced it:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Also think we should go ahead, but will await your green light, and set up a standalone PC in the Secretary&rsquo;s office connected to the Internet, but not go through our system, to enable her to check her e-mails from her desk.</p> </blockquote> <p>That proposal was accepted and was done. Then:</p> <p><em>Q: Do you know if this setup would have been any different from the setup of other employees?</em><br /><em>A: Yes, this would have been different.</em><br /><em>Q: How would it have been different?</em><br /><em>A: My understanding is that most of the employees&rsquo; computers in the State Department are connected through the State Department&rsquo;s OpenNet e-mail system &hellip;</em><br /><em>Q: So this would have been separate from the OpenNet system?</em><br /><em>A: Correct.</em></p> <p>He was asked why he had proposed this solution, and he said it was &ldquo;For ease of access&rdquo; and, &ldquo;as far as I knew, there was no requirement for her to be connected to our system&rdquo; (even though he had earlier said that her having an email address assigned to her in the State Department&rsquo;s system, the OpenNet system, was &ldquo;required&rdquo;). He said that the &ldquo;<strong>ease of access&rdquo; would be because of there being &ldquo;fewer passwords</strong>.&rdquo;</p> <p>He was asked whether doing things this way was necessary in order for her to be able to access the Internet from the State Department, and he said, &rdquo;the Internet is available&rdquo; to employees at the office, just as anywhere.</p> <p>He was asked about the inconvenience of the State Department&rsquo;s passwords system, <strong>and he said that he eliminated her need for any passwords</strong>:</p> <p><strong><em>A: She wouldn&rsquo;t have had a password.</em></strong><br /><strong><em>Q: So the computer would have just been open and be able to use without going through any security features?</em></strong><br /><strong><em>A: Correct.</em></strong></p> <p>Though he was paid by U.S. taxpayers, apparently his only concern was to please his superiors, whom he trusted unquestioningly despite their evident unconcern about &ldquo;security&rdquo; etc.</p> <p>In further questioning of Mr. Lukens, it became clear that he never gave any thought to what the purpose behind the State Department&rsquo;s regulations was: he didn&rsquo;t even notice that Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s buddy and top aide Huma Abedin at the Department was also using only a private email account &mdash; even though he regularly had been communicating via email with her.</p> <p>* * *</p> <p><em>And then the <a href="">Daily Caller adds the following</a>:</em></p> <p><strong>Shocking Deposition: Hillary Clueless On Using Computer Emails</strong></p> <p>As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton <strong>never used a password to protect her computer emails</strong>, and she was clueless about how regular emails work on a conventional computer, according to a deposition of a foreign service officer at the State Department.</p> <p>She also continued to push for the use of her personal Blackberry phone in the Secretary&rsquo;s highly-secured government suite even though National Security Agency (NSA) regulations barred its use in that office.</p> <p>The revelations came as part of a May 18 deposition released Thursday by Judicial Watch, the nonprofit government watchdog group, of Lewis A. Lukens, a veteran 27-year foreign service officer at the State Department who served as the deputy executive secretary and executive director of the Office of the Secretariat from 2008 to 2011.</p> <p>From the start of her term in January 2009, State Department officials grappled with Clinton&rsquo;s ignorance of the use of basic computers.&nbsp; In a January 24, 2009 email from Lukens to the department&rsquo;s Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy, <strong>the foreign service officer said Clinton didn&rsquo;t know how to use a computer for emails.</strong></p> <p>Citing a conversation Lukens had with Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, he wrote, &ldquo;<strong>She says problem (sic) is HRC does not know how to use a computer to do emails &mdash; only Blackberry</strong>.&rdquo;&nbsp; HRC refers to Hillary Rodham Clinton.</p> <p>Judicial Watch attorney Michael Bekesha asked Lukens if State Department policy barred the use of personal cell phones in the Secretary&rsquo;s official office suite, which is one of the most tightly secured facilities in government. Lukens explained the prohibition: &ldquo;<strong>So the crux of the issue was that BlackBerrys and iPhones are not allowed in the Secretary&rsquo;s office suite, so the question was, how is the Secretary going to be able to check her emails if she&rsquo;s not able to have the Blackberry at her desk with her.</strong>&rdquo;</p> <p>The NSA rebuffed multiple attempts&nbsp; by Clinton to carry her Blackberry into her&nbsp; office.</p> <p>Lukens also said Clinton did not use a password to protect her stand-alone computer from unwanted intruders such as hackers. During the deposition, Lukens volunteered that the stand-alone computer adjacent to her suite did not have a password for protection&nbsp; &ldquo;<strong>She wouldn&rsquo;t have had a password</strong>.&rdquo;</p> <p>Bekesha asked, astonished, &ldquo;<strong>So the computer would have just been open and be able&nbsp; to use without going through any security features?</strong>&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;Correct,&rdquo; </strong>Lukens replied.</p> <p>He added that to the best of his knowledge, <strong>Clinton never received a waiver to use the Blackberry in the State Department headquarters.</strong></p> <p>&ldquo;Do you know if &mdash; do you know if waivers or exceptions were made for State &mdash; or employees of the Office of the Secretary to use their State Department BlackBerrys within the executive suite within the office of the Secretary,&rdquo; Bekesha asked.</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m not aware of any waivers that were made,&rdquo; </strong>Lukens replied.</p> <p>Mills eventually was able to set up a room &ldquo;adjacent&rdquo; to her secure office to allow her to look at her unsecured Blackberry emails.&nbsp; But it appears that Clinton rarely used the room.</p> <p><strong>Instead, the Secretary of State would go into a hallway to use her blackberry.</strong></p> <p>Lukens said in the deposition he saw Clinton using her blackberry in the hall &ldquo;maybe a half dozen times.&rdquo;</p> <p>The official said that he thought Clinton wanted to use the Blackberry &ldquo;to stay in touch with family and friends,&rdquo;</p> <p>He said he didn&rsquo;t know if she was conducting official business on a private server or with a non-governmental email address. Clinton used an email domain address &ldquo;;</p> <p>As late as 2011, State Department officials were still trying to get Clinton to use a government-issued blackberry.&nbsp; But Huma Abedin, Clinton&rsquo;s deputy chief of staff, shot it down, saying in an August 30, 2011 email &ldquo;let&rsquo;s discuss the State Blackberry, [it] doesn&rsquo;t make a whole lot of sense.&rdquo;</p> <p>Bekesha, asked Lukens if Abedin also used a non-state department email address.</p> <p>&ldquo;Do you recall if Ms. Abedin used e-mail accounts to correspond with you,&rdquo; Bekesha asked.</p> <p>&ldquo;Well, the answer is yes,&rdquo; he replied.</p> <p>Lukens displayed a great lack of curiosity about Clinton&rsquo;s use of prohibited electronic devices.</p> <p>&ldquo;Did you ever think about whether or not she was going to use that equipment to conduct official government business,&rdquo; asked the Judicial Watch attorney.</p> <p>&ldquo;I did not,&rdquo; he replied.</p> <p>Judge Sullivan, the State Department&rsquo;s Inspector General and the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community have expressed deep dissatisfaction with the State Department&rsquo;s examination of the Clinton emails, as well as its failure to identify classified materials on her server.</p> <p>The inspector generals, unlike State Department officials, found at least two dozen emails contained either &ldquo;Top Secret&rdquo; designation or the highest government classification called &ldquo;Special Access Programs,&rdquo; or SAP.&nbsp; They found up to 1200 emails contained some form of classification material.</p> <p>Lukens, as executive director of the executive secretariat for the State Department, said he was only trained once to handle documents under the Freedom of Information Act &mdash; in 1989 &mdash; when he first joined the department. He&rsquo;s never had a refresher course in the years since that first training.</p> <p>&ldquo;Do you know if any point after 1989 you received updated guidance or training about the use of email as it related to federal records and the Freedom of Information Act,&rdquo; Bekesha asked.</p> <p>&ldquo;Not that I recall,&rdquo; replied Lukens.</p> <p><strong>The State Department official also revealed that he routinely deleted official emails &ldquo;to clear out space in my inbox.</strong>&rdquo;</p> <p>He said he &ldquo;kept files for various trips and things where I would keep e-mails until trips were over, but after trips were over I would often delete the files to clear &mdash; to clear out space in my inbox.&rdquo;</p> <p>* * *<br /><em>Full deposition below</em></p> <p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.7729220222793488" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_73298" scrolling="no" src=";view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-OCd8CPAGittOcX5UPIbk&amp;show_recommendations=false" width="100%"></iframe></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="500" height="350" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Australia China ETC FOIA Freedom of Information Act Ireland Judicial Watch national security Testimony Washington D.C. Fri, 27 May 2016 21:57:54 +0000 Tyler Durden 562123 at