en A Conspiracy Theory About Conspiracy Theories <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Paul Rosenberg via,</em></a></p> <p><strong>One of the funny things about conspiracy theories, including <a href="" target="_blank">false flag attacks</a>, is how often they are <a href="" target="_blank">proven to be true</a>. </strong>You have to wonder how long the shame-inducing slam, &ldquo;That&rsquo;s a conspiracy theory,&rdquo; will keep working.</p> <p>But that&rsquo;s not my point for today. Today, I want to introduce a conspiracy theory of my own, a conspiracy theory about conspiracy theories. Here it is:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em><u><strong>The powers that be &ndash; the elite, the deep state, whomever &ndash; want wild conspiracy theories to spread. Because after these wild theories set the &ldquo;outrage meter&rdquo; very high, they can get away with almost anything below that line.</strong></u></em></p> <p>In other words, wild theories ensure that the <strong><em>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ll act if I see that&rdquo;</em></strong> trigger is never reached and Joe Average remains docile, even as he is progressively abused.</p> <p>I hope I haven&rsquo;t given any nefarious people ideas, but I think this is already happening. And in any event, I&rsquo;m fairly certain it&rsquo;s worth pointing out.</p> <h3><u><strong>A Second Theory</strong></u></h3> <p>There is a second reason for the lords of the status quo to love conspiracy theories, which is that <strong>such theories make it easy to discredit troublesome ideas.</strong></p> <p><em>For example, we now know &ndash; thank you again, Edward Snowden &ndash; that <a href="" target="_blank">government agents are infiltrating websites</a> to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt, as well as to destroy reputations.</em></p> <p>So, rather than just pulling out the usual manipulation to discredit a troublesome idea (&ldquo;conspiracy theory!&rdquo;), why not tie it to some really nasty racist crap?</p> <p>Lots of people have avoided discussions of the Federal Reserve, for example, because trolls attached to the discussions demonize Jews. Disgusted by anti-Semitism, people turn away from the whole subject, and the central banking scam remains unquestioned.</p> <p>There are reasons open comment boards are overrun with hate-spewing trolls, and it&rsquo;s not that deeply deluded people make up that much of the general populace. (Though they do exist, and they do love to spew their filth.)</p> <p>So, this is my second conspiracy theory:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em><u><strong>Disgusting trolls are paid to promote certain ideas&hellip; ideas the elite want to eliminate.</strong></u></em></p> <p>And nowadays, paid trolls aren&rsquo;t even needed; artificial intelligence bots can carry out the work quite well and can even respond to counter-posts.</p> <h3><u><strong>Can I Prove This?</strong></u></h3> <p>Not entirely, no. And I&rsquo;m not going to spend hundreds of hours tracking down evidence. That&rsquo;s not my job; I&rsquo;m not an investigative journalist. (Neither is anyone else these days, but that&rsquo;s a separate point.)</p> <p>Still, the links I&rsquo;ve inserted above prove a lot of what I&rsquo;m writing, and the rest will have to remain my own personal theories&hellip; and I&rsquo;m just fine with that. People can take them or leave them as they choose.</p> <h3><u><strong>The Other Problem</strong></u></h3> <p>Beyond everything covered above, the other problem with conspiracy theories is that they are far too hopeful. Yes, <em>hopeful</em>.</p> <p><strong>The implication buried in conspiracy theories is that the world is being controlled.</strong> Whether it&rsquo;s controlled by the Illuminati, the Jews, the Masons, or whomever, there is a strange sort of comfort in the idea that the world is controllable.</p> <p>The comforting thought goes like this:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">The world is being controlled by evil people. So, if we can just get rid of them, control will revert to good people, and things will be great again.</p> <p>This thought is false. The world is not controlled by any single group of people. Rather, it&rsquo;s a large, chaotic mess.<strong> Yes, the deep staters, central bankers, and so on do manipulate a lot of things, but they struggle endlessly and very often fail.</strong> Consider just two recent examples:</p> <ul> <li> <p>If they were that smart, these groups wouldn&rsquo;t have allowed the internet to jump onto the scene in the early 1990s.</p> </li> <li> <p>If they were that potent, they would have killed Bitcoin as soon as it appeared.</p> </li> </ul> <p><strong><a href="">The truth is that they&rsquo;re not that smart, and they&rsquo;re not all-powerful.</a> In fact, they have power only to the extent that they hoodwink people into serving them. And that&rsquo;s not an iron-clad arrangement.</strong></p> <h3><u><strong>So&hellip;</strong></u></h3> <p>Presuming that everything above is true, what do we do about it?</p> <p>My first thought is that we should stick to facts, not imaginings. I suspect, for example, that Building 7 at the World Trade Center was purposely brought down, but I don&rsquo;t <em>know</em> that. My suspicions don&rsquo;t make it true. Furthermore, <em>it isn&rsquo;t worth obsessing over</em>. There are dozens of more important things to invest with time and energy &ndash; like actually building a better world.</p> <p>I can&rsquo;t think of a single conspiracy theory that&rsquo;s worth majoring upon. Aliens at Roswell or the Kennedy assassination may be fun speculations &ndash; and I&rsquo;d love to know the God&rsquo;s-honest truth about both &ndash; but they&rsquo;re simply not that important.</p> <p><strong>Rather, <a href="">we should be busy building a better world</a>, bypassing the institutions of abuse that dominate life in the West.</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="292" height="153" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bitcoin CRAP Fail Federal Reserve Rosenberg World Trade Fri, 30 Sep 2016 02:20:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 573625 at FBI Investigating More Dead People Voting In The Key Swing State Of Virginia <p>For years the political elites, <a href="">backed by funding from George Soros</a>, have fought common sense voter ID laws as blatant attempts of racist right wingers to suppress the votes of minority and low-income citizens.&nbsp; These same people tirelessly argue that there is no evidence of voter fraud despite the mountain of facts that keeps piling up the contrary.&nbsp; In fact, per the <a href="">National Review</a>, United States District Judge Lynn Adelman of Wisconsin, in response to a voter ID complaint in that state, recently claimed that <strong>“virtually no voter impersonation occurs” in Wisconsin</strong> and that <strong>“no evidence suggests that voter-impersonation fraud will become a problem at any time in the foreseeable future.”</strong></p> <p>Well, <strong>we guess that could be true if the pesky facts would just stop getting in the way</strong>.&nbsp; According to research conducted by the <a href="">Pew Research Center</a> in 2012, the capacity for voter fraud in the U.S. is substantial with nearly 2mm dead people found to be registered voters and nearly 3mm people registered in multiple states.&nbsp; </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <ul> <li>Approximately<strong> 24 million</strong>—one of every eight—<strong>voter registrations</strong> in the United States are <strong>no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate</strong></li> <li>More than <strong>1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters</strong></li> <li>Approximately <strong>2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state</strong></li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>And, just earlier today we wrote about how Arcan Cetin, the <strong>20 year old Turkish citizen who recently killed 5 people at the Cascade Mall in Washington</strong>, somehow <strong>managed to vote in the past 3 election cycles despite not being a U.S. citizen</strong>.&nbsp; When asked about the news, Washington Secretary of State, Kim Wyman, simply said <strong>"we don’t have a provision in state law that allows either county elections officials or the Secretary of State's office to verify someone’s citizenship."&nbsp;</strong> Sure, because why would someone's citizenship status be important for determining his eligibity to vote?</p> <p>Now, courtesy of <a href="">WaPo</a>, we know that the <strong>FBI is investigating how exactly 19 dead people were recently <span style="text-decoration: underline;">re-registered</span> to vote in the critical swing state of Virginia.</strong>&nbsp; A few months ago we noted Virginia Governor, and <strong>long-time Clinton confidant, Terry McAuliffe</strong>'s willingness to go to great lengths to hand his state's 13 electoral votes to Hillary by <strong>registering 200,000 felons to vote</strong>, but adding dead people to the voting rolls seems a bit excessive (see "<a href="">FelonsVotesMatter (To Hillary) - Clinton's Election Fate In Virginia Lies With 200,000 Unregistered Offenders</a>").</p> <p><img src="" alt="Dead Voters" width="600" height="417" /></p> <p>Alas, according to WaPo, all 19 deceased voters were originally registered to vote in Harrisonburg and attempts to re-register the deceased voters were only discovered by chance after a clerk recognized one of the names as the deceased father of a local judge.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>All 19 were initially registered as voters in the Shenandoah Valley city of Harrisonburg, although <strong>a clerk double-checking the entries</strong> later raised questions about one. She <strong>recognized the name of Richard Allen Claybrook Sr., who died in 2014 at age 87, because his son is a well-known local judge.</strong> She happened to recall that the judge’s father had died.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“<strong>He was a retired Fairfax County elementary school principal and had fought in World War II</strong>,” said his son, retired Harrisonburg General District Court Judge Richard Allen Claybrook Jr. “So our family is very disgusted that they would pick his name, because he was such a law-abiding citizen devoted to public service.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>All of the forms had been submitted by a private group that was working to register voters on the campus of James Madison University</strong>, according to the Harrisonburg registrar’s office. The group was not identified. No charges have been filed.</p> </blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, state republicans pointed to this as obvious evidence of voter fraud...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Republicans in the state House of Delegates, who in recent years have supported tighter voter ID laws, held a conference call with reporters to call attention to the investigation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“<strong>Oftentimes we hear our Democratic colleagues suggest that voter fraud doesn’t exist in Virginia, or it’s a myth,</strong>” House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) said. “<strong>This is proof that voter fraud not only exists but is ongoing and is a threat to the integrity of our elections.</strong>”</p> </blockquote> <p>...while democrats responded with the same ole argument that no fraud occurred because no one actually voted.&nbsp; </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>“First of all, there was no voter fraud — they caught him,” Toscano said. “<strong>Nobody cast a vote. .&thinsp;.&thinsp;. There’s still no evidence of that going on in the state</strong>. But there is evidence every time you turn around that the Republicans are trying to make it more difficult for citizens to vote in elections.”</p> </blockquote> <p>Of course, <a href="">we just pointed out</a> how the dead in Colorado are actually voting and have been doing so for years...but we're sure that's not a concern to Toscano either.</p> <p>But something tells us, no matter how many of these types of situations emerge over and over, that U.S. citizens, and common sense for that matter, will never prevail in the war against George Soros and the simple political narrative that voter I.D. laws are somehow racist and/or disenfranchise low-income voters. &nbsp; </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="380" height="213" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> FBI George Soros KIM Fri, 30 Sep 2016 01:55:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 573622 at US Outcry Over Syria... Tears Followed By NATO Bombs <p><em><a href="">Submitted by Finian Cunningham via,</a></em></p> <p>The crescendo of US-led condemnations against Syria and Russia over alleged humanitarian crimes in Syria grows louder by the day.<strong> The eerie sense is that this &laquo;outcry&raquo; is being orchestrated as a prelude to a NATO-style intervention in Syria.</strong></p> <p><strong>Such a NATO maneuver would follow the template for former Yugoslavia and Libya</strong>, leading to greater civilian deaths, territorial disintegration, a surge in regional terrorism and more international lawlessness by Western states.</p> <p>The concerted, emotive appeals over the past week &ndash; bordering on <a href="" target="_blank">hysteria</a> &ndash; indicate a propaganda campaign coordinated between Washington and its Western allies, the mass media and the US-led NATO military alliance.</p> <p><strong>It was US ambassador the United Nations Samantha Power who led the chorus of&nbsp;<a href="">accusations</a>&nbsp;against Russia and its Syrian ally</strong>, using the Security Council emergency meeting last weekend to condemn &laquo;barbarism&raquo; of renewed violence around the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Britain and France piled in with more unsubstantiated condemnations of war crimes, as did shameless UN officials, Ban Ki-Moon, the secretary general, and Staffan de Mistura, the UN&rsquo;s special envoy to Syria.</p> <p>Few people would countenance war, but surely Syria has the sovereign right to defend its nation from a foreign-fueled war on its territory. In all the lachrymose lecturing from the likes of Samantha Power, the pertinent question of who started this war in the first place gets lost in rhetorical fog.</p> <p><strong>Days later, NATO civilian chief Jens Stoltenberg issued a statement&nbsp;<a href="">denouncing</a>&nbsp;Russia and Syria for &laquo;blatant violation of international laws&raquo; in Aleppo, adding that the military actions by both were &laquo;morally totally unacceptable&raquo;.</strong></p> <p>All the while, Western news media outlets have run saturation coverage of what they depict as a humanitarian hell in Aleppo, the strategic Syrian city where the final throes of the country&rsquo;s nearly six-year war seem to be playing out.</p> <p><strong>The New York Times&nbsp;<a href=";nl=todaysheadlines-europe&amp;nlid=65464666&amp;_r=0">published</a>&nbsp;an article with the gut-wrenching headline: &lsquo;The Children of Aleppo, Syria, Trapped in a Killing Zone&rsquo;.</strong></p> <p>It goes on to say: &laquo;Among the roughly 250,000 people trapped in the insurgent redoubt of the divided northern Syrian city are 100,000 children, the most vulnerable victims of intensified bombings by Syrian forces and their Russian allies.&raquo;</p> <p>In a separate article,&nbsp;<a href=""></a>&nbsp;reports: &lsquo;Nowhere to hide&rsquo; &ndash; volunteer describes conditions inside Aleppo&rsquo;.</p> <p><strong>The implication in the Western mass media is that Syrian and Russian air forces are bombarding indiscriminately across civilian districts of the city. The same desperate tone and bias is ubiquitous in all Western media outlets.</strong></p> <p>However, if we ascertain the sources for this saturation information, it turns out to be a limited range of anonymous &laquo;activists&raquo;, or the Western-funded group known as the White Helmets, which purports to be a humanitarian response network, but which in actual fact is&nbsp;<a href="">integrated</a>&nbsp;with illegally armed insurgents, including the al Qaeda terror organization Jabhat al Fatah al Sham (al Nusra Front), as writer Rick Sterling details.</p> <p><strong>Western TV news outlets are routinely using video footage from the White Helmets, supposedly taken in the aftermath of air strikes on Aleppo. This is an astounding abdication of any journalistic ethics of independence and impartiality.</strong></p> <p>These same media outlets rarely, if ever, carry reports from the western side of Aleppo where a six-fold greater population &ndash; 1.5 million &ndash; live in government-held districts, compared with the &laquo;rebel-held&raquo; eastern quarter.</p> <p>As independent writer Vanessa Beeley recently&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">reported,</a>&nbsp;some 600,000 people fled to the western side of Aleppo from the al Nusra-dominant stronghold on the eastern side. According to medics quoted by Beeley, the majority of the population in the eastern quarter are being held hostage as human shields by the insurgents, or as the Western governments and media call them &laquo;moderate rebels&raquo; and &laquo;activists&raquo;. There are also credible witness reports of terrorists shooting at people fleeing from the east through humanitarian corridors set up by the Syrian government.</p> <p><strong>In recent weeks, hundreds of civilians in the western districts of Aleppo have been killed from indiscriminate shelling and sniping by militants from the eastern side.</strong></p> <p><u><strong>When do you ever hear or read the Western media reporting on those crimes?</strong></u> You don&rsquo;t, because that would unravel the propaganda narrative aimed at demonizing, criminalizing and delegitimizing the Syrian government and its Russia ally.</p> <p>And a key leitmotif of the official Western narrative is to create the perception that innocent civilians in Aleppo are being slaughtered by Syria and Russian forces. Both Damascus and Moscow&nbsp;<a href="">reject</a>&nbsp;claims that they are targeting civilian areas. Moscow has vehemently refuted Western claims that it is committing war crimes. Even the normally jingoistic US outlet Radio Free Europe&nbsp;<a href="">quotes</a>&nbsp;a legal expert from Amnesty International as saying that there is no evidence to indict Russia of such crimes.</p> <p>And because the anti-government militants restrict access to their stronghold, including for UN aid agencies, it is hard to verify the claims and footage coming out of there. Which notwithstanding has not restrained Western media from broadcasting the information verbatim.</p> <p><strong>The Western mantra of &laquo;humanitarian crisis&raquo; and &laquo;war crimes&raquo; has the unmistakable connotation of contriving a public acceptance of certain policy objectives that Washington and its allies are striving for. </strong>At the very least, one of those objectives is to create a political atmosphere whereby Syria and Russia are obliged to comply with calls for no-fly zones, as recently demanded by US Secretary of State John Kerry. So far, Syria and Russia have rebuffed any such initiative, saying that it would give succor to the illegally armed groups who are now decisively in retreat.</p> <p>Still, a more far-reaching objective could be Washington and its allies fostering a public mandate for military intervention by the NATO alliance. <strong>The outcry over &laquo;humanitarian suffering&raquo; in eastern Aleppo is a repeat of the &laquo;responsibility to protect&raquo; (R2P) ploy which NATO invoked to previously intervene and dismember former Yugoslavia in the late 1990s, and a decade later in Libya in 2011.</strong></p> <p>The US official inimitably qualified for such a political objective is Washington&rsquo;s ambassador at the UN &ndash; Samantha Power. Her recent diatribes against Russia show a total disregard for diplomatic or legal protocol. Suffused with self-righteousness and selective &laquo;humanitarian&raquo; concern, Power is evidently leading a media campaign to mandate a NATO force being deployed to Syria&rsquo;s Aleppo in order to &laquo;protect the children trapped in a killing zone&raquo; as the New York Times might put it.</p> <p><strong>Forty-six-year-old Power has made her entire professional career out of formulating the &laquo;R2P&raquo; doctrine that has in the past well-served Washington&rsquo;s imperialist goals.</strong></p> <p>As a young reporter in the 1990s, Power wrote one-sided screeds about ethnic cleansing and genocide in the Balkans, which conveniently demonized Serbia, culminating in the NATO bombing of Belgrade in 1999 and the subsequent carve up of Kosovo to become a NATO base. For this service to imperial interests, she was subsequently rewarded with a professorship at Harvard University and a Pulitzer-prize-winning book about genocide, a book which eminent scholars like Edward Herman have&nbsp;<a href="">debunked</a>&nbsp;as a load of plagiarism and self-serving historical distortions.</p> <p><strong>The fiery, Irish-born Power was later promoted by President Barack Obama as an advisor on his National Security Council. It was in this position that she pushed the policy of NATO bombing Libya in 2011 with a reprise of her &laquo;R2P&raquo; doctrine.</strong></p> <p>These NATO military assaults facilitated by emotive appeals to &laquo;humanitarian values&raquo; have since been shown to be reckless violations of international law amounting to foreign aggression. Earlier this year, the late Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic was&nbsp;<a href="">officially exonerated</a>&nbsp;over war crimes allegations, charges that NATO had leveled to justify its bombardment of his country. Also, earlier this month a British parliamentary committee&nbsp;<a href="">denounced</a>&nbsp;former prime minister David Cameron for his involvement in the NATO intervention in Libya as being unfounded on claims that then Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was preparing to slaughter residents in the city of Benghazi.</p> <p><strong>But it was so-called &laquo;liberal hawks&raquo; like Samantha Power who were instrumental in providing political and moral cover for Washington and the NATO military to conduct these illegal foreign invasions and regime changes under the pretext of protecting human rights and civilian lives.</strong></p> <p>Obama assigned his useful apparatchik Samantha Power to the United Nations in August 2013, where she has proven to be completely out of her depth in terms of diplomatic finesse. She has infused her position on the Security Council with anti-Russian vitriol in the pursuit of Washington&rsquo;s hegemonic interests, regardless of international law or objective historical analysis.</p> <p><strong>The &laquo;humanitarian&raquo; propaganda drumbeat over Aleppo belies the facts and circumstances of Washington&rsquo;s covert war for regime change in Syria. A dirty war in which it and its NATO allies have colluded with a proxy army of terrorist gangs, as this recent German media&nbsp;<a href="">report</a>&nbsp;by Jurgen Todenhofer confirms.</strong></p> <p>Faced with a losing covert war in Syria, through the defeat of its terror proxy forces, it appears that Washington is striving for a more robust intervention in the guise of NATO military deployment, perhaps as &laquo;peacekeepers&raquo; overseeing a no-fly zone, as seen previously in Libya with disastrous results.</p> <p><u><strong>Emoting about humanitarian concerns is a well-worn prelude for NATO barbarism on behalf of Washington&rsquo;s geopolitical interests. Crocodile tears followed by bombs. And no better person to carry out this subterfuge than UN ambassador Samantha Power.</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="621" height="342" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Barack Obama France national security New York Times Fri, 30 Sep 2016 01:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 573624 at 4 States Sue To Block Obama's Internet Transition Set For Tomorrow Night <p>The US government, much to the chagrin of Senator Ted Cruz, is set to officially relinquish the Department of Commerce's oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) as of tomorrow night at midnight.&nbsp; ICANN is a California nonprofit that has supervised website domains since 1998, essentially under subcontract from the Commerce Department. Under the Obama transition plan oversight by the <strong>U.S. Commerce Department would end and be replaced by a multi-stakeholder community, which would include the technical community, businesses, civil society and governments.</strong></p> <p><strong>Cruz had attempted to block the internet transition by tying the recently passed funding bill to the reversal of the ICANN turnover.&nbsp;</strong> That said, apparently his harsh admonishments on the Senate floor failed to draw enough support from his fellow republicans to force a government shutdown over the topic.&nbsp; </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>“In 22 short days, if Congress fails to act, the <strong>Obama administration intends to give away control of the Internet to an international body akin to the United Nations,”</strong> Sen. Cruz said. “I rise today to discuss the significant, irreparable damage this proposed Internet giveaway could wreak not only on our nation, but on free speech across the world.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The Obama administration is instead pushing through a radical proposal to take control of Internet domain names and instead give it to an international organization, ICANN, that includes 162 foreign countries. And if that proposal goes through, it will <strong>empower countries like Russia, like China, like Iran to be able to censor speech on the Internet, your speech.</strong> Countries like China, Russia, and Iran are not our friends, and their interests are not our interests.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“Imagine searching the Internet and instead of seeing your standard search results, you see a disclaimer that the information you were searching for is censored.</strong> It is not consistent with the standards of this new international body, it does not meet their approval. Now, if you’re in China, that situation could well come with the threat of arrest for daring to merely search for such a thing that didn’t meet the approval of the censors. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen in America, but giving control of the Internet to an international body with Russia, and China, and Iran having power over it could lead to precisely that threat, and it’s going to take Congress acting affirmatively to stop it.</p> </blockquote> <p><img src="" alt="ICANN" width="600" height="394" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Supporters of the plan counter that critics' harsh rhetoric fails to recognize that ICANN will be turned over to management by an independent board with representation from all over the world with no single body holding undue influence over decisions.&nbsp; According to <a href="">Yahoo</a>, the transition has drawn support from Google and several democrat senators who commented to TechCrunch that "<strong>the internet belongs to the world, not to Ted Cruz."</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"The transition will further strengthen the internet as a stable, resilient and secure tool for empowering billions of people across the globe for decades to come." </p><p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Google senior vice president Kent Walker also endorsed the shift</strong>, saying it would "fulfill a promise the United States made almost two decades ago: that the <strong>internet could and should be governed by everyone with a stake in its continued growth."</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"The internet belongs to the world, not to Ted Cruz,"</strong> Senators Brian Schatz and Chris Coons, and Representatives Anna Eshoo, Doris Matsui, Frank Pallone and Mike Doyle said in an article for the TechCrunch news site.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"If the Republicans successfully delay the transitio</strong>n, America's enemies are sure to pounce. <strong>Russia and its allies could push to shift control of the internet's core functions to a government body like the UN where they have more influence."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>But, in a last ditch effort to block the transition, 4 state attorneys general from <strong>Arizona, Oklahoma, Nevada and Texas, have filed a lawsuit in a Texas federal court alleging that the transition</strong>, in the absence of congressional approval, <strong>amounts to an illegal forfeiture of U.S. government property.</strong>&nbsp; According to <a href="">Politico</a>, the lawsuit also expresses concern that the reorganized ICANN would be so unchecked that it could <strong>“effectively enable or prohibit speech on the Internet.” &nbsp;</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>“Trusting authoritarian regimes to ensure the continued freedom of the internet is lunacy,”</strong> said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a statement. “The president does not have the authority to simply give away America’s pioneering role in ensuring that the internet remains a place where free expression can flourish.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"I think, as a matter of philosophy, turning this over ultimately is maybe a great idea in the long run," the attorney general said, "but I do think there are a lot of stakeholders involved, and <strong>we want to make sure no one in the future can limit or suppress access to the internet or punish people for speaking their minds."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Given Obama's recent humiliating loss on the 9/11 lawsuit bill, we're sure that efforts to block his internet transition plan will draw some attention at the White House.<strong><br /></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="648" height="348" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> China Google Iran Obama Administration Oklahoma White House Fri, 30 Sep 2016 01:05:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 573611 at Trump Campaign Releases "Ten Inconvenient Truths About The Clinton Foundation" <p>Just a few weeks back we introduced you to the work of Wall Street analyst <strong>Charles Ortel who spent the past year and a half digging into the Clinton Foundation</strong> and subsequently labeled it as a <strong>"Charity Fraud Of Epic Proportions"</strong> (see our full post on the findings here:&nbsp; "<a href="">"Clinton Foundation Is Charity Fraud Of Epic Proportions", Analyst Charges In Stunning Takedown</a>").&nbsp; As many of our readers know, Ortel is the analyst that uncovered financial discrepancies at General Electric before its stock crashed in 2008, and was <strong>described by the Sunday Times of London as "one of the finest analysts of financial statements on the planet"</strong> in a 2009 story detailing the troubles at AIG.</p> <p>After a year and a half of looking into the Clinton Foundation, Ortel summarized his findings as follows:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"An educated guess, based upon ongoing analysis of the public record begun in February 2015, <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>is that the Clinton Foundation entities are part of a network that has defrauded donors and created illegal private gains of approximately $100 billion in combined magnitude, and possibly more, since 23 October 1997.</strong></span>"</p> </blockquote> <p>With that, here's 10 more things that the Trump campaign thinks you should know about the Clinton Foundation.</p> <p>* * *</p> <p><strong>Here Are Ten Facts Everyone Should Know About The Massive Conflict Of Interest And Corruption Issues Facing The Clinton Foundation</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>FACT ONE</strong></span> – <strong>There Are Major Overlaps Between Clinton’s Campaign Donors And Her Foundation Donors, Raising Ethical Red Flags</strong>:</p> <p><strong>According To The Washington Post, Nearly Half Of The Major Donors To Ready For Hillary And Nearly Half Of Her 2008 Campaign Bundlers Have Given At Least $10,000 To The Foundation</strong>. “Nearly half of the major donors who are backing Ready for Hillary, a group promoting her 2016 presidential bid, as well as nearly half of the bundlers from her 2008 campaign, have given at least $10,000 to the foundation, either on their own or through foundations or companies they run.” (Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Steven Rich, “Clintons’ Foundation Has Raised Nearly $2 Billion — And Some Key Questions,” <a href="">The Washington Post</a>, 2/18/15)</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <ul> <li>“<strong>The Clintons Have Relied Heavily On Their Close Ties To Wall Street, With Donations From The Financial Services Sector Representing The Largest Share Of Corporate Donors.</strong>”(Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Steven Rich, “Clintons’ Foundation Has Raised Nearly $2 Billion — And Some Key Questions,” <a href="">The Washington Post</a>, 2/18/15)</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p><strong>The Foundation “Has Given Contributors Entree, Outside The Traditional Political Arena, To A Possible President.</strong>” “The financial success of the foundation, which funds charitable work around the world, underscores the highly unusual nature of another Clinton candidacy. The organization has given contributors entree, outside the traditional political arena, to a possible president. Foreign donors and countries that are likely to have interests before a potential Clinton administration — and yet are ineligible to give to U.S. political campaigns — have affirmed their support for the family’s work through the charitable giving.” (Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Steven Rich, “Clintons’ Foundation Has Raised Nearly $2 Billion — And Some Key Questions,” <a href="">The Washington Post</a>, 2/18/15)</p> <p><strong>The Washington Post’s Review Of The Foundation’s Seven Biggest Donors Found “That There Is Strong Overlap Between The Family’s Political Base And The Foundation,” And That A Substantial Number Of Its Donors Are Based Outside Of The U.S.</strong> “The review found that there is strong overlap between the family’s political base and the foundation and that a substantial number of the foundation’s largest donors — those who have given at least $1 million — are based outside of the United States. Financial institutions also make up the largest portion of the foundation’s corporate giving.”(Rosalind S. Helderman, “Here Are The Seven Biggest Donors To The Bill, Hillary And Chelsea Clinton Foundation,” <a href="">The Washington Post</a>, 2/19/15)</p> <p><strong>Bill Allison Of The Sunlight Foundation: “The Clinton Foundation Is A Unique Non-Profit That Can’t Be Separated From The American Political System.”</strong> “Bill Allison, senior policy analyst at the Sunlight Foundation, a campaign finance watchdog group, says the Clinton foundation is a unique non-profit that can’t be separated from the US political system. ‘If there is foreign money coming into the Clinton Foundation, it will raise the question of - is the president going to be doing favors for a foreign business, a foreign government, a foreign individual? And you just cannot have that in the American system of government, where the president is supposed to represent the American people,’ Allison said.” (Julianna Goldman, “Chinese Company Pledged $2 Million To Clinton Foundation In 2013,” <a href="">CBS News</a>, 3/16/15)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>FACT TWO</strong></span> – <strong>Several Major Clinton Foundation Donations Came From Companies Lobbying The Federal Government</strong>:</p> <p><strong>The Wall Street Journal Headline: “Hillary Clinton’s Complex Corporate Ties</strong>” (James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Hillary Clinton’s Complex Corporate Ties,” <a href="">The Wall Street Journal</a>, 2/19/15)</p> <p><strong>As Secretary Of State Clinton “Was One Of The Most Aggressive Global Cheerleaders For American Companies…</strong>” “Among recent secretaries of state, Hillary Clinton was one of the most aggressive global cheerleaders for American companies, pushing governments to sign deals and change policies to the advantage of corporate giants such as General Electric Co., Exxon Mobil Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Boeing Co.” (James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Hillary Clinton’s Complex Corporate Ties,” <a href="">The Wall Street Journal</a>, 2/19/15)</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <ul> <li><strong>“At The Same Time, Those Companies Were Among The Many That Gave To The Clinton Family’s Global Foundation…</strong>” “At the same time, those companies were among the many that gave to the Clinton family’s global foundation set up by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.” (James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Hillary Clinton’s Complex Corporate Ties,” <a href="">The Wall Street Journal</a>, 2/19/15)</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p><strong>“At Least 60 Companies That Lobbied The State Department During Her Tenure Donated A Total Of More Than $26 Million To The Clinton Foundation…</strong>” “At least 60 companies that lobbied the State Department during her tenure donated a total of more than $26 million to the Clinton Foundation, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of public and foundation disclosures.” (James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Hillary Clinton’s Complex Corporate Ties,” <a href="">The Wall Street Journal</a>, 2/19/15)</p> <p><strong>“At Least 44 Of Those 60 Companies Also Participated In Philanthropic Projects Valued At $3.2 Billion That Were Set Up Though A Wing Of The Foundation Called The Clinton Global Initiative…”</strong> “At least 44 of those 60 companies also participated in philanthropic projects valued at $3.2 billion that were set up though a wing of the foundation called the Clinton Global Initiative, which coordinates the projects but receives no cash for them.” (James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Hillary Clinton’s Complex Corporate Ties,” <a href="">The Wall Street Journal</a>, 2/19/15)</p> <p><strong>“As Secretary Of State, She Created 15 Public-Private Partnerships Coordinated By The State Department, And At Least 25 Companies Contributed To Those Partnerships.”</strong> (James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Hillary Clinton’s Complex Corporate Ties,” <a href="">The Wall Street Journal</a>, 2/19/15)</p> <p><strong>Clinton “Has A Web Of Connections To Big Corporations Unique In American Politics—Ties Forged Both As Secretary Of State And By Her Family’s Charitable Interests.”</strong> “As Mrs. Clinton prepares to embark on a race for the presidency, she has a web of connections to big corporations unique in American politics—ties forged both as secretary of state and by her family’s charitable interests.” (James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Hillary Clinton’s Complex Corporate Ties,” <a href="">The Wall Street Journal</a>, 2/19/15)</p> <p><strong>“Those Relationships Are Emerging As An Issue For Mrs. Clinton’s Expected Presidential Campaign As Income Disparity And Other Populist Themes Gain Early Attention.”</strong> (James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Hillary Clinton’s Complex Corporate Ties,” <a href="">The Wall Street Journal</a>, 2/19/15)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>FACT THREE</strong></span> – <strong>The Clinton Foundation Accepted Millions From Foreign Governments</strong>:</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Trump" width="600" height="296" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“Rarely, If Ever, Has A Potential Commander In Chief Been So Closely Associated With An Organization That Has Solicited Financial Support From Foreign Governments.”</strong> “Rarely, if ever, has a potential commander in chief been so closely associated with an organization that has solicited financial support from foreign governments. Clinton formally joined the foundation in 2013 after leaving the State Department, and the organization was renamed the Bill, Hillary &amp; Chelsea Clinton Foundation.” (Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger, “Foreign Governments Gave Millions To Foundation While Clinton Was At State Dept.,” <a href="">The Washington Post</a>, 2/25/15)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>FACT FOUR</strong></span> – <strong>The Clinton Foundation Accepted Millions From Other Foreign Sources While Clinton Served As Secretary Of State</strong>:</p> <p><strong>“More Than 40 Percent Of The Top Donors To The Clinton Foundation Are Based In Foreign Countries.”</strong> “More than 40 percent of the top donors to the Clinton Foundation are based in foreign countries, according to an analysis by McClatchy.” (Anita Kumar, “Clinton Foundation Limits Foreign Donations,” <a href="">McClatchy</a>, 4/15/15)</p> <p><strong>According To The Wall Street Journal, While The Clinton Foundation “Swore Off Donations From Foreign Governments,” It Was Still Raising Millions From “Foreigners With Connections To Their Home Governments.</strong> “The Clinton Foundation swore off donations from foreign governments when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. That didn’t stop the foundation from raising millions of dollars from foreigners with connections to their home governments, a review of foundation disclosures shows.” (James Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Clinton Charity Tapped Foreign Friends,” <a href="">The Wall Street Journal</a>, 3/19/15)</p> <p><strong>While Bill Clinton Promised The Obama Administration To Stop Accepting Money From Foreign Governments, The Agreement Did Not “Place Limits On Donations From Foreign Individuals Or Corporations.”</strong> “Former President Bill Clinton promised the Obama administration the foundation wouldn’t accept most foreign-government donations while his wife was secretary of state. The agreement didn’t place limits on donations from foreign individuals or corporations.” (James Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Clinton Charity Tapped Foreign Friends,” <a href="">The Wall Street Journal</a>, 3/19/15)</p> <p><strong>The Donors Have Personal, Familial, And Business Ties To Foreign Governments.</strong> “Some donors have direct ties to foreign governments. One is a member of the Saudi royal family. Another is a Ukrainian oligarch and former parliamentarian. Others are individuals with close connections to foreign governments that stem from their business activities. Their professed policy interests range from human rights to U.S.-Cuba relations.” (James Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Clinton Charity Tapped Foreign Friends,” <a href="">The Wall Street Journal</a>, 3/19/15)</p> <p><strong>During Clinton’s Tenure At The State Department, Foreign Donors And Their Organizations Accounted For Between $34 And $68 Million In Donations And $60 Million In Commitments To The Foundation.</strong> “All told, more than a dozen foreign individuals and their foundations and companies were large donors to the Clinton Foundation in the years after Mrs. Clinton became secretary of state in 2009, collectively giving between $34 million and $68 million, foundation records show. Some donors also provided funding directly to charitable projects sponsored by the foundation, valued by the organization at $60 million.” (James Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Clinton Charity Tapped Foreign Friends,” <a href="">The Wall Street Journal</a>, 3/19/15)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>FACT FIVE</strong></span> – <strong>Last Week The Clinton Foundation Announced They Wouldn’t Take Foreign Or Corporate Money If Clinton Is Elected, But Other Charities Still Will Be Allowed To</strong>:</p> <p><strong>Last Week Bill Clinton Said The Clinton Foundation “Would Only Accept Contributions From U.S. Citizens And Independent Charities” If Hillary Clinton Is Elected President.</strong> “The Clinton Foundation will no longer accept foreign and corporate donations if Hillary Clinton is elected president. … Bill Clinton said if Hillary Clinton wins the White House, the family's foundation would only accept contributions from U.S. citizens and independent charities.” (Ken Thomas, “Clinton's Foundation To Alter Donations Policy If Elected,” <a href="">The Associated Press</a>, 8/18/16)</p> <p><strong>Other Clinton Charities Will Continue To Take Foreign And Corporate Donations Should Clinton Become President.</strong> “Big chunks of the Clinton family’s charitable network would be exempt from a self-imposed ban on foreign and corporate donations if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, loopholes that highlight the complexity of disentangling her from the former first family’s myriad potential conflicts of interest.” (Annie Linskey, “Not All Clinton Charities Bound By New Set Of Rules,” <a href="">Boston Globe</a>, 8/20/16)</p> <p><strong>These Charities Include The Clinton Health Access Initiative, The Alliance For A Healthier Generation And The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership.</strong> “The most prominent of the exceptions applies to the Boston-based Clinton Health Access Initiative, which in 2014 accounted for 66 percent of spending by the Clinton network of charities. … They include the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an entity cofounded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, and the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, a joint venture between Bill Clinton and Canadian mining billionaire Frank Giustra.” (Annie Linskey, “Not All Clinton Charities Bound By New Set Of Rules,” <a href="">Boston Globe</a>, 8/20/16)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>FACT SIX</strong></span> – <strong>The FBI Wanted To Open An Investigation Into The Clinton Foundation, But The Effort Was Scuttled By The Obama Administration</strong>:</p> <p><strong>The FBI And Department Of Justice Met In Early 2016 To Discuss Opening A Public Corruption Case Into The Clinton Foundation.</strong> “Officials from the FBI and Department of Justice met several months ago to discuss opening a public corruption case into the Clinton Foundation, according to a US official.” (Drew Griffin, Pamela Brown and Shimon Prokupecz, “Inside The Debate Over Probing The Clinton Foundation,” <a href="">CNN</a>, 8/11/16)</p> <p><strong>Three FBI Field Offices Wanted To Investigate If Suspicious Banking Activity From A Foreigner Was Involved A Criminal Conflict Of Interest With The State Department And The Clinton Foundation.</strong> “At the time, three field offices were in agreement an investigation should be launched after the FBI received notification from a bank of suspicious activity from a foreigner who had donated to the Clinton Foundation, according to the official. FBI officials wanted to investigate whether there was a criminal conflict of interest with the State Department and the Clinton Foundation during Clinton's tenure. The Department of Justice had looked into allegations surrounding the foundation a year earlier after the release of the controversial book ‘Clinton Cash,’ but found them to be unsubstantiated and there was insufficient evidence to open a case.” (Drew Griffin, Pamela Brown and Shimon Prokupecz, “Inside The Debate Over Probing The Clinton Foundation,” <a href="">CNN</a>, 8/11/16)</p> <p><strong>Obama’s Department Of Justice Pushed Back Against Opening A Case.</strong> “As a result, DOJ officials pushed back against opening a case during the meeting earlier this year. Some also expressed concern the request seemed more political than substantive, especially given the timing of it coinciding with the investigation into the private email server and Clinton's presidential campaign.”(Drew Griffin, Pamela Brown and Shimon Prokupecz, “Inside The Debate Over Probing The Clinton Foundation,” <a href="">CNN</a>, 8/11/16)</p> <p><strong>The FBI Field Offices Were “Waved Off” By The DOJ.</strong> “Accusations that Clinton has committed crimes, and gotten away with them, have colored Republican campaigns for decades. They've picked up since the FBI announced that it would take no further steps to investigate her ‘careless’ use of a private email server after a year-long probe; they've gained more steam after reports that three (of 56) FBI field offices wanted to probe the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation over a foreign donation but were waved off by a DOJ that had come up empty in a similar probe.” (David Weigel, “‘Lock Her Up’ Sentiment Comes To A Congressional Campaign,” <a href="">The Washington Post</a>, 8/12/16)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>FACT SEVEN</strong></span> – <strong>Clinton’s Chief Of Staff At State Had A Deep And Simultaneous Involvement In The Clinton Foundation</strong>:</p> <p><strong>CNN Headline: “Top Clinton State Department Aide Helped Clinton Foundation”</strong> (Drew Griffin, “Top Clinton State Department Aide Helped Clinton Foundation,” <a href="">CNN</a>, 8/11/26)</p> <p><strong>It Was Discovered That Clinton’s Chief Of Staff At The State Department Cheryl Mills Went To New York In 2012 To Interview Executives For A Top Position At The Clinton Foundation.</strong> “A CNN investigation found that Clinton aide Cheryl Mills was involved in the Clinton Foudnation while she was also employed as Chief of Staff to the Secretary of State. On a trip to New York in 2012, Mills interviewed two executives for a top position at the Clinton foundation. The State Department said she was on personal time. Mills' attorney says she was, doing ‘volunteer work for a charitable foundation. She was not paid.’” (Drew Griffin, Pamela Brown and Shimon Prokupecz, “Inside The Debate Over Probing The Clinton Foundation,” <a href="">CNN</a>, 8/11/16)</p> <p><strong>“The Fact That The Aide, Cheryl Mills, Was Taking Part In Such A High Level Task For The Clinton Foundation While Also Working As Chief Of Staff For The Secretary Of State Raises New Question About The Blurred Lines That Dogged The Clinton As Secretary Of State.”</strong> (Drew Griffin, Pamela Brown and Shimon Prokupecz, “Inside The Debate Over Probing The Clinton Foundation,” <a href="">CNN</a>, 8/11/16)</p> <p><strong>The State Department Has Been Stonewalling Congressional Investigators On This Matter.</strong> “The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa, has tried to get answers about Mills' New York trip as well. Grassley sent Secretary of State John Kerry a letter in January asking the purpose of Mills' trip. The State Department did not officially respond to the letter.” (Drew Griffin, Pamela Brown and Shimon Prokupecz, “Inside The Debate Over Probing The Clinton Foundation,” <a href="">CNN</a>, 8/11/16)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>FACT EIGHT</strong></span> – <strong>Sidney Blumenthal Collected $10,000 A Month From The Clinton Foundation While Providing Libyan Intelligence To Clinton</strong>:</p> <p><strong>Clinton Wanted To Bring Blumenthal On Board To The State Department In 2009, But The Hire Was Turned Down By The Obama White House Because Of His “Harsh Attacks” In The Democratic Primary.</strong> “As White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel was the one to bring the hammer down on Sidney Blumenthal. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wanted to hire Mr. Blumenthal, a loyal confidant who had helped her promote the idea of a ‘vast right-wing conspiracy’ more than a decade ago. But President Obama’s campaign veterans still blamed him for spreading harsh attacks against their candidate in the primary showdown with Mrs. Clinton last year. So Mr. Emanuel talked with Mrs. Clinton, said Democrats informed about the situation, and explained that bringing Mr. Blumenthal on board was a no-go.” (Peter Baker and Jeff Zeleny, “Emanuel Wields Power Freely, And Faces The Risks,” <a href="">The New York Times</a>, 8/15/09)</p> <p><strong>Blumenthal “Earned About $10,000 A Month As A Full-Time Employee Of The Clinton Foundation” While At The Same Time He Provided Intelligence On Libya To Then-Secretary Clinton.</strong> “Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime confidant of Bill and Hillary Clinton, earned about $10,000 a month as a full-time employee of the Clinton Foundation while he was providing unsolicited intelligence on Libya to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to multiple sources familiar with the arrangement.” (Kenneth P. Vogel, “Clinton Foundation paid Blumenthal $10K per month while he advised on Libya,” <a href="">Politico</a>, 5/28/15)</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <ul> <li><strong>Politico Headline: “Clinton Foundation Paid Blumenthal $10K Per Month While He Advised On Libya”</strong>(Kenneth P. Vogel, “Clinton Foundation Paid Blumenthal $10K Per Month While He Advised On Libya,” <a href="">Politico</a>, 5/28/15)</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p><strong>Blumenthal Was Added To The Clinton Foundation’s Payroll In 2009, “Not Long After Advising Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign — At The Behest Of Former President Bill Clinton…”</strong> “Blumenthal was added to the payroll of the Clintons’ global philanthropy in 2009 — not long after advising Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign — at the behest of former president Bill Clinton, for whom he had worked in the White House, say the sources.” (Kenneth P. Vogel, “Clinton Foundation Paid Blumenthal $10K Per Month While He Advised On Libya,” <a href="">Politico</a>, 5/28/15)</p> <p><strong>Some Clinton Foundation Officials “Questioned” Blumenthal’s “Value And Grumbled That His Hiring Was A Favor From The Clintons.”</strong> “While Blumenthal’s foundation job focused on highlighting the legacy of Clinton’s presidency, some officials at the charity questioned his value and grumbled that his hiring was a favor from the Clintons, according to people familiar with the foundation.”(Kenneth P. Vogel, “Clinton Foundation Paid Blumenthal $10K Per Month While He Advised On Libya,” <a href="">Politico</a>, 5/28/15)</p> <p><strong>“When The Clintons Last Occupied The White House, Sidney Blumenthal Cast Himself In Varied Roles: Speechwriter, In-House Intellectual And Press Corps Whisperer.”</strong> “When the Clintons last occupied the White House, Sidney Blumenthal cast himself in varied roles: speechwriter, in-house intellectual and press corps whisperer. Republicans added another, accusing Mr. Blumenthal of spreading gossip to discredit Republican investigators, and forced him to testify during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial. Now, as Hillary Rodham Clinton embarks on her second presidential bid, Mr. Blumenthal’s service to the Clintons is again under the spotlight.”(Nicholas Confessore and Michael S. Schmidt, “Clinton’s Friend’s Memos On Libya Draw Scrutiny To Politics And Business,” <a href="">The New York Times</a>, 5/18/15)</p> <p><strong>Blumenthal’s Work With Clinton Has Been “Wide-Ranging,” “Complicated,” And Embodied “The Blurry Lines Between Business, Politics And Philanthropy That Have Enriched And Vexed The Clintons And Their Inner Circle For Years.”</strong>“But an examination by The Times suggests that Mr. Blumenthal’s involvement was more wide-ranging and more complicated than previously known, embodying the blurry lines between business, politics and philanthropy that have enriched and vexed the Clintons and their inner circle for years.” (Nicholas Confessore and Michael S. Schmidt, “Clinton’s Friend’s Memos On Libya Draw Scrutiny To Politics And Business,” <a href="">The New York Times</a>, 5/18/15)</p> <p><strong>“It May Be Difficult To Determine Where One Of Mr. Blumenthal’s Jobs Ended And Another Began.”</strong> “But interviews with his associates and a review of previously unreported correspondence suggest that — once again — it may be difficult to determine where one of Mr. Blumenthal’s jobs ended and another began.”(Nicholas Confessore and Michael S. Schmidt, “Clinton’s Friend’s Memos On Libya Draw Scrutiny To Politics And Business,” <a href="">The New York Times</a>, 5/18/15)</p> <p><strong>“[T]he Clintons’ Past Does Provide Some Evidence That When It Comes To Friends And Politics, They Prize Loyalty Over All Else.”</strong> “Why didn’t Clinton do either of those things? Who knows. But, the Clintons’ past does provide some evidence that when it comes to friends and politics, they prize loyalty over all else.” (Chris Cillizza, “Hillary Clinton Is Defending Her ‘Loyal Old Friends.’ Here’s Why That’s A Mistake.,” <a href="">The Washington Post</a>, 5/19/15)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>FACT NINE</strong></span> – <strong>The Clinton Foundation Failed To Disclose $26.4 Million In Speaking Honoraria While Clinton Was Secretary Of State</strong>:</p> <p><strong>Politico Headline: “New Clinton Speech Disclosures Reveal Foundation’s Take”(Josh Gerstein, “New Clinton Speech Disclosure Reveal Foundation’s Take,”</strong> <a href="">Politico</a>, 5/21/15)</p> <p><strong>In May 2015, The Clinton Foundation Reported That It Has Received As Much As $26 Million In Previously Undisclosed Speaking Fees.</strong> “The Clinton Foundation reported Thursday that it has received as much as $26.4 million in previously undisclosed payments from major corporations, universities, foreign sources and other groups … The money was paid as fees for speeches by Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton. Foundation officials said the funds were tallied internally as “revenue” rather than donations, which is why they had not been included in the public listings of its contributors published as part of the 2008 agreement.” (Rosalind Helderman and Tom Hamburger, “Clinton Foundation Reveals Up To $26 Million In Additional Payments,” <a href="">The Washington Post</a>, 5/21/15)</p> <p><strong>“The Clinton Foundation Confirmed Thursday That It Received As Much As $26.4 Million In Previously Unreported Payments From Foreign Governments And Corporations For Speeches Given By The Clintons.”</strong>(Alexandra Jaffe and Dan Merica, “Clinton Foundation Didn’t Disclose As Much As $26M In Speaking Fees,” <a href="">CNN</a>, 5/21/15)</p> <p><strong>The Disclosure Came As The Foundation Faced Questions “Over Whether It Fully Complied With A 2008 Ethics Agreement To Reveal Its Donors And Whether Any Of Its Funding Sources Present Conflicts Of Interest.</strong> “The disclosure came as the foundation faced questions over whether it fully complied with a 2008 ethics agreement to reveal its donors and whether any of its funding sources present conflicts of interest for Hillary Rodham Clinton as she begins her presidential campaign.”(Rosalind Helderman and Tom Hamburger, “Clinton Foundation Reveals Up To $26 Million In Additional Payments,” <a href="">The Washington Post</a>, 5/21/15)</p> <p><strong>The Disclosure Of Speaking Fees Was “The Latest In A String Of Admissions From The Foundation That It Didn’t Always Abide By A 2008 Ethics Agreement To Disclose Its Funding Sources Publicly.”</strong> “It's the latest in a string of admissions from the foundation that it didn't always abide by a 2008 ethics agreement to disclose its funding sources publicly. That agreement, penned as Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, is certain to continue the headache that the foundation's work and donors have become for Clinton as she makes another run at the White House.” (Alexandra Jaffe and Dan Merica, “Clinton Foundation Didn’t Disclose As Much As $26M In Speaking Fees,” <a href="">CNN</a>, 5/21/15)</p> <p><strong>The Clinton’s Paid Speaking Honorariums Included Six Figure Speaking Fees From Foreign Companies And Wall Street Banks.</strong> “The paid appearances included speeches by former president Bill Clinton to the Nigerian ThisDay newspaper group for at least $500,000 and to the Beijing Huaduo Enterprise Consulting Company Ltd., an investment holding company that specializes in the natural gas market, for at least $250,000. Citibank paid at least $250,000 for a speech by Hillary Rodham Clinton.” (Rosalind Helderman and Tom Hamburger, “Clinton Foundation Reveals Up To $26 Million In Additional Payments,” <a href="">The Washington Post</a>, 5/21/15)</p> <p><strong>Clinton Herself Delivered 15 Speeches On The Foundation’s Behalf, “Including One Address To Goldman Sachs And Another To JPMorgan Chase.”</strong> “But the new disclosure indicates that the former president has also spent considerable time speaking on the foundation’s behalf — 73 times since 2002. Hillary Clinton has delivered 15 such speeches, including one address to Goldman Sachs and another to JPMorgan Chase.” (Rosalind Helderman and Tom Hamburger, “Clinton Foundation Reveals Up To $26 Million In Additional Payments,” <a href="">The Washington Post</a>, 5/21/15)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>FACT TEN</strong></span> – <strong>Since 2003, The Clinton Foundation Has Spent More Than $50 Million On Travel</strong>:</p> <p><strong>The New York Post Headline: “Bill Clinton Foundation Has Spent More Than $50 Million On Travel Expenses”</strong> (Geoff Earle, “Bill Clinton Foundation Has Spent More Than $50 Million On Travel Expenses,” <a href="">New York Post</a>, 8/20/13)</p> <p><strong>From 2003 To 2012, The Clinton Foundation Spent More Than $50 Million On Travel.</strong> “Bill Clinton’s foundation has spent more than $50 million on travel expenses since 2003, an analysis of the non-profit’s tax forms reveal.” (Geoff Earle, “Bill Clinton Foundation Has Spent More Than $50 Million On Travel Expenses,” <a href="">New York Post</a>, 8/20/13)</p> <p><strong>In Just 2011, The Clinton Associated Foundations Spent $12.1 Million On Travel.</strong> “The web of foundations run by the former president spent an eye-opening $12.1 million on travel in 2011 alone, according to an internal audit conducted by foundation accountants. That’s enough to by 12,000 air tickets costing $1,000 each, or 33 air tickets each day of the year.” (Geoff Earle, “Bill Clinton Foundation Has Spent More Than $50M On Travel Expenses,” <a href="">New York Post</a>, 8/20/13)</p> <p><strong>The William J. Clinton Foundation Spent $4.2 Million On Travel In 2011.</strong> “That overall figure includes travel costs for the William J. Clinton Foundation (to which Hillary and Chelsea are now attached) of $4.2 million on travel in 2011, the most recent year where figures are available.” (Geoff Earle, “Bill Clinton Foundation Has Spent More Than $50M On Travel Expenses,” <a href="">New York Post</a>, 8/20/13)</p> <p><strong>“The Clinton Global Health Initiative Spent Another $730,000 On Travel In 2011, While The Clinton Health Action Initiative (CHAI) Spent $7.2 Million On Travel.”</strong>(Geoff Earle, “Bill Clinton Foundation Has Spent More Than $50M On Travel Expenses,” <a href="">New York Post</a>, 8/20/13)</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="1280" height="720" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> AIG Boeing Chelsea Clinton Citibank Corruption Department of Justice Exxon FBI General Electric goldman sachs Goldman Sachs JPMorgan Chase Natural Gas New York Post New York Times Newspaper Obama Administration Rahm Emanuel Wall Street Journal White House Fri, 30 Sep 2016 00:40:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 573595 at Here Are The Best Scream Fests From Today's John Stumpf Hearing <p>Ten days after he was grilled in the Senate for two hours, today John Stumpf had to go through twice the grandstanding in yet another kangaroo court, this time for four intense hours in the House, where among other things, he had to suffer the following Maxinewaterism: "I<a href="">'m going to move forward to break up Wells Fargo</a>". </p> <p>It doesn't work that way. </p> <p>And while we agree that Stumpf should resign, and certainly be investigated for potential criminal activity, there are appropriate channels for that - what happened today was a circus, in which many populism-pandering poseurs, many of whom have received generous donations from Wells Fargo, achieved nothing, but yelled a lot while doing it and of course, smiling for the camera. </p> <p>Still, we admit that there were some legitimate questions asked. </p> <p>As the following series of clips show, in a string of intense and hostile questioning on Thursday, lawmakers understandably denounced the practice of creating unauthorized accounts in the names of real customers, while providing little explanation why Dodd-Frank - the law they created after the financial crisis to prevent precisely this kind of behavior - never managed to catch any of the offensive, criminal practices. Numerous lawmakers also called for Mr. Stumpf’s resignation. </p> <p><em>Some examples, courtesy of the NYT:</em></p> <p>Rep. Jeb Hensarling asked who was the highest ranking executive at Wells to<br /> be dismissed.&nbsp; “There were managers and managers and managers of a manager,” said Mr. Stumpf. He later said the highest ranking employees to be dismissed were branch managers. No one at the bank holding company was fired. </p> <p><iframe src="" width="480" height="321" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Brad Sherman asked if Wells Fargo would hold customer suits “to these forced arbitration clauses and screw them again out of their day in court?” “I believe in arbitration,” Mr. Stumpf replied.</p> <p><iframe src="" width="480" height="321" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>In the next clip, Stumpf defends Wells Fargo's board, answering Randy Neugebauer that&nbsp; “I’m not for Congress setting the corporate structure,” after being forced to defend his sual dual role as CEO and Chairman.</p> <p><iframe src="" width="480" height="321" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In one notable exchange, Rep. Carolyn Maloney asked Stumpf if he dumped $13 million in stock in his family trust “after you found out about the fraudulent accounts,” adding that “the timing is very, very suspicious.”&nbsp; “I sold those shares and I sold them with proper approvals,” said Mr. Stumpf, “With no view about anything that was going on with sales practices or anything else.”</p> <p><iframe src="" width="480" height="321" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Maloney had a follow up question, asking if as part of its business review the bank would go further back beyond 2009 as there was evidence of illegal sales practices going back all the way to 2007. “We have evidence of illegal sales practices going back to 2007,” said Rep. Maloney. “Will you agree to extend the review period?” “Again, Congresswoman, we’re going to go back to 2009,” Mr. Stumpf said.</p> <p><iframe src="" width="480" height="321" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In another exchange, Rep. Scott Garrett asked the CEO why the bank never revealed any of the ongoing discoveries about the bank's fraudulent practices as material public information. “Are you saying that all those quarterly reports that you were following,” asked Representative Scott Garret, a Republican of New Jersey, “None of that information was material?”&nbsp; “At the time, through the facts and circumstances, we filed accurate reports and we did not believe it was material,” Stumpf said.</p> <p><iframe src="" width="480" height="321" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One of the most fiery exchange took place, as usually happens, with Rep Sean Duffy, who got Stumpf to admit that Wells stole from customers: <strong>“Was this fraud? Was this just a H.R. problem, was this theft? Did you steal? I want to know if you and I are on the same page. Did Wells Fargo employees steal from a million to 2 million other customers, yes or no</strong>?” </p> <p>“In some cases they did,” said Mr. Stumpf.</p> <p><iframe src="" width="480" height="321" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A rather comic back and forth took place with Rep Mike Capuano who asked Stumpf “<strong>Why shouldn’t you be in jail</strong>?” when questioning the difference between Wells Fargo’s C.E.O. and someone who robbed his bank.&nbsp; “There is no question that we had done things that we need to improve on and we’ve paid fines and we’re trying to get better,” said Mr. Stumpf.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe src="" width="480" height="321" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Last but certainly not least, here is Rep. Greg Meeks with what may have been the <em>piece de resistance, </em>a 5 minute screaming match like not other, in which virtually every possible topic was covere, anywhere between 95dB and 110dB.</p> <p> <iframe src="" width="480" height="270" frameborder="0"></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="2400" height="253" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Brad Sherman John Stumpf Wells Fargo Fri, 30 Sep 2016 00:13:20 +0000 Tyler Durden 573620 at How Reuters "Tweaked" Its Latest Poll (Again) To Show A Clinton Lead <p>Reuters has taken some heat in recent months for <strong>"tweaking" their polling methodology seemingly every time the data reveals "inconvenient" results for Hillary </strong>(see our previous posts on the topic <a href="">here </a>and <a href="">here</a>).&nbsp; But the latest <a href="">Reuters/Ipsos</a> polling "tweak" is truly amazing.&nbsp; Having run out of options for slyly "tweaking" questions and categories to sway respondents in their preferred direction, Reuters has apparnetly resorted to <strong>blatant poll tampering</strong> by altering their polling samples <strong>to include a disproportionate number of democrats</strong>.</p> <p>In their latest poll, released just two days ago, Reuters found Hillary to have a 6 point lead in a head-to-head contest with Trump.&nbsp; But, when you dig a little deeper you find that <strong>Reuters' polling sample included 44% democrats and only 33% republicans</strong>.&nbsp; Which would be fine, of course, if it had any basis in reality.&nbsp; But, as <a href="">The Pew Research Center</a> points out very clearly (see table below), <strong>registered democrats represent about 33% of the electorate </strong>while <strong>republicans are 29%</strong>...a modest 4 point gap versus the 11 point advantage in the Reuters sample. </p> <p><img src="" alt="Reuters/Ipsos" width="600" height="287" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, this is significant because, as any reasonable person would expect, democrats swing toward Hillary by an overwhelming margin of 84% and, vice-versa, 78% of republicans swing toward Trump.&nbsp; </p> <p>Now, using Reuters' data, Hillary supposedly has a 6-point lead over Trump.&nbsp; However,<strong> if we alter the sample data to reflect what Pew says is the real distribution of democrats versus republicans</strong> (i.e. 33% vs. 29%, respectively) and apply the same support levels by party affiliation it <strong>results in an <span style="text-decoration: underline;">8.5% swing toward Trump</span> who would have a 2.5% lead...</strong>.<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>very inconvenient</strong></span>.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Reuters/Ipsos" width="600" height="307" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And just to confirm, here is how <a href="">The Pew Research Center</a> says that the distribution of party affiliation has trended over time.&nbsp; At least since 1992, democrats have never enjoyed an 11 point registration gap that Reuters decided to include in its poll.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Reuters/Ipsos" width="600" height="1132" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, we also checked the polling data of the latest <a href="">McClatchy-Marist Poll</a> to make sure we weren't missing something.&nbsp; And sure enough, their sample includes just a 5 point advantage for democrats...slightly larger than the 4 point gap measured by Pew but no where near the 11 point Reuters gap.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Polling Data" width="600" height="166" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And that's how you rig some polling data...</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="920" height="547" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> 8.5% Reality Reuters Fri, 30 Sep 2016 00:02:16 +0000 Tyler Durden 573574 at Just Spotted In Front Of The New York Fed <p>Three months later, <a href="">the shredders </a>are back...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="355" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>... and this time they are joined by a friend: a van belonging to a <a href="">professional demolition and dismantling service</a>, which incidentally is parked right in front of the NY Fed's master cargo door which among other places, leads to NY Fed's gold vault. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="378" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Things must be getting serious if just using BleachBit won't fix it.</p> <p><em><a href="">h/t Maiden Lane</a></em></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="760" height="467" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> New York Fed Thu, 29 Sep 2016 23:48:42 +0000 Tyler Durden 573623 at Turkish-Born Cascade Mall Shooter Facing Voter Fraud Charge As WA Law Prohibits "Verifying Citizenship" <p>Last week we wrote about a <strong>mass shooting at the Cascade Mall</strong> in Burlington, Washington about 65 miles north of Seattle that<strong> left 5 people dead</strong> (see "<a href="">Five Killed At Washington State Mall; Manhunt For Gunman Continues</a>").&nbsp; The shooter fled the scene but was later captured and <a href="">identified</a> to be <strong>20 year old Arcan Cetin a "legal, permanent resident" of the United States who immigrated from Turkey</strong>.</p> <p>As it turns out, Cetin may be facing more charges than just 5 counts of murder as <a href="">NBC News</a> is reporting that investigators have discovered he <strong>voted in the past three election cycles, including the May presidential primary</strong>, despite the fact that he is not a U.S. citizen.&nbsp; Apparently the state of Washington frowns upon anyone other than U.S. citizens voting...<strong>that kind of behavior is only tolerated in swing states like Ohio and Florida</strong>.&nbsp; </p> <p>Cetin, who immigrated to the United States from Turkey as a child, is a permanent U.S. resident but not a U.S. citizen which technically makes it a federal crime for him to participate in elections.&nbsp; While voters must attest to citizenship upon registering to vote, <strong>Washington state doesn't technically require proof of citizenship</strong> as the election system operates, more or less, <strong>"under an honor system"</strong>.</p> <p><img src="" alt="Arcan" width="600" height="337" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As explained by Washington Secretary of State, Kim Wyman, <strong>there is no provision in Washington state law that allows election officials to verify someone's citizenship</strong>.&nbsp; The penalty for voting as a non U.S. citizen could result in five years<br /> of prison time and a $10,000 fine...though we suspect that's the least of his concerns. &nbsp; </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"<strong>We don’t have a provision in state law that allows either county elections officials or the Secretary of State's office to verify someone’s citizenship.</strong>&nbsp; So, we’re in this place where we want to make sure we’re maintaining people’s confidence in the elections and the integrity of the process, but also that we’re giving this individual, like we would any voter, his due process. We’re moving forward, and that investigation is really coming out of the investigation from the shootings."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"The penalties are very serious. That’s why we want to make sure we’re very measured, and this is why we want to make sure we’re very calm and purposeful in how we move forward.&nbsp; The stakes are very high on both sides. <strong>You want to keep the confidence level high, but you also want to protect the voting rights of everyone.</strong>"</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Our hands are kind of tied, but make no mistake, we want to make sure that everybody has confidence that people casting ballots are eligible. <strong>This is certainly going to be a topic at next legislation.</strong>" </p> </blockquote> <p>Of course, why would you need to verify someone's citizenship before allowing them to vote?&nbsp; This all sounds like some alt-right, "xenophobic" conspiracy. </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="499" height="350" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Florida KIM NBC Ohio Prison Time Turkey Thu, 29 Sep 2016 23:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 573585 at Trump's Right - Morgan Stanley Warns "Big, Fat, Ugly Bubble" Is "An Illusion" Driven By The Fed <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Morgan Stanley Chief Global Strategist Ruchir Sharma, originally posted op-ed via The Wall Street Journal,</em></a></p> <p><strong>The press spends a lot of energy tracking the many errors in <a href="">Donald Trump</a>&rsquo;s loose talk,</strong> and during Monday&rsquo;s presidential debate <a href="">Hillary Clinton</a> expressed hope that fact checkers were &ldquo;turning up the volume&rdquo; on her rival. <strong>But when it comes to the Federal Reserve, Mr. Trump isn&rsquo;t all wrong.</strong></p> <p>In a looping debate rant, Mr. Trump argued that an increasingly &ldquo;political&rdquo; Fed is holding interest rates low to help Democrats in November, driving up a &ldquo;big, fat, ugly bubble&rdquo; that will pop when the central bank raises rates. <strong>This riff has some truth to it.</strong></p> <p>Leave the conspiracy theory aside and look at the facts:<u><em><strong> Since the Fed began aggressive monetary easing in 2008, my calculations show that nearly 60% of stock market gains have come on those days, once every six weeks, that the Federal Open Market Committee announces its policy decisions.</strong></em></u></p> <p><strong>Put another way, the S&amp;P 500 index has gained 699 points since January 2008, and 422 of those points came on the 70 Fed announcement days. </strong>The average gain on announcement days was 0.49%, or roughly 50 times higher than the average gain of 0.01% on other days.</p> <p><strong>This is a sign of dysfunction.</strong> The stock market should be a barometer of the economy, but in practice it has become a barometer of Fed policy.</p> <p>My research, dating to 1960, shows that this stock-market partying on Fed announcement days is a relatively new and increasingly powerful feature of the economy. Fed policy proclamations had little influence on the stock market before 1980. Between 1980 and 2007, returns on Fed announcement days averaged 0.24%, about half as much as during the current easing cycle. The effect of Fed announcements rose sharply after 2008 when the Fed launched the early rounds of quantitative easing (usually called QE), its bond purchases intended to inject money into the economy.</p> <p><strong>It might seem that the market effect of the Fed&rsquo;s easy-money policies has dissipated in the past couple of years. </strong>The S&amp;P 500 has been moving sideways since 2014, when the central bank announced it would wind down its QE program.</p> <p><u><strong>But this is an illusion. </strong></u>Stock prices have held steady even though corporate earnings have been falling since 2014. Valuations&mdash;the ratio of price to earnings&mdash;continue to rise. With investors searching for yield in the low interest-rate world created by the Fed, the valuations of stocks that pay high dividends are particularly stretched. <strong>The markets are as dependent on the Fed as ever.</strong></p> <p>Last week the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development <a class="icon none" href="" target="_blank">warned</a> that &ldquo;financial instability risks are rising,&rdquo; in part because easy money is driving up asset prices. At least two regional Fed presidents, <a href="">Eric Rosengren</a> in Boston and Esther George in Kansas City, have warned recently of a potential asset bubble in commercial real estate.</p> <p><strong>Their language falls well short of the alarmism of Mr. Trump, who in Monday&rsquo;s debate predicted that the stock market will &ldquo;come crashing down&rdquo; if the Fed raises rates &ldquo;even a little bit.&rdquo; But it is fair to say that many serious people share his basic concern.</strong></p> <p>Whether this is a &ldquo;big, fat, ugly bubble&rdquo; depends on how one defines a bubble. But a composite index for stocks, bonds and homes shows that their combined valuations have never been higher in 50 years. Housing prices have been rising faster than incomes, putting a first home out of reach for many Americans.</p> <p><strong>Fed Chair <a href="">Janet Yellen</a> did come into office sounding unusually political, promising to govern in the interest of &ldquo;Main Street not Wall Street,&rdquo; although that promise hasn&rsquo;t panned out.</strong> Mr. Trump was basically right in saying that Fed policy has done more to boost the prices of financial assets&mdash;including stocks, bonds and housing&mdash;than it has done to help the economy overall.</p> <p><strong>The increasingly close and risky link between the Fed&rsquo;s easy-money policies and financial markets has been demonstrated again in recent days. </strong>Early this month, some Fed governors indicated that the central bank might at long last raise interest rates at its next meeting. The stock market dropped sharply in response. Then when decision time came on Sept. 21 and the Fed left rates unchanged, stock prices rallied by 1% that day.</p> <p><u><strong>Mr. Trump was also right that despite the Fed&rsquo;s efforts, the U.S. has experienced &ldquo;the worst revival of an economy since the Great Depression.&rdquo;</strong></u> The economy&rsquo;s growth rate is well below its precrisis norm, and the benefits have been slow to reach the middle class and Main Street. Much of the Fed&rsquo;s easy money has gone into financial engineering, as companies borrow billions of dollars to buy back their own stock. Corporate debt as a share of GDP has risen to match the highs hit before the 2008 crisis.</p> <p><u><strong>That kind of finance does more to increase asset prices than to help the middle class.</strong></u> Since the rich own more assets, they gain the most. In this way the Fed&rsquo;s policies have fueled a sharp rise in wealth inequality world-wide&mdash;and a boom in the global population of billionaires. Ironically, rising resentment against such inequality is lifting the electoral prospects of angry populists like Mr. Trump, a billionaire promising to fight for the little guy. <strong>His rants may often be inaccurate, but regarding the ripple effects of the Fed&rsquo;s easy money, Mr. Trump is directly on point.</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="586" height="405" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bond Commercial Real Estate Donald Trump Federal Reserve Great Depression Housing Prices Janet Yellen Main Street Morgan Stanley Quantitative Easing Real estate Wall Street Journal Thu, 29 Sep 2016 23:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 573618 at