This post was published at X22Report
Authored by Dan Backer via Investors.com,
In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of my client, Alabama engineer Shaun McCutcheon, in his challenge to the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) outdated “aggregate limits,” which effectively limited how many candidates any one donor could support.
Anti-speech liberals railed against McCutcheon’s win, arguing it would create supersized “Joint Fundraising Committees” (JFCs). In court, they claimed these JFCs would allow a single donor to cut a multimillion-dollar check, and the JFC would then route funds through dozens of participating state parties, who would then funnel it back to the final recipient.
Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer claimed the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon v. FEC ruling would lead to “the system of legalized bribery recreated that existed prior to Watergate.” The Supreme Court, in ruling for us, flatly stated such a scheme would still be illegal.
The Democrats’ response? Hold my beer.
The Committee to Defend the President has filed an FEC complaint against Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Democratic National Committee (DNC), Democratic state parties and Democratic mega-donors.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Wed, 12/27/2017.
Authore by Leonid Brershidky via Bloomberg.com,
During Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual press conference on Thursday, a friendly journalist asked Putin whether the escalating tension in relations with the U. S. and the crumbling of arms control treaties would draw Russia into an unsustainable arms race. “We will ensure our security without engaging in an arms race,” the president replied, citing widely diverging dollar numbers for the U. S. and Russian defense budgets.
That’s a simplistic answer from a politician starting an election campaign (of sorts: Putin is headed for re-election in March without giving anyone else a chance). The more pointed question that should be asked is this: How, with a relatively small and decreasing military budget — 2.77 trillion rubles ($42.3 billion) for 2018, down from some 3.05 trillion rubles this year — is Russia is still a formidable military rival to the U. S., with its enormous and increasing budget of almost $692.1 billion in 2018, up from $583 billion this year?
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.
It’s far from easy to do business without the financial support of any bank. But Uruguay, in its efforts to create a legal, regulated market for the recreational use of marijuana, is trying. In August it was revealed that some of the pharmacies that had agreed to sell the two varieties of cannabis distributed by the Uruguayan State had received threats from their respective banks, including the local subsidiary of Spain’s Santander, that they would close their accounts unless they stopped participating in the state-controlled sales.
To fill the funding void, the state-owned lender Banco Repblica (BROU) announced that it would provide credit to the pharmacies involved in the scheme as well as producers and clubs. But within days, it too was given a stark ultimatum, this time from two of Wall Street’s biggest hitters, Bank of America and Citi: Either it stopped providing financing for Uruguay’s licensed marijuana producers and vendors or it’s dollar operations could be at risk – a very serious threat in a country where US dollars are used so widely that they can even be withdrawn from ATMs.
Why Drug Lords Love the Patriot Act
The main reason why this is all happening is that under the US Patriot Act, handling money from marijuana is illegal and violates measures to control money laundering and terrorist acts. Despite the fact that US regulators have made it clear that banks will not be prosecuted for providing services to businesses that are lawfully selling cannabis in states where pot has been legalized for recreational use, major banks have shied away from the expanding industry, deciding that the burdens and risks of doing business with marijuana sellers, both within and beyond U. S. borders, are not worth the bother.
This post was published at Wolf Street on Dec 18, 2017.
After decades of waste, overpayments, trillions of missing or improperly accounted for dollars, and most recently losing track of 44,000 US soldiers, the Pentagon is about to undergo its first audit in history conducted by 2,400 auditors from independent public accounting firms to conduct reviews across the Army, Navy, Air Force and more – followed by annual audits going forward.
The announcement follows a May commitment by Pentagon comptroller David Norquist, who previously served as the CFO at the Department of Homeland Security when the agency performed its audit. “Starting an audit is a matter of driving change inside a bureaucracy that may resist it,” Norquist told members of the Armed Services Committee at the time when pressed over whether or not he could get the job done at the DHS.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 10, 2017.
Jihadism has been radiating out of Pakistan for decades and causing problems for the country’s relationships with other governments. Lately, however, it’s been Pakistan itself that is suffering from its homegrown Islamism. The country was founded on a contradiction between secularism and Islamism, and though it has covered up its incoherence, it has never overcome it. The contradiction is finally catching up to the country, and things in Pakistan will get worse before they get better.
Evidence that things in Pakistan are reaching their boiling point came, paradoxically, from the outside. A Nov. 22 report by a Pakistani daily said that a Chinese delegation visiting Pakistan had expressed concerns that political instability could adversely affect the tens of billions of dollars that China was investing in the South Asian nation. The report said that on Nov. 21, a joint committee on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor – part of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative – approved the broad parameters of a long-term plan for the CPEC but failed to agree on development projects and financing for special economic zones. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, a Pakistani minister who serves as the country’s point man on the CPEC acknowledged that political unrest since 2014 was undermining the mega-development project.
This post was published at Mauldin Economics on DECEMBER 4, 2017.
The Surveillance State has created an apparatus whose implications are staggering. It’s a different world now. And sometimes it takes a writer of fiction to flesh out the larger landscape.
Brad Thor’s novel, Black List, posits the existence of a monster corporation, ATS, which stands alongside the NSA in collecting information on every move we make. ATS’ intelligence-gathering capability is unmatched anywhere in the world.
On pages 117-118 of Black List, Thor makes a stunning inference that, on reflection, is as obvious as the fingers on your hand:
‘For years ATS had been using its technological superiority to conduct massive insider trading. Since the early 1980s, the company had spied on anyone and everyone in the financial world. They listened in on phone calls, intercepted faxes, and evolved right along with the technology, hacking internal computer networks and e-mail accounts. They created mountains of ‘black dollars’ for themselves, which they washed through various programs they were running under secret contract, far from the prying eyes of financial regulators.
This post was published at Jon Rappoport on December 1, 2017.
Authored by Andrew Korybko via Oriental Review,
Poland announced that it will purchase $10.5 billion worth of anti-air Patriot missiles from the US.
Technically, the official news event is that the State Department approved the possible sale and that Congress has 30 days to block it, but for all intents and purposes it’s widely considered that the deal will go through as planned. This means that the Central European country will strengthen its frontline position as NATO’s anti-Russian vanguard, crucially functioning as an indispensable component of the missile defense shield that the US is constructing around Russia’s borders. In and of itself, the Patriot system is presently incapable of neutralizing Russia’s nuclear strike capabilities, especially given the hypersonic missile advancements that Moscow has undertaken over the past couple of years in invalidating this strategy, but it worryingly sets the precedent that further missile-related infrastructure could one day be deployed on Russia’s borders.
The latent threat that this represents could also see Poland acquiring cruise missiles in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, whether to augment its ground-based systems or its planned submarine ones in the future. Per the former, cruise missiles could be deployed to Poland under the guise of being Patriot anti-missile munitions, with Moscow being unable to adequately ascertain whether Warsaw is building up its defensive or offensive strike capabilities. This will likely contribute to the spiraling security dilemma between Russia and NATO, and Russia and Poland in particular, though with the inadvertent consequence being that Poland is essentially paying billions of dollars to improve its anti-Russian ‘soft power’ credentials among its own population and the West at large.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 28, 2017.
While in Baltimore City, Maryland, death and despair are a few things that are plentiful as the region descends into chaos. Deindustrialization coupled with depopulation started in the 1960s stripping the city of economic wealth. Many don’t want to admit, the city is shrinking as their looking glass is clouded with Kevin Plank’s gentrification narrative.
Wealth inequality in the area is some of the widest in the United States with more than 100,000 African Americans with zero dollars to their name, according to JPM. Baltimore is a skeleton of what it once was many decades ago when it had its industries.
Now, 46,800 homes are vacant – almost 16% of the housing stock as citizens are either leaving the area or being pushed into multi-family complexes by the city. Neighborhoods are rotting away as the local economy crumbles giving way to a surge in homicides. Baltimore is on track for the worse year ever with a homicide rate the highest in the United States.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 22, 2017.
If we felt empowered in daily life, would we be so enamored of superheroes constantly saving our world from destruction?
It’s been widely noted that the U. S. film industry ably functions as a pro-global hegemony propaganda machine: even when the plot features evil rogue elements at work in a global-hegemony agency (Pentagon, CIA, NSA, etc.), the competence of the agency is never in doubt, nor is the agency’s ability to rid itself of the evil rogue element. Evil conspiracies are revealed and the Good Guys/Gals win. This depiction of official competence and the moral righteousness of patriotic employees is not surprising; these agencies have long “cooperated” with Hollywood on many levels. More troubling is the recent film-industry depiction of our dependence on superheroes and their superpowers to set things right. The benign view is that Hollywood is always seeking new billion-dollar source materials for multi-film franchises, and comic book heroes are tailor-made for franchises: not only can multiple films be made about individual superheroes, but the potential for mix-and-match combinations of superheroes is practically endless.
This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2017.