FBI Uncovered Russian Bribery Plot Before Obama Approved Uranium One Deal, Netting Clintons Millions

As the mainstream media continues to obsess over $100,000 worth Facebook ads allegedly purchased by Russian spies in 2016 seeking to throw the presidential election, we’re almost certain they’ll ignore the much larger Russian bombshell dropped today in the form of newly released FBI documents that reveal for the very first time that the Obama administration was well aware of illegal bribery, extortion and money laundering schemes being conducted by the Russians to get a foothold in the atomic energy business in the U. S. before approving a deal that handed them 20% of America’s uranium reserves…and resulted in a windfall of donations to the Clinton Foundation.
As we pointed out last summer when Peter Schweizer first released his feature documentary Clinton Cash, the Uranium One deal, as approved by the Obama Administration, netted the Clintons and their Clinton Foundation millions of dollars in donations and ‘speaking fees’ from Uranium One shareholders and other Russian entities.
Russian Purchase of US Uranium Assets in Return for $145mm in Contributions to the Clinton Foundation – Bill and Hillary Clinton assisted a Canadian financier, Frank Giustra, and his company, Uranium One, in the acquisition of uranium mining concessions in Kazakhstan and the United States. Subsequently, the Russian government sought to purchase Uranium One but required approval from the Obama administration given the strategic importance of the uranium assets. In the run-up to the approval of the deal by the State Department, nine shareholders of Uranium One just happened to make $145mm in donations to the Clinton Foundation. Moreover, the New Yorker confirmed that Bill Clinton received $500,000 in speaking fees from a Russian investment bank, with ties to the Kremlin, around the same time. Needless to say, the State Department approved the deal giving Russia ownership of 20% of U. S. uranium assets

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 17, 2017.

The U.S. Owes UNESCO Half A Billion Dollars

This week, the U. S. and Israel announced that they would be withdrawing from UNESCO, citing ‘continuing anti-Israel bias’.
As Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes, the move comes as a major blow to the organization which is known for designating cultural sites around the world such as the Grand Canyon or ancient Palmyra in Syria.
The U. S. has been expected to pay the bulk of UNESCO’s budget for years and it cancelled its financial contributions back in 2011 in protest of Palestine’s admission as a full member.
In the years since, it has amassed significant arrears of over $500 million…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 15, 2017.

Trump To Scrap Crucial Obamacare Insurer Subsidy

Update: Late Thursday, the administration said it would immediately stop paying what are known as cost-sharing reduction subsidies. The payments go to health insurers in the Affordable Care Act to help lower-income people with co-pays and other cost sharing. Without them, insurers have said they’ll dramatically raise premiums or pull out of the law’s state-based markets.
According to Bloomberg, the White House said the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services both concluded that there is no appropriation for cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies under Obamacare. ‘The bailout of insurance companies through these unlawful payments is yet another example of how the previous administration abused taxpayer dollars and skirted the law to prop up a broken system,’ the White House said in the statement.
The payments will stop immediately, with no transition period, Acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. They next payments were due next week.
‘Congress has not appropriated money for CSRs, and we will discontinue these payments immediately,’ the department said.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 13, 2017.

Empire Destroying Wars Are Coming to America Under Trump – Part 2

Replace flag with Constitution and you've actually said something with substance. — Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) October 8, 2017

WAR is a racket. It always has been.
It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.
– Major General Smedley Butler, War is a Racket (1935)
Yesterday’s post, Empire Destroying Wars Are Coming to America Under Trump – Part 1, outlined my view that President Donald Trump, despite campaign slogans to focus on ‘America First,’ is likely to entangle the nation in major new wars which will precipitate a chaotic and dangerous collapse of U. S. empire.
I base this view on his actions since coming into office, as well as the bloodthirsty war hawks he’s increasingly turning to for advice, with Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton being the most concerning of all. Today’s post will dig into how Trump will attempt to sell his wars, and will also address the role corporate media is likely to play in the legitimization of any future destructive conflagration.

This post was published at Liberty Blitzkrieg on Oct 11, 2017.

Is It Time To Take North Korea’s Cyber Weaponry Seriously?

Analysts say cyber capabilities have become a key asset in North Korea’s war chest. Pyongyang’s increasingly bold attacks in the virtual space have come in tandem with the hermit nation’s rapidly progressing ballistic missile and nuclear programs and some say that it’s time this is taken very seriously.
The rogue regime has used cyber attacks for a wide range of purposes including hacking adversaries like South Korea and pilfering money. North Korea’s hackers have been accused of carrying out some of the most audacious cyber attacks of the past few years, from siphoning millions of dollars to stealing state secrets.
‘North Korea’s cyber weapons are as destructive as its conventional weapons,’ Lim Jong-in, a cybersecurity professor at Korea University, told CNN. ‘Tomahawk missiles can paralyze a major country’s power grid and financial system. So do North Korea’s cyber weapons.’ Lim continued, saying: ‘Cyber experts say North Korea should be ranked among the top 5 in the world. I believe North Korea can steal anything they want through cyber espionage. No country is safe from its cyber espionage.’

This post was published at shtfplan on October 11th, 2017.

Mapping The World’s Trillion-Dollar Asset-Manager Club

In the late 1700s, it was the start of the battle of stock exchanges: in 1773, the London Stock Exchange was formed, and the New York Stock Exchange was formed just 19 years later.
And while London was a preferred destination for international finance at the time, Visual Capitalist’s Jeff Desjardins notesthat England also had laws that restricted the formation of new joint-stock companies. The law was repealed in 1825, but by then it was already too late.
In the U. S., exchanges in New York City and Philadelphia took full advantage by dealing in stocks early on. Eventually, for this and a variety of other reasons, the NYSE emerged as the most dominant exchange in the world – helping propel New York and Wall Street to the center of finance.
THE CENTER OF FINANCE
Wall Street, and the U. S. in general, is now synonymous with finance – and most of the world’s largest banks, funds, and investors maintain a presence nearby. The biggest asset management companies, which pool investments into securities such as stocks and bonds on behalf of investors, are no exception to this.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 10, 2017.

One Day After Historic Saudi-Russian Summit, US Suspends Military Exercises With “Arab Allies”

Russia no longer even has to lift a finger (or buy a few thousands dollars worth of Facebook ads) to steal influence from the US in key geopolitical hotspots: the US can do so on its own.
According to the WSJ, the Pentagon halted military exercises with Gulf allies in a symbolic rebuke to countries caught in the ongoing diplomatic spat with Qatar that has eroded counterterrorism cooperation in the region, soured relations between historical allies, and allowed outside powers to establish substantial footholds in the region

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 6, 2017.

‘Draining the Swamp’ – Trump Admin Blows $11 Billion in the Last Week of Fiscal Year

If you need further evidence regarding how wasteful and irresponsible Washington D. C. is when it comes to our tax dollars, look no further than the behavior of agencies under Donald ‘drain the swamp’ Trump.
This year’s spending binge amounted to $11 billion in the last fiscal year week of 2017, and many of the excesses were detailed by Open the Books Founder and CEO, Adam Andrzejewski, in a recent Forbesarticle.
Here are some of the highlights from the piece, Use It Or Lose It – Trump’s Agencies Spent $11 Billion Last Week In Year-End Spending Spree:
Every September, the end of the fiscal year sparks a ‘use it or lose it’ spending frenzy as federal agencies race to use up what’s left in their annual budgets. It’s a phenomenon that should drive taxpayers crazy. Agencies are afraid that if they spend less than their budget allows, Congress might send them less money in the next year. Agencies often try to spend everything that’s left instead of admitting they can operate on less.
Here are the top ten ways the government wasted taxpayer money in the last week of FY2017:

This post was published at Liberty Blitzkrieg on Oct 5, 2017.

Russia Increases Economic Support For North Korea As China Backs Away

Over the past two months, China, North Korea’s economic benefactor and formally the source of 90% of its foreign trade, has been withdrawing financial support, ostensibly under the auspices of US sanctions, as Communist Party leaders try to rein in the North’s nuclear program to appease the US and prevent a potentially destabilizing conflict on its border – a development that would be particularly unwelcome during the Communist Party’s upcoming national congress.
As we reported earlier this week, North Korea’s thriving black-market economy (the county earns hundreds of millions of dollars a year from illegal weapons sales, along with other illicit activities rumored to include counterfeiting of US dollars and the manufacture of methamphetamine) has helped blunt the economic impact of UN sanctions meant to reduce the country’s legitimate exports by 90%.
Last month, China ordered North Korean businesses operating in the country to close, and asked its banks to stop doing business with North Korean businesses and individuals in accordance with the latest round of UN Security Council sanctions.
But as China withdraws, Reuters reports that Russia, which shares a small border with North Korea along the country’s eastern flank, is quietly stepping in to offer economic support for its restive neighbor, even after declining to use its veto power to kill UN sanctions against the rogue state.
Russia’s reasoning is simple: If the North Korean regime falls, more US troops could deploy near Russia’s eastern border – an eventuality that Moscow would like to avoid, given the NATO buildup in Europe.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 5, 2017.

Texas Lawyer Says Neighbors Need To Stop Complaining About His New Tank

Wealthy homeowners in one tiny Fort Worth suburb say their neighbor’s decision to park a World War II-era tank in front of his multimillion-dollar home is making them nervous.
At least that’s what attorney Tony Buzbee, a history buff who purchased the WWII tank for $600,000 earlier this year, learned when his neighborhood homeowners’ association sent him a letter saying the tank ‘impedes traffic’ and causes a ‘safety issue’ and ‘serious concerns for neighbors.”
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Buzbee says he’s temporarily storing the tank at his River Oaks, Texas home before moving it out to his ranch in East Texas later this year. But even though he’s made it clear that the tank’s presence is temporary, his neighbors are pressing him to remove the tank as soon as possible, according to Houston’s KHOU television station.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 3, 2017.

Chris Hedges On The End Of Empire: “The Death Spiral Appears Unstoppable”

The American empire is coming to an end. The U. S. economy is being drained by wars in the Middle East and vast military expansion around the globe. It is burdened by growing deficits, along with the devastating effects of deindustrialization and global trade agreements. Our democracy has been captured and destroyed by corporations that steadily demand more tax cuts, more deregulation and impunity from prosecution for massive acts of financial fraud, all the while looting trillions from the U. S. treasury in the form of bailouts. The nation has lost the power and respect needed to induce allies in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa to do its bidding. Add to this the mounting destruction caused by climate change and you have a recipe for an emerging dystopia. Overseeing this descent at the highest levels of the federal and state governments is a motley collection of imbeciles, con artists, thieves, opportunists and warmongering generals. And to be clear, I am speaking about Democrats, too.
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The empire will limp along, steadily losing influence until the dollar is dropped as the world’s reserve currency, plunging the United States into a crippling depression and instantly forcing a massive contraction of its military machine.
Short of a sudden and widespread popular revolt, which does not seem likely, the death spiral appears unstoppable, meaning the United States as we know it will no longer exist within a decade or, at most, two. The global vacuum we leave behind will be filled by China, already establishing itself as an economic and military juggernaut, or perhaps there will be a multipolar world carved up among Russia, China, India, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and a few other states. Or maybe the void will be filled, as the historian Alfred W. McCoy writes in his book ‘In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power,’ by ‘a coalition of transnational corporations, multilateral military forces like NATO, and an international financial leadership self-selected at Davos and Bilderberg’ that will ‘forge a supranational nexus to supersede any nation or empire.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 3, 2017.

North Korean Ship Carrying 30,000 Rocket Launchers Seized By Egypt

In a fascinating report that provides a glimpse into the shadowy North Korean black-market economy, the Washington Post has published a story about a 2016 incident in which Egyptian authorities intercepted a North Korean ship bearing a Cambodian flag after being alerted by US authorities. After searching the ship, Egyptian law enforcement discovered something unexpected: a trove of nearly 24,000 rocket launchers, and components for 6,000 more weapons, hidden below a large pile of loose iron ore.
But perhaps the biggest surprise for the Egyptian authorities emerged when they tried to determine for whom the weapons were intended, and discovered that they had been secretly purchased by the Egyptian military in violation of international sanctions against NK arms sales. Further compounding the irony, Egypt had recently joined the UN Security Council – the international body sponsoring said sanctions – before deciding to circumvent them and buy the weapons.
As has been widely reported in the US media, North Korea reaps profits from several illegal rackets, believed to include counterfeiting of US dollars to the sale and distribution of methamphetamine. Now, we can add to that list the clandestine sale of Soviet-area conventional weapons, of which the North retains a massive stockpile, though it also manufactures its own copies.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 2, 2017.

2009 – 2016: Was the Eight-Year Experiment in Maintaining the Status Quo a Success or a Failure?

Clearly, the core strategy of maintaining the status quo is to borrow and spend trillions of additional dollars every year.
The Obama presidency was a grand experiment to test this thesis: the status quo of the U. S. is a self-correcting mechanism. Left to its own devices, it will automatically correct any socio-economic-political imbalances, given enough time.
The Grand Strategy of the post-Global Financial Crisis era was simple: maintain the status quo as is. The Obama administration’s major policy initiative, ObamaCare, a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act, was nothing but the formalization of the existing status quo in healthcare, i.e. the taxpayers subsidize private-sector profiteering.
That is the Affordable Care Act in a nutshell. Costs have not declined, the health of Americans can hardly be said to have improved significantly, but garsh, did healthcare sector profits soar. Most importantly, the status quo was maintained: nothing actually changed in the insurance, pharmaceutical or hospital sectors.
The same can be said for every other sector of the economy: nothing really changed, just more of the same. Higher education: nothing changed, just more student loan debt was issued. The defense industry: more of the same. Global War on Terror, a.k.a. The National Security State–more billions sluiced into the shadows.
President Obama was a master of telling everyone what they wanted to hear while changing nothing in the basic structure of the Empire. The Imperial Imperative of destabilizing nations that didn’t meet with Imperial approval continued unchanged. The murder-by-drone campaign expanded, the support of a hopelessly corrupt regime in Afghanistan continued unchanged, and so on.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on OCTOBER 01, 2017.

Assange Reminds The World That Facebook Did Collude In 2016, But With Hillary

As Congress and the U. S. news media continue to lose their collective minds over what appears to be a meaningless amount of advertising dollars purchased on Facebook by “potentially Russian linked” accounts, Julian Assange offered up a helpful reminder that if Silicon Valley’s tech billionaires colluded with anyone in the months leading up to the 2016 election it was Hillary Clinton, who they all “wanted to win badly.”
Podesta emails reveal that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg wanted Hillary Clinton to win "badly", provided research to her in March 2015 and met privately with her on multiple occasions. pic.twitter.com/dqyRG2zuln
— Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) September 28, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 29, 2017.

‘Russia Did It’ – The New Age of McCarthyism

Make no mistake about it: the United States has entered an era of a New McCarthyism that blames nearly every political problem on Russia and has begun targeting American citizens who don’t go along with this New Cold War propaganda.
A difference, however, from the McCarthyism of the 1950s is that this New McCarthyism has enlisted Democrats, liberals and even progressives in the cause because of their disgust with President Trump; the 1950s version was driven by Republicans and the Right with much of the Left on the receiving end, maligned by the likes of Sen. Joe McCarthy as ‘un-American’ and as Communism’s ‘fellow travelers.’
The real winners in this New McCarthyism appear to be the neoconservatives who have leveraged the Democratic/liberal hatred of Trump to draw much of the Left into the political hysteria that sees the controversy over alleged Russian political ‘meddling’ as an opportunity to ‘get Trump.’
Already, the neocons and their allies have exploited the anti-Russian frenzy to extract tens of millions of dollars more from the taxpayers for programs to ‘combat Russian propaganda,’ i.e., funding of non-governmental organizations and ‘scholars’ who target dissident Americans for challenging the justifications for this New Cold War.
The Washington Post, which for years has served as the flagship for neocon propaganda, is again charting the new course for America, much as it did in rallying U. S. public backing for the 2003 invasion of Iraq and in building sympathy for abortive ‘regime change’ projects aimed at Syria and Iran. The Post has begun blaming almost every unpleasant development in the world on Russia! Russia! Russia!

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on SEPTEMBER 29, 2017.

Patriotism Is A Two-Edged Sword

I sometimes wonder if America’s greatest threat is the population’s hyper-patriotism. The bulk of the population is now at work shutting down the NFL players’ First Amendment rights, and none of the incensed censors are capable of understanding that it is they, and not the NFL players, who are attacking the U. S. Constitution. We have been through all this flag business before, and federal courts have ruled for the protesters who burnt flags, wore them on their clothes, whatever. Yet, here we go again.
Hardwick Clothes CEO pulls the company’s advertising from NFL games. Insofar as advertising helps Hardwick’s shareholders, CEO Allan Jones is hurting his own shareholders in order to protest the NFL players’ protests, a thought that probably never occurred to him. According to this report – – white people across the country are burning their NFL shirts and their expensive tickets for which they paid hundreds of dollars.

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on September 28, 2017.

Buffett, Boomers, & The End Of A Bygone Era

Golden Age
Once upon a time the capital markets consisted of a fairly closed community, comprised on one side by mostly clever, well-connected men working together in syndicate to maintain control over national economic and financial affairs, and on the other side by mostly high earners spread disparately across the land hobnobbing with the syndicate’s local representatives.
It was a privileged ecosystem sanctioned by legally-greased law makers and reluctantly accepted by the great unwashed that acquiesced because capitalism was better than recently defeated fascism and postWar communism, and because, with hard work and production, they too could join the club.
A sequential series of naturally-occurring events successfully transformed and democratized the formerly clubby ecosystem, but in doing so embedded CAT 5 risks into the global productive economy. Consider…
Over-spending by US lawmakers in the 1960s led to the end of the global fixed exchange rate monetary system in the 1970s. US dollars and global assets could begin to be leveraged without limit. Global exporters of oil demanded more money in exchange for their finite resource.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 25, 2017.

Trump goes to war with NFL: what happened

There is a ton of news about what the current NFL protests mean, politically speaking. For the moment, I’m leaving that out. I want to take a different angle.
The first thing to know is that Donald Trump once played a key role in an upstart pro football league called the USFL, which lasted three seasons (1983-85) before it collapsed.
As the owner of the New Jersey Generals and the most powerful force in the League, Trump went up against the NFL. He wanted the USFL to schedule its games opposite the NFL starting in the fall, not the spring. Trump was a key player in suing the NFL for monopolistic practices.
The USFL won that suit, and was awarded the grand sum of…three dollars. Yes.
So The Donald has held a grudge against the NFL for a long time.
His recent tweets and statements, urging the league to take action against players disrespecting the National Anthem, urging teams to fire protesting players…all this has a history.
But there is a deeper story, and it emerges at a time when television ratings for the NFL have already been declining, and the television networks – especially ESPN – are carrying massive billion-dollar contracts with the NFL for the rights to broadcast games.

This post was published at Jon Rappoport on September 25, 2017.

Financialization and The Destruction of the Real Economy

Strip an economy of capital, productive incentives, talent and yes, ethics, and what are we left with? An economy spiraling toward an inevitable collapse. Financialization is destroying the real economy, but few in power seem to notice or care. The reason why is painfully obvious: those in power are reaping vast fortunes from the engines of financialization–for example, former President Obama:Obama Goes From White House to Wall Street in Less Than One Year. This is not to single out President Obama as a special case; politicos across the spectrum depend on the engines of financialization to fund their campaigns and make them multi-millionaires, and corporate managers and financiers have skimmed billions of dollars in gains not from producing new, better and more affordable goods and services but by playing financialization games such as borrowing billions to buy back stocks, leveraged buyouts, and so on–all of which have reaped the insiders gargantuan fortunes while hollowing out the real economy.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2017.

Trump’s China-Sanctions Madness Imperils the Dollar

Last week US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin warned the US will impose new sanctions on China if it doesn’t conform to UN sanctions on North Korea:
“If China doesn’t follow these sanctions, we will put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the U. S. and international dollar system, and that’s quite meaningful.”
In other words, the administration wants to sanction one of the US’s biggest trading partners, and the world’s second-largest economy.
China is the world’s third-largest recipient of Americans exports, behind only Canada and Mexico. China is the world’s largest source of imports for Americans, slightly ahead of both Mexico and Canada.
In 2016, Americans exported $169 billion in goods and services to China while importing $478 billion of goods and services. Every year, both consumers and producers benefit from the importation of Chinese electronics, machinery, food, footwear, and more.
Ratcheting up economic warfare with China could serve to cut off these avenues of trade and thus will only cost consumers and small business owners who currently benefit from lower-cost machinery, clothing, and more.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on September 20, 2017.