Note how the latest GOP tax plan has converged with that proposed weeks ago by Goldman Sachs pic.twitter.com/rcmczAFPWH — zerohedge (@zerohedge) November 6, 2017
It’s official: The Republican tax reform bill is dead on arrival in the Senate now that John McCain has become the third Republican senator to confirm that he plans to vote against it. What’s worse for the Trump administration, McCain reportedly wants the bill to receive input from both parties – a criticism that he cited as his reason for voting against the Trump administration’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. This is particularly problematic because there’s approximately zero chance that any Democratic lawmakers will break ranks to vote with Republicans, despite President Donald Trump repeatedly saying that he expects to win a modicum of bipartisan support. McCain reportedly confirmed that the bill in its current form is effectively DOA during an interview with Fox Business’s Charlie Gasparino.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 6, 2017.
While claiming to fight ‘The Deep State’ and drain the swamp, Donald Trump fights to save a controversial law which serves as a powerful tool for The Deep State. The first year of Donald Trump’s presidency is coming to a conclusion and all but his most blind supporters can now see that he is more of the same – a continuation of the puppet in chief bowing to the interests of the military-industrial complex and the banking/financial elite. The collective interests of these groups (and their front organizations) – as well as their connection to corporate and state power, academia, and media – are what have come to be known as the New World Order, the Shadow Government, or more recently, The Deep State. Since coming into office, Donald Trump has continued the Deep State plan of military expansion into the Middle East and Africa. This expansion has led to an increase in airstrikes, drone attacks, and the deaths of innocent people. He has also continued to place banking executives from Goldman Sachs in powerful positions and just today called Janet Yellen, the current head of the Federal Reserve, ‘excellent.’ I won’t hold my breath for him to audit, let alone end the debt enslavement created via the Federal Reserve system. He even appointed a former Bilderberg attendee. Trump has also played the role of great deceiver by promising to fix America’s illegal immigration problem while actually promoting the building of a border wall complete with drone surveillance, automatic license plate readers, biometric scanning via the face and retina, and DNA collection for VISA applicants. Under the guise of ‘border security,’ Americans are being duped into caging themselves in an increasingly totalitarian police and surveillance state.
With NAFTA negotiations going badly, Goldman Sachs has published a report, ‘Thoughts on the Potential US Withdrawal from NAFTA’, that concludes that the US is likely to withdraw from the trade agreement next year ‘At this point, efforts at revising the agreement look likely to be unsuccessful, though a deal is still possible, in our view. If the talks do not result in a revised agreement by early 2018, we believe that the Trump Administration could announce its intent to withdraw from NAFTA.’ The NAFTA agreement calls for a six-month notice period before a nation can withdraw and ‘we believe it would follow a similar pattern to the strategy the White House has used in recent decisions on immigration (the DACA program), Iran, and health subsidies. Each involved a disruption to the status quo pursuant to a campaign pledge, with delayed implementation and an expectation that a new arrangement might be negotiated in the interim.’ Trump has threatened to pull out of the pact several times if ‘America First’ demands are not met. Following an unsuccessful fourth round of discussions, the parties have accepted that end 2017 timeframe for reaching agreement will no longer be achieved and talks will extend into Q1 2018. According to Goldman, major sticking points in the talks are: 5-year sunset: The US has proposed that NAFTA would be terminated after 5 years unless all three parties agree to keep it in force. As a practical matter, this would result in a prescheduled renegotiation every ?ve years and increase uncertainty while the agreement is in effect, decreasing the bene?ts of the agreement on investment and cross-border trade ?ows.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 20, 2017.
The original, populist, “grassroots” Trump, the one who won the elections before surrounding himself with various Goldman Sachs-derived advisors, made a solid comeback this past week: just consider the flurry of recent actions undertaken by the president. When Trump ran for president last year, he frequently said that only he ‘alone’ could fix the nation’s problems. But once he took office, Trump attempted to follow the lead of Republicans on Capitol Hill, and he watched with dismay how little movement was made on priorities such as healthcare, immigration, and national security. And, after weeks of seeing his agenda imperiled by Republican divisions and infighting among his aides, Trump became a whirlwind of activity this week, reasserting his campaign priorities and trying to deliver wins for his fervent but frustrated base of supporters. Indeed, Trump took steps to dramatically undercut the Obamacare health system, sent notice he was willing to scuttle the nuclear deal with Iran, moved to roll back coal-plant limits, and again demanded a wall along the Mexican border. In doing so, Trump reverting back to conflicts and fights that defined the core of his campaign, and which drifted as Trump became increasingly more institutionalized by the Washington swamp. Meanwhile, on Twitter Trump increasingly relished his feuds with the news media, senior Republicans in Congress, and National Football League players who have protested during the national anthem.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 14, 2017.
There are a variety of reasons Trump supporters voted the way they did in November, but one clear message many found attractive was the idea his administration would be driven by an ‘America First’ doctrine. America first meant a lot of things to a lot of different people, running the gamut from economic populism and immigration, to an avoidance of barbaric and costly overseas wars. The economic populism part was the biggest ruse from day one, a betrayal which (as we had seen under Obama) became undeniable as soon as he started appointing lifelong swamp-dwelling billionaires and Goldman Sachs partners to run his administration. Irrespective of who you elect, Wall Street runs the empire, as Trump proved once again. The coming massive pivot when it comes to destructive wars abroad will take a little longer, but the writing’s been on the wall for months. I’ve published several posts on the topic, with the most popular one titled, Prepare for Impact – This is the Beginning of the End for U. S. Empire. Here’s an excerpt: This is not the sort of thing you see in a confident, brave, and civilized nation, it’s the sort of stuff you’d expect to see toward the end. It’s the stuff of craven war-mongers, of dishonest cowards, of a totally deranged and very dangerous media. The signs are everywhere; imperial decline is set to accelerate rapidly in the coming years… Expect more of all the above as the U. S. empire enters its most devastating phase of collapse. Think about what it might mean for you and your family and prepare accordingly.
After barely managing to scrape together the nearly $200 million needed to make a bond payment earlier this month (the country made the payment a week late), Embattled Venezeulan President Nicolas Maduro is refocusing his attention on the US, warning military leaders Tuesday to begin preparing for war with the US. Maduro’s call to arms comes after the US has repeatedly tightened sanctions against Maduro’s regime and the country’s state-run oil company; earlier this week, the Trump administration blocked Venezeulan officials from entering the US as part of the White House’s new ‘targeted’ travel ban. Trump has also repeatedly threatened a military intervention if Maduro doesn’t leave voluntarily. Maduro is probably still brooding over Trump’s call for the world community to help restore ‘democracy and political freedoms’ to Venezeula by ousting Maduro (to which Maduro reportedly responded in typical leftist fashion by comparing Trump to Hitler). Trump made those remarks last week during his first address to the UN General Assembly. Earlier this year, Trump said he wouldn’t rule out a military option for dealing with Venezuela, adding that the US has an obligation to take of the country because it’s “our neighbor.” Maduro said Trump’s threats were the reason for him ordering the military to be on alert. “We have been shamelessly threatened by the most criminal empire that ever existed and we have the obligation to prepare ourselves to guarantee peace,” said Maduro, who wore a green uniform and a military hat as he spoke with his army top brass during a military exercise involving tanks and missiles. “We need to have rifles, missiles and well-oiled tanks at the ready….to defend every inch of the territory if needs be,” he added. Over the summer, the US announced sanctions to prevent PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-owed oil company, from issuing new debt (sanctions that conveniently avoided existing bonds held by Goldman Sachs), while also preventing Citgo, the US subsidiary of PDVSA, from repatriating dividends. The US has also passed sanctions against many top Venezuelan officials. Tensions between Maduro and Trump started escalating shortly after Trump’s inauguration, when the US blacklisted Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami for drug trafficking.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 27, 2017.
But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg… Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error. Give a loose rein to them, they will support the true religion by bringing every false one to their tribunal, to the test of their investigation. – Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia Here’s a prediction. Right-wing snowflake culture will expand exponentially in the coming years, and its rise will be cynically and intentionally fueled by Donald Trump himself. Having proved himself a fake populist on most issues that actually matter, Trump has no choice but to move more enthusiastically into the culture war to deflect away from his obvious betrayal on economic populism and keep his diehard supporters in heat. In other words, he’ll do exactly what mainstream Democrats and Republicans have been doing for decades, which is distract the public and keep it fighting while oligarchs grab what little is left. This works out just fine for billionaire Trump and the Goldman Sachs guys running his administration. If I’m correct, how should we respond? How do those of us who see a creeping right-wing snowflake culture emerging push back? Rule number one is don’t act like a snowflake in response. Exposing hypocrisy with incisive rational arguments and humor is the best way to push back against right-wing authoritarianism, just like it’s the best way to push back against left-wing authoritarianism. The authoritarian mindset is the enemy of freedom loving people everywhere irrespective of your specific views on health care, taxes, etc. There are far bigger things at risk to us as a people if we allow ourselves to be divided into two separate authoritarian gangs fighting for power.
Guess who's winning the war on terror. pic.twitter.com/QbGEMJIBcS — Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) August 22, 2017
As I noted in last Friday’s piece, Donald Trump Finally Comes Out of the Closet, the firing of Steve Bannon represents the most significant event to occur during the Trump administration thus far. For the purposes of this piece, it’s important to review some of what I wrote: Irrespective of what you think of Bannon, him being out means Wall Street and the military-industrial complex is now 100% in control of the Trump administration. Prepare for an escalation of imperial war around the world and an expansion of brutal oligarchy. The removal of Bannon is the end of even a facade of populism. This is now the Goldman Sachs Presidency with a thin-skinned, unthinking authoritarian as a figurehead. Meanwhile, guess who’s still there in addition to the Goldman executives? Weed obsessed, civil asset forfeiture supporting Jefferson Sessions. The Trump administration just bacame ten times more dangerous than it was before. With the coup successful, Trump no longer needs to be impeached. Here’s another prediction. Watch the corporate media start to lay off Trump a bit more going forward. Rather than hysterically demonize him for every little thing, corporate media will increasingly give him more of the benefit of the doubt. After all, a Presidency run by Goldman Sachs and generals is exactly what they like. Trump finally came out of the closet as the anti-populist oligarch he is, and the results won’t be pretty.
As summer draws to a close and the Wall Street titans enjoy the last of their lazy long weekends in the Hamptons, summering next door to the army of lawyers that keep them out of jail, it’s a curious time to be reading about a major new lawsuit that has the potential to shake Wall Streeters right down to their Gucci loafers. The charges include conspiracy to restrain trade in violation of the Sherman Act and unjust enrichment in a $1.7 trillion market. Since the Senate hearings of the early 1930s, which examined the Wall Street practices and conspiracies that led to the 1929-1932 stock market collapse and Great Depression, there have been rumblings that Wall Street’s system for lending stock for traders to short is a viper’s nest of ripoffs. Now two major law firms, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Cohen Milstein are suing six of the largest Wall Street banks, alleging that they illegally colluded in this market. The defendants are the usual suspects: JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, UBS and their stock lending units. (The only surprise here is that Citigroup is not named.) You know there’s some high minded legal talent involved when the lawsuit quotes Tolstoy. The plaintiffs’ lawyers tell the Federal Court: ‘To paraphrase Tolstoy, all efficient markets resemble one another, but each inefficient market is inefficient in its own way. This case concerns a market variously called the ‘stock loan,’ ‘stock lending,’ or ‘securities lending’ market. It is one of the largest and most important financial markets that exists in the world today. Unlike many other financial markets, the stock loan market has not evolved to reflect the ways in which modern technology can facilitate efficient and transparent electronic trading. Instead, the stock loan market remains an inefficient, antiquated, and opaque over-the-counter (‘OTC’) trading market dominated by large dealer banks, principally the Prime Broker Defendants. These banks have structured the market in such a way that they take a large cut of nearly every stock loan trade that is made. This arrangement is good for the Prime Broker Defendants. But it is bad for virtually everyone else, including the class members in this case.’
In this article, I’m not going to trace and list all the Obama and Trump appointees who have ties to Goldman Sachs. The sources are easily available. The Hillary Clinton connections are clear as well. The point is, Goldman and its allies can exert enormous influence on the direction of the trillion-dollar casino called the stock market. And the stock market is the universally perceived indicator of the health or illness of the US economy. The economy is Trump’s trump card. If the stock market plummets and stays down, his credibility as president takes a hit of far more serious proportions than anything we’ve seen so far. Keep in mind, as well, that giant pension funds all over the US and giant insurance companies (and other entities) invest in the stock market – and these organizations’ stability, as endangered as it is right now, would fracture in far more serious ways, if the stock market collapsed. Super-banks like Goldman Sachs therefore hold the political fate of a president, any president, in their hands.
If you don't think it's bizarre that all the "respectable" newspapers are constantly pushing for more war, I don't know what to tell you. — Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) June 27, 2017
This is not the sort of thing you see in a confident, brave, and civilized nation, it’s the sort of stuff you’d expect to see toward the end. It’s the stuff of craven war-mongers, of dishonest cowards, of a totally deranged and very dangerous media. The signs are everywhere; imperial decline is set to accelerate rapidly in the coming years. – From the April post: Prepare for Impact – This is the Beginning of the End for U. S. Empire Fake news, propaganda and garbage information is everywhere and I’m not going to pretend otherwise. That being said, the key thing to understand is fake news from obscure websites you’ve never heard of is not what represents the real, global danger of rampant dishonest information. The real danger of fake news is the stuff that’s consistently being vomited onto the pages of ‘respectable,’ billionaire-owned corporate media. Obscure blogs and independent thinkers such as myself aren’t influencing foreign policy, domestic policy or anything that really matters (look around you). While alternative media did indeed play a monumental role in the election of Donald Trump, how much really changed when it comes to the true power centers? Not much, not much at all. Goldman Sachs and Wall Street are more in control than ever before, and neocons and other assorted interventionists seem to be running foreign policy. All of this reminds me of the famous saying, ‘if voting made any difference, they’d make it illegal.’ Indeed, the time has come for all of us to own up to the very real and present danger of corporate media, which seemingly exists to provide public relations for oligarchs and the foreign policy establishment. Not that this should be surprising, you’d have to be the most naive creature on earth to think that newspapers owned by billionaires are going to tell the public the truth. Indeed, I made the following observation earlier today on Twitter.
The banker bailouts of the 2008/09 period changed my life forever. I was working on Wall Street at the time, and the way in which the government rallied around the financial institutions that torched the world and left its victims in the dust threw my entire delusional worldview into disarray. Prior to that, I had bought into the absurd assumption that I was financially successful at a young age primarily because I was hard-working and talented. The ensuing bailouts and the government’s emphasis on obsessively rescuing some of the most degenerate people in our society made me realize once and for all how completely rigged and sleazy the U. S. economy really is. As you might expect, it only got worse under Obama’s oligarch-coddling policies and will surely continue to deteriorate under Trump (Goldman Sachs is not your friend). Ever since I left my cushy financial services job to do the challenging and often draining work of chronicling our ongoing crime scene, I’ve spent the vast majority of my free time trying to further educate myself on exactly how this system works. What I’ve discovered over and over again is that it is far more abusive than even I imagined. Today’s post highlights two important articles that came to my attention over the past couple of days. Both are extremely disturbing, and both should be seen as completely unacceptable in a remotely ethical civilization (which we are not).
This post was published at Liberty Blitzkrieg on Michael Krieger | Posted Wednesday Jun 21, 2017.
Entropy never sleeps. It works remorselessly to transform things of value into useless, dissipated waste and heat. Complexity stokes it especially as the law of diminishing returns multiplies the wheels of futility spinning down to zero. Hence, the intellectual decay of American life in which spin is everything, anything goes, and nothing matters. The latest manifestation of this dynamic is the curious movement that styles itself The Resistance, lately adopted by the grotesque handmaiden of the Deep State that the Democratic Party became in the regency of Hillary Clinton. Its mission is to undo the results of the last national election by claiming that Russia undid it. It pretends to seek the restoration of something – but what? Of dissipated power relations within the Deep State itself? President Trump is actually taking care of that by turning government management over to his generals and the minions of Goldman Sachs. The generals are reinvesting in the strategic black hole of our military adventures overseas. The Goldman Sachs appointees are making Wall Street safe for the continued asset-stripping of the USA. The last time I checked, Hillary’s gang did not oppose either of these endeavors.
Personally, I’m horrified by the fact that Goldman Sachs goons are in total control of the Trump administration’s economic policy. I’m also horrified that our new President’s first overseas trip will be to the terrorist state of Saudi Arabia, a autocratic, brutal monarchy with undeniable ties to 9/11. I’m likewise disgusted by Attorney General Jefferson Sessions’ oppressive and uncivilized relaunch of the misguided and disastrous ‘war on drugs.’ Finally, I’m very troubled by the fact Mike Flynn attempted to disrupt a military operation using Syrian Kurds to rout ISIS in Raqqa because Turkey didn’t like it, given he was working as a paid agent of Turkey months earlier and never disclosed it. There are a plethora of things to be deeply concerned about when it comes to Trump, yet the coup attempt against him being launched by elements of the deep state, corporate media and Hillary dead-ender Democrats is more concerning still. It’s obvious what’s happening right now is not a sincere attempt to hold a President accountable, or fight him on policy or personnel choices. Rather, this all seems to be a very deliberate and premeditated attempt to remove him from office. What’s so troubling about what I just wrote is not so much that I think it, but that it’s becoming accepted truth by a growing number of mainstream Americans. For example, can you believe CNBC actually published a post with the following title?
The reason the "elites" are elites is because they know how to corral and manipulate the sheep. 2017 is the perfect manifestation of it — Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) May 16, 2017
No honest person could accuse me of being a Trump fan or supporter. I refused to back his candidacy despite my total disdain for Hillary Clinton and pretty much everything she stands for. More importantly, I’ve written a multitude of articles since he was inaugurated severely taking him to task on a wide variety of subjects. I’ve tirelessly discussed how he’s outsourced his economic policy to Goldman Sachs, and condemned his burgeoning neocon foreign policy, evidenced by his disturbing coziness with the autocratic barbarians of Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, the most incredible aspect of the past four months is not how much of a fake populist Trump’s proven to be, but how the corporate media’s managed to disgust me even more. I’m happy to become outraged at Trump, because I find many things about Trump outrageous. That said, I find it telling that the stuff about Trump that outrages me, is never the same stuff which outrages the corporate media. Why is that? The reason is the corporate media doesn’t mind Goldman Sachs running U. S. economic policy. It also doesn’t mind a close alliance with the terrorist state of Saudi Arabia, or our government’s endless string of disastrous neocon wars abroad. In fact, when it comes to the latter, the corporate media is reliably the primary cheerleader for unprovoked militarism.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities One of the major objectives of this site over the years has been to highlight the demoralizing and extremely destructive reality that two completely different justices systems exist in America – one for the wealthy, powerful and connected, and another for everyone else. While there will always be some element of this in any society of humans, extremes can and do occur, and the pendulum now has shifted in these United States to extremely dangerous Banana Republic-like levels. Nowhere is this divergence of justice more in your face and deplorable than with respect to how Wall Street financiers are treated compared to the rest of us. Not only was the industry rewarded with endless financial lifelines and zero executive prosecutions after it destroyed the global economy, but the industry continues to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, with zero repercussions. It doesn’t take genius to understand that if there’s no risk in committing financial crimes, you get a lot more of them. Speaking of Wall Street being able to do whatever it wants, let’s take a look at what Goldman Sachs is up to courtesy of some excerpts from a recent article by David Dayen published at The Fiscal Times:
The following video was published by X22Report on May 2, 2017 Kuschner did not disclose he has ties to Soros and Goldman Sachs. Trump says Bannon is still with him. Senate could not get traction with Russian sanctions so they are moving to Iranian sanctions. Maduro hands out hire wages and homes to stop the protests. US flies B1 bombers over NK. China halts the implementation of the THAAD missile system. Kim Jong Un says he will fight against the NWO with Putin. Russia is reinforcing the borders with Syria and Turkey. Turkey and Syria are building a wall on the border. Putin and Trump speak and talk about safe zones, calming the situation down. Trump says he will draw a red line with NK or Syria. Warning across Europe about upcoming terrorist attack.
The writing is on the wall and the message is not good. Trump will likely expand the war in Syria and increase tensions with Russia. The American empire is likely to implode under Trump’s watch, as he once again betrays many of the people who voted for him. Hillary or Trump, we’d be getting the same thing. We had no real choice, and empires don’t reform. Prepare for impact. – From yesterday’s post: The Imperial War Machine Marches Forward Under Donald Trump The takeover of the Trump administration by Goldman Sachs has been obvious for months now. The takeover by the deep state has taken a bit longer, hence the non-stop Russia hysteria, which was clearly intended to back him into a corner. If Trump takes military action against Syria, we’ll know for certain the deep state coup is complete.
In a private meeting with lawmakers yesterday (April 5), Trump’s economic advisor Gary Cohn said he supported a policy that could radically reshape Wall Street. You see, the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) exec now supports a re-imposition of the Glass-Steagall Act – an idea that the U. S.’ two main political parties support – but that the country’s top banks loathe. This is a change of heart for Cohn. In February, the investment banker voiced his disdain for bank regulation measures when he said it was time to ‘attack the red tape of Dodd-Frank’ in a FOX Business interview. Dodd-Frank is a less onerous regulation than Glass-Steagall. Bank stocks soared as investors considered the prospect of billions of dollars flowing back into their pockets. In fact, Goldman Sachs saw a jump of 1.29%. However, now the White House National Economic Council director is calling for more bank regulation…
In an unexpected statement made by the former COO of Goldman Sachs and current director of Trump’s National Economic Council, Gary Cohn told a private meeting with lawmakers on the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday evening that he could support legislation breaking up the largest U. S. banks – a development that could provide support to congressional efforts to reinstate the Depression-era Glass-Steagall law – and impact if not so much his former employer, Goldman Sachs, whose depository business is relatively modest, then certainly the balance sheets of some of Goldman’s biggest competitors including JPM and BofA. According to Bloomberg, Cohn said he generally favors banking going back to how it was “when firms like Goldman focused on trading and underwriting securities, and companies such as Citigroup Inc. primarily issued loans.” What Cohn may not have mentioned is that with rates as low as they are, issuing loans – i.e., profiting from the Net Interest Margin spread – remains far less profitable than trading and underwriting securities in a world in which virtually every “developed world” central banker is either directly spawned from Goldman, or is advised by an ex-Goldman employee, The remarks surprised some senators and congressional aides who attended the Wednesday meeting, as they didn’t expect a former top Wall Street executive to speak favorably of proposals that would force banks to dramatically rethink how they do business. Yet Cohn’s comments echo what Trump and Republican lawmakers have previously said about wanting to bring back the Glass-Steagall Act, the Depression-era law that kept bricks-and-mortar lending separate from investment banking for more than six decades.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 6, 2017.