Batchelor and Cohen take a reprieve (perhaps welcomed) from the Washington/Trump civil war and shift their attention to troop movements in the Baltic States (NATO) as Canada sends in a rotation contingent, a Ukraine that continues to fester quietly with Poroshenko’s visit to Washington, and more serious, the U.S. shooting down of the Su 22 Syrian jet and an Iranian drone in Syria. The overview is that under Trump, there is no change in the NATO stance in Europe, but vastly deteriorating conditions in Syria even as ISIS is clearly defeated there. The new problems evolving in Syria are about potential problems between the numerous allies on opposite sides that represent a poisonous mix of conflicting agendas over and above what is represented by ISIS. Both pundits are in agreement over this assessment. Cohen begins with his interpretation of the American shoot down of the Syrian jet and quite simply labels it as illegal and an act of war against a sovereign state. But he also notes that the Russians did something interesting. They did not react for two days and then on Monday came out with a statement that Russia would target (radar paint) any non-legitimate aircraft in the region, and should it prove hostile or in non-compliance to orders to leave it would be shot down. The ‘deconfliction’ agreement has therefore died. For Cohen this is yet another incidence of sabotage by the Pentagon/CIA to prevent Trump and Putin negotiating. Cohen assumes this is correct by ‘the pattern of events’ shown for decades between Russia and the USA during cold war events . For this writer we are very close to Russia declaring a ‘no fly zone’ in Syria, and it is very clear that some Americans were caught with surprise and fear at this reaction. The other pattern is that the Russian reaction to these transgressions has always been a degradation of cooperation in Syria. Whether Trump can function with this kind of interference by his opposition without that opposition starting a shooting war is a very real worry. More about this later. The discussion then shifts to Europe and the Ukrainian Crisis. Batchelor maintains that European leadership, the new leaders in the U.K. France, and Germany’s Merkel are two weak to carry on effectively with the Minsk2 Agreement. Enter US Sec. State Tillerson, who advocates dissolving the agreement and having the combatants negotiate a solution for themselves. Cohen then brings up the new American sanctions and discusses how destructively stupid they are. Three European foreign ministers have now threatened to put sanctions on the U.S. if these new U.S. sanctions were passed into law. This is an amazing development and shows the real direction of Europe and Russia – and Washington. Cohen elaborately details these political changes with European leaders.
Russia may have killed ISIS leader Baghdadi (Reuters) About 4,000 more US troops to go to Afghanistan (AP) Insurers Look to Ramp Up Premiums in Health Law Exchanges (WSJ) U. N. envoy urges North Korea to explain why freed U. S. man is in coma (Reuters) Wal-Mart Offers a Refuge for Sellers Tired of Amazon (BBG) Trump to limit Cuba travel, restrict business deals with military: U. S. officials (Reuters) Private-Equity Firms Stand to Benefit From Court’s Curb on SEC (WSJ) The $31 Billion Hole in GE’s Balance Sheet That Keeps Growing (BBG) Facebook Boosts A. I. to Block Terrorist Propaganda (WSJ) Whole Foods CEO Calls Activist Investor ‘Greedy Bastards’ (BBG) Kroger Rattles Nerves in Grocery Section (WSJ) U. S. Exports to Mexico Fall as Uncertainty Over Nafta Lingers (WSJ) Funds pull back from Permian as U. S. shale oil firms go into overdrive (Reuters) The World’s Richest Nation Has Rarely Looked Weaker (BBG) 30 confirmed dead in London high-rise fire (AP) Big Oil Firms Are Exploring a New Frontier in Shale: Profits (WSJ) Facing criticism, British PM to visit London fire victims (Reuters) Pimco’s New Bond King Is Nothing Like Bill Gross (WSJ) U. S. accuses Chinese company of money-laundering for North Korea (Reuters) Overnight Media Digest WSJ – Nestl SA put its U. S. confectionery business up for sale, looking to shed its Butterfinger and Crunch candy bars as it grapples with how to cater to U. S. consumers’ increasing demand for healthy snacks. on.wsj.com/2rC2Cpy – Pressure on U. S. grocers increased after a lower earnings forecast from Kroger Co sent shares in the nation’s biggest supermarket chain down 19 percent. on.wsj.com/2rCl7dt
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 16, 2017.
If anyone gave any credibility to what came out of the mouth of United States officials before, the Trump administration has done everything possible to eliminate what was left of America’s reputation on the world stage. What is even more concerning, however, is that the statements made by the United States are no longer couched in nuance hidden between the lines but are now open statements of intended aggression and obvious preparation for the next military assault. Such is the type of statement coming from Defense Secretary James Mattis who recently made the claim that the Syrian government not only used chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun (a widely discredited claim in its own right) but that it continues to possess those weapons. The insinuation from the Defense Secretary is that the Syrian government is planning on using those weapons in the near future.
What a week it has been! Batchelor introduces it as a shift from the ‘McCarthyism” circus over Russian subversion in the USA to the real military/diplomatic crisis with Russia in Syria. Damage control is heard from Sec. Defense, Mattis assuring that events with Russia ‘will not spiral out of control’, and Sec. State, Tillerson has now spoken with Russian Foreign Minister and (belatedly) we now understand with Putin on Wednesday. We have often heard Cohen state that today’s New Cold War is more dangerous than the previous one and in this podcast, he states that Syria has failed as the new Cuban Missile Crisis. And there is a new narrative of proof surfacing against Assad using gas against civilians in the form a formal report from ‘intelligence’ sources – as credible as all these reports of late. Cohen explains in detail how there was no motive for Assad to use gas, but a very real one for Washington to accuse him of using it. But, as Cohen states, Washington knows that the U.N. saw to and documented the destruction of Assad’s poison gas supplies (except those in ISIS held territory), and one can see that the pattern of stating falsehoods and basing American foreign policy responses on them is still very much alive. How can any country work diplomatically with a Washington that does this? This is Russia’s problem in most basic terms. We should again be reminded that political in fighting in Washington has the same format as foundation for its geopolitical policies – falsehoods and accusations. The Deep State wants Trump gone. Period. It seems to matter not how ludicrous the process looks. The Russian point of view is next examined. Batchelor opens with: The Russians have now stated ‘any more missile attacks will be unacceptable’. Was the missile attack done before the U.N. could be moved to investigate the gas attack? (Why would Trump, while in the company of the Chinese leadership have authorized the missile attack when this would have been profoundly humiliating to the Chinese?) In Russia the pro U.S. faction element in Russian politics has also been profoundly altered. To add weight to the seriousness of these consequences for Washington, Putin maintained the false flag argument by stating that their intelligence resources had found the evidence. And most worrisome, Cohen then stated, most significantly, that a red line had been crossed, and some profound changes will happen in Syria to ensure protection for its allies. Readers are urged to listen to this discussion for the details. It defies belief that Trump could be this misguided to use missiles in Syria to relieve political attacks on him in Washington. But this is what the Kremlin believes too. Cohen mentions the word ‘psychosis’ to describe the American motives in this. It is a good word to use. A point not discussed is that while Trump may have done this attack for shallow political purposes, it was unconstitutional (no congressional debate) and may have given his adversaries some ammunition to impeach him in the future. He is now also a major war criminal.
Batchelor this week begins with an interesting discussion of how Joe McCarthy was finally considered a threat to the Eisenhower presidency as his power base grew. McCarthy’s goal was to be a very viable presidential candidate and he was succeeding. Cohen finds this interesting in that Russians would call McCarthyism a “living history” event and uses the introduction to compare the Russian experience to the American counterpart. The Soviet system eventually did moderate and became less invasive after Stalin’s reign of abuses, but censorship in the Russian media was the norm (almost to the end of the Soviet Era) and Cohen finds the present controls in the US MSM very similar to those extremes. Cohen also muses that dtente efforts may have been serious problems for other presidents. But this time around the goals of the new McCarthyism are geared to both destroying dtente and a president. And, Cohen remarks, for those who depend on the MSM for their news it is working. How were the Soviet “efforts to safeguard its orthodoxy and preserve its narrative similar or different from the present state of the American MSM? Cohen maintains there were some close similarities. Some of these mutual efforts are obvious – like exclusion of alternate points of view – in US mainstream print media. Suppression of dissidents (Andrei Dmitrievich Sackharov is a Soviet example) is also in play in the United States with labels such as “Putin Apologists” who find themselves stigmatized with criticism. Both Cohen and Batchelor have experienced this. Cohen describes this new McCarthyism as a kind of “cancer, metaphorically” such that this harangue of a narrative restrains people like Sec. State, Tillerson from performing their functions. The Soviets also misrepresented facts to maintain their narrative for Russians. The bottom line for both regimes that indulge in this kind of propaganda is that deceit is hugely damaging on multi-levels. One of the facts left out, Cohen mentions, is a huge one involving how the DNC handled the “hack”, that it did not call the FBI but a private investigation agency (Crowdstrike). This bunch labelled the problem as being due to Russian involvement. And so the narrative began. The FBI never investigated these findings! Other groups looked at these findings and nothing was found to implicate Russia. No facts whatsoever. It was all deceit. These facts have been excluded. In the Soviet system the KGB was used as the expert sources for spin propaganda. In the US, however, the heads of agencies have stood up and supported the narrative – like James Comey, Director of the FBI did very recently. Cohen is still unsure whether the FBI ever looked closely at the DNC situation. He suspects that Comey was told not to.
One word to describe this weeks news concerning the New Cold War is ‘harrowing’. The House Intelligence Committee hearings have begun and they are already afflicting the Trump administration on the diplomatic field – with Russia, of course. We note that Sec. State, Tillerson has postponed a meeting with NATO heads (a meeting at home with China’s head of state is the stated reason), and he is also going to Moscow in early April. Europeans are in an uproar over his alleged shirking of NATO responsibilities. But the major news about the first public statements of the House Intelligence Committee, aka the ‘Russia Gate” hearings dominates the podcast discussion. We should be appraised of the mandate of these hearings and understand that the mandate is biased toward an outcome. Note from the House Committee web site: Cohen is understandably upset with many of the public statements coming from the heads of the FBI, NSA, and Senator Schiff that Batchelor describes as sounding like the ‘first chapter of a Frederick Forsythe novel’. Cohen’s comments are also worthy, for example, in describing ‘FBI Director, Comey morphing into J. Edgar Hoover.’ Cohen concludes that full ‘McCarthyism is upon us.’ He notes that even Americans visiting Russia are now under suspicion – we now see guilt through association. Cohen maintains that the new McCarthyism is unfolding a lot faster than the previous one – and now Americans are fearful of transgressing the narrative and almost everyone in government is a parrot in voice if not in mind. The second half of the discussion opens with the item of the ‘Trump bribe’, i.e. funded support by Russia for Trump’s election campaign (also allegedly to change the Republican policy outlook about Ukraine). Cohen uses this and other ‘tawdry’ items to show how low Schiff intends to take this investigation. Trump’s foreign policies, on re-arming Ukraine also came under attack (as supporting Putin) even as Obama was following the same policies. The hypocrisy is astounding and yet these people are confident because guilt of being seen or labelled Putin apologist will be dangerous. But Cohen maintains that the national security risks for the United States are seen in how the ‘hack’ of the DNC is being touted as an act of war by Russia. That this is central to the hysteria means that the lie is also central to the Deep State’s war aims with Russia in the future. Early on in the discussion Prof. Cohen mentioned that at the height of Joe McCarthy’s fear campaign even then president Truman was wary of intervening against McCarthyism. The motives of this deplorable man were to create a power base for himself – as director of a new watchdog ministry within government. We should recall that President Eisenhower finally said enough is enough to this madness. But this time we have a potentially much more dangerous situation in that the goal of a the group known as the ‘Deep State’ is to destroy a president in order to pursue a bellicose foreign policy with Russia. If lies are acceptable as evidence and can be acted upon with impunity for people like Senator Schiff, then any madness of foreign policy is possible for that government. We might speculate that if the conclusions “found” for Russian involvement in the election hold up, then we are watching a process whereby a president can be impeached in the same way. These are the stakes! The Deep State, in other words, will have become mainstream in control. To the greater extent this group is halfway to the surface already in that the MSM is an important component – and there may be no going back to a less rabid norm from here. Every self-inflicted demolition committed against government institutions and citizens by these people will determine or at least influence how much tolerance Washington will treat the rest of the world.
The Trump administration assault on investor protections put in place following the 2007-08 financial crisis continues apace. The war on investors takes place in arenas both large and small. The large issues get the attention, of course. These include repeal of much of the Dodd-Frank law and regulations of the biggest Wall Street banks, limiting or eliminating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which actually helps individual customers abused by giant financial institutions, and preventing adoption of fiduciary standards for financial professionals recommending securities that line their pockets but are risky to customers. But Washington is not merely a swamp of self-interest with large, highly visible alligators munching on small fish to satisfy their insatiable greed. Another apt metaphor is a field of giant weeds – weeds of rules, processes and procedures that can be manipulated for the interests of the Fat Cats. These weeds are everywhere in Washington. Whether your particular self-interest lies in financial dealings regulated by the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission, looser regulations at the Environmental Protection Agency, exercising greater control of your employees by removing Labor Department regulations, or a host of other rules, processes and procedures, powerful interests with highly paid lawyers can push back easily against the much-maligned bureaucracy every day. This is especially the case when there is one-party government and the president appoints those at the center of the oligarchy to head government agencies, as is true today. What goes on hidden by these weeds is not usually paid attention to by either the press or the public. Case in point: Although the SEC currently has three vacancies on its five-person commission, the designated temporary chairman, Republican Michael S. Piwowar, has quietly restricted the authority of the SEC’s civil servants in the Enforcement Division to issue subpoenas for witnesses and documents when investigating whether securities laws have been violated. A small number of news articles suggest this unwarranted reversal of an eight-year-old policy delegating authority to the supervisors in the Enforcement Division may remove Division discretion in its use of civil investigative powers completely.
H. R. 610, a bill which calls for sending federal education grant money to states to distribute to public, private, and homeschooled students, sounds good at first, but as the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as free money. William Estrada a lawyer and the Director of Federal Relations with the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) points out four ways in which H. R. 610 is set to threaten the freedom of homeschooling parents, including a tracking database for homeschool families: 1. Elimination of language protecting homeschool freedom in U. S. Code: Page 2, paragraph (a) repeals in its entirety the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which was most recently reauthorized as the Every Student Succeeds Act. While HSLDA applauds this repeal language, as we believe that the federal government has no constitutional authority to make education decisions which should be left to state and local authorities, this full repeal would also eliminate HSLDA’s language fully protecting homeschool freedom from all federal control. 2. Creation of a ‘federal right to homeschool:’ Page 3, Sec. 104 requires states to make certain assurances in order to receive their portion of federal education dollars. One of the requirements (paragraph (2)(A) on page 3) is that states ‘make it lawful for parents of an eligible child to elect … to home-school their child.’ While this sounds good, HSLDA has fought – successfully – for decades to make sure that there is no ‘federal right to homeschool’ because what could be created by a favorable Congress could be regulated by a future, hostile Congress. It is far better (and far more constitutionally sound) for education decisions – and homeschool freedom – to be protected at the state level. We ask our friends at the federal level to simply leave homeschooling families alone. The Constitution protects the right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children, as the U. S. Supreme Court has ruled in its seminal cases of Meyer, Pierce, and Yoder. Federal legislation to ‘protect’ homeschooling is unnecessary.
The rationale for Donald Trump’s selection of Jay Clayton, a law partner at Sullivan & Cromwell which has represented Goldman Sachs since the late 1800s, to be the next SEC Chairman grew exponentially fuzzier after Wall Street On Parade reviewed political donation records at the Federal Election Commission. FEC records show that 59 of Clayton’s fellow lawyers at the firm made over $900,000 in donations to the Hillary Victory Fund while one lone lawyer, Donald Korb, made two $2700 donations to Trump’s primary and general election campaign. Donations from three other lawyers at the firm, Justin Decamp ($2700), Robert Giuffra ($25,000), and Diane McGimsey ($5,000) to the Trump Victory committee came after Trump was already elected President, according to images of receipts filed with the FEC. In addition to the more than $900,000 that went to the Hillary Victory Fund, tens of thousands of dollars more were donated by Sullivan & Cromwell lawyers to Hillary Clinton’s main campaign committee, Hillary for America. Donors to the Hillary Victory Fund included Sullivan & Cromwell Senior Chairman, H. Rodgin (Rodge) Cohen, who donated $250,000 on May 12, 2016 and another $35,000 the following month. During the Wall Street panic and crash in 2008 and 2009, Cohen darted from representation of one failing institution to another. The Wall Street Journal dryly noted in the midst of the crisis that Cohen was ‘in demand because he helped mold the financial system that is now under assault. He helped draft the rules that led to the emergence of powerful national banks, waged the first hostile bank takeover in the U. S. and lobbied, in the early 1990s, to expand the Federal Reserve’s power to provide the emergency loans now being employed by the government.’
Many things have been happening in this ‘transition period’ that point to one grim fact: Trump hasn’t sworn into office as president yet. As a matter of fact, things are happening that may very well derail that inauguration. There’s an old Irish expression: ‘There’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip,’ and there’s quite a few slippery deeds in the works in particular that bear mentioning. January 20, 2017 is still a long way off, and Obama isn’t done just yet. From an international perspective, something very heinous happened in the dead of night just a little more than a week ago. The House of Representatives passed a resolution, H. R. 5732, in a special session that included the suspension of normal rules. Suspensions are characteristically used for bills that are not controversial. H. R. 5732 is as controversial as they come: it holds the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2016, with Sec. 303 holding the provision for the establishment of a no-fly zone over Syria. The H. R. was introduced by Eliot Engel of New York (how surprising), and not only does the no-fly zone apply to Syrian planes in their own airspace, but also raises the prospect of engagements between U. S. and Russian aircraft. Trump’s ‘reset’ with Russia doesn’t occur until January 20, and there’s still a lot of time in between now and then.
This post was published at shtfplan on December 4th, 2016.
In a peculiar update on Thursday morning, just around 9am Eastern, Trump’s former campaign manager and transition aide Kellyanne Conway tweeted that she is “Receiving deluge of social media & private comms re: Romney Some Trump loyalists warn against Romney as sec of state.” Receiving deluge of social media & private comms re: Romney Some Trump loyalists warn against Romney as sec of state — Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) November 24, 2016
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 24, 2016.
There are a number of conflicting events discussed this week, from Vice President Joe Biden threatening a cyber attack against Russia, a small ceasefire truce effort from Russia in Syria, and significant news from the Ukrainian Civil War. The implied threat from Biden’s public cyber attack statement was taken very seriously in Moscow as a ‘declaration of war’. Cohen says this is a very serious escalation of tensions and speculates about the motives. And yet there is hardly any discussion about how serious this is in the U.S. media or any statements from the White House. But given the pending meeting between Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov and Sec. State, Kerry meeting in Switzerland the target may have been diplomatic. But Cohen asks (I paraphrase): ‘Why the silence from Obama, and who is actually making decisions in the White House?’ The discussion then moves to Syria where the White House is threatening to charge Putin and others in the Kremlin with war crimes over the Russian bombing of ISIS in Syria. Cohen maintains that this just makes the Kremlin ‘dig in its heels about Syria’. But these statements go along with Biden’s cyber attack statement, and are seen as extreme – even as top experts agree that proving the source of hacking is impossible. And Cohen goes on to explain ‘weasel language’ in diplomacy. So the situation becomes pretense as a real cause of war. Batchelor then turns his focus to the disruptive affects of the Syrian conflict on surrounding states including European and hence they turn to this new truce, this ‘humanitarian pause’. The result was a meeting last Wednesday with Germany’s Merkel, France’s Holland, and Putin. Cohen expected little outcome from this – as the European component have little political clout left. And Cohen discusses the hypocrisy of Washington and its falsification of events in Syria in supporting the ISIS fighters in order to get regime change. But in spite of this the Russians are prepared to allow a humanitarian corridor, under U.N. observation for civilians and ISIS fighters to leave – even with their weapons. But given the U.S. broke that ceasefire by attacking Assad’s forces the last time, this may be a Russian test to see what Washington does with it – and this writer also thinks that the truce may be a counter to all the propaganda levied against Russia for being complicit in war crimes. Batchelor also brings up some European leaders’ efforts to increase sanctions over Syria. But this is what vassal states do, and it would seem that domestic political considerations for E.U. leaders take second place to the agenda of the Empire of Chaos. This fact is also very worrisome given how opposed many of those citizens are to what their leaders are doing. The final discussion concerns Ukraine. Could Ukrainian President Poroshenko be in danger of assassination? And the answer is perhaps, but only if he tries to implement the Minsk2 Agreement. Not surprisingly, Kiev has increased its military assaults against the breakaway provinces. But the ‘Normandy Four’ is still meeting in Berlin – Putin has relented and will talk with his European ‘partners’. The significance of this week’s podcast discussion can be summed up by the indisputable fact that all of Washington’s complaints and actual situational conflicts with Russia are based on unsupported facts and propaganda. It is all artificial, supported by the MSM, and most worrisome, done successfully for its propaganda goals. The question for most of us who pay attention is really whether or not Washington wants a war with Russia? If so, it is probable that few Americans (and Canadians) will see it coming, or understand anything about it. And that is another way to say that the United States is no longer a democracy. As usual there is much more to hear in the podcast.
Last Friday Senator Elizabeth Warren released a 12-page letter calling for President Obama to remove Securities and Exchange Commission Chair, Mary Jo White. For a female Senator and former Harvard Law professor to publicly humiliate a female Federal agency head and fellow lawyer is an extraordinary event. There is a code in Washington that women in power support other women in power. Warren didn’t just violate the code, she shredded it. Warren called Mary Jo White’s conduct as SEC Chair ‘brazen’ and wrote that White was undermining the SEC’s central mission of investor protection. All of that is true as Wall Street On Parade repeatedly predicted it would be over three years ago. (See hereand here.) Between White’s career at law firm Debevoise and Plimpton and her husband John W. White’s long term career at the international law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, the two had represented every major Wall Street bank. John White went right on representing them after his wife took her seat as SEC Chair. Of course, after Warren released her letter, President Obama was quick to reassure Wall Street that no change was coming. White House spokesman Eric Schultz promptly stated that ‘The president continues to believe that Chair White is the right leader for the Securities and Exchange Commission.’ In her letter, Warren had attempted to spin White’s derelict actions as an affront to the President’s wholesome agenda, writing that White is ‘undermining your Administration’s priorities….’ As our readers well know, we have never believed that President Obama has ever genuinely wanted to level the playing field for the average American. He could not have had that agenda and appointed the people he did to his cabinet and regulatory agencies.
The batch of emails released by Wikileaks on October 7 includes one in which Hillary Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon explained that Clinton ‘would support…closing the gun show loophole by executive order.’ Fallon also highlighted Clinton’s support of universal background checks – which have already failed in California, Colorado, Washington state, and Paris – and her support for a scenario wherein victims of crime would be able to sue gun manufacturers.
This post was published at Breitbart on 7 Oct 2016.
The U. S. federal courts do whatever they possibly can to avoid real issues to maintain powers that are clearly unconstitutional. I reported last year when Judge Leigh Martin May struck down a SEC order on this challenge back in June 2015. Now on September 15, 2016, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed it, claiming that such a challenge must FIRST be made in the administrative court that is not constitutional to begin with. An administrative law judge does not even have to be a lawyer. They can be someone’s mistress, brother-in-law, or someone who promised some favor. They are not appointed by the president and they do not go through hearing in Congress. They can degree fines and strip you of all rights to effectively live, but the only consolation is they cannot imprison someone. They can fine you into bankruptcy and destroy your entire family financially, but hey, so can a local policeman using civil asset forfeiture.
Wells Fargo embattled CEO John Stumpf returns to Capitol Hill for the second time in 10 days, for a hearing with the House Financial Services Committee – the same committee which yesterday spoke to Janet Yellen – scheduled to start at 10 am EDT and likely to last much of the day. Despite Stumpf’s belated clawback of $41 million in unvested stock, which took place only after a tremendous congressional and populist outrage, his job is very much under threat and the bank is facing rising political pressure over the recent cross-selling scandal in which the bank opened 2 million unauthorized accounts, that has become a major issue in Washington and on Wall Street. His prepared remarks can be read here. Earlier today the WSJ reported that three senators, Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Robert Menendez (D., N. J.) wrote a letter to SEC Chairman Mary Jo White urging the regulator to probe further into whether Wells Fargo and its senior officials ‘violated laws by misleading investors and firing whistleblowers while the bank oversaw the creation of millions of unauthorized, fraudulent accounts.’ As reported by the WSJ, the three senators, all members of the banking committee, said the situation at Wells Fargo does ‘justify an investigation into at least three types of securities law violations,’ according to the letter. The first focuses on whether the bank’s executives violated the internal-controls provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act by signing off on inaccurate financial reporting.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 29, 2016.
The topics for this podcast are NATO, the next G-20, Syria, Ukraine, the Paralympics, the chaos of the American presidential elections, and some questions about the fundamentals of the New Cold War (NCW). What is the reason for denial of the NCW by Washington? Cohen maintains that the reason is because they would have to explain it. I’ll go one more to that: they would have to deny the danger. And there are new Russian worries on the NATO front. Washington is wooing Finland to join NATO. Failing this there is an in-the-works bilateral agreement with Washington to station troops there that might accomplish the same strategic goal. But Cohen muses that if it does become a member, this shows that this NCW is worse than the last, and TPTB would be hard to deny what is going on. The Finland situation, if it happens, is still a very worrisome escalation for Moscow. But right now ‘the most dangerous event is Syria’. The cooperation that Obama wanted with Russia against ISIS seems to be dead with the American MSM coming out strongly against cooperation with Russia. To underline this change we saw this week the recent near conflict between Syrian Air force jets and American ones during a bombing incident. Cohen correctly focuses on how conflict between Syrian jets and American ones would draw in a Russian defensive response under the agreement with the Assad government. (In my view most pundits failed to catch this as potentially a huge escalation). The hostile sortie against Syrian jets, IMHO, could reveal a policy change for American forces in Syria that it now seems willing to attack Syrian forces. Who is actually in charge in Washington? The question that just does not go away. But as Batchelor states, ‘Ukraine is not on the back burner either’. The most recent opportunity for discussion will be for members of the ‘Normandy Four’ at the G-20 meeting next month. Putin will ‘meet on the sidelines’ with Hollande (Fr) and Merkel (Ger) – significantly without Poroshenko – to discuss options. At least Putin is still talking about the Ukrainian problem in spite of the recent regressive hostile acts by Kiev against Crimea. Europe may be as tired of this as is Putin. Cohen notes in addition that the IMF may have written off Ukraine, and Sec. State, Biden is telling Kiev to ‘cool it’ about attacks against Crimea. All this suggests to Cohen that Washington too is backing away from their Ukraine mess. The obvious question for this commentary now is what options are left to Kiev? It seems clear that Poroshenko will likely pursue the war against the east for as long as he can because his political future depends on it. And he will do it with ever decreasing support from his Washington minders. One might speculate that Washington may now be worried about image problems when inevitably the Kiev government continues to devolve into a more Nazi styled government, and becomes even more nihilistic running this country into an economic (and political) black hole. We should also be on the watch for Western troops to begin to withdraw from Ukraine, as that would reveal that Washington has finally written the country off as well. As always there are more details available to the listener of this podcast, including some interesting and related speculations about how each presidential candidate will perform if elected as president.
In the 2012 presidential elections, almost 2.8 million individuals were registered to vote in more than one state, and 1.8 million registered voters at the time of the election were actually dead. These figures came from the Pew Center on the States study entitled ‘Inaccurate, Costly, and Inefficient: Evidence that America’s Voter Registration System Needs an Upgrade’ (2012). These ‘glitches’ were not removed from the system due to the Obama Department of Justice suspending the execution and enforcement of federal law in relation to the regulations governing elections. The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993, 52 USC is the law we’re examining here, specifically Section 8 that is specifically designed to promote honest and fair voting in the elections. Section 8 is a requirement for the states. They are to do the following in accordance with the law: ‘…conduct a general program that makes a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters from the official lists of eligible voters.’ NVRA of 1993 Sec. 8, 52 USC Sec 20507
This post was published at shtfplan on August 25th, 2016.
During the height of the Bush years, one of the most popular slogans from the left went something like: ‘When Clinton lied, nobody died.’ While history can decide if that holds true over scandals connected to former President Bill Clinton’s controversial love life, it certainly can no longer be said about Hillary Clinton’s lies and obfuscate over her emails. The execution of Shahram Amiri, a defected, then returned Iranian with nuclear secrets, can be directly attributed exposure through the failed diplomacy and ‘reckless’ handling of emails by Sec. Clinton. via Right Side News: Today, Iran announced it had executed Shahram Amiri, a nuclear scientist who was believed to be spying for the U. S. but returned to Iran in 2010. He initially received a hero’s welcome in 2010 after claiming the CIA kidnapped him while he was on a pilgrimage to Mecca in 2009, a claim backed up by the Iranian government. But – shockingly, Amiri was later imprisoned after being accused of cooperating with the U. S.
This post was published at shtfplan on August 8th, 2016.