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.
Now that Hillary (‘Hitlery’) Rodham Clinton (HRC) has received the Democratic Party nomination for president, there is a strong likelihood that she will win the election in November and then be enthroned as president in January of 2017. I predict that she willwaste no time in launching an onslaught of punitive new policies via executive orders, presidential memoranda, and policy directives promulgated through her cabinet and Federal agencies to eviscerate our Constitutional rights (most notably the 1st and 2nd Amendments). A key goal this campaign will be silencing dissent in the alternative press and the American blogosphere. Given HRC’s history in government ‘service’, her outlook on life, her socialist agenda, and her vindictiveness, I anticipate that any or all of the following measures will be undertaken by the HRC Administration: The Department of Justice (DOJ) will be used to selectively prosecute dissenters for ‘hate speech’. For instance, simply objecting to illegal immigration or state sponsored relocation of Muslims will be called ‘evidence of hate.’ They will also declare blogs, news sites, and podcasts to be ‘public accommodations’ and hence saddle them with a long list of new restrictions that would effectively muzzle them from making any comments opposed to HRC’s agenda and ‘protected’ classes. Even the use of ‘trigger words’ could be restricted. The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) will be used to target dissenters who make any comments about any corporations, mutual funds, or banks, for ‘operating as unregistered investment advisors’. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) will be used to target Libertarians and other dissenters for ‘unlawful campaigning’. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will use their newly-assumed powers over the Internet to enforce a new radicalized version of the moribund Fairness Doctrine upon bloggers, vloggers (video bloggers), podcasters, as well as newspapermen, magazine writers, and talk radio hosts. Under this new and improved fairness policy, any media outlet that is deemed a public accommodation will be forced to free of charge provide equal space to assorted perverts, leftists, and Social Justice Warriors. Failure to do so will open up these news outlets to both criminal prosecution and costly civil lawsuits.
This post was published at shtfplan on August 1st, 2016.
Tuesday’s breaking news for Batchelor and Cohen was all about Sec. State, Kerry’s London visit with and Russian Foreign Minister, Lavrov for discussions on Syria, Ukraine and the doping scandal – but primarily focused on Obama’s need to find a solution in Syria in dealing with ISIS. However, the repercussions of the attempted coup in Turkey, with many thousands caught up in an aftermath of purges, are also very important geopolitical events with far reaching consequences to the NCW — New Cold War. And we also hear about fresh fighting in Ukraine. Batchelor refers to all this as chaos, but Cohen argues, ‘that there is a pattern here’ and it is all related to the NCW (a label denied officially by Washington), that this is all symptomatic of the breakdown in the New World Order. To emphasize this Cohen mentions the latest Nice terror event and the French government reaction of sending troops to close the borders; Cohen considers this action as a sign of the end (free trade aspect) of the EU. And finally Cohen acknowledges that NATO is weakened with how Turkey’s Erdogan has reacted to the coup attempt (and its treatment of the E.U. over refugees and its attempts to force entry for EU membership) will see Turkey ostracized both in NATO and the E.U. — and strengthening its ties to Russia. Potentially we may see Turkey drop its support of ISIS. Thus we can see on multiple fronts that this has weakened the West to Russia’s advantage. And we see a related breakthrough with Obama and Putin finally agreeing to cooperate against ISIS. Maybe. Putin still has trust issues with the White House. The details of the distrust are then discussed with the beginnings of a ‘mini dtente’ being formed. The problem for all is that the effort is without any support for it in Washington beyond Obama, or in both American parties, or in the media. And, Cohen adds, not with most Russians either. If Obama succeeds, says Cohen, he may be able to curb a bellicose Clinton presidency should this happen and it should encourage this dtente effort to grow to policy levels beyond his presidency. Cohen also discusses how NATO has devolved over time, and with the presence of less stable, more bellicose members as with the Baltic States, to be less about security against real threats from the outside than artificially manufactured ones to advantage local politics. Internal threats to the whole organization are from unstable governments like Turkey. The politics of these cracks in the organization are showing Europeans that NATO itself is a threat to peace and security. Cohen thinks it is significant that Obama is resisting the war faction and media opposition over working with Putin and calls it a position of wisdom. From a personal perspective whether he can be trusted may be, for example, more a matter of how the State Department echoes these efforts without internal sabotage and in fighting we have seen in the past – as in Ukraine. But it is also clear that present events in Turkey and the Baltic States are weakening NATO, the EU, and hopefully even the American war party goals. Putin knows that a failing E.U. may be the regrettable price for a failing NATO and an avoidance of war. In this there are no winners and losers but just a restructuring for the unforeseeable future and it will be enough that there will be a future.
Fiat Chrysler is under investigation by the U. S. Justice Department for fraud, according to people familiar with the matter. As Bloomberg reports, prosecutors are scrutinizing whether the carmaker violated U. S. securities laws, they said. The inquiry is in early stages, according to two people, who asked not to be identified because the investigation is confidential and declined to specify what conduct is being investigated. A civil lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler may provide clues about what prosecutors are looking at. A Chicago-area dealer alleges the company inflated its U. S. car sales by paying dealers to report selling more vehicles than they actually did. Fiat Chrysler shares are sliding on the news…
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 18, 2016.
Sec. Clinton held to one standard. Jason Brezler held to another. — Brent Finnegan (@bfinnegan) July 5, 2016
The FBI’s decision to recommend that no charges be brought against Hillary Clinton has been labeled a double standard of epic proportions, and now the decision will trigger further unintended consequences. A Marine Corps officer who has been locked in a legal battle with his service after self-reporting that he improperly disseminated classified information now intends to demand the same treatment that Hillary received. Maj. Jason Brezler sent a classified message using an unclassified Yahoo email account to warn fellow Marines in southern Afghanistan about a potentially corrupt Afghan police chief. A servant of that police chief killed three Marines and severely wounded a fourth 17 days later, on August 10, 2012, opening fire with a Kalashnikov rifle in an insider attack WaPo reports. Brezler, who is still in the reserves and who works full time for the New York City Fire Department, was not charged criminally in the case, but he was issued a potentially career ending fitness (fit to continue serving) report after self-reporting that he sent the classified email to Afghanistan. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) even wrote then-Commandant Gen. James F. Amos about the case in August 2013 and asked whether it was necessary to be so harsh on someone who had warned fellow Marines of a potential threat in combat.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 7, 2016.
The headlines this week are about NATO, the E.U. and escalation of the NCW—. NATO Sec. Gen. Stoltenberg, is ecstatic that NATO countries are beginning to spend increases in budgets ‘against Russian aggression’ and that new military units, air, ground, missiles and troops are to be garrisoned on a more permanent basis in the E.U. – especially the Baltic States and ‘in hosting countries’ like Norway and Sweden. Recent military exercises are part of this and Cohen makes it clear that these events are permanent preparations for war and the Russian responses to them show the Kremlin is taking them very seriously. Also noted were Aegis planes to be sent to the M.E. to monitor the Syrian conflict and new shelling by Kiev of its breakaway provinces in the East. But most of Cohen’s worries centre around the increasing threat of NATO in the north where St Petersburg now finds itself (almost) within artillery range of these forces. In the coming July NATO summit meetings Cohen expects the permanent aspects of NATO building in Europe will be announced, plus more augmentations. On the good news front we have a major energy corporation, Exxon Mobile making an effort to invest in Russian oil/gas developments. But the NATO provocations are decidedly destructive to all Western economies AND the U.S. That this is another example of working at cross-purposes that only makes sense in that it is the raison d’etre of the American Empire as expressed by the Wolfowitz Doctrine. With the possible devolution of the EU represented by Brexit, the later is now in question. And Batchelor notes that the anti-Brexit/anti Putin groups are using a Brexit argument that it would be good for Russia. That it is Putin’s stated government policy not to comment on other countries internal business, states Cohen, is never mentioned. It may not be a coincidence that this is obviously the very opposite to the Washington intervention policy. The recent Pew Pole, for that matter, indicates that the scare mongering is not working very well in the E.U. The failures of a policy of non-cooperation with Russia are again expanded upon.
While it will hardly come as a shock following the turbulent events disclosed one week ago, which culminated with the “resignation” of CEO Renaud Laplanche, amid a series of complicated backdoor ‘related party’ transactions which could even implicate none other than company director and former Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack, moments ago LendingClub unveiled in its10-Q filing that “on May 9, 2016, following the announcement of the board review described elsewhere in this filing, the Company received a grand jury subpoena from the U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The Company also contacted the SEC. The Company intends to cooperate with the DOJ and the SEC. The DOJ and the SEC may have additional requests, and no assurance can be given as to the timing or outcome of these matters.” Worse, the fingerpointing has begun: During the second quarter of 2016, we identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, as described further in ‘Changes in Internal Control Over Financial Reporting’ below. As a result of the circumstances giving rise to the material weakness described below, and in connection with the board review of specific near-prime loan sales to an investor and other compliance matters described elsewhere herein, the Company’s acting CEO and CFO have concluded that the Company’s disclosure controls and procedures were not effective at a level that provides reasonable assurance that the objectives of disclosure controls and procedures were met as of March 31, 2016. The identified material weakness is the result of the aggregation of control deficiencies related to the Company’s ‘tone at the top,’ which manifested in three primary areas described further below. The problems just happen to go further back than initial revealed:
This post was published at Zero Hedge on 05/16/2016.
Coming off a year in which Wall Street experienced the lowest average bonus since 2012, it now has to brace itself for new regulation on incentive compensation. One of the last pieces of Dodd-Frank to be written and implemented, regulators are looking to firm up the rules surrounding incentive pay for banks. The final regulation, once agreed upon, will not just apply to banks, it will also apply to investment advisers, broker dealers, credit unions, and executives at mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac according to the Wall Street Journal. Six agencies have joint responsibility for rewriting the original government plan on Wall Street pay: FDIC, the OCC, the NCUA, the Federal Reserve, the SEC, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The National Credit Union Administration plans to meet today to unveil their latest proposal, with the rest of the regulators expected to follow shortly thereafter. At the heart of the NCUA proposal are three main components: Bonus deferrals, Bonus clawbacks, and Risk Management and Controls. These are all slightly different for each level, defined by total assets of the firm. Here are the three levels, according to the NCUA proposal
This post was published at Zero Hedge on 04/21/2016.
New York City’s largest public pension is exiting all hedge fund investments in the latest sign that the $4 trillion public pension sector is losing patience with these often secretive portfolios at a time of poor performance and high fees. ‘Hedges have underperformed, costing us millions,’ New York City’s Public Advocate Letitia James told board members in prepared remarks.’Let them sell their summer homes and jets, and return those fees to their investors.’ ‘Hedge funds are charging exorbitant fees for high-risk and opaque investments,’ said James. – From last week’s post: ‘Let Them Sell Their Summer Homes’ – NYC’s Largest Public Pension to Ditch Hedge Funds One of the largest, most destructive scams I’ve ever come across in the financial sphere (and that’s saying a lot), relates to the purposeful shift of state pension fund assets into opaque, shady, punitive and one-sided relationships with ‘alternative investment’ managers, specifically hedge funds and private equity firms. But don’t take my word for it, this is what former SEC official, Andrew Bowden admitted back in 2014:
Despite the at times disconcertingly polite tone, the SEC has now announced that more than 50 percent of private equity firms it has audited have engaged in serious infractions of securities laws. These abuses were detected thanks to to Dodd Frank. Private equity general partners had been unregulated until early 2012, when they were required to SEC regulation as investment advisers. Bowden pointed out that private equity is unique among the investment advisers the SEC supervises. The general partners’ control of portfolio companies gives them access to their cash flows, which the GPs can divert into their own pockets in numerous ways. – From the post: SEC Official Claims Over 50% of Private Equity Audits Reveal Criminal Behavior Is this the beginning of the end for the damaging and often predatory relationship between public pensions and ‘alternative asset managers’ such as hedge funds and private equity? It should be.
Who could blame the researchers at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for thinking that responding to Congressional requests for studies on how to repair the nation’s ineffective maze of financial regulation is an exercise in futility. GAO has been spending boatloads of taxpayer money for the past two decades to define the problems for Congress as our legislative branch has not only failed to take meaningful corrective measures but actually made the system exponentially worse through the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999. During the 20 years that GAO has been warning about an ineffective financial regulatory system, taxpayers have been looted through a nonstop series of massive Wall Street frauds: the Nasdaq price fixing scandal; the rigged Wall Street research scandal leading to the $4 trillion dot.com bust; the four-decade Ponzi scheme of Bernie Madoff that was defined in meticulous written detail to a deaf and blind SEC by Harry Markopolos years before Madoff’s confession; and the epic Wall Street collapse of 2007-2009 that took down the entire U. S. economy in the biggest bust since the Great Depression. (Those are just the major milestones. For a look at what just one bank, JPMorgan Chase, has been up to in just the past four years, check out this chronology; or this Citigroup rap sheet. ) And what did Congress do after the 2008 crash to fix the problem? It handed even greater oversight powers to the regulator that didn’t see the crash coming and that had defied Congress by secretly funneling over $13 trillion in below-market-rate loans to teetering Wall Street banks – including at least one that was insolvent at the time (Citigroup). We’re talking about the Federal Reserve – the agency that still has no Vice Chairman for Supervision of Wall Street banks as required under the homage-to-Wall-Street law known as Dodd-Frank, passed over five years ago.
A young black girl got a civics lesson in dystopian society sitting in the front row of the Senate Banking hearing this past Tuesday. Her expression was that of someone watching a Halloween horror film. The young girl was the daughter ofLisa Fairfax, a George Washington University law professor who brought her family members along to share her confirmation hearing to potentially become a Commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Hopefully, what the young girl observed will be enough to head her off in a career direction of white collar criminal law. Senator Joe Donnelly delivered a heartfelt review of what is going on in his home state of Indiana, asking the two SEC nominees, Hester Peirce and Fairfax, what role the SEC should play in the matter. Donnelly stated: ‘Ms. Peirce, I want to tell you a little bit about what happened in Indiana. I know you’re from Ohio. We had 2100 workers fired for a company that said we are at the high end of expectations for earnings; that is in the middle of a $16 billion stock buyback; and they were fired so the jobs could be sent to Mexico for $3 an hour. Among the folks fired were over 60 veterans who had put their lives on the line for our country. ‘Going a little bit more into this, the CEO from two years ago, approximately, walked away with a golden parachute of over $190 million in stocks and in others. The present CEO makes over $10 million a year and the savings they’re gonna have by firing all these workers who gave their heart and soul to the company, they say it’s going to be $60 million approximately. I think it’s probably less. But that’s one third of one percent of the stock buyback.’ Senator Donnelly is referring to United Technologies CEO Louis Chenevert who walked away from the company in late 2014 with a golden parachute package valued at ‘more than $195 million in company stock and pension benefits, according to an analysis by ClearBridge Compensation Group,’ as reported by Fortune magazine.
I was really disappointed by Elizabeth Warren’s recent vote against auditing the Federal Reserve, but I’ve decided to forgive her following the release of an extremely powerful and important 12-page report on corporate criminality titled: Rigged Justice: 2016 – How Weak Enforcement Lets Corporate Offenders Off Easy. In fact, this may be the most meaningful report I’ve read since Princeton and Northwestern published a study proving the U. S. is an oligarchy. The report encapsulates the meaning of public service, and demonstrates what U. S. Senators could be doing if they weren’t busy constantly whoring themselves out to the highest bidder. The fact of the matter is if Congress was filled with more individuals with the smarts, ethics and courage of Elizabeth Warren, this country would not be in the mess it’s in. I know many of you will see that statement as an exaggeration, but it’s not. As I’ve maintained time and time again, the single biggest issue destroying America, the one that towers above all others, is the diminishment of the rule of law. Specifically, the fact that rich and powerful players in this country have amassed so much economic and political control they have created an untouchable class for themselves which is completely above the law. The definition of this sort of political arrangement is tyranny. As I noted in the piece, New Report – The United States’ Sharp Drop in Economic Freedom Since 2000 Driven by ‘Decline in Rule of Law.’