• Category Archives Corruption
  • Milton Friedman and Conservatives: Wrong on Education

    Once upon a time, some conservatives used to call for the abolition of the U. S. Department of Education. Lamentably, conservatives today celebrate when a ‘free-market advocate’ like multimillionaire Betsy DeVos is appointed U. S. Secretary of Education, and they get terribly excited when she speaks at conservative conferences.
    Meanwhile, even while conservatives continue to pronounce their allegiance to their favorite mantra – ‘free enterprise, private property, limited government’ – they continue to embrace not only public schooling itself but also their favorite public-schooling fix-it program, school vouchers.
    Over the years, conservatives have developed various labels for their voucher program: a ‘free-market approach to education,’ ‘free enterprise in education,’ or ‘school choice.’ They have chosen those labels to make themselves and their supporters feel good about supporting vouchers.
    But the labeling has always been false and fraudulent. Vouchers are nothing more than a socialist program, no different in principle from public schooling itself.
    The term ‘free enterprise’ means a system in which a private enterprise is free of government control or interference. That’s what distinguishes it from a socialist system, which connotes government control and interference with the enterprise.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on October 18, 2017.


    GOLD: $1284.95 DOWN $17.40
    Silver: $17.02 DOWN 33 cents
    Closing access prices:
    Gold $1285.50
    silver: $17.03
    PREMIUM FIRST FIX: $10.00 (premiums getting larger)
    Premium of Shanghai 2nd fix/NY:$9.79(PREMIUMS GETTING LARGER)
    LONDON FIRST GOLD FIX: 5:30 am est $1289.70
    LONDON SECOND GOLD FIX 10 AM: $1284.75
    For comex gold:
    TOTAL NOTICES SO FAR: 2354 FOR 235,400 OZ (7.329TONNES)
    For silver:
    830,000 OZ/
    Total number of notices filed so far this month: 562 for 3,640,000 oz
    Bitcoin: $5659 bid /$56 79 offer up $171.00

    This post was published at Harvey Organ Blog on October 17, 2017.

  • Stocks and Precious Metals Charts – The Arc of the Moral Universe

    “Since 1970, every time asset values have risen above 520% of households disposable income (the dashed line in the chart) then the US has been in a bubble and a subsequent crash has followed. This has simply meant asset values growing much faster than households income or households capability to sustain those price increases. The depth of each crash has been relative to the overshoot of asset values on the upside.”
    Chris Hamilton, Bubble-nomics
    It seems as though when I procrastinate long enough someone eventually does a very good job of making a point for something that is important, and does it in a way that I may not have been able to do as well otherwise.
    A favorite refrain of financiers, fraudsters, politicians and their defense lawyers is to pose the questions in defense of a lie or a fraud in such a way as to blur the lines of recognition, so as to create room for a reasonable doubt. Indeed, the boldest among them will ask those would listen to them to question reality itself. What does ‘is’ really mean, for example.
    Chris Hamilton of Economica as noted in the second quote above has come up with a very clever way to help to put a little rigor around the concept of financial asset bubbles. Obviously the crux of the problem is to find some metric, some reasonable and relatively stable or significant relationship against which to measure changes in one value and compare them over time.
    Chris has chosen disposable income, which is actually pretty darn good. And since the link between disposable income and net worth has a suggestion of correlation, and not just causation, the shoe seems to fit fairly well.

    This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 17 OCTOBER 2017.

  • California Treasurer Skewers Wells Fargo, Wonders Why Tim Sloan is Still CEO, Extends Sanctions

    ‘The cockroaches infiltrated’ the bank, as ‘systemic corruption and venal abuse of customers’ have become ‘part of Wells Fargo’s brand.’
    In a letter so brutally scathing it’s practically funny, California Treasurer John Chiang skewers Wells Fargo, its Board of Directors, and its new CEO Tim Sloan. And he extended the sanctions on Wells Fargo, first imposed in September last year, by ‘at least’ another year.
    The Treasurer’s office oversees ‘nearly $2 trillion in annual banking transactions, manages a $75 billion investment pool, and is the nation’s largest issuer of municipal debt,’ Chiang pointed out last year when he imposed the sanctions on Wells Fargo’s ‘most highly profitable business relationships with the State of California.’ Those sanctions include:
    Suspension of investments by the Treasurer’s Office in all Wells Fargo securities. Suspension of the use of Wells Fargo as a broker-dealer for purchasing of investments by his office. Suspension of Wells Fargo as a managing underwriter on negotiated sales of California state bonds where the Treasurer appoints the underwriter. With these sanctions, Chiang sought ‘real accountability and lasting reforms.’ But it’s a long and complex relationship that dates back to the Gold Rush era:
    Wells Fargo has evolved to become the nation’s second largest bank by total assets. California is set to become the world’s fifth largest economy. What we each do, therefore, matters and effects the public interest.

    This post was published at Wolf Street on Oct 17, 2017.

  • Stocks and Precious Metals Charts – On the Wings of a Dove

    “Interesting that the papers of record regret that they worked the Weinstein story, but never felt like they had enough to actually publish it. Apparently they had a lower standard for the publication of the Iraqi WMDs and Russian hacking stories. It makes one wonder what other big stories they are sitting on, that they can’t quite bring themselves to publish, for whatever reason.”
    Malcolm, a reader
    There was an obvious bear raid in the precious metals today.
    We are nearing peak fraud, at least for this latest iteration of bubbles and busts.
    A good man can speak truths most profoundly with his silences. A wicked man tells lies with his. A sin against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
    What is a sin against the Spirit? What is Truth? Pilate asked that question of Truth itself. as truth stood before him in silence, and then turned and washed his hands of it.

    This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 16 OCTOBER 2017.

  • Trump vs. Jefferson on Freedom of the Press

    On October 11, President Trump tweeted that fake news was such a threat that someone should look into challenging network licenses on that basis. The next day, (October 12) he doubled down in a follow-up tweet that ‘Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate revoked.’
    Unfortunately, his tweet contained some fake news of its own. It implied that networks are licensed, when, in fact, individual stations have broadcast licenses. And the difference implies that Trump’s suggested ‘solution’ is incapable of addressing the problem he sees. Further, his ‘if appropriate’ suggests that there is a situation in which pulling a broadcast license is appropriate for communicating something the President doesn’t like. But if one takes freedoms of speech and the press seriously, and applies those same standards to media that did not exist in our founders’ days, there is never a time to acceptably deny Americans’ freedoms, even for ‘fake news.’
    The Constitution included freedoms of speech and the press because our founders knew freedom of expression was necessary to maintain liberty. They repudiated restrictions on the press because they remembered that colonial printers had been licensed, but licenses could be revoked and printers imprisoned (e.g., Ben Franklin’s brother, James). At the time, newspapers were the primary means of public communication, so they were insulated from political extortion from those who didn’t like what they printed. However, they emphasized freedom of expression, not the particular medium used. If radio, TV and the internet existed in the 1770s, the principle behind freedom of the press would have been expressed more broadly.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on October 16, 2017.

  • Pentagon Worried about Hackers Causing Stock Market Crash

    The Pentagon?! But no one’s worried when stocks get manipulated higher.
    It’s funny, the all-out government effort to prevent a major decline of the stock market, or of individual stocks, via manipulation or hacking. Now even the Pentagon is looking into it.
    What’s funny is that everyone cheers when manipulation, hacking, and other shenanigans cause the market or individual stocks to soar. It’s just declines they’re worried about at these precarious levels.
    Manipulating stocks higher is a time-honored game that routinely receives kudos from all around. The Fed printed nearly $4 trillion and cut rates to zero for eight years – no matter what the damage to the real economy – for the sole purpose of manipulating up asset prices including stock prices. ‘Wealth effect,’ Ben Bernanke called it. Corporate executives and analysts exaggerate future earnings only to deflate them at the last minute, because stock prices are ‘forward looking’ and fake future earnings is all that matters, even if reality now sucks. And on and on. Whatever it takes to push stock prices up, by hook or crook, is cool. These are our heroes.
    But when some lonely dude might hack into high-speed stock trading systems or spook the trading algos, quant-fund managers, and high-speed traders and throw algorithmic trading off track to where prices might actually fall in a major way, all heck breaks loose, and the Pentagon feels empowered to step in.

    This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ Oct 15, 2017.

  • Colin Kaepernick Reportedly Files Grievance Against NFL Owners For “Collusion”

    I am told that @Kaepernick7 has filed a grievance under the CBA for collusion against the owners. If accurate, this is huge.
    — mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) October 15, 2017

    Despite playing poorly in his last season, having undergone multiple surgeries, and being a public relations time-bomb, Colin Kaepernick is upset that he is still unsigned through six weeks of the 2017 NFL season.

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

  • Gold And Silver – Think Prices Are Manipulated? Look In The Mirror! +Annual, Qtrly, Mthly Charts

    Almost everybody complains or laments how both gold and silver are being manipulated, and they are, going back at least to the 1920’s and 1930’s and not just recently. Curiously, very few are even aware, let alone consciously complaining, about how manipulated their lives and those of everyone around them have been and continues to be.
    It has been a few months since our last commentary. We used to present one each week, but over the last several months, it makes less and less sense to provide one. The lies by all governments and the media are too many and too constant, and too many people remain cluelessly content in their chosen ignorance to resist and force changes.
    In the United States, shortly after Trump’s upset election and in what appeared to be genuine but naive speech promising to Make America Great Again, the sycophant NeoCons, AKA the Deep State, the second most dangerous faction in this country, second only to the hidden-from-sight elites that they so willingly serve in order to bring about the One World Order, staged a coup against the elected president.
    Trump promised to Drain The Swamp, but the Swamp has shamelessly enveloped him to prevent populism from becoming more popular. Let us repeat, the NeoCons staged a coup in this country, and a good number of people support all anti-Trump efforts without even realizing how insidious the NeoCons are and how they have been selling this country into the ground.

    This post was published at Edge Trader Plus on October 14, 2017.

  • Is Bridgewater A Fraud? Here Are The Troubling Questions Posed By Jim Grant

    Jim Grant, author of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, first hinted last week that not all is well when it comes to the world’s biggest hedge fund, Ray Dalio’s $160 billion Bridgewater (of which one half is the world’s biggest risk-parity juggernaut). Speaking to Bloomberg last week, Grant said he was “bearish” on Bridgewater because founder Dalio has become “less focused on investing, while the firm lacks transparency and has produced lackluster returns.”
    Grant slammed Dalio’s transition from investor to marketer, and in a five-page critique of the world’s largest hedge fund, said Dalio has been preoccupied with his new book, sitting for media interviews and sending Tweets.
    ‘Such activities have one thing in common: They are not investing,’ Grant writes in the Oct. 6 issue of his newsletter. ‘Yet here he is, laying it all out to the world again, Tweeting, promoting his book, attacking the press — necessarily doing less of his day job than he would otherwise do.’
    Grant continued his scathing critique, accusing Bridgewater of “lately performed no better than the typical hedge fund.’ Grant is right: since the start of 2012, Bridgewater’s Pure Alpha II Fund has posted an annualized return of 2.5% vs its historic average of 12%, and is down 2.8% this year through July.
    The underperformance may be explainable: after all the polymath billionaire has been busy opining in recent months on subjects from the rise of populism to his affinity for China, “which are distraction from making money” Grant said.
    But if Grant had limited himself to merely Dalio’s stylistic drift, it would be one thing: to be sure, the fund’s billionaire founder may simply have lost a desire to manage money and has instead discovered a flair for writing books and being in the public spotlight.
    However, Grant – or rather his colleague Evan Lorenz – went deeper, and as he writes in the latest Grants letter, he raises several troubling points, which go not to the hedge fund’s recent underprofmrance – which can be perfectly innocuous – but implicitly accuse the world’s biggest hedge fund of borderline illegal activities and, gasp, fraud. Some of the more troubling points brought up by Lorenz are the following:

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 11, 2017.

  • LEAKED: Worst Data Hack in US History Gets Worse

    What else has Equifax not disclosed yet?
    The Equifax hack just keeps getting worse. The first revelations were made on September 7, that Equifax had discovered on July 29 that it had been hacked sometime between ‘mid-May through July,’ and that the crown jewels of consumer data, including Social Security numbers, on 143 million US consumers was stolen. The tally has since been raised to 145.5 million consumers. In terms of quantity and sensitivity, it was the worst consumer data hack in US history.
    ‘In some instances’ driver’s license data were also stolen, the company disclosed at the time. Driver’s license data includes license number, name, address, data of birth, and basic physical features of the person. This is important and valuable data for identity thieves and other fraudsters and fills in some gaps in the other data that had been stolen.
    But without telling consumers, Equifax went around and told its customers – mainly banks and credit card companies – that the tally of driver’s license data that had also been stolen, previously minimized with the phrase ‘in some instances,’ amounted to driver’s licences of 10.9 million consumers.

    This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ Oct 10, 2017.

  • GATA: Those Who Deny Gold / Silver Manipulation Won’t Answer Basic Questions

    IRD Note: For nearly two decades, GATA has seized on Frank Veneroso’s original research which provided first-hand evidence that Central Banks were actively operating to suppress the gold and has presented direct evidence of precious metals manipulation. Beyond this, there are public admissions from Henry Kissinger and Alan Greenspan acknowledging this fact. Unfortunately, those who deny that gold/silver are manipulated have never offered any response to the direct proof that Central Banks intervene directly in gold trading. The article below presenting just the facts was published by GATA.
    Newsletter writer Steve Saville of The Speculative Investor, who long has denied that manipulation of the monetary metals markets means much, has seized on the recent essay by Keith Weiner of Monetary Metals as the conclusive refutation of silver market analyst Ted Butler’s longstanding complaint that JPMorganChase has been rigging the silver market.
    Weiner’s analysis, headlined ‘Thoughtful Disagreement with Ted Butler’ and posted here – LINK – argued that JPMorganChase is undertaking only ordinary arbitrage in the silver market, exploiting spreads between bid and ask prices.
    Saville, in commentary headlined ‘A Silver Price-Suppression Theory Gets Debunked’ – LINK – cheers Weiner’s essay and goes on to remark: ‘Entering a debate with someone who is incapable of being swayed by evidence that invalidates his position is a waste of time and energy, so these days I devote no commentary space and minimal blog space to debunking the manipulation-centric gold and silver articles that regularly appear.’

    This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on October 9, 2017.

  • The Last Time The Market Did This Was After Kennedy’s Assassination

    There have only been eight moves of at least 1% for the S&P 500 Index so far this year – the least since 13 in 1995. The all-time record was an incredible three in 1963.
    What about a big move? The last time the S&P 500 moved at least 4% was nearly six years ago.
    In fact, the S&P 500 had four consecutive days with 4% (or greater) changes in August 2011. Other than 2008 and the crash of ’87, that is the only other time since the Great Depression to see four consecutive 4% changes.
    That isn’t anything like today’s action…
    As the chart below shows, so far in 2017, big moves have been nonexistent; and even 1% changes have been rare.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 8, 2017.

  • Feelings

    Feelings have no place in a public-policy debate, and those who attempt to use such argument must be brought up on public fraud charges and imprisoned.
    Yeah, I know, I’ll get hate mail for that statement — because it’s true.
    Let’s just start with my recent post on Trump’s administration and birth control. The usual response to my argument is that “well, what do you with women who need the $200 pills instead of the $10 ones“?
    My answer is simple: There are more options for birth control than pills, and it is precisely the obscuring of the price that allows someone to charge 20 times the going rate for a product that does the same thing.
    In other words absent the “feelings” arguments there would be statistically zero $200/mo birth control pills sold because almost-nobody would pay that much money. Those who had some legitimate medical reason to not use the $10 or $20 options would choose some other form of birth control (e.g. Depo, an IUD, being involved only with a man who has had a vasectomy on a monogamous basis, etc.) The few who insisted on paying the $200 would be free to do so, but the lack of customers would cause the price to go down. In fact I suspect the cost of making such $200 pills is not much more than the cost of making the $10 ones, and it is precisely that they are patented that prevents someone else from copying them at 1/20th the price. That, in turn, means the only control on price is transparency and a market system where people pay out of their pocket what they think something is worth when examined against all the other alternatives.
    Likewise, absent the “feelings” argument there would be no $500,000 cancer treatments either. This, however, doesn’t mean the treatment would not exist — only that the price wouldn’t. Cancer patients would have to take the various treatment options and their published and verified effectiveness ratings along with price into account and choose. Those who tried to gouge wouldn’t get away with it because there’s no market for that. Those who had a superior and more-expensive product would get away with it if individual cancer sufferers deemed the price to worth it. Again, patents make possible restrictions on duplication but a patent can’t force you to buy. If people have to write an actual check and can’t force someone else to pay then the cost:benefit analysis becomes both exposed and judged by the person most-impacted by the decision — the one with the cancer!

    This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-10-08.

  • Is The World About To Take A ‘Gold Shower?’

    The 1944 Bretton Woods international monetary system as it has developed to the present is become, honestly said, the greatest hindrance to world peace and prosperity. Now China, increasingly backed by Russia – the two great Eurasian nations – are taking decisive steps to create a very viable alternative to the tyranny of the US dollar over the world trade and finance. Wall Street and Washington are not amused, but they are powerless to stop it… Now, ironically, two of the foreign economies that allowed the dollar an artificial life extension beyond 1989 – Russia and China – are carefully unveiling that most feared alternative, a viable, gold-backed international currency and potentially, several similar currencies that can displace the unjust hegemonic role of the dollar today.
    The above is an excerpt from William Engdahl’s essay, ‘Gold, Oil, Dollars, Russia and China.’ The essay is a must-read if you want to understand how the dollar was cleverly forced on the world as the reserve currency and how it is about to be cleverly removed and replaced with a trade system that reintroduces gold into the global monetary system.
    Unfortunately, the U. S. educational system presents a fraudulent account of world financial and economic history from Bretton Woods to present. Fed on a steady educational diet of U. S. propaganda, anyone raised and educated in the U. S. will wake up one day to an economic cold shower and eventual poverty unless they’ve taken the steps necessary to protect their savings (if they have any).

    This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on October 7, 2017.

  • Mueller Takes Over “Trump Dossier” Probe After Intel Committee “Hits A Wall”

    Now that the FBI and investigators from the Senate Intelligence Committee have given up on trying to verify the contents, Reuters is reporting that the infamous “Trump Dossier” hot potato has passed to Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team.
    According to Reuters, Mueller has taken over the FBI inquiry into the dossier after it was widely reported earlier this year that the FBI failed to verify its most salacious allegations, but still used it to justify launching an investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
    Three sources with knowledge of Mueller’s probe said his investigators have assumed control of multiple inquiries into allegations by U. S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the election to benefit Trump, a Republican.
    Russia has repeatedly denied any meddling in the election.
    The timing of the story is interesting, considering that only a few hours ago, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr admitted that the committee’s investigators had given up on trying to corroborate the document’s allegations.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 4, 2017.

  • This Isn’t A Joke: The IRS Just Hired Equifax To Safeguard Taxpayer Data

    Just hours after Equifax CEO Rick Smith wrapped up his testimony before the House Energy and Commerce committee – the first in a series of Congressional ‘fact-finding missions’ about the hack – Politico reported that the IRS last week awarded the disgraced credit monitoring bureau with a $7.25 no-bid contract even as the company struggled to address suspicions that it mislead investors and customers by withholding information about one of the most damaging data breaches in US history.
    Equifax famously waited more than a month to disclose that hackers had infiltrated its servers and absconded with the sensitive financial information of more than 140 million customers, sparking widespread outrage that only intensified after reporters discovered that several of the company’s senior executives – including its CFO – cashed out of shares and options in the weeks before the company came clean about the hack.
    According to the terms of the IRS contract, Equifax would be responsible for verifying taxpayer identities and help prevent fraud under a no-bid contract issued last week.
    As if the IRS’s decision to entrust the disgraced credit bureau with sensitive taxpayer data wasn’t galling enough, the agency seemingly fast-tracked the contract by classifying it as a ‘sole source order’ – a designation that allows the agency to circumvent the bidding process by claiming a given vendor is the only one capable of executing the contract. However, the agency’s justification for this designation is baffling, considering that there are two other credit bureaus in the US that offer a nearly identical suite of service

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 4, 2017.

  • Digital Fools Gold – Bitcoin’s Sustainability in Question

    Recently, Jamie Diamond of Citibank made headlines by labeling Bitcoin a fraud. Whether those comments played any part in Bitcoin’s recent sell off is hard to say, but the true believers reacted with predictable outrage given that the comments came from the ultimate Wall Street insider whose financial supremacy is supposedly threatened by crypto currencies like Bitcoin.
    Although my critical comments on Bitcoin over the years have not received nearly as much attention, they have been just as summarily dismissed by the crypto currency crowd. But I am a well know libertarian and follower of the Austrian School of economics. I am not a member of the banking establishment, nor am I a fan of fiat money. I should be one of the good guys. But since I happen to own a company that sells gold, a metal that supposedly Bitcoin will soon make obsolete, the crypto crowd looks at me like a stubborn old buggy whip salesmen who refuses to acknowledge that the future resides in horseless transportation.
    Well Bitcoin is not the automobile and gold is not a buggy whip. While Diamond’s comments were not 100% on the money, he is right about Bitcoin’s ultimate demise, just wrong about how it will meet its fate and why. While most fear that government will simply look to make Bitcoin illegal (which could be a possibility if Bitcoin could actually deliver on its promises), it is much more likely to die of natural causes.

    This post was published at Schiffgold on OCTOBER 4, 2017.

  • Hartford and America: Suffering the Consequences of Political Malfeasance

    What happens when government officials spend with virtually no restraint and they don’t have a printing press that can crank out more money?
    Hartford, Connecticut.
    Last week, both S&P Global Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Hartford’s credit rating deeper into junk status. According to a Reuters report, the downgrade puts Hartford near the bottom of the credit scale. This means the agencies view the city as essentially in default with little prospect for a full bondholder recovery.
    According to S&P analysts, ‘A default, a distressed exchange, or redemption appears to be a virtual certainty.’
    Hartford’s budgetary performance has been weak for several years, and the management environment remains constrained due to a structurally imbalanced budget with no credible corrective plan.’
    Moody’s said there is ‘increased likelihood of default as early as November’ adding that its rating reflects its expectation that bondholders will recover just 65 to 80% of their principal investments.
    In other words, if you invested in Hartford’s future, you’re probably about to get hosed.

    This post was published at Schiffgold on OCTOBER 4, 2017.

  • Watch Live: Wells Fargo CEO To Apologize (Again) To Congress For Massive Fraud

    “One Year Later” is the title of the hearing that Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan faces this morning with the Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs.
    A year after former CEO John Stumpf was grilled by lawmakers over the bank’s massive scandal over fake accounts, Sloan will tell the panel he is ‘deeply sorry’ for the scandal but also that Wells ‘is a better bank today than it was a year ago,’ according to prepared remarks.
    ‘I apologize for the damage done to all the people who work and bank at this important American institution,’ Mr. Sloan is expected to tell the Senate Banking Committee.
    As WSJ reports, regulators last year fined Wells Fargo $185 million for ‘widespread illegal’ sales practices that included opening as many as two million deposit and credit-card accounts without customers’ knowledge.

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