• Category Archives Special Interests
  • Bilderberg: The world’s most secretive conference is as out of touch as ever

    Say what you like about Bilderberg, but they’ve got a sense of humour. The agenda for this year’s secretive summit of the global elite is full of in-jokes. They get big laughs straight off the bat by describing themselves as ‘a diverse group of political leaders and experts’.
    They’re trumpeting the diversity of a conference where less than 25% of the participants are female. Which would be a huge step forward, if it were currently 1963.
    And as for racial diversity, there are more senior executives of Goldman Sachs at this year’s Bilderberg than there are people of colour.
    Perhaps by ‘diverse’ they mean that some of the participants own hedge funds, whereas others own vast industrial conglomerates. Some are on the board of HSBC, others are on the board of BP. Some are lobbyists, others are being lobbied. That sort of thing.
    Dafter still is the agenda item: ‘Can globalisation be slowed down?’ You think that the assembled heads of Google, AT&T, Bayer, Airbus, Deutsche Bank, Ryanair, Fiat Chrysler, and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange want to see a brake on globalisation? It’s the air that they breathe.

    This post was published at The Guardian


  • Italian Prime Minister Secretly Meets With George Soros In Rome Amid Migrant Transport Scandal

    In the past few weeks, the transport of migrants from the African shores has become a case of national importance for Italy, and is now under investigation from the prosecutor of Catania, who recently testified to the Defence Committee of the Italian Senate and will meet soon with the Superior Council of the Magistrates.
    Harsh criticism of the activities of the NGOs has come from opposition parties Forza Italia, Lega Nord and even Movimento 5 Stelle, normally more neutral on immigration issues, while Prime Minister Gentiloni has opted to let the judicial system run its course.
    Yet, a new element will further exacerbate the situation; George Soros, a billionaire who is incredibly active politically on both sides of the Atlantic, met in secrecy with Prime Minister Gentiloni, less than a week after the latter had commented on the NGOs activities. The meeting was not listed on the website of the Italian government as official and its timing is at the very least suspicious.
    George Soros had penned multiple arguments in favour of immigration, suggesting that Europe should welcome ‘at least one million refugees a year’ and that the EU should create EU-bonds to support attendant expenses.

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


  • Trump Tax Plan Latest: Lobbyists Fear “Big Nothing Burger”

    The buzz is beginning to build around Trump’s tax plan and what Americans can expect (and perhaps more notably, should not expect) to hear tomorrow.
    After seemingly punting on the Border Wall funding, Citi notes that Politico has published an article detailing what is currently expected of the Trump tax plan:
    What’s In…
    “Marquee policy ideas are expected to include infrastructure spending and a childcare tax credit“
    “Expected to tout a corporate rate of 15%“
    What’s Out…

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


  • Week in Review: April 22, 2017

    Tax day came and went this week, ironically moved to the 17th due to Washington DC celebrating “emancipation day.” Washington’s addiction to spending keeps tax rates high, while the labyrinthine enriches lobbyists while causing headaches for Americans across the country. As Ludwig von Mises write in Human Action, “The metamorphosis of taxes into weapons of destruction is the mark of present-day public finance.”
    The cost of taxation isn’t limited to what government takes out of taxpayer wallets.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on April 22, 2017.


  • Turks Buying Gold, Uncertain of Their Political Future

    A constitutional referendum in Turkey in mid-April could bring the most significant change to the county’s political structure since the introduction of its multiparty election system in 1945. With all of the uncertainty surrounding the vote and a shaky monetary system, Turks are starting to buy gold in large quantities. Turkish gold imports surged 17-fold to 28.2 tons in March, according to a Reuters report, as Turks seek out the safe haven inherent in precious metals.

    Polling indicates a close and contentious vote, and passage of the referendum would create a ‘Turkish-style’ executive presidency and vastly increase the president’s powers. According to Human Rights Watch, two important provisions would immediately go into effect.
    ‘The president would have increased authority over the body that administers the judiciary and controls the appointment of judges and prosecutors, and the prohibition against the president having a formal party affiliation would be lifted. The courts in Turkey are already under political influence and these changes would further reduce judicial independence.’

    This post was published at Schiffgold on APRIL 5, 2017.


  • Audit the Pentagon

    One of the benefits of being an extremely powerful lobby in Washington is the ability to live off the taxpayers without ever having to tell the taxpayers what you they with their money. This includes two of the most powerful lobbies in DC: the Fed and the Pentagon.1
    In recent years, thanks to Ron Paul, the “Audit the Fed” movement has gained a high profile in Washington and continues to be an election issue. Far less salient, however, is the issue of Auditing the Pentagon. And, unfortunately, like the Fed, the Pentagon is able to quash efforts to make the massive military establishment more transparent and more accountable in its spending. In fact, the Fed’s refusal to submit to any sort of full or meaningful audit has become so intransigent that Senators Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders co-sponsored the “Audit the Pentagon Act of 2015” to force the Pentagon to submit to auditors.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on April 5, 2017.


  • GIBRALTAR: A Tax Haven, Not A Nation

    21st Century Wire says…
    Former Conservative leader Michael Howard has suggested that British Prime Minister Theresa May ‘would be prepared to go to war to protect Gibraltar as Margaret Thatcher once did for the Falklands’. His comments have been met with immediate criticism and dubbed ‘inflammatory’.
    Fabian Picardo, the chief minister of Gibraltar, received a call from May on Sunday morning to say the UK remained ‘steadfastly committed to our support for Gibraltar, its people and its economy’.
    With regards to economy, enter Craig Murray and his popular blog. A historian, former Ambassador, and Human Rights Activist, Craig takes us down the road that the mainsteam media today are not discussing; Gibraltar as a ‘tax haven’ and the so called ‘nationalism’ and discussion of ‘sovereignty’ by the British Parliament.
    Are the British government authentically steadfast to the democratic wishes of the British inhabitants of Gibraltar, or is this developing Brexit fracas more about preservation of another UK tax haven.

    This post was published at 21st Century Wire on APRIL 2, 2017.


  • Tax Revolt in Belarus Turning to Mass Arrests

    For weeks now, thousands of people have gone public in Belarus to protest against a special tax for ‘little workers’ and demanded the resignation of Aleksandr Grigoryevich Lukashenko who has been the autocratic President of Belarus, in office since July 20th, 1994. Lukashenko had issued a decree that people who work less than six months a year have to pay a tax of 189 euros. This was to prevent ‘social parasitism’, which he explained was the justification. In view of the protests, he temporarily suspended the decree, but the crisis is getting worse.
    Lukashenko is seen by many as really a dictator. His police arrests those who were going to speak at the protest and they stormed the human rights office arresting people there in advance. The instability building in Belarus is really serious. Additionally, Lukashenko has lashed out at Russia and accused Moscow of violating their 20-year old border agreement, in a escalating dispute that has become a source of tension with his country’s neighbor and strongest ally. It appears that we will see the collapse of the current government by 2020.

    This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Mar 27, 2017.


  • Watch These Geopolitical Flashpoints Carefully

    Anyone who has been involved in alternative geopolitical and economic analysis for a decent length of time understands that the establishment power structure thrives according to its ability to either exploit natural crises, or to engineer fabricated crises.
    This is not that hard to comprehend, but for some reason there are a lot of people out there who simply assume that global sea-change events just happen ‘at random,’ that the elites are stupid or oblivious, and that all outcomes are a matter of random chance rather than being directed or manipulated. I call these people ‘intellectual idiots,’ because they believe they are applying logic to every scenario but they are sabotaged by an inherent bias which causes them to deny the potential for ‘conspiracy.’
    To clarify, their logic folds in on itself and becomes faulty. They believe themselves objective, but they abandon objectivity when they staunchly refuse to consider the possibility of covert influence by organized special interests. When you internally dismiss the possibility of a thing, no amount of evidence will ever convince you of its reality. This is how the ‘smartest’ people in the room can end up being the dumbest people in the room.
    In the survivalist community there is a philosophy – there is no such thing as a crisis for those who are prepared. This is true for prepared individuals as much as it is true for prepared communities and prepared nations. The only way a society can fall is when it becomes willfully ignorant of potential outcomes and refuses to organize against them.
    By extension, it would make sense that by being prepared for a particular crisis or outcome an individual or group could not only survive, but also profit. It is not crazy or outlandish to entertain the idea that there are groups in power (perhaps for many generations) that aggressively seek to predict or even force particular outcomes in geopolitics for their own profit. And, by profit, I do not necessarily mean material wealth. In many cases, the power of influence and psychological sway over the masses might be considered a far greater prize than money or property.
    You can buy slaves or purchase the means to make demands of people at gunpoint, but you cannot put a price on fealty or adoration. This is what establishment elites ultimately want – voluntary servitude from the populace. They want us to beg for their leadership rather than begrudgingly accept it under threat.
    To this end, a Hegelian model of problem – reaction – solution is required. You cannot influence people to volunteer for servitude and submission unless they are sufficiently terrified of the alternative.

    This post was published at Alt-Market on 24 March 2017.


  • Why free trade is officially dead

    G20 Finance ministers meeting in Baden Baden last weekend agreed, on America’s insistence, to drop the long-standing commitment to free trade from the final communiqu. It is hard to know to what extent America’s position is driven by her autarkic view on world trade, or to what extent it is an acknowledgement of the fruitlessness of paying lip-service to an ideal which is never delivered. Doubtless, it’s a bit of both.
    It is certainly true that finance ministers in the advanced nations have always shown a protectionist attitude towards international trade, protectionism that has intensified through attacks on American international corporations, which to a large extent can choose where to pay their taxes. The thrust of research by international NGOs, particularly the Paris-based OECD, has been to decry tax competition; however, even though it has bullied tax-havens to supply tax-related information to revenue-hungry states, it has failed to stop multinationals, armed with teams of tax lawyers, from complying with their statist demands.

    This post was published at GoldMoney on MARCH 23, 2017.


  • The G-20 Was Never Serious About Free Trade

    There is much hand-wringing in the financial media this week after Treasury Secretary (and Lego Batman producer) Steve Mnuchin helped push the G-20 to remove its long standing language to ‘reject protectionism’ from its annual statement. While the Trump administration’s embrace of anti-trade policies is a very real concern for the global economy, it is worth noting that the G-20’s desire for free trade was every bit as sincere as the UN’s commitment to human rights. What the G-20 members call ‘free trade’ is really government managed trade, complete with complex multinational trade agreements that Trump is right to oppose.
    After all, if the G-20’s criticism of protectionism was worth more than the ink it was written with, then there could have easily long been an agreement dropping all trade restrictions – or at the very least anti-trade policies between member countries. Yet instead every single member of the G-20 engages in a variety of protectionist schemes.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on March 22, 2017.


  • “We’ll Do The Work In The Courts, You Do The Work On The Streets” – ACLU Launches National ‘Resistance’ Training

    The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) staged a nationwide training event Saturday to make sure people are aware of their rights as protesters and urge organized, public resistance by those opposed to policies of President Donald Trump.
    A month ago Kellyanne Conway pointed out the media’s role in “emboldening” violent protesters (in this case at Berkeley).
    ***
    Per The Hill:
    ‘What’s going on out there is what’s going on all across the country,’ Conway, a key aide to President Trump, said on Fox News’s ‘Fox & Friends’ Thursday.
    ‘You have protesters who feel very emboldened,’ added Conway, who served as Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign manager. “They’ve got media cameras following them, they give interviews.’

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 12, 2017.


  • Bad News For Wall Street: No Tax Reform Until Fiscal 2018, McConnell Warns

    As explained, most recently two days ago, the key reason Wall Street is concerned about the complications involving Obamacare’s “repeal and replace”, which now appears will be stuck in Congress for a long time following vocal opposition from various conservative groups and outside lobby interests, is that it will delay tax reform. As Goldman laid it out over the weekend, “if Republican leaders cannot send the President an ACA bill by April or May, they will face two politically unpalatable options. First, they could continue to press for a solution, delaying consideration of tax reform for an indefinite period. This delay would occur because both proposals are expected to be considered under the ‘budget reconciliation’ process. However, since only one tax bill and one spending bill can be considered under that process in each budget cycle – and ACA repeal legislation is expected to have tax and spending provisions – Republican leaders plan to consider the ACA bill in the FY2017 budget cycle, and to begin the FY2018 budget cycle, including instructions to pass tax reform, once the ACA bill has passed.”

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 9, 2017.


  • Top 10 Largest Occupations in the United States Dominated by Jobs that pay $20k to $30k a Year.

    The American economy has slowly compressed the middle class into a minority group. When the manufacturing sector slowly eroded away, waiting in the wings to replace those higher paying jobs was low wage service sector employment. Now as it turns out the top 10 largest occupations in the United States are occupied by low wage service sector fields. Contrast this to the last generation where many of the top largest occupations paid a wage that was enough to propel someone into the middle class. Out of the top 10 occupations, there is only one job that pays a higher wage and this requires a college degree and specialized training.
    Low wage America
    Why do most people feel like they are struggling economically? One obvious reason is that most people are working in lower paying jobs. That is simply a reality. Every time we pull up nationwide income data or median figures there is undoubtedly some that think it is way too low. Yet this information is pulled from government sources like Social Security information, tax data, and the BLS.

    This post was published at MyBudget360 on March 6, 2017.


  • “Tariffs Protect All Americans.”

    Whenever the government intervenes, there are winners and losers. Follow the money.
    A popular slogan in favor of tariffs is this one: “Tariffs protect Americans.” It is an accurate slogan. The question is: “Which Americans are protected?” Another question is: “Who pays?”
    In this world, you don’t get something for nothing. If some Americans are protected, then other Americans are paying to grant them this protection.
    Who are the winners? Who are the losers?
    The winners are a relatively small percentage of American workers who produce goods at higher prices with lower quality than imported goods offered to consumers. The only reason why these workers need protection is because they are not efficient workers.
    Who judges efficiency? Consumers do. The heart of the free market system is this: people who spend money have final authority in the economy. This means consumers. Any attempt by the government to intervene in the economy to help special interest groups always comes at the expense of consumers who would have bought whatever it was that competitors were offering for sale, but who are unwilling or unable to buy the goods because of some government regulation.
    A tariff is a sales tax on imported goods. Therefore, the sales tax is discriminatory. It is not paid by everybody. It is paid by those members of the workforce who are facing foreign competition. It is also paid by exporters in the United States, because foreign buyers cannot get access to the domestic currency, precisely because foreign exporters cannot get buyers in the domestic currency. So, exporters are hurt and importers are hurt. This means that American consumers are hurt.

    This post was published at Gary North on March 01, 2017.


  • In Fiery, “Surreal” Press Conference, Trump Launches War On “Out Of Control” Press: Main Highlights

    President Trump blasted the “out of control” dishonesty of the mainstream media during a Thursday press conference, accusing reporters of distorting facts to help special interests.
    At the start of a nearly two-hour announcement, which was meant to introduce the new pick for Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta and promptly turned into a fiery, at times rambling back and forth with members of the press more reminiscent of his campaign speeches, President Trump rejected portrayals of chaos in his administration and claimed “incredible” progress in his first four weeks in office, lashing out at media organizations he said “will not tell you the truth.”
    “I’m not ranting and raving, I’m just telling you you’re dishonest people,” Trump told the press.
    Trump opened the speech with what Bloomberg dubbed a 25-minute tirade in which he pointed to the stock market’s performance as evidence of his early accomplishments and said news organizations work “for the special interests and for those profiting off a very, very broken system.” He mentioned that a Rasmussen poll found that he had 55 percent approval – Gallup’s most recent tracking poll found he had 40 percent support — and said “the stock market has hit record numbers, as you know.”


    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 16, 2017.


  • Russia notes that German gold in U.S. was just a mirage

    Saturday’s report from Sputnik News, a division of the Russian government’s international information agency, shows just how closely that government is watching not just the gold market but also, it seems, GATA’s work. That is, the report addresses suspicions raised by GATA’s friends in Germany’s “Repatriate Our Gold” movement and reported almost exclusively by GATA that Germany’s gold reserves vaulted with the United States were never more than gold credits until the Bundesbank sought to repatriate the gold in recent years.
    Russia’s special interest in gold and GATA’s work appears to date from June 2004, when the deputy chairman of Russia’s central bank, Oleg Mozhaiskov, spoke to the summer meeting of the London Bullion Market Association at the Baltschug Kempinsky Hotel in Moscow and used only four English words in his address: “Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee“.
    While surreptitious intervention in the gold market remains a prohibited subject in the government-controlled Western financial news media, it is a subject of great interest in the government-controlled Russian news media, and GATA will continue its efforts to make the issue of interest everywhere.

    This post was published at Sputnik News


  • How corporate dark money is taking power on both sides of the Atlantic

    It took corporate America a while to warm to Donald Trump. Some of his positions, especially on trade, horrified business leaders. Many of them favoured Ted Cruz or Scott Walker. But once Trump had secured the nomination, the big money began to recognise an unprecedented opportunity.
    Trump was prepared not only to promote the cause of corporations in government, but to turn government into a kind of corporation, staffed and run by executives and lobbyists. His incoherence was not a liability, but an opening: his agenda could be shaped. And the dark money network already developed by some American corporations was perfectly positioned to shape it. Dark money is the term used in the US for the funding of organisations involved in political advocacy that are not obliged to disclose where the money comes from. Few people would see a tobacco company as a credible source on public health, or a coal company as a neutral commentator on climate change. In order to advance their political interests, such companies must pay others to speak on their behalf.
    Soon after the second world war, some of America’s richest people began setting up a network of thinktanks to promote their interests. These purport to offer dispassionate opinions on public affairs. But they are more like corporate lobbyists, working on behalf of those who fund them.
    We have no hope of understanding what is coming until we understand how the dark money network operates. The remarkable story of a British member of parliament provides a unique insight into this network, on both sides of the Atlantic. His name is Liam Fox. Six years ago, his political career seemed to be over when he resigned as defence secretary after being caught mixing his private and official interests. But today he is back on the front bench, and with a crucial portfolio: secretary of state for international trade.

    This post was published at The Guardian


  • The Senate War Against Border Tax Begins

    One week ago, we wrote that “Two Wars Are About To Break Out Over Border Adjustment Tax“: one of which would include a group of opposing Republican Senators (and their lobbyists), and US retailers and importers, and a second which would be waged between the US and all of its major trading partners.
    Today, the war against BAT fired its first salvo, when the previously profiled Senator David Perdue of Georgia, former CEO of discount retailer Dollar General, emerged as the top Republican critic of the House GOP plan to adjust business taxes at the border, threatening the divisive proposal’s legislative prospects. Unlike other members of the upper chamber, Perdue has harshly criticized the tax idea in the press and actively tried to sway his colleagues against it.
    In a letter issued on Wednesday, Perdue wrote that “this 20-percent tax on all imports is regressive, hammers consumers, and shuts down economic growth.”
    Perdue said he supports three of the major ideas in the House Republicans’ plan: simplifying the individual tax code, lowering the corporate tax rate and making it easier for companies to bring foreign earnings back to the U. S. But he said that the border-adjustment tax would raise consumer prices.
    “This would hammer consumer confidence and lower overall demand, thus putting a downward pressure on jobs,” he said.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 9, 2017.