• Tag Archives lobby
  • The Full List Of Every GOP Senator Who Stands To Be Personally Enriched By The Tax Bill

    Submitted by David Sirota of International Business Times
    When the U. S. Senate takes up the final tax bill this week, more than a quarter of all GOP senators will be voting on a bill that includes a special provision that could give them a new tax cut through their real estate shell companies, according to federal records reviewed by International Business Times.
    The provision was not in the original bill passed by the Senate on Dec. 1. It was embedded in the final bill by Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who is among the lawmakers that stand to personally benefit from the provision.
    In response to Democratic lawmakers who have slammed the provision as a lobbyist-sculpted giveaway to the rich, Republican Majority Whip John Cornyn promoted on Twitter a column by Ryan Ellis, a registered bank lobbyist who has been working to influence the tax legislation and who has defended the provision.
    In all, 14 Republican senators (see list below) hold financial interests in 26 income-generating real-estate partnerships – worth as much as $105 million in total. Those holdings together produced between $2.4 million and $14.1 million in rent and interest income in 2016, according to federal records.
    IBT first reported on the tax carve-out, which allows investors in ‘pass-through’ entities, including real-estate partnerships such as LLCs and LPs, with few employees to deduct part of their income that passes through those partnerships. In response to IBT’s reporting, Republican Sen. Bob Corker, who owns up to $35 million in ‘pass-through’ real-estate interests, claimed he did not know of the carve-out when he announced his support for the legislation on Friday, after previously casting the only Republican vote against the bill in the Senate, which did not then include the provision.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 19, 2017.


  • The Darkest Hours

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Kunstler. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    The Tax ‘Reform’ bill working its way painfully out the digestive system of congress like a sigmoid fistula, ought be re-named the US Asset-stripping Assistance Act of 2017, because that’s what is about to splatter the faces of the waiting public, most of whom won’t have a personal lobbyist / tax lawyer by their sides holding a protective tarpulin during the climactic colonic burst of legislation.
    Sssshhhh…. The media has not groked this, but the economy is actually collapsing, and the nova-like expansion of the stock markets is exactly the sort of action you might expect in a system getting ready to blow. Meanwhile, the more visible rise of the laughable scam known as crypto-currency, is like the plume of smoke coming out of Vesuvius around 79 AD – an amusing curiosity to the citizens of Pompeii below, going about their normal activities, eating pizza, buying slaves, making love – before hellfire rained down on them.
    Whatever the corporate tax rate might be, it won’t be enough to rescue the Ponzi scheme that governing has become, with its implacable costs of empire. So the real aim here is to keep up appearances at all costs just a little while longer while the table scraps of a four-hundred-year-long New World banquet get tossed to the hogs of Wall Street and their accomplices. The catch is that even hogs busy fattening up don’t have a clue about their imminent slaughter.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by James Howard Kunstler ‘ December 18, 2017.


  • Amazon Makes Money Exploiting Honest Merchants

    It’s not enough to lobby. Nor is it enough to buy a newspaper that then has one of its “allegedly honest” writers show up as a speaker at a hard-left political confab the purpose of which is to tilt United States political policy.
    Now we’ve got another report — this one from merchants, and it’s ugly.
    Mike Molson Hart, who sells toys on Amazon.com Inc.’s marketplace, realized earlier this month something was amiss. His company’s popular disc-shaped plastic building set, called Brain Flakes, had dropped precipitously in the ranks of Amazon’s best-selling toys as the critical gift-giving season approached.
    He visited the product page on Amazon.com and suspected he was the victim of “sniping,” when one merchant sabotages another by hiring people to leave critical reviews of their goods and then voting those reviews as being helpful, making them the most prominent feedback seen by shoppers.
    This is a problem trivially solved by Amazon: Do not allow “reviews” from people who haven’t bought the product through the site!

    This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-11-24.


  • New Footage From Inside Riyadh Ritz-Carlton Reveals Princes Swapping Assets For Freedom

    A BBC reporter and film crew has gained rare access inside Riyadh’s “gilded cage” – the Ritz-Carlton which became a luxury prison after a dozen or more princes were detained during the shocking events which began with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s (MbS) internal purge on November 4th.
    ***
    BBC’s tour was “facilitated” under highly controlled and coordinated conditions, as initial photographs and short cell phone videos produced during the first few days of the crackdown revealed harsher and more restricted conditions as princes and/or their staff were forced to sleep on the floor camp-style in the middle of the luxury hotel’s lobby.
    According to the new BBC broadcast from inside the Ritz-Carlton, the princes are desperately scrambling to cut deals through their lawyers in order to secure release, this as new unconfirmed reports of torture have emerged:
    When people were brought here around midnight on November 4th they were understandably angry. Some of them thought it would just be a show and it wouldn’t last. And then when they realized they were here to stay they were furious. Almost everyone here – 95% I was told – are willing to make a deal, to give back what are said to be substantial sums of money in order to get out of here.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 24, 2017.


  • Federal Prosecutors Are Running Amok

    It is hard to know where to begin regarding the charges against Paul Manafort, the former campaign director for Donald Trump’s successful presidential bid, but having read the indictments and knowing some background about both the case and the investigation, I cannot say it is exactly a high point of American justice. In fact, when former FBI chief Robert Mueller first was appointed as a special prosecutor to look into the allegations that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia the tilt the election to Trump’s favor, I feared his investigation would turn out to be an assault on the Constitution – and Mueller has done nothing to dispel those fears.
    I have included a link to the actual indictment, and while federal indictments can be a bit mind-numbing to read, nonetheless I have found nothing in it that relates to the original reason the Mueller probe was created: alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. Instead, it is clear that Mueller engaged in a legal ‘fishing expedition’ against Manafort and found evidence of tax evasion involving income that Manafort made while serving as a lobbyist for the government of Ukraine.
    The criminal charges themselves clearly don’t match up to the original purpose of the investigation. Writes Judge Andrew Napolitano:
    Both were accused of working as foreign agents and failing to report that status to the federal government, using shell corporations to launder income and obstruction of justice by lying to the federal government.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on November 13, 2017.


  • Stocks and Precious Metals Charts – The Yellow Sign

    “In reality, though, it was never about us and our economy at all. Today it is obvious that all of this had only one rationale: to raise up a class of supermen above us. It had nothing to do with jobs or growth. Or freedom either. The only person’s freedom to be enhanced by these tax havens was the billionaire’s freedom. It was all to make his life even better, not ours…
    We endure potholes and live in fear of collapsing highway bridges because our leaders wanted these very special people to have an even larger second yacht. Our kids sit in overcrowded classrooms in underfunded schools so that a handful of exalted individuals can relax on their own private beach.
    Today it is these same golden figures with their offshore billions who host the fundraisers, hire the lobbyists, bankroll the think tanks and subsidize the artists and intellectuals.
    This is their democracy today. We just happen to live in it.”
    Thomas Frank, We Built a Paradise For Offshore Billionaires
    “I opened the box. On the pink cotton inside lay a clasp of black onyx, on which was inlaid a curious symbol or letter in gold. It was neither Arabic nor Chinese, nor as I found afterwards did it belong to any human script.”
    Robert W. Chambers, The Yellow Sign
    As the commentators on Bloomberg TV noted, someone literally dumped a $4 billion block trade at market in the gold futures shortly before noon. And as one would assume with such an obvious and clumsy bludgeoning, it knocked the wind out of the price down to the mid-70s. Oops?

    This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 10 NOVEMBER 2017.


  • US Gross National Debt Spikes by $640 billion in 8 Weeks

    But the debt-ceiling charade is back.
    The debt ceiling charade being played out every few years in Congress makes the entire world shake its collective head and pray that Congress will for the umpteenth time raise the dang thing or at least ‘suspend’ it. The other option is a US default, the global consequences of which are too ugly to imagine, even for Congress.
    In its infinite wisdom, Congress didn’t raise the debt ceiling in September; it only suspended it through December 8, after which the horse-trading will start all over again. But Congress is busy listening to lobbyists about the tax cuts – who gets them and who pays for them – and the debt ceiling isn’t even on the back burner. So here we go again.
    But this charade has some peculiar effects, beyond its entertainment value: For months on end, it covers up the true extent of US government debt, and its continued surge. Then suddenly, the floodgates open.
    Over just these six years, the debt has ballooned by $5.7 trillion, or by 39%, from $14.8 trillion to $20.5 trillion. In the chart below, note the last three debt-ceiling fights, the long flat lines in 2013, 2015, and 2017, followed each time by an enormous spike when the debt ceiling was lifted or suspended, and when the ‘extraordinary measures’ with which the Treasury keeps the government afloat were reversed.

    This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ Nov 4, 2017.


  • “Did He Wear A Wire?”: Former Trump Campaign Aide Pleads Guilty To Lying To FBI

    Update: Papadopoulos’s attorney has weighed in…
    * * *
    In addition to the news that former Trump campaign executive Paul Manafort and his longtime deputy, Rick Gates, have been indicted on 12 counts including tax fraud, money laundering, failing to register as a lobbyist for a foreign country, and conspiring against the US, unsealed court documents have revealed that former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty on Oct. 5 to making false statements to the FBI.
    Noting that the Russian government often uses foreign intermediaries to accomplish its foreign policy goals, the FBI said it investigated Papadopoulos, who served as a foreign adviser for the Trump campaign starting on March 2016 and continuing through most of the campaign, for any such contacts. This investigation included an interview in January 2017. According to the indictment, there is probable cause to believe that on Jan. 27, Papadopoulos made material false statements and omitted material facts to the FBI regarding his interactions during the campaign with foreign contacts, including Russian nationals.
    Specifically, Prosecutors charged Papadopolous with lying to investigators and that he falsely described his interactions with a certain foreign contact, identified as a professor, who discussed “dirt” related to emails concering then-presiential candidate Hillary Clinton, when in fact, he had repeated communications with that contact while serving as an adviser on the campaign. Papadopoulos allegedly told the FBI that those conversations happened before he joined the campaign, statements rebutted by the Justice Department’s timeline.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 30, 2017.


  • UK PMs Push Back As Regulators “Bend The Rules” To Accommodate Saudi Aramco IPO

    All IPO’d up and no place to go? UK portfolio managers with $6.9 trillion resist rule bending by regulator to achieve Aramco London listing

    Another potential problem for the world’s biggest ever (potential) IPO…
    A lobby group representing UK portfolio managers with $6.9 trillion AUM has warned the UK financial regulator that bending the rules to accommodate Aramco’s IPO will damage London’s status as a global financial centre.
    In a letter to the head of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the embattled Andrew Bailey, the Investment Association (IA) argued that it threatened the ‘high standards’ of London’s listing regime.
    In ‘Funds fire broadside over Saudi oil float’, the Sunday Times noted that ‘Britain’s largest investors have turned up the heat on the City watchdog over its controversial plans to allow Saudi Arabia’s oil giant to float in London.’
    Besides the tricky issue of its oil and gas reserves (especially the Ghawar field), the IA argued in the letter that ‘For the premium segment of the UK main market, investors must have confidence that a company is run for all shareholders, not just the major or controlling shareholder.’

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 17, 2017.


  • Nightstick Democracy at its finest…

    The last several days in Venezuela have been absolutely mind-blowing.
    Pretty much all the stories you’ve heard are true – countless people eating out of garbage cans, the appalling shortages of basic staples like food, medicine, and even soap… and the lines.
    Oh boy, the lines.
    The longest lines I saw, in fact, were not at grocery stores, but at banks.
    Hundreds of people were queuing up, many of them to pull money out of their accounts to exchange cash on the black market.
    Lines snaked through a bank’s cavernously large lobby, continued outside, wrapped around the entire building, and terminated at some point down the street.

    This post was published at Sovereign Man on October 3, 2017.


  • Behind Vancouver’s Housing Bubble: How Canadian Casinos Are Use To Launder Millions In Chinese Drug Money

    Nearly two years after we first observed that Vancouver‘s soaring real estate market is nothing but a bubbling melange of criminal Chinese oligarch “hot money”, desperate to get parked offshore in any piece of real estate, but mostly in British Columbia regardless of price, a new multi-year investigation has uncovered extensive links – including money laundering and underground banking – between China’s criminal underworld and British Columbia drug and casino cash and VIPs, as well as their connections to China, Macau and the notorious triads.
    In retrospect, and as many suspected, it appears that much of the B. C. real estate bubble can be explained as nothing more than the “layering” and “integration” aspect of a giant money laundering scheme involving billions of dollars of Chinese hot money and the criminals behind it.
    Here is Postmedia’s real estate reporter Sam Cooper reporting on and explaining how British Columbia casinos are used to launder millions in drug cash.
    * * *
    On Oct. 15, 2015, a Mountie burst through the front door of an office in Richmond, carrying a battering ram and with a rifle slung on his back. The door swung shut behind him, locking him inside. He was in the lobby of Silver International Investment, a high-end money transfer business, surrounded by bulletproof glass. Behind a second glass door, a woman rushed to make a call while hiding several cellphones. Under her desk was a safe stuffed with bundles of cash. The Mountie, a large man, counted seconds anxiously, wondering if the woman would unlock the interior door.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 1, 2017.


  • Surprise! The Rules Will Change (But Not to Your Benefit)

    These expedient fixes end up crippling the mechanisms that are needed to actually solve the systemic sources of the crisis.
    We can add a third certainty to the two standard ones (death and taxes): The rules will suddenly change when a financial crisis strikes.</em
    Why is this a certainty? The answer is complex, as it draws on human nature, politics and the structure of societies/economies ruled by centralized states (governments).
    The Core Imperative of the State: Expand Control
    As I explain in my book, Resistance, Revolution, Liberation, the core (i.e. ontological) imperative of every central state is to expand its reach and control. This isn’t just the result of individuals within the state seeking more power; every centralized state views whatever is outside its control as a threat. The way to reduce or neutralize a threat is to take control of the mechanisms that generated it.
    Once the state has gained control of these mechanisms, it is loath to relinquish them; to relinquish control is to invite chaos.
    There is of course an intensely self-serving dynamic to extending state control: those being paid to enforce this state control have an immense vested interest in the state retaining (or even extending) this control, as their livelihoods now depend on the state doing so.
    The higher-ups in the state also have a vested interest in retaining these new controls, as more control means more wealth and power accrue to those at the top of the centralized power pyramid: this extension of state control means private enterprise must now lobby the state for favors, and it gives the higher-ups more perquisites and favors to dispense – for a price, of course.
    This vested interest arises throughout the power pyramid, from the bottom functionary with newfound power over common citizens to the managers of the departmental bureaucracy tasked with enforcing the new control to the apex of state authority.
    This hierarchy of state power creates another threat to the central state; the corralling of state power by fiefdoms within the state itself. In other words, fiefdoms can become semi-autonomous agencies that are only nominally under the control of central authority. The answer is of course additional layers of oversight, compliance, investigation and enforcement within the state itself.

    This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith by Charles Hugh Smith.


  • The Deep State: How They Got Their Power To Manipulate For Ultimate Control

    While many in the United States firmly believe that the government just isn’t working, it is. But it’s only working for the powerful and rich elites in the government and the media who have a desire to cling to their oppressive control of others and the money many are willing to allow them to steal.
    The fight has never been between the republicans and the democrats. As Americans choose sides, their rights and freedoms are sold to the highest bidder. According toIntellectual Takeout, the fight is between ‘us’ and the deep state; not those on the right and those on the left. More and more often we are seeing bureaucrats, lobbyists, and elected officials of both parties circle the wagons in an effort to prevent any true reforms of the government. They constantly write laws they exclude themselves from, come up with inventive ways to tax us to our breaking point and destroy the healthcare system. And this is all by design.
    According to Joost Meerloo in his seminal book The Rape of the Mind, the author discusses the psychology of brainwashing that’s allowing every American to succumb to tyranny right before their eyes and not only not realize it, but beg for more oppression. ‘The burning psychological question is whether man will eventually master his institutions so that these will serve him and not rule him,’ said Meerloo in his discussion of the Deep State or the ‘administrative machine’ published in 1956.

    This post was published at shtfplan on September 3rd, 2017.


  • The De-Branding of a President

    Promising to cut corporate taxes, roll back regulations on Wall Street, and get government off the back of business, Donald Trump was enjoying a honeymoon with the stock market and the CEOs of the most iconic brands in the U. S. What a difference four days can make.
    Yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 274 points. Also yesterday, Trump announced that he was cancelling his business advisory council on infrastructure. That move followed his prior day’s axing of his star-studded CEO councils on manufacturing and Strategy & Policy Forum. According to published reports, Trump was saving face by axing the councils after getting a heads up that the CEOs were leaving en masse.
    The rapid move by top CEOs to distance themselves and their brands from the President came after Trump delivered impromptu remarks on Tuesday in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan, where he appeared to equate the KKK and neo-Nazi groups that protested in the weekend Charlottesville, Virginia rally with the protesters opposing them.

    This post was published at Wall Street On Parade By Pam Martens and Russ Marte.


  • Technical Scoop – Weekend Update July 16

    The stock market yawned, and then moved to new highs! We know that is probably not what most people would have expected from the latest revelations of the ongoing saga of President Trump and his family. But that is exactly what happened as the Dow Jones Industrials (DJI) moved to new all-time highs. The revelation was the botched attempt by Donald Trump Jr., the son of President Donald Trump to get dirt on Hillary Clinton by meeting up with a woman described as ‘the Russian government attorney.’
    The meeting was apparently attended by Donald Trump Jr., the President’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, the former campaign advisor Paul Manafort who himself has been revealed as having deep financial ties to Russian interests, the Russian government lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, and most recently reported, a Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin. The meeting is being viewed by some as the most tangible evidence of a connection between the Trump campaign and Russia, a connection that had been denied previously by both the President and Donald Trump Jr. The investigation is the subject of an investigation by a federal special counsel.
    The President praised his son’s transparency for revealing the emails that said, ‘I love it’ to what he had been told was an attempt by the Russian government to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential election campaign. What all of this does, however, is give fuel to a fire that has been burning since Donald Trump officially became President in January 2017. The DJI is up 8.8% since the inauguration. Gold is up roughly 2%, but the US$ Index has fallen 5.4%.

    This post was published at GoldSeek on 16 July 2017.


  • U.S. House Financial Services Committee Needs New Leadership

    When members of the U. S. House Financial Services Committee question Fed Chair Janet Yellen this morning following her testimony on monetary policy, many Republicans on the panel will be posturing for their money masters who fund their political campaigns rather than asking questions that benefit the average American.
    You can tell that there has been a Koch Network-corporate takeover of the House Financial Services Committee by the statement that its Chairman, Jeb Hensarling, plastered on the front page of the Committee’s web site following the heroic actions of the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray, on Monday. Cordray reopened the nation’s courts to millions of Americans who have been the victims of predatory actions by the banks that fund Hensarling’s seat in Congress.
    On Monday, Cordray went up against the most powerful players on Wall Street and the entire Big Bank lobby, and issued a final rule that restores the rights of citizens to sue predatory credit card companies and banks as a group in a legal technique known as a class action. Republicans in Congress should have heralded this move as a fundamental right under the U. S. Constitution and one of the very tenets on which this nation was founded.

    This post was published at Wall Street On Parade on July 12, 2017.


  • Volcker Says Trump Changes to Volcker Rule Won’t Erode Principle

    Paul Volcker said he isn’t worried that the Trump administration will undermine the financial rule that bears his name.
    ‘If they can do it in a more efficient way, God bless them,’ the former Federal Reserve chairman said in a phone interview about proposed revisions to the regulation. ‘The basic principle remains valid. I hope that won’t go away, and I expect that it won’t.’
    The Volcker Rule, part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, restricts trading by banks to ensure they don’t make risky bets that lead to big losses. It took five regulatory agencies more than three years to hammer out the details of how firms can continue to help clients trade without engaging in so-called proprietary bets with their own money. A report released by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last month recommended that regulators simplify some of those directions and exempt community banks.
    ‘Everybody wants to see it more simple,’ said Volcker, 89, who served as Fed chairman under presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. ‘The basic premise is hard to fight against. Yet the banks have powerful lobbyists who have been fighting it from day one.’

    This post was published at bloomberg


  • Upton Sinclair: The Brass Check – Brazen Times in Donnie-dom

    I will probably update the charts and other information over the weekend.

    Considering that today was a Non-Farm Payrolls report, the action in the markets is not particularly surprising. The talking heads were calling this an almost perfect ‘risk-on’ jobs report. Right. Plenty of crappy jobs at wage levels for an unsustainable recovery.

    Not one thing has change in my mind for the intermediate to longer term. Its just that the antics of the major corporate/financial players is becoming more brazen in Donnie-dom.
    These quotes are from The Brass Check which was written by Upton Sinclair in 1919. A brass check was a token purchased by a customer in a brothel and given to the woman of his choice. Sinclair saw the moneyed interests of his day holding brass checks with which to purchase politicians, journalists and their editors, and other thought leaders of the day. In modern times we call them ‘speaking fees’ and ‘consulting contracts’ and lobbyist positions’ and ‘book deals.’ For twenty years I have been a voice crying in the wilderness of industrial America; pleading for kindness to our laboring-classes, pleading for common honesty and truth-telling, so that we might choose our path wisely, and move by peaceful steps into the new industrial order. I have seen my pleas ignored and my influence destroyed, and now I see the stubborn pride and insane avarice of our money-masters driving us straight to the precipice of revolution.

    This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 07 JULY 2017.


  • Fine Gold versus F.I.N.E. Central Banks

    Gold is one of nature’s finest creations.
    On the other hand central banks create trillions of fiat currency units – dollars, euros, yen, quataloos, whatever – from nothing and use those currency units for purchases … Apple stock, salaries for a thousand Ph. D. economists, office buildings, lobbyists, politicians, gold bullion etc.
    It is unfair that the Fed creates trillions of dollars from nothing and values those dollars equally with other dollars created from the efforts of millions of businesses and individuals.
    UNFAIR? Of course it’s unfair. That’s the point! With their ‘unfair’ ability to create fiat currency that spends the same as existing currency, central bankers increase their power and wealth at the expense of citizens. They own or control governments, congressmen, CEO’s, commercial bankers and more.
    Don’t expect this to change. Those in power like things as they are.

    This post was published at Deviant Investor on July 5, 2017.


  • 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