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Archive for the ‘Wall Street’ Category

The Drumpf, the Prez and Fethullah: A Shady Game of Dubious Connections

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The quite renowned periodical Newsweek has now published an interesting piece predicting how business interests and concomitant profits appear set to dominate U.S. foreign (as well as domestic) policy under the aegis of Donald J. Trump . . . the not-so surprise winner of the recent U.S. presidential elections. The journalist Kurt Eichenwald namely posits that “Donald Trump hasn’t been sworn in yet, but he is already making decisions and issuing statements to world leaders that radically depart from American foreign policy, all to the benefit of his family’s corporate empire”.[2]  Eichenwald details how Trump’s business deals with the Philippines and Taiwan could very well compromise U.S. foreign policy, but most ominous seems his assertion that the “conflicts between the commercial interests of the Trump family and U.S. foreign policy extend beyond the many financial benefits for the next president and his children. Already, there is a situation in which the president of the United States could be blackmailed by a foreign power through pressure related to his family’s business entanglements”.[3]  Specifically, Eichenwald is here thinking about Turkey . . . and Turkey’s strongman, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (aka the Prez) and his Justice and Develpoment Party (or AKP).

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Eichenwald explains in the following manner: in “2008, the Trump Organization struck a multimillion-dollar branding deal with the Dogan Group, a large corporation named after its influential family, for a two-tower complex in Istanbul. In 2012, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan presided over the opening ceremonies and met with Trump. But in June of this year, Erdogan called for the Trump name to be removed from the complex because of his anti-Muslim rhetoric; the Turkish president also said presiding over the dedication had been a terrible mistake. Erdogan later told associates he intended to impede America’s use of a critical Air Force base in Turkey should Trump win the presidency, a Middle Eastern financier with contacts inside the Turkish government told Newsweek. The financier spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid jeopardizing relations with his official contacts. In July, members of the Turkish military attempted a coup. Erdogan crushed the plotters, and his government has arrested more than 36,000 suspected participants and shut down 17 media outlets. The primary culprit, Erdogan declared almost immediately, was Fethullah Gülen, a 77-year-old Muslim spiritual leader who has lived in Pennsylvania’s Poconos region for many years. Erdogan demanded that the Obama administration extradite Gülen to face charges related to the coup”.[4]  But during his phone call, the Drumpf made the tactical error or heaping praise on Aydın Doğan’s son-in-law, Mehmet Ali Yalcındağ.

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Eichenwald goes on to say that “[a]ccording to [a] Middle Eastern financier with contacts in the Erdogan administration, Trump’s casual praise of a member of the Dogan family prompted Erdogan to believe this relationship might give him leverage over the president-elect. In the past, Erdogan has placed enormous pressure on the Dogan Group, which owns media operations that have been critical of him, by imposing a $2.5 billion tax fine and calling for supporters to boycott its newspapers and television stations. Then, just weeks after hearing Trump’s kind words about his Dogan business partner, Erdogan lashed out at the Turkish company again. On December 1, authorities detained Barbaros [Muratoğlu], a 28-year veteran of Dogan who was the company’s representative to Ankara. His alleged crime? Maintaining links to the movement led by Gülen, thus connecting the Dogan executive to the attempted coup. In response, Dogan shares fell 8.6 percent. (The purported evidence against [Muratoğlu]: public accusations from an editor at a newspaper owned by a company that competes with Dogan.) Once again, follow the dominoes as they tip over. Erdogan is frustrated in his efforts to grab Gülen; Trump praises a Turkish executive who works with his business partner there, Dogan. A few weeks later, a senior Dogan executive is detained on threadbare allegations. If Erdogan’s government puts more pressure on the company that’s paying millions of dollars to Trump and his children, revenue flowing from the tower complex in Istanbul could be cut off. That means Erdogan has leverage with Trump, who will soon have the power to get Gülen extradited. The financier with contacts in the Turkish government explained the dynamic to Newsweek: “Erdogan has something he believes Trump wants, and Trump has someone Erdogan desperately wants.” . . . With U.S. security and foreign policy already jeopardized by the president-elect’s conflicts, a few horrifying instances of potential corruption and abuse of power seem quaint by comparison”.[5]

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[2] Kurt Eichenwald, “How Donald Trump’s Business Ties Are Already Jeopardizing U.S. Interest” Newsweek (13 Dec 2016). http://europe.newsweek.com/donald-trump-foreign-business-deals-jeopardize-us-531140?rm=eu.

[3] Kurt Eichenwald, “How Donald Trump’s Business Ties Are Already Jeopardizing U.S. Interest”.

[4] Kurt Eichenwald, “How Donald Trump’s Business Ties Are Already Jeopardizing U.S. Interest”.

[5] Kurt Eichenwald, “How Donald Trump’s Business Ties Are Already Jeopardizing U.S. Interest”.

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The Gods of Money

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William Engdahl is an American-German freelance journalist, historian and economic researcher. This lecture is based on Engdahls book The Gods of Money. The dollar financial system of Wall Street was born not at a conference in Bretton Woods New Hampshire in 1944. It was born in the first days of August, 1945 with the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After that point the world was in no doubt who was the power to reckon with. This lecture traces the history of money as an instrument of power; it traces the evolution of that power in the hands of a tiny elite that regards themselves as, quite literally, gods-The Gods of Money. How these gods abused their power and how they systematically set out to control the entire world is the subject. Published on Jun 3, 2014′.

 

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Feeling the Bern: Hilary 2016

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The American progressive writer John Stauber (cfr. THE BEST WAR EVER)[1] appears to have predicted what would happen to Bernie the moment the latter stepped on to the stage, “(as could any objective fool)” have . . . and now that the dice has finally been cast, he opines that this is “the Democrat’s political equivalent of the Bill Murray movie classic Groundhog Day, except the progressive candidate never wins the girlfriend, er, nomination, in the end. Instead, the Sanders, Deans, Browns, and Jacksons, the progressive champions of their election cycle, only change themselves from watchdogs and guard dogs to lap dogs, ensuring that cynical and outraged progressives follow their champion-cum-Pied Piper to become advocates for defeating the Republicans in November”.[2]

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Stauber goes on to say that “Bernie is an old man. He has lived a fine and worthy public life, but unfortunately he will fade into the sunset without taking the brave step of leading his supporters into finally forming a viable left party in the United States. That would be a true legacy and accomplishment. Even the right wing oligarchs of the Republican Party have realized that the shared monopoly both corporate parties wield over the political process makes a viable third party almost impossible. Yet, for all the noble tirades of the Progressives from Bill Moyers to Bernie Sanders about the power of money and how it must be removed from the process, it is the process itself that is the problem. Two parties, both pro Wall Street and pro military-industrial complex, control the political system. A majority of voters opted out of this farce democracy long ago, so only a minority votes for these parties. Big money has ensured ever tighter domination by the super rich, but even with the dream of meaningful finance reform, the shared monopoly that corporate oligarchs control with their phony two-party system is the real problem”.[3]

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‘Sanders on Whether He Would Tell Supporters to Back Hillary: ‘Make These Decisions Yourself’ . . . A young man at the Bernie Sanders–Chris Hayes MSNBC town hall tonight told him about how he and a lot of other Democrats just can’t see themselves voting for Hillary Clinton in the fall. He asked, “Will you encourage your supporters to vote for Secretary Clinton?” . . . “We’re not a movement,” Sanders said, “where I can snap my fingers and say to you or to anybody else what you should do, that you should all listen to me. You shouldn’t. You make these decisions yourself.” So basically, as far as Sanders is concerned, it’s incumbent upon Clinton to earn the votes of his supporters by speaking to the issues that they care about (posted 25 April 2016)’.

The inimitable Pepe Escobar puts it like this: “[s]o it’s a go for Zeus to launch the thunderbolt. Neo-Athena – minus the wisdom – Hillary Clinton, Queen of Chaos, Goddess of War, Empress of the Perma-Smirk, will finally have her shot at the U.S. presidency. After the Battle of New York, she’s on top on number of votes; number of states; number of pledged delegates; number of superdelegates. It seems as inevitable as death and offshore accounts. ‘I don’t think she’s going to be indicted’; thus spoke Donald Trump to Fox News in relation to Servergate. ‘The Democratic Party is going to protect her.’ And yet, assuming he clinches the presidency, Trump said he would pursue charges against Hillary concerning her subterranean email server. Charles Koch, for his part, now admits Hillary might make a better President than, well, Trump or any other Republican (‘It’s possible, it’s possible’) – as much as, in some respects, he considers Bill was a better President than George W. Bush. So would Koch’s billions support Hillary? ‘We would have to believe her actions would be quite different from her rhetoric.’ Which brings us to Hillary as Queen of Turbo-Charged Casino Neoliberalism. And once again, the evidence insists to suggest that her actions do not exactly match her rhetoric”.[4] Oh yes, here we go again. The Empress of Chaos as the Queen of Turbo-Charged Casino Neoliberalism on the domestic and globalist front, while talking nice and giggling uncontrollably, as the next Gaddafi dies screaming . . . or, as put by the always eloquent John Pilger, “Hillary Clinton leaves a trail of blood and suffering around the world and a clear record of exploitation and greed in her own country”.[5] Does this now mean that the only hope for a better world is . . . Trump, I mean Drumpf?!??? There are those who hold this opinion: “Trump is a media hate figure. That alone should arouse our scepticism. Trump’s views on migration are grotesque, but no more grotesque than David Cameron. It is not Trump who is the Great Deporter from the United States, but the Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama . . . The danger to the rest of us is not Trump, but Hillary Clinton. She is no maverick. She embodies the resilience and violence of a system . . . As presidential election day draws near, Clinton will be hailed as the first female president, regardless of her crimes and lies – just as Barack Obama was lauded as the first black president and liberals swallowed his nonsense about hope”.[6]

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[1] “THE BEST WAR EVER — by John Stauber & Sheldon Rampton” The Erimtan Angle (08 Oct 2011). https://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2011/10/08/the-best-war-ever-by-john-stauber-sheldon-rampton/.

[2] John Stauber, “#FeelTheBern Goes #UpInSmoke” CounterPunch (27 April 2016). http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/27/feelthebern-goes-upinsmoke/.

[3] John Stauber, “#FeelTheBern Goes #UpInSmoke”.

[4] Pepe Escobar, “Hillary: Wall Street’s Golden Girl” CounterPunch (27 April 2016). http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/27/hillary-wall-streets-golden-girl/.

[5] John Pilger, “Trump and Clinton: Censoring the unpalatable” RT Op-Edge (29 March 2016). https://www.rt.com/op-edge/337590-trump-clinton-censoring-pilger/.

[6] John Pilger, “Trump and Clinton: Censoring the unpalatable”.

Sunday Surprise: The Panama Papers

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‘Governments across the world began investigating possible financial wrongdoing by the rich and powerful following a leak of documents from a Panamanian law firm. The documents allegedly show how clients avoided tax or laundered money. The documents detailed schemes involving an array of figures from friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin to relatives of the prime ministers of Britain, Iceland and Pakistan and as well as the president of Ukraine. Australia, Austria, Brazil, France and Sweden were among countries which said they had begun investigating the allegations. The documents were leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and more than 100 other news organizations. Published on Apr 4, 2016’.

The funny thing is that the name Putin keep on being bandied about (even by the Chinese CCTV), in spite of the fact that the name does not seem to appear in the leaked papers . . . close associates. Meanwhile, David Cameron’s father is directly implicated as well as a host of other politicians from across the world. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) puts it like this: “Files reveal the offshore holdings of 140 politicians and public officials from around the world” . . . “Current and former world leaders in the data include prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, the president of Ukraine, and the king of Saudi Arabia” . . . “More than 214,000 offshore entities appear in the leak, connected to people in more than 200 countries and territories” . . . “Major banks have driven the creation of hard-to-trace companies in offshore havens”.[1] Still, the ICIJ also talks about “associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin” . . . . and adding that the “cache of 11.5 million records shows how a global industry of law firms and big banks sells financial secrecy to politicians, fraudsters and drug traffickers as well as billionaires, celebrities and sports stars. These are among the findings of a yearlong investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and more than 100 other news organizations. The files expose offshore companies controlled by the prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, the king of Saudi Arabia and the children of the president of Azerbaijan. They also include at least 33 people and companies blacklisted by the U.S. government because of evidence that they’d been involved in wrongdoing, such as doing business with Mexican drug lords, terrorist organizations like Hezbollah or rogue nations like North Korea and Iran. One of those companies supplied fuel for the aircraft that the Syrian government used to bomb and kill thousands of its own citizens, U.S. authorities have charged”, and adding that the “leaked data covers nearly 40 years, from 1977 through the end of 2015. It allows a never-before-seen view inside the offshore world — providing a day-to-day, decade-by-decade look at how dark money flows through the global financial system, breeding crime and stripping national treasuries of tax revenues. Most of the services the offshore industry provides are legal if used by the law abiding. But the documents show that banks, law firms and other offshore players have often failed to follow legal requirements that they make sure their clients are not involved in criminal enterprises, tax dodging or political corruption. In some instances, the files show, offshore middlemen have protected themselves and their clients by concealing suspect transactions or manipulating official records”.[2]

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But, the journalist Clark Mindock and David Sirota now also reveal that “U.S. President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed for a Bush administration-negotiated free trade agreement that watchdogs warned would only make the situation worse”, “[y]ears before more than a hundred media outlets around the world released stories Sunday exposing a massive network of global tax evasion detailed in the so-called Panama Papers”.[3] These statements would indicate that, not Putin but rather, Obama should be wary of the recent leak . . . Mindock and Sirota explain that “[s]oon after taking office in 2009, Obama and his secretary of state — who is currently the Democratic presidential front-runner — began pushing for the passage of stalled free trade agreements (FTAs) with Panama, Colombia and South Korea that opponents said would make it more difficult to crack down on Panama’s very low income tax rate, banking secrecy laws and history of noncooperation with foreign partners. Even while Obama championed his commitment to raise taxes on the wealthy, he pursued and eventually signed the Panama agreement in 2011. Upon Congress ratifying the pact, Clinton [aka the Hillerator] issued a statement lauding the agreement, saying it and other deals with Colombia and South Korea ‘will make it easier for American companies to sell their products.’ She added: ‘The Obama administration is constantly working to deepen our economic engagement throughout the world, and these agreements are an example of that commitment.’ Critics, however, said the pact would make it easier for rich Americans and corporations to set up offshore corporations and bank accounts and avoid paying many taxes altogether”.[4]

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And then, some of the names appearing in the leaks are Sergi Roldugin, Arkady Rotenberg and Boris Rotenberg, (apparently close friends of Russia’s President), and the soccer star Lionel Messi and the Spanish director Pedro Almodovar (and brother Agustin Almodovar Caballero) and the Argentina President Mauricio Macri as well as Ivan Zamorano, a retired Chilean and Real Madrid soccer player, but also the actor Jackie Chan and the already-disgraced Michel Platini, the former President of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), but also Juan Pedro Damiani, member of the FIFA Ethnics Committee and also an Argentine former soccer player with Manchester United, Gabriel Iván Heinze, in addition to the UK PM’s old man, Ian Cameron, as well as former Spanish King Juan Carlos I’s sister Pilar de Borbon, and a certain Daniel Muñoz, aide to former Argentina presidents Cristina Fernandez de Kichner and Nestor Kichner. And then there are also the names of the Prime Minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, and Juan Armando Hinojosa, the “favorite contractor” of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, as well as a certain Néstor Grindetti, Mayor of the Lanús, Argentina (a town with a population of 212,152) and João Lyra, Member of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, and Alfredo Ovalle Rodríguez, intelligence agency associate in Chile as well as Pedro Delgado, former Governor of the Central Bank of Ecuador. In addition to the name Riccardo Francolini, the former chairman of the state-owned Savings Bank in Panama, and César Almeyda, the Director of Peru’s National Intelligence Service. And then there is a former Venezuelan commander-in-chief of the army known as Victor Cruz Weffer, as well as Jesús Villanueva, the former Director of Venezuela’s state-owned oil and gas company PDVSA, as well as Idalécio de Oliveira, potential briber of Brazil’s President of the Chamber of Deputies Eduardo Cunha. Another name is that of Javier Molina Bonilla, a former advisor to Ecuador’s Director of the National Intelligence Secretariat Rommy Vallej, and César Rosenthal, son of former Honduran Vice President Jaime Rosenthal. And the names of two Argentinean businessmen also implicated in the 2015 FIFA corruption case, Hugo and Mariano Jinkis, and yet another professional soccer player, Leonardo Ulloa.[5] But for some strange reason there seem to be no names of big-time American Capitalists and/or philanthropists on the lists, no Gates of Buffet, for one thing. Or, as asked on the website Slashdot, “Where are the US politicians and businessm[e]n?”.

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[1] “Giant Leak of Offshore Financial Records Exposes Global Array of Crime and Corruption” ICIJ (03 April 2016). https://panamapapers.icij.org/20160403-panama-papers-global-overview.html.

[2] “Giant Leak of Offshore Financial Records Exposes Global Array of Crime and Corruption”.

[3] Clark Mindock and David Sirota, “Panama Papers: Obama, Clinton Pushed Trade Deal Amid Warnings It Would Make Money Laundering, Tax Evasion Worse” IBT (04 April 2016). http://www.ibtimes.com/panama-papers-obama-clinton-pushed-trade-deal-amid-warnings-it-would-make-money-2348076.

[4] Clark Mindock and David Sirota, “Panama Papers: Obama, Clinton Pushed Trade Deal”.

[5] “Panama Papers: Partial list of celebrities, government officials named in leak” Fox News Latino (04 April 2016). http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2016/04/04/panama-papers-partial-list-celebrities-government-officials-named-in-leak/.

[6] “Panama Papers: Data Leak Exposes Massive Official Corruption” Slashdot (03 April 2016). https://politics.slashdot.org/story/16/04/03/2026258/panama-papers-data-leak-exposes-massive-official-corruption.

New Confessions of an Economic Hitman

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‘Thom Hartmann talks with John Perkins, Former Chief Economist at a major international consulting firm where he advised the World Bank, United Nations, the IMF, U.S. Treasury Department, Fortune 500 corporations, and governments in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East / Now Activist & Author. . . latest, New Confessions of an Economic Hitman (John is also the author of the 2005 bestseller, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man) about a system rigged in part by “Economic Hit Men” – who make sure that everyone is in debt so that the rich get richer – while the poor and middle class get poorer.

The New Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man

“Featuring fifteen explosive new chapters, this expanded edition of the classic New York Times million-copy bestseller brings the story of economic hit men up to date and, chillingly, home to the United States. It also gives us hope and the tools each of us can use to change the system. In this astonishing tell-all book, former Economic Hit Man John Perkins shares new details about the ways he and others cheated countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. From the U.S. military in Iraq and infrastructure development in Indonesia, to Peace Corps volunteers in Africa and jackals in Venezuela, Perkins exposes the corruption and failed policies that have fueled instability and anti-Americanism around the globe, with consequences reflected in our daily headlines and lives. He then reveals how the deadly Economic Hit Man cancer he helped create has spread far more widely and deeply than ever in the United States and everywhere else—to become the dominant system of business, government, and society today. Finally, he gives an insider’s view of what we each can do to change it”.[1]

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[1] “The New Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man” John Perkins. http://johnperkins.org/books.

The Donald leading the Trumped

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The New York-based content manager and longtime snopes.com message board participant Kim LaCapria notes that the “image and quote attributed to Donald Trump [reproduced below] began appearing in our inbox in mid-October 2015. The format is easily recognizable as one wherein words are attributed to the individual pictured, and in this case image claims that Donald Trump made the following statement in a 1998 interview with People magazine: ‘If I were to run, I’d run as a Republican. They’re the dumbest group of voters in the country. They believe anything on Fox News. I could lie and they’d still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific’. Despite People‘s comprehensive online content archive, we found no interview or profile on Donald Trump in 1998 (or any other time) that quoted his saying anything that even vaguely resembled the words in this meme. Trump appeared somewhat regularly in the magazine’s pages before he came to star on The Apprentice, but the bulk of the magazine’s celebrity-driven coverage of him back then centered on his marriages to, and divorces from, Ivana Trump and Marla Maples”.[1]

The Donald

This film was suppressed 25 years ago. Now that Trump is running for president, it is time for the American People to meet the real Donald and learn how he does business. The old Trump and the new Trump?  They’re the same Trump.

In 1989, People‘s Gary Smith wrote that “Trump seemed not to be aware of [his own human possibilities]. He had no greater cause or vision. The game was the goal. The Deal was Art. The oddity was, Trump could live that way and look positively happy, not a trace of existential anguish or a shadow of self-conflict or guilt. All the lives in all the magazines in all the grocery-store checkout lines warned us of the perils of celebrityhood and vast wealth, but not his. Nothing seemed to touch him. ‘I’m not a shmuck’, he said, referring to the way he bailed out of the stock market just before the crash of ’87. ‘Even if the world goes to hell in a hand basket, I won’t lose a penny’. He said things like that without a twinkle in his eyes—that was the scary thing. But then, perhaps soul or sense of humor was too much to ask of the man who used up every waking moment in the 1980s making sure he was never vulnerable, making certain Donald Trump would never, ever be chumped”.[2]

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[1] Kim LaCapria, ‘FALSE: Donald Trump Said Republicans Are the “Dumbest Group of Voters”‘ Snopes (16 Oct 2015). http://www.snopes.com/1998-trump-people-quote/.

[2] Gary Smith, “Donald Trump” People (04 Oct 1989). http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20063178,00.html.

How Reaganomics Killed America’s Middle Class

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‘Thom Hartmann discusses what Ronald Reagan’s economic policies have done to America’s middle class with economist Richard Wolff, author of the book Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism in this edition of the Big Picture. (Published on Nov 11, 2015)’.

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