The scariest thing today is not Halloween.  It’s the larger-context truth-leak that lobbying firms run America, not we the people.  Let’s walk through it, shall we?

Start with the story in the NY Times this morning about how why a rock star among lobbyist has resigned:  “Under Mueller Scrutiny, Democratic Donor Tony Podesta Resigns From Lobbying Firm.”

Remember how this works:  Tony Podesta who just quit the lobbying firm, is the brother of former Clinton campaign manager John Podesta.  Oh, yeah, and that “Russian Lobbyist” who met with Jared Trump did business with the same lobbying outfit Tony just quit according to reports.

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If this causes you to wonder “Was Trump Jr. Set-Up?” on the Russian influence story…you wouldn’t be the first to ask.  In fact, it’s key behind the other perp who pled earlier this month, George Papadopoulos. “Documents detail how Trump campaign adviser tried to set up meeting with Russians.”

This is from the ABC story:

According to court documents, Papadopoulos had communications with three foreign individuals who claimed to have varying levels of connections to the Kremlin. “

The  main thing to see in Tony Podesta’s resignation, meanwhile, (and this is the center ring attraction) is how the nstitutions of power work in D.C.

Oh, sure, we know the myth – the fairytales told in school about hard work, dedication to country, and so forth.  But, the fact is that most of America is a quietly-monetized scam run by a handful of high-power lobbying outfits in Washington.  Money from outside the district, think tank studies on command, influence peddling expertise.  And this power brokers sell government policy to the highest bidders.

They make it all up, make sure it’s not even read before being voted on, and they pull more strings than any other group in D.C. including the WH, press, or congress.  Possibly combined…

This is done through two channels.  The overt channel is the collection of D.C. law firms which offer “guidance to clients” with specific lobbying needs.  Having worked  with such firms in the past, they don’t call it “influence peddling.”  Instead, they speak of things like “walking the paperwork through” the maze of federal bureaucracies.

Should that be specialized knowledge that commands a price in the thousands per episode, or should American governmental processes be more open and transparent?  Oh, and mapped?  I’d love to have that conversation with either of the Podesta boys.

Because they reveal the other channel of influence.  The “think tanks.”

Basically, if you have enough dough, you can hire a “think tank” to come up with any policy recommendation you desire – that will serve the interests of your company or industry.  We note that John Podesta was the founder of what? The Center for American Progress.

Despite the remarkably low Trump polls lately, the fact that Mueller is making headway (Tony Podesta resigned from the lobbying outfit, after all) means that The Network – those power influencing. manipulating insiders are getting nervous.  Trump and Mueller are both well-aware of where the drain plug for the whole swamp is.

N.W. alphabet streets (like K St.) in Washington.

And you can bet the big DC lobbying firms are worried spitless now.

Hence, (look surprised) Trump is dropping in the polls.  Just as he reaches for the plug….This is what we’d have to call a statistically meaningful coincidence.

If that’s the stick, where’s the carrot for carrot-top to follow?

Just getting to that:  We see the ghostly shadows of The PowersThatBe (The Network as Professor Quigley taught the young Bill Clinton as Georgetown) hinting that they might be interested in a deal of some sort with Trump.  If he will just back off the REAL power in DC – which is the lobbying law firms and think tanks.

Proof?  That’s one way to read the odd OpEd in the Wall St. Journal this morning:  “Begging Your Pardon, Mr. President — How Trump can shut down the special counsel probe and leave the Russia investigations to Congress.”

Meantime, we notice how Hillary is still out selling her book: Hillary Clinton says ‘I have a great chapter about Russia’ in my book when asked about Mueller indictments.

Wonder if she explains about the lobbying firm?  Doubt it.  But damned if I’ll buy it to find out.

Lessons for the Old Reporters Notebook

  1.  Whenever you read “opinions” in any of the major (but especially East Coast Establishment) papers, it’s almost always someone sending a message.  Take this course of action, how does this Trial balloon sound, policy misdirections – the whole Machiavellian bag of assorted moves.
  2. Lobbying firms should be outlawed as presently constituted.  There should be no “renting of specialized knowledge” or – as has been going on outright influence peddling over a wide range of issues not limited to Russia, solar panels, and what-have-you.  No more “walking the paperwork through” anywhere.
  3. Think Tanks should be regulated in order to ensure that they don’t become (as they were for John Podesta) stairsteps and power tools operated as political levers.  Maybe a 5-year or 10-year  “cooling off period” after working for any “think tank.”  Especially the partisan ones we are effectively all paying for as taxpayers via special tax-free status  for  IRS 501-C(3) corporations.  They do take care to feather their own nests, don’t they?
  4. Even better?  Ban 501-C(3)’s from engaging in any political activity.

Like I said, the scariest thing today is not Halloween or events 15,300+ years ago.

It’s the theft of American democracy out from under us by partisans who’ve breached the Constitution which is mute on lobbying, think-tanking, and charities making money off political causes.

Combined, they have monetized the notion of doing good and twisted it up for purely personal political power and control, aided and abetted by law firms that stand ready to play the arbitrage spread between interests and bid up the price of righteous governance.

I’m saying it all needs a top-down re-think.


Yet Another Housing Record

Just out from Case-Shiller, S&P, Corelogic:

“NEW YORK, OCTOBER 31, 2017 – S&P Dow Jones Indices today released the latest results for the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices. Data released today for August 2017 shows that home prices continued their rise across the country over the last 12 months. More than 27 years of history for these data series is available, and can be accessed in full by going to Additional content on the housing market can also be found on S&P Dow Jones Indices’ housing blog:
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 6.1% annual gain in August, up from 5.9% in the previous month. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 5.3%, up from 5.2% the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted a 5.9% year-over-year gain, up from 5.8% the previous month.
Seattle, Las Vegas, and San Diego reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities. In August, Seattle led the way with a 13.2% year-over-year price increase, followed by Las Vegas with an 8.6% increase, and San Diego with a 7.8% increase. Nine cities reported greater price increases in the year ending August 2017 versus the year ending July 2017.

We always find the year-on-year percentages interesting, but so is the actual prices paid data which – if you have an eye for it – look very much in keeping with Elliott wave theory…

We’ll discuss the inflation aspects in tomorrow’s report.

Just out from Labor:

“Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.7 percent, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending in September 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries (which make up about 70 percent of compensation costs) increased 0.7 percent, and benefits (which make up the remaining 30 percent of compensation) increased 0.8 percent. (See tables A, 1, 2, and 3.)

Civilian Workers

Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 2.5 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2017. In September 2016, compensation costs increased 2.3 percent. Wages and salaries increased 2.5 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2017 and increased 2.4 percent for the 12-month period ending in
September 2016. Benefit costs increased 2.4 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2017. In September 2016, the increase was 2.3 percent. (See tables A, 4, 8, and 12.)

Private Industry Workers

Compensation costs for private industry workers increased 2.5 percent over the year. In September 2016, the  increase was 2.3 percent. Wages and salaries increased 2.6 percent for the current 12-month period. In September 2016, the increase was 2.4 percent. The cost of benefits rose 2.4 percent for the 12-month period ending in September 2017, higher than the 1.8 percent increase in September 2016. (See tables A, 5, 9, and 12.)

Dow futures up 25, but we’d venture 100 for the day later on.

Still Selling Climate Change

We mentioned the sea surface temps earlier this week (colder) yet the climate change stories continue since global climate taxes are still game on: Study: Climate Change Is Damaging the Health of Millions of People.

You are supposed to get all whipped up and open your wallet while grabbing your ankles…

Worth a Look

Forensics has reconstructed the face of a “witch” who was killed 300+ years ago.

And Pass the Chips

Because…”Discovery challenges belief about brain’s cellular makeup. Study finds that brain cells are made up of less polyunsaturated fatty acids than other major organs.”

You mean like Hammonds and Wurlitzers?

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