Inside The Global “Club” That Helps Executives Escape Their Crimes

The Court That Rules The World

Imagine a private, global super court that empowers corporations to bend countries to their will.

Say a nation tries to prosecute a corrupt CEO or ban dangerous pollution. Imagine that a company could turn to this super court and sue the whole country for daring to interfere with its profits, demanding hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars as retribution.

Imagine that this court is so powerful that nations often must heed its rulings as if they came from their own supreme courts, with no meaningful way to appeal. That it operates unconstrained by precedent or any significant public oversight, often keeping its proceedings and sometimes even its decisions secret. That the people who decide its cases are largely elite Western corporate attorneys who have a vested interest in expanding the court’s authority because they profit from it directly, arguing cases one day and then sitting in judgment another. That some of them half-jokingly refer to themselves as “The Club” or “The Mafia.”

Read more by Chris Hamby at BuzzFeed.com

This trend tells you everything you need to know about America’s future

Long ago in the Land of the Free, if you wanted to start a saloon, you rented a space and started serving booze. You didn’t have to go through years of petitioning a bunch of bureaucrats for permits and licenses. If you weren’t qualified or good enough at your job, your reputation would suffer and you’d go out of business.

This is the way it used to be for just about every industry and profession.

It wasn’t until 1889 that the US Supreme Court ruled in Dent v. West Virginia that states had the right to impose “reasonable” certifications or licenses for various professions.

At first, most states only licensed physicians, dentists, and lawyers. In fact, by 1920, only about 30 occupations in the US required any sort of licensing. By the 1950s, about 5% of US workers required a license to perform his/her job.

Today that number has risen to 30%, and climbing.

Read more by Simon Black at SovereignMan.com

The House That Obama Built

This is the house that Obama built

These are the firms
That paid for the house that Obama built

This is the media that didn’t inform
That everyone’s broke except for those firms
That paid for the house that Obama built

These are the crony big business concerns
That gave to the unions what they didn’t earn
That the media saw but didn’t inform
That everyone’s broke except for those firms
That paid for the house that Obama built

This is the stimulus ready to burn
That the crony big businesses didn’t return
That gave to the unions what they didn’t earn
That the media saw but didn’t inform
That everyone’s broke except for those firms
That paid for the house that Obama built . . .

Read more at thepeoplescube.com

The Main Driver of GDP Growth: A Strong Rule of Law

GDP Growth More Strongly Correlated with Rule of Law than Anything Else …

Economist Woody Brock says that a nation’s GDP growth is based mainly on whether or not it follows the rule of law.

–SNIP– Economists have thoroughly documented that failure to enforce the rule of law leads to a loss of trust … which destroys economies.

This is true whether it is in the West, in Nigeria or any other country.

Read more at WashingtonsBlog

My party has lost its soul: Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and the victory of Wall Street Democrats

A former Clinton aide on how Democrats lost their way chasing Wall Street cash, and new populism the party needs

–SNIP– One reason we know voters will embrace populism is that they already have. It’s what they thought they were getting with Obama. In 2008 Obama said he’d bail out homeowners, not just banks. He vowed to fight for a public option, raise the minimum wage and clean up Washington. He called whistle-blowers heroes and said he’d bar lobbyists from his staff. He was critical of drones and wary of the use of force to advance American interests. He spoke eloquently of the threats posed to individual privacy by a runaway national security state.

He turned out to be something else altogether. To blame Republicans ignores a glaring truth: Obama’s record is worst where they had little or no role to play. It wasn’t Republicans who prosecuted all those whistle-blowers and hired all those lobbyists; who authorized drone strikes or kept the NSA chugging along; who reneged on the public option, the minimum wage and aid to homeowners. It wasn’t even Republicans who turned a blind eye to Wall Street corruption and excessive executive compensation. It was Obama.

Read more by Bill Curry at Salon.com

WHO ELSE but Mr. Reardon would make Reardon Metal?

James Taggart: “He didn’t invent iron ore and blast furnaces, did he?”

Cheryl Brooks: Who?”

“Rearden. He didn’t invent smelting and chemistry and air compression. He couldn’t have invented his Metal but for thousands and thousands of other people. His Metal! Why does he think it’s his? Why does he think it’s his invention? Everybody uses the work of everybody else. Nobody ever invents anything.”

She said, puzzled, “But the iron ore and all those other things were there all the time. Why didn’t anybody else make that Metal, but Mr. Rearden did?”

–Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, Part I, Ch. 9, The Sacred and the Profane

The Efficient Destruction of Flyover Country

–SNIP– Then disaster struck. We were about 25 miles away from Galesburg, Illinois. Galesburg has good interstate-highway access on I-74 and is a major hub for the BNSF. The town of about 12,000 people had Knox College, a large Maytag factory and warehouse facility, and a factory for Butler Buildings. Thanks to NAFTA, GATT, and, to a much lesser extent, labor unions, Maytag closed down. Butler Buildings was bought out by an Australian concern, which announced that, because of productivity issues at the Galesburg plant, it was to be closed. In a short time, 4,500 decent-paying jobs had been lost. Then firms that depended on business from Maytag and Butler Buildings, or from their employees, folded. Gates Rubber also cut back its workforce. Gary Goddard, the Galesburg city manager, watched as his several decades of work to build up his town evaporated. Many people in my town commuted to Galesburg. People would work full-time in Galesburg, and farm full- or part-time. Now, an economist would say this happens because of inefficiency, and the failure of manufacturing is all part of the “creative destruction” that is an essential engine of capitalism. But what I have seen here in the heartland of the United States is only the destruction; the creation takes place offshore. Making a god of efficiency denigrates the much more important goal of effectiveness. Efficiency (as Peter Drucker writes) is doing the thing right, while effectiveness is doing the right thing. Of course, ideologues firmly believe that effectiveness is purely automatic: Progress is inevitable! But that is not the reality I have seen.

Read more by Steve Berg at ChroniclesMagazine.org

How the IRS Used Civil Asset Forfeiture to Ruin the Lives of Two Connecticut Bakers

At the beginning of this year, Attorney General Eric Holder attempted to close an exploitable loophole in asset forfeiture laws. State and local law enforcement agencies often sought federal “adoption” of seizures in order to route around statutes that dumped assets into general funds or otherwise limited them from directly profiting from these seizures. By partnering with federal agencies, local law enforcement often saw bigger payouts than with strictly local forfeitures.

The loophole closure still had its own loopholes (seizures for “public safety,” various criminal acts), but it did make a small attempt to straighten out some really perverted incentives. But deep down inside, it appears the DOJ isn’t really behind true forfeiture reform. In fact, it seems to be urging local law enforcement to fight these efforts by pointing out just how much money these agencies will “lose” if they can’t buddy up with Uncle Sam.

– From the post: How the Department of Justice is Actively Trying to Prevent Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform

It’s been a while since I’ve reported on the lawless and barbaric practice of civil asset forfeiture. However, just because it hasn’t been a focus doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Indeed, it appears the same federal agencies that couldn’t find a bank executive they didn’t want to coddle, take particular pleasure in harassing and abusing average Americans generally, and small businesspeople in particular.

Read more at LibertyBlitzkrieg.com

This entire system is rigged against your prosperity

–SNIP– Freedom also means being able to make mistakes… to take risks… and either suffer the consequences of bad decisions or enjoy the rewards of good ones.

This has been a huge part of Hong Kong’s success. And it used to be part of America’s as well.

This isn’t rocket science. The Universal Law of Prosperity is very clear– in order to build wealth you have to produce more than you consume.

But the more rules, regulations, and taxes there are, the more difficult it is to produce.

This is precisely the economic problem in the Land of the Free today.

They’ve created a political system that churns out…

Read more by Simon Black at SovereignMan.com