Fake Protesters Are Paid Actors

Truman Show USA – “Concerned Citizens” At Townhall Meetings Exposed As Paid Actors

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Here’s a bothersome trend that seems quite fitting for the smoke and mirrors driven, celebrity obsessed, hologram society that America has become. A company known as Crowds on Demand is actually in the business of providing fake protesters for causes, fake entourages for wanna be celebrities and seemingly even fake supporters for unpopular corporate activities.

This just furthers my feeling that action is far more important than traditional protests in the 21st Century. They key to getting out of the mess we are in is to actively create a parallel economy and even monetary system adjacent to the current terminal one. That way, when this one blows up, we already have the infrastructure in place to move to another paradigm. One characterized by peaceful, voluntary human interaction and dominated by decentralization in virtually all aspects of human existence.

– From the 2013 post: Protesters for Hire: For a Few Thousand Dollars We’ll Buy You a Small Entourage

I first highlighted the company Crowds on Demand over two years ago in the above post. Turns out it’s much worse than I could have imagined.

From NBC News:

In Camarillo, citizens aren’t shy about expressing their opinions. But on a chilly Wednesday night in December, city officials say one man stood out.

For nearly three minutes, Prince Jordan Tyson is on camera telling city leaders what he later admits, is a lie.

In fact, Tyson, who is not from Camarillo, is a self described struggling actor from Beverly Hills and he now believes he was involved in a secretive new industry where actors are hired to try and sway public officials.

In this case, a construction project in Camarillo he says he was hired to criticize.

“It was scripted, they told me what to say,” Tyson told NBC4.

Some of those scripted lines, he says were provided by recent UCLA graduate Adam Swart, CEO of a company called Crowds on Demand, which will stage rallies and demonstrations for any almost candidate or cause.

Swart says he has employed actors to sway city officials in meetings across the country.

“I have worked with dozens of campaigns for state officials, and 2016 presidential candidates,” Swart told NBC4, adding that he won’t name any names.

“I can’t go in to detail… if I did, nobody would hire us.”

The California Political Practices Commission tells NBC4 political campaigns are required by law to report expenditures.

But, public records indicate only one committee in the entire state has ever reported paying “Crowds On Demand”, that committee is Six California’s, the campaign to split California in to 6 different states.

State officials say some campaigns and politicians who hire “Crowds On Demand”… and fail to report campaign expenditures, could be breaking the law.

Hiring actors is not illegal. Although, entertainment law attorney and USC professor Lincoln Bandlow says telling those actors what to do and say could lead to lawsuits, if someone feels harmed.

“Paying someone to go out there and make false representations to a city council is going to give rise to possible fraud claims, possible intentional interference with business relations claims, maybe defamatory statement claims.”

Swart would not confirm to NBC4 that he hired Tyson or gave him lines, but says he has hired actors on multiple occasions to try and sway city officials across the country.

Swart tells NBC4 he has 20,000 actors across the country and most are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

If there’s a hell, this guy’s going. Personally, I’d settle for prison.

Rewarding Failure – VW CEO Gets $32m

Rewarding Failure – Volkswagen CEO To Receive $32 Million Pension

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Last week, I tweeted the following with regard to my prediction about what would happen to the Volkswagen CEO after pretty much destroying the company’s reputation due to the emissions cheating scandal:

It didn’t take long for crony capitalism to kick in. You know, where the most destructive and inept members of society are consistently rewarded for failure. Bloomberg reports the following:

Martin Winterkorn, engulfed by a diesel-emissions scandal at Volkswagen AG, amassed a $32 million pension before stepping down Wednesday, and may reap millions more in severance depending on how the supervisory board classifies his exit.

After Winterkorn disclosed Wednesday that he had asked the board to terminate his role, company spokesman Claus-Peter Tiemann declined to comment on how much money the departing CEO stands to get. Volkswagen’s most recent annual report outlines how Winterkorn, its leader since 2007, could theoretically collect two significant payouts.

Winterkorn’s pension had a value of 28.6 million euros ($32 million) at the end of last year, according to the report, which doesn’t describe any conditions that would lead the company to withhold it. And under certain circumstances, he also can collect severance equal to two years of “remuneration.” He was Germany’s second-highest paid CEO last year, receiving a total of 16.6 million euros in compensation from the company and majority shareholder Porsche SE.

While the severance package kicks in if the supervisory board terminates his contract early, there’s a caveat. If the board ends his employment for a reason for which he is responsible, then severance is forfeited, according to company filings.

Of course, we all know this isn’t going to happen. How do we know? Well this is how…

The supervisory board’s executive committee said in a statement Wednesday that Winterkorn “had no knowledge of the manipulation of emissions data,” and that it respected his offer to resign and request to be terminated. It also thanked him for his “towering contributions” to the company.

The annual report also mentions another piece of his pension: He can use a company car in the years that benefit is being paid out.

This is merely the latest example of the “heads I win, tails you lose” environment that protects corporate CEOs. In case you missed the following post published just last week:

United Airlines CEO Walks Away with $21 Million Exit Package After Resigning Due to Corruption Probe

Well of course you’re going to have income inequality when CEOs literally can’t lose, no matter how much they fail.

The Oligarch Recover – You Lose

The Oligarch Recovery: 30 Million Americans Have Tapped Retirement Savings Early In Last Year

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

The ongoing oligarch theft labeled an “economic recovery” by pundits, politicians and mainstream media alike, is one of the largest frauds I’ve witnessed in my life. The reality of the situation is finally starting to hit home, and the proof is now undeniable.

Earlier this year, I published a powerful post titled, Use of Alternative Financial Services, Such as Payday Loans, Continues to Increase Despite the “Recovery,” which highlighted how a growing number of Americans have been taking out unconventional loans, not simply to overcome an emergency, but for everyday expenses. Here’s an excerpt:

Families’ savings not where they should be: That’s one part of the problem. But Mills sees something else in the recovery that’s more disturbing. The number of households tapping alternative financial services are on the rise, meaning that Americans are turning to non-bank lenders for credit: payday loans, refund-anticipation loans, pawnshops, and rent-to-own services.

According to the Urban Institute report, the number of households that used alternative credit products increased 7 percent between 2011 and 2013. And the kind of household seeking alternative financing is changing, too.

It’s not the case that every one of these middle- and upper-class households turned to pawnshops and payday lenders because they got whomped by an unexpected bill from a mechanic or a dentist. “People who are in these [non-bank] situations are not using these forms of credit to simply overcome an emergency, but are using them for basic living experiences,” Mills says.

Of course, it’s not just “alternative financial services.” Increasingly desperate American citizens are also tapping whatever retirement savings they may have, including taking the 10% tax penalty for the privilege of doing so. In fact, 30 million Americans have done just that in the past year alone, in the midst of what is supposed to be a “recovery.”

From Time:

With the effects of the financial crisis still lingering, 30 million Americans in the last 12 months tapped retirement savings to pay for an unexpected expense, new research shows. This undercuts financial security and underscores the need for every household to maintain an emergency fund.

Boomers were most likely to take a premature withdrawal as well as incur a tax penalty, according to a survey from Bankrate.com. Some 26% of those ages 50-64 say their financial situation has deteriorated, and 17% used their 401(k) plan and other retirement savings to pay for an emergency expense.

Two-thirds of Americans agree that the effects of the financial crisis are still being felt in the way they live, work, save and spend, according to a report from Allianz Life Insurance Co. One in five can be called a post-crash skeptic—a person that experienced at least six different kinds of financial setback during the recession, like a job loss or loss of home value, and feel their financial future is in peril. 

So now we know what has kept meager spending afloat during this pitiful “recovery.” A combination of “alternative loans” and a bleeding of retirement accounts. The transformation of the public into a horde of broke debt serfs is almost complete.

Don’t forget to send your thank you card to you know who:

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*  *  *

For related articles, see:

The Oligarch Recovery – Study Shows Real Wages Have Plunged for Low Income Workers During the “Recovery”

The Oligarch Recovery – Low Income Americans Can’t Afford to Live in Any Metro Area

The Oligarch Recovery – Renting in America is Most Expensive Ever

Another Tale from the Oligarch Recovery – How a $1,500 Sofa Costs $4,150 When You’re Poor

The Face of the Oligarch Recovery – Luxury Skyscrapers Stay Empty as NYC Homeless Population Hits Record High

Census Data Proves It – There Was No Economic Recovery Unless You Were Already Rich

Use of Alternative Financial Services, Such as Payday Loans, Continues to Increase Despite the “Recovery”

 

Propaganda Taught At Police Academies

Iraq War Veteran Blows Whistle On Shameless Propaganda Being Taught At Police Academies

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 10.44.36 AM

Before getting into the meat of this post, I want to start off by stating a fact:There is no “war on police” happening in America today. What is happening is a growing movement of people who want police accountability, profess a desire to reform the justice system so that we stop incarcerating people for the  oxymoron of “victimless crimes,” and an end to the widespread thieving of the public without due process via a practice known as civil asset forfeiture.

I’ve covered these topics extensively over the years. Here are just a few examples:

The United States: 5% of the World’s Population, 25% of its Prisoners

Don’t Mess with Texas – Police Raid and Shutdown Lemonade Stand Run by 7 and 8-Year-Old Girls

Chart of the Day – America’s Prison Population Over the Past 100 Years

Denver Police Arrest “Jury Nullification” Activist for Passing Out Informational Pamphlets

Land of the Unfree – Police and Prosecutors Fight Aggressively to Retain Barbaric Right of “Civil Asset Forfeiture”

The DEA Strikes Again – Agents Seize Man’s Life Savings Under Civil Asset Forfeiture Without Charges

Asset Forfeiture – How Cops Continue to Steal Americans’ Hard Earned Cash with Zero Repercussions

The public grievances listed earlier are reasonable demands which any civilized culture would insist upon. Nevertheless, many police departments across the country are taking these criticisms as part of some imagined “war on police” which simply doesn’t exist. Rather than showing even a sliver of introspection by looking inward at the mistakes policing has made in recent years, many officers are becoming defensive, combatant and have resorted to lies in order to dismiss the concerns of the public.

This is precisely what an Iraq war veteran witnessed recently while training at a police academy. He shared his story with the Daily Beast under the pseudonym Clayton Jenkins. Here are some excerpts:

The War on Cops is a grossly inaccurate response to recent police killings which are on track for another year that will rival the safest on record. Gunfire deaths by police officers are down 27 percent this year, according to the Officer Down memorial page, and police killings in general are at a 20-year low, given current numbers for 2015. Police deaths in Barack Obama’s presidency are lower than the past four administrations, going all the way back to Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

Not a single iota of evidence supports a War on Police, but it has become a battle cry among some in the academy.

Over 80 percent of police departments in the United States are facing issues with low recruitment numbers. As an Iraq War veteran I sought to solidify my chance of employment working in law enforcement by attending a local police academy. I enjoyed serving my country as military police and will do such now as a sworn police officer back home.

What are they telling us in a post-Michael Brown academy? The culture of police brutality is infrequently addressed, but what is continually mentioned is the notion that there is a War on Police.

“The Obama Administration and Eric Holder are undermining the police. We have officers dying left and right and he’s dicking off in Alaska,” says one of my instructors, referring to the president’s trip to Alaska last week.

I understand as a law enforcement professional—and as someone capable of fairly reading mountains of data—that the Drug War has been unfairly used as a tool of oppression against the black community. It is why the American public overall has shown they have less confidence in police in recent times.

But there is no War on Police. This Us vs. Them mentality still prevails even in fresh academy cadets. Perhaps some of these people will become future jackbooted, truncheon wielding oppressors. Or perhaps they will encounter the reality that betrays the fear they are taught.

Now watch the following recruitment video for the Portsmouth, Virginia police department…

Meanwhile, a Portsmouth officer was recently indicted after fatally shooting 18-year-old William Chapman after he was caught shoplifting.

This looks like a scene from Gaza, not the America we imagine.

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Please tell me. Who has declared war on who?

State Department’s Psaki Smirks About US Policy Supporting Coups

Caught On Tape: State Department’s Psaki Smirks About US Policy Supporting Coups 

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/16/2015

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

In case you weren’t aware, Venezuelan authorities recently accused the U.S. of attempts to overthrow its government. In a press conference, U.S. State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, vehemently denied such claims and then went ahead and spouted talking points so ridiculous, only a complete ignoramus could believe them. She said:

 As a matter of long-standing policy, the United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means.

Interesting, because it seems to me that the primary role of U.S. foreign policy throughout my lifetime has been specifically to initiate political transitions by non-constitutional means.

The line was simply too much to bear for some members of the press. One guy in particular, incredulously asked her to elaborate on her definition of “long-standing” in light of the historical reality that the U.S. government has been constantly involving itself in coups all over the world, particularly in Latin America.

What’s even more amazing than the fact that the “authorities” remain so willing to publicly spout such easily disprovable propaganda, is her reaction once see realizes she’s been caught. She backpedals and squirms, but the most disturbing thing is you can see a subtle smirk come across her face. She knows how ridiculous the statement is and can’t keep it together once she’s called out. I guess coups are funny to people in power. To those victimized by them, not so much.

Watch the clip below, and pay particularly close attention to Jen Psaki’s face from around the 57 second mark. She’s clever enough to quickly try to cover it up with a joke.

 Shameless!

Private Equity Audits Reveal Criminal Behavior

SEC Official Claims Over 50% Of Private Equity Audits Reveal Criminal Behavior

 

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/13/2014 11:20 -0400

Submitted by Mike Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Last week, Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism penned a fantastic piece leveraging a talk by SEC official Drew Bowden. Mr. Bowden heads the SEC’s examinations unit, and at a private equity conference he explained that “more than 50 percent of private equity firms it has audited have engaged in serious infractions of securities laws.” What is so incredible about the talk, is that while Bowden goes into details of shady practice after shady practice, he ultimately admits that the SEC isn’t being particularly aggressive with the private equity industry because “we believe that most people in the industry are trying to do the right thing, to help their clients, to grow their business, and to provide for their owners and employees.”

Yes, go ahead and read that again. The industry regulator is assuming that private equity firms are trying to do the right thing, despite the fact that audits demonstrated to a tune of greater than 50% the opposite to be true.

Private equity managers are some of the savviest people in finance and they know exactly what they are doing. What the SEC is basically admitting, is that private equity firms are also “too big to regulate” and, of course, “too big to jail.” After all, every single person at the SEC is likely angling for a big payday at a PE firm via the revolving door. Of course they aren’t going to regulate.

Meanwhile, if you are just an average citizen, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law if you commit even the most minor infraction. This sort of behavior led to the death of prodigy Aaron Swartz, the incarceration of political prisoner Barrett Brown, a swat team raid on a young kid in Peroia, Illinois for a parody Twitter account, the firing of a constriction worker for not paying for a $0.89 soda refill. This list goes on and on. Yet private equity crimes, which likely run into the billions collectively, are treated with kid gloves. As I have maintained many times before, this is how the social fabric of a society dies.

From Naked Capitalism:

At a private equity conference this week, Drew Bowden, a senior SEC official, told private equity fund managers and their investors in considerable detail about how the agency had found widespread stealing and other serious infractions in its audits of private equity firms.

In the years that I’ve been reading speeches from regulators, I’ve never seen anything remotely like Bowden’s talk. I’ve embedded it at the end of this post and strongly encourage you to read it in full.

Despite the at times disconcertingly polite tone, the SEC has now announced that more than 50 percent of private equity firms it has audited have engaged in serious infractions of securities laws. These abuses were detected thanks to to Dodd Frank. Private equity general partners had been unregulated until early 2012, when they were required to SEC regulation as investment advisers.

Bowden heads the SEC’s examinations unit, and his rap sheet was based on his two years of experience in auditing private equity firms. As bad as embezzlement and other sharp practices are, at least as troubling is the revelation that the limited partners have been derelict in their duties. They’ve agreed to terms in their relationship with the general partners to make it easy for the general partners to abuse the investors. The general partners can steal from their limited partners because the limited partners are asleep. The LPs have failed to negotiate for contractual protections when they have the most leverage, prior to investing, and they’ve been unwilling or unable to monitor their investments effectively once they’ve handed over their money. Note that the industry was warned about this possible outcome; it corresponds to the worst scenario, ” A Broken Industry,” in a 2011 paper by Harvard Business School professor Josh Lerner.

Bowden pointed out that private equity is unique among the investment advisers the SEC supervises. The general partners’ control of portfolio companies gives them access to their cash flows, which the GPs can divert into their own pockets in numerous ways.

He went on to describe some of the common fee skimming models. For example:

Some of the most common deficiencies we see in private equity in the area of fees and expenses occur in firm’s use of consultants, also known as “Operating Partners,” whom advisers promote as providing their portfolio companies with consulting services or other assistance that the portfolio companies could not independently afford.

Here’s how this scam works. PE firms raise funds by showing prospective investors a strong team of professionals who are going to find attractive companies to buy and manage them. The limited partnership agreement, which is the contract between the private equity firm and the investors, typically says that the private equity firm has to pay for the wages of people working on the fund’s behalf. However, unbeknownst to the investors because it was never disclosed, part of the PE firm “team”, usually the members that work with portfolio companies, are actually being paid as independent contractors. The private equity firm then bills most or all of these sham independent consultants to the portfolio companies with whom they interact.

Most troubling of all is that we have reports from industry insiders that Bowden failed to mention the most egregious forms of stealing, which may cost investors billions of dollars annually. As we understand it, the SEC is on to a couple of large-scale scams perpetrated by some of the biggest firms.

The SEC may be pulling its punches because it may be uncertain about what to do with the rot it has found. Side by side with the the unprecedented, detailed litany of numerous forms of lawbreaking and bad conduct, Bowden was also peculiarly deferential, which gave his speech a schizophrenic feel. For instance:

Some questioned why we would show our hand in this way, to which there’s a simple and sensible answer. We believe that most people in the industry are trying to do the right thing, to help their clients, to grow their business, and to provide for their owners and employees. We therefore believe that we can most effectively fulfill our mission to promote compliance by sharing as much information as we can with the industry, knowing that people will use it to measure their firms and to self-correct where necessary. Put another way, we are not engaged in a game of “gotcha.”

So you see, an average citizen gets locked up for life, yet a private equity partner is given the benefit of the doubt and, at worst, asked politely to change behavior by the SEC.

State legislators need to understand what is going on here. They have granted public pension funds and public endowments across the U.S. the exorbitant privilege of secrecy in private equity investing, even to the point of making these contracts virtually the only ones that are exempt from state-level Freedom of Information Act laws.

State legislators need to understand what is going on here. They have granted public pension funds and public endowments across the U.S. the exorbitant privilege of secrecy in private equity investing, even to the point of making these contracts virtually the only ones that are exempt from state-level Freedom of Information Act laws.

I recently wrote that private equity will deservedly emerge as the financial industry’s major villain in the next crisis. I detailed why in my post, Leaked Documents Show How Blackstone Fleeces Taxpayers via Public Pension Funds, which is a must read in the context of the article above.

Full article from Naked Capitalism can and should be read here.