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The Private Equity Boom, Easy Money, and Crony Capitalism

  • K Street

Amongst the big winners from the Obama Fed’s Great Monetary Experiment has been the private equity industry. Indeed this went through a near-death experience in the Great Panic (2008) before its savior — Fed quantitative easing — propelled it forward into new riches. There is no surprise therefore that its barons who join the political stage (think of the last Republican presidential candidate) have no interest in monetary reform. And the same attitude is common amongst leading politicians who hope private equity will provide them high-paid jobs when they quit Washington.

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The Destructive Mindset of The Elites - Davos Edition

The hypocrisy and material self-indulgence on display at Davos may rankle, but the deeper problem is the unspoken assumption that the sort of people who gather in Davos are the sort of people who have the answers to social problems. Historically speaking, there is little evidence to support that proposition. And that is why conventions like that in Davos end up being so frequently counterproductive. When elites get together to talk about the big issues, the discussion consists mostly of very similar people asking themselves what people like them can do. The answer is: A whole lot less than you think.

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WHAT IS PEGIDA? The German Movement Explained

Every Monday since the beginning of October, protesters have taken to the streets of Dresden, Germany, under the banner of “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident” (PEGIDA)

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Freeing The Slave Women Of ISIS

This is the story that exposed the true depravity of the Islamic State: thousands of defenseless girls captured as slaves. This emotional expose meets the woman desperately trying to save the Yazidi girls."Today is female slave market day. It is distribution day. With the permission of Allah everyone will get a share", cries the brazen fighter, reclining in a video that shows the casual barbarity of the Islamic State's army. Meanwhile, chased onto Mount Sinjar and executed en masse, Yazidi girls are captured as slaves to the so-called Islamic Caliphate. "I saw everything, I saw girls being raped, I saw their torturing, I saw them separating children from their mothers, some were 5 and 6 years old", says a 21 year-old-girl who managed to escape unimaginable horrors at the hands of one IS fighter. This is the cruel fate that befell the defenceless Yazidi people, caught in the horrifying path of destruction. 

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The End of the Umbrella Revolution: Hong Kong Silenced

When students organized a strike in late 2014 to protest China’s handling of the local election process, the government responded with tear gas. Thousands of Hong Kong residents took to the city’s streets in solidarity with the students and the protesters occupied several major roads for weeks on end. Nearly two months into the occupation, the demands and resolve of the protesters remained unchanged. They started to become fatigued and divided against each other, however, and public support for their cause began to decline. The movement was under immense pressure to either escalate their action, or to retreat and give back the streets. When VICE News returned to Hong Kong near the end of 2014 to check in on the protesters, we witnessed the final days of the Umbrella Movement’s pro-democracy demonstrations.

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Argentina's Bad Bet

Kirchner and Timerman's decision to cut a deal with Iran will only end up hurting Argentina. Nisman's death (as we well as his revelations) threatens to further isolate Argentina, a country that is badly in need of friends. As President Kirchner is about to learn the hard way, trading national security and justice for prosperity almost always results in neither.

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The Truth About Currency Manipulation

The image of U.S. President George Washington is seen on an engraving plate for a one dollar bill at the Bureau of Engraving.
The image of U.S. President George Washington is seen on an engraving plate for a one dollar bill at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, November 14, 2014. (Gary Cameron / Courtesy Reuters )

U.S. President Barack Obama’s signature international economic initiative, and the centerpiece of his pivot to Asia, is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement of a dozen Asia-Pacific countries. But the partnership faces a major hurdle. Bipartisan majorities of both houses of Congress insist that the TPP forcefully address the manipulation of exchange rates, the practice through which some countries keep their currencies artificially weak and thus unfairly make their exports more competitive.

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How Do You Unmanipulate a Manipulated Economy?

Breaking the stranglehold of vested interests is the essential step to rebuilding an economy that isn't totally dependent on manipulated money and statistics. The word manipulated has the sour taste of officially sanctioned distortion in service of an Elite's interests. At a minimum, manipulation smacks of intent to defraud. If there is no intent to defraud or mislead, then what's the purpose of manipulating statistics, media coverage and official narratives?

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The Perils of Thoughtless ‘Diversity’: Europe is learning that not all cultures are mutually compatible.

 

Muslim youths clash with police in suburban Paris, August 2014. (Pierre Andrie/Getty)

Islamic terrorist attacks in Europe, and European governments’ counter-attacks are more than just a passing news story. Europe is currently in the process of paying the price for years of importing millions of people from a culture hostile to the fundamental values of Western culture. And this is by no means the last of the installments of that price, to be paid in blood and lives, for smug elites’ utopian self-indulgences in moral preening and gushing over the magic word “diversity.”

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Prices are Falling in the Eurozone, but is it “Real” Deflation?

The Eurozone has been on the brink of deflation for months. The latest data show that for the first time, consumer prices for the currency area as a whole (and for 12 of its 19 member countries) were actually lower in December than a year earlier. But is it “real” deflation?

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The Anti-Innovators: How Special Interests Undermine Entrepreneurship

A series of tubes: programming a U.S. Army computer in Philadelphia, 1946 (APIC / Getty Images)

Bad procurement policy is just one reason the United States has begun to lose its technological edge. Indeed, the multibillion-dollar valuations in Silicon Valley have obscured underlying problems in the way the United States develops and adopts technology.

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Get Ready For Life Without Oil

<p>Will that be cash or credit?</p>
 Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia isn't the nicest ally to have. The desert kingdom just handed out  a sentence of  1,000 lashes to a blogger for running a website devoted to freedom of speech. Not exactly the kind of regime we want to have in our circle of friends, especially once you figure in their financial support for Islamic State and other radical Islamist groups. But you go to war with the allies you have, not the allies you wish you had. And in the global oil price war against Russia and Iran, Saudi Arabia is the U.S.’s indispensable ally.

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The War At Israel's Doorstep

VICE News travels to Israel’s “quiet border” in the Golan Heights, where members of al Nusra Front are now a visible threat - al Nusra Front, an al Qaeda-affiliate, isn’t Israel’s only threat from Syria. President Bashar al-Assad’s military, in a possible effort to bait Israel into its civil war to shore up Arab sympathies, has been lobbing mortars across the border.

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Is Obama in Bed with Big Money on Wall Street?

New Geography's Joel Kotkin talks to Glenn Reynolds about the Obama Administration's love-hate relationship with Wall Street. Kotkin reminds viewers that President Obama has always had a cozy relationship with the financial services industry, notwithstanding his negative rhetoric regarding banks and banking.

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A War Between Two Worlds

Two women talk as police officers stand in front of the courthouse in Meaux, near Paris, on Sept. 22, 2011. The court convicted two other women for publicly wearing Islamic veils; France banned face coverings earlier that year.

Christianity has been sapped of its evangelical zeal and no longer uses the sword to kill and convert its enemies. At least parts of Islam retain that zeal. And saying that not all Muslims share this vision does not solve the problem. Enough Muslims share that fervency to endanger the lives of those they despise, and this tendency toward violence cannot be tolerated by either their Western targets or by Muslims who refuse to subscribe to a jihadist ideology.

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OPEC Losing Its Grip? No, The Saudis Are Partying Like It's 1981

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Falling oil prices have provided the equivalent of a $1 billion-a-day tax cut to U.S. consumers. That’s the good news. The bad news is despite all the crowing about OPEC losing its ability to control oil prices, quite the opposite might be happening. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Counties, and particularly Saudi Arabia, are partying like it’s 1981, with Republicans in control of Congress and alternatives to oil in retreat. That means lower oil prices, possibly for years, but also lower non-OPEC energy production and eventually another recession-inducing price spike like the one that helped take down the global economy in 2008.

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TODENHÖFER ON CNN: ONLY MODERATE SUNNIS CAN DEFEAT ISIS

CNN's Frederick Pleitgen talks with Journalist Jürgen Todenhöfer who traveled to ISIS-controlled Syria and Iraq.

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Why History Will Eviscerate Obama: He will go down as America’s Gorbachev

Like Gorbachev, Obama will be esteemed in certain quarters a generation from now, but probably more by foreigners than fellow citizens, and more by his country’s enemies than its friends.

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Europe Reborn: How to Save the European Union From Irrelevance

The EU has worn out its default strategy of muddling through crises. Lurching from one calamity to the next has damaged the credibility of Brussels and national governments alike. It is time for a bold and far-reaching agenda. To see a Europe truly reborn and fit for the twenty-first century, EU leaders must reassert with confidence—on the economy, on security, and on democracy—that Europe is stronger when it stands united.

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Activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali On The Dangers Of Islamism

Like the editor of Charlie Hebdo, Stephane Charbonnier, New York-based activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali was and still is on an al-Qaeda hit list. She says the West needs to acknowledge the link between radical Islam and violence and in the wake of the attacks, the media mustn't be silenced in its pursuit of free conscience and expression.

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