Trump Vs. Warren, & The Fake Battle Against The Elites

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

It seems like a simple and easy to identify pattern, but for some reason the public keeps falling for the same old globalist tricks. A well-worn tactic the money elites use to endear certain puppet political candidates to Americans is to encourage those candidates to use anti-elitist rhetoric, only to then flood their ca

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binets with those same elites once they get into office. The rule of politics seems to be, “Say whatever you want to get the people on your side, but once you're in office, you do as we tell you...”

These candidates will aggressively attack the banks, corporations and wall street, lamenting the rapid decline of the middle class or “working class”. They will point out that a mere handful of ultra-rich, the top 1%, control more wealth than nearly half of the population combined. They will seize upon the travesties of the poor and argue for “change” to bring balance back to the system. They will pretend to expose the crimes of the banking cabal and the upper echelons of Wall Street. They will put on a grand show; and then, they will do the bidding of their masters and play the role they were groomed for...

Americans are suckers for fake “people's candidates” and always have been.

But perhaps I should expand on this with some real world examples. How about Jimmy Carter, who started out his presidential campaign with a dismal 4% in the Democratic polls. Carter would go on to explode in popularity after attacking what he referred to as the “Washington insiders”, the elites that ran the show from behind the curtain. A widely distributed paperback book that promoted Carter during his campaign called “I'll Never Lie To You: Jimmy Carter In His Own Words” quoted the candidate as saying at a Boston rally:

The people of this country know from bitter experience that we are not going to get … changes merely by shifting around the same group of insiders.”

His own top aide, Hamilton Jordan, promised:

If, after the inauguration, you find a Cy Vance as Secretary of State and Zbigniew Brzezinski as head of National Security, then I would say we failed. And I’d quit.”

Carter was portrayed as a statesman free from connections to the globalists; a religious man and veritable white knight pure in his associations. This was viewed as an important image to maintain at the time. After the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the presidential candidacy of true anti-globalist Barry Goldwater and the highly questionable role of Henry Kissinger in Richard Nixon's administration, the public was growing increasingly suspicious of the nature of government and who was really in charge. Carter was initially seen as a cure for the public's distrust.

Of course, as soon as Carter entered office he injected no less than ten members of the globalist Trilateral Commission and numerous other elites into key positions in his administration, including Cy Vance and Zbigniew Brzezinski. And of course, his top aide never quit. The elites knew exactly what the public wanted at that moment in history, and so they gave it to them in the form of Jimmy Carter. Carter's administration would go on to serve numerous globalist interests, but this attracted the ire of the American public, who felt betrayed.

How about another example of fake anti-globalists and anti-elites?

Enter Ronald Reagan, the anti-Carter. The conservative (and former democrat) who wasn't afraid to point out that Carter was surrounded by Trilateral Commission ghouls and question his honesty. Reagan attacked Carter while maintaining a distance from more “conspiratorial” language. Reagan stated in 1980 during his campaign:

I don’t believe that the Trilateral Commission is a conspiratorial group, but I do think its interests are devoted to international banking, multinational corporations, and so forth. I don’t think that any Administration of the U.S. Government should have the top nineteen positions filled by people from any one group or organization representing one viewpoint. No, I would go in a different direction...”

Reagan, like Carter, was touted as having no affiliations with the elites. He was pure and unsullied by the globalists. But alas, Reagan also quickly picked at least 10 Trilateral Commission members for his transition team once he was elected, and he served the interests of the elites throughout his two terms in the White House (for the most part) under the watchful eye of George H.W. Bush.

If this is starting to sound familiar then you are probably more awake and aware than most. The elites use the same strategies over and over and over again, usually with minor variances to keep things fresh. As many of my readers are well aware, I have been consistently pointing out the fraudulent anti-globalist image of Donald Trump the past few years, and his administration has followed a very similar path to those described above with a few important differences.

Trump ran his campaign as a populist and opponent of the elites. His image was that of a person untouched by the influence of the establishment. In fact, the primary argument among his supporters was that Trump was “so rich” that he “could not be bought”. He criticized Hillary Clinton and her deep state connections with banks like Goldman Sachs and announced that once in office he would “drain the swamp” of special interests in Washington.

He also made bold accusations against the Federal Reserve, pointing out that the supposed “economic recovery” and the stock market rally was a fraud; a bubble created through stimulus and near zero interest rates that he didn't want to inherit. Trump was yet another pure white knight ready to expose and do battle with the globalist dragon.

As many liberty activists are well aware by now, Trump is the furthest thing from an anti-globalist. Like Carter and Reagan, Trump swiftly loaded his cabinet with elites from the Council on Foreign Relations, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, etc. His background was also not so pure; Trump had in fact been bought a couple decades in advance by the Rothschild banking family. Rothschild agent Wilber Ross was the man who brokered the deal to bail Trump out of his massive debts in multiple properties in Atlantic City, saving Trumps fortune and his image. Today, Wilber Ross is Trump's commerce secretary.

Trump also completely shifted his position on the economy, taking full credit for the stock market bubble as well as the fake GDP numbers and fake unemployment numbers he had attacked during his campaign. Trump has now completely tied his administration to the Everything Bubble – a bubble that has been popped and is now deflating into a hard recession.

Trump's theatrical character is different from Carter and Reagan in a couple of ways.

  • First, in the Carter era, the public had a wider trust of the mainstream media, and so, Carter was presented as a media darling. Today, the majority of the public has a severe distaste of the media, and so, Trump was presented as their enemy; a thorn in their side. The media attacks on Trump only garnered him MORE attention and favor with conservatives and independents.

  • Second, Trump's acting role as an anti-globlist in the new world order screenplay is far more important to the elites than Carter or Reagan. Trump is meant to become a symbol of ALL anti-globalism, a nexus point and representative of sovereignty activism. He is meant to co-opt the entire liberty movement, and then sink it into oblivion. In other words, as the economy crumbles around Trump, conservatives and liberty proponents are made guilty by association.

Trump serves the elites by pretending to be starkly anti-establishment while at the same time taking credit for their economic works, not to mention the blame for the collapse of the bubble the establishment created.

But what happens after Trump? Who is next in line to take the lead role in the globalist theater for the American masses? Again, it's important to remember that the elites are not very imaginative, but they do have a lot of practice with tried and true tactics. They will present us with a candidate that is decidedly anti-Trump, but who also continues certain projects that Trump started.

Enter Elizabeth Warren...

Warren is yet another candidate that is being groomed as "unaffiliated" with the elites. Her image as the “daughter of a janitor” from the American midwest who went on to succeed as a woman in a “man's world” is heavily pushed in the media. But here is why I think Warren is the most likely political anti-thesis to Trump and the most likely Democratic candidate; the screenplay essentially writes itself...

Consider this – Warren grows up in a lower middle class family in Oklahoma, the daughter of a lowly service worker. Trump grows up rich, the son of a real estate tycoon who inherits a fortune.

Trump is a billionaire businessman and member of the 1% whose economic policies and tax cuts have consistently favored corporations and stock markets over the middle class. Warren claims she is a “capitalist”, but wants restrictions on stock market buybacks and Wall Street in general, accusing it of being nothing more than a money generator for the super wealthy.

Trump has faced bankruptcy on numerous occasions and his administration sits at the doorstep of the highest national, consumer and corporate debt levels in American history. Warren's background is in bankruptcy and bankruptcy law.

Trump has taken full credit for the economic bubble and boasts about his influence over markets regularly while completely ignoring the crash in fundamentals as well as his own warnings in 2016. Warren is the ONLY democratic candidate so far to predict an economic crash in the near term.

The differences in image are important here, but there are also some similarities between Trump and Warren in terms of policy.

Trump's economic policies demand ever lower interest rates and higher levels of central bank stimulus in order to work. He won't get exactly what he wants, but he is demanding endless central bank intervention all the same.  Elizabeth Warren is a proponent of Neoclassical Economics, which is closely tied to Keynesian economics. Warren was also on the oversight committee for the TARP bailout, and can claim that she's intimately familiar with monetary stimulus measures. Real QE4 and near zero interest rates (not just repo purchases) would be more likely under Warren, after the “Trump collapse”.  In fact, it is likely that Warren would demand and get MMT (modern monetary theory) policies passed.

Trump has instituted aggressive tariff measures against China and the trade war continues unabated so far.  Warren also wants to continue hard-line policies against China, while at the same time blaming Trump for starting the conflict in the first place.

Finally, like Trump, Warren has long been a hawk in support of Israel and it is likely that US troops will be staying in the Middle East for many years to come if she is elected.  She will criticize certain aspects of Israel's Palestinian policy to appeal to the Democratic base.  But, like Trump, her actions will not match her rhetoric.

The setup of this story is almost too perfect. Midwestern middle class girl and self made professional takes on a boastful arrogant billionaire and the 1%. Democrat voters love this kind of garbage. But it doesn't stop there...

Warren's attacks on billionaires are gaining extreme media attention, and the media loves it. Her latest ad campaign criticized four rich guys by name, including Leon Cooperman, the former Ameritrade CEO Joe Ricketts, the former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and the investor Peter Thiel. Some of these men have responded publicly and angrily, and so another great farce of a wrestling match begins and propels another supposedly anti-establishment candidate into stardom.

But here's the thing – Warren's wealth tax is not so anti-establishment. Elites like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have been openly calling for higher taxes on the super-rich.  In tandem with the wealth tax, her climate change position is seen as a shot across the bow of oil companies and the financial power structure.  Yet, her policies are almost exactly in line with the Green New Deal and the UN's Agenda 2030, which the globalists greatly desire.

Warren's image as anti-establishment? It's as fake as Trump's image.

Warren has been featured multiple times in the magazine Foreign Affairs, the official magazine of the Council On Foreign Relations. On top of that they published her article "A Foreign Policy for All: Strengthening Democracy - at Home and Abroad”. For those that are unaware, the CFR is the premier globalist organization and its membership roster is saturated with many of the billionaire elites Warren claims to stand against. Yet, she has courted Foreign Affairs many times and they have written about her favorably.

Another interesting little fact is that the CFR does not publish articles by presidential candidates often. In fact, candidates that do get their articles published by Foreign Affairs tend to become president, or get a massive boost in their polling numbers and cash support. An example of this would be Richard Nixon, who suffered a stream of campaign failures until his article “Asia After Vietnam” was published in Foreign Affairs in October 1967.  A little over a year later he entered the White House. Another example would be Barack Obama, who published articles in Foreign Affairs in the early stages of his 2008 campaign. Getting an article accepted by the CFR seems to be a signal that the candidate in question is ready to be useful to the establishment.

Warren's explosion in the polls relative to candidates like Joe Biden started a few months after her article was published in the CFR magazine. So far she is the only candidate graced with an article in Foreign Affairs.

Does this mean that the elites want Warren over Donald Trump in 2020? Not necessarily. It is still too early to identify the trend and the signals for the next election. I believe next spring will bring clarity on the matter. However, the point remains that almost every candidate that is given serious consideration within the system is controlled or is seeking favor with the elites. The election process is highly moderated. Good people are not allowed to get though the net. Those that get close are ridiculed and then ignored until their campaigns fade into obscurity.

The candidates that serve the purposes of the elites get endless attention in the media, sometimes positive and sometimes negative, but they are never ignored. And, above all, the candidates that are most likely to be chosen as president are those that pretend to be anti-establishment. This is what sells with the American public, and the globalists know it. Warren is following this pattern, just as Trump did.

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Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 23:45



Turkey And Europe On Collision Course Over Energy Agenda

Authored by Vanand Meliksetian via OilPrice.com,

Turkey’s location has always given it a key geostrategic advantage. Its proximity to the Middle East and the Caspian as well as its position on the Black Sea make it an indispensable member of NATO. In recent years, however, Ankara’s diplomatic relations with its Western allies have cooled. Now, the discover

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y of major energy deposits in the Eastern Mediterranean are adding to tensions.

Cyprus is one of the countries that could benefit significantly from the new-found natural gas wealth. The island nation currently imports all of its energy, but the discovery of gas deposits could improve Cyprus’ energy security while at the same time making it an energy-exporting nation. Nicosia’s fraught relations with its large northern neighbor, however, could hamper the development of its energy sector.

The Turkish invasion of 1974 separated the island between an internationally recognized Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus which is only recognized by Turkey. To make matters even more complicated, Nicosia is a member of the EU while Ankara’s membership request is still pending. 

Turkey wants a share of the newfound energy wealth to go to the Turkish inhabitants of the island. Furthermore, Ankara has sent exploratory vessels to Nicosia’s EEZ which has evoked a sharp rebuke from the EU.

Brussels has made its position very clear, stating that Cyprus is an independent nation with widespread international recognition and that Turkey has repeatedly used force to deter energy companies from exploring the island nation’s EEZ.

Last week, the foreign ministers of the EU agreed on economic sanctions over Turkey’s actions in Cyprus’ waters. These include asset freezes and travel bans. Also, technical and material support for drilling activities is prohibited. The recent decision follows a previous round under which arms sales were banned following the country’s invasion of Syria.

But there is only so much the EU can do when it comes to influencing Ankara’s decision making. Turkey is sheltering approximately 3.5 million displaced persons. The EU is providing financial support to Ankara in exchange for preventing the continuation of the refugees’ journey to Europe. President Erdogan has already threatened to flood Europe with the displaced persons who for several years have called Turkey their "home". According to some Greek officials, Ankara has the capability to immediately “send” 500,000 refugees over into Europe.

More importantly, thousands of detained ISIS fighters are currently in Turkish jails or under the supervision of Turkey-backed Arab fighters in Syria. Ankara is calling on European countries to allow the radicalized citizens to return to their country of origin to face trial there. Domestic political developments in several European countries, however, hamper the processing of “home-grown” Islamic terrorists.

Turkey is aware of its advantage vis-à-vis the EU and it is not shy of exploiting it. Erdogan has remained rebellious in the face of increased economic and political headwinds domestically and abroad. During a state visit to the U.S., Turkey’s president warned the EU that it could send a flood of refugees and detained terrorists across the border.

According to Erdogan:

"Turkey is not one of those countries you have come to know until now. We are a country that sits at the negotiating table with you."

Ankara's ascension talks with the EU have been in stalemate for years now and membership is increasingly looking like a fantasy.

It is unclear how Turkey will exploit potential gas discoveries when Western energy companies are not allowed to share technological know-how. Ankara could turn to Russia's state-owned energy companies who are under Western sanctions themselves and therefore would be willing to make a deal with Ankara. However, Moscow historically has enjoyed good relations with Cyprus due to their shared Orthodox religion. Consequentially, it remains uncertain how Russia will play this geopolitical conundrum.

Realistically, Turkey’s options here are limited. Despite the fraught relations, the country remains a member of NATO and its most important economic partners are Western countries. Therefore, Ankara will most likely choose to deescalate before matters go out-of-hand.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 05:00
China Gives Japan, Korea Ultimatum On Hosting US Missiles After INF Collapse

The major Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun revealed this week that Chinese officials issued a stern to warning to Japan and South Korea against any move to host intermediate-range missiles on their soil.

Citing both Japanese and US sources, the newspaper said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi issued the message to his Japanese and South Korean count

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erparts in August  an action apparently triggered by President Trump's announced official withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia.

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense interceptor, via Wiki Commons

Given a key administration criticism of the INF is that it doesn't account for developing technology and advanced missiles of major powers like China, Beijing is said to be worried over the fallout of a potential new US-Russia arms race for southeast Asia.

According to the report:

With the INF now invalidated, Beijing is concerned that Washington plans to deploy intermediate-range missiles in Japan and South Korea where they would be capable of reaching China.

Foreign Minister Wang reportedly told then Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Kono: “If the United States deploys intermediate-range missiles in Japan, that would have a major effect on Japan-China relations” — a message also relayed in a separate bilateral meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha.

Japan's Kono reportedly responded firmly with “Chinese missiles are capable of hitting Japan, so China must first work toward reducing its arsenal.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) meeting Japanese counterpart Taro Kono in Tokyo on April 15, 2018. Via Reuters

And further: "Kang told Wang that China should first end its retaliatory measures against South Korea for the deployment of the U.S. military’s Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, the sources said."

The revelation comes at an interesting moment, given US-South Korea relations reached a low-point this month after the Trump administration in negotiations with Seoul demanded a $4.7 billion annual price tag to keep 28,000+ US troops in South Korea.

Simultaneously, China has signed a defense agreement with South Korea promising to develop greater security ties. The agreement lays out a near-term plan to “foster bilateral exchanges and cooperation in defense”.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 11/22/2019 - 01:00


War Conflict

OECD Sees Global Growth At Decade-Low As WTO Warns Of "Doomsday Scenario"

Global growth is quickly plunging to levels not seen since the financial crisis as the risk of long-term stagnation has developed, according to the OECD's latest Economic Outlook.

The world economy is expected to grow at a decade-low of 2.9% this year and remain in a subdued range of 2.9% to 3% through 2021. Global GDP has quickly decelerated from peaking at 3.5% in 2018.

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The Paris-based policy forum warned that several years of escalating trade disputes between the US and China have resulted in a synchronized global downturn that has pushed down global growth to alarming levels, not seen since the last financial crisis. 

The fragility of the world has led to a cycle of vulnerability where a global trade recession could be imminent or has already arrived. 

 "The alarm bells are ringing loud and clear. Unless governments take decisive action to help boost investment, adapt their economies to the challenges of our time and build an open, fair and rules-based trading system, we are heading for a long-term future of low growth and declining living standards, "OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría recently said.

OECD warns that China, the driver of global growth the bailed everyone out during the last financial crisis, might not be able to stimulate the global economy this time around as trade tensions soar and a rebalancing of the Chinese economy continues. 

China will accept sub 6% GDP in 2020, as it's likely Beijing will not turn on its massive credit spigots anytime soon. 

China's credit growth slowed more than expected in October to the weakest pace since at least 2017 as a continued collapse in shadow banking, weak corporate demand for credit, and seasonal effects all suggest that a rebound in the domestic and global economy aren't likely in the near term. 

To make things even more complicated for the global economy, the Trump administration has created a perfect storm that will likely paralyze the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) appeals body in December that could lead to further escalations in the trade war and damage the global economy into a depression. 

 Without WTO's working appeals system, international trade disputes will go unresolved and could escalate into tit-for-tat tariff wars that spiral out of control.

"At that stage, the whole thing gets out of hand," said Stuart Harbinson, Hong Kong's former representative at the WTO, now a trade consultant at Hume Broph. "I think that will be the doomsday scenario."

And with global growth at decade lows, China not able to jump-start the global economy, and the risk that trade tensions could continue escalating -- it seems that global equities have priced in a recovery that was only fantasy -- what happens next could be a repricing event for risk assets. 

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 22:45


Business Finance

Rethinking National Security: CIA & FBI Are Corrupt, But What About Congress?

Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The developing story about how the US intelligence and national security agencies may have conspired to influence and possibly even reverse the results of the 2016 presidential election is compelling, even if one is disinclined to believe that such a plot would be possible to execute.

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rong> Not surprisingly perhaps there have been considerable introspection among former and current officials who have worked in those and related government positions, many of whom would agree that there is urgent need for a considerable restructuring and reining in of the 17 government agencies that have some intelligence or law enforcement function. Most would also agree that much of the real damage that has been done has been the result of the unending global war on terror launched by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, which has showered the agencies with resources and money while also politicizing their leadership and freeing them from restraints on their behavior.

If the tens of billions of dollars lavished on the intelligence community together with a “gloves off” approach towards oversight that allowed them to run wild had produced good results, it might be possible to argue that it was all worth it. But the fact is that intelligence gathering has always been a bad investment even if it is demonstrably worse at the present. One might argue that the CIA’s notorious Soviet Estimate prolonged the Cold War and that the failure to connect dots and pay attention to what junior officers were observing allowed 9/11 to happen. And then there was the empowerment of al-Qaeda during the Soviet-Afghan war followed by failure to penetrate the group once it began to carry out operations.

More recently there have been Guantanamo, torture in black prisons, renditions of terror suspects to be tortured elsewhere, killing of US citizens by drone, turning Libya into a failed state and terrorist haven, arming militants in Syria, and, of course, the Iraqi alleged WMDs, the biggest foreign policy disaster in American history. And the bad stuff happened in bipartisan fashion, under Democrats and Republicans, with both neocons and liberal interventionists all playing leading roles. The only one punished for the war crimes was former CIA officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou, who exposed some of what was going on.

Colonel Pat Lang, a colleague and friend who directed the Defense Intelligence Agency HUMINT (human intelligence) program after years spent on the ground in special ops and foreign liaison, thinks that strong medicine is needed and has initiated a discussion based on the premise that the FBI and CIA are dysfunctional relics that should be dismantled, as he puts it “burned to the ground,” so that the federal government can start over again and come up with something better.

Lang cites numerous examples of “incompetence and malfeasance in the leadership of the 17 agencies of the Intelligence Community and the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” to include the examples cited above plus the failure to predict the collapse of the Soviet Union. On the domestic front, he cites his personal observation of efforts by the Department of Justice and the FBI to corruptly “frame” people tried in federal courts on national security issues as well as the intelligence/law enforcement community conspiracy to “get Trump.”

Colonel Lang asks “Tell me, pilgrims, why should we put up with such nonsense? Why should we pay the leaders of these agencies for the privilege of having them abuse us? We are free men and women. Let us send these swine to their just deserts in a world where they have to work hard for whatever money they earn.” He then recommends stripping CIA of its responsibility for being the lead agency in spying as well as in covert action, which is a legacy of the Cold War and the area in which it has demonstrated a particular incompetence. As for the FBI, it was created by J. Edgar Hoover to maintain dossiers on politicians and it is time that it be replaced by a body that operates in a fashion “more reflective of our collective nation[al] values.”

Others in the intelligence community understandably have different views. Many believe that the FBI and CIA have grown too large and have been asked to do too many things unrelated to national security, so there should be a major reduction-in-force (RIF) followed by the compulsory retirement of senior officers who have become too cozy with and obligated to politicians. The new-CIA should collect information, period, what it was founded to do in 1947, and not meddle in foreign elections or engage in regime change. The FBI should provide only police services that are national in nature and that are not covered by the state and local jurisdictions. And it should operate in as transparent a fashion as possible, not as a national secret police force.

But the fundamental problem may not be with the police and intelligence services themselves. There are a lot of idiots running around loose in Washington.

Witness for example the impeachment hearings ludicrous fact free opening statement by House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (with my emphasis):

“In 2014, Russia invaded a United States ally, Ukraine, to reverse that nation’s embrace of the West, and to fulfill Vladimir Putin’s desire to rebuild a Russian empire.”

And the press is no better, note the following excerpt from The New York Times lead editorial on the hearings, including remarks of the two State Department officers who testified, on the following day:

“They came across not as angry Democrats or Deep State conspirators, but as men who have devoted their lives to serving their country, and for whom defending Ukraine against Russian aggression is more important to the national interest than any partisan jockeying…

“At another point, Mr. Taylor said he had been critical of the Obama administration’s reluctance to supply Ukraine with anti-tank missiles and other lethal defensive weapons in its fight with Russia, and that he was pleased when the Trump administration agreed to do so

“What clearly concerned both witnesses wasn’t simply the abuse of power by the president, but the harm it inflicted on Ukraine, a critical ally under constant assault by Russian forces. ‘Even as we sit here today, the Russians are attacking Ukrainian soldiers in their own country and have been for the last four years…’ Mr. Taylor said.”

Schiff and the Times should get their facts straight.

And so should the two American foreign service officers who were clearly seeing the situation only from the Ukrainian perspective, a malady prevalent among US diplomats often described as “going native.” They were pushing a particular agenda, i.e. possible war with Russia on behalf of Ukraine, in furtherance of a US national interest that they fail to define. One of them, George Kent, eulogized the Ukrainian militiamen fighting the Russians as the modern day equivalent of the Massachusetts Minutemen in 1776, not exactly a neutral assessment, and also euphemized Washington-provided lethal offensive weapons as “security assistance.”

Another former intelligence community friend Ray McGovern has constructed a time line of developments in Ukraine which demolishes the establishment view on display in Congress relating to the alleged Russian threat. First of all, Ukraine was no American ally in 2014 and is no “critical ally” today. Also, the Russian reaction to western supported rioting in Kiev, a vital interest, only came about after the United States spent $5 billion destabilizing and then replacing the pro-Kremlin government. Since that time Moscow has resumed control of the Crimea, which is historically part of Russia, and is active in the Donbas region which has a largely Russian population.

It should really be quite simple. The national security state should actually be engaged in national security. Its size and budget should be commensurate with what it actually does, nothing more. It should not be roaming the world looking for trouble and should instead only respond to actual threats. And it should operate with oversight. If Congress is afraid to do it, set up a separate body that is non-partisan and actually has the teeth to do the job. If the United States of America comes out of the process as something like a normal nation the entire world will be a much happier place.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 23:05



Former Baltimore Mayor Pleads Guilty To Fraud, Tax Evasion, Faces Decades In Prison

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon to federal charges in the "Healthy Holly" book scandal, reported WJZ Baltimore. 

Pugh pleaded guilty to four of the 11 charges, including wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the US, and two counts of tax evasion. The disgraced mayor faces up to 35 years in federal prison, sentencing is expected

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in late February 2020.

Maryland US Attorney Robert K. Hur told reporters on the steps of the US District Court in Baltimore that "the city of Baltimore faces many pressing issues. We need dedication and professionalism from our leaders, not fraud and corruption, if we have any hope of fixing these problems."

Pugh's attorney Steven D. Silverman said her client "sincerely apologizes to all of those that she let down, most especially the citizens of Baltimore whom she had the honor to serve in multiple capacities for decades." 

The indictment alleges Pugh used her position of power to defraud the customers of "Healthy Holly" children's book series for personal use and also to fund her mayoral campaign.

"The indictment alleges that from November 2011 until March 2019, Ms. Pugh conspired with Gary Brown to defraud purchasers of 'Healthy Holly' books to enrich themselves, promote Ms. Pugh's political career and fund her campaign for mayor," Hur said. "Mr. Brown helped Ms. Pugh solicit nonprofit organizations and foundations to buy the 'Healthy Holly' books."

The indictment said for years Pugh evaded paying taxes on the sales of the book. 

"For the tax year 2016, Ms. Pugh claimed her taxable income was a little over $31,000 and the tax due was a little over $4,000, when in fact her taxable income was over $322,000 with an income tax due of approximately over $100,000. In other words, her taxable income was more than 10 times what she reported to the IRS for that year and she owed more than 20 times more in taxes than she actually paid for that year," Hur said.

Pugh resigned in May after the FBI and IRS raided her home amid speculation, she was involved in large book sales to disguise hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks from the University of Maryland Medical System and managed-care consortium KaiserPermanente. 

Fraud runs deep in Baltimore...

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 20:45


Law Crime

Snyder: The Total Breakdown Of Relations With China Could Throw Our Planet Into Utter Turmoil

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

We just witnessed one of the most monumental events of the entire decade, and yet most Americans still don’t understand what has happened. 

In recent months, the global economy and stock markets around the world have been buoyed by t

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he hope that the U.S. and China would soon sign a new trade agreement.  Unfortunately, there is no way that is going to happen now.  On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously passed the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019”, and the House of Representatives passed the same bill by a 417 to 1 vote on Wednesday. 

Needless to say, the Chinese are beyond angry that Congress has done this.  In part one of this article, I showed that China is warning the U.S. to “rein in the horse at the edge of the precipice” and that there will be “revenge” if this bill is allowed to become law.  And it looks like this bill will actually become law, because Bloomberg is reporting that President Trump is fully expected to sign it…

President Donald Trump is expected to sign legislation passed by Congress supporting Hong Kong protesters, setting up a confrontation with China that could imperil a long-awaited trade deal between the world’s two largest economies.

Before I go any further, there is something that I want to address.  Earlier today, one of my readers emailed me and accused me of siding with China because I am warning about what will happen if trade negotiations fail.  Of course that is not true at all.  I have been writing about the horrific human rights abuses in China for many years, and they are one of the most tyrannical regimes on the entire planet today.  But our two economies have become deeply intertwined over the past two decades, and there are going to be very serious consequences now that we are rapidly becoming bitter enemies.  Anyone that doesn’t see this is simply not being rational.

As I have detailed repeatedly in recent months, the global economy has already entered a very serious slowdown.  One of the only things that could reverse our economic momentum in the short-term would be a comprehensive trade agreement between the United States and China.  But now that our relationship with China has been destroyed, there isn’t going to be a deal.

Some mainstream news sources are reporting that all of this rancor about Hong Kong could delay a trade deal, but that is just more wishful thinking.

Over in China, they are being much more realistic.  In fact, the editor of the Global Times, Hu Xijin, just said that the Chinese are “prepared for the worst-case scenario“…

Few Chinese believe that China and the US can reach a deal soon. Given current poor China policy of the US, people tend to believe the significance of a trade deal, if reached, will be limited. China wants a deal but is prepared for the worst-case scenario, a prolonged trade war.

And he followed that up with another tweet that openly taunted U.S. farmers…

So a friendly reminder to American farmers: Don’t rush to buy more land or get bigger tractors. Wait until a China-US trade deal is truly signed and still valid six months after. It’s safer by then.

As the two largest economies on the entire planet decouple from one another, it is going to cause global economic activity as a whole to dramatically slow down.  Corporate revenues will fall, credit markets will start to tighten, and fear will increasingly creep into global financial markets.

I have repeatedly warned that conditions are ideal for our first major crisis since 2008, and this conflict with China could be more than enough to push us over the edge.

And already we are getting more bad economic news day after day.  For example, we just learned that U.S. rail traffic this month is way down compared to last year…

Nowhere is the slowdown in the U.S. economy more obvious than in places like Class 8 Heavy Duty Truck orders and rail traffic. We already wrote about how Class 8 orders continued to fall in October and new data the American Association of Railroads (AAR) now shows that last week’s rail traffic and intermodal container usage both plunged.

The AAR reported total carloads for the week ended Nov. 9 came in at 248,905, down 5.1% compared with the same week in 2018. U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 266,364 containers and trailers, down 6.7% compared to 2018, according to Railway Age.

Unless a miracle happens with China, the economic numbers are going to continue to get worse.

Sadly, a miracle seems exceedingly unlikely now.  As I pointed out in part one, the only way that our relationship with China can be fixed is if Congress repeals the bill that it just passed, and there is no way that is going to happen.

And we better hope that our trade war with China doesn’t escalate into a real war at some point.

According to a report that was released earlier this year, we are very ill-prepared to fight any sort of a conventional war with China in the Western Pacific…

The University of Sydney’s United States Studies Centre’s new report Averting Crisis, said: ‘China’s growing arsenal of accurate long-range missiles poses a major threat to almost all American, allied and partner bases, airstrips, ports and military installations in the Western Pacific.

‘As these facilities could be rendered useless by precision strikes in the opening hours of a conflict, the PLA missile threat challenges America’s ability to freely operate its forces from forward locations throughout the region.’

In addition, U.S. military officials are deeply concerned by how rapidly China has been upgrading their strategic nuclear arsenal.  For example, they now possess a “submarine-launched missile capable of obliterating San Francisco”…

China has tested a new submarine-launched missile capable of obliterating San Francisco, an insider has revealed, in a massive boost to the country’s ‘deterrent’.

The Chinese navy tested its state-of-the-art JL-3 missile in Bohai Bay in the Yellow Sea last month, sources said.

The nuclear-capable missile has a 5,600 mile range, significantly longer than its predecessor the JL-2, which could strike targets 4,350 miles away.

We certainly aren’t at that point yet, but without a doubt the Chinese now consider us to be their primary global enemy.

For the moment, it is just a “cold war” that we are facing, and the Chinese are quite adept at playing global chess.  They have lots of ways that they can hurt us, and most Americans don’t realize this.

But in the end nobody is going to “win” this conflict, and the entire planet is going to suffer.

Collectively, the economies of the United States and China account for approximately 40 percent of the GDP of the entire world.

As we cause chaos for one another, everyone else is going to experience tremendous pain as well.

The stage is set for a global nightmare, and at this point it doesn’t appear that there is a way that we will be able to escape it.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 21:05



Jussie Smollett Demands Nigerian Bros And Cops Pay Him For Concocting Hate Crime Hoax

Jussie Smollett, whose ham-handed hate crime hoax led to the cancellation of Empire, thinks we're all morons.

The unemployed actor who paid his drug dealing Nigerian friends to buy MAGA hats, bleach and a rope before staging a 2am attack in "MAGA country" - also known as downtown Chicago, has demanded that the city of Chicago

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, the Nigerian brothers, and former police superintendent Eddie Johnson pay him for conspiring to frame him for concocting the hate crime, according to the Cook County Record.

Smollett's case case was mysteriously quashed after Michelle Obama's former Chief of Staff, Tina Tchen, leaned on Cook County top prosecutor Kim Foxx after a grand jury slapped Smollett with a 16 count indictment for lying to the police.

According to a counterclaim to a lawsuit brought by the city of Chicago, however, Smollett is the victim of a conspiracy.

On Nov. 19, Smollett, through his lawyer, William J. Quinlan, of the Quinlan Law Firm, filed a counterclaim in Chicago federal court against the city, former police superintendent Eddie Johnson, the Nigerian brothers alleged to have helped Smollett and others. The counterclaim came as the centerpiece of Smollett’s formal answers to the lawsuit brought earlier this year by the city of Chicago, which demands Smollett be forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to compensate the city and taxpayers for the costs of the large police investigation into Smollett’s attack claims.

In the counterclaim, Smollett asserts the hoax allegations emerged as a result of a 48-hour “interrogation” conducted by Chicago Police of brothers Abimbola “Abel” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, and was then seized on by Chicago Police to advance the story Smollett had orchestrated the attack to gain publicity and public sympathy after he allegedly became unhappy with the lack of response from television executives and others to a threatening racist and homophobic letter he claims to have received weeks earlier. -Cook County Record

Smollett claims that Chicago PD deliberately ignored exonerating evidence from the alleged attack in the very liberal, very upscale Streeterville neighborhood. According to Smollett, his attackers shouted "This is MAGA country," before physically assaulting him while he was innocently walking home at 2am from getting a Subway sandwich.

After evidence suggested it was staged, the two "attackers" - the Osundario brothers - admitted that Smollett paid them $3,500 to carry out the hoax, and that the three of them had practiced beforehand.

They also said that Smollett was involved in creating a racist letter containing a white substance that was sent to the actor on the Chicago set of Empire. When the letter failed to achieve the desired level of national outrage, the Osundario brothers say Smollett concocted the hate-crime. 

Or - bear with Jussie - the Osundarios and Chicago PD conspired to frame him for the hate crime hoax.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 20:05


Social Issues
Human Interest
Law Crime

Demands Grow For FBI To Interview Prince Andrew Over Friendship With Jeffrey Epstein

Attorneys for Jeffrey Epstein accusers have called on the FBI to speak with disgraced British royal Prince Andrew over his years-long association with Jeffrey Epstein, which would demonstrate "justice and accountability for the victims."

Attorney Lisa Bloom told The Telegraph that while it's "great" that Prince Andrew is stepping away

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from his royal duties, he needs to cooperate with US investigators.

"It's great that he's stepping away from his royal duties, but it's really not about that — it's about justice and accountability for the victims, so it's important that he says he's going to cooperate with law enforcement," said Bloom.

Bloom said Prince Andrew should answer questions from all the accusers' attorneys — in particular the attorney of Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who alleges she was coerced into having sex with Prince Andrew on three separate occasions when she was 17.

Giuffre has offered a detailed account of a March 10, 2001, encounter in which she said she danced with the prince at Tramp nightclub in London before he had sex with her.

Guiffre publicly released a photograph of her and Prince Andrew in which he has his arm around her waist, which she says was taken at the house of Ghislaine Maxwell, who an ex-girlfriend of Epstein's who has been accused of acting as his "fixer" at the time. -Business Insider

Meanwhile, attorney Gloria Allred who also represents Epstein accusers, urged the prince to provide any evidence that might help victims seek justice "without conditions and without delay," including emails, texts and calendars - adding that the prince's staff should also provide relevant information, according to the BBC.

Allred added that if the prince didn't offer information voluntarily, he might be asked to speak under oath in a criminal investigation into potential Epstein co-conspirators, along with civil lawsuits brought by Epstein's accusers.

"I haven't made a determination yet as to ... whether we will need to take Prince Andrew's deposition," said Allred, adding "But I'm saying he should provide it in any civil case as well, where his testimony might be relevant."

"It's totally extraordinary," veteran royal watcher and Majesty magazine editor-in-chief Ingrid Seward told CBS on Thursday. "You don't expect a member of the royal family to be caught up in the life of a seedy pedophile. You just don't."

Really Ingrid?

Prince Charles and notorious pedophile Jimmy Saville

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 18:05


Human Interest
Law Crime

Are Journalists Creating Drama So They Can Report It?

Authored by B.N.Frank via ActivistPost.com,

Broadcast news programming has changed a lot over the past 15-20 years.  News magazine programs like “Dateline” covered more than tragic and twisted crimes.  They also didn’t use marketing slogans like “Don’t Watch Alone.”

Drama sells and, unfortunately, there seems to be no shortage of it being

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reported by all media sources.  But when is it news and when is it deliberate public manipulation?

From “Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson”  – Unfreedom of the Press:

Sharyl: You wrote “the American free press has degenerated into a standardless profession, not through government oppression or suppression, but through self-censorship, group think, bias, omission and propaganda.”

Mark Levin: There’s a new doctrine that’s being pushed in journalism school, has been for about 30 years, which is to push what’s called public journalism or community journalism, which is social activism.

And so now you have a lot of reporters, Jim Acosta is a perfect example, who create the drama, then report on their own drama that becomes news for five days. President calls that “fake news.” He’s right. There was a professor Boston who used to head the Library of Congress, but he was a historian at the University of Chicago. Wrote a whole book on it, pseudo events. Our news is filled with phony events and filled with propaganda.

Yikes.  No wonder I feel like I’m watching Wag The Dog when I try to catch up on current events.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 17:05


Entertainment Culture

Watch: Student Leftist Has Violent Meltdown Over "All Lives Matter" Sign

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

A video out of California State University shows a man being assaulted by a leftist who proceeds to have a violent hissy fit over his “All Lives Matter” sign.

The man calmly stands next to the leftist with his handwritten sign, before she almost immediately snatche

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s it from him and goes into a meltdown, screaming, “Get the fuck out of here!”

The woman then assaults the man before continuing her tirade, claiming he harassed her.

She then accuses him of ‘sacrificing’ her safety before yelling, “fuck you!”

Another clip shows a foul-mouthed student harassing activist Brandon Straka before his camerawoman is called a “dumb ass white bitch.”

Another clips shows the same young woman berating conservatives while a transgender-looking individual wearing pink with ginger hair flips off the camera.

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My voice is being silenced by free speech-hating Silicon Valley behemoths who want me disappeared forever. It is CRUCIAL that you support me. Please sign up for the free newsletter here. Donate to me on SubscribeStar here. Support my sponsor – Turbo Force – a supercharged boost of clean energy without the comedown.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 14:55
WeWork Bonds Crash To Record Lows After Slashing 17% Of Workforce, Expansion On Hold

The WeWork implosion continues to unfold spectacularly. The company, slated 1.5 months ago as a top Wall Street IPO candidate at a valuation of more than $40 billion, has seen its valuation collapse to $8 to $10 billion range and has had SoftBank bailout it out from near bankruptcy. 

As the struggling office-sharing company slashes jobs, close

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s locations, and restructures to avoid eventual bankruptcy, its "cost-cutting" measures are kicking into overdrive as another 2,400 employees globally have been laid off, reported Bloomberg. 

"As part of our renewed focus on the core WeWork business, and as we have previously shared with employees, the company is making necessary layoffs to create a more efficient organization," a company spokeswoman said in a statement.

"This workforce reduction affects approximately 2,400 employees globally, who will receive severance, continued benefits, and other forms of assistance to aid in their career transition," the New York-based company added.

The latest cut represents about 17% of the company's global workforce, which totaled 12,500 as of June. 

Most of the cuts are likely from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, which we detailed earlier this month that employees in those areas were briefed on the restructuring.  

The London and Hong Kong subsidiaries of WeWork are also rethinking their expansion strategies after the company had to make drastic changes to its operating model to avoid collapse. 

And judging by the collapse of the company's forward-looking jobs posting, this is no longer a 'growth' company, but a 'survive' company...

But the epicenter of its collapse could be in its Chinese subsidiary, once valued at $5 billion in 2018, now likely headed to zero. 

Sources recently told the Financial Times that WeWork locations in China have been severely underperforming, to the extent that occupancy levels are absolutely disturbing.

"WeWork locations in Shanghai, where it has installed 43,600 desks, had a vacancy rate of 35.7% in October. In Shenzhen, where the company has 8,000 desks, 65.3% were vacant, while 22.1% of the group's 8,900 desks in Hong Kong sat unfilled. The company was also expanding in central China, with multiple offices in Xi'an. There, it suffered a vacancy rate of 78.5%."

The SoftBank led bailout of WeWork is to boost occupancy rates above 90% and generate more cash flow so the company can survive the next global trade recession. 

WeWork's explosive push into emerging markets is one of the reasons the company is suffering. WeWork, co-founded by former CEO and chairman Adam Neumann, definitely not keen on business cycles, over expanded in regions that are getting clobbered in the global synchronized slowdown. Some of these areas aren't just in China, but also in other parts of Asia and South America.

WeWork posted disastrous Q3 earnings. Financial statements showed the company lost $1.25 billion. 

As far as WeWork 2025 bonds crashing to new lows, no turnaround in WeWork is visible yet. 

WeWork is on borrowed money and borrowed time...

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 15:10


Business Finance

Why China's Growth Rate Is Much, Much Lower Than You Think

Authored by Dominique Dwor-Frecaut, a macro strategist based in Southern California. She has worked on EM and DMs at hedge funds, on the sell side, the NY Fed , the IMF and the World Bank. She publishes the blog Macro Sis that discusses the drivers of macro returns; Courtesy of MacroHive.

China’s True Growth Could Be Half What You Think


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GDP data release always generates great market excitement despite rarely straying  more than 25bp below or above the government target. This stability has led a number of analysts to propose their own measures, typically based on a variety of Chinese proxy data but, in the end, not that different from the official numbers. In this article I argue that, based on the performance of countries comparable to China, the latter’s GDP growth could be as low as half the official number and that markets are likely overestimating China’s importance for the global economy. That being said, China has one of the highest levels of corporate debt in the world and slower growth implies greater risks of financial instability.

China’s Amazing (Supposed) Productivity Miracle

There is a strong relationship between a country’s level of development and its growth: poorer countries grow faster; richer countries grow more slowly (Chart 1). As countries get richer their population growth slows and productivity gains become more difficult. In the very early stages of development, productivity gains come primarily through workers moving from the low productivity agricultural sector to the higher productivity manufacturing sector. Once countries have reached their ‘Lewis point’ (where the surplus rural labor has disappeared), productivity gains slow. From that point onwards they largely depend on a country’s ability to absorb technology – and that is driven by the quality of its economic and political institutions.

Past the Lewis point, most countries find it hard to continue catching advanced economies and instead get caught in the (in)famous middle-income trap. In 2018, only 24 countries (excluding oil economies) with more than 1 million inhabitants had income per capita above 60% of that of the US. Of these, only 6 had made it there from emerging market status: Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and Israel.

China stands out as having as having a growth rate much above that of comparable middle-income countries. Yet China’s demographic growth is low, at about 0.5% a year, against 1% in countries in the same income range (Table 1). Most of China’s growth advantage therefore comes from productivity growth, which is three times as fast as its peers. China, however, crossed its Lewis point around 2010, making its official productivity growth truly extraordinary and somewhat difficult to take at face value.

Has China Really Escaped the Middle Income Trap?

I base my skepticism over Chinese growth on three things primarily. First, China’s government driven development model works well in the early stages of development but much less well when economies become more complex and growth becomes dependent on private sector innovations – the stage China is currently at. For instance, China’s property rights system, with its fluid delimitation of public and private spheres, is an impediment to the country’s integration into the global economic system.

Second, studies of the middle income trap show that countries tend to get stuck at lower levels of income per capita when they have very high investment ratios because these tend to reflect pervasive distortions. China’s investment share of GDP was 45% in 2018, much higher than the 25% prevailing in comparable countries.

Third, China’s share of global manufactured exports has been falling or stagnant since 2015 and the country is struggling to rebuild it (Chart 2). This is inconsistent with superior productivity growth. China’s loss of global market share suggests productivity has failed to keep up with wage growth.

China’s True Growth Could be Much Lower

So we can reasonably doubt China’s own figures. But what, then, is a more likely growth rate?  Assuming that, thanks to Chinese exceptionalism, the country’s productivity grows 1.5 times faster than in comparable countries, yearly trend growth in China would be about 3.5%. This growth rate would be commensurate with that of Korea after its financial crisis of the late 1990s.

Countries that are on an unsustainable growth path typically move to a lower and more sustainable trend following a shock, as Korea did after its crisis. In China’s case, most of the transition to a slower trend growth could have happened in the down phase of the 2014-15 debt reflation. Chart 3 shows an example of an alternative growth trajectory based on a 3.5% trend in effect from 2015 onwards. Based on this path, China’s 2018 growth would have been about 4% against 6.6% officially, and global growth 3.1% instead of 3.6%.

Bottom Line

China’s lower trend growth has two key consequences going forward. First, global growth is probably more resilient to a Chinese slowdown than markets assume: most of China’s slowdown is likely behind us. In addition, as manufacturing capacity migrates from China to other EMs, those are likely to grow faster and make up for the Chinese slowdown. Second, China will find it difficult to grow out of its high corporate debt that, at 155% of official GDP, is one of the highest in the world. China’s middle income trap could still bring about financial instability.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 14:15


Business Finance

Benjamin Netanyahu Charged With Bribery And Fraud In Corruption Probe

The Israeli Attorney General has indicted prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges after months of uncertainty over whether Netanyahu would be able to retain his leadership of the country. Netanyahu will be charged with corruption by Israeli prosecutors, including charges of bribery and fraud, a spokesman for the country’s justice ministry said.

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Netanyahu, a four-time premier, is to be charged with bribery in one case, and with fraud and breach of trust in all three cases in which he allegedly made illicit deals either with supporters or with local businesses, in exchange for gifts or cash.

According to RT, the most severe case involves charges of altering telecom regulations in favor of telecom company Bezeq, whose owner, Shaul Elovitch, also ran news site Walla News. Flush with a $500 million windfall, Elovitch would allegedly press his editors to make coverage more favorable to the Netanyahus. That case involves a bribery charge on top of breach of trust and fraud, and Elovitch and his wife are also facing bribery charges.

Netanyahu, who has denied any wrongdoing and said he is the victim of a politically orchestrated "witch hunt," faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of bribery and a maximum 3-year term for fraud and breach of trust, according to legal experts.

He is also not obligated to resign because of them. However, his trouble forming a coalition government is likely to become more severe. He is expected to make a statement soon, while asking supporters to gather near his official residence in Jerusalem to protest the indictment.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 11:59


Law Crime

The Minimum Wage Is The Enemy Of The Poor

Authored by Jacob Hornberger via The Future of Freedom Foundation,

Suppose they made the minimum wage $1,000 an hour. Just think: Every worker in America would be taking home at least $8,000 a day. That would be an annual salary of over $2 million.

Wonderful, right? What an easy way to abolish poverty and make everyone rich, right?

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I think most people can see the fallacy of trying to end poverty in this manner. Businesses could not afford to pay all of their workers $1,000 an hour. If the government were to force them to do so, they would quickly go bankrupt.

How does the employer know how much to pay an employee? It is entirely subjective. He subjectively places a value on the employee’s work and then decides whether it’s worth it to him to pay that amount. The employee does the same thing. He decides whether the amount being offered is worth it to him. If they both agree that the amount is worth it, they enter into the deal.

The natural laws of supply and demand play a role here. If there is an extreme shortage of workers, the price for labor will go up because the employee has lots of job offers coming in. Some employers simply will not be able to pay what other employers are paying. Conversely, if there is an abundance of workers, the price being offered will tend lower.

Suppose an employer is paying his workers $10 an hour. That’s the value that the employer has subjectively placed on the work of the employee. Congress suddenly decides to raise the minimum wage to $1,000 an hour. What happens? At that point, the employer says to himself: “The employee’s work is not worth $1,000 an hour to me, and if I pay that amount, I’ll go bankrupt after one day.”

The employer has but one real option: Fire all his workers and then see if he can carry on without his employees. It is entirely possible that he will not be able to do so, in which case he will close the business. Everyone will be worse off.

The principle is the same with a $15 per hour minimum wage. Everyone whose labor is subjectively valued by employers at $15 and above will continue to be employed. But every worker whose labor is valued at less than $15 will be laid off or never hired.

That is precisely why there has been a chronic unemployment rate for black teenagers that has ranged from 20 percent to as high as 48 percent for years. When they ask for a job, the employer places a subjective value on their work at less than the legally established minimum wage. That could be due to a number of factors: no work experience, poor clothing, bad education in public schools, supply and demand, and even racial bigotry among employers.

A foot in the door

Now, suppose there are 10 teenagers competing for a job in the stock room. Nine are well-to-do whites, all of whom are well-dressed, well-educated, and experienced. One is an African American teenager who is poorly dressed, poorly educated, and has no job experience. Let’s assume that the employer is racially bigoted. The minimum wage is $15 an hour. Which teenager is going to get hired? Obviously, one of the nine white teenagers.

Now, suppose the black teenager says to the employer: “I’ll do the job for $5 an hour.”  Why would he do that? Because he wants to get his foot in the door. He wants to step on the first rung of the economic ladder. He wants to learn the trade. He wants to see how customers are treated. He wants to learn a work ethic. He wants to see how a business operates.

The bigoted employer thinks to himself: “Hmm. Why should I pay $15 to these white teenagers when I can get the same work done for $5 an hour? That’s extra money that I can put into my pocket and take home to my family.”

And then it hits the employer: The law prohibits him from accepting the black teenager’s offer. The law requires him to pay $15 an hour. He hires one of the white teenagers. The black teenager goes unemployed and remains unemployed. He never gets his foot in the door and never steps foot on the first rung of the economic ladder.

The minimum wage is the enemy of African American teenagers and other poor people. They should be leading the way to its repeal.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 12:15



"Alarming" Leaked Intel Report: Qatar Had Prior Knowledge Of Iran Attack On Vessels

Authored by Julianne Geiger via OilPrice.com,

A leaked US intelligence report is making its rounds suggesting that Qatar knew ahead of time that Iran would attack four tankers in the Gulf of Oman in May, yet failed to notify its at-risk allies, Fox News recently reported.

The May attacks targeted two Saudi Arabian oil

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tankers, both near the critical oil chokepoint of the Strait of Hormuz, and both of which sustained “significant” damage according to an official Saudi statement at the time. Iran denied the attacks.

The other two vessels were a Norwegian tanker and a UAE bunkering ship.

The intelligence report, which has not been made public, has apparently made its way to at least one French Senator who said she was “very concerned” and a British lawmaker who said the contents of the report were “very alarming”. Both were sending the report up their respective chains for a closer look.

No one from inside the US intelligence community has officially acknowledged the report or its contents.

If Qatar did, in fact, know that Iran would attack the vessels and declined to warn its allies, there may be geopolitical repercussions for the tiny Middle Eastern country that finds itself sandwiched precariously between Saudi Arabia and the UAE — both of which have participated in a long-running blockade of Qatar.

AFP file image

Qatar has, in recent years, purchased a significant number of arms from France, and the United States’ Central Command station in Qatar and its 10,000-strong military presence in Qatar’s Al Udeid Air Base is a nice security feature that Qatar boasts — for now.

But things can turn on a dime.

US President Trump has already flopped on Qatar, first calling it a “funder of terrorism at a very high level” and later saying that the ruling emir was “a friend of mine”.

Qatar has denied any prior knowledge of the attacks.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 11:00



Watch Live: Impeachment Hearings Farce Continues After "Great Day For GOP"

At 9 am est., the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence will hold an open hearing with Dr. Fiona Hill, Former Senior Director for Europe and Russia, National Security Council and David Holmes, Political Counselor, U.S Embassy to Ukraine.

Hill is expected to shed light on former-National Security Advisor John Bolton's actions surrounding Presi

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dent Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who allegedly asked the Ukrainian government to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, for wrongdoing.

Hill, in advanced testimony Thursday, warned lawmakers against believing a “fictional narrative” that it was Ukraine and not Russia that interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves,” Hill said in prepared remarks.

“The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016. This is the public conclusion of our intelligence agencies, confirmed in bipartisan Congressional reports. It is beyond dispute, even if some of the underlying details must remain classified.”

Hill emphasized that she is a nonpartisan foreign policy expert, who has served under three different Republican and Democratic presidents and that she has “no interest in advancing the outcome of your inquiry in any particular direction, except toward the truth.”

She warned that U.S. national security has been harmed by the politicization of support for Ukraine.

“The Russian government’s goal is to weaken our country -- to diminish America’s global role and to neutralize a perceived U.S. threat to Russian interests,” she said.

“President Putin and the Russian security services aim to counter U.S. foreign policy objectives in Europe, including in Ukraine, where Moscow wishes to reassert political and economic dominance.”

Hill added, “I respect the work that this Congress does in carrying out its constitutional responsibilities, including in this inquiry, and I am here to help you to the best of my ability. If the President, or anyone else, impedes or subverts the national security of the United States in order to further domestic political or personal interests, that is more than worthy of your attention. But we must not let domestic politics stop us from defending ourselves against the foreign powers who truly wish us harm.”

Holmes testified behind closed doors earlier this month that he heard U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland telling President Trump over a phone conversation that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "loves your ass."

Sondland testified Wednesday that Trump conditioned a meeting with Zelensky about withholding aid for dirt on Biden's son.

"I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a 'quid pro quo?' As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes," Sondland said, later adding that "everyone was in the loop."

Trump dismissed Sondland's testimony, telling reporters Wednesday he didn't know the Sondland very well.

Trump claims that the latest round of public impeachment hearings is a sham. He said it's going to be a "great" day for him and the GOP, indicating that leftist media wasn't covering the impeachment hearings fairly.

"The Republican Party, and me, had a GREAT day yesterday with respect to the phony Impeachment Hoax, & yet, when I got home to the White House & checked out the news coverage on much of television, you would have no idea they were reporting on the same event," Trump said on Twitter, echoing comments he's made throughout the House impeachment inquiry. "FAKE & CORRUPT NEWS!"

WATCH LIVE: Open Hearing with Dr. Fiona Hill and David Holmes


Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 08:55



Mish: Without A Doubt, Boris Johnson United The Tory Party

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk,

Boris Johnson united the Tories. In contrast, Jeremy Corbyn failed to unite Labour.

Six Point Compelling Picture In Chronological Order

  1. Theresa May failed to deliver Brexit.

  2. Support for the Tory Party collapsed.

  3. Read More

    Support for the Brexit Party soared.

  4. Support for the Labour party collapsed as well

  5. Things reversed for the Tories the moment it became apparent Boris Johnson would be the next Prime Minister.

  6. Support for Labour, even after a recent surge languishes well below where it was a year ago.

You can like the trends or not, but there is no denying what the chart shows.

Meanwhile, I keep hearing ad nauseum that Labour is ahead of where it was when Theresa May called for elections in 2017.

Let's investigate that notion.

Polling Trends in 2017

We are Here

Please compare the above chart with the lead chart.

Spot any differences?

For starters, Corbyn is not ahead af 2017. It seems to be a tie with Corbyn fading fast.

This is Not 2017

  • This is 2019, not 2017.

  • The trends before and since the election was called are not remotely comparable.

  • Theresa May was never very popular or likeable.

  • Corbyn was in a honeymoon period.

  • Today, Corbyn is the most unpopular opposition leader in UK history.

Corbyn is Amazingly Unpopular

Unless there is some sort of debate rally, Corbyn will be behind in 3 days, way behind in a week, and undeniably and impossibly behind in two weeks with the election the following week.

That is what the trends say. There is no point in denying the obvious.

Let's discuss why this is.

Corbyn's Message Does Not Resonate

Corbyn's message "Negotiate a deal then hold a referendum on it" does not resonate.

And why should it?

People, even Remainers are sick of this. Corbyn pledged to honor the referendum and didn't.

He wants another one. And after a bit he will support a referendum for Scotland too. He refused to rule it out.

And if he needs SNP support to break a deadlock in the case of a hung election, is there any doubt he won't grant one immediately?

Union Question

A question came up in the debate: Is the union more important than Brexit?

Johnson answered yes. Corbyn didn't. He couldn't because he supports a Scotland referendum, not now, but later.

Of course, later means now if there is a hung election. For all this talk of Johnson busting up the union, please take a look at Corbyn.

I saw no media commentary on this at all. I wonder what the fence sitters think.

UK Election Debate: Johnson Wins by Not Losing

Yesterday, I commented UK Election Debate: Johnson Wins by Not Losing

A YouGov poll gave Johnson a small win. Look, a 51-49 "victory" is a tie in this kind of thing.

The media commentary on the outcome was quite amazing.

The Guardian and others proclaimed Corbyn the winner, despite the immediate polls, because Corbyn did better than expected and allegedly landed more blows.

Say what?

Boring Debate

I watched the entire debate. For the most part it was boring. And boring is precisely what Johnson wanted.

If anything, Johnson went well out of his way to be purposely boring!

Let that sink in.

Corbyn did not need boring, he needed a blowout and failed to deliver. If you score the debate by what was needed, Corbyn lost badly.

Nonetheless, straight up, I stick with my assessment: It was a tie. Spin that however you want because I just did.

Referendum on Corbyn

Despite Johnson's insistence on making this a referendum on Brexit, what's really happening is the campaign has morphed into a referendum on Corbyn himself.

That's a pretty amazing poll.

A whopping 51.9% of men and 42.0% of women believe johnson would make the best Prime Minister!

Also note that Jo Swinson tops Jeremy Corbyn among women and age groups 55-64 and 65-74.

Not even 18-24 year-olds prefer Corbyn. The only demographic in which Corbyn leads is 25-34 year-olds.

For further discussion of the above chart, please see Fear of Corbyn Outweighs Fear of Brexit.

Expect More Boringness

At this juncture, Johnson simply wants to avoid any major gaffes.

Expect more "Let's get Brexit Done" boringness.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 09:05
Peter Schiff: This Is Going To End Very Poorly

Via SchiffGold.com,

On Nov. 18, Peter Schiff appeared on RT Boom Bust to talk stock markets, trade war and Federal Reserve policy. He said that right now the Fed is doing a good job stimulating the bubbles, but ultimately, it’s going to end very poorly.

On the trade war front, there seems to be a lot of conflicting information and continual yo-yoing between pessimism and o

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ptimism. The Chinese seem less confident while White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow says a deal is close.

Peter said he thinks China is posturing for negotiations.

If you’re negotiating with somebody, you don’t want to admit that you’re close to a deal. You want to say that a deal is far away because that way you can try to extract more concessions from the other side and get a more favorable deal. So, I think when you hear the comments from China, that’s what the Chinese are trying to do.”

But Peter said he thinks President Trump has a different agenda.

I think Trump only cares about goosing the stock market. And he knows that every time he comes out and says that a deal is close, we have a deal, it’s going to be great, he gets another 100, 200 Dow points. That’s what he cares about. And so as long as the market is going to keep running every time he cries wolf, he’s going to keep crying wolf.”

Todd “Bubba” Horwitz was also on the show. He disagreed somewhat with Peter’s assessment. He said the reason the stock market continues to soar is because there’s no place else to go with your money today. Investors are chasing yield. He said the stock markets will come crashing down at some point, but nobody knows when. He also said Trump is right when he says the Fed could take rates even lower because interest rates in the US are higher than they are in Europe and Asia. He said we could borrow at a lot lower rate because we’re still “the best game in town.”

Peter said he disagreed with Horwitz completely and that there are lots of better places to put your money than the US stock markets.

I think the US stock market is dramatically overvalued. And the reason it is going up is because the Federal Reserve is creating money.”

Peter brought up the fact that the Fed has not only cut rates three times this year. It has also embarked on QE4. Investors expect QE4 to be like QE3, but there’s a big difference.

You see, when the Fed did QE3, investors were still foolish enough to believe that that was the last time they were going to do it. They actually bought the Fed when the Fed said they had an exit strategy, they were going to shrink their balance sheet; they were going to normalize interest rates. The markets were looking forward to that and they thought that what the Fed was doing was working. But it didn’t work. It was an abject failure. That’s why they’re doing it again. But soon the markets are going to discover that QE is permanent and that there’s never going to be a real reduction in the balance sheet. The balance sheet is going to grow into perpetuity and I think we’re going to have a dollar crisis. I think we’re going to have a sovereign debt crisis. I think this is going to end very poorly for people who have been enjoying the paper gains in this stock market bubble.

Peter said investors should get out of the US stock market before the bubble pops.

You mentioned precious metals. Gold is a much better place than the US stock market. I know that gold has been outperformed by the stock market over the last five, 10 years, but it hasn’t been outperforming gold since the beginning of the millennium. You know, gold is doing better than the Dow if you start in 2000. But I do think over the next five to 10 years, the price of gold is going to dramatically outperform the Dow.”

Peter also touched on the so-called independence of the Fed, saying the central bank has never been truly independent. It has always worked hand-in-glove with Congress and presidents, including President Trump. He said that’s why the Fed has been cutting rates and doing QE.

But it’s not stimulating the economy. It’s stimulating the bubble. That’s all that’s happening. And Donald Trump was correct when he attacked Janet Yellen for pursuing these tactics when Obama was president, and now … he’s criticizing Powell for not doing it enough. He wants negative rates. He wants even bigger QE. Because he doesn’t care about the US economy. All of this is counterproductive if you care about the US economy. All he wants is to make the numbers look better. He wants to get the stock market so he can claim that that proves that he has a successful presidency.”

*  *  *

The case for gold is strong. For more detailed analysis, download the SchiffGold report “Why Buy Gold Now” here.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 08:12


Business Finance

Futures Flat After China Invites Top US Trade Negotiators For More Talks

Equity futures pumped then dumped Thursday morning after China invited the top US trade negotiation team for a new round of talks in Beijing amid the latest warnings that the ''Phase One trade deal' signing could be delayed until next year, reported the Wall Street Journal citing unnamed sources.

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Unnamed sources said Chinese Vice Premier Liu He invited U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for a meeting next week (there has been no confirmation on date).

The sources said Lighthizer and Mnuchin wouldn't make the trip "unless China makes it clear that it would make commitments on intellectual-property protection, forced technology transfers, and agricultural purchases."

E-Mini S&P 500, E-Mini Nasdaq 100, and E-Mini Russell 2000 pumped on the first headlines, but after further examination -- are flat as it seems the WSJ pump isn't working...

Around 5:55 am est., equity futures remain unimpressed on the trade news. Time for more headlines? Bring out the Kudlow?

And maybe equity futures are flat to now red because "China invited the US team LAST WEEK. Old headline warning," tweeted Russian_Market. 

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 05:51


Business Finance

In Bizarre Admission, ECB Warns Its Policies Threaten Financial Stability, Could Lead To A Crash

Is the world's largest hedge fund central bank finally starting to appreciate the devastating consequences of its asset reflating ways?

In some ways it is almost ludicrous to presume that a central bank which at the beginning of the year laughably "found" that its QE has reduced inequality in the eurozone...

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... may have finally looked in the mirror objectively, and yet on Wednesday, it was the ECB which admitted that historically low eurozone interest rates - which it is solely responsible for - and which are expected to persist into the foreseeable future (and beyond) are causing increased risk-taking that could threaten financial stability.

"While the low interest rate environment supports the overall economy, we also note an increase in risk-taking which could… create financial stability challenges," ECB vice-president Luis de Guindos said non-ironically in a statement... which to us sounds an awful close to a mea culpa. Then again, we know that central banks never admit responsibility for "increases in risk-taking" so we wonder if he was just trolling everyone.

Or perhaps he isn't: "Signs of excessive risk-taking" were spotted by the Frankfurt central bank among non-bank financial players like "investment funds, insurance companies and pension funds." Indeed, many "have increased their exposure to riskier segments of the corporate and sovereign sectors" the central bank said. Of course, it is the ECB's own policy of negative yields has prompted investors to seek out riskier bets in search of returns.

Curiously, while the ECB’s twice-yearly update to its risk assessment shifted focus from May’s trade war concerns, “downside risks to global and euro area economic growth have increased” in the meantime, it warned. Such dangers included “persistent uncertainty, an escalation in trade protectionism, a no-deal Brexit and weak performance of emerging markets,” notably China, the ECB said.

In another stark admission of reality, the ECB said that an economic downturn - one which is virtually assured for Europe - could crash prices for riskier and less liquid assets as actors like asset managers or hedge funds sell up in a hurry.

"This may have implications for the ease and cost of corporate financing which could exacerbate any real economy downturn," the ECB warned, adding that elsewhere in the economy, lower interest rates also "appear to be encouraging more borrowing by riskier firms" in non-financial sectors, as well as inflating property prices in some parts of the eurozone.

If only there was something the ECB could do to prevent this...

Alas it won't, because returning to a far more familiar place, the ECB judged that authorities in the 19 eurozone countries were already taking steps to head off financial stability risks from property bubbles.

Meanwhile the central bank found that “bank profitability concerns remain prominent” as growth has weakened and eurozone policymakers further lowered a key interest rate in September. As well as outside pressure, banks “have made slow progress in addressing structural challenges."

Here, for some odd reason, the ECB valiantly refuses to admit that keeping the yield curve consistently negative is catastrophic for bank profitability, and instead of admitting fault, the central banks points to silly diversions such as banks that do not have Apple apps. The central bank also points to "slow improvements" on multiple fronts to explain lack of bank profits, like disposing of so-called “non-performing” loans, where borrowers have fallen behind on payments.

Lenders must also cut costs and reduce overcapacity, and are largely failing to diversify their businesses, the ECB judged, effectively urging banks to keep firing people. Because it's not like the Eurozone has an unemployment problem.

The good news according to the ECB: most banks have the liquid assets on hand to withstand any foreseeable financial shocks.

We'll find out soon enough.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 04:15


Business Finance

The Elite Controllers Fear The Individual And Individual Intelligence

Authored by Gary Barnett via LewRockwell.com,

This once great country of America has gone through many changes, and these changes, while implemented by the design of its true rulers, are not understood by the huddled masses that have been taught to accept mediocrity as desired normalcy.

The ruling

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class fully understands that the only way to control people, and to finally control the world, is to stifle individual excellence by creating a society that refuses to think. This has been accomplished through planned conflict, the instilling of fear, the total control of education by the puppet state, by building dependence through public welfare, and by dominating most all positions of power in a myriad of state, corporate, and important intellectual appointments.

“At its root, the logic is that of the Grand Inquisitor, who bitterly assailed Christ for offering people freedom and thus condemning them to misery. The Church must correct the evil work of Christ by offering the miserable mass of humanity the gift they most desire and need: absolute submission. It must “vanquish freedom” so as “to make men happy” and provide the total “community of worship” that they avidly seek. In the modern secular age, this means worship of the state religion, which in the Western democracies incorporates the doctrine of submission to the masters of the system of public subsidy, private profit, called free enterprise. The people must be kept in ignorance, reduced to jingoist incantations, for their own good. And like the Grand Inquisitor, who employs the forces of miracle, mystery, and authority “to conquer and hold captive for ever the conscience of these impotent rebels for their happiness” and to deny them the freedom of choice they so fear and despise, so the “cool observers” must create the “necessary illusions” and “emotionally potent oversimplifications” that keep the ignorant and stupid masses disciplined and content.”
~ Noam Chomsky,

This quote by Chomsky is correct in that it describes the current condition of the general populace, but is incorrect in that it claims free enterprise is the problem. There is no free market in this country, and there has not been a free market for many years. We live in what is best described as a fascist oligarchy, one that relies on the premise of state and corporate partnership. Without that dynamic in place, the situation would not be as dire as it is today.

It is important to state that I believe the common people are not incapable of intelligent thought, but have given in to the pressure from their self-appointed overseers, and accepted a subordinate position in society. They have been programmed to suppress their curiosity, and therefore have chosen to hide from responsibility. I refer to this attitude as a fear of freedom, as freedom requires much work, a strong moral base, an active intellect, and constant defense of self-rule. It is difficult to achieve and even more difficult to keep, so most are willing to take the easy way. By doing so, tyranny of the masses is always the resulting societal structure.

In any society such as this, what the common people perceive as freedom is in realty a type of controlled servitude. While this should be easily recognized by most, it is not, and this is mainly due to a fear of the truth. So pretending that the threat does not exist allows the underclass to avoid conflict, but only temporarily. This avoidance is a natural protection measure, but in the case of a slave society, this hiding from responsibility by the people will eventually become deadly.

The monopoly of power that is held by the few over the rest of society is all consuming, and the ultimate control sought by these elites is getting ever closer to fruition. It has been affected over long periods of time through incremental measures. It did not happen overnight, but over centuries, and at this point, the final objectives desired are within sight.

This is the most dangerous time for man as I see it, as the elite design for future economic decision-making for all is to be placed in the hands of so-called chosen experts, with power over the entire world economy. All economic decisions are to be based on a controlled allocation for society, which is simply centrally planned socialism, with a top-down hierarchy of control by the few. This ruling system is known as Technocracy, and when implemented, it will be the end of liberty.

I do not make these assertions lightly, and this is not theory, it is the current state of affairs. Consider the division among the general population, and the hatred amongst the masses. This is not natural, but has been put in place purposely to achieve a particular outcome by those controlling the now ignorant and indoctrinated general population.

The new world order that is desired by the ruling class is getting ever closer to becoming reality. This is not conjecture or some wildly fantastic science fiction, but is a plan that is gaining momentum due to a society consumed by blind indifference.

In past history when a ruling class went too far, and exceeded all the bounds of accepted power, the people arose, and a new system emerged. But can that happen in this country in this time of extreme political change and concentrated power? The creation of conflict that is evident today is a driving force in bringing about a world run by the few. And the common people are already relegated to a position of cogs in the wheel of society, as opposed to thinking for themselves and taking control of their own lives. This phenomenon must change in order for freedom to survive, and a reversal of the power structure must be forthcoming, if Americans are once again to control their own destiny.

Tyler Durden

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 23:45
Hundreds Of "Bleed Control Kits" Issued To Bars Across London

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

320 ‘bleed control kits’ are to be given to bars in the City of London as the UK capital’s knife crime epidemic continues to soar.

The kits will be handed out by City of London police across the 1.12 square mile center of the city at a cost of £25,000

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Authorities said they were “proud” to launch the initiative, with David Lawes, Chief Superintendent of the City of London Police, telling Sky News that the decision was a “no brainer.”

“This is a really, really simply piece of kit which can make a big difference. Particularly with the most catastrophic bleeds, if you don’t get help in the first few minutes the person will almost certainly die,” said Lawes.

“The kits contain tourniquets, trauma bandages, adhesive chest seals and foil blankets, and can help treat both knife and gunshot wounds. Bar staff will be trained in their use, so that victims of violent crime will not bleed out before an ambulance can reach them,” writes Jack Hadfield.

Knife crime in the City of London jumped by 43% over the last year while in that same time period England saw a record high of 43,000 knife crimes across the country.

Violent crime levels show little sign of coming down as authorities refuse to tackle some of the core reasons for the bloodshed, which include broken families, weakened police powers and mass migration.

*  *  *

My voice is being silenced by free speech-hating Silicon Valley behemoths who want me disappeared forever. It is CRUCIAL that you support me. Please sign up for the free newsletter here. Donate to me on SubscribeStar here. Support my sponsor – Turbo Force – a supercharged boost of clean energy without the comedown.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 02:00
US-S.Korea Talks Abruptly Halted Over Trump's $4.7BN Price Tag For Basing Troops

The Trump administration's new $4.7 billion price tag suggested to South Korea two weeks ago to cover its share of the costs of housing American troops, which have been stationed on the peninsula as a deterrent against the north via US Indo-Pacific Command forces since 1957, has angered Seoul to the point that negotiations were abruptly cut off Tuesday

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Though South Korea had successfully negotiated cost sharing agreements for decades, the current timing to the crisis couldn't be worse, given stalled US-DPRK talks and threats of new missile tests, not to mention the looming US presidential elections next year. CNN reports of the crisis:

The sudden end to the talks, which were in their third round, comes amid renewed tensions between the allies after President Donald Trump hiked the price tag for US forces roughly 400% for 2020, a move that frustrated Pentagon officials and deeply concerned Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

Osan Air Base, South Korea, via US Army/Stripes.

Prior to the massive nearly $5BN price hike, South Korea already agreed to pay $920 million annually to maintain the roughly 29,000 US troops in the country.

Negotiations on Monday reportedly began with both sides optimistic, but Seoul said the US side walked out after the South Koreans balked at the Americans' new whopping sum, and even a "new category" added to the obligations. 

South Korea's chief negotiator Jeong Eun-bo had described of the quickly failed meeting: "We couldn't conduct the talk as plans as the US team left the venue." 

He said further, "We maintain our current stance that the cost division (between the US and South Korea) needs to be decided based on the Special Measures Agreement frame in which we have agreed for the past 28 years."

The US side said it is giving their counterparts time to “reconsider” the demands, but no doubt trust has been severely eroded.

Late last week US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters at a briefing in Seoul that South Korea is “a wealthy country and could and should pay more” for the deployment of US forces on its soil.

But there's also be possibility that the US side is bluffing in order to squeeze more money, given that so far Washington hasn't suggested that it's willing to reduce troops levels, and certainly won't abandon its bases altogether.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 01:00


War Conflict

US-China Exposure Index Signals Next Market Downturn Imminent 

With 'Not QE' inflating risk assets and President Trump promoting a non-existent trade deal, something we outlined last week, new evidence is being communicated by various Chinese sources in the previous 24 hours that suggests a deal is unlikely in the coming weeks, and it now might be time for investors to readjust risk-taking behavior. 

On Monday morning, CNBC's Eunice Yoon tweeted

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, "Mood in Beijing about #trade deal is pessimistic, government source tells me. #China troubled after Trump said no tariff rollback. (China thought both had agreed in principle.) Strategy now to talk but wait due to impeachment, US election. Also prioritize China economic support." 

Then on Tuesday morning, Global Times Editor In Chief tweeted, "If President Trump believes China's economy is crumbling and Beijing will eventually make decisive concessions, he has to wait until Ivanka becomes the president to sign trade deal with China."  

The message being broadcasted from China is the polar opposite from President Trump, who recently tweeted, "The deal I just made with China is, by far, the greatest and biggest deal ever made for our Great Patriot Farmers in the history of our Country. In fact, there is a question as to whether or not this much product can be produced? Our farmers will figure it out. Thank you, China!" 

It appears there's still a significant gap in US-China trade talks, though Western media, influenced by the White House, has already taken a victory lap of President Trump's "greatest and biggest deal ever made for our Great Patriot Farmers in the history of our Country."

So this distortion of reality via Trump admin propaganda has been used to pump the stock market to record highs and lift animal spirits of consumers ahead of a possible recession. 

Even if there's a 'phase 1 trade deal', it'll likely to disappoint investors because President Trump publicly overpromised on many fronts. He said in October that the deal would cover 60% of the "total trade deal," but that amount remains uncertain. 

So investors could be staring at a disappointment phase, one where President Trump, again, like every other time, overpromised and underdelivered for the sole purpose of pumping stocks. 

Fathom's China Exposure Index (CEI), which monitors the relative stock market performance of US-listed firms with significant revenue exposure to China, has been seen as a lead ahead of a stock market sell-off triggered by trade pessimism. 

As shown in the chart below, lower CEI is due to investors selling US firms that do the most business in China, and CEI moves higher as trade optimism appears.

And with that being said, the CEI has likely peaked in November as trade talks stall. If the CEI starts to move lower, this means investors are de-risking US companies with high exposure to China first, which implies sentiment in the broader stock market averages will likely peak next. 


Tyler Durden

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 22:45


Business Finance

Escobar: Iran's "Only Crime Is We Decided Not To Fold"

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

Just in time to shine a light on what’s behind the latest sanctions from Washington, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a speech at the annual Astana Club meeting in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan delivered a searing account of Iran-US relations to a select audience of high-ranking diplomats, former Presiden

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ts and analysts.

Zarif was the main speaker in a panel titled “The New Concept of Nuclear Disarmament.” Keeping to a frantic schedule, he rushed in and out of the round table to squeeze in a private conversation with Kazakh First President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

During the panel, moderator Jonathan Granoff, President of the Global Security Institute, managed to keep a Pentagon analyst’s questioning of Zafir from turning into a shouting match.

Previously, I had extensively discussed with Syed Rasoul Mousavi, minister for West Asia at the Iran Foreign Ministry, myriad details on Iran’s stance everywhere from the Persian Gulf to Afghanistan. I was at the James Bond-ish round table of the Astana Club, as I moderated two other panels, one on multipolar Eurasia and the post-INF environment and another on Central Asia (the subject of further columns).

Zarif’s intervention was extremely forceful. He stressed how Iran “complied with every agreement and it got nothing;” how “our people believe we have not gained from being part of” the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action; how inflation is out of control; how the value of the rial dropped 70% “because of ‘coercive measures’ – not sanctions because they are illegal.”

He spoke without notes, exhibiting absolute mastery of the inextricable swamp that is US-Iran relations. It turned out, in the end, to be a bombshell. Here are highlights.

Zarif’s story began back during 1968 negotiations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,  with the stance of the “Non-Aligned Movement to accept its provisions only if at a later date” – which happened to be 2020 – “there would be nuclear disarmament.” Out of 180 non-aligned countries, “90 countries co-sponsored the indefinite extension of the NPT.”

Moving to the state of play now, he mentioned how the United States and France are “relying on nuclear weapons as a means of deterrence, which is disastrous for the entire world.” Iran on the other hand “is a country that believes nuclear weapons should never be owned by any country,” due to “strategic calculations based on our religious beliefs.”

Zarif stressed how “from 2003 to 2012 Iran was under the most severe UN sanctions that have ever be imposed on any country that did not have nuclear weapons. The sanctions that were imposed on Iran from 2009 to 2012 were greater than the sanctions that were imposed on North Korea, which had nuclear weapons.”

Discussing the negotiations for the JCPOA that started in 2012, Zarif noted that Iran had started from the premise that “we should be able to develop as much nuclear energy as we wanted” while the US had started under the premise that Iran should never have any centrifuges.” That was the “zero-enrichment” option.

Zarif, in public, always comes back to the point that “in every zero-sum game everybody loses.” He admits the JCPOA is “a difficult agreement. It’s not a perfect agreement. It has elements I don’t like and it has elements the United Stares does not like.” In the end, “we reached the semblance of a balance.”

Zarif offered a quite enlightening parallel between the NPT and the JCPOA:

“The NPT was based on three pillars: non-proliferation, disarmament and access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Basically the disarmament part of NPT is all but dead, non-proliferation is barely surviving and peaceful use of nuclear energy is under serious threat,” he observed.

Meanwhile, “JCPOA was based on two pillars: economic normalization of Iran, which is reflected in Security Council resolution 2231, and – at the same time – Iran observing certain limits on nuclear development.”

Crucially, Zarif stressed there is nothing “sunset” about these limits, as Washington argues: “We will be committed to not producing nuclear weapons forever.”

All about distrust

Then came Trump’s fateful May 2018 decision:

“When President Trump decided to withdraw from the JCPOA, we triggered the dispute resolution mechanism.”

Referring to a common narrative that describes him and John Kerry as obsessed with sacrificing everything to get a deal, Zarif said:

“We negotiated this deal based on distrust. That’s why you have a mechanism for disputes.”

Still, “the commitments of the EU and the commitments of the United States are independent. Unfortunately the EU believed they could procrastinate. Now we are at a situation where Iran is receiving no benefit, nobody is implementing their part of the bargain, only Russia and China are fulfilling partially their commitments, because the United States even prevents them from fully fulfilling their commitments. France proposed last year to provide $15 billion to Iran for the oil we could sell from August to December. The United States prevented the European Union even from addressing this.”

The bottom line, then, is that “other members of the JCPOA are in fact not implementing their commitments.” The solution “is very easy. Go back to the non-zero sum. Go back to implementing your commitments. Iran agreed that it would negotiate from Day One.”

Zarif made the prediction that “if the Europeans still believe that they can take us to the Security Council and snap back resolutions they’re dead wrong. Because that is a remedy if there was a violation of the JCPOA. There was no violation of the JCPOA. We took these actions in response to European and American non-compliance. This is one of the few diplomatic achievements of the last many decades. We simply need to make sure that the two pillars exist: that there is a semblance of balance.”

This led him to a possible ray of light among so much doom and gloom:

“If what was promised to Iran in terms of economic normalization is delivered, even partially, we are prepared to show good faith and come back to the implementation of the JCPOA. If it’s not, then unfortunately we will continue this path, which is a path of zero-sum, a path leading to a loss for everybody, but a path that we have no other choice but to follow.”

Time for HOPE

Zarif identifies three major problems in our current geopolitical madness:

  1. a “zero-sum mentality on international relations that doesn’t work anymore;”

  2. winning by excluding others (“We need to establish dialogue, we need to establish cooperation”);

  3. and “the belief that the more arms we purchase, the more security we can bring to our people.”

He was adamant that there’s a possibility of implementing “a new paradigm of cooperation in our region,” referring to Nazarbayev’s efforts: a real Eurasian model of security. But that, Zarif explained, “requires a neighborhood policy. We need to look at our neighbors as our friends, as our partners, as people without whom we cannot have security. We cannot have security in Iran if Afghanistan is in turmoil. We cannot have security in Iran if Iraq is in turmoil. We cannot have security in Iran if Syria is in turmoil. You cannot have security in Kazakhstan if the Persian Gulf region is in turmoil.”

He noted that, based on just such thinking, “President Rouhani this year, in the UN General Assembly, offered a new approach to security in the Persian Gulf region, called HOPE, which is the acronym for Hormuz Peace Initiative – or Hormuz Peace Endeavor so we can have the HOPE abbreviation.”

HOPE, explained Zarif, “is based on international law, respect of territorial integrity; based on accepting a series of principles and a series of confidence building measures; and we can build on it as you [addressing Nazarbayev] built on it in Eurasia and Central Asia. We are proud to be a part of the Eurasia Economic Union, we are neighbors in the Caspian, we have concluded last year, with your leadership, the legal convention of the Caspian Sea, these are important development that happened on the northern part of Iran. We need to repeat them in the southern part of Iran, with the same mentality that we can’t exclude our neighbors. We are either doomed or privileged to live together for the rest of our lives. We are bound by geography. We are bound by tradition, culture, religion and history.” To succeed, “we need to change our mindset.”

Age of hegemony gone

It all comes down to the main reason US foreign policy just can’t get enough of Iran demonization. Zarif has no doubts:

“There is still an arms embargo against Iran on the way. But we are capable of shooting down a US drone spying in our territory. We are trying simply to be independent. We never said we will annihilate Israel. Somebody said Israel will be annihilated. We never said we will do it.”

It was, Zarif said, Benjamin Netanyahu who took ownership of that threat, saying, “I was the only one against the JCPOA.” Netanyahu “managed to destroy the JCPOA. What is the problem? The problem is we decided not to fold. That is our only crime. We had a revolution against a government that was supported by the United States, imposed on our country by the United States, [that] tortured our people with the help of the United States, and never received a single human rights condemnation, and now people are worried why they say ‘Death to America’? We say death to these policies, because they have brought nothing but this farce. What did they bring to us? If somebody came to the United States, removed your president, imposed a dictator who killed your people, wouldn’t you say death to that country?”

Zarif inevitably had to evoke Mike Pompeo:

“Today the Secretary of State of the United States says publicly: ‘If Iran wants to eat, it has to obey the United States.’ This is a war crime. Starvation is a crime against humanity. It’s a newspeak headline. If Iran wants its people to eat, it has to follow what he said. He says, ‘Death to the entire Iranian people.’”

By then the atmosphere across the huge round table was electric. One could hear a pin drop – or, rather, the mini sonic booms coming from high up in the shallow dome via the system devised by star architect Norman Foster, heating the high-performance glass to melt the snow.

Zarif went all in:

“What did we do the United States? What did we do to Israel? Did we make their people starve? Who is making our people starve? Just tell me. Who is violating the nuclear agreement? Because they did not like Obama? Is that a reason to destroy the world, just because you don’t like a president?”

Iran’s only crime, he said, “is that we decided to be our own boss. And that crime – we are proud of it. And we will continue to be. Because we have seven millennia of civilization. We had an empire that ruled the world, and the life of that empire was probably seven times the entire life of the United States. So – with all due respect to the United States empire; I owe my education to the United States – we don’t believe that the United States is an empire that will last. The age of empires is long gone. The age of hegemony is long gone. We now have to live in a world without hegemony. – regional hegemony or global hegemony.

Tyler Durden

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 23:05



Goldman Banker On Trial Had $24,000 Hidden In His Sunglasses Case

Every good criminal has their secret stash of cash that they are either hiding from the government or using for illicit "working capital" purposes. Usually, this cash is held in safes, briefcases or good old fashioned sacks with dollar signs on them.

Which is why it has piqued the interest of many that a Goldman Sachs banker on trial for insider

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trading somehow was able to stuff his secret stash of $24,000 into a peculiar place: his sunglasses case. 

Prosecutors pointed out on Tuesday that the stash was indicative that the banker, Bryan Cohen, could be a flight risk before his trial, according to Bloomberg. 

The $24,000 was hidden in a case, which was hidden in a dresser drawer in his closet, prosecutors said. Cohen, who is a French citizen, also has an overseas bank account with more than $533,000 in it and owns four properties in France that are worth over $500,000. 

Bail was set by U.S. District Judge William Pauley at $750,000 and Cohen has since been ordered to remain under house arrest with a GPS bracelet until his trial. Cohen is seeking to be removed from house arrest. 

Cohen's lawyer - and former Martin Shkreli lawyer - Benjamin Brafman argued on Monday that his client's confinement to his one bedroom apartment that he is sharing with his girlfriend and mother was "detrimental to his physical and mental health". 

Locked in a room with your girlfriend and your mother? We can totally understand that argument. 

Brafman also argued that it's not unusual in other cultures to have large amounts of cash at home, including in France. 

Cohen was arrested in October and charged with two counts of conspiracy for his role in an insider trading ring. Prosecutors say he passed information about pending mergers to another member of the ring using burner phones and speaking in code. He has been placed on leave by Goldman Sachs in the interim. Cohen had fired his first lawyer last month after a judge ordered him under house arrest and tripled his bond, which was originally set at $250,000. 

Tyler Durden

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 20:45


Law Crime
Business Finance

A Huge Red Flag? India Shutters Power Plants Citing Lack Of Demand

Authored by Irina Slav via OilPrice.com,

Half of India’s power generation capacity using coal and nuclear power is being shut down because of lackluster demand, the Indian Express reports, adding that some of the shutdowns have been temporary, lasting just a few days, but other power plants have been closed for months.

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Some 65.13 GW in generation capacity has been shut down at one point or another, with the earlier shutdown made in July. There seems to be simply not enough demand for electricity, which is worrying as a lot of this demand comes from the industrial and commercial sectors.

This is a marked departure from 2012, when the worst blackout in years hit 20 of India’s 28 states, plunging 700 million people into darkness. The blackout was caused by a surge in demand that the local utilities found themselves unable to meet.

Now, demand is on the decline for India’s coal-powered generation plants as renewables encroach on their territory: coal-fired plants currently account for 63 percent of the country’s energy mix, down from 73 percent three years ago. The country has one of the most ambitious renewables programs in the world, which should result in India deriving 55 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.

To date, the country has 83 GW in renewable generation capacity, with another 31 GW under construction, and a further 35 GW awaiting bidders. All this taken together and with hydropower capacity added, India could cross the 200-GW threshold by 2022, according to the government.

Yet there are also seasonal factors at play. A longer monsoon season and an early arrival of winter have served to dampen electricity demand faster than usual. The longer monsoon period affected activity in India’s industrial centers, with some of them registering declines in demand for electricity rather than the usual increase for that time of the year.

Tyler Durden

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 21:05



"Investors Are Now Back Drinking Vast Amounts Of Kool-Aid": David Rosenberg

David Rosenberg, the chief economist at Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc., said in a recent note that the writing is on the wall for the stock market rally, as the next move could be lower, reported The Globe and Mail. 

"Enjoy it while it lasts, but think of how artificial it all really is and how to prepare yourself, at these lofty price

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levels, for the reversal that is as inevitable as night following day and vice versa," Rosenberg said.

"The stock market surely remains on wheels and is being driven by concentrated gains in certain large-cap names and a major shift in economic sentiment, with views that a 'phase one' trade agreement is coming our way soon," he said. 

President Trump has spent the last several months pumping an illusionary trade deal, something we outlined last week, all in the effort to boost the stock market while the Federal Reserve launched 'Not QE.' So when Rosenberg calls the rally in stocks "artificial," he means that. 

And in the last 48 hours, trade optimism has turned to trade pessimism, and it's becoming increasingly clear that China is preparing for the worst-case scenario of a prolonged trade war.  

On Monday morning, CNBC's Eunice Yoon tweeted, "Mood in Beijing about #trade deal is pessimistic, government source tells me. #China troubled after Trump said no tariff rollback. (China thought both had agreed in principle.) Strategy now to talk but wait due to impeachment, US election. Also prioritize China economic support." 

Then on Tuesday morning, Global Times Editor In Chief tweeted, "If President Trump believes China's economy is crumbling and Beijing will eventually make decisive concessions, he has to wait until Ivanka becomes the president to sign trade deal with China."  

Then by Tuesday afternoon, President Trump said he could boost tariffs even higher if there's no trade deal, which has sent global equities into the red for the second consecutive session. 

Rosenberg, who is leaving Gluskin Sheff to start his own research firm, called Rosenberg Research and Associates Inc., said investors have been "drinking vast amounts of Kool-Aid" via trade headlines while overlooking the slide in hard economic data. 

"In barely more than a month, we have seen portfolio managers move from their highest cash levels and recession concerns in a decade to downright exuberance. The just-released [Bank of America Merrill Lynch] survey of institutional investors showed the biggest improvement in economic growth expectations in the year ahead since the poll began in 1994."

And maybe Rosenberg is onto something here as stock market fundamentals slide and the alligator jaws open up. A no trade deal scenario playing out in the near term could be the catalyst to shock investors back to the deteriorating macro landscape. 

Tyler Durden

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 18:45


Business Finance

Governor Of Illinois, Home Of Nation's Worst Fiscal Crisis, Slams Door On Pension Reform

Submitted by Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner of WirePoints

The argument that “nothing is going to happen in Illinois until things blow up” got a major boost this week when the governor of the nation’s most fiscally upside down state said no to pension reform. Gov. J.B. Pritzker once again

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ht: 400;">rejected calls to put a pension amendment on the ballot in 2020. Illinois’ constitution currently prohibits any reforms that “diminish or impair” pensions. 

Never mind that Illinois has been in a credit rating free fall for more than a decade and is now just one notch from a junk rating. Or that Illinois is the nation’s extreme outlier when it comes to public sector retirement debts. Or that Chicago, Illinois’ economic heart, is in even worse shape

A rejection of pension reform by Pritzker means Illinois will continue its slide toward insolvency.

Illinois’ retirement debts are already one-third of the state’s annual economy – the worst in the nation.

Ditto retirement costs as a percentage of budget. No state consumes more of its budget for pensions like Illinois does. At 26 percent of budget, Illinois’ pension burden dwarfs those of its neighboring states. Pension costs are crowding out everything in its way.

And Chicagoans are already drowning in pension debts – more so than residents in any other major city. According to Moody’s, each Chicago household is on the hook for nearly $140,000 in overlapping state and local pension debts.

Expect more Chicagoans to flee as tax rates jump to help pay for those debts.

Pritzker’s alternative to real reform is to simply pretend that tiny changes will somehow help the crisis. “There are a lot of other ways to address pensions, and we’re going to go after each and every one of them,” he said.

But Pritzker’s “lots of other ways” – which include buyouts and pension consolidation – will do little to nothing.

For example, Illinois’ pension buyout scheme, where workers give up future pension benefits in exchange for immediate payouts, has been an absolute failure. Illinois politicians originally projected buyouts would save the state save over $400 million in 2019. Actual results showed savings of just $13 million.

And while Pritzker calls his recent pension consolidation bill “momentous” – it’s anything but. The consolidation of assets for Illinois’ 650 downstate and suburban public safety pension funds only impacts $12 billion of Illinois’ $280 billion in official pension debts. That’s less than 5 percent of the total official retirement shortfall Illinoisans are on the hook for.

Pritzker says there is “no silver bullet” to fix the pension crisis, though he’s touted his progressive tax proposal as the solution for all the state’s problems.

If you were hoping for some sort of sense from the governor in light of recent events – Lightfoot’s request for a state takeover of city pensions and his own consolidation commission’s warning about Tier 2 – any chance of that is clearly dashed.

Illinois path toward insolvency just got steeper. 

Tyler Durden

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 19:05


Social Issues

"It's Kind Of Despicable": Chicago Is Rigging Red Light Cameras To Rack Up Millions In Fines

It appears as though someone figured out that red light cameras could rack up tons more in fines if the number of times a light changes to red increases. This has led to nefariously shorter green lights in certain areas of Chicago. 

Intersections where drivers are issued hundreds of thousands of dollars in tickets have been unfairly rac

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ked up, according to ABC's investigative reporting team.  The team timed traffic lights at intersections where cameras were present and found that drivers had less time to legally get through intersections in directions where cameras where watching.

In once case, yellow and green lights were only 20 seconds - combined.

The city - which has been in a perpetual state of financial peril thanks to horrifying mismanagement of its pension liabilities - took in $35 million from the city's 300 red light cameras so far in 2019. 

Kevin O'Malley, managing deputy commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation, said: "We believe it improves traffic safety which in the end saves injuries and saves lives."

But on a tip from a group opposing the cameras, the ABC team decided to conduct their own investigation. Mark Wallace of Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras (CARLC) said: "The question is why is a green light shorter where the red light camera is at the very same intersection."

Wallace continued: "That's really significant and you can just generate a lot more violations by having a shorter green on a red light."

The green lights are shorter at intersections where there are cameras. "It seems like they're definitely trying to get people out here," one driver said. 

City records indicate that one light - at 87th and Lafayette in Chatham - generated more than $1 million this year. In the two directions with cameras, the green lights are 20 seconds and 29 seconds. The direction without a camera timed at 1 minute and 9 seconds - a major difference of up to 49 seconds longer. 

O'Malley says the timing is "based on traffic flow" and not on the cameras. He says 20 seconds is enough time to keep traffic moving: "It should be enough time, for the traffic flow that is there at the time."

He says that lights have different times based on traffic patterns and that intersections chosen for cameras are due to their "history of known traffic crashes". 

O'Malley continued, explaining why cameras were only installed in directions where the green lights were shorter: "These three intersections you've pointed out are off the Dan Ryan, and they happen to be parallel to the Dan Ryan, and one of the directions is on a bridge that goes over the expressway, and we don't install cameras on bridges because of the constructability. It's more difficult, as well as the a little shake, so the enforcement is a little more difficult."

The investigators also examined an intersection at 79th and State in Burbank, which made almost $800,000 this year alone. The directions that the cameras are facing have green lights that are as short as 22 seconds. The direction without the camera timed at 46 seconds. 

The city's most lucrative camera is at Cicero and I-55. In 2019 it has racked up $1,850,000, or about $6,778 a day, $282 dollars an hour, $4.71 a minute, or 8 cents a second.

Timothy Galarnyk, a traffic safety expert with Construction Risk Management, Inc. who reviewed all three intersections the I-Team examined and is familiar with national standards for traffic light control devices, said: "It's actually, it's kind of despicable."

He concluded: "That's a trap. The green should be the same length, but if there's no camera they give you more time, if there's a camera they give you half the amount of time, which means they're going to catch you running that light. They're going to catch you at their trap."



Tyler Durden

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 18:05
DNA Test Reveals Hunter Biden Fathered Arkansas Child

Hunter Biden is many things; international businessman, alleged connoisseur of crack cocaine, and now - father to a child in Arkansas according to a recent DNA test revealed in a Wednesday court filing by the mother, Lunden Alexis Roberts. 

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-bcqeeo r-qvutc0">

According to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, the test established Biden's parentage "with scientific certainty," and Biden "is not expected to challenge the results" or the testing process, according to the filing.

The baby’s “paternal grandfather, Joe Biden, is seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party for President of the United States of America,” the mother notes. “He is considered by some to be the person most likely to win his party’s nomination and challenge President Trump on the ballot in 2020.”

Hunter Biden, who initially denied having sexual relations with Roberts, eventually agreed to take a DNA test, according to documents filed by Roberts’ attorney, Clint Lancaster. -Arkansas Democrat Gazette

 Hopefully Hunter saved some of that Burisma money.

Tyler Durden

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 17:05



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