<p>The Gates Foundation is going to honor Indian prime minister Narendra Modi for his work on sanitation. Activists say his human rights record should make him unworthy of any awards.</p><br /><p>Do the ends justify honoring someone with a suspect character? That&#x2019;s the central question facing the Gates Foundation, which is under fire for a plan to honor India&#x2019;s prime minister, Narendra Modi, during the United Nations General Assembly gathering in New York City next week.</p><p>Read Full Story</p><div class="feedflare"
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The Weird Obsessions Of Central Bankers, Part 1

Authored by Pater Tenebrarum via Acting-Man.com,

How to Hang on to Greenland

Jim Bianco, head of the eponymous research firm, handily won the internet last Thursday with the following tweet:

Jim Bianco has an excellent idea as to how Denmark might after all be able to hang on to Greenland, a territory coveted by His Em

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inence, POTUS GEESG Donald Trump (GEESG= God Emperor & Exceedingly Stable Genius).

Evidently the mad Danes running the central bank of this Northern European socialist paradise were reacting to the ECB Council’s decision earlier that day to carpet-bomb the euro zone economy with another dose of monetary napalm.

The sad spectacle was the outcome of the penultimate ECB meeting chaired by Mario Draghi, who will undoubtedly enter the history books in the “what not to do” section, inter alia as the only central bank chieftain who didn’t raise interest rates even once during his entire term.

Mario Draghi, the scourge of Old World savers

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves… or Something

The following tablet engraved with decisions was handed down from the Europe’s Central Planning Olympus:

(1) The interest rate on the deposit facility will be decreased by 10 basis points to -0.50%. The interest rate on the main refinancing operations and the rate on the marginal lending facility will remain unchanged at their current levels of 0.00% and 0.25% respectively. The Governing Council now expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at their present or lower levels until it has seen the inflation outlook robustly converge to a level sufficiently close to, but below, 2% within its projection horizon, and such convergence has been consistently reflected in underlying inflation dynamics.

(2) Net purchases will be restarted under the Governing Council’s asset purchase program (APP) at a monthly pace of €20 billion as from 1 November. The Governing Council expects them to run for as long as necessary to reinforce the accommodative impact of its policy rates, and to end shortly before it starts raising the key ECB interest rates.

(3) Reinvestment of the principal payments from maturing securities purchased under the APP will continue, in full, for an extended period of time past the date when the Governing Council starts raising the key ECB interest rates, and in any case for as long as necessary to maintain favorable liquidity conditions and an ample degree of monetary accommodation.

(4) The modalities of the new series of quarterly targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTRO III) will be changed to preserve favorable bank lending conditions, ensure the smooth transmission of monetary policy and further support the accommodative stance of monetary policy. The interest rate in each operation will now be set at the level of the average rate applied in the euro-system’s main refinancing operations over the life of the respective TLTRO. For banks whose eligible net lending exceeds a benchmark, the rate applied in TLTRO III operations will be lower, and can be as low as the average interest rate on the deposit facility prevailing over the life of the operation. The maturity of the operations will be extended from two to three years.

(5) In order to support the bank-based transmission of monetary policy, a two-tier system for reserve remuneration will be introduced, in which part of banks’ holdings of excess liquidity will be exempt from the negative deposit facility rate.”

(emphasis added)

We will briefly comment on points 2–5 of this long list of interventions below and focus on the first one in Part 2.

Regarding point (2), the resumption of QE: market participants reportedly expected that €40 billion in monthly purchases were in the offing and were therefore somewhat disappointed by the announcement. European bond markets have become junkies, and QE is their heroin.

Disappointment disturbance in the negative yields farce: yields on German Bunds rise to minus 44.5 basis points in the wake of the ECB announcement…

Point (3) means that the central bank’s balance sheet is not going to shrink for a long time to come –  hence all the money created by the original QE program will continue to slosh around in the economy. This is less of a problem than the decision to create even more money ex nihilo, since prices and economic activity have in the meantime adjusted. This is evident by the fact that the brief sugar high provided by previous QE operations has completely dissipated.

Regarding point (4), the modalities of the TLTRO-3 program are now such that banks will be able to borrow funds at interest rates ranging from zero to minus 0.5%, i.e., they will be paid for borrowing money from the ECB. Why this is even called an “interest rate” is a bit of a mystery.

If this arrangement strikes you as perverse, that’s because it is perverse. The more new credit a bank pumps out, the better the rate that will be applied to its TLTRO borrowings. It is an additional money (and debt) creation program.

Point (5), the introduction of tiered deposit facility rates, is intended to alleviate the impact of negative rates on bank earnings. Our guess would be that the amounts falling under the exemption will be fairly small, since the negative deposit facility rate is supposed to propagate outward through overnight interbank lending rates (if a bank has to pay a 0.5% penalty rate on bank reserves deposited with the ECB, it will be happy to lend its reserves at -0.45%, since losing 0.45% is obviously better than losing 0.50%).

Obviously, none of the “non-standard” monetary policies implemented by the ECB and other central banks have even met their stated goal of boosting price inflation, not to mention economic growth. Evidently, since they are opting for even more of the same, it has yet to occur to them that their policies may actually be counter-productive.

The process is reminiscent of many previous attempts in history to revive economic activity by means of money printing.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 09/21/2019 - 17:15


Business Finance

Chinese government defines million-man camps as 'vocational.'
Peloton IPO Guide: It Makes Sense... If 60% Of All Gym Equipment Sold Is A Peloton

Authored by Scott Willis via Grizzle.com,


At the end of the day, Peloton is a gym membership pretending to be a tech company.

We fully admit the product is exciting and unique in the market, but Peloton still faces the same problem that keeps every gym o

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wner up at night.

People just don’t stick to a workout schedule.

Peloton is built on a business model that breaks even on the bikes with the hopes that big money is made on recurring monthly fees for digitally distributed classes.

However, with the average gym losing 50% of members within the first year, even the best technology hasn’t proven it can keep people engaged long term.

Peloton has been a smashing success, but at an IPO valuation of $10 billion, the company will have to literally take over the market for investors to avoid a loss.

To justify a valuation of $10 billion, we would have to live in a world where 40% of U.S. households with a gym membership now own a Peloton instead, up from 3% today.

Peloton may be the best piece of home exercise equipment ever invented, but at $29/sh the company is pricing in a penetration rate never achieved in history by a consumer good.

We think the company will struggle as a public company and recommend investors steer clear, or bet on a fall in price as the fundamental value is at best $14/sh and more likely $7/sh.


Peloton management realized long ago that the exercise equipment game is hard.

For this reason, they built a business model that effectively breaks even on the sale of the equipment hoping that once the bike or treadmill is in your basement you will be easier to hook on a lucrative ongoing monthly subscription.

They are the first company to successfully use technology to digitally beam an exercise class experience to your home.

Thanks to technology, Peloton can now offer half a million people a live spinning experience while only paying for one studio and one instructor. This is economies of scale on overdrive.

However, the Peloton of today still has to deal with the costs of running a large business, which go beyond just a studio and an instructor.

Peloton made about $1,500 on each subscriber in 2019, but because they’ve ramped up headcount and R&D to prepare for public company life, they ultimately lose $870 on every single customer they add.

The key for Peloton is to reach a size where corporate costs per subscriber are dwarfed by the cash generated from equipment sales and monthly subscriptions fees.

We estimate the company will breakeven by the middle of 2022 once they hit 2 million subscribers, up 300% from 600,000 today. 


As much as Peloton management likes to tell us they are revolutionizing exercise through technology, no technology can overcome the problems inherent in the subscription fitness business model.

We’ve all been there.

You sign up for a new gym membership energized by your New Year’s resolution to finally get in shape:

Week 1: “I’m going to crush it” – 4 days at the gym

Week 2: “Crushing it!” – 7 days at the gym

Week 3: “Can’t make it this Thur/Fri because of work drinks” – 4 days at the gym

Week 4: “I’ll go tomorrow” – 3 days at the gym

It’s not your fault, the human brain just seems to have problems sticking to a task, especially exercise.

To drive home the point, we came across a video review of the Peloton Tread done by a writer at website The Verge.

The writer had the motivation of training for an upcoming 5k run, but within two weeks she was already fading on her resolve.

In the final week of the month, she was down to three runs from a peak of six only two weeks before, a decrease of 50%.

According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), even the best global fitness clubs lose 34% of new members within a year.

On average the fitness industry has to replace half the customer base each year just to keep membership stable. 

According to Peloton management, the company is absolutely crushing the industry with a retention rate of 93%.

However, digging into how they actually calculate that number we can see some serious liberties are being taken.

Peloton’s attrition numbers (# who cancel) count subscribers who quit in the quarter but divides them not by the number of members who originally joined from that group but by the current membership instead.

If 100 members joined last Christmas and 20 have quit so far, attrition should be 20%, however, because 400 new members joined recently, Peloton reports retention as 20 lost over 480, or only 4%!

When you look at retention the right way, we estimate Peloton’s retention rate is more like 80% (20% quit over 12 months”.

To Peloton’s credit, 80% is potentially the highest retention rate in the industry.

This means that Peloton is currently losing only 1 in 5 members in the first year compared to a typical gym that loses half their members every year.

Attrition is still a big problem and is the reason why Peloton is not a typical technology disruptor, even though they claim to be.

Attrition requires Peloton to continually spend marketing dollars to replace members who quit, keeping them from building a truly repeatable source of high margin revenue.

We think the attrition rate at Peloton is close to an all-time low and will only go higher.

As the recent blistering growth slows and the company loses some of its high-class catchet due to ubiquity, attrition will increase closer to the industry average.


In the IPO filing Peloton estimates their immediate addressable market is 12 million households in the U.S. and another 2 million abroad.

These are consumers directly interested in purchasing a Peloton product.

Even 12 million potential customers is an aggressive goal as it would represent 50% of all U.S. households with a gym membership.

Zooming out even more, management thinks 100% of households with more than $100,000 of disposable income (36 million in the U.S.) have at one time expressed potential interest in a Peloton product and could be future customers.

Peloton is effectively telling us they think every person with a gym membership could one day own a Peloton.

Possible but highly unlikely.

Throwing out what management wants us to think, our preferred market potential is based on annual sales of exercise equipment.

According to the Sport & Industry Fitness Association (SFIA), $5.5 billion of similar exercise equipment was sold to consumers and gyms in 2018.

We estimate sales will grow to $7.5 billion by 2030.

We are talking bikes, treadmills, ellipticals and any other equipment that could likely be replaced with a Peloton.

To justify a $29/sh stock price, Peloton would have to capture 83%, or $6.2 billion of retail and gym equipment sales, in effect upending the entire gym ecosystem.

There is no way this is going to happen.

Even if we looked at the entire equipment market, worth $10.5 billion, Peleton would need a market share of 60% to be worth $29/sh.

We think the company can realistically capture 30% of its addressable equipment market, up from their current market share of 16%.


If Peloton goes public at the indicated offering price of $27-$29/sh, it would value the company at almost $10 billion dollars.

Whichever way you look value, relative to other stocks or on a fundamental basis, Peleton is overpriced.

If we compare Peloton’s forward price to sales multiple to peers, it’s coming out of the gate at a premium price.

Nautilus (NYSE: NLS), one of the only publicly-traded competitors to Peloton has never traded above 1.5x next year’s revenue even when it was growing at 25-30% a year.

SoulCycle, another private competitor, attempted to go public in 2015 at a price to sales of 5.3x, but the IPO never found enough buyers and was scrapped for good in 2018.

Peloton is hoping investors have short term memory loss as it looks to be trying for a valuation that previously fell flat with investors.

From a relative value approach, Peloton is worth far less than $10 billion.

Looking at the value of Peloton on a fundamental basis, we also struggle to get anywhere close to $29/sh.

Based on the exercise equipment market we defined in the section above, there is $7.5 billion of sales up for grabs by 2030.

If as we expect, Peloton achieves a 30% share in its market or $2.3 billion in annual sales, the stock is only worth $14.00/sh, 50% lower than the IPO price.

Below is a chart showing the buy and sell bands for this stock over time.

Though we think Peloton is only worth $14/sh at most longer-term, if you do decide to trade Peloton use this visual guide to determine when you should buy, sell or hold.


Peloton has been through six funding rounds raising $940 million.

The latest round, series F raised $550 million in August 2018 at a price of $14.44/sh.

The $29/sh IPO price is a huge jump from the last funding round which will likely create some uncertainty among institutions if $29/sh is a fair price for the stock.

Between all six rounds, insiders have an average cost basis of only $4.51 with 25% of shares issued at only $0.45/sh. Insiders are sitting on 6x-64x returns.


181 days after the S-1 was filed, the majority of insider shares can now be sold. This date falls on February 24th, 2020.

Under certain circumstances the lock-up period will expire 120 days after the filing of the S-1, falling on 12/26/2019.

Given the low cost basis of insiders, we expect at least some of the 84 million shares issued below $0.50 will be sold once the lockup expires.

The impact on the stock will all depend on short interest and the daily volume at the time.


Peloton has truly come closer than any other product to bringing the gym experience into your own home.

But though the product may be amazing, it requires significant ongoing commitment from the customer.

Consumers rarely stick with exercise goals and for that reason, Peloton has to work harder and harder just to maintain revenue let alone grow it.

For this reason, we think Peloton will struggle as a public company.

Once investors realize Peloton is on the New Year’s resolution treadmill just like every other exercise company, both the multiple and the stock price have a long way to fall.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 09/21/2019 - 16:15


Business Finance

Dramatic Footage Captures Major Russia-China War Games Involving Over 120K Soldiers

Footage emerging late this week from an annual military exercise hosted by Russian and involving China, India, and Pakistan has drawn the attention of western military experts who say it's definitely "upped the ante this year" given the number of foreign forces and the sheer size of the drills, and especially given it's the first time Russia's historic political and econom

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ic rival China has joined the games, amid a rapid warming of relations as both face intense Washington pressure.

Along with the only newly invited China, as well as Pakistani and Indian forces, other central and east Asian countries are participating, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. What are called the 'Tsentr exercises' actually began all the way back in June but this week is considered the culmination of the most important "hot phase" drills focusing on "strategic command post exercise"

Involving 120,000 military personnel, about 600 aircraft, up to 15 ships and additional support vessels, as well as over 20,000 weapons and support equipment, the massive games are being primarily conducted within the central military district in Russia (hence the name “Tsentr-2019”), as described by the Russian defense ministry.

In early September Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced the multi-national games' intent was not to focus on foreign enemies, but includes an "anti-terror" emphasis. 

Chinese Marines taking part in drills, via Reuters.

However, a number of observers have pointed out the showcasing of Russian military strength sends an unmistakable message to Washington and its western allies.

US state-funded media wing RFERL described the games as a "Kremlin-led military exercises... under way that simulate a large-scale invasion of a rogue state."

One analyst, Mathieu Boulegue, a research fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House, has been cited in reports as saying China's involvement this year is huge and sends a firm, unprecedented message in terms of Moscow's growing powerful military alliances

Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov (left) and Vladimir Putin take a break after observing the maneuvers. Jeenbenkov was the only foreign head of state to attend the exercises. TASS photo

“The message is quite clear when it comes to Russia, it means that ‘we’re not alone, we have a lot of partners, we’re not isolated so whatever efforts the West are trying to do against us we are still able to have powerful military alliances with China, India and Pakistan’,” he said.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 09/21/2019 - 12:45



<p>The world is watching and there&#x2019;s nothing less than a world at stake. </p><br /><p>The world is watching and there&#x2019;s nothing less than a world at stake.</p><p>Read Full Story</p><div class="feedflare"><br /> <br /></div>
Candace Owens: White Supremacy Has Minimal Impact On Black Americans

Conservative black activist Candace Owens told a congressional panel on Friday that white supremacy has a minimal impact on the black community, and that America should instead focus on black-on-black crime and the breakdown of the family.

"White supremacy is indeed real, but despite the media’s obsessive coverage of it, it represents

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an isolated, uncoordinated and fringe occurrence within America," Owens told lawmakers during a hearing on confronting white nationalism. 

"If we’re going to have a hearing on white supremacy, we are assuming that the biggest victims of that are minority Americans," she added. "And presumably this hearing would be to stop that and preserve the lives of minority Americans. Which based on the hierarchy of what’s impacting minority Americans, if I had to make a list of 100 things, white nationalism would not make the list."

"We don't see hearings on those bigger issues brought up... Black-on-black crime, the breakdown of family I think is the number-one thing contributing to that," she added. 

"White supremacy and white nationalism is not a problem that is harming Black America.

Owens' comments come on the same day as the Department of Homeland Security added violent white supremacist extremism to its list of terror threats. 

Kevan McAleenan, the acting Homeland Security secretary, said Friday during remarks at the Brookings Institution in Washington that the “continuing menace of racially-based violent extremism, particularly white supremacist extremism, is an abhorrent affront to our nation, the struggle and unity of its diverse population, and the core values of both our society and our department." 

He continued to explain that after the alleged El Paso shooter “sought to kill Hispanics, and his online manifesto was rife with references to multiple hate-based ideologies,” McAleenan said he was even more confident that DHS needed a new counter-terrorism strategy.

“In our modern age, the continuation of racially-based violent extremism, particularly violent white supremacy, is an abhorrent affront to the nation,” he also said. -USA Today

Owens, meanwhile, characterizes white nationalism as "just election rhetoric," and called it "hilarious" that her fellow panelists wouldn't provide specific numbers on the death toll from white supremacists

Owens then went off:

Tyler Durden

Sat, 09/21/2019 - 13:45


Social Issues

Remarks come after Trump announced sending troops, military equipment to Saudi Arabia.
<p>&#x201C;I want people to know how dirty we were done.&#x201D;</p><br /><p>If you ask her, Peggy Stanley can give you a rough running tally of the money that Blackjewel Mining owes her husband.</p><p>Read Full Story</p><div class="feedflare"><br /> <br /></div>
Are Trump's Incentives About To Change

Submitted by Adventures in Capitalism

Three weeks ago, I did the unforgivable and waded into US politics. I apologize, but I am about to do so again. Fortunately for all of us, I’ll keep my thoughts specifically to the stock market.

Say what you will about Trump, he has had only one goal for the past three years; pump the hell out of the stock market. He tweets at Powell,

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he lies about trade truces and he cheers on the stock market. Any downtick will certainly be met by Trump’s stock promotion machine. The market has even overtaken his foreign policy as he recently softened his negotiating stance when the market had a few down days. For three years, investors have been confident in the Trump put. What if that all changes? What if for a brief moment in time, it is in his best interest to have the market crash?

Above are the updated betting lines from Predictit.org. I realize the overall dollars at risk are low and can be manipulated. However, I tend to agree with the betting lines. If anything, the low risk short is Biden—he’s a parody campaign at this point. Unless Warren seriously fumbles, she will be the Democratic candidate. As I noted three weeks ago, I don’t see how the market can be comfortable with this, as her policies are decidedly anti-equity markets. Sure, she’ll move a bit more centrist in the general election, but investors will still be terrified. If Argentina’s market could drop by half when Macri lost the primary, why can’t ours drop 20 or 30% if Warren is the candidate? Especially, with Warren leading in most polls against Trump.

Now, here’s the interesting wrinkle; what if a savage market decline favors Trump? Imagine the ability to get out on twitter and blame Warren for the market crashing? Imagine scaring working people that their IRAs will detonate? Imagine scaring retired people that they’ll have nothing left? I don’t care what your political leanings are, no one wants to lose a substantial portion of their net worth. Warning voters that they’ll crystallize a 30% loss may be amazingly persuasive in an election—especially after you remind people how successful you were in pushing the market higher as stock-pumper-in-chief.

The market wants to crash because the global economy is rolling over. Trump certainly doesn’t want to take the blame. In fact, he’s the master at shifting the blame to others. If the market starts crashing, why wouldn’t he blame Warren and then aggressively force it lower so voters feel real pain? I know I would. That’s how you win elections. Trump is a winner—consequences be damned. Are Trump’s incentives about to change?

The market sure isn’t prepared for such a narrative shift. Invest accordingly…

Tyler Durden

Sat, 09/21/2019 - 13:15


Business Finance

Ben Hunt: Prepare To Get Burned

Authored by Adam Taggart via PeakProsperity.com,

Society is pretending its actions don't have consequences. It's badly mistaken...

History teaches us that there is no free lunch, reminds Dr. Ben Hunt, publisher of EpsilonTheory.com.

And science informs us that even the most simple systems become nearly impossible to predict o

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r control with 100% precision as time and variables change.

But our society today is ignoring these lessons. It’s betting that the increasingly excessive distortions required to keep the status quo continuing will succeed, and come at no cost.

That’s a losing bet, warns Hunt:

Society burns itself on a really hot stove every three or four generations.

I think we’re at that point where the Millennials coming of age who are having to wrestle with what the Baby Boomers have done to the world. They’re going to end up burning themselves on this hot stove. The hot stove of looking to government as the answer for everything that ails you. Of looking towards your political leaders as somehow able to provide never-ending exponential growth in comfort and standard of living.

And ultimately, they’ll burn themselves — there’s no such thing as a free lunch. You’ve got pay for these things in one way or another — in terms of resource extraction, in terms of taxation, in the form of sacrifice of individual liberties.

There’s a price to be paid, though. That’s the hot stove that I’m talking about. That hot stove can manifest itself in war. That’s certainly happened in the past. It could manifest itself in the subordination or forfeit of individual liberties. That’s certainly happened in the past.

There are any number of ways in which that burning on the hot stove could happen.

Take the 0% interest rate policy that made money so readily available and so cheap. I really do think it saved the world in March of 2009. I get it. I think that’s what the central bank was created to do – to be that lender of last resort. But when it takes the position as not the lender of last resort but the lender of first resort? The lender of constant resort? That’s where we are now.

This is the consequence of over-financialization: if I’m running a corporation, I’m trying to do well by myself, by my shareholders, why in the world would I take a risky action like actually building a new factory, of actually investing for growth? Why would I take that sort of risk when I can borrow the money essentially risk-free and use it to do something that is risk-free like buy back my stock? Like give the dividend to my shareholders. All of which things drive up the value of the asset – the financial asset – all of these things which drive up the earnings per share. But none of these things are adding to productivity. I’m not investing in technology or property, plant, and equipment, in order to squeeze more juice out of my sales dollar. I’m just not squeezing at all. I’m able to use that addiction that our society has to free money, to cheap money, to generate wealth for myself and my shareholders in this non-productive way.

Is there a cost to that?” Of course, there is. We’re told that the stimulus is costless. But what it costs us, in truth, is that we’re not taking risks anymore for the future. We’re not investing in the future anymore. And where do we end up with that? We end up with essentially zombie societies and zombie economies, which just makes the ultimate burning on the hot stove that much worse.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris’ interview with Ben Hunt (44m:26s).

Tyler Durden

Sat, 09/21/2019 - 09:45
Many within Labour have been critical of the party leader Jeremy Corbyn for his apparent on-again-off-again stance toward Remaining in the EU. Over the next few days at the party’s annual conference in Brighton, he is expected to roll out the party’s official position, putting an end to speculation once and for all.
Goldman Sachs Has Just Issued An Ominous Warning About Stock Market Chaos In October

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

Are we about to see U.S. financial markets go crazy?  That is what Goldman Sachs seems to think, and it certainly wouldn’t be the first time that great financial chaos has been unleashed during the month of October.  When the stock market crashed in October 1929, it started the

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worst economic depression that we have ever witnessed.  In October 1987, the largest single day percentage decline in U.S. stock market history rocked the entire planet.  And the nightmarish events of October 2008 set the stage for a “Great Recession” that we still haven’t fully recovered from.  So could it be possible that something similar may happen in October 2019? 

According to CNBC, Goldman Sachs is warning that the stock market could soon “go crazy again”…

For investors taking a breather from the chaos in August, buckle up as the market is about to go crazy again, Goldman Sachs warned.

Wall Street is now inches away from reclaiming its record highs, but a rockier ride could be around the corner as stock volatility has been 25% higher in October on average since 1928, according to Goldman. Big price swings have been seen in each major stock benchmark and sector in October over the past 30 years, with technology and health care being the most volatile groups, Goldman said.

Goldman derivatives strategist John Marshall is the man behind this new warning, and he believes that there are some fundamental reasons why the month of October is often so volatile…

“We believe high October volatility is more than just a coincidence,” John Marshall, equity derivatives strategist at Goldman, said in a note Friday. “We believe it is a critical period for many investors and companies that manage performance to calendar year-end.”

And even though October hasn’t arrived yet, we are already starting to see some things that we haven’t witnessed since the last financial crisis.

For example, the Federal Reserve had not intervened in the repo market since 2008, but this week the liquidity crunch was so bad that the Fed felt forced to conduct emergency overnight repurchase agreement operations on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

And then on Friday the Fed announced that it will continue to conduct emergency interventions “on a daily basis for the next three weeks”…

The New York Federal Reserve Bank said Friday it will inject billions into the US financial plumbing on a daily basis for the next three weeks in an effort to prevent a spike in short-term interest rates.

The Fed will offer up to $75 billion a day in repurchase agreements — exchanging secure assets for cash for very short periods — through October 10, it said in a statement.

In addition, it will offer three 14-day “repo” operations of at least $30 billion each.

In essence, the “plumbing” of our financial system has gotten all jammed up, and calling out Roto-Rooter is simply not going to get the job done.

Of course Fed officials are trying to assure us that this is no big deal and that they have everything under control.

But if all this is no big deal, why haven’t they had to conduct such emergency interventions for the last 11 years?

And this comes at a time when the deterioration of the U.S. economy appears to be accelerating.  In fact, on Friday St. Louis Fed President James Bullard publicly admitted that the U.S. manufacturing industry appears to already be in a recession…

The US manufacturing sector “already appears in recession” and overall economic growth is expected to slow “in the near horizon,” St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank president James Bullard said on Friday, explaining why he dissented at a recent Fed meeting and wanted a deeper, half-percentage-point rate cut.

That is a stunning admission, because normally Fed officials try very hard to maintain the narrative that everything is wonderful because they are doing such a great job of manipulating the economy.

The American people as a whole are becoming increasingly pessimistic about the economy as well, and Gallup just released some very alarming numbers…

Americans’ confidence in the economy has become less rosy this month as Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index fell to +17 from August’s +24 reading, marking the lowest level since the government shutdown ended in January.

At the same time, the public is evenly divided over the likelihood of a recession in the next year. The current expectation of a recession is nine points higher than it was in October 2007, just two months before the Great Recession began but slightly below a February 2001 reading, one month before that eight-month-long recession.

Every economic indicator that we have is telling us that big trouble is heading our way, but most Americans are partying instead of preparing.

U.S. financial markets have never been more primed for a crash than they are at this moment, and so many of the exact same patterns that we witnessed just prior to the last recession are happening again right now.

Over the past few months, my wife and I have felt a sense of urgency unlike anything that we have ever felt before.  You may have noticed a difference in our tone and in the types of stories that we have been sharing.  Everything that we have been doing has been leading up to this.  The time of “the perfect storm” is here, and most Americans won’t understand what is happening.

The storm clouds are looming and disaster could strike at any time.  This is one of the most critical times in the history of our nation, and most Americans are completely unprepared for what is going to happen next.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 09/21/2019 - 10:45


Business Finance

Former VP outright admitted threatening to withhold billion dollars if Ukraine wouldn't drop probe.
The scientology hype machine is rolling along, trying to keep the sheeple convinced that handing over money for “ideal orgs” is going to change the world. Austin is one of the few orgs NOT required to get a new building — like Toronto. It is directly across the street from the University of Texas and […]
<p>This developing branch of synthetic media technology has commercial applications&#x2014;but also has the potential to disrupt elections and spread disinformation.</p><br /><p>In Russian novelist Victor Pelevin&#x2019;s cyberpunk novel, Homo Zapiens, a poet named Babylen Tatarsky is recruited by an old college buddy to be an advertising copywriter in Moscow amid post-Soviet Russia&#x2019;s economic collapse. With a talent for clever wordplay, Tatarsky quickly climbs the corporate ladder, where he discovers that politicians like then-Russian president Boris
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Yeltsin and major political events are, in fact, virtual simulations. With the advent of ever-more sophisticated deepfakes, it feels as if something like Pelevin&#x2019;s vision is slowly coming true.</p><p>Read Full Story</p><div class="feedflare"><br /> <br /></div>
Belgian F-16 Pilot Ejects Before Fiery Crash, Gets Caught In High Voltage Power Lines

A Belgian F-16 fighter jet crashed in Northwestern France on Thursday, leaving one of its pilots hanging by his parachute from high voltage electricity lines, according to the BBC. 

Both pilots had minor injuries after they ejected from the plane, which clipped the roof of a house and crashed in a field near Pluvinger. The pilot stuck in the

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trong>250,000 volt power lines was brought down after a two hour rescue operation by French emergency services.

His plane had been flying at only 1,500 feet while on a practice flight from Florennes, Belgium to a French airbase at Lorient, about 19 miles from the crash site.

A French military official, Gen Major Vansina said: 

"They needed time to free him. They had to cut the electric current, but I've been on the phone to him and he says he feels fine."

Both pilots were released after hospital checks. 

Other photos from the area showed a damaged roof on one home and black smoke rising from the area. One homeowner, Patrick Kauffer, said that a wing of the plane had "taken out part of the roof on his house, causing serious damage". 

The crash also caused fires to his shed and trees. A second resident, Cindy Le Gloanic, said she saw the pilots eject and posted photographs of the damaged house.

The plane was not carrying weapons during its flight and was reportedly in good condition when it took off. It was built in 1983. 

The head of the air force said that the pilot told him there was a problem with the engine during the flight and that he had tried to restart it.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 09/21/2019 - 10:15


Disaster Accident


 We want to thank the tipster who sent along the new issue of ‘Freewinds’ magazine, which tries to convince Scientologists to come to the church’s floating cathedral and private cruise ship.

Once again, we were struck by the part of the publication that most readers likely leaf past without a glance, and that’s the required L. [...]

Billionaire Tim Draper: Bitcoin Will Hit $250,000 By 2022

Billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper told BlockTV that in the next several years, Bitcoin could reach $250,000 per coin. 

"$250,000 means that bitcoin would then have about a 5% market share of the currency world and I think that maybe understating the power of bitcoin," Draper told the BlockTV hosts.

His predi

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ction is on the premise that the adoption of digital currency will spread like wildfire across the world as fiat continues a fiery death into the early 2020s. 

The billionaire investor has maintained his bitcoin forecast for some time, calling it "absolutely solid" back in 2018.

Though, it's easy to say Bitcoin is still complicated for the mainstream user. The global population still uses fiat controlled by governments and central banks and have to risk devaluations in a global currency war that is currently underway. And of course, fiat is still the easiest way for people to pay for goods and services at the moment. Draper said the adoption curve of digital coins in Argentina is evidence that people in countries where currencies have crashed are rotating into digital assets at lightning speed. He said once Bitcoin and other alternative coins become easier to use, that will be the moment when the global population will start the transition; it also might need to take a few more devaluations of major currencies, and or another crash or two of fiat to drive people into digital assets. It's usually during an economic crisis people will make decessions on how to protect their wealth, or at least what's left of it. 

Adoption rates have rocketed higher in Argentina, Venezuela, and Turkey over the last several years, as their respected currencies have collapsed. 

Draper made similar remarks at the Brightline Initiative hosted in Toronto in June. He lauded bitcoin for being "open, transparent, and frictionless."

He said blockchain is the future and has sparked other game-changing technologies: "For instance, the blockchain allows for a perfect ledger. It keeps perfect track of money. It could also keep perfect track of data."

He even said bitcoin is "magic technology that allows us to have a trusted, global currency that isn't tied to any political force."

Back in February, Draper said Bitcoin would be used to pay for coffee by 2021.

Though, in the short term, Bitcoin is far from $250,000, currently trades in a sideways pattern around the $10k-handle. 

Tyler Durden

Sat, 09/21/2019 - 07:35


Social Issues

<p>&#x2018;Shampoodler&#x2019; is a regular on podcasts like The Doughboys and Comedy Bang Bang and Twitch shows like Jack AM, embodying how participatory these new media can be.</p><br /><p>Listening to a podcast for long enough creates an intimacy that feels like having a relationship with the show.</p><p>Read Full Story</p><div class="feedflare"><br /> <br /></div>
90% Of Plastic Waste Polluting Earth's Oceans Comes From Asia and Africa

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

Despite westerners being lectured by climate activists like Greta Thunberg, a study has found that around 90 per cent of plastic waste polluting earth’s oceans comes from Asia and Africa.

During her U.S. tour, Thunberg cited “horrifying pictures of plastic

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in the oceans,” as one of the primary reasons why Americans should listen to her.

However, researchers at Germany’s Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research discovered that a small number of rivers account for the vast majority of plastic pollution and none of them are located in western countries.

“The 10 top-ranked rivers transport 88-95 percent of the global load into the sea,” Dr. Christian Schmidt, a hydrogeologist who led the study, told the Daily Mail.

“The rivers with the highest estimated plastic loads are characterized by high population – for instance the Yangtze with over half a billion people.”

Out of the top ten rivers that produce the most pollution, eight are in Asia and two are in Africa. The Yangtze River in China and the Ganges River in India were responsible for the most plastic pollution.

While westerners are being told to alter their lifestyles and have fewer children to save the planet, virtually nothing is being said about or to the people in the countries responsible for the vast majority of pollution.

This is probably one of the main reasons why many in the west remain skeptical about the true motives of the environmentalist movement.

As we reported earlier, only 38 per cent of Americans believe global warming is man made.

*  *  *

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

Sat, 09/21/2019 - 08:10



The Duke of York has repeatedly insisted Virginia Roberts Giuffre's accusations are "false and without any foundation".
Edging Closer To A Brexit Deal (Might Even Be A Fair One)

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk,

Movement by the EU, by Boris Johnson, and most importantly by Ireland suggests a good chance of a reasonable deal.

Compromise Movements

  • Boris Johnson has had a series of good discussions with Ireland.

  • Read More

  • Out of the blue, Jean Claude Juncker gave an optimistic interview even to the point of scrapping the backstop.

Eurointelligence has an excellent discussion this morning on the political events. Emphasis is mine.

For a short moment last night, it appeared that the whole Brexit process was about to be solved. We don’t normally care much about interviews here at Eurointelligence, but Jean-Claude Juncker was well worth watching on Sophy Ridge's show on Sky News.

He confirmed that a deal is possible. He said no-deal was catastrophic also for the EU. He was very clear that a deal would be based on a single market for agrifoods, with borders checks away from the border. He said the backstop was not sacrosanct, only a means to an end. And he said that he works on the assumption that Brexit will happen.

It looks to us that we are moving towards a deal vs. no-deal scenario by the end of the month. The whole dispute currently unfolding about prorogation and the Benn legislation is very much a sideshow. We will report on the UK Supreme Court's ruling next week when it happens, but we are thinking the political process is much more important than procedure.

If a deal were agreed, we assume that the EU will agree to a demand by Boris Johnson to foreclose formally the option of an extension - except a short technical extension to make time for ratification. We have been arguing that the main loophole in the Benn bill is not procedural but political. The biggest loophole in the legislation is the European Council, whose operations are poorly understood in the UK, and not understood at all by the legal profession which obsesses with domestic procedure.

What would the UK parliament do? Would they try to test whether the EU is bluffing? This is quite possible, but that game is dangerous. They could vote against the deal, and the next day pass a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson. But Johnson is at that point under no obligation to resign. Under the fixed-term parliament act, the parliament could pass a vote of confidence in another MP with a specific mandate to seek an extension for an election. But would they? Would the EU relent, having committed itself in a Council conclusion not to do so? We cannot answer these hypothetical questions, but note that this would be a risky course that might backfire on those who take it. Would that course of action really advance the election prospects of Jeremy Corbyn?

Maybe the answer to all these questions is Yes. Stranger things have already happened in the Brexit process. But time is playing against hardline Remainers. We also get a sense from Juncker's interview and other reports that the EU’s patience with the Remainer strategy is wearing thin. We think what tipped the balance was the EU’s gradual awareness of Labour’s policy that it would negotiate a deal only to allow Labour ministers to campaign against it. Labour obviously formulated this policy having not even consulted with the EU.

The big question is: could an agreed withdrawal agreement find a majority in the House of Commons? The math of this situation is the same as it always was. Johnson will need to get the DUP on board, quell his own rebellion, have a larger number of Labour MPs to support the deal. He can probably count on the group around Stephen Kinnock. Kinnock and Caroline Flint MP yesterday visited Michel Barnier to talk about the chance of a new deal. The hard-core group of Labour MPs in favour of a deal is around a dozen, but there may be up to 20 or 30 Labour MPs who could support a deal.

But we don’t think the Labour Party or the other opposition parties will come to Johnson’s rescue. The Remain campaign yesterday issued a dossier to warn Labour MPs against the right-wing policies that would follow a deal.

One possibility is that MPs might choose to abstain. In doing so they would still distance themselves from Johnson's deal, but without being accused of triggering no-deal.

What Happened?

  1. The EU now realizes Boris Johnson really wants a deal. Johnson may have been forced into that position by Parliament but that is the state of affairs.

  2. Boris Johnson, DUP, and Ireland are coming to terms on how to remove the backstop.

  3. The EU realizes the losses will not most be on the UK. Germany is outright scared as I stated from the beginning.

  4. The EU understands the Liberal Democrats will not win the election.

  5. The EU realizes that Boris Johnson is likely to win an election and the result will be No Deal unless it happens now.

  6. Labour's position of promising a referendum with a pledge to campaign against it makes no sense to the EU (or any reasonable person).

Point six was likely the last straw but point three is what forced the issue. Still, this was all a no-go without point two.

Fair Deal Increasingly Likely

Removal of the backstop is now a given. That's going to happen.

But the backstop is not the only odious thing. At a minimum, Johnson needs to insist on removal of language that puts the UK at the mercy of the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Johnson also needs to strive for a Canada-style deal. This does not have to be resolved now, just the groundwork.

The closer he can come to that, the better things will be for both the EU and the UK.

Finally, and importantly, the EU needs to come up with a deal that Parliament will ratify.

If the EU wants a deal, it has to bend.

Juncker signals the EU really wants a deal.

Increasing Odds of a Deal

Yesterday I wrote Increasing Odds of a Bad Brexit Deal as Liberal Democrats Leap Ahead of Labour

That is still true.

But the odds of a fair deal have increased as well.

Thus, the odds of No Deal have fallen.

Ironic Setup

I told people for months the EU would deal if someone would back them into a corner.

Many thought I was nuts. I don't blame them but I have watched the EU in action for years and just like magic there is a compromise at the 11 hour.

That's what is happening now.

Here's the irony: The person backing the EU into a corner might not have been Boris Johnson, but rather Jeremy Corbyn running on the silly platform of promising a referendum and campaigning against it.

Remain is hopelessly split. The EU is not blind to that fact.

The EU was finally forced to consider this would drag on for years with the UK and the Brexit party disrupting European Parliament the whole time unless thew EU compromised or accepted no deal.

Not Over Yet

Many things can go wrong but the odds of a (both good and bad) are now rising.

Boris needs to negotiate carefully. The backstop is not the only issue.

Binary Choice

Here's the final irony.

Theresa May struggled for two years to produce a binary choice option for Parliament.

We may now finally have one thanks to the Tory revolt and and crazy stance of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Johnson and the EU need to find a solution that can actually pass Parliament.

If things go to plan, Parliament will have to accept No Deal or whatever Johnson can work out.

Pressure is on both sides!

Which is precisely what it takes to get a fair deal.

Kiss Remain Goodbye

Kiss Remain goodbye, it is not in the binary choice.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 09/21/2019 - 07:00



<p>We can&#x2019;t be productive without breaks. But far too many of us can&#x2019;t seem to get away from our desks, even for just a few minutes. </p><br /><p>We&#x2019;ve all had those days where we get to quitting time and realize we haven&#x2019;t gotten up from our chair for the past four hours. Breaks are seen as a luxury in our always-on, high-pressure work culture. Our days are crammed from morning to late into the evening with emails, calls, chats, and tasks.</p><p>Read Full Story</p><div class="feedflare"><b
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r /> <br /></div>
The Coming Crisis Of China's One-Party Regime

Authored by Minxin Pei via Project Syndicate,

On October 1, to mark the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic, Chinese President Xi Jinping will deliver a speech that unreservedly celebrates the Communist Party of China’s record since 1949. But, despite Xi’s apparent confidence and optimism, the CPC’s rank and file are increasingly concerned about the regime’s future prospec

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ts – with good reason.

In 2012, when Xi took the reins of the CPC, he promised that the Party would strive to deliver great successes in advance of two upcoming centennials, marking the founding of the CPC in 1921 and the People’s Republic. But a persistent economic slowdown and rising tensions with the United States will likely sour the CPC’s mood during the 2021 celebrations. And the one-party regime may not even survive until 2049.

While there is technically no time limit on dictatorship, the CPC is approaching the longevity frontier for one-party regimes. Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party retained power for 71 years (1929-2000); the Communist Party of the Soviet Union ruled for 74 years (1917-1991); and Taiwan’s Kuomintang held on for 73 years (from 1927 to 1949 on the mainland and from 1949 to 2000 in Taiwan). The North Korean regime, a Stalinist family dynasty that has ruled for 71 years, is China’s only contemporary competition.

But historical patterns are not the only reason the CPC has to be worried. The conditions that enabled the regime to recover from the self-inflicted disasters of Maoism and to prosper over the last four decades have largely been replaced by a less favorable – and in some senses more hostile – environment.

The greatest threat to the Party’s long-term survival lies in the unfolding cold war with the US. During most of the post-Mao era, China’s leaders kept a low profile on the international stage, painstakingly avoiding conflict while building strength at home. But by 2010, China had become an economic powerhouse, pursuing an increasingly muscular foreign policy. This drew the ire of the US, which began gradually to shift from a policy of engagement toward the confrontational approach evident today.

With its superior military capabilities, technology, economic efficiency, and alliance networks (which remain robust, despite President Donald Trump’s destructive leadership), the US is far more likely to prevail in the Sino-American cold war than China. Though an American victory could be Pyrrhic, it would more than likely seal the CPC’s fate.

The CPC also faces strong economic headwinds. The so-called Chinese miracle was fueled by a large and youthful labor force, rapid urbanization, large-scale infrastructure investment, market liberalization, and globalization – all factors that have either diminished or disappeared.

Radical reforms – in particular, the privatization of inefficient state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and the end of neo-mercantilist trading practices – could sustain growth. But, despite paying lip service to further market reforms, the CPC has been reluctant to implement them, instead clinging to policies that favor SOEs at the expense of private entrepreneurs. Because the state-owned sector forms the economic foundation of one-party rule, the prospect that CPC leaders will suddenly embrace radical economic reform is dim.

Domestic political trends are similarly worrying. Under Xi, the CPC has abandoned the pragmatism, ideological flexibility, and collective leadership that served it so well in the past. With the Party’s neo-Maoist turn – including strict ideological conformity, rigid organizational discipline, and fear-based strongman rule – the risks of catastrophic policy mistakes are rising.

To be sure, the CPC will not go down without a fight. As its grip on power weakens, it will probably attempt to stoke nationalism among its supporters, while intensifying repression of its opponents.

But this strategy cannot save China’s one-party regime. While nationalism may boost support for the CPC in the short term, its energy will eventually dissipate, especially if the Party fails to deliver continued improvement in living standards. And a regime that is dependent on coercion and violence will pay dearly in the form of depressed economic activity, rising popular resistance, escalating security costs, and international isolation.

This is hardly the uplifting picture Xi will present to the Chinese people on October 1. But no amount of nationalist posturing can change the fact that the unraveling of the CPC’s rule appears closer than at any time since the end of the Mao era.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 21:05



US Army Prepares To Test New Anti-Drone BLADE System To Defend Against Drone Swarms

A new report from the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command states that the Ballistic Low Altitude Drone Engagement (BLADE) prototype is ready to conduct further trials to protect high-value military assets from small unmanned aerial system attacks. 

The BLADE is a dome of protection that uses a set of systems to combat against small drone attacks, ca

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n be mounted on various tactical vehicles providing troops and military assets with close-range protection. 

The BLADE is integrated with the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS) and uses advanced fire control and precision targeting enablers to detect, track, and defeat small drones. CROWS includes a sensor suite and fire control software that allow soldiers to engage targets remotely. CROWS tracks targets with several sensors, including a camera and thermal optics. The new system can be stationary or mounted on most tactical vehicles. 

Once the BLADE identifies and locks onto a target, it will fire an electronic attack on small incoming drones with short bursts of fire.

A successful test occurred earlier this summer at Fort Dix, New Jersey, proved the new system is ready for additional, more rugged field tests against drone swarms.

BLADE is expected to be mounted on M1 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, and Stryker wheeled armored fighting vehicles.

The Army said BLADE is at "final Level 6 technology readiness demonstration for the BLADE system will be conducted later this year."

"Technology readiness levels refer to the maturity of a technology and range from Level 1 to Level 9. Level 6 is a model or prototype that has been tested in an operational environment, such as an aircraft or vehicle. Once we get a technology to the point where it can transition out of CCDC, which is typically Level 6, it transitions to program managers and program executive offices who make the technology a program of record, which means funding has been approved so the program can move forward."

The proliferation of small drones on the modern battlefield, especially in Syria, and more recently, the Saudi Aramco drone/cruise missile attack over the weekend, have allowed terrorist organizations to exploit defense gaps in lower altitude air space. 

The first instance of where small drone attacks became very alarming was in Syria early last year. When terrorists strapped bombs to a swarm of small drones and attacked the Russian Khmeimim airbase.

In August of last year, a drone packed with explosives detonated near Avenida Bolívar, Caracas, where Nicolás Maduro, the President of Venezuela, was addressing the Bolivarian National Guard. 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro unharmed after an assassination attemp by drones pic.twitter.com/AMBZTEu6An

— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) August 5, 2018

Earlier this year, Houthi rebels used an explosive-packed drone to target Yemen's military leaders at an army parade. 

The moment Houthi suicide drone exploding above the dias of the Saudi backed Yemeni army parade: pic.twitter.com/qhjH1RkG2J

— Carl Zha (@CarlZha) January 10, 2019

Then over the weekend, a highly disruptive small drone attack, claimed by the Houthi rebels, knocked out 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd) of total Saudi oil output, which equates to about half of their production - causing oil prices across the world to spike. 

Massive fires at 2 Saudi Aramco oil facilities caused by drone attacks - Riyadhhttps://t.co/HRA4TpGP8Tpic.twitter.com/ljc5AC7aMI

— RT (@RT_com) September 14, 2019

All of these incidents prove that the rapid proliferation of small drones on the modern battlefields and across the world have created a significant defense gap that companies, corporations, and militaries are rushing to fix. The solution could be the BLADE. 

Tyler Durden

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 21:25


War Conflict

“The president asked a foreign power to help him win an election. Again,” Clinton wrote on Twitter.
CNN's Don Lemon Discovers True Problem In Justin Trudeau Blackface Scandal – Trump

Authored by Rusty Weiss via The Mental Recession

CNN anchor Don Lemon has found what he considers to be the true angle on the Justin Trudeau blackface scandal – that President Trump is a bad man.

Orange man bad, as they say.

Trudeau was featured in a 2001 photo from a Time magazine report dressed in b

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rownface makeup for an “Arabian Nights” party held at the private school in which he taught.

He was apologetic about the whole affair.

“I shouldn’t have done that. I should have known better, but I didn’t and I’m really sorry,” Trudeau said. “I take responsibility for my decision to do that.”

“I shouldn’t have done that. I should’ve known better. It was something that I didn’t think was racist at the time but now I recognize that it was something racist to do and I’m deeply sorry.”

Imagine this was an image of President Trump. And imagine he apologized for doing something stupid in his past. Do you think Lemon, or anybody in the media for that matter, would be forgiving?

To nobody’s surprise, Lemon’s fellow beta male in Trudeau was praised for his apology. Not only did he praise Trudeau, but Lemon took a shot at Trump over a scandal that has absolutely nothing to do with him!

“Wow, a leader apologizing. It seems odd, doesn’t it?” Lemon said following a clip of Trudeau’s statement. “Because we have one who doesn’t.”

Nice leap in logic there, Don. Is it any wonder the President has repeatedly labeled Lemon the “dumbest man on television”?

The CNN ‘journalist’ fawned over Trudeau’s apology to end the segment as well.

“I do have to say this before we go: think about it however you want to think about it. When someone apologizes- wow!” Lemon gushed. “We don’t often see that here, especially in a world leader who is saying ‘I should’ve known better and I’m sorry.’ You can feel about it however you want, but that, to me, that does mean a lot.”

Again, no amount of apology from a Republican would ever suffice in Lemon’s world. But liberals who do this – perfectly okay. That’s why you can have a Ralph Northam or Justin Trudeau blackface scandal and both men can emerge unscathed.

The double standard is sickening.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 21:45
Another 'Total Massacre' Ignored By Mainstream: US Drone Strike Kills 30 Farmers In Afghanistan

Authored by Eoin Higgins via CommonDreams.org,

A U.S. drone attack killed 30 pine nut farmers and wounded at least 40 others in Afghanistan Wednesday night, the latest killing of innocent civilians by American forces as the "war on terror" enters its 19th year. 

The farmers had just finished work and were si

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tting by a fire when the strike happened, according to tribal elder Malik Rahat Gul.

An MQ-9 Reaper drone flies a combat mission. (Photo: Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt/U.S. Air Force)

"Some of us managed to escape, some were injured, but many were killed," said farm laborer Juma Gul.

Reteurs reported that there may be more farmers missing:

Haidar Khan, who owns the pine nut fields, said about 150 workers were there for harvesting, with some still missing as well as the confirmed dead and injured.

A survivor of the drone strike said about 200 laborers were sleeping in five tents pitched near the farm when the attack happened.

In a statement, Colonel Sonny Leggett, the spokesman for the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan, said the attack was aimed at "Da’esh (IS) terrorists in Nangarhar" province. 

"We are aware of allegations of the death of non-combatants and are working with local officials to determine the facts," said Leggett. 

However, Leggett said, the blame for the massacre is squarely on IS and the Taliban — not U.S. forces

"We are fighting in a complex environment against those who intentionally kill and hide behind civilians, as well as use dishonest claims of noncombatant casualties as propaganda weapons," Leggett said. 

Human rights group Amnesty International, in a statement, said that the strike was "unacceptable and suggests a shocking disregard for civilian life." 

"U.S. forces in Afghanistan must ensure that all possible precautions are taken to avoid civilian casualties in military operations," said Amnesty.

In a tweet, journalist Emran Feroz said his reporting from the region indicates that the reality of U.S. policy with respect to attacks in Nangarhar is different than Leggett's claims. 

"Seems that recent drone strikes in Nangarhar's Khogyani district ended in a total massacre killing far more than 30 civilians," said Feroz. "When I visited Khogyani in 2017, locals told us that drone strikes against farmers and other civilians are taking place regularly."

Rita Siemion, the director of National Security Advocacy at Human Rights First, told Common Dreams that the U.S. military cannot knowingly continue to use a process that repeatedly kills civilians by mistake

"Mistakes can happen, but this strike is part of a pattern that suggests that there are serious flaws in the Pentagon's targeting processes that need to be addressed," said Siemion. "Knowingly using a process that fails to adequately distinguish between civilians and combatants would violate the laws of war and be detrimental to the overall mission."

In a tweet, The Intercept's Mehdi Hasan noted just how little attention the massacre perpetrated by the U.S. military was likely to receive.

MSNBC host Chris Hayes tweeted Thursday that Americans should pay attention to the attack and try to put themselves in Afghan shoes. 

"It is so easy to read this and be upset or shake your head and still see it as an abstraction," said Hayes. "But take a second to play through a missile from, say, Iran landing in Iowa and killing 30 farmers and what that would do to domestic politics."

Tyler Durden

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 22:25


War Conflict

<p>A new report looks at how much the plan will have to charge to reduce traffic.</p><br /><p>Across the world, cities like London and Stockholm have started charging a toll to cars driving into their downtowns, with the goal of reducing traffic and pollution. In April, New York&#x2019;s state government agreed to try congestion pricing in Manhattan by 2021 at the earliest and to use the funds generated to help fund transit in the city. Now the question is: What is the right price?</p><p>Read Full Story</p><div class="feedflare"><
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;br /> <br /></div>
The End Is Near: US House Flipping Returns Plunge To 8 Year Low 

ATTOM Data Solutions has published its Q2 2019 U.S. Home Flipping Report, which states revenue from home flipping has plunged to an eight-year low.

According to Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM, diminishing returns on home flips could be a sign that the real estate market is nearing a crisis.

"Home flipping keeps getting less an

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d less profitable, which is another marker that the post-recession housing boom is softening or may be coming to an end. Flipping houses is still a good business to be in and profits are healthy in most parts of the country. But push-and-pull forces in the housing market appear to be working less and less in investors' favor. That's leading to declining profits and a business that is nowhere near as good as it was a few years ago."

The report shows that 59,876 homes and condos were flipped in 2Q, up 12.4% QoQ, but down 5.2% YoY.

Homes flipped in the quarter represented 5.9% of all home sales, down from 7.2% in 1Q. 

In the quarter, homes flipped generated a gross profit of $62,700, up 2% QoQ, but down 2% YoY. The $62,700 in 2Q translated into a 39.9% ROI, down from 40.9% ROI in 1Q. 

Returns on home flips have fallen for six consecutive quarters and eight of the last ten, now reaching levels not seen since 4Q11.

But with returns at eight-year lows, investors, especially the mom-and-pop ones watching too much HGTV, were the ones flipping like crazy in 2Q. Flipping rates increased in 2Q YoY in 104 of 149 metropolitan statistical areas analyzed by ATTOM.

Many of these so-called investors, not conscious whatsoever about a housing slowdown, nevertheless an economic downturn, are financing their flips at a record clip. The total dollar volume of financed home flips in 2Q was $8.4 billion, up 31.3% from $6.4 billion in 2Q18, to the highest level since 3Q06.

Forty-one percent of homes flipped in 2Q were financed, marginally higher QoQ, but down from 45.9% in 2Q18.

The hottest metropolitan statistical areas analyzed in the report with at least a million people were Salt Lake City, UT; Austin, TX; Dallas-Fort Worth, TX; San Antonio, TX, and Kansas City, MO.

Homes flipped in 2Q19 sold for an average of $220,000, with a gross flipping profit of $62,700. The 2Q figure was up from a gross flipping profit of $61,500 in 1Q, but down from $64,000 in 2Q18. These homes are staying on the market much longer than ever before, which is leading to margin compression of the flipper as buyers negotiate lower prices.

House flipping returns are plunging at a time when Robert Shiller sat down with Bloomberg earlier this month and dropped a bombshell that might have every flipper wetting their pants: "I wouldn't be surprised if home prices started falling, and it could be accompanied by a recession." 

Tyler Durden

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 23:25


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