Venezuela Just 24 Hours Away From Formal Declaration Of Default

Less than a week after Venezuela shocked the world by announcing it would proceed to restructure its massive external debt, even as it was within the grace period on hundreds of millions in unpaid interest expense, on Thursday the socialist nation confirmed it has never been closer to an official default after Reuters reported that Venezuela’s state oil-firm company, PDVSA, has not made a debt payments to India’s top oil producer ONGC for six months, and has previously used a Russian state-owned bank and another Indian energy company as intermediaries to make payments.
Reuters sources noted that PDVSA has made no payment since April on what was a $540 million backlog of dividends owed to ONGC for an investment the Indian firm made in a an energy project in Venezuela. Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said last week that the country planned to restructure some $60 billion of bonds, much of it held by PDVSA, as the country struggles to meet debt repayments.
While ONGC Videsh – the overseas investment arm of ONGC confirmed to Reuters that PDVSA had fallen behind on the payments, but declined to give details on the delays.
Curiously, the Indian company appears not to be overly concerned about non-payment for half a year, and instead was willing to keep giving Maduro the benefit of the doubt: ‘They have got certain challenges at this stage,’ ONGC Videsh said in an emailed response to Reuters’ questions. ‘They have assured that they are working on it (payment of dues). In due course it will be settled and follow up steps will be undertaken.’ And just to underscore that it has no intention of pushing Venezuela into involuntary bankruptcy, ONGC added that ‘we have a good working relationship with PDVSA.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 9, 2017.

HILLARY’S CAMPAIGN ACCUSES DONNA BRAZILE OF SPREADING ‘FALSE RUSSIAN-FUELED PROPAGANDA’

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign responded to former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Donna Brazile’s criticisms of the Clinton campaign, including the charge the campaign essentially rigged the 2016 primaries.
‘It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponent, about our candidate’s health,’ reads a letter published online Saturday that was signed by former Clinton campaign officials, including Huma Abedin, Robby Mook, Jennifer Palmieri and John Podesta.
Brazile wrote an op-ed Thursday for Politico, claiming the DNC entered into an agreement that gave the Clinton campaign de facto control of the Democratic Party during the presidential primaries. Brazile also criticized former President Barack Obama for leaving the DNC buried in debt.
‘Donna came in to take over the DNC at a very difficult time,’ the signatories write.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on NOVEMBER 6, 2017.

TRUMP IS FIGHTING TO SAVE THE DEEP STATE

While claiming to fight ‘The Deep State’ and drain the swamp, Donald Trump fights to save a controversial law which serves as a powerful tool for The Deep State.
The first year of Donald Trump’s presidency is coming to a conclusion and all but his most blind supporters can now see that he is more of the same – a continuation of the puppet in chief bowing to the interests of the military-industrial complex and the banking/financial elite. The collective interests of these groups (and their front organizations) – as well as their connection to corporate and state power, academia, and media – are what have come to be known as the New World Order, the Shadow Government, or more recently, The Deep State.
Since coming into office, Donald Trump has continued the Deep State plan of military expansion into the Middle East and Africa. This expansion has led to an increase in airstrikes, drone attacks, and the deaths of innocent people. He has also continued to place banking executives from Goldman Sachs in powerful positions and just today called Janet Yellen, the current head of the Federal Reserve, ‘excellent.’ I won’t hold my breath for him to audit, let alone end the debt enslavement created via the Federal Reserve system. He even appointed a former Bilderberg attendee.
Trump has also played the role of great deceiver by promising to fix America’s illegal immigration problem while actually promoting the building of a border wall complete with drone surveillance, automatic license plate readers, biometric scanning via the face and retina, and DNA collection for VISA applicants. Under the guise of ‘border security,’ Americans are being duped into caging themselves in an increasingly totalitarian police and surveillance state.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on NOVEMBER 2, 2017.

Ding Dong Dandong – First Chinese Corporate Default After Party Congress

Just over a week ago we highlighted how China’s financial regulator had instructed companies to delay the reporting of bad corporate news until after the Party Congress. As Bloomberg noted…
China’s securities watchdog has asked some loss-making companies to avoid publishing quarterly results this week as authorities seek to ensure stock-market stability during the Communist Party Congress, according to people familiar with the matter. The China Securities Regulatory Commission made its requests via the country’s stock exchanges, the people said, asking not to be named as they’re not authorized to talk to the media.
At least 17 Shenzhen-listed companies announced delays to their earnings reports from Oct. 20 to Oct. 24, up from three during the same period last year, exchange filings show.
Now that the Congress is out of the way, announcements of corporate debt defaults are also reportable it seems.

The latest relates to Dandong Port Group as the WSJ reports…
A debt-laden port management company in northeast China defaulted on $150 million in bonds, as highly leveraged businesses get squeezed by Beijing’s campaign to weed out risks in the financial system.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 1, 2017.

“A Shocking Truth”: Donna Brazille Accuses Clinton Campaign Of “Rigging” Primary

Authored by Donna Brazille, former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, originally published in Politico.
“When I was asked to run the Democratic Party after the Russians hacked our emails, I stumbled onto a shocking truth about the Clinton campaign.”
Inside Hillary Clinton’s Secret Takeover of the DNC
Before I called Bernie Sanders, I lit a candle in my living room and put on some gospel music. I wanted to center myself for what I knew would be an emotional phone call.
I had promised Bernie when I took the helm of the Democratic National Committee after the convention that I would get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process, as a cache of emails stolen by Russian hackers and posted online had suggested. I’d had my suspicions from the moment I walked in the door of the DNC a month or so earlier, based on the leaked emails. But who knew if some of them might have been forged? I needed to have solid proof, and so did Bernie.
So I followed the money. My predecessor, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had not been the most active chair in fundraising at a time when President Barack Obama’s neglect had left the party in significant debt. As Hillary’s campaign gained momentum, she resolved the party’s debt and put it on a starvation diet. It had become dependent on her campaign for survival, for which she expected to wield control of its operations.
Debbie was not a good manager. She hadn’t been very interested in controlling the party – she let Clinton’s headquarters in Brooklyn do as it desired so she didn’t have to inform the party officers how bad the situation was. How much control Brooklyn had and for how long was still something I had been trying to uncover for the last few weeks.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 2, 2017.

China’s Congress Is Over, And So Is The Period Of “Coordinated Global Growth”

It is hardly a secret that thanks to nearly $4 trillion (at least) in credit creation in 2017 – more than the rest of the developed world combined – China has been the proverbial (and debt-funded) “growth” dynamo behind the recent period of “coordinated global growth.” Unfortunately, much if not all of this was window dressing for the just concluded 19th Communist Party Congress, which in not so many words, made Xi Jinping into a de facto emperor with no apparent or otherwise heirs.
The problem is that with the Congress now over, so is the period of coordinated global growth. Here’s why.
As Citi writes, “China’s Party Congress has concluded and Xi Jinping’s position as President has been consolidated. Given there are no standing committee members in their 50s, it suggests there are no apparent heirs for Mr. Xi, opening the door for him to stay on beyond 2022. One of the key questions in the run up to the congress was that once power was consolidated, would China accelerate its economic reforms. We think this is unlikely but do expect a moderation of growth, with data momentum perhaps set to continue to slow at its current pace. Note how China’s MCI tends to lead Citi’s macro data index for China and our MCI is still tightening.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 27, 2017.

There’s Now A Subprime Auto Loan Program Designed Specifically For Refugees

If ever there was a doubt that auto sales have been pushed to the absolute max in this iteration of the industry’s debt-fueled bubble, then consider the following program specifically designed to underwrite subprime auto loans to refugees who have recently arrived in the U. S. with absolutely no credit history or record of any kind. Per The San Diego Union-Tribune:
Newly arrived refugees, especially in driving-oriented places like San Diego, can have trouble finding jobs if they don’t have cars. Because new arrivals generally have no credit history in the U. S. and sometimes make mistakes early on because they don’t understand the system, they often can’t get affordable loans to purchase a car. ‘The struggle of a low-income immigrant family that’s looking to move up, it’s hard enough as it is,’ said Kasra Movahedi, director of the Center for Economic Opportunity. ‘If you also then have low credit, it just becomes that much harder in a hundred small and not-so-noticeable ways. Unfortunately, these are the people that can afford it the least.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 26, 2017.

2009 – 2016: Was the Eight-Year Experiment in Maintaining the Status Quo a Success or a Failure?

Clearly, the core strategy of maintaining the status quo is to borrow and spend trillions of additional dollars every year.
The Obama presidency was a grand experiment to test this thesis: the status quo of the U. S. is a self-correcting mechanism. Left to its own devices, it will automatically correct any socio-economic-political imbalances, given enough time.
The Grand Strategy of the post-Global Financial Crisis era was simple: maintain the status quo as is. The Obama administration’s major policy initiative, ObamaCare, a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act, was nothing but the formalization of the existing status quo in healthcare, i.e. the taxpayers subsidize private-sector profiteering.
That is the Affordable Care Act in a nutshell. Costs have not declined, the health of Americans can hardly be said to have improved significantly, but garsh, did healthcare sector profits soar. Most importantly, the status quo was maintained: nothing actually changed in the insurance, pharmaceutical or hospital sectors.
The same can be said for every other sector of the economy: nothing really changed, just more of the same. Higher education: nothing changed, just more student loan debt was issued. The defense industry: more of the same. Global War on Terror, a.k.a. The National Security State–more billions sluiced into the shadows.
President Obama was a master of telling everyone what they wanted to hear while changing nothing in the basic structure of the Empire. The Imperial Imperative of destabilizing nations that didn’t meet with Imperial approval continued unchanged. The murder-by-drone campaign expanded, the support of a hopelessly corrupt regime in Afghanistan continued unchanged, and so on.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on OCTOBER 01, 2017.

Maduro To Generals: Prepare For War With “Criminal Empire” US

After barely managing to scrape together the nearly $200 million needed to make a bond payment earlier this month (the country made the payment a week late), Embattled Venezeulan President Nicolas Maduro is refocusing his attention on the US, warning military leaders Tuesday to begin preparing for war with the US. Maduro’s call to arms comes after the US has repeatedly tightened sanctions against Maduro’s regime and the country’s state-run oil company; earlier this week, the Trump administration blocked Venezeulan officials from entering the US as part of the White House’s new ‘targeted’ travel ban. Trump has also repeatedly threatened a military intervention if Maduro doesn’t leave voluntarily.
Maduro is probably still brooding over Trump’s call for the world community to help restore ‘democracy and political freedoms’ to Venezeula by ousting Maduro (to which Maduro reportedly responded in typical leftist fashion by comparing Trump to Hitler). Trump made those remarks last week during his first address to the UN General Assembly. Earlier this year, Trump said he wouldn’t rule out a military option for dealing with Venezuela, adding that the US has an obligation to take of the country because it’s “our neighbor.”
Maduro said Trump’s threats were the reason for him ordering the military to be on alert.
“We have been shamelessly threatened by the most criminal empire that ever existed and we have the obligation to prepare ourselves to guarantee peace,” said Maduro, who wore a green uniform and a military hat as he spoke with his army top brass during a military exercise involving tanks and missiles. “We need to have rifles, missiles and well-oiled tanks at the ready….to defend every inch of the territory if needs be,” he added.
Over the summer, the US announced sanctions to prevent PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-owed oil company, from issuing new debt (sanctions that conveniently avoided existing bonds held by Goldman Sachs), while also preventing Citgo, the US subsidiary of PDVSA, from repatriating dividends. The US has also passed sanctions against many top Venezuelan officials. Tensions between Maduro and Trump started escalating shortly after Trump’s inauguration, when the US blacklisted Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami for drug trafficking.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 27, 2017.

Puerto Rico: The Quandary

The screaming coming from Puerto Rico is deafening…..
SAN JUAN, P. R. – Gov. Ricardo A. Rossell of Puerto Rico said on Monday that the island was on the brink of a ‘humanitarian crisis’ nearly a week after Hurricane Maria knocked out its power and most of its water, and left residents waiting in excruciating lines for fuel. He called on Congress to prevent a deepening disaster.
How does Congress “prevent a deepening disaster”?
It cannot. You cannot change the laws of physics nor magically make things that are broken become not-broken. There is no issue with funding in the current paradigm; the problems are logistical.
Those issues arose because of decades of intentional mismanagement, grift and fraud including by the Governor himself and the rest of the Puerto Rican government, which has taken on debt over and over while squandering it on social programs instead of taking care of critical infrastructure needs — like basicmaintenance to the electrical grid.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-09-27.

Puerto Rico: The Quandry

The screaming coming from Puerto Rico is deafening…..
SAN JUAN, P. R. – Gov. Ricardo A. Rossell of Puerto Rico said on Monday that the island was on the brink of a ‘humanitarian crisis’ nearly a week after Hurricane Maria knocked out its power and most of its water, and left residents waiting in excruciating lines for fuel. He called on Congress to prevent a deepening disaster.
How does Congress “prevent a deepening disaster”?
It cannot. You cannot change the laws of physics nor magically make things that are broken become not-broken. There is no issue with funding in the current paradigm; the problems are logistical.
Those issues arose because of decades of intentional mismanagement, grift and fraud including by the Governor himself and the rest of the Puerto Rican government, which has taken on debt over and over while squandering it on social programs instead of taking care of critical infrastructure needs — like basicmaintenance to the electrical grid.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-09-27.

Spain Showing the World It is Still A Fascist Government – Sell Spanish Debt

The Spanish government is facing the real moment of truth. It is displaying that it is by no means concerned about human rights nor is it a true democratic system. Spain has reverted to Franco fascism as now more than 40,000 people have gathered in Barcelona to protest over the Catalan independence vote being shut down as the Spanish Government sends in 16,500 troops to deal with the activists. This is showing just how far out of touch this entire EU anti-democratic government has gone. The people no longer matter – the elite know what is best for them.
This is 86 years from the beginning of the Second Republic in Spain so 2017 is precisely on target for this type of civil unrest. What this is demonstrating is the old adage – the king is dead, long live the king. No matter what form of government takes power, it will ALWAYS, and without exception, seek to act only in its own self-interest precisely as Thrasymachus argued against Socrates.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Sep 22, 2017.

An Economic Lesson for China and Russia

Is there anyone in Trump’s government who is not an imbecile?
After years of endless military threats against Russia – remember CIA deputy director Mike Morell saying on TV (Charlie Rose show) that the US should start killing Russians to give them a message, and Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley threatening ‘We’ll beat you harder than you have ever been beaten before’ – now the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin threatens China. If China doesn’t abide by Washington’s new sanctions on North Korea, Mnuchin said the US ‘will put additional sanctions on them [China] and prevent them from accessing the US and international dollar system.’
Here is the broke US government $20 trillion in public debt, having to print money with which to buy its own bonds, threatening the second largest economy in the world, an economy on purchasing power parity terms that is larger than the US economy.
Take a moment to think about Mnuchin’s threat to China. How many US firms are located in China? It is not only Apple and Nike. Would sanctions on China mean that the US firms could not sell their Chinese made products in the US or anywhere outside China? Do you think the global US corporations would stand for this?

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on September 13, 2017.

Buchanan: “Why Trump Dumped The Do-Nothing Congress”

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,
Donald Trump is president today because he was seen as a doer not a talker. Among the most common compliments paid him in 2016 was, ‘At least he gets things done!’
And it was exasperation with a dithering GOP Congress, which had failed to enact his or its own agenda, that caused Trump to pull the job of raising the debt ceiling away from Republican contractors Ryan & McConnell, and give it to Pelosi & Schumer.
Hard to fault Trump. Over seven months, Congress showed itself incapable of repealing Obamacare, though the GOP promised this as its first priority in three successive elections.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 8, 2017.

The Government Debt Paradox: Pick Your Poison

Lasting Debt ‘Rule one: Never allow a crisis to go to waste,’ said President Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in November of 2008. ‘They are opportunities to do big things.’
Rahm Emanuel looks happy. He should be – he is the mayor of Chicago, which is best described as crisis incarnate. Or maybe the proper term is perma-crisis? Anyway, it undoubtedly looks like a giant opportunity from his perspective, a gift that keeps on giving, so to speak. [PT]
Photo credit: Ashlee Rezin / Sun-Times
At the time of his remark, Emanuel was eager to exploit the 2008 financial crisis to raid the public treasury. With the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February 2009, Emanuel’s wish was granted. The Obama administration had the opportunity to do big things.
Politically, the passage of the Recovery Act was a huge success. Washington was able to dole out funds to their preferred projects like never before. What could be better for a Congressman than to direct massive amounts of funds to infrastructure, healthcare, energy, security, law enforcement, and just about everything else?

This post was published at Acting-Man on September 9, 2017.

Harvey Could Bankrupt The Federal Flood-Insurance Program

Hurricane Harvey may solve the auto industry’s inventory problem. But right now, it’s about to create a giant headache for the federal government.
Based on the latest estimates from Irvine, California-based CoreLogic, insured flood losses for homes in the affected areas of Texas and Louisiana could total between $6.5 billion to $9.5 billion. Since private insurers typically don’t provide personal flood insurance, all but $500 million of that will fall to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP.
***
According to the Street, if insured damages reach the high end of this range, it would totally deplete the $7.5 billion of cash and available credit available to the 49-year-old government program, which provides about 98% of residential flood insurance. The program is already about $25 billion in debt to the US Treasury Department and would need Congressional authorization for additional funding. To be sure, final totals could be much, much higher given the severity of the the ‘1-in-1000-year’ flood.
The potential funding shortfall could create problems if Congress doesn’t act quickly this month to shore up the financially-troubled flood-insurance program. As we’ve reported, Congress already has a full agenda in September – a month where lawmakers must pass a funding bill to keep the government open, and another to raise the debt limit and stave off a technical default on US debt. Initially, President Trump said he would force a government shutdown if Congress didn’t approve funding for his border wall in its next budget. However, it appears that he has backed away from this, as the Washington Post reported today that the administration has quietly notified Congress that the $1.6 billion in wall funding would not need to be included in the September continuing resolution.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 2, 2017.

Trump Blinks Again, Won’t Shut Down Government Over Wall Funding

Last Tuesday, during his rally in Phoenix, Trump promised the fawning public that he will follow through on his biggest campaign promise and ‘build that wall,’ saying that ‘now the obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it. But believe me, if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.”
The promise spooked already nervous traders, who saw in Trump’s promise the catalyst for either an extended government shutdown, or worse, a technical default as the US breached the debt ceiling in early October. That said, Trump had already flopped once on the border wall funding, and – we wrote last week – it was very likely he would do so again once his economic advisors explained to him the severity and consequences of his latest public boast.
That’s precisely what happened as moments ago, the WaPo reported that White House officials quietly notified Congress that the $1.6 billion in wall funding would not need to be in the September continuing resolution that was meant to fund government operations from October until sometime in early December, a senior GOP congressional aide said. In other words, contrary to his vow less than two weeks ago, Trump won’t shut down the government over the wall funds after all.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 1, 2017.

Harvey Destruction Prompts Goldman To Cut Government Shutdown Odds

Having in recent weeks boosted his estimate for government shutdown odds to even, or 50%, in a note overnight from Goldman’s Jan Hatzius, the bank’s chief economists writes that due to the human tragedy from Hurricane Harvey, the odds of a shutdown have been again reduced, back to Goldman’s original estimate of 33%.
According to Hatzius, “recent events have lowered the odds of a government shutdown or a delayed debt ceiling hike but have also increased the number of possible scenarios, complicating the legislative outlook over the next couple of months. At this point, we peg the probability of a shutdown in early October at 35%, down from our prior view of 50% over the last couple of weeks.”
As Goldman explains, the main issue is Hurricane Harvey and the considerations are largely optical: “allowing a partial government shutdown when federal relief efforts are underway would pose greater political risks than under normal circumstances, raising the probability that lawmakers will find a way to resolve disagreements.” In addition, Hatzius predicts that over the next several weeks “Congress will probably need to appropriate additional disaster relief funds”, and Congressional leaders will be “apt to combine this with legislation to extend federal spending authority and/or raise the debt limit if possible.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 30, 2017.

Major Geopolitical Risks Are Right Here at Home

When we consider geopolitical risk, we tend to focus on things that are ‘out there.’ We might think of military tensions between the US and North Korea, or war in the Middle East, or Brexit. But more and more, analysts are looking to the US as a significant source of geopolitical risk.
Markets surged after the election of Donald Trump. Investors optimistic about the prospect of significant economic reforms fueled what has become known as the ‘Trump bump.’ But that optimism has cooled in the wake of the Republican failure to repeal or even reform Obamacare. Now analysts wonder if Trump has the political clout to push his broader economic agenda of tax cuts, infrastructure spending and regulatory reform through. On top of that, there is increasing worry about whether Congress will be able to come up with a plan to increase the debt ceiling in time to avert a government shutdown.
BlackRock portfolio manager Russ Koesterich told the Financial Times of London that all of this has made the US one of the primary sources of geopolitical concern in the world.

This post was published at Schiffgold on AUGUST 28, 2017.