Chicago’s police pension fund won’t have enough money to pay benefits to retirees in 2021, according to a projection by Local Government Information Services (LGIS). At the end of 2020, LGIS estimates that the Policemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago will have less than $150 million in assets to pay $928 million promised to 14,133 retirees the following year.
One of the few elected Democratic lawmakers with an extensive anti-war record, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), has combined forces with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) to push legislation through both the House and the Senate that would bar federal agencies from using taxpayer-backed funds to provide weapons, training, intelligence, or any other type of support to terrorist cells such as al-Qaeda, ISIS, or any other group that is associated with them in any way. The Stop Arming Terrorists Act is so unique that it’s also the only bill of its kind that would also bar the government from funneling money and weapons through other countries that support (directly or indirectly) terrorists such as Saudi Arabia. To our surprise – or should we say shame? – only 13 other lawmakers out of hundreds have co-sponsored Gabbard’s House bill. Paul’s Senate version of the bill, on the other hand, has zero cosponsors. While both pieces of legislation were introduced in early 2017, no real action has been taken as of yet. This proves that Washington refuses to support bills that would actually provoke positive chain reactions not only abroad but also at home. Why? Well, let’s look at the groups that would lose a great deal in case this bill is signed into law.
Embattled Democrats couldn’t catch a break on Wednesday: not only did the party go 0-5 in a series of special elections for the House of Representatives, but the Democratic National Committee disclosed that it raised just $4.3 million last month – its worst tally for the month of May since 2003, when the DNC raised just $2.7 million. Meanwhile, the party’s bundlers plowed money into the special election campaign of Jon Ossoff, who lost his bid for Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price’s old seat in Georgia’s 6th Congressional district. *** Ossoff’s defeat echoed the failure of the Clinton campaign: Ahead of the vote, pollsters and party leaders assured the public that Ossoff’s strong polling in a staunchly red district was emblematic of the public’s dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump. Instead, Republican Karen Handel carried the day, defeating Ossoff by a comfortable margin of more than 10,000 votes. The loss was especially demoralizing for Democrats, who’d hoped that a victory in a staunchly red district would cement the party’s chances of winning a majority in the House during next year’s midterm election.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 22, 2017.
Michael Moore, the liberal activist who perfectly predicted Trump’s shocking victory last November and has led the “Resistance” ever since, would like for you to know that he’s really upset that Jon Ossoff got destroyed last night despite the efforts of some San Francisco Democrats to spend an obscene amount of money to buy a Congressional seat in Georgia. “If u think the party who’s won the vote in 6 o last 7 Prez votes but holds ZERO power & is now 0-4 in 2017 votes is going to win next year…get a friggin’ clue.” “The DNC & DCCC has NO idea how 2 win cause they have no message, no plan, no leaders, won’t fight & hate the resistance.” “I say this to my 7.5 million ppl on social media & the millions who watch my movies & read my books: Are we going 2 sit by & let this happen?”” If u think the party who's won the vote in 6 o last 7 Prez votes but holds ZERO power &is now 0-4 in 2017 votes is going to win next year… — Michael Moore (@MMFlint) June 21, 2017
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 21, 2017.
Central bank caution beefs up stock gains (Reuters) Pound Drops as BOE’s Carney Says Not Yet Time to Raise Rates (BBG) Oil Just Hit Its Lowest Level of the Year (BBG) Britain charges Barclays, ex-bosses over ‘unlawful’ Qatari deal (Reuters) Senate GOP Sets Ambitious Deadline on Health-Care Vote (WSJ) Both Parties Have a Lot to Lose in Georgia and S. C. Special Elections (WSJ) House speaker vows to complete tax reform in 2017 (Reuters) The New Face of Trump’s Legal Team Is the Christian Right’s Pitbull (BBG) Russia probe focuses on role of Flynn partner (Reuters) Among the iPhone’s Biggest Transformations: Apple Itself (WSJ) Democrats protest Senate Republican healthcare secrecy (Reuters) Texas Is Too Windy and Sunny for Old Energy Companies to Profit (BBG) Whole Foods CEO hints at another brand under Amazon (Reuters) Robots Are Eating Money Managers’ Lunch (BBG) Trump seen hardening line toward Pakistan after Afghan war review (Reuters) Peak Banking Globalization Hasn’t Come and Gone, BIS Says (BBG) Soros Says U. K. Is Approaching ‘Tipping Point’ as Brexit Bites (BBG) Supreme Court to hear major case on political boundaries (Reuters) Ex-BlackRock Exec’s Gas Bet Pays Off With $6.7 Billion Takeover Deal (BBG) Millennials Are Helping America Save More Money (BBG) Tesla driver in fatal ‘Autopilot’ crash got numerous warnings: U. S. government (Reuters) Boeing lifts 20-year industry demand forecast to $6 trillion (Reuters) Virginia police probe Muslim girl’s killing as ‘road rage’ incident (Reuters
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 20, 2017.
Technology is a major foundation of national power. Its uses are obvious. But the path from innovation to obsolescence is frequently less obvious. Technologies that define an era usually come from a major geopolitical power. Roman engineering, for example, helped shape the Mediterranean world. British technology created and sustained the industrial revolution. These empires could absorb the cost of innovation because they had the money to do so and because they knew it would only reinforce their power. And because technologies are meant to reinforce power, even the most benign were invented for military purposes. The Origins of the iPhone Consider the iPhone, an invention of Apple, the genius of Steve Jobs, and a helpful, hip, and harmless product. Or so it would seem. The centerpiece of the iPhone, as is the case with so many electronics today, is the microprocessor. The microprocessor was the fruit of the labor of a variety of scientists and engineers who were sponsored by the US government, which needed a lightweight computer for missiles, aircraft, and other systems. The technology quickly found use in the F-14 fighter aircraft, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and submarine-launched nuclear missiles. Fast forward to 1985. General Dynamics, known at the time as GTE, helped the US Army create an advanced network for a device invented some 12 years earlier. The device was the cellphone, which would face its first true test in Operation Desert Storm. The Army needed a reliable wireless communications system that could be easily deployed, and the cellphone fit the bill.
Authored by Soeren Kern via The Gatestone Institute, Observers have surmised that the real reason for the judge’s leniency was that he feared his family might be subjected to retribution from the clan. “In their concept of masculinity, only power and force matter; if someone is humane and civil, this is considered a weakness. In clan structures, in tribal culture everywhere in the world, ethics are confined to the clan itself. Everything outside the clan is enemy territory.” – Ralph Ghadban, Lebanese-German political scientist and leading expert on Middle Eastern clans in Germany. “The state promotes organized crime with taxpayer money.” – Tom Schreiber, a member of the Berlin House of Deputies. A court in Hanover has handed suspended sentences to six members of a Kurdish clan who seriously wounded two dozen police officers during a violent rampage in Hameln. The court’s ruling was greeted with anger and derision by police who said it is yet another example of the laxity of Germany’s politically correct judicial system. The case goes back to January 2014, when a 26-year-old clan member, arrested for robbery, tried to escape from the magistrate’s office by jumping out of a seventh-floor courtroom window. The suspect was taken to the hospital, where he died. Members of his clan subsequently ransacked the hospital, as well as the court, and attacked police with rocks and other projectiles; 24 police officers and six paramedics were injured. The judge said he was lenient because the defendants witnessed the death of the 26-year-old and were traumatized. The judge also revealed that he had reached a deal with the clan, which among other effects prevented police from testifying in court.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 19, 2017.
Pres. Trump has proposed a $1 trillion boondoggle. He wants to spend this money on infrastructure. This is going to put Obama’s shovel-ready, anti-recession boondoggle to shame. Only it isn’t going to happen. It didn’t happen for Obama, either. Here is what happened — or didn’t happen. Back in 2009, former President Barack Obama made some lofty promises about the infrastructure overhaul that his $800 billion economic stimulus plan would provide. Obama used the phrase ‘shovel-ready projects’ in reference to construction projects that could begin right away. In the end, however, only $98.3 billion of the $800 billion stimulus was dedicated to transportation and infrastructure. Of that $98.3 billion, only about $27.5 billion was actually spent on transportation infrastructure projects. Why? ‘The problem is that spending it out takes a long time, because there’s really nothing – there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects,’ Obama said in a 2010 interview with the New York Times. When it comes to economic stimulus, local governments may take years to begin actual construction even once they receive funding. The reason why such a small portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ended up spent on infrastructure is that the projects are simply too slow to get off the ground to provide meaningful near-term stimulus. That was Obama, who had a majority in both Houses of Congress and an electorate in panic mode over a recession. Here is what Trump has. First, he is so tied up with special prosecutors and investigators that he is never going to get anything through Congress. For the next 3 1/2 years, there will be no major Trump political victories. Count on it. Second, bureaucracies at the state and federal level are going to see to it that not one of his projects is launched, let alone completed. Even if he gets this boondoggle through Congress, which he won’t, it will do his legacy no good. Another President, probably elected in 2024, will get the credit. But I may be too optimistic. Maybe it will be the President who is elected in 2032. Trump is frustrated. I can hardly blame him. In a recent post on the White House website, he offered this cry of woe.
This post was published at Gary North on June 17, 2017.
On September 2, 2016, then 70-year-old Lawrence Ripple robbed a Kansas City bank, but it wasn’t because he wanted money. Ripple was tired of living with his wife, as we reported back in January: Court documents show that Ripple gave a Bank of Labor teller a note demanding cash and warning he had a gun. After he grabbed nearly $3,000, Ripple didn’t flee: He sat in the lobby and told a guard he was the ‘guy he was looking for.’ An FBI agent says Ripple had argued with his wife earlier and told her in writing he’d ‘rather be in jail than at home.’ On Tuesday, Ripple told a federal judge that heart surgery had left him depressed and unlike himself when he committed the crime. Ripple pleaded guilty to bank robbery in January and could have spent up to 37 months in prison, which would have gotten him some time away from his wife.
Russia may have killed ISIS leader Baghdadi (Reuters) About 4,000 more US troops to go to Afghanistan (AP) Insurers Look to Ramp Up Premiums in Health Law Exchanges (WSJ) U. N. envoy urges North Korea to explain why freed U. S. man is in coma (Reuters) Wal-Mart Offers a Refuge for Sellers Tired of Amazon (BBG) Trump to limit Cuba travel, restrict business deals with military: U. S. officials (Reuters) Private-Equity Firms Stand to Benefit From Court’s Curb on SEC (WSJ) The $31 Billion Hole in GE’s Balance Sheet That Keeps Growing (BBG) Facebook Boosts A. I. to Block Terrorist Propaganda (WSJ) Whole Foods CEO Calls Activist Investor ‘Greedy Bastards’ (BBG) Kroger Rattles Nerves in Grocery Section (WSJ) U. S. Exports to Mexico Fall as Uncertainty Over Nafta Lingers (WSJ) Funds pull back from Permian as U. S. shale oil firms go into overdrive (Reuters) The World’s Richest Nation Has Rarely Looked Weaker (BBG) 30 confirmed dead in London high-rise fire (AP) Big Oil Firms Are Exploring a New Frontier in Shale: Profits (WSJ) Facing criticism, British PM to visit London fire victims (Reuters) Pimco’s New Bond King Is Nothing Like Bill Gross (WSJ) U. S. accuses Chinese company of money-laundering for North Korea (Reuters) Overnight Media Digest WSJ – Nestl SA put its U. S. confectionery business up for sale, looking to shed its Butterfinger and Crunch candy bars as it grapples with how to cater to U. S. consumers’ increasing demand for healthy snacks. on.wsj.com/2rC2Cpy – Pressure on U. S. grocers increased after a lower earnings forecast from Kroger Co sent shares in the nation’s biggest supermarket chain down 19 percent. on.wsj.com/2rCl7dt
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 16, 2017.
Former Navy SEAL and Blackwater founder, Erik Prince, recently penned an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal calling for a MacArthur Plan for Afghanistan that rests on two pillars: a central Viceroy acting with complete authority to direct development activities and a privatized East India Company model for securing key areas to bolster economic growth. He goes on to posit mineral resource extraction and agriculture cultivation as the means of funding Afghanistan’s rise into the ranks of civilized nations. Of course, leftists immediately denounced the idea as war profiteering and corporate undermining of state authority. In terms of political economy, Prince is correct to point out the tremendous waste of money the US led coalition is costing the taxpayers of participating countries. After more than 16 years of occupation, the military campaign has become a quagmire and preventing the rise of future threats emanating from Afghanistan requires a comprehensive redesign and philosophical approach. Citing the expected $45 billion investment projected for 2017, Prince claims that his privatized security plan under a unified governor would cost only $10 billion. While this would be a significant savings and an improvement from the status quo, it still places the American taxpayer on the hook for subsidizing someone else’s security while adding nothing to their own. It still rests on a justified notion of foreign interventionism that makes every American an accomplice to aggressive invasion.
On June 9th, Gallup’s Editor-In-Chief, Frank Newport, headlined Americans Want More Than Just Budget Cuts and reported that, Gallup’s latest update shows that 28% of Americans have a favorable opinion of the federal government, while 55% have an unfavorable opinion. That’s the lowest rating for any business or industry sector we tested. Here are the details on that net minus 27% (55% minus 28%) favorability-rating for The federal government: *** Dr. Newport then points out that, the last time when Gallup had reported about Americans’ opinions of Congress, which was on 28 September 2015, The More Americans Know Congress, the Worse They Rate It; and, specifically, that, whereas only 7% of Americans who answered either 4 or 5 out of five questions about Congress correctly were rating Congress either Excellent or Good, a far higher 27% of Americans who had answered none of the five questions correctly were rating Congress either Excellent or Good. 29% of Americans who had answered zero questions correctly were rating Congress as either Poor or Bad, but a far higher 66% of Americans who had answered either 4 or 5 of the questions correctly were rating Congress as Poor or Bad. Consequently, The Knowledgeable Are the Most Negative About Congress according to Gallup’s latest available information, published there. The basic point in Dr. Newport’s June 9th article is that the reason why Americans dislike The federal government isn’t that it’s ‘too big’ or ‘spends too much money’ or any of the other excuses that the (widely despised) Republican Party claims, but is instead that, Americans think that Congress is corrupt and not focused on the interests of the people. They want their representatives to compromise rather than rigidly stick to principles.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 12, 2017.
As protests against Venezuela’s ‘democratic socialist’ government roll into their third month, Dr. Henrique Montbrun, who oversees the triage post in the municipality of Baruta, says the violence in the country has reached unprecedented levels. ‘It’s madness,’ he says. As more people take to the streets to demand their freedom back in a nation where tyranny took a firm hold shortly after the election of self-proclaimed socialist, Nicolaus Maduro, the country descended into complete government control, and the only people with money, are now those in the government. Socialism is fair that way; as no system more equally distributes poverty, except maybe communism. But a pattern is now emerging in the battle for basic human rights and minimal freedoms. The clashes between the demonstrators and security forces are entering their third month, and even doctors say that they can no longer predict the type of violence to prepare for, but they can predict that there will be increasing numbers of injuries and death. The only pattern emerging is one of even more violence. Dr. Montbrun says that the injuries sustained at the beginning of protests were largely superficial, usually buckshot wounds. More recently, however, as protesters have gone up against an increasingly desperate government, protestors have been treated for 5cm-deep holes caused by metal marbles shot at close range.
This post was published at shtfplan on June 11th, 2017.
A few days ago we noted that DB allegedly requested more time to comply with a letter drafted by the infamous Maxine Waters of the House Financial Services Committee demanding information from on a Russian money laundering scheme and loans made to Trump’s businesses while he was a private citizen. Without providing any evidence or basis for her request, Waters seemingly attempted to link Trump to the “Russian Mirror Trading Scandal” and also asked for info on whether Russia “guaranteed” $300 million of loans made to Trump’s real interests in the Doral Golf resort in Florida, a Washington D. C. hotel and a Chicago tower…you know, because Russia had an obvious interest in backstopping Trump loans made several years ago on the off chance he might run for President one day and win. Unfortunately for Waters, and millions of disaffected Hillary voters who just keeping hoping that if they throw enough shit against a wall that eventually something will stick, DB has been forced to notify her that they can’t comply with her request because, well, there are laws. Per the Wall Street Journal:
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 9, 2017.
As “infrastructure week” draws to a close, President Donald Trump is preparing to meet with his Romanian counterpart, President Klaus Iohannis, in the Oval Office on Friday before the two hold a joint press conference in the Rose Garden to talk security, defense spending and other economic concerns. The press conference is set to begin at 2:45 ET. Romania, which joined NATO in 2004, increased its defense budget to equal 2% of its GDP this year – one of only 5 NATO members to hit that target. Trump, who has waffled back and forth on whether he considers the alliance ‘obsolete,’ said last month during a meeting of NATO leaders at the defense alliance’s new headquarters in Brussels that its members owe the US a lot of money for paying for their defense. The visit by Iohannis is meant to underscore the defense and military ties between the two countries. Romania is host to an $800 million ballistic missile shield built by the US that was ‘switched on’ last month. US officials say the shield is meant to counter the threat from Iran.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 9, 2017.
Donald Trump has asked for a $54 billion increase in the military budget. That’s an opportune moment to revisit how much the U. S. government already spends, what precisely it’s spending the money on, and what it has to show for it all. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
Consortium News Exclusive: In his Mideast trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel, President Trump sought some political safe harbor by tacking toward neocon orthodoxy and jettisoning his campaign promises of a more rational strategy, writes Daniel Lazare. With astounding precision, Donald Trump zeroed in on the worst possible Middle East policy option in his recent trip to Saudi Arabia and made it his own. He rebuffed the efforts of Iran’s newly elected moderate government to open up communications with the West and instead deepened America’s alliances with decrepit autocratic regimes across the Persian Gulf. Turning up his nose at Iran – a rising young power – he embraced Saudi Arabia, which is plainly on its last legs. It was a remarkable display – rather like visiting a butcher shop and passing up a fresh steak for one that’s rancid and smelly and buzzing with flies. Saudi Arabia is not just any tired dictatorship with an abysmal human-rights record but one of the most spectacularly dysfunctional societies in history. It takes in half a billion dollars a day in oil revenue, yet is so profligate that it could run out of money in half a decade. It sits atop 18 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, yet is so wasteful that, at current rates, it will become a net importer by the year 2030. Its king travels with a thousand-person retinue wherever he goes while his son, Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, plunked down $550 million not long ago when a 440-foot yacht caught his eye in the south of France. Yet this pair of royal kleptocrats dares preach austerity at a time when as much as 25 percent of the population lives on less than $17 a day in trash-strewn Third World slums. Similarly, Saudi Arabia’s appetite for high-tech weaponry is such that in 2015 it became the largest arms importer in the world. Yet its military is so inept that it is unable to subdue ragtag Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen or even stop them from raiding deep inside Saudi territory and launching regular missile attacks.
Jasmine Abuslin, a woman who said she had been sexually involved with over 30 police officers from various departments in the Oakland, California area received a settlement for $989,000 Wednesday. ‘I feel happy that I can close this chapter in my life,’ Abuslin said at a press conference. The 19-year-old Abuslin, who also went by the pseudonym Celeste Guap, said she had sex with dozens of officers in exchange for money, some while underage. She initially sued for $66 million, but settled for the figure just under $1 million after it was approved by the Oakland City Council. ‘The settlement occurred with no admission of liability, but obviously if you pay $1 million, you figure you got some responsibility,’ Abuslin’s attorney John Burris said. ‘It was like a cabal that existed in the department where people were passing her around as if she were a kickball or something.’ Abuslin said she was 12 the first time she had sex for money, and claimed she had sex with three different police officers when she was 16. She admitted to sleeping with a friend of her mother, who worked as an Oakland police dispatcher. The friend was also a police officer.
If you’ve read my last few pieces, you’ll be aware of my recent fascination with the biggest trend in the crypto-coin world right now, ICOs, or initial coin offerings (yes, it’s a horrible name). Since the best way to learn about stuff is to dive right in and do it yourself, I spent much of yesterday getting prepared for the Basic Attention Token (BAT) sale in an attempt to participate. Considering I had very little to do with Ethereum up until that point, the learning curve was quite steep. Nevertheless, I got it all together and had an ERC20 wallet funded and ready to go for this morning’s sale. While I thought the ICO might be pretty popular, $35 million is still a decent amount of money and I didn’t foresee having any real issues with getting an allocation. I couldn’t have been more wrong. At the end of the day, I got zero BAT tokens and was left extremely frustrated with how the whole thing went down. While it’s undoubtably a historic moment for the nascent ICO market and an incredible achievement for an experimental browser monetization model to raise such a sum in less than 30 seconds, could this really be called a crowdsale? While details still seem a bit sketchy, what’s clear is that a lot of people are very pissed off and a very small number of players seem to have received a huge chunk of the offering.
Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation, When US President Donald Trump addressed the opening of the NATO summit last week, it was an embarrassing display of American bullying. As Trump lectured the other leaders of the military alliance about laggardly financial commitments, there was much shuffling of feet and grimacing of faces. There were also contemptuous smirks as the president spoke. Speaking outside the new North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters in Brussels, Trump declared that many members owed the US a lot of money for their defense. He said it was unfair to American taxpayers that only five out of 28 current NATO members meet an agreed target of allocating 2 per cent of GDP to military spending. At a photo-op line-up, Trump was seen to push Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusco Markovic out of the way in order to get himself into a prime front row position. The fleeting moment spoke volumes of the American view of fellow NATO members.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 31, 2017.