Asked what he did during the French Revolution, Abbe Sieyes replied, ‘I survived.’ Donald Trump can make the same boast. No other political figure has so dominated our discourse. And none, not Joe McCarthy in his heyday in the early ’50s, nor Richard Nixon in Watergate, received such intensive and intemperate coverage and commentary as has our 45th president. Whatever one may think of Trump, he is a leader and a fighter, not a quitter. How many politicians could have sustained the beatings Trump has taken, and remained as cocky and confident? And looking back on what may fairly be called The Year of Trump, his achievements have surprised even some of his enemies. With the U. S. military given a freer hand by Trump, a U. S.-led coalition helped expel ISIS from its twin capitals of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq, driving it back into a desert enclave on the Iraq-Syria border. The caliphate is dead, and the caliph nowhere to be found. The economy, with the boot of Barack Obama off its neck, has been growing at 3 percent. The stock market has soared to record highs. Unemployment is down to 4 percent. And Trump and Congress just passed the largest tax cut since Ronald Reagan. With deregulation, which conservative Republicans preached to deaf ears in the Bush I and Bush II eras, Trump and those he has put into positions of power have exceeded expectations. Pipelines Obama blocked have been approved. Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge has been opened to exploratory drilling. We have exited a Paris climate accord that favored China over the U. S.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.
About a week ago, we warned about the infamous bearish stock market pattern developing in US equities coined by some as the ‘Hindenburg Omen’. The pattern is known for its bearish tendencies developed after the Hindenburg disaster of 1937. The key understanding is breadth deterioration, when more stocks hit 52-week lows than 52-highs. Since the warning, a liquidity gap has developed in stocks thwarting any attempt at new all time highs. *** Fast forward to this morning and a very ironic situation has unfolded in the skies 50-miles north of London. And no – it’s not a giant penis drawn by US-Navy pilots in F-18s – it’s a true ‘Hindenburg Omen’ as the world’s longest airship crashed early this morning. The 25m airship called ‘Airlander 10’ appeared to ‘break in two,’ a witness told the BBC. Reports suggest the airship broke free from mooring less than 24-hours after a successful test. At the time, no-one was on board of the aircraft, but Bedfordshire police, paramedics and fire crews were alerted and treated a women who suffered minor injuries.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 18, 2017.
In the last two days, the Zimbabwe stock market has crashed almost 10% as a ‘not-military-coup’ has ousted 93-year-old President Mugabe – the question is, what happens next? Bloomberg reports that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s refusal to publicly resign is stalling plans by the military to swiftly install a transitional government after seizing power on Wednesday, two people familiar with the situation said. That uncertainty is clearly showing up in Zimbabwe stocks…
The military wants Mugabe, who’s under house arrest, to agree to step aside so it can claim its action isn’t a coup and head off tension with the Southern African Development Community, which includes Zimbabwe and South Africa, the people said. The group previously intervened when the army took over in Lesotho.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 16, 2017.
Nobody puts little Rocket Man in a corner. As we’ve noted time and time again, tensions between the US and North Korea have only intensified since Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed last month that the two countries were on the verge of a nuclear conflict, a warning that the North’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN echoed on Monday, but has so far done little to dent the rally in global stock markets. But with Russia at least ostensibly reining in support for Kim Jong Un’s increasingly isolated regime, Putin inadvertently channeled the late, great Patrick Swayze during a speech at the annual Valdai Discussion Club meeting on Thursday when he warned that foreign powers should avoid “backing North Korea into a corner.” Doing so would risk provoking a desperate, violent response, he said. Putin added that the North is a ‘sovereign state’ and reiterated his call that the standoff between the US and its regional allies and the Kim regime could only be resolved with dialogue – a solution that Russia and China – the North’s primary benefactor – have been pushing for months, NBC reported.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 19, 2017.
1966 was a big year… Miranda Rights came into being in America, Vietnam War protests raged, the US department of Transportation was created, the mini skirt was invented, Batman and Star Trek debuts, NASA launches Lunar Orbiter 1 – the first U. S. spacecraft to orbit the Moon, race riots raged in Atlanta, Ronald Reagan entered politics becoming Governor of California, and (for some) most importantly, England defeated Germany to win the ‘Football’ World Cup. However, there is one more thing – 1966 was the last time that the stock market ‘calmness’ was as low as it is today…
To put that into context…
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 19, 2017.
The most important event in China in five years is about to take place, and Beijing isn’t taking any chances. Ahead of the Communist Party’s twice-a-decade congress – an event so massive that according to Bloomberg “nothing escapes its pull” – which is slated to start on October 18 in Beijing, regulators have made it clear to the nation’s top brokers, bankers and financiers that they don’t want to see any major turbulence in markets. In a repeat of the fiasco that followed the bursting of China’s equity bubble in the summer of 2015 when Beijing effectively nationalized the stock market, and went so far as to throw prominent hedge fund managers and assorted “speculators” in prison, the China Securities Regulatory Commission has ordered local brokerages to “mitigate risks” and ensure stable markets before and during the Communist Party’s leadership congress next month, according to Bloomberg. Additionally, to leave virtually nothing to chance – and to have ready scapegoats in case someone does in fact sell – the CSRC also banned brokerage bosses from taking holidays or leaving the country from Oct. 11 until the congress ends. Brokerage bosses were told to avoid travel of any kind from Oct. 11 until the congress ends, including business trips. Luckily for them, China’s national day holidays are coming up in the first week of October. Local markets will be shut for an entire week, providing plenty of time to recharge for the congress. Since the congress, which is expected to replace about half of China’s top leadership, is of paramount importance to President Xi Jinping who will use it as a foundation to cement his influence into the next decade, nothing is allowed to spoil the optics of supreme control at this critical moment.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 17, 2017.
21st Century Wire says… Imagine if private corporations, many of whom are traded on the stock market, were given the responsibility for patrolling your neighbourhoods, investigating crimes, and arresting suspects. That’s exactly what is being rolled out right now across the UK.
It started off small, and few have taken any notice. Recently, we saw the launch of a new privatised police unit in the UK which charges homeowners 1 a weekly to have their burglar and panic alarms linked to a rapid response unit. We’re told that this amounts to ‘great savings for customers (residents)’. Leading the larger takeover effort however, is private global security firm G4S who have already signed a 200m contract with Lincolnshire Police in 2012. The controversial firm claims it can save 1bn a year across all 43 of the UK’s police forces. Still, a number of citizen advocacy groups hold the strong belief that the public must keep its police services properly funded, and publicly owned. As Benito Mussolini famously said, ‘Fascism should rightly be called corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power.’ One thing is certain: you will not see any Soros-funded ‘antifascist’ activists protesting stories like this… Privatisation and handover of British policing to G4S is already well underway… Many people will have been shocked by the revelations of G4S guards abusing detainees in an immigration centre as revealed by the BBC’s Panorama.
As summer draws to a close and the Wall Street titans enjoy the last of their lazy long weekends in the Hamptons, summering next door to the army of lawyers that keep them out of jail, it’s a curious time to be reading about a major new lawsuit that has the potential to shake Wall Streeters right down to their Gucci loafers. The charges include conspiracy to restrain trade in violation of the Sherman Act and unjust enrichment in a $1.7 trillion market. Since the Senate hearings of the early 1930s, which examined the Wall Street practices and conspiracies that led to the 1929-1932 stock market collapse and Great Depression, there have been rumblings that Wall Street’s system for lending stock for traders to short is a viper’s nest of ripoffs. Now two major law firms, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Cohen Milstein are suing six of the largest Wall Street banks, alleging that they illegally colluded in this market. The defendants are the usual suspects: JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, UBS and their stock lending units. (The only surprise here is that Citigroup is not named.) You know there’s some high minded legal talent involved when the lawsuit quotes Tolstoy. The plaintiffs’ lawyers tell the Federal Court: ‘To paraphrase Tolstoy, all efficient markets resemble one another, but each inefficient market is inefficient in its own way. This case concerns a market variously called the ‘stock loan,’ ‘stock lending,’ or ‘securities lending’ market. It is one of the largest and most important financial markets that exists in the world today. Unlike many other financial markets, the stock loan market has not evolved to reflect the ways in which modern technology can facilitate efficient and transparent electronic trading. Instead, the stock loan market remains an inefficient, antiquated, and opaque over-the-counter (‘OTC’) trading market dominated by large dealer banks, principally the Prime Broker Defendants. These banks have structured the market in such a way that they take a large cut of nearly every stock loan trade that is made. This arrangement is good for the Prime Broker Defendants. But it is bad for virtually everyone else, including the class members in this case.’
In this article, I’m not going to trace and list all the Obama and Trump appointees who have ties to Goldman Sachs. The sources are easily available. The Hillary Clinton connections are clear as well. The point is, Goldman and its allies can exert enormous influence on the direction of the trillion-dollar casino called the stock market. And the stock market is the universally perceived indicator of the health or illness of the US economy. The economy is Trump’s trump card. If the stock market plummets and stays down, his credibility as president takes a hit of far more serious proportions than anything we’ve seen so far. Keep in mind, as well, that giant pension funds all over the US and giant insurance companies (and other entities) invest in the stock market – and these organizations’ stability, as endangered as it is right now, would fracture in far more serious ways, if the stock market collapsed. Super-banks like Goldman Sachs therefore hold the political fate of a president, any president, in their hands.
The stock market continues to show volatile signs of a market bubble. Here’s five charts that show that a very real bubble is on the horizon. 1. Economic Bubbles and The Breadwinner Economy Former Congressman and Reagan’s budget director, David Stockman highlights that, ‘Another month has passed in which the number of Breadwinner jobs remain below where it was when Bill Clinton was in the White House. Since then two presidents have come and gone, and now possibly a third. Yet there are still 300,000 fewer jobs in the productive center of the U. S. economy than there were in early 2001.’ Stockman levels, ‘This suggests something isn’t right, and that point is further driven home by the pancaking of the industrial economy over the last decade. Specifically, industrial production in June was still lower than at the pre-crisis peak’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 16, 2017.
While global stock markets breathed a sigh of dip-buying relief today that the world did not end, North Korea just ratcheted up the rhetoric one more time with state media reporting the North Korean leader is “being briefed on the Guam attack plan” today, adding that “if a second Korean War breaks out, it would inevitably be a nuclear war.” According to the state run KCNA news agency, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “examined the plan for a long time” on Monday during his inspection to the command of the Strategic Force. North Korea said last week that it will finalize by mid-August its detailed plan to fire four intermediate-range ballistic missiles around Guam and report it to its leader for approval. As KCNA notes, the North Korean leader received a report from his army on its plans to strike the area around Guam and said “he will watch the actions of the United States for a while longer before making a decision.” According to the WSJ interpretation of this oddly-worded report, the “North Korean leader has decided not to launch a threatened missile attack on Guam” but warned that he could change his mind ‘if the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions.’ As a result, the report “could help dial back tensions that had spiraled last week following an exchange of threats between North Korea and U. S. President Donald Trump.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 14, 2017.
We first introduced readers to the Dallas Police and Fire Pension (DPFP) crisis last summer in a post entitled “Dallas Cops’ Pension Fund Nears Insolvency In Wake Of Shady Real Estate Deals, FBI Raid.” For those who have managed to avoid this particular storyline for the past 15 months, here is a brief recap of how it all started from our original post on the topic: The Dallas Police & Fire Pension (DPFP), which covers nearly 10,000 police and firefighters, is on the verge of collapse as its board and the City of Dallas struggle to pitch benefit cuts to save the plan from complete failure. According the the National Real Estate Investor, DPFP was once applauded for it’s “diverse investment portfolio” but turns out it may have all been a fraud as the pension’s former real estate investment manager, CDK Realy Advisors, was raided by the FBI in April 2016 and the fund was subsequently forced to mark down their entire real estate book by 32%. Guess it’s pretty easy to generate good returns if you manage a book of illiquid assets that can be marked at your “discretion”. To provide a little background, per the Dallas Morning News, Richard Tettamant served as the DPFP’s administrator for a couple of decades right up until he was forced out in June 2014. Starting in 2005, Tettamant oversaw a plan to “diversify” the pension into “hard assets” and away from the “risky” stock market…because there’s no risk if you don’t have to mark your book every day. By the time the “diversification” was complete, Tettamant had invested half of the DPFP’s assets in, effectively, the housing bubble. Investments included a $200mm luxury apartment building in Dallas, luxury Hawaiian homes, a tract of undeveloped land in the Arizona desert, Uruguayan timber, the American Idol production company and a resort in Napa.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 8, 2017.
Just days after the Wall Street Journal and others reported that Trump’s new Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, had taken steps to “control” the flow of information on the President’s twitter feed, America will wake up this morning to one of his longest tweet storms yet. Not surprisingly, this latest rant started off by ripping into the “Failing NYTimes” and other “24/7 Fake News” outlets… The failing @nytimes, which has made every wrong prediction about me including my big election win (apologized), is totally inept! The Trump base is far bigger & stronger than ever before (despite some phony Fake News polling). Look at rallies in Penn, Iowa, Ohio and West Virginia. The fact is the Fake News Russian collusion story, record Stock Market, border security, military strength, jobs, Supreme Court pick, economic enthusiasm, deregulation & so much more have driven the Trump base even closer together. Will never change! Hard to believe that with 24/7 #Fake News on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, NYTIMES & WAPO, the Trump base is getting stronger!
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 7, 2017.
Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low. You can thank Congress, the same people that can't even give us HCare! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 3, 2017
Update: shortly after he took credit for the record stock market and business enthusiasm, Trump – accurately – blamed Congress for the current “very dangerous” relationship with Russia, when he tweeted that “Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low. You can thank Congress, the same people that can’t even give us HCare!” On Wednesday Trump similarly lashed out at Congress when signing the legislation, arguing the bill limited his executive power and ability to negotiate with Moscow. ‘By limiting the executive’s flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together,’ Trump said in a sharply worded statement. He also said the bill was “seriously flawed” and included “a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 3, 2017.
President Trump is active this morning. His first tweet of the week was a shot across the bow of Congress (who exempted themselves from Obamacare because it was such a disaster) and suggesting – shockingly to many in DC – that insurance companies may face some pain… If ObamaCare is hurting people, & it is, why shouldn't it hurt the insurance companies & why should Congress not be paying what public pays? — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2017
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 31, 2017.
Today is the 139th day that the Republican Congress has not repealed nor replaced Obamacare. In fact, Congress hasn’t moved forward in any substantive way on any of Pres. Trump’s ambitious economic agenda. There is no sign of tax reform. No sign of significant regulatory reform. No infrastructure spending bill. And of course, we still have Obamacare. This raises an important question: can Trump deliver on his economic promises? This isn’t to say the president hasn’t accomplished any of his goals. He’s done what he can to move his agenda forward through executive action. But substantial reforms will require the cooperation of Congress, and that seems pretty iffy at this point. Trump has found imposing his will in Washington D. C. isn’t quite the same as exerting control over the boardroom in Trump tower. The political process is a whole different animal. The president’s difficulties are exacerbated by constant media harping, a divided GOP, political pressures stemming from’Russian ties’ allegations, and some would argue his own Twitter account. The stock market soared after Trump’s election. Most analysts say expectations of economic reform were big drivers of what many have dubbed the ‘Trump-bump.’ Investors expected a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, substantive tax reform, America-first trade policies, infrastructure stimulus, and an easing of regulatory the burden. But whether or not these broad policy changes will ever happen remains pretty iffy. In fact, economic and financial analysts Jim Rickards said implementing Trump’s Economic Plan is ‘Sheer Fantasy.’
This post was published at Schiffgold on JUNE 7, 2017.
The Washington Post, New York Times, and CNN, among others, are desperately trying to get rid of Trump to support the status quo, the deep state, and prevent any economic reform whatsoever. Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million and cut a deal with the CIA to build their cloud getting $600 million. The real question mainstream media will not dare answer is how does a private meeting between Trump and Russia end up with leaks to the Washington Post and New York Times because Trump informed the CIA and NSA about the meeting. This leak PROVES beyond a shadow of doubt that the collusion between the Deep State and mainstream media is in full swing.
The world has been stunned over the past few days by the advent of ‘Ransomware;’ the use of sophisticated cyber attacks on vital systems in order to (supposedly) extort capital from target businesses and institutions. I am always highly suspicious whenever a large scale cyber incident occurs, primarily because the manner in which these events are explained to the public does not begin to cover certain important realities. For example, the mainstream media rarely if ever discusses the fact that many digital systems are deliberately designed to be vulnerable. Software and internet corporate monoliths have long been cooperating with the NSA through programs like PRISM to provide government agencies backdoor access to computer systems worldwide. Edward Snowden vindicated numerous ‘conspiracy theorists’ in 2013 with his comprehensive data dumps, exposing collusion between corporations and the NSA including Microsoft, Skype, Apple, Google, Facebook and Yahoo. And make no mistake, nothing has changed since then. The level of collusion between major software developers and the establishment might be shocking to some, but it was rather well known to alternative analysts and researchers. The use of legislation like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to skirt Constitutional protections within the 4th Amendment has been open policy for quite some time. It only made sense that government agencies and their corporate partners would use it as a rationale to develop vast protocols for invading people’s privacy, including American citizens.
This post was published at Alt-Market on Wednesday, 17 May 2017.
By now everyone with an Internet connection is aware of the ‘ransomware’ attack that shut down hundreds of thousands of computers over the weekend. The fact that the onslaught is just beginning – as the military-grade hacking tools developed by the NSA and recently leaked are weaponized by hackers and released into the wild – should, you’d think, be worrisome. Most people are probably also aware that North Korea, which claims to have nuclear weapons, just tested a missile capable of carrying a payload to the capital cities of its neighbors. See Putin says world shouldn’t threaten North Korea, after latest missile landed near Russia. And yet here we are on Monday morning with global stock markets hitting new highs, as if the world is a stable, well-managed, nearly risk-free place. It’s easy to understand cybersecurity and defense stocks doing well today. But banks and home builders? Seems like their world is anything but benign.
To keep from deflating, property bubble needs Obamacare. When the effort in Congress to pass a health-care bill – the American Health Care Act, designed to replace the much maligned Affordable Care Act – failed on Friday, the thing that wasn’t supposed to happen happened: The industry that had whined for years about this, that, and the other in the Obamacare law, breathed a huge sigh of relief. On Monday, despite the general unease in the stock market, heath care stocks rallied. Well, they didn’t exactly rally, they edged up. But it made them the best-performing sector among the 11 S&P 500 sectors. But no one apparently breathed a bigger sigh of relief than the over-indebted and teetering Commercial Real Estate sector. Investors, including the largest asset managers in the world, had experienced the rich benefits of a multi-year mega construction boom of hospitals, medical office buildings, and other health-care facilities to accommodate the ballooning industry that is taking over the US economy and provides 16% of its private-sector jobs. Property prices had soared over the years as part of the overall commercial real estate bubble. It has gotten so huge that if it deflates, it risks taking down the banks, particularly smaller banks where CRE lending is heavily concentrated.
This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ Mar 28, 2017.