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[World] 1 dead, over 100 hurt in train crash at New Jersey station HOBOKEN, N.J. (AP) — A rush-hour commuter train crashed through a barrier at the busy Hoboken station and lurched across the waiting area Thursday morning, killing one person and injuring more than 100 others in a grisly wreck that renewed questions about whether long-delayed automated safety technology could have prevented the tragedy. Published:9/29/2016 6:35:19 PM
[Albert Edwards] The Day Donald Trump Flunked Econ 101

By Chris at www.CapitalistExploits.at

Market dislocations occur when financial markets, operating under stressful conditions, experience large widespread asset mispricing.

Welcome to this week's edition of “World Out Of Whack” where every Wednesday we take time out of our day to laugh, poke fun at and present to you absurdity in global financial markets in all it's glorious insanity.

kramer

While we enjoy a good laugh, the truth is that the first step to protecting ourselves from losses is to protect ourselves from ignorance. Think of the "World Out Of Whack" as your double thick armour plated side impact protection system in a financial world littered with drunk drivers.

Selfishly we also know that the biggest (and often the fastest) returns come from asymmetric market moves. But, in order to identify these moves we must first identify where they live.

Occasionally we find opportunities where we can buy (or sell) assets for mere cents on the dollar - because, after all, we are capitalists.

In this week's edition of the WOW we're covering the yuan (and Donald Trump's poor grasp of economics)

In the reality TV show US presidential debate aired live the other night Donald Trump had only just begun warming his vocal chords before delivering one of the most profoundly idiotic statements of the entire night. And this is saying something since there was (unsurprisingly) no shortage of nonsense to be heard.

"You look at what China is doing to our country in terms of making our product. They are devaluing their currency and there’s nobody in our government to fight them and we have a very good fight and we have a winning fight because they are using our country as a piggy bank to rebuild China and many other countries are doing the same thing. So we’re losing our good jobs, so many of them."

Now, finding misleading, wrong, dead wrong, and plain bulls**t political statements is easier than picking up herpes from Bill Clinton. But what is more worrying than stupid politicians is the mainstream acceptance of this concept that China is devaluing the yuan.

Why, with the billions of dollars of personal wealth "the Don" couldn't find someone to give him the facts is inexcusable. He's not even in office yet and already I'd fire him, if it weren't for the fact that the alternative is almost certainly worse. My friend Harris Kupperman is correct when he calls the contest "Crook vs Jerk".

Perhaps readers could send this article to him to educate him along with the other articles we've written on the topic. If I had anything near as many followers on Twitter as he does I could charge them all 1 cent and still buy him a better hairpiece than he has. More importantly, we'd put an end to this nonsense that the Chinese government is currently trying to devalue the yuan.

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Kyle Bass Gold

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Yes, China has been manipulating the yuan but by propping it up, NOT by devaluing it. The market itself has been devaluing the yuan and the PBOC has been trying desperately to contain the devaluation. They have in effect been doing the exact opposite of what Mr. Trump suggests they're doing.

We can see these capital flows by looking at the FX reserves, which the PBOC has been draining faster than a fat kid drains a thick-shake.

Up until August of this year the PBOC has been blowing through roughly $100bn per month in an attempt to stem these capital outflows.

I have to wonder what Trump and other ignorants will be saying when the yuan really devalues - due to market forces and not the PBOC actively devaluing the currency.

Albert Edwards, a Societe Generale economist, points out the following:

"At $3.2bn the market remains content that massive firepower remains to support the renminbi. It does not. Our economists estimate that when FX reserves reach $2.8 trillion — which should only take a few more months at this rate — FX reserves will fall below the IMF’s recommended lower bound. If that occurs in the next few months, expect to see a tidal wave of speculative selling, forcing the PBoC to throw in the towel and let the market decide the level of the renminbi exchange rate."

China Foreign Exchange Reserves

And SocGen’s China economist Wei Yao points out:

“If China’s reserves fell to $2.8tn, they would reach the lower end of the recommended range and could start to undermine confidence in the PBoC’s ability to resist currency depreciation and manage future balance of payments shocks.”

When it comes to understanding China's credit bubble, the currency escape valve, and the relationships between all the moving parts, nobody has done a more thorough job than Worth Wray and Mark Hart of Corriente Advisors.

Focusing on FX reserves in isolation is somewhat meaningless. Worth and Mark are looking at foreign exchange reserves relative to M2, a broad gauge for domestic money supply. The problem, as Worth highlights, is that M2 has been growing faster than FX reserves and now in fact exceeds FX reserves.

Put another way, this means that the capital in the economy is growing faster than FX reserves. Realise that capital in the economy is also capital which is available to exit China and this measure (M2) now exceeds the FX reserves required to counteract those capital outflows. As Worth quite correctly points out:

 "There's a difference between having enough reserves to meet normal balance-of-payments needs and adequate reserves to defend resident-driven capital flight in a panic. My point is that the buffers continue to fall and Beijing can't keep following this policy course forever."

Mr. Trump’s campaign website says the yuan is “undervalued by anywhere from 15% to 40%”.

I would contend that the yuan is overvalued by anywhere from 15% to 40%.

The fact is, China is running out of money and will be forced to float the yuan. And when they do Mr. Trump will have difficulty in explaining how a freely traded currency is some 15% - 40% cheaper than it is today.

CNY

Clearly Trump doesn't understand global capital flows and perhaps he shouldn't. Provided he has people around him who can provide him with the correct information this needn't be a problem but if that's the case then perhaps he should refrain from opining on subjects he clearly knows nothing about.

Better to keep quiet

This brings up an important question.

When events with global implications take place... events such as a floating of the yuan and the subsequent devaluation that inevitably comes with it... 

Wow Poll Trump EconomicsCast your vote here and also see who others think the lesser of two evils is

Know anyone that might enjoy this? Please share this with them.

Investing and protecting our capital in a world which is enjoying the most severe distortions of any period in mans recorded history means that a different approach is required. And traditional portfolio management fails miserably to accomplish this.

And so our goal here is simple: protecting the majority of our wealth from the inevitable consequences of absurdity, while finding the most asymmetric investment opportunities for our capital. Ironically, such opportunities are a result of the actions which have landed the world in such trouble to begin with.

- Chris

“Why should China be forced to suffer deflationary effects of defending its currency when everyone else isn’t?" — Mark Hart, Corriente Advisors

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Liked this article? Don't miss our future missives and podcasts, and

get access to free subscriber-only content here.

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Published:9/29/2016 6:35:18 PM
[Entertainment] Michelle Obama Is Itching to Leave the White House in New College Humor Video for Education Michelle Obama, College HumorWant free money for college? There's a way to get it. Chris Harrison stars as the host of the "easiest game show in the world" called We Will Give You Free Money for College....
Published:9/29/2016 6:35:18 PM
[Fraud] PARTISAN HACK: Hack @KurtEichenwald Takes His @HillaryClinton Shilling To @Newsweek

Kurt Eichenwald’s shilling for Hillary Clinton is now in the pages of Newsweek Magazine with an already reported and well-discarded claim that Donald Trump did business in Cuba before President Obama normalized relations. It is no secret to anyone following Eichenwald’s tiresome Twitter account that the epileptic scribbler is more than Ready for Hillary. In […]

The post PARTISAN HACK: Hack @KurtEichenwald Takes His @HillaryClinton Shilling To @Newsweek appeared first on GotNews.

Published:9/29/2016 6:35:18 PM
[Science] Clinton's cravenness and corporatism goes unchallenged by clueless Trump

Timothy P. Carney

Hillary Clinton has trouble speaking accurately about the economy. Lucky for her, Donald Trump is not good at setting the record straight.

Monday night's debate provided a perfect demonstration of Hillary's folly on the economy and Trump's impotence in exploiting it. Published:9/29/2016 6:35:18 PM

[Politics] Not Making This Up: They ALL said Angela Merkel was their favorite world leader! garyjohnsonEither all of the major candidates running for president know so little about the world that they can only come up with Angela Merkel’s name when asked about their favorite world leader, . . . Published:9/29/2016 6:35:18 PM
[Politics] Not Making This Up: They ALL said Angela Merkel was their favorite world leader! garyjohnsonEither all of the major candidates running for president know so little about the world that they can only come up with Angela Merkel’s name when asked about their favorite world leader, . . . Published:9/29/2016 6:35:18 PM
[Artificial Intelligence] Watson Financial Services is born out of IBM’s purchase of Promontory Financial Group Lighthouse shining beam into thick clouds If Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest had a big data eating contest brother, IBM would be a serious contender for first place. Today the tech stalwart announced that it had come to an agreement to acquire Promontory Financial Group.  To make sense of this deal, you have to avoid relegating Promontory into the small box of financial services. Instead, it’s most practical to think… Read More
Published:9/29/2016 6:35:18 PM
[marketsNews] Argentina issues $300 mln in dollar bonds BUENOS AIRES, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Argentina issued $300 million in dollar-denominated 119-day Treasury bonds, known as Letes, the Finance Secretary said on Thursday.
Published:9/29/2016 6:35:18 PM
[Uncategorized] Even PETA would has passed on this stunt; ‘Miss Eating Machine’ to visit, possibly eat, members of GOP

We’ll say it again — this really is the worst election cycle ever. Three days after the first presidential debate of 2016, the news cycle still is largely devoted to Donald Trump’s comments about Miss Universe 1996 Alicia Machado. (There’s a solid case to be made it was a trap that the Republican nominee walked right into.) […]

The post Even PETA would has passed on this stunt; ‘Miss Eating Machine’ to visit, possibly eat, members of GOP appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:9/29/2016 6:35:18 PM
[Markets] Is the oil world big enough for two swing producers? As OPEC struggles, Saudi Arabia and U.S. shale drillers eye prices and vie for market share Published:9/29/2016 6:06:40 PM
[World] Krauthammer: Why Is Anyone Surprised Donald Trump Is 'Completely Undisciplined'?

Charles Krauthammer says that no one should be surprised that Donald Trump is "completely undisciplined."

Published:9/29/2016 6:06:40 PM
[AMZN] Harvesting Citi's 10% Dividend Published:9/29/2016 6:06:39 PM
[Education] Obama Promotes New Student Aid as College Costs Remain High

President Barack Obama greatly increased financial assistance for college students since 2008, but the cost of higher education and student debt still climbs and graduation... Read More

The post Obama Promotes New Student Aid as College Costs Remain High appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:9/29/2016 6:06:38 PM
[Science] 'Those are bogus!': Chuck Todd, Trump aide clash over online polls

Al Weaver

"Meet The Press" moderator Chuck Todd became incredulous Thursday as a spokesman for Donald Trump's campaign continued to cite non-scientific polls as evidence that Trump won Monday's debate.

Spokesman Jason Miller and Todd went back and forth over the issue despite many scientific polls, which, as Todd noted, almost universally handed Clinton a debate win. Published:9/29/2016 6:06:38 PM

[Central Banks] "People Are Mad" - Dave Collum Warns "Existential Change Is In The Air"

Chemistry professor, and infamous market observer Dave Collum, author of the encyclopedic 'Year in Reviews', senses "existential risk in the American Experiment." In an excellent interview with The Cornell Review, Collum opines on everything from 'safe spaces' to 'social unrest' warning "people are now mad, and it shows in the chaotic election. We are guaranteed to elect a president that half the populace finds repugnant...Change is in the air."

 ...It is probably only in the last 15 years that I’ve started hiking up my pants and bitching about the government. Now I am relatively outspoken because I sense existential risk in the American Experiment.

 

...We have an interventionist central bank—a global cartel of interconnected central banks actually—that is determined to use untested (read: flawed) models to try to repair an economy that was hurt by their policies and would fix itself if the Fed would just get out of the way. I think these guys are what Nassim Taleb calls I-Y-I (intellectual-yet-idiot). They will continue with their experiments until the system finally breaks in earnest. They will blame the unforeseeable circumstances.

 

The social contract on the home front is faltering badly. When the system started to fail in ’09, we stitched up a putrid wound without cleansing it. We needed reform of a highly flawed banking system corrupted by poor incentives. In the 1930s, the Pecora Commission rounded up scoundrels (including the head of the New York Stock Exchange) and threw them in prison. We should have hung a few in the town square, but instead the Obama Department of Justice punished shareholders and savers. A scandal at Wells Fargo emerging just this week, for example, led to a token fine while leaving some wondering if Wells Fargo is too corrupt to exist in its current form. It is not the government’s job to break up these institutions, nor should it save them.

 

We have stirred up a mess in the Middle East that seems to be washing up on our shores. (This weekend there were a half dozen attacks that appeared highly correlated to all but those in the politicized press.) Our policy in Syria is incomprehensible. The refugee crisis in Europe is our doing, and it is spreading. Fear of Trump seems odd given that the current neocons in liberal garb are stunningly militaristic. I think they are war crimes.  Meanwhile, these I-Y-I’s insist on poking Putin in the eye with a stick as part of a policy that appears to be designed to take us to the brink of far greater armed conflict.

 

People are now mad, and it shows in the chaotic election. We are guaranteed to elect a president that half the populace finds repugnant. It’s hard to imagine that the post-election temperament will improve. Change is in the air.

 

...Social unrest in America has been around for centuries. We seem to end up better off when the upheaval is over, but it can be a painful period. As recently as the 1960s college campuses were going nuts over social, racial, and geopolitical issues. The current phase is just recycling, but where are the stop-the-war activists? It seems to me that the world is being stretched at the seams and at risk of moving into a very hostile period. Meanwhile, the student activists appear to be looking inward. I am sure the current generation of activists would not agree. I highly recommend a book by Strauss and Howe entitled, “The Fourth Turning” published in 1996, which describes the large wavelength human cycles (80 years) as comprised of four 20 year cycles. The Fourth Turnings—the generational phase in which society goes through painful, cathartic change—include the Great Depression/World War II, the Civil War, the Revolutionary War, and the Salem Witch Trials. They predicted the next catharsis would arrive around 2010. We shall see, but it looks like they may have stuck that landing like a Russian gymnast.

 

Full interview here...

With Deutsche Bank's "issues" reverberating around global markets, Dave may be closer to that realization that he knows.

Published:9/29/2016 6:06:38 PM
[Markets] MarketWatch First Take: Tech must look to past to protect the future from an artificial intelligence apocalypse Through a joint alliance on artificial intelligence, five tech giants need to take a better look at the guidelines established by one of the most influential writers of modern science fiction to protect us from an apocalyptic future.
Published:9/29/2016 6:06:38 PM
[2cade81a-121b-4a93-9760-c8d0eaa6341b] Director Nate Parker says he was 'falsely accused' in 1999 sex assault case In an interview with "60 Minutes," Nate Parker was unapologetic for a 17-year-old rape case that has surrounded his film, "The Birth of a Nation." Published:9/29/2016 6:06:38 PM
[Transportation] The Hoboken Train Crash: Here’s What Comes Next
The Hoboken Train Crash: Here’s What Comes Next
The investigations begins, as do the renewed calls for technology that could prevent train crashes. The post The Hoboken Train Crash: Here’s What Comes Next appeared first on WIRED.
Published:9/29/2016 6:06:38 PM
[US Politics] Sorry, what? Watch Trump’s comms adviser humiliate himself over online polling

"Totally disconnected from reality."

The post Sorry, what? Watch Trump’s comms adviser humiliate himself over online polling appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:9/29/2016 6:06:38 PM
[Nation] Ever Have a Suspect Point a Gun at Your Head? Veteran Cop Says What It’s Like & Lashes Out at Media

"So I was staring down the barrel of his gun, not knowing..."

The post Ever Have a Suspect Point a Gun at Your Head? Veteran Cop Says What It’s Like & Lashes Out at Media appeared first on Independent Journal Review.

Published:9/29/2016 6:06:38 PM
[Entertainment] Todd Chrisley Reveals How He Celebrated 20 Years With Wife Julie: ''We Did a Lot of Freaky Stuff'' Todd Chrisley, SiriusXMWhen it came to discussing what Todd Chrisley and Julie Chrisley decided to do for their 20th wedding anniversary, the self-made millionaire and reality star had to pause before revealing their...
Published:9/29/2016 6:06:38 PM
[Bio] Level is a pair of fitness glasses that might be able to tell if you have diabetes or other diseases levelframesstack_8707a5e5-818d-43e2-b099-091fd79a3d3e-prv A pair of glasses, once relegated to nearly blind and blurry-eyed nerds, could one day save your life. At least that’s the pitch from VSP Vision Care. The eye exam provider just launched a new pair of smart glasses called Level that, for now, focuses on fitness. Level not only provides the wearer with keen vision but also counts their steps, calories burned while wearing them and… Read More
Published:9/29/2016 6:06:38 PM
[Uncategorized] SCOTUS to determine validity of “The Slants” trademark, may affect “Redskins” trademark as well Challenge to law barring "disparaging" trademarks Published:9/29/2016 6:06:38 PM
[topics:people/iain-duncan-smith] Britain's ruling classes were only group to vote to stay in the EU at referendum, major new report finds Published:9/29/2016 6:06:38 PM
[The Blog] Lewandowski: My Trump campaign “severance” has ended

"Distraction."

The post Lewandowski: My Trump campaign “severance” has ended appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:9/29/2016 6:06:38 PM
[World] 1 dead, over 100 hurt in train crash at New Jersey station HOBOKEN, N.J. (AP) — A rush-hour commuter train crashed through a barrier at the busy Hoboken station and lurched across the waiting area Thursday morning, killing one person and injuring more than 100 others in a grisly wreck that renewed questions about whether long-delayed automated safety technology could have prevented tragedy. Published:9/29/2016 5:37:09 PM
[Issues] Clinton Hesitates on Defining the Middle Class

The post Clinton Hesitates on Defining the Middle Class appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:9/29/2016 5:37:08 PM
[Politics] IT’S OPEN THREAD TIME! openthreadHere’s your evening open thread, courtesy of Free Beacon, Hillary, and National Drink Beer Day. CHEERS! Published:9/29/2016 5:37:08 PM
[Voter Fraud] Non-citizen murder suspect voted in three elections (Paul Mirengoff) Arcen Cetin, the Turkish immigrant accused of murdering five strangers at a mall in Washington state, voted in the last three election cycles even though he isn’t a U.S. citizen. So reports KING 5, a Seattle television station. Cetin, who is 20 years old, registered to vote in 2014 and participated in three elections including the May presidential primary. However, Cetin is ineligible to vote because he is not a Published:9/29/2016 5:37:08 PM
[B+] The Central Bank Power Shift From West To East, Game Of Thrones Style

Authored by Nomi Prins via NomiPrins.com,

“When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die.” – Cersei Lannister

I was late to Season 6 of Game of Thrones (while buried in writing my next book Artisans of Money.)  If you have never watched Game of Thrones, a) do so immediately and b) here’s the nutshell. The show, based on the book series, depicts a land in which several kingdoms are duking it out for the Iron Throne, the symbol of absolute power.  Think the board game “Risk” except with dragons, magic, an army of the dead, and lots of blood.

While I was watching, I couldn’t help noticing that its backdrop is a dead ringer for central banks’ strategy.  The Fed clings to status quo. Other central banks are vying to knock it down, or at least loosen its grip on them. But the Fed behaves as if it has no idea there are other powerful central banks that want to grab and harness its power. It carries on refusing to acknowledge that there may come a time, sooner rather than later, where its power is attacked.

The ramifications of such an attack will impact the standing of the U.S. in the world.  The Fed can carry on being oblivious, but Game of Thrones illustrates the struggles playing out right now.

In the Game of Thrones world, emerging queen, Daenerys Targaryen is biding her time and building her army. She is creating alliances in Meereen, an ancient country in the East (her awesome fire-breathing dragons in tow).  She’s playing the long game, strategically planning when to elevate the fight against the ruling queen in the West, Cersei Lannister.

The most important part of Daenerys’ story is not that she is determined to rule the seven kingdoms and take possession of the Iron Throne. It’s that she knows she can’t do it alone. So she aligns reinforcements, smaller power bases.

These smaller partners may or may not have allegiance to her based on the legitimacy of her claim to power — but they have all been wronged by the Lannister’s. This family, currently led by Cersei Lannister, is extremely wealthy and powerful, but hasn’t managed to lead the western kingdom, Westeros, to wealth and power. In fact, the people in Westeros are becoming increasingly frustrated and scared of their rulers.  (You see the similarities?)

Not only has Cersei managed to create enemies out of the smaller families that surround her, she recently massacred a large portion of the city she rules to protect her own interests. She is losing her power domestically and globally, but continues to think and act as if she will rule forever. We’ll see what happens next season.

The Fed’s State

In this situation, the Lannisters are representing the U.S. and the Fed specifically. The Fed remains in denial about the true state of the domestic and global economies. In its realm of hubris, it has no idea of the steps other central banks are taking, or want to take, to reduce their exposure and reliance on not just the U.S. dollar, but on U.S. political, monetary, financial and regulatory policy in general.

Case in point. After the Dow dropped 250 points on September 9th, on September 12th, Asian markets nose-dived on the possibility that the Fed might raise rates (though it said nothing of the sort — the “rate tease” is a manifestation of deliberate Fed obfuscation and media boredom).  This is a pattern that plays out every month, with varying degrees of intensity, or volatility.

Enter three of the Fed’s giants, led by Lael Brainnard. During her speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, she backtracked on any tightening talk saying, “the case to tighten policy preemptively is less compelling.”

That calmed markets. That day. It reminded them nothing is changing any time soon. U.S. stock markets rejoiced. Bubble-baiters bought. The Dow soared 1.3%. Elsewhere in the world though, no one wants their market whipsawed by Fed speak.  Certainly not the People’s Bank of China.

The PBoC’s approach has been to send out anti-Fed policy sound-bites through elite officials. These clips are picked up by national and international media and then spread to the general public.  
On September 13th, for instance, Yi Gang, a deputy governor from the PBoC, told a central banking conference in Vienna, “We’re still very cautious on this (zero-interest rate) monetary policy." He warned, "We have to be very careful and look at the limitations and uncertainty of a zero-interest rate policy, because in China we still have a decent growth rate.” What he basically said was “the Fed’s policy is a joke and we’re not laughing.” (I’ll have more quotes like this in Artisans of Money.)

In the Game of Monetary Policy, the Fed whacked the idea of “free markets” in the face. (For the record, I don’t believe they ever existed, because the theoretical implication is full information transparency and equal access, and that’s just not been the reality – ever.) The ECB chucked an arrow in its heart. The BOJ sliced off its head. Markets are sustained artificially. The Fed has become, as you’ll read more about in my book, the chief Artisan of Money. Central banks are bankrupt of new ideas to keep the system afloat.

Or are they? While the Fed cut rates to zero, bloated its book to $4.5 trillion, and pressed the rest of the developed world to follow, global skepticism bubbled over. First the Chinese, then Latin America. Then the IMF. Then the Chinese again. Central bank elite took turns bashing Fed policy, mostly under media radar,  and calling for an alternative to the U.S. dollar associated with it. This is the equivalent of financial warfare. The U.S. and Fed struck first.  It will take time, but the blowback is in motion.

The U.S. dollar was attached to a financial crisis fueled by big bank recklessness and Fed apathy, followed by a Fed policy that devalued money itself.  Many other countries had no choice but to follow the Fed’s lead and directives, but that doesn’t mean they were happy about it. As in Game of Thrones, the smart choice is to forge strategic alliances with other houses or be slaughtered.

The IMF is one of the houses that will be a crucial player in the new power constructs.

The IMF Power Play

The IMF, created by the U.S. and Europe, has been seeking a broader role in the monetary politics wars. For all the media dissection of every word Janet Yellen utters about rates, the IMF knows the Fed is lost. Its policy hasn’t worked. The Fed ignored this and raised rates last December, despite warnings from managing director, Christine Lagarde. Market punishment was swift and the damage was global. The move caused renewed fear and anger from nations that had already suffered at the hands of the Fed and the big U.S. banks it sustains.

The U.S. has the largest voting block within the IMF, which is located blocks away from the White House, but IMF leadership understands how the winds of change are blowing. If the BRICS and a few more developed states were to act as a voting block (or increase their voting power, as they’re attempting), they could potentially dislodge the strong influence that the U.S. has within the IMF.  

It was the U.S. voting block that gave Lagarde her job in 2011, and allowed Europe to maintain its 70-year stronghold on the IMF. As a result, Lagarde’s opposition, Augustin Carstens, head of the Central Bank of Mexico, lost that country’s first bid for the role.

In Game of Thrones, this is the story of Tyrion Lannister. He’s Cersei’s brother, but has been loudly critical of her leadership. Originally, he tried to guide his sister towards better practices. She didn’t listen to him. Now, he has joined forces with Daenerys and is helping her rise to power. His loyal alliance with Daenerys has led him to ascend the ranks again, from another angle. He is well-connected throughout the seven kingdoms. He is strategic. He knows the strengths and weaknesses of all the players. He is formidable despite his size (or in central bank terms, the volume of reserves). 

This is the Fed and the IMF.  That entity was spawned to augment U.S. central bank and government power in the wake of WWII. Powerful, but not as powerful. Since the financial crisis, the IMF has been strategically chipping away at the Fed’s power base. Like the PBoC, the IMF has been both criticizing and warning about the impact of Fed policy on other nations. By disparaging the Fed, it is amassing its own power. Its international influence has never been higher.

Under Lagarde, the IMF is doing more than funding development projects and supplying overall currency directives to the world, as was its original mandate.  It is reconstructing new alliances amongst countries not involved in its creation. In doing so, it is building its own power by elevating their allies.

On October 1, for the first time in 43 years, the IMF will add China’s currency, the Renminbi (denominated in yuan), into its Special Drawing Rights basket (SDR).  In doing so, the IMF, at the zenith of its own power, has tipped the scales away from the U.S. and the Bretton Woods crew that created the SDR in 1969.  The expanding SDR basket is as much a political power play as it is about increasing the number of reserve currencies for central banks for financial purposes.

The SDR Factor

China’s power ambitions go well beyond the SDR. They include international diplomacy, sustainable energy dominance, and becoming a focal point for alliances through Europe,  Russia and the ASEAN states.  The ASEAN–China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) is a prime example of why the SDR for China and the region is important as China expands its influence. So are new trade and financial pacts with Russia where the yuan and ruble exchange in deals without involving U.S. dollars. In addition, Russia and China are both starting to amass gold which could return as the 6th component of the SDR someday.

When the SDR was created as a global reserve asset, it was to supplement the international supply of gold and the U.S. dollar. Once the gold standard was demolished and countries began accumulating international reserves, there was less of a need for this global reserve asset.  It lay dormant, along with the power of the IMF. But in the wake of the financial crisis, it sprang back to life as another liquidity source for member countries.  The IMF sprang back to power as well.

The SDR was initially defined relative to gold (0.888671 grams of fine gold — the equivalent of one U.S. dollar.) After the collapse of the Bretton Woods system in 1973, the SDR was redefined as a weighted basket of four currencies — the U.S. dollar, euro, Japanese yen, and pound sterling.

In 2015, when the yuan was approved, a new weighting formula was adopted. It assigns equal shares to the currency issuer’s exports plus a composite financial indicator. That means the more prevalent the currency in the world, the bigger its weight. If more Yuan are used in the world, its position in the SDR grows. In another crisis, it could take on the U.S. dollar and Euro, and by extension the Fed.

The SDR weight of the yuan is just 10.92 percent compared to 41.73 percent for the U.S. dollar and 10.92 percent for the Euro.  That’s not a bad opening gambit. The next official weights review is in September 30, 2021. But in a crisis, there is latitude for this to happen much sooner.

As China continues to play host to global events (Olympics, G20, etc.) it also is in pursuit of greater regional influence. With the largest economy, and now showing its capability as having a globally recognized reserve currency, China is adding another layer of strength to its position.  While the associated confidence measure will not be the death of the dollar, it indicates that the dollar is not the only option to turn to in times of panic, or increased trade or financial growth.  The intrinsic power of that position attacks not only the dollar but the overall power of the U.S.

Competing Central Bank Kingdoms and their Power Bases

Currencies reflect both political and economic clout. Even if SDR’s themselves aren’t that voluminous yet, the shift in the make-up is meaningful. The Fed has already lost ground in the process. The IMF and PBoC have gained it. In the middle, there is an increasingly shaky, EU.

The ECB was established after the creation of the Euro in 1998 to oversee other member European central banks. It has more power than any of them because it sets rates for the EU, which dictates the cost of their money and how it flows.

Former Goldman Sachs executive and former Bank of Italy Governor, Mario Draghi is the current President of the ECB. He has followed the Fed’s policy to a letter — despite grumblings from other EU power brokers (and reality) that negative interest rates have solved nothing and instead aided to the fractiousness of the EU experiment itself.  In 2012, facing an acute European debt crisis, he promised, “the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the Euro.” The Euro has fallen precipitously since.

If Draghi’s words are weak, his actions are weaker. The ECB is offering to pay banks that borrow money from it, plus, giving them 85 billion Euro each month through its ongoing QE program to purchase their debt. From a battleground standpoint, that smacks of desperation.

The ECB just announced it would give banks three years to write off bad loans — meaning they have lots of bad loans. Deutsche Bank is just one mega example. The ECB has failed to mitigate any risk. Its alliance with the Fed hasn't helped Draghi build his power, just retain it, and it certainly hasn’t helped the EU as a whole.   

Within the wider European Area, the Bank of England, under governor Mark Carney, retains legacy power. That power has waned though, and increasingly so since the Brexit vote. If Britain leaves the EU for real, then the Bank of England’s actions are less relevant to the EU.  This elevates the power of the ECB and the Euro. But as noted, those are already weak to begin with.

If the Bank of England follows the course that Brexit has laid out, the SDR could see a further reduction of the pound weighting, and Euro weighting, which would push up the weighting of the yuan by sheer math. This shift is symbolic now, but power can start in that realm.

The Bank of Japan, before governor Haruhiko Kuroda took the helm, had run-ins with the Japanese minister of finance over its negative rate policy and bond-buying programs. The Japanese stock market lies in a constant state of tension. Because the BOJ is on the same monetary policy plane as the Fed, Japan’s markets have similarly become used to monetary adrenalin shots. Globally, this has led capital, seeking a fix in times of instability, to Japan and to the yen.

But lately Japan’s markets have also been reacting more viciously whenever the possibility of a Fed tightening hits, or lack of fresh BOJ easing measures, emerge.  The alliance of the BOJ and PBoC has not been fleshed out yet, but I believe that’s only a matter of time. Old fights might be discarded if economic or financial survival is imperiled, which is what these sharper market moves foreshadow. (There have already been new trade and lending deals emerging between the two.)

People’s Bank of China: Dragon Rising

This dragon’s about to take flight. The People’s Bank of China governor is Zhou Xiaochuan, who has held that post longer than any other G20 central bank leader. The PBoC holds more U.S. treasuries than any other central bank and is ready for battle. Zhou understands global paradigm shifts. He’s the only Chinese person on the G30 and on the board of the BIS.  He’s been the leading figure pushing the yuan into the SDR basket by slowly allowing it to float with the market, despite allegations of ongoing currency manipulation. He has a good personal relationship with Lagarde.

As China’s position has grown, so has Zhou’s voice, albeit without giving too much away, (something for which the U.S. has been critical.) Keeping some card close to his chest is a strategy. “The central bank has a clear and strong desire to improve its communication with the public and market," he told Caixin, a major publication in China. "At the same time, it's not easy to do a good job in communication.”

China wants to keep internal inflation down. This is why it would prefer a strong, not a weak currency. This negates the charge that China is trying to devalue or manipulate the yuan for better trade profits perpetuated by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. This is true to a minor extent due to economic pressures, but barely.  (It was, after all, the Ming Dynasty back in 1455 that ended the printing of paper money in order to control inflation.)  

The stronger the yuan, and the more prevalent it is globally, the more the PBoC challenges the Fed and the more control the China bloc gains over the U.S. In Chinese culture and the Game of Thrones, the Dragon symbolizes life and expansion. (Side note: I confess to having a Dragon obsession.) It’s a fitting symbol for the rising power of China and the yuan.

The Current Central Bank Hierarchy

The Fed is the world’s most powerful central bank. The ECB is a close second. Third, is the Bank of Japan. Fourth, for now, is the People’s Bank of China.  That will change.

The PBoC has crafted its own techniques to support China’s economy through monetary policy. Although, at the recent G20 meeting, Xi Jianping told reporters that the age of monetary and fiscal stimulation is over and new strategies must arise, he did so by claiming the global growth mantel. As he said, “In light of the pronounced issue of lackluster global economic growth, we need to innovate our macroeconomic policies and effectively combine fiscal and monetary policies with structural reform policies.”

The Fed’s power is resting on the dollar’s dominance. That dominance, in turn, was established by political design based on military prowess following two world wars — which were financed by elite U.S. banks. 

The U.S. Treasury market is the world’s largest and most liquid. Central banks holding U.S. dollars are really holding U.S. Treasuries.  They are lending the U.S. money, and we pay them for it with interest. But when rates are zero, we are paying them nothing to lend us more money. This is why growing debt is so easy under current Fed policy.

Just like Cersei Lannister, the Fed thinks it will retain its power simply because it currently has power, even though everyone is wary of her and the house she represents. In contrast, Daenerys is not so disliked. Like China, she is clever and building alliances. They are playing the long game patiently and strategically.

Bad Bad Contagion

The Fed re-assembled in Washington on September 20-21, after a mini-break. Prior to that, they were in “black out” mode. During that time, I discovered a new report while sleuthing around the Fed’s website.  It’s about 45 pages of mathematical equations, beyond which lies some scary thoughts.

In this September 2016 report, to which main stream reporters paid none to minimal attention, Fed economist, Juan M. Londono addresses the notion of “contagion.” The Fed’s own research team is ahead of its management. Bad contagion, Londono notes, is the “confluence of unexpectedly low stock returns across several international stock markets simultaneously.” His findings revealed that, “episodes of bad contagion are followed by significant and meaningful deteriorations to financial stability indicators.”  

If stock markets crumble, so do economies. The elites running central banks in those economies don’t want that happening on their watch. The only way to avoid the collapse is to distance themselves from the Fed and the dollar. Even David Reifschneider, deputy director of research for the Fed, noted, “there could be circumstances in the future in which the ability of the FOMC to provide the desired degree of accommodation using these tools would be strained.” (Translation: The Fed is running out of bullets,. Or losing its power over other central banks.)

This doesn’t mean the dollar will tank like a stone immediately as some people predict — the power base that supports it won’t go down without a fight. (Nor will the Lannister’s—Season 7 will be bloody.)  But once the fight starts in earnest, it will accelerate off its own momentum.

Stock markets have reached historic highs on a steady diet of fabricated money. Contagion is real, because the associated polices are interdependent. Having gone down with the U.S. economic ship in 2008, why would any country want to endure that again?

During the past eight years, the Fed has led a global race to the bottom of responsible monetary policy while exuding bi-polar verbiage as to its effectiveness. This blind continuity of Fed policy is the clearest indication of its lack of success. The inability to articulate an exit strategy is another.

The third, is the denial that other central banks and countries want to distance themselves from the Fed. For the moment, the leader in that regard is the PBoC. The Dragon is re-entering the fight now that the stakes are highest. The swords are drawn. The battles of the East and West are on.

Published:9/29/2016 5:37:08 PM
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[Alan Greenspan] Trump’s Mirage of Spending Cuts Will Make America’s Collapse Great

This article by David Haggith completes a series first pubished on The Great Recession Blog

Donald Trump

In the first debate, Hillary Clinton called Trump’s tax plan “trumped-up, trickle-down” economics. It’s the one thing that came out of her mouth that I had to entirely agree with. Many others are saying it, too:

 

New analysis from a nonpartisan group finds that Donald Trump’s latest tax proposals would increase the federal debt by $5.3 trillion over the next decade, compared with $200 billion if Hillary Clinton’s ideas were enacted. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget looked at Trump’s newly revised tax plan as well as other proposals…. Trump has also proposed a sharp increase in spending on the military and veterans. He has proposed some spending cuts, but the committee calculated they wouldn’t come close to balancing the budget. (Newsmax)

 

In the Tax Policy Center’s analysis of the Republican candidate’s proposal, the institute said that Trump’s plan would reduce federal revenues by $9.5 trillion over its first decade, and an additional $15.0 trillion over the next 10 years. Including interest costs, the Center said, the proposal would add $11.2 trillion to the national debt by 2026…. While the plan cuts taxes for all income levels, the biggest cuts involve the highest-income level, both in dollar terms and as a percentage of income. By 2017, the highest-income 1% of taxpayers would receive a tax cut of 17.5% of after-tax income, and the top 0.1% — those with incomes of over $3.7 million in current dollars — would experience an average tax cut of more than $1.3 million, nearly 19% of after-tax income…. In contrast, the lowest-income households would receive an average tax cut of $128, or 1% of after-tax income, in Trump’s plan. (Fortune)

 

Pass-through entities don’t pay the corporate rate, which currently tops out at 35 percent. Instead, their profits are distributed directly to their owners, who then pay taxes on them as normal income. A lot of truly small businesses are set up this way. But so are hedge funds, private equity firms, real estate developers, and major law firms, whose partners would often pay a top rate of 39.6 percent on their earnings. Trump was essentially offering to cut their top tax rate by more than half…. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Trump Organization LLC is a pass-through entity. It is hard to overstate what a truly terrible policy idea this is. You know how people complain about the carried interest rule that gives hedge fund and private equity guys a tax break? This is that on performance-enhancing drugs…. When Trump announced his tax plan Thursday, it appeared he had experienced a momentary bout of sense and had nixed the 15 percent rate for pass-through businesses. Or so he told the conservative Tax Foundation…. But then … his campaign “privately reassured” the National Federation of Independent Business that it was still on board with the cut. (Slate)

 

It’s not just the establishment publication Fortune that says Trump’s tax plan is a gift to the one-percenters or the more balanced Newsmax or the liberal Slate; Reagan’s own fiscally conservative budget director, David Stockman, says essentially the same thing as reported in my earlier article in this series.

Trump’s plan continues to stomp down the road of massive debt accumulation we are already on. It takes us further down this path than we’ve ever gone before and does it for all the foreseeable years to come. It gives the biggest tax breaks in history to the wealthiest people and only the tiniest crumb to the middle class on the belief that they’re so desperate that any tax cut will look good and get their approval.

Trump’s plan perpetuates the trickle-down theory that the best and only way to help the poor and the middle class do better is to make the rich richer. Larry Kudlow and Stephen Moore have seen to that. Let’s all genuflect one more time to the rich to hope they save us from themselves.

 

Running down the road to our own destruction

 

After Trump’s first rendition of this trickle-down plan was resoundingly criticized (hence the current major revision), Trump said this in his defense:

 

In May, [Trump] was asked about analyses that found most of the tax cuts went to the richest 1 percent of Americans. “I will say this, and I’m not necessarily a huge fan of that,” he responded. “I’m so much more into the middle class who have just been absolutely forgotten in our country.” (Think Progress)

 

Apparently not! Here we are (again!) with the top tax breaks going to the top 1% while 99% of tax payers get about a 1% improvement in their take-home pay. Trump cannot get his head around the idea that there is any way to help the economy other than helping the rich. Trump knows he can sell this plan to most of his supporters who will say that any tax break is good (even though the Bush Tax breaks — bigger than the Reagan tax breaks — so completely failed to stimulate the economy that the economy plunged into the Great Recession).

Trump promises smaller government, a huge cutback in regulations, continuance of massive military spending coupled with equally massive tax cuts for the rich that are made palatable by modest tax cuts for the poor and middle class. And he promises that all of that will pay for itself. Been there. Done that. Didn’t work. But we won’t learn from the past. People will vote for Trump because they like how he verbally attacks the establishment, and they don’t see through smoke screen of middle-class tax cuts to see how much Trump’s actual plan gives away the nation to the establishment — the biggest gift they’ve ever received.

Oh, but Trump is going to pay for this by rolling back government spending … down the road. He promises to eventually cut back one penny on every dollar spent over the years ahead. (Have you ever noticed how major spending cuts are always set a few years down the road when future congresses will simply overrule them anyway? Thus, they never materialize unless done now. In Trump’s plan even minor spending cuts are kicked down the road.)

These kinds of future cost cuts are like Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. But fool me four, five or six times, and I must be an idiot. I say, “Big deal” to a penny saved at some far future date when we’re drowning in twenty trillion dollars of debt now, almost all of which was created from Reagan forward. Wow! A penny! That’ll save us!

Since Trump also vows not to cut one penny for military spending, Social Security or Medicare or Medicaid — and since these programs make up two-thirds of the national budget — there is not going to be a lot of pennies saved by cutting the remaining third. At the same time, Trump is vowing to increase spending on the Border Patrol and Department of Veterans Affairs, which are part of the remaining third. So, that leaves even less than a third from which all the penny cuts can happen in order to balance the budget.

And that is why it is voodoo economics. If you think that is actually going to play out, you live in denial — deep denial because you’ve already seen similar but smaller plans under Reagan and Bush that took us much deeper into debt. Trump will take us there with our foot flat down on the accelerator. The plans of the filthy rich, like Trump, are exactly what has made this a great recession … for a few — the top one-percenters.

 

Trump’s plan is a typical politician’s wish-list of promises in order to get elected

 

Trump is also going to create six months of federally paid maternity leave and pay for that by cutting waste in unemployment programs. It’s always nice to think you will pay for the candy you want to offer by trimming unspecified fat elsewhere down the road. We need to trim the fat in every program without adding anything to the program just to lower the deficit into a sub-orbital trajectory.

The candy diet plan for trimming fat rarely works. It’s mostly fantasy, but it is the kind of fantasy that tax payers are almost always receptive to, and that’s why our deficits keep getting bigger as do our bellies as we continue to believe we can have it all.

The candy diet is tempting, but the only way to really cut taxes is to cut programs first and NOW when you have the power to do so then match your tax cuts to what you have already cut. You have to do the hard work first to prove the cuts are not a fantasy because the cuts you promise down the road will never be approved by the people you are speaking for. These spending cuts fail to materialize because they are always in areas that the other party hates to cut and, therefore, successfully fights. Like a mirage, spending cuts that are planned for down the road always remain down the road.

 

Earlier in his campaign, Trump proposed a $10 trillion tax cut over 10 years that was so large and costly that several Republican economists laughed when asked about it. He later tacked on a series of spending proposals that promised even larger deficits, including a push against illegal immigration that analysts estimated could cost up to $600 billion, a $500 billion investment in the nation’s infrastructure and a vow to restore $450 billion of existing cuts in military spending….

 

Marc Goldwein, the senior policy director of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said Trump is “relying on very rosy economic assumptions that I don’t think are going to come to fruition.” The economy is currently expected to grow by roughly 2 percent a year, and economists say Trump’s proposed restrictions on immigration would be among the many things hampering his ability to double that rate of expansion.  (Newsmax)

 

Trump promises to make sure no child is left behind by allowing child-care expenses to be deducted from what one pays in FICA taxes and Medicare taxes. Since he also promises he will allow no cuts to these entitlement programs, how will he pay for the childcare deductions unless the childless pay more into those already underfunded, overburdened programs, to make up for the deductions? More candy to be paid for by unspecified trimming of fat down the road, I suppose.

Trump will also eliminate the estate tax, which already applies only to very large estates (those worth more than the $5.45 million current exemption). This is a gift to his own children to boost their inheritance. No wonder they are stumping for his campaign, as that success alone could put billions of dollars in their own pockets. (Yet another gift that goes entirely to the rich … in this case the silver-spooned children of the rich.)

Trump also plans to stimulate the economy with massive new infrastructure programs — building new tunnels, better roads, maintaining bridges, etc. That is all stuff we should have jumped on eight years ago because it is the one form of deficit spending that, at least, gives the next generation something before you hand them the bill. However, Republicans under the obstructionist policies of John Boehner staunchly opposed it because they didn’t want Obama to get the credit. Now we’ve already piled up twenty trillion dollars of debt, using up much of our debt capacity.

Some say, the sky is the limit on how much debt the government can afford because it controls the money. It’s easy to prove how blatantly stupid that is in one sentence: In that case, let’s abolish all taxes forever and have the government always buy everything with debt. Heck, if twenty trillion dollars isn’t too much, why not double down on that in a decade. Anyone for Double in a Decade? That sounds pretty close to the Trump plan.

The Trump plan also promises to roll back regulations, including those on the energy industry and protections on the food you eat. What is there that an establishment Republican wouldn’t love in that? There is, as far as I can see, nothing in Trump’s economic-recovery plan that the Republican establishment doesn’t love because Trump turned to the establishment to engineer the plan in order to make peace with his party.

 

In the final analysis

 

Thus, the Trump plan looks to me like one last hurrah for the trickle-down crowd and the ultimate Trojan Horse of the Wall Street Establishment. The trump years will be the greatest block party ever because we get to hand the bill and the clean-up afterward to our kids and their kids. If you tell yourself otherwise, you’re just kidding yourself as we’ve done for the past thirty-plus years of trickle-down deficits because that, in the end, is the only thing that has trickled down: the debt has trickled on down the road to our progeny.

Although it appears Trump has caved in completely to the establishment, Larry Kudlow points out that the Donald still needs to be schooled in a few things where he hasn’t yet drunk the establishment’s Kool-Aid®:

 

That said, Trump’s view of monetary policy, especially the dollar, needs to be resolved. At the Economic Club of New York, he charged that the Fed is being “totally controlled politically.” Elsewhere he has stated that Fed chair Janet Yellen is keeping interest rates ultra-low in a political effort to boost Democratic fortunes. I disagree.

 

But don’t worry. After Trump spends several more months with the likes of Larry, Kudlow & Company will get him to suck up the rest of the establishment’s dogma and become as much a friend of the Fed as he has always been a friend of the one percent. According to Kudlow, Trump just needs a little more learning, and then he’ll know that the Fed is really a balanced organization, chartered to seek the greater public good.

TheRump will soon give up his paranoid idea that he needs to fire Janet Yellen. He’ll learn that the Fed is not just a bunch of banking cronies seeking to make themselves vastly richer at the rest of the world’s expense, even though that is the only thing that has happened inside the Eccles building since Alan Greenspan took office there.

It sounds like TheRump has mostly gotten “on message” as establishment pundits said he needed to do if he intended to win this race. He has fully adopted the ultimate Reaganomics deficit-based, trickle-down tax plan as his own. TheRump is still half baked in Larry’s point of view, but the establishment has tenderized him, and he’s coming around nicely. He has even softened his immigration stance.

Who would have thought you could so easily win a self-interested, self-aggrandizing, blustering, boisterous, rich buffoon over to a plan that serves all of his own personal interests? The two-party system is working is magic to give the Donald a comb over, grooming him into their candidate who will, once again, make certain the one percenters continue to prosper ahead of everyone else with the promise of nutritious crumbs below for the middle class voters. (It goes without saying that you’re not going to get anything anti-establishment out of Hillary, so I don’t even need to make that argument. The Democrats already solved that concern for their corporate cronies by cheating Bernie out of a fair race; but what else is new?)

 

Make America great again

 

One thing is certain to anyone who is capable of learning from thirty-five years of history: the debt under Trump will be great … really great. It’ll be a great debt like you’ve never seen before, and the Fed will be great, too. It’ll all be great again once TheRump finishes his schooling under Kudlow and Moore and other Republican apperatchiks who have been given the task of tutoring him in the Established Dogma.

It may take them another year to file off the Donald’s remaining edges and get him to realize that cheap foreign labor is good for American businesses, too, and to knock off his opposition to free trade, which is also good for American business stockholders and CEOs (though not at all good for American workers and average citizens). The rich are going to love Trump’s plan — really love it! Just wait. You’ll see.

 

The Rate Coalition, which lists Boeing Co., Ford Motor Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. among corporate supporters, said it won’t endorse all aspects of Trump’s plan but that the tax proposal is a “huge step in the right direction and we urge other candidates in the race to follow his lead.” (Newsmax)

 

See. They are starting to fall in love with it already.

 

Trump is pushing a plan squarely in the GOP tradition of sharp tax cuts for individuals and businesses, which most analyses conclude would largely benefit wealthier Americans. That’s in contrast with other issues such as international trade, where he has jettisoned decades of GOP orthodoxy and taken a more populist stance. (Newsmax)

 

Don’t worry. He’ll likely come around on the latter just as much as he did on the former. The establishment is already absorbing the anti-establishment candidate into the corporate collective. Trump’s tax plan is now in its third iteration, and each move has shifted more benefits toward the rich.

 

In its original form, the Republican presidential nominee’s plan was set to exempt about 70 million lower-income Americans from paying any taxes at all — and offer cuts to middle-income taxpayers, who are most likely to use the standard deduction. When that provision didn’t make it into Trump’s speech on economic policy Monday, observers were left to wonder just how much his revamped proposals will benefit lower- and middle-income Americans…. Moore and economist Lawrence Kudlow have been working with the Trump campaign to try to lower the cost of his original tax proposal…. Trump’s new plan would provide more modest cuts in individual tax rates. (Newsmax)

 

Now that Trump has been drinking the Kudlow Kul-Aid, the cuts have become particularly more modest for the middle class (while greater for the upper class). That was back in August with the first shift in his tax plan. His shift in September toward corporate interests and the top one-percenters was even greater.

 

It doesn’t matter anyway

 

The game should soon be over anyway. The one-percenters have so successfully rerouted all advantages to the top and throttled the middle class that they have killed their own marketplace while heaping vast debts upon the nation to make themselves richer. The imminent implosion is only being held off by an all-stops-out Federal Reserve that now buys up any market it needs to — stocks, bonds, oil, you name it — to stave off mass revolt until after the election. Trump’s gifts to the rich along with his mirage of spending cuts simply puts that gold-plated Trump finish to America’s bankruptcy.

The last squeezing of wealth toward the top one percent is likely to burst America’s already smoldering social fabric into widespread flames once American citizens find they have been trumped once again by the rich. You can only squeeze the lemon so tight before it has nothing left to give. I doubt — having predicted epocalypse this year — that the Fed can even hold things off until the election; but if they do manage to postpone America’s eruption, the nation is only going to be that much more enraged.

There is nothing in any of Trump’s plans that will reinstate Glass-Steagall, break up major conglomerates (especially banks so they are no longer too big to fail), eliminate all the practices of Wall Street that make it mostly a speculative casino for the megarich, force the rich to pay an equal percentage of their wealth in taxes as those beneath them, or to replace an extremely complex, politically manipulated income tax entirely with a simple, progressive sales tax, or to stop the US from being the global cop so that we can reduce military spending nor in any way to begin to live within our means by paying entirely for our warfare and welfare as we go. There is, in short, nothing here that will make America great again!

There is also nothing in his Trump-America-Again plan that eliminates, curbs or even attempts to reform the Fed’s control over all the money in the world. It’s all fantasy economics. He even wants an ex-Goldman-Sachs banker to run the Treasury! (Let’s put the Cobra in the chicken’s nest to guard the eggs!)

Yes, the establishment has hated the original Donald Trump, but the newly combed-over Trump (and the make-over came easily because Trump in his heart serves only himself anyway) is looking more like an establishment puppet everyday. He’s just a yappy puppet with a sharp mouth that voices what the public wants to hear. He’s entertainment in the colosseum for the Romans.

That kind of makeover of a candidate tends to happen when someone has no true ideas of his own and only knows what makes everyone else angry and how to tap into that anger. Trump made himself a lightning rod, and the neocons are figuring out how to use it since they are stuck with it. Now that TheRump has chosen his advisors, he’s looking more like them every day.

I’d like to hope that an enraged response by the electorate before the elections could jar him back on track before his conversion is complete. However, it could be that the anti-establishment rhetoric was all a ruse to begin with. Maybe he always intended to serve himself the biggest tax breaks in history (before that audit catches up with him and he has to start actually paying taxes), or maybe he’s actually a decoy for Hillary, caving into the establishment right in the final leg of the race so that the growing anti-establishment vote winds up with nowhere to turn on election day.

Thumbs up, I guess, to TheRump for pulling that one off. “We gotcha one more time.”

Published:9/29/2016 5:06:21 PM
[Science] Clinton: If Trump is smart for not paying taxes, then what are we?

Becket Adams

Hillary Clinton went after Donald Trump Thursday for suggesting this week that he's "smart" to avoid paying federal income taxes.

"[Trump] actually is proud of the fact that he lets everybody else pay taxes. Published:9/29/2016 5:06:21 PM

[Markets] Markets Down in September, but Could Head Upwards in Friday Trading Published:9/29/2016 5:06:21 PM
[marketsNews] BRIEF-Threshold Pharmaceuticals says to cut about a quarter of its workforce - SEC Filing * Says implementing a workforce reduction constituting approximately a quarter of the company's workforce - SEC Filing
Published:9/29/2016 5:06:21 PM
[Astronomy] Earth’s obliquity and temperature over the last 20,000 years Recently, there was a timeline comic from XKCD about the history of Earth’s temperature over the Holocene which got quite a bit of play, due to the fact that it had the inevitable “hockey stick” splice onto the end. Josh came up with a much less dogmatic and more detailed version, which we covered here.… Published:9/29/2016 5:06:21 PM
[Entertainment] Kate Plus 8 Is Coming Back: 4 Things We Hope to See Play Out on the New Season Kate GosselinGet your DVRs ready, because one famous family is coming back to the small screen. Kate Gosselin confirmed that after nearly a year away from reality TV, she and her eight children will...
Published:9/29/2016 5:06:21 PM
[US Politics] ‘Youth’ gone wild! WARNING: Team Hillary’s latest attempt to court millennials might make you cringe. #SquadGoals

Looks like SOMEBODY knows how to use the Urban Dictionary.

The post ‘Youth’ gone wild! WARNING: Team Hillary’s latest attempt to court millennials might make you cringe. #SquadGoals appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:9/29/2016 5:06:21 PM
[Health] 5 Babies Show the Sobering Reality of What It’s Like to Be Born Addicted to Drugs

"His tiny delicate feet shake violently..."

The post 5 Babies Show the Sobering Reality of What It’s Like to Be Born Addicted to Drugs appeared first on Independent Journal Review.

Published:9/29/2016 5:06:21 PM
[Anthony Shorris] Rivington Hearing Ends With Council and Mayor’s Office Accusing Each Other of Lying It was a fitting ending for a City Council hearing that was, at its heart, about failures to communicate: with another miscommunication. Published:9/29/2016 5:06:21 PM
[Politics] Trump spox Jason Miller is absolutely embarrassing in this interview… jason-miller-trumpEveryone is talking about this unbelievable interview with Trump spokes-moron Jason Miller, where he acts as if Trump’s campaign is in some alternate reality where he killed it in the debate. It’s . . . Published:9/29/2016 5:06:21 PM
[Politics] IT’S OPEN THREAD TIME! openthreadHere’s your evening open thread, courtesy of Free Beacon, Hillary, and National Drink Beer Day. CHEERS! Published:9/29/2016 5:06:21 PM
[Column] Innovation is in all the wrong places Red blood cells I live a pretty cosmopolitan futuristic life atop a glass skyscraper in New York City, but I’ve yet to get a pizza delivered by drone, order a taxi from Alexa or open a hotel door with my smartwatch. We’ve got the questions wrong: It shouldn’t be how are you innovating or which project is doing new things, but why are you doing it and on what level. Read More
Published:9/29/2016 5:06:21 PM
[The Blog] The siege of Aleppo and what the U.S. is doing about it

"The bombings at night are the worst."

The post The siege of Aleppo and what the U.S. is doing about it appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:9/29/2016 5:06:21 PM
[World] Greg Gutfeld Monologue on Donald Trump Feud With Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado

In his monologue today, Greg Gutfeld explained how Donald Trump's comments about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado's weight problems help Hillary Clinton.

Published:9/29/2016 4:37:32 PM
[World] 1 dead, over 100 hurt in train crash at New Jersey station HOBOKEN, N.J. (AP) — A rush-hour commuter train crashed through a barrier at the busy Hoboken station and lurched across the waiting area Thursday morning, killing one person and injuring more than 100 others in a grisly wreck that renewed questions about whether long-delayed automated safety technology could have prevented tragedy. Published:9/29/2016 4:37:31 PM
[Tech] JavascriptServices: ASP.NET Core meets node.js Nicolas Bello Camilletti explains the components included in JavaScriptServices. Published:9/29/2016 4:37:31 PM
[structure:news] Gordon Ramsay banned from daughter's parents evening after taking selfie with headmaster Published:9/29/2016 4:37:31 PM
[World] [Orin Kerr] District court overturns magistrate decision rejecting ‘seize first, search second’ procedure for email warrants

Magistrate Judge David J. Waxse has been an active participant in the “magistrates’ revolt,” an effort by a handful of federal magistrate judges to advance more privacy-protective approaches to the Fourth Amendment and the statutory privacy laws. In March, Waxse handed down a decision rejecting a warrant to search several Hotmail email accounts on the ground that the two-step procedure used to execute email warrants violated the Fourth Amendment. Under the procedure, the warrant orders the service provider to hand over the entire account; the government then searches the entire account for the information sought in the warrant. Echoing his decision from 2015 about cellphone searches, Waxse held in March that this two-step procedure violates the Fourth Amendment particularity requirement unless the government includes a sufficient set of ex ante search protocols guiding the warrant.

The government then sought further review from the Article III district court.

District Judge Carlos Murguia has now handed down a new decision reviewing Magistrate Judge Waxse’s March decision. Judge Murguia does not engage a first-principles rethinking of the law as did Magistrate Judge Waxse. Instead, Judge Murguia mostly follows the decisions of other courts.

Most importantly, Judge Murguia concludes that the two-step email warrant procedure satisfies the Fourth Amendment’s particularity requirement without search protocols:

[T]his court concludes it was clearly erroneous or contrary to law for Judge Waxse to find it was not sufficiently particular. The warrant application identified with specificity the target email accounts to be searched and the evidence to be seized in connection with violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371 (conspiracy), 1029 (access device fraud), 1030 (computer intrusion), 1343 (wire fraud), and 2319 (copyright infringement), all occurring since September 7, 2008. The government stated with specificity the exact information it sought, thus leaving officers with little discretion to go outside the scope of the warrant. The application also included an affidavit detailing the criminal scheme and explaining the relevance of the evidence to the investigation. Rule 41(e) (2) authorizes the “seize first, search second” two-step process, thus allowing the government to obtain all of the data to later search for relevant evidence. And while Rule 41(e) (2) leaves open the question of particularity when the government seeks ESI, the majority of case law relating to the search of an email account has upheld the Government’s ability to obtain the entirety of the account to then search for relevant evidence. Based on the current state of the law, this court finds Judge Waxse’s decision regarding particularity was clearly erroneous or contrary to law.

On the other hand, Judge Murguia agrees that probable cause was lacking in this application, and he refuses to consider the government’s updated application that had a broader basis of cause. So the government wins on the big issue, but technically it loses on this particular application (which it can then just renew with more evidence).

Also interesting, albeit in dicta, Murguia states that ex ante search restrictions are not per se prohibited:

Various courts have held that ex ante instructions are permissible, but not required under the Fourth Amendment. See In re Search Warrant, 71 A. 3d 1158 (Vt. 2012) (rejecting “any blanket prohibition on ex ante search warrant instructions”); see also In the Matter of a Warrant for All Content & Other Info. Associated with the Email Account xxxxxxx@gmail.com Maintained at Premises Controlled By Google, Inc., 33 F. Supp. 3d 386, 397 (S.D.N.Y. 2014), as amended (Aug. 7, 2014) [hereinafter, SDNY Email] (noting there was no requirement that a “magistrate judge approving a warrant application must or should impose ex ante restrictions pertaining to the later execution of that warrant” (emphasis added); United States v. Christie, 717 F. 3d 1156, 1166—67 (10th Cir. 2013) (discussing that the Fourth Amendment particularity requirement may or may not require limitations ex ante; however, “even if courts do not specify particular search protocol up front in the warrant application process, they retain the flexibility to assess the reasonableness of the search protocols the government actually employed in its search after the fact, when the case comes to court, and in light of the totality of the circumstances.”); United States v. Hill, 459 F. 3d 966, 978 (9th Cir. 2006) (“Moreover, in contrast to our discussion of the overbroad seizure claim above, there is no case law holding that an officer must justify the lack of a search protocol in order to support issuance of the warrant. As we have noted, we look favorably upon the inclusion of a search protocol; but its absence is not fatal”)

On the other hand, Judge Murguia “declines to rule on whether any [search restrictions], individually, are reasonable in this particular case”:

Although Judge Waxse included many options in his order, these were simply suggestions for the government in the future, not court-ordered ex ante instructions for the issuance of this specific warrant. Had Judge Waxse, for example, provisionally granted the warrant under the premise the government would submit a search protocol, or had he granted the warrant but ordered the use of a special master to search the data seized from the Provider, this court could then review those court-ordered ex ante limitations for reasonableness. Because no ex ante instructions were ordered, this court has nothing to review, and to comment on the reasonableness of each suggested limitation would result in this court issuing an advisory opinion.

Near the end of the opinion, Murguia summarizes his view of ex ante restrictions as follows: “[W]hile this court acknowledges that a judge may have the authority to impose reasonable ex ante instructions, it declines to comment on the ex ante instructions suggested by Judge Waxse.”

I think Judge Murguia’s discussion of ex ante search restrictions is mixing up some different issues. No one disagrees that if the government wants to include search restrictions, it is allowed to do so. Put another way, the magistrate judge can’t refuse to issue a warrant on the grounds that the government included ex ante restrictions. The question here raises the inverse issue: Can the magistrate judge condition issuing a warrant application on including an ex ante restriction, such that the application can be denied if the government refuses to include ex ante restriction?

My understanding is that the only precedent on this question is the 2012 Vermont case. It’s unfortunate that Judge Murguia appears not to question that precedent, as I think it’s wrong. But this is just dicta in the district court’s opinion, and the government won on the issue it had litigated. Given that, the legality of ex ante search restrictions remains uncertain.

The interesting question is what Magistrate Judge Waxse will do in response to the new opinion. Judge Murguia has now said that email warrants without search protocols satisfy the Fourth Amendment, but also that magistrate judges “may have the authority to impose reasonable ex ante instructions.” If you’re Waxse, do you now issue the warrants without search protocols on the grounds that such warrants are constitutional and Rule 41 states that you “must” issue the warrant accordingly? Or do you now just add your own search protocols — whatever feels reasonable to you — and then force the government to decide whether to seek review of those search protocols under whatever reasonableness standard the district court may later devise?

I’m guessing the latter, which means that there’s likely more litigation ahead. As always, stay tuned.

Published:9/29/2016 4:37:30 PM
[CDS] Gundlach: "The Market Will Keep Pushing Deutsche Bank Lower Until It Is Bailed Out"

With stunned investors reliving memories of the 2008 crisis as Deutsche Bank, a bank that is half the size of its host, Germany, seemingly on the precipice, and with Angela Merkel vowing as recently as this weekend not to bailout the bank, the market felt paralyzed: should it BTFD as it always has every time in the past 7 years, or should it wait for more clarity from the bailouters-in-chief before allocating capital to another riskless transaction, which may well be the next Lehman brothers.

 

Not helping matters was Jeffrey Gundlach, who as part of his weekly chat with Reuters' Jennifer Ablan said that should tread lightly carefully when trading Deutsche Bank shares because a government bailout is not out of the question. The problem is how does one get to it.

"I would just stay away. It's un-analyzable," Gundlach said about Deutsche Bank shares and debt. "It's too binary."

Gundlach said investors who are betting against shares in Deutsche Bank might find it futile. Maybe, but not if they cover their shorts before the max pain point, something which the market - where equity/CDS pair trades now allow a "go for default" strategy - will actively seek out.

"The market is going to push down Deutsche Bank until there is some recognition of support. They will get assistance, if need be."

What happens then? "One day, Deutsche Bank shares will go up 40 percent. And it will be the day the government bails them out. That jump will happen in a minute," Gundlach said. "It is about an event which is completely out of your control."

Unless, of course, the government does not bail DB out, as Merkel vowed she wouldn't, in the process painting herself into a corner with only adverse possible outcomes.

What if DB is just the bank that the system will use to teach a world addicted to bailouts a (bail-in) lesson? In that case, being long the CDS would be a far more lucrative option than shorting the stock, or using a straddle to bet on a surge in vol in the coming days.

Published:9/29/2016 4:37:30 PM
[Entertainment] How Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's Kids Are Doing Amid Their Parents' Divorce Brad Pitt, Pax, Shiloh, Maddox, Jolie-PittAs with any family, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's divorce is not only affecting them, but also their six children, Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh and twins Knox and Vivienne. One of the...
Published:9/29/2016 4:37:30 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Trump VERSUS Trump on Lester Holt! trumpversustrumpThis is so Trump. Right after the debate Trump literally said Lester Holt did a great job and that he was fair. But in the aftermath of the debate, now Trump is . . . Published:9/29/2016 4:37:30 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Trump VERSUS Trump on Lester Holt! trumpversustrumpThis is so Trump. Right after the debate Trump literally said Lester Holt did a great job and that he was fair. But in the aftermath of the debate, now Trump is . . . Published:9/29/2016 4:37:30 PM
[US Politics] Wait WUT? 19 dead Virginians just registered to vote; gosh, that’s peculiar

Nineteen dead people registered to vote in Virginia (a swing state) but hey, Democrats say we don’t have an issue with voter fraud. Nope. Nothing to see here. He fought in World War II. He died in 2014. And he just registered to vote in Va. https://t.co/jIgRehPaqb — Washington Post (@washingtonpost) September 29, 2016 The […]

The post Wait WUT? 19 dead Virginians just registered to vote; gosh, that’s peculiar appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:9/29/2016 4:37:30 PM
[Automotive] Volvo to target luxury buyers with self-driving car coming in 5 years Drive Me, the world’s most ambitious and advanced public autonomous driving experiment, starts today High-end vehicle, chauffeur included? You can see why it makes sense that Volvo would target the luxury end of the market with its upcoming self-driving car. Volvo announced plans to field a vehicle by 2021, thanks in part to a $300 million deal with Volvo that will let it leverage some of their work, but now we have some more details, including the vehicle’s high-end approach. Volvo… Read More
Published:9/29/2016 4:37:30 PM
[2016 elections] Hillary’s Bad News From Congressional Hearing Swept Aside by Gushing Debate Coverage Bad news about Hillary Clinton's email scandal was buried by her positive debate coverage Published:9/29/2016 4:37:30 PM
[Science] Wells Fargo in trouble again after repossessing US servicemembers' cars

Anna Giaritelli

Wells Fargo Bank will pay a $4.1 million settlement as part of an agreement to settle allegations that the bank illegally repossessed 413 cars owned by members of the U.S. military, according to a press release issued Thursday.

"Auto lenders cannot repossess the cars of the brave men and women who risk their lives to defend our freedom without providing them the required legal protections under the SCRA," said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

Gupta was referring to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which protects servicemembers from select civil proceedings, including a bank's attempt to repossess a car that was purchased before a person entered military service.

As part of the agreement filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the Wells Fargo Dealer Services has also agreed to change its policies in order to adhere to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

Justice Department officials began investigating Wells Fargo in March after the U.S. Army's Legal Assistance Program claimed the company had repossessed a car belonging to an Army National Guardsman who had been preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. Published:9/29/2016 4:37:30 PM

[marketsNews] BRIEF-IBI Group announces redemption of 7.0% convertible unsecured subordinated debentures * IBI Group Inc announces redemption of 7.0% convertible unsecured subordinated debentures due June 30, 2019 and having a conversion price of $5.00 per common share
Published:9/29/2016 4:37:30 PM
[Astronomy ] Fermi finds record-breaking binary in galaxy next door Using data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and other facilities, an international team of scientists has found the first gamma-ray binary in another galaxy and the most luminous one ever seen. The dual-star system, dubbed LMC P3, contains a massive star and a crushed stellar core that interact to produce a cyclic flood of gamma rays, the highest-energy form of light. Published:9/29/2016 4:37:30 PM
[Top Picks] Obama: Maybe Kaepernick should rethink his form of protest

"I believe that us honoring our flag and our anthem is part of what binds us together as a nation."

The post Obama: Maybe Kaepernick should rethink his form of protest appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:9/29/2016 4:37:30 PM
[Uncategorized] Former French President Sarkozy Pledges to Help UK Reverse Brexit . . . not that they want to Published:9/29/2016 4:37:30 PM
[Barack Obama] Barack Obama, Keeping Us Safe! (John Hinderaker) Keeping Americans safe is the president’s foremost responsibility. How has Barack Obama done in that regard? You could say that he has failed, but it would be more accurate to say he hasn’t tried. Michael Ramirez sums it up nicely. Click to enlarge: As I wrote here, the issues that matter most to voters seem to have disappeared from the presidential campaign, at least temporarily. It would be nice if Published:9/29/2016 4:37:30 PM
[] Thursday Personal Projects Thread So my only ongoing project, still not begun, is taking climbing lessons. I'd planned for this week or the next but now I'm wondering if I should wait. Because, as hard to believe as it might seem, my grip strength... Published:9/29/2016 4:37:30 PM
[storytype:standard] Syrian troops begin ground offensive to retake Aleppo Published:9/29/2016 4:04:18 PM
[World] [David Post] An open letter to Volokh Conspiracy readers who are Trump supporters

Donald Trump holds a rally with supporters in Waukesha, Wis., on Wednesday. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Some weeks ago, in one of my periodic postings about Donald Trump’s lack of fitness to be president of the United States, I dropped a casual remark to the effect that I assumed that none of my readers were misguided enough to take him seriously, or to serve as a volunteer in his campaign. Several commenters took me to task for the remark; “what kind of bubble do you live in?” one asked.

It’s a fair question, and fair criticism. It did make me reflect a bit on the “bubble.” It is true that, for the first time in my life, spanning more than a dozen presidential elections, a major-party candidate does not have support from a single friend of mine — or even from a close acquaintance. Maybe it’s just because I spend most of my time either in the District or Vermont, and finding Trump supporters in either of those jurisdictions is a very difficult task. I suspect, though, that it reflects something more insidious, and that we are really, finally, collapsing into separate camps, each with its own favored newspapers, and websites, and TV news channels, and so on, and across whose boundaries nothing passes.

So in the spirit of constructive engagement, let me ask a couple of questions, regarding things that I really do not understand in connection with Trump’s candidacy. I understand many people’s hostility to Hillary Clinton, though I don’t share it to a great degree, and I understand the desire for “change” in Washington, and the notion that the ruling elites have failed miserably to address many of our problems. And I understand that people can have different, and more Trump-friendly, views than mine on all sorts of policy questions, on everything from immigration to gun rights to international trade and the rest.

I get all that. But here’s what I don’t get.  Trump is unstable — what the Arizona Republic newspaper, in endorsing a Democratic nominee for the first time in its 126-year history, called his “inability to control himself or be controlled by others,” and his “reckless … lack of propriety” — and unstable people should not be put in command of our armed forces and our nuclear codes.  The U.S. commander in chief has awesome, and virtually unconstrained, power to commit U.S. forces to battle and to dictate to the generals — generals sworn to obey his orders — how those battles should be fought, up to and including the use of nuclear weapons.

For me, the election conversation really starts, and ends, here, before you get to immigration policy, or climate change, or SCOTUS appointments, or international trade, or law and order, or any of the other issues the next president will have to deal with, and I don’t understand how Trump supporters get past this point.

So my question is: Which part of that formulation do you disagree with? That he’s dangerously unstable? Or that it matters, as a dispositive criterion for choosing a president? Trump has a secret plan to deal with the Islamic State; you trust that he will act reasonably and prudently in pursuit of that plan because …?

I don’t mean these as rhetorical questions, and I’m not trying to be snarky or sarcastic.  I genuinely cannot imagine an argument in support of putting that kind of power — the power to kill, and to get American soldiers killed — into this guy’s hands.

And please, if you do care to respond, I ask that you NOT tell me about how terrible you think Hillary Clinton is. I get that; many of you think she’s an abomination. Many of you may even think that she’s dangerously unstable and shouldn’t be entrusted with the commander in chief’s power. Fine; put that all aside. My question isn’t “Whom do you like more, Trump or Clinton?,” nor is it “Why aren’t you supporting Hillary Clinton?” (or Gary Johnson, for that matter). It’s a much simpler question, and it’s just about Donald Trump. For purposes of this question, it doesn’t matter who he’s running against; the failings of other candidates don’t affect his standing on the one test that matters most of all. If you’re a supporter, I assume that you’ve satisfied yourself that he will exercise the rather awesome and terrifying powers of the U.S. commander in chief in a reasonable manner, and I’m curious as to how you’ve done that.

And I have a second question: What makes you think that you’re not being scammed?  This guy’s the master of the scam — it has been his M.O. for years.  Short of tattooing “CON MAN” on his forehead, how much more obvious could it be? Trump University! The Trump “Charitable” Foundation!! The Trump Institute!!! Every one of them is a con job. You can bet that in a quiet moment, talking with friends, he has a word to describe all the folks who shelled out their hard-earned money for his worthless junk: “suckers.” One born every minute, or so I’ve heard.

So even if you like all his policies, what makes you think he will follow through with anything he promises? Why would you believe that? Don’t you think that you’re going to wake up one morning during a Trump presidency and smack your forehead with your palm and say, “Damn! He conned us!”? If not, why not?

It’s a lousy feeling, the feeling that you’ve been taken in by a scam, as I can testify from personal experience. I fell for a scam once, more than 40 years ago; the experience seared itself in my memory, and I can recall it vividly to this day. I picked up a guy hitchhiking on Interstate 95; he was going back, he said, to his Army base after a weekend leave. Really good guy; we hit it off, had a really nice, earnest conversation about things, over the course of three or four hours.  I ended up lending him 50 bucks — a fair bit of money back in those days, at least for a grad student on a stipend that I think was around $1,800 a year. I think I may have even been the one who suggested the loan, which would enable him, by taking a bus back to base rather than hitchhiking, to be sure to arrive back in time. He promised, of course, to send me a check the moment he got back to his barracks — and he gave me his address in case there was any problem at all. Like a dope, I believed it, at least until I sent him a gentle reminder at the address he gave me — and it was returned to sender as undeliverable. At which point I had my palm-smack-to-forehead moment. Schmuck! You believed him!! Although I suppose in retrospect, 50 bucks was a small price to pay for the lesson in the need for healthy skepticism.

The thing that makes Trump’s con job so obvious, to me, is not just his history of scamming people, appalling though that is. It’s that even if he were being sincere in all the things he’s promising, he’s not going to deliver because he’s not going to be able to deliver, and he’s not going to be able to deliver because he hasn’t the faintest idea, and has completely surrounded himself with people who themselves haven’t the faintest idea, how to get anything done using the levers of the federal government.

It’s not a trivial problem. That’s the thing about the Constitution: Presidents (unlike, say, chief executives of privately held corporations) can’t just snap their fingers and get things done (except, terrifyingly in this case, in their role as commander in chief; see Question 1). All of Trump’s promises — to “overhaul the Tax Code,” to”unleash America’s $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves,” to “deliver safe neighborhoods … all across this country [and] to make our communities safe again from crime and lawlessness,”  the whole lot of them — will require navigating a very complex world of law-making and law-applying, comprising 435 representatives, 100 senators, countless interest groups clamoring for their preferments, enormous federal agencies with complicated agendas of their own. We can all wish, perhaps, that it weren’t so; but it is so.

And while it is true that this affects all presidential candidates, all of whom make sweeping promises to do this or that, and then, when they get into office, are unable to just snap their fingers to get them done, there is a difference here: We have never, in the history of this country, had a major-party presidential candidate who knew less about how governments at any level function and actually get things done than Donald Trump. This ain’t Ronald Reagan, folks, who had spent eight years figuring government out as governor of California. It is fantasy to think that Trump is going to somehow miraculously figure it out. Trump will be very lucky if Congress and all those interests and bureaucrats don’t play him like a violin — implementing his agenda? Hard to imagine.

A cautionary tale: Trump is not the first snake-oil salesman or con man to seek high elected office. A few weeks ago, I read the first of the four volumes of Robert Caro’s sensational biography of LBJ, entitled “The Path to Power,” covering Lyndon Johnson’s boyhood and early political career (up to around 1940) in Texas. Caro’s book is peopled with all sorts of amazing characters I had never heard of or knew next to nothing about (John Nance Garner; Johnson’s father, Sam Ealy Johnson; Sam Rayburn; Herman Brown, a founder of the Brown & Root engineering and construction company; political operative Alvin Wirtz), a dozen or so of whom get full-blown mini-biographies inside of the overall narrative of LBJ’s life.

One of these characters was Wilbert Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel. O’Daniel was a salesman for the Burrus Mills Flour Co. who started, in the late 1920s, hosting a Burrus-sponsored half-hour radio show, featuring “hillbilly music” (by a group called the Light Crust Doughboys, which for a time included Bob Wills, later to become one of the legendary founders of Texas “swing”), songs that O’Daniel wrote and some religious homilies. He was, apparently, terrific at it — H.L. Mencken’s American Mercury magazine called his on-air persona “Will Rogers and Dale Carnegie and Bing Crosby all rolled into one” — and the O’Daniel show became a statewide sensation. In 1935, he took some of the money he had made and started his own flour business — Hillbilly Flour (whose slogan, “Pass the Biscuits, Pappy!,” strikes me as a little more upbeat than “You’re fired”) — and began broadcasting as Pappy O’Daniel and the Hillbilly Boys.

He was Texas’s first real statewide media star. In 1938, he ran for governor.  The story is that Carr Collins — an insurance magnate, radio station owner and seller of Crazy Crystals, minerals that allegedly acted as a laxative when drenched in water — suggested to O’Daniel that running for governor would be a great way to market his flour. Pappy introduced the idea to his radio audience by reading a letter, supposedly from a blind listener, urging the broadcaster to enter the gubernatorial race. O’Daniel told his listeners that he’d run, but only if they wanted him to, and that they should send in a postcard giving their view on the question. On his next show, he announced the results: “Yes” carried the day, 54,499 to 4.

So Pappy and the Hillbilly Boys hit the road. His “platform” consisted largely of the Ten Commandments, and one central promise: a $30-per-month pension for every Texan older than 65.  His campaign rallies — which drew, to the amazement of political observers, enormous and frenzied crowds — featured a few words from the candidate, often including one of his homespun poems, a pitch for his Hillbilly Flour and a whole lot of free barbecue and music by the Hillbilly Boys. Nobody — certainly not any of the other 11 (!) candidates —  took him seriously for two seconds, until he beat them into the ground, garnering over 50 percent of the vote in the 12-man field.

Way to go, Pappy! Rich guy becomes media celebrity and parlays that into a position as chief executive.

Sound familiar? [Back in February, Jesse Walker, over at Reason, had a terrific piece on the Pappy/Trump parallels.]

But here’s the thing: Pappy never got anyone a pension. He was — surprise! — completely incapable of manipulating the levers of power at his disposal to get anything of substance done as governor. Other promises he had made from time to time on the campaign trail — to eliminate the poll tax and capital punishment — fell by the wayside as well. [You can read more about O’Daniel here at the Texas State Historical Association, and at Wikipedia here.]

It’s sad, really; a lot of people, played for suckers. A universal pension of even $30 per month would have alleviated a great deal of misery in Texas, and the state almost certainly had enough money to pay for it. The immense East Texas Oil Field — 5 billion barrels of oil, more oil than the geologists’ estimates of total global petroleum reserves at the time — started pumping out oil in 1930 and 1931, and by the time of Pappy’s triumphant entrance into Austin, there was lots and lots of money pouring into Texas.

But Pappy had no idea how to pull it off and failed to get much of anything done, because it turns out getting governments to get things done is a complicated business, requiring some cajoling, some threats, some compromise, the assembling of coalitions and all the rest. [And just to complete the tale, the senior citizens of Texas did, of course, eventually get those government pensions. It’s called Social Security, which began its payouts in 1940, and it took someone — many people, actually — who actually understood how governments work to make it happen.]

So that’s Question 2: Assuming you can get past the commander-in-chief problem, what makes you think that the outcome of Trump’s presidency would be any different from the outcome of Pappy O’Daniel’s governorship?

I’m looking forward to reading your responses.

Published:9/29/2016 4:04:17 PM
[Science] Trump: Sanders could have been 'legendary political figure'

Gabby Morrongiello

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders could have become a revered figure in contemporary politics had he not "sold out to the devil" by endorsing Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump said at a rally on Thursday.

"You know, if Bernie hadn't made this deal and just done something where he maybe just did nothing and just went away, he would have been a legendary character," the Republican presidential nominee told supporters in Bedford, N.H., miles away from where Sanders and Clinton had campaigned together on Wednesday.

Sanders shocked Democrats early on in his bid for the White House after he began attracting tens of thousands of voters to his campaign events and edging Clinton in polls among women and millennials. Published:9/29/2016 4:04:17 PM

[Bill Gross] Just 3 Things

Submitted by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

Confidence Peak

It was interesting to see the markets reaction to the Consumer Confidence report on Tuesday, along with some of the media headlines, to wit:

“Consumer confidence just surged to its highest level since the recession. The latest reading on consumer confidence from the Conference Board came in at 104.1 for September, up from the prior month’s 101.8. The index touched 105.6 in August 2007.”

There are a couple of important points to consider in the statement above.

First, it is NOT surprising that after 8-years of an economic recovery that consumer confidence has finally recovered all the way back to where it was prior to the last recession. This is what you would expect of during any economic recovery, much less one driven by massive liquidity injections, Government programs to promote consumption and ongoing Central Bank interventions. The fact we are only NOW back at previous highs shows just how fractured the domestic economy was, and likely still is.

Secondly, and most importantly, records are a record for a reason. Record levels denote the point that previously marked the end of a cycle, not the beginning of a new one. This point is often missed by the mainstream media. Record highs of anything, whether it is economic, fundamental or financial data, are warnings signs of late stage events.

The chart below is the COMPOSITE confidence index which is an average of the Conference Board and University of Michigan consumer confidence indices.

consumer-sentiment-composite-092716

As I said, it is not surprising that consumers are THE MOST optimistic just prior to the onset of a recession.

But is there a possibility of a recession?

On Tuesday, I discussed the MOST IMPORTANT economic indicator – the Chicago Fed National Activity Index.

“While economic numbers like GDP or the monthly non-farm payroll report typically garner the headlines, one of the most useful economic measures is the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI). The index is a composite index made up of 85 subcomponents which give a broad overview of overall economic activity in the U.S. Unfortunately, the media gives it little attention.

 

Currently, the CFNAI is not confirming the mainstream view of stronger “economy” headed into year-end, but rather one that may well be closer to the brink of recession. The chart below shows the diffusion index of the CFNAI index as compared to the S&P 500. Since the markets are reflective of the economy, the diffusion index shows the trend of the 85 subcomponents of the index. As shown, each time the diffusion index has reached current levels previously, the outcome for the economy and the markets was not so good.”

I have compared the CFNAI to the consumer confidence composite below. As you can see, there is a fairly high correlation between the two measures and recessions have been marked by declines.

consumer-confidence-cfnai-092716

We get a different view by using the 6-month average of the CFNAI, and again comparing it to the consumer confidence composite. You will notice the same correlation in the data as shown above. However, the temporary deviations between consumer confidence and the economy tend to occur in the latter stages of an economic expansion as “hope” runs high. Unfortunately, “hope” is eventually grasped by “reality” as consumer confidence plays catch-up with the economy and not the other way around.

consumer-confidence-cfnai-2-092716

While consumer confidence is hitting peaks currently, it should really be viewed as a warning rather than a reason to run out and commit capital to risk assets at potentially the wrong time.

 

Is The Dumb Money Doing It Again

Despite the warnings of the economic and fundamental data, the exuberance of investors is always an interesting phenomenon to watch. One way to view investor behavior is by looking at the commitment of traders (COT) data to see where large traders (supposedly the smart money) and retail investors (the dumb money) are placing their bets. The chart below shows the data smoothed with a 3-month average going back to 1984.

smart-dumb-money-3mo-092716

While the data is “noisy,” a cursory look reveals what is generally accepted in the financial markets – “you suck at investing.” Small traders consistently buy tops and sell bottoms even though they are repeatedly told just to “buy and hold” long-term.

This should immediately make you question what you hear in the media and from financial pundits. If THEY are all telling you to “buy and hold” because YOU can’t effectively manage your money, then why are THEY not following the same advice?  As the old axiom goes:

If you are playing poker and can’t tell who the pigeon is, it’s you.”

Another way to look at the data is to take the net difference of the two measures and subtracting the “smart money” from the “dumb money.” I have once again smoothed the data with a 3-month moving average to reduce the noise. What we find is once again a high propensity of retail investors to be buying into the market near both short and intermediate-term market peaks.

smart-dumb-money-netdiff-092716

Lastly, if we take the ratio of the dumb-to-smart money and an inversion of the smart-to-dumb ratio we once again find further confirmation of retail investors poor investment decision processes.

smart-dumb-ratio-092716

Here is the point. Once again, we are witnessing smart-money reducing exposure to “risk” while retail investor continues to stay invested. This will likely not end well and, as I addressed Tuesday, there are many indications that we are likely very near a long-term peak in the market.

“The short-term outlook remains bullishly constructive for the moment as long as the market can maintain the bullish trend line from the February lows. However, on a longer-term basis, the economic and fundamental data is having a much more difficult time trying to support current price and valuation levels. As shown in the chart below of quarterly data, the market is currently at levels that have historically ALWAYS been associated with a major peak.”

sp500-marketupdate-092616-4

It might be worth turning off the “nattering nay-bobs” on television and start thinking about what the “smart money” knows that you don’t.

 

But They Said The “Bond Bull” Was Dead…Again

Beginning in 2013, I started writing a series of articles suggesting why interest rates were going lower for longer.

When Bill Gross said the bond bull market was dead – I bought bonds.

When the mainstream media repeatedly touted the “death of the bond bull” each time rates ticked up, I bought more bonds.

Three weeks ago, the media once again started proclaiming the death of the “bond bull market” once again. And…I bought bonds. To wit:

“This past week there was ample commentary suggesting interest rates were set to “soar” higher and the death of the“bond bull market” was finally here. While such commentary is always inevitable whenever rates rise for any given reason, it is hardly the case.

 

First of all, as I have stated previously, interest rates do not function in isolation. They are a function of economic growth over time as borrowing costs are driven by the demand for credit given the return on investment generated from borrowing activities. In other words, money isn’t borrowed at 4% interest if the return on the use of those borrowed funds is 3%.

The chart below proves this.”

interestrates-gdp-091016

“Given that interest rates had gotten extremely oversold during the “Brexit,” money poured into bonds for safety, it is not surprising to see rates have a reflexive move higher. What we saw on Friday was likely rate “shorts” being blown out of positions.

 

However, interest rates are now at extreme overbought levels only seen near peaks in interest movements AND pushing on the downtrend line from 2015. This will likely prove to be a decent opportunity to rebalance bond exposure to target levels in portfolios next week.

 

I will be adding more bonds to portfolios next week as well.”

Chart updated through this week:

bonds-rates-092716

Interestingly, as I stated last week:

“With 10-year rates now back to an overbought condition (bonds now oversold), and pushing the accelerated downtrend line that began with the conclusion of QE3, the most likely movement will be down in conjunction with a ‘risk-off’ move in the markets.”

Importantly, while interest rates could possibly tick higher to the long-term downtrend line at 2.1%, (OMG, run for the hills)the reality is the economy is not growing strongly enough to support substantially higher rates which will push the economy more quickly towards the next recession.

Of course, it is during recessions that interest rates fall sharply. Given the rising level of evidence of a potential recession within the next 12-18 months, and with the majority of global economies already sporting negative rates, I continue to expect Treasury yields to ultimately approach zero. 

Of course, there is also this little problem of correlation extremes between bonds and stocks, especially when combined with overbought conditions and sell signals. If history plays out, the next correction in stocks will likely break the uptrend and send money rushing back into bonds for “safety.”

sp500-rate-correlations-092816

I wouldn’t be too quick on making funeral arrangements for the “bond bull market” just yet.

Just some things I am thinking about.

 

Published:9/29/2016 4:04:17 PM
[65555bc7-a1a7-4396-9770-6bf1a6790049] Eboni K. Williams: Good news, Mr. Trump, stop-and-frisk is still in place After weeks of campaigning as the “law and order” candidate, Donald Trump has promised to bring back stop-and-frisk. Published:9/29/2016 4:04:17 PM
[Entertainment] Looking Back at 2015's Summer of Splits: Find Out Where the Former Couples Are Now Gwen Stefani, Gavin Rossdale, Ben Affleck, Jennifer GarnerIt was the summer of heartbreak, but a year later, have the wounds healed? Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale--one by...
Published:9/29/2016 4:04:17 PM
[2016 Election] Election Update: Even A Small Post-Debate Bounce Could Make A Big Difference For Clinton Want these election updates emailed to you right when they’re published? Sign up here. Like a lot of you, we at FiveThirtyEight are spending a lot of time refreshing our web browsers and Twitter feeds as we await new polls. Until we get more of those, figuring out how the first presidential debate affected the […] Published:9/29/2016 4:04:17 PM
[PAID] NXP Can Help Qualcomm Shift Its Gears Qualcomm remains too reliant on smartphone chips; a deal with NXP would add diversity. Published:9/29/2016 4:04:17 PM
[Opinion] The Republicans Share Much Responsibility For The FBI and DOJ Corruption It’s true that the American people are primarily responsible for the horrible, terrible,  no good, very bad Obama administration (after all, they elected him), but the Republicans, even after they knew full well that Obama was a liar, that he was a law breaker, that he despised the constitution, that he had sworn to “fundamentally ...
Published:9/29/2016 4:04:17 PM
[The Blog] Trump campaign to surrogates: Stop telling people that he lost the debate

Discipline.

The post Trump campaign to surrogates: Stop telling people that he lost the debate appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:9/29/2016 4:04:17 PM
[Science] The Court Case That Will Decide Obama’s Climate Legacy
The Court Case That Will Decide Obama’s Climate Legacy
Seven hours of legal argument on states' right to allow carbon pollution may determine the fate of the centerpiece of US efforts to limit climate change. The post The Court Case That Will Decide Obama’s Climate Legacy appeared first on WIRED.
Published:9/29/2016 4:04:16 PM
[Politics] WH Dodges on Whether Ignorance an Acceptable Excuse for Clinton’s Handling of Classified Info

The post WH Dodges on Whether Ignorance an Acceptable Excuse for Clinton’s Handling of Classified Info appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:9/29/2016 4:04:16 PM
[marketsNews] BRIEF-Alcoa board approves separation of company * Michael Morris will become non-executive chairman of Alcoa Corporation
Published:9/29/2016 4:04:16 PM
[Software ] New echolocation app on Google Play A new app developed by Clarkson University faculty and students allows users to use echolocation to better understand their surroundings. Published:9/29/2016 4:04:16 PM
[Robotics] The first episode of the MegaBots webseries takes a wrecking ball to its six-ton robot giphy-1 Seems like we’ve been waiting forever for the big showdown between Team USA and Japan. We’re seemingly no closer at the moment, but at least the team at MegaBots can offer a bit of good old-fashioned destruction to tide  us over before the massive machines go toe-to-toe. In the premier of its new web series (the trailer for which was shown off at Disrupt the other week), the… Read More
Published:9/29/2016 4:04:16 PM
[Lift] Hero Teacher Prevents There From Being Second School Shooting in One Day by Talking Kid Out of Attack

He had a list of people...

The post Hero Teacher Prevents There From Being Second School Shooting in One Day by Talking Kid Out of Attack appeared first on Independent Journal Review.

Published:9/29/2016 4:04:16 PM
[HESAA] Student Loan Reform Advances in N.J. A package of reforms to the state’s student loan authority advances in committee. Published:9/29/2016 4:04:16 PM
[Foreign Affairs] Obama Has Learned Nothing

President Obama’s town hall event on veterans’ issues on CNN Wednesday night was an emotional evening, and the president performed admirably when peppered with tough ...

The post Obama Has Learned Nothing appeared first on Commentary Magazine.

Published:9/29/2016 4:04:16 PM
[US Politics] Talk about projecting! This Hillary attack on Trump reeks of desperation (and hypocrisy)

Oh, Hillary. HILLARY. Surely you can't be serious!

The post Talk about projecting! This Hillary attack on Trump reeks of desperation (and hypocrisy) appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:9/29/2016 4:04:16 PM
[Markets] NewsWatch: Deutsche Bank crisis threatens to roil global markets Deutsche Bank’s shares were sinking on Thursday on a report that a group of hedge funds were reducing their exposure to the giant financial institution.
Published:9/29/2016 4:04:16 PM
[Quick Takes] Prager U: Is America’s Tax System Fair? Pay your fair share...or something. Published:9/29/2016 4:04:16 PM
[Entertainment] These television shows turn the spotlight on racist, sexist Hollywood auditions “Better Things,” “Master of None” and “Loosely Exactly Nicole” are pulling back the curtain. Published:9/29/2016 3:35:03 PM
[World] Ryder Cup Golfers Challenge Heckling Fan to Sink Putt for $100

The most clutch putt of the 2016 Ryder Cup may have been made before the competition even started.

Published:9/29/2016 3:35:02 PM
[Central Banks] Why Perry Capital Shut Down: The Full Letter

That 2016 would be disastrous for hundreds of hedge funds - confirmed by the unprecedented number of HF shutdowns even as the S&P is supported by central banks just shy of all time highs - was presaged by the closing of Nevsky Capital at the very start of the year, whose famous farewell letter we posted first on January 5.

As a reminder, instead of swimming against the central bank current, one which has swept away so many prominent, iconic hedge funds, Nevsky did the noble thing when it admitted that:

"it is more difficult than ever before for us to accurately forecast macroeconomic and corporate variables. This pushes up our cost of capital and substantially increases the risk of us suffering substantial capital loss on individual positions either because of a forecast error or simply because we could be caught up in an erroneous market trend, which could then persist for far longer than we could take the pain. This has made what we enjoy most – the thrill of analysing economic data releases and company accounts – no longer enjoyable. It is therefore time to accept that what we have done has worked brilliantly for twenty years but does not work anymore and move on. We are confident our process will eventually work again – for the laws of economics will never be repealed – but for now they are suspended and may be for some time; an indefinite period involving indeterminate levels of risk during which we think it would be wrong for us to be the stewards of your money."

Then earlier this week, another hedge fund legend, Richard Perry of Perry Capital likewise folded his flagship Perry Partners fund, although unlike Nevsky's eloquent farewell, Perry had a far simpler justification for the closing: "the industry and market headwinds against us have been strong, and the timing for success in our positions too unpredictable."

Short, simple and to the point. And yes, we get it, because we have said it all along for the past 7 years: central planning will inevitably crush everyone in nationalized "markets", before central banks themselves throw in the towel once they own all assets, ending the "wealth effect" transmission channel, having made the 0.01% richer than their wildest dreams in fiat terms. To all those who are still stuck in the business unable to retire and trying to make their P bigger than their L every day, our condolences. 

Full Perry Partners letter below:

Dear Investors

 

Over 28 years ago, Paul Leff and I started a money management firm. Our catalyst oriented value approach combined financial analysis and active engagement with management teams to create attractive opportunities with asymmetric risk/reward. During this time, we provided capital to many companies and countries facing stress and distress. Our style worked well for many years and we had the pleasure of hiring, training, and working alongside some of the best people in this business who have significantly contributed to the success of Perry Capital. Although I continue to believe very strongly in our investments, process and team, the industry and market headwinds against us have been strong, and the timing for success in our positions too unpredictable.

 

As a result, we have decided to wind down Perry Partners LP. We will manage the Fund's wind down in the most effective way possible. We have been raising cash and plan to return a substantial amount of the fund's capital in the beginning of October. The rest of the portfolio will be monetized in an orderly fashion and will be categorized by expected liquidation horizon: short term (2-3 months), medium term (6-12 months) and longer term (greater than I year).

 

We will prudently manage the remaining investments down over time. The short and medium term investments will be sold opportunistically but efficiently so as not to move markets or harm investment value. The longer term investments, for example the GSEs and some of the RMBS putback securities, will take time and energy to successfully realize an appropriate result. Our core team remains in place so that no effort or diligence will be compromised. We are committed to these investments and to you, our partners.

 

Going forward, we intend to return your capital quarterly. I am completely dedicated to making sure this process goes as smoothly as possible and have no other plans. Our interests are aligned — the Perry funds represent almost all of my liquid capital.

 

Over the next few weeks, I hope to speak with many of you. I want to personally tell you how much I have valued your support and trust. Thank you for your partnership over the years.

 

All my best,

 

Richard Perry

Published:9/29/2016 3:35:01 PM
[Entertainment] ABC Picks Up Full Seasons of Designated Survivor and Speechless Designated Survivor, Kiefer SutherlandABC certainly isn't speechless when it comes to the success of their new shows. The network has ordered full seasons of Designated Survivor and Speechless. "Designated Survivor...
Published:9/29/2016 3:35:01 PM
[Elections] Asked About Murder Connection, Hillary-Supporter Miss Universe Machado Says ‘I’m Not a Saint Girl’

"That happened 20 years ago..."

The post Asked About Murder Connection, Hillary-Supporter Miss Universe Machado Says ‘I’m Not a Saint Girl’ appeared first on Independent Journal Review.

Published:9/29/2016 3:35:01 PM
[Politics] Rush Limbaugh DEPRESSED that Trump is ‘taking the bait’ on ‘porn star BIMBO’ Alicia Machado trump-rush-machado-aliciaEl Rushbo is freaking out that the Alicia Machado story is “dominating” the media right now, saying, “this is so screwed up!!” At about the four minute mark he says that Trump . . . Published:9/29/2016 3:35:01 PM
[Politics] Rush Limbaugh DEPRESSED that Trump is ‘taking the bait’ on ‘porn star BIMBO’ Alicia Machado trump-rush-machado-aliciaEl Rushbo is freaking out that the Alicia Machado story is “dominating” the media right now, saying, “this is so screwed up!!” At about the four minute mark he says that Trump . . . Published:9/29/2016 3:35:01 PM
[eCommerce] Shoppers are preparing to boycott Instacart over elimination of tips disrupt_sf16_apoorva_mehta-4077 Online grocery service Instacart is facing a boycott from shoppers who are unhappy about the company’s decision to eliminate tips in favor of raising guaranteed delivery rates. Although Instacart positioned the move as a way to smooth out the earnings curve for its shoppers, some of those affected by the change say it will instead reduce their incomes dramatically. In the case of top… Read More
Published:9/29/2016 3:35:01 PM
[Science] Environmentalists file first civil suit against Exxon over climate fraud

John Siciliano

Environmentalists filed the first civil lawsuit against Exxon Mobil Thursday for not properly accounting for climate change in maintaining oil storage facilities along the Mystic River in Massachusetts.

The lawsuit is meant to build on a series of high-profile probes initiated this year by Democratic attorneys general in New York and Massachusetts, according to the Conservation Law Foundation.

The foundation said Thurday that it started its own investigation after seeing the Democratic AGs take action following news reports by the Los Angeles Times and InsideClimate News that Exxon covered up studies by its own scientists that showed climate change would harm its business.

The foundation's investigation "focused on how this climate deceit has affected New England communities," it said. Published:9/29/2016 3:35:01 PM

[marketsNews] UPDATE 4-Qualcomm in talks to buy NXP Semiconductors -WSJ Sept 29 (Reuters) - Chipmaker Qualcomm Inc is in talks to buy NXP Semiconductors NV in a deal that could be valued at more than $30 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
Published:9/29/2016 3:35:01 PM
[US Politics] YIKES! Could Donna Brazile be any more racist in this attack on Trump?

But hey, this isn’t racist … Black voters won't ever like Trump. The debate showed why. https://t.co/S0Pio9gTXg — Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) September 28, 2016 Black voters won’t ever like Trump. Really Donna? How good of you to objectify and segregate people based on the color of their skin. Can you imagine if Reince said anything […]

The post YIKES! Could Donna Brazile be any more racist in this attack on Trump? appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:9/29/2016 3:35:01 PM
[Space Exploration ] Scientists bid farewell to Rosetta space probe before crash Scientists began saying their final farewells to the Rosetta space probe Thursday, hours before its planned crash-landing on a comet, but said that data collected during the mission would provide discoveries for many years to come. Published:9/29/2016 3:35:01 PM
[Markets] Wall Street falls sharply on worries about banks Published:9/29/2016 3:35:00 PM
[Careers] How Entrepreneurs Make it Work After They Quit Their Jobs to Build Their Businesses Here are the few pieces I've learned about surviving as a bootstrapped entrepreneur after quitting my job. Published:9/29/2016 3:35:00 PM
[] Oh, By the Way, Obama Looted the US Treasury to Make Illegal Payments to Insurers to Keep Obamacare Afloat, But Vote for Hillary Because We Need to "Save Our Party" or Something I alluded to this in the post below but did not have a link. I just knew it from John Sexton. So here's the reason you have nothing to fear from President Hillary, my friends. The Obama administration failed to... Published:9/29/2016 3:35:00 PM
[World] It’s not easy for women to own land in India. One woman died fighting for hers. Leena Sharma had a vibrant, cosmopolitan life in India’s capital city. Then one day she went missing. Published:9/29/2016 3:09:16 PM
[World] Train crashes at New Jersey station; 1 dead, 74 hospitalized HOBOKEN, N.J. (AP) — A rush-hour commuter train crashed through a barrier at the busy Hoboken station and lurched across the waiting area Thursday morning, killing one person and injuring more than 100 others in a tangle of broken concrete, twisted metal and dangling wires. Published:9/29/2016 3:09:15 PM
[Convexity] BofA Stunned By Record VIX Roundtrip; Fears "Fragile Market"

In recent months, BofA notes that the speed of mean reversion in the VIX has been particularly striking by historical standards. Since the end of QE3, VIX spikes have had very little persistence, generating low cumulative volatility relative to the previous 25 years, underscoring BofA's thesis of a fragile market that features rapid jumps from states of calm to states of stress and back.

As BofA details, markets are hyper-sensitive today to central bank action / rhetoric, with the beta of global equity, commodity, fixed income, FX, and corporate credit markets to 10yr US Treasuries near 26+ year highs.

Hence it is perhaps not surprising that as 10yr Treasury yields fell swiftly following last week’s FOMC decision to not raise rates, the S&P 500 rallied back to 2180 (~35bps away from its pre-selloff high) and the VIX dropped under 12 (to within 0.1 vol points of its pre-spike low).

However, the speed of mean reversion in the VIX has been particularly striking by historical standards. Chart 7 (above) plots the relationship between the magnitude of a VIX spike and the total amount of volatility subsequently generated before the VIX retraces back to near pre-spike levels. It shows that since Oct-14, VIX spikes have had very little persistence, generating low cumulative volatility relative to how comparably sized spikes evolved from Jan-90 to Oct-14. Moreover, the recent shock was particularly fleeting, recording the smallest total amount of volatility (i.e., lowest y-axis reading).

At the same time, VIX spikes above 20 have occurred twice as frequently on average over the past two years (Chart 8 above) and 2016 is on track to see the largest number of “vol events” (rise of > 25%) since 1990 for the VIX...

Underscoring our thesis of a fragile market that features rapid jumps from states of calm to states of stress and back.

*  *  *

With the VIX again depressed vs. cross-asset risk & correlation ahead of a seasonally volatile period featuring US presidential elections, BofA thinks it’s prudent to reload on smart hedges:

1. Our analysis of S&P 500 implied volatility in election and non-election years since 1990 (Chart 9 below) shows support for (and even a slight increase in) both Oct and Nov expiry SPX variance swaps in election years compared to declines in non-election years. This is a stronger result than we previously established using spot VIX, as it accounts for historical term structure rolldown, and lends further support to the idea of selling short-dated puts on the VIX to help cheapen portfolio protection.

2. S&P 500 put skew remains structurally steep, with the cost of 3M 25-delta puts atthe highest on record (data since Jan-04) vs. the cost of 3M 50-delta puts (Chart 10). We like SPX Dec put spreads to capture potential catalysts beyond the US presidential election (e.g., Italian referendum or contagion from European Banks).

3. For investors seeking more downside convexity than SPX put spreads provide, we continue to recommend ratioed put calendars on the S&P, i.e. selling one longerdated OTM put to fund multiple shorter-dated closer-to-ATM puts – a trade that leverages steep term structure and is well-suited to hedging “fragility events” that tend to feature violent flattening or inversion of term structure. For example, the ratio of SPX 6M 20-delta puts to 1M 40-delta puts is currently in the 99th percentile over the past 15 years of daily data (Chart 11).

 

Published:9/29/2016 3:09:15 PM
[cee180bf-483b-4bd7-b65f-4e5f54b358c0] Karl Rove: Why the next week is critical for both Hillary and Trump It was a record-breaker. The Nielsen ratings say 84 million Americans watched Monday’s presidential debate, and most stayed glued to their sets. Published:9/29/2016 3:09:15 PM
[Politics] Ok seriously, this video of a Trump supporter getting beat up in El Cajon is not good… trumpsupporter_cajonA Trump supporter, identified by his red Trump hat, went to El Cajon where they were protesting a police shooting and starting filming on Periscope. Within the first 2 minutes of the . . . Published:9/29/2016 3:09:15 PM
[PAID] How to Play the Viacom-CBS Sibling Rivalry For Viacom and CBS, a no-premium deal may be the most likely outcome. Published:9/29/2016 3:09:15 PM
[Entertainment] Baller! Watch this American heckler show up golf pro Justin Rose (and take his money!)

"When a heckler becomes a hero."

The post Baller! Watch this American heckler show up golf pro Justin Rose (and take his money!) appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:9/29/2016 3:09:14 PM
[Science] Want to thank veterans for their service? You can start by voting, advocate says

Jacqueline Klimas

Veterans are more likely than their non-veteran counterparts to head to the polls in November, according to a civic health report release by a veteran's empowerment group.

Got Your 6 released the 2016 Veterans Civic Health Index on Thursday. Published:9/29/2016 3:09:14 PM

[Fraud] BREAKING: Did @HillaryClinton’s Narco Baby Mama #AliciaMachado Break Federal Narcotics Laws?

Hillary Clinton’s crazy anti-Trumper Alicia Machado was exposed here at GotNews as an attempted porn star, murderess, and Mexican drug kingpin’s anchor baby mama. Did she also break federal narcotics laws? Listen closely. Court documents we uncovered prove the father of Alicia Machado’s 8-year-old daughter Dinorah is imprisoned Mexican drug trafficker Gerardo Alvarez Vazquez, also […]

The post BREAKING: Did @HillaryClinton’s Narco Baby Mama #AliciaMachado Break Federal Narcotics Laws? appeared first on GotNews.

Published:9/29/2016 3:09:14 PM
[marketsNews] USDA gives online U.S. cattle auction a boost CHICAGO, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Sales through an online U.S. cattle auction will begin impacting the prices that top meat packers pay for livestock next month, according to a U.S. Department of...
Published:9/29/2016 3:09:14 PM
[Entertainment] Kim Richards Is a Grandmother: Daughter Brooke Wiederhorn Gives Birth to a Baby Boy Brooke Wiederhorn, Kim RichardsKim Richards got some very exciting news...she's a grandma! Multiple sources have confirmed to E! News that the former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star's daughter, Brooke...
Published:9/29/2016 3:09:14 PM
[Security] Report Confirms Russia’s Responsibility for Shooting Down MH17

A team comprised of investigators from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and Ukraine released interim findings of its criminal investigation into the shooting down of... Read More

The post Report Confirms Russia’s Responsibility for Shooting Down MH17 appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:9/29/2016 3:09:14 PM
[Military] Contrary to Previous Statements, President Obama Sends More Troops to the Front Lines in Iraq

"...I will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces..."

The post Contrary to Previous Statements, President Obama Sends More Troops to the Front Lines in Iraq appeared first on Independent Journal Review.

Published:9/29/2016 3:09:14 PM
[marketsNews] MOVES-Credit Suisse, Northern Trust, AXA Investment, Unigestion Sept 29 (Reuters) - The following financial services industry appointments were announced on Thursday. To inform us of other job changes, email moves@thomsonreuters.com.
Published:9/29/2016 3:09:14 PM
[Uncategorized] As Vassar College, hosting a pro-Israel speaker still is controversial Bret Stephens' event, "Why I Support Israel and Why You Should Too," sparks controversy, including from pro-BDS Jewish Studies Prof. Published:9/29/2016 3:09:14 PM
[Top Picks] GAO report: HHS owes taxpayers billions in Obamacare reinsurance money

"This prioritization of collections for payments to issuers over payments to the Treasury is not authorized."

The post GAO report: HHS owes taxpayers billions in Obamacare reinsurance money appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:9/29/2016 3:09:14 PM
[Markets] U.S. stocks sell off on Deutsche Bank woes Published:9/29/2016 3:09:14 PM
[Markets] Dow industrials close down 195 points as fears over Deutsche Bank resurface Dow industrials close down 195 points as fears over Deutsche Bank resurface Published:9/29/2016 3:09:14 PM
[topics:things/trending] 'World’s unluckiest elephant' finally free after 50 years in chains Published:9/29/2016 3:09:14 PM
[New Jersey politics] OVERHEARD: A Democratic Party Operative Sizes Up Fulop in the Rear View Mirror A North Jersey Democratic operative seemed unsurprised by Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop's Wednesday afternoon flameout. Published:9/29/2016 3:09:14 PM
[Plants & Animals ] Sugar gives bees a happy buzz, study finds An unexpected sugary snack can give bees a little buzz and appears to lift their mood, even making them optimistic, according to research Thursday that suggests pollinators have feelings, too. Published:9/29/2016 3:09:14 PM
[eCommerce] Meal kit service Home Chef raises $40M home chef Home Chef just announced that it’s raised a new $40 million round of funding. This Series B comes on top of the $10 million round that Home Chef raised earlier this year. It was led by L Catterton Partners, the private equity firm formed by the recent merger of Catterton with the PE arm of luxury conglomerate LVMH. Founder and CEO Pat Vihtelic has argued that Home Chef differs from… Read More
Published:9/29/2016 3:09:14 PM
[World] Why Positive Train Control Hasn't Been Implemented

A system called positive train control is designed to slow down a train in an emergency.

Published:9/29/2016 2:34:24 PM
[World] The Latest: Pence says "hearts are in Hoboken" crash site WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. presidential campaign (All times EDT): Published:9/29/2016 2:34:23 PM
[Investor CAFÉ] The #1 Lesson I Learned in Miami Last Week: No Free Valuables Dr. Skousen explains why giving out free valuables may actually not serve the greater good in the grand scheme of things. Published:9/29/2016 2:34:22 PM
[7896268b-65e3-4f8a-9f62-5600d7e4b988] Penny Nance: Trump vs. Miss Universe -- I can’t get to victim when I think of Alicia Machado At Monday’s presidential debate Hillary Clinton’s asserted that Alicia Machado, a former Miss Universe, was victimized about her weight by Donald Trump. Published:9/29/2016 2:34:22 PM
[structure:news/uk-news] Chris Coleman condemns 'unforgivable' industry of football corruption amid calls for police greed probe Published:9/29/2016 2:34:22 PM
[International] China’s Economy Is Headed for a Hard Landing

The world’s second-largest economy is going to make a hard landing one day, China watchers have speculated for several years. The fact is, though, the... Read More

The post China’s Economy Is Headed for a Hard Landing appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:9/29/2016 2:34:22 PM
[Science] Clinton, Trump to share spotlight one day after final debate

Ryan Lovelace

One day after Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump battle on the debate stage for the final time, they will share the spotlight the Al Smith Dinner in New York.

The white-tie dinner, named after former New York Gov. Published:9/29/2016 2:34:22 PM

[Entertainment] Prince George and Princess Charlotte's bubbly playdate It's adorable overload.
     
 
 
Published:9/29/2016 2:34:22 PM
[Entertainment] Ben Affleck and Matt Damon Argue Over Their Friendships With Tom Brady Matt Damon, Ben AffleckBen Affleck and Matt Damon have been best friends for years, but they're both vying for the attention of Tom Brady. In a new video to promote a new Omaze charity campaign, Ben and...
Published:9/29/2016 2:34:22 PM
[US Politics] After ‘almost 24 hours,’ Gary Johnson updates America on his search for a world leader he looks up to

And the world waits with bated breath.

The post After ‘almost 24 hours,’ Gary Johnson updates America on his search for a world leader he looks up to appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:9/29/2016 2:34:22 PM
[Apps] Dozr raises $1.9 million to become an Airbnb for bulldozers and excavators A bulldozer available for rent via Dozr.com A startup called Dozr Inc. has raised CAN $2.5 million (or $1.9 million USD) in seed funding to help contractors rent heavy industrial equipment from other construction professionals who have it, but aren’t using it. Based in Kitchener, Ontario Dozr’s marketplace lets builders rent equipment, like excavators, skidsteers or one day drones and industrial robotics, either alone, or with… Read More
Published:9/29/2016 2:34:22 PM
[marketsNews] BRIEF-Spain's Cellnex says buys Shere Group for 393 million euros * Says signs deal with Arcus Infrastructure Partners to buy 100 percent of Shere group, owner of communications towers and wireless sites, for 393 million euros ($440.67 million)
Published:9/29/2016 2:34:22 PM
[Lifestyle] Woman Reacts to Her Dad’s Request to ‘Cover Up’ While Breastfeeding With Pics That’ll Turn Him Red

"You wanted the attention, now you got it."

The post Woman Reacts to Her Dad’s Request to ‘Cover Up’ While Breastfeeding With Pics That’ll Turn Him Red appeared first on Independent Journal Review.

Published:9/29/2016 2:34:22 PM
[The Blog] Thursday TEMS: Duane Patterson, Andrew Malcolm

Debate the debate with us at 4 ET!

The post Thursday TEMS: Duane Patterson, Andrew Malcolm appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:9/29/2016 2:34:22 PM
[World] Obama signs bill keeping government open until Dec. 9

Nicole Duran

President Obama on Thursday signed into law the spending bill that will keep the federal government open after the fiscal year ends on Friday.

The continuing resolution allows the federal government to remain open until Dec. Published:9/29/2016 2:34:21 PM

[Bill De Blasio] Ramarley Graham’s Mother Wants Answers from the City On Unarmed Son’s Death The mother of an unarmed teen fatally shot by police in 2012 wants transparency about the investigation of the officers involved. Published:9/29/2016 2:34:21 PM
[Politics] Ok seriously, this video of a trump supporter getting beat up in El Cajon is not good… trumpsupporter_cajonA Trump supporter, identified by his red Trump hat, went to El Cajon where they were protesting a police shooting and starting filming on Periscope. Within the first 2 minutes of the . . . Published:9/29/2016 2:34:21 PM
[Quick Takes] Khamenei to Ahmadinejad Third Term: Thanks, but no thanks Ahmadinejad is too "polarizing" Published:9/29/2016 2:34:21 PM
[] Since The Very #Principled #NeverTrumpers Never Talk About the Downside of Electing Their Preferred Candidate Hillary Clinton, I'll Talk About It A Bit I always had a secret respect for Rosanne Barr's politics. No, not her actual politics -- I thought they were daft. But the respect was due to her talking about things that actually mattered, even if her prescriptions about those... Published:9/29/2016 2:34:21 PM
[Politics] State Dept Ordered to Release 3,000 Clinton Emails Before Election

The State Department will publicly release nearly 3,000 pages of emails recently recovered by the FBI from Hillary Clinton’s private server ahead of the November election.

The post State Dept Ordered to Release 3,000 Clinton Emails Before Election appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:9/29/2016 2:07:28 PM
[Top Picks] Newt Gingrich: Let’s face it, you’re not supposed to gain 60 lbs when you’re Miss Universe

Heavy.

The post Newt Gingrich: Let’s face it, you’re not supposed to gain 60 lbs when you’re Miss Universe appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:9/29/2016 2:07:28 PM
[Entertainment] Milo Ventimiglia Can't Stop Gushing About His This Is Us Co-Stars Mandy Moore & Sterling K. Brown This Is UsCan't get enough of This Is Us and its amazing cast? Neither can star Milo Ventimiglia, it turns out. The actor, who stars as dad Jack on the twisty and heartfelt family drama, sat...
Published:9/29/2016 2:07:28 PM
[Campaigns & Elections] Our Collective “Aleppo Moment”

The Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson may not know a thing about foreign policy, but he was able to coin a phrase that will ...

The post Our Collective “Aleppo Moment” appeared first on Commentary Magazine.

Published:9/29/2016 2:07:28 PM
[US Politics] NBC reporter explains the trap Hillary Clinton set for Trump on Alicia Machado

Donald Trump is not backing down after Hillary Clinton supporter and former Miss USA Alicia Machado accused the GOP nominee of making fun of her weight. NBC News obtained these alleged talking points from the Trump campaign on how surrogates should respond to the attacks. Such as: "Hillary Clinton trying to present herself as some […]

The post NBC reporter explains the trap Hillary Clinton set for Trump on Alicia Machado appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:9/29/2016 2:07:28 PM
[Gender Identity] When Transgender Inclusion Moves from Bathrooms to Basketball Courts

North Carolina’s legislative body passed a bill mandating a statewide policy banning individuals from using public bathrooms that do not correspond to their biological sex,... Read More

The post When Transgender Inclusion Moves from Bathrooms to Basketball Courts appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:9/29/2016 2:07:28 PM
[Science] Hoffa's rivals charge dirty tricks in Teamsters election

Sean Higgins

Rivals to International Brotherhood of Teamsters President James Hoffa are charging that the union leader has resorted to dirty tricks and is obscuring evidence of internal corruption in an effort to maintain his control over the 1.4 million-member labor organization.

A lawyer for Tim Sylvester, a candidate for secretary-treasurer in the union's October leadership election, made the accusations in a Sept. Published:9/29/2016 2:07:27 PM

[ETC] You Want To Fix The Economy? Then First Fix Healthcare

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

We don't just deserve an affordable, sustainable healthcare system - we're doomed to bankruptcy without one.

What is blindingly obvious to employers but apparently invisible to the average zero-business-experience mainstream pundit is this: if you want to fix the economy, you must first fix healthcare. If you want to pinpoint a primary reason why U.S. enterprises shift jobs overseas, you have to start with skyrocketing healthcare costs.

According to a report by the St. Louis Federal Reserve, real (adjusted for official inflation) wages have risen a mere 3% since 1970. (No wonder wage earners don't feel wealthier; if we use a more realistic measure of inflation, we haven't gained 3%--we've lost ground.)

But if we look at total compensation costs paid by the employer (health insurance, workers' compensation, employer's share of Social Security, etc.) we find that these costs have soared 60%. In other words, if these labor overhead costs had remained stable (i.e. gone up only as much as inflation), employers could have distributed raises of 60%.

These labor overhead costs are the reason why wages have been stagnant for 46 years, and the dominant overhead expense is healthcare insurance. Why has healthcare soared from 6% of GDP to 18% in four decades?

One reason is we have the worst of all possible worlds: we have a healthcare (what I call sickcare, because sickness is profitable but health is not) system in which for-profit corporations--cartels with immense political power--set the prices, and the government pays them.

If you set out to design a system that optimizes price-fixing, fraud, over-testing, questionable procedures, pharmaceutical advertising to a credulous public and opaque billing, a system with no real limits on prices, you'd end up with the American sickcare system.

If you think this system is affordable, sustainable, and a wonderful deal for employers, you need your head examined. Better yet, go out and get platinum coverage in ObamaCare and pay the entire monthly insurance cost yourself.

I have written dozens of substantial analyses of sickcare/healthcare over the years. Please start with these four:

Sickcare Will Bankrupt the Nation--And Soon (March 21, 2011)

Can Chronic Ill-Health Bring Down Great Nations? Yes It Can, Yes It Will (November 23, 2011)

America's Hidden 8% VAT: Sickcare (May 10, 2012)

ObamaCare: The Neutron Bomb That Will Decimate Employment (February 22, 2013)

Then move on to these:

Why "Healthcare Reform" Is Not Reform, Part I (December 28, 2009)

Why "Healthcare Reform" Is Not Reform, Part II (December 29, 2009)

The "Impossible" Healthcare Solution: Go Back to Cash (July 29, 2009)

Healthcare: A Large-Scale Solution (January 4, 2011)

A Sustainable National Healthcare System: Prevention Only (August 20, 2012)

Why America's Healthcare (Sickcare) System Is Broken and Unfixable (July 16, 2014)

While you're gasping for breath, check out these charts. Let's start with medical costs, which have outpaced inflation by leaps and bounds.

The costs of the federal healthcare programs, Medicare and Medicaid, are exploding: where are the trillions of dollars to fund these programs going to come from? Please don't say higher taxes (tax levels above 20% of GDP trigger recessions) or borrowing more money (federal debt is already pushing $20 trillion):

After a head-fake down, health insurance costs are soaring again.

Our developed-world competitors manage to pay for their "socialized medicine" at roughly half the cost per capita (per person) as the U.S.

So you want a solution, right? The current system is not a solution, it's a poisoned blade in the heart of the economy. Everybody knows this, just as everybody knows it's unaffordable and unsustainable.

The solution? Let a 100 flowers bloom. Give consumers as wide a choice as possible, including government-run insurance programs. Don't force anyone to join anything. Give employers and employees as broad a range of choices as possible--yes, including a government-run insurance program in which the government owns the entire operation--clinics, hospitals, drug manufacturers, etc., lock, stock and barrel.

The point here is we need real competition, but our current system guarantees there cannot be real competition. The for-profit cartels have captured the federal regulatory and funding agencies, and the last thing the cartels want is transparency and wide-open global competition.

Around 40% of the cost of the current mess is paperwork going back and forth between all the players; a one-stop shop would eliminate about 90% of those needless expenses right from the start.

Look, if the federal government offered a civilian equivalent of the Veterans Administration with its own pharmaceutical manufacturing divisions, do you really think it would cost more and be any more inefficient than the insane mess we have now? 

If it did cost more, then nobody would use it and it would go away.

In a truly competitive healthcare system, cash would be king. Please read this before passing judgment:

The "Impossible" Healthcare Solution: Go Back to Cash (July 29, 2009)

We don't just deserve an affordable, sustainable healthcare system--we're doomed to bankruptcy without one.

Published:9/29/2016 2:07:27 PM
[2016 House Elections] Scott Garrett for Congress (Paul Mirengoff) Scott Garrett doesn’t fit the usual profile for a Power Line pick. Usually, we pick up-and-coming candidates like Tom Cotton, Mia Love, Joni Ernst, and Alex Mooney. Garrett has represented New Jersey’s fifth congressional district since 2003. However, he’s locked in a difficult race this year. Given his strongly conservative record, we are asking our readers to support him. Garrett is a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus. He Published:9/29/2016 2:07:27 PM
[World] White House compares senators to kindergartners on override vote

Susan Crabtree

The White House's chief spokesman compared senators who voted to override President Obama's veto of the Sept. Published:9/29/2016 2:07:27 PM

[IJR Politics] Trump Gives Kaepernick a Real Piece Of His Mind For Continuing ‘Disgraceful’ Nat’l Anthem Protests

"What he is doing is very bad for the spirit of the country..."

The post Trump Gives Kaepernick a Real Piece Of His Mind For Continuing ‘Disgraceful’ Nat’l Anthem Protests appeared first on Independent Journal Review.

Published:9/29/2016 2:07:27 PM
[marketsNews] Buffett had one conversation with Wells Fargo's Stumpf since scandal Sept 29 (Reuters) - Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, has had one conversation with Wells Fargo & Co boss John Stumpf since a sales scandal erupted on Sept. 8, knocking billions of...
Published:9/29/2016 2:07:27 PM
[Entertainment] Prince George and Princess Charlotte are too cute at bubble-filled Canadian playdate It's adorable overload.
     
 
 
Published:9/29/2016 2:07:27 PM
[Markets] The Margin: Who but an American would tell London Tube riders where to get off? Rule No. 1 of riding the London Underground: Do not engage. Bury your head deep in the paper, throw on some massive headphones and at least pretend you can’t hear a sound. In the unlikely event of eye contact, a polite nod is the only acceptable form of communication among British commuters.
Published:9/29/2016 2:07:27 PM
[bags] Chloé’s New “It” Bag Just Debuted on the Runway You're going to want one of these pint-sized purses Published:9/29/2016 2:07:27 PM
[Apps] Beyoncé becomes a tech startup investor beyonce-investor Joining celebrity investors like Snoop Dogg, Ashton Kutcher, and Justin Bieber, Queen Bey is bringing her supreme business skills to the tech world. Beyoncé and the management company she started called Parkwood Entertainment have invested $150,000 into Sidestep, an app for buying concert merchandise and skipping the line to pick it up at the show. Sidestep originally started selling… Read More
Published:9/29/2016 2:07:27 PM
[Markets] Dow transports bounce back into positive territory, while the Dow industrials stay down Published:9/29/2016 2:07:27 PM
[World] Family, friends of Marlins' Fernandez to attend funeral Mass MIAMI (AP) — A day after fans said goodbye, family members and friends of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez gathered for a private funeral Mass on Thursday afternoon. Published:9/29/2016 1:34:48 PM
[topics:things/trending] American behind London Tube Chat badges reveals why he wants to get commuters talking  Published:9/29/2016 1:34:48 PM
[Eruptions] An Eruption at Rinjani in Indonesia Traps Hundreds of Tourists
An Eruption at Rinjani in Indonesia Traps Hundreds of Tourists
An unexpectedly powerful explosion from Barujari at Rinjani prompted evacuations of over 1,000 tourists, with some still possibly in danger. The post An Eruption at Rinjani in Indonesia Traps Hundreds of Tourists appeared first on WIRED.
Published:9/29/2016 1:34:48 PM
[PAID] Wells Fargo Illustrates Case for Splitting Board From Management The fracas over Wells Fargo is resurrecting an old debate over whether bank chiefs should also serve as board chairmen. Published:9/29/2016 1:34:47 PM
[Politics] Dang! Even OBAMA turns on Kaepernick!! kaepernick-obama-234I’m not sure what changed his mind since earlier Obama seemed to be all about the Kaepernick protest, but now he’s asking the selfish, disrespectful 49ers backbench quarterback to think about the . . . Published:9/29/2016 1:34:47 PM
[Entertainment] Sarah Jessica Parker Surprises L.A. Fans During ''Rare Trip'' Out West to Celebrate Latest Fragrance Sarah Jessica ParkerIt's not every day you see Sarah Jessica Parker west of New York City, let alone all the way in Los Angeles. But the fans who gathered at an Ulta Beauty location in L.A. to celebrate...
Published:9/29/2016 1:34:47 PM
[america divided] ‘America Divided’ Series Shines Light on Systemic Inequality When TV icon Norman Lear looks into the camera and says, “I can’t fucking believe it,” with a level of conviction so clearly obvious, people will no doubt be compelled to listen to what he has to say. Published:9/29/2016 1:34:47 PM
[Politics & Ideas] The GOP’s Descent into Paranoia

Donald Trump did not turn in an exceptionally strong debate performance on Monday night, and this is putting some negative pressure on his position in the ...

The post The GOP’s Descent into Paranoia appeared first on Commentary Magazine.

Published:9/29/2016 1:34:47 PM
[marketsNews] UPDATE 3-U.S. top court to resolve dispute over credit card surcharges WASHINGTON, Sept 29 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a challenge to a New York state law barring retailers from imposing surcharges on customers who buy with a credit...
Published:9/29/2016 1:34:47 PM
[Science] Police release video from shooting that left 6-year-old autistic boy dead

Kelly Cohen

A graphic video captured late last year from a Louisiana police body camera shows officers firing 18 rounds into a car, which unknowingly led to the death of 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis, who was autistic.

Authorities say the situation unfolded last November after officers began chasing the boy's father, Christopher Few, after he drove off from a domestic disturbance incident with his girlfriend.

The chase ended with Few cornered on a dead-end street in Marksville, La. Published:9/29/2016 1:34:47 PM

[Bank of England] We're Issuing a Formal Alert: Something Major is Coming in the Markets

Time for a reality check.

The market has had nothing but positives for three months now. BREXIT was contained. The Fed failed to raise rates again. The Bank of Japan and European Central Bank are printing a combined ~$180 billion per month (a record pace) and using it to prop the markets up.

And stocks are DOWN. While the bulls and CNBC shills talk about the markets like they’re in some incredible rally, the fact is that the S&P 500 peaked in mid-August. And if you want to go back further it’s gone absolutely NOWHERE since July 9th.

Seriously, if you cannot manufacture a roaring rally with follow through on the last three months’ worth of news, you’re not going to manufacture one ever.

Indeed, Central Banks have never been more aggressive in their easing.

1.     Two of world’s FIVE major Central Banks (ECB and BoJ) are printing $180 billion per month and giving it to the banks.

2.     One of the FIVE (the Swiss National Bank) is openly BUYING stocks outright.

3.     Another of the FIVE (the Bank of England) just cut rates and announce a new QE program.

4.     The last of the FIVE, and the only one that is supposed to be tightening policy (the Fed) hasn’t raised rates in nine months and will not do so until December at the earliest.

 And the bulls can't get it done. So... what do you think is coming next?

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Published:9/29/2016 1:34:47 PM
[World] Obama to speak at Peres funeral

Nicole Duran

President Obama will speak at Friday's funeral service for former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres.

Obama is working on his remarks now, but the statement he issued after Peres died Tuesday night is a good starting place for what he will say, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

"I think the personal nature of the presidential statement that we issued on the night of his death should give you a good indication of what the president is thinking," Earnest said on Thursday.

Senior White House officials, members of Congress and former national security officials are among the group that will travel with Obama to Israel, Earnest said.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., revealed on Thursday that he is among the delegation heading to Israel.

The large delegation is a "testament to the bipartisan commitment that exists in this country for the strong alliance that the United States enjoys with Israel," Earnest said. Published:9/29/2016 1:34:47 PM

[Culture] Country Singer Jason Michael Carroll Shares Devastating Photo After Telling Fans His Dad Had an Aneurysm

"I got a call this morning that my dad..."

The post Country Singer Jason Michael Carroll Shares Devastating Photo After Telling Fans His Dad Had an Aneurysm appeared first on Independent Journal Review.

Published:9/29/2016 1:34:47 PM
[Markets] Gold stages late-session pivot to end higher as U.S. stocks tumble Published:9/29/2016 1:34:47 PM
[TC] VC Venky Ganesan on interest rates, diamonds, and quietly imploding startups img_1834 Yesterday, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told lawmakers that she’s not ready to hold interest rates low for much longer, but neither is she raising them right now.  Afterward, we talked about the news and what it might augur for startups with Venky Ganesan, a managing director at Menlo Ventures, the early-stage firm that led Uber’s Series B round (among its many other… Read More
Published:9/29/2016 1:34:47 PM
[Uncategorized] San Diego area at the center of police shooting unrest Hundreds of protesters gathered at the scene of the fatal shooting. Published:9/29/2016 1:34:47 PM
[Markets] The New York Post: Samsung warns that its washing machines might explode too Samsung warned customers Wednesday about its washing machines after one blew up on a Georgia woman.
Published:9/29/2016 1:34:47 PM
[World] Market Extra: This has not happened to tech stocks since the dot-com bust Technology shares are by far the hottest game in the stock market in the third quarter. But their success has triggered an interesting trend that the market had not seen since the dot.com crash—a surge in technology’s weighting in the S&P 500.
Published:9/29/2016 1:34:47 PM
[World] Cascade Mall Shooter Arcan Cetin Was Not U.S. Citizen, Voted Three Times

Published:9/29/2016 1:05:58 PM
[World] Train crashes at New Jersey station; 1 dead, 74 hospitalized HOBOKEN, N.J. (AP) — A crowded rush-hour commuter train crashed through a barrier at the busy Hoboken station and lurched across the waiting area Thursday morning, killing at least one person and injuring more than 100 others in a tangle of broken concrete, twisted metal and dangling cables, authorities said. Published:9/29/2016 1:05:57 PM
[686b8378-7b7a-47cd-adad-270fab7c8d52] Hey, how about a "Pantsuit Tee"? Hillary offers clothing for the emasculated man Hillary Clinton wants to outfit men in something called the "Everyday Pantsuit Tee." Yes, you read that correctly. Published:9/29/2016 1:05:56 PM
[Economy] Watch Mike Lee Tell Americans to ‘Expect More’ of Congress in ‘Facebook Live’ Manifesto

Hours after the Senate passed a stopgap spending measure to keep the federal government running, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, logged onto Facebook to record a... Read More

The post Watch Mike Lee Tell Americans to ‘Expect More’ of Congress in ‘Facebook Live’ Manifesto appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:9/29/2016 1:05:56 PM
[a75e77b4-419e-4710-b416-0083cff2231f] Kendall Jenner a big fan of the no-bra look Does Kendall Jenner ever wear a bra? Published:9/29/2016 1:05:56 PM
[Entertainment] Luann de Lesseps Threw a Huge Bridal Shower and Made Everyone Wear This One Thing Luann de Lesseps, InstagramLuann de Lesseps is getting closer to her big day! The Real Housewives of New York star is set to marry Thomas D'Agostino Jr. on New Year's Eve in Palm Beach, Fla., but like any...
Published:9/29/2016 1:05:56 PM
[Comptroller of the Currency] Wells Fargo To Be Sanctioned By DOJ For Improperly Seizing Soldiers' Cars

And the hits just keep on coming. The full court press on Wells Fargo continues, on the heels of California's sanctions, Bloomberg reports the bank is now facing a Justice Department sanction over improperly repossessing cars owned by members of the military, according to two people with knowledge of the investigation.


As Bloomberg details, Federal prosecutors and the bank’s regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, are planning to punish the San Francisco-based lender for alleged violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, said the people, who asked not to be named because the investigation isn’t public.

A penalty of as much as $20 million is expected from the OCC, one of the people said. That’s an unusually large fine for abuse of this law, which in most cases requires that firms obtain court orders before seizing vehicles from soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who are delinquent on their loans.

 

These enforcement actions against the bank follow a $185 million settlement in which employees of the firm opened more than two million accounts that customers may not have been aware of with the aim of meeting internal sales targets. The matter has sparked weeks of sharp criticism, congressional hearings and the forfeit of tens of millions in bonuses for top executives.

 

Shielding soldiers from financial stress has been a priority for lawmakers, and the Justice Department has recently stepped up enforcement actions against banks for taking assets illegally. Banco Santander SA’s U.S. unit agreed to pay $9 million last year over allegations that it improperly confiscated more than 1,000 vehicles from military members, the largest settlement ever obtained in a case involving repossessions of automobiles with delinquent loans.

 

Wells Fargo -- which was the world’s most valuable bank before the account scandal hurt its stock price -- has branches on eight U.S. military bases, include Fort Bliss in Texas, Georgia’s Fort Benning, Fort Dix in New Jersey and Hill Air Force Base in Utah. On its website, the bank says it has “a history of making banking easier for our servicemen and servicewomen.”

 

The bank has previously been accused of not adhering to the military lending law, which Congress approved decades ago to protect soldiers from legal hassles while they’re on active duty. Wells Fargo agreed to pay $28 million along with four other mortgage servicers that were fined for improper home foreclosures, according to a statement issued by the Justice Department last year. It didn’t admit or deny the allegations.

Wells Fargo 0 - 3 Elizabeth Warren.

Published:9/29/2016 1:05:56 PM
[Science] FCC delays vote on opening cable box market

Rudy Takala

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday opted to delay voting on a proposal that would allow tech companies to participate in the market for cable boxes.

"We have made tremendous progress and we share the goal of creating a more innovative and inexpensive market for these consumer devices," said a statement issued by Democratic commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel, Mignon Clyburn and Chairman Tom Wheeler.

"We are still working to resolve the remaining technical and legal issues and we are committed to unlocking the set-top box for consumers across this country," commissioners added.

The proposal, which would require cable operators to provide their content on devices offered by companies like Apple or Amazon, has been criticized by the commission's two Republicans and congressional lawmakers of both parties for failing to include sufficient privacy protections.

While the proposal would enable consumers to escape an annual average of more than $200 in cable-box fees, critics have expressed concern tech companies could offer the same service at a substantially reduced price by surreptitiously siphoning personal consumer data.

Related Story: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/article/2593560

"I am concerned that your proposal does not contain mechanisms to ensure that third-party set-top box providers will be required to adequately protect programming content or consumer privacy," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., wrote in a June letter to the commission.

The U.S. Copyright Office and the proposal's own Democratic author, Rosenworcel, expressed additional concerns about the potential for copyright violations stemming from the commission's lack of authority to oversee agreements made between broadcast providers and device manufacturers.

It is unclear whether commissioners will have an opportunity to reintroduce the proposal, which had enjoyed the support of President Obama, before a new administration takes office in January.

Published:9/29/2016 1:05:56 PM
[News 2016] Wall Street Bank Whose Donors Back Clinton Say Election Will Likely Preserve Status Quo, But Could Bring Recession Wall Street Bank Whose Donors Back Clinton Say Election Will Likely Preserve Status Quo, But Could Bring Recession.  Either way, you can bet Hillary will be paying off Wall Street donors like a Vegas slot machine gone crazy. Published:9/29/2016 1:05:56 PM
[Markets] Market Snapshot: Dow drops 170 points as focus shifts to Deutsche Bank, Fed U.S. stocks fall Thursday after two straight days of gains as investors appear to shift from a focus on a preliminary agreement on oil output to worries about European bank contagion and talk of a December rate increase by the Federal Reserve.
Published:9/29/2016 1:05:56 PM
[marketsNews] BRIEF-Deutsche Bank confident that clients know it is stable * Deutsche Bank spokesman says confident that vast majority of trading clients understand group has stable financial position
Published:9/29/2016 1:05:56 PM
[Politics] Dang! Even OBAMA turns on Kaepernick!! kaepernick-obama-234I’m not sure what changed his mind since earlier Obama seemed to be all about the Kaepernick protest, but now he’s asking the selfish, disrespectful 49ers backbench quarterback to think about the . . . Published:9/29/2016 1:05:56 PM
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