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[The Blog] Dems struggle to out-liberal each other at CNN town halls

Free stuff for all my friends and "the rich" will pay the bill!

The post Dems struggle to out-liberal each other at CNN town halls appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:4/23/2019 9:10:17 AM
[Politics] RNC Rips Dems in Right to Vote Controversy The Republican National Committee blasted Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. for being open to Sen. Bernie Sanders I-Vt., suggestion that everyone should have the right to vote – even the Boston Marathon bomber. Published:4/23/2019 9:10:17 AM
[Politics] Trump had A LOT to say in early morning tweetstorm… Trump really had a lot to say this morning as he delivered a dozen tweets, going after the media, Democrats, and social media. And more! He started off attacking Paul Krugman and . . . Published:4/23/2019 9:10:17 AM
[Markets] Stocks open modestly higher as earnings of Dow companies take center stage Stocks open modestly higher as earnings of Dow companies take center stage Published:4/23/2019 9:10:17 AM
[Entertainment] Emilia Clarke's Game of Thrones "Family Portrait" Will Make Your Day Game of ThronesEmilia Clarke is a gift to the internet. Hot on the heels of her Game of Thrones costar Sophie Turner posting one of the best Instagram videos ever--she was teasing her TV sister and real-life...
Published:4/23/2019 9:10:17 AM
[eCommerce] Amazon opens Key delivery to garages Starting today, Amazon can drop off packages to your garage. Assuming, of course, you’re cool with that. The massively multiplayer online retailer just expanded its Key delivery options to include garage, a feature it announced at the beginning of the year at CES. Customers will have to opt-in, of course. And the whole thing requires […] Published:4/23/2019 9:10:17 AM
[Education] Arizona Case Shows the Difference Between Campus Free Speech and Harassment

Three Arizona students may soon learn a valuable lesson: There’s a difference between exercising your free speech on campus and blocking someone else’s attempt to... Read More

The post Arizona Case Shows the Difference Between Campus Free Speech and Harassment appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:4/23/2019 9:10:17 AM
[Markets] Dow inches toward record territory as Coke, United Tech rally after earnings U.S. stocks on Tuesday edge higher amid of a barrage of quarterly results, including blue-chip consumer-focused companies, Coca-Cola Co., and Procter & Gamble Co., which investors will pore over to glean the health of American corporations. Published:4/23/2019 9:10:17 AM
[Markets] Federal Judge Rules Flint Residents Can Sue EPA Over Water Crisis

Authored by Julia Conley via,

As Flint, Michigan, marks five years since the city's deadly water crisis began, a federal judge ruled in favor of residents who want to sue the federal government for not acting promptly to ensure the city had clean drinking water.

Residents filed suit against the EPA in 2017, demanding $722 million in damages and arguing that the agency was able to inform the city that its drinking water was contaminated months before it finally issued an emergency order. 

"These lies went on for months while the people of Flint continued to be poisoned," Judge Linda Parker, an Obama appointee, wrote in her ruling Friday.

The EPA was notified that Flint was using a contaminated drinking water source—the Flint River—in mid-2015, when a whistleblower wrote in a memo that the water contained lead. But the agency didn't issue an emergency order to protect residents for another seven months.

By that time, residents of the majority-black city had been drinking the tainted water for a year and a half.

City officials began drawing drinking water from the river in April 2014, switching from Detroit's system to save money. Residents began complaining of rashes, hair loss, and other health concerns almost immediately, and reporting that the water was brown and had an unpleasant taste and odor—but the city insisted the water was safe.

State regulators continued telling residents that the water was safe for drinking even after a group of doctors reported in September 2015 that they had detected high levels of lead in children's bloodstreams. The EPA issued its emergency order in January 2016 and claims that it lacked the authority to take action sooner because of the state's decision-making.

As residents are arguing in their lawsuit, the agency's inspector general reported later that year that under the Safe Drinking Water Act, in the event of state inaction "the EPA can and should proceed with an [emergency] order" to protect the public "in a timely manner."

"The lead-contaminated public water supply system will affect the residents for years and likely generations to come," Parker wrote.

"The acts leading to the creation of the Flint Water Crisis, alleged to be rooted in lies, recklessness and profound disrespect have and will continue to produce a heinous impact for the people of Flint."

Michael Pitt, a lawyer for the 1,700 residents who filed the suit in 2017 praised Parker's decision.

"This ruling will shake up the EPA, which has refused to accept responsibility in causing the catastrophe," said Pitt.

"The EPA is mandated by Congress to be a watchdog over state environmental operations and is required by law to take over drinking water systems when a significant public health risk becomes apparent."

The ruling is the latest victory for victims of the crisis, which was linked to at least 12 deaths from Legionnaires disease and put residents, especially children, at risk for long-term neurological and cognitive disorders. Earlier this month a class-action lawsuit against former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was allowed to proceed, and an appellate court ruled in January that city and state officials can be sued as well.

Published:4/23/2019 9:10:17 AM
[Entertainment] Meghan McCain to fellow 'View' hosts: Liberals should move on from Mueller report Meghan McCain warned Joy Behar and other liberals' "demonization" of conservatives will lead to Trump's re-election.
Published:4/23/2019 9:10:17 AM
[Politics] Sri Lankan intelligence reveals the mastermind behind suicide bombings… While ISIS has claimed responsibility this morning for the Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka, intelligence officials in the grieving country don’t mention ISIS in their latest revelation about the mastermind behind the . . . Published:4/23/2019 9:10:17 AM
[e61180c8-fcec-57ae-b6ce-76a1577ff61a] Scarlett Johansson sizzles in silver at 'Avengers' premiere with boyfriend Colin Jost Scarlett Johannson proudly walked the red carpet with boyfriend Colin Jost in hand at the premiere of her new film "Avengers: Endgame." Published:4/23/2019 9:10:16 AM
[Quick Takes] Cleveland Indians Star Mike Clevinger Attends Prom for Pediatric Cancer Patients "I mean for them to have that night and if I could add any light to their lives, obviously I’m going to go." Published:4/23/2019 9:10:16 AM
[Democrats] President Trump Is Right! John Kerry Violated The Logan Act. It’s A Dem. Party Tradition

The following article, President Trump Is Right! John Kerry Violated The Logan Act. It’s A Dem. Party Tradition, was first published on Godfather Politics.

A tweet by President Trump on Monday morning accusing John Kerry of violating the Logan Act has raised the ire of liberals. But the POTUS is right.

Continue reading: President Trump Is Right! John Kerry Violated The Logan Act. It’s A Dem. Party Tradition ...

Published:4/23/2019 9:10:16 AM
[Culture] Mulvaney: Trump Personally Wrote Pro-Life Comments in State of the Union Speech

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney praised President Donald Trump's personal commitment to the protection of religious liberty while speaking at the 15th annual National Catholic Prayer breakfast on Tuesday.

The post Mulvaney: Trump Personally Wrote Pro-Life Comments in State of the Union Speech appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:4/23/2019 9:10:16 AM
[Markets] Capitol Report: Bernie Sanders says Boston Marathon bomber should have right to vote | South Bend’s poor say Buttigieg left them behind Even the Boston Marathon bomber should have the right to vote, says Bernie Sanders.
Published:4/23/2019 9:10:16 AM
[Uncategorized] Pete Buttigieg’s campaign website looks exactly like the movie poster for ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin’

Shot. . . Here’s Pete Buttigieg’s campaign website: Buttigieg's campaign website looks like a parody of a high school class president campaign for a teen comedy. — Chad Felix Greene (@chadfelixg) April 23, 2019 Chaser. . . And now here’s the poster for the comedy film, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”: All I see: — […]

The post Pete Buttigieg’s campaign website looks exactly like the movie poster for ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin’ appeared first on

Published:4/23/2019 9:10:16 AM
[Politics] Cuomo says felons shouldn’t be allowed to vote while incarcerated Gov. Cuomo on Tuesday said he does not believe felons should be allowed to vote while incarcerated, disagreeing with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who told a town hall that he thinks everyone should have a right to cast a ballot – even the Boston Marathon bomber. “I disagree with Bernie Sanders. You are in prison... Published:4/23/2019 9:10:16 AM
[topics:organisations/islamic-state] 'There weren't many Sri Lankans who joined Isil, but there don't have to be many' Published:4/23/2019 9:10:16 AM
[] Mid-Morning Open Thread Interior, Strandgade 30 Vilhelm Hammershøi... Published:4/23/2019 9:10:16 AM
[World] Lindsey Graham: 'Stampede' by House Dems to Impeach Trump Will Result in His Re-Election

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on "Hannity" that he expects a "stampede" by the House of Representatives to impeach President Trump, declaring that Speaker Nancy Pelosi is "not in charge" of her caucus.

Published:4/23/2019 8:36:54 AM
[Entertainment] Who Will Take the Game of Thrones Throne? Game of ThronesThe end is near for Game of Thrones, and thus the end is also near for all the speculating. Who, exactly, will win the titular Game of Thrones? We've been wondering for years, and we...
Published:4/23/2019 8:36:53 AM
[In The News] Analysis: When Tragedy Strikes, WaPo Turns Focus To The ‘Far Right’

By Peter Hasson -

Washington Post parody logo

The Washington Post sparked backlash after framing an article around the reaction of the “far right” to the anti-Christian terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka.  The Post’s article cast doubt on well-documented persecutions of Christians around the world. The Post has made a habit of reframing global tragedies around “the far ...

Analysis: When Tragedy Strikes, WaPo Turns Focus To The ‘Far Right’ is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:4/23/2019 8:36:53 AM
[Markets] Whirlpool Stock, Cigna Gain and 3 More Tuesday Morning Movers STOCKSTOWATCHTODAY BLOG Moving Up. Stocks are making another run at gains: Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were 0.2% higher in early trading, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were up 0.1% ahead of the open. Published:4/23/2019 8:36:53 AM
[Politics] Harris on Boston Marathon Bomber Being Allowed to Vote: ‘We Should Have that Conversation’

The post Harris on Boston Marathon Bomber Being Allowed to Vote: ‘We Should Have that Conversation’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:4/23/2019 8:36:53 AM
[Markets] Here’s exactly where you should retire — based on what’s important to you Tell MarketWatch what you want in retirement, and we’ll tell you where to live.
Published:4/23/2019 8:36:53 AM
[dedcac38-6472-5f6f-8c3a-a5e4548ec957] Maren Morris shines in neon corset and leather shorts at Coachella Maren Morris hit the stage at Coachella to perform her hit song "The Middle" with Zedd. Published:4/23/2019 8:36:53 AM
[Markets] "Running On Empty"

Authored by Lance Roberts via,

Running On Empty

“Running On Empty” was an iconic song about life on the road as a traveling musician. The 1977 live recording, which became a 1978 hit for Jackson Browne, is considered one of true representatives of Heartland Rock, and a concert favorite.

When Jackson Browne was interviewed about the song by Rolling Stone Magazine, at the time he was recording the album “The Pretender” he said:

I was always driving around with no gas in the car. I just never bothered to fill up the tank because — how far was it anyway? Just a few blocks.

“Running on, running on empty
Running on, running blind
Running on, running into the sun
But I’m running behind”

Those lyrics are not so far and apart from where we are in the markets today.

As we discussed this past weekend, everyone is in the car driving along with no worries about how much “gas is in the tank.” 

Yes, since investors did sell the December lows, they are now buying the February-March highs. But to Doug’s point, investors are still heavily weighted towards equity.”

More importantly, they are getting long at a time where volatility has once again become extremely low which has historically led to negative outcomes.

“Lastly, market ‘complacency’ is back to levels which have denoted short-term corrections in the market previously with near record levels of short-volatility positioning.”

After four months on advances in the market, investors have once again been lured back into the belief that markets are a “one way trip higher.”

As noted by the Wall Street Journal on Monday:

“Sentiment is incredibly bullish. So many people are chasing performance now.” – Nancy Davis, CIO at Quadratic Capital Management.

She is right.

Currently, momentum and growth stocks are substantially outperforming value oriented stocks.

But investors are paying an excruciatingly high premium for that performance. Michael Lebowitz recently ran the analysis for our RIA PRO subscribers (Get A FREE 30-Day Trial)

Growth Stocks vs. Value Stocks

  • Price/Sales: 8x more

  • Price/Book: 16x more

  • Price/Cash Flow: 7x more

  • Dividend Yield: 5% less yield.

More importantly, our “Greed/Fear Gauge,” which is based on allocation exposure, is back to historically high levels.

Investors are current extremely optimistic that even with the fuel gauge warning light glaring red, that passing the “last chance” gas station won’t be a problem.

Maybe, they are right.

However, historically, and as shown in the chart below, when markets have previously been this overbought combined with negative divergences in momentum, short-term outcomes have been less than optimal.

Let me clear, this does not mean the markets are about to “crash.”

It simply suggests that after an incessant run higher, asset prices are likely going to correct which will provide a better “risk/reward” entry point for investors.

But it also doesn’t rule out a much deeper correction either.

As I noted on Friday:

“The overbought condition (top panel) is now back to where was the last time we were registering ‘all-time highs.’ Currently, that signal has flattened out to the point where it is dangerously close to crossing lower. Any additional weakness this week will likely trigger a sell signal.”

Importantly, it is where we close the week that matters. A break that is reversed by the end of the week doesn’t register as a valid signal.

I will update this chart this coming weekend and discuss the next set of actions as necessary.

Running On Hope

When you are “running on empty,” it requires a lot of “hope” you can make it to the next gas, or charging, station before the engine quits running.

The same is true with the markets. The current advance is not built on improving economic or fundamental data. It is built simply on “hope.”

  • Hope the economy will improve in the second half of the year.

  • Hope that earnings will improve in the second half of the year.

  • Hope that oil prices will trade higher even as supply remains elevated.

  • Hope the Fed will not raise interest rates this year.

  • Hope that global Central Banks will “keep on keepin’ on.” 

  • Hope that the US Dollar doesn’t rise.

  • Hope that China will keep stimulating.

  • Hope that a “trade deal” will be concluded soon.

  • Hope that high-yield credit markets remain stable

I am sure I forgot a few things, but you get the point.

“There’s a whole lotta’ hope goin’ on round here.”

However, with valuations expensive, markets overbought, volatility low, and sentiment pushing back into more extreme territory, there are a lot of things which can go wrong. While stocks above their 200-dma have surged from their recent nadir, the negative divergence, light trading volume, and narrowness of the rally leaves a lot to be wished for.

The overriding message is that fundamentals are not driving the current rally.

Prices are are dictating policy.

The sharp decline in prices in 2018 set the Fed against the White House.

You can deny it. You can rail against it. You can call it a conspiracy.

But in the “other” famous words of Bill Clinton: “What is…is.”

The markets are currently betting the economy will begin to accelerate later this year. The “hope” that Central Bank actions will spark inflationary pressures and economic growth is a tall order to fill considering it hasn’t worked anywhere previously. If Central Banks are indeed able to keep asset prices inflated long enough for the fundamentals to catch up with the “fantasy” – it will be a first in recorded human history. 

My logic suggests that sooner rather than later somebody will yell “fire” in a very crowded theater.

When that will be is anyone’s guess.

In other words, this is probably a “trap.”

But as I wrote previously:

“Over the next several weeks, or even months, the markets can certainly extend the current deviations from long-term mean even further. But that is the nature of every bull market peak, and bubble, throughout history as the seeming impervious advance lures the last of the stock market ‘holdouts’ back into the markets.”

Unfortunately, for most investors, they are likely stuck at the very back of the theater.

With sentiment currently at very high levels, combined with low volatility and excess margin debt, all the ingredientsnecessary for a sharp market reversion are currently present.

Just to clear, I am not calling for the “end of the known universe.”

I am simply suggesting that remaining fully invested in the financial markets without a thorough understanding of your “risk exposure” will likely not have the desired end result you have been promised.

As I stated often, my job is to participate in the markets while keeping a measured approach to capital preservation. Since it is considered “bearish” to point out the potential “risks” that could lead to rapid capital destruction; then I am unabashedly a “bear.”

But I have been through three previous bear markets and lived to tell about.

However, just to be very clear, I am still in “theater;” I am just moving much closer to the “exit.”

Published:4/23/2019 8:36:53 AM
[Markets] Netflix shares slip as company says it will issue $2 billion in new debt Netflix shares slip as company says it will issue $2 billion in new debt Published:4/23/2019 8:36:52 AM
[Media] COWARDS! Dana Loesch OWNS Dem candidates on CNN for ignoring Islamic terrorists murdering 100s of Christians on Easter

Last night, several Democrats made their sad little cases on CNN about why people should vote for them and not ONE of these schmucks had the nads to talk about the fact that Islamic terrorists murdered hundreds of CHRISTIANS on Easter … you know, THE DAY BEFORE. Not a word. Not a peep. Not a […]

The post COWARDS! Dana Loesch OWNS Dem candidates on CNN for ignoring Islamic terrorists murdering 100s of Christians on Easter appeared first on

Published:4/23/2019 8:36:52 AM
[Entertainment] Ariana Grande freaks out over Jim Carrey's heartfelt message to her Ariana Grande said she "couldn't breathe" when Jim Carrey tweeted a heartfelt response to the singer about depression.
Published:4/23/2019 8:36:52 AM
[worldNews] North Korea's Kim Jong Un to meet Putin in Russia on Thursday: Kremlin North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet on Thursday in the Russian Pacific port of Vladivostok to discuss the international standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear programme, a Kremlin official said.
Published:4/23/2019 8:36:52 AM
[Politics] Trump had A LOT to say in early morning tweetstorm… Trump really had a lot to say this morning as he delivered a dozen tweets, going after the media, Democrats, and social media. And more! He started off attacking Paul Krugman and . . . Published:4/23/2019 8:36:52 AM
[Advertising Tech] Chive Media’s out-of-home TV spinoff Atmosphere raises $10M When Chive Media Group spun out its out-of-home TV business last year, co-founder and CEO Leo Resig said the structure should help the new company, called Atmosphere, raise venture capital. Looks like those fundraising efforts were successful, with Atmosphere announcing that it has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by S3 Ventures, with […] Published:4/23/2019 8:36:52 AM
[Politics] Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 49% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Forty-nine percent (49%) disapprove.

The latest figures include 37% who Strongly Approve of the job Trump is doing and 42% who Strongly Disapprove. This gives him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -5. (see trends).

Regular updates are posted Monday through Friday at 9:30 a.m.  Eastern (sign up for free daily email update).

Now that Gallup has quit the field, Rasmussen Reports is the only nationally recognized public opinion firm that still tracks President Trump's job approval ratings on a daily basis. If your organization is interested in a weekly or longer sponsorship of Rasmussen Reports' Daily Presidential Tracking Poll, please send e-mail to .

Published:4/23/2019 8:36:52 AM
[ABC News] Dishonest Reporting Is Undermining Trust in Media Worldwide In spite of the term "fake news" being coined here in the United States, this issue is global in scope.  Published:4/23/2019 8:36:52 AM
[topics:organisations/conservative-party] Tory MP fined £1,500 for submitting false expense invoices as court hears career is 'likely in tatters' Published:4/23/2019 8:07:06 AM
[Markets] Upbeat earnings for select Dow components likely to spur 34-point boost at open Upbeat earnings for select Dow components likely to spur 34-point boost at open Published:4/23/2019 8:07:06 AM
[Politics] The Democrats Divide on Impeachment By Patrick J. Buchanan

The release of the Mueller report has left Democrats in a dilemma. For consider what Robert Mueller concluded after two years of investigation.

Published:4/23/2019 8:07:06 AM
[Entertainment] Inside Gigi Hadid's 24th Birthday Party With Celeb BFFs Taylor Swift, Hailee Steinfeld and More Gigi Hadid, Taylor Swift, Birthdays, Gigi Hadid Birthday PartyHappy birthday, Gigi Hadid! The supermodel is celebrating her 24th birthday today! To kick off the festivities, Gigi held a star-studded denim-themed birthday bash on Monday night at...
Published:4/23/2019 8:07:06 AM
[Markets] Stocks set for modest gains as quartet of Dow components delivers earnings U.S. stock-index futures on Tuesday edge higher amid of a barrage of quarterly results, including blue-chip consumer-focused companies, Coca-Cola Co., and Procter & Gamble Co., which investors will pore over to glean the health of American corporations. Published:4/23/2019 8:07:06 AM
[Politics] Swalwell: 'We're on That Road' to Impeaching Trump Rep. Eric Swalwell rejected the idea that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has dismissed the idea of impeaching President Donald Trump, and predicted he'll be removed from office before being elected for a second term. Published:4/23/2019 8:07:06 AM
[The Blog] Biden sources: Maybe we’ll launch on Wednesday … or maybe we won’t; Update: Not in Charlottesville

"I've never seen anything so half-assed."

The post Biden sources: Maybe we’ll launch on Wednesday … or maybe we won’t; Update: Not in Charlottesville appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:4/23/2019 8:07:06 AM
[Media] ‘They suppress the TRUTH!’ Svetlana Lokhova’s thread on how NBC ‘bullied her’ for contradicting their fake narrative is DAMNING

The ‘liberal media’ really should just admit they are well and truly the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party and get it over with. Seriously. How can they even deny it when there are threads like this one from Svetlana Lokhova telling their story about dealing with certain news outlets, like NBC. This is CRAZY. […]

The post ‘They suppress the TRUTH!’ Svetlana Lokhova’s thread on how NBC ‘bullied her’ for contradicting their fake narrative is DAMNING appeared first on

Published:4/23/2019 8:07:06 AM
[Media] From “collusion” to “obstruction” (Scott Johnson) With the release of the Mueller Report last week, the mainstream media have mostly moved on from “collusion” to “obstruction” without a look backward. While they formerly chimed in on “collusion” with the unanimity and volume of an audience of Communist Party functionaries applauding one of Stalin’s speeches, they have now transferred to the same hatefest with a new theme. It is remarkable. Indeed, I wonder if the state press Published:4/23/2019 8:07:06 AM
[In The News] Pete Buttigieg Supports Pathway To Citizenship For All 11 Million Illegal Immigrants

By Jason Hopkins -

Democratic presidential nominee Pete Buttigieg said he supports a “pathway to citizenship” for the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants living the United States. “There are over ten million people who are undocumented immigrants in this country who don’t fall into [the DACA] category and the reality is we can’t have ...

Pete Buttigieg Supports Pathway To Citizenship For All 11 Million Illegal Immigrants is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:4/23/2019 8:07:06 AM
[worldNews] Top French court rejects Syria-based French jihadis' repatriation demands France's top administrative court on Tuesday rejected demands by Syria-based French women to be repatriated back to France, arguing that a judge could not rule on the issue given it involved negotiations with foreign authorities.
Published:4/23/2019 8:07:06 AM
[Markets] Assault-Rifle-Wielding Mexican Soldiers Disarm US Troops On Border 

Two American soldiers were disarmed and questioned by Mexican troops wielding assault rifles this month while conducting a surveillance mission on US territory near the southern border, defense officials told CNN.

"On April 13, 2019, at approximately 2 p.m. CDT, five to six Mexican military personnel questioned two U.S. Army soldiers who were conducting border support operations in an unmarked (Customs and Border Protection) vehicle near the southwest border in the vicinity of Clint, Texas," US Northern Command told CNN in a statement.

“An inquiry by (Customs and Border Patrol) and (the Department of Defense) revealed that the Mexican military members believed that the US Army soldiers were south of the border,” the statement added.

US officials confirmed that Mexican troops were armed with FX-05 Xiuhcoatl assault rifles. They surrounded the vehicle and disarmed one of the Americans. According to CNN sources, both Americans surrendered "in an attempt to de-escalate a potentially volatile situation."

"Throughout the incident, the U.S. soldiers followed all established procedures and protocols," the statement read.

"After a brief discussion between the soldiers from the two nations, the Mexican military members departed the area. The U.S. soldiers immediately contacted CBP, who responded quickly," Deputy Director of public affairs for NORAD and U.S. Northern Command John Cornelio told Newsweek.

Both US soldiers reported hearing someone yell vámonos in Spanish from the Mexican side. The Americans said, the Mexican soldiers went back to their "dark blue Ford pickup truck with a tactical rack in the back." The truck departed from the area, heading westbound on the border.

After the incident, US service members alerted Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and military commanders. CBP agents responded in 10 to 12 minutes to asses the situation.

CBP agents identified footprints from Mexican troops and determined they entered into U.S. territory about 50 feet north of the Rio Grande.

Both US soldiers were attached to the B Battery, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment rom Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, and deployed to the southern border by President Trump in Oct. 2018.

Pentagon officials demanded an explanation from the Mexican government.

"An inquiry by CBP and DOD [Department of Defense] revealed that the Mexican military members believed that US Army soldiers were south of the border," Northern Command said while indicating that US troops were north of the border.

This incident comes at the same time as the FBI arrests a US militia leader near the border, whose team has been rounding up illegal immigrants near the New Mexico border; prompting Mexico’s Foreign Relations Ministry to express its “deep concern” that these militia groups would “drive human rights abuses of people who migrate or request asylum or refuge in the United States.” That’s a pretty rich statement from a government that evidently refuses to apologize for stepping on our soil and detaining our own soldiers.

Confusion on the border almost turned into a chaotic event that could have severely damaged Mexico-US relations. With an elevated level of American troops patrolling the border and tensions rising between both countries, the expectation of more border incidents is high. 

Published:4/23/2019 8:07:06 AM
[Artificial Intelligence] Blueshift announces $15M Series B to expand AI-fueled cross-channel marketing tool Blueshift is startup founded by tech industry veterans, who saw first-hand how difficult cross-channel marketing was. They decided to launch a company and build a cross-channel marketing platform from the ground up that uses AI and machine learning to make sense of the growing amount of customer data. Today, the startup announced a $15 million […] Published:4/23/2019 8:07:06 AM
[Markets] NewsWatch: Everyone is bullish on Amazon — what that might mean for investors Inc. investors should be warned that Wall Street may be a bit complacent on the e-commerce and cloud giant’s stock ahead of the first-quarter earnings, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they should turn bearish.
Published:4/23/2019 8:07:06 AM
[Uncategorized] Trump Accepts Invite From Queen Elizabeth II to a State Visit to the United Kingdom in June The visit will mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Published:4/23/2019 8:07:06 AM
[Anthem: Homunculus] Q&A: John Cameron Mitchell on Why His New Podcast Musical Was ‘Too Weird’ for TV In John Cameron Mitchell's podcast musical 'Anthem: Homunculus,' Glenn Close sings punk, Patti LuPone sings jazz and Laurie Anderson plays a tumor. Published:4/23/2019 8:07:06 AM
[Immigration] Most Illegals End Up On Welfare, Costing U.S. Taxpayers BILLIONS

The following article, Most Illegals End Up On Welfare, Costing U.S. Taxpayers BILLIONS, was first published on Godfather Politics.

A new report finds that Democrats are wrong about Illegals becoming useful members of society and most end up on welfare costing taxpayers millions.

Continue reading: Most Illegals End Up On Welfare, Costing U.S. Taxpayers BILLIONS ...

Published:4/23/2019 8:07:06 AM
[World] Project Syndicate: The stock market predicts clear sailing ahead, but Roubini warns that risks haven’t disappeared Markets are priced for clear sailing ahead, but Nouriel Roubini warns that the stock markets could turn on a dime.
Published:4/23/2019 8:07:05 AM
[The Blog] Now Kim Jong-un is going to meet with Putin?

A new twist to the story

The post Now Kim Jong-un is going to meet with Putin? appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:4/23/2019 7:37:59 AM
[Markets] Need to Know: How to thrive in a 'fairly, but fully valued' stock market Need to Know: How to thrive in a 'fairly, but fully valued' stock market Published:4/23/2019 7:37:59 AM
[Politics] Trump Warms to Harley Davidson: EU Tariffs 'Unfair' President Donald Trump on Tuesday appeared to reverse course on Harley Davidson Inc., saying European tariffs facing the motorcycle manufacturer were "unfair" and vowing to reciprocate, after urging a boycott of the company last year amid a steel spat. Published:4/23/2019 7:37:59 AM
[worldNews] Battlelines drawn for second Spanish election debate, coalition deals unclear The main contenders in Spain's national election prepared for a second televised debate on Tuesday after a encounter in which they accused each other of lying but left open questions about what coalition deals might eventually be struck.
Published:4/23/2019 7:37:59 AM
[Markets] Dow's earnings reporters would give a 34-point boost to Dow's price Earnings reports are giving a healthy boost to the Dow Jones Industrial Average , as the premarket share price moves in components that reported first-quarter results were adding a combined net of about 34 points to the Dow's price. And Dow futures were up 74 points ahead of the open. Shares of Procter & Gamble Co. fell 1%, with the implied price decline shaving about 7 points off the Dow; Coca-Cola Co. rallied 3.1%, and would add about 10 points to the Dow; United Technologies Corp. climbed 3.4% and would add about 31 points to the Dow; and Verizon Communications Inc. was little changed, and would virtually no affect on the Dow. Published:4/23/2019 7:37:59 AM
[Markets] ISIS Says Behind Sri Lanka Bombings; Was 'Retaliation' For New Zealand Mosque Massacre

Shortly after the death toll from Sunday's Easter bombings in Sri Lanka climbed above the 300 mark, ISIS validated the Sri Lankan government's suspicions that a domestic jihadi organization had help from an international terror network while planning the bombings were validated when ISIS took credit for the attacks.


The claim was made via a report from ISIS's Amaq news agency. Though the group has lost almost all of the territory that was once part of its transnational caliphate, ISIS now boasts cells across the Muslim world, including in North Africa and elsewhere. Before ISIS took credit for the attack, a Sri Lankan official revealed that Sunday's attacks were intended as retaliation for the killing of 50 Muslims during last month's mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand.

However, the Sri Lankan government didn't offer any evidence for that claim, or the claim that Sunday's attacks were planned by two Islamic groups (though that now appears to have been substantiated by ISIS's claim of responsibility). The group is believed to have worked with the National Tawheed Jamaath, according to the NYT.

"The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch," State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene told the Parliament.

Meanwhile, the number of suspects arrested in connection with the attacks had increased to 40 from 24 as of Tuesday. The government had declared a national emergency that allowed it sweeping powers to interrogate and detain suspects.

On Monday, the FBI pledged to send agents to Sri Lanka and provide laboratory support for the investigation.

As the death toll in Sri Lanka climbs, the attack is cementing its position as the deadliest terror attack in the region.

  • 321 (as of now): Sri Lanka bombings, 2019
  • 257 Mumbai attacks, 1993
  • 189 Mumbai train blasts, 2006 166 Mumbai attacks, 2008
  • 151 APS/Peshawar school attack, 2014
  • 149 Mastung/Balochistan election rally attack, 2018

Meanwhile, funeral services for some of the bombing victims began on Tuesday.

Even before ISIS took credit for the attack, analysts told the Washington Post that its unprecedented violence suggested that a well-financed international organization was likely involved.

The bombings on Sunday, however, came with little precedent. Sri Lanka may have endured a ghastly civil war and suicide bombings in the past - some credit the Tamil Tigers with pioneering the tactic - but nothing of this scale. Analysts were stunned by the apparent level of coordination behind the strikes, which occurred around the same time on both sides of the country, and suggested the attacks carried the hallmarks of a more international plot.

"Sri Lanka has never seen this sort of attack - coordinated, multiple, high-casualty - ever before, even with the Tamil Tigers during the course of a brutal civil war," Alan Keenan, a Sri Lanka expert at the International Crisis Group, told the Financial Times. "I’m not really convinced this is a Sri Lankan thing. I think the dynamics are global, not driven by some indigenous debate. It seems to me to be a different kind of ballgame."

Hinting at possible ISIS involvement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a Monday press conference that "radical Islamic terror" remained a threat even after ISIS's defeats in Syria.

Of course, ISIS's claim couldn't be  confirmed and the group has been  known to make "opportunistic" claims in the past, according to WaPo. The extremist group said the attacks were targeting Christians and “coalition countries” and were carried out by fighters from its organization.

Speculation that the government had advanced warning of the attacks, but failed to act amid a power struggle between the country's president and prime minister, unnerved citizens and contributed to a brewing backlash. Following the bombings, schools and mass had been canceled until at least Monday, with masses called off "until further notice."

Published:4/23/2019 7:37:59 AM
[Markets] FTSE 100 trades at more than 6-month high as major oil companies rally U.K. stock indexes head solidly higher Tuesday, in post-Easter action, as investors in the commodity-heavy index get the first chance to react to a surge in crude-oil prices.
Published:4/23/2019 7:37:59 AM
[World] Taylor Swift fans are convinced a new Nashville mural is tied to her April 26 countdown Taylor Swift fans believe a new set of Nashville wings from street artist Kelsey Montague could be part of the singer's social media countdown.
Published:4/23/2019 7:37:59 AM
[38890009-aa07-58ee-9c64-a1ce6cc957e1] Rich Lowry: Impeachment is now the deranged fantasy of rage-driven Dems The collusion fantasy has officially given way to the impeachment fantasy. Published:4/23/2019 7:37:59 AM
[topics:places/brussels] Luxembourg mourns war hero Duke, who helped liberate country from the Nazis Published:4/23/2019 7:37:59 AM
[Crown Heights] Frozen Treats With a Trinidadian Twist: Q&A With Island Pops Co-Founder Khalid Hamid "I look at myself providing a service, not just selling ice cream, more like wellness—a full island experience." Published:4/23/2019 7:37:59 AM
[6a56f5dc-a3aa-5393-885f-1593dbb0184c] Jana Kramer clarifies, apologizes for comments she made about not hiring 'hot' nannies Country singer Jana Kramer is walking back some comments she made about hiring “hot” nannies after getting some serious backlash online. Published:4/23/2019 7:37:59 AM
[World] Market Snapshot: Stocks set for modest gains as quartet of Dow components delivers earnings U.S. stock-index futures on Tuesday edge higher amid of a barrage of quarterly results, including blue-chip consumer-focused companies, Coca-Cola Co., and Procter & Gamble Co., which investors will pore over to glean the health of American corporations.
Published:4/23/2019 7:37:58 AM
[] The Morning Report - 4/23/19 Good morning kids. Mixed bag for this Tuesday so let's get with it. Starting things off, with the Mueller Deception having finally petered out with nothing substantive except a 400-page document that amounts to nothing more than yet another... Published:4/23/2019 7:37:58 AM
[Markets] Twitter shares surge premarket after user growth tops forecast by wide margin Twitter shares surge premarket after user growth tops forecast by wide margin Published:4/23/2019 7:09:43 AM
[Entertainment] Jim Carrey sends heartfelt message to Ariana Grande after she shares his depression quote Ariana Grande and her idol Jim Carrey had a candid exchange about depression on social media, and needless to say, Grande was excited to hear from him.
Published:4/23/2019 7:09:43 AM
[Sri Lanka Easter Bombings (April, 2019)] Live Briefing: Sri Lanka Bombings Live Updates: ISIS Claims Responsibility for Attacks The claim came shortly after a government official said the bombings, which killed more than 300 people, were in retaliation for the shootings last month at mosques in New Zealand. Published:4/23/2019 7:09:43 AM
[worldNews] African summit gives Sudan military time for democratic reforms: Sisi African leaders meeting in Cairo agreed to give Sudan's ruling military council more time to implement democratic reforms, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Tuesday.
Published:4/23/2019 7:09:43 AM
[a4ce327b-4be4-5df4-93d6-909a9a9ae244] Deroy Murdock: Obama crony Eric Holder should stop lecturing William Barr on legal ethics I hereby nominate Eric Holder for the inaugural Nobel Prize for Chutzpah. Published:4/23/2019 7:09:43 AM
[8bb9ffb7-90be-5af3-9d4f-f404d813a5cf] Jonas Brothers new album 'Happiness Begins' to drop in June Coming 10 years almost to the week after their previous studio album, the Jonas Brothers’ “Happiness Begins” has been set for a June 7 release. Published:4/23/2019 7:09:43 AM
[Markets] Oil prices spike further after US move on Iran buyers LONDON (AP) — Oil prices remained near six-month highs Tuesday in the wake of the Trump administration's announcement that it would soon impose sanctions on all buyers of Iranian oil. Published:4/23/2019 7:09:43 AM
[Bel Air] Serena Williams Finally Scored a Real Estate Win in Bel Air Serena Williams has found a buyer for her giant (though tennis court–less) estate. Published:4/23/2019 7:09:43 AM
[Elections] Florida: Soros-Funded Groups Work To Register 1.4 Million Ex-Felons Ahead of 2020

The following article, Florida: Soros-Funded Groups Work To Register 1.4 Million Ex-Felons Ahead of 2020, was first published on Godfather Politics.

In the battleground ground swing state of Florida Soros-funded groups are working hard to register 1.4 million ex-felons ahead of the 2020 elections. Democrats must change the rules to win because they cannot win a fair election any other way. After what happened in Florida during the mid-terms, AG Barr should be taking a serious ...

Continue reading: Florida: Soros-Funded Groups Work To Register 1.4 Million Ex-Felons Ahead of 2020 ...

Published:4/23/2019 7:09:43 AM
[Quick Takes] Professor in Pennsylvania to Teach Conservative-Friendly Course on Trump "Culture and Society in the Age of Trump" Published:4/23/2019 7:09:43 AM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [Eugene Volokh] The Ukrainian President’s Theme Song? The new President of the Ukraine, Volodomyr Zelensky, is (as I noted in an earlier post) not a career politician,... Published:4/23/2019 7:09:43 AM
[Earnings] Verizon Q1 beats analyst expectations with earnings per share of $1.22 Verizon just released its first quarter earnings report, with earnings per share that came in significantly ahead of analyst expectations, while revenue was right in line with predictions. The company reported EPS of $1.22 per share (or $1.20 when adjusted to exclude a 2 cent benefit due to a pension re-measurement triggered by its recent […] Published:4/23/2019 7:09:43 AM
[storytype:standard] Judge warns veteran that PTSD is not a 'get out of jail free card' Published:4/23/2019 7:09:43 AM
[Markets] Musk Promises 1 Million Robotaxis By Next Year In Laughable Autonomy "Investor Day"

In some respects, Tesla's autonomous driving investor day went exactly as one thought it might: lofty unreachable targets, incorrect and inaccurate allegations about competition and CEO Elon Musk nervously mumbling his way through questions and answers.

In short: no surprises there. 

But in other ways, the event differed from past investor events. Like the Model Y reveal, the attendee energy level in the room was painstakingly low, there was no noticeable excitement in the air and, until Musk's bold claim for autonomous robotaxis scouring the streets in 2020, most analysts and those watching the livestream didn’t really even seem to understand what the point of the event was, nor what the company was saying.

But that didn't keep Musk from reluctantly pushing forward and interrupting his own experts as the event walked through a painful, hours-long description of Tesla's FSD hardware, followed by its software - before detailing the Tesla Network (ridesharing) and how the company plans to bridge the gap in DCF models like those from the insane optimistic ARK Invest, who currently has a $4,000 price target on the company's stock based on the opportunity of autonomous ridesharing. 

Musk pulled out all of his hits, including telling the audience that "...all Tesla cars being produced today have the hardware on board that’s required for full self-driving". If that claim sounds familiar, it's likely because Musk made the same exact claim in October 2016. 

But the boldest claim made by Musk was autonomous robotaxis by 2020. Musk made the claim in the midst of still working to fulfill promises from year's past: the Shanghai factory, the Model Y on roads, the Tesla semi - and hell, we still haven't seen a $35,000 Model 3 on the streets yet. But that didn't stop Musk from doing what he does best, selling ideas that don't exist:

“I feel very confident predicting autonomous robotaxis for Tesla next year. They won’t be in all jurisdictions, because we won’t have regulatory approval everywhere, but I am confident we will have at least regulatory approval somewhere, literally next year,” Musk said of Robotaxis toward the end of the event. Musk also said that in two years, Tesla will be making cars with no steering wheels or pedals.

“Sometimes I am not on time, but I get it done,” he qualified. 

Musk also had Tesla director Pete Bannon talk about the company's latest FSD chip, making the claim that they can perform 7 times better than Nvidia's competing chip. Nvidia instantly put out a response disputing Bannon's claims just moments after the event had concluded, calling Tesla's assertions "inaccurate". 

Nvidia said in a statement that Tesla misstated details about its Xavier chips, which offer 30 TOPS, a measure of processing power (not 21 TOPS as Tesla claimed). Nvidia also said Tesla’s full self-driving computers compare directly to its Drive AGX Pegasus. Tesla’s new tech can provide 144 TOPS of processing power, and the Pegasus provides 320 TOPS, Nvidia said.

Tesla also claimed that new chips in development would be ready within two years. The company is manufacturing the chips with Samsung in Texas, it said. We're wondering if Samsung is watching Tesla's relationship with Panasonic closely.

Prolific Tesla critic, auto industry analyst and Seeking Alpha author Anton Wahlman made note that many of Musk's claims made during the presentation were also made back in October 2016. Wahlman said:

“Basic news is that all cars exiting the factory have hardware necessary for Level 5 Autonomy so that’s in terms of cameras, compute power, it’s in every car we make on the order 2,000 cars a week are shipping now with Level 5 literally meaning hardware capable of full self-driving for driver-less capability.”

I know what you are thinking: That sounds familiar from just hours ago, but what about that 2,000 cars per week? Yes, because that was not what Musk said on April 22, 2019. Rather, that quote above is from his Tesla Autopilot press conference on Oct. 19, 2016: Here

He continued:

It's as if Elon Musk thinks that 2.5 years later we have forgotten about the whole thing - his identical promise from October 2016. Well, maybe you and many others forgot, but I didn’t, and that’s why I'm writing this article: To remind you, so that you are not fooled again.

Wahlman also noted  that the investor day focused in part on how good Tesla is at collecting data from the cars they build and sell.

"I don’t want my car to become a Facebook or smartphone on wheels. I don’t want anyone to analyze my driving, monitor where I go, or tamper with my car from a remote server," he said.

And even the mainstream media is now starting to question Musk's nonsense. CNBC called his targets "optimistic" in their lede for the story. Quartz led by saying "we've heard this before". The Detroit News simply said the idea of fully driverless Teslas by 2020 was "doubtful". A Marketwatch opinion piece called Musk "just another car salesman", opening by stating:

Tesla Inc.’s autonomous-driving showcase was riddled with so many pie-in-the-sky statements and inaccuracies that Chief Executive Elon Musk looks more like a huckster car salesman than the “genius” that his fans declare him to be.

Twitter was – as usual – skeptical, to say the least.

Nearing the event's end, one attendee asked who would be at fault in case of an accident with a robotaxi. Musk responded:

"Probably Tesla. The right thing to do is to make sure there are very, very few accidents."

Insurance companies are going to love this idea. Tesla shares are down about $3 in the pre-market session on Tuesday following the event. If this was the event Musk had planned before earnings in order to try and pump the stock prior to a disappointing Q1 report, it looks like he may have just made things worse, instead of better. 

Published:4/23/2019 7:09:43 AM
[SPY] Thoughts On The Next Recession Published:4/23/2019 6:41:40 AM
[Markets] New from MarketWatch: Our tool determines your best-fit retirement destination New from MarketWatch: Our tool determines your best-fit retirement destination Published:4/23/2019 6:41:39 AM
[Media] ‘ON YOUR KNEES, PAUL KRUGMAN’: Donald Trump calls out the New York Times in early morning tweetstorm

President Donald Trump is targeting Paul Krugman and the New York Times this morning, saying the paper “has lost all credibility” and that Krugman is “obsessed with hatred”: Paul Krugman, of the Fake News New York Times, has lost all credibility, as has the Times itself, with his false and highly inaccurate writings on me. […]

The post ‘ON YOUR KNEES, PAUL KRUGMAN’: Donald Trump calls out the New York Times in early morning tweetstorm appeared first on

Published:4/23/2019 6:41:39 AM
[Markets] Gold prices retreat to nearly 4-month low as dollar perks up Gold prices on Tuesday head lower as one popular measure of the U.S. dollar teeters near a two-year high, producing some headwinds for bullion. Published:4/23/2019 6:41:39 AM
[Markets] Stocks Sputter As Oil Surge Continues

In another quiet overnight session following Monday's lowest trading volume in nearly a year, stocks have been rangebound, with US equity futures trading in a narrow range (although solid beats by UTX and Coke will likely push stocks higher into the open), while the oil rampage continued, as Brent jumped to near six-month highs on Tuesday after the US tightened sanctions on Iran, sending shares of energy companies higher but failing to help the currencies of the main crude-oil producers.

Confirmation that the US had told buyers of Iranian oil to stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions pushed Brent toward $75 a barrel, nearly $10 higher in the past month, and up 50% since December, and as Reuters put it, "made for a lively return from the four-day Easter break for Europe’s markets."

While oil and gas shares jumped nearly 2% for their best start in six weeks, almost every other sector suffered. So did bonds, as higher energy costs hung over profits and nudged up inflation expectations.

Overnight, MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares ended 0.1% higher and Japan’s Nikkei closed up 0.2% as oil and gas gains were offset by losses for airlines and other transport shares facing higher fuel costs. China's Shanghai Composite slumped in the last hour of trading, closing near session lows amid growing concerns that the PBOC will end its aggressive easing after China reported some impressive economic numbers. Asian volumes were below average ahead of Japan’s Golden Week extended holiday which will see Japanese markets closed for nearly 2 weeks.

China’s blue-chip stocks have surged over 30% so far this year on expectations of more stimulus and hopes Beijing and Washington will reach an agreement to end their nine-month trade dispute.

“We’ve had a fantastic run in Chinese equities year-to-date. Some profit taking is completely normal. I don’t think China is changing its policy that quickly,” said Stefan Hofer, chief investment strategist at LGT Bank Asia in Hong Kong.

Following a muted Asian session, European stocks slipped as many markets reopened after a long weekend and as the earnings season ramps up. Banks led a drop across many sectors for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, though energy companies outperformed thanks to the bounce in oil.

With little of note in equity markets, traders remained focused on oil prices which are up nearly 50 percent since late December, and before the re-imposition of sanctions last year Iran was the fourth-largest producer among the OPEC at around 3 million barrels per day. Oil prices are “not so high that it crushes manufacturing by putting energy-price inputs up, but it is producing a nice boost to oil-producing nations,” said ING economist Robert Carnell, although a few more dollars of oil upside and oil prices may get "too high."

Elsewhere, Sri Lankan stocks slumped and bonds fell for a second day after terror attacks on Easter Sunday killed more than 300 people.

In rates, Treasuries were steady with yields marginally lower and within a basis point of Monday’s close; as Bloomberg notes, upside was capped as bunds lag on light cash volumes. Focus is on supply as Treasury auction cycle begins with $40b 2-year note sale, followed by $41b 5-year Wednesday and $32b 7-year Thursday. The 10-year TSY yielded around 2.583%, richer by half basis point; German 10s cheaper by 3bp vs. Treasuries with the spread hovering around 254bp

In FX, volatility was still largely absent. The dollar held near a three-week high, but the usual beneficiaries of higher oil prices, the Canadian dollar and Norwegian crown, dipped to $1.33 and $8.52 respectively; ironically the biggest losers from higher oil prices - India and Turkey - did not see their currencies dip materially either.

Oil is interesting, but the interesting thing for FX is that we are not getting the usual feed-through in the petrocurrencies,” said Saxo bank’s head of FX strategy, John Hardy, adding that might be caused by questions about Chinese stimulus. Both the Canadian dollar and the crown had gained on Monday, and the Russian rouble, another petrocurrency, hit its highest against the euro in more than a year its highest against the dollar in a month.

Emerging-market currencies and shares were mostly steady. The pound advanced against major peers as Prime Minister Theresa May foughtto keep her job.

Investor attention remains focused on earnings season which is about to see an avalanche of Q1 filings as one third of the S&P is set to report: “Some of the world’s biggest technology companies are reporting earnings this week as well as a raft of the big European banks,” Rakuten's Nick Twidale said in a note to clients Tuesday. "Investors will be hoping for some better-than-expected results from both groups to keep the topside momentum in global equities. If the data starts to show a significant slowing across these key industries then expect both stocks and risk trades to start to come under some heavy pressure.”

Expected data include new home sales. Coca-Cola, Harley-Davidson, Lockheed Martin, P&G, Twitter, Verizon, and Snap are among companies reporting earnings.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures little changed at 2,911.00
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 0.2% to 389.76
  • MXAP up 0.2% to 163.06
  • MXAPJ up 0.1% to 542.39
  • Nikkei up 0.2% to 22,259.74
  • Topix up 0.3% to 1,622.97
  • Hang Seng Index unchanged at 29,963.24
  • Shanghai Composite down 0.5% to 3,198.59
  • Sensex up 0.3% to 38,773.63
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1% to 6,319.42
  • Kospi up 0.2% to 2,220.51
  • German 10Y yield rose 2.3 bps to 0.048%
  • Euro down 0.05% to $1.1251
  • Italian 10Y yield fell 1.0 bps to 2.231%
  • Spanish 10Y yield rose 2.2 bps to 1.093%
  • Brent futures up 0.5% to $74.42/bbl
  • Gold spot down 0.1% to $1,273.76
  • U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 97.32

Top Overnight News

  • Oil extended gains after leaping to a six-month high on Monday after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said any nation that continues to buy Iranian oil will face American sanctions. Futures in London added as much as 0.8 percent Tuesday.
  • U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is fighting to keep her job so she can complete her task of taking Britain out of the European Union -- but her hopes of success now rest with her arch rival and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn
  • Benoit Coeure, the European Central Bank Executive Board member in charge of markets, said he doesn’t see any reason to dilute the effect of negative interest rates on banks and signaled a new long-term loan series may be less generous than the previous round
  • China’s securities watchdog moved to curb cut-throat pricing competition among local debt arrangers looking to gain a bigger share in the world’s third-largest bond market
  • The new indictment accusing Carlos Ghosn of redirecting $5 million from Nissan Motor Co. to his personal accounts not only may extend his time in detention, it also threatens to undermine his argument that he’s a victim of corporate intrigue

Asian equity markets traded mixed as sentiment somewhat deteriorated from the mostly positive close in the US, where the energy sector surged after the US decided to end Iranian oil sanction waivers but with gains in the broader market capped ahead of this week’s heavy slate of earnings. ASX 200 (+0.9%) was led higher by the energy sector after crude prices rallied around 3% to 6-month highs and NZX 50 (+0.5%) topped the 10K level for the first time ever, while Nikkei 225 (+0.2%) barely held on to early gains and stumbled from the weight of a firmer currency. Hang Seng (U/C) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.5%) were subdued after PBoC inaction resulted to a net liquidity drain of CNY 40bln which pushed the Overnight SHIBOR higher by over 27bps and with Hong Kong tentative amid resistance ahead of the 30K level and as its reflected on the recent mainland underperformance on return from its 4-day closure. Finally, 10yr JGBs were relatively flat after having recovered from earlier weakness as risk sentiment in Tokyo soured, while weaker results at today’s 2yr JGB auction also ensured price action was drab.

Top Asian News

  • Maeda Says BOJ Will Consider Further Easing If Momentum Slows
  • Singapore’s Pre-Election Cabinet Change Sets Heng Up for Top Job
  • Fosun Could Only Buy Thomas Cook’s Tour Business: Citi
  • Cash-Flow King for Templeton Seeing More Riches in China Stocks

Major European Indices are slightly subdued [Euro Stoxx 50 -0.2%], after being essentially unchanged for much of the session, with stocks largely following on from the indecisive sentiment seen overnight in Asia as participants return from the Easter weekend. Sectors are similarly mixed, although the significant outperformance in energy names continues following on from the lifting of Iranian waivers; as such Shell (+2.0%) are firmly in the green with the Co. also aided by the agreement to sell their 50% stake in SAREF to Saudi Aramco for USD 631mln. Due to the strong performance in Shell, alongside the Co. representing 11.3% of the FTSE 100 due to it having two listings in the form of A and B shares, the FTSE 100 (+0.4%) is outperforming its peers. Other notable movers this morning include Umicore (-15.4%) who are underperforming the Stoxx 600 following the Co. warning that 2020 revenue and earnings growth will be below expectations. Separately, Wirecard (-2.9%) are down after the expiration of BaFin’s short selling ban on Friday April 19th. Elsewhere, Thomas Cook (+16.3%) are soaring after reports that the Co. has received approaches for sections/entirety of the Co., with names such as Forsum International, KKR and EQT citied as potential bidders.

Top European News

  • BlueMountain’s Europe CEO Church Is Said to Be Joining Och- Ziff
  • Partners Group Buys Norwegian Gas Pipeline Owner CapeOmega
  • Thomas Cook Up Most in 4 Months on Report of Buyout Interest
  • Ahold Falls as Stop & Shop Strikes Will Cut Grocer’s Earnings

In FX, the dollar index remains firm and comfortably above the 97.000 handle within a 97.281-402 range amidst Greenback gains vs most major counterparts and EM rivals as the latest rally in oil prices continues to undermine crude importers and risk sentiment more broadly to the detriment of high beta currencies. However, the DXY still needs to overcome early April highs at 95.517 to expose ytd peaks posted in the previous month and virtually matching late 2018 levels just above 97.700.

  • CHF/AUD/NZD/NOK/SEK - The G10 laggards and largest losers against the buoyant Buck, as the Franc extends its decline further towards 1.0200 and through 1.1450 vs a relatively resilient Euro, while the Aussie and Kiwi hover closer to the bottom of 0.7140-10 and 0.6685-57 ranges vs their US peer on more dovish RBA and RBNZ policy leanings compared to the Fed. On that note, the Aud will be eyeing Q1 inflation data overnight amidst the consensus for a slowdown in q/q and y/y CPI rates with caution given latest RBA minutes revealing discussions about the conditions that may warrant a lower OCR including weaker price developments along with any deterioration in the labour market. Elsewhere, even the Nok is underperforming alongside the Sek as the Scandi Crowns fall victim to overall aversion rather than gleaning more support from the aforementioned advance in oil, as the former retreats to circa 9.5900 and latter to around 10.5000 vs the Eur.
  • GBP/JPY/EUR/CAD - All narrowly mixed vs the Usd, as Cable recovers from pre-Easter lows to retest the 1.3000 level after holding above the 200 DMA (1.2966) and shrugging off heightened pressure on UK PM May as Parliament returns from its recess. Meanwhile, Usd/Jpy remains capped just ahead of 112.00 within a 111.97-66 range and decent option expiry interest between 111.50-65 and 111.90-112.00 (1.1 bn either side). Note also, reported Japanese import and investor bids above 111.50 and the 200 DMA (111.51) may be curtailing a more concerted pull-back. Expiries could be impacting Eur/Usd as well given 2.3 bn rolling off from 1.1250 to 1.1260, while the Loonie is pivoting 1.3350 in the run up to Wednesday’s BoC policy meeting and press conference from Poloz and Wilkins – full preview of the event available on the Research Suite (along with a BoJ primer for Thursday).
  • EM - Most regional currencies are on the back foot vs the Dollar, as noted above, but the Rand is also factoring in renewed concerns about SA’s Eskom in wake of reports that the Government had to bail out the company to the tune of Zar 5bn to avert non-payment and a call on state guarantees – Usd/Zar currently at 14.1900+ vs sub-14.1500 at one stage.

In  commodities, Brent (+0.6%) and WTI (+0.8%) prices are in the green, as the oil complex extends on yesterdays gains following the US announcing that they are not going to extend waivers for Iranian oil, which expire on May 2nd. For reference, Iranian exports averaged 1.3mln BPD in March as such if the US are successful in their goal of reducing Iran’s exports to zero then this would result in a significant supply reduction; although, some analysts believe that the complete elimination of exports is unlikely. RBC state that they believe around 700-800K BPD to be removed from the market in the short term as a result of the waiver elimination. Saudi Energy Minister Al Falih stated that Saudi Arabia will cooperate with other oil suppliers in order to ensure that there is sufficient supply and that the market will not go out of balance. In light of the US’ announcement to not extend waivers Barclays sees upside risks of at a minimum USD 5/bbl for the USD 70/bbl Brent 2019 forecast if their exports drop to zero; however, Goldman Sachs state that the price impact will be limited and reiterates their 2019 Brent range of USD 70-75/bbl. Looking ahead, we have the API weekly crude release where the expectations are for crude stocks to build by around 0.5mln barrels. Gold (-0.1%) is largely unchanged and trading within a narrow USD 4/oz range, largely in line with major stock indices and the generally indecisive risk tone as markets return from the extended Easter weekend. Elsewhere, the majority of steel mills in China’s Tangshan, Hebei province have been asked to cut around 40% of their sintering capacity due to the expected increase in pollution levels over the coming week.

Looking at the day ahead, we get housing data in the form of the FHFA house price index reading for February and March new home sales. We’ve also got the April Richmond Fed manufacturing index print due out. Away from that we’re due to hear comments from Larry Kudlow in Washington while the earnings highlights are Proctor & Gamble, Verizon, Coca-Cola, eBay and United Technologies.

US Event Calendar

  • 9am: FHFA House Price Index MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.6%
  • 10am: Richmond Fed Manufact. Index, est. 10, prior 10
  • 10am: New Home Sales, est. 649,000, prior 667,000; MoM, est. -2.7%, prior 4.9%

DB's Craig Nicol concludes the overnight wrap

Hope you all enjoyed the long weekend. Here in the UK, we even managed to dust off the barbecues such was the unseasonably hot weather. Mind you Jim probably didn’t feel quite so thrilled with it given that he’s in box moving and unpacking mode right now. The good news for him is that the temperature is expected to drop over the rest of this week while for markets there’s probably just enough in the week ahead to keep us distracted.

Indeed, in all likelihood earnings will probably dictate the direction of travel for now especially with a number of tech heavyweights due to report including eBay, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft.Last week saw the NASDAQ 100 hit a fresh all-time high with the broader NASDAQ one decent session away from its own record high, so this week should be a reasonable test as to whether or not we can hold those levels. More broadly, in total we’ve got 148 more S&P 500 companies reporting this week and the stats after 86 companies having reported so far is 67 beating on earnings, which is above the five-year average, but just 41 on revenues, which is below the five-year average. Not to be left out, it’s worth noting that this week will also see a number of European Banks report their latest quarterlies.

Outside of that we’ve also got a few high-profile meetings between politicians over the next few days.Markets will likely be most fixated by Trump’s meeting with Abe at the White House from Friday with trade talks likely to be high up on the agenda list. Before that, Abe is due to meet Tusk and Juncker on Thursday while also on the cards this week is a possible meeting between Putin and Kim Jong Un tomorrow. Oh, and UK politicians return from their Easter recess today. So that only means one thing for the prospect of Brexit headlines. The last 10 days was fun while it lasted.

Also worth flagging this week is the BoJ meeting on Thursday where no change in policy is expected, however the meeting does include the BoJ’s latest quarterly report. Finally, it’s fairly quiet for data releases however the Q1 advance GDP reading for the US is by some distance the highlight. In terms of what to expect, at the expense of Q2 growth and the recent strong retail sales data, our US economists recently revised up their forecast to 2.6% for Q1 which is ahead of the market consensus for 2.2%. That data is due out on Friday.

Ahead of all that Wall Street was open for business yesterday however it wasn’t a particularly exciting session with the S&P 500 and NASDAQ advancing +0.10% and +0.22% respectively, while the DOW retreated -0.18%. With volumes also 25% below average, the range on the S&P 500 was in fact just 0.45%. That makes 14 straight sessions with no intraday ranges of +/-1%, the longest streak since October.

The good news is that there was one big mover and shaker yesterday and that was oil where WTI rose +2.31% to a fresh 6-month high of $65.55/bbl. The catalyst was the surprise move by the US to end their waivers on Iran sanctions.These waivers had allowed eight countries to continue importing oil from Iran despite the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the nuclear accord last year, and their termination will likely result in further reductions to Iran’s exports. The US said that other countries would compensate for the fall in Iranian supply to leave the global market balanced. However, the risk of disruptions injected a risk premium into oil markets. In an immediate response, an Iranian military official said that they would close the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation if the US completely blocks their exports. The 5y Treasury breakeven was +1.5bps higher off the back of that move while 10y Treasuries more broadly speaking were +2.9bps higher. The energy sector also led gains for the S&P, closing up +2.05%, while HY energy spreads were -3bps tighter, in contrast to a moderate widening for the broader HY index. The currencies that gained the most included oil-exporters like the Russian Ruble (+0.40%) and Canadian Dollar (+0.33%), while oil importing EMs were hit negatively, with the Indian rupee (-0.46%) and South Korean won pacing losses (-0.41%).

This morning in Asia it’s been just as muted for equity markets with the Nikkei (-0.06%), Hang Seng (-0.08%), CSI 300 (-0.03%) and Kospi (+0.06%) all struggling for direction in thin trading conditions once again. Oil has held onto the gains from yesterday while US equity futures are flat.

As for other news yesterday, the data calendar was light with only a few releases in the US. The Chicago Fed’s National Activity Index rose to -0.15 from -0.31, though lower than the expected -0.10. A negative reading points to lower-than-average growth, not necessarily economic contraction. Existing home sales fell more than expected, at 5.21 million versus consensus expectations for 5.30 million, a -4.9% mom drop. That’s the sharpest monthly percentage drop since 2015 and the second sharpest since 2011. US homebuilder stocks fell -1.39% in response.

Elsewhere, President Trump announced via twitter that he will not proceed with nominating Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve Board.That came as media outlets reported fresh scrutiny of his other pick, Stephen Moore. His nomination is still reportedly on track though not officially submitted.

Finally, in terms of the day ahead, the only data release due out in Europe is the April consumer confidence reading for the Euro Area this afternoon. In the US we’ve got more housing data in the form of the FHFA house price index reading for February and March new home sales. We’ve also got the April Richmond Fed manufacturing index print due out. Away from that we’re due to hear comments from Larry Kudlow in Washington while the earnings highlights are Proctor & Gamble, Verizon, Coca-Cola, eBay and United Technologies.

Published:4/23/2019 6:41:39 AM
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Published:4/23/2019 6:41:39 AM
[worldNews] Sri Lanka blasts were revenge for New Zealand mosque killings: minister Devastating Easter bombings in Sri Lanka were retaliation for attacks on mosques in New Zealand, a Sri Lankan official said on Tuesday, as Islamic State claimed responsibility for the coordinated blasts that killed 321 people.
Published:4/23/2019 6:41:39 AM
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[Markets] Bond Report: Treasury yields edge lower ahead of key debt auction Treasury yields fall slightly Tuesday as investors brace for the first debt auction of the week, which could weigh on prices for government paper.
Published:4/23/2019 6:41:39 AM
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Published:4/23/2019 6:41:39 AM
[World] Live Blog Here is your live blog for the day. Published:4/23/2019 6:07:56 AM
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[Markets] "He Is Obsessed With Hatred": Trump Bashes Krugman, NYT, 'Morning Joe' In Epic Twitter Rant

Since Trump's inauguration, Nobel-prize winning economist and longtime NYT editorial board member Paul Krugman has dedicated himself almost exclusively to bashing the president as a racist, a liar and a shill for the rich. But in a particularly scathing post-Mueller-report column published last night (and crucially appearing in Tuesday's paper), the economist took his criticisms one step further, branding Trump a racist and a liar, while accusing the Republican Party that obeyed the will of its voters in electing Trump of "selling out the American people."

For the president, who is still basking in the vindication of Mueller's conclusions, this was apparently a bridge too far.

Because in a series of early Tuesday tweets, Trump bashed Krugman for his "false and highly inaccurate writings" and his calls for a Trump-inspired market crash, which haven't exactly panned out.

The president also ramped up his criticism of Krugman's employer, the New York Times, musing about whether the paper would apologize to him for a second time (as it did after his stunning electoral triumph over Hillary Clinton), insisting that this time, the "fake news" paper would need to "get down on their knees & beg for forgiveness."

Trump accused the "Radical left" Democrats and their handlers in the "Fake News media" of having gone "totally insane", a sign that Trump's agenda is working.

In a subtle dig at the Clintons, he added that in the "old days" if a president presided over a good economy, he was "basically immune from criticism".

Not content to let Krugman have all the fun, Trump swiftly turned on one of his favorite targets in the 'lamestream' media, Morning Joe, which he rebranded "Morning Psycho," gloating about how all the free air time the MSNBC morning show staple allowed him during the campaign helped him win.

Then again, if the economy is truly doing so well, then why is Trump insisting that the Fed launch QE4 asap?

Finally, Trump also spared a tweet to galvanize supporters ahead of a weekend rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, which will be his first rally since the release of the redacted Mueller report.

Published:4/23/2019 6:07:55 AM
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[Uncategorized] Democrats Oppose New Hampshire Law Requiring ‘College Students be Permanent Residents to Vote’ "Shaheen argues that the law effectively creates a 'poll tax' for college students." Published:4/23/2019 6:07:55 AM
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Published:4/23/2019 5:39:23 AM
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[US News] ‘Lmao’: Biden reportedly cancels Wednesday presidential announcement

According to The Atlantic’s Edward-Isaac Dovere, Joe Biden’s planned presidential launch on Wednesday “has now been pushed back”: Several sources say the Biden announcement, which had been planned for Wednesday by video, has now been pushed back — Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) April 22, 2019 It gets worse: as early as this morning 2 people close […]

The post ‘Lmao’: Biden reportedly cancels Wednesday presidential announcement appeared first on

Published:4/23/2019 5:39:23 AM
[Markets] Caterpillar Reports Earnings Tomorrow. Here’s What to Expect. Investors are skittish about Caterpillar stock. Is it cheap enough to buy at 12 times estimated 2019 earnings or is it a value trap? Investors will look for clarity when Caterpillar reports earnings on Wednesday. Published:4/23/2019 5:39:23 AM
[7287ff8a-e6e1-5e74-9c56-f67da8684283] Tammy Bruce: 'Easter worshipers?' How the language of the left avoids real discussion of terror Why does the left find itself unable to call the Easter massacre victims what they were: Christians? Published:4/23/2019 5:39:23 AM
[worldNews] China shows off new destroyer as Xi views naval parade China showed off the first of its new generation of guided missile destroyers on Tuesday as President Xi Jinping reviewed a major naval parade through mist and rain to mark 70 years since the founding of China's navy.
Published:4/23/2019 5:39:23 AM
[36d12fd7-d247-5348-80c1-5e5f7296868d] Peter Navarro: President Trump’s Conventional Arms Transfer policy is strengthening America and its allies President Trump’s new, more aggressive policy has put into sharp focus the critical synergies between a globally competitive defense industrial base, a strong domestic economy, and more effective competition with rivals such as China and Russia.  Published:4/23/2019 5:09:28 AM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [Orin Kerr] Chalking Tires and the Fourth Amendment In a new case, Taylor v. City of Saginaw, the Sixth Circuit has ruled that the common practice of parking... Published:4/23/2019 5:09:28 AM
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[topics:places/new-zealand] Sri Lanka bombings 'retaliation for Christchurch terror attack' as death toll passes 320 Published:4/23/2019 5:09:28 AM
[worldNews] French presidential candidate to face trial over fake jobs scandal Former French presidential candidate Francois Fillon and his wife Penelope will face trial over the fake jobs scandal that destroyed his 2017 campaign, a judicial source said on Tuesday.
Published:4/23/2019 5:09:28 AM
[Markets] Kamala Harris Vows To Impose Sweeping Gun-Control Plan Via Executive Action

Monday night's CNN Town Hall was one of the first opportunities for the top Democratic presidential contenders to come together and share their views on allowing child rapists, terrorists and murderers to vote, and other formerly radical policies that have somehow found their way into the Democratic mainstream. 


As each candidate vied to outdo one another, California Sen. Kamala Harris, widely rumored to have the party's implicit backing as the "establishment choice" in a widening field of nearly two dozen candidates, boldly declared that she would take executive action to force federal agencies to write new rules on gun control should Congress "fail to act".

"Upon being elected, I will give the United States Congress 100 days to get their act together and have the courage to pass reasonable gun safety laws, and if they fail to do it, then I will take executive action," Harris said Monday.

An aide to Harris said the senator would direct the ATF "to promulgate a regulation" that makes it so that "if you sell five or more guns for profit a year, you will be considered a 'dealer' and required to perform background checks."

She added that she would push to "ban assault weapons", which, as she is no doubt aware thanks to her time as a prosecutor (though most non-gun-owning Americans probably don't understand the difference) would mean banning most semi-automatic weapons, leaving hunters and hobbyists with revolvers and pump-action rifles and shotguns. 

For those who are still unclear about what Harris means by 'banning assault weapons', here's a flowchart that California, one of the few states that has maintained its own assault weapons ban, uses to determine what is and isn't illegal.


Harris's sweeping gun control plan includes proposals to require universal background checks (federal law only requires background checks by licensed dealers, leading to the so-called 'gun show' loophole), reinstate a federal "assault weapons ban" that was initially passed by President Bill Clinton and remained in effect between 1994 to 2004, ban high-capacity ammunition clips, make gun trafficking a federal crime and prohibit those convicted of a federal hate crime from buying firearms.

Among her more controversial proposals is her plan to repeal the Protection of Commerce in Arms Act, a 2005 law that shields gun makers and sellers from liability for crimes committed using their weapons.

Of course, the Harris campaign acknowledged that the candidate's plan would, if enacted, almost certainly face court challenges. But breaking the impasse on gun control, which has divided Republicans and Democrats, is a top Democratic priority, since politicians have cynically convinced grieving communities that tightening background checks and restrictions on gun purchases will somehow magically solve the problem of mass shootings.

Oh, and as if her radical gun control proposals weren't enough to secure some headline real estate, Harris also became one of the first Democratic contenders in the mainstream to publicly support impeachment for President Trump.

Nancy Pelosi will be thrilled, we imagine. 

Published:4/23/2019 5:09:27 AM
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[Markets] Don’t donate to charity in the checkout line and other tips from the author of ‘Giving Done Right’ As a debate bubbles about philanthropy’s effect on democracy, one author says some critics ignore the good it does.
Published:4/23/2019 5:09:27 AM
[World] America's growing fatigue with Mueller nonsense

Democrats are rapidly emerging as Republicans' best hope for 2020. Why?

They're failing to see how fed up Americans are getting with the whole "Donald Trump did it" line of messaging from the left, despite the far more factual "Donald Trump didn't do it" special counsel report from Robert Mueller.

Published:4/23/2019 4:36:59 AM
[Politics] Joe Biden Viewed Gays in Government as ‘Security Risks’

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The post Joe Biden Viewed Gays in Government as ‘Security Risks’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:4/23/2019 4:36:59 AM
[worldNews] Sri Lanka detains Syrian in investigation of blasts; toll rises to 321 Sri Lankan police detained a Syrian among 40 people being questioned about the Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels, government and military sources said on Tuesday, as the toll from the coordinated bomb attacks rose to 321.
Published:4/23/2019 4:36:59 AM
[Markets] Jeff Reeves's Strength in Numbers: 5 ways to cash in as ‘e-sports’ becomes more popular than pro football Soon more people will be watching video game competitions than the real thing.
Published:4/23/2019 4:36:59 AM
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[Markets] Seeds Sewn For Major Transatlantic Trade War Starting In May

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk,

Trump wants a trade treaty with the EU to include agriculture. France says no. It only takes one.

Trump has made a considerable number of trade threats only to eventually back down. Will it play out that way again?

For a number of reasons, I think Trump will act this time. First, let's look at the threats.

Severe Pain

On February 25, Trump told the EU Play Ball or ‘We’re Going to Tariff the Hell Out of You’

"The European Union is very, very tough. Very, very tough. They don’t allow our products in. They don’t allow our farming goods in," Trump said at a meeting with U.S. governors, according to a transcript from the White House. He added that "maybe, in certain ways," the EU is "tougher than China."

On March 14, Trump Warned EU of ‘Severe’ Economic Pain if No Progress On Trade Talks.

Partial Agreement Won't Fly

On April 15, Reuters reported EU Ready to Launch U.S. Trade Talks, but Without Agriculture.

The EU approved two areas for negotiation, opposed by France with an abstention from Belgium. But agriculture was not included, leaving the 28-country bloc at odds with Washington, which has insisted on including farm products in the talks.

EU trade agreement are unanimous. Tiny countries can and have influenced outcomes. It took over a decade to get an agreement with Canada over concerns of tiny nations.

Even if US-EU trade talks take place, nothing will come of them and Trump will quickly get frustrated.

Climate Change Now in the Picture

On April 18, France has signaled it will not cooperate with Trump in any way.

Please consider the new French demand: No EU-US Trade Talks Unless Trump Supports Climate Deal.

Earlier this week, the European Union agreed to start trade talks with the United States on industrial goods. France, however, has objected to the decision while Belgium abstained. In Paris, the concern is that there cannot be any agreement over trade while the U.S. refuses to commit to key environmental targets.

“France is opposed to the initiation of any trade negotiations with countries outside the Paris climate agreement,” a French official said Monday, explaining why the second largest euro country said no to trade negotiations with Washington.

“It is a question of values. Europe must be exemplary and firm in its defense of the climate,” the same official said.

Uri Dadush, a Washington-based scholar for the think tank Bruegel, told CNBC: “I believe France and others less prominently visible than France and which are net beneficiaries of the Common Agricultural Policy (Italy, Spain, for example) will veto discussion of agriculture trade reforms.”

“This will make it even tougher for the U.S. to accept a deal, and I suspect that President Trump was not adequately briefed or ignored his brief when he agreed with (European Commission) President Juncker to omit agriculture,” he added.

Trade Talks Going Nowhere

Even without the absurd demand on climate change, trade talks with the EU are going nowhere.

Not Just Trump Holding Up Talks

One difference this time is that it isn't just Trump threatening the EU.

Via Eurointelligence:

It would be rather silly to report the EU Council’s decision to open limited trade talks with the US without noting the immediate cool response on the other side of the Atlantic. The first reaction did not come from Donald Trump - who was busy giving technical advice to French firefighters - but from Chuck Grassley, the chair of the US Senate's finance committee. He immediately dismissed the decision by the EU Council to open up trade negotiations with the US, making it clear that no deal would pass the Senate without including agriculture.

Trade policy with Europe is not a matter where Congress and the White House are divided. It is our understanding that Trump’s closest advisers are all expecting the president to slap tariffs on European auto imports.

The French opposition, together with that expressed earlier by the European Parliament, does bot bode well for future EU adoption of even a limited trade deal with the US. The trade talks need only a qualified majority to be launched, but unanimity of member states and a majority in the EP to be ratified.

We have been observing a definite hardening of French positions in a variety of issues, including trade and the Brexit extension. Last week France blocked an EU statement on Libya. It will be interesting to see whether Emmanuel Macron’s readiness to assert himself more strongly will survive the European elections.


Chuck Grassley, head of the Senate Finance Committee is from Iowa, an huge farm-belt state. Grassley will insist agriculture be part of any trade deal.

Trump will listen to Grassley and the trade hawks.

Chlorinated Chicken


Major Transatlantic Trade War Coming Up

Trump's position is somewhat logical (if you foolishly believe tariffs are an answer).

The EU runs a massive trade surplus with the US in industrial goods. Eliminating tariffs on industrial goods would likely increase that surplus.

There is one tried and true way to get Trump to back down: Give in on some minor point then agree to buy more soybeans.

However, the EU is not going to buy more soybeans, GMO products in general, or chlorinated chicken.

Instead, Macron taunted Trump with a huge red flag issue regarding climate change.

Trade War in May

The Commerce Department presented a report on auto imports in mid-January. Supposedly, auto imports are a threat to US national security. That's absurd, but it allows "tariff man" to do whatever he wants.

The deadline for Trump to make a decision on EU tariffs is mid-May.

Trump is set to sign a trade deal with China in late May or early June. Expect Trump to finalize a meaningless deal with China, then start a major trade war with the EU.

Published:4/23/2019 4:07:22 AM
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[Markets] NerdWallet: How college students get trapped into loans they can’t repay Three reasons smart students end up with insurmountable debt, and how to avoid financial traps.
Published:4/23/2019 4:07:22 AM
[World] The Conversation: Here’s how Netflix could profit from all the data it collects instead of burning through cash What if Netflix’s primary long-term business model is not as a media content or distribution company, but as a data aggregation company?
Published:4/23/2019 4:07:22 AM
[Events] New hack challenge from Eramet for the TC Hackathon at VivaTech There’s no question that springtime in Paris is the stuff of legend. TechCrunch is returning to the City of Lights to continue building another legendary experience. The TechCrunch Hackathon at VivaTech 2019 takes place at the Expo Porte de Versailles on 17-18 May. If you’re a developer, a UX/UI designer or an all-around tech creator, […] Published:4/23/2019 3:38:46 AM
[worldNews] Australia government moves to head off water scandal ahead of election Australia's government moved on Tuesday to head off a potential scandal over state water purchases that has fueled opposition allegations of improper spending weeks before a general election.
Published:4/23/2019 3:38:46 AM
[Markets] UK Deploys Helicopter Gunships As Deterrent To Counter "Very Credible Threat" From Russia

Contributing to NATO's latest increased presence in the Baltic states, five Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters of the British Royal Force were recently deployed to the Amari Air Base in Estonia, reported the Irish Examiner. The AH-64s are expected to participate in upcoming NATO military exercises and provide defense coverage for a military base near Tapa in Estonia, a city located near the Russian border.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson told reporters that the AH-64s will form a crucial element of NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP), which forward deploys defenses and deterrence in Eastern Europe near the Russian border.

Williamson said: "It’s a very credible threat that we see from Russia and part of the reason that we’re deploying five Apache attack helicopters is making sure that we’re constantly adapting to a changing situation, but this is about deterrents."

"This is about Nato nations standing together in unity as one and you see Great Britain playing the largest role in enhanced forward presence with the largest number of service personnel deployed.

The enhancement of that deployment with the Apache attack helicopters is really vital and very, very important and it’s been very warmly welcomed by so many nations."

The Apaches are supported by Estonia's AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat reconnaissance helicopters.

The Irish Times said more than 100 U.K. military personnel have been deployed to the Baltics as part of the new operation, taking the total there to 1,000 troops.

Major David Lambert, commanding officer of 663 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, said the AH-64s will be participating in military exercises in several Baltic states this year.

One of the war drills, dubbed Iron Wolf, will be held in Lithuania this year with 14 nations practicing defensive maneuvers.

"Whenever you go somewhere new, there’s always things that you learn about how to operate.

Your fieldcraft needs to change and in the UK we train very much in rolling countryside, it favours us in what we do.

Actually putting ourselves in a really flat area in close proximity to the Russian border brings some new, complex challenges that we need to look at.

I’m really excited by the whole prospect," said Maj Lambert.

The EFP is deployed across Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, provides combat-capable forces to mobilize at a moments notice, in the event of war with Russia.

A unit of 300 French soldiers, five Leclerc main battle tanks and 20 infantry fighting vehicles have also arrived in Estonia.

The deployment of U.K. attack helicopters and French troops have certainly sent alarm bells ringing in Russia. The question now: How will Moscow respond?

Published:4/23/2019 3:38:45 AM
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[worldNews] New IRA apologizes for killing of Northern Ireland journalist The New IRA militant Irish nationalist group has apologized for the killing of journalist Lyra McKee - its first acknowledgement that one of its members was involved, the Irish News newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Published:4/23/2019 3:14:23 AM
[International] Podcast: The Strange Terrorist Attack in Sri Lanka

Did other, bigger terrorist groups help a relatively small group in Sri Lanka pull off the sophisticated attack that left nearly 300 dead Sunday? Why... Read More

The post Podcast: The Strange Terrorist Attack in Sri Lanka appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:4/23/2019 2:38:04 AM
[worldNews] Kazakhstan's Tokayev gets veteran leader's backing for presidency Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Tuesday secured veteran leader Nursultan Nazarbayev's backing to run in the June 9 snap presidential election, virtually guaranteeing Tokayev's victory.
Published:4/23/2019 2:38:04 AM
[Markets] Stocks Edge Higher With US Earnings in Focus: Oil Extends Gains on Iran Sanction Oil extends gains, taking crude to fresh 2019 highs, after the U.S. removed waivers on the purchase of Iranian exports. U.S. equity futures suggest modest gains on Wall Street ahead of earnings from Verizon, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and Harley Davidson as well as April services PMI data at 9:45 Eastern Time. Published:4/23/2019 2:38:04 AM
[Markets] Suicide Rate Doubles In France Among Police

Authored by Martin Armstrong via,

The Yellow Vest movement is turning into a major confrontation demanding Macrone leave office.

The French police are now protesting after 28 officers have committed suicide so far in 2019. This is double the amount recorded at the same time last year. While the press tends to focus on complaints of a lack of resources, unpaid overtime, and inefficient management, they are not speaking about the social isolation the police are starting to experience as they defend the government against the people.

"The working conditions are difficult, the management is too hard. When we are not already feeling well in the private sphere and it is not going well in the professional sphere, it is complicated," Frederic Lagache, deputy general secretary at Syndicat Alliance - France's biggest police union - told Euronews.

He also denounced "an anti-cop hatred in France", adding: "the current system is an explosive cocktail."

I have written before about the Nika Revolt of 532AD where the local police and troops refused to defend the emperor Justinian. He almost fled Constantinople until his wife directed him to call in an army which was not Greeks. They came into the city and slaughtered some 30,000 protesters.

What the French police are experiencing is this very same conflict. This is why Brussels wants a European Army for they would have no conflict with the French people if they are not French. The police may yet turn against the French government and if that happens, then we have a French Revolution. The revolution in Ukraine turned when the police saw that Yanukovich brought in Russians to defend himself. Then and only then did the Ukrainian police turn against Yanukovich and he had to flee.

This is standard developments throughout all historical civil unrest movements defining the line when crossed it becomes a revolution.

Published:4/23/2019 2:38:04 AM
[Markets] Barclays Slashes Banker Bonuses As Activist Showdown Looms

Jes Staley's battle to save one of Europe's last bulge-bracket investment banks from a marauding activist who is hoping to force his way onto the bank's board during Barclay's May 2 GAM has necessitated an abrupt about-face: After a year where Barclays poured resources into the investment bank to beef up its international presence, the bank is now following in the footsteps of several of its even more troubled European peers and slashing bonuses for its bankers.


According to the FT, Britain's last remaining global investment bank is planning to cut bonuses for its investment bankers as part of a cost-cutting drive after a first quarter that UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti described as "one of the worst" first quarters for investment banks in recent memory. After US banks reported a rocky start to the year, largely thanks to steep declines in trading revenue, banking analysts have downgraded their expectations for their struggling European peers. Analysts at Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and JPM are all forecasting double-digit declines in Q1 revenues, thanks to a drop in equities-trading revenue, per the FT.


The bonus cuts come at a precarious time for Barclays. As the Guardian reported, activist investor Edward Bramson, who owns 5.5% of Barclays via his Sherborne Investors vehicle, saw his campaign to gain a seat on Barclays' board bolstered over the weekend when Pirc, an institutional advisory firm, declined to give a recommendation one way or the other for 2019, and hinted that it might advise shareholders to vote in favor of Bramson's proposal next year. Though that might not sound like much, it's a sign that some of the big institutional advisory firms are beginning to come around to Bramson's way of thinking. His plans for revitalizing Barclays include steep cuts to the investment bank, something that Staley, Barclay's CEO, has vowed to resist.

With Bramson breathing down his neck, Staley has been forced to shift his focus back to cost-cutting for the investment bank. Two sources told FT that the measures will extend beyond cuts to bonuses, and include lower pay for recruits and a pause on promotions.

Two people briefed on the plans said the bank was also planning to adopt a tougher line on promotions, with fewer bankers progressing from director to managing director. Last year, 85 bankers were promoted in Barclays International compared to 74 in 2017. "It will be reflected in a really tough MD promotion round this year,” said one. “It will be only a rare and special person who makes it over the line."

They added that Barclays would also be more disciplined on pay when signing up new recruits.

The cuts come just weeks after the bank's former head of investment banking, Tim Throsby, was ousted after pushing back against Staley's "sacrosanct" profitability targets. Throsby had resisted a policy adopted in 2016 to tie bonuses more closely to profitability, and had succeeded and securing bonuses for his bankers even in business lines where revenues had lagged.

Going forward, bankers hoping to bring home big bonuses must abide by Staley's return on tangible equity targets of more than 9% this year and more than 10% in 2020, goals that have been described as "sacrosanct". And depending on what the bank reveals on Thursday when it reports Q1 earnings, this might not be the last round of cuts to Barclay's investment bank.

Published:4/23/2019 2:08:12 AM
[Markets] Asian stocks rise, oil soars on Iran sanctions worries Asian stocks mostly rose Tuesday and oil prices soared to their highest level since October after the U.S. said it would soon impose sanctions on all buyers of Iranian oil. Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed 0.2% higher at 22,259.74 and the Kospi in South Korea added 0.2% to 2,220.51. There was no strong impetus for buying in Asia. Published:4/23/2019 2:08:12 AM
[worldNews] North Korea's Kim Jong Un to meet Putin in Russia this month: media North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will visit Russia for a summit with President Vladimir Putin, North Korean state media said on Tuesday, and a Russian news report said the leaders will meet on April 25 in Vladivostok.
Published:4/23/2019 2:08:12 AM
[Comedy] Brexshitter

A derogatory term for people who voted to leave the EU in the UK's June 2016 EU membership referendum. Often seen on online comment sections and Facebook/Twitter.

"Well since the UK will be a bankrupt third-world country by the year 2020, perhaps you Brexshitters should be volunteering your taxes first since you caused this mess?" - Stereotypical rant by an obvious "Remain" voter.

Published:4/23/2019 2:08:12 AM
[structure:regwall-content] St George's Day 2019: How the dragon-slayer became the patron saint of England Published:4/23/2019 1:37:30 AM
[worldNews] Luxembourg's Grand Duke Jean dies at 98 Luxembourg's Grand Duke Jean, who oversaw the transformation of the Grand Duchy into an international financial center, has died at the age of 98, the Duke's son Henri said in a statement on Tuesday.
Published:4/23/2019 1:37:29 AM
[World News] Old Bus Ticket Found In Jeans Pocket News is emerging from sources this morning of the incredible story of a man who, whilst not even looking for it, found an old bus ticket rolled-up in the pocket of a pair of his jeans. The man came across the ticket when he turned his pockets insi... Published:4/23/2019 1:05:59 AM
[worldNews] On South America's largest solar farm, Chinese power radiates In an arid, lunar-like landscape in the sunny highlands of northern Argentina, South America's largest solar farm is rising, powered by funding and technology from China.
Published:4/23/2019 1:05:59 AM
[topics:things/Transgender] Dame Jacqueline Wilson says children having gender surgery makes her 'very, very worried' Published:4/23/2019 1:05:59 AM
[Markets] The Hubris Of Brexit: Short On Solutions & High On Hope

Via Accelerating Meltdown,

“Platforms don’t look like how they work and don’t work like how they look.” - Benjamin H Bratton, The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty

Complex systems by their very nature are, of course, complex. As Sayama’s diagram at the opening of this post demonstrates...

An elementary definition of a complex system is one that is constituted of multifarious units (often simple), interacting with each other in abstruse patterns, which in turn, makes them inherently difficult to model. This difficulty in the modelling process is due to properties that such systems manifest, including emergence, cybernetic feedback loops, adaptation, non-linearity and self-organization. Some common examples include transport networks, biological systems and power grids.

Trans-Continental, technomic, complex systems that encompass nested technomic systems as constituent parts, obviously are recursively complex themselves. From the smallest economic system, recursively building upon themselves we see the emergence of the networks that underlay a socioeconomic structure such as the EU. In other words, the complex systems we see at the state level, manifest at the trans-state level. Take your country’s power grid and scale it up across a continent.

From 1950 onward numerous treaties were signed among European governments, giving birth to the EECEEASchengen and ultimately the EU. Each set of agreements allowed for evermore emergent properties to manifest. Each overlapping treaty, in turn, allowed for a convergence of networks. Consequently, existing systems became further embedded in a fashion that is difficult to discern until attempting to pry them apart.

And there lies the fundamental problem, with the understanding that many Brexit supporting politicians have of the EU.

To me, Brexit is easy? - ?Nigel Farage, 20 September 2016

Very often the platform does not look like how it works. In the case of the EU, it may appear as simply a group of trade treaties binding together a set of sovereign nation states.

Now, of course, this certainly an aspect of it. What can’t be perceived by simply looking at the platform i.e. the aggregate of treaties and agreements, is the emergent and self-organizing qualities of the European project.

The EU and related interconnecting bodies have become an astonishingly complex interplay of elements that have fed off the evolution of human society, its scientific discoveries, engineering marvels and social transformations.

Power to the people

One such example is the synchronous grid of Continental Europe also known by the acronym CSA (Continental Synchronous Area). Supplying over 400 million customers across 24 EU member states, and running at a phase-locked 50 Hz mains frequency, it forms the largest synchronous electricity grid on earth. It’s formed part of a push towards an internal European energy network and market and also aimed to harmonize with grids located outside of Europe, including those located in North Africa.

This is a concrete realization of the concept of the energy-information networks that underpin the Earth layer of Benjamin Bratton’s Stack.

“… energy-information networks … are central to how the Earth layer functions within The Stack?—?Benjamin Bratton. The Stack | On Software and Sovereignty”

The CSA which encompasses elements of this layer forms the precursor to the European super grid, which would include not just the various grids in Europe, but those in the mentioned neighbouring areas too.

The UK is not currently apart of the CSA directly but connects to it via the HVDC Cross-Channel link and BritNed (a submarine cable from Kent to Massvlakte). This is known as an electricity island network and has counterparts with Nordic regional group and Baltic regional group.

The body behind the CSA is the ENTSO-E or European Network of Transmission System Operators. This currently represents 36 nation states across Europe (some of which lay outside the EU’s borders). ENTSO-E was established and given a legal mandate by the EU itself, via the Third Package for the Internal Energy market in 2009, but is self-funded by member states. The United Kingdom is represented at ENTSO-E by the National Grid, SONI, SHETransmission and SPTransmission.

So what will be the relationship between ENTSO-E and the UK post-Brexit? Well, it appears nobody actually knows yet. Here is Montel News discussing the subject in August of 2018:

Brexit could overhaul energy relations between the UK and the EU, derailing plans to increase market coupling with the UK and boost investment in interconnectors.?—?TSOs ready for no-deal Brexit?—?Entso-E, Montel.

How would the UK remain a part of this body?

Analysts believe the UK can remain a part of the internal energy market as a third country if the British government accept the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.?—?TSOs ready for no-deal Brexit?—?Entso-E, Montel.

And thus the double-bind. The half-cyborg-half-human, British Prime Minister, known as Theresa May by some and the Maybot by others, has already ruled this out. In a paper published in 2017 May’s government had stated the jurisdiction of the ECJ will come to an end with Brexit.

In leaving the European Union, we will bring about an end to the direct jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).?—?Enforcement and dispute resolution, A Future Partnership Paper?—?HM Government

As the Montel News article notes, the former Tory politician Tim Yeo told said news agency that leaving the EU internal energy market would force the UK government to complete Hinkley Point nuclear power plant.

But this path leads us into yet another conundrum?—?Euratom.

The European Atomic Energy Community, better known as Euratom, has its origins in the late 1950s. Its goal was to create an internal market for nuclear power and to then trade any excess to non-market members. Since then it has gone on to concern itself with providing a basis for regulating civil nuclear material and also controlling the supply of fissile materials within the EU.

While Euratom is closely linked to the EU including governance by some of the EU’s institutions it sits outside of the control of the European Parliament and is a legally distinct entity. Thus leaving the EU does not mean one has to leave Euratom.

Adam Vaughan writing for the Guardian in 2017 discussed the problematic situation of the UK leaving this agency, which it intends to do as part of the exiting process:

Failure to put in place alternative arrangements to replace the existing European nuclear treaty, Euratom, which the UK is quitting as part of the article 50 process, would have a “dramatic impact” on Hinkley Point C and other new power stations around the country, the industry said.?—?Adam Vaughan

It was not until after the referendum the impact of leaving the institution was assessed in the Common Briefing papers CBP-8036.

As of November 2018, exiting still seemed to be in the works and the draft treaty spells out as much. A December 2018 joint statement fleshed out commitments on the behalf of the UK to align its nuclear safeguards with that of Euratom. The devil as ever will be in the detail here. And if May’s deal is rejected? Well….

Many shrewdly will be asking, why exactly is the UK leaving Euratom anyway regardless of what deal is struck?

“It is simply bonkers to leave Euratom,” says Steven Cowley, a theoretical physicist at the University of Oxford who until last year was director of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, which hosts JET.?—?

Bonkers indeed.

In addition to Hinkley Point C, the mentioned JET project centred on Nuclear Fusion experiments, and based in Oxfordshire had no idea if its EU funding (which forms the bulk) would be replaced by equal UK funding. And truth be told, it’s still not concrete.

Following the impact and confusion Brexit is having on such a fundamental part of the UK’s infrastructure, one has to wonder if anyone in the UK government had actually thought about this prior to triggering article 50?

*  *  *

And there we have it, even with May’s deal, confusion reigns supreme. Yet according to the Prime Minister, the commons should vote to support her deal, which relies on promises of alignment and funding for Nuclear operations but mentioned nothing of ENTSO-E. Or to quote her retort to Ian Blackford MP:

“He should vote for a deal?—?simples.”? - ?May aide won bet with Pm’s ‘simple’ comment:report. Politico

It is doubtful that there is a single soul in Europe who can grok the complexity of the EU now, let alone any British politician advocating for exiting it. Pelle Neroth captures the complexity pointedly in this quote:

The EU is a consequence of the complexity of society, a kind of receptacle if you will. Don’t blame the Eurocrats. The EU is not some fictitious them but us: our companies, our NGOs, our trade unions, our scientists. They are in Brussels due to the enormous amount of legislation required to cope with the complicated social and technological interactions that result when all low hanging fruit has been picked.?—?Pelle Neroth

Instead of facing this truth (and at times it is admittedly, not pretty), Brexiteer politicians and their tribe have created a simulacrum of a mythical EUSSR, from which they are trying to escape. Paradoxically, we find them voting forthe tentacles they argue strangle them.

Fake news whether domestically generated, the intervention of a Surkovianintelligence agency, or the repacking of age-old conspiratorial tropes, cements the anti-EU, post-modernist nightmare, that Brexiteers have constructed for themselves.

Evidence of Leave politicians woeful misunderstanding of the entity they are fighting to exit has been demonstrated over the course of the preceding three years in ample measure.

Euratom suddenly appeared on the radars of the general public post triggering article 50, yet was barely considered during the Referendum campaign. And what of ENTSO-E? When has there been a public discussion regarding this?

Oh and you ask, what about the other complexities that have arisen over the past 60 years? The ones that silently govern our day to day lives? Freight agreements, data transfer, mobile roaming, satellite infrastructure, joint procurement agreements, gas pipelines, medical supplies, food, financial instruments, tourists, conferences, insurance provision … this list goes on and on. And frighteningly this only scratches the surface.

The progression of treaties and accords have paved the way for a rhizomic system to grow from the bottom up organically, and intersect with the molar top-down implementations oftentimes associated with the treaties.

It’s these bottom-up organic developments that are invisible from merely looking at a set of signed agreements.

Networks are often complex

Partial map of the Internet based on the January 15, 2005 data found on Wikipedia

For those of you coming from a background in tech, we’ll use a little analogy.

Imagine if society were modelled as one giant switched network. Billions of devices connected through it, sending traffic back and forth. A network administrator may understand the complex cabling and switching equipment in place. But could he be expected to understand every protocol that passes across it, especially at Layer 7?

There are assuredly tools to help and the security analysts in place to monitor the network. But even with the best technology and tools, 100% visibility is improbable. Now scale that network up a billion fold and predict to keep adding nodes Infinitum. Introduce new protocols that none of the networking team understands, or can analyze. Many of these protocols will also be emergent, there’s no standard let alone documentation.

Welcome to how the other layers of Bratton’s Stack have realised themselves in Europe over the course of 60 years and will continue into the future.

The way to build a complex system that works is to build it from very simple systems that work?—?Kevin Kelly

As Kelly has noted, complex systems that work are often built from simpler building blocks. And this is certainly true of the EU. From the phone call, a florist in England makes to a Dutch flower distributor, to the Irish farmer sending produce to Belfast from Wexford, each act is small and seemingly simple in itself. There are myriad tiny events like this that take place, all predicated on the network existing to allow event X to happen, or item D to get from point N to A. Now scale this up. The complexity is simply impossible to disentangle.

If you imagined globalization and JIT (Just In Time) lead to complexity, you’d be accurate and the EU is an integral part of this process.

What the EU does, for a member state, is eliminate a layer of barriers, allowing the system to become more complex in its interior interconnections, and less complex at the barrier level.

In the EU’s single market (sometimes also called the internal market) people , goods , services , and money can move around the EU as freely as within a single country. Mutual recognition plays a central role in getting rid of barriers to trade.?—?One market without borders. European Union

You can think of barriers as like firewalls. Within the EU the traffic between nation states is freer flowing, and the firewall rules looser, allowing the complexity to evolve inside the network, rather than at the point of connecting networks, which in the old model was nation-to-nation agreements.

This translates into the real world of not needing to invest effort and time into vast amounts of customs paperwork, visas for travel, roaming charges or work permits.

So now we are presented with a situation where a set of politicians want to yank all the cables from the switches and do a hard reset, disable the wireless access points and start from scratch.

Applications that were running across this network, which our politicians had no concept of are now no longer communicating. All the complex rules for routing traffic, gone!

Our poor network administrators and network users (read civil service, businesses and every person on the street) are now trying to figure out how to rebuild all this, and hope that their applications still run.

And this is basically where the UK finds itself, short on solutions and high on hope.

What next?

This week parliament votes yet again on May’s deal. If it passes, a host of issues will likely come to fore, ones that the public has had little to no visibility on up until now. For example, figuring out what happens with the UK's relationship with ENTSO-E.

Get used to hearing about all sorts of agencies you never knew existed, and why, after all, they were rather important to the mundane running of day-to-day business.

If we leave without a deal?—?all bets are off. The headache we will have with May’s deal will turn into a nightmare under none. The gargantuan task of trying to recreate all the network connection we once had, will take years if not decades. The quality of those connections will likely be inferior in many regards. Britain can expect to see its leverage and power projection weakened substantially. The benefits of its soft power tarnished.

And all this because some politicians thought to leave the EU was simple.

Getting out of the EU can be quick and easy?—?the UK holds most of the cards in any negotiation.?—?John Redwood MP

Therefore as much as it might hurt these MPs to know, the most complexdecision is to stay, and that would be better for everyone, whether they’d like to admit it or not.

So, perhaps if politicians studied complexity more, they’d propose unfeasible simple options less. Subsequently, events like the EU referendum would be thrown into the dustbin when proposed, which is exactly where they belong.

Published:4/23/2019 1:05:59 AM
[Markets] The Wall Street Journal: Sri Lanka government warned by U.S., India of possible attack ahead of Easter bombings Government officials of this island nation said some of the suicide bombers and others arrested were linked to an obscure radical Islamist group known as National Thowheeth Jamath
Published:4/23/2019 12:36:21 AM
[structure:news] Pictures of the Day: 23 April 2019 Published:4/23/2019 12:36:21 AM
[worldNews] Chinese people love peace, Xi says as kicks off major naval parade The Chinese people love peace and countries should not threaten each other with the use of force, President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday as he kicked off a large-scale naval parade marking 70 years since the founding of China's navy.
Published:4/23/2019 12:13:31 AM
[storytype:standard] Burma's top court rejects final appeal by jailed Reuters journalists Published:4/23/2019 12:13:31 AM
[Markets] Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina's Family Targeted In Sri Lanka Blasts


One of the grandsons of Awami League Presidium member Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim – the cousin of current Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Zayan Chowdhury has been killed in one of the bomb blasts in Sri Lanka on April 21, 2019.

Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina’s Family Targeted In Sri Lanka Blasts

Sheikh Selim, is a Bangladeshi member of parliament and a member of the standing committee of Bangladesh Awami League party. Selim is the nephew of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, former President of Bangladesh and a cousin of current Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Zayan’s father Mashiul Haque Chowdhury was also injured in the blast and later admitted to a local hospital. British MP Tulip Siddiq on Monday said she has lost a relative in the series of blasts which rocked Sri Lanka on Sunday. She did not reveal the identity of the relative. Tulip Siddiq is the niece of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself also confirmed that the family members of her cousin Sheikh Selim’s daughter Zohan were among the victims of the bomb blasts as reported by Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star. The same has also been confirmed by the Dhaka Tribune.

Initially it was reported that the family was injured with some members missing in the blasts and were taken to a hospital. Later, the news has been confirmed by multiple persons related to the Awami League and PM Sheikh Hasina.

Sheikh Selim’s daughter Sheikh Amena Sultana Sonia, Mashiul and their sons Zayan and Zohan were staying at hotel in Colombo, where one of the bombs exploded. The family was there on holidays. Sonia and Zohan were in their room on the hotel’s sixth floor while Mashiul and Zayan were eating at a restaurant on the ground floor.

2016 Plot To Overthrow Bangladeshi Government

In 2016, a plot to overthrow the Bangladeshi Awami League government was uncovered. Authorities in Bangladesh arrested a member of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the country’s opposition party in connection with allegations that the party official, Aslam Chowhury, had purportedly made contact with Israel’s Secret Service Mossad in an effort to overthrow the Bangladeshi government.

The Israeli who met with Chowhury was Mendi Safadi, who was identified as “a leader” of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud Party.

DelAviv, an Indo-Israel relationship platform, and Mendi N Safadi Center for International Diplomacy and Public Relations, posted the photos. The reports sparked uproar in Bangladeshi media and political circles.

On 26th January 2016, the Jerusalem Online reported that Mendi Safadi, the head of the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy and Advocacy, “is working in order to topple the present government within Bangladesh in favor of a new government that supports establishing full diplomatic and economic relations with Israel.”

“Soon, the gates of Bangladesh will open up to Israelis in all aspects and this is not an impossible wish,” Safadi explained.

2014 Plot To Assassinate Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheik Hasina

Prime Minister of Bangladeshi Sheikh Hasina

Two years earlier to this coup d’etat attempt, a plot for the assassination of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was also uncovered by Indian agencies.

In 2014 India’s top counter-terrorism agency had uncovered a suspected plot to assassinate the prime minister of Bangladesh and carry out a coup. The alleged conspiracy was discovered after two members of the group were killed in an explosion while building homemade bombs at a house in West Bengal in eastern India.

The militants were Bangladeshis and were using India as a safe haven to plan the attacks. “The strategy was to hit the political leaders of the country and demolish the democratic infrastructure of Bangladesh,” said a senior Indian Home (interior) Ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “This was all being planned on Indian soil and we could have been blamed if there was an attack.”

Published:4/23/2019 12:13:31 AM
[Asia] Douyu, China’s Twitch backed by Tencent, files for a $500M U.S. IPO Douyu, a Chinese live streaming service focused on video games, has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as it prepares to raise up to $500 million on the NYSE less than a year after its archrival floated on the same stock market. Wuhan-based Douyu, whose name translates as “fighting fish”, is the second […] Published:4/23/2019 12:13:31 AM
[Markets] Disney heiress calls CEO Bob Iger’s $65 million pay package ‘insane’ Last year, Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger made $65.6 million — about 1,424 times the median Disney employee’s salary, an amount that heiress Abigail Disney is calling “insane.” Published:4/22/2019 11:47:24 PM
[Media] MEGA CRINGE: Does Amy Klobuchar’s appeal to the audience at CNN’s town hall sound familiar? [video]

"That's when you guys are supposed to cheer."

The post MEGA CRINGE: Does Amy Klobuchar’s appeal to the audience at CNN’s town hall sound familiar? [video] appeared first on

Published:4/22/2019 11:47:23 PM
[Politics] Harris: If Congress Doesn’t Take Action on Gun Control, I Will Take Executive Action as President

The post Harris: If Congress Doesn’t Take Action on Gun Control, I Will Take Executive Action as President appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:4/22/2019 11:04:22 PM
[US News] Ratio in progress! Bill de Blasio’s ‘12 years to save our planet OR ELSE’ warning is NOT going well

Give it a rest, comrade.

The post Ratio in progress! Bill de Blasio’s ‘12 years to save our planet OR ELSE’ warning is NOT going well appeared first on

Published:4/22/2019 11:04:22 PM
[Markets] How CIA & Allies Helped Jihadists In Syria: French Covert Ops Expert Exposes New Details

Authored and submitted by

Maxime Chaix, an expert on clandestine operations, intelligence and US foreign policy, is a journalist and regular contributor to He has written La guerre de l’ombre en Syrie (The Shadow War in Syria, published in French by Éditions Erick Bonnier), a shocker of a book in which he reveals insightful information on the support which several Western intelligence services provided to jihadist militias in Syria, starting with the CIA. His investigation reveals a multi-faceted state scandal and points out the murky game played by the Western powers and their Middle Eastern allies in the Levant.

An exclusive interview by Emmanuel Razavi (founder and editor of

* * *

Emmanuel Razavi: First of all, please refresh our memories about what operation Timber Sycamore is.

Maxime Chaix: Timber Sycamore is the codename of a covert operation officially authorized by Obama in June 2013 to train and equip the anti-Assad rebellion, but which actually started in October 2011, when the CIA was operating via Britain’s MI6 to avoid having to notify Congressthat it was arming the rebels in Syria. Originally, the CIA and MI6 (the British foreign intelligence service) set up a rebel arms supply network in Syria from Libya — a plan that involved the Saudi, Qatari and Turkish intelligence services.

In 2012, probably in spring, Obama reluctantly signed a top-secret executive order, of which little is known other than that it authorized the CIA to provide “non-lethal support” to the rebels in Syria. In concrete terms, then, what the CIA did was to link up its Qatari and Saudi allies with a number of arms manufacturers in the Balkans (Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, etc.). With the backing of NATO, which controls arms exports from the Balkans via EUFOR, Qatari and Saudi secret services began buying up weapons and ammunition from these countries to illegally equip anti-Assad rebels.

A few months later, in October 2012, the New York Times revealed that this vast CIA-sponsored arms trafficking was mainly going to support jihadist groups in Syria, while arms exports by air were growing, with weapons being injected into Syrian territory from “operation rooms” in Turkey and Jordan, through the FSA (“Free Syria Army”) and local arms traffickers.

Finally, it turned out that these “operation rooms” were cobbled together by fifteen Western and Middle Eastern intelligence services, including the DGSE(French foreign intelligence service) and MI6, although the we do not yet know exactly what role these various agencies played in this secret war. What is clear — and what I demonstrate in my book with irrefutable evidence —is that tens of thousands of tons of weapons and millions of rounds of ammunition were brought into the Syrian theater of war by this operation. It is also proven that these armaments mostly went to equip jihadist groups, including the terrorist militia which proclaimed itself “Islamic State” in June 2014.

Ultimately, Donald Trump decided to phase out this operation in early summer 2017. This was a major setback for the CIA, as the US President was thereby conceding the defeat of the United States and its partners in the war against Syria and its Russian, Iranian and Lebanese allies.

* * *

ER: What concrete evidence do you have to show that US intelligence services have provided support to jihadist militias in Syria?

MC: The coordination role that the Agency signed off on in the fall of 2011 is now a proven fact, as we know that it was belatedly confirmed in June 2018 by Ben Rhodes, Obama’s chief adviser from 2009 to 2017. During the interview in question, Rhodes argued that the blacklisting of al-Nusra Front on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations in December 2012 was a “schizophrenic” move, since it was obvious that the jihadist militia was a “big chunk” of the anti-Assad opposition, as he put it in his own words. During that interview, journalist Mehdi Hasan not only elicited from him that the CIA had played a coordinating role in this vast arms trade, but also that US involvement in this shadow war had been much greater than we thought.

According to the Washington Post, it was one of the CIA’s “largest covert operations” in its history. In January 2016, the New York Times confirmed this, noting that the CIA’s maneuvers to overthrow Assad were part of a multinational campaign involving billions of petrodollars from the Gulf states, mainly spent by Saudi Arabia.

It must be understood that this secret war ushered in, between 2011 and 2017, close cooperation between Western secret services and their Turkish and Middle Eastern counterparts. Thus, many experts and journalists were making a mistake by analyzing the operations of the various Middle Eastern powers in isolation from those of the Western governments. On the contrary, as the former Qatari Prime Minister admitted in 2017, it was a joint and coordinated operation involving all of those intelligence services.

Due to the record number of public and private funders backing this campaign, and the tens of thousands of anti-Assad mujaheddin who were directly or indirectly aided by the CIA and its allies, I believe this could be the most massive clandestine operation in the history of the Agency. However, I have not been able to determine that with certainty due to the secrecy of this shadow war, which prevents access to archives and severely limits the quantity of leaks to the press.

The fact remains, however, that I was able to assemble in my book hundreds of undisputed sources which combine to corroborate my writing. In this book, internationally renowned researchers such as Joshua Landis and Christopher Davidsonsupport my arguments, which I developed after a long investigation that I launched in 2014. Once again, I invite your readers to consult the evidence cited in my book, as it is overwhelming. I would take this opportunity to point out that Bashar al-Assad and his allies have committed major abuses against Syrian civilians, and that my book is not intended to excuse what they are responsible for.

Nevertheless, and to date, the Western media have focused mainly on the crimes of Assad and his supporters, while suppressing or downplaying the vast shadow war launched by the CIA and its partners in the fall of 2011.

* * *

ER: What role did France play in these jihadist militias in Syria? Did it unambiguously support members of the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda?

MC: Operation Timber Sycamore is a clandestine operation, and such campaigns are not owned up to by those sponsoring them — at least, not typically. In this case, however, the operation has become one of such magnitude over time that Western powers have had to communicate something about it, albeit misleadingly. That is to say, succor to jihadist groups has long been described by Western government spokesmen as “non-lethal support” for so-called “moderate” rebels, yet the reality on the ground is that the “moderate rebel force” that is the Free Syria Army (FSA) has served as a pool of fightersweapons and ammunition for the anti-Assad jihadist nebula, whose tacticians and militiamen were much more effective than the FSA itself.

As I explain in my book, the FSA has been dependent on jihadist groups, first and foremost al-Nusra Front, and vice versa. Other factions of the FSA were completely put out of action by the jihadists, their arsenals being looted by the Islamist militias, including the Islamic Front in December 2013. At the very least, it is clear that the FSA as a disunited and complex bundle of anti-Assad armed groups was supported by Western powers as it fought shoulder to shoulder with jihadist groups, including with what later became Daesh, until the winter of 2013-2014.

In January 2014, the first major fighting erupted between Daesh and other rebel groups, including al-Nusra Front. It must be emphasized that, until their split in April 2013, al-Nusra Front and the soon-to-be-called “Islamic State” formed a single entity. More specifically, the founder of al-Nusra was sent to Syria in August 2011 by the leader of the future Daesh, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to fight Assad’s troops.

However, between 2012 and 2014, it is beyond question that al-Nusra was the driving force of the rebellion in Syria, its tacticians developing major operations that allowed the conquest of various territories by the “Islamic State”, such as Camp Yarmouk south of Damascus, Raqqa, or Deir ez-Zor. In summary, the combined operations of the FSA and al-Nusra enabled the nascent Daesh to then establish itself in many Syrian cities following the split between al-Nusra and the “Islamic State”.

It should be noted that, through the FSA, al-Nusra had been enjoying CIA and MI6 support since early 2012, but it is unclear precisely when the French DGSE started becoming involved in this operation. According to François Hollande, the “moderate rebels” of the FSA were in receipt of French lethal support from the end of 2012, in violation of the EU arms embargo on Syria, which was only lifted in May 2013. That same year, Colonel Oqaidi, the commander of the FSA, said to camera that his relationship with Daesh was “good, and even brotherly”… And, as revealed during my investigation, Obama’s then ambassador to Syria, Robert S. Ford, telephoned Colonel Oqaidi to condemn the FSA’s persistent collaboration with al-Nusra.

At the time, and since at least the fall of 2012, the French intelligence services were alerting their government to the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood and jihadist groups such as al-Nusra were the driving forces of the anti-Assad rebellion. Despite these alarming surges in theater, Paris, London and Washington resolved to persist in their support for the anti-Assad rebellion, secure in the assurances being given them by their allies in the Gulf that Assad would be toppled quickly and that these groups would not be a problem after the fall of the Syrian government. Both these predictions turned out to be wrong, and the most brutal jihadist group in the Levant struck France directly on November 13th, 2015.

* * *

ER: To be clear: In your opinion, France abetted a clandestine operation by supporting entities that then organized attacks in France?

MC: As I explain in my book, the French state and its key Western allies did not directly support Daesh, but they oversaw a system that massively fueled what I call the anti-Assad jihadist nebula, of which the haplessly-named “Islamic State” on Syrian territory was an outgrowth and a driving force. I do not think that the French state or its allies, in carrying out this operation, ever imagined that Daesh would end up attacking Paris on November 13th, 2015.

On the other hand, it is clear that our government and its BritishAmerican and Israeli allies were consciously arming jihadist groups. In France, some parliamentarians of the PSLR and LS parties confirmed to me that the DGSE was involved in supporting groups that were not as “moderate” as they were being presented to us in the media. I would go even further, and this is one of the main arguments that I develop in my book: by arming and supporting the FSA in various ways, the Western powers encouraged the rise of what then became the “Islamic State”, which fought “hand in glove” with the FSA from the beginning of 2012 to the winter of 2013–2014. From the time of the break  between the FSA and Islamic State in January 2014 onward, the FSA and al-Nusra maintained a fusional relationship, both against the Assad forces and against Daesh.

Yet in August 2014, François Hollande acknowledged that French support for the FSA was continuing. Was he unaware of the close ties between the FSA and al-Nusra? If so, such a level of misinformation at the top of the government would be alarming. Nevertheless, in view of the available evidence, it is more likely that French leaders under the Hollande presidency were fully aware of the fact that al-Nusra was inextricably linked to the FSA.

Moreover, in a book that was never contested in litigation by the then French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, journalists Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot claimed that the head of our diplomacy knew full well that Saudi Arabia and Qatar were infiltrating into al-Nusra’s private funding networks paid agents, professional trainers, known to DGSE officers. Despite this, according to Chesnot and Malbrunot, Fabius was complaining that the Syrian state and its armed forces were not being “hit hard enough [and] not strongly enough”.

ER: Speaking of Laurent Fabius, why does his name feature in the Lafarge affair? Is there any evidence that he endorsed a financial agreement between that French company and Daesh?

MC: Given his active stance on the Syria dossier, it is inevitable that his name pops up in the Lafarge affair. What’s more, there are even acronyms in it familiar to the French: DGSI (the Directorate General for Internal Security), DRM (French Military Intelligence Directorate), DGSE, and so on.

Let’s be clear: the Jalabiya cement factory, constructed by Lafarge in 2010, was transformed during the war into a “bridgehead” for the French intelligence services: that is to say, for the Élysée [President’s office], the Quai d’Orsay [French Foreign Ministry] and all the other ministries concerned. Indeed, as journalist Guillaume Dasquié has proved, “the documents in the case, the testimonies of the few insiders and the documents to which the JDD [the Journal du Dimanche Sunday paper] had access reconstruct a different story [than that put forward by the French authorities.] […] This directly implicates the command in charge of counter-terrorism, the DGSI, the Quai d’Orsay, and the external intelligence services of the DGSE. It spells out for us an improbable war-zone game of chess between industrialists, spies and diplomats, with everyone taking advantage of the presence of the others to advance his pawns, at a time when the Islamic State had not yet committed an attack on French soil.”

Laurent Fabius said in front of the investigative magistrates that he had not been aware of Lafarge’s actions in paying out cash to various local jihadist groups, including the ineptly-named “Islamic State” — an explanation that failed to convince some experts on the issue, including Georges Malbrunot. This is all the more eyebrow-raising since it has now become apparent that the French Military Intelligence Directorate was monitoring transactions between Lafarge and the various armed groups in the field.

So I return to my previous explanation: a clandestine operation is mounted in such a way that its sponsors have deniability of all knowledge of, as well as their role in, any maneuver of this type. It is now clear that the DGSE has been involved since at least 2012 in supporting the nebula of armed groups opposing Bashar al-Assad.

As we also know, Laurent Fabius was the most active of Hollande’s ministers on the Syria dossier, acting in the interests of a fickle “Sunni diplomacy” that put our trade relations with Saudi Arabia first — the main state funder of Timber Sycamore. Consequently, it is impossible that the Quai d’Orsay could have been unaware of Lafarge’s actions in Syria, which were part of several intelligence or destabilization operations carried out by the French secret services in that country. Renowned researcher Fabrice Balanche is of the same opinion on this as Guillaume Dasquié or Georges Malbrunot.

* * *

ER: On account of what interests might Laurent Fabius have allowed the DGSE to support islamists? Was he acting on behalf of the Saudis, as this same Georges Malbrunot and his co-author Christian Chesnot suggest in their book, Nos très chers émirs [Our Dearest Emirs]?

MC: First of all, it should be pointed out that the French President is supposed to be the one who sponsors, as a last resort, a clandestine operation. However, he enjoys legal impunity in the exercise of his mandate, which is not the case for any of his ministers.

During the Hollande presidency, we witnessed a blatant tendency for the French state to support and protect its Gulf allies. This policy materialized not only in Fabius’ hard line against Iran in the nuclear deal negotiations, but also, and much more seriously, in the shifty operations that aimed to shore up the disastrous interventions of the Saudis and their partners in Yemen and in Syria. This approach favorable to the Saudi monarchy was maintained under the Macron presidency, yet with a pro-Qatar instinct which became evident in the aftermath of the Gulf crisis that has set that emirate against Riyadh and Abu Dhabi since 2017.

But until then, Saudi Arabia was expressly supported by the French state, owing to the economic and strategic interdependencies that are at stake between Paris and Riyadh. Consequently, and in the interests of this notorious “Sunni diplomacy”, the French state has not only turned a blind eye to the suspicious deeds of Saudi Arabia in Syria and Yemen; it has directly supported Saudi campaigns, in the most discreet way possible.

These maneuvers have led to a literally schizophrenic political stance, whereby in fact the French state trumpets its operations against terrorism whenever it can, but further down at the level of the directorate and the intelligence services, strategies that have the specific effect of bolstering jihadist groups are being illegally imposed on some countries, such as SyriaYemen or Libya.

In the case of that latter Libyan operation, an anonymous DGSE officer revealed to our colleagues at Canal+ TV station that he had been ordered, in February 2011, to destabilize Benghazi in coordination with the Qatari intelligence servicesnotorious supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, who at that time were dominating the Libyan jihadist nebula.

According to the reporter François de Labarre, this policy was then challenged by the French Ministry of Defense under Jean-Yves Le Drian, who used the DGSE to support General Haftar against Islamist armed groups. However, it is difficult to explain why the Quai d’Orsay [French Foreign Ministry] continued to support Abdelhakim Belhadj, one of the founders of al-Qaeda in Libya, who was appointed military commander of Tripoli in August 2011.

It should be noted that Belhadj is Qatar’s man in Libya, and that he is one of the most influential figures of the Muslim Brotherhood in that country. According to François de Labarre, President Hollande was unable to decide between the Defense Ministry’s pro-Haftar line and the pro-Belhadj policy — that is, pro-Qatar and pro-Muslim Brotherhood — which the Quai d’Orsay was adhering to. One is left wondering, therefore, whether François Hollande was able to arbitrate France’s foreign policy. In any case, one can be worried about the schizophrenia that this implies. Indeed, this can lead to operations against jihadist groups initially backed by our intelligence services and their allies – operations that are deadly in effect upon civilians.

In October 2018, Paris Match magazine co-editor Régis Le Sommier interviewed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. On that occasion, Lavrov revealed a shocking conversation between Laurent Fabius and himself: “Some time after the bombings of Libya, Laurent Fabius, [then] Minister of Foreign Affairs, had called me. According to [the Malian capital] Bamako, mujaheddin from northern Mali were nearing the French contingent’s positions. France intended to stop them by gaining the approval of the Security Council, and I was in favor. I told Laurent Fabius: ‘You surely understand that you are now going to face the same guys you armed in Libya.’ He chuckled and said to me, ‘C’est la vie’.” Lavrov’s comments were not denied by Laurent Fabius, so this type of flippancy in the face of the consequences of French foreign policy towards terrorist groups — and thus of the populations they threaten — is alarming.

The same is true of the Syrian dossier, which led our leaders to support for nearly five years a Free Syrian Army of which they could not ignore its close ties with al-Nusra since 2012, including when that Syrian branch of al-Qaeda and the ineptly-named “Islamic State” were a single entity.

ER: Should an investigation into this be opened by the counter-terrorist section of the Paris prosecutor’s office?

MC: Initially, I became interested in France’s clandestine actions in Syria in the spring of 2014. At the time, parliamentarian and former counter-terrorist judge Alain Marsaud was claiming in the media that our government had previously supported and infiltrated the al-Nusra Front.

The following year, he revealed to me that the president-supporting majority under François Hollande had refused any parliamentary inquiry on this issue so as not to “uncover such collaboration with a terrorist group, to quote his remarks. It should be noted again that several parliamentarians, including Claude Goasguen (LR party), Jacques Myard (LR) and Gérard Bapt (PS party), have leveled similar accusations at the French government. On LCP [French parliamentary TV], Mr. Goasguen declared in June 2015 that the French state was helping “al-Qaeda in Syria”, then the following year Gérard Bapt confirmed me the “clandestine support by the French state of the various islamist movements in Syria, in view of the porosity and proximity of these allied groups in the field”. He added that “French support for rebels in Syria, and more generally Western support for them, continued even after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and [the French Jewish supermarket]Hyper Cacher, though these were claimed by al-Qaeda.

I must say that this explanation by Gérard Bapt seems to me the most accurate: according to him, the French state has supported militias evolving within a nebula of armed groups which was in constant flux, but which indisputably had al-Nusra Front among its driving forces — as Obama’s close adviser Ben Rhodes himself acknowledged.

Let’s not forget, either, that Claude Goasguen had frequently warned the French state on LCP against this policy of support for anti-Assad factions. Put simply, it is a safe bet that our government will oppose by all means the opening of parliamentary and judicial investigations around the clandestine actions of the French state in Syria.

But we are looking here at a case obviously much graver than the botched DGSE operation against the Rainbow Warrior, during François Mitterrand’s first term. Let us be clear: if several of our parliamentarians have publicly risen to declaim French state support of al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, it is inconceivable that they did so without having specific information to back their accusations — which were never officially denied by the government.

As taxpayers and as citizens, we should be refusing to accept that our authorities can carry out such dangerous and misguided policies on our behalf and with our tax money, but without our consent — and without our even being aware of it at the outset.

Therefore, and as I explain in my book, several legal and factual arguments could justify at least the setting-up of a parliamentary committee of inquiry, though it seems unlikely to me that investigative magistrates will ever want to launch investigations into such a sensitive subject. Indeed, this clandestine operation is part of the state privilege and conduct of France’s foreign policy — an area in which the Executive has powers so exorbitant that it is able to support Islamist groups abroad that are officially considered enemies within our own borders.

Authors’s note: if you think this interview was interesting, you can support by clicking here.

Published:4/22/2019 11:04:22 PM
[storytype:standard] Hero firefighter and his GP wife named among British victims of Sri Lanka terror attacks Published:4/22/2019 10:38:56 PM
[Markets] Intel earnings: New CEO is not getting a honeymoon period Intel Corp.’s new permanent chief executive should arrive to his first earnings report with a full deck of updates for investors after what is expected to be a slow start to 2019. Published:4/22/2019 10:38:56 PM
[General] SCIENCE: Here’s more proof that dogs are a tool of white supremacy

So if you want to prove you're not a white supremacist you have to give away your dog or what?

The post SCIENCE: Here’s more proof that dogs are a tool of white supremacy appeared first on

Published:4/22/2019 10:38:55 PM
[Entertainment] Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger Made Red Carpet Debut at Avengers: Endgame Premiere Chris Pratt, Katherine Schwarzenegger, Avengers: Endgame PremiereChris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger can cross one important item off of their to-do list: their red carpet debut. The duo arrived arm-in-arm at the Avengers: Endgame world premiere...
Published:4/22/2019 10:38:55 PM
[Markets] Mapping The Countries With The Most Oil Reserves

There’s little doubt that renewable energy sources will play a strategic role in powering the global economy of the future.

But, as Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins notes, for now, crude oil is still the undisputed heavyweight champion of the energy world.

In 2018, we consumed more oil than any prior year in history – about 99.3 million barrels per day on a global basis. This number is projected to rise again in 2019 to 100.8 million barrels per day.

The Most Oil Reserves by Country

Given that oil will continue to be dominant in the energy mix for the short and medium term, which countries hold the most oil reserves?

Today’s map comes from and it uses data from the CIA World Factbook to resize countries based on the amount of oil reserves they hold.

Here’s the data for the top 15 countries below:

Venezuela tops the list with 300.9 billion barrels of oil in reserve – but even this vast wealth in natural resources has not been enough to save the country from its recent economic and humanitarian crisis.

Saudi Arabia, a country known for its oil dominance, takes the #2 spot with 266.5 billion barrels of oil. Meanwhile, Canada and the U.S. are found at the #3 (169.7 billion bbls) and the #11 (36.5 billion bbls) spots respectively.

The Cost of Production

While having an endowment of billions of barrels of oil within your borders can be a strategic gift from mother nature, it’s worth mentioning that reserves are just one factor in assessing the potential value of this crucial resource.

In Saudi Arabia, for example, the production cost of oil is roughly $3.00 per barrel, which makes black gold strategic to produce at almost any possible price.

Other countries are not so lucky:

*Total cost (bbl) includes production cost (also shown), capital spending, gross taxes, and admin/transport costs.

Even if a country is blessed with some of the most oil reserves in the world, it may not be able to produce and sell that oil to maximize the potential benefit.

Countries like Canada and Venezuela are hindered by geology – in these places, the majority of oil is extra heavy crude or bitumen (oil sands), and these types of oil are simply more difficult and costly to extract.

In other places, obstacles are are self-imposed. In some countries, like Brazil and the U.S., there are higher taxes on oil production, which raises the total cost per barrel.

Published:4/22/2019 10:38:55 PM
[worldNews] Sri Lanka wakes to emergency law after Easter bombing attacks Sri Lankans woke to emergency law on Tuesday as authorities searched for those behind suicide bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels that killed 290 people at the weekend, with the focus turning to militants with links to foreign groups.
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[Markets] Asia Markets: Asian markets slip as oil prices surge Asian markets were largely down in early trading Tuesday as oil prices surged to nearly six-month highs.
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[Politics] Harris: ‘Congress Should Take The Steps Towards Impeachment’

The post Harris: ‘Congress Should Take The Steps Towards Impeachment’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:4/22/2019 10:05:14 PM
[Left Column] ‘Climate Porn’ – Netflix ‘Our Planet’ hit on climate walrus cliff diving claim
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[The Blog] Out: AOC. In: Li’l AOC.

"Because, like, there’s no doubt cow farts are making the climate change."

The post Out: AOC. In: Li’l AOC. appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:4/22/2019 10:05:14 PM
[Politics] Bernie: Even Marathon Bomber Should Have Right to Vote Everyone should have the right to vote, even the Boston Marathon bomber, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., told CNN Town Hall on Monday. Published:4/22/2019 10:05:14 PM
[worldNews] Rescuers race to find survivors after Philippine quake Rescue teams in the Philippines searched for signs of life beneath the rubble of a collapsed four-storey commercial building on Tuesday after a strong earthquake shook the country's biggest island, killing at least 11 people.
Published:4/22/2019 10:05:14 PM
[Markets] Leader Of Border Militia Boasted Of Plans To Assassinate Obama, Clinton, Soros: FBI

The leader of the militia group which we profiled over the weekend for its detention of migrant families at the US border, was arrested and charged of plotting the assassination of former President Barack Obama, George Soros and various other key Democratic Party figures, the FBI said in court papers.

While militia leader Larry Hopkins, 69, was arrested on Saturday for a weapons charge said to be unrelated to his activities on the border, the FBI now claims Hopkins bragged about his fellow militia members "training to assassinate" former President Barack Obama, Trump's nemesis in the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton, and the Democratic Party's most generous billionaire donor, George Soros.

To be sure, Hopkins had been a busy man - if what the Feds say is to be believed (which these days is a stretch) - for a long time, and before the F.B.I. arrested the militia leader, he’d had so many run-ins with the law that his police record stretched across much of the United States. Oregon police arrested him in 2006 on charges of impersonating a police officer and a felony weapons offense. They had found him showing guns to teenagers in a gas-station parking lot while wearing a police-style uniform and a badge emblazoned with the words "Special Agent" according to the NYT.

“Hopkins stated that he worked for the federal government directly under George Bush,” Officer Jack Daniel of the sheriff’s office in Klamath County, Ore., wrote in his report. Hopkins, the report said, claimed variously to be investigating a meth lab, hunting fugitives and undertaking unspecified “operations” in Afghanistan.

Over a decade later, Hopkins finally came under the scrutiny of federal authorities in 2017, after the FBI received reports that his group was “training” to assassinate Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and George Soros, according to documents unsealed Monday in federal court.

Hopkins appeared in Federal District Court on Monday after his arrest over the weekend on yet another charge, this time of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.

Hopkins’ group, the United Constitutional Patriots profiled here, claims to have helped the US Border Patrol to detain over 5,600 immigrants in the previous two months. The ACLU has condemned the group as a “fascist militia” and called its members vigilantes. In photos showcasing its actions, the group shows men in camouflage circling and detaining hundreds of migrants in the desert near Sunland Park, N.M., and then handing the migrants over to Border Patrol.

The heavily armed militia’s actions have ignited debate over whether its members broke kidnapping laws and effectively acted as a paramilitary force supporting the Border Patrol. Militia members argue that they were assisting the authorities to patrol remote areas of the border and carrying out “verbal citizen’s arrests.”

“We cannot allow racist and armed vigilantes to kidnap and detain people seeking asylum,” the ACLU said in a letter to New Mexico Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham and Attorney General Hector Balderas.

United Constitutional Patriots

Hopkins' attorney, Kelly O’Connell, said the militia group leader planned to plead not guilty.  The militia’s spokesman told local media that he’s “confident” Hopkins will “get through this.” He also claimed that the New Mexico, Hector Balderas, “has declared war on American citizens at the order of the ACLU” by pushing to prevent private citizens “from assisting and documenting a crisis on the border.”

In an affidavit, FBI special agent David S. Gabriel, said the bureau was made aware of the activities of Hopkins after receiving reports in October 2017 of “alleged militia extremist activity” in northwestern New Mexico. Gabriel said that the following month, two F.B.I. agents went to a trailer park in Flora Vista, N.M., where Hopkins was living at the time. With Mr. Hopkins’s consent, the agents entered the home and saw about 10 firearms in plain view, in what Mr. Hopkins referred to as his office.

Hopkins, who has also used the name Johnny Horton Jr., told the agents that the guns belonged to Fay Sanders Murphy, whom he described to agents as his common-law wife, according to the affidavit. The agents collected at least nine firearms from the home as evidence, including a 12-gauge shotgun and various handguns.

According to the NYT, the court affidavit gave few details about the report the F.B.I. received stating that the United Constitutional Patriots “were training to assassinate George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama because of these individuals’ support of Antifa."

Hopkins’s lawyer, Kelly O’Connell, disputed the reports about assassination plans. “My client told me that is not true,” Mr. O’Connell said. He also questioned the timing of the arrest. “My question is, why now?” O’Connell said. He suggested that pressure from prominent Democrats in New Mexico may have prompted the F.B.I. to take action.

Published:4/22/2019 10:05:14 PM
[Markets] MarketWatch First Take: Elon Musk is just another car salesman Tesla Inc.’s autonomous driving day was riddled with so many pie-in-the-sky statements and inaccuracies that Chief Executive Elon Musk is starting to look more like a huckster car salesman than the “genius” that his fans worship.
Published:4/22/2019 10:05:14 PM
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[US News] Bernie Sanders’ plan to increase voter turnout: Let the Boston Marathon bomber vote from prison

Why is the Boston Marathon bomber even alive, let alone lining up to vote for president?

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Published:4/22/2019 9:36:32 PM
[Politics] Sanders: Israel Is Run by ‘Racist’ Government Under Netanyahu

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Published:4/22/2019 9:36:32 PM
[Conservatism] Candace Owens Is Coming to Town! (John Hinderaker) My organization, Center of the American Experiment, has for many years held an Annual Dinner as a fundraiser. Many luminaries have appeared as our featured speaker: Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, the first President Bush, Henry Kissinger, Charles Krauthammer, Bill Bennett and many more. This year our keynote speaker will be the youngest ever, by at least a couple of decades: Candace Owens. When we announced her appearance, one of my Published:4/22/2019 9:36:32 PM
[Politics] NOT KIDDING: Crazy Bernie just said something SO CRAZY he may have just lost the election… [VIDEO] I’m not kidding with the title. Bernie Sanders, when on CNN’s town hall a few minutes ago, was asked if he would allow the jihadi Boston Marathon Bomber to vote in our . . . Published:4/22/2019 9:36:32 PM
[Politics] NOT KIDDING: Crazy Bernie just said something SO CRAZY he may have just lost the election… [VIDEO] I’m not kidding with the title. Bernie Sanders, when on CNN’s town hall a few minutes ago, was asked if he would allow the jihadi Boston Marathon Bomber to vote in our . . . Published:4/22/2019 9:36:32 PM
[worldNews] Voting begins in third phase of India's mammoth general election Voting began in the third and largest phase of India's staggered general election on Tuesday, including in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat and southern Kerala, where opposition Congress party chief Rahul Gandhi is contesting.
Published:4/22/2019 9:36:32 PM
[Markets] Paul Craig Roberts Warns The Orchestration Of Russophobia Is The Prelude To War

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

Russiagate has three purposes.

  • One is to prevent President Trump from endangering the vast budget and power of the military/security complex by normalizing relations with Russia.

  • Another, in the words of James Howard Kunstler, is “to conceal the criminal conduct of US government officials meddling in the 2016 election in collusion with the Hillary Clinton campaign,” by focusing all public and political attention on a hoax distraction.

  • The third is to obstruct Trump’s campaign and distract him from his agenda when he won the election.

Despite the inability of Mueller to find any evidence that Trump or Trump officials colluded with Russia to steal the US presidential election, and the inability of Mueller to find evidence with which to accuse Trump of obstruction of justice, Russiagate has achieved all of its purposes.

Trump has been locked into a hostile relationship with Russia. Neoconservatives have succeeded in worsening this hostile relationship by manipulating Trump into a blatant criminal attempt to overthrow in broad daylight the Venezuelan government.

The Russian Embassy in Washington has prepared an accurate 121-page report in response to Mueller's report: THE RUSSIAGATE HYSTERIA: A CASE OF SEVERE RUSSOPHOBIA.

Everyone should read this report. It documents the fake news, lies, violations of diplomatic standards and international law, and gratuitous aggressive actions taken against Russia during the period beginning May 18, 2016 and continuing through the issuance of the Mueller Report.

Without explicitly saying so, the report shows that neither the US government nor the American media has a nanoparticle of integrity. Both are criminal organizations that are willing to risk war with Russia in their pursuit of narrow policitized agendas.

This is important information for Americans and the rest of the world to have. Every person, every government and every private organization that supports Washington’s Russophobic policies is contributing to the growing threat of nuclear war.

One hopes also that the entirety of the Russian government, media, and population also read the report as it has equally powerful messages for Russia. The messages are no doubt unintended, but they nevertheless emerge from the embassy’s report.

The Russian government should marvel at its naivete in trusting Washington, US institutions such as Citibank, and US adherence to international law. For 121 pages the report lists transgression against Russia followed by transgression and lie followed by lie; yet the Russian government continued to send diplomatic notes that are never answered, requests for meetings that are never answered, requests for evidence that are never answered. One would think that month after month of abuse would have caused the Russian government to wonder where was the intelligence, “cooperative spirit,” reason, and “common interest in global security” that Russia’s responses to Washington assumed were present in Russia’s “partner.”

The Russian government’s naive and gullible response to Washington played into Washington’s hands. By responding to Washington’s orchestrated Russophobia as if it were some kind of mistake based on bad information, the Russian government allowed Washington to keep the process of demonization alive and thereby contributed to the ongoing demonization of Russia. If, instead, the Russian government had denounced the demonization of Russia as Washington’s act of preparing Americans for war with Russia and had taken a belligerant rather than a complaining stance, the realization that Washington’s policy had serious cost would have spread throughout the US and Europe and voices would have arisen against Washington’s dangerous and reckless policy. Today in place of the uniformity of voice against Russia, there would be dissent opposing Washington’s irresponsible provocations.

The danger of Russian self-delusion is not over. The embassy’s report expresses the hope that now that the Mueller report has concluded that the much heralded collusion has no basis in fact, relations between Washington and Russia can be normalized and cooperation achieved.

There is no such possibility. The Democrats are screaming “coverup” and demanding the resignation of attorney general Barr and Trump’s impeachment. The presstitutes are claiming that the Mueller report vindicates their reporting. Trump continues to use US foreign policy to commit criminal acts. He has declared that the president of Venezuela is the person he picked, not the one Venezuelans elected. He has given to Israel part of Syria as if Syrian territory is his to give. He threatens Iran with war as Israel requires. In other words, American arrogance rises to ever higher heights.

At some point the Russian government and Russian people are going to have to accept the fact that to reach an understanding with Washington Russia must either surrender her sovereignty or become as belligerent as Washington and replace Russia’s useless refutations of Washington’s accusations with accusations of her own. Otherwise, Washington is going to keep pushing until war is the only possible outcome.

Published:4/22/2019 9:36:31 PM
[Entertainment] Hollywood Reporter honors eco-friendly celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio this Earth Day

Earth Day is a joke to begin with, so why not publish some satire for a laugh?

The post Hollywood Reporter honors eco-friendly celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio this Earth Day appeared first on

Published:4/22/2019 9:08:58 PM
[Syndicated Posts] President Donald Trump’s Schedule for Tuesday, April 23, 2019

By R. Mitchell -

President Donald Trump will participate in a photo opportunity with the White House News Photographers Association award recipients, have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence and participate in the swearing-in of David Bernhardt as the Secretary of the Interior. Keep up with Trump on CDN’s Presidential Schedule Page. President Trump’s ...

President Donald Trump’s Schedule for Tuesday, April 23, 2019 is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:4/22/2019 9:08:58 PM
[Markets] The Libor Mess Is A Symptom Of Broader Market Failure

Authored by Kurt Dew, Northeastern University, originally published on the TABBFORUM,

Major financial institutions have made it clear that they don’t support SOFR, the Fed’s choice of Libor replacement. And neither financial institutions nor their regulators have a clear plan to resolve the need to replace Libor. No matter how dire you believe the Libor problem to be, however, the underlying problem of debt market illiquidity that the Libor problem reveals is many times bigger. A Libor fix only resolves the issue of illiquidity in the short-term end of the market for unsecured debt.

Key points:

  • A recent letter from the trade group Secured Finance Industry Group (SFIG), representing the interests of FNMA and FHLMC among others, put an end to the fiction that major financial institutions support SOFR, the Fed’s choice of Libor replacement.

  • Financial institutions are justly concerned that SOFR could fatally squeeze bank margins in a crisis.

  • Nevertheless, the proposed alternatives, such as the changes to Libor proposed by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), do not fit the regulators’ requirement that the replacement is determined by transactions prices in a liquid market.

  • Regulators cannot introduce a new financial instrument. Libor’s replacement must be the result of private sector innovation.

A recent Secured Finance Industry Group (SFIG) comment letter is SFIG’s response to a request for comment by the Alternative Reference Rates Committee (ARRC) – a Fed-appointed committee of bankers tasked to solve the Libor problem. The Fed’s ARRC creation was an embarrassingly transparent attempt by the regulators to coopt industry objections to its Libor replacement. ARRC proposes to replace Libor with the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) – a Fed-created version of the overnight repurchase agreement rate. The SFIG comment details the objections of financial institutions to SOFR. Importantly, SFIG serves as chair of ARRC. The critical comment letter is thus the final blow to the regulators’ failed effort to gain the appearance of financial institution support for SOFR.

However, more important, neither financial institutions nor their regulators have a clear plan to resolve the need to replace Libor. If replacing Libor were not such a critical matter, the Byzantine machinations of the bank regulators and financial institutions around SOFR would be amusing. However, the pricing of tens of trillions in debt instruments and hundreds of trillions in derivative instruments depends on a smooth transition to some reference rate other than Libor. I contend that this enormous magnitude is a low estimate of the financial market assets at risk due to poorly governed debt markets.

Financial markets’ failure to solve the Libor replacement problem is the result of a misunderstanding of the reasons for the Libor problem. Understanding of Libor suffers from journalistic misdirection, on one hand, and a misunderstanding of the root problem that the Libor brouhaha exemplifies, on the other.

The failure of Libor is a market structure failure. However, the financial press bills Libor’s failure mistakenly as a failure of ethics among bankers. Recorded transcripts of telephone, email, and chat room conversations of small groups of traders provided the evidence of ethical weaknesses leading to attempted market manipulation that drove the post-Financial Crisis Libor embarrassment.

However, markets themselves typically are the best antidote to attempted market manipulation. The market solution to trader cabals formed to alter prices has always been a simple one. In a liquid market, larger market forces inevitably swamp organized efforts to manipulate prices. Cabals don’t work in a liquid market because the manipulators lose money.

The split over a Libor is an enormous opportunity.

Financial institutions have quite reasonably insisted on two key properties that SOFR lacks:

  • The Libor replacement should be forward-looking. That is, the rate should reflect the market’s opinion of overnight interest costs on average in the coming three months.

  • The Libor replacement should reflect the interest cost of private unsecured borrowers, instead of the lower interest costs of the Treasury.

Thus, coupled with the TBTF banks’ endorsement of the Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (ICE) candidate for a Libor replacement, the SFIG letter shows that ARRC’s SOFR proposal does not represent the banks and other financial institutions that are ARRC members. Worse, it raises a serious threat: If regulators seize on an index that might potentially bankrupt one or more major financial institutions during a financial crisis, those institutions do not plan to allow the Fed to pass the blame for this disastrous decision to them.

However, the banks (or a third party) will, I believe, have to do more than provide another bank-calculated index. The self-acknowledged problem with the ICE (TBTF-endorsed) Libor replacement is that any index the procedure produces is the result of a transaction selection process by banks themselves. Thus, the ICE fix remains vulnerable to the same ethical vulnerabilities that Libor itself faced.

In short, any satisfactory Libor replacement must be a form of debt that doesn’t exist now. We could throw up our hands and use the hazardous SOFR, but this seems to be a negative way of looking at the situation.

This is an obvious opportunity to seize an enormous hunk of the financial markets in one fell swoop by addressing bond market illiquidity more generally. Moreover, it is an opportunity that anybody with the courage and the capital could pursue. The problem is one of creating a new debt market with a different structure. Such a new market would have no incumbent oligopolies and no reactionary regulators. Capital, a few hotshot IT professionals, and some people with skills of persuasion would be enough ammunition to get the job done. Island overwhelmed the incumbent stock exchanges with less.

Interestingly, in all likelihood, TBTF banks, incumbent exchanges, and regulators are at a disadvantage in the pursuit of a debt market innovation since they are married to old ways of generating revenues. An incumbent TBTF bank pursuing a new market structure, for example, would not find management friendly to ideas such as putting an end to collateral hypothecation in the repo market.

Why are we getting Libor wrong?

SFIG and the TBTF banks also concede that there is no existing instrument that meets the minimal standards required of a Libor replacement – the replacement should be a term (probably three-month or six-month) unsecured debt instrument, traded in a liquid marketplace where recorded transaction prices are the result of the combined forces of supply and demand. SFIG’s comment letter to ARRC’s request to comment on SOFR points to a central quandary that neither SOFR nor its detractors have addressed: No financial instrument meets these criteria today.

Don’t blame the Fed. The Fed did everything imaginable to get industry support for repurchase agreements, the only existing liquid instrument where an honest broker (the Fed) records market transactions. Blame the markets themselves. Organized market participants are adopting the time honored “See no evil; hear no evil; speak no evil” approach. Once ARRC had endorsed SOFR, CME Group (CME) helpfully created a futures contract based on SOFR. All that remained was for the markets to begin trading the SOFR-based instruments. However, that didn’t happen. CME volume in SOFR futures remains a small fraction of Eurodollar (Libor) futures volume. In itself, this is not a failing of the marketplace. It’s simply the market’s recognition that SOFR futures don’t provide adequate protection for their existing risks.

How big is the Libor problem?

No matter how dire you believe the Libor problem to be, the underlying problem of debt market illiquidity that the Libor problem reveals is many times bigger. A Libor fix only resolves the issue of illiquidity in the short-term end of the market for unsecured debt.

Libor became important to society when it began to appear as a factor in the cost of mortgages, municipal debt, and credit card debt. In other words, Libor is different from the interest cost of a corporate bond because of Libor’s visibility. However, of course, all bank debt, no matter how obscure, is a factor in the cost of consumer borrowing.

An exchange trading liquid tailor-made debt issues that capture the primary price risks associated with debt issuance at all maturities would have a massive beneficial effect on the cost of financing. This market would generate transactions comparable to the combined volume of the stock exchanges, assuming turnover in the two markets to be comparable.

What flaw in market structure creates the Libor/debt market liquidity problem? In the markets for corporate liabilities, the issuer is concerned about the market appeal of the terms upon which debt is sold only once – the issue date. After that, any action the corporation might take that benefits its stockholders at the expense of its debtholders faces a single low hurdle: Is it legal? Investors are wise to devote more time and attention to debt acquisition than to share acquisition.

If bondholders could devise an instrument that liberates its holder from the negative effects on debt valuation of the decision-making power of a single issuer, it would be interesting to see what effect that would have on the position within corporate politics of debtholders relative to stockholders. One could imagine the popularity of this buyer-friendly instrument growing relative to the popularity of the current issuer-centric debt issues. As this form of debt grows as a share of the market for debt, the management of this debt would become gatekeepers for bond market liquidity. They might gradually induce issuers to write more buyer-friendly forms of debt.

The legal obligation of corporate management to consider the interest of stockholders when these interests conflict with the interests of debtholders is writ in stone. Nevertheless, there is no legal barrier to investors – the final constituency for all corporate obligations – using their influence to discriminate among debt issues. If debtholders confront stockholders with a positive payoff to pleasing debtholders, there might be multiple systemic improvements. The value of buyer-friendly debt would rise relative to issuer-friendly issues, driving down its interest cost and resulting in capital gains to both debt- and shareholders. The result would be an altogether safer financial system as a whole.

Published:4/22/2019 9:08:58 PM
[Politics] WATCH: State Trooper puts idiot protesters in their PLACE after they claim racial profiling! Here’s a great video for you to enjoy. A state trooper in Arizona confronted a protester for approaching one of his officers while in a traffic stop. He gave the female with . . . Published:4/22/2019 9:08:58 PM
[Politics] WATCH: State Trooper puts idiot protesters in their PLACE after they claim racial profiling! Here’s a great video for you to enjoy. A state trooper in Arizona confronted a protester for approaching one of his officers while in a traffic stop. He gave the female with . . . Published:4/22/2019 9:08:58 PM
[Politics] Sanders Supports Allowing the Boston Marathon Bomber to Vote: My Campaign Wants to Create a ‘Vibrant Democracy’

The post Sanders Supports Allowing the Boston Marathon Bomber to Vote: My Campaign Wants to Create a ‘Vibrant Democracy’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:4/22/2019 9:08:58 PM
[worldNews] Death toll from Colombia landslide rises to 28 The death toll from a weekend landslide in the southwestern Colombian province of Cauca has risen to 28 people, the country's disaster relief agency said on Monday.
Published:4/22/2019 9:08:58 PM
[The Blog] Pelosi takes go-slow approach toward impeachment

"We aren't going to go faster..."

The post Pelosi takes go-slow approach toward impeachment appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:4/22/2019 9:08:58 PM
[] Monday Overnight Open Thread (4/22/19) *** The Quotes of The Day Quote I “Change rarely comes without some bumps in the road. Students are becoming self-directed learners and are demonstrating greater ownership of their learning activities.” Gordon Mohn Quote II “It’s no surprise that... Published:4/22/2019 9:08:58 PM
[5fa77e15-64f1-5ba7-9b08-5660b341c87d] Hollywood earns lowest Easter weekend box office in almost 15 years: report As we were the first to say yesterday very early in the morning, it’s the lowest Easter weekend at the box office in well over a decade Published:4/22/2019 8:36:13 PM
[Uncategorized] Putting Social Justice Warfare on trial: Gibson’s Bakery lawsuit against Oberlin College heading to trial Legal Insurrection Foundation will have a reporter in the courtroom for the trial. Published:4/22/2019 8:36:13 PM
[US News] ‘Leave the Poor Defenseless Act’: New Jersey governor proposes $550 fee to own and carry a gun

This will do absolutely nothing to reduce gun crime in New Jersey; it might actually increase it.

The post ‘Leave the Poor Defenseless Act’: New Jersey governor proposes $550 fee to own and carry a gun appeared first on

Published:4/22/2019 8:36:13 PM
[Politics] Obama Praises Young Activists on Earth Day Former President Barack Obama praised for young activists "stepping up to save the one planet we've got" with Earth Day tweets on Monday. Published:4/22/2019 8:36:13 PM
[Trending Commentary] Watch: Is Denmark Socialist?

By R. Mitchell -

Socialism has failed across the world – from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to China, Vietnam, North Korea and, most recently, Venezuela. So now the left references countries like Denmark as “proof” that socialism works. Otto Brons-Petersen explains why they’re wrong: Denmark is just as capitalist as the United ...

Watch: Is Denmark Socialist? is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:4/22/2019 8:36:13 PM
[Automotive] Smartcar accuses $50M-funded rival Otonomo of API plagiarism Ruthless copying is common in tech. Just ask Snapchat. However, it’s typically more conceptual than literal. But car API startup Smartcar claims that its competitor Otonomo copy-and-pasted Smartcar’s API documentation, allegedly plagiarizing it extensively to the point of including the original’s typos and randomly generated strings of code. It’s published a series of side-by-side screenshots […] Published:4/22/2019 8:36:12 PM
[Markets] The Difference Between China's Haves And Have Nots: A Piece Of Plastic

Having a credit card in China is much more of a luxury than it is in the United States, and its exclusivity in China could actually be weighing on China's economy, according to a new Bloomberg op-ed. More than 66% of Americans over the age of 15 have a credit card, but that number stands at just 21% in China. And it’s not because the Chinese don’t want to spend – a recent survey showed that 44% of Chinese internet users plan to consume more and only 33% intended to scale back.

The lack of credit isn’t because the Chinese are financially irresponsible, either. Most borrow within their means and the average loan usually amounts to a little more than a month's salary. But the lack of access to credit in China "dramatically undercuts Chinese citizens' financial security" according to Bloomberg, and cardholders are a privileged bunch.

The average credit card holder in China is a 34-year-old millennial who earns at least $16,400 per year, which is close to three times the average urban income in China. There is an 82% chance that they live in one of the country's four biggest megacities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. 

Those Chinese without credit cards are forced to either live within their cash flow means, or resort to online borrowing, where loans come relatively easy to those who have established good Sesame Credit, a scoring system developed by Alibaba group. For those who have online loans already, or for those who want to borrow more, peer to peer lending or even payday loans are popular – just as they have grown in popularity in the United States.

But online rates are much higher than those charged by credit cards. This has led to predatory lending scandals across the country in recent years. For instance, US listed company Quidan (QD) sparked outrage in 2017 after it disclosed that more than half of its transactions had annualized rates exceeding 36%, the legal limit. In March, CCTV ran a lengthy interview with a woman whose debt  went up 70 fold in three months because she took out a "714 missile loan", the name for a 7 to 14 day loan. She would’ve never faced these consequences if she had a credit card, which doesn’t charge interest for a whole month, the op-ed argues.

And higher interest rates are starting to weigh on borrowers. Mortgages accounted for 80% of total outstanding debt for those who responded to the survey but such payments are only a small part of monthly obligations for Chinese citizens when compared to other types of debt.

This has led people to ask what banks are doing to help people get credit cards. Lenders can earn about 14.5% effective yield from clients whose 1% delinquency rate makes them prime borrowers. Not only that, the People’s Bank of China now allows commercial banks to package credit card loans into asset-backed securities that they can sell. The typical yield for an ABS is 3% to 5% on the safest tranches.

Boosting the case for broader credit card penetration, borrower creditworthiness is surprisingly transparent in China: if a customer has a checking account with Bank of China, the lender has access to their income and also how much they spend every month. Meanwhile, online lenders and peer to peer lenders have to work off of limited information, like social credit scores.

And yet, because bureaucrats in Beijing believe millenials tend to use credit cards to buy highly risky penny stocks or take out home-improvement loans to speculate on the real estate market, they have been dragging their feet. Regardless, the rise of online lending and fintech companies makes it easy for Chinese citizens to find funding somewhere if they want it. So, why not credit cards? The conclusion: if China wants economic growth to be driven by domestic consumption it should allow its citizens more access to them. After all what's the worst that could possibly happen if China becomes exactly like America...

Published:4/22/2019 8:36:12 PM
[The Blog] Hoo boy: Bernie leads by 12, Warren still stuck in mid-single digits in New Hampshire

Feeling the Bern.

The post Hoo boy: Bernie leads by 12, Warren still stuck in mid-single digits in New Hampshire appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:4/22/2019 8:36:12 PM
[World] The Other Side of ‘Allahu Akbar’ In his travels through the Mideast and Africa, our writer found mostly peaceful Muslims, kind to a fault and proud of their religion. Published:4/22/2019 8:36:12 PM
[Asia] India’s ZestMoney raises $20M to grow its digital lending service Fintech is very much still hot in Asia. ZestMoney, a startup that helps consumers with no credit history get loans to buy online, announced today it has raised a $20 million Series B. The round is led by Quona Capital, a stealthy Washington-based fund that invests in emerging market fintech and has an office in […] Published:4/22/2019 8:06:50 PM
[Politics] Klobuchar on Green New Deal: ‘We Need Those Goals’

The post Klobuchar on Green New Deal: ‘We Need Those Goals’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:4/22/2019 8:06:50 PM
[International events] Labour MP retweets video of Israeli soldiers beating up Palestinian kids for fun … in Guatemala?

If the Democratic Party has an anti-Semitism problem, the U.K.'s Labour Party is beyond saving.

The post Labour MP retweets video of Israeli soldiers beating up Palestinian kids for fun … in Guatemala? appeared first on

Published:4/22/2019 8:06:50 PM
[Politics] Klobuchar Punts Impeachment Talk: 'I'm the Jury Here' Saying she would not "predispose" a matter that would be voted in the upper chamber, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., was non-committal about whether the House should impeach President Donald Trump. Published:4/22/2019 8:06:50 PM
[World] We're all snowflakes now

When Muslim terrorists brought down the World Trade Center 17 years ago, the Paris newspapers, in a fit of empathy, declared that "we're all Americans now." The sentiment was meaningless treacle and it quickly evaporated. American citizenship, even if honorary, is too great a burden for Frenchmen to bear. But ... Published:4/22/2019 8:06:50 PM

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