http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml/article/2011/12/www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/9545597/www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/2010/2010/2011/11/nobel-prize-winning-economist-war-is-widely-thought-to-be-linked-to-econo en Mexico Prepares Plan To Ditch U.S. Grain Imports As NAFTA Showdown Looms http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-22/mexico-prepares-plan-ditch-us-grain-imports-nafta-showdown-looms <p>America's Midwest farmers can't seem to catch a break.&nbsp; First, an epic collapse of grain prices over the last couple of years have threatened to wipe out family farmers (see "<a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-09/midwest-farm-bubble-continues-collapse-farm-incomes-expected-crash-2017">Midwest Farm Bubble Continues Collapse As Farm Incomes Expected To Crash In 2017</a>") and now, thanks to the pending NAFTA showdown threatened by President Trump, <strong>Mexico, the single largest importer of U.S.-grown corn, has announced plans to find alternative grain sources in South America</strong>.&nbsp; Per <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-22/mexican-companies-craft-plan-to-sidestep-u-s-grain-imports">Bloomberg</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The Consejo Coordinador Empresarial, one of the nation’s top business chambers, is <strong>examining countries such as Brazil and Argentina to add new sources for soy, corn and wheat</strong>, according to Juan Pablo Castanon, the group’s president. Exports from those countries could help Mexico adjust to the difficulties that a Nafta renegotiation might present, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“The renegotiation might bring increased costs to imports, and our own exports might be hurt, so we need to find new markets,”</strong> he said in a phone interview, adding that the group’s efforts are still in the initial stages. The chamber, established in 1976, represents the country’s main agricultural, industrial and financial industry organizations, among others.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"We’d like to keep the trade deal as it is, but right now we have to look for alternative producers and Brazil and Argentina could work,”</strong><br /> Castanon said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Of course, any move by Mexican businesses to import raw materials from other countries could hit U.S. farmers hard. Mexico is the largest buyer of U.S.-produced corn, spending $2.5 billion in the 2015-2016 season, ahead of Japan’s $1.8 billion, according to the U.S. Grains Council. Moreover, Mexico has spent $800 million on U.S. corn so far in the current season.&nbsp; </p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/02/22/2017.02.22%20-%20Corn%20Exports.JPG"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/02/22/2017.02.22%20-%20Corn%20Exports_0.JPG" alt="Corn" width="600" height="335" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, grain imports aren't the only raw materials for which Mexico is actively looking for alternative sources as Sigma Alimentos SA, Mexico's meat-packing conglomerate, is also looking to Brazil and Chile as alternative supply sources.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The push is not limited to grains, Castanon said.<strong> Other imports such as meat are also being considered. “An economy as important as Mexico’s needs to have secure supply sources on many fronts,”</strong> he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Sigma Alimentos SA, the meat-packaging unit of Mexican conglomerate Alfa SAB, is looking into countries such as Brazil and Chile as new sources of raw materials,</strong> Chief Financial Officer Eugenio Caballero said on a call with investors last week.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Switching suppliers isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. Mexico depends heavily on rail for imports from the U.S. and Canada, which wouldn’t work for goods from South America. But Mexico’s ports could handle imports from the south, and the benefits would outweigh the costs, Castanon said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“We need to open new doors,” he said. “As the trade talks progress, we’ll see how we need to make use of them.”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>So where does that leave the American farmer? Well, not in a great spot given the already dire position they're in.&nbsp; For those who missed it, below are some stats from the USDA detailing the financial condition of the American farmer.</p> <p><strong>* * * <br /></strong></p> <p><strong>Real farm incomes</strong> in 2017 are expected to sink below 2010 levels which represents a <strong>36% decline from the recent peak and a 14% decline since 2015</strong>.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/02/09/2017.02.09%20-%20Farms%203.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/02/09/2017.02.09%20-%20Farms%203_0.jpg" alt="Farms" width="600" height="490" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile <strong>farm debt continues to rise at an astonishing rate...</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/02/09/2017.02.09%20-%20Farms%205.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/02/09/2017.02.09%20-%20Farms%205_1.jpg" alt="Farms" width="600" height="490" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While <strong>farmer leverage has spiked to the highest level since at least 1960.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/02/09/2017.02.09%20-%20Farms%204.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/02/09/2017.02.09%20-%20Farms%204_0.jpg" alt="Farms" width="600" height="484" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And of course, lower incomes means <strong>less money to spend on shiny new John Deere tractors with equipment capex expected to decline 35% compared to 2015.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/02/09/2017.02.09%20-%20Farms%206.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/02/09/2017.02.09%20-%20Farms%206_0.jpg" alt="Farms" width="600" height="463" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And finally, <strong>farmer returns have crashed to the lowest levels ever.</strong>&nbsp; We're not sure about you but a 2.1% ROIC seems a "little low" even in our current rigged interest rate environment.&nbsp; So, there's only a couple of ways to fix that problem...either commodity prices have to recover quickly or farmland prices need to come down substantially.&nbsp;<strong> Which do you think will happen first?</strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/02/09/2017.02.09%20-%20Farms%207_0.jpg" alt="Farms" width="600" height="474" /></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1350" height="900" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/Cornfield_1.jpg?1487771877" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-22/mexico-prepares-plan-ditch-us-grain-imports-nafta-showdown-looms#comments Agriculture Brazil Business Canada Economy of North America Energy crops Food and drink Maize Mexico Midwest North American Free Trade Agreement Presidency of Bill Clinton Rice Tropical agriculture U.S. Grains Council USDA Thu, 23 Feb 2017 09:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 588740 at http://www.zerohedge.com Eight Reasons Why The Dutch Election Matters http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-22/eight-reasons-why-dutch-election-matters <p><em><a href="https://www.tradingfloor.com/posts/eight-reasons-why-the-dutch-election-matters-8493485">Submitted by Saxo Bank&#39;s Martin O&#39;Rourke via TradingFloor.com,</a></em></p> <ul> <li><strong>The Netherlands&#39; general election takes place on March 15</strong></li> <li><strong>Geert Wilders far-right Party for Freedom expected to emerge first</strong></li> <li><strong>Wilders path to premiership likely to be blocked by moderate coalition</strong></li> <li><strong>Support for Wilders&#39; anti-immigration, anti-EU stance fits populist narrative</strong></li> <li><strong>Key lessons for Europe ahead of French and German elections</strong></li> <li><strong>Brussels looking for consolidation after Brexit and Italian referendum rockets</strong></li> </ul> <p><img alt="j" src="https://www.tradingfloor.com/images/article/max608w/00f64383-e0e7-4390-a4f0-af239f4ec376.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 600px;" /></p> <p><em>Now what is it about that Wilders fellow that seems so familiar? </em></p> <p><strong>If we needed any reminders that 2016 was the year when the anti-establishment phenomena broke through the glass ceiling, then this week&#39;s Brexit-bill debate among the arch-establishment House of Lords institution was it.</strong></p> <p>The irony of the non-elected house discussing the bill that will eventually pave the way for the trigger of Article 50 before March 31 will not have been lost on many. It was, after all, the protest element of the Brexit vote that saw <a href="https://www.tradingfloor.com/posts/divided-britain-delivers-damning-eu-verdict-7819846">the UK electorate deliberately snub what their elites dictated they must do</a> and establish the barricades between the establishment and the disaffected.</p> <p>And that unleashed genie has gone on to cause havoc ever since. <a href="https://www.tradingfloor.com/posts/us-election-trump-victory-breaks-the-social-contract-saxostrats-8202742">The victory of Donald Trump in the US</a> and the rejection of Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi&#39;s constitutional reform referendum in December struck a powerful blow at the heart of the establishment foundations.</p> <p>Yet, the traffic has not all been one way. Austrian voters rejected the far-right Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache in December in presidential elections, and Marine Le Pen&#39;s efforts to become the next president of France still look likely to be stymied at the second round in May despite a collapse in support for scandal-hit rival Francois Fillon briefly making her the race favourite.</p> <p><strong>The stage looks set, then. If 2016 was the year of the breakthrough, 2017 could see the status-quo fightback, with Europe likely to form the battleground ahead of pivotal elections. And, while next month&#39;s general election in The Netherlands may not be the biggest showdown of the year, the outcome could set the tone for 2017.</strong></p> <p>The far-right PVV party, platformed on an anti-immigration, anti-European Union ticket, looks likely to emerge as the biggest party after March 15, but controversial leader Geert Wilders is almost certain to be snubbed when it comes to either the prime minister role or a top ministerial role. Nevertheless, a moderate coalition made up of numerous parties may find itself somewhat hobbled depending on the actual outcome.</p> <h2><u><strong>We give eight reasons why the Dutch elections matter.</strong></u></h2> <p><img alt="l" src="https://www.tradingfloor.com/images/article/max608w/70056aac-4c2a-4fd5-84e3-abef18268637.jpg" /></p> <p>Dreamy Amsterdam could be facing a nightmare.</p> <p><u><strong>1. Setting the template&nbsp;(version 2.0)</strong></u></p> <p>If Brexit set the template for the anti-establishment mantra in 2016, the subsequent victories of Trump and the populist anti-EU movement in Italy have subtly altered the blueprint. The outcome of this election could see the template take yet another twist with French and German elections to follow.</p> <p>Like a military campaign, the domino effect of Brexit through to Italy six months later was next to impossible to stem. But with a new year and a new start, there is a different mood.</p> <p><a href="http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/19/europe/cnn-brexit-poll/index.html">While a poll of UK voters in December s</a>aid 47% would still vote leave, 45% said they would go for remain and 8% were undecided. That&#39;s a shift from the 52/48 divide of the June 23 vote and came at a time when the UK consumer was spending and the economy looked robust.</p> <p>A slump in retail sales for January out of the UK may have shifted that sentiment further after a 0.3% fall dramatically undercut expectations for a 0.9% rise. Add that to a revision of the December slump revised to 2.1% and it is beginning to look like the post-Brexit party and big-ticket item splurge encouraged by the likes of Black Friday could be over.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&quot;There is the feeling that the public brought forward a lot of spending, especially on big ticket items, in response to the weakening in sterling,&quot; <a href="https://www.tradingfloor.com/posts/from-the-floor-trump-backing-himself-into-a-corner-saxostrats-8483865?tagid=analysis-from+the+floor">said Saxo Bank&#39;s forex chief John J Hardy on the February 17 From the Floor</a>. &quot;I think we need to keep an eye on sterling crosses for reaction.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>With housing transactions also predicted to fall 11% in 2017, according to research conducted by The Times, this could be a trying period for sterling and UK confidence.</p> <p>GBPUSD plunged to below 1.24 after the retail data release for January</p> <p><img alt="h" src="https://www.tradingfloor.com/images/article/max608w/10f32602-a671-4b38-ac04-5255f1cca765.png" style="height: 461px; width: 600px;" /></p> <p><em>Source: SaxoTraderGO</em></p> <p>Some 15 weeks have also elapsed since Trump&#39;s victory. With the president embarking on a campaign-style approach since his inauguration on January 20, that has led to a standoff with the mass media, a battle with his own judiciary, some embarrassing climb downs in foreign policy and disarray within his own hand-picked team.</p> <p>The Dutch then have had some nine months to take on board the anti-establishment wave and what it potentially means. That includes the fallout.</p> <p>How will they react? A reversion to the safety of the centre is a possibility. A lurch even further to the right can also not be ruled out. We&#39;ll know in less than one month.</p> <p><u><strong>2. Anti-immigration reinforced</strong></u></p> <p>However Wilders&#39; party fares next month, the anti-immigration platform is well established in Europe and looks likely to be reinforced. The UK turned its back on an agreement to take up to 3,000 child refugees fleeing war earlier this month and, though it has faced a backlash, is sticking to its guns.</p> <p>The UK government&#39;s strategy is twofold. It wants to clip the wings of Ukip (more of that later) and make inroads into the working-class defection from Labour that has alighted on the immigration issue as a rallying cause.</p> <p>German chancellor Angela Merkel has also bowed to the inevitable and earlier this month set out tough new plans to repratriate asylum seekers designed to speed up the exit of those who have not earned asylum. A new Centre for the Support of Returns to be opened in Berlin is at the heart of the plan and marks a considerable contrast to the open-border policy that defined Germany&#39;s immigration stance in 2015.</p> <p>With Beppe Grillo&#39;s Five Star Movement party in Italy firmly established on the back of the referendum result ten weeks ago and with the likes of Hungarian premier Viktor Orban threatening to round up asylum seekers and detain them in shipping container camps, there is a dehumanising aspect to the right-wing rhetoric that is frightening.</p> <p>Wilders incendiary &quot;Moroccan scum&quot; comments on February 19 indicate the latitude that the far right has been granted by a lazy and complacent centre. It&#39;s going to get worse.</p> <p><img alt="k" src="https://www.tradingfloor.com/images/article/max608w/192c0cc5-833f-4baf-a93b-2e1a5b3dd06c.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 600px;" /></p> <p><em>However you spin it, there is a reason why thousands of refugees have fled to Europe and are willing to put up with degrading conditions. </em></p> <p><u><strong>3. Le Pen&#39;s moment</strong></u></p> <p>Just as Trump was able to jump on <a href="https://www.tradingfloor.com/posts/trump-hitching-ride-on-the-farage-chariot-8017884">the Brexit bandwagon last autumn when his campaign looked like it might be hitting the buffers</a>, Front National leader Marine Le Pen will have her fingers crossed for a strong showing from Wilders party and a potential escalation of tensions on the streets of Amsterdam and Rotterdam.</p> <p>Le Pen&#39;s chances of victory in May are not great but getting through to the final round on May 7 after the initial vote on April 23 would be success in itself and demonstrate that the far-right group is truly established as a mainstream party.</p> <p>To put that in context, the party has spent almost its entire political life since its formation in 1972 on the fringes of the political spectrum. Founder Jean-Marie Le Pen may have got into a runoff off for the presidency in 2002 but it is only since his daughter became leader in 2011 that the party has really made its breakthrough.</p> <p>It would be tempting to say that this is due to the new leader softening the party&#39;s stance to become more acceptable, but the reality is a corrupt and decrepit political establishment has made it easy for Le Pen to harvest voters disaffected with the ruling elites. The atrocities in Paris in November 2015 and Nice in July 2016 have bolstered her bandwagon and reportedly made her party the most popular among 18-34 year olds.</p> <p>The long game remains her strategy. Brick by brick, she&#39;s demolishing the establishment wall.</p> <p><u><strong>4. The Merkel paradox</strong></u></p> <p>Of all the establishment figures under threat this year, none matter more than the German chancellor. She is the symbol of European solidity, an immigrant champion, a veteran of the international stage and she has demonstrated time and time again that she is able to go toe to toe with some of the most formidable opponents you could wish to encounter, including the likes of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.</p> <p>But, unlike much of the rest of Europe, Germans rather like the current status quo and even the far-right Alternative for Germany Party has seen support slip from around 15% in the summer of 2016 <a href="http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/inland/forsa-erhebung-afd-auf-niedrigstem-stand-seit-ende-2015-14889967.html">to less than 10%</a>.</p> <p>The reason for that is not Merkel but rather the rise of a rival within her own coalition, the social democrats&#39; Martin Schulz. <a href="https://www.tradingfloor.com/posts/the-german-anti-trump-that-could-beat-merkel-8478053">Schulz, like Merkel, is a pro-European Union, anti-protectionist </a>who most definitely hails from the left of the spectrum.</p> <p>The &#39;junior&#39; party in Merkel&#39;s Christian Democratic Union coalition moved ahead in&nbsp;some polls this weekend ahead of the September election. It may be that Merkel&#39;s sudden shift in position on immigration is less to do with the far right and more to do with delineating her platform from that of Schultz.</p> <p>Merkel may be a politician of principle. She&#39;s also not above opportunism.</p> <p>And with Schultz breathing down her neck, it is already beginning to look like the greater public-speaking skills of the latter could land him the biggest prize of all come September. In that light, a better-than-expected showing for Wilders&#39; party at next month&#39;s election might tip the fine margins in Merkel&#39;s favour, although it is clearly a double-edged sword and a gamble to change her stance.</p> <p>Merkel&nbsp;won&#39;t say it of course. But you can bet some of her strategists are thinking it.</p> <p><u><strong>5. The French/German bonds spread barometer</strong></u></p> <p>The spread in yields between French and German 10-year bonds has become a useful indicator of political risk in Europe.</p> <p>It ran as&nbsp;high as 72 basis points when the Francois Fillion got himself into a terrible mess over nepotism earlier this month as it briefly threatened to propel Le Pen into the lead. That subsequently came back to the 65 mark after the immediate outcry receded but has once again jumped to 78 basis points on February 22.</p> <p>This could spread yet further depending on Wilders&#39; showing on March 15 and demonstrates that not only is Germany decoupling from the peripheral economies like Portugal, Italy and Spain but even from&nbsp;a Eurozone-core economy like France, as the latter&#39;s fundamental structural problems combine with political tensions to deepen the uncertainty over its future direction.</p> <p>French/German 10-year yield spread out to 78 basis points</p> <p><img alt="o" src="https://www.tradingfloor.com/images/article/max608w/d0d87fb6-b390-4a1d-b8c4-a1b9eac7c2af.jpg" style="height: 355px; width: 600px;" /></p> <p><em>Source: Bloomberg</em></p> <p><u><strong>6. The far-right splinter</strong></u></p> <p>The fate of Ukip should be instructive for all the far-right groups (or indeed any of the extremist movements in vogue)&nbsp;that are currently enjoying their moment in the sun on a platform of anti-immigration.</p> <p>On the crest of a wave on June 24, Ukip&#39;s progress since&nbsp;has been akin to someone wading through quicksand as the loss of a charismatic leader in the form of Nigel Farage has seen a catalogue of disasters beset the anti-EU party.</p> <p>The 18-day reign of Diane James was an unmitigated disaster but replacement Paul Nutall has fared little better and has become embroiled in a false claims controversy relating to <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillsborough_disaster">the Hillsborough disaster of 1989 when 96 football fans died </a>that has seriously undermined his credibility.</p> <p>Ukip does not yet look like a spent force but with Farage chasing the &#39;dream&#39; in the US, its direction and sense of purpose has ironically been undermined by successfully&nbsp;seeing through&nbsp;the single-issue strategy that gave the party its raison d&#39;etre. With Brexit due to be triggered next month, it&#39;s become a little bit of a rebel without a cause.</p> <p>The mainstream &mdash; read May&#39;s ruling Conservative party &mdash; has also stepped into the breach to effectively dilute the Ukip message by taking over some of their policies and pushing the hard Brexit stance that defined Ukip. It&#39;s a mainstream fight back through latching on to policies (<a href="https://www.tradingfloor.com/posts/saxo-on-brexit-johnsons-made-his-bed-he-better-lie-in-it-7838817">a strategy which Boris Johnson unsuccessfully tried to follow through last summer)</a> that could help re-establish the status quo, albeit with a significant lurch to the right.</p> <p>In the meantime, a key by-election on February 23 in the UK in the Brexit-supporting constituency of Stoke-on-Trent is a key test for Ukip. Nuttall&#39;s party is favourite to take the formerly safe Labour Party seat (the problems that have beset the Labour Party also owe much to the Brexit vote and a lack of direction under leader Jeremy Corbyn) but a Conservative victory would be a remarkable result in the circumstances as a signal of the status-quo rebirth. It could happen.</p> <p>The lesson for Wilders, Italy&#39;s Five-Star Movement and Spain&#39;s left-wing anti-establishment Podemos are clear. A single cause can most definitely unite disparate elements. But, the achievement of goals or an inability to break important electoral thresholds will unmask tensions. And, as Ukip is discovering, that&#39;s a recipe for disaster.</p> <p><img alt="k" src="https://www.tradingfloor.com/images/article/max608w/22448aac-6751-49f2-a30f-b209bda8c13c.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 600px;" /></p> <p><em>Perhaps he knew it was a good time to look for something else. </em></p> <p><u><strong>7. The euro to come under pressure</strong></u></p> <p>Whatever the outcome of the Dutch election, the euro is likely to come into pressure as volatility stalks the continent in 2017.</p> <p>The potential crisis in Greece once again, the upcoming French and German elections, the triggering of article 50 next month and the unnerving and unwavering hostility from the Trump administration to all things EU, means that <a href="https://www.tradingfloor.com/forex/eurusd">EURUSD</a> in particular is likely to feel the heat.</p> <p><a href="https://www.tradingfloor.com/posts/macro-digest-ready-steady-go-on-us-dollar-saxostrats-8485303">Trump may be pursuing a weaker dollar policy</a>, but he might not get his wish granted in relation to the euro for some time. EURUSD has faced down the parity challenge on a couple of occasions already in the last few months but with the pair once again below 1.05 this morning, the debate looks set for some invigoration.</p> <p>EURUSD breached 1.05 Wednesday morning</p> <p><img alt="l" src="https://www.tradingfloor.com/images/article/max608w/fe2f6b93-2409-4d00-b98e-0ba520ad40ae.png" /></p> <p><em>Source: SaxoTraderGO EURUSD was at 1.0500 exactly at 1037 GMT, February 22.</em></p> <p><u><strong>8. The Trump reaction</strong></u></p> <p>The Trump reaction is incendiary enough even when it turns out to be over something that is patently not true such as <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-sweden-idUSKBN15Y0QH">his ill-researched comment about Sweden at the weekend</a>&nbsp;regarding a security-related terrorist incident that never happened.</p> <p>It&#39;s not surprising that someone with Trump&#39;s ego then chose to go on the warpath with Stockholm instead of coming clean. Expect him likewise then to react to the Dutch election, especially if it&#39;s another significant blow to the status quo. He is unlikely to let facts get in the way of his agenda either.</p> <p>If nothing else, Trump will seek endorsement for his selective immigration ban against seven mainly Muslim countries and the opportunity to twist the debate towards the border with Mexico which remains the most controversial pillar of his foreign policy (despite considerable competition).</p> <p>The oxygen of publicity. Trump can&#39;t resist it &mdash; markets will be moved.</p> <p><img alt="k" src="https://www.tradingfloor.com/images/article/max608w/eb5f3ebe-27a1-4603-bd24-5d9934178cb5.png" style="height: 352px; width: 599px;" /></p> <p><em>That&#39;s the size of the immigration problem in Sweden... no France...i meant Europe. Obviously.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="577" height="338" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170222_holland.jpg?1487820913" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-22/eight-reasons-why-dutch-election-matters#comments Black Friday Brexit Centre for the Support of Returns Christian Democratic Union conservative party Donald Trump Europe European Union European Union France Free speech activists Freedom party Front National Geert Wilders German Freedom Party Germany Germany party Greece House of Lords Islam in the Netherlands Italy Italy's Five-Star Movement Labour Party Mexico More United Netherlands None Nuttall's party Party for Freedom Party for Freedom Politics Politics Politics of Europe Portugal post-Brexit PVV party Reality Saxo Bank Social Democrats Star Movement party in Italy Trump Administration UK Government United Kingdom European Union membership referendum Vladimir Putin Volatility Wilders' party Wilders’ party Withdrawal from the European Union Thu, 23 Feb 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 588797 at http://www.zerohedge.com Hundreds Of Colleges Form "Bias Response Teams" To Combat "Hate Speech" Like "Build The Wall" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-22/hundreds-colleges-form-bias-response-teams-combat-hate-speech-build-wall <p>Over the past year, an organization called the <a href="https://www.thefire.org/">Foundation for Individual Rights in Education</a> (FIRE) has been surveying college campuses around the country to assess how the liberal bastions of safe spaces handle reports of "hate speech" (a.k.a. "any opinion, or fact for that matter, that runs contrary to the widely accepted views of leftist professors and administrators").&nbsp; Apparently, and to our great shock no less, hundreds of college campuses all around the country have established so-called "Bias Response Teams" tasked with the crucial responsibility of scrutinizing campus speech that may be deemed "hateful."</p> <p>While FIRE published a very comprehensive, <a href="https://d28htnjz2elwuj.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/07011550/2017-report-bias-reporting-systems.pdf">35-page report</a> on the 230 "Bias Response Team" systems they surveyed, below is just a taste of some of the atrocities they uncovered.</p> <p>The first example comes from <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3418842-Ohio-State-University-Build-the-Wall-Report.html">Ohio State University</a>, where one precious snowflake was apparently appalled to discover that someone had written "Build the Wall" on a class chalk board and brazenly left the vicious hate speech there for the world to see.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"There is chalk on the oval saying "<strong>Build the Wall"</strong> which <strong>could be construed as hate speech against Hispanic students and undocumented citizens.</strong>&nbsp; This is <strong>unsafe for the University community and cannot be allowed."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, students at the <a href="http://www.michiganreview.com/snow-penis-reported-as-bias-incident/">University of Michigan</a> were absolutely terrified of this 'snow penis.'&nbsp; Of course, rather than simply demolish the phallus, the 'triggered' Michigan students were forced to alert the authorities.</p> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/02/22/2017.02.22%20-%20Unsafe%20Space%202.JPG" alt="UofM" width="365" height="391" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, a student humor publication (akin to The Onion) at the University of California San Diego called <a href="http://thekoala.org/2015/11/16/ucsd-unveils-new-dangerous-space-on-campus/">The Koala</a>, was recently censored for the following satirical article that was intended, ironically, to poke fun at college safe spaces.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Administrators at UC San Diego are creating an all new, state-of-the-art Dangerous Space for UCSD students who just don’t feel like their needs have been met on campus</strong>. In the past few weeks, the lack of dangerous space at UCSD has become increasingly apparent; students have been lashing out with puppy parades, non-violent protests, and other equally safe gimmicks. <strong>Safe spaces at UCSD are commonplace, and threaten individuals who do not like feeling safe.</strong> The logical next step has been taken by the university in creating a place to fairly support all UCSD students, continuing the university’s theme of inclusion and equality.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Located in the center of Library Walk, the <strong>new Dangerous Space is the ideal place for students to do whatever the hell they want. </strong>Senior Frank Yu gave The Koala the following statement: <strong>“The needs of dangerous-space students have been overlooked for generations, but UCSD is finally recognizing what means the most to 19-year-old Asian nerds: fucking a dead body with a picture of my waifu taped on the face.”</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>F. Yu isn’t alone. Not only will this new dangerous space allow people of all ethnicities and sizes – even unnaturally large sizes – it will allow for knifes, guns, <strong>opinions that might be different than yours</strong>, drug paraphernalia, sharp writing instruments, and explicit pornography.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The new Dangerous Space is guaranteed to get students excited for a good time, and will probably end like all good things do, with body mutilation and feelings of remorse.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/02/22/2017.02.22%20-%20Unsafe%20Space_0.JPG" alt="Unsafe Space" width="600" height="364" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So what happens when a university's Bias Response Team is alerted to "offensive speech" on campus?&nbsp; The <a href="http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/students-rat-each-other-out-over-speech/article/2615405">Washington Examiner</a> explains:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>What happens when the Bias Response Team is alerted to subversive or offensive speech? Some teams have demonstrated an awareness that a public university cannot (and should not) act to chill protected speech, focusing their efforts instead on supporting students who encounter offensive speech. But others, such as the University of California, San Diego, <strong>call upon their lawyers to find "creative" ways to censor offensive speech: in that case, a student newspaper satirizing "safe spaces." </strong>(The university is now being sued for these "creative" efforts.)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Many Bias Response Teams respond with what they characterize as an <strong>"educational" response. This might sound like a faculty member visiting a student who was reported for racist speech and discussing the Civil Rights movement. </strong>But it's not. Rather, it's often an administrator, not an educator, summoning a student or faculty member to a meeting, reprimanding them, and "educating" them about how their words upset someone.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>That was the case at the University of Northern Colorado, where an adjunct professor encouraged students to confront views with which they disagreed. When a student sparred with the professor over transgender rights, a debate raging both in the media media and legislative and judicial chambers, the professor was summoned to meet with an administrator, who warned the professor that discussing such issues might result in lengthy investigations.</p> </blockquote> <p>With such quality education and services, we can't for the life of us understand why such a huge percentage of millennials are completely incapable of holding a job and still living in their parents' basement.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1024" height="678" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/Safe%20Space2_1.jpg?1487785083" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-22/hundreds-colleges-form-bias-response-teams-combat-hate-speech-build-wall#comments Appalachian State University Black Student Union Censorship Conservatism in the United States Education Education Education in the United Kingdom Foundation for Individual Rights Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Hate speech Human sexuality Media in San Diego Michigan Newspaper Northern Colorado Ohio Ohio State University Political correctness Politics Safe-space Social Issues The Koala The Onion the University of Michigan University of California University of California, Irvine University of California, San Diego University of California, San Diego University Of Michigan University of Michigan University of Northern Colorado University of Oregon Thu, 23 Feb 2017 07:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 588763 at http://www.zerohedge.com Retired Green Beret Exposes How Secretive Non-Profit Organizations Erode The United States http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-22/retired-green-beret-exposes-how-secretive-non-profit-organizations-erode-united-stat <p><a href="http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/the-end-goal-is-to-destroy-the-constitution-and-subvert-the-country-how-secretive-non-profit-organizations-erode-the-united-states_02222017"><em>Submitted by Jeremiah Johnson (nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Special Forces) via SHTFPlan.com,</em></a></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/02/19/20170222_npo.jpg"><em><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/02/19/20170222_npo.jpg" style="width: 543px; height: 283px;" /></em></a></p> <p>One of the biggest problems facing this nation is the amount of money that has been &ldquo;sequestered,&rdquo; to term it, for &ldquo;Non-Profit Organizations,&rdquo; or &ldquo;NPO&rsquo;s.&rdquo;&nbsp; Why?&nbsp; They present a problem when they can be <strong>used by an unscrupulous individual or groups of unscrupulous individuals</strong> (for examples, a George Soros, or the Democratic Party respectively).&nbsp; What is an NPO?&nbsp; Let&rsquo;s look at what they are and see if the definition is characterized by actual NPO actions.</p> <p>Here is an excerpt from a book that describes NPO&rsquo;s (what they should be):</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>&ldquo;The main financial difference between a for-profit and a not-for-profit enterprise is what happens to the profit.&nbsp; In a for-profit company like Ford or Microsoft or Disney or your favorite fast-food establishment, profits are paid to the owners, including shareholders.&nbsp; But a nonprofit can&rsquo;t do that.&nbsp; Any profit remaining after the bills are paid has to be plowed back into the organization&rsquo;s service program. &nbsp;So profit can&rsquo;t be distributed to individuals, such as the organization&rsquo;s board of directors, who are volunteers in every sense of the word.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>&ldquo;<span style="text-decoration: underline;">Nonprofit Kit for Dummies</span>,&rdquo; ISBN: 0-7645-5347-X, pg. 8</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Austere and stoic, these NPO&rsquo;s, all!&nbsp; Ahh, but what is conveniently left out is the <span style="text-decoration: underline;">salary portion</span>&hellip;for the directors.&nbsp; Those salaries are written off as an operating expense by the &ldquo;Non-Profit,&rdquo; but they&rsquo;re hardly the funds gleaned by a &ldquo;simple volunteer for the beneficent NPO.&rdquo;&nbsp; Another paragraph from the book shows this:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>&hellip;for the most part, we&rsquo;re talking about an organization that the Internal Revenue Service has classified as a 501(c)(3).&nbsp; They receive exemption from federal income taxes and sometimes relief from property taxes at the local level.&nbsp; Nonprofit organizations classified as 501(c)(3) receive extra privileges under the law.&nbsp; They are, with minor exceptions, the only group of tax-exempt organizations that can receive tax-deductible contributions from individuals and organizations.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Being a nonprofit organization does not mean that an entity is exempt from paying all taxes.&nbsp; Nonprofit organizations pay employment taxes just like for-profit businesses do.&nbsp; In some states, but not all, nonprofits are exempt from paying sales tax&hellip;&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Ibid., p. 9</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>So, we have some of the basic parameters here for NPO&rsquo;s.&nbsp; We&rsquo;re not going to delve into the different types, such as politically-organized, or the religious-type of NPO&rsquo;s.&nbsp; I draw the reader&rsquo;s attention to the simple fact that (as mentioned in the last paragraph) the NPO&rsquo;s <strong>&ldquo;pay employment taxes just like for-profit businesses do.&rdquo;&nbsp; </strong>How wonderfully utopian and egalitarian that sounds, all under the &ldquo;color of law!&rdquo; The reality is <span style="text-decoration: underline;">far</span> from it.&nbsp; Directors of NPO&rsquo;s make six-figure salaries, and all their &ldquo;bennies&rdquo; (that&rsquo;s <em>benefits</em>, not Benzedrine&hellip;well, we hope!) are little perks they take and write off as the almighty &ldquo;operating expense.&rdquo;</p> <p>They can&rsquo;t very well wear down <em>their</em> cars driving back and forth to the NPO-location, or conducting NPO business, can they?&nbsp; What they <em>do</em> have, as attested by the &ldquo;pay employment taxes&rdquo; phrase is a willing army of misfortunates they pay little more than enough to obtain dog food and perhaps live out of their car (if they have one) &hellip;this is where the &ldquo;payroll taxes&rdquo; originate.&nbsp; A place such as a Thrift-Store &ldquo;chain&rdquo; (they differ from local area to area) employs people at minimum wage and keeps them at under full-time hours to deny them any benefits with little more than &ldquo;sweat shop&rdquo; conditions, and the management and the directors, of course, make the salaries.</p> <p><strong>The government turns a blind eye to all of it, because there are still taxes to be generated from payroll taxes withheld:</strong> The Rube Goldberg perpetual taxation machine/hamster wheel.&nbsp; There are also &ldquo;handout&rdquo; programs that run hand-in-hand between government and NPO&rsquo;s, such as tax breaks for the NPO&rsquo;s for hiring veterans, or the mentally handicapped, as well as any &ldquo;reformed&rdquo; alcoholics, drug addicts, or criminals placed within the &ldquo;program&rdquo; by the state or local government.&nbsp; In this manner, the directorate &ldquo;pads&rdquo; their salaries and steals more by justifying it through the omnipotent &ldquo;operating expenses&rdquo; category.</p> <p>The original purpose for NPO&rsquo;s was to provide some worthwhile service for the community (such as restoration of public buildings, or helping victims of natural disasters, or with education.&nbsp; They had to do with true community service and volunteer effort in a manner that would harness resources and enable people and communities to eliminate bureaucracy from action.&nbsp; In addition, a semi &ldquo;self-supportive&rdquo; organization would be formed&hellip;not to rake in the millions, but to accomplish projects outside of the normal business spectrum.</p> <p>NPO&rsquo;s were also for <span style="text-decoration: underline;">protecting</span> religious institutions&hellip;certainly not for shielding the &ldquo;mega-hucksters&rdquo; raking in hundreds of millions of dollars a year and being chauffeured back and forth from mega-churches to their Lear jets, a full complement of armed bodyguards throwing rose-petals along the way.&nbsp; The NPO&rsquo;s in this case were intended for a church/synagogue/religious institution to stay solvent, untaxed, and unharassed by government in what they garnered for their attendees in funds, resources, and property.&nbsp; The 501(c)(3) was not to germinate &ldquo;Wolves of Wall Street&rdquo; in sheep&rsquo;s clothing preying on their congregants financially.&nbsp; The NPO was not designed to insulate these Wolves and exempt them from obligations (financial or otherwise) to a government that still extracts payroll taxes for anyone working for the Wolves&hellip;in a 9-5 &ldquo;job&rdquo; for the religious institution.</p> <p><strong>The largest &ldquo;gray area&rdquo; is with alleged civil rights and civil liberties NPO&rsquo;s, that strive for &ldquo;government policy reform,&rdquo; or &ldquo;citizen participation groups.&rdquo;&nbsp; They wish to overthrow the existing system and society, camouflaging their true beliefs beneath the protective &ldquo;veil&rdquo; of &ldquo;Public/Societal Benefit&rdquo; for the establishment of the 501(c)(3).</strong></p> <p>Enter Soros, the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, and all these other Communists who hide their &ldquo;contributions&rdquo; and utilize their resources [Their &ldquo;right&rdquo; to do so protected under the Constitution, mind you] toward <em>overthrowing</em> the Constitution and the society.&nbsp; These NPO&rsquo;s are not limited to operation domestically, but can operate in foreign countries&hellip;under the &ldquo;friendly international relations&rdquo; shield, as they develop Marxist cadre and supporters in other countries they also want to see overthrown.</p> <p>Recently an article came out entitled <a href="http://dailysignal.com/2017/02/10/indivisible-with-ties-to-george-soros-sows-division-against-trump-gop-lawmakers/" target="_blank">Indivisible, with Ties to George Soros, Sows Division Against Trump, GOP Lawmakers</a>, by Fred Lucas.&nbsp; This article presents the perfect example of Communist agitators hiding behind the NPO shield; these agitators are not yet registered as an NPO, but they plan on it.&nbsp; Here are some excerpts:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>They call their group Indivisible Guide, a name that came from an actual <a href="https://www.indivisibleguide.com/web">guide </a>posted online telling activists how to pressure members of Congress. Among topics: what to say when going to town halls and calling or visiting a member&rsquo;s office. Leaders of the organization have loose ties to George Soros, the&nbsp;billionaire hedge fund manager who bankrolls liberal causes, according to the Capital Research Center, a conservative think tank that investigates nonprofits.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>&ldquo;Indivisible is ultra-slick leftist astroturf activism at its finest,&rdquo; Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the Capital Research Center, told The Daily Signal in an email. &ldquo;At least three of the group&rsquo;s five principals&mdash;Ezra Levin, Leah Greenberg, and Angel Padilla&mdash;have ties to organizations funded by George Soros. Indivisible is apparently not yet a nonprofit, but plans are in the works to register it as a nonprofit.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>According to Vadum&rsquo;s research:</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Ezra Levin, a former staffer for Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, and his wife, Leah Greenberg, are the president and vice president of the Indivisible Guide&rsquo;s board, respectively.&nbsp; Levin is also associate director of the Corporation for Enterprise Development, an anti-poverty nonprofit. Melissa Bradley, who sits on that group&rsquo;s board, previously worked for Green for All, a group founded by liberal commentator and former Obama administration official Van Jones. She was appointed as a Soros Justice Fellow through the Open Society Foundations, which Soros founded.&nbsp; Greenberg previously worked for Humanity United, which is funded by Soros&rsquo;s Open Society Institute.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>The secretary of Indivisible Guide, Angel Padilla, works for the National Immigration Law Center, which is funded by Soros through his Open Society Foundations. And treasurer Matt Traidi is the research team director for the Service Employees International Union, a major donor to and endorser of Democrat politicians, Capital Research Center notes.</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Soros has been responsible for actively toppling more than half a dozen different governments.&nbsp; We are not addressing all the evils of NPO&rsquo;s, however, all of these &ldquo;Grand Wizards&rdquo; who term themselves &ldquo;board members&rdquo; or &ldquo;directors&rdquo; all operate straight out of Alinsky&rsquo;s &ldquo;Rules for Radicals.&rdquo;&nbsp; They are all &ldquo;organizing the organized,&rdquo; in that they take an organization (either existing or one that they&rsquo;ve created), and use the organization&rsquo;s framework and legal status (in this case the 501(c)(3) shield-format) to develop their minions and cadre, and march them in the direction toward their end goals.&nbsp; In the meantime, they turn a tidy profit for themselves, enjoy &ldquo;favored&rdquo; status by politicos and other enablers, and continue growing an organization.</p> <p>In the end, the little minions on the sweatshop floors do not even understand what their function is.&nbsp; They&rsquo;re just working day-by-day, exploited in the usual manner, and also exploited for their numbers and support unknowingly in a game that is designed to overthrow the existing social, cultural, political, and religious normative practices of our society.&nbsp; <strong>The end goal is to destroy the Constitution and subvert the country.</strong>&nbsp; Are all NPO&rsquo;s this way? No, certainly not.&nbsp; But the majority are, and this is one of the things that needs to be addressed by the current administration and Congress, brought to light by We the People&hellip;to keep Soros and his ilk from taking us in the direction that other countries have been taken&hellip;and at taxpayer expense, with the 501(c)(3) as their shield.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="543" height="283" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170222_npo.jpg?1487806534" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-22/retired-green-beret-exposes-how-secretive-non-profit-organizations-erode-united-stat#comments 501(c) organization 501(c)(3) organization Charity law Congress Corporations Democratic Party Economy Ford George Soros Income tax in the United States Internal Revenue Service National Immigration Law Center Nonprofit organization Obama Administration Obama administration Payroll Reality Republican Party Service Employees International Union Soros’s Open Society Institute Sows Division Against Trump Structure Tax Taxation in the United States United States Special Forces Withholding taxes Thu, 23 Feb 2017 07:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 588787 at http://www.zerohedge.com Orgy Enthusiast Bill Maher Defends Statutory Rape On Several Occasions - "The Crime Is That We Didn't Get It On Videotape" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-23/orgy-enthusiast-bill-maher-defends-statutory-rape-several-occasions-crime-we-didnt-g <p>What an interesting turn of events. Days after outspoken&nbsp;Trump-supporter&nbsp;Milo Yiannopoulos appeared on Bill Maher's&nbsp;panel of&nbsp;idiots where he was subject to a liberal hit-job, the left decided to&nbsp;execute operation McMuffin; a collaboration between liberals and former CIA "never-Trumper"&nbsp;Evan McMullin to strategically&nbsp;<a href="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/02/1487651062844.jpg" target="_blank">release dredged up flippant remarks</a> Milo made about homosexual grooming -&nbsp;which led to a canceled book deal and his resignation as tech editor for Breitbart. With over 1500 <a href="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/02/total.jpg" target="_blank">sex trafficking and child exploitation arrests</a> in the first month of Trump's presidency, this was&nbsp;clearly&nbsp;the left's desperate attempt to try and insinuate some sort of hypocrisy on the right&nbsp;concerning pedophilia. Weak.</p> <p>The MSM, predictably, wasted no time attacking Milo - a strategy which surely couldn't backfire:</p> <p><img src="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/02/posta.png" width="575" height="222" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter wp-image-6449" /></p> <p>Salon.com even deleted a pro-pedophilia article so they wouldn't look like total hypocrites when they ran an story quoting Bill Maher<strong>, who took credit for kicking off the Milo smear campaign: </strong></p> <p><img src="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/02/salon12.png" width="378" height="524" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter wp-image-6450" /></p> <p><img src="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/02/salon2.png" width="385" height="588" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter wp-image-6453" /></p> <p>Hours later, thanks to 4chan and Reddit - the tides are&nbsp;turning, and Bill Maher's about to get&nbsp;blown the fuck out...</p> <p>Turns out the 61 year old host of HBO's <em>Real Time With Bill Maher</em>, who attends a $75K / year elite Los Angeles sex club, is also a huge fan of pedophilia as long&nbsp;as&nbsp;the abuser is&nbsp;a woman&nbsp;-&nbsp;as told in a 2007 issue of <em>Playboy</em> magazine:</p> <p><img src="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/02/oopsa.png" width="895" height="160" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-6452" /></p> <p>This isn't the first time Maher has defended statutory rape. While the official DSM definition of pedophilia has an <a href="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/02/23.png" target="_blank">age cutoff of 13</a>, the HBO host vehemently defended former teacher and&nbsp;convicted statutory child rapist Mary Kay Letourneau for having a sexual relationship with&nbsp;one of her&nbsp;students, which&nbsp;began when&nbsp;the boy&nbsp;was 12 - firmly putting Maher's advocacy for the relationship in pedo territory.</p> <p>(Note how Henry Rollins&nbsp;is completely on point?)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="wpview wpview-wrap"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VrOsEVrD0PA?feature=oembed" width="618" height="348" frameborder="0"></iframe><span class="mce-shim">&nbsp;</span><span class="wpview-end">&nbsp;</span></div> <p>Karma Bill, karma. Oh, and about that sex club mentioned earlier; it appears Maher&nbsp;is into some <em>Eyes Wide Shut</em> shit. While normally I wouldn't care - the hypocrisy of his ivory tower judgment of a gay conservative, and the fact that he&nbsp;piled on and <strong>took credit</strong> for kicking off Milo's "downfall"&nbsp;<strong>for the exact same practice <em>he's&nbsp;advocated </em>several times,</strong>&nbsp;makes it fair game&nbsp;to point out that the HBO host loves him some expensive&nbsp;orgies!</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>At a swanky party in a Beverly Hills, Calif., mansion last Saturday, I spot Bill Maher in a sea of beautiful young women and make my approach.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Are you a Leo?” I ask the host of HBO’s “Real Time,” while eyeing a lion pendant around his neck.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“No, they make me wear this stupid thing because I’m a member,” he replies, stroking the back of his date, a pretty younger woman in a short black leather dress.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Single men pay $1,850 per party, or $1,500 if they come with a female partner. <strong>For the erotic elite, there’s an annual Dominus membership for $75,000</strong>, which includes admission to all parties, a sterling-silver necklace with a lion pendant and access to private rooms at parties and Lawner’s network of sex experts.</p> </blockquote> <p>The sex club also has an interesting initiation:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Dominus members sign a “<span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong>blood oath</strong></span>,” involving blood and a paper document, to join — but Lawner won’t go into details. <em>-<a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20170223021751/http://nypost.com/2017/02/01/inside-las-most-exclusive-sex-party/">NY Post</a></em></p> </blockquote> <p>What??? AIDS tests are in the back of the store at the pharmacy counter, Bill.</p> <p>The crickets are warming up for yet another&nbsp;prolonged silence from the MSM.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="wpview wpview-wrap"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/awY1MRlMKMc?feature=oembed" width="618" height="464" frameborder="0"></iframe><span class="mce-shim">&nbsp;</span><span class="wpview-end">&nbsp;</span></div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-23/orgy-enthusiast-bill-maher-defends-statutory-rape-several-occasions-crime-we-didnt-g#comments Alt-right Atheism in the United States Bill Maher Breitbart News Central Intelligence Agency Criticism Dominus Free speech activists Irreligion Maher Milo Politics of the United States Progressivism in the United States Thu, 23 Feb 2017 05:33:02 +0000 ZeroPointNow 588798 at http://www.zerohedge.com MSNBC Anchor: "Our Job" Is To "Control Exactly What People Think" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-22/msnbc-anchor-admits-our-job-control-exactly-what-people-think <p>During a lively discussion centered on fears that President <strong>Trump is <em>"trying to undermine the media,"</em> </strong>MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski let slip the awesome unspoken truth that<strong> the media's "job" is to "actually control exactly what people think."</strong></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NoXGV4Vw-VA" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe><strong><br /></strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>SCARBOROUGH: "Exactly. That is exactly what I hear. What Yamiche said is what I hear from all the Trump supporters that I talk to who were Trump voters and are still Trump supporters. They go, 'Yeah you guys are going crazy. He's doing -- what are you so surprised about? He is doing exactly what he said he is going to do.'"</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>BRZEZINSKI: "Well, I think that the dangerous, you know, edges here are that he is trying to undermine the media and trying to make up his own facts. And it could be that while unemployment and the economy worsens, <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>he could have undermined the messaging so much that he can actually control exactly what people think. And that, that is our job."</strong></span></p> </blockquote> <p><a href="https://grabien.com/file.php?id=165565">As grabien points out</a>, the comment failed to raise any eyebrows from her co-panelists. Instead, her co-host, Joe Scarborough, said that Trump's media antagonism puts him on par with Mussolini and Lenin...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/02/19/20170222_msnbc.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/02/19/20170222_msnbc.jpg" width="491" height="259" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="491" height="259" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170222_msnbc.jpg?1487770090" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-22/msnbc-anchor-admits-our-job-control-exactly-what-people-think#comments American people of German descent Business Climate change skepticism and denial Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign Joe Scarborough Legal affairs of Donald Trump Mika Brzezinski MSNBC MSNBC Political positions of Donald Trump Politics Politics of the United States The Apprentice Unemployment United States WWE Hall of Fame Thu, 23 Feb 2017 04:51:21 +0000 Tyler Durden 588734 at http://www.zerohedge.com How Tennessee Could Be About To Start A Constitutional Crisis http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-22/how-tennessee-could-be-about-start-constitutional-crisis <p>The State Senate of Tennessee has laid the legislative groundwork for something that hasn't been done in the United States of America since the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia.&nbsp; With a vote of 27-3, the <strong>Tennessee Senate has voted to call a "convention of the states" in order to draft and pass an amendment to the Constitution that would require balanced budgets to be passed every year.</strong>&nbsp; </p> <p>For those who are little fuzzy on their high school U.S. history knowledge, the <a href="http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2017/02/10/how-tennessee-could-help-start-constitutional-crisis/97741942/">Tennessean</a> explains that the U.S. Constitution can be amended in two ways.&nbsp; The first would require a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers of Congress, an unlikely outcome in today's hyper-partisan political arena.&nbsp; <strong>The second, on the other hand, requires that two-thirds of the states (34 in total) pass a resolution calling for a Constitutional Convention</strong>.&nbsp; </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>There are two ways to propose amendments to the Constitution. The first and more traditional method is through a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Then the amendment is sent to the state legislatures, where it needs ratification by three-fourths or 38 states in order to become law. Nearly all 27 amendments have followed this path.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>But the Constitution also provides a second, more populist path to amending the document. If two-thirds or 34 states pass a resolution calling for a Constitutional Convention, delegates from all 50 states will meet to draft an amendment.</strong> This is what the Tennessee lawmakers are calling for in their resolution.</p> </blockquote> <p>Of course, calls for a convention to pass a balanced budget amendment started in the 1970s and have failed each time.&nbsp; <strong>That said, with Republicans now controlling 32 state legislatures, this latest effort initiated by Tennessee seems to have the best chance of succeeding so far.&nbsp;</strong> </p> <p>And while there have been close calls for Constitutional Conventions before, each time Congress has acted preemptively to stave off the need for a convention. In 1911, for example, 28 states of the required 32 passed a resolution calling for direct election of Senators before Congress intervened and drafted the Seventeenth Amendment instead.</p> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/02/22/2017.02.22%20-%20TN%20Tease_0.JPG" alt="Con" width="600" height="349" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But, as the Tennessean notes, the problem with amending the Constitution through a convention is that once the convention is convened anything can happen.&nbsp; For example, <strong>the last time the states gathered for a convention in 1787 they ended up tossing out the Articles of Confederation and forming an entirely new government based on the current Constitution.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The last time the states gathered to amend a governing document on the scale the resolution calls for, the delegates threw out America’s first basis of government and replaced it with the Constitutional system used today.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“They were supposed to meet to make amendments to the Articles of Confederation but ended up with a whole new form of government," </strong>said Nathan Griffith, an associate professor of political science at Belmont University. <strong>"Not just a new constitution, but a whole new form of government."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>If enough states pass a similar resolution, then a planning convention could meet as early as this upcoming July, and by November the first Article V Convention in history could be called by Congress.</p> <p>Meanwhile, as we noted earlier today, President <em><strong>Trump offered his own warning on America's national debt this morning saying that "[spending] was out of control," </strong></em>as officials gathered to discuss the budget, adding that <em><strong>there is "enormous work to do on the national debt."</strong></em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><span>There is a "moral duty" to taxpayers, President Trump says at White House budget lunch, "</span><span>we must do a lot more with less."</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span><strong>"Our budget is absolutely out of control" </strong>he added, and in the future "will reflect our priorities."</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>The hiring freeze for non-essential workers will remain.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span><em><strong>"We have enormous work to do on the national debt"</strong></em></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>There will be <strong>"no more wasted money, we will spend in a careful way."</strong></span></p> </blockquote> <p><span><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/j8rRXorPUXU" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, we're not really sure what all the fuss is about...<strong>only $10 trillion has been added to the national debt over the past 8 years</strong>, which, when you think about it, is a<strong> very manageable $31,000 per man, woman and child</strong>.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/02/22/2017.02.22%20-%20National%20Debt.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/02/22/2017.02.22%20-%20National%20Debt_0.jpg" alt="TN" width="600" height="333" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And balancing the budget 5 years out of 50 is pretty good, right?</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/02/22/2017.02.22%20-%20Budget%20Deficit.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/02/22/2017.02.22%20-%20Budget%20Deficit_0.jpg" alt="Budget Deficit" width="600" height="335" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="729" height="424" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017.02.22%20-%20TN%20Tease.JPG?1487806222" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-22/how-tennessee-could-be-about-start-constitutional-crisis#comments Article Five of the United States Constitution Balanced budget amendment Belmont University Congress Constitutional amendment Constitutional convention Constitutional law Convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution House of Representatives Law National Debt Politics Politics Ratification Senate State Senate of Tennessee Tennessee Senate United States United States Congress United States Constitution White House White House Thu, 23 Feb 2017 04:25:13 +0000 Tyler Durden 588794 at http://www.zerohedge.com The Conflictual Relationship Between Donald Trump And The US "Deep State" - Part 2 http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-22/conflictual-relationship-between-donald-trump-and-us-deep-state-part-2 <p><a href="http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/02/21/conflictual-relationship-between-trump-and-the-us-deep-state-ii.html"><em>Submitted by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,</em></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>In just two weeks as president of the United States, Donald Trump has left traces of how he intends to tackle various international political situations.<a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-21/conflictual-relationship-between-donald-trump-and-us-deep-state-part-1"> The previous article dealt </a>with a <strong>series of possible sabotage efforts suffered by the Trump administration</strong>. In this second and concluding article, I intend to<strong> analyze the situations in Iran, Russia, Ukraine, and Syria as well as the stance towards NATO, the EU and China. </strong>The goal is to decipher how Trump has used admissions, silences and bluffs in order to advance his intentions and <strong>obviate the deep state&rsquo;s sabotage efforts.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Deep-state sabotage is in full swing and is increasingly influencing the Trump administration.</strong> The latest example can be seen in the resignation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. He was forced to resign either for inappropriate contacts with the Russian ambassador in the US prior to his appointment, or for not telling the truth about his phone call to the Vice President and President.</p> <p>As with the whole Trump presidency, it is very difficult to understand whether we are facing an <strong>act of sabotage from the deep state or whether this is yet another semi-improvised strategy to muffle the drums of war. </strong>We all know of Flynn&rsquo;s closeness to his Russian counterparts, a rapprochement that cannot be placed in danger with the dismissal of the new National Security Adviser. Trump needs Russia more than Russia needs Washington; improving ties is something that Trump needs in order to avoid major conflicts and de-escalate the international situation. One could even imagine that Flynn was wisely removed given his harsh and trenchant positions on Iran that would send Washington on a terrible path of war with Tehran.</p> <p>There are several international situations in which the intentions of the new administration are very difficult to understand and sometimes even provoke amazement. Let us first examine the administration&rsquo;s attitude towards the Iran and Yemen. As noted a few weeks ago, very harsh words from the US administration were directed towards Tehran following a legitimate missile test, and especially with the defensive actions of the Houthis in Yemen. With Yemen and Iran not looking like diminishing their legitimate actions, the affair regarding Flynn could fall into a de-escalation strategy to contain excesses in Islamophobia expressed by the former National Security Advisor.</p> <p><strong>Trump has always preferred to counter deep-state sabotage attempts with substantial bluffing,</strong> as seen with the strong rhetoric used against Tehran regarding its recent actions, exactly as in Yemen for the actions of Ansarullah defense forces. The Trump strategy seems to want to please the factions closest to the neoconservative wing, the Israeli and Saudi lobbies. Targeting Yemen and Iran with words has at least temporarily quietened the drums of war of an important part of the establishment in Washington. Trump has to carry out a careful balancing act involving his words and actions in order not to not draw too harsh a response from the Washington establishment.</p> <p>Flynn&#39;s dismissal could also be seen as an easy attempt to sabotage and prevent a rapprochement with Russia; indeed this is likely to be so.</p> <p>But meanwhile, we can consider one positive aspect: Flynn has always been highly Islamophobic, tending to find it difficult to distinguish between Wahhabi terrorist goons and legitimate Islamic fighters like the Houthis or Hezbollah. Flynn has usually maintained pro-Saudi positions and even pro-Qatar Muslim Brotherhood positions. It may even be that Trump has torpedoed his own personally chosen pick dampening the excessive saber-rattling against the Islamic Republic of Iran that was possibly laying the groundwork for an escalation that Trump had to reign in. This is pure speculation, but everything is possible with this unpredictable presidency.</p> <h3><u>Much talk, little action</u></h3> <p><strong>Trump still gives the strong impression that he intends to avoid any further conflict.</strong> Bluffing on Iran and Yemen seems to be the ideal choice for the Trump administration: harsh tones and words to placate the most hawkish factions without actually taking any action appears to be the new normal. The first strategy of Trump&#39;s foreign policy therefore seems to be to employ a tactic of inaction. Not acting could well represent a new turning point in American foreign policy, avoiding further involvement in the Middle East and in the Persian Gulf. This would represent the first confirmation of Trump&rsquo;s intention not to squander American resources by going to war and betraying his election promises, thereby further impoverishing the United States. Observing the very intense words on Iran, let us try and analyze the intentions of the Trump administration. Certainly having people like General Mattis within the administration is a big test for how Trump will manage to contain the most anti-Iranian wing of his inner council. Could Flynn&#39;s departure be the first step of this internal cleansing, a warning signal to other pro-war figures? Or maybe it is none of the above and in actual fact the first successful sabotage from the deep state.</p> <h3><u>Silence as a strategy of inaction</u></h3> <p><strong>Another important approach in Trump&rsquo;s presidency is a frequent silence or lack of comment on international events.</strong> Two most recent cases concern Syria and China. With regard to the&nbsp;&laquo;One China&raquo;&nbsp;policy, Trump confirmed assumptions made in the past, namely that his intentions are anything but malicious. The tone was initially hard, only to be replaced by a long silence, and then finally words one would not expect, averting an international crisis on this front. It is a modus operandi that should be taken as an example for understanding the psychology of Trump. At first he was critical in a decisive way, calling into question China and Taiwan, then he no longer mentioned the topic, and finally he gave his blessing to the&nbsp;&laquo;One China&raquo;&nbsp;policy, initiating a likely mutually fruitful cooperation.</p> <p>Another important part of Trump&rsquo;s policy of silence involves Syria. Since becoming president, Trump has rendered events in Syria irrelevant, making the issue disappear from the media radar. Thanks to Trump&rsquo;s guerrilla tactics, lobbing smoke grenades hither and tither and signing two executive orders a day, the media simply does not have the time and perseverance to keep up with everything. One of the sacrificial victims has been the reality in Syria; but a lack of attention from the mainstream media is currently the best hope that we can desire for the Syrian people. Trump&rsquo;s attitude seems to be deliberately cautious and silent about developments in that nation. The situation in Syria is firmly in Russian hands, and what seems to be occurring is an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/02/03/this-how-russia-and-united-states-cooperating-syria.html" target="_blank">indirect coordination</a>&nbsp;between Washington and Moscow against Daesh in the country. The silence from Trump certainly irritated the most radical and extreme wing of the deep state, but any attempt to sabotage this progress in Syria now seems to be wrecked thanks to the inaction of the Trump administration and the actions of Moscow. The final coup de grace would be to openly cooperate or act in joint US-Russia actions to defeat terrorism in the region.</p> <h3><u>Admissions to confirm the election promises</u></h3> <p><strong>Finally, Trump has never hidden and indeed has often touted his vision of the approach that should be taken with the Russian Federation. </strong>A rapprochement with Putin to combat terrorism is one of the pivotal points around which the Trump presidency rotates. During the election campaign he has never hidden his positive intentions, even though this increased the criticism directed towards him. This part of his tactic is based on the admission from the beginning of his campaign of his intention to reach a deal with Moscow. The first confirmation of this intention can be seen in Syria, with Washington apparently ceasing the flow of money and weapons to the so-called moderate rebels, pleasing Moscow and looking for a de-escalation of the conflict. Another important aspect regarding Trump&rsquo;s statements in terms of foreign policy concerns the role of NATO and his European allies.</p> <p>During the election campaign he repeatedly attacked the role of NATO, but then was forced to reach an agreement given the importance of the international framework guaranteed by NATO in Europe. This provided a very clear indicator of how Trump&rsquo;s strategy works out if he has to defer to other considerations. He changed his initial positions by placing a strong emphasis on the need for US allies to pay their share of military spending, namely 2% of GDP. Currently all NATO countries, excluding the United States and Greece, fall below this commitment. Sharp focus is brought on the EU members on the cost of keeping NATO alive, forcing them to come to terms with the harsh economic reality that this implies. In the long term this could lead to a strong treaty revision of NATO. EU countries are increasingly facing difficulty in increasing defense spending, especially when considering existing austerity measures as well as the lack of importance placed on NATO by the European public, with the exception of the EU elite.</p> <p><strong>This tactic will further weaken the integrity of the European Union. In a sense, the Trump strategy in this case is crystal clear and will probably achieve its objectives.</strong></p> <p>This situation will provide the perfect opportunity for the European populist and nationalist parties to further attack the foundations of the European Union and its security framework guaranteed by NATO. If Trump wanted to undermine the EU&#39;s foundations, pointing to the futility of NATO and at the same demonstrating to his base that he will act on his election promises, then this strategy seems perfectly calibrated.</p> <p>Ultimately, we can already say that the relations between Trump and the deep state are essentially based on sabotage efforts against Trump, and the asymmetrical responses of his administration, ranging from bluffing, to silences, and admissions.</p> <p><strong>To correctly assess Trump&rsquo;s foreign policy, one should divide into three categories the vicissitudes of the United States. </strong><em>In a first column we can include words and rhetoric; in the second, inaction; and in the third, actions taken.</em></p> <p>While it is clear and obvious that the first column includes Iran, Yemen and the EU/NATO, it is worthwhile noting that the second column certainly includes inaction like shown towards China, Syria, and the events in Ukraine. The third column, for the moment, essentially concerns the first steps towards Russia and the rapprochement with Moscow. In this sense, it is worth remembering that the resignation of Flynn may just be a deep-state move to sabotage Trump before he takes decisive action to settle a deal with Russia. The tactic of not acting, or of inaction, is difficult to sabotage, as the deep state came to realize when Obama decided not to act in Syria in 2013. Criticizing actions taken is much more effective and easy for the media, as seen with the attacks on Trump&rsquo;s team for ties with Putin that are deemed too close. In this sense, the hypothesis that Flynn has been sacrificed should not be discarded in this context as a way of promoting a rapprochement with Russia, eliminating one of the most contentious issues between the administration and the deep state.</p> <p>On this aspect we will need to await the developments between Moscow and Washington, and how this will possibly change the rhetoric against countries such as Yemen and Iran, two countries long criticized by Flynn and his colleagues.</p> <h3><u>Conclusions</u></h3> <p>The only possible conclusion relates to the previous point, namely the<strong> clear division between words, actions, or inaction. </strong>At the moment, the Trump team&rsquo;s strategy seems to use these three options to further advance their own interests and strategic objectives. Given the uncertainty surrounding the intentions of Trump&rsquo;s administration, the only sensible attitude seems to wait and see whether the aggressive rhetoric remain just that. Another consideration relates to actions taken by the administration to approach and mend troubled relations with the Russian Federation. Finally is the inaction in foreign policy that amounts to a precise tactic. If words remain words and inaction will continue to remain a key part of the current presidency, perhaps for the first time in decades we will see in practice a positive change in direction from the new US administration.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><em><strong>In all this it remains to be seen whether Trump will really change the direction set by liberal hegemony with its global ambitions for a more realistic one as repeatedly suggested by the school of political realism represented by Mearsheimer. Only time, and actions, will tell.</strong></em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="627" height="361" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170221_conflict_0.jpg?1487806778" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-22/conflictual-relationship-between-donald-trump-and-us-deep-state-part-2#comments American people of German descent Business China Climate change skepticism and denial Donald Trump Donald Trump European Union European Union Greece Hizballah International reactions to the United States presidential election Iran James Mattis Middle East Middle East national security New Normal None North Atlantic Treaty Organization Persian Gulf Political positions of Donald Trump Politics Politics of the United States pro-Qatar Muslim Brotherhood Reality Strategic Culture Foundation The Apprentice Trump Administration Trump’s administration Ukraine US Administration Thu, 23 Feb 2017 04:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 588788 at http://www.zerohedge.com Dallas Police Pension Board Approves Benefit Cuts; Asks For More Taxpayer Money To Avoid Collapse http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-22/dallas-police-pension-board-approves-benefit-cuts-asks-more-taxpayer-money-avoid-col <p>For the past several months we've warned that the taxpayers of the City of Dallas, despite all of the tough talk coming out of their elected city council members, would ultimately be forced to bail out the failing Dallas Police and Fire Pension (DPFP) system.&nbsp; And just last night the DPFP board voted 9-0 to approve a plan that would do just that.&nbsp; </p> <p>The plan to save the DPFP was proposed by Dan Flynn, chair of the pensions committee in the Texas House of Representatives, and calls for Dallas taxpayers to contribute 34.5% of police and firefighter salaries each year into the failing pension system, up from 27% in 2015, plus an incremental $11 million per year.&nbsp; <strong>In total, the adopted plan will cost Dallas taxpayers an extra $22 million per year.</strong></p> <p>That said, the plan also calls for pensioners to grant concessions, including the following:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <ul> <li>Increase in retirement age to 58 from 55</li> <li>Increase in employee contributions to 13.5% of payroll from 8.5%</li> <li>Elimination of COLAs in the near term</li> <li>Elimination of exorbitant interest payments made on employees DROP accounts</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>Of course, the $7 billion shortfall in the DPFP triggered downgrades to Dallas’s credit rating from Moody’s and S&amp;P in recent months which has wreaked havoc on the city's bond yields. (chart per <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-21/dallas-police-and-fire-pension-backs-cutbacks-to-avoid-collapse">Bloomberg</a>).</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/02/22/2017.02.22%20-%20Dallas.JPG"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/02/22/2017.02.22%20-%20Dallas_0.JPG" alt="Dallas" width="600" height="335" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, no amount of incremental taxpayer funding will ever be sufficient to stop angry pensioners from playing the victim card when the realities of their pension ponzi schemes are exposed for all to see.&nbsp; Per <a href="http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Pension-Board-Approves-Plan-to-Fix--414274433.html">NBC 5</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>There was a whirlwind of emotions at the meeting, from clapping, to tears and obvious tension, both from board members and from those whose futures hang in the balance.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"I think we're being treated like animals to a certain degree,</strong> and I was hesitant to even come down here today," said Frank Varner, a retired Dallas firefighter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"How do you fix broken promises? These people deserve better.</strong> The firefighters and officers working today deserve better," said Mike Mata, a Dallas police officer and president of the Dallas Police Association.</p> </blockquote> <p><script src="http://www.nbcdfw.com/portableplayer/?cmsID=414291733&amp;videoID=ZglWSJ0UXaSo&amp;origin=nbcdfw.com&amp;sec=news&amp;subsec=local&amp;width=600&amp;height=360&amp;t=63" type="text/javascript"></script></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Don't worry dear pensioners, there is no problem too large for taxpayers to bail out.</p> <p><em>A summary of the <a href="https://www.dpfp.org/images/PDFs/News%20items/2%20proposals-for%20website%202-20.pdf">plan adopted by the DPFP board</a> can be viewed below:</em></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.scribd.com/embeds/340019651/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-gcElNzntRia0JNQ6iMqR&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%" height="600" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="550" height="378" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/Dallas%20Police_2.JPG?1487774678" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-22/dallas-police-pension-board-approves-benefit-cuts-asks-more-taxpayer-money-avoid-col#comments 8.5% Bond Business Dallas Dallas Police Dallas Police Association Finance Financial services Geography of Texas Labor Money NBC Pension Personal finance Social Issues Social law Texas House of Representatives Thu, 23 Feb 2017 03:35:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 588743 at http://www.zerohedge.com As China's Housing Minister Admits There Is A Bubble, Axiom Warns "Sell Commodities Now" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-22/chinas-housing-minister-admits-there-bubble-axiom-warns-sell-commodities-now <p>After several months of slowing price growth across China's bubbly housing market, if mostly in the lower-tiered cities, last <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-19/barclays-equities-rushed-price-reagan-1986-tax-cuts-crashing-1987">month we reported that </a>China's National Bureau of Statistics confirmed that the latest Chinese housing bubble has finally popped, after housing prices across the 70 cities tracked by the NBS were up 12.7% Y/Y, below the 12.9% annual growth rate in November. This was the first deceleration in year-over-year housing price growth after 19 months of continued acceleration. </p> <p>Then, overnight, China reported that after the November peak, January house prices decelerated again, and according to Goldman calculations, on a year-over-year, population-weighted basis, housing prices in the 70 cities were up 12.4% vs. 12.7% yoy in December, and 12.9% in November, the second consecutive month of deceleration.</p> <p><strong>On year-over-year basis, housing price growth moderated in January</strong><br /><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/02/08/gs%20china%20housing%201.jpg" width="512" height="317" /></p> <p>On a month-over-month basis, house price inflation decelerated modestly in tier-1 and tier-4 cities, and remained stable in tier 2 and tier 3 cities: In tier-1 cities, January price growth was 0.3% month-over-month after seasonal adjustment, vs. 0.5% in December. In tier-4 cities, property price growth was 0.2% month-over-month after seasonal adjustment, vs. +0.3% in December. Average property price inflation in tier 2/3 cities was 0.5%/0.4% month-over-month after seasonal adjustment respectively in January. </p> <p><strong>Average house price inflation stabilized in January compared with December </strong><br /><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/02/08/gs%20china%20housing%202.jpg" width="512" height="317" /></p> <p>According to Goldman's China analyst, Maggie Wei, "we expect property transactions and house price inflation to slow this year from the rapid growth last year. On the other hand, property construction and investment activities may remain solid, supported by the strong land sales last year. We forecast only a small moderation in property FAI growth this year compared with last year."</p> <p>Consultancy giant McKinsey, which also is never too late to point out the obvious, said earlier on Wednesday that it sees "early signs of slowdown in China property market", with McKinsey partner Oliver Ramsbottom speaking at an iron conference in Dalian adding that “our belief is that in property market we’re starting to see a slowdown." He added that slower mortgage lending will be key indicator for slowing starts and completions, and that the government's reaction to growth of price appreciation suggests increased focus on cooling, and slower starts.</p> <p>As a result, he expects cooling in demand for recently red hot commodities such as steel and iron ore.</p> <p>Another analyst who sees the bursting of China's housing bubble as a big negative for commodities is Axiom Capital's Gordon Johnson, who likewise looked at China's slowing housing data and asked, rhetorically "what’s the significance of these data points?" </p> <p>His answer: "<em>the last time we had 18 consecutive months of home price acceleration in China (7/31/12-to-12/31/13), iron ore prices rallied, as did steel prices; yet, when year-over-year (“y/y”) growth in home prices turned negative 1/31/14, it marked the beginning of 16 consecutive months of deceleration in home prices, which also ushered in a collapse in both steel prices and iron ore 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Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="annotation reference" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="line number" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="page number" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="endnote reference" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="endnote text" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="table of authorities" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="macro" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="toa heading" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="10" QFormat="true" Name="Title" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Closing" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Signature" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="1" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Default Paragraph Font" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text Indent" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Message Header" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="11" QFormat="true" Name="Subtitle" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Salutation" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Date" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text First Indent" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text First Indent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Heading" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text Indent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text Indent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Block Text" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Hyperlink" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="FollowedHyperlink" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="22" QFormat="true" Name="Strong" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="20" QFormat="true" Name="Emphasis" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Document Map" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Plain Text" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="E-mail Signature" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Top of Form" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Bottom of Form" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Normal (Web)" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Acronym" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Address" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Cite" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Code" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Definition" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Keyboard" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Preformatted" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Sample" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Typewriter" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Variable" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Normal Table" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="annotation subject" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="No List" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Outline List 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Outline List 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Outline List 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Simple 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Simple 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Simple 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Colorful 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Colorful 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Colorful 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 7" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table 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/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" Name="Revision" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="34" QFormat="true" Name="List Paragraph" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="29" QFormat="true" Name="Quote" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="30" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Quote" /> 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Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List 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Priority="44" Name="Plain Table 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="45" Name="Plain Table 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="40" Name="Grid Table Light" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4 Accent 1" /> 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Name="List Table 7 Colorful Accent 6" /> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <mce:style><! /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman",serif;} --><!--[if gte mso 10]> <mce:style><! /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman",serif;} --><!--[endif] --><!--[endif] --></p> <p class="MsoNormal">As a result, with the second consecutive deceleration in home<br /> price growth in China in 20 months, Axiom sees imminent risk to construction<br /> activity, and thus steel/iron ore prices. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">His suggestion: <strong><em>sell commodities now.</em></strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Furthermore, Johnson has noticed a troubling trend when looking at land sales in China. As detailed in the chart below, <strong>land sales in China have shown an acute falloff recently</strong>. He reminds readers that land sales are a key funding source for local governments in China, and also lead key indicators of Chinese growth, like freight volumes, by around six months.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/02/08/axiom%20china.png"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/02/08/axiom%20china_0.png" width="500" height="350" /></a></p> <p>Johnson's conclusion: "<em>We see C1Q17 as the exact opposite of C4Q16 (i.e., stocks are rallying, despite what we see as a pending downturn in economic data points in China); with the data already beginning to support this narrative, yet investors completely ignoring it at present, we see an acute reversal in the commodity stocks as likely. At risk of stating the obvious, we do not believe this is consensus thinking at present."</em></p> <p>And speaking of rallying stocks, we pose the same question we asked - rhetorically - <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-01-18/china-housing-bubble-finally-pops-first-slowdown-after-19-months-acceleration">last month: </a>"now that the Chinese housing bubble has finally hit its inflection point and is headed downward, prompting the momentum chasers to flee, the question is whether the Chinese stock market is about to become the bubble choice <em>du jour</em>, as happened in mid to late 2014 and early 2015, when the bursting of the home bubble once again pushed all the housing speculators into the stock market with scary, if entertaining, consequences. It may not be a bade idea to buy some deep out of the money calls on the Shenzhen composite, as that is the place where the most degenerate of Chinese gamblers eventually congregate to every time the housing bubble bursts, only to be reincarnated two years down the line."</p> <p>With headlines such as this one in Caixin from last week, "<a href="http://www.caixinglobal.com/2017-02-17/101056068.html">China Relaxes Curbs on Stock-Index Futures Trading</a>", the answer is clearly yes. </p> <p>Finally, while China will do everything in its power to assure another soft landing for the burst Chinese housing bubble, a curious headline popped up moments ago, one which may assure a far more aggressive selling for Chinese real estate in the coming months: according to Bloomberg,&nbsp; <strong>"China Is Doing Preparation Work on Property Tax: Vice Minister</strong>" adding that "<em>China will unveil property tax in “timely” manner, Lu Kehua, vice minister of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, says at a briefing in Beijing.</em>"</p> <p>Meanwhile, China's Housing Minister Chen Zhenggao said at the briefing China property prices to “continue to stabilize” in 1Q, and admitted that mainland real estate is about to crash when he said that "<strong>China will contain the property bubble and prevent large fluctuations in property market</strong>." </p> <p>Well, thanks for the admission, because few things inspire confidence in artificial real estate values quite like the threat of imminent property taxes (which only those who sell now won't have to pay) coupled with the local housing minister admitting the entire housing market in a bubble that has now burst.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="512" height="317" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/gs%20china%20housing%201.jpg?1487820230" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-22/chinas-housing-minister-admits-there-bubble-axiom-warns-sell-commodities-now#comments Asset price inflation Business Business cycle China China's National Bureau of Statistics Chinese property bubble Economic bubbles Economy Economy of China Financial economics headlines Housing Bubble Housing Market Housing Prices Inflation McKinsey Real estate Real estate bubble Real estate economics Real estate in China Recession Shenzhen Thu, 23 Feb 2017 03:26:37 +0000 Tyler Durden 588796 at http://www.zerohedge.com