en Russia Releases Photos Showing US Special Ops At ISIS Positions In Syria <p>The Russian Defense Ministry has released aerial images allegedly showing <strong>ISIS, the SDF, and US special forces working side-by-side on the battlefield against Syrian and Russian forces in Dier ez-Zor, Syria</strong>.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">The aerial photos of ISIS&#39; territory north of <a href="">#Deir_ez_Zor</a> where <a href="">#USA</a> special operation troops are seen <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; ?????????? ?????? (@mod_russia) <a href="">September 24, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>As<a href=""> Adam Garrie reports, via The Duran</a>,it has long been thought that the US proxy militia SDF is operating in collusion with ISIS in various parts of Syria. This has especially been the case in respect of Deir ez-Zor. In Deir ez-Zor, the Russian Defense Ministry has previously stated that the Syrian Arab Army and their allies are fired on most intensely from positions known to be held by the SDF.</p> <p>Furthermore, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov recently stated,</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>&ldquo;SDF militants work to the same objectives as Daesh terrorists. Russian drones and intelligence have not recorded any confrontations between Daesh and the &lsquo;third force&rsquo;, SDF&rdquo;.</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>He added that Russia will not hesitate to target SDF forces that threaten the battle field progress and personal safety of Russia&rsquo;s allies, namely the Syrian Arab Army.</p> <p><strong>Other reports surfaced of US military helicopters airlifting known ISIS commanders to safety as the Syrian Arab Army made its advance on the former ISIS stronghold of Deir ez-Zor. </strong>All of this has happened as the US is moving its proxy Kurdish led SDF forces from Raqqa to Deir ez-Zor, in a move that appears to be an attempt to stop Syrian forces from liberating their own country&rsquo;s legally recognised territory.</p> <p>Now, the Russian Defense Ministry has released a statement followed by 12 photos showing how SDF forces work alongside US special forces in ISIS controlled areas without facing any resistance from ISIS. Furthermore, none of the US or Kurdish led forces even take defensive positions which indicate that they are cooperating with ISIS rather than engaging in a perverse truce. In other words, the SDF, US special forces and ISIS move among each other in the same manner as allies do.</p> <p><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">The following is the statement from the Russian Defense Ministry on the matter:</a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;<a class="_58cn" href=";story_id=1985701461672600"><span class="_5afx"><span class="_58cl _5afz">#</span><span class="_58cm">US</span></span></a>&nbsp;Special Operations Forces (<a class="_58cn" href=";story_id=1985701461672600"><span class="_5afx"><span class="_58cl _5afz">#</span><span class="_58cm">SOF</span></span></a>) units enable US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (<a class="_58cn" href=";story_id=1985701461672600"><span class="_5afx"><span class="_58cl _5afz">#</span><span class="_58cm">SDF</span></span></a>) units to smoothly advance through the ISIS formations.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Facing no resistance of the ISIS militants, the #SDF units are advancing along the left shore of the&nbsp;<a class="_58cn" href=";story_id=1985701461672600"><span class="_5afx"><span class="_58cl _5afz">#</span><span class="_58cm">Euphrates</span></span></a>&nbsp;towards&nbsp;<a class="_58cn" href=";story_id=1985701461672600"><span class="_5afx"><span class="_58cl _5afz">#</span><span class="_58cm">Deir_ez_Zor</span></span></a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The aerial photos made on September 8-12 over the ISIS locations recorded a large number of American&nbsp;<a class="_58cn" href=";story_id=1985701461672600"><span class="_5afx"><span class="_58cl _5afz">#</span><span class="_58cm">Hummer</span></span></a>&nbsp;vehicles, which are in service with the&nbsp;<a class="_58cn" href=";story_id=1985701461672600"><span class="_5afx"><span class="_58cl _5afz">#</span><span class="_58cm">America</span></span></a>&lsquo;s #SOF.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The shots clearly show the US SOF units located at strongholds that had been equipped by the ISIS terrorists. Though there is no evidence of assault, struggle or any US-led coalition airstrikes to drive out the militants.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Despite that the US strongholds being located in the ISIS areas, no screening patrol has been organized at them. This suggests that the<a class="_58cn" href=";story_id=1985701461672600"><span class="_5afx"><span class="_58cl _5afz">#</span><span class="_58cm">US_troops</span></span></a>&nbsp;feel safe in terrorist controlled regions&rdquo;.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>This demonstrates that in spite of Donald Trump&rsquo;s apparent wiliness to abandon the policy of aiding jihadist groups, not only has this policy not changed, but such a reality now includes full scale battlefield collusion with ISIS.</strong></p> <p>This also helps explain why in June of this year, <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">SDF forces allowed ISIS terrorists to peacefully leave Raqqa</a> and head towards Deir ez-Zor, a place which is now unquestionably the largest remaining ISIS stronghold in east of Libya.</p> <p><strong>But now, not only are US proxies allowing ISIS to peacefully retreat but they are visibly coalescing on the battle field. </strong>These realities also corroborate the story of SDF fighters being wounded in a Syrian led strike on known ISIS targets. As I wrote previously in The Duran, this is because SDF militants are fighting beside ISIS.</p> <p>The fact of the matter is that, the Kurdish led SDF and ISIS now share the same strategic goals, in spite of apparent ideological differences. Both seek to aggressively and illegally prevent Syria from liberating her sovereignty territory and in so doing, both are challenging the territorial unity and integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. Likewise, each group&rsquo;s ideology is opposed to the Arabist Constitution of Syria, seeking instead to lay the ground work for sectarian ideologies in the areas they seek to illegally annex.</p> <p><strong>Most worryingly, both militant groups are clearly collaborating and colluding with each other and with the United States, in a proxy war against Syria and the interests and safety of her allies, including Russia and Iran.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 334px;" /></a></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>What once was only partly clear, is now as clear as the following colour photographs from the Russian Defense Ministry. </strong></span></p> <p><img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-22400" height="212" src="" width="300" /><img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-22401" height="212" src="" width="300" /></p> <p>The images released by <strong>the Russian Defense Ministry encourage speculation that the US and SDF forces have some sort of &ldquo;understanding&rdquo; with IS terrorists</strong> operating in the region, <a href="">according to Ammar Waqqaf, the director of the Gnosos think tank</a>.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-22402" height="212" src="" width="300" /><img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-22403" height="212" src="" width="300" /></p> <p><strong>&ldquo;From the footage, the Americans seem to be and the SDF seem to be quite at leisure, they are not expecting any attack any time soon,&rdquo; </strong><a href="">Waqqaf told RT</a>.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-22404" height="212" src="" width="300" /><img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-22405" height="212" src="" width="300" /></p> <p>&ldquo;The reason why this may be the case is that there has been some sort of understandings with ISIS over there. <em><strong>Probably they were given some amnesty, that they are not going to be prosecuted, &hellip; or they were given guarantees that they would not be given back to the state.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> <p><img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-22406" height="212" src="" width="300" /><img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-22407" height="212" src="" width="300" /></p> <p>The SDF, ISIS and the United States are fighting on the same side of the conflict in Syria, it is the side of terrorism which seeks to destroy the secular, modern, pluralistic and independent Syrian Arab Republic.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-22408" height="212" src="" width="300" /><img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-22409" height="212" src="" width="300" /></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Earlier in September, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov accused the SDF of collusion with ISIS terrorists.</strong></a> &ldquo;SDF militants work to the same objectives as IS terrorists. Russian drones and intelligence have not recorded any confrontations between IS and the &lsquo;third force,&rsquo; the SDF,&rdquo; Konashenkov said.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-22410" height="212" src="" width="300" /></p> <p><em><u><strong>This proves that the Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman was correct. The US and Russia are at war, albeit a proxy war which includes ISIS.</strong></u></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="1127" height="628" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American-led intervention in Syria Battle of Raqqa Deir ez-Zor Donald Trump Iran ISIS Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Military None Politics Politics of Syria Raqqa campaign Reality Rojava Russian Defense Ministry SDF Syrian Arab Army Syrian Civil War Syrian Democratic Forces Twitter Twitter War Mon, 25 Sep 2017 00:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 604086 at Trumps Expands Travel Ban To Eight Countries, Adds North Korea, Venezuela <p>On Sunday evening, President Trump announced he would replace his controversial travel ban with a targeted list of restrictions that will enhance vetting for nationals from eight countries, and restrict or prohibit entry of citizens from North Korea and Venezuela among others, to the United States as part of a sweeping new travel ban that also slaps restrictions on Iran, Chad, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia - countries that hardly have a "thriving" tourism industry with the US. </p> <p>“As president, I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people,” Trump said in the proclamation. Individuals who fall under the Supreme Court's "bona fide" exception can still apply for visas until Oct. 18. This would allow a foreign grandparent of a U.S. citizen to be granted the benefit of travel until this date.</p> <p>Speaking to reporters earlier, <a href="">Bloomberg noted </a>that Trump said “the tougher, the better,” on the restrictions. During his presidential campaign, Trump spoke often of “extreme vetting” of those wanting to enter the U.S., and on Sunday he tweeted, “We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet.”</p> <p>While Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia were part of the president's original travel ban, it has removed travel restrictions on Sudan, while adding Chad, Iraq, Venezuela and North Korea.&nbsp; The addition of latter two nations broadens the restrictions from the original, mostly Muslim-majority list. Though Iraq is not part of the list of targeted nations, the Department of Homeland Security said that Iraqi nationals should "be subject to additional scrutiny to determine if they pose risks to the national security or public safety of the United States."&nbsp; </p> <p>The officials say these states failed to comply with the U.S. information-sharing requirements that aim to make vetting processes stronger.&nbsp; </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Some states were denied because of their identity management and information sharing deficiencies, some have substantial terrorist organizations in their region that add to the threat level of admitting their citizens into the U.S., and others have failed to comply whatsoever with the information agreements. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The restrictions are “necessary” and conditions-based with the aim of protecting Americans by having stronger vetting standards, one senior official said. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Changes to the list can be made on a rolling basis with updates every 100 days. The changes can go both ways: countries can be taken off the list, but they can also be put on the list if they are not seen as complying with the standard</p> </blockquote> <p>The officials said an announcement will be coming in next six days to inform members of Congress about any changes or modifications to the refugee cap.</p> <p>The new restrictions, slated to go into effect on October 18, resulted from a review after President Donald Trump’s original travel bans were challenged in court. The proclamation comes the same day that Trump’s 90-day ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority nations is set to expire.</p> <p>“North Korea does not cooperate with the United States government in any respect and fails to satisfy all information-sharing requirements,” the proclamation said. "Accordingly, the entry into the United States of nationals of North Korea as immigrants and nonimmigrants is suspended."</p> <p>Of course, the revised ban is largely just another theatrical measure by Trump: an administration official, briefing reporters on a conference call, acknowledged that the number of North Koreans traveling to the United States now was very low. </p> <p>While the full fact sheet on the just announced "Proclamation on Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats" <a href="">can be found here</a>, here are the White House's justifications for its new country specific restrictions:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Chad </strong>– Although it is an important partner, especially in the fight against terrorists, the government in Chad does not adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information, and several terrorist groups are active within Chad or in the surrounding region, including elements of Boko Haram, ISIS-West Africa, and al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb. Accordingly, the entry into the United States of nationals of Chad, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is suspended.</li> <li><strong>Iran </strong>– The government in Iran regularly fails to cooperate with the United States Government in identifying security risks; is the source of significant terrorist threats; is state sponsor of terrorism; and fails to receive its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States. Accordingly, the entry into the United States of nationals of Iran as immigrants and as nonimmigrants is suspended, except that entry by nationals of Iran under valid student (F and M) and exchange visitor (J) visas is not suspended, although such individuals will be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.</li> <li><strong>Libya </strong>– Although it is an important partner, especially in the area of counterterrorism, the government in Libya faces significant challenges in sharing several types of information, including public-safety and terrorism-related information; has significant inadequacies in its identity-management protocols; has been assessed to be not fully cooperative with respect to receiving its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States; and has a substantial terrorist presence within its territory. Accordingly, the entry into the United States of nationals of Libya, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is suspended.</li> <li><strong>North Korea </strong>– The government in North Korea does not cooperate with the United States Government in any respect and fails to satisfy all information-sharing requirements. Accordingly, the entry into the United States of nationals of North Korea as immigrants and nonimmigrants is suspended.</li> <li><strong>Somalia </strong>– Although it satisfies minimum U.S. information-sharing requirements, the government in Somalia still has significant identity-management deficiencies; is recognized as a terrorist safe haven; remains a destination for individuals attempting to join terrorist groups that threaten the national security of the United States; and struggles to govern its territory and to limit terrorists’ freedom of movement, access to resources, and capacity to operate. Accordingly, the entry into the United States of nationals of Somalia as immigrants is suspended, and nonimmigrants traveling to the United States will be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.</li> <li><strong>Syria </strong>– The government in Syria regularly fails to cooperate with the U.S. Government in identifying security risks; is the source of significant terrorist threats; has been designated as a state sponsor of terrorism; has significant inadequacies in identity-management protocols; and fails to share public-safety and terrorism information. Accordingly, the entry into the United States of nationals of Syria as immigrants and nonimmigrants is suspended.</li> <li><strong>Venezuela </strong>– The government in Venezuela is uncooperative in verifying whether its citizens pose national security or public-safety threats; fails to share public-safety and terrorism-related information adequately; and has been assessed to be not fully cooperative with respect to receiving its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States. Accordingly, the entry into the United States of certain Venezuelan government officials and their immediate family members as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas is suspended.</li> <li><strong>Yemen </strong>– Although it is an important partner, especially in the fight against terrorism, the government in Yemen faces significant identity-management challenges, which are amplified by the notable terrorist presence within its territory; fails to satisfy critical identity-management requirements; and does not share public-safety and terrorism-related information adequately. Accordingly, the entry into the United States of nationals of Yemen as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is suspended.</li> </ul> <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="1242" height="612" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Congress Department of Homeland Security Executive Order 13769 Foreign relations of the United States identity-management protocols International relations Iran Iran–United States relations Iraq Libya–United States relations national security North Korea Politics Presidency of Donald Trump Somalia Somalia–United States relations State Sponsors of Terrorism Sudan–United States relations Supreme Court Syria–United States relations Travel visa United States government US government Venezuelan government War on Terror West Africa White House Mon, 25 Sep 2017 00:22:06 +0000 Tyler Durden 604099 at Jared Kushner Reportedly Used Private Email For White House Business <p>As if the flow of news on this warm September weekend wasn&rsquo;t hectic enough thanks to President Trump&rsquo;s decision to pick a fight with professional sports, <a href="">Politico </a>is out with the latest <em>bombshell </em>report alleging some nefarious act was committed by one of Trump&rsquo;s closest advisors, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.</p> <p><a href="">Politico </a>reports that, in an ironic twist,<strong> Kushner continued to use a private email account that had been set up during the transition to communicate with fellow administration officials during Trump&rsquo;s first nine months in office,</strong> even as Trump continued to bash his former rival&rsquo;s mishandling of classified information on a private server during her time at the State Department.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 295px;" /></a></p> <p>While Politico places the implication of wrongdoing front and center in its story, it waits until lower down to provide a key piece of context from the White House communications department: &quot;<em>Kushner sent less than 100 emails from this account, and those that were sent consisted mostly of quips about news items and minor commentary.&quot;</em></p> <p>Liberals like to talk about the concept of false equivalence, especially in the context of how the media covered the Clinton email scandal vs. coverage of Trump&rsquo;s more controversial pronouncements and business arrangements. That&#39;s what this Kushner story appears to be. Judging by the description, it&rsquo;s clear that Kushner didn&rsquo;t rely on his private account to conduct public business, and only used it to send a handful of messages. More to the point, while he may have violated public-information guidelines, he did not improperly handle classified information.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;Mr. Kushner uses his White House email address to conduct White House business,&rdquo; Abbe Lowell, a lawyer for Kushner, said in a statement Sunday. &ldquo;Fewer than 100 emails from January through August were either sent to or returned by Mr. Kushner to colleagues in the White House from his personal email account. These usually forwarded news articles or political commentary and most often occurred when someone initiated the exchange by sending an email to his personal rather than his White House address.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Politico also noted that Kushner&rsquo;s use of a private email account was part of a larger pattern of Trump administration aides using personal email accounts for government business. Kushner allegedly used the private account to communicate with Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, Gary Cohn and Josh Raffel.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Aides who have exchanged emails with Kushner on his private account since President Donald Trump took office in January include former chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist Steve Bannon, National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, and spokesman Josh Raffel, according to emails described to or shown to POLITICO. In some cases, those White House officials have emailed Kushner&rsquo;s account first, said people familiar with the messages.</p> </blockquote> <p>&hellip;and then there&rsquo;s this, six paragraphs in.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>There is no indication that Kushner has shared any sensitive or classified material on his private account, or that he relies on his private email account more than his official White House account to conduct government business. Aides say he prefers to call or text over using email.</p> </blockquote> <p>And that&#39;s not even the most glaring example of <a href="">Politico&#39;s</a> tendency to leave key details that detract from the impression of wrongdoing until much later in the story.</p> <p><a href="">Even further down, Politico </a>admits that Kushner&rsquo;s conduct may not violate the Presidential Records Act...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Private email traffic among White House aides &mdash; some of it sent between personal email accounts rather than to or from government addresses &mdash; could skirt the requirements of the Presidential Records Act, which requires all documents related to the president&rsquo;s personal and political activities to be archived. Trump himself is not known to use email but occasionally has email messages to his assistant printed and presented to him.</p> </blockquote> <p>&hellip;And, furthermore, that it couldn&rsquo;t verify whether Kushner forwarded all work-related emails to his work account, which would render his behavior 100% legitimate. The White House is insisting he remained in compliance, and Politico hasn&rsquo;t uncovered any evidence to discredit this claim.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Lowell said Kushner has adhered to government record-keeping requirements by forwarding all the emails to his account, though POLITICO could not verify that.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Other White House officials have also sometimes used personal accounts to correspond with Kushner and with each other, according to emails seen by POLITICO and people familiar with Kushner&rsquo;s correspondence. They have also used encrypted apps like Signal and Confide that automatically delete messages, prompting former press secretary Sean Spicer in February to issue a warning to communications staffers that using such apps could violate the Presidential Records Act.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="">Politico </a>then adds that private-email use in the Trump administration has been &ldquo;somewhat common&rdquo; despite Trump&rsquo;s attacks on Clinton.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The use of personal email accounts in the Trump White House has been somewhat common, even though the president has been a harsh critic of Clinton&rsquo;s private email habits, frequently leading &ldquo;lock her up&rdquo; chants as he traveled across the country on the campaign trail.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="">Politico also </a>says Kushner and Ivanka Trump set up their private family domain late last year before moving to Washington from New York, according to people with knowledge of events as well as publicly available internet registration records. At the time, Kushner, who served as a senior campaign adviser, was expected to be named to a White House role, while Ivanka Trump was publicly saying she didn&rsquo;t plan to work in her father&rsquo;s administration, though she ended up taking an unpaid role with an office in the West Wing. People familiar with the account say it was primarily set up for personal use, but that Kushner has used it to communicate with acquaintances outside the White House about matters relating to Trump and the administration, according to people who have received messages.</p> <p>Ivanka has an email account on the same domain, but there&rsquo;s no indication she used her account for work purposes.</p> <p>So is Kushner&#39;s sending of work-related notes from his private email account a major violation on par with Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s mishandling of classified information? Or just another mainstream attack on Kushner, meant to dilute the Hillary Clinton email narrative?</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="1034" height="611" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent Business Department of State Donald Trump Donald Trump Email Hillary Clinton email controversy Ivanka Trump Jared Kushner Kushner National Economic Council Politics Presidency of Donald Trump Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Trump Administration Trump family United States White House White House Mon, 25 Sep 2017 00:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 604096 at If Amazon Takes Over The World... <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Scott Galloway op-ed via The Wall Street Journal,</em></a></p> <p><strong>Four tech giants - </strong>Amazon, Apple, <a href="">Facebook</a> and Google - <strong>have added $2 trillion to their combined market capitalization since the 2007-09 recession</strong>, a sum that approaches the GDP of India. The concentrated wealth and power of these companies has alarmed many observers, who see their growth as a threat not just to consumers and other businesses but to American society itself.</p> <p>After spending most of the past decade researching these companies, <strong>I&rsquo;ve come to the conclusion that our fears are misplaced in focusing on what I call the Four. We should instead be worrying about the One</strong>: one firm that will come to dominate search, hardware and cloud computing, that will control a vast network of far-flung businesses, that can ravage entire sectors of the economy simply by announcing its interest in them.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 328px;" /></a></p> <p><u><strong>That firm is Amazon. </strong></u>Jeff Bezos has been disciplined and single-minded in his vision of investing in the most enduring consumer wants&mdash;price, convenience and selection. Coupled with deft execution, it has made Amazon the most impressive and feared firm in business.</p> <p><strong>As for the other three, don&rsquo;t be misled by their current successes. They are falling behind as the One marches ahead.</strong></p> <p>Google seems to have a commanding market position when it comes to search functions. As European Union regulators pointed out in their recent antitrust finding, Google has an astonishing 90% share in the category in Europe. Its share in the U.S. is 64%. But it&rsquo;s a very different story in the narrower, and more lucrative, domain of product search. In 2015, more product searches in the U.S. began on Amazon than on search engines, including Google (44% vs. 34%), according to BloomReach. A year later, Amazon&rsquo;s share grew to 55%. Amazon could reasonably be described as a search engine with a warehouse attached to it.</p> <p>For years, Apple has been the undisputed king of hardware innovation. But the prize for the most disruptive recent device goes to the hands-free, voice-controlled Amazon Echo speaker and its buttery voice, Alexa. Research firm Gartner <a class="icon none" href="" target="_blank">predicts</a> that 30% of computing will be screenless by 2020. So far, Apple looks to have blown an early lead in the great voice race: With 700 million iPhones in use world-wide, Apple&rsquo;s Siri still has the most share in voice overall. But Amazon&rsquo;s share of voice on home devices&mdash;the next frontier&mdash;is 70%.</p> <p><strong>Today&rsquo;s fastest-growing sector in tech is cloud computing. </strong>There are several big players in the field, including old and new tech: <a href="">IBM</a> <span class="company-name-type">,</span> <a href="">Microsoft</a> <span class="company-name-type">,</span> Google. The dominant player again is Amazon, with a business launched originally to support its internal computing needs. According to Synergy Research Group, Amazon&rsquo;s cloud offering (called Amazon Web Services) enjoys more than 30% of the market, triple the share of the No. 2, Microsoft&rsquo;s Azure, and will register $16 billion in revenue in 2017. Financial pundits, looking for something negative to say about Amazon&rsquo;s recent quarterly earnings, highlighted that growth in the company&rsquo;s cloud business had slowed to 43%. &ldquo;Slowed to 43%&rdquo; is not a phrase you read in any other equity analyst&rsquo;s write-up of a large company in 2017.</p> <p><strong>Amazon&rsquo;s consistent outperformance of the other three tech giants is distinct from its continued dominance of old-economy firms</strong>. With the acquisition of Whole Foods, Amazon will likely become the fastest-growing online and bricks-and-mortar retailer. The whole grocery sector&mdash;with <a class="icon none" href="" target="_blank">$612 billion in U.S. sales</a> in 2016&mdash;has been disrupted overnight by Amazon. In the months between the announcement and closing of Amazon&rsquo;s acquisition of Whole Foods this year, the largest pure-play grocer, <a href="">Kroger</a> <span class="company-name-type">,</span> lost nearly a third of its market value.</p> <p>The late business professor C.K. Prahalad of the University of Michigan famously argued that the most successful firms focus not on one market but on one &ldquo;core competence.&rdquo; Amazon has proved otherwise.<strong> What Amazon has accomplished across industries is unprecedented, even among the most successful businesses. </strong><a href="">Nike</a> does not have a cloud business; <a href="">Starbucks</a> is not developing original TV content; <a href="">Wal-Mart</a> has not filed patents for warehouses in the sky. Amazon has recently been granted patents for a floating warehouse and small drones that can self-assemble into bigger drones capable of transporting larger packages, reflecting the ability, one day, to operate intricate networks of fulfillment by air. Other firms are punished for straying from their familiar areas of strength; Amazon sucks value from sectors in which it has had no previous involvement just by glancing at them.</p> <p>At New York University&rsquo;s business school, where I teach, I have for years kept a close watch on which firms are winning the competition for the most talented students. A decade ago, the top recruiter was <a href="">American Express</a> <span class="company-name-type">,</span> with investment banks vying for second position. Now the clear winner is Amazon: 12 students from my most recent class have opted for a life of rain and overrated coffee in the Pacific Northwest.</p> <p><strong>Why does Amazon&rsquo;s ascent matter? Aren&rsquo;t lower prices and greater efficiencies better for everyone? They are, in all the obvious ways, but that&rsquo;s not a complete picture. <u>Amazon&rsquo;s seemingly boundless growth forces us to wrestle with difficult questions about the reasons for its dominance.</u></strong></p> <p>For one, Amazon, unlike any other firm its size, has changed the basic compact with financial markets.<strong> </strong></p> <p><strong>It has replaced the expectation for profits with a focus on vision and growth, managing its business to break even while investors bid up its stock price.</strong></p> <p>This radical approach has provided the company with a<strong> staggering advantage in free-flowing capital.</strong> Google, Facebook, Wal-Mart and most Fortune 500 companies are saddled with expectations of profits. Many firms would be much more innovative if they were given a license to operate without the nuisance of profitability. Amazon has thus had enormous capital on hand to invest in delivery networks, especially the crucial last link for getting goods to the doorsteps of consumers, without having to worry that they don&rsquo;t yield immediate profits.</p> <p><strong>Amazon&rsquo;s strategy of break-even operations also means that it has virtually no profits to tax. </strong>Since 2008, Wal-Mart has paid $64 billion in federal income taxes, while Amazon has paid just $1.4 billion. Yet, while paying low taxes, Amazon has added $220 billion in value to the stock held by its shareholders over the past 24 months&mdash;equivalent to the entire market capitalization of Wal-Mart.</p> <p><u><strong>Something is deeply amiss when a company can ascend to almost a half trillion dollars in market value&mdash;becoming the fifth most valuable firm in the world&mdash;without paying any meaningful income tax. </strong></u>Does Amazon really owe so little to support public revenue and public needs? If a giant firm pays less than the average 24% in income taxes that the companies of the S&amp;P 500 pay, it logically means that less-successful firms pay more. In this way, Amazon further adds to the winner-take-all tendencies plaguing our economy.</p> <p><strong>Because Amazon is more efficient than other retailers, it is able to transact the same amount of business with half the employees.</strong> If Amazon continues to grow its business by $20 billion a year, the annual toll of lost jobs for merchants, buyers and cashiers will be in the tens of thousands by my calculations. Disruption in the U.S. labor force is nothing new&mdash;we have just never dealt with a company that is so ruthless and single-minded about it.</p> <p><strong>I recently spoke at a conference the day after Jeff Bezos. During his talk, he made the case for a universal guaranteed income for all Americans.</strong> It is tempting to admire his progressive values and concern for the public welfare, but there is a dark implication here too. It appears that the most insightful mind in the business world has given up on the notion that our economy, or his firm, can support that pillar of American identity: a well-paying job.</p> <p><em><strong>Amazon has brought us many benefits, but we all must recognize that the rise of the One brings with it much more than free two-day delivery. &ldquo;Alexa, is this a good thing?&rdquo;</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="735" height="329" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Amazon Echo Amazon River Amazon Web Services American Express Apple Business Cloud computing Cloud infrastructure Computing Economy of the United States European Union European Union Google Google India Jeff Bezos Michigan New York University Northwest Online music stores Recession S&P 500 search engine Technology Technology the University of Michigan University Of Michigan Wall Street Journal Sun, 24 Sep 2017 23:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 604085 at "It's Trump's Fault" - US Employers Cut Bonuses For First Time In 7 Years <p>As stagnant wages and rising tuition and medical costs squeeze middle class families, <a href="">Bloomberg </a>reports that US employers cut employee bonuses this year for the first time in seven years, further straining household budgets despite an ostensibly bright economic outlook. Bonuses slipped a tenth of a percentage point to 12.7% of total compensation this year, according to data from Aon Hewitt, which conducts an annual survey of more than 1,000 employers.</p> <p>Aon said that while the move may not be dramatic, it&#39;s confusing considering the relatively healthy state of the economy. What&#39;s more worrying is that the cuts come as part of a broader retrenchment.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not a dramatic change, but it is counterintuitive,&rdquo; said Ken Abosch, who heads compensation at Aon Hewitt.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;What&rsquo;s even more surprising and alarming is that organizations are pulling back their projected spending in 2018,&rdquo;</strong> he added. Companies expect to spend 12.5% of total compensation on bonuses next year, the survey found.</p> </blockquote> <p>And in the spirit of &ldquo;the buck stops here,&rdquo; employers are blaming President Trump for the cuts, explaining that the uncertainty surrounding policies from tax reform to health care is making long-term planning difficult. Fears of an imminent recession have also inspired some employers to pare back compensation spending, risking losing their most valuable employees in the process.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;Despite the strength of the economy, a tight job market, and strong corporate performance, employers have resisted raising wages out of fear of increasing their fixed costs. Those surveyed said they had given out, on average, 2.9 percent raises this year and expect to give around the same next year.</strong> <strong>The specter of a recession, or even just a bad year, has kept salary increases at that level for the last five years.</strong> &ldquo;There&rsquo;s just not any appetite to budge on salary spending,&rdquo; said Abosch. In that kind of climate, the bonus is a much more alluring way to reward workers: It&rsquo;s not permanent, so companies can choose to hand out bonuses during boom times or withhold them when budgets tighten. Workers who rely on their regular earnings to pay the bills would be justifiably angered by wage cuts, but they may not expect to get a bonus every year.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>And bonuses will likely continue to shrink this year. Ironically, <a href="">Bloomberg </a>says employers are claiming that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are forcing them to be more conservative by increasing the chances that inflation could pick up and erode profits. Even after several investment banks warned that the storms could lead to a slight pickup in GDP by increasing construction costs. &nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;This year, however, companies are skittish on bonuses, too. Their budgets aren&rsquo;t tight, but they fear an economic downturn is on the horizon&mdash;and specifically, those surveyed said, that greater government spending on defense, infrastructure, and hurricane relief could boost inflation and hurt corporate profits.</strong> &ldquo;Organizations are expressing concerns about how all of that is going to get paid for,&rdquo; said Abosch.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Oh, and they&rsquo;re blaming Congress, too.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s something else giving employers pause on bonuses, too: <strong>&ldquo;The accomplishments, or lack thereof, in terms of congressional results this year, and just some uncertainty about leadership in general out of Washington,&rdquo; Abosch said. Congress has passed a $700 billion defense funding bill and a $15 billion in hurricane relief, but the passage of tax reform and health care legislation, two Republican priorities that would have a major impact on employers, is far from assured.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>US wages have been stagnant for years even as household wealth has ballooned to a record $96.2 trillion, according to the Fed&rsquo;s latest flow of funds report.&quot;</p> <p>Unfortunately, the benefits of this increase have largely accrued to the richest Americans, who own the majority of tradeable, and non-tradeable, assets in the US. According to the survey, virtually all of the rise in household net worth has only benefited a handful of the richest</p> <p>Americans, with the top 10% of the wealth distribution holding 76% of all family wealth.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 314px;" /></a></p> <p>Because of this, the bonus cuts will almost <a href="">certainly impact spending decisions made by middle class families,</a> which could have economic ramifications for GDP, given the consumption-focused state of the US economy.</p> <p>We wonder: With more cuts expected, whom will employers blame next to justify their &ldquo;frugality&rdquo;?</p> <p><strong>Our money&rsquo;s on Putin.&nbsp; &nbsp;</strong><br />&nbsp;</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="723" height="406" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Aon Hewitt Business Business Business cycle Congress Economy Economy of the United States fixed Labor Recession Recession Unemployment US Federal Reserve Sun, 24 Sep 2017 23:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 603974 at Two Key Indicators Show The S&P 500 Becoming The New "Cash" <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Daniel Nevins via,</em></a></p> <p><em>Pension plan administrators do it. Their actuaries and consultants do it. Professional endowment and foundation investors do it. Financial advisors do it. Private investors may or may not do it, but they probably should.</em></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>Do what?</strong></em></span></p> <p>All of these folks already are or should be asking themselves the following question: <strong><em>What&rsquo;s a reasonable expectation for the long-term return on a broad-market equity investment?</em></strong></p> <p>Professionals usually answer the question using complex models, and there&rsquo;s nothing wrong with that,<strong> but we&rsquo;ll keep it simple here.</strong> Simple often beats the snot out of a long white paper, and two recent developments beg for simple.</p> <p>First, on Thursday the Fed released its <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">flow-of-funds data</a>, which includes an estimate for the household sector&rsquo;s overall asset allocation.<strong> Data show allocations to corporate equities reaching 25.1% of total household (and nonprofit) assets, a level only before seen between Q4 1998 and Q3 2000. </strong>Here&rsquo;s the full history:</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="spy returns chart 1" src="" style="border: 0px none; display: inline; background-image: none; width: 600px; height: 295px;" title="spy returns chart 1" /></a></p> <p>Now, you may say 25% is just a number, and we would agree, but only to a point. <strong>We don&rsquo;t think the household sector&rsquo;s current allocations tell us anything about the market&rsquo;s near-term direction</strong>. In fact, we don&rsquo;t detect any of the most common precursors to major market turning points, as discussed <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p><strong>But we do think household equity allocations offer clues to long-term returns.</strong> Consider the next chart, which compares the allocation data to the corresponding S&amp;P 500 returns over subsequent periods of six, eight and ten years:</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="spy returns chart 2" src="" style="border: 0px none; display: inline; background-image: none; width: 600px; height: 395px;" title="spy returns chart 2" /></a></p> <p><strong>You&rsquo;ll decide for yourself, of course, how to interpret the chart, but we&rsquo;ll entertain three possibilities.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>First, you might rely on a few instances in which S&amp;P 500 returns reached almost 4% after the equity allocation was 25% or more. </strong>Compared to today&rsquo;s miniscule bond yields, 4% looks respectable. If stocks do, indeed, return 4% over the next six to ten years, that could be higher than the return on any other major asset class, which probably explains how stocks got so expensive in the first place.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Second, you might mentally project the scatter plot&rsquo;s downward trend out to the current equity allocation. </strong>Doing that, returns appear to spread evenly around today&rsquo;s cash rate of about 1%. So, whereas optimistically you might expect a return of 4% or thereabouts, more realistically a negative return is almost as likely.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Third, you might look at the data and say, &ldquo;So what? We should really use a traditional indicator - one that compares prices to earnings - not an asset allocation measure.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><u><strong>Which brings us to another recent development that might alter future returns&mdash;the S&amp;P 500 busting through 2500. </strong></u>To account for that latest market milestone, the next chart updates one of our favorite S&amp;P 500 indicators, the price&ndash;to&ndash;peak earnings multiple or P/PE. (Unlike a standard price-to-earnings multiple that places the past year&rsquo;s earnings in the denominator, P/PE uses the highest four-quarter earnings to date, mitigating distortions that occur when earnings fall in recessions.)</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="spy returns chart 3" src="" style="border: 0px none; display: inline; background-image: none; width: 601px; height: 278px;" title="spy returns chart 3" /></a></p> <p><strong>At a price&ndash;to&ndash;peak earnings multiple of 23.6, we&rsquo;re currently at about the same valuation as in December 1997. </strong>Once again, you might find an optimistic interpretation - that is, the long bull market that finally ended in 2000 suggests there could still be room to bubble up from here. <strong>But the implications for long-term returns aren&rsquo;t nearly as optimistic, as shown in our final chart:</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="spy returns chart 4" src="" style="border: 0px none; display: inline; background-image: none; width: 600px; height: 395px;" title="spy returns chart 4" /></a></p> <p><strong>If you stare at the chart long enough, you might see a less bearish picture than in the first scatter plot above.</strong> (Stare even longer and you might see the King of France.) But the difference isn&rsquo;t especially large. On either chart, the downward slope points to a meager long-term return. In fact, if we use only the scatter plots above to make our estimate, while also accounting for the Fed&rsquo;s predicted interest rate path,<u><em><strong> the S&amp;P 500 appears to offer a similar return to cash.</strong></em></u></p> <h2><u><strong>Conclusions</strong></u></h2> <p>To be clear, we&rsquo;re encouraging long-term bulls to reconsider their assumptions, but we&rsquo;re not advising them to dismantle carefully diversified portfolios (meaning those that are spread sensibly among multiple asset classes). We would be more likely to recommend a major portfolio shift if the usual bear-market catalysts - sharply rising inflation, high interest rates and poor credit conditions - were present.</p> <p><strong>More to the point, it seems a good time for investors to check their expectations and risk levels.</strong> Investors should develop reasonable expectations informed by data such as those in the scatter plots above. <strong>And they shouldn&rsquo;t take more risk than they&rsquo;ll be able to tolerate as the next bear market plays out. </strong>As always, only a small percentage of investors will accurately time the next market cycle, and we shouldn&rsquo;t bet too heavily on being among those fortunate few</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="755" height="421" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Asset allocation Bear Market Behavioral finance Bond Business Credit Conditions Economy Finance Financial markets Financial ratios France Fundamental analysis Investment Market trend Money Price–earnings ratio S&P 500 Stock selection criterion US Federal Reserve Sun, 24 Sep 2017 22:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 604077 at NASCAR Team Owners Say They Won't Tolerate National Anthem Protests <p>In a stark variation from scenes of protest observed during performances of national anthems at today's football games, the <a href="">AP reports that <strong>no drivers</strong></a><strong>, crew or other team members participated in a protest during the national anthem to start the NASCAR Cup series race Sunday in Loudon, New Hampshire. </strong>It adds that <strong>several team owners and executives said they wouldn’t condone "anyone in their organizations" protesting during the anthem </strong>amid ongoing protests by sports players at football and baseball games in the latest feud involving president Trump, suggesting that this latest form of protest is split along cultural and geographic lines. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Richard Childress, who was Dale Earnhardt’s longtime team owner, said of protesting, “It’ll get you a ride on a Greyhound bus.” Childress said he told his team that <strong>“anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people gave their lives for it. This is America.</strong>”</p> </blockquote> <p>Hall of Fame driver and former NASCAR champion Richard Petty took it one step further, and told the AP that “<strong>anybody that don’t stand up for the anthem oughta be out of the country. Period. What got ’em where they’re at? The United States.</strong>” When asked if a protester at Richard Petty Motorsports would be fired, he said, “You’re right.”</p> <p>The sentiment, however, wasn't uniform and at least one team owner, Chip Ganassi- member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America - said he supports Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin’s comments. Tomlin said before the Steelers played on Sunday that players would remain in the locker room and that “we’re not going to let divisive times or divisive individuals affect our agenda.”</p> <p>The comments from the NASCAR owners come as numerous NFL players and owners took part in protests at games across the country after Trump on Friday slammed players who kneel rather than stand during the U.S. anthem. "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a b---- off the field right now,'" Trump said during a Friday rally. "'He is fired.'" </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="922" height="520" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> B+ Business Donald Trump Greyhound Bus Sun, 24 Sep 2017 22:37:06 +0000 Tyler Durden 604094 at 1 Dead, 7 Injured In Tennessee Church; "Clown Mask"-Wearing Shooter Identified As Sudanese Immigrant <p><strong>Update (5:00 pm ET):</strong> Authorities have identified the shooter as Emanuel&nbsp; Kidega Samson, 25, of Murfreesboro. Little is known about Samson or his motivation - other than that he is a black male, and that he wore a clown mask during the assault, before turning his gun on himself. According to the<a href=""> Washington Times,</a> Samson has been discharged from the hospital and will soon be charged with murder and attempting murder for the attack, police said.</p> <p>Samson is reportedly a Sudanese immigrant. Screenshots of his Facebook profile have been circulating on Twitter:</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 419px;" /></a></p> <p>And here&#39;s what&#39;s purportedly his Instagram page:</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 338px;" /></a></p> <p>* * *</p> <p><strong>Update (3 pm ET): </strong>Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has isued a statement about the deadly shooting at a baptist church in nearby Antioch Tennessee today. Antioch is a separate municipality that is governed by the city of Nashville&#39;s government.</p> <p>This is a terrible tragedy for our city,&quot; she said. &quot;My heart aches for the family and friends of the deceased.&quot;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">JUST IN: Nashville Mayor Megan Barry Issues Statement on Deadly Shooting at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Breaking911 (@Breaking911) <a href="">September 24, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>According to a report from ABC, the gunman &ldquo;began indiscriminately shooting&rdquo; after entering the church. He was confronted by a church usher and eventually shot himself during the struggle.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">WATCH: Witness Describes Graphic Scene of Mass Shooting at Tennessee Church</p> <p><a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Breaking911 (@Breaking911) <a href="">September 24, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>* * *</p> <p><strong>Update (2:45 pm ET):</strong> In a disturbing update reportedly gleaned from police scanner chatter, the as-yet-to-be-identified assailant in a church shooting in Antioch, Tennessee <strong>was reportedly wearing a clown mask at the time of the attack, which left one woman dead and seven other people inured, not including the shooter, who police say shot himself.</strong> In an ominous sign, the involvement of the clown mask harkens back to the rash of evil clown sightings across the US last fall, a phenomenon that inspired a mini-hysteria. Perhaps this incident suggests that, just in time for the Halloween season, the phenomenon is set to reoccurr, possibly in an even more malevolent form.</p> <p>Notably, a remake of the horror movie &quot;IT&quot;, which features an evil clown named Pennywise, was released two weeks ago.</p> <p>The shooter is expected to survive, and will hopefully cooperate with police to provide clues as to his motivation.</p> <p>* * *</p> <p><strong>Update (2 pm ET):</strong> One victim has died and seven are being treated for their wounds according to the latest news out of Antioch, Tennessee. The Metro Nashville Police Department said one woman was shot dead in the parking lot, and six other &ldquo;innocents&rdquo; were shot, while a seventh was &quot;pistol whipped&quot;. The shooter, who reportedly shot himself, is being treated for his wounds at a local hospital. Police described the shooter&#39;s wounds as non-life threatening. It&rsquo;s understood the shooting occurred shortly after 11 a.m, according to <a href="">local reports and Russia Today.</a></p> <p>* * *</p> <p><u><strong>Update:</strong></u> <strong><em>&ldquo;Medical personnel are treating 8 wounded churchgoers shot at Burnett&rsquo;s Chapel Church of Christ,&rdquo; </em></strong>Nashville Fire Department said in a tweet Sunday. &ldquo;<strong><em>Shooter among wounded</em></strong>.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Medical personnel are treating 8 wounded church goers shot at Burnett&rsquo;s Chapel Church of Christ. Shooter among wounded.</p> <p>&mdash; Nashville Fire Dept (@NashvilleFD) <a href="">September 24, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">This is a mass casualty situation. All of the wounded have been transported to area hospitals. The majority are older adults.</p> <p>&mdash; Nashville Fire Dept (@NashvilleFD) <a href="">September 24, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>* * *</p> <p><strong>As we detailed earlier, At least six people were shot</strong> at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee, according to Metro Nashville Police.</p> <p>A woman living next door to the church told WKRN two people came up to her door and said, <strong>&ldquo;Someone is shooting at us at the church.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>Her husband went to the church and saw a victim that had been shot in the back.<strong> He saw someone lying in the doorway, and &ldquo;some other people that were shot.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img height="321" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><strong>The extent of the injuries are not known. </strong></p> <p><a href=""><strong><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 370px;" /></strong></a></p> <p><a href="">The Tennessean reports</a> that Joseph Pleasant, a spokesman for the Nashville fire department, <strong>confirmed at least six to eight people have been injured and were being transported to Vanderbilt Medical Center.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 599px; height: 348px;" /></a></p> <p>Pleasant, who was en route to the scene around noon, did not know the severity of the injuries.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">MORE: Here&#39;s a picture from the scene of this shooting at Burnette Chapel Church Of Christ. At least 6 people shot. <a href="">@WKRN</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Josh Breslow (@JoshBreslowWKRN) <a href="">September 24, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <p><script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <p>Metro Nashville <strong>Police said the scene remained active </strong>as of 12:10 p.m. local time and advised people to stay away from the area, though it is not clear if the shooter, or shooters, remain at-large or if someone is in custody.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">JUST IN from <a href="">@MNPDNashville</a>: Church shooting is still an ACTIVE scene. Avoid area near Pin Hook Road.</p> <p>&mdash; Natalie Allison (@natalie_allison) <a href="">September 24, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <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="369" height="246" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Antioch, Tennessee Baptist Church Burnette Chapel Church of Christ Burnette Chapel Church of Christ Burnett’s Chapel Church of Christ Chapel Church of Christ Clown sightings Clowns Confederate States of America Culture Geography of the United States Josh Breslow Local government in the United States Megan Barry Metro Nashville Police Metro Nashville Police Department Nashville Fire Department Nashville's government Nashville, Tennessee Popular culture Postmodernism Television in the United States Tennessee Tennessee Church Twitter Twitter United States Vanderbilt Medical Center WKRN-TV Sun, 24 Sep 2017 22:02:31 +0000 Tyler Durden 604082 at Doing This In College Will Boost Your Income By 36% - But It Will Also Make You Dumber <p>Years ago, <a href="">we reported</a> on the shockingly effective college-to-Wall Street pipeline established by Sigma Chi Epsilon, a fraternity whose members made it a goal to build a &ldquo;little fraternity on Wall Street.&rdquo; By offering insider tips, as well as offers to intervene on candidates&rsquo; behalf, members of the fraternity have helped populate banks like J.P. Morgan, BofA and Wells Fargo with fellow alumni &ndash; helping them beat odds three times steeper than the Princeton admissions rate.</p> <p>Now, a new study by researchers at Union College in Schenectady has confirmed what that story appeared to suggest. That despite the constant distraction from academics that fraternity membership represents, students who join reap the benefits of the associated professional network for years to come, <a href="">MarketWatch reports. </a></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 265px;" /></a></p> <p>Of course, these benefits come with a tradeoff: <u><strong>The study showed that being a member of a fraternity also makes you dumber.</strong></u></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;Being a member of a fraternity in college lowers a student&#39;s GPA by approximately 0.25 points on the traditional four-point scale, but raises future income by around 36%, according to a paper, &ldquo;Social Animal House: The Economic and Academic Consequences of Fraternity Membership,&rdquo; published by two economists from Union College in Schenectady, New York.</strong> &ldquo;For this reason, joining a fraternity may be a rational decision that improves the long-term prospects of an individual student despite its damaging effects on a student&rsquo;s grades,&rdquo; the paper concluded.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>These results suggest that fraternity membership causally produces large gains in social capital, which more than outweigh its negative effects on human capital for potential members,&rdquo; they concluded. <strong>&ldquo;These findings suggest that college administrators face significant trade-offs when crafting policies related to Greek life on campus.&rdquo; They surveyed 3,762 alumni from a liberal Northeastern college who work full-time and also adjusted for the statistical impact of age, gender and ethnicity on a person&rsquo;s income.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>While fraternities have frequently been the subject of unflattering press coverage in recent years &ndash; the Penn State hazing-death case being one example - about the culture of rape and dangerous risk-taking that fraternities perpetuate, the study&rsquo;s results offer a strong argument for universities to keep Greek life programs: namely, that the organizations offer at least some long-term benefits to members.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;Despite the partying and troubling headlines that fraternity life involving hazing and sexual assault in recent years, supporters of fraternities say there&rsquo;s another side to Greek life. Among them, they provide academic support for students and social connections that can last a lifetime.</strong> Studies at the American University in Washington, D.C. and other colleges have found that Greek life results in higher GPAs. Fraternity alumni programs, LinkedIn groups, online communities all help foster strong social ties that are designed to last a lifetime across different generations of members of the same fraternity.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>The study&rsquo;s authors explained that they controlled specifically for the impact of social connections by correcting the data to factor out other behavioral tendencies of fraternity life &ndash; like excessive alcohol consumption.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;Alcohol-related behavior did not explain much of the effects of fraternity membership, the latest study found. Fraternity membership lowers grades by 0.18 to 0.42 points. <strong>Controlling for alcohol-related behavior reduces this estimate only slightly - by about 0.03 to 0.05 points. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;This suggests that, despite its visibility, alcohol consumption plays a relatively minor role,&rdquo; the paper concluded. <strong>Because the data was collected from workers from ages 25 to 65, it incorporates the effect of Greek membership on lifetime earnings - not just on earnings in the first job after college.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>As <a href="">MarketWatch </a>explains, other studies have also proven that alcohol consumption has myriad negative repercussions for individuals, most notably by lowering the odds of attaining full-time employment after graduation.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;However, heavy drinking just six times a month reduces the probability that a new college graduate will land a job by 10%, according to researchers at Tel Aviv University and Cornell University published in the peer-reviewed academic journal &ldquo;Journal of Applied Psychology.&rdquo; Alcohol is a depressant that impacts motor functions and brain activity. <strong>The authors suggest that each individual episode of student binge-drinking during a month-long period lowers the odds of attaining full-time employment upon graduation by 1.4%.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>In summary, the study effectively proves the old saying: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not what you know, it&rsquo;s who you know.&rdquo; But then again, we imagine readers &ndash; particularly, American readers - have long suspected this to be accurate.</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="661" height="350" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American University in Washington Cornell University Education Epsilon Fraternities and sororities Hazing headlines North-American Interfraternity Conference Sigma Chi Sigma Nu Structure Tau Kappa Epsilon Tel Aviv University Union College Washington D.C. Wells Fargo Sun, 24 Sep 2017 22:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 604056 at FX Week Ahead: Market In Need Of Brain-Changer, Not Game-Changer <p><em>Submitted by Shant Movsesian and Rajan Dhall MSTA at <a href=""></a></em></p> <p><strong>After the FOMC meeting last week, it was (yet) again apparent that the Fed are still keen to maintain a normalisation path designed to not only get rates back to neutral levels, but also build up the policy tool kit again as well as staving off excessive leverage which has boosted stock markets to record highs. &nbsp;</strong>In the latter part of that, many of us believe we have already gone way past the point of excess, and therein lies the delicate situation the Fed is faced with. &nbsp;As such, it is steady as she goes, and as we can see with the plans on balance sheet reduction, the reinvestment caps are barely scratching the surface. &nbsp;</p> <p>On these bases, the market is happy to continue &#39;taking on&#39; any USD recovery, and alongside this, we also have a persistent bid in the EUR, as the pace of economic expansion shows greater acceleration in Europe - what we call gamma in the options market. &nbsp;Consequently, <strong>the prospects of a meaningful pullback in EUR/USD look slim, but over-exhaustion and the constantly communicated concerns from the ECB limit gains to the degree that sellers above 1.2000 are also a little more confident in &#39;playing the range&#39; for now</strong>. &nbsp;As we noted a few weeks back, 1.1800 will prove to be a strong support point given president Draghi revealed this level as the reference point in the last staff projections, and will be seen to be tacit &#39;acceptance&#39; of fair value - for now.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>On Friday, we saw the EU wide PMIs pointing to continued expansion in activity, and looking to the 5 days ahead, we expect the German IFO survey on Monday to do the same</strong>. &nbsp;Midweek we get Italian trade and industrial orders which have also been improving at a rapid pace, while in Germany again, we get Sep inflation data, retail sales and unemployment. &nbsp;At the end of the week however, we also have EU wide inflation, but this will have to dip significantly to derail EUR sentiment. &nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 252px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>So from the US perspective, Thursday&#39;s final Q2 GDP number will be the focal point, preceded by the volatile durable goods orders reported the day before</strong>. &nbsp;This is expected to remain at 3.0%, and traders will naturally pounce on this if we miss on expectations. &nbsp;Any upside surprise will likely have less of an effect given a series of downgrades due to the impact of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. &nbsp;On Friday we then core PCE for Aug as well as the personal income and spending components, so we expect a cautious start to the week for all USD pairs, with limited upside likely unless we get some good news on fiscal policy. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The Trump administration reverts focus back to efforts on tax overhaul, which has slipped up and down the priority list as the GOP look for some form of progress here as well as in health-care reform and the multitude of trade agreements and disputes including China and NAFTA</strong>. Working from a low base - ie, none - one could argue that from this perspective, the USD &#39;risk&#39; is to the upside, but after so many falls over hurdles, the market confidence is low. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>This may well be one of the more supportive factors for USD/JPY, with the pick up in Treasury yields having run their course</strong>. &nbsp;10yr has tested and held first &#39;target&#39; at 2.30%, and odds for a Dec Fed move are back up to 70%, so above 112.00 there is and has been little momentum to drive us to the next target area which we see closer to 114.00. That said, we see limited downside from here in the meantime, though this has room to extend into the mid to lower 110.00&#39;s. &nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 252px;" /></a></p> <p>Barring any fresh developments emanating from North Korea, the JPY pairs should be relatively stable through the week, but as ever, this carry trade relies on stock market performance. &nbsp;AUD, CAD and NZD rates are all off better levels, but will be seen to represent a dip buying opportunity for now. &nbsp;</p> <p>Lots of Japanese data to look to, chief of which is the inflation number on Friday. &nbsp;Core CPI is expected to rise from 0.5% to 0.7% in Aug. &nbsp;Later on in the session, industrial production and construction orders also stand out, less so retail sales, but all expected to show market improvement in Aug. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Friday is also the focal point of UK data watchers as we get the latest estimates of Q2 GDP and also business investment</strong>. &nbsp;The BoE believe this is strong enough to weather a rate increase in order to tame inflation first and foremost, but I remain firmly in the camp that a 25bp move - now widely priced into November - would be a case of &#39;one and done&#39;. &nbsp;Little else to note earlier in the week other than the CBI&#39;s distributive trades survey - recall last week - industrial trend orders on Friday saw the index weaken from 13 to 7. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>On Brexit, the hype over Theresa May&#39;s speech in Florence was overdone, but this comes as little surprise for a market hungry for event risk - and Brexit is good source of this</strong>. &nbsp;Even so, judging by comments from the EU&#39;s Barnier, it was relatively well received in terms of spirit, but including the line that &#39;no deal is better than a bad deal&#39;, there is clearly a line which the UK government will not cross, no matter how conciliatory they have been in recent weeks and months. &nbsp;</p> <p>GBP gains from here should be limited - indeed, some will have been surprised that we have extended this far, with the present day market hanging on every word of central banks. &nbsp;That said, some of the data has been holding up well under the circumstances, but numbers such as the strong retail sales print last week should be taken in context - in this case seasonality. &nbsp;Cable has hit a wall of selling interest above 1.3600, and with the CofT positioning somewhat lightened, we cannot count on short covering to drive GBP south at this stage, with EUR/GBP losses having taken us back to key levels in and around 0.8800. &nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 252px;" /></a></p> <p>Little of note of Australia again, with the AUD tone softened a little after comments from gov Lowe that even though the next move in rates is likely up, we should not expect any imminent change.&nbsp;</p> <p>Over in NZ, the election result means another hung parliament and coalition to be formed, so it will be an interesting start to NZD trade when Asian markets get underway, with the Nationals and Labour vying for the support of New Zealand First to form government. &nbsp;As if that is not enough, we also have the RBNZ meeting and announcement Wednesday, but in the current climate, no change and or material change in their statement will be anticipated. &nbsp;Trade data on Monday to note, but likely to be overshadowed. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>AUD/NZD will be as volatile as NZD/USD, with both pairs reacting to the polls last week which saw the Nationals back in the lead - the vote count so far matching the 46% touted, but uncertainty from here set to weigh again</strong>. &nbsp;AUD/USD levels to watch for lie at .7900 and .8100, and are largely dependent on the USD from here. &nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 252px;" /></a></p> <p>This may also be the case for the CAD, though on Friday, we saw core CPI in Canada sticking to 0.9% while the headline rate rose less than expected from 1.2% to 1.4%. &nbsp;Growth and improving economic activity have pushed the BoC to reverse the rate cuts from 2015, so from here we would not be pursuing the steep rate profile the market is now pricing in, so we see further room for CAD correction.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>BoC gov Poloz is speaking next week and may well take a more cautious tone in light of the strong CAD appreciation, which the central bank are now monitoring along with the impact of higher rates</strong>. &nbsp;Jul GDP on Friday is the only key data point of note, with a rise of 0.1% expected (seems a little low) vs 0.3% in Jun. &nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 252px;" /></a></p> <p>Retail sales data in both Norway and Sweden to look to as well as Norwegian unemployment and Swedish trade. &nbsp;From a policy point of view, both central banks are on the cautious side, more so the Riksbank, but the Norges bank will not have been encouraged the slippage in inflation - a global phenomenon (UK excluded) which the market seems to forget at times. &nbsp;NOK/SEK still well contained. &nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 252px;" /></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="1422" height="717" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Australia Bank of England BOE Business Business economics CAD Carry Trade Central Banks China Core CPI CPI Currency pair Economics Economy European Central Bank European Union federal government Foreign exchange market Germany Inflation New Zealand None Norges Bank Norges Bank North Korea Norway Personal Income recovery Republican Party Retail Synthetic currency pair Trump Administration UK Government Unemployment Sun, 24 Sep 2017 21:36:39 +0000 Tyler Durden 604092 at