http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml/%20http%3A/www.lsjourney.com en Meet Tally: The Grocery Stocking Robot About To Eradicate 1,000's Of Minimum Wage Jobs http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/meet-tally-grocery-stocking-robot-about-eradicate-1000s-minimum-wage-jobs <p>Amazon wiped out billions of dollars worth of grocery store market cap last month when they announced plans to purchase Whole Foods.&nbsp; The announcement sent shares of Kroger, Wal-Mart, Sprouts, and Target, among others, plunging...<em><strong> (WMT -4%, TGT -5.5%, SFM -7.6%, KR -12%).</strong></em></p> <div class="ci" style="font-family: Roboto, Arial, sans-serif; background: none; width: 7px; height: 8px; outline: none; position: absolute; z-index: 1; overflow: hidden; top: 0px; bottom: auto; right: -5px; color: #262626; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">&nbsp;</div> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/06/14/20170616_WFM3.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/06/14/20170616_WFM3_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 426px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But, as we pointed out back in May, well before Amazon's decision to buy Whole Foods, Amazon's success in penetrating the traditional grocery market was always a matter of when, not if.&nbsp; Concept stores, like Amazon Go, already exist that virtually eliminate the need for dozens of in-store employees which will allow them to generate higher returns at lower price points than traditional grocers.&nbsp; And, <strong>with grocery margins averaging around 1-2% at best, if Amazon, or anyone for that matter, can truly create smart stores with no check outs and cut employees in half they can effectively destroy the traditional supermarket business model.</strong></p> <p>And while the demise of the traditional grocery store will undoubtedly take time (recall that people were calling for the demise of Blockbuster for nearly a decade before it finally happened), make no mistake that the retail grocery market 10-15 years from now will not look anything like the stores you visit today.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NrmMk1Myrxc" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So, <strong>grocers have a choice: (i) adapt to the technological revolution that is about to transform their industry or (ii) face the same slow death that ultimately claimed the life of Blockbuster.</strong></p> <p>As such, as the the <a href="http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/robots-to-perform-inventory-tasks-at-schnucks-grocery-stores/article_1b5bcb10-84f3-580c-b0f9-6b889cc4ce28.html?utm_content=buffer891a9&amp;utm_medium=social&amp;utm_source=facebook.com&amp;utm_campaign=LEEDCC">St. Louis Post-Dispatch</a> points out today, the relatively small Midwest grocery store chain of Schnucks has decided to roll out the first of what could eventually be a large fleet of grocery stocking robots.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>A slender robot named Tally soon will be roaming the aisles at select Schnucks groceries, on the lookout for out-of-stock items and verifying prices.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Maryland Heights-based Schnuck Markets, which operates 100 stores in five states, on Monday will begin testing its first Tally at its store at 6600 Clayton Road in Richmond Heights. The pilot test is expected to last six weeks. A second Tally will appear in coming weeks at Schnucks stores at 1060 Woods Mill Road in Town and Country and at 10233 Manchester Road in Kirkwood.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The robots are the first test of the technology in Missouri and could ultimately be expanded to more Schnucks stores.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Each 30-pound robot is equipped with sensors to help it navigate the store’s layout and avoid bumping into customers’ carts. When it detects product areas that aren’t fully stocked, the data is shared with store management staff so the retailer can make changes, said Dave Steck, Schnuck Markets’ vice president of IT and infrastructure.</p> </blockquote> <p>Tally, created by a San Francisco-based company named Simbe, is also being tested at other mass merchants and dollar stores all across the country.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Founded in 2014, Simbe has placed Tally robots in mass merchants, dollar stores and groceries across the country, including some Target stores </strong>in San Francisco last year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The goal of Tally is to create more of a feedback mechanism,” Bogolea said. “Although most retailers have good supply chain intelligence, and point-of-sale data on what they’ve sold, what’s challenging for retailers is understanding the true state of merchandise on shelves. Everyone sees value in higher quality, more frequent information across the entire value chain.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The robot does take breaks. When Tally senses it’s low on power, it finds its way to a charging dock. And, the robot is designed to stay out of the way of customers. If it detects a congested area, it’ll return to the aisle when it’s less busy. If a shopper approaches the robot, it’s programmed to stop moving.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Meanwhile, with nearly 40,000 grocery stores in the U.S. employing roughly 3.5mm people, most of whom work at or near minimum wage, Bernie's "Fight for $15" agitators may want to take note of this development.</strong></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6NN8kXh-Tpk" width="600" height="337" frameborder="0"></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="796" height="518" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017.07.26%20-%20Tally%201.JPG?1501099304" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/meet-tally-grocery-stocking-robot-about-eradicate-1000s-minimum-wage-jobs#comments Blockbuster LLC Distribution business) Grocery store Kroger Marketing Midwest Retailing Sales Schnucks Shops Supermarket Trade Whole Foods Market Wed, 26 Jul 2017 22:05:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 600551 at http://www.zerohedge.com Congressman Luis Gutierrez Calls Trump A "Major Criminal" That Must Be "Eliminated" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/congressman-luis-gutierrez-calls-trump-major-criminal-must-be-eliminated <p><a href="http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/congressman-luis-gutierrez-calls-donald-trump-a-major-criminal-that-must-be-eliminated"><em>Authored by Michael Snyder via The American Dream blog,</em></a></p> <p><em><strong>Is it proper for a sitting member of Congress to call for the president of the United States to be &ldquo;eliminated&rdquo;?</strong></em> Despite all of the chaos and all of the violence that we have seen so far, Democrats continue to stir up even more anger and even more hatred. Words have power, and our leaders need to be very careful about how they use them. Our nation is the most divided that it has been in my entire lifetime, and it isn&rsquo;t going to take too much to push America into a state of full-blown civil unrest.</p> <p>U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) is a very gifted public speaker. If he chose to use that gift for good, he could make a tremendous difference in this country. <strong>But instead, he is using his gift to encourage people to hate President Trump. </strong>During a recent appearance at Chicago&rsquo;s Lincoln United Methodist Church on Saturday, Gutierrez actually referred to Trump as a &ldquo;criminal&rdquo; <a href="http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/07/24/donald-trump-illegal-immigration-luis-gutierrez-criminal-deported-environment" target="_blank" title="multiple times">multiple times</a>&hellip;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>&ldquo;The major criminal that exists in the United States of America is called Donald Trump [and] he lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Av at the White House,&rdquo; </strong></span>Gutierrez stormed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>&ldquo;Someone who takes health care away from 33 million people is a criminal,&rdquo; </strong></span>he said.</p> </blockquote> <p>But of course he didn&rsquo;t stop there.</p> <p>Gutierrez went on to tell the congregation that Trump must be <a href="http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/07/24/donald-trump-illegal-immigration-luis-gutierrez-criminal-deported-environment" target="_blank" title="“eliminated”">&ldquo;eliminated&rdquo;</a> as soon as possible&hellip;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>He invited the congregation to &ldquo;take action&rdquo; and take back the Congress so that Trump could be put before the Senate in impeachment proceedings.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Gutierrez said<strong> Trump must be &ldquo;eliminated&hellip; as the president of the United States of America.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>You can watch Gutierrez making these comments on video <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9_Ae2-7_Cg" target="_blank" title="right here">right here</a>.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/K9_Ae2-7_Cg" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>Hopefully Gutierrez did not intend to incite his followers to violence with his remarks, but they are definitely rather chilling, especially considering what else we have learned lately.</p> <p>Just recently, <strong>Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne revealed that a prominent member of Congress told him that <a href="https://www.infowars.com/pastor-senior-republican-told-me-of-plan-to-take-out-trump/" target="_blank" title="“there is a plot on Capitol Hill to take the president out”">&ldquo;there is a plot on Capitol Hill to take the president out&rdquo;</a>, and that this plot would result in Trump being &ldquo;removed suddenly from office&rdquo;&hellip;</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>During an appearance on Revival Ministries International, Rodney Howard-Browne said he spent three hours &ldquo;from 9:30 in the evening until 12:30am with one of the senior ranking members of Congress&rdquo;.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The pastor said he related the same story on the CBN network but &ldquo;they cut it out&rdquo; and that he had decided &ldquo;to go public with this because we have to.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;He said there is a plot on Capitol Hill to take the president out, I said you mean by impeachment or by indictment &ndash; he said no, to take him out, he will be removed suddenly from office,&rdquo; said Howard-Browne, before adding, &ldquo;you can read between the lines&rdquo;.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Congressman, who the pastor revealed had been in office since 1996, went on to tell Howard-Browne &ldquo;there&rsquo;s nothing we can do to stop it.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Earlier this week, I wrote about how <strong>members of Trump&rsquo;s own party <a href="https://michaelsnyderforidaho.com/index.php/2017/07/24/do-you-stand-with-president-trump/" target="_blank" title="are stabbing him in the back">are stabbing him in the back</a>. </strong>Many establishment Republicans hate Trump as much as the Democrats do, and they would not cry any tears if Trump was somehow removed from power.</p> <p><u><strong>We are at a critical moment in our history. </strong></u>For decades, the elite have had a hammerlock on our political system, and that is why nothing has ever seemed to change very much no matter which party was in power.</p> <p>When Donald Trump came along, the American people realized that they finally had a chance to fight back against the establishment. And so even though he made mistakes, tens of millions of Americans stuck with Trump because he tapped into that fundamental hunger for liberty and freedom that we all have deep inside of us.</p> <p><em><strong>It literally was a miracle that Trump was able to overcome relentless attacks by the mainstream media and the political machines of both major political parties to become the president of the United States. But now the elite figure that if they can just figure out a way to get rid of him that things can go back to &ldquo;normal&rdquo;.</strong></em></p> <p>We cannot allow that to happen. This is our best shot at taking our government back, and so we need to do whatever we can to support Trump, and we also need to do whatever we can to get him a lot more friends in Congress in 2018.</p> <p>If you are a supporter of Trump, I hope that you will stand with me <a href="https://michaelsnyderforidaho.com/" target="_blank" title="as I run for Congress">as I run for Congress</a>. In my district there is no incumbent running this time, and so the race is totally wide open. If you want someone that will push to have these ridiculous investigations into Trump and his administration shut down, then I am your guy.</p> <p><strong>If the Democrats end up taking control of Congress in 2018, impeachment proceedings will surely follow. So it is absolutely imperative that we do not let the Democrats take back control of Congress.</strong></p> <p>I know that I have been writing about politics a lot lately. But I am doing so because it is important. If we let this moment in our history slip away, and if the elite are successful in extinguishing the Trump revolution, we may never have an opportunity to turn our country around politically ever again.</p> <p><strong>We are literally in a battle <a href="https://michaelsnyderforidaho.com/index.php/2016/07/23/if-america-does-not-turn-back-to-god-there-isnt-going-to-be-an-america/" target="_blank" title="for the soul of our nation">for the soul of our nation</a>, and if we are going to fight for the future of our country now is the time to do so.</strong></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="294" height="160" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170726_luis.jpg?1501087476" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/congressman-luis-gutierrez-calls-trump-major-criminal-must-be-eliminated#comments American people of German descent Av Business Chicago’s Lincoln United Methodist Church Climate change skepticism and denial Congress Donald Trump Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign Politics Politics of the United States Senate The Apprentice United States White House White House WWE Hall of Fame Wed, 26 Jul 2017 21:40:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 600533 at http://www.zerohedge.com Hillary Clinton Book, Set To Drop In September, Can Be Summarized In Two Words: 'Russia' & 'Comey' http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/hillary-clinton-book-set-drop-september-can-be-summarized-two-words-russia-comey <p>Hillary Clinton is set to drop a new book in September detailing her latest presidential campaign and we bet you can't even begin to imagine what the focus of the book might be...actually, you probably guessed "Russia" and/or "Comey" and you're exactly right...in fact, we suspect that you basically managed to summarize the entire book in just two words.&nbsp; </p> <p>As <a href="http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/343755-clinton-book-to-double-down-on-russia-comey-message">The Hill</a> notes today, details of the new book are slowly being leaked by Clinton confidants who promise a "bombshell."</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Privately, Clinton has told friends and longtime associates that she<strong> “wants the whole story out there”</strong> as she rushes to tweak and put the finishing touches on the book due out in September.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“She really believes that’s why she lost, and she wants to explain why in no uncertain terms,”</strong> one longtime ally said. <strong>“She wants the whole story out there from her own perspective. I think a lot of people are going to be really surprised by how much she reveals.”</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ally said the book of personal essays will be a “<strong>bombshell.”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Of course the book won't be <strong><em>entirely</em></strong> about Russia and Comey, it will also delve into other factors she insists played a role in her stunning defeat, including everything from sexism and misogyny to "everyone who just assumed she would win."</p> <p>And while we haven't seen the book, we would be willing to bet that if you played a drinking game based on the following list of excuses from Fox News that you wouldn't even make it beyond page 10.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/07/26/2017.07.25 - Hillary Excuses 2.JPG"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/07/26/2017.07.25%20-%20Hillary%20Excuses%202_0.JPG" style="width: 600px; height: 338px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, it still remains a mystery to us why sexism, misogyny and the Russians only played a role in swaying voters in MI, WI, OH, PA but not those in CO, NV, VA and NM...does that strike anyone else as odd?</p> <p>Meanwhile, even Democrats in Congress are getting a little tired of Hillary's excuses.&nbsp; Over the weekend, in a somewhat shockingly frank interview on ABC's "This Week", Senate Minority Leader Chuck <strong>Schumer finally admitted that Democrats, not Russia, were to blame for Hillary Clinton’s loss to President Trump</strong>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"<strong>When you lose to somebody who has 40 percent popularity, you don’t blame other things - [James] Comey, Russia - you blame yourself.</strong>"</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"So what did we do wrong? <strong>People didn’t know what we stood for, just that we were against Trump. And still believe that</strong>."</p> </blockquote> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/duE27dO0G9E" width="600" height="337" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Moreover, Joe Biden, who has dropped a lot of hints about a 2020 bid for the White House, told students at the University of Pennsylvania, in no uncertain terms, that Hillary lost because she abandoned the Democrats' blue collar base of voters.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>“What happened was that this was the first campaign that I can recall where my party did not talk about what it always stood for — and that was how to maintain a burgeoning middle class,” Biden said in March at the University of Pennsylvania, where he launched the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. “You didn’t hear a single solitary sentence in the last campaign about that guy working on the assembly line making $60,000 a year and a wife making $32,000 as a hostess.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Biden took it a step further at a Las Vegas hedge fund conference in May, saying: “I never thought she was a great candidate. I thought I was a great candidate.”</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Conclusion: Save yourself the $14.99 and read the following summary of Hillary's "bombshell" instead.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/07/26/2017.07.25 - Hillary Excuses.JPG"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/07/26/2017.07.25%20-%20Hillary%20Excuses_0.JPG" style="width: 600px; height: 375px;" /></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="482" height="334" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017.07.25%20-%20Hillary%20Excuses%20Tease.JPG?1501081184" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/hillary-clinton-book-set-drop-september-can-be-summarized-two-words-russia-comey#comments Congress Dismissal of United States Attorneys controversy Donald Trump Fox News Hillary Clinton James Comey Joe Biden Las Vegas Misogyny New York Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement Politics Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections the University of Pennsylvania United States White House White House Wed, 26 Jul 2017 21:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 600524 at http://www.zerohedge.com First Anadarko, Now Whiting: Second Shale Company Slashes CapEx Budget http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/first-anadarko-now-whiting-second-shale-company-slashes-capex-budget <p>On Monday <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-24/peak-shale-anadarko-just-became-first-us-oil-producer-slash-capex">we reported </a>that Anadarko, which previously had been lamenting the egregious amount of liquidity in the energy sector, became the first company to slash its full year capex budget by $300 million from a previous range of $4.5-$4.7 billion. As noted in our discussion, this was a material event not only for APC but the entire sector as "the Anadarko news is clearly negative for its shale peers, <strong>most of whom are set to announce similar capex declines."</strong> </p> <p>Moments ago, this was confirmed when Whiting Petroleum, the largest oil producer in North Dakota's Bakken region, became the second shale driller in the current cycle to slash its full year capital spending budget by 14% to $950 million from a prior estimate of $1.1 billion. .</p> <p>Whiting CEO James J. Volker explained it as follows: “One of our priorities is to maintain a strong balance sheet while delivering high returns and sustainable growth to investors. <strong>We plan to reduce capital spending to $950 million while achieving 14% production growth from first quarter to fourth quarter 2017. </strong>This is a testament to the high quality of our asset base, which is also evident in the strong 23% growth in proved reserves from year-end 2016 levels. A large component of this growth was driven by the effect of enhanced completions in the Williston Basin.”</p> <p>The recent collapse in WLL's capex as a result of the drop in oil prices is shown below, and at the current budget it appears that there will be little if any incremental capex growth from here.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/07/20/wll%20capex.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/07/20/wll%20capex_0.jpg" width="500" height="275" /></a></p> <p>In addition to being the latest confirmation of <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-22/i-have-taken-closer-look-data-eia-why-horseman-global-aggressively-shorting-shale">Horseman's bearish shale thesis</a>, Whiting also posted its eighth consecutive quarterly loss, as production slipped, sending its shares lower by 4% to $5 in after-hours trading. The company's stock has fallen 60% YTD. </p> <p>As we said on Monday, the launch of a new round of CapEx cuts "will likely end up being positive for oil prices as much of the "swing" crude production courtesy of the US shale basin is about to be reduced substantially, in a clear victory for OPEC which has been waiting long for just this day."</p> <p>That said, future pain may be deferred courtesy of WLL's aggressive hedging. In the press release, the company announced that it was more than 64% hedged for the remainder of 2017 as a percentage of June 2017 production, with price hedges going as low as $35 for Q3 and Q4 and $38.57 all of 2018.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/07/20/WLL%20hedges.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/07/20/WLL%20hedges_0.jpg" width="500" height="398" /></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="706" height="389" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/wll%20capex.jpg?1501103116" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/first-anadarko-now-whiting-second-shale-company-slashes-capex-budget#comments Anadarko Business Crude OPEC Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries Whiting Petroleum Wed, 26 Jul 2017 21:06:03 +0000 Tyler Durden 600556 at http://www.zerohedge.com Howard Marks Sounds The Alarm On ETFs And Passive Investing, Again http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/howard-marks-sounds-alarm-etfs-and-passive-investing-again <p>Back in March 2015, Howard Marks was <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-03-26/what-would-happen-if-etf-holders-sold-all-once-howard-marks-explains">among the first to sound the alarm on the encroaching danger posed by both </a>ETFs in particular, and passive investing in general, when he memorably asked (rhetorically, for now), "<strong>what would happen, for example, if a large number of holders decided to sell a high yield bond ETF all at once</strong>?" and answered his own question: </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"in theory, the ETF can always be sold. Buyers may be scarce, but there should be some price at which one will materialize. Of course, the price that buyer will pay might represent a discount from the NAV of the underlying bonds. In that case, a bank should be willing to buy the creation units at that discount from NAV and short the underlying bonds at the prices used to calculate the NAV, earning an arbitrage profit and causing the gap to close. But then we’re back to wondering about whether there will be a buyer for the bonds the bank wants to short, and at what price. <strong>Thus we can’t get away from depending on the liquidity of the underlying high yield bonds. The ETF can’t be more liquid than the underlying, and we know the underlying can become highly illiquid</strong>."</p> </blockquote> <p>Not to make a too fine a point of it, Marks underscored just how profound the role of liquidity can be at a time when everyone needs it, and none is available:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>In September 2008, AIG experienced serious liquidity issues (despite its $1 trillion balance sheet) when it couldn’t post $20-25 billion of liquid collateral related to credit default swap contracts written by one of its subsidiaries. The U.S. government stepped in as a result, lending support that eventually reached $182.3 billion, massively diluting AIG shareholders in the process.<strong> When you can’t meet a margin call because you have insufficient liquidity, that’s profound.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>In the ensuing two years, while the ETF market has only gotten more "liquid" (at least in a time when liquidity wasn't actually needed), the underlying bond market has seen bid/ask spreads widen as liquidity in single-name securities has shrunk. This has not been a purely credit-linked concern, as increasingly more ETF-linked "events" have emerged in other asset classes, including the most liquid one: equities. </p> <p>Fast forward to today, when the Oaktree co-chairman, in his latest memo titled "<a href="https://www.oaktreecapital.com/insights/howard-marks-memos">There They Go Again... Again</a>" has not only shared his broader thoughts on markets and the current investing environment, as follows...</p> <ul> <li><strong>The uncertainties are unusual in terms of number, scale and insolubility </strong>in areas including secular economic growth; the impact of central banks; interest rates and inflation; political dysfunction; geopolitical trouble spots; and the long-term impact of technology.</li> <li>In the vast majority of asset classes, <strong>prospective returns are just about the lowest they’ve ever been.</strong></li> <li><strong>Asset prices are high across the board.&nbsp; </strong>Almost nothing can be bought below its intrinsic value, and there are few bargains.In general the best we can do is look for things that are less over-priced than others.</li> <li><strong>Pro-risk behavior is commonplace, </strong>as the majority of investors embrace increased risk as the route to the returns they want or need.</li> </ul> <p>... which however he doesn't go so far as describing it as a "bubble", but - among others - discusses his latest views on what many believe is the biggest risk to market structure and overall risk stability: ETFs and Passive Investing. </p> <p>And here, once again, Marks sounds the alarm on not only on ETFs, but the exponentially growing passive investor sector, which is soaking up hundreds of billions in capital from active managers, in the process creating perhaps what may be the biggest bubble ever, one which - ironically - takes place with no fundamental analysis whatsoever. The key quotes:</p> <p>Given the generally lagging performance of active managers over the last dozen or so years, as well as the creation of ETFs, or exchange-traded funds, which make transacting simpler, the shift from active to passive investing has accelerated.&nbsp; Today it’s a powerful movement that has expanded to cover 37% of equity fund assets.&nbsp; In the last ten years, $1.4 trillion has flowed into index mutual funds and ETFs (and $1.2 trillion out of actively managed mutual funds).</p> <p>* * * </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>As a product of the last several years, <strong>ETFs’ promise of liquidity has yet to be tested in a major bear market, particularly in less-liquid fields like high yield bonds.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>* * * </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>... as ETFs attract capital, they have to buy large amounts of these stocks, further fueling their rise.&nbsp; Thus, in the current up-cycle, <strong>over-weighted, liquid, large-cap stocks have benefitted from forced buying on the part of passive vehicles, which don’t have the option to refrain from buying a stock just because its overpriced...</strong> Is Apple a safe stock or a stock that has performed well of late?&nbsp; Is anyone thinking about the difference? </p> </blockquote> <p>* * * </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>... what should we think about the willingness of investors to turn over their capital to a process in which neither individual holdings nor portfolio construction is the subject of thoughtful analysis and decision-making, and in which buying takes place regardless of price?</p> </blockquote> <p>* * * </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Like the tech stocks in 2000, this seeming perpetual motion machine is unlikely to work forever.&nbsp; <strong>If funds ever flow out of equities and thus ETFs, what has been disproportionately bought will have to be disproportionately sold.&nbsp; It’s not clear where index funds and ETFs will find buyers for their over-weighted, highly appreciated holdings if they have to sell in a crunch.&nbsp; </strong></p> </blockquote> <p>* * * </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Finally, the systemic risks to the stock market have to be considered.&nbsp; Bregman calls “the index universe a big, crowded momentum trade.”&nbsp; A handful of stocks – the FAANGs and a few more – are responsible for a rising percentage of the S&amp;P’s gains, meaning the stock market’s health may be overstated. </strong></p> </blockquote> <p>* * * </p> <p><em>More in the full excerpt below (<a href="https://www.oaktreecapital.com/insights/howard-marks-memos">source</a>):</em></p> <p><strong>Passive Investing/ETFs</strong></p> <p>Fifty years ago, shortly after arriving at the University of Chicago for graduate school, I was taught that thanks to market efficiency, (a) assets are priced to provide fair risk-adjusted returns and (b) no one can consistently find the exceptions.&nbsp; <strong>In other words, “you can’t beat the market.”&nbsp; </strong>Our professors even advanced the idea of buying a little bit of each stock as a can’t-fail, low-cost way to outperform the stock-pickers.</p> <p>John Bogle put that suggestion into practice.&nbsp; Having founded Vanguard a year earlier, he launched the First Index Investment Trust in 1975, the first index fund to reach commercial scale.&nbsp; As a vehicle designed to emulate the S&amp;P 500, it was later renamed the Vanguard 500 Index Fund.</p> <p>The concept of indexation, or passive investing, grew gradually over the next four decades, until it accounted for 20% of equity mutual fund assets in 2014.&nbsp; Given the generally lagging performance of active managers over the last dozen or so years, as well as the creation of ETFs, or exchange-traded funds, which make transacting simpler, the shift from active to passive investing has accelerated.&nbsp; Today <strong>it’s a powerful movement that has expanded to cover 37% of equity fund assets.&nbsp; In the last ten years, $1.4 trillion has flowed into index mutual funds and ETFs (and $1.2 trillion out of actively managed mutual funds).</strong></p> <p>Like all investment fashions, passive investing is being warmly embraced for its positives:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Passive portfolios have outperformed active investing over the last decade or so.</strong></li> <li><strong>With passive investing you’re guaranteed not to underperform the index.</strong></li> <li><strong>Finally, the much lower fees and expenses on passive vehicles are certain to constitute a permanent advantage relative to active management.</strong></li> </ul> <p>Does that mean passive investing, index funds and ETFs are a no-lose proposition?&nbsp; Certainly not:</p> <ul> <li>While passive investors protect against the risk of underperforming, they also surrender the possibility of outperforming.</li> <li>The recent underperformance on the part of active investors may well prove to be cyclical rather than permanent.</li> <li>As a product of the last several years, <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>ETFs’ promise of liquidity has yet to be tested in a major bear market, particularly in less-liquid fields like high yield bonds.</strong></span></li> </ul> <p>Here are a few more things worth thinking about:</p> <p>Remember, the wisdom of passive investing stems from the belief that the efforts of active investors cause assets to be fairly priced – that’s why there are no bargains to find.&nbsp; But what happens when the majority of equity investment comes to be managed passively?&nbsp; Then prices will be freer to diverge from “fair,” and bargains (and over-pricings) should become more commonplace.&nbsp; This won’t assure success for active managers, but certainly it will satisfy a necessary condition for their efforts to be effective.</p> <p>One of my clients, the chief investment officer of a pension fund, told me the treasurer had proposed dumping all active managers and putting the whole fund into index funds and ETFs.&nbsp; <strong>My response was simple: ask him how much of the fund he’s comfortable having in assets no one is analyzing. </strong></p> <p>As Steven Bregman of Horizon Kinetics puts it, “basket-based mechanistic investing” is blindly moving trillions of dollars.&nbsp; <strong>ETFs don’t have fundamental analysts, and because they don’t question valuations, they don’t contribute to price discovery.&nbsp; Not only is the number of active managers’ analysts likely to decline if more money is shifted to passive investing, but people should also wonder about who’s setting the rules that govern passive funds’ portfolio construction.</strong></p> <p><strong>The low fees and expenses that make passive investments attractive mean their organizers have to emphasize scale.</strong>&nbsp; To earn higher fees than index funds and achieve profitable scale, ETF sponsors have been turning to “smarter,” not-exactly-passive vehicles.&nbsp; Thus ETFs have been organized to meet (or create) demand for funds in specialized areas such as various stock categories (value or growth), stock characteristics (low volatility or high quality), types of companies, or geographies.&nbsp; There are passive ETFs for people who want growth, value, high quality, low volatility and momentum.&nbsp; <em>Going to the extreme, investors now can choose from funds that invest passively in companies that have gender-diverse senior management, practice “biblically responsible investing,” or focus on medical marijuana, solutions to obesity, serving millennials, and whiskey and spirits. </em></p> <p>But what does “passive” mean when a vehicle’s focus is so narrowly defined?&nbsp; Each deviation from the broad indices introduces definitional issues and non-passive, discretionary decisions.&nbsp; Passive funds that emphasize stocks reflecting specific factors are called “smart-beta funds,” but who can say the people setting their selection rules are any smarter than the active managers who are so disrespected these days?&nbsp; <strong>Bregman calls this “semantic investing,” meaning stocks are chosen on the basis of labels, not quantitative analysis.&nbsp; </strong>There are no absolute standards for which stocks represent many of the characteristics listed above. </p> <p>Importantly, organizers wanting their “smart” products to reach commercial scale are likely to rely heavily on the largest-capitalization, most-liquid stocks.&nbsp; For example, having Apple in your ETF allows it to get really big.&nbsp; Thus Apple is included today in ETFs emphasizing tech, growth, value, momentum, large-caps, high quality, low volatility, dividends, and leverage. </p> <p>Here’s what Barron’s had to say earlier this month:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>With cap-weighted indexes, index buyers have no discretion but to load up on stocks that are already overweight (and often pricey) and neglect those already underweight.&nbsp; <strong>That’s the opposite of buy low, sell high.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>The large positions occupied by the top recent performers – with their swollen market caps – mean that <strong>as ETFs attract capital, they have to buy large amounts of these stocks, further fueling their rise.&nbsp; Thus, in the current up-cycle, over-weighted, liquid, large-cap stocks have benefitted from forced buying on the part of passive vehicles, which don’t have the option to refrain from buying a stock just because its overpriced. </strong></p> <p>Like the tech stocks in 2000, this seeming perpetual motion machine is unlikely to work forever.&nbsp; <strong>If funds ever flow out of equities and thus ETFs, what has been disproportionately bought will have to be disproportionately sold.&nbsp; It’s not clear where index funds and ETFs will find buyers for their over-weighted, highly appreciated holdings if they have to sell in a crunch.&nbsp; </strong>In this way, appreciation that was driven by passive buying is likely to eventually turn out to be rotational, not perpetual.</p> <p>* * * </p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Finally, the systemic risks to the stock market have to be considered.</strong></span>&nbsp; Bregman calls “the index universe a big, crowded momentum trade.”<strong>&nbsp; A handful of stocks – the FAANGs and a few more – are responsible for a rising percentage of the S&amp;P’s gains, meaning the stock market’s health may be overstated. </strong></p> <p>All the above factors raise questions about the likely effectiveness of passive vehicles – and especially smart-beta ETFs. </p> <ul> <li><strong>Is Apple a safe stock or a stock that has performed well of late?&nbsp;</strong> Is anyone thinking about the difference?</li> <li>Are investors who invest in a number of passive vehicles described in different ways likely to achieve the diversification, liquidity and safety they expect?</li> <li><strong>And what should we think about the willingness of investors to turn over their capital to a process in which neither individual holdings nor portfolio construction is the subject of thoughtful analysis and decision-making, and in which buying takes place regardless of price</strong>?</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="640" height="360" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/howard%20marks%20teaser.jpg?1501087253" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/howard-marks-sounds-alarm-etfs-and-passive-investing-again#comments AIG Apple B+ Bear Market Bond Business Central Banks default Economic history of the Netherlands Exchange-traded funds Finance Funds High Yield Howard Marks Index fund Investment Investment management Money Mutual fund None Oaktree Passive management S&P S&P 500 Stock market the University of Chicago The Vanguard Group US government Volatility Wed, 26 Jul 2017 20:54:29 +0000 Tyler Durden 600532 at http://www.zerohedge.com Wall Street Icon Warns The Fed's Balance Sheet Unwind "Is Very Dangerous For Markets" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/wall-street-icon-warns-feds-balance-sheet-unwind-very-dangerous-markets <p><a href="https://www.fuw.ch/article/the-market-is-vulnerable-to-a-correction-wien-english-version/"><em>Authored by Christoph Gisiger via Finanz und Wirtschaft,</em></a></p> <p><strong><span class="content-body__lead">Blackstone&rsquo;s market maven Byron Wien warns that stocks are in danger of suffering a setback. But he also explains why investors should keep their calm and weather the impending storm.</span></strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>To expect the unexpected is the key to success in investing. That&rsquo;s exactly what Byron Wien has built himself a unique reputation on: For more than thirty years the living Wall Street legend publishes a yearly list with ten surprises that will have a meaningful impact on the global financial markets.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&laquo;People all over the world are aware of it and identify me with it&raquo;, says the Vice Chairman in the private wealth group of Blackstone. &laquo;What they seem to like about it is that I put myself at risk by going on record and hold myself accountable at the year end&raquo;, he adds.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So how accurate are Wien&rsquo;s predictions for 2017 so far? Which developments could surprise investors during the rest of the year? And first and foremost: Where does the experienced market maven see the biggest risks and opportunities right now?</p> </blockquote> <p><span class="content-body__lead"><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/07/26/20170726_wien.jpg"><img height="303" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/07/26/20170726_wien.jpg" width="551" /></a></span></p> <p><strong>Mr. Wien, everybody on Wall Street knows you for your yearly prediction of ten surprises. What is for you personally the most astonishing development so far this year?</strong><br />I would say I&rsquo;m having an average year where I get five or six surprises right. Everybody calls them forecasts or predictions but they really are surprises. To me, a surprise is an event that the average investor would only assign a one out of three chance of taking place but which I believe has a better than 50% likelihood of happening. I never get them all right but I don&rsquo;t do it for score. I do it to get people thinking.</p> <p><strong>Which surprises did you get right so far?</strong><br />I said that the S&amp;P 500 would go to 2500 this year. It&rsquo;s close to 2480 now and we are at the end of July. So I&rsquo;m pretty optimistic about that one. I also said the price of oil would be lower than people thought and it is lower than people thought. So those are some of the highlights.</p> <p><strong>And what took you by surprise?</strong><br />The drop in interest rates and the weakness of the dollar were the big surprises to me. I said interest rates would rise and they fell and I said the dollar would be strong and it&rsquo;s been weak. So I definitely got those two wrong. The same is true for Donald Trump. I said correctly that he would soften his positions and he has reversed himself on a number of issues. But I didn&rsquo;t think he would get so little done. So far he has gotten nothing done, nothing to show for. He spends way too much time on Twitter <span class="article-stockprice-wrapper">(<span class="article-stockprice-symbol"><a href="https://marktdaten.fuw.ch/detail/stocks?ID_NOTATION=91693357" target="_blank">TWTR</a></span> <span class="article-stockprice-instrument_price">19.71</span> <span class="article-stockprice-red">-1.3%</span>)</span> and he hasn&rsquo;t even gotten the affordable care act revised. That&rsquo;s a disappointment.</p> <p><strong>What&rsquo;s next for the Trump agenda? Does his plan for a &ldquo;huge&rdquo; tax reform still stand a chance?</strong><br />I think he will get it done. But as time goes by it&rsquo;s threatening. If the Republicans don&rsquo;t get an important part of the Trump agenda passed they could lose a lot of seats in the November 2018 elections. So this is the big risk the party is facing. Also <span class="article-stockprice-wrapper">(<span class="article-stockprice-symbol"><a href="https://marktdaten.fuw.ch/detail/stocks?ID_NOTATION=14479722" target="_blank">ALSN</a></span> <span class="article-stockprice-instrument_price">124.7</span> <span class="article-stockprice-green">1.46%</span>)</span>, Trump has been very insular in his approach. He hasn&rsquo;t reached out to Democrats and I don&rsquo;t think he&rsquo;s even solidified his own party. He spends most of his time with his own staff and his family but you don&rsquo;t see him going out or having Congress people in for dinner or things like that. So here we have a guy who is president and who has control of Congress. But to get anything major done he needs 60 votes in the Senate and he&rsquo;s barely getting 50 &nbsp;because there is anarchy in the Republican party.</p> <p><strong>The original plan of the Republicans was that the spending cuts from repealing and replacing Obamacare would help finance the tax reform. Are significant tax cuts still possible?</strong><br />The United States is already running a $560 billion tax deficit. By my calculation, if Trump gets his tax reform through it will double the size of the deficit from around $500 billion to one trillion dollars. That is still not a disaster. The US is a $20 trillion economy. So a 5% deficit is not the end of the world.</p> <p><strong>So far the markets are taking Trumps inability quite lightly. How long will that last?</strong><br />Donald Trump is a lucky guy. He is lucky because earnings are coming through better-than-expected. If the market was going down that would be trouble for him. But the market isn&rsquo;t going down. So Trump has done almost nothing right and the market is up. He&rsquo;s getting away with something.</p> <p><strong>What&rsquo;s your take on the state of the stock market in general?</strong><br />There are some wild cards out there: North Korea, the risk of Russia invading the Baltics and the Trump administration continuing to be in chaos. Those are negatives. But overall, the tone of the market is favorable and earnings are coming through better than expected. Investors are optimistic and everybody on Wall Street is having a good year. But in the real world out there most people are not doing so well. For example, the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index is at a nine month low. Even though the employment numbers are good, average hourly earnings are only increasing at a rate of 2.5%. So wages aren&rsquo;t increasing and that&rsquo;s what is dampening consumer sentiment.</p> <p><strong>What&rsquo;s your explanation for this discrepancy between Wall Street and Main Street?</strong><br />The earnings of US corporations are increasing and that&rsquo;s driving the stock market. Companies are doing everything possible to increase profitability. Also, there&rsquo;s a certain amount of financial engineering going on. Many companies are using the cash on their balance sheet to buy their own shares back and to pay higher dividends.</p> <p><strong>What&rsquo;s also remarkable is the quiet in the market. For instance, the VIX volatility index is hovering around the lowest level since 1993.</strong><br />Don&rsquo;t spend a minute thinking about volatility. I encourage people around here at Blackstone not to use volatility as a predictive indicator. It was useful in the past but it isn&rsquo;t useful now.</p> <p><strong>Why?</strong><br />We never had algorithmic trading playing such an important role as we have now and that has really dampened volatility. Many of these trading programs are based on the assumption that prices and returns eventually move back toward the mean or average. So nothing is getting out of line. That&rsquo;s why I just don&rsquo;t think volatility is a good indicator. Often times, people equate volatility with risk. But volatility is a variation in price and it isn&rsquo;t risk. Risk is losing money.</p> <p><strong>So where do you spot the biggest risk right now?</strong><br />There are two things I&rsquo;m worried about. One is the a lack of productivity. There was good productivity improvement in the period from 1995 to 2005 because of the internet. But since then there have been no major innovations and productivity has been disappointing for a decade. The next big productivity booster will be the driverless car and the driverless truck. But that&rsquo;s several years away. So we will continue to have low productivity.</p> <p><strong>And what&rsquo;s the second thing you&rsquo;re worried about?</strong><br />Central bank liquidity has been an important factor driving the market. But now, the Federal Reserve is tightening. They have already tightened twice this year and they are talking about shrinking the balance sheet, starting in September. Also, the European Central Bank is talking about being less accommodative as well. So we&rsquo;re going from a very accommodative monetary policy around the world to a more restrictive policy and that&rsquo;s going to put a damper on the market.</p> <p><strong>But if &nbsp;monetary policy is getting less easy isn&rsquo;t that also an encouraging sign that central bankers are having more confidence in the resilience of the economy?</strong><br />The Federal Reserve has two mandates: low inflation and full employment. Right now we have full employment and low inflation. So the Federal Reserve is doing its job. They are achieving their mandate and the economy is not overheating. They have no reason to raise rates. But the Fed has allowed its balance sheet to growth significantly. Since the creation of the Federal Reserve it took 95 years to growth the balance sheet to $1 trillion. But because the banking system was in danger of melting down in 2008 they went to $2.5 trillion basically overnight and now they&rsquo;re at $4.5 trillion. So the Fed feels guilty that it has expanded money too fast and they feel they have to shrink the balance sheet back.</p> <p><strong>What does that mean for the markets?</strong><br />The Fed will shrink the balance sheet by letting the treasury bonds and the mortgage backed securities that are on its balance sheet mature and redeeming them. But that will take money out of the system and that&rsquo;s very dangerous for the markets.</p> <p><strong>Why?</strong><br />There is a significant congruence between the expansion of the Fed&rsquo;s Balance sheet and the performance of the S&amp;P 500. They are roughly congruent except for now because the market is running ahead of the Fed&rsquo;s balance sheet. That makes me worried of a kind of Wile E. Coyote-Phenomenon where the market is running off the edge of the cliff and it doesn&rsquo;t know it doesn&rsquo;t have any land below it to support it. In this case, the missing ground would be the withdrawal of money from the system because not only is the Fed thinking about doing it but the European Central Bank is thinking about doing it as well. So naturally, the market is vulnerable to a 10% correction at any time.</p> <p><strong>Could that mean the end of the bull market?</strong><br />I emphasize a correction, not a bear market. I don&rsquo;t think a bear market is in store. The only thing that really creates sharp downturns is a recession and I don&rsquo;t see a recession before 2019.</p> <p><strong>What makes you confident about the economy?</strong><br />Recessions are created out of excesses: aggressive Fed tightening, an inverted yield curve, building up of inventories, rising unemployment or rising inflation. You don&rsquo;t have any of those things in place. You could say the stock market is too expensive right now but markets usually don&rsquo;t tank significantly unless the fundamentals are deteriorating.</p> <p><strong>What do your recommend investors to do in this environment?</strong><br />We may experience a summer correction but I&rsquo;m encouraging investors to be patient and to weather it &nbsp;because the longer-term prospects remain favorable. The earnings for the S&amp;P 500 were originally projected this year to come in at $125. But now, they&rsquo;re going to be over $130 and I think in two years they could rise to 150 $. So even though the market may look a little bit expensive today, based on earnings, a couple of years from now stocks look attractive. That&rsquo;s why I&rsquo;m basically positive and I think it&rsquo;s going to be worth it to hang in there if a downdraft occurs.</p> <p><strong>Where do you see the most attractive opportunities right now?</strong><br />I like the US but I like Europe more and I like Japan the most. The Japanese economy is growing at an annual rate of 1.5%, inflation is at 1%, corporate profits are robust and valuations are lower than they are in the US and in Europe. But most importantly: nobody owns Japanese stocks. When I visit our clients and I look at their portfolios, everybody owns US stocks and people are more fully invested in Europe but basically nobody owns Japanese equities. So if you find a situation that&rsquo;s improving and it&rsquo;s not widely owned and it&rsquo;s undervalued that&rsquo;s an opportunity.</p> <p><strong>And what sectors do you favor?</strong><br />I like companies where the earnings are unpredictable on the upside. For instance, in the US I like companies in information technology &nbsp;and in biotechnology. &nbsp;There&rsquo;s a reason why Facebook <span class="article-stockprice-wrapper">(<span class="article-stockprice-symbol"><a href="https://marktdaten.fuw.ch/detail/stocks?ID_NOTATION=63750376" target="_blank">FB</a></span> <span class="article-stockprice-instrument_price">165.24</span> <span class="article-stockprice-red">-0.02%</span>)</span>, Amazon <span class="article-stockprice-wrapper">(<span class="article-stockprice-symbol"><a href="https://marktdaten.fuw.ch/detail/stocks?ID_NOTATION=252992" target="_blank">AMZN</a></span> <span class="article-stockprice-instrument_price">1051.53</span> <span class="article-stockprice-green">1.12%</span>)</span>, Apple <span class="article-stockprice-wrapper">(<span class="article-stockprice-symbol"><a href="https://marktdaten.fuw.ch/detail/stocks?ID_NOTATION=253929" target="_blank">AAPL</a></span> <span class="article-stockprice-instrument_price">153.36</span> <span class="article-stockprice-green">0.41%</span>)</span>, Netflix <span class="article-stockprice-wrapper">(<span class="article-stockprice-symbol"><a href="https://marktdaten.fuw.ch/detail/stocks?ID_NOTATION=5492248" target="_blank">NFLX</a></span> <span class="article-stockprice-instrument_price">188.25</span> <span class="article-stockprice-green">0.68%</span>)</span>, Microsoft <span class="article-stockprice-wrapper">(<span class="article-stockprice-symbol"><a href="https://marktdaten.fuw.ch/detail/stocks?ID_NOTATION=273978" target="_blank">MSFT</a></span> <span class="article-stockprice-instrument_price">74.15</span> <span class="article-stockprice-red">-0.05%</span>)</span> and Google <span class="article-stockprice-wrapper">(<span class="article-stockprice-symbol"><a href="https://marktdaten.fuw.ch/detail/stocks?ID_NOTATION=10390991" target="_blank">GOOGL</a></span> <span class="article-stockprice-instrument_price">964.1839</span> <span class="article-stockprice-red">-0.5%</span>)</span> are doing so well. They have open-ended earnings, a very high return on equity and they dominate their respective fields. Amazon for example has been able to build a terrific business using technology. The company has around 340,000 employees and a market value of close to $500 billion. In contrast, Wal-Mart <span class="article-stockprice-wrapper">(<span class="article-stockprice-symbol"><a href="https://marktdaten.fuw.ch/detail/stocks?ID_NOTATION=291252" target="_blank">WMT</a></span> <span class="article-stockprice-instrument_price">78.345</span> <span class="article-stockprice-red">-0.22%</span>)</span> has 2.3 million employees and a market value of only $240 billion. Wal-Mart has built terrific business, too, but it&rsquo;s more of a service oriented company and therefore its horizons have to be more limited.</p> <p><strong>In which sectors would you rather not be?</strong><br />The yield on the ten year treasury note is 2.3% now and I think it&rsquo;s going to get above 3% sometime next year. So I wouldn&rsquo;t touch anything that&rsquo;s related to interest rates unless it would benefit from rising rates like stocks of banks and financial institutions. But I wouldn&rsquo;t touch utilities and telecoms or anything like that.</p> <p><strong>Would you allow a personal question at the end of this interview? You&rsquo;ve been working more than fifty years on Wall Street. What&rsquo;s the most important lesson you&rsquo;ve learned during your successful career?</strong><br />When I was offered the Job to be the investment strategist of Morgan Stanley <span class="article-stockprice-wrapper">(<span class="article-stockprice-symbol"><a href="https://marktdaten.fuw.ch/detail/stocks?ID_NOTATION=274646" target="_blank">MS</a></span> <span class="article-stockprice-instrument_price">47.48</span> <span class="article-stockprice-red">-0.27%</span>)</span> many people said to me: &ldquo;you have no idea whether you are going to be successful in that job.&rdquo; &nbsp;Working as a portfolio manager at that time, it also meant that I would have to take a severe pay cut. But I have always wanted to have a job where I could write and where I could travel to places I have never been. So in spite of other people&rsquo;s advice I took the job and it did make me happier than I have ever been. That&rsquo;s why my advice is to take a risk. You won&rsquo;t be successful all the time. But you won&rsquo;t get anywhere where you want to be without taking a risk.</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="551" height="303" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170726_wien.jpg?1501081867" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/wall-street-icon-warns-feds-balance-sheet-unwind-very-dangerous-markets#comments Algorithmic Trading Apple Baltics Bear Market Biotechnology Business business using technology Byron Wien Congress Consumer Sentiment Donald Trump Economy European Central Bank European Central Bank Federal Reserve Finance Google Grand supercycle Information Technology Japan Main Street Mathematical finance Michigan Monetary Policy Money Morgan Stanley Mortgage Backed Securities North Korea Obamacare Recession Republican Party S&P 500 Senate Subprime crisis background information Technical analysis the University of Michigan Trump Administration Twitter Twitter Unemployment University Of Michigan US Federal Reserve Volatility Volatility Yield Curve Yield curve Wed, 26 Jul 2017 20:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 600521 at http://www.zerohedge.com Imran Awan Transferred Nearly $300K To Pakistan Before Attempting To Flee, Lawyer Claims Islamophobia http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/imran-awan-transferred-nearly-300k-pakistan-attempting-flee-lawyer-claims-islamophob <p style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; color: #000000; text-transform: none; line-height: inherit; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: lucida_granderegular, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; word-spacing: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: normal; box-sizing: border-box; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-stretch: inherit; background-color: #ffffff; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Content originally published at&nbsp;</span><span style="font: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; color: #1e439a; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; text-decoration: underline; word-spacing: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: normal; box-sizing: border-box; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; background-color: #ffffff;"><a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; color: #1e439a; line-height: 1.2; font-family: lucida_granderegular, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;" href="http://ibankcoin.com/" target="_blank"><span style="font: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-stretch: inherit;">iBankCoin.com</span></a></span></p> <p style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Following news of the arrest and booking of Debbie Wasserman Schultz's top IT staffer has unfolded over the last&nbsp;48 hours - starting with a report on Monday that<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="http://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/2017/07/24/fbi-seizes-destroyed-computer-equipment-from-garage-of-pakistani-dnc-it-staffers/#sthash.W0IehIi7.L5LB7lH5.dpbs" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">destroyed computer equipment</span></span></a><span>&nbsp;</span>was recovered from&nbsp;a home owned by Imran and Abid Awan - the<span>&nbsp;</span><em>Daily Caller</em>'s Luke Rosiak is out with another bombshell;<span>&nbsp;</span><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">Imran Awan wired $283,000 to Pakistan before attempting to flee the country</strong><span>&nbsp;</span>to join&nbsp;his wife Abid (<strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">who left the country with $12,000 cash</strong>) -&nbsp;<em>hours</em><span>&nbsp;</span>after the Daily Caller reported Awan was under investigation.</p> <blockquote style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><p style="text-align: left;">Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s top information technology (IT) aide was arrested Monday<span>&nbsp;</span><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">attempting to board a flight to Pakistan after wiring $283,000</strong><span>&nbsp;</span>from the Congressional Federal Credit Union to that country.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">He attempted to leave the country hours after The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group revealed that he is the target of an FBI investigation, and the FBI apprehended him at the airport.</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;"><br /></strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Credit union officials permitted the wire to go through, and his wife has already fled the country to Pakistan, after police confronted her at the airport and found $12,000 in cash hidden in her suitcase but did not stop her from boarding, court documents show.</p> </blockquote> <p style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">Shady Loan From Iraqi Doctor</strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><a href="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/07/ali.png"><img width="195" class="alignleft wp-image-10007" style="margin: 0.5em 1em 0.5em 0px; height: auto; float: left; max-width: 100%;" src="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/07/ali.png" height="198" /></a>In February, the&nbsp;<a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/02/20/exclusive-house-dem-it-guys-in-security-probe-secretly-took-100k-in-iraqi-money/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">Daily Caller</span></span></em></a>&nbsp;delivered two bombshells: that the Awans were under criminal investigation after being caught accessing congressional computers without permission, and they had&nbsp;<a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/02/20/exclusive-house-dem-it-guys-in-security-probe-secretly-took-100k-in-iraqi-money/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">borrowed, laundered, and never repaid</span></span></a><span>&nbsp;</span>$100,000 from a&nbsp;<em>super shady</em>&nbsp;Iraqi&nbsp;expat physician -&nbsp;Dr. Ali al-Attar, a<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/02/21/congressional-computer-admins-in-criminal-probe-owed-money-to-hezbollah-connected-fugitive/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">Hezbollah-linked fugitive</span></span></a><span>&nbsp;</span>who led a group of other expats&nbsp;<em><a href="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/07/totalfraud.png" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">which regularly advised the Bush administration</span></span></a><span>&nbsp;</span>on their plans to invade Iraq in 2002-2003<span>&nbsp;</span></em>(<a href="http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/paul-wolfowitzs-iran-connection/"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">source</span></span></a>&nbsp;&lt;-- read up on this guy)<em>.&nbsp;</em></p> <blockquote style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><p>Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, wrote that Attar “was observed in Beirut, Lebanon conversing with a Hezbollah official” in 2012–shortly after the loan was made. -<em>DC</em></p> </blockquote> <p style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Al-Attar's license to practice medicine<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.mbp.state.md.us/BPQAPP/orders/d5009803.192.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">was revoked</span></span></a><span>&nbsp;</span>by the Maryland State Board of Physicians and he had to pay a $50,000 fine for unprofessional conduct,<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/doctor-accused-making-800k-plus-from-health-care-fraud/article/110761" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">healthcare fraud</span></span></a>, and failure to cooperate with an investigation.</p> <p style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><a href="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/07/shaaadyy.png"><img width="626" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-10010" style="height: auto; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block; max-width: 100%;" src="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/07/shaaadyy.png" height="516" /></a></p> <p style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">Sugar Daddy&nbsp;</strong></p> <div class="mceTemp" style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <dl class="wp-caption alignright" style="margin: 0.5em 0px 0.5em 1em; width: 185px; float: right; max-width: 100%;" id="attachment_8583"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><a href="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/05/theo.png"><img width="185" class="wp-image-8583 " style="height: auto; display: block; max-width: 100%;" src="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/05/theo-300x295.png" height="182" /></a></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd" style="margin: 0px; padding-top: 0.5em; font-size: 14px;">Rep Theo Deutch (D-FL) paid a disgruntled vendor the Awans owed money</dd> </dl> </div> <p style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Adding to the list of interesting connections, when the Awans stopped paying vendors for a car dealership they owned,&nbsp;<strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">a U.S. Congressman from Florida began paying a monthly salary to a man who had threatened to sue the Awans.&nbsp;</strong></p> <blockquote style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><p>The brothers had numerous additional sources of income, all of which seemed to disappear. While they were supposedly working for the House, the brothers were running a car dealership full-time that didn’t pay its vendors, and<span>&nbsp;</span><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">after one — Rao Abbas — threatened to sue them, he&nbsp;began receiving a paycheck from Rep.<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/05/theo.png"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">Theodore Deutch</span></span></a>&nbsp;(D-FL), who like Wasserman Schultz represents Florida.</strong></p> <p><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;"><br /></strong></p> <p>While they were working for House members including members of the homeland security and foreign affairs committees, the dealership took and never repaid a $100,000 loan from Dr. Ali Al-Attar, who is a&nbsp;<a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/02/21/congressional-computer-admins-in-criminal-probe-owed-money-to-hezbollah-connected-fugitive/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">fugitive</span></span></a>&nbsp;from U.S.&nbsp;authorities and has been linked&nbsp;to Hezbollah.</p> <p>-<em>Daily Caller</em></p> </blockquote> <p style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Oddly, their car dealership was called "Cars International A, LLC," referred to as "CIA" in court documents:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AwanBrothers?src=hash">#AwanBrothers</a> owned a car dealership called "CIA" in court documents. You can't make this stuff up. <a href="https://t.co/25jhN6BfL1">pic.twitter.com/25jhN6BfL1</a></p> <p>— ZeroPointNow (@ZeroPointNow) <a href="https://twitter.com/ZeroPointNow/status/890126272193585152">July 26, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><p style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">Debbie, Debbie, Debbie</strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Although Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is now trying to distance herself - claiming "Mr. Awan was a "part-time" employee whose serviced had been terminated," DWS refused to fire him after Awan was barred from accessing house computer equipment - instead<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/05/31/wasserman-schultz-admits-hill-it-security-violations-blames-house-administrators-for-not-stopping-her-video/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">changing his title</span></span></a><span>&nbsp;</span>and allowing him to continue to access House property.</p> <blockquote style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><p>Wasserman Schultz lashed out at investigators and changed Awan’s title to “adviser” instead of firing him after House authorities banned him from the network. -<em>Daily Caller</em></p> </blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Debbie Wasserman Schultz claims Imran Awan was a "part-time employee" (being paid $165k), only fired him this morning to protect herself. <a href="https://t.co/sDvFRjY2lL">pic.twitter.com/sDvFRjY2lL</a></p> <p>— /pol/ News Forever (@polNewsForever) <a href="https://twitter.com/polNewsForever/status/890000967655186433">July 26, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><p style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Except that&nbsp;Schultz appears to have been much closer friends with the Awans than her statement would imply. Again, from<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/03/09/suspect-in-house-it-security-probe-also-had-access-to-dnc-emails/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">Daily Caller</span></span></a>:</p> <p style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><img width="560" class="aligncenter wp-image-9999" style="height: auto; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block; max-width: 100%;" src="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/07/awans.png" height="282" /></p> <p style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Wasserman-Schultz also had computer equipment seized by investigators - including a laptop found hidden in a shady corner of the House building, which she threatened the D.C.&nbsp;which was recovered by DC Capitol Police, and which Wasserman-Schultz threatened the police chief with "<a href="https://youtu.be/q9wwKZYIxco" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">consequences</span></span></a>" if it wasn't returned.</p> <p style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Imran Awan had the password to an iPad used by Debbie Wasserman Schultz when the DNC emails were given to Wikileaks.</p> <p style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">Islamophobia</strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Predictably -<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/imran-awan-retains-long-time-clinton-employee-and-confidant-legal-advice" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">the Awans' lawyer</span></span></a><span>&nbsp;</span>fired off a statement claiming "anti-Muslim bigotry in the literal heart of our democracy, the House of Representatives," weaving in "ultra-right-wing" and "pizzagate" references to somehow suggest that the Awans<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/03/08/house-staffers-in-security-probe-allegedly-kept-stepmom-in-captivity-to-access-offshore-cash/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">holding their stepmother captive</span></span></a><span>&nbsp;</span>in a house before carting her to Pakistan so they could extort her inheritance (fraud) is somehow racist. Or that the House of Representatives banned the Awans from their computer network because of bigotry, as opposed to members of congress noticing the Awans had gained&nbsp;<strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">unauthorized access&nbsp;</strong>to sensitive information.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Statement from Awan Brothers lawyer: <a href="https://t.co/Bp9zqHtgGS">pic.twitter.com/Bp9zqHtgGS</a></p> <p>— Mike Cernovich ???????? (@Cernovich) <a href="https://twitter.com/Cernovich/status/890282053765181440">July 26, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><p style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">An aside - credit where credit's due</strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><a href="http://dailycaller.com/author/luke-rosiak/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">Luke Rosiak</span></span></a><span>&nbsp;</span>of the Daily Caller News Foundation has been all over the Awan family situation from the beginning.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wmal.com/2017/06/29/listen-luke-rosiak-of-the-daily-caller-discusses-his-investigation-into-questionable-congressional-hires/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">Here's an interview</span></span></a>&nbsp;with him from a few weeks ago discussing the case. Controversial investigator and YouTube personality George Webb has also done extensive research into the Awans, and while some have criticized Webb - the arrest of Imran Awan validates much of what he's been saying for months over his&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/georgwebb" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">YouTube</span></span></a>&nbsp;channel.<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://steemit.com/pedogate/@v4vapid/awan-brotherhood-hackers-in-the-house-a-webb-companion-day-139-summary" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">Here's a summary</span></span></a>.</p> <p style="color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, &quot;Bitstream Charter&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Imran Awan is currently out on bail with a GPS tracker and a curfew. 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box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;">Tube channel</strong></span></span></a></p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/imran-awan-transferred-nearly-300k-pakistan-attempting-flee-lawyer-claims-islamophob#comments Awan Bush Administration Central Intelligence Agency Congressional Federal Credit Union credit union Daily Caller News Foundation DC Capitol Police Debbie Wasserman Schultz Democratic National Committee email leak FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Florida Florida GPS Hizballah House of Representatives Information Technology Iraq Maryland State Board of Physicians Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Politics Twitter Twitter United States Wassermann Wed, 26 Jul 2017 20:39:49 +0000 ZeroPointNow 600554 at http://www.zerohedge.com Senate GOP Rejects Rand Paul's "Repeal-Only" Healthcare Plan http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/senate-gop-rejects-rand-pauls-repeal-only-healthcare-plan <p>Just hours after rejecting some version of &#39;repeal-and-replace&#39; overnight, Senate Republicans have, as expected, <strong>failed to get enough votes for a key proposal from Rand Paul that would have repealed much of Obamacare</strong>.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/07/26/20170726_paul.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/07/26/20170726_paul.jpg" style="width: 608px; height: 307px;" /></a></p> <p>Under pressure from conservatives such as Rand Paul...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>&ldquo;Republicans promised to repeal Obamacare, and as we move forward in this process, I urge them to join me in supporting a clean repeal of as much of this disastrous law as possible,&rdquo;</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>FreedomWorks, a conservative outside group, blasted out a &ldquo;key vote&rdquo; notice hours ahead of Wednesday&rsquo;s vote, arguing President Trump would sign a repeal-only bill.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;For more than seven years, Republicans successfully campaigned on ObamaCare repeal. ...Grassroots conservative activists are not going to accept excuses if Republicans fail to pass a bill that they have passed once before,&rdquo;</strong> the group said in a notice to members.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/343887-senate-rejects-repeal-only-obamacare-amendment">But, as The Hill reports, </a><strong>Senators voted 55-45 against his amendment</strong> that would repeal the Affordable Care Act and give lawmakers two years to come up with a replacement.</p> <p><strong>GOP Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Susan Collins (Maine), Dean Heller (Nev.), John McCain (Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Rob Portman (Ohio) joined all Democrats in voting no.</strong></p> <p>A vote on the amendment, which was widely expected to fail, was originally scheduled for late Wednesday morning but was delayed as senators tried to get clarity on a provision tied to abortion.</p> <p>Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell added on Wednesday that<strong> the effort to get either an ObamaCare repeal, or an ObamaCare repeal and replace bill, through the Senate &ldquo;certainly won&rsquo;t be easy.&rdquo; </strong></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="608" height="307" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170726_paul.jpg?1501100752" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/senate-gop-rejects-rand-pauls-repeal-only-healthcare-plan#comments 115th United States Congress American Presbyterians Efforts to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Fail FreedomWorks Internal Revenue Code John McCain Obamacare Ohio Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act replacement proposals Politics Politics Politics of the United States Rand Paul Republican Party Senate Susan Collins United States Wed, 26 Jul 2017 20:29:44 +0000 Tyler Durden 600553 at http://www.zerohedge.com Declassified Memos Show Obama's NSA Spied On Americans Way More Than You Thought http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/declassified-memos-show-obamas-nsa-spied-americans-way-more-you-thought <p>Back in May the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) found that the National Security Agency (NSA), under former President Obama, routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall.&nbsp; <strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"The October 26, 2016 Notice disclosed that an NSA Inspector General (IG) review...indicated that, with greater frequency than previously disclosed to the Court, <strong>NSA analysts had used U.S.-person identifiers to query the result of Internet "upstream" collection, even though NSA's section 702 minimization procedures prohibited such queries</strong>...<strong>this disclosure gave the Court substantial concern."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/05/24/2017.05.24%20-%20FISA%201.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/05/24/2017.05.24%20-%20FISA%201_0.jpg" alt="FISA" width="600" height="289" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The court order went on to reveal that NSA analysts had been conducting illegal queries targeting American citizens "<strong>with much greater frequency than had previously been disclosed to the Court"</strong>...an issue which the court described as a <strong>"very serious Fourth Amendment issue."<br /></strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"Since 2011, NSA's minimization procedures have prohibited use of U.S.-person identifiers to query the results of upstream Internet collection under Section 702.&nbsp; The October 26, 2016 Notice informed the Court that <strong>NSA analysts had been conducting such queries in violation of that prohibition, with much greater frequency than had previously been disclosed to the Court."</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"At the October 26, 2016 hearing, the Court ascribed the government's failure to disclose those IG and OCO reviews at the October 4, 2016 hearing to an<strong> institutional 'lack of candor' on NSA's part</strong> and emphasized that <strong>'this is a very serious Fourth Amendment issue.'"</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/05/24/2017.05.24%20-%20FISA%202.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/05/24/2017.05.24%20-%20FISA%202_0.jpg" alt="FISA" width="600" height="563" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Now, new memos obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) via a FOIA request detail even more violations that occurred during the Obama administration which include everything from illegally survielling people on U.S. soil to sharing unredacted documents that included unmasked names of American citizens.&nbsp; <a href="http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/343785-newly-declassified-memos-detail-extent-of-improper-obama-era-nsa">The Hill</a> reviewed the memos and offered the following summary details:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>For instance, the government admitted improperly searching NSA’s foreign intercept data on multiple occasions, including <strong>one instance in which an analyst ran the same search query about an American “every work day” for a period between 2013 and 2014.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There also were several instances in which <strong>Americans’ unmasked names were improperly shared inside the intelligence community without being redacted</strong>, a violation of the so-called minimization procedures that President Obama loosened in 2011 that are supposed to protect an Americans' identity from disclosure when they are intercepted without a warrant. Numerous times improperly unmasked information about Americans had to be recalled and purged after the fact, the memos stated.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“CIA and FBI received unminimized data from many Section 702-tasked facilities and at times are thus required to conduct similar purges,” one report noted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“NSA issued a report which included the name of a United States person whose identity was not foreign intelligence,”</strong> said one typical incident report from 2015, which said the NSA eventually discovered the error and “recalled” the information.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Likewise, the FBI disclosed three instances between December 2013 and February 2014 of “improper disseminations of U.S. persons identities.”</p> </blockquote> <p>Samples of other violations included:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <ul> <li><strong>Numerous “overcollection incidents”</strong> where the NSA gathered information about foreigners or Americans it wasn’t entitled to intercept</li> <li>“Isolated instances in which NSA may not have complied with the documentation requests” justifying intercepts or searches of intercepted data.</li> <li>The<strong> misuse of “overly broad” queries or specific U.S. person terms to search through NSA data.</strong></li> <li>Failures to timely purge NSA databases of improperly collected intelligence, such as a 2014 incident in which “NSA reported a gap in its purge discovery processes.”</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>“<strong>Americans should be alarmed that the NSA is vacuuming up their emails and phone calls without a warrant,”</strong> said Patrick Toomey, an ACLU staff attorney in New York who helped pursue the FOIA litigation. <strong>“The NSA claims it has rules to protect our privacy, but it turns out those rules are weak, full of loopholes, and violated again and again.”</strong></p> <p><strong>“If I were still in Congress today, I might vote with the people today to shut the program down or curtail it,”</strong> Hoekstrak, who has been tapped by Trump to be ambassador to the Netherlands, said in an interview.</p> <p>Of course, <strong>the NSA would like for you to take solace in the fact that they spy on you so much that the 1,000's of reported violations only amount to ~1% of the estimated "taskings."</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>In annual and quarterly compliance reports that have been released in recent years, U.S. intelligence agencies have estimated the number of Section 702 violations has averaged between 0.3 percent and 0.6 percent of the total number of “taskings.” A tasking is an intelligence term that reflects a request to intercept a specific phone number or email address.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Quite simply, a compliance program that never finds an incident is not a robust compliance program,” said Michael T. Halbig, the NSA’s chief spokesman. “…The National Security Agency has in place a strong compliance program that identifies incidents, reports them to external overseers, and then develops appropriate solutions to remedy any incidents.”</p> </blockquote> <p>Though <strong>we do wonder whether our government would be as dismissive if American citizens just decided to keep 1% of the taxes they owe each year</strong>...somehow we suspect the IRS wouldn't be so forgiving of such a 'small' error-rate.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong></strong></em></p> <p><iframe src="http://launch.newsinc.com/?type=VideoPlayer/Single&amp;widgetId=1&amp;trackingGroup=69016&amp;playlistId=19132&amp;siteSection=thehill2300_nws_pol_sec&amp;videoId=32740705" width="600" height="337" frameborder="no" 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="696" height="427" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/Obama%20-%20Arrogant_6.JPG?1501070244" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/declassified-memos-show-obamas-nsa-spied-americans-way-more-you-thought#comments American Civil Liberties Union appropriate solutions Barack Obama on mass surveillance Central Intelligence Agency Congress Donald Trump Espionage FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation FOIA Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Global surveillance Global surveillance by category Government Internal Revenue Service Mass surveillance national security National security National Security Agency National Security Agency Netherlands Obama Administration Obama administration President Obama Privacy of telecommunications SPY U.S. intelligence UN Court United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court United States government secrecy Wed, 26 Jul 2017 20:25:34 +0000 Tyler Durden 600507 at http://www.zerohedge.com Arrested DNC Staffer Awan Retains Long-Time Clinton Associate For Legal Help http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/imran-awan-retains-long-time-clinton-employee-and-confidant-legal-advice <p>After getting arrested Monday night at Dulles Airport in Northern Virginia while attempting to flee the country on a flight to Qatar, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz' IT staffer, according to <a href="https://www.conservativereview.com/articles/arrested-dem-it-staffers-attorney-is-major-clinton-ally">Conservative Review</a>, has decided to hire a lawyer with longstanding connections to the Clinton family for legal help.&nbsp; </p> <p>Chris Gowen, a founding partner at <a href="http://gowenrhoades.com/gowen-rhoades-winograd-silva-pllc/">Gowen, Rhoades, Winograd and Silva</a>, apparently did a little bit of everything for the Clintons over the course of multiple years including working in the Clinton White House, helping President Bill Clinton write his book, "My Life", and serving on Hillary's 2008 presidential campaign.&nbsp; Per <a href="http://gowenrhoades.com/christopher-gowen/">Gowen's bio</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Mr. Gowen left the Public Defender’s office to work for former President William Jefferson Clinton and then-Senator Hillary Clinton. <strong>Chris was a fact checker for President Clinton’s memoir, My Life.</strong> He also served as a <strong>traveling aid for President Clinton’s national and international trips.</strong> Chris finished his tenure with the Clintons by directing the advance operations for then-Senator H<strong>illary Clinton during her 2008 presidential campaign.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Another <a href="https://www.wcl.american.edu/faculty/gowen/">biography</a>, published on the American University website, says Gowen worked with several other controversial Clinton projects, including <strong>The Clinton Global Initiative, The Clinton Foundation, and The Clinton Health Access Initiative.</strong></p> <p>Shortly after Awan’s arrest, Gowen immediately jumped into the fray and hit the ground running with allegations that <strong>Awan was a victim of Islamophobia. </strong>He labeled Awan’s arrest as part of <strong>“a right-wing media-driven prosecution by a United States Attorney’s Office that wants to prosecute people for working while Muslim"</strong>...it's almost as if the words are coming straight from Hillary's mouth.</p> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/07/26/2017.07.26%20-%20Gowen_0.JPG" alt="Gwoen" width="400" height="374" /></p> <p>As <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-25/wasserman-schultz-it-aide-arrested-dulles-airport-while-attempting-flee-country">we noted last night</a>, Imran Awan has been charged with bank fraud but it is unclear whether that charge is just a placeholder for other charges that are yet to come.&nbsp; While details are scarce, media reports have alleged that Awan and his brothers potentially ran a procurement scheme in which they bought equipment, then overcharged various House members that employed their IT firm.&nbsp; Meanwhile, <strong>some congressional technology aides have alleged that the Awan’s were blackmailing representatives based on the contents of their emails and files</strong>, due to the fact that these representatives have displayed unwavering and intense loyalty towards the former aides. </p> <p>As background, Imran was first employed in 2004 by former Democrat Rep. Robert Wexler (FL) as an “information technology director”, before he began working in Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s office in 2005.</p> <p>The family was paid extremely well, with Imran Awan being paid nearly $2 million working as an IT support staffer for House Democrats since 2004. Abid Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, were each paid more than $1 million working for House Democrats. In total, since 2003, the family has collected nearly $5 million.</p> <p>In total, Imran's firm was employed by 31 Democrats in Congress, some of whom held extremely sensitive positions on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Some of the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Democrats?src=hash">#Democrats</a> who had Pakistani IT workers (currently under investigation) on their payroll. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AwanBrothers?src=hash">#AwanBrothers</a> <a href="https://t.co/XvrJ6H1iW9">https://t.co/XvrJ6H1iW9</a> <a href="https://t.co/gVjNkfqWH3">pic.twitter.com/gVjNkfqWH3</a></p> <p>— Nick Short ???????? (@PoliticalShort) <a href="https://twitter.com/PoliticalShort/status/866761542892609537">May 22, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, one of the most intriguing parts of the Awan narrative is precisely why former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (DWS) decided to keep him on her taxpayer-funded payroll right up until his arrest yesterday and whether that decision had anything to do with the whole DNC / Hillary email scandals that erupted last summer.</p> <p>Along those lines, RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel posed the following questions to DWS earlier this morning...</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Debbie Wasserman Shultz needs to answer mounting questions about her staffer’s questionable and illegal actions… <a href="https://t.co/2SRZIGiBAa">pic.twitter.com/2SRZIGiBAa</a></p> <p>— GOP (@GOP) <a href="https://twitter.com/GOP/status/890238887158853632">July 26, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...and appeared on Fox Business to discuss DWS' curious decisions with regards to Awan (forward to the <a href="“[Wasserman Schultz] kept him on her staff. He was a taxpayer-funded government employee until yesterday when she finally fired him,” McDaniel said during a Fox Business Network interview on Wednesday. “We need to figure out why he’s under criminal investigation and we’re not hearing that across the country right now.” “We have to get to the bottom of this, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz has obstructed at every level on something that affects potentially our national security,” she continued. “We are not hearing the Democrats talk about it at all. Where’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz?”">4:00 minute mark</a> in the video below for the relevant discussion).</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>“[Wasserman Schultz] kept him on her staff. <strong>He was a taxpayer-funded government employee until yesterday when she finally fired him.&nbsp; </strong>We need to figure out why he’s under criminal investigation and we’re not hearing that across the country right now."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"We have to get to the bottom of this, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz has obstructed at every level on something that affects potentially our national security.&nbsp; We are not hearing the Democrats talk about it at all. Where’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz?”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pwhw0HIZAKc" width="600" height="337" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A preliminary hearing for Mr. Awan is scheduled for August 21.</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="1082" height="550" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017.07.24%20-%20Awan.JPG?1501093754" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/imran-awan-retains-long-time-clinton-employee-and-confidant-legal-advice#comments American University Bill Clinton Clinton family Clinton Foundation Clinton Foundation Congress Debbie Wasserman Schultz Democratic Party United States) DWS Florida Democrats Fox Business Hillary Clinton House House Committee on Foreign Affairs Information Technology Lewinsky scandal national security Nationality northern Virginia Permanent Select Committee Politics Republican Party Rodham family Twitter Twitter United States United States Attorney’s Office White House White House Wed, 26 Jul 2017 20:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 600547 at http://www.zerohedge.com