en City Of Chicago Working Around Clock To Clear 18 Inches Of Bullet Casings From Streets <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Fact or Fiction?</strong></span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><em>With cartridge accumulations reaching two feet or more in some areas, experts say Chicago is<strong> on track for the highest annual ammunition-depth total on record.</strong></em></p> <p><em><br /></em></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="333" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Promising that every effort would be made to limit the impact on residents’ day-to-day lives, <strong>Chicago officials announced Wednesday that a fleet of plows was working around the clock to clear more than 18 inches of fresh bullet casings that had blanketed the metropolitan area overnight.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sources at the city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation confirmed that over 250 ammunition-removal vehicles had been deployed to deal with the knee-deep layer of spent cartridges, which have been steadily accumulating on Chicago’s streets, alleys, and pedestrian walkways since the previous evening.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“Our crews have been out there all night trying to make our roadways passable, but given how quickly the handgun and semi-automatic shells have piled up, it’s going to take some time,”</strong> DSS commissioner Charles L. Williams told reporters, thanking the public for its patience while crews made their way across the stricken municipality. “We’re making good headway, but as you can imagine, it’s not an easy job, especially with casings continuing to fall throughout the city.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“So unless you have an emergency, we’re urging all citizens to stay put for the time being,” </strong>he added.<strong> “Right now, it’s just not safe to be out in such treacherous conditions.”</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Williams stated that as casing levels surpassed 12 inches, scores of extra workers from outside the city were called in to help keep pace with the buildup. In addition, numerous dump truck crews have reportedly been tasked with carting off entire trailers full of cartridges from the hardest-hit areas and depositing them in nearby landfills before circling back to pick up more.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to sources, by the morning rush hour, over 300 public and private schools in the Chicago area had been either closed or delayed due to concerns over the large amounts of ammunition covering the city. Citing increased hazards, officials further advised residents to stay off back streets and avoid venturing out at night.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“Man, it’s brutal out there,” </strong>said Paul Bergeron, 34, a resident of the Lawndale neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side, showing reporters where plows had piled up over nine feet of empty casings in the parking lot of the grocery store across from his apartment. <em><strong>“I ran out to Walgreens, and on my way back, I nearly took a spill trudging through all the .40-caliber shells—I just wanted to get home as quickly as possible.”</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“Growing up in Kansas, I never saw anything nearly like this, but it is what it is,” he continued. “When you’re living here, you learn to deal with the bullets and adjust your life accordingly.”</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Some locals, however, have complained that the areas receiving priority attention from the city’s plows were not consistent with those that had been most severely affected. In Chicago’s western and southern neighborhoods, for example, eyewitnesses reported that cartridges had risen as high as some first-floor windows, making it difficult for the occupants to even open their front doors.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“The plows always seem to get to the rich neighborhoods first, that’s for sure,” </strong>said Gloria Hawkins, 53, a lifelong resident of the South Side community of Auburn Gresham. “Down here, you have no choice but to go out there into the ammo and shovel your car out yourself. It can be pretty frustrating when things are really bad out, because by the time you finish clearing the walk in front of your house, there’s already an inch or two of fresh bullet casings piling up where you started.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“But we’ll get through it, just like we always do,” Hawkins continued. “This city is very much used to this sort of thing.”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><em>Source: The Onion</em></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="642" height="356" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Ammunition Cartridge Department of Streets and Sanitation Explosives The Onion Weapons Sun, 11 Dec 2016 00:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 580398 at Trump, Turncoat or Tailor? <p><img alt="Image result for Trump turncoat" src="" style="font-size: 13.008px;" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: small;"> <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">Many are seeing Trump as a turncoat for selecting Goldman Sachs graduates and established titans of industry for his cabinet and closest advisors. &nbsp; Ultimate Insiders? &nbsp;Think again...............</span><br style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;" /><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><br style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;" /><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">Perhaps, the disaffected have it all wrong. &nbsp;As the consummate deal-maker, TRUMP is giving these guys a quid pro quo. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">&quot;You&#39;re a player in the field you say?&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">You want in? &nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">Well, I&#39;ll consider it, but only if you fix what you broke.&quot;</span></em></strong></p> <p><strong><em><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">&nbsp;</span></em></strong><br style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;" /><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">For example, he wants to dictate new directives to GS. You guys want to have influence, then start lending towards productive capital formation, and stop sucking money out of the economy with detrimental over-financialization. &nbsp;</span><br style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;" /><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">&nbsp;</span><br style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;" /><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">The guy may be sly like a fox. He&#39;s not selecting his cabinet, he is cutting deals with his cabinet. &nbsp;</span></p></div> <div style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: small;">&nbsp;</div> <div style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: small;"> <div class="gmail_default" style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">&nbsp;</div> </div> <div class="gmail_default" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-size: small; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">Although&nbsp;in the end, it doesn&#39;t really matter, as he&nbsp;and his characterless&nbsp;captain cabal will all get blown away by the debt&nbsp;mushroom cloud formation on the horizon.</div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-blog"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_blog" width="236" height="330" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Banking in the United States Cabal Capital Capital Formation Economy Economy of New York City Finance Financialization goldman sachs Goldman Sachs Goldman Sachs Quid pro quo Rage Rockefeller Center Subprime mortgage crisis Sun, 11 Dec 2016 00:43:46 +0000 Bruno de Landevoisin 580446 at Senate Quietly Passes The "Countering Disinformation And Propaganda Act" <p>While we wait to see if and when the Senate will pass (and president will sign) Bill&nbsp; "<a href=""><strong>H.R. 6393, Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017"</strong></a>, which was passed by the House at the end of November with an overwhelming majority and which seeks to crack down on websites suspected of conducting Russian propaganda and calling for the US government to "counter active measures by Russia to exert covert influence … carried out in&nbsp; coordination with, or at the behest of, political leaders or the security services of the Russian Federation and the role of the Russian Federation has been hidden or not acknowledged publicly,” another, perhaps even more dangerous and limiting to civil rights and freedom of speech bill passed on December 8.</p> <p>Recall that as <a href="">we reported in early June</a>, "a bill to implement the U.S.’ very own <em>de facto </em>Ministry of Truth has been quietly introduced in Congress. As with any legislation attempting to dodge the public spotlight the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act of 2016 marks a further curtailment of press freedom and another avenue to stultify avenues of accurate information. Introduced by Congressmen Adam Kinzinger and Ted Lieu, H.R. 5181 seeks a “whole-government approach without the bureaucratic restrictions” to counter “foreign disinformation and manipulation,” which they believe threaten the world’s “security and stability.”</p> <p><strong>Also called the Countering Information Warfare Act of 2016 (S. 2692), when introduced in March by Sen. Rob Portman, the legislation represents a dramatic return to Cold War-era government propaganda battles. </strong>“These countries spend vast sums of money on advanced broadcast and digital media capabilities, targeted campaigns, funding of foreign political movements, and other efforts to influence key audiences and populations,” Portman explained, adding that while the U.S. spends a relatively small amount on its Voice of America, the Kremlin provides enormous funding for its news organization, RT.“Surprisingly,” </p> <p>Portman continued, “there is currently no single U.S. governmental agency or department charged with the national level development, integration and synchronization of whole-of-government strategies to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation.”&nbsp;&nbsp; </p> <p>Long before the "fake news" meme became a daily topic of extensive conversation on wuch mainstream fake news portals as CNN and WaPo, H.R. 5181 would rask the Secretary of State with coordinating the Secretary of Defense, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors to “establish a Center for Information Analysis and Response,” which will pinpoint sources of disinformation, analyze data, and — in true dystopic manner — ‘develop and disseminate’ “<strong>fact-based narratives</strong>” to counter effrontery propaganda.</p> <p>* * * </p> <p>Fast forward to this past Thursday, December 8, when the "Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act" passed in the Senate, quietly inserted inside the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report.</p> <p>Here is the <a href="">full statement </a>issued by the <a href=";type=I&amp;cid=N00003682&amp;newMem=N&amp;recs=20">generously funded</a> Senator Rob Portman (R- Ohio) on the passage of a bill that further chips away at press liberties in the US, and which sets the stage for future which hunts and website shutdowns, purely as a result of an accusation that any one media outlet or site is considered as a source of "disinformation and propaganda" and is shut down by the government. </p> <p><strong>Senate Passes Major Portman-Murphy Counter-Propaganda Bill as Part of NDAA</strong></p> <p><em>Portman/Murphy Bill Promotes Coordinated Strategy to Defend America, Allies Against Propaganda and Disinformation from Russia, China &amp; Others </em></p> <p>U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) today announced that their <em>Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act </em>– legislation <strong>designed to help American allies counter foreign government propaganda from Russia, China, and other nations – has passed the Senate as part of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report. </strong>The bipartisan bill, which was introduced by Senators Portman and Murphy in March, will improve the ability of the United States to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation by establishing an <strong>interagency center housed at the State Department to coordinate and synchronize counter-propaganda efforts throughout the U.S. government. </strong>To support these efforts, the bill also creates a grant program for NGOs, think tanks, civil society and other experts outside government who are engaged in counter-propaganda related work. This will better leverage existing expertise and empower local communities to defend themselves from foreign manipulation.</p> <p><strong>“The passage of this bill in the Senate today takes us one critical step closer to effectively confronting the extensive, and destabilizing, foreign propaganda and disinformation operations being waged against us. While the propaganda and disinformation threat has grown, the U.S. government has been asleep at the wheel. </strong>Today we are finally signaling that enough is enough; the United States will no longer sit on the sidelines. We are going to confront this threat head-on,” said Senator Portman. “With the help of this bipartisan bill, the disinformation and propaganda used against our allies and our interests will fail.” </p> <p><strong>“Congress has taken a big step in fighting back against fake news and propaganda from countries like Russia. When the president signs this bill into law, the United States will finally have a dedicated set of tools and resources to confront our adversaries’ widespread efforts to spread false narratives that undermine democratic institutions and compromise America’s foreign policy goals,</strong>” said Murphy. “I’m proud of what Senator Portman and I accomplished here because it’s long past time for the U.S. to get off the sidelines and confront these growing threats.” </p> <p>NOTE: The bipartisan Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act is organized around two main priorities to help achieve the goal of combatting the constantly evolving threat of foreign disinformation. They are as follows: </p> <ul> <li>The first priority is developing a whole-of-government strategy for countering foreign propaganda and disinformation. <strong>The bill would increase the authority, resources, and mandate of the Global Engagement Center to include state actors like Russia and China in addition to violent extremists. The Center will be led by the State Department, but with the active senior level participation of the Department of Defense, USAID, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the Intelligence Community, and other relevant agencies. </strong>The Center will develop, integrate, and synchronize whole-of-government initiatives to expose and counter foreign disinformation operations and proactively advance fact-based narratives that support U.S. allies and interests.</li> <li>Second, the legislation seeks to leverage expertise from outside government to create more adaptive and responsive U.S. strategy options. <strong>The legislation establishes a fund to help train local journalists and provide grants and contracts to NGOs, civil society organizations, think tanks, private sector companies, media organizations, and other experts outside the U.S. government with experience in identifying and analyzing the latest trends in foreign government disinformation techniques. </strong>This fund will complement and support the Center’s role by integrating capabilities and expertise available outside the U.S. government into the strategy-making process. It will also empower a decentralized network of private sector experts and integrate their expertise into the strategy-making process.</li> </ul> <p>* * * </p> <p>In other words, the Act will i) greenlight the government to crack down with impunity against any media property it deems "propaganda", and ii) provide substantial amounts of money fund an army of "local journalist" counterpropaganda, to make sure the government's own fake news drowns that of the still free "fringes."</p> <p>So while packaged politely in a veneer of "<em>countering disinformation and propaganda"</em>, the bill, once signed by Obama, will effectively give the government a full mandate to punish, shut down or otherwise prosecute, any website it deems offensive and a source of "foreign government propaganda from Russia, China or other nations." And since there is no formal way of proving whether or not there is indeed a foreign propaganda sponsor, all that will be sufficient to eliminate any "dissenting" website, will be the government's word against that of the website. One can be confident that the US government will almost certainly prevail in every single time. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="590" height="320" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Active Measures Working Group Broadcasting Board of Governors China civil society Communication Congress Counterpropaganda Department of Defense Department of State Disinformation Fail Global Engagement Center Greenlight Information warfare Media manipulation Ministry of Truth National Defense Authorization Act national intelligence National Intelligence Ohio Politics Propaganda Rob Portman RT Russian propaganda Senate United States Agency for International Development US government Sun, 11 Dec 2016 00:13:57 +0000 Tyler Durden 580419 at Here's How Trump Could Still Actually 'Lose' The Presidential Election <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Jake Anderson via,</em></a></p> <p>On Wednesday night, controversial filmmaker Michael Moore made yet another mind-numbing prediction:<strong> He <a href=";utm_medium=socialflow" target="_blank">strongly suggested</a> to late-night talk show host Seth Meyers that the Electoral College would deny President-elect Donald Trump a victory prior to his January 20th, 2017 inauguration.</strong> Moore previously stunned everyone by <a href="" target="_blank">predicting Trump&rsquo;s victory</a> at a time when the analytics &mdash; and the political-media establishment &mdash; all favored Hillary Clinton.</p> <p><strong>There is a mechanism for what Moore is suggesting, however unlikely, and it exists within the Electoral College itself in the form of a decentralized, existential bunch of wonks.</strong> And, historically speaking, they have never actually asserted their power and <a href="" target="_blank">changed a presidential election</a>. They&rsquo;re called &lsquo;faithless electors,&rsquo; people nominated to represent the will of the people but who may, constitutionally speaking, revoke their duties. So far, there are <a href="" target="_blank">seven &lsquo;faithless electors&rsquo;</a> who have defected from voting for Trump in the Electoral College. Count &lsquo;em, seven &mdash; out of 270. That&rsquo;s not a lot, obviously, but the mind balks at how quickly momentum could swing against a candidate that garnered <a href="" target="_blank">over 2.5 million fewer votes</a> than his challenger in the popular vote.</p> <p><strong>As of Thursday evening, the <a href="" target="_blank">first Republican &lsquo;faithless elector&rsquo;</a> declared he would not vote Trump and that the presidency &ldquo;is not a done deal.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>Here are three reasons why I believe Trump could, incredibly, still lose this election:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><h2>Trump has revealed himself to be fully in support of the establishment.</h2> <p>With his selections for pretty much the full gamut of <a href="" target="_blank">cabinet positions</a>, Trump has revealed himself to be an <a href="" target="_blank">establishment</a> <a href="">figure</a>, which is exactly the perception he ran against. Will his voters turn against him? Mostly no (or, at least, not yet). Will the other <a href="" target="_blank">74.5 percent of Americans</a> who did not support him reject his victory? Possibly. Will this alone cause Trump to end up losing the vaunted Electoral College? No. Of course not! That&rsquo;s why there are two more reasons.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Hillary won the&nbsp;popular vote by over 2.5 million.</h2> <p><a href="" target="_blank">This is fact</a>. The number is actually growing. It&rsquo;s historic; it&rsquo;s actually disgusting if one is prone to be disgusted by electoral politics. Will this alone &mdash; or in conjunction with reason one &mdash; cause Trump to lose? No. Of course not! That&rsquo;s why there&rsquo;s one more, <em>important</em>, reason.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Elections can be stolen.</h2> <p>This happens. It happens more than you think. Usually, it happens before the popular vote &ndash; you know, when the votes are actually coming in, in the form of <a href="" target="_blank">vote flipping</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">&ldquo;magic fractions.&rdquo;</a> The <a href="" target="_blank">2000 election</a> was <a href="" target="_blank">stolen for Bush</a>,&nbsp;the <a href="" target="_blank">2004 election</a> was <a href="" target="_blank">stolen again</a> for <a href="" target="_blank">Bush</a>, and the <a href="" target="_blank">Obama elections</a>&nbsp;probably would have been stolen except that he won by such huge margins it would have been obvious. And <a href="" target="_blank">many, many elections</a> have been rigged or gerrymandered in some way.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>It can happen. </strong>The question is whether it can happen after the popular vote and before the inauguration, which, admittedly, is unheard of.</p> <p>But here&rsquo;s why I think it will happen. <em>[And, to be clear, this is not because I support Hillary Clinton, though, frankly, she would be better for alternative media than Trump. Why? That&rsquo;s for a future op-ed. Oh, it&rsquo;s also because Trump is a tyrant who will likely pass more draconian laws against journalists than Bush and Obama combined.]</em></p> <p>A scenario that could easily turn the election &mdash; and would constitute &lsquo;stealing&rsquo; an election according to the Right (the same Right that despised Trump not two months ago) &mdash; <strong>involves the &lsquo;faithless electors&rsquo; launching a coup</strong>. You don&rsquo;t think coups happen in America? They happen a lot &ndash; you just don&rsquo;t hear about them from the mainstream media that is instructed, not permitted, to neglect them.</p> <p><strong>One coup happened between 2000 and 2001</strong>, when one political party hatched a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed populist moderate candidate whose conservative establishment convinced the elites to use their embedded political operatives and hackers to <a href="" target="_blank">electronically steal</a> an election and then use a terrorist attack to embroil us in an endless war in the Middle East and legalize the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Patriot Act</a>.</p> <p>Now it is possible the Dems and a <a href="" target="_blank">rogue &lsquo;faithless elector&rsquo; group</a> are working on a similar pitch to steal this election and push through a candidate who will give us more endless war in the Middle East and legalize the TPP.</p> <p><strong><em>There are other ways, too, involving &ldquo;false flag&rdquo; assassinations and terrorist attacks on Washington that would induct <a href="" target="_blank">COG (&lsquo;continuity of government&rsquo;)</a>&nbsp;schemes. But who&rsquo;s got time for that&hellip;?</em></strong></p> <p><em><strong>So, this is it, liberal America. Do you have the temerity to trigger a gun-toting Right revolution? Do you have the audacity to cajole a &lsquo;faithless elector&rsquo; coup? Because &mdash; not that I&rsquo;m endorsing it &mdash; that&rsquo;s how you could steal this election.</strong></em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="706" height="337" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent Business Climate change skepticism and denial Conservatism in the United States Donald Trump Donald Trump Electoral College Legal affairs of Donald Trump Michael Moore Middle East Middle East Political positions of Donald Trump Politics Politics of the United States The Apprentice United States presidential election WWE Hall of Fame Sat, 10 Dec 2016 23:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 580397 at Trump Picks Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson As Secretary Of State <p>In a move that is certain to infuriate those who see Trump as nothing more than a puppet of the Kremlin, moments ago NBC reported that Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil and late entrant into the SecState race after his first meeting with the president elect this past Tuesday at the Trump Tower, has been picked by Trump to serve as his next Secretary of State. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">JUST IN: Trump to name Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, sources say <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— NBC News (@NBCNews) <a href="">December 10, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>As <a href="">NBC adds</a>, Tillerson met Saturday with Trump at Trump Tower in New York, the president-elect's spokesperson confirmed.&nbsp; The selection of Tillerson comes after Trump and his transition team spent weeks searching for someone to fill the post of the top U.S. diplomat. Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani were reportedly in the running. Giuliani said Friday he had taken his name out of consideration. </p> <p>The 64-year-old Texas oilman, whose friends describe as a staunch conservative, emerged as a Secretary of State contender only last week following a meeting with Trump, when it was speculated that he would consider the offer "due to his sense of patriotic duty and because he is set to retire from the company next year." Tillerson's appointment would introduce the potential for sticky conflicts of interest because of his financial stake in Exxon: he owns Exxon shares worth $151 million, according to recent securities filings.</p> <p>A quick biographical sketch of Tillerson <a href="">courtesy of the WSJ</a>:</p> <p>The son of a local Boy Scouts administrator, Tillerson was born in Wichita Falls, Texas. He attended the University of Texas, where he studied civil engineering, was a drummer in the Longhorn band and participated in a community service-oriented fraternity. </p> <p>He joined Exxon in 1975 and has spent his entire career at the company. </p> <p>For most of his adult life, he has also been closely involved with the Boy Scouts of America, even occasionally incorporating the Scout Law and Scout Oath into his speeches.&nbsp; Mr. Tillerson played an instrumental role in leading the organization to change its policy to allow gay youth to participate in 2013, Mr. Hamre said. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates subsequently moved to lift the organization’s ban on gay adult leaders as Boy Scouts president in 2015.&nbsp; “Most of the reason that organizations fail at change is pretty simple: People don’t understand why,” Mr. Tillerson said in a speech after the 2013 decision, urging leaders to communicate about the policy to help make it successful. “We’re going to serve kids and make the leaders of tomorrow.”</p> <p>* * * </p> <p>However it is not his Boy Scout exploits that will be the key talking point for pundits in the coming days, <strong>but rather his close relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin. </strong></p> <p>According <a href="">to the WSJ</a>, few U.S. citizens are closer to Mr. Putin than Mr. Tillerson,&nbsp; a recipient of Russia's Order of Friendship, bestowed by the president...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="387" /></a></p> <p>... who has known Putin since he represented Exxon’s interests in Russia during the regime of Boris Yeltsin. </p> <p>“He has had more interactive time with Vladimir Putin than probably any other American with the exception of Henry Kissinger,” said John Hamre, a former deputy defense secretary during the Clinton administration and president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank where Mr. Tillerson is a board member. </p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="333" /></p> <p><em>Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson with Vladimir Putin, then Russia’s prime minister, at </em><br /><em>a signing ceremony in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in August 2011. </em></p> <p>In 2011, Mr. Tillerson struck a deal giving Exxon access to prized Arctic resources in Russia as well as allowing Russia’s state oil company, OAO Rosneft, to invest in Exxon concessions all over the world. The following year, the Kremlin bestowed the country’s Order of Friendship decoration on Mr. Tillerson.</p> <p>The deal would have been transformative for Exxon. Mr. Putin at the time called it one of the most important involving Russia and the U.S., forecasting that the partnership could eventually spend $500 billion. But it was subsequently blocked by sanctions on Russia that the U.S. and its allies imposed two years ago after the country’s invasion of Crimea and conflicts with Ukraine. </p> <p>Tillerson spoke against the sanctions at the company’s annual meeting in 2014. “We always encourage the people who are making those decisions to consider the very broad collateral damage of who are they really harming with sanctions,” he said. </p> <p>As such, many have speculated that under his regime, the State Department may quietly drop any existing sactions against Russia.</p> <p>* * * </p> <p><strong>Then there is the thorny issue of potential conflicts of interest, and his massive holdings of Exxon stock. </strong></p> <p>One of the first issues Tillerson would have to resolve as secretary of state would be his holdings of Exxon shares, many of which aren’t scheduled to vest for almost a decade. The value of those shares could go up if the sanctions on Russia were lifted.&nbsp; </p> <p>The shares would likely have to be sold under State Department ethics rules, Chase Untermeyer, a former U.S. Ambassador to Qatar, said in an interview. “He could not erase his strong relationship with a particular country,” Mr. Untermeyer said. “The best protection from a conflict of interest is transparency.” </p> <p>Tillerson will sell his $150+ million in XOM shares tax free, courtesy of the same tax break that was introduced in 1989 under the administration of President George H.W. Bush, which allowed Hank Paulson, Colin Powell and plenty of other public servants to dispose of their equity holdings without paying taxes: to get the tax relief, it must be deemed “reasonably necessary” for a public official to divest his shares, or a congressional committee must require the asset sale, according to section 1043 of the tax code, something which is virtually assured in the case of Tillerson. </p> <p>* * *</p> <p>Finally, the environmentalists will certainly be displeased with Trump's choice, even thought Tillerson helped shift Exxon’s response to climate change when he took over as CEO in 2006. He embraced a carbon tax as the best potential policy solution and has said climate change is a global problem that warrants action. That was a break from his predecessor, Lee Raymond. </p> <p>Still, Mr. Tillerson is a polarizing figure among Democrats and environmental activists. They have accused Exxon of sowing doubt about the impacts of climate change during Mr. Raymond’s tenure and say Mr. Tillerson hasn’t done enough to disclose the future impact of climate-change regulations on the company’s ability to get oil out of the ground. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>“<strong>This is certainly a good way to make clear exactly who’ll be running the government in a Trump administration—just cut out the middleman and hand it directly to the fossil-fuel industry</strong>,” said Bill McKibben, the environmental activist and founder of </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Exxon has disputed the criticism and accused activists and Democratic attorneys general of conspiring against the company. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The son of a local Boy Scouts administrator, Mr. Tillerson was born in Wichita Falls, Texas. He attended the University of Texas, where he studied civil engineering, was a drummer in the Longhorn band and participated in a community service-oriented fraternity.</p> </blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As secretary of state, Tillerson would be fourth in line to the presidency. </p> <p>No matter how US diplomacy plays out under Tillerson, however, one thing is certain: at least Mitt Romney will not be setting US foreign policy for the next four years. This particular ritual humiliation has now been duly completed... </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">REPORT: Mitt Romney May Be Forced to Publicly Apologize to Trump in Exchange For Sec of State Bid <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Mediaite (@Mediaite) <a href="">November 25, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>Finally, as NBC also adds, Tillerson's deputy secretary of state for day-to-day management of the department will be former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.</p> <p>To summarize: a cabinet run by Wall Street and big oil (with a neocon backstop), and a handful of veteran generals thrown in. The writing should be on the wall as to what comes next.</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="1280" height="853" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent black sea Business Carbon tax Center for Strategic and International Studies Clinton administration Department of State Economy Exxon Exxon ExxonMobil Fail Hank Paulson Hank Paulson Henry Kissinger Lee Raymond Mitt Romney NBC New York City Politics Rex Tillerson Rex Tillerson Robert Gates Rockefeller family State Department Transparency Trump Administration Twitter Twitter U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Ukraine United Nations United States University of Texas University of Texas at Austin Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin Sat, 10 Dec 2016 23:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 580371 at Happy Socialist Christmas: Venezuala Seizes 4 Million Toys From "Price-Gouging" Importer, Gives To Nation's Poor <p><strong><em>&#39;Toys for Socialist Tots&#39;</em></strong> appears to be the latest scheme dreamed up by Venezuela&#39;s President Maduro to keep the people from the verge of outright revolution. As <a href="">Bloomberg reports</a>, <strong>Venezuela price regulators on Friday seized almost 4 million toys from warehouses</strong> around greater Caracas and said they&rsquo;d <strong>distribute them to low income children</strong> ahead of the Christmas holiday.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="400" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>William Contreras, the country&rsquo;s price czar, accused toy importer Distribuidora Kreisel of hoarding and price gouging and asked that the company&rsquo;s directors be detained and prohibited from leaving the country.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Flanked by national guardsmen, he said the company had received preferential exchange rates for goods it imported as early as 2009 and then <strong>raised prices by as much as 50,000 percent</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;These products will be put to use by the Clap,&rdquo;</strong> he said, referring to the government&rsquo;s community-based network that distributes food to low income residents.<strong><em> &ldquo;Venezuela&rsquo;s boys and girls will have their baby Jesus guaranteed, and these companies will learn that they can&rsquo;t play with the rights of the Venezuelans.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Triple-digit inflation and a collapsing currency have made many non-essential items out of reach for most Venezuelans, where a <strong>monthly minimum wage buys only around $20 on the black market.</strong> Government authorities have in the past several years ordered price cuts ahead of the Christmas holiday, and <strong>price regulators ordered clothing stores in downtown Caracas to cut prices by 30 percent earlier this week.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>In 2013, President Nicolas Maduro accused retailers across the South American nation of price gouging and deployed the military to slash prices at electronics and home appliance stores. The event became coined the &ldquo;Dakazo,&rdquo; after the socialist leader ordered an electronics chain called Daka to slash its merchandise prices to &ldquo;fair&rdquo; levels and liquidate their inventory on live television.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Since then, <strong>Venezuela&rsquo;s government has cracked down on prices across the entire economy</strong> -- everything from eggs to children shoes -- <strong>levying sanctions or confiscating the merchandise of business owners who don&rsquo;t comply</strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p>With the nation&#39;s currency hyperinflating faster than a CNN Russian hacking story, this confiscation of &#39;unfairly-priced&#39; toys is likely the only way to keep the Grinch from the door of this socialist nirvana.</p> <p><a href=" bolivar.jpg"><img src="" style="width: 599px; height: 368px;" /></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="840" height="560" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Americas Dakazo Economy Elections Nicolás Maduro Politics of Venezuela Price gouging Retailing Venezuela Venezuela’s government Sat, 10 Dec 2016 23:20:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 580396 at Leaked Footage Exposes CNN Producing Fake News During First Gulf War <p><em><a href="">Submitted by Cathal Haughian via,</a></em></p> <p>Leaked footage has emerged of Charles Jaco when he was the CNN anchor made internationally famous for heroically covering the 1990 Persian Gulf War.</p> <p><strong>The first part of this video shows the stage set he was on while he clowns around with fellow CNN staff</strong>. The Saudi Arabian &ldquo;hotel&rdquo; in the background is adorned by fake palm trees and a blue wall in a studio. This clip was leaked by CNN staff.</p> <p><strong>The second part of this video is a live CNN satellite feed recorded onto VHS showing the final cut. </strong>Charles Jaco is wearing a different jacket, but he had the same act. Even though the acting is terrible as Charles Jaco wore a gas mask, and his fellow correspondent Carl Rochelle wore a helmet&mdash;the American public were manipulated and duped en masse. The sirens and missile sound effects are part of the stage set. The camera never pans out or shows the sky as they appear terrified of chemical weapons being dropped from above.</p> <p>These clips are the highest quality of this newscast and behind the scenes. And yes, Charles Jaco was a reporter for CNN and then worked as a reporter for FOX 2 NOW in Saint Louis, Missouri.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>According to Johnathan Shaw, who recalls watching this footage live in 1990, <em>&ldquo;This makes me sick. He&rsquo;s taking credit along with Carl for being heroes. Worse than that, I was in college at the time. People had family fighting over there and were glued to the television praying for their loved ones. <strong>I hope Trump repeals the law that the U.S. can use propaganda on its citizens.</strong> I wish soldiers saw this at the time. I&rsquo;m sure they&rsquo;d have a lot to say to both of these guys. Dude keeps saying he smelled propellant and that&rsquo;s why he used his mask. The more I think about this, the angrier I get.&rdquo;</em></p> <p><strong>Here&rsquo;s a recent clip of &ldquo;Fake News&rdquo; coming from Syria, it appears the budget for fake news has increased or costs have dropped.</strong> The reporter requests a mattress to sit on while waiting to talk to the CNN anchor. One can notice this clip is more realistic, almost surreal, as the reporter arranges gunfire as background noise for his live interview with Anderson Cooper.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>And then, there&rsquo;s nothing better than watching this harrowing interview with a &ldquo;university professor&rdquo; caught in crossfire: a student of Edward Bernay recently reporting for Qatari news channel Al Jazeera, from the last pocket of resistance in Aleppo. Actually, Abdul appears to be shitting his pants. Perhaps the props are for real in this video.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><strong>The genius of mainstream media is that Americans actually pay to get brainwashed. </strong>Yeah, that&rsquo;s right, state news is not free in America, they actually pay for CNN or The Washington Post. That&rsquo;s amazing, what an amazing society? Strangely similar to Greece in many ways.&nbsp;</p> <p>I&rsquo;ll leave the last word to John Swinton, Chief editorial writer of the New York Times from 1860 to 1870.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;<strong>There is no such thing as a free press. You know it and I know it. </strong>There is not one of you who would dare to write his honest opinions. The business of the journalist is to destroy truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell himself, his country, and his race, for his daily bread. We are tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are jumping jacks; they pull the strings, we dance; our talents, our possibilities, and our lives are the property of these men. We are intellectual prostitutes.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <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="742" height="385" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Charles Jaco CNN Entertainment Greece New York Times Persian Gulf Television Television in the United States Sat, 10 Dec 2016 22:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 580395 at These Cabinet Picks Illustrate that Trump is Way Over His Head as President (Video) <p>By <a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">EconMatters</span></span></a> </p> <p><em><br /></em> </p> <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a title="Open in new window" class="external" href="" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img src="" width="400" height="224" border="0" /></a></div> <p> We discuss the fact that Donald Trump is too incompetent to realize that he has no business picking his own cabinet, you won the lottery, now outsource the job of picking a cabinet to Paul Ryan or someone in the Republican Party who understands basic qualifications for these important positions in the United States Government. Was Pee-wee Herman unavailable for Secretary of State?</p> <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><iframe src="" width="320" height="266" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> © <a href="" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">EconMatters</span></span></a> All Rights Reserved | <a title="Open in new window" class="external" href="" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">Facebook</span></span></a> | <a title="Open in new window" class="external" href="!/EconMatters" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">Twitter</span></span></a> | <a title="Open in new window" class="external" href="" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">YouTube</span></span></a> | <a title="Open in new window" class="external" href="" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">Email Digest</span></span></a> | <a title="Open in new window" class="external" href=";node=80" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">Kindle</span></span></a><strong>&nbsp;</strong><em>&nbsp;</em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">&nbsp;</span><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">&nbsp;</span></p> American people of German descent American television Business Climate change skepticism and denial Donald Trump Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign Paul Ryan Pee-wee Herman Politics Politics of the United States Republican Party The Apprentice Twitter Twitter United States United States government Sat, 10 Dec 2016 22:13:39 +0000 EconMatters 580418 at Republicans Slam CIA 'Secret' Report: "What Proof Does Anyone Have? ...I've Heard Zero" <p>While president-elect Donald Trump remains oddly quiet (for now) on The Washington Post's claims of a secret CIA report 'proving' Russian interference in the US election, a number of other Reoublicans have voiced their disdane for the 'fake' news being spewed as fact.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><em>"<strong>What proof does anyone have that they effected the outcome because I've heard zero</strong>..." </em>exclaims Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer, demanding <strong><em>"show me what facts have actually shown that anything undermined that election."</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>As CNN reports, Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer said Saturday reports that the RNC was hacked by the Russians are not true and cast doubt on the Intelligence community assessments of Russia's attempts to influence US elections.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>"If (US Intelligence communities are) so certain it happened, why won't they go on the record and say it," </strong>Spicer told CNN's Michael Smerconish in a heated conversation.<strong> "I don't understand it. It doesn't make any sense."</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Spicer's comments came the morning after President-elect Donald Trump's transition team <strong>issued a stunning rebuke of Intelligence communities who have said, in recent reports from CNN and the Washington Post, that Russian hackers not only wanted to disrupt US elections but actively worked toward getting the Republican presidential nominee elected.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Spicer attacked the New York Times for reporting that the Russian government was involved in hacking the 2016 presidential election, according to Intelligence experts. The paper also reported that the RNC was hacked.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"I know that we have worked with Intelligence agencies right now that are saying that we have not been hacked," </strong>he told CNN's Michael Smerconish in a heated conversation. <strong>"Our own systems show that we have not been hacked."</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Spicer also dismissed the paper's broader conclusions about the role of the Russian government in the election.</p> </blockquote> <p>Proof, schmoof - it appears that is only relevant now for so-called 'fake news' websites.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">"We've got no evidence that <a href="">#RussianHackers</a> influenced the election, but we're going to report they did anyway" <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Marchella (@1Marchella) <a href="">December 10, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally we have one simple question - If this CIA report exists and The White House knew of it, why did the administration release a statement confirming the 'fairness' of the election right after Stein and Clinton began their push for recounts?</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="230" height="163" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Broadcasting in the United States Central Intelligence Agency Central Intelligence Agency CNN Cold War in popular culture Donald Trump McLean, Virginia Michael Smerconish New York Times Politics Republican National Committee Republican National Committee Russian government Sean Spicer Spicer Television Television in the United States Twitter Twitter U.S. intelligence White House White House Sat, 10 Dec 2016 22:10:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 580394 at Why Europe Must End In Tears <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Alasdair Macloed via,</em></a></p> <p class="”RichText”"><u><em><strong>The latest consequence of economic mismanagement in Europe was the failed attempt at constitutional reform in Italy this week.</strong></em></u></p> <p class="”RichText”">The Italian people have had enough of their government&rsquo;s economic failure, and is refusing to give it more power.</p> <p class="”RichText”"><strong>The EU and the euro project have been an economic disaster for all participants, including Germany,</strong> which will eventually be forced to write off the hard-earned savings she has lent to other Eurozone members. <strong><em>We know, with absolute certainty, that the euro will self-destruct and the Eurozone will disintegrate.</em></strong></p> <p class="”RichText”"><u><strong>We know this for one reason above all.</strong></u> The political class and the ECB are guided by economic beliefs &ndash; I cannot dignify them by calling them reasoned theory &ndash; which will guarantee this outcome. Furthermore, they insist on using statistics that are incorrect for the stated function, the best example being GDP, which I have criticised endlessly and won&rsquo;t repeat here. Furthermore, the numbers are misrepresented by government statisticians, CPI and unemployment figures being prime examples.</p> <p class="”RichText”">This article takes a column written by William Hague for the Daily Telegraph published earlier this week to illustrate the<strong> depths of misunderstanding even a relatively enlightened politician suffers, with this mix of nonsense and statistical propaganda</strong><sup>i</sup>. This article also refers to a speech delivered this week in Liverpool by Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, showing how out of touch with reality he is as well. Many of his and Lord Hague&rsquo;s misconceptions are shared by almost everyone, so for the most part go unnoticed.</p> <p class="”RichText”"><strong>Lord Hague basically blames the euro for all Europe&rsquo;s ills:</strong> <em>&ldquo;&hellip;... it has made some countries, like Italy and Greece, poorer while others get richer&rdquo;</em>, he opines, and it is certainly a common sentiment. But it is never the currency that&rsquo;s to blame, but those that attempt to use it to achieve policy outcomes, and inevitably fail in their quest.</p> <p class="”RichText”"><strong>Before the euro came into existence, different currencies offered different interest rates, reflecting the market&rsquo;s appraisal of lending risk. </strong>So, the Greek government, borrowing in drachmas, would typically have to pay over 12% interest, while Germany might pay 3% for the same maturity in marks. The fact that there were differing rates in different currencies imposed market discipline on borrowers.</p> <p class="”RichText”">After the introduction of the euro, interest rates for sovereign borrowers converged towards the lowest rate, which was Germany&rsquo;s. The reason for this was banks could gear up their lending in the bond and money markets to make easy money from the spread between German rates and the others, risk-free on the assumption that the whole caboodle was guaranteed by the EU and the ECB. It was perfectly reasonable to expect this outcome, but whether the panjandrums in Brussels were smart enough to know this would happen is not clear.<strong> If they were, they displayed ignorance of the eventual consequences, and if not, they were simply ignorant, full stop.</strong></p> <p class="”RichText”">These same operatives bent the rules they themselves had originally set to allow countries to join the euro. Under the Maastricht Treaty, budget deficits were to have been less than 3% and government debt to GDP less than 60% for a state to qualify for membership. Neither Germany nor France qualified at the outset. And when it came to Greece, the Greek government simply lied, with the full knowledge and encouragement of the other members. No, Lord Hague, it was the policy makers that were at fault, not the currency itself.</p> <p class="”RichText”">But he continues: <strong><em>&ldquo;Membership of the euro has put the Italians on a permanent path to being poorer&rdquo;</em>. </strong>Not so. It was the Italians who used cheap euro-denominated money to borrow profligately. They, and they alone are responsible for the mismanagement of their economy and their debt problems, which incidentally now exceed the Maastricht 60% limit by a further 75%.</p> <p class="”RichText”"><u><em><strong>So, who is policing that?</strong></em></u></p> <p class="”RichText”"><strong>Lord Hague also trots out the canard about how the euro benefits Germany: &ldquo;Germans keep exporting easily and running up a surplus, while the Italians struggle and go deeper into debt&rdquo;. </strong>This statement in quotes is undoubtedly true on face value, but it is wrong to blame the poor euro. Instead, the blame lies with fiscal imbalances, relative rates of bank credit expansion, and the additional horror of TARGET2. This last artifice is intended to even out the monetary imbalances that would otherwise occur from trade imbalances. But its designers seem to have been completely unaware that the only way trade imbalances can be controlled is through the money shortages and accumulations that result from trade deficits and surpluses respectively. Instead, TARGET2 makes good the money deficiency that results from excess imports, and reduces the money surplus that accumulates in the hands of the exporters. It recycles the money spent by Italians so that it can be spent again, or even hoarded outside Italy, ad infinitum. TARGET2 is living proof of the ridiculousness behind the euro project.</p> <p class="”RichText”">Lord Hague provides an exception to his argument and conclusion, by citing Germany&rsquo;s greater productivity and suggesting that the only way out was for Mr Renzi to enact bold reforms to raise Italian productivity to the same level as Germany&rsquo;s. He doesn&rsquo;t say what these reforms might be. I can tell him: the new government should downsize from 52% of GDP to less than 40%, the lower the better. The redeployment of capital from government destruction to private sector progression will work wonders. Tax policies should favour savers. At the same time, ordinary Italians should be allowed to get on with their lives and made to understand the state is not there to support them with handouts.</p> <p class="”RichText”">Finally, Lord Hague&rsquo;s conclusion, while correct legally, is incorrect from a strictly economic point of view. He states that leaving the euro is a far more difficult problem than leaving the EU, there being no Article 50 to trigger. He implies that if Italy simply returns to the lira, there can be little doubt that it will rapidly collapse taking its banks with it, because Italy&rsquo;s creditors will still expect to be repaid in euros while the cost of borrowing in lira is bound to increase rapidly, undermining government finances.</p> <p class="”RichText”"><strong>However, contrary to everything Keynesians have been taught and in turn teach gullible students, the economic objective of monetary independance should be sound money, not continual depreciation. Italy has enough gold to arrange a gold exchange standard for herself, or alternatively she could run a currency board with the euro, to ensure the lira retains value for foreign creditors. </strong>Either course requires something novel from Italian politicians: they must bite the bullet on government finances and permit capital to be redeployed from moribund businesses to new dynamic entrepreneurial activities. It can be done, and Italy would rapidly emerge as a new industrial force.</p> <p class="”RichText”"><strong>But will it be done?</strong> Sadly, there&rsquo;s not a snowball in hell&rsquo;s chance, and here we must agree with Lord Hague. In common with their opposite numbers everywhere else, Italian politicians have surrounded themselves with economic yes-men, trained at the expense of the state to justify state interventions in the economy. It has become a feed-back loop that ultimately concludes with economic instability, crisis and eventual collapse.</p> <h2 class="”RichText”"><u><strong>Carney&rsquo;s groupthink</strong></u></h2> <p class="”RichText”">Lord Hague, while respected as a senior British politician is at least not involved in Italy&rsquo;s monetary or fiscal policies.<strong> Far more dangerous potentially is someone with his hand on the monetary tiller, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England.</strong> This week he made a speech in Liverpool, which put the blame for the failure of his monetary policies on everyone but the Bank<sup>ii</sup>. He said politicians need to foster a globalisation that works for all. Really? How are they going to do that? He blames economists for been at fault for not recognising &ldquo;the realities of uneven gains from trade and technology&rdquo;. But surely, we all know that establishment economists, including the Bank&rsquo;s own, have an unrivalled track record of getting things wrong. To expect them to suddenly exhibit forecasting prescience is Carney&rsquo;s personal triumph of hope over reality. Carney berates companies for not paying tax. This is the classic &ldquo;someone else&rsquo;s fault&rdquo; line, and ignores the easily proven fact that money deployed by the private sector in pursuit of profit is productive, while giving it to government is wasteful. More tax paid may be desired by the state, but it is anti-productive.</p> <p class="”RichText”"><strong>The Governor then claims the Bank&rsquo;s monetary policy has been &ldquo;highly effective&rdquo; and that &ldquo;the data do not support the idea that the period of low rates has benefited the wealthy at the expense of the least wealthy.&rdquo; </strong>He has obviously been unable to make the connection between the falling purchasing power of fixed salaries for the low paid and for pensioners relying on interest income, while stock markets roar to all-time highs on the back of suppressed interest rates and injections of money through quantitative easing. Yes, Mr Carney, my middle-class friends have done very well out of their investments and property, thanks to monetary inflation, but they still pay their gardeners and maids roughly the same depreciated wages.</p> <p class="”RichText”"><strong>This is relevant not only to the mismanagement of the UK&rsquo;s economy, but also that of Europe.</strong> Carney attracted considerable criticism, rightly, for falsely threatening economic hell and damnation in the event of a vote for Brexit. This presupposes that everything in Europe is considerably better than for Britain on its own, and confirms that his opposite numbers in Europe, who were pushing the same line, have as much grasp of the economic situation as he has. Carney got this as wrong as he possibly could, but there&rsquo;s no mea maxima culpa.</p> <p class="”RichText”">If Mr Carney and Lord Hague want to criticise current economic events, <strong>they should start by properly understanding the negative effects of fiscal and monetary intervention.</strong> They should realise that propping up defunct enterprises by lowering the cost of borrowing and supporting them with government contracts is Luddite and destructive. And above all, they should realise that ordinary people going about their business are infinitely adaptable, have an ability to withstand government and central bank silliness to a remarkable degree, and would deliver their taxes much more effectively if they were simply allowed to just get on with their business without having to suffer from government and central bank micro-management.</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="195" height="155" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bank of England Bank of England Bond Business Causes of the European debt crisis CPI Creditors ECB Economy Economy of the European Union Euro Europe European debt crisis European Union European Union Eurozone Eurozone Fail fixed France Germany Greece Greek government Italy Monetary Policy Monetary policy Purchasing Power Quantitative Easing Real-time gross settlement Reality TARGET2 Unemployment Sat, 10 Dec 2016 21:35:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 580393 at