http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml/%20http%3A/To%20follow%20Norways%20demise%20in%20real-time%2C%20see%20here. en Lebanon's "Odysseus" Hariri Returns To Beirut, Puts Resignation On Hold: What's Comes Next? http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-22/lebanons-odysseus-hariri-returns-beirut-puts-resignation-hold-whats-comes-next <p>Saad Hariri finally returned to Beirut late on Tuesday amid tight security after what was essentially a two week house arrest in Riyadh which began on November 4 after his resignation announcement in Saudi Arabia. Lebanese television aired live footage of the former prime ministers plane landing, though he left without addressing the expectant throng of journalists gathered at the airport.</p> <p>His shocking resignation, <strong>which President&nbsp;Michel Aoun has refused to formally accept,</strong> came amidst Saudi Crown Prince&nbsp;Mohammad bin Salman&#39;s (MBS) aggressive crackdown within the royal family and against high officials, which resulted in the deaths of at least two princes, and the arrests of at least a dozen others. And, in the latest Wednesday morning development in this ongoing saga, Hariri <strong><a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/lebanese-prime-minister-saad-hariri-puts-resignation-on-hold-1511344670?mod=e2tw">said he has changed his mind and has puts his resignation on hold </a>at the request of the country&rsquo;s president.</strong></p> <p>In televised comments quoted by Reuters, Hariri said that he &ldquo;presented my resignation to President Aoun today and he urged me to wait&rdquo; for more dialogue. &ldquo;I showed responsiveness to this hope.&rdquo; Hariri also denied reports that Riyadh forced him to step down. He says the claims that Saudi Arabia was keeping him against his will are merely &ldquo;rumors.&rdquo;</p> <p>Meanwhile, as reported previously, in the midst of MBS&#39; purge, new revelations emerged and were confirmed of an official <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-19/israel-gives-official-confirmation-covert-ties-saudi-arabia" target="_blank">Saudi-Israeli intelligence sharing relationship</a> <strong>targeting Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah.</strong></p> <p><em><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/11/18/hariri.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/11/18/hariri_0.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 281px;" /></a><br />Saad Hariri returned to Lebanon late on Tuesday. Image Source: Reuters.</em></p> <p>Though Hariri tried to calm Lebanese fears during an awkward and likely coerced <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-12/first-shocking-interview-resignation-hariri-lashes-out-iran-hezbollah" target="_blank">televised interview from Riyadh</a>, saying,&nbsp;<strong>&quot;Resignation could be withdrawn</strong>&nbsp;<b>if Lebanon sticks to its policy of disassociation [from Hezbollah/Iran/Syria].</b> I was at my home [in Saudi] and not The Ritz [in reference to the detained Saudi princes]&quot; - he didn&#39;t immediately return to Lebanon, instead traveling to France last Saturday to meet with President Macron.</p> <p>Some analysts dubbed Hariri&#39;s strange travels <strong>an Odysseus style exile and wandering as he left France for Egypt to meet with Sisi, after which he arrived in Cyprus</strong> to meet with <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lebanon-politics-cyprus/lebanons-hariri-lands-in-cyprus-meets-its-president-hariri-twitter-feed-idUSKBN1DL2MY" target="_blank">that nation&#39;s president</a>, before finally returning to Lebanon. And according to reports Hariri is now <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/21/middleeast/hariri-returns-lebanon/index.html" target="_blank">at his home in Beirut</a> as Lebanon is set for independence day celebrations on Wednesday.&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">This is becoming like the Odyssey, will he have to wrestle a multi-headed monster and avoid the Sirens before he goes back home? <a href="https://t.co/hWsgytvQah">https://t.co/hWsgytvQah</a></p> <p>&mdash; Karl Sharro (@KarlreMarks) <a href="https://twitter.com/KarlreMarks/status/932375575062368256?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 19, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Yet since Hariri&#39;s over two week long odyssey, regional powers have threatened war <b>resulting in both the <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-21/lebanse-army-full-combat-readiness-southern-border-counter-israeli-enemy" target="_blank">Lebanese Army</a> and <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-19/hezbollah-high-alert-says-it-will-be-blamed-false-flag-assassination-attempt?page=2" target="_blank">Hezbollah</a>&nbsp;being placed on &quot;high alert</b>&quot; with Syria also promising to <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-19/hezbollah-high-alert-says-it-will-be-blamed-false-flag-assassination-attempt?page=2" target="_blank">present a united front with Hezbollah</a> should Israel escalate.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>And what come&#39;s next for Lebanon and the region?</strong> Below is a dispatch&nbsp;<a href="https://elijahjm.wordpress.com/2017/11/21/no-war-on-lebanon-or-iran-or-hezbollah-but-preliminary-moves-towards-a-saudi-israeli-relationship/" target="_blank">authored and submitted by&nbsp;Elijah Magnier</a>, Middle East based chief international war correspondent for Al Rai Media, who is currently on the ground in the region and <b>spoke to a high level source and decision maker privy to diplomatic discussions regarding the current crisis.&nbsp;</b></p> <p><em><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/11/18/hariri%202.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/11/18/hariri%202_0.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 281px;" /></a><br />Hariri landed in Beirut amidst tight security and did not address the media.&nbsp;Image Source: Reuters.</em></p> <p>&ldquo;It is not a question of war against Hezbollah, Iran or Lebanon, <b>it is a preliminary preparation for an overt Saudi Arabia and Israel relationship.&rdquo;</b> This is what a decision maker related to the Israeli-Arab-Iran struggle said.</p> <p>In Yemen, Hezbollah was never present with large numbers: a few dozen advisers were in the country to offer training and shared their long experience gathered during many years of war against Israel and in Syria. Those who formed the Hezbollah special forces were present in Yemen to teach the Zaydi Houthi [Zaydi sect of Shia Islam,, Yemen&#39;s rebels] how to defend themselves against the US led coalition and the Saudi continuous aggression...</p> <p><b>&ldquo;Today Yemeni are being exterminated and the world is watching, impotent and numb, allowing Saudi Arabia to destroy the country and kill,&rdquo;</b> the source said.</p> <p>However, today there is less need for Hezbollah expertise in Yemen. The resistance has acquireded enough experience and training, fighting in a different environment than Lebanon, Syria or Iraq. There is no need for Hezbollah to stay in Yemen or in Iraq where the &ldquo;Islamic State&rdquo; group (ISIS) has been defeated and expelled from every Iraqi city. Today the Iraqis have enough men, advance equipment and huge experience to stand against any danger. <strong>Therefore there is no need any more for Iran or Hezbollah or even for the US forces to remain in Mesopotamia.</strong></p> <p>As for Syria, the source believes that &ldquo;Hezbollah is in the Levant by the request of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to fight rejectionist Takfiri, and terrorism. With the city of Albu Kamal under Syria Army control, ISIS has lost the last city in Syria though it still exists east of the Euphrates, in al-Badiya (the Syrian Steppe) and in a few pockets on the Syrian southern borders. There are still thousands of al-Qaeda in Idlib and around al-Hajar al-Aswad and the south of Syria. Therefore, it is only by direct request from the Syrian President that Hezbollah can stay or leave the country.<strong> No matter how loud the US, the Israelis and the Arabs scream, Hezbollah&rsquo;s presence in Syria is linked to the Syrian government and to no one else.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>For Lebanon, Prime Minister Saad Hariri has been liberated from his Saudi &quot;golden jail&quot; and is now returned to Beirut. According to the source &ldquo;there is no Arab war against Iran in the region or an Israeli war against Lebanon. That doesn&rsquo;t mean Hezbollah can go home and cease any preparation for a possible future war.&quot;</p> <p><strong>The return of Hariri is obviously linked to a Saudi agenda where he will ask Hezbollah to pull out of Syria, Yemen and Iraq and put down its weapons.</strong> It should be noted that Hezbollah supported Hariri&rsquo;s freedom because he was illegally detained by Saudi Arabia and because he is the Prime Minister of Lebanon. <strong>Saudi Arabia cannot be allowed to deal with the Lebanon as if it were a Saudi province.</strong> And for Hariri it is illusory to believe he is returning to Lebanon as a hero to dictate Saudi policy, that he can implement Saudi Arabia&rsquo;s wishes, and that he can achieve what the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia failed to obtain.</p> <p>If indeed he insists on the Saudi agenda, he can return home to Saudi Arabia this time as a defeated former Prime Minister. Saudi Arabia&rsquo;s vision of the Middle East simply doesn&rsquo;t apply to the multi-ethnicity and coexistence in Lebanon between all religions and the various political groups and their representations.</p> <p>It is therefore not a question of Iran or the weapon reserves of Hezbollah or its regional military intervention. <strong>The war in Syria was won by the &ldquo;Axis of the Resistance&rdquo; and the other side (US, EU, Qatar, Jordan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia) has failed to change the regime, </strong>to destroy the multi-ethnic culture in Syria, and to tie the hands of the extremists. It is simply a question of <strong>Saudi Arabia preparing a wider, overt relationship with Israel.</strong></p> <p>Saudi Arabia is acting as if it needs this scenario to cover up its future relationship with Israel. Every day, we see Saudi academics, writers and even officials using the excuse &ldquo;fighting Iran, the common enemy&rdquo; to justify the forthcoming relationship with Israel. In point of fact Israeli public opinion is ready to welcome Saudi Arabia, and vice versa.</p> <p>This new Saudi project is clear and won&rsquo;t fool the Arab in the street. <strong>The Arab countries have promised to establish an official relationship with Israel in exchange for the heads of Hezbollah and Iran on a plate.</strong> In return the US and Israel promised to engage positively with the Israeli-Arab conflict.</p> <p>This is no solution for the Israeli-Arab conflict, and Trump can certainly not fulfil his promises. Israel won&rsquo;t give up to the Arabs what it is getting for free (the relationship with the Gulf countries). <strong>Those running to establish ties with Tel Aviv are coming of their own free will in order to use Israel as a bridge to the US.</strong> On the other hand, even the new US-Saudi-Israel alliance will be unable to deliver those heads of Iran and Hezbollah without engulfing the region in a global war. <strong>Are these countries ready for such a war where the costs outweigh the benefits?</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="660" height="371" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/hariri_0.jpg?1511345675" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-22/lebanons-odysseus-hariri-returns-beirut-puts-resignation-hold-whats-comes-next#comments al-Qaeda Cedar Revolution European Union France Government of Lebanon Hariri Hezbollah Hizballah Iran Iraq Israel Israeli intelligence Lebanese Army Lebanese people Lebanese people in Saudi Arabia Lebanese Sunni Muslims Lebanon Levant March 8 Alliance Michel Aoun Middle East Middle East Middle East Mohammad Politics Politics of Lebanon Reuters Saad Hariri Saudi Arabia Syria army Syrian government Turkey War Wed, 22 Nov 2017 10:15:36 +0000 Tyler Durden 607729 at http://www.zerohedge.com "Very Close To Irrational Exuberance": Asian Equities Break Above All-Time High As Hang Seng Clears 30,000 http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-22/euphoric-asian-equities-break-above-2007-all-time-high-hang-seng-clears-30000 <p>Following the new all-time high in US equities, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index broke through its November 2007 peak to make an all-time high in Wednesday&rsquo;s trading session. This was something we noted could happen yesterday in <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-21/socgen-asian-equities-are-so-awesome-china-minsky-moment-manageable">&ldquo;SocGen: Asian Equities Are So Awesome, A China Minsky Moment Is &lsquo;Manageable&rdquo;</a>. The dollar weakened slightly after outgoing Fed Chairman, Janet Yellen, cautioned against interest rates rising too quickly in <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-21/watch-live-janet-yellen-and-mervyn-king-nyu">one of her last Q&amp;As at NYU on Tuesday evening</a>. The MSCI Emerging Market Index hit its highest level in six years and the Shanghai Composite rose 0.5% despite the lack of a net liquidity injection from the PBoC.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user235761/imageroot/2017/11/22/AsiaHigh.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user235761/imageroot/2017/11/22/AsiaHigh_0.png" style="width: 600px; height: 338px;" /></a></p> <p>As <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-22/asia-stocks-head-for-record-again-after-rally-in-u-s-equities">Bloomberg</a> notes, Asian stocks headed for a record close for the second time this month as the regional benchmark gauge surpassed its 2007 peak, led by energy and industrial stocks after U.S. equities continued their bounce from a two-week slide.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.7 percent to 172.70 as of 1:01 p.m. in Hong Kong. The gauge passed its 2007 closing high on an intraday basis on Nov. 9 but didn&rsquo;t hold the level. Japan&rsquo;s Topix index climbed for a second day Wednesday, rising 0.4 percent, after its worst week in seven months. Hong Kong&rsquo;s benchmark Hang Seng Index breached the 30,000 level for the first time in a decade, boosted by China banks and energy stocks.</p> </blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;Anyone who missed the rally probably wonders if it is too late to join the party,&rdquo; Andrew Swan, head of Asian and global emerging markets equities at BlackRock Inc., said in a statement Wednesday. &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t believe it is.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>The MSCI Asia Pacific Index has been driven in 2017 by heavyweight Chinese names like mega-cap Tencent, while the best performers in Wednesday&rsquo;s session included China Southern (+8.7%), Hong Kong software company, Kingsoft Corp. (+11%), and South Korean conglomerate, Lotte Corp. (+7%).</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The Asian equity gauge has outperformed its U.S. and European peers this year, led by surging Chinese stocks such as China Evergrande Group and Sunac China Holdings Ltd. Tencent Holdings Ltd.&rsquo;s share price has more than doubled this year, beating Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to become the first Chinese technology stock to break the $500 billion market value barrier. The MXAP Index has advanced 28 percent in 2017, versus a 16 percent increase for the S&amp;P 500 Index.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user235761/imageroot/2017/11/22/AsiaHigh1.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user235761/imageroot/2017/11/22/AsiaHigh1_0.png" style="width: 600px; height: 338px;" /></a></p> <p>In the midst of the equity market euphoria, Hong Kong&rsquo;s Hang Seng Index, which flash smashed the day before following a burst of buying, <strong>crossed the 30,000 mark for the first time in 10 years, </strong>as Tencent continued its stratospheric rise. Ongoing southbound flows from the mainland exchanges in Shanghai and Shenzhen &ndash; via the connect trading scheme &ndash; helped to propel the rally.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Hong Kong&rsquo;s benchmark equity gauge rose above the 30,000 level for the first time in a decade as Tencent Holdings Ltd. extended its rally and Chinese financial shares climbed. The Hang Seng Index rose as high as 30,199.69 before easing back to 29,991.49 as of 2:59 p.m. local time, still up 0.6 percent for the day. Tencent has surged 22 percent this month alone, taking its market value above $500 billion, while Ping An Insurance Group Co. has jumped 23 percent amid optimism over its digital expansion.</p> </blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Hong Kong stock investors have had a rocky ride in the past 10 years, buffeted by the global financial crisis, the bursting of two different Chinese stock bubbles as well concerns over European debt. Hopes of a sustained rally in 2015 were dashed by turmoil in mainland financial markets. This year, however, has seen sustained inflows from across the border as well as dizzying rises in technology shares. There&rsquo;s little sign of worry that the gains in Hong Kong will reverse any time soon. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. sees the gauge climbing to 32,000 by the end of next year, according to a note dated today</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user235761/imageroot/2017/11/22/AsiaHigh2.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user235761/imageroot/2017/11/22/AsiaHigh2_0.png" style="width: 600px; height: 338px;" /></a></p> <p>If the SocGen report is anything to go by, however, the thought processes of Asian equity investors are entering the realm of the irrational.</p> <p>Indeed, as Olivier d&rsquo;Assier, head of applied research for Asia at Axioma told Bloomberg, &quot;investors need to ask themselves where is the value when new highs are being reached everywhere and the risk of a trade war between the U.S. and China is increasing&quot; adding that &quot;<strong>we are very close to the irrational exuberance that Greenspan talked about&rdquo; </strong>when he was Fed chair.&nbsp; The Axioma analyst adds that &quot;Trump will have no problem pushing through his anti-China trade agenda as Republicans and Democrats will support it due to upcoming term elections&quot; and warns that &quot;<strong>investors have started ignoring many fundamental relationships over last six months even as nothing has changed.&quot;</strong></p> <p>As we emphasised, were China to suffer a &ldquo;Minsky moment&rdquo;, it would definitely not be &ldquo;manageable&rdquo;. With the Turkish Lira looking like it might go &ldquo;bidless&ldquo;, perhaps the next EM crisis starts there.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user235761/imageroot/2017/11/22/AsiaHigh3.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user235761/imageroot/2017/11/22/AsiaHigh3_0.png" style="width: 600px; height: 338px;" /></a></p> <p>In the meantime, with sellside forecasts for the next year dropping like flies, Bloomberg summarizes a range of analyst outlooks about Asian equities, in the near and not so near future:</p> <p><u><strong>Timothy Moe (analyst at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.)</strong></u></p> <ul> <li>Earnings growth has been the main driver of the gains this year for MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan Index, according to a report published Wednesday</li> <li>Corporate profits, which accounted for 19 percentage points of the index&rsquo;s 30 percent advance so far this year, will also push stocks higher in 2018</li> <li>&ldquo;Macro growth should remain firm, driving a 14 percent rise in profits&rdquo;</li> <li>The second half of 2018 could bring challenges as central banks around the world scale back stimulus</li> </ul> <p><u><strong>Mark Matthews (head of Asia research at Bank Julius Baer)</strong></u></p> <ul> <li>Asian markets will continue to go up given the perpetual correlation with U.S. stocks and there&rsquo;s no reason for U.S. to enter a bear market</li> <li>Expects investors to allocate more money in China</li> <li>Investors were too bearish on China in the past, but the country&rsquo;s rapidly ascending IT sector and its reforms are turning the nation to a &quot;core&quot; bet to fund managers</li> <li>China is also the cheapest market in Asia, which is the only one trades less then 10 times 2018 earnings</li> </ul> <p><u><strong>Hao Hong (chief strategist at Bocom International Holdings Co.)</strong></u></p> <ul> <li>Asia is still in a cycle of earnings improvement which will continue to support the benchmark index</li> <li>The MXAP gauge is heavily weighted toward information technology companies which are showing strong earnings</li> <li>Monitor growth momentum of technology giants that have been leading gains</li> </ul> <p><u><strong>Cristina Ulang (head of research at First Metro Investment Corp.)</strong></u></p> <ul> <li>Rally is going to continue until 1H18 before tightening kicks in in 2H</li> <li>Asia emerging market shares have double-digit growth in earnings, which support valuations; money will continue to be invested in Asia</li> <li>Inclusion of mainland shares into MSCI EM Index to give the index a further boost</li> </ul> <p><u><strong>Michael McCarthy (market strategist at CMC Markets)</strong></u></p> <ul> <li>The new all-time highs in the U.S. have led to a great start in Asia Wednesday and global sentiment continues to improve</li> <li>Investors have a fear of missing out, so that momentum may continue</li> <li>The &ldquo;fragile position&rdquo; of global monetary policies may be a source for shocks in 2018</li> </ul> <p><u><strong>Eddie Tam (chief executive office at Central Asset Investments)</strong></u></p> <ul> <li>&quot;Feel a bit uncomfortable&quot; after some tech stocks jumps too quickly; bull market &quot;is not yet over&quot; from fundamental perspective</li> <li>Believes funds will continue to flow into the region&rsquo;s emerging markets as China&rsquo;s de-leveraging and rebalancing progress will continue to support investor confidence</li> <li>Tencent, heavily weighted in the Asia benchmark, keep a strong growth in revenue; Samsung shares also have upside given &quot;cheap&quot; valuation</li> </ul> <p><u><strong>Nicholas Teo (trading strategist at KGI Securities)</strong></u></p> <ul> <li>Now is the time to take some profit off the table as valuations are stretched</li> <li>Expects to see more global funds holding underweight positions in Asian stocks</li> <li>Says &ldquo;am actually negative in 2018&rdquo;</li> </ul> <p><u><strong>Olivier d&rsquo;Assier (head of applied research at Axioma Asia Pte)</strong></u></p> <ul> <li>New high has been hit as they have elsewhere</li> <li>&ldquo;You need to partly ask yourself where do you find value when there is new high everywhere?&rdquo;</li> <li>Very close to &ldquo;irrational exuberance&rdquo; that then-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan talked about in mid-1990s</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="600" height="338" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/asia%20rally.jpg?1511344882" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-22/euphoric-asian-equities-break-above-2007-all-time-high-hang-seng-clears-30000#comments Alan Greenspan Blackrock Business Business Central Banks China Economy flash goldman sachs Goldman Sachs Hang Seng 40 Hang Seng Index Hong Kong Index Information Technology Irrational Exuberance Janet Yellen Japan MSCI MSCI Asia Pacific MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan MSCI EM MSCI Emerging Market MXAP Nanshan District, Shenzhen NYU People's Bank of China RSS S&P 500 Shenzhen SocGen SSE 50 Stock market Stock market index Tencent Topix Trade War US Federal Reserve Video game publishers Wed, 22 Nov 2017 10:02:40 +0000 Tyler Durden 607726 at http://www.zerohedge.com Oil Price Drop Imminent If Moscow Says "No" To Extension http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-21/oil-price-drop-imminent-if-moscow-says-no-extension <p><a href="https://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/International/Oil-Price-Drop-Imminent-If-Moscow-Says-No-To-Extension.html"><em>Authored by Irina Slav via OlPrice.com,</em></a></p> <p>As the November 30 meeting in Vienna of OPEC and its partners in the oil production cut deal nears, worry has returned among traders: <em><strong>one of the brokers of the deal might decide to walk out on the deal instead of participating in another extension.</strong></em></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/11/19/20171121_opec.png"><img height="252" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/11/19/20171121_opec_0.png" width="600" /></a></p> <p><strong>We&rsquo;re talking about Russia, the world&rsquo;s top producer and exporter, who many believe played OPEC and specifically its leader, Saudi Arabia, by agreeing to a relatively minor production cut from its nearly record-high rate of production.</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-14/russia-is-said-to-hesitate-on-length-of-opec-oil-cuts-extension">Reports </a>emerged last week that Russia is considering a delay on the decision to extend the cut.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/10/09/20171010_oil1.jpg"><img height="314" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/10/09/20171010_oil1_0.jpg" width="600" /></a></p> <p>That&rsquo;s after Energy Minister Alexander Novak hinted more than once that from Moscow&rsquo;s perspective, this decision is far from urgent. <strong>With a budget based on Brent at US$40, Russia is indeed in a sweet spot compared with its partners in the deal: it can remain in the black at any price above US$40.</strong></p> <p><strong>But there may be another reason for Moscow deciding to opt out of the extension.</strong> Lower oil prices could actually be more beneficial for the Russian economy.</p> <p>Macro-Advisory analyst Chris Weafer <a href="http://www.intellinews.com/macro-adviser-six-reasons-why-russia-does-not-want-a-higher-oil-price-132567/?source=russia">lists </a><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>six ways in which lower oil prices would be better for Russia</strong></span>, and all of these make sense, counterintuitive as this line of argument might seem at first glance.</p> <p>For starters, the higher the price of oil, the greater the risk of another collapse down the road. The more oil costs, the more producers will invest in new production, possibly leading to a repeat of the 2014 collapse. Or prices could simply take a dive once the OPEC deal ends, which it must at some point.</p> <p>A higher oil price would also likely compromise a budget reform currently in the works, which aims to rein in spending. More importantly, Russia&rsquo;s economic diversification efforts may well be compromised if oil prices remain higher&mdash;a point we&rsquo;ve made repeatedly on Oilprice, not just with respect to Russia but to all oil-dependent economies.</p> <p>According to Weafer, however, renewable energy does not play a large part in this diversification. He says that stifling investments in renewable energy is one more reason for Moscow to want oil prices to fall: the higher oil prices are, the more attractive renewable energy becomes.</p> <p>Yet another reason is that Moscow prefers to keep the ruble cheaper as this stimulates exports, curbs imports, and boosts competitiveness. Traditionally, the Russian currency has followed Brent&rsquo;s moves closely, but this link has now been severed thanks to a fiscal rule mechanism employed by the Russian Finance Ministry that involves converting more rubles into forex as tax on the oil industry rises, pressuring the local currency. If, however, Brent goes high enough, there may be a spike in speculative interest in rubles, which will cause the currency to rise, too.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>All of these reasons make perfect sense for Russia. </strong></span>They are unlikely to be praised by its partners in the deal, however. Right now, according to analysts, OPEC&rsquo;s meeting on November 30 and the deal extension expected to result from it is the single most important tailwind for oil prices, as the effect of tensions in the Middle East begins to subside in the absence of any escalation. In this context, the consequences of Russia pulling out of an extension beyond March 2018 are all too easy to guess.</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="656" height="276" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171121_opec.png?1511285922" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-21/oil-price-drop-imminent-if-moscow-says-no-extension#comments Business Cartels Chronology of world oil market events Economy Economy of Russia Energy crisis Finance Ministry Middle East Middle East OPEC OPEC Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries Petroleum industry Petroleum politics Price of oil Primary sector of the economy Saudi Arabia Wed, 22 Nov 2017 10:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 607685 at http://www.zerohedge.com Biggest Bubble Ever? 2017 Recapped In 15 Bullet Points http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-21/biggest-bubble-ever-2017-recapped-15-stunning-bullet-points <p>Yesterday we <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-20/bofas-apocalyptic-forecast-stocks-flash-crash-bond-bubble-bursts-h1-2018">presented readers with one of the most pessimistic</a>, if not outright apocalyptic, 2018 year previews, courtesy of BofA's chief investment, Michael Hartnett who warned that in addition to the bursting of the bond bubble in the first half of the year, the stock market could see a 1987-like flash crash, potentially followed by a sharp spike in (violent) social conflict. However, in addition to his forecast, Hartnett also had one of the more informative, and descriptive, reviews of the year that was, or as he put it: 2017 was the perfect encapsulation of an 8-year QE-led bull market. </p> <p>Here are his 15 bullet points that show why in 2017 we may have seen the biggest bubble ever (and why we can't wait to see what 2018 reveals). </p> <ol> <li><strong>Da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” sold for staggering record $450mn</strong></li> <li><strong>Bitcoin soared 677% from $952 to $7890</strong></li> <li><strong>BoJ and ECB were bull catalysts, buying $2.0tn of financial assets</strong></li> <li><strong>Number of global interest rate cuts since Lehman hit: 702</strong></li> <li><strong>Global debt rose to a record $226tn, record 324% of global GDP</strong></li> <li><strong>US corporates issued record $1.75tn of bonds</strong></li> <li><strong>Yield of European HY bonds fell below yield of US Treasuries</strong></li> <li><strong>Argentina (8 debt defaults in past 200 years) issued 100-year bond</strong></li> <li><strong>Global stock market cap jumped1 $15.5tn to $85.6tn, record 113% of GDP</strong></li> <li><strong>S&amp;P500 volatility sank to 50-year low; US Treasury volatility to 30-year low</strong></li> <li><strong>Market cap of FAANG+BAT grew $1.5tn, more than entire German market cap</strong></li> <li><strong>7855 ETFs accounted for 70% of global daily equity volume</strong></li> <li><strong>The first AI/robot-managed ETF was launched (it’s underperforming)</strong></li> <li><strong>Big performance winners: ACWI, EM equities, China, Tech, European HY, euro</strong></li> <li><strong>Big performance losers: US$, Russia, Telecoms, UST 2-year, Turkish lira</strong></li> </ol> <p>As Hartnett summarizes, "<strong>2017 was a perfect encapsulation of an 8-year QE-led bull market"</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>Positioning </strong>was too bearish for either a bear market or a correction in risk assets. </li> <li><strong>Profits </strong>were higher than expected (global EPS jumped 13.4%) this time thanks to a synchronized global PMI recovery.</li> <li><strong>Policy </strong>was aggressively easy, as the ECB and BoJ bought a massive $2.0tn of financial assets; fiscal policy also easy (e.g., US federal deficit up $81bn to $666bn).</li> <li><strong>Returns </strong>were abnormally high in 2017 (Table 3); corporate bonds and equities soared, but the biggest surprise was stubbornly low government bond yields: thematic leadership of scarce “growth” (e.g. tech stocks), “yield” (e.g., HY, EM and peripheral EU bonds) and “volatility” once again remained the core of the bull.</li> </ul> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/11/18/bubble%20bofa.jpg" width="629" height="151" /></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="964" height="519" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/biggest%20bubble%20ever.jpg?1511304592" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-21/biggest-bubble-ever-2017-recapped-15-stunning-bullet-points#comments Actuarial science artificial intelligence Bear Market Bond Bond Business China Debt levels and flows Economy European Central Bank European Union Federal Deficit Finance Financial markets flash Investment Lehman Money Quantitative easing recovery U.S. Treasury Volatility Volatility Wed, 22 Nov 2017 09:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 607712 at http://www.zerohedge.com “Russia Did It” and Other Crimes http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-21/%E2%80%9Crussia-did-it%E2%80%9D-and-other-crimes <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h1><a href="https://www.sprottmoney.com/Blog/russia-did-it-and-other-crimes-rory-hall.html"><span style="text-decoration: underline; color: #3366ff;"><em><strong>“Russia Did It” and Other Crimes</strong></em></span></a></h1> <p><a href="https://www.sprottmoney.com/Blog/russia-did-it-and-other-crimes-rory-hall.html"><span style="text-decoration: underline; color: #3366ff;"><em><strong>Posted with permission and written by Rory Hall, The Daily Coin</strong></em></span></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="post-thumbnail"> <img src="https://sprottmoney.com/media/magpleasure/mpblog/post_thumbnail_file/2/3/cache/2/ece9a24a761836a70934a998c163f8c8/234eebba7ed512b8c46074fde3d8cc62.jpg" alt="“Russia Did It” and Other Crimes - Rory Hall" class="thumbnail" /> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We haven’t had a system of capitalism since the Federal Reserve and Woodrow Wilson hijacked the US Treasury and US economy in 1913. Our financial, monetary and economic system has morphed into fascism, corporatism or something more akin to communism/socialism. The way our economy operates today, in 2017 - it is certainly not capitalism. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Since 2008, the ruling and banking class haven’t even tried to hide the FACT that our system is about oligarchs and theft – anything but capitalism. The same could be said for Europe and most any Western “developed” nation. We have a program called Quantitative Easing, which is a fancy, made-up way of saying money printing and bond market manipulation. We also have, proven in a court of law, rigged FOREX markets – the global currency market. The LIBOR market (loan interest rate market) is also rigged as proven, once again in a court of law. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Look at Greece, Venezuela and Zimbabwe for the second time in less than 20 years. These three nations have seen their economies completely collapse. Greece has been propped up by the European Central Bank because if Greece’s economy were to rot away in the same way as Venezuela and Zimbabwe, then Germany and Deutsche Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, would collapse. This would trigger a global economic collapse that would make 2008 look like a rounding error. This will not do. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Until what is explained above is understood, capitalism will continue to be made out to be the bad guy of our economic problems. As long as capitalism is made the enemy, the ruling and banking class criminals can and will continue their global crime sprees uncontested. One can not compare our current economic system to capitalism when it has almost nothing to do with capitalism. If one compares it to fascism, then the truth is more easily understood. Fascism is all about inequality – haves and have nots, with nothing in-between. What do we hear from the mainstream media over and over – the one thing they actually get right – is there is an attack on middle class incomes and middle class America. This is 100% correct. Until the middle class is completely wiped out, the oligarchs can not truly dictate what the masses will accept. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p> The US government does not represent the interests of the majority of the country’s citizens, but is instead ruled by those of the rich and powerful, a new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities has concluded. </p></blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p> The report, entitled <a href="http://www.princeton.edu/~mgilens/Gilens%20homepage%20materials/Gilens%20and%20Page/Gilens%20and%20Page%202014-Testing%20Theories%203-7-14.pdf">Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens</a>, used extensive policy data collected from between the years of 1981 and 2002 to empirically determine the state of the US political system. </p></blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p> After sifting through nearly 1,800 US policies enacted in that period and comparing them to the expressed preferences of average Americans (50th percentile of income), affluent Americans (90th percentile) and large special interests groups, researchers concluded that the United States is dominated by its economic elite.<br /> <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10769041/The-US-is-an-oligarchy-study-concludes.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Source</a></p></blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p></p></blockquote> <p>If you combine this information with what is happening today with the “Russia did it” narrative then we see how these oligarchs push the mass of people to accept whatever lie they are pushing. If there is information that will prove Hillary is a treasonous criminal who should be investigated and then imprisoned for high crimes, well, simply ignore that information and never, ever present credible information on any mainstream media TV or radio. TV and radio are for entertainment, not real information. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p> No one who is promoting the Russiagate allegations is trying to debate William Binney’s allegations. </p></blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Instead, all of the news media are plastered with allegations of ‘Russia’s meddling in American democracy’. </p></blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p> William Binney is the mathematician and Russia-specialist, who quit the NSA in 2001 as its global Technical Director for geopolitical analysis, because of the lying about, and manipulations of, intelligence, that he saw — distortions of intelligence by the George W. Bush Administration — in order to ‘justify’ systematic, massive, and all-encompassing, Government snooping into all Americans’ private electronic communications. His, and some colleagues’, efforts to get the Inspector General of the US Department of Defense to investigate the matter, produced FBI raids into their homes, and seizures of their computers, so as to remove incriminating evidence they might have against higher-ups. According to Binney, NSA’s Director, Michael Hayden, had vetoed in August 2001 a far less intrusive and more effective system of signals-intelligence collection and analysis, which might have enabled the 9/11 attacks to be blocked — a more effective system that would have been less expensive, less intrusive, and not violated Americans’ Constitutional rights. Hayden went on to head the CIA, until the end of George W. Bush’s Presidency. Afterward, Hayden joined the Chertoff Group and other military-industrial-complex contractors of the US federal Government. There were no such rewards for any of the whistleblowers. <a href="https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/11/17/capitalism-collapsing-from-inequality-blame-russia.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Source</a></p></blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p></p></blockquote> <p>All of these issues are interconnected. If the economy were capitalistic, we would have real news on TV and radio. If we had real news on TV and radio, we would hear from people like William Binney and<br /> reports like <a href="http://www.princeton.edu/~mgilens/Gilens%20homepage%20materials/Gilens%20and%20Page/Gilens%20and%20Page%202014-Testing%20Theories%203-7-14.pdf">Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens</a> would be reported on as well. This would lead directly to the arrest of people like Prescott Bush, George Bush, Sr, George Bush, Jr, the Clinton Crime Family and Obama. This would then lead to the arrest of every banking president and banking “C” level executive for the past 50+ years. This would then lead to the arrest of the “C” level executives of some of the largest corporations in the world. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It all begins, as we have stated time and again, with a corrupt currency. Once a currency becomes corrupt, the entire system is forced into a life of corruption and crime to cover up the lies the currency is telling. The currency we have in our wallets is a criminal, corrupt liar. Until we attack this criminal and correct the lies, we will continue to be slaves to the oligarchs. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em style="box-sizing: border-box; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 20.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px; font-family: &quot;Lucida Grande&quot;, Verdana, sans-serif;">Questions or comments about this article? Leave your thoughts <a href="https://www.sprottmoney.com/Blog/russia-did-it-and-other-crimes-rory-hall.html"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>HERE</strong></span></a>.</span></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h1><a href="https://www.sprottmoney.com/Blog/russia-did-it-and-other-crimes-rory-hall.html"><span style="text-decoration: underline; color: #3366ff;"><em><strong>“Russia Did It” and Other Crimes</strong></em></span></a></h1> <p><a href="https://www.sprottmoney.com/Blog/russia-did-it-and-other-crimes-rory-hall.html"><span style="text-decoration: underline; color: #3366ff;"><em><strong>Posted with permission and written by Rory Hall, The Daily Coin</strong></em></span></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="color: #000000;">Check out these other articles by our contributors:</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="color: #000000;">John Rubino - <a href="https://www.sprottmoney.com/Blog/gold-versus-bitcoin-the-pro-gold-argument-takes-shape-john-rubino.html">Gold vs. Bitcoin: The Pro-Gold Argument Takes Shape</a></span></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;">Peter Diekmeyer - <a href="https://www.sprottmoney.com/Blog/the-24-trillion-hidden-fed-tax-peter-diekmeyer.html">The 2.4 Trillion Hidden Fed Tax</a></span></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;">Ed Steer - <a href="https://www.sprottmoney.com/Blog/gold-and-silver-digest-ed-steer.html">Gold and Silver Digest</a></span></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;"><a href="https://www.sprottmoney.com/Blog/november-17-2017-weekly-wrap-up-with-eric-sprott.html">Eric Sprott's Weekly Wrap-Up</a><br /></span></p> <p><em style="box-sizing: border-box; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 20.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px; font-family: &quot;Lucida Grande&quot;, Verdana, sans-serif;">&nbsp;</span></em></p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-21/%E2%80%9Crussia-did-it%E2%80%9D-and-other-crimes#comments Anti-capitalism Bitcoin Bond Capitalism Central Intelligence Agency Corruption Deutsche Bundesbank Economic ideologies Economic liberalism Economic systems Economy European Central Bank European Central Bank FBI Federal Bank of Germany Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Reserve George W. Bush administration Germany Greece LIBOR Market Manipulation Politics Quantitative Easing Social philosophy Socialism Structure Thought U.S. Department of Defense U.S. Treasury US Federal Reserve US government William Binney Wed, 22 Nov 2017 09:05:33 +0000 Sprott Money 607695 at http://www.zerohedge.com DIRTY DOSSIER FIRM: Unsealed Fusion GPS Bank Records Reveal $523K Payment From Russian Money Launderer http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-22/dirty-dossier-firm-unsealed-fusion-gps-bank-records-reveal-523k-payment-russian-mone <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: 400; 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/2017/11/170822_gma_brianross2_0712_16x9_992-3.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/11/170822_gma_brianross2_0712_16x9_992-3-300x216.jpg" width="300" height="216" style="margin: 0.5em 0px 0.5em 1em; height: auto; float: right; max-width: 100%;" class="alignright size-medium wp-image-12716" /></a><em><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; 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-stretch: inherit;"><a href="http://ibankcoin.com/" target="_blank" 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;">iBankCoin.com</a></span></em></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: 400; 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;">Unsealed court documents reveal that the firm behind the salacious 34-page Trump-Russia Dossier, Fusion GPS, was paid $523,000 by a Russian businessman convicted of tax fraud and money laundering,&nbsp;<strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">whose lawyer,<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/11/vesel.png"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">Natalia Veselnitskaya</span></span></a>, was a key figure in the infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower arranged by Fusion GPS associate Rob Goldstone.</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: 400; 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;">In short, D.C. opposition research firm Fusion GPS is the common denominator linked to two schemes used to damage the Trump campaign. </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: 400; 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;">Founded in 2011 by former Wall St. Journal journalist Glenn Simpson and two other WSJ alumni, Fusion was responsible for the&nbsp;<a href="http://archive.is/hpR9m" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">Clinton/DNC - funded dossier</span></span></a>&nbsp;(<a href="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/11/sources.png" target="_blank"><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">which two Kremlin&nbsp;</span></span></em></a><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;"><a href="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/11/sources.png">officials</a>&nbsp;participated in</span></span>),<strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">&nbsp;</strong></em>and was also involved in the infamous Trump Tower meeting with the Russian attorney of another Fusion client - an encounter some suspect may have been used to obtain a FISA wiretapping warrant on the Trump campaign.</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: 400; 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;">Of note, the 34-page dossier created by Fusion<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://archive.is/UAl0K" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">was reportedly used to obtain a FISA surveillance warrant</span></span></a><span>&nbsp;</span>on one-time adviser to the Trump campaign, Carter Page.</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: 400; 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;">Quite a bit more notable is the fact that Fusion&nbsp;co-founder Glenn Simpson<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/11/07/fusion-gps-founder-met-with-russian-at-center-of-trump-tower-meeting/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">met with Natalia Veselnitskaya</span></span></a><span>&nbsp;</span>hours before the Trump Tower meeting, and<span>&nbsp;</span><em>also&nbsp;</em>met with Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman<span>&nbsp;</span><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">John Podesta</strong>&nbsp;<a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/11/11/john-podesta-met-with-fusion-gps-founder-after-trump-dossier-was-published/" target="_blank"><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">the day after</span></span></em></a><span>&nbsp;</span>the 34-page dossier was published by BuzzFeed. Glenn gets around.&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: 400; 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;">InFusion of Funds</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: 400; 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;"><em>The Daily Caller</em>'s<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://twitter.com/ChuckRossDC" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">Chuck Ross</span></span></a><span>&nbsp;</span>- who has done an&nbsp;outstanding job turning over stones and finding gold - now reports that the&nbsp;<a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/11/21/unsealed-fusion-gps-bank-records-show-russia-related-payments/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">heavily redacted Fusion GPS bank records</span></span></a>&nbsp;unsealed Tuesday reveal DNC law firm <a href="http://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/11/rec1.png" target="_blank">Perkins Coie</a>&nbsp;paid Fusion a total of<span>&nbsp;</span><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">$1,024,408&nbsp;</strong>in 2016 for opposition research on then-candidate Donald Trump - including the 34-page dossier.</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: 400; 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;">Ross<span>&nbsp;</span><em>also</em><span>&nbsp;</span>reports that law firm <a href="http://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/11/rec2.png" target="_blank">Baker Hostelter</a><span>&nbsp;</span>paid Fusion<span>&nbsp;</span><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">$523,651</strong><span>&nbsp;</span>between March and October 2016 on behalf of a company owned by<span>&nbsp;</span><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">Russian businessman and money launderer Denis Katsyv</strong><span>&nbsp;</span>to research Bill Browder, a London banker who helped push through the Magnitsky Act - named after deceased Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.</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: 400; 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;">Magnitsky Act</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: 400; 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/2017/11/serge.jpg"><img src="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/11/serge-300x187.jpg" width="300" height="187" style="margin: 0.5em 0px 0.5em 1em; height: auto; float: right; max-width: 100%;" class="alignright size-medium wp-image-12712" /></a>Magnitsky uncovered a high level embezzlement and money laundering scheme, sanctioned by Russian Officials, in which large sums of money were stolen from the Russian government&nbsp;and invested in New York real estate. Some of the missing funds were<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.reportingproject.net/proxy/en/following-the-magnitsky-money" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">traced to Katsyv</span></span></a><a href="https://www.reportingproject.net/proxy/en/following-the-magnitsky-money" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">'s firm</span></span></a>, Prevezon Holdings Ltd., which settled with the Justice Department in 2017 - paying<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-13/u-s-reaches-5-9-million-deal-in-russian-fraud-laundering-case" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">$5.9 million</span></span></a><span>&nbsp;</span>in fines.</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: 400; 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;">Magnitsky was arrested and thrown in prison for just under a year, only to die seven days before he was to be released. He developed gall stones, pancreatitis, and a blocked gall bladder for which he received little to no medical care,&nbsp;and was found to have been<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-drops-inquiry-into-death-of-sergei-magnitsky-8541205.html" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">physically assaulted</span></span></a>&nbsp;shortly before he died.&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: 400; 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;">In response to Magnitsky's horrific death and&nbsp;because Russian money laundering occurred on US soil, Congress and President Obama enacted the Magnitsky act in 2012 - imposing sanctions on Russia and barring Russian officials believed to be involved in Magnitsky's death from entering the United States. Russia retaliated by halting an adoption program for US foster parents.</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: 400; 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;">Enter Natalia</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: 400; 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;">What's strange is that Katsyv's attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya - a&nbsp;<a href="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/11/mccainfan.png" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">John McCain fan</span></span></a>&nbsp;who <em>hates</em> Trump and <a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/07/12/exclusive-radical-dem-worked-for-russian-lawyer-who-met-with-trump-jr/" target="_blank">uses Democrat lobbyists</a>, was initially&nbsp;<strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">denied entry into the United States,</strong>&nbsp;only to be allowed in under "extraordinary circumstances" by Obama's Homeland Security Department and<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/342118-homeland-security-confirms-special-entry-for-russian-lawyer" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">approved by former AG Loretta Lynch</span></span></a>&nbsp;so she could represent<span>&nbsp;</span><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">Fusion GPS client</strong><span>&nbsp;</span>Denis Katsyv's company, Prevezon Holdings -<span>&nbsp;</span><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">and attend the meeting at Trump Tower&nbsp;with Donald Trump Jr. - arranged by Fusion GPS associate Rob Goldstone.</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: 400; 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;">Let's Review:</strong></p> <ul 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: 400; 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;"> <li>Russian businessman Denis Katsyv was a key figure in an embezzlement and money laundering scheme involving New York real estate, uncovered by Russian lawyer and accountant Sergei Magnitsky. Magnitsky died in<span>&nbsp;</span>Moscow's Butyrka prison after a year of inhumane treatment.&nbsp;</li> <li>The embezzlement scheme uncovered by Magnitsky along with the circumstances behind his death&nbsp;resulted in the Magnitsky Act - a bipartisan bill signed in December 2012 by President Obama which imposed sanctions on Russia.</li> <li>Katsyv settled with the U.S. Justice department in 2017, paying a paltry $5.9 million in 2017 to settle the case -<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-crime-prevezon/u-s-settles-russian-money-laundering-case-idUSKBN18904I" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">less than 3%</span></span></a><span>&nbsp;</span>of the amount originally&nbsp;sought by federal prosecutors.&nbsp;</li> <li>Katsyv's attorney,&nbsp;<a href="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/11/vesel.png" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">Natalia Veselnitskaya</span></span></a>,&nbsp;<strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">lobbied</strong><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">&nbsp;to remove the sanctions</strong><span>&nbsp;</span>imposed by the Magnitsky Act.&nbsp;</li> <li>Fusion GPS was paid&nbsp;$523,651 by Katsyv to investigate London Banker Bill Browder who pushed for the Magnitsky Act</li> <li><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">Fusion GPS associate Rob Goldstone&nbsp;</strong>set up the infamous meeting at Trump Tower&nbsp;between Donald Trump Jr.,<span>&nbsp;</span><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">Katsyv's lawyer&nbsp;</strong>Natalia Veselnitskaya and various associates. The meeting was pitched to Trump Jr. as a "discussion on adoption" (<a href="http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/354537-russian-lawyers-email-points-to-sanctions-as-focus-of-meeting-with" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;"><em>not</em>&nbsp;</span><span style="color: #0066cc;">opposition research on Hillary Clinton</span></span></a>)&nbsp;and was shut down by Trump after it became clear Veselnitskaya wanted to discuss the Magnitsky Act, which Don Jr. apparently didn't realize was linked to the adoption issue. Others present at the meeting include Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and<span>&nbsp;</span>Goldstone<strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">.</strong></li> <li><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">Hours before the Trump Tower meeting, Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/11/07/fusion-gps-founder-met-with-russian-at-center-of-trump-tower-meeting/"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">met with Veselnitskaya</span></span></a>.</strong></li> </ul> <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: 400; 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;">Meanwhile...</strong></p> <ul 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: 400; 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;"> <li><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">Fusion GPS was paid $1,024,408 by a DNC law firm, funded in part by Hillary Clinton and the DNC</strong>,<span>&nbsp;</span><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">to create the salacious 34 page dossier.</strong></li> <li><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">Fusion paid former British spy Christopher Steele $168,000</strong><span>&nbsp;</span>to assemble the document (which had the cooperation of&nbsp;<em>two</em><span>&nbsp;</span>senior Kremlin officials).</li> <li>Clinton campaign manager<span>&nbsp;</span><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">John Podesta met with Fusion CEO Glenn Simpson</strong><span>&nbsp;</span>the&nbsp;<em><a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/11/11/john-podesta-met-with-fusion-gps-founder-after-trump-dossier-was-published/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">day after</span></span></a></em><span>&nbsp;</span>the 34 page dossier was made public.</li> </ul> <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: 400; 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;">For their efforts, Fusion GPS was paid over $1.5 million dollars between Hillary Clinton, the<span>&nbsp;</span>DNC, and the holding company owned by pro-Kremlin businessman&nbsp;Denis Katsyv.</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: 400; 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;">Russian Ties Galore!</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: 400; 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;">Looking at&nbsp;<em>other</em><span>&nbsp;</span>Russian affiliations on the left - since that's the entire<span>&nbsp;</span>impetus<span>&nbsp;</span>of the witch hunt against President Trump:</p> <ul 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: 400; 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;"> <li>Russia gained control over 20% of United States uranium after the Clinton Foundation<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-clinton-foundation-investigation-russia-20171120-story.html" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">received $145 million</span></span></a><span>&nbsp;</span>from Uranium One affiliates and Russian oligarchs connected to the deal.</li> <li>The Obama administration approved the transaction&nbsp;<a href="http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/355749-fbi-uncovered-russian-bribery-plot-before-obama-administration" target="_blank"><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">after the FBI knew</span></span></em></a><span>&nbsp;</span>of a Russian plot to corner the US Uranium market and a racketeering scheme involving a Kentucky trucking company.&nbsp;Over 5,000 documents<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="http://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/2017/11/17/fbi-informant-has-video-of-russian-agents-with-briefcases-of-bribe-money-in-clinton-uranium-scandal/" target="_blank"><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">and a video</span></span></em></a><span>&nbsp;</span>of Russians preparing a briefcase stuffed with&nbsp;bribe money for Obama administration officials&nbsp;were obtained by an FBI informant.</li> <li>Bill Clinton met with Vladimir Putin&nbsp;<a href="http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/356323-bill-clinton-sought-states-permission-to-meet-with-russian-nuclear" target="_blank"><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">at his house in Russia</span></span></em></a>,&nbsp;<strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">the same day</strong><span>&nbsp;</span>he collected $500,000 for a speech to a Russian bank which upgraded Uranium One stock. Clinton sought approval from Hillary Clinton's State Department to meet with 15 Russians.</li> <li><strong style="font-weight: bold !important;">&nbsp;</strong><a href="https://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/10/pic_giant_041314_SM_The-Influence-Merchants-Podesta.jpg"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">Tony Podesta</span></span></a>, brother of John Podesta,<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/11/05/tony-podesta-lobbied-for-russias-uranium-one-and-did-not-file-as-a-foreign-agent/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">lobbied for Uranium One</span></span></a>&nbsp;<em>after</em><span>&nbsp;</span>Russia state-owned energy giant Rosatom owned the company outright.</li> <li>Tony Podesta met regularly with Clinton Foundation and was considered "basically part" of the organization,<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="http://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/2017/10/25/former-podesta-group-executive-says-firm-peddled-russian-oligarchs-all-over-dc-with-paul-manafort-video/#sthash.lCftZFE9.kEWjyziv.dpbs" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">according to a former long-time executive</span></span></a><span>&nbsp;</span>of the Podesta Group, who also said Podesta was "peddling Russian oligarchs" all over D.C.&nbsp;&nbsp;</li> <li>Clinton campaign chief and longtime DNC operative John Podesta recommended&nbsp;that brother Tony hire Hillary Clinton's chief legislative advisor at the State Department,<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="http://archive.is/fG26W"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">David Adams</span></span></a>, which&nbsp;allowed a direct link between the firm's Russian clients and the Obama administration.&nbsp;</li> <li>John Podesta sat on the board and owned shares in Joule Unlimited - a green-energy company which received<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://nypost.com/2017/07/05/uncovering-the-russia-ties-of-hillarys-campaign-chief/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">$35 million</span></span></a><span>&nbsp;</span>from the Russian government while Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State. In addition to Podesta, Joule's board of directors included senior Russian official Anatoly Chubais and oligarch Reuben Vardanyan - a Putin appointee to the Russian economic modernization council. Podesta jettisoned his shares before the 2016 election, transferring them to his daughter via a shell corporation.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p style="text-align: left; 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: 400; 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;">Unfortunately,&nbsp;</strong>Attorney General Jeff Sessions<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/360292-sessions-wed-need-factual-basis-for-second-special-counsel-for" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">feels there isn't 'enough basis</span></span></a>'&nbsp;to investigate&nbsp;<em>any or all of the above.&nbsp;</em></p> <p style="text-align: center; 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font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit;"><span style="font: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit; text-decoration-line: underline;"><span style="font: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; color: #0066cc; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;"><span style="font: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;">You<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;">Tube channel</strong></span></span></span></a></p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-22/dirty-dossier-firm-unsealed-fusion-gps-bank-records-reveal-523k-payment-russian-mone#comments Bill Browder Business Clinton Foundation Congress Denis Katsyv Department of Justice Department of State Donald Trump Donald Trump Jr. Donald Trump–Russia dossier FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Fusion GPS John McCain John Podesta Magnitsky Act Natalia Veselnitskaya Obama Administration Obama administration Obama's Homeland Security Department Politics President Obama Racketeering Real estate Russian government Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Sergei Magnitsky Sergei Magnitsky SPY Tax Fraud Twitter Twitter United States Uranium Vladimir Putin Wed, 22 Nov 2017 08:58:28 +0000 ZeroPointNow 607727 at http://www.zerohedge.com The Psychology Of Desperate People: 15 Dead, 40 Injured In Food Stampede In Morocco http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-21/psychology-desperate-people-15-dead-40-injured-food-stampede-morocco <p><a href="http://www.theorganicprepper.ca/desperate-people-11212017"><em>Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,</em></a></p> <p><strong>In prepper lore, there is a theory about&nbsp;how badly desperate people are likely to behave.</strong></p> <p>Many folks outside the community scoff at this theory. They believe that we have become more civilized than to utilize violent measures when hunger strikes.</p> <p>But <strong>an incident in Morocco the other day showed us exactly how hungry people behave.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/11/21/20171121_mor_0.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/11/21/20171121_mor_0.png" style="width: 560px; height: 236px;" /></a></p> <p><u><strong>And it isn&rsquo;t pretty.</strong></u></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Food was being distributed in a rural market in&nbsp;Sidi Boulaalam, a poor village. Women had come to the market with baskets to get food for their families, when suddenly, what could only be described as a stampede erupted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>At least 15 women died and five were wounded in a stampede during a food distribution operation on Sunday morning in rural Morocco</strong>, government officials said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The victims were crushed as hundreds of people, mostly women, gathered to collect baskets of food at the market&hellip;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&hellip;In the aftermath of the stampede, clothes and other personal items were left scattered across the ground. (<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/19/world/africa/morocco-stampede.html?_r=0" rel="noopener" target="_blank">source</a>)</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>That number was later updated to&nbsp;<a href="http://m.dailyasianage.com/news/95886/morocco-food-stampede-kills-15" rel="noopener" target="_blank">40 people</a>&nbsp;who were injured in the crush.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Witnesses told local media that this year&rsquo;s annual food aid distribution at a local market in Sidi Boulaalam, an impoverished town with just over 8,000 inhabitants, attracted a larger crowd than usual.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;This year there were lots of people, several hundred people,&rdquo; </strong>a witness who asked to remain anonymous told AFP news agency.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;People shoved, they broke down the barriers,&rdquo;</strong> he said, adding that the injured had been evacuated to a hospital in Marrakesh. (<a href="http://m.dailyasianage.com/news/95886/morocco-food-stampede-kills-15" rel="noopener" target="_blank">source</a>)</p> </blockquote> <p>Here&rsquo;s a video of the aftermath in this Tweet. (If it won&rsquo;t play for you, <a href="https://twitter.com/ajplus/status/932986979515482113" rel="noopener" target="_blank">go here</a>.)</p> <blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Food delivery was supposed to bring relief. Instead, it caused a deadly stampede in drought-stricken Morocco. <a href="https://t.co/QslXgLZEfu">pic.twitter.com/QslXgLZEfu</a></p> <p>&mdash; AJ+ (@ajplus) <a href="https://twitter.com/ajplus/status/932986979515482113?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 21, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p><strong>The value of the food being handed out? $16</strong></p> <p>15 families were left without mothers over $16 of food. To be fair, villagers in that part of the world live on about&nbsp;$3 per day, but still &ndash; this shows what desperation can do.</p> <h3><u>It&rsquo;s not just Morocco.</u></h3> <p><strong>It happens somewhere in the world every day.</strong> Here are some acts of desperation that have happened just in recent months.</p> <ul> <li>A <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-13/north-korean-soldier-shot-while-escaping-across-dmz" rel="noopener" target="_blank">North Korean soldier got shot 7 times</a> and still kept running to get to freedom.</li> <li>Venezuelan women are&nbsp;<a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-26/venezuelan-women-forced-turn-prostitution-afford-food" rel="noopener" target="_blank">becoming prostitutes in exchange for food</a>.</li> <li>People with the <a href="http://www.shtfplan.com/conspiracy-fact-and-theory/shock-black-death-patients-are-escaping-the-hospital-over-fear-of-needles-as-officials-worry-plague-could-spread_11182017" rel="noopener" target="_blank">plague are fleeing the hospital</a> (and life-saving treatment) because of fear.</li> <li>Roving <a href="http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/this-is-what-collapse-looks-like-roving-gangs-fight-for-resources-aid-workers-being-held-at-gunpoint-in-puerto-rico_10012017" rel="noopener" target="_blank">gangs were fighting for food and wate</a>r in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico.</li> <li>On St. Martin, people were &ldquo;<a href="https://www.rt.com/news/403003-saint-martin-irma-looting/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">fighting on the streets</a>&rdquo; for what food was left after Hurricane Irma.</li> </ul> <p><em><strong>When you are desperate, the normal rules do not apply.</strong></em></p> <h3><u>Every year, we get a glimpse of this kind of insanity in America</u></h3> <p>Every year, on &ldquo;Black Friday&rdquo; we get a glimpse of the kind of behavior that causes people to be crushed to death and assaulted. The day after Thanksgiving (ironically) people get up before daylight, stand in line, and shove their way through a crowd to get the best deals. (Stay tuned this weekend for the 2017 Black Friday Hall of Shame.)</p> <p><strong>And they aren&rsquo;t even hungry.</strong></p> <p>People climb&nbsp;all over each other for cheap electronics. Fistfights erupt&nbsp;over vegetable steamers. People are ready to throw down and do battle for sale priced bath towels and televisions.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pBkGla-sYis" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>I&rsquo;d hazard a guess that folks who spend time and money fighting over electronics are not the kind of people who prep. That means that these are the people who will be hungry in a long-term disaster. &nbsp;Look at those people, stampeding to get to a sale on things that they don&rsquo;t actually need to survive. Their inhibitions are loosened because those around them are behaving in the same way.</p> <p><strong>You have to look at the psychology of this.</strong></p> <p>People can justify pretty much anything when they or their children are starving. And I can understand that to a large degree &ndash; who could stand to watch their babies suffering? &nbsp;But if someone can devolve to the above degree just to because everyone else is doing it, the chaos we saw above is only a <em>tiny sample</em> of what could come if people were truly hungry.</p> <p><em><strong>The line between civilization and THIS is very thin.</strong></em></p> <h3><u>Desperate people do desperate things.</u></h3> <p><em><strong>We need to be prepared by having the <a href="https://preppersmarket.com/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">essential supplies</a> on hand to keep us from becoming one of those desperate people in the middle of a stampede for a few days&rsquo; worth of food, but what&rsquo;s more, we need to <a href="http://www.theorganicprepper.ca/preppers-need-guns-3-reasons-firearms-play-a-role-in-your-defensive-plan-12012015" rel="noopener" target="_blank">be prepared for the prospect of those desperate people</a>. Keeping a low profile is the best defense but sometimes it&rsquo;s not enough.</strong></em></p> <p>In a desperate situation, you have to be ready for desperate people to behave in a desperate manner. It happens in real life all the time. Somewhere on this planet, someone is desperate and they will do <em>anything</em> to meet their needs.</p> <p>It only takes one person to start the charge in a tense scenario, and when that happens, the others will follow.</p> <p><strong>Don&rsquo;t count on the rules of &ldquo;civilization&rdquo; to save you.</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="865" height="364" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171121_mor.png?1511321626" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-21/psychology-desperate-people-15-dead-40-injured-food-stampede-morocco#comments AFP Black Friday Brain Food Hunger Neuroscience Personal life Puerto Rico Survivalism Twitter Twitter Wed, 22 Nov 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 607725 at http://www.zerohedge.com UN Releases Shocking Video Of North Korean Defector's Mad Dash Into The South Under Fire http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-21/un-releases-shocking-video-north-korean-defectors-mad-dash-south-under-fire <p><a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/11/21/shocking-video-shows-north-korean-soldiers-mad-dash-into-the-south-under-fire/"><em>Authored by Ryan Pickrell via The Daily Caller,</em></a></p> <p><strong>Incredible video footage from the tense Korean Demilitarized Zone shows one North Korean soldier&rsquo;s desperate dash into South Korea as his comrades let loose a barrage of bullets. </strong></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/11/21/20171121_nmk.png"><img height="261" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/11/21/20171121_nmk.png" width="560" /></a></strong></p> <p>United Nations Command <a href="https://twitter.com/BuckTurgidson79/status/933164206207184896">released</a> CCTV footage Tuesday of a suspected staff sergeant in his 20s fleeing his desolate country, first in a jeep and then on foot, with North Korean soldiers hot on his heels. <strong>The man crossed into South Korea at the Joint Security Area while his comrades chased after him, firing on him as he ran</strong>.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-video"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Incredible footage of the North Korean soldier making his escape through the DMZ, first in a jeep and then on foot. Can clearly see North Koreans running to shoot their &quot;comrade&quot; <a href="https://t.co/JRzTdYBvq4">pic.twitter.com/JRzTdYBvq4</a></p> <p>&mdash; Anna Fifield (@annafifield) <a href="https://twitter.com/annafifield/status/933158000264601600?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 22, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><p>A clearer and more detailed video of this extremely rare incident can be seen below.</p> <p><strong>In the video, four North Korean soldiers can be seen pursuing the defector, trying to kill him before he can reach freedom</strong>.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AUIKDwDmUoU" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><strong>The young North Korean soldier was shot multiple times, but he succeeded in making it into South Korea before he collapsed in a pile of leaves. </strong>He was rescued by South Korean troops and airlifted to a medical facility in Suwon. He has already undergone two major surgeries, and he is scheduled to have another surgery Wednesday.</p> <p>The operations were complicated by the presence of numerous <a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/11/16/doctors-found-parasites-theyd-never-seen-before-inside-the-north-korean-soldier-that-bolted-at-the-dmz/">parasites</a> and widespread infection, but <strong>the medical team has so far managed to keep him alive.</strong></p> <p><strong>The North Korean soldier has regained consciousness</strong> and is communicating with the medical staff, but conversation is limited.<u><em><strong> His first words were reportedly &ldquo;Is this actually South Korea?&rdquo;</strong></em></u></p> <p>The medical staff <a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/11/21/north-korean-soldier-shot-in-border-blitz-wakes-up-heres-what-he-had-to-say/">hung</a> the South Korean flag in his hospital room to comfort him and to remind him that he actually made it. The medical personnel at Ajou University Hospital where the man is receiving treatment suspect the soldier is suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.</p> <p><strong>In addition to revealing details about one man&rsquo;s daring escape, the video shows multiple <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/north-korea-violated-armistice-when-soldiers-shot-at-defector-u-s-says-1511317753">armistice violations</a> on the part of the North Korean troops at the JSA. </strong>Not only were they carrying prohibited weapons, but they also fired and personally crossed into South Korea at the Military Demarcation Line during the incident.</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="478" height="223" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171121_nmk.png?1511320913" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-21/un-releases-shocking-video-north-korean-defectors-mad-dash-south-under-fire#comments Aftermath of the Korean War Ajou University Hospital International relations Joint Security Area Korea Korean Demilitarized Zone Korean DMZ Conflict Member states of the United Nations North Korea Political philosophy Republics South Korea Twitter Twitter United Nations Command Wed, 22 Nov 2017 08:24:18 +0000 Tyler Durden 607724 at http://www.zerohedge.com Budget Preview: Chancellor Philip Hammond's Impossible Task To "Square The UK's Circle" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-21/budget-preview-chancellor-philip-hammonds-impossible-task-square-uks-circle <p><strong>At lunchtime today, Philip Hammond will give the weakened Conservative government&rsquo;s first budget in the new parliament. </strong></p> <p>Against a likely backdrop of downgrades for the economy from the OBR, the Chancellor will be under immense pressure to provide a sound plan going forward on many issues. <a href="https://www.statista.com/chart/11933/budget-2017_-more-money-for-public-services-please/">As Statista&#39;s Martin Armstrong notes,</a> the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.statista.com/chart/11852/the-immense-financial-pressure-on-nhs-nurses/" target="_blank">NHS&nbsp;</a>has already had its call for an emergency boost of &pound;4 billion rejected, but there will need to be at least some answers to the problems surrounding health and public services funding.</p> <p>As a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.comresglobal.com/polls/mhp-november-2017-pre-budget/" target="_blank">new survey</a>&nbsp;by ComRes shows, <strong>this topic is one of particular importance to the public, with 67 percent saying that there should be more investment in these services, with a slight majority even saying they would personally be prepared to pay more taxes to enable it.</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.statista.com/chart/11933/budget-2017_-more-money-for-public-services-please/" title="Infographic: Budget 2017: more money for public services, please | Statista"><img alt="Infographic: Budget 2017: more money for public services, please | Statista" src="https://infographic.statista.com/normal/chartoftheday_11933_budget_2017_more_money_for_public_services_please_n.jpg" style="height: 356px; width: 500px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>Clearly, this is a highly significant budget and we would be greatly surprised if it&rsquo;s considered a success. </strong>As we <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-20/britains-gravest-economic-challenge-isnt-brexit">noted</a> yesterday, Reuters columnist and former European economics editor of The Economist, Paul Wallace, believes:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Few British budgets have mattered as much as the one that Philip Hammond will deliver to the House of Commons on Nov. 22.</strong> The chancellor of the exchequer must shore up Theresa May&rsquo;s perilously shaky government ahead of a vital Brexit summit of European leaders in mid-December. At the same time Hammond has to keep a grip on the public finances.</p> </blockquote> <p><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user235761/imageroot/2017/11/04/FisPhil2_0.png" style="width: 500px; height: 283px;" /></p> <p>However, it&rsquo;s worse than that, as the Chancellor is also under pressure from senior members of the Conservative party, never mind UK citizens, to increase spending amid widespread fatigue with austerity. Here is the <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/0635965e-cdf5-11e7-9dbb-291a884dd8c6">Financial Times</a> on the stiff challenge Hammond is facing.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>UK Chancellor Philip Hammond is under pressure from all sides as he prepares to deliver his second Budget on Wednesday. The first Budget of a new parliament is traditionally the time for chancellors to take bold decisions about taxes and spending. But the economic forecasts are likely to be difficult, public services are under strain, and pro-Brexit MPs are increasingly turning on the chancellor over his support for a &ldquo;soft Brexit&rdquo;. If Mr Hammond produces a safety-first Budget, he squanders his opportunity to decisively shape Britain&rsquo;s future. But boldness risks backfiring, and steering a middle course threatens to satisfy nobody.</p> </blockquote> <p>The FT notes that the Chancellor&rsquo;s statement will &ldquo;serve a cold dish of downgrades for the UK economy&rdquo; from the independent &ldquo;Office for Budget Responsibility&rdquo; (OBR). This year&rsquo;s growth forecast is expected to be cut from 2.0% to 1.6% and for 2018 from 1.6% to 1.4%. The medium-term forecasts depend on the OBR&rsquo;s assumptions on productivity growth, which it has already flagged will be cut &ldquo;significantly&rdquo;. The FT expects that.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>That means growth figures for 2020 and beyond will be closer to 1.5 per cent a year, compared with the 2 per cent that the fiscal watchdog had previously forecast.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Paul Wallace highlighted productivity as Hammond&rsquo;s biggest problem.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>But the gravest challenge he faces is economic: Britain&rsquo;s persistent productivity blight&hellip;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Other advanced economies have also experienced setbacks to productivity growth following the financial crisis. Where Britain stands out is in the severity of its reverse.<strong> The shortfall in productivity is the main reason real wages are now 4 percent lower than 10 years ago, a potent reason why the leave campaign prevailed in the Brexit referendum.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>While public finances look slightly more robust in the near-term, the outlook is deteriorating 3-4 years out, as the&nbsp; FT explains&quot;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Tax revenues have been stronger than expected this year, alongside lower-than-expected public spending.</strong> As a result, this year&rsquo;s expected public borrowing will fall by about &pound;8bn. The debt burden will begin to fall next year, giving Mr Hammond the opportunity to boast that he has turned the corner on public finances. But good news in the short term disappears towards the end of the forecast horizon, as weaker economic forecasts bear down on projected tax revenues. Before any accounting or tax changes, the deficit forecast in 2020-21 is likely to rise by more than &pound;10bn compared with the March forecast. The government has already said it wants to reduce borrowing to under 2 per cent of national income by 2020-21, but Mr Hammond&rsquo;s headroom is likely to roughly halve, from &pound;26bn to about &pound;13bn, in that year.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>However, he does have one thing up his sleeve&hellip;an off-balance sheet accounting gimmick.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The chancellor wants to signal that after a difficult year, things are looking up, with debt falling and Brexit-related uncertainties lifting. To offset bad news in the medium-term public finances, he will use a &pound;5bn-a-year accounting change &mdash; by taking housing associations&rsquo; borrowing off the government&rsquo;s books &mdash; to free up more money for housing, wages and healthcare.</p> </blockquote> <p>Affordable housing is a major problem for Hammond and Prime Minister Theresa May. According to the FT:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Fixing the &ldquo;broken housing market&rdquo; is the government&rsquo;s biggest domestic priority.</strong> The chancellor wants to make rents more affordable and ease the path to home ownership for younger adults who have deserted the Conservative party in recent elections. Mr Hammond has already set a target of 300,000 new homes per year, but has also insisted there is no &ldquo;single magic bullet&rdquo; to solving housing problems.</p> </blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>He will announce a housing package on Wednesday that is likely to include commissioning of new building on public land and funding for local authorities to construct homes. He will also reaffirm the Tories&rsquo; promise from last month&rsquo;s party conference to commit &pound;10bn more of Help to Buy equity loans, and set out plans to lower stamp duty for some first-time buyers. There will be no big reform of planning laws for the &ldquo;greenbelt&rdquo; of protected area outside of London, but local authorities could be given more powers for compulsory purchase of land.</p> </blockquote> <p>In its budget preview, the left-leaning <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/nov/21/widening-uk-budget-deficit-hands-hammond-a-headache">Guardian</a> newspaper highlights the deteriorating outlook for public finances due to the productivity problem.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Lower expectations for the output per worker will have an impact on the gross domestic product, cutting the amount of economic output available for taxation. The Institute for Fiscal Studies reckons the downgrade will contribute to a &pound;20bn black hole in the public finances, limiting Hammond&rsquo;s spending power if he wants to stick to his pledge to remove the deficit by the mid-2020s. John McDonnell, the Labour shadow chancellor, seized on the October data to argue that seven years of spending cuts had &ldquo;caused pain and misery for millions with little to show for it&rdquo;.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>As if &ldquo;Fiscal Phil&rdquo; Hammond didn&rsquo;t have enough on his plate, he&rsquo;s also been lambasted for his gaffe that &ldquo;there are no unemployed people&rdquo; in Britain, in a television interview at the weekend.</strong> Disliked by the pro-Brexit side of his party, Hammond&rsquo;s budget speech is being viewed by some as the &ldquo;make or break&rdquo; moment of his career. We concur.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user235761/imageroot/2017/11/04/FisPhil_0.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user235761/imageroot/2017/11/04/FisPhil_0.png" style="width: 500px; height: 295px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>Meanwhile, <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-21/six-fiscal-measures-that-might-just-crop-up-in-the-u-k-budget">Bloomberg</a> has been doing some sleuthing on budget preparations by government departments and think tanks.</strong> It identifies six things to look out for when Philip Hammond stand up in parliament to deliver his speech.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The U.K. budget is usually a mixture of measures that have been heavily trailed in the run-up by various government ministers, with a liberal sprinkling of surprises. In the past six months there have been myriad consultations and papers on everything from the offshore oil to air pollution that hint at possible measures in the works. Bloomberg trawled through that documentation, as well as recent announcements, to identify six areas that are likely to get a mention when Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond lays out his economic blueprint.</p> <p><strong>1. Stamp Duty and the Housing Crisis</strong><br />Prime Minister Theresa May last week pledged that it&rsquo;s her personal mission to &ldquo;build more homes, more quickly.&rdquo; To that end, the budget is likely to include a number of measures to encourage construction and enable younger people to get on the housing ladder. Asked on the BBC on Sunday about whether the home-buying tax known as stamp duty would be cut for younger buyers, Hammond declined to discuss tax matters, but didn&rsquo;t deny he was looking at the measure.</p> <p>&ldquo;We recognize the challenge for young first-time buyers, that in many parts of the country deposits are now very large,&rdquo; Hammond said. &ldquo;Nobody is saying we&rsquo;ve done enough. We must do more. We recognize there&rsquo;s a challenge there and on Wednesday I shall set out how we intend to address it.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>2. North Sea Oil and Gas</strong><br />Whilst remaining committed to its climate-change goals, the U.K. is also trying to extract as much value from its waning oil and gas fields in the North Sea. The industry is crucial to the economy in Scotland, which would be grateful for any assistance to a financial lifeline even as it remains angry at the Conservatives for taking it out of the European Union.</p> <p>At the last budget in March, the government published a &ldquo;discussion paper&rdquo; that examined allowing transfers of tax history between buyers and sellers of oil and gas assets -- a measure designed to make it easier to buy and sell the fields, and keep them producing for longer. It would allow buyers to get a tax refund as a result of any costs incurred decommissioning the field at the end of its life.</p> <p>Hammond told the Sunday Times he&rsquo;s &ldquo;looking at&rdquo; a possible change in the tax rules, which is &ldquo;the No. 1 ask of my Scottish colleagues.&rdquo; Even so, he did issue a note of caution, adding that the Treasury needs to ensure the reform &ldquo;is robust and that we don&rsquo;t inadvertently create scope for gaming on a grand scale in the tax system.&quot;</p> <p><strong>3. Boosting Research &amp; Development</strong><br />May on Monday said the government aims to increase public and private research and development spending to 2.4 percent of economic output by 2027, and beyond that to 3 percent. &ldquo;This could mean about 80 billion pounds ($106 billion) of additional investment in the next decade,&rdquo; she said.</p> <p>As part of an announcement the same day linked to her government&rsquo;s Industrial Strategy -- due to be published next week -- she said that would begin with a commitment for an extra 2.3 billion pounds of investment in the 2021-2022 tax year, taking total public investment to 12.5 billion pounds that year. The government also signaled plans for a 1.7 billion-pound fund focused on improving regional transport links.</p> <p><strong>4. Shale Wealth Fund</strong><br />In another measure aimed at boosting the fossil-fuel industry -- in this case by making it more palatable to local communities -- the government promised at the last election to overhaul a pledged fund worth as much as 1 billion pounds to distribute some of the profits from hydraulic fracturing.</p> <p>The aim is to ensure &ldquo;a greater percentage of the tax revenues from shale gas directly benefit the communities that host extraction sites.&rdquo; The government last week responded to a consultation on the issue pledging the fund will initially consist of as much as 10 percent of tax revenues from shale-gas extraction, with proceeds to be spent on projects ranging from play parks for children to improved transport links and restoring historical sites.</p> <p><strong>5. Air Pollution Tax</strong><br />Diesel vehicles have become a political football of late. For years, governments ignored evidence that diesel is worse for air quality and encouraged its use because the fuel is less damaging to the climate than gasoline. With air pollution now under the microscope in London in particular, the government published an air-quality plan over the summer and is likely to include measures in the budget designed to help clean up the air in Britain&rsquo;s cities by encouraging cleaner vehicles.</p> <p>Possible measures include raising the sales tax on diesel cars, known as vehicle excise duty, or raising taxation on diesel fuel itself, which is currently taxed at the same level as gasoline, at about 58 pence per liter. The government has also said it will consider programs to encourage motorists to trade in their older, more polluting cars, for newer, cleaner ones. Ministers also stepping up efforts to encourage the use of more electric vehicles by supporting the development of batteries and the deployment of charging points.</p> <p><strong>6. Fund for Start-Ups</strong><br />In August, the government proposed a new National Investment Fund that would help start-ups access the &ldquo;patient capital&rdquo; funding they need to develop into so-called &ldquo;unicorns&rdquo; -- innovative companies valued at over $1 billion. A consultation on the proposal closed in September, and Hammond is likely to propose a confirmed plan of action in the budget.</p> <p>The consultation suggested funding should come from the British Business Bank, replacing the backing currently received from the European Investment Fund. One of the reasons this could get a mention is that the the government is keen to demonstrate that London can attract Big Tech even when it&rsquo;s no longer in the European Union.</p> </blockquote> <p>Although the view is hardly unique to this government, <strong>a mere 22 percent said that they feel taxpayers&#39; money is currently being spent wisely.</strong></p> <p>Whether this percentage will go up or down after the Chancellor&#39;s statement today, remains to be seen.</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="481" height="266" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171121_budget.png?1511312862" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-21/budget-preview-chancellor-philip-hammonds-impossible-task-square-uks-circle#comments Austerity Brexit Business Conservative government conservative party Economy of the United Kingdom European Union European Union Fracturing Fund for Start-UpsIn Government Government of the United Kingdom Gross Domestic Product Hammond House of Commons Housing Market Institute for Fiscal Studies Martin Armstrong Newspaper NHS Office for Budget Responsibility Office for Budget Responsibility Philip Hammond Political debates about the United States federal budget Politics Politics of the United Kingdom Reuters Shadow Chancellor Tax The Economist United Kingdom government austerity programme Wed, 22 Nov 2017 07:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 607694 at http://www.zerohedge.com Doomsday Scenarios: UK's Hair-Raising Admissions About Prospects Of Nuclear War (Or Accident) http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-21/doomsday-scenarios-uks-hair-raising-admissions-about-prospects-nuclear-war-or-accide <p><a href="https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/20/doomsday-scenarios-the-uks-hair-raising-admissions-about-the-prospect-of-nuclear-war-and-accident/"><em>Authored by T J Coles via Counterpunch.org,</em></a></p> <p><strong>The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has published several reports over the last few years. They discuss geopolitics and related themes, one of which is the likelihood of nuclear war or accident, including what it means for long-term survival.</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/11/21/20171121_fallout.png"><img height="307" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/11/21/20171121_fallout.png" width="497" /></a></strong></p> <p>Experts say that even a so-called limited exchange or accident would be catastrophic. For example, a recent paper in <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013EF000205/full"><em>Earth&rsquo;s Future</em></a> calculates that the most optimistic scenario of a &ldquo;small,&rdquo; regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan would wipe out millions of people through famine and result in a nuclear winter. An exchange between the USA and Russia, for instance, could be even bigger and more devastating.</p> <p>America&rsquo;s ongoing <a href="https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R42448.pdf">&ldquo;Asia Pivot&rdquo;</a> encourages China to build up its arsenals. <a href="https://thebulletin.org/fierce-urgency-nuclear-zero10491">Proxy wars</a> in Syria and Ukraine with Russia and continuing <a href="https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2017-11/news/trump-boxes-us-north-korea">tensions</a> with North Korea also increase the risk of brinkmanship and miscalculation between those nuclear powers.</p> <h3><u><strong>Britain&rsquo;s Role&nbsp;</strong></u></h3> <p><strong>By <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/24/britain-to-resume-training-syrian-rebels/">training rebels</a> in Syria and armed forces in <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-to-expand-support-to-ukraines-armed-forces">Ukraine</a>, the UK is particularly responsible for contributing to escalating tensions. </strong>Britain remains one of the USA&rsquo;s closest allies and enjoys a &ldquo;special relationship&rdquo; with the US. It serves as a proxy for US Trident nuclear weapons systems. The UK&rsquo;s Vanguard submarines host US-supplied <a href="http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Uk/UKArsenalRecent.html">Trident II D5</a> Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. In 2016, a dummy ICBM was launched by the UK at a test target off the coast of Africa. It self-destructed and <a href="http://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/local/2017/01/23/errant-missile-launch-would-have-been-near-cape/96966466/">headed for Florida</a>, according to news reports. The event took place a time when the British government voted to <a href="https://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2016/july/mps-debate-the-uks-nuclear-deterrent-18-july-2016/">upgrade</a> Trident in violation of Britain&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/trident-contradicts-uk-non-proliferation-stance-1704950.html">Non-Proliferation Treaty</a> obligations and at a time when the newly-appointed Prime Minister, Theresa May (not yet elected), answered <a href="https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2016-07-18/debates/7B7A196B-B37C-4787-99DC-098882B3EFA2/UKSNuclearDeterrent">&ldquo;Yes,&rdquo;</a> when asked by a member of Parliament if she would launch a nuclear missile and kill hundreds of thousands of civilians.</p> <p><strong>Let&rsquo;s look at some examples of the UK MoD&rsquo;s admissions that: 1) the world is getting more dangerous, 2) it is likely that some states will use nuclear weapons at some point, 3) brinksmanship increases the risk of miscalculation, and 4) that such events threaten human existence. </strong>These admissions are startling for a number of reasons: the MoD possesses nuclear weapons, yet acknowledges their danger; the media fail to report on these matters, despite their coming from establishment sources; and governments are not inherently compelled by this information to de-escalate.</p> <h3><u><strong>&ldquo;Doomsday Scenarios.&rdquo;</strong></u></h3> <p>Every few years, the MoD updates its studies concerning the nature of global developments. The third edition of the <a href="http://www.cuttingthroughthematrix.com/articles/strat_trends_23jan07.pdf"><em>Strategic Trends Programme</em></a> predicts trends between the years 2007-2036. It states (MoD&rsquo;s emphases):</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Accelerating nuclear proliferation will create a more complex and dangerous strategic environment, with the likely clustering of nuclear-armed states in regions that have significant potential for instability or have fears about foreign intervention.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For example, North Korean, Pakistani and potentially, Iranian nuclear weapon capability will increase significantly the risks of conflict in Asia if a system of mutual deterrence does not emerge. In addition, nuclear possession may lead to greater adventurism and irresponsible conventional and irregular behaviour, to the point of brinkmanship and misunderstanding.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Finally, there is a possibility that neutron technologies may reemerge as potential deterrent and warfighting options.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><u><strong>Neutron weapons supposedly kill living things but do not harm property.</strong></u> The report also notes a potential &ldquo;revival of interest&rdquo; among &ldquo;developed states&rdquo; in &ldquo;neutron and smarter nuclear technologies.&rdquo; Neutron bombs could become &ldquo;a weapon of choice for extreme ethnic cleansing in an increasingly populated world.&rdquo; The document concludes rather casually, stating: &ldquo;Many of the concerns over the development of new technologies lie in their safety, including the potential for disastrous outcomes, planned and unplanned.&rdquo; Note the word planned. It goes on to say: &ldquo;Various doomsday scenarios arising in relation to these and other areas of development present the possibility of catastrophic impacts, ultimately including the end of the world, or at least of humanity.&rdquo;</p> <p>Will the US or Israel get impatience and attack Iran or North Korea? The now-archived <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/486301/20151210-Archived_DCDC_FCOC.pdf"><em>Future of Character of Conflict</em></a> (2010) predicts trends out to 2035 and states:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>The risk of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) use will endure; indeed increase, over the long term.</strong> The strategic anxiety and potential instability caused by CBRN proliferation is typified by international frustration over Iran and North Korea, with the risks of pre-emptive action and regional arms races, and where soft power alone has not been notably successful.</p> </blockquote> <p>Soft power refers to economic and diplomatic coercion. As the US expands its global reach, other countries might seek possession of nuclear weapons to deter the USA: &ldquo;[t]he possession of nuclear weapons, perceived as essential for survival and status, will remain a goal of many aspiring powers.&rdquo;</p> <p>Unless enforcement mechanisms are imposed, will arms controls and treaties be effective? Out to the year 2040, says the MoD&rsquo;s fourth edition of its now-withdrawn <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/654717/GST4_v9_Feb10_archived.pdf"><em>Strategic Trends Programme</em></a>, &ldquo;[t]he likelihood of nuclear weapons usage will increase.&rdquo; It goes on (MoD&rsquo;s emphases):</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Broader participation in arms control may be achieved, although this is unlikely to reduce the probability of conflict. </strong>Effective ballistic missile defence systems will have the long-term potential to undermine the viability of some states&rsquo; nuclear deterrence.</p> </blockquote> <p>Could that last statement refer to ICBMs being integrated into a so-called defense shield and used by the few countries that possess them against ones that do not? What is the likelihood of nuclear weapons being used for warfighting? Finally, <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/646821/20151203-FOE_35_final_v29_web.pdf"><em>Future Operating Environment 2035</em></a> states:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Some commentators believe it is increasingly likely that a range of state actors may use tactical nuclear weapons as part of their strategy against non-nuclear and conventional threats coming from any environment, severe cyber attacks.</strong> Limited tactical nuclear exchanges in conventional conflicts by 2035 also cannot be ruled out, and some non-Western states may even use such strikes as a way of limiting or de-escalating conflict.</p> </blockquote> <h3><u><strong>Conclusion</strong></u></h3> <p><strong>These analyses and admissions on behalf of the UK MoD and its reliance on US-produced weapons systems should serve as enough of a warning</strong> to scholars and anti-nuclear weapons campaigners to suggest that, as long as weapons of mass destruction exist and as long as international treaties have no enforcement mechanisms with regards the powerful countries, <strong>the clock to midnight will continue ticking.</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="497" height="307" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171121_fallout.png?1511320523" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-21/doomsday-scenarios-uks-hair-raising-admissions-about-prospects-nuclear-war-or-accide#comments British government British Ministry of Defence China Fail Florida Foreign relations Government India Iran Israel Law Mutual assured destruction neutron technologies North Korea Nuclear power Nuclear proliferation Nuclear strategies Nuclear warfare Nuclear weapons Politics smarter nuclear technologies Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Ukraine War Weapon of mass destruction Wed, 22 Nov 2017 07:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 607723 at http://www.zerohedge.com