en Paul Craig Roberts Rages At The "Arrogance, Hubris, & Stupidity" Of The US Government <p>On the heels of the Chinese stock market plunging 5.5%, continued turmoil in the Middle East and the price of gold hitting 5 year lows, former U.S. Treasury official,<a href=""> Dr. Paul Craig Roberts told Eric King of King World News</a> that<strong> Putin and the Russians are now dominating in Syria and the Middle East as the West destroys itself.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Dr. Paul Craig Roberts:</strong></span>&nbsp; <strong>&ldquo;It could well be that this is going to work out so much in Russia&rsquo;s favor that Putin will send a letter of thanks to the Turkish President and say, &lsquo;Thank you very much.&nbsp; You&rsquo;ve done us a huge favor. </strong>(Laughter).&nbsp; We lost a pilot and a naval marine but we sure have gained a lot.&nbsp; That was only two deaths for winning a war.&rdquo;&hellip;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;So that looks to me like the most likely outcome.&nbsp; The unintended consequence of this are so positive for Russia that it&rsquo;s got Washington quaking and Europe wondering about the idiocy of being in NATO.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Eric King:&nbsp; &ldquo;What I&rsquo;m hearing from you Russia is dominating in Syria.&nbsp; The Russians have completely taken over and there&rsquo;s really nothing Washington can do.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Paul Craig Roberts:</strong></span>&nbsp; &ldquo;No, except make a fool of itself by supporting ISIS.&nbsp; We brought ISIS in there (to Syria) &mdash; everybody knows that.&nbsp; <strong>Just the other day the former head the Pentagon&rsquo;s Defense Intelligence Agency said on television that &lsquo;Yes, we created ISIS and we used them as henchmen to overthrow governments.&rsquo; </strong>(Laughter).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>And the polls in Europe show that the people are on Russia&rsquo;s side regarding the shooting down of their aircraft.&nbsp; </strong>They don&rsquo;t believe (the West&rsquo;s) story at all.&nbsp; So I think what you are seeing here is the arrogance, hubris, and stupidity of the United States government.&nbsp; They are just handing every possible advantage over to the Russians.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>This American government is the most incompetent government that has ever walked the earth.&nbsp; Those people don&rsquo;t have any sense at all.&nbsp; Just look at what they&rsquo;ve done.&nbsp; In 14 years they&rsquo;ve destroyed 7 countries, killed millions of people, and displaced millions of people.&nbsp; And where are those displaced people?&nbsp; They are overrunning Europe.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>This is all because those Europeans were stupid enough to enable our wars.</strong>&nbsp; Now the political parties in Europe are under tremendous pressure from these refugees and the populations who object to them, and from the rising dissident parties who are saying, &lsquo;Look at what these people who you trusted have done.&nbsp; They&rsquo;ve changed your country.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s not Germany anymore &mdash; it&rsquo;s Syria.&rsquo; (Laughter).&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>This is a disaster.&nbsp; Only the stupid Americans could have produced such a disaster.&nbsp;</strong> Does Putin need to do anything?&nbsp; We&rsquo;re doing it all for him.&nbsp; So he doesn&rsquo;t need to do anything.&nbsp; He&rsquo;s not going to attack anybody.&nbsp; What does he need to attack anybody for?&nbsp; <strong>The idiot Americans are destroying themselves and their allies.&nbsp; This is an amazing fiasco</strong>.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>And On Gold... Massive Government Corruption</strong></span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Eric King:&nbsp; &ldquo;Dr. Roberts, people are worried about World War III breaking out and yet we have the price of gold today hitting 5 1/2 year lows.&nbsp; So I guess even though Washington has lost control in the Middle East, they still feel like they have to keep up appearances.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Paul Craig Roberts:</span>&nbsp; &ldquo;Gold didn&rsquo;t hit a low, it was artificially driven down by the bullion banks, who are agents of the Federal Reserve and acting on the Fed&rsquo;s orders.&nbsp; This is the way the Fed protects the dollar from losing value.&nbsp; This has been going on in earnest since the fall of 2011.&nbsp; We see the appearance at the most odd times of day and night, for no reason whatsoever, of massive short sale of paper contracts that cause the price of gold to move straight down.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Eric King:&nbsp; &ldquo;We saw that today in the gold market with roughly $2 billion of paper gold being sold into the market almost instantaneously.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Paul Craig Roberts:&nbsp;</strong></span> &ldquo;<strong>But it doesn&rsquo;t mean anything about the value of gold.&nbsp; It simply means that the Federal Reserve and the bullion banks have manipulated the market.&nbsp; So that&rsquo;s what&rsquo;s going on.&nbsp; This is the worst kind of criminality and the worst kind of corruption.&nbsp;</strong> I, myself, wrote to the Commodity Futures Trading&nbsp; Commission and asked them why they permitted this?&nbsp; This is a violation of the law.&nbsp; <strong>But nothing can be done because it&rsquo;s the government that&rsquo;s doing it and the government is not going to prosecute itself.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>So never say gold hit a new low because it didn&rsquo;t.&nbsp; It got driven down artificially by a corrupt government...</strong>&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><em><strong>Read more here and listen to the full interview...</strong></em></a></p> <p><em><strong><a href=""><img height="117" src="" width="600" /></a></strong></em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="158" height="147" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Commodity Futures Trading Commission Corruption Federal Reserve Germany Middle East Mon, 30 Nov 2015 04:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 517202 at Argentines Stumped By Mystery Trucks Loaded With $130 Million In "High Denomination" Bills <p><a href="">Apparently taking a page out of the Spanish government&#39;s playbook</a>, Argentines in the Santa Cruz region were surprised yesterday afternoon when<strong> at least five bright yellow armored trucks accompanied by heavily armed police paraded through the city</strong>. Just weeks after Kirchner&#39;s Peroniost government lost the election, and coming after five office fires (destroying banking and economic files from the current regime),<a href=""> local press reports</a> the<strong> trucks loaded up with $130 million of banknotes at the airport and driven to banks in the region where outgoing President Kirchner&#39;s sister-in-law is governor</strong>. Amid comments by<a href=""> the central bank that there are no reserves left</a>, and <a href="">ongoing discussions of larger banknote denominations and (implied 50% devaluations)</a>, one could only speculate where the officially &quot;business-as-usual&quot; transfer of $100s of millions of banknotes will end up.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 337px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">As local press reported (via Google Translate)...</a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>The passage of these trucks through the city, road banks and other unspecified places, attracted wide attention of ordinary citizens who quickly settled in social networks, in the mystery of what was happening...</strong></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="es">Un amigo saco estas fotos ahora en Rio Gallegos, dcnas d camiones d caudales!!Los Kirchner se mudan? <a href="">@CFKArgentina</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; ANDY....MUJER (@andyhowez) <a href="">November 25, 2015</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>This time, however, the situation is more complex and has other<strong> more politically tinged</strong>.</p></blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="es"><a href="">@radiomitre</a> <a href="">@Lanataenel13</a> <a href="">@luisnovaresio</a> río gallegos copado de camiones de caudales.una prueba más del vaciamiento <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; MARIANO FERRARO (@MARIANOMFERRARO) <a href="">November 25, 2015</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">As The Bubble&#39;s Bianca Fernet reports,</a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>the money was intended for Santa Cruz&rsquo;s new governor and outgoing President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner&rsquo;s sister-in-law, Alicia Kirchner, as well as her Tierra del Fuego counterpart Rosana Bernton.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The reason? The local informant alleges that it is to <u><strong>allow Alicia Kirchner&rsquo;s government to pay salaries and end-of-year bonuses so as not to draw local attention to additional public spending. </strong></u>The province allegedly runs a massive deficit, and this cash from the outgoing national government would buy enough time to negotiate with the new government down the road.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This is speculation. However,<u><strong> five armored vehicles suddenly driving from airports to banks warrants a better explanation than, &ldquo;This is something routine we always do, you&rsquo;ve just all somehow managed to never notice it 15 days before a government changeover.&rdquo;</strong></u></p> </blockquote> <p><u><strong>This is one of the reasons why the national government refuses to make the transition before Decmber 10th, according to sources close to a national official, if these movements are not made ??now, then they will be blocked.</strong></u></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="es">Caravana de transporte de Caudales en Gallegos Santa Cruz 24 11 2015 <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; GUILLERMO FUSTER (@guillermofuster) <a href="">November 25, 2015</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>OPI <a href="">Santa Cruz concluded</a>,</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>This &quot;means that the machine does not stop,&quot; - referring to the printing of banknotes, </strong>which in turn feeds the vicious circle of devaluation and inflation, since by injecting more current without support, the currency depreciates.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>And of course the corruption continues.</strong></p> <p>Perhaps this explains why President-elect Macri has this succinct statement last week...</p> <ul> <li>ARGENTINA&rsquo;S&nbsp;MACRI SAYS<strong> NO DOLLARS LEFT IN CENTRAL BANK</strong></li> </ul> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>As hyperinflation begins to run rampant, and as we detailed previously c</strong></span><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>ontrary to government figures,</strong></span> the Massachusetts Institute of Technology&rsquo;s Billion Prices Project found that the price of essential foods has increased six-fold in the South American nation since 2008.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="356" src="" width="588" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><em>Source: InflacioVerdara</em></a></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 441px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>The Cristina Kirchner administration has ignored repeated requests by economists, banks, and other financial institutions to issue larger-denomination bills</strong>. Some 42 percent of Argentineans deemed it necessary in a 2014 survey by Argentina-based pollsters Poliarquía.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>However, President<strong> Kirchner chose to redesign existing notes instead. </strong>Earlier this year, the government introduced a new AR$50 bill depicting the Falkland Islands, an archipelago in the South Atlantic ocean subject to a lingering territorial dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In 2012, Kirchner launched a AR$100 bill with the face of Eva Perón, the wife of former President Juan Perón and an iconic figure for Peronists. Most recently, the government updated the AR$10 note, adding security improvements and revamping the image of founding father and creator of the Argentinean flag Manuel Belgrano.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>The new designs, however, have done nothing for Argentineans&rsquo; increasingly bulky wallets. </strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><u><strong>&ldquo;Printing money out of control generates inflation, and that renders larger denomination bills necessary,&rdquo;</strong></u></em> Iván Carrino, an economic analyst for IG and author of Cleptocracia, tells the PanAm Post. &ldquo;Trading large sums has become an inconvenience.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a country where real-estate transactions are normally done in cash, even buying a new car can be burdensome and potentially dangerous. Since a new vehicle costs no less than AR$100,000, buyers need to carry at least 1,000 bills, <strong>Carrino explains. &ldquo;You need to take a bag with you.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the Central Bank of Argentina, two-thirds of the notes in circulation are AR$100 bills. ATMs quickly run out of smaller denomination notes as withdrawal rates increase. <strong>&ldquo;Today, you go to an ATM, and they don&rsquo;t have AR$50 or AR$20 notes anymore,&rdquo; Carrino says.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The Argentinean National Mint has been unable to cope with the public&rsquo;s demand for cash, and the government has outsourced the printing of bills several times. </strong>This year, the government has contracted Chilean and Brazilian mints to print additional cash ahead of the holiday season, according to local media reports.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Between January and August 15, 2015, the Central Bank printed 519.4 million AR$100 bills &mdash; 52 kilometers worth, if the bills were placed side by side.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Argentineans know inflation all too well.<u><em><strong> Since the creation of the Central Bank in 1935, the country has only experienced five years of inflation between 0 and 2 percent,</strong></em></u> according to Nicolás Cachanosky, Denver Metropolitan State University assistant professor of economics.</p> </blockquote> <p><u><em><strong>&ldquo;Inflation is a consequence of money printing, and this leads to the necessity of larger denomination bills,&rdquo; Carrino concludes.</strong></em></u></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="696" height="391" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Archipelago Corruption Google Hyperinflation Twitter Twitter United Kingdom Mon, 30 Nov 2015 03:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 517201 at Chinese Stocks Tumble As Offshore Yuan Surges Most In 2 Months After Apparent PBOC Intervention <p><strong>Update - Chinese stocks continue to plunge...</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 263px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Aside from 3 very small adjustments, The PBOC has <strong>fixed the Yuan weaker for the last 20 days, driving the mid-line to 6.3962 - the weakest since August 28th</strong>.</p> <p><img height="296" src="" width="600" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Which was followed bya massive intervention sending Offshore Yuan 0.35% higher and crushing the Onshore-Offshore spread...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 267px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Just ridiculous that PBOC is intervening in CNH hours before IMF adds a &quot;free market&quot; Yuan to SDR</p> <p>&mdash; zerohedge (@zerohedge) <a href="">November 30, 2015</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>As Offshore Yuan strengtnens most in 2 months...</strong></p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 265px;" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After Chinese stocks collapsed on Friday, they are holding the losses for now as the biggest question remains just what the weighting will be for Yuan inclusion in The IMF&#39;s SDR basket (which looks set to be announced tomorrow - US time).</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 316px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">Although none of this is likely to end well unless China unleashes something big...</a></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 271px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And metals continue to collapse...</p> <ul> <li><strong>*SGX ASIACLEAR IRON ORE FUTURES DROP 3.7% TO $39.29/TON</strong></li> </ul> <p>And brokerages...</p> <ul> <li><strong>Haitong Securities -9.2% after being suspended Friday amid CSRC probe; Citic Securities -1.7%</strong></li> </ul> <p><u><strong>But the biggest question surrounds The IMF&rsquo;s decision today (tomorrow) over yuan inclusion in SDR basket (and the actual currency weighting).</strong></u></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>IMF&rsquo;s calculation, based on value of exports of goods &amp; services, <strong>suggested a 14%-16% weighting in the $280 bln basket.</strong> The yuan fell to a three-month low on Nov. 27 on concern it may have only 10% share of the SDR as formula expected to change, analysts said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>A 10% or less weighting will lead to selling, says RBC strategist Sue Trinh. </strong>Yuan fell 2.95% ytd, the biggest decline since 1994, as economy slowed and PBOC devalued the currency in Aug. PBOC could widen trading band to 3% or 4% after SDR entry, says Xu Yuehong, analyst at Bank of Communications.</p> </blockquote> <p><u><strong>Market expectations:</strong></u></p> <p><strong>Eddie Cheung, Hong Kong-based FX strategist at Standard Chartered:</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>5% of world FX reserves will be in RMB by 2020, with 1% allocated annually to the currency, or $85b of inflows each year; may support Chinese bonds</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>USD/CNY at 6.50 by end-2015; 6.55 in 1Q 2016; 6.42 end-2016</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Likely weighting of 10% in SDR basket based on expectation IMF will change formula and cut export focus</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Khoon Goh, Singapore-based senior FX strategist at ANZ:</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>As currency isn&rsquo;t fully convertible, weight could be 10%</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Capital inflow to increase $230b over next 3-5 yrs, with allocation of yuan in global reserves rising to 4.0% from 1.1%</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>China needs to make bond market and assets more accessible for foreign funds, which would also improve liquidity</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>PBOC likely to intervene less frequently in 2016 compared to this year</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>NOTE: Net capital outflow reached $731bln in the 10 mths to Oct.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Xu Yuehong, Shanghai-based analyst at Bank of Communications:</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>PBOC could widen yuan trading band to 3% or 4% after SDR entry</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Any near-term boost to yuan from SDR entry likely offset by strengthening dollar on bets Fed will raise rates</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>PBOC will probably want to avoid sizable and sudden capital flows, so any loosening of controls, expansion of QFII quotas, will be very gradual</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Fiona Lim, Singapore-based senior FX analyst at MayBank:</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Yuan weighting in SDR basket is estimated at 13-14% according to 2010 calculation method</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After SDR entry, yuan may have moderate depreciation as PBOC eases with slowing economy, with the central bank intervening intermittently to smooth out volatility</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>IMF may want China to further liberalize capital account, which would be negative for CNY given macroeconomic conditions<br />Inflows will be gradual as the new basket will only take effect in Oct. 2016</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>And finally, before everyone gets too excited - The history of yen internationalization offers a cautionary tale on hopes for the yuan. </strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Japan&rsquo;s experience suggests that a floating exchange rate, free cross-border flows and stable economic growth are all necessary for successful internationalization. The challenge for China will be hitting all three of those criteria.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 308px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Currency internationalization comes in three stages.<em> </em></strong><em>The first is use in trade settlement and financial transactions. Second is providing a safe asset for investment by non-residents. Third is to serve as an anchor for the regional and -- ultimately -- global market. In the 1980s and 1990s, the yen made rapid progress from stage one to stage two. </em><strong>Since then, it has stalled and even started to retrace its steps in some respects.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Finally, why Chinese stocks may be persuaded to stay weaker for longer...</p> <p><a href=""><strong><em><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 307px;" /></em></strong></a></p> <p><a href=""><u><strong>To scare The Fed off again.</strong></u></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="957" height="419" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bond China fixed Japan None Standard Chartered Volatility Yen Yuan Mon, 30 Nov 2015 03:27:12 +0000 Tyler Durden 517210 at It's Official: Chinese Buyers Have Left The U.S. Housing Market <p>Overnight the NYT wrote a gargantuan, 3,800-word piece titled "<a href=";_r=0">Chinese Cash Floods U.S. Real Estate Market</a>" discussing the impact of Chinese buyers on the US housing market. There are just two problems with the NYT's herculean effort: i) it is 5 years late in covering a topic this website has discussed extensively since 2010, and ii) it is wrong. </p> <p>Recall that <a href="">as we forecast in our take on a post-devaluation China </a>in early September, with Beijing now actively cracking down on hot money outflows and instituting draconian capital controls, two things would happen: bitcoin - as China's most recent preferred mechanism of circumventing capital controls - would surge (it did), and Chinese investment in offshore real estate would tumble. </p> <p>It has. </p> <p>Because while the NYT was writing an article titled "<strong>Chinese Cash Floods U.S. Real Estate Market" </strong>that should have been published in 2010, the WSJ came out with a far more accurate piece, titled <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>the opposite </em></span>of the NYT piece, i.e., "<strong><a href=";alg=y">Chinese Pull Back From U.S. Property Investments</a></strong>" about how Chinese buyers are no longer the marginal buyer of high end US real estate.</p> <p>Here, just as we predicted, is a summary of the state of the US housing market and the one key support pillar which is no longer there.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Capping a five-year real-estate binge, Chinese nationals surpassed Canadian snowbirds as the top foreign buyers of U.S. homes for the year that ended in March—the most recent annual data—scooping up everything from $500,000 condos in New Jersey to $3 million vacation homes in California to $13 million Manhattan condos.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="582" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But in recent weeks, <strong>some Chinese buyers have started to pull back, scared off by China’s stock-market selloff, slowing economic growth, currency devaluation and tightened restrictions on capital outflows</strong>. On Friday, China’s benchmark stock index fell by 5.5%, its biggest daily slide since August, as Beijing authorities stepped up a crackdown on the securities industry.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>* * * </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Yang Bin, a 38-year-old businessman from Beijing, said the economic slowdown has stoked his desire to purchase a home in Silicon Valley. “I see many problems with Chinese universities, and the environment and air quality here aren’t very satisfying,” Mr. Yang said. With a budget of about $1 million, he said he wanted to buy a home that his now-8-year-old child would one day occupy.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For now, Mr. Yang is caught in the dilemma prompted by China’s economy, which, he said, “has increased my desire to buy a house in the U.S., but also requires me to wait and watch more carefully.”</p> </blockquote> <p>Winter is coming.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>“We are ready to embrace a winter for Chinese buyers in the next one year, two years</strong>,” said Daniel Chang, a New York City-based broker at Sotheby’s International Realty. Mr. Chang, who sells properties in the $2 million-to-$10 million range, said about half of the clients served by his team are Chinese.</p> </blockquote> <p>It also means the end of obnoxious, scripted "realty TV" shows about millionaire real estate agents .</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Christina Shaw, a Realtor with Re/Max Fine Homes in Newport Beach, Calif., said one client who gave her a budget of $10 million to buy two houses in the area was <strong>now looking to reduce his budget by about one-third</strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p>A butterfly flaps its wings in the Shanghai Composite and luxury home sales in the US tumble:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Interest from Chinese buyers “<strong>went dark</strong>” for several weeks after stocks becan their sharp fall, said Tom Mitchell, president and chief operating officer of Tri Pointe Group, a home builder in Irvine, Calif. China’s main stock index, the Shanghai Composite Index, is down 38% since its June peak. </p> </blockquote> <p>If it seems like it was only two months ago when we wrote that "<a href="">80% Of All New Home Buyers In Irvine Are Chinese</a>", it's because that is the case. However, the Chinese buying frenzy is no longer present. "Foreign Chinese buyers make up about 30% of customers in a handful of the company’s developments in Orange County and the San Francisco area. Price increases there, he said, have prompted clients to “pause and think.”"</p> <p>Chinese buyers are now officially spooked: Zhang Xin, chief executive of SOHO China Ltd., a real-estate developer, said last month she wouldn’t buy overseas real estate today because many cities abroad are too pricey. </p> <p>Some are hoping the lull in Chinese buying will be short-lived: "real estate consultants and brokers say the pullback likely is temporary. Many Chinese view U.S. real estate as not only a good investment but as a haven for savings. Some Chinese buyers also figure a U.S. address would make it easier for their children to enroll in an American college."</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>“In the very short term there will be some impact for people who don’t have a foreign income stream or who don’t have a bank account or funds in overseas banks,” said Frank Chen, executive director and head of research at property consultancy CBRE China. “But the outbound real-estate investment trend is likely to remain quite strong.”</p> </blockquote> <p>Perhaps. For now, however, the US luxury market is about to enter freefall, as <em><strong>the</strong></em> marginal buyer enters hibernation.</p> <p>Even a temporary pullback could hurt markets where Chinese buyers target some of the priciest American homes, often paying in cash. <strong>The average purchase price of existing homes in the U.S. by foreign home buyers in the year ended in March was nearly $500,000, nearly double the price for all buyers, </strong>according to the National Association of Realtors. One-third of Chinese purchases were concentrated in California for the year ended in March, according to the National Association of Realtors, trailed by Washington, D.C., with 8% of purchases, and New York, at 7%.</p> <p>Many are eager to spin this as good news:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Some builders also could feel the effects. The chief executive of Walnut, Calif.-based Shea Homes, Bert Selva, told investors this month that the company has seen a “significant slowdown” in Chinese buyers in Orange County.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“That buyer is really drying up. To be honest, I don’t think that’s a bad thing, because I think there was a lot of frenzy driven by that, pushing up prices a bit,</strong>” he said in a conference call.</p> </blockquote> <p>We doubt Bert will share the same sentiment about the collapse in his company's revenues. </p> <p>Going back to the NYT being woefully inaccurate with its report, here is why they are, as we said, about 5 years late.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Chinese residents began buying American homes in large numbers about five years ago, driven largely by growing wealth and a desire to safeguard savings against political instability, brokers and economists said.</strong> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>American homes looked like a bargain after the real-estate crash, drawing busloads of Chinese buyers to see properties in California and Manhattan. To many, it seemed <strong>“a gold mine everywhere</strong>,” said Calvin Lo, a real-estate agent at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Southern California.</p> </blockquote> <p>Better make that <em>bitcoin mine</em>, because unless the Chinese find a way to smuggle billions using the only method left available, the luxury US housing market is looking at what may be unprecedented freefall.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Chinese individuals are limited to annual overseas investments equal to about $50,000. For years, Chinese have surpassed that limit, in part, by funneling money through relatives and employees. In recent months, the government has made it tougher to transfer money abroad, said real-estate brokers in both countries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“It’s like barbarians at the gate,” said John Chang, a real-estate broker with Re/Max in New York City. Chinese families want to buy, he said, “but they just can’t get the money out.” </strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Of course, those betting on a return to the US luxury market may be better off just buying the medium which the Chinese will use to funnel the required funds to the US - bitcoin, which a quick check shows has resumed its climb and has again jumped by about 20% in the past week alone. </p> <p>Finally, our condolences to the Fed: as Chinese buyers exit US luxury housing double time, watch as the bottom falls off the top in housing, and slowly at first then very fast drags the rest of the market lower, forcing the Fed to undo whatever tightening in monetary conditions it may have launched, or is contemplating.</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="470" height="400" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Berkshire Hathaway Bitcoin China Housing Market New York City Real estate Washington D.C. Mon, 30 Nov 2015 03:01:49 +0000 Tyler Durden 517211 at Newly-Completed Fukushima 'Containment' Wall Already "Slightly Leaning" <p><a href="">Just weeks after re-starting the building of a giant ice-wall to contain groundwater leaking from the Fukushima nuclear plant</a>, <strong>TEPCO has been forced to admit that a 780-meter protective wall built alongside the crippled power station (completed only last month and designed to prevent contaminated groundwater from seeping into the sea)&nbsp; is already &quot;slightly leaning.&quot;</strong> While this sounds a lot like being half-pregnant, TEPCO remains &#39;optimistic&#39; that the wall will hold. But you can&#39;t say the government is not trying - in an effort to &#39;calm&#39; the public, <em>scientists have developed a <strong>special scanner to accurately measure the amount of radioactive material inside the bodies of young children</strong></em>... which is odd given just how &quot;contained&quot; Abe said it was.</p> <p><strong>The 780-meter coastal wall along the damaged reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant was built to stifle the flow of tainted water into the sea from 400 tons to 10 tons a day.</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>The &ldquo;impermeable&rdquo; barrier has an underground section that reaches 30 meters deep. </strong></span>TEPCO officials have claimed that such a structure should reduce the amount of radioactive cesium and strontium flowing into the sea to one fortieth of previous levels, while the tritium levels should be reduced to one-fifteenth.</p> <p><a href=""><em>But, as RT reports,</em></a><strong> the &quot;impermeable sea wall&quot; is leaning already...</strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Completed only last month and designed to prevent contaminated groundwater from seeping into the sea, the wall is already &ldquo;slightly leaning,&rdquo;</strong></span> plant operator TEPCO has announced.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>TEPCO however remains optimistic </strong>and has said that the slight lean does not affect the wall&rsquo;s ability to block radioactive water.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The operator is now<strong> reinforcing the wall with steel pillars. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Inspection into the construction was completed in late October and also <strong>discovered cracks along the perimeter of the wall in the embankment&rsquo;s pavement.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Officials have blamed rising groundwater levels for the cracks &ndash; and keep repairing them to make sure that rain does not increase the groundwater levels even further.</strong></span></p> </blockquote> <p><a href="">And then there&#39;s this, as The BBC reports,</a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>It&#39;s nearly five years since the Japanese earthquake and tsunami that led to the Fukushima nuclear disaster but concerns about possible health problems - especially in children - are still high in many parents&#39; minds.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>To reassure the public, scientists have developed a special scanner to accurately measure the amount of radioactive material inside the bodies of young children.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Now the results of over 2,500 scans have just been released.</p> </blockquote> <p>So that&#39;s reassuring then.</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="781" height="434" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Nuclear Power Mon, 30 Nov 2015 02:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 517198 at Turkey's Trump Card: Erdogan Can Cut Russia's Syrian Supply Line By Closing Bosphorus <p>On Saturday, Russia <a href="">unveiled a raft of economic sanctions</a> against Turkey in retaliation for Ankara’s brazen move to shoot down an Su-24 warplane near the Syrian border. Charter flights to Turkey are now banned, Turkish imports will be curbed, visa-free travel is no more, Russian tourism companies are forbidden from selling travel packages that include a stay in Turkey, and Turkish firms will face restrictions on their economic activity.&nbsp;</p> <p>“It’s not just Turkey that has economic interests, Russia too has economic interests in relation to Turkey,” Turkish PM&nbsp;Ahmet Davutoglu said on Saturday, adding that he hoped Putin would act in a "cool-headed" manner.&nbsp;</p> <p>Russia does indeed have economic interests in Turkey. Ankara paid Gazprom some $10 billion last year and Turkey accounts for nearly a third of the company's nat gas exports:</p> <p><img src="" width="554" height="342" /></p> <p>But this is most assuredly a two way street. As we noted on Saturday, Turkey is heavily dependent on Russia for energy and souring relations will put a non-trivial dent in Ankara's tourism revenues:</p> <p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;"><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="342" style="max-width: 100%; height: auto;" /></a></p> <p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;"><img src="" width="600" height="388" style="max-width: 100%; height: auto;" /></p> <p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;">As we discussed on Wednesday, the idea that Turkey can easily replace Russian gas may be a pipe dream (no pun intended) despite Erdogan's grandstanding. Here's how <a href="">we explained</a> the situation facing Ankara:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><em><span style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', Verdana, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;">What analysts (and Erdogan) seem to be discounting here is that ties between Russia and Iran have strengthened materially over the past six months and Russia's intervention in Syria will not be forgotten in Tehran. Throw in the fact that Russia and Iran are already in talks on a number of energy projects and it seems reasonable to suspect that if Iran believes Turkey is becoming too much of an impediment to the campaign in Syria, Tehran may just decide to drive a harder bargain when it comes to gas supplies. In short: if you're Turkey, you don't really want to put yourself in a position where your fallback plan in the event you anger your biggest energy supplier is to try and negotiate for more trade with that supplier's closest geopolitical ally, especially when you are actively seeking to subvert both of their goals in a strategically important country. As WSJ put it on Wednesday, "diverting the energy trade wouldn’t be easy."</span></span></em></p> <p><em><span style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', Verdana, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;"><br /></span></span></em></p> <p><em><span style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', Verdana, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;">No, it most certainly would not "be easy", and the big question going forward is this: <strong>is it realistic to believe, given what's going on in Syria, that Iran will be willing to make it any easier?&nbsp;</strong></span></span></em></p> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;">Ultimately, it's diffiult to say who has the stronger hand. Russia and Turkey - despite an otherwise tenuous relationship set against a history of confrontation (see&nbsp;<em><a href="">The Czar vs. the Sultan</a></em> from Foreign Policy) - have developed a lucrative trade partnership that neither side is particularly keen on scrapping. That said, the stakes are high and now that Moscow has hit back with sanctions, the ball is in Ankara's court.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;">Despite bombastic rhetoric from Erdogan (whose tone has softened at bit over the last 48 or so hours), Turkey cannot shoot down another Russian warplane. If they do, they risk an outright military confrontation with Russia. So unless Erdogan intends to plunge NATO into an armed conflict with the Russians, he'll need to find other ways to retailiate and refusing to buy from Gazprom probably isn't the the first, best option from a practical point of view.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;">What Turkey could do, however, is close the&nbsp;the Bosphorus Strait which would effectively cut Russia's supply line to Latakia.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Russia's biggest risk: Turkey shuts down Bosphorus to Russian ship transit</p> <p>— zerohedge (@zerohedge) <a href="">November 28, 2015</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p><span style="font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;">Here's <a href="">Sputnik</a>:</span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><em><span style="font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;">Tensions between Russia and Turkey over the downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber in Syria may challenge freedom of navigation through the Bosphorus Strait, a major pathway for Russian ships. However, a Turkish unilateral ban on the passage of Russian ships is unlikely since it would violate international law.</span></em></p> <p><em><span style="font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;"><br /></span></em></p> <p><em><span style="font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;">In recent months, Russia’s heavy military equipment has been delivered to Syria mostly by sea, with the shortest route coming through the Bosphorus Strait and the Dardanelles.</span></em></p> <p><em><span style="font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;">&nbsp;</span></em></p> <p><strong><em><span style="font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;">A sharp rise in tensions between Moscow and Ankara may challenge the delivery of Russian weapons and troops through the straits. If passage is prohibited for Russia there is still the way through the Gibraltar (which takes 13-14 days rather than four days through the Bosphorus) or by air.</span></em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;"><img src="" width="600" height="394" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;">In peacetime, Turkey is obligated to allow naval warships safe passage regardless of what flag they fly. As Sputnik goes on to note however, "in times of war, the passage of warships shall be left entirely to the discretion of the Turkish government." Although one Russian lawyer who spoke to RBK claims the Turks have no legal ground to block passage, it's not difficult to imagine a scenario whereby Erdogan decides to push the issue.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;">Indeed, if Ankara can disrupt Moscow's supply route to its forces in Syria, well then all the better for the FSA and all of the other proxy armies battling to hold onto territory near Aleppo in the face of the Russian and Iranian assault.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;">Of course such a move would raise serious questions regarding Turkey's adherence to the 1936 Montreux Convention and would only serve to inflame tensions between Moscow and Ankara. We'll be watching closely in the days and weeks ahead for evidence that Erdogan is impeding the progress of Russian vessels through the strait and in the meantime we'd remind you that Bilal Erodgan, the President's son and <a href="">patron saint</a> of Islamic State's multi-hundred million dollar oil enterprise, has a bird's eye view of the drama (from <a href="">Today's Zaman</a>, earlier this year):&nbsp;</span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><em><span style="font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;"><strong>President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an's son Bilal Erdo?an has moved his shipping company's office to a newly built four-story building with a Bosporus view</strong> in ?stanbul's Beylerbeyi neighborhood.</span></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><span style="font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;">The Sözcü daily reported on Sunday that Bilal Erdo?an, a co-partner of a shipping company, has moved his office from Üsküdar to Beylerbeyi.</span></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><span style="font-size: 13.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px;">According to the claims in the report, Bilal Erdo?an purchased three plots of land on Yal?boyu Street in Beylerbeyi and constructed a four-storey company office on it. The cost of the building is estimated to be TL 340 million. <strong>The new office has a view of the Bosporus. It also has a parking lot and a courtyard.</strong></span></em></p> </blockquote> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="700" height="461" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Iran Nat Gas Turkey Mon, 30 Nov 2015 02:00:21 +0000 Tyler Durden 517208 at "You Are Here"... And It Is A Scary Place <p>Technically, the third quarter earnings season is not exactly over: 2% of companies are still left to report. Untechnically, it is, and with 98% of S&amp;P500 companies now in the history books, 74% of the companies in the index have reported earnings above the mean estimate but 45%<br /> of the companies have reported sales above the mean estimate. </p> <p>But while gaming analyst estimates is the oldest trick in the book (and even so more than half of companies are failing to beat on sales), a truly dire picture is revealed when one steps back and looks at the data in historical basis. </p> <p>That is precisely what Ellington Management did recently in their note looking at the last stretch of the junk bubble. This is what they said.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Corporations are now running out of steam in terms of their ability to generate earnings. As of Q2 2015, the year-over-year change in annual corporate earnings dropped to -$8.21 per share for the S&amp;P 500 and to -$4.79 per share for the Russell 2000. <strong>The previous three times this metric fell that far into negative territory on the S&amp;P 500 were Q1 1990, Q1 2001, and Q4 2007, coinciding with the start of each of the last three high yield default cycles</strong>. According to a recent article in The Economist, in the most recent quarter less than half of S&amp;P 500 companies recorded increasing profit year-over-year.</p> </blockquote> <p>And here is Ellington's chart showing where "You" are right now. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="370" /></a></p> <p>And since it is not where you "are" that matters but where you "are headed", the place is very scary indeed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="787" height="485" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> default High Yield Russell 2000 The Economist Mon, 30 Nov 2015 01:45:44 +0000 Tyler Durden 517209 at Two Reasons The 'War On Terror' Will Always Fail <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Justin Pavoni via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace &amp; Prosperity</em></a>,</p> <p>If we want to get to a world where terrorism isn&rsquo;t such a regular tragedy,<strong><em> governments need to start recognizing the fact that the so-called &ldquo;War on Terror&rdquo; is a self-fulfilling prophecy destined to foment one thing and one thing only: more terrorism. </em></strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>The Big Picture</strong>:</span> The problem arising in the wake of the recent mass-murder event in Paris and the subsequent French bombing of the Islamic State (also a mass-murder event) is that the two acts (and hundreds like them) serve as justification for more of the same from the other side. They provide fuel for each other&rsquo;s fire and the situation, not surprisingly, continues to metastasize.</p> <p>The great paradox at play is that as the West continues to attack the Islamic State, the organization&rsquo;s appeal continues to grow among those who view the West as an adversary. Nobody knows exactly what causes radicalization but my best guess is that its appeal will continue to increase as the West continues to respond to violent events with exponentially more violence in turn. Such has been the trend thus far.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Why Terrorism?</strong></span> Terrorism is likely to spawn from a number of things, such as a bankrupt ideology, a sense of injustice, and disenfranchisement with the status quo. Regardless of the exact origins in any particular case, there are two primary reasons that the &ldquo;war on terror&rdquo; will continue to fail (assuming the goal is to reduce the number of terrorist attacks and the rampant increase in radicalization). Reason #1: Western violence (the principal prescription for fighting terrorism) is also the primary motivation behind successful terrorist recruiting efforts. Reason #2: Western attempts to overthrow heads of state under the guise of fighting terrorism provide an incredible opportunity for terrorist organizations to take root in a more institutional fashion. Let&rsquo;s discuss these two phenomena in more depth.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Reason #1</strong></span>: <em><strong>Regardless of their origins, where terrorist movements gain the most strength is from the fact that they can point to objective injustices perpetrated by western nations (whether well intentioned or not). Violence begets more violence and Middle East bombing campaigns by Western countries are used to rally otherwise moderate people to nefarious causes. This is also one of the reasons terrorist movements are able to grow beyond an extremely small and fractured group of individuals. </strong></em></p> <p>Bombing campaigns are a major contributing factor to radicalization, and the principal motivation Western democracies should be concerned about&hellip;because it is one of the few factors they have legitimate control over. The moment a bomb kills a single innocent person &ndash; man, woman, or child &ndash; it facilitates ten more terrorist sympathizers. What&rsquo;s more is that even if the bomb kills actual terrorists, it&rsquo;s still providing rampant material support against the cause of &ldquo;fighting terrorism.&rdquo; How many bombs has the United States dropped in the last fifteen years? Millions. In how many countries? Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria and probably a great number more that are largely classified operations.</p> <p>Seen in this light, is it really hard to understand why terrorist movements are growing and becoming more unified? It&rsquo;s much easier for a terrorist to convince the average person to hate foreigners when foreigners are actively bombing their country, either through boots-on-the-ground invasions, drone warfare, or manned bombing campaigns.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Reason #2</strong>:</span> <em><strong>The second thing that facilitates terrorism is the active attempt to overthrow established governments with force. </strong></em>Despite the fact that Sadaam Hussein was a tyrant, Iraq was not a terrorist haven while he was in charge. He was certainly a criminal dictator, but he didn&rsquo;t put up with terrorists. Compare this to the emerging reality in present day Iraq now that he&rsquo;s gone. Or consider Libya. Muammar Qaddafi was also a tyrant, and now that he&rsquo;s been removed (courtesy of a Western air campaign), his former country is a jihadist wonderland.</p> <p>The UN resolution designed strictly to &ldquo;protect civilians&rdquo; was used as an excuse to act as the rebels&#39; Air Force. Should it surprise us that &ldquo;good&rdquo; rebels might be fighting alongside &ldquo;bad&rdquo; rebels? The entire campaign did little more than make a bad situation much worse.</p> <p>Next, consider Syria. Western governments, led by the United States, have been actively supporting militia groups trying to overthrow yet another head of state, Bashar Al-Assad. The hypocritical reality is that the militia groups in Syria are fighting in common caucus with the Islamic State against Assad (who somewhat legitimately calls them all &ldquo;terrorists&rdquo;) while simultaneously fighting against the Islamic State (and thus on the same team as Bashar Al-Assad himself). Is it really a mystery why the region is such an overwhelming disaster? The narrative of fighting terrorism is completely undermined by the obvious reality of ulterior geopolitical motivations.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Conclusion:</strong></span> <em><strong>The truth is that the political war hawks in the United States aren&rsquo;t solely interested in combatting terrorism (an otherwise legitimate concern). They&rsquo;re also interested in forcefully removing those from power whom they don&rsquo;t like (whether it means an aggressive war or not). If the two interests align: great. If not, they do their best to brainwash the public in hopes that the blatant hypocrisy of their position doesn&rsquo;t outshine the international &ldquo;villain&rdquo; of choice. </strong></em></p> <p><strong><em>At present, the foe-du-jour is Bashar Al-Assad. Now Assad is clearly not a benevolent dictator, but what happens when he&rsquo;s gone? Will the replacement be that much better? </em></strong></p> <p>Do we have any right to choose a replacement to govern other people? Can you imagine if a foreign country was doing that in the United States? You may or may not like former President Bush and you may or may not like President Obama, but do you think it preferable to have a foreign country (e.g. Russia or China) undermine them with force? That&rsquo;s absurd. And it would rally a whole bunch of Americans to fight against the common invader. Would it be legitimate if Russia or China subsequently labeled such people as terrorists? Of course not. It is no less absurd for America to behave in such a way.<em><strong> Contrary to the theoretically possible idea of actually fighting terrorists (which is largely impractical in reality due to the nature of terrorist ideology), overthrowing foreign governments is a completely illegitimate and imperial motivation. Until we accept this reality and get back to the legitimate defense of our own country, terrorism will continue to gain momentum. </strong></em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="416" height="250" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Afghanistan China Fail Iraq Middle East President Obama Reality Ron Paul Somalia Mon, 30 Nov 2015 01:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 517196 at "Friend & Ally" Or "Barbaric Death Cult" - You Decide <p><a href="">With a record 151 beheadings this year (and 55 more looming for sedition, poetry, and &#39;terrorist crimes&#39;)</a> arguably <strong><em>&quot;under the guise of counter-terrorism to settle political scores&quot;</em></strong> US&#39; friend and ally Saudi Arabia bears a striking resemblence to another Sharia law-abiding &#39;state&#39;. <a href="">As Liberty Blitzkrieg&#39;s Mike Krieger explains</a>, while ISIS has actively sought exposure for their brutal punishments, Saudi Arabia has worked to keep evidence of their actions within the conservative kingdom.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Just yesterday, we <strong><a href="">published an article</a></strong> highlighting the latest deranged idea floated by Saudi Arabia&rsquo;s monarchs to sue Twitter users comparing the barbaric kingdom to ISIS.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Today, we present to you a power graphic courtesy of <em>Middle East Eye</em>, which demonstrates precisely why the Saudis are so sensitive about the&nbsp;topic. <strong>Namely,&nbsp;because the accusations are true.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>From <a href=""><em>Middle East Eye</em></a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>The Islamic State (IS)&nbsp;and Saudi Arabia prescribe near-identical punishments for a host of crimes, according to documents circulated by the militant group. </em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>IS published a list of crimes and their punishments on 16 December 2014 to serve &ldquo;as an explanation and as a warning&rdquo; to those living in territory under their control in large parts of Iraq and Syria.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The document lists&nbsp;hadd&nbsp;crimes, which are considered to be &ldquo;against the rights of God,&rdquo; and includes fixed punishments for theft, adultery, slander and banditry.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Crimes deemed&nbsp;hadd&nbsp;and their punishments are derived from the Quran and the hadith, the collected teachings and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.<strong> However, with the exception of Saudi Arabia, and IS-controlled areas, they are rarely applied.</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><img alt="Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 10.18.16 AM" class="alignnone wp-image-29264" height="1221" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>Any questions?</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>Finally,<a href=""> as MiddleEastEye concludes,</a> rather ironically...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>the West could &ndash; at some point in the future &ndash; have diplomatic relations with IS &ldquo;simply because they [IS] are sitting on oil and are happy to sell it&rdquo;.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>&ldquo;It might happen given the pragmatism of the West and how willing it is to compromise on human rights,&rdquo; </strong></span>she added.</p> </blockquote> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="974" height="687" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> fixed Iraq Middle East Saudi Arabia Twitter Twitter Mon, 30 Nov 2015 01:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 517189 at Half A Million Square Kilometers Of Heavy Smog Force Beijing To Issue "Orange Alert", Close Factories <p>On Sunday, Beijing issued its highest smog alert of the year, upgrading it from the yellow of the past two days to orange, second only to red. According to local CCTV, heavy smog covered <a href="">an area of half a million square kilometers </a>around Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, as heavy air pollution hits 31 cities.</p> <p><a href="">Xinhua</a> reports that the municipal weather center said humidity and a lack of wind would mean the smog will linger for another two days, before a cold front arrives on Wednesday. </p> <p>On Sunday, the reading for PM2.5, airborne particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter, hit 274 micrograms per cubic meter in most parts of the capital. Indicatively, the World Health Organization (WHO) considers only 25 micrograms to be a safe level.</p> <p>Beijing has recommended that residents minimize outdoor activities and urged people with respiratory diseases as well as the elderly to stay at home. </p> <p>It wasn't just Beijing: moments ago Shanghai joined China's capital in issuing an orange fog alert. The local government asked for heightened management of airports, highways and ferry terminals as heavy fog covered western and southern parts of the city, according to a website run by the Shanghai Meteorological Service said. Visibility is limiting visibility to 200 meters in Minhang, Songjiang, Qingpu, Baoshan, Jiading and Chongming areas, the website said. Orange is the 2nd-highest of 4-alert levels</p> <p>In March, four types of pollution alerts - blue, yellow, orange and red - were introduced by Beijing's Environmental Protection Bureau. All factories are to be shut down during orange alerts. Heavy vehicles, such as construction trucks, are also completely banned during orange and red alerts. Furthermore, construction sites should stop the transportation of materials and waste while heavy-duty trucks are banned from the roads. </p> <p>In other words, the local economy shuts down.</p> <p>This is good and bad news: the bad news is that upcoming Chinese data will continue to be weak, which however will be blamed on the industrial shut down due to the surge in smog, and permabullish pundits will "excuse" the upcoming bout of weak data as being weather related, something the US meteoreconomists have become all too adept at. The good news, is that as every Pavlovian dog-cum-central bank experts knows by now, more economic weakness means more bets for central bank intervention, means higher stock prices.</p> <p>The municipal environment watchdogs have reinforced checks of discharge from coal-fired plants, outdoor barbecues and burning. </p> <p>And this is what China's capital looked like this morning.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="">#Smog</a> covers area of 530,000 sqkm around Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, as heavy air pollution hits 31 cities <a href=""></a></p> <p>— CCTVNEWS (@cctvnews) <a href="">November 29, 2015</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Beijing residents told to stay inside as smog levels soar <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Climate Change (@ClimateChangRR) <a href="">November 28, 2015</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Hazardous smog levels engulf Beijing and northern China: locals warned to stay indoors <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— George Chen (@george_chen) <a href="">November 29, 2015</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">RT george_chen: View from my hotel room: <a href="">#Smog</a> occupies Beijing. </p> <p>- Can you still see the CCTV headquarter buildi… <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Stormtrooper (@TheNutellaMan) <a href="">November 28, 2015</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="">#Beijing</a> issues orange alert for heavy <a href="">#smog</a></p> <p>Read More : <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— New Straits Times (@NST_Online) <a href="">November 29, 2015</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script> China Twitter Twitter Mon, 30 Nov 2015 00:58:52 +0000 Tyler Durden 517207 at