en "The Police Just F**ked My Life" - Alabamians Outraged As Civil Asset Forfeitures Soar <p>The morning of June 29, 2010, began much like any other day for Frank Ranelli, the owner of FAR Computers in Ensley, Alabama. Ranelli, who had owned his computer repair business just outside of Birmingham for more than two decades, was doing some paperwork in his windowless office when he heard loud banging on the front door.&nbsp; Within a matter of moments Ranelli was placed under arrest and all of the computer equipment in his store, much of which belonged to customers, had been confiscated by Alabama police never to be returned.&nbsp; Per <a href=""></a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Within moments, a Homewood police sergeant had declared a room full of customers' computers, merchandise and other items <strong>"stolen goods," </strong>Ranelli recalled. He ordered his officers to "arrest them all," according to Ranelli, who was cuffed and taken to the Homewood jail along with two of his shop employees.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The police proceeded to confiscate more than 130 computers - most of which were customers' units waiting to be repaired, though some were for sale - as well as the company's business servers and workstations and even receipts and checkbooks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"Here I was, a man, owned this business, been coming to work every day like a good old guy for 23 years, and I show up at work that morning - I was in here doing my books from the day before - and the police just f***ed my life,"</strong> he said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Nothing ever came of the case. The single charge levied against Renelli of receiving stolen goods was dismissed after he demonstrated that he had followed proper protocol in purchasing the sole laptop computer he was accused of receiving illegally. That said, despite no official charges and no jury trial, Ranelli has been trying, to no avail, for nearly 7 years now to recover the items the officers took from his business.</p> <p><img src="" alt="Alabama" width="600" height="379" /></p> <p>Rick Hightower had a similar experience with Alabama police when he was a student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.&nbsp; After being arrested for "lewd behavior" at a college party in 2008, Hightower says police raided his apartment and confiscated as much as $200,000 worth of musical instruments and other property.&nbsp; Despite never being charged with stealing the property, Hightower says police have refused to return any of the confiscated items.&nbsp; </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>On April 13, 2008, <strong>he was arrested and initially charged with lewd behavior after police said he was caught exposing himself at Samford University in Birmingham,</strong> according to court filings. Hightower, who has a fairly extensive rap sheet, was ultimately convicted of indecent exposure and resisting arrest in connection with that incident.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Five days after his arrest, officers with the Homewood and UAB police departments raided Hightower's apartment</strong>, executing a warrant to search for files, cameras and any other evidence related to the incident at Samford.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>They also decided to seize "a large amount of property believed to be stolen," including "musical instruments, electronics and other items,"</strong> according to a UAB Police Department report on the search.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As such, Hightower was charged with receiving stolen property. <strong>He was never charged with stealing any of the other items that were seized from his apartment, and was not convicted of stealing the English horn, as he provided a receipt that showed that he had purchased the item from a thrift store.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>And yet the Homewood Police Department - which stored and ostensibly continues to store the items seized in the raid - did not return the horn or any other items to Hightower.</strong> More than nine years later, he has yet to even lay eyes on any of the possessions that were taken from him.</p> </blockquote> <p>Unfortunately, the raids on Ranelli's business and Hightower's apartment are not isolated incidents. They are just a couple of many similar cases that have taken place in Alabama and across the U.S. in recent years, according to Joseph Tully, a California criminal lawyer with expertise in civil asset forfeitures.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Long used in major criminal busts as a means to confiscate money and possessions obtained by illegal means,<strong> civil asset forfeiture impacts thousands of Americans each year and has become the subject of intense national and local scrutiny over the past decade.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ability of law enforcement agencies to use such tactics to take people's assets and property almost at will "lends itself to abuse," Tully, who describes cases like Ranelli's as "theft," said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"It's really hard to fight the system. If it was a private citizen who stole your things, you could go get your things, or in the olden days you could get your shotgun and pay the thief a visit and say, 'give me my stuff back.' But you can't do that in this case because it's the police."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>In fiscal year 2016, law enforcement agencies in Alabama seized more than $2.2 million worth of "assets that represent the proceeds of, or were used to facilitate federal crimes,"</strong> according to its annual report to Congress. <strong>In fiscal 2014, the total value of such assets seized by law enforcement in the state was more than $4.9 million.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>That recent drop is the local manifestation of a nationwide reduction in the use of civil asset forfeiture as public awareness and outcry over its widespread use has grown in recent years, according to experts. The tactic is still regularly deployed, impacting dozens of Alabamians each year. But the tide is turning. Fourteen states, from New Mexico to Connecticut, have passed laws in recent years to stop police from seizing property absent a criminal conviction.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>"The pendulum is starting to swing but I wouldn't say that it has been swinging back the other way for too long,"</strong> Tully said. <strong>"State and local governments are starting to act ... Law enforcement officers are coming around a bit and there's a little bit of a curb in police doing whatever they want."</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo directing a deputy to establish a unit aimed at ensuring there are no abuses of a federal policy reinstated by Sessions in July to help state and local law enforcement agencies seize accused criminals' property.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Alabama's laws, however, still provide the state's citizens with few protections from the practices, earning the state a "D- for its civil asset forfeiture laws" in a November 2015 report by the Institute for Justice, a Virginia nonprofit advocacy law firm.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Alabama laws stack the deck against victims of asset forfeiture by establishing a "low bar to forfeit" and not requiring a conviction to do so; offering "limited protections for innocent third-party property owners"; and letting "100% of forfeiture proceeds go to law enforcement," the report stated.</p> </blockquote> <p>The irony here, of course, is that we live in a country where the police can show up to any "Regular Joe's" apartment on any given day and legally confiscate all of his stuff but James Comey couldn't even manage to interview a material witness in the Hillary email investigation without first granting them an immunity deal.&nbsp; Seems fair...</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="932" height="588" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alabama Alabama police Asset forfeiture Birmingham, Alabama Civil forfeiture in the United States Confiscation Congress Criminal justice Homewood and UAB police Homewood police Homewood Police Department laptop computer Law Law Mexico Police Prevention Samford University in Birmingham UAB police UAB Police Department University of Alabama at Birmingham Fri, 20 Oct 2017 23:20:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 605578 at Socialist Group Calls For "Extermination" Of Capitalists, "Worth Shooting" Donald Trump <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Anthony Gockowski via,</em></a></p> <p>A socialist student group at Iowa State University has<strong> repeatedly made threatening comments about conservatives on social media</strong>, but the <strong>school says the comments are protected speech</strong>.</p> <p>In one recent tweet, the school&rsquo;s Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) chapter called for the hanging and extermination of all &ldquo;capitalists.&rdquo;</p> <p><em><strong>&ldquo;The left has done a good job radicalizing juggalos, weebs, furries, but I will not rest until &lsquo;hXc&rsquo; stands for hang+Xterminate capitalists,&rdquo; </strong></em>the group wrote in an October 4 tweet that has since been deleted.</p> <p>After students brought the tweet to attention of the university, it replied via twitter by stating &ldquo;this falls under free speech&rdquo; and then offering available &ldquo;resources&rdquo; to student if they &ldquo;feel threatened or harassed.&rdquo;</p> <p><img height="773" src="" width="600" /></p> <p>Nor is this the first time that YDSA has posted threatening tweets, such as a September 30 tweet in which the club endorsed &ldquo;shooting&rdquo; President Trump.</p> <p><em><strong>&ldquo;COMRADES: stay away from needle drugs! The only dope worth shooting is in the oval office rn [right now],&rdquo; </strong></em>the group tweeted, though it subsequently deleted that post, as well.</p> <p><img height="315" src="" width="600" /></p> <p>Notably,<strong> YDSA is <a href="">an officially registered student organization</a> at the university, making it one that is &ldquo;consistent with the mission and culture of the university,&rdquo; </strong>according to the <a href="">expectations</a> for registered student groups.</p> <p>While the university did not respond to <em>Campus Reform</em>&rsquo;s request for comment,<strong> one student asserted that YDSA has a long-established pattern of making vitriolic remarks about conservatives.</strong></p> <p><strong><em>&ldquo;Overall, the club has had many hateful tweets against capitalism and capitalists, with the occasional directly-threatening tweet as shown above,&rdquo;</em></strong> student Michael Fredrickson told <em>Campus Reform</em>.</p> <p><em><strong>&ldquo;If this was a conservative group, all hell would break loose. It wouldn&rsquo;t be allowed. Making them delete tweets isn&rsquo;t going to do anything,&rdquo;</strong></em> a recent graduate of the university <a>commented</a> <a>on </a><a>Twitter</a>.</p> <p>&ldquo;Why isn&rsquo;t the school doing something? This sounds like a threat to students on campus and in the Ames area. How is this allowed?&rdquo;</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="428" height="233" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Computing Donald Trump Education Iowa State University Social media Software Technology Tweet Twitter Twitter Twitter Young Democratic Socialists of America Fri, 20 Oct 2017 22:55:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 605661 at Gold Star Widow Releases Trump's Call: "Tell Your Children I Said Their Father Was A Great Hero" <p>As the imbrogilio over President Trump&#39;s private call to the widow of Sgt. David Johnson killed in action in Niger continues to torment, <a href="">The Daily Caller&#39;s Henry Rodgers reports</a> <strong>Gold Star widow Natasha De Alencar released the audio of a phone conversation she had with President Donald Trump in April about the death of her husband who was killed in Afghanistan</strong>.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 559px; height: 269px;" /></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;I am so sorry to hear about the whole situation. What a horrible thing, except that he&rsquo;s an unbelievable hero,&rdquo;</strong> Trump told her in the call about her husband Army Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, which The Washington Post released.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Thank you. I really, really appreciated it,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I really do, sir.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Trump also told the widow if she is ever in Washington D.C. that she is welcome in the Oval Office.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="290" mozallowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" src=";autoinit=true&amp;org=wapo&amp;playthrough=true&amp;uuid=a8ef3736-b515-11e7-9b93-b97043e57a22" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="480"></iframe></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;If you&rsquo;re around Washington, you come over and see me in the Oval Office,&rdquo; </strong>he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;You just come over and see me because you are just the kind of family &hellip; this is what we want.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;Say hello to your children, and tell them your father he was a great hero that I respected,&rdquo;</strong> Trump said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;Just tell them I said your father was a great hero.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>The phone call was released after White House chief of staff Gen. John Kelly&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">pushed back</a>&nbsp;against Florida Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">criticism</a>&nbsp;that Trump told Sgt. Johnson&rsquo;s widow &ldquo;he knew what he signed up for,&rdquo;&nbsp;during Thursday&rsquo;s White House press briefing.</p> <p>And finally, the story has <strong>now morphed to being about General Kelly</strong> and not what President Trump may or may not have said to Sgt. Johnson&#39;s widow - it appears MSNBC has decided that Kelly&#39;s emotional comments...</p> <p><iframe height="360" src="//" width="640"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Were driven by his racism...</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>MSNBC host Lawrence O&rsquo;Donnell said he was &ldquo;stunned&rdquo; by White House chief of staff John Kelly&rsquo;s remarks about Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida, <strong>suggesting that the former general was a product of a racist upbringing.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;John Kelly never sat next to Frederica Wilson in his elementary school,&rdquo; </strong>he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Joy-Ann Reid lauded fellow MSNBC host Lawrence O&rsquo;Donnell&rsquo;s Thursday night segment in which he <strong>characterized White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly&rsquo;s attack on Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson as the product of his &ldquo;segregated&rdquo; Irish Catholic upbringing.</strong></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="576" height="277" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Afghanistan American people of German descent Climate change skepticism and denial Donald Trump Donald Trump Florida Frederica Wilson MSNBC MSNBC Politics Politics of the United States The Apprentice United States Washington D.C. White House White House WWE Hall of Fame Fri, 20 Oct 2017 22:41:34 +0000 Tyler Durden 605701 at A Political Realignment Is Necessary – The Real Struggle Is Liberty Vs Authoritarianism <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,</em></a></p> <p>Until the American public ceases bickering amongst itself along Democratic and Republican or &ldquo;left&rdquo; vs. &ldquo;right&rdquo; lines, <strong>we&rsquo;ll continue to be divided and conquered by authoritarians who wield tremendous power throughout both sides of the traditional political spectrum.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 227px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>This isn&rsquo;t to say there aren&rsquo;t real, meaningful differences between those who classify themselves on the &ldquo;left&rdquo; or the &ldquo;right,&rdquo; but it is to say there&rsquo;s a much bigger battle afoot and nothing&rsquo;s going to get better until we frame the new political reality for what it is.</strong> The most significant, existential struggle at play in these modern United States is <strong>a battle between Liberty and Authoritarianism</strong>, and it&rsquo;s extremely important you know where you stand.</p> <p><strong>While the entire Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution is crucial to our civil liberties, no right is more significant than the First Amendment.</strong> If we lose freedom of speech, it&rsquo;s game over for our society, and we have to understand that authoritarians on both the &ldquo;right&rdquo; and &ldquo;left&rdquo; are taking shots at freedom of speech as I write this. As such, differences between &ldquo;right&rdquo; and &ldquo;left&rdquo; should be deemphasized because if we lose the First Amendment, we lose everything.</p> <p>A major political realignment is not simply a good idea, it&rsquo;s absolutely crucial to the survival of a thriving civilization here in the U.S.&nbsp;<strong>The historical struggle we face today is not Democrat vs. Republican, or right vs. left, but Liberty vs. Authoritarianism.</strong></p> <p>Let&rsquo;s get started by highlighting an extremely creepy proposal recently published, titled,&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><strong>Fool Me Once: The Case for Government&nbsp;Regulation of &ldquo;Fake News.</strong>&rdquo;</a> One of the authors is Ann M. Ravel, who was previously a Democratic Commissioner on the Federal Election Commission (FEC).</p> <p>For the most part, the proposal outlines how social media should be regulated in order to track and categorize how advertisements on the platforms are created and distributed. It&rsquo;s not until the end that the authors&rsquo; more Orwellian objectives become apparent. They write:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><h5><em><strong>Government regulations to help voters avoid spreading disinformation</strong></em></h5> <p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Educate social media users</span>. Social media users can unintentionally spread disinformation when they interact with it in their newsfeeds. Depending on their security settings, their entire online social network can see items that they interact with (by &ldquo;liking&rdquo; or commenting), even if they are expressing their opposition to the content. Social media users should not interact with disinformation in their feeds at all (aside from flagging it for review by third party fact checkers). <strong>Government should require platforms to regularly remind social media users about not interacting with disinformation.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Similarly, after a social media user clicks &ldquo;share&rdquo; on a disputed item (if the platforms do not remove them and only label them as disputed), government can require that the user be reminded of the definition of libel against a public figure. Libel of public figures requires &ldquo;actual malice&rdquo;, defined as knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth.<strong> Sharing an item that has been flagged as untrue might trigger liability under libel laws.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Nudge social media users to not view disputed content</span>.</strong> Lawmakers should require platforms to provide an opt-in (or, more weakly, opt-out) system for viewing disputed content and periodically remind users of their options. We think the courts should uphold this as a constitutional regulation of political speech, but we acknowledge that it is a closer question than the more straightforward disclosure regulations above. The most analogous cases are to commercial speech cases (AdChoices and Do Not Call Registry, which was upheld). Commercial speech receives less protection than political speech.</em></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Think about how creepy all of that is. </strong>They want social media companies to warn its users when they&rsquo;re apparently interacting with &ldquo;disinformation,&rdquo; which I assume government will enthusiastically define at a later date. Even worse, a simple warning isn&rsquo;t enough for them, the authors actually want social media companies to warn citizens they might be exposed to libel laws if they share a particular piece of content.</p> <p>As such, it becomes crystal clear that when it comes to libel laws some Democrats have a lot more in common with Donald Trump than they&rsquo;d like you to believe. Which basically proves my point &mdash; there&rsquo;s a lot more agreement between authoritarians on the &ldquo;right&rdquo; and the &ldquo;left&rdquo; than meets the eye. Both types want the power to control what you see, what you read and how you think. Don&rsquo;t let political labels fool you, anti-free speech is anti-free speech whether it comes from a Democrat or a Republican. The real battle is&nbsp;<strong>Liberty</strong><strong>&nbsp;vs.&nbsp;Authoritarianism.</strong></p> <p>If that&rsquo;s not creepy enough, let&rsquo;s take a look at what&rsquo;s currently happening at Facebook. From the <em>Bloomberg</em> article,&nbsp;<span class="lede-text-only__highlight"><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Facebook Is Looking for Employees With National Security Clearances</a>:</span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>Facebook Inc. is looking to hire people who have national security clearances, a move the company thinks is necessary to prevent foreign powers from manipulating future elections through its social network, according to a person familiar with the matter.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Workers with such clearance can access information classified by the U.S. government. Facebook plans to use these people &mdash; and their ability to receive government information about potential threats &mdash; to search more proactively for questionable social media campaigns ahead of elections, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is sensitive. A Facebook spokesman declined to comment.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>Job candidates like this are often former government and intelligence officials or contractors.</strong> The status can carry over to private-sector jobs, as long as the position still requires access to sensitive information. Previously granted clearances become inactive when intelligence workers leave government employment, but they can be reactivated on Facebook&rsquo;s behalf, the person said.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Facebook is about to be swarming with CIA personnel, assuming it isn&rsquo;t already.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said last month that Facebook plans to add more than 250 people across its teams that deal with security and safety for the social network and to more than double the team working on election integrity. <strong>He also said the company would seek to work more closely with government officials to get information on what to investigate ahead of elections.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>It&rsquo;s common for private companies, such as military contractors, information technology and engineering firms, to hire employees with U.S. government-issued security clearance. <strong>Candidates with top-secret clearance have been in high demand for years.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>These types of employees are needed when private companies interact and share information back and forth with government agencies.</strong> If Facebook is going to cooperate with intelligence agencies to identify potentially problematic ads and share that information with the government, it will likely need workers with security clearance.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>I&rsquo;m not sure how to describe the above, but free market capitalism it&rsquo;s definitely not.</p> <p>Moving along, this post wouldn&rsquo;t be complete without pointing out how much Donald Trump, and in particular his deranged Attorney General Jeff Sessions, despises the First Amendment. Here&rsquo;s some of what he had to say on the topic yesterday.</p> <p>From <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><em>The Hill</em></a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday said he could not make a &ldquo;blanket commitment&rdquo; to not putting journalists in jail.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>During testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) asked Sessions if he could pledge to not place &ldquo;reporters in jail for doing their jobs.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>&ldquo;Well, I don&rsquo;t know that I can make a blanket commitment to that effect. But I will say this, we have not taken any aggressive action against the media at this point,&rdquo; Sessions replied.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;But we have matters that involve the most serious national security issues that put our country at risk,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;and we will utilize the authorities that we have legally and constitutionally if we have to.&rdquo;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The comments from Sessions come after President Trump, unhappy with a story published by NBC News, said last week that network licenses should be challenged. While the major networks do not have licenses themselves, their local affiliates do.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Finally, I want to provide the following tweets in case you&rsquo;re still in denial regarding Trump&rsquo;s authoritarian nature and his clear determination to launch more wars in the Middle East.</p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone wp-image-48319" src="" style="width: 601px; height: 252px;" /></a></p> <p><img class="alignnone wp-image-48318" src="" style="width: 599px; height: 232px;" /></p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone wp-image-48317" src="" style="width: 601px; height: 188px;" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone wp-image-48316" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 232px;" /></a></p> <p>A lot of you voted for Trump because you knew Hillary was a disaster and so you held out some hope he&rsquo;d be better. I get it. This isn&rsquo;t about lecturing anybody about how much of a con Trump is, it&rsquo;s about asking you to accept reality and be part of a political realignment which must be birthed into existence.</p> <p><em><strong>We need to recognize that the battle is much bigger than you&rsquo;ve been taught. It&rsquo;s not Democrat vs. Republican or right vs. left, it&rsquo;s Liberty vs. Authoritarianism, and if we don&rsquo;t accept this and come together, we&rsquo;ll lose everything.</strong></em></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><em>If you liked this article and enjoy my work, consider becoming a&nbsp;monthly&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff6600;">Patron</span></a>,&nbsp;or visit our&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Support&nbsp;Page</a>&nbsp;to show your appreciation for&nbsp;independent content creators.</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="714" height="270" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Central Intelligence Agency Communication Computing Disinformation Donald Trump Facebook Fake news Federal Election Commission First Amendment Freedom of speech in the United States Information Technology Jeff Sessions Judiciary Committee Mark Zuckerberg Middle East Middle East national security NBC Politics Propaganda techniques Reality Social media Social networking service Software Testimony US government Fri, 20 Oct 2017 22:05:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 605724 at What Do Hillary, Uranium One, And An FBI Bust Of A Deep Cover Russian Spy Network Have In Common? <p>In 2010, shortly after Hillary Clinton assumed her position as Secretary of State in the Obama administration, the FBI broke up a deep-cover Russian spy ring that had been operating in the U.S. for decades.&nbsp; The operation, code named "Ghost Stories," was a huge bust for the FBI that handed the U.S. intelligence community 10 highly trained, deep-cover, Russian spies presumably with immensely valuable insights into Russia's covert operations in the homeland.&nbsp; All of which is why its so confounding that Hillary, as Secretary of State, "worked so feverishly" to retun them all to Moscow posthaste rather than exploit their intelligence value to the fullest extent possible.</p> <p> As the <a href="">Daily Caller</a> points out today, the FBI's bust couldn't have come at a worse time for the Clintons as it came literally the day before Bill Clinton delivered a $500,000 speech in Moscow on behalf of a Russian bank with an interest in securing approval of the controversial Uranium One deal...oh the tangled webs...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>For a decade, the FBI ran an operation called Ghost Stories to monitor and rip apart a deep-cover Russian agent network. Ghost Stories tracked a ring Russian spies who lived between Boston and Washington, D.C., under false identities.</strong> It was one of the FBI’s most elaborate and successful counterintelligence operations in history.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Under the code name Operation Ghost Stories, the FBI had been working the ring for a decade. Its targets had burrowed in along the Acela Corridor between Boston, New York, and Washington DC. They lived normal daily lives as Americans to attend universities, run businesses, marry, and conceive and raise children to infiltrate society and subvert government institutions. One of the SVR agents had stolen the identity of a six week-old Canadian baby who had died in 1963. That prompted the Ghost Stories code name. The ring inspired the FX network’s television series, “The Americans.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>After the FBI arrested 10 of the spies in June, 2010, Secretary of State Clinton worked feverishly to return the Russian agents to Moscow in a hastily arranged, lopsided deal with Putin.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It all happened as the uranium deal was in play: An arrangement to provide Moscow’s state Rosatom nuclear agency with 20 percent of American uranium capacity, with $145,000,000 to pour into the Clinton Family Foundation and its projects.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the Clintons, the FBI’s biggest counterintelligence bust in history couldn’t have come at a worse time.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The day the FBI arrested the Russian agents, on June 28, 2010, the day before the secretary of state’s husband, Bill Clinton, was to give a speech in Moscow. A Kremlin-connected investment bank, Renaissance Capital, paid the former president $500,000 for the hour-long appearance.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><img src="" alt="Hillary Putin" width="600" height="343" /></p> <p>Making Clinton's decision to expel the captured spies even more confounding, was evidence that Hillary was perhaps one of the biggest targets of the Russian spy operation as agent Lidiya Guryeva, or Cynthia Murphy as she was known in her fake American life, tracked her daily movements and even moved to Washington D.C. along with Hillary in 2009.&nbsp; </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>From New York, SVR agent Lidiya Guryeva had Clinton in her sights. Guryeva had a real-life job, under the assumed name Cynthia Murphy, as vice president of a high-end tax services company in lower Manhattan.</strong> Guryeva’s prime targets, FBI evidence and later news reports show, were Clinton and no fewer than five members of her inner circle.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Guryeva was far more important than a fellow agent would become the most famous member of the spy ring. The publicity would go to Anna Vasilyevna Kushchenko, who after her arrest would be become a glamourous spy princess under her married name, Anna Chapman.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>While the FBI’s unclassified information is vague, it is clear that Guryeva’s target was an early Obama administration member from New York who handled foreign policy after having run for high-level public office. Clinton is the only person fitting that description.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Clinton became secretary of state on January 21, 2009. Two weeks later, on February 3, Guryeva sent an encrypted message to the SVR’s Moscow Center. The agent reported “several work-related meetings” with a New York-based “financier” who was “prominent in politics,” an “active fundraiser” for a major political party whose name the FBI redacted, and “a personal friend” of an Obama cabinet official whom the FBI did not publicly identify. Guryeva told her bosses that she would seek to use that personal friend to “provide” inside information on American foreign policy and the White House, and invite her to major political events.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Guryeva and her husband would sell their New Jersey house and follow Clinton to the nation’s capital. </strong>There, she could get a job with a Washington, DC-based company or policy shop. A tasking message dated October 18, 2009, from Moscow Center sought agents to seek out information “unknown publicly but revealed in private by sources close to State Department, Government, major think tanks.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As the FBI told the court, “the SVR requested information on the U.S. position with respect to a new Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, Afghanistan, and Iran’s nuclear program.” Moscow Center specifically asked Guryeva for intelligence concerning “approaches and ideas” of what the FBI called “four names of sub-cabinet United States foreign policy officials, omitted,” meaning that all four were deputies to Secretary Clinton whose identities had been redacted.</p> <p>&nbsp;Hillary Clinton was mining Kremlin cash for her personal benefit while secretary of state, at the exact time Putin’s SVR spies were targeting her and penetrating her inner circle. She had every personal motivation to make the spy problem disappear and deny that she had been a target.</p></blockquote> <p>Of course, given that the Clintons were on the verge of securing a windfall of donations for their "Clinton Foundation," which came shortly after the Uranium One deal was completed just a few months later, among other Russian-based schemes to enrich her friends and family (described below), it seems Hillary was forced to choose between exploiting an intelligence treasure chest of information for the benefit of the country at large or covering up yet another scandal that would potentially disrupt her family's personal self-enrichment schemes...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Clinton pledged at Foggy Bottom to “reset” relations with the Putin-controlled regime. She blamed the former George W. Bush administration for the bad feelings. <strong>To the Kremlin’s relief, she opposed what would become the Magnitsky Act to sanction Russian criminal oligarchs and regime figures. Weeks into her tenure as secretary, she told Russian television, “our goal is to help strengthen Russia.”</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>She immediately used her position as America’s top diplomat to pour Russia-related money into her family foundation. One of her earliest acts as secretary of state was personally to authorize the State Department to arrange for 28 American tech CEOs and venture capitalists – 17 of them Clinton Foundation donors – to visit a Russian high-tech hub called Skolkovo. </strong>With Skolkovo, the SVR doesn’t need to steal when it can arrange legal purchases. The US military calls Skolkovo “an overt alternative to clandestine industrial espionage.” The Skolkovo visit, which reportedly began as a Clinton Foundation initiative, occurred in May, 2010, a month before the arrests.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Four days before the FBI would break up the ring, on June 24, Obama personally met with his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, to coordinate billions of dollars in deals with Kremlin-affiliated businesses. Putin held power behind the scenes as prime minister, between his terms as president.</p> </blockquote> <p>...guess which path she chose...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Clinton didn’t want leverage. She wanted the issue to go away. She toiled feverishly to get the 10 Ghost Stories spies back to Moscow as quickly as possible.</strong> She accepted whatever Putin would give her to pass off as a face-saving swap.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>She folded America’s strong hand of cards. The US had ten relatively young, highly trained Russian spies in custody with immense, fresh knowledge of SVR statecraft. A normal secretary of state would bide her time and get the best deal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The State Department coordinated quickly with the Kremlin to return the spies in a lopsided swap over a busy Fourth of July weekend, when few in Washington were paying attention.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In return, the US accepted an SVR officer who had been an American double agent, an open-source researcher whom Amnesty International considered a political prisoner, a Russian military intelligence colonel who spied for the British, and an elderly ex-KGB man from Soviet times whom not even a Communist court convicted of treason.</p> </blockquote> <p>All of which, as the Daily Caller notes, raises several questions: Precisely what did the FBI know about Russia’s spy service targeting Hillary Clinton and her inner circle? Why did Clinton deny through spokespersons that she had been a Russian target? Why did she work so feverishly to get the spies out of the United States and back to Russia? Why has the FBI leadership not been more vocal in touting one of its greatest counterintelligence successes ever? And why did nobody in the FBI leadership raise this issue during the 2016 Russian election meddling controversy?</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="766" height="438" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Afghanistan Anna Chapman Bill Clinton Clinton Family Foundation Clinton Foundation Clinton Foundation Communist court Department of State Espionage FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Bureau of Investigation George W. Bush administration Government Hillary Clinton Illegals Program KGB Moscow Center Obama Administration Obama administration Politics Renaissance Rodham family Rosatom Russia Russian spies SPY SVR’s Moscow Center U.S. intelligence UN Court United States Uranium Washington D.C. White House White House Fri, 20 Oct 2017 21:40:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 605709 at "This Is Our World..." <p><a href=""><em>Via Jim Quinn's Burning Platform blog,</em></a></p> <p><em>I watched this over at&nbsp;<a href="">Irish’s Blog</a>&nbsp;and started to think about ‘date night’. </em></p> <p>My wife and I go out on date night every couple of weeks. It’s not always big and fancy, for example last weekend <strong>we snuck out of the house to our neigborhood pub for drinks and a bit of dinner</strong> after I got home from work. </p> <p><strong>The place was packed. </strong>I’m a people watcher so as we are chatting I’m looking about and watching other people interact. </p> <p><strong>Mostly they are Gen X’ers and Boomers.<span style="text-decoration: underline;"> I never noticed anyone with their faces buried in their phone. </span>Every table was full of people eating, drinking and conversing with one other. At least that I could see. </strong></p> <p>I wonder if the key is alcohol :-)? Drink more, text less?? Or maybe it was just the environment? Maybe it was both? </p> <p><strong>Whatever it was it was good to see and a nice change from the video below...</strong></p> <p><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1216" height="656" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Hospitality Human Interest Fri, 20 Oct 2017 21:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 605722 at Putin Slams US: "The Biggest Mistake Russia Ever Made Was To Trust You" <p>Russian President Vladimir Putin has not yet formally declared his intention to seek another term as leader of Russia, but many observers noted that a sweeping speech he gave at the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi this week served as a template for his campaign ahead of the March election.</p> <p>The speech&rsquo;s overarching theme was to burnish Putin&rsquo;s accomplishments as the man who restored &ldquo;power and respect&rdquo; to Russia. But in doing so, he heaped abuse on the US and its western allies, accusing them of selectively adhering to international law, and of taking advantage of Russia during the 1990s when the country was struggling to rebuild following the collapse of the Soviet Union, <a href="">Bloomberg </a>reported.</p> <p>He accused the US of abusing Russia&rsquo;s trust, and seeking to take advantage of the political and economic chaos that persisted for much of the 1990s and early 2000s, according to <a href="">Russia Today</a>.</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;The biggest mistake our country made was that we put too much trust in you; and your mistake was that you saw this trust as a lack of power and you abused it,&rsquo;&rsquo;</strong> he said during a question-and-answer session that was carried on national television. What was needed, he said, was &ldquo;respect.&rsquo;&rsquo;</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 264px;" /></a></p> <p>High on Putin&rsquo;s list of perceived slights was the US&rsquo;s failure to keep its end of the bargain in a host of international disarmament agreements. <strong>He explained that, while Moscow doesn&rsquo;t plan to exit any existing treaties, he promised an &ldquo;instant, symmetrical response&rdquo; if Washington decides to quit first.</strong></p> <p>He accused the US of slighting Russia by forcing the country to accept international monitors during the implementation of the &ldquo;megatons to megawatts&rdquo; program, where the Russian nuclear arsenal was dramatically reduced by converting highly enrichment weapons-grade uranium to lower quality uranium suitable for use in nuclear power plants.&nbsp; <strong>Between 1993 and 2013, Russia downblended enriched uranium from the equivalent of about 20,000 of its nuclear warheads into low-enriched uranium to be used as fuel by US power stations.</strong></p> <p>During this process, Putin said, Russia operated with &ldquo;unprecedented openness and trust&rdquo; with as many as 100 US officials entitled to carry out surprise inspections of Russian nuclear facilities.</p> <p>But in return, the US has repeatedly disregarded the Russian national interest, Putin said.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;What we got in return is well-known &ndash; a complete disregard for our national interests, support for separatism in the Caucasus, a circumvention of the UN Security Council, the bombing of Yugoslavia, the invasion of Iraq, and so on.</strong> <strong>The US must have seen the state of our nuclear weapons and economy and decided to do away with international law.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>He also accused the US of hypocrisy by not adhering to the terms of the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, a treaty that was spearheaded by the US. Russia has destroyed its chemical weapons stockpile and honored its obligations under the treaty, Putin said, while the US has repeatedly pushed back its deadline.</p> <p>These betrayals are threatening to send the US-Russia relationship back to the 1950s, he said.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;We can&rsquo;t actively participate in several international treaties, because the US is not doing anything itself. We can&rsquo;t just do it unilaterally,&rdquo;</strong> said Putin, citing the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, as an example of the US taking advantage.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Last month, Russia declared that all its chemical weapons stockpiles had been disposed of &ndash; news that Western media &ldquo;decided to stay silent on,&rdquo; according to Putin &ndash; while the US has persistently delayed its own destruction schedule, and now plans to complete the process in 2023 at the earliest.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;We destroyed everything, and then our American partners said &ndash; &lsquo;Not yet, we don&rsquo;t have money.&rsquo; So, they have a dollar printing press, yet they don&rsquo;t have money. But we, on the other hand, do?&rdquo; </strong>said Putin with heavy sarcasm.</p> </blockquote> <p>But Putin&rsquo;s biggest gripe with US foreign policy relates to George W Bush&rsquo;s decision to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 &ndash; a decision that was made to pave the way for the construction of a missile defense shield in Europe. The Kremlin has vehemently objected to the missile shield.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;This treaty was the cornerstone of the entire international security framework in the area of strategic weapons. But despite spending years trying to persuade our colleagues otherwise, we weren&rsquo;t able to hold our partners inside the agreement,&rdquo;</strong> said Putin.</p> </blockquote> <p>Putin also responded to US President Donald Trump criticisms of another treaty between Russia and the US - the New START treaty signed in 2011. Through 2021, it stipulates that both sides are allowed to have up to 1,550 active nuclear warheads. Trump has criticized the treaty as an example of poor Obama-era dealmaking. Putin has also expressed dissatisfaction with the treaty.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;We are hearing that the other side is also not pleased with New START,&rdquo;</strong> Putin said. <strong>&ldquo;We are not going to quit it. Maybe we are ourselves dissatisfied with certain aspects of it, but there is always an element of compromise. So, we are going to fulfil our obligations.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Other parts of Putin&rsquo;s election strategy were also on display during the carefully choreographed session, according to Evgeny Minchenko, a political consultant attending the forum who spoke with Bloomberg. Sharing the stage with Putin in Sochi was Jack Ma, the founder and chairman of China&rsquo;s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Ma delivered a motivational speech on the future benefits of technology and offered to &ldquo;join in the development of the Russian economy.&rsquo;&rsquo;</p> <p>Putin will make a high-profile push to digitize the Russian economy as a key plank in his election campaign, Minchenko said. A second campaign message will be government renewal, replacing longer-serving officials with a younger cadre, both in the administration and regional governorships. Some governors have already been replaced.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m pretty sure Putin is going to run,&rsquo;&rsquo; Minchenko said.&nbsp;</p> <p><u><strong>Watch the full speech below:</strong></u></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="315" scrolling="no" src=";show_text=0&amp;width=560" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" width="560"></iframe></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="765" height="404" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty China Donald Trump Foreign policy of Vladimir Putin Foreign relations of Russia Government Grand Croix of the Légion d'honneur Independent politicians International relations Iraq Missile defense New START Nuclear Power Politics Politics Politics of Russia Russia–United States relations U.N. Security Council United States national missile defense Uranium Valdai Discussion Club Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin War Fri, 20 Oct 2017 20:59:03 +0000 Tyler Durden 605686 at "God Is All I Have" - One Month In, Puerto Ricans Fight For Survival Amid Sluggish Recovery <p>A day after President Donald Trump gave his administration&rsquo;s Puerto Rico response a &ldquo;10 out of 10&rdquo; during a White House meeting with the island&rsquo;s Gov. Riccardo Rossello, a handful of media outlets are reporting that, <strong>one month after Maria first made landfall in southeastern Puerto Rico, many villages still don&rsquo;t have access to electricity, clean water or - in more than a few cases - the outside world.</strong></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">It was great to have Governor <a href="">@RicardoRossello</a> of <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PuertoRico</a>????????with us at the <a href="">@WhiteHouse</a> today. We are with you! <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PRStrong</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="">October 19, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>During his White House visit, <strong>Rossello revealed that about 20 percent of the island has service and he has pledged to get that to 95 percent by Dec. 31. </strong>For now, though, most of the island&#39;s 3.4 million people are suffering through the sweltering temperatures without air conditioning or basic necessities. Many have resorted to using washboards, now frequently seen for sale along the side of the road, to clean clothes, and sleeping on their balconies and flocking to any open restaurants for relief from daytime temperatures above 90 degrees.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 236px;" /></a></p> <p>The process of restoring cell phone service has progressed even more slowly. According to figures released by the FCC on Friday, only about 30% of the country&rsquo;s cell sites have been restored to service. <strong>However, the commission is optimistic that the emergency license it granted to Google&rsquo;s Project Loon could allow the tech giant to restore power even more quickly.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 268px;" /></a></p> <p>Maria, which left nearly 50 people dead after hammering the island with nearly 160 mph winds and torrential rains that caused at least one dam to fail and triggered flash flooding in the capital city of San Juan, and elsewhere.</p> <p>As the <a href="">Associated Press</a> pointed out, the storm&#39;s path was ideal for taking down the entire grid. Most of Puerto Rico&#39;s power generating capacity is along the southern coast and most consumption is in the north around San Juan, with steel and aluminum transmission towers up to 90 feet (27 meters) tall running through the mountains in the middle. <strong>At least 10 towers fell along the most important transmission line that runs to the capital, entangling it with a secondary one that runs parallel and that lost about two dozen towers in a hard-to-reach area in the center of the island.</strong></p> <p>And given Puerto Rico&rsquo;s insolvency, the storm couldn&rsquo;t have hit at a worse time. Prepa, the island&rsquo;s beleaguered power authority, filed for bankruptcy in July, forcing it to forgo needed maintenance, and, of course, had already been weakened by Hurricane Irma two weeks earlier.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 280px;" /></a></p> <p>Meanwhile, a shortage of workers has slowed the process of rebuilding and distributing emergency supplies.</p> <p>Prepa Director Ricardo Ramos told the <a href="">AP </a>the authority is working with the Army Corps of Engineers and contractors to bring in more &quot;bucket trucks&quot; and other equipment. It already has about 400 three- to five-member repair crews and is trying to reach 1,000 within three weeks with workers brought in from the US &quot;With this number of brigades we will be able to advance much more rapidly,&quot; Ramos assured reporters during a recent news conference.</p> <p>Prepa reportedly brought in a Montana company, Whitefish Energy Holdings, to help its crews restore the transmission and distribution lines across the island. It has a rolling contract and can bill up to $300 million for its work, said Odalys de Jesus, a spokeswoman for the power authority.</p> <p>Meanwhile, <a href="">Bloomberg </a>ventured to some of the island&rsquo;s most isolated villages to chronicle how people have coped without many basic essentials in the month since the storm hit.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 321px;" /></a></p> <p>One elderly woman spoke about how the storm has left her cut off from her neighbors and family, in a ruined home without electricity or running water. To pass the time, she sings Ava Marias to herself.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>A month after Hurricane Maria battered this mountainous stretch of central Puerto Rico, recovery remained elusive along Highway 152, where 82-year-old Carmen Diaz Lopez lives alone in a home that&rsquo;s one landslide away from plummeting into the muddy creek below.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Without electricity, and without family members to care for her, she&rsquo;s become dependent on the companionship of a few neighbors who stop by periodically. <strong>But a collapsed bridge has made it challenging to even communicate with her friend across the creek, so she&rsquo;s lived for the most part in solitude, passing the electricity-less days singing &ldquo;Ave Maria&rdquo; and classic Los Panchos songs to herself, lighting candles each night so she can find the bathroom.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;I just ask the Lord to take care of me, because he&rsquo;s the only one I have,&rdquo; </strong>Diaz Lopez said Wednesday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Diaz Lopez and her neighbors along Kilometer 5 of this badly hit mountain road in Barranquitas municipality are among the hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans still at risk as the recovery effort heads into its fifth week. Pipe water returned here in a trickle a few days ago, and the collapsed earth that blocked the road and sent muck into homes has been half-way cleared. But a phone signal is still non-existent, and residents are far from any semblance of sustainable self-sufficiency.</p> </blockquote> <p>One disaster-response coordinator said she&rsquo;s never seen a situation where people have gone this long without basic services.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;I just haven&rsquo;t seen a situation where people don&rsquo;t have access to basic services for so long,&rdquo; </strong>said Martha Thompson, the Puerto Rico response coordinator for the Boston-based charity Oxfam Americas who also worked on the response to Hurricane Katrina.</p> </blockquote> <p>According to <a href="">Bloomberg</a>, provisional measures appear to be preventing a much greater humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. A government task force has restored electricity to many hospitals and healthcare facilities, but others are sustained by diesel generators that occasionally fail. (APR Energy Chairman John Campion, whose company rents the units for natural disasters, said in an interview that such generators typically have a life span of 500 hours, and the crisis has already lasted longer than that.)</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 387px;" /></a></p> <p>Earlier this week, <a href="">WSJ </a>reported that a Navy hospital ship sent to Puerto Rico has treated barely 150 patients. The reason? Many doctors and hospital administrators don&rsquo;t know it&rsquo;s there.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The USNS Comfort, a 70,000-metric-ton ship staffed with roughly 800 medical and support personnel and 250 beds, has treated only about 150 people since it arrived on Oct. 3, said a U.S. Navy spokesman aboard the vessel. It costs about $180,000 daily to operate the ship, according to the Navy. <strong>The USNS Comfort, a 70,000-metric-ton ship staffed with roughly 800 medical and support personnel and 250 beds, has treated only about 150 people since it arrived on Oct. 3, said a U.S. Navy spokesman aboard the vessel. It costs about $180,000 daily to operate the ship, according to the Navy.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Government officials say Puerto Rican hospitals are aware the Comfort is ready to take in critical patients. <strong>But if Dr. Felix Valle-Avilés is an example, few know about it. Dr. Valle-Avilés, who works at a community health center and a walk-in clinic in Arecibo on the island&rsquo;s northwest, said he hadn&rsquo;t received information about the ship or how it can be used.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>And as <a href="">Bloomberg </a>points out, the storm will probably further weaken the island&rsquo;s already fragile tax base by forcing hundreds of thousands of former residents to resettle - perhaps permanently - in the Continental US. Indeed, cities like Orlando and New York City that had large extant Puerto Rican populations have seen an influx of visitors, and are bracing for tens of thousands more.</p> <p>One byproduct of this migration could potentially come back to haunt Trump and Republicans in general during the mid-terms and - further out - during the 2020 race.</p> <p>Puerto Ricans who permanently settle in Florida, where many have family members and<strong> about 100,000 are expected to stay, </strong>could tilt the vote in the quintessential swing state in favor of Democrats, <a href="">Bloomberg </a>noted.</p> <p>With this in mind, it&rsquo;s clear just how politically damaging the criticism of the administration&rsquo;s disaster recovery efforts could be. <strong>Trump sparring with the Mayor of San Juan and other local officials, coupled with his insistence on complaining about Puerto Rico&rsquo;s troubled finances, could create a huge political liability if tens of thousands of Democrat-leaning Puerto Ricans permanently settle in Orlando.</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="723" height="341" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Americas Army Corps of Engineers Atlantic hurricane season cellular telephone central Puerto Rico Disaster Donald Trump Economy of Puerto Rico Fail Federal Communications Commission flash Florida Google Hurricane Irma Hurricane Maria navy New Spain New York City Oxfam Puerto Rico Puerto Rico recovery southeastern Puerto Rico Spanish colonization of the Americas Spanish Empire Twitter Twitter United States Navy White House White House Fri, 20 Oct 2017 20:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 605723 at Weekend Reading: Dow 24,000 By Christmas <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Lance Roberts via,</em></a></p> <p><strong>This past week, the Dow crested 23000 sending the networks into a <em>&ldquo;tizzy.&rdquo;</em></strong> It took about 5-minutes of crossing that magical <em>&ldquo;round number,&rdquo;</em> before questions raised of how long before the markets cross 24,000, and 25,000.</p> <p>The chart below shows the 1000-point milestones of the Dow going back to 2009. <strong>After a long break between 18,000 and 19,000 in 2015 through the election in 2016, the Dow has surged higher ticking off 4-more milestones in less than a year.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-24984" src="" style="width: 601px; height: 328px;" /></a></p> <p>As I have shown previously, these late stage<em> &ldquo;melt-ups&rdquo;</em> are not uncommon. <strong>In fact, as shown below, it is something witnessed prior to every market peak previously.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-24985" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 449px;" /></a></p> <p>As I <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">stated just recently:</a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;This&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">past weekend</a>, <strong>I discussed what appears to be the markets ongoing melt-up toward its inevitable conclusion.</strong> Of course, that move is supported by the last of the &lsquo;holdouts&rsquo; that finally capitulate<strong> and take the plunge back into a market that &lsquo;can seemingly never go down.&rsquo;&nbsp;</strong>But therein lies the danger. </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&lsquo;However, it should be noted that despite the &lsquo;hope&rsquo; of fiscal support for the markets,&nbsp;<strong>longer-term&nbsp;conditions are currently present that have led to rather sharp market reversions in the past.&nbsp;</strong>Regardless, the market is currently ignoring such realities&nbsp;<strong>as the belief &lsquo;this time is different&rsquo; has become overwhelming pervasive.&rsquo;&rdquo;</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>With volatility crushed, and record short positions on the VIX, there will likely be an event at some point that leads to a massive reversal in the assessment of <em>&ldquo;risk&rdquo;</em> and an unwinding of the market.</p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-24734" src="" style="width: 599px; height: 396px;" /></a></p> <p>However, such is not the case currently as even <em>&ldquo;small dips&rdquo;</em> are met with eager buyers which continues to reinforce the very dangerous lack of fear.</p> <p><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>With more ETF&rsquo;s currently available to investors than there are stocks to fill them, it is quite likely the demand ramp for ETF&rsquo;s will continue to push the Dow higher into the end of the year.</strong></span></p> <p><strong><em>Dow 24,000 by Christmas? </em></strong></p> <p><strong>Don&rsquo;t be surprised if it happens.</strong></p> <p><strong>Just remember, all market melt-ups end just when things look their brightest.</strong></p> <p>Here&rsquo;s your reading list to for the weekend.</p> <hr /> <h2><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>Trump, Economy &amp; Fed</strong></span></h2> <ul> <li><strong>Fed Flunks Econ 101</strong>&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Caroline Baum via MarketWatch</a></li> <li><strong><span style="color: #000000;">Why The Economy Surged Under Trump</span>&nbsp;</strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Simon Constable via Forbes</a></li> <li><strong>If Trump Is Doing So Horribly, Why Record Highs</strong>&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Joe Ciolli via BI</a></li> <li><strong>Trumps Final 5 Candidates For Fed Chair&nbsp;</strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Pedro Da Costa via BI</a></li> <li><strong>How A Lazy Man Won The Nobel Prize&nbsp;</strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Tim Harford via Undercover Economist</a></li> <li><strong>Link Between Tax Cuts &amp; Growth Is Tenuous</strong>&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Kate Davidson via WSJ</a></li> <li><strong><span style="color: #000000;">Workers Won&rsquo;t Benefit From Tax Cut&nbsp;</span></strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Larry Summers via The Washington Post</a></li> <li><strong>Trump Tax Plan May Be Doomed&nbsp;</strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Eric Levitz via New York Magazine</a></li> <li><strong>Ben Bernanke Is Worried, Should We</strong>&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Robert Samuelson via Real Clear Markets</a></li> <li><strong>Cohn &amp; Mnuchin Risk Their Reputations</strong>&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by David Leonhardt via NYT</a></li> <li><strong><span style="color: #000000;">The GOP Has No Budget Plan&nbsp;</span></strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by James Capretta via Real Clear Policy</a></li> <li><strong>The Long Road Ahead To Tax Reform&nbsp;</strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Betsy McCaughey via NY Post</a></li> <li><strong>Hassett&rsquo;s Flawed Analysis Of Tax Plan&nbsp;</strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Larry Summers via CNBC</a></li> <li><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>Republicans Love Tax Cuts, But Love Spending More&nbsp;</strong></span><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Kevin Williamson via National Review</a></li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>Markets</strong></span></h2> <ul> <li><strong><span style="color: #000000;">Bear Market Closer With Each New High</span>&nbsp;</strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Michael Sincere via MarketWatch</a></li> <li><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>When The Melt-Up Melts Down&nbsp;</strong></span><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Brian Maher via The Daily Reckoning</a></li> <li><span style="color: #000000;"><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;">Shiller: Most Have The Cause Of The &rsquo;87 Crash Wrong</span>&nbsp;</strong></span><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Akin Oyedele via BI</a></li> <li><strong>Risk Your Retirement For A Few Percentage Points?&nbsp;</strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by SA Gil Weinreich via Seeking Alpha</a></li> <li><strong>S&amp;P 500 Matches Uncanny Record For Doing Nothing&nbsp;</strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Mark DeCambre via MarketWatch</a></li> <li><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>The Crash Of &rsquo;87 From Those That Lived It&nbsp;</strong></span><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Richard Dewey via Bloomberg</a></li> <li><strong>Time To Worry About Earnings Growth&nbsp;</strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Brad McMillan via Commonwealth Financial</a></li> <li><strong><span style="color: #000000;">Up And Away, Dow Tops 23000&nbsp;</span></strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Michael Kahn via Barron&rsquo;s</a></li> <li><strong>Don&rsquo;t Be Fooled By These 3-Over Hyped Trends</strong>&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Greg Satell via Inc</a></li> <li><strong>Why Can&rsquo;t We Have A Decent Bubble&nbsp;</strong><a href="">by James Mackintosh via WSJ</a></li> <li><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>Secular Stagnation No Longer The Dominant Outlook&nbsp;</strong></span><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Sam Ro via Yahoo Finance</a></li> <li><strong>BofA: 10 Triggers For The Next Crash&nbsp;</strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Tyler Durden via ZeroHedge</a></li> <li><strong>Good Companies Don&rsquo;t Always Make Good Stocks&nbsp;</strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Vitaliy Katsenelson via RIA</a></li> <li><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong>Risk Is Underpriced, Perhaps Considerably So</strong></span>&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Doug Kass via RIA</a></li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><span style="color: #000000;">Research&nbsp;/ Interesting&nbsp;Reads</span></h2> <ul> <li><strong><span style="color: #000000;"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Mnuchin Deploys Market Bubble As Political Weapon&nbsp;</span></span></strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Wolf Richter via Wolf Street</a></li> <li><strong>The No. 1 Financial Regret Of Americans&nbsp;</strong><a href=";rss=1" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Quentin Fottrell via MarketWatch</a></li> <li><strong>Investors Trust In Goldilocks&nbsp;</strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Buttonwood via The Economist</a></li> <li><strong>Ivy League Endowments Humbled By Bull Market&nbsp;</strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Mary Romano via Bloomberg</a></li> <li><strong>Just How Bad Will Your Retirement Be?&nbsp;</strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Sarah O&rsquo;Brien via CNBC</a></li> <li><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;">Americans Still Terrible At Investing</span>&nbsp;</strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Lance Roberts via MarketWatch</a></li> <li><strong>Investors Have All Their Eggs In One Basket</strong><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></span><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Jared Dillian via Mauldin Economics</a></li> <li><strong>The Next Correction Will Be Much Bigger</strong><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></span><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Howard Gold via MarketWatch</a></li> <li><strong><span style="color: #000000;"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Even Borderline Data Will Be Recessionary&nbsp;</span></span></strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by William Hester via Hussman Funds</a></li> <li><strong>52-&ldquo;WEAK&rdquo; High For Stocks<span style="color: #ff0000;"><span style="color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></span></strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by Dana Lyons via The Lyons Share</a></li> <li><strong><span style="color: #000000;">Buffett&rsquo;s Method Suggests Stocks Not Fairly Priced&nbsp;</span></strong><a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">by&nbsp;Jesse Felder via The Felder Report</a></li> </ul> <hr /> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div> <p><span style="color: #993300;"><strong><em>&ldquo;A bear market returns capital to those who it rightly belongs to.</em><em><strong>&ldquo;</strong> &ndash; </em></strong><em>Ian McAvity</em></span></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="709" height="399" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bear Market Business Business CNBC Doug Kass Dow 30 Dow Jones & Company Economy Financial data vendors Financial market Goldilocks Larry Summers MarketWatch NBCUniversal Republican Party S&P 500 Television in the United States The Wall Street Journal Tyler Durden U.S. Route 9W US Federal Reserve Volatility Fri, 20 Oct 2017 20:24:27 +0000 Tyler Durden 605716 at GE-Dip-Buying-Panic Sends Dow To 'Most Overbought' In 62 Years, Yield Curve Collapse Continues <p>Always...</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As Bloomberg summarizes, <strong>the dollar rose, Treasuries sank and all three broad stock indexes are heading for a record close on bets a budget compromise will bring Washington closer to agreeing on Trump&rsquo;s promise of tax reform</strong>. The dollar touched a three-month high and 10-year Treasury yields approached 2.4% while the Canadian dollar tumbled after inflation and retail sales missed estimates. Some clarity on a budget resolution, a good quarter of earnings and the anticipation of an announcement of the next Fed chair has led to market confidence. <strong><em>One stock clearly bucked the earnings trend; GE posted results before the bell, missing analysts&rsquo; estimates significantly and slashing its profit forecast. The stock erased losses after falling 7% in premarket trading.</em></strong></p> <p><strong><em>So - GE did this...</em></strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 351px;" /></a></p> <p><strong><em>GE now 1% above yesterday&#39;s close after abysmal earnings, cutting guidance by 30% and &ldquo;horrible cash flow&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>And The Dow did this...</p> <p><a href=""><img height="315" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><u><strong>Which pushes it to the most overbought (based on RSI) since July 1955...</strong></u></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 305px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Dow has not been near &#39;oversold&#39; since Jan 2015...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 302px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Another perfect week (5 up days) for the S&amp;P 500 <strong><em>(making 4 in 2017, compared to 1 in 2016, 2 in &#39;14, 2 in &#39;13, 2 in &#39;12, and 2 in &#39;11)</em></strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 422px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>VIX ended back below 10 (after briefly spiking above 11.6 yesterday)...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 359px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>and then this happened right at the close...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 422px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Homebuilders soared today... due to fun-durr-mentals...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 314px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Bank stocks underperformed today - but still have a long way top go to catch down to the crash in the yield curve..</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 317px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Uglyish week for FANG stocks and AAPL ended red...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 312px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>TSLA Tanked Today...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 422px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Following last night&#39;s budget vote, tax-hope picked up again from recent lows...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 315px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Yields are higher on the day (and week) with the short-end continuing to underperform...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 319px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The yield curve continued to collapse this week - lowest weekly close for 5s30s since Nov 2007</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 315px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Copper/Gold is at its highest in 3 years suggesting bond yields have a lot further to rise...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 315px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Dollar Index soared today after last night&#39;s budget vote - <strong>this is the best day for the dollar in 9 months... </strong>after bouncing perfectly off the unchanged for the week level...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 312px;" /></a></p> <p><strong><em>The Dollar is up 5 of the 6 weeks - highest weekly close in 3 months</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Yen and Loonie (retail sales weakness) were the biggest losers this week sending the green back higher...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 316px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Dollar strength weighed on precious metals with copper best on the week and WTI managing to limp into the green for the week today...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 317px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, Bitcoin soared today (on Zimbabwe panic) above $6000 for the first time ever...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 276px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Now bigger than Goldman Sachs...</p> <p><a href=""><img height="318" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So who is right?</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 319px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="600" height="65" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bitcoin Bond Business Canadian Dollar Copper Dow 30 Economy Finance Fixed income General Electric goldman sachs Goldman Sachs Money Precious Metals S&P 500 United States dollar US Federal Reserve Yen Yield Yield Curve Yield curve Fri, 20 Oct 2017 20:01:40 +0000 Tyler Durden 605721 at