en Life After 11/9 - Governing The Ungovernable <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog,</em></a></p> <p>Over the summer I introduced a two-fold assertion: <strong><u>1) global economic growth is over (and has been for years and won&rsquo;t come back for many more years) and 2) the end of growth marks the end of all centralization, including globalization.</u></strong> You can read all about these themes in <a href="" target="new"><span style="font-size: 13px; color: #ff2222; font-weight: bold;">&ldquo;Globalization Is Dead, But The Idea Is Not&rdquo;</span></a> and <a href="" target="new"><span style="font-size: 13px; color: #ff2222; font-weight: bold;">&ldquo;Why There is Trump&rdquo;</span></a> There are also extensive quotes of the second essay in wicked former UK MI6 spymaster Alastair Crooke&rsquo;s <a href="" target="new"><span style="font-size: 13px; color: #ff2222; font-weight: bold;">&ldquo;&lsquo;End of Growth&rsquo; Sparks Wide Discontent&rdquo;</span></a>.</p> <p>When I say &lsquo;the end of growth&rsquo;, I don&rsquo;t mean that in a Limits to Growth kind of way, or peak oil or things like that. Not because I seek to invalidate such things, but because I mean economics, finance only. Our economies simply ceased growing, and quite a few years ago. The only reason that is not, and very widely, recognized is the $21 trillion and change that central banks have conjured up ostensibly to kickstart a recovery that always remains just around the corner.</p> <p>That those $21 trillion will have massive negative effects on all of us is not my point either right now. Just that growth is gone. And that&rsquo;s hard enough to swallow for a system that&rsquo;s based uniquely on that growth. That is what this &lsquo;essay&rsquo; is about: <strong>what consequences that will have.</strong></p> <p>All that said, I don&rsquo;t have the idea that too many people are willing to accept the notion of the end of eternal economic growth (let alone right this minute), nor of globalization&rsquo;s demise. Which may be partially understandable, but not more than that. Instead, quite a few people may honestly feel that the end of growth will make &lsquo;leaders&rsquo; try for more, not less, centralization/globalization, but that, if it happens, is temporary. Unless, as I wrote earlier, we see dictators in the west.</p> <p>Because, as I said in those articles, the overbearing principle is, and must be, that when centralized power ceases to deliver benefits to people, they will no longer accept that decisions about their &ndash; ever poorer- lives are taken by people hundreds or thousands of miles away from where they live. People allow that only when they reap sufficient benefits from it. With growth gone, there are no such benefits left.<strong> Look at Greece and Italy and Brexit, and look at why Trump is where he is.</strong></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>Since it will apparently take a while for the above to sink in &ndash; which is not because I&rsquo;m wrong-, I&rsquo;m a little hesitant to introduce the next assertion, which is very closely related to the other two and takes it a step further. <u><strong>That assertion is that there are multiple countries in the western world -and perhaps beyond- today that run a serious risk of becoming de facto ungovernable. I&rsquo;ll refrain from using the term anarchy.</strong></u></p> <p>I&rsquo;ve been playing around in my head for a while with the thought that it is striking that the last two major global powers, which together have dominated world politics and economics for over 200 years, look well on their way towards becoming ungovernable. It is perhaps even more striking that nobody appears to understand or even contemplate this.</p> <p>Both <strong>Britain and America are caught in an apparent trap in which various groups of their citizens blame each other for everything that&rsquo;s going wrong with their lives</strong> -which admittedly is plenty. But that&rsquo;s where the end of growth and globalization comes in: societies are in urgent need of new ways of organizing themselves, of formulating new goals, priorities and policies.</p> <p><strong>And since nary a soul recognizes that the old ways have expired, this is bound to be a very difficult process.</strong> Before formulating anything new, we will first see (well, we already do) forces, movements and individuals rise to the fore whose claim to fame is kicking against the existing grain without providing much in the way of -coherent- ideas of what should come next.</p> <p>In fact, most of these &lsquo;transitory forces&rsquo; don&rsquo;t even realize or acknowledge the need for any novel paradigms; they -often hugely- gain in popularity basing themselves on talk of tweaking existing paradigms, on the notion of pretty much leaving things as they are but with a few different focus points here and there. Re-arranging deckchairs.</p> <p>And if anyone would try on &lsquo;real change&rsquo;, they&rsquo;d likely be voted down in record numbers, because the end of growth will mean loss of wealth and prosperity everywhere. And neither the people nor the times are ready for that message. Let alone the media machine or the establishment it serves. Which would rather go to war than admit they lost and give up their profits.</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><u><strong>Before moving on to the most prominent and perhaps urgent examples, the US and UK, let&rsquo;s take a look at a handful or so European countries.</strong></u> By the way, the European Union is a prime example of an entity that is caught blinded on the way towards being ungovernable like a deer in 27/28 pairs of headlights. No growth, no EU.</p> <p>In the same way that, as I explained in the earlier articles, <strong>all supranational entities face the fate of the dodo</strong>. Or at least the existing ones do, with their structures geared towards ever increasing centralization of power and money. Countries, societies, people will always find ways to trade and cooperate, and they will again, but the next time they do it will be only if and when they keep control over decisions that concern what&rsquo;s important to them.</p> <p>But on to those European countries on their way towards challenging existing power structures and governability. Italy has a -constitutional- referendum on December 4, and it looks right now like PM Renzi will lose that, opening the way for our friend Beppe Grillo and his M5S Five Star movement to take over. Beppe wasn&rsquo;t against the euro when we met in 2010, but he is now. And M5S has since grown hugely, into a solid national force.</p> <p><strong>In the rich core of the EU, there are general elections in Holland in March 2017, France in April and Germany in September 2017. </strong>Holland&rsquo;s traditional parties have been losing clout for a long time, and Geert Wilders&rsquo; anti-Islam anti-EU pro-Freedom party scores big in the polls. And that in a country that says it&rsquo;s doing great, talks about raising wages across the board and is stuck in a massive housing bubble.</p> <p><strong>France has a president, Hollande, who&rsquo;s polling lower numbers (a while ago it was 6%) than any US president probably ever did in history, and that&rsquo;s saying something.</strong> France has new crown princes on Hollande&rsquo;s Socialist side in PM Manuel Valls and Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, but they are badly tainted by Hollande&rsquo;s &lsquo;achievements&rsquo;.</p> <p>They have old crown princes for the Republican conservative party in ex-PM Sarkozy and the for some reason very popular Alain Juppé, but both can really only try and steal votes from Marine Le Pen&rsquo;s Front National by leaning ever further right. Which leaves Le Pen, who has sworn to take France out of the EU, as the no. 1 contender.</p> <p><strong>Given what might happen in Italy, Holland and France, one must wonder what the September 2017 German elections will even matter anymore when they happen. </strong>Unless an M5S type movement stands up there, Merkel will have no choice but to pull sharply to the right to try and hold off the right wing AfD from getting into a kingmaker position. Germany&rsquo;s once proud and strong left wing movement looks bound for near extinction.</p> <p><strong>Belgium and Spain don&rsquo;t have elections scheduled for 2017, but both have recently endured long periods without functioning governments</strong>, and both look no closer to solving the issues than they were before. Just look at Wallonia blocking the CETA trade deal between the EU and Canada. One might say they already are, for all intents and purposes, on the verge of being ungovernable.</p> <p>Grillo, Wilders, Le Pen and Spain&rsquo;s Podemos are very different people and movements, but what they have in common is they can produce such a backlash in their respective countries, <strong>win or lose, that they can render the existing political structures obsolete and thereby their countries ungovernable.</strong> Maybe, then, those structures are already obsolete, and maybe that&rsquo;s why they&rsquo;ve gained such popularity?!</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><strong>Plenty of candidates in Europe for governmental chaos; </strong>and I haven&rsquo;t even touched on many countries, including in Eastern Europe, where the end of growth will shatter many dreams and promises of better lives that have been put on hold indefinitely. Even as many Czechs and Polish workers risk being sent back home from countries like Britain. <strong>Europe truly is a continent full of powder kegs. Even before you add refugees.</strong></p> <p><u><strong>However, I still think the US and UK are first in line when it comes to the risk of being rendered ungovernable.</strong></u> Partly simply because of timing, and partly because the differences between various &lsquo;groups&rsquo; and movements are as pronounced as they are already today. Both countries are running out of carpet to sweep their dirt under.</p> <p>A conspicuous part in all this is played by <strong>the nations&rsquo; respective media, who seem to have given up all attempts at pretending to be neutral, a.k.a. &lsquo;journalistic&rsquo;.</strong> Traditional media, newspapers and radio and TV channels, used to have reporters and then, separately, they would have opinion columns, and the difference would be clear. But that&rsquo;s all gone, every single article is now an opinion piece, which goes a long way towards explaining why people turn their backs on them.</p> <p><strong>The MSM media are digging their own graves.</strong> Or, rather, their graves were being digitally dug anyway, and they&rsquo;re greatly speeding up the process of their own demise. What America and Britain would need right now is a &lsquo;traditional media outlet&rsquo; -just one- that is actually objective; the first one that tries that approach could make a killing, but all are scared of being killed in the process.</p> <p>Moreover, most &lsquo;reporters&rsquo; have fooled themselves into thinking that they ARE objective; that &lsquo;objective&rsquo; means Trump and Brexit MUST be condemned, as well as everyone and everything that has anything to do with the two, and some that don&rsquo;t, like Putin. Which happens to play a major role into how both countries inexorably slide down into a state of chaos.</p> <p><strong>Their traditional political parties are self-immolating as we speak, and yet in neither country is there space for new parties to stand up. </strong>That seems to be a major difference (perhaps it&rsquo;s an Anglo thing?) from countries in continental Europe, and even there things are screaming out of hand. The post-growth model appears to be: new parties or not, the incumbents are toast. Plenty room for big gaping holes.</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>Post Brexit, the UK has the Tories, who lost the Brexit vote but for some reason are still in power, just with a different figurehead. But they are hopelessly divided in pro-Brexit and pro-EU factions, and they appear so far to be messing up anything at all having to do with Brexit. All the egos collide too, of course; egos are all that politics has left to provide us.</p> <p>Then there&rsquo;s the Labor Party, which is equally hopelessly divided into the pro-Corbyn camp and the anti-Corbyn &lsquo;Blairites&rsquo;, which have conducted a kind of guerrilla warfare that might put the Viet Cong to shame. The Blairites have made such a fuss over Corbyn not being electable that they made their wishes come true like a boomerang. But that&rsquo;s the MPs, not the voters or even the party members, who are behind Corbyn in massive droves.</p> <p><strong>The UK doesn&rsquo;t have a general election scheduled until 2020</strong>, but with all the infighting and even more importantly the &lsquo;real&rsquo; start of Brexit that&rsquo;s supposed to come in early 2017, and/or a potential parliamentary vote seeking to make the referendum null and void,<strong> it&rsquo;s hard to see how the country could NOT descend into total chaos way before 2020.</strong></p> <p>The people who were comfortable before June 23 blame it all on &lsquo;Brexiteers&rsquo;, but they conveniently forget that before that date they completely ignored the people who did vote to Leave the EU, and are therefore now grasping at straws when it comes to explanations. The term &lsquo;deplorables&rsquo; has been patented by the Hillary camp, but it seems to express quite well how Remain feels about Brexit voters today. And that&rsquo;s toxic for any society.</p> <p>This is just not good enough. Brexit voters from what I can see are a mix between those who have been hit hardest by former PM Cameron and his goon squad (and ignored by Remainers), and those who really find the EU a failed experiment, an aspect I rarely see discussed in Britain. They should be elated to be rid of Brussels, but it&rsquo;s all only about how much money they will have short term, not about identity or pride or anything.</p> <p><strong>A country full of people pointing fingers at others, while remaining blind to their own failures. The mote and the beam, a recipe for mayhem. So you have this entire godawful political mess, and now imagine throwing in the end of growth, and deteriorating economic circumstances from here on in.</strong></p> <p>Britain had better start some kind of National Conversation first on where it wants to go, hire something in the vein of a bunch of National Therapists to tell people it&rsquo;s not okay to blame everything on somebody else, whether they&rsquo;re Brits or foreigners, or, with Scotland planning another independence vote, we could be back all the way to Braveheart.</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><u><strong>That leaves the US.</strong></u> The country that has elections before any of the other &lsquo;basket cases&rsquo;. And, this being America, the land that&rsquo;s better than anyone at painting pictures of itself as tempting as they can be false,<strong> the antagonism is dripping off the walls and through the streets. The land that discusses which lives matter.</strong></p> <p><strong><em>It&rsquo;s glaringly obvious that the majority of the US media would like you to believe that when it comes to ungovernability, a Trump victory would be a sure bet to lead the US into political mayhem. That may be true, though it&rsquo;s by no means guaranteed, they make it up as they go along, but a Hillary win may well end up being even worse.</em></strong></p> <p>As I wrote mid-September in <a href="" target="new"><span style="font-size: 13px; color: #ff2222; font-weight: bold;">&ldquo;Hillary Became Unelectable Long Ago&rdquo;</span></a>, Mrs. Clinton faces a ton of unanswered questions that will not just go away just because she might win a vote. If anything, scrutiny may well increase, and a lot, if she wins on November 8. And that&rsquo;s not just because the Donald is a sore loser (which also may or may not be true).</p> <p>There are a lot of intelligence (FBI) voices protesting the decision to not charge Hillary for her email shenanigans. There are plenty of serious issues related to the capture of the DNC by Hillary&rsquo;s campaign, and the subsequent ousting of Bernie Sanders and all his supporters. The campaign went so far as to pay people to -violently- disrupt Trump events. Now spell democracy for me.</p> <p><strong>What may play an even bigger role going forward is the unrelenting blame game played by the campaign on Russia and Vladimir Putin, a litany of allegations for which precious little proof, if any, has been presented.</strong> Trying to link Putin to Trump to Julian Assange may have seemed a winning election strategy, and it may prove to be one, crazy as it is, but on November 9 the world will still keep turning and-a churning. And where are they all then?</p> <p>Trump will not forget this. The Republicans won&rsquo;t. The FBI won&rsquo;t. All the people who support Wikileaks won&rsquo;t. Vladimir Putin won&rsquo;t. And neither will the leaders of a lot of other countries. They have now seen that sovereign nations and their leaders can be used as cannon fodder in a US election, or any other US political purposes, and that&rsquo;s going to make them feel queasy, and then some, for a long time.</p> <p><u><strong>It&rsquo;s very hard to see how Hillary and her people, as well as the American media, can climb down from the stance they&rsquo;ve taken.</strong></u> It&rsquo;s not exactly something you can easily apologize for after the fact. So the only thing to do would be to dig in and persevere.</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><em><strong>For the media, as I said, it&rsquo;ll be merely another step towards irrelevance. Just a bit steeper. For Hillary and her supporters, it won&rsquo;t be that smooth of a way down. When they dig in deeper into their trenches, all that&rsquo;s left them is to try and escalate the Russia tension.</strong></em></p> <p>But while an attack on Russia may go down reasonable well in American minds, Hillary would need to involve NATO, and there are plenty of member countries, and their citizens, who will not accept anything of the kind, no matter what their leaders say. The fact that NATO relies on unity would become a liability instead of an asset, in the same way that the EU will experience.</p> <p><strong>NATO would fall apart if the US under a Hillary presidency attacks Russia. So would the EU, which will fall apart anyway. And that&rsquo;s just on the international front.</strong></p> <p>Domestically, the Obama reign has been &lsquo;saved&rsquo; by those trillions from the Fed, by the crazy growth in debt, both public and private, and by a list as long as your arm of questionable &lsquo;official&rsquo; data, unemployment numbers, personal &lsquo;wealth&rsquo;, that sort of thing. While we all know that there would not be a Trump if those numbers reflected Americans&rsquo; real lives.</p> <p><u><strong>Trump may go away, though it won&rsquo;t be in silence, but what he represents will not.</strong></u> And what he represents is 180&ordm; squarely removed from Hillary. And it&rsquo;s not going to be subdued, silent or obedient. Blaming that on Trump, or on things he says, misses the point by a mile.</p> <p>Given what the Hillary campaign has perpetrated, given the links to the Clinton Foundation, and given a ton of other things, it&rsquo;s not all that crazy that Trump says he may not accept an election result off the bat. And given what many voices in the Democratic party, including Obama, have said in the past about elections and systems being rigged, it&rsquo;s nonsense to try and demonize him for suggesting that.</p> <p><strong>Of course American elections can be rigged.</strong> Hanging chads or not. As long as people have to wait in line for hours in certain districts to cast their vote, and as long as Diebold machines are used, they can be rigged. But you can&rsquo;t say it out loud?</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>Look,<u><strong> if Trump wins, how docile will the Democrat crowd be, given the propaganda machine targeted at Putin and Assange and anyone else (Bernie!) who dared stand in Hillary&rsquo;s way?</strong></u> If the result is close, will Hillary accept it without a single protest or question? She won&rsquo;t. But if Trump says he&rsquo;ll keep you in suspense about the exact same thing, he&rsquo;s a threat to democracy itself?</p> <p><strong>Points of view and belief are so far apart that indeed, democracy is under threat. But not because of Trump. That threat goes back to times long before him.</strong></p> <p>Hillary owes her position, and her wealth, to the Saudis and Qataris and Wall Street banks and US industrial/military neocons. And they will all demand that she return the favor. But they want something completely different than the people who vote for her. And since the economy is shrinking, she will have to take whatever it is they demand in return for putting her on her pedestal, away from the people who voted for her.</p> <p>And <strong>no matter how much propaganda is unleashed upon Americans, as they see their lives deteriorate, they will be on to this, more and more.</strong> And they will lean towards Trump or Bernie Sanders -or someone else in the future-, anyone they feel expresses their frustration.</p> <p>Hillary won&rsquo;t be able to &lsquo;cure&rsquo; the economy any more than Obama has, she won&rsquo;t have the Fed&rsquo;s virtual trillions to help her veil the real state of the economy, and she&rsquo;s already close to the lowest &lsquo;likeability&rsquo; rate in history to begin with.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m thinking Trump would probably be an awful president, but he perhaps wouldn&rsquo;t be the worst option. And I&rsquo;m saying that from the point of view of keeping America governable going forward, something he may well screw up yuugely, but at least he&rsquo;s not certain to.</p> <p><u><em><strong>It&rsquo;ll be hard to keep America quiet in the years to come whoever wins, and I&rsquo;m going to have to think about this more, I just wanted to say for now that what many people think and claim is a given, is not. And that is a big thing given that the elections are only 16 days away.</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="256" height="155" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Belgium Bernie Sanders Central Banks Eastern Europe European Union FBI France Germany Greece Housing Bubble Italy Neocons recovery Unemployment Vladimir Putin Mon, 24 Oct 2016 02:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 575735 at Watergate's Bob Woodward: "Clinton Foundation Is Corrupt, It's A Scandal" <p>It's one thing for the right-wing press to accuse the Clinton foundation of cronyism, corruption, and scandal (<a href="">especially if the facts</a>, and internal admissions by <a href="">affiliated employees, confirm as much</a>) - it tends to be generally ignored by the broader, if left-leaning, media. But when the Watergate scandal's Bob Woodward, associate editor at the liberal Washington Post, says very much the same, Hillary Clinton's campaign has no choice but to notice. This is precisely what happened today when journalist Bob Woodward told a Fox News Sunday panel <strong>that the Clinton Foundation is "corrupt" and that Hillary Clinton has not answered for it.</strong></p> <p>Here, courtesy of RealClearPolitics, is the transcript of today's exchange:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS SUNDAY</strong>: Then there are the allegations about the Clinton Foundation and pay to play, <em>which I asked Secretary Clinton about in the debate, and she turned into an attack on the Trump Foundation. </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But, Bob, I want to go back to the conversation I was having with Robby Mook before. When -- when you see what seems to be clear evidence that Clinton Foundation donors were being treated differently than non-donors in terms of access, <strong>when you see this new -- new revelations about the $12 million deal between Hillary Clinton, the foundation, and the king of Morocco, are voters right to be troubled by this</strong>? </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>BOB WOODWARD, THE WASHINGTON POST</strong>: I -- <strong>yes, it's a -- it’s corrupt. It's -- it’s a scandal</strong>. <strong>And she didn't answer your question at all. </strong>And she turned to embrace the good work that the Clinton Foundation has done. And she has a case there. But the mixing of speech fees, the Clinton Foundation, and actions by the State Department, <strong>which she ran, are all intertwined and it's corrupt</strong>. You know, I mean, you can't just say it's unsavory<strong>. But there's no formal investigation going on now, and there are outs that they have.</strong> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>But the election isn't going to be decided on that</strong>. I mean Karl was making the point about this, I'm not going to observe the result of the election. I mean that's -- that’s absurd. I mean it has no consequence. If Trump loses, they're not going to let him in the White House. He’s not going to have a transition team. And -- and to focus on that, I think, is wrong. I think the issue is, what's going to be the aftermath of this campaign.</p> </blockquote> <p>So it's corrupt, it's a scandal, and... it will have no consequences at all. It's time to look up the latest definition of Banana republic again.</p> <p><iframe src="" width="500" height="460" frameborder="0" scrolling="auto"></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="803" height="542" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Corruption Cronyism Fox News White House Mon, 24 Oct 2016 02:25:15 +0000 Tyler Durden 575738 at The Chinese Buyers Are Back: China Oceanwide Acquires Genworth For $2.7 Billion <p>For more than half a year after <a href="">China's Anbang "insurance" conglomerate </a>mysteriously emerged out of nowhere, announcing its intentions to acquire US hotel chain Starwood, <a href="">shortly before it even more mysteriously pulled its bid </a>once questions about its source of funds emerged, Chinese M&amp;A activity in the US was put in cryogenic sleep, with not even a peep out of Chinese companies desperate to launder their money in the US using legal methods, most notably mega mergers and acquisitions. </p> <p>Today that changed when just as unexpectedly, China Oceanwide Holdings Group agreed to buy troubled US insurer Genworth Financial Inc. for $2.7 billion in cash, pledging to help the U.S. firm manage its debt and strengthen life insurance units after it was hurt by higher-than-expected losses tied to long-term care coverage. A China Oceanwide investment platform will pay $5.43 per share, the companies said Sunday in a statement. That’s 4.2% more than Genworth’s closing price of $5.21 Friday. The buyer also promised to provide $600 million to Genworth to address debt maturing in 2018, as well as $525 million to strengthen the life insurance businesses.</p> <p>“Genworth is an established leader in both mortgage insurance and long-term care insurance, which are markets that present significant long-term growth opportunities,” China Oceanwide Chairman Lu Zhiqiang said in the statement. “We are providing crucial financial support to Genworth’s efforts to restructure its U.S. life insurance businesses.”</p> <p>In recent months, Genworth CEO Tom McInerney has been selling assets to ensure the insurer has sufficient liquidity after it was hit by losses on its long-term care coverage, which pays for home-health aides and nursing home stays, and as low interest rates crimp returns. At that point, it was almost as if a white knight emerged for the troubled company, one from across the Pacific. China Oceanwide plans to let Richmond, Virginia-based Genworth operate as a standalone company after the takeover with senior management still in place, according to the statement. “Genworth is an established leader in both mortgage insurance and long-term care insurance, which are markets that present significant long-term growth opportunities,” China Oceanwide Chairman Lu Zhiqiang said in the statement. “We are providing crucial financial support to Genworth’s efforts to restructure its U.S. life insurance businesses.”</p> <p>But who is this bidder/white knight? Very much like Anbang, it is a major financial conglomerate which spans real estate, energy and finance. It was founded in 1985 by Lu, who is a Communist Party secretary, as well as a member of the standing committee of the 12th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, according to the company’s website. </p> <p>More details <a href="">from its website</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>China Oceanwide Holdings Group was founded in 1985 by Mr. Lu Zhiqiang, the founder, legal representative, Communist Party secretary, and chairman of the group, as well as a member of the standing committee of the 12th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, vice president of the China Non-governmental Chamber of Commerce, deputy chairman of the Oceanwide Foundation,deputy chairman of the China Minsheng Banking, and a member of the board of trustees of Fudan University, etc.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="329" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co., Ltd., the backbone of the group, has a registered capital of 20 billion yuan. Thanks to over three decades’ development, China Oceanwide Holdings Group has developed into an international group of integrated finance and industry dominated by finance and based on industry, with remarkable market influence and social contribution. It is the controlling shareholder and investor of several China Mainland and Hong Kong listed companies, including Oceanwide Holdings (000046), Minsheng Holdings (000416), China Oceanwide Holdings Limited (00715), Minsheng Bank (600016?01988), and Legend Holdings (03396), thus its comprehensive strength has been enhanced considerably. The Group now owns nearly 100 subsidiaries and more than 10,000 employees, with its businesses and operations present in key cities in China Mainland such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Qingdao, Xi’an, Dalian, Ji’nan, Weifang and Hong Kong and other regions and countries such as United States, Indonesia and Australia.</p> </blockquote> <p>Translated: another company with vast political links, and even vaster financial resources mostly denominated in Yuan however, that need to be laundered abroad in the cleanest possible way. </p> <p><strong>Enter offshore M&amp;A.</strong></p> <p>Incidentally, Chairman Lu is also one of the founding shareholders of China Minsheng Banking Corp., and earlier this year boosted his stake in the Chinese lender through China Oceanwide. Lu’s purchases of about $1.1 billion in Minsheng’s stock in July reflected his confidence in the Beijing-based lender, he said at the time. And guess what: Anbang emerges once again. As <a href="">Bloomberg reports</a>, "Lu dismissed speculation at that time that his moves may signal a looming tussle for ownership with the bank’s biggest shareholder, <strong>Anbang Insurance Group</strong>."</p> <p>It is almost as if there are 2-3 Chinese mega conglomerates, whose roots are to be found deep inside the corruption of the financial system, and which quietly are seeking to park as much cash offshore as they can in the form of M&amp;A, which for the target firm is a gift from god: such Chinese M&amp;A is most often price indiscriminate, in fact the more they succeed in overpaying, the better for how much cash will be funneled out of the mainland. </p> <p>To be sure, as Bloomberg notes, Genworth isn’t likely to see higher bids because of the struggles at its long-term care operation and China Oceanwide’s agreement to add more capital, according to BTIG LLC analyst Mark Palmer. “GNW’s rationale for agreeing to sell itself likely was rooted in the challenges faced by its LTC unit, as the company in conjunction with the sale announcement disclosed that as a result of its annual review of its LTC claim reserves it would increase such reserves,” Palmer wrote in a note to clients.</p> <p>One almost wonders if nobody else wanted to buy GNW, which did a mega Chinese financial conglomerate, which has no business acquiring semi-solvent US insurers and is desperate to transfer billions in cash from the mainland fo the US and... oh wait, we just answered the question. </p> <p>A quick prime on what Oceanwide's $2.7 billion in cash will buy it:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Genworth writes mortgage insurance in the U.S., and has stakes in a Canadian and an Australian home-loan guarantor. Mortgage insurers cover losses for lenders when homeowners default and foreclosure fails to recoup costs. <strong>This deal gives China Oceanwide the chance to benefit from gains in the U.S. housing market.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>McInerney has been seeking to free up capital to pay bonds coming due, and has also been boosting capital by selling assets. He struck a deal in 2015 to sell a European mortgage unit to AmTrust Financial Services Inc. and also agreed to have Axa SA buy a European unit that offers customers protection against the financial impact of major illness, accident or death. He’s also been working to restructure the business units in a way that’s acceptable to regulators, and won approval from bondholders earlier this year to reorganize some of its units. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The deal will help give Genworth the finances to separate a life and annuity operation from another life insurance arm, according to the statement. <strong>Lu said the transaction was structured to make it easier to obtain regulatory approval.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>While it is unclear just what the return on the Chinese purchase will be, one party is sure to be delighted with the transaction, assuming it closes: Genworth itself. GNW shares have slumped from as high as $15.53 at the end of 2013 as the company dealt with its long-term care operations. The insurer has also been seeking in recent years to boost rates on old long-term care coverage as medical costs increased and more people than expected held on to those policies. The Chinese buyer has no intention or obligation to add more capital to support those legacy obligations, according to the statement.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>“<strong>We believe that this transaction creates greater and more certain stockholder value than our current business plan or other strategic alternatives</strong>,” McInerney said in the statement. “<strong>China Oceanwide is an ideal owner for Genworth. They recognize the strength of our mortgage insurance platform and the importance of long-term care insurance in addressing an aging population</strong>.”</p> </blockquote> <p>Actually, no. They are an ideal owner because they will pay anything to get a fraction of the company's billions in stranded cash holdings abroad. Even if it means overpaying for questionable assets. Or rather, <strong>especially </strong>if it means overpaying. And it's not only China Oceanwide: its nemesis Anbang agreed to a deal for Des Moines, Iowa-based Fidelity &amp; Guaranty Life in 2014, but has hit a roadblock, pulling an application for regulatory approval from New York to buy the firm. Anbang has renewed discussions with regulators about the transactions, people with knowledge of the talks said in September, although in recent months the mood in DC has been rather negative toward Chinese acquirors.</p> <p>According to Bloomberg. the deal is expected to close by the middle of 2017. Genworth received advice from Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Lazard Ltd., Willkie, Farr &amp; Gallagher LLP, and Weil, Gotshal &amp; Manges LLP, while the board of directors sought guidance from Richards, Layton &amp; Finger. China Oceanwide was advised by Citigroup Inc., Willis Towers Watson Plc, Sullivan &amp; Cromwell and Potter Anderson &amp; Corroon LLP.</p> <p>Should the deal close, it will likely unleash a surge of more Chinese acquisitions of questionable US companies, leading to even more short squeezes on concerns that the "Chinese are coming." On the other hand, rumor has it that all it took for the <a href="">Anbang deal for Starwood to fall apart </a>was one look at the source of funds for the Chinese conglomerate. Considering that the vast majority of Chinese fundings has shady origins, we would not be surprised if this particular deal were to likewise fall apart should the Chinese acquiror be asked even the most cursory question on where it got its money...</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="560" height="371" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Australia China Citigroup Corruption default ETC goldman sachs Goldman Sachs Hong Kong Housing Market Lazard Real estate Shenzhen Starwood Weil Gotshal Yuan Mon, 24 Oct 2016 02:04:51 +0000 Tyler Durden 575737 at Six Things To Consider About Inflation <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Emile Woolf via The Mises Institute,</em></a></p> <p>As an economic term, &ldquo;inflation&rdquo; is shorthand for &ldquo;inflation of the money supply.&rdquo;</p> <p>The general public, however, usually takes it to mean &ldquo;rising prices&rdquo; which is not surprising since one of the common effects of an increase in the money supply is higher prices. <em><strong>However, supporters of government policy often say, &ldquo;If quantitative easing (QE) and its terrible twin, fractional reserve banking, are so awful, why have we got no inflation?&rdquo;</strong></em></p> <p>To address this conundrum, there are <em>six related factors</em> that are noteworthy:</p> <p><u><strong>Number One:&nbsp;we need to be clear about the terms we are using. </strong></u>Instead of talking about &ldquo;inflation&rdquo; in the loose sense, as above, it is more accurate to speak of currency debasement, which is the&nbsp;real impact of fiat money creation by any means. We experience currency debasement&nbsp;as declining purchasing power. Two sides of the same coin: one reflects the other.</p> <p><u><strong>Number Two: the above question overlooks the fact that the measures used in this process are inherently unreliable.</strong></u> The decline in purchasing power is most evident when&nbsp;<em>objectively</em> measured by reference to an&nbsp;essential commodity such as oil &mdash; rather than against the Consumer Price&nbsp;Index (CPI). The CPI purports to reflect the prices of ingredients selected by government statisticians in what they consider to be a typical, but notional,&nbsp;basket of &ldquo;consumer goods and services.&rdquo; This basket, whose contents are varied periodically, results in an index that cannot be trusted as an objective barometer. It supports the wizardry of non-independent Treasury statisticians, and relates to goods that scarcely feature in your shopping basket or mine.</p> <p><u><strong>Number Three: newly created fiat money must&nbsp;go <em>somewhere</em> </strong></u>&mdash; and so it goes into the grasp of its first receivers, the banks, the financial institutions, government institutions, and urban&nbsp;moneyed classes who least need it &mdash;&nbsp;widening the gap between rich and poor &mdash;&nbsp;and thereby building asset bubbles in property, luxury cars, yachts and the myriad baubles that only the very rich can afford to acquire. So never say that &ldquo;there is no price inflation&rdquo; &mdash;&nbsp;it&rsquo;s just that those asset prices don&rsquo;t figure in the official CPI stats.</p> <p><u><strong>Number Four:&nbsp;The European Central Bank (ECB) is no slouch when it comes to money creation out of thin air, and banks within the euro zone have therefore come to rely on it for survival.</strong></u> The solvency of Southern EU countries is dependent on the promise of limitless &mdash; thanks to Mario &ldquo;Whatever&nbsp;it takes&rdquo;&nbsp;Draghi &mdash;&nbsp;fiat money bailouts from the ECB. But, until the next bailout arrives, governments of Europe will&nbsp;do their coercive best to prop up their insolvent banks by any means, fair or foul. In Italy, for example, the government has now &ldquo;invited&rdquo; the country&rsquo;s pension funds to invest 500 million euros in a bank fund called &ldquo;Atlante,&rdquo;&nbsp;which has been formally set up as a buyer of last resort to help Italian lenders (whose bad debts equate to a fifth of GDP) reduce their toxic burden.&nbsp;Having run out of other people&rsquo;s money the Italian government is now trying to raid the nation&rsquo;s pension funds.</p> <p><u><strong>Number Five: In the same vein, you have no doubt heard reference to &ldquo;helicopter money.&rdquo;</strong></u>&nbsp;This is a variant of QE favored by certain politicians who talk blithely about the need for &ldquo;QE for the&nbsp;people.&rdquo;&nbsp;The idea is to by-pass the treasury mandarins by dropping newly printed money directly to&nbsp;the people via government spending, so that they (rather than the already-rich classes) can benefit from the bonanza and aid the economy by spending their new-found wealth. Again, this notion commits the fundamental error of equating &ldquo;money&rdquo; and &ldquo;wealth.&rdquo; If everyone suddenly finds that free handouts have swelled their bank accounts, how long will it be before prices follow? (And since even helicopter money originates at the central bank, you can be sure that the financial sector will somehow get its hands on it first anyway!)</p> <p><u><strong>Number Six: the final point&nbsp;concerns the corrosive effect of the deliberate and utterly misguided&nbsp;suppression of interest rates </strong></u>which, if they were allowed to find their own market level, would represent the&nbsp;time-value of money, or what the private sector is prepared to pay for liquidity &mdash;&nbsp;either for spending now or saving for future spending.</p> <p>The suppression of interest rates is yet another desperate attempt to stimulate demand, hoping that it will lead to productive economic activity.&nbsp;But it flies in the face of Say&rsquo;s Law, which holds, correctly, that we produce in order to consume.&nbsp;Reversing these leads to the idiocy of &ldquo;demand management&rdquo; &mdash;&nbsp;as if stimulating demand will magically generate the production needed to satisfy that demand.<strong>&nbsp;If that were true, Venezuela and Zimbabwe would be vying right now for the title of the world&rsquo;s most prosperous economy.</strong></p> <p><strong>Suppressing interest rates destroys the natural measure of time preference. </strong>It leaves many long-term infrastructure investment plans on hold, simply because no private sector producer of capital projects will commence a venture that cannot be reliably costed. After all, who knows when interest rates will rise? And at what economic cost to the project? Uncertainty stifles action.</p> <p>The risk of misallocation of capital resources is simply too great for the private construction sector.&nbsp;Just look at the many&nbsp;public sector cock-ups: <em><strong>there are Spanish airports at which no plane has landed, and Portuguese&nbsp;motorways on which there are no cars. </strong></em>And here in the UK? Just wait for HS2, new airport runways, Hinckley &mdash;&nbsp;and all the other mammoth &ldquo;interest-free&rdquo; projects that get the go-ahead, having never been subjected to any reliable economic calculation.</p> <p>So what do we finish up with in the productive sector?<strong> The near-zero interest rates&nbsp;favor short-term production schedules with minimal capital requirements, resulting in low-risk production lines of cheap goods.</strong> That&rsquo;s why we&nbsp;have &ldquo;pound- shops&rdquo; and 99p shops and all the other shabby outlets that now litter every suburban high street &mdash;<u><strong> creating the illusion of zero inflation. </strong></u>Which is where we came in.</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="229" height="143" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> CPI European Central Bank Fractional Reserve Banking Italy Mises Institute Money Supply Purchasing Power Quantitative Easing Mon, 24 Oct 2016 01:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 575734 at "Drain The Swamp" <p>Donald Trump's latest message is,<strong> it's time to drain the "swamp" that he calls Washington.</strong></p> <p><a href="">As Martin Armstrong exclaims,</a> this is why the Republican elite stand for Hillary. <strong><em>Term limits and ending lobbying by former government staff would cut too deep into their pockets.</em></strong></p> <p><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Drain It!</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="431" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><em>Source:</em></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1100" height="791" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Martin Armstrong Mon, 24 Oct 2016 01:20:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 575733 at Wikileaks Provides Status Update On Julian Assange And The US Election <p>Over the past week concerns mounted that in the aftermath of the surprising decision by Ecuador to cut Julian Assange's internet connection during the US election period (under pressure from John Kerry), that not all might be well with the Wikileaks founder, about whom Hillary Clinton allegedly jokingly asked whether he can be droned. Concerned speculation about the Ecuadorian embassy exile had risen to such an degree, that overnight Wikileaks announced it would provide a state update on Assange's current status. It did so moments ago on twitter when the WikiLeaks Editorial Board issued the following statement on the status of Julian Assange, Ecuador and the US election.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">WikiLeaks Editorial Board statement on the status of Julian Assange, Ecuador and the US election <a href=""></a></p> <p>— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) <a href="">October 24, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>The contents of the statement:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>On Tuesday, the government of Ecuador issued a statement saying that it had decided to not permit Mr. Assange to use the government of Ecuador's internet connection during the US election citing its policy of "non interference."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ecuador's statement also clarified that it does not seek to interfere with WikiLeaks journalistic work and that it would continue to protect Mr. Assange's asylum rights.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Assange has asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where the United Nations has ruled he has been unlawfully deprived of liberty by the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Sweden for the last six years. He has not been charged.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is the government of Ecuador's prerogative to decide how to best guard against the misinterpretation of its policies by media groups or states whilst ensuring that it protects Mr. Assange's human rights.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>WikiLeaks is a global, high volume publisher that publishes on average one million documents and associated analyses a year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>WikiLeaks publishes its journalistic work from large data centers based in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, among others. Most WikiLeaks staff and lawyers reside in the EU or the US and have not been disrupted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>WikiLeaks has never published from jurisdiction of Ecuador and has no plans to do so. Similarly Mr. Assange does not transmit US election related documents from the embassy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>WikiLeaks is entirely funded by its readers, book and film sales. Its publications are the result of its significant investigative and technological capacities.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>WikiLeaks has a perfect, decade long record for publishing only true documents. It has many thousands of sources but does not engage in collaborations with states.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Assange has not endorsed any candidate although he was happy to speak at the Green's convention due to Dr. Jill Stein's position whistleblowers, peace and war.</p> </blockquote> <p>Reading between the lines, it appears that Assange is fine, if only for the time being. </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="945" height="635" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> France Germany Netherlands Norway Twitter Twitter United Kingdom Mon, 24 Oct 2016 00:58:56 +0000 Tyler Durden 575736 at "I Went To A Wells Fargo Branch... And This Is What Happened Next" <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Wolf Richter via,</em></a></p> <h3><strong>They have learned nothing.</strong></h3> <p>I walked into my Wells Fargo branch to put my data backup into my safe deposit box, as I&rsquo;ve been doing for a decade. This routine business turned into a wake-up call about safe deposit boxes and churned up insights into how Wells Fargo conducts&nbsp;<em>to this day</em>&nbsp;its cross-selling efforts: the algo makes them do it!</p> <p>To clarify, I&rsquo;m a happy customer. Wells Fargo handles day-to-day banking for me and my vast WOLF STREET media-mogul-empire corporation. The people are nice, and I have not yet noticed any fraudulent accounts in my name.</p> <p>It doesn&rsquo;t bother me that every time I call one of the national numbers with a problem or question, I have to swat away their offers of &ldquo;pre-approved&rdquo; credit cards, lines of credit, or other high-margin&nbsp;products. Having run a car dealership earlier in my life, I appreciate the art of aggressive cross-selling. However, we never-ever did&nbsp;it <em>over the phone!</em> We waited till we saw&nbsp;the whites of their eyes.</p> <p>Yet at the counter for safe deposit boxes, I was in for a surprise. The young man &ndash; a 30-year-old employee would have looked suspiciously over-age at that branch &ndash; checked the computer for my box number. There was a problem. He asked for my driver&rsquo;s license. He rummaged through a file cabinet, found the signature cards. He conferred with another kid. He came back, embarrassed. Turns out, the fact that I&rsquo;ve been renting the box for a decade wasn&rsquo;t in their computer system. So no-go.</p> <p><strong>I thought: That&rsquo;s how easy it is to block you from getting into your safe deposit box. </strong></p> <p>He called over a &ldquo;personal banker&rdquo; &ndash; a young woman &ndash; to &ldquo;fix&rdquo; the problem. We trotted off to her desk. She said the bank had &ldquo;updated&rdquo; its computer system. My box rental hadn&rsquo;t made it into the new version. So she got busy on her computer. Took a while. She had to set it up. There were fees and discounts to discuss. There were things I had to read, agree to, and sign. She was just about finished, when she suddenly did a mini double-take of her screen. Everything came to a halt.</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t mean to sell you anything,&rdquo; she said after a long pause, with an embarrassed smile, &ldquo;but&hellip;.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>She could see the whites of my eyes! She turned her computer screen. It&nbsp;was filled with a Wells Fargo credit card promo. You&rsquo;ve been pre-approved for this great offer, she said. &ldquo;Your credit must be really good. Not many people get this offer.&rdquo;</p> <p>An algorithm had decided it was time to cross-sell; and she <em>had to cross-sell </em>to finish her job. That credit card promo was the next step in the procedure.</p> <p>The algo that forces employees at the branch and at call centers&nbsp;to cross-sell was designed by humans, after strategic decisions had been made and funded, under the direction of top management at headquarters, such as current CEO Timothy Sloan and former CEO John Stumpf.</p> <p><u><strong>This cross-selling push is embedded in the software, is algorithm-driven, and kicks in at&nbsp;the most effective moment</strong>.</u></p> <p>Even the recent disclosures, settlements, <a href="">the keel-hauling in California</a> and other states, and further investigations have not motivated Wells Fargo to strip these algos out of its computer system. They&rsquo;re still there, working hard for your own good.</p> <p>After she got rid of that promo page, and elegantly handled another topic she wanted to cover, I was finally allowed to get into my safe deposit box.</p> <p>The next day, I received&nbsp;an email from Wells Fargo and Gallup. It asked for &ldquo;feedback&rdquo; on my &ldquo;recent Wells Fargo visit&rdquo; and offered me a chance to win $1,000.</p> <p>Now I was curious. Though I never fill out surveys, I decided to check this out.</p> <p>Up front, it asked if I spoke &ldquo;to a banker about opening a NEW account or product,&rdquo; or about one of my &ldquo;CURRENT Wells Fargo accounts or products.&rdquo; Was Wells Fargo trying to figure out if the &ldquo;banker&rdquo; did her job and pitched a new account?</p> <p>After it asked me to rate my &ldquo;overall satisfaction&rdquo; with the visit, it listed a series of questions about the <em>employee,</em> whether they did things right the first time, etc. etc. It never once asked about the <em>bank</em>, how it screwed up with the safe deposit box.</p> <p>And this: &ldquo;The employee asked questions to identify options for meeting your financial needs.&rdquo; Should I check &ldquo;strongly agree&rdquo; to help the employee out? She deserved it. She was nice. Clearly, the survey is checking on her to see if she did her job and tried to sell me something I didn&rsquo;t need or want.</p> <p><strong>Remember, I&rsquo;d gone to the branch to get into my safe deposit box, and not for retirement planning.</strong></p> <p>&ldquo;Did you visit the branch to resolve a problem or error?&rdquo; Nope. A &ldquo;problem or error&rdquo; occurred after I got there.</p> <p>&ldquo;Did you work with an employee to establish or confirm your financial priorities?&rdquo; And &ldquo;The employee provided products or services that aligned with your current financial needs.&rdquo;</p> <p>Again and again, each time couched in slightly different terms, the survey checked on the employee to see if she had been sufficiently aggressive in cross-selling.</p> <p><u><strong>The fact that surveys check to see if employees did their job in cross-selling tells me how big the pressure on them <em>still is</em>, even after all the revelations</strong>.</u></p> <p>These survey results are used to manage employees. They&nbsp;probably get them rubbed in their faces during sales meetings and in performance evaluations. They know they&rsquo;re being evaluated, not only by the algo-driven computer system at the bank, but also via customer responses, to make sure they push new accounts, credit cards, credit lines, brokerage accounts, and other products.</p> <p>This is inbred into the bank. It&rsquo;s part of its management doctrine and computer system. It&rsquo;s partnering with Gallup to accomplish this. A contract with Gallup isn&rsquo;t set up at the lower levels. And a few slaps on the wrist aren&rsquo;t going to change a whole lot. It&rsquo;s not just Wells Fargo. It&rsquo;s the industry. It&nbsp;puts banks into the same category as car dealers. So steel yourself when you deal with them (just like you would walking into a dealership).</p> <p><strong>No bank is &ldquo;so powerful as to be untouchable,&rdquo; explained California State Treasurer John Chiang. </strong><em>Read&hellip;&nbsp; <a href="">Wells Fargo Getting Clocked by California: What, No Perp-Walk?</a></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="908" height="567" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> ETC Gallup John Stumpf Wells Fargo Mon, 24 Oct 2016 00:53:11 +0000 Tyler Durden 575712 at Why All The Yawning Over The Yuan? <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Mark St.Cyr,</em></a></p> <p>When it comes to China all the main stream media will ever cover is something in regards to a &ldquo;hot topic of the day&rdquo; brought about by either a political discourse, or some celebratory exhibition being observed within its boundaries. <em><strong>When it comes to trade, or business topics, they&rsquo;ve pretty much abandoned them in total, leaving that realm for the &ldquo;business/financial&rdquo; outlets.</strong></em></p> <p>So it&rsquo;s no wonder that when it comes to trade, or monetary issues most haven&rsquo;t a clue. However, one would think when it came to the #1 financial headline generator that had the ability to send markets plunging reminiscent of a &ldquo;Black Monday&rdquo; causing global financial panic worldwide, and triggering (the first time in history) a tripping of all three circuit breakers on the U.S.&rsquo;s major futures markets, while simultaneously causing the Federal Reserve for the first time in its history to openly state &ldquo;international developments&rdquo; as a root cause and catalyst to postpone a monetary decision that is supposedly U.S. centric only. The business/financial media would be all over it. Yet? (insert crickets here)</p> <p><strong>What is that #1 generator you might ask? Hint: The Yuan.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 324px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Except for places like <a href="">Zero Hedge</a>&trade; and a few others. When it comes to anything about China&rsquo;s latest currency devaluation (whether by design or not) one would think there was a media blackout on the subject. I find that strange only for this reason: If you remember the day you woke up in August of last year thinking &ldquo;Here we go again!&rdquo; Where some markets had plunged over 1000 points bringing back all the fears of 2007/08. The root cause of that was: the Yuan, and its sudden devaluation.</p> <p>Only after what seemed (and jawboned) like stabilization (and a note to Jim Cramer from Tim Cook on China implying &ldquo;nothing to see here, move along&rdquo; added in for extra measure) did the markets bounce back off the lows to then resume their monetary policy captured antics.</p> <p>So with that all said for context, the question must be asked: <strong>Were you aware that the <a href="">Yuan tumbled to lows</a> not seen in 6 years? Remember &ndash; in August of 2015 the Yuan went to a level that sent markets roiling globally. We&rsquo;re now well under (or above depending how you measure) that level, and falling further.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 316px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Do you think with what you now know that <em>that</em> should be a front-page headline across at least one major financial/business main stream media publication? I know I do.</p> <p>Or, is that now <em>sooooo</em> 2015? I&rsquo;m sorry, but <strong>this is not something trivial. And if you&rsquo;re in business, or of the entrepreneurial mindset &ndash; not paying attention to this matter is not an option.</strong> This is where out-of-the-blue type scenarios with tremendous repercussions such as what happened in August of last year originate, then germinate. If you want proof &ndash; just think back to that August so many would like to forget.</p> <p><strong>Now some will think &ldquo;Maybe there&rsquo;s no concern because the politburo has it under control?&rdquo;</strong> It&rsquo;s a fair response, but there&rsquo;s a problem inherent with the answer, or answers.</p> <p>First: If the Chinese are doing it in a &ldquo;controlled&rdquo; type manner, it reeks of &ldquo;currency manipulation&rdquo; tactics for others (think U.S. presidential politics as of today) to latch onto and build support, as well as strengthen a case for retaliation. i.e., placing tariffs, etc, etc.</p> <p><strong>If you think about it from the Chinese perspective: that would mean you were openly, and intentionally goading as to fuel some version of a trade, or currency war. </strong>When you come at it using that thought process; it just doesn&rsquo;t make sense. Both from a tactical standpoint, as well as political. Hence lies what maybe even a more troubling scenario. e.g., They&rsquo;ve lost control.</p> <p>The only other reason more troubling than the first &ndash; is the second. For it is here where things become quite precarious, as I&rsquo;ve stated many times: &ldquo;The currency markets are where you must keep your eyes and ears affixed. It&rsquo;s where the real games are played and won.&rdquo; And losing control of one&rsquo;s currency has implications for all others, both warranted, as well as unintended. And it seems this latter scenario might be more on point than the former.</p> <p>In just a little more than a month ago HIBOR (Honk Kong&rsquo;s overnight CNH funding rates) exploded to their highest levels since the beginning of the year. <strong>The reasoning behind this speculated by many was in direct relation to the oncoming of holidays where liquidity can become scarce.</strong> It&rsquo;s a valid point. However, there was another reason just as compelling with far more onerous tones which many failed to connect the dots to. <a href="">Here&rsquo;s how Zero Hedge explained it</a>. To wit:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;However, the most likely explanation is that in order to force Yuan shorts to capitulate as 6.70 remains just barely within reach, the PBOC is simply continuing to squeeze the yuan shorts and raising the cost of shorting yuan, as explained last week.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ultimately, the PBoC weakened its yuan fix by 169 pips to 6.6895 versus yesterday&rsquo;s 6.6726, even as many were expecting the USDCNY to finally breach the 6.70 resistance level, the defense of which may have explained today&rsquo;s aggressive spike in HIBOR tightening.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Less than a week later the above was proved out correct when the afore-mentioned HIBOR surge took place.</strong> And once again, this is where that &ldquo;second&rdquo; answer I alluded to possibly being more of the issue that the &ldquo;first&rdquo; brings with it the real concern.</p> <p>It would appear that China has been actively pursuing a currency strategy to keep sellers (i.e., shorts) at bay by any means available &ndash; no matter how dramatic. They have introduced measures which have exploded HIBOR nearly 200% in overnight trading scare tactics as to either punish, or decimate any bearish bets against anyone currently holding, and better yet, even thinking about placing on the Yuan.</p> <p><strong>The &ldquo;magical&rdquo; level implied by the politburo, which they seemed to be telegraphing in no uncertain terms, was at or about 6.70 (USD/CNH.) </strong>They&rsquo;ve held this level, or manipulated aggressive tactical repercussions to ensure a stability at this level since that fateful exhibition in last August when it was evident control was slipping at best, lost at worst.</p> <p>Since then they&rsquo;ve shown blatant disregard as to hide their involvement if it meant holding that level through their inclusion into the SDR (Special Drawing Rights basket of currencies,) as well as ahead, during, and following a G-20 meeting. Holding that 6.70 line-in-the-sand has been assumed to be paramount. Until now&hellip;.</p> <p><strong>As of this writing the current level is 6.775 and rising. </strong>At first glance that number might not look like much. But in currency markets, (especially where leverage is used in multiples that can bankrupt nations let alone &ldquo;traders&rdquo; in one fell swoop) it&rsquo;s very concerning. For it&rsquo;s far above what China has demonstrated as &ldquo;acceptable&rdquo; and could cause retaliatory measures (again out-of-the-blue) by the politburo that have rippling effects throughout the entire currency spectrum.</p> <p><u><em><strong>Which brings us back to those two troubling questions and answers: </strong></em></u><strong><em>Are we on, or about, to see a massive currency move by China as to defend its currency against the shorts? Or, has China lost control and we are on the verge of a massive devaluation with impending monetary and trade ramifications to be felt throughout the global markets?</em></strong></p> <p><u><strong>There is a &ldquo;third&rdquo; option, but I&rsquo;m sorry to say &ndash; it&rsquo;s worse that either the above. And that is, much like I&rsquo;ve stated previous about &ldquo;<a href="">weaponizing the Fed</a>&rdquo; could cause intended distresses via the monetary channel.</strong></u></p> <p><strong>China may have decided to strike first, </strong>not by intervening, rather, by something more innocuous, but just as devastating:&nbsp;<strong>By standing on the sidelines.</strong></p> <p>I&rsquo;m afraid we shall find out &ndash; much sooner than later.</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="951" height="513" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> China Circuit Breakers ETC Federal Reserve Jim Cramer Monetary Policy Yuan Mon, 24 Oct 2016 00:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 575727 at A Nation Of Immigrants? <p><strong>A new billboard off interstate 35 is causing a lot of dispute among Austin&#39;s citizens</strong>. <a href="">As CBS Austin reports,</a> the advertisement hints undocumented immigrants should join the dating site to avoid deportation.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="338" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>The sign reads,<em><strong> &quot;Undocumented Immigrant? Before You Get Deported, Get a Sugar Daddy,&rdquo; </strong></em>and it is just off highway I-35 near Frontage Road.</p> <p>Jacob Webster, the online&#39;s site CMO says he<strong> decided to run the ad &ldquo;in response to Donald Trump&#39;s promise to deport all 11 million of the nation&rsquo;s undocumented immigrants.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p><em><strong>&ldquo; skews heavily towards Hispanic women, with that demo making up over 31% of all the females on our site nationally and over 53% in Austin,&rdquo;</strong></em> said Webster.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="464" scrolling="no" src=";width=500" width="500"></iframe></p> <p>The company launched back in 2009, and now has about 3.9 million members in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia.</p> <p><strong>Even though did not mean the billboard to seem racist, many are questioning the provocative message. </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="600" height="114" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Australia Donald Trump Mon, 24 Oct 2016 00:20:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 575718 at Did The White House Just Declare War On Russia? <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Darius Shahtamasebi via,</em></a></p> <p>This past week, America&rsquo;s oldest continuously published weekly magazine, the<em> Nation,</em> asked the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">question</a>: <u><em><strong>has the White House declared war on Russia?</strong></em></u></p> <p>As the two nuclear powers sabre-rattle over conflicts within Syria, and to some extent, over the Ukrainian crisis, asking these questions to determine who will pull the trigger first has become more paramount than it was at the peak of the Cold War.</p> <p>The <em>Nation</em>&rsquo;s contributing editor, Stephen F. Cohen, reported<strong> Vice President Joe Biden&rsquo;s statement that the White House&nbsp;was preparing to send Vladimir Putin a &ldquo;message&rdquo; &mdash; most likely in the form of a cyber attack &mdash; amounted to a virtual &ldquo;American declaration of war on Russia&rdquo; in Russia&rsquo;s eyes. </strong>Biden&rsquo;s threat is reportedly in response to allegations that Russia hacked Democratic Party offices in order to disrupt the presidential election.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Chuck Todd, host of the &ldquo;Meet the Press&rdquo; on <em>NBC,&nbsp;</em><a href="" target="_blank">asked</a> Joe Biden: <em>&ldquo;Why haven&rsquo;t we sent a message yet to Putin?&rdquo;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Biden responded, <em>&ldquo;We are sending a message [to Putin]&hellip; We have a capacity to do it, and&hellip;&rdquo;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;He&rsquo;ll know it?&rdquo;</em> Todd interrupted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;He&rsquo;ll know it. It will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact,&rdquo;</em> the U.S. vice president replied.</p> </blockquote> <p>What are the effects of this kind of rhetoric when dealing with international relations? Western media decided to pay little attention to Biden&rsquo;s statements, yet his words have stunned Moscow. As reported by the <em>Nation</em>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>&ldquo;&hellip;Biden&rsquo;s statement, which clearly had been planned by the White House, could scarcely have been more dangerous or reckless &mdash; especially considering that there is no actual evidence or logic for the two allegations against Russia that seem to have prompted it.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>The statements will not come without any measured response from Russia. According to presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Russia&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">response</a> is well underway:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>&ldquo;The fact is, US unpredictability and aggression keep growing, and such threats against Moscow and our country&rsquo;s leadership are unprecedented, because the threat is being announced at the level of the US Vice President. Of course, given such an aggressive, unpredictable line, we have to take measures to protect our interests, somehow hedge the risks.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>The fact that our media refuses to pay attention to the dangers of our own establishment in sending warnings to adverse nuclear powers based on unasserted allegations shows our media is playing a very dangerous game with us &mdash; the people. This attempt to pull the wool over our eyes and prepare us for a direct confrontation with Russia can be seen clearly in the battle for Aleppo, Syria.</p> <p>As the <em>Nation</em> astutely noted:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;Only a few weeks ago, President Obama had agreed with Putin on a joint US-Russian military campaign against &lsquo;terrorists&rsquo; in Aleppo. That agreement collapsed primarily because of an</em>&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank"><em>attack</em></a><em> by US warplanes on Syrian forces. Russia and its Syrian allies continued their air assault on east Aleppo now, according to Washington and the mainstream media, against anti-Assad &lsquo;rebels.&rsquo; Where, asks Cohen, have the jihad terrorists gone? They had been deleted from the US narrative, which now accused Russia of &lsquo;war crimes&rsquo; in Aleppo for the same military campaign in which Washington was to have been a full partner.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p><strong><u>So where is this conflict headed?</u></strong> A top U.S. general, Marine General Joseph Dunford, <a href="" target="_blank">told</a> the Senate Armed Services Committee in September of this year that the enforcement of a &ldquo;no-fly zone&rdquo; in Syria would mean a U.S. war with both Syria <em>and</em> Russia. Hillary Clinton is well aware of the repercussions of this war, as she acknowledged in a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">secret speech</a> to Goldman Sachs (recently released by Wikileaks):</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;To have a no-fly zone you have to take out all of the air defense, many of which are located in populated areas. So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we&rsquo;re not putting our pilots at risk &mdash; </em><strong><em>you&rsquo;re going to kill a lot of Syrians</em></strong><em>&hellip; So all of a sudden this intervention that people talk about so glibly becomes an American and NATO involvement where you </em><strong><em>take a lot of civilians</em></strong><em>.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <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> <p>This is the same establishment that has been calling out Russia for allegedly committing war crimes in Aleppo even though Clinton&rsquo;s proposal would result in far more civilian deaths and likely lead to a direct war with Russia.</p> <p><strong>As the war against Syria transitions into a much wider global conflict that could include nuclear powers Russia and China, our own media is deceiving us &nbsp;by dishonestly reporting on the events leading up to the <a href="" target="_blank">activation</a> of the doomsday clock.</strong></p> <p>History doesn&rsquo;t occur in a vacuum; when the U.S. and Russia confront each other directly, it won&rsquo;t be because of a mere incident occurring in Syrian airspace.</p> <p><u><strong>It will be because the two nuclear powers have been confronting each other with little resistance from the corporate media, which keeps us well entertained and preoccupied with political&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">charades</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">celebrity gossip</a>, and&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">outright propaganda</a>.</strong></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="471" height="321" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> China Cohen goldman sachs Goldman Sachs Joe Biden Meet The Press NBC President Obama Vladimir Putin White House Sun, 23 Oct 2016 23:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 575731 at