en Japan's "Womenomics" Is Working Just As Well As Abenomics... Terribly <p><a href=""><em>Via Japan Subculture Research Center,</em></a></p> <p>Japan is getting serious about gender equality - and there were absolutely no bribes paid by Japan to win the right to host the 2020 Olympics - and the nuclear disaster at Fukushima is under control. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>Decide for yourself which of these three statements is the most untrue.</strong></em></span></p> <p><strong><a href="">Womenomics</a> was touted by Japan&rsquo;s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as his progressive policy to elevate the status of women in what is still a very <a href="">sexist </a>and unequal society</strong>, where women are far from being empowered. <strong>The Global Gender Gap report published last year noted that Mr. Abe and the LDP&rsquo;s pledge&nbsp;to bridge the gender divide resulted in actually widening the gulf, with <a href="">Nippon&nbsp;sliding down a few notches to 111th in terms of world gender equality.&nbsp;</a></strong></p> <p><a href=""><strong><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 344px;" /></strong></a></p> <p>It&rsquo;s hard to see women in Japan being &ldquo;empowered&rdquo; when <a href="">they can be sexually assaulted with near impunity</a>. The odds that their assailant will be arrested, or prosecuted are low&ndash;less than a coin toss. And if he is actually prosecuted&ndash;he can sometimes walk free, with no jail time and no criminal record, &nbsp;by paying damages and saying, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m sorry.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s a situation that the Abe administration could have changed but neglected to do so, tabling newly revised criminal codes to instead focus on passing a conspiracy bill that the United Nations warns could erode civil liberties.</p> <p>Of course, some would&nbsp;argue that &ldquo;womenomics&rdquo; have never been about elevating the status of women in Japan - <strong>it&rsquo;s always been about keeping Japanese business thriving and hopefully encouraging woman to work - and breed. </strong>Of course, <a href="">pregnancy in the workplace</a> often is greeted with bullying from all sides. Abe&rsquo;s vision of Womenomics has certainly never been about improving the lives of Japan&rsquo;s single mothers, 50% of whom live in poverty. In fact, other than talking about &ldquo;<a href="">shining women</a>&ndash;it&rsquo;s not clear exactly what he wants for Japan&rsquo;s future potential birthing machines.*</p> <p><strong>The current Minister of Gender Equality and Women&rsquo;s&nbsp;Empowerment, is of course, also a man, and also in charge of improving Japan&rsquo;s birthrate.</strong> Do we need to say more?</p> <p><a href=""><img height="521" src="" width="340" /></a></p> <p><em>Yes, Japan&rsquo;s Prime Minister Abe and the LDP are gungho about Gender Equality. Meet<a href=""> Katsunobu Kato</a>, his home page will convince you.</em></p> <p>Recently, Bloomberg published an interview with Democratic Party leader Renho, in which she pointed out the obvious, <em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Womenomics is all talk and no walk.</strong></span></em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;They should be ashamed to use the word &lsquo;Womenomics&rsquo;,&rdquo;</strong> Democratic Party leader Renho,&nbsp;the 49-year-old mother of twins, said in an interview in Tokyo late Thursday when asked about the term Abe often uses to describe his efforts<strong>. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s an embarrassment.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Abe had vowed to eliminate waiting lists for childcare in a bid to draw more women into the workforce to make up for Japan&rsquo;s shrinking population. He also sought to have women take 30 percent of management positions in all fields by 2020.</p> <p>On both goals he&rsquo;s falling well short: <em><strong>Japan was 111th in the World Economic Forum&rsquo;s Gender Gap ranking for 2016, down 10 places on the previous year.</strong></em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;About 80 percent of those who take childcare leave are women, and if they&rsquo;re forced to wait for daycare, that means unemployment,&rdquo;</strong> Renho said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;You either get demoted or you give up on work. <strong><em>What&rsquo;s womenomics about if women are being forced to make such sad choices?</em></strong>&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>For the rest of the article, go to</p> <p><u><strong><a href="http://Abe%27s%20Policies%20Failing%20Women,%20Japan%20Opposition%20Chief%20Says"><span class="lede-text-only__highlight">Abe&rsquo;s Policies Failing Women, Japan Opposition Chief Says</span></a></strong></u></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>*<strong>Reference to women as &ldquo;birthing machines&rdquo; is sarcasm. </strong>We know that the LDP also thinks of women as much more than that&ndash;<strong>as potential nurses for the elderly, expert green tea brewers&nbsp;for the office, and caretakers of the children that they should be giving birth to right now for the greater prosperity of Japan</strong>.&quot;</em></p> </blockquote> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="837" height="480" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Abe Abe administration Abenomics Comfort women Democratic Party Government Historical revisionism Japan Japan Subculture Research Center Japanese people Katsunobu Kat? Politics Renh? Shinz? Abe Social Issues Unemployment United Nations Womenomics World Economic Forum Thu, 25 May 2017 04:20:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596591 at San Francisco Launches Public Defender Office Dedicated To Illegal Immigrants <p>To our complete 'shock', the liberal bastion of California's northern shores has just announced that it will create a brand new branch of the Public Defender's office to specifically defend illegal immigrants in deportation cases.&nbsp; Adding insult to injury,<strong> taxpayers will have to pony up an additional $200,000 each year to cover the cost of 3 public defenders and a paralegal, all of whom will be dedicated to making sure that federal laws are ignored.</strong></p> <p>As an <a href="">NBC affiliate</a> in the Bay Area notes, the new office is expected to handle just 50 clients per year of the 1,500 detained immigrants that currently have scheduled court dates.&nbsp; <strong>All of which just means that taxpayers should expect that $200,000 price tag to grow exponentially over the coming years. &nbsp; </strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Unlike in criminal court, immigrants are not automatically entitled to legal representation in deportation proceedings.</strong> However, studies have shown that detained immigrants with attorneys are six times more likely to win their cases.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While San Francisco also provides funding to nonprofits specializing in legal aid to immigrants, the public defender's office is intended to serve those already in detention, a demographic the nonprofits generally don't serve.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The unit's attorneys are each expected to handle around 50 clients per year -- a small portion of the estimated 1,500 detained immigrants who currently have court dates in San Francisco, </strong>around 85 percent of whom do not have attorneys.</p> </blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, thanks to a <a href="">press release </a>issued by the San Francisco Public Defender's office, we learn that the enforcement of federal laws is apparently <strong>"against our core values as Americans and San Franciscans"</strong>...who knew?</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Adachi noted that in the 100 days since President Donald Trump signed his executive order expanding immigration enforcement priorities, immigration arrests have risen 38 percent nationwide.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“Mass deportation is against our core values as Americans and San Franciscans,”</strong> Adachi said. “Due process still means something in this country and we are not going to let the federal government ship off our friends and neighbors without a fight.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Unlike in criminal court, non-citizens in immigration detention do not have the right to court appointed counsel, explained Francisco Ugarte, managing attorney of the Public Defender’s Immigration Unit. Approximately half of the 1,500 detained immigrants with court dates in San Francisco have been in the U.S. for more than a decade. More than 50 percent have one or more close family members who are citizens.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“These are longtime residents who work, attend school, and contribute to our city,” Ugarte said.<strong> “Without this program, most would be forced to defend themselves in court against trained government lawyers.”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Can we also declare that 'grand larceny' is "against our core values as Americans" because we think it's absolutely bogus that we can't have a couple of Lamborghini's just because we're "economically challenged."</p> <script src=";videoID=tEXs4tolM5J0&amp;;sec=news&amp;subsec=local&amp;Width=600 Height=337" type="text/javascript"></script> <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="710" height="446" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Another System Definition Facility ASDF Baseball Hall of Fame balloting California Donald Trump Education federal government Geography of California Government of San Francisco Human migration Illegal immigration Illegal immigration to the United States Law Legal aid NBC Politics Public Defender’s Immigration Unit San Francisco San Francisco Public Defender's Office Social Issues Touch typing Thu, 25 May 2017 03:55:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596560 at Meet JK2 Westminster LLC – The Kushner Family Real Estate Subsidiary Preying On Poor People <p class="story-body-text story-content"><a href=""><em>Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,</em></a></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em><a href=""><img height="167" src="" width="321" /></a></em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p class="story-body-text story-content"><em><strong>Cox stopped cooking for herself and her son, not wanting food near the sink. A judge allowed her reduced rent for one month. When she moved out soon afterward, Westminster Management sent her a $600 invoice for a new carpet and other repairs. Cox, who is now working as a battery-test engineer and about to buy her first home, was unaware who was behind the company that had put her through such an ordeal. When I told her of Kushner&rsquo;s involvement, there was a silence as she took it in.</strong></em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em><strong>Very few of the complex residents I met, even ones who had been pursued at length in court by JK2 Westminster, had any idea that their rent and late fees were going to the family company of the president&rsquo;s son-in-law. &ldquo;That Jared Kushner?&rdquo; Danny Jackson, a plumber in his 15th year living at Harbor Point Estates, exclaimed. &ldquo;Oh, my God. And I thought he was the good one.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>At the Carroll Park complex, I met Mike McHargue, a private investigator, and his girlfriend, Patricia Howell. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re nothing but slumlords,&rdquo; Howell told me of Westminster Management. &ldquo;They take everyone&rsquo;s money.&rdquo; When I asked if they knew who was behind the company, they said they did not. &ldquo;Oh, really?&rdquo; Howell said when I mentioned Kushner&rsquo;s name. &ldquo;Oh, really. And I&rsquo;m a Trump supporter.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>From&nbsp;<em>The New York Times Magazine </em>article:&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Jared Kushner&rsquo;s Other Real Estate Empire</a></p> </blockquote> <p>Yesterday, <em>The New York Times Magazine</em> published a deeply disturbing story about a Kushner family real estate subsidiary with a consistent pattern&nbsp;of aggressive and questionable collection practices aimed at lower income people who can&rsquo;t defend themselves properly.</p> <p>Excerpts from the piece are below, but it should really be <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">read in full</a>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>Warren sent a letter reporting the problem to the complex&rsquo;s property manager, a company called Sawyer Realty Holdings. When there was no response, she decided to move out. In January 2010, she submitted the requisite form giving two months&rsquo; notice that she was transferring her Section 8 voucher &mdash; the federal low-income subsidy that helped her pay the rent &mdash; elsewhere. The complex&rsquo;s on-site manager signed the form a week later, checking the line that read &ldquo;The tenant gave notice in accordance with the lease.&rdquo;</em> </p><p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>So Warren was startled in January 2013, three years later, when she received a summons from a private process server informing her that she was being sued for $3,014.08 by the owner of Cove Village. The lawsuit, filed in Maryland District Court, was doubly bewildering. It claimed she owed the money for having left in advance of her lease&rsquo;s expiration, though she had received written permission to leave. <strong>And the company suing her was not Sawyer, but one whose name she didn&rsquo;t recognize: JK2 Westminster L.L.C. </strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp; </p><p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Warren was raising three children alone while taking classes for a bachelor&rsquo;s degree in health care administration, and she disregarded the summons at first. But JK2 Westminster&rsquo;s lawyers persisted; two more summonses followed. In April 2014, she appeared without a lawyer at a district-court hearing. She told the judge about the approval for her move, but she did not have a copy of the form the manager had signed. The judge ruled against Warren, awarding JK2 Westminster the full sum it was seeking, plus court costs, attorney&rsquo;s fees and interest that brought the judgment to nearly $5,000. There was no way Warren, who was working as a home health aide, was going to be able to pay such a sum. &ldquo;I was so desperate,&rdquo; she said.</em> </p><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp; </p><p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>If the case was confounding to Warren, it was not unique. Hundreds like it have been filed over the last five years by JK2 Westminster and affiliated businesses in the state of Maryland alone, where the company owns some 8,000 apartments and townhouses.<strong> Nor was JK2 Westminster quite as anonymous as its opaque name suggested. It was a subsidiary of a large New York real estate firm called Kushner Companies, which was led by a young man whose initials happened to be J.K.: Jared Kushner.</strong></em> </p><p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>In August 2012, a Kushner-led investment group bought 5,500 multifamily units in the Baltimore area <strong>with $371 million in financing from Freddie Mac,</strong> the government-backed mortgage lender &mdash; another considerable bargain. Two years later, Kushner Companies picked up three more complexes in the Baltimore area for $37.9 million. Today, Westminster Management, Kushner Companies&rsquo; property-management arm, lists 34 complexes under its control in Maryland, Ohio and New Jersey, with a total of close to 20,000 units.</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>Kushner&rsquo;s largest concentration of multifamily units is in the Baltimore area, where the company controls <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">15 complexes</a> in all &mdash; which, if you assume three residents per unit, could be home to more than 20,000 people. All but two of the complexes are in suburban Baltimore County, but they are only &ldquo;suburban&rdquo; in the most literal sense. They sit along arterial shopping strips or highways, yet they are easy to miss &mdash; the Highland Village complex, for example, is beside the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, but the tall sound barriers dividing it from the six-lane highway render its more than 1,000 units invisible to the thousands traveling that route every day.</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>At the time of the 2012 Baltimore purchase, Kushner raved about the promise of the low-end multifamily market. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s proven over the last few years to be the most resilient asset class, and at the end of the day, it&rsquo;s a very stable asset class,&rdquo; he told Multifamily Executive. He said things were proceeding well in the Midwestern complexes he purchased a year earlier.<strong> &ldquo;It was a lot of construction and a lot of evictions,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;But the communities now look great, and the outcome has been phenomenal.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p class="story-body-text story-content">Awesome!</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">Meanwhile, back to Warren&hellip;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p class="story-body-text story-content"><em><strong>Kamiia Warren still had not paid the $4,984.37 judgment against her by late 2014. Three days before Christmas that year, JK2 Westminster filed a request to garnish her wages from her in-home elder-care job.</strong> Five days earlier, Warren had gone to court to fill out a handwritten motion saying she had proof that she was given permission to leave Cove Village in 2010 &mdash; she had finally managed to get a copy from the housing department. &ldquo;Please give me the opportunity to plead my case,&rdquo; she wrote. But she did not attach a copy of the form to her motion, not realizing it was necessary, so a judge denied it on Jan. 9, on the grounds that there was &ldquo;no evidence submitted.&rdquo;</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em><strong>The garnishing started that month. Warren was in the midst of leaving her job, but JK2 Westminster garnished her bank account too. After her account was zeroed out, a loss of about $900, she borrowed money from her mother to buy food for her children and pay her bills.</strong> That February &mdash; five years after she left Cove Village &mdash; Warren returned to court, this time with the housing form in hand, asking the judge to halt garnishment. &ldquo;I am a single mom of three and my bank account was wiped clean by the plaintiff,&rdquo; she pleaded in another handwritten request. &ldquo;I cannot take care of my kids when they snatch all of my money out of my account. I do not feel I owe this money. Please have mercy on my family and I.&rdquo; She told me that when she called the law office representing JK2 Westminster that same day from the courthouse to discuss the case, one of the lawyers told her: <strong>&ldquo;This is not going to go away. You will pay us.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>The judge denied Warren&rsquo;s request without explanation. And JK2 Westminster kept pressing for the rest of the money, sending out one process server after another to present Warren with legal papers. Finally, in January 2016, the court sent notice of a $4,615 lien against Warren &mdash; a legal claim against her for the remaining judgment. Warren began to cry as she recounted the episode to me. She said the lien has greatly complicated her hopes of taking out a loan to start her own small assisted-living center. She had gone a couple of years without a bank account, for fear of further garnishing. &ldquo;It was just pure greed,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It was unnecessary.&rdquo; <strong>I asked why she hadn&rsquo;t pushed harder against the judgment once she had the necessary evidence in hand. &ldquo;They know how to work this stuff,&rdquo; she replied. &ldquo;They know what to do, and here I am, I don&rsquo;t know anything about the law. I would have to hire a lawyer or something, and I really can&rsquo;t afford that. I really don&rsquo;t know my rights. I don&rsquo;t know all the court lingo. I knew that up against them I would lose.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>A search for &ldquo;JK2 Westminster&rdquo; in the database of Maryland&rsquo;s District Court system brings back 548 cases in which it is the plaintiff &mdash; and that does not include hundreds of other cases that have been filed in the name of the company&rsquo;s individual complexes.</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em><strong>In the cases that Tapper has brought to court on behalf of JK2 Westminster and individual Kushner-controlled companies, there is a clear pattern of Kushner Companies&rsquo; pursuing tenants over virtually any unpaid rent or broken lease &mdash; even in the numerous cases where the facts appear to be on the tenants&rsquo; side.</strong> Not only does the company file cases against them, it pursues the cases for as long as it takes to collect from the overmatched defendants &mdash; often several years. The court docket of JK2 Westminster&rsquo;s case against Warren, for instance, spans more than three years and 112 actions &mdash; for a sum that amounts to maybe two days&rsquo; worth of billings for the average corporate-law-firm associate, from a woman who never even rented from JK2 Westminster. The pursuit is all the more remarkable given how transient the company&rsquo;s prey tends to be. Hounding former tenants for money means paying to send out process servers who often report back that they were unable to locate the target. This does not deter Kushner Companies&rsquo; lawyers. They send the servers back out again a few months later.</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>In March 2009, Joan Beverly, a probation agent, signed the lease for her daughter, Lennettea, for a unit at Dutch Village, a complex on the northern edge of Baltimore. Lennettea moved out a year later, several months before her lease was up. Kushner Companies bought Dutch Village more than two years later. In December 2012, JK2 Westminster filed suit in Baltimore County District Court against Beverly, seeking $3,810.16 &mdash; several months of rent it said it was owed, plus about $1,000 in repair costs, including $10 for &ldquo;failure to return laundry room card.&rdquo;</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>That February, Lennettea filed a written court notice explaining that her mother, who was dying of pancreatic cancer, was &ldquo;in terminal hospice care and is not eligible to work.&rdquo; She added by way of supporting evidence a letter from the hospice provider to Joan Beverly&rsquo;s bank, explaining her and her husband&rsquo;s late mortgage payments on their home: &ldquo;There has been added financial stress because Mrs. Beverly is very ill at this time.&rdquo; <strong>But JK2 Westminster persisted in seeking a hearing on the suit. In March, a district court judge found in favor of the company &mdash; a total judgment against Joan of more than $5,500.</strong></em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em><strong>Joan died two weeks later.</strong> Her husband, Tyrone Beverly, a retired longshoreman, requested that the judgment against his deceased wife be removed but was denied. The case remains open in the court database. Tyrone, who was married to Joan for 32 years, told me that he had assumed the judgment had been dismissed and was unaware that it was still listed as awaiting payment. &ldquo;They just didn&rsquo;t treat us fair,&rdquo; he said.</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>Over all, about nine out of every 10 cases brought by JK2 Westminster that I surveyed resulted in judgments against the defendants, who often did not appear in person for the hearings &mdash; and if they did, almost never had legal representation. How could it possibly be worth Kushner Companies&rsquo; while to pursue hundreds of people so aggressively over a few thousand dollars here and there? After all, the pursuit itself cost money. And it wasn&rsquo;t happening just in Baltimore &mdash; Doug Wilkins, a lawyer in Toledo who has represented some of the complexes bought there by Kushner, told me the company is seeking far more monetary judgments than did previous owners.</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>Matthew Hertz, whose Bethesda, Md., firm represents landlords and tenants in similar cases, explained to me that there is a logic behind such aggressive tactics. The costs of the pursuit are not as high as you might imagine, he said &mdash; people are not that hard to find in the age of cellphones and easily accessible databases. &ldquo;If I give my process server a name and phone number, it&rsquo;s generally enough to trace you,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;If I have a date of birth and Social Security number, it&rsquo;s even easier.&rdquo;<strong> The legal costs can be billed to the defendant as attorney&rsquo;s fees, if the terms of the lease allow. And garnishing wages is relatively easy to do by court order, assuming the defendant has wages to garnish.</strong></em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>The Highland Village complex, along the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, is one of Kushner Companies&rsquo; largest, a vast maze of lanes and courts lined with rows of short brick-and-siding-fronted homes. Like the other Kushner complexes I visited in Baltimore&rsquo;s southern and eastern suburbs, it is situated in what was once a predominantly white working-class community, within reasonable commuting distance of the harbor and industrial plants, now defunct, like Bethlehem Steel. In recent decades, many black transplants from the city and Hispanic immigrants have arrived as well, and Highland Village is an unusually integrated place.</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>The complex, like the others I saw, seemed designed to preclude neighborliness &mdash; most of the townhouses lack even the barest stoop to sit out on, and at least one complex has signs forbidding ball-playing (&ldquo;violators will be prosecuted&rdquo;). At another complex, kids had drawn a rectangle on the side of a storage shed in lieu of a hoop for their basketball game. The only meeting points at many of the complexes are the metal mailbox stands, the Dumpsters and the laundry room.<strong> And the only thing that united many of the residents I spoke to, it seemed, was resentment of their landlord.</strong></em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>They complained about Westminster Management&rsquo;s aggressive rent-collection practices, which many told me exceeded what they had experienced under the previous owners. Rent is marked officially late, they said, if it arrives after 4:30 p.m. on the fifth day of the month. But Westminster recently made paying the rent much more of a challenge. <strong>Last fall, it sent notice to residents saying that they could no longer pay by money order (on which many residents, who lack checking accounts, had relied) at the complex&rsquo;s rental office and would instead need to go to a Walmart or Ace Cash Express and use an assigned &ldquo;WIPS card&rdquo; &mdash; a plastic card linked to the resident&rsquo;s account &mdash; to pay their rent there. That method carries a $3.50 fee for every payment, and getting to the Walmart or Ace is difficult for the many residents without cars.</strong></em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>The worst troubles may have been those described in a 2013 court case involving Jasmine Cox&rsquo;s unit at Cove Village. They began with the bedroom ceiling, which started leaking one day. Then maggots started coming out of the living-room carpet. Then raw sewage started flowing out of the kitchen sink. &ldquo;It sounded like someone turned a pool upside down,&rdquo; Cox told me. &ldquo;I heard the water hitting the floor and I panicked. I got out of bed and the sink is black and gray, it&rsquo;s pooling out of the sink and the house smells terrible.&rdquo;</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>Cox stopped cooking for herself and her son, not wanting food near the sink. A judge allowed her reduced rent for one month. When she moved out soon afterward, Westminster Management sent her a $600 invoice for a new carpet and other repairs. Cox, who is now working as a battery-test engineer and about to buy her first home, was unaware who was behind the company that had put her through such an ordeal. When I told her of Kushner&rsquo;s involvement, there was a silence as she took it in.</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>Very few of the complex residents I met, even ones who had been pursued at length in court by JK2 Westminster, had any idea that their rent and late fees were going to the family company of the president&rsquo;s son-in-law. &ldquo;That Jared Kushner?&rdquo; Danny Jackson, a plumber in his 15th year living at Harbor Point Estates, exclaimed. &ldquo;Oh, my God. And I thought he was the good one.&rdquo;</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em>At the Carroll Park complex, I met Mike McHargue, a private investigator, and his girlfriend, Patricia Howell. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re nothing but slumlords,&rdquo; Howell told me of Westminster Management. <strong>&ldquo;They take everyone&rsquo;s money.&rdquo; When I asked if they knew who was behind the company, they said they did not. &ldquo;Oh, really?&rdquo; Howell said when I mentioned Kushner&rsquo;s name. &ldquo;Oh, really. And I&rsquo;m a Trump supporter.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content">&nbsp;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content"><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Jared Kushner stepped down as chief executive of Kushner Companies in January. </strong></span>But he remains a stakeholder in the company &mdash; his share of company-related trusts is estimated to be worth at least $600 million &mdash; and the company says it has no intention of selling off its multifamily holdings. (JK2 Westminster was formally dissolved in December, but Kushner Companies still owns the complexes through other entities; lawsuits against tenants are now typically filed in the names of the complexes themselves.) Because Kushner retains his interest in the complexes, the White House <a href="">told The Baltimore Sun</a> in February that he would recuse himself from any policy decisions about Section 8 funding, as many of his tenants rely on it for their rent. But even as Kushner now busies himself with his ever-expanding White House portfolio, his company is carrying on its vigorous efforts in court.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>On a related note, here&rsquo;s an article I published earlier this month:&nbsp;<em><a href="" rel="bookmark noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" title="Permanent Link to Kushner Companies Seen Hawking Shady U.S. Visa Buying Residency Program to Wealthy Chinese">Kushner Companies Seen Hawking Shady U.S. Visa Buying Residency Program to Wealthy Chinese</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="321" height="167" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Baltimore County District Court against Beverly Business Dutch Village Economy of the United States Freddie Mac Hertz Jared Kushner Kushner Kushner Companies Law Lien Maryland District Court Maryland’s District Court New York Times Ohio Real estate Trump family UN Court White House White House Thu, 25 May 2017 03:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596590 at "Something's Breaking" - Yuan Suddenly Spikes To 2-Month Highs <p>Traders in Asia are bemused as <strong>offshore Yuan suddenly spikes by the most in 2 months </strong>(following dollar's post-Fed-Minutes breakdown) to 2-month highs...</p> <p>It seems The Fed's potentially dovish realisation that data-dependence is going to hold them back from their plans to hike rates no matter what is rippling through the world's risk markets as Yuan spikes suddenly and dramatically in Asia trading...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="317" /></a></p> <p>Sending offshore Yuan to 2-month highs..</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="313" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As we warned earlier it seems The National Team are active in stocks...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="308" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Rebounding once again even as Iron ore plumbs new depths.</p> <p><strong>As one Hong Kopng based trader said "something's breaking!"</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="958" height="506" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business National Team Trader US Federal Reserve Yuan Yuan Thu, 25 May 2017 03:23:18 +0000 Tyler Durden 596608 at Comey 'Friend' Warns Trump "If I Were You, I'd Be Scared" <p>First it was anonymous colleagues, then his dad, and now it&#39;s a &#39;friend&#39; of Jim Comey that CNN reports the fired FBI director has a story to tell, adding that he would be scared if he were President Trump.</p> <p><img height="307" src="" width="549" /></p> <p><a href=""><em>As The Hill reports,</em></a> Benjamin Wittes, who describes himself as a Comey confidant, said on CNN when asked how Comey was doing.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&quot;He&#39;s going to be fine. <strong>He&#39;s not somebody who spends time feeling sorry for himself,&quot; </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;I thought it was interesting and very telling that he declined an opportunity to tell his story in private. He clearly wants to do it in a public setting,&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&quot;I think that&#39;s a reflection of the fact that this is a guy with a story to tell. I think if I were Donald Trump that would scare me a lot.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>This comes days after a report said Comey is expected to testify that he believes Trump was deliberately trying to meddle in the FBI&#39;s investigation of Russian interference in the presidential election.</p> <p>One wonders how long until Ray Dalio, Comey&#39;s former boss, and until <a href="">recently a fan of Donald Trump</a>, is also asked to comment (off the record) on the upcoming Pay Per View show&nbsp; of the century, as Comey finally sits down to &quot;clear the air.&quot;</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="549" height="307" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Dismissal of James Comey Dismissal of United States Attorneys controversy Donald Trump Donald Trump Entertainment FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Bureau of Investigation Human Interest James Comey Ray Dalio Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections United States United States intelligence agencies Thu, 25 May 2017 03:20:30 +0000 Tyler Durden 596543 at What Is Causing China's Yield Curves To Invert: UBS Answers <p>Something strange is taking place in China, and we are not talking about the largely optical, mostly irrelevant first downgrade of China by Moody's since 1989 (which still managed to <a href=";utm_medium=social&amp;;utm_campaign=buffer">unleash diplomatic hell in Beijing</a>), and in which the rating agency simply admitted what everyone else already knew about the 300% debt/GDP economy. </p> <p>The bigger issue, as we noted previously, is that <a href="">both the short-term</a>...</p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong> </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="499" height="232" /></a></p> <p>and <a href="">conventional Chinese funding </a>market appears to be breaking... </p> <p><img src="" width="499" height="260" /></p> <p>... because as of this week, not only has the one-year Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate, or SHIBOR, exceeded the Loan Prime Rate for the first time ever, meaning Chinese banks' cost of borrowing is now <strong>above </strong>the rate they charge customers, but the Chinese government bond yield curve has inverted in not just one, <strong>but two places, </strong>with both the 3s5s and the 7s10s negative.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" width="499" height="261" /></p> <p>The question everyone wants answered is <em><strong>why.</strong></em> One attempt at just that, came today from UBS which first give the blow by blow of how we got there: </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>As market concerns about financial regulation continued in the first half of May, bond yields kept rising, with the 10-year CGB yield reaching 3.69% on 10 May. The People's Bank of China (PBoC) renewed MLFs and increased net liquidity injection through OMOs. April economic data, such as FAI released by NBS, came in weaker than market expectations. More importantly, there were media reports that the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) showed a soft tone in requirements for banks to reach standards. Besides, the central bank's statement on strengthening coordination in financial regulations eased market concerns about financial regulation. </p> </blockquote> <p>As a result of these factors, <strong>the back end of the yield curve declined while the front end to continued rising moderately. </strong>According to Chinabond yield curves, as of 19 May 2017, 1-year, 5-year and 10-year CGB yields were 3.48%, 3.68% and 3.63%, respectively, up 9bp, 20bp and 7bp compared with 5 May 2017. Yields of 1-year, 5-year and 10-year policy financial bonds (CFBs; we use the bonds issued by the Export and Import Bank of China as examples) were 4.11%, 4.45% and 4.51%, respectively, up 21bp, 10bp and 6bp compared with 5 May 2017.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="206" /></a></p> <p>UBS notes that from the historical data of term spreads, we can see that inversion of 7-year and 10-year has happened more often, which could be attributed to better liquidity in the secondary market for 10-year bonds, <strong>but the recent greater than 10bp spread between 7-year and 10-year yields is still the first time that has happened over the past few years. </strong>The inverted 3s/10s and 5s/10s curve is also rare to see. </p> <p>And while liquidity may be a factor, UBS concedes that liquidity gaps have always existed and may not be the main reason for the recent curve inversion. As such, the Swiss bank admits that "<strong>we need to consider some other factors.</strong>"</p> <p>Below are some of the incremental factors besides liquidity:</p> <ul> <li>In terms of CGB issuance in the primary market, auction results in May showed that <strong>auction rates were all higher than market expectations</strong>, except for the 50-year CGB auction, which came in lower than the market's expectation. Also, the spread between auction results and market expectations was larger for the less liquid tenors. </li> <li><strong>That indicates that during weak market sentiment, a negative feedback loop formed between the primary market and secondary market. </strong>Besides, from an allocation demand perspective, insurance companies have shown increased demand for CGBs in recent months, in addition to banks, the major buyers of CGBs, which may provide support to long-tenor bonds.</li> </ul> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="424" /></a></p> <p>More importantly, however, UBS notes that the inverted curve <strong>also reflects a contradiction between market expectations on policies and economic fundamentals. </strong></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong>On one hand, <strong>the slowdown of economic growth may prevent the back end of the yield curve from further going up. </strong>On the other hand, financial institutions' <strong>funding costs have kept rising but the financing costs for the real economy measured by loan rates have not risen that much. </strong>And investors can hardly expect the monetary policy to ease in the current circumstances. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <ul> <li>We think the rise in financial institutions' funding costs shows their intention to maintain the current asset/liability scale. From this perspective, the deleveraging process may continue for a longer period, while the change in economic fundamentals has not been enough to trigger a reversal of the monetary policy tone. We think in the short term, the yield curve is more likely to repair by having the back end go up again when the gap between market expectations and implementation of financial regulations appears again. Among long-tenor CGBs, the spread between 7-year and 10-year yields is quite large, which has made the relative value of 7-year CGBs rise much higher, in our view. We think when market sentiment calms temporarily, the yield of 7-year CGBs may adjust downward and provide a tactical trading opportunity. However, we expect the 10-year CGB yield to fluctuate at a high level, with a short-term cap around 3.7-3.8%. Although economic fundamentals may put some limit on the rise of the 10-year level, we don't think there is much room for downside adjustment. Over a longer period, considering the progress of deleveraging, we think investors still need to pay attention to the renewal of banks' funds that are under management of non-bank financial institutions in H2. </li> <li><strong>Regarding the front end of the yield curve, </strong>although we think room for money market rates to go lower is limited in the short term, market expectations about liquidity conditions could stabilize, given PBoC's recent tone, and that may create room for the front end of the CGB curve to go a bit lower. Over a longer period, we think <strong>if a more apparent economic slowdown happens in H2 and forces monetary policy to adjust, a larger opportunity for the front end to move down may appear.</strong> </li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>The above not only why the CGB curve is inverted, but also why SHIBOR1Y is now above the LPR.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="393" /></a></p> <p>And while that may answer why both the CGB and the short-term funding yield curves are inverted, another, just as pressing question emerges: assuming UBS is right, and these yield oddities are merely "contradictions" between market reality and hopes, what happens when this divergence between fundamentals and expectations converges, and more importantly, what will such a mean reversion look like for China's already bizarrely trading financial assets.</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="597" height="469" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Banking Regulatory Commission Bond Bond Business Central bank China Chinese government Economy Finance Financial markets Financial Regulation Fixed income analysis Fixed income market Insurance Companies Market liquidity Market Sentiment Mean Reversion Monetary Policy Money People's Bank Of China Primary Market Rating Agency Reality Recession UBS Yield Curve Yield curve Thu, 25 May 2017 03:03:58 +0000 Tyler Durden 596606 at Angry China Slams Moodys For Using "Inappropriate Methodology" <p>The market may have long since moved on from Moody's downgrade of China to A1 from Aa3 (by now even long-only funds have learned that in a world with $18 trillion in excess liquidity, the opinion of Moodys is even more irrelevant), but for Beijing the vendetta is only just starting, and in response to Tuesday's downgrade, China's finance ministry accused the rating agency of applying "<strong>inappropriate methodology" </strong>in downgrading China's credit rating, saying the firm had <strong>overestimated the difficulties faced by the Chinese economy and underestimated the country's ability to enhance supply-side reforms.</strong></p> <p>In other words, Moody's failed to understand that 300% debt/GDP is perfectly normal and that China has a very explicit exit strategy of how to deal with this unprecedented debt load which in every previous occasion in history has led to sovereign default. </p> <p>The Ministry of Finance reaction came after Moody's first, and very, very long overdue, downgrade of China since 1989 citing concerns about risks from China's relentlessly growing debt load as shown below. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="365" /></a></p> <p>"China's economy started off well this year, which shows that the reforms are working," the ministry said in a statement on its website.&nbsp; Actually, it only shows that China had <a href="">injected a record amount of loans into the economy</a> at the start of the year, and nothing else. And now that the credit impulse is fading, the hangover has arrived.</p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong> </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="314" /></a></p> <p>Moody's on Wednesday also downgraded the ratings of 26 Chinese government-related non-financial corporate and infrastructure issuers and rated subsidiaries by one notch. It also downgraded the ratings of several domestic banks, including the Agricultural Bank of China Limited's long-term deposit rating from A1 to A2.&nbsp; It also eventually downgraded Hong Kong and said credit trends in China will continue to have a significant impact on Hong Kong's credit profile due to close economic, financial and political ties with the mainland. </p> <p>So how did China defend its position? The same way US companies fabricate their own numbers to confuse shareholders: with "pro forma" arguments.</p> <p>For example Moody's noted that the importance Chinese authorities have attached to maintaining robust growth would result in sustained policy stimulus, and such government spending would contribute to rising debt across the economy. "We expect the government's direct debt burden to rise gradually toward 40 percent of GDP by 2018 and closer to 45 percent by the end of the decade," Moody's noted. </p> <p>To this, the <a href=";utm_medium=social&amp;;utm_campaign=buffer">MOF responded that government </a>bonds reached 27.33 trillion yuan ($3.97 trillion) at the end of 2016, or about 37% of the country's GDP. The proportion is much lower than the 60% picket line delimited by the EU, the ministry said.&nbsp; Liu Xuezhi, a senior analyst at the Bank of Communications, said that the proportion of government bonds to GDP has been continuously dropping since peaking in 2013, largely due to the government efforts to manage debt.</p> <p>"I think Moody's reasons are debatable," he said. </p> <p>Of course, what the MOF forgot to mention is the roughly <strong>200% in corporate debt issued in large part by entities that are State-owned enterprises</strong>, and which the government for mostly refuses to go bankrupt over fears of mass riots, civil disobedience and even war.&nbsp; As a result <strong>virtually all of China's corporate debt is effectively sovereign.</strong></p> <p>That did not prevent China from spinning more propaganda. </p> <p>Zheng Xinye, associate dean of the School of Economics at the Renmin University of China, also told the Global Times on Wednesday that the government has taken effective measures, such as bond swaps and perfecting the issuance and management system of local government debt, to rein in bond risks.&nbsp; Liu added that China's fiscal revenue has been rising since 2009. "Besides, the Chinese government has income channels which other countries don't, such as land transfer money and State assets. Therefore, I don't think China would be facing serious financial pressure, at least not in the next few years," he told the Global Times on Wednesday. </p> <p>Zheng also said that the government wouldn't need to use fiscal measures to stimulate growth, as the effects of supply-side reforms would sustain the economy's momentum.&nbsp; He may have even said it with a straight face. </p> <p>Additionally, China took offense at Moody's forecast that China's growth will slow to 5% in five years, because of a smaller working-age population and continuing production slowdown.&nbsp; </p> <p>To this, Liu said the chances are very slim for China's economy to slip to 5 percent in the next five years. "I believe China's GDP growth will remain above 6.5 percent at the end of 2020, as China has abundant room for policy adjustments to support economic growth," Liu said. It has even more abundant room to goalseek its data to whatever it wants, however, without the benefit of "creating" 40% of GDP in the form of new credit, China's economy will implode. </p> <p>Zheng disagreed, and said the economy has not shown any signs of sliding. </p> <p>One place where China's apparatchiks were right is that Moody's downgrade would hurt overseas investor confidence in the Chinese market or collaborations with domestic companies. </p> <p>"It would also make it more difficult for domestic companies to seek financing in overseas markets," Liu noted.&nbsp; But Liu said domestic financial markets would not be affected as much, because they're not entirely open. And for a good, if scary, explanation of what happens as China's debt issuance shift domestically, read this morning Bloomberg piece "<a href="">China's Downgrade Could Lead to a Mountain of Debt</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="500" height="300" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bond BRIC Business China China Chinese government Credit rating agencies default Economy Economy of China European Union Finance Hong Kong Ministry of Finance Money Moody's Investors Service National debt of China Rating Agency ratings Renmin University of China School of Economics Sovereign Default Standard & Poor's United States federal government credit-rating downgrades Yuan Thu, 25 May 2017 02:55:33 +0000 Tyler Durden 596607 at The Trump Collapse Scapegoat Narrative Has Now Been Launched <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Brandon Smith via,</em></a></p> <p><a href=""><em><img alt="" src="" style="width: 485px; height: 303px;" /></em></a></p> <p>Last week was a rather crazy one for the news feeds, with cyber attacks and &ldquo;Comey memos&rdquo; and a host of other wild mayhem, it may have been difficult for many people to keep track of it all. <strong>That said, there was one event that I think went partly under the radar, and I think it is an important signal for anyone concerned with the ongoing process of economic collapse in the U.S.</strong></p> <p>Generally, the American public holds very little vigilance when it comes to economics. They are distinctly unaware of fundamental indicators such as commodities demand, energy usage, manufacturing, imports, exports and international shipping, etc. <strong>What they do take note of, and what the mainstream news will tell them about in 30 second blurbs, is the state of unemployment and whether stock markets were down for the day or up for the day. These two &ldquo;indicators&rdquo; are the extent of the average person&rsquo;s exposure to fiscal health.</strong></p> <p>This is why the Federal Reserve and the<strong> establishment have been meticulous over the past several years in their efforts to keep employment statistics highly manipulated to the positive side </strong>and why they have been injecting untold trillions into stocks around the world through various measures including no cost overnight loans.</p> <p><strong>However, over the past couple of years something has changed. </strong>As I warned they would do in 2015 in my article <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">The Real Reasons Why The Fed Will Hike Interest Rates</a>, central banks including the Fed have been backing off of stimulus measures and they have now begun a series of interest rate hikes. Look at it this way &mdash; imagine the economy has a terminal disease and the only thing keeping it alive is a highly addictive drug called &ldquo;free money.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s a rather terrible life, barely worth living, but the economy still has a faint pulse as long as the drug is administered. Now, what would happen if the Fed suddenly cuts off the drug supply? Well, the economy will die in a very frantic and horrible way.</p> <p>Low interest rates and Federal Reserve loans represent the purest form of the free money drug, even more so than the bailouts and QE. And now, those interest rates are rising, and the drug is being taken away.</p> <p>These marginal rate hikes might not seem like much&nbsp;&mdash; .25 basis points here and .25 basis points there. <strong>And they are not much, unless you are a corporation borrowing billions of dollars at a time</strong> so that you can stave off your exposure to quadrillions in derivatives debt and so that you can purchase massive shares in your own stock to keep its value artificially elevated. Cycling this borrowed cash and paying the Fed back is rather easy for such corporations as long as the loans are essentially free. But when they have to start paying interest on that cash, even at a low rate, the costs add up at lightning speed.</p> <p><strong>ANY<em> </em>interest rate hikes in this environment make borrowing from the Fed untenable for corporations seeking to prop up their stocks and the stock market at large.</strong></p> <p>In my estimation, based on previous Fed measures such as the removal of QE from the system in 2014,<strong> it takes around six to eight months for the effects of policy shifts by the Fed to become visible on the main street economy and in equities. </strong>I believe we are about to see the effects of interest rate hikes on our system within the next couple of months.</p> <p><em><u><strong>I put very little value in stock markets as an indicator of anything. In reality, stocks are a fraudulent circus based on perceived value and perceived demand rather than true value and demand. </strong></u></em>In most cases, stocks crash in the FINAL<em> </em>phase of an economic collapse, not in the beginning phase. If you decide to start preparing for a crisis after a stock market decline then you are probably too late.</p> <p>I am revisiting this topic here because I want to remind people that the full and tantamount blame for any economic crisis (and the final phase market crash) in the near future is placed on the Federal Reserve and international banks. All future shocks to the financial system were made possible because the establishment and the Fed have gutted our economy, stuffed it with the fluff of fiat stimulus and left it to lumber aimlessly since 2009.</p> <p><strong>Now, because of the Fed&rsquo;s efforts, stocks have been rising for quite some time with only a few moments of obstruction, due again, to their policy shifts. These efforts have conjured a 20,000 point Dow Jones, but nothing else positive for the economy. The one constant, though, has always been low interest rates.</strong></p> <p>With interest rates increasing, I would point out that market behavior has changed. The meteoric rise has stalled. In the past few months stocks have barely budged 1 percent either up or down per week. Except for last week when something strange happened; markets suddenly dropped nearly 400 points in a single day. Why? Well, that is a subject up for debate, but the majority of mainstream news outlets will tell you that it was all Donald Trump&rsquo;s fault.</p> <p>I have been warning since long before the election that Trump&rsquo;s presidency would be the <strong>perfect vehicle for central banks and international financiers to divert blame for the economic crisis</strong> that would inevitably explode once the Fed moved firmly into interest rate hikes. Every indication since my initial prediction shows that this is the case.</p> <p><strong>The media was building the foundation of the narrative from the moment Trump won the election.</strong> Bloomberg was quick to publish its rather hilariously skewed propaganda on the matter, asserting that Trump was lucky to inherit an economy in ascendance and recovery because of the fiscal ingenuity of Barack Obama. This is of course utter nonsense. Obama and the Fed have created a zombie economy rotting from the inside out, nothing more. But, as <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Bloomberg noted rightly</a>, any downturn within the system will indeed be blamed on the Trump administration.</p> <p><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Fortune Magazine</a>, adding to the narrative, outlined the view that the initial stock rally surrounding Trump&rsquo;s election win was merely setting the stage for a surprise market crash.</p> <p><strong>I continue to go one further than the mainstream media and say that the Trump administration is a giant cement shoe designed (deliberately) to drag conservatives and conservative principles down into the abyss as we are blamed by association for the financial calamity that will occur on Trump&rsquo;s watch.</strong></p> <p>Last week&rsquo;s sudden market bloodletting is important in this regard; <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">400 points down</a> is hardly a flesh wound to a 20,000 point Dow, but the media&rsquo;s reaction to it was very revealing on what the future has in store. Multiple news outlets responded by immediately connecting the drop to Trump and the absurdity surrounding the &ldquo;Comey memo&rdquo;&nbsp;&mdash; a memo which no one in the public has seen proof of. The claim is that this level of <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">turmoil around Trump</a> might lead to impeachment and that the threat of impeachment would kill the stock market bounce which the media also claims was driven by Trump&rsquo;s promises of corporate tax cuts. It&#39;s a lie built on another lie.</p> <p><strong>It is interesting to me that the mainstream media never said the market drop was caused by &ldquo;Comey&rsquo;s turmoil,&rdquo; or by &ldquo;The Washington Post and The New York Times&rsquo; turmoil.&rdquo; No, they called it &ldquo;Trump&rsquo;s turmoil.&rdquo; Last week&rsquo;s stock dive was, in my opinion, the official launch of the Trump collapse narrative. </strong>The establishment was beta testing it for months, but now, the program has gone live.</p> <p><strong>Every single stock decline from now on, as well as the ultimate economic crash, which will become visible to the public in short order, will be blamed on Donald Trump and conservatives by extension. As I said, he is the perfect scapegoat.</strong></p> <p>I have been very critical of Donald Trump recently, and it is my view, according to the evidence and his swift retraction of nearly every promise he made to the voters during his campaign, that Trump is controlled opposition. But, I would never lay the blame for our fiscal decline at his feet. Trump does not have the power to create that kind of disaster; only the global banks have that power. I&rsquo;ll say it again&nbsp;&mdash; the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates into a major financial downturn. This will be the trigger for the next phase of collapse, not<em> </em>any drama surrounding Donald Trump. Everything else, from Comey to North Korea, is distraction.</p> <p>The Fed has done this before. In fact, the Fed has a habit of raising interest rates at the onset of economic instability or right in the middle of a downturn, as it did in 1928-1929 triggering the Great Depression, and in 1931, adding fuel to the fire of financial catastrophe. These particular catalyzing policy actions are partly what Ben Bernanke was referring to on Nov. 8, 2002, <a href="">in a speech</a> given at &quot;A Conference to Honor Milton Friedman, the Paul Snowden Russell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, On the Occasion of his 90th Birthday.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;In short, according to Friedman and Schwartz, because of institutional changes and misguided doctrines, the banking panics of the Great Contraction were much more severe and widespread than would have normally occurred during a downturn.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Let me end my talk by abusing slightly my status as an official representative of the Federal Reserve. I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression. You&rsquo;re right, we did it. We&rsquo;re very sorry. But thanks to you, we won&rsquo;t do it again.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Ben Bernanke finished his astonishingly honest assessment with a lie. They are indeed doing it again&hellip; but this time they have made sure they have a president and an entire political ideal to blame it on.</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="485" height="303" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Barack Obama Ben Bernanke Ben Bernanke Business Business Central Banks Donald Trump Donald Trump Economic policy of Donald Trump ETC Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System First 100 days of Donald Trump's presidency Free Money Great Depression Interest rate James Comey Main Street Market Crash Milton Friedman New York Times North Korea Presidency of Donald Trump Reality recovery Stock market crash SWIFT Trump Administration Unemployment United States US Federal Reserve Thu, 25 May 2017 02:40:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596601 at Another Insurer Quits Obamacare Leaving 25 Counties In Missouri With No Healthcare Options <p>Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) has just joined the growing ranks of insurers across the country that have decided they've lost just about enough money on Obamacare.&nbsp; According to a <a href="">press release</a> issued earlier today, Blue KC's CEO said the <strong>company has lost $100 million on the Obamacare exchanges since 2014, a fact that prompted their decision to exit their 32-county service area.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) today announced the company’s decision to not offer or renew individual Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans in the company’s 32-county service area in Kansas and Missouri for 2018.</strong> This decision will affect Blue KC members with both on- and off- exchange individual plans but does not affect individual plans that were purchased on or prior to October 1, 2013.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Since 2014, we’ve expended significant resources to offer individual ACA plans to increase access to quality healthcare coverage for the Kansas City community,” said Danette Wilson, President and CEO of Blue KC. <strong>“Like many other health insurers across the country, we have been faced with challenges in this market. Through 2016, we have lost more than $100 million. This is unsustainable for our company.</strong> We have a responsibility to our members and the greater community to remain stable and secure, and the uncertain direction of this market is a barrier to our continued participation.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“This decision is necessary at this time, but we’ll continue to work with federal and state legislators to identify solutions that will stabilize the individual market and bring costs down for our members, the community and Blue KC,” </strong>said Wilson.</p> </blockquote> <p>The move will leave residents in 25 Missouri counties, or roughly 19,000 Obamacare enrollees, with no healthcare options in 2018.&nbsp; </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Missouri" width="600" height="568" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, this follows similar developments in both Iowa (see "<a href="">Obamacare Implosion: Last Major Healthcare Provider Pulls Out Of Iowa Leaving No Options In 2018</a>") and Tennessee (see "<a href="">Knoxville, TN Could Be Ground Zero For The Obamacare Explosion</a>") in the past several weeks.&nbsp; To be fair, after Humana’s exit from Obamacare left 16 counties surrounding Knoxville with no health plans, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee stepped in to cover that area, though it's unknown whether someone would step up to do the same in Missouri.</p> <p>But sure, Republicans are ruining healthcare in America.</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="568" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Health Health Internal Revenue Code Kansas City metropolitan area Obamacare Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Statutory law United States Thu, 25 May 2017 02:20:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596584 at Fragile Markets? US Equity Futures Flash-Smash... For No Good Reason <p>First VIX dumped-n-pumped this morning, then Russell 2000 (ETF and Futures) flash-crash at lunch time, and now, amid heavy volume, <strong>someone decided it was the perfect time to panic-buy S&amp;P, Dow, and Nasdaq futures...</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img height="356" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Very heavy volume for early asia trading...</p> <p><a href=""><img height="391" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Some contest to Russell 2000&#39;s and VIX&#39;s earlier flash crash...</p> <p><a href=""><img height="297" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As BofAML so eloquently pointed out...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 602px; height: 112px;" /></a></p> <p>The hunt for a narrative to explain this utter farce has started... Did Bitcoin algos just get switched on to trade S&amp;P minis? Bitcoin just topped $2500!</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="1981" height="1291" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bitcoin Bitcoin Business Disaster Economy Finance flash Flash Futures contract Futures markets Mathematical finance Money NASDAQ NASDAQ futures Russell 2000 Russell 2000 Technical analysis VIX Thu, 25 May 2017 02:15:40 +0000 Tyler Durden 596604 at