en The Most Expensive Cities To Live In Across The Globe <p><strong>'Exceptional' America is no longer the home of the world's most expensive city in which to live and work</strong>. As the latest report from <a href=";utm_medium=social&amp;;utm_campaign=buffer">the World Economic Forum finds</a>, the honor of the priciest place to reside is the United Kingdom's capital - London. At £80,777 (~$120,000) per person per year, "The Big Smoke" is twice as costly as Los Angeles or Sydney...</p> <p>London has topped the list since June 2014...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="441" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>However, all is not lost for USA, USA, USA!</strong></span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>A quarter of the top 20 most expensive cities are in the United States,</strong> with New York (at a yearly cost of over £79,000) coming in just behind London.</p> </blockquote> <p>Overall, the average cost of home and office accommodation per person per year across the top 20 cities is £40,641, with Rio de Janeiro being the most affordable.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Savills’ index is aimed at giving employers an idea of the cost of accommodating an employee in cities around the world. Head of World Research at Savills, Yolande Barnes, says: <em><strong>“The productivity of cities and their value to global businesses clearly has a pronounced effect on demand and hence rental costs.”</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The highest-ranking cities for productivity, such as London and New York, are also the most expensive to live and work in. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Barnes adds:<em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong> “World cities can become a victim of their own success when rents rise to the point where affordability becomes an issue.”</strong></span></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Savills wants to see an increase in supply of high-quality workspace, noting that this will be a crucial development for emerging cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Mumbai and Lagos.</p> </blockquote> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="">Of course, there is always Vancouver (if you're Chinese).</a></strong></span></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="705" height="518" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Sat, 30 Apr 2016 01:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 530086 at The US Endgame? Creating A Climate That "Could Easily Be Transformed Into War" <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Jeremiah Johnson (nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne)), via</em></a>,</p> <p>Most readers have been watching, as the U.S. and Russia seem to be positioning themselves along Cold War lines.&nbsp; The posturing is not confined to maneuvering military assets; it also runs along <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">economic lines</span>, in which most warfare is at least based if not a major or the sole impetus.</strong>&nbsp; Each power has sought to cement its claims/presence in areas bordering the sphere of influence of, or the actual territory of the other power.&nbsp; Such posturing can be dangerous and lead to an incident that escalates into the uncontrollable.</p> <p>Recently the news media has been abuzz with the Russian fighter aircraft buzzing the U.S. in the face: first the incident with the two fighters coming within 30 feet of an American naval vessel, and another separate incident involving aerial theatrics around a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft (a Boeing RC-135 intelligence-gathering spy plane).&nbsp; <strong>The U.S. responded in kind on April 20 by allowing a guided missile destroyer, the U.S.S. Cook to encroach upon Russian borders while conducting maneuvers near Poland.&nbsp;</strong> The U.S. claimed that Russian aircraft were doing fly-by&rsquo;s to intimidate the destroyer.</p> <p>Unlike the puissant response by John Kerry, feigning anger and doing nothing with the Russian aircraft incidences of the past two weeks, Russia is not playing with the destroyer incident.&nbsp; The Russian ambassador to NATO, Alexander Grushko is reported by Reuters to have made the following statement:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>&ldquo;This is about attempts to exercise military pressure on Russia.&nbsp; We will take all necessary measures, precautions, to compensate for these attempts to use military force.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>This statement by Grushko was not limited to the incident with the Cook.</strong>&nbsp; NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has affirmed in the past week the intention of NATO to deploy command and control centers in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania.&nbsp; Exercises are currently being planned and prepared in Estonia by NATO air assets, to include participation by Sweden and Finland, both non-NATO members.&nbsp; The exercises are scheduled to commence on April 28.</p> <p>Although the exercises are superficially being dubbed maneuvers to help with control of civilian airports and coordination with them during &ldquo;an emergency situation,&rdquo;<strong> in reality they are both posturing and stationing aircraft on Russia&rsquo;s western flank</strong>.&nbsp; Also, the mainstream media barely mentioned the fact that last month, NATO fighter aircraft approached a Russian aircraft carrying Sergei Shoigu, the Russian Defense Minister who was en route to inspect military facilities and readiness in Kalingrad, toward Russia&rsquo;s western border.</p> <p>Much has also been mentioned by NATO of Russian &ldquo;aggression and encroachment&rdquo; regarding Ukraine, still beset by more than a year of fighting in its eastern region between Ukrainian forces and ethnic Russian separatists.&nbsp; NATO has condemned Russia for supplying these separatists with equipment, materials, and personnel.&nbsp; Russia has responded to this accusation by declaring eastern <a href="" target="_blank">Ukraine to be mired in a civil war</a>.</p> <p><strong>There are also underlying economic issues to all of this.&nbsp;</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">As mentioned</a> in previous articles, the entire involvement of NATO wanting to &ldquo;assist&rdquo; Russia in her support of Syria was nothing more than an attempt to oust Assad.&nbsp; This, in turn took a back seat to the desires of NATO and the U.S. to annex a portion of Syria in order to enable a natural gas pipeline from Qatar into Western Europe for the purpose of negating Russia&rsquo;s Gazprom from supplying Western Europe with natural gas.&nbsp; Basically, the Russians solidified Assad&rsquo;s position, bombed the insurgents into submission, left supplies and advisers with Assad, and withdrew from the board.&nbsp; The U.S. was left stultified with egg on its face.</p> <p><strong>Now the BRIC nations are starting their markets up in earnest, backing their currencies with gold and trading in Shanghai, China, and Moscow in Russia.</strong>&nbsp; These two nations, incidentally are #1 and #3 respectively regarding gold production.&nbsp; The former produced 490 tons in 2015, and the latter put out 295 tons that year.&nbsp; The two nations account for 25% of the gold production for the world.&nbsp; Those are staggering numbers.&nbsp; In addition to production, China and Russia have been building up their reserves of gold astronomically.</p> <p><strong>They are ranked 5<sup>th</sup> and 6<sup>th</sup> respective to gold reserves.&nbsp; The U.S. is listed as &ldquo;#1&rdquo; but this is another faux pearl attached to others on a string</strong>, such as phony employment numbers and the inflated GDP as reported by parrots of the media and business insider networks who are, in reality inside of the pockets of the administration and the Federal Reserve.</p> <p><em><strong>Another point of interest that may have a great effect is that Congress is in the midst of passing legislation to hold Saudi Arabia partially accountable for the 9-11 attacks.</strong></em></p> <p>The Saudis responded with informing the state department that <a href="" target="_blank">they will call in assets and all accounts payable</a> if that is the case.&nbsp; This could really domino and also spell an immediate end to the Petrodollar.&nbsp; Wouldn&rsquo;t that be interesting?&nbsp;<strong> Congress would hit the Saudis up with a bill, and the Saudis would pay us in &ldquo;fiat&rdquo; Federal Reserve notes, maybe cutting off the oil supply as well.</strong>&nbsp; Payment of the bill then may as well be in toilet paper.</p> <p>To summarize, <strong>akin to ancient Rome, <a href="" target="_blank">the United States has over-extended herself</a>.</strong>&nbsp; She has created a climate that could easily be transformed into a war on a slight pretext.&nbsp; Wars, as it is well known are also a means a nation can extricate itself from debt and financial responsibility. <strong>&nbsp;The dying Petrodollar system has been on life support for some time, and it appears other nations such as the BRIC&rsquo;s are taking the initiative to return to a true monetary standard.&nbsp;</strong> This is the same gold and silver standard that the U.S. should never have left in the first place.</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="462" height="299" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Boeing Bulgaria China Estonia Federal Reserve Finland Latvia Lithuania Natural Gas Poland Reality Reuters Romania Saudi Arabia SPY Ukraine Sat, 30 Apr 2016 01:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 530084 at In Latest US-China Escalation, Beijing Denies US Aircraft Carrier Access To Hong Kong Port <p>What until now was mostly effete jawboning over US complaints surrounding China's territorial expansion ambitions in the South China Sea, including the occasional sailing of a US ship deep inside the disputed territorial waters (with zero impact especially now that China may soon start building <a href="">maritime nuclear power plants in the area</a>), changed dramatically earlier today when China officially denied a U.S. carrier strike group's request for a port visit to Hong Kong next week. </p> <p><img src="" width="647" height="369" /></p> <p><em>The Stennis strike group</em></p> <p>As <a href="">Stripes writes</a>, <strong>the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs notified the United States Thursday of its decision to deny the USS John C. Stennis and its escort ships access to the former British colony</strong>, Darragh Paradiso, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong, said by phone. The ministry provided no explanation for the move. </p> <p><strong>While U.S. warships frequently visit Hong Kong, port calls have been canceled at times of diplomatic strain between the two Asia-Pacific powers. In 2007, China denied access to the city's port by the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk.</strong></p> <p>The decision follows weeks of increasing diplomatic sparring between China and the U.S. over Beijing's claims to more than 80 percent of the South China Sea. The nuclear-powered Stennis has played a central role in U.S. efforts to demonstrate its continued security presence in the disputed waters, with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter visiting the warship on patrol there in April.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="645" height="483" /></a></p> <p><em>A plane carrying U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter lands on the deck of the USS </em><br /><em>John C. Stennis on April 15, 2016, as the ship sailed through the South China Sea. </em></p> <p>According to Shi Yinhong, director of the Center on American Studies at Renmin University in Beijing, and a foreign policy adviser to the State Council, the Stennis has become a <strong>"symbol of efforts to spark strategic tensions between China and the United States. </strong>The cancellation is a snapshot of the current intensity in China-U.S. security relations. <strong>Without significant security need, routine port calls would not have been canceled.</strong>"</p> <p>While the US has been complaining about China's territorial expansions over the past year, culminating with the current recent incident, China's claims to the South China Sea have resulted in numerous other disputes with other neighboring Southeast Asian nations that assert rights to the area, including Vietnam and the Philippines. Tensions are running high as the region braces for a ruling by an international arbitration panel on a Philippine challenge to China's claims.</p> <p>"We have a long track record of successful port visits to Hong Kong, including with the current visit of the USS Blue Ridge, and we expect that will continue," Paradiso said, referencing the U.S. Navy command ship already moored in the city.</p> <p>Finally, earlier today the US State Department confirmed that indeed China has refused to allow Stennis to dock in Hong Kong. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="">#China</a> denied Hong Kong port call by USS Stennis aircraft carrier, <a href="">@StateDept</a> confirms. <a href="">#VOAalert</a></p> <p>— Steven L Herman (@W7VOA) <a href="">April 29, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></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="804" height="603" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> China Hong Kong Nuclear Power Sat, 30 Apr 2016 00:35:17 +0000 Tyler Durden 530054 at "Erdogan Is The Father Of ISIS" - New Documentary Outlines Turkey's Support Of The Islamic State <p><a href=""><em><strong>Is Turkey the support behind ISIS? </strong></em></a>A documentary released by RT lays out evidence that would lead to that conclusion... one we first exposed <a href="">here</a>, <a href="">here</a>, and <a href="">here</a>... and is interestingly timed given Europe&#39;s potential desire to regain some leverage over Erdogan.</p> <p>The documentary takes place just days after the YPG took back the town of Shaddadi (a former ISIS stronghold), and <strong>what is revealed will most certainly go under reported, but is important nonetheless.</strong> The documentary points out that the connection between Turkey and ISIS is strong. Killed ISIS fighters left behind passports indicating that the fighters all came through Turkey, and by their own admission, interviewed ISIS fighters admit to coming through Turkey with no issue at all. <strong><em>The locals who were working under ISIS say that oil was refined and sold to Turkey in return for money and weapons, and YPG fighters who fight against ISIS find that much of the ISIS supplies come from Turkey.</em></strong></p> <p><u><strong>Here are some key elements of the documentary:</strong></u></p> <p>Captured ISIS fighters admit that coming through Turkey was easy. The fighters believe this to be the case due to the fact that it has a common enemy with ISIS, the YPG (People&#39;s Protection Unit). The YPG is yet another rebel group fighting in the Syrian civil war, and Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers&#39; Party (PKK) who call for an independent Kurdish state within Turkey. <strong>The fighter alleges that Turkey&#39;s president Recep Erdogan wants ISIS to control Syria in order to grow the oil trade.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img height="315" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><img height="312" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><img height="319" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&quot;The prophet told us to build a caliphate. I spoke with my friend about it, they told me to go to Istanbul. I went to Turkey, I got into the airport, went through passport control. The formalities were a breeze. <strong>Crossing the border wasn&#39;t hard either, it was like crossing the street. A man told me that Islamic State had erased the borders, that there were no borders</strong>. I&#39;d heard of it, but I didn&#39;t quite get it until I saw it myself. <strong>If Turkey wanted to stop the refugee influx, it could have long ago.</strong>&quot;</p> <p>Passports left behind by those killed during the battle show that the fighters came through Turkey.</p> <p><img height="318" src="" width="600" /></p> <p><a href=""><img height="316" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>The locals, and sadly, many of them children, spoke of the horror everyone had lived under during ISIS&#39; two year control of the town.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="316" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img height="317" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img height="317" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>The documentary then goes through a flat once occupied by what appears to be an ISIS accountant of some sort,<strong> <a href="">the flat had all kinds of oil related documents.</a></strong></p> <p><a href=""><img height="318" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><img height="318" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><strong>ISIS would take oil from the Jabisah oil field near the town of Shaddadi in Northern Syria, to Raqqa, and ultimately to Turkey where they would sell it </strong>says <a href="">Ghazi Hussein</a>, a resident of Hasakah province, who witnessed the terrorists having Jabisah under their control.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="318" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><img height="314" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>O<strong>ne local estimated that ISIS made a million dollars a week.</strong></p> <p>YPJ (women&#39;s division of the YPG) fighters explained that all of the gear found on ISIS fighters is from Turkey, and are<strong> curious as to why nobody is connecting the dots yet.</strong></p> <p><img height="320" src="" width="600" /></p> <p>One captured ISIS fighter even says that &quot;<strong>Erdogan is the father of ISIS.</strong>&quot;</p> <p>You can watch the <a href="">full documentary</a> below <em>[warning: contains content that may be disturbing]</em></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="810" height="421" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Turkey Sat, 30 Apr 2016 00:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 530092 at Caught On Tape: The Last Minutes Of Life Of A Bumbling ISIS Fighter <p><a href="">Amid pay cuts and sex-slave incentives,</a> it appears not only is ISIS fighters&#39; enthusiasm flagging but their IQ appears to be dropping too. As the following <a href="">rather shockingly comical clip via VICE News</a> shows a cluster of shambolic and frenzied ISIS extremists were &#39;caught on tape&#39; as they struggle to fire rockets at Kurdish pashmerga troops near Mosul, Iraq.</p> <p><a href=""><em>As NY Post reports, </em></a>the footage shows the chaos inside an improvised armored carrier as the fighters shout at each other while bullets fly.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360px" mozallowfullscreen="" src="//;;vid=9uMzY1MzE6E39V3egEa4mRmezupDbVi4&amp;embedCode=9uMzY1MzE6E39V3egEa4mRmezupDbVi4&amp;;ad_rule=1&amp;;;autoplay=1" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="618px"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>&ldquo;Careful not to shoot at our brothers!&rdquo; </strong></em></span>one yells. &ldquo;Where is my magazine?&rdquo; another shouts.</p> <p>One asks for a rocket launcher.</p> <p>&ldquo;The rockets for firing at people or armored vehicles?&rdquo; one of the discombobulated men asks.</p> <p>When someone on the vehicle fires his assault rifle, another yells at him: <em><strong>&ldquo;The bullet casings are hitting us! Be careful, Abu Abdullah!&rdquo;</strong></em></p> <p>When one finally fires a rocket, all hell breaks loose and debris lands inside the open-air carrier.</p> <p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>&ldquo;Good job, but you roasted us, too!&rdquo; </strong></span></em>one yells. <em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>&ldquo;What is wrong with you, Abu Hajaar?&rdquo;</strong></span></em></p> <p><strong>&ldquo;I need a rocket for firing at people!&rdquo; one of them pleads.</strong></p> <p>Finally, their carrier is hit and the men jump out of the burning vehicle.</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;The driver has died!&rdquo; one yells.</strong></p> <p>The jihadist whose headcam caught the pandemonium is eventually mortally wounded by the enemy forces.</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been shot!&rdquo; he yells as the rest of his comrades retreat.</strong></p> <p><em><a href="">Source:</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="442" height="306" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Iraq Sat, 30 Apr 2016 00:20:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 530060 at The Woodstock Of Crony Capitalism <p><em>By <a href="">Adventures in Capitalism</a></em></p> <p><strong>The Woodstock Of Crony Capitalism</strong></p> <p>It’s been a while since I've attended the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK:NYSE) annual meeting. Between the tedium of little kids asking questions about how to live life, to the feel-good nature of the thing, I simply got repulsed. Why do a bunch of hard-nosed capitalists choose to act like Ned Flanders for a weekend—in Omaha of all places? It’s illogical and completely artificial.</p> <p><img src="" style="width: 499px; height: 334px;" /></p> <p>Then, a few weeks back, as friends asked if I was attending this year, I had a certain realization—all this play-acting is simply Buffett, the puppet-master at his most brilliant. As he plows capital into highly regulated industries, he has the upper hand because he has skillfully crafted the image of the Mid-Western grandfather that can do no wrong. He can cozy up to regulators and politicians and get what he wants—without the added costs and distractions of lobbyists and consultants. Who wouldn’t want to get their permits in half the time and with a fraction of the cost? Want to block a Canadian pipe-line that would compete with your cherished rail-road? Become the President’s “economic advisor.” Want to abuse tax loopholes? Bemoan that your secretary pays a higher tax rate than you. You want to obstruct solar energy in Nevada? Elon Musk is a foreigner, Omaha is as American as it gets. Your railroad has an atrocious safety record? Well, at least we don’t have to worry about global warming from that pipeline...</p> <p>I can go on and on, but I went from disgusted to awestruck. In this horribly overregulated world of ours, Buffett has evolved into the apex predator. Why wouldn’t he? Over his career, he’s consistently gone where the opportunities were. He’s gone from investing in “cigar-butts” when few other investors knew how to look for companies trading for less than cash, to branded products with pricing power that could thrive during the increasing inflation of the 70’s and early 80’s to a diversified book of high return on capital businesses during the great bull market that began in 1982. Over this time, he realized that he could leverage his bets with an insurance business that not only gave him access to cheap capital, but removed the headaches associated with bond maturities and margin calls.</p> <p>Over the past fifteen years, the US has undergone a massive increase in pernicious regulation. Therefore, it seems only natural that opportunities would exist in the most regulated sectors of the economy. If you can get your permits and deny those permits to others, if you can avoid environmentalists and NIMBYs, if you can dodge taxes, if you can charm the cliques in Washington, you have an opportunity to earn outsized profits—especially if you have an endless fire-hose of cheap insurance float to deploy.</p> <p><img src="" style="width: 301px; height: 167px;" /></p> <p>Crony capitalism is highly lucrative and as a Berkshire shareholder, I’ve reaped the rewards. Now, I once again want to sit at the feet of the master. How do you make people like you to the point that they give you a free pass on whatever you want? When you call up a regulator, do you even talk about the issues? Or do you talk about your Ukulele skills and Omaha little league? You have to admire what he’s accomplished and I will be there to watch him amuse the <em>petite bourgeoisie</em>. I see a world that continues to become more regulated—where a cloistered elite uses special interest groups to crush opponents and destroy businesses. Either you’re calling the shots, or you’re getting abused like a peasant.</p> <p>The Koch Brothers spend hundreds of millions on elections. Soros spends similarly on fringe groups that break windows and overturn cars. Neither really accomplishes his goals. Buffett gets what he wants. In Davos, they chug bottles of Chateau Lafite Rothschild and plot how to pillage small nations. <strong>At Berkshire, we will eat Dilly bars and plot how to pillage the middle class</strong>. Capitalism is beautiful and crony capitalism is the end product of politicians who prostitute the laws. I don’t have the power to change the current rules, but I can certainly learn to thrive within them.</p> <p>This is a long-winded way of saying that after a few years of sitting out the meeting, I’ll be there. If you want to grab a drink, email me and I’ll tell you where I am. Beer with friends is fun—free beer at someone else’s party is the true definition of value investing.</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="881" height="608" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Berkshire Hathaway Bond Davos Global Warming Value Investing Sat, 30 Apr 2016 00:01:13 +0000 Tyler Durden 530088 at What Happens If Everybody Pulls Their Money Out Of The Bank Today? <p>For every dollar that you have in the bank there is actually 0.00061 dollars available...<em><strong>in other words, there&#39;s 6 cents for every $100 dollars of deposits that you have at the bank</strong></em>.</p> <p>As <a href=";utm_medium=youtube&amp;utm_campaign=YouTube">Mike Maloney explains </a>in this brief clip, <strong>we live in an economic system that is made complicated by design</strong>. Basically, it&rsquo;s set up so most people don&rsquo;t even try to understand it.<strong><em> </em></strong></p> <p><strong><em>Got Gold?</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="270" height="158" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 23:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 530079 at Why The Hard-Sell For The "Self-Driving" Car? <p><a href=""><em>Via,</em></a></p> <p class="p2"><u><strong>Why the hard-sell for self-driving cars?</strong></u></p> <p class="p2"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 452px;" /></a></p> <p class="p2">This week, Ford and Volvo <a href="" target="_blank">announced</a> they are forming a &ldquo;coaliton&rdquo; &ndash; along with Google &ndash; to push not only for the development of self-driving cars, but for federal &ldquo;action&rdquo; (their term) to force-feed them to us.</p> <p class="p2"><u><strong><em>Why?</em></strong></u></p> <p class="p2"><u><strong>The reasons are obvious: There&rsquo;s money &ndash; and control &ndash; in it.</strong></u></p> <p class="p2">To understand what&rsquo;s going on, to grok the tub-thumping for these things, it is first of all necessary to deconstruct the terminology. The cars are <em>not</em> &ldquo;self-driving.&rdquo; This implies independence.</p> <p class="p2"><u><strong>And &ldquo;self-driving&rdquo; cars are all about <em>dependence</em>.</strong></u></p> <p class="p2">The &ldquo;self-driving&rdquo; car does what it has been programmed to do by the people who control it. Which isn&rsquo;t you or me. Instead of you controlling how fast you go, when to brake &ndash; and so on &ndash; such things will be programmed in by &hellip; <em>programmers</em>. Who will &ndash; inevitably- program in parameters <em>they</em> deem appropriate. What do you suppose those parameters will be?</p> <p class="p2">&ldquo;Safety&rdquo; will be the byword, of course.</p> <p class="p2"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 237px;" /></a></p> <p class="p2">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2"><strong>But the point being, <em>you</em> will no longer have any meaningful control over (ahem!) &ldquo;your&rdquo; car. You&rsquo;ll pay for the privilege of &ldquo;owning&rdquo; it, of course. But your &ldquo;ownership&rdquo; will not come with the right to <em>control</em> what you &ldquo;own.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p class="p2">It will be a tag-team of the government and the car companies who control (and thereby, effectively <em>own</em>) &ldquo;your&rdquo; car.</p> <p class="p2">And thereby, <em>you</em>.</p> <p class="p2"><strong>Not only will how you&nbsp;drive (well, <em>ride</em>) be under their control, they will also know <em>where</em> and <em>when</em> you go. </strong>It will be easy to keep track of you in real time, all the time. And if they decide they don&rsquo;t want you to go anywhere at all, that&rsquo;s easy, too. Just transmit the code and the car is auto-immobilized.</p> <p class="p2">You only get to go when you have their <em>permission</em> to go.<strong> It will be a very effective way of reducing those dangerous &ldquo;greenhouse gas&rdquo; emissions, for instance.</strong></p> <p class="p2"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 470px;" /></a></p> <p class="p2">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2"><strong>If this all sounds paranoid, consider the times we live in. Reflect upon what we know for a fact they are <em>already</em> doing.<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp; &nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p class="p2">For instance, making the case &ndash; in court &ndash; that we (the putative &ldquo;owners&rdquo; of &ldquo;our&rdquo; vehicles) ought to be <a href="" target="_blank">legally forbidden</a> from making any modifications to them. The argument being that such modifications could potentially affect various &ldquo;safety&rdquo; systems and they do not want to be held liable for any resultant problems that may occur.</p> <p class="p2">This argument easily scales when applied to the self-driving car, which we will be forced to trust with our lives at 70 MPH.</p> <p class="p2">For at least 30 years now &ndash; since the appearance of anti-lock brakes back in the &lsquo;80s &ndash; the focus of the car industry has been to take <em>drivers</em> and <em>driving</em> out of the equation. To idiot-proof cars. This is easier &ndash; and more profitable &ndash; than merely building cars that are fun to actually drive.</p> <p class="p2">How much profit margin has been added to a new car via (6-8) air bags? We pay more for the car, more to repair the car (and so, more to <em>insure</em> the car).</p> <p class="p2">This also scales.</p> <p class="p2"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 588px;" /></a></p> <p class="p2">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2"><strong>The technology that will be necessary to achieve the &ldquo;self-driving&rdquo; car is very elaborate and very expensive.</strong></p> <p class="p2"><strong>Thus, very <em>profitable</em>.</strong></p> <p class="p2">Which by itself would be fine&hellip; provided we could <em>choose</em>. But we will be <em>told</em>. Like we&rsquo;re told we must have 6-8 air bags and all the rest of it.</p> <p class="p2">This is the &ldquo;action&rdquo; Ford and Volvo and Google are seeking.</p> <p class="p2"><strong>I personally have no doubt that, in time, they will make it illegal to own a car that is not &ldquo;self-driving.&rdquo;</strong> Well, to actually drive the thing. Static museum displays may still be permitted.</p> <p class="p2">Tesla, the state-subsidized electric car &ndash; already has the necessary &ldquo;self-driving&rdquo; technology&nbsp;and Elon Musk is pushing it, hard. He says it&rsquo;s a gotta-have because people cannot be<em> trusted</em> to drive themselves. There&rsquo;s a clue for you as to the mindset of our masters.</p> <p class="p2">But&nbsp;the current price of the least expensive Tesla is just under $70,000.</p> <p class="p2"><u><strong>This&nbsp;is not economically viable when the average family&rsquo;s income is in the neighborhood of $50,000.</strong></u> And keep in mind, that means half the people to the <em>left</em> of average make less than $50,000.</p> <p class="p2"><strong>They cannot afford to buy <em>$25,000</em> cars.</strong></p> <p class="p2"><strong>But maybe they can afford to <em>rent</em> them.</strong></p> <p class="p2"><u><strong>This appears to be where we are headed. The perpetual rental.</strong></u> It makes sense, too &ndash; from an economic point-of-view. Why buy that which you don&rsquo;t really own because it&rsquo;s not under your control? It would be absurd to buy the bus that you ride to work in. It is arguably just as absurd to buy the car you are driven to work in, too.</p> <p class="p2"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 515px; height: 296px;" /></a></p> <p class="p2">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2"><strong>The object of this exercise appears to be perpetual debt-servitude as well as placing almost everyone fully and finally under the complete control of the powers that be. </strong>Who are no longer just the powers in <em>government</em>. The distinction between state power and corporate power is so blurry now as to be almost impossible to parse.<em><strong> The two are effectively the same thing, working hand in hand for their mutual benefit.</strong></em></p> <p class="p2">Remember <em><a href="" target="_blank">Il Duce</a></em>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p class="p2"><em>All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.</em></p> </blockquote> <p class="p2"><strong>Sadly, there is no push back. Or doesn&rsquo;t seem to be. The cattle appear to like the idea of being herded. It is depressing.</strong></p> <p class="p2">The passivity and acceptance of it all.</p> <p class="p2">Must be something in the water.</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="1374" height="1034" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Ford Google Volvo Fri, 29 Apr 2016 23:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 530073 at "There’s Some Crazy Stuff Going On In New York" As Rental Glut Finally Hits The Bottom Line <p>As a natural consequence of the Manhattan luxury real-estate slowdown that we've documented previously (<a href="">here</a> and <a href="">here</a>), REIT's that have exposure to the Big Apple are starting to feel the impact to their bottom line.</p> <p>According to <a href="">reports</a>, REIT Equity Residential, the U.S.’s biggest publicly traded multifamily landlord, fully intended to increase net effective rents in Manhattan during the first quarter, but a glut of new supply provided renters some leverage, and ultimately the company was forced to not only scrap the rent increases, <strong>but to give an estimated $600,000 in concessions in order to secure tenants, reducing growth in the area by 50 basis points.</strong></p> <p>There is one word to describe the NY rental market right now: <strong>glut</strong>.</p> <p>In March, Manhattan tenants were offered sweeteners, such as a month’s free rent or payment of broker’s fees, on 14 percent of all new leases, up from 4.8 percent a year earlier, according to a report by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Bloomberg writes that property owners had to whittle an average of 2.2 percent from their asking rents to reach a deal, as the vacancy rate rose to 2.42 percent, the highest for March in nine years of record-keeping, the firms said.</p> <p>"<strong>New York City just turned very quickly and more deeply than we expected</strong>. We had to join the concession party to close deals." Chief Operating Officer David Santee said during the Q1 earnings call, also adding that with the city accounting for 20% of the firm's revenue "if you can't achieve 3 or 4 percent rate growth here, then it's going to impact your bottom line."</p> <p>And it certainly is impacting the bottom line, as the firm <a href="">lowered</a> full year guidance for funds from operations to $3.05-$3.15 a share, down from an earlier forecast that had an upper range of $3.20. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="209" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A major culprit for the sudden cooling in the market appears to be the dropoff in well-paying, read banker, jobs and salaries: "The challenge in New York is the disparity between the luxury apartments that have been delivered and will be delivered" and the salaries paid in the city, Santee said. "There are many jobs in the $90,000 to $100,000 range, but it takes $130,000 a year in New York City to afford a one-bedroom apartment."</p> <p>Whatever the reason, EQR shares took a hit on the news.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="337" /></a></p> <p>As CFO Mark Parrell added on the call, the weaker-than-expected performance of New York City properties means the high end of the company’s original revenue guidance for the year is “unattainable.” He added that the real estate investment trust said in its earnings report that it expects revenue growth from properties open at least a year to be no higher than 5 percent, compared with the 5.25 percent upper limit it projected previously.</p> <p>The good news: “other than New York, demand is very robust,” Santee said. Alas, with <a href="">rent inflation soaring at over 8% now</a>, or 4 times higher than wage growth...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="404" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>... we doubt demand will be "very robust" for a long time.</p> <p>Meanwhile, as more than 6,700 newly built apartments in Manhattan are listed for <a href="">rent</a>, with most of the units falling in the luxury, or top 10% tier of the market, where the median rent fell 3.5% in March from a year earlier, oversupply will continue to be an issue for developers and REIT's alike. </p> <p>At Equity Residential’s Prism building, a rental-and-condo tower near Madison Square Park built in partnership with Toll Brothers Inc. and completed last year, the new owner of a condo listed it for lease at $800 less than Equity Residential’s units there, Santee said.</p> <p>"There’s some crazy stuff going on in New York" the COO concluded. We expect more "craziness" as the cooling of the entire US economy has finally entered the Tri-state area. </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="276" height="183" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Apple Big Apple New York City PrISM Real estate Fri, 29 Apr 2016 22:28:40 +0000 Tyler Durden 530089 at Italy's Bank Bailout Fund Already One Third Empty After First Bank Rescue <p>When one month ago, <a href="">Italy was scrambling </a>to unveil a "last resort" bad bank bailout fund (which eventually received the name Atlante, or Atlas, for the Titan god who was condemned to hold up the sky for eternity, only in this case he is holding up Italy's €360 billion in bad loans), many wondered why the rush? While the explicit purpose of the fund was to allow Italy to bailout insolvent banks without the involvement of the state which is expressly prohibited by the Eurozone, the scramble appeared erratic almost frentic, and was one of the reasons why Italian bank stocks tumbled in early February. </p> <p>The question: "Does someone know something?"</p> <p>It turns out the answer was yes, because as we learn today, "Atlas" is about to become the proud new owner of around 90% of Italy's Popolare di Vicenza after investors only bought a fraction of the mid-tier bank's €1.5 billion IPO, <a href="">Reuters reports</a>.&nbsp; </p> <p>Popolare di Vicenza, which was due to announce the outcome of the public share offer later on Friday, said earlier in the day that it had raised €4.25 billion, at the lower end of a 4-6 billion euro range it had initially targeted, from 67 mostly domestic financial institutions. </p> <p>And if the low take-up for the Popolare di Vicenza share sale is confirmed, Atlas is about to see nearly a third of its fire-power invested in a single bank. </p> <p>Alessandro Penati, chairman of the Quaestio investment firm which manages the fund, said Atlante would aim to sell any stake it may get in Vicenza after 18 months. Good luck with finding buyers unless the ECB is openly monetizing bank stocks by then, which at the rate Mario Draghi is going (and especially if he listens to advice from JPM) is a distinct possilbity. </p> <p>“Atlante has the financial resources to fully support Popolare Vicenza’s capital increase,” said Penati. The fund will probably buy most of the shares as institutional investors showed little interest.</p> <p>According to Reuters, it was not immediately clear whether Popolare di Vicenza, which must raise the cash to comply with capital requirements set by the European Central Bank (ECB), would have enough free float to list on the market next week as planned. The minimum free float required to list is 25 percent of the share capital, but the Milan bourse can make exceptions.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Atlas' Penati said his fund was set up as a backstop investor to avoid banks like Popolare di Vicenza being wound down and triggering a crisis for the whole industry. What he didn't say is that "backstop investor" also means owning over 90% of the bank.&nbsp; </p> <p>The fund targets an annual return of around 6 percent and will spend 70 percent of its cash to invest in cash calls at ailing banks, he said. <strong>He added that the rest would be used to buy junior tranches of bad debt from banks at a higher price than that offered by funds specialised in distressed securities, but not at book value - meaning banks would have to book further writedowns</strong>.</p> <p>Traders said that contributed to pushing bank share prices down on Friday, with UniCredit dropping 5 percent. </p> <p>One big problem for Italian banks is that they are saddled with €360 billion of NPLs but are reluctant to sell them at a discount because that would erode their capital. </p> <p>Another big problem is that the very same Atlante, announced earlier today that it has only manged to raise €4.25 billion from 67 Italian and international intuitions, a tiny fraction of what will ultimately be required.&nbsp; While analysts say Atlante should have enough money to buy between 20 billion and 35 billion euros of gross non-performing loans, for now it has about one fifth to one ninth of that amount. And as of this moment it has €1.5 billion less.</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="300" height="255" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bad Bank Book Value European Central Bank Eurozone Institutional Investors Italy non-performing loans Reuters Fri, 29 Apr 2016 21:58:13 +0000 Tyler Durden 530087 at