en Wikileaks Provides Status Update On Julian Assange And The US Election <p>Over the past week concerns mounted that in the aftermath of the surprising decision by Ecuador to cut Julian Assange's internet connection during the US election period (under pressure from John Kerry), that not all might be well with the Wikileaks founder, about whom Hillary Clinton allegedly jokingly asked whether he can be droned. Concerned speculation about the Ecuadorian embassy exile had risen to such an degree, that overnight Wikileaks announced it would provide a state update on Assange's current status. It did so moments ago on twitter when the WikiLeaks Editorial Board issued the following statement on the status of Julian Assange, Ecuador and the US election.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">WikiLeaks Editorial Board statement on the status of Julian Assange, Ecuador and the US election <a href=""></a></p> <p>— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) <a href="">October 24, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>The contents of the statement:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>On Tuesday, the government of Ecuador issued a statement saying that it had decided to not permit Mr. Assange to use the government of Ecuador's internet connection during the US election citing its policy of "non interference."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ecuador's statement also clarified that it does not seek to interfere with WikiLeaks journalistic work and that it would continue to protect Mr. Assange's asylum rights.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Assange has asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where the United Nations has ruled he has been unlawfully deprived of liberty by the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Sweden for the last six years. He has not been charged.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is the government of Ecuador's prerogative to decide how to best guard against the misinterpretation of its policies by media groups or states whilst ensuring that it protects Mr. Assange's human rights.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>WikiLeaks is a global, high volume publisher that publishes on average one million documents and associated analyses a year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>WikiLeaks publishes its journalistic work from large data centers based in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, among others. Most WikiLeaks staff and lawyers reside in the EU or the US and have not been disrupted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>WikiLeaks has never published from jurisdiction of Ecuador and has no plans to do so. Similarly Mr. Assange does not transmit US election related documents from the embassy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>WikiLeaks is entirely funded by its readers, book and film sales. Its publications are the result of its significant investigative and technological capacities.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>WikiLeaks has a perfect, decade long record for publishing only true documents. It has many thousands of sources but does not engage in collaborations with states.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Assange has not endorsed any candidate although he was happy to speak at the Green's convention due to Dr. Jill Stein's position whistleblowers, peace and war.</p> </blockquote> <p>Reading between the lines, it appears that Assange is fine, if only for the time being. </p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="945" height="635" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> France Germany Netherlands Norway Twitter Twitter United Kingdom Mon, 24 Oct 2016 00:58:56 +0000 Tyler Durden 575736 at "I Went To A Wells Fargo Branch... And This Is What Happened Next" <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Wolf Richter via,</em></a></p> <h3><strong>They have learned nothing.</strong></h3> <p>I walked into my Wells Fargo branch to put my data backup into my safe deposit box, as I&rsquo;ve been doing for a decade. This routine business turned into a wake-up call about safe deposit boxes and churned up insights into how Wells Fargo conducts&nbsp;<em>to this day</em>&nbsp;its cross-selling efforts: the algo makes them do it!</p> <p>To clarify, I&rsquo;m a happy customer. Wells Fargo handles day-to-day banking for me and my vast WOLF STREET media-mogul-empire corporation. The people are nice, and I have not yet noticed any fraudulent accounts in my name.</p> <p>It doesn&rsquo;t bother me that every time I call one of the national numbers with a problem or question, I have to swat away their offers of &ldquo;pre-approved&rdquo; credit cards, lines of credit, or other high-margin&nbsp;products. Having run a car dealership earlier in my life, I appreciate the art of aggressive cross-selling. However, we never-ever did&nbsp;it <em>over the phone!</em> We waited till we saw&nbsp;the whites of their eyes.</p> <p>Yet at the counter for safe deposit boxes, I was in for a surprise. The young man &ndash; a 30-year-old employee would have looked suspiciously over-age at that branch &ndash; checked the computer for my box number. There was a problem. He asked for my driver&rsquo;s license. He rummaged through a file cabinet, found the signature cards. He conferred with another kid. He came back, embarrassed. Turns out, the fact that I&rsquo;ve been renting the box for a decade wasn&rsquo;t in their computer system. So no-go.</p> <p><strong>I thought: That&rsquo;s how easy it is to block you from getting into your safe deposit box. </strong></p> <p>He called over a &ldquo;personal banker&rdquo; &ndash; a young woman &ndash; to &ldquo;fix&rdquo; the problem. We trotted off to her desk. She said the bank had &ldquo;updated&rdquo; its computer system. My box rental hadn&rsquo;t made it into the new version. So she got busy on her computer. Took a while. She had to set it up. There were fees and discounts to discuss. There were things I had to read, agree to, and sign. She was just about finished, when she suddenly did a mini double-take of her screen. Everything came to a halt.</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t mean to sell you anything,&rdquo; she said after a long pause, with an embarrassed smile, &ldquo;but&hellip;.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>She could see the whites of my eyes! She turned her computer screen. It&nbsp;was filled with a Wells Fargo credit card promo. You&rsquo;ve been pre-approved for this great offer, she said. &ldquo;Your credit must be really good. Not many people get this offer.&rdquo;</p> <p>An algorithm had decided it was time to cross-sell; and she <em>had to cross-sell </em>to finish her job. That credit card promo was the next step in the procedure.</p> <p>The algo that forces employees at the branch and at call centers&nbsp;to cross-sell was designed by humans, after strategic decisions had been made and funded, under the direction of top management at headquarters, such as current CEO Timothy Sloan and former CEO John Stumpf.</p> <p><u><strong>This cross-selling push is embedded in the software, is algorithm-driven, and kicks in at&nbsp;the most effective moment</strong>.</u></p> <p>Even the recent disclosures, settlements, <a href="">the keel-hauling in California</a> and other states, and further investigations have not motivated Wells Fargo to strip these algos out of its computer system. They&rsquo;re still there, working hard for your own good.</p> <p>After she got rid of that promo page, and elegantly handled another topic she wanted to cover, I was finally allowed to get into my safe deposit box.</p> <p>The next day, I received&nbsp;an email from Wells Fargo and Gallup. It asked for &ldquo;feedback&rdquo; on my &ldquo;recent Wells Fargo visit&rdquo; and offered me a chance to win $1,000.</p> <p>Now I was curious. Though I never fill out surveys, I decided to check this out.</p> <p>Up front, it asked if I spoke &ldquo;to a banker about opening a NEW account or product,&rdquo; or about one of my &ldquo;CURRENT Wells Fargo accounts or products.&rdquo; Was Wells Fargo trying to figure out if the &ldquo;banker&rdquo; did her job and pitched a new account?</p> <p>After it asked me to rate my &ldquo;overall satisfaction&rdquo; with the visit, it listed a series of questions about the <em>employee,</em> whether they did things right the first time, etc. etc. It never once asked about the <em>bank</em>, how it screwed up with the safe deposit box.</p> <p>And this: &ldquo;The employee asked questions to identify options for meeting your financial needs.&rdquo; Should I check &ldquo;strongly agree&rdquo; to help the employee out? She deserved it. She was nice. Clearly, the survey is checking on her to see if she did her job and tried to sell me something I didn&rsquo;t need or want.</p> <p><strong>Remember, I&rsquo;d gone to the branch to get into my safe deposit box, and not for retirement planning.</strong></p> <p>&ldquo;Did you visit the branch to resolve a problem or error?&rdquo; Nope. A &ldquo;problem or error&rdquo; occurred after I got there.</p> <p>&ldquo;Did you work with an employee to establish or confirm your financial priorities?&rdquo; And &ldquo;The employee provided products or services that aligned with your current financial needs.&rdquo;</p> <p>Again and again, each time couched in slightly different terms, the survey checked on the employee to see if she had been sufficiently aggressive in cross-selling.</p> <p><u><strong>The fact that surveys check to see if employees did their job in cross-selling tells me how big the pressure on them <em>still is</em>, even after all the revelations</strong>.</u></p> <p>These survey results are used to manage employees. They&nbsp;probably get them rubbed in their faces during sales meetings and in performance evaluations. They know they&rsquo;re being evaluated, not only by the algo-driven computer system at the bank, but also via customer responses, to make sure they push new accounts, credit cards, credit lines, brokerage accounts, and other products.</p> <p>This is inbred into the bank. It&rsquo;s part of its management doctrine and computer system. It&rsquo;s partnering with Gallup to accomplish this. A contract with Gallup isn&rsquo;t set up at the lower levels. And a few slaps on the wrist aren&rsquo;t going to change a whole lot. It&rsquo;s not just Wells Fargo. It&rsquo;s the industry. It&nbsp;puts banks into the same category as car dealers. So steel yourself when you deal with them (just like you would walking into a dealership).</p> <p><strong>No bank is &ldquo;so powerful as to be untouchable,&rdquo; explained California State Treasurer John Chiang. </strong><em>Read&hellip;&nbsp; <a href="">Wells Fargo Getting Clocked by California: What, No Perp-Walk?</a></em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="908" height="567" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> ETC Gallup John Stumpf Wells Fargo Mon, 24 Oct 2016 00:53:11 +0000 Tyler Durden 575712 at Why All The Yawning Over The Yuan? <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Mark St.Cyr,</em></a></p> <p>When it comes to China all the main stream media will ever cover is something in regards to a &ldquo;hot topic of the day&rdquo; brought about by either a political discourse, or some celebratory exhibition being observed within its boundaries. <em><strong>When it comes to trade, or business topics, they&rsquo;ve pretty much abandoned them in total, leaving that realm for the &ldquo;business/financial&rdquo; outlets.</strong></em></p> <p>So it&rsquo;s no wonder that when it comes to trade, or monetary issues most haven&rsquo;t a clue. However, one would think when it came to the #1 financial headline generator that had the ability to send markets plunging reminiscent of a &ldquo;Black Monday&rdquo; causing global financial panic worldwide, and triggering (the first time in history) a tripping of all three circuit breakers on the U.S.&rsquo;s major futures markets, while simultaneously causing the Federal Reserve for the first time in its history to openly state &ldquo;international developments&rdquo; as a root cause and catalyst to postpone a monetary decision that is supposedly U.S. centric only. The business/financial media would be all over it. Yet? (insert crickets here)</p> <p><strong>What is that #1 generator you might ask? Hint: The Yuan.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 324px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Except for places like <a href="">Zero Hedge</a>&trade; and a few others. When it comes to anything about China&rsquo;s latest currency devaluation (whether by design or not) one would think there was a media blackout on the subject. I find that strange only for this reason: If you remember the day you woke up in August of last year thinking &ldquo;Here we go again!&rdquo; Where some markets had plunged over 1000 points bringing back all the fears of 2007/08. The root cause of that was: the Yuan, and its sudden devaluation.</p> <p>Only after what seemed (and jawboned) like stabilization (and a note to Jim Cramer from Tim Cook on China implying &ldquo;nothing to see here, move along&rdquo; added in for extra measure) did the markets bounce back off the lows to then resume their monetary policy captured antics.</p> <p>So with that all said for context, the question must be asked: <strong>Were you aware that the <a href="">Yuan tumbled to lows</a> not seen in 6 years? Remember &ndash; in August of 2015 the Yuan went to a level that sent markets roiling globally. We&rsquo;re now well under (or above depending how you measure) that level, and falling further.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 316px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Do you think with what you now know that <em>that</em> should be a front-page headline across at least one major financial/business main stream media publication? I know I do.</p> <p>Or, is that now <em>sooooo</em> 2015? I&rsquo;m sorry, but <strong>this is not something trivial. And if you&rsquo;re in business, or of the entrepreneurial mindset &ndash; not paying attention to this matter is not an option.</strong> This is where out-of-the-blue type scenarios with tremendous repercussions such as what happened in August of last year originate, then germinate. If you want proof &ndash; just think back to that August so many would like to forget.</p> <p><strong>Now some will think &ldquo;Maybe there&rsquo;s no concern because the politburo has it under control?&rdquo;</strong> It&rsquo;s a fair response, but there&rsquo;s a problem inherent with the answer, or answers.</p> <p>First: If the Chinese are doing it in a &ldquo;controlled&rdquo; type manner, it reeks of &ldquo;currency manipulation&rdquo; tactics for others (think U.S. presidential politics as of today) to latch onto and build support, as well as strengthen a case for retaliation. i.e., placing tariffs, etc, etc.</p> <p><strong>If you think about it from the Chinese perspective: that would mean you were openly, and intentionally goading as to fuel some version of a trade, or currency war. </strong>When you come at it using that thought process; it just doesn&rsquo;t make sense. Both from a tactical standpoint, as well as political. Hence lies what maybe even a more troubling scenario. e.g., They&rsquo;ve lost control.</p> <p>The only other reason more troubling than the first &ndash; is the second. For it is here where things become quite precarious, as I&rsquo;ve stated many times: &ldquo;The currency markets are where you must keep your eyes and ears affixed. It&rsquo;s where the real games are played and won.&rdquo; And losing control of one&rsquo;s currency has implications for all others, both warranted, as well as unintended. And it seems this latter scenario might be more on point than the former.</p> <p>In just a little more than a month ago HIBOR (Honk Kong&rsquo;s overnight CNH funding rates) exploded to their highest levels since the beginning of the year. <strong>The reasoning behind this speculated by many was in direct relation to the oncoming of holidays where liquidity can become scarce.</strong> It&rsquo;s a valid point. However, there was another reason just as compelling with far more onerous tones which many failed to connect the dots to. <a href="">Here&rsquo;s how Zero Hedge explained it</a>. To wit:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;However, the most likely explanation is that in order to force Yuan shorts to capitulate as 6.70 remains just barely within reach, the PBOC is simply continuing to squeeze the yuan shorts and raising the cost of shorting yuan, as explained last week.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ultimately, the PBoC weakened its yuan fix by 169 pips to 6.6895 versus yesterday&rsquo;s 6.6726, even as many were expecting the USDCNY to finally breach the 6.70 resistance level, the defense of which may have explained today&rsquo;s aggressive spike in HIBOR tightening.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Less than a week later the above was proved out correct when the afore-mentioned HIBOR surge took place.</strong> And once again, this is where that &ldquo;second&rdquo; answer I alluded to possibly being more of the issue that the &ldquo;first&rdquo; brings with it the real concern.</p> <p>It would appear that China has been actively pursuing a currency strategy to keep sellers (i.e., shorts) at bay by any means available &ndash; no matter how dramatic. They have introduced measures which have exploded HIBOR nearly 200% in overnight trading scare tactics as to either punish, or decimate any bearish bets against anyone currently holding, and better yet, even thinking about placing on the Yuan.</p> <p><strong>The &ldquo;magical&rdquo; level implied by the politburo, which they seemed to be telegraphing in no uncertain terms, was at or about 6.70 (USD/CNH.) </strong>They&rsquo;ve held this level, or manipulated aggressive tactical repercussions to ensure a stability at this level since that fateful exhibition in last August when it was evident control was slipping at best, lost at worst.</p> <p>Since then they&rsquo;ve shown blatant disregard as to hide their involvement if it meant holding that level through their inclusion into the SDR (Special Drawing Rights basket of currencies,) as well as ahead, during, and following a G-20 meeting. Holding that 6.70 line-in-the-sand has been assumed to be paramount. Until now&hellip;.</p> <p><strong>As of this writing the current level is 6.775 and rising. </strong>At first glance that number might not look like much. But in currency markets, (especially where leverage is used in multiples that can bankrupt nations let alone &ldquo;traders&rdquo; in one fell swoop) it&rsquo;s very concerning. For it&rsquo;s far above what China has demonstrated as &ldquo;acceptable&rdquo; and could cause retaliatory measures (again out-of-the-blue) by the politburo that have rippling effects throughout the entire currency spectrum.</p> <p><u><em><strong>Which brings us back to those two troubling questions and answers: </strong></em></u><strong><em>Are we on, or about, to see a massive currency move by China as to defend its currency against the shorts? Or, has China lost control and we are on the verge of a massive devaluation with impending monetary and trade ramifications to be felt throughout the global markets?</em></strong></p> <p><u><strong>There is a &ldquo;third&rdquo; option, but I&rsquo;m sorry to say &ndash; it&rsquo;s worse that either the above. And that is, much like I&rsquo;ve stated previous about &ldquo;<a href="">weaponizing the Fed</a>&rdquo; could cause intended distresses via the monetary channel.</strong></u></p> <p><strong>China may have decided to strike first, </strong>not by intervening, rather, by something more innocuous, but just as devastating:&nbsp;<strong>By standing on the sidelines.</strong></p> <p>I&rsquo;m afraid we shall find out &ndash; much sooner than later.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="951" height="513" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> China Circuit Breakers ETC Federal Reserve Jim Cramer Monetary Policy Yuan Mon, 24 Oct 2016 00:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 575727 at A Nation Of Immigrants? <p><strong>A new billboard off interstate 35 is causing a lot of dispute among Austin&#39;s citizens</strong>. <a href="">As CBS Austin reports,</a> the advertisement hints undocumented immigrants should join the dating site to avoid deportation.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="338" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>The sign reads,<em><strong> &quot;Undocumented Immigrant? Before You Get Deported, Get a Sugar Daddy,&rdquo; </strong></em>and it is just off highway I-35 near Frontage Road.</p> <p>Jacob Webster, the online&#39;s site CMO says he<strong> decided to run the ad &ldquo;in response to Donald Trump&#39;s promise to deport all 11 million of the nation&rsquo;s undocumented immigrants.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p><em><strong>&ldquo; skews heavily towards Hispanic women, with that demo making up over 31% of all the females on our site nationally and over 53% in Austin,&rdquo;</strong></em> said Webster.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="464" scrolling="no" src=";width=500" width="500"></iframe></p> <p>The company launched back in 2009, and now has about 3.9 million members in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia.</p> <p><strong>Even though did not mean the billboard to seem racist, many are questioning the provocative message. </strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="600" height="114" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Australia Donald Trump Mon, 24 Oct 2016 00:20:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 575718 at Did The White House Just Declare War On Russia? <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Darius Shahtamasebi via,</em></a></p> <p>This past week, America&rsquo;s oldest continuously published weekly magazine, the<em> Nation,</em> asked the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">question</a>: <u><em><strong>has the White House declared war on Russia?</strong></em></u></p> <p>As the two nuclear powers sabre-rattle over conflicts within Syria, and to some extent, over the Ukrainian crisis, asking these questions to determine who will pull the trigger first has become more paramount than it was at the peak of the Cold War.</p> <p>The <em>Nation</em>&rsquo;s contributing editor, Stephen F. Cohen, reported<strong> Vice President Joe Biden&rsquo;s statement that the White House&nbsp;was preparing to send Vladimir Putin a &ldquo;message&rdquo; &mdash; most likely in the form of a cyber attack &mdash; amounted to a virtual &ldquo;American declaration of war on Russia&rdquo; in Russia&rsquo;s eyes. </strong>Biden&rsquo;s threat is reportedly in response to allegations that Russia hacked Democratic Party offices in order to disrupt the presidential election.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Chuck Todd, host of the &ldquo;Meet the Press&rdquo; on <em>NBC,&nbsp;</em><a href="" target="_blank">asked</a> Joe Biden: <em>&ldquo;Why haven&rsquo;t we sent a message yet to Putin?&rdquo;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Biden responded, <em>&ldquo;We are sending a message [to Putin]&hellip; We have a capacity to do it, and&hellip;&rdquo;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;He&rsquo;ll know it?&rdquo;</em> Todd interrupted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;He&rsquo;ll know it. It will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact,&rdquo;</em> the U.S. vice president replied.</p> </blockquote> <p>What are the effects of this kind of rhetoric when dealing with international relations? Western media decided to pay little attention to Biden&rsquo;s statements, yet his words have stunned Moscow. As reported by the <em>Nation</em>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>&ldquo;&hellip;Biden&rsquo;s statement, which clearly had been planned by the White House, could scarcely have been more dangerous or reckless &mdash; especially considering that there is no actual evidence or logic for the two allegations against Russia that seem to have prompted it.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>The statements will not come without any measured response from Russia. According to presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Russia&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">response</a> is well underway:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>&ldquo;The fact is, US unpredictability and aggression keep growing, and such threats against Moscow and our country&rsquo;s leadership are unprecedented, because the threat is being announced at the level of the US Vice President. Of course, given such an aggressive, unpredictable line, we have to take measures to protect our interests, somehow hedge the risks.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>The fact that our media refuses to pay attention to the dangers of our own establishment in sending warnings to adverse nuclear powers based on unasserted allegations shows our media is playing a very dangerous game with us &mdash; the people. This attempt to pull the wool over our eyes and prepare us for a direct confrontation with Russia can be seen clearly in the battle for Aleppo, Syria.</p> <p>As the <em>Nation</em> astutely noted:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;Only a few weeks ago, President Obama had agreed with Putin on a joint US-Russian military campaign against &lsquo;terrorists&rsquo; in Aleppo. That agreement collapsed primarily because of an</em>&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank"><em>attack</em></a><em> by US warplanes on Syrian forces. Russia and its Syrian allies continued their air assault on east Aleppo now, according to Washington and the mainstream media, against anti-Assad &lsquo;rebels.&rsquo; Where, asks Cohen, have the jihad terrorists gone? They had been deleted from the US narrative, which now accused Russia of &lsquo;war crimes&rsquo; in Aleppo for the same military campaign in which Washington was to have been a full partner.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p><strong><u>So where is this conflict headed?</u></strong> A top U.S. general, Marine General Joseph Dunford, <a href="" target="_blank">told</a> the Senate Armed Services Committee in September of this year that the enforcement of a &ldquo;no-fly zone&rdquo; in Syria would mean a U.S. war with both Syria <em>and</em> Russia. Hillary Clinton is well aware of the repercussions of this war, as she acknowledged in a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">secret speech</a> to Goldman Sachs (recently released by Wikileaks):</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;To have a no-fly zone you have to take out all of the air defense, many of which are located in populated areas. So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we&rsquo;re not putting our pilots at risk &mdash; </em><strong><em>you&rsquo;re going to kill a lot of Syrians</em></strong><em>&hellip; So all of a sudden this intervention that people talk about so glibly becomes an American and NATO involvement where you </em><strong><em>take a lot of civilians</em></strong><em>.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="315" scrolling="no" src=";show_text=0&amp;width=560" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>This is the same establishment that has been calling out Russia for allegedly committing war crimes in Aleppo even though Clinton&rsquo;s proposal would result in far more civilian deaths and likely lead to a direct war with Russia.</p> <p><strong>As the war against Syria transitions into a much wider global conflict that could include nuclear powers Russia and China, our own media is deceiving us &nbsp;by dishonestly reporting on the events leading up to the <a href="" target="_blank">activation</a> of the doomsday clock.</strong></p> <p>History doesn&rsquo;t occur in a vacuum; when the U.S. and Russia confront each other directly, it won&rsquo;t be because of a mere incident occurring in Syrian airspace.</p> <p><u><strong>It will be because the two nuclear powers have been confronting each other with little resistance from the corporate media, which keeps us well entertained and preoccupied with political&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">charades</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">celebrity gossip</a>, and&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">outright propaganda</a>.</strong></u></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="471" height="321" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> China Cohen goldman sachs Goldman Sachs Joe Biden Meet The Press NBC President Obama Vladimir Putin White House Sun, 23 Oct 2016 23:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 575731 at Paul Volcker Explains Why The Fed Can't Raise Rates <p>In an op-ed posted by <a href="">Paul Volcker and Peter Peterson in the NYT, </a>the two financial titans start off by pointing out just how "strange" the current presidential campaign is in its historical context...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Together, the two of us have 179 years of life experience and 13 grandchildren. We have served presidents of both parties. We have seen more campaign seasons than we care to count — but none as strange as this one. Insults, invective and pandering have been poor substitutes for serious debate about the direction in which this country is going — or should be going. And a sound and sustainable fiscal structure is a key ingredient of any viable economic policy. </p> </blockquote> <p>... but the main issue that troubles the two financial titans, is the lack of any practical discussion of the soaring US debt during the entire bizarre campaign - the one issue both agree is the biggest challenge facing the US economy today:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Yes, this country can handle the nearly $600 billion federal deficit estimated for 2016. But the deficit has grown sharply this year, and will keep the national debt at about 75 percent of the gross domestic product, a ratio not seen since 1950, after the budget ballooned during World War II. Long-term, that continued growth, driven by our tax and spending policies, will create the most significant fiscal challenge facing our country<strong>. The widely respected Congressional Budget Office has estimated that by midcentury our debt will rise to 140 percent of G.D.P., far above that in any previous era, even in times of war.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>That staggering number has been ignored by most, and certainly the Obama administration, which has been glad to take credit for a sputtering "recovery" while ignore what caused it.</p> <p> Unfortunately for Obama, just last week it was revealed that none other than the chair of the Democratic Party, Donna Brazile, was "peddling fiction" <a href="">when the head of the DNC admitted </a>to John Podesta that the "<strong>people are more in despair about how things are - yes new jobs but they are low wage jobs... HOUSING is a huge issue. Most people pay half of what they make to rent.</strong>”</p> <p>While the reality of the recovery was set to emerge sooner or later, the US debt continues to grow, and as of Friday hit an all time high of<strong> <a href="">19,785,585,189,878.12</a>, just $214 billion away from a nice, round $30 trillion</strong>, nearly doubling under President Obama, and worse: starting to accelerate again, despite the lack of any apparent economic crisis that demand a surge in debt issuance. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="301" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Back to the Volcker-Peterson lament, in which the two points out that "unfortunately, despite a brief discussion during the final presidential debate, neither candidate has put forward a convincing plan to restrain the growth of the national debt in the decades to come.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Throughout the campaign, Donald J. Trump has called for a combination of deep tax cuts that appear to far exceed proposed spending reductions, at the clear risk of substantially increasing the ratio of debt to G.D.P. Hillary Clinton has set out more balanced and detailed proposals, but they would still fail to stabilize and reduce our debt burden. Whoever wins, <strong>the new president will eventually face fiscal realities that force him or her to develop strategies for decreasing the national debt as a share of the economy over the long term.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Still, one can't really blame the government for continuing its debt-funded spending spree - despite protests to the contrary - after all rates are so low, it would be irrational not to take advantage and add on more debt. However, it is here that the punchline from the Volcker op-ed kicks in, and explains why the Fed is stuck and will find it next to impossible to hike rates:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Our current debt may be manageable at a time of unprecedentedly low interest rates. But if we let our debt grow, and interest rates normalize, the interest burden alone would choke our budget and squeeze out other essential spending. There would be no room for the infrastructure programs and the defense rebuilding that today have wide support.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>And there you have it: with debt continuing to soar, growing by the <a href="">third highest amount on record</a> in fiscal 2016...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="295" /></a></p> <p>...all that would take for US interest expense to spiral out of control is a spike in debt servicing costs, i.e., interest. But that's not all: US government debt is just a tiny fraction of total US liabilities and future obligations. How tiny? As the following chart from Bridgewater shows, <strong>it is less than 10% of the massive stack of US obligations that amount to well over 1,100% of GDP! </strong></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="384" /></a></p> <p>So, yes: a practical person may be forgiven for wondering just what will happen to the roughly $200 trillion in total US obligations as rates start creeping higher, especially since that "creep" is not due to actual economic growth (see the Brazile quote above and more or less every article we have written since 2009), but due to the Fed desire to <em>once again </em>telegraph that it believes the US recovery has arrived (as it did in December 2015 only to admit it was dead wrong half a year later).</p> <p>So what happens next? Well, in a world of rising rates and soaring debt... nothing good. Back to the Op-Ed:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>It’s not just federal spending that would be squeezed. The projected rise in federal deficits would compete for funds in our capital markets and far outrun the private sector’s capacity to save, to finance industry and home purchases, and to invest abroad. <strong>Instead, we’d be dependent on foreign investors’ acquiring most of our debt — making the government dependent on the “kindness of strangers” who may not be so kind as the I.O.U.s mount up. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We can’t let that happen — not if we want an America that is able to provide growth and stability at home while maintaining global leadership. <strong>We would risk returning with a vengeance to stagflation — the ugly combination of inflation and economic stagnation that we tasted in the 1970s</strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p>Are the any solutions? Well, according to the authors, "the solutions are clear enough" - they are just unpleasant. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong> A realistic approach toward the major entitlement programs is required, </strong>given that they are projected to account for all of the growth of future noninterest spending. We should make gradual adjustments to the Social Security system that still maintain present benefit levels for those at or near retirement, with particular attention to those most in need. Our health care systems can be made more efficient, with better approaches toward cost control. Since health care represents 70 percent of the growth of our major entitlement programs over the next 30 years, bending the cost curve is essential to the long-term well-being of our economy. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It’s no secret that our federal tax system is broken — unfair, inefficient and prone to political manipulation. It’s filled with exclusions, deductions, exemptions and preferential rates — so-called tax expenditures — that are ripe for reform. Those policies cost about $1.5 trillion each year and disproportionately benefit the well off. Tax reform could provide better incentives for economic growth, while raising more revenue, even as the code is simplified. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>But we face an immutable fact. Fair and responsible reforms will take years to implement. And businesses and individuals will need time to adjust.</strong> Delaying action now will make the needed changes only more painful and difficult later on, while also increasing the risk of financial crisis before the reforms are even made. That is why the real debate should begin immediately. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Yet at the final presidential debate, both candidates missed the opportunity to clearly lay out their visions for a fiscally responsible, long-term future for our country. There’s still time to solve this problem. But our next president needs to show leadership in the first months.</p> </blockquote> <p>Well yes, nothing serious was touched upon in the debate, but then again the American people no longer care about serious things. Instead they are far more fascinated by whether Trump is a Putin spy, or if Hillary will revert to the TPP as soon as she becomes president and the next check from Malaysia clears. </p> <p>As for Volcker and Peterson, they personally have nothing to worry about: "At our age, neither of us will personally suffer from a failure to act. <strong>It is those with long lives ahead — grandchildren and great-grandchildren — who deserve the benefit of prospering in a nation with sound finances</strong>. Take some advice from two observers who have been around for a while: The long term gets here before you know it."</p> <p>Sadly, nobody <strong>ever </strong>won a US election by focuing on what is truly important, and thus <em>painful: </em>case in point - <strong>Ron Paul. </strong>As for the broader American population, it is about to get the president it truly deserves, be it Trump or Hillary: those who routinely ignore the important, and focus on the trivial. </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="1090" height="838" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bridgewater Capital Markets Congressional Budget Office Fail Federal Deficit Federal Tax Finance Industry Gross Domestic Product National Debt None Obama Administration Paul Volcker President Obama Reality recovery Ron Paul SPY Stagflation Sun, 23 Oct 2016 23:18:16 +0000 Tyler Durden 575732 at Losses Hurt More Than Gains <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Adam Taggart via,</em></a></p> <p><strong>As biological organisms, humans are motivated by pain and pleasure.</strong></p> <p>But interestingly, while we tend to think of these as equal motivators, they aren&#39;t. <strong>We humans are wired to be more risk averse than pleasure-seeking</strong>. As the works of&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Nobel recipient&nbsp;Daniel Kahneman</a> explained:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Humans may be hardwired to be loss averse due to asymmetric evolutionary pressure on gains and losses. For an organism operating close to the edge, the loss of a day&#39;s food could amount to death, while the gain of an extra days food could lead to increased comfort but (unless it could be costlessly stored) would not lead to a corresponding increase in life expectancy.</p> </blockquote> <p>And through the related findings of <a href="" target="_blank">Prospect Theory</a>, we actually know how much more we hate losses than we like gains. <strong>About twice as much:</strong></p> <p class="rtecenter"><strong><img src="" style="width: 400px; height: 323px;" /></strong></p> <p>The short video below uses these insights to deliver a simple message: <strong><em>In today&#39;s over-inflated, over-leveraged, over-manipulated markets, why on earth would a rational person not be prioritizing protecting their financial wealth?</em></strong></p> <p>Given the outsized risks, as well as our natural programming to feel losses more severely, <strong>pursuing incremental gains at this point is downright dangerous if one doesn&#39;t already have a contingency plan in place for a market downturn.</strong></p> <p>While most readers already appreciate this message, there are many people out there who are still simply following the herd. We created this video for each of you to share with anyone you know who might benefit from a brief but direct &quot;wake up call&quot;.</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="286" height="173" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Sun, 23 Oct 2016 22:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 575730 at Did AT&T Just Signal The Top? <p>The last time Time-Warner was involved in a mega merger was January 2000, when AOL acquired the company for $182 billion in what was the mega deal of the last tech bubble, creating a $350 billion behemoth... which nearly dragged down both companies a few years later.<strong> The timing could not have been more perfect as it marked the tech bubble top...</strong></p> <p><img src="" width="600" height="315" /></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Will it happen again?</strong></span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>AT&amp;T Inc., in addition to announcing its $85.4 billion deal to buy Time Warner Inc., reported its third-quarter financial results Saturday, which <strong>provided a view into the reasons why the company is seeking to diversify away from the U.S. wireless business.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>In the U.S., AT&amp;T lost 268,000 mainstream wireless phone customers.</strong> Phone additions are considered important because they provide more service revenue than tablets, and customers with postpaid phone accounts tend to stay longer. Including other devices, AT&amp;T added a total of 212,000 mainstream wireless customers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In all, <strong>AT&amp;T's total wireless revenues dipped 0.7%, to $18.2 billion</strong>, which the company blamed on decreases in service and equipment revenue.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The results came three days early as AT&amp;T also announced on Saturday its agreement to buy Time Warner Inc. The cash-and-stock deal values Time Warner -- owner of CNN, TNT, HBO and the Warner Bros. film and TV studio, among other things -- at $107.50 a share and transforms AT&amp;T into a media giant.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The Time Warner deal is seen helping AT&amp;T potentially find new areas of growth as its core wireless business has become saturated and its share of the mobile market leaves little room for acquisitions.</strong> In the competitive consumer wireless market, AT&amp;T has been focused on retaining its most profitable customers and shying away from promotional offers to grab market share.</p> </blockquote> <p>So, once again <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>it appears 'mega-mergers' are the last best hope<br /> of management to distract an anxious investor base as organic growth<br /> begins to decline.</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="961" height="505" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Market Share Time Warner Sun, 23 Oct 2016 22:20:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 575722 at New Podesta Email Exposes Dem Playbook For Rigging Polls Through "Oversamples" <p>Earlier this morning we wrote about the obvious sampling bias in the latest ABC / Washington Post poll that showed a 12-point national advantage for Hillary.&nbsp; Like many of the recent polls from Reuters, ABC and The Washington Post, this latest poll included a <a href="">9-point sampling bias toward registered democrats</a>.&nbsp; </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"METHODOLOGY – This ABC News poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Oct. 20-22, 2016, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 874 likely voters. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are <strong>36-27-31 percent, Democrats - Republicans - Independents</strong>."</p> </blockquote> <p>Of course, while democrats may enjoy a slight registration advantage of a couple of points, it is no where near the 9 points reflected in this latest poll.&nbsp; </p> <p>Meanwhile, we also pointed out that with huge variances in preference across demographics one can easily "rig" a poll by over indexing to one group vs. another.&nbsp; As a quick example, the ABC / WaPo poll found that Hillary enjoys a 79-point advantage over Trump with black voters.&nbsp; Therefore, <strong>even a small "oversample" of black voters of 5% could swing the overall poll by 3 full points</strong>.&nbsp; Moreover, the pollsters don't provide data on the demographic mix of their polls which makes it impossible to "fact check" the bias...convenient.</p> <p><img src="" alt="ABC Poll" width="500" height="491" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Now, for all of you out there who still aren't convinced that the polls are rigged, we present to you the following <a href="">Podesta email</a>, leaked earlier today, that conveniently spells out, in startling detail, exactly how to rig them.&nbsp; The email starts out with a request for <strong>recommendations on "oversamples for polling" in order to "maximize what we get out of our media polling."</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><em>I also want to get your Atlas folks to <strong>recommend oversamples for our polling</strong> before we start in February. By market, regions, etc. I want to get this all compiled into one set of recommendations <strong>so we can maximize what we get out of our media polling.</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>The email even includes a handy, 37-page guide with the following poll-rigging recommendations.&nbsp; <strong>In Arizona, over sampling of Hispanics and Native Americans is highly recommended:</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><em>Research, microtargeting &amp; polling projects</em><br /><em>-&nbsp; <strong>Over-sample Hispanics</strong></em><br /><em>-&nbsp; Use Spanish language interviewing. (Monolingual Spanish-speaking voters are among the lowest turnout Democratic targets)</em><br /><em>-&nbsp; <strong>Over-sample the Native American population</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>For Florida, the report recommends <strong>"consistently monitoring" samples to makes sure they're "not too old" and "has enough African American and Hispanic voters."</strong>&nbsp; Meanwhile, "independent" voters in Tampa and Orlando are apparently more dem friendly so the report suggests filling up independent quotas in those cities first.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><em>-&nbsp; <strong>Consistently monitor the sample to ensure it is not too old</strong>, and that it <strong>has enough African American and Hispanic voters </strong>to reflect the state.</em><br /><em>-&nbsp; On Independents: <strong>Tampa and Orlando are better persuasion targets than north or south Florida </strong>(check your polls before concluding this). If there are budget questions or oversamples, <strong>make sure that Tampa and Orlando are included first.</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, it's suggested that national polls over sample <strong>"key districts / regions" and "ethnic" groups "as needed."</strong><em><br /></em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><em>-&nbsp; General election benchmark, 800 sample, with <strong>potential over samples in key districts/regions</strong></em><br /><em>-&nbsp; Benchmark polling in targeted races, with <strong>ethnic over samples as needed</strong></em><br /><em>-&nbsp; Targeting tracking polls in key races, with <strong>ethnic over samples as needed</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p><em><strong><br /></strong></em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Oversample" width="600" height="1110" /></a></p> </blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And that's how you manufacture a 12-point lead for your chosen candidate and effectively chill the vote of your opposition.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">Here is the full report of "Polling &amp; Media Recommendations" from "The Atlas Project."</a></p> <p><iframe src=";view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-iOOHBZyaFDpMLDz1xn8e&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%" height="600" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></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="900" height="718" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> ABC News Demographics ETC Florida Reuters Sun, 23 Oct 2016 21:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 575726 at Prepare For The Unthinkable <p><em><a href="">Submitted by EconomicPrism&#39;s MN Gordon</a>, <a href="">annotated by Acting-Man&#39;s Pater Tenebrarum,</a></em></p> <h3><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Red Ink</strong></span></h3> <p>Growth and profits mask a variety of problems.&nbsp; They hide business inefficiencies and the money suck of corporate <em>adminis-trivia</em>.&nbsp; They also conceal unproductive staff.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="leap" class="aligncenter wp-image-47557" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 492px;" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">The final career leap</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>But most of all growth and profits obscure the extreme value subtracting forces of bloated management teams.&nbsp;</strong> During good times it is unclear what these smug fellows do.&nbsp; During bad times it is lucidly clear that most of them ain&rsquo;t worth a darn.</p> <p>When the profits inevitably recede, the senior executives, with their silly 24 point project reviews and cumbersome project execution requirements, appear lost.&nbsp; They&rsquo;re left exposed, with their pants down, and without a clue in the world as to what business it is they&rsquo;re actually in.&nbsp; What the heck have they been doing all this time?</p> <p>Where does the money come from?&nbsp; How is it spent?&nbsp; Over time, and in the absence of a watchful eye, the rising tide of growth gradually submerses the answers to these questions.</p> <p><strong>Then, when the answers are needed most, it is too late.&nbsp; </strong>While management was busy developing mindless risk management protocols and clumsy 9 step work flow approval processes the answers had drowned.&nbsp; But instead of drowning under the rising tide of growth, they&rsquo;d sunk below a hemorrhaging sea of red ink.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="&quot;What if we don't change at all ... and something magical just happens?&quot;" class="aligncenter wp-image-47558" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 486px;" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">If all else fails, there&rsquo;s always magic&hellip;</p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h3><u><strong>Rotund and Heavy</strong></u></h3> <p><strong>Unquestionably,&nbsp;<a href="">nothing fails like success</a>.&nbsp;</strong> A long run of business success can lead to complacency.&nbsp; It can also lead to making hasty entries into new markets to the detriment of existing core markets.</p> <p>At some point, usually after success compels management to do foolish things, the gods stop smiling rays of sunshine down upon a company&rsquo;s balance sheet.&nbsp; Shortly after, the losses pile up like dead wood in an overgrown forest.&nbsp; One spark and the swollen salaries and bonuses disappear in a blazing inferno.</p> <p><strong>Economies, like corporations, also grow rotund and heavy.&nbsp;</strong> In particular, their bellies blow out after a lengthy run of growth and development.&nbsp; Making things worse is the fact that an advanced economy can rest on its laurels, and accrued capital, for an extended period.</p> <p>But as the currency&rsquo;s debased, the society&rsquo;s also debased in lockstep.&nbsp; Before you know it the Presidential election has become an outright mockery of the democratic process.&nbsp; <strong>In effect, it becomes a grotesque reflection of a disfigured populace.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="1-chart-of-the-day-silver-roman-coins-may-2011" class="aligncenter wp-image-47555 size-full" height="422" src="" width="608" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">We have seen it all before. Back when the Roman Denarius still contained nearly 100% silver, the Roman Empire had just passed its peak in many respects, a highly advanced and powerful civilization. As Rome&rsquo;s emperors began to debase the coin of the realm, they unwittingly debased <em>everything</em>. The accumulated capital (in every conceivable sense of the word) of their forebears allowed them to muddle on for a very long time. But the riches evaporated&hellip; morals and morale increasingly crumbled&hellip; and eventually, the once great empire itself crumbled.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>You know the decline is well underway when all respect for the practical limits of government and the judicious use of common sense, and a light touch, to govern the affairs of the people has been lost.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s about the time political graft and corruption become the dominant operating model.</strong></p> <p>In the later stages of degradation, how to federally regulate the use of public restrooms for those conflicted with the sex designation on their birth certificate becomes the central focus of popular discourse.</p> <p>The point is, <strong>miracle economies always lose their magic sooner or later.&nbsp;</strong> The luster fades.&nbsp; And growth dissipates beneath a series of <strong>irrational and intolerable raids by the treasury upon the common man</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3><u><strong>Prepare for the Unthinkable</strong></u></h3> <p><strong>In the United States, and the world, the great economic growth miracle peaked over 40 years ago.</strong>&nbsp; Here we turn to the&nbsp;<a href="">Wall Street Journal</a>&nbsp;for edification.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;The quarter-century from 1948 to 1973 was the most striking stretch of economic advance in human history.&nbsp; In the span of a single generation, hundreds of millions of people were lifted from penury to unimagined riches.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>At the start of this extraordinary time, 2 million mules still plowed furrows on U.S. farms, Spanish homemakers needed ration books to buy olive oil, and in Tokyo, an average of three people had to cook, eat, relax and sleep in an area the size of a parking space.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Within a few years, tens of millions of families had bought their own homes, high-school education had become universal, and a raft of government social programs had created an unprecedented sense of financial security.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Alas, that sense of financial security has been a mirage.&nbsp;</strong> In the early 1970s, when the quarter-century of economic advancement stalled out, something else happened.&nbsp; About this time the dollar&rsquo;s last ties with gold were unconditionally severed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Nixon&rsquo;s infamous &ldquo;temporary&rdquo; gold default &ndash; it paved the way for the greatest credit bubble the world has ever seen.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Since then, public and private debts have exploded.&nbsp;</strong> What&rsquo;s more, as debt has increased, it has been at a declining and diminishing economic return.&nbsp; Debt&rsquo;s gone up.&nbsp; GDP&rsquo;s gone down.</p> <p>In practice, over the last 40 years the deception of funny money and rapid credit creation is what kept the illusion of growth and prosperity alive.&nbsp;<strong> But over the last 8 years that illusion has been shattered by the following realities:</strong></p> <p><u><em><strong>Oceans of red ink.&nbsp; An over indebted economy.&nbsp; A debauched currency.&nbsp; A debased culture.&nbsp; A despoiled political process.&nbsp; Criminal leaders.&nbsp; Budding civil unrest.&nbsp; And much, much more.</strong></em></u></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="2-debt-and-gdp" class="aligncenter wp-image-47556" height="362" src="" width="640" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Nixon&rsquo;s gold default and its aftermath. We have muddled on for a long time&hellip; &ndash; click to enlarge.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Obviously, something&rsquo;s gotta give.</strong>&nbsp; Like a management team that has driven its operation into the ditch, an entire housecleaning&rsquo;s in order.</p> <p><strong>Welcome to France circa 1788.</strong>&nbsp; The unthinkable is about to happen.&nbsp; Have you&nbsp;<a href="">stocked your provisions</a>&nbsp;for the long winter ahead?</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="206" height="140" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Corruption default France Risk Management Roman Empire Wall Street Journal Sun, 23 Oct 2016 21:20:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 575728 at