en Nunes Refuses To Share His Intel Source With Other Committee Members <p>In the latest bizarre twist surrounding the Devin Nunes story involving "mysterious" sources at the White House, who disclosed to the republican chair of the House Intelligence Committee that the NSA had been surveilling Trump and/or members of his team, Nunes <a href=";feedName=politicsNews&amp;utm_source=Twitter&amp;utm_medium=Social">said on Tuesday he will not share </a>- <strong>even with other members of his panel </strong>- the source that gave him the intelligence reports which indicated President Donald Trump and his associates may have been ensnared in incidental intelligence collection.</p> <p>Asked by a Fox News reporter whether he would inform the other committee members about who gave him the reports he viewed on the White House grounds last week, Nunes said: "<strong>We will never reveal those sources and methods</strong>."</p> <p>In other words either Nunes is concerned that the source might be in jeopardy should his ID be revealed to members of his own committee, or the source - as some have suggested - is the White House itself, or there is some even more troubling explanation why the House Intel Chief has taken it on himself to be the sole gatekeeper to the critical information. </p> <p>In any case, on Monday Nunes told Bloomberg he would make his information available to other members of the committee by the end of the week, so we eagerly look forward to that.</p> <p>Meanwhile, after numerous Democrats including Chuck Schumer and his colleague at the House Intel Committeee, Adam Schiff, had called on Nunes to recuse himself from the Russian investigation, the first Republican to join the Democrats, emerged when Rep. Walter Jones told The Hill that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes should "absolutely" recuse himself from his panel's investigation into Russia's meddling in last year’s election. </p> <p>Jones, a member of the House Armed Services Committee who frequently bucks leadership, is the first Republican in Congress to call on Nunes to step aside.</p> <p>"How can you be chairman of a major committee and do all these things behind the scenes and keep your credibility? You can't keep your credibility," Jones said just off the House floor. </p> <p>“If anything has shown that we need a commission, this has done it by the way he has acted. That's the only way you can bring integrity to the process. The integrity of the committee looking into this has been tainted." </p> <p>Jones is the only Republican co-sponsor on a measure from Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) that would establish an independent commission to probe Russian interference in the U.S. election.&nbsp; </p> <p>Nunez on Tuesday brushed aside calls to recuse himself, asking why he should.</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="703" height="367" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Congress Democrats Devin Nunes Donald Trump Donald Trump Fox News House Intelligence Committee Judicial disqualification Nunes Politics Politics Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Services Committee United States United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence White House White House Tue, 28 Mar 2017 21:06:06 +0000 Tyler Durden 591931 at And Now Fake Consumer Confidence Too: Gallup Says Confidence In The Economy "Tumbled" <p>It appears we can now add "consumer confidence" to fake news trash heap. </p> <p>Roughly at the same time as the allegedly apolitical Conference Board <a href="">reported the highest consumer confidence </a>print in 17 years...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="502" height="265" /></a></p> <p>... not to mention the <a href="">most optimistic outlook on stocks since 2 months </a>before the dot com bubble burst, a very different number emerged from a similar poll by Gallup.</p> <p>First, a reminder of what the Conf. Board <a href="">said this morning</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>“<strong>Consumer confidence increased sharply in March to its highest level since December 2000 </strong>(Index, 128.6),” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions improved considerably. Consumers also expressed much greater optimism regarding the short-term outlook for business, jobs and personal income prospects. <strong>Thus, consumers feel current economic conditions have improved over the recent period, and their renewed optimism suggests the possibility of some upside to the prospects for economic growth in the coming months</strong>.”&nbsp; </p> </blockquote> <p>The result was based on a random survey of 3,000 people in the latest month. </p> <p>Meanwhile, in the week of March 20-26, <a href=";utm_medium=email&amp;utm_content=morelink&amp;utm_campaign=syndication">Gallup surveyed a random group </a>of (supposedly different) 3,547 adults, and found something completely different, namely that </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"<strong>Americans' confidence in the U.S. economy tumbled along with the Dow Jones industrial average last week. </strong>Though still in positive territory, Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index (ECI) dropped six points to a score of +5 for the week ending March 26. <strong>This is the lowest weekly average since the presidential election in November.</strong>"</p> </blockquote> <p><img src="" alt="chart 1" width="501" height="318" /></p> <p>How is this divergence possible? Simple: Gallup actually admits the reflexive nature of the primary driver of "confidence", the stock market... the same stock market which according to headlines on CNBC and elsewhere jumped today because consumer confident rose. "Americans' falling confidence in the economy may be tied to events in Washington and on Wall Street. <strong>Last week, the Dow logged its worst week since September as congressional Republicans ultimately failed to vote on legislation that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act."</strong></p> <p>That, however, is hardly the entire story, because confidence waned prior to the effort to replace the ACA dying in Congress on Friday. "This suggests that the broader GOP infighting earlier in the week, rather than the decision to pull the bill itself, may have been a factor, in addition to the market's poor performance."</p> <p>And yet, none of this decline was captured by the Conference Board, almost as if it serves a specific political, or maybe market manipulating purpose.</p> <p>As Gallup also adds, confidence did not drop evenly across party lines. <strong>Rank-and-file Republicans became significantly less confident in the economy last week, with their index score falling to a still-robust +42 from +52 the week before. Independents, </strong>too, lost confidence, with their score retreating back into negative territory to -1 from +6 the previous week. <strong>Democrats' confidence in the economy changed little, with their current -20 score similar to the -18 they had in the week prior</strong>.</p> <p>That was not all: Americans' assessments of current economic conditions took a seven-point hit for the week ending March 26 after reaching a high of +17 in the prior week. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>This loss marked the largest drop for this component since the federal government shutdown in October 2013</strong></span>. </p> <p>The current +10 score is the result of 32% of Americans rating the economy "excellent" or "good," and 22% rating it "poor." This collapse in current economic conditions was strangely missing from the group of 3,000 adults polled by Nielsen which does the Conference Board surveys. </p> <p>Meanwhile, Gallup's economic outlook component of the ECI fell five points, but <strong>enough to send this component back into the negative territory for the first time since the election</strong>. Americans' economic outlook had already dropped significantly in March. The current -1 score is the result of 46% of Americans saying the economy is "getting better," and 47% saying it is "getting worse."</p> <p><img src="" alt="chart 2" width="501" height="351" /></p> <p><strong>The Gallup bottom line:</strong> "A rocky week on Wall Street may have hurt Americans' confidence in the economy's health. The failure of Republicans to repeal the ACA didn't seem to immediately affect confidence further, at least in the short term. However, if losses on Wall Street continue this week, the situation may contribute to further erode confidence in the coming days. If confidence does fall more, it may result in Americans' net evaluation of the economy growing more negative than positive for the first time since the election.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Donald Trump's election spurred a renewed level of confidence among his fellow Republicans, which boosted the overall average for the index into positive territory. <strong>But, if his supporters perceive that the promises he made during the campaign are not being kept, or if Republicans lose faith in Trump's negotiating prowess, the party rank and file could become further depressed</strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p>So which data is right: the Conference Board's surge to near record highs, or Gallup's "plunge" to the lowest of Trump's tenure? Frankly, at this point, with every other piece of (fake) news, data and analysis having the same credibility, what difference does it make...</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="570" height="362" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Conference Board Conference Board Congress Consumer Consumer Confidence Consumer confidence Consumer confidence index Donald Trump Dow 30 Dow Jones Industrial Average Dow Jones Industrial Average Economic indicators Economy Economy of the United States federal government Gallup Gallup headlines Market Conditions Nielsen None Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Personal Income Politics Polling Republican Party Republicans United States Tue, 28 Mar 2017 20:53:18 +0000 Tyler Durden 591929 at RBOB Tumbles After Lower Than Expected Gasoline Draw <p>After an early spike on Libya production fears and OPEC production cut extension hope, WTI and RBOB faded all day on dollar strength ahead of the API data. The trend of <strong>builds in Crude and draws in gasoline and distillates continued</strong> but the <strong>gasoline draw was notably less than expected</strong> and has sparked selling in RBOB.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>API</strong></span></p> <ul> <li>Crude +1.91mm (+2mm exp)</li> <li>Cushing -576k</li> <li>Gasoline -1.104mm (-2mm exp)</li> <li>Distillates -2.035mm</li> </ul> <p>Cushing saw a draw for the first time in 5 weeks but crude builds continued their streak. The most notable print was lower than expected gasoline draw...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 317px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The kneejerk reaction was selling in RBOB after a smaller than expected draw...</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 369px;" /></p> <p>According to James Williams, economist at London, Arkansas-based energy-research firm WTRG Economics:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;T<strong>he normal spring maintenance season switch to summer blend of gasoline always puts upward pressure on crude,</strong>... Every spring, the market seems to wonder if we are going to have enough gasoline for summer&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1729" height="1063" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> API Benchmark Business Commodity markets Crude Distillates Economy Energy Gasoline Oil fields Oil megaprojects OPEC OPEC Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries Petroleum Petroleum industry Price of oil Pricing World oil market chronology from Tue, 28 Mar 2017 20:38:29 +0000 Tyler Durden 591928 at Americans, Once Known For Their Optimism, Are Losing Hope <p><a href=""><em>Authored by John Mauldin via,</em></a></p> <p><strong>Angst is &ldquo;a feeling of anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity.&rdquo; Many of us feel it acutely right now&mdash;and that&rsquo;s new.</strong> Angst isn&rsquo;t a temporary, individual thing anymore. Now we all feel it together&mdash;or at least most of us do&mdash;and it&rsquo;s not at all temporary.</p> <p><a href="">I&rsquo;ve touched on this before</a>, but it&rsquo;s no wonder that so much of our angst is job-related. Some people don&rsquo;t have jobs at all. While many others don&rsquo;t like the jobs they have. <strong>The millions of <a href="">unemployed, underemployed, or unhappily employed</a> touch all of us in some way.</strong></p> <p>If our nation&rsquo;s work rate today were back up to its start-of-the-century high, well over 10 million more Americans would now have paying jobs. And that employment shortfall makes a real difference to the growth of the economy.</p> <p><u><strong>There Are Only Two Ways to Grow the Economy</strong></u></p> <p>You either have to grow the number of people working. Or you have to increase their productivity. <strong>If you remove 10 million American workers from the labor force, not only are they not producing anything, the vast majority of them are clearly consuming the fruits of the labor of those who are employed.</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">The number of people dropping out of the labor force is increasing</a>.</strong> If that trend is not turned around, the hope that we will get back to 3% GDP growth is just wishful thinking.</p> <p>Couple that trend with reduced productivity, and we will be lucky to see even 2% growth for the rest of the decade. If we have a recession, we will end up with a lower GDP than we have today.</p> <p><strong>Think about that. And then plug it into federal budget projections.</strong></p> <p><u><strong>Employers Lack Qualified Workforce</strong></u></p> <p><strong>Meanwhile, employers feel a different kind of angst. </strong><a href="">Many either can&rsquo;t find qualified workers</a> or their workers require constant attention and extensive training to be productive. Neither side of the labor-management divide is happy with the arrangements.</p> <p>Everybody is apprehensive about the future. The common complaint from businessmen is not that they need more capital and the ability to borrow money from banks. But that they need more good workers in order to attract more good customers.</p> <p><u><strong>The Result Is Trump</strong></u></p> <p><strong>This widespread angst among employers, employees, and those who aren&rsquo;t working is one big reason Donald Trump is now president.</strong></p> <p><a href="">He paid attention to a large group of voters that others ignored</a>, spoke to their anxieties, and won the White House. It was not simply working-class white males that he appealed to.</p> <p>That is far too simplistic an analysis. It was also their bosses, spouses, parents, and friends.</p> <p><strong>A huge swath of the country was experiencing a yawning disconnect between the reality of their daily lives and the supposedly growing economy touted by politicians and media pundits.</strong></p> <p><a href="">We focus on the anxiety of the white working-class male</a>, but I challenge you to find me an identity group that isn&rsquo;t anxious and concerned that things aren&rsquo;t heading in the right direction.</p> <p>American culture used to be known for its optimism. Its can-do spirit. That quality hasn&rsquo;t vanished. But it has surely lost some of its luster this century. <a href="">You can see it fading in the statistics about the number of new business startups</a>, which is now less than the number of businesses closing down.</p> <p><strong>And that trend has been in place for almost a decade.</strong></p> <p>The hope that the situation was temporary probably let people tolerate much worse conditions than they should have.<strong> <a href="">But you can only look on the bright side so long</a> before you get tired of waiting.</strong></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><em>Get a Bird&rsquo;s-Eye View of the Economy with John Mauldin&rsquo;s Thoughts from the Frontline. This wildly popular newsletter by celebrated economic commentator, John Mauldin, is a must-read for informed investors who want to go beyond the mainstream media hype and find out about the trends and traps to watch out for. Join hundreds of thousands of fans worldwide, as John uncovers macroeconomic truths in Thoughts from the Frontline. <a href="">Get it free in your inbox every Monday.</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="808" height="506" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Donald Trump Economic growth Economy Labor Reality Recession Social justice Underemployment Unemployment White House White House Tue, 28 Mar 2017 20:25:06 +0000 Tyler Durden 591911 at Biggest VIX Crash Since Election Saves Dow From Worst Losing Streak In 39 Years <p>Consumer Confidence soaring, expectations for stock gains at record highs, 6 sigma beat in Richmond Fed survey...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 310px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The faith is strong with this one...</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><u><strong>The Dow rallied over 150 points, breaking the losing streak and avoiding the worst run since 1978!! Yesterday&#39;s bounce off the 50DMA seems so perfectly orchestrated...</strong></u></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 356px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>4 VIX Slams later, The Dow was back into the green for the week... $1 billion MOC did dull the close a little but hardly...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 369px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And USDJPY was lifted 1 big figure...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 369px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>From record complacency to panic and back in just a few days... The last two days have seen the fastest reversal in VIX since the election...</p> <p><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 313px;" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Dow, S&amp;P, Nasdaq, and Small Caps all rallied tick for tick with each other - which makes perfect sense, right?!!</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 457px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>From Friday&#39;s close, banks are back in the lead, bonds and bullion lagging...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 337px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But bear in mind, March has been ugly still for the big banks - worst since Jan 2016...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 369px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Off the opening lows from Monday, Trannies are best and &quot;Most Shorted&quot; stocks have been squeezed dramatically again...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 395px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With month-end malarkey underway, the S&amp;P was ramped unrelentingly into the green for March...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 385px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>AAPL traders could not get enough, greatly rotating out of SNAP... (AAPL gained over $15 bn in market cap today, that 1.5x TWTR!)</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 520px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fed VC Fischer was dovish with his view of uncertainty and just two more hikes and... The USD rallied!?</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 314px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Yen weakness was the big driver of USD&#39;s gains back to unch on the week...<strong>EURUSD fell to 1.0799 before bouncing back</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 319px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Swissy plunged after SNB&#39;s Marchler called the currency &quot;strongly overvalued&quot;...</p> <p><a href=""><img height="315" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Bitcoin slid lower as the USD ralied...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 314px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Treasury yields snapped higher today with 30Y back above 3.00% ands 10Y back above 2.40%</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 314px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Year-to-Date, 7Y yield are unch; 10s and 30s are still lower and 2Y the owrst +11bps...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 315px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>WTI and RBOB ended the day higher - despite a stronger dollar - but faded for most of the day after the opening gap...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 352px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Gold broke back below $1250 - back to pre-healthcare-bill levels - but Silver remains higher...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 352px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, this summed up this week&#39;s market rather well...</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">can&#39;t stop, won&#39;t stop... <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; FxMacro (@fxmacro) <a href="">March 28, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></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="600" height="90" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> 30Y Bitcoin Business Consumer Confidence Malarkey Mathematical finance NASDAQ Richmond Fed SNB Technical analysis Twitter Twitter US Federal Reserve VIX Yen Tue, 28 Mar 2017 20:02:37 +0000 Tyler Durden 591926 at Buchanan On The Ryancare Route: Winning By Losing? <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Patrick Buchanan via,</em></a></p> <p><strong>Did the Freedom Caucus just pull the Republican Party back off the ledge</strong>, before it jumped to its death? <em>A case can be made for that.</em></p> <p>Before the American Health Care Act, aka &ldquo;Ryancare,&rdquo; was pulled off the House floor Friday,<strong> it enjoyed the support &mdash; of 17 percent of Americans.</strong> Had it passed, it faced an Antietam in the GOP Senate, and probable defeat.</p> <p>Had it survived there, to be signed by President Trump, it would have meant 14 million Americans losing their health insurance in 2018.</p> <p><strong>First among the losers would have been white working-class folks </strong>who delivered the Rust Belt states to President Trump.</p> <p><em><strong>&ldquo;Victory has a thousand fathers; defeat is an orphan,&rdquo; said JFK.</strong></em></p> <p><u><em><strong>So, who are the losers here?</strong></em></u></p> <p>First and foremost, Speaker Paul Ryan and House Republicans who, having voted 50 times over seven years to repeal Obamacare, we learned, had no consensus plan ready to replace it.</p> <p><strong>Moreover, they put a bill on the floor many had not read, and for which they did not have the votes.</strong></p> <p>More than a defeat, this was a humiliation. For the foreseeable future, a Republican Congress and president will coexist with a health care regime that both loathe but cannot together repeal and replace.</p> <p>Moreover, this defeat suggests that, given the ideological divide in the GOP, and the unanimous opposition of congressional Democrats, the most impressive GOP majorities since the 1920s may be impotent to enact any major complicated or complex legislation.</p> <p><strong>Friday&rsquo;s failure appears to be another milestone in the decline and fall of Congress, which the Constitution, in Article I, fairly anoints as our first branch of government.</strong></p> <p>Through the last century, Congress has steadily surrendered its powers, with feeble resistance, to presidents, the Supreme Court, the Federal Reserve, the regulatory agencies, even the bureaucracy.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>The long retreat goes on.</strong></span></p> <p>Another truth was reconfirmed Friday. Once an entitlement program has been created with millions of beneficiaries, it becomes almost impossible to repeal. As Ronald Reagan said, &ldquo;A government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we&rsquo;ll ever see on this earth.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Nor did President Trump escape unscathed.</strong></p> <p>Among the reasons he was elected was the popular belief, which carried him through scrapes that would have sunk other candidates, that, whatever his faults or failings, he was a doer, a man of action &mdash; &ldquo;He gets things done!&rdquo;</p> <p>To have failed on his first big presidential project has thus been <strong>an occasion of merriment for the boo-birds in the Beltway bleachers.</strong></p> <p>Yet, still, Trump&rsquo;s Saturday tweet &mdash; &ldquo;Obamacare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan &hellip; Do not worry!&rdquo; &mdash; may prove prophetic.</p> <p>Now that &ldquo;Trumpcare&rdquo; or &ldquo;Ryancare&rdquo; is gone, the nation must live with Obamacare. A Democratic program from birth, it is visibly failing. And Democrats now own it again, as not one Democrat was there to help reform it. In the off-year election of 2018, they may be begging for Republican help in reforming the health care system.</p> <p><strong>After what he sees as a wonderful win, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer now intends to block a Senate vote on Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, and thus force Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to muster 60 votes to halt a Democratic filibuster.</strong></p> <p>Should Schumer persist, Senate Republicans will exercise the &ldquo;nuclear option,&rdquo; i.e., change the rules to allow debate to be cut off with 51 votes, and then elevate Gorsuch with their own slim majority.</p> <p>Why would Schumer squander his political capital by denying a quality candidate like Judge Gorsuch a vote? Does he also think that a collapsing Obamacare &mdash; even its backers believe is in need of corrective surgery &mdash; will be an asset for his imperiled colleagues in 2018? The last time Democrats headed down that Radical Road and nominated George McGovern, they lost 49 states.</p> <p>While the Republicans have sustained a defeat, this is not the end of the world. And there was an implied warning in the president&rsquo;s Sunday tweet:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>&ldquo;Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood &amp; Ocare.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>What Trump is explaining here is that, if Republican majorities in the House and Senate cannot or will not unite with his White House behind solutions on health care, taxes, infrastructure, border security, he will seek out moderate Democrats to get the work done.</p> <p>This humiliation of Obamacare reform may prove a watershed for the Trump presidency. What he is saying is simple and direct:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><u><strong>I am a Republican president who wants to work with Republicans. But if they cannot or will not work with me, I will find another partner with whom to form coalitions to write the laws and enact the reforms America needs, because, in the last analysis, while party unity is desirable, the agenda I was elected to enact is critical.</strong></u></em></p> </blockquote> <p>The health care defeat yet may prove to be another example of winning by losing.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 408px;" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1087" height="739" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> 115th United States Congress American Health Care Act Chuck Schumer Club for Growth Club For Growth and Heritage Congress Donald Trump Federal Reserve GOP Senate Internal Revenue Code Obamacare Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act replacement proposals Politics Politics Politics of the United States Presidency of Donald Trump Republican Party Supreme Court United States US Federal Reserve White House White House Tue, 28 Mar 2017 19:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 591910 at Top Turkish Banker Arrested At JFK Airport Over Massive Gold Money-Laundering Scheme <p>If Turkish president Erdogan needed one more reason to go ballistic in his daily comparisons of western leaders to Hilter and the Nazis, he got it this morning when a top executive at Halkbank, one of Turkey’s largest state-owned banks was arrested at JFK airport on charges of conspiring with an Iranian-Turkish financier who is awaiting trial for using his network of companies to circumvent Iranian sanctions.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="281" /></a></p> <p>As first reported by <a href="">Bloomberg</a>, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, deputy CEO at Turkiye Halk Bankasi, was taken into U.S. custody at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Tuesday. He was detained on suspicion of conspiring to execute transactions on behalf of Iran. The arrest was made in connection with the pending prosecution of Reza Zarrab. The U.S. claims it has evidence that Zarrab paid millions of dollars in bribes to Turkish government officials and top executives at Halkbank, as it is commonly known, which allegedly helped Zarrab process the transactions.</p> <p>Zarrab was a key figure in a 2013 scandal, in which Turkish prosecutors accused him of bribing the country’s cabinet ministers in a gold-trading operation worth at least $12 billion. We documented that particular fascinating incident in June 2014 in '<em>Turkey's <a href="">"200 Tons Of Secret Gold" Trade With Iran: The Biggest, Most Bizarre Money Laundering Scheme Ever</a>?</em></p> <p>To be sure, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who personally benefited from the money, or rather gold, laundering scheme called the investigation a coup attempt, and all charges against Zarrab and members of his administration were eventually dropped.</p> <p>Zarrab, owner and operator of Royal Holdings A.S., is accused of using his multibillion-dollar network of companies in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to induce U.S. banks to launder hundreds of millions of dollars in transactions that violated international sanctions against Iran. He was arrested in Miami in March 2016 after arriving in the U.S. for a family trip to Disney World and remains in detention.</p> <p>And now we look forward to Erdogan's furious response as one of his top bankers will be spending the foreseeable future in the questionable comfort of Rykers island.</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="1280" height="720" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business Corruption scandal in Turkey Economy Halk Bankas? Iran Money laundering Politics Politics of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdo?an Reza Reza Zarrab Sanctions against Iran Turkey Turkish government Turkish people Tue, 28 Mar 2017 19:41:33 +0000 Tyler Durden 591925 at Partner At Paulson & Company Jumps To His Death In Midtown Manhattan <p>A 56-year-old partner at Paulson &amp; Co., who was best known for losing billions of his clients' money to Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme when he ran the Fairfield Greenwich fund of funds, leaped to his death from the luxury Sofitel hotel in midtown Manhattan. Charles W. Murphy was wearing a dark business suit when he plunged to his death from the 24th floor of the 45 W. 44th St. building at around 4:42pm on Monday.</p> <p>Murphy was working at the Fairfield Greenwich Group when Madoff was arrested in December 2008; as a result of the fraud Fairfield Greenwich lost $7.5 billion of its customers’ cash. In December 2013, Fairfield Greenwich settled a class action suit for $80. 2million, according to a website for Madoff's victims. They were sued for failing to protect investor assets.&nbsp; Almost 3,000 investors claimed a portion of the settlement.&nbsp; Murphy was a Partner and Member of the Executive Committee. </p> <p>The group's Fairfield Sentry Fund was the disgraced financier's biggest feeder fund. Up until the scandal, the fund had been paid more than 11 percent interest each year following a 15-year relationship with Madoff. </p> <p>At the time of his death, Murpthy was working with Paulson &amp; Company. </p> <p>Founder John Paulson released a statement on Monday night saying 'We are extremely saddened by this news. Charles was an extremely gifted and brilliant man, a great partner and a true friend.'&nbsp;&nbsp; </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="450" /></a></p> <p>The father-of-two financier, who was married to his second wife, plummeted 20 floors before hitting a fourth floor terrace, according to the NYPD, and died at the scene <a href="">according to the Mail</a>. </p> <p>The Sofitel hotel where Murphy killed himself made headlines in 2011, when French politician and head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was accused of raping a maid in one of the hotel's suites. Three months later, all charges were dismissed. In 2012, he settled a lawsuit with the maid. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="394" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="307" /></a></p> <p><em>Charles Murphy, above with his second wife Annabella</em></p> <p>Murphy was renting a room at the time, even though he owns a $36 million townhouse just 20 blocks away on the Upper East Side.&nbsp; </p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="375" /><br /><em>Murphy jumped from the 24th floor of the Sofitel hotel in midtown Manhattan</em></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="375" /></a><br /><em>Murphy landed on a terrace four stories above the street; medics had difficulty reaching him</em></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="375" /></a><br /><em>Medical examiner officials load the body of Murphy, 55, into a van</em></p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="354" /><br /><em>Murphy's limestone townhouse on 67th street is still on the market for $36MM</em></p> <p>On the day Madoff was taken into federal custody in 2008, Murphy was working with Fairfield to set up a new fund.&nbsp; The Koch brothers, Charles and David, moved $2 billion overseas that they managed to make from Madoff before his scheme collapsed.&nbsp; Most of that involved transfers from funds that were operated by Fairfield Greenwich Group. </p> <p>Murphy is now the fourth person connected to Madoff to commit suicide in the years following the Ponzi scheme scandal.&nbsp; French aristocrat Rene Thierry Magon De La Villehuchet was found dead in 2008 just after the news broke. His AIA Group lost $1.5 billion. Ex-U.S. Army major William Foxton, 65, killed himself in 2009. A year later, Madoff's son Mark was found dead after he hanged himself in his New York apartment. </p> <p>Murphy was previously a research analyst at Morgan Stanley, and was cohead of the European financial institutions group at Credit Suisse.&nbsp; He graduated from Harvard Law School and MIT Sloan School of Management according to the Mail. </p> <p>In 2007, before the Madoff collapse, Murphy bought the East 67th Street townhouse of Matthew Bronfman for $33 million.&nbsp; Murphy reportedly tried to off-load the limestone gem, built in 1899, during the Madoff crisis but found no takers. He listed it again in 2016 for $50million, according to <a href="">The Real Deal</a>.&nbsp; The house is now for sale at an asking price of $36 million, listed with <a href="">Corcoran</a></p> <p>It appears that at least part of Murphy's troubles have been financial: a parking attendant at a nearby garage told the New York Post that Murphy's wife, Annabella , crashed their Honda Odyssey last summer but could not afford to fix it. 'She didn't even have enough money to pay for the damage,' the attendant said. </p> <p>Murphy's first wife, former Heather Kerzner, got married to hotel billionaire Sol Kerzner after the pair split. They were married for 11 years before their marriage ended in divorce. </p> <p>According to the <a href="">Daily News</a>, Murphy was being treated for depression before his suicide.</p> <p></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="1200" height="737" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bernard Madoff Confidence tricksters Credit Suisse Dominique Strauss-Kahn Economics Executive Committee Fairfield Fairfield Greenwich Group Fairfield Sentry Fund Finance Fraud Fund of Funds Harvard Law School headlines International Monetary Fund John Paulson Madoff Madoff investment scandal MIT Money Morgan Stanley New York Post School of Management United States Army Tue, 28 Mar 2017 19:35:13 +0000 Tyler Durden 591920 at House Committee Passes Bill To "Audit The Fed" <p>The Republican-controlled Committee on Oversight and Government Reform approved a bill earlier today to allow for a congressional audit of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy, a proposal Fed policymakers have opposed and likely faces a difficult path to final approval in the Senate.&nbsp; Under the bill, the Fed’s monetary policy deliberations could be subject<br /> to outside review by the Government Accountability Office.&nbsp; </p> <p>While similar bills have garnered some support from Democrats in the past, they uniformly spoke against the current proposal during a meeting of the House of Representatives suggesting the current iteration would face stronger resistance from an increasingly polarized environment in Washington D.C..</p> <p>The House previously passed similar versions of this legislation twice before in 2012 and 2014, with dozens of Democrats joining nearly unanimous Republican support.&nbsp; That said, those bills both died in the Senate and likely would have faced a Presidential veto from Obama had they survived anyway.</p> <p>That said, Trump expressed interest in passing such legislation multiple times during the 2016 campaign cycle which means the 3rd time might just be the charm for Republicans.&nbsp; </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">It is so important to audit The Federal Reserve, and yet Ted Cruz missed the vote on the bill that would allow this to be done.</p> <p>— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="">February 22, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">President-elect <a href="">@realDonaldTrump</a> has stated his support for <a href="">#AuditTheFed</a>. Let’s send him the bill this Congress. <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) <a href="">January 4, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And while proponents of the bill argue that the Fed wields too much power over the U.S. economy with minimal oversight, opponents assert that Fed decisions should be informed purely by economic indicators and completely insulated from "political pressure"...<strong>and we presume those same opponents would argue that Yellen's decision to wait until just after the conclusion of the 2016 Presidential election to start hiking rates had absolutely nothing to do with politics.</strong>&nbsp; Per <a href=";feedName=topNews&amp;utm_source=twitter&amp;utm_medium=Social">Reuters</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Proponents of the measure argue that the Fed is too powerful and lacks sufficient oversight for its interest rate decisions. But Fed officials from Yellen on down, as well as other critics, have warned that such a policy could subject the Fed to undue political pressure and discourage it from taking unpopular steps for the good of the overall economy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"We should not in any way hinder their independence,"</strong> said Representative Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat, echoing the sentiment of Fed policymakers who say they could come under political pressure to avoid making unpopular decisions such as raising interest rates to slow growth and control inflation.</p> </blockquote> <p>The next step for the bill would be a floor vote by the entire House, where Republicans hold a solid majority, followed by a Senate vote that would be much more difficult given Republcans' narrow lead.</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="833" height="382" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Donald Trump Federal Reserve Federal Reserve Transparency Act Government Accountability Office House of Representatives Monetary Policy Monetary policy Politics Politics of the United States Rand Paul Reuters Ron Paul Senate United States United States Congress Washington D.C. Tue, 28 Mar 2017 19:34:29 +0000 Tyler Durden 591922 at 4 Factors Driving Oil Prices This Summer <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Osama Rizvia via,</em></a></p> <p>Uncertainty is dominating today&rsquo;s oil markets, with production cuts, ballooning inventories and a rising rig count<strong> all adding to oil price volatility</strong>. And as the summer driving season approaches and oil companies return to their projects <strong>here are four key factors to watch closely</strong>.</p> <p><u><strong>Inventory, Rig counts</strong></u> &ndash; An significant inventory build on the 7th of March sent oil prices tumbling, ending a period of relative stability for oil markets. The build-up of 8.2 million barrels at Cushing, Oklahoma sent prices below the psychological level of $50. The next week saw a draw of 237,000 barrels, providing the investors and market with some much needed breathing space. The most recent inventory report saw a 5-million-barrel build, adding yet more downward pressure to oil prices. The inventory level now rests at 533 million barrels, the highest in history. At the same time, we have seen a rapid increase in the number of active oil rigs in U.S. The total number now stands at 652 after an increase of 21 rigs last week according to Baker Hughes. This is the highest level since September 2015. Given the remarkable adaptability of shale producers to low prices, these trends are likely to continue, adding yet more downward pressure to oil prices.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="315" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><span style="color: #800000;"><span style="color: #000000;">(Click to enlarge)</span></span></p> <p><u><strong>The OPEC deal-Extension or no Extension:</strong></u> Questions surrounding the possibility of an extension to the current OPEC deal can be heard in all corners of the oil market. But attempting to make sense of the mixed signals coming from OPEC&rsquo;s various members is not only a fool&rsquo;s errand, but an insignificant one. The outcome of both scenarios: extension or no extension, are going to yield the same results. If OPEC does extend the production cut we will see the same vicious cycle: prices will rise, more rigs will be added in U.S., production will increase and prices will stall. On the contrary, if the OPEC and NOPEC members do not reach an agreement then we will see what we saw in 2014-16, each producer will ramp up production vying for the market share. This will cause prices to either go down or to once again be stuck in limbo. A third scenario may see OPEC members agreeing while NOPEC nations leave the table. Russia is already preparing for $40 oil. Oil analyst Baruch of IITRADER while speaking to Bloomberg explained how U.S. production has risen from 8.7 million barrels to more than 9.1 million, and that he expects it to rise further. Iraq&rsquo;s oil minister says that the &ldquo;fate of OPEC&rsquo;s output cut depends upon how the market responds&rsquo;&rsquo;. Well, the response is not going to be a promising one except for a temporary price rally. Even if the OPEC members were to agree to an extension, the world is only going to believe hard tangible facts, not rhetoric. But markets will have to wait until May to find out how the OPEC production cut saga will develop.</p> <p><u><strong>Summer Driving Season:</strong></u> This summer driving season might provide some cushion for oil prices. According to Jason Schenker &ldquo;This year, the seasonal upside could be even greater than normal. With the lowest U.S. unemployment rate since before the recession of 2008, and two consecutive years of record SUV and light truck sales in 2015 and 2016, the coming summer driving season is likely to show records for miles driven and gasoline demand. In fact, there has been a record number of miles driven every month since December 2014. And a continued trend higher in the 12-month moving total of U.S. miles driven is likely to continue throughout 2017.&rdquo; According to an article in Reuters, U.S. auto sales will remain strong in 2017 around 17.6 million.</p> <p><u><strong>E&amp;P Projects: </strong></u>While the IEA recently stated its concerns about a lack of new projects creating a lack of supply, the recent uptick in prices has led many oil majors to restart their once abandoned projects. There are not only more projects coming on-line but the payback time has also decreased significantly. Goldman Sachs reports that the rising Shale production and the flurry of new oil projects may &ldquo;result in an oversupply in the next couple of years&rdquo;. Wood Mackenzie predicts that new oil projects will double in 2017 as it sees spending getting a 3 percent boost this year.</p> <p><a class="lightbox" href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 369px;" /></a></p> <p>(Click to enlarge)&nbsp;</p> <p>These are sure to be the four key factors in the oil markets in the near future and should be closely watched by any market observer eager to understand where oil prices are headed.</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="552" height="273" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Auto Sales Business Cartels Economy Energy crisis Energy economics goldman sachs Goldman Sachs Iraq Market Share No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act NOPEC Oklahoma OPEC OPEC Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries Peak oil Petroleum industry Petroleum politics Price of oil Recession Reuters Unemployment Volatility World oil market chronology from Tue, 28 Mar 2017 19:13:27 +0000 Tyler Durden 591905 at