en Greek, Italian Risks Weigh On European, Global Markets; Oil, Gold Slide <p>Tuesday's session started off on the back foot, with the Euro first sliding on Draghi's dovish comments before Europarliament on Monday where he signaled no imminent change to ECB’s forward guidance coupled with <a href="">a Bild report late on Monday </a>according to which Greece was prepared to forego its next debt payment if not relief is offered by creditors, pushing European stocks lower as much as -0.6%. However the initial weakness reversed after Greece's Tzanakopoulos denied the Bild report, sending the Euro and European bank stocks higher from session lows. S&amp;P futures are fractionally lower, down 3 points to 2,410.</p> <p>Elsewhere, the Japanese yen rallied after strong retail sales data while US Treasuries ground higher after returning from a long weekend largely unchanged; Australian government bonds extend recent gains as 10-year yield falls as much as four basis points to 2.37%. Asian stock markets and were modestly lower; Nikkei closed unchanged despite a stronger yen. China and Hong Kong remained closed for holidays while WTI crude was little changed. </p> <p>Despite the rebound, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index declined a fourth day as data showed that contrary to expectations of a record print, euro-area economic confidence fell for the first time this year, and as Draghi’s dovish comments to the European Parliament weighed on banking shares. As discussed <a href="">yesterday</a>, Italian bonds edged lower as traders digest the prospect of an earlier-than-expected election.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="281" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="297" /></a></p> <p>As <a href="">Bloomberg politely explained</a>, the overnight pullback across several assets serves as a reminder that, while equity benchmarks across the world have posted repeated records this year, potential headwinds to the global growth story remain and investor concern lingers. Or, in other words, selling is still not illegal. Elections in the U.K., Germany and Italy are looming as Brexit negotiations begin, while in the U.S. President Donald Trump’s ability to implement spending and tax-cut plans is far from certain. Speaking on Tuesday, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said the new administration will need to fulfill the expectations that have driven the stock market higher, unless of course, the same Bullard suggests that QE4 is on the table next in which case the market will rise even higher.</p> <p>“Washington does have to deliver at some point,” Bullard said in an interview on Bloomberg TV in Tokyo. “That is a concern going forward, whether the honeymoon period would end at some point and maybe the reality of American politics would settle in.”</p> <p>Looking at global markets, Japanese stocks ended higher despite a stronger yen, with the Topix reversing earlier losses. Data showed Japan’s jobless rate stayed at the lowest in more than two decades last month, but household spending remained in a slump while retail sales came in stronger than expected. Hong Kong and China markets were shut for a holiday. </p> <p>The Stoxx Europe 600 Index declined 0.2 percent. Futures on the S&amp;P 500 Index fell 2 points, or 0.1%, to 2,411. The S&amp;P cash index closed at a new record high on Friday.</p> <p>In currencies, the euro traded little changed at $1.1167 as of 6:16 a.m. in New York. The British pound added 0.2 percent. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed. The yen strengthened 0.2 percent to 111.06 per dollar. The rand retreated 0.9 percent, extending losses for a second session after President Jacob Zuma survived a bid by some members of his party to oust him. </p> <p>Accross commodities, West Texas oil dipped back under $50, falling 0.6% to $49.52 per barrel; prices swung last week following the agreement by OPEC and its allies to extend cuts by nine months.</p> <p>On the U.S. calendar, we get personal spending, personal income, consumer confidence, Dallas Fed index, S&amp;P/Case-Shiller home price, but according to SocGen, "today's data will all be forgotten by the end of the week, with US ISM on Thursday and the labour market report on Friday more likely to stick in memories."</p> <p><strong>Market Wrap</strong></p> <ul> <li>S&amp;P 500 futures down 0.1% at 2,411</li> <li>Nikkei 19,677.8, down 0.02%</li> <li>Stoxx 600 390.36, -0.24%</li> <li>Equities: CAC 40 (-0.9%), FTSEMIB (-0.8%)</li> <li>WTI $49.50, down 0.6%</li> <li>Brent futures down 0.8% to $51.87/bbl</li> <li>Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,265.10</li> <li>U.S. Dollar Index up 0.1% to 97.54</li> </ul> <p><strong>Bulletin Headline Summary from RanSquawk</strong></p> <ul> <li>European equities enter the North American crossover modestly lower as UK and US return to market</li> <li>Risk drivers minimal from what we can evaluate, with the Greek payment opt-out story prompting modest flow out of EUR/JPY, and pulling USD/JPY below 111.00 as a result.</li> <li>Looking ahead, highlights include German regional &amp; national CPIs, US Personal Spending, PCE data</li> </ul> <p><strong>Top Overnight News from Bloomberg</strong></p> <ul> <li>Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said that at some point the honeymoon period will come to an end and Washington will need to deliver on the policy expectations that have driven the stock market higher</li> <li>Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams sees a “much smaller” Fed balance sheet in about five years, at the end of an unwinding process that could start with a “baby step” later this year</li> <li>First Data Corp. said it will buy CardConnect Corp. for $750 million, in what CEO Frank Bisignano called his company’s biggest acquisition since 2004</li> <li>Citigroup Inc. agreed to sell its fixed-income analytics and index business to London Stock Exchange Group Plc for $685 million in cash following a strategic review of the unit</li> <li>Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was denounced by the head of Venezuela’s legislature over a report that the bank bought $2.8 billion of bonds from that country, potentially helping President Nicolas Maduro’s administration amid accusations of human-rights violations</li> <li>Euro-area economic confidence fell for the first time this year, led by weaker readings in the services and retail sectors</li> <li>Akzo Nobel NV successfully dodged a legal challenge by activist shareholder Elliott Management Corp. to oust Chairman Antony Burgmans, strengthening the Dutch paintmaker’s hand in rebuffing takeover talks with a U.S. suitor</li> </ul> <p><strong>Asian equity markets traded subdued after market closures in UK and US, </strong>while participants in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan remained absent for the Dragon Boat Festival. This lack of demand weighed on risk sentiment in the region, although ASX 200 (+0.8%) staged a late recovery amid gains in financials and resources, while Nikkei 225 (-0.1%) was pressured by a firmer JPY. Furthermore, political concerns in Europe also added to the cautious tone after Greece hinted at a default after it threatened to opt out of the next payment, while there were also reports that UK PM May was prepared to leave the EU without a deal. Finally, 10yr JGBs were slightly higher on safe-haven demand, although upside was capped following the 2yr JGB auction in which the b/c and accepted prices declined from the prior month.</p> <p><em>Top Asian News</em></p> <ul> <li>Singapore Fines Credit Suisse, UOB After 1MDB-Linked Probe</li> <li>Reliance Communications Extends Tumble on Concerns Over Debt</li> <li>Japan Stocks to Watch: Mizuho, Square Enix, Rohto Pharmaceutical</li> <li>Goldman-Backed Games Startup Aims for Vietnam’s First IPO Abroad</li> <li>Japan Equity Movers: SoftBank, Hitachi Chem, Itoham, HIS, DeNA</li> <li>Abe’s Coalition Ally Warns Military Shift Could Rile Neighbors</li> <li>Asia Stocks Mixed, Euro Falls on Draghi Comments: Markets Wrap</li> <li>Japan’s Topix Advances in Thin Trading as Volatility Declines</li> </ul> <p><strong>In Europe, risk off sentiment filtered into the market following the long weekend in the US and UK. </strong>Despite Europe being open for trade yesterday, with negative news circulating today, noticeably, the Euro's overnight pressure extending into European trade, amid reports that Greece could opt out of their next payment, if creditors fail to agree on debt relief, however which was later denied by a Greek Government spokesman Political news continues to dictate trade, with whispers of an early Italian election being followed by comments from UK PM May, stating that the government is prepared to leave the EU without a deal. An aftermath of the first Prime Minsters debate has been evident, with both candidates coming out seemingly unconvincing. Polls have continued to tighten in the UK, with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn stating that if he is elected, he will make sure there is a Brexit deal, however, the conservatives remain in a convincing lead in the polls. Airline names underperform in the European morning, with British Airways' parent company, IAG weighing on the FTSE following the IT failure, which hit over 300,000 passengers over the weekend. Financials underperform, stemmed by a downgrade on European banks by Deutsche Bank, with the sector down near 1%. The recent bounce in GBP has also not helped the FTSE, with GBP/USD finding some support around 1.28, trading at session highs. The risk off sentiment has been noted in the JPY with demand notable, as USD/JPY was briefly led below 111.00 once again.</p> <p>Fixed income markets have slowed down following yesterday's bullish pressure, however still reside near session highs. Gilts have been noticeable, with the UK lOy spiking to new contract highs on the open. German paper has failed to continue the bid seen yesterday, trading marginally in the red around the intra-day 162.17 base. The lOy yield spread has narrowed slightly to 70.2bps, following the 9 month low seen last week.</p> <p><em>Top European News</em></p> <ul> <li>Italy Moves Toward Early Elections as Voting Rules Deal Nears</li> <li>EU Demands for Citizens ’Ridiculously High,’ U.K.’s Davis Says</li> <li>Merkel Signals New Era for Europe as Trump Smashes Consensus</li> <li>RBS Unit Tells Euro-Long Clients Their Bullishness Is Premature</li> <li>Greece Denies Bild Report Country Would Reject Payment</li> <li>Deutsche Bank Downgrades European Banks, Tech; Upgrades Energy</li> </ul> <p><strong>In currencies, </strong>the euro traded little changed at $1.1167 as of 6:16 a.m. in New York. The British pound added 0.2 percent. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed. The yen strengthened 0.2 percent to 111.06 per dollar. The rand retreated 0.9 percent, extending losses for a second session after President Jacob Zuma survived a bid by some members of his party to oust him. Risk drivers minimal from what we can evaluate, with the Greek payment opt-out story prompting modest flow out of EUR/JPY, and pulling USD/JPY below 111.00 as a result. Indeed, the JPY has made ground across the board, with the commodity currencies also suffering a little. China's absence hits metals price, and this has weighed on AUD and NZD but modestly so.&nbsp; GBP is fighting back a little as the recent narrowing in the election polls saw the Pound taking a hit late last week. Cable has come back into the mid 1.2800's, while the EUR cross rate dips into the mid 0.8600's, but traders will be wary of (more) month end flow hitting the later at some stage today and tomorrow.</p> <p><strong>In commodities, </strong>drivers have been overlapping in recent sessions, with the rise in Oil prices into the OPEC/non OPEC meeting last week, largely supportive of a risk on mood. This saw metals prices rising, pushing the lead Copper 'benchmark' up to USD2.60. Oil has since dropped back to test the low USD48.00's in WTI, while Brent has also been reined in, but was well contained below USD51.00. WTI is now pivoting on USD50.00, but Copper is back testing the support levels from USD2.50. On the day, only Silver, Nickel, Tin and Palladium showing (small) gains on the day. Gold is still showing better levels, but has retraced from the USD1270 highs seen earlier.</p> <p><strong>Looking at today’s calendar, </strong>we will get a first look at how consumer spending is looking in Q2 with the April personal income and spending reports (the latter expected to increase +0.4% mom). We will also receive the April PCE core and deflator readings where a modest +0.1% mom rise in the core is expected. Following that we’ll get the March S&amp;P/Case-Shiller house price index before we then get the May consumer confidence reading (expected to decline 0.5pts to 119.8) and finally the Dallas Fed’s manufacturing survey for May. Away from the data, this evening at 1pm we are due to hear from the Fed’s Brainard who has sounded a little more positive of late. </p> <p><strong>US Event Calendar</strong></p> <ul> <li>8:30am: Personal Income, est. 0.4%, prior 0.2%; Personal Spending, est. 0.4%, prior 0.0%; Real Personal Spending, est. 0.2%, prior 0.3% <ul> <li>PCE Deflator MoM, est. 0.2%, prior -0.2%; PCE Deflator YoY, est. 1.7%, prior 1.8%</li> <li>PCE Core MoM, est. 0.1%, prior -0.1%; PCE Core YoY, est. 1.5%, prior 1.6%</li> </ul> </li> <li>9am: S&amp;P CoreLogic CS 20-City MoM SA, est. 0.9%, prior 0.69%;&nbsp; NSA, est. 5.61%, prior 5.85%; CS 20-City NSA Index, prior 193.5</li> <li>10am: Conf. Board Consumer Confidence, est. 119.8, prior 120.3; Present Situation, prior 140.6; Expectations, prior 106.7</li> <li>10:30am: Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. 15, prior 16.8</li> <li>1pm: Fed’s Brainard Speaks on Economy, Monetary Policy in New York</li> </ul> <p><strong>DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap</strong></p> <p>Back after a long and often rainy bank holiday weekend. We used some of the extra time to watch our first film of the year - LaLa Land. I really enjoyed it. In fact it's undoubtedly the best ever Oscar winning film for 5 seconds that I've ever seen. Moving from the big to the small screen, if you're exhausted at the drama surrounding the current US political administration and want something more boring and mainstream then today is your lucky day as season 5 of House of Cards lands on Netflix. Enjoy. I'm off to a conference in Germany so it'll have to wait for my return.</p> <p>Staying with politics, on a day of holidays in the US and UK, Italian election anticipation was the main story to disturb the quiet. All the talk was about a possible new electoral system in Italy which could allow an election to take place as soon as this autumn, rather than waiting until 2018. In an interview with Il Messaggero, former PM Renzi said that Italy voting at the same time as Germany this autumn “would make sense for many reasons”. Renzi said that he favoured a German-style electoral system based on proportional representation and that while this would not be a solution to all problems, the system “would be a step forward in overcoming the current stalemate” and so removing obstacles to snap elections and thus removing the need to wait until 2018. Over the weekend anti-establishment 5-Star supporters overwhelmingly backed a proportional law modelled on that of Germany in which parties must secure at least 5% of votes to get into parliament.</p> <p>Up until a few noises in this direction last week, Italian politics had been looking more like an early 2018 story however clearly the risk now is that this is brought forward to the autumn. Germany’s federal election is scheduled for September 24th. Remember also that Italy is still to pass its budget law, due in October, which has the potential to complicate matters. There is also the not so small issue of Italy’s banking system woes which still need to be taken care of. With regards to polling, the overall theme is that it is very tight and the gap at the top within the margin of error. Of the last 10 opinion polls conducted since May 18th, the Democratic Party (PD) leads in 6 and the Five Star Movement (5SM) leads in 4. However the margin between the two parties is anywhere from +/- 2%. It’s worth noting that only 2 other parties (Forza Italia and Lega Nord) qualify for the &gt;5% cut-off based on recent polls. This all raises the possibility of a hung parliament.</p> <p> In an otherwise quiet day for markets it was the underperformance in&nbsp; Italian assets which easily stood out. While the Stoxx 600 (-0.03%) finished more or less flat, the FTSE MIB tumbled -2.01% while Italian Banks closed down -3.51%. 10y BTP yields were also 8.6bps higher while Bunds and OATs were 2-3bps lower. The Euro (-0.17%) traded sideways for much of the session however we have seen it dip -0.32% in the early going this morning.</p> <p>The slightly stronger performance for core government bond markets in Europe yesterday perhaps reflected a slightly dovish tone from ECB President Draghi. Speaking at a hearing at the European Parliament in Brussels, Draghi said that “we remain firmly convinced that an extraordinary amount of monetary policy support, including through our forward guidance, is still necessary”. This was put in the context of underutilized resources being re-absorbed and for inflation to return to and durably stabilize around levels close to 2%. Draghi did note a measureable reduction to downside risks and tail risks which Europe faced at the end of last year as receding measurably. ECB Governing Council Member Nowotny also spoke yesterday and said that he see’s “positive news” on growth but that on the other hand he still needs to see evidence that this is sustained.</p> <p>The Bundesbank’s Weidman also said that “in light of subdued price pressures, an expansionary monetary policy continues to be appropriate in principal”. Over at the Fed meanwhile San Francisco Fed President John Williams spoke again although much of the speech was a repeat of comments recently. Williams said that he sees a “much smaller” balance sheet in years ahead and that the unwinding could begin with a “baby step” later this year. Early this morning the dovish St Louis Fed President James Bullard also spoke with the most notable takeaway being a fairly frank assessment of Trump’s administration. Bullard said that “Washington does have to deliver at some point and I think that is a concern going forward, whether the honeymoon period would end at some point and maybe the reality of American politics would settle in”. He added that “we’ll see if that happens or not” and that “I think the jury is out”.</p> <p>Away from Central Bank speak t he latest CSPP numbers out yesterday showed a surprisingly high amount of corporate purchases last week. The average daily purchases of €452mn was well above the average of €367mn since the program started. The CSPP/PSPP ratio was 20% (vs. 17.2%, 12.6%, 10.7% and 8.7% in the previous four weeks). Since QE was trimmed in April the CSPP/PSPP ratio has been 13.7%, up from 11.6% between July 2016 and March 2017. So after a few weeks where it looked like an equal taper it seems that corporates are being tapered less for now. The ECB has certainly not been predictable on this though.</p> <p>This morning in Asia it’s been another fairly directionless session, characterised again by thin volumes with markets in China closed for a second day. The Nikkei (-0.54%) and Kospi (-0.46%) are both weaker, however the ASX (+0.24%) is slightly firmer. The Hang Seng is shut along with bourses in China. Commodities have for the most part traded sideways while Asian currencies are a little softer. Macro data this morning was reserved for Japan where April retail sales (+1.4% mom vs. -0.2% expected) rose surprisingly, while the jobless rate held steady at 2.8%.</p> <p>Before we look at the day ahead, we are yet to hear of any polls post last night’s TV Q&amp;A between PM Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. While both faced challenges with the current PM questioned on recent u-turns, the candidates seemingly came away unscathed. Prior to the Q&amp;A a survation poll conducted over May 26-27 confirmed some of the recent trend with the Conservatives lead shrinking to just 6% at 43%-37%, from 9% on May 19-20 and 18% on May 12-13. We did a thorough recap of the UK polls in yesterday’s EMR for those interested.</p> <p>Looking at today’s calendar, we’ve got a fair few data releases to get through today. This morning in Europe we’ll be kicking off in France where the latest consumer confidence and consumer spending reports are due, along with the preliminary release of Q1 GDP. Following that we’ll get May confidence indicators for the Euro area before a first look at the May inflation reports this week with Germany first up. This afternoon in the US we will get a first look at how consumer spending is looking in Q2 with the April personal income and spending reports (the latter expected to increase +0.4% mom). We will also receive the April PCE core and deflator readings where a modest +0.1% mom rise in the core is expected. Following that we’ll get the March S&amp;P/Case-Shiller house price index before we then get the May consumer confidence reading (expected to decline 0.5pts to 119.8) and finally the Dallas Fed’s manufacturing survey for May. Away from the data, this evening at 6pm BST we are due to hear from the Fed’s Brainard who has sounded a little more positive of late. The ECB’s Liikanen is also due to speak this morning.</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="1414" height="840" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Activist Shareholder ASX ASX 200 Australian government B+ Bloomberg Dollar Spot Bond British Pound Bundesbank Business CAC 40 Case-Shiller China Consumer Confidence Consumer confidence Copper Credit Suisse Creditors Crude Dallas Fed Dallas Fed default Democratic Party Deutsche Bank Economy Equity Markets European Central Bank European Parliament European Union Fail federal government Federal Reserve Bank Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis fixed France FTSE 100 Germany Gilts Greece Greek government Hang Seng 40 Hong Kong Index Italy Japan Jim Reid John Williams Labour Monetary Policy Nicolas Maduro’s administration Nikkei Nikkei 225 NSA OPEC Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries Personal consumption expenditures price index Personal Income Price indices Price of oil Reality recovery S&P S&P 500 San Francisco Fed San Francisco Fed SocGen St Louis Fed St. Louis Fed Star Movement STOXX Stoxx 600 Topix Trump’s administration Venezuela’s legislature Volatility West Texas Yen Tue, 30 May 2017 10:56:58 +0000 Tyler Durden 596982 at The Fed Is About To Hike: Why That Is Bullish For Bonds <p>With the market pricing in near certainty of a June rate hike despite the Fed's tacit warning that it would like to see evidence the recent economic slowdown is over, a recurring question among trading desks is why aren't long-dated bonds selling off more, or rather why is the 10 and 30Y seemingly bid the closer we get to the next Fed hike with everyone - from hedge funds, to central banks to primary dealers - buying in surprising amounts. </p> <p>Overnight, an answer came from Wes Goodman, a Bloomberg columnist, who explains that the more the Fed hikes, the more bullish it is for bonds, i.e., the entire market is once again betting on "policy error" by the Fed.</p> <p><em>Here is latest Macro View note titled "<strong>The Fed Is Going to Hike. That’s Bullish for Bonds</strong>"</em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The Fed’s likely rate hike next month will probably send Treasury yields lower, and investors from hedge funds to banks are loading up on U.S. government debt ahead of the move.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Contrary to conventional wisdom, Treasuries have rallied following the last three rate increases. Instead of sending yields higher, <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>the hikes are driving speculation that rising short-term borrowing costs will curb the economic expansion and make it tougher for the Fed to sustain its 2% inflation target.</strong></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Hedge funds and other large speculators boosted their net long position in 10-year futures to the highest level in almost a decade.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>U.S. commercial bank holdings of Treasuries and agency debt <strong>surged the most in 16 months in the latest weekly data, extending a record high.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Treasuries held by foreign central banks in custody at the Federal Reserve <strong>rose this month to the most since June 2016.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 500px; height: 295px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Primary dealer holdings of U.S. government securities have surged 50% from this year’s low in March, and they’re <strong>now about even with the average over the past 12 months.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Goodman's conclusion: "<strong>All this demand may be enough to drive benchmark 10-year yields to a new low for 2017, below 2.16%."</strong></p> <p>Of course, if this is correct, the implication is that the higher the Fed hikes short-term rates, the lower long-term rates go, flattening the curve and eventually inverting it. And, at some point in the near future, this will once again bring up the even more ominous question: is the Fed once again making a policy error by hiking into an economy that can not sustain it. For now the jury is out.</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="850" height="502" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bond Borrowing Costs Business Central Banks Economy Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System Finance Financial markets Foreign Central Banks Hedge funds Long-Term Capital Management Money US Federal Reserve US government Tue, 30 May 2017 10:10:44 +0000 Tyler Durden 596981 at "This Market Is Crazy": Hedge Fund Returns Hundreds Of Millions To Clients Citing Imminent "Calamity" <p>While hardly a novel claim - in the <a href="">past many </a>have <a href="">warned </a>that Australia's <a href="">housing </a>and stock market are <a href="">massive asset bubbles </a>(which local banks <a href="">were have been forced to deny </a>as their fates are closely intertwined with asset prices <a href="">even as the RBA is increasingly worried</a>) - so far few if any have gone the distance of putting their money where their mouth was. That changed, when Australian asset manager Altair Asset Management made the extraordinary decision to liquidate its Australian shares funds and return "hundreds of millions" of dollars to its clients according to the <a href="">Sydney Morning Herald</a>, <strong>citing an impending property market "calamity" and the "overvalued and dangerous time in this cycle". </strong></p> <p>"<strong>Giving up management and performance fees and handing back cash from investments managed by us is a seminal decision, however preserving client's assets is what all fund managers should put before their own interests</strong>," Philip Parker, who serves as Altair's chairman and chief investment officer, said in a statement on Monday quoted by the SMH.</p> <p>The 30-year investing veteran said that on May 15 he had advised Altair clients that he planned to "sell all the underlying shares in the Altair unit trusts and to then hand back the cash to those same managed fund investors." Parker also said he had "disbanded the team for time being", including his investment committee comprising of several prominent bears such as former Morgan Stanley chief economist and noted bear Gerard Minack and former UBS economist Stephen Roberts.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="278" /></a></p> <p><em>Altair chairman and chief investment officer Philip Parker</em>.</p> <p>Parker said he wanted "to make clear this is not a winding up of Altair, <strong>but a decision to hand back client monies out of equities which I deem to be far too risky at this point." </strong></p> <p>"We think that there is too much risk in this market at the moment, <strong>we think it's crazy," </strong>Parker said with a candidness few of his colleagues are capable of, at least when still managing money.</p> <p>"Valuations are stretched, property is massively overstretched and most of the companies that we follow are at our one-year rolling returns targets – and that's after we've ticked them up over the past year. <strong>Now we are asking 'is there any more juice in these companies valuations?' and the answer is stridently, and with very few exceptions, 'no there isn't'.</strong>"</p> <p>Parker outlined a list of "the more obvious reasons to exit the riskier asset markets of shares and property". These include: </p> <ul> <li>the Australian east-coast property market "bubble" and its "impending correction"; </li> <li>worries that issues around China's hot property sector and escalating debt levels will blow up "later this year"; </li> <li>"oversized" geopolitical risks and an "unpredictable" US political environment; </li> <li>and the "overvalued" Aussie equity market.</li> </ul> <p>But, to Parker, it was the overheated local property market that was the clearest and most present danger. "When you speak to people candidly in the banks, they'll tell you very specifically that they are extraordinarily worried about the over-leverage of the Australian population in general," he said. He flagged how exposed the country's lenders were to a correction.</p> <p>"If they get a property downturn anything similar to 1989 to 1991 then they are going to have all sorts of issues," Parker said. </p> <p>Parker's decision comes after a robust year of double-digit gains on the ASX. Not only that, but he is acting on his convictions by returning money to clients and abandoning the fees attached to a $2 billion advisory agreement. </p> <p>Parker, however, displayed little nervousness about making such a significant decision. In fact, he said he has never been more certain of anything.</p> <p><strong>"Let me tell you I've never been more certain of anything in my life," Parker said. "I am absolutely certain we are in a bubble in this property market. </strong><strong>Mortgage fraud is endemic, it's systemic, it's just terrible what's going on. When you've got 30-year-olds, who have never seen a property downturn before, borrowing up to 80 per cent to buy three and four apartments, it's a bubble."</strong></p> <p>In a rather dire forecast, Parker outlined a situation where the stock market could fall as low as 5200 points in the coming months, depending on the confluence of his identified risk factors.</p> <p>"Australia hasn't had its GFC event, we've been living in this fool's paradise. But if China slows down the way the guys think it will towards the end of this year, then that's 70 per cent of our exports [affected]. You can see already that the commodity market is turning down." </p> <p>Some speculated whether there is another motive behind the sudden shuttering, but Parker stridently denied any suggestion that there were other factors at play other than a pure investment decision. No personal issues, no position that has blown up and forced his hand. <strong>"No, God no," he said. "We've sold out all of our positions at huge profits for our clients."</strong></p> <p>"This game is all about reputation. I feel that we are right."</p> <p>For now, Mr Parker said he was happy to take some time off. "I've never had more than five weeks off in a row. I'm probably going to have four months in a row, and if something happens in between, I'll think about it. Otherwise I'll enjoy the time off."</p> <p>Come to think of it, in this "market", that may be the smartest thing to do. </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="620" height="345" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Altair Aussie Australia Business Business cycle China Economic bubble Economic history of the Dutch Republic Economy Equity Finance Financial crises Financial economics Investment management Managing Money Money Morgan Stanley Reserve Bank of Australia Valuation Tue, 30 May 2017 09:39:59 +0000 Tyler Durden 596907 at New Generation Of Bombs Undetectable By Airport Scanners: What's The Solution? <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Mike Shedlock via,</em></a></p> <p>In response to <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Homeland Security Ponders Laptop Ban On All International Flights: Surefire Way to Stop Bombs on Planes</a> reader Brindu sent a pair of interesting links discussing <strong>new bombs that airport scanners cannot detect.</strong></p> <p>Please consider <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">U.S. Believes ISIS&rsquo; Bomb-Making Research Includes New Generation of Explosives</a>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Amid the bombed-out ruins of Mosul University, U.S. officials say they have<strong> uncovered evidence that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was developing a new type of bomb that could pass through an airport scanner undetected.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>CBS News joined Iraqi Special Forces in Mosul just days after the hard-fought battle to recapture the University in January. It&rsquo;s long been believed that Mosul University was the center of the militants&rsquo; bomb-making projects, using the school&rsquo;s equipment and labs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Now, <strong>U.S. officials believe that research includes a new generation of more powerful explosives that could be concealed in a computer.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When ISIS overran Mosul in 2014, they also captured the city&rsquo;s international airport. And with it, all the modern security scanner and screening equipment necessary to test their new bombs.</p> </blockquote> <h3><u><strong>Professional Pilots Discussion</strong></u></h3> <p>The Professional Pilots Rumor Network, <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">PPRuNE</a> Website, has a discussion on undetectable bombs.</p> <p><em>Dubaian: <strong>What&rsquo;s to stop ISIS putting this clever new &lsquo;undetectable&rsquo; stuff in pretty well anything a PAX might take on board.</strong> And it&rsquo;d be easier than replumbing a laptop.</em></p> <p><em>Peekay4: A working explosive is composed of several elements. These elements can be disguised within a laptop, large tablet, etc. Put them into a box of chocolates or a can of Pringles, they would be very easy to detect.</em></p> <p><em>EDLB: <strong>What can they detect in checked luggage but not in a carry-on?</strong></em></p> <p><em>Peekay4: Not going into specifics but part of the reason for requiring them in checked luggage is not only for detection but also isolation (containment).</em></p> <p><em>Lomapaseo: Containment from what? If they go boom as baggage the damage is variable as hell based on location. If they go boom in the cabin the damage is predictable based on seat location and/or overhead storage which is specific by PNR (boarding pass). And then there is the fire hazard from a typical LI cheap battery in passenger luggage. In the overhead or cabin, it&rsquo;s specific in location and ability to assess and contain.</em></p> <p><em>Infrequentflyer789: <strong>If they go boom in the cabin the damage is predictable based on exactly where the attacker decides to set it off, which is nothing to do with a boarding pass. A small boom set by a clever attacker in the right place is going to be as big a threat as a large boom placed randomly, and that&rsquo;s before we get onto stuff like shaped charges and really clever placement.</strong></em></p> <p><em>Edmundronald: This will make Chromebooks and other net-connected empty-shell computers the tool of choice for biz travelers. Rent one or buy a cheap one as soon as you touch down.</em></p> <p><em>RTD1: <strong>Rather, this will result in a massive push towards video conferencing/telepresence in lieu of business travel.</strong> I&rsquo;ve been a management/technology consultant flying weekly for 20 years now, and if this ban were extended to all domestic and international flights, I&rsquo;d likely either find an alternative to in-person meetings or switch careers if it were not feasible. I haven&rsquo;t checked a bag (save for gate checking carry-ons on puddle jumpers) in years. I keep my timelines from landing to meeting starts pretty tight, and I count on flying time for working. I&rsquo;m not unique, such a rule would be devastating for business travel.</em></p> <p><em>Pax Britanica: There is always an element of business travel that is not really necessary but its hard line to draw between beneficial and essential. There are also events like conferences where most of the attendees don&rsquo;t&rsquo; actually attend but meet with peers from other companies and do business just because a lot of people from one industry are in the same place. Ie the conference itself isn&rsquo;t really &lsquo;necessary&rsquo; but it&rsquo;s a good opportunity to meet clients and suppliers without doing separate trips. Video links are usually fine for inside the company work and some external stuff but many cultures like the physical presence bit.</em></p> <p><em>Mickjoebill: <strong>What about camera crews and photographers who carry kilos of lumpy electronic gear onboard?</strong> It is trivial to provide enough power to activate a camera to make the battery appear unadulterated when the cells have been repacked with something deadly.Unless every item is sniffed, a laptop ban seems half arsed.</em></p> <h3><u><strong>ISIS Knows What We Know About Them</strong></u></h3> <p>The preceding comment by Mickjoebill gets to the heart of the matter. And that was the point of my satirical suggestion on a &nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Surefire Way to Stop Bombs on Planes</a>.</p> <p><em><strong>ISIS knows, that we know, that they had been working on laptops. As a result, ISIS will likely shift to an electronic toy or camera equipment</strong></em> (as I suggested in my post).</p> <h3><u><strong>FAA Traffic by the Numbers</strong></u></h3> <p>In 2105, the <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">FAA Traffic by Numbers</a> website shows some interesting air traffic statistics.</p> <ul> <li><strong>There were 8,727,691 commercial flights in 2015.</strong></li> <li>There are 7,000 planes in the sky at any given time.</li> <li>There are 23,911 flights a day</li> </ul> <h3><u><strong>Convenience vs Safety</strong></u></h3> <p>Does it make sense to ban all laptops on all flights as they are discussing now?</p> <p>Banning laptops alone is insufficient.&nbsp;<strong><em>It is impossible to eliminate all airplane risk without banning all flights.</em></strong></p> <p>Reader Maxx offered this pertinent thought:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>At some point to unravel a knot, you have to start pulling on the other end of the string.</strong> Technology chasing technology only goes so far.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For all the time spent harassing a new mom about baby formula, we could be using those hours to interview a 20-year-old &ldquo;quiet&rdquo; male with no real friends and an extensive Facebook trail to a Pakistani ISP.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>When are people going to wake up and realize politically correct bull&amp;h!t is FATAL. This is costing our economy enormously.</strong></p> </blockquote> Airport Checked baggage Electronics ban ETC Federal Aviation Administration Institute for Science and International Security Iraq Iraqi Special Forces Islamic terrorism in the United States ISP Laptop Mosul International Airport Mosul University September 11 attacks Technology Technology chasing technology The Isis Magazine United States video conferencing Tue, 30 May 2017 09:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596954 at Millions Of Americans Just Got An Artificial Boost To Their Credit Score <p>Back in August 2014, <a href="">we first reported </a>that in what appeared a suspicious attempt to boost the pool of eligible, credit-worthy mortgage and auto recipients, Fair Isaac, the company behind the crucial FICO score that determines every consumer's credit rating, <strong>"will stop including in its FICO credit-score calculations any record of a consumer failing to pay a bill if the bill has been paid or settled with a collection agency.</strong> The San Jose, Calif., company also will give less weight to unpaid medical bills that are with a collection agency." In doing so, the company would "make it easier for tens of millions of Americans to get loans." </p> <p>Then, back in March of this year, in the latest push to artificially boost FICO scores, the <a href="">WSJ reported </a>that <strong>"many tax liens and civil judgments soon will be removed from people’s credit reports, the latest in a series of moves to omit negative information from these financial scorecards. The development could help boost credit scores for millions of consumers, but could pose risks for lenders</strong>" as FICO scores remain the only widely accepted method of quantifying any individual American's credit risk, and determine how much consumers can borrow for a new house or car as well as determine their credit-card spending limit</p> <p>Stated simply, the definition of the all important FICO score, the most important number at the base of every mortgage application, was set for a series of "adjustments" which would push it higher for millions of Americans.</p> <p><strong>&nbsp;<a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="162" /></a></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The outcome of these changes was clear for the 12 million people impacted: it "<strong>will make many people who have these types of credit-report blemishes look more creditworthy.</strong>"</p> <p>Now, as the <a href="">Wall Street Journal</a> points out today, efforts to rig the FICO scoring process seems to be bearing some fruit.&nbsp; <strong>The average credit score nationwide hit 700 in April, according to new data from Fair Isaac Corp., which is the highest since at least 2005.</strong></p> <p>Meanwhile, the share of consumers deemed to be riskiest, with a score below 600, hit a new low of roughly 40 million, or 20% of U.S. adults who have FICO scores, according to Fair Isaac. That is down from 20.5% in October and a peak of 25.5% in 2010.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="FICO" width="600" height="423" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, to be fair, we are also reaching that critical 7-year point where the previous wave of mortgage foreclosures start to magically disappear from the FICO scores of millions of Americans.&nbsp; </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Mortgage foreclosures stay on credit reports for up to seven years dating back to the missed payment that resulted in the foreclosure. Foreclosure starts, the first stage in the process, peaked in 2009 at 2.1 million, according to Attom Data Solutions. They totaled nearly 1.8 million in 2010 and remained above one million during each of the next two years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Personal bankruptcies are more complicated and can stay on credit reports for seven to 10 years.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Consumers who filed in 2007 for Chapter 7 protection—the most common type of bankruptcy, in which certain debts are discharged and creditors can get paid back from sales of consumers’ assets—are now starting to see those events fall off their reports. <strong>Some 500,000 Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases were filed in 2007, a figure that swelled to nearly 1.1 million in 2010, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Chapter<br /> 13 bankruptcies, in which consumers enter a payment plan with creditors, usually stay on reports for at least seven years. Those filings reached a recent peak of nearly 435,000 in 2010 and are set to start falling off reports this year.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="FICO" width="600" height="423" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>All of which, as the WSJ points out, will help to <strong>"boost originations of large-dollar loans for cars and homes."&nbsp; </strong>Which is precisely what the average, massively-overlevered American household needs...more debt.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Fresh starts for credit reports are likely to help boost originations of large-dollar loans for cars and homes. Consumers have a greater chance of getting approved for financing if they apply for loans after negative events fall off their reports, in particular from large banks that have stuck to strict underwriting criteria, says Morgan Whitacre, who oversees consumer-loan underwriting at Bank of America Corp.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Credit-card lending, already on the rise, could increase further as a result of fresh starts. <strong>Consumers who have one type of bankruptcy filing removed from their credit report experience a roughly $1,500 increase in spending limits and rack up $800 more in credit-card debt within three years, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>So maybe that auto lending bubble has a little room left to run afterall...</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="727" height="460" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Administrative office of the U.S. Courts Bank of America Bank of America Bank of New York Business Credit Credit card Credit history Credit score Credit score in the United States Creditors Economy Federal Reserve Federal Reserve Bank Federal Reserve Bank of New York Federal Reserve Bank of New York FICO Finance Foreclosure Foreclosures Money Mortgage loan Personal finance Wall Street Journal Tue, 30 May 2017 08:23:30 +0000 Tyler Durden 596895 at Brexodus Builds - More EU Citizens Are Leaving The UK <p>After the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Brexit</a>&nbsp;referendum, <strong><em>more EU citizens are leaving&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Britain</a>, while less Europeans are coming in</em></strong>. As the latest figures from the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Office for National Statistics</a>&nbsp;show, <strong>2016 brought 84,000 less migrants, compared to the previous year</strong>. <a href="">Statista&#39;s Fabian Moebus points</a> out that the net migration of 248,000 people is the lowest number of yearly newcomers in over three years. Immigration from EU countries decreased by 43,000 people while emigration increased by 31,000, which makes Europeans the main factor behind the trend with a net change of minus 74,000.</p> <p><a href="" title="Infographic: More EU Citizens Are Leaving the UK | Statista"><img alt="Infographic: More EU Citizens Are Leaving the UK | Statista" src="" style="height: 428px; width: 601px;" /></a></p> <p><em>You will find more statistics at <a href="">Statista</a></em></p> <p><strong>In the run-up to the elections, Theresa May declared to bring net migration below 100,000, a promise that dates back to the Conservative 2010 manifesto. </strong>The target has widely been criticized as insubstantial because it is highly dependent on the individual behavior of many different groups, like temporary students from abroad or British pensioners retiring elsewhere. <strong><em>Whether the numbers continue to wane hinges mainly on the outcome of the upcoming elections and the future development of Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU.</em></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="702" height="361" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Brexit Europe European Union European Union Euroscepticism in the United Kingdom Government of the United Kingdom Immigration Politics Politics of the United Kingdom Social Issues Statista Theresa May United Kingdom European Union membership referendum Tue, 30 May 2017 08:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596952 at Short Victorious War: US President's Magic Wand To Wave In A Pinch <p><em><a href="">Authored by Andrei Akulov via The Strategic&nbsp; Culture Foundation,</a></em></p> <p><a href=""><img height="333" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>Putting together the bits of information coming from various sources leads to the conclusion that <strong>a US pre-emptive strike against North Korea is a possibility that may turn into reality pretty soon.</strong> Everyone knows it&rsquo;s fraught with implications and nobody wants it <strong>but there is a good reason to believe it&rsquo;s coming closer.</strong></p> <p>North Korean leader&nbsp;Kim Jong Un&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">has supervised</a>&nbsp;the test of a new anti-aircraft weapon system and ordered its mass production and deployment throughout the country. It took place after Pyongyang conducted a second&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">missile test</a>&nbsp;within a week, sending a medium-range ballistic missile into the waters off its east coast on May 21. North Korea said the test was a success and the weapon could now be mass-produced. <strong>If a strike to knock out the nuclear and ballistic missile program infrastructure is planned, it would better be delivered before the air defense systems are in place.</strong></p> <p>North Korea&#39;s missile program is progressing faster than expected, South Korea&#39;s defense minister&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">said</a>&nbsp;on May 16, after the U.N. Security Council condemned the launch of a new long-range missile and demanded Pyongyang halt weapons tests. North Korea has defied all calls to rein in its nuclear and missile programs, including from Russia and China. The country&rsquo;s leadership openly states that it has been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the US mainland, and the recent tests are steps toward that aim. North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests so far, including two last year.</p> <p>During the US-China summit at Mar-a-Lago estate, Florida, in early April, <strong>Chinese President Xi Jinping asked US President Donald Trump for a 100-day grace period to deal with North Korea&rsquo;s military provocations.</strong> The May 21 launch cast doubts on the efficacy of the measures taken. The 100-day period would end around the time the G20 summit is held in Germany on July 7-8 with the problem of North Korea high on the agenda. The US and China&rsquo;s leaders will tackle the burning issue on the sidelines of the event.</p> <p>Meanwhile, a third US aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz, will be deployed by Washington in the Western Pacific Ocean in order to join two US warships, stationed near the shores of the Korean Peninsula in the light of the crisis. USS&nbsp;Nimitz&nbsp;will join&nbsp;USS&nbsp;Carl Vinson&nbsp;and USS&nbsp;Ronald Reagan&nbsp;in the area. Three carrier groups out of eleven is a huge force to be deployed only for a large-scale operation coming soon.</p> <p><strong>The US is to conduct another test of its Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system to shoot down an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) simulating a North Korean ICBM aimed at the US The military has used the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system to intercept other types of missiles, but never an ICBM.</strong></p> <p>Finally, it&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">has been recently revealed</a>&nbsp;that the US military has moved <strong>two nuclear submarines towards North Korea. </strong>President Trump&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">was likely referring</a>&nbsp;to an&nbsp;Ohio-class guided missile submarine (SSGN), the USS&nbsp;Michigan, which made an official port call in Busan, South Korea on April 25, and the&nbsp;Los-Angeles-class attack submarine (SSN) USS&nbsp;Cheyenne, which visited Sasebo, Japan on May 2 as part of its regional deployment. The US Navy on average is deploying up to ten&nbsp;Los-Angeles,&nbsp;Seawolf, or Virginia-class attack submarines worldwide on any given day.</p> <p><strong>Michigan&nbsp;is used for first strike missions. It is one of four&nbsp;Ohio&nbsp;strategic subs (SSBNs)&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">converted to only fire conventional Tomahawks</a>&nbsp;instead of nuclear ballistic missiles. </strong>The boat carries a massive load of 154 land attack cruise missiles. On top of that,&nbsp;Michigan&nbsp;carries the Dry Deck Shelter, which allows it to deploy special operations forces and their swimmer delivery vehicle mini-subs.&nbsp;Cheyenne&nbsp;is a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Los Angeles-class</a>&nbsp;attack submarine, which routinely accompanies carrier groups. It can fire Tomahawks.</p> <p><strong>Trump has said &laquo;a major, major conflict&raquo; with North Korea is possible</strong> because of its nuclear and missile programs and that&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">all options are on the table</a>. On May 19, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">expressed</a>&nbsp;a cautious stance toward immediate military action against North Korea.</p> <p><strong>The US president&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">is under assault</a>&nbsp;from all sides.</strong> The possibility of his impeachment&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">is openly discussed</a>&nbsp;in media and Congress.&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">According to</a>&nbsp;Politico, Conservatives begin to whisper: President Pence.</p> <p><strong>Donald Trump knows that military actions are an effective tool to hike ratings. </strong>The president saw a bump in his own poll numbers after the cruise missile strike in Syria he ordered on April 7. His approval rating&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">jumped</a>&nbsp;from 34 percent up to 42 percent. It&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">leaped</a>&nbsp;from 42 to 50 percent after the &laquo;Mother of all bombs&raquo;&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">was used</a>&nbsp;on April 13 against Islamic State positions in Afghanistan. The public support has dramatically&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">slid down</a>&nbsp;to roughly 38 percent since then.<strong> The president is in a pinch. Something needs to be done immediately to rectify the situation.</strong></p> <p>The trend is worrisome and the best tried-and-true way to reverse it is<strong> a short victorious war. </strong>True, it&rsquo;s a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">great risk</a>. But <strong>bombing one&rsquo;s way to popularity may happen to be a temptation impossible to resist. </strong>A sixth North Korean nuclear test or test-fire of an intercontinental ballistic missile may prompt the action even before the 100 days &laquo;grace period&raquo; is over. The forces are there and poised. They cannot be in high alert stand-by mode too long. While the world public attention is riveted to Syria, a large-scale military conflict with terrible consequences may spark anytime and the probability is very high.</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="629" height="349" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Afghanistan Ballistic missile Ballistics China Congress Donald Trump East Coast Florida G20 Germany Intercontinental ballistic missile International relations Japan KIM Michigan Military Missile defense North Korea North Korea Nuclear strategies Ohio Politics Pre-emptive nuclear strike ratings Reality Strategic Culture Foundation U.N. Security Council United States national missile defense United States Navy US military War War Wernher von Braun Tue, 30 May 2017 08:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596953 at DNC Lawsuit Exposes Corruption, Data Breaches, Raises Questions About Death Of Shawn Lucas <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Via <a href="" target="_blank">Disobedient Media</a></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">In June of last year, attorneys&nbsp;Jared Beck and Elizabeth Beck of law firm Beck and Lee filed a class action law suit against the DNC and former chairwomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The suit&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">claims</a>&nbsp;that the DNC acted against its charter when it showed demonstrable favoritism towards &nbsp;Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary, and failed to secure the data of DNC donors. The suit could have massive significance for the Democratic Party and could have an even wider impact if the origin of the DNC leaks are disclosed in the proceedings.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Attorney Elizabeth Beck described the lawsuit to&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">US Uncut</a>:“We think that the DNC has been running absolutely out of control and completely disregarding their responsibilities, rights, and duties to the public.”</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">The DNC lawsuit has so far received very little press coverage, despite revealing blatant&nbsp;corruption in the Democratic establishment. The death of Shawn Lucas, a process server who would have been&nbsp;a federal witness for the Becks, added further fuel to speculations of corruption surrounding the case. Jared Beck has also stated that Seth Rich would have been a potential witness in their case.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">The lawsuit has so far revealed an absolutely unabashed level of corruption in the Democratic Party establishment. Attorney Bruce Spiva stunningly argued&nbsp;in defense of the DNC during the latest April 25th&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">hearing</a>&nbsp;on the case: "There's no right to not have your candidate disadvantaged or have another candidate advantaged. There's no contractual obligation here,” Spiva further&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stated</a>&nbsp;that the party had the right to select its candidate in any way it chooses and was "not bound by pledges of fairness."</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Spiva's&nbsp;defense has proved controversial, as it effectively admits the DNC primary process was rigged,&nbsp;<em>but</em>&nbsp;argues that this was not illegal.&nbsp;Jared Beck told&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">US Uncut</a>&nbsp;that he believed their suit would prove successful based on Article 5, Section 4 of the DNC charter which explicitly requires the chair of the DNC to remain impartial during the primary.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">The New York Times reported that the DNC leaks &nbsp;that formed the impetus for the DNC lawsuit had suggested the DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, and other officials "favored Hillary Clinton over Mr. Sanders." The DNC leaks have also raised serious questions regarding&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">DNC funding methods</a>.</p> <div class="mceTemp" style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"> <dl id="attachment_3345" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="margin-right: auto; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: auto; max-width: 100%; width: 600px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><img src="" alt="Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a defendant in the DNC lawsuit." width="600" height="325" style="height: auto; max-width: 100%; display: block;" class="wp-image-3345" /></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd" style="font-size: 14px; padding-top: 0.5em; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px;">Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a defendant in the DNC lawsuit. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)</dd> </dl> </div> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Disobedient Media spoke with Jared Beck, who said that the initial momentum for the case stemmed from the rigging of the primary, but added: "There's another aspect to this case that deals with why information leaked into the public domain, and that's also part of this very intense mystery... that a lot of us are very concerned about right now."</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Beck told Disobedient Media that in addition to the claims based on donations made to the Bernie Sanders campaign, and to the DNC, he also believed that there is&nbsp;a claim based on the DNC's negligent failure to secure the data of its donors. This may be an important claim in terms of establishing why that data was released into the public (due to DNC negligence, in Beck's view). Beck stated that he thought his team might be able to get discovery on this issue and specifically how it came to be that the data was released. Beck said that&nbsp;he believed the topic to currently be a very important issue right now given public interest about who leaked the DNC documents.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Beck also discussed how the DNC lawsuit's claims regarding DNC negligence with donor data&nbsp;may be especially important as it relates to the unsolved murder of Seth Rich. Rich was&nbsp;a staffer for the DNC who died in an unsolved murder last July. In August last year&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Fox News</a>&nbsp;reported that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange had strongly hinted that Seth Rich was the source for the DNC leaks.&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Washington Post</a>&nbsp;also reported that Wikileaks &nbsp;had offered a reward for information leading to a conviction in Seth Rich's murder. Jared Beck has&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stated</a>&nbsp;via twitter that Seth Rich would have been a potential witness in the DNC lawsuit.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><img src="" width="628" height="401" style="height: auto; max-width: 100%; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="size-full wp-image-3336 aligncenter" /><br />If the Becks successfully gain the right to discovery on the origin of the DNC documents, the mystery regarding whether Seth Rich leaked the information might potentially be resolved. If Rich did indeed leak the DNC emails to Wikileaks, the 'Russian hacking' narrative would be utterly negated.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">The Becks based their lawsuit on Guccifer2.0's release of the information, which occurred in June last year, before Wikileaks had announced they would be releasing DNC documents. Guccifer2.0's role in the DNC leaks was discussed&nbsp;in a previous report by&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Disobedient Media</a>. There has been speculation that Guccifer2.0's early release of the information was intended to smear Wikileaks and potentially Seth Rich as the leaker, by intentionally fabricating evidence of 'Russian hacking' in the earliest available version of the data.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Adding further questions surrounding the lawsuit was the unexpected death of Shawn Lucas, who was filmed serving defendants in the suit last July. Police&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reports</a>&nbsp;describe how Luca's girlfriend&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">found</a>&nbsp;him unconcious on the bathroom floor &nbsp;in early August. Paramedics were unable to revive him. The Becks have indicated Shawn Lucas was to be a Federal witness in the proceedings.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><img src="" width="621" height="352" style="height: auto; max-width: 100%; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-3332" /></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Jared Beck told Disobedient Media that Lucas would have served as a witness in order to rebut the defendant's contention that process was incorrectly served. This would have included a sworn declaration from Lucas; Beck stated&nbsp;that footage of Lucas serving process had been&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">introduced as evidence</a>&nbsp;in the case in his stead, due to the unexpected death.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="wpview wpview-wrap" style="width: 747.921875px; position: relative; clear: both; margin-bottom: 16px; border: 1px solid transparent; cursor: default; color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px;"> <div class="jetpack-video-wrapper"><span class="embed-youtube" style="text-align: center; display: block;"><iframe src=";rel=1&amp;fs=1&amp;autohide=2&amp;showsearch=0&amp;showinfo=1&amp;iv_load_policy=1&amp;wmode=transparent" width="780" height="469"></iframe></span></div> <p><span class="mce-shim" style="position: absolute; top: 0px; right: 0px; bottom: 0px; left: 0px;">&nbsp;</span><span class="wpview-end">&nbsp;</span></p></div> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">The Becks have provided Disobedient Media with copies of their&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">communications</a>&nbsp;with Washington D.C. police that include discussion regarding the body cameras worn by police as well as Shawn Lucas' death report. Lucas' cause of death was&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">described</a>&nbsp;by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner of Washington D.C as "Combined adverse effects of fentanyl, cyclobenzaprine, and mitragynine," with the manner of death listed as "accident."&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Fentanyl</a>&nbsp;is a strong opioid pain medication, sometimes used as part of anaesthesia.&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cyclobenzaprine</a>&nbsp;is a muscle relaxant, while mitradynine is a substance found in&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Kratom</a>.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px;">As the case continues to be&nbsp;a developing story, Disobedient Media will provide further coverage of the DNC lawsuit should&nbsp;new facts emerge.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-blog"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_blog" width="970" height="647" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bernie Sanders Corruption Debbie Wasserman Schultz Democratic National Committee Democratic National Committee email leak Democratic Party Democratic Party presidential primaries Email hacking Florida Fox News Government Julian Assange Law Murder of Seth Rich New York Times Politics Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Twitter Twitter United States Washington D.C. Washington D.C. police WikiLeaks Tue, 30 May 2017 07:00:00 +0000 William Craddick 596960 at Norway's 'CIA' Pushes Plan To Unleash "Facebook Police" <p>Kripos, <strong><em>Norway&#39;s National Criminal Investigation Service,</em></strong> is reportedly examining the legal aspects of how police accounts could be given access to areas of Facebook that are not open to the public. It would mean <strong>police gaining access to closed groups and interacting with members as they search for evidence of criminal activity</strong>, the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv reported.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;We have looked into the possibility of <strong>creating &#39;uniformed accounts&#39;.</strong> But we have not decided whether it is something we should do,&rdquo; communications officer Axel Wilhelm Due told Dagens Næringsliv, <a href="">via the Local. </a></p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><em>As The Telegraph reports,</em></a> police in Norway and elsewhere have <strong>previously used fake Facebook profiles to investigate crime</strong>s including smuggling alcohol and tobacco.</p> <p>Facebook has not given police profiles with enhanced access to private groups but <strong>they can apply for access to them in connection with criminal cases</strong>, Dagens Næringsliv reported.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 341px;" /></a></p> <p>Police superintendent Emil Jenssen of Kripos told Norwegian broadcaster NRK:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&quot;We get lots of tips on areas where it is sold bootleg, drugs or other illegal things. Then we go inside these groups to preserve evidence for criminal cases.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;<strong>If there is a criminal case we can go to court and get an injunction and send it to Facebook. They send us so the information we need.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;<strong>We have the ability to do this in necessity as well if there is danger to life and health.</strong> When it goes very quickly, often under an hour. In other criminal cases it takes longer.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>The company&rsquo;s Norwegian press office told the paper that it <strong>didn&rsquo;t want to comment on whether it would permit officially verified police accounts.</strong></p> <p>But such a decision would be a step forward for Facebook in terms of how it handles transparency surrounding intelligence or law enforcement agencies operating on the site. <a href="">As the Snowden leaks revealed,</a> Facebook and other tech giants like Google, Microsoft and Apple are already compelled to share our data with the National Security Agency, when it&rsquo;s asked for.</p> <p><em>If police officers are allowed to patrol content on the site, maybe Facebook could <a href="">abandon some of its convoluted policies for policing what its users can and cannot see.</a></em></p> <p>It also begs the question: <strong><em>Would this <a href="">officially make &ldquo;fake news&rdquo; a crime?</a></em></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="717" height="315" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Apple Computing Dagens Næringsliv Deception Facebook Fake news Global surveillance disclosures Google Kriminalpolizei Kripos Law Mass media national security National Security Agency Newspaper Norway Norway's National Criminal Investigation Service Norway’s police Propaganda techniques Social information processing Social networking services Software Technology Transparency Tue, 30 May 2017 06:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596813 at We Know What Inspired The Manchester Attack, We Just Won't Admit It <p><em><a href="">Authored by Patrick Cockburn via The Strategic Culture Foundation,</a></em></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" /></a></p> <p><strong>In the wake of the massacre in Manchester, people rightly warn against blaming the entire Muslim community in Britain and the world.</strong> Certainly one of the aims of those who carry out such atrocities is to provoke the communal punishment of all Muslims, thereby alienating a portion of them who will then become open to recruitment by Isis and al-Qaeda clones.</p> <p><strong>This approach of not blaming Muslims in general but targeting &ldquo;radicalisation&rdquo; or simply &ldquo;evil&rdquo; may appear sensible and moderate, but in practice it makes the motivation of the killers in Manchester or the Bataclan theatre in Paris in 2015 appear vaguer and less identifiable than it really is. </strong>Such generalities have the unfortunate effect of preventing people pointing an accusing finger at the variant of Islam which certainly is responsible for preparing the soil for the beliefs and actions likely to have inspired the suicide bomber Salman Abedi.</p> <p>The <strong>ultimate inspiration for such people is Wahhabism, the puritanical, fanatical and regressive type of Islam dominant in Saudi Arabia</strong>, whose ideology is close to that of al-Qaeda and Isis. This is an exclusive creed, intolerant of all who disagree with it such as secular liberals, members of other Muslim communities such as the Shia or women resisting their chattel-like status.</p> <p>What has been termed Salafi jihadism, the core beliefs of Isis and al-Qaeda, developed out of Wahhabism, and has<strong> carried out its prejudices to what it sees as a logical and violent conclusion.</strong> Shia and Yazidis were not just heretics in the eyes of this movement, which was a sort of Islamic Khmer Rouge, but sub-humans who should be massacred or enslaved. Any woman who transgressed against repressive social mores should be savagely punished. Faith should be demonstrated by a public death of the believer, slaughtering the unbelievers, be they the 86 Shia children being evacuated by bus from their homes in Syria on 15 April or the butchery of young fans at a pop concert in Manchester on Monday night.</p> <p><strong>The real causes of &ldquo;radicalisation&rdquo; have long been known, but the government, the media and others seldom if ever refer to it because they do not want to offend the Saudis or be accused of anti-Islamic bias.</strong> It is much easier to say, piously but quite inaccurately, that Isis and al-Qaeda and their murderous foot soldiers &ldquo;have nothing to do with Islam&rdquo;. This has been the track record of US and UK governments since 9/11. <strong>They will look in any direction except Saudi Arabia when seeking the causes of terrorism.</strong> President Trump has been justly denounced and derided in the US for last Sunday accusing Iran and, in effect, the Shia community of responsibility for the wave of terrorism that has engulfed the region when it ultimately emanates from one small but immensely influential Sunni sect. One of the great cultural changes in the world over the last 50 years is the way in which Wahhabism, once an isolated splinter group, has become an increasingly dominant influence over mainstream Sunni Islam, thanks to Saudi financial support.</p> <p><u><strong>A further sign of the Salafi-jihadi impact is the choice of targets</strong></u>: the attacks on the Bataclan theatre in Paris in 2015, a gay night club in Florida in 2016 and the Manchester Arena this week have one thing in common. They were all frequented by young people enjoying entertainment and a lifestyle which made them an Isis or al-Qaeda target. But these are also events where the mixing of men and women or the very presence of gay people is denounced by puritan Wahhabis and Salafi jihadis alike. They both live in a cultural environment in which the demonisation of such people and activities is the norm, though their response may differ.</p> <p><strong>The culpability of Western governments for terrorist attacks on their own citizens is glaring but is seldom even referred to.</strong> Leaders want to have a political and commercial alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf oil states. They have never held them to account for supporting a repressive and sectarian ideology which is likely to have inspired Salman Abedi. Details of his motivation may be lacking, but the target of his attack and the method of his death is classic al-Qaeda and Isis in its mode of operating.</p> <p>The reason these two demonic organisations were able to survive and expand despite the billions &ndash; perhaps trillions &ndash; of dollars spent on &ldquo;the war on terror&rdquo; after 9/11 is that<strong> those responsible for stopping them deliberately missed the target and have gone on doing so. </strong>After 9/11, President Bush portrayed Iraq not Saudi Arabia as the enemy; in a re-run of history President Trump is ludicrously accusing Iran of being the source of most terrorism in the Middle East. This is the real 9/11 conspiracy, beloved of crackpots worldwide, but there is nothing secret about the deliberate blindness of British and American governments to the source of the beliefs that has inspired the massacres of which Manchester is only the latest &ndash; and certainly not the last &ndash; horrible example.</p> <p>&nbsp;</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="612" height="358" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Al-Qaeda al-Qaeda Florida Iran Iraq Islam Islamic fundamentalism Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Islamic states Islamism Jihadism Khmer Rouge Manchester Arena Middle East Middle East Politics Religious controversies Salafi jihadism Salafi movement Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia Strategic Culture Foundation Wahhabism War Tue, 30 May 2017 06:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596940 at