en Visualizing The Countries Most And Least Accepting Of Migrants <p>According to&nbsp;<a href=";g_medium=newsfeed&amp;g_campaign=tiles" target="_blank">new research from Gallup</a>, many countries on the frontlines of&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Europe&#39;s migration crisis</a>&nbsp;are among the <strong>least-accepting countries worldwide for migrants</strong>.</p> <p><a href="">Statista&#39;s Nial McCarthy notes</a> that the research found that Macedonia, Montenegro, Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia and Croatia which are <strong>all along the Balkan route for asylum seekers recorded the lowest scores for accepting migrants</strong>.</p> <p><a href="" title="Infographic: The Countries Most And Least Accepting Of Migrants | Statista"><img alt="Infographic: The Countries Most And Least Accepting Of Migrants | Statista" height="813" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><em>You will find more statistics at <a href="">Statista</a></em></p> <p><strong>Iceland was at the opposite end of the scale, scoring 8.26 out of 9.0.</strong> It was followed by New Zealand and Rwanda.</p> <p>Germany which has taken in huge numbers of refugees in recent years came 23rd overall with 7.09.&nbsp;<strong><a href="" target="_blank">The United States</a>&nbsp;came 18th with 7.27.</strong> The United Kingdom came a distant 38th for migrant acceptance, scoring only 6.61 out of 9.0.</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="736" height="432" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Asylum seeker Cultural globalization Demography Forced migration Gallup Germany Hungary Iceland New Zealand Politics Refugee Slovakia Social Issues Statista United Kingdom Thu, 24 Aug 2017 05:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 602217 at Globalist Strategy Exposed: Use Crazy Leftists And Provocateurs To Enrage/Demonize Conservatives <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Brandon Smith via,</em></a></p> <p><strong>The false left/right paradigm is an often misunderstood concept.</strong> Many people who are aware of it sometimes wrongly assume that it asserts the claim that there is &quot;no left or right political spectrum;&quot; that it is all a farce. This is incorrect.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 487px; height: 298px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>In regular society there is indeed a political spectrum among the general populace from socialism/communism/big government (left) to conservatism/free markets/individualism/small government (right). </strong></p> <p>Each citizen sits somewhere on the scale between these two dynamics. The left/right spectrum is in fact real for the average person.</p> <p><strong>We do not find a &quot; false&quot; paradigm until we examine the beliefs and behaviors of the elitist and political classes.</strong> For many banking oligarchs and high level politicians, there is no loyalty to a particular political party or an identifiable &quot;left&quot; or &quot;right&quot; ideology. Many of these people are happy to exploit both sides of the spectrum, if they can, to achieve the goals of globalism; a separate ideology that doesn&#39;t really serve the interests of groups on the left or the right. That is to say, globalists pretend as if they care about one side or the other on occasion, but in truth they could not care less about the success of either. They only care about the success of their own exclusive elitist club.</p> <p>This reality also tends to apply to national loyalty as well. Globalists do not carry any ideological love for any particular nation or culture. They are more than happy to sacrifice and sabotage a country if the action will gain them greater power or centralization in return. A globalist is only &quot;Democrat&quot; or &quot;Republican,&quot; or American or Russian or Chinese or European, etc., insofar as the label gets them something that they want.</p> <p><strong>The reason globalists and the people that work for them adopt certain labels is because through this they can act as gatekeepers and better manipulate the masses. </strong>The hot button issue of the week provides us with a case in point...</p> <p>The organizer of the &quot;Unite The Right&quot; group during the Charlottesville circus, which ended in one death and numerous injured, happened to be an ideological playmate of the extreme left only a year ago. <a href="" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">Jason Kessler</a> seemed to come out of nowhere as a leading figure in the white identity or &quot;white nationalist&quot; movement in 2017, but in 2016, <a href="" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">he was an avid supporter of Barack Obama</a>, and before that, an active champion of the Occupy Wall Street movement.</p> <p><strong>I suppose anyone can change their ideological worldview over time, but I&#39;m certainly not stupid enough to believe that Jason Kessler went from hardcore leftist to white nationalist in less than a year. </strong>Though it cannot be proven conclusively that Kessler is a provocateur, he certainly idolized the position. Kessler is quoted <a href="" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">in his own blog</a> on December 12, 2015, (now shut down but archived) as stating:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&quot;I can&#39;t think of any occupation I admire more than the professional provocateur, who has the courage and self-determination to court controversy despite all the slings and arrows of the world.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>This is not the first time white nationalists have been exploited by agent provocateurs to make the &quot;political right&quot; in general look bad. And, it is certainly not the first time white nationalists have been discovered to be working directly for the federal government. Klu Klux Klan leader Bill Wilkinson <a href="" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">openly admitted to being a FBI informant </a>and cooperator in 1981. Hal Turner, a white supremacist radio personality notorious for calling for the deaths of judges and lawmakers, <a href="" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">turned out to be a provocateur paid by the FBI to drum up extremism</a>. He was exposed in 2009 after his arrest led to his admission that almost everything he did was &quot;at the behest of the Federal Bureau of Investigations...&quot;</p> <p><u><em><strong>Why would the government seek to instigate white nationalist groups into violence?</strong></em></u> Well, you have to examine the larger narrative here.</p> <p>Anti-conservative propaganda has been overwhelmingly one-track over the past several years. If you are well educated on the activities of deceit machines like the Southern Poverty Law Center, you understand that the thrust of all of their operations has been to tie white nationalism directly to conservative organizations even if there is no connection. I call this &quot;guilt by false association.&quot; Keep in mind that the SPLC cooperates closely with government agencies like the DHS and their &quot;Working Group To Counter Violent Extremism&quot; to create profiling techniques to identify &quot;right wing extremists.&quot; Meaning, <a href="" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">their skewed propaganda</a> is often what the media and government agencies use as a reference when writing articles or implementing policy.</p> <p><strong>The SPLC is inseparable from the mainstream media and government agendas dealing with conservatives.</strong></p> <p>In order to justify the madness and violence of the left in recent months, it is more important than ever for the establishment to maintain the lie that conservatives are also all violent racists and &quot;fascists&quot; that need to be destroyed. Propaganda alone is rarely enough to make such notions stick in the public consciousness. Sometimes, provocateurs are needed to &quot;stir the pot.&quot;</p> <p><strong>However, this is only half the equation of the American civil war being engineered before our eyes.</strong></p> <p>In my article <a href="">&#39;The Social Justice Cult Should Blame Itself For The Rise Of Trump&#39;</a> published in August of 2016, I warned that Trump would indeed win the presidential election and that this would actually serve the interests of establishment elites. In the article, I outline the classic division that globalists have used for decades to divide and conquer societies as well as conjure instability and even geopolitical conflicts &mdash; namely the communist versus fascist division.</p> <p><strong>The political left in the U.S. has gone &quot;full retard&quot; as they say, and it is my belief that this is by design. </strong>George Soros, an avid globalist and <a href="">Nazi-collaborator</a> that now pretends to be a &quot;Democrat&quot; (remember, in reality these people have no loyalty to either side), is a prominent figure behind the funding and strategy initiatives of far-left groups <a href="">like Black Lives Matter</a> and others related to Antifa activities.</p> <p>The current behavior of SJW groups like Antifa is similar in numerous ways to the actions of Maoists in China during the Cultural Revolution. Maoists sought to erase all vestiges of China&#39;s &quot;imperialist history&quot; in a wave of violence that resulted in the destruction of priceless pieces of Chinese historical significance, and the prosecution of political opponents. This unchecked fervor eventually culminated in mass killings of anyone found to be a heretic of the new social justice religion. The only group to truly benefit from the rabid outburst was Mao and the elites of China&#39;s political establishment.</p> <p>The left&#39;s uncomfortably similar war against confederate statues in America is not about slavery, and it&#39;s certainly not about a respect for life (if that were the case, they would have admonished the shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise by a Bernie Sanders supporter as much as they wailed about the killing of Heather Heyer by a white nationalist).&nbsp; <strong><em>Where was all the outrage from the left over Scalise?&nbsp; And, where was the outrage over Confederate statues during Barack Obama&#39;s presidency?&nbsp; Why isn&#39;t the left blaming him for the continued existence of these &quot;racist&quot; landmarks?</em></strong></p> <p>Clearly, none of these statues glorify slavery in any way, they merely represent a piece of America&#39;s past which was far more complex than poorly educated SJW lunatics are able to comprehend. Of course, they don&#39;t care about real history, they only care that the issue of confederate statues as a means by which they can implement deconstruction of American cultural heritage, which is predominantly conservative in ideals.</p> <p>What the left wants is to START with confederate statues because this is easiest to for them to rationalize to the public, then move on to the founding fathers, then to the Constitution and round out their assault with the erasure of conservative thought altogether.</p> <p>What globalists like George Soros want is to encourage leftists to pursue this goal, but not necessarily with the expectation that they will succeed.<strong> In fact, the globalists are about to throw the leftists to the wolves.</strong></p> <p>My readers are well aware of my position on the Trump presidency. I said it before his election and I continue to hold to my prediction to this day;<em><strong> Trump is either a patsy and a scapegoat for the inevitable economic and social crisis that has been brewing within America for years, or, he is a pied piper and willing participant in the scheme.</strong></em> Either way, conservatives are being lashed to the hull of Trump&#39;s Titanic, and when it sinks, we are all supposed to go down with it.</p> <p><strong>The social justice cultism of leftists, growing ever more heinous and illogical, is<em> </em>MEANT to push conservatives not just into the arms of the Trump White House, but it is also meant to push us towards a more totalitarian mindset. </strong>The more aggressive the left becomes, the more inclined the right will be to use government as a weapon to pulverize them with an iron fist. This is exactly what globalists want, for once conservatives abandon our Constitutional principles in the name of defeating the left we will have become the monster we have always sought to defend against. We will have lost the long game, and the globalists will have us exactly where they want us.</p> <p><strong>Communism and fascism are two sides of the same coin.</strong> Both ideologies were originally developed and funded by international banks and conglomerates in the early 20th century. For undeniable evidence of this I recommend reading works of Antony Sutton, including <em>Wall Street And The Bolshevik Revolution</em>, as well as <em>Wall Street And The Rise Of Hitler</em>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Communism is a totalitarian/collectivist model based on the fraudulent premise that the strongest and most successful in a society must be diminished or erased in order to elevate the weak and unsuccessful. All based on the assumption that the strong must have risen to their position through oppression and exploitation. Through this erasure they hope to create &quot;equality.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fascism is a totalitarian/collectivist model based on the fraudulent premise that the weak and unsuccessful in a society must be diminished or erased because they are a parasitic drain on the strong.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Both rely heavily on the power of government, the blind servitude of the majority and the use of terror to achieve their goals.</strong></p> <p>Neither of these systems is compatible with conservative philosophy and both of them act as a catalyst for greater centralization and less freedom, which the globalists benefit greatly from. In fact, if you believe in the force of big government and the collectivist mindset then you CANNOT call yourself a conservative. The two worldviews are mutually exclusive.</p> <p><strong>Conservatives can, though, be corrupted, just like anyone else.</strong> In the case of the present day, conservatives are being stabbed with a thousand needles by the left, luring us into a mindset of vengeance and rage. We are also being falsely associated with white nationalist movements (many of them operated by agent provocateurs) that do often promote fascism as if it is some kind of &quot;misunderstood&quot; elixir of stability and utopia. I think it is clear that regardless of who wins &mdash; fascists or communists, conservatives are the primary target.</p> <p><strong>It is my view that the left is cannon fodder in this agenda. </strong>They are being wielded like a blunt instrument; a battering ram composed of useful idiots, a buzzing of flies and mosquitoes. <strong>Conservatives will be encouraged to act against constitutional values in order to stop this threat in the most brutal way.</strong> The time is coming when we will have to make a choice &ndash; stand by our values and fight the left the hard way, or abandon our values and serve the globalists by adopting their methods of government totalitarianism. It is my hope that enough of us will stand by the constitution and conscience in this schizophrenic era and disrupt the tides of madness before they erode our nation completely.</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="487" height="298" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Anarchism in the United States Anti-racism Antifa Barack Obama Bernie Sanders China conservatism/free markets/individualism/small government Cultural Revolution ETC FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Bureau of Investigations federal government Francoist Spain George Soros Jason Kessler Ku Klux Klan Nationalism None Political philosophy Politics Politics Progressivism Propaganda Reality Social justice warrior socialism/communism/big government Southern Poverty Law Center Totalitarianism White House White House Thu, 24 Aug 2017 03:55:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 602214 at If Student Loans Were Honest <p>College is going to be one of the biggest investments of your life...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="560" height="351" /></a></p> <p> ...which is <strong><em>why you should just trust what the student loan companies tell you without even thinking twice about how much you could be screwed after school has ended.</em></strong></p> <p><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="997" height="625" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Accountability Behavioural sciences Business Education Emotions Psychology Reputation management Social epistemology Sociology Student Loans Trust Thu, 24 Aug 2017 03:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 602213 at Guard Your Mind Like the Precious Resource It Is <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,</em></a></p> <p><em><a href=""><img height="189" src="" width="376" /></a></em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>I&rsquo;m concerned about a better world. I&rsquo;m concerned about justice; I&rsquo;m concerned about brotherhood; I&rsquo;m concerned about truth.&nbsp;And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can&rsquo;t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can&rsquo;t establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can&rsquo;t murder hate through violence. &nbsp;Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that. </strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ndash; <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Martin Luther King, Jr.&nbsp;(1967)</a></p> </blockquote> <p>Something I&rsquo;ve been working on personally is <strong>becoming more in control of my emotions and, more importantly, trying not &nbsp;to immediately respond when something makes me angry</strong>. In order to do this, I&rsquo;ve found it necessary to be conscious of the anger itself. Specifically, I&rsquo;ve noticed that when we get angry we tend to move into a state of mind that is obsessively focused on the source of this anger. We dwell on how we were wronged over and over in our minds like an uncontrollable movie, which then makes us even more angry. In an attempt to stop the movie and momentarily feel better about the situation, we tend to lash out. It feels good for a second, but it almost never gets you anywhere.</p> <p><strong>Anger and fear </strong>are two emotions that serve important evolutionary purposes and certainly have their place, <strong>but I&rsquo;ve found neither to be productive when it comes to solutions to serious problems,</strong> or to establishing better relationships with those you care about. When one is angry or fearful the instinctual response is to do whatever might make you feel better in the moment. Allowing oneself to react from a state of fear or anger will almost always lead to poor decision making, unless you are actually in a situation that requires such a response.</p> <p>I discussed this concept in May&rsquo;s post,&nbsp;<strong><a href="" rel="bookmark noopener" target="_blank" title="Permanent Link to Do Ends Justify the Means?">Do Ends Justify the Means?</a></strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>I think many people will quickly answer the question &ldquo;do the ends justify the means&rdquo; without putting enough thought into it. The question is meant to be considered when it comes to premeditated voluntary actions of questionable ethics taken with a defined objective in mind. It has nothing to do with matters of self-defense, or anything in that category. For example, if someone is coming at your family with an intent to inflict harm, the ethical decision might be&nbsp;to harm the aggressor to protect your family despite the fact that harming another person in itself is an immoral act. Pretty much everyone can agree with&nbsp;this, so it doesn&rsquo;t add anything to the argument of whether the ends justify the means.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>What about if you&rsquo;re walking down the street and you see someone come from behind an old lady, hit her on the head and then struggle with her on the ground in an attempt to take her purse.&nbsp;You aren&rsquo;t being directly attacked, so should you intervene with&nbsp;violence if necessary against the perpetrator to help an innocent bystander? Again, I think the right and ethical decision here is to step in to try to help the victim if possible.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>In both these cases the negative &ldquo;means&rdquo; of violence you might be required to use&nbsp;against violent aggressors&nbsp;do indeed justify the ends &mdash; in the first instance&nbsp;the protection of&nbsp;your family, and in the second a vulnerable old lady. Given these examples, one might be led to believe that the ends can often justify the means, but I would argue that this only holds true in extreme examples such as the ones described above, and that for a principled person, the ends almost never justify the means.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>When people seriously consider&nbsp;whether the ends of a particular action justify the means, it&rsquo;s almost never in relation to scenarios like the ones described above for two reasons. First,&nbsp;those are extremely rare situations that many people (in the developed world at least) will only experience a few of times in the course of a lifetime, if that. On the other hand, many&nbsp;of us face constant but often overlooked ethical dilemmas on a daily or weekly basis. We all face situations where we are&nbsp;confronted with the choice to&nbsp;do something we know is wrong, but perhaps do it anyway either for instant gratification or in the pursuit of a larger goal.</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>The point is that most of us (at least here in the U.S.) rarely find ourselves in situations where the proper course of action would be to respond instinctually from a state of fear or anger. For most of us, the best course of action is to become aware of our anger and acknowledge that it is a normal response, but to also then recognize that this state of mind must be transcended in order to come up with conscious and productive ways to overcome the root problem. This is the wisdom the spiritual masters of all faiths throughout history have taught us. Easier said than done for sure, but that doesn&rsquo;t make it any less true or important.</p> <p>This is part of what it means to be more conscious, or aware. It means you&rsquo;ve learned to acknowledge the constant presence of the crazy <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">&ldquo;monkey mind&rdquo;</a> which tends to dominate human thought. Recognizing it is the crucial first step, taming it is a whole other ballgame, and one I am only beginning to work on.</p> <p>For the purposes of this piece, <strong>the key thing I want to hammer home is that people are much more easily manipulated when they don&rsquo;t realize they&rsquo;re being manipulated.</strong> Moreover, the easiest way to manipulate someone is to ensure they get in, and stay in, a state of either fear or angry, preferably both. Whether intentional or not, the media seems to be professionals at creating such an environment, which &nbsp;is why it&rsquo;s so important to tune from 90% of the nonsense they publish. It&rsquo;s quite literally brain cancer.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s not just the corporate media though. I&rsquo;m seeing it across the political spectrum, whether from &ldquo;new right&rdquo; pundits, or anti-free speech leftists advocating violence. Becoming your enemy to fight your enemy has become a new rallying cry for the unconscious across the political spectrum.<em> &ldquo;But they&rsquo;re doing it, so now we&rsquo;re gonna do it.&rdquo;</em> Is this political discourse, or toddlers throwing sand at each other in the playground?</p> <p><strong>The bottom line is if you ever hear anyone advocating such tactics run away from them as fast as you can</strong>. These people are poison.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Some people are actively trying to lower your consciousness, while others are trying to raise it.</p> <p>Discard the former, embrace the latter.</p> <p>&mdash; Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) <a href="">August 16, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>O<strong>nly conscious people can help create a better world, unconscious people never will</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="376" height="189" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Anger Citizen: An American Lyric Emotions Nicomachean Ethics Thu, 24 Aug 2017 03:05:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 602212 at Hartford Bankruptcy Looms As CT Gov Admits "We Spent Money On Wrong Things" <p>Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy is <a href="">among the country&rsquo;s least popular governors </a>after forcing through two tax hikes that sent individuals and corporations fleeing from the state. Luckily for the state and its people, Malloy apparently has no interest in sticking around to take the heat when it comes time for the next hike: <strong><em>He has announced that he will not seek a third term. </em></strong></p> <p><strong>Connecticut has gone without a budget for two months, and is facing devastating cutbacks in municipal services if one isn&#39;t passed soon. </strong>But Malloy took time off this week from grappling with legislators to speak with a reporter from <a href="">Reuters</a>, he offers little insight into what lead to the state&rsquo;s precarious fiscal situation. Instead, he blames it on overspending on prisons.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&quot;The state invested in the wrong things for a period of time. It allowed its higher educational institutions to suffer while it sought to placate communities with respect to other forms of local reimbursement,&quot;</strong> Malloy told <a href="">Reuters </a>during an interview in his office on Thursday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&quot;We built too many prisons, which we&#39;re still paying off even while we&#39;re closing them,&quot; </strong>he said. The Democrat took office in 2011 and is not seeking a third term.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Prisons are only a small part of the state&#39;s problem. Choked by outmigration and a debt-service burden that&rsquo;s the highest in the nation compared with revenues, Connecticut&rsquo;s fiscal situation is deteriorating rapidly.<strong> And after two months without a budget, <a href="">Reuters</a> reports that, unless lawmakers act soon, the government of one of the wealthiest states in the country will begin cutbacks in education spending and municipal aid as Malloy tries to close an expected $3.5 billion budget shortfall over the coming two years.</strong></p> <p>Connecticut is one of a handful of US states on the verge of a Greece-style debt-crisis,<strong> as it struggles to service some $23 billion in municipal debt,</strong> <strong>all while lawmakers keep one eye on the state&rsquo;s unfunded pension liabilities, which have climbed to a terrifying $50 billion, thanks to the generous retirement packages enjoyed by Connecticut state employees.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 280px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>Back in May, all three of the main rating agencies downgraded <a href="">the credit rating on the state&rsquo;s general-obligation bonds,</a> sending the state&rsquo;s credit risk soaring. </strong>Meanwhile, municipal debt for the city of Hartford, Connecticut&rsquo;s once-proud capital, has been downgraded to <a href="">junk status.</a> Health-insurance giant Aetna, which was founded in Hartford nearly 200 years ago, recently dealt the city a major blow when it announced plans to relocate its headquarters to New York City, though most of the company&rsquo;s 6,000 employees will remain in the state.</p> <p>About a year earlier, General Electric, which had been headquartered in Fairfield, CT for decades, announced it would re-locate to Boston, <strong>where it would face a lower tax bill AND access to top-flight talent, who typically prefer to work and live in trendy urban hubs.</strong></p> <p>After meeting with Millstein &amp; Co, the same firm that tried to help Puerto Rico reorganize its massive debt burden, <strong>State Comptroller Denise Nappier proposed a new tax-secured revenue bond program, which she says will lower borrowing costs and boost reserves. The bonds would be issued in lieu of general-obligation bonds, </strong>according to <a href="">Reuters.</a></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 594px;" /></a></p> <p>But that&#39;s a long-term solution. Right now, the state still desperately needs a budget, or its municipalities will be faced with devastating cuts.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;&hellip;until lawmakers craft a budget, the state&#39;s fiscal uncertainty is causing havoc among municipalities. Some are considering whether to delay the start of school or dip into reserves.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span id="cke_bm_488S" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><strong>And for Hartford, the longer the state goes without a budget, the closer the city comes <span id="cke_bm_488E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span>to a possible bankruptcy filing, said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, a 38-year-old former U.S.<span id="cke_bm_489E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span> Treasury official.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&quot;The lack of a state budget... makes a liquidity challenge come that much faster,&quot;</strong> he said.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>By some measures, Connecticut has the worst debt problem in the country.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;It has the most net tax-supported state debt per capita in the nation at $6,505, versus a median of $1,006, </strong>according to Moody&#39;s Investors Service.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>It has the highest debt service costs as a portion of state revenues, as well as debt relative to gross domestic product, </strong>Moody&#39;s said.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>During fiscal 2017, CT spent $2.85 billion servicing debt &ndash; the most in seven years.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;The $2.85 billion of principal and interest the state paid on its bonds in fiscal 2017 was the highest in six years, according to preliminary unaudited information from State Treasurer Denise Nappier&#39;s office that has not yet been published.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>A crisis at the state level promises to ripple across the state, destabilizing municipalities that have taken state aid for granted for too long.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;Further, the state&#39;s budget crunch is threatening its cities including the state capital of Hartford, which is considering bankruptcy due, in part, to its dependence on state aid.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Connecticut has borrowed for decades to fund school construction, whereas nearly all other states typically borrow at the local level for those projects.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Lack of county governments means some other local costs are picked up by the state, including for all of its detention facilities.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>As with many of its troubled peers, Connecticut&rsquo;s financial struggles began with the crisis.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;Connecticut has piled on debt to bolster its public pensions, selling $2.3 billion of bonds in April 2008.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>And again in December 2009, the state sold $916 million </strong>of economic recovery notes to close a budget deficit after depleting its rainy day fund during the Great Recession.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Beyond that, its decline has been hastened by a combination of forces. </strong>A deteriorating local economy, coupled with a plunge in hedge fund profits, have strained the state&rsquo;s already narrow tax base. Meanwhile,<strong> high taxes have inspired wealthy hedge fund types to move to states that are more tax-friendly, like Florida.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 375px;" /></a></p> <p>Despite its desperate financial situation, the state still leads the country in one important metric...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 375px;" /></a></p> <p>&hellip;college basketball championships.<br />&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="873" height="489" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bond Borrowing Costs Budget Deficit Business Connecticut Credit rating agency Dannel Malloy Economy Florida General Electric Government Government debt Gross Domestic Product Local government in the United States Moody's Investors Service Municipal bond New England New York City Puerto Rican government-debt crisis Puerto Rico Rating Agencies Recession recovery Reuters Social Issues U.S. Treasury United States United States debt-ceiling crisis Thu, 24 Aug 2017 02:40:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 602211 at Bezos Vs Putin - Who Will Be The First Trillionaire? <p><a href=""><em>Authored by James Durso via,</em></a></p> <p>Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is the one of the world&rsquo;s <a href="">richest men</a>, and he may become the first trillionaire. But some think Russian President Vladimir Putin&rsquo;s alleged <a href="">$200 billion</a> fortune surpasses Bezos&rsquo; paltry $90 billion. <strong>Who is really #1?</strong></p> <p><strong>It depends how you count.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img height="326" src="" width="599" /></a></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>First, the numbers are dodgy. </strong></span></p> <p>Putin critic Bill Browder, once Russia&rsquo;s largest foreign investor, says <strong>Putin has a $200 billion fortune (compared to Russia&rsquo;s <a href=";ey=2022&amp;scsm=1&amp;ssd=1&amp;sort=country&amp;ds=.&amp;br=1&amp;pr1.x=94&amp;pr1.y=12&amp;c=922&amp;s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP&amp;grp=0&amp;a=">$1.6 trillion</a> GDP)</strong>. Browder was ejected from Russia in 2005 after being designated a &quot;<a href="">threat to national security</a>&quot; and said of his activism, &ldquo;I was not going after his [Putin&rsquo;s] enemies, I was going after his [Putin&rsquo;s] own financial interests.&rdquo;</p> <p>He hasn&rsquo;t produced any proof of the $200 billion other than his &ldquo;belief,&rdquo; but his humiliating ejection from Russia and the death in prison of hi&shy;s lawyer, <a href="">Sergei Magnitsky</a>, might be related.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Second, no one manages $200 billion by themselves.</strong></span> If Putin &ldquo;had&rdquo; $200 billion he would demand it be managed well, and that means managed as a portfolio. A portfolio similar in size to Putin&rsquo;s is Warren Buffet&rsquo;s Berkshire Hathaway with a total equity of <a href="">$283 billion</a>. What do you do with $283 billion? You buy things like a <a href="">railroad</a> or large, visible <a href="">positions</a> in the airline sector. (And after all that, Buffet still has <a href="">$100 billion</a> in cash left over.) Managing all that money requires lawyers and financial specialists who are world-class at managing money <em>and </em>keeping their mouths shut. Forever.</p> <p><strong>The claim that Putin is richest man in the world rests on the assumption that he has front men managing his money.</strong> How easy is to do that and not be noticed? Well, <strong>for comparison, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud of Saudi Arabia is worth <a href="">$17.8 billion</a>.</strong> But according to <em>The Economist</em>, &ldquo;<a href="">his sums don&rsquo;t add up</a>,&rdquo; in part because he could be fronting for others members of the Saudi royal family. We can infer from this that Putin would need a herd of billionaires to do his bidding as his alleged fortune is almost 12 times larger than Alwaleed&rsquo;s, while he has managed to maintain more secrecy than any Saudi royal.</p> <p><strong>You have to go back in Russian history to know how Putin manages his assets.</strong></p> <p>Back one hundred years in fact, to the reign of Czar Nicholas II when the wealth of the Romanovs was <a href="">estimated</a> to be $45 billion (in 1917 dollars) and it was &ldquo;impossible to separate Czar Nicholas II&#39;s wealth from the state&#39;s.&rdquo; <strong><em>Putin probably has a few billion somewhere just to oil the wheels, but who needs bank accounts when the assets of the state are yours?</em></strong></p> <p>Like all politicians, Putin probably considers himself immortal. But he also probably remembers what happened to the families of Soviet officials who were purged: if they were lucky they survived their sentence to the <em>Gulag</em>. Which brings us to Putin&rsquo;s friends and their children, the Kremlin juniors.</p> <p>Putin&rsquo;s closest <a href="">friends</a> from St. Petersburg, such as Gennady Timchenko and Yuri Kovalchuk, the largest shareholder in Bank Rossiya, are reputed to be some of the sources of Putin&rsquo;s wealth. As such, they were <a href="">sanctioned</a> by the U.S. in the wake of Russia&rsquo;s seizure of Crimea but will likely stand firm because they believe in Putin and they know what happened to those in the first generation of oligarchs who wavered.</p> <p><a href="">Nikolai Shamalov</a> is a Putin friend and co-founder with Putin and others of The Ozero (Lake) Cooperative, a development near St. Petersburg. (As Putin friends go, you don&rsquo;t get closer than an Ozero owner.) His two sons, Yury and Kiril, went on to important positions in state-influenced companies, and Kiril married Putin&rsquo;s daughter Katerina at a resort owned by Yuri Kovalchuk. The couple is reportedly <a href="">worth</a> $2 billion.</p> <p><strong>Russia&rsquo;s first post-Soviet ruling class may expire peacefully with substantial assets in the hands of their children. Do they have more money than Bezos? It&rsquo;s hard to tell, but it doesn&rsquo;t matter if you have the power.</strong></p> <p>As he shuffles off this mortal coil, the unrepentant <a href="">Chekist</a> will smile knowing he beat them all.</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="599" height="326" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Berkshire Hathaway Bill Browder Browder Corruption in Russia Economy of the United States Jeff Bezos Managing Money national security Nationality Saudi Arabia Science and technology in the United States Sergei Magnitsky The Economist Trillionaire Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin Thu, 24 Aug 2017 02:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 602208 at Watchdog Group Files FOIA Request For Mnuchin's Flight Logs After Wife's Instagram Spat <p>Steve Mnuchin's bombshell of a 'trophy wife', Scottish actress Louise Linton, is about to learn that there are consequences for snarky, condescending social media rants...well, for Republicans and their immediate family anyway.&nbsp; </p> <p>Apparently Linton's now-infamous Instagram post yesterday responding to a social media troll has sparked the interest of a watchdog group called Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) who has now filed a FOIA request for all of Steve Mnuchin's travel records.&nbsp; Among other things, CREW seems to be alleging that Mnuchin and Linton planned their usage of a government plane around this week's eclipse.</p> <p>Per <a href="">CREW</a>'s website, the FOIA request seeks the following:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>CREW requests:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>1.&nbsp; <strong>copies of all records concerning authorization for and the costs of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s use of a government plane to travel to Lexington, Kentucky on Monday, August 21, accompanied by his wife Louise Linton</strong>.</p> <p>2.&nbsp; copies of all records concerning authorization for and the costs of Secretary Mnuchin’s use of a government plane for any purpose since his appointment as Treasury Secretary. </p><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On August 21, 2017, Secretary Mnuchin and his wife Louise Linton travelled to Lexington, Kentucky, purportedly for the Secretary to present remarks along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at a luncheon sponsored by the Louisville chamber of commerce, Greater Louisville Inc. <strong>Afterward, Secretary Mnuchin and his wife “headed to Fort Know…to tour the bullion reserve at the Army post and view the eclipse.”</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The requested records would shed light on the justification for Secretary Mnuchin’s use of a government plane, rather than a commercial flight, for a trip that seems to have been planned around the solar eclipse and to enable the Secretary to secure a viewpoint in the path of the eclipse’s totality.</strong> At a time of expected deep cuts to the federal budget, the taxpayers have a significant interest in learning the extent to which Secretary Mnuchin has used government planes for travel in lieu of commercial planes, and the justification for that use.</p> </blockquote> <p>And here is the full FOIA request:</p> <p><iframe src=";view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-wcLzOeCtCec7KWGbocdn&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%" height="600" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sorry, Louise...<strong>snark and beauty may have their career benefits in Hollywood but in Washington D.C., particularly when you're a member of a Republican administration completely hated by the Deep State, they only serve to increase the size of the target on your back.</strong></p> <p>* * * </p> <p>For those who missed it, below is our post from yesterday on Linton's Instagram rant...complete with our thorough 'research' on her career 'accomplishments.'</p> <p>As was always likely, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin's wife Louise Linton has been forced to apologize for her Marie Antionette moment... A short and to the point statement read...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><em><strong>"I apologize for my post on social media yesterday as well as my response. It was inappropriate and highly insensitive."</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>We are sure that will satiate the twitter hordes that just got confirmation of everything they believed about 'the elites'.</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>As we detailed earlier, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's 36-year-old (he's 52 btw) trophy wife Louise Linton has landed herself in a bit of hot water this morning after an epic social media rant against a taxpayer who took issue with one of her Instagram posts.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="760" /></a></p> <p>Apparently @jennimiller29 didn't appreciate Linton hastagging her entire expensive wardrobe (including #rolandmouret, #tomford, #hermesscarf, and #valnetinorockstudheels) while traveling on a taxpayer funded private plane, <a href="">during her husband's trip to "check" if the gold at Fort Knox is still there</a>, which prompted the following snarky comment:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>"Glad we could pay for your little getaway."</strong></p> </blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Let them eat cake: 2017 in your face edition<a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Sven Henrich (@NorthmanTrader) <a href="">August 22, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>And while most folks have learned to simply ignore the social media trolls, Linton apparently has not...which is great news for everyone else because it prompted the following epic rant in reply:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>“Cute! Aw!!! Did you think this was a personal trip?! Adorable! Do you think the US govt paid for our honeymoon or personal travel?! Lololol. <strong>Have you given more to the economy than me and my husband? Either as an individual earner in taxes OR in self sacrifice to your country?</strong> I’m pretty sure we paid more taxes toward our day ‘trip’ than you did. Pretty sure the amount we sacrifice per year is a lot more than you’d be willing to sacrifice if the choice was yours. <strong>You’re adorably out of touch.</strong> Thanks for the passive aggressive nasty comment. <strong>Your kids look very cute. Your life looks cute. I know you’re mad but deep down you’re really nice and so am I.</strong> Sending me passive aggressive Instagram comments isn’t going to make life feel better. Maybe a nice message [sic], one filled with wisdom and hunanity [sic] would get more traction. Have a pleasant evening. Go chill out and watch the new game of thrones. It’s fab!”</p> </blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Louise Linton, wife of US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, just turned her Instagram private after posting this (h/t <a href="">@skenigsberg</a>) <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Margarita Noriega (@margarita) <a href="">August 22, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>Others <a href="">quickly chimed in</a>: “Quite the populist hashtags on Louise Linton’s Instagram (Mnuchin’s wife), following her taxpayer-funded day trip to Kentucky,” joked Matt McDermott, a pollster and Associate Director at Whitman Insight Strategies. </p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="651" /></p> <p>“Curiously this Instagram post is no longer available. F–king hedge funders,” wrote one Twitter user. “Louise Linton is a hideous person, growing fat off of our tax dollars,” another said. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="332" /></a></p> <p>At one point during the evening, someone even went so far as to change Linton’s Wikipedia page to reflect her IG comment. “Never forget she posted this on Instagram,” the page read as of 10:30 p.m.</p> <p>Alas, in the end, it seems that only the President is permitted to post outlandish social media rants as Linton's post has since been deleted and her account turned private.</p> <p>Finally, since we know this is the only reason you clicked on this post you go:</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Linton" width="600" height="330" /></a></p> <p><em>Link for <a href="">Linton's Maxim photoshoot </a></em><a href=""></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="753" height="414" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> army Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Ethics Finance FOIA Linton Louise Linton Mnuchin Politics Politics of the United States Republican administration Steven Mnuchin Twitter Twitter U.S. Treasury Washington D.C. Thu, 24 Aug 2017 01:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 602216 at America's Inner Cities Are In Chaos... Just Look At Baltimore & Chicago <p><a href=""><em>Via,</em></a></p> <p><strong>America&rsquo;s real war zone is not in Afghanistan or on the Korean Demilitarized Zone.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 274px;" /></a></p> <p>It&rsquo;s actually in <strong>our inner cities </strong>where this forgotten war decades old is plagued with out of control homicides and an opioid crisis tearing America apart at the seams.</p> <p><strong>The root cause of this chaos is from with-in and linked&nbsp;to&nbsp;50-years of democratic controlled leadership, along with decades of deindustrialization. </strong></p> <p>A new crisis is looming and the first shot was heard in&nbsp;Charlottesville. The <strong>growing tensions in America between the left and right could spur a &ldquo;new civil war&rdquo;, </strong>&nbsp;according to<a href=""> Rush Limbaugh</a>.</p> <p>The battlefield of choice is America&rsquo;s inner city, where leftist groups threw the first punch in toppling Confederate statues not just in&nbsp;<a href="">Baltimore</a>&nbsp;or <a href="">Chicago</a>, but across the entire United States.</p> <p><u><strong>Battlefield Report of America&rsquo;s Inner Cities:&nbsp;</strong></u></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><h3><u><strong>The battlefield report for Baltimore is grim so far this week. </strong></u></h3> <p>There have been 11 people shot and&nbsp;<a href=";range=2017&amp;district=all&amp;zipcode=All&amp;cause=all&amp;age=all&amp;gender=all&amp;race=all&amp;article=all">3 homicides</a>&nbsp;police are investigating in 2 days.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The city is&nbsp;on track for the record breaking homicides this year</strong> according to <a href="">The Economist</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3><u>The battlefield report for Chicago was deadly last weekend.</u></h3> <p><a href=",amp.html">Chicago Tribune</a>&nbsp;reports a total of <strong>63 people were shot and 8 were killed.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Earlier this summer, the Trump administration sent <a href="">20 ATF agents</a>&nbsp;as reinforcements to assist with&nbsp;ballistics information intended to help local police solve violent crime quicker.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The casualty count stands at 451 homicides this year, 16 fewer than last. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A total of&nbsp;2,435 have been shot compared with 2,710 last year.</p> </blockquote> <h2><u>Conclusion</u></h2> <p>Coupling the already known fact that some of America&rsquo;s inner cities are a war torn mess, along with the very real possibility of an American civil war. <em><strong>The millennial generation might have to rethink city living in areas like Baltimore and Chicago.</strong></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="655" height="299" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Afghanistan Baltimore Chicago Geography of Illinois Geography of the United States Homicide Opioid epidemic Politics Rush Limbaugh The Economist Tribune Trump Administration United States War Thu, 24 Aug 2017 01:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 602192 at Paul Brodsky: "Sorry, It Had To Be Said" <p><em>Submitted by Paul Brodsky from <a href="">Macro Allocation</a></em></p> <p><strong>Being Here</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; “As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.”</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <em>- Chauncey Gardner (Chance, the Gardner)</em></p> <p><em>This piece takes a roundhouse swing at politics, real and imagined, and discusses critical economic issues that politicians should actually apply a little intelligence to, but are not. Capitalism will ultimately set things right, but it will have to overcome the political dimension’s best efforts to ignore real issues.</em></p> <p><strong>The Real Deal</strong></p> <p><strong>An important character trait for wealth creation today seems to be incuriosity – find out what’s working, hop on board, enjoy the ride and don’t ask questions</strong>. Growth and value metrics seem to matter less than they used to, and so investors have turned their gaze to macroeconomics and, gulp, politics.</p> <p>We think investment-related political discussions that handicap the likelihood of new pro-growth fiscal, tax, trade and regulatory policies in the US are off-base and have taken on too much importance. They do not promise sustainable support for the US economy or markets given a few twenty-first century realities:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Full value</strong>: the scale of financial markets has already become quite big relative to output.</li> <li><strong>Financial asset price appreciation now reflects </strong>a) short-term balance sheet management and b) price deflationary innovation, rather than growth in the sustainable capital stock.</li> <li><strong>There is no longer such a thing as a domestic economy</strong>, even if economic initiatives help shift domestic investment and consumption. Global goods and service prices, and trade responses from well-organized foreign economies, tend to quickly offset domestic stimulus programs.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Late cycle economic initiatives, such as those discussed by Mr. Trump, are ultimately derivative of waning animal spirits</strong>. They can be distorted for a time by credit policies and legislation, but they cannot be kept permanently in disequilibrium. Human incentives, along with innovation, productivity and balance sheet digestion, tend to overwhelm the best efforts of policy makers trying to extend trends. After a generation of pulling credit and revenues forward, culminating in rock-bottom borrowing costs; lower taxes, (deficit-funded) government investment and reduced regulatory oversight would be only marginally stimulative.</p> <p><em>The combination of ubiquitous leverage, aging Western wealth holders, and deflationary globalization and innovation (including non-sovereign distributed ledgers that allow value to be transferred directly among willing counterparties anywhere across the world), pose the biggest threats to traditional domestic output and inflation models still embraced by global economic policymakers and most investors</em>.</p> <p><strong>This sets up an epic global economic battle if Americans choose to keep US nation-state sovereignty, which of course they will</strong>. It is serious stuff that will require serious leadership and diplomatic skills from the President of the United States, which, as the global hegemon, has the most to lose.</p> <p><strong>Fake Politics</strong></p> <p>It should not surprise anyone that Western societies are becoming restless. <strong>Trump, Brexit, Charlottesville and, arguably, even radical Islamic terrorism are bi-products of global economic distortions largely created by the unwillingness of the Western political dimension to let the global factors of production naturally settle global prices and wages</strong>. (<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Sorry, it had to be said</strong></span>.)</p> <p>Donald Trump is a sideshow. His ascension, or someone like him, was inevitable. He may have official authority to behave like the leader of the free world (even if he is unable to do so), <strong>but so far he has only shown that virtually anyone can become president. </strong>Indeed, one might say Mr. Trump represents a triumph of democracy. <strong>Behold the robustness of America: the most powerful nation on Earth is unafraid to elect a cross between P.T. Barnum and Chauncey Gardner!</strong></p> <p>This is not to say a US president cannot raise and emphasize truly meaningful economic goals and mobilize countries around the world to help achieve them; but it is to say that this President seems to not know or be interested in what those goals might be.</p> <p>As discussed, the biggest challenges facing the US economy and US labor stem from a distorted global price and wage scale. Mr. Trump’s domestic fiscal, regulatory, tax and immigration goals seek only to raise US output and wages. This cannot be achieved without the participation of global commerce. There is no such thing anymore as a US business that makes US products sold only in the US without being influenced by global prices, wages and exchange rates. <strong>The romantic, patriotic “made in the USA” theme does not comport with the reality that the US also seeks to keep the dollar the world’s reserve currency and that maintaining America’s power requires the US to control the world’s shipping lanes. Mr. Trump and his base cannot have one without the other</strong>. (Do we really have to articulate this?)</p> <p><strong>Mr. Trump’s “Being There” presidency is reflecting an inconvenient truth back on a society that has, until maybe now, successfully deluded itself into believing government is functionally the glue holding society together</strong>. Though he does not mean to, Mr. Trump is single-handedly demonstrating to groups ranging from idealistic Washington elites to social media zombies to southern white supremacists that Madisonian government has become a dignified cover for the financial, commercial and national security interests that control it. <strong>We suspect those interests would rather the reach of their power be less visible</strong>.</p> <p>For the more pragmatic among us, Mr. Trump’s bravado and apparent emotional instability have created the need for a public work-around. <strong>He remains tentatively safe to wealth holders because he hired Goldman Sachs to manage financial affairs, and acceptable to globalists because he is deferring foreign policy to the NSC (i.e., “the generals”).</strong> Mr. Trump may continue to speak in nationalistic terms, tweet IEDs, and confound media used to personalizing policy; but it seems highly unlikely he will be able to make high yielding unilateral policy decisions. <strong>He will likely settle into a pattern of lobbing increasingly ignored tape bombs and hosting elegant state dinners, as an insane king might. Or else, he will be out.</strong></p> <p>Just as the virtuous Carter followed the vice-ridden Nixon and the strapping Clinton followed the crusty Bush 41, the vulgar Trump predictably followed the cool Obama. Donald Trump is a man-in-full (of himself), and so we would not be surprised if the next president is an empty suit. (We are unsure how literal that can be.) <strong>Given our view of the extraordinary structural changes about to impact US and global economies and societies, the most attractive feature for the next presidential could be a really intelligent person who says “I don’t know” fifty times every stump speech</strong>. We are ready to vote for a thirty five year-old woman who can code, if only because the president of the US must be at least 35.</p> <p><strong>The differences separating political platforms are beginning to matter less than they used to</strong>. The billions spent in election cycles and beyond accomplishes little except redistributing liquidity from sentimental or idealistic savers from both parties to media company executives and their shareholders. None of it reduces the leverage on the balance sheets of global governments, households and businesses, or starts a conversation about how to reconcile rising asset prices and falling wages in a digital global economy.</p> <p><strong>Manifestations</strong></p> <p>At the risk of oversimplifying, the tension between globalization and nationalism has the greatest influence on economic, social and political affairs today. <strong>We were reminded of this last week watching Donald Trump channel the misplaced angst and anger of hate groups, mostly displaced and disaffected white men who have been caught directly in the crossfire of efficient global resource distribution</strong>.</p> <p>One need only observe life to understand the game-changing economic impact of globalization:</p> <ul> <li>the opening of Chinese and Soviet-bloc economies in the 1990s;</li> <li>trade treaties that created jobs and drove wages higher in developing economies and displaced jobs and drove real wages lower in developed economies;</li> <li>innovation and technologies that reduced price inefficiencies and displaced workers;</li> <li>ubiquitous real-time direct connectivity across the world;</li> <li>an anachronistic, policy-driven global economic system, comprised and coordinated by sovereign politicians, trade representatives and central bankers, that talk domestic but act global.</li> </ul> <p><strong>The disconnection and underlying hypocrisy are obvious to anyone trying to understand increasing social unrest around the world</strong>. National and global economies meant to follow a mostly capitalist outline contrived and administered by policymakers, rather than one following free-market incentives, can last only until late-cycle policies become ineffectual and superfluous.</p> <p><strong>This is occurring now. </strong>Consider that wealth is no longer created from production, but rather from financial pricing models and credit creation, credit that must increase at a parabolic pace and can never be extinguished without substantial output contraction and rising unemployment<strong>. It cannot last indefinitely</strong>.</p> <p>Central bank purchases and government investment have been fabricating output growth and asset gains. Central banks now hold about $19 trillion in assets on their balance sheets, up from almost zero in 2008, and are now 20 percent owners of global assets. There is also about $20 trillion in US federal debt, up from $9 trillion in 2008. (See debt growth trajectories in Graph 1, below.)</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="271" /></a></p> <p><strong>Stocks, bonds and real estate collateralize each other while output growth makes it possible to service debt</strong>. It is not a stretch to assume that output and asset prices would have fallen without government and central bank subsidies, and that they will fall in the future if/when global central banks withdraw support.</p> <p><strong>Print Money, Get Rich!</strong></p> <p>Hey passive investors, you’re not that smart…unless your calculus has been to front-run the insecurities of elected and appointed officials who would reliably be unable to sit on their hands while economies and markets correct, rather than bending economic and asset space/time continua to perpetuate positive trends (and their careers).</p> <p><em>The reality is that real (inflation-adjusted) returns for long-term holders of financial assets cannot be calculated yet</em>. Deflating nominal returns using coincident goods and service inflation measures (e.g. CPI, PCE) compares apples to oranges – asset price changes vs. consumer price changes. It works if you want to know if you could have cashed in your assets and bought a basket of goods and services, but not if you want to know if you will be able to cash them in and then save risk-free in the future (i.e., create wealth).</p> <p>The problem is that there are too few dollars for each claim on dollars (credit). The credit that collateralizes equity cannot be repaid and, if output declines, cannot be serviced without more credit. <strong>Equity and credit prices will fall (deflate) in tandem as debt service and repayment declines, unless more dollars are created and floated to asset holders</strong>. This is the process of inflation, and the pace of this, not consumer inflation, is what should be used to deflate nominal asset returns.</p> <p><strong>The current imbalance separating credit (claims on money) from money itself suggests a doubling, tripling or even quadrupling of the money supply in float </strong>(yes, 100, 200 or 300 percent monetary inflation directed towards financial markets). This implies nominal asset prices could rise, but not nearly as much as the purchasing power value of the currency they are denominated in would fall.</p> <p>We doubt all the new money could be distributed to the investor class and then reinvested back into financial markets, <strong>and so we think it is highly likely that nominal equity and debt prices will fall markedly in the future, though we cannot know from what level.</strong></p> <p><strong>If you have suspected that it has been too easy to get rich by simply being here and investing passively in popular markets, you are right in our humble opinion. </strong>To realize gains, most investors will have to cash out their assets and then exchange that cash for money that will not be diluted<strong>. It is a mathematical impossibility because: 1) the money does not exist, and 2) by definition, most investors cannot time the market. We doubt any of this will be discussed or debated on the campaign stump…or at Jackson Hole.</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="745" height="404" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent B+ Borrowing Costs Business Business Central Banks Climate change skepticism and denial Counterparties CPI Deflation Donald Trump Donald Trump Economic policy of Donald Trump Economy Economy of the United States Global Economy Globalization goldman sachs Goldman Sachs Madisonian government Money Supply national security Nationalism None Purchasing Power Real estate Reality Reserve Currency Structure The Apprentice Unemployment WWE Hall of Fame Thu, 24 Aug 2017 01:11:35 +0000 Tyler Durden 602219 at "Bitcoin Saved My Life..." <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Joe Withrow via,</em></a></p> <p><strong>Eli&rsquo;s mother was dying from cancer.</strong></p> <p>Eli is 33 years old. He owns a shoe store in Caracas, Venezuela. His mother has bone cancer.</p> <p><strong>Venezuela&rsquo;s currency is the bolivar. It lost 62% of its purchasing power in February. (It lost 67% the month before that.)</strong></p> <p>That means prices for everything (food, water, and utilities) increased 62% over a month.</p> <p><strong>Eli couldn&rsquo;t afford his mom&rsquo;s medication. So he turned to bitcoin.</strong></p> <p>You see, Venezuela has capital controls on traditional safe havens like the U.S. dollar (more on that in a moment). That makes it hard for Eli to buy them.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="309" src="" width="580" /></a></p> <p><strong>So he buys bitcoins and sells them to a friend in Colombia - who won&rsquo;t accept bolivars. The friend then buys cancer treatment and medical supplies for Eli.</strong></p> <p>Said Eli&hellip;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Treating my mother&rsquo;s cancer would have been<strong> very difficult without using bitcoins</strong> because my business is going bankrupt and I have a lot of debts, <strong>so bitcoins enabled me to stay afloat while our currency is collapsing.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Eli&rsquo;s not the only Venezuelan using bitcoin to survive.</strong></p> <p>Arley is from the Táchira state on the border with Colombia. He said he buys drugs in Colombia with bitcoins&hellip; then resells them after legally importing them to Venezuela.</p> <p>Things have gotten so bad that authorities are investigating the theft of zoo animals in the Venezuelan state of Zulia. Police believe people are stealing the animals and eating them. It&rsquo;s another sign of hunger in a country struggling with chronic food shortages.</p> <p>As you probably know, Venezuela is on the verge of collapse.</p> <p>President Nicolás Maduro&rsquo;s socialist government has eroded 99% of the bolivar&rsquo;s value. That has created a humanitarian crisis.</p> <p><strong>Today, I want to show you how Venezuelans are fighting back&mdash;using bitcoin.</strong></p> <h3><u><strong>A Worthless Currency</strong></u></h3> <p>Venezuela has the highest inflation rate in the world at 741%. The Venezuelan bolivar is basically worthless. You can&rsquo;t even buy a loaf of bread with a wheelbarrow full of them.</p> <p><strong>So it&rsquo;s no surprise that Venezuelans are looking for alternative currencies. </strong>And the U.S. dollar is one of their favorites.</p> <p>But the government has tight controls on currency exchanges. It restricts the number of dollars people can buy&hellip; and what they can do with them.</p> <p><strong>The government-controlled exchanges have created a black market for U.S. dollars.</strong></p> <p>In 2014, you needed 6.25 bolivars to get $1 on the black market. Today, using the black-market rate, you need 16,000 bolivars to get that same $1.</p> <p>The rising cost of black-market dollars&mdash;and tight government controls on their purchase&mdash;has pushed Venezuelans into bitcoin.</p> <p><strong>Bitcoin volume has surged to record highs in Venezuela since the crisis deepened&hellip;</strong></p> <p><img src="" style="max-width: 550px; width: 600px; height: 386px;" /></p> <p><strong>Venezuelans are using bitcoins to buy Amazon gift cards.</strong> They need to buy the gift cards so they can order goods and food from the online store in the U.S. and other countries. The goods are delivered by courier to Venezuela.</p> <p>One Caracas-based bitcoin trader said,<strong><em> &ldquo;Bitcoin is a way of rebelling against the system.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <h3><u><strong>Protection Against Chaos</strong></u></h3> <p>We love bitcoin at the Palm Beach Research Group. Personally, I&rsquo;ve been mining bitcoin since it was trading at $450 over a year ago.</p> <p>Bitcoin is up 856% since we recommended it in April 2016. Despite those gains, we still believe it&rsquo;s a strong investment.</p> <p><em><strong>But bitcoin is much more than that. It&rsquo;s quickly becoming the world&rsquo;s premier chaos hedge.</strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>That&rsquo;s why Venezuelans are turning to bitcoin. And they&rsquo;re not the only ones.</strong></em></p> <p>In 2013, Cypriots hoarded bitcoin after the Cyprus government closed banks for a month&hellip; and confiscated 6&ndash;10% of account holders&rsquo; money to &ldquo;bail in&rdquo; the system.</p> <p>And during Greece&rsquo;s 2015 economic crisis, the government shut down banks for a month.</p> <p>In both cases, Cypriots and Greeks turned to bitcoin. Bitcoin volume in Europe shot up 286% after the Cyprus bank closures. And bitcoin trades in Greece increased 79%.</p> <p><strong>As you can see, bitcoin has become a functional currency in real-world situations. That&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s rising in value&hellip; and will keep rising.</strong></p> <p>I recommend buying a small amount of bitcoin every month. Remember, you don&rsquo;t need to buy a full bitcoin&hellip; Just a fraction will do.</p> <p>One day, you&rsquo;ll be glad you did&hellip; I promise.</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="580" height="309" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin Cryptocurrencies Currency Cyprus government Economics of bitcoin Exonumia Greece Legality of bitcoin by country or territory Numismatics Purchasing Power Thu, 24 Aug 2017 00:35:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 602207 at