en Video Exposes Anti-Trump Group Plans To Shut Down DC Bridges And Highways With "Clusterfuck Blockades" <p>Yesterday we noted Part I of a new Project Veritas undercover series that exposed the efforts of several protest groups to disrupt the Trump inauguration by deploying butyric acid (aka "stink bombs") at the National Press Club during the Deploraball event scheduled for January 19th.&nbsp; P<strong>art II of that series was just released and exposes further plotting by a group know as "DisruptJ20" to completely paralyze various modes of transportation on inauguration day.</strong></p> <p>Among other things, the protesters in the video plot to shut down surface traffic with <strong>"checkpoint blockades" and "a series of clusterfuck blockades" intended to shut down "all the major ingress points in the city."</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"So simultaneous to the checkpoint blockades in the morning, we are also doing <strong>a series of clusterfuck blockades, where we are going to try to blockade all the major ingress points in the city."</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Which include, they can include<strong> shutting down major bridges and highway access points as well as shutting down metro rail.</strong>&nbsp; So to do that we are going to try to break into several teams kind of like the checkpoints."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"So fears in doing that, we don't think these are going to be necessarily arrestable actions but there is a possibility you could be; so keep that in mind if you want to participate."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Disruption efforts apparently also include plans to shut down rail lines by attaching chains to metro cars...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>"We have a plan for how to shut down a metro..."</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"So, we figured out this, the trains pull person is going to lock one end of a chain to an edge, and on the other end of the chain the end of the car, so on and so forth.&nbsp; Done."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"It takes 15 seconds and everyone can leave and literally it<br /> can't go anywhere at that point, it's anchored.&nbsp; And you can use a<br /> really thin chain, you don't need a heavy chain.</strong>..that would require like a bolt cutter to under, basically to shut down that line."</p> </blockquote> <p>With that, here is the full video from <a href="">Project Veritas</a>:</p> <p><iframe src="" width="600" height="337" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>* * * </p> <p>For those who missed it, here is our post regarding Part 1 from yesterday:</p> <p>In the latest undercover video from <a href="">Project Veritas</a>, investigators uncovered a group of protesters known as the <strong>DC Anti-fascist Coalition</strong> plotting to disrupt President-Elect Donald Trump’s inauguration by deploying butyric acid (aka "stink bombs") at the National Press Club during the Deploraball event scheduled for January 19th.&nbsp; <strong>In a dose of irony, the planning meeting for the attack was held at Comet Ping Pong,</strong> the DC pizza restaurant that recently gained infamy as the location of the Pizzagate controversy. </p> <p>Apparently "Plan A" of the disaffected agitators was to set off "stink bombs" in the ventilation systems of the building hosting the "Deploraball."</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"I was thinking of things that ruin, that would ruin the evening, ruin their outfits or otherwise make it impossible to continue with their plans.&nbsp; Make sure they get nothing accomplished."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"Yeah, if you had...a pint of butyric acid, I don't care how big the building is, it's closing...And this stuff is very efficient, it's very very smelly, lasts a long time a little of it goes a long way."</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"If you get it into the HVAC system it will get into the whole building."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, "Plan B" entailed an effort to simultaneously set off the sprinkler systems throughout the building which had the <strong>"added benefit" of sending party goers "outside in the freezing cold."</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"I'm trying to think through how to get all the sprinklers to go off at once.&nbsp; There's usually a piece of like fusible metal or a piece of glass with liquid in it that will blow"</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"And the added benefit, everybody is going to walk outside in the freezing cold."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Because of the nature of the threats, Project Veritas notes that they notified the FBI, Secret Service and DC Metro Police of the content of this video prior to its release.</p> <p>With that, here is the full video:</p> <p><iframe src="" width="600" height="337" 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="476" height="285" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> B+ Blockade Butyric acid Chemistry Conservatism in the United States DC Anti-Fascist Coalition DC Metro Police FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Fiction Ingress James O'Keefe Leisure National Press Club Planned Parenthood Secret Service Stink bomb T.U.F.F. Puppy Yesterday Tue, 17 Jan 2017 19:56:28 +0000 Tyler Durden 585686 at Trump Advisor Anthony Scaramucci Pockets $100MM From Sale Of SkyBridge To Chinese Conglomerate <p>It has been a good day for Trump advisor Anthony Scaramucci. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="334" /></a></p> <p>First, he was named by <a href="">Bloomberg as this year's surprise Davos star </a>(recall that he is the only member of the Trump team participating unofficially at the Swiss boondoggle.&nbsp; “I brought a food taster,” Scaramucci joked in an interview on Bloomberg Television when asked about his solo mission).&nbsp; As a reminder, Scaramucci was recently named an assistant to the president and further told Bloomberg Television Tuesday that he will serve as a liaison between the White House and the business community, and work with local, state and foreign governments and trade associations.</p> <p><iframe src="" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Which brings us to the second reason why Anthony is smiling. </p> <p>Today, as part of his shedding of potential conflict of interest, Scaramucci sold a majority stake in his SkyBridge Capital fund of funds, which has had prominent cameos in such movies as Wall Street 2, to HNA Capital U.S., which is controlled by Chinese billionaire Chen Feng, and RON Transatlantic EG. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, the deal, which includes the SkyBridge Alternatives Conference, or SALT, is said to be valued at about $200 million <a href="">according to Bloomberg</a>, and could increase to about $230 million if certain conditions are met. SkyBridge’s senior management and investment teams will remain intact while Scaramucci will step down.</p> <p>And since Scaramucci owns about 45% of SkyBridge<em>, he is about to pocket $100 million</em>. He will no longer be affiliated with the firm or SALT, according to the transaction press release. Australian investment firm Challenger Ltd. also owns a stake, according to a filing, as does SkyBridge’s Chief Investment Officer Raymond Nolte.&nbsp; </p> <p>"SkyBridge and SALT are in great hands and will continue to thrive," Scaramucci said in a statement.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Scaramucci, who started his fund-of-hedge funds firm in 2005, made the deal as the industry bleeds assets and he prepares to work for President-elect Donald Trump. HNA Capital is the New York-based investment arm of Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, which has been on an acquisition spree for U.S. assets under Chen’s leadership. RON Transatlantic is a holding company with interests in financial services, logistics, energy and brewing, according to the statement.</p> </blockquote> <p>As of last January, SkyBridge managed $9.2 billion in assets. As a fund of funds, SkyBridge has handed out client money to hedge funds including Marathon<br /> Asset Management and York. Confirming that today's deal was a major victory for the "Mooch" is that firms like SkyBridge have<br /> largely lost their luster since the global financial crisis as investors<br /> bypassed them to invest directly in hedge funds, assuming they invest in hedge funds: 2016 was the year of greatest outflows from the 2 and 20 community since the financial crisis. The fund-of-funds<br /> industry manages about $636 billion in assets, down from its 2007 peak<br /> of $799 billion, according to Hedge Fund Research Inc. They returned<br /> about 0.48 percent last year. </p> <p>Meanwhile SALT, a glitzy hedge fund affair, often compared to Davos itself for its draw of about 2,000 hedge-fund industry attendees each year, will be spun out as a standalone entity. SALT will be owned by Victor Oviedo, head of business development at SkyBridge, and Kelly O’Connor, a director of business development, according to another person briefed on the matter.</p> <p>So who are the lucky buyers? This is where questions are likely to emerge.</p> <p>When looking at RON Transatlantic, a holding company with interests in financial services, logistics, energy and brewing, the most interesting thing about this particular group is that Obama's "body man", Reggie Love <a href="">works there as a Partner and VP</a>:</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="563" /></a></p> <p>It was not immediately clear why Reggie Love's firm would boost its stake in Skybridge. As Bloomberg adds, a RON Transatlantic offshore entity already owns between 5 and 10% of SkyBridge. </p> <p>As for HNA Group, it is among the most active players in what’s shaping up to be a record year for overseas acquisitions by Chinese companies. HNA’s $30 billion in investments announced and completed last year included multi-billion-dollar deals for Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., CIT Group Inc.’s aircraft leasing business and Ingram Micro Inc. Now it will own a fund of funds. HNA owner Chen, 63, who two decades ago used to push refreshment trolleys up and down the aisle of the lone Boeing 737 that comprised his startup airline, the SkyBridge acquisition is part of his ambition to make HNA one of the world’s top 100 companies by the end of this decade. In 1995, Chen flew to New York and persuaded George Soros to invest $25 million in his fledgling Hainan Airlines Co. That at least is the stated reason; the less palatable one is simply laundering of hot money through foreign M&amp;A, a practice the PBOC warned it would crack down on in 2017. </p> <p>It was also not clear as of this writing whether Scaramucci will be exempt from paying capital gains tax on the sale, considering he is joining the Trump administration after the deal.</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="1199" height="800" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Anthony Scaramucci Boeing Business Business Chen Feng CIT Group Davos Donald Trump Economy Finance Fund of Funds George Soros Hedge fund HNA Group People's Bank of China Presidential transition of Donald Trump SkyBridge Capital Trump Administration Victor Park White House White House Tue, 17 Jan 2017 19:48:01 +0000 Tyler Durden 585685 at Oil Slides After Brazil Denies Saudi Production Cut Request <p>With US Shale production surging, and now Brazil declining Saudi Arabia's request to cut production, doubts are continuing to rise over OPEC's deal and the hopes for balance in the energy markets. </p> <p><span>As Bloomberg reporets, Brazil Energy Minister </span><span>Fernando Coelho Filho</span><span> said during an in interview in Davos...</span></p> <ul> <li><strong>Petrobras can’t reduce output after corruption scandal and drop in international oil prices.</strong></li> <li>The company had already cut 2020 output target to 2.7 million b/d from more than 4 million b/d.</li> <li><em><strong>“Petrobras is coming now from a very difficult period. They can’t reduce production now. We’re trying to put the company back on its feet”</strong></em></li> <li>The Brazilian governmentt “has a lot of power on Petrobras,” but president <span>Michel Temer</span> gave Petrobras CEO <span>Pedro Parente</span> independence.</li> <li><em><strong>“Petrobras will do what they think is necessary to be done”</strong></em></li> </ul> <p>And oil prices are tumbling...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="414" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And that is weighing on stocks...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="414" /></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="1724" height="1189" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> B+ Brazil Business Business Corruption Davos Economy OPEC Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries Petrobras Petroleum Politics Tue, 17 Jan 2017 19:29:18 +0000 Tyler Durden 585684 at Reagan And Trump: American Nationalists <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Patrick Buchanan via,</em></a></p> <p>Since World War II, the<strong> two men who have most terrified this city by winning the presidency</strong> are Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump.</p> <p><u><em><strong>And they have much in common.</strong></em></u></p> <p><strong>Both came out of the popular culture, </strong>Reagan out of Hollywood, Trump out of a successful reality TV show. Both possessed the gifts of showmen &mdash; extraordinarily valuable political assets in a television age that deals cruelly with the uncharismatic.</p> <p><strong>Both became instruments of insurgencies out to overthrow the establishment </strong>of the party whose nomination they were seeking.</p> <p>Reagan emerged as the champion of the postwar conservatism that had captured the Republican Party with Barry Goldwater&rsquo;s nomination in 1964. His victory in 1980 came at the apogee of conservative power.</p> <p>The populism that enabled Trump to crush 16 Republican rivals and put him over the top in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan had also arisen a decade and a half before &mdash; in the 1990s.</p> <p>A decisive advantage Reagan and Trump both enjoyed is that in their decisive years, the establishments of both parties were seen as having failed the nation.</p> <p>Reagan was victorious after Russia invaded Afghanistan; Americans were taken hostage in Tehran; and the U.S. had endured 21 percent interest rates, 13 percent inflation, 7 percent unemployment and zero growth.</p> <p>When Trump won, Americans had gone through years of wage stagnation. Our industrial base had been hollowed out. And we seemed unable to win or end a half-dozen Middle East wars in which we had become ensnared.</p> <p><strong><u><em>What is the common denominator of both the Reagan landslide of 1980 and Trump&rsquo;s victory?</em></u></strong></p> <p><strong>Both candidates appealed to American nationalism.</strong></p> <p>In the late 1970s, Reagan took the lead in the campaign to save the Panama Canal. &ldquo;We bought it. We paid for it. It&rsquo;s ours. And we&rsquo;re going to keep it,&rdquo; thundered the Gipper.</p> <p>While he lost the fight for the Canal when the GOP establishment in the Senate lined up behind Jimmy Carter, the battle established Reagan as a leader who put his country first.</p> <p>Trump unapologetically seized upon the nationalist slogan that was most detested by our globalist elites, &ldquo;America first!&rdquo;</p> <p>He would build a wall, secure the border, stop the invasion. He would trash the rotten trade treaties negotiated by transnational elites who had sold out our sovereignty and sent our jobs to China.</p> <p>He would demand that freeloading allies in Europe, the Far East and the Persian Gulf pay their fair share of the cost of their defense.</p> <p><strong>In the rhetoric of Reagan and Trump there is a simplicity and a directness that is familiar to, and appeals to, the men and women out in Middle America, to whom both directed their campaigns.</strong></p> <p>In his first press conference in January of 1981, Reagan said of the Kremlin, &ldquo;They reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat. &hellip; We operate on a different set of standards.&rdquo;</p> <p>He called the Soviet Union an &ldquo;evil empire&rdquo; and the &ldquo;focus of evil in the modern world.&rdquo;</p> <p>The State Department was as wary of what Reagan might say or do then as they are of what Trump might tweet now.</p> <p>But while there are similarities between these outsiders who captured their nominations and won the presidency by defying and then defeating the establishments of both political parties,<u><strong> the situations they confront are dissimilar.</strong></u></p> <p>Reagan took office in a time of Cold War clarity.</p> <p>Though there was sharp disagreement over how tough the United States should be and what was needed for national defense, there was no real question as to who our adversaries were.</p> <p>As had been true since the time of Harry Truman, the world struggle was between communism and freedom, the USSR and the West, the Warsaw Pact and the NATO alliance.</p> <p>There was a moral clarity then that no longer exists now.</p> <p>Today, the Soviet Empire is gone, the Warsaw Pact is gone, the Soviet Union is gone, and the Communist movement is moribund.</p> <p>NATO embraces three former republics of the USSR, and we confront Moscow in places like Crimea and the Donbass that no American of the Reagan era would have regarded as a national interest of the United States.</p> <p><strong>We no longer agree on who our greatest enemies are, or what the greatest threats are.</strong></p> <p><em>Is it Vladimir Putin&rsquo;s Russia? Is it Iran? Is it China, which Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson says must be made to vacate the air, missile and naval bases it has built on rocks and reefs in a South China Sea that Beijing claims as its national territory?</em></p> <p><em>Is it North Korea, now testing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles?</em></p> <p>Beyond issues of war and peace, there are issues at home &mdash; race, crime, policing, abortion, LGBT rights, immigration (legal and illegal) and countless others on which this multicultural, multiracial and multiethnic nation is split two, three, many ways.</p> <p><u><em><strong>The existential question of the Trump era might be framed thus: How long will this divided democracy endure as one nation and one people?</strong></em></u></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="286" height="144" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Afghanistan American people of German descent American Presbyterians American studies China Climate change skepticism and denial Cold War Conservatism in the United States Department of State Donald Trump Donald Trump Far East Iran Michigan Middle East Middle East Nationalism Nomination North Atlantic Treaty Organization North Korea Persian Gulf Political positions of Donald Trump Politics Politics of the United States Reagan Era Reality Republican Party Republicans Rex Tillerson Ronald Reagan Senate South China Unemployment United States Vladimir Putin Tue, 17 Jan 2017 19:20:16 +0000 Tyler Durden 585667 at Calm Before The Storm - VIX Shorts Near Record Highs As Inauguration Looms <p>With just days to go until Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States, speculators have almost <strong>never been so sure that markets will remain calm - despite record-breaking uncertainty</strong>.</p> <p>Economic uncertainty is at record highs but market uncertainty nears record lows...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>and speculators have almost never been so sure that this suppression of reality will continue through the inauguration...</p> <p><a href=""><img height="316" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Having tested and bounced off a 10-handle last week, we note that the last two times VIX speculative shorts were this high,<strong> Spot VIX spiked soon after to at least 22.</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="964" height="508" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Donald Trump Donald Trump Economy Finance Money Reality Separation of investment and commercial banking Speculation Technical analysis Uncertainty VIX Tue, 17 Jan 2017 19:08:03 +0000 Tyler Durden 585666 at Ignore At Your Peril <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Kevin Muir via The Macro Tourist,</em></a></p> <p><em><a href=""><img src="" /></a></em></p> <p><strong>They&rsquo;re at it again.</strong> It isn&rsquo;t enough that the Federal Reserve&rsquo;s tighter monetary policies are <strong>hamstringing global economic growth</strong>, but over the past week a few different Fed officials floated the idea of reducing the size of the Fed&rsquo;s balance sheet. <strong>They seem intent on tightening until something breaks.</strong></p> <p>I have long argued Janet Yellen&rsquo;s Fed is way more hawkish than most pundits believe (<a href="">Janet&rsquo;s Bullshit</a>). Ever since assuming the role of Chairperson on February 3rd, 2014, Yellen has presided over a policy of tightening monetary policy through tapering of quantitative easing, then fully stopping Fed balance sheet expansion, and finally raising rates. <strong>The net effect of this tighter policy is a rip roaring US dollar, along with higher short rates and a flattening yield curve.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img height="443" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><strong>Not content to merely raise rates, Fed officials appear to be preparing the market for actual balance sheet reductions in the coming months</strong>. Last week several different Fed officials took the opportunity to highlight the possibility of the Fed abandoning their policy of reinvesting proceeds.</p> <p>From Marketwatch:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The Federal Reserve &ldquo;may be in a better position&rdquo; to reduce the size of its balance sheet now that it has raised interest rates twice in the past year, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said Thursday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a speech to the Forecasters Club of New York, Bullard said the Fed may be able to use its balance sheet as a way to tighten monetary policy without putting exclusive emphasis on higher interest rates.</p> </blockquote> <p>From the FT:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The Federal Reserve should be ready to consider reducing the size of its balance sheet as part of its efforts to prevent overheating in the US, a senior policymaker said as he noted the pick-up in wage inflation and predicted a return of inflation to target by the end of the year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Eric Rosengren, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, said that if the Fed is in a position to lift rates with &ldquo;more alacrity&rdquo; than the one-a-year pace of rate rises seen in the past two years, then officials should be willing to debate reductions in the size of its huge asset portfolio.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We should be considering it now, and at what point the committee actually decides to take action we will have to see,&rdquo; he said in a telephone interview with the Financial Times.&nbsp;&ldquo;But my own criteria would be if we think the economy is strong enough that we are going to need to do multiple tightenings&thinsp;.&thinsp;.&thinsp;.&thinsp;at that time we should be seriously thinking about reducing the balance sheet.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>From Reuters:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The Federal Reserve can consider shrinking its massive trove of bonds once the interest rate on overnight lending between banks rises to 1 percent, Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker said on Thursday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;When we are at or above 100 basis points - and we are moving toward that - I think it is time to start serious consideration of first stopping reinvestment and then over a period of time unwinding the balance sheet,&rdquo; Harker, who has a vote on monetary policy this year, told reporters. He was referring to the fed funds rate for interbank lending which the central bank tries to guide.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>You would need the intelligence and myopicness of a reality TV star to miss the signal the Fed is sending. </strong>There is no doubt the Federal Reserve is preparing the market for an unwinding of their balance sheet.</p> <p>Most likely the Fed will not outright sell bonds, but <strong>stopping the re-investing of maturing issues will have the same effect.</strong></p> <p><strong>So far the market reaction to the news has been fairly subdued. </strong>Stocks have for all intents and purposes ignored it, and US bonds had a bad couple of days before stabilizing.</p> <p><u><strong>I think this is a big mistake. </strong></u>The Fed is already too tight, and this potential unwinding of the balance sheet is a much more significant development than most market pundits realize.</p> <p>Although Trumphoria continues to cloud the bulls&rsquo; minds with psychedelic hallucinations of unrealistic economic outcomes, there will reach a point when the drug wears off, and market participations will once again be forced to deal with the cold economic reality of the current situation.</p> <p><strong>And at that point, the Fed&rsquo;s hawkishness will become fully apparent.</strong></p> <p>Many economists believed the Fed would never be able to wind down their balance sheet. Many assumed the expansion of the past eight years was permanent.</p> <p>Now the Fed is telling us this is not the case, and they will give winding it down a whirl.</p> <p><em><u><strong>Yet the stock market is forgetting how we got here.</strong></u></em></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 443px;" /></a></p> <p>In the days following the Fed&rsquo;s 2008 announcement of the first quantitative easing program the stock market did not initially jump higher. <strong>Stocks kept declining as the market did not fully understand the scope of the Fed&rsquo;s program.</strong></p> <p>Even in the following years as the Fed kept expanding their balance sheet, and the relationship between the stock market rise and the QE programs was becoming more obvious, most market participants kept assuming the stock market would resume its decline.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 460px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>The size of the Fed&rsquo;s balance sheet was probably the most important determinant of the stock market level during this period.</strong></p> <p>At the time most hedge funds managers were hyperventilating about the ultimate decline when the Fed stopped expanding their balance sheet. But here we are with the Fed contemplating actually reducing it, yet most hedge funds are all bulled up on stocks and ignoring the Fed&rsquo;s rhetoric.</p> <p>Well, I am not ignoring it. And I don&rsquo;t buy that the relationship between the Fed&rsquo;s balance sheet and the stock market level should be tossed out the window.</p> <p><u><em><strong>The Fed reducing the size of their balance sheet is a big deal. Ignore it at your peril.</strong></em></u></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="724" height="388" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Banking Business Central bank Economy fed Federal funds rate Federal Reserve Federal Reserve Bank Federal Reserve Bank Of Boston Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Federal Reserve System Financial markets Forecasters Club of New York Interbank lending market Janet Yellen Janet Yellen Monetary Policy Monetary policy Money Philadelphia Fed Quantitative Easing Quantitative easing Reality Reuters St Louis Fed St. Louis Fed Systemic risk US Federal Reserve Yield Curve Tue, 17 Jan 2017 18:50:51 +0000 Tyler Durden 585665 at Ackman's Pershing Square Busted For Violating Pay-To-Play Rule; Fined $75,000 <p>Following a disappointing year for Bill Ackman, in which his Pershing Square returned -13.5% (although it has at least started off 2017 on the right foot, up 1.9% YTD), moments ago Ackman got some bad and some good news. The bad news is the Pershing Square was among 10 investment advisory firms who were busted by the SEC for engaging in pay-to-play schemes, or accepting pension fund fees within two years of making donations. The good news: the penalty is a whopping $75,000.</p> <p><a href="">The details</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that 10 investment advisory firms have agreed to pay penalties ranging from $35,000 to $100,000 to settle charges that they violated the SEC’s investment adviser pay-to-play rule by receiving compensation from public pension funds within two years after campaign contributions made by the firms’ associates. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the SEC’s orders, investment advisers are subject to a two-year timeout from providing compensatory advisory services either directly to a government client or through a pooled investment vehicle after political contributions were made to a candidate who could influence the investment adviser selection process for a public pension fund or appoint someone with such influence.&nbsp; The SEC’s orders find that these 10 firms violated the two-year timeout by accepting fees from city or state pension funds after their associates made campaign contributions to elected officials or political candidates with the potential to wield influence over those pension funds. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The two-year timeout is intended to discourage pay-to-play practices in the investment of public money, including public pension funds,” said LeeAnn Ghazil Gaunt, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Public Finance Abuse Unit.&nbsp; “Advisory firms must be mindful of the restrictions that can arise from campaign contributions made by their associates.” </p> </blockquote> <p>But why focus only on the investment advisor: aren't the pension funds just as culpable for allocating cash to funds they received money from? Well, in the case of Pershing Square, perhaps the thinking goes that giving Ackman money to money was punishment enough.</p> <p>Amusingly, the complaing filed against Pershing Square, the SEC notes the following:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P. is a limited partnership located in New York, New York. Pershing Square is registered with the Commission as an investment adviser. In its Form ADV dated March 30, 2016, <strong>Pershing Square reported regulatory assets under management of approximately $15 billion</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>In light of recent events, the SEC may want to get an updated AUM.</p> <p><em>The full complaint is below (<a href="">link</a>)</em></p> <p><iframe src=";view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-heYsgPfj9tvj22SvJjit&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%" height="600" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="555" height="392" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bill Ackman Business Economy Finance Institutional investors Investment Labor Money Pay to play Pershing Square Pershing Square Capital Management SEC Enforcement Division’s Public Finance Abuse Unit Securities and Exchange Commission Securities and Exchange Commission Social Issues U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Tue, 17 Jan 2017 18:41:05 +0000 Tyler Durden 585679 at Secret Service Taking Extraordinary Measures To Protect Against "Unprecedented" Inauguration Threats <p>Just yesterday we noted the latest undercover video from Project Veritas which revealed anarchist groups plotting to disrupt the Trump inauguration by dumping butyric acid into the heating and ventilation systems of buildings expected to be used for this weekend's festivities.&nbsp; Add to that, the fact that<a href=""> ~750,000 protesters are expected to descend upon Washington D.C.</a> with a stated intent to<strong> "paralyze the city"</strong> and <a href="">Obama's "extremely unusual" move to fire the D.C. National Guard Chief</a> just days before the inauguration ceremonies and you have a <strong>recipe for disaster</strong>.</p> <p>Describing the situation to <a href="">Washington Top News</a>, Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy acknowledged that the <strong>threat level at this ingratiation is "different" from previous ones</strong> saying that, after a contentious 2016 campaign cycle, <strong>people "are willing to do things they may not have been willing to do in the past."</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>“I think people today are willing to do things they may not have been willing to do in the past,”</strong> Clancy said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He cited several episodes that took place during the campaign, <strong>“where people jumped over those bike racks or security zones into our buffer. In the past, it was very rare for somebody to do that.</strong> Today, in this past campaign, people were willing to do it.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Maness says, however, “From what we have seen the security measures and first-responder preparations have been excellent for the event.”</p> </blockquote> <p>In addition to D.C. being a perpetual high-profile target for terrorist attacks, Clancy notes that, as confirmed by the latest Project Veritas video, the <strong>bigger threat is likely coming from anarchist groups who will stop at nothing to disrupt the inauguration ceremonies in some way.&nbsp; </strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>“We know that this (Washington region) is a high-profile [terror] target. </strong>It’s been attacked in the past, historically,” said Paul Abbate, the FBI’s executive assistant director for the Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"The bigger threat is probably coming from anti-government/anarchist<br /> groups who are likely to try and disrupt the inauguration, and may engage in violence to do so,</strong>” said Mike Maness, director of Trapwire.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Other FBI officials have confirmed that Washington is mentioned on a daily basis as a potential target in intercepted terrorist chatter and communications. “We, from the FBI standpoint, are ready to counter terrorist attacks and are working with our partners in building out the intelligence picture,” Abbate said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On Friday, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson spoke to reporters about preparations for the inauguration.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“We know of no specific credible threat directed toward the inauguration,” he said.&nbsp; But in the same statement, he acknowledged, “that is only part of the story.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Other parts of that story include the unknown, according to Clancy, and that is causing him to lose sleep.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“Every night I wake up and I wonder do we have some issue covered,”</strong> Clancy said.</p> </blockquote> <p><img src="" alt="Trump Security" width="600" height="396" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, extraordinary threats call for extraordinary preparations and countermeasures as this year's inauguration will include large perimeters that will be heavily fortified with "<strong>trucks, dumpsters, buses and the like" </strong>to defend against terrorist attacks similar to those that struck Nice, France and Berlin, Germany in 2016 as rogue trucks plowed through masses of people.<strong><br /></strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Soft perimeters will permit access to only those vehicles belonging to people who live or work in the area. Hard vehicle perimeters will be off limits to all but official vehicles.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This year in particular, Johnson said,<strong> “The hard vehicle perimeter will be heavily fortified by trucks, dumpsters, buses and the like, given the current threat environment.”</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>That environment he spoke of is created by terror groups’ constant online prodding of sympathizers to conduct not just spectacular attacks like those in Paris, Brussels, Turkey, Germany and Orlando in the past year, but single-casualty attacks as well.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Another key part of Secret Service attack prevention planning started months ago, and is designed to cover large and small incidents.</p> </blockquote> <p>And, if all else fails, we're sure the <a href="">"Bikers For Trump"</a> will be available on short order to form a "wall of meat" to protect the President-elect.</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="696" height="492" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation France Germany Inauguration of Donald Trump Ingratiation James O'Keefe National Guard Politics Politics of the United States Presidency of Donald Trump Secret Service Turkey War Washington D.C. Tue, 17 Jan 2017 18:20:32 +0000 Tyler Durden 585654 at Putin Warns Of "Maidan-Style" Attempt To Delegitimize Trump; Doesn't Believe Trump Used Hookers In Moscow <p>Warning that a "soft coup" is being waged against Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he sees attempts in the United States to "delegitimize" US President-elect Donald Trump using "Maidan-style" methods previously used in Ukraine, where readers will recall president Yanukovich was ousted in 2014 following a violent coup, which many suspect was conducted under the auspices of the US State Department and assorted US intelligence operations. </p> <p><strong>&nbsp;"I have an impression they practiced in Kiev and are ready to organize a Maidan in Washington, just to not let Trump take office,</strong>" Putin said, apparently referring to anti-government protests in the Ukrainian capital in 2014, which resulted in the leadership being ousted. The campaign to discredit the president-elect shows that certain "political elites in the West, including in the US," have "significantly" worsened, the Russian president added.</p> <p>Putin said he doesn’t believe that Donald Trump met with prostitutes in Russia, calling the accusations part of a campaign to undermine the election result, and said reports spread in the Western media accusing Trump of frolicking with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel, the Russian president said he doubted that a man who had been organizing beauty pageants for years and had met "s<strong>ome of the most beautiful women of the world" would hire call girls in the Russian capital.</strong></p> <p>The Russian leader also called the allegations that Moscow might have blackmail material on the US president-elect "evidently fake." </p> <p>"When Trump visited Moscow several years ago, he wasn't a political figure. We didn't even know about his political ambitions, he was just a businessman, one of America's richest people. So does someone think that our intelligence services go after each American billionaire? Of course not, it's complete rubbish," Putin said.</p> <p>Unsubstantiated allegations made against Trump are “obvious fabrications,” Putin told reporters in the Kremlin on Tuesday. “<strong>People who order fakes of the type now circulating against the U.S. president-elect, who concoct them and use them in a political battle, are worse than prostitutes because they don’t have any moral boundaries at all</strong>,” he said.</p> <p>The Russian president, <a href="">cited by BBG, </a>said that Trump wasn’t a politician when he visited Moscow in the past and Russian officials weren’t aware that he held any political ambitions. </p> <p>Putin, who reiterated he had never met Trump, said he hoped that Moscow and Washington could eventually get their troubled relations back to normal, adding he has no reasons to "attack or defend him."</p> <p>"I don't know Mr. Trump personally, I have never met him and don't know what he will do on the international arena. So I have no grounds to attack him or criticize him for anything, or protect him or whatever," Putin said. </p> <p>Putin noted that there is a category of people who leave without saying goodbye, "out of respect for the present situation," while others say goodbye all the time, but do not go away. <strong>"The outgoing administration, in my opinion, belongs to the second category," he said. </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="960" height="617" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent Business Climate change skepticism and denial Conservatism in the United States Donald Trump Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign Grand Croix of the Légion d'honneur Human Interest Political positions of Donald Trump Politics Politics Politics of the United States Putin The Apprentice Trump Trump University U.S. intelligence Ukraine US State Department Viktor Yanukovych Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin WWE Hall of Fame Tue, 17 Jan 2017 18:17:53 +0000 Tyler Durden 585642 at New ABC / WaPo Poll Shows Drop In Trump Favorability Courtesy Of Aggressive "Oversamples" <p>In the month leaded up to the election on November 8th, we repeatedly demonstrated how the mainstream media polls from the likes of ABC/Washington Post, CNN and Reuters repeatedly manipulated their poll samples to engineer their desired results, namely a large Hillary Clinton lead (see "<a href="">New Podesta Email Exposes Playbook For Rigging Polls Through 'Oversamples'</a>" and "<a href="">ABC/Wapo Effectively Admit To Poll Tampering As Hillary's "Lead" Shrinks To 2-Points</a>").&nbsp; In fact, <strong>just 16 days prior to the election an ABC/Wapo poll showed a 12-point lead for Hillary, a result that obviously turned out to be embarrassingly wrong for the pollsters.</strong></p> <p>But, proving they still got it, <a href="">ABC/Washington Post</a> and <a href="">CNN</a> are out with a pair of polls on Trump's favorability this morning that sport some of the most egregious "oversamples" we've seen.&nbsp; <strong>The </strong>ABC/Wapo poll showed an 8-point sampling margin for Democrats with only 23% of the results taken from Republicans...</p> <p><img src="" alt="ABC Poll" width="450" height="211" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...while the <strong>CNN poll showed a similar 8-point advantage for Democrats with only 24% of respondents identifying as Republicans.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"A total of 1,000 adults were interviewed by telephone nationwide by live interviewers calling both landline and cell phones. Among the entire sample, <strong>32% described themselves as Democrats, 24% described themselves as Republicans, and 44% described themselves as independents or members of another party.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, as we've repeatedly pointed out, these sampling mixes couldn't be further from reality.</p> <p><img src="" alt="Polling" width="550" height="457" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And while a quick 2 second review of the methodology of these polls immediately reveals their obvious bias, here are some of the results.&nbsp; </p> <p>ABC latched on to the conclusion that <strong>Trump is just being super mean to the media... </strong></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">57% of Americans see Donald Trump’s treatment of the news media as unfair in new <a href="">@ABC</a> News/WaPo poll: <a href=""></a></p> <p>— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) <a href="">January 17, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><img src="" alt="ABC / Wapo Poll" width="550" height="116" /></p> </blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even though they found that the media is treating him "fairly."</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><img src="" alt="ABC / Wapo Poll" width="550" height="112" /></p> </blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, ABC/WaPo found that President-elect Trump is the least popular candidate to take the White House in modern history, with a 40% approval rating...&nbsp; </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><img src="" alt="ABC / Wapo Poll" width="550" height="504" /></p> </blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...while his cabinet picks were apparently equally disliked by ABC/Wapo's disaffected Hillary supporters.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><img src="" alt="ABC / Wapo Poll" width="550" height="586" /></p> </blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In conclusion, this seemed to sum up today's polls perfectly:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">The same people who did the phony election polls, and were so wrong, are now doing approval rating polls. They are rigged just like before.</p> <p>— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="">January 17, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="595" height="355" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> ABC News American people of German descent Ben Carson presidential campaign Business cell phones Climate change skepticism and denial Donald Trump Opinion poll Politics Politics Politics of the United States Reality Reuters The Apprentice White House White House WWE Hall of Fame Tue, 17 Jan 2017 18:10:54 +0000 Tyler Durden 585643 at