http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml/%20http%3A/admin%40capitalistexploits.at en Bezos Bursts Above Buffett To Become World's Second Richest Man http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-29/bezos-bursts-above-buffett-become-worlds-second-richest-man <p>On the heels of the melt-up in US mega-cap tech stocks, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has leapt past Amancio Ortega and Warren Buffett to <strong>become the world’s second-richest person</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/03/28/20170329_bezos.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/03/28/20170329_bezos_0.jpg" width="600" height="275" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> As Bloomberg reports, the 53-year-old founder of Amazon.com Inc.<strong> added $1.5 billion to his net worth on Wednesday</strong>, the day after the e-commerce giant announced it will buy Dubai-based online retailer Souq.com, and has added over $7 billion since the global equities rally began following the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president on Nov. 8.</p> <p>Bezos has a net worth of $75.6 billion on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.<strong> That’s $700 million more than Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s Buffett and $1.3 billion above Ortega,</strong> the founder of Inditex SA and Europe’s richest person. <strong>Buffett, who’s added $1.7 billion in 2017, has shed $4.7 billion since his fortune peaked at $79.6 billion on March 1.</strong> Ortega is up $2.1 billion year-to-date. </p> <p><strong>Bezos remains $10.4 billion behind Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the world’s richest person with $86 billion.</strong></p> <p><em>If AMZN topped $1000 - while MSFT flatlined - Bezos would take Gates.<br /></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="961" height="441" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170329_bezos.jpg?1490837235" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-29/bezos-bursts-above-buffett-become-worlds-second-richest-man#comments Amancio Ortega Amazon.com Berkshire Hathaway Bezos Bill Gates Bill Gates Bloomberg Billionaires Blue Origin Business Business Donald Trump Economy Finance Inditex Jeff Bezos Tau Beta Pi Warren Buffett Warren Buffett Thu, 30 Mar 2017 08:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 592020 at http://www.zerohedge.com Konstantin Richter: "The Dirty Dozen" - 12 'Things' That Ruined The EU http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-29/konstantin-richter-dirty-dozen-12-things-ruined-eu <p><a href="http://www.politico.eu/article/12-people-things-that-ruined-the-european-union-viktor-orban-treaty-of-rome-boris-johnson-antigone-loudiadis-francois-mitterand-christoph-blocher-edith-cresson/"><em>Authored by Konstantin Richter via Politico.eu,</em></a></p> <p>Last weekend, <a href="http://www.politico.eu/article/europes-elite-put-on-grand-show-of-unity-in-rome-summit-anniversary/" target="_blank">European leaders gathered in Rome</a> for the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. They discussed, not for the first time, <strong>how to get the EU back on track.</strong> And they told each other they are <strong>still committed to the Union and believe in its future.</strong> (We&rsquo;ve heard that one before, too.)</p> <p>But let&rsquo;s just suppose that, when the European leaders sat down for lunch at the Quirinal Palace, some of them had a little too much of the pinot grigio and waxed nostalgic about the days when the idea of a united Europe was still young and promising and beautiful. And then they talked about this week and how <a href="http://www.politico.eu/blogs/playbook-plus/2017/03/sadiq-khan-to-theresa-may-hard-brexit-is-lose-lose/" target="_blank">British Prime Minister Theresa May</a> would send her goodbye letter and they started slurring their words, saying Grexit, Brexit, Frexit, and they finally admitted to each other that something has gone horribly wrong.</p> <p>When they stood up and got ready to leave, they were devastated, saying to each other: <strong><em>&ldquo;Good God, how did it come this and, more importantly, who is to blame?&rdquo;</em></strong> We&rsquo;ve&nbsp;gathered a dozen suggestions.</p> <h3><u>1. Zeus</u></h3> <p>Whenever Europe is in trouble, its advocates claim the EU lacks a proper narrative. The whole idea of an &ldquo;ever-closer union&rdquo; is still a fine one, they argue, and the only thing that&rsquo;s needed for people to understand it is a memorable story. The most memorable story about Europe, of course, is the one about Zeus. The Greek God disguised himself as a white bull in order to approach a beautiful girl called Europa. When Europa, perhaps naively, climbed on his back, the God-turned-bull abducted and ravished her. No need to take the story too literally when analyzing the EU&rsquo;s current malaise (no white bulls there). <strong>But it is good to keep in mind that Europe&rsquo;s founding myth doesn&rsquo;t exactly bode well for its future.</strong> If negative narratives about the EU seem to resonate far more than positive ones, maybe it&rsquo;s because the Greek gods loaded the dice.</p> <h3><u>2. Edith Cresson</u></h3> <p>Going straight from Zeus, ruler of Mount Olympus, to good old Edith Cresson may seem a bit of a stretch. But as a <strong>strong contender for the title of worst European commissioner ever, the Frenchwoman does have a claim to fame,</strong> too. In the early 1990s, Cresson was a French prime minister who quickly fell out of favor and was forced to resign after less than a year in office. That apparently qualified her for a high-powered job in Brussels. As commissioner for science, research and development, Cresson <strong>famously paid her dentist to be a scientific adviser</strong>. In 1999, allegations of fraud intended to target Cresson ended up bringing down the entire Commission. To put it crudely: Cresson did to the EU what Zeus did to Europa.</p> <div class="wp-caption aligncenter" id="attachment_593881" style="width: 724px;"><img alt="Christoph Blocher in Bern during a session of the Swiss National Council in 2013 | Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images" class="size-ev-full-width wp-image-593881" src="http://g8fip1kplyr33r3krz5b97d1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/GettyImages-170792917-714x476.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 400px;" /><br /> <p class="wp-caption-text"><em>Christoph Blocher in Bern during a session of the Swiss National Council in 2013 | Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images</em></p> </div> <h3><u>3. Christoph Blocher</u></h3> <p>Look at any map of the European Union and what stands out is the blank spot at its core. The holdout is Switzerland, mountainous, beautiful and immensely wealthy. The Swiss owe their status as successful non-members to a man named <a href="http://www.politico.eu/article/blocher-to-concentrate-on-anti-eu-fight/" target="_blank">Christoph Blocher</a>. Back in the early 1990s &mdash; when <a href="http://www.politico.eu/article/the-man-who-invented-trumpism-geert-wilders-netherlands-pvv-vvd-populist/" target="_blank">Geert Wilders</a> was still a young parliamentary assistant with funny hair, Marine Le Pen just the daughter of right-wing populist Jean-Marie Le Pen, and in Germany the letters AfD stood for Allgemeiner Finanzdienst, a financial services firm that has since changed its name &mdash; <strong>the Swiss industrialist led a successful referendum campaign against the path to EU membership.</strong></p> <p>Blocher&nbsp;knew how to push the right buttons and arouse in the Swiss a deep fear of outsiders, be they from Brussels or the Balkans. <strong>His blend of anti-immigration and anti-EU politics would provide the blueprint for populist campaigns elsewhere</strong>. What&rsquo;s more, the Alpine nation made a strong case that the economic benefits of close relations with the EU can be had without fully joining the club. (Norway provides another fine example.)</p> <h3><u>4. Brussels</u></h3> <p>Some decades ago, when the EU&rsquo;s founding member countries&nbsp;were looking for a place to house institutions such as the European Commission and the European Council, they thought they had found something suitable. It was a city located halfway between the glamorous French capital of Paris and the not-so-glamorous West German capital of Bonn. And it was called Brussels, like the famous sprouts. The French hoped the Belgian capital would turn into a twin city of Paris, populated by sophisticated graduates of the Grand Écoles. What they got instead was the European Quarter, an architectural nightmare, more Brasilia than Paris, that is oddly isolated from the indigenous people in its vicinity. <strong>Brussels may not be the &ldquo;<a href="http://www.politico.eu/article/donald-trump-brussels-is-like-a-hellhole/" target="_blank">hellhole</a>&rdquo; U.S. President Donald Trump described but, as anyone who has worked there knows, the EU capital lacks atmosphere.</strong> As a result, Europe&rsquo;s de facto capital has been struggling to attract the kind of talent that would happily flock to more inspiring places, such as Paris or Amsterdam. Maybe even Bonn would have been a better choice.</p> <div class="wp-caption aligncenter" id="attachment_593897" style="width: 724px;"><img alt="François Mitterrand in 1983 at China's Great hall of the people, in Beijing | Gabriel Duval/AFP via Getty Images" class="size-ev-full-width wp-image-593897" src="http://g8fip1kplyr33r3krz5b97d1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/GettyImages-176611094-714x450.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 378px;" /><br /> <p class="wp-caption-text"><em>François Mitterrand in 1983 at China&rsquo;s Great hall of the people, in Beijing | Gabriel Duval/AFP via Getty Images</em></p> </div> <h3><u>5. François Mitterand</u></h3> <p>There are quite a few people who&rsquo;ve been given the moniker &ldquo;Father of the euro.&rdquo; (The mother of the euro wasn&rsquo;t around when the currency was conceived.) Most of these fathers were economists. But Europe&rsquo;s single currency was predominantly a political project, not an economic one &mdash; and blaming economists for its failings is missing the point. François Mitterand, the&nbsp;charismatic French president, knew a lot about the art of political intrigue and far less about monetary policy. Looking to subdue the strong Deutschmark (which he called &ldquo;Germany&rsquo;s <em>force de frappe</em>,&rdquo; or nuclear weapon), he kept pushing for a single currency &mdash; and found an ally in German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, also more of a political animal than an economic one.</p> <p><strong>When the Berlin Wall fell and Kohl needed international support for Germany&rsquo;s reunification, the French president, allegedly, negotiated a quid pro quo, convincing the Germans to give up the Deutschmark.</strong> But the father of the euro did not live long enough to see that things wouldn&rsquo;t go according to plan. The German economy flourished in the eurozone, the French one didn&rsquo;t, and the EU, as a whole, would have been better off without its wayward child.</p> <h3><u>6. Antigone Loudiadis</u></h3> <p>This list of villains would be incomplete without at least one specimen of the scheming investment banker. Our candidate goes by the name of Antigone Loudiadis. Accordingly, there&rsquo;s a whiff of Greek drama to her story. Loudiadis was a whip-smart Goldman Sachs banker and worked with Costas Simitis&rsquo; government back in the early noughts, when the Greeks were desperately seeking to join the eurozone. <strong>The Anglo-Greek banker was instrumental, allegedly, in devising complex derivative trades to hide the country&rsquo;s true debt level.</strong> In a Sophocles play, our heroine would have met a terrible fate, perhaps buried alive and mourned by a chorus of elderly Thebans. In contemporary Europe, she lived happily ever after, eventually founding a London-based insurance company and running it as CEO.</p> <div class="wp-caption aligncenter" id="attachment_598816" style="width: 724px;"><img alt="Spencer Platt/Getty Images" class="size-ev-full-width wp-image-598816" src="http://g8fip1kplyr33r3krz5b97d1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/GettyImages-131189300-714x476.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 400px;" /><br /> <p class="wp-caption-text"><em>Spencer Platt/Getty Images</em></p> </div> <h3><u>7. The unnamed EU official</u></h3> <p>There are some 50,000 people working for the EU, depending on how you count. Though their names can be looked up in the organization&rsquo;s vast databases, they mostly toil in anonymity, and the vast majority of EU citizens would likely not be able to name a single commissioner. In the popular imagination,<strong> Brussels has become a present-day version of Kafka&rsquo;s castle, dominated by faceless paper pushers who work for opaque entities called DG something-or-other and invent regulations concerning the length of cucumbers.</strong></p> <p>That sentiment may not do justice to what unnamed EU officials actually do. But what do they do? It&rsquo;s safe to say that the EU hasn&rsquo;t done enough to capture the hearts and minds of the people. There&rsquo;s no stylish image campaign, no employee-of-the-month program, not even a Pirelli calendar with sexy bureaucrats posing in attractive office cubicles.</p> <div class="wp-caption aligncenter" id="attachment_593880" style="width: 724px;"><em><img alt="Boris Johnson at St Paul's Cathedral in London | WPA pool photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images" class="size-ev-full-width wp-image-593880" src="http://g8fip1kplyr33r3krz5b97d1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/GettyImages-479754182-714x475.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 399px;" /></em><br /> <p class="wp-caption-text"><em>Boris Johnson at St Paul&rsquo;s Cathedral in London | WPA pool photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images</em></p> </div> <h3><u>8. Boris Johnson</u></h3> <p>They say the flapping of a&nbsp;butterfly&rsquo;s wings can cause a hurricane somewhere thousands of miles away. In the early 1990s,<a href="http://www.politico.eu/blogs/playbook-plus/2017/03/boris-in-wonderland-john-robinson/" target="_blank"> Boris Johnson</a> (the butterfly in this case) was the Daily Telegraph&rsquo;s correspondent in Brussels &mdash; and an early exponent of a literary genre called the &ldquo;Euromyth.&rdquo; One such Euromyth, headlined &ldquo;Delors plans to rule Europe,&rdquo; was read in far-away Denmark where the Danes were holding a referendum on the Maastricht Treaty.<strong> In Johnson&rsquo;s telling (not to be trusted, of course), the Telegraph story mysteriously tipped the balance, triggering a <em>Nej</em> and leading to all kinds of repercussions that still reverberate today. </strong>What&rsquo;s more, the incident sold Johnson on the fun of flapping his wings, which he did to even greater effect in early 2016 when he joined the Vote Leave campaign, eventually effecting a tornado called Brexit. If Johnson has his way, he&rsquo;ll enter the history books as the only man who ruined the EU not once, but twice.</p> <h3><u>9. The Swabian housewife</u></h3> <p>Rumors that the Germans are making sacrificial offerings to a deity called the Swabian housewife are probably exaggerated. But <strong>Chancellor Angela Merkel did invoke the German goddess of austerity when the financial crisis hit, saying that, like the Swabian housewife, she thinks one shouldn&rsquo;t live beyond one&rsquo;s means. </strong>Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is a believer, too, stubbornly opposing debt relief and stimulus programs. Keynesian economists countered by coining the term &ldquo;Swabian-housewife fallacy.&rdquo; They argue that what makes sense on an individual level, meaning personal finances, can wreak havoc in international politics, meaning the EU. (But then again, some EU governments could have used a tad of that Swabish housewifeliness in the run-up to the euro crisis.)</p> <div class="wp-caption aligncenter" id="attachment_593894" style="width: 724px;"><img alt="Belgian soccer player Jean-Marc Bosman at the European Court of Justice in December 1995 | STF/AFP via Getty Images" class="size-ev-full-width wp-image-593894" src="http://g8fip1kplyr33r3krz5b97d1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/GettyImages-56424288-714x542.jpg" style="width: 599px; height: 455px;" /><br /> <p class="wp-caption-text"><em>Belgian soccer player Jean-Marc Bosman at the European Court of Justice in December 1995 | STF/AFP via Getty Images</em></p> </div> <h3><u>10. Jean-Marc Bosman</u></h3> <p>This Belgian football player didn&rsquo;t have much of a career. He stopped playing in his twenties, was sentenced to jail for assault and now lives unemployed and underfunded in Liège. Nevertheless, Bosman had more of an impact on European club football&nbsp;than any other player around.<strong> In the early 1990s, when his contract had lapsed, he sued his Belgian club for, effectively, not letting him go. The case went to the European Court of Justice, which ruled that clubs cannot demand transfer fees when contracts have expired. The court also decided that quotas restricting the number of EU foreigners in club teams had to go.</strong></p> <p>All of that made sense from a legal perspective. But football fans only see what happened as a result: sky-high salaries and transfer fees for star players, a handful of elite clubs who came to tower above the rest, club teams composed entirely of non-nationals. The fans feel that football had been taken away from them. Most of them vent their anger against the evil forces of globalization, liberalization and commercialization. But those in the know blame Bosman &mdash; and EU law.</p> <h3><u>11. Viktor Orbán</u></h3> <p>What was Angela Merkel thinking when she opened the German borders to refugees in September 2015? Critics charged the German chancellor with failing to consult with the rest of the bloc before she made her decision, and with aggravating a refugee crisis that has threatened to tear Europe apart.<strong> What is often overlooked is that Merkel didn&rsquo;t act entirely of her own volition. The Hungarian government led by Viktor Orbán put refugees on buses heading for Austria and Germany &mdash; and tricked the chancellor into taking an idealistic stand on migration.</strong> There would have been no German <em>Willkommenskultur</em> without Hungarian <em>idegengyülölet</em>, or xenophobia.</p> <div class="wp-caption aligncenter" id="attachment_598799" style="width: 724px;"><em><img alt="Signature of the Treaty of Rome on March 25, 1957 | AFP via Getty Images" class="size-ev-full-width wp-image-598799" src="http://g8fip1kplyr33r3krz5b97d1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/GettyImages-83778375-714x470.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 395px;" /></em><br /> <p class="wp-caption-text"><em>Signature of the Treaty of Rome on March 25, 1957 | AFP via Getty Images</em></p> </div> <h3><u>12. The Treaty of Rome</u></h3> <p>Rome stood at the beginning of a proliferation of treaties. Keeping track of what exactly was agreed upon in Nice, Maastricht, Lisbon and elsewhere has become increasingly difficult. There have simply been too many meetings and too many documents named after too many cities. If EU leaders keep meeting like this, we&rsquo;ll eventually have the Toledo Treaty and the Clermont-Ferrand Regulations. <strong>Incidentally, Rome is also where the principle of the &ldquo;ever-closer union&rdquo; first popped up.</strong> Entire dissertations have been written in defense of that idea. Indeed, closer reading shows that, according to the document, only the European people were meant to engage in &ldquo;ever-closer union,&rdquo; not (necessarily) governments, central banks or entire armies. But somehow &ldquo;ever-closer union&rdquo; became a synonym for the EU&rsquo;s self-aggrandizement anyway.</p> <p><strong>Now that Britain is leaving, a little more modesty wouldn&rsquo;t hurt. </strong>So here&rsquo;s an idea: <em>EU leaders could meet again next weekend, have some more wine and solemnly agree that their utmost goal is to keep the European people &ldquo;from drifting ever-further apart.&rdquo; That sounds about right and not too fancy. All that&rsquo;s needed is a suitable name. How about the Pinot Grigio Declaration?</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="1139" height="477" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170329_dirtydozen.jpg?1490836148" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-29/konstantin-richter-dirty-dozen-12-things-ruined-eu#comments Brexit Central Banks China Donald Trump Economy of the European Union Euro European Union European Union European Union Euroscepticism in the United Kingdom Eurozone Eurozone Germany goldman sachs Goldman Sachs Kafka Monetary Policy Norway Switzerland Withdrawal from the European Union Thu, 30 Mar 2017 07:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 592019 at http://www.zerohedge.com Despite Record Highs, Brexit Still A Losing Bet For Dollar Investors http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-29/despite-record-highs-brexit-still-losing-bet-dollar-investors <p>One day after UK PM Theresa May officially unleashed the Article 50 letter proclaiming the beginning of the end of Britain within the EU, the<strong> UK stock market had rallied over 16% since the vote that elites said would bring armageddon</strong>. However, remove the support of a collapsed currency and things look very different for a US dollar investor.</p> <p>The UK's FTSE 100 - whose megacap members get the majority of their revenue from outside the UK - looks very different when adjusted for the depreciation of the pound.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/03/28/20170328_brexit.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/03/28/20170328_brexit_0.jpg" width="600" height="317" /></a></p> <p>In fact, for a dollar investor, they remain underwater since the Brexit vote, having never seen a 'return to even' since, thanks to the near 19% collapse in cable...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/03/28/20170329_GBP1.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/03/28/20170329_GBP1_0.jpg" width="600" height="310" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even as dollar investors in Japan, Germany, and the US seem to have done uniformly well...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/03/28/20170329_GBP2.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/03/28/20170329_GBP2_0.jpg" width="600" height="314" /></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="963" height="508" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170328_brexit.jpg?1490835417" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-29/despite-record-highs-brexit-still-losing-bet-dollar-investors#comments Aftermath of the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum Brexit Business Currency Dollar Economy Europe European Union European Union FTSE 100 Germany Japan Stock market crashes United Kingdom European Union membership referendum United States dollar Thu, 30 Mar 2017 06:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 592018 at http://www.zerohedge.com Iran's President Rouhani Visited Russia: Another Step To A Multipolar World http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-29/irans-president-rouhani-visited-russia-another-step-multipolar-world <p><em><a href="http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/03/29/iran-president-rouhani-visited-russia-another-step-multipolar-world.html">Authored by Peter Korzun via The Strategic Culture Foundation,</a></em></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/03/28/20170329_iran.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/03/28/20170329_iran.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 303px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>The significance of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani&rsquo;s visit to Russia on March 27-28 goes far beyond the bilateral relationship.</strong> Iran is one of the main actors in Syria and Iraq. It has an importance place in the geopolitical plans of US President Donald Trump. Its relationship with Russia is an important factor of international politics. The future of the entire Middle East depends to a great extent on what Russia and Iran do and how effectively they coordinate their activities.</p> <p><strong>Less than two months are left till the presidential election in Iran.</strong> The presidential race formally starts on April 17 and Rouhani has a good chance to win. True, the country&rsquo;s foreign policy at the strategic level is defined by&nbsp;Iran&#39;s&nbsp;Supreme&nbsp;Leader, Ayatollah&nbsp;Ali Khamenei, but the executive branch of the government led by president implements it. The spiritual leader does not pay visits to other countries but&nbsp;Russian President&nbsp;Vladimir Putin met him in Tehran last year &ndash; the second time in the recent 17 years.</p> <p><strong>This was Rouhani&#39;s first official visit to Russia and the first time he and Putin met within a bilateral framework.</strong> The trip took place against the background of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ecfr.eu/publications/summary/iran_and_russia_middle_east_power_couple_7113" target="_blank">growing partnership</a>&nbsp;as both countries have become leading forces of the Astana process that made Iran, Russia and Turkey guarantors of the Syrian cease-fire.</p> <p>True, the cooperation in Syria is of utmost importance but there is each and every reason to believe that Russia and Iran will have to join together in an attempt to settle the conflict in Afghanistan. <strong>As a regional superpower, Iran will gain much by coordinating activities with Russia in that country after the US withdrawal that seems to be inevitable. </strong>Such cooperation would become a game-changing factor with far-reaching consequences for the region from the Mediterranean to Pakistan.</p> <p><strong>The emerging triangle, including Russia, Iran and Turkey, becomes an alliance, could reshape the region.</strong> A ceasefire in Syria reached as a result of the Astana process led by the &laquo;big three&raquo; would reduce the clout of the US, the UK and France. Actually, their influence has already been diminished. The neighboring states will see that progress can be achieved without the &laquo;traditional players&raquo; representing the West.</p> <p><strong>Russia is the country that can debunk the myth that the Middle East is threatened by a &laquo;Shia threat&raquo; emanating from Tehran.</strong> It can use its close and friendly relations with leading Sunni states &ndash; Egypt, Jordan, the UAE and, perhaps, Saudi Arabia &ndash; to play the stabilizing role of mediator between the Shia and Sunni camps. Russia has a unique position to act as an intermediary between Iran and Israel &ndash; something nobody else can do.</p> <p>It&rsquo;ll take years to heal the wounds and mitigate the contradictions between Shia and Sunni Muslims in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Today, the West does not enjoy the clout it once had there. <strong>The borders drawn by Western countries caused many conflicts;</strong> direct military interventions made them lose trust and support. Under the circumstances, Russia is not exactly an outside actor. Moscow needs peace and stability in the region. This goal can be achieved in tandem with Turkey and Iran. Iraq and Syria can join the trio after they overcome the devastating results of wars. It makes the cooperation with Tehran an issue of paramount importance for Russia.</p> <p><strong>The bilateral relationship is going to be strengthened by large-scale economic projects.</strong></p> <p>Despite the importance of&nbsp;foreign policy issues, the talks mainly&nbsp;<a href="http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/54119">focused</a>&nbsp;on&nbsp;prospects for&nbsp;deepening trade, economic and&nbsp;investment cooperation, including under large joint projects in&nbsp;energy and&nbsp;transport infrastructure. More than&nbsp;ten major trade and economic agreements were signed during the visit. Russia has already pumped about&nbsp;one billion euros into&nbsp;Iran&#39; railway network, with serious financial injections into&nbsp;bilateral projects yet to&nbsp;be implemented.</p> <p><strong>Exports to Iran stand at only around 1 percent of Russian foreign trade, but a trade surplus and the existence of a large market for Russian manufactured goods make Iran an important partner. The bilateral trade grew by 60 percent from $1.2 billion in 2015 to almost $2 billion in 2016.</strong></p> <p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://rbth.com/defence/2016/04/12/iran-receives-first-delivery-of-russian-s-300-missile-systems_584135">resumption of weapons deliveries</a>&nbsp;and participation in infrastructure projects financed by Russian loans have led to the doubling of exports of non-energy products from Russia to Iran. The first batch of S-300 air defense systems&nbsp;<a href="http://rbth.com/defence/2016/04/12/iran-receives-first-delivery-of-russian-s-300-missile-systems_584135">was delivered</a>&nbsp;in April 2016.</p> <p>Russia has agreed to provide Iran with a loan of $2.2 billion for infrastructure projects involving Russian companies. It is planned&nbsp;to build a power plant and enhance generation at another in Iran in a contract worth several&nbsp;billion dollars.&nbsp;Under an agreement signed between the two sides, the Russians will improve efficiency at the Ramin power plant in Khuzestan province to 50-55% from 36% now. Another Russian company will build a 1,400-megawatt power plant in the Iranian city of Bandar Abbas in Hormuzgan province. Russian truck manufacturer Kamaz plans to export 300 trucks in 2017, GAZ&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rbc.ru/business/27/12/2016/586257949a794718ec812a66#xtor=AL-%5Binternal_traffic%5D--%5Brss.rbc.ru%5D-%5Btop_stories_brief_news%5D">signed</a>&nbsp;a memorandum with the Iranian authorities for the supply of 900 buses.</p> <p><strong>Russia&rsquo;s role in reaching the Iran nuclear deal, the cooperation in Syria and the allegiance to the policy of rapprochement declared by President Putin provide ample evidence of Moscow&rsquo;s desire to boost the bilateral ties.</strong></p> <p>A momentous event to take place this year will provide an impetus to the development of Russia-Iran relations. Tehran is expected to become a full-fledged member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) this June. Iran also has expressed interest in signing a trade agreement with the Eurasian Union.</p> <p><strong>Russia and Iran are united by common goals and interests.</strong> The development of relations between the two great powers is a significant contribution into creating alternative poles of <strong>power to change the world for the better.</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="632" height="319" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170329_iran.jpg?1490834939" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-29/irans-president-rouhani-visited-russia-another-step-multipolar-world#comments Afghanistan Arab League–Iran relations Donald Trump Eurasian Union Foreign relations of Iran France Government Hassan Rouhani International relations Iran Iran Iran–Russia relations Iraq Israel Mediterranean Middle East Middle East Politics Saudi Arabia Shanghai Cooperation Organization Strategic Culture Foundation Turkey Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin Thu, 30 Mar 2017 06:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 592017 at http://www.zerohedge.com If Evelyn Farkas Resigned in 2015, How Did She Have Access to Trump-Russian Intelligence? http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-29/if-evelyn-farkas-resigned-2015-how-did-she-have-access-trump-russian-intelligence <p><a href="http://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/2017/03/29/smoking-gun-obama-defense-deputy-slips-up-on-live-tv-reveals-spying-on-trump-team-and-leaking-of-intel/">This was making waves yesterday</a>, after Evelyn Farkas admitted to Mika from The Morning Joe show that she strongly advised people 'on the hill' and in our intelligence agencies to tuck away intelligence regarding Russo-Trump ties for the sake of preservation, in an effort to protect it from the onerous bureaucracy she obviously finds to be deplorable.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Former Obama DoD Deputy Evelyn Farkas reveals White House gathered intel on Trump campaign staff and then leaked it! <a href="https://t.co/W6FG4IFe5Q">https://t.co/W6FG4IFe5Q</a> <a href="https://t.co/VwaF2CnZzn">pic.twitter.com/VwaF2CnZzn</a></p> <p>— ZeroPointNow (@ZeroPointNow) <a href="https://twitter.com/ZeroPointNow/status/847013582642536448">March 29, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><blockquote> <div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"Get as much intelligence as you can before President Obama leaves the administration," said Farkas in an interview yesterday on MSNBC.</p></blockquote> <p>She was afraid the Trump people would gain access to their intelligence and whisk it away -- because they're all Russian spies, obviously.</p> <p>Aside from what appears to be a brazen confirmation of spying on the Trump team, the bigger red flag here is Dr. Farkas wasn't employed by the Obama administration at the time the Russian allegations arose.</p> <p>According to Pentagon records, <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/09/pro-defense-farkas-wrightewing-214223">Dr. Farkas resigned</a> in September of 2015.</p> <p>So how did this non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council, member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, gain knowledge of intelligence regarding members of Trump's team and their relations with Russia, when she was the senior foreign policy advisor for Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton?</p> <p>Farkas was the prime driver behind the anti-Russia phobia inside the Pentagon during the Obama years -- <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/evelyn-farkas-russia-pentagon-215517">shilling hard for the Ukraine</a> -- requesting that the President send them anti-tank missiles -- which, essentially, would mean outright war with Russia.</p> <p>Back to the interview with Mika Brzezinski. Dr. Farkas said 'we' had good intel on Russia. Who does she refer to when she says 'we?'</p> <p><img src="https://ibankcoin.com/flyblog/files/2017/03/evelyn-farkas-2-300x169.jpg" width="300" height="169" class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-66339" /></p> <p><em>Professional Deep Stater, Dr. Evelyn Farkas, Globalist Shill</em></p> <p>Here's Mark Levin's take on this scandal.</p> <p>Perhaps someone inside the Obama government was leaking to the Hillary campaign?</p> <p>I think we all know what the answer is to the rhetorical question.<br /> <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xfSES06rlIU" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Content originally generated at <a href="https://ibankcoin.com/">iBankCoin.com</a></strong></p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-29/if-evelyn-farkas-resigned-2015-how-did-she-have-access-trump-russian-intelligence#comments Atlantic Council Barack Obama Council on Foreign Relations Department of Defense Donald Trump Evelyn Farkas MSNBC Obama Administration Obama administration Obama government Pentagon Politics Politics Politics of the United States President Obama Twitter Twitter Ukraine United States White House White House Thu, 30 Mar 2017 03:56:23 +0000 The_Real_Fly 592026 at http://www.zerohedge.com Obamacare 'Explosion' Could Come On May 22nd, Here's Why http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-29/obamacare-explosion-could-come-may-22nd-heres-why <p>After a stunning healthcare defeat last week, delivered at the hands of his own party no less, Trump took to twitter to predict the imminent 'explosion' of Obamacare.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!</p> <p>— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/845645916732358656">March 25, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">The Democrats will make a deal with me on healthcare as soon as ObamaCare folds - not long. Do not worry, we are in very good shape!</p> <p>— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/846543183223963649">March 28, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As it turns out, that 'explosion' could come faster than anyone really expects as <strong>legislators and health insurers have to make several critical decisions about the 2018 plan year over the next 2 months which could seal Obamacare's fate.</strong></p> <p>As the <a href="http://www.myajc.com/news/gen-politics/here-when-know-the-future-obamacare/dZ356EKCT3cfEtpv6ktdPL/">Atlanta Journal Constitution</a> points out today, the <strong>Trump administration has until May 22nd to decide whether they will continue to pursue the Obama administration's appeal to provide subsidies to insurers who participate in the federal exchanges.</strong>&nbsp; </p> <p>Of course, any decision to remove those subsidies would likely result in yet another massive round of premium hikes and further withdrawals from the already crippled exchanges where an astounding number of counties across the country have already been cut to just 1 health insurance provider.&nbsp; <strong>And, as we've pointed out before, higher rates = lower participation = deterioration of risk pool = higher rates....and the cycle just repeats until it eventually collapses. </strong></p> <p>As background, in 2014, House Republicans sued the Obama administration over the constitutionality of the cost-sharing reduction payments (a.k.a. "taxpayer funded healthcare subsidies"), which had not been appropriated by Congress.&nbsp; <strong>Republicans won the initial lawsuit but the Obama administration subsequently appealed and now Trump's administration can decide whether to pursue the appeal or not</strong>. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>One key to insurers selling plans in the marketplace are reimbursements they receive called cost-sharing reductions. These aren't the same as the tax credits that people receive to help pay their premiums; it is financial assistance to help low-income people pay their out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles. The <strong>Congressional Budget Office projected those payments would add up to $7 billion this year and $10 billion in 2018.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But for insurers, there's a question over how long that money will be delivered, due to an ongoing political and legal dispute about whether the cost-sharing money should be distributed at all.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In 2014, House Republicans sued the Obama administration over the constitutionality of the cost-sharing reduction payments, which had not been appropriated by Congress. The lawmakers won the lawsuit, and the Obama administration appealed it. Late last year, with a <strong>new administration on the other end of the suit, the House sought to pause the proceedings — with a deadline for a status update in late May.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The Trump administration and House lawmakers have to report to the judge this spring.</strong> If the Trump administration drops the appeal, it would mean the subsidies would stop being paid — a huge blow to the marketplaces and millions of people. If lawmakers wanted the payments to continue, they would have to find a way to fund them. One opportunity for that is coming up fast, the continuing resolution that must be passed by April 28. If the Trump administration continues the lawsuit, it will be in the odd position of fighting its own party.</p> </blockquote> <p> The CBO estimates the payments would total roughly $10 billion in 2018.</p> <p>As we've <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-04-19/largest-us-health-insurer-done-obamacare-unitedhealth-exit-most-state-exchanges">noted before</a>, several large insurers, including UnitedHealth Group and Aetna, have already made the decision to exit Obamacare due to financial losses.&nbsp; Now, Molina Healthcare is also pondering whether it would be able to continue to participate in the absence of federal subsidies.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Big insurers like UnitedHealth Group and Aetna have mostly left the individual market over the years, citing financial reasons. Several counties across the country only have one insurer offering ObamaCare plans.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Now Molina Healthcare is signaling it may downsize its presence in the market, or pull out altogether, if Congress or the administration doesn’t act to stabilize it. <strong>Molina has 1 million exchange enrollees in nine states this year. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“We need some clarity on what’s going to happen with cost-sharing reductions and understand how they’re going to apply the mandate,”</strong> said Molina CEO Dr. Mario Molina. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Asked if Molina would leave ObamaCare if the payments are stopped, the CEO said: <strong>“It would certainly play into our decision. We’ll look at this on a market-by-market basis. We could leave some. We could leave all.”</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mario Molina, chief executive of Molina Healthcare, predicted that if the cost-sharing reductions are not funded, <strong>it could result in premium increases on the order of 10 to 12 percent.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>While all this uncertainty swirls, health insurers must decide — soon — whether to make rate filings to sell insurance in 2018. <strong>The deadline varies by state, but for those that have marketplaces run by the federal government, it is June 21.</strong> Filing doesn't mean that insurers will participate; they'll have months more to negotiate and could still drop out. But it's the first step toward offering plans in 2018 and should provide a signal about what the marketplaces are likely to look like.</p> <p>Meanwhile, it seems pretty likely that Obamacare couldn't survive another collapse in coverage like we saw in 2017 (charts per the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/20/upshot/obamacare-options-in-many-parts-of-country-only-one-insurer-will-remain.html?_r=1">New York Times</a>):</p> <p><strong><em>2016 healthcare insurance carriers by county:</em></strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2016/08/18/Obamacare%202016.JPG"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2016/08/18/Obamacare%202016_0.JPG" alt="Obamacare 2016" width="600" height="405" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>2017 healthcare insurance carriers by county:</em></strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2016/08/18/Obamacare%202017.JPG"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2016/08/18/Obamacare%202017_0.JPG" alt="Obamacare 2017" width="600" height="368" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The first step is admitting you have a problem.</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="680" height="380" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/obamacare_16.jpg?1490788896" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-29/obamacare-explosion-could-come-may-22nd-heres-why#comments 111th United States Congress Aetna Congress Congressional Budget Office Congressional Budget Office Donald Trump Excises federal government Health Health maintenance organizations Internal Revenue Code Internal Revenue Service Molina Healthcare New York Times Obama Administration Obama administration Obama's administration Obamacare Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Politics Presidency of Barack Obama Statutory law Trump Administration Trump's administration Twitter Twitter United States UnitedHealth Group Thu, 30 Mar 2017 03:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 591958 at http://www.zerohedge.com Death At Your Door: Knock-And-Talk Police Tactics Rip A Hole In The Constitution http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-29/death-your-door-knock-and-talk-police-tactics-rip-hole-constitution <p><a href="https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/death_at_your_door_knock_and_talk_police_tactics_rip_a_hole_in_the_constitu"><em>Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,</em></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s 4 in the morning, there&rsquo;s headlights that are shining into your house; there&rsquo;s a number of different officers that are now on the premises; they&rsquo;re wearing tactical gear; they have weapons; and they approach your front door. <a href="http://fox17online.com/2017/03/09/michigan-supreme-court-hears-oral-arguments-in-knock-and-talk-marijuana-butter-case/">Do you think that the ordinary citizen in that situation feels that they have an obligation to comply?</a>&rdquo;</strong></em>&mdash; Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein</p> </blockquote> <p>It&rsquo;s 1:30 a.m., a time when most people are asleep.</p> <p>Your neighborhood is in darkness, except for a few street lamps. Someone&mdash;he doesn&rsquo;t identify himself and the voice isn&rsquo;t familiar&mdash;is pounding on your front door, demanding that you open up. Your heart begins racing. Your stomach is tied in knots. The adrenaline is pumping through you. You fear that it&rsquo;s an intruder or worse. You not only fear for your life, but the lives of your loved ones.</p> <p>The aggressive pounding continues, becoming more jarring with every passing second. Desperate to protect yourself and your loved ones from whatever threat awaits on the other side of that door, you scramble to lay hold of something&mdash;anything&mdash;that you might use in self-defense. It might be a flashlight, a baseball bat, or that licensed and registered gun you thought you&rsquo;d never need. You brace for the confrontation, a shaky grip on your weapon, and approach the door cautiously. The pounding continues.</p> <p>You open the door to find a shadowy figure aiming a gun in your direction. Immediately, you back up and retreat further into your apartment. At the same time, the intruder opens fire, sending a hail of bullets in your direction. Three of the bullets make contact. You die without ever raising your weapon or firing your gun in self-defense. In your final moments, you get a good look at your assailant: it&rsquo;s the police.</p> <p><strong>This is what passes for &ldquo;knock-and-talk&rdquo; policing in the American police state.</strong></p> <p><em><strong><a href="http://rutherford.org/files_images/general/03-23-2017_Scott.pdf">&ldquo;Knock-and-shoot&rdquo; policing might be more accurate</a>, however.</strong></em></p> <p>Whatever you call it, this aggressive, excessive police tactic has become a <strong>thinly veiled, warrantless exercise by which citizens are coerced and intimidated into &ldquo;talking&rdquo; with heavily armed police who &ldquo;knock&rdquo; on their doors in the middle of the night.</strong></p> <p>Poor Andrew Scott didn&rsquo;t even get a chance to say no to such a heavy-handed request before <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/03/17/appeals_court_rules_officer_who_killed_man_in_his_own_home_cannot_be_sued.html">he was gunned down by police</a>.</p> <p>It was late on a Saturday night&mdash;so late that it was technically Sunday morning&mdash;and 26-year-old Scott was at home with his girlfriend playing video games when police, in pursuit of a speeding motorcyclist, arrived at Scott&rsquo;s apartment complex, because a motorcycle had been spotted at the complex and police believed it might belong to their suspect.</p> <p><strong>At 1:30 a.m., four sheriff&rsquo;s deputies began knocking on doors close to where a motorcycle was parked. </strong>The deputies started their knock-and-talk with Apartment 114 because there was a light on inside. The occupants of the apartment were Andrew Scott and Amy Young, who were <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/03/17/appeals_court_rules_officer_who_killed_man_in_his_own_home_cannot_be_sued.html">playing video games</a>.</p> <p>First, the police assumed tactical positions surrounding the door to Apartment 114, guns drawn and ready to shoot.</p> <p>Then, without announcing that he was a police officer, deputy Richard Sylvester banged loudly and repeatedly on the door of Apartment 114. The racket caused a neighbor to open his door. When questioned by a deputy, the neighbor explained that the motorcycle&rsquo;s owner did not live in Apartment 114.</p> <p><em>This information was not relayed to the police officer stationed at the door. </em></p> <p>Understandably alarmed by the aggressive pounding on his door at such a late hour, Andrew Scott retrieved his handgun before opening the door. Upon opening the door, Scott saw a shadowy figure holding a gun outside his door.</p> <p><em>Still police failed to identify themselves.</em></p> <p><strong>Unnerved by the sight of the gunman, Scott retreated into his apartment only to have Sylvester immediately open fire. Sylvester fired six shots, three of which <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/03/17/appeals_court_rules_officer_who_killed_man_in_his_own_home_cannot_be_sued.html">hit and killed Scott</a>, who had no connection to the motorcycle or any illegal activity.</strong></p> <p><u><strong>So who was at fault here?</strong></u></p> <p><em>Was it Andrew Scott, who was prepared to defend himself and his girlfriend against a possible late-night intruder?</em></p> <p><em>Was it the police officers who banged on the wrong door in the middle of the night, failed to identify themselves, and then&mdash;without asking any questions or attempting to de-escalate the situation&mdash;shot and killed an innocent man?</em></p> <p><em>Was it the courts, which not only ruled that the police had qualified immunity against being sued for Scott&rsquo;s murder but also <a href="http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-judge-says-lake-fatal-shooting-justified-20140922-story.html">concluded that Andrew Scott provoked the confrontation</a> by retrieving a lawfully-owned handgun before opening the door?</em></p> <p><strong>Or was it the whole crooked system that&rsquo;s to blame? </strong>I&rsquo;m referring to the courts that continue to march in lockstep with the police state, the police unions that continue to strong-arm politicians into letting the police agencies literally get away with murder, the legislators who care more about getting re-elected than about protecting the rights of the citizenry, the police who are being trained to view their fellow citizens as enemy combatants on a battlefield, and the citizenry who fail to be alarmed and outraged every time the police state shoots another hole in the Constitution.</p> <p><strong>What happened to Andrew Scott was not an isolated incident.</strong></p> <p>As Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch <a href="http://www.standard.net/Courts/2017/03/22/A-taste-of-SCOTUS-nominee-Neil-Gorsuch-s-western-wisdom">recognized</a> in a dissent in <em>U.S. v. Carloss</em>: &ldquo;The &lsquo;knock and talk&rsquo; has won a prominent place in today&rsquo;s legal lexicon&hellip; published cases approving knock and talks have grown legion.&rdquo;</p> <p>In fact, the Michigan Supreme Court is <a href="http://fox17online.com/2017/03/09/michigan-supreme-court-hears-oral-arguments-in-knock-and-talk-marijuana-butter-case/">currently reviewing a case</a> in which seven armed police officers, dressed in tactical gear and with their police lights on, carried out a knock-and-talk search on four of their former colleagues&rsquo; homes early in the morning, while their families (including children) were asleep. The police insist that there&rsquo;s nothing coercive about such a scenario.</p> <p>Whether police are knocking on your door at 2 am or 2:30 pm, as long as you&rsquo;re being &ldquo;asked&rdquo; to talk to a police officer who is armed to the teeth and inclined to kill at the least provocation, you don&rsquo;t really have much room to resist, not if you value your life.</p> <p>Mind you, these knock-and-talk searches are little more than <a href="http://www.standard.net/Courts/2017/03/22/A-taste-of-SCOTUS-nominee-Neil-Gorsuch-s-western-wisdom">police fishing expeditions carried out without a warrant</a>.</p> <p><strong>The goal is intimidation and coercion.</strong></p> <p>Unfortunately, with police departments increasingly shifting towards pre-crime policing and relying on dubious&nbsp;<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/the-new-way-police-are-surveilling-you-calculating-your-threat-score/2016/01/10/e42bccac-8e15-11e5-baf4-bdf37355da0c_story.html">threat assessments</a>, behavioral sensing warnings, flagged &ldquo;words,&rdquo; and &ldquo;suspicious&rdquo; activity reports aimed at snaring&nbsp;<em>potential</em>&nbsp;enemies of the state, <a href="http://www.standard.net/Courts/2017/03/22/A-taste-of-SCOTUS-nominee-Neil-Gorsuch-s-western-wisdom">we&rsquo;re going to see more of these warrantless knock-and-talk police tactics</a> by which police attempt to circumvent the Fourth Amendment&rsquo;s warrant requirement and prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures.</p> <p><strong>We&rsquo;ve already seen a dramatic rise in the number of home invasions by battle-ready SWAT teams and police who have been transformed into extensions of the military.</strong> Indeed, with every passing week, we hear more and more horror stories in which homeowners are injured or killed simply because they mistook a SWAT team raid by police for a home invasion by criminals.</p> <p>Never mind that the unsuspecting homeowner, woken from sleep by the sounds of a violent entry, has no way of distinguishing between a home invasion by a criminal as opposed to a government agent.</p> <p>Too often, the destruction of life and property wrought by the police is no less horrifying than that carried out by criminal invaders.</p> <p>These incidents underscore a dangerous mindset in which civilians (often unarmed and defenseless) not only have less rights than militarized police, but also one in which the safety of civilians is treated as a lower priority than the safety of their police counterparts (who are armed to the hilt with an array of lethal and nonlethal weapons).</p> <p><strong>In fact, the privacy of civilians is negligible in the face of the government&rsquo;s various missions, and the homes of civilians are no longer the refuge from government intrusion that they once were.</strong></p> <p>It wasn&rsquo;t always this way, however.</p> <p>There was a time in America when a person&rsquo;s home was a sanctuary where he and his family could be safe and secure from the threat of invasion by government agents, who were held at bay by the dictates of the Fourth Amendment, which protects American citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures.</p> <p>The Fourth Amendment, in turn, was added to the U.S. Constitution by colonists still smarting from the abuses they had been forced to endure while under British rule, among these home invasions by the military under the guise of writs of assistance. These writs were nothing less than open-ended royal documents which British soldiers used as a justification for barging into the homes of colonists and rifling through their belongings.</p> <p>James Otis, a renowned colonial attorney, &ldquo;condemned writs of assistance because they were perpetual, universal (addressed to every officer and subject in the realm), and allowed anyone to conduct a search in violation of the essential principle of English liberty that a peaceable man&rsquo;s house is his castle.&rdquo; As Otis noted:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Now, one of the most essential branches of English liberty is the freedom of one&rsquo;s house. A man&rsquo;s house is his castle; and whilst he is quiet, he is as well guarded as a prince in his castle. This writ, if it should be declared legal, would totally annihilate this privilege. Custom-house officers may enter our houses when they please; we are commanded to permit their entry. Their menial servants may enter, may break locks, bars, and everything in their way; and whether they break through malice or revenge, no man, no court can inquire. Bare suspicion without oath is sufficient.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>To our detriment, we have now come full circle, returning to a time before the American Revolution when government agents&mdash;with the blessing of the courts&mdash;could force their way into a citizen&rsquo;s home, with seemingly little concern for lives lost and property damaged in the process.</strong></p> <p>Actually, as I make clear in my book <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Battlefield-America-War-American-People/dp/1590793099"><em>Battlefield America: The War on the American People</em></a><em>,</em> we may be worse off today than our colonial ancestors when one considers the extent to which courts have sanctioned the use of no-knock raids by police SWAT teams (occurring at a rate of 70,000 to 80,000 a year and growing); the arsenal of lethal weapons available to local police agencies; the ease with which courts now dispense search warrants based often on little more than a suspicion of wrongdoing; and the inability of police to distinguish between reasonable suspicion and the higher standard of probable cause, the latter of which is required by the Constitution before any government official can search an individual or his property.</p> <p><em><strong>Winston Churchill once declared that &ldquo;democracy means that if the doorbell rings in the early hours, it is likely to be the milkman.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> <p><u><strong>Clearly, we don&rsquo;t live in a democracy.</strong></u></p> <p>No, in the American police state, when you find yourself woken in the early hours by someone pounding on your door, smashing through your door, terrorizing your family, killing your pets, and shooting you if you dare to resist in any way, you don&rsquo;t need to worry that it might be burglars out to rob and kill you: <strong>it&rsquo;s just the police.</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="474" height="300" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170329_warrant.jpg?1490833495" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-29/death-your-door-knock-and-talk-police-tactics-rip-hole-constitution#comments American police Fail Government Knock and talk Law enforcement Michigan Michigan Supreme Court Militarization of police National security Police Richard Bernstein Rutherford Institute SWAT Thu, 30 Mar 2017 03:20:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 592016 at http://www.zerohedge.com GHoST IN THe SMeLL... http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-29/ghost-smell <p><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/expd/33343590120/in/dateposted-public/" title="SHE'S BACK!"><img src="https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3722/33343590120_eaf8810a0c_b.jpg" alt="SHE'S BACK!" width="1024" height="767" /></a></p> <script src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js"></script> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-29/ghost-smell#comments Baseball Hall of Fame balloting Education Politics Thu, 30 Mar 2017 02:57:19 +0000 williambanzai7 592025 at http://www.zerohedge.com Can Trump Turn Back Time On Coal Mining Employment? http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-29/can-trump-turn-back-time-coal-mining-employment <p>President Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday, <strong>repealing many of the environmental regulations</strong> introduced by his predecessor Barack Obama and rescinding a moratorium on the leasing of federal land to coal mining companies.<strong> In &ldquo;ending the war on coal&rdquo;,</strong> Trump tries to make good on his campaign <strong>promise to bring thousands of unemployed coal miners back</strong> to work and secure U.S. energy independence.</p> <p><a href="https://www.statista.com/chart/8734/coal-mining-employment-in-the-united-states/"><em>As Statista&#39;s Felix Richter notes,</em></a> Trump, like many of his supporters, <strong>blames Obama&rsquo;s environmental policies for the coal industry&rsquo;s decline</strong>, which, as the chart below illustrates, <strong>started long before Obama took office in 2009</strong>. While it is true that coal consumption and mining employment did drop significantly during Obama&rsquo;s presidency, experts keep pointing out that the decline was caused <strong>primarily by the rise of natural gas and only secondarily by environmental regulation</strong>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.statista.com/chart/8734/coal-mining-employment-in-the-united-states/" title="Infographic: Can Trump Turn Back Time on Coal Mining Employment? | Statista"><img alt="Infographic: Can Trump Turn Back Time on Coal Mining Employment? | Statista" height="428" src="https://infographic.statista.com/normal/chartoftheday_8734_coal_mining_employment_in_the_united_states_n.jpg" width="600" /></a></p> <p><em>You will find more statistics at <a href="https://www.statista.com/">Statista</a></em></p> <p><strong>In the late 2000s, a boom in&nbsp;<a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/265331/natural-gas-production-in-the-us/">natural gas production</a>, driven by new hydraulic fracturing (fracking) technology, drove down prices for natural gas and the demand for electricity produced from coal subsequently plummeted.</strong> In 2000, coal accounted for more than 50 percent of U.S. electricity generation. By 2016, that percentage had dropped to around 30 percent with natural gas going the opposite direction.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/220174/total-us-electricity-net-generation-by-fuel/">When natural gas surpassed coal for the first time in 2016</a>, the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=25392" target="_blank">EIA concluded</a>&nbsp;that the rise of gas &ldquo;was mainly a market-driven response to lower natural gas prices that have made natural gas generation more economically attractive&rdquo;.</p> <p><strong>Repealing environmental regulation will likely slow down the decline of the coal industry, but it is highly doubtful that it will reverse a trend that has been ongoing for decades. </strong>By easing fracking limitations, President Trump&rsquo;s anti-regulation policy may even worsen the coal industry&rsquo;s situation as laxer extraction rules could drive down the price of natural gas even further.</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="688" height="378" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170329_coal.jpg?1490833279" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-29/can-trump-turn-back-time-coal-mining-employment#comments Barack Obama Business Coal Coal mining Energy Environment Environmental policy under the Trump administration Fracturing Natural Gas Natural gas Nature Peak coal Physical universe Shale gas Thu, 30 Mar 2017 02:55:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 592015 at http://www.zerohedge.com George W. Bush On Trump's Inauguration: "That Was Some Weird Shit" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-29/george-w-bush-trumps-inauguration-was-some-weird-shit <p>Perhaps just as memorable as the somewhat surreal Trump inauguration on Jan. 20, was the unforgettable crusade of George W. Bush to tame his poncho on that rainy Friday afternoon. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Some of us are sad today, but others had a great time playing peekaboo with a plastic sheet. <a href="https://t.co/yOE0RJkNx8">pic.twitter.com/yOE0RJkNx8</a></p> <p>— Kashana (@kashanacauley) <a href="https://twitter.com/kashanacauley/status/822529947784843264">January 20, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><p>Whether flustered by the elements, or simply due to this residual antagonism for the president, after Trump’s short and dire speech, Bush departed the scene and never offered public comment on the ceremony. Until now. </p> <p>According to a new report by <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/03/what-george-w-bush-really-thought-of-trumps-inauguration.html">New York magazine</a>, three people present at the event say they heard Bush's assessment of the swearing in ceremony. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>"That was some weird shit."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Bush attended Trump's inauguration, sitting near former President and First Lady Bill and Hillary Clinton as well as former President and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama. He has kept a low profile since. </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="1043" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/W%20Poncho.jpg?1490840773" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-29/george-w-bush-trumps-inauguration-was-some-weird-shit#comments American people of German descent Bush family Conservatism in the United States Donald Trump George H. W. Bush George W. Bush Human Interest Inauguration of Donald Trump Livingston family Politics Republican Party United States) Schuyler family Twitter Twitter United States Thu, 30 Mar 2017 02:36:43 +0000 Tyler Durden 592024 at http://www.zerohedge.com