en The U.S. Nuclear Energy Dream Is Dying <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Michael McDonald via,</em></a></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 609px; height: 248px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>The United States was once a projected leader in the nuclear energy race.</strong> In the 20th century, the world dreamed of finding a way to provide safe, cheap, and renewable energy, and nuclear power seemed to be the manifestation of those dreams. <strong>All of this, however, seems to be coming to an end.</strong></p> <p>This past week, Toshiba <a href="">decided</a> to sell its American nuclear power subsidiary at a $6 billion loss. Westinghouse Electric Company, an American company that Toshiba acquired 10 years ago, is in the business of <a href=";action=click&amp;contentCollection=business&amp;region=stream&amp;module=stream_unit&amp;version=latest&amp;contentPlacement=2&amp;pgtype=collection&amp;_r=0">building and constructing</a> nuclear power facilities. This isn&rsquo;t the first time that Toshiba attempted to offload controlling interest in Westinghouse &ndash; all previous efforts, however, have failed.</p> <p><strong>Many reasons have been cited for this sell-off.</strong> Firstly, demand for electricity has been slowing down as of late. Secondly, natural-gas prices have been declining, making it harder to justify the measures necessary to make nuclear power work &ndash; one of the primary motivators for these projects was the increasingly high cost of natural-gas. Finally, integration of renewable energy sources (such as wind and solar) have been becoming more prevalent. Again, this makes it harder to justify nuclear energy projects.</p> <p><strong>However, the biggest barrier to entry for nuclear energy providers is the trade-off between safety and cost.</strong> The production of this type of energy can be fast and cheap, but not if companies comply fully with the U.S. nuclear regulatory body. Nuclear energy in America is simply becoming an uneconomic option.</p> <p><strong>This is problematic on the global scene for a variety of reasons, chief of which is safety standards. </strong>The U.S. remains the exemplary model to follow when it comes to regulation of new technologies. If nuclear power in America slows down substantially, the influence the U.S. has over global safety standards wanes, and the world becomes less willing to comply with basic guidelines. Without that scale of market presence from the U.S., the industry can suffer.</p> <p><strong>This slowdown from the U.S. may be advantageous for state-owned nuclear facilities. </strong>Without America as an example, Russia, parts of Asia, and the Middle East become the example to follow &ndash; their lack of standards and regulation would be to the benefit of nuclear facilities owned by governments.</p> <p>However, many privately owned nuclear facilities simply do not have the capital to sustain these plants, even when the government helps subsidize their operations. This is evidenced by Toshiba&rsquo;s termination of their Westinghouse project. Projects on the private side take much longer to complete, so that safety concerns change along the way, locking them into a cycle of never ending regulation updates.</p> <p><strong>In the last 20 years, the U.S. has seen only one new nuclear reactor that is functional, constructed by a government entity &ndash; the Tennessee Valley Authority. </strong>Further, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission shows that there are only four reactors currently under construction in the entire country. Two would be at the Alvin W. Vogtle station in Georgia, and two at the Virgil C. Summer plant in South Carolina.</p> <p><strong>These projects are implementing reactors manufactured by Westinghouse.</strong> Construction on all four are currently delayed over three years and are billions over-budget. Westinghouse itself was one of the last private companies to be commissioned for the manufacture of nuclear reactors &ndash; before over-budget, inefficient projects such as these pushed them into ruin. Westinghouse has said that these four projects, as well as two more in China, will be completed.<strong> But it remains doubtful that the dozens of other projects it has been commissioned to complete &ndash; and yet to begin &ndash; will ever reach fruition.</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="609" height="248" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Butler County, Pennsylvania China Economy Energy Environment Manufacturing Middle East Middle East Nuclear energy in the United States Nuclear history of the United States Nuclear Power Nuclear power Nuclear power in the United States Nuclear power phase-out Nuclear Regulatory Commission Nuclear Regulatory Commission South Carolina Technology Tennessee Valley Authority Toshiba Vogtle Electric Generating Plant Westinghouse Electric Company Sat, 25 Feb 2017 23:10:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 588948 at JPMorgan Explains What Causes The Market's 3:30pm Ramp <p>While over the past several years many have observed the peculiar last half-hour ramp in the stock market, leading to a variety of amusing <a href="">knock-off phenomena</a>, perhaps nowhere was it more noticeable than what happened on the last two Friday afternoons, and especially the most recent one when with the market down notably going into the last 30 minutes of trading, <a href="">the Dow soared in the last minute, </a>turning green with 7 seconds of trading left, continuing the streak of 11 consecutive all time highs, the longest such stretch since early 1987.<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></span> </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="501" height="283" /></a></p> <p>While traditionally the "serious" media has ignored this odd last hour/minute/second ramp, on Friday even <a href="">Bloomberg was compelled to chime in</a>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>It isn’t over till it’s over. Especially on Friday. For the second time in two weeks, a final-hour ramp in the S&amp;P 500 turned the index green for bulls, <strong>with the benchmark equity gauge jumping 6 points in a little over 30 minutes to close with a 0.1 percent advance and help preserve a fifth straight weekly gain</strong>. A similar spike salvaged gains seven days earlier. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="281" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The machines kicked in and brought all the averages positive at the close,” Andrew Brenner, head of international fixed income for National Alliance Capital Markets, wrote in a note to clients. “We think markets move big time next week off the Trump speech Tuesday.” </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After the financial crisis, traders were afraid of bad news coming out over the weekend. Now it’s the other way around, according to Chad Morganlander, a money manager at Stifel, Nicolaus &amp; Co. in Florham Park, New Jersey.</p> </blockquote> <p>Maybe it was the machines, maybe it was hedge funds covering (although as we reported earlier, they <a href="">have actually been selling to retail investors in recent weeks</a>), maybe it was a last minute tap on the shoulder by a certain central bank's trading team. </p> <p>However, <em>what is known </em>is that these farcial moves, which are draining what little confidence in a "fair and efficient market" remains, have attracted the attention of none other than the best quants at JPMorgan.</p> <p>Earlier today, <a href="">we showed how</a>, according to JPMorgan (and BofA), the recent market levitation has been entirely on the shoulders of "animal spirited" retail investors plowing money into ETFs, coupled with CTA's forced to cover into a gamma squeeze, even as hedge funds and institutions have been selling to retail investors. Well, as it turns out, the mechanics behind the recent move higher also explain such observations as Friday's last second levitation. </p> <p>As JPM's Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou explains, "the picture we get is of institutional investors either lowering their equity exposure YTD or keeping it unchanged. This apparent unwillingness by institutional investors to raise their equity exposures YTD reinforces the argument that it is retail rather than institutional investors that most likely drove this year’s strong inflows into equity ETFs and as a result this year’s equity rally. And the fact that retail investors use passive rather than active funds to express their bullish equity views has important implications."</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The main implication is that this shift towards passive funds is elevating the importance of retail investors in driving markets. And retail investors’ sentiment is transmitted to markets more quickly via passive funds. <strong>This is because these passive funds have to rebalance by the end of the day, different to active funds that have the discretion to wait before they deploy their cash balances.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>In turn, JPM adds, <strong>this end of day rebalancing means that equity trading becomes even more concentrated at the end of the day as passive funds grow. </strong>Passive funds typically rebalance at the end of the day <strong>because transacting at the closing price better aligns the performance of passive funds to the performance of the index they track. </strong></p> <p>And this end of day trading concentration is reinforced by the secular reduction in market depth and liquidity since the Lehman crisis. As market depth declines, the execution of large trades is postponed until the end of the day when more trading takes place, reinforcing the end of day trading shift induced by the expansion of passive funds. To get a sense of the underlying market transformation, <strong>YTD 37% of the NYSE trading volume took place during the last 30 mins of trading</strong>.</p> <p>So the next time someone points a finger at the market's last 30 minute levitation, one very likely culprit is the retail investor whose choice of ETFs as a "long-instrument", leads to such ramps in the market as those shown above. It also means that as per the parallel JPM analysis, the institutional money continues to sell to the ultimate bagholder: Joe Sixpack.</p> <p>As a side note, any time institutions start dumping to retail, whether with last minute ramps or not, the market's inflection point has always been just around the corner. We see no reason why this time should be any different. </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="600" height="339" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Active management Business Capital Markets Dow 30 Economy Exchange-traded fund Finance Financial services fixed Funds Hedge fund Institutional Investors Institutional investors Investment Lehman Money Mutual fund National Alliance None S&P 500 Stock market Sat, 25 Feb 2017 22:48:54 +0000 Tyler Durden 588971 at Trump Says He Will Skip White House Correspondents' Dinner <p>Donald Trump announced Saturday afternoon that he will not be attending the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington, D.C. </p> <p>One day after the White House announced it had barred CNN, The New York Times, Politico and several other major media outlets from a media "gaggle" in the White House leading to angry protests from the press and several threats of boycotts of future media briefings, in a tweet the president said he will pass on the journalism scholarship benefit dinner in April traditionally attended by major media outlets, celebrity guests and the president and vice president.</p> <p><em>"I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!"</em> he wrote on Twitter.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!</p> <p>— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="">February 25, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>His refusal to attend comes amid reports that media outlets like CNN and MSNBC have been considering skipping the event at the Washington Hilton. Trump's move comes in the heat of his ongoing battle with the media, which he has labeled the opposition party and "fake news."</p> <p>Trump isn't the only one canceling on one of Washington's biggest press nights. <a href="">Bloomberg</a>, <a href="">The New Yorker and Vanity Fair </a>previously canceled their after-parties. As <a href="">Axios notes</a>, some have questioned whether the event will still go on as planned, but news organizations' strong interest in tickets for the April 29 dinner suggests that the night will remain sold out, as always.</p> <p>Various prominent political correspondents promptly responded to Trump's announcement:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">The dinner, a major fundraiser for an organization that represents the free press covering the WH, will go on--and be a success, I'm sure. <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) <a href="">February 25, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Trump's decision to decline <a href="">@WHCA</a> invite to dinner, which is April 29 at Washington Hilton, comes day after controversy over pooled gaggle. <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) <a href="">February 25, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">My suggestion, let <a href="">@AlecBaldwin</a> play <a href="">@POTUS</a> at the dinner. Now that could work.</p> <p>— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) <a href="">February 25, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>Jeff Mason, the White House Correspondents' Association president, issued the following statement:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">WHCA statement on 2017 White House Correspondents&#39; Dinner <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) <a href="">February 25, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>A high-profile comedian usually hosts the event in which the president is roasted by the comedian and the president roasts the media. The annual dinner began in 1920, and was scheduled to take place on April 29 at the Washington Hilton.</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="640" height="360" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American studies Business Donald Trump Donald Trump Donald Trump in popular culture Edgar A. Poe Award Entertainment MSNBC New York Times Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner Politics Politics Politics of the United States Twitter Twitter Washington D.C. WHCA White House White House White House Correspondents' Association White House Correspondents' Association White House press corps Sat, 25 Feb 2017 22:31:49 +0000 Tyler Durden 588972 at "Where Does This Crisis End?" - Kurt Schlichter Lays Out The Left's Violent Endgame <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Kurt Schlichter via,</em></a></p> <p>The Democrat Party, its Media serfs, and Social Justice Incorporated are all outraged because we uppity normals are again presuming to rule ourselves, <strong>and their agony is delightful.</strong> Less delightful is how, in the process of trying to claw their way back into power, they are incinerating the norms and rules that preserve our political order. <strong>That stuff Hillary babbled about honoring the legitimacy of elections? Yeah, no.</strong> There&rsquo;s an invisible asterisk only liberals can see that explains that the norms and rules are void when liberals lose.</p> <p><strong>So, where does this crisis end?</strong></p> <p>We know where the leftists <em>want</em> it to<strong> end, with us silenced and subservient forever,</strong> toiling to pay taxes for them to redistribute to their clients as they pick at, poke at and torment us. You look at the things Trump stands for and <em>all</em> of them are about lifting the yoke <em>off</em> of us &ndash; cutting taxes, slashing regulations, guaranteeing the Second Amendment, protecting our religious liberty, and safeguarding us from terrorists and illegals. But everything liberals want, everything Hillary ran on, is about clamping the yoke ever tighter around our necks &ndash; raising taxes, issuing more regulations, disarming us, limiting our religious freedom, and putting us at risk from terrorists and alien criminals. <strong>The whole leftist platform is about putting us down and keeping us down.</strong></p> <p><strong>Think what they will do if they take power again.</strong></p> <p>They are certainly not going to risk us ever being able to repeat November&rsquo;s rejection. California&rsquo;s decline lays out their tyrannical road map. When the Democrats took power here, they &ldquo;reformed&rdquo; the election laws to lock-in their party, co-opted the &ldquo;nonpartisan&rdquo; redistricting process, and changed the ballot initiative system to make sure we will never see another unapproved proposition. They ensured there is no way to stop illegal aliens from voting because they <em>want</em> illegal aliens voting.</p> <p><strong>But even that&rsquo;s not enough.</strong> The state government <em>chose</em> to allow its unofficial catspaws to intimidate and beat dissenters at UC Berkeley. California&rsquo;s governing class <em>wanted</em> the thugs to prevail; it was a lesson to its opponents. I thought <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B01M0H7WQZ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=drhelenblog-20&amp;linkId=27586fc0e6d0f934da1bdc58fac5b78a">my novel <em>People&rsquo;s Republic</em>, about post-freedom California</a>, was an action thriller, not the first draft of a future history.</p> <p>I was wrong.</p> <p>Do you think Hillary Clinton or whatever aspiring Hugo Chavez they offer up next is going to protect us from violent leftist thugs, or encourage them? Remember how Obama weaponized agencies like the IRS against conservatives? Multiply that by a thousand. Think about the &ldquo;hate speech&rdquo; rules used to silence conservatives on campus; imagine them as federal law. That&rsquo;s coming, just like in Europe &ndash; it&rsquo;s now <a href="">a crime in France to speak out against abortion</a>. Do you imagine leftists <a href="">don&rsquo;t dream of doing that</a>? No, once back in power they will ensure we will never be able to challenge their rule. One man (or woman or other), one vote, one more time, then never again.</p> <p><u><strong>How will they do it?</strong></u></p> <p>This massive resistance campaign against everything Donald Trump has done and a lot he hasn&rsquo;t done is one way. The media&rsquo;s liberal advocacy and tsunami of fake news is another; the press is now just one more partisan political player campaigning to restore the establishment to power. These same liars who fantasize about Trump silencing critics will cheer as the next Democrat <em>commandante</em> does it for real. Remember how they said nothing when Democrats voted to repeal the First Amendment <a href="">so Congress could control speech during elections</a>?</p> <p><strong>And they think they&rsquo;re winning.</strong></p> <p>Sally Kohn, a CNN commentator perfectly personifies the left&rsquo;s combination of utter cluelessness and utter certainty in its own moral superiority. Drawing from her bottomless well of stupidity, she recently became infamous for wishcasting about what happens &ldquo;<a href="">[s]traight forward from here</a>.&rdquo; Her scenario starts with Step 1 (&ldquo;Impeach Trump &amp; Pence&rdquo;) and ends with Step 6 (&ldquo;President Hillary&rdquo;), thanks to a Constitutional process she created herself by blending ignorance, fascism, and wanting.</p> <p>Sally, however, overlooked Step 2.5, where several dozen million Americans defend the Constitution by taking out their black rifles and saying, &ldquo;Oh, hell no.&rdquo; I assume the patriots determined to protect the Union would be confronted, for a short and awkward time, by a pro-coup <a href="">hipster army</a> locked and loaded with vinyl LPs, participation trophies and unearned self-regard.</p> <p><strong>There&rsquo;s no reason not to believe that for these seditious Democrats, the second time will be the charm.</strong></p> <p>But this amusing idiocy highlights a much more frightening possibility. Dennis Prager has written that <strong>America is locked in a <a href=";utm_medium=story&amp;utm_campaign=BreakingNewsCarousel">Second Civil War</a> already, albeit a cold one. </strong>And in light of the absolute rejection by the left of any legitimacy of the grievances, the interests, or the right to participate in governing this country of the tens of millions of red Americans, it&rsquo;s reasonable to wonder how this can end peacefully. You see read it on social media, you hear it whispered. Are the wounds to our body politic so deep they can&rsquo;t be healed?</p> <p>I recently <a href="">polled people on Twitter about what they thought</a> of the chances of serious violence in the coming four years, and the results from 6,159 people are alarming. &ldquo;Stop being a nut&rdquo; got 10%; I was hoping it would get about 95%. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ll wise up&rdquo; and find a way out of this crisis, got 13%. But &ldquo;50/50 leftists may try violence&rdquo; got a stunning 41%, while &ldquo;It&rsquo;s coming. Gear up&rdquo; got a terrifying 36%.</p> <p>So, <strong>77% of the respondents fear serious violence during Trump&rsquo;s first term.</strong> That&rsquo;s scary, especially since political warfare is <em>not</em> unprecedented in history. Forget <a href="">Bleeding Kansas</a>. Just reflect on <a href=";qid=1487539481&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=days+of+rage">the low-grade insurgency the American left undertook in the 1970s</a>, with more bloodshed than most people remember, and consider how today the left has significantly more cultural, institutional and media support. The reality is that there is the potential for this to get out of control, way out of control, especially considering the likelihood that leftist violence would be met in kind. That 77% indicates that the red side is, as the left loves to say, &ldquo;woke&rdquo; to the threat. And the red people have the guns and training, should things degenerate into serious chaos.</p> <p><strong>Basically, this country is a powder keg, and leftist fools who do not understand the danger are figuratively standing around it, firing up their bongs.</strong></p> <p>Now, understand that leftist liars will meet this column with the slander that I (and by extension, you) hope for violence. Skim down the comments and check out the idiots no doubt infesting <a href="">my Twitter feed</a> &ndash; you&rsquo;ll see plenty of such lies. Actually, this is yet another of my <a href=";utm_medium=story&amp;utm_campaign=BreakingNewsCarousel">several</a> <a href="">pleas for sanity and peace</a> (including <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B01M0H7WQZ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=drhelenblog-20&amp;linkId=27586fc0e6d0f934da1bdc58fac5b78a">in my book&rsquo;s preface</a>). But the left&rsquo;s favorite tactic is to deny substantive truth in favor of narrative; what I (and you) actually believe is irrelevant. This infuriating tactic makes reasoned discussion and argument impossible anymore, which itself makes violence more likely since it forecloses the primary method of peacefully resolving disagreements. If you can&rsquo;t argue, if you can&rsquo;t even speak, there&rsquo;s only one way to be heard.</p> <p>The left&rsquo;s combination of evil and stupidity is the driver straightforward from here. With <a href=";utm_medium=story&amp;utm_campaign=BreakingNewsCarousel">the grim understanding that they hate us</a>, we need to accept that there may be no easy return to peaceful coexistence. Our goal in electing Donald Trump was to remove the left&rsquo;s hand from our throat, not to put our hand around blue peoples&rsquo; collective windpipe. We don&rsquo;t care how they live their lives, but leftists care very much how we live ours. Their goal is to lock both hands around our throat and squeeze until we submit to leftist tyranny or die.</p> <p><strong>It&rsquo;s hard to see how we compromise. Do we just <em>somewhat</em> submit, or only die <em>a little</em>?</strong></p> <p>This crisis has to culminate somehow. <u><strong>It could end peacefully, with a return to the old norms and reasoned competition between ideas. But it seems no one is interested in that; instead, one side has to win decisively, and one side has to lose decisively.</strong></u> If so, I say we win and they lose, since I&rsquo;m not ready to submit or to die.</p> <p>How about you?</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="216" height="145" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent Business Climate change skepticism and denial Congress Democrat Party Donald Trump Donald Trump First Amendment France Internal Revenue Service Kohn Politics Politics of the United States Reality state government The Apprentice Twitter Twitter UC Berkeley United States WWE Hall of Fame Sat, 25 Feb 2017 22:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 588956 at Watergate's Bob Woodward: "Press Shouldn't Whine About Trump, It Doesn't Work With The Public" <p>Infamous Watergate reporter Bob Woodward had some uncomfortable words for the mainstream media's safe-space-seekers. Following a tempestuous few days as the media and the White House toss propaganda grenades at one another, on Friday's broadcast of MSNBC's "Hardball" show, the Washington Post Associate Editor stated that:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p> <strong>the press “shouldn’t whine, and if we sound like we are an interest group only concerned with ourselves, it doesn’t work with the public. </strong>At the same time, we need to continue the in-depth inquiries, the investigations.”</p> </blockquote> <p>Woodward begins at 6:45:</p> <p><iframe src="" width="635" height="500" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>Woodward added that it’s not in the interest of either the Trump White House or the media to war with each other.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"I think everyone has accelerated this work. The other question to ask, is there any justification for Trump and people like — in his White House responding this way? And the only justification I can think of, which really isn’t a justification, but it accounts for emotional spasm of, my God, this is enemy of the people, I know that reporters have talked to people in the Trump house, — Trump White House about very sensitive intelligence operations, that we find out about in the press. And I think Trump is horrified that this is out there. And these are not necessarily things that are going to be published, but Trump is a newcomer saying, my God how do reporters know about these things? And so it’s — we’ve got to stop it.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“[I]t’s not in our interest, the media’s interest to have a war with the Trump White House. It’s not in Trump’s interest to have this war.”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Sadly, it appears it's too late to get this toothpaste back in the tube (for both sides).</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="425" height="231" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American literature Bob Woodward Business Donald Trump Entertainment Politics Politics of the United States United States White House White House Sat, 25 Feb 2017 21:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 588949 at Charts Of The Week: 10 Reasons To Be Cautious In This Market <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Lance Roberts via,</em></a></p> <h2><u><span style="color: #008000;"><strong>Visualizing 10-Reasons For Caution</strong></span></u></h2> <p>Just recently, David Rosenberg in a recent research note, laid out 10-reasons to be cautious in the market. I thought it would be useful to look at each of these in a visual form to get a better idea of what he is addressing.</p> <p>The obvious reason to look at these indicators is that market records are records for a reason. <a href="" target="_blank">As I wrote previously:</a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>&ldquo;</strong>First, &ldquo;record levels&rdquo; of anything are records for a reason. <strong><span style="color: #993300;">It is where the point where previous limits were reached. Therefore, when a &lsquo;record level&rsquo; is reached,&nbsp;it is NOT THE BEGINNING, but rather an indication of the MATURITY of a cycle. </span></strong>While the media has focused on employment, record stock market levels, etc. as a sign of an ongoing economic recovery, history suggests caution. &nbsp;The 4-panel chart below suggests that current levels should be a sign of caution rather than exuberance.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><img alt="4-panel-recession-watch" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-18610" height="374" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>However, while economic data suggests we may be closer to the end of the current economic cycle than the beginning, data related specifically to the stock market is also suggesting the same.</p> <p>Let&rsquo;s take a look:</p> <h3><u><span style="color: #000000;"><strong><em>1 &ndash; Confidence Levels at 105</em></strong></span></u></h3> <p>The chart below a COMPOSITE confidence index consisting of both the University of Michigan and Census Bureau indices. At 105, the index is currently at levels that have historically denoted the end of an economic cycle. <span style="color: #993300;"><em>(This should be expected as it is the point in the economic cycle where everything is now &ldquo;as good as it gets.&rdquo;)</em></span></p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-19698" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 326px;" /></a></p> <h3><u><span style="color: #000000;"><strong><em>2 &ndash; Investor&rsquo;s Intelligence Sentiment at 61.8%</em></strong></span></u></h3> <p>The Investor&rsquo;s Intelligence survey is a survey of professional newsletter writers and professional investors. It has a long record and has been widely adopted as a contrarian market indicator for good reason. At 61.8%, the index is currently at levels normally associated with market peaks both short and longer-term.</p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-19699" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 379px;" /></a></p> <h3><u><span style="color: #000000;"><strong><em>3 &ndash; Market Vane Bullish Sentiment:&nbsp;64%</em></strong></span></u></h3> <p>The Market Vane bullish sentiment index is a yardstick for traders as it measures the number of traders that are long a certain commodity. In this case the S&amp;P 500 index. Currently, at 64%, as with the other indicators above, it is currently reflecting levels of bullishness that have historically been associated with corrective actions.</p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-19700" src="" style="width: 601px; height: 341px;" /></a></p> <h3><u><span style="color: #000000;"><strong><em>4 &ndash; CBOE&rsquo;s equity volatility index (VIX) @ 12.2&nbsp;&mdash; The S&amp;P&rsquo;s 65-day rolling volatility (inverted scale) is at levels which typically occur ahead of a corrective phase.</em></strong></span></u></h3> <p>The volatility index shows the market&rsquo;s expectation of 30-day volatility. It is constructed using the implied volatilities of a wide range of S&amp;P 500 index options. This volatility is meant to be forward-looking, is calculated from both calls and puts, and is a widely used measure of market risk, often referred to as the<em> &ldquo;investor fear gauge.&rdquo; &nbsp;</em>When the gauge is at extremely low levels it suggests that investors have little fear of a market reversion. From a contrarian standpoint, this is when corrections have tended to occur.</p> <p>I noted last week the record levels of short positions currently outstanding on the Volatility Index.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><span style="color: #993300;"><em>&ldquo;The extreme net-short positioning on the volatility index suggests there will be a rapid unwinding of positions given the right catalyst. <strong>As you will note, reversals of net-short VIX positioning has previously resulted in short to intermediate term declines.&rdquo;</strong></em></span></p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-19546" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 383px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>The chart below shows the 13-week moving average (65-day) of the volatility index versus the S&amp;P 500. I have inverted the index to provide a clearer relationship between the two indices.</strong> From a contrarian viewpoint, the index currently suggests the risk of a correction outweighs the potential for a further advance.</p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-19701" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 334px;" /></a></p> <p>The next chart compiles all the indices above into a single composite for analysis purposes. Given the combined composite is pushing extreme levels, a bit more caution is likely well advised.</p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-19702" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 401px;" /></a></p> <h3><span style="color: #000000;"><strong><em>5 &ndash; Forward P/E multiples: 18.75x 2017 estimates, 16.75x 2018 estimates and 24x trailing CAPE. All are above long-term means and forward estimates are subject to large downward revisions.&nbsp;</em></strong></span></h3> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-19703" src="" style="width: 599px; height: 373px;" /></a></p> <p>Of course, as I showed in my article earlier <a href="" target="_blank">this week on valuations:</a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;<strong>Over any 30-year period the beginning valuation levels, the price your pay for your investments has a spectacular impact on future returns.</strong> I have highlighted return levels at 7-12x earnings and 18-22x earnings. We will use the average of 10x and 20x earnings for our savings analysis.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-19645" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 418px;" /></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;As you will notice, 30-year forward returns are significantly higher on average when investing at 10x earnings as opposed to 20x earnings or where we are currently near 25x.</p> <p>The point to be made here is simple and was precisely summed up by Warren Buffett:</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="color: #993300;"><strong><em>&lsquo;Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.&rsquo;&rdquo;&nbsp;</em></strong></span></p> </blockquote> <h3><u><span style="color: #000000;"><strong><em>6 &ndash; NYSE Put/Call Ratio: 0.80x</em></strong></span></u></h3> <p>One way to interpret the put-call ratio is to say that a higher ratio means it&rsquo;s time to sell and a lower ratio means it&rsquo;s time to buy. When the ratio is above 1.00 it suggests the market is out of balance to the sell side and equity exposure can be increased. <strong>When the ratio is below 1.00 it suggests the market is out of balance to the buy side and investors should be more cautious.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-19705" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 264px;" /></a></p> <h3><u><span style="color: #000000;"><strong><em>7 &ndash; The 14-week&nbsp;RSI (Relative Strength Index) has moved to 74.26, above the 70&nbsp;level widely viewed as being an &ldquo;overbought&rdquo; threshold.&nbsp;</em></strong></span></u></h3> <p>As shown, on a weekly basis there are only a few points where the markets have been this overbought on a weekly basis. <strong>With the exception of the 2013-2014, during the $85-billion per month QE program, each previous occasion has triggered a short-term correction or worse.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-19707" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 264px;" /></a></p> <h3><u><span style="color: #000000;"><strong><em>8 &ndash; The S&amp;P 500 has now gapped up nearly 8% above its 200-day moving average, another sign of an overextended stock market.</em></strong></span></u></h3> <p>As I have explained numerous times in the past, moving averages are like <em>&ldquo;gravity.&rdquo;</em> Prices can only move so far above the longer-term average before the gravitational force exerted causes prices to<em> &ldquo;revert to the mean.&rdquo;&nbsp;</em></p> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-19708" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 449px;" /></a></p> <div class="wsj-body-ad-placement" id="realtor"> <div class="wsj-body-ad-placement"> <div class="wsj-body-ad-placement" id="realtor"> <div class="wsj-body-ad-placement"> <p>The problem, is these cyclical bull markets are quickly believed to be the beginning of the next secular multi-decade bull market. <strong>However, <a href="" target="_blank">as discussed previously</a>, this is currently unlikely the case given the lack of economic dynamics required to foster such a secular period.</strong></p> <p>The chart below brings this idea of reversion into a bit clearer focus. <strong>I have overlaid&nbsp;the 3-year average annual real return of the S&amp;P 500 against the&nbsp;inflation-adjusted price index itself.&nbsp;</strong></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-19709" src="" style="width: 601px; height: 364px;" /></a></p> <p>Historically, we find that when price extensions have exceeded a 12% deviation from the 3-year average return of the index, the majority of the market cycle&nbsp;had been completed.&nbsp;<strong>While this analysis does NOT mean the market is set to crash, it does suggest that a reversion in returns is likely.</strong> Unfortunately, the historical reversion in returns has often coincided at some juncture with a rather sharp decline in prices.</p> <h3><u><span style="color: #000000;"><strong><em>9 &ndash; Earnings expectations have significantly lagged market price action &mdash; in fact, according to S&amp;P Capital IQ data, analyst EPS projections for 2017 have actually dipped a little to $130.31 from $131.02 three months ago.</em></strong></span></u></h3> <p>As ZeroHedge recently noted from Goldman Sachs:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><em>&ldquo;<strong>Cognitive dissonance exists in the US stock market. </strong>S&amp;P 500 is up 10% since the election despite negative EPS revisions from sell-side analysts (see Exhibit 1). Investors, S&amp;P 500 management teams, and sell-side analysts do not agree on the most likely path forward. On the one hand, investors, corporate managers, and macroeconomic survey data suggest an increase in optimism about future economic growth<strong>. In contrast, sell-side analysts have cut consensus 2017E adjusted EPS forecasts by 1% since the election and &ldquo;hard&rdquo; macroeconomic data show only modest improvement.&rdquo;</strong></em></div> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-19710" src="" style="width: 599px; height: 422px;" /></a></p> <h3><u><span style="color: #000000;"><strong><em>10 &ndash; The S&amp;P 500 has already climbed above year-end targets for well over half of the Wall Street strategists out there.</em></strong></span></u></h3> <p>As I laid out at the beginning of this year in <em><a href="" target="_blank">&ldquo;The Problem With Forecasts&rdquo;</a></em>, even the most bullish analysts weren&rsquo;t as optimistic as the market is now.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;Since optimism is what sells products, it is not surprising, <strong>as we head into 2017, to see Wall Street&rsquo;s average expectation ratcheted up another 4.7% this&nbsp;year.</strong> Of course, <a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline;">comparing your portfolio to the market</span></a> is a major mistake, to begin with.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-18856" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 369px;" /></a></p> <p>The problem is that since there is never an expectation the markets can go down, it is just that event belief that eventually ensures an investor error.</p> <p>This point was clearly made this past week as I was asked to pen an article for Millennials about saving and <em>&ldquo;passive indexing.&rdquo;&nbsp;</em></p> <p><strong>I did a very thorough study showing that even dollar cost averaging from current valuation levels is likely to be disappointing over the next few years.</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">To wit:</a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;So, with this understanding let me return once again to the young, Millennial saver, who is going to endeavor at saving their annual tax refund of $3000. The chart below shows&nbsp;$3000 invested annually into the S&amp;P 500 inflation-adjusted, total return index at 10% compounded annually and both 10x and 20x valuation starting levels. <strong>I have also shown $3000 saved annually in a mattress.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-19666" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 365px;" /></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;I want you to take note of the point made that when investing your money when markets are above 20x earnings, <strong>it was 22-years before it grew more than money stuffed in a mattress.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>When I returned the study and my findings back to the media outlet, I immediately received a message back stating:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><span style="color: #993300;"><em>&ldquo;This not a message that we want to project.&rdquo;&nbsp;</em></span></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>In other words, they wanted an article suggesting that Millennials should just <strong><em>&ldquo;buy everything.&rdquo;&nbsp;</em></strong></p> <p><strong>Maybe that is an indicator within itself.</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="722" height="404" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Behavioral finance Bureau of the Census Business CBOE CBOE’s equity volatility Census Bureau Cognitive Dissonance David Rosenberg Economy ETC Finance goldman sachs Goldman Sachs Investment Investor’s Intelligence Market trend Mathematical finance Michigan Money Moving Averages Price Action Price–earnings ratio recovery Rosenberg S&P S&P 500 Stock market Technical analysis the University of Michigan University Of Michigan VIX Volatility Volatility Warren Buffett Sat, 25 Feb 2017 21:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 588960 at Significant Stock Market Narrative Development: There is a Westerly Trump Wind Underneath It <p>Both Obama and Bush couldn't give two shits about the stock market. Bush was focused on colonizing the middle east and Obama was fixated on having mentally ill transgenders urinate in the ladies restroom -- standing up.</p> <p>But now we have a shit-poster in chief, very vain and ideally focused on how the public perceives him. Being a man of business, he's singularly interested in what the media has to say about him, and more importantly, the stock market.</p> <p>He tweeted this out this morning.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Great optimism for future of U.S. business, AND JOBS, with the DOW having an 11th straight record close. Big tax &amp; regulation cuts coming!</p> <p>— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="">February 25, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>Just last week, in a CNBC interview, Sec. Mnuchin said 'we're in a mark to market business' and the bullish tone and tenor of the stock market was a reflection of the administration's progress.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"There's a lot of confidence in the Trump administration and in the desire to invest in the U.S.," he told CNBC in an exclusive interview Thursday. "This is a very competitive place to do business. We've got great companies, and you see that reflected in the markets."</p></blockquote> <p>Bullish or bearish on the stock market, these are significant developments in the market narrative -- evidence of the Trump administration's intent to bid this market up throughout his term.</p> <p><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>It has never been harder to be a bear.</p> <p><strong>Content originally generated at <a href=""></a></strong></p> American people of German descent Business Business Climate change skepticism and denial CNBC Donald Trump Economy Mark To Market Market sentiment Middle East Politics Politics of the United States Stock market Television in the United States The Apprentice Trump Administration U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission WWE Hall of Fame Sat, 25 Feb 2017 21:11:14 +0000 The_Real_Fly 588970 at Establishment Favorite Tom Perez Wins Vote To Lead Democratic Party <p>Having fallen just shy of victory in the first round of votes, the establishment favorite former Labor Secretary Tom Perez <em>(and Obama/Clinton loyalist</em>) has defeated Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) to become the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee in a <strong>blow to Bernie Sanders and the progressive wing of the party</strong>.</p> <p><strong>Vice President Biden and other key figures from the Obama administration supported Perez, who backed Hillary Clinton in the primary.</strong> Sanders and many of his allies backed Ellison, the first-ever Muslim elected to Congress and a star on the left. The party remains clearly divided...</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Keith Ellison was defeated by a billionaire-led innuendo campaign slurring him as an anti-semite. That&#39;s the Democratic Party for you.</p> <p>&mdash; Michael Tracey (@mtracey) <a href="">February 25, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>...winning by 235 to 218 in the second round of voting (after failing to get the 213.5 votes required in the first round).</p> <p>Perez: &quot;<em><strong>We need a chair who can not only take the fight to Donald Trump&quot; but &quot;change the culture of the Democratic Party and the DNC</strong></em>&quot;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-video"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Tom Perez: &quot;We need a chair who can not only take the fight to Donald Trump&quot; but &quot;change the culture of the Democratic Party and the DNC&quot; <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) <a href="">February 25, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>Bernie Sanders congratulated former Perez on becoming the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee, however warned that &quot;the same old is not working.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I congratulate Tom Perez on his election as chairman of the Democratic National Committee and look forward to working with him,&quot; Sanders said in a statement.</p> <p>&quot;At a time when Republicans control the White House, the U.S. House, U.S. Senate and two-thirds of all statehouses, it is imperative that Tom understands that the same-old, same-old is not working and that we must open the doors of the party to working people and young people in a way that has never been done before,&quot; the lawmaker added.</p> <p>In his statement, Sanders maintained that it is time for the Democrats to &quot;stand up to the 1 percent&quot; and advance progressive values. &quot;Now, more than ever, the Democratic Party must make it clear that it is prepared to stand up to the 1 percent and lead this country forward in the fight for social, racial, economic and environmental justice,&quot; he said.</p> <p>To an extend siding the Sanders, the Republican National Committee also issued an official statement blasting Democrats for electing former Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez as the new Democratic National Committee Head, calling him a &quot;D.C. insider.&quot;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&quot;The Democrat Party has lost touch with the American people. Voters spoke loud and clear last November that they wanted a change in Washington and to reverse the failed policies of the last eight years,&quot; the official statement from RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said. &quot;President Trump and Republican representatives heard the voters&#39; message loud and clear and now hold a historic number of offices across the country.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;By selecting a D.C. insider, Democrats only create deeper divisions within their own party by pushing a far left agenda that rejects a majority of their base outside Washington,&quot; the statement continued. &quot;The DNC would be well-served to learn from two straight election cycle losses, encourage leaders in their party to listen to what the voters want and to get to work with Republicans to fix the mess they created.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>As <a href="">The Hill reports,</a> the race to become the next Democratic Party leader split along establishment-grassroots lines and in many ways mirrored the divisive 2016 presidential primary between Sanders and Clinton.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="307" src="" width="474" /></a></p> <p>The mainstream Democrats won out again.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Perez, the 55-year-old son of Dominican immigrants, becomes the party&rsquo;s public face and chief spokesperson in charge of staking out Democratic opposition to President Trump.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Prior to serving as President Obama&#39;s Labor secretary, Perez was a civil rights attorney in the Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder, who endorsed him in the chairmanship race.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He has almost no electoral experience, save for a successful bid for Montgomery County Council and a failed run at Maryland attorney general, in which he was disqualified over a technicality.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As chairman of the DNC, Perez inherits a monumental rebuilding project across the country after years of Democratic losses at every level of government.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>And he will also have to go about the work of unifying a fractured party.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>By way of background for how The Democrats got here, <a href=""><strong>The Intercept&#39;s Glenn Greenwald explains why the Obama White House recruited Perez to run against Ellison</strong></a>:</p> <p><u>Members of the</u> Democratic National Committee met today to choose their new chair, <u><strong>replacing the <a href="">disgraced</a> <a href="">interim chair</a> Donna Brazile, who replaced the <a href="">disgraced five-year chair</a> Debbie Wasserman Schultz</strong></u>. Even though the outcome is extremely unlikely to change the (<a href="">failed</a>) fundamentals of the party, the race has <a href="">become something of an impassioned proxy war</a> replicating the 2016 primary fight: between the Clinton/Obama establishment wing (which largely backs Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who <a href="">vehemently supported</a> Clinton) and the insurgent Sanders wing (which backs Keith Ellison, the first Muslim ever elected to the U.S. Congress, who was an early Sanders supporter).</p> <p>The New Republic&rsquo;s Clio Chang has <a href="">a great, detailed analysis</a> of the contest. She asks the key question about Perez&rsquo;s candidacy that has long hovered and yet has never been answered. As Chang correctly notes, supporters of Perez insist, not unreasonably, that he is materially indistinguishable from Ellison in terms of ideology (<a href="">despite his support for TPP</a>, seemingly grounded in loyalty to Obama). This, she argues, is &ldquo;why the case for Tom Perez makes no sense&rdquo;: After all, &ldquo;if Perez is like Ellison &mdash; in both his politics and ideology &mdash; why bother fielding him in the first place?&rdquo;</p> <p>The timeline here is critical. Ellison <a href="">announced</a> his candidacy on November 15, armed with endorsements that spanned the range of the party: Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Raúl Grijalva, and various unions on the left, along with establishment stalwarts such as Chuck Schumer, Amy Klobuchar, and Harry Reid. He looked to be the clear frontrunner.</p> <p>But as Ellison&rsquo;s&nbsp;momentum built, the Obama White House worked to recruit Perez to run against Ellison. They succeeded, and Perez <a href="">announced his candidacy</a> on December 15 &mdash; a full month after Ellison announced. Why did the White House work to recruit someone to sink&nbsp;Ellison? If Perez and Ellison are so ideologically indistinguishable, why was it so important to the Obama circle &mdash; and the Clinton circle &mdash; to find someone capable of preventing Ellison&rsquo;s election? What&rsquo;s the rationale? None has ever been provided.</p> <p>I can&rsquo;t recommend Chang&rsquo;s analysis highly enough on one key aspect of what motivated the recruitment of Perez: to ensure that the Democratic establishment maintains its fatal grip on the party and, in particular, to prevent Sanders followers from having any say in the party&rsquo;s direction and identity:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>There is one real difference between the two: Ellison has captured the support of the left wing. &hellip; It appears that the underlying reason some Democrats prefer Perez over Ellison has nothing to do with ideology, but rather his loyalty to the Obama wing. As the head of the DNC, Perez would allow that wing to retain more control, even if Obama-ites are loath to admit it. &hellip;</p> <p>And it&rsquo;s not just Obama- and Clinton-ites that could see some power slip away with an Ellison-headed DNC. Paid DNC consultants also have a vested interest in maintaining the DNC status quo. Nomiki Konst, who has extensively covered the nuts and bolts of the DNC race, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">asked Perez how he felt about conflicts of interest</a>&nbsp;within the committee &mdash; specifically, DNC members who also have contracts with the committee. Perez dodged the issue, advocating for a &ldquo;big tent.&rdquo; In contrast, in a forum last month, Ellison <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">firmly stated</a>, &ldquo;We are battling the consultant-ocracy.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>In other words, Perez, despite his progressive credentials, is viewed &mdash; <a href="">with good reason</a> &mdash; as a reliable functionary and trustworthy loyalist by those who have controlled the party and run it into the ground, whereas Ellison is viewed as an outsider who may not be as controllable and, worse, may lead the Sanders contingent to perceive that they have been integrated into and empowered within the party.</p> <p><strong><u>But there&rsquo;s an</u>&nbsp;uglier and tawdrier aspect to this. </strong>Just over two weeks after Ellison announced, the largest single funder of both the Democratic Party and <a href="">the Clinton campaign</a> &mdash; the Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban &mdash; launched <a href="">an incredibly toxic&nbsp;attack</a> on Ellison, designed to signal his veto. &ldquo;He is clearly an anti-Semite and anti-Israel individual,&rdquo; pronounced Saban about the African-American Muslim congressman, adding: &ldquo;Keith Ellison would be a disaster for the relationship between the Jewish community and the Democratic Party.&rdquo;</p> <div class="img-wrap align-center width-fixed" style="width:540px"><a href=""><img alt="" class="aligncenter size-article-medium wp-image-114356" src="" /></a></div> <div class="img-wrap align-center width-fixed" style="width:540px">&nbsp;</div> <p>Saban has a long history not only of fanatical support for Israel &mdash; &ldquo;I&rsquo;m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel,&rdquo; <a href="">he told</a>&nbsp;the New York Times in 2004 about himself &mdash; but also an ugly track record of animus toward&nbsp;Muslims. As The Forward <a href="">gently put it</a>, he is prone to &ldquo;a bit of anti-Muslim bigotry,&rdquo; including when he said Muslims deserve &ldquo;more scrutiny&rdquo; and &ldquo;also called for profiling and broader surveillance.&rdquo;&nbsp;In 2014, he <a href="">teamed up with right-wing&nbsp;billionaire</a> Sheldon Adelson to push a pro-Israel agenda. In that notorious NYT profile,&nbsp;he attacked the ACLU for opposing Bush/Cheney civil liberties assaults and said: &ldquo;On the issues of security and terrorism I am a total hawk.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>There&rsquo;s no evidence that Saban&rsquo;s attack on Ellison is what motivated the White House to recruit an opponent. But one would have to be indescribably naïve about the ways of Washington to believe that such a vicious denunciation by one of the party&rsquo;s most influential billionaire funders had no effect at all.</strong></p> <p>The DNC headquarters was built with Saban&rsquo;s largesse: He&nbsp;<a href="">donated $7 million to build that building</a>,&nbsp;and he previously served as chairman of the party&rsquo;s capital-expenditure campaign. Here&rsquo;s how Mother Jones&rsquo;s Andy Kroll, in <a href="">a November profile</a>, described the influence&nbsp;Saban wields within elite Democratic circles:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>No single political patron has done more for the Clintons over the span of their careers. In the past 20 years, Saban and his wife have donated <a href="" target="_blank">$2.4 million</a> to the Clintons&rsquo; various campaigns and at least $15 million to the <a href="" target="_blank">Clinton Foundation</a>, where Cheryl Saban serves as a board member. Haim Saban prides himself on his top-giver status: &ldquo;If I&rsquo;m not No. 1, I&rsquo;m going to cut my balls off,&rdquo; he once <a href="" target="_blank">remarked</a> on the eve of a Hillary fundraiser. The Sabans have given more than <a href=";cycle=2016" target="_blank">$10 million</a> to Priorities USA, making them among the largest funders of the pro-Hillary super-PAC. In the lead-up to the 2016 presidential campaign, he vowed to spend &ldquo;whatever it takes&rdquo; to elect her. &hellip;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ties go beyond money. The Clintons have flown on the Sabans&rsquo; private jet, stayed at their LA home, and vacationed at their Acapulco estate. The two families watched the 2004 election results together at the Clintons&rsquo; home, and Bill Clinton gave the final toast at one of Cheryl Saban&rsquo;s birthday parties. Haim Saban is chummy enough with Hillary that he felt comfortable telling her that she sounded too shrill on the stump. &ldquo;Why are you shouting all the time?&rdquo; he <a href="" target="_blank">says</a> he told her. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s drilling a hole in my head.&rdquo; Clinton campaign emails released by WikiLeaks in October contain dozens of messages to, from, and referencing Saban. And they show that he has no qualms about pressing Clinton and her aides on her position toward Israel. &ldquo;She needs to differentiate herself from Obama on Israel,&rdquo; he <a href="" target="_blank">wrote</a> in June 2015 to Clinton&rsquo;s top aides.</p> </blockquote> <p>When Clinton, during the campaign, denounced the boycott movement devoted to defeating&nbsp;Israeli occupation, she did it in the <a href="">form of public letter to Saban</a>. To believe that Democrats assign no&nbsp;weight to Saban&rsquo;s adamantly stated veto of Ellison is to believe in the tooth fairy.</p> <p>Saban&rsquo;s attack predictably&nbsp;<a href="">spawned media reports</a>&nbsp;that Jewish groups had grown &ldquo;uncomfortable&rdquo; with Ellison&rsquo;s candidacy&nbsp;(the ADL pronounced his past criticisms of Israel &ldquo;disqualifying&rdquo;), while <a href="">whispers arose</a> that&nbsp;the last thing the Democratic Party needed to win back Rust Belt voters was&nbsp;a black Muslim as the face of the party (even though the Detroit-born Ellison himself is <a href="">from the Rust Belt</a>).</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Defeated Dems could&#39;ve tapped Rust Belt populist to head party. Instead, black, Muslim progressive from Minneapolis? <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Jonathan Weisman (@jonathanweisman) <a href="">November 11, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>As both&nbsp;Chang and Vox&rsquo;s Jeff Stein <a href="">have argued</a>, the fact that DNC chair is a largely functionary position, with little real power over party policy or&nbsp;messaging, is all the more reason to throw Sanders supporters a symbolic bone. If Democrats were smart, this would be the perfect opportunity to capture that energized left-wing movement without having to make any real concessions on what matters most to them: loyalty to their corporate donor base.</p> <p><strong>But&nbsp;it&rsquo;s hard to conclude that a party that has navigated itself into such collapse, which <a href="">deliberately and knowingly chose</a> the weakest candidate, who managed to lose to&nbsp;<em>Donald J. Trump</em>, is one that is thinking wisely and strategically.</strong> As Chang persuasively argues, it seems&nbsp;Democratic leaders prioritize ensuring that the left has no influence in&nbsp;their party over strengthening itself to beat the Trump-led Republicans:</p> <div class="article-body"> <div class="content-body"> <div class="article-text-wrap"> <div class="article-text-grid"> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div> <p>The same could be said of today&rsquo;s battle over the DNC and the push to install a loyal technocrat like Perez. This reluctance to cede control comes despite the fact that Democrats have lost over 1,000 state legislature seats since 2009. There is no case for Perez that cannot be made for Ellison, while Ellison is able to energize progressives in ways that Perez cannot. The question that will be answered on Saturday is whether Democrats have more urgent priorities than denying power to the left.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>That view, one must grant, is deeply cynical of Democratic leaders.</strong> But &mdash; besides fearing the wrath of Saban &mdash; what else can explain why they were so eager to recruit someone to block Keith Ellison?</p> <p><u><strong>If the plan to sink Ellison succeeds, the message that will be heard &mdash; fairly or not &mdash; is that the Democratic Party continues to venerate loyalty to its oligarchical donors above all else, and that preventing left-wing influence is a critical goal.</strong></u> In other words, the message will be that the party - which to date has refused to engage in any form of self-reckoning - is steadfastly committed to following exactly the same course, led by the same factions, that has ushered in such disaster.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>In retrospect, the Obama/Clinton elites got their way again and one can hope that the angry crowds railing against Trump will see what just transpired and will look inward this time (not just outward).</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="307" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bernie Sanders Bernie Sanders Clinton Foundation Congress Debbie Wasserman Schultz Democrat Party Democratic National Committee Democratic National Committee Democratic National Committee chairmanship election Democratic Party Democratic Party Department of Justice Donald Trump Donna Brazile Haim Saban Hillary Clinton Joe Biden Keith Ellison Labor Montgomery County Council Nationality Obama Administration Obama administration Politics Politics Politics of the United States Progressivism in the United States Republican National Committee Thomas Perez Tom Perez U.S. Congress U.S. House United States United States Senate White House Sat, 25 Feb 2017 20:57:30 +0000 Tyler Durden 588968 at "They Want You Purged" - NRA Head Rages Against Violent Left "Terrorists" <p><strong>Wayne Lapierre, executive director of the NRA. pulled no punches in a fiery speech yesterday,</strong> painting anti-Donald Trump protesters as violent extremists and compared their disruptions to terrorism during a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As NBC News reports, Lapierre&#39;s comments were among the strongest against the left and the media during the conference in which bashing those opposing Trump&#39;s agenda has been a prominent theme.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&quot;Ladies and gentlemen, <strong>another definition of terrorism is violence in the name of politics,&quot; </strong>said Wayne Lapierre, executive director of the NRA. &quot;And criminal violence has no place in political debate.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&quot;The left&#39;s message is absolutely clear. They want revenge, you&#39;ve got to be punished,&quot;</strong> Lapierre said.<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong> &quot;They say you&#39;re what&#39;s wrong with America and now you&#39;ve got to be purged.&quot;</strong></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He said many on <strong>the extreme left &quot;literally hate everything America stands for&quot; and &quot;are willing to use violence against us.&quot;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Lapierre also warned that terrorists could infiltrate the political demonstrations that are widely publicized on social media.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&quot;What happens when terrorists tag along with a flash mob protest at your local airport?&quot; </strong>he asked.</p> </blockquote> <p>Still, we note, as opposed to leftist leaders and activist funders, Lapierre never called for his supporters to &quot;rise up&quot; or &quot;bear arms&quot; against people who disagreed with his perspective (but warns the opposition there will be a reaction).</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="616" height="332" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business Definitions of terrorism Donald Trump flash Lapierre National Rifle Association NBC NRA NRA Politics Politics Wayne LaPierre Sat, 25 Feb 2017 20:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 588947 at Man In Hiding After Confessing To Illegal Fundraising For The Clintons: "Fears Untimely Death" <p><em><a href="">Submitted by Mac Slavo via,</a></em></p> <p><em><strong>The pattern continues…</strong></em></p> <p>Those who are connected to the crimes and misdemeanors of the Clinton cartel live in hiding for fear of their lives.</p> <p>Of course there was funneling of money going on. The Wikileaks and Guccifer 2.0 hacks went along way in documenting the quid pro quo nature of Clinton diplomacy.</p> <p>Back in the 90s, it was selling nuclear secrets to China, and schmoozing with high powered Chinese individuals, caught up in real estate deals, fundraising schemes and the like.</p> <p>So it is little surprising, though certainly alarming, that this story has surfaced of a Chinese-American businessman who is living in hiding and who felt compelled to make an ‘insurance policy’ video detailing his involvement in the Clinton admin’s “Chinagate” which involved laundered funds from high powered Chinese businessmen:</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="560" height="282" /></a></p> <p>via <a href="" target="_blank">Daily Mail</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>A Chinese-American businessman at the center of a Clinton campaign finance scandal secretly filmed a tell-all video as an ‘insurance policy’ – because he feared being murdered.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>[…] Johnny Chung spills details on how he illegally funneled money from Chinese officials to Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election bid.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Chinese-American Clinton fundraiser recorded the ‘elaborate videotaped testimony’ while in hiding in 2000.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>He smuggled it to trusted friends and family with instructions to release it to the media in the event of his untimely death because he believed he was at risk of being assassinated.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Chung is believed to still be alive and living in China.</p> </blockquote> <p>It seems that there were some implicit threats being made against him from within the system just ahead of his testimony. His FBI protection was lifted and he was tauntingly instructed to ‘call 911’ if he felt his life was in danger.</p> <p>Here are the highlight excerpts of his confession video:</p> <p><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>If one reads between the lines, and it seems clear that a threat was made against Chung to coerce him into keeping his mouth shut and saying nothing that could indict the sitting President, the First Lady or their network of operatives.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Chung described on the tape how Democrats on the House Committee on Government Reform tried to dissuade him from testifying publicly before the committee by sending his attorney a letter telling him he could plead the Fifth Amendment.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>[…]</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The FBI in Los Angeles began providing around-the-clock protection for him. But just a few days before Chung was scheduled to testify before a grand jury, the FBI headquarters in Washington called off the protection detail and told Chung he would have to make the trip alone.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>[…]</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>‘I called the FBI office and offered to [speak with] the US assistant attorney again on the phone,’ said Chung. ‘And he said ‘Mr. Chung your case is over. As a normal American citizen what do you do if you feel your life is in danger? You just call 911.’</p> </blockquote> <p>Chung’s connections to elite Chinese businessmen apparently went all the way to the top of the chain. It is evident that a foreign power influenced the iconic American president to the point of buying him out.</p> <p><strong>This is likely just the tip of the iceberg.</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="627" height="316" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Asia China China Gate Espionage FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Geography of Asia Government Guccifer 2.0 House Committee on Government Reform News leaks Politics Politics Real estate Secrecy Taiwan Testimony Whistleblowing WikiLeaks Sat, 25 Feb 2017 19:55:08 +0000 Tyler Durden 588946 at