en "I Went To A Wells Fargo Branch... And This Is What Happened Next" <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Wolf Richter via,</em></a></p> <h3><strong>They have learned nothing.</strong></h3> <p>I walked into my Wells Fargo branch to put my data backup into my safe deposit box, as I&rsquo;ve been doing for a decade. This routine business turned into a wake-up call about safe deposit boxes and churned up insights into how Wells Fargo conducts&nbsp;<em>to this day</em>&nbsp;its cross-selling efforts: the algo makes them do it!</p> <p>To clarify, I&rsquo;m a happy customer. Wells Fargo handles day-to-day banking for me and my vast WOLF STREET media-mogul-empire corporation. The people are nice, and I have not yet noticed any fraudulent accounts in my name.</p> <p>It doesn&rsquo;t bother me that every time I call one of the national numbers with a problem or question, I have to swat away their offers of &ldquo;pre-approved&rdquo; credit cards, lines of credit, or other high-margin&nbsp;products. Having run a car dealership earlier in my life, I appreciate the art of aggressive cross-selling. However, we never-ever did&nbsp;it <em>over the phone!</em> We waited till we saw&nbsp;the whites of their eyes.</p> <p>Yet at the counter for safe deposit boxes, I was in for a surprise. The young man &ndash; a 30-year-old employee would have looked suspiciously over-age at that branch &ndash; checked the computer for my box number. There was a problem. He asked for my driver&rsquo;s license. He rummaged through a file cabinet, found the signature cards. He conferred with another kid. He came back, embarrassed. Turns out, the fact that I&rsquo;ve been renting the box for a decade wasn&rsquo;t in their computer system. So no-go.</p> <p><strong>I thought: That&rsquo;s how easy it is to block you from getting into your safe deposit box. </strong></p> <p>He called over a &ldquo;personal banker&rdquo; &ndash; a young woman &ndash; to &ldquo;fix&rdquo; the problem. We trotted off to her desk. She said the bank had &ldquo;updated&rdquo; its computer system. My box rental hadn&rsquo;t made it into the new version. So she got busy on her computer. Took a while. She had to set it up. There were fees and discounts to discuss. There were things I had to read, agree to, and sign. She was just about finished, when she suddenly did a mini double-take of her screen. Everything came to a halt.</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t mean to sell you anything,&rdquo; she said after a long pause, with an embarrassed smile, &ldquo;but&hellip;.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>She could see the whites of my eyes! She turned her computer screen. It&nbsp;was filled with a Wells Fargo credit card promo. You&rsquo;ve been pre-approved for this great offer, she said. &ldquo;Your credit must be really good. Not many people get this offer.&rdquo;</p> <p>An algorithm had decided it was time to cross-sell; and she <em>had to cross-sell </em>to finish her job. That credit card promo was the next step in the procedure.</p> <p>The algo that forces employees at the branch and at call centers&nbsp;to cross-sell was designed by humans, after strategic decisions had been made and funded, under the direction of top management at headquarters, such as current CEO Timothy Sloan and former CEO John Stumpf.</p> <p><u><strong>This cross-selling push is embedded in the software, is algorithm-driven, and kicks in at&nbsp;the most effective moment</strong>.</u></p> <p>Even the recent disclosures, settlements, <a href="">the keel-hauling in California</a> and other states, and further investigations have not motivated Wells Fargo to strip these algos out of its computer system. They&rsquo;re still there, working hard for your own good.</p> <p>After she got rid of that promo page, and elegantly handled another topic she wanted to cover, I was finally allowed to get into my safe deposit box.</p> <p>The next day, I received&nbsp;an email from Wells Fargo and Gallup. It asked for &ldquo;feedback&rdquo; on my &ldquo;recent Wells Fargo visit&rdquo; and offered me a chance to win $1,000.</p> <p>Now I was curious. Though I never fill out surveys, I decided to check this out.</p> <p>Up front, it asked if I spoke &ldquo;to a banker about opening a NEW account or product,&rdquo; or about one of my &ldquo;CURRENT Wells Fargo accounts or products.&rdquo; Was Wells Fargo trying to figure out if the &ldquo;banker&rdquo; did her job and pitched a new account?</p> <p>After it asked me to rate my &ldquo;overall satisfaction&rdquo; with the visit, it listed a series of questions about the <em>employee,</em> whether they did things right the first time, etc. etc. It never once asked about the <em>bank</em>, how it screwed up with the safe deposit box.</p> <p>And this: &ldquo;The employee asked questions to identify options for meeting your financial needs.&rdquo; Should I check &ldquo;strongly agree&rdquo; to help the employee out? She deserved it. She was nice. Clearly, the survey is checking on her to see if she did her job and tried to sell me something I didn&rsquo;t need or want.</p> <p><strong>Remember, I&rsquo;d gone to the branch to get into my safe deposit box, and not for retirement planning.</strong></p> <p>&ldquo;Did you visit the branch to resolve a problem or error?&rdquo; Nope. A &ldquo;problem or error&rdquo; occurred after I got there.</p> <p>&ldquo;Did you work with an employee to establish or confirm your financial priorities?&rdquo; And &ldquo;The employee provided products or services that aligned with your current financial needs.&rdquo;</p> <p>Again and again, each time couched in slightly different terms, the survey checked on the employee to see if she had been sufficiently aggressive in cross-selling.</p> <p><u><strong>The fact that surveys check to see if employees did their job in cross-selling tells me how big the pressure on them <em>still is</em>, even after all the revelations</strong>.</u></p> <p>These survey results are used to manage employees. They&nbsp;probably get them rubbed in their faces during sales meetings and in performance evaluations. They know they&rsquo;re being evaluated, not only by the algo-driven computer system at the bank, but also via customer responses, to make sure they push new accounts, credit cards, credit lines, brokerage accounts, and other products.</p> <p>This is inbred into the bank. It&rsquo;s part of its management doctrine and computer system. It&rsquo;s partnering with Gallup to accomplish this. A contract with Gallup isn&rsquo;t set up at the lower levels. And a few slaps on the wrist aren&rsquo;t going to change a whole lot. It&rsquo;s not just Wells Fargo. It&rsquo;s the industry. It&nbsp;puts banks into the same category as car dealers. So steel yourself when you deal with them (just like you would walking into a dealership).</p> <p><strong>No bank is &ldquo;so powerful as to be untouchable,&rdquo; explained California State Treasurer John Chiang. </strong><em>Read&hellip;&nbsp; <a href="">Wells Fargo Getting Clocked by California: What, No Perp-Walk?</a></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="908" height="567" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> ETC Gallup John Stumpf Wells Fargo Sun, 23 Oct 2016 15:37:11 +0000 Tyler Durden 575712 at "No Going Back": Iraq Demands Exemption From Oil Production Cut, As Rosneft Slams Saudis <p>With just one month left until the OPEC Vienna meeting in which by some miracle, the cartel of oil producing countries, as well as non-OPEC countries are expected to agree on production cut quotas, things are not looking good. The latest complication emerged on Sunday when Iraq, which one month ago tipped its hand that it <a href="">would not comply by the Algiers agreement</a>, said it would maintain oil production at current levels after exceeding 4.7 million barrels a day in September, even as other OPEC members discuss limits on output.</p> <p>As <a href="">Bloomberg reports</a>, and as we predicted in September, Iraq <a href="">joined Libya, Iran and Nigeria </a>in asking OPEC for an exemption from its participation in any cuts, Oil Minister Jabber Al-Luaibi said Sunday at a news conference in Baghdad. Ali al-Luaibi said on Sunday his country should be exempted from output restrictions as it was fighting a war with Islamic State.<strong> "We are fighting a vicious war against IS,"</strong> Luaibi said in e briefing for reporters, adding that Iraq should get the same exemption as Nigeria and Libya.</p> <p>“We are with OPEC policy and OPEC unity,” Al-Luaibi said. “<strong>But this should not be at our expense.” </strong>Instead, it is looking like a cut, if any, will be entirely at the expense of Saudi production, which may be forced to cut 1mmbpd or more, should OPEC continue to see rising record monthly production.</p> <p>Cited by <a href=";feedName=GCA-Commodities&amp;;utm_medium=twitter">Reuters</a>, Falah al-Amiri, head of Iraq state oil marketer SOMO, said Iraq's market share was compromised by the various wars it fought since the eighties.</p> <p>Even more fascinating was Iraq's stated expectations of what its true output should be: <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>a whopping 9 million barrels per day</strong></span>, roughly double from where it is now!</p> <p>"<strong>We should be producing 9 million if it wasn't for the wars." </strong>He added that Iraq has "passed 4.7 million barrels a day" and made it quite clear that Iraq would certainly not cut production: <strong>“We are not going back. It’s a question of sovereignty.”</strong></p> <p>Iraq pumped 4.228 million barrels a day at fields under the control of the federal government in Baghdad, Deputy Oil Minister Fayyad Al-Nima said at the news conference. Production at fields operated by the semi-autonomous Kurdish government in northern Iraq stood at 546,000 barrels daily last month, Al-Nima said. <strong>Total exports were 3.871 million barrels a day in September, Al-Amri said</strong>. Iraq pumped a record 4.54 million barrels of oil a day last month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.</p> <p>Confirming that it is all a question of relative market share, and who gets to capture it at a time when Chinese demand is suddenly slowing down, al-Amiri said that "some countries took our market share," he said stressing that this was why Iraq refused to cut back output. Luaibi said Iraq <strong>would make its case at OPEC "in a pleasant environment" to avoid tension</strong>; alas tension will not be avoided as with every passing day the tentative Algiers "production cut" agreement appears closer to disintegrating.</p> <p>Iraq's semi-ultimatum to the cartel comes as Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy and Industry Khalid Al-Falih is meeting Sunday in Riyadh with energy officials from Russia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates for oil talks while OPEC tries to establish which members will reduce production, and by how much. Iraq, the second-biggest OPEC producer, is pumping close to record levels, adding to a glut of crude that caused prices to tumble over the last two years.</p> <p>* * *</p> <p>Meanwhile, confirming that Russia has virtually no intention of cutting or even freezing its production, was a <a href="">fascinating op-ed by Rosneft head Igor Sechin in Italy's Corriere Della Sera,&nbsp; </a>in which the Russian lays out very clearly, as he puts it, "<strong>what the purpose of the current price war is."</strong></p> <blockquote><p>I think that, in the first place, it is a ?ompetition for a market share. <strong>And Russia is not going to keep a low profile. It is commonly known that Rosneft has the lowest lifting costs: 2.1 USD/boe (excluding taxes and transportation costs), and we are rapidly increasing our share of the global oil market. </strong>Within 10 years (from 2005 to 2015) our share in the global oil and condensate production, according to IEA grew from 1.9% to 4.9% and further increased to 5.4% after the acquisition of Bashneft. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Moreover, unlike some of competitors who boost their share through dumping</strong></span>, we expand our presence by establishing partner relations and setting up joint ventures with key oil consumers, that is, <strong>we are building global integrated chains</strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p>Who is Sechin talking about when he accuses of dumping? For the answer we go back one year ago to a Bloomberg article quoting the the Russian CEO <a href="">in October 2015</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>As President Vladimir Putin tries to restore Russia as a major player in the Middle East, <strong>Saudi Arabia is starting to attack on Russia's traditional stomping ground by supplying lower-priced crude oil to Poland. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At a recent investment forum, Igor Sechin, chief executive of Rosneft, Russia's biggest oil company, complained about the Saudis' entry into the Polish market. "<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>They're dumping actively</strong></span>," he said. Other Russian oil executives are worried, too. "Isn't this move a first step toward a redivision of Western markets?" Nikolai Rubchenkov, an executive at Tatneft, said at an oil roundtable Thursday. <strong>"Shouldn't the government's energy strategy contain some measures to safeguard Russia's interests in its existing Western markets?" </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>European traders and refiners confirm that Saudi Arabia has been offering its oil at significant discounts, making it more attractive than Russian crude. And, even though most eastern European refineries are now technologically dependent on the Russian crude mix, Russia's oilmen are right to be worried.</p> </blockquote> <p>While they have every right to be worried, they also have every right to defend their market share gained in recent months, which means even more production cuts will be demanded out of the Saudis if they hope to truly implement production cuts, something which however appears to have been simply a ruse to allow Riyadh to sell its $17.5 billion bond deal quickly, taking advantage of $50+ oil prices, which however appear set to crack just one month from now when the Vienna meeting concludes with no production cut deal.</p> <p>* * *</p> <p>Finally, for all the confused oil bulls (and algos), here is an attempt at laying out the odds of an OPEC production cut from the perspective of 4 key producers.</p> <ol> <li><strong>Nigeria National Petroleum Corp. <a href="">lowered by at least $1 a barrel its official selling prices, or OSPs</a>, for 20 out of 26 oil grades</strong>, according to pricing lists. Qua Iboe, Nigeria’s largest export crude under normal circumstances, was reduced by the most since 2014. <strong>The price reductions are due to a “huge cargo overhang” as the country attempts to regain market share, </strong>Mele Kyari, group general manager for the oil-marketing division at NNPC, the state oil company, said by phone. (Source: Bloomberg, 20 October 2016)</li> <li><strong>Iran, OPEC’s third-biggest member, <a href="">plans to boost its oil output to 4 million barrels a day this year</a>,</strong> potentially complicating the producer group’s plan to cut supply in an effort to prop up prices.<br />Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said he hopes the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will agree next month at a meeting in Vienna to limit output. “We should decide in November how much every country should produce,” Zanganeh said. He didn’t comment on Iran’s participation, if any, in the OPEC agreement. </li> <li><strong>Al-Naimi (Saudi Oil Minister until May 2016) </strong><a href=""><strong>writes in the book</strong> that one of his aides asked him in November 2014 </a>what was the chance of leading non-OPEC countries Russia, Mexico, Kazakhstan and Norway cutting oil production. <strong>"I held up my right hand and made the sign for zero,"</strong> he writes. (Source: Bloomberg, 17 October 2016)</li> <li><strong>In early October, <a href="">Sechin told reporters that Rosneft planned this year to raise its oil production</a>, </strong>already the world's largest among listed producers, above the 203 million tonnes (4.1 million barrels per day) it produced in 2015. Sechin said he doubted some OPEC countries, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, would cut their output either: "Try to answer this question yourself: would Iran, Saudi Arabia or Venezuela cut their production?" </li> </ol> <p>Still think an OPEC production cut deal is imminent? Then we have a bridges in Saudi Arabia for sale to the highest bidder.</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="780" height="557" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> BOE Bond Crude Crude Oil Iran Iraq Kazakhstan Kuwait Market Share Mexico Middle East Norway OPEC Poland Reuters Saudi Arabia Vladimir Putin Sun, 23 Oct 2016 14:58:45 +0000 Tyler Durden 575711 at Taliban Release Drone Film Of Suicide Attack In Afghanistan <p>Demonstrating their recent technological advancement, over the weekend Afghanistan's Taliban released drone footage showing a suicide bomber driving a Humvee into a police base in Helmand province and blowing it up this month. Cited by <a href="">Reuters</a>, an Afghan government official said the video posted online appeared to be authentic. While the use of video taken by a drone is unusual for the Taliban, it has become common among the more media-savvy Islamist groups fighting in Iraq and Syria.</p> <p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to <a href="">Al Jazeera</a>, the video, 23 minutes long, begins with the purported suicide bomber speaking in front of the Humvee, a vehicle provided to Afghan forces by American advisers. "This is the happiest moment of my life," the man says, dressed in a black turban and white tunic.</p> <p>The 23-minute-long video, which begins with a self-proclaimed suicide bomber speaking in front of an explosives-rigged Humvee, was released on Saturday appears to be authentic, according to the Afghan defence ministry. </p> <p>"I am telling the Afghan stooge forces to repent and join the Taliban or we will use this equipment the foreigners gave them, against them and they can't do anything about it." </p> <p>A drone-mounted camera then films the Humvee speeding towards a compound and detonating in flames blowing up the entire building. </p> <p>"This proves that we are well step ahead in sending our messages to people of Afghanistan in many sophisticated ways. Anything that helps us in destroying our enemies [Afghan and US forces] will be used with full force," Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban spokesman, told Al Jazeera. "This video has proved to be very influential and we have many people supporting us."</p> <p>Mujahid said the video was of an attack on October 3, when the fighters overran parts of Helmand province.</p> <p>"The remote-controlled drones to capture footage of their [Taliban] fighters conducting attacks is nothing but to instill fear among people and to indicate how far they can get in defeating us, but in fact, using a drone is not something they can call an achievement," Dawlat Waziri, spokesman for the defence ministry, told Al Jazeera by telephone.</p> <p>A government official in Helmand said the district police chief and several other officials were killed in the attack on October 3, when Taliban militants overran much of Nawa district. The official, who declined to be named, said the video depicting the attack appeared to be authentic.</p> <p>As Reuters adds, the video's producers used graphics of target-like overlays to give the footage a video game-like feel, an effect used by Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.</p> <p>Perhaps the video was a retaliation to U.S.-led forces, who have often used military-grade drones against the Taliban in Afghanistan's long war since 2001. Commercial drones favored by hobbyists and video producers are far simpler and cheaper, while suicide bombers in Afghanistan appear to be more accessible and in greater abundance than US-operated lethal drones.</p> <p>The following map courtesy of Al Jazeera shows the fragmented territory of Afghanistan in which the contested areas between the Taliban and the government have seen a surge in deadly violence over the past year.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="455" /></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="702" height="459" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Afghanistan Iraq Reuters Sun, 23 Oct 2016 14:05:55 +0000 Tyler Durden 575709 at Wikileaks Releases Part 16 Of The Podesta Files: Total Is Now 26,803 Emails <p>With just over 2 weeks to go until the election, today Wikileaks continued its ongoing Podesta files dump when it <a href="">unveiled another 708 emails&nbsp; in Part 16</a>, bringing the total emails released to 26,803 total emails, or more than half of the 50,000 email set for release.</p> <p><a href=";mfrom=&amp;mto=&amp;title=&amp;notitle=&amp;date_from=&amp;date_to=&amp;nofrom=&amp;noto=&amp;count=50&amp;sort=6#searchresult"><img src="" width="500" height="362" /></a></p> <p>While this latest release was expected, Wikileaks made a more surprising announcement overnight when it said on Twitter that it would "release a statement tomorrow about Assange. Our editor is safe and still in full command despite reduced communications with staff."</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">We will release a statement tomorrow about Assange. Our editor is safe and still in full command despite reduced communications with staff.</p> <p>— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) <a href="">October 23, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>* * * </p> <p>Among some of the notable email highlights from the latest release is an email from November 11, 2014 in which Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook emails Cheryl Mills and John Podesta, hinting <a href="">at pre-campaign collusion with Obama</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Cheryl-- I downloaded this to John about my conversation with Simas this evening, but wanted to make sure you were up to speed as well. Big takeaway--she should meet with POTUS at her earliest convenience. Simas is open to whatever we think is best for the DNC, but said that she will definitely need to meet with POTUS before any action can be taken. He said that in their last meeting she said she was "considering" running and he suggested she be more definitive in this meeting to help create some urgency with POTUS. <strong>There are a few other resources POTUS has (his time, his lists, etc) that we should brief HRC on before she meets, but John rightly suggested she only touch on those lightly and ask the best way to funnel requests. </strong>Simas also reinforced the turnout challenge, so we should make sure to brief her on that as well. Let me know when we should start a memo</p> </blockquote> <p>* * * </p> <p>Another email confirms that <a href="">Alex Gerlach at the State Department is a involved</a>, and serves as a leak for the Clinton campaign. On November 7, 2015 Brian Fallon tells Jen Palmieri that "Heather [Samuelson] talked to I believe Alex gerlach at State, who said they were hearing only one email had so far been ruled out as Top Secret." This is in response to a Jenn Palmieri email in which she says that Brian Fallon "has heard rumors that not only will ODNI not confirm but that they only think one email is not top secret so this may be not such a great story after all." </p> <p>The truth, of course, ended up being vastly different. </p> <p>* * * </p> <p>Another <a href="">email from August 8, 2015 reveals </a>in an "Open Letter", that Hillary's email server handover was negotiated:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p> "Just a factual point: we turned over the thumb drive on Thursday and are negotiating the turnover of the server. We should not give a specific day when she "decided" or "directed"."</p> </blockquote> <p>* * * </p> <p><em>More coming</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="360" height="278" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> ETC Twitter Twitter Sun, 23 Oct 2016 13:37:21 +0000 Tyler Durden 575708 at Bank Of England Confirms: Debt Issuance Levels Tripled Since Quantitative Easing <p><a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-9507"><img src="" alt="QE" width="280" height="220" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-9507" /></a> </p> <p> <em>‘The problem with Quantitative Easing is that it works in practice but it doesn’t work in theory’</em>, <a href="">dixit Ben Bernanke</a>, previous chairman of the Federal Reserve. And he isn’t wrong because these special ‘tricks’ generally don't have the desired effect without creating negative consequences. Ever since QE started, we have been telling you the majority of the cash that has been pumped in the system hasn’t reached ‘the common man’, nor ‘the companies’. Indeed, banks have been able to borrow cheaply and get rid of distressed assets, but the spillover effects on the ‘real’ economy would be barely noticeable. </p> <p> And that’s not surprising, the next <a href="">schematic image</a>, courtesy of the Bank of England, shows you how Quantitative Easing actually works. As you will immediately notice, there are several points in between the moment the asset purchase program starts, and when ‘spending and income’ is being impacted. </p> <p> <a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-112235"><img src="" alt="quantitative-easing-1" width="599" height="332" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-112235" /></a> </p> <p> Source: Bank of England </p> <p> So before the freshly printed billions hit the common man in the street, it will impact and be impacted by different substations, and all of these substations will reduce the impact of the potential change for the end station, the consumers and their spending pattern which should lead to economic growth and a higher but manageable inflation rate. </p> <p> The Bank of England has now also <a href="">published a working paper</a> wherein the Central Bank tries to identify and quantify the impact of the worldwide QE programs. And the direct impact is much lower than you’d think. According to the official BoE research, the 375B GBP QE program of the Bank of England reduced the yield on the government debt by just 0.25%, whilst in the ECB’s case, the Quantitative Easing program which was announced in early 2015 had an impact of 0.3-0.5% on bonds all across Europe. </p> <p> <a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-112236"><img src="" alt="quantitative-easing-2" width="599" height="222" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-112236" /></a> </p> <p> Source: Bank of England </p> <p> What’s really interesting is the fact the investigation confirmed there’s no real advantage for the corporate bond yields. Sure, they decrease as well, but not noticeable faster or lower than the corresponding yields on government debt, as the spread between government debt and corporate debt remains the same. It is however, very interesting to note the category of securities which is impacted the most, are the high yield bonds. </p> <p> Of course, that’s not really a surprise because in a low-yield environment there’s a flight towards assets with a higher return to make up for the difference in expected ROI’s. The next schematic overview confirms the impact on high yield bonds has been huge. </p> <p> <a href="" rel="attachment wp-att-112237"><img src="" alt="quantitative-easing-3" width="599" height="288" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-112237" /></a> </p> <p> Source: Bank of England </p> <p> Does this indicate a QE is actually pushing people to make unsafe investments? Yes, the data are pointing out this is indeed the case, and semi-junk bonds generated a particular amount of interest in the past few years and investors seemed to have been focusing on yield rather than on the yield/quality ratio. </p> <p> The past few years were a paradise for companies to issue debt, and its underwriters were probably throwing big parties every Friday of the past several years. Just have a look at how the snowball of debt has continued to grow. The next image explains it all. </p> <p> <a href="http://" rel="attachment wp-att-112239"><img src="" alt="quantitative-easing-4" width="779" height="423" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-112239" /></a> </p> <p> Source: Bank of England </p> <p> Indeed, the debt levels are exploding, and in the past few years, the total amount of debt issued by non-financial entities has threefolded (!!) compared to the pre-Global Financial Crisis period. </p> <p> Let’s sink that in for a moment. Before the crisis, companies were issuing on average $400B of bonds per year (in the US and the UK), but this amount has almost tripled in 2016 since the various Quantitative Easing programs have startes, less than a decade later. It’s amazing to see how the debt pile continues to increase year after year, as these numbers are just taking bond issues into consideration and don’t include credit facilities or term loans issued by banks. </p> <p> Seriously, does anyone still think this will end well? </p> <p> <strong><a href="">&gt;&gt;&gt; Read our new Guide to Gold for free!</a></strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><em>Secular Investor offers a fresh look at investing. We analyze long lasting cycles, coupled with a collection of strategic investments and concrete tips for different types of assets. The methods and strategies are transformed into the&nbsp;<strong><a href="">Gold &amp; Silver Report</a></strong>&nbsp;and the&nbsp;<strong><a href="">Commodity Report</a></strong>.<br /></em></p> </blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Follow us on&nbsp;<strong>Facebook&nbsp;<a href="">@SecularInvestor</a>&nbsp;[NEW]</strong>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<strong>Twitter&nbsp;<a href="">@SecularInvest</a></strong></p></blockquote> Bank of England Ben Bernanke Ben Bernanke BOE Bond Federal Reserve High Yield Quantitative Easing Twitter Twitter Sun, 23 Oct 2016 13:19:34 +0000 Secular Investor 575707 at SNL Mocks Third Presidential Debate; Trump Silent On Twitter <p>Just as it <a href="">did a week ago</a>, in its latest episode, "Saturday Night Live" mocked the third and final debate between presidential rivals Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, having found that niche particularly delightful to advertisers and audiences. “Welcome to the third and final presidential debate,” Tom Hanks, playing moderator Chris Wallace, said. “Tonight, it’s going to be a lot like the third ‘Lord of the Rings’ movie. You don’t really want to watch, but, hey, you’ve come this far.”</p> <p>As has become a recent tradition, Alec Baldwin and "SNL" cast member Kate McKinnon impersonated Trump and Clinton, highlighting the key quirks of their demeanor. "I'm going to start this debate in the quietest voice possible," said Baldwin's Trump, in a nod to the GOP candidate's initial subdued tone during the debate. "In the past I have been big and loud, but tonight I am a sweet little baby Trump." </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">"Sweet little baby Trump." <a href="">#HanksOnSNL</a> ???? <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) <a href="">October 23, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p> "Trump's" tone soon changed, when he was asked about reproductive rights. Baldwin yelled, "They are ripping babies out of vaginas!" McKinnon's Clinton was visibly shocked, and responded, "Listen, Chris, I'm glad you raised this topic because what two better people are there to talk about women's issues? Me, a woman who has had a child and has taken birth control, and him, a man who is a child and whose face is birth control." </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Trump and Hillary on reproductive rights. <a href="">#HanksOnSNL</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) <a href="">October 23, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As has been the recurring case, "Trump" provided the majority of the jokes and punchlines, this time focusing on Trump's remarks about the election being rigged and not conceding if Clinton wins. "It has become very clear that you are probably going to loose," Hanks' Wallace says to Baldwin's Trump, who responds, "correct."</p> <p>He is then asked if he will accept the election's results. "I will look at it at the time," says Baldwin. "Because quite frankly, this whole thing is rigged. Even the media. Every day I turn on the news and all of the newscasters are making me look so bad ... By taking all of the things I say and all of the things I do and putting them on TV." </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Will Trump accept the results of the election? <a href="">#HanksOnSNL</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) <a href="">October 23, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Trump was also mocked on the topic of immigration. "Let’s talk immigration. Mr. Trump, why are your immigration policies better than Secretary Clinton’s?” Hanks asked Alec Baldwin, playing GOP nominee Donald Trump. “Because she wants open borders, and that is crazy. I mean, people are just pouring into this country from Mexico. And a lot of them are very bad hombres,” Baldwin responded. “Oh, uh…bingo!” Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton responds, pulling out an oversized “Trump Bingo” card. “I got bingo!” she says, listing off boxes in a diagonal row that read “Bad hombres,” “Rapists, “Miss Piggy,” “They’re all living in hell” and “If she wasn’t my daughter.”</p> <p>Unlike one week ago, Trump has so far refrained from slamming SNL on Twitter as he did last Sunday, a comment which, as expected, reverberated with the media who accused him of not having a sense of humor. He appears to be learning not to give the media the ammunition which they immediately after shoot him with.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Watched Saturday Night Live hit job on me.Time to retire the boring and unfunny show. Alec Baldwin portrayal stinks. Media rigging election!</p> <p>— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="">October 16, 2016</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>Anyone who missed the show, can watch the full "debate" below.</p> <p><iframe src="" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>* * * </p> <p>And In a bonus twist for Hillary fans, SNL also used Tom Hanks to portray a redneck supporter of during a skit on "Saturday Night Live." "Doug," a contestant on the game show "Black Jeopardy," sports a signature "Make America Great Again" hat. Hanks's character, a conspiracy theorist, distrusts the electoral system.</p> <p>"They out here saying that every vote counts," one of the questions in the game reads. "What is, 'C'mon, they already decided who wins, even before it happens,'" answers Hanks, who said earlier this month that he was "offended as a man" by Trump's lewd talk in a leaked audio tape. During the segment, Hanks's character begins to form a bond with the other contestants and the host of the game. But at the end of the game, the host introduces the final "Jeopardy" category: "Lives that Matter." </p> <p>"Well it was good while it lasted, Doug," the host of the show says. "You know, I got a lot to say about this," Doug responds. "Yea, I'm sure you do," the host says. "When we come back, we'll play the national anthem and just see what the hell happens."</p> <p><iframe src="" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1256" height="567" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bond Donald Trump Mexico Twitter Twitter Sun, 23 Oct 2016 13:14:14 +0000 Tyler Durden 575706 at Shadows on the Cave Wall <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves /> <w:TrackFormatting /> <w:PunctuationKerning /> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas /> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF /> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables /> <w:SnapToGridInCell /> <w:WrapTextWithPunct /> <w:UseAsianBreakRules /> <w:DontGrowAutofit /> <w:SplitPgBreakAndParaMark /> <w:DontVertAlignCellWithSp /> <w:DontBreakConstrainedForcedTables /> <w:DontVertAlignInTxbx /> <w:Word11KerningPairs /> <w:CachedColBalance /> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> <m:mathPr> <m:mathFont m:val="Cambria Math" /> <m:brkBin m:val="before" /> <m:brkBinSub m:val="&#45;-" /> <m:smallFrac m:val="off" /> <m:dispDef /> <m:lMargin m:val="0" /> <m:rMargin m:val="0" /> <m:defJc m:val="centerGroup" /> <m:wrapIndent m:val="1440" /> <m:intLim m:val="subSup" /> <m:naryLim m:val="undOvr" /> </m:mathPr></w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves /> <w:TrackFormatting /> <w:PunctuationKerning /> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas /> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF /> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables /> <w:SnapToGridInCell /> <w:WrapTextWithPunct /> <w:UseAsianBreakRules /> <w:DontGrowAutofit /> <w:SplitPgBreakAndParaMark /> <w:DontVertAlignCellWithSp /> <w:DontBreakConstrainedForcedTables /> <w:DontVertAlignInTxbx /> <w:Word11KerningPairs /> <w:CachedColBalance /> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> <m:mathPr> <m:mathFont m:val="Cambria Math" /> <m:brkBin m:val="before" /> <m:brkBinSub m:val="&#45;-" /> <m:smallFrac m:val="off" /> <m:dispDef /> <m:lMargin m:val="0" /> <m:rMargin m:val="0" /> <m:defJc m:val="centerGroup" /> <m:wrapIndent m:val="1440" /> <m:intLim m:val="subSup" /> <m:naryLim m:val="undOvr" /> </m:mathPr></w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Shadows on the Cave Wall</p> <p style="text-align: center;">By</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Cognitive Dissonance</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>(Plato had much to say about modern day ideological blindness.) </em></p> <p>Nearly everyone thinks of the United States of America as a place, a physical location, some place you can live, visit, touch and see. And nearly everyone is wrong.</p> <p>The United States of America is an ideology, a thought meme, a belief, a political religion, a concept and an idea. I am reminded of this every time Mrs. Cog and I head southeast down the mountain and cross over from Virginia into North Carolina. Other than a few road signs and a change in the pavement (clearly two different companies at two different times from two different directions paved right up to the border and no further) there is no discernible difference.</p> <p>To the left is a hay field, to the right a driveway leading to a private home. If I didn&rsquo;t know where the political border was, nothing I saw on either side would indicate a change in control was evident. The hay isn&rsquo;t greener or taller on one side or the other. And as best I can tell, that driveway, while appearing to meander back and forth across the border several times, isn&rsquo;t worse for the experience. Though I suspect the respective taxing authorities might be a bit confused.</p> <p>And yet the differences between the practices and beliefs of these two states are at times remarkably dissimilar. To cite just one example, the overall tax burden in Virginia is remarkably less than that of North Carolina. For me, a particularly detested tax is the <a href="" target="_blank">state gasoline tax</a> (added to the 18.40 cents Federal gas tax) which is significantly higher in NC (35.25 cents) than VA (22.33 cents).</p> <p>But neither Mrs. Cog nor I can actually tell if the people in either state are happier because of, or despite, the political borders they live within. Sure, there are local variations (Mount Airy, NC residents sure do seem happier to be living in <a href="" target="_blank">Mayberry RFD</a>) but overall each person&rsquo;s happiness quotient depends to a large extent upon their personal life configuration. Unless, of course, that person has decided the state of their state is the source of most of their problems.&nbsp; A perfect example is the continuing exodus from California.</p> <p>But I digress.</p> <p>The cities and towns, the highways and byways of America are physical manifestations of the ideological belief there really is a socioeconomic entity called America. This doesn&rsquo;t mean nothing would be &lsquo;<em>here</em>&rsquo; if America wasn&rsquo;t an ideology, only that something else which manifested differently would be &lsquo;<em>here</em>&rsquo; in its place.</p> <p>Therefore the most threatening enemy to &lsquo;America&rsquo; is not Russia, China or Iran (other political ideologies manifested in physical form) but doubt and rapidly deteriorating belief in the doctrine itself. This is why every political ideology since humans gathered into groups has demanded allegiance and, at worst, feigned faith and belief.</p> <p>While a radical change of ideology can be accomplished via emotional coercion and physical force, ultimately heartfelt indoctrinated belief must be fomented if the principle faith is to endure. This is precisely why after any radical political change the new ideological priests immediately corral the children to begin the indoctrination process while carrying out a re-education and purging program of the general population.</p> <p>The more sophisticated and flexible ideologies, such as the &lsquo;<em>constitutional freedom</em>&rsquo; meme employed &lsquo;<em>here</em>&rsquo; in the slave plantation called the USA, actually incorporates introspection and questioning into its tenets. But even &lsquo;<em>here</em>&rsquo; there are limits that cannot, and will not, be allowed to be exceeded.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="This far and no further" height="525" src="" title="The far and no further" width="700" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">This far and no further per order of the Empire.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>This is why, in accordance with the prevailing American ideology, one can complain all they want about the system and pose limited questions why things are the way they are. But one is not allowed to seriously question the basis of the system without being labeled a heretic and banished to the hinterlands where demons and dragons reside.</p> <p>A perfect example is the setup we all witnessed during the final debate between Clinton and Trump. The Presidential Debates are long established ideological rituals designed to reinforce and affirm faith and belief in the system. They are part and parcel of the supporting façade the election process represents to the controlling meme. &ldquo;<em>We the People</em>&rdquo; select one of &lsquo;<em>us</em>&rsquo; to travel to the capital city where rules and laws are enacted to protect &lsquo;<em>us</em>&rsquo; from enemies foreign and domestic while at the same time enriching &lsquo;<em>our</em>&rsquo; lives.</p> <p>It was no accident of chance the last question posed to both &lsquo;<em>candidates</em>&rsquo; (would they accept and support the election results if they lose) was essentially a pledge of allegiance to the ideological ethos. And for Trump, the self appointed establishment heretic, it was a trap designed to fully ensnare and expel him, and his heathen campaign, into the fires of faithless hell. But by doing so the heretics are also affirmed in their belief both in their leader and their cause.</p> <p>Nor was it an accident Trump was chosen first to answer while the priest&rsquo;s favored candidate (whom I suspect was already alerted to the deception) sat ready to embrace the system and reject the wrong thinking dissenter. Of all the barbs and venom exchanged between the two candidates, is it really surprising at all that every major mainstream news outlet, known collectively as the mouthpiece of the ideological priests, led the next morning&rsquo;s &lsquo;<em>news</em>&rsquo; with huge headlines about the final nonconforming utterance from Trump?&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Burn the bastard at the stake, the angry priests wail in agony, their power and prestige coming under serious attack from the process itself. Or so they piously claim.</p> <p>The more a prevailing political meme strays from its founding ideology, meaning in this case crony corruption and political favoritism, the tighter the screws must be turned to drive the antithetical strays back toward the center. And the place to begin this process is with its leadership, either established or budding. Uncharacteristically, the heretical plebes have long been without acknowledged leadership until Trump arrived on the scene.</p> <p>Regardless of who or what Donald Trump truly is, the long suffering and rapidly increasing ranks of the disenfranchised and disillusioned have rallied around The Donald, elevating him to the revolutionary figurehead of &lsquo;<em>The Movement</em>&rsquo; determined to drain the ideological swamp that is present day Washington DC.</p> <p>Whether he is controlled opposition, useful puppet or <strong>exactly</strong> who he appears to be, Trump has succeeded in flushing the misfits and malcontents from the redoubt woodpile and out into the open. This may be precisely why Trump was allowed to get this far and not promptly buried under the end zone in the new Giants Stadium when he first appeared on the political scene.</p> <p>Since one must never be allowed to seriously question the system (because the doubt it raises is threatening to the system) if one does question and is allowed to continue <strong>and</strong> even flourish (ala Trump) there must be a hidden reason for this heretical event to occur &lsquo;<em>naturally</em>&rsquo;.</p> <p>Therefore to naively believe the priest&rsquo;s controllers have lost mastery over their ideology simply because a heretic has appeared and is growing amongst their ranks is to misunderstand the methods employed, honed and refined over thousands of years by those very same priests and their descendants, regardless of the prevailing controlling meme. They&rsquo;ve been doing this for thousands of years folks and are quite accomplished at their craft.</p> <p>How is it that political novice Trump not only appeared on the scene, but ascended the obviously rigged primary system to become the Republican nominee? Ron Paul (and others) knocked on this same door for decades and were quickly dispatched each time using time honored control techniques. Why not Trump? Because his time has come? Because he&rsquo;s the one?</p> <p>Really?</p> <p>I do not disagree with those who carefully document the growing instability of the dominant socioeconomic/political system. There is little doubt large and widening cracks are appearing in the carefully constructed and nurtured ideological façade.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Cracks in the facade" height="467" src="" title="Cracks in the facade" width="700" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Cracks everywhere, but no flaw too deep to ignore.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>But to believe the Empire is so close to collapse that a revolutionary could slip between the cracks and come within a few weeks of ascending to the throne is, in my humble opinion, pushing it just a wee bit too far. Those shadows on the cave wall have little to no relation to reality.</p> <p>Take the time to study the disruptive techniques used by the ideological establishment to co-opt and control the last attempted American revolution, that of the anti war generation of the 60&rsquo;s and early 70&rsquo;s. Nearly every counter cultural uprising during that period of time was thoroughly infiltrated and sometimes directly controlled by operatives. To think this isn&rsquo;t happening today with the massive increase in intrusive spy technology is to remain firmly planted in La-La Land.</p> <p>Trump&rsquo;s popularity among the great unwashed is a product of the mainstream media, the very same control device used on a daily basis to feed the indentured population its ration of <a href="" target="_blank">Soma</a>. However, in an effort to turn Trump into a super magnet for the downtrodden, the mainstream media needed to employ reverse psychology and condemn that which they wished to empower with credibility. Quite frankly, this only works if the population is so desperate for salvation to appear they would accept such a psychologically flawed and egotistic front man as Donald Trump.</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t ever forget Donald Trump&rsquo;s media presence was honed and refined by the control mechanism itself, Hollywood and its various offshoots and tentacles. <a href="" target="_blank">Best known as the billionaire producer and &lsquo;<em>actor</em>&rsquo; in The Apprentice, Trump has a total of 19 credits as a producer, 20 credits as an actor and an incredible 222 credits as &lsquo;<em>self</em>&rsquo;. </a>This is a man who clearly knows how to play an audience, with his ego the star attraction.</p> <p>That alone doesn&rsquo;t necessarily make Trump an establishment &lsquo;<em>made man</em>&rsquo;. But while he wasn&rsquo;t breast fed at the political nipple, he certainly isn&rsquo;t an &lsquo;<em>outsider</em>&rsquo; by any stretch of the imagination. And yet here he is&hellip;&hellip;the embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of a vast cross section of disaffected and disenfranchised. It just doesn&rsquo;t get any better than this.</p> <p>This is not to say Hillary Clinton isn&rsquo;t also being propelled forward by the very same mechanism that has empowered Trump. If &ldquo;<em>The Donald</em>&rdquo; is flawed, Hillary Clinton is mortally impaired. And it would made perfect sense from the control system&rsquo;s perspective to match or exceed the glaring imperfections of one candidate (Trump) with an even more egregious example of crony capitalism run riot in the other (Clinton). The great white hope verses establishment lackey and career criminal. The choice couldn&rsquo;t be both clearer and more obscure than as presented for your electoral blessing.</p> <p>And ultimately this may be the purpose for this obviously concocted and orchestrated charade. The last stage of a dying Empire is the looting of the weak from within by the elite. When the barbarians finally break through the outer gates, all they will find are empty vaults and the scattered remains of a desperate native population, the valuables having long ago been strip-mined and spirited away.&nbsp;</p> <p>But before this point in the end game can be reached, the natives must be held in place long enough for the final rape to commence. As public confidence in a political solution dissipates and restlessness (some might say desperation) grows, a false hope and belief must be re-instilled in various sub factions of the population in order to draw them back in, ultimately imprisoned by their own ideological bent.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>This occurred in 2008 with the great black hope, Barrack Obama, and once again is happening in 2016 with the great white hope, Donald Trump. Both of these individuals, while presenting as one would expect political outsiders to appear, were/are deeply conflicted and entangled. Don&rsquo;t forget Obama was a political newbie with only a few years in public office before being miraculously elevated to the highest office in the land. It is more than coincidence they both talk a thoroughly convincing game to the sub-set they were created to enthrall.</p> <p>This is the principal reason why I expect Trump to &lsquo;<em>win</em>&rsquo; this election, if not by hook then by mainstream crook. The crony capitalists represented by Clinton have had their fill at the public feeding trough and are more than capable of fending for their selves during the next spiraling leg downward. But those who had previously abandoned all hope, and thus were primed for more drastic (read destructive) measures if not properly corralled, have once again been engaged in the political system and have thrown their support behind the white knight.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="White Knight" height="440" src="" title="White Knight" width="700" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">All the king&#39;s horse&#39;s and all the king&#39;s men couldn&#39;t put the Empire back together again.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>Emotionally stabilized and increasingly mesmerized, the plebes are now ripe for the rape if for no other reason than they will wait and see if the revolution is actually tweeted and originates from the White House.</p> <p>I suspect &lsquo;<em>they</em>&rsquo; will be severely disappointed.</p> <p>The golden rule of dying ideological Empires is simplicity itself. What it cannot subvert or corrupt it destroys. Significant and healing change cannot, and therefore will not, originate from within the Empire for that would disenfranchise the powerful priests, the hanger-on&rsquo;s and sycophants.</p> <p>Absolute power corrupts absolutely and power in the hands of the corrupt is never relinquished, only forcefully taken and then passed from one dirty hand to the next. This renders any discussion of a positive healthy change from within moot and a non starter.</p> <p>This is an insanity very few understand when viewed from a distance, an all encompassing madness that is always underestimated in its ferocity and velocity. When face to face with this evil phenomenon, few have the strength of will to stand their ground, let alone survive the encounter. Evil madness of this magnitude always self consumes and can never be extinguished by an external force.</p> <p>Orders of magnitude hotter than burning magnesium, any effort made to dampen or disperse the white hot insanity of the dying Empire, either from within or externally, only succeeds in spreading and intensifying the Luciferian conflagration. Simply stated, madness breeds more madness. To engage the madness is to feed the insanity.</p> <p>In my opinion this is the only explanation for the blatant media bias against Trump combined with the obviously scripted non media responses to all things Clinton, the in-your-face rigging and distortions of the political process and the <strong>incomprehensible capitulation</strong> by so many previously withdrawn and cynical ideological escapees who are <strong>willingly</strong> walking back into the belly of the political beast to support a critically flawed and conflicted Trump.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Plato described </a>the inability of a group of (ideological) prisoners chained in a cave to interpret reality based solely upon the play of shadows projected upon the stone wall in front of them. The utter futility of their efforts is only revealed when one prisoner frees himself, enabling him to fully view the puppeteers behind them creating the illusion.</p> <p>Unless and until &ldquo;<strong>We the Individuals</strong>&rdquo; engage in a determined and consistent effort to see beyond our ideological horse blinders and fully grasp the true nature of our reality, &ldquo;<strong>We the People</strong>&rdquo; will remain at best mere spectators, and at worst indentured servants, to the reality puppeteers behind us.</p> <p>As much as I wish this insanity would just end, I fear we have many miles to go before the final awakening.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>10-23-2016</p> <p>Cognitive Dissonance</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Shadows on the Cave Wall" height="300" src="" title="Shadows on the Cave Wall" width="500" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Truman isn&#39;t the only one forced to deal with the shadows on his cave wall.</p> China Cognitive Dissonance Corruption Donald Trump headlines Iran Reality Ron Paul SPY White House Sun, 23 Oct 2016 12:39:20 +0000 Cognitive Dissonance 575705 at Walls, Going Viral <p style="font-size: 13.008px; line-height: 20.0063px;"><em style="line-height: 20.8px;"><span style="color: #800000;">By Chris at&nbsp;<a href=""></a></span></em></p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;"><em>Market dislocations occur when financial markets, operating under stressful conditions, experience large widespread asset mispricing.</em></p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">Welcome to this week's edition of&nbsp;<strong>“World Out Of Whack”</strong>&nbsp;where every Wednesday we take time out of our day to laugh, poke fun at and&nbsp;present to you&nbsp;absurdity in global financial markets in all it's glorious insanity.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;"><img src="" alt="kramer" width="200" height="189" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="size-full wp-image-15484 aligncenter" /></p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">While we enjoy a good laugh, the truth is that the first step to protecting ourselves from losses is to protect ourselves from ignorance. Think of the&nbsp;<strong>"World Out Of Whack"</strong>&nbsp;as your double thick armour plated side impact protection system&nbsp;in a financial world littered&nbsp;with&nbsp;drunk drivers.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">Selfishly we also know that the biggest (and often the fastest) returns come from asymmetric market moves. But, in order to identify these moves we must first identify where they live.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">Occasionally we find opportunities where we can buy (or sell) assets&nbsp;for mere cents on the dollar&nbsp;-&nbsp;because, after all, we are capitalists.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;"><span style="color: #339966;">In this week's edition of the WOW we're covering walls</span></h3> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;"><strong>Right now&nbsp;fully one third of the world's countries have built (or are building) walls</strong>.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">Two months ago in an article entitled&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">"7 Steps To The Easiest Short In Recent History"</a>&nbsp;we looked at a combination of factors supporting the inevitable disintegration of the&nbsp;Euro currency experiment:</p> <blockquote style="font-size: 13.008px;"><ol> <li><em>Importing Hatred - mass immigration from countries the west is bombing.</em></li> <li><em>The Rise of The Right - Political correctness out the window.</em></li> <li><em>Borders Close - Threats become evident.</em></li> <li><em>The Victims Retaliate - Vigilante violence&nbsp;escalates. An increase in racism.</em></li> <li><em>Isolation - internal borders drawn within countries. Laws passed isolating classes of society.</em></li> <li><em>European Integration Disintegrates - Inward looking, rising popularism. Divisions along ethnic/tribal lines.</em></li> <li><em>Banking pressures add pressure to the Euro - The financial pressures accelerating all of the above.</em></li> </ol> </blockquote> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">If you&nbsp;look carefully at each of these steps you'll notice they all entail in some way&nbsp;either physical or psychological barriers being built. Often both.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">Today we're&nbsp;taking&nbsp;a look at the incredible global shift taking place towards&nbsp;<strong>more physical barriers</strong>&nbsp;and then we ask some questions about what this means for us all and how we may protect ourselves and profit from what appears to be an unstoppable trend.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">According to a recent&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">article</a>&nbsp;in the Washington post:</p> <blockquote style="font-size: 13.008px;"><p><em>"In 2015, work started on more new barriers around the world than at any other point in modern history.&nbsp;There are now 63 borders where walls or fences separate neighboring countries."</em></p></blockquote> <blockquote style="font-size: 13.008px;"><p><img src="" alt="Borders with barriers" width="500" height="328" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter wp-image-15989" /></p></blockquote> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">Most of these walls are being erected within the European Union which is not surprising. As&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">mentioned before,</a>&nbsp;Brexit&nbsp;is as much about the refugee crisis, stopping mass immigration, and what is seen by many as the islamization of Britain as it is&nbsp;about the myriad insane regulations the Eurocrats in Brussels foisted on our scone eating and tea drinking friends.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">But Europe is not alone.&nbsp;Walls are being constructed across the Middle east,&nbsp;Asia and Africa, making this a global trend.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">The quite brilliant&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Dr. Pippa Malmgren</a><em>&nbsp;</em>the former US presidential advisor and author of&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Signals: The Breakdown of the Social Contract and the Rise of Geopolitics</a>&nbsp;wrote an excellent&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">article</a>on the topic of walls being built around the globe arguing that countries can put up walls but that capital will&nbsp;pull them down again.</p> <blockquote style="font-size: 13.008px;"><p><em>"Walls don’t usually work or last. Hadrian’s Wall didn’t stop the Scots. The Great Wall of China didn’t stop the Mongols or the British. The Berlin Wall too was overwhelmed by the tide of history. In the end, capital finds a&nbsp;way to flow to wherever the profits&nbsp;are, on either side of walls. But, for&nbsp;now, it looks like money will flow, as&nbsp;it usually does, to the side of walls&nbsp;that permits the greatest freedom&nbsp;of movement, whether that be a movement of people or capital or goods."</em></p></blockquote> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">While I don't disagree with Pippa, timeframes matter. Walls can remain, and hamper capital flows for long timeframes. The Berlin wall hampered trade and capital flows for 28 years. As an investor this matters to me - a lot.</p> <h3><strong>Why These Walls?</strong></h3> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">These walls are quite simply a&nbsp;<strong>manifestation of the economic consequences</strong>&nbsp;of policy decisions taken over the course of multiple decades.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">As mentioned the vast majority of the walls being built are in Europe. European politicians are erecting these walls while failing to understand that it is socialism and the welfare state in particular that attracts migrants. Walls do a poor job of keeping out&nbsp;uneducated angry people of a&nbsp;different language, different race, different religion, and different culture. Far better, change the system.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">Imagine for a minute that there was zero welfare in Europe, which is going to happen for simple reasons of mathematics anyway. Imagine further that in order to gain entry to live in any European country immigrants needed to prove their worth, by way of education, capital, skills or even cultural beliefs, and be able to pay their own way, by way of savings, working, and contributing to the society which they wish to enter. With no handouts and serious repercussions for not pulling their weight (starving) the entire migrant crisis that engulfs Europe today would be a complete non-event.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">Instead the misguided globalist elites continue with unsustainable welfare policies whereby free food, free housing, free medical care, and free schooling are provided to both citizens and immigrants alike.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">When cultural differences rise up, instead of holding steady to their existing chosen culture, they resort to a political correctness justifying, explaining away and by default condoning behaviours which are anathema to the citizens. They then scratch their heads at the problem of millions of Africans and Arabs swarming in to get a slice of the good life. A 10 year old can piece this together.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">Every one of us would do the same thing. The problem isn't that Europe is being flooded by immigrant's. The problem is that Europe isn't attracting the "best and brightest", but instead importing millions of people who've spent their lives picking up bad habits from political, economic, and social conditions which hark back to the dark ages.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;"><img src="" alt="sharia-law-in-europe" width="450" height="262" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter wp-image-15993" /></p> <h3><strong>The Power of Numbers</strong></h3> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">When a single person&nbsp;or family with bad habits migrates&nbsp;to a new society, the social and economic forces prevalent in that society tend to force&nbsp;them to assimilate or be rejected. Bad behaviour gets them into trouble pretty quickly and they are generally ostracised. Many leave and return to their homelands as a result. The culture shock is too much for them.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">On the other hand, when hundreds arrive they quite simply bring with them their own culture and begin enforcing it in their new homeland. There are now areas across Europe where it is no longer safe to go... even for the police.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">This massive culture clash is what is fuelling the frantic wall building we now see.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">The good news is that this will accelerate the end of the Euro and the end of the socialist welfare state which is now well and truly in motion.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">Of course walls don't build themselves and so it's&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">the rise of "strong men"</a>&nbsp;that provides the narrative and populism for these barriers.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;"><img src="" alt="putin1-vi" width="450" height="338" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter wp-image-15994" /></p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">One reason Putin is one of, if not THE most popular head of state in the world, is due to his stance of looking after Russia and Russians and not bending to the nauseating political correctness that has pervaded the developed world.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">A political correctness I may add that is on a very short fuse as discussed in&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">"Why A Politically Correct West Ensures A Trump Victory":</a></p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;"><a href="" target="_blank"></a><img src="" alt="trump-wall" width="450" height="212" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter wp-image-15990" /></p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">It's not just&nbsp;physical walls but trade barriers, such as tariffs, quotas and subsidies which are all rising at the same time too.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">The movement of capital has become so onerous that opening a simple bank account in a foreign country has become more painful than a root canal treatment. Yet one more reason I think&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Bitcoin</a>&nbsp;has asymmetric potential. The free market always finds a way.</p> <h3><strong>A Compound Fracture</strong></h3> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">The socialist experiment of the nanny state is in it's death throes and unfortunately it is capitalism which is being blamed, rather than crony capitalism and the great Ponzi scheme that is the welfare state.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">The building of walls will not solve these issues. What they will do is simply bring the very last tool out of the central bankers toolkit. That of fiscal stimulus.</span></p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">This too will not work. Why?</span></p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">Collateral has been falling in the global system, accelerating the collapse in&nbsp;the velocity of money, and the collapse in liquidity, even while central bankers have flooded the world with credit.</span></p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">Couple this with the demographic headwinds to growth and debt and it's pretty clear to me that the socialist experiment that the developed world has enjoyed since WWII has peaked and instead of receding back into the shadows like a shy fox,&nbsp;is more likely to spontaneously combust in the public square.</span></p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">This sad trend of wall building is likely to be part of our existence for some time yet and will do nothing to solve many of the political or financial problems but rather accelerate them.</span></p> <h3><strong>Some Facts to Consider</strong></h3> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">When barriers to trade are reduced GDP rises and when barriers are increased GDP falls. I'll let you figure out which way GDP growth is going over the next few years.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">Borders themselves are a relic of the nation state, which itself is a constipated ideological structure which grew out of the industrial revolution. It is absolutely coming to an end and is accelerating in its decline. These last ditch efforts to save it will simply accelerate that decline.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">Think about it like this. If the math doesn't work with rising GDP then pray tell how it's going to work with falling GDP. No. What we'll get is simply another injection to the patient, this time from fiscal rather than monetary stimulus, which itself will simply increase the already unmanageable debt burden. What we don't know is when&nbsp;the market repudiates this insanity.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">Looking at the bond market right now it's entirely possible (though we won't know for sure until after the fact) that the highs for the bond market were back in March of this year. Either way the end result will be chaotic and painful for those caught on the wrong side of it.</p> <h3><strong>Areas to Watch</strong></h3> <ul style="font-size: 13.008px;"> <li>Defence spending: Every country will likely be spending more money on defence.</li> <li>Contracting GDP will prove to increase security concerns as the bedfellows of poverty and violence manifest themselves in society.&nbsp;Europe in particular will likely enjoy rising security concerns. I discussed the&nbsp;topic in more detail&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">here.</a></li> <li>Consumer trends which favour staying at home will proliferate. Netflix over the cinema, home deliveries over mall shopping, and private dinner parties over restaurants.</li> <li>The above wall building will hasten the bankruptcy of the welfare state. Watch the bond and currency markets. Huge opportunity there.</li> </ul> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">Looking around the world there are still places which are NOT&nbsp;erecting walls.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">While we can all go long cement and barbed wire, really what I'm curious to know about your geographical preferences. And please comment below if you have somewhere specific as I'd love to know your reasoning.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href=""><img src="" alt="Wow - 19 October 2016" width="350" height="334" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" /></a><em><a href="">Cast your vote here</a>&nbsp;and also see what others think</em></p> <h3 style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #339966;">Know anyone that might enjoy this? Please share this with them.</span></h3> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">Investing and protecting our capital in a world which is enjoying the most severe distortions of any period in mans recorded history means that a different approach is required. And traditional portfolio management fails miserably to accomplish this.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">And so our&nbsp;goal here is simple: protecting the majority of our wealth from the inevitable consequences of absurdity, while&nbsp;finding the most asymmetric investment opportunities for our capital. Ironically, such opportunities&nbsp;are a result of the actions which&nbsp;have landed the world in such trouble to begin with.</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;">- Chris</p> <p style="font-size: 13.008px;"><em>"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."</em>&nbsp;— Tim May</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: 13.008px; line-height: 20.0063px;">--------------------------------------</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Liked this post?&nbsp;<a href="">Don't miss our future articles and podcasts, and</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="">get access</a>&nbsp;<a href="" style="line-height: 20.8px; font-size: 1em;">to free subscriber-only content here.</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: 13.008px; line-height: 20.0063px;">--------------------------------------</span></p> Bitcoin Bond China default European Union Middle East Sun, 23 Oct 2016 05:28:01 +0000 Capitalist Exploits 575704 at Meet The Man Who Can Expose "The Real Hillary Clinton Scandal" <p>We have written frequently about the internal Clinton Foundation power struggle between Chelsea Clinton and Doug Band over the previous couple of weeks (see <a href="">here</a>, <a href="">here</a> and <a href="">here</a>).&nbsp; It all started back in 2011 when, as <strong>Chelsea started to take a more senior role at the Clinton Foundation, she became increasingly concerned about an internal audit that exposed <span style="text-decoration: underline;">glaring conflicts of interest throughout the Foundation</span> with an emphasis on Doug Band and his company, Teneo, who she thought had inappropriately sought favors from the State Department during Hillary's tenure as Secretary of State.</strong>&nbsp; A <a href="">Politico</a> article from March 2015, summarized Chelsea's rise at the Foundation and how it threatened some long-time Clinton allies who had grown quite accustomed to the status quo.&nbsp; </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>But <strong>Chelsea Clinton’s rise at times has seemed to threaten some veteran Clinton aides who had carved out influential—and lucrative—positions after long service with her parents.</strong> She is blamed in some quarters for <strong>marginalizing both Lindsey and Doug Band, who rose from the president’s body man to build and help run the foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative.</strong> A third Clinton veteran, <strong>Ira Magaziner, saw his portfolio at the foundation diminished during <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Braverman’s</span> tenure, and sources say Magaziner’s role remains under scrutiny.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Now, new WikiLeaks emails reveal additional details behind the the man, Eric Braverman, who was brought in as CEO by Chelsea to change the controversial practices of the Foundation but <strong>abruptly resigned a short time later after being pushed out by long-time Clinton loyalists who had apparently grown very comfortable with the status quo.</strong></p> <p>Below is the new email exchange which begins when <strong>Neera Tanden warns John Podesta to "keep tabs on Doug Band" who she assumed was the insider who told NBC to "follow the money and find the real HRC scandal."</strong>&nbsp; Interestingly, John Podesta writes back quickly to identify the<strong> real source as <span style="text-decoration: underline;">former Clinton Foundation CEO Eric Braverman</span></strong> which seems to be shocking to Tanden who replies simply, "Holy Moses."<strong><br /></strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Eric Braverman" width="600" height="530" /></a></p> </blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So who is Eric Braverman?&nbsp; The following excerpts from a <a href="">Politico</a> article offer the best summary of Braverman and his efforts, as a newly installed CEO, to breakup the Clinton Foundation scandal machine only to be <strong>pushed out by Clinton loyalists after only a year and a half in his new position.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>In December [2014], the board of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation approved a salary of more than $395,000, plus bonus, for its Yale-educated CEO, Eric Braverman, while voting to extend his board term through 2017, according to sources familiar with the arrangement. Braverman, who had worked with Chelsea Clinton at the prestigious McKinsey &amp; Company consultancy, <strong>had been brought in with the former first daughter’s support to help impose McKinsey-like management rigor to a foundation that had grown into a $2 billion charitable powerhouse.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>But in January, only weeks after the board's show of support and just a year and a half after Braverman arrived, he abruptly resigned, and sources tell&nbsp; Politico his exit stemmed partly from a power struggle inside the foundation between and among the coterie of Clinton loyalists who have surrounded the former president for decades and who helped start and run the foundation. </strong>Some, including the president’s <strong>old Arkansas lawyer Bruce Lindsey</strong>, who preceded Braverman as CEO,<strong> raised concerns directly to Bill Clinton about the reforms implemented by Braverman</strong>, according to sources, and felt themselves marginalized by the growing influence of Chelsea Clinton and the new CEO she had helped recruit.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The previously untold saga of Braverman’s brief, and occasionally fraught tenure trying to navigate the Clintons’ insular world highlights the challenges the family has faced trying to impose rigorous oversight onto a vast global foundation that relies on some of the same loyal megadonors Hillary Clinton will need for the presidential run sources have said she is all but certain to launch later this year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Already, a spate of recent news stories in&nbsp; Politico and elsewhere have highlighted questions about the <strong>foundation’s aggressive fundraising both before and during Braverman’s tenure, including the&nbsp; news that the foundation had been accepting contributions from foreign governments with&nbsp; lax oversight from the State Department when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.</strong> The foundation has been Clinton’s main public platform since she left State in February 2013.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The hiring a few months later of Braverman, who had been a partner in McKinsey’s Washington office, was seen as <strong>validation of Chelsea Clinton’s view that the foundation needed to address recommendations from a 2011 audit for tighter governance and budgeting, as well as more comprehensive policies to vet donors and <span style="text-decoration: underline;">avoid conflicts of interest</span>.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>When Braverman arrived to replace Lindsey as CEO, he moved quickly to adopt the auditor’s recommendations</strong>, and then some. He <strong>diversified the foundation’s board beyond the Clintons and their longtime political allies and restructured its finance department.</strong> He oversaw the creation of a $250 million endowment and implemented data-driven analytics to measure the effectiveness of foundation programs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>No public explanation was offered for Braverman’s resignation.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Of course, given that the email exchange between Podesta and Tanden, and the following tweet from NBC's Joe Scarborough,&nbsp; occurred just days after Braverman was relieved of his duties in March 2015 it <strong>does seem likely that he was the "source close to the Clintons" who told Ron Fournier "to follow the money and find the real HRC scandal."</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"@JoeNBC: A source close to the Clintons tell @ron_fournier to "follow the money" and find the real HRC scandal. <a href="" title=""></a>"</p> </blockquote> <p>Ironically, Braverman's resignation also came shortly after the following email from Huma Abedin showing that <strong>Hillary directly approached the King of Morocco to host a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative</strong>.&nbsp; In return, the <strong>King had promised "$12 million both for the endowment and to support the meeting."</strong>&nbsp; Huma concludes her email by saying <strong>"she [Hillary] created this mess and she knows it."</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Eric Braverman" width="600" height="504" /></a></p> </blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So was this the questionable <strong>"contribution from foreign governments with&nbsp; lax oversight" </strong>that ultimately caused Braverman to resign?</p> <p>More importantly, where is Eric Braverman now?&nbsp; Clearly, at one point, Braverman expressed some interest in exposing the deep corruption within the Clinton, with all of the new WikiLeaks disclosures, would seem like an opportune time to do just that.&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="224" height="135" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Chelsea Clinton Corruption McKinsey NBC Sun, 23 Oct 2016 03:05:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 575681 at Statistician Warns Americans To "Ignore The Capricious Polls" <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Salil Mehta via Statistical Ideas blog,</em></a></p> <h2><u><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Sea of faulty polls</span></strong></u></h2> <p>In this article we cover the theoretical bases for two interconnected ideas that we&#39;ve discussed recently:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>(a) that the<strong> <a href="" target="_blank">empirical polling results are not as dire</a> as current landslide mainstream media projections make it out to be</strong>, and</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>(b) many<strong> polls are <a href="" target="_blank">oscillating about impossibly low probabilities</a> right now for Donald Trump</strong>.&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p>This year is genuinely unique in merging several fundamental aspects, with a<strong> largely disenfranchised voting base</strong> across the country (i.e., record undecideds), and <strong>pollsters unable or&nbsp;unwilling&nbsp;to properly assess the true probability</strong>&nbsp;for Mr. Trump (and their&nbsp;incoherent polls evidence this).&nbsp; This is not a matter of apologizing for the&nbsp;ground-level odds currently shown by mainstream media, or that the average Hillary Clinton lead is merely unsustainably high.&nbsp; This loses the forest through the trees, as we theoretically prove here.</p> <p>Start by <strong>studying</strong> a sample of the general election polls below, taken in just the past couple days. &nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 407px;" /></a></p> <p><u><strong>Do you see anything wrong there? &nbsp;</strong></u>If you don&#39;t, then you have no business being around polling data.</p> <p>The average margin of error on these 7 spreads shown is only 3%.&nbsp; Most polls should therefore be within a few percent of the 6% average spread that is advertised by media.&nbsp; But instead <strong>most are not</strong>!</p> <p>For example, the difference between the highest Ms. Clinton spread and the lowest Ms. Clinton spread is &gt;14 percentage points!&nbsp; And the standard deviation among these mainstream polls is 5%.&nbsp;&nbsp;So both have to be added together,&nbsp;<strong>and</strong> each is already higher than 3%!&nbsp; That&#39;s an unusual,&nbsp;<strong>impossible</strong>&nbsp;outcome through luck alone.&nbsp; <u><strong>Therefore something is misrepresented in the polls.&nbsp;</strong></u></p> <p>Also right now <strong>2 of the 7</strong> polls favor Donald (you just&#39; don&#39;t hear about them), so <strong>double</strong> the 10-15% odds he is being given.&nbsp; In the final analysis of this trinomial data, on November 9 we&#39;ll look back and see only one poll being correct and most were&nbsp;flat out&nbsp;wrong.&nbsp; This evidence below is a breach of the <strong>probability theory</strong>&nbsp;behind proper polling, where most polls should see the correct spread within the margin of error interval (that&#39;s what the interval&#39;s definition must be!)&nbsp; If the margins are therefore completely busted, then so too are the egregious spreads that are seen to be all over the place (and mostly <strong>untrustworthy</strong>).&nbsp; Likely the correct expected spread right now is 4-5%, and the larger spreads are coming from pollsters that <strong>ironically</strong> also have the highest margin of errors (casting further&nbsp;suspicion on how close the election really is for Americans).&nbsp; <strong><em>We stand by our long-running estimate that the current probability for a Donald Trump victory is about in the 20% range, or twice what mainstream media is projecting.&nbsp; Of course that is low, but to some it&#39;s still a compelling 1 in 4 chance (and much different than some might expect given all the twists and turns this campaign season has&nbsp;brought us).&nbsp; It&#39;s also a better reflection of the true odds, versus those dished out by the same inane talking heads who recently gave you the Brexit&nbsp;&quot;remain&quot;&nbsp;prediction, or the NeverTrump prediction!</em></strong></p> <p>So there you have it as clearly shown as possible. &nbsp;If these margins of error are correct, then most polls would have the spreads located within a few percent of 6% (so 3%, to 9%). &nbsp;Yet the majority of the polls are <strong>outside</strong> of this 3%, to 9%, interval.&nbsp; Probabilistically impossible. &nbsp;The idea that <strong>whatever the correct spread is determined to be on November 9</strong>, we will ultimately prove -shockingly we might add- that one poll was correct but also that <strong>most of these other polls were wrong</strong>.&nbsp; Those polls (unsure right now which) are because there the correct spread will have been outside of their margin of error intervals.</p> <p>The only correction&nbsp;anyone can make now&nbsp;to the failed margin of error is to enlarge it, in order to encapsulate most of the other intervals about the correct spread.&nbsp; Without these overlaps, we can&#39;t discuss spreads in the media, since the data is from an entirely corrupt polling system! &nbsp;The direction of unbiasing the data is also obvious.</p> <p>To start with, the only correct expected value for the spread has to be reduced since that is the <strong>direction of asymmetric bias</strong>. &nbsp;The largest polling spreads have become too extreme and must be brought in already.&nbsp; Combined with larger margins of error. &nbsp;The result of this <strong>combination</strong> is a correct spread that <strong>is lower at about 4-5%</strong>, and a margin of error that is roughly double what&#39;s been advertised (5-6%). &nbsp;Implying Donald Trump&#39;s chances of winning is nearly <strong>twice</strong> what the mainstream media&#39;s been floating around.</p> <p>How do we get a double of the margin of error, and the implications of it for where the expected spread should be? &nbsp;The likelihood that we would get a result of one where 2/3 of the polling spreads are inside the margin of error interval and yet most don&#39;t fall outside of the interval, is only about 1/4 or so of the time (other possible outcomes are that <strong>all</strong>, or <strong>most</strong>&nbsp;spreads within all margin of error intervals, or&nbsp;that&nbsp;<strong>no</strong> spreads overlap at all).&nbsp;&nbsp;In order to get that likelihood rebalanced back&nbsp;at majority, we need to have wider margins so the <strong>maximum likelihood outcome we expect to see</strong> at that time works out.</p> <p>Note that these topics were discussed in a recently viral article that last weekend was on the top of <a href="" target="_blank">ZeroHedge</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">reddit</a>, and amassing 1/2 million reads and thousands of shares.&nbsp; And we should note that a day after this article of ours noting the probability pricing arbitrage on gabling bets that Mr. Trump&#39;s spread would tighten, <a href="" target="_blank">the largest bet ever</a>&nbsp;was wagered for him.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 322px;" /></a></p> <p>Also the effect of wider margins is that the probability of Donald&nbsp;<strong>leading</strong> in the actual election doubles from the 10-15% or so that the current pollsters show (and he has not recently deteriorated from). &nbsp;Hence arriving at an actual probability for him that <strong>must be greater than 20%</strong> or so.&nbsp;&nbsp;Larger uncertainty therefore, given the undecideds for this candidate, and a more narrow spread.&nbsp; This is what we have been saying all along.</p> <p><strong>The last topic here is that we can see that the&nbsp;higher Hillary spreads&nbsp;are coming from pollsters that have the higher margins of error, though we also showed above they those error intervals are still not wide enough.</strong> &nbsp;It should be&nbsp;plain that between the highest spreads and the lowest spreads, the highest ones (those over 9% or so) should be the ones treated with the greatest reservation.&nbsp;<strong> Completed by the same shamelessly ignorant and flawed pollsters who gave you #NeverTrump and the Brexit stay prediction, both not so long ago.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 413px;" /></a></p> <p>At this point it makes sense for Americans to ignore the <strong>capricious polls</strong>, and simply vote their conscious on Election Day.&nbsp; <strong>The numbers in the polls don&#39;t add up to the significance the polling conclusions convey</strong>.&nbsp; Both candidates have their strengths, and Americans are torn.&nbsp; The video leak for Donald Trump was regrettable for all Americans, especially in these final weeks.&nbsp; But it will not drive his support to zero.&nbsp; Hillary Clinton for her part has not&nbsp;shown herself to be that much more of a transparent and flawless candidate (a true <a href="" target="_blank">Scorpion</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="509" height="317" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> B+ Donald Trump Sun, 23 Oct 2016 02:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 575695 at