en Stan Druckenmiller Sells Greenwich Mansion For 20% Below Asking <p>Last month, <a href="">we reported</a> that wealthy homeowners in one of America&rsquo;s prototypical enclaves of wealth and privilege have begun to pull their stately mansions from the market as demand for high-end properties in Greenwich, Conn. Has plunged in recent years.</p> <p>Despite sellers slashing prices, so far, only three Greenwich homes have sold for more than $10 million. In response, new listings have dropped 31% as sellers opt to wait out the gully in hopes of securing a higher price.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 460px;" /></a></p> <p>But as it turns out, one of those three homes belongs to Stanley Druckenmiller, the billionaire founder of Duquesne Capital, who sold it at a considerable discount, according to <a href="">Bloomberg</a>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Billionaire investor Stanley Druckenmiller sold his eight-bedroom Greenwich mansion for $25 million,</strong> the biggest sale this year in a Connecticut town where high-end listings have been piling up.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It took a discount to seal the deal. <u><strong>The purchase price was 21 percent less than the $31.5 million the seller originally sought,</strong></u> according to the listing. Druckenmiller bought the 12,238-square-foot (1,137-square-meter) home in 2004 for $23 million.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Druckenmiller&rsquo;s sale was the third in Greenwich this year for more than $20 million, and the second to find a buyer after the owner agreed to a price cut, according to data from appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. There were 180 luxury homes on the market in Greenwich at the end of the third quarter, the firms said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Once upon a time, a nonexistent income tax (Connecticut became the last state in the US to institute an income tax in the early 1990s) and low property taxes - not to mention the gold coast tableau of beautiful beaches and lush greenery - made Greenwich one of America&rsquo;s most sought-after zip codes.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 259px;" /></a></p> <p>But two income-tax hikes pushed through under Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy, not to mention a looming fiscal crisis, have seriously diminished Connecticut&rsquo;s popularity. The fact that Connecticut is a mostly suburban state &ndash; at a time when young people are migrating toward urban surroundings &ndash; certainly isn&rsquo;t helping property values.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 222px;" /></a></p> <p>There were only five sales for $10 million or more in 2015 and 2016, the slowest pace in this category since at least 2008, and less than half the average, according to brokerage Houlihan Lawrence. As of late October, there were nearly 40 properties listed for $10 million in and around Greenwich. At the current pace, it would take at least seven years to sell them all at the current pace.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 219px;" /></a></p> <p>One would think, with stocks at record highs, the &ldquo;wealth effect&rdquo; would lead to an increase in purchases of luxury homes. However, perhaps the most significant factor affecting the Greenwich real-estate market is a shift in trends. Younger couples favor urban environments &ndash; meaning they&rsquo;re more likely to opt for a Manhattan apartment instead of an expansive home in the suburbs.</p> <p>As one real-estate agent put it, small is the new big.</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="463" height="197" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American upper class Business Connecticut Douglas Elliman Real Estate Finance Gold Coast Greenwich, Connecticut Luxury goods Money New York metropolitan area Property tax Real estate Real estate broker Stanley Druckenmiller United States Wed, 22 Nov 2017 03:40:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 607711 at UN Releases Shocking Video Of North Korean Defector's Mad Dash Into The South Under Fire <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Ryan Pickrell via The Daily Caller,</em></a></p> <p><strong>Incredible video footage from the tense Korean Demilitarized Zone shows one North Korean soldier&rsquo;s desperate dash into South Korea as his comrades let loose a barrage of bullets. </strong></p> <p><strong><a href=""><img height="261" src="" width="560" /></a></strong></p> <p>United Nations Command <a href="">released</a> CCTV footage Tuesday of a suspected staff sergeant in his 20s fleeing his desolate country, first in a jeep and then on foot, with North Korean soldiers hot on his heels. <strong>The man crossed into South Korea at the Joint Security Area while his comrades chased after him, firing on him as he ran</strong>.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-video"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Incredible footage of the North Korean soldier making his escape through the DMZ, first in a jeep and then on foot. Can clearly see North Koreans running to shoot their &quot;comrade&quot; <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Anna Fifield (@annafifield) <a href="">November 22, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src=""></script><p>A clearer and more detailed video of this extremely rare incident can be seen below.</p> <p><strong>In the video, four North Korean soldiers can be seen pursuing the defector, trying to kill him before he can reach freedom</strong>.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><strong>The young North Korean soldier was shot multiple times, but he succeeded in making it into South Korea before he collapsed in a pile of leaves. </strong>He was rescued by South Korean troops and airlifted to a medical facility in Suwon. He has already undergone two major surgeries, and he is scheduled to have another surgery Wednesday.</p> <p>The operations were complicated by the presence of numerous <a href="">parasites</a> and widespread infection, but <strong>the medical team has so far managed to keep him alive.</strong></p> <p><strong>The North Korean soldier has regained consciousness</strong> and is communicating with the medical staff, but conversation is limited.<u><em><strong> His first words were reportedly &ldquo;Is this actually South Korea?&rdquo;</strong></em></u></p> <p>The medical staff <a href="">hung</a> the South Korean flag in his hospital room to comfort him and to remind him that he actually made it. The medical personnel at Ajou University Hospital where the man is receiving treatment suspect the soldier is suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.</p> <p><strong>In addition to revealing details about one man&rsquo;s daring escape, the video shows multiple <a href="">armistice violations</a> on the part of the North Korean troops at the JSA. </strong>Not only were they carrying prohibited weapons, but they also fired and personally crossed into South Korea at the Military Demarcation Line during the incident.</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="478" height="223" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Aftermath of the Korean War Ajou University Hospital International relations Joint Security Area Korea Korean Demilitarized Zone Korean DMZ Conflict Member states of the United Nations North Korea South Korea Twitter Twitter United Nations Command Wed, 22 Nov 2017 03:24:18 +0000 Tyler Durden 607724 at Michael Pettis: China's Growth Miracle Has Run Out Of Steam <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Michael Pettis, op-ed via The Financial Times,</em></a></p> <p><strong>Beijing must reveal the true level of GDP and wasted investment...</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img height="292" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>China&rsquo;s 19th Communist party congress ended last month with an indication that Xi Jinping&rsquo;s new administration <strong>plans to rein in debt by abandoning the country&rsquo;s long-term economic targets and allowing gross domestic product growth to fall.</strong></p> <p>Typically, analysts assume that changes in reported GDP reflect movements in living standards and productive capacity. <strong>In China, however, this is not the case. </strong>Local governments are expected to boost spending by whatever amount is needed to meet the country&rsquo;s targets, <strong>whether or not it is productive. </strong></p> <p><u><strong>GDP growth is not the same as economic growth</strong></u>.</p> <p>Consider two factories that cost the same to build and operate. If the first factory produces useful goods, and the second produces unwanted ones that pile up as inventory, only the first boosts the underlying economy. Both factories, however, will increase GDP in exactly the same way.</p> <p><strong>Most economies, however, have two mechanisms that force GDP data to conform to underlying economic performance</strong>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><u><strong>First</strong></u>, hard budget constraints, which set spending limits, drive companies that systematically waste investment out of business before they can substantially distort the economy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><u><strong>Second</strong></u>, there is a market-pricing factor in GDP accounting that when bad debts caused by wasted investment are written down, the value-added component of GDP and the overall level of reported growth are reduced.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>In China, however, neither mechanism works.</strong> Bad debt is not written down and the government is not subject to hard budget constraints.<strong> It is the government sector that is mainly responsible for the investment misallocation that characterises so much recent Chinese growth. </strong></p> <p>The implications are obvious, even if most economists have been surprisingly reluctant to acknowledge them. Anyone who believes there has been a significant amount of wasted investment in China must accept that reported GDP growth overstates the real increase in wealth by the failure to recognise the associated bad debt. <u><em><strong>Were it correctly written down, by some estimates GDP growth would fall below 3 per cent. </strong></em></u></p> <p><u><strong>Historical precedents suggest the potential magnitude of this overstatement.</strong></u></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Japan&rsquo;s economy in the 1980s,</strong> for example, had distortions that resemble those of China today. Although not nearly as extreme, Japan too suffered from a very low consumption share of GDP and an overreliance on investment that, by the 1980s, had veered into substantial misallocation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the early 1990s, Japan&rsquo;s reported GDP comprised 17 per cent of the overall global total, and few doubted that its soaring economy would become the world&rsquo;s largest by the end of the century. Instead, once credit growth stabilised, Japan&rsquo;s share of global GDP began to plummet, and has since fallen by nearly 60 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The same happened to the former USSR.</strong> It grew so quickly after the second world war that by the late-1960s it comprised 14 per cent of global GDP, similar to China today, and was widely expected to overtake the US. But two decades later, its share of global GDP had fallen by more than 70 per cent.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>These cases may appear shocking, but, like China today, 1980s Japan and 1960s Russia lacked the mechanisms to account for wasted investment in reported GDP. At their peaks, growth for each country was seriously overstated by the failure to write down the waste, and understated once debt levels stabilised.</strong></p> <p><u><strong>The implications are clear.</strong></u></p> <p>China&rsquo;s growth miracle has already run out of steam.<strong> It is only by allowing debt to surge that the country is able to meet its GDP targets. </strong>This may be why President Xi has been eager to stress more meaningful goals, such as increasing household income. Whatever the reason, analysts should not read GDP growth as an indicator of China&rsquo;s underlying economic performance.</p> <p><strong>Piling up unsold and unsaleable goods or building empty airports may boost GDP in an economy whose financial system does not recognise bad debt, but it does not measure its performance.</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="680" height="331" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business China Communist Party Economic growth Economy of the United States European debt crisis Government debt Gross Domestic Product Gross domestic product Japan Michael Pettis Wed, 22 Nov 2017 03:10:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 607718 at Hundreds Of Victims Are Suing MGM Resorts Over Las Vegas Shooting <p>In a lawsuit that could have wide-ranging ramifications for the nightlife industry in Las Vegas, <a href="">Business Insider</a> reports, hundreds of victims of the Oct. 1 mass shooting have joined class-action lawsuits against MGM Resorts International, owner of the Mandalay Bay resort and casino, where shooter Stephen Paddock fired on a crowd of 20,000 country music fans from his perch in a 32nd floor hotel suite in what became the deadliest mass shooting in US history.</p> <p><strong>Several lawsuits - the largest of which was filed on behalf of 450 people - attempt to hold MGM legally liable for not doing more to prevent the attack. Victims are additionally suing the shooter Stephen Paddock&#39;s estate and the concert organizer Live Nation Entertainment Inc. as well as, in some cases, the manufacturer of the bump stocks that allowed Paddock to fire as if he were using automatic weapons. </strong></p> <p>The shooting left nearly 60 people dead, and more than 400 injured.</p> <p>Unfortunately for MGM, Nevada legal precedent suggests the company could be held liable for Paddock&rsquo;s rampage. In October, the Nevada Supreme Court found that MGM could be held liable in a 2010 assault on a California couple at one of the company&#39;s hotels, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. <strong>The court ruled that the attack was &ldquo;foreseeable&rdquo; because there had been similar cases of violence at the hotel. The question of whether the Las Vegas shooting was foreseeable will be central to the plaintiff&rsquo;s case.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 197px;" /></a></p> <p>Furthermore, with several high-profile mass shootings having taken place in the US before the Las Vegas shooting, attorneys representing the victims can argue that hotels and other venues should have known to expand measures to try to prevent them. The fact that Paddock was able to smuggle nearly two dozen firearms into his room undetected could create serious problems for the defense.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&quot;Foreseeability is one of the key components of liability,&quot; </strong>said Dick Hudak, a managing partner of Resort Security Consulting.</p> </blockquote> <p>Heidi Li Feldman, a professor at Georgetown Law School, told Business Insider it&rsquo;s &quot;entirely feasible&quot; that an attorney would make this argument based on the fact that mass shootings have taken place at other entertainment venues.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&quot;If Congress isn&#39;t regulating gun ownership, it is going to be private parties ... who end up regulating their own premises,&quot; </strong>Feldman said.</p> </blockquote> <p>The hotel industry has no national standards for security, and hotels aren&#39;t typically held accountable for guests&#39; behavior. But if any of the hundreds of victims suing Mandalay Bay win their case, it could set a new precedent for the way hotels handle security.</p> <p>But more importantly, it could shed some new light on what happened that day, as police have repeatedly changed their timeline of events, and MGM has done everything in its power to prevent employees who were involved in its response effort from speaking publicly. <strong>The company even reportedly arranged for Jesus Campos, the security guard whom Paddock shot in the leg, and who was the first to discover Paddock&rsquo;s location, to do his first national media interview with Ellen Degeneres, because the company believed she wouldn&rsquo;t try and ask too many &ldquo;gotcha&rdquo; questions. The New York Times even independently published a theoretical timeline that differed from the latest version released by the LVPD.</strong></p> <p>Finally, the public might learn the answers to several pressing questions related to the shooting as lawyers begin the process of discovery: <strong>how was Paddock, a 64-year-old-man, able to plan and execute the attack by himself? When, exactly, did Paddock&rsquo;s rampage begin, and when did he shoot Campos? After Campos made the call, how long did it take for the SWAT team to reach Paddock&rsquo;s room? Did the hotel staff promptly report the incident?</strong></p> <p>Investigators still haven&rsquo;t found a definitive motive, but they several leaks about Paddock seeking treatment for depression, as well as reports that he lost millions of dollars gambling in the year before the attack, could be potentially useful trial balloons.<br />&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="711" height="280" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American music Congress Gambling Georgetown Law School Las Vegas Las Vegas shooting Las Vegas Strip Las Vegas Valley Law Mandalay Bay Mass shooting MGM Resorts International Nevada Nevada Supreme Court New York Times Stephen Paddock Violence Wed, 22 Nov 2017 02:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 607715 at Mainstream Media Paint Power-Grabbing Saudi Dictator As Roguish, Visionary 'Reformer' <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Adam Johnson via (Fairness &amp; Accuracy In Reporting),</em></a></p> <p>Two weeks ago, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman carried out a brutal crackdown on his political opponents, arresting dozens of high-ranking relatives, kidnapping the prime minister of Lebanon, and seeing eight of his political rivals die in a convenient <a href="">helicopter crash</a>. <strong>The &ldquo;consolidation of power&rdquo; by the de facto Saudi ruler comes as his government <a href="">ramps up its siege of Yemen</a> and gets even closer to its US sponsor, thanks to Trump&rsquo;s dopey love affair with - and <a href="">direct assistance</a> of - the regime.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 242px;" /></a></p> <p>The cynical plan has been met, in <a href="">some media quarters</a>, with condemnation, <strong>but for many in the Western press, Mohammed&rsquo;s self-serving power grab is the action of a bold &ldquo;reformer,&rdquo; a roguish bad boy doing the messy but essential work of &ldquo;reforming&rdquo; the kingdom</strong> - the &ldquo;anti-corruption&rdquo; pretext of the purge largely repeated without qualification.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 554px;" /></a></p> <p><em>The <strong>Guardian</strong> (<a href="">11/5/17</a>) reported that de facto Saudi ruler Mohammed bin Salman &ldquo;is willing to take on the kingdom&rsquo;s most powerful figures to implement his reforms and consolidate power.&rdquo;</em></p> <p>The most prominent sources for this spin were two major newspapers, the <strong>New York Times</strong> and<strong> Guardian</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Guardian </strong>(<a href="">11/5/17</a>): &ldquo;Royal Purge Sends Shockwaves Through Saudi Arabia&rsquo;s Elites: Move Consolidates Power of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman as He Attempts to Reform Kingdom&rsquo;s Economy and Society&rdquo;</li> <li><strong>Guardian </strong>(<a href="">11/5/17</a>) <strong>: &ldquo;</strong>Saudi Arrests Show Crown Prince Is a Risk-Taker With a Zeal for Reform: Mohammed Bin Salman Is Confronting Some of the Kingdom&rsquo;s Richest and Most Powerful Men in His Anti-Corruption Drive&mdash;but Is He Taking on Too Much Too Fast?<em>&rdquo;</em></li> <li><strong>Guardian</strong> (<a href="">11/6/17</a>)<strong>: &ldquo;</strong>Oil Price Rises to Two-Year High After Saudi Arabia Purge: Markets Push Price Up to $62 a Barrel After Anti-Corruption Purge by Billionaire Crown Prince Who Backs Prolonging Oil Production Curbs&rdquo;</li> <li><strong>Guardian </strong><em>&nbsp;</em>(<a href="">11/7/17</a>)<strong>: &ldquo;</strong>&lsquo;This Is a Revolution&rsquo;: Saudis Absorb Crown Prince&rsquo;s Rush to Reform: Consolidation of Power in Mohammed Bin Salman&rsquo;s Hands Has Upended All Aspects of Society, Including Previously Untouchable Ultra-Elite<em>&rdquo;</em></li> <li><strong>New York Times </strong>(<a href="">11/5/17</a>): &ldquo;Saudi Crown Prince&rsquo;s Mass Purge Upends a Longstanding System&rdquo;</li> <li><strong>New York Times </strong>(<a href=";src=trending">11/14/17</a>): &ldquo;The Upstart Saudi Prince Who&rsquo;s Throwing Caution to the Wind&rdquo;</li> </ul> <p>While the text of the <strong>Times</strong> articles was far more skeptical about Mohammed&rsquo;s motives, the<strong> Guardian</strong>&rsquo;s (<a href="">11/5/17</a>) initial coverage of the bloody purge - not just the headlines - was written in breathless press release tones:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Saudi Arabia&rsquo;s leadership has pulled off its boldest move yet to consolidate power around its young crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, arresting 11 senior princes, one of the country&rsquo;s richest men and scores of former ministers in what it billed as a corruption purge.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The move sidelined at least 20 senior figures, among them outspoken billionaire, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, sending shockwaves through the ranks of the kingdom&rsquo;s elites, who had long viewed senior royals as immune.</p> </blockquote> <p>Lot of glowing prose to unpack here. Longtime Mideast correspondent Martin Chulov began by referring to &ldquo;Saudi Arabia&rsquo;s leadership,&rdquo; which is a nice, sterile way of referencing the country&rsquo;s unelected hereditary king and crown prince. Then he pivoted into marketing pablum about &ldquo;bold moves&rdquo; and &ldquo;consolidating power,&rdquo; before unironically framing the purge as an &ldquo;anti-corruption&rdquo; gesture designed to stick it to the &ldquo;kingdom&rsquo;s elites.&rdquo; One could come away from reading this lead with the impression that the billionaire aristocrat was a populist folk hero in the vein of Robin Hood or John Dillinger. The thrilling profile continued:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Prince Mohammed will oversee the corruption commission, adding to his already formidable list of responsibilities, including his role as Defense minister and champion of the economic transformation, dubbed Vision 2030, that aims to revolutionize most aspects of Saudi life within 12 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Prince Mohammed told the <strong>Guardian</strong> last month that the kingdom had been &ldquo;not normal&rdquo; for the past 30 years and pledged to return Saudi Arabia to moderate Islam.</p> </blockquote> <p>While the author had a &ldquo;<a href="">to be sure</a>&rdquo; paragraph, citing &ldquo;others&rdquo; calling it a &ldquo;naked attempt to weed out dissent,&rdquo; the overall thrust of the article was that a roguish billionaire Boy King was earnestly seeking &ldquo;reform&rdquo; and opposing &ldquo;elites.&rdquo;</p> <p>A follow-up piece (<a href="">11/7/17</a>) took flattering coverage to new extremes. The dispatch, again by Chulov, cited nothing but anonymous Saudi court hanger-ons and a Gulf-funded talking head from the <a href="">NATO-aligned</a> Atlantic Council think tank. The article, &ldquo;&lsquo;This Is a Revolution&rsquo;: Saudis Absorb Crown Prince&rsquo;s Rush to Reform,&rdquo; was populated with blind quotes from such adversarial voices as a &ldquo;senior minister,&rdquo; &ldquo;a senior Saudi official,&rdquo; a &ldquo;senior figure,&rdquo; a &ldquo;senior Saudi businessman&rdquo; and &ldquo;veteran business leaders.&rdquo; (Evidently no junior officials or rookie business leaders were available for comment.)</p> <p>The article painted the &ldquo;consolidation of power&rdquo; by Mohammed as an inevitability with broad support - using the dubious &ldquo;reform&rdquo; narrative without irony. With<strong> Guardian </strong>editors again painting Mohammed as a populist hero by insisting he &ldquo;upended&rdquo; &ldquo;previously untouchable ultra-elite,&rdquo; one is left to wonder why they don&rsquo;t consider the absolute-monarch-in-waiting - who <a href="">just bought</a> a $590 million yacht - part of the &ldquo;ultra elite.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s a curious framing that reeks more of PR than journalism.</p> <div id="attachment_5593491"> <p><em><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="height: 602px; width: 500px;" /></a></em></p> <p><em>The New York Times (<a href="">6/23/17</a>) editorialized that Mohammed bin Salman &ldquo;has cultivated an image as a dynamic leader, keen to take a rigid conservative country into the modern era.&rdquo; </em></p> </div> <p>This was a trope one could see emerging over the past few months. Similar &ldquo;bold reformer&rdquo; frames were used in <strong>New York Times</strong> editorials (&ldquo;The Young and Brash Saudi Crown Prince,&rdquo; <a href="">6/23/17</a>) and straight reporting (&ldquo;Saudi Arabia&rsquo;s Grand Plan to Move Beyond Oil: Big Goals, Bigger Hurdles,&rdquo; <a href="">10/24/17</a>). Everything&rsquo;s new and exciting. The brutal, routine functions of the Saudi state are seen as laws of nature - and those in charge of it are the reformers of the very oppression they initially authored.</p> <p>A <strong>Guardian </strong>editorial on <a href="">November 7</a> was critical of the government, calling it &ldquo;regressive&rdquo; and Mohammed &ldquo;belligerent,&rdquo; but ultimately rested on &ldquo;both sides&rdquo; framing of recent events. The only meaningfully critical coverage of Saudi Arabia coming from the <strong>Guardian</strong> since the purge has been in two articles (<a href="">11/12/17</a>, <a href="">11/16/17</a>), both in the context of Saudi Arabia&rsquo;s war on Yemen. Neither mentioned bin Salman, and both stressed how the Saudis are responding in earnest to international pleas to stop their mass-murdering blockade of the Arab world&rsquo;s poorest country.</p> <p><strong>Per usual, the Guardian reserves the label &ldquo;regime&rdquo; for Official Enemies like <a href="">Syria</a> and <a href="">North Korea</a>; Saudi Arabia doesn&rsquo;t have a regime, it has &ldquo;leadership.&rdquo; </strong>Unlike adversary governments, often seen in need of &ldquo;regime change,&rdquo; the Saudi government merely requires &ldquo;reform&rdquo; - and a bold new &ldquo;reformer,&rdquo; of the sort championed by the likes of the <strong>Guardian</strong> and <strong>New York Times</strong>.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="844" height="409" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Adel al-Jubeir Atlantic Council Corruption Geography of Asia headlines Heirs apparent House of Saud Kings of Saudi Arabia Middle East Mohammad bin Salman Monarchy New York Times North Atlantic Treaty Organization North Korea Politics Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia–United Kingdom relations Saudi court Saudi government Wed, 22 Nov 2017 02:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 607717 at Foxconn Interns Worked Illegal 11-Hour Shifts To Meet iPhone X Demand <p>Apple and Foxconn have a well-documented history of labor abuses ranging from underpaying employees to compulsory over time that have been blamed for a slew of deaths and suicides among Foxconn&#39;s workforce. <strong>These abuses were widely covered in the media around 2012 but largely disappeared from the headlines after Apple CEO Tim Cook said he would pressure Foxconn into adopting more humane labor conditions. </strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 266px;" /></a></p> <p>But apparently the unprecedented production problems that plagued the company&#39;s rollout of the iPhone X put Foxconn in an uncomfortable situation where they couldn&#39;t find enough seasonal workers to ramp up production fast enough. To compensate for the shortfall, the company recruited &quot;interns&quot; - who were also studying as full-time students - to work grueling 12-hour shifts at a factory in mainland China. <strong>The story was uncovered by the <a href="">Financial Times</a>, which sent a reporter to China to talk with Foxconn interns, who worked the long hours. This violated not only Apple and Foxconn&#39;s policies, but local laws governing labor abuses. </strong></p> <p><strong>The students, who are doing the internships for school credit, say they have little choice but to follow their supervisers&#39; orders. </strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Six high school students told the Financial Times they routinely work 11-hour days assembling the iPhone X at a factory in Zhengzhou, China, which constitutes illegal overtime for student interns under Chinese law.<br />The six said they were among a group of 3,000 students from Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School sent in September to work at the local facility run by Taiwan-based Apple supplier Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The students, aged 17 to 19, said they were told that a three-month stint at the factory was required &ldquo;work experience&rdquo; that they had to complete in order to graduate.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;We are being forced by our school to work here,&rdquo; </strong>said Ms Yang, an 18-year-old student training to be a train attendant who declined to use her first name for fear of punishment. <strong>&ldquo;The work has nothing to do with our studies.&rdquo; She said she assembled up to 1,200 iPhone X cameras a day.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The school declined to comment.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Apple said an audit has turned up &ldquo;instances of student interns working overtime at a supplier facility in China&rdquo;, adding &ldquo;we&rsquo;ve confirmed the students worked voluntarily, were compensated and provided benefits, but they should not have been allowed to work overtime&rdquo;. &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Foxconn said that &ldquo;all work was voluntary and compensated appropriately, [but] the interns did work overtime in violation of our policy&rdquo; prohibiting student interns working more than 40 hours a week.</p> </blockquote> <p>When confronted by the <a href="">FT</a>, Apple and Foxconn acknowledged that they were aware of student &ldquo;interns&rdquo; working overtime and said they were taking steps to end the practice. Both companies insisted that the students were working voluntarily, and that Apple had a strict policy prohibiting interns from working more than 40 hours a week. However, given the iPhone X&rsquo;s unprecedented production problems linked to its facial-recognition features, Apple management was willing to tolerate a few &ldquo;violations&rdquo; of the company&rsquo;s policy.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The launch of the anniversary iPhone X was marred by production issues and was delayed to November from Apple&rsquo;s typical September release date. The weeks of idle capacity caused Foxconn&rsquo;s quarterly profit to drop 39 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a long-time Foxconn employee, <strong>the Zhengzhou factory hires students every year during the busy season between August and December. Such hiring can swell numbers at the plant from a base of 100,000 to more than 300,000 workers producing up to 20,000 iPhones a day, the employee said. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But this year, the need for seasonal workers was greater, the employee added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;The purchasing practices of Apple and others are designed to cut costs, and do things &lsquo;just in time&rsquo;,&rdquo; </strong>said Jenny Chan, assistant professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.<strong> &ldquo;This leads to the use of student labourers who can be flexibly hired.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>In accordance with its &ldquo;preferential policies&rdquo; meant to keep Foxxconn happy and thriving, the local government in Henan, where the Foxxconn factory is based, helped the company recruit interns from vocational schools.</p> <p>According to the FT, the regional government issued notices to schools in the central Chinese province to send their &ldquo;work experience students&rdquo; to Foxconn.&nbsp; Students also came from the nearby cities of Kaifeng, Nanyang, and Xinxiang, according to a Foxconn employee working on the iPhone X. Students also came from the nearby cities of Kaifeng, Nanyang, and Xinxiang.</p> <p>Of course, Apple greatly benefited from Foxconn&#39;s abuses: Wall Street analysts are now predicting that Apple may have sold as many as 8 million iPhone X units since they went on sale late last month. And so far, it appears that neither Apple nor Foxconn will be held accountable for violating labor laws.</p> <p><u><em><strong>So, what&#39;s stopping it from doing this again next year?</strong></em></u></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="576" height="306" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Apple Apple Inc. Business China Computer hardware Education Foxconn Foxconn suicides headlines Hong Kong Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hongfujin Internship IOS IPhone regional government Technology Zhengzhou Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School Wed, 22 Nov 2017 02:10:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 607678 at Stockman On America's Fiscal Sundown, Part 1 <p><em><a _mce_href="" href="">Authored by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog,</a></em></p> <p><strong>The Senate Finance Committee&nbsp;tax bill is not supply side and it&#39;s not even a tax cut; it&#39;s a gimmick-ridden policy mongrel that smells to high heaven of political desperation and cynicism.</strong></p> <p>Contrary to the&nbsp;Donald&#39;s delusional promise that the American people will get some&nbsp;tax cut sugar plums for&nbsp;Christmas, we are reasonably confident that&nbsp;this misbegotten exercise in reverse-robin hood economics&nbsp;won&#39;t&nbsp;reach his desk. But whether it&nbsp;passes in some diluted&nbsp;form or not, we are entirely&nbsp;sure that what&nbsp;the American people are actually getting is&nbsp;a giant&nbsp;lump of fiscal coal----courtesy of the craven capitulation of McConnell &amp; Co to the K-Street lobbies and Wall Street.</p> <p><strong>And we do mean craven in the very fullest&nbsp;sense of beltway mendacity.</strong>&nbsp;Come to think of&nbsp;it, we&nbsp;have witnessed&nbsp;few exercises in&nbsp;raw&nbsp;partisan brinksmanship that were as meretricious and fiscally irresponsible as the current GOP campaign to pass a tax bill---any tax&nbsp;bill---&nbsp;merely&nbsp;for the sake of posting a legislative victory.</p> <p>And that assessment comes&nbsp;after scrolling&nbsp;all the way back to&nbsp;1970, when&nbsp;your editor got a $50 loan from his mother in order to buy an airline ticket from Boston (where we were hiding out from the Vietnam War at Harvard Divinity School) to Washington DC (to interview for a job on Capitol Hill). As it happened, we got the job, paid back the loan and have since then witnessed&nbsp;47 years of Warfare State and Welfare State aggrandizement up close and personal.</p> <p><em><u><strong>But what is now happening in the Imperial City is a true turning point for the worst. </strong></u></em>The last vestige of fiscal rectitude is now&nbsp;being deep-sixed by the GOP&#39;s vestigial budget hawks in the name of pure partisan advantage.</p> <p>To be sure, the partisan juggernaut that resulted in Obamacare in 2010 was every bit as craven and fiscally deleterious. It accommodated every element of the nation&#39;s bloated&nbsp;health care cartels---hospitals, doctors, pharma, HMOs and insurance companies----with sweetheart reimbursement schemes in return for their acquiescence to the bill&#39;s passage and the fulfillment of what had been a 60-year Dem quest for quasi-socialized health care.</p> <p>Yet at&nbsp;least the Democrats did attempt to finance the trillions in new tax credits and Medicaid costs generated by ObamaCare&nbsp;with some revenue raisers such as the medical device and insurance company&nbsp;taxes and the added levies on upper income earners and investment returns.</p> <p>Back in the day, in fact, this kind of <strong>&quot;tax and spend&quot;</strong> welfare statism is exactly what the Democrats stood for. And it was also&nbsp;the party&#39;s&nbsp;political Achilles Heel because it&nbsp;enabled the GOP to&nbsp;periodically arouse the electorate on the dangers&nbsp;of &quot;big government&quot; and&nbsp;thereby obtain a&nbsp;resurgence in Washington&#39;s corridors of political power.</p> <p>But after the break from the old-time fiscal religion of balanced budgets during&nbsp;the so-called Reagan Revolution in 1981, the GOP has slowly morphed into the <em><strong>&quot;borrow and spend&quot;</strong></em> party.</p> <p>Indeed, as the historically ordained party of fiscal rectitude,&nbsp;the GOP&#39;s&nbsp;apostasy has enabled two-party complicity in a mindless regime of fiscal kick-the-can since the turn of the century. That lapse, in turn,&nbsp;acutely aggravated an already perilous fiscal equation owing to the baby boom retirement wave and the Fed induced slowdown in the trend rate of economic growth (see below).</p> <p>In this context,&nbsp;it should be noted that the&nbsp;Senate bill is a farce insofar as it claims to be a middle class tax cut and growth stimulant---since it actually accomplishes&nbsp;neither.</p> <p>On a honestly reckoned basis (counting debt service and eliminating budget gimmicks), however,&nbsp;it would add <strong>$2.2 trillion</strong> of new debt over the next decade on top of the <em><strong>$12 trillion</strong> </em>already built-in under current policy. Accordingly, the Senate version of Trumpite &quot;tax reform&quot; would accelerate the public debt toward <em><strong>$35 trillion</strong></em> by 2027 or <strong>140%</strong> of GDP.</p> <p>Yet all of this added red ink&nbsp;would be &quot;wasted&quot; on cuts for 150 million individual taxpayers that&nbsp;are written in disappearing ink (i.e. they&nbsp;lapse after 2025)&nbsp;and on&nbsp;misbegotten corporate rate cuts that will do virtually nothing for economic growth. Indeed, contrary to the old Washington saw about &quot;wasting a good crisis&quot; the Senate bill&nbsp;involves something&nbsp;more like creating a good crisis and wasting it, too.</p> <p>In the first place,&nbsp;you don&#39;t really&nbsp;even need a tax table to see that the overwhelming share of&nbsp;individual taxpayers get shafted----aside from&nbsp;4.2 million very wealthy filers&nbsp;who would benefit from the alternative minimum tax repeal&nbsp;and a few ten thousand high income business owners who will get a<em><strong> 17%</strong> </em>deduction for eligible business income ( a version of the House&#39;s pass-thru rate of 25%).</p> <p>By 2025 the combined cut from these two provisions&nbsp;amounts to <strong>$155 billion per year</strong>; and despite sun-setting the following year in keeping with the general fiscal scam of the Senate bill, it&#39;s unequivocally big bucks of tax relief for households at the&nbsp;tippy-top of the economic ladder while it lasts.</p> <p>By contrast,&nbsp;there are <em><strong>no net goodies</strong> </em>at all even while the provisions do last for the remaining&nbsp;145 million individual filers. (All individual tax&nbsp;provisions expire at the end of 2025 in order to propagate the myth that the bill does not add to the long-term deficit and thereby complies with the so-called Byrd Rule for reconciliation and the 51-vote majority).</p> <p>In fact, the overall deal is a crap shoot. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation,&nbsp;when fully effective in 2025,&nbsp;the&nbsp;Senate bill will lower rates in the seven brackets by<em><strong> $165 billion</strong> </em>per year and provide further relief&nbsp;of <strong>$102 billion&nbsp;</strong>owing to doubling&nbsp;the standard deduction (to $25,000 for joint returns) and <em><strong>$78 billion</strong></em> for doubling the child credit to $2,000 per eligible dependent. So that&#39;s $<em><strong>345 billion</strong> </em>per year of &quot;cuts&quot;.</p> <p>At the same time, repeal of the existing $4,050 personal exemption, complete repeal of the SALT deduction and other loophole closers would raise tax collections by <em><strong>$355 billion</strong> </em>in 2025. In a word, aggregate households other than business owners and alternative minimum tax payers, come out <em><strong>$10 billion in the hole</strong></em>---and that&#39;s in the best year (2025) before it all expires!</p> <p><strong>Surely, this is the farce of the century; after the estimated 350 amendments slated for consideration on the Senate floor, it will undoubtedly be subject to the full measure of&nbsp;the ridicule and legislative scorn and redo&nbsp;it deserves.</strong></p> <p>By the same token, the <strong>$1.4 trillion</strong> ten-year cost of cutting the corporate rate to 20% and eliminating the corporate minimum tax is permanent. That is the source of all the Wall Street excitement about the bill, but also the reason why the&nbsp;GOP claims that it will stimulate a tsunami of economic growth are so completely groundless.</p> <p>In a word, the corporate tax is paid by shareholders, not workers; America&#39;s big businesses have located production and jobs off-shore (as opposed to merely their&nbsp;tax books and small HQ operations) to access cheaper labor costs and to be nearer to supply chains and end markets, not due to the 35% statutory rate (which few US-based&nbsp;internationals&nbsp;pay); and owing to decades of central bank financial repression and the falsification of financial asset prices, debt and equity capital has never been cheaper.</p> <p>Accordingly, the <em><strong>$1.4 trillion</strong> </em>corporate rate cut will not go into more jobs, more domestic investment or higher wages; it will overwhelmingly be returned to shareholders in the form of stock buybacks, higher dividends and leveraged recaps. That is, it will go to the 1% and the 10% who own most of the publicly traded equities in the US.</p> <p><em><strong>We will examine the GOP&#39;s phony &quot;growth&quot; and &quot;dynamic scoring&quot; story in greater depth in part 2. But the larger point here is straight forward: Why try to fool the middle class with a temporary tax cut?</strong></em></p> <p>That is, an unsustainable&nbsp;budgetary maneuver that&nbsp;is hostage to&nbsp;a growing fiscal crisis. Yet the GOP is wholly&nbsp;unwilling to confront the latter&nbsp;by reeling in a runaway Warfare State and $3 trillion per year of entitlements and other mandatory spending programs.</p> <p><strong>Worse still, why aggravate the central bank driven financial engineering spree in the C-suites via a deficit-financed increase in after-tax corporate cash flows that will yield little return in extra growth and revenue?</strong></p> <p>Neither of these actions would be justifiable under even ordinary circumstances. But in light of the double whammy of the aging baby boom and faltering economic growth induced by monetary central planning, these measures are especially egregious.</p> <p>As we frequently point out, real final sales are a far better measure of economic growth&nbsp;than GDP because this metric excludes inventory fluctuations, which can distort the data&nbsp;at key turning points in the business cycle.</p> <p>Moreover,&nbsp;it is self-evident that&nbsp;the business cycle has not been abolished by the Fed or anyone else. What counts, therefore, is&nbsp;the&nbsp;sustained&nbsp;growth rate&nbsp;over longer time frames during which the business cycle boom and bust periods are averaged together.</p> <p><strong>On that basis, the U.S. economy has hit the skids very badly---with the trend growth of final sales now at just<em> one-third </em>of its historic average.</strong></p> <p><img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-127102" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 416px;" /></p> <p>Here&#39;s&nbsp;a news flash for the GOP.&nbsp;The above&nbsp;36-year trend of&nbsp;stark deterioration in&nbsp;U.S. economic growth&nbsp;<strong>didn&#39;t happen because Federal&nbsp;taxes were rising relative to their historic moorings</strong>. As a matter of fact, Ronald Reagan inherited a budget with taxes at about<em><strong> 20%</strong></em> of GDP and under current law for FY 2018, the Federal tax take will amount to just<strong> 17.7%</strong>.</p> <p>In Part&nbsp;2 we will discuss the actual&nbsp;anti-growth skunk in the woodpile---which is the Bubble Finance policies of the Fed and the manner in which they have turned the C-suites of corporate American into anti-growth financial engineering operations.&nbsp;But for the moment the idea that the <em><strong>1.2% real growth trend,</strong> </em>which has been in place over the past decade, can somehow be tripled as claimed by&nbsp;White House needs to be recognized for what it is: pie-in-the-sky arm-waving that can&#39;t possibly&nbsp;result from the above described Senate tax bill.</p> <p><a href=";rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=images&amp;cd=&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0ahUKEwiF58TJkILWAhWC5yYKHeTgC48QjRwIBw&amp;;psig=AFQjCNGldDQqG89nF4mOZMpjfZE8ew6_Xg&amp;ust=1504291337107678" id="irc_mil"><img alt="Image result for images of government receipts share of GDP in us" id="irc_mi" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 323px;" /></a></p> <p>Indeed, what the GOP&nbsp;is failing to reckon with in&nbsp;its&nbsp;misplaced confidence that the U.S. growth machine can be revved up at the wave&nbsp;of a tax plan is a&nbsp;hard stop economic reality&nbsp;lurking just around the corner. Namely,&nbsp;that we are now in a late stage business cycle expansion that is&nbsp;due for a recession.</p> <p>Thus, when the Donald recently&nbsp;enthused that &quot;<em><strong>I happen to be one that thinks we can go much higher than three percent. There&#39;s no reason why we shouldn&rsquo;t. (Applause.)&quot;, </strong></em>we are quite sure that no one has ever shown him the chart below.</p> <p>To wit, to have even a prayer of<strong> 3.0% real GDP</strong>&nbsp;growth over the next decade---to say nothing of &quot;much higher&quot; levels---the U.S. economy would have to go <em><strong>207 months</strong> </em>without a cyclical downturn. That&#39;s never happened in recorded history; it&#39;s&nbsp;<em><strong>2X</strong> </em>the longest expansion on record and nearly<em><strong> 3X</strong> </em>the average expansion since 1950.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-146723" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 365px;" /></p> <p>The best way to visualize that crucial point about the cyclically adjusted long-term growth rate---that is, averaging the boom and bust years together---is via the contrafactual. The blue line in the graph&nbsp;below projects nominal GDP through 2027 based on the actual growth rate over 2006-2016---a period which averages in a full cycle of&nbsp;boom, bust and recovery.</p> <p>By the terminal year for current budgeting purposes (2027), nominal GDP---which is what actually drives the Federal revenues and the deficit---would clock in at about<em><strong> $25.7 trillion. </strong></em>That<em>&nbsp;</em>compares to<em><strong> $19 trillion</strong> </em>at present and amounts to a cut-and-paste replication&nbsp;of the last decade.</p> <p>By contrast, if you were to overlay upon this&nbsp;actual 10-year trend a&nbsp;real GDP growth rate of<em><strong> 3.0%</strong></em>&nbsp;, which&nbsp;the White House and many Capitol Hill Republicans suggest is a &quot;no sweat&quot; proposition, you get the gray line. That&#39;s the annual sum of the 2% inflation rate, which the Fed is bound and determine to achieve one way or another, and the 3.0% real growth predicate.</p> <p>The&nbsp;bottom line is <em><strong>$30&nbsp;trillion of extra GDP </strong></em>over the coming&nbsp;decade or&nbsp;nearly <em><strong>23%</strong></em> more than&nbsp;would be&nbsp;generated by the actual growth rate (blue line)&nbsp;during the last decade.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-151927" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 566px;" /></p> <p><em>(Note: the data in the box is unfortunately&nbsp;upside down. The 2006-2016 actual trend should be on the top line and the Trump forecast on the bottom).</em></p> <p>Needless to say, there is no set of imaginable tax policies that can generate<em><strong> $30 trillion</strong> </em>more of cumulative GDP over the next decade than would occur based on the actual expansion of the last decade.&nbsp;Moreover, that is especially not&nbsp;going to happen in the face of monetary policy normalization at the Fed and other central banks around the world, and even more&nbsp;especially not after the house of cards in the&nbsp;Red Ponzi eventually barfs all over the world economy.</p> <p>As&nbsp;we have frequently argued,&nbsp;the actual problem is much more the<em><strong> composition</strong> </em>of taxes in the U.S., not the absolute level.&nbsp;While lower taxes and smaller government are always preferable, the lesson of the last 35 years is that cutting nominal tax rates but not spending levels&nbsp;only results in an explosion of public debt. It also means, implicitly, that&nbsp;future and unborn taxpayers will bear the burden eventually.</p> <p>In that context, we must insist once again that what is hammering jobs and take home pay in Flyover America is high and rising<strong><em> payroll taxes</em></strong>, not the <em><strong>corporate income tax.</strong> </em>The fact is,&nbsp;very few U.S. corporations pay the statutory 35% rate, and the ones which do are essentially domestic&nbsp;operations like retailers, restaurant chains, wholesale distribution and warehousing operations etc. that have no jobs to bring back home&nbsp;anyway.</p> <p>In fact, the<em><strong> effective</strong> </em>corporate tax rate in the U.S. is about <em><strong>20%</strong></em>, not<em><strong> 35%</strong></em> and has been declining for decades.</p> <p><img class="mw-mmv-final-image jpg mw-mmv-dialog-is-open" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 355px;" /></p> <p>In part 2, we will demonstrate why any corporate rate&nbsp;reduction that is actually legislated---and we continue to doubt any tax bill at all can be enacted---will have virtually <em><strong>no impact on jobs</strong></em>. Under current Fed policy and the financial engineering it induces in the corporate C-suites, <em><strong>virtually all the tax savings will be flushed back into the casino as stock buybacks, LBOs and increased dividend payouts.</strong></em></p> <p>&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="282" height="146" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alternative minimum tax Business Central Banks CRAP Economic growth Economic ideologies Economy Economy of the United States ETC Federal Tax flash Harvard Divinity School Insurance Companies Joint Committee on Taxation Monetary Policy Nominal GDP Obamacare Political debates about the United States federal budget Presidency of George W. Bush Reality Recession recovery Republican Party Senate Senate Finance Committee Supply-side economics Tax Tax cut United States United States federal budget US Federal Reserve White House White House Wed, 22 Nov 2017 01:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 607706 at Do The Russians Have The Key To Solve America's Opioid Crisis? <p>A new <strong>medical breakthrough in southern Russia </strong>could hold the key in solving America&rsquo;s opioid epidemic.</p> <p>Scientists at Volgograd Sate Medical University are launching clinical <a href="">trials</a> into<u><strong> a pain-killing drug which outperforms morphine, and does not cause addiction</strong></u>. This would be a big step in the right direction, as the crisis in the United States spirals out-of-control.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 321px;" /></a></p> <p>In late October, President Trump addressed the nation outlining that the opioid crisis is now a &lsquo;public health emergency&rsquo;. Here are some mind-numbing facts indicating America has a major problem and if not fixed soon, it could produce major strains on the economy and healthcare system.</p> <ul> <li><strong>In 2016, more than two million Americans had an addiction to prescription or illicit opioids.</strong></li> <li>Since 2000, over 300,000 Americans have died from overdoses involving opioids.</li> <li><strong>Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury death in the United States, outnumbering both traffic crashes and gun-related deaths.</strong></li> <li>In 2015, there were 52,404 drug overdose deaths &mdash; 33,091 of those deaths, almost two-thirds, involved the use of opioids.</li> <li>The situation has only gotten worse, with drug overdose deaths in 2016 expected to exceed 64,000.</li> <li><strong>This represents a rate of 175 deaths a day.</strong></li> </ul> <p>Department head of the Volgograd State Medical University, and RAS Member Alexander Spasov told <a href="">TASS</a> about this innovative medical breakthrough last Friday in&nbsp;Pyatigorsk, Russia.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;Together with our colleagues from the South Federal University, we created a drug which still has no specific name but is only referred to as RU-1205. <strong>Based on its effect, it outperforms such well-known painkillers as morphine and promedol and does not cause addictive side effects.</strong> Now, a full round of preclinical studies has been completed, and we are negotiating with two plants that are supposed to bankroll clinical research and initiate industrial production. <strong>At present, there isn&rsquo;t a similar drug like this anywhere in the world</strong>,&rdquo; Spasov announced at the 3rd International Research and Practice Conference on Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="">TASS</a> also interviewed&nbsp;clinical pharmacologist at Russia&rsquo;s Ministry of Healthcare, RAS Member, Dean of Volgograd State Medical University Vladimir Petrov who highlighted RU-1205 &ldquo;holds special significance for medicine&rdquo;.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;A pain-killing drug, which outperforms morphine, and does not cause mental or physical addiction, is a huge breakthrough.</strong> This medication may set off a small revolution in pharmacology. It will save patients from subsequent addiction, it takes away the possibility of a drug habit setting in, which occurs when using morphine products over the long term,&rdquo; Spasov said.</p> </blockquote> <p>This could be a major blow to the Sackler family who has made billions selling <a href="">OxyContin</a> in the United States through Purdue Pharma since 1995. Some reports indicate the family has been a major contributor to the opioid crisis and there are no plans in stopping the flood of drugs onto city streets.</p> <p>There are even reports Purdue is <a href="">rapidly</a> moving into Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and other regions, and pushing for broad use of painkillers that are highly addictive in places that are unprepared for the side-effects of addiction.</p> <p><strong>So far, RU-1205 is out of preclinical studies headed to the next phase of clinical research, then production. </strong>The idea that RU-1205 is a very real candidate in solving America&rsquo;s opioid epidemic shows there is hope, but the drug could be a ways out before production indicating the crisis will deepen further.</p> <p>If the miracle drug is ever cleared then goes into production, there is just one question we ask: <strong><em>Will the United States allow the Russians to fix the opioid crisis? </em></strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="688" height="368" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Chemistry Drug culture Drug overdose Euphoriants fixed Health Latin America Medical University Methadone Middle East Middle East Morphinans Morphine Neurochemistry Neuroscience Opioid Oxycodone RTT Russia’s Ministry of Healthcare South Federal University southern Russia Volgograd State Medical University Wed, 22 Nov 2017 01:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 607656 at An Unserious Nation <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Patrick Buchanan via,</em></a></p> <p><strong><em>How stands John Winthrop&rsquo;s &ldquo;city upon a hill&rdquo; this Thanksgiving? </em></strong></p> <p><strong><em><a href=""><img height="191" src="" width="600" /></a></em></strong></p> <p><strong><em>How stands the country that was to be &ldquo;a light unto the nations&rdquo;?</em></strong></p> <p>To those who look to cable TV for news, the answer must at the least be ambiguous. For consider the issues that have lately convulsed the public discourse of the American republic.</p> <p><strong>Today&rsquo;s great question seems to be whether our 45th president is as serious a sexual predator as our 42nd was proven to be, and whether the confessed sins of Sen. Al Franken are as great as the alleged sins of Judge Roy Moore.</strong></p> <p><strong><u>On both questions, the divide is, as ever, along partisan lines.</u></strong></p> <p>And every day for weeks, beginning with Hollywood king Harvey Weinstein, whose accusers nearly number in three digits, actors, media personalities and politicians have been falling like nine pins over allegations and admissions of sexual predation.</p> <p>What is our civil rights issue, and who are today&rsquo;s successors to the Freedom Riders of the &lsquo;60s? Millionaire NFL players &ldquo;taking a knee&rdquo; during the national anthem to dishonor the flag of their country to protest racist cops.</p> <p><em><u><strong>And what was the great cultural issue of summer and fall?</strong></u></em></p> <p><strong>An ideological clamor to tear down memorials and monuments to the European discoverers of America, any Founding Father who owned slaves and any and all Confederate soldiers and statesmen.</strong></p> <p>Stained-glass windows of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson have been removed from the National Cathedral. Plaques to Lee and George Washington have been taken down from the walls of the Episcopal church in Alexandria where both men worshipped.</p> <p><strong>But the city that bears Washington&rsquo;s name is erecting a new statue on Pennsylvania Avenue &mdash; to honor the four-term mayor who served time on a cocaine charge: Marion Shepilov Barry.</strong></p> <p>Whatever side one may take on these questions, can a country so preoccupied and polarized on such pursuits be taken seriously as a claimant to be the &ldquo;exceptional nation,&rdquo; a model to which the world should look and aspire?</p> <p><strong>Contrast the social, cultural and moral morass in which America is steeped with the disciplined proceedings and clarity of purpose, direction and goals of our 21st century rival: Xi Jinping&rsquo;s China.</strong></p> <p>Our elites assure us that America today is a far better place than we have ever known, surely better than the old America that existed before the liberating cultural revolution of the 1960s.</p> <p>Yet President Trump ran on a pledge to &ldquo;Make America Great Again,&rdquo; implying that while the America he grew up in was great, in the time of Barack Obama it no longer was. And he won.</p> <p><u><strong>Certainly, the issues America dealt with half a century ago seem more momentous than what consumes us today.</strong></u></p> <p><strong><em>Consider the matters that riveted America in the summer and fall of 1962, when this columnist began to write editorials for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. What was the civil rights issue of that day?</em></strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>In September of &lsquo;62, Gov. Ross Barnett decided not to allow Air Force vet James Meredith to become the first black student at Ole Miss. </strong>Attorney General Robert Kennedy sent U.S. Marshals to escort Meredith in.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hundreds of demonstrators arrived on campus to join student protests. A riot ensued. Dozens of marshals were injured. A French journalist was shot to death.<strong> The Mississippi Guard was federalized.</strong> U.S. troops were sent in, just as Ike had sent them into Little Rock when Gov. Orville Faubus refused to desegregate Central High.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>U.S. power was being used to enforce a federal court order on a recalcitrant state government</strong>, as it would in 1963 at the University of Alabama, where Gov. George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As<strong> civil rights clashes</strong> go, this was the real deal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>That fall, in a surprise attack, <strong>Chinese troops poured through the passes in the Himalayas,</strong> invading India. China declared a truce in November but kept the territories it had occupied in Jammu and Kashmir.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Then there was the <strong>Cuban missile crisis</strong>, the most dangerous crisis of the Cold War.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Since August, the Globe-Democrat had been calling for a blockade of Cuba, where Soviet ships were regularly unloading weapons. <strong>When President Kennedy declared a &ldquo;quarantine&rdquo; after revealing that missiles with nuclear warheads that could reach Washington were being installed, the Globe urged unity behind him, </strong>as it had in Oxford, Mississippi.</p> </blockquote> <p><em><strong>We seemed a more serious and united nation and people then than we are today, where so much that roils our society and consumes our attention seems unserious and even trivial.</strong></em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;And how can man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods?&rdquo; wrote the British poet Thomas Macaulay.</p> </blockquote> <p><u><em><strong>Since 1962, this nation has dethroned its God and begun debates about which of the flawed but great men who created the nation should be publicly dishonored. Are we really a better country today than we were then, when all the world looked to America as the land of the future?</strong></em></u></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="652" height="393" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Air Force Barack Obama Cable TV China India Jackson, Mississippi James Meredith John F. Kennedy Kennedy family Massachusetts Mississippi National Football League Orval Faubus Politics Protestant Episcopal Church Robert F. Kennedy United States United States Marshals Service University of Alabama University of Mississippi Wed, 22 Nov 2017 01:10:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 607710 at Faux Outrage: Reuters Says Tillerson Violating "Child Soldier Laws"; Ignores Same Policies Under Clinton-Obama <p>Late last night, <a href="">Reuters </a>published an "exclusive" report which was undoubtedly intended to be a "gotcha" hit piece on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, courtesy of some disgruntled Obama/Clinton holdovers at the State Department.&nbsp; The report from Reuters came after they got their hands on a confidential "dissent" memo, signed by " a dozen U.S. State Department officials" accusing Tillerson of violating the "Child Soldiers Prevention Act."&nbsp; Here's a summary from Reuters:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>A group of about a dozen U.S. State Department officials have taken the unusual step of formally accusing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of violating a federal law designed to stop foreign militaries from enlisting child soldiers, </strong>according to internal government documents reviewed by Reuters.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A confidential State Department “dissent” memo not previously reported said Tillerson breached the Child Soldiers Prevention Act when <strong>he decided in June to exclude <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Iraq, Myanmar, and Afghanistan</span> from a U.S. list of offenders in the use of child soldiers.</strong> This was despite the department publicly acknowledging that children were being conscripted in those countries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Keeping the countries off the annual list makes it easier to provide them with U.S. military assistance. Iraq and Afghanistan are close allies in the fight against Islamist militants, while Myanmar is an emerging ally to offset China’s influence in Southeast Asia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Documents reviewed by Reuters also show Tillerson’s decision was at odds with a unanimous recommendation by the heads of the State Department’s regional bureaus</strong> overseeing embassies in the Middle East and Asia, the U.S. envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, the department’s human rights office and its own in-house lawyers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Beyond contravening U.S. law, this decision risks marring the credibility of a broad range of State Department reports and analyses and has weakened one of the U.S. government’s primary diplomatic tools to deter governmental armed forces and government-supported armed groups from recruiting and using children in combat and support roles around the world,” said the July 28 memo.</p> </blockquote> <p>It's all outrageous right?&nbsp; <strong>How could Secretary of State Tillerson "support" the conscription of child soldiers in Iraq, Myanmar, and Afghanistan...who would do such a thing?</strong></p> <p>Meanwhile, according to Reuters the <strong>decision by Tillerson to exclude these countries has resulted in mass opposition in the State Department,</strong> "including the rare use of what is known as the 'dissent channel'...<strong>.all of which sounds very serious.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Reuters reported in June that Tillerson had disregarded internal recommendations on Iraq, Myanmar and Afghanistan. The new documents reveal the scale of the opposition in the State Department<strong>, including the rare use of what is known as the “dissent channel,”</strong> which allows officials to object to policies without fear of reprisals.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The views expressed by the U.S. officials illustrate ongoing tensions between career diplomats and the former chief of Exxon Mobil Corp appointed by President Donald Trump to pursue an “America First” approach to diplomacy.</p> </blockquote> <p>Of course, a simple <a href="">Google search</a> would quickly reveal that the "Child Soldiers Prevention Act" was first implemented in 2009 and, at least through 2015, out of the three countries currently causing concerns at State, only Myanmar (Burma) has consistently appeared on the list...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="CSPA" width="600" height="588" /></a></p> <p>All of which begs the question<strong> was the Clinton-Obama administration not at all worried about child soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan?&nbsp;</strong> Or maybe these "dozen U.S. State Department Officials" only became aware of the problem in these countries in 2017 just as the Trump administration took over the Executive Branch?</p> <p><strong>Certainly this can't all come down to a mainstream news organization attempting to smear the Secretary of State for simply continuing the same policies that were consistently utilized by the Obama White House and Clinton State Department with impunity...right?</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="770" height="472" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Afghanistan Clinton-Obama administration Department of State Donald Trump Exxon Foreign relations of the United States Google Iraq Middle East Middle East Military history by country Politics Presidency of Donald Trump Reuters Rex Tillerson Rex Tillerson Southeast Asia Trump Administration United States US government US State Department War War in Afghanistan White House White House Wed, 22 Nov 2017 00:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 607674 at