http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml/component/option%2Ccom_docman/Itemid%2C200023/gid%2C397/BoomBustBlog/BoomBustBlog/BoomBustBlog/BoomBustBlog/2009/2009/07/2009/2009/2009/07/2009/07/2009/2009/2009/2009/2009/07/2009/2009/2009/07/2009/07/2009/07/2009/07/news/t en "Miss Germany" Mistress Sues Married Hedge-Funder: "Promised An Ostrich Farm, Gave Me An STD" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-18/mistress <p>A 31-year-old former beauty queen is suing her married ex-beau, claiming the hedge fund manager gave her an STD and renegged on promises to leave his wife and buy his much-younger mistress a Ugandan ostrich farm.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s hardly a surprise that a messy high-profile divorce with this many lewd details has garnered extensive coverage from the world&rsquo;s tabloids, including the <a href="https://nypost.com/2017/12/17/mistress-sues-married-hedge-funder-over-std-and-lies/">New York Post</a> and <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5189787/Mistress-sues-Manhattan-hedge-funder-gave-STD.html">the Daily Mail.</a></p> <p>The plaintiff, former Miss Germany International Aline Marie Massel, 31, revealed the alleged seamy details of her two-year illicit relationship with Autonomy Capital CEO Robert Charles Gibbins in new court documents.</p> <p>According to her lawsuit, Massel first met Gibbins at Le Bilboquet French bistro in New York City back in June 2014.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/12/04/2017.12.18mistress.JPG"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/12/04/2017.12.18mistress_0.JPG" style="width: 500px; height: 280px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Aline Marie Massel</em></p> <p>During their first encounter, she claims that Gibbins, 47, told her that he was unmarried and wooed her with promises to buy her the farm mentioned above.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>&ldquo;He promised to buy a large estate for them in Canada called the Royal Antler... and an ostrich farm in Uganda,&rdquo; </strong></em>according to court papers.</p> </blockquote> <p>Gibbins showered his mistress with gifts during the two-year affair, including a Faberge purse, while taking her for Japanese massages in Midtown Manhattan and flying to the World Cup in Brazil, her suit says.</p> <p>Massel discovered Gibbins was married a few weeks after they got together when Gibbins&rsquo;s wife texted her a taunting message: <strong><em>&ldquo;You are not the first and will not be the last.&quot;</em></strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/12/04/2017.12.18mistresstwo.JPG"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/12/04/2017.12.18mistresstwo_0.JPG" style="width: 500px; height: 313px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Massel with Robert Charles Gibbins</em></p> <p>However, Massel, who now works as a Tesla model, says her new partner promised that he would leave his wife.</p> <p><strong>In one of the story&rsquo;s most bizarre details, Massel said that she caught the STD HPV from Gibbins, who insisted on not wearing a condom when the two had sex. According to the suit, Massel says Gibbins never told her he was infected with the virus.</strong></p> <p>Massel &ldquo;felt deceived and upset with [Gibbins] as he had been her only intimate partner since her last health screening and he did not disclose his sexually transmitted disease to her,&rdquo; the suit said.</p> <p>The pair continued to date after Massel learned of her infection. The hedge funder paid for her lavish Manhattan apartment, and would take her on expensive international trips. When she became pregnant, her lover threatened to cut off financial support unless she had an abortion.</p> <p>Gibbins&rsquo;s lawyer also warned Massel about &ldquo;how difficult it would be to raise a child alone,&rdquo; while Gibbins&#39; wife also got involved, according to the suit, allegedly texting: <strong><em>&ldquo;Have the baby if you want it so much. I cannot wait to see you getting fat and ugly.&quot;</em></strong></p> <p>Massel believes that Gibbins then hired a private detective to follow her until she had the abortion. She also believes Gibbins was worried she&rsquo;d blab about his attempt to purchase a Ukrainian bank that was a &ldquo;notorious location for money laundering.&quot;</p> <p>A representative for Gibbins told the New York Post: &#39;These baseless allegations are without merit, and Mr. Gibbins will defend himself vigorously.&#39;</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="532" height="298" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017.12.18mistress.JPG?1513622649" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-18/mistress#comments Brazil Germany Gibbins Human Interest New York City New York Post Mon, 18 Dec 2017 20:21:13 +0000 Tyler Durden 609391 at http://www.zerohedge.com Hedge Funds Abandon Gold To Chase Bitcoin http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-18/hedge-funds-abandon-gold-chase-bitcoin <p>Since the beginning of December, <strong><em>gold and bitcoin have drastically diverged.</em></strong></p> <p>For the first 11 months of this year, gold and bitcoin were largely positively correlated (albeit low at 0.25). That changed at the start of December...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_gldbtc.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_gldbtc_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 301px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As it seems gold&#39;s relative tranquility was shunned in favor of Bitcoin&#39;s chaos...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_gldbtc1.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_gldbtc1_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 350px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And <strong>hedge fund managers dumping their gold positions and, as the chart below shows, piling into digital gold</strong>...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_gold.jpg"><img height="318" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_gold_0.jpg" width="600" /></a></p> <p>Who knows how long this regime shift will last, but we do note that Gold/Bitcoin is at a critical level of overbought-ness once again...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_gldbtc2.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_gldbtc2_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 305px;" /></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="958" height="481" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171218_gldbtc.jpg?1513617374" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-18/hedge-funds-abandon-gold-chase-bitcoin#comments Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin Cryptocurrencies Currency Economics of bitcoin Exonumia Numismatics Mon, 18 Dec 2017 20:02:57 +0000 Tyler Durden 609386 at http://www.zerohedge.com Finland's Largest Newspaper Faces Treason Charges For Publishing Leaked Files On Spy Ops Targeting Russia http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-18/finlands-largest-newspaper-faces-treason-charges-publishing-leaked-files-spy-ops-tar <p>A bizarre story of a police raid on a Finnish journalist&#39;s home is drawing international attention, especially as it occurred in a country known for its protection of press freedoms. The journalist is Laura Halminien from Finland&#39;s largest&nbsp;daily newspaper, <em>Helsingin Sanomat</em>, where she published a <a href="https://www.hs.fi/politiikka/art-2000005492284.html">bombshell investigative report</a> on Saturday based on previously leaked documents connected to <strong>a Finnish intelligence operation which closely monitors Russian military movements just across the border in the St. Petersburg region.</strong></p> <p>The report gave details of&nbsp;Finish Defense Intelligence Agecy (VKoeL) secretive facilities and ongoing operations regarding surveillance of Russia, with special focus on a&nbsp;signals surveillance complex in the city of Tikkakoski in central Finland. The Tikkakoski complex is said use a high tech and advanced monitoring system <strong>to observe Russian military maneuvers based on electromagnetic radiation.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><em><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/fin1.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/fin1_0.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 271px;" /></a><br />Main offices for Finland&#39;s largest daily newspaper, which is now under investigation over the leaks. Image source:&nbsp;</em><em>Hakaniemi</em></p> <p>The unusual police search occurred on Sunday evening, when authorities showed up the journalist&#39;s home <strong>without a warrant</strong>, yet in response to a possible fire. According to Reuters the series of events <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-finland-police-intelligence/police-search-finnish-reporters-home-after-security-article-idUSKBN1EC1KL?il=0" target="_blank">unfolded as follows</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Finnish police searched a reporter&rsquo;s home and seized her computer <strong>after she tried to destroy the hard drive to protect sources linked to a security story</strong>, her newspaper reported. The journalist, Laura Halminen, said she tried to smash up her computer with a hammer in her home, but the laptop then started smoking and she called the fire brigade, according to an interview published by her employer Helsingin Sanomat.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Police officers who came to her home with the fire service to investigate the blaze then took her computer and searched her property, police said...</p> </blockquote> <p>In a subsequent interview with her newspaper Halminen said that she &quot;wanted to destroy the computer to ensure that the source of the information is well-protected.&rdquo; As the Saturday article was based on leaked &#39;top secret&#39; intelligence files - some of them reportedly going back ten years - <strong>the newspaper faces a criminal investigation over obtaining and publishing the documents.</strong></p> <p>According to the Helsinki Times, Finland&#39;s president,&nbsp;Sauli Niinistö, took the unusual step of publicly slamming the newspaper for compromising national security. Niinistö <a href="http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/finland/finland-news/domestic/15205-breaking-news-president-niinistoe-slams-publication-of-top-secret-documents-by-hs.html" target="_blank">said in a brief statement</a>, &quot;Secret documents have been handed over to Helsingin Sanomat. A criminal investigation has been initiated on that. Exposing the content of highly classified documents is critical to our security and could result in serious damage.&quot;</p> <p>But also according to the Helsinki Times, the investigative story - which was the first installment in a planned series on the sensitive program - is about much more than a spy operation targeting Russia,<strong> but about Finland&#39;s domestic spy capabilities.</strong> The Helsinki Times <a href="http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/finland/finland-news/domestic/15205-breaking-news-president-niinistoe-slams-publication-of-top-secret-documents-by-hs.html" target="_blank">reports</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>According to Helsingin Sanomat, the main reason behind publishing the article and exposing the classified documents now is the new bill being prepared for the Finnish parliament <strong>to give this facility and other security police agencies authority to survey internet communications inside the country.</strong> The article includes images of documents with &quot;Top Secret&quot; stamps on the top, from 1999.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/fin2.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/fin2_0.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 375px;" /></a><br /><em>Saturday&#39;s front page from Finland&#39;s largest daily,&nbsp;Helsingin Sanomat, purporting to show a secretive Finnish spy facility which targets Russia.</em></p> <p>Similar to the 2013 revelations of NSA domestic warrantless monitoring of Americans&#39; communications&nbsp;(based on the Edward Snowden leaks),&nbsp;Helsingin Sanomat reporters see the&nbsp;Finish Defense Intelligence Agecy program as potential excuse for spying on Fins while citing ambiguous &quot;reasons of national security&quot;.</p> <p>The newspaper&#39;s editor-in-chief,&nbsp;Kaius Niemi, <a href="http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/finland/finland-news/domestic/15208-hs-police-search-home-of-journalist-who-wrote-about-military-intelligence.html" target="_blank">told Finnish media</a> that the four hour police search of his journalist&#39;s house was &quot;outright exceptional&quot; as Finland prides itself as a world leader in press freedom. The group Reporters Without Borders <strong>recently</strong> <strong>ranked Finland as third in its 2017 World Press Freedom Index</strong> (behind its Scandinavian neighbors Sweden and Norway). Niemi also stated, &ldquo;I believe these events are very disconcerting when it comes to the operational preconditions of the press and the protection of sources [in Finland].&rdquo;</p> <p>Meanwhile, the Defense Committee of&nbsp;Russia&#39;s State Duma issued a statement expressing surprise at the revelations of advanced Finnish spy technology stationed along Finnish-Russian border. According to <a href="https://sputniknews.com/military/201712181060095430-finland-newspaper-spying-treason/" target="_blank">Sputnik</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&quot;We always say that we are ready to&nbsp;build good-neighborly relations. We did not expect something like&nbsp;this from&nbsp;our colleagues in&nbsp;Finland, if this information is confirmed,&quot;</strong> first deputy chairman Andrei Krasov told the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.gazeta.ru/army/news/10945388.shtml" target="_blank">Gazeta.ru</a>&nbsp;media outlet, calling the intelligence-gathering center&#39;s mission a &quot;rather unexpected move.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>As there&#39;s more to the <a href="https://www.hs.fi/politiikka/art-2000005492284.html">investigative series</a> that was scheduled to come out after Saturday&#39;s story, the newspaper could potentially succumb to the political pressure unleashed in the wake of the initial report and decide to halt publication of the rest of the series. In addition to the country&#39;s president, a number of Finnish parliamentarians have reacted fiercely, citing threats to national security.</p> <p>In response the newspaper has issued <a href="https://www.hs.fi/politiikka/art-2000005493856.html" target="_blank">an open letter</a> which, while defending the decision to publish, also admitted that it could have done a better job in preparing the public and lawmakers on explaining why the story is vital to the health and democracy of the country.</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="534" height="327" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/Laura%20Halminen_0.jpg?1513627344" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-18/finlands-largest-newspaper-faces-treason-charges-publishing-leaked-files-spy-ops-tar#comments central Finland Defense Committee of Russia Finland Finland Finnish intelligence Finnish language Finnish parliament Finnish police Geography of Europe Helsingin Sanomat Helsinki Mass media national security Newspaper Norway radiation Reporters Without Borders Reuters SPY spy technology State Duma Mon, 18 Dec 2017 19:44:39 +0000 Tyler Durden 609397 at http://www.zerohedge.com Tax Reform & The "Japanification" Of America http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-18/tax-reform-japanification-america <p><a href="https://realinvestmentadvice.com/tax-reform-the-japanification-of-america/"><em>Authored by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,</em></a></p> <p>On Friday, Kevin Brady of the House Ways and Means Committee was on my radio program discussing the <em>&ldquo;Tax Cuts &amp; Jobs Act&rdquo;</em> bill which was released later in the day.</p> <p><iframe data-mce-fragment="1" frameborder="no" height="300" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/370015403&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true&amp;visual=true" width="600"></iframe></p> <p>Here&nbsp;<a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-15/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-gop-tax-overhaul-bill" rel="noopener" target="_blank">are the details</a>&nbsp;of the release he referenced in the interview.</p> <p>Of course, the real question is how are you going to&nbsp;<em>&ldquo;pay for it?&rdquo;</em></p> <p>Even as Kevin Brady noted in our interview, when I discussed the&nbsp;<em>&ldquo;fiscal</em>&rdquo; side of the tax reform bill, without achieving accelerated rates of economic growth &ndash;&nbsp;<em>&ldquo;the debt will balloon.&rdquo;</em></p> <p><a href="http://realinvestmentadvice.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Federal-Debt-Deficit-Projections-121517.png"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-26058" src="http://realinvestmentadvice.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Federal-Debt-Deficit-Projections-121517.png" style="width: 600px; height: 386px;" /></a></p> <p>The reality, of course, is that is exactly what will happen because&nbsp;<strong>there is absolutely NO historical evidence that cutting taxes, without offsetting cuts to spending, leads to stronger economic growth.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://realinvestmentadvice.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Tax-Rates-GDP-Growth-5-YearAvg-110317.png"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-25285" src="http://realinvestmentadvice.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Tax-Rates-GDP-Growth-5-YearAvg-110317.png" style="width: 601px; height: 355px;" /></a></p> <p>Those, of course, are the long-term concerns that will lead to lower rates of returns for equity-based investors and will continue to suppress interest rates for the next decade as the&nbsp;<em>&ldquo;Japanification&rdquo;</em>&nbsp;of the U.S. continues.</p> <h2><u>Let&rsquo;s Be Like Japan</u></h2> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><span style="color: #993300;">&ldquo;Bad debt is the root of the crisis. Fiscal stimulus may help economies for a couple of years but once the &lsquo;painkilling&rsquo; effect wears off, U.S. and European economies will plunge back into crisis. The crisis won&rsquo;t be over until the nonperforming assets are off the balance sheets of US and European banks.&rdquo;<span style="color: #000000;"> &ndash; </span></span></em><span style="color: #000000;">Keiichiro Kobayashi, 2010</span></p> </blockquote> <p>While Kobayashi will ultimately be right, what he never envisioned was the extent to which Central Banks globally would be willing to go. As my partner Michael Lebowitz pointed out <a href="https://realinvestmentadvice.com/a-question-for-every-investor/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">last week</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;Global central banks&rsquo; post-financial crisis monetary policies have collectively been more aggressive than anything witnessed in modern financial history. Over the last ten years, <strong>the six largest central banks have printed unprecedented amounts of money to purchase approximately $14 trillion of financial assets as shown below</strong>. Before the financial crisis of 2008, the only central bank printing money of any consequence was the Peoples Bank of China (PBoC).&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://realinvestmentadvice.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/1-graph-1.png"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-25983" src="http://realinvestmentadvice.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/1-graph-1.png" style="width: 600px; height: 364px;" /></a></p> <p>As he noted, the belief was that by driving asset prices higher, economic growth would follow. Unfortunately, this has yet to be the case as debt both globally and specifically in the U.S. has exploded.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;QE has forced interest rates downward and lowered interest expenses for all debtors. Simultaneously, it boosted the amount of outstanding debt. The net effect is that the global debt burden has grown on a nominal basis and as a percentage of economic growth since 2008. The debt burden has become even more burdensome.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://realinvestmentadvice.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Debt-TotalSystem-GDP-Ratio-121517.png"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-26086" src="http://realinvestmentadvice.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Debt-TotalSystem-GDP-Ratio-121517.png" style="width: 600px; height: 383px;" /></a></p> <p>While Mr. Brady is very optimistic about future rates of economic growth, even Ms. Yellen in her latest policy announcement was not so sure. The Fed&rsquo;s average of long-term growth expectations is currently running at just 1.9%.</p> <p>The continuing mounting of debt from both the public and private sector, combined with rising health care costs, particularly for aging <em>&ldquo;baby boomers,&rdquo;</em> are among the factors behind soaring US debt. <strong>While <em>&ldquo;tax reform,&rdquo;&nbsp;</em>in a <em>&ldquo;vacuum&rdquo;&nbsp;</em> should boost rates of consumption and, ultimately, economic growth, the economic drag of&nbsp;poor demographics and soaring costs, will offset any of the benefits.</strong></p> <p>The complexity of the current environment implies years of sub-par economic growth ahead as noted by the Fed last week. Of course, the US is not the only country facing such a gloomy&nbsp;outlook for public finances, but the current economic overlay displays compelling similarities with Japan in the 1990s.</p> <p>Also, while it is believed that <em>&ldquo;tax reform&rdquo;</em> will fix the problem of lackluster wage growth, create more jobs, and boost economic prosperity, one should at least question the logic given that&nbsp;<strong>more expansive spending, as represented in the chart above by the&nbsp;surge in debt, is having no substantial impact on economic growth.</strong>&nbsp;As I have written previously, debt is a retardant to organic economic growth as it diverts dollars from productive investment to debt service.</p> <p>Of course, one only needs to look at Japan for an understanding that QE, low-interest rate policies and expansion of debt&nbsp;<strong>have done&nbsp;little economically.</strong>&nbsp;Take a look at the chart below which shows the expansion of the BOJ assets versus growth of GDP and levels of interest rates.</p> <p><a href="http://realinvestmentadvice.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Japan-Rates-GDP-BOJ-Assets-121517.png"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-26090" src="http://realinvestmentadvice.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Japan-Rates-GDP-BOJ-Assets-121517.png" style="width: 600px; height: 295px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>Notice that since 1998, Japan has not achieved a 2% rate of economic growth.</strong> Even with interest rates now pushing into negative territory, economic growth remains mired below one-percent,&nbsp;providing little evidence to support the idea that inflating asset prices by buying assets leads to stronger economic outcomes.</p> <p>But yet, the current Administration believes our outcome will be different.</p> <p>The reality is that the U.S. is now caught in&nbsp;the<a href="https://realinvestmentadvice.com/liquidity-trapped-the-feds-policy-nightmare/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">&nbsp;same liquidity trap as Japan</a>.&nbsp;With the current economic recovery already pushing the long end of the economic cycle, the risk is rising that the next economic downturn is closer than not.&nbsp;<strong>The danger is that the Federal Reserve is now potentially trapped with an inability to use monetary policy tools to offset the next economic decline when it occurs.</strong></p> <p>This is the same problem that Japan has wrestled with for the last 20&nbsp;years. While Japan has entered into an unprecedented stimulus program&nbsp;<em>(on a relative basis twice as large as the U.S. on an economy 1/3 the size)</em>&nbsp;there is no guarantee that such a program will result in the desired effect of pulling the Japanese economy out of its 30-year deflationary cycle.&nbsp;<strong>The problems that face Japan are similar to what we are currently witnessing in the U.S.:</strong></p> <ul> <li><em><strong>A decline in savings rates</strong>&nbsp;to extremely low levels which depletes productive investments</em></li> <li><em><strong>An aging demographic</strong>&nbsp;that is top heavy and drawing on social benefits at an advancing rate.</em></li> <li><em><strong>A heavily indebted economy</strong>&nbsp;with debt/GDP ratios above 100%.</em></li> <li><em><strong>A decline in exports</strong>&nbsp;due to a weak global economic environment.</em></li> <li><strong><em>Slowing domestic economic growth rates.</em></strong></li> <li><strong><em>An underemployed younger demographic.</em></strong></li> <li><strong><em>An inelastic supply-demand curve</em></strong></li> <li><strong><em>Weak industrial production</em></strong></li> <li><em><strong>Dependence on productivity increases</strong>&nbsp;to offset reduced employment</em></li> </ul> <p>The&nbsp;lynchpin to Japan, and the U.S., remains demographics and interest rates.&nbsp;As the aging population grows becoming a net drag on <em>&ldquo;savings,&rdquo;</em> the dependency on the <em>&ldquo;social welfare net&rdquo;</em> will continue to expand. The <a href="https://realinvestmentadvice.com/the-unavoidable-pension-crisis/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">&ldquo;pension problem&rdquo;</a> is only the tip of the iceberg.</p> <p><a href="http://realinvestmentadvice.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Japan-US-Employment-Population-Ratio-121517.png"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-26092" src="http://realinvestmentadvice.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Japan-US-Employment-Population-Ratio-121517.png" style="width: 600px; height: 425px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>If interest rates rise sharply it is effectively&nbsp;<em>&ldquo;game over&rdquo;&nbsp;</em>as borrowing costs surge, deficits balloon, housing falls, revenues weaken and consumer demand wanes.</strong>&nbsp;It is the worst thing that can happen to an economy that is currently remaining on life support.</p> <p><strong>Japan, like the U.S., is caught in an on-going&nbsp;<em>&ldquo;liquidity trap&rdquo;</em>&nbsp; where maintaining ultra-low interest rates are&nbsp;the key to sustaining an economic pulse.</strong> The unintended consequence of such actions, as we are witnessing in the U.S. currently, is the ongoing battle with deflationary pressures.&nbsp;<strong>The lower interest rates go &ndash; the less economic return that can be generated.&nbsp;An ultra-low interest rate environment, contrary to mainstream thought, has a negative impact on making productive investments and risk begins to outweigh the potential return.</strong></p> <p>More importantly, while there are many calling for an end of the&nbsp;<a href="https://realinvestmentadvice.com/bond-bears-why-rates-wont-rise/" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><em>&ldquo;Great Bond Bull Market,&rdquo;</em></a>&nbsp;this is unlikely the case. As shown in the chart below, interest rates are relative globally.&nbsp;<strong>Rates can&rsquo;t rise in one country while a majority of economies are pushing negative rates. As&nbsp;has been the case over the last 30-years, so goes Japan, so goes the U.S.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://realinvestmentadvice.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Japan-Interest-Rates-US-121517.png"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-26091" src="http://realinvestmentadvice.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Japan-Interest-Rates-US-121517.png" style="width: 600px; height: 310px;" /></a></p> <p>Unfortunately, for the Administration, the reality is that cutting taxes, and MORE debt, is unlikely to change the outcome in the U.S.&nbsp;<strong>The reason is that monetary interventions and government spending don&rsquo;t create organic, and sustainable, economic growth.</strong>&nbsp;Simply pulling forward future consumption through monetary policy continues to leave an ever-growing void in the future that must be filled.&nbsp;<strong>Eventually, the void will be too great to fill.</strong></p> <p><strong>But hey, let&rsquo;s just keep doing the same thing over and over again, which hasn&rsquo;t worked for anyone as of yet, hoping for a different result.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><em>What&rsquo;s the worst that could happen?&nbsp; </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="711" height="324" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171218_japan.jpg?1513619248" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-18/tax-reform-japanification-america#comments Bank of Japan Bond Borrowing Costs Business Central Banks China Deflation Demographics Economy Economy of the United States Federal Reserve Financial crisis of 2007–2008 Inflation Interest rate Japan Japanification Kevin Brady Macroeconomics Monetary economics Monetary Policy Monetary policy Money National debt of the United States Reality recovery Stock market crashes US Federal Reserve Ways and Means Committee Mon, 18 Dec 2017 19:27:25 +0000 Tyler Durden 609387 at http://www.zerohedge.com LFIN Collapses After 14th Halt Of The Day.. Only Up 100% On The Day http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-18/730-2-days-meet-big-data-ai-blockchain-fintech-mania-stock-year <p><u><strong>Update</strong></u>: We suspect few had looked at the company&#39;s balance sheet (note that LFIN had a market cap over $10 billion at today&#39;s highs!)...</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Longfin balance sheet: $ in $, not in &#39;000s, not in MMs. <a href="https://t.co/L1dhXygRFz">pic.twitter.com/L1dhXygRFz</a></p> <p>&mdash; zerohedge (@zerohedge) <a href="https://twitter.com/zerohedge/status/942824567957086210?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 18, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>But now they have, &#39;all bets are off&#39;...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_LFIN4.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_LFIN4_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 326px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><strong><u>Update</u></strong>: And the halts just keep coming...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_LFIN3.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_LFIN3_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 286px;" /></a></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><u><strong>Update:</strong></u> After its 7th halt of the day, LFIN reopened and instantly collapsed by over 50%...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_LFIN2.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_LFIN2_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 295px;" /></a></p> <p>And now it is halted again!</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><u><strong>Update: </strong></u>Well that escalated quickly...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_LFIN_1.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_LFIN_1_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 341px;" /></a></p> <p>The stock is now up over 500% today and has been halted numerous times...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_LFIN1.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_LFIN1_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 413px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>Having closed last Thursday on its IPO-day at $5.38, news of the acquisition of Ziddu - a blockchain solutions provider (whatever that means in the real world) - <strong><em>LongFin has since exploded to $44.80 in today&#39;s pre-market... up 730% in 2 days.</em></strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-15/biggest-blockchain-big-data-ai-fintech-yolo-trade-all-time">Remember LongFin?</a> <strong>an independent finance and technology company. </strong>The Company offers commodity trading, alternate risk transfer, and carry trade financing services. LongFin also provides hedging and risk management solutions to importers, exporters, and small medium business enterprises. LongFin serves customers worldwide.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/15/20171215_lfin1.jpg"><img height="113" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/15/20171215_lfin1.jpg" width="325" /></a></p> <p><a href="http://ibankcoin.com/flyblog/2017/12/15/thr-biggest-yolo-trade-time-lfin/#sthash.TIrSEXUY.dpbs"><em>As iBankCoin notes</em></a>, it has all of the trimmings of wanton degeneracy on an industrial scale.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Recent IPO:</strong> check</li> <li><strong>Small float:</strong> check</li> <li><strong>Shady as heck:</strong> check</li> <li><strong>AI company:</strong> check</li> </ul> <p>and the cherry on the top...</p> <ul> <li>a day after coming public, they announce the <strong>purchase of a blockchain company: </strong>check</li> </ul> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><strong>On Thursday Dec 14th, LongFin launched as a FinTech company that helped with FX hedging</strong> (and slipped from its post-IPO open price to close lower)</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>US-based Longfin Corp., a Fintech company providing Finance and foreign exchange hedging solutions to importers and exporters and SMEs, started trading on Nasdaq from today.<br />According to a statement issued by Longfin, its Low Latency Network is connected to multiple exchanges and banks across the regions to provide the cheapest Forex hedging and low-cost financing to small and medium-size importers and exporters across the globe.<br />Longfin Founder Venkata S. Meenavalli said, &quot;We are the first Asian Entrepreneur promoted Reg A+ company under JOBS Act, to list its shares directly in Nasdaq and the second Indian entrepreneur promoted company to list directly in the Nasdaq since 2010&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>On Friday Dec 15th, they acquired Ziddue and became the future face of Cyrptocurrency awesomeness</strong>...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Longfin Corp. (NASDAQ: LFIN), a leading global FinTech company, announces the acquisition of Ziddu.com, a Blockchain-empowered solutions provider that offers Microfinance Lending against Collateralized Warehouse Receipts in the form of Ziddu Coins.</p> </blockquote> <p>And with all those buzzwords, why wouldn&#39;t it be up 730%!!!!</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_LFIN.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_LFIN_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 333px;" /></a></p> <p>As a reminder, there are no financials on this company, no reg details on shares outstanding, and no direct evidence of a business model that makes any money?</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="2212" height="1203" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171218_LFIN4.jpg?1513624525" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-18/730-2-days-meet-big-data-ai-blockchain-fintech-mania-stock-year#comments artificial intelligence Blockchain Blockchains Business Carry Trade Cryptocurrencies Economy Encodings Finance Financial market Financial technology Money NASDAQ NASDAQ NASDAQ 100 Risk Management Twitter Twitter Mon, 18 Dec 2017 19:15:31 +0000 Tyler Durden 609363 at http://www.zerohedge.com Watch Live: President Trump Unveils Anti-New-World-Order National Security Strategy http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-18/trump-takes-aim-china-russia-unipolar-world-order-defending-national-security-strate <p>Live Feed:</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FRTAmerica%2Fvideos%2F10154999134911366%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=560" width="560" height="315" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allowFullScreen="true"></iframe></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><u><strong>Update:</strong></u> The White House has released the Full National Security Strategy document:</p> <p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.75" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="800" id="doc_253" scrolling="no" src="https://www.scribd.com/embeds/367462405/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-bOQUIxG6u1qHtsj0tP5b&amp;show_recommendations=true" title="Trump National Security Strategy" width="600"></iframe></p> <p>President Trump is due to speak at 1430ET.</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>As we detailed earlier, President Trump is expected to release the new National Security Strategy for the United States this afternoon. <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-16/trump-slam-china-economic-aggression-and-undermining-international-order">We discussed the potential drivers behing his reportedly aggressive stance yesterday</a>, but the bigger questions remain...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Will it rein in some of the global adventurism of the Bush and Obama presidencies? </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Will it correct the gaping disconnect between what the White House says about places like North Korea and what the Secretary of State says?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>Will the neocons successfully parlay the document into a road-map for more wars? </strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>While initial reports showed Trump <strong>attacking China</strong>...taking a much tougher stance on China than previous administrations.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;The national security strategy is likely to <strong>define China as a competitor in every realm. Not just a competitor but a threat, and therefore, in the view of many in this administration, an adversary,</strong>&rdquo; said one person.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;This is not something that they just cooked up. Mar-a-Lago interrupted the campaign rhetoric, and Xi Jinping took a little gamble and came here and embraced Trump. Trump said &lsquo;fine, do something on North Korea and on trade&rsquo;, but that didn&rsquo;t work out so well.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/15/20171216_china.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/15/20171216_china_0.jpg" style="width: 560px; height: 296px;" /></a></p> <p>It appears that <strong>Russia is also in the crosshairs</strong> - merely serving to confirm our perspective that this is a pro-unipolar-world-order-defending national security strategy - as opposed to trade-related nonsense.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_trump.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_trump_0.jpg" style="width: 560px; height: 283px;" /></a></p> <p>As for Russia&rsquo;s ambitions, <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-plans-shift-to-u-s-security-strategy-1513591201">The Wall Street Journal reports</a> that <strong>the strategy says the Kremlin is developing new military systems, cyber capabilities and subversive tactics, including the use of paid social-media actors, to interfere in the internal political affairs of other nations. </strong>American intelligence officials have concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Russia&rsquo;s broader calculation is that it can engage in such activities without risk of a military confrontation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The Kremlin assumes that &ldquo;the United States often views the world in binary terms, with states being either &lsquo;at peace&rsquo; or &lsquo;at war,&rsquo; when it is actually an arena of continuous competition.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But Russia&rsquo;s actions have led to an increased risk of a military conflict as a result of Russian miscalculation, according to the strategy.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-nationalsecurity/trump-in-strategy-document-to-cite-china-russia-as-competitors-idUSKBN1EC109"><em>As Reuters reports, </em></a><strong>the singling out of China and Russia as &ldquo;revisionist powers&rdquo; in the document reflects the Trump administration&rsquo;s wariness of them despite Trump&rsquo;s own attempts to build strong relations with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence,&rdquo; according to excerpts of Trump&rsquo;s strategy released by the White House.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A senior administration official who briefed reporters said Russia and China were attempting to revise the global status quo - Russia in Europe with its military incursions into Ukraine and Georgia, and China in Asia by its aggression in the South China Sea.</p> </blockquote> <p>And while &#39;trade&#39; is the cover, perhaps it was comments from <strong>HR McMaster,</strong> US national security adviser who oversaw the strategy, this week that confirm the threat to dollar hegemony as he said <strong>China - along with Russia - was a &ldquo;revisionist power&rdquo; that was &ldquo;undermining the international order.&quot;</strong></p> <p>And that would be the unipolar world order with Washington on top.</p> <p><a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/12/18/five-ways-trumps-new-national-security-strategy-is-a-rejection-of-obamas/">The Daily Caller</a> has seen a copy of the document and <a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/12/18/five-ways-trumps-new-national-security-strategy-is-a-rejection-of-obamas/">Peter Hasson notes</a> the <strong>stark contrast between President Trump&rsquo;s America First National Security Strategy and former President Barack Obama&rsquo;s most recent national security strategy in 2015</strong>.</p> <h2><u><strong>Renewed Focus On Islamist Terrorism</strong></u></h2> <p>Trump&rsquo;s new national security strategy places an emphasis on stopping Islamist terrorism and calls it out by name. Obama&rsquo;s 2015 national security <a href="http://nssarchive.us/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/2015.pdf" rel="noopener" target="_blank">strategy</a>&nbsp;referred to Islam just twice: once because it&rsquo;s part of ISIS&rsquo; name and once to say the administration rejected &ldquo;the lie that America and its allies are at war with Islam.&rdquo;</p> <p>The new national security strategy explicitly links Islamist ideology to jihadist terrorism.</p> <p>&ldquo;The United States continues to wage a long war against jihadist terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda. These groups are linked by a common radical Islamist ideology that encourages violence against the United States and our partners and produces misery for those under their control,&rdquo; the new strategy states.</p> <p>Trump&rsquo;s strategy also notes, &ldquo;jihadist terrorists such as ISIS and al-Qaida continue to spread a barbaric ideology that calls for the violent destruction of governments and innocents they consider to be apostates. These Islamist terrorists attempt to force those under their influence to submit to Sharia law.&rdquo; A source familiar with the strategy&rsquo;s drafting process described the reference to Sharia law as a &ldquo;huge&rdquo; inclusion by the Trump administration.</p> <h2><u><strong>Dumping Climate Change As A &lsquo;</strong><strong>National Security Threat&rsquo;</strong></u></h2> <p>Obama&rsquo;s 2015 national security strategy prioritized climate change as a national security threat. Obama&rsquo;s strategy devoted more space to the threat posed by climate change than to the threat posed by North Korea.&nbsp;&ldquo;Climate change is an urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources like food and water,&rdquo; Obama&rsquo;s national security strategy said.</p> <p>Trump&rsquo;s national security strategy reverses that approach and does not identify climate change as a national security threat. In fact, it goes one step further.</p> <p>&ldquo;U.S. leadership is indispensable to countering an antigrowth energy agenda that is detrimental to U.S. economic and energy security interests,&rdquo; the new strategy states. &ldquo;Given future global energy demand, much of the developing world will require fossil fuels, as well as other forms of energy, to power their economies and lift their people out of poverty.&rdquo;</p> <p>The 2015 strategy noted that the administration was &ldquo;working toward an ambitious new global climate change agreement,&rdquo; which became the Paris Climate Accords.</p> <p>Trump withdrew the United States from the climate deal last summer, denouncing it as a threat to American sovereignty.</p> <p>In what appears to be a reference to the Paris deal, Trump&rsquo;s new strategy states that &ldquo;it should be clear that the United States will not cede sovereignty to those that claim authority over American citizens and are in conflict with our constitutional framework.&rdquo;</p> <h2><u><strong>Iran &mdash; Not Israel &mdash; Is The Threat To Peace In The Middle East</strong></u></h2> <p>In perhaps the sharpest contrast to Obama&rsquo;s national security strategy, Trump&rsquo;s new strategy takes a hardline stance on Iran, which it describes as&nbsp;&ldquo;the world&rsquo;s most significant state sponsor of terrorism.&rdquo; Obama&rsquo;s strategy emphasized the need to protect the Iran nuclear deal &mdash; a pillar of his legacy as president.</p> <p>Trump&rsquo;s strategy notes that Iran &ldquo;has taken advantage of instability to expand its influence through partners and proxies, weapon proliferation, and funding. It continues to develop more capable ballistic missiles, intelligence capabilities, and it undertakes malicious cyber activities.&rdquo;</p> <p>Trump&rsquo;s strategy states that &mdash; despite Obama officials&rsquo; claims to the contrary &mdash; the Iran nuclear deal has done nothing to stop any of the above activities.</p> <p>&ldquo;These activities have continued unabated since the 2015 nuclear deal,&rdquo; the document states. &ldquo;Iran continues to perpetuate the cycle of violence in the region, causing grievous harm to civilian populations. Rival states are filling vacuums created by state collapse and prolonged regional conflict.&rdquo;</p> <p>Trump&rsquo;s national security strategy explicitly blames Iran, rather than Israel, for conflicts in the Middle East.</p> <p>&ldquo;For generations the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been understood as the prime irritant preventing peace and prosperity in the region,&rdquo; the strategy states.</p> <p>&ldquo;Today, the threats from radical jihadist terrorist organizations and the threat from Iran are creating the realization that Israel is not the cause of the region&rsquo;s problems. States have increasingly found common interests with Israel in confronting common threats.&rdquo;</p> <p>The strategy notes that the U.S. will work &ldquo;with allies and partners to deter and disrupt other foreign terrorist groups that threaten the homeland&mdash;including Iranian-backed groups such as Lebanese Hizballah.&rdquo;</p> <p>The Obama administration, in contrast, torpedoed a DEA operation against Hezbollah for money laundering and narcotics trafficking in order to preserve the Iran nuclear deal, according to a bombshell&nbsp;<a href="https://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/obama-hezbollah-drug-trafficking-investigation/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">report in Politico</a>&nbsp;Sunday night. The report said that the Obama administration&rsquo;s reluctance to confront Hezbollah allowed the group to grow rapidly in size and expand its influence across Lebanon in particular and the Middle East as a whole.</p> <h2><u><strong>Immigration: Ending Chain Migration, Increasing Vetting, Tougher Border Security&nbsp; &nbsp;</strong></u></h2> <p>Obama&rsquo;s 2015 national security strategy placed an emphasis on giving amnesty to illegal immigrants by giving them a &ldquo;pathway to citizenship,&rdquo; while paying lip service to the need for border security. The 2015 strategy framed the flood of illegal immigrants to the US-Mexico border as a &ldquo;major consequence of weak institutions and violence&rdquo; and emphasized the need for America to help those countries.</p> <p>&ldquo;American leadership, in partnership with these countries and with the support of their neighbors, remains essential to arresting the slide backwards and to creating steady improvements in economic growth and democratic governance,&rdquo; the Obama strategy stated.</p> <p>Trump&rsquo;s strategy frames the immigration issue in terms of sovereignty, saying the U.S. &ldquo;affirms its sovereign right to determine who should enter our country and under what circumstances.&rdquo;</p> <p>The document emphasizes the importance of knowing and controlling who enters the country through tactics like increased vetting, ending chain-migration, end the Diversity Visa Lottery program and increase border security.</p> <p>&ldquo;The United States affirms its sovereign right to determine who should enter our country and under what circumstances. The United States understands the contributions immigrants have made to our Nation throughout its history. Illegal immigration, however, burdens the economy, hurts American workers, presents public safety risks, and enriches smugglers and other criminals,&rdquo; the Trump strategy states.</p> <p>The document continues:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The United States will continue to welcome lawful immigrants who do not pose a security threat and whose entry is consistent with the national interest, while at the same time enhancing the screening and vetting of travelers, closing dangerous loopholes, revising outdated laws, and eliminating easily exploited vulnerabilities. We will also reform our current immigration system, which, contrary to our national interest and national security, allows for randomized entry and extended-family chain migration. Residency and citizenship determinations should be based on individuals&rsquo; merit&nbsp;and their ability to positively contribute to U.S. society, rather than chance or extended family connections.</p> </blockquote> <p>Two recent terrorist attacks, the October truck attack in New York City and last week&rsquo;s attempted bombing, were committed by individuals who entered the country through either chain migration or the Diversity Visa Lottery program. <strong><a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/12/11/trumps-desired-immigration-reforms-could-have-stopped-last-two-terror-attacks/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">(RELATED:&nbsp;Trump&rsquo;s Desired Immigration Reforms Could Have Stopped Last Two Terror Attacks)</a></strong></p> <h2><u><strong>Economically Competing With China</strong></u></h2> <p>President Obama&rsquo;s national security strategy emphasized its &ldquo;scope of cooperation with China&rdquo; on economic issues, which the administration touted as &ldquo;unprecedented.&rdquo;&nbsp;Trump&rsquo;s national security strategy rejects this approach as a failure and embraces a more competitive view of global economics.</p> <p>&ldquo;For decades, U.S. policy was rooted in the belief that support for China&rsquo;s rise and for its integration into the post-war international order would liberalize China,&rdquo; the document states. &ldquo;Contrary to our hopes, China expanded its power at the expense of the sovereignty of others in the region. China gathers and exploits data on an unrivaled scale and spreads features of its authoritarian system, including corruption and the use of surveillance.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong><em>Under the subhed &ldquo;A Competitive World,&rdquo; the strategy reads: &ldquo;China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity. They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>&ldquo;These competitions require the United States to rethink the policies of the past two decades&mdash;policies based on the assumption that engagement with rivals and their inclusion in international institutions and global commerce would turn them into benign actors and trustworthy partners. For the most part, this premise turned out to be false,&rdquo; the section concludes.</p> <p>Elsewhere in the document, the Trump administration notes that &ldquo;China is gaining a strategic foothold in Europe by expanding its unfair trade practices and investing in key industries, sensitive technologies, and infrastructure.&rdquo;</p> <p>The Trump strategy also calls out China by name for stealing American intellectual property &mdash; something Obama&rsquo;s strategy did not do.</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><a href="http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/december/14/trump-to-release-new-us-strategy-will-neocons-cheer/">Finally, here is Ron Paul,</a> joined by veteran foreign affairs analyst and former US diplomat Jim Jatras, to discuss the hopes and fears for Trump&#39;s critical strategy outline...</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wH0LDkcUvNE" width="560"></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="874" height="441" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171218_trump.jpg?1513611319" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-18/trump-takes-aim-china-russia-unipolar-world-order-defending-national-security-strate#comments 20th century in the United States al-Qaeda American intelligence Barack Obama China Corruption Donald Trump Foreign policy of the Donald Trump administration Government Hizballah International reactions to the United States presidential election Iran ISIS Israel Middle East Middle East national security National security National Security Strategy Neocons New York City North Korea Obama Administration Obama administration Politics Presidency of Donald Trump President Obama Reuters Ron Paul South China Trump Administration Ukraine United States Vladimir Putin Wall Street Journal White House White House Mon, 18 Dec 2017 19:05:48 +0000 Tyler Durden 609372 at http://www.zerohedge.com How to Act Compassionately Towards Transgender People: Do Not Encourage a Delusion http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-18/how-act-compassionately-towards-transgender-people-do-not-encourage-delusion <p><a href="http://www.thedailybell.com/news-analysis/how-to-act-compassionately-towards-transgender-people-do-not-encourage-a-delusion/">Via The Daily Bell</a></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">I’m not allowed to say what I am about to say, according to the mainstream media.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">They claim the only reason I would make this argument is that I am full of hate.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">The truth is, I don’t want to see the media dupe people with a mental health condition into making destructive decisions.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">I came across a news story about&nbsp;<a href="http://kjzz.org/content/579197/growing-transgender-arizona-family-transition" style="box-sizing: border-box; background: 0px 0px; color: #0c5b3c;">an entire family in transition</a>. First, the son began a transition to female, and then the daughter to male, followed by their mother to male. The mother then met someone transitioning to female, and they are now engaged.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">Is it “wrong” to say, mother, son, and daughter? Is that now considered “hate speech”? It is almost impossible to coherently discuss transgender issues without running afoul of politically correct speech.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">All I know is that I had to read the article twice to understand who started as male, who was female, and what they now identified as. Already politically correct speech is clouding the ability to convey basic facts.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif; text-align: center;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; font-weight: bold;">The Media Bullies Anyone Who Wants to Have a Rational Discussion</span></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">CNN invited Ben Shapiro on as a stand-in punching bag to discuss Caitlyn Jenner. This was in 2016 just after Jenner won some award for being&nbsp;<em style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px;">super brave</em>&nbsp;about transitioning.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif; text-align: center;">&nbsp;<iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-DE_WOCHITk" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">Do you see the way they all team up on Shapiro and try to beat him into submission? They tell him he is full of hate. They say he is angry inside. They bully him. They yell at him.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">And the strong-jawed person with long blond hair sitting next to Shapiro threatens him with violence while laying hands on him saying, “You cut that out now, or you’ll go home in an ambulance.”</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;"><em style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px;">What the hell is going on?</em></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">Shapiro is simply trying to have a discussion about biology and sex. He can’t even get his point out because all the other guests attack him for using the correct words to describe objectively true facts.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">What is accepted as true on CNN is the statement, “We both know, that the chromosomes do not necessarily mean that you are male or female.”</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">But in the real world of biology, that is exactly what that means.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">Yet the public is supposed to accept the falsity without protest, or even discussion. Shapiro was threatened with violence for asking a transgender person what chromosomes are present in their cells. The message is&nbsp;<em style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px;">if you don’t want to be singled out and bullied, accept what we tell you as the truth</em>.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">The media uses phrases like “gender confirmation surgery” and “sex assigned at birth.”</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;"><em style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px;">A surgery which changes superficial indicators of sex confirms your gender. A biological fact at birth is an arbitrary assignment.</em></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif; text-align: center;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; font-weight: bold;">What Does the Science Really Say?</span></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">Make no mistake, the people pushing all this confusion are not at all consistent nor scientific.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">They say that gender is a social construct that can be chosen. That is redefining what the word gender means, but fine. We can make a distinction between gender (cultural expression of sex) and sex (biological anatomy).</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">So then who cares if a boy likes dresses and tea parties, and a girl likes getting dirty and playing video games?</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">But the media isn’t done. They turn around and say you can change your biological sex to match your gender expression.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">This is not true.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">They can redefine the word gender to refer to stereotypical expressions of sex. But they cannot ignore the science that sex is defined by the chromosomes in your cells.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">You can’t even get an accurate picture of any science behind gender dysphoria from supposedly scientific publications. They join in to blur the lines between science and propaganda.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;"><a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/01/how-science-helps-us-understand-gender-identity/" style="box-sizing: border-box; background: 0px 0px; color: #0c5b3c;">National Geographic ran a story</a>&nbsp;exploring the lives of transgender children. Except that they also throw in a case of a chromosomal condition where a child is born with both male and female genitalia. Another case details an enzyme deficiency which causes a child’s sexual organs to appear female until puberty when a surge of testosterone causes the male development of the sexual organs.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">These conditions are real medical anomalies which blur the biological lines between the male and female sex. They are entirely different from the mental condition in which people self-identify as the opposite sex but show absolutely no physical attributes of that sex.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">I don’t doubt that these people feel like the opposite sex. They are allowed to feel and act as they wish.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">What they cannot do is force me to play along. They cannot force me to ignore science, and pretend that they are capable of becoming the opposite sex. They cannot force people to lie to their children and teach them that you can switch from one sex to the other. You cannot.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">But you can go to extremes in how you express your gender. This includes irreversible&nbsp;mutilation meant to make your genitals look like those of the opposite sex. This also includes barely tested hormones and drugs which could very well cause serious health issues.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">The media is helping to push life-altering drugs and surgery on people, including children.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">The media is convincing people to make decisions they may regret, and imbibe substances that are untested, and carry serious risks.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">And the media’s lies about the science behind “gender reassignment surgery” is making life harder for people with the mental condition called gender dysphoria.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif; text-align: center;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; font-weight: bold;">What is Going on Here?</span></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">It all seems like an elaborate test to see how easy it is to control people. When the news says jump, we are supposed to say how high. There is to be no discussion of science, and no room for dissenting opinions.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">I agree with Ben Shapiro. There is no hatred in my opinion. I don’t even have a problem with adults transitioning if that is what they want to do. I believe in freedom, so I would never want to restrict any individual’s action that doesn’t hurt anyone else.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">But I think the media is using and abusing people with a serious mental health issue.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">I don’t think the “solutions” put forward are healthy. And I will not be bullied into joining a mass delusion about the ability to change sexes.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">I won’t join in and encourage transgender people to get surgery and take drugs that are dangerous. I certainly won’t lie to kids about the definition of male and female.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">And I believe it is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thedailybell.com/news-analysis/child-abuse-the-difference-between-gender-identity-and-sex-change-in-children/" style="box-sizing: border-box; background: 0px 0px; color: #0c5b3c;">child abuse</a>&nbsp;to allow a kid to take hormones and mutilate their genitals in an attempt to appear as the opposite sex.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">On the other hand, think parents should&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thedailybell.com/news-analysis/why-parents-owe-their-kids-for-the-crime-of-creating-them/" style="box-sizing: border-box; background: 0px 0px; color: #0c5b3c;">allow their kids the freedom</a>&nbsp;to dress and act however they want. If their interests are those more typical of the opposite sex, so be it. If your son wants to wear dresses, grow his hair out, and be addressed as she, I don’t think it is crazy for a parent to allow this. By all means, let your kids express themselves freely.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">But once you start giving hormones and life-altering surgery to ten-year-olds,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thedailybell.com/news-analysis/child-abuse-the-difference-between-gender-identity-and-sex-change-in-children/" style="box-sizing: border-box; background: 0px 0px; color: #0c5b3c;">that is child abuse</a>.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">When it comes to adults, I also have absolutely no problem with people dressing however they want to dress, and cutting their hair in whatever way they want. By all means, eschew traditional gender roles. Act the way you want to act. Honestly, who cares what other people think? Who cares what I think?</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">But it is from a compassionate standpoint that I urge people who identify as the opposite sex to think twice about surgery and drugs. What happened to not having to change in order to love yourself? What happened to being perfect the way you were born?</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">I understand that people may truly wish they had the opposite sexual organs. But it is not at this point possible to acquire&nbsp;functioning sexual organs of the opposite sex. You can mimic the way they look, but you cannot change your biological sex.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif; text-align: center;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; font-weight: bold;">The Compassionate Way to Deal With Gender Dysphoria</span></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">In the transgender family, the kids wanted to express the opposite gender before the mother. So the parents do not appear to have directly influenced the kids’ gender identification. The mother claims transgenderism runs in the family. And this may very well be the case. Mental conditions are often hereditary.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">But again Shapiro brings up a good point. We don’t tell schizophrenics that they are hearing real voices in their heads. That would be cruel. Instead, we attempt to help them.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">The suicide rate for transgender people is alarmingly high. But Shapiro claims the rate is the same before and after a transition. That means transitioning does not alleviate mental anguish.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">So is it really so crazy to think of other possible solutions?</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">Maybe mutilating sexual organs and taking hormones to make the body mimic the opposite sex is not the best treatment.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">You cannot change the chromosomes in your body. You cannot produce sperm if you are a woman, and you cannot ovulate if you are a man. That is science. And still, when Shapiro says these things, he is called a bigot, a hate-monger, and so on and so forth.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">But like Shapiro, we should not yell back at the bullies. We should not engage them at their level.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">Now more than ever, rational people must stay cool, calm, and collected. This is a message of compassion, not of hate.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">The media is not compassionate to transgender people suffering from mental anguish. They feed into their delusions. They encourage “solutions” that do not actually solve the problem. The media tells transgender people that they can mask their condition with surgery and drugs.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">They should encourage people to get psychological help to accept themselves without altering their bodies. And they should be honest about the science behind sex changes.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">Except for some rare medical disorders, you are the sex you are born.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">If people want to express themselves as a gender typically associated with the opposite sex, that is their choice. I would never bully someone for that, and I sincerely hope others would treat them with respect as well.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">But compassion and civility do not require the denial of biological fact.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif; text-align: center;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; font-weight: bold;">Turning Point</span></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">Is this a deliberate attempt by the media to brainwash people? It certainly seems like a concerted effort to derail an objective discussion. It’s like they are testing how easily they can control what people say and think.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">This is a crucial point where we will decide if freedom of speech and freedom of thought still exist. Will we move forward “allowed” to discuss science and mental health without being threatened with violence?</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">Or will we be bullied into submission, afraid to speak or even think the wrong way? Will we become thought criminals for daring to think against the mainstream viewpoint?</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">Labelling people as hateful for disagreeing ensures a narrow perspective. It is a way to ignore legitimate viewpoints by pretending they come from a position of ignorance and anger.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">Rational people should have no problem putting emotions aside to discuss the science behind gender and sex.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">Finally, why do they need my, or Ben Shapiro’s approval anyway? Why does that even matter to them? We aren’t saying they should be stopped from expressing themselves. We aren’t threatening them with violence–quite the opposite!</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">There are people that don’t like the way I live my life. In fact, Ben Shapiro considers certain things I do sinful. And I don’t care because I don’t need Ben Shapiro to endorse and accept every aspect of my behavior.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding-bottom: 8px; color: #303030; font-family: Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif;">Live the life you want to live, and by all means resist anyone who tries to stop you. But don’t try to force others to endorse or praise your actions and beliefs.</p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-18/how-act-compassionately-towards-transgender-people-do-not-encourage-delusion#comments Gender Gender dysphoria Gender identity Gender role Gender studies Gender transitioning Identity Legal recognition of non-binary gender Sex change Sex reassignment surgery Social Issues Transgender Transitioning Mon, 18 Dec 2017 18:56:56 +0000 TDB 609393 at http://www.zerohedge.com The ECB Has Some Bad News For Junk Bond Buyers http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-18/mario-draghi-has-some-bad-news-junk-bond-buyers <p>Two weeks ago, as part of <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-09/enron-20-ecb-global-banks-hook-21-billion-amid-steinhoff-implosion">our continuing coverage </a>of the Steinhoff fiasco in which it emerged that the ECB was the mystery and (not so) proud buyer of just issued Steinhoff (now junk) bonds (maturing in 2025 but set for bankruptcy much sooner) and which lost more than half of their value overnight when it the company announced it was caught in what may be a terminal accounting fraud scandal, we said that ", it seems virtually guaranteed that the banks will suffer steep haircuts on their Steinhoff exposure" and "<strong>so will the ECB, which on Friday was rumored it was considering selling its Steinhoff bonds. </strong>It is not exactly clear how this would take place, <strong>since the ECB's QE by definition only buys, not sells</strong>, <strong>at least for now.</strong>"</p> <p>This just barely perceptive shift in the ECB's posture from "<strong>buyer of first, last and only resort</strong>" to "<strong>potential seller</strong>", has potentially huge implications, and was duly noted by one of the best credit strategists on Wall Street, BofA's Barnaby Martin, who in a note over the weekend look at the "gift that keeps on giving", or at least "kept on giving", and adds to our speculation, writing that "<strong>one consistent feature of the last year and a half has been the ECB buying copious amounts of corporate bonds week-in, week out. </strong>Such has been the need to promptly restore inflation in the Eurozone – to ensure the debt sustainability of the periphery – that unique monetary policy has been the order of the day. No other central bank has dived headlong into buying corporate bonds. And given the slow return to 2% inflation in Europe, as confirmed by the ECB yesterday, for 2018 we again expect Draghi to be pronounced in buying credit, pushing spreads even tighter."</p> <p>We showed the ECB's unprecedented impact on the bond market this July, when we charted the collapse in Eurozone credit spreads <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-24/ecbs-impact-bond-market-one-chart">following the announcement of the ECB's CSPP</a>, or corporate bond buying program.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/07/20/ECB%20spreads_1.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/07/20/ECB%20spreads_1_0.jpg" width="500" height="348" /></a></p> <p>And while until just two weeks ago, Draghi's dedication to purchasing virtually any and every piece of (non-junk) corporate paper in Europe was undisputed, "<strong>2017 is ending on somewhat of a sour note, in the form of rising idiosyncratic risk…the most distinctive of which has resulted from the Steinhoff bonds.</strong>"</p> <p>While Martin doesn’t see the Steinhoff fiasco as derailing the ECB’s drive to purchase corporate debt next year, "<strong>we do see a risk that the CSPP becomes more cautious. The risk, therefore, is that the ECB’s efforts to compress credit spreads is reduced. And if they start to buy more higher quality names then this would weaken the compression trade in corporate bonds next year.</strong>"</p> <p>And while one can speculate about Drahig's intentions, it looks like the ECB’s language towards owning Fallen Angels has become more explicit, and more tentative of late. This is a major risk for what until recently was one of the best performing bond categories - those which have been recently downgraded from IG to junk, i.e. fallen angels - because, "<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>If true, we think that this has the potential to make the spreads of Fallen Angels behave more like Falling Knives</strong>.</span> Credit investors should therefore anticipate more pronounced price drops in names that migrate from IG to HY" the BofA strategist warns.</p> <p><strong>Putting the Steinhoff Debacle in Context</strong></p> <p>As we have repeatedly written here in the past year, there has been no bigger buyer of European corporate credit in the past two years than the European Central Bank: the ECB, which currently owns just over €131 billion of European corporate bonds, or 17.9% of the total outstanding amount, <strong>is likely to finish 2017 having bought just over €80bn of Euro-denominated corporate bonds in 2017 alone. </strong>According to BofA, such is the quantum of monthly QE buying relative to net supply, that CSPP creates an obvious “scarcity of product”, causing credit spreads to keep grinding tighter. As Chart 1 highlights, <strong>Euro high-grade spreads have widened in only 5 of the last 19 months (and have only widened in 2 months of this year</strong>).</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/ECB%20BofA%20spreads.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/ECB%20BofA%20spreads_0.jpg" width="500" height="184" /></a></p> <p>Further, as shown in Chart 2, the share of SMEs reporting higher turnover increased significantly from April to September 2017 as the ECB program continued compressing spreads to record tights. The move is especially visible in Italian SMEs’ turnover. According to BofA, this provides further encouragement for the ECB, as the latest survey on Access to Finance for Enterprises shows that Euro Area SMEs reported increasing profits for the first time since the beginning of the survey in 2009. </p> <p><strong>That was then, this is now</strong></p> <p>Until two weeks ago, and the revelation that the ECB is a deep holder of an unknown amount of Steinhoff bonds, the confidence autopilot was solidly engaged, and it seemed like there is nothing on the horizon that could deter the ECB from being the corporate bond buyer of last resort.&nbsp; That's when Steinoff hit, <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-06/ecb-caught-sprawling-scandal-after-bonds-it-owns-implode">and as discussed here first, </a>the 2025 bonds fell from 83 to 39 since the end of November on the back of the CEO resigning due to suspected accounting irregularities. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/11/30/steinhoff%20bonds.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/11/30/steinhoff%20bonds_0.jpg" width="500" height="261" /></a></p> <p>Latest ECB disclosure shows that the ECB own some of the recently issued Steinhoff Europe AG bond – an €800m 2025 issue. Note that Steinhoff International Holding’s headquarters are in South Africa, yet the recent Euro bond was issued out of an Austrian entity, ensuring CSPP eligibility.</p> <p>Here there was some good, and some bad news for buyers and holders of junk bonds. </p> <p>During last week's ECB press conference, <strong>Draghi said that the ECB's losses with respect to the Steinhoff holdings were a lot less than consensus has been suggesting, although he did not divulge an actual number </strong>(in light of <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-05-15/when-head-european-central-bank-lies-zero-hedge-record-presenting-europes-plan-z">Draghi's previous lies</a>, one should apply a giant grain of salt to anything the ECB claims is or isn't the case). The history of CSPP new issue “allocations” suggests an average of 11%, but we do not know what the facts are here, and the ECB refuses to provide them. </p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/bofa%20new%20issue%20allocation_0.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/bofa%20new%20issue%20allocation_0_0.jpg" width="500" height="385" /></a></p> <p>Whatever the real loss and exposure, in Chart 4 <strong>Martin shows that the mark-to-market drop on the Steinhoff bond is far greater than anything else the ECB has realised on their CSPP portfolio to date. <br /></strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/steinhoff%20bofa%201.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/steinhoff%20bofa%201_0.jpg" width="500" height="247" /></a></p> <p>To be sure, Draghi downplayed the Steinhoff debacle, arguing in last week's ECB meeting that the Steinhoff loss is very small in the grand scheme of things to the ECB’s CSPP portfolio, of which roughly 90% of the CSPP portfolio has tightened since purchase (green line in Chart 4). </p> <p>And yet - <strong>and this is the punchline </strong>- this event risk which <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-03-10/%E2%82%AC16-trillion-european-ig-bonds-which-ecb-now-buying">we flagged back all the way in March 2016 </a>when we said that "<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>It is unclear what happens to those IG bonds that the ECB has purchased if and when they get downgraded to junk</strong></span>", will be a notable talking point for the Governing Council according to the BofA strategist, who writes that "<strong>If, going forward, it reduces the ECB’s efforts to buy lower quality credit and compress spreads, then we see a risk that the compression trade in credit is less powerful in 2018.</strong>"</p> <p><strong>Things Are Already Changing</strong></p> <p>Indeed, as BofA observes, <strong>there are some small signs already </strong>of the ECB stepping back slightly from their blanket approach to credit buying, and addressing the question we first asked almost two years ago. In particular, <strong>Draghi seems to be taking a more defensive stance with regards to owning Fallen Angels. </strong>Note that the CSPP Q&amp;A has been updated as of 29th November 2017, and the paragraph on ECB selling now reads as follows:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><em><strong>Q1.5 Will the Eurosystem sell its holdings of bonds if they lose eligibility?</strong> </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The Eurosystem <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>may choose to</strong></span>, but is not required to <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">sell its holdings in the event of a loss of eligibility, e.g. in case of a downgrade below the credit quality rating requirement</span>. </strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>Previously this phrasing was far more specific, with forced selling (or otherwise) not even presented as an option:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><em><strong>Q8 Will the Eurosystem sell its holdings of bonds if they lose eligibility? For example, if they are downgraded and lose investment grade status?</strong> </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The Eurosystem <strong>is not required to sell its holdings in the event of a downgrade below the credit quality rating requirement for eligibility</strong>.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>And, as far as BofA can see, the ECB still owns 3 K+S bonds, <strong>which now have a BB S&amp;P rating (the only agency to rate them) following a downgrade to high-yield last October</strong>. What can’t be determined, however - despite Draghi's assurances of the ECB's "unprecedented operational transparency" - is whether the ECB have been reducing their holdings of these bonds over time.</p> <p>* * * </p> <p>Which brings us to the biggest risk as identified by Bank of America's credit strategist: <strong>what until two weeks ago was merely a <em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">fallen angel</span></em> is now a <em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">falling knife</span></em>. </strong>Here's why:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>With the ECB’s language towards owning Fallen Angels having become more tentative of late, <strong>we think that this has the potential to make the spreads of Fallen Angels behave more like Falling Knives in 2018. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even though the European economy is enjoying a robust cyclical recovery, downgrade risk is still an issue for investment grade fund managers at present. Chart 5 shows that, by par amount, <strong>IG downgrades continue to outpace upgrades,</strong> and the ratio has actually deteriorated this year. <strong>Moreover, Chart 6 shows that credit markets globally have been experiencing negative ratings migration of late. In fact, BBBs now make up almost 50% of Euro, US and Japanese investment-grade markets. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/fallen%20angle%201.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/fallen%20angle%201_0.jpg" width="500" height="172" /></a></p> </blockquote> <p>According to Martin, <strong>this likely means that the ECB will take a growing interest in Fallen Angels. </strong></p> <p>So how much of a problem will this be for Draghi? Using S&amp;P’s historical rating transition matrices, BofA estimates <strong>that €7bn of corporate bonds that the ECB own will end up as Fallen Angels prior to maturity (by bonds impacted, this is equivalent to €38bn of total outstanding debt). </strong>Chart 8 shows that over the last decade, the price drop severity of Fallen Angels has been declining. But if the ECB become a motivated seller of downgraded credits, we feel this dynamic could reverse.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/fallen%20angels%202.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/fallen%20angels%202_0.jpg" width="500" height="187" /></a></p> <p>In conclusion, and in Bank of America's explicit warning, credit investors should therefore anticipate more pronounced price drops in names that migrate from IG to HY next year. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>"After all, there may now be a big buyer (ECB) behind some of these credits that chooses to become a seller upon downgrade."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>The silver lining - if only for deep junk investors - is that Falling Knives could produce a source of technically cheap BBs for yield-starved investors to mull over...</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="782" height="386" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/steinhoff%20bofa%201.jpg?1513619822" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-18/mario-draghi-has-some-bad-news-junk-bond-buyers#comments BBs Bond Bond Business Corporate bond Economy Economy of the European Union Euro European Central Bank European Central Bank European Central Bank European System of Central Banks European Union Eurosystem Eurozone Eurozone Finance Governing Council High-yield debt Investment Grade Monetary Policy ratings recovery Transparency Mon, 18 Dec 2017 18:48:53 +0000 Tyler Durden 609389 at http://www.zerohedge.com Zombie Corporations: Over 10% Of Global Companies Depend On Cheap Fed Money http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-18/zombie-corporations-over-10-global-companies-depend-cheap-fed-money <p><em><a href="https://www.themaven.net/mishtalk/economics/zombie-corporations-10-of-companies-depend-on-cheap-fed-money-6G5uyRJFjUKp37ggNCHyaQ">Authored by Mike Shedlock via www.themaven.net/mishtalk,</a></em></p> <p>Ten percent of corporations <strong>survive only because central banks have kept real interest rates negative</strong>.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_zombie.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/18/20171218_zombie_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 318px;" /></a></p> <div> <div> <div> <p><strong>The BIS defines Zombie firms as those with a ratio of earnings before interest and taxes to interest expenses below one, with the firm aged 10 years or more.</strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <div> <div> <div> <p>In simple terms, Zombies are those firms that could not survive without a flow of cheap financing.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div> <div> <div> <p>The above chart shows the median share of zombie firms across AU, BE, CA, CH, DE, DK, ES, FR, GB, IT, JP, NL, SE and US.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div> <div> <div> <p>According to the <a href="https://www.bis.org/publ/arpdf/ar2017e_ec.pdf" target="_blank">BIS Quarterly Report</a> one out of ten corporations in emerging and advanced countries is a &quot;Zombie&quot;.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div> <div> <div> <p>Let&#39;s dive into the report for more details.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div> <div> <div> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div> <p>The inability to come to grips with the financial cycle has been a key reason for the unsatisfactory performance of the global economy and limited room for policy manoeuvre.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Since 2007, productivity growth has slowed in both advanced economies and EMEs. One potential factor behind this decline is a persistent misallocation of capital and labour, as reflected by the growing share of unprofitable firms. Indeed, the share of zombie firms &ndash; whose interest expenses exceed earnings before interest and taxes &ndash; has increased significantly despite unusually low levels of interest rates.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Over the past 10 years, there has been a close positive correlation between the growth of corporate credit and investment. A build-up of corporate debt has financed investment in many economies, particularly in EMEs, including high investment rates in China. Turning financial cycles in these economies could therefore weigh on investment.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As with consumption, the level of debt can affect investment. Rising interest rates would push up debt service burdens in countries with high corporate debt.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Moreover, in EMEs with large shares of such debt in foreign currency, domestic currency depreciation could hurt investment. As mentioned before, an appreciation of funding currencies, mainly the US dollar, increases debt burdens where currency mismatches are present and tightens financial conditions (the exchange rate risktaking channel).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Empirical evidence suggests that a depreciation of EME currencies against the US dollar dampens investment significantly, offsetting to a large extent the positive impact of higher net exports.</p> </blockquote> </div> </div> </div> <div> <div> <div> <h3><u>End of the Rate Hike Cycle</u></h3> </div> </div> </div> <div> <div> <div> <p>For the above reasons, I believe the end of the global recovery is at hand.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div> <div> <div> <p><em><strong>And when the next bust happens, the last thing central banks will be doing is raising interest rates.</strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <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="528" height="289" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171218_zombie1.jpg?1513615643" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-18/zombie-corporations-over-10-global-companies-depend-cheap-fed-money#comments African Union BIS Business Central Banks China Economy Economy of the European Union Eurozone Finance Global Economy Investment Money Real interest rate Real Interest Rates recovery Stock market crashes Mon, 18 Dec 2017 18:24:46 +0000 Tyler Durden 609385 at http://www.zerohedge.com Today's The Day: Twitter To Start Purging Users And Prevent "Certain Content From Trending" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-18/todays-day-twitter-start-purging-users-and-prevent-certain-content-trending <p>Twitter will begin suspending accounts which engage in "hateful conduct" or affiliate with organizations which "use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes" both on and off the platform,&nbsp;following a <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-19/big-brother-here-twitter-will-monitor-users-behavior-platform" target="_blank">November announcement</a>. The new rules apply to whatever Twitter deems "hateful," including "hateful images or symbols in your profile image or profile header."&nbsp;</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/JackNOa.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/JackNOa_0.jpg" width="500" height="297" /></a><br />Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO</em></p> <p>Moreover, Twitter will <em>officially</em>&nbsp;begin restricting "trending" content, to wit: </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>At times, we may prevent certain content from trending.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>While many conservative Twitter users have suffered unfair account suspensions, mysterious drops in retweets and likes on <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-23/busted-twitter-caught-manipulating-tweets-former-blackrock-fund-manager-critical-cia" target="_blank">controversial tweets</a>, overnight drops in follower count, and unexplained disappearances of trending topics which paint liberals in a bad light, Twitter's new rules effectively allow the social media giant to openly engage in censorship without repercussion.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Via <a href="https://support.twitter.com/articles/18311" target="_blank">Twitter Help Center</a>:&nbsp;</em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Abusive Behavior</strong></span></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <p><strong>We believe in freedom of expression and open dialogue, but that means little as an underlying philosophy if voices are silenced because people are afraid to speak up. </strong>In order to ensure that people feel safe expressing diverse opinions and beliefs, we prohibit behavior that crosses the line into abuse, including behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another user’s voice.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Context matters when evaluating for abusive behavior and determining appropriate enforcement actions. </strong>Factors we may take into consideration include, but are not limited to whether:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>the behavior is targeted at an individual or group of people;</li> <li>the report has been filed by the target of the abuse or a bystander;</li> <li>the behavior is newsworthy and in the legitimate public interest.</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Violence: You may not make specific threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death, or disease of an individual or group of people. This includes, but is not limited to, threatening or promoting terrorism.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>You also may not affiliate with organizations that - whether by their own statements or activity<strong> both on and off the platform - </strong>use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Abuse: You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. We consider abusive behavior an attempt to harass, intimidate, or silence someone else’s voice.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Hateful conduct</strong>: You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Hateful imagery and display names:</strong> You may not use hateful images or symbols in your profile image or profile header. You also may not use your username, display name, or profile bio to engage in abusive behavior, such as targeted harassment or expressing hate towards a person, group, or protected category.</p> </blockquote> <p>While Twitter's new rules are sure to lead to the purge of countless supremacists, you can say goodbye to <strong>Pepe the Frog -</strong>&nbsp;a cartoon meme made popular during the 2016 election among Trump voters, which the <a href="http://archive.is/i834E" target="_blank">ADL considers</a>&nbsp;to be a hate symbol despite a small percentage of Pepe memes expressing anti-Semitism or bigotry.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/pepe2.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/pepe2_0.jpg" width="500" height="348" /></a></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">If I get booted from Twitter in the purge tomorrow, you’ll be able to find me talking to my kids for once and seeing what it’s like outside.</p> <p>— Gavin McInnes (@Gavin_McInnes) <a href="https://twitter.com/Gavin_McInnes/status/942550846147096576?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 18, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><p>Last month Twitter suspended it's "blue check mark" verification policy, stating that it will rescind a user's verified status if a person violates company guidelines. With blue checks having become a status symbol over the years, Twitter thinks the system is flawed and needs an overhaul.&nbsp;</p> <p>“Our agents have been following our verification policy correctly, but we realized some time ago the system is broken and needs to be reconsidered,” CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted in November. “And we failed by not doing anything about it. Working now to fix faster.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Verification was meant to authenticate identity &amp; voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance. We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it. We have paused all general verifications while we work and will report back soon</p> <p>— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) <a href="https://twitter.com/TwitterSupport/status/928654369771356162?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 9, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><p>The announcement was quickly followed by the removal of blue checks from white nationalist Richard Spencer's account, <em>Unite the Right</em>&nbsp;organizer and former Obama activist Jason Kessler, and conservative Jewish journalist Laura Loomer - who compared the loss of her blue check to the holocaust.&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">And so it begins. Twitter is quick to call me and others Nazis, but they are literally trying to eradicate my presence. Just like Hitler. <a href="https://t.co/qaVWOMKyc0">https://t.co/qaVWOMKyc0</a></p> <p>— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) <a href="https://twitter.com/LauraLoomer/status/930996756799770624?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 16, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><p>Twitter's recent changes have sparked a stampede of users to competing social network <a href="https://gab.ai/" target="_blank">Gab.ai</a>, "<strong>a social network that champions free speech, individual liberty, and the free flow of information online. All are welcome</strong>."&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">If I get booted from Twitter in the purge tomorrow,you'll be able to find me on gab????<a href="https://twitter.com/jimlibertarian?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jimLibertarian</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NoRereatNoSurrender?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NoRereatNoSurrender</a> ???? <a href="https://t.co/AwPZGisICM">https://t.co/AwPZGisICM</a></p> <p>— Jim Mad Dog Maddox (@jimlibertarian) <a href="https://twitter.com/jimlibertarian/status/942576027825356800?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 18, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Ahead of the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TwitterPurge?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TwitterPurge</a> make sure you follow me on Gab.ai. You can find me DavidVance. (I am verified over there too!) Let’s drain the twitter swamp!</p> <p>— David Vance (@DVATW) <a href="https://twitter.com/DVATW/status/935051089916907521?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 27, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Not sure what's up with this whole Twitter Purge chatter, but I'm on Gab too at <a href="https://t.co/qlOzNJ60i0">https://t.co/qlOzNJ60i0</a> <a href="https://t.co/YVRUWA81C5">https://t.co/YVRUWA81C5</a></p> <p>— Jared Beck ???? (@JaredBeck) <a href="https://twitter.com/JaredBeck/status/942450572606758912?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 17, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">If I get purged in the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TwitterPurge?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TwitterPurge</a> tomorrow you can follow me on my gab.ai account or millennial <a href="https://t.co/lctEhhIhR7">https://t.co/lctEhhIhR7</a> &amp; check my YouTube MillennialMillie for updates.</p> <p>— Millie Weaver (@Millie__Weaver) <a href="https://twitter.com/Millie__Weaver/status/942599223559761921?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 18, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><p>At this rate, someday you'll hop on Gab to tell your grandchildren where you were when the great Twitter purge began.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="600" height="291" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/jack%201984.jpg?1513604387" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-18/todays-day-twitter-start-purging-users-and-prevent-certain-content-trending#comments Gab Jack Dorsey Microblogging Real-time web Social Issues Social media Social networking services Software Technology Text messaging Twitter Twitter Twitter World Wide Web Mon, 18 Dec 2017 18:10:47 +0000 Tyler Durden 609362 at http://www.zerohedge.com