en Former FEC Chair Demands Internet "Disinformation" Crackdown In Major Threat To Free Speech <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Jonathan Turley via,</em></a></p> <p><strong>In one of the most reckless and chilling attacks on free speech, the <a href="">former chair of the Federal Election Commission (FEC)</a> and Berkeley lecturer Ann Ravel is pushing for a federal crackdown on &ldquo;disinformation&rdquo; on the Internet - a term that she conspicuously fails to concretely define.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img height="263" src="" width="284" /></a></p> <p>Ravel is pushing a proposal that she laid out in a a paper co-author with&nbsp;Abby K. Wood, an associate professor at the University of Southern California, and Irina Dykhne, a student at USC Gould School of Law.&nbsp; <strong>To combat &ldquo;fake news,&rdquo; Ravel and her co-authors would undermine the use of the Internet as a forum for free speech.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong>The regulation would include the targeting of people who share stories deemed fake or disinformation by government regulators.&nbsp; </strong>The irony is that such figures are decrying Russian interference with our system and responding by curtailing free speech - something Vladimir Putin would certainly applaud.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 517px; height: 339px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>In addition to new rules on paid ads, Ravel wants fake news to be regulated</strong> under her&nbsp;proposal titled&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Fool Me Once: The Case for Government Regulation of &lsquo;Fake News.&rdquo;</a>&nbsp;If adopted, a &ldquo;social media user&rdquo; would be flagged for sharing anything deemed false by regulators:</p> <div class="col-md-6 col-lg-7 col-xl-8 Xd-inline-block d-md-block float-md-left"> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div> <p>&ldquo;after a social media user clicks &lsquo;share&rsquo; on a disputed item (if the platforms do not remove them and only label them as disputed), government can require that the user be reminded of the definition of libel against a public figure. Libel of public figures requires &lsquo;actual malice,&rsquo; defined as knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Sharing an item that has been flagged as untrue might trigger liability under libel laws.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><u><strong>Without clearly defining &ldquo;disinformation,&rdquo; Ravel would give bureaucrats the power to label postings as false and harass those who share such information.</strong></u>&nbsp; Of course, this would also involve a massive databanks of collections ads and discussions by the government.</p> <p><strong>The authors of the proposal see greater government regulation as the solution to what they describe as &ldquo;informational deficits&rdquo; in the largely free exchanges of the Internet.&nbsp; </strong>There is a far dosage of doublespeak in the article.&nbsp; Rather than refer to the new regulation as guaranteeing greater government control, the authors insist that &ldquo;government regulations . . .&nbsp;&nbsp;improve transparency.&rdquo; Rather than talk of government controls over speech, the authors talk about the government &ldquo;nudging&rdquo; otherwise ignorant readers and commentators.&nbsp; Here is the worrisome section:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Government regulations to help voters avoid spreading disinformation</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Educate social media users</span>. Social media users can unintentionally spread disinformation when they interact with it in their newsfeeds. Depending on their security settings, their entire online social network can see items that they interact with (by &ldquo;liking&rdquo; or commenting), even if they are expressing their opposition to the content. Social media users should not interact with disinformation in their feeds at all (aside from flagging it for review by third party fact checkers). Government should require platforms to regularly remind social media users about not interacting with disinformation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Similarly, after a social media user clicks &ldquo;share&rdquo; on a disputed item (if the platforms do not remove them and only label them as disputed), government can require that the user be reminded of the definition of libel against a public figure. Libel of public figures requires &ldquo;actual malice&rdquo;, defined as knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth. Sharing an item that has been flagged as untrue might trigger liability under libel laws.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Nudge social media users to not view disputed content</span>. Lawmakers should require platforms to provide an opt-in (or, more weakly, opt-out) system for viewing disputed content and periodically remind users of their options. We think the courts should uphold this as a constitutional regulation of political speech, but we acknowledge that it is a closer question than the more straightforward disclosure regulations above. The most analogous cases are to commercial speech cases (AdChoices and Do Not Call Registry, which was upheld). Commercial speech receives less protection than political speech.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>I have been writing about the threat to free speech coming increasingly from the left, including Democratic politicians.&nbsp; The implications of such controls are being dismissed in the pursuit of new specters of &ldquo;fake news&rdquo; or &ldquo;microaggressions&rdquo; or &ldquo;disinformation.&rdquo;&nbsp;</strong> The result has been a comprehensive assault on free speech from college campuses to the Internet to social media.&nbsp; What is particularly worrisome is the targeting of the Internet, which remains the single greatest advancement of free speech of our generation.&nbsp; Not surprisingly, governments see the Internet as a threat while others seeks to control its message.</p> <p>What Ravel and her co-authors are suggesting is a need to label certain views as &ldquo;false&rdquo; while giving not-so-subtle threats of legal action for those who share such information.&nbsp; <strong>Once the non-threatening language of &ldquo;nudges&rdquo; and &ldquo;transparency&rdquo; are stripped away, the proposal&rsquo;s true meaning is laid bare as a potentially radical change in government regulation over free speech and association.</strong></p> </div> <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="517" height="339" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Behavior Black propaganda Deception Defamation Disinformation Entertainment Fake news Federal Election Commission Internet culture Media manipulation Politics Propaganda Propaganda techniques Psychopathy Social media Southern California Transparency University of Southern California USC Gould School of Law Vladimir Putin Thu, 19 Oct 2017 18:05:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 605635 at The World's Largest ICO Is Imploding After Just 3 Months <p>Earlier this summer, Tezos smashed existing sales records in the white-hot IPO market after the company&rsquo;s pitch to build a better blockchain for cryptocurrencies made it one of the buzziest ICOs in the world. As we noted at the time, the company capitalized on that buzz by courting VC firms and other institutional investors with a $50 million token pre-sale. After the company opened up selling to the broader public, demand soared as investors greedily bought up tokens in spite of glitches that threatened to derail the sale early on. By the end of its weeks-long token sale in July, Tezos had sold more than $230 million.</p> <p>Now, Tezos is proving that authorities in the US and China were on to something when they decided to crack down on the ICO market, which has become a cesspool of fraud and abuse. To wit, the company&#39;s management revealed this week that progress on its vaunted product has stalled as it has struggled to recruit engineering talent, and an acrimonious dispute between several of the company&rsquo;s leading figures has spilled out into the open.</p> <p>As <a href="">WSJ</a>&rsquo;s Paul Vigna reports, <strong>&ldquo;a battle between the founders of the company and the head of the Swiss foundation they installed to give it more independence has put most trading of Tezos coins on ice, possibly until early next year.&rdquo; </strong></p> <p>The shakeup started after Tezos founders Arthur and Kathleen Breitman reported the delays in a<a href=""> blog post</a> published Wednesday. But even more alarming, the pair accused Johann Gevers, the head of a Swiss foundation which oversees their funds, of attempting to overpay himself using the massive pot of investor capital - despite the fact that the company will likely blow through its promised deadline of allocating tokens to buyers by December (the tokens have yet to be created).</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>In early September we became aware that the president of the Tezos Foundation, Johann Gevers, engaged in an attempt at self-dealing, misrepresenting to the council the value of a bonus he attempted to grant himself. <strong>We have been working with the Tezos foundation to resolve the matter and have advocated for his removal from the foundation council. We are confident in the council&rsquo;s ability to handle this sensitive matter with care and diligence. In the meantime, Johann&rsquo;s operational role in the foundation has been suspended, pending an investigation by the council&rsquo;s auditor.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>The news sent Tezos futures contracts trading on BitMex, an exchange known for its cryptocurrency futures products, tumbling more than 50% as traders unwound bets the project would be launched before the end of the year, as <a href="">Bloomberg </a>pointed out.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 268px;" /></a></p> <p>Tezos&rsquo;s struggles underscore the biggest flaw in the ICO market: Investors keep throwing capital at companies hoping to luck into the next bitcoin, even though most companies don&rsquo;t have a working product and many have relied on &ldquo;white papers&rdquo; fleshing out their ideas to market their tokens, a strategy that has been surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly) successful. To wit, ICOs have raised more than $3 billion this year according to <a href="">Bloomberg</a>, far surpassing Pitchbook analysts&rsquo; expectations for $1.7 billion by the end of the year.</p> <p>The ICO was run by the Tezos foundation, which is based in Zug, Switzerland. <strong>Most ICOs are built on top of Ethereum&rsquo;s platform. However, the impact on ether tokens was fleeting, with ether seeing a slight dip before moving higher early Thursday.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 280px;" /></a></p> <p>Under Swiss law, the Tezos foundation is supposed to be independent of the company that owns the nascent Tezos software. Because of this, <strong>the foundation holds all of the funds raised, which have mushroomed to more than $400 million in value because the contributions were made in two cryptocurrencies &ndash; bitcoin and ether &ndash; which have appreciated sharply in the past few months. But the battle between the Breitmans and the Gevers is threatening to derail the whole project, </strong>according to <a href=";utm_medium=Social">Reuters</a>.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 323px;" /></a></p> <p><a href=";utm_medium=Social">Reuters </a>is also reporting that the Breitmans, who first opened a corporation in Delaware to work on the Tezos code, failed to make certain regulatory disclosures made necessary by Arthur Breitmans&rsquo; employment at Morgan Stanley.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><a href=";utm_medium=Social">Reuters </a>reviewed a copy of a &ldquo;Tezos Business Plan&rdquo; from early 2015, which listed Breitman as chief executive. The plan projected that if the company survived 15 years, it would be worth between $2 billion and $20 billion. <strong>The budget called for paying Breitman $212,180 in salary by year three. In August 2015, Breitman, who was still working at Morgan Stanley, set up a company in Delaware called Dynamic Ledger Solutions Inc, or DLS, to develop Tezos. He listed himself as chief executive.</strong></p> <p>The U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) requires registered securities professionals to provide prior written notice to their employer to conduct outside business activities if there is &ldquo;reasonable expectation of compensation.&rdquo; <strong>According to FINRA records, Breitman was registered and did not report any &ldquo;other business activities.&rdquo; Morgan Stanley and FINRA declined to comment.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Reuters also revealed that Tezos exaggerated its progress in its early days, following a seed investment by noted VC and blockchain enthusiast Tim Draper.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>In pitching the story to Reuters, John O&rsquo;Brien, a principal of Strange Brew, had made claims about Tezos&rsquo; progress. He wrote: &ldquo;The applications of Tezos, ranging from derivatives settlement to micro-insurance, are real and recognized by industry giants. Ernst &amp; Young, Deloitte, LexiFi, etc. have adopted Tezos in their development environments and labs.&rdquo;</p> <p>On Oct. 3, a spokeswoman for the accounting firm Ernst &amp; Young told Reuters: &ldquo;The statement is not correct. EY has not adopted Tezos.&rdquo; <strong>A spokesman for Deloitte said Tezos&rsquo; code is &ldquo;one of many technologies we&rsquo;re considering&rdquo; with blockchain, but it&rsquo;s &ldquo;still early stage and we haven&rsquo;t used the technology for a client project.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>With the SEC already having filed the first civil charges against a man who launched two ICOs that the agency claims were completely fraudulent. If Tezos were the subject of regulatory action - the company&rsquo;s founders said they chose to base the project in Switzerland because it didn&rsquo;t have &ldquo;too much oversight&rdquo; - or even if it were to collapse in a heap of broken promises, its collapse has the potential to crash the whole ICO market.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 263px;" /></a><br /><em>Kathleen Breitman</em></p> <p>Then again, given the resilience of other cryptocurrencies, it&rsquo;s difficult to discern whether Tezos might become the ICO equivalent of Mt. Gox, or whether it will ultimately be remembered as a blip.</p> <p>At this point, only one thing is certain: Tezos investors who&rsquo;d hoped to receive their coins by the end of the year are bound to be disappointed.</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="1137" height="598" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bitcoin Bitcoin Blockchain Business China Cryptocurrencies ETC Ethereum Finance Financial services FINRA Icos Initial Coin Offering Institutional Investors Money Morgan Stanley Morgan Stanley Mt. Gox Reuters Switzerland Tezos Foundation U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Thu, 19 Oct 2017 17:46:26 +0000 Tyler Durden 605643 at What Dennis Gartman Remembers Most From "Black Monday" <p><em>Excerpted from the latest Gartman Letter, and presented without commentary (but with some highlighting).</em></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>ON THIS HORRIBLE ANNIVERSARY AND WHAT WE REMEMBER MOST:</strong></span></p> <p>Everyone seems to be writing about what they remember about the Crash of ’87 and we remember it well… very… <strong>and breaking with our common use of the “royal we” in our commentary and using the personal pronouns instead, from this point onward…</strong>what I remember is the sheer irrationality of the day in question; the utter and sheer panic by those who had in the past never panicked and the effect it had upon me.</p> <p>On the Friday before the “Crash” I was in Raleigh, North Carolina with close friends from my days at the CBOT of several years earlier: Brian O’Doherty, who played football for our beloved NC State University and who traded in the bond pit… and Carl Boraiko… one the best floor traders in T-notes, Bonds and the NOB spread I’ve had the privilege of knowing… and several others. We were there to go to the NC State v. lemson game on Saturday and&nbsp; were playing golf at the Duke University Golf Course on Friday when one of us noticed that the Dow was “Down a hundred!!” that afternoon as we checked our phone pagers that were suddenly paging us all, for there were not Iphones then. <strong>The Dow had never been down 100 point before… ever! It </strong>was shocking, to say the very least<strong>. As a former floor trader and having been writing TGL for three years at the time, and having warned previously about the dangers of “portfolio insurance” I was fearful… very… about what might happen on Monday’s opening as a result.</strong></p> <p>Going into Monday’s opening, <strong>I’d written myself a note to buy KC Value Line Futures and to sell S&amp;P futures in equal dollar sums, knowing/believing that the real selling by the portfolio insurers would be in the S&amp;P futures. </strong>Normally I traded only 5-10 “lots” when trading net open positions, however I chose that morning to buy 50 Value Line futures and to sell about 50 of the S&amp;P futures because the “risk” on the spread was obviously less than the risk on outright positions… usually.</p> <p>The violence of the opening caught everyone wholly off guard and the position moved against me by several thousands of dollars initially but was moving back in my favor quickly by 9:30 a.m. as the NYSE was about to open. <strong>However, I got a frenzied phone call from my clearing firm at the time wanting 100% margin on both sides of the trade by 10:00 to be wired to them or they were going to sell me out… immediately! </strong>They did not want regular futures spread margins; nor did they want full futures margin on each side; they wanted full 100% payment for the face value of both sides of the trade… in effect about $5 million or so, <strong>which of course I did not have</strong>. I was sold out… at 10:01 when I phoned to say I could not meet their demand<strong>. I lost several thousands of dollars that day… a meaningful sum of money then..</strong></p> <p>A few hours later as the panic truly began in earnest and as the selling in the S&amp;P futures reached a frenzy, the trade was “worth” several hundred thousand dollars… or would have been worth several hundred thousand dollars… in my favor for what I had expected to happen was in fact happening. <strong>The spread between the S&amp;P futures and the Value Line moved violently in the latter’s favor. By Tuesday morning’s panic opening it would have nearly doubled again, but it made no difference to me. I was out!</strong></p> <p>In retrospect, the clearing firm in question was doing what it needed to do to make certain that its own solvency was assured and in retrospect this was rational.</p> <p>What did I learn? <strong>I learned that markets can indeed be irrational; I learned that one has no choice but to expect the irrational and to prepare for it. I learned that amidst panic anything… absolutely ANYTHING… is possible and I learned to be prepared. Oh, and I learned that I never, ever, EVER want to go through that sort of day again… ever!</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="590" height="333" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bond Dennis Gartman Duke University Finance Financial economics Futures contract Futures markets Investment Margin NC State University paging S&P futures Value Line Thu, 19 Oct 2017 17:26:27 +0000 Tyler Durden 605645 at GDP Is Bogus: Here's Why <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,</em></a></p> <p><em>Here&#39;s a chart of our fabulous always-higher GDP, adjusted for another bogus metric, official inflation. </em></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>The theme this week is The Rot Within.</em> </span></p> <p><strong>The rot eating away at our society and economy is typically papered over with bogus statistics that &quot;prove&quot; everything&#39;s getting better every day in every way.</strong> The prime &quot;proof&quot; of rising prosperity is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which never fails to loft higher, with the rare excepts being Spots of Bother (recessions) that never last more than a quarter or two.</p> <p><strong>Longtime correspondent Dave P. of <a href="" target="resource">Market Daily Briefing</a> recently summarized the key flaw in GDP:</strong> GDP doesn&#39;t reflect changes in the <em>balance sheet</em>, i.e. debt.</p> <p>So if we borrow money to pay people to dig holes and then fill them with the excavated dirt, GDP rises to general applause.<strong> The debt we took on to fund the make-work isn&#39;t accounted for at all.</strong></p> <p><strong>Here&#39;s Dave&#39;s explanation:</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>Once I learned about accounting, I figured out why the GDP metric wasn&#39;t sufficient. What is missing?</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The balance sheet.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Hurricanes are a direct hit to your nation&#39;s balance sheet. The national income statement goes up because of increased spending to replace lost assets, but the &quot;equity&quot; part of the national balance sheet ends up taking a hit in direct proportion to the damage that occurred. Even if you rebuild everything just the way it was, your assets remain the same, while your liabilities have increased.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>We know this because we use the balance sheet equation: equity = assets - liabilities. Equity is another word for wealth.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Before hurricane:</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>wealth = (house + car) - (home debt + car debt)</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>After hurricane,</strong> you rebuild your house, and buy a new car, using borrowed money:</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>wealth = (house + car) - (2 x home debt + 2 x car debt)</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Wealth (equity) has declined by the sum (home debt + car debt)</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>So when you see pictures of a hurricane strike, you can now look through all that devastation and see the impact on the balance sheet. National equity (wealth) just dropped by the amount of damage inflicted by the hurricane. Whether it is ever rebuilt doesn&#39;t actually matter; that equity is just gone. Destruction is always a downside for equity - even if there is a temporary positive impact on the income statement.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Isn&#39;t it interesting that the mainstream economists, who don&#39;t use banks, debt, or money in their models, largely ignore balance sheets and instead just looks at the income statement alone? Its almost as if the entire education system was organized so that people paid no attention to banks, debt, and money. Who do you think might benefit from our flock of PhD economists ignoring the extremely profitable debt-elephant in the room, and its purveyors, the banks? </em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Thank you, Dave, for an explanation we never see in the mainstream.</strong> And here&#39;s a chart of our fabulous always-higher GDP, adjusted for another bogus metric, official inflation:</p> <p><img align="middle" border="0" class="wide" src="" /></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><em>If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by <a href="" target="resource">becoming a $1/month patron of my work via</a>. Check out both of my new books, <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B01MSP2SXM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=charleshughsm-20&amp;linkId=e45dbb20ba66e69c33a3a26772391278" target="resource">Inequality and the Collapse of Privilege</a> ($3.95 Kindle, $8.95 print) and <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B01ELXQZGE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=charleshughsm-20&amp;linkId=33DAOPEVGBNGBS37" target="resource">Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform</a> ($3.95 Kindle, $8.95 print, $5.95 <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B01M7YCLI2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=charleshughsm-20&amp;linkId=60a5ab448cf91113c0df9df97732358e" target="_blank"> audiobook</a>) For more, please visit the <a href="" target="resource">OTM essentials website</a>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="775" height="389" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Balance sheet Business Business cycle Corporate finance Economy Equity Finance Fiscal policy Gross Domestic Product Gross domestic product Household debt Recession Unemployment Thu, 19 Oct 2017 17:07:36 +0000 Tyler Durden 605619 at An Outraged George W. Bush Lashes Out At Trump: "Bigotry Seems Emboldened" <p>Former President George W. Bush came out swinging against the current administration on Thursday, and while he did not name President Castro, Dubya blasted that "bigotry seems emboldened" in the U.S., while urging the country to accept "globalization" - the same globalization which both the IMF, the BIS and even the Federal Reserve now agree and warn has led to record wealth inequality in the US - while rejecting "white supremacy."</p> <p><strong>"Bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed," </strong>Bush said.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Former Pres. George W Bush: "Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication." <a href=""></a></p> <p>— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) <a href="">October 19, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>Without explicitly naming Trump or any other politicians, Bush criticized the “governing class”, although it was not immediately clear if the president who invaded Iraq included himself in that grouping.&nbsp; </p> <p>"Discontent deepened and sharpened partisan conflicts in recent years", Bush said during a speech for the George W. Bush Institute, in which he also slammed conspiracy theories and Trump's favorite topic, fake news: "<strong>Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seem more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication."</strong></p> <p>It is unclear if that statement was serious or sarcastic considering, well... it's self-explanatory.</p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="387" /></p> <p>The former president was right in stating that public confidence in the country's institutions has declined in recent decades, which of course would imply that other presidents, Trump's predecessors are at fault.&nbsp; "Our governing class has often been paralyzed in the face of obvious and pressing needs. The American dream of upward mobility seems out of reach for some who feel left behind in a changing economy," he said. </p> <p>Making it obvious that he had Trump in mind during his speech, Bush warned against Russia’s attempts to meddle in the United States election, calling on the nation to confront “a new era of cyber threats.” </p> <p>"The Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other" he said allegedly referring to the $100,000 reportedly spent by Russian "actors" both before and after the US election - <a href="">something which Clinton's own campaign chair mocked </a>- and added that “America must harden its own defenses. Our country must show resolve and resilience in the face of external attacks on our democracy and that begins with confronting a new era of cyber threats,” Bush said during a forum for the George W. Bush Institute in New York City.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">George W. Bush on Russian election interference: "This effort is broad, systemic, and stealthy...ultimately, this effort won't succeed." <a href=""></a></p> <p>— ABC News (@ABC) <a href="">October 19, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>Bush extended his critique to the ideological level, saying that there are signs that the intensity of support for democracy itself has waned and warned that support for socialism appears to be rising "especially among the young, who never experienced the galvanizing moral clarity of the Cold War or never focused on the ruin of entire nations by socialist central planning."</p> <p>"Some have called this Democratic de-consolidation. Merely, it seems to be a combination of weariness, frayed tempers and forgetfulness," he said. “Our governing class has often been paralyzed in the face of obvious and pressing needs. The American dream of upward mobility seems out of reach for some who feel left behind in a changing economy."</p> <p>During his speech, Bush also warned that democracies face "new and serious threats" today. Economic, political and national security challenges proliferate "and they're made worse by the tendency to turn inward. The health of the Democratic spirit itself is at issue and the renewal of that spirit is the urgent task at hand."</p> <p>“We cannot wish globalization away,” he continued later, urging society to "adapt" to economic and social and change. Bush, who advocates free trade, promoted multilateral and bilateral<br /> trade deals during his presidency. Trump is now demanding that the North<br /> American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico be<br /> renegotiated, under the threat of a U.S. withdrawal.</p> <p>Speaking to <a href="">The Hill</a>, a spokesman for Bush denied that the former president was criticizing Trump in Thursday's speech.</p> <p>"This was a long-planned speech on liberty and democracy as a part of the Bush Institute’s Human Freedom Initiative," Freddy Ford told The Hill. "The themes President Bush spoke about today are really the same themes he has spoken about for the last two decades."</p> <p>Surprisingly, W. had no introspective insight to explain how the collapse of democracy may have started with Trump's predecessors, including both president Obama and, of course, Dubya himself, or what specific aspects of the US political process may have led to the general popular revulsion with "establishment" system , which - as much as Putin would love to take credit - started long before any alleged Russian inolvement. </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="460" height="262" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> ABC News American people of German descent BIS Bush Bush family Bush Institute Donald Trump Fake news Federal Reserve Federal Reserve Ford George H. W. Bush George W. Bush Institute Iraq Mexico national security New York City President Obama Russian government Schuyler family Sons of the American Revolution Twitter Twitter Thu, 19 Oct 2017 16:45:57 +0000 Tyler Durden 605641 at Snap's New Business Model <p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">From the Slope of Hope</a></strong>:&nbsp;<span style="color: #444444; font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">One of the hottest, most widely-anticipated IPOs in years took place in March of this year - -</span><span style="color: #444444; font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">&nbsp;</span><strong style="color: #444444; font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">Snap</strong><span style="color: #444444; font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">, Inc., which is, of course, the owner of the Snap app (although they insistently refer to themselves as "a camera company".) Perhaps another mission statement is in order, however, as they appeared to have now expanded to.........</span><strong style="color: #444444; font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">.Halloween costumes</strong><span style="color: #444444; font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 1.71429; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1.71429rem; color: #444444; font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"><img src="" width="738" height="442" style="height: auto; max-width: 100%; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2) 0px 1px 4px;" class="alignnone" /></p> <p style="line-height: 1.71429; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1.71429rem; color: #444444; font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">No,<span style="text-decoration-line: underline;">&nbsp;I am not making this up.</span>&nbsp;The one and only product from Snap you can purchase on&nbsp;<a href=";ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1508430260&amp;sr=1-1&amp;nodeID=7141123011&amp;psd=1" target="_blank" style="color: #21759b; outline: none;">Amazon</a>&nbsp;is, in fact, this costume in which&nbsp;<strong>you can pretend you are a hot dog.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p style="line-height: 1.71429; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1.71429rem; color: #444444; font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">So the company has never made a dime, and in fact&nbsp;<a href=";sq=snap&amp;sp=3&amp;ei=89HoWdGFLdL-jAHNy5qYBw" target="_blank" style="color: #21759b; outline: none;">loses hundreds of millions of dollars</a>, and its shareholders have managed to&nbsp;<strong>lose&nbsp;half their money</strong>&nbsp;since this dog (so to speak) went public:</p> <p style="line-height: 1.71429; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1.71429rem; color: #444444; font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"><a href="" style="color: #21759b; outline: none;" rel="attachment wp-att-70265"><img src="" alt="1019-snap" width="709" height="769" style="height: auto; max-width: 100%; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2) 0px 1px 4px;" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-70265" /></a></p> <p style="line-height: 1.71429; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1.71429rem; color: #444444; font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">In spite of this fiasco - - and laughable diversification of its business model - - I must again request that you cut Evan Spiegel, Snap's CEO and founder, some slack, as he continues to be&nbsp;<strong>fully distracted by his new wife</strong>, Miranda Kerr, who found Mr. Spiegel&nbsp;<em>terribly</em>&nbsp;attractive&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" style="color: #21759b; outline: none;">around the time he made his gigantic fortune</a>. How about that.</p> <p style="line-height: 1.71429; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1.71429rem; color: #444444; font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"><img src="" width="760" height="746" style="height: auto; max-width: 100%; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2) 0px 1px 4px;" class="alignnone" /></p> Business Corporate finance Evan Spiegel Halloween costume Horse racing Initial public offering Miranda Kerr Slope of Hope Snap Snap Inc. Spiegel Stock market Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests Thu, 19 Oct 2017 16:35:40 +0000 Tim Knight from Slope of Hope 605640 at Robert Shiller: 1987 Could Happen Again <p><em>By Robert Shiller, first published in the <a href="">NYT</a></em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="147" data-total-count="147">Oct. 19, 1987, was one of the worst days in stock market history. Thirty years later, it would be comforting to believe it couldn&rsquo;t happen again.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="265" data-total-count="412">Yet that&rsquo;s true only in the narrowest sense: Regulatory and technological change has made an exact repeat of that terrible day impossible. We are still at risk, however, because fundamentally, that market crash was a mass stampede set off through viral contagion.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="46" data-total-count="458"><strong>That kind of panic can certainly happen again.</strong></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="440" data-total-count="898">I base this sobering conclusion on <a href="">my own research</a>. (I won a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2013, partly for my work on the market impact of social psychology.) I sent out thousands of questionnaires to investors within four days of the 1987 crash, motivated by the belief that we will never understand such events unless we ask people for the reasons for their actions, and for the thoughts and emotions associated with them.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="436" data-total-count="1334" id="story-continues-1">From this perspective, I believe a rough analogy for that 1987 market collapse can be found in another event &mdash; the panic of Aug. 28, 2016, <a href=""> at Los Angeles International Airport</a>, when people believed erroneously that they were in grave danger. False reports of gunfire at the airport &mdash; in an era in which shootings in large crowds had already occurred &mdash; set some people running for the exits. Once the panic began, others ran, too.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="436" data-total-count="1334">That is essentially what I found to have happened 30 years ago in the stock market. By late in the afternoon of Oct. 19, the momentous nature of that day was already clear: The stock market had fallen more than 20 percent. It was the biggest one-day drop, in percentage terms, in the annals of the modern American market.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="436" data-total-count="1334"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 233px;" /></a></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="189" data-total-count="1844" id="story-continues-5">I realized at once that this was a once-in-a lifetime research opportunity. So I worked late that night and the next, designing a questionnaire that would reveal investors&rsquo; true thinking.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="316" data-total-count="2160">Those were the days before widespread use of the internet, so I relied on paper and ink and old-fashioned snail mail. Within four days, I had mailed out 3,250 questionnaires to a broad range of individual and institutional investors. The response rate was 33 percent, and the survey provided a wealth of information.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="316" data-total-count="2160"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 341px;" /></a></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="282" data-total-count="2442">My findings focused on psychological data and differed sharply from those of the official explanations embodied in the report of the Brady Commission &mdash; the task force set up by President Ronald Reagan and chaired by <a href="">Nicholas F. Brady</a>, who would go on to become Treasury secretary.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="175" data-total-count="2617">The <a href="">commission</a> pinned the crash on causes like the high merchandise trade deficit of that era, and on a tax proposal that might have made some corporate takeovers less likely.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="237" data-total-count="2854">The report went on to say that the &ldquo;initial decline ignited mechanical, price-insensitive selling by a number of institutions employing portfolio insurance strategies and a small number of mutual fund groups reacting to redemptions.&rdquo;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="237" data-total-count="2854"><em><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 332px;" /></a><br />An avalanche of sell orders exhausted traders in New York. Credit Maria Bastone/Agence France-Presse</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="237" data-total-count="2854"><em><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 353px;" /></a><br />The panic in New York spread to the Sydney Stock Exchange in Australia. Credit Fairfax Media</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="235" data-total-count="3089" id="story-continues-8"><a href="">Portfolio insurance</a>, invented in the 1970s by <a href="">Hayne Leland</a> and <a href="">Mark Rubinstein</a>, two economists from the University of California, Berkeley, is a phrase we don&rsquo;t hear much anymore, but it received a lot of the blame for Oct. 19, 1987.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="263" data-total-count="3352" id="story-continues-9">Portfolio insurance was often described as a form of <a href="">program trading</a>: It would cause the automatic selling of stock futures when prices fell and, indirectly, set off the selling of stocks themselves. That would protect the seller but exacerbate the price decline.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="475" data-total-count="4654"><em><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 373px;" /></a><br />A car for sale after its owner lost money in the 1929 stock market crash.</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="244" data-total-count="3596" id="story-continues-11">The Brady Commission found that portfolio insurance accounted for substantial selling on Oct. 19, but the commission could not know how much of this selling would have happened in a different form if portfolio insurance had never been invented.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="235" data-total-count="3831">In fact, portfolio insurance was just a repackaged version of the age-old practice of selling when the market started to fall. With hindsight, it&rsquo;s clear that it was neither a breakthrough discovery nor the main cause of the decline.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="135" data-total-count="3966">Ultimately, I believe we need to focus on the <em>people</em> who adopted the technology and who really drove prices down, not on the computers.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="213" data-total-count="4179">Portfolio insurance had a major role in another sense, though: A narrative spread <em>before</em> Oct. 19 that it was dangerous, and fear of portfolio insurance may have been more important than the program trading itself.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="475" data-total-count="4654">On Oct. 12, for instance, The Wall Street Journal <a href="">said</a> portfolio insurance could start a &ldquo;huge slide in stock prices that feeds on itself&rdquo; and could &ldquo;put the market into a tailspin.&rdquo; And on Saturday, Oct. 17, two days before the crash, The New York Times <a href="">said</a> portfolio insurance could push &ldquo;slides into scary falls.&rdquo; Such stories may have inclined many investors to think that <em>other</em> investors would sell if the market started to head down, encouraging a cascade.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="184" data-total-count="4838"><em><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 333px;" /></a><br />Newspapers grappled with the biggest one-day stock market decline, in percentage terms, in Wall Street&rsquo;s modern history</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="184" data-total-count="4838" id="story-continues-13">In reality, my own survey showed, traditional stop-loss orders actually <a href="">were reported to have been used by twice as many institutional investors as the more trendy portfolio insurance</a>.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="183" data-total-count="5021">In that survey, I asked respondents to evaluate a list of news articles that appeared in the days before the market collapse, and to add articles that were on their minds on that day.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="380" data-total-count="5401" id="story-continues-14">I asked how important these were to &ldquo;you personally,&rdquo; as opposed to &ldquo;how others thought about them.&rdquo; What is fascinating about their answers is what was missing from them: Nothing about market fundamentals stood out as a justification for widespread selling or for staying out of the market instead of buying on the dip. (Such purchases would have bolstered share prices.)</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="123" data-total-count="5524">Furthermore, individual assessments of news articles bore little relation to whether people bought or sold stocks that day.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="310" data-total-count="5834">Instead, it appears that a powerful narrative of impending market decline was already embedded in many minds. Stock prices had dropped in the preceding week. And on the morning of Oct. 19, a graphic in The Wall Street Journal explicitly compared prices from 1922 through 1929 with those from 1980 through 1987.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="310" data-total-count="5834"><em><img alt="" src="" style="width: 427px; height: 945px;" /><br />A graphic in The Wall Street Journal on the morning of Oct. 19, 1987, compared current stock trends with those of the 1920s</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="529" data-total-count="6363">The declines that had already occurred in October 1987 <em>looked</em> a lot like those that had occurred just before the October 1929 stock market crash. That graphic in the leading financial paper, along with an article that accompanied it, raised the thought that <em>today</em>, <em>yes, this very day</em> could be the beginning of the end for the stock market. It was one factor that contributed to a shift in mass psychology. As I&rsquo;ve said in a previous column, markets move when <a href="">other investors believe they know what other investors are thinking</a>.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="255" data-total-count="6618">In short, my survey indicated that Oct. 19, 1987, was a climax of disturbing narratives. It became a day of fast reactions amid a mood of extreme crisis in which it seemed that no one knew what was going on and that you had to trust your own gut feelings.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="255" data-total-count="6618"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 369px;" /></a><br /><em>The week of Oct. 19, 1987, people around the country kept a close eye on the market</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="205" data-total-count="6823" id="story-continues-16">Given the state of communications then, it is amazing how quickly the panic spread. As my respondents told me on their questionnaires, most people learned of the market plunge through direct word of mouth.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="239" data-total-count="7062">I first heard that the market was plummeting while lecturing to my morning class at Yale. A student in the back of the room was listening to a miniature transistor radio with an earphone, and interrupted me to tell us all about the market.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="209" data-total-count="7271">Right after class, I walked to my broker&rsquo;s office at Merrill Lynch in downtown New Haven, to assess the mood there. My broker appeared harassed and busy, and had time enough only to say, &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t worry!&rdquo;</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="223" data-total-count="7494" id="story-continues-17">He was right for long-term investors: The market began rising later that week, and in retrospect, stock charts show that buy-and-hold investors did splendidly if they stuck to their strategies. But that&rsquo;s easy to say now.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="238" data-total-count="7732">Like the 2016 airport stampede, the 1987 stock market fall was a panic caused by fear and based on rumors, not on real danger. In 1987, a powerful feedback loop from human to human &mdash; not computer to computer &mdash; set the market spinning.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="258" data-total-count="7990">Such feedback loops have been well documented in <a href="">birds</a>, <a href="">mice</a>, <a href="">cats</a> and <a href="">rhesus monkeys</a>. And in 2007 the neuroscientists Andreas Olsson, Katherine I. Nearing and Elizabeth A. Phelps <a href="">described </a>the neural mechanisms at work when fear spreads from human to human.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="258" data-total-count="7990"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 336px;" /></a><br /><em>The Chicago Stock Exchange was drawn into the market fall</em></p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="289" data-total-count="8279" id="story-continues-19">We will have panics but not an exact repeat of Oct. 19, 1997. In one way, the situation has probably gotten worse: Technology has made viral rumor transmission much easier. But there are regulations in place that were intended to forestall another one-day market collapse of such severity.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="520" data-total-count="8799">In response to the 1987 crash and the Brady Commission report, the New York Stock Exchange instituted <a href="">Rule 80B</a>, a &ldquo;circuit breaker&rdquo; that, in its current amended form, shuts down trading for the day if the Standard &amp; Poor&rsquo;s 500-stock index falls 20 percent from the previous close. That 20 percent threshold is interesting: Regulators settled on a percentage decline just a trifle less than the one that occurred in 1987. That choice may have been an unintentional homage to the power of narratives in that episode.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-para-count="522" data-total-count="9321">But 20 percent would still be a big drop. <a href="">Many people believe</a> that stock prices are already very high &mdash; the Dow Jones industrial average crossed 23,000 this week &mdash; and if the right kinds of human interactions build in a crescendo, we could have another monumental one-day decline. One-day market drops are not the greatest danger, of course. The bear market that started during the financial crisis in 2007 was a far more consequential downturn, and it took months to wend its way toward a market bottom in March 2009.</p> <p class="story-body-text story-content" data-node-uid="1" data-para-count="446" data-total-count="9767">That should not be understood as a prediction that the market will have another great fall, however. It is simply an acknowledgment that such events involve the human psyche on a mass scale. We should not be surprised if they occur or even if, for a protracted period, the market remains remarkably calm. We are at risk, but with luck, another perfect storm &mdash; like the one that struck on Oct. 19, 1987 &mdash; might not happen in the next 30 years.</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="2048" height="1095" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Australia Bear Market Brady Commission Business Capitalism Dow 30 Dow Jones Industrial Average Dow Jones Industrial Average Economic bubbles Economic history of the Netherlands Economy Finance Financial markets Institutional Investors Market Bottom Market Crash Market trend Merrill Merrill Lynch Money New York Stock Exchange New York Times program trading Program Trading Reality Robert Shiller Stock market Stock market crashes Systemic risk Trade Deficit University of California University of California, Berkeley Wall Street Crash Wall Street Journal Yale Thu, 19 Oct 2017 16:26:33 +0000 Tyler Durden 605638 at Senate Seeks To Interview FBI Informant Linking Russian Nuclear Bribery Case To Clinton Foundation <p>Yesterday we wrote about the FBI's undercover informant in the Russian nuclear bribery scandal who tried to come forward with his story last year but was silenced after being "threatened" by the Obama administration (full summary at the bottom of this post).&nbsp; </p> <p>Now it seems as though the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator Chuck Grassley, has finally taken an interest in what "Confidential Source 1" might have to say about Russians, bribes, the Clinton Foundation and the Obama administration's efforts to silence him.&nbsp; According to <a href="">Circa</a>, Chuck Grassley has sent a formal letter to the informant's attorney requesting that her client testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley asked the attorney of a former FBI informant Wednesday to allow her client to testify before his committee regarding the FBI's investigation regarding kickbacks and bribery </strong>by the Russian state controlled nuclear company that was approved to purchase twenty percent of United States uranium supply in 2010, Circa has learned.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a formal letter, Grassley, an Iowa Republican, asked Victoria Toensing, the lawyer representing the former FBI informant, to allow her client, who says he worked as a voluntary informant for the FBI, to be allowed to testify about the "crucial" eyewitness testimony he provided to the FBI regarding members of the Russian subsidiary and other connected players from 2009 until the FBI's prosecution of the defendants in 2014.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"Reporting indicates that “the informant’s work was crucial to the government’s ability to crack a multimillion dollar racketeering scheme by Russian nuclear officials on U.S. soil”</strong> and that the scheme involved<strong> “bribery, kickbacks, money laundering, and extortion,"</strong> Grassley states in his letter. "Further, the reporting indicates that your client can testify that <strong>'FBI agents made comments to him suggesting political pressure was exerted during the Justice Department probe' and 'that there was specific evidence that could have scuttled approval of the Uranium One deal.'</strong> It appears that your client possesses unique information about the Uranium One/Rosatom transaction and how the Justice Department handled the criminal investigation into the Russian criminal conspiracy."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Grassley added that<strong> "such information is critical to the Committee’s oversight of the Justice Department and its ongoing inquiry into the manner in which CFIUS approved the transaction. Accordingly, the Committee requests to interview your client."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><img src="" alt="Grassley" width="600" height="313" /></p> <p>* * * </p> <p>For those who missed it, below is further background on "Confidential Source 1" from our post yesterday.</p> <p>While the mainstream media has largely ignored it, the scandal surrounding Russian efforts to acquire 20% of America's uranium reserves, a deal which was ultimately approved by the Obama administration, and more specifically the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) which included Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder, is becoming more problematic for Democrats by the hour.&nbsp; </p> <p>As <a href="">The Hill</a> pointed out earlier this morning, the latest development in this sordid tale revolves around a man that the FBI used as an informant back in 2009 and beyond to build a case against a Russian perpetrator who ultimately admitted to bribery, extortion and money laundering.&nbsp; The informant, who is so far only known as "Confidential Source 1," says that when he attempted to come forward last year with information that linked the Clinton Foundation directly to the scandal he was promptly silenced by the FBI and the Obama administration.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Working as a confidential witness, the businessman made kickback payments to the Russians with the approval of his FBI handlers and gathered other evidence, the records show.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sources told The Hill the informant's work was crucial to the government's ability to crack a multimillion dollar racketeering scheme by Russian nuclear officials on U.S. soil that involved bribery, kickbacks, money laundering and extortion. In the end, the main Russian executive sent to the U.S. to expand Russian President Vladimir Putin's nuclear business, an executive of an American trucking firm and a Russian financier from New Jersey pled guilty to various crimes in a case that started in 2009 and ended in late 2015.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Toensing added her client has had contact from multiple congressional committees seeking information about what he witnessed inside the Russian nuclear industry and has been unable to provide that information because of the NDA. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“He can’t disclose anything that he came upon in the course of his work,”</strong> she said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The information the client possesses includes specific allegations that Russian executives made to him about how they facilitated the Obama administration's 2010 approval of the Uranium One deal</strong> and <strong>sent millions of dollars in Russian nuclear funds to the U.S. to an entity assisting Bill Clinton's foundation.</strong> At the time, <strong>Hillary Clinton was serving as secretary of State</strong> on the government panel that approved the deal, the lawyer said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It has been previously reported that Bill Clinton accepted $500,000 in Russian speaking fees in 2010 and collected millions more in donations for his foundation from parties with a stake in the Uranium One deal, transactions that both the Clintons and the Obama administration denied had any influence on the approval. </p> </blockquote> <p><img src="" alt="Victoria" width="600" height="335" /></p> <p>In the midst of the new discoveries revealed yesterday about the Uranium One case (see: <a href="">FBI Uncovered Russian Bribery Plot Before Obama Approved Uranium One Deal, Netting Clintons Millions</a>), "Confidential Source 1" has once again hired an attorney, Victoria Toensing, a former Reagan Justice Department official and former chief counsel of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to get his story out.</p> <p>Sitting down with The Hill earlier, Toensing said that the <strong>last time her client tried to speak out "both his reputation and liberty" were "threatened" by the Obama administration in a effort to force his silence.&nbsp; </strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>“All of the information about this corruption has not come out,” </strong>she said in an interview Tuesday.<strong> “And so my client, the same part of my client that made him go into the FBI in the first place, says, 'This is wrong. What should I do about it?'” </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Toensing said she also possesses memos that recount how the Justice Department last year threatened her client when he attempted to file a lawsuit that could have drawn attention to the Russian corruption during the 2016 presidential race as well as helped him recover some of the money Russians stole from him through kickbacks during the FBI probe.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The undercover client witnessed “a lot of bribery going on around the U.S.”</strong> but was asked by the FBI to sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) that prevents him from revealing what he knows to Congress, Toensing explained.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When he tried to bring some of the allegations to light in the lawsuit last year,<strong> “the Obama Justice Department threatened him with loss of freedom. They said they would bring a criminal case against him for violating an NDA,” </strong>she added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Emails obtained by The Hill show that a civil attorney working with the former undercover witness described the pressure the Justice Department exerted to keep the client from disclosing to a federal court what he knew last summer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“The government was taking a very harsh position that threatened both your reputation and liberty,”</strong> the civil lawyer wrote in one email. In another, she added, <strong>“As you will recall the gov’t made serious threats sufficient to cause you to withdraw your civil complaint."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>As we pointed out last summer when Peter Schweizer first released his feature documentary <a href="">Clinton Cash</a>, the Uranium One deal at the center of this scandal is believed to have netted the Clintons and their Clinton Foundation millions of dollars in donations and 'speaking fees' from Uranium One shareholders and other Russian entities.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Russian Purchase of US Uranium Assets in Return for $145mm in Contributions to the Clinton Foundation - Bill and Hillary Clinton assisted a Canadian financier, Frank Giustra, and his company, Uranium One, in the acquisition of uranium mining concessions in Kazakhstan and the United States. &nbsp;Subsequently, the Russian government sought to purchase Uranium One but required approval from the Obama administration given the strategic importance of the uranium assets. &nbsp;<strong>In the run-up to the approval of the deal by the State Department, nine shareholders of Uranium One just happened to make $145mm in donations to the Clinton Foundation. &nbsp;Moreover, the <a href="">New Yorker</a> confirmed that Bill Clinton received $500,000 in speaking fees from a Russian investment bank, with ties to the Kremlin, around the same time. </strong>&nbsp;Needless to say, the State Department approved the deal giving Russia ownership of 20% of U.S. uranium assets&nbsp; </p> </blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, the 'journalists' over at CNN are still trying to get to the bottom of exactly who spent the $100,000 on Facebook ads...</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="557" height="253" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bill Clinton Chuck Grassley Clinton Foundation Clinton Foundation Colleges of the University of Oxford Committee on Foreign Investment Congress Corruption Department of Justice Department of State Eric Holder FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Bureau of Investigation Hillary Clinton Judiciary Committee Kazakhstan Obama Administration Obama administration Peter Schweizer Politics Racketeering Rodham family Russian government Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Senate Intelligence Committee Testimony United States Uranium Victoria Toensing Thu, 19 Oct 2017 16:06:34 +0000 Tyler Durden 605625 at One Trader Warns "The Game Is Starting To Change Before Your Eyes" <p>In a market that can barely fog a mirror with its heartbeat, a sudden lurch lower - as we experienced overnight across all global risky asset classes - especially on the 30th anniversary of Black Monday, has sparked a cavalacade of &quot;this is it&quot; narratives as well as &quot;this time is different&quot; memes. However, as former fund manager Richard Breslow notes, <strong><em>no matter how much traders may want to ignore reality, the game is starting to change before our eyes...</em></strong></p> <p>As <a href="">BlackRock CIO Rick Reider noted earlier</a>, <strong><em>major central banks flooded the global financial system with nearly $10 trillion in liquidity since 2008, but now we&rsquo;re beginning to unwind...</em></strong></p> <p><a href=""><img height="324" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><em>Via Bloomberg,</em></p> <p>If Catalonia didn&rsquo;t exist, we would have to invent it. If only for a day...</p> <p><strong>Stocks are down today and someone has to be assigned the blame.</strong></p> <p>It&rsquo;s a shame that we always need to find the whipping boy du jour in order to avoid confronting the possibility of the impossible - that <strong>asset bubbles may be made of tough stuff but they&rsquo;re called bubbles for a reason. </strong></p> <p><strong>Are the problems in Spain for real? Certainly.</strong> As is their unemployment rate, but nobody has given a damn. But failure to place blame on something that everyone assumes will be a one-hit blunder risks a level of investor introspection that must be avoided, especially as we inch closer to the holiday season. Which is a more genteel way of saying toward high water-mark calculations.</p> <p><strong>What&rsquo;s causing this particular setback, if indeed it can be called that? </strong>Two things:</p> <ul> <li>commentators complaining that it was getting boring reading on their teleprompters that stocks made new all-time highs; and</li> <li>&nbsp;the dawning realization that the central bank cast of characters who have kept these asset balls in the air really is going to change.</li> </ul> <p><strong>They say that markets don&rsquo;t like uncertainty.</strong> Well, who will be running global monetary policy and how well it will be coordinated is the biggest potential uncertainty out there.<strong>On the same day President Trump is meeting with Fed Chair Janet Yellen for her &ldquo;interview&rdquo; for her job, PBOC Governor Zhou reminded reporters covering the China Party Congress that &ldquo;people retire eventually.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>I doubt that was just a general commentary on life.<strong>The fact that the Hang Seng got its knuckles rapped has been put down to his warning about Minsky Moments and gotten all the play, but I think the former comments are what mattered.</strong> He&rsquo;s been around for a long time and tolerated a lot of excesses that have contributed to the country&rsquo;s economic success.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="313" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>On top of that there&rsquo;s speculation that the new coalition government in New Zealand may have different views on the prerogatives enjoyed by the head of the RBNZ and the currency got clocked. That&rsquo;s the knee-jerk from foreign exchange traders on the outside looking in.</p> <p>And irrespective of the fact that their local stock market took it all in stride and closed at all-time highs.<strong> Traders don&rsquo;t like uncertainty because they so often trade things they know little about.</strong> Just wait for ECB speculation to heat up.</p> <p><u><em><strong>The game is changing and it has little to do with policy normalization. And everything to do with the irrational fear of change in a world that everyone professes to hate.</strong></em></u></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="297" height="147" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Blackrock Business cycle Central Banks China Congress Economic bubbles Economy European Central Bank Finance Financial crises Financial crisis of 2007–2008 Futures contract Great Recession Janet Yellen Minsky moment Monetary Policy Money New Zealand People's Bank of China Reality Speculation Systemic risk Unemployment US Federal Reserve Thu, 19 Oct 2017 15:54:27 +0000 Tyler Durden 605637 at Papers Filed To Disbar James Comey Following "False Testimony To Congress" <p>Ty Clevenger, the "crusading lawyer" who has been trying for months to get Hillary and several members of her campaign staff disbarred in every jurisdiction from Little Rock, Arkansas to New York, <strong>has now set his sights on a new target: Former FBI Director James Comey.&nbsp;</strong> According to the <a href="">Washington Times</a>, Clevenger filed a bar grievance in New York this week accusing Comey of lying to Congress and destroying potential evidence in the Clinton email scandal, in a process that could end up costing him his law license.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Ty Clevenger filed the grievance in New York, where Mr. Comey was a former U.S. attorney and is licensed to practice law.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Clevenger said Mr. Comey’s testimony to Congress that he did not predetermine the outcome of the FBI’s probe into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is belied by revelations this week that he in fact started drafting an exoneration months before even speaking with Mrs. Clinton.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“Insofar as Mr. Comey gave materially false testimony to Congress, it appears that he violated Rules 1.0(w), 3.3(a)(1), and 8.4 of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct,”</strong> Mr. Clevenger wrote.</p> </blockquote> <p><img src="" alt="Comey" width="600" height="327" /></p> <p>Clevenger also asked to renew grievances in New York against former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, saying that Comey’s claim that she tried to pressure him to downplay the Clinton probe should subject her to scrutiny.</p> <p>As you may recall, Clevenger is also the lawyer who convinced Maryland judge Paul Harris Jr. to order the Maryland state bar to investigate former Hillary aides David Kendall, Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson for their efforts in allegedly helping Hillary "destroy evidence."</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>A Maryland judge ordered the state bar to open an investigation Monday into the three lawyers who helped former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to delete her private emails.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Circuit Judge Paul F. Harris Jr. said the complaints lodged against David E. Kendall, Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson were “egregious”</strong> and said the state bar couldn’t brush them aside by calling them “frivolous.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“There are allegations of destroying evidence,”</strong> Judge Harris said at a hearing Monday morning, where he said the state’s rules require the bar to conduct investigations no matter who raises the complaint, and can’t brush accusations aside.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“I just think this is a rather easy decision at this point,”</strong> he said.<strong> “The court is ordering bar counsel to investigate.”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>So what say you?&nbsp; Is this all a waste of time or are the Clintons the only ones who can perpetually avoid punishment for their scandals?<strong><br /></strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="858" height="467" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Clevenger Congress Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Dismissal of United States Attorneys controversy FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Bureau of Investigation Government Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton email controversy James Comey Law Politics Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Testimony UN Court United States United States Department of Justice United States intelligence agencies Thu, 19 Oct 2017 15:32:12 +0000 Tyler Durden 605620 at