en Billionaire Slashes Asking Price For Beverly Hills Mega- Mansion By A Third, Or $66 Million <p>Two weeks ago, <a href="">we showed </a>readers an example of just how sharp the drop in the high-end housing segment has been in Manhattan, courtesy of J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler, who had slashed a whopping $15 million, or 40%, from the asking price of his Tribeca loft after it languished on the market for close to two years, unable to find a buyer. The 6,226-square-foot spread had recently reappeared for sale with a $19.95 million price tag, far below the original $35 million it was first listed for in April 2015.</p> <p>It has yet to sell. </p> <p>However, contrary to speculation that this sharp plunge in prices and demand for luxury real estate was solely a New York phenomenon, Mansion Global writes that billionaire Jeff Greene has put his Beverly Hills home “Palazzo di Amore” back on the market last Friday, asking&nbsp; $129 million. This amounts to a $20 million cut from when the home was last listed two years ago, <strong>and a whopping third, or $66 million, discount off the original price of $195 million in 2014</strong>. </p> <p>When the 25-acre property first hit the market in 2014 for $195 million<strong>, it became the most expensive home for sale in the U.S., according to public records. It also top-ticked the market, and as the latest price confirms, was overvalued by at least a third. </strong></p> <p>According to <a href="">Mansion</a>, Greene, 62, a real estate investor with an estimated net worth of $3.4 billion, married Mei Sze Chan, in 2007 at the Mediterranean-style villa, named “Palazzo di Amore,” Italian for “Palace of Love.” They listed the property in 2014 and then again in 2015, with a $49 million price chop in between. After failing to find a buyer, they removed the house from the market and offered it as a rental for $375,000 a month, according to the listing history.</p> <p>“We tested the market in 2014, asking $195 million for this unique property, but now it’s a better time to come on the market,” said Stacy Gottula, director of the Estates Division at The Agency, who is co-listing the property with the firm’s founder, Mauricio Umansky.</p> <p>Ms. Gottula noted that there were three big-ticket sales in Los Angeles in 2016. Hugh Hefner’s <a href="">Playboy Mansion </a>was bought by Daren Metropoulos, the son of billionaire investor C. Dean Metropoulos, for $100 million. The price record was matched by a <a href="">Holmby Hills property</a>, purchased by Platinum Equity founder and Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores.&nbsp; A slightly less expensive property, Owlwood Estate, sold for $90 million.</p> <p>Besides, Los Angeles currently boasts the most expensive home in the U.S., according to A mega-mansion developed by luxury developer Bruce Makowsky was listed at $250 million in January. </p> <p>“We are actually seeing buyers in this price range now,” Ms. Gottula said. She said that Mr. Greene, who is not spending a lot of time in Los Angeles, is also more motivated to sell.</p> <p>Judging by the collapse in the ultra-high end market, some would be tempted to call out "fake news" on Ms. Gotulla. </p> <p>* * * </p> <p>So what does $129 million buy? To begin with, it is one of the largest residential compounds in Los Angeles, built by developer Mohamed Hadid.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="360" /></a></p> <p>There are a total of six structures on the premises. The 43,000-square-foot main residence features 12 bedrooms, 23 bathrooms and “rooms too numerous to name,” according to the listing. Outdoors, there is a pool, a spa, a barbecue station, a tennis court with a tennis pavilion and a full guest house, all divided by manicured gardens and fountains.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="360" /></a></p> <p>The 15,000-square-foot entertainment complex includes a state-of-the-art DJ booth with a revolving dance floor and laser-light system, a two-lane bowling alley, game room, and a movie theater that seats more than 50 guests.</p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="360" /></p> <p>A vineyard on the property produces about 400 to 500 cases of wine each year for Mr. Greene’s private collection. He has two wine cellars that store up to 13,000 bottles.</p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="360" /></p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="360" /></p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="360" /></p> <p>“This is no other grand-scale property overlooking city lights in Los Angeles,” Ms. Gottula added, noting that the property is still available for rent at $375,000 a month. And if you dial in the next 10 minutes, she will even take off another $1,000 from the price.</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="971" height="536" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bruce Makowsky Business California Detroit Detroit Pistons Geography of California Holmby Hills, Los Angeles laser Los Angeles County, California Mediterranean Owlwood Estate Palazzo di Amore Playboy Mansion Playboy Mansion Real estate Tom Gores Tue, 28 Mar 2017 23:27:25 +0000 Tyler Durden 591935 at The Robots Win: Blackrock Bets On Computers Over Human Stock Pickers, Fires Dozens <p>The writing had been on the wall - and <a href="">countless online articles&nbsp; </a>- for a long time...</p> <p><img src="" width="565" height="329" /></p> <p>... and on Tuesday it finally hit the world's largest asset manager, where in the war between passive-investing robots and active-investing humans, <em><strong>the humans lost</strong></em>. As <a href="">the WSJ reports</a>, at Blackrock, the era of the star "stock picker" is coming to an end, and he will be replaced by this...</p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="281" /></p> <p>As part of a massive overhaul that has been hinted at in recent months, and was unviled on Tuesday, BlackRock announced a reorganization of its actively managed equities business that will include <strong>job losses, pricing changes and a greater emphasis on computer models that inform investments. </strong></p> <p>BlackRock's new strategy centers on a view that has been facilitated by the not so stealthy central bank takeover of capital markets in recent years, according to which it is difficult for human beings to beat the market with traditional bets on large U.S. stocks. As a result, at least seven stock portfolio managers are among several dozen employees who are expected to go as part of the revamp. </p> <p>Instead of handing their funds to other humans for investing purposes, for the first time BlackRock’s Main Street customers will be able to buy lower-cost quantitative stock funds that rely on data and computer systems to make predictions, an investment option previously available only to large institutional investors. This option also virtually assures that the next market crash will be unlike anything ever seen. Some existing funds will merge, get new investment mandates or close.</p> <p>For now the overhaul is only taking place at Blackrock, and represents the most dramatic attempt to rejuvenate a unit that has long lagged rivals in performance. <strong>Clients have pulled their money from the actively managed stock business in three of the past four years even as BlackRock’s total assets climbed to a record $5.1 trillion, according to the WSJ</strong>. BlackRock had $275.1 billion in active equity assets under management at the end of December, down from $317.3 billion three years earlier.</p> <p>However, the world's biggest money manager is only the beginning. Many other firms that specialize in handpicking stocks are also struggling with low returns and shifting investor tastes. Since the 2008 financial crisis, clients across the money management industry have moved hundreds of billions of dollars to lower-cost funds that track indexes instead of promising to beat the market. </p> <p>BlackRock has it better than most of its competitors in that it is solidly diversified, and has benefited from investors’ embrace of passively managed investments. The amount overseen by the entire firm has been bolstered by its exchange-traded fund business, which now comprises about a quarter of all assets under management. It also sells investment and risk-management technology, giving it a broader mix of businesses than many of its rivals.</p> <p>It also won't be the first time BlackRock has tried to rediscover itself. As the WSJ reports:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The new effort to improve the performance of BlackRock’s stock-picking unit isn’t the first but goes further than past changes. In 2012 BlackRock replaced management teams of some of its largest stock funds and analyzed the investment process of each team. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Yet by the end of last year more than half of the assets in BlackRock’s traditional actively managed equity products underperformed their benchmarks or peers over one year, up from less than a quarter a year earlier</strong>. Over three years, 38% were underperforming, compared with 40% at the same time in 2015.</p> </blockquote> <p>Who would have though that outperforming in centrally-planned markets that make no sense could be so difficult. Oh wait...</p> <p>In any case, good luck to the man who is supposed to fix BlackRock's legacy problems. The author of the company’s new strategy is former Canada Pension Plan Investment Board CEO Mark Wiseman, who was hired last year to turn around the stock-picking business. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The effort is the first test for Mr. Wiseman, viewed by some company observers as a potential successor to Chief Executive Laurence Fink.<br />Mr. Wiseman—who spent his first six months examining the strengths and weaknesses of the business with staff, consultants and clients—said the firm is trying to “play offense” as smaller rivals struggle. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“We’re in really rough seas, but BlackRock is an aircraft carrier,” Mr. Wiseman said. “Everyone else is in dinghies, and they’re bailing like hell.”</p> </blockquote> <p>Someone should tell Mr. Wiseman that aircraft carriers are also the easiest to spot, and sink, by enemy forces. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Under Wiseman’s plan, BlackRock will change the investment mandates of some funds and focus on a slightly smaller lineup of equity products that includes nine quantitative funds that will be available to retail investors. In some cases those funds come at roughly half the cost of those they replace. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The firm will also run country and sector-focused stock products where executives believe they can outperform, funds that pursue specific outcomes such as social impacts and riskier go-anywhere or funds that make more concentrated bets. The changes weed out actively managed stock funds that closely follow indexes. </p> </blockquote> <p>At the end of the day, however, it is all about lowering prices in a world in which simply investing in the SPY has been the best trade ever since the central banks took over in 2009. Blackrock's planned price cuts involved in creating that lineup will result in a loss of $30 million in revenue annually, the firm said. The firm will take a $25 million charge in the first quarter to fund layoffs, staff relocations and research investments. San Francisco will become the firm’s hub for quantitative investing and some emerging-markets staff will move to Asia from London. Another change, Mr. Wiseman said, will be a better integration of research and data informing both traditional and quantitative stock picks.</p> <p>What happens next? It's unclear: "executives acknowledge potential risks from the staffing and fund changes. Too much manager turnover at funds can spook customers and trigger withdrawals. And changing fund mandates can lead clients who want what they initially signed on for to head for the exits."</p> <p>But the biggest question mark is what will be the outcome of reallocating virtually all AUM to a bunch of robots who have never traded through a rate hike cycle, and have never had to participate in the process of central bank balance sheet normalization. Sadly for them, there is no instruction manual on how to trade that particular scenario. Another problem: what happens when Blackrock's "smart beta" chasing robots start selling? Since the signal will likely be the same one that prompts all other robots at other funds to sell too, with all shorts obliterated, and with increasingly fewer humans left, who will be there to buy?</p> <p>As for the humans who once made a killing in trading and are now obsolete thanks to a handful of 20-year-old math PhDs, there is always finance twitter to pass those long months (and years) of doing, well, nothing. </p> <p>* * * </p> <p>Sarcasm aside, the reason why BlackRock's decision - which will soon be adopted by most of its peers - is bad news for both the financial industry and capital markets, is because as we discussed last October, and urge all readers to skim one more time, "<em><a href="">The Shift To Passive Investing Increases Systemic Risk, Will Make Crashes Worse</a>."</em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="700" height="394" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Active management Blackrock BlackRock Business Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Capital Markets Central Banks Economy Exchange-traded fund Finance Financial services Funds Index fund Institutional Investors Investment management Main Street Market Crash Money Mutual fund Passive management risk-management technology SPY Twitter Twitter Tue, 28 Mar 2017 22:53:32 +0000 Tyler Durden 591934 at Equity Research Faces "Major Disruption" As Study Finds "Less Than 1%" Of Reports Are Actually Read <p>What if we were to tell you that for the bargain basement price of just $10,000 per hour you could buy yourself the privilege of a 1-hour conversation with an equity research analyst from a top-notch investment bank, would that be something that might be of interest to you?&nbsp; While we hate to be overly pessimistic, we're gonna go out a limb and guess that most of you answered in the negative to that question.</p> <p>As we pointed out a few weeks ago, the traditional I-banking equity research model is about to undergo a radical transformation courtesy of the new Mifid II regulations set to go into effect in 2018 in Europe.&nbsp; <strong>Among other things, the new rules require i-banks to break out the pricing of equity research charged to buyside clients, which up until now had been provided 'free of charge' but effectively covered by trading commissions.</strong></p> <p>The problem, as anyone who has ever been flooded with a daily barrage of 1,000s of reports can attest, is that<strong> while the supply of equity research is seemingly endless, the demand may not be quite as pervasive as the bulge bracket banks once thought.</strong>&nbsp; </p> <p>As <a href="">Reuters</a> points out today, just the top 15 global investment banks produce over 40,000 research reports every single week.&nbsp; Unfortunately, <strong>only about 1% of those reports are actually read by investors on any given day and we suspect even that estimate is generous.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>For example, about 40,000 research reports are produced every week by the world's top 15 global investment banks, of which less than 1 percent are actually read by investors</strong>, according to Quinlan.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>More than 30 analysts cover HSBC (HSBA.L) (0005.HK) on a regular basis, though only 11 of them have a rating of three stars or above even though it is a key factor of consideration by many global fund managers.</p> </blockquote> <p><img src="" alt="ER" width="600" height="342" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, the fairly massive supply/demand gap for research seems to be driving a wide bid/ask spread between what investment banks require to cover the costs of their expensive analysts and what their buyside clients are willing to pay for the end result.&nbsp; <strong>In fact, a recent survey of fund managers by consultancy Quinlan &amp; Associates found that analyst headcounts at banks would have to fall by 30% by 2020 in order to eliminate all of the costs that funds simply wouldn't be willing to absorb (a.k.a. the "crap" as one fund manager put it).</strong>&nbsp; Per the&nbsp; <a href="">Financial Times</a>: </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>“The figures are all over the place at the moment. Some [quotes] are fair and reasonable, and [with others] we thought: there is no way we are paying that — they will have to recalibrate their business models or part ways with us altogether.”</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“This is the biggest problem,” he said. “It will cause a lot of problems in 2018 because no one has worked out how much the research is worth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“There will be a lot of c**p that clients won’t pay for and that is when the big cuts [to the analyst workforce] at the global banks will come.</strong> The feedback from many [in asset management] is that the price of research is too high and not granular enough.”</p> </blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, with the large global banks looking to charge clients $300,000 - $500,000 per year to cover their bloated equity research budgets, the more nimble, independent research providers could be on the verge of some major share gains. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>A period of severe turmoil is facing the securities research industry as a regulatory overhaul threatens the way investment research is done.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Online portals, in particular, are set to gain market share at the expense of major "bulge bracket" investment banks,</strong> reaching a forecasted market share of $1.4 billion or 15 percent of the global investment research industry spend by 2020 - from less than 1 percent last year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"The global investment research market is on the cusp of major disruption,"</strong> said Benjamin Quinlan, CEO of Hong Kong-based Quinlan &amp; Associates and author of a report on the challenges facing the research sector.</p> </blockquote> <p>Frankly, we're not sure how the hedge fund industry will survive without an army of 23-year-old equity research analysts writing hourly updates instructing managers to BTFD.</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="607" height="346" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business CRAP Economy Finance Financial analyst Financial history of the Dutch Republic Financial services Hedge fund Investment banking Investment banks Investment management Market Share Money Reuters Securities research Technology Tue, 28 Mar 2017 22:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 591913 at DNC Asks Entire Staff For Resignation Letters <p>Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who took over as the chair of the Democratic National Committee in late February following Hillary's stunning November defeat, <strong>has asked for his entire staff to submit their resignation letters by no later than April 15th.</strong></p> <p>Of course, the move comes after a series of scandals plagued the DNC throughout the 2016 election cycle, including rather undeniable evidence that former Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz intentionally undermined the campaign of Bernie Sanders while her replacement, Donna Brazile, seemingly did the same by passing Hillary's team debate questions in advance of Town Hall discussions with Bernie.&nbsp; </p> <p>According to <a href="">NBC</a>, <strong>Tom Perez decided to clean house at the DNC shortly after taking over the leadership role from Donna Brazile</strong> and will use the mass firing as an opportunity to restructure how the party will be run going forward.&nbsp; </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has launched a major reshuffling of the party's organization that has been stung by recent crisis — and the DNC has requested the resignation letters of all current staffers be submitted by next month.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Party staff routinely see major turnover with a new boss and staffers were alerted earlier to expect such a move. However, the mass resignation letters will give Perez a chance to completely remake the DNC's headquarters from scratch. Staffing had already reached unusual lows following a round of layoffs in December.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Immediately after Perez' election in late February, an adviser to outgoing DNC Interim Chair Donna Brazile, Leah Daughtry, asked every employee to submit a letter of resignation dated April 15</strong>, according to multiple sources familiar with the party's internal working.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A committee advising Perez on his transition is now interviewing staff and others as part of a top-to-bottom review process to help decide not only who will stay and who will go, but how the party should be structured in the future.</p> </blockquote> <p>Back in late February, Perez appeared on Meet the Press to tell Chuck Todd that he would look to implement a <strong>"culture change"</strong> at the DNC before comparing his own party to a busted plane traveling at 20,000 feet.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Perez has spent his first weeks on the job in "active listening mode," hearing from Democrats in Washington and in small group meetings across the country before making any big moves.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"What we're trying to do is culture change," he told NBC News between stops of a listening tour in Michigan Friday. "We're repairing a plane at 20,000 feet. You can't land the plane, shut it down, and close it until further notice."</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"If your goal is you have to please everyone then you end up pleasing no one," he added.</p> </blockquote> <p><iframe src="" width="600" height="337" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We're still awaiting confirmation from Rachel Maddow that this mass firing came after the discovery that the DNC was infiltrated by Russian spies coordinating with the Trump campaign.</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="630" height="353" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> African-American women in politics Bernie Sanders Bernie Sanders Brazile Debbie Wasserman Schultz Democratic National Committee Democratic National Committee Democratic National Committee chairmanship election Democratic National Committee email leak Donna Brazile Labor Meet The Press Michigan NBC Politics Politics of the United States Progressivism in the United States Tom Perez United States Tue, 28 Mar 2017 22:10:43 +0000 Tyler Durden 591933 at Here's The Story Behind Trump's Podesta-Russia Tweet <p>President Trump took to Twitter this morning to remind Americans that the <em>&quot;It was Russia&quot; stone-throwers</em> on the left may have been living in <em>Russia-funded glass-houses</em> after all...</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Watch <a href="">@foxandfriends</a> now on Podesta and Russia!</p> <p>&mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="">March 28, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>The story behind this Podesta-Russia link is explained in full gore by <a href=""><em>Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog;</em></a><em> </em>dot connectors, Twitter diagram creators and <strong>newly minted Russia-conspiracy sleuths</strong> from sea to shining sea take note.</p> <p><em><a href=""><img height="219" src="" width="346" /></a></em></p> <p><strong>Since anything connected to Russia is now considered treasonous, I&rsquo;ve got a great story for you to sniff out.</strong></p> <p>It relates to John Podesta, but&nbsp;<strong><em>somehow I doubt you&rsquo;ll be interested in this one&hellip;</em></strong></p> <p><a href=";utm_source=Twitter&amp;utm_medium=Social" target="_blank"><em>The Daily Caller</em></a> reports:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>John Podesta, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s 2016 national campaign chairman, may have violated federal law by <strong>failing to disclose the receipt of 75,000 shares of stock from a Kremlin-financed company when he joined the Obama White House in 2014,</strong> according to the Daily Caller News Foundation&rsquo;s Investigative Group.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Joule Unlimited Technologies &mdash; financed in part by a Russian firm &mdash; &nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">originally awarded</a>&nbsp;Podesta 100,000 shares of stock options when in 2010 he joined that board along with its Dutch-based entities: Joule Global Holdings, BV and the Stichting Joule Global Foundation.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>When Podesta announced his departure from the Joule board in January 2014 to become President Obama&rsquo;s special counsellor, the company officially&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">issued</a>&nbsp;him 75,000 common shares of stock.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The Schedule B section of the federal government&rsquo;s form 278 which &mdash; requires financial disclosures for government officials &mdash; required Podesta to &ldquo;report any purchase, sale or exchange by you, your spouse, or dependent children&hellip;of any property, stocks, bonds, commodity futures and other securities when the amount of the transaction exceeded $1,000.&rdquo;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>The same year Podesta joined Joule, the company agreed to accept 1-Billion-Rubles &mdash; or $35 million &mdash; from Rusnano, a state-run and financed Russian company with close ties to President Vladimir Putin.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Anatoly Chubais, the company CEO and two other top Russian banking executives worked together with Podesta on the Joule boards. The board met six times a year.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Ron Hosko, a former FBI assistant director said because of the Kremlin backing, it was essential Podesta disclose the financial benefits he received from the company.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;I think in this case where you&rsquo;re talking about foreign interests and foreign involvement, the collateral interest with these disclosure forms is put in the forefront of full disclosure of any foreign interest that you may have,&rdquo; he told TheDCNF in an interview.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The existence of the 75,000 shares of Joule stock was first revealed by the Government Accountability Institute&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">report</a>&nbsp;issued last year.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>But Podesta didn&rsquo;t pocket all the shares. Correspondence from Podesta to Joule instructed the firm to transfer only 33,693 shares to Leonidio Holdings, a brand-new entity he incorporated only on December 20, 2013, about ten days before he entered the White House.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Leonidio is registered in Delaware as a limited liability corporation. Podesta listed the address of his daughter, Megan Rouse, in the incorporation papers. His mother and father also appear to be co-owners of Leonidio.</em></p> <div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>TheDCNF made multiple inquiries to OGE and received no reply. TheDCNF inquiries to Mr. Podesta were not returned.</em></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>That&#39;s <a href="">not the end of the story though, </a>as <strong>John Podesta&#39;s brother, Tony, confirmed Russia&#39;s largest bank had hired the Podesta Group to lobby for an end to sanctions</strong>...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Russia&#39;s largest bank, Sberbank, has confirmed that it hired the consultancy of Tony Podesta, the elder brother of John Podesta who chaired Hillary Clinton&#39;s presidential campaign, for lobbying its interests in the United States and proactively seeking the removal of various Obama-era sanctions, the press service of the Russian institution <a href="">told TASS on Thursday</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The New York office of Sberbank CIB indeed hired Podesta Group. Engagement of external consultants is part of standard business practices for us,&quot; Sberbank said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img height="286" src="" width="500" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Previously, <a href="">The Daily Caller reported </a>that Tony Podesta was proactively lobbying for cancellation of a range of anti-Russian sanctions against the banking sector. In particular, he represented interests of Sberbank and was paid $170,000 for his efforts over a six-month period last year to seek to end one of the Obama administration&rsquo;s economic sanctions against that country.&nbsp; <strong>Podesta, founder and chairman of the Podesta Group, is listed as a key lobbyist on behalf of Sberbank, </strong>according to Senate lobbying <a href=";jsonp=vglnk_148908109373915&amp;key=e7609c039c08d3ae00aebd97e6f0bffd&amp;libId=j02nrti3010110e3000DA7ev6s6f4&amp;;v=1&amp;;;title=Lobbyist%20Podesta%20Got%20%24170K%20To%20End%20US%20Sanctions%20On%20Russia%20%7C%20The%20Daily%20Caller&amp;txt=forms">disclosure forms</a>. His firm received more than $24 million in fees in 2016, much of it coming from foreign governments, <a href=";jsonp=vglnk_148908191139014&amp;key=e7609c039c08d3ae00aebd97e6f0bffd&amp;libId=j02or6c6010110e3000DA1k53z5iqdbu38&amp;;v=1&amp;;title=Lobbyist%20Podesta%20Got%20%24170K%20To%20End%20US%20Sanctions%20On%20Russia%20%7C%20The%20Daily%20Caller&amp;txt=according">according </a>to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Regular readers will recall that the Sberbank-Podesta relationship goes back many years. <strong>Sberbank was the lead financial institution in the Russian deal to purchase Uranium One</strong>, owned by one of Bill Clinton&rsquo;s closest friends, Frank Giustra. Giustra and Bill Clinton lead the Clinton-Giustra Enterprise Partnership, an integral part of the Clinton Foundation.</p> </blockquote> <p>Consider if any or all of the above had taken place among any of the Trump administration - what would have occurred? How villified would the offender have been? As <a href="">Mike Krieger concludes,</a> personally, I doubt any of the above is a huge deal, and I certainly don&rsquo;t think Podesta is working for Vladimir Putin under the table. <strong>However, just imagine the hysteria if the above narrative could&rsquo;ve been connected to anyone in Trump&rsquo;s orbit.</strong> It would&rsquo;ve been plastered on the front page of <em>The Washington Post</em> and <em>The New York Times</em> with headlines like, &ldquo;More Financial Ties Emerge Between Those in Trump&rsquo;s Orbit and Putin.&rdquo;</p> <p>Naturally, you won&rsquo;t see this story hyped because <em><strong>it doesn&rsquo;t fit the corporate media narrative, and the narrative is all they care about.</strong></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="346" height="219" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> B+ Banking in Russia Business Center for Responsive Politics Clinton Foundation Daily Caller News Foundation Donald Trump FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation federal government Foreign Interest Government Accountability Institute headlines Hillary Clinton presidential campaign John Podesta New York Times Obama Administration Obama administration Podesta Podesta Group Political campaign staff Politics Politics Politics of the United States President Obama Sberbank of Russia Senate Stichting Joule Global Foundation Trump Administration Twitter Twitter United States Uranium Uranium One Vladimir Putin White House White House Tue, 28 Mar 2017 21:51:47 +0000 Tyler Durden 591878 at Theresa May Signs Brexit Letter: What Happens Once Article 50 Is Triggered? <p>Moments ago, Theresa May signed the letter to European Council President Donald Truk which will invoke Article 50 and Trigger Brexit. </p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="333" /></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">SUN FRONT PAGE: ‘Dover &amp; out' <a href="">#skypapers</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Sky News (@SkyNews) <a href="">March 28, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>What happens next?&nbsp; </strong></p> <p>Here is a summary of next steps courtesy of Jack Davies, consultant editor of <a href="">Trading Floor</a>, courtesy of <a href="">Saxo Group</a></p> <ul> <li>The UK government triggers Article 50 starting the Brexit process Wednesday</li> <li>Two years of negotiations to be set in motion to uncouple UK from EU</li> <li>Sterling has plunged circa 15% since the night of the Brexit vote</li> <li>Future of EU workers in the UK and visa-versa yet to be decided</li> </ul> <p>The British government is set to formally invoke Article 50, the clause within the European Union’s de facto constitution that almost didn’t make it into the final draft because what it allows for – the exit of a member state from the EU – was thought by many too awful to be permitted. </p> <p>But allowed it was and now what had been thought unthinkable is to happen Wednesday, a member state has begun what will undoubtedly be an excruciating divorce from the bloc.</p> <p><strong>How is Article 50 triggered and what happens next?</strong></p> <p>Triggering Article 50 is easy. In theory, it could be as simple as somebody in Whitehall sending an email to somebody in Brussels. In the end, the UK’s ambassador to the EU informed Donald Tusk that it would come in letter form to his office on March 29. But even as late as mid-March, eurocrats were still scratching their heads as to whether letter or email was more appropriate and if so who should be sending and receiving the memo.</p> <p>But if they struggled with protocol, it doesn’t get much simpler from here. Under the Lisbon Treaty, member states wishing to leave the European Union have two years from the day they trigger Article 50 to negotiate their exit. In theory, if after 24 months a compromise has not been reached, then the state in question is dumped from all EU institutions and frameworks instantly and without any phasing out to cushion the fall.</p> <p>Interdependency is hardcoded into the union, so this kind of cold-turkey exit is something both sides will be keen to avoid. If they are to do so, the bulk of the negotiations will have to have been concluded within 18 months of Article 50 being invoked, so as to allow enough time for both parliaments to approve the final deal.</p> <p>The clock’s likely to run even tighter than that though, as the EU has said it won’t begin negotiating with Westminster until the UK settles a bill estimated to be as high as $64 billion.</p> <p><img src="" alt="v" width="500" height="333" class="popup-image" /><br /><em>Cracks in the EU edifice will look sharper after Wednesday</em></p> <p><strong><br />What will happen to sterling when Article 50 is triggered?</strong></p> <p>Britain’s vote to leave the EU last summer trashed sterling, which lost 16 cents against the dollar overnight, and the pound has since plummeted to even lower depths. One slight consolation for sterling buyers will be that the pound will likely have little or no reaction to the invocation of Article 50, which has already been priced in by the market.</p> <p>So much so in fact that many view the pound as undervalued, given the relative strength of the British economy, which is expected to grow by 2% over the coming year. </p> <p><img src="" alt="j" width="500" height="282" class="popup-image" /><br /><em>Source: SaxoTraderGO</em></p> <p><strong><br />What happens to FTSE 100 after Article 50 is triggered?</strong></p> <p>Saxo Bank’s head of equities Peter Garnry says that while general volatility will increase “simply because of the noise”, the triggering of Article 50 should not have a major immediate impact on equity markets since the event has already been discounted by them.</p> <p>That said, what comes next could hold another story. As Garnry points out, “triggering starts the noisy political negotiations which will be a recurrent theme over the next two years.”&nbsp; </p> <p>The FTSE 100’s high concentration in financials, mining and export-driven consumer staples companies (such as BAT, Diageo, Unilever and RB) makes the index vulnerable “should the GBP go up again on improving sentiment or even worse in tandem with falling commodity prices,” Garnry warns. </p> <p><strong>What will happen to EU nationals in Britain and vice versa? </strong></p> <p>As we have pointed out before, <a href="">the four million people most vulnerable in a showdown between Brussels and Number 10 </a>are the EU nationals living in the UK and British citizens making their living on the continent.</p> <p>The British parliament recently voted down a proposal to safeguard the presence of EU nationals already in Britain regardless of the outcome of the next two years’ negotiations.&nbsp; </p> <p>While the proposal was motivated by the Kantian precept that person should be used as a means to an end (in this case a bargaining chip in the messiest international negotiations since the second world war), British MPs sided with the government, which argued that while it was in favour of allowing EU citizens to remain, it did not want to give that concession away unconditionally.</p> <p>And so, with neither side having ruled out a “hard Brexit” (the UK government has announced it’s currently drawing up plans for the outcome), those four million people appear to be as vulnerable right now as they fear.</p> <p>Saxo’s head of forex strategy John J Hardy recently told TradingFloor that due to reciprocal rights for EU and UK nationals being such a potent bargaining chip, we could be well into 2018 before negotiators arrive at any meaningful accord on the issue.</p> <p>* * * </p> <p>Finally, here is Saxo’s head of macro analysis Christopher Dembik, who summarizes the salient points in the following video. Here are the key points:</p> <ul> <li>“Brexit will have clearly a deep impact on the [British] market in the medium term,” says Saxo’s head of macro analysis Christopher Dembik, who is based in the Danish bank’s Paris office.</li> <li>“For the British economy, I am not positive. There is no reason to believe that Brexit would have [only] a slight impact on the economy. </li> <li>“Brexit would have a strong impact because it would block investments as soon as investors understand that the UK doesn’t have a strong strategy to negotiate and that the EU won’t make it easy for the UK to leave.”</li> <li>He does not expect much to happen in terms of significant negotiations between the UK and EU until after the German federal election in September. However, Dembik says that British prime minister </li> <li>Theresa May could surprise many and pull a snap election to gain greater support - something former PM Gordon Brown failed to do when he succeeded Tony Blair and later lost a general election to the Conservative Party’s David Cameron.</li> <li>“Theresa May will face probably many challenges in order to negotiate with the European Union,” adds Dembik.</li> <li>“I do believe she will have no other choice than for calling for an early election in order to have enough popular support to try to negotiate with the European Union.”</li> <li>Despite these issues, Dembit says that in the longer term, the “strong” UK “will succeed and have a bright future.” </li> </ul> <p><iframe src="//;photo%5fid=16443198" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></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="1200" height="696" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Aftermath of the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union bargaining chip Brexit British government British parliament conservative party Conservative Party Equity Markets European Council European Union European Union European Union Euroscepticism in the United Kingdom FTSE 100 Issues in the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum potent bargaining chip Salient Theresa May Time Twitter Twitter UK Government United Kingdom European Union membership referendum United Kingdom invocation of Article 50 Volatility Tue, 28 Mar 2017 21:43:01 +0000 Tyler Durden 591932 at How The Left Learned To Love States' Rights <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Andrew Syrios via The Mises Institute,</em></a></p> <div class="body-content clearfix"> <p><strong>Over the course of approximately six hours, the Left in the United States&nbsp;made a spectacular, 180 degree turn on federalism and states&rsquo; rights without even recognizing it.</strong> Although this lack of self-awareness shouldn&rsquo;t be particularly surprising coming from the modern Left, which seems to have missed the irony when it goes about <a href="" target="_blank">shutting down debates on free speech</a>.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m old enough to remember when the Tea Party was making hay about nullifying Obamacare and Rick Perry even floated the idea about <a href="" target="_blank">Texas seceding from the union</a>. <strong>Not surprisingly, the Left was rather opposed to such antiquated ideas.</strong></p> <p><em><strong>Rachel Maddow referred to talk of nullification as &ldquo;confederates in the attic,&rdquo; <a href=";feature=player_embedded" target="_blank">Chris Matthews</a> described it as the &ldquo;terms of Jim Crow&rdquo; and Princeton professor <a href="" target="_blank">Sean Wilentz</a> referred to the doctrine of nullification as &ldquo;the essence of anarchy&rdquo; and &ldquo;neo-Confederate dogma.&rdquo;</strong></em> I&rsquo;m sure nullification and states&rsquo; rights are also sexist, homophobic, transphobic, and Islamophobic, but these are short segments so they had to be concise.</p> <p>Apparently, we were told, the <a href="" target="_blank">Supremacy Clause</a> of the Constitution stated not just that &ldquo;This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land,&rdquo; but also &ldquo;that this includes any law, no matter how blatantly unconstitutional passed by Congress or executive order issued by the president or signing statement or edict from an unconstitutional bureaucracy made of unelected administrators as long as it&rsquo;s part of the federal government.&rdquo;</p> <p><u><strong>Then all of a sudden, on November 8th, 2016, Donald Trump beat out all the predictions and won the presidency. Suddenly, states&rsquo; rights became rather appealing to the Left (and lost their allure to much of the Right).</strong></u></p> <p><strong>The rallying cry for the Left so far has been &ldquo;resistance&rdquo; and that includes more than just protesting in the street.</strong> <em>The Hill</em> notes that <a href="" target="_blank">&ldquo;In blue states, agenda is clear: Resist Trump.&rdquo;</a> <em>The New Republic</em> ran an article titled <a href="" target="_blank">&ldquo;10 Ways to Take Trump on&rdquo;</a> and item number 3, written by California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom is &ldquo;Look to the Cities and States.&rdquo; He notes,</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>We&rsquo;re not a monarchy. We&rsquo;re a representative democracy, so we have agency, we have a voice. We have the ability not just to navel gaze, but to act, to be engaged &mdash; to resist. We&rsquo;ve got to dust ourselves off and step up, and not just roll over and act as if we don&rsquo;t have a very potent role to play in our democracy, particularly at the city level &hellip; if he does try to build a wall, there is legislation in California to challenge the administration, by requiring the construction of the wall to be put to a vote of the people of California.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>In other words, Newsom will recommend nullifying a federal order with a state referendum.</strong></p> <p>And the whole <a href="" target="_blank">Calexit movement</a> would quite obviously be much more similar to the secession of the southern Confederacy (hopefully without the war) than Britain leaving the EU. Yet liberals seem to be rather silent on this obvious point. If Calexit succeeded, it would also be the virtual end of the Democratic party in the United States, but that&rsquo;s another matter.</p> <p>Indeed, nullification in everything but name has been tried or successfully used on all sorts of issues such as <a href="" target="_blank">gun laws</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Real I.D laws</a> and a host of issues most liberals generally support, such as <a href="" target="_blank">marijuana legalization</a> and sanctuary cities, which we shall return to shortly.</p> <p>Indeed, in the mid-nineteenth century, many states, particularly Wisconsin, <a href=";qid=1490046067&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=nullification" target="_blank">nullified the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850</a> and, as <a href="" target="_blank">Tom Woods notes</a>,</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>New England states &hellip; appealed to nullification (or interposition) against President Jefferson&rsquo;s embargo, against what they considered the unconstitutional calling up of the New England militia during the war of 1812, against the use of military conscription, and against a law providing for the enlistment of minors.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>American history is littered with examples of nullification. </strong>Obviously not all were for good causes, but many were. Fortunately, some liberals, such as <a href="" target="_blank">Kirkpatrick Sale</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Jeff Taylor</a> recognized this prior to sometime in the late evening of November 8th, 2016.</p> <p>If this point isn&rsquo;t obvious enough, a thought experiment regarding the reason liberals generally dislike federalism, that I put forth in <a href="" target="_blank">my review</a> of Tom Woods&rsquo; book <a href=";qid=1490046067&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=nullification" target="_blank"><em>Nullification</em></a><em>, </em>should clear it up,</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Let&rsquo;s say it was the federal government that had mandated segregation and not the states. Do you believe for one second that Martin Luther King Jr. would have opposed states nullifying that particular federal law? Martin Luther King Jr. was trying to crush segregation and I find it patently absurd that he would neglect a non-violent method of doing so if the situation had been as described.</p> </blockquote> <p>I think it&rsquo;s safe to say that it was less the <em>how</em> (other than nonviolence) and more the <em>what </em> that civil rights activists cared about.</p> <p><strong>And the same goes for secession. </strong>Indeed the United States wouldn&rsquo;t even be a country if <a href="" target="_blank">it weren&rsquo;t for secession</a>! In addition, Eastern Europe would also still be a collection of Russian satellites and much of South America would still be part of Spain, etc. And now that the Left has finally embraced states&rsquo; rights, at least that puts them on the opposite side of that <a href="" target="_blank">Adolf Hitler</a> guy many liberals like to accuse others of literally being,</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>National Socialism must claim the right to impose its principles on the whole German nation, without regard to what were hitherto the confines of federal states &hellip;</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>And pretty much every other totalitarian dictator agreed with Hitler on that matter.</strong></p> <p>So federalism and localism are critical to a free society in general. <strong>But let&rsquo;s return to the present and the whole matter of the so-called &ldquo;sanctuary cities&rdquo; that thumb their nose at federal immigration law. </strong>Indeed, even the conservative Helen Rittelmeyer <a href="" target="_blank">observed</a> that &ldquo;In the absence of a federal solution, state and local governments have begun to take matters into their own hands. This may be a blessing, too.&rdquo; The reason being that, &ldquo;If cities wishing to drive illegal immigrants from their communities have the freedom to do so, then it follows that those cities wishing to draw illegal immigrants into theirs must have that freedom, too, within the bounds of the law.&rdquo;</p> <p>But one should look even further than Rittelmeyer&rsquo;s &ldquo;nullification for both sides&rdquo;&nbsp;concept then just immigration. Perhaps neither liberals nor conservatives have gone far enough with their federalism.</p> <p><strong>Right now the United States is extremely divided and growing more so with every passing day. There are massive differences of opinions between north and south, the coasts and flyover country, urban, suburban and rural and regarding race, religion, and political beliefs.</strong></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Pew</a> notes that &quot;Democrats and Republicans [are] More Ideologically Divided than in the Past.&quot; And it&rsquo;s not just politically divided, Republicans and Democrats are becoming far more geographically divided as well. Over the past 40 years, Republicans and Democrats have moved to communities of more like-minded people. According to Bill Bishop in&nbsp;<a href=";qid=1458534346&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=the+big+sort" target="_blank"><em>The Big Sort</em></a>, &ldquo;&hellip; [in] 1976 &hellip; Just over 26 percent of the nation&rsquo;s voters lived in landslide counties [counties where one party won by 20 percentage points or more] &hellip; By 2000, the number had risen to 45.3 percent.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>And it&rsquo;s only gotten worse since then.</strong></p> <p>The average New Yorker has much more in common with the average Londoner than the average person in Topeka, Kansas. Other than language, the same would probably go for Berlin, Madrid, or Paris as well.&nbsp;We may all be part of one political union, but it&rsquo;s hard to make the case we&rsquo;re all part of one country.</p> <p><strong>Perhaps it&rsquo;s time we looked to localism instead of Washington. </strong>Perhaps it is time to ask whether 320 million people should be governed by one swamp on the East Coast.</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="240" height="160" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Anti-Federalism Authority of the United States Congress Democratic Party Donald Trump East Coast Eastern Europe Eastern Europe ETC European Union federal government Federalism Federalism in the United States Interposition Law of the United States Mises Institute Mises Institute New England New England militia Nullification Nullification Crisis Obamacare Politics Politics States' rights Tea Party United States United States constitutional law Yes California Tue, 28 Mar 2017 21:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 591912 at Nunes Refuses To Share Intelligence Source With Other Committee Members <p>In the latest bizarre twist surrounding the Devin Nunes story involving "mysterious" sources at the White House, who disclosed to the republican chair of the House Intelligence Committee that the NSA had been surveilling Trump and/or members of his team, Nunes <a href=";feedName=politicsNews&amp;utm_source=Twitter&amp;utm_medium=Social">said on Tuesday he will not share </a>- <strong>even with other members of his panel </strong>- the source that gave him the intelligence reports which indicated President Donald Trump and his associates may have been ensnared in incidental intelligence collection.</p> <p>Asked by a Fox News reporter whether he would inform the other committee members about who gave him the reports he viewed on the White House grounds last week, Nunes said: "<strong>We will never reveal those sources and methods</strong>."</p> <p>In other words either Nunes is concerned that the source might be in jeopardy should his ID be revealed to members of his own committee, or the source - as some have suggested - is the White House itself, or there is some even more troubling explanation why the House Intel Chief has taken it on himself to be the sole gatekeeper to the critical information. </p> <p>In any case, on Monday Nunes told Bloomberg he would make his information available to other members of the committee by the end of the week, so we eagerly look forward to that.</p> <p>Meanwhile, after numerous Democrats including Chuck Schumer and his colleague at the House Intel Committeee, Adam Schiff, had called on Nunes to recuse himself from the Russian investigation, the first Republican to join the Democrats, emerged when Rep. Walter Jones told The Hill that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes should "absolutely" recuse himself from his panel's investigation into Russia's meddling in last year’s election. </p> <p>Jones, a member of the House Armed Services Committee who frequently bucks leadership, is the first Republican in Congress to call on Nunes to step aside.</p> <p>"How can you be chairman of a major committee and do all these things behind the scenes and keep your credibility? You can't keep your credibility," Jones said just off the House floor. </p> <p>“If anything has shown that we need a commission, this has done it by the way he has acted. That's the only way you can bring integrity to the process. The integrity of the committee looking into this has been tainted." </p> <p>Jones is the only Republican co-sponsor on a measure from Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) that would establish an independent commission to probe Russian interference in the U.S. election.&nbsp; </p> <p>Nunez on Tuesday brushed aside calls to recuse himself, asking why he should.</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="703" height="367" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Congress Democrats Devin Nunes Donald Trump Donald Trump Fox News House Intelligence Committee Judicial disqualification Nunes Politics Politics Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Services Committee United States United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence White House White House Tue, 28 Mar 2017 21:06:06 +0000 Tyler Durden 591931 at Trump Signs Executive Order Rolling Back Obama's Climate Policies: Who Benefits The Most? <p>As discussed earlier, on Tuesday afternoon Donald Trump signed an executive order undoing most of Obama-era climate change regulations that his administration says is hobbling oil drillers and coal miners, a move environmental groups have vowed to take to court. The decree's main target is former President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan that required states to slash carbon emissions from power plants - a critical element in helping the United States meet its commitments to a global climate change accord reached by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015.</p> <p>The so-called "Energy Independence" order also reverses a ban on coal leasing on federal lands, undoes rules to curb methane emissions from oil and gas production, and reduces the weight of climate change and carbon emissions in policy and infrastructure permitting decisions.</p> <p>Trump signed the order in a ceremony at the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the agency responsible for many of the major policies being targeted. He was flanked by coal miners — whom EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt joked “might never have been to the EPA before” — as well as cabinet officials and Vice President Mike Pence, who celebrated the executive order as a repudiation of the Obama administration's climate agenda.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="281" /></a></p> <p>“My administration is putting an end to the war on coal,” Trump said, using a term coined by the industry and its supporters to describe government regulations. “I am taking an historic step to lift the restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion and to cancel job-killing regulations.” </p> <p>Trump is pitching the order primarily as a move to increase the nation’s energy independence, with the added effect of increasing jobs in affected sectors and related industries. The president said the order fulfills a promise made to coal miners during his presidential campaign. He recounted a trip to West Virginia when he met with miners who told him they wanted to continue working in the industry despite a downturn in employment.</p> <p>“I said, if that’s what you want to do, that’s what you’re doing to do,” Trump said. “The miners told me about the attacks on their jobs and their livelihoods. ... I made them this promise: we will put our miners back to work.”</p> <p>The <a href="">Bloomberg table </a>below shows which states stand to benefit the most from today's executive order.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="779" /></a></p> <p>According to <a href="">Reuters</a>, today's wide-ranging order is the boldest yet in Trump’s broader push to cut environmental regulation to revive the drilling and mining industries. But energy analysts and executives have questioned whether the moves will have a big effect on their industries, and environmentalists have called them reckless. </p> <p>"I cannot tell you how many jobs the executive order is going to create but I can tell you that it provides confidence in this administration’s commitment to the coal industry," Kentucky Coal Association president Tyler White told Reuters.</p> <p>Meanwhile, environmental groups slammed Trump's order, arguing it is dangerous and goes against the broader global trend toward cleaner energy technologies. "These actions are an assault on American values and they endanger the health, safety and prosperity of every American," said billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer, the head of activist group NextGen Climate.</p> <p>Green group Earthjustice was one of many organizations that said it will fight the order both in and out of court. "This order ignores the law and scientific reality," said its president, Trip Van Noppen. </p> <p>Maybe not: Trump and several members of his administration have expressed doubts about climate change, and Trump promised during his campaign to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord, arguing it would hurt U.S. business. Since being elected Trump has been mum on the Paris deal and the executive order does not address it.</p> <p>* * * </p> <p>Today's order will direct the EPA to start a formal "review" process to undo the Clean Power Plan, which was introduced by Obama in 2014 but was never implemented in part because of legal challenges brought by Republican-controlled states. The Clean Power Plan required states to collectively cut carbon emissions from power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. Some 85% of U.S. states are on track to meet the targets despite the fact the rule has not been implemented, according to Bill Becker, director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, a group of state and local air pollution control agencies. </p> <p>Trump’s order also lifts the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management's temporary ban on coal leasing on federal property put in place by Obama in 2016 as part of a review to study the program's impact on climate change and ensure royalty revenues were fair to taxpayers. </p> <p>It also asks federal agencies to discount the cost of carbon in policy decisions and the weight of climate change considerations in infrastructure permitting, and reverses rules limiting methane leakage from oil and gas facilities.</p> <p>As The Hill adds, fossil fuel industries stand to benefit from the order, and many voiced their support for the measure this week.&nbsp; Oil and natural gas groups, for instance, have fought back against the methane rules in court and in Congress.&nbsp; </p> <p>But Trump and his administration have had a special affinity for the coal industry. The sector is suffering through an economic downturn due in large part to declining demand for its product, which is increasingly being replaced by cheaper and more plentiful natural gas. Trump framed his order Tuesday as a measure to help put coal miners back to work, a promise repeated this week by administration officials like Pruitt and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. </p> <p>"You know what this says?” Trump asked a miner before he signed the order on Tuesday. “You’re going back to work." </p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="640" height="360" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent Carbon Emissions Clean Power Plan cleaner energy technologies Climate change skepticism and denial Congress Donald Trump Donald Trump Environment Environmental policy in the United States Environmental policy under the Trump administration Environmental Protection Agency Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management Kentucky Coal Association National Association of Clean Air Agencies Natural environment Natural Gas Obama administration pollution control Presidency of Donald Trump Reality Reuters Scott Pruitt The Apprentice United States United States Environmental Protection Agency West Virginia Tue, 28 Mar 2017 21:02:21 +0000 Tyler Durden 591924 at And Now Fake Consumer Confidence Too: Gallup Says Confidence In The Economy "Tumbled" <p>It appears we can now add "consumer confidence" to fake news trash heap. </p> <p>Roughly at the same time as the allegedly apolitical Conference Board <a href="">reported the highest consumer confidence </a>print in 17 years...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="502" height="265" /></a></p> <p>... not to mention the <a href="">most optimistic outlook on stocks since 2 months </a>before the dot com bubble burst, a very different number emerged from a similar poll by Gallup.</p> <p>First, a reminder of what the Conf. Board <a href="">said this morning</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>“<strong>Consumer confidence increased sharply in March to its highest level since December 2000 </strong>(Index, 128.6),” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions improved considerably. Consumers also expressed much greater optimism regarding the short-term outlook for business, jobs and personal income prospects. <strong>Thus, consumers feel current economic conditions have improved over the recent period, and their renewed optimism suggests the possibility of some upside to the prospects for economic growth in the coming months</strong>.”&nbsp; </p> </blockquote> <p>The result was based on a random survey of 3,000 people in the latest month. </p> <p>Meanwhile, in the week of March 20-26, <a href=";utm_medium=email&amp;utm_content=morelink&amp;utm_campaign=syndication">Gallup surveyed a random group </a>of (supposedly different) 3,547 adults, and found something completely different, namely that </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"<strong>Americans' confidence in the U.S. economy tumbled along with the Dow Jones industrial average last week. </strong>Though still in positive territory, Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index (ECI) dropped six points to a score of +5 for the week ending March 26. <strong>This is the lowest weekly average since the presidential election in November.</strong>"</p> </blockquote> <p><img src="" alt="chart 1" width="501" height="318" /></p> <p>How is this divergence possible? Simple: Gallup actually admits the reflexive nature of the primary driver of "confidence", the stock market... the same stock market which according to headlines on CNBC and elsewhere jumped today because consumer confident rose. "Americans' falling confidence in the economy may be tied to events in Washington and on Wall Street. <strong>Last week, the Dow logged its worst week since September as congressional Republicans ultimately failed to vote on legislation that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act."</strong></p> <p>That, however, is hardly the entire story, because confidence waned prior to the effort to replace the ACA dying in Congress on Friday. "This suggests that the broader GOP infighting earlier in the week, rather than the decision to pull the bill itself, may have been a factor, in addition to the market's poor performance."</p> <p>And yet, none of this decline was captured by the Conference Board, almost as if it serves a specific political, or maybe market manipulating purpose.</p> <p>As Gallup also adds, confidence did not drop evenly across party lines. <strong>Rank-and-file Republicans became significantly less confident in the economy last week, with their index score falling to a still-robust +42 from +52 the week before. Independents, </strong>too, lost confidence, with their score retreating back into negative territory to -1 from +6 the previous week. <strong>Democrats' confidence in the economy changed little, with their current -20 score similar to the -18 they had in the week prior</strong>.</p> <p>That was not all: Americans' assessments of current economic conditions took a seven-point hit for the week ending March 26 after reaching a high of +17 in the prior week. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>This loss marked the largest drop for this component since the federal government shutdown in October 2013</strong></span>. </p> <p>The current +10 score is the result of 32% of Americans rating the economy "excellent" or "good," and 22% rating it "poor." This collapse in current economic conditions was strangely missing from the group of 3,000 adults polled by Nielsen which does the Conference Board surveys. </p> <p>Meanwhile, Gallup's economic outlook component of the ECI fell five points, but <strong>enough to send this component back into the negative territory for the first time since the election</strong>. Americans' economic outlook had already dropped significantly in March. The current -1 score is the result of 46% of Americans saying the economy is "getting better," and 47% saying it is "getting worse."</p> <p><img src="" alt="chart 2" width="501" height="351" /></p> <p><strong>The Gallup bottom line:</strong> "A rocky week on Wall Street may have hurt Americans' confidence in the economy's health. The failure of Republicans to repeal the ACA didn't seem to immediately affect confidence further, at least in the short term. However, if losses on Wall Street continue this week, the situation may contribute to further erode confidence in the coming days. If confidence does fall more, it may result in Americans' net evaluation of the economy growing more negative than positive for the first time since the election.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Donald Trump's election spurred a renewed level of confidence among his fellow Republicans, which boosted the overall average for the index into positive territory. <strong>But, if his supporters perceive that the promises he made during the campaign are not being kept, or if Republicans lose faith in Trump's negotiating prowess, the party rank and file could become further depressed</strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p>So which data is right: the Conference Board's surge to near record highs, or Gallup's "plunge" to the lowest of Trump's tenure? Frankly, at this point, with every other piece of (fake) news, data and analysis having the same credibility, what difference does it make...</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="570" height="362" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Conference Board Conference Board Congress Consumer Consumer Confidence Consumer confidence Consumer confidence index Donald Trump Dow 30 Dow Jones Industrial Average Dow Jones Industrial Average Economic indicators Economy Economy of the United States federal government Gallup Gallup headlines Market Conditions Nielsen None Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Personal Income Politics Polling Republican Party Republicans United States Tue, 28 Mar 2017 20:53:18 +0000 Tyler Durden 591929 at