http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml/The%20gullibility%20of%20people%20today%20is%20exacerbated%20by%20the%20power%20of%20the%20internet%20and%20social%20media.%20 en The Chinese Economy's Fatal Flaws http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-22/chinese-economys-fatal-flaws <p><a href="https://mises.org/blog/chinese-economys-fatal-flaws"><em>Authored by William Hongsong Wang via The Mises Institute,</em></a></p> <div class="body-content clearfix"> <p>Dr. Per Bylund&rsquo;s recently published <a href="https://mises.org/blog/china-keynesian-monster">article</a>&nbsp;poignantly&nbsp;states one of the core problems in the Chinese economy and its&nbsp;the<strong> state-manipulated Keynesian foundation.</strong> I do agree with his opinion. <strong>And if we dig deeper into the exact situation of Chinese economy, we will find that it&rsquo;s a typical failing of the Keynesian, cronyist system.</strong></p> <p>By<strong> using the perspective of Austrian business cycle theory, lets take a look at China&rsquo;s <a href="https://docs.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=http://www.procesosdemercado.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/121-172-170705-Visual-Procesos-de-Mercado-COMPLETO-n%C3%BAmero-27-Vol.-XIV-n.-1-4.pdf&amp;hl=es" target="_blank">real estate industry</a>, which is suffering more and more painfully from artificial credit issued by China&rsquo;s central bank,</strong> the People&rsquo;s Bank of China (PBC).</p> <p>During the 2008 global economic crisis, China&rsquo;s central government issued <a href="http://www.economist.com/node/12585407" target="_blank">the famous RMB 4 Trillion Stimulus Package Plan</a> (equaling to $586 billion).</p> <p>Since 2009, the Chinese real estate economy has already suffered from three small economic cycles. As it is becoming more difficult for real estate companies to live on artificial prosperity, the duration of every business cycle has become shorter than the previous one. <strong>We also see more and more ghost cities because of the economic boom in every sub-economic cycle<a href="http://www.news.com.au/finance/china-building-mega-cities-but-they-remain-empty-sparking-fears-of-housing-bubble-burst/news-story/c76fa7a3dcbcf38ca1fab4bac4e7bf21" target="_blank">. There were at least 12 ghost cities founded in 2013</a>, and the number of them jumped to <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/china-ghost-cities-satellite-images-2017-3" target="_blank">at least 50 in 2017</a>! </strong>Bankruptcy is happening more frequently among Chinese real estate enterprises. Since 2016, at least three real estate companies &mdash; with a combined debt of at least RMB 763 million&nbsp;&mdash; have gone&nbsp;bankrupt. The story of bankruptcy is continuing, with one of the biggest real-estate-driven enterprises, <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/0f240e2e-6abf-11e7-bfeb-33fe0c5b7eaa" target="_blank">Wanda Group, facing</a> financing problems. <strong>If Wanda no longer has access to cheap debt, it might not be able to refinance or roll over all its debt again. If Wanda has to face bankruptcy, it could possibly accelerate an end of the the current Chinese boom.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong>The data from the Chinese local governments is also not optimistic; </strong>their debt levels have reached almost RMB 25 trillion (US$ 4 trillion) at the end of 2014. In 2015, even the PBC admitted in <a href="http://www.pbc.gov.cn/english/130736/2946072/2015090616281480816.pdf" target="_blank">one of its annual report</a>s saying that China&rsquo;s financial system is facing higher instability and uncertainty.</p> <p><u><strong>The above evidence is not a surprise.</strong></u> All these are the<strong> consequence of artificial bank credit created by central banking and central planning</strong>.</p> <p>In China, <a href="https://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2011/09/06/cant-get-a-bank-loan-chinese-state-owned-companies-happy-to-help-out/" target="_blank">the loans are easy to get from the State Owned Enterprises</a> (SOEs) or the businessmen who are the friends of the politicians in the Communist Party. China&rsquo;s real estate industry is also the ally of the state and only the people who are friends of those in authority can participate in housing programs.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Besides the SOE&nbsp;economic system, what we should worry more about is how the Keynesian and crony system hurts small and private businesses in China, <a href="http://www.aei.org/publication/chinas-soe-sector-is-bigger-than-some-would-have-us-think/" target="_blank">who are driving the economy of this country</a>. </strong>Compared with the SOEs, and the businessmen who are the close allies of some influential politicians, it is harder for ordinary entrepreneurs who are running small businesses to get loans. Moreover, <a href="http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2017/06/07/china-market-squeeze-starts-to-strangle-small-businesses.html" target="_blank">the recent market squeeze makes it harder for Chinese small business to survive</a>. These entrepreneurs are not only facing an unfriendly bank credit situation, but also the threat of having to bribe the&nbsp;government to circumvent <a href="https://www.b2binternational.com/publications/china-market-entry/" target="_blank">the massive scale of governmental economic regulations</a>.</p> <p>Consider&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nhk.or.jp/docudocu/program/2443/2409226/index.html" target="_blank">the story</a> of a small business boss Li Lang, who is a typical Kirznerian alert businessman in China. Several years ago, he observed a shortage of moving companies in the Southwest Chinese town of Chengdu. He started his business to serve the local people. The business is not easy, not only because it requires hard work, but Li also must bribe and maintain good relations with the local politicians to let them &ldquo;protect&rdquo; his business and help him introduce some business opportunities. According to Li, if the local bigwigs in the crony system had already discovered the opportunity of earning a fortune by managing a moving company, it wouldn&rsquo;t have been possible for him to enter the business. Though now that he has earned a lot of money, he still has to carefully maintain the relationship with the politicians to &quot;protect&quot; his business. His is not an isolated case. In China, the less connections you have with the cronyist system, the less business opportunity you have. And even if you become successful in your business, be careful, the state has eyes on your wealth.</p> <p><em><strong>Though we know that the private sector is driving the Chinese economy and has improved the living standard of many Chinese individuals despite state economic manipulation, <u>we still have to emphasize that the nature of the Chinese economic model is dominated by Keynesianism and cronyism. </u></strong></em></p> <p>Otherwise, the false prosperity would make us misread what is happening in China.</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>In other words - don&#39;t start believing.</p> </div> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/08/19/20170821_comms2.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/08/19/20170821_comms2_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 328px;" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="236" height="155" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170822_china.png?1503436866" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-22/chinese-economys-fatal-flaws#comments 2008–09 Keynesian resurgence Asia Business Business cycle Chengdu China China Chinese financial system Communist Party Cronyism Economy Economy of China Keynesian economics keynesianism Mises Institute Mises Institute People's Bank of China Real estate Renminbi Wanda Group Wed, 23 Aug 2017 00:10:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 602141 at http://www.zerohedge.com Neocons Love Trump's New Afghanistan Plan, Blackwater Calls It "Obama-Lite" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-22/neocons-love-trumps-new-afghanistan-plan-blackwater-calls-it-obama-lite <p>In an extended tweetstorm conccurrent with Trump's Monday night Afghanistan address, Ron Paul lashed out at the president, saying that at long last, Trump's neo-con nature had emerged. "Steve Bannon brakes removed. Neocons feeling their oats" and urging the public to "Beware! @LindseyGrahamSC loves Trump's speech! Why are arch-neocons celebrating so much? Very telling!." It appears that Paul's assessment of Trump's new strategy was not far off, because as the Hill reports today, the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party applauded President Trump’s troop surge in Afghanistan, even as members of the president’s base accused him of capitulating to the national security establishment. </p> <p>Some of the loudest accolades came from foreign policy hawks in the Senate, including two of Trump’s fiercest GOP critics, Lindsey Graham and John McCain, who praised Trump for going against his “instinct” and delegating the decision to his generals, who convinced him that victory could be had in the 16-year war that has spanned three administrations.</p> <p><strong>“I’m proud. I’m relieved,” </strong>Graham said on Fox News after Trump’s Monday night address. <strong>“I’m proud of the fact that President Trump made a national security decision, not a political decision. I’m proud of the fact that he listened to the generals, and I’m most proud of the fact that he showed the will to stand up to radical Islam. </strong>I’m relieved he did not take the advice to withdraw, which would have been disastrous, or create a mercenary army, so I’m very pleased. Very thoughtful, very inspiring speech, and I can assure you a lot of people in Congress will be behind the president.”</p> <p>McCain echoed Graham, saying Trump was moving beyond former President Obama’s “failed strategy of merely postponing defeat,” although it was not exactly clear how since Trump was doing precisely what Obama (and Hillary Clinton did and would have one), adding that it was “especially important” that Trump did not commit to a timeline for withdrawal. </p> <p>Marco Rubio, another proponent of foreign US intervention and a "muscular" foreign policy, called Trump’s strategy “the right approach.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">New <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AfghanStrategy?src=hash">#AfghanStrategy</a> based on the conditions on ground not on arbitrary numbers and timelines is the right approach</p> <p>— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) <a href="https://twitter.com/marcorubio/status/899802815060508672">August 22, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><p>Support also came from prominent neoconservative writers and thinkers who had long been worried that Trump, who ran on an “America First” platform, would take a more isolationist approach to foreign policy. John Podhoretz, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and the editor of the conservative magazine Commentary, reacted to the speech by saying it’s almost as if Bush’s former deputy secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, has been put in charge. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">In the end we are all neocons <a href="https://t.co/gJBqc7TJVE">pic.twitter.com/gJBqc7TJVE</a></p> <p>— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) <a href="https://twitter.com/jpodhoretz/status/899836397498093568">August 22, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><p>"President Trump’s decision to recommit to Afghanistan was right and important,” wrote American Enterprise Institute scholar Fred Kagan, another proponent of neoconservatism.</p> <p>The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, a key voice behind every single recent US war and intervention, a “Never Trump” Republican and another "uber" neocon, reveled in the fact that Trump’s generals appeared to have won the power struggle over his nationalist advisers, like former chief strategist Stephen Bannon.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Out: Flynn, Priebus, Bannon.<br />In: McMaster and Kelly.<br />There are limits to the difference advisors can make, but that is a massive upgrade.</p> <p>— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) <a href="https://twitter.com/BillKristol/status/899974235011076096">August 22, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><p>Meanwhile Breitbart, where former Trump advisor Steve Bannon return to after last week's latest White House staff fireworks, ran a story on Tuesday saying that “Trump’s 'America First' base” is unhappy with the president’s “flip-flop Afghanistan speech,” along with a host of stories highlighting GOP establishment support for Trump’s new strategy.</p> <p><strong>“President Trump’s ‘America First’ base was the biggest loser of Trump’s speech on Afghanistan Monday night, and many quickly expressed their disappointment at the business-as-usual address from the president who had once promised to limit American intervention abroad and focus on nation-building at home,</strong>” Breitbart reporter Adam Shaw wrote. </p> <p>Predictably Ron Paul's son, senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a prominent non-interventionist whose views on foreign policy are derided by the conservative foreign policy establishment, bemoaned the costs to the military and taxpayers for the continuing war: “I strongly disagree with the president’s actions here. If the president and my colleagues want to continue the war in Afghanistan, then at the very least Congress should vote on it. I’ll insist they do it this fall, and I’ll be leading the charge for 'no.' "</p> <p>Finally, Laura Ingraham, a pro-Trump, anti-establishment conservative radio personality, tweeted:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">I thought we were going to drain the swamp in Washington, not clear the desert in Afghanistan. <a href="https://t.co/gQFnQjoj0n">https://t.co/gQFnQjoj0n</a></p> <p>— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) <a href="https://twitter.com/IngrahamAngle/status/899940983319789568">August 22, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><p>Not surprisingly, the harshest criticism for Trump's new foreign policy came from the founder of private military company Blackwater, who ripped Trump’s new Afghanistan war plan as an <strong>“Obama-lite policy.”</strong></p> <p>Erik Prince who for obvious reason has encouraged administration officials to use contractors instead of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan, called Trump’s plan “a<strong> continuation of the same limited or failed strategy of the last 16 years</strong>.... This is a kind of Obama-lite policy,” <a href="http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/347558-blackwater-founder-calls-trumps-afghanistan-plan-obama-lite-policy">Prince told The Hill</a>, referring to President Obama’s 30,000 troop surge in 2009 in Afghanistan. The increase brought the total number of troops in the country to more than 100,000 in 2011 before a rapid drawdown.</p> <p>“This is a lighter but almost as expensive version. Remember, the Pentagon now is spending as much as when they had five times as many troops in the country. It’s horrendous how they’ve lost control of the spending. That’s what makes this so unsustainable,” Prince added.</p> <p>“He said it’s not a blank check, but the Pentagon continues to stand and plan and operationalize as if it is a blank check,” Prince said. “<strong>That’s the fundamental problem the plan now doesn’t address: How does this end. The Pentagon wants to position this like a forever occupation like South Korea. And I think that’s a horrendous and untenable position.</strong>” </p> <p>Surprisingly, Prince was doubtful that the president and Defense Secretary James Mattis are fully behind the strategy: <strong>“I don’t think the president loves this plan, I don’t think Secretary Mattis does either. He’s not even on the same continent,” </strong>Prince said, referring to Mattis’s current trip to the Middle East and Europe.</p> <p>So if neither Trump, nor his chief military advisor "loved" the plan - and yet every prominent neo-con did - one wonders, just where did this plan come from?</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="274" height="184" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/graham%20teaser.jpg?1503441273" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-22/neocons-love-trumps-new-afghanistan-plan-blackwater-calls-it-obama-lite#comments Afghanistan Alt-right American people of German descent American studies Climate change skepticism and denial Congress Conservatism in the United States Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign Fox News John McCain Middle East Middle East national security Neocons Neoconservatism Pentagon Politics Politics of the United States Republican Party Ron Paul Senate Twitter Twitter United States White House White House Tue, 22 Aug 2017 23:43:54 +0000 Tyler Durden 602147 at http://www.zerohedge.com Scott Cahill: Collapse Risk At The Oroville Dam Is Still Unacceptably High http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-21/scott-cahill-collapse-risk-oroville-dam-still-unacceptably-high <p><a href="https://www.peakprosperity.com/podcast/110349/scott-cahill-collapse-risk-oroville-dam-still-unacceptably-high"><em>Authored by Adam Taggart via PeakProsperity.com,</em></a></p> <div class="content clearfix"> <p><em><strong>Remember the crisis earlier this year at the Oroville Dam?</strong></em></p> <p>The overflow from California&#39;s winter of <strong>heavy rain threatened to overpower our country&#39;s tallest dam.</strong> A cascading failure of the dam&#39;s main gates, its primarily spillway AND its emergency spillway had the world watching hour by hour to see if a catastrophic breach was going to occur.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/08/19/20170822_dam.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/08/19/20170822_dam.jpg" style="width: 606px; height: 366px;" /></a></p> <p>Fortunately, the rains stopped long enough for the situation to be brought under control. <strong>The dam remains in place and repair crews have been working all spring and summer.</strong></p> <p><strong>But should we breathe easy at this point? Not at all, </strong>says dam safety expert Scott Cahill. Our readers will remember Scott from the excellent technical assessment he provided in the thick of the crisis earlier this year. <a href="https://www.peakprosperity.com/podcast/107126/expert-what-need-know-about-oroville-dam-crisis" target="_blank">In our earlier&nbsp;podcast </a>with him, he explained&nbsp;how the real tragedy at Oroville&nbsp;was that for many years, small and affordable maintenance projects that easily could have prevented the crisis were diverted (in his estimation, the cost of making the needed repairs was quite small -- around $6 million. But for short-sighted reasons, the repairs were not funded; and now the bill to fix the resultant damage will likely be on the order of magnitude of over $200 million. Which does not factor in the environmental carnage caused by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.abc10.com/news/local/the-rush-to-save-baby-salmon-in-oroville/406942505" target="_blank">flooding downstream ecosystems with high-sediment water</a>&nbsp;or the costs involved with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article132527384.html" target="_blank">evacuating the 200,000 residents</a>&nbsp;living nearby the dam).</p> <p>And the pattern appears to be continuing. In this week&#39;s podcast, Scott details a number of concerning structural risks visible at Oroville that are again being de-prioritized, or ignored all-together. And as before, straightforward and inexpensive projects that have high potential to prevent a catastrophic failure of the dam are not being pursued:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>They&#39;ve begun the repairs on the bottom half of the spillway, but the tragedy and loss from the bottom half of the spillway failing has already been realized.</strong> No one is worried about the bottom half of the spillway. On the other hand, they&#39;ve done nothing yet with the upper half of the spillway -- which is what would cause a catastrophic failure of the dam. It&#39;s amazing how much money they&#39;ve already spent, and yet their priorities are such that they haven&#39;t abated the liability at all.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So yes, we&#39;ve made the bottom of the principal spillway, the concrete slues, more sound. <strong>But it&#39;s not the bottom of the dam that will fail, of course, it&#39;s the crest -- the top of it -- where the gates are. That&#39;s still highly suspect.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There are additional issues involving the unwanted moving of water through the dam -- the so-called &quot;green spots&quot;. <strong>These are areas where water is migrating through the dam, probably through the indigenous soils adjacent to it.</strong> I&#39;ve walked on these [at Oroville] and you can stick your foot down, and like your backyard after a torrential rain, water actually comes up into the footprint after you remove your foot. This is not a good situation. I believe there is a lot of movement of water through that dam, including at the structure itself that houses the gates that control the flow down the principal spillway.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There&#39;s nothing wrong with embankment dams in general, they&#39;re wonderful dams. But they rely on the mass of the earthen embankment itself to offset the forces that try to slide or rotate it into failure. <strong>When we see water migrating through a dam, it can potentially cause failure of the dam because it offsets the mass all that earth.</strong> Plus, there&#39;s a lot of river rock and sand in this embankment. River rock, as we all know, is round. Anyone can understand how a pile of round rocks, if the fines have been washed out from between them by water and the rocks then vibrated, for instance, by seismic activity, weakens the system. <strong>These concerns are very, very serious. I believe that this situation is occurring in multiple places across the Oroville dam -- and yet this is simply not being discussed.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Click the play button below to listen to Chris&#39; interview with Scott Cahill (41m:06s).</p> </div> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GHI_CcHXr6E" width="560"></iframe></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="606" height="366" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170822_dam.jpg?1503402510" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-21/scott-cahill-collapse-risk-oroville-dam-still-unacceptably-high#comments California California State Water Project Dam Disaster Environment Fail Feather River Geography of California Hydraulic structures Oroville Dam Oroville Dam crisis Oroville, California Sayano–Shushenskaya Dam Spillway Water in California Tue, 22 Aug 2017 23:20:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 602081 at http://www.zerohedge.com Al Sharpton Is Shocked At The "Poisonous Atmosphere" In America "Being Stoked By The President" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-22/al-sharpton-shocked-poisonous-atmosphere-america-being-stoked-president <p>Al Sharpton, who&rsquo;s built his career on stoking racial tensions for personal and financial gain, accused President Donald Trump of inciting a &ldquo;poisonous atmosphere&rdquo; in the US.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re in a poisonous atmosphere that is being increased by the president of the United States. It&rsquo;s like turning on the gas in a room.&rdquo;&nbsp; &nbsp;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Any match could lead to an explosion, and we&rsquo;re getting that kind of atmosphere from this president.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>As anyone familiar with Sharpton&rsquo;s history is probably aware, the hypocrisy inherent in his statement is staggering. Even within the black community,<strong> Sharpton has become associated with transforming tragedies into media circuses for personal and financial gain.</strong> In 1987, the Reverend famously accused a prosecutor in upstate New York of taking part in the rape of a black teenager. Her story was soon found to be fabricated. <strong>One family member of Akai Gurley, a young black man who was shot and killed by police in Brooklyn in 2014, complained that Sharpton swooped in and &ldquo;put his name on&rdquo; the situation before discussing it with the family. </strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/08/19/2017.08.22sharpton.JPG"><strong><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/08/19/2017.08.22sharpton_0.JPG" style="width: 500px; height: 306px;" /></strong></a></p> <p>Sharpton, who made the remarks during an appearance on Politico&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/22/sharpton-any-match-could-lead-to-an-explosion-215517">&ldquo;Off the Record&rdquo; podcast,</a> used the opportunity to raise awareness for his annual march from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on Aug. 28. Sharpton and Trump have a history of feuding dating back to 1989, when Trump published advertisements in local newspapers demanding the death penalty for the Central Park Five, who were later exonerated.</p> <p>Their most recent dustup occurred in 2012, when Trump was embroiled in the &ldquo;birther&rdquo; controversy, <a href="http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/22/sharpton-any-match-could-lead-to-an-explosion-215517">Politico</a> reported.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;<strong>In 2012, Sharpton accused Trump of peddling racism throughout his birther phase. They met in Trump Tower that November&mdash;&ldquo;to apologize for calling me a racist&mdash;very nice, apology accepted!&rdquo;</strong> was the @realDonaldTrump tweet, though the reverend himself said then and says now both that he didn&rsquo;t call Trump himself a racist, and that he didn&rsquo;t apologize.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Sharpton clarified that he isn&rsquo;t calling Trump a racist this time, either.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;Sharpton still deliberately isn&rsquo;t calling Trump a racist, or an anti-Semite. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want to reduce this to that. His policies are there. That speaks for itself. If we make it personal, he wins,&rdquo; Sharpton said. &ldquo;I used to call people names.</strong> Don&rsquo;t give people the easy way out.&rdquo; But, Sharpton added: &ldquo;I think he has empowered anti-Semites and racists. I think he has brought them from the shadows into the mainstream and I think he&rsquo;s emboldened them, and I think that&rsquo;s a dangerous course for the country.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Like Trump, Sharpton has also been accused of antisemitism, <a href="http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/22/sharpton-any-match-could-lead-to-an-explosion-215517">Politico </a>noted.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;Sharpton has his own checkered history full of accusations of anti-Semitism.<strong> He bristles when those are brought up, saying that it&rsquo;s usually willful misinterpretation by others seeking division, though some is reflective of his own learning curve.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Of course, Sharpton was quick to brush these allegations aside.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;To him, the imperative now is for people who are offended to stand united against Trump, but to refuse to play into the violence or debates like the one over the Confederate monuments because he says that&rsquo;s what Trump wants.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Despite their acrimonious history, Trump and Sharpton &ndash; two outsize New York City characters - have more in common than perhaps either would like to admit.</p> <p>Listen to the full podcast <a href="https://megaphone.link/PPY4363570274">here</a>:</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="238" height="147" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170822_pot.png?1503422288" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-22/al-sharpton-shocked-poisonous-atmosphere-america-being-stoked-president#comments Akai Gurley Al Sharpton Business Civil disobedience Donald Trump Donald Trump New York City Social Issues United States Tue, 22 Aug 2017 22:55:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 602122 at http://www.zerohedge.com "The Perfect Storm Is Brewing": Goldman Warns Italy Has The Lowest Capacity To Absorb Migrants http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-22/perfect-storm-brewing-goldman-warns-italy-has-lowest-capacity-absorb-migrants <p>While Europe's economy and capital markets have been spared any major shocks in the past year, and in fact European GDP has been on a surprisingly resilient uptrend in recent quarters led higher by the relentless German export-growth dynamo (courtesy of the very, very low Deutsche Mark and a lot of broke Greeks), an old and recurring problem has re-emerged, one which threatens the stability and cohesion of the European Union itself: the latest surge of refugees which, arriving mostly from North Africa in recent months, has made Italy its primary landfall target resulting in a surge in migrant arrivals on Italian shores. However, with the rest of Europe largely shutting its borders to this refugee influx forcing Rome to deal with what many in Italy see as an unwelcome presence, a distinct sense of bad-will has been floating around Europe in recent months as Rome's pleas for more solidarity from its European peers have been stubbornly ignored. Meanwhile, Italy has accepted nearly 100,000 refugees in the first six months of the year and the number is rapidly rising.</p> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/07/03/2017.07.03%20-%20Migrants%202_0.JPG" width="505" height="327" /></p> <p>Now, a new report issued by Goldman Sachs will likely pour even more gasoline on the fire, as it finds that just as Rome alleges, "<strong>Italy has the lowest capacity to absorb migrants among the major EU economies. This is measured using three indicators of integration: (1) economic integration; (2) social integration; and (3) policy effectiveness.</strong>"</p> <p>While hardly new for regular readers, this is how Goldman lays out the problem: </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>migrant flows into Europe are changing and countries differ in their capacity to integrate new arrivals. <strong>An increasing proportion of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea come from sub-Saharan Africa rather than fleeing conflict in the Middle East. </strong>Increasingly, <strong>the destination countries are Italy and Spain</strong>, with reduced flows through Greece and the western Balkans towards Germany, largely as a result of the EU-Turkey agreement and the imposition of stricter border controls.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/08/12/gs%20migrants%201.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/08/12/gs%20migrants%201_0.jpg" width="500" height="357" /></a></p> <p>As a result of this constant migrant flow, successful integration is naturally a key objective for policymakers, <strong>who hope that the influx will boost output growth in the long run while seeking ways to mitigate the short-run costs caused by disruption to the labour market and wider society. </strong></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong>Here, Goldman's analysts take a broad view of the integration process and provide an initial comparison of countries’ capacity for immigration: "<strong>We focus on Italy throughout, which has become the main destination country of trans-Mediterranean migrant flows and faces a general election next May."</strong>&nbsp; Goldman also adds that successful integration matters for the bank's macroeconomic outlook two reasons. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>First, the bulk of migrant flows into the EU this year have been in the central Mediterranean, oriented towards Italy. Second, the country already faces economic and political pressures from its struggling public finances and the rise of populism ahead of next year’s election.</p> </blockquote> <p>And yet, what Goldman finds is that the nation that has been "tasked" with accepting the vast majority of migrants in 2017 is the one that is most unsuited to do just that. Here are the summary findings:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Economic integration</strong>, measured by relative immigrant-native unemployment rates, appears particularly low in Italy, Greece, Spain and Hungary. These countries suffer from high unemployment across the population but immigrants bear a disproportionate amount of the burden. In contrast, the UK has the lowest immigrant-native unemployment gap.</li> <li><strong>Social integration</strong>, roughly estimated using information on public attitudes towards immigration, is weakest in the countries most affected by the migration crisis. While the crisis shows signs of easing for countries such as Greece, it is intensifying in Italy.</li> <li><strong>Policy effectiveness</strong>, measured by independent research by the MIPEX organisation, is lowest in Greece and Hungary.</li> </ul> <p>Some additional details, first on economic integration:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Economic integration can be measured by assimilation to the labour market. Exhibit 3 shows the immigrant-native gap in unemployment rate for 1st and 2nd generation migrants across several EU countries. The immigrant-native gap in unemployment provides an initial and general measure of economic integration, with full integration implied by no gap at all. Looking at the change in this gap across generations provides a dynamic measure of the integration process: a smaller gap for the children of migrants relative to their parents implies integration over generations. In this way, Exhibit 3 illustrates two ways to analyse economic integration across countries:</p> <ul> <li>By considering the bars in levels, one can compare the level n of integration across countries (by generation).</li> <li>By considering the difference between generations, once can compare the rate of integration across countries.</li> </ul> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/08/12/gs%20migrants%202.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/08/12/gs%20migrants%202_0.jpg" width="500" height="338" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Spain and Greece show the lowest levels of economic integration, implied by the widest immigrant-native gaps. <strong>Italy and Hungary show the lowest rates of economic integration, with 2nd generation migrants faring even worse than their parents on average</strong>. These four countries also have the highest unemployment rates among the population as a whole. The point to be made is that within these countries, unemployment disproportionately affects the immigrant population and there is a clear lack of catch-up by the 2nd generation.</p> </blockquote> <p>Ok, so Italy is hardly the place to park refugees if one hopes to see them integrated economically. What about socially? Here is the answer:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Social integration can be estimated by the public’s attitude towards immigration. Social cohesion is hard to measure but can be estimated from certain kinds of information produced by surveys. Existing research focuses on two indicators: the discrimination against migrants and the host country’s degree of acceptance of immigration. We choose to consider the latter. Exhibit 4 shows public sentiment in the EU toward new immigrants, based on the Eurobarometer 2017. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/08/12/gs%20migrants%203.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/08/12/gs%20migrants%203_0.jpg" width="500" height="288" /></a><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Prima facie, Hungary appears the most socially hostile to migrants, with Italy and Greece also expressing robust anti-immigration sentiment. </strong>In all countries, negative attitudes have been provoked by the migration crisis. Yet while migrant flows to Hungary and Greece have slowed, <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>in Italy they are picking up</strong></span>. According to the Italian interior ministry, <strong>migration figures in Italy are on track to exceed the annual record of 181,000 immigrants set in 2016 </strong>and widespread violence in Libya has driven the number of asylum seekers crossing the central Mediterranean to surge by 44% compared with the same period last year</p> </blockquote> <p>So far, Italy - along with Hungary - appears to be the most inhospitable nation in Europe when it comes to two key core verticals: economical and social.&nbsp; How about the inverse: which European nations have the most effective policies, an indicator of a government's ability to promote integration. Goldman's answer:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The Migration Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) is an indicator produced by the Migration Policy Group and the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs. It uses a range of policy areas to evaluate and compare how governments are promoting integration. Exhibit 5 shows the overall score MIPEX has given each country. Greece and Hungary have the least effective policies for integrating migrants. In 2013, Greece passed legislation obstructing the right of immigrants to vote at the national level, while a repeal of birth-right citizenship laws has left many children born in Greece without equal rights. <strong>Italy performs moderately well against this indicator and MIPEX recognises that it has made the first steps towards legal integration and equal rights.</strong> However, the challenge of achieving this in practice remains; although most long-term migrants have found jobs, they are often below their level of qualification.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/08/12/gs%20migrants%204_1.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/08/12/gs%20migrants%204_1_0.jpg" width="500" height="357" /></a></p> <p>Which brings us to Goldman's conclusion on which European nation is best suited to accept the thousands of daily migrant arrivals: in short - it's not Italy, or as Goldman puts it "<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Overall, Italy has the lowest capacity to absorb migrants compared with the major EU economies</strong></span>." </p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/08/12/gs%20migrants%205.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/08/12/gs%20migrants%205_0.jpg" width="500" height="390" /></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>From the indicators used, <strong>Italy appears the least economically and socially integrated, despite performing marginally better than the EU average according to the MIPEX score for policy effectiveness</strong>. Our findings are highly significant in light of this year’s surge in trans-Mediterranean migration to Italy and the country’s vulnerable public finances. Moreover, <strong>Italy’s handling of the migration crisis will be a central issue when the country goes to the polls in the general election next May, particularly as a driving force behind support for populist opposition parties</strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p>And while Goldman reiterates the long-held conventional credo that "<em>the influx of migrants to Italy has the potential to bring economic benefits in the long run and offers a means to counter the country’s demographic problems (Italy’s population shrunk for the second year running in 2017)" </em>it admits that <em>"realising these benefits is conditional on successful economic and social integration" </em>something which most likely will not happen as Goldman's "<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>analysis casts doubts over Italy’s capacity to achieve this and suggests the ‘perfect storm’ is brewing.</strong></span>"</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="917" height="655" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/gs%20migrants%201.jpg?1503427140" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-22/perfect-storm-brewing-goldman-warns-italy-has-lowest-capacity-absorb-migrants#comments Barcelona Centre Capital Markets Central Mediterranean Demography European migrant crisis European Union European Union Germany goldman sachs Goldman Sachs Greece Human migration Hungary Immigration Immigration to Greece Italy Mediterranean Middle East Middle East Migration Integration Policy MIPEX North Africa Opposition to immigration Politics Social integration Social Issues Sub-Saharan Africa Unemployment Western Balkans Tue, 22 Aug 2017 22:48:31 +0000 Tyler Durden 602131 at http://www.zerohedge.com College Professors Begin Direct Support For AntiFa Groups On Campuses http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-22/college-profesors-begin-direct-support-antifa-groups-campuses <p><a href="https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=9617"><em>Authored by Jacob Grandstaff via Campus Reform,</em></a></p> <ul> <li>Two professors, one from Purdue University and the other from Stanford University, are<strong> assembling a &quot;Campus Antifascist Network&quot; (CAN) to serve as a &ldquo;big tent&rdquo; for &ldquo;anyone committed to fighting fascism.&rdquo;</strong></li> <li>Despite the reputation Antifa groups have <strong>cultivated for employing violence </strong>to shut down opposing speakers, the professors insist that<strong> they only support &quot;self-defense&quot; by &quot;those who are being threatened by fascists.&rdquo;</strong></li> </ul> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/08/19/20170822_antifa.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/08/19/20170822_antifa_0.png" /></a></p> <p><strong>Two professors are organizing a campus Antifa (Anti-Fascist Action) organization with the goal of confronting groups it considers fascist and &ldquo;driv[ing] racists off campuses.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/08/17/campus-group-proposing-broad-countermovement-against-white-nationalism-and-racism">According to <em>Inside Higher Ed</em></a>, the Campus Antifascist Network (CAN) was organized by Purdue University Professor Bill Mullen and Stanford University Professor David Palumbo-Liu with the intention of serving as a &ldquo;big tent&rdquo; for &ldquo;anyone committed to fighting fascism.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;Since Trump&rsquo;s election, fascists, neo-fascists, and their allies have used blatantly Islamophobic, anti-semitic, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, and ableist messaging and iconography to recruit to their ranks and intimidate students, faculty, and staff,&rdquo;</strong> Palumbo-Liu wrote in the group&rsquo;s <a href="http://palumboliu.tumblr.com/post/164183139515/join-the-campus-antifascist-network">invitation letter</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;The time to take action is now,&rdquo;</strong> he maintained, saying, &ldquo;we call on all interested individuals and organizations to support or join the Campus Antifascist Network (CAN).&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>In an interview with <em>Campus Reform</em>, Palumbo-Liu reiterated that <strong><em>&ldquo;the groups that concern [CAN] the most are fascist in the sense they espouse a hateful ideology that targets particular groups based on race, ethnicity, religion, [or] sexuality, and wish to dominate, exclude, drive out, and harm members of those groups with force and violence.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>As part of its efforts, CAN provides a <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6FX_x2dbvXqblpZQ3JuUTYxTnM/view">syllabus</a> which labels fascism as a &ldquo;historical expression of capitalism&rsquo;s tendency to dominate the poor, working class, and oppressed people.&rdquo;</p> <p>Mullen told <em>IHE</em> that the network has grown to 200 members, including students and faculty, in the wake of the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, adding that CAN will &ldquo;build large, unified demonstrations against fascists on campuses&rdquo; and protect groups that are vulnerable to attack.</p> <p><strong>While Mullen and Palumbo-Liu do not advocate direct violence, Antifa has been criticized for engaging in violent protests around the country, including riots against conservative speakers.</strong></p> <p>When asked about violent elements within Antifa, Palumbo-Liu told <em>IHE</em> that CAN would reject some elements of the movement and <strong>would only &ldquo;advocate self-defense and defense in various forms of those who are being threatened by fascists.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>Palumbo-Liu likewise told <em>Campus Reform</em> that &ldquo;physically attacking speakers is not [within the law],&rdquo; and therefore is not something that his organization promotes.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;The issue really is not speech, but rather the kinds of actions a group is known to engage in that precisely impinge upon others&rsquo; free speech, academic freedom, and civil liberties,&rdquo;</strong> he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We are organizing to protect members of campus communities from groups that come to campus to provoke physical confrontations, purposefully destroy property, invade individuals&rsquo; privacy.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>The professor also pushed back on the view that President Trump is not a fascist, </strong>branding it as &ldquo;literally an academic argument in the worst sense of the word&rdquo; and declaring that &ldquo;we need to pay attention to what is happening, not the labels that we feel are most fitting.&rdquo;</p> <p>Mullen did not respond to <em>Campus Reform</em>&rsquo;s request for comment.</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-22/ron-paul-urges-america-oppose-fascism-right-left">As Ron Paul explained earlier</a>, <strong>the alt-right and its leftist opponents are two sides of the same authoritarian coin.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/08/19/paulk2017-08-22_5-07-27.png"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/08/19/paulk2017-08-22_5-07-27_0.png" style="width: 600px; height: 393px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>The alt-right elevates racial identity over individual identity. </strong>The obsession with race leads them to support massive government interference in the economy in order to benefit members of the favored race. They also favor massive welfare and entitlement spending, as long as it functions as a racial spoils system. Some prominent alt-right leaders even support abortion as a way of limiting the minority population. No one who sincerely supports individual liberty, property rights, or the right to life can have any sympathy for this type of racial collectivism.</p> <p><strong>Antifa, like all Marxists, elevates class identity over individual identity. </strong>Antifa supporters believe government must run the economy because otherwise workers will be exploited by greedy capitalists. This faith in central planning ignores economic reality, as well as the reality that in a free market employers and workers voluntarily work together for their mutual benefit. It is only when government intervenes in the economy that crony capitalists have the opportunity to exploit workers, consumers, and taxpayers. Sadly, many on the left confuse the results of the &ldquo;mixed economy&rdquo; with free markets.</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>Oh, and as a reminder, <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-21/petition-label-antifa-terrorist-organization-reaches-critical-milestone"><strong>the petition to label AntiFa a terrorist group now has over 250,000 signatures.</strong></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="694" height="436" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170822_antifa.png?1503434708" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-22/college-profesors-begin-direct-support-antifa-groups-campuses#comments Anti-fascism Anti-Fascist Action Anti-racism Antifa Far-left politics Left-wing politics Neo-fascism Political movements Political spectrum Politics Purdue University Reality Ron Paul Social Issues Stanford University Tue, 22 Aug 2017 22:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 602138 at http://www.zerohedge.com Former U.S. Attorney On Awan Indictment: "There Is Something Very Strange Going On Here" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-22/former-us-attorney-awan-indictment-there-something-very-strange-going-here <p>We've written frequently over the past couple of months about the litany of unanswered questions surrounding the mysterious case of Debbie Wasserman Schultz's (DWS) IT staffers.&nbsp; Why did DWS seemingly<a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-05-24/caught-tape-wasserman-schultz-threatens-police-chief-investigating-her-it-staffs-cri"> threaten the chief of the U.S. Capitol Police</a> with “consequences” for holding equipment that was confiscated as part of an ongoing legal investigation?&nbsp; Why did DWS keep Awan on her taxpayer funded payroll all the way up until the day he was <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-25/wasserman-schultz-it-aide-arrested-dulles-airport-while-attempting-flee-country">arrested by the FBI at Dulles airport while trying to flee the country to Pakistan</a>?&nbsp; What, if anything, does the Awan family know about the DNC hacks that may have caused DWS to act in this way?</p> <p>Now, <strong>Andrew McCarthy III, the former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York</strong> who led the prosecution against Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, <strong>says there is "something very strange" about the recent indictment filed against Imran Awan and his wife Hina Alvi</strong> in the District of Columbia.</p> <p>In a <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/article/450665/debbie-wasserman-schultz-it-scammers-indicted-mysteriously-narrow-and-low-key-way">National Review</a> article, McCarthy points out that it's not what's in the indictment that is necessarily surprising but rather what is seemingly intentionally omitted.&nbsp; For instance, McCarthy points out that<strong> "the indictment appears to go out of its way not to mention" that Imran was apprehended while in the process of fleeing the country,</strong> a fact that would seem to be the best evidence available to prove the fraud charges.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Let’s say you’re a prosecutor in Washington. You are investigating a husband and wife, naturalized Americans, who you believe have scammed a federal credit union out of nearly $300,000. You catch them in several false statements about their qualifications for a credit line and their intended use of the money. The strongest part of your case, though, involves the schemers’ transferring the loot to their native Pakistan.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So . . . what’s the best evidence you could possibly have, the slam-dunk proof that their goal was to steal the money and never look back? That’s easy:<strong> One after the other, the wife and husband pulled up stakes and tried to high-tail it to Pakistan after they’d wired the funds there</strong> — the wife successfully fleeing, the husband nabbed as he was about to board his flight.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Well, here’s a peculiar thing about the Justice Department’s indictment of Imran Awan and Hina Alvi, the alleged fraudster couple who doubled as IT wizzes for Debbie Wasserman Schultz and many other congressional Democrats: <strong>There’s not a word in it about flight to Pakistan. The indictment undertakes to describe in detail four counts of bank-fraud conspiracy, false statements on credit applications, and unlawful monetary transactions, yet leaves out the most damning evidence of guilt.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>In fact, the indictment appears to go out of its way not to mention it.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Why would prosecutors leave that out of their indictment? Why give Awan’s defense a basis to claim that, since the indictment does not allege anything about flight to Pakistan, the court should bar any mention of it during the trial? In fact, quite apart from the manifest case-related reasons to plead instances of flight, a competent prosecutor would have included them in the indictment simply to underscore that Awan is a flight risk who should have onerous bail conditions or even be detained pretrial.</p> </blockquote> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/08/22/Debbie%20Wasserman%20Schultz_0.JPG" alt="DWS" width="600" height="335" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Then there is the case of Imran's wife, Hina Alvi.&nbsp; When she fled the country back in March she was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents with over $12,000 cash in her luggage, technically a crime by itself if not properly disclosed, but was allowed by the FBI to leave the country despite having been under investigation for months.&nbsp; </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>We must also ask, again: <strong>Why did the FBI allow Alvi to flee? Before she boarded her March 5 flight to Qatar (en route to Pakistan), agents briefly detained her. </strong>U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents had already searched her baggage and found $12,400 in cash. As I have pointed out, it is a felony to move more than $10,000 in U.S. currency out of the country unless one completes the required government report (see sections 5316 and 5322 of Title 31, U.S. Code). There was no indication that she did so in the complaint affidavit submitted to the court when Awan was arrested last month (see FBI complaint affidavit, pages 8–9). </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>By the time Alvi fled, the Awans had been under investigation by various federal agencies for at least three months. </strong>The FBI was sufficiently attuned to the Awans’ criminality that its agents went to the trouble of chasing Alvi to the airport. If she didn’t fill out the required form, <strong>she should have been arrested for the currency violation.</strong> Is it possible that, rather than arresting her, federal agents instructed her to complete the form on the spot? One would hope not, but even in such an unlikely event, Alvi would undoubtedly have made false statements about the provenance of the cash. That would also have been a felony, providing more grounds for her arrest. Why let her go, especially when, as its agent told the court in the aforementioned affidavit, the FBI “does not believe that ALVI has any intention to return to the United States”?</p> </blockquote> <p>And then there is just the continued secrecy surrounding the case.&nbsp; <strong>Why did the U.S. Attorney's office decide against filing a press release in a case that has garnered significant national attention?&nbsp; <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Why was the case filed in a district where DWS's brother has been an assistant U.S. attorney for many years?&nbsp; </span></strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>To begin with, it is not the easiest thing to get one’s hands on the indictment. The case is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. <strong>There is no press release about the indictment on the office’s website, though U.S. attorneys’ offices routinely issue press releases and make charging documents available in cases of far less national prominence.</strong> (I found the indictment through the Orlando Sentinel, which obtained and posted it in conjunction with the paper’s report on the filing of charges.)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>By the way, the <strong>U.S. attorney’s office is currently led by Channing D. Phillips, an Obama holdover</strong> who was never confirmed. Still awaiting Senate confirmation is Jessie Liu, nominated by President Trump in June.<strong> Meanwhile, Steven Wasserman, Representative Wasserman Schultz’s brother, has been an assistant U.S. attorney in the office for many years. </strong>I have seen no indication that he has any formal role in the case, notwithstanding some cyberspace speculation to the contrary. What is clear, however, is that the office is low-keying the Awan prosecution.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The indictment itself is drawn very narrowly. All four charges flow from a financial-fraud conspiracy of short duration. Only Imran Awan and his wife are named as defendants. There is no reference to Awan-family perfidy in connection with the House communications system.</p> </blockquote> <p>Of course, we're sure it's probably nothing but at least one former U.S. Attorney says<strong> "there is something very strange going on here."</strong></p> <p><strong><em>The full Grand Jury indictment can be viewed <a href="http://www.trbas.com/media/media/acrobat/2017-08/70202225250080-17151530.pdf">here</a>:</em></strong></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.scribd.com/embeds/356949027/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-YNPYnyvGv9p5PgsrTKX8&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%" height="600" 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="627" height="317" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/Awan%202.JPG?1503425114" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-22/former-us-attorney-awan-indictment-there-something-very-strange-going-here#comments Alavi American people of Pakistani descent Credit Line credit union Debbie Wasserman Schultz Department of Justice FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Bureau of Investigation Government Grand Jury Imran Awan Law Senate Surname U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia U.S. Capitol Police UN Court United States House of Representatives World Trade Tue, 22 Aug 2017 22:05:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 602132 at http://www.zerohedge.com Trump Is Slow Playing His Cards In This Game Of Deep State Poker http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-22/trump-slow-playing-his-cards-game-deep-state-poker <p><em>Content originally published on 8/19/17 at <a href="http://dystopiausa.com/">DystopiaUSA.com</a></em></p> <p>It's time for a pep talk.</p> <p>I know that morale amongst my fellow Deplorables is at an all-time low, right alongside President Trump's approval ratings in the rigged polls.</p> <p>We've witnessed a week in which the mainstream media has gone into a full-court press of hysteria over Charlottesville; Nolan Richardson would be impressed by the Deep State's Forty Minutes of Hell.</p> <p>We've seen the President's Council on Manufacturing fold tent amidst much hypocritical corporate virtue-signaling.</p> <p>We've seen Steve Bannon, the driving force behind Trump's populist uprising, resign his position in the White House.</p> <p>Between these events, the constant leaks, and the revolving door in the Administration, I don't blame you one bit for feeling discouraged. If you took everything at face value, you'd think President Trump was perhaps the most incompetent man to ever hold the office.</p> <p>But what if I were to tell you that the Donald is, in actuality, the most capable man to lead this country since at least Eisenhower?</p> <p>What if I were to tell you that the left is in its death throes?</p> <p><strong>What if I were to tell you that I believe we are on the verge of witnessing the unfurling of the greatest sting operation in the history of our country?</strong></p> <p>To understand, first we need to ask the following questions:</p> <ul> <li>Why is the left going absolutely insane about one unfortunate woman in Charlottesville?</li> <li>Why is Nancy Pelosi pushing to <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/08/18/pelosi-touts-house-push-to-censure-trump.html">formally censure</a> the president for his simple, commonsensical, and decidedly uncontroversial rebuke of all the bad actors involved?</li> <li>Why is the media pushing this story 24/7 while Russia got dropped like a hot potato?</li> <li>Why are the MSM and most of the Democratic Party egging on Antifa?</li> <li>Why did a <a href="https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2017/08/18/Missouri-senator-urged-to-resign-after-Trump-assassination-FB-post/7241503056781/">Missouri State Senator openly state on Facebook</a> that she wishes for an assassination of Trump?</li> <li>Why are <a href="http://investorplace.com/2017/08/godaddy-inc-the-daily-stormer-gddy/#.WZfrDFV97IU">web hosting services kicking alt-right websites off their servers</a>? Why are conservatives on <a href="http://dailycaller.com/2017/07/21/patreon-bans-journalist-lauren-southern-claims-she-will-get-people-killed/">Patreon</a> and YouTube getting both demonized and demonitized? Why is the First Amendment about to be burned under the fiery breath of the leftist dragon because of one idiot in a muscle car?</li> </ul> <p>But the even more important question is:</p> <p><em>Why now?</em></p> <p>Because the Deep State are scared absolutely senseless and they are firing out the last chambers of their political revolver in panic.</p> <p><a href="http://dystopiausa.com/nuremberg-trials-corruption-likely-coming-2017/">They know what awaits them in the future.</a> <strong>They need to bring about 1984 soon or lose power forevermore.</strong></p> <p>Or worse. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRSrphKtQm4">They fear the awakening populace</a>.</p> <p>T<span style="font-size: 13.008px;">hey are attempting to rile up the useful idiots of both ideological extremes with paranoia and disinformation in one massive play of identity politics to help undermine the duly-elected leader of the United States - the man who kept them from a total victory.</span></p> <p>And that leader has all the dirt on them now.</p> <p>The Swamp knows it too:</p> <ul> <li>They know Imran Awan is the loose thread that unravels everything and he may have already turned state's evidence to the Trump DOJ.</li> <li>They know what was in that report that Devin Nunes gave to Trump.</li> <li>They know Hillary Clinton may be indicted soon, with all the corruption of the Foundation implicating half the Deep State.</li> <li>They know Julian Assange didn't <a href="http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-updates-right-wing-blogger-charles-c-johnson-1502992726-htmlstory.html">meet with Dana Rohrabacher</a> to discuss Vegemite recipes.</li> <li>They know why Donald Trump has surrounded himself with military generals.</li> <li>They know Bannon is more useful at Breitbart being the scourge of globalists now that he's purged the bad seeds in the intel agencies.</li> <li>They know <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-15/doj-demands-13-million-ip-addresses-visitors-antifa-website-used-coordinate-riots-0">Antifa is now under surveillance</a> and will likely soon be declared a domestic terrorist organization.</li> </ul> <p>But they have learned it too late.</p> <p>For President Trump and Steve Bannon play a mean game of <a href="https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/401094394775760897?lang=en">Sun Tzu</a>.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">The saying from the great Chinese military strategist that is most apropos to Trump today is this: "Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak."</span></p> <p>So, fellow Deplorables, knowing what you now know, what is the more likely in this ultimate game of high-stakes poker?</p> <p>That Donald Trump is the most incompetent man ever elected?</p> <p>Or that a devotee of General Patton and Sun Tzu, surrounded by a phalanx of military generals, has limped in to the hand while holding better cards than his opponents?</p> <p>He has checked through the flop and the turn but has still called every bet.</p> <p>Today, we watch at the rails.</p> <p>We will see the river turned over next.</p> <p>Trump will soon call all-in holding a royal straight flush.</p> <p>The Deep State is drawing dead and&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13.008px;">has only one out left: conjuring the necessary card by cheating with a false flag.</span></p> <p>Watch the dealer closely in the coming weeks.</p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-22/trump-slow-playing-his-cards-game-deep-state-poker#comments Alt-right Basket of deplorables Corruption Democratic Party DOJ Donald Trump Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign First Amendment Foreign policy of Donald Trump Nancy Pelosi Politics Politics of the United States ratings Steve Bannon United States White House White House Tue, 22 Aug 2017 21:47:05 +0000 Lord Feverstone 602143 at http://www.zerohedge.com Ron Paul Institute Statement On Trump's Afghanistan Speech http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-22/ron-paul-institute-statement-trumps-afghanistan-speech <p><a href="https://mises.org/blog/ron-paul-institute-statement-trumps-afghanistan-speech"><em>Authored by Daniel McAdams via The Mises Institute,</em></a></p> <div class="body-content clearfix"> <p>Like me, many of you watched President Trump&#39;s train wreck of a speech on Afghanistan earlier tonight.<strong> It&#39;s nearly midnight and I am still reeling.</strong></p> <p>I guess it was too much to ask to hear him admit the obvious and draw the obvious conclusions: <strong><em>&nbsp;</em></strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>After 16 years - the longest war in US history - no one even remembers what we are fighting for in Afghanistan</em></strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The war is over.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Not another American (or innocent Afghan) life for one of the most convoluted and idiotic wars in history!</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Trump of 2012 and 2013 said just that. <strong>Candidate Trump said just that. </strong></p> <p>Then tonight he told us that once you sit in that chair in the Oval Office you <strong>see things differently.</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>What does that mean? </strong></span></p> <p><strong>Once elected you betray your promises so as to please the deep state?</strong> Here&#39;s the truth that neither President Trump nor his newfound neocon coterie can deny:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>1) A gang of radical Saudis attacked the US on 9/11. </strong>Their leader, Osama bin Laden, was a CIA favorite when he was fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. He clearly listed his grievances after he fell out with his CIA sponsors: US sanctions in Iraq were killing innocents; US policy grossly favored the Israelis in the conflict with Palestinians; and US troops in his Saudi holy land were unacceptable.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>2) Osama&#39;s radicals roamed from country to country until they were able to briefly settle in chaotic late 1990s Afghanistan for a time. </strong>They plotted the attack on the US from Florida, Germany, and elsewhere. They allegedly had a training camp in Afghanistan. We know from the once-secret 28 pages of the Congressional Intelligence Committee report on 9/11 that they had Saudi state sponsorship.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>3) Bin Laden&#39;s group of Saudis attacked the US on 9/11. </strong>Washington&#39;s neocons attacked Afghanistan and then Iraq in retaliation, neither of which had much to do with bin Laden or 9/11. Certainly not when compared to the complicity of the Saudi government at the highest levels.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>4) Sixteen years -- and trillions of dollars and thousands of US military lives -- later no one knows what the goals are in Afghanistan. </strong>Not even Trump, which is why he said tonight that he would no longer discuss our objectives in Afghanistan but instead would just concentrate on &quot;killing terrorists.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>Gen. Mike Flynn had it right in 2015 when he said that the US drone program was creating more terrorists than it was killing. <strong>Trump&#39;s foolish escalation will do the same. It will fail because it cannot do otherwise.</strong> It will only create more terrorists to justify more US intervention. And so on until our financial collapse. The US government cannot kill its way to peace in Afghanistan. Or anywhere else.</p> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="230" height="124" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170822_ron.png?1503432757" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-22/ron-paul-institute-statement-trumps-afghanistan-speech#comments Afghanistan Afghanistan–United States relations Anti-Americanism Central Intelligence Agency Central Intelligence Agency Congressional Intelligence Committee Crime Death Death of Osama bin Laden Fail Florida Foreign relations of the United States Germany Iraq Militant activity of Osama bin Laden Mises Institute Mises Institute Neocons Osama bin Laden Politics Ron Paul Saudi government September 11 attacks US government War War in Afghanistan War on Terror Tue, 22 Aug 2017 21:40:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 602136 at http://www.zerohedge.com Funds Managing $1.1 Trillion Are Dumping Junk Bonds http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-22/funds-managing-11-trillion-are-dumping-junk-bonds <p>Even before Ray Dalio <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-21/ray-dalios-gravest-warning-yet-i-am-tactically-reducing-risk-broadly-similar-1937">doubled down on his warning </a>that the US has become as dangerously fragmented as during the pre-World War II days of 1937, prompting him to "tactically reduce" risk, some of the biggest names on Wall Street were selling. </p> <p>Two weeks ago, <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-09/pimco-trowe-price-issue-warning-investors">T.Rowe Price made waves </a>when it said that it <strong>had cut the stock portion of its asset allocation portfolios to the lowest level since 2000. The Baltimore-based money manager said it also reduced its holdings of high-yield bonds</strong> and emerging market bonds for the same reason. Roughly at the same time, in its <a href="https://www.pimco.com/en-us/insights/economic-and-market-commentary/global-markets/asset-allocat">mid-year review</a>, Pimco said that "with the macroeconomic backdrop evolving in the face of potentially negative pivot points <strong>and considering asset prices generally are fully valued, we are modestly risk-off in our overall positioning</strong>" adding that “we recognize events could still surprise to the upside, but starting valuations leave little room for error.”</p> <p>This followed a <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-09/pimco-trowe-price-issue-warning-investors">similar preannouncement </a>by DoubleLine's Jeff Gundlach who not only said that he is <strong>reducing his positions in junk bonds, EM debt and other lower-quality investments, </strong>but predicted - correctly - the volatility spike in the first week of August.&nbsp; </p> <p>Then it was Guggenheim's turn to make a similar warning: <a href="https://www.guggenheimpartners.com/cmspages/getfile.aspx?guid=8db18c30-ea6a-4b35-9e5f-cc00f7bba3df">in its Q3 Fixed Income Outlook</a>, the asset manager said that "the downside risk of a near-term market correction grows the longer volatility<br />remains depressed. Asset prices are at record highs while volatility has rarely been lower. <strong>Our Global CIO and Macroeconomic and Investment Research team believe these indicators point to a dangerous level of complacency in the market</strong>, which has shrugged off the Fed’s guidance that economic conditions support monetary tightening... <strong>given where asset prices are, they would have a long way to fall</strong>."</p> <p>Guggeneim CIO Anne Walsh also warned that "<strong>high-yield corporate bonds are particularly at risk due to their relatively rich pricing</strong>, so we have continued to significantly reduce our exposure to that sector. <strong>The high-yield corporate bond allocations across our Core and Multi-Credit strategies are now at the lowest level since their inception. </strong>The bank loan allocation has also been reduced as a majority of the market is trading at or above par with some loans trading at negative yields to call."</p> <p>The list above is by no means exhaustive: according to a Bloomberg calculations, investors overseeing a total of over <strong>$1.1 trillion have been cutting exposure to junk bonds </strong>amid growing concerns about rising rates, central bank policy and general geopolitical uncertainty.</p> <p>Below <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-17/the-list-of-money-managers-cutting-junk-bond-exposure-is-growing">courtesy of Bloomberg</a>, is the list of money managers who have recently cut holdings of junk debt:</p> <p><strong>JPMorgan Asset Management; AUM: $17 billion (for Absolute Return &amp; Opportunistic Fixed-Income team)</strong></p> <ul> <li>In early July told Bloomberg they have cut holdings of junk debt to about 40 percent from more than half.</li> <li>“We are more likely to decrease risk rather than increase risk due to valuations,” New York-based portfolio manager Daniel Goldberg said.</li> </ul> <p><strong>DoubleLine Capital LP; AUM: about $110 billion</strong></p> <ul> <li>Jeffrey Gundlach, co-founder and chief executive officer, said in an interview published Aug. 8 he’s reducing holdings in junk bonds and emerging-market debt and investing more in higher-quality credits with less sensitivity to rising interest rates.</li> <li>European high-yield bonds have hit “wack-o season,” Gundlach said in a tweet last week.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Allianz Global Investors; AUM: $586 billion</strong></p> <ul> <li>David Newman, head of global high yield, said in an interview his fund has begun trimming its euro high-yield exposure because record valuations make the notes particularly vulnerable in a wider selloff.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Deutsche Asset Management</strong>; <strong>AUM: 100 billion euro ($117 billion) in multi-asset portfolios</strong></p> <ul> <li>Said earlier this month it has reduced holdings of European junk bonds.</li> <li>The funds are shifting focus to equities, where there is more potential upside and higher yields from dividends, according to Christian Hille, the Frankfurt-based global head of multi asset. </li> </ul> <p><strong>Guggenheim Partners; AUM: &gt;$209 billion</strong></p> <ul> <li>Reduced allocation to high-yield corporate bonds across core and multi-credit strategies to the lowest level since its inception, according to a third-quarter outlook published on Thursday.</li> <li>Junk bonds are “particularly at risk due to their relatively rich pricing,” portfolio managers including James Michal say in outlook report.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Brandywine Global Investment Management; AUM: $72 billion</strong></p> <ul> <li>Fund has cut euro junk-bond allocations to a seven-year low because of valuation concerns, Regina Borromeo, head of international high yield, said in an interview this month</li> </ul> <p>Who knows if these marquee names are right: if it's them against the central banks, all their sales will do is forego potential profits as the world's central banks push yields and spreads to levels that are beyond laughably ludicrous, but such is life in a centrally planned world where nothing makes sense. We do have one question: if asset managers with more than $1.1 trillion in AUM are all selling junk bonds, <strong>i) who is buying, and ii) how is it possible that the yield on the Barclays global HY index has barly budged from all time lows?</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/08/12/20170822_HY.png"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/08/12/20170822_HY_0.png" width="500" height="259" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="512" height="265" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/20170822_HY.png?1503436180" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-22/funds-managing-11-trillion-are-dumping-junk-bonds#comments Actuarial science Asset allocation Banking Barclays Bond Bond Business Central Banks Corporate bond Finance Financial services fixed Gundlach High Yield High-yield debt Investment management Jeff Gundlach Money PIMCO Private equity Ray Dalio United States housing bubble US Federal Reserve Volatility Tue, 22 Aug 2017 21:14:18 +0000 Tyler Durden 602140 at http://www.zerohedge.com