ECONOMY | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


ECONOMY

May 19 07:37

THE NORMALIZATION AND INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF FRAUD

SOURCE: CHARLES HUGH SMITH
Normalizing and institutionalizing fraud undermines the foundations of the economy and the financial system.

I am indebted to Manoj Samanta (twitter: @flation_debate) for the insightful concept the commoditization of fraud. The first step in the commoditization of fraud is to normalize fraud as Business as Usual (BAU) to the point that it's no longer viewed as "wrong," destructive or an aberration of evil-doers but as an accepted way to maximize gain and offload risk onto others.

The last step in the process is to institutionalize fraud within central banking and government policies.

How is selling shares in a money-losing corporation at outlandish valuations not the commoditization of fraud? The fraud has been normalized into a game of hoping that greater fools will be so enamored of the normalized fraud that they'll take the IPO shares off your hands at ever-higher valuations until the fraud breaks down.

May 18 16:46

About That Roaring Stock Market

May 18 12:10

How Central Bank Interest Rate Policy Is Destabilizing Banks

By Justin Murray

Broadly speaking, banks operate under the concept of maturity transformation. Banks take short-term – less than one year – financing vehicles, such as customer deposits, and use that to finance long-term – more than one year – returns. These returns range from the most commonly understood loans, such as auto loans and mortgages, to investments in equity, bonds and public debt. Banks make money on the interest spread between what they pay to the owners of the money and what is earned from the operations. Banks also make money on other services, such as wealth management and account fees, though these are relatively small compared to the maturity transformation business...

May 18 10:04

What does risk-off actually mean?

May 18 09:52

An Ar?tic oil field could hold Russia’s biggest discovery in 30 years

A major oil development project could soon unfold in the Yenisey River delta, where vast oil reserves lie beneath permafrost near the area where the great Russian river runs into the Kara Sea.

Russia’s state mineral extraction agency Rosnedra now confirms that the resource estimates of the Paykha fields amount to as much as 1.2 billion tons, the newspaper Kommersant reports. That’s one of the biggest estimates ever made for a Russian oil field.

May 18 09:50

US Gov't Now Openly Admits Pentagon Asks for Money to Directly Fund Terrorists

Source: Matt Agorist @ The Free Thought Project

(Support Free Thought) - For the last several decades, the US government has openly funded, supported, and armed various terrorist networks throughout the world to forward an agenda of destabilization and proxy war. It is not a secret, nor a conspiracy theory—America arms bad guys. The situation has gotten so overtly corrupt that the government just admitted the Pentagon asked Congress for funding to reimburse terrorists for their transportation and other expenses. Seriously.

“The Defense Department requested fiscal 2020 funding to support certain reconciliation activities, including logistic support for members of the Taliban and, in March 2019, they sent a notification letter to the Committee on using fiscal year 2019 funds for similar activities,” a spokesman for House Appropriations subcommittee on Defense Chairman Peter J. Visclosky (D-Ind.) told Roll Call.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Great; how swell!!

Seriously; if the US government is funding terrorists, to achieve particular geopolitical outcomes, our government stinks, and it is high time to fire them (peacefully), by handing them their hats, come the next election day.

The only problem with that, is that computers make election fraud so easy, that many times, particularly close races can be "turned" in one or another candidates' favor.

And if you have not yet seen the video, "Hacking Democracy", with all the brouhaha going on about the 2020 election cycle, you need to see this now.

www.hackingdemocracy.com

May 18 08:52

Iranian Special Forces Have Not Attacked Americans Since the 1990s

Source: deepstateblog.org

In the growing confrontation between the United States and Iran, the Iranian special forces, known as the Qods Force, will play a leading role in defending Iran.

[For more on the Qods Force and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security, click here.]

While the U.S. officials have claimed knowledge of specific and credible threats against American interests, the Iranians do not have a record of attack Americans, at least not recently.

A 2017 Congressional Research Service report lists all known Iranian attacks or planned attacks on Western targets. Only three of them took place in the 21st century. Only one took place in America and none resulted in the death or injury to any American.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Iran has not attacked Americans recently, because they understand, with a sure and certain knowledge, that such an act will result in Israel's the US's turning their country into a sea of molten glass, before things are over.

There have been stories around the end of last week, where President Trump has informed his aides that he does not want a military conflict with Iran. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-iran-trump/trump-tells-aides-he-d....

But his big worry is, will the state of Israel listen?!?

My thought is, hell no.

They have gotten him close to a commitment, from which he appears to be edging away right now, and time... is not on Israel's side.

Do not be surprised to see an Israeli-generated false flag attack to happen in the week and days to come, with which to smear Iran, and "get the party started." Israel has full knowledge of where US troops are in the region, and it appears to me, that some of them will, unfortunately, become the "sacrificial lambs" to ensure Israel's game plan.

May 18 08:30

Iraqi Parliament to Vote on Bill That Would Ban US Military Troops From Iraq

Source: Anti Media

(ANTIWAR.COM) — Iraq has spent the better share of the last 16 years under US military occupation. Despite this, time and again US-Iraqi relations have come to be defined by US hostility toward neighboring Iran, and Iraq’s desire to not get mixed up in that.

So while Iraq’s parliament was already bristling under Pentagon talk of staying in Iraq, and Trump saying that the US was staying in Iraq to “keep an eye on Iran,” the recent escalation of US rhetoric about a war against Iran has sparked action within parliament.

On Saturday, Iraq will be voting on a bill that would aim to expel all foreign troops from Iraqi soil, and singles out US troops in particular as needing to leave. The bill is endorsed by Iraq’s top two Shi’ite blocs, and is expected to pass fairly easily.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

All well and good; but how is the Iraqi Parliament going to be able to make this work, particularly if escalation against Iran creates a shooting war?!?

May 18 07:45

200 years of US rates

May 17 19:40

Do you think Hong Kong is safe?

May 17 19:10

U.S. Organic Food Sales Exceed $50 Billion in 2018

Clean, transparent, fresh, sustainable. Environmentally friendly, animal humane, high quality, social activism. Those traits are all identified with organic, and in 2018 they all helped push organic sales to unprecedented levels. The U.S. organic market in 2018 broke through the $50 billion mark for the first time, with sales hitting a record $52.5 billion, up 6.3 percent from the previous year, according to the 2019 Organic Industry Survey released Friday by the Organic Trade Association...

May 17 18:32

The Regulatory-Industrial Complex

By Llewellyn H. Rockwell

Socialists want socialism for everyone else, but capitalism for themselves, while capitalists want capitalism for everyone else, but socialism for themselves...

Ludwig von Mises called this an inevitable “caste conflict.” There can be no natural class conflict in society, Mises showed, since the free market harmonizes all economic interests, but in a system of government-granted privileges, there must be a struggle between those who live off the government and the rest of us. It is a disguised struggle, of course, since truth threatens the loot...

May 17 17:06

Global slowdown continues

May 17 16:23

China crushed by debt

May 17 16:21

Crazy Not! Much Higher Gold Prices

May 17 16:21

Is Bitcoin Back?

May 17 14:57

Brick & Mortar Meltdown, Manhattan Style

May 17 11:50

DoD Inspector General Exposes Pentagon Contractor's 9,400% Profit On Half-Inch Pin 

TransDigm Group Inc. sold the Pentagon "drive pins" for $4,361 each - should only cost $46, a 9,400% gain in excess profits, according to the Inspector General US Department of Defense's audit labeled "For Official Use Only" obtained by Bloomberg.

The inspector general's audit shows 98 of 100 parts inspected were overinflated in value and concluded the Pentagon is paying the Ohio-based defense manufacturing firm $91 million more in the next several years for parts valued at $28 million, with excess profit per part of 95% to the 9,400%.

May 17 10:49

Utter Insanity…

That’s the only way to describe this stock market. It won’t end well for the hedge funds whose algos are chasing price momentum nor for the retail daytraders playing the game of “greater fool.” Apparently CSCO and WMT’s “beat” triggered a multi-hundred point spike in the Dow on Thursday. Funny thing about that. CSCO’s one-cent “beat” has been routine since the late 1990’s.

May 17 10:25

CONGRESSMAN CALLS FOR BANNING BITCOIN BECAUSE IT 'TAKES POWER' FROM THE CORRUPT FEDERAL RESERVE

SOURCE: MATT AGORIST @ THE FREE THOUGHT PROJECT
(Support Free Thought) - In 2017, the state of Arizona went after the federal government’s attack on gold and silver by eliminating the capital gains taxes on precious metals. This paved the way to deal a massive blow to the Federal Reserve and end their monopoly on money. While the precious metals move was certainly noteworthy, legislation passed last year by the Arizona Senate was nothing short of revolutionary as it officially recognized cryptocurrencies as money by allowing residents to pay their taxes in it. But when you challenge the Federal Reserve, they fight back.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The Federal Reserve, is nothing more than a very sophisticated money laundering system, perpetrated by the already monied, on the rest of us.

May 17 10:14

Angela Merkel TAKES ON Trump - lists USA along with Russia and China as global RIVALS

GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel has provocatively listed the USA under President Trump along with China and Russia as countries that Europe needs to unite to contain.

May 17 09:59

San Francisco area homeless count increases by double digits

A federal count shows the number of homeless people increased by double-digit percentages in three San Francisco Bay Area counties over two years as the region struggled to tackle the growing problem, including 17% in San Francisco and 43% in the county that includes Oakland.

More than 25,000 people were counted as homeless during an overnight tally conducted in San Francisco, Alameda and Silicon Valley’s Santa Clara counties in January. Detailed reports are expected later this year.

May 17 09:54

Is China's "Mandate Of Heaven" In Jeopardy?

U.S. policy through the Bush and Obama administrations was to soft-pedal questionable Chinese trade practices, pirating technology and theft of intellectual property in return for cheap manufactured goods and China’s willingness to finance trillions of dollars of U.S. government debt.

Now Trump has changed the rules of the game. He’s said lost jobs in the U.S. are not worth the cheap goods and cheap financing. He bet that China had no alternative but to keep producing those goods and keep buying our debt, even if the U.S. imposes tariffs to help create manufacturing jobs here.

President Trump and President Xi had been on a collision course involving issues of trade, tariffs, and currency manipulation, which are coming to a head.

May 17 09:40

CONGRESS WANTS TO STEAL $1.68 BILLION FROM IRAN

It’s not enough to want untold thousands to die and the country destroyed, now neocons in Congress want to steal more than a billion and a half dollars from Iran as compensation for something somebody else did or didn’t do.

From the Daily Caller:

A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation Thursday to make $1.68 billion worth of Iranian funds available to the families of 241 American servicemen killed in the 1983 suicide bombing on a Marine base in Beirut, Lebanon.

In Trump Bizarro World, as in the Obama and Bush versions of the same, reality and facts are only applicable when they serve the agenda.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This... is desperation on the cusp of madness; and pray tell, how was Iran responsible for this horrible event?!>? Where, please, are those oft-neglected words, logic and proof, please?!?

Would they do something like this, understanding that the response from the US, and Israel be destroying their country with multiple nuclear strikes?

The short answer, of course, is HELL no.

But I DO know another country that would have had utterly zero problem in creating such an event; that country, of course, would be Israel, because they have done it before.

In fact, were I a betting person, I would almost be willing to bet that the alleged "bombs" Iran was supposed to have left in Syria, will soon be triggered by Israel's Mossad.

And if you think for one moment that this kind of despicable behaviour would be "off the books" for Mossad, you had better think again.

The Israeli attack on the USN's Liberty

May 17 08:46

Bayer’s Stock Has Lost 44% Of Its Value Since They Bought Monsanto

By John Vibes

Bayer’s stock price fell to a seven-year low this week, after the company lost a $2 billion lawsuit over claims that the weedkiller Roundup causes cancer. Roundup weedkiller is a product that was developed by the controversial biotech corporation Monsanto, but the company was purchased by Bayer for $66 Billion in 2016. Along with the acquisition of the extremely profitable company, Bayer has also inherited a long list of lawsuits and reputation problems...

May 17 07:54

How Equities Can Reduce Longevity Risk

May 17 07:31

Retaliation over S-400? Trump cancels Turkey’s preferential trade status

Donald Trump has terminated the preferential trade agreement which provided Turkey with partial tax-free access to US markets, in a move some see as Washington’s retaliation for the NATO ally’s increasingly independent policies.

More than two months after the United States threatened to end Turkey’s participation in Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, President Donald Trump on Thursday cut off Ankara’s access to the program, noting that the country is no longer a developing state.

May 17 07:15

The High Cost of Free College

By Antony Davies and James R. Harrigan

Last year, total student debt in the United States passed the $1.5 trillion mark. Even after subtracting loans that are paid down, the total has been growing at around $80 billion per year.

Relative to the economy, outstanding student loan debt may have peaked last year, but the amount in question is alarming. Around 11 percent of student debt is either delinquent or in default, which is more than four times the delinquency rates for credit cards and residential mortgages.

Student debt has become so large that politicians on both sides of the aisle are noticing...

May 16 21:54

Banks fined €1bn by EU for currency rigging

Five banks have been fined €1.07bn (£935m) by the European Commission after traders clubbed together to rig the foreign exchange market.

Four banks in the "Banana Split" cartel - Barclays, RBS, Citigroup and JP Morgan - were fined €811m in all.

Three banks in the "Essex Express" cartel - Barclays and RBS again, plus MUFG - were fined €258m.

A sixth bank, UBS, was excused financial penalties for revealing the cartels' existence.

The European Commission said the market-rigging took place from 2007 to 2013.

The Commission's investigation, which began in September 2013, revealed that some individual foreign exchange traders, using online chatrooms, exchanged trading plans and occasionally co-ordinated their trading strategies.

May 16 16:59

Another one: Fred’s closing 104 stores…

May 16 16:12

3 Groups of People Disproportionately Harmed by Minimum Wage Laws

By Bill Wirtz

Minimum wage laws are intended to help those who are making very little money, yet they achieve quite the opposite. Can you really say you stand for the disadvantaged if you support minimum wage laws?

Moral Superiority

Minimum wage laws have been around for a while, so contesting their existence becomes progressively more difficult. For most people, even those who purport to stand on the more “free-market” side of issues, the guarantee of minimum payment to all workers is a no-brainer...

May 16 15:03

Mystery Tanker Violates US Sanctions, Unload Iranian Fuel In China As Zarif Heads To Beijing

With Trump shutting down Huawei and China's entire telecom industry, it was only logical that China would at least try to retaliate, which it has done by formally breaching the US embargo on Iran oil exports. According to ship tracking data on Refinitiv Eikon (i.e. the old Reuters terminal), a tanker carrying Iranian fuel oil in violation of U.S. sanctions has unloaded the cargo into storage tanks near the Chinese city of Zhoushan.

A representative of the oil storage terminal confirmed that the tanker, Marshal Z, discharged nearly 130,000 tonnes of Iranian fuel oil; that marked the end of an odyssey for the cargo that began four months ago.

As Reuters reported on March 20, some Iranian fuel oil had managed to evade the United States’ sanctions on petroleum exports "by using ship-to-ship transfers involving four different ships, including the Marshal Z, and by using forged documents that masked the cargoes as originating from Iraq."

Webmaster's Commentary: 

And what can President Trump do now?!?

Declare war on Iran, because it was desperate to get some of its oil sold, circumventing US sanctions before they would actually take effect?!?

I think not; in fact, President Trump has rather shown himself to be bereft of any reasoning capabilities whatsoever; if he had had them, he wouldn't have withdrawn the US from the P5+1, which, to which, according to the IAEA reports, Iran is still, largely, complying.

May 16 14:13

Russia’s central bank governor touts Moscow alternative to SWIFT transfer system as protection from US sanctions

Russia has developed its own system for financial transfers that would protect it from a potential shutout of the SWIFT global transfer system in the event of harsher U.S. sanctions, its central bank governor said Wednesday at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

May 16 11:50

Russia boosting gold & dumping dollar from foreign currency reserves

The Central Bank of Russia reports that foreign exchange reserves saw a significant boost of nearly $3.3 billion in April as the country pursues a policy of increasing its forex funds and diversifying them away from the US dollar.

The latest growth of 0.7 percent brought Russian international reserve funds to nearly $492 billion against $487.8 billion seen at the end of March, the latest data published by the regulator shows.

The state international reserves are highly liquid foreign assets comprising stocks of monetary gold, foreign currencies and Special Drawing Right (SDR) assets, which are at the disposal of the Central Bank of Russia and the government.

May 16 11:03

Something Just Broke In The Chinese Yuan

Having been well-managed all week, amid various headlines (and extreme hopium in US equities), something just snapped in the Chinese yuan...

As we just detailed, from Deutsche Bank, who worry that USD/CNY will break through 7...

Asia is the region we expect to suffer most from the renewed global headwinds. We argue that policymakers in China are now going to be more accepting of USD/CNY appreciation through 7: years of regulatory measures should make outflows more manageable, easier monetary policy will add upside pressure and a weakening FX is the natural means of offsetting tariffs.

May 16 10:58

The Lunacy Of Waging A War On Iran Which China And Russia Will Win

The scare mongering about an attack on Iran continues. Bolton must be laughing his ass off how easy he can play the issue based on nothing. He simply counters any debunking of the alleged 'thread from Iran' by upping the ante. Yesterday a British general denied that any such threat exists in the area of his responsibility:

“No – there’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria,” Maj. Gen. Christopher Ghika, deputy commander of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the coalition responsible for counter-terrorist operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, said in a video briefing, according to the Guardian.

Today Bolton countered that by again raising the noise level around the imaginary threat:

The U.S. Embassy in Iraq says the State Department has ordered all non-essential, non-emergency government staff to leave the country right away amid escalating tensions with Iran.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The most intelligent thing President Trump could do right now, would be handing Bolton his hat; unfortunately, the Israeli government wants this war in the worst possible way, and seeing that they have turned Bolton so brilliantly to their casus belli (of course, filled with unsubstantiated rumors, which no one in any government can yet define), I am concerned that Trump may well take action against Iran, because he doesn't really understand the costs and consequences of moving forward with it.

May 16 10:58

US threatens EU with trade war over weapons

The United States has all but threatened the European Union with war – albeit a trade war – over E.U. plans to boost cooperation between member states on military spending.

First reported by Germany’s Der Spiegel and later confirmed by Reuters, the Financial Times and AFP (among others) – although sadly unpublished in full – Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Ellen Lord (previously the CEO of U.S. defense contractor Textron Systems) and Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson on May 1 sent a letter to the E.U.’s chief diplomat, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini outlining U.S. concerns about access to E.U. funds for American corporations.

May 16 10:37

AOC Smacks Down 'How We Gonna Pay For It' With Pentagon Receipts

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez brought more light and heat to a Congressional Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday.

And more importantly, she connected the issue at hand with why those who wonder "how can we pay for" The Green New Deal and Medicare for All when there is plenty of money in excess profits for defense contractors.

AOC pointed out one example: non-vehicular clutch discs, which cost $32.00 to manufacture and for which the Pentagon pays $1443.00. That's a 4436% profit.

AOC asked the Pentagon contractor, TransDigm CEO Kevin Stein, "Are you aware how many doses of insulin we could get for that?"

"...for the cost of your price-gouging of the public on a non-vehicular clutch disk alone I could have sent 21 kids to college. I could have sent 18 toddlers to free preschool for a year, in the most expensive city in America."

May 16 10:33

Steve Bannon: There is ‘no chance’ Trump is going to back down in the China trade war

There is “no chance” President Donald Trump will back down in the U.S. trade war with China, former Trump advisor Steve Bannon told CNBC on Wednesday.

“China has been running an economic war against the industrial democracies for now 20 years,” said the hardline ex-White House chief strategist, who helped craft Trump’s nationalist message.

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