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[Entertainment] Miley Cyrus and Cody Simpson Take Romance to New Heights as They Touch Tongues in Bed Miley Cyrus, Cody SimpsonMiley Cyrus and Cody Simpson are getting into the Halloween spirit. The celebrity pair seems to be kicking back and enjoying each other's company, because on Sunday night, the...
Published:10/13/2019 10:21:31 PM
[Barack Obama] No. 23 Bookworm Podcast: Vulgar Presidents and Great Presidents

This podcast examines hypocritical media claims about Trump’s unique vulgarity and the fact that, vulgar or not, Trump is one of our greatest presidents. My latest podcast is up and running. You can listen to it through the audio embed below, or at LibSyn, or through Apple Podcasts. I’ll be publishing a companion post sometime Monday […]

The post No. 23 Bookworm Podcast: Vulgar Presidents and Great Presidents appeared first on Bookworm Room.

Published:10/13/2019 10:21:31 PM
[worldNews] Argentine presidential front-runner courts moderate voters The front-runner in Argentina's presidential election reached out to undecided voters on Sunday, promising both orthodox and unorthodox policies to cure the country's deep economic troubles.
Published:10/13/2019 10:21:31 PM
[Markets] California's New 'Red Flag' Gun Law So Extreme ACLU Deems "Significant Threat To Civil Liberties" California's New 'Red Flag' Gun Law So Extreme ACLU Deems "Significant Threat To Civil Liberties"

California adopted 15 firearms-related bills last Friday, including a controversial 'red flag' gun confiscation law which adds co-workers, employers and educators to the list of who can file a gun violence restraining order on those they say are a danger to themselves and others. Currently, only law enforcement and immediate family members can apply to temporarily confiscate peoples' firearms. Most of the new laws take effect January 1, according to the LA Times.

Signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) after being vetoed twice by his Democratic predecessor Jerry Brown (who said that educators can work through family members or law enforcement if a restraining order is required), the gun confiscation bill is so broad that the ACLU said it "poses a significant threat to civil libertiessince guns can be seized from owners before they have an opportunity to contest the requests, and those making the requests may "lack the relationship or skills required to make an appropriate assessment," NBC San Diego reports.

All that's needed for a co-worker or educator to file a complaint is to have had "substantial and regular interactions" with gun owners, along with permission from their employers or school administrators. Those seeking the orders will be required to file a sworn statement outlining their concerns. 

The author of the bill, Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco, said that "With school and workplace shootings on the rise, it's common sense to give the people we see every day the power to intervene and prevent tragedies," citing a recent study which found that 21 mass shootings may have been prevented by a gun restraining order. 

Meanwhile, a companion bill signed by Newsom and written by Democratic Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin of Thousand Oaks allows gun violence restraining orders to last one and five years, though gun owners would be allowed to petition the state to get their guns back earlier. In another Ting-authored companion bill, gun owners who agree to voluntarily surrender their firearms can notify the court via a form, vs. a hearing which Ting says wastes time and resources. 

The National Rifle Association (NRA)'s Amy Hunter, meanwhile, said of another bill signed on Friday (SB 61) which prohibits Californians from buying more than one semiautomatic rifle per month, and bans the sale of such rifles to those younger than 21: "This bill places burdens on law-abiding residents," adding "It will not make anyone safer.

Republican state legislators criticized the one-gun-a-month bill, as well as the state's failure to remove guns from the thousands of felons and the severely mentally ill as they are already empowered to do so. 

"Instead we continue to do more and more legislation that interferes with the law-abiding citizen’s right to own and possess firearms, which is their constitutional right to do," said Yuba City Republican Assemblyman James Gallagher (LA Times)

According to the Times, other bills signed Friday by Newsom will:

  • Allow those subject to a gun-violence restraining order to submit a form to the court voluntarily relinquishing their firearm rights
  • Require firearm packaging to contain a warning statement on suicide prevention
  • Mandate that county sheriffs who issue licenses for concealed weapons charge a fee covering the cost of vetting the applicant, thus eliminating the current $100 cap on fees
  • Prohibit gun shows at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego County
  • Require, starting in 2024, that the sale of components used to build a firearm — often used to build untraceable “ghost guns” — be carried out through a licensed vendor.
Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 23:05
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Published:10/13/2019 10:21:31 PM
[source:wirecopy] Teenager and man stabbed in separate incidents in north London Published:10/13/2019 10:21:31 PM
[worldNews] As options narrow on Syria, Trump prepares to drop sanctions hammer on Turkey President Donald Trump's administration is set to impose economic sanctions on Ankara, potentially as early as this week, for its incursion into northern Syria, one of the few levers the United States still has over NATO-ally Turkey.
Published:10/13/2019 9:50:54 PM
[US News] Reporter from @Reason adds some context to the NYT piece on the ‘Kingsman’ meme video that aired at Trump’s Doral resort

The New York Times is reporting tonight on a violent meme video that was show during an event hosted by the pro-Trump group American Priority at the president’s Doral resort in Miami. Yashar Ali breaks down what’s on the video: 1. NEW: A video depicting a macabre scene of a fake President Trump shooting, stabbing […]

The post Reporter from @Reason adds some context to the NYT piece on the ‘Kingsman’ meme video that aired at Trump’s Doral resort appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:10/13/2019 9:50:54 PM
[Markets] "From Constitution... To Algorithms" "From Constitution... To Algorithms"

Via Jim Quinn's Burning Platform blog,

Comment from Aldous Huxley:

For those too ignorant or too full of cognitive dissonance here is a short understanding for ya...

It is Saturday morning and I like to wake up early so I had set my iPhone alarm to wake me at 5am. (Apple now knows what time i woke). I grab my iPhone and head to the kitchen and turn the coffee maker on (it wirelessly informs several other kitchen appliances, Alexa and my iPhone denotes this too). I open the fridge (it sends a signal to other kitchen appliances and my iPhone) and to grab a few items. Yogurt, orange juice, some blueberries. When I shut the fridge door the RFID signal on the packages I took out were read by the fridge so it knows what was removed and at what time. Now apple and others know, with near certainty who was up, rummaging in the fridge and what they took out. (Ok I think you get the point of “breakfast in the new age” so let’s move on. )

I go to my closet and grab blue jeans a button down shoes belt. Each has an RFID from the retail location I purchased as does my cleaners who placed a very small RFID barcode on each garment for tracking purposes. Both these signals are tracked by my iPhone, wifi signals, kitchen appliances etc. The kitchen appliances are still snooping on me so they can sell my activity tracking information to other retailers. Seems if you purchased a microwave for hundreds of dollars you should get a huge discount if they informed you they were going to spy on you and sell your activity or at least offer a choice of no spying. Seems every single thing I buy, with MY hard earned money, is now making money OFF ME. But I digress.

Anyway, I head out to the basement and every door has a sensor from my home security. It can track every door that opens and infrared movement. It tracks me via door openings going to the basement and the motion sensor follows my every move. I open my safe grab my gun and head to my vehicle. With the fridge, microwave, coffee maker, doors and motion sensors, iPhone, Alexa and numerous other things now tracking me, my car now gets involved. The hands free portion of my entertainment system recognizes me and my voice. The car starts and the little black box, gps, phone system are all on me like a bloodhound. I am tracked to every location I go, every traffic signal camera, and every light I stop at. Every song I listen too whether sad or upbeat is denoted, filed, logged. I pass near businesses and all my data is shared with them and to their own security cameras. Yet, here I am thinking nobody knows where I am, where I am going, what I am listening to, what I am thinking, or what I am about to do.

I was truly enjoying my weekend and looking forward to spending quality time with my wife and kids.

Over the past week, a stressful week at that, I needed some quite relaxing woods time. I had decided to go for a short hike. I had brought my gun because it was coyote-mating season and they can get aggressive. As I was driving down the nearly abandoned country road I see blue lights in my rear view mirror. I pull over. A loud speaker comes on and demands I throw the gun out of the car and step out slowly. I have done nothing wrong and do not understand and certainly do not want to scratch up my $7,500 .22 nearly rusted revolver. I have a permit and am not a threat.

So I decided to open the door and the last thing I remember before being shot to death was loud banging.

*  *  *

The ensuing investigation and media narrative was they “knew” I had a stressful week and was planning on hurting, someone, or myself. That I had chosen to “die by cop” instead. Even though the sweet note I had left my wife and kids stating I was going hiking and will bring my revolver just in case because coyotes were in abundance since hunting was outlawed and how much I loved them and looked forward to picking them up in a few hours to go to the local town fair. Well, that was all but ignored and explained away. It did not fit the narrative that guns are evil and people that own them have them or even like them are borderline unstable at a minimum.

What nobody was asking is how did the officer “know” I had a gun? “Why” did the officer feel I was a threat at that time due to a stressful week? Amongst any other questions at all.

It did not matter, I was dead, my family lost, kids life changed forever and my reputation as a gun wielding mad man will forever follow my family and negatively affect them until they die. When others see this example, they will all, like rank and file, stiffen up and toe the line of compliance for surely they do not want a similar situational issue or outcome because they all deep down realize they are being tracked but they ignore it because Clash of Clans is just so addictive and gives you something to do for the 38 seconds you must be alone in public while waiting on friends to park their car.

Welcome to your new life and country controlled by algorithms vs the Constitution. Hope you really get a full mouthful of it, so much in fact it makes you sick. You deserve it all.

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 22:40
Published:10/13/2019 9:50:54 PM
[Markets] The Margin: Video of fake Trump killing media critics and political foes shown at president’s Miami resort, N.Y. Times reports President Donald Trump refers to the mainstream media as “the enemy of the people,” and in a violent fake video shown at a conference for his supporters at his Trump National Doral resort in Miami last week, he takes matters into his own hands.
Published:10/13/2019 9:50:53 PM
[World] Brussels, Not Boris, is Endangering Europe Now They bleat about a hard Irish border, but they're the ones who could be risking the return of paramilitary violence. Published:10/13/2019 9:50:53 PM
[Markets] Ken Fisher’s fund reportedly loses $600-million client after offensive comments Ken Fisher’s eponymous wealth-management fund is $600 million poorer after the state of Michigan reportedly pulled its pension fund amid a furor over his sexually offensive comments.
Published:10/13/2019 9:23:31 PM
[Entertainment] Kourtney Kardashian Finds Out Who Stole $5,200 & Hacked Her on KUWTK Kourtney Kardashian, KUWTK 1705Who robbed Kourtney Kardashian? The mom of three didn't name names during Sunday's new Keeping Up With the Kardashians. But after realizing some of her belongings had gone missing...
Published:10/13/2019 9:23:31 PM
[Politics] Newsom blocks overhaul of California's dog blood donor rules, saying it doesn't go far enough

The governor said legislators should send him a bill that phases out the use of "closed colonies," where donor dogs are "kept in cages for months and years to harvest their blood for sale."

Published:10/13/2019 9:23:31 PM
[e48b24a0-c1fc-5a30-aa5a-635382d9d0bc] Jim Hanson: To halt fighting between Turkey and Kurds in Syria and prevent return of ISIS, US must do THIS Trump is right to oppose endless wars, but we must not cede the battlefield in Syria to our enemies and let ISIS create a new caliphate. Published:10/13/2019 9:23:31 PM
[Markets] "Compromise Or Genocide": Putin's 'Deal Of The Century' Rapidly Unfolding In Syria "Compromise Or Genocide": Putin's 'Deal Of The Century' Rapidly Unfolding In Syria

"Putin is capitalizing on the chaotic retreat of the US and Turkey's brutality toward the Kurds in order to assert Russia's leadership," Syria analyst Joshua Landis observed of a newly published Vladimir Putin interview"He contrasts how Russia has stood beside its beleaguered ally, Syria, while the US has abandoned both its allies, the Kurds and the Turks," Landis added. 

Putin said in the interview: "Syria must be free from other states' military presence. And the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic must be completely restored."

Given this weekend's rapidly unfolding events, with state actors Turkey and the Syrian Army squaring up on front lines, Russia's role in all this is probably still the greatest unknown, but what do we know at this point? 

File image via Reuters

Precisely one week since Trump first unveiled a US troop exit from northeast Syria while essentially giving a green light to invading Turkish forces, events are unfolding at blistering speed, possibly toward a major Syrian Army clash with pro-Turkish forces, and no doubt toward a complete and final American withdrawal from Syria altogether. 

Currently Syrian Army convoys  including tanks and artillery — have begun deployment to northern Syrian battlefronts at a moment US troops have been confirmed in retreat. Syrian state media affirmed that Damascus is set to “confront a Turkish aggression” on Syrian territory, after what appears to be a major deal struck between Damascus and the main US-backed Syrian Kurdish groups.

Reuters revealed on Sunday that Damascus and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been in direct negotiations, with crucial Russian participation. "The source close to the Syrian government said meetings between the SDF and Damascus had taken place before and after the latest Turkish offensive," according to the report.

And hours before it was announced Sunday that an initial deal has been reached, resulting in Syrian Army deployment to currently Turkish-besieged northern cities, the SDF's top commander Mazloum Abdi wrote in a Foreign Policy piece

"We know we would have to make painful compromises with Moscow & Assad if we go down that road. But if we have to choose between compromises and the genocide of our people, we will surely choose life."

Abdi noted that Washington's betrayal is two-fold: not only did the Pentagon retreat at the most crucial moment, but ordered its Kurdish proxy force to weaken its own defenses (not to mention that Washington had long actively thwarted negotiations with Damascus). 

"At Washington’s request, we agreed to withdraw our heavy weapons from the border area with Turkey, destroy our defensive fortifications, and pull back our most seasoned fighters. Turkey would never attack us so long as the U.S. government was true to its word with us" implying that Washington threw the Kurds to the wolves in a worsened state.

"We are now standing with our chests bare to face the Turkish knives," the SDF's top commander concluded. "Syria has two options: a religious sectarian and ethnic bloody war if the United States leaves without reaching a political solution, or a safe and stable future—but only if the United States uses its power and leverage to reach an agreement before it withdraws," Abdi explained.

"Two questions remain: How can we best protect our people? And is the United States still our ally?" It appears that question has been answered, given the SDF has invited in the Syrian Army

Again given how fast all of this has played out, a number of pundits and analysts questioned, are we witnessing a Putin-brokered 'deal of the century' unfold?

We explained late last week that there are a number of signs suggesting this is the case, noting that Moscow had begun organizing "reconciliation talks" between Syria and Turkey, in what would truly be an unprecedented development, given President Erdogan's long-time position has long been that Turkey won't negotiate with Damascus so long as Assad is in power, after the two cut diplomatic relations in 2012. 

But Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov recently confirmed as much saying"Moscow will ask for start of talks between Damascus and Ankara".

Putin's timing for such potential deal-making couldn't have been better, given that:

  • A US ground retreat from the border area means Washington now has little active leverage over the situation (Trump has said he desires regional powers to sort it out).
  • Syria's beleaguered Kurds now see Damascus as the only option for survival (and thus Syria's ally Russia). 
  • Turkey is now at odds with all major Western and regional powers over 'Operation Peace Spring,' is also hated in international media, and thus will be more sensitive to reputational damage. 
  • Turkey is now under a human rights and war crimes microscope
  • For many reasons, especially the recent S-400 deal and F-35 hold-up, US-Turkey relations are currently at their lowest point, with threat of new US sanctions on Ankara looming.
  • With Washington ceding the driver's seat, all of the above means Putin alone can "check" Erdogan's actions

Just ahead of this weekend's rapidly developing Syria events, Reuters reported that Putin is positioned to be the only voice with "positive" relations with Turkey, able to "limit" Erdogan's ambitions inside Syria:

In a phone call with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan before the operation against U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters, Russian leader Vladimir Putin, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, made clear he hoped the incursion would be limited in time and scale, the sources said.

“If he [Putin] manages to fix this it would be considered a major political victory,” commented Andrey Kortunov, head of the Russian International Affairs Council, as cited in the report. “Putin could argue that the Americans failed to sort this out but we managed it, which implies our approach to the conflict is more efficient than our geopolitical opponents,” he added.

And one senior former Russian diplomat confirmed to Reuters further that, "If Turkey limits its operation to a 30-mile security zone inside Syria and conducts a quick operation, Russia is likely to tolerate it."

And even CNN now reluctantly admits that:

Russia is already by far the strongest foreign power operating in Syria, and President Vladimir Putin has allied himself with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, throwing the full weight of the Russian military behind the Syrian Army.

Now, a planned Turkish operation to "clear" Kurdish forces from the Northeastern Syrian border zone could give Putin a chance to expand Russian influence to the alarm of US hawks.

Likely, the outcome to the current escalation unfolding in northeast Syria will also determine the outcome to final and still festering Idlib problem — an issue which presents further opportunity for Putin and Erdogan to find common ground on. 

Meanwhile, the Quincy Institute's Trita Parsi perhaps put it best in saying, "Assad appears to be coming in to fight on the sides of the Kurds against Erdogan. The heads of Washington pundits, who love to reduce geopolitical fights into battles between good and evil, will explode..."

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 22:15
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Published:10/13/2019 9:23:31 PM
[] Sunday Overnight Open Thread (10/13/19) *** THE QUOTES OF THE DAY Quote I “Don’t imagine that the child knows his or her future identity at age three, or ten, for that matter,” “Flash-freezing a child’s development through the introduction of drugs — pre-puberty, on... Published:10/13/2019 9:23:31 PM
[Markets] "It's Not A Game When It's Real-Life" - China's Social Credit System "It's Not A Game When It's Real-Life" - China's Social Credit System

In an attempt to imbue trust, China has announced a plan to implement a national ranking system for its citizens and companies. Currently in pilot mode, the new system will be rolled out in 2020, and go through numerous iterations before becoming official.

While the system may be a useful tool for China to manage its growing 1.4 billion population, Visual Capitalist's Katie Jones notes that it has triggered global concerns around the ethics of big data, and whether the system is a breach of fundamental human rights.

Today’s infographic looks at how China’s proposed social credit system could work, and what the implications might be.

The Government is Always Watching

Currently, the pilot system varies from place to place, whereas the new system is envisioned as a unified system. Although the pilot program may be more of an experiment than a precursor, it gives a good indication of what to expect.

In the pilot system, each citizen is assigned 1,000 points and is consistently monitored and rated on how they behave. Points are earned through good deeds, and lost for bad behavior. Users increase points by donating blood or money, praising the government on social media, and helping the poor. Rewards for such behavior can range from getting a promotion at work fast-tracked, to receiving priority status for children’s school admissions.

In contrast, not visiting one’s aging parents regularly, spreading rumors on the internet, and cheating in online games are considered antisocial behaviors. Punishments include public shaming, exclusion from booking flights or train tickets, and restricted access to public services.

Big Data Goes Right to the Source

The perpetual surveillance that comes with the new system is expected to draw on huge amounts of data from a variety of traditional and digital sources.

Police officers have used AI-powered smart glasses and drones to effectively monitor citizens. Footage from these devices showing antisocial behavior can be broadcast to the public to shame the offenders, and deter others from behaving similarly.

For more serious offenders, some cities in China force people to repay debts by switching the person’s ringtone without their permission. The ringtone begins with the sound of a police siren, followed by a message such as:

“The person you are calling has been listed as a discredited person by the local court. Please urge this person to fulfill his or her legal obligations.”

Two of the largest companies in China, Tencent and Alibaba, were enlisted by the People’s Bank of China to play an important role in the credit system, raising the issue of third-party data security. WeChat—China’s largest social media platform, owned by Tencent—tracked behavior and ranked users accordingly, while displaying their location in real-time.

Following data concerns, these tech companies—and six others—were not awarded any licenses by the government. However, social media giants are still involved in orchestrating the public shaming of citizens who misbehave.

The Digital Dang’an

The social credit system may not be an entirely new initiative in China. The dang’an (English: record) is a paper file containing an individual’s school reports, information on physical characteristics, employment records, and photographs.

These dossiers, which were first used in the Maoist years, helped the government in maintaining control of its citizens. This gathering of citizen’s data for China’s social credit system may in fact be seen as a revival of the principle of dang’an in the digital era, with the system providing a powerful tool to monitor citizens whose data is more difficult to capture.

Is the System Working?

In 2018, people with a low score were prohibited from buying plane tickets almost 18 million times, while high-speed train ticket transactions were blocked 5.5 million times. A further 128 people were prohibited from leaving China, due to unpaid taxes.

The system could have major implications for foreign business practices—as preference could be given to companies already ranked in the system. Companies with higher scores will be rewarded with incentives which include lower tax rates and better credit conditions, with their behavior being judged in areas such as:

  • Paid taxes

  • Customs regulation

  • Environmental protection

Despite the complexities of gathering vast amounts of data, the system is certainly making an impact. While there are benefits to having a standardized scoring system, and encouraging positive behavior—will it be worth the social cost of gamifying human life?

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 21:25
Published:10/13/2019 8:49:31 PM
[Entertainment] Jersey Shore's Angelina Pivarnick Posts About ''Being Strong'' Amid JWoww Drama Angelina Pivarnick, 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, VMAs, Red Carpet FashionPositive vibes ahead! Angelina Pivarnick is keeping things lighthearted after her very public feud with Jenni "JWoww" Farley made headlines earlier this week. "I believe in...
Published:10/13/2019 8:21:16 PM
[Media] Sports Illustrated writer confuses hand gesture in support of sick teammate for dreaded OK symbol

Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl apologized for a now-deleted tweet of his where he accused members of the Furman University soccer team of using the dreaded OK hand gesture when what they were really doing is showing support for a sick teammate: The Anti-Defamation League has designated the OK sign as a hate symbol. But […]

The post Sports Illustrated writer confuses hand gesture in support of sick teammate for dreaded OK symbol appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:10/13/2019 8:21:16 PM
[Markets] Hedge Fund CIO: There’s So Much Going Wrong, So Many Manipulations, That I Don’t Trust Anything Right Now Hedge Fund CIO: There’s So Much Going Wrong, So Many Manipulations, That I Don’t Trust Anything Right Now

Submitted by Eric Peters, CIO of One River Asset Management

Here We Go Again

“Here we go again, right near the highs, people bearish,” said the CIO. “It’s not that they’re explicitly short, I don’t know anyone who is, it’s more that they’re hedged, underweight,” he continued. “The economy is slowing, geopolitical risks keep rising, but there are so many things to worry about that the Fed remains in play – now they’re restarting QE while assuring us it’s anything but QE – and no one can afford to miss another leg higher,” he said. “The irony is that the worst possible thing for this market would be a pause in the bad news.”

Told You So

“If I wound the clock back and told you this is where we’d be,” said the CIO, “Impeachment inquiry, trade war, slowing economies, renewed easing, rising wages, shrinking margins - you’d have said the S&P 500 would be trading at 2000.” The S&P closed at 2970. “And if I told you the Iranians and Saudis would be in a hot war, you’d have said oil would be $100.” WTI crude oil is $55. “Typically, this would mean stocks will break higher, but there’s so much going wrong, and so many policy manipulations, that I don’t trust anything right now.”
 
Last Traded

A few weeks back, when the whistleblower blew, betting website odds of Trump completing his 1st term plunged from 84% to 71% (last traded at 69%). Biden’s odds of being the Dem nominee fell from 26% to 22% (last traded 23%). Odds of Warren being the Dem nominee jumped from 41% to 51% (last traded 47%). Odds of a Dem presidency win in 2020 remained broadly unchanged at 58% (last traded 55%). Dem retention of the House was steady at 75% (last traded 75%). Republican hold of the Senate was unchanged at 68% (last traded 65%).
 
Polls

According to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, public support for impeachment/removal rose 2 points this week to 48.8% (with 43.6% not in support). 58% support an impeachment inquiry while 38% don’t support an inquiry. 53.7% disapprove of Trump and 42.1% approve. Fox News reported 51% of voters want Trump impeached and removed from office (+9% jump from July). 40% do not want him impeached/removed (All these polls were taken before Giuliani’s Ukrainian business associates were arrested, and before Giuliani came under investigation.)
 
Pop Culture

“Like the NBA, we welcome Chinese censors into our homes and hearts,” read the faux apology from South Park (the only TV I watch). Its creators mocked Chinese censorship, human rights abuses, hypocrisy. A backlash against China’s communist party dictatorship is going mainstream in US pop culture, supercharging our conflict. Beijing erased South Park from its internet. “We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi doesn't look like Winnie the Pooh at all. Long live the great Communist Party of China. May the autumn’s sorghum harvest be bountiful. We good now China?”

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 21:00
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Published:10/13/2019 8:21:16 PM
[structure:news/uk-news] Harry Dunn: Parents reject apology from Anne Sacoolas as they fly to the United States Published:10/13/2019 7:49:15 PM
[Politics] Schiff: Intel Committee May Not Call Whistleblower to Testify The whistleblower behind the Ukraine complaint may not be called to testify before the House Intelligence Committee over privacy concerns, panel chairman Adam Schiff said Sunday."Before the president started threatening the whistleblower ... we were interested in having the... Published:10/13/2019 7:49:15 PM
[Politics] California becomes first state in the country to push back school start times

California's new law requires middle and high schools in urban areas to delay start times to let students sleep in and to improve educational outcomes.

Published:10/13/2019 7:49:15 PM
[Politics] Even Pete Buttigieg thinks Beto was an IDIOT for targeting churches over gay marriage! More enjoyable Dem-on-Dem rhetorical violence from the third tier of the hopeless and desperate presidential candidates! We got Pete Butigieg, who is a GAY candidate, calling out Beto for being an idiot . . . Published:10/13/2019 7:49:15 PM
[Politics] Even Pete Buttigieg thinks Beto was an IDIOT for targeting churches over gay marriage! More enjoyable Dem-on-Dem rhetorical violence from the third tier of the hopeless and desperate presidential candidates! We got Pete Butigieg, who is a GAY candidate, calling out Beto for being an idiot . . . Published:10/13/2019 7:49:15 PM
[The Blog] Fort Worth police kill woman inside her own home

FWPD claim officer perceived a threat but say there are more questions than answers.

The post Fort Worth police kill woman inside her own home appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:10/13/2019 7:49:15 PM
[Markets] Pulling Out: $70 Billion Retirement Fund Exits Fisher Investments Amidst Sex Joke Backlash Pulling Out: $70 Billion Retirement Fund Exits Fisher Investments Amidst Sex Joke Backlash

It's too bad that when Ken Fisher made lewd jokes at a recent financial conference, he didn't make any about "pulling out".

Because that's exactly what the $70 billion state of Michigan retirement pension account is doing from his fund, according to a new article from Bloomberg. The pension account has reportedly ended its relationship with Fisher's fund after the manager's inappropriate remarks at a recent financial conference.

Fisher managed $600 million in retirement funds for Michigan and the state's exit ends a 15 year relationship with Fisher's firm. 

Michigan’s chief investment officer, Jon Braeutigam, notified the state investment board of the termination on October 10. In his letter, he said that Fisher's comments were "unacceptable" and that although employees at his fund hadn't witnessed similar comments, “history does not outweigh the inappropriateness of the comments.” 

Braeutigam continued: “There is no excuse not to treat everyone with dignity and respect. We have high expectations of our managers (and staff) not just with regards to returns but also in how they exhibit integrity and respect to all individuals.”

In his letter, he said the decision to terminate the relationship was "unanimous". 

And the blowback may not be over: it was just days ago that we reported that other clients of Fisher's were "reevaluating" their relationship with the firm after the manager's sex jokes at a financial conference. 

Shawna Lode, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System, had said late last week: "Fisher’s remarks are obviously concerning. Although our investment management contracts do not include a conduct policy, we hold our partners to the highest standards and reserve the right to amend or sever any contract at our discretion.”

Maxwell Rule, chief financial officer of Hames, a company who has their 401(k) managed by Fisher, said last week: “It certainly taints their reputation. I wouldn’t comment at this point whether this would lead us to take our business elsewhere, but I will certainly have a conversation with the ownership regarding that. As a fiduciary I have an obligation to have that conversation."

About a week ago we reported that at a conference in San Francisco, Fisher - whose firm manages more than $100 billion - shocked attendees when he compared gaining a client's trust to "trying to get into a girl's pants." Fisher also said at the same conference that executives who were "not comfortable talking about genitalia should not be in the financial industry." 

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 20:35
Published:10/13/2019 7:49:15 PM
[Entertainment] Hilaria and Alec Baldwin's Daughter Carmen Gets Her Tooth Pulled by Dr. Oz Carmen Baldwin, Alec Baldwin, Hilaria Baldwin, Sex Reveal, Baby, No. 5, InstagramNeed health and wellness advice? Dr. Mehmet Oz has got you covered. Need someone to step in as a makeshift dentist and pull out your daughter's loose tooth? Oh, Dr. Oz can do that too....
Published:10/13/2019 7:21:46 PM
[Politics] Biden Says He's Reason for Impeachment Probe Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden says he's the reason for the impeachment probe.Biden was referring to the impeachment inquiry launched against President Donald Trump following the release of a whistleblower complaint that alleged Trump pressured Ukraine's... Published:10/13/2019 7:21:46 PM
[worldNews] Ecuador clashes rage despite military-backed curfew Ecuadorean police battled masked men who launched homemade projectiles at them in downtown Quito on Sunday, as protesters defied a curfew that was imposed by President Lenin Moreno in a bid to quell anti-austerity unrest.
Published:10/13/2019 7:21:46 PM
[Syria] Adverse consequences of Syrian pull back mount (Paul Mirengoff) Yesterday, I noted that as a result of President Trump’s decision to pull back U.S. troops from northwestern Syria, raids against ISIS in other parts of Syria have been curtailed. Today comes word of other adverse consequences. One is Turkish atrocities and, perhaps, war crimes. Allahpundit at Hot Air has the relevant links for those with the stomach to check them out. In the age of “America First,” we’re no Published:10/13/2019 7:21:46 PM
[Sports] NBA team executive endorses politician amidst blackface scandal

Masai Ujiri, President of the Toronto Raptors, endorsed Justin Trudeau for prime minister of Canada: Thanks for your endorsement, Masai. Your support means a lot. More important, thanks for all you do for kids across Canada. #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/0XLdz5eukO — Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 13, 2019 So the NBA does let its executives get political even […]

The post NBA team executive endorses politician amidst blackface scandal appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:10/13/2019 7:21:46 PM
[Opinion] Facebook should ban campaign ads. End the lies. Permitting falsehood in political advertising would work if we had a model democracy, but we don’t. Not only are candidates dishonest, but voters aren’t educated, and the media isn’t objective. And now, hyperlinks turn lies into donations and donations into louder lies. The checks don’t balance. What we face is a self-reinforcing disinformation dystopia. That’s […] Published:10/13/2019 7:21:46 PM
[Markets] SunTrust: The One That Got Away With It SunTrust: The One That Got Away With It

Submitted by SB MH Research

The mortgage crash seems like a lifetime ago with house prices and homeowner equity at record highs by a long shot and banks that have paid billions upon billions as restitution, some willingly and deservedly, some not.

Most all the events are well known and documented. But few if any know the sordid story of one of the largest whole loan origination “malpractice schemes” to occur in the Housing Bubble era.

The “SunTrust Agency Shortcut” loan program – and what is essentially a “hack” of the Fannie Mae automated underwriting system (AUS) -- was a massive, egregious whole loan origination scheme estimated at over 175k individual transactions nationwide for over $30 BILLION.  In fact, the dollar volume of questionable conforming loans originated by SunTrust Mortgage and sold to Fannie Mae exclusively is larger than SunTrust Bank’s market cap today.

The following is my research, evidence and summary material on the “SunTrust Shortcut” mortgage scheme. The name “Shortcut” speaks volumes by itself. But this scheme was unlike others from Countrywide for example.

I am releasing this information widely for public good and posterity, so this specific negligence is documented in hopes it never happens again.

SunTrust “Agency Shortcut”: Backgrounder

I spent the entirety of the mortgage and housing bubble on the front lines of the mortgage industry. I saw all the excesses, outright fraud and cognitive dissonance first-hand. I knew where all the bodies were buried when it all came apart despite banks, mortgage companies, investors, Wall St banks, David Lereah (blast from the past!) Ace Greenberg and the Fed all day, wall-to-wall in the financial media, telling everybody there is ‘nothing to see here’.

During the crash and recovery period, I operated as a professional financial analyst, researcher and advisor to the financial services and public sectors. From early 2006, when I first became fully convinced that all hell would break loose in mortgage and housing, I made a list of 48 mortgage and related publicly traded names that I thought were the worst or hidden offenders and have the potential to zero-out. I maintain research files on these companies tracking everything they did, would do and their outcomes to this day.

Most of the worst mortgage offenders either failed, were absorbed (willingly or forcibly), or paid heavy penalties to the Obama DOJ, some several times over. Most of the legal matters and settlements were for common, cookie-cutter things like FHA origination/sale fraud, servicing misconduct, foreclosure & mortgage modification dereliction, and securitization fraud.

However, a few companies skated for some reason or another. SunTrust Mortgage, a subsidiary of SunTrust Bank at the time, is one. Its residential mortgage “misconduct” was among the worst of the housing Bubble. Few know about this history of SunTrust and their particular legacy mortgage origination ‘indiscretions”, so egregious, they would make Angelo Mozillo blush, and which residually live on to this day.

SunTrust’s $30+ Billion Unknown Legacy Mortgage Malpractice: Introduction

SunTrust Mortgage enacted one of the largest whole loan origination malpractice schemes in the ‘Bubble Years’. To date, this egregious misconduct has never been discovered, unpacked, prosecuted, or settled by regulators or a class. 

[It’s important to note that the actual “SunTrust Shortcut” scheme was not covered when SunTrust essentially “bought-out” their Fannie and Freddie rep and warranty liability in Oct 2013 (however, the Shortcut loan significantly increased Fannie defaults and repurchases and if Fannie would have known the fine details the settlement may have been larger). Nor, was the SunTrust Shortcut scheme the basis for the July 2014 $320 Million HAMP or $968 Million (largely FHA related) settlements.]

In summary, SunTrust’s commissioned-based loan officer and underwriter employees essentially learned to ‘hack’ Fannie Mae’s AUS to achieve a “special feature code” on certain popular “fully documented, prime” loan programs they offered. This code was unique to the SunTrust “Agency Shortcut” loan. The name “Shortcut” speaks loudly. This code enabled them to originate, fund and sell these loans missing critical supporting documentation that made them “fully documented”, prime loans in the first place. The resulting loans sold to Fannie Mae exclusively were far worse in quality than program guidelines called for or Fannie knew it was buying.

These low-quality (closer to “Alt-A” than Prime) loans were sold as high-quality, fully documented prime loans and ultimately peppered throughout Fannie MBS. Once the hack was used successfully and refined during the first year it led to a significant increase in loan volume for the Bank at a time when other lender’s and Fannie’s volume was flagging, which was a red flag itself.

From then, it spread like wildfire throughout the company and all lending channels and departments. Before too long, the SunTrust Wholesale division (TPO; Third-Party Originators; Mortgage Brokers) was training mortgage brokers nationwide how to hack the SunTrust Fannie Mae Automated Underwriting System.

Through power of “TPO”, SunTrust was able to act and take on risk like a bank several times its size. After a while, the misconduct was so pervasive and a part of every-day business that a cognitive dissonance set in companywide that what they were doing was not prudent, which perpetuated the mortgage misconduct.

All told, SunTrust originated up to 175,000 “Agency Shortcut” loans nationwide for over $30 Billion over about two years from thousands of SunTrust employee and Third-Party Originator (TPO) conspirator-partners nationally making it one of the largest, longest running and widest spread whole loan origination malpractice schemes of the credit/housing bubble.   

This elegant, intentional, Fannie Mae Automated Underwriting System driven and enabled scheme was differentiated from any other of the period, as thousands of SunTrust commissioned production employees, production support personnel and TPO partners all had hands-on, specialized roles carrying out the misconduct and all benefitted from it.

SunTrust’s mortgage misconduct was highly differentiated and grand in scale. To an analyst, investor or regulator less acquainted with the fine nuances of the mortgage credit and capital markets their misconduct might appear to fit in the mold of the numerous, more ‘vanilla’ mortgage indiscretions that were discovered, investigated and prosecuted or settled over the past decade. But SunTrust’s mortgage misconduct was one-of-a-kind.

In the fullest interest of transparency in markets the general public need to know that these indiscretions did in fact occur and fully examine what occurred. Tens of thousands of homeowners, investors and municipalities were financially injured. While a high relative percentage of these bad loans resulted in default, foreclosure or modification thousands of them, largely 30-year fixed rate in nature, still exist in SunTrust’s and other lender’s servicing portfolios and are identifiable. 

The following is a summary of the SunTrust “Agency Shortcut” scheme.

SunTrust “Agency Shortcut” Scheme Overview

During the credit bubble SunTrust Mortgage was an influential retail, wholesale and correspondent lender, the latter two channels pertaining to the riskiest origination funnel, TPO (Third-Party Originations).  TPO – co-opting thousands of local mortgage brokers and bankers in the best lending markets in the nation -- allowed SunTrust, a relatively small bank and mortgage company, to lend at scale virtually nationwide despite not having a network of traditional brick and mortar bank branches in most states. Instead, it established about a dozen strategically located mortgage sales, processing, underwriting and funding operations centers in large, major metropolitan areas that were exclusive to mortgage and capable of extracting a high volume of business from states outside their bank footprint. 

Through the power of TPO SunTrust was able to compete with massive financial institutions like BofA, Chase and Wells Fargo as equals in loan program variety, origination and secondary market activity but without all the fixed overhead. This was great when the credit markets were compliant as the credit bubble grew. But, when the tide turned it left smaller, TPO-heavy lenders -- that had been pretending to be mega-national banks for the purposes of mortgage lending -- without the balance sheet wherewithal to be able to manage through it. Furthermore, TPO loan volume was so large -- absolutely and as a percentage of their total volume -- and concentrated in the riskiest, high-flying regions it left banks such as SunTrust with massive representation and warranty exposure that dwarfed their loan and legal reserves for years afterward. This forced management into numerical and verbal gymnastics in quarterly financial statements and investor calls for years about such exposure either not existing or being mitigated years sooner than it ever could be.

During the years of 2006 to 2008 – interestingly, these years that encompass the beginning and official start of the credit and housing market collapse, a time other lenders were cutting off exotic loan programs and even shutting down the ability to draw on existing HELOCs -- SunTrust Mortgage originated for sale to Fannie Mae between $19 Billion and $38 Billion in “Shortcut” loans. The name “Shortcut” defines this misconduct well and is reminiscent of names given to other poor-quality exotic loans by lenders such as the Countrywide “Fast & Easy” and “Hustle”. 

The “Shortcut” was SunTrust’s entrant into the high-volume, low-quality, originate-for-immediate-sale game. In fact, based on the timing, it’s obvious that SunTrust took advantage of other lenders leaving the exotic mortgage field or going out of business in order to capture loan volume and revenue through this misconduct.

Shortcut loans were labelled and sold as “fully documented prime” loans but in fact were all missing all of the exact income and asset documentation that makes a mortgage loan “fully documented” in the guidelines of Fannie Mae and investors in its mortgage backed securities. SunTrust quietly discontinued the loan program after two years in 2008 amidst a rush of failing lenders and significant scrutiny by Wall Street, the media and regulators.

Sure, some lenders and capital markets players originated and sold more than $30 billion in GSE residential loans or securities. But SunTrust was the only lender that had a national loan origination manufacturing production line built on malpractice and co-opted/taught thousands of their own bank-employee loan officers and underwriters and well as mortgage brokers and bankers to commit this highly specific mortgage misconduct from their own private PC’s on nearly 200,000 loans through a learned “hack” of Fannie Mae’s Automated Underwriting System.

SunTrust “Agency Shortcut” Scheme Details

Primarily: In their various earnings reports and filings, from 2006 on, SunTrust Bank (“STI”) and its wholly-owned subsidiary SunTrust Mortgage (“STM”) repeatedly misrepresented and omitted disclosing the risks associated with an “Alt-A” Stated Income/Stated Asset (“SISA”) loan program they co-developed for sale to FNMA, named “The Agency Shortcut Mortgage” (“Shortcut”), which was offered from mid-2006 to April 2008.

Also: STM originated and sold to Fannie Mae over $30 Billion of questionable loans that were much closer to “Alt-A” or “subprime” than prime. Shortcut’s atypically lax qualification guidelines (compared to industry standards) and its “same-as-full-doc” pricing meant STM would originate a large volume of these loans. As STM failed to institute meaningful internal controls that could have prevented commissioned sales personnel from submitting non-conforming, questionable and fraudulent loan applications, and as management turned a willful blind eye to problems (such as increasing Early Payment Default rates) when they came to light, the huge volume of Shortcut loans was even lower in quality than most Alt-As/SISAs.

Finally: As misconduct begets more misconduct, STM co-acted with the various Private Mortgage Insurance Companies (“MI Companies”) to cover-up the “reduced doc” nature of the Shortcut Loan Program by implementing special codes - or by ignoring the reduced doc feature altogether - on the MI applications, thereby falsely representing to the MI Companies’ regulators and investors that the Shortcut was a prime/full-doc loan.

Direct victims of the SunTrust Shortcut scheme include past and present STI equity and debt investors and FNMA Mortgage Backed Securities investors. Also, US taxpayers (as a result of the FHFA’s taking over FNMA and Freddie Mac), and unwitting Borrowers (who were unable to make timely payments on oversized loans they could not afford, ultimately resulting in foreclosure) suffered damages as well.

Individual States, municipalities and their citizens were also injured as SunTrust entered these markets far away from their traditional banking footprint, popped-up TPO mortgage origination and operation centers and originated billions of bad loans. Then, when the going got tough, they closed down their operations centers and retreated back to their footprint in the Southern United States leaving far away States and their residents to clean up the mess themselves.

Furthermore, as a result of the Shortcut scheme, substantial ill-gotten gains in the form of commissions, bonuses and other income flowed to STM’s salespersons, managers, directors, TPO originators, Realtors and anybody else involved in the origination and sale process of a Shortcut loan.

(Note: Institutions such as JPM Chase/WaMu, BofA/Countrywide, and others have been found liable (or have settled claims) for victimizing Fannie and Freddie by selling low-quality mortgages that failed to meet the representations and warranties promised. Among those damaged by their frauds were the investors in the GSE’s MBSs. Regardless of the extent Fannie knew or should have known that Shortcut loans were high-risk SISAs and not prime, STI itself knew these sub-standard loans would eventually end up in Fannie MBSs, and therefore that the undisclosed risk would -at the very least - be borne by those investors.)

 

Summary of Evidence:

A) When developing and Deploying the Agency Shortcut Program, SunTrust knew or should have known:

  1. It was a Stated Income/Stated Asset loan program (“SISA”) and - by virtue of its “reduced documentation” - therefore fit the bank’s own, in-house definition of “Alt-A.”

(Note: on SISA loans, the Borrower merely attests to his/her income and assets on the loan application and does not provide the pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements and like-documentation to support those figures.)

  1. SISAs - ubiquitously called “Liars’ Loans” - were known to be susceptible to fraudulently overstated income and asset figures and carried an outsized risk of serious delinquency and default.
  2. The Shortcut program served to implement the dual strategies STM disclosed at the 2006 Mortgage Bankers Association convention to: a) reduce loan processing times from 61-110 days down to 6 days; and b) “selectively transfer credit risk to other investors” (in this case, FNMA and, ultimately, Fannie’s MBS investors).
  3. By offering Shortcuts at the same price as full doc - which was more than 2 points (or over .50% in rate) cheaper to the Borrower - they would capture a higher market share and originate substantially more volume than they otherwise would have, so not only would the Company’s short-term Gross/Net Income increase, but also commission, bonus and other income for certain personnel.
  4. The mortgages would eventually be placed into FNMA MBSs, but not properly identified as Alt-As/SISAs.  Therefore, the MBSs investors would not be able to properly assess the riskiness of those pools…and the losses would be eventually be borne by those investors (via less-than-anticipated ROI/opportunity costs) and by Fannie (via their guarantees).
  5. As soon as STM actively marketed the availability of the program, it transformed the program from an ostensibly “Lender-Selected SISA” into a “Borrower-Selected SISA” and DQ/Default percentages would thereby skyrocket.

(Note: “Lender-Selected SISAs” are those wherein the Lender decides unilaterally not to review income or asset documentation because the overall risk of the loans(based on dubious criteria) are deemed sufficiently low and thereby presents an opportunity for the lender to reduce its own processing costs - and usually are offered to the borrower at the same rate and price as full-doc loans; “Borrower-Selected SISAs” are those wherein the Borrower specifically requests not to provide income and asset documentation to the lender and - usually - pays an increased rate and/or price for that feature. It’s been reported that “Lender-Selected SISAs” default at 1.4 times Full Doc loans; Per FNMA Filings, Borrower-Selected SISAs default at more than 5 times the rate of Full Doc loans - and that number actually is lower than the true rate due to FNMA’s definitions and methodologies.)

  1. By not requiring a Borrower-signed IRS form 4506 as part of the loan application - and by advertising such in their promotional materials - STM overtly invited Borrowers and Brokers to submit fraudulent loan applications.

(Note: A signed IRS Form 4506-T allows a lender to obtain a Borrower’s tax transcripts from the IRS to confirm income stated on the loan application is reasonably accurate, and - even when not exercised by the lender - serves as a deterrent to fraudulently overstated income on mortgage applications.)

  1. By failing to place adequate controls on brokers and commissioned salespersons in processing of the Shortcut loans - and by instructing them that the income stated on the application need merely be “reasonable” (as opposed to “accurate”) - STM subverted any meaningful risk assessment of the individual loans by their own underwriters.

(Note: examples of inadequate controls included allowing commissioned salespersons and their assistants to run the Automated Underwriting System (“Desktop Underwriter” or “DU”), allowing them to run DU an unlimited number of times, and instructing them they could evade underwriter scrutiny by inputting “reasonable”- not “accurate” - income and asset figures. These lax processes allowed the commissioned salespersons, etc. to modify the various inputs in DU until they reached an optimal configuration that resulted in a Shortcut approval.)

  1. The riskiness of SISA programs without 4506s - characteristics which carried at least a 2.125% (price) premium from their peers and competitors - far outweighed the benefits, if any, of requiring a (rather modest) 680-plus FICO score;
  2. By allowing monthly debt-to-income (“DTI”) ratios as high as 64.99% - far higher than the standard for prime loans, Shortcuts would devolve into something even closer to subprime.

(Note: industry standards for maximum DTI on SISA products were more commonly 45% - 50%, depending on the lender and/or other loan characteristics, such as LTV/CLTV and/or FICO score.)

  1. By advertising “No Payment Shock” publicly and to mortgage brokers as a feature in marketing materials STM obviated yet another risk assessment.

(Note: “Payment Shock” is a term that describes a significant increase in a borrower’s housing payment as a result of the new loan. If DTI ratios are fairly elevated, underwriters traditionally look to the borrower’s “ability to save” as indicated by their liquid assets as an offsetting factor to determine whether the borrower can handle the increased debt load.)

  1. Inconsistencies of Shortcut’s SISA characteristics versus its ersatz “Full doc” labeling had to be reconciled with the MI companies, such that “special negotiations” were required to resolve those inconsistencies.

(Note: Shortcut loans submitted to a majority of the MI companies required “special coding” and - to the extent that the MI companies may have failed to properly disclose to their own regulators and investors the full extent of reduced-document loans on their books - they may have been complicit in a related fraud.)

  1. The difficulties in placing a “Combo 2nd NIV” - (“NIV” = “No Income Verification”) - loan behind a Shortcut First mortgage created special difficulties, because including any income or asset documentation in a loan file - regardless whether it supported or contradicted other data in the file - disqualified it from Shortcut. Initially, STM required that underwriters use a cumbersome form (“The Agency Shortcut Mortgage Eligible Secondary Financing Checklist”) to reconcile the asset documentation requirements otherwise required on the Combo 2nd NIVs with the inability to include those same documents on the Shortcut.

(Note: “NIV” loans - which were offered by numerous lenders - are incrementally less risky than SISAs, as the Borrower’s Liquid Assets are reviewed and are generally required to be at least a given multiple of the Borrower’s stated monthly income. Also: Due to difficulties in requiring its employees to walk such a thin line re asset verifications - and following too many improperly completed “Checklist” forms - eventually STB reconfigured the Combo 2nd NIV program and abandoned the asset-verification requirement altogether, pricing the program slightly higher to include a “Shortcut Documentation Feature,” effectively turning the Combo 2nd into a SISA.)

B) During the SunTrust Agency Shortcut program’s lifespan, SunTrust knew or should have known:

  1. Early Payment Defaults (“EPDs” - deemed industry-wide to be a strong indicator of fraud) were rising significantly by summer 2007, yet - other than tepidly advising underwriters “to be on the lookout for fraud” - few significant steps were taken to reduce EPDs.
  2. The number of submissions to Fannie Mae DU on Shortcut loans was positively correlated to delinquencies and defaults, but it wasn’t until a couple of months prior to the termination of the Shortcut program - and then only at FNMA’s insistence - that a limit of 15 runs (still high) was imposed.
  3. SunTrust employee Account Executives (and their assistants and processors) “manufactured” Shortcut approvals in DU by “laddering” income and/or otherwise tweaking their inputs, not infrequently submitting loans to DU more than a dozen times.
  4. Wholesale area managers encouraged the AEs (and/or their support personnel) to run DU for their third-party client brokers - ostensibly as a “value-added” service, but actually because it increased the likelihood that STM employees (with more experience and understanding of the nuances of DU’s algorithms that generated Shortcut approvals) would input figures that would produce the desired outcome.
  5. Various “enhancements” to the program which were added periodically through most of 2007 served to make the Shortcut underwriting guidelines even “looser.” By December 20, 2007 - and only in the face of indisputably poor loan performance of the Shortcut - some of the program’s loosest guidelines were finally tightened, but even then, they still remained far looser than more traditional underwriting guidelines.

(Note: some of the “tightening” that occurred in December, 2007 (not “mid-2006” as stated in numerous SEC filings) included no longer allowing “outstanding mortgage delinquencies at time of application” or Property Inspection (Appraisal) Waivers - low-level qualification guidelines which really should have been implemented from Shortcut’s outset.)

  1. Area managers - taking their cues from an “anything goes (so long as its ‘sellable’)” mentality that characterized STM’s mortgage operations and from upper management’s mandate to reduce loan processing times - cut corners for risk assessment in not only the Agency Shortcut Program, but other loan programs as well.

(Note: For example, underwriters who questioned the validity of various file components were routinely told by managers to “just go with what you have” and approve the loan. At least one STM region’s policy included moving income, asset, and other critical verifications on Full-Doc loans from “prior to (loan) doc” conditions to “prior to funding” conditions - which served further to pressure underwriters from making adverse decisions. It was no surprise, then, when a complaint issued by the NY Atty. General in October 2012 against JPM Chase/Bear Stearns on shoddy mortgages singled out SunTrust for its eye-popping 86% defect rate on the originations they sold to Bear Stearns.)

  1. Despite guidelines ostensibly requiring “reasonable” income be stated on loan applications, a significant number of Shortcut loans did not meet even to that low standard. Management routinely gave “override” approvals on files the underwriters deemed to have suspect income and/or other shortcomings, and - to the WB’s knowledge - not once did management recommend a loan be declined when the underwriter thought it should be approved.

(Note: it was not until late-summer or fall of 2007 that underwriters were provided with even minimally adequate tools with which to assess reasonableness of salaried income borrowers. Regardless, managers still overrode the guidance offered by such tools, and routinely allowed “higher-than-reasonable” income to be used nonetheless.)

  1. HMDA data showed STM’s loan declinations overall - and specifically declines due to insufficient income - were substantially lower than their banking peers and competitors during the Agency Shortcut’s lifespan.

(Note: In 2007, SunTrust declined 4.4% of its applications and only 1.2% due to income; By way of example, Wells Fargo’s numbers were 18.6% (applications) and 3.6% (income) and BofA’s were 17.0% (applications) and 8.6% (income).)

  1. “Fallout ratios” (i.e. loan applications submitted but not funded) increased substantially after termination of the Shortcut Program, doubling or tripling for some commissioned salespersons.

(Note: This suggests, of course, that significantly fewer loan approvals could be manufactured without the “crutch” of allowing commissioned personnel to input falsified income and asset data into DU and generating Shortcut approvals.)

 

 

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 20:10
Published:10/13/2019 7:21:46 PM
[Uncategorized] #DemDebate: Tulsi Gabbard took down Kamala Harris over false career narratives, will she do the same for Elizabeth Warren? Gabbard is the only Democrat candidate with the guts, smarts, and skill to break the Democrats' cone of silence about Warren's Native American and other false personal and career narratives. Published:10/13/2019 7:21:46 PM
[Right Column] Jane Fonda Says She’s Been ‘Climate Scientist For Decades’

Embedded video

Published:10/13/2019 6:49:48 PM
[worldNews] U.S. to pull last troops from north Syria; Syrian army to redeploy on border The United States said on Sunday it will withdraw its remaining 1,000 troops from northern Syria in the face of a Turkish offensive and Syria's army struck a deal with Kurdish forces to redeploy along its border with Turkey, both major victories for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Published:10/13/2019 6:49:48 PM
[Markets] Hedge Fund Trader Who Called 2008 Crash Lists 3 Biggest Threats To US Stocks Hedge Fund Trader Who Called 2008 Crash Lists 3 Biggest Threats To US Stocks

Goldman Sachs alum and former hedge fund manager Raoul Pal is one of a handful of traders/fund managers/analysts who achieved fame and notoriety in the financial press after "predicting" the financial crisis of 2008.

And during a brief phone interview with MarketWatch on Thursday, it appears Pal, the author of the Global Macro Investor newsletter -  a newsletter that is purportedly closely followed by macro traders (at least those remaining macro traders who still have a pulse and are composed mostly of flesh and blood) - has a few thoughts about what will bring about the next sustained downturn in global markets.

As Pal sees it, there are three major risk factors facing US markets in particular that could trigger a selloff the magnitude of which we haven't seen since the crisis (thanks, in large part, to the Federal Reserve and PPT). And the increasingly fraught trade talks were not among them.

Raoul Pal

The first is a perennial source of concern among sell-side analysts across Wall Street (warnings we have echoed in the past): The blackout period for corporate share buybacks, which hits around the release of quarterly earnings.

Even Pal's former employer has warned about what might happen to the broader market if Democrats succeed in banning corporate share buybacks, or pass new restrictions to restrict them.

After all, corporations are, and have long been, the largest source of equity demand.

"We’re coming into a period of illiquidity for equities," Pal told MarketWatch.

Secondly, Pal brought up an issue that has captivated investors over the past month: The complications in the repo market. Now, Jerome Powell appeared to announce 'Not-QE-4'  the other day to try and reassure investors that institutions in need of some quick cash for collateral will be able to access those dollars without being forced to pay exorbitant interest rates.

But according to Pal, dealers' unwillingness to take more collateral onto their books in exchange for providing an essential source of liquidity for markets is certainly concerning.

Finally, Pal said the third biggest issue facing stocks is Baby Boomers cashing in their chips as they prepare for retirement. According to Pal, many seniors who are tapping their retirement accounts have been advised to liquidate about 5% of their individual retirement accounts (which have been loaded up with equities) every year after they turn 70.

"The problem is the gap between this year and last year is huge. It’s like 50% increase in the amount of selling that has to be done," Pal said. "They have to start selling by year-end. If you take out the Christmas week and you’re a financial adviser, and you want to get this done early, you will start in October."

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 19:45
Published:10/13/2019 6:49:48 PM
[AM] 4 Buys And 1 Sale In My Retirement Portfolio Published:10/13/2019 6:19:18 PM
[worldNews] Hungary's opposition wins Budapest election, makes gains in other cities Hungary's opposition scored its biggest election victory in a decade on Sunday when liberal challenger Gergely Karacsony ousted ruling-party incumbent Istvan Tarlos as mayor of Budapest and opposition parties made gains in other major cities as well.
Published:10/13/2019 6:19:18 PM
[US News] Pete Buttigieg goes to WAR against Beto O’Rourke

Pete Buttigieg took the gloves off and attacked fellow Dem Beto O’Rourke over his recent threat to remove the tax-exempt status of churches if they refuse to perform same-sex weddings. “I’m not sure he understood the implications of what he was saying”: Pete Buttigieg on stripping churches of tax exemptions, as Beto suggests: “the idea […]

The post Pete Buttigieg goes to WAR against Beto O’Rourke appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:10/13/2019 6:19:18 PM
[China] NBA Censors Pro-Hong Kong Sign (John Hinderaker) Americans may be ill-informed about many things, but they know a lot about sports. So, ironically, it could be the NBA’s enforcement of Red China’s strictures on unapproved speech that, more than anything else, educates Americans on the nature of the Chinese regime. This happened on Wednesday, but I just saw it via InstaPundit. At an exhibition game between the Washington Wizards and the Guangzhou Long Lions at Capital One Published:10/13/2019 6:19:18 PM
[Politics] Dems to Offer Joint Resolution Urging Trump to Reverse Syria Withdrawal President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria ahead of a military incursion announced by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has caused intense bipartisan backlash, and congressional Democrats will offer a resolution to urge Trump to... Published:10/13/2019 6:19:18 PM
[Politics] Kurds JOIN Syrian DICTATOR Bashar Al-Assad in deal brokered by RUSSIA… There were rumors of a deal being sought by the Kurds with the Russians, and it has come true. It’s now a war between the Kurds and the Syrians against the Turkish . . . Published:10/13/2019 6:19:18 PM
[Politics] Kurds JOIN Syrian DICTATOR Bashar Al-Assad in deal brokered by RUSSIA… There were rumors of a deal being sought by the Kurds with the Russians, and it has come true. It’s now a war between the Kurds and the Syrians against the Turkish . . . Published:10/13/2019 6:19:18 PM
[Markets] Former UGA Student Pleads Guilty To Running Million-Dollar Ponzi Scheme From Frat House Former UGA Student Pleads Guilty To Running Million-Dollar Ponzi Scheme From Frat House

A former University of Georgia student has pleaded guilty to securities fraud for running a $1 million ponzi scheme out of his fraternity house while a student, according to Bloomberg Law

Syed Arham Arbab pleaded guilty to securities fraud in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, according to the Department of Justice. He also faces a SEC suit, separate from the DOJ case against him, in the same court.  

As part of his plea, Arbab admitted to falsely promising investors, including UGA students, returns as high as 56%. He told potential investors that a UGA alumnus who went on to play in the NFL had invested with him in order to convince football fans to trust him with their money. 

He also falsified investment returns, according to the complaint, after allegedly losing more than $300,000 trading. 

During the course of the alleged scheme, Arbab allegedly lost more than $300,000 in trading, leaving just $350 when his brokerage account was closed, the complaint said. Arbab also allegedly tricked clients into sending money to earlier investors through digital payments services such as Zelle and Venmo, telling the client the money was being sent to other partners or employees.

Arbab also claimed to be an MBA candidate, but had instead been rejected by UGA's graduate program. He admitted to using investor funds to cover alcohol purchases, gambling during three trips to Las Vegas and "adult entertainment".

He will be sentenced in January 2020.  

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 18:55
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Published:10/13/2019 6:19:18 PM
[structure:news/uk-news] Wizard of Oz costume and Chinese takeaway among bizarre coffin keepsakes people ask to be buried with Published:10/13/2019 6:19:18 PM
[Middle Column] ‘You’ll Be Amazed,’ Says Book Review In Japan’s On Marc Morano’s ‘Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change’

Sankei Shimbun: "We recommend you take this book because it is easy to read. You’ll be amazed at each chapter. It is full of scientific controversies and scandals over global warming that are not well understood in Japan.”

No consensus: The Sankei Shimbun concludes that Mr. Morano’s book provides “an overall picture of the global warming issue” and that it is an issue which “can be viewed from multiple perspectives.”

Recently Morano’s book has climbed near the top of the charts for books under Environment.

[Note: Reports from Japan reveal: "The Amazon Japan rank of the translation shooted
instantly to within 100, among about two million books."]

View image on Twitter

Published:10/13/2019 6:19:18 PM
[World] Megan Fox shares sweet Disneyland Halloween photos of her kids with Brian Austin Green Megan Fox and husband Brian Austin Green shared a rare Halloween treat this weekend: photos of their three kids, Noah, 7, Bodhi, 5, and Journey, 3.
      
Published:10/13/2019 6:19:18 PM
[] Gun Thread: Buy Ammo [Weasel] Bountiful Supply! We spend a lot of time discussing shooting here on the ol' Gun Thread. In fact, if it wasn't for shooting, we'd be stuck talking about h8, or social awareness, or even the horrors of climate change. What... Published:10/13/2019 6:19:18 PM
[World] The wisdom of baseball's 'America First' attitude

You have to admire the chutzpah of a sports league that includes 29 American teams and one Canadian club but calls its final playoff round the "World Series."

Major League Baseball, now in the midst of its playoffs, doesn't quite possess the absurd pomposity of the NFL — there are ... Published:10/13/2019 5:49:25 PM

[Markets] SoftBank To Take Control Of WeWork With Multibillion Bailout Loan SoftBank To Take Control Of WeWork With Multibillion Bailout Loan

On Friday, when we reported that the cash crunch WeWork is far more severe than anyone had expected, and that the company needs new financing as soon as the end of November to avoid running out of money, we joked that the proposed debt package being hastily arranged by banks which could be as big as $5 billion for the company which is expected to burn up to $3 billion this year...

... is effectively a DIP loan, as WeWork is now effectively insolvent.

Well, guess what: it wasn't a joke.

According to the WSJ, the company responsible for the entire WeWork debacle, and clogging up the entire IPO market, Japan's SoftBank, "has prepared a financing package that would give it majority (50%+) control of WeWork and further sideline its founder Adam Neumann in exchange for relieving the shared-office startup’s looming cash crunch."

In short: a DIP loan, one which primes existing creditors and squashes the existing equity.

Of course, the optics of a company which as recently as a few months ago was "worth" $47 billion effectively admitting it is insolvent absent a rescue financing...

... would not be good for SoftBank or its portfolio of other "investments", and so the WSJ reports what we already knew, namely that the board has tapped JPMorgan - whose reputation as an IPO underwriter has imploded after the WeWork fiasco - to look at ways for the company to raise billions in debt, with the bank now "in the middle of meetings with investors about participating in a multibillion-dollar debt deal."

"WeWork has retained a major Wall Street financial institution to arrange a financing,” a company spokesman told the WSJ, confirming what was already public. "Approximately 60 financing sources have signed confidentiality agreements and are meeting with the company’s management and its bankers over the course of this past week and this coming week."

One hopes that among these 60 greater fools at least one is truly the greatest when it comes to blowing good money after bad, although with WeWork now under the microscope and bringing so much baggage to any deal, the odds of a favorable outcome as not great.

The calculus for SoftBank, which already owns one-third of WeWork, is different - since it has already sunk billions in what soon may be a bankrupt entity, dumping a few more billion is understandable, and as the WSJ notes, Masayoshi Son's company "is aiming to invest several billion dollars in new equity and debt."

And since any SoftBank investment would effectively be a priming DIP, in any deal with SoftBank much of now fired CEO Adam Neumann’s voting power — already diminished from its peak but still substantial — would transfer over to the Japanese conglomerate, which would take a bigger role in turning around We’s operations.

The self-annointed messiah.

The big question, of course, is whether these operations have any value to them at all, especially now that WeWork can no longer lose money on every deal, and is instead forced to become profitable. As such the fate of WeWork - and SoftBank - will likely determine the outcome of countless recent IPOs. As a reminder, the percentage of US-listed IPOs that lost money in 2019 is set to hit an all time high, surpassing even the 2000 record:

When, not if, WeWork "reprices" - and its equity value is wiped out - the calculus, and thrill, of investing in money-losing companies will disintegrate, leaving a lot of investors very, very angry.

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 18:17
Published:10/13/2019 5:49:25 PM
[topics:things/dementia] Half a million older people with dementia face losing free TV licences Published:10/13/2019 5:49:25 PM
[Entertainment] Simone Biles Is Now the Most Decorated Gymnast in World Championship History Simone BilesSimone Biles just made history--again. On Tuesday, Oct. 8, the 22-year-old Olympian became the most decorated female gymnast in history following her 21st World Championship medal at the...
Published:10/13/2019 5:49:25 PM
[The Blog] Hollywood union members pass resolution aimed at President Trump

Union convention

The post Hollywood union members pass resolution aimed at President Trump appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:10/13/2019 5:49:25 PM
[worldNews] Spain readies for landmark ruling on Catalan independence trial Spain's Supreme Court is expected to announce on Monday its highly-anticipated verdict in the trial of 12 Catalan separatist leaders over their role in the region's 2017 banned referendum and short-lived independence declaration.
Published:10/13/2019 5:49:25 PM
[News] Hunter Biden Steps Down from Chinese Board

The following article, Hunter Biden Steps Down from Chinese Board, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Hunter Biden is to step down from the board of a Chinese company amid fierce attacks by President Trump. “Hunter always understood that his father would be guided, entirely and unequivocally, by established U.S. policy, regardless of its effects on Hunter’s professional interests,” according to a statement released by Hunter’s lawyer George Mesires. “He never anticipated ...

Continue reading: Hunter Biden Steps Down from Chinese Board ...

Published:10/13/2019 5:49:25 PM
[Entertainment] Miley Cyrus and Her "Boo Thang" Cody Simpson Have a Coffee Date Miley Cyrus, Cody SimpsonMiley Cyrus and her "boo thang" Cody Simpson continue to be inseparable following her recent breakups. The two singers stepped out to get their caffeine fix on Sunday, as they...
Published:10/13/2019 5:23:38 PM
[Uncategorized] Report: Dem Groups Organizing to Push Public Support toward Impeachment "Outside groups on the left are coordinating to build public support and pressure GOP senators" Published:10/13/2019 5:23:38 PM
[Politics] An effort to stop overnight jail releases in California is rejected by Gov. Newsom

A bill to curb late-night jail releases, passed in response to a woman's overdose death after leaving county custody, is vetoed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Published:10/13/2019 5:23:38 PM
[Markets] The Little Canadian Oil Town Ravaged By Big Insolvencies The Little Canadian Oil Town Ravaged By Big Insolvencies

Fort McMurray, Alberta has officially turned into "the insolvency capital of Canada", according to Bloomberg.

The small oil town's problems are exemplified by the number of people who show up every month at the Wood Buffalo Food Bank. A decade ago, the bank would see about 2,000 people per month, coming by for cans of soup and jars of peanut butter. Now, that number stands closer to 8,000 people per month. Many that come by now are men and women who were "living high before the bust."

The Food Bank's director, Dan Edwards, said: “You never know who’s going to walk through your door. Individuals that have degrees and education and skills—but the jobs just aren’t what they were.”

The tiny city of just 75,000 exemplifies the debt problems that are spreading across Canada. As large paychecks and robust overtime have dried up, the bill for many consumers' spending over the last decade has finally come due. 

In the Fort McMurray district, consumer insolvency filings were up 39% in 2018, the largest increase in Canada. Claims against property have been up about tenfold in the last three years. The 90 day delinquency rate on non-mortgage loans in the city is up 1.75% in the second quarter, compared to 1.12% nationally. 

The main driver of the bust has been the five year slump in oil prices, which have halved since 2014. Exacerbating things was a "crippling shortage" of pipelines out of the McMurray Formation, a reserve of crude-laden oil sands. Plans for new lines have been held up in court or by activists, including U.S. activists who have called the oil sands a "carbon bomb". 

The energy industry continues to be a key part of Canada's upcoming federal election. Conservatives argue they are champions of the sector and argue they will undo many regulations implemented by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Liberals are working to try and strike a balance between developing the industry, while committing to combating climate change. 

Steve Richardson is a prime example of the area. After working at Suncorp for 5 years, he was let go in May. He had formerly earned 6 figures as a machine operator and would commute from Vancouver, working 14 days on and then 7 days off. Once travel reimbursements stopped, he moved his family closer to the job. But now, he's being forced to cut back across the board - including cutting things like his cable bill. 

Richardson said: “I spend a lot of time wondering what the next job is going to be. I never got into all the toys. I’m kind of fortunate that way, that I didn’t have to sell everything off like some other people. I’ve seen a lot of that. It’s like a fire sale.”

The potential in the area remains immense.

The Alberta oil sands are the third largest proven reserve in the world, only behind Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. Bloomberg notes that "As oil prices were climbing from 2004 to 2014, the industry invested C$210.1 billion ($157.7 billion), more than last year’s combined total capital spending by all of the companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average."

Output over those 10 years doubled and Canada became the world's fifth largest oil producer, up from eighth. 

During the boom, the city's population doubled, tax revenue helped revamp the airport and schools, and median household incomes more than doubled between 2001 and 2011, to about C$181,000. 

When oil tanked, plans stalled, companies like Shell and ConocoPhillips sold their oil-sand assets and capital investments declined. Capital investments are currently on track to decline for a fifth straight year to about C$12 billion, down by about 66% since 2014. 

To make matters far worse, when oil was at $26, a wildfire swept through the area and forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 people. It caused about $3.7 billion in insured losses. 

Don Scott, mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo said: “The housing market is down, there’s the economic downturn and there’s still the recovery from the fire.”

Home prices remain 44% below the recent peak.

 
Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 18:05
Published:10/13/2019 5:23:38 PM
[Markets] Dow Jones Futures: Will China Trade Deal Spur Stock Market Rally? Apple At Highs, Microsoft, Google, Nvidia Near Buys Stock futures: Will the China trade deal spur the stock market to record highs like Apple? Microsoft, Google, Nvidia, Facebook, Visa are near buys. Published:10/13/2019 5:23:38 PM
[Markets] The Number One: Travelers rank the best hotels in the world, and there are plenty of surprises Los Angeles might be making headlines with its homeless problem lately, but Skid Row hasn’t kept visitors from lavishing two of the city’s hotels with top marks.
Published:10/13/2019 5:23:38 PM
[Funding] SoftBank reportedly preps a package to take control of WeWork parent company SoftBank Group, the multi-billion dollar Japanese technology conglomerate and investment firm, has put together a  bid that would save WeWork parent company We Co., just weeks before the co-working real estate company’s imminent collapse, The Wall Street Journal reports. With the collapse of the company’s planned initial public offering, We Co. is facing a cash […] Published:10/13/2019 5:23:38 PM
[worldNews] Canada's Trudeau vows to forge ahead with campaign after security threat Canada's Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Sunday that he will not change the way he is campaigning ahead of the Oct. 21 federal election after a security threat forced him to wear a bulletproof vest at a campaign rally on Saturday.
Published:10/13/2019 4:50:28 PM
[Media] NYT called out for making Andrew Yang look shorter than he is in debate mashup photo

The New York Times is getting called out for its photo mashup (on the left below) that makes 2020 Dem presidential Andrew Yang look shorter than he actually is: Hi @nytimes what is this s**t ? pic.twitter.com/sawmglYu6K — H. Guo ?? (@Forward_2020) October 13, 2019 Here’s the full-size photo from the right: Busted! Pete kamala […]

The post NYT called out for making Andrew Yang look shorter than he is in debate mashup photo appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:10/13/2019 4:50:28 PM
[storytype:standard] Kurds agree to Russian-brokered plan to allow Assad into their territory Published:10/13/2019 4:50:28 PM
[Markets] "QE-For-The-People Is The Endgame...And Gold Will See It Coming First" "QE-For-The-People Is The Endgame...And Gold Will See It Coming First"

Authored by Daniel Oliver via Myrmikan Capital,

QE For The People

Myrmikan’s May letter discussed how the Fed had already begun to ease financial conditions, though the method was so subtle that few understood what the central bank was doing.

Banks are required to keep required reserves at the Fed. Banks that find themselves with a deficient reserve level have to borrow reserves from those with excess reserves, and the interest rate they pay is called the fed funds rate. The fed funds rate thereby sets the minimum level of funding for the banking system. The Federal Reserve used to set this rate through open market operations: buying Treasuries would add reserves to the banking system and lower the fed funds rate (and vice-versa).

Historically, reserves earned no interest, and so, before 2008, banks maintained as few reserves as possible—they could always buy a Treasury bill with any excess cash. After the Fed flooded the banking system with reserves during the 2008 panic, banks found themselves with excess reserves, which peaked at $2.7 trillion. The Fed sets the general reserve requirement at 10%, which means the banking system could have added $27 trillion of credit to the economy. In fact, certain classes of assets (such as Treasuries, mortgage-backed securities, etc.) have risk weightings that allow banks to hold as little as 2% reserves against them, which enables 50 times leverage on such assets (which is how, for example, Citicorp was able to be levered up 48:1 in 2007).

In order to keep trillions of levered up credit from crashing into the economy, the Fed began paying interest on excess reserves (IOER). Given the level of excess reserves, the Fed could no longer use open market operations to manipulate the fed funds rate. The Fed thought it could control the fed funds rate by manipulating IOER instead: Since Fed deposits are by definition risk-free in nominal terms, the fed funds rate should never go below IOER because if it did, banks would withdraw their loans to other banks and deposit the funds at the Fed instead. Similarly, the fed funds rate should never go above IOER because banks could withdraw reserves and lend them to other banks.

Various regulatory costs make it more expensive to lend to other banks than hold funds at the Fed, so the fed funds rate persisted roughly 0.14% below IOER (sometimes much lower) from 2009 to 2016. Yet in April 2019, the fed funds rate burst to 0.06% above IOER, or at least 0.2% above where it should have been in a smoothly functioning market. A fed funds rate above IOER means that the banks carrying $1.4 trillion in excess reserves are declining to lend them into the market to earn the spread. Myrmikan posited in April that the only reason a bank would forgo such an opportunity was that fed funds loans are unsecured and potential lenders must be worried about solvency risk—in other words the market was signalling that the banking system had solvency issues.

Events in September proved Myrmikan’s analysis to be wrong, or at least incomplete. Separate from the fed funds market is the asset repurchase market, or repo for short. The repo market is the primary funding mechanism for the shadow banking system. Repo borrowers tend to be broker-dealers, hedge funds, mortgage REITs, etc., who need short-term money to finance long-term debt (a mortgage REIT, for example, might roll 3-month repo borrowing to finance 7-year mortgage-backed security tranches). Repo lenders are entities such as banks and money market funds, who provide investors and depositors a return on their cash.

The way a repo transaction works is that the borrower agrees to sell an asset for cash and to buy it back a short while later at a tiny premium. That premium, annualized, is the repo interest rate. Only AAA-rated securities are active in the repo market, so (in theory) the lender has no risk of loss.

On September 16, the overnight repo rate exploded to a 7% premium to the fed funds market. In other words, banks were offered 7% to withdraw excess cash from their Fed accounts to lend it into the repo market. The banks’ reticence to deploy their cash cannot have been because of solvency concerns because such loans are fully secured. The only explanation is that excess bank reserves are not, in fact, excessive.

It turns out that 90% of “excess reserves” are held by just five banks, and, under Dodd-Frank, large banks must keep reserves sufficient to fund their “living will” plan of rapid and orderly resolution in case of distress. Only reserves will do, not Treasuries.

The following chart shows the growing stress in the fed funds market as the Fed engaged in quantitative tightening and reduced the amount of reserves in the banking system. This data suggests that the banking system requires at least $2 trillion of “excess” reserves to keep funding costs stable.

The part of Myrmikan’s April analysis that was wrong was the motivation of the five large banks not to lend to institutions that needed funding: it wasn’t that the banks were worried about solvency; it was that they had no cash to lend. The part of the analysis that was correct, however, is that the banking system in general, and the shadow banking system in particular, is desperate for cash and willing to pay enormous premiums to get it: the abnormal pricing in the debt markets reflects lack of liquidity, not solvency.

And this is the distinction that the banks themselves are pushing. BNP Paribas, for example, entitles a October 4 report: “LE Not QE, That’s Liquidity Expansion.” BNP predicts that the Fed will have to add $400 billion to banking reserves over the next year to eliminate banking reserve scarcity. In other words, looking at the chart above, the Fed must buy assets to try to get back to that cluster of black dots. And the only way to do that is through QE (only don’t call it QE).

Money printing has already started. In order to stabilize the $2.2 trillion repo market, on September 17 the Fed itself began lending to repo borrowers. From midSeptember through October 2, the Fed’s repo lending balance has gone from nothing to $181 billion, thereby expanding its overall balance sheet by the same amount.

There is little difference between lending funds and continually rolling them (repo) versus purchasing them outright (QE), and on October 8, Fed chairman Powell announced:

“Increasing the supply of [bank] reserves or even maintaining a given level over time requires us to increase the size of our balance sheet. As we indicated in our March statement on balance sheet normalization, at some point, we will begin increasing our securities holdings to maintain an appropriate level of reserves. That time is now upon us.”

QE is here. Trump has been proven correct once again.

The implications for gold are not obvious. Most gold investors operating under the quantity theory of money believed that QE1, QE2, and QE3 were the fuel to launch gold into the multi-thousands of dollars per ounce: more dollars meant each one was worth less, so gold had to go up. That theory proved to be incorrect in dramatic fashion. The Fed added reserves to the banking system through QE to entice banks to increase lending. Discount rates fell, asset prices increased, and more assets were constructed, increasing industrial commodity prices. Gold underperforms in real terms during a boom whatever it may do in nominal terms. Overcapacity then lowers prices, projects default, industrial commodities collapse, and gold outperforms.

This does not mean that the Fed is powerless to devalue the dollar. When the Fed buys Treasury bonds (or entices banks to do so), the government spends that money mostly as transfer payments for consumption, and few new assets are constructed. This is, in fact, an explicit strategy that Bernanke advocated in 2002:

A broad-based tax cut, for example, accommodated by a program of open-market purchases to alleviate any tendency for interest rates to increase, would almost certainly be an effective stimulant to consumption and hence to prices.?... A money-financed tax cut is essentially equivalent to Milton Friedman’s famous “helicopter drop” of money. Of course, in lieu of tax cuts or increases in transfers the government could increase spending on current goods and services or even acquire existing real or financial assets.

This quotation is especially relevant because it was corporate tax payments on September 15 that led to the explosion of the repo rate: corporations wrote checks to the Treasury Department, which withdrew the money from banks, which prompted the funding stress.

Banks and shadow banks (e.g., money market funds) must have known that tax withdrawals were coming, yet they are so short of cash they had no way to prepare for it. All markets consist of a bid and an ask—therefore, one should inquire: a cash shortage compared to what demand? The larger picture is that repo borrowers have ever more assets that they must finance. Since the latest debt-ceiling compromise in July, Federal debt held by the public has soared by $517 billion. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that that figure will increase by another $758 billion by the end of 2020, by another trillion by the end of 2021, and by another $1.2 trillion in each of the next two years. And the CBO assumes real GDP growth of 2.4%. Myrmikan’s January 2019 letter points out that historical trends suggest that a recession would increase federal deficits beyond $3 trillion per year.

When the Fed lends newly-issued money into the repo market, it is effectively financing federal deficits (most of the repos are Treasuries with a smattering of mortgage-backed securities). Under the original QEs, the banking system received $2.8 trillion in new reserves and, over the ensuing decade, levered these reserves to provide $20 trillion more in credit. These QEs occurred after a credit meltdown in which the most speculative debt had been written off and during which the fed funds rate fell from 5% to 0%, making marginal projects seem profitable in the new, lower interest rate environment. The private sector thus was able to absorb half of the $20 trillion in new credit growth, and the government squirted the other half into the economy through deficit spending.

The new QE will take place near the end of a credit cycle, as overcapacity starts to bite and in a relatively steady interest rate environment. Corporate America is already choked with too much debt. As the economy sours, so too will the appetite for more debt. This coming QE, therefore, will go mostly toward government transfer payments to be used for consumption. This is the “QE for the people” for which leftwing economists and politicians have been clamoring. It is “Milton Friedman’s famous ‘helicopter drop’ of money.” The Fed wants inflation and now it’s going to get it, good and hard.

The Federal Reserve will then face the same Hobson’s choice that confronted the Reichsbank in the 1920s:

  1. fund the Treasury market and drive continually rising consumer inflation; or

  2. don’t fund it and let interest rates rise, which would crush financial markets and the economy.

QE-for-the-people is the end game of the inflationary economic cycle. Gold will anticipate it first.

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 17:40
Published:10/13/2019 4:50:28 PM
[worldNews] Hungary opposition looks set to win Budapest mayoral race Hungarian opposition challenger Gergely Karacsony looked on track to defeat ruling party incumbent Istvan Tarlos in the Budapest mayoral election on Sunday, preliminary results showed.
Published:10/13/2019 4:18:40 PM
[Markets] Morgan Stanley Makes A Stunning Observation: 28% Of The US Population Has FICO Score Below 650 Morgan Stanley Makes A Stunning Observation: 28% Of The US Population Has FICO Score Below 650

Authored by Morgan Stanley strategists Vishwanath Tirupattur and Ellen Zentner

The strength of the US consumer has been the bedrock of the current economic expansion. Just a few weeks ago, in a CNBC interview, Fed Vice Chair Clarida said that “I cannot think of a time where in the aggregate the consumer has been in better shape.” With unemployment at 3.5%, the household savings rate ticking up to 8%, the aggregate debt-to-income ratio hovering around 40-year lows and consumer delinquencies at or near post-crisis lows, policy-makers’ comfort with the strength of the US consumer seems well grounded. As our US economics team has shown, Fed easing has lent support to consumer spending and home buying while sparking a mortgage refinancing wave that should add to disposable income over time. Annualized real consumer spending growth is tracking at 2.9% in 3Q19, and residential investment has turned upward after six straight quarters of declines.

So focusing on aggregate metrics, the strength in the US consumer seems patently obvious. But could this top-down analysis be overlooking potential sources of weakness? Since the household experience is quite different across income groups, we take a bottom-up approach to see where cracks may be appearing.

Let’s start by delving into the low aggregate consumer debt-to-income ratios and delinquency rates. Mortgages constitute about 70% of consumer debt. It’s worth noting that, post-crisis, mortgage debt has been highly constrained, producing an upward shift in mortgage credit quality – the current median FICO score of mortgage originations is over 750 versus ~700 pre-crisis. Unsurprisingly, delinquencies are low when lending in the largest segment of consumer debt is limited to high-quality borrowers. Furthermore, as homeownership rates plummeted from a pre-crisis high of 69.2% to 64.1% currently, the share of households with mortgage debt has declined. Add in sustained low interest rates, and it’s no wonder that debt-servicing rates relative to median incomes sit at multi-decade lows.

But the New York Fed’s financial obligations ratio tells a different story, as our residential credit strategists have recently demonstrated. With the decline in homeownership, the share of rental households has risen, as have rents, which are not included in aggregate debt-servicing costs. In addition to standard debt payments, the financial obligations ratio includes payments towards rent, auto leases, homeowners' insurance and property tax payments, with rents representing the bulk of these non-standard obligations. Looking at this ratio together with debt-to-income, we can tease out the impact that increasing numbers of rental households paying progressively higher rent is having on the health of the consumer. The spread between these two ratios stands at the widest level since 1980. Renters generally tend to be younger, and at the lower end of the income spectrum versus homeowners. Aggregate consumer metrics fail to capture the growing stress on rental households.

For a window into lower-income households’ finances, we focus on auto loan delinquencies in ABS pools. Lower-income households also tend to correlate well with lower credit scores. Within consumer debt, student and auto loans have grown significantly over the last several years, and the share of lower-credit borrowers getting auto loans has seen a meaningful increase. Prime auto delinquencies are at their lows for this time of year since 2014-15, as expected, but non-prime delinquencies are above crisis-era peaks. This suggests another crack in the strength of the consumer at the lower end of the credit and income spectrum.

The bottom line: While the US consumer’s balance sheet is in fine shape overall, mainly because levels of debt and debt-servicing costs remain low, there’s a segment whose income statements are under stress –rental households with lower income and lower credit scores. How big are they? Not small, at least on one metric: borrowers with FICO scores below 650 account for about 28% of the population. If the direction of gains in employment reverses, look for the cracks highlighted by our US economics, cross-asset and equity strategy teams to widen.

These cracks tend to lead an overall downturn in household creditworthiness, so we’re keeping a careful watch to see if they spread to other segments of consumer debt and eventually creep up the income chain.

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 16:51
Published:10/13/2019 4:18:40 PM
[Entertainment] Thomas Rhett Gushes Over His Wife Lauren in Heartfelt 7-Year Anniversary Tribute Thomas Rhett, Lauren Akins, Academy Of Country Music Awards 2019Love is still in the air for power couple Thomas Rhett and Lauren Akins. The 29-year-old country singer and his pregnant wife celebrated seven years of marriage on Saturday with...
Published:10/13/2019 4:18:40 PM
[The Blog] Chinese president issues warning with Hong Kong burning

Escalation.

The post Chinese president issues warning with Hong Kong burning appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:10/13/2019 4:18:40 PM
[Entertainment] Original Content podcast: For better or for worse, ‘The Politician’ is absolutely bonkers We all agree: “The Politician” is a crazy show that tries to do everything at once. After all, why settle for a fast-talking satire about a high school election; a more serious treatment of wealth, illness and emotional turmoil; or a showcase for the musical talents of “Dear Evan Hansen” star Ben Platt? Instead, why not […] Published:10/13/2019 4:18:40 PM
[structure:news/uk-news] Strictly Come Dancing: Dev Griffin 'absolutely gutted' after shock exit Published:10/13/2019 4:18:40 PM
[World] Millennials should practice what they preach

Recently, on the Australian television program called “ABC Q&A,” Jordan Peterson was confronted by a young millennial with the following question.

“What is your answer to young people concerning some of the real big problems facing humanity like climate catastrophe? You talk so much about individual responsibility. Most of us ... Published:10/13/2019 3:49:23 PM

[Entertainment] Anne Hathaway Celebrates a Low-Key Baby Shower for Her Second Pregnancy Anne HathawayBaby on board! Anne Hathaway is getting ready to welcome her second child with husband, Adam Shulman. After making the special announcement in late July, it appears the Oscar-winning...
Published:10/13/2019 3:49:23 PM
[Markets] Schiff's CIA 'Whistleblower' May Not Testify In Impeachment Probe After All Schiff's CIA 'Whistleblower' May Not Testify In Impeachment Probe After All

A CIA 'whistleblower' who worked with former VP Joe Biden as well as two Adam Schiff (D-CA) aides has apparently gotten cold feet, and may not testify in front of the House Intelligence Committee in person or in writing, according to Schiff. This is in stark contrast to what Schiff's late September claim that the man at the center of an impeachment inquiry against President Trump would testify in the House "very soon." 

That was downgraded last week to testimony "in writing." 

And finally, on Sunday, Schiff told CBS' "Face the Nation" that the whistleblower's testimony might not be needed after all. 

"Yes, we were interested in having the whistleblower come forward," Schiff said, to which host Margaret Brennan asked "but not anymore?"

"Well, our primary interest right now is making sure that that person is protected ... given that we already have the call records we dodn't need the whistleblower, who wasn't on the call." 

Watch: 

House Democrats launched their impeachment inquiry into President Trump after the whistleblower claimed Trump was abusing his office and 'pressuring' the new president of Ukraine, Volodomyr Zelensky, to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter for alleged corruption.

After the White House released a transcript of the call, however, it was clear that no pressure was applied. Zelensky, meanwhile, has said on multiple occasions that there was no pressure or 'blackmail' involved in the request, and that Ukraine would "happily investigate" the Bidens. 

Further crumbling the Democrat credibility is the fact that Schiff lied when he said that his panel had "not spoken directly with the whistleblower," a claim which earned him four pinocchios from the Washington Post for his "flat-out false" statement when it was later revealed that the whistleblower approached Schiff's panel - which then directed him to a Democrat attorney.

"Schiff on 'Morning Joe' clearly made a statement that was false," said the fact-checker. "He now says he’s was answering the wrong question, but if that was the case, he should have quickly corrected the record. He compounded his falsehood by telling reporters a few days later that if not for the [inspector general's] office, the committee would not have known about the complaint. That again suggested there had been no prior communication."

A House Intel Committee spokesperson told The Post that Schiff's reply "should have been more carefully phrased." 

So here we are - with Schiff and House Democrats are continuing forward with their impeachment inquiry as if Trump hadn't released the transcript, and their accuser's credibility wasn't eroding by the day. 

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 16:25
Tags
Published:10/13/2019 3:49:23 PM
[storytype:standard] Poland's ruling party on course to retain majority in general election, exit polls show Published:10/13/2019 3:49:23 PM
[US News] ‘Why won’t the media ask these’? Jim Jordan’s thread of ‘important questions’ speaks volumes about Pelosi and Schiff

"Why didn’t Schiff tell us his staff had met with the whistleblower?”

The post ‘Why won’t the media ask these’? Jim Jordan’s thread of ‘important questions’ speaks volumes about Pelosi and Schiff appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:10/13/2019 3:49:23 PM
[b365abe3-056e-53f4-8145-11885b8c8dcb] Jessie James Decker gushes over husband Eric Decker: 'He's like fine wine' Jessie James Decker can't keep her hands to herself. Published:10/13/2019 3:49:23 PM
[CGC] Canopy Growth Sued By Hemp Growers Published:10/13/2019 3:18:06 PM
[12861b8b-501a-5c8d-af61-024c660214a1] Christen Limbaugh Bloom: ‘Joker' movie’s violence isn’t what most upset me – THIS is As I walked out of the “Joker” movie, one burning question resounded in my head: Why? To say it was disturbing would be an understatement. The gut-wrenching film upset me for reasons beyond its gore. Published:10/13/2019 3:18:05 PM
[worldNews] Exit polls project Tunisian landslide win for independent Kais Saied Independent candidate Kais Saied won a landslide victory in Sunday's presidential election in Tunisia, two exit polls projected, although no official results had yet been announced.
Published:10/13/2019 3:18:05 PM
[Media] UH OH: Sources tell Maria Bartiromo the DOJ IG report is due out Friday and covers ‘more than just FISA abuse’

"Thick as a telephone book."

The post UH OH: Sources tell Maria Bartiromo the DOJ IG report is due out Friday and covers ‘more than just FISA abuse’ appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:10/13/2019 3:18:05 PM
[Uncategorized] Amid Dem Impeachment Fervor, Hunter Biden To Resign From Chinese Firm Ouch: "Kellyanne Conway: Joe Biden is now seen in the news as Hunter Biden's father, not Obama's vice president" Published:10/13/2019 3:18:05 PM
[] Food Thread: Nuts! Anthony McAuliffe Would Be Proud
******
Published:10/13/2019 3:18:05 PM
[US News] Rashida Tlaib suggests arresting WH officials who don’t do what House Dems want, and Trump has four words for her

Let us know how that works for you.

The post Rashida Tlaib suggests arresting WH officials who don’t do what House Dems want, and Trump has four words for her appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:10/13/2019 2:49:06 PM
[Entertainment] Don’t believe it if they claim ‘What to Send Up When it Goes Down’ isn’t for you. It is. Courtesy of Woolly Mammoth, a play tallies the toll of racism in contemporary America. Published:10/13/2019 2:49:06 PM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [Eugene Volokh] "Let Us Restore to Social Intercourse … that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things." Published:10/13/2019 2:49:06 PM
[The Blog] California man mysteriously freed after selling illegal AR-15s

Curiouser and curiouser

The post California man mysteriously freed after selling illegal AR-15s appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:10/13/2019 2:49:06 PM
[Gaming] Fortnite is just a black hole right now Fortnite just blew up its entire map and all that’s left is a black hole. Some are speculating that this is simply a teaser for a new Fortnite map, but it’s unclear when that new map will arrive. On Epic Games’ status page, it says Fortnite is currently experiencing a minor service outage, noting “anomaly detected.” […] Published:10/13/2019 2:49:06 PM
[Markets] Watch: Hong Kong Cop Taken Out By Flying Drop-Kick To Stop Arrest Watch: Hong Kong Cop Taken Out By Flying Drop-Kick To Stop Arrest

A Hong Kong police officer was knocked down by a flying drop kick as he attempted to arrest a protester during the 19th week of anti-government unrest. 

The officer can be seen struggling over custody of a protester until the kick levels him, followed by others running up and hitting the man before they run off. 

The protests - this week's revolving around a new 'anti-mask' law - saw turnouts in more than half of the semiautonomous Chinese territory's 18 districts. 

The demonstrations in Hong Kong on Sunday were varied, including smaller gathering across the city, and also cases of vandalism and arson that targeted government offices, subway stations, and several banks and shops.

Some protesters blocked roads, broke streetlights, vandalized a train station and spray-painted antigovernment graffiti inside shopping malls. -NYT

On Sunday, a Hong Kong police officer was "slashed in the neck" by a black-clad protester at approximately 5:30 p.m., putting the officer in the hospital according to the Hong Kong Free Press

Video footage from Ming Pao showed a team of officers about to enter Kwun Tong MTR station, as a man came up from behind and jabbed a sharp object – similar to a box cutter – towards the neck of one of the officers. The officer in question then chased down the assailant, and two people were arrested on the scene.

"The sharp-edged object is a deadly weapon. Police will strive to investigate all violent acts," read and official statement. Eyewitnesses reported the right side of the officer's uniform was stained with blood. 

Ted Wick Cruz rides into town

In response to the pro-democracy movement in Taiwan, US Senators led by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) have advanced draft legislation which would penalize officials in mainland China and Hong Kong who suppress freedoms throughout the city - and would require annual justification as to why the United States should allow Hong Kong special trade and business privileges, per the Times

Cruz traveled to Hong Kong this weekend and met with key members within the protest movement. He was scheduled to meet with Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, who canceled their meeting after he refused her request to keep their conversation confidential

Rafael Edward Cruz in John Wick costume

According to the Hong Kong office of China's Foreign Ministry, Cruz had "lied through his teeth" and "made indiscreet remarks on Hong Kong affairs." 

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 15:35
Published:10/13/2019 2:49:06 PM
[worldNews] Exclusive: U.S. could pull bulk of troops from Syria in matter of days - officials The United States is considering plans to withdraw the bulk of American troops from northern Syria in the coming days, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Sunday, in what would be a faster-than-expected timeline for the U.S. pullout amid Turkey's escalating offensive.
Published:10/13/2019 2:49:06 PM
[Politics] Politico: Photo Suggests Trump Closer to Parnas Than Claimed A social media post from 2014 showing President Donald Trump standing arm in arm with indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas appears to refute the president's claims he does not "know" the indicted subject, according to Politico... Published:10/13/2019 2:20:57 PM
[40ae412b-b870-51ed-993d-a9514c8b4ad1] Chris Prudhome: Don’t believe Dem lies – Trump is NOT a racist and his policies have benefited black people Democrats are making more and more false accusations against President Trump as they desperately try to convince the American people and members of Congress that he should be impeached. One false accusation that I find particularly disturbing is the claim that the president is a racist. Published:10/13/2019 2:20:57 PM
[a59cd991-f30f-5035-b6f7-9939d211be8e] Miley Cyrus, Cody Simpson dine with singer's mom, Tish Cyrus Miley Cyrus and Cody Simpson were spotted on another date -- this time, with the singer's mom, Tish Cyrus, in tow. Published:10/13/2019 2:20:57 PM
[Politics] Questions about Hunter Biden’s corruption are FAIR GAME, says Democratic strategist! Even the Democrats are coming around to admitting that there are some real questions about just how it is that Hunter Biden was able to cash in on his relationship with the . . . Published:10/13/2019 2:20:57 PM
[Politics] Questions about Hunter Biden’s corruption are FAIR GAME, says Democratic strategist! Even the Democrats are coming around to admitting that there are some real questions about just how it is that Hunter Biden was able to cash in on his relationship with the . . . Published:10/13/2019 2:20:56 PM
[Crime] Ohio Family Outraged Their Sibling Was Shot Dead While Attempting An Armed Robbery

The following article, Ohio Family Outraged Their Sibling Was Shot Dead While Attempting An Armed Robbery, was first published on Godfather Politics.

A robbery suspect in Dayton, Ohio was shot and killed by a Dollar General Store clerk Wednesday night. Police say the suspect entered the store around 6:20 p.m., pointed a gun at the worker and demanded money. Then the clerk then pulled out a gun and shot the suspect in self-defense. He tried to run out ...

Continue reading: Ohio Family Outraged Their Sibling Was Shot Dead While Attempting An Armed Robbery ...

Published:10/13/2019 2:20:56 PM
[Entertainment] Trace Adkins Marries Victoria Pratt--and Blake Shelton Officiates Wedding The Voice, Blake Shelton, Trace AdkinsCongrats to Trace Adkins married Victoria Pratt! The 57-year-old country star and 48-year-old Canadian actress, known for her past role on the syndicated sci-fi show Mutant X in the early...
Published:10/13/2019 2:20:56 PM
[worldNews] U.S. to pull last troops from north Syria as Turkey presses offensive against Kurds The United States is poised to withdraw some 1,000 troops from northern Syria, its defense secretary said on Sunday, after learning that Turkey planned to extend its military incursion against Kurdish militia further south than originally planned.
Published:10/13/2019 2:20:56 PM
[Markets] Matt Taibbi: "We're In A Permanent Coup" Matt Taibbi: "We're In A Permanent Coup"

Authored by Matt Taibbi via UntitledGate blog,

Americans might soon wish they just waited to vote their way out of the Trump era...

I’ve lived through a few coups. They’re insane, random, and terrifying, like watching sports, except your political future depends on the score.

The kickoff begins when a key official decides to buck the executive. From that moment, government becomes a high-speed head-counting exercise. Who’s got the power plant, the airport, the police in the capital? How many department chiefs are answering their phones? Who’s writing tonight’s newscast?

When the KGB in 1991 tried to reassume control of the crumbling Soviet Union by placing Mikhail Gorbachev under arrest and attempting to seize Moscow, logistics ruled. Boris Yeltsin’s crew drove to the Russian White House in ordinary cars, beating KGB coup plotters who were trying to reach the seat of Russian government in armored vehicles. A key moment came when one of Yeltsin’s men, Alexander Rutskoi – who two years later would himself lead a coup against Yeltsin – prevailed upon a Major in a tank unit to defy KGB orders and turn on the “criminals.”

We have long been spared this madness in America. Our head-counting ceremony was Election Day. We did it once every four years.

That’s all over, in the Trump era.

On Thursday, news broke that two businessmen said to have “peddled supposedly explosive information about corruption involving Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden” were arrested at Dulles airport on “campaign finance violations.” The two figures are alleged to be bagmen bearing “dirt” on Democrats, solicited by Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman will be asked to give depositions to impeachment investigators. They’re reportedly going to refuse. Their lawyer John Dowd also says they will “refuse to appear before House Committees investigating President Donald Trump.” Fruman and Parnas meanwhile claim they had real derogatory information about Biden and other politicians, but “the U.S. government had shown little interest in receiving it through official channels.”

For Americans not familiar with the language of the Third World, that’s two contrasting denials of political legitimacy.

The men who are the proxies for Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani in this story are asserting that “official channels” have been corrupted. The forces backing impeachment, meanwhile, are telling us those same defendants are obstructing a lawful impeachment inquiry.

This latest incident, set against the impeachment mania and the reportedly “expanding” Russiagate investigation of U.S. Attorney John Durham, accelerates our timeline to chaos. We are speeding toward a situation when someone in one of these camps refuses to obey a major decree, arrest order, or court decision, at which point Americans will get to experience the joys of their political futures being decided by phone calls to generals and police chiefs.

My discomfort in the last few years, first with Russiagate and now with Ukrainegate and impeachment, stems from the belief that the people pushing hardest for Trump’s early removal are more dangerous than Trump. Many Americans don’t see this because they’re not used to waking up in a country where you’re not sure who the president will be by nightfall. They don’t understand that this predicament is worse than having a bad president.

The Trump presidency is the first to reveal a full-blown schism between the intelligence community and the White House. Senior figures in the CIA, NSA, FBI and other agencies made an open break from their would-be boss before Trump’s inauguration, commencing a public war of leaks that has not stopped.

The first big shot was fired in early January, 2017, via a CNN.com headline, “Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him.” This tale, about the January 7th presentation of former British spy Christopher Steele’s report to then-President-elect Trump, began as follows:

Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.

Four intelligence chiefs in the FBI’s James Comey, the CIA’s John Brennan, the NSA’s Mike Rogers, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, presented an incoming president with a politically disastrous piece of information, in this case a piece of a private opposition research report.

Among other things because the news dropped at the same time Buzzfeed decided to publish the entire “bombshell” Steele dossier, reporters spent that week obsessing not about the mode of the story’s release, but about the “claims.” In particular, audiences were rapt by allegations that Russians were trying to blackmail Trump with evidence of a golden shower party commissioned on a bed once slept upon by Barack Obama himself.

Twitter exploded. No other news story mattered. For the next two years, the “claims” of compromise and a “continuing” Trump-Russian “exchange” hung over the White House like a sword of Damocles. 

Few were interested in the motives for making this story public. As it turned out, there were two explanations, one that was made public, and one that only came out later. The public justification as outlined in the CNN piece, was to “make the President-elect aware that such allegations involving him [were] circulating among intelligence agencies.”

However, we know from Comey’s January 7, 2017 memo to deputy Andrew McCabe and FBI General Counsel James Baker there was another explanation. Comey wrote:

I said I wasn’t saying this was true, only that I wanted [Trump] to know both that it had been reported and that the reports were in many hands. I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook. I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the FBI has the material or [redacted] and that we were keeping it very close-hold.

Imagine if a similar situation had taken place in January of 2009, involving president-elect Barack Obama. Picture a meeting between Obama and the heads of the CIA, NSA, and FBI, along with the DIA, in which the newly-elected president is presented with a report complied by, say, Judicial Watch, accusing him of links to al-Qaeda. Imagine further that they tell Obama they are presenting him with this information to make him aware of a blackmail threat, and to reassure him they won’t give news agencies a “hook” to publish the news.

Now imagine if that news came out on Fox days later. Imagine further that within a year, one of the four officials became a paid Fox contributor. Democrats would lose their minds in this set of circumstances.

The country mostly did not lose its mind, however, because the episode did not involve a traditionally presidential figure like Obama, nor was it understood to have been directed at the institution of “the White House” in the abstract.

Instead, it was a story about an infamously corrupt individual, Donald Trump, a pussy-grabbing scammer who bragged about using bankruptcy to escape debt and publicly praised Vladimir Putin. Audiences believed the allegations against this person and saw the intelligence/counterintelligence community as acting patriotically, doing their best to keep us informed about a still-breaking investigation of a rogue president.

But a parallel story was ignored. Leaks from the intelligence community most often pertain to foreign policy. The leak of the January, 2017 “meeting” between the four chiefs and Trump – which without question damaged both the presidency and America’s standing abroad – was an unprecedented act of insubordination.

It was also a bold new foray into domestic politics by intelligence agencies that in recent decades began asserting all sorts of frightening new authority. They were kidnapping foreigners, assassinating by drone, conducting paramilitary operations without congressional notice, building an international archipelago of secret prisons, and engaging in mass warrantless surveillance of Americans. We found out in a court case just last week how extensive the illegal domestic surveillance has been, with the FBI engaging in tens of thousands of warrantless searches involving American emails and phone numbers under the guise of combating foreign subversion.

The agencies’ new trick is inserting themselves into domestic politics using leaks and media pressure. The “intel chiefs” meeting was just the first in a series of similar stories, many following the pattern in which a document was created, passed from department from department, and leaked. A sample:

  • February 14, 2017: “four current and former officials” tell the New York Times the Trump campaign had “repeated contacts” with Russian intelligence.

  • March 1, 2017: “Justice Department officials” tell the Washington Post Attorney General Jeff Sessions “spoke twice with Russia’s ambassador” and did not disclose the contacts ahead of his confirmation hearing. 

  • March 18, 2017: “people familiar with the matter” tell the Wall Street Journal that former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn failed to disclose a “contact” with a Russian at Cambridge University, an episode that “came to the notice of U.S. intelligence.”

  • April 8, 2017, 2017: “law enforcement and other U.S. officials” tell the Washington Post the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge had ruled there was “probable cause” to believe former Trump aide Carter Page was an “agent of a foreign power.” 

  • April 13, 2017: a “source close to UK intelligence” tells Luke Harding at The Guardian that the British analog to the NSA, the GCHQ, passed knowledge of “suspicious interactions” between “figures connected to Trump and “known or suspected Russian agents” to Americans as part of a “routine exchange of information.”

  • December 17, 2017: “four current and former American and foreign officials” tell the New York Times that during the 2016 campaign, an Australian diplomat named Alexander Downer told “American counterparts” that former Trump aide George Papadopoulos revealed “Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.

  • April 13, 2018: “two sources familiar with the matter” tell McClatchy that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office has evidence Trump lawyer Michael Cohen was in Prague in 2016, “confirming part of [Steele] dossier.”

  • November 27, 2018: a “well-placed source” tells Harding at The Guardian that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort met with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

  • January 19, 2019: “former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation” tell the New York Times the FBI opened an inquiry into the “explosive implications” of whether or not Donald Trump was working on behalf of the Russians.

To be sure, “people familiar with the matter” leaked a lot of true stories in the last few years, but many were clearly problematic even at the time of release. Moreover, all took place in the context of constant, hounding pressure from media figures, congressional allies like Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, as well as ex-officials who could make use of their own personal public platforms in addition to being unnamed sources in straight news reports. They used commercial news platforms to argue that Trump had committed treason, needed to be removed from office, and preferably also indicted as soon as possible.

A shocking number of these voices were former intelligence officers who joined Clapper in becoming paid news contributors. Op-ed pages and news networks are packed now with ex-spooks editorializing about stories in which they had personal involvement: Michael MorellMichael HaydenAsha Rangappa, and Andrew McCabe among many others, including especially all four of the original “intel chiefs”: Clapper, RogersComey, and MSNBC headliner John Brennan.

Russiagate birthed a whole brand of politics, a government-in-exile, which prosecuted its case against Trump via a constant stream of “approved” leaks, partisans in congress, and an increasingly unified and thematically consistent set of commercial news outlets.

These mechanisms have been transplanted now onto the Ukrainegate drama. It’s the same people beating the public drums, with the messaging run out of the same congressional committees, through the same Nadlers, Schiffs, and Swalwells. The same news outlets are on full alert.

The sidelined “intel chiefs” are once again playing central roles in making the public case. Comey says “we may now be at a point” where impeachment is necessary. Brennan, with unintentional irony, says the United States is “no longer a democracy.” Clapper says the Ukraine whistleblower complaint is “one of the most credible” he’s seen.

As a reporter covering the 2015–2016 presidential race, I thought Trump’s campaign was disturbing on many levels, but logical as a news story. He succeeded for class reasons, because of flaws in the media business that gifted him mass amounts of coverage, and because he took cunning advantage of long-simmering frustrations in the electorate. He also clearly catered to racist fears, and to the collapse in trust in institutions like the news media, the Fed, corporations, NATO, and, yes, the intelligence services. In enormous numbers, voters rejected everything they had ever been told about who was and was not qualified for higher office.

Trump’s campaign antagonism toward the military and intelligence world was at best a millimeter thick. Like almost everything else he said as a candidate, it was a gimmick, designed to get votes. That he was insincere and full of it and irresponsible, at first at least, when he attacked the “deep state” and the “fake news media,” doesn’t change the reality of what’s happened since. Even paranoiacs have enemies, and even Donald “Deep State” Trump is a legitimately elected president whose ouster is being actively sought by the intelligence community.

Trump stands accused of using the office of the presidency to advance political aims, in particular pressuring Ukraine to investigate potential campaign rival Joe Biden. He’s guilty, but the issue is how guilty, in comparison to his accusers.

Trump, at least insofar as we know, has not used section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor political rivals. He hasn’t deployed human counterintelligence “informants” to follow the likes of Hunter Biden. He hasn’t maneuvered to secure Special Counsel probes of Democrats.

And while Donald Trump conducting foreign policy based on what he sees on Fox and Friends is troubling, it’s not in the same ballpark as CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post and the New York Times engaging in de facto coverage partnerships with the FBI and CIA to push highly politicized, phony narratives like Russiagate.

Trump’s tinpot Twitter threats and cancellation of White House privileges for dolts like Jim Acosta also don’t begin to compare to the danger posed by Facebook, Google, and Twitter – under pressure from the Senate – organizing with groups like the Atlantic Council to fight “fake news” in the name of preventing the “foment of discord.”

I don’t believe most Americans have thought through what a successful campaign to oust Donald Trump would look like. Most casual news consumers can only think of it in terms of Mike Pence becoming president. The real problem would be the precedent of a de facto intelligence community veto over elections, using the lunatic spookworld brand of politics that has dominated the last three years of anti-Trump agitation.

CIA/FBI-backed impeachment could also be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Donald Trump thinks he’s going to be jailed upon leaving office, he’ll sooner or later figure out that his only real move is to start acting like the “dictator” MSNBC and CNN keep insisting he is. Why give up the White House and wait to be arrested, when he still has theoretical authority to send Special Forces troops rappelling through the windows of every last Russiagate/Ukrainegate leaker? That would be the endgame in a third world country, and it’s where we’re headed, unless someone calls off this craziness.

Welcome to the Permanent Power Struggle.

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 15:10
Tags
Published:10/13/2019 2:20:56 PM
[Markets] The Conversation: This claim about the flu shot is all wrong It won’t give you the flu, so get the shot.
Published:10/13/2019 2:20:56 PM
[Climate] Flight-Shaming Catching On In Europe (John Hinderaker) There are a number of things that climate activists don’t want the rest of us to do, like eating meat and flying on airplanes. They seem to have decided that discouraging flying is a better bet than compulsory vegetarianism, so several European countries are moving in that direction. In Sweden, the government “is considering making it mandatory for travel companies to declare the climate impact of their long-haul trips.” The Published:10/13/2019 2:20:56 PM
[worldNews] Britain and EU say work remains to be done to reach Brexit deal Britain and the European Union said on Sunday a lot more work would be needed to secure an agreement on Britain's departure form the bloc.
Published:10/13/2019 1:50:50 PM
[US News] Republicans flip enough seats to gain a supermajority in the Louisiana State Senate

GOP makes gains in the Bayou State.

The post Republicans flip enough seats to gain a supermajority in the Louisiana State Senate appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:10/13/2019 1:50:50 PM
[Energy] A New Dark Age: California’s Blackouts Are Self-Inflicted

California, the richest state in the nation—and one that’s often portrayed as the progressive harbinger of the future for the rest of the country—has been... Read More

The post A New Dark Age: California’s Blackouts Are Self-Inflicted appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:10/13/2019 1:50:50 PM
[Politics] Kellyanne Conway: Biden Known More For Son's Scandal Than Link To Obama White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Sunday said questions about Joe Biden and son Hunter's involvement in Ukraine have diminished the strength of the former vice president's 2020 White House bid.In an interview on Fox News Channel's... Published:10/13/2019 1:31:46 PM
[Uncategorized] Migrant Gangs ‘Infiltrating’ German Welfare System, Says Senior Police Official Migrant gangs 'play racism card' to silence officers, says senior police union representative Published:10/13/2019 1:31:46 PM
[Entertainment] Camila Cabello Channels Madonna in Regal SNL Performance Camila Cabello, SNLCamila Cabello appeared to pay tribute to two famous queens while performing on Saturday Night Live for the first time. For her first song, she performed her new pop single "Cry for...
Published:10/13/2019 1:31:46 PM
[worldNews] Nationalists look set for second term as Poles vote Turnout was high in Poland's parliamentary election on Sunday, as voters decided whether to award a second term to the nationalists amid growing unease within the European Union about their commitment to democratic standards.
Published:10/13/2019 1:31:46 PM
[Markets] Syrian Army To Enter Turkish-Besieged Cities "Within 48 Hours" As US Exits Syrian Army To Enter Turkish-Besieged Cities "Within 48 Hours" As US Exits

A huge development after earlier in the day Sunday Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Trump has ordered a "deliberate withdrawal" of 1,000 US troops in northeast Syria amid the advancing Turkish incursion: sources close to the Syrian government have announced  the Syrian Army will move in to assist Kurdish militias in Kobani and Manbij

This after shocking statements over the weekend by the head of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Mazlum Abdi, who told CNN, "I've been holding myself for two days from going to the press and saying that America abandoned us and that I would like you to get out of our areas now so that I can invite Russian and [Syrian] regime planes to take over this airspace." 

Syrian Army, via AFP/Getty

Reuters now reports on the significant development which could see the Turkish and Syrian armies enter into direct confrontation: "The Lebanese broadcaster al-Mayadeen said on Sunday the Syrian army would deploy within 48 hours to the town of Kobani which is held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and the nearby town of Manbij which is controlled by SDF-aligned forces."

"The Syrian Governmental Forces (SAA) are preparing to enter the region of Kobani today, based on an agreement with the Syrian Democratic Forces," Syrian official Mohammed Shaheen, was cited as saying. 

As early as last week the SDF was reportedly engaged in intensifying talks with Damascus over assistance from the Syrian Army, after the US withdrew its air support for the Kurdish-led group amid the Turkish assault. 

On Monday the commander of the US trained and armed SDF, Mazlum Abdi, indicated just that in a bombshell statement: “We are considering a partnership with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with the aim of fighting Turkish forces.” 

Though Damascus has yet to confirm an official deal with YPG/SDF forces, state-run SANA did say on Sunday that national forces were moving north to "confront" Turkish forces and its "aggression"

Military analysis site, The Defense Post, reports on the potential direct cooperation between the Syrian Army and SDF to push out the Turks:

Kobani official General Ismet Sheikh Hasan said that Russian and Syrian government troops could enter Kobani and Manbij by Sunday night to help secure the cities from a Turkish incursion.

“We did everything we could,” he said. “We have called upon the West [and] the Arab Union but no one is coming to help, so we have no one other than ourselves to defend [Kobani]. Kurdish youth should come and defend their homes, and people should not abandon their homes – this is our land. It looks like this is the fate of the Kurds, to go through this each time.”

Damascus officials had subsequently denied that it was engaged in a wide-ranging deal, however, Sunday's reported development of Syrian Army forces to the north could be the beginning of more significant deal making.

The United States has blocked such talks and cooperation for years, but the White House appears ready to washing its hands of the matter. 

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 14:27
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Published:10/13/2019 1:31:46 PM
[] If These Are Our Adversaries...Buy Popcorn And Pudding Futures Who can identify the various archetypes of the effete progressive who has never actually done...anything? Extra credit for silly names. climate change protest wimps ! try to stop a real man from getting his beefburger pic.twitter.com/1ST1NV4wVf— Neiljetel (@neiljetel) October 3,... Published:10/13/2019 1:31:45 PM
[Entertainment] In Praise of Sarah Snook, Succession's Secret Weapon Sarah Snook, SuccessionIt's hard work to make a member of the Roy family someone to root for. As enjoyable as it may be to watch these viper-like media monters at the center of HBO's Succession who may...
Published:10/13/2019 1:17:31 PM
[Markets] Bill Gates Was Much Closer To Jeffrey Epstein Than He Initially Let On Bill Gates Was Much Closer To Jeffrey Epstein Than He Initially Let On

Jeffrey Epstein had a lot of high profile friends from the upper echelons of business, government and hollywood - most of whom now claim they barely knew the guy.

His associates, many hanging out with Epstein after his 2008 conviction for soliciting prostitution from a minor (which he likened to "stealing a bagel"), include Bill Clinton, Kevin Spacey, Les Wexner, Prince Andrew and Ehud Barak.It also includes Bill Gates, who claimed last month that he didn't have a "business relationship or friendship" with Epstein, and only "met him." 

According to the New York Times, however, Gates and Epstein met at least six times, including visits to Epstein's New York mansion on 'multiple occasions,' staying at least once into the night.

Later that spring, on May 3, 2011, Mr. Gates again visited Mr. Epstein at his New York mansion, according to emails about the meeting and a photograph reviewed by The Times.

The photo, taken in Mr. Epstein’s marble-clad entrance hall, shows a beaming Mr. Epstein — in blue-and-gold slippers and a fleece decorated with an American flag — flanked by luminaries. On his right: James E. Staley, at the time a senior JPMorgan executive, and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers. On his left: Mr. Nikolic and Mr. Gates, smiling and wearing gray slacks and a navy sweater. -New York Times

Curiously, Gates adviser Boris Nikolic (pictured below) was named as a fallback executor in an will Epstein amended days before his August 10 death in a Manhattan jail cell. 

Gates thought Epstein's lifestyle was "kind of intriguing" 

In a 2011 email to colleagues, Gates wrote: "His lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me."

A spokeswoman or Gates, Bridgitt Arnold, said he "was referring only to the unique décor of the Epstein residence — and Epstein’s habit of spontaneously bringing acquaintances in to meet Mr. Gates," adding "It was in no way meant to convey a sense of interest or approval." Perhaps Gates was taken aback by Epstein's "main hallway that was covered with rows of artificial eyeballs from England that had been made for wounded soldiers" (per the Daily Mail)

Also contradicting Gates' distancing are flight records, which reveal that "Gates flew with Epstein from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to Palm Beach on March 1, 2013," on Epstein's private jet - "one of the few flights that year where pilot Larry Viskoski recorded the name of a passenger,"According to the Daily Mail.

Gates now claims that he wasn't aware it was Epstein's plane!

In March 2013, Mr. Gates flew on Mr. Epstein’s Gulfstream plane from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to Palm Beach, Fla., according to a flight manifest. Ms. Arnold said Mr. Gates — who has his own $40 million jet — hadn’t been aware it was Mr. Epstein’s plane. -New York Times

Meanwhile, employees of the Gates foundation also visited Epstein's mansion on multiple occasions, while Epstein also "spoke with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and JPMorgan Chase about a proposed multibillion-dollar charitable fund — an arrangement that had the potential to generate enormous fees for Mr. Epstein," according to the Times

In late 2011, at Mr. Gates’s instruction, the foundation sent a team to Mr. Epstein’s townhouse to have a preliminary talk about philanthropic fund-raising, according to three people who were there. Mr. Epstein told his guests that if they searched his name on the internet they might conclude he was a bad person but that what he had done — soliciting prostitution from an underage girl — was no worse than “stealing a bagel,” two of the people said.

How Gates and Epstein met, according to the New York Times

Two members of Mr. Gates’s inner circle — Boris Nikolic and Melanie Walker — were close to Mr. Epstein and at times functioned as intermediaries between the two men.

Ms. Walker met Mr. Epstein in 1992, six months after graduating from the University of Texas. Mr. Epstein, who was an adviser to Mr. Wexner, the owner of Victoria’s Secret, told Ms. Walker that he could land her an audition for a modeling job there, according to Ms. Walker. She later moved to New York and stayed in a Manhattan apartment building that Mr. Epstein owned. After she graduated from medical school, she said, Mr. Epstein hired her as a science adviser in 1998.

Ms. Walker later met Steven Sinofsky, a senior executive at Microsoft who became president of its Windows division, and moved to Seattle to be with him. In 2006, she joined the Gates Foundation with the title of senior program officer.

At the foundation, Ms. Walker met and befriended Mr. Nikolic, a native of what is now Croatia and a former fellow at Harvard Medical School who was the foundation’s science adviser. Mr. Nikolic and Mr. Gates frequently traveled and socialized together.

Ms. Walker, who had remained in close touch with Mr. Epstein, introduced him to Mr. Nikolic, and the men became friendly.

Mr. Epstein and Mr. Gates first met face to face on the evening of Jan. 31, 2011, at Mr. Epstein’s townhouse on the Upper East Side. They were joined by Dr. Eva Andersson-Dubin, a former Miss Sweden whom Mr. Epstein had once dated, and her 15-year-old daughter. (Dr. Andersson-Dubin’s husband, the hedge fund billionaire Glenn Dubin, was a friend and business associate of Mr. Epstein’s. The Dubins declined to comment.)

The gathering started at 8 and lasted several hours, according to Ms. Arnold, Mr. Gates’s spokeswoman. Mr. Epstein subsequently boasted about the meeting in emails to friends and associates. “Bill’s great,” he wrote in one, reviewed by The Times.

"I didn’t go to New Mexico or Florida or Palm Beach or any of that," claims Gates. "There were people around him who were saying, hey, if you want to raise money for global health and get more philanthropy, he knows a lot of rich people." 

And it looks like Gates was one of Epstein's "rich people." According to the report, Gates donated $2 million to MIT's Media Lab, which university officials described as having been "directed" by Epstein

According to Arnold, Gates' spokeswoman, "Over time, Gates and his team realized Epstein’s capabilities and ideas were not legitimate and all contact with Epstein was discontinued." 

Perhaps 'Gates and his team' should have steered clear of the known pedophile in the first place?

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 14:00
Published:10/13/2019 1:17:31 PM
[07205e54-dfc9-578f-b5d8-5190f6aa723e] Thomas Rhett, Lauren Akins celebrate 7 years of marriage: I find 'new ways to love you every single day' Thomas Rhett shared a sweet tribute to his wife, Lauren Akins, on their seventh wedding anniversary. Published:10/13/2019 1:17:31 PM
[The Blog] U.S. Army officer: Turkish forces deliberately targeted us in northern Syria

“That’s not something we ever would have done to a partner force.”

The post U.S. Army officer: Turkish forces deliberately targeted us in northern Syria appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:10/13/2019 1:17:31 PM
[worldNews] Hundreds of Algerians protest against proposed energy law Hundreds of Algerians protested in front of parliament on Sunday against proposed changes to the energy law that they say the caretaker government has no right to pass.
Published:10/13/2019 1:17:31 PM
[Entertainment] A local reporter grilled Mike Pompeo about impeachment. He accused her of working for the DNC. Nancy Amons's interview of Pompeo has been described as “gutsy,” “relentless” and “a master class in journalism." Published:10/13/2019 12:47:31 PM
[Politics] Schiff Issues Mea Culpa on Whistleblower Contact House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., admits he was not initially forthcoming of being in touch with the whistleblower who filed a complaint on alleged inappropriate pressure on Ukraine to investigation corruption related to Joe Biden."I should have... Published:10/13/2019 12:47:31 PM
[Markets] The Cream Of The (Cash-Burning) Crop The Cream Of The (Cash-Burning) Crop

Authored by Michael Johnston via Evergreen Gavekal blog,

“WeWork’s planned IPO turned into a highly publicized debacle that suggested investors may finally be done overpaying for blazing-fast growth.”

– IPO specialist Renaissance Capital

THE CREAM OF THE (CASH BURNING) CROP

In 1999, 547 companies rushed towards public markets looking to capitalize on the zenith of the dotcom era. The vast majority of those companies were comprised of young tech darlings and, all told, companies that went public in 1999 took in a record haul of $108 billion. Following the turn of the millennium – and following the eruption of the massive dotcom bubble that resulted in the collapse of many of these companies – the number of tech Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) fell sharply from 250 in the year 2000 to just 19 in 2001.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Looking ahead two decades, markets saw a large number of unicorns built from the ashes of the greatest market blow-up since the Great Depression take a similar stride towards public markets in 2019. Many pundits have suggested that the IPO frenzy of 2019 is different from 1999, and in many regards they are correct. The IPO frenzy of two decades ago saw hundreds of internet companies with little more than a business plan and a “dot-com” in their name raise ridiculous sums of capital. The average age of those companies was roughly 4 years at the time of IPO with median annual revenues of $12 million. In contrast, the crop of companies that have gone public so far in 2019 are much more established with an average age of 10 years at the time of IPO and $173.4 million in annual revenue.

While the differences are evident, what is strikingly similar about the companies across these two eras is that the vast majority of them burn (or burned) money at a dizzying rate. Take two dominant ride-hailing companies that went public this year as an example: Uber and Lyft. The former lost $3.3 billion last year, while the latter lost more than $900 million. And while investors have shrugged off this reality for the better part of 2019, it seems that the winds have started to shift and markets are beginning to take issue with the long-term viability of cash burning companies.

Perhaps most notably of late is the very publicized story of WeWork, whose CEO Adam Neumann was relieved of his post amid heightened scrutiny as the company stumbled towards its planned IPO. Demand for its stock was so weak that after slashing its target price several times, the Board of Directors changed course entirely and decided to go into cash-preservation mode, firing top executives, cutting its workforce substantially, and even looking to sell the $60 million Gulfstream jet that the company bought Neumann last year. But WeWork is far from the only company that has, until late, successfully ridden on the story of growth over profits. It’s simply the most deserving poster child.

Some other notable growth stocks that went public in 2019 include: Peloton (PTON), Lyft (LYFT), Uber (UBER), Beyond Meat (BYND), and Slack (WORK). The common denominators among these companies is that they all burn cash and their shares have fallen significantly since going public earlier this year.*

Source: Bloomberg, Evergreen Gavekal

*Beyond Meat is the only exception which has risen 465% above its IPO price. However, the stock has fallen -39.8% since July 26, 2019.

More broadly, the FTSE Renaissance US IPO Index, which tracks companies that have gone public over the last two years, has also hit a rough patch of late. While the index started off 2019 with a bang, over the last three months the index has delivered far less impressive results, falling -15.63% since its mid-summer high.

Source: Bloomberg, Evergreen Gavekal

You may be asking yourself, why has sentiment seemingly changed among investors? Below we outline three potential reasons why several high-flying growth companies have run into trouble and why they may be running out of time to correct course.

Geo-Political and Macro-Economic Risks

There are several geo-political and macro-economic factors broadly weighing on markets. Namely, the ongoing trade war with China (and others), a looming impeachment inquiry, the inverted yield-curve, heightened tension in the Middle East, and sluggish global manufacturing data. These factors have investors considering the possibility of a global recession and have created a prevailing nervousness around risky assets – particularly companies burning cash at a high clip. In the third quarter of 2019, the best-performing sectors of the S&P were utilities, real estate, and consumer staples – all of which are known for delivering high yields to investors. Assuming geo-political and macro-economic factors continue to weigh on investor confidence, markets should continue to see a rotation out of risky assets and into safe-haven assets and high-yielding value stocks.

Difference Between Silicon Valley and Wall Street

Silicon Valley largely operates within the private market and, therefore, determines the valuation of its investments in a vacuum. Wall Street, on the other hand, operates in the public sphere where the scrutiny of a business is much more robust and open to many market participants. The recent blow-off (and blow-up!) of many cash-devouring stocks that have gone public in 2019 show that there is a real disconnect between private and public markets. Over the past decade, private companies have had significantly more access to private capital than companies in previous eras. This has, as we contended in our July newsletter titled “The Mysterious Case of the Elongated IPO,” given mutual funds, hedge funds, private equity buyout firms, family offices, traditional endowments, and sovereign wealth funds the ability to invest in the later innings of a company’s development. In turn, this has propped up valuations at a point where public markets used to supply the main source of fresh – and we’d argue more reasonably priced – capital.

Recent Changes to Index Rules

Another factor weighing on companies that have recently gone public is changes to the membership requirements in benchmark stock indexes. Updated rules state that companies with multiple share classes can’t be added to indexes maintained by the S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC. Companies with multiple share classes also face restrictions at the FTSE Russell. The trickle-down of this is that many of the largest companies to IPO in 2019 (including Chewy, Lyft and Pinterest) are being ignored by US mutual funds and ETFs. Goldman Sachs wrote: “Multi-class voting to insulate management from its own shareholders comes at a significant long-term cost.” Companies with multiple share classes are facing this fact, as their share prices are not being levitated through the inclusion in many popular and widely owned benchmark indexes.

The IPO market, which started off the beginning of 2019 on fire, looks to have cooled off substantially over the past few months. Following WeWork’s implosion and Peloton’s poor opening day debut, entertainment company Endeavor pulled out of its planned IPO. In what was supposed to be a banner year for the IPO market, investor appetite seems to be diminishing for companies that are growing the top-line (i.e. revenue) fast but mounting bottom-line (i.e. profitability) losses even faster. Taken in combination with increased geo-political and macro-economic risks, sky-high valuations in private markets, and changes to index rules, the road could get even bumpier ahead for unprofitable companies. The question becomes, is there enough time to shift course and prove that high growth will ultimately lead to profits? Amazon is one company that navigated this path successfully, but the jury is still out on whether today’s cream of the cash burning crop will be as fortunate or fall victim to the same fate as many of their dotcom era predecessors.

Along with plunging high-end home prices in Vancouver, BC, luxury condo prices that are down 40% or more in Miami, a deep correction in Manhattan luxury properties, another crash in the cryptocurrency market, and an utter disaster in cannabis stocks this year, the IPO market’s breakdown is mounting evidence that Bubble 3.0 is running out of helium.

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 13:30
Published:10/13/2019 12:47:31 PM
[worldNews] U.S. to pull remaining troops from north Syria as Turkey presses offensive against Kurds The United States is poised to withdraw some 1,000 troops from northern Syria, its defense secretary said on Sunday, after learning that Turkey planned to extend its military incursion against Kurdish militia further south than originally planned.
Published:10/13/2019 12:47:31 PM
[topics:organisations/islamic-state] British orphans missing in northern Syria after mass escape of Islamic State families  Published:10/13/2019 12:47:31 PM
[US News] ‘Trying to get the US drunk’: Rep. Lee Zeldin lists the three ingredients of Adam Schiff’s ‘favorite’ impeachment ‘cocktail’

"Fairytale."

The post ‘Trying to get the US drunk’: Rep. Lee Zeldin lists the three ingredients of Adam Schiff’s ‘favorite’ impeachment ‘cocktail’ appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:10/13/2019 12:47:31 PM
[Rida Morwa] Retirement: Sequence Of Return Risk, A Deeper Look Published:10/13/2019 12:17:08 PM
[Entertainment] Megan Fox Shares Rare Photos of Kids From Disneyland Trip Megan Fox, Brian Austin Green, Kids, Sons, Noah, Bodhi, Journey, DisneylandMegan Fox and husband Brian Austin Green's three kids got into the Halloween spirit during a recent trip to Disneyland. The 33-year-old actress posted on her Instagram page on...
Published:10/13/2019 12:17:07 PM
[US News] Sounds like ‘S*it Happens’: Anthony Scaramucci’s T-shirt design for Romney 2020 goes horribly wrong

Anthony Scarmucci designed some T-shirts for a non-existent Mitt Romney 2020 campaign. Check them out: You may be proud of your “Where’s Hunter?” T-shirt…but we’re really proud of ours…You see, we know where Mitt is…he’s listening, he’s hearing, he’s seeing, he’s reading and he’s coming…. https://t.co/sCUTWW6IHA #committomitt #mitt2020 @MittRomney #MittRomney pic.twitter.com/gpgTdL33UY — Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) […]

The post Sounds like ‘S*it Happens’: Anthony Scaramucci’s T-shirt design for Romney 2020 goes horribly wrong appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:10/13/2019 12:17:07 PM
[Politics] Kasich: Dems Shouldn't Ignore Ohio in 2020 Former GOP Ohio Gov. John Kasich warned Sunday that Democrats shouldn't ignore Ohio in the 2020 election, pointing out "table issues" are what matters to voters in the red state.In an interview on CNN's "State of the Union," Kasich said the strength of the economy and... Published:10/13/2019 12:17:07 PM
[Politics] Sanders: Warren Is a Capitalist Through Her Bones, I Am Not

This week on the Sunday news shows: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) draws distinctions between himself and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Rep. Jim Himes (D., Conn.) talks impeachment, and former Secretary of Defense James Mattis issues a warning on Syria. Sanders: Warren Is a Capitalist Through Her Bones, I Am Not Recent Stories in ...

The post Sanders: Warren Is a Capitalist Through Her Bones, I Am Not appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:10/13/2019 12:17:07 PM
[worldNews] Threat against Canada's Trudeau 'upsetting' and 'troubling', say rivals The main rivals to Canada's Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a threat that forced him to wear a bulletproof vest at a campaign rally on Saturday was a concerning sign for the country's democracy ahead of the Oct. 21 federal election.
Published:10/13/2019 12:17:07 PM
[9d530c5b-8649-5c0d-a093-4cff545c06b5] Julianne Hough mourns beloved dogs who died on the same day: 'Pure love is real' Julianne Hough is mourning the loss of her two dogs who died on the same day. Published:10/13/2019 12:17:07 PM
[Markets] Central Bank Issues Stunning Warning: "If The Entire System Collapses, Gold Will Be Needed To Start Over" Central Bank Issues Stunning Warning: "If The Entire System Collapses, Gold Will Be Needed To Start Over"

It's not just "tinfoil blogs" who (for the past 11 years) have been warning that a monetary reset is inevitable and the only viable fallback option once trust and faith in fiat is lost, is a gold standard (something which even Mark Carney hinted at recently): central banks are joining the doom parade now too.

An article published by the De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), or Dutch Central Bank, has shocked many with its claim that "if the entire system collapses, the gold stock provides a collateral to start over."


While gloomy predictions of a monetary reset are hardly new, they have traditionally been relegated to the fringe of mainstream financial thought - after all, as Mario Draghi stated on several occasions in recent years, the mere contemplation of a "doomsday scenario" is enough to create the self-fulfilling prophecy which materializes it. As such, it is stunning to see a mainstream financial institution open up about the superior value of limited supply, non-fiat, sound money assets. It is also hypocritical given the diametrically opposed Keynesian practices regularly engaged in by central banks and official institutions worldwide: after all, just a few months back, the IMF published a paper bashing Germany's adoption of the gold standard in the 1870s as the catalyst for instability in the global monetary system.

Fast forward to today, when the Dutch Central Bank is admitting not only did gold not destabilize the monetary system, but it will be its only savior when everything crashes.

The article, as loosely translated and titled “Goud van DNB” (“Gold from DNB”) states:

"If things go wrong, prices may fall. But, crisis or not, a gold bar always holds value." This makes it the opposite of "shares, bonds and other securities" all of which have inherent risk.

Photo of gold bars from the DNB's article "Goud van DNB."

According to the IMF's latest data, the DNB holds 615 tons (15,000 bars) of gold mainly in Amsterdam, with other stores in the U.K. and North America; the value of this gold reserve is over €6 billion ($6.62 billion). Calling gold the “trust anchor,” the article details briefly why the hard asset is so important to wealth building and the global economy, claiming: "Gold is... the trust anchor for the financial system. If the whole system collapses, the gold stock provides a collateral to start over. Gold gives confidence in the power of the central bank's balance sheet."

Why this sudden admission of what goldbugs have been saying for years? Perhaps it has to do with the fact that on October 7, the bank announced it would soon be moving a large part of its gold reserves to "the new DNB Cash Center at military premises in Zeist."

Almost as if the Netherlands is preparing for the grand reset, and is moving its most valuable asset to a "military" installation just for that purpose.

As bitcoin.com tongue-in-cheek points out, "DNB is no stranger to playing along with the Keynesian, inflationary games of the global monetary system. A system which, according to some, is now more a Ponzi scheme based on force and blind faith than sound economic principle. That notwithstanding, the centralized financial powers of the world know the real score, and that’s why hard assets like gold are hoarded and locked down while everyday, individual residents of these geopolitical jurisdictions are encouraged to spend and spend, going further into debt to prop up ultimately unsound national economies."

It is hardly a coincidence that in its preparation for monetary doomsday, the Dutsch Central Bank is also set to begin cracking down on crypto exchanges and wallets, stating that "firms offering services for the exchange between cryptos and regular money, and crypto wallet providers must register with De Nederlandsche Bank."

While the push for greater KYC/AML transparency is a growing global trend, and is hardly surprising in a world in which trillions in assets reside in "tax-evading" offshore jurisdiction, the remarkable aspect of this latest crackdown against crypto - which many see as a modern, more efficient form of "gold" - is the fact that invasive regulations and restrictions by central banks can be seen as yet another means of stockpiling precious assets. This time, not gold bars, but bitcoin and crypto.

As for the timing of the "great monetary reset", which other central banks have already quietly hinted at themselves amid massive repatriation of physical gold from the New York Fed to various European central banks such as Germany and Austria, we are confident that the trust-keepers of the current establishment - such as other central banks and the IMF - will be kind enough to provide ample advance notice to the citizens of the "developed" world to exchange their fiat into hard assets. Or, then again, perhaps not.

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 13:04
Published:10/13/2019 12:17:07 PM
[structure:news] Robert de Niro says rise of CGI means career could be 'extended another 30 years' Published:10/13/2019 12:17:07 PM
[Entertainment] ‘Joker’ tops box office again, beats ‘Addams Family’ ‘Joker’ tops the box office again, beating ‘Addams Family’ and ‘Gemini Man’ Published:10/13/2019 12:17:07 PM
[Entertainment] David Harbour Brings Lily Allen and His Dad to SNL After-Party Lily Allen, David Harbour, David's ParentsDoes Stranger Things' Chief Hopper have a new special lady in his real life? After hosting Saturday Night Live, actor David Harbour was photographed heading to the cast's...
Published:10/13/2019 11:47:35 AM
[Politics] Trump TWEETS in defense of decision to abandon Kurds to Turkey as ugly reports roll in… El Presidente Trump is showing no signs of regret despite a lot of people criticizing his decision to abandon our allies, the Kurds, to a massacre by the Turks. …..The Kurds and . . . Published:10/13/2019 11:47:35 AM
[f8748209-396d-555d-9aa8-118d5d92fa08] Justin Haskins: AOC’s new scheme would destroy US economy, create gigantic government and raise your taxes Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has moved from the loony left to “The Twilight Zone” with her latest nutty plan to achieve her impossible dream of turning America into a socialist utopia. Published:10/13/2019 11:47:35 AM
[Politics] Ted Cruz: DOJ Should Probe Biden If Evidence of Illegality in Ukraine Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Sunday the Department of Justice should investigate former vice president Joe Biden's involvement in Ukraine if there's "credible evidence" of illegality, urging a release of the transcript of those conversations between Biden and the Ukraine... Published:10/13/2019 11:47:35 AM
[topics:people/donald-trump] US meets Taliban in attempt to revive Afghanistan talks Published:10/13/2019 11:47:35 AM
[Syria] Let’s be clear-eyed about Turkey (Paul Mirengoff) Two things can be true: (1) President Trump’s decision to pull back U.S. forces in northwestern Syria was a good decision; (2) Turkey is an ally in name only and no friend of America. I don’t believe the first statement is true. However, the pullback is a done deal. We can argue about its merit, and I expect to keep doing so, but arguing won’t change the outcome. By contrast, Published:10/13/2019 11:47:35 AM
[Entertainment] SNL’s ‘Joker’ parody takes on Sesame Street as David Harbour becomes the ‘Grouch’ We only have one question: When does this masterpiece hit theaters? Published:10/13/2019 11:47:35 AM
[Markets] Kansas Girl, 13, Charged With Felony For Making "Gun-Like Hand Gesture" Toward Classmates Kansas Girl, 13, Charged With Felony For Making "Gun-Like Hand Gesture" Toward Classmates

Authored by Elias Marat via The Mind Unleashed blog,

A 13-year-old girl in Overland Park, Kansas, was arrested last month and charged with a felony after police say her classmates claim she made a “gun-like hand gesture” at multiple students.

The girl, who is a student at Westridge Middle School, flashed the “finger gun” at four fellow students and then toward herself on September 18 after her classmates asked her which five people in the classroom she would kill, said Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez.

The student, who remains unidentified due to laws protecting her privacy, was arrested and charged the day following the incident for threatening a mass shooting, according to the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office. The girl admitted to threatening others, the police have said.

Donchez told USA Today:

“Overnight, some of those students contacted the school administration and expressed their fear of this individual, that based on this incident, they were in genuine fear of this individual.”

The context of the conversation remains unclear but the girl is now living in California, according to the Kansas City Star.

The girl’s grandfather, Jon Cavanaugh, says that she was simply mouthing off. He told the Star:

“I think that this is something that probably could have been handled in the principal’s office and got completely out of hand.”

However, Donchez insists that her classmates had felt legitimately “fearful” of her based on previous encounters, including one incident that was investigated and resulted in her facing some time in juvenile detention.

Dave Smith, a spokesman for the Shawnee Mission School District, told KSHB 41:

“I want to be very clear: The arrest of this student was wholly unrelated to any district policy. It was a municipal police department decision, and our policies don’t impact police department decisions.”

In a statement, police said:

“Ensuring the safety of everyone in a school, or community, is a top priority and requires constant vigilance, parents reminding their children of proper behavior in school and an understanding by the public that each case is thoroughly investigated before any arrest is made and a charge filed.”

On Tuesday, she will appear as a juvenile Tuesday at the District Court of Johnson County.

The girl’s arrest highlights the tense situation at schools across the United States, as well as the region. Just last month at nearby Hocker Grove Middle School, two 13-year-old students showed up to school with real guns stashed in their backpacks.

The children were charged with misdemeanors and the Hocker Grove principal said that no evidence suggested the teens planned to use their guns at school.

However, in the case of the young girl, threatening is a felony. Such charges could haunt her in the future, as felony charges can undermine students’ chances of being accepted into some colleges or the U.S. military.

If convicted, the girl could face a year at a juvenile detention center. Cavanaugh said:

“I’m really worried about my granddaughter’s future.” 

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 12:30
Published:10/13/2019 11:47:35 AM
[The Blog] NFL week 6 open thread, Duck Dynasty edition

Welcome to the big leagues, kid.

The post NFL week 6 open thread, Duck Dynasty edition appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:10/13/2019 11:47:35 AM
[Markets] Outside the Box: Retirement: Why FIRE when you can do this instead? Life is about meaning, not money.
Published:10/13/2019 11:47:35 AM
[worldNews] U.S. set to pull remaining troops from north Syria after Turkish incursion The United States said on Sunday it is poised to withdraw some 1,000 troops from northern Syria after learning that Turkey planned to extend a military incursion against Kurdish foes further south than originally planned.
Published:10/13/2019 11:47:35 AM
[World] Rep. Lee Zeldin on Anti-Semitism, Anti-Israel Rhetoric, Bill to Oppose BDS Movement

Rep. Lee Zeldin and several of his House Republican colleagues are hoping to force a vote on a bill meant to oppose the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Published:10/13/2019 11:19:52 AM
[Comedy] ‘Concrete Genie’: A kid’s game about the agonies of bullying and the joys of art The game's appreciation for creativity and off-beat gameplay make it easy to recommend to parents looking for something for elementary or middle school kids. Published:10/13/2019 11:19:51 AM
[National Security] Mattis: ISIS Will Resurge If U.S. Doesn’t Keep Up the Pressure

Former secretary of defense James Mattis on Sunday said that ISIS will "resurge" if the United States doesn't keep up the pressure in Syria.

The post Mattis: ISIS Will Resurge If U.S. Doesn’t Keep Up the Pressure appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:10/13/2019 11:19:50 AM
[The Blog] A thank you might be nice: Sunday reflection

Luke 17:11–19.

The post A thank you might be nice: Sunday reflection appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:10/13/2019 11:19:50 AM
[Apps] Kik says it’s ‘here to stay,’ following shutdown reports It’s been a rough run for Kik of late. The once mighty messaging service announced in late September that it would be shutting down its app. CEO Ted Livingston noted in a blog post that the startup would be trimming its headcount from over 100 people to “an elite 19 person team,” following a protracted […] Published:10/13/2019 11:19:50 AM
[Politics] Whitewater's Robert Ray Says Biden Should Be Investigated The relationship of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter with Ukraine and China warrant investigation, because "it could be" high crimes or misdemeanors, according to former Whitewater prosecutor Robert Ray."It's the sort of thing that certainly indicates cozy... Published:10/13/2019 11:19:50 AM
[Books] The Power Line Show, Special Bonus Episode: “Bronze Age Decius?,” and Scott on His Visit with the President (Steven Hayward) This special bonus double-episode tests the proposition that a good podcast format is a conversation among friends at a bar—because that’s exactly what the first segment of this show offers. Last week I was overseas on the joint cruise of the Claremont Institute and the Pacific Research Institute, both celebrating their 40th anniversary this fall. Following a day tromping around Florence taking in the scenes of various locales for Niccolò Machiavelli, Published:10/13/2019 11:19:50 AM
[Markets] "Anarchy" As 750 ISIS Prisoners Escape Syria Camp After Turkish Shelling "Anarchy" As 750 ISIS Prisoners Escape Syria Camp After Turkish Shelling

International reports as well as Turkish media has confirmed a mass ISIS prison break at a Syrian Kurdish administered camp following shelling on the area by Turkey's military. Nearly 800 prisoners with links to the Islamic State reportedly fled, though one monitoring group put the number of those who ultimately successfully escaped at 100. 

The Guardian reported of the Sunday incident:

At least 750 people with suspected links to Islamic State have reportedly fled a displacement camp in north-east Syria, local officials have said, raising fears that the Turkish offensive against Kurdish forces in the area could lead Isis to regain strength amid the chaos.

Sources said the detainees began to riot and panic after the secure compound came under Turkish shelling, which further resulted in a state of "anarchy" at the camp

File image of ISIS families at al-Hol camp, via AP/Washington Post

Authorities say "ISIS sleeper cells" took advantage of the situation to mount a large scale prison break, attacking remaining prison guards who had not already fled to defensive positions amid the shelling. 

Syrian Kurdish authorites say say 249 women and 700 children of the “caliphate” had been held at the Ain Issa camp, and that US forces subsequently evacuated the remainder of the camp's inhabitants to another secure location after the incident.  Reuters, citing a Syrian war monitor, suggested that not all of the some 750 who fled ultimately were able to escape

Around 100 people - women affiliated with Islamic State and their children - have escaped from a camp guarded by Syrian Kurdish-led security forces in northern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Images published by the Syrian opposition media outlet SOHR showed ISIS families escaping Ain Issa by running through the nearby countryside.

Ain Issa had a prior population of over 200,000 but has since been emptied of nearly all of its civilian residents. Scores of civilian casualties have resulted from the Turkish offensive, now in its fifth day, which has come under condemnation by almost every country.

Current and former US defense officials have warned of an "ISIS resurgence" amid the US troop draw down and Turkish invasion of the region, especially after SDF leaders warned its fighters can no longer safely guard the thousands of ISIS prisoners in custody. 

Map source: The Guardian

Estimates commonly put the number of imprisoned ISIS terrorists in US-SDF custody in the northeast Syria at 11,000.

Further some 70,000 family members believed linked to the former 'caliphate' are being held at the sprawling al-Hol camp, also under threat after internal camp rioting has been reported there. 

Turkey, for its part, has claimed that "YPG/PKK" forces deliberately set the Ain Issa camp on fire, denying Western reports that it came under Turkish shelling.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has said sanctions on Turkey are "ready to go" as Erdogan has refused to uphold his "responsibilities" related to the operation, which including promises to take custody of ISIS prisoners in the area. Trump has threatened reprisals should Turkey allow even one terrorist to go free. 

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 12:00
Published:10/13/2019 11:19:50 AM
[Uncategorized] CA Governor Gavin Newsom Signs Bill Requiring Abortion Pill Access on Public College Campuses "Abortion is a protected right, and it is important that everyone -- including college students -- have access to that right, if they so choose." Published:10/13/2019 11:19:50 AM
[worldNews] Mortar bombs strike Somalia's Mogadishu airport, six injured: source At least three mortar bombs were fired on Sunday at Mogadishu’s international airport, injuring at least six people in the compound where several embassies are located, a diplomatic source said.
Published:10/13/2019 11:19:50 AM
[e3723f64-5da4-566d-b1f9-18934a4fecba] Aubrey O’Day slams plastic surgery rumors Aubrey O'Day insists she has never gone under-the-knife to alter her appearance. Published:10/13/2019 11:19:50 AM
[Politics] Trump TWEETS in defense of decision to abandon Kurds to Turkey as ugly reports roll in… El Presidente Trump is showing no signs of regret despite a lot of people criticizing his decision to abandon our allies, the Kurds, to a massacre by the Turks. …..The Kurds and . . . Published:10/13/2019 11:19:50 AM
[Markets] Outside the Box: The financial advice I give my daughter (and why it’s different than what I tell my sons) Never let a man take over your financial life.
Published:10/13/2019 11:19:50 AM
[storytype:standard] Police officer stabbed in the neck in latest Hong Kong clashes Published:10/13/2019 11:19:50 AM
[Entertainment] Scorsese says he’s open-minded about Netflix film revolution Scorsese says he’s open-minded about Netflix film revolution, which he calls bigger than sound Published:10/13/2019 11:19:50 AM
[] The Deep State Through The Eyes Of A NeverTrumper... I like Matt Taibbi's writing style, and he certainly sees at least some of the many issues, but he also falls into the elitist trap of lazy ignorance of the disconnect between America and the coastal elites. That of course... Published:10/13/2019 11:19:50 AM
[Politics] Buttigieg Slams Beto’s Plan To Punish Churches That Oppose Same-Sex Marriage

South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg said on Sunday that former congressman Beto O'Rourke does not understand the implications of stripping tax exempt status from churches which oppose LGBTQ rights.

The post Buttigieg Slams Beto’s Plan To Punish Churches That Oppose Same-Sex Marriage appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:10/13/2019 10:47:13 AM
[Politics] Rand Paul Blasts Dems, GOP For Ukraine Involvement Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on Sunday blasted both Republicans and Democrats for "trying to involve themselves in Ukraine," and argued Kyiv should get no U.S. aid at all.In an interview on NBC News' "Meet The Press," ... Published:10/13/2019 10:47:13 AM
[Left Column] Nearly 400 Scientists endorse Extinction Rebellion’s mass civil disobedience to force ‘climate action’
Published:10/13/2019 10:47:12 AM
[worldNews] Japan sends in troops after deadly typhoon floods towns, threatens more damage Japan sent tens of thousands of troops and rescue workers on Sunday to save stranded residents and fight floods caused by one of the worst typhoons to hit the country in recent history.
Published:10/13/2019 10:47:12 AM
[topics:things/war-crimes] Pilot recordings show Russian air force bombed Syrian hospitals, report claims Published:10/13/2019 10:47:12 AM
[Markets] Trade Deal Done? Is 3300 The Next Stop For The Market? Trade Deal Done? Is 3300 The Next Stop For The Market?

Authored by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

Trade Deal Done

On Thursday and Friday, the market surged on hopes that a “trade deal” was coming to fruition. This was not a surprise to us, as we detailed this outcome two weeks ago:

‘For Trump, he can spin a limited deal as a ‘win’ saying ‘China is caving to his tariffs’ and that he ‘will continue working to get the rest of the deal done.’ He will then quietly move on to another fight, which is the upcoming election, and never mention China again. His base will quickly forget the ‘trade war’ ever existed.

Kind of like that ‘Denuclearization deal’ with North Korea.'”

As we discussed in that missive, a limited “trade deal” would potentially set the markets up for a run to 3300. To wit:

Assuming we are correct, and Trump does indeed ‘cave’ into China in mid-October to get a ‘small deal’ done, what does this mean for the market. 

The most obvious impact, assuming all ‘tariffs’ are removed, would be a psychological ‘pop’ to the markets which, given that markets are already hovering near all-time highs, would suggest a rally into the end of the year.”

This is not the first time we presented our analysis for a “bull run” to 3300.

Every week, we review the major markets, sectors, portfolio positions specifically for our RIA PRO subscribers (You can check it out FREE for 30-days)Here was our note for the S&P 500 previously.

  • We are still maintaining our core S&P 500 position as the market has not technically violated any support levels as of yet. However, it hasn’t been able to advance to new highs either.

  • There is likely a tradeable opportunity approaching for a reflexive bounce given the depth of selling over the last couple of weeks.

This is the outcome we expected.

  • There is no “actual” deal.

  • The “excuse” will be this deal lays the groundwork for a future deal.

  • No one will discuss a trade deal ever again.

It is almost as if Bloomberg read our work:

“The U.S. and China reached a partial agreement Friday that would broker a truce in the trade war and lay the groundwork for a broader deal that Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping could sign later this year.

As part of the deal, China would agree to some agricultural concessions and the U.S. would provide some tariff relief. The deal under discussion, which is subject to Trump’s approval, would suspend a planned tariff increase for Oct. 15. It also may delay — or call off — levies scheduled to take effect in mid-December.”

So, who won?

China.

  • China gets to buy agricultural and pork products they badly need.

  • The U.S. gets to suspend tariffs.

Who will like the deal?

  • The markets:  the deal removes a potential escalation in tariffs.

  • Trump supporters: Fox News will “spin” the “no deal” into a Trump “win” for the 2020 election. 

  • The Fed: It removes one of their concerns potentially impacting the economy.

By getting the “trade deal” out of the headlines, this clears the way for the market to rally potentially into the end of the year. Importantly, it isn’t just the trade deal providing support for higher asset prices short term:

  • There now seems to be a pathway forward for “Brexit”

  • The Fed is injecting $60 billion a month in liquidity into 2020 (More on this below)

  • The Fed has cut rates and is expected to cut again by year end.

  • ECB back into easing mode and running negative rates

  • Fed and ECB loosening capital requirements for banks (Because they are so healthy after all.)

This is also a MAJOR point of concern.

Despite all of this liquidity and support, the market remains currently confined to a downtrend from the September highs. The good news is there is a series of rising lows from June. With a “risk-on” signal approaching and the market not back to egregiously overbought, there is room for the market to rally from here.

Let me repeat what we wrote back in July:

“As we face down the last half of 2019, we can once again run some projections on the bull and bear case going into 2021, as shown in the chart below:”

The Bull Case For 3300

  • Momentum

  • Stock Buybacks

  • Fed Rate Cuts

  • Stoppage of QT

  • Trade Deal

However, while the case for a push higher is likely, the risk/reward still isn’t great for investors over the intermediate term. A failure of the market to make new highs, given the amount of monetary support, will be a very bearish signal.

The Fed’s “Not QE”, “QE”

Sure thing, Brian.

As I noted previously:

“Then there are the tail-risks of a credit-related event caused by a dollar funding shortage, a banking crisis (Deutsche Bank), or a geopolitical event, or a surge in defaults on “leveraged loans” which are twice the size of the “sub-prime” bonds linked to the “financial crisis.”  (Read more here)

Just remember, bull-runs are a one-way trip. 

Most likely, this is the final run-up before the next bear market sets in. However, where the “top” is eventually found is the big unknown question. We can only make calculated guesses.”

Think about this logically for a moment.

  1. The yield curve inverts which puts pressure on bank loans and funding.

  2. The Fed cuts rates, which puts pressure on banks net interest margins.

  3. The banks are chock full of leverage loans, risky energy-related debt, subprime auto loans, etc. 

  4. The Fed begins reducing excess reserves.

  5. All of a sudden, banks have a problem with overnight funding.

  6. Fed reduces liquidity regulations (put in place after Lehman to protect the financial system)

  7. Fed now has to commit to $60 billion in funding through January 2020 to increase reserves.

The last point was detailed in a recent FOMC release:

“In light of recent and expected increases in the Federal Reserve’s non-reserve liabilities, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) directed the Desk, effective October 15, 2019, to purchase Treasury bills at least into the second quarter of next year to maintain over time ample reserve balances at or above the level that prevailed in early September 2019. The Committee also directed the Desk to conduct term and overnight repurchase agreement operations (repos) at least through January of next year to ensure that the supply of reserves remains ample even during periods of sharp increases in non-reserve liabilities, and to mitigate the risk of money market pressures that could adversely affect policy implementation.

In accordance with this directive, the Desk plans to purchase Treasury bills at an initial pace of approximately $60 billion per month, starting with the period from mid-October to mid-November.”

NOTE: If you don’t understand what has been happening with overnight lending between banks – READ THIS.

The Fed is in QE mode because there is a problem with liquidity in the system. Given the Fed was caught “flat-footed” with the Lehman bankruptcy in 2008, they are trying to make sure they are in front of the next crisis.

The reality is the financial system is NOT healthy. 

If it was, then we would:

  1. Not still be using “emergency measures” to support banks for the last decade. (QE, LTRO, Etc.)

  2. Not be pushing $17 trillion in negative interest rates on a global basis.

  3. Have reinstated FASB Rule 157 in 2012-2013 requiring banks to mark-to-market the assets on their books. (A defaulted asset can be marked at 100% of value which makes the bank look healthy.)

  4. Not be needing to reduce liquidity requirements.

  5. Not be needing $60 billion a month in QE.

Oh, but that’s right, Jerome Powell denies this is “QE.”

“I want to emphasize that growth of our balance sheet for reserve management purposes should in no way be confused with the large-scale asset purchase programs that we deployed after the financial crisis. Neither the recent technical issues nor the purchases of Treasury bills we are contemplating to resolve them should materially affect the stance of monetary policy. In no sense, is this QE,” – Jerome Powell

It’s QE.

Just so you can understand the magnitude of the balance sheet increase over the last couple of weeks, the largest single week increase from 2009 to September 20th, 2019 was $39.97 billion.

The last two weeks were $58.2 and $83.87 billion respectively. 

But, it’s not Q.E.

So, what was it then?

This was not about covering unexpected cash draws to pay quarterly taxes, which was one of the initial excuses for the funding shortfalls.

Nope.

This was bailing out a bank that is in serious financial trouble. It started with the ECB a month ago loosening requirements on banks, then proceeded to the Fed reducing capital reserve requirements and flooding the system with reserves. 

Who was the biggest beneficiary of all of these actions? Deutsche Bank.

Which is about 4x as large as Lehman was in 2008 and is currently following the same price path as well. Let me repeat, the Fed is terrified of another “Lehman Crisis” as they do not have the tools to deal with it this time.

(Courtesy of ZeroHedge)

The problem for the Fed, is that while they insist recent rate cuts are “mid-cycle” adjustments, as was seen in 1995 to counter the risk of the Orange County bankruptcy, the reality is the “mid-cycle” has long been past us.

With the Fed cutting rates, injecting weekly records of liquidity into the system, at a time where economic data has clearly taken a turn for the worse, the situation may “not be in as good of a place” as we have been told. 

Being a little more cautious, taking in some profits, and rebalancing risks continues to be our recipe for navigating the markets currently.

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 11:30
Published:10/13/2019 10:47:12 AM
[Quick Takes] College Coach Under Investigation for Allegedly Charging Athletes Rent to Sleep in Locker Room “Nobody should live under circumstance like that” Published:10/13/2019 10:47:12 AM
[Media] ‘LOL. Media looks to be triggered’: Kimberley Strassel mocks media for pushing another Russian-style hoax (Ukraine) and it’s PERFECT

You know how we’ve said snarky Brit Hume is our favorite Brit Hume? Thinking it’s safe to say snarky Kimberley Strassel is our favorite Kimberley Strassel. We so adore these two tweets on the media’s meltdown over being mocked for falling for and pushing another likely hoax, like the Russian collusion story. LOL. Media looks […]

The post ‘LOL. Media looks to be triggered’: Kimberley Strassel mocks media for pushing another Russian-style hoax (Ukraine) and it’s PERFECT appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:10/13/2019 10:47:12 AM
[261aa8bf-a4fd-57ca-a5ae-b2901ff82d4f] Joe Giudice's shocking transformation revealed after he's released from ICE custody Joe Giudice is nearly unrecognizable in a new photo shared by his daughter after the reality star was released from ICE custody. Published:10/13/2019 10:17:04 AM
[worldNews] Khamenei tells Iran's Guards to develop advanced, modern weapons Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards on Sunday to develop more advanced and modern weapons, amid increasingly tense disputes with the United States and Gulf Arab states.
Published:10/13/2019 10:17:04 AM
[Entertainment] Pete Davidson Returns to SNL and Jokes About His Absence Pete Davidson, SNLPete Davidson is back...from the Upside Down... The 25-year-old actor and comedian returned to NBC's Saturday Night Live after being MIA from the first two episodes of the current...
Published:10/13/2019 10:17:04 AM
[Markets] US Troops Can Fire Back If Turkey Attacks Positions Again, Pentagon Says US Troops Can Fire Back If Turkey Attacks Positions Again, Pentagon Says

Defense Secretary Mark Esper told "Face the Nation" on Sunday that remaining US troops were caught between Turkish forces and the SDF and that it would be “irresponsible for me to keep them in that position.” Revealing that Trump has ordered “a deliberate withdrawal” from Northern Syria “as safely and quickly as possible,” which includes some 1,000 troops — Esper further addressed controversy surrounding a Friday incident where a US base on Kobani came under Turkish artillery fire.

"And so we find ourselves, we have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies, and it's a very untenable situation," Esper said. According to defense officials speaking to The Washington Post this weekend, the Army believes Turkish artillery fire on American positions in Kobani were deliberate, specifically accusing Turkey of 'bracketing' U.S. forces by firing on both sides of the observation post.

Esper was asked about this dangerous escaltion, to which he responded that US troops "have the right to self defense and we will execute it if necessary" — thus  indicating that American forces in Syria have been given the green light to fire back if fired upon. “A senior Pentagon official said shelling was so heavy that the U.S. personnel considered firing back in self-defense,” a prior report cited

File image via Warfare Today

"A contingent of U.S. Special Forces has been caught up in Turkish shelling against U.S.-backed Kurdish positions in northern Syria," Newsweek initially reported of the Friday incident. 

The Newsweek report cited an "Iraqi Kurdish intelligence official and senior Pentagon official" to say that "Special Forces operating in the Mashtenour hill in the majority-Kurdish city of Kobani fell under artillery fire from Turkish forces" amid operations related to 'Operation Peace Spring'. 

"We had been there for months, and it is the most clearly defined position in that entire area," an Army officer told the Post. Multiple 155mm shells fell "within a few hundred yards of the base on Mistenur Hill," the officer said.

Later reports suggested the US contingent had temporarily withdrawn from their position in Kobani as a result, but a Pentagon official subsequently said U.S. troops had not withdrawn from Kobane.

Via The Daily Mail

Brett McGurk, a former White House anti-ISIL special envoy to the region under both Trump and Obama, wrote on Twitter of the incident: "[The shelling] was not a mistake."

“Turkey wants us off the entire border region to a depth of 30 kilometers,” McGurk also told the Post. “These were warning shots on a known location, not inadvertent rounds.”

It now appears, however, that the White House wants to avoid even the possibility that such a close encounter could happen again, given the newly announced "deliberate withdrawal" of American forces from any position in the path of the Turkish incursion. 

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 11:00
Published:10/13/2019 10:17:04 AM
[The Blog] Sondland’s hotel chain in crossfire: Blumenauer faces ethics complaint

Politically motivated retaliation

The post Sondland’s hotel chain in crossfire: Blumenauer faces ethics complaint appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:10/13/2019 10:17:04 AM
[Politics] Fertility options for cancer patients must be covered under new California law

Senate Bill 600 by state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) declares that fertility preservation treatments are a basic healthcare service and required coverage by insurance plans.

Published:10/13/2019 10:17:03 AM
[Media] ‘Paralyzed with hatred of President’: Sara Carter shares speech Nancy Pelosi wishes she NEVER gave on impeachment and WOW (watch)

Sara Carter shared the speech Nancy Pelosi gave about the Republicans impeaching President Clinton and it’s very, very telling. And as Carter says, it’s likely Nancy wishes she never gave this speech. Watch. #Impeachment: (VIDEO) The Speech #NancyPelosi Wished She Never Gave. #CNN, #MSNBC and #NYTimes will not show this video today. **RETWEET**https://t.co/FWcuaPlBfa — Sara […]

The post ‘Paralyzed with hatred of President’: Sara Carter shares speech Nancy Pelosi wishes she NEVER gave on impeachment and WOW (watch) appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:10/13/2019 10:17:03 AM
[Politics] Klobuchar Blasts Harris, Warren, Sanders

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) on Friday night criticized her 2020 presidential opponents Sens. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), and Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.).

The post Klobuchar Blasts Harris, Warren, Sanders appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:10/13/2019 10:17:03 AM
[Entertainment] How BTS Became the K-Pop Band That Took Over the World BTS, 2019 GrammysK-pop is nothing new. The modern era of South Korea's popular music scene began taking root in the early '90s after decades of influence from the Western world, and it slowly...
Published:10/13/2019 9:50:04 AM
[Politics] BREAKING! Hunter Biden RESIGNS from Chinese company! Hunter Biden is giving up his job at a Chinese backed company because of all the scrutiny he’s received. Hunter Biden is stepping down from the board of a Chinese-backed private equity . . . Published:10/13/2019 9:50:04 AM
[46452756-6395-589b-8d86-185651fd266d] Kimberly Strassel: Media wage relentless crusade to destroy Trump The press has embraced its bias, joined the anti-Trump Resistance and declared its allegiance to one side of a partisan war. It now openly declares those who offer any fair defense of this administration as Trump “enablers.” Published:10/13/2019 9:50:04 AM
[9bb38e0f-ac18-58d6-b2be-03443de72de3] Dolly Parton marks 50 years as Grand Ole Opry member Dolly Parton celebrated a big milestone over the weekend: 50 years of being a Grand Ole Opry member. Published:10/13/2019 9:50:04 AM
[Markets] Hunter Biden Emerges; Quits Board Of Chinese Private-Equity Firm Hunter Biden Emerges; Quits Board Of Chinese Private-Equity Firm

Hunter Biden is stepping down from a controversial board position at a Chinese-based private-equity company, and has vowed to forego all foreign work if his father, former Vice President Joe Biden, is elected president in 2020, according to Bloomberg

Hunter will step down from the board on Oct. 31, according to a statement released by his lawyer, George Mesires. 

"Hunter always understood that his father would be guided, entirely and unequivocally, by established U.S. policy, regardless of its effects on Hunter’s professional interests," reads the statement. "He never anticipated the barrage of false charges against both him and his father by the President of the United States." 

"Under a Biden Administration, Hunter will readily comply with any and all guidelines or standards a President Biden may issue to address purported conflicts of interest, or the appearance of such conflicts, including any restrictions related to overseas business interests," the statement continues. "He will continue to keep his father personally uninvolved in his business affairs."

In May, journalist Peter Schweizer accused the Bidens of corruption in both Ukraine and China - revealing that in 2013, they flew together to China on Air Force Two. Two weeks later, Hunter's firm inked a private equity deal for $1 billion with a subsidiary of the Chinese government's Bank of China, which expanded to $1.5 billion.

"If it sounds shocking that a vice president would shape US-China policy as his son — who has scant experience in private equity — clinched a coveted billion-dollar deal with an arm of the Chinese government, that’s because it is" -Peter Schweizer 

As the accusations against Hunter mounted, he attempted to do damage control in  a July interview with the New Yorker - in which he opened up about being a crackhead and accepting a 'bribe' from a Chinese energy tycoon in the form of a 2.8 carat diamond worth thousands of dollars, which he says wasn't a bribe - and admitted he and his father had spoken of his business dealings. 

President Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani have homed in on both China and Ukraine - where Joe Biden leveraged his position as Vice President to have a Ukrainian prosecutor fired who was investigating a company whose board Hunter sat on. Bloomberg calls this claim "unsubstantiated" despite Joe Biden bragging about doing so on tape

U.S. banking records show that Hunter Biden’s American-based firm Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular transfers into one of its accounts (more than $166k/month) from the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Hunter Biden. All of this occurred during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relationship with Russia.

Two years after leaving office, Joe Biden couldn’t resist the temptation to brag to an audience of foreign policy specialists about the time as vice president that he strong-armed Ukraine into firing its top prosecutor. His threat was so severe that Ukraine would have lost $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees sending Ukraine toward insolvency. So the question is – why? Why did Joe Biden demand the immediate firing of Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin? And what did the State Department know about Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine and Ukraine’s investigations into those business dealings? -SLF

Meanwhile, Ukrainian MP Andriy Derkach announced last Wednesday that Joe Biden received $900,000 from Burisma Group for lobbying activities, citing materials related to an investigation.

Via Interfax:

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden received $900,000 for lobbying activities from Burisma Group, Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada member Andriy Derkach said citing investigation materials.

Derkach publicized documents which, as he said, "describe the mechanism of getting money by Biden Sr." at a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine's press center in Kyiv on Wednesday. -Interfax

"This was the transfer of Burisma Group's funds for lobbying activities, as investigators believe, personally to Joe Biden through a lobbying company. Funds in the amount of $900,000 were transferred to the U.S.-based company Rosemont Seneca Partners, which according to open sources, in particular, the New York Times, is affiliated with Biden. The payment reference was payment for consultative services," said Derkach. 

Derkach also puiblicized sums of money transferred to Burisma Group representatives - including Hunter Biden.

 

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 10:22
Published:10/13/2019 9:50:04 AM
[worldNews] U.S. set to pull remaining troops from north Syria amid Turkish incursion The United States said on Sunday it is poised to withdraw some 1,000 troops from northern Syria after learning that Turkey planned to extend a military incursion further south and west than originally planned.
Published:10/13/2019 9:50:04 AM
[Politics] Zeldin Trashes Impeachment Inquiry Efforts By Schiff Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., on Sunday tore into House Intelligence Committee head Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., charging that he's aiming to get voters "drunk on his favorite cocktail" of leaks, "withholding facts and just outright lying."In an interview on ABC News' "This... Published:10/13/2019 9:50:04 AM
[International events] I did nothing wrong and if you elect my dad I won’t do it again! Hunter Biden to resign from board of Chinese private-equity firm

If everything was on the up-and-up with Hunter Biden why would he pledge to step down from the board and not work for any foreign-owned companies if his father is elected? Important piece there, IF his father is elected. Hunter Biden to resign from board of Chinese private-equity firm https://t.co/OoPgZFvKex — Eliana Johnson (@elianayjohnson) October […]

The post I did nothing wrong and if you elect my dad I won’t do it again! Hunter Biden to resign from board of Chinese private-equity firm appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:10/13/2019 9:50:03 AM
[AAPL] Q3 Earnings Blastoff (Stocks To Watch Podcast) Published:10/13/2019 9:16:43 AM
[Hardware] Samsung’s Galaxy Fold concierge service is live in the US for those who need it Part of Samsung’s reboot of the Galaxy Fold was the announcement of a Premiere Service. Along with a reinforced version of the phone and a lot more warning labels, the company announced that it would also be a 24/7 care service…just in case something happened with the device. I had some issues with my in […] Published:10/13/2019 9:16:42 AM
[Markets] Trump Orders 1,000 Troops To Evacuate Syria, Warns Sanctions On Turkey "Ready To Go" Trump Orders 1,000 Troops To Evacuate Syria, Warns Sanctions On Turkey "Ready To Go"

Defense Secretary Mark Esper told "Face the Nation" in a Sunday interview that the Trump administration is "preparing to evacuate" about 1,000 U.S. troops from northern Syria "as safely and quickly as possible," CBS reports.

"In the last 24 hours, we learned that [the Turks] likely intend to extend their attack further south than originally planned, and to the west," Esper said. "We also have learned in the last 24 hours that the... SDF are looking to cut a deal, if you will, with the Syrians and the Russians to counterattack against the Turks in the north."

Image via the AP

This as President Trump has also announced the US Treasury is "ready to go" with sanctions on Turkey

This also comes after a week ago Trump ordered the withdrawal of US troops from northern border posts ahead of a Turkish military incursion to establish a so-called 'safe zone'. That decision has been met with fierce push back among Congressional leaders and pundits, angry at the US "betrayal" of its Syrian Kurdish partners, namely the US-funded and trained Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). 

In his comments to "Face the Nation," set to air on Sunday, Esper further explained that American forces were now caught between the Turkish assault and the SDF.  

"And so we find ourselves, we have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies, and it's a very untenable situation," Esper said. "So I spoke with the president last night, after discussions with the rest of the national security team, and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria."

Following a Friday incident wherein Turkish artillery shells landed near US positions in Kobani, Pentagon officials accused Turkey of deliberately "bracketing" American forces by firing on both sides of the observation post.

While Turkey claimed it was a 'mistake,' US officials said Ankara had known about that specific base for months and that it could have only been intentional. 

Esper said on Sunday that US troops "have the right to self defense and we will execute it if necessary" when asked about the incident and future rules of engagement. 

Meanwhile Trump tweeted early Sunday: “Very smart not to be involved in the intense fighting along the Turkish Border, for a change. Those that mistakenly got us into the Middle East Wars are still pushing to fight. They have no idea what a bad decision they have made. Why are they not asking for a Declaration of War?”

For now it's unlikely that this means all American forces will make a complete exit from Syria.

When pressed on a timeline for the pullback, Esper merely said it would be done "as safely and quickly as possible"; but given US forces appear to be in the line of Turkish artillery fire, a pullback will no doubt come sooner than later — if not occurring already.

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 09:55
Published:10/13/2019 9:16:42 AM
[Politics] BREAKING! Hunter Biden RESIGNS from Chinese company! Hunter Biden is giving up his job at a Chinese backed company because of all the scrutiny he’s received. Hunter Biden is stepping down from the board of a Chinese-backed private equity . . . Published:10/13/2019 9:16:42 AM
[Uncategorized] James O’Keefe to #ExposeCNN With Undercover Video Dropping Monday "dozens of recordings made of officials at the highest levels of CNN, revealing a political agenda, bias and misconduct hidden from public view" Published:10/13/2019 9:16:42 AM
[contemporary art] The Broad’s Shirin Neshat Show Is the Most Significant Look at the Iranian Artist’s Work to Date This is the first time a major survey of Neshat’s work will bring together all three subsets of her groundbreaking 'Women of Allah' series. Published:10/13/2019 9:16:42 AM
[Opinion] The Dumbing Down of the US Perfectly Illustrated in the Ukraine ‘Investigation’

By Frank Salvato -

This is what happens when we stop teaching civics and government classes in high school. People start believing that politics is government and that appearances and personal opinion circumvent the rule of law and the US Constitution. This is a direct result of the Progressive Movement having captured the education ...

The Dumbing Down of the US Perfectly Illustrated in the Ukraine ‘Investigation’ is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:10/13/2019 9:16:42 AM
[7bd8cb6b-ae52-58ca-a331-d7811cc81046] Japanese pop star's 'avid fan' used pupil image reflections to stalk, assault her: police  An “avid fan” was arrested on suspicion of stalking a female Japanese pop star after allegedly using the reflections of her pupils in photos she shared on social media, then using Google Street View to find where she lived, police said. Published:10/13/2019 9:16:42 AM
[General] ‘You seem fun. Sincerely, All Men’: Former Miss America Mallory Hagan attempting to shame ‘every man in America’ BACKFIRES

Former Miss America and failed congressional candidate Mallory Hagan apparently thinks every man in America wants to hit on her or other women if they’re at the bar by themselves. She even tweeted this silliness. Dear every man in America, I’m sitting at the bar by myself because I want to. Please be self-aware enough […]

The post ‘You seem fun. Sincerely, All Men’: Former Miss America Mallory Hagan attempting to shame ‘every man in America’ BACKFIRES appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:10/13/2019 9:16:42 AM
[International] Trump Announces $50 Million for Christians, Other Minorities in Syria

After facing criticism from Christian leaders over his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, President Donald Trump defended the decision in front of a... Read More

The post Trump Announces $50 Million for Christians, Other Minorities in Syria appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:10/13/2019 9:16:42 AM
[Politics] Trump: "We're Going to Take Look At' Suing Schiff, Pelosi President Donald Trump is taking "a look at" suing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., for their impeachment inquiry and presidential harassment... Published:10/13/2019 8:46:57 AM
[Markets] 5,200 Tobacco Shops In France Now Selling Bitcoin 5,200 Tobacco Shops In France Now Selling Bitcoin

Authored by Helen Partz via CoinTelegraph.com,

French crypto startup Keplerk has relaunched its service to accept Bitcoin (BTC) payments in over 5,200 tobacco shops in France starting from Oct. 10.

image courtesy of CoinTelegraph

Service first launched in January

After suspending the service in less than two months after launch in January, Keplerk says that its customers will be able to buy Bitcoin from tobacconists in coupons of 50, 100 or 250 euros, France’s top news channel BFM TV reports Oct. 10.

According to the report, Bitcoin payments in all 5,200 locations will be feasible through Keplerk’s partner Bimedia, which will provide payment terminals.

As previously reported, Keplerk’s initial launch in January 2019 of the service reportedly involved just six tobacco shops, while other publications reported there were as many as 24 shops participating in the program. At the time, Keplerk co-founder Adil Zakhar stated that the firm was planning to expand the project to 5,200 tobacco shops by February despite the reports that France’s central bank did not endorse the initiative.

Bitcoin adoption surges in France

Meanwhile, France is apparently seeing a surge in cryptocurrency adoption. In late September, Cointelegraph reported that over 25,000 points-of-sale of 30 French retailers including sportswear giant Decathlon and cosmetics store Sephora will start accepting BTC payments by early 2020. As reported earlier in September, the French unit of Domino's Pizza launched an ordering competition with a prize of $110,000 in Bitcoin or cash.

On Sept. 12, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire claimed that French authorities do not plan to tax crypto-to-crypto trades, but rather will consider taxation when crypto is sold for fiat money.

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 09:20
Published:10/13/2019 8:46:57 AM
[3e96e698-3cec-50e5-a419-d296f45e8182] 5 rappers dropped from NYC festival at request of police Organizers of a hip-hop festival taking place in New York this weekend said Saturday they have dropped five rappers from the lineup at the request of police. Published:10/13/2019 8:46:57 AM
[Quick Takes] Prof Goes After SpongeBob SquarePants for Alleged Racism and Violence Against Indigenous People "Unsettling SpongeBob and the Legacies of Violence on Bikini Bottom" Published:10/13/2019 8:46:57 AM
[The Blog] Is Louisiana’s Dem Governor on the way out?

It's a tight squeeze

The post Is Louisiana’s Dem Governor on the way out? appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:10/13/2019 8:46:57 AM
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