Government’s Interception of Cell Phones Threatens Civil Liberties

Police are starting to use Harris Corp’s Stingray. The company has fought to keep its manuals private and an exception to the Freedom of Information Act under the pretense that this would help criminals and terrorists. Of course, the number one police action is rapidly becoming the hunt for money under the presumption that the mere possession of cash is suspected criminal activity. Not paying taxes is criminal and hiding a portion of your money is also criminal. Having an account overseas that is unreported is money laundering. So the catchall phrase ‘criminal’ is not limited to drug dealers.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Sep 18, 2016.

Italian Banking Crisis Turns into Mission Impossible

Even supposedly good debt on banks’ books may end up putrefying. By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. This week the world’s oldest surviving bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, tried to give itself a new lease of life by bringing in fresh blood at the top, following revelations that the Italian lender’s chief executive, Fabrizio Viola, and former chairman, Alessandro Profumo, are under investigation for alleged false accounting and market manipulation.
But the change of guard did nothing to improve market sentiment or performance. By Friday MPS shares had sunk to their lowest point ever – just 21 precarious cents above zero – and, once again, they had to be halted by Italy’s FTSE MIB.
MPS’s new boss Mario Morelli (formerly of Bank of America-Merryl Lynch, Unicredit and Intesa), faces an insurmountable challenge trying to steady the leaking ship. MPS must raise up to 5 billion as part of an emergency rescue plan to stave off the risk of being bailed in, and consequently wound down or chopped up into little pieces and gobbled up by its rivals.

This post was published at Wolf Street by Don Quijones ‘ September 17, 2016.


This week Donald Trump said, ‘If it was a choice between the right decision and a political decision… The Fed would choose the political decision.’
He then stated that the market ‘will remain at artificially high levels until January 1st’. This came not long after he slammed Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen in a CNBC interview when he told the interviewer that she should be ‘ashamed’ of her ‘very political’ and ‘false’ market.
He then claimed that the reason interest rates wont be increased prior to the election is because Yellen and the Fed are trying to bolster Barack O’bomber’s legacy (or lack thereof).
It remains unclear whether or not Trump is being threatened into going along with the globalist plan or if he is just willingly complicit in furthering their agenda for personal gain. However, his statements in regard to Janet Yellen and the Fed’s decision to keep rates low for political purposes, give credence to the probability that this ‘legacy’ accusation is merely half-truth propaganda. Its purpose is likely to provide an explanation to the sheeple for this particular step in the long walk toward global governance.

This post was published at Dollar Vigilante on SEPTEMBER 17, 2016.

IED Explosion Reported In New York City; At Least 25 People Injured

An explosion has been reported in New York City at 135 23rd Street (between Sixth and Seventh Avenue). According to RT, the New York Fire Department has confirmed that an improvised explosive device (IED) stuffed inside a dumpster was the likely cause of a blast.
The NYPD Counterterrorism Unit has arrived at the scene and is conducting searches for other devices. At least two buildings were evacuated in the vicinity of the incident.
At least three people were seen being taken away from the scene of the blast in ambulances, according to Reuters. Meanwhile preliminary reports indicate at least 25 people have sustained injuries, though none are thought to be life threatening.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 17, 2016.

Doug Noland’s Credit Bubble Bulletin: Risk Off, the BOJ and China

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Credit Bubble Bulletin. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
Is a meaningful de-risking/de-leveraging episode possible with global central banks injecting liquidity at the current almost $2.0 TN annualized pace?
Thus far, central bankers have successfully quashed every incipient Risk Off. Market tumult has repeatedly been reversed by central bank assurances of even more aggressive monetary stimulus. The flood gates were opened with 2012’s global concerted ‘whatever it takes.’ Massive QE did not, however, prevent 2013’s ‘taper tantrum.’ Previously unimaginable ECB and BOJ QE coupled with ultra-loose monetary policy from the Fed were barely enough to keep global markets from seizing up earlier in the year.
It’s my long-held view that market interventions and liquidity backstops work primarily to promote speculative excess and resulting Bubbles. While celebrated as ‘enlightened’ policymaking throughout the markets, an ‘activist’ governmental role (fiscal, central bank, GSE, etc.) is inevitably destabilizing. The upshot of now two decades of activism is a global marketplace dominated by speculation and leveraging.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Doug Noland ‘ September 17, 2016.

More Data For The “Data Dependent” To Ignore

Submitted by Jeffrey Snider via Alhambra Investment Partners,
The University of Michigan released its September update for their surveys of consumers. The overall index of consumer ‘sentiment’ was unchanged from August at 89.8, and up just 3% from last September. This ‘confidence’ index peaked in January 2015 at 98.1 and has been sideways to lower ever since. Most of the internals were practically unchanged throughout, leading Chief Economist Richard Curtin to note:
…modest gains in the outlook for the national economy have been offset by small declines in income prospects as well as buying plans Not everything in the surveys was so uninteresting. Inflation expectations dropped yet again, as both short-term and intermediate consumer projections for the rate of prices changes continue to sink.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 17, 2016.

Previewing Next Week’s Main Event: What Will The BOJ Do? (Spoiler Alert: Probably Nothing)

One week after we explained not once but twice that next week’s main central bank event is not the Fed – which won’t do anything – but the Bank of Japan, even CNBC has finally figured it out, observing with about a 7 day delay that “Everyone’s waiting for the Federal Reserve in the week ahead, but the real action may be coming out of Tokyo.” Well, thanks for that.
But while it’s clear that Yellen won’t dare shock the market (which now trades with a 20% probability of a September rate hike and as we showed a year ago, the Fed has never hiked unless the market is already pricing in at lest 60% odds), the question remains – just what will Kuroda and the BOJ do, especially since as we wrote last week, not even the BOJ knows what it will do, and has instead flooded the market with news report trial balloons covering every possible, even contradictory, possibility. Which also makes the BOJ’s decision that much more important.
As DB points out, “this week will be the litmus test for whether central banks are in shift mode as regards ongoing accommodative monetary policy. Investor consensus revolves around the notion that monetary policy has run its course and it ‘needs’ to be supplanted by fiscal policy or at least combined with fiscal policy, via helicopter money, to be effective. The potential for a BoJ move on short rates and a shift in QE plus a Fed insistence on hiking despite market expectations (including a ‘hawkish’ hold for September) might be considered to be consistent with a steeper curve.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 17, 2016.

The Week in Review: September 17, 2016

There’s just no relief from the constant drum beat for more and more government intervention in the economy. One the one hand, we have presidential candidates calling for more protectionism andmore government spending. At the same time, the central banks of the world are looking to create their own digital currencies, furtherexpand the money supply, keep interest rates near zero, and plot new strategies for manipulating the economy.
Fortunately, as Lew Rockwell explains, ideas and beliefs change:
Mises never tired of telling his students and readers that trends can change. What makes them change are the choices we make, the values we hold, the ideas we advance, the institutions we support.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on September 17, 2016.

Slippin’ Into Darkness? (Is The US Slipping Into Recession?)

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Confounded Interest. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
The Presidential election is just around the corner and it is bad news for the incumbent’s party if anyone notices the softening trends in the economy. Republican President George W. Bush saw a substantial decline in the stock market prior to the 2008 election which greatly helped Democrat Presidential candidate Barack Obama. Other economic variables were deteriorating in late 2007 and up to the election, but the stock market is a highly noticeable indicator.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Anthony B. Sanders ‘ September 17, 2016.

IRS Numbers Show Little Income Growth for Americans

Earlier this week, Charles Hugh Smith suggested that the federal government abandon its use of survey-based employment data and instead simply use IRS data on incomes and tax filings to estimate trends in employment and income.
As Smith notes, the IRS data gives us a good idea of how many people are earning income. The fact that reporting income to the IRS is mandatory suggests it may be more reliable than the telephone survey data used for the Household Survey of employment.
Indeed, looking through this data, we can easily see how many filers reported income.1 (“Filers” can include joint filings from married couples.) Because the US forces even non-US residents to pay on income, not all filers are US residents. Nevertheless, the vast majority of filers are residents, and this gives us an idea of how many Americans have jobs and how many are paid wages and salaries. Other income is included as well, such as dividends, capital gains, and all those other sources of income you’re supposed to report on your returns. The data includes more than just taxable income. We can use it to attempt to recreate a measure of total income overall.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on 09/16/2016.

17/9/16: The Mudslide Cometh for Your Ladder

One chart that really says it all when it comes to the fortunes of the Euro area economy:
And, courtesy of these monetary acrobatics, we now have private corporates issuing debt at negative yields, nominal yields… The train wreck of monetarist absurdity is now so far out on the wobbly bridge of economic systems devoid of productivity growth, consumer demand growth and capex demand that even the vultures have taken into the skies in anticipation of some juicy carrion. With $16 trillion (at the end of August) in sovereign debt yielding negative and with corporates now being paid to borrow, the idea of the savings-investment link – the fundamental basis of the economy – makes about as much sense today as voodoo does in medicine. Even WSJ noted as much:

This post was published at True Economics on Saturday, September 17, 2016.

‘We had a lot of Drama in the Markets this Week,’ Thanks to the Bank of Japan

Erode that confidence, and you have a crisis on your hands. Japan has invented QE and zero-interest-rate policies. It conducted umpteen iterations of them over the past two decades. Throughout, it has demonstrated and documented with ample evidence that QE and ZIRP do not stimulate demand in the economy, though they can have all sorts of other effects. Now once again, Japan is out on front.
This week, something interesting happened, even by the standards of the NIRP-absurdity currently in vogue. The 10-year yield of Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs) rose sharply. It had been negative ever since the BOJ announced its negative interest rate policy in February and had dropped as low as -0.30% by late July.
But on July 28, the BOJ, to show it’s easing further, expanded its QE program by announcing yet another stock market pump-up scheme: it would nearly double its annual purchases of equity ETFs from about 3.3 trillion to 6 trillion ($60 billion).

This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ September 17, 2016.

Alabama, Tennessee, & Georgia Declare States Of Emergency As Gas Shortages Loom After Pipeline Leak

As Native Americans protesters face arrest in North Dakota for blocking the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, TheAntiMedia’s Carey Wedler reports a gasoline pipeline spill is currently unfolding in the South. The leak has prompted Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to declare states of emergency.
The Colonial Pipeline, which runs from Houston to New York, began leaking on September 9, spilling 250,000 gallons of gasoline, or 6,000 barrels. The pipeline was built in 1962, and the current leak in Helena, Alabama, is the largest one Colonial Pipeline has experienced in 20 years, Reuters noted.
The Colonial Pipeline, which runs from Houston to New York, began leaking on September 9, spilling 250,000 gallons of gasoline, or 6,000 barrels. The pipeline was built in 1962, and the current leak in Helena, Alabama, is the largest one Colonial Pipeline has experienced in 20 years, Reuters noted. reported that according to the Colonial Pipeline company’s spokesperson, Bill Berry, the pipeline could still be leaking:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 17, 2016.

Milton Friedman on Self-Government

In the summer of 1962, I read Milton Friedman’s essay, “Is a Free Society Stable?” It was published in a campus quarterly journal, New Individualist Review. A group of students at the University of Chicago published it. It remains the best campus journal I have ever read. It ceased publication after seven years: April 1961 to Winter 1968.
Friedman’s main argument has stayed with me ever since: the case for limited civil government as a way to gain widespread voluntary cooperation.
In this article is the most important sentence Friedman ever wrote. His refusal to adhere to it when discussing central banking, educational vouchers, and the gold coin standard constitutes the major criticism by his Austrian School critics, of whom I am one.
An efficient governmental organization and not an inefficient one is almost surely the greater threat to a free society.
Here, I reprint a section of his article. The complete article is online at the Liberty Fund’s site. Read it here.
THERE IS ANOTHER DIRECTION, it seems to me, in which there is a different kind of a tendency for capitalism to undermine itself by its own success. The tendency I have in mind can probably best be brought out by the experience of Great Britain–Great Britain tends to provide the best laboratory for many of these forces. It has to do with the attitude of the public at large toward law and toward law obedience. Britain has a wide and deserved reputation for the extraordinary obedience of its people to the law. It has not always been so. At the turn of the nineteenth century, and earlier, the British had a very different reputation as a nation of people who would obey no law, or almost no law, a nation of smugglers, a nation in which corruption and inefficiency was rife, and in which one could not get very much done through governmental channels.
Indeed, one of the factors that led Bentham and the Utilitarians toward laisser-faire, and this is a view that is also expressed by Dicey, was the self-evident truth that if you wanted to get evils corrected, you could not expect to do so through the government of the time. The government was corrupt and inefficient. It was clearly oppressive. It was something that had to be gotten out of the way as a first step to reform. The fundamental philosophy of the Utilitarians, or any philosophy that puts its emphasis on some kind of a sum of utilities, however loose may be the expression, does not lead to laisser-faire in principle. It leads to whatever kind of organization of economic activity is thought to produce results which are regarded as good in the sense of adding to the sum total of utilities. I think the major reason why the Utilitarians tended to be in favor of laisser-faire was the obvious fact that government was incompetent to perform any of the tasks they wanted to see performed.

This post was published at Gary North on September 15, 2016.

Gold Prices Are Extremely Volatile, but We’re Still Bullish

After more than a decade of closely watching gold prices and trading the gold markets, the amount of action never ceases to amaze me.
And this past week was no different, when we saw considerable volatility along with a pretty strong downward bias.
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Once again, the Fed has had a huge impact on gold traders, fund managers, and investors who are all trying to parse through the ‘Fedspeak’ for clues on the direction of interest rates.
With the upcoming September FOMC meeting next week, several Fed members have been making both hawkish and dovish cases for raising interest rates.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on September 16, 2016.