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  • Our Most Important Campaign Deadline So Far Is Here – And Here Is The Shocking Reason I Am Not Asking For Any Money

    The most important deadline that we have faced so far is at midnight on Sunday, but I am not going to ask you for any money. I just want to say thank you to everyone that has donated, volunteered and prayed over the past six months. Without all of your efforts, it would have been impossible for us to be within striking distance of victory here in Idaho’s first congressional district with just a little more than four months to go until election day. When I first announced that I would be running, many people told me that it would be impossible for a political outsider to win in this district, but we are proving the naysayers wrong. We are so far ahead of where we thought that we would be at this point, and our opponents are literally freaking outover how well we are doing.
    As the December 31st deadline approaches, my opponents have been sending out email after email in a desperate scramble for money. The reason why I know this is true is because we are on all of their email lists.
    But I have decided that we are not going to do the same thing. Yes, we need support just as badly as they do, but I am simply going to trust the Lord that the resources will come in. We have already told our supporters what our needs are, and we are going to trust that the Lord will move in the hearts of those that are supposed to give.
    The stakes in this race are exceedingly high. As we look at the numbers, it appears likely that one particular opponent is likely to emerge victorious if I do not win next May. If he wins, it will be a complete and utter disaster for the Trump movement.
    This particular opponent fought to keep Donald Trump out of the White House, his campaign has repeatedly attacked my faith, and by lying over and over again he has demonstrated that he simply does not have the moral character to serve in Congress.

    This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on December 30th, 2017.


  • The US Suffered 15 Billion-Dollar-Plus Weather Disasters In 2017

    In the year that President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris accord and downplayed global warming as a security threat, the US received a harsh reminder of the perils of the rise in the planet’s temperature: a destructive rash of hurricanes, fires and floods.
    According to Bloomberg, the US recorded 15 weather events costing $1 billion or more each through early October, one short of the record 16 in 2011, according to the federal government’s National Centers for Environmental Information in Asheville, North Carolina. And that tally doesn’t include the recent wildfires in southern California, one of which grew to be the largest fire in state history, according to Bloomberg.
    Among the most devastating events were hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and wildfires in northern California. The killer storms caused economic losses of more than $210 billion in the U. S. and across the Caribbean, and about $100 billion in insured damages, according to Mark Bove, a senior research scientist with Munich Reinsurance America in Princeton, New Jersey.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sat, 12/30/2017 –.


  • Jihadist Group Blows Up Oil Pipeline In Iran, In Midst Of Protests

    In the year that President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris accord and downplayed global warming as a security threat, the US received a harsh reminder of the perils of the rise in the planet’s temperature: a destructive rash of hurricanes, fires and floods.
    According to Bloomberg, the US recorded 15 weather events costing $1 billion or more each through early October, one short of the record 16 in 2011, according to the federal government’s National Centers for Environmental Information in Asheville, North Carolina. And that tally doesn’t include the recent wildfires in southern California, one of which grew to be the largest fire in state history, according to Bloomberg.
    Among the most devastating events were hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and wildfires in northern California. The killer storms caused economic losses of more than $210 billion in the U. S. and across the Caribbean, and about $100 billion in insured damages, according to Mark Bove, a senior research scientist with Munich Reinsurance America in Princeton, New Jersey.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sat, 12/30/2017 –.


  • This Is Where America’s Most Debt-Burdened People Live

    Americans have racked up almost $13 trillion in personal debt for things like mortgages, car notes and student loans. $13 trillion is such an enormous pile of money, it’s hard to imagine what that looks like across the country. So, HowMuch.net created a new map to figure out exactly what’s going on…

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.


  • Goldman Showers Execs With $100 Million In Early Bonuses To Avoid Trump Tax Hit

    Goldman Sachs has accelerated nearly $100 million in stock awards to top executives before the end of the year in order to avoid unfavorable changes in the new tax code, according to public filings posted Friday.
    The most sweeping overhaul of U. S. tax code in 30 years includes a provision which caps a corporate deduction for executive pay; under current law, corporations can deduct up to $1 million per executive’s base salary, however there’s no cap on deductions for performance-based pay, such as bonuses.
    Under the new provisions, both base salary and performance bonuses count towards to $1 million cap – which is why Goldman accelerated $94.8 million in bonuses originally scheduled for January, 2018. By paying the bonuses early, the bank will save money on its own tax bill.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sat, 12/30/2017 –.


  • “Q1 Stock Market Outlook: We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Slide”

    Submitted by FFWiley
    If 2018 rings in a bear market, it could look something like the Kennedy Slide of 1962.
    That was my conclusion in ‘Riding the Slide,’ published in early September, where I showed that the Kennedy Slide was unique among bear markets of the last eighty years. It was the only bear that wasn’t obviously provoked by rising inflation, tightening monetary policy, deteriorating credit markets or, less commonly, world war or depression.
    Moreover, market conditions leading up to the Slide should be familiar – they’re not too far from market conditions since Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election. In the first year after Kennedy’s election, as in the first year after Trump’s election, inflation seemed under control, interest rates were low, credit spreads were tight, and the economy was growing. And, in both cases, the stock market was booming.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sat, 12/30/2017 –.


  • The Dreaded ‘Flattening Yield Curve’ Meets QE Unwind

    During prior incidents of an ‘inverted’ yield curve, the Fed had no tools to get the market to push up long-term yields. Today it has one: the QE Unwind.
    The price of three-month Treasury securities fell and the yield – which moves in the opposite direction – rose, ending the year at 1.39%, after having spiked to 1.47% on December 26, the highest since September 12, 2008. This is in the upper half of the Fed’s new target range for the federal funds rate (1.25% to 1.50%). Back in October 2015, the yield was still at 0%:

    This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ Dec 30, 2017.


  • California Supreme Court Set For Ruling That Could Cut Pensions For Public Workers

    For decades now public pensions have been guided by one universal rule which stipulates that current public employees can not be ‘financially injured’ by having their future benefits reduced. On the other hand, that ‘universal rule’ also necessarily stipulates that taxpayers can be absolutely steamrolled by whatever tax hikes are necessary to fulfill the bloated pension benefits that unions promise themselves. Alas, that one ‘universal rule’ may finally be at risk as the California Supreme Court is currently considering a case which could determine whether taxpayers have an unlimited obligation to simply fork over whatever pension benefits are demanded of them or whether there is some “reasonableness” test that must be applied. Here’s more from VC Star:

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.


  • What “Off The Grid” Indicators Reveal About The True State Of The US Economy

    It’s that time of quarter again; today we review our ‘Off the Grid’ economic indicators. And they all look pretty good in terms of launching the American economy into 2018. Pickup truck sales and used car prices remain robust, and there’s some actual inflation in our Bacon Cheeseburger Index. One warning: ‘Bitcoin’ is among the top Google search autofills for the phrase ‘I want to buy…
    We started our ‘Off the Grid’ economic indicators in the aftermath of the Financial Crisis as a way to dig deeper into the longer-lasting effects of that event on the American consumer. It seemed to us that standard economic measures like unemployment or CPI inflation missed a lot about the state of the country. So we started gathering up a list of intuitive metrics that could fill those gaps.
    A few examples from these datasets over the years:

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.


  • 2017 Themes Revisited (In Goldman’s Annual Crossword)

    From the “Yellen Call” to “globalization” and from “disruption” to “dumping“, 2017 had it all and Goldman Sachs’ annual ‘themes’-driven crossword is just the ticket as the final few minutes of the trading year tick away…
    Via Goldman Sachs,

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.


  • Ron Paul Warns America’s “On The Verge Of Something Like 1989’s Soviet System Collapse”

    Ron Paul does not believe the U. S. will break into separate countries, like the Soviet Union did, but expects changes in the U. S. monetary policy, as well as the crumbling of the country’s “overseas empire.”
    The godfather of the Tea Party movement and perhaps the most prominent right-leaning libertarian in America, Ron Paul, believes the economic boom the United States experienced under President Trump could be a ‘bit of an illusion.’
    Mr. Paul sees inequality, inflation, and debt as real threats that could potentially cause a turmoil.
    ‘the country’s feeling a lot better, but it’s all on borrowed money’ and that ‘the whole system’s an illusion’ built on corporate, personal, and governmental debt.
    ‘It’s a bubble economy in many many different ways and it’s going to come unglued,’
    In a recent interview with the Washington Examiner, Paul said,
    ‘We’re on the verge of something like what happened in ’89 when the Soviet system just collapsed. I’m just hoping our system comes apart as gracefully as the Soviet system.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.


  • From Crypto To Qatar – These Were The Best & Worst Assets In 2017

    2017 saw global central bank balance sheets explode almost 17% higher (in USD terms) – the biggest annual increase since 2011 – and while correlation is not causation, one can’t help but see a pattern in the chart below…
    Global stocks up, Global bonds up, Global commodities up, Financial Conditions easier (despite 3 Fed rate hikes), and Dollar down (most since 2003)…
    As we noted earlier, Craig James, chief economist at fund manager CommSec, told Reuters that of the 73 bourses it tracks globally, all but nine have recorded gains in local currency terms this year.
    ‘For the outlook, the key issue is whether the low growth rates of prices and wages will continue, thus prompting central banks to remain on the monetary policy sidelines,’ said James. ‘Globalization and technological change have been influential in keeping inflation low. In short, consumers can buy goods whenever they want and wherever they are.’
    Still, the good times may not last: an State Street index that gauges investor risk appetite by what they actually buy and sell, suffered its six straight monthly fall in December, Reuters reported.
    “While the broader economic outlook appears increasingly rosy, as captured by measures of consumer and business confidence, the more cautious nature of investors hints at a concern that markets may have already discounted much of the good news,’ said Michael Metcalfe, State Street’s head of global macro strategy.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.


  • Did The “Big Short” Retail CMBX Trade Pay Off In 2017?

    Since the start of 2017, a number of opportunistic investors sought to profit from the expected demise of the physical retail sector, a trade which we and others dubbed the next ‘Big Short” – also known as the “Amazon crushes everyone” trade – and in which investors bought credit-default swaps against subordinate bonds in certain CMBX derivative indices that are tied to CMBS deals with healthy concentrations of loans against shopping malls and retail centers.
    As CMBS advisory Trepp notes, the trade gained notoriety last February, when spreads for the BBB- and BB rated components of the indices went through a massive widening. They continued to widen at a somewhat steady clip until only recently. That alone indicates the trade, particularly if executed early, has paid off nicely.
    CMBX consists of a group of indices that are each linked to a group of 25 CMBS conduit deals issued during a particular year. The indices are used as an indicator of the overall performance of the CRE market and enables investors to make bets on corresponding long and short positions.
    Investors who expect deals in a specific index to incur losses can buy protection: they would pay a fixed-rate premium to a seller of protection who would bet against losses. If losses occur, the seller of protection would cover them. So, a short trade becomes most profitable when deals in an index suffer actual losses. It also becomes profitable in the event spreads widen, as they have.
    Spreads Move Wider and Wider

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.


  • Italian Bonds Slide As Market Realizes ECB Has Been The Only Buyer

    In an otherwise calm market, Italian bonds have been sold off today, breaking away from the broader bullish sentiment amid the European bond market, with the yield on 10Y BTPs rising as much as 5bps, above 2% for the first time since October 26.
    While there has been no specific catalyst, some traders are starting to factor in the potential political confusion that could result after the Italian elections due in just over 2 months. As a reminder, on March 4, voters in eurozone’s third-largest economy will head to the polls amid dwindling support for the ruling pro-EU centre-left Democratic party and rising support for the Eurosceptic opposition.
    According to the FT, the likely scenarios after the vote range include a hung parliament, a grand coalition or a populist government with a much more confrontational attitude towards Brussels, including the most troubling outcome: plans to question Italy’s membership of the single currency.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.


  • Two CA Professors Say Farmers’ Markets Racist For Normalizing “Habits Of White People”

    Two California Professors claim that farmers markets racist “white spaces” because they promote “gentrification” in poor neighborhoods where the “habits of white people are normalized.”
    This, according to a new book by San Diego State University geography professors Pascale Joassart-Marcelli and Fernando J. Bosco entitled “Just Green Enough,” an environmental anthology focusing on urban development.
    ‘Farmers’ markets are often white spaces where the food consumption habits of white people are normalized,’ the SDSU professors write, according to Campus Reform.
    [F]armers’ markets are ‘exclusionary’ since locals may not be able to ‘afford the food and/or feel excluded from these new spaces.’

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.


  • Housing Bubble 2.0: U.S. Homeowners Made $2 Trillion On Their Houses In 2017

    Americans who are lucky enough to own their own little slice of the ‘American Dream’ are about $2 trillion wealthier this year courtesy of Janet Yellen’s efforts to recreate all the same asset bubbles that Alan Greenspan first blew in the early 2000’s. After surging 6.5% in 2017, the highest pace in 4 years according to Zillow data, the total market value of homes in the United States reached a staggering all-time high of $31.8 trillion at the end of 2017…or roughly 1.5x the total GDP of the United States.
    If you add the value of all the homes in the United States together, you get a sum that’s a lot to get your mind around: $31.8 trillion.
    How big is that? It’s more than 1.5 times the Gross Domestic Product of the United States and approaching three times that of China.
    Altogether, homes in the Los Angeles metro area are worth $2.7 trillion, more than the United Kingdom’s GDP. That’s before this luxury home on steroids hits the market.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.


  • FinTwit Set To Lose Some Of Its Most Prominent Voices Due To Loss Of Anonymity

    (2) The last four years has been a blast, both financially and politically. While I know many of you didn’t always agree with my snarky takes on Trump, Elon, etc., I hope I at least made you consider a different, if not ancient, point-of-view.
    — Diogenes (@WallStCynic) December 29, 2017

    Financial twitter is set to lose some of its more prominent “anonymous” voices in just a few days. The reason: in a decision that has passed largely under the radar, beginning in 2018, the SEC will require registered investment advisors – i.e. carbon-based asset managers, hedge funders and so on, to disclose any anonymous social media accounts, on their Form ADV.
    This goes back to a recently filed amendment to Form ADV, i.e., the “Umbrella Registration” for asset managers, specifically Item 1. I. as described below by K&L Gates:
    Recognizing the increasing use of social media by advisers, the SEC has also amended Item 1. I. to request information regarding the registrant’s accounts on publicly available social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Previously, Item 1. I. only asked for information about an adviser’s websites. Now, the registrant must provide, in addition to its website addresses, the addresses of each of its social media pages in Section 1. I. of Schedule D. However, a registrant should not provide the addresses of websites or accounts on publicly available social media platforms where the registrant does not the control the content, nor should it provide the website and social media addresses of its employees’ accounts, regardless of whether the registrant controls the content of such accounts.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.


  • The Biggest Oil Story of 2017

    US oil exports boom as OPEC cuts production.
    There have been plenty of eye-catching stories in the energy industry this year, but one notable development has been the rise of the U. S. as a crude oil exporter. The ban on crude exports from the U. S. was lifted at the end of 2015, and exports ticked up in the following year, but only modestly. 2017, however, was the year that the floodgates opened.
    In the first half of the year, there were several weeks when the U. S. topped 1 million barrels per day (mb/d), but exports averaged about 750,000 bpd between January and June.

    This post was published at Wolf Street by Nick Cunningham ‘ Dec 29, 2017.


  • US Dollar Has Worst Year since 2003, Defying the Fed

    Where will it go from here?
    Today is another down-day for the US dollar, the third in a row, capping a nasty year for the dollar, the worst since 2003. In 2017, the dollar dropped 7% against a broad basket of other currencies, as measured by the Trade Weighted Dollar Index (broad), which includes the Chinese yuan which is pegged to the US dollar. It was worse than the 5.7% drop in 2009, but not as bad the 8.5% plunge in 2003.
    Here are the past four years of the dollar as depicted by the Broad Trade Weighted Dollar Index, which tracks 26 foreign currencies. The index is updated weekly, with the last update on December 26, and has not yet captured the declines of past three days:

    This post was published at Wolf Street on Dec 29, 2017.