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 –.

“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 –.

China Eliminates Taxation For Foreign Companies Investing in China

China has responded to global competition that is exploding in the wake of the Trump Tax Reform. While domestic news in the USA continues to bash the tax reform on class warfare, the rest of the world is trying to come to terms with what Trump has set in motion. China’s response is to allow foreign companies complete tax-free business on any profits they reinvest in China upping the stakes. Their position was stated by the Ministry of Finance and it is designed to ‘foster the growth of foreign investment, improve the quality of foreign investment, and encourage foreign investors to continuously expand their investment in China.’ The tax exemption applies retroactively from January 1st, 2017 beating Trump at his own game once more. Foreign companies who have paid taxes in China for 2017 will be refunded.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 30, 2017.

The Christmas Truce of World War I

In August 1914, Europe’s major powers threw themselves into war with gleeful abandon. Germany, a rising power with vast aspirations, plowed across Belgium, seeking to checkmate France quickly before Russia could mobilize, thereby averting the prospect of a two-front war. Thousands of young Germans, anticipating a six-week conflict, boarded troop trains singing the optimistic refrain: ‘Ausflug nach Paris. Auf Widersehen auf dem Boulevard.’ (‘Excursion to Paris. See you again on the Boulevard.’)
The French were eager to avenge the loss of Alsace and Lorraine to Germany in 1870. The British government, leery of Germany’s growing power, mobilized hundreds of thousands of young men to ‘teach the Hun a lesson.’ Across the continent, writes British historian Simon Rees, ‘millions of servicemen, reservists and volunteers … rushed enthusiastically to the banners of war…. The atmosphere was one of holiday rather than conflict.’
Each side expected to be victorious by Christmas. But as December dawned, the antagonists found themselves mired along the Western Front – a static line of trenches running for hundreds of miles through France and Belgium. At some points along the Front, combatants were separated by less than 100 feet. Their crude redoubts were little more than large ditches scooped out of miry, whitish-gray soil. Ill-equipped for winter, soldiers slogged through brackish water that was too cold for human comfort, but too warm to freeze.
The unclaimed territory designated No Man’s Land was littered with the awful residue of war – expended ammunition and the lifeless bodies of those on whom the ammunition had been spent. The mortal remains of many slain soldiers could be found grotesquely woven into barbed wire fences. Villages and homes lay in ruins. Abandoned churches had been appropriated for use as military bases.

This post was published at Mises Canada on DECEMBER 27, 2017.

The Integrated Non-USD Platforms

The many new integrated non-USD platforms devised and constructed by China finally have critical mass. They threaten the King Dollar as global currency reserve. Clearly, the USDollar cannot be displaced in trade and banking without a viable replacement for widespread daily usage. Two years ago, critics could not point to a viable integrated system outside the USD realm. Now they can. The integration of commercial, construction, financial, transaction, investment, and even security systems can finally be described as having critical mass in displacing the USDollar. The King Dollar faces competition of a very real nature. The Jackass has promoted a major theme in the last several months, that of the Dual Universe. At first the USGovt will admit that it cannot fight the non-USD movement globally. To do so with forceful means would involve sanctions against multiple nations, and a war with both Russia & China. Their value together is formidable in halting the financial battles from becoming a global war. The United States prefers to invade and destroy indefensible nations like Libya, Iraq, Ukraine, Syria, and by proxy Yemen. The USMilitary appears formidable against undeveloped nations, seeking to destroy their infra-structure and their entire economies, in pursuit of the common Langley theme of destabilization. In the process, the USMilitary since the Korean War has killed 25 million civilians, a figure receiving increased publicity. The Eastern nations and the opponents to US financial hegemony will not tolerate the abuse any longer. They have been organizing on a massive scale in the last several years. Ironically, the absent stability can be seen in the United States after coming full circle. The deep division of good versus evil, of honest versus corrupt, of renewed development versus endless war, has come to light front and center within numerous important USGovt offices and agencies.
The shape of the US nation will change with the loss of the USDollar’s status as global currency reserve. The starting point for the global resistance against the King Dollar was 9/11 and the onset of the War on Terror. It has been more aptly described as a war of terror waged by the USGovt as a smokescreen for global narcotics monopoly and tighter control of USD movements. Then later, following the Lehman failure (killjob by JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs) and the installation of the Zero Interest Rate Policy and Quantitative Easing as fixed monetary policies, the community of nations has been objecting fiercely. The zero bound on rates greatly distorted all asset valuations and financial markets. The hyper monetary inflation works to destroy capital in recognized steps. These (ZIRP & QE) are last ditch desperation policies designed to enable much larger liquidity for the insolvent banking structures. Without them, the big US banks would suffer failure. They also provide cover for the amplified relief efforts directed at the multi-$trillion derivative mountain. In no way, can the global tolerate unbridled monetary inflation which undermines the global banking reserves.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 26 December 2017.

Trump Tax Reform Causing Panic in Europe & Asia

While the American press keeps pushing the class warfare along with the Democrats, outside the USA there is a major panic taking place on a grand scale. I have been called into meeting in Europe and even in Asia all deeply concerned about the loss of competition with the United States due to the Trump Tax Reform. Naturally, the American press would NEVER tell the truth how cutting the corporate tax rate will upset the powers that be around the globe.
A German study warns that its economy will be among the losers in the face of the Trump Tax Reform, which they warn will fuel the tax competition between America and Europe, but also the study leader, Christoph Spengel from the Economic Research Institute ZEW, came out and told Reuters:
‘In addition, competition between EU members for US investment will increase; Germany is the loser.’

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 22, 2017.

Is California Already In Recession?

When it comes to the health of his state’s economy, California Governor Jerry Brown has been walking on eggshells this year.
Twice each year, once in January and again in May, Gov. Jerry Brown warns Californians that the economic prosperity their state has enjoyed in recent years won’t last forever.
Brown attaches his admonishments to the budgets he proposes to the Legislature – the initial one in January and a revised version four months later.
Brown’s latest, issued last May, cited uncertainty about turmoil in the national government, urged legislators to “plan for and save for tougher budget times ahead,” and added:
“By the time the budget is enacted in June, the economy will have finished its eighth year of expansion – only two years shorter than the longest recovery since World War II. A recession at some point is inevitable.”
It’s certain that Brown will renew his warning next month. Implicitly, he may hope that the inevitable recession he envisions will occur once his final term as governor ends in January, 2019, because it would, his own financial advisers believe, have a devastating effect on the state budget.
Unfortunately for Governor Brown, the recession he fears may already have arrived in California.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 21, 2017.

A Word of Thanks, Lew

Many Mises.org readers know that Lew Rockwell, founder of the Mises Institute and quiet benefactor to countless individuals in libertarian circles over the decades, continues to recover from a recent back injury. While the episode has not quelled his enthusiasm for liberty, recovery is no picnic.
Apparently medicine remains in the Dark Ages when it comes to backs, especially lower backs. Some treatments are sketchy and unreliable, cortisone injections provide only fleeting benefit, pain management is fraught with nausea and other nasty side effects, and surgical options portend Armageddon. All that said, Lew is in great hands with innovators at Emory University (yes, xenophobes, we have wonderful doctors down South) and feeling much better. A procedure performed earlier this week appears to have yielded tremendous benefit, and we expect Lew back at 100% very soon.
My point in writing this is twofold: first, to update friends and supporters of the Institute on Lew’s progress, and second to remind all of us of the tremendous debt of gratitude we owe him.
Let me risk Lew’s wrath by sharing a few personal details about him.
Few people know that his much older brother was killed as a young pilot during World War II – by friendly fire. The family never fully recovered, of course, and the event instilled a deep antiwar sentiment in Lew as a boy even though he could not fully grasp the depth of the tragedy and his parents’ grief. And while he grew up as a Taft and later a Goldwater conservative, Lew soured on the GOP during the Nixon era and dismissed it as a hopeless and even malevolent force.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on 12/14/2017.

National Health Crisis: US Inner-City Kids Suffer ‘War-Zone’-Like PTSD

BBC’s ‘America First?’ series sent Aleem Maqbool, a North America correspondent, to the inner city of Atlanta, Georgia, where he uncovered a rather shocking statistic in which 46% of the inner city residents suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a rate that is much higher than U. S. soldiers (10-20%).
***
Maqbool describes Atlanta’s inner city environment as a ‘war zone’, where death and destruction are contributing to high levels of PTSD in adults and children. He further quoted researchers and said levels of PTSD in America’s inner cities are comparable to refugee populations around the world.
To make matters worse, the video makes the claim: gun murder rates (per 100,000) in the US are at astronomical levels when compared to other countries. A startling find, when considering the US, the richest country in the world, does not perform well in the international rankings.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 10, 2017.

Two Portraits from the American Civil War

Here are the portraits of famous figures from the Civil War:
The first is a Democrat. Politically, he was the polar opposite of Abraham Lincoln and the new Republican Party. He was ardently pro-slavery. He supported the Lecompton Constitution that sought to make Kansas a slave state, and favored the Dred Scott decision that threw out the Missouri Compromise and opened even Northern territories to slavery.
In 1860, this person attended the Democratic Convention. Before the party split and produced two rival nominees for president, he supported Jefferson Davis. After the split between the Northern and Southern democrats, he supported the Southern candidate, John C. Breckinridge, instead of the more moderate norther nominee, Stephen Douglas.
Our second figure looks decidedly different. He is a Union officer who worked to recruit volunteers for the Northern cause. He led a regiment into Washington D. C. to defend the capital. His quick action against the South earned him a promotion to general, and he was put in charge of Fort Monroe. While he ran the fort, the general invoked international warfare rules to declare the runaway southern slaves ‘contraband,’ effectively emancipating them, even as President Lincoln was undermining similar actions by his other generals as an attempt to capitulate to Southern slave owners.
But this Union general was brutal toward the South. In New Orleans, he was referred to as a ‘Beast.’ When he was placed in command of the Southern metropolis, one of his first actions was to execute William Mumford for his audacity in lowering the flag of the United States. Southerners saw him as exceedingly cruel, but he epitomized the image of a Northern patriot. Jefferson Davis, who had the political support of the first character, turned his ire on this second figure by publishing a list of his crimes against Southerners, futilely hoping to enrage the North.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Dec 9, 2017.

“It Was Like A War Zone” – Heavy Winds Push Wildfires Toward San Diego As Bel Air Burns

Images of charred palm trees and the burnt-out husks of multi-million-dollar homes flooded social media for a fifth day Friday as the SoCal wildfires that exploded into life at the beginning of the week showed no signs of slowing.
Instead, some of the largest fires have entered the heart of Los Angeles – America’s second largest city – and are menacing some of the most expensive homes in the country.
To date, six large wildfires have scorched 141,000 acres in the state, with the flames spreading as far south as San Diego, Cal Fire officials said. At least 5,700 firefighters from several agencies and at least nine states are working to contain the massive walls of flames. The fires have forced 190,000 people out of their homes in a hurry. Many took only their pets and a few choice mementos.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 8, 2017.

Beware Of Fake Expectations

When you read the title of this article, I am sure you assumed this article would be all about the latest event of fake news which supposedly rocked the market this past Friday. Well, I am sorry to disappoint you.
You see, many investors have been following fake news for much longer than you realize. Well, more accurately, the news has been real, but the expectations held by analysts and investors has been fake.
As I have been presenting for quite some time now, we have seen many expectations of negative reactions to news being presented by analysts over the last two years. They have pointed to news events like Brexit, Frexit, terrorist attacks, rise in interest rates, cessation of QE, the Trump election, and many other reasons as to why the stock market will start heading south in a big way. So, while they have all pointed to real news events, their expectations have been fake.
So, maybe its time to consider that fake news and fake expectations have potentially been hurting investors these last few years!?
And, rather than maintaining fake expectations about how the next news event is going to ’cause’ a move in the market, at some point, investors may have to accept that the substance of these news events do not cause anything. Rather, it is the investor reaction to the news events which cause movements in the market. And, investor reactions are driven by investor sentiment.
When investor sentiment is positive, seemingly negative news events are discounted (terrorist attacks, North Korea, rising interest rates, cessation of QE, etc.) as the market continues on its northern trajectory. However, as the market completes its natural path of progression, we reach a point at which it is time we can begin to expect that investor sentiment has reached a pinnacle, and will likely turn south for a time.

This post was published at GoldSeek on Wednesday, 6 December 2017.

Hollywood Movie Director’s “Outlandish” London Home For Rent – Take The Tour

If you haven’t heard of Roland Emmerich, you will almost certainly have heard of some of his movies. Emmerich is the 62-year old German who directed Universal Soldier (1992), Independence Day (1996), Godzilla (1998), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), White House Down (2013) and Independence Day: Resurgence (2016). He is the 11-th highest grossing director in history. Besides directing, Emmerich also produced and wrote most of his movies. Emmerich owns homes in Los Angeles, New York, London and Stuttgart. As Wikipedia notes.
He likes to decorate his homes in a self-described “outlandish” manner, adorning them with rare Hollywood memorabilia, murals and portraits of dictators and Communist figures, and World War II militaria.
Emmerich’s London home is currently available for rent – anything from a few days to six months. As The Guardian newspaper notes,
the house is filled with communist iconography, taxidermy and potentially outrageous art. The property’s interior designer John Teall says:
‘Nothing is spared, from government and gender to race and religion – but there’s no manifesto. The idea was to provoke thought, amuse and maybe shock a little.’
If you’d like to take the tour, let’s go. Here is the outside on Brompton Square In London’s Chelsea.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2017.

“Deadliest Year Ever” – Baltimore Eclipses 2016 Homicide Total

As of 11:20am ET. Thursday morning, the wave of violent crime continued in Baltimore with the death of a 21-year old man by gunfire.
The significance of this latest death in Baltimore’s urban war zone, is that total homicides in 2017 have now topped 2016 levels at 319, and there is still one month to go.
Homicides in Baltimore have averaged 29 per month, which could indicate Baltimore is now on track for the deadliest year ever to be recorded. The all-time per-capita record was set back in 2015, with 344 homicides, said Fox News.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 2, 2017.

Paris – The Capital Of West & Central Africa

Once France was one of ‘the great powers’, dominating Europe and parts of the world in terms of culture and economy. The country’s demise started after the Second World War, though it still played a key role in the creation of the European Union and the euro, which was to prevent Germany from subjugating the rest of the continent.
***
However, this strategy has failed and Berlin has become Europe’s capital, with France’s importance ever dwindling.
France’s population is slowly being substituted for by people from Africa. Renaud Camus calls it the ‘grand replacement’. Paris, once a European, then a global is slowly turning into an African metropolis. If French elites, whose influence in Europe is fading, want to remain a world power, they can only opt for Africa. Qaddafi, the king of the kings, became a threat to France’s interests on the continent. It were not the Americans that pushed for Qaddafi’s replacement but the French elites.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 1, 2017.

The US Aristocracy’s Smear-Russia Campaign: Big Brother At Work

Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,
Billionaires, both liberal and conservative ones, own, and their corporations advertise in and their ‘charities’ donate to, America’s mainstream (and also many ‘alternative news’) media.
They do this not so as to profit directly from the national ‘news’media (a money-losing business, in itself), but so as to control the ‘news’ that the voting public (right and left) are exposed to and thus will accept as being ‘mainstream’ and will reject all else as being ‘fringe’ or even ‘fake news’, even if what’s actually fake is, in fact, the billionaires’ own mainstream ‘news’, such as their ‘news’media had most famously ‘reported’ about ‘Saddam’s WMD’ (but the’news’media never changed after that scandal – even after having pumped uncritically that blatant lie to the public).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 30, 2017.

How Much Does a Tax Cut Cost?

People often speak of tax cuts using topsy-turvy lingo like this quotation from the Committee for a Responsible Budget: ‘the country currently spends $1.6 trillion per year on tax breaks.’ Or, as The Hill claims: ‘GOP tax plan would cost $2.4 trillion.’ Statements like these make it sound like a tax cut is something you have to buy – as in, you search Amazon.com for tax cuts, add it to your cart, and purchase it. Then your credit card is charged $2.4 trillion. This is very confusing and very common. With the Trump/Republican tax plan being discussed, this sort of language is everywhere.
Taxes are revenue for the government collected involuntarily from its citizens. Therefore, a cut in taxes simply means less non-consensual money is taken from taxpayers. It is not money changing hands from the government to citizens. Indeed, it is money not changing hands. A tax cut is lowering the rate of taxation, and similarly a tax expenditure is using exemptions, deductions, and credits to target particular situations for tax relief. George Reisman says:
…according to The Times, ‘Tax expenditures cost the federal government more than $1 trillion a year in lost revenue.’
When one recalls that in World War II, there was a 90-percent bracket in the federal income tax, and that the government has it in its power to impose such a tax rate on everyone but presently chooses not to do so, then it becomes clear that by the logic of the concept, the cost of tax expenditures to the federal government is not just $1 trillion, but many, many trillions. It is, in fact, everyone’s entire income and wealth.
Saying there is a cost for lower taxes is a rhetorical tactic meant to obscure what tax cuts really mean: less money for the government. However, it may feel like a cost for some vested interests.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on 11/28/2017.

The Yellen Put – Friend Or Foe?

The term ‘Greenspan Put’ was coined after the stock market crash of 1987 and the subsequent bailout of Long Term Capital Management in 1998. The Fed under Chairman Alan Greenspan lowered interest rates following the fabled event of default and life continued.
The idea of the Greenspan Put was that lower interest rates would cure the market’s woes. Unfortunately, the FOMC has since fallen into a pattern whereby longer periods of low or even zero interest rates are used to address yesterday’s errors, but this action also leads us into tomorrow’s financial excess. As one observer on Twitter noted in an exchange with Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari:
‘Central Bankers are much like the US Forest Service of old. Always trying to manage ‘nature’ and put out the little brush fires of the capitalist system, while they seem incapable of recognizing they are the root cause of major conflagrations as a result.’
When the Federal Open Market Committee briefly allowed interest rates to rise above 6% in 2000, the US financial system nearly seized up. Long-time readers of The Institutional Risk Analyst recall that Citigroup (C) reported an anomalous spike in loan defaults that sent regulators scrambling for cover. The FOMC dropped interest rates at the start of 2001 – nine months before the 911 terrorist attacks – and kept the proverbial pedal to the metal until June of 2004.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 27, 2017.

Taxes: here’s what’s going to stay the SAME

On October 3, 1913, US President Woodrow Wilson signed the Underwood-Simmons Act into law, creating what would become the first modern US income tax.
The legislation (at least, the income tax portion) was only 16 pages and imposed a base tax rate of just 1%.
The highest tax rate was set at 7% – and it only applied to individuals earning more than $500,000 per year, which is about $12.6 million today according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And individuals earning less than $3,000 (about $75,000 today) were exempt from paying tax.
Tax rates moved up and down over the years – the government raised rates to fund World War I, then lowered them in peacetime.

This post was published at Sovereign Man on November 21, 2017.