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 –.

Trump’s Tax Cut – FDR Would Be Envious

Authored by Tom Luongo,
The first rule of politics is feather your own nest. President Trump’s tax cut proposal always had this in mind.
Congress has passed a bill which tinkers at the edges but leaves most of Trump’s core proposal intact. It’s obvious to me that Trump has the political acumen of another brilliant U. S. politician, the loathsome Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Yeah, I’m not a fan of FDR. But I do respect his political skill in the same way I respect the way sharks hunt their prey.
FDR repackaged Herbert Hoover’s Works Progress Administration as ‘The New Deal’ which set him on a course of near perpetual re-election thanks to the wealth redistribution it engendered.
Am I saying the New Deal was nothing more than a vote-buying scheme? Yeah, pretty much. FDR knew that politicizing the Supreme Court and pushing the New Deal, even if he did it for the right reasons, would reshape the Federal election landscape for generations.
Trump’s tax plan will have similar effects. And it’s why there was such staunch opposition to it in Congress.
Democratic leadership understand that the triple-whammy of eliminating the State and Local Tax exemption, lowering corporate tax rate to 20% and incentivizing the on-shoring of corporate profits held overseas will gut their support at the electoral college level.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 3, 2017.

Two-Thirds Of The Top Primary Silver Miners Suffered Production Declines In 2017

It has been a rough year for many primary silver miners as two-thirds have suffered declines in production. Also, many high ranking silver producing countries are also experiencing a pronounced reduction in their domestic silver mine supply. According to the data put out by World Metal Statistics, Chile’s silver production is down 20% in the first eight months of the year, while Australia is down 19%, Mexico declined 2% and Peru by 1%.
The Silver Institute will be releasing their 2017 Silver Interim Report shortly which will provide an update on current silver production and forecasts for the remainder of the year. However, I believe global silver production will take a hit this year due to several factors including, falling ore grades, mine closures, and strikes at various projects.
For example, Tahoe Resources was forced to shut down its Guatemalan Escobal Mine in July due to a temporary suspension of its operating license by the country’s Supreme Court. However, even after the Guatemalan Supreme Court reinstated Tahoe Resources Escobal Mine’s license in early September, an ongoing road blockade has hampered the ability of the project to continue mining. Regardless, Tahoe’s silver production declined a stunning 6.7 million oz Q1-Q3 2017 versus the same period last year.

This post was published at SRSrocco Report on NOVEMBER 13, 2017.

Frontrunning: September 29

Republican Tax Plan Hits First Hurdle (WSJ) A $6.4 Billion Windfall Awaits Big U. S. Banks in Trump’s Tax Cut (BBG) How Does the Trump Tax Plan Affect You? WSJ Answers Your Questions (WSJ) Twitter suspends Russia-linked accounts, but U. S. senator says response inadequate (Reuters) Flight ban on Iraqi Kurds imposed after independence vote (Reuters) Elon Musk’s New Vision: Anywhere on Earth in Under One Hour (BBG) Kurdistan region refuses to hand over border crossings to Iraqi government: Rudaw (Reuters) Independence Vote Tests Catalonia’s Police Force (WSJ) Uber CEO Khosrowshahi to Visit U. K. to Rescue London License (BBG) Chinese Money Is Still Leaking Into the World’s Housing Markets (BBG) Russia accuses CNN International of violating Russian media law (Reuters) Dems on Trump’s Voter Fraud Panel Push Back (BBG) Schumer says senators close to bipartisan deal on health exchanges (Reuters) VW’s dieselgate bill hits $30 billion after another charge (Reuters) VW Takes New $2.9 Billion Hit From Diesel Scandal (WSJ) Iron Ore Becomes Punch Bag as China Concerns Drive 20% Collapse (BBG) U. S. visas to six Muslim nations drop after Supreme Court backs travel ban (Reuters) P&G CEO Blasts Nelson Peltz as Tensions Mount Over Board Vote (BBG) Lyft IPO puts investors in self-driving cars as well as ride services (Reuters) World’s Biggest Oil Company Promised Expats Idyllic Lifestyle – Then Fire Erupted (WSJ) Chaos and hackers stalk bitcoin investors (Reuters)
Overnight Media Digest
– A day after announcing their tax plan, Senate Republicans debated scaling back one of their largest and most controversial proposals to pay for lower tax rates – repeal of the individual deduction for state and local taxes.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 29, 2017.

“I Know What North Korea Wants” – President Carter Warns “US Oligarchy Refuses To Do It”

Former US President Jimmy Carter repeated his assertion that the US works more like an “oligarchy than a democracy,” while also lambasting Trump’s “hopeless” approach to the increasing tensions with North Korea.
The former president was speaking at a ‘Conversation with the Carters’ event at his Carter Center in Atlanta on Tuesday. AP reports that he said money in politics is what makes the US more like an oligarchy – run by a small group of rich people – rather than a democracy, repeating an allegation he has vociferously uttered for a few years.
‘[Money in politics] violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system.
Now it’s just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for President or being elected President. And the same thing applies to governors, and U. S. Senators and congress members.
So, now we’ve just seen a subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect, and sometimes get, favors for themselves after the election is over.”
Carter was referring to the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling to allow corporations to give unlimited campaign donations to political candidates, which he has previously said was ‘the most stupid decision’ the court had made.
But then the former President went to town on Trump and North Korea…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 14, 2017.

Investors Fret as Catalonia’s Independence Turmoil Seethes

The closer the referendum, the more draconian Spain’s response.
After years of simmering tensions, the biggest showdown yet between Barcelona and Madrid appears to be just weeks away. On Oct 1, the regional government of Catalonia plans to hold a referendum on national independence, in complete defiance of Spain’s central government in Madrid. As a last show of strength, an estimated one million separatists filled the streets of Barcelona, a city of just one and a half million people, for Catalonia’s national holiday, La Diada, on Monday.
Companies and investors are somewhat less enthused by the prospect of a head-on clash between Madrid and Catalonia, Spain’s richest and fastest-growing regional economy. An increasing number of financial firms, analysts and rating agencies are finally warning that what began as a largely political (and perfectly avoidable) crisis has the potential to spiral into a financial maelstrom that could spread far beyond the borders of both Catalonia and Spain.
Catalonia accounts for almost one-fifth of the nation’s economic output, but for years it’s been locked out from the capital markets and unable to issue its own debt, which is in deep junk territory. As such, it depends on the central government’s national liquidity fund (FLA) for about 60% of its funding, while the central government depends on Catalonia’s tax revenues to keep meeting its financial obligations.
This mutually dependent relationship has been under heavy strain ever since 2010, when Spain’s highly politicized Supreme Court, at the urging of the People’s Party, then in opposition but now in govermnent, decided to annul many of the articles of the new Statute of Autonomy signed in 2006 between Spain’s previous Zapatero government and Catalonia’s regional government, effectively stripping the agreement of any meaning.

This post was published at Wolf Street on Sep 12, 2017.

California’s Pillage People Still Greedy After All These Years

In 1990, Gilbert Hyatt was awarded the patent for the first single-chip microprocessor. The computer industry welcomed this invention, earning Hyatt a lot of money. He soon moved to Nevada, which has no state income tax. California’s Franchise Tax Board (FTB) claimed Hyatt lied about his residency, and that he owed $7.4 million in taxes for a six-month period from 1991 to 1992. In Nevada, California’s FTB goons ransacked Hyatt’s trash without a warrant, told his business partners and doctors he was under investigation and shared Hyatt’s personal information with the media. Hyatt sued the agency for harassment and violation of privacy. California tried to get the suit dismissed, but in 2003 the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that Hyatt had a right to go to trial.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 08/30/2017.

Constitutional Court Upholds Suspension Of Tahoe’s Mining License… Shares Fall 20%

According to unconfirmed sources, Tahoe Resources has learned that the Guatemalan Constitutional Court issued a decision yesterday to uphold the lower court’s preliminary ruling to suspend its mining license at Tahoe’s Escobal Mine. This new ruling caused Tahoe’s shares to sell off more than 20% during trading today.
I first wrote about the trouble at Tahoe Resources Escobal Mine in my article, WORLD’S 2ND LARGEST SILVER MINE SHUT DOWN: Implications For Company & Market:
First, after the Guatemalan Supreme Court suspended operations at Escobal, Tahoe’s stock price took a real beating falling 33% that day. In the past week, Tahoe’s stock price decline 40%:

A lot of investors were caught by surprise as Tahoe Resources has been making a lot of money from its mines, especially from its Escobal Silver Mine in Guatemala. For example, in 2016 Tahoe Resources reported profits of $118 million on revenue of $784 million. That is a stunning 15% margin of profit… and the majority of that profit was from the Escobal Mine.

This post was published at SRSrocco Report on AUGUST 25, 2017.

The Last Frontier For Gun Control: Washington Court Rules In Favor Of Seattle’s ‘Gun Violence’ Tax

Two years ago, the president of the Seattle City Council offered a rather ludicrous proposition. He wanted Seattle to place a new tax on the sale of firearms and ammunition within the city limits. Ammo would cost an additional 2-5 cents per round, and a firearm would cost an extra $25. But what was even more absurd than the tax itself, is what the money would be going toward. The tax was supposed to pay for gun violence prevention programs and research.
The way City Council President Tim Burgess explained it, this ‘gun violence’ tax would help offset the costs the city pays to treat gunshot victims. Essentially, it was a tax levied on responsible law abiding gun owners, to pay for the actions of violent criminals.
Despite how utterly stupid that sounds, the proposal passed. However, it didn’t have the desired effect. To the surprise of no one who actually understands the relationship between private firearm ownership and crime rates, the violent crime rate in Seattle has dramatically increased since the tax was put in place. It also brought in only a small fraction of the revenue that the city council was expecting. In short, the tax was a total failure.
So it’s no surprise that the tax has faced a lawsuit over the fact that Washington has a law that prevents municipalities from regulating firearms. Unfortunately, the Washington Supreme Court recently ruled against the lawsuit on the grounds that taxes aren’t the same as regulations, and cities are well within their right to levy sales taxes.

This post was published at shtfplan on August 17th, 2017.

Is the market all-knowing?

‘The tape tells all’ is a Wall Street bromide we’re all familiar with. It neatly summarizes the belief that the major averages discount everything pertaining to the business outlook. It’s also a basic tenet of Dow Theory.
Writing a century ago, Richard Wyckoff was one of the very first market pundits to put this belief in writing. ‘The tape tells the news minutes, hours and days before the news tickers or newspapers and before it can become current gossip,’ he wrote. ‘Everything from a foreign war to the passing of a dividend; from a Supreme Court decision to the ravages of the boll-weevil is reflected primarily upon the tape.’
This sentiment was also eloquently summarized by author Robert Rhea over 80 years ago. Writing in his classic book, The Dow Theory, Rhea observed:
‘The fluctuations of the daily closing prices of the Dow-Jones rail and industrial averages afford a composite index of all the hopes, disappointments, and knowledge of everyone who knows anything of financial matters, and for that reason the effects of coming events (excluding acts of God) are always properly anticipated in their movement. The averages quickly appraise such calamities as fire and earthquakes.’
The late Joe Granville took this a step further by suggesting that the stock market represents the sum total of a nation’s intelligence across many different fields. He maintained that the market knows virtually everything worth knowing about the short-to-intermediate-term outlook.

This post was published at GoldSeek on Friday, 14 July 2017.

Implications for silver of Tahoe’s Escobal shutdown — Lawrie Williams

The world’s second largest primary silver mine has been shuttered at least temporarily. Tahoe Resources’ somewhat controversial Escobal mine in Guatemala is to be closed for perhaps three months – possibly for longer – while court hearings are under way. In a statement to shareholders, Tahoe says that the Supreme Court of Guatemala has issued a provisional decision in respect of an action brought by the anti-mining organization, CALAS, against Guatemala’s Ministry of Energy and Mines (‘MEM’). The action alleges that MEM violated the Xinca Indigenous people’s right of consultation in advance of granting the Escobal mining license to Tahoe’s Guatemalan subsidiary, Minera San Rafael. The provisional decision is in respect of a request by CALAS for an order to temporarily suspend the license to operate the Escobal mine until the action is fully heard.
Tahoe is putting a brave face on the decision, but problems may run rather deeper given a long running dispute over the mine and opposition to it. Escobal has effectively been closed for a month already due to a blockade of the main access road by protestors. Guatemala has not proved to be a particularly mining-friendly nation and there are accusations of irregular dealings by the company over the award of the original mining license, as well as over dealing with mine opponents in the past including a serious shooting incident involving mine security personnel.
On the other hand, Escobal is a very significant revenue producer for the country and has single handedly moved Guatemala up from an ‘also ran’ to the world’s 11th largest silver producer and Escobal to the world’s second largest individual silver producing mine, after Fresnillo’s Saucito mine in Mexico, according to the latest figures from The Silver Institute. There could thus be some strong financial pressures to get the mine back into operation.

This post was published at Sharps Pixley

WORLD’S 2ND LARGEST SILVER MINE SHUT DOWN: Implications For Company & Market

The world’s second largest primary silver mine, Tahoe Resources Escobal Mine, was forced to shut down operations in Guatemala by a ruling from the country’s Supreme Court. This was due to a provisional decision by the Guatemalan Supreme court in respect of a request by CALAS, an anti-mining group, for an order to temporarily suspend the license to operate the Escobal Mine until there is a full hearing. (picture courtesy of Tahoe Resources)
While this story has been out for a few days, I believe there is a great deal of misinformation on the Mainstream and Alternative media about the current situation and future outcome of Tahoe’s flagship Escobal Mine. Some analysis suggests that this is just a small speed-bump for Tahoe, so when they are able to address disputed regulatory issues, production and profits will shortly return once again.
However, there also seems to be a another side to the story that could cause more problems for Tahoe with a much longer suspension time than the company is publicly stating. For example, the following was published in the article… Tahoe Resources forced to halt Escobal mine in Guatemala:
While Tahoe is preparing for a three-month mine suspension, Haywood analysts project no production from the mine for the remainder of 2017.

This post was published at SRSrocco Report on JULY 9, 2017.

State Pension Crisis Leading to High-Tax Exodus

Many public pension plans are dragging down their respective state and local governments, and the root of the problem is legislative inflexibility and demographic shifts, stated Chicago resident Jim Bianco, head of Bianco Research.
This time on FS Insider, we spoke with Bianco about the massive public pension funding gap, now reaching a tipping point, and Illinois’ politically-created downward spiral.
The Public Pension Straight Jacket
The reality is, the state of Illinois, where Bianco resides, could become the first ever to get hit with a junk status credit rating.
The cause is the unfunded liabilities associated with public pensions in the state. In 1970, the state of Illinois rewrote its constitution, Bianco noted, and added language forbidding changes to any pension or union contracts the state, city, or any entity within the state entered into.
A couple of years ago, the state proposed some rules to make state pensioners pay more into their pension in return for fewer benefits. The state supreme court said these contracts couldn’t be changed, however. The only way was to amend the state constitution, which is unlikely to happen, Bianco noted.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 07/06/2017.

Getting Taxpayer-Funded Free Stuff Is not “Religious Liberty”

There seems to be some confusion among religious columnists as to what constitutes religious freedom and what does not.
In a recent column for Crisis, Thomas Ascik claims that the US Supreme Court’s ruling inTrinity Lutheran v. Comer is a victory for “the free exercise of religion.”
The ruling essentially states that church organization can now receive government grants for amenities and activities that are not specifically religious activities. In the case of Trinity Lutheran specifically, the church had applied for a government grant to repave its playground with recycled automobile tires.
The state of Missouri denied the grant to the church on the grounds that it was a religious organization. Now SCOTUS has ruled such exclusionary policies are unconstitutional.
That’s fine as far as it goes. I have no more of a problem with Trinity Lutheran receiving state funds than with Secular Daycare Brand X receiving them. In both cases, the taxpayers have been ripped off and their money handed over to someone else. The fact that Trinity Lutheran is a church is not the problem in this equation.
But, let’s not pretend that getting a government grant has anything to do with the free exercise of religion or religious liberty. In no way did the grant-selection process mean that Trinity Lutheran or its membership was prevented from freely exercising its faith. As a result of the grant going to some other organization, the building was not seized by the state, the members were not silenced, and the church’s publications were not censored.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on June 30, 2017.

Traders Scramble To “Explain” Sudden Nasdaq Swoon

After surging in early trading, the Nasdasq – together with various cryptocurrencies – suddenly slumped and dropped as much as 1% from its intraday highs two hours into trading. That’s what traders could agree with; where they clearly disagreed, was on the reason for the swoon with everything from the velocity of last week’s rally, this morning’s economic data and the Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments on the Trump administration’s travel ban and being cited according to Bloomberg.
In other words, everyone blissfully rode the momentum on the way up, and now it’s time to come up with the most convincing story why there are more sellers than buyers.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 26, 2017.

Trump Wants “Fast Decision” On Comey Replacement – Here Are The 11 Candidates

Donald Trump said he expects to make a “fast decision” on a replacement for fired FBI Director James Comey, perhaps before he departs the U. S. on May 19 for his first foreign trip as president. Trump said the candidates under consideration to lead the FBI – White House officials have identified 11 of them so far – are “outstanding people.” He said most are “very well known” and of the “highest level.”
As Bloomberg reports, the 11 candidates under consideration as a permanent replacement for Comey:
Cornyn is the No. 2 Senate Republican and a former Texas attorney general and state Supreme Court justice. He has been a member of the Senate GOP leadership team for a decade and serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee. In the aftermath of Comey’s dismissal, Cornyn said Trump was “within his authority” to fire him and said it would not affect the investigation of possible Russian ties to Trump’s presidential campaign.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 13, 2017.

Pat Buchanan Explains How Berkeley Birthed ‘The Right’

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via,
In December 1964, a Silver Age of American liberalism, to rival the Golden Age of FDR and the New Deal, seemed to be upon us.
Barry Goldwater had been crushed in a 44-state landslide and the GOP reduced to half the size of the Democratic Party, with but 140 seats in the House and 32 in the Senate.
The Supreme Court of Chief Justice Earl Warren, the most liberal in history, was on a roll, and LBJ was virtually unopposed as he went about ramming his Great Society through Congress.
The left had it all. But then they blew it, beginning at Berkeley.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 5, 2017.

Gorsuch Casts First Major Tie-Breaking Vote Allowing Arkansas Executions To Proceed

In what will undoubtedly be a memorable first major tie-breaking vote as a Supreme Court Judge, Neil Gorsuch cast the deciding vote last night to allow Arkansas to begin executing a group of 8 death-row inmates. The decision came after attorneys for the State of Arkansas sought an expedited process to allow for the executions to proceed before their lethal-injection drugs expire at the end of April. Per Bloomberg:
In a series of orders Thursday night, the high court cleared the state to execute Ledell Lee, one of eight convicted murderers that Arkansas has been trying to put to death before one of its lethal-injection drugs expires at the end of the month. Associated Press later reported the execution had been carried out.
‘Apparently the reason the state decided to proceed with these eight executions is that the ‘use by’ date of the state’s execution drug is about to expire,” Breyer wrote. “That factor, when considered as a determining factor separating those who live from those who die, is close to random.”
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan also voted to block the executions.

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


Gold: $1250.30 UP $4.90
Silver: $18.23 UP 6 cents
Closing access prices:
Gold $1252.45
silver: $18.26!!!
Premium of Shanghai 2nd fix/NY:$10.00
LONDON FIRST GOLD FIX: 5:30 am est 1253.75
For comex gold:
For silver:
For silver: APRIL
Total number of notices filed so far this month: 523 for 2,615,000 oz
The FRBNY just released its March report on Gold movement at the FRBNY:
In February’s report: 7841 billion dollars worth of gold was in inventory valued at $42.22 per oz
In the March report: 78.41 billion dollars worth of gold was in inventory valued at $42.22 per oz
No of gold oz moved: zero

This post was published at Harvey Organ Blog on April 6, 2017.