Are you ready for High Extortion Bonds?

While everyone else is considering the implications of a -25 bps rate it is time for the astute to look down the road.  New forms of bonds with larger and larger negative coupons will emerge.  Governmental entities that are quick to adopt this new type of bond will see their deficits evaporate.  Which large investment house will be the first to offer a High Extortion Bond fund?  Diversifying was important with High Yield Bonds and there is no doubt that financial advisors would urge using a High Extortion Bond fund in order to control risk.  If a High Extortion Bond goes belly up your checks might be returned uncashed.  If one insists on purchasing a specific High Extortion Bond shouldn’t there be some form of insurance one can buy to protect against this hopefully rare scenario?  In order to set the insurance rates appropriately we would also need someone like Moody’s to analyze each High Extortion Bond and give us reasoned default projections on them.  Get ready for the new frontier of finance!

via Zero Hedge bugs_

“Fight Me!”: “Shocking” Video Shows Migrant Melee In Swedish Refugee Home

Tensions are running high in Sweden, the country with the highest per capita rate of sheltered asylum seekers.

Just yesterday we brought you video footage depicting a gang of “football hooligans” who stormed the central train station in Stockholm on the way to assaulting migrants and generally running amok in a show of nationalistic furor.

The incident came on the heels of an attack at a migrant house that left 22-year-old Alexandra Mezher dead. She was stabbed to death by an unaccompanied migrant child who was living at an asylum center in Molndal, where she had been working for several months.

“We refuse to accept the destruction of our once to safe society. When our political leadership and police show more sympathy for murderers than for their victims, there are no longer any excuses to let it happen without protest,” a kind of manifesto distributed ahead of the train station melee read. “’The justice system has walked out and the contract of society is therefore broken – it is now every Swedish man’s duty to defend out public spaced against the imported criminality.”

On Sunday, we go back to Sweden to bring you footage from inside a migrant shelter near Jonköping where a fight nearly broke out between a staff member and a distraught refugee.

It’s not entirely clear what went wrong, but here’s what The Local has to say:

In the video, one of the refugee youths is seen pleading with the worker “please, please, please”, before the worker erupts in anger.


“You have a problem with me?” the youth then asks, getting closer, before he begins shrieking, “fight me! fight me! fight me!” and then breaks down screaming and sobbing uncontrollably on the floor.


A broken table is visible. In the background, shouts of “fuck you!”, and “shut up!” are clearly audible.


The worker told Swedish Radio that a disturbance had broken out shortly before the video was recorded which had forced him and other staff members to lock themselves in their rooms.


He claimed that the man filmed apparently undergoing a nervous breakdown was the ringleader of the refugee youth, and was faking his apparent anguish for the camera.

As you can see, the “integration” process is going swimmingly.

via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

60 Dead In Massive ISIS Suicide Attack On Syrian Capital

On Saturday, a delegation from Syria’s “main opposition” showed up in Geneva for UN-brokered peace talks, in what is supposed to represent the first steps towards some manner of negotiated settlement to the country’s protracted civil war.

“The 17-strong team from the Saudi-backed Higher Negotiation Committee (HNC), including political and militant opponents of Assad in the country’s 5-year-old civil war, is expected to have a first meeting with the U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura on Sunday,” Reuters reports.

Well, those talks will begin beneath a pall of violence, because earlier today, some 60 people were killed by a car bomb and two suicide bombers in Damascus.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack (perhaps they were angry at not being invited to Geneva) saying they had “hit the most important stronghold of Shi’ite militias in Damascus.”

According to SANA, militants detonated a car bomb at a public transportation garage in Sayeda Zeinab district of Damascus, the site of Syria’s holiest Shiite shrine.

As rescuers moved in, two suicide bombers detonated their belts.

The shrine houses the grave of the daughter of Ali ibn Abi Taleb, the cousin of Prophet Mohammed, whom Shi’ites consider the rightful successor to the prophet,” Reuters writes adding that “Syrian Ambassador Bashar Jaafari, head of the government delegation at Geneva, said the blasts in Damascus just confirmed the link between what the government says are a Saudi-led and funded Islamist ‘opposition’ and terrorism.”

Among the dead were dozens of Shiite militiamen who were fighting alongside the SAA.

Here are the visuals:

And so, just as the Saudis send a delegation comprised of opposition elements to Geneva, Sunni extremists who follow the very same ultra puritanical version of Islam as that espoused by Riyadh have just killed 60 people at a Shiite shrine. 

Meanwhile, Saudi officials have begun offering nearly $2 million for information that would help prevent militant attacks. As Bloomberg reported on Sunday, “authorities will pay a 1 million riyal-reward to anyone who ‘provides information about a terrorist, [while] information that leads to uncovering a terrorist cell will be rewarded with 5 million riyals.” 

If Saudi Arabia is serious about “preventing militant attacks”, perhaps the Wahhabists in Riyadh should simply look in the mirror

You’re welcome Saudi Arabia. You can make the $2 million check payable to Tyler Durden.

via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

Should a Gov’t Scholarship Program Exclude Religious Schools?

When Montana created a school scholarship program in May 2015, it seemed like a dream come true for parents like Kendra Espinoza, a single mom living in Kalispell with limited means.

“I didn’t have a lot of opportunity growing up […] And so, I want to give that [to] my kids,” says Espinoza, who sends who two daughters to Stillwater Christian Academy, a private religious school a short drive from their house.

But Espinoza ran into a problem.

Although the scholarhship program is funded by voluntary donors who recieved tax credits and was supported by the Montana legislature, the Montana Department of Revenue passed a ruling December 15, 2015, denying money to kids who attended religious schools. From the Montana Billings Gazette:

Unfortunately, Gov. Steve Bullock’s Department of Revenue threw a monkey wrench in the works. Claiming that the tax credits were the same thing as government spending, they argued that the bill was an unconstitutional appropriation of public dollars to religious schools. They then passed rules barring any religious schools from participating. That’s more than 95 percent of the private schools in the state.

“I think every parent has that right to be able to say, ‘I want my kids to be able to go to this school or that school,'” says Espinoza, who has since joined a lawsuit along with two other mothers through the Institute for Justice. For more on the case watch, “Montana Families Are Fighting for School Choice.

from Hit & Run

The Silver Market (Video)

By EconMatters

In 2015 it was always beneficial to buy silver when it was below $14 an ounce in the futures market. Are things going to be any different in the Silver Market for 2016? Do we get a breakout in either direction this year, or does it remain largely a dead market for long term price trends.

© EconMatters All Rights Reserved | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Email Digest | Kindle  

via Zero Hedge EconMatters

How The Masses Deal With Risk (And Why They Remain Poor)

Submitted by Chris via Capitalist Exploits blog,

Last week I discussed how humans are wired to pay attention to scary things. In financial speak: risk. Darwinism has chastised those who ignore risk by rewarding them with an early grave, and by process of elimination rewarded those who stay out of the cross hairs.

Thing is, we no longer live in a world where saber-toothed tigers threaten our existence. In today’s world far greater risk lies in the truly enormous and disproportionate emotional attitude to (and assessment of) risk.

This has nothing to do with Darwin but rather more to do with an educational system designed and built for the industrial age. Education today is an advertising agency which leads us to believe we need the society on which it relies upon for its existence.

Beginning with the schooling system and followed by “higher education”, the middle and upper middle class in developed societies are by and large serfs. And they’re serfs because they don’t understand risk.

The overwhelming majority look at risk incorrectly. They look at it two dimensionally: “The more risk I take the more ‘volatility’ I have.” The fact is, risk is actually subjective to your own personal situation. Mismanaging your own personal situation increases risk disproportionately.

Let me give you an example of how easily an otherwise intelligent person gets royally screwed by the system by routinely miscalculating risk.

Let’s take Harry, a fictional guy from a middle class family who’s just left high school. Harry really wants to get ahead and has set himself a goal of becoming a millionaire by the time he’s 25. He figures that by 35 he’ll be worth north of $10 million.

Truthfully these figures don’t mean much to him but he’s had a small taste of the life and he knows it costs. There was that time he was trying to impress a brunette, and they dined at one of David Chang’s NY restaurants and he still remembers the almost palpable smell of money in the air as diners around him flashed Hublots, diamond necklaces and sophistication.

He remembers how the waiter unscrewed the cap of the water as though defusing a nuclear bomb. And although the beef he ordered was so thin that he had to lick it off the plate because it kept falling off the fork, his friends were really impressed and the girl so floored that she showed her appreciation by keeping him up all night.

The first thing poor Harry is told is to get an education. And so he does just that. Years of schooling have failed to developed in him critical thought. And so, though he has access to almost every resource one can think of, and at a cost approaching zero, he automatically associates education with a four-walled institution where people who like books theorize on how the real world operates, most never having experienced it first hand.

Here he spends 3 years getting into girls’ pants, drinking too much and associating with the same type of people as himself, which does little to develop his critical thought processes. Harry is rewarded with two pieces of paper. One represents his qualification and the other represents the six figure debt he now owes. Remember that the knowledge acquired between the drinking and sex is already free.


This is Harry’s first critical step in miscalculating risk. He exits university with a piece of paper and the world skills and street-smarts of a juvenile because his free time has been spent drinking and test driving anything in a skirt. Most importantly his future income is already tied up in debt repayments.

Fresh out of university Harry now has two doors ahead of him…

The Red Door

Choosing the red door takes Harry into a job. This promises a monthly revenue stream which appears to offer security and consistency. The lure is strong. After all the need to pay off his student debt lurks high on Harry’s list. He’s excited to put himself to test in the “real world” and believes that he can really target becoming wealthy once he’s got his student debt paid off and a few years under his belt.

The Green Door

Here Harry must take his skills learned and rapidly obtain an education. A real education. He will need to do this by becoming an entrepreneur and building his own outcome. This option offers no monthly revenue stream and no security or consistency. It also offers unlimited upside and a real, not imagined, shot at becoming wealthy.

Unfortunately, Harry has a distorted view of risk for two reasons:

  1. He has debt and must make debt payments. This distorts his view of real risk.
  2. He doesn’t have an education which shows him the real cost of risk.

The red door option appears far less risky than the green door option. After all, none of  Harry’s friends are doing this and when he brought up the topic with his parents they nearly blew a gasket. “Don’t give up your future so early on,” they pleaded.  Once again, poor Harry’s lack of critical thought gets the better of him and he takes the red door believing it to be less risky.

Cubicle Hell

Fast forward a few years into cubicle hell and Harry is now earning $60,000 a year. His student debts are easily manageable and in an attempt to get ahead, Harry buys a house, reasoning that he needs somewhere to live and this is the first step towards fulfilling his goal of becoming wealthy.

He reasons that buying the house is a step in the right direction, but he hates his job more every day and it’s now dawned on him that it’s a long hard slog up the corporate ladder in order to earn the sort of money that can make him wealthy.

Once again, he’s faced with a dilemma. Does Harry risk kicking in the job and starting a business of his own, doing something that he really loves, or does he stay put?

And This Is How Harry Analyses The Risk

Scratching at his now receding hairline he thinks to himself, “I can’t take the risk of starting my own business because it may fail.”

The downside now is losing not only the $60,000 salary but defaulting on the payments now tied to this revenue stream. The risk is no longer $60,000. The risk now is in losing the ability to keep up student debt payments as well as mortgage payments.

Pretty soon he’ll fill that house he bought with “stuff” which will either come on hire purchase or simply be added to his mortgage. He lies to himself saying, “Hey, at least I’ve got the income, which I wouldn’t have had without the college education. And at least I’m on my way up because I now own an asset.”

Wrong! On So Many Levels…

Here is how Harry should analyse risk for something as simple as deciding whether to quit a $60,000 a year job or not in favour of having a crack at becoming wealthy.

Let’s look at the downside: if Harry has a job paying $60,000, chances are he’ll be able to pick up another paying $60,000.

Let’s say that those chances are 60%. So he has a 60% chance of getting back to where he is now if he screws up.

Let’s further say that there is a 20% chance he can only get another job paying $50,000, and another 20% chance he will only manage to get a position paying $40,000.

The worst case scenario is therefore a 20% chance of a $20,000 loss. This is his real risk. What then is the upside?

The upside is unlimited. Literally!

Even if Harry completely screws things up, a year running his own business will provide him with 10 years worth of “higher education” leaving him far more qualified than he’ll ever be if he stays in his job.

Why wouldn’t Harry risk a 20% chance of losing $20,000 for a potentially unlimited upside?

The reason Harry doesn’t make the trade is because he’s already tied his $60,000 revenue stream to a host of liabilities. Now I hear some of you saying, “Oh no, but he owns a house and that’s an asset”. No, it’s not!

Assets make you wealthy. They provide you with more, not less freedom. Is Harry’s house doing any of those things?

Harry has already fallen into a trap where he is no longer free to make rational choices. Freedom is wealth.

The financial infrastructure surrounding Harry and the education he’s received is DESIGNED to ensure that debt is never repaid, but only serviced.

If you, dear reader, and I can create a loan for a $1 million and collect an interest payment on it for eternity, all the while getting the poor sucker who’s taken the loan to sign up for even more loans on more liabilities, then that, my friend, is an awesome deal for us. This is what banks, insurance companies and credit agencies make a living out of.

80% of people routinely make the same decisions Harry does and then continue to do so throughout their life. Is it any wonder why despite having cars, boats, a house and all the trappings of the enslaved, they reach middle age, exhausted, unfulfilled, and forever trapped in these damn payments, with some far off absurd goal to pay off the loans upon retirement?

This brings me to that Italian mathematician I mentioned last week.

The Law Of The Vital Few

Vilfredo Pareto first observed the phenomenon that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the people. Since then this phenomenon has been mathematically proved across literally every spectrum of society and business.

The principle states that, for many phenomena, 20% of invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained. Put another way, 80% of consequences stem from 20% of the causes.

What I discussed last week was how we’re hard wired to take notice of pain. This neurological fact is played upon by many industries where we are led to believe things which just ain’t so. We can see the results in wealth distribution, just as Vilfredo observed in the early 20th century.

US Wealth Distribution

Take early stage venture capital for example. If I had a brick for every person who’s told me that I’m taking massive risk by investing in early stage private companies, I’d have enough to rebuild the Berlin Wall.

Risk is not one dimensional. It’s a known fact that well over 50% of early stage deals go belly up. Risky? Sure, it is if viewed in isolation.

What is also a fact is that the mean return of early stage VC investments is north of 50% per annum. This is the mean and like anything else with a little bit (OK, a lot) of work, outperforming the average in anything is entirely achievable if you put effort into it.

Use proven laws to tilt the balance of probability massively in your favour. Turn off the TV. Travel. Educate yourself.

Unless you want to be part of Pareto’s 80%, then don’t invest in what 80% of the market are invested in. Look for asymmetry. Look for what lies in the 20%.

“The plain fact is that education is itself a form of propaganda – a deliberate scheme to outfit the pupil, not with the capacity to weigh ideas, but with a simple appetite for gulping ideas ready-made. The aim is to make ‘good’ citizens, which is to say, docile and uninquisitive citizens.” – H.L. Mencken

via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

Watch: Reason’s Nick Gillespie & Lisa Snell Call Bullsh*t on Public Education Abuses

“Reason’s Nick Gillespie & Lisa Snell Call Bullsh*t on Public Education Abuses” is the latest video from Reason TV. Watch above or click here for video, full text, supporting links, downloadable versions, and more Reason TV clips.

View this article.

from Hit & Run

Citi On Why Negative Rates Are Like Potato Chips: “No One Can Have Just One”

Now that Japan has let the negative rates genie out of the bottle, or as DB put it, ‘opened the Pandora’s Box‘ and in the process unleashed the latest global “silent bank run” and capital flight, prepare to hear a whole lot more about NIRP in the coming weeks because as Citi’s Steven Englander put it, “Why are Negative Rates like Potato Chips? No one can have just one.”

This is what else Englander said:

You can admire the policy boldness of the BoJ move into negative rates, and recognise its powerful asset market effects – positive for equities and negative for JPY. Experience in other countries that have entered into this territory should sober you up on the likely economic and inflation impact. No country that has gone into negative rates has experienced major shifts in its growth and inflation profile – minor, yes; major, no. As a consequence every dip into negative rates has been followed by additional moves.


Negative rates are a powerful inducement for cash to leave the banking system, but there is little evidence that investors take the cash and build steel plants with it. They buy foreign and financial assets, which is probably more than enough for the BoJ.

Some further thoughts from Citi’s FX desk, and why the BOJ ultimately shot itself, and other central banks, in the foot:

As the dust settles on the BoJ reaction, USDJPY is somewhat higher and risk currencies have begun to rebound following an initial dip. However, the price action has not been one-sided. Partly this seems to reflect the tendency of many investors to dismiss the rate move as diluted given its tiered implementation. Of the investors I have spoken to since the decision, a significant majority were inclined to poke holes in the decision. The response also carries some echoes of the response to the Fed, where dovishness did little to support investor sentiment and markets sold off. If anything, the pattern seems to be that bad news is bad news, good news is bad news and no news is good news. To me, this latter concern presents a more sustained threat to risk sentiment and it has been harder to dismiss the deeper vein of market concern on underlying slowing, policy effectiveness and the ability of policymakers to respond to future shocks.

Finally, who could have possibly foreseen the entire world collapsing into NIRP singularity? Well, this blog for one (more on that later). Others included Albert Edwards and Bob Janjuah who sat down in September  and predicted that sooner or later the Fed itself would cut rates to -5%. Some laughed at the duo 4 months ago; hardly as much laughter this time around.

For those who missed it the first time, here it is again:

When Two Uber-Bears Sit Down: Albert Edwards And Bob Janjuah Expect The Fed To Cut To -5%

When two legendary “bears” (actually what they really are is realists who refuse to drink the Fed’s, the establishment’s, and the media’s Kool-Aid) such as Albert Edwards and Bob Janjuah sit down, while the outcome is hardly as dramatic as the Stay Puft marshmallow man emerging, one certainly expects very provocative and contrarian observations to emerge. This is precisely what happened one week ahead of the Fed’s last meeting. 

Here is the story as told by Edwards himself in his latest note to SocGen clients:

I enjoyed afternoon tea with my fellow strategist Bob Janjuah of Nomura (aka Bob the Bear). When we occasionally meet up, we lie back and look up for a bit of clear blue sky thinking – okay, I know it’s London and the sky is usually overcast, but that sort of fits in with our bear view of the world! Among other things we wondered why no-one else entertains the possibility that rates might bottom at minus 5% Fed Funds in the coming downturn.


The next US recession will probably arrive a lot sooner than most investors expect and will likely see more desperate monetary experimentation from the Fed. Bob and I thought that this time we would see deeply negative interest rates in the US (and Europe). Sweden has led the way, dipping their toe below the water line with their current -0.35% policy rates but there will be more, much more along these lines. For if -0.35% is possible, why not – 3.5% or less? It goes without saying that deeply negative interest rates would be accompanied by a massively expanded QE4 in the US. The last seven years of exploding central bank balance sheets will seem like Bundesbank monetary austerity compared to what is to come.


And so it came to pass last week – just one negative dot in the Fed policymakers’ projections for interest rates set the markets abuzz that central banks were no longer to be constrained by the zero interest rate bound. The very next day the Bank of England’s chief economist and policy wonk, Andrew Haldane, also raised the possibility of not just negative interest rates, but banning cash if people hoard it in an attempt to attain a heady 0% return – link. Wow, even Bob and I hadn’t thought of that!

Yes, it is odd that when push comes to shove, not even the biggest skeptics could conceive of the world that is about to be unleashed by tenured economists who have never held a real job in their lives, and yet – somehow – are micromanaging the entire world.

So: NIRP, QE4… or money paradrops as Citigroup shocked everyone with its modest proposal yesterday?

Actually, why not all three – after all, what does the Fed have left to lose? It appears gold is finally getting the memo that the final debasement of the reserve currency is about to be unleashed.

via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

Thank You

A month ago, I published a post which asked readers to reflect upon the value Liberty Blitzkrieg has added over the past several years, and to consider supporting the site financially.

There’s no higher compliment to a writer than voluntary donations, and I want to thank everyone who participated for their thoughtfulness and generosity. It truly provides the fuel necessary to keep going, and the importance of reader funded support to independent media in today’s environment cannot be overstated.

In the event you missed that prior message and would like to contribute, please see the post: Support Liberty Blitzkrieg.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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Thank You originally appeared on Liberty Blitzkrieg on January 31, 2016.

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from Liberty Blitzkrieg

Obama To Make First Ever Mosque Visit To “”Celebrate Muslim Contributions To America”

As Donald Trump surges ahead in Iowa, taking the bellicose billionaire even closer to winning the Republican nomination, President Obama is busy trying to counter the GOP frontrunner’s message about “radical Islamic extremism.”

Trump has capitalized on events like the Paris attacks and the San Bernardino massacre. Those tragedies underscored the need to remain vigilant when it comes to immigration, a topic Trump has some rather strong opinions on. In a polarizing move, Trump officially called for a Muslim ban last month. No Muslims should be allowed to enter the country Trump said, until we can “figure out what’s going on.”

Needless to say, that message is starkly at odds with the President’s views, but as extreme as Trump’s position most certainly is, it’s resonated with large swaths of the American electorate.

In a bid to counter the growing backlash against the Muslim world, Obama will make his first visit to a mosque on Wednesday when the President will stop by the Islamic Society of Baltimore, described as “a sprawling community center in the city’s western suburbs that serves thousands of people with a place of worship, a housing complex and schools.” Here’s a fun image from the center where you can, should you choose to do so, jump rope:

The visit is an effort “to celebrate the contributions Muslim Americans make to our nation and reaffirm the importance of religious freedom to our way of life,” The White House said, in a statement.

“For years, Muslim Americans have lobbied him to visit a mosque, citing Islamophobia,” The Washington Post writes, adding that “the possibility of a mosque visit came up again a month ago, when several prominent Muslim Americans met with senior White House officials to discuss concerns about rising hostility toward people of their faith.”

Trump also wants to have close ties to mosques – by putting them under surveillance. 

You can be sure that Obama’s visit will end up in a GOP soundbite in the days and weeks ahead. Republicans have repeatedly criticized Obama for being shy about equating Islam with terror. To be sure, not every Muslim is a terrorist and indeed many of the mass shootings perpetrated on American soil have had no ties to Islam whatsoever. Still, it’s certainly difficult to overlook the fact that people are killing each other by the thousands every day in the name of Islam and for many Americans, the nuances don’t matter. They just want to feel safe. 

As WaPo goes on to note, the trip is also likely to reinforce the notion – still held by nearly a third of the population – that Obama is a “secret Muslim.” 

“A segment of Obama’s critics have said since he took office that he is a Muslim pretending to be Christian, and that he plays down the religious aspect of Muslim extremism,” WaPo says. “Recent polls show that 29 percent of Americans and nearly 45 percent of Republicans think he is a Muslim.” 

Of course America’s “Muslim” President probably isn’t too concerned about the optics around the visit. He’s now a lame duck. The question, however, is whether the GOP – and especially Donald Trump – will be able to point to the trip as evidence that America’s leaders are more concerned with political correctness and religious tolerance than they are with securing the homeland. 

via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden