Philadelphia Vs. Cleveland: Divided We Stand

Submitted by Patrick Buchanan via,

Last Wednesday was probably the best night of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Joe Biden, Tim Kaine and Barack Obama testified to her greatness and goodness and readiness to be president. And all saw in the Republican Convention in Cleveland a festival of darkness and dystopia.

Nor is this unusual. For, as the saying goes, the ins “point with pride,” while the outs “view with alarm.”

Yet the clash of visions between Cleveland and Philadelphia is stark. We appear to be two separate and hostile peoples, living apart in two separate Americas.

Obama’s America is a country of all races, creeds, colors, lifestyles, a kumbayah country to be made more wonderful still when Clinton takes the helm.


The message from Cleveland: Cry the beloved country. America has lost her way. She is in peril. A new captain is needed. A new course must be set if America is to find her way home again.

Which portrayal is the more true? Which vision of America do her people believe corresponds more closely to the reality of their daily lives?

Do Americans share Philadelphia’s belief in Clinton’s greatness and in the magisterial achievements of the Obama presidency?

Let us see. Fifty-six percent of Americans believe Clinton should have been indicted; 67 percent believe she is neither trustworthy nor honest. And 75 percent of Americans think that, under Obama, the nation is headed in the wrong direction.

After Cleveland, Trump took a 62-23 lead among white high school graduates, those who constitute a disproportionate share of our cops, firemen, soldiers and Marines — and those interred in Arlington National Cemetery.

Given that the media are mostly “progressives,” why do Americans who rely on that media hold so negative an opinion of Clinton, and reject the direction in which Obama is taking their country?

Does the reality they perceive help to explain it?

Consider. Obama did inherit a disastrous economy and growth has been at or near 2 percent a year since then. But this is not the growth we knew in the Reagan era.

And what, other than the trade policies we pursued, explains the deindustrialization of America, the loss of manufacturing plants and jobs, and China’s shouldering us aside to become the world’s No. 1 industrial power.

What produced Detroit and Baltimore and all those dead and dying towns in the Rust Belt?

Even Hillary Clinton, who has called TPP the “gold standard,” now rejects her husband’s NAFTA. Is this not an admission that the elites got it wrong for a quarter century?

Obama in Philadelphia celebrated our diversity.

Yet, we have seen Old Glory burned and Mexican flags flaunted this year. We have seen Black Lives Matter chant, “What do we want? Dead cops!” — then watched black racists deliver dead cops in Dallas and Baton Rouge. Is Ferguson America’s future?

From the podium in Philadelphia, we hear the word “love.” But in interviews, Democratic activists invoke terms of hate, such as racist, fascist, homophobe, misogynist and sexist to describe the Cleveland Republicans.

Would the party of Philadelphia accept a President Trump?

Would the party of Cleveland accept President Clinton?

Hard to believe. Divided we stand. So, where do we go?

Given the distance between the two halves of America, given the contempt in which each seems to hold the other, we can probably drop from the Pledge of Allegiance the word “indivisible,” right after the Philadelphia Democrats succeed in cutting out the words, “under God.”

We are told our allies are nervous. They should be.

Even FDR could not lead a divided nation into war. When America divided over Vietnam, Richard Nixon had to lead us out. Our division led to America’s first defeat.

In the absence of a Pearl Harbor or 9/11 attack that brings us together in patriotic rage, Americans are not going to salute the next commander in chief, and then go fight Russia in the eastern Baltic or China over some reefs or rocks in the South China Sea.

Even when we were more united during the Cold War, Ike and LBJ never considered using force to roll back Soviet invasions in Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

Our strongest ally in the Arab world, Egypt, and our NATO ally in the region, Turkey, are both descending into dictatorship. Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen are bleeding profusely in sectarian and civil wars, breaking apart along tribal and religious lines.

Could a President Trump, or Clinton, rally us to stand together and send another Army of Desert Storm over there? Not likely.

Barack Obama believes the more diverse a country we become — religiously, racially, ethnically, culturally, linguistically — the greater, better and stronger a nation we become. And with his immigration policies, he has put us, perhaps irretrievably, on that road.

Yet, outside that Wells Fargo Center, where such sentiments seem to enrapture Democratic delegates, Europe, Africa, the Mideast and South Asia are all being pulled apart, right along those same fault lines.

And measured by the rhetoric of Philadelphia and Cleveland, so are we.

via Tyler Durden

From Reflation To Redistribution: The “War On Inequality” Looms

The bigger picture narrative, according to BofAML's Michael Hartnett, is that the policy baton is passing from Monetary to Fiscal stimulus in 2016/17. Simply put, central bank rate cuts are ending; and new policies to address the populist desire for a "War on Inequality" are emerging. This 'fiscal flip' – as Hartnett describes it – means rotation from 'deflation' to 'inflation' assets… from 'financial' to 'real' assets.

Broadly, this new policy response is likely to be a combination of:

Redistribution…stagflationary: winners – TIPS, munis, low-end consumption (retail, payments, tax services); losers – brokers, luxury, growth stocks; yield curve bear flattens;


Protectionism…deflationary: winners – government bonds, gold, volatility, high quality defensive stocks; losers – banks, multinational companies; yield curve bull flattens;


Keynesianism…reflationary (with “helicopter money): winners – TIPS, commodities, banks, value; losers – bond substitutes; yield curve bear steepens.

The table below shows specific winners and losers contingent on each policy theme…

Happily, the fiscal flip this summer has thus far been more biased toward redistribution & Keynesianism rather than protectionism. For example:

In Japan Abe has hinted at an economic package at the upper end of the ¥20-30tn range with ¥13tn in fiscal measures, possibly to include 3% min. wage hike and ¥15,000 cash to low income earners;


In Europe the growth of government spending has accelerated back to its pre-Global Financial Crisis pace, adding >1% to GDP growth in 2016 (note a newly permissive ECB cancelled Spanish & Portuguese fiscal rule-breach fines in the past month);


And in the US both presidential candidates are touting infrastructure spending packages (Clinton proposes $275 billion in infrastructure spending over five years; Trump has also proposed tax cuts, infrastructure & health spending. Note Ethan Harris argues that in coming years fiscal policy is likely to become more effective than monetary policy.

We are convinced that the flip from monetary to fiscal policy will drive asset allocation & asset prices in coming quarters. Fiscal flip reflects policy intent to reduce deflation, wealth inequality, wage insecurity. Success means rotation from “deflation” to “inflation” assets.

Note that real assets (commodities, collectables & real estate) now at all-time lows relative to financial assets (stocks & bonds)


So what will you be buying?

via Tyler Durden

Trump Campaign Strikes Right Note on Melania’s Nude Pictures

The cover of this Sunday’s New York Post featured a first for a future-First-Lady hopeful: a nudie pic. “You’ve never seen a potential First Lady like this!” the Post promised under the headline “The Ogle Office,” beside a photo of Donald Trump’s third wife, Melania (Knauss) Trump, nude except for a few bracelets and stars strategically added over her nipples. The image—and more like it inside the paper—comes from a photo shoot that the Slovenian-model turned billionaire’s wife did in 1995 for a now-defunct French men’s magazine.

In another GOP era, such a revelation about a presidential candidate’s wife might make for quite the scandal. At least it would make for some uncomfortable hemming and hawing from the campaign, plus an apology from the wife and/or candidate and platitudes about America’s moral character. But this is Donald Trump’s party now. And while that might mean an abandonment of limited-government principles, a tepid-at-best embrace of Christianity, and an uptick in blatant racism and nationalism, it’s come with a few idiosyncratic upsides, including less tolerance for the old culture wars. Animosity toward sexuality—be it in the form of pinup pics or same-sex relationships—just isn’t a motif with Trump.

In keeping with this aesthetic, Trump and his campaign’s response to the Post article has been anything but apologetic. While Trump did try to distance himself from the Melania of yore—the pic was “taken for a European magazine prior to my knowing Melania,” he said—the candidate also waved away the controversy. “Melania was one of the most successful models and she did many photo shoots, including for covers and major magazines,” he told the Post. “In Europe, pictures like this are very fashionable and common.”

In an interview Sunday morning with CNN money, Trump campaign aid Jason Miller called the photos “a celebration of the human body as art” and “nothing to be embarrassed about.” Asked whether Trump got “furious” about things like this, Miller replied: “I think Mr. Trump is a little more focused on the direction of the country and what we need to do to get it turned around.”

It’s a great tack: paint the people making these pics into an issue look petty, prudish, and non-serious. While it might piss off the Christian conservative base, Trump has already done plenty to alienate them, with seemingly little consequence. Meanwhile, many in the Republican Party wish their party would ignore, or at least take a less aggressive stance, on things like pornography and other social issues. Making Melania’s racy photos into a non-issue seems right, strategically.

On a rhetorical note, it’s nice to see any major political party—let alone the Republicans—make the case that nude photos are no big deal and “nothing to be embarrassed about.” This is probably the closest thing to a pro-sex-work stance that any major candidate has ever taken. In a sea of awful opinions from both major-party candidates, I’ll take this as one teeny, tiny bright spot.

from Hit & Run

The Good, The Bad, & The Great Of Donald Trump’s Candidacy

Excerpted from David Stockman's forthcoming book "Trumped! A Nation On The Brink Of Ruin… And How To Bring It Back",

In the great scheme of history, the Donald’s great purpose may be to simply disrupt and paralyze the status quo. And that much he may accomplish whether he is elected or not.

For what is actually happening is meta-political. The bipartisan ruling elites are being Trumped.

Their entire regime of casino capitalism, beltway racketeering and imperial hegemony is being unmasked. The unwashed masses are catching on to the “rigged” essence of the system, and have already become alienated enough to rally to outlaw politicians—– like Bernie and Trump—–peddling ersatz socialism and reality-TV populism, respectively.

To be sure, the metaphor of Shock and Awe and the idea of “regime change” have been given a bad name by Bush the Younger and his bloody henchmen. Yet there is no better way to describe Donald Trump’s rise and role than with exactly those terms.

The current regime arose in the 1980s from Ronald Reagan’s regrettable decision to rebuild the nation’s war machine——along with the GOP’s conversion to “deficits don’t matter” and Alan Greenspan’s discovery of the printing press in the basement of the Eccles Building. Those deplorable, illicit and unsustainable departures from sound policy have subsequently morphed into a full-blown mutant state that is fundamentally anti-capitalist and anti-democratic.

Its many deformations are undeniable. They include soaring public and private debts at home; the peace-destroying and fiscally crushing American Imperium abroad; serial financial bubbles that have gifted mainly the 1%; and rampant beltway influence peddling and a PAC-based campaign finance system that amounts to money racketeering, among countless other ills.

This entire misbegotten regime is now well past its sell-by date; it’s waiting to be monkey-hammered by an unscripted and uninvited disrupter.

For at least that role, Donald Trump is eminently qualified. He represents a raw insurgency of attack, derision, impertinence and repudiation.

He’s the battering ram that is needed to shatter the polite lies and delusions on which the current regime rests. If he had been ordered from central casting for that role, in fact, it would have been difficult for Hollywood to confect anything close to the brash, egomaniacal rabble-rouser that is now heading the GOP ticket.

It is no wonder the elites are virtually screeching that he is “unqualified”. Yes, Donald Trump is rude, impulsive and loutish to a fault. That’s why, in fact, his is unsuited for the establishment’s job definition. That is, to preside over another four years of the kind of risible, kick-the-can fantasy-world that serves the interests of our Wall Street/Washington rulers.

The latter would have the left-behind legions in Flyover America believe that everything is all fixed and that the financial crisis and the Great Recession were but a random and unrepeatable bump in the night that will never recur. As Obama blatantly fibbed at the Democratic convention, America is already great and America is already strong.

No, not even close. America is heading for a devastating financial collapse and prolonged recession that will make the last go-round look tame by comparison. Under those circumstances the very last thing it will need in 2017-2018 when the brown stuff hits the fan is a lifetime political careerist and clueless acolyte of the state who knows all the right words and harbors all the wrong ideas.

Indeed, during the coming crisis America will need a brash disrupter of the status quo, not a diehard defender. Yet when the stock market drops by 7,000 points and unemployment erupts back toward double digits, Hillary Clinton’s only impulse will be to double down.

That is, to ignite the printing presses at the Fed from red hot to white heat, plunge the nation’s fiscal equation back into multi-trillion deficits and crank-out Washington’s free stuff like never before. A combination of a Clinton White House and the devastating day of reckoning just ahead would result in Big Government on steroids.

It would also tilt the Imperial City toward war in order to distract the nation’s disgruntled voters in their tens of millions.

After all, Hillary has fatuously likened Vladimir Putin to Hitler. She and her government in waiting are also now deeply invested in the dubious claim that the Russian government was behind the hacking of the DNC’s trove of email gossip and skullduggery. And her prospective war cabinet—including Victoria Nuland and Michelle Flournoy—–is comprised of the actual architects of Washington’s unprovoked NATO siege on Russia’s own doorsteps.

So Hillary Clinton may be perfectly qualified to wonk and conciliate her way through the fantasyland jabber of the New York Times editorial board room. But that’s the wrong venue entirely.

The next four years, by contrast, will be a time when Washington connections, manners and an extensive official resume will not count for anything at all. Nor will a facility for establishment double-talk about how Uncle Sam is riding to the rescue be a virtue.

In fact, the credibility of every financial institution along the Acela Corridor will be in tatters. That includes the fiscal firemen of Capitol Hill, the money printers at the Fed, the IMF bailout brigades headquartered in DC, the global banking cartels domiciled in NYC and the gambling houses and fast money hedge funds of Wall Street.

In that context, Donald Trump’s overwhelming virtue is that he is not Hillary Clinton and does not carry a bulging 30-year old bag of bad ideas. Hillary’s ideas—–and those of the establishment for which she shills——about how to fix the coming economic and foreign policy crises, in fact, are so unequivocally and irremediably bad that it is not possible that there is anything worse.

That’s not to say that Donald Trump’s economic policy ideas—-to the extent that they are semi-coherent and describable—-aren’t plenty dubious. You can find much that is pretty awful in his public quips and bromides.

Indeed, if you are a “low interest rate man”, as he claims to be, you are clueless about the central menace of our times. To wit, the rogue central banks and the massive falsification of financial markets that have resulted from their heavy-handed intrusion, ZIRP and money-pumping.

If you don’t want to touch social security and medicare—-ever—-you have your head buried in the fiscal sand. On that score, even Trump’s prodigious comb-over has disappeared below the surface.

If you think that fraud, waste and abuse have anything to do with the nation’s suffocating national debt, you are not thinking at all; you are channeling Ronald Reagan.

If you think, in fact, that giant corporate and individual tax cuts will pay for themselves in higher economic growth you are also channeling Ronald Reagan. Despite the subsequent GOP revisionism, the Reagan tax cuts didn’t come close to self-funding. The only reason that the national debt rose by a mere 250% on the Gipper’s watch is that upwards of 40% of the original revenue loss was rescinded with tax increases later in his term.

If you think a $10 minimum wage is warranted, as apparently the GOP candidate does on alternating days of the week, you haven’t meet any robots lately. The minimum wage was always a job killer because it causes capital substitution for labor, but with today’s breakthroughs in robotics a big minimum wage hike will literally ionize millions of low-skill jobs.

If you think a big public infrastructure program is needed to prime the economic pump, you don’t understand Federalism or even where productivity comes from.

The only genuine Federal infrastructure responsibility is the Interstate highway system, but that’s generally in good shape already and could be perfected with a modest hike in the gas tax. The rest of it is either pork or public works, and the difference can only be sorted out by local governments, affected voters and taxpayers who actually foot the bill.

Finally, if you think that the $8 trillion in cumulative current account deficits that the US has run without interruption for the last 35 years is due to bad trade deals, you are essentially clueless as to why America is on the brink of economic ruin. The $60 billion we import from Mexico and $500 billion from China is a symptom of the nation’s rotten regime of Bubble Finance, not its cause.

Unfortunately, Donald Trump appears to be an economic blank slate who can embrace any and all of the above errors and delusions. That’s because his economics are purely glandular. Insofar as it is possible to discern, he has never been troubled by any kind of economic model or coherent philosophy at all.

But, alas, that is also his virtue. What needs to happen when the next recession and stock market plunge unfolds is exactly nothing. “Policy” is what is ruining American capitalism, and the corpulent state is it creating is what is eviscerating political democracy.

If Donald Trump is elected President, there will be no shovel-ready stimulus plan or any other economic policy fix within the first 100 days. Instead, there will be a gong show of such fury and fractiousness as to immobilize the Imperial City indefinitely.

If Hillary Clinton wins, the GOP controlled House of Representatives will lapse into a partisan killing field for any economic tonics the White House may offer.

Either way, both ends of Pennsylvania avenue will end up in political trench warfare. And either way, the Fed will end up even more paralyzed.

If in the face of recession it attempts negative interest rates, Flyover America will finally erupt with torches and pitchforks.

On the other hand, if it goes for another massive QE campaign it will be an admission that $3.5 trillion of it was an utter failure. Even the Wall Street gamblers will stampede for the exits.

In a word, the historic virtue of Donald Trump is that win or lose, his candidacy means that the illicit Washington/Wall Street “policy” regime will finally come to a grinding halt.

In that event, the Great Liquidation of crushing debts, insanely inflated assets prices, rampant carry-trade speculation, debilitating malinvestments and unspeakable windfalls to the gambling classes will finally commence. And none too soon.

via Tyler Durden

Leader Of Belgium’s Largest Political Party Calls For “Patriot Act” To Crack Down On Terrorism

Last week we observed that Germany quietly escalated the potential for a “proportional” response to upcoming terrorist attacks (by those admitted in the country thanks to Merkel’s “open door” immigration policy) by including the army, in what to many sounds dangerously close to preannouncing martial law under “special cases.”

Recall that during a press conference given last week by Bavaria’s interior minister, Joachim Hermann, the politician suggested that Germany’s army should be used to aid police in dealing with major terror threats. The debate over whether to deploy the Bundeswehr domestically should not wait “until the next attack happens.” Lawmakers in Berlin are also discussing the possibility of establishing “troops of reservists” to aid police during internal crisis situations, German media outlet Bild reported, citing its own sources.

It appears that a dramatic response in response to the rising refugee threat – unleashed in Europe by Angela Merkel – is not only planned for Germany. Over the weekend, Bart De Wever, mayor of Antwerp and the leader of Belgium’s largest party, the Flemish separatist New Flemish Alliance, took a page right out of the Bush playbook, and said in interview with Gazet Van Antwerpen that Belgium needs a Patriot Act to give authorities more power to crack down on terrorism.

His claim: “mayors, police, and State security need to get information more easily and be able to act to prevent more tragedies.” 

“It’s crazy I can’t act until after there has been a incident, even though I know where the young radicals are. I can’t close down a house, I can’t bug a phone, or put someone in custody as a preventative measure. We could do that if we had more power”, the Antwerp mayor explained. “It’s a priority” the government must tackle after summer vacation, creating “more elbow room” to gather information and take preventative action.

Bart De Wever

As a result, the Antwerp mayor is preparing legislative initiatives to discuss a “Patriot Act” when the government meets again. “It’s an absolute priority for me”, he says. According to De Wever, current rules don’t allow surveillance or phone tapping of suspects or detaining people preventatively. “We must be able to pick up ISIS fighters and hold them in prison as long as this war lasts, we must be able to act against their radicalized sympathizers” adding that “sympathy for ISIS is not an opinion but a crime.”

He also said Mosques should be recognized and funded “by us, which means that financing from other states dries up.”

And so history goes back to square 1: a terrorist act, directly inspired by the politicians’ own actions, promptly followed by a crackdown on civil liberties enjoyed by all. Almost as if it was planned that way.

Who knows: maybe in his ongoing inspiration by American proposals, De Wever will next propose a ban on all Muslim immigrants and even building a wall around Belgium to keep the unwanted elements out.

via Tyler Durden

Seven Places Where WW3 Could Start At Any Time

Submitted by Joshua Krause via,

It seems like you can’t watch the news anymore without stumbling onto a story that contains terrifying global implications. Not since the Cold War have tensions been so high among the nations of the world. You can strike sparks just about anywhere. The threat of another global war is downright palpable.

Most people shrug at the thought of World War Three, either because they’re ignorant or because they don’t think there would be any chance of surviving it, so why bother? But preppers know better. Just about anything can be survived under the right conditions and with the right preparations. And when it comes to World War Three, your best chance at survival rests in your ability to see it coming. And to do that, you need only pay attention to world events, and keep an eye on the following places:


At the moment, this fractured Middle Eastern nation is probably the most likely candidate to spark WW3. You have armed Russian and American aircraft in close proximity to each other at all times, radicalized Islamic extremists battling the Syrian government, Iranian backed Hezbollah units (who happen to be enemies of Israel), Turkish machinations, and Saudi financiers. And let’s not forget that all of these actors are in it for themselves, and alliances are constantly shifting. Syria is one hot stew that could boil over at any moment.


Eastern Europe

After the Ukrainian government was ousted by rebels who wanted out of Russia’s sphere of influence (and some say with the help of Western governments), Russia annexed Crimea and helped support counter rebels in Eastern Ukraine. And that may not be the end of it. NATO and the EU are constantly trying to wrangle Eastern European nations into their own sphere of influence, and the Russian government feels like it’s being encircled by the West. Their only remaining friend in the region is an aging dictator in Belarus who is deeply unpopular. How long before Eastern Europe blows up again is anyone’s guess.


East China Sea

The Chinese government claims that this region rightfully belongs to them. Why? Because there’s tons of oil there, which mainland China is severely lacking. However, just about every nation on the planet disagrees with their claim, especially their neighbors like Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam, who have fought countless wars against them throughout history. Two of those nations are close allies of the US, and are capable of building nuclear weapons at any time.


North Korea

The only thing propping up the North Korean regime is China, and for good reason. If North Korea ever fell under the influence of the South, then an American ally would be about an eight hour drive away from Beijing. They’ll do everything in their power to keep American forces away from their borders. Unfortunately, North Korea is run by the most insane and antagonistic governments on the planet. Any small conflict here could quickly escalate into a global conflagration.


Russia-Chinese Border

These days it seems like Russia and China are real tight. They’ve been building a military and economic alliance for many years now, as they both view the United States as their biggest threat. However, this is a relationship of convenience and nothing more. In fact, there is a long history of antagonism between the two nations, which came to a head in 1969 when the two nations fought a border dispute.


And there’s no doubt that this border dispute could flare up again in the future, and the reason why has to do with the demographics of these nations. On the one hand you have China, which is brimming with people huddled in overpopulated cities, and then you have Russia, which has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. The Russians fear that one day the Chinese will seek to expand their territory into Eastern Siberia, which is sparsely populated, poorly protected, and resource rich. Given those conditions, the lower latitudes of Siberia would certainly be a tempting conquest for densely populated China.


India-Chinese Border

India and China are natural rivals. They’re both large, post-colonial nations with over a billion people, and they’re both trying to leverage their massive impoverished populations to build their economies. Essentially, they’re both vying for the same niche in the global economy; that of a nation with an endless supply of cheap labor. However, there’s only room for one at that table.


So it wouldn’t be surprising if these two nuclear armed nations came to blows in the future. In fact, they fought a border skirmish back in 1962, which India handily lost. A lot of bad blood still exists between these nations, and they both still argue about the dimensions of their borders.



Most people don’t talk or even think about Kashmir anymore, but they should. This region is quiet now, but it’s at the center of the single most dangerous border dispute in the world. India and Pakistan fought a war over this territory in 1999, but China has also laid claim to parts of Kashmir. So you have three nuclear armed nations with nearly 3 billion people all vying for this single chunk of land. That should end well right?


And don’t forget that Pakistan is on the footsteps of Afghanistan; a nation whose central location in Asia has made it one of the most hotly contested regions in human history. The US is currently struggling to maintain control over Afghanistan, so obviously a war over Kashmir could easily pull us in. After that, it’s anyone’s guess what happens next.

*  *  *

But apart from that, doom-and-gloom is pure fiction…

via Tyler Durden

Why The IRS Is Probing The Clinton Foundation: “Clinton Cash” Author Explains

"Clinton Cash" author, Peter Schweizer, recently took to the airwaves to explain why the IRS investigation of the Clinton Foundation should be a "big deal" (also see Clinton Cash: "Devastating" Documentary Reveals How Clintons Went From "Dead Broke" To Mega Wealthy") even though he expressed some "skepticism" over the ability of Obama's IRS to run an impartial investigation.  As we we've reported (see "IRS Launches Investigation Of Clinton Foundation"), the IRS recently launched an investigation of the Clinton Foundation after receiving a letter signed by 64 Republicans of the House of Representative which described the Clinton Foundation as a “lawless ‘pay-to-play’ enterprise that has been operating under a cloak of philanthropy for years.” 

Somehow we, too, are doubtful that the IRS will lead this investigation with the same kind of vigor they displayed when looking into local Tea Party organizations and religious charities during the last election cycle. 

When asked why the IRS should be concerned about the Clinton Foundation, Mr. Schweizer explained:

"The big deal is that…there are international anti-bribery standards that say bribing a public official can mean giving them money, giving their family money, or giving their charity money.  Just because it's a charity doesn't mean that it's not important or not interesting…it constitutes bribery every bit as much as if somebody's putting money in somebody's pocket for a benefit."

Mr. Schweizer continued by calling into question why foreign governments and wealthy foreign individuals, many from the middle east, would contribute money to the Clinton Foundation given the limited scope of their actual charitable outreach:

"When you look at the people who are giving large sums of money overseas they are people who have histories of corruption or being involved in bribery scandals."

We're certain Mr. Schweizer is "overreacting".  After all we're pretty sure the State of Kuwait, Friends of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, The Government of Brunei Darussalam and The Sultanate of Oman, all Clinton Foundation contributors (see full list below), are eagerly involved in the Clinton Foundation's project entitled "No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project" whose stated goal is building an "evidence-based case to chart the path forward for the full participation of girls and women in the 21st century."

A full list of entities/individuals that have made bribes contributions in excess of $1mm to the Clinton Foundation over the years can be found below (click for a larger image):

Clinton Foundation Contributors

Finally, when asked why the Obama administration would allow the Clinton Foundation to continue to solicit cash from foreign governments even as she served as Secretary of State, Mr. Schweizer noted that, in fact, Obama conditioned his appointment of Clinton to Secretary of State on her agreement to "disclose all donors"…a condition which Clinton promptly ignored. 

"We know now that there at least 1,100  contributions from foreign sources they still haven't disclosed."

The full interview with Mr. Schweizer can be viewed below:


In light of the IRS investigation, we also decided to take a quick look at the Clinton Foundation financials (full reports can be found here). To our "surprise," we discovered that, in fact, only 13.6% of the $248 million of expenditures made by the Foundation in 2014 were for "direct program expenditures" while the remainder went to salaries and amorphous expense buckets like "Professional and Consulting" and "Meetings and Training."  We're very hopeful that this is the type of "efficiency" that Hillary can bring to the various federal organizations.  After all, spending 13.6 cents of every dollar on actual stated objectives would be a huge improvement for many federal entities.

Clinton Foundation 2014 Expenses

The full 2014 audited financials of the Clinton Foundation can be viewed below:

via Tyler Durden

Rahm Emanuel Says Chicago Pension Crisis “Improving”, Facts Show He Is Lying

Submitted by Michael Shedlock via,

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel brags about balancing the Chicago budget and fixing the city’s pension plans. Reuters writer Dave McKinney took the lies hook line and sinker.

Mark Glennon at Wirepoints Illinois separates fact from fiction in his article Chicago’s Friday Bunk Dump. This is a guest post by Glennon.

Chicago’s Friday Bunk Dump

Fridays in the summer are a great day to dump news you don’t want scrutinized, as reporters will tell you. Today, we got a new financial report from the city, the actuarial reports for its police and firefighter pensions and news of a private offering by Chicago’s school district.

The Report

First, the city released a carefully written, glitzy, Annual Financial Analysis. At least they put it online this year, a departure from the past, but that’s probably because it’s such meticulously prepared misinformation. Hooray, said most headlines and Mayor Emanuel in his cover letter: The 2017 deficit for the city will only be $138 million.

Only under a perverted meaning of “deficit,” they should have added. The report means little because it doesn’t include losses sustained in pensions and tax hikes for pensions deferred to the future, and it’s pensions that are Chicago’s primary problem. The kicked can isn’t included. Instead, the report is centered on near term, annual contributions to the pensions, which are made up by politicians and are inadequate even using the phony accounting that goes into them. That’s a primary reason why unfunded liabilities grow routinely.

Specifically, here’s what they didn’t tell us: The deficit appears low now because taxpayer contributions gradually ramp up and then, in 2020, go up further to whatever-it-takes, sky’s-the-limit, annual amounts sufficient to fund the pensions, and property taxes automatically increase to cover those amounts.

That’s for the police and firefighter pensions. For the small Laborer’s fund, that date is 2022, paid for mostly out of a telecom tax. MEABF, the city’s largest fund, will be dealt with in a yet-to-be announced plan funded by a “dedicated revenue source,” the city tells us, which means a new tax of some kind.

Following is a schedule of taxpayer contributions to the police and firefighter contributions, taken from the report. Those will have to be covered by property tax increases. Expect the same on different taxes for the other two pensions.

chicago police and fire contributions

The city gloats in the report that, “For the first time since 2011, the gap for the coming year is put forward without separate consideration of the City’s pension funds. As of July 29, 2016, the City has identified a permanent, reoccurring source to fund three of its four pension funds.” That source is years of tax increases that haven’t been properly explained to the public.

Most reporters have accepted the report as good news. Perhaps the worst was Dave McKinney at Reuters, whose headline is, “Chicago deficit narrows despite pension uncertainty.”  To the contrary,  a better headline would be, “Chicago ignores pension tax certainty to claim deficit narrows.”

The same issue plagues city budgets, which is why Rahm regularly gets away bragging about balancing the city’s. “This is the fourth year in a row we have balanced the budget,” he said in his last budget address. In fact, the city lost about $5 billion last year (though that results largely from a change to more realistic accounting standards) and about $1 billion in each of the previous four years, according to its own financial statements.

Actuarial Reports for Chicago Police and Firefighter Pensions

Today, I finally got the actuarial reports for the Chicago police and firefighter pensions, which I had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on July 8.

For the police pension, Net Pension Liability (that’s the term for unfunded liability under the new accounting standards) worsened by $260 million, ending 2015 at 8.97 billion. The funded ration worsened from 26% to 25.4%.

For the firefighter’s pension, Net Pension Liability worsened by $304 million in 2015, ending the year at $3.78 billion. Its funded ratio worsened from 23% to 21.7%. That’s actually much better performance for the year than I expected. However, with funded ratios near 20%, these pensions are in truly horrid shape.

Together with the two other Chicago pensions whose reports were released earlier, the total Net Pension Liability for the city is $33.8 billion and they are 23% funded in aggregate. Obviously, that’s far worse than the $20 billion total that’s been commonly reported over the past year. Much of that change results from the shift to new, more realistic accounting standards.

You can add another $10 billion for the CPS pension. We’ll try to add it all up soon for all the other overlapping pension obligations when we can — Cook County, Chicago Park District, Cook County Forest Preserve, Metro Water & Reclamation District, RTA, CTA and state pensions.

None of these numbers include healthcare obligations, which are very hard to nail down, and are not addressed in the Annual Financial Analysis.

Chicago School Borrowing

Also today, CPS announced it borrowed another $150 million. What’s unusual is that it was done as a private placement — a reflection of its difficulty accessing the usual public markets. We don’t know all the terms of the deal because CPS did not release the key documents. The CPS says it will release those on September 2.

September 2, eh? That would be the Friday before Labor Day weekend. Credit these folks with consistency.

via Tyler Durden

Trump’s Response To Parents Of Killed Muslim Soldier: “Hillary Voted For The Iraq War, Not Me!”

With the media in full frenzy during the past three days over the public feud between the Pakistan-born Khizr Khan, who last week told the story of his son, a Muslim US army captain who received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart after being killed in Iraq in 2004, and Donald Trump, earlier this morning the Republican presidential candidate refused to back down, defending his criticism of the parents by complaining on Twitter that the father “viciously attacked” him in his speech at the Democratic National Convention.

He added that Khan, who was killed 12 years ago, “was a hero” but that “this is about RADICAL ISLAMIC TERROR and the weakness of our “leaders” to eradicate it.

There has been much back and forth between the two parties, with Khan most recently questioning whether Trump had ever read the Constitution and saying “you have sacrificed nothing.” As AP notes, this was the latest bitter rhetorical volley between the defiant Republican candidate and the family of the fallen soldier. A quick recap of the key highlights for those who have not watched TV in the last three days.

At last week’s Democratic National Convention, Khizr Khan told the story of his son who was killed in the Iraq war in 2004. Khan questioned whether Trump had ever read the Constitution and said “you have sacrificed nothing.” During the speech, Khan’s wife, Ghazala, stood quietly by his side. “If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me,” Trump said, in an interview with ABC’s “This Week.”

Ghazala Khan responded Sunday in an opinion piece published in the Washington Post, saying talking about her son’s death 12 years ago is still hard for her. When her husband asked if she wanted to speak at the convention, she said she could not.

“When Donald Trump is talking about Islam, he is ignorant,” she wrote. “If he studied the real Islam and Koran, all the ideas he gets from terrorists would change, because terrorism is a different religion.”

Her husband told television talk shows on Sunday that he appreciated Trump’s later comments that his son was a hero but that he had no “moral compass”, reverting to more traditional Democratic talking points.

At one point, Trump had disputed Khan’s criticism that the billionaire businessman has “sacrificed nothing and no one” for his country. “I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures,” Trump said.

Senior Republican leaders, including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, remained silent on Sunday, as did vice presidential nominee Mike Pence. But John Kasich, the Ohio governor who sought the GOP presidential nomination, said on Twitter, “There’s only one way to talk about Gold Star parents: with honor and respect. Capt. Khan is a hero. Together, we should pray for his family.”

Late Saturday night, Trump released a statement calling Humayun Khan “a hero” but disputing his father’s characterization. “While I feel deeply for the loss of his son, Mr. Khan who has never met me, has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution, (which is false) and say many other inaccurate things,” said Trump.

The statement was titled “Setting the record straight.”

 The Trump for President campaign today released the full transcript of Donald J. Trump’s response to a pre-taped ABC This Week question from George Stephanopoulos referencing criticism from Khizr Khan.


As shown in the full transcript, Mr. Trump doesn’t compare his sacrifices to anybody else’s, and in fact praises Mr. Khan and wishes him well.


Mr. Trump also released a statement Saturday praising Mr. Khan’s son, Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed serving in Iraq:


“Captain Humayun Khan was a hero to our country and we should honor all who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country safe. The real problem here are the radical Islamic terrorists who killed him, and the efforts of these radicals to enter our country to do us further harm. Given the state of the world today, we have to know everything about those looking to enter our country, and given the state of chaos in some of these countries, that is impossible. While I feel deeply for the loss of his son, Mr. Khan who has never met me, has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution, (which is false) and say many other inaccurate things. If I become President, I will make America safe again.


“Further, Hillary Clinton should be held accountable for her central role in destabilizing the Middle East. She voted to send the United States to war against Iraq, helped lead the disastrous withdrawal of American troops years later that created the vacuum allowing the rise of ISIS, and has never met a regime change she didn’t like (which have all been disasters) – not to mention her invasion of Libya and her abandonment of American personnel in Benghazi. The loss of these lives in Libya is directly traceable to Clinton, but their families’ testimonials were rejected by the media.


Clinton’s actions have been reckless and have directly led to the loss of American lives. And her extreme immigration policies, as also laid out by American victims in Cleveland, will cause the preventable deaths of countless more — while putting all residents, from all places, at greater risk of terrorism.


As Bernie Sanders said on numerous occasions, Hillary Clinton suffers from “bad judgement.” She is not qualified to serve as Commander in Chief.”– Donald J. Trump

In this particular case, Trump actually does have a point by pointing out the obvious, namely that it was Hillary’s voting for the Iraq war, and the US Dept of State’s ruinous involvement in the Middle East over the past 6 years, that has precipiated the current geopolitical fallout, which incidentally threatens the political clout of none other than the most important person in Europe, Angela Merkel, who has seen her popularity tumble as a result of Germany’s “open door” immigration policy, which has resulted in a surge in refugee-driven violence acros the continent.

Hillary Clinton should be held accountable for her central role in destabilizing the Middle East. She voted to send the United States to war against Iraq, helped lead the disastrous withdrawal of American troops years later that created the vacuum allowing the rise of ISIS, and has never met a regime change she didn’t like (which have all been disasters) – not to mention her invasion of Libya and her abandonment of American personnel in Benghazi. The loss of these lives in Libya is directly traceable to Clinton, but their families’ testimonials were rejected by the media.

For now, however, the media has its hands full not with looking into Trump’s allegations of Hillary’s culpability involving the unstable Middle East region, but with the ongoing back and forth between Trump and Khan which generates a far more instant and visceral response, does not require knowledge of geopolitics and is generally easier on ad clicks, in what will likely dominate the headlines and prime time slots, at least until the next scandal involving Trump (or perhaps his wife) unveils itself, and resets the Trump-intensive news cycle, one which continues to keep Hillary as far from the spotlight as she wants. What is most ironic in all this, is that Trump is more than eager to provide the media with all the fodder it needs with every new statement he makes.

via Tyler Durden

One Trader Explains Why He Is “Unplugging”


I’d like to take a moment and express my appreciation and gratitude to all your well wishes. I literally received almost a thousand messages and I feel bad for not having been able to respond in the detail that they deserve or even at all in most cases, but I hope this post serves this purpose at least partially. Thank you, your well wishes and support have meant a lot. And perhaps my experience contains a lesson or two for all of us.

A bit over a month ago I had a heart attack. Fortunately a mild one as it turned out, but it is a life changing and quite concerning event nevertheless, not only for me, but also for my family. These last 5 weeks have been marked by substantial changes to my lifestyle. Aside from the medical requirements changes have included altering my diet, drastically cutting down and restructuring my work schedule, refraining from stressful situations, starting to cautiously exercise again and disengaging from twitter/social media altogether:


Who knew that years of extremely long work days, constantly sitting in front of screens, not enough exercise, not the best diet, stress, etc. is not good for you. Well everybody kinda does, but it’s easy to get too distracted by noise and neglect balance especially with markets being a 24 hour non stop merry go round. So I actually have nobody to blame but myself.

And it all finally caught up with me during the Brexit market madness and the alarm bells were ringing loudly:


Then the following morning over breakfast it hit. A sudden realization that this may be it. Done. Lights out.

Not fun I can tell you.

I was lucky. It turned out to be a mild heart attack and I got to leave the hospital after several days of prodding, testing and checking.

Despite this health scare I consider myself fortunate, I’m in the process of making changes, adjusting and hopefully going on living much longer. I can still pursue my passion of markets but with a different balance toward life. It was simply too much, too stressful and social media was a big contributor. Too busy, too distracting, too addictive. It all adds up.

My doctors were very clear on this: Unplug before life pulls the plug on you. And I’m listening.

And to answer the questions I’ve had from many: I think I’m going to be ok and I’m starting to feel better. The first month following a heart attack is the riskiest and, knock on wood, so far so good although when it rains it pours as my wife was also hospitalized this week with a major abdominal inflammation (she’ll be ok, but nonetheless it’s been another stressful week). Rough patch, but such is life.

So again I am grateful for all the positive wishes, however, sadly it’s been brought to my attention that parts of twitter choose to engage in an alternate reality. One that’s nasty, spiteful, gleeful and frankly utter nonsense. Shameful. Take this tweet below as an example by a popular poster, someone who should know better than to present a running rumor as a fact:

urban carmel

Really? Aside from the fact that I’m not British the same week I apparently had “fled to Jamaica” I had the pleasure of meeting and having dinner with CNBC’s John Najarian and his lovely family. Not in Jamaica, but in London. Great people and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. And this experience contrasts the positive side of twitter that I have loved versus the utter nonsense that goes on there as well.

I’ve met some great people via twitter, including my wife, but unfortunately twitter, the medium, also gives license to abuse, harassment and outright stupidity. Hence the reason my wife had been begging me for a long time to get off twitter.

Now let me be clear: I’m not singling this tweet out for any reason other than that it was sent to me but also to highlight what a cesspool of hate and ignorance twitter has become. Apparently some people take anything they hear on twitter at face value and they spread it with joy.

I don’t want those type of people in my life, especially not given my health situation.

I know of no social setting where people have a license to mock people that get ill. Anyone make fun of cancer patients lately? If there’s open season on victims of heart attacks I was unaware.


It would almost be comical if these type of tweets weren’t also associated with hate mail, threats, harassment, invasion of privacy. And that’s exactly what witch hunts and lynch mobs produce: They incite irrational hate, anger, even violence, panic, etc. and people that stir this kind of stuff up should be ashamed and shunned.

But I’m obviously not the only one that has been subject to harassment and online trolling or has come to realize that social media, especially popularity on social media, can be too much of a distraction.

CNBC’s Kelly Evans called it quits recently as well making her the latest high profile personality to make this choice. Good for her I say. $TWTR the company has big structural issues. Aside from figuring out how to make the company profitable and attractive for advertisers it’s rapidly developing a reputation for becoming a platform where haters can spew their nonsense and harass people without consequences. The result: The company risks losing the positive voices and ends up being a platform for the mob. Bad news all around and plenty of examples can be found:

Joss Whedon is right: Twitter is a loud, shallow waste of time — and I’m leaving, too

Why I Quit Twitter — and Left Behind 35,000 Followers

13 Big Names Who Quit Twitter – and Why

Stephen Fry perhaps summarized it best by calling Twitter “a stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous“.

The company has recently reacted in at least one case now by banning one of its most notorious trolls for life. Too little, too late? I don’t know, but if twitter (down over 75% off its highs) wants to save itself it better react in a much bigger way. As it stands individual users have virtually no options to protect themselves against harassment and abuse. Yes you can block and mute and you can report a user, but twitter never does anything about it. And users have had enough. It’s a fine balance between free speech, censorship and harassment/defamation protection. My sense is one big problem is that trolls are generally not shunned on social media, but rather encouraged in many cases, or worse their nonsense is even believed by many.

Who wants to hang out in a neighborhood where anyone has license to spit on you? Hence it’s no surprise that many companies are actually shutting down message boards altogether. Just too much nastiness, anger, attacks, trolls, stalking, etc. It’s a shame, but it’s a reflection of parts of humanity.

And who can forget Microsoft’s recent experience:

Twitter taught Microsoft’s AI chatbot to be a racist asshole in less than a day

My general view of social media: If you are behaving toward others in a way that would get you thrown out of a party or a meeting or job interview then you should probably get thrown out of a social network for same/similar behavior. Self-annointed keyboard warriors taking out their life frustrations on others they don’t even know, but would not dare saying same things directly to stranger’s faces if they actually met them in real life. Just pathetic.

My bottom line: My priorities are my family, my health, and the commitment we have made to our members and I have no time nor wish to involve myself with internet trash. I’m not the idiot whisperer and since my health scare twitter is no longer part of our lives.

Those that have been supportive of us while we shared so much information on twitter over the years we thank you for all your love and support. I have loved all the positive interaction on twitter, but it has become too much. And to those that hate, troll and constantly obsess about and stalk people they haven’t even met and know nothing about: Get a life and seek some counseling, you have obsession issues.

I’ll leave you with one final thought, perhaps applicable to all of us:

One of my favorite historical writers is Seneca the Younger. He, like all of us, was a flawed human being but I appreciate his wisdom, realism and philosophical musings. Born in Spain he became a personal tutor and advisor to Emperor Nero and had a front row seat to power in Rome during some of its glory days and time of madness. In the “Shortness of Life” he, a man in his own time, wrote among other things:

“The part of life we really live is small….Consider how much of your time was taken up with a moneylender, how much with a mistress, how much with a patron, how much with a client, how much in wrangling with your wife, how much in punishing your slaves, how much in rushing about the city on social duties. Add the diseases which we have caused by our own acts, add, too, the time that has lain idle and unused; you will see that you have fewer years to your credit than you count. You will hear many men saying: “After my fiftieth year I shall retire into leisure, my sixtieth year shall release me from public duties.” And what guarantee, pray, have you that your life will last longer? Who will suffer your course to be just as you plan it? Are you not ashamed to reserve for yourself only the remnant of life, and to set apart for wisdom only that time which cannot be devoted to any business? How late it is to begin to live just when we must cease to live! What foolish forgetfulness of mortality to postpone wholesome plans to the fiftieth and sixtieth year, and to intend to begin life at a point to which few have attained!”

The slavery bit aside, these passages could have been written today and are just as applicable now as they were nearly 2000 years ago and they resonate with me. Deeply.

And perhaps this is the larger message: It’s time to focus on real life not cyber life. And after all, how many years of one’s life can/should one spend day in and day out on cyberspace?

Adios Twitter, it’s been real. I’m unplugging (for the summer at least) and likely the foreseeable future.

via Tyler Durden