Yellow Vests Battle Tear Gas And Aggressive Riot Cops During 10th Week Of Chaotic Protests

Despite freezing temperatures and rain, tens of thousands of Yellow Vest protesters took to streets across France on Saturday for a tenth consecutive week of demonstrations, completely ignoring French President Emmanuel Macron’s call for a “national debate” – the latest scheme we can add to the pile of failed gimmicks aimed at stopping the movement. 

And while the MSM is largely ignoring the size and scope of the protests, independent journalists, select foreign news outlets and others have been documenting the mayhem. 


Protesters assembled by the Invalides plaza near the National Assembly and marched through the city’s Left Bank in freezing temperatures. The demonstrations were largely peaceful but, according to reporters, clashes broke out late in the afternoon between police and demonstrators, some wearing masks, in Paris’ central Invalides district.

Protesters threw firecrackers, bottles and stones at the police who responded with water cannon and tear gas to push them back.

Authorities said there were around 7,000 protesters in Paris, some of whom gathered near the world-famous Champs Elysees, while there were similar demonstrations in major cities across France. Rallies took place in Toulouse, Lyon, Rouen and other cities.

According to the French Interior Ministry, there were less protestors across France on Saturday, with the official number standing at 27,000 at around 2pm local time.

A fire broke out at the Joan of Arc station in Toulouse, causing people to rush out and evacuate. The cause of the fire is currently unknown.



Twitter user @Bellingdawg is a highly recommended follow – both tweeting and retweeting footage you’ll never see on the evening news. 




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Luongo: Pelosi Fiddles While The Democrats Burn

Authored by Tom Luongo,

Nancy Pelosi (D – Boomers) has a problem. Scratch that, she has a number of problems, not counting her own ethical and moral shortcomings.

Pelosi is the Queen of Projection. She projects an air of invincibility while also projecting her weaknesses onto her political opponents. So, even though Nasty Nancy just got back her Speaker’s gavel, she does so at the weakest moment in the Democratic party’s history since World War II.

Democrats Are Close to Terminal Decline

The traditional three-headed coalition of the Democrats has been shattered. The middle class Union guys are gone. By the time Trump is done with her over border security Pelosi’ll lose a bigger swath of the Hispanic vote than she already has.

All that will be left is her warmongering, globalist, shills for the MIC and the Deep State. Bicoastal Smug Liberals.

Internal Revolt

But, the hollowing out of the middle class is Pelosi’s biggest problem. Betraying the former Bernie Bros was the beginning. The Democrats under her leadership give lip service to bank reform which, in turn, has the hard-core Socialist left fired up.

That’s what rock-star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez represents. She is the face of what’s left of Occupy Wall St. And she has a strong, knee-jerk, anti-incumbent, anti-establishment momentum behind her.

It doesn’t matter that she’s 28 years old, has little to no life experience or a firm grasp on reality. This is politics and these are chaotic times. She already has an acronym (AOC) and a nickname. She’s important.

Warhorses like Pelosi don’t know how to change their ways this late in their game. They think they can buy off people like AOC and outmaneuver her.

Pelosi faced a serious challenge to her party leadership in the run up to being elected Speaker of the House again. And she paid for that smooth vote with AOC’s appointment to the House Financial Services Committee.

When you’re going for the kill-shot on Trump there can be no weaknesses perceived.

But the big betrayal by the Pelosi Set is on war and empire. The same arguments animating the GOP insurrection against Trump by neoconservatives keeps Pelosi’s Smug Liberal interventionists happy.

The leadership of both parties love the Empire. They work non-stop to keep that gravy train flowing. It’s how they stay in power, amass incredible personal fortunes and why the country at large — left, right and center — hates their guts.

Do you think AOC wins her primary if the DNC hadn’t been so thoroughly despicable to Bernie Sanders’ supporters?

Or such full-throated supporters of questionable foreign interventions?

Pelosi is betting her political farm on border security. She does so because it is the one issue which galvanizes both her corrupt leadership with the populist, socialist Left represented by AOC.

They all hate what they perceive as bigotry.

Gabbard: The Anti-Pelosi

And it is also a distraction from the real issue that Trump put front and center, the Democrats’ weakness on foreign policy.

By announcing the pull out of U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan he reminded everyone just how much Pelosi et.al. love spending your money bombing brown people overseas for their profit.

As I said, appearance of strength is all that matters in politics at this level. Pelosi cannot afford to look at all weak during a government shutdown she started to oppose Trump and regain the White House in 2020.

So, while Pelosi is focused on being the establishment’s mouthpiece for taking down Trump to regain control over the vast government machinery, rebellions are happening within her own party.

Enter Tulsi Gabbard. Gabbard has real promise as the anti-war/anti-empire insurrectionist within the Democrats. She is a leftist version of Ron Paul in that she’s hated by everyone who thinks they are someone.

Because nothing unites the DNC and the RNC like the threat of peace getting an audience on the national stage.

When “anti-incumbent” is the watchword of the day, Gabbard throwing her hat into the 2020 Presidential race is a big deal. Gabbard will get support from anti-war Republicans, Independents and Libertarians.

They will cross party lines to vote for her in primaries, hurting the anointed ones.

She will successfully fund-raise on ending useless and counter-productive engagements in the Middle East. With her part of the Presidential conversation it forces her opposition to adopt her positions while simultaneously supporting Trump’s struggle against his own staff.

Trump should give her a lifetime membership to Mar-a-Lago.

Yes, she’s a mess economically, but that’s not where her value lies. She’s everything the current Democratic party isn’t: attractive, conscientious, brave and committed to peace.

Pelosi’s Corner

And that is a nightmare for Pelosi. She’s positioned herself as being against whatever Trump is for. That makes her an easy foil for him.

With Gabbard in the race Trump can go hard on foreign policy and create havoc in the Democratic primaries. As long as he stays in the game, Gabbard is his stalking horse.

Don’t underestimate the political points he scored with canceling Pelosi’s overseas trip. This is the Donald Trump we asked for — end politics as usual.

Confront the banal hypocrisy of our ruling class.

And, most importantly, call out the cheap virtue signaling hacks like Pelosi get a free pass on every day in the media.

Trump made it clear that if Pelosi wants to conspire with foreign leaders against him that she can do it on her own dime.

And having the shutdown as the excuse in a perfect game of brinkmanship made it even more effective.

Pelosi acts like she has Trump dead to rights on petty corruption thanks to Mueller’s songbird Michael Cohen. I don’t discount how hard they are gunning for Trump now. But like Theresa May in the U.K. over Brexit, there is only so much people will take in service of petty party infighting.

Eventually a real political revolt occurs. Just ask Italian Democrats or Emmanuel Macron.

So Pelosi has to be careful how she plays her hand here. She’s losing to Trump on the wall. Every day the argument against it looks both silly and hysterical. $5.7 billion is less than one week’s interest on the national debt.

But, she’s pot committed to her position that ‘walls are immoral.’ What she may find out here is that if you back someone like Trump into a corner and promise to destroy everything he has, then he then has nothing left to lose.

And that is when he is most dangerous to not only her but to everyone she’s beholden to. After that her own people’s knives come out.

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BlackRock Accidentally Exposes Confidential Sales Data For Thousands Of Financial Advisors

As we’ve pointed out before, the notoriously high fees charged by financial advisors aren’t the only reason why young people are opting for low-cost robo-advisors (or simply stashing their money in an index-tracking ETF that charges 3 basis points a year) instead of human advisors. There’s also the issue of whom financial advisors serve: Their clients – to whom they have a fiduciary obligation – or the big wirehouses and fund managers who supply their product?

Well BlackRock, which holds the title of world’s largest asset manager, with more than $5 trillion AUM, appears to have inadvertently affirmed that thousands of financial advisors serve their masters first, and their clients second. 

BR

Because in what Bloomberg described as an embarrassing and incidental slip up – the result of an unforced error – BlackRock accidentally published details about its sales relationship with thousands of financial advisors.

In three spreadsheets accidentally published on a webpage associated with BlackRock’s iShares ETF business,  thousands of financial advisors were given ratings based on how much business they bring BlackRock. Some were classified as “dabblers” or “power users”. Some had even achieved “Club” status, including membership in a “Patriot’s Club” or “Director’s Club”.

But despite the insight this offered into the relationship between BlackRock and the army of “independent” financial advisors responsible for selling its products, BBG didn’t seem to give these revelations much thought. Instead, they focused on the fact that this is probably the most embarrassing Wall Street data breach since JPM’s 2014 breach – the only difference being that the latter was perpetrated by malicious hackers.

BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, inadvertently posted confidential information about thousands of financial adviser clients on its website.

The data appeared in three spreadsheets, linked on one of the New York-based company’s web pages dedicated to its iShares exchange-traded funds. The documents included names and email addresses of financial advisers who buy BlackRock’s ETFs on behalf of customers. They also appeared to show the assets under management each adviser had in the firm’s iShares ETFs.

The links were dated Dec. 5, 2018, but it’s unclear how long they were public. The documents were seen by Bloomberg and removed Friday. BlackRock, which oversees assets of almost $6 trillion, is the world’s largest issuer of ETFs.

One of the spreadsheets appears to list more than 12,000 entries of advisers and their sales representatives at BlackRock. On another, the advisers were categorized in a variety of ways such as “dabblers” or “power users.” A column noted their “Club Level” including the “Patriots Club” or “Directors Club.”

A BlackRock spokesperson said the company was reviewing the accidental leak, and hinted that two “distribution partners” (i.e. the BlackRock employees responsible for wholesaling the company’s financial products) were likely to blame for the leak.

“We are conducting a full review of the matter,” spokesman Brian Beades said in a statement Friday.  “The inadvertent and temporary posting of the information relates to two distribution partners serving independent advisers and does not include any of their underlying client information.”

Securing data is known to keep Wall Street leaders awake at night. But most often, senior executives cite a fear of hackers, which has prompted some of the nation’s biggest banks to pour upwards of $1 billion a year into cybersecurity. It’s one area where financial firms set aside bitter rivalries, sharing tips and collaborating on projects to ensure the public remains confident in the industry – and that it never suffers a catastrophic loss.

According to one cybersecurity expert quoted by Bloomberg, the best way for Wall Street firms to mitigate the fallout from cybersecuriuty scandals is to ‘accurately communicate what happened’, adding that the firms’ initial response is crucial.

Firms can’t avoid breaches entirely, but they can react to them in a way that rebuilds trust, said John Reed Stark, who focused on internet crimes while working in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division and now runs a cybersecurity consulting business.

“Data security incidents are inevitable,” he said after the incident at BlackRock. “The most important thing in this kind of situation is about the response from the firm, and whether they’re communicating accurately about what happened.”

And what better way to restore confidence in one’s business than by deflecting blame for its mistakes?

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The Mother Of All Short Setups?

Via Dana Lyons’ Tumblr,

U.S. stocks are testing perhaps the most important line in the entire market.

If you’ve followed us for any length of time, you know that our favorite equity market index is the Value Line Geometric Composite (VLG). As a refresher, the VLG tracks the median U.S. stock performance among a universe of roughly 1800 stocks. It is our favorite, therefore, as it is a solid measure of the health and direction of the overall market. And, as we have also said many times, it is helpful to track it because research has shown that 70-80% of the determinant of the trend direction of a particular stock is based on the trend of the overall market. It is also especially compelling to us currently, however, due to the proximity of prices now from a historical basis.

So what is so significant about the current VLG level? We have written about it several times recently, even naming it our Chart Of The Year for last year. Let’s recap.

In 1998, the VLG topped out at an all-time high level around 510. 9 years later, in 2007, the index again topped out ~510. Fast forward 7 years and we see the index (briefly) top out there one more time in 2014. At the market top in mid-2015, the VLG was finally able to exceed the 510 level — temporarily. After a false breakout, the VLG sold off hard in the subsequent correction. Finally, in 2017, the VLG was able to sustainably (or so it seemed) break out above the 510 level. Here was our post and chart at the time.

After about 12 months of solid follow-through to up near the 600 level, the VLG pulled back sharply last quarter along with the rest of the market. In the initial selloff, the index did attempt to hold that 510 level, which we termed “the mother of all support levels” in late October.

However, after 6 weeks of trying to hold on, the 510 level gave way. Now, instead of the immensely positive multi-decade triple top breakout that we witnessed in 2017, we were left with an equally meaningful negative false breakout – i.e., our  2018 Chart Of The Y(B)ear.

The VLG did manage to find subsequent support at our “Once A Decade” support levels, along with the rest of the market in late December. And after bottoming around 445, the index has soared back some 15% over the past 3 weeks. That bounce has brought the VLG back to – guess what level? Yep, 510, as of yesterday’s close.

So will this 510 level on the Value Line Geometric Composite continue to display the generational relevance that it has for more than 20 years now?  Importantly, this morning’s action has taken the index up to the 516 level – does that mean that the index, and maybe the overall market, is out of the woods now? Or will this move prove fleeting and result in the index quickly losing the 510 level again? In that case, this critical level could well end up repelling this monster bounce in the market, send prices hurtling back down and confirm the multi-decade false breakout.

IF it is the latter, considering the decades of price relevance here, this may be the mother of all short setups.

*  *  *

If you’re interested in the “all-access” version of our charts and research, we invite you to check out our site, The Lyons Share. Considering the volatile market climate, there has never been a better time to reap the benefits of our risk-managed approach. Thanks for reading!

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66 Dead Near Mexico City After Fireball Erupts From Illegal Gas Pipeline Tap

Police and rescue workers in the small Mexican town of Tlahuelilpan, just 60 miles outside Mexico City, are still sifting through a ghastly scene after a explosion at an illegal gasoline-pipeline tap created a giant fireball that burned at least 66 people alive and left dozens of others badly wounded by the flames, according to the Washington Post.

66 people have been confirmed dead, and another 85 were missing at last count.

WaPo

Witnesses described a field of charred contorted corpses as the victims tried in vain to put out the flames covering their bodies. Forensic experts working on counting the casualties were having trouble separating bodies from one another after they fell in heaps, perhaps a sign that people stumbled over one another as they struggled to get away from a geyser of gas that shot into the air in the moments before the explosion, per NBC News.

Mexico

The explosion occurred as hundreds of people gathered to steal gas from a duct breached by fuel thieves.

On Saturday, several of the dead lay on their backs, their arms stretched out in agony. Some seemed to have covered their chests in a last attempt to protect themselves from the flames; another few black-charred corpses seemed to embrace each other in death.

Lost shoes were scattered around the scorched field, as were plastic jugs and jerry cans that the victims had carried to gather spilling fuel.

The tragedy took place just weeks after newly inaugurated Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador launched an offensive against gangs of fuel thieves who stole $3 billion in fuel from state-run energy firm Pemex during the first 10 months of the year.

A staggering 12,581 dangerous illegal pipeline had been drilled in that time – a rate of roughly 42 per day.

One man wept after explaining that he believed his 13-year-old son had perished in the fire.

“Ay, no, where is my son?” wailed Hugo Olvera Estrada, whose 13-year-old son, Hugo Olvera Bautista, was at the spot where the fire erupted. Wrapped in a blanket outside a clinic, the man had already gone to six local hospitals looking for his child.

After returning home from middle school yesterday, his father recounted, the boy went to join the crowd scooping up gasoline. Olvera Estrada believed he was influenced by older and supposedly wise men from the town of about 20,000. “The older men brought him,” he said.

In a morning press conference, AMLO vowed to continue his campaign against fuel theft, and cited the explosion as an example of the very real human costs from this thievery.

“We are going to eradicate that which not only causes material damages, it is not only what the nation loses by this illegal trade, this black market of fuel, but the risk, the danger, the loss of human lives” he said.

“What happened here should serve as an example for the whole nation to unite behind the fight that the president is carrying out against this ill,” said municipal health director Jorge Aguilar Lopez.

As part of the crackdown, AMLO has shuttered some pipelines and ordered fuel to be transported by truck – causing fuel shortages in some parts of the country – while more than 3,000 Mexican marines have been ordered to guard other pipelines.

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“You Want To See A Stock Market Crash, Impeach Trump!” Warns President After Media Attacks

President Trump on Saturday hit back at critics after several “hit pieces” over the last week generated repeated calls by Democrats for his impeachment – the latest being a Thursday night BuzzFeed report that Trump instructed his former attorney, Michael Cohen, to lie about a Trump Tower Moscow project. The BuzzFeed report was debunked as a fabrication the next day by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, but not before giddy Democrats ran wild with calls for Trump’s ouster. 

“The Economy is one of the best in our history, with unemployment at a 50 year low, and the Stock Market ready to again break a record (set by us many times) – & all you heard yesterday, based on a phony story, was Impeachment. You want to see a Stock Market Crash, Impeach Trump!” the President Tweeted Saturday morning. 

The latest flood of anti-Trump news began on January 11 with a New York Times report that the FBI supercharged their investigation into whether Trump had wittingly or unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence after he fired FBI Director James Comey (at the recommendation of Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein). According to the report, agents and senior F.B.I. officials “had grown suspicious of Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign” but held off on opening an investigation into him, the people said, in part because they were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude.

One day after the NYT report, the Washington Post reported that Trump had “gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired.” 

Of course, buried in paragraph nine the Post admits: “No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials.


Continuing the anti-Trump train was a Thursday report in the Wall Street Journal that President Trump instructed Michael Cohen to rig CNBC and Drudge polls in his favor. Cohen reportedly agreed to pay a small IT firm $50,000 to conduct the rigging, only to pay them in a bag of cash containing between $12,000 and $13,000 and a boxing glove that Cohen said had been worn by a Brazilian mixed-martial arts fighter. 

Cohen has disputed the account – but not the relationship with the IT firm – RedFinch or its CEO John Gauger, saying “All monies paid to Mr. Gauger were by check.”

Hilariously, in May 2016 Cohen also asked Gauger to create a Twitter account – @WomenForCohen, which was run by a female friend of Gauger and described Cohen as a “sex symbol,” praising his looks and character, while promoting his appearances and statements boosting Trump’s candidacy. 

And while Gauger says he never received the rest of the $50,000 he was owed, Cohen still requested – and received – a $50,000 reimbursement from Donald Trump and his company for the work done by RedFinch, according to the Journal, citing a government document and a person familiar with the matter. The reimbursement – based on a handwritten note by Cohen, was paid largely out of Trump’s personal account. 

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said that Cohen’s full reimbursement for the $50,000 while paying RedFinch less shows the former Trump lawyer to be a thief. “If one thing has been established, it’s that Michael Cohen is completely untrustworthy,” said Cohen. 

And last but not least, of course, is the now-discredited BuzzFeed report alleging that Trump instructed Cohen to lie about Trump Tower Moscow.

It’s interesting how quickly the news cycle turned against Trump after he threatened to flex his presidential powers and declare a national emergency to fund his wall – right on the heels of a Syria pullout announcement which has been wildly unpopular with establishment war hawks.

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Apply Now for a Reason Summer Internship!

The Burton C. Gray Memorial Internship program runs year-round in the Washington, D.C., office. Interns work for 12 weeks and are paid $7,200.

The job includes reporting and writing as well as helping with research, proofreading, and other tasks. Previous interns have gone on to work at such places as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, ABC News, and Reason itself.

To apply, send your résumé, up to five writing samples (preferably published clips), and a cover letter by March 1 to intern@reason.com. Please include “Gray Internship Application – Summer” in the subject line.

Paper applications can be sent to:

Gray Internship
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Summer internships begin in June, though precise start dates are flexible.

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No, Paul Krugman, This Shutdown Is Not A “Big Libertarian Experiment”

Authored by Thomas Eckert via The Mises Institute,

With the government shutdown now entering its fourth week, it seems that it’s left many political pundits clamoring for an excuse to wash their party’s blame from the situation. Perhaps the most glaring example came from Paul Krugman’s recent New York Times column,“Trump’s Big Libertarian Experiment.” The Nobel-prize winning economist has never been shy about his contempt towards libertarianism, and this column only demonstrates he’s come closer to full-blown lunacy. Because, as I’ll explain, no, this shutdown is not a libertarian experiment.

I know many who may be unfamiliar with libertarian philosophy like to think our only concern is hatred for the state, and that anything not inherently pro-government must be essentially libertarian-esque, but that’s not quite the case. Libertarianism, at its core, centers around the recognition of private property rights and a strict adherence to consent and the non-aggression principle (NAP). And already in Krugman’s first paragraph we begin to see his claim of tying this to libertarians unravel, as he admits that while conservatives often echo libertarian rhetoric, they’ve never actually followed through on any of their policies.

Nonetheless, now that it’s Trump who’s allowed a government shutdown (something every president has endured going back to Gerald Ford, but never mind that inconvenient fact), this somehow makes it a libertarian experiment. In other words, what we’re expected to believe is that although these politicians have ignored the advice of libertarians for decades, in most cases doing the exact opposite of what we espouse, now that people are seeing the negative side of their policies as government checks dry up, it is suddenly a libertarian’s dream. The obvious contradiction in that claim should be glaring.

It’s not unlike when we complain about silly, little things like endless wars and deficit spending; issues Democrats and Republicans can’t be bothered with, and we’re inevitably told to move to our utopia — Somalia. What Krugman is implying here is that a nation operating in complete contradiction to libertarian thought (poor regard for the protection of property rights and an inclination towards aggression against others as a political solution) can likewise come crashing down and somehow, this demonstrates it’s exactly what we’ve always wanted — or at least the negative consequences are our fault.

Not so fast though, Krugman.

Because as history shows, it wasn’t libertarians who advocated for any of this. We never lobbied for the government to expand to the point of hiring 800,000 workers that even they deem to be “non-essential.” Neither did we advocate for a massive, $4 trillion annual budget, requiring an ever-expansive debt ceiling just to keep it open, the very reason this experiment of a shutdown began in the first place.

You know who did though? Paul Krugman. With his commitment to Keynesian economics, he has rarely seen an instance of deficit spending he hasn’t liked. Unless of course Trump is in office with a Republican congress; then he’s almost downright libertarian on the deficit.

Ironically, one of the few policy agreements he actually does have with libertarians — a disdain for farm subsidies — is somehow pointed to as a strike against libertarians. Never mind that our use of the term “crony capitalism” here is the exact same as Krugman’s description in his own writing; I wouldn’t hold your breath for Krugman to share any fault now that the checks are no longer being mailed out to the farmers though. I suppose we can overlook the fact that it wasn’t even libertarians who initially enacted those subsidies back during the New Deal; a policy Krugman argues, didn’t go far enough in its spending, calling it only “modestly expansionary.” And I also suppose we ought to ignore the countless politicians who’ve fought to keep these crony policies in place, including the progressive darling, Bill Clinton, who saw to it that farm subsidiesballooned to $30 billion in 1998 by classifying it as “emergency aid.” Never mind that there weren’t any libertarians behind that. But now that people have been made dependent on subsidies and are suffering in their absence, we’re now in a libertarian utopia!

And God forbid we use these libertarian critics’ own argument against them. Who was it that derided Sears’ CEO, Eddie Lampert, for running the company into the ground while still receiving a bonus check? Calling him an “Ayn Rand devotee”? Oh, that was Paul Krugman. While laying off 30,000 people and keeping your bonus is quite immoral, should we expect the same outrage from Krugman in the face of twenty-five times as many federal employees losing their checks as his friends in the Washington elite keep the money flowing in? Of course not. “Blame the libertarians!” goes the broken record.

It’s at this point, however, that Krugman spills the beans about his true agenda all along. As it turns out, he admits that libertarian ideas aren’t a “real” force within the GOP. (who knew?!) Rather, he surmises it’s only a cover story for Republicans’ true plan to distribute wealth to their rich friends — arguably the truest statement made in the entire column.

Now, what libertarian critique would be complete without a fallacious argument about food being poisoned?

Krugman decides to end his column with the oldest of libertarian strawmen: the insinuation that without the Food and Drug Administration working tirelessly to inspect our food, we’d succumb to the whims of greedy capitalist producers who only wish to poison us. Oddly, you’d think a Nobel economist would grasp the concept of how unlikely and unprofitable it is to intentionally kill off your customers — seeing as how we’re told relentlessly capitalism only cares about profits. What’s more likely is that in the absence of any real arguments comes an appeal to what political hacks do best: fearmongering.

So, does the prospect of contaminated food smell like freedom to us? No, not any more than your attempts to pass blame make this shutdown any sort of “big libertarian” experiment.

via RSS http://bit.ly/2HlxWGq Tyler Durden

Trump Will Offer Democrats Deal In “Major Announcement” Today

President Trump will renew his demand for a border wall with a few new incentives for congressional Democrats in a 3 p.m. Saturday announcement, according to Bloomberg, citing a person familiar with the matter. Trump teased the announcement on Friday. 

Democrats have thus far refused to allocate $5.7 billion for Trump’s long-promised southern border wall, and have called for protections for young immigrants brought into the United States as children and currently covered under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

To that end, Axios reports that in exchange for the $5.7 billion in wall money, Trump will offer the BRIDGE Act – which would extend protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, as well as legislation which would extend the legal status of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders. The deal is said to have been crafted by Jared Kushner and Vice President Mike Pence. 

The dispute over the wall has resulted in a partial government shutdown now in its 29th day. 

Trump, meanwhile, has threatened to declare a national emergency to bypass Congress and reallocate federal funds for the project – which he does not plan to do on Saturday according to Bloomberg‘s source who was “granted anonymity to discuss the announcement beforehand,” whatever that means. 

The Saturday announcement comes on the heels of a contentious week between President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, after Pelosi “disinvited” Trump from giving the State of the Union Address later this month. Trump hit back by grounding Pelosi

Pelosi earlier in the day accused the Trump administration of leaking her plan to fly commercially to Afghanistan, forcing her to scuttle the trip because of the heightened danger, after word of her intentions began spreading among several media organizations.

Trump on Thursday publicly revealed plans for the trip in a letter denying use of military aircraft for her congressional delegation to visit troops in the war zone. A day earlier Pelosi publicly suggested Trump either delay his State of the Union speech or submit it in writing, citing the shutdown.

The fact that they would leak that we were flying commercial is a danger not only us but other people flying commercial,” Pelosi told reporters Friday at the Capitol. “It was very irresponsible on the part of the president.” –Bloomberg

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied the administration leaked the information about the commercial flight, while Pelosi has refused to explain why she believes the administration was behind the leak. 

Pelosi, meanwhile, was seen at Reagan National Airport. Looks like it was a really important secret trip to Afghanistan! 

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Taiwan Holds Live-Fire Military Exercise Amid Fears Of China Invasion 

Taiwan on Thursday conducted live-fire war drills along its west coast amid mounting fears that Chinese President Xi Jinping could use military force to annex the democratic island.

Artillery batteries, self-propelled artillery weapons, attack helicopters, and main battle tanks fired at targets off the west coast city of Taichung, while the island’s air force operated French-made Dassault Mirage 2000 fighter jets. 

The war exercise followed a new report from the Pentagon outlining concerns about Beijing’s expanding military might, including a possible invasion of Taiwan.

“China … believes that U.S. military presence … in Asia seeks to constrain China’s rise and interfere with China’s sovereignty, particularly in a Taiwan conflict scenario,” the Pentagon report said. 

In a meeting with US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson in Beijing on Tuesday, China’s chief of staff Li Zuocheng warned about foreign forces coming to Taiwan’s help.

The US is Taiwan’s primary source of heavy military hardware and legally bound to respond if China invades the island. 

China’s armed forces will “pay any price” to ensure China’s sovereignty, Zuocheng told Richardson at their meeting. China considers Taiwan, which split from the mainland amid civil war in 1949, as part of Chinese territory. 

The trigger for the military drills could have been due to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, recently rejected requests from President Xi for the island to move towards “unification” with China. 

Major General Chen Chung-chi, the spokesman for Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said the military is updating its exercises to reflect the possibility of an amphibious invasion by China. 

“We exercise the way wars are fought … so that we will be capable and confident in the defense of our country,” Chen told journalists in Taipei on Wednesday. “We are ready to face an enemy threat at any time.”

The drills come amid rising pressure from President Xi declaring, “Renufication is the historical trend and the right path, Taiwan independence is…a dead end,” during an address this month. 

China Uncensored provides an informational video showing how China has a plan to invade Taiwan by 2020.

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