019: Scottish independence: they love democracy so much they’re trying to subvert it

Podcast 019 Cover 019: Scottish independence: they love democracy so much theyre trying to subvert it

The polls in Scotland will close this week on one of the more important elections in recent history… perhaps one of the only elections that actually matters.

Rather than a typical vote to see who the captain of the Titanic will be, Scots are deciding whether they want to be free and independent from the UK.

I invite you to spend some time with me this afternoon exploring this incredibly important issue in our latest Podcast episode.

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The FBI Unveils its Controversial Facial Recognition Database with 52 Million Photos to be Stored

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 12.25.38 PMIn April of this year, I highlighted the FBI’s disturbing and Orwellian plan to launch a massive biometric database known as the Next Generation Identification (NGI) System in the post, FBI Plans to Have 52 Million Photos in Facial Recognition Database by 2015. In that piece I noted that:

The latest article from the EFF that caught my attention was published a couple of days ago, and shines light on the disturbing push by the FBI to create an extensive facial recognition database, which will include criminal and non-criminal photos alike. The information received by the EFF via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, demonstrates that the feds may have a mugshot database with up to 52 million photos by 2015.

The program is called Next Generation Identification (NGI), and the aspect of it that bothers the EFF most is the fact that non-criminal and criminal photos will be combined in the same database. So someone who has no criminal record can suddenly be flagged as a suspect just because an algorithm says so. What’s worst, research shows that the potential for false positive identification increases as the dataset increases.


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California Destroys Winery Over Use of Volunteers

Enough a drive a guy to drink. Oh, WAIT!Apparently your labor is the opposite
of your sexuality in California: You can sell it, but you can’t
give it away for free.

California has a state law that prohibits for-profit companies
from using volunteer labor. Anybody who knows anything about
employment economics knows that this isn’t going to hit those big,
dastardly corporations that people hate. No, it’s going to end up
destroying small wineries like Westover Winery in Castro Valley.
From the
Mercury News
:

A small-time vintner’s use of volunteer workers has put him out
of business after the state squeezed him like a late-summer grape
for $115,000 in fines — and sent a chill through the wine
industry.

The volunteers, some of them learning to make wine while helping
out, were illegally unpaid laborers, and Westover Winery should
have been paying them and paying worker taxes, the state Department
of Industrial Relations said.

“I didn’t know it was illegal to use volunteers at a winery;
it’s a common practice,” said winery owner Bill Smyth.

So instead, the place will shut down. It was open only 10 hours
of week and earned about $11,000 a year in profits for the owning
couple. The story notes that half of these volunteers were actually
students taking a class about making wine and were benefiting from
what they were learning. Essentially they were interns:

This was an incredible opportunity for me,” said Peter Goodwin,
a home winemaker from Walnut Creek who said he dreams of opening a
winery with some friends. “I got to learn from someone who knows
the business.”

The winery sometimes asked Goodwin if he wanted to assist in
different tasks.

“That’s what I wanted, to be as involved as much as possible —
it was all about learning,” he said. “I don’t understand the
state’s action. It was my time, and I volunteered.”

A state spokesperson’s response was to whine about what might
happen if there were a “catastrophic accident” (lawsuits?) and that
it wasn’t “fair” for wineries that have to pay employees to compete
with wineries who don’t. I don’t think anybody was worried that
this $11,000-a-year empire was going to put anybody out of
business, and it’s the state that mandated this system in the first
place. Whenever anybody who works in government talks about
creating a level field for the marketplace, you know some small
business owner somewhere is about to get screwed over. The story
notes that there are many small wineries like this one in the area
who rely on volunteers. They had to send them all home.  

(Hat tip to Hit and Run commenter Old Man With Candy.)

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Conference on ISIS Excludes Syria, Iran; Iran, U.S. Reject Idea of Cooperating Militarily

Map of ISISThirty
countries
met in Paris yesterday at the invitation of the
French president, Francois Hollande, to talk about the threat posed
by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Among them were the
U.S., Russia, China, and the U.K. and several Arab countries but
not Syria, one of the countries in which ISIS is operating, nor
Iran, which borders Iraq and, as every country in the region,
considers ISIS a national security threat.

Instead, the American and Iranian governments used the
opportunity to exchange barbs. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei, claimed his government refused a “private
request
” from the U.S. to cooperate on ISIS. Iran already
assists Iraq militarily, as does the U.S., and also assists the
Syrian government in its ongoing civil war with ISIS and various
other rebel groups.

The Syrian government, meanwhile, has insisted airstrikes in
Syria without its permission would be a “big mistake,” blaming the
U.S. and its allies on helping to create ISIS. “Those who would
like to fight terrorism cannot fight terrorism in Syria or in Iraq
without coordinated actions with both governments and without a
broader international coalition,” Syria’s deputy foreign minister
said, according to the
Tehran Times
. “That should also take on board Russia,
China, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and all other countries. You
cannot fight terrorism when you collaborate with those who created
these terrorist groups, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and
others.” 

ISIS declared itself a caliphate in July, its dominion over all
Muslims and territory reaching from Turkey to Saudi Arabia, the
site of Islam’s holiest city. While some American politicians warn
that ISIS (like the big bads that came before it) could send agents
across the porous U.S.-Mexico border. ISIS has far closer borders
to penetrate in Saudia Arabia to the south and Turkey to the
north.

In the meantime, only the United States has conducted air
strikes in Iraq so far, and it is
looking
for other countries to commit combat troops. France,
which called the ISIS conference last month, only began
surveillance flights over Iraq after receiving permission from the
Iraqi government at the conference.  Gen. Martin Dempsey, the
chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said ground troops in Iraq
would be possible if airstrikes “fail.” As the U.S. prepares to
escalate its military campaign against ISIS, it only provides
regional powers more threatened by ISIS’ operations
less incentive to act on their own
.

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Goldman’s Take On China’s “Stealth QE”

From Goldman’s Yu Song:

Domestic media (Sina) reported that the PBOC conducted RMB 500bn of Standing Lending Facility operations with the big 5 commercial banks (ICBC, BOC, BoCOM, CCB, ABC). The reports note that the duration is 3 months and the RMB 500 bn is evenly split among the banks. This amount is roughly the same as a 50 bps cut to RRR for the whole banking system on a static basis (though the impacts of RRR cuts tend to be larger because they have ongoing effects).

 

There is no official confirmation from the PBOC yet. Still, such an easing would be consistent with our expectation that (1) monetary policy will loosened amid the drastic slowdown in activity growth and falling inflation, and (2) full scale RRR and interest rate cuts are unlikely because they would be viewed as aggressive stimulus (see China: Sharp slowdown in activity in August, September 14, 2014).

 

We expect monetary conditions to loosen modestly, which will provide some much needed support for demand growth. Other policies may follow. Front-loading of fiscal expenditure is one possibility–a disproportionate share of fiscal outlays (close to 20%) occurs in the last month of the year– and could reduce recurring criticism of the year-end rush to spend. The government may also step up pressures on government agencies and local authorities to maintain momentum on investment growth. However, we see no indication of these measures yet.

 

Given policymakers have shown a willingness to loosen in the face of weaker data, we believe growth will rebound in the coming months and the government will be able to reach the “around 7.5%” full year GDP growth target for 2014 (after positive effects of the expected GDP methodology adjustment to include R&D.

* * *

It will rebound… for one quarter, then tumble once more as we explained yesterday in “Why China’s Latest Mini-Stimulus Failed Again, In One Chart”  thanks to the magic words: “Credit Impulse”




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Goldman's Take On China's "Stealth QE"

From Goldman’s Yu Song:

Domestic media (Sina) reported that the PBOC conducted RMB 500bn of Standing Lending Facility operations with the big 5 commercial banks (ICBC, BOC, BoCOM, CCB, ABC). The reports note that the duration is 3 months and the RMB 500 bn is evenly split among the banks. This amount is roughly the same as a 50 bps cut to RRR for the whole banking system on a static basis (though the impacts of RRR cuts tend to be larger because they have ongoing effects).

 

There is no official confirmation from the PBOC yet. Still, such an easing would be consistent with our expectation that (1) monetary policy will loosened amid the drastic slowdown in activity growth and falling inflation, and (2) full scale RRR and interest rate cuts are unlikely because they would be viewed as aggressive stimulus (see China: Sharp slowdown in activity in August, September 14, 2014).

 

We expect monetary conditions to loosen modestly, which will provide some much needed support for demand growth. Other policies may follow. Front-loading of fiscal expenditure is one possibility–a disproportionate share of fiscal outlays (close to 20%) occurs in the last month of the year– and could reduce recurring criticism of the year-end rush to spend. The government may also step up pressures on government agencies and local authorities to maintain momentum on investment growth. However, we see no indication of these measures yet.

 

Given policymakers have shown a willingness to loosen in the face of weaker data, we believe growth will rebound in the coming months and the government will be able to reach the “around 7.5%” full year GDP growth target for 2014 (after positive effects of the expected GDP methodology adjustment to include R&D.

* * *

It will rebound… for one quarter, then tumble once more as we explained yesterday in “Why China’s Latest Mini-Stimulus Failed Again, In One Chart”  thanks to the magic words: “Credit Impulse”




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This Seems To Be Going Well…

Submitted by Simon Black via Sovereign Man blog,

Gallup released a new poll late last week showing how many (or few, as it were) Americans are ‘satisfied’ with the direction of the country. 23%. That’s it. 76% are NOT satisfied. Only 1% aren’t sure.

The chart below shows the astounding, long-term decline since 2000.

Note, this is a trend that has outlasted three Presidents and six Congresses. It’s not about a single politician, or even ALL the politicians. It’s about the system itself.

Bottom line, people are fed up. The system has failed. And people are starting to realize it. Where do you think this goes?




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The Ongoing Tension Between Inflation and Growth in the People’s Republic

China has announced a new stimulus program.

 

The Government in the People’s Republic is walking a tightrope. On the one hand, if the economy tanks, there will be an increase in civil unrest. And on the other hand, if the Chinese Government spends too much stimulating the economy, inflation will rip out of control (nearly 40% of the population of China lives off of $2 per day).

 

So we continue to see the Chinese government inflate the economy, and then pull back, inflate the economy and then pull back.  The Chinese stock market has reflected this as it has largely been moving sideways since the 2008 collapse.

 

 

In an economy in which so much of GDP comes from investment, China is hoping that QE will work for it despite the clear evidence that QE has been a dud in Japan, the US, and the UK.

 

The bigger issue for China is the fact that the rest of the world is in the doldrums. China is the biggest exporter to the EU. And the EU economy is in the toilet… again. The US isn’t faring much better. And these two regions alone account for over a third of Chinese exports.

 

China is hoping it can shift its economy away from exports to domestic consumption, but with 40% of the population living off of $2 per day… and much of the wealthy fleeing the country the first chance they get, the likelihood of this isn’t great.

 

Will this latest stimulus plan be the one to ignite growth again in the People’s Republic? We’ll see…but given that globally the world economy is slowing again… the odds aren’t good.

 

This concludes this article. If you’re looking for the means of protecting your portfolio from the coming collapse, you can pick up a FREE investment report titled Protect Your Portfolio at http://ift.tt/170oFLH.

 

This report outlines a number of strategies you can implement to prepare yourself and your loved ones from the coming market carnage.

 

Best Regards

 

Phoenix Capital Research

 

 

 

 

 




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The Ongoing Tension Between Inflation and Growth in the People's Republic

China has announced a new stimulus program.

 

The Government in the People’s Republic is walking a tightrope. On the one hand, if the economy tanks, there will be an increase in civil unrest. And on the other hand, if the Chinese Government spends too much stimulating the economy, inflation will rip out of control (nearly 40% of the population of China lives off of $2 per day).

 

So we continue to see the Chinese government inflate the economy, and then pull back, inflate the economy and then pull back.  The Chinese stock market has reflected this as it has largely been moving sideways since the 2008 collapse.

 

 

In an economy in which so much of GDP comes from investment, China is hoping that QE will work for it despite the clear evidence that QE has been a dud in Japan, the US, and the UK.

 

The bigger issue for China is the fact that the rest of the world is in the doldrums. China is the biggest exporter to the EU. And the EU economy is in the toilet… again. The US isn’t faring much better. And these two regions alone account for over a third of Chinese exports.

 

China is hoping it can shift its economy away from exports to domestic consumption, but with 40% of the population living off of $2 per day… and much of the wealthy fleeing the country the first chance they get, the likelihood of this isn’t great.

 

Will this latest stimulus plan be the one to ignite growth again in the People’s Republic? We’ll see…but given that globally the world economy is slowing again… the odds aren’t good.

 

This concludes this article. If you’re looking for the means of protecting your portfolio from the coming collapse, you can pick up a FREE investment report titled Protect Your Portfolio at http://ift.tt/170oFLH.

 

This report outlines a number of strategies you can implement to prepare yourself and your loved ones from the coming market carnage.

 

Best Regards

 

Phoenix Capital Research

 

 

 

 

 




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What Happened After China’s Last “Stealth QE”?

In a worrying sense of deja-vu all over again, today’s rip higher reflects perfectly the US equity market’s knee-jerk reaction to the last ‘Stealth QE’ from China on July 28th. That did not end well as hot money flowed out to the instantaneously “easiest” central bank in the world…

The USD dumped.. triggering algos to see risk-on carry trades and ripped stocks higher for the day… but that did not end well…

 

as fast money chased SHCOMP higher…

 

Chart: Bloomberg




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