Apple And Amazon Both Exceed In Exploiting America

Apple And Amazon Both Exceed In Exploiting America

Authored by Bruce Wilds via Advancing Time blog,

Two of America’s largest companies, Apple and Amazon share an ugly truth. It is rooted in exploitation and how they excel in exploiting America. Due to their strong ties to America’s government, both these companies have been allowed to create a persona or facade that far outshines reality. Not only do they exploit workers but each in its own way, mask the huge amount of income they pluck from our government on all levels while avoiding paying taxes. The situation has become so obvious to many people that while moderating the Golden Globes awards, comedian Ricky Gervais in a joking manner slammed actors for calling themselves “woke” while taking money from Apple, Amazon, and Disney, who use slave labor.

Years ago I penned an article titled, “The Poison Apple” where I questioned how Apple remains the darling of so many Americans while stories continue to surface on how those they have contracted to make their products abuse their workers? This coupled with the widespread criticism for its environmental practices and tax avoidance schemes would have caused major damage to the corporate image of most companies resulting in large protests outside their offices and massive boycotts of their products. We should remember, Apple is a company that Fortune magazine has called the most admired company in the United States and in the world, this is a company that the Economist called a “phenomena” and questioned if “it was a bubble” even years before its stock price soared.

A More Truthful Logo

Some time ago the Paradise Papers highlighted the murky dealings by Apple that allowed it to pay a mere 3.7% in corporate taxes in 2017. This is a fraction of the worldwide average and well below what most people would imagine It detailed how Apple’s tax-avoidance strategies, which are infamous, allowed it to find different avenues at securing its worldwide profits, which accounted for roughly 55% of its total income in 2017. In August of 2016, Apple was ordered by the European Commission to pay €13 billion in taxes, which Tim Cook called ‘total political crap’ at the time. None of this has altered how Apple has moved forward.

It is as if people are totally blind to the less tasty side of Apple that appeared in a 2006 report focusing on the deplorable working conditions at factories in China where the contract manufacturers Foxconn and Inventec produced the iPod. The article stated that one complex of factories that assembles the iPod and other items had over 200,000 workers, that lived and worked in the factory. Employees regularly worked more than 60 hours per week making around $100 per month and were required to pay for rent and food from the company.  This generally amounted to a little over half of the workers’ earningsWhile things may have improved a bit over the years it is difficult to think the lives of these workers has become anything to brag about.

Four months ago China Labor Watch issued a lengthy report accusing Apple and its manufacturing partner Foxconn Technology Co Ltd of breaching numerous Chinese labor laws. Yet, as big an issue as the history of worker exploitation of workers in China is the fact that since Apple manufactures in China it creates few jobs in American. Is the typical Apple user so self-centered that they just don’t care, or do they lust for the product so much that they bury and ignore their social conscience?  These consumers are even willing to pay higher prices to lock themselves into a closed system tightly controlled by Apple.

For a moment let us put aside Apple and explore some of Amazon’s corporate tactics as well as some of the recent stories and the ever-growing political power of the very influential Washington Post which is owned by Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, which at times has claimed the title of the worlds richest man. Among the goals of this online retail mogul is replacing workers with robots which his company will both build and market.

Bezos Quietly Shapes Public Opinion

Bezos is also the head of Blue Origin, a company with big plans to pioneer the frontier of space. Last but far from least as Amazon’s CEO Bezos ties this all together with Amazon Web Service or AWS. This is a cloud service that also collects data and has strong ties to the government. This means they know when you are sleeping, they know when you’re awake, they know when you are bad or good. This all constitutes a great deal of power in the hands of one man.

Because of Amazon’s strong ties with the government and what is often referred to as the “deep state,” we should be concerned about whether The Washington Post is making a concerted effort to shape public opinion in a way that is at odds with our current President. Lurking in the back of my mind is that it was the Washington Post and not a newspaper located in Alabama that broke the Roy Moore story which has turned many women against the Republican party. This brings up the question of just how much the Roy Moore story also has fed into the “me too” movement that had huge ramifications across society. Are stories like this a coincidence or is a strong hidden agenda at play?

All this could be one of the reasons President Trump has voiced concern about Amazon as a force in America.

The bottom-line is that Apple and Amazon, both receive and feed at the teat of our government and receive a lot of American tax dollars. We should never forget that in America the government and schools use taxpayer money to buy countless numbers of Apple products produced in China adding to Apple’s credibility and helping to carry tax-evading Apple to the next level. While this is happening the money-losing United States Postal Service bends over backward to deliver Amazon products while the American government pays out billions to AWS for its services in collecting and storing data on American citizens.

Time and time again it has been pointed out that Amazon is one of the world’s most valuable companies, valued at nearly $800 billion. Even after the e-commerce giant pulled in $232.9 billion in global revenue in 2018, it paid $0 in federal taxes. In fact, Amazon was said to be getting a federal tax refund of $129 million this year, this is in spite of Amazon nearly doubling its taxable income in 2018 to $11.2 billion, from $5.6 billion a year earlier. The matter of Amazon’s check to the IRS reading exactly $0.00 was also confirmed in a report published by Fortune which stated, the e-tail/retail/tech/entertainment/everything giant would not be paying a cent in federal taxes for the second year in a row.

It should be noted that President Trump is not the only politician that has taken aim at Amazon. current Presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has also criticized Amazon for not paying higher federal taxes and is not a fan of the company. Particularly troubling is money from our government flowing into Amazon adds to its war chest and feeds its ability to continue exploiting the brick and mortar stores that line the streets of our communities. These are the real businesses that provide jobs to millions of Americans. All in all, it is a bit ironic that so many people are infatuated with these two companies that seem hell-bent on taking far more from us than they are willing to return. To us not so enamored with these two companies the fact is, we just don’t get it.


Tyler Durden

Fri, 01/17/2020 – 14:40

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Jack Dorsey Asks Elon Musk, Who Once Committed Securities Fraud On Twitter, How To Fix Twitter

Jack Dorsey Asks Elon Musk, Who Once Committed Securities Fraud On Twitter, How To Fix Twitter

The inmates are officially running the asylum. 

Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey, who recently announced he wants to live in the woods in Africa instead of sitting behind a desk managing the two massive public companies he is at the helm of, has reached out to Elon Musk for advice on how to improve Twitter.

Yes, gone are the days of market research and focus groups and in are the days of reaching out to another airheaded Silicon Valley CEO – who happened to have committed arguably the most egregious securities fraud in history on social media – and asking him for advice on how he’d improve the platform. 

The two spoke on a video link in front of thousands of Twitter employees Thursday, according to Business Insider. During the conversation, Dorsey asked for “direct feedback on Twitter and asked Musk what he would do if he was running the platform.

Oh, I don’t know, maybe release a version that won’t be available for 6 years and take deposits on it?

Musk’s advice was tools to “help differentiate” between real and fake users. Because maybe coming right out and just asking Jack to ban short sellers would have been a bit much…

“Is this a real person, or is this a bot net, or a sort of troll army, or something like that?” Musk said.

Musk continued: “Basically, how do you tell if the feedback is real or someone trying to manipulate the system, or probably real, or probably trying to manipulate the system. What do people actually want? What are people actually upset about versus manipulation of the system by various interest groups?”

Despite Twitter being smaller than most social networks, it is still growing and Dorsey has committed to “healthier conversation” on the platform. You know, like calling international heroes pedophiles…

Musk has 30 million followers on the platform and spends his days on it dealing with individual Tesla service complaints, making stupid Monty Python jokes and finding new various way to ridicule the SEC. 

In 2016, Dorsey praised Musk’s used of Twitter, calling his account “a really good model of how to use it well.”

Some people on social media disagree:

 


Tyler Durden

Fri, 01/17/2020 – 14:29

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Yes, Rhode Island Should Legalize Marijuana. No, the State Shouldn’t Run the Shops.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo released her proposed budget for 2021 yesterday. Apparently, she’s counting on the state to legalize recreational marijuana—and run all the pot shops—to make the numbers work.

Rhode Island has legalized medical marijuana use but not recreational sales or consumption. The Democratic governor is pushing for full legalization, with an eye on the sweet, sweet cash she thinks it’ll bring. To that end, Raimondo wants the state to run all the stores and get most of the revenue.

Here’s what’s in the summary of her budget plan:

The FY 2021 budget includes the legalization of adult use marijuana. This legalization takes the form of a state-control model, similar to how liquor sales are regulated in New Hampshire and over a dozen states. The state would hire a contractor to acquire adult use marijuana and operate retail stores on the state’s behalf. This regulatory approach will allow the state to control distribution, prevent youth consumption, and protect public health. Similar to the state lottery and gaming, the state will receive a share of retail sales revenue net of the wholesale cost of marijuana products. The state share is 61 percent, while the contractor would receive 29 percent, and municipalities would receive 10 percent. Regulatory and public health expenditures would be appropriated out of the state share of revenue. Net of those expenditures, the general revenue transfer from adult use marijuana is expected to be $21.8 million in FY 2020.

Fully ending Rhode Island’s war on weed would be good news, but Raimondo needs to pay attention to the problems that will arise when you depend on marijuana revenue to balance your budget—and the bad consequences that have come from state-run shops.

Seven states directly own all the liquor shops within their boundaries: Utah, Virginia, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Idaho, and Alabama. This monopoly arrangement leads to higher prices and poorer choices, not to mention no small amount of consumer hassle. And with marijuana, the problems will be worse.

Giving the state a monopoly is a way to make sure it gets a share of the revenue. But marijuana is not like hard liquor: It’s much easier to manufacture and to sell on the black market in large quantities. Rather than looking at New Hampshire, Raimondo really needs to be looking to places like Canada and California.

In Canada, the government doesn’t run all the shops, but it does serve as the monopoly wholesale vendor to retailers and the sole online vendor. The rollout of this system was a mess, causing the province of Ontario to actually lose $42 million last year. The government was not prepared to meet the demand for marijuana; there were shortages and any number of bureaucratic problems. And after I wrote about Canada’s problems last year, a few marijuana smokers contacted me to tell me that the quality of pot the state-run wholesalers were distributing was not terribly good.

California should serve as a warning for any governor who casually assumed she can balance a budget with new revenue from marijuana sales. The government there burdened the fledgling pot industry with taxes and regulations, in part to get the money flowing to city and state coffers. The state expected it would get $1 billion in revenue from legal sales from fiscal year 2018–19. Instead it brought in just $288 million. Because of the high taxes and the oppressive bureaucratic environment, three-quarters of all California marijuana sales still take place in the black market or from retailers who aren’t properly licensed.

Marijuana Moment notes that Raimondo’s plan would permit adults to purchase only one ounce of marijuana per visit and would forbid home cultivation. This is not a recipe for ending the drug war. This is a recipe to profit from regulating purchases of a drug that will otherwise still be forbidden.

Rhode Island should legalize marijuana sales, but it shouldn’t attempt to run its own stores. That’s not a path for eliminating the black market for weed or for reducing the bad effects of the drug war. And it’s most certainly not going to fix a state’s revenue or debt problems.

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Yes, Rhode Island Should Legalize Marijuana. No, the State Shouldn’t Run the Shops.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo released her proposed budget for 2021 yesterday. Apparently, she’s counting on the state to legalize recreational marijuana—and run all the pot shops—to make the numbers work.

Rhode Island has legalized medical marijuana use but not recreational sales or consumption. The Democratic governor is pushing for full legalization, with an eye on the sweet, sweet cash she thinks it’ll bring. To that end, Raimondo wants the state to run all the stores and get most of the revenue.

Here’s what’s in the summary of her budget plan:

The FY 2021 budget includes the legalization of adult use marijuana. This legalization takes the form of a state-control model, similar to how liquor sales are regulated in New Hampshire and over a dozen states. The state would hire a contractor to acquire adult use marijuana and operate retail stores on the state’s behalf. This regulatory approach will allow the state to control distribution, prevent youth consumption, and protect public health. Similar to the state lottery and gaming, the state will receive a share of retail sales revenue net of the wholesale cost of marijuana products. The state share is 61 percent, while the contractor would receive 29 percent, and municipalities would receive 10 percent. Regulatory and public health expenditures would be appropriated out of the state share of revenue. Net of those expenditures, the general revenue transfer from adult use marijuana is expected to be $21.8 million in FY 2020.

Fully ending Rhode Island’s war on weed would be good news, but Raimondo needs to pay attention to the problems that will arise when you depend on marijuana revenue to balance your budget—and the bad consequences that have come from state-run shops.

Seven states directly own all the liquor shops within their boundaries: Utah, Virginia, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Idaho, and Alabama. This monopoly arrangement leads to higher prices and poorer choices, not to mention no small amount of consumer hassle. And with marijuana, the problems will be worse.

Giving the state a monopoly is a way to make sure it gets a share of the revenue. But marijuana is not like hard liquor: It’s much easier to manufacture and to sell on the black market in large quantities. Rather than looking at New Hampshire, Raimondo really needs to be looking to places like Canada and California.

In Canada, the government doesn’t run all the shops, but it does serve as the monopoly wholesale vendor to retailers and the sole online vendor. The rollout of this system was a mess, causing the province of Ontario to actually lose $42 million last year. The government was not prepared to meet the demand for marijuana; there were shortages and any number of bureaucratic problems. And after I wrote about Canada’s problems last year, a few marijuana smokers contacted me to tell me that the quality of pot the state-run wholesalers were distributing was not terribly good.

California should serve as a warning for any governor who casually assumed she can balance a budget with new revenue from marijuana sales. The government there burdened the fledgling pot industry with taxes and regulations, in part to get the money flowing to city and state coffers. The state expected it would get $1 billion in revenue from legal sales from fiscal year 2018–19. Instead it brought in just $288 million. Because of the high taxes and the oppressive bureaucratic environment, three-quarters of all California marijuana sales still take place in the black market or from retailers who aren’t properly licensed.

Marijuana Moment notes that Raimondo’s plan would permit adults to purchase only one ounce of marijuana per visit and would forbid home cultivation. This is not a recipe for ending the drug war. This is a recipe to profit from regulating purchases of a drug that will otherwise still be forbidden.

Rhode Island should legalize marijuana sales, but it shouldn’t attempt to run its own stores. That’s not a path for eliminating the black market for weed or for reducing the bad effects of the drug war. And it’s most certainly not going to fix a state’s revenue or debt problems.

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Kunstler: The Democratic ‘Resistance’ Is “Titanically Self-Unaware”

Kunstler: The Democratic ‘Resistance’ Is “Titanically Self-Unaware”

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

So titanically self-unaware is the Democratic Resistance that it failed to grok it was actually signing the party’s death warrant Wednesday, complete with official Nancy Pelosi commemorative black-and-gold signature pens. And that their solemn, prayerful journey from one side of the Capitol building to the other was actually the conveyance of that death warrant in what amounted to the party’s funeral march. Remember this eternal paradox of the human condition: people get what they deserve, not what they expect.

Could you look at the line-up of Democratic impeachment managers without laughing? Was there ever such a band of hapless, misbegotten ninnies assembled for a suicide mission? Led by the waddling homunculus, Jerrold Nadler, side-by-side with Adam Schiff, oozing a flop-sweat of falsehood, a rank cloud of bathos trailed the procession to the Senate side with its pathetic bill-of-particulars.

Could they actually be so dim as to proffer “abuse of power” and “obstruction of congress” as articles of impeachment? These two figments would be laughed out of a second-year law school mock court. Legal necromancers of the future, with all the time in the world, may never unpack the intended meaning of these charges besides “we hate you” and “you hurt our feelings.” But it’s up to the Senate of today to dispose of them procedurally one way or another, and the exercise is sure to be a high order of entertainment.

In a sane world of rational adults, these charges would be coolly dismissed out-of-hand as lacking any discernible malfeasant substance. As we live in a time of hysteria, the normal rules don’t apply. That being the case, the defense should spare no mercy in unmasking the bad faith and fraud on offer by doing what the House Democrats have asked for, calling witnesses, so as to walk the Democrats into the fiery furnace of humiliation and infamy they so richly deserve.

Wouldn’t you like to hear from the legendary “whistleblower,” since his actions provoked this chapter of the three-year orchestrated coup to oust Mr. Trump?  If it’s a basic tenet of law that a defendant has a right to face his accuser, can there be any further excuse for concealing this person’s identity — whose supposed right to anonymity, by the way, has been one of the signal frauds of the whole episode.

Would it not be instructive to seat his mentor and former boss, John Brennan, in the witness chair and give him another opportunity to perjure himself? We must also hear from Michael Atkinson, the “whistleblower’s” enabler and Lawfare warrior Mary McCord, Atkinson’s former boss at the DOJ national security desk, who apparently stage-managed the “whistleblower’s” doings through Adam Schiff’s House intel Committee. Mr. Schiff would be the ripest witness of all, of course, since he has left a trail of falsehoods and fabrications longer than the Pacific Trail — but it’s unclear just now whether the Senate rules will allow a manager to be called to testify.

There is also much to be unraveled about the American mischief in Ukraine — which includes, but goes far beyond — the arrant grift of Hunter Biden. For example, the relationships between between the George Soros-backed NGO Atlantic Council and Burisma, the NatGas company that put Hunter B on its board, and Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk, board member of the Atlantic Council (and $25-million contributor to the Clinton Foundation), and Dmitri Alperovitch (also Atlantic Council) co-founder of Crowdstrike, the company that “examined” the supposedly “hacked” DNC servers, and Hillary Clinton herself, the self-dealing Secretary of State behind the international pay-for-play charity fraud she operated while in office. Also bring back former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch to ‘splain the actions she took to conceal all these machinations, as well as her role in operating the 2016 Kiev Hillary campaign office.

What would soon be obvious is that the precipitating “whistleblower” caper was an effort to divert attention from a network of Americans that used a politically captive Ukraine — following the Maidan Revolution of 2014 — to protect an enormous racketeering operation threatened by the candidacy, and then the election, of Mr. Trump. Naturally, they are desperate to get him out of the way. So many of the facts are already publicly known and documented about these matters that the legal machinery has yet to catch up with it all.

And when it does, the Democratic Party will have driven a wooden stake through its own depraved heart.


Tyler Durden

Fri, 01/17/2020 – 14:05

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Boeing Shares Slide On Reports Of New 737 MAX Software Issue

Boeing Shares Slide On Reports Of New 737 MAX Software Issue

Boeing shares were hit early on following reports that the Air Force’s top military officer has sent Boeing Co.’s new CEO a blunt reminder that the ill-fated 737 Max passenger jet isn’t the only troubled project he has to rescue. There’s also the company’s failure to provide a combat-ready refueling tanker, nine years after Boeing won a competition for the $44 billion project.

“We require your attention and improved focus on the KC-46” tanker, General David Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff, warned in a letter four days before Dave Calhoun took over as chief executive officer of the company.

“The Air Force continues to accept deliveries of a tanker incapable of performing its primary operational mission.”

But things just got even worse on reports that Boeing has found another software issue with the 737. ABC News’ David Kerley reports that during testing audit last weekend the 737’s two flight computers weren’t talking to each other at startup. It is unclear how long the fix will take, but will be done as other return to service work is conducted.

Boeing tells CNBC that it is “making necessary updates and working with the FAA on submission of this change, and keeping our customers and suppliers informed.”

But that was enough to send the stock down once again…

Leaving Boeing back near crucial support…

 


Tyler Durden

Fri, 01/17/2020 – 13:49

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Eminem’s Latest Music Video Mixes a Graphic Reenactment of Las Vegas Shooting With a Sappy Call for Gun Control

If you like graphic reenactments of mass shootings, gun control, and rap, Eminem’s latest offering might just be for you.

Just after midnight, the Detroit rapper released a music video for his new song “Darkness” which portrays the 2017 Las Vegas shooting from the perspective of Stephen Paddock, who fatally shot 58 people attending a country music concert from his Mandalay Bay hotel room.

The video cuts between shots of Eminem rapping to the camera and a solitary Paddock, quaffing pills and alcohol before opening fire on the crowd below, and then ultimately killing himself as police burst through the door.

The lyrics transition (less than) seamlessly between a narration of Paddock’s final thoughts and overt messages about gun control, with lines like:

Finger on the trigger, but I’m a licensed owner
With no prior convictions, so loss, the sky’s the limit
So my supplies infinite, strapped like I’m a soldier

This heavy-handed message is reinforced at the end of the video when we see the rapper watching TV news about gun violence before he words “When will this end? When enough people care” appear on the screen. This is all capped off with an explicit exhortation to register to vote and “help change gun laws in America.” The webpage for the music video on Eminimen’s website also includes links to a number of gun control organizations.

The message for viewers is that if only they cared as much as Eminem and voted to make gun laws more restrictive, these atrocities would stop happening. Yet, mass shootings don’t continue to happen because Americans are fine with them. Mass shootings happen for the same reasons that most types of illegal violence happen, which is that twisted people are not easily deterred by laws and regulations.

And despite what gun controllers might say, there does not exist a handful of common-sense policies we can just adopt to stop these atrocities from reoccurring.

As Eminem’s song notes, there was nothing in Paddock’s background that would have flagged him as a person who would go on to be a mass murderer. The existence of would-be shooters who do not raise red flags with people in a position to stop them before they kill has led gun control advocates to argue that legislators should limit the types and number of weapons available to people, or pass blanket restrictions on everyone’s right to own firearms.

Yet mass shooters are often able to kill a lot of people with simple handguns and shotguns, not just so-called “weapons of war.” It’s true Paddock had 24 guns with him, some of which were equipped with bump stocks—a hack that increases a weapon’s rate of fire at the expense of its accuracy. Yet he was also in a locked hotel room above a dense crowd of unsuspecting people, and he ceased shooting over an hour before police stormed his hotel room. It’s entirely possible he could’ve killed and injured nearly as many people using guns that would remain legal under most of the gun control schemes that were proposed following his rampage.

What’s more, the emotionalism and policy action that Eminem says is missing from our reaction to these violent incidents was, in fact, on full display after the Vegas shooting, with the Trump administration issuing a legally dubious ban on bump stocks.

Perhaps what the rap artist wants then is an O’Rourkian mass confiscation of firearms, so that no one can own any weapon of consequence.

That preference presents a whole host of other civil liberties issues that Eminem’s fellow rappers seem to grasp much better: firearms are an effective tool for self-defense, particularly against the biggest gang in town, and laws that restrict them create more opportunities for racist police harassment and abuse.

“The right to bear arms is because that’s the last form of defense against tyranny. Not to hunt. It’s to protect yourself from the police,” said rapper Ice-T in a 2012 interview with the New York Sun.

Or as Killer Mike said on Bill Mahar’s show in 2018, “African-Americans to align themselves with the gun-law lobby stop and have a conversation with your allies and say this: these laws are going to affect us worse and they are going to affect us first.”

America has a constitutionally protected right to gun ownership, and infringing on that right requires infringing on our rights to due process and to not be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures. That nuance is absent from Eminem’s “Darkness” video.

Music is a powerful thing. Following a mass shooting, it can tell the stories of victims, provide catharsis for those who survive, and maybe even provide an emotional outlet for people otherwise tempted to commit violent acts. But we don’t see that in the video for “Darkness.” The victims of the Las Vegas shooting get little attention, save for a brief montage of faces toward the end of the video. Focusing on Paddock’s own psychodrama and then illustrating that with flashy first-person shots of him blasting away does more to sensationalize than to condemn him.

Here’s the full video:

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“Everywhere Euphoria”: Bank of America Warns Of “Echoes Of 2000”

“Everywhere Euphoria”: Bank of America Warns Of “Echoes Of 2000”

With the S&P hitting daily record highs, the financial media has been flooded with analogies to January 2018 which was the last time that the market saw a similar “blow-off top” meltup, one which ended in tears in the first week of February when the negative gamma complex imploded as a result of massive vol selling and inverse VIX ETFs blew up overnight, sending the S&P lower by 10% in days. Perversely, that VIXtermination event removed what was traditionally a handbrake to market meltups and without a market manifestation of the retail “short vol” trade, it is quite possible that the current meltup will continue indefinitely.

Which is why the correct comp to the current market move may be not to Jan 2018, but to January 2000.

At least that’s the assessment of BofA’s chief investment strategist, Michael Hartnett, who writes in his weekly Flow Show that “Q1’2020 = Q1’2000” and notes that inflows to bond funds are annualizing at a remarkable $1tn in the past 2 weeks…

… resulting in echoes of 2000, with investor euphoria sending bond yields lower despite stronger global macro, such as a rebound in Asian export cycle, and a 30%+ surge in US mortgage applications.

But the clearest indication that this is the second coming of the tech bubble is the rampage of “trillion dollar babies“, the direct result of $12 trillion of QE “since Lehman” – in this case, Hartnett’s term, not ours:

… in addition to $1 trillion in stock buybacks past 5 years by top 20 US companies (amounting to $381,000 per employee), and resulting in APPL, MSFT, GOOG all worth >$1tn; meanwhile, the S&P 500 is just 5% away from becoming largest bull market of all time (3498) even as the Fed is now stuck and can never again allow stocks to drop as US financial assets (i.e., Wall Street) is a record 5.5x size of GDP (Main St). In short, the entire market is now “too big to fail.”

Looking at the market, Hartnett then divides assets into two categories:

  • The froth: assets that deliver “growth” & “yield”…palladium, global tech (SOX, QQQ, KWEB), CCC-rated HY bonds; record lows in IG & HY CDX…

  • The sloth: oil, commodity currencies, banks, materials, value all lagging.

And as long as “the sloth” refuses to rise, the market is telegraphing that there is no organic growth possible (i.e., inflation), that the Fed remains in charge of everything, and that growth will continue to trounce value, making a mockery of active investing.

Looking ahead, Hartnett sees more of the same, i.e., a “Rotation-less 2020” in which there is no Main St inflation, no rotation from IG→HY, US→EAFE, large→small, tech→banks, growth→value (EM the anomaly driven by “peak US$” belief), as a result price action implies new lows in government bond yields, which paradoxically means that a crash – which sends yields to new record lows – may well be bullish for stocks.

So how does one trade all of this? Two ways, first the bullish one.

As Hartnett puts it, “we stay irrationally bullish until peak Positioning & peak Liquidity incite a spike in bond yields & a 4-8% equity correction; sell into strength as MOVE Index <40, IG CDX <40, SPX approaches 20x (3500) all challenge Fed financial stability mandate.

Unfortunately, judging by Neel Kashkari’s tweets today, the last thing the Fed is worried about is financial stability, which brings us to the second point, namely the end of the rally, which according to Hartnett will play out as follows:

Feb’18 & Oct’18 sell-offs driven by QT and combination of higher yields & lower stocks; best trading strategy was long cash, gold, copper; short credit, tech, private equity, oil…

Finally, on timing, Hartnett sees the above trading pattern repeat once we reach the top…. sometime in Q1 2020.


Tyler Durden

Fri, 01/17/2020 – 13:40

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UK Police Refuse To Turn Over Information That Could Prove Prince Andrew Is Guilty

UK Police Refuse To Turn Over Information That Could Prove Prince Andrew Is Guilty

Authored by John Vibes via TheMindUnleashed.com,

The infamous UK Police department Scotland Yard is refusing to reveal Prince Andrew’s location on the night that he is accused of being with Virginia Giuffre, one of the young girls trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein who was underage at the time she claims the Duke had sex with her.

Members of the royal family are regularly accompanied by police guards in their day to day activities and there are records of where and when the officers were sent—or at the very least a record of which officers worked on which day. If these records were to be made available investigators could easily determine where Prince Andrew was on the night in question, but police are saying that handing over such information could pose a threat to national security.

During his disastrous BBC interview, Andrew claimed that he was at a Pizza Express in Woking on the night then 17-year-old Giuffre (nee Roberts) says the pair visited a club and later had sex. If the Duke is indeed telling the truth, then his claims could be very easily corroborated by whichever guard was on duty at the time.

Unfortunately, Scotland Yard has not been willing to cooperate.

In a statement responding to the inquiry, Scotland Yard said that revealing information about the disgraced prince’s whereabouts on the night in question could “undermine the safeguarding of national security,” according to the Sun.

It would allow those with a criminal intent to gain an operational advantage over the MPS and place those who the MPS have confirmed are afforded protection, as well as protection officers, and members of the public at risk,” the statement continued.

The investigation into Prince Andrew’s location on that night of the alleged crime is part of a case involving numerous Epstein victims who have been seeking justice for many years. As the Mind Unleashed reported last month, lawyers representing the victims have said they intend to subpoena Prince Andrew so he is forced to testify in court about his relationship with Epstein and his victims.

Andrew has already been caught in several lies since his appearance on BBC including a leak of private emails where he mentioned Virginia Giuffre by name despite claiming to have never heard of her during his interview.


Tyler Durden

Fri, 01/17/2020 – 13:20

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/2G1K5Ne Tyler Durden

Will Robots Cause Mass Unemployment? A Soho Forum Debate

Robotics will soon lead to widespread joblessness and the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.

That was the resolution of a public debate hosted by the Soho Forum in New York City on January 6, 2020. It featured New York Times bestselling author Martin Ford, arguing the affirmative, versus Antony Sammeroff, spokesperson on economics and environment for the Scottish Libertarian Party. Soho Forum Director Gene Epstein moderated.

It was an Oxford-style debate, in which the audience votes on the resolution at the beginning and end of the event, with many “undecided.” The side that gains the most ground is victorious. Sammeroff prevailed in the debate by convincing 19.64 percent of audience members to come over to his side. Ford picked up 2.68 percent. 

Ford is the author of Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, Architects of Intelligence: the Truth about AI from the People Building It, and The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology, and the Economy of the Future.

Sammeroff, who argued for the negative, is the author of Universal Basic Income: For and Against and co-host of the Scottish Liberty Podcast.

The Soho Forum, which is sponsored by the Reason Foundation, is a monthly debate series at the SubCulture Theater in Manhattan’s East Village.

Produced by John Osterhoudt.

Photo: Brett Raney

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