ECONOMY | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


ECONOMY

Mar 10 10:17

ECONOMIC HISTORY OF THE WORLD IN ONE MINUTE

Mar 10 10:09

How Much Longer Will The Middle-Class Politely Tolerate Its Own Destruction?

A middle class that outnumbers the combined poor and aristocracy is a relatively new phenomenon, dating back to around 1900. The rise of the middle class was the result of Industrial Revolution capitalism. It has been one of the most significant and epochal developments in history, yet the intellectual reaction for the most part has been to either ignore it or treat it with disdain. Now the project to destroy the middle class is well under way, with unpredictable and uncontrollable consequences that promise to be just as epochal as its creation.

Intellectual condescension towards the middle class is so common it’s a cliché. What’s rare are attempts to go back in history and see things through the perspectives of that despised group and its progenitors, the poor.

Mar 10 10:03

Beijing Demands Its Own Enforcement Of Any Trade Deal

Now that President Trump's insistence that he and President Xi would need to meet to finalize a sweeping US-China trade deal has been exposed as empty talk - since Beijing absolutely refuses to send Xi all the way to Florida only to risk him returning empty handed - traders are finally being forced to accept the harsh reality: That a US-China trade deal is far from assured.

Mar 10 10:01

The Arms Race Between Gold Counterfeiters and Bullion Testers Is Heating Up

ECM testing machines have been very effective testing tools in detecting such tungsten bars because tungsten has a much lower conductivity compared to gold (18.52 vs 44.7 MS/m). Thus, as ECM testing machines have become more mainstream, it became easy to detect gold-plated tungsten bars.

With the prevalence of ECM testing machines, counterfeiters are now optimizing fake gold bars to fool testers. These bars were made of about 90% copper which has a theoretical conductivity of 59.1 MS/m which is one of the few metals that has a higher conductivity than gold. By carefully mixing copper with other lower conductivity metals and impurities, it is easy to reproduce gold’s theoretical conductivity of around 44.7 and pass the ECM test.

Mar 10 09:57

How America’s food giants swallowed the family farms

Across the midwest, the rise of factory farming is destroying rural communities. And the massive corporations behind this devastation are now eyeing a post-Brexit UK market

Mar 10 08:35

$7 Trillion Of Unfunded Pensions

Mar 10 08:32

Remember The Message, Gold Is The Key

Mar 09 12:09

PALMER LUCKEY WINS SECRETIVE PENTAGON CONTRACT TO DEVELOP AI FOR DRONES

Palmer Luckey (previously) the alt-right financier who was made a billionaire by Mark Zuckerberg's decision to acquire his VR startup Oculus, is now running a Peter-Thiel-backed surveillance startup called Anduril Industries, which has won a contract to contribute to Project Maven, the Pentagon's controversial AI-for-drones system (Google's involvement in Project Maven sparked an employee uprising that ended with the relevant executives leaving the company and the contract being allowed to lapse).

Luckey's company won the contract after he made lavish contributions to the campaigns of Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

What is needed, far more than are AI systems for drone weapons, is a reasonably sane foreign policy, which, at the moment, the Unhinged, Surveilled State of Amerika, does not appear have at all.

And there appear to be major, industrial-strength contradictions in how this foreign policy should be carried out.

These wild sanctions and assertions, made by both the President and Congress, are causing even those countries which once looked at their relationship with the US as paramount, to now be doing their level best to extract themselves from those relationships, just as quickly, both economically, and in terms of treaties and defense agreements, as they can.

The only answer the US government seems to have to any geopolitical dispute, is wars, or threats of wars. Any subtlety or moral tone, followed upon with honorable behaviour on the part of this country, have just... left the building, on President Trump's watch.

And in the use of drone strikes in Yemen, the indiscriminate assassinations of non-combatants, including infants, toddlers, children, and the elderly medically fragile, seem not to raise any questions, about how the US government has become complicit with Saudi Arabia in the committing of these war crimes.

Palmer Luckey, good for you that you got the contract; but in the greater scheme of things, do you not realize that you, and your company, will be a part of this ongoing carnage and genocide?

Is that what it means, to be an American, in the 21t century?!? Profiting from technology adjuncts which massively improve the US's penchant for killing non-combatants?

George Carlin was not only a very funny guy; he was, in many ways, a prophet. I think you will remember this, when you hear it: George Carlin: War Transcript

I would like to sincerely hope that my brother and sister Americans, when they become aware of what is happening here, will start asking those questions, and soon.

And if Congress wants our country to be on the right side of history here, they should stop funding, and arming, and providing guidance for these missions.

This war was never approved by Congress, which is Constitutionally mandated, began under President Obama, and is continued by President Trump.

As an American who is deeply concerned about the trajectory of its foreign policy, it is painful for me, to understand that I am a citizen of a country which commits war crimes.

But what is worse, as a Christian pacifist activist, is to to understand how the voices of my brother and sister Americans keep getting drowned out, when it comes to peace, and the only people to whom the government is listening... are the warmongers and their agents provocateurs.

Mar 09 11:50

EU Isn’t Ready for the Next Recession

Mar 09 11:10

Exclusive–Marco Rubio Rips Italy for ‘Desire to Curry Favor with Chinese’

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is speaking out about Italy’s reported willingness to sign onto the People’s Republic of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, telling Breitbart News that reports of the Italians’ openness to joining the Communist Party of China program is “stunningly naive.”

Rubio’s comments come in the wake of reports that Italy is signing onto the Belt and Road Initiative of Chinese president Xi Jinping later this month, which would make Italy the first G-7 nation to join the program.

Mar 09 11:08

Trump: Markets Will See "A Very Big Spike" If Trade Deal Gets Done

As markets sink further into the red during what will likely become their worst week of the year, more skeptical reports about the likelihood of a deal have emerged.

On the heels of a report that a tentative summit with President Xi had been pushed back, the Financial Times returned with comments from a senior administration official, who reiterated that the President would "walk away" from a bad deal. In comments during a conference on Friday, Williams acknowledged that negotiations "aren't exactly where we need to be."

A senior White House official said president Donald Trump was prepared to “walk away” from a “bad” trade deal with China, stressing that there is “work left to be done” in the negotiations before an agreement can be finalised.

Mar 09 11:03

Don’t Get Caught In The Fed Trap Again

Mar 09 10:26

VENEZUELA’S MINISTER SAYS MAJOR POWER OUTAGE LIKELY CAUSED BY ‘CYBERATTACK’, POINTS FINGER AT US

A cyber-attack is likely the reason for the major blackout that left most of Venezuela in darkness, a Maduro government official said, hinting that the US may be involved in the offensive.

As Venezuela is still reeling from a nationwide blackout, Nicolas Maduro’s government says the emergency was the result of an external influence. The major power outage was likely prompted by a cyber-attack against the Guri hydroelectric plant which produces 80% of the country’s electricity, Jorge Rodriguez, Venezuela’s communication and information minister said on Friday, according to local media.

The official went on to hint that US Senator and fierce anti-Maduro campaigner Marco Rubio may be linked to the offensive. Rodriguez found it suspicious that shortly after the failure Rubio shared specific information on Twitter about the emergency that even local authorities were not aware of at that time.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Was this coordinated by someone in the US, most probably?!?

As someone who has lived with an American government which invests most of its its time in regime change, economic and physical warfare, and outright resource theft, I would not put it past the US to have contracted to have this done.

Mar 09 10:21

BLOOMBERG LAUNCHES ALTERNATIVE TO GREEN NEW DEAL

Michael Bloomberg will not run for president. That was the main outtake from the businessman and philanthropist’s op-ed for Bloomberg the other day. But the more important outtake was his announcement of a new climate change initiative: Beyond Carbon.

“I will launch a new, even more ambitious phase of the campaign — Beyond Carbon: a grassroots effort to begin moving America as quickly as possible away from oil and gas and toward a 100 percent clean energy economy,” Bloomberg said.

“At the heart of Beyond Carbon is the conviction that, as the science has made clear, every year matters. The idea of a Green New Deal — first suggested by the columnist Tom Friedman more than a decade ago — stands no chance of passage in the Senate over the next two years. But Mother Nature does not wait on our political calendar, and neither can we.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

IF Bloomberg can make this happen, that would truly be a proud moment for this country.

But I have noticed that every time something exciting, which can work, in terms of alternative energy, is revealed it is, many times suddenly demonized, and purchased, sometimes by the very people who own the utility companies, to keep if off the market, and away from people who really need it.

Mar 09 10:15

US FIRM RETURNS $400M FUND TO SAUDI ARABIA OVER KHASHOGGI MURDER

A Beverly Hills-based talent agency, Endeavor, has returned a $400m investment fund to Saudi Arabia and cancelled its contract with the kingdom over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the New York Times reported.

The fund was given to the firm's chief Ariel Emanuel during a high-profile Hollywood party last spring, which brought together Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), Disney chief executive Robert Iger and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, among others.

The money was meant to fund the growth of Endeavor and diversify the kingdom's economy through the agency's work in various industries, including sports and film production.

But following the murder of Khashoggi, the firm returned the fund, protesting the murder, and effectively ending its relationship with Saudi Arabia, according to two NYT sources with knowledge of the deal.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Say what you want; but to do this, for that eye-popping amount of money, is amazing; my hat is off to these folks, who decided that personal and social responsibility meant more than just collecting millions off of a billionaire with no conscience or heart.

Bravo, well done, all!

Mar 09 07:53

Global trade decelerates...

Mar 09 07:49

Walmart Will Crush Amazon

Mar 09 07:39

Why Is Tesla Cutting More Jobs?

Mar 09 06:20

QE – Then, Now, & Why It May Not Work

Mar 08 13:16

Airlines Are Waiving Change Fees Ahead of Major Winter Storm This Weekend

Spring may be imminent, but winter isn’t over yet. This weekend, a brutal storm is expected to hit the upper Midwest and airlines are working to get ahead of expected delays, grounded planes, missed connections and frustrated passengers.

The four biggest airlines in the U.S. — Delta, United, American and Southwest — are all issuing flexible rebooking waivers for passengers traveling through covered airports in the Midwest. JetBlue and Sun Country are also waiving fees for travelers at some airports.

Mar 08 10:24

California state workers hoarding vacation days, creating $3.5-billion debt for taxpayers

After 36 years as a California government transportation engineer, Bijan Sartipi retired with much more than a goodbye party: He was paid $405,000 for time off he never used - one of more than 450 state workers who took home six-figure checks when they left their jobs last year.

And Sartipi didn’t top the list - a prison surgeon in Riverside pocketed $456,002.

In a trend that stems from lax enforcement of the state’s cap on vacation accrual, more and more state workers are able to retire with massive payouts for unused vacation and other leave. That could become a budget breaker for California as an aging workforce heads into retirement. During the next recession, California will be obligated to continue the payouts, forcing lawmakers to cut programs to balance the state budget.

Mar 08 10:17

New York Proposes Taxing Wealthy Non-Residents Who Own Luxury Apartments

One month ago, liberal New York governor Andrew Cuomo, when warning his state's citizens that income tax revenues were coming in $2.3 billion below the budget expectations of just a month prior as a result of the new federal tax code which limits state income tax deductions to $10,000, he demonstrated a moment of rare fiscal insight when he said that "I don't believe raising taxes on the rich" as "that would be the worst thing to do. You would just expand the shortfall. God forbid if the rich leave."

Cuomo said Albany can’t go to the well and tax the wealthy again because that would only worsen the situation, citing “anecdotal” evidence that high-income New Yorkers are already fleeing the state to lower-tax jurisdictions.

Mar 08 10:04

Why China won't have a debt crisis

Mar 08 10:01

A Way Out of the Money Trap

Nomi Prins had spent many years working for Wall Street “predatory” firms like Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. She then became ‘born again progressive’ and tells it like it is. Recently, this writer read a fine piece of hers about the inequality of income and wealth in our nation. In it Nomi explains how the top one tenth of one percent (0.1) of Americans possess as much wealth as 90 percent of us. And, Prins reveals, 90 % of Americans owe 3/4 of the country’s household debt (mortgages, auto loans, student loans, credit card debt to name but a few items of debt). These debts are now at a record high $13.5 trillion! Here is a way out of this tragic unfairness:

Mar 08 09:59

Amazon Suppliers Panic Amid Purge Aimed at Boosting Profits

Amazon.com Inc. has abruptly stopped buying products from many of its wholesalers, sowing panic.

The company is encouraging vendors to instead sell directly to consumers on its marketplace. Amazon makes more money that way by offloading the cost of purchasing, storing and shipping products. Meanwhile, Amazon can charge suppliers for these services and take a commission on each transaction, which is much less risky than buying goods outright.

Amazon is determined to boost profits at the core e-commerce business, even if that means disrupting relationships with longtime vendors. Because many suppliers source products from manufacturers months in advance, they’ll have to quickly shift their sales tactics if the expected Amazon orders don’t come in.

Mar 08 08:58

The truth about tax havens

What do we really know about tax havens? In an extract from his new book, Nicholas Shaxson explains how they work and why they are so rife with secrecy, corruption and intimidation

Mar 08 08:57

Trump's tariff war pushes US trade deficit to 10-year high

The US trade deficit hit a 10-year high in December, dealing a blow to Donald Trump’s efforts to restrict imports, especially from China, with protectionist trade tariffs.

The gap between the goods US companies sell to China and Chinese imports ballooned to a record $419bn (£318bn), while the total deficit in goods with all countries jumped to $891bn. A surplus in services trade was unable to prevent the overall deficit for 2018 from rising nearly 19% in December to a decade-long high of $621bn, the commerce department said.

With US consumers continuing to demand imported phones, laptops and computer accessories, mostly from China, analysts said the trade gap was likely to widen further and forecast that the US president could now redouble his efforts to impose tariffs.

Mar 08 08:56

Feds gorge themselves on lobster as part of $97bn end-of-fiscal year spending spree – report

Federal agencies splurged on lobster tail and other gratuitous frills in just one month in a convoluted plot to avoid future budget cuts, a new report claims. The spending orgy has received dozens of 1-star reviews on Twitter.

A jaw-dropping study published by a transparency NGO, OpenTheBooks, found that in the last month of fiscal year 2018 (September), the feds forked out an unfathomable $97 billion on essentials such as sirloin steak, snow crab, lobster tail, golf carts, iPads and of course – lest we forget – bombs. The last-minute shopping spree is part of a mind-melting scheme in which federal agencies spend every last penny they have or risk budget cuts in the future.

Mar 08 08:44

Risks Are Rising In Global Corporate Debt

Mar 08 08:23

Tesla doesn’t know where it will build the Model Y as it rolls out more layoffs and cost cuts

Tesla executives still have not decided where to manufacture the company’s forthcoming crossover SUV, the Model Y, according to six current and former employees. This despite the fact the company is planning to formally unveil the vehicle for the first time on March 14 at the company’s design center in Hawthorne, California.

Two other people who work for Tesla vendors said the automaker did not contact them about working together on Model Y production until after CEO Elon Musk teased the unveiling in a tweet on March 3. That’s one indication Tesla has barely begun planning for Model Y manufacturing, they said.

Mar 08 08:17

EU Isn’t Ready for the Next Recession

The European Central Bank surprised financial markets yesterday with moves to loosen monetary policy.

The prospects for growth in the euro zone have dimmed lately, and policy was going to be tweaked at some point unless things picked up. But a change wasn’t expected so soon. ECB President Mario Draghi and his colleagues are apparently worried.

They have reason to be. Their main problem, however, isn’t the precise timing of monetary adjustments like the ones announced this week. It’s the lack of good options if things get any worse.

The ECB’s new projections show growth in the euro zone slowing this year to just 1.1 percent; in December the central bank had predicted 1.7 percent. That’s roughly in line with other recent downgrades from the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Mar 08 08:11

The Realities Of Trump's Trade War: VICE on HBO Special Report

Mar 08 08:01

The Coming Volatility Explosion

Mar 07 17:45

Sam Zell Caught On Hot CNBC Mic – What A Crock of Shit!…

Pretty hilarious moment captured live on CNBC earlier today. Melissa Lee's face show it all.

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Mar 07 16:44

"Totally Reasonable" For Huawei To Sue US For Playing "Judge, Jury And Executioner", Beijing Says

As we previewed earlier this week, Huawei filed a lawsuit late Wednesday evening against the US over a law banning government agencies and contractors from buying equipment made by Huawei and fellow Chinese telecoms firm ZTE Corp. The suit accused Congress of unconstitutionally punishing Huawei with Section 889 of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which Huawei said had deprived it of business because the law not only restricted Huawei from serving US customers, but also some of its international customers as well (the law bars US government agencies from contracting with or awarding grants or loans to third parties who buy Huawei equipment and services).

Webmaster's Commentary: 

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Mar 07 16:42

JP Morgan Is Quietly Moving Bank Branches Out Of Lower Income Areas

Some of the biggest banks in the United States are quietly closing branches in low income areas, and nobody more so than the people's JP Morgan.

As one example, JP Morgan is shutting it outlet in Aberdeen, Washington, where it has just one branch. And now that the bank is going to be leaving the town, the closest Chase branch is going to be 40 miles away. This is part of a broader move that banks are making, as they shift their attention in the age of online banking to wealthier areas, according to a new Bloomberg article.

Mar 07 16:41

Household Net Worth Tumbles By $3.7 Trillion, First Drop In 4 Years

n the Fed's latest Flow of Funds report released at noon today, the Fed published the latest snapshot of the US "household" sector as of Dec 31, 2018. What it revealed is that with $120.4 trillion in assets and a modest $16.1 trillion in liabilities, the net worth of US households dipped to $104.3 trillion, its first drop after 12 consecutive quarters of increases, and down $3.7 trillion as a result of the near-bear market in the fourth quarter, which wiped out estimated $4 trillion in various financial assets like corporate equities, mutual and pension funds, and deposits after the market tumbled in Q4, offset by a $345 billion increase in tangible assets, of which $280 billion was in real estate values.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This...is officially awful.

Mar 07 16:39

Top US General Seeks More Troops In Europe To Confront Russia

Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the NATO Supreme Allied Commander-Europe, argued that the US needs to send even more troops and warships to Europe to “stay ahead of Russia.”

Even though Russia’s military spending is actually scheduled to decrease in the next few years, Gen. Scaparrotti argued that the “growing” Russian threat justified even more US spending on Europe. This has, of course, been a common argument for Pentagon officials, and is why the US such a massive number of troops in Eastern Europe in the first place.

“I’m not comfortable yet with the deterrent posture that we have in Europe in support of the National Defense Strategy,” Scaparrotti told SASC Chair Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., adding:

“Of concern is my intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capacity given that increasing and growing threat of Russia. I need more ISR.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Gen. Scaparrotti, a word, please, here.

What the US does NOT have is a reasonably sane Foreign Policy on Russia, and that has to get fixed, and hopefully soon, before some stupid mistake puts the US into a shooting war with Russia.

Punishing a country for something it did not do (as the US constantly does with accusing Russia of "annexing" Crimea, which never happened?!?), is not sanity.

Walking away from a weapons treaty which was working, is not sanity.

Not insuring that our military has the kind of "top shelf" weaponry that Russia currently does, is not sanity.

And sir, this is primarily due to how DC and the Military Industrial Complex are now intertwined at the hip, with weapons companies believing that their political contributions mean "never having to say they are sorry" , when they sell the military equipment which is outmoded upon delivery; never lives up to the hype; and contains huge cost over-runs.

I do not see Russia as the antagonist here; but I do see Russia being used as the very lousy pretext for some very odd US foreign policy views which do not augur well for peace between the US and Russia.

It appears that for some in Washington, Russia has replaced Emmanuel Goldstein as the country upon which which it focuses its "2 minutes of hate", daily.

But have you ever thought how we could ratchet down world tensions if we
"engaged Russia, rather than enraging its leadership" with, what to me appears to be a number of completely bone-headed foreign policy decisions?!?

Mar 07 16:15

"35 Pounds" Of Dirt Trapped In Tesla Model 3 Reveals Stunning Design Flaw

When one of the best known pro-Tesla blogs on the web says that the Model 3 has a substantial design flaw, it’s time to pay attention.

The "mass accessible" electric car, which became infamous for having its bumpers fall off, was found to have a design flaw in its underbody that causes the car to trap and retain dirt, water and sand from roadways, according to electrek, who this week published an article detailing the flaw.

The blog points out that Tesla has "often been accused of designing cars for the Californian climate" and that water, dirt and sand used to de-ice roads in colder climates are susceptible to getting trapped in the underbody of Model 3 cars.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Yikes! This is officially horrible.

How did Musk allow this to happen?!?

Mar 07 16:01

Netanyahu: Israeli Navy Could Target Iranian Oil Tankers in International Waters

Since dishonoring the P5+1 nuclear deal, the Trump Administration has made clear their goal is to bring Iranian oil exports to zero through sanctions. That’s wholly impractical, with many nations, including P5+1 deal signatories, saying they intend to keep buying from Iran despite US sanctions.

But Israel does have a navy and a burning desire to pick fights with Iran. In comments Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel’s Navy could soon be ordered to target Iranian oil tankers to prevent them selling oil abroad.

Netanyahu is trying to prevent Iran selling oil to nations like China without American permission as “smuggling,” and potential military attacks on oil tankers in international waters as enforcement of US sanctions. It’s not clear anyone else in the world, the US included, would generally consider that the case.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Such targeting would be an outright act of war.

Is Netanyahu hitting the panic button, due to corruption charges being placed against him?!? Folks, if true, this is really bad, because Netanyahu's strategy will be to antagonize Iran, then expect the cost of the war - in blood and money - to be paid by American troops.

Mar 07 15:52

Damascus Not Invited to Brussels Conference on Syria - EU Source

Representatives of the Syrian authorities are not invited to the third international donor conference on Syria in Brussels, a EU source told Sputnik on Monday.

The Brussels conference, devoted to mobilizing financial aid for the war-torn country, will be held on March 12-14. The second conference on Syria, which was held in Brussels last April with the participation of representatives from 57 countries, managed to mobilize $4.4 billion in financial aid for Syria for 2018 and $3.4 billion for 2019-2020.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Forgive me, but is it NOT a little "odd" to be creating a conference about aid to Syria, which at least includes some of their elected officials?!?

Mar 07 15:48

Hungary Cannot 'Yield' to EU, Stop Defending Christian Values, Endorse Migration

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is known to be one of the most vocal anti-immigration advocates in Europe and has categorically opposed the idea of accepting refugees from other European countries under migrant resettlement schemes proposed by the European Union.

The Hungarian government will not abandon its anti-migration stance after the European People's Party called on Budapest to stop its anti-EU rhetoric, spokesman Zoltan Kovacs wrote in a tweet on Wednesday.

"We listen to other opinions, including (EPP group leader Manfred) Weber's," Kovacs said. "But more important than party discipline are the defence of European Christian values and stopping migration. On this, we cannot yield."

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Orban is courageous enough to say what others will not; he is not blind to the problem of unfettered immigration, seeing what has happened in neighboring countries which have had this happen, and believes truly that his agenda can save the day for Hungary.

Mar 07 15:36

TRACKING JOURNALISTS THROUGH A SECRET DATABASE

The President has little appreciation for liberty or the dangers of a growing police state. And those working under him understand this and act accordingly.

He is as bad as most other presidents. The only difference being that there is a group of about 30% of the population, MAGA people, who don't understand this and believe he is going to protect them from the expanding state.

Wow. Big scoop by @nbcsandiego: The Trump administration created a "secret database of activists, journalists, and social media influencers tied to the migrant caravan and in some cases, placed alerts on their passports." https://t.co/n1l4uDt300

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Really?!? I would actually want to see the list, before I jump on board here.

Now, can @nbcsandiego provide the list they assert is actually real?!?

I have to have proof, not just an assertion.

Mar 07 14:55

"ARTIFICIAL" MAGNITUDE 2.1 EARTHQUAKE DETECTED IN NORTH KOREA

This doesn't look good...

Two days after reports about North Korea rebuilding a long-range missile test site surfaced in Western media, the Korea Times reported Thursday that a 2.1-magnitude earthquake has been detected in North Korea.

Most alarmingly, the Korean Meteorological Administration said the quake was the result of "artificial" seismic activity, presumably the result of an explosion inside a mine.

"The epicenter is measured to be near the land surface," one official reportedly said.

Mar 07 14:46

LAWMAKERS IN HAWAII PROPOSE REPEALING SECOND AMENDMENT

Legislators in Hawaii, which has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the United States, moved this week to bring their concerns about the Second Amendment to the national level.

In Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) No. 42, introduced Tuesday, Democratic lawmakers assert that

in light of the numerous tragic mass shootings at schools, work places, and public events, this body believes that it is necessary to repeal or amend the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.

In the resolution, lawmakers urge Congress to

a"dopt a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution pursuant to article V of the United States Constitution to clarify the constitutional right to bear arms."

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Our Hawaiian Congressional Representatives would certainly win a prize for being some of the most fact-challenged people on this planet.

Senator Mazie Hirono is not confused: she is willfully ignorant

They are NOT going to get this ratified by Congress, nor should it be.

The Second Amendment was placed there by people who understood what capricious leaders could potentially do against the citizens of their country; and it is this right to bear arms which keeps a capricious government at bay.

Of course, Congressional Representatives would NEVER in a million years, define themselves as "capricious".

Andlet'
And let's also take a look at Hawaii's state representatives, who signed of a Light Rail to Nowhere, which is now is way over budget, and massively off its schedule.

Some people made a lot of money on this deal; but it sure as heck wasn't most of the people living and commuting on Oahu.

December 018: The cost of the 20-mile elevated rail plan has surpassed $8 billion.

Mar 07 13:56

Chart of the day: US credit card rates

Forecasting US consumer behavior always has been a graveyard for economists’ reputations. The December plunge in spending took the market by surprise. But some facts are clear:

1) US retail sales are increasingly dependent on rising credit card balances;

2) Banks are more reluctant to extend more revolving credit lines, raising credit card interest rates to the highest level in history;

3) Household spending is extremely sensitive to changes in the price of necessities.

Mar 07 13:20

What’s the Big Deal About Economic Inequality?

By Stefan Klovning

Perhaps the most common theme in the mainstream discussion about economic matters today is that of inequality of wealth and income. The United Nations, for instance, has taken on the challenge to reduce inequality “within and among countries” as their 10th Sustainable Development Goal. “Economic growth,” they proclaim, “is not suf?cient to reduce poverty if it is not inclusive and if it does not involve the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental.” By “inclusive”, they seem in this context to mean “economically equal”, in that the different income and wealth quintiles don’t have too much of a difference in terms of growth or total rates.

Mar 07 12:48

Enbridge's Line 3 Pipeline Expansion Delayed In Latest "Major Blow" To Canadian Energy Industry

Enbridge Inc. is delaying the date when it expects its replacement Line 3 crude oil pipeline to be in expanded service, in what is being called a "major blow" to the oil industry in Canada. According to Bloomberg, the project had previously been set to begin shipping crude in Q4 2019. But now the company is pushing back construction due to slow permitting in Minnesota.

Enbridge expects the pipeline to begin service in the second half of 2020 now, as its Minnesota permits won't be complete until November of this year. Federal permits won't be received until as long as 60 days after that.

Mar 07 12:47

Beige Book Shocker: "Semiconductor Orders From China Plunged The Most Since The Collapse Of Lehman"

While the latest Beige Book released earlier today carried the usual boring mix of self-serving observations by Fed officials ("slight to moderate" growth in a quarter in which the Atlanta Fed sees GDP plunging to 0.5%) and a handful of enlightening anecdotes, all of which confirmed that the US economy was rapidly slowing as expected with the word "strong" appearing 37 times, compared to 58x in the January and 83x in October while the word "weak-" rose to 34x, up from 13x seven weeks ago and 19x in October, there was one stunner contained in today's release which may spell serious pain for stocks.

Mar 07 12:46

As The Economy Teeters On The Brink Of Recession, US Debt Levels Are Absolutely Exploding

We now have official confirmation that the U.S. economy has dramatically slowed down.

In recent days I have shared a whole bunch of numbers with my readers that clearly demonstrate that a new economic downturn has begun. And even though stock prices have been rising, the numbers for the “real economy” have been depressingly bad lately. But what we didn’t have was official confirmation from the Federal Reserve that the economy is really slowing down, but now we do. According to the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model, the economy is growing “at a 0.3 percent annualized rate in the first quarter”…

The U.S. economy is growing at a 0.3 percent annualized rate in the first quarter, based on data on domestic construction spending in December released on Monday, the Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow forecast model showed.

Mar 07 12:45

Trade War Deepens: China Bans Canadian Canola Shipments Amid Soaring Diplomatic Tensions

Canada's largest grain processor said Tuesday that Beijing has canceled its registration to ship canola seed to China, fueled by the arrest of a top executive for the Chinese tech giant Huawei, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The move suggests that rising diplomatic tensions between China and Canada are damaging commerce between the two countries. Tensions have already crushed hopes that senior officials in Ottawa and Beijing would develop further trade ties.

Mar 07 12:45

Tesla Disclosure Bombshell: Company Answered Model 3 Margin Question In Private After Hiding It From The Public

By now it is well known that Tesla held a secretive conference call after announcing the reveal of it’s $35,000 Model 3 (see also: The Secret Tesla Conference Call to Which You Were Not Invited here). The call, which Musk only invited a handful of reporters to attend, eventually leaked into the public domain and had to be transcribed by Carl Marks Advisors VP, Paul Huettner.

The idea of the company having a secret conference call, during which it appeared to release a material amount of nonpublic information, while at the same time being under the watchful eye of the SEC, was shocking even to some Tesla supporters. Longtime Tesla bulls, like HyperChange TV's Galileo Russell, took exception to not being included in the latest slate of Tesla disclosures.

Mar 07 12:44

GLOBAL ECONOMIC CATASTROPHE: Australia Falls Into Recession, Nigeria Goes The Way Of Venezuela

Australia has fallen into what is known as a “per capita recession.” That means the country is relying solely on population growth to propel its economy. All this is happening as Nigeria follows the same path to becoming Venezuela.

The dollar dropped sharply to a two-month low of $0.70 by midday as economists slashed their predictions for official interest rates to reach a record low of 1 percent by September, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. The per capita recession is raising questions about the government’s management of the economy ahead of the federal elections.

Mar 07 12:43

Retail Apocalypse Worsens: Some Major Stores Are On “DEATHWATCH”

Just two months into 2019, many more retail stores have announced their closures amid a slowing in consumer spending. The retail apocalypse is worsening and there are some major stores on “deathwatch;” which would mean going out of business forever.

According to Money.com, in a single 24-hour period last week, Gap, J.C. Penney, and Victoria’s Secret announced they would be closing more than 300 stores combined. These announced store closures come soon after retail companies made the difficult decisions to shut down all Payless ShoeSource and Gymboree stores throughout the U.S., and in the middle of Sears’ dramatic struggle to survive. (Sears closed out 2018 by filing for bankruptcy and closing roughly 140 Sears and Kmart stores. The company owns both retailers).

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