by Zero Hedge - August 28th, 2016 11:58 am
A few days after wowing thousands of Republicans at a rally in Jackson, Mississippi, “Mr. Brexit” Nigel Farage, penned a letter (presented below) to the Daily Mail describing Trump as the “new Ronald Reagan.” Even though he stopped short of endorsing Trump, a decision he made after condemning Obama for interjecting himself into the Brexit discussion, he did note that he “would not vote for Hillary Clinton even if she paid me.“
“I did not endorse Trump, because I had condemned President Obama for telling us what to do in our referendum.“
“But I did say that if I was a US citizen I would not vote for Hillary Clinton even if she paid me.“
“Perhaps if I donate to the Clinton Foundation her views on me might soften.“
Despite his obvious distaste for Hillary, Farage, not one to hold back, also had some criticisms of Trump saying he has “made a lot of mistakes.” He also noted Trump’s tendency to go off script saying that his “acceptance speech in Cleveland appeared to be disjointed” and “didn’t flow“. That said, in the end, he points out that everyone makes mistakes noting that “virtually everyone thought that Ronald Reagan was unfit to be the US President before he made a huge success of his two terms.“
* * *
Full letter from Nigel Farage to the Daily Mail:
Since I announced that I was going to stand aside as Ukip leader in the wake of the successful Brexit campaign, I’ve had more time to do other things.
This included a trip to Cleveland for the Republican Convention and the adoption of Donald J. Trump as their Presidential candidate.
I was astonished that everybody I met wanted to talk about Brexit – not just the delegates to the convention but ordinary people, including a group of US Navy veterans who told me we should have done it years ago.
There was a chance meeting, in a bar of course, with the delegation from Mississippi.
They were wildly enthusiastic Brexiteers and told me that their State Governor Phil Bryant was delighted with the result and would love me to visit.
So in what I thought would be the quiet days of August, I
by Zero Hedge - August 28th, 2016 11:49 am
By Chris at www.CapitalistExploits.at
Years ago it seemed that when you hit 65 you’d retire, receive a gold watch, and proceed to spend your pension money on a rocking chair and pot plants. Ten years later you’d be in a box and, since pot plants are cheap, the cost of keeping you alive wasn’t prohibitive.
Not anymore. Today things are different. My wife belongs to a running club and there are a bunch of octogenarians there who put us both to shame. Nope, today you retire and spend your pension on kickboxing classes and second wives, with no plan of dying anytime soon.
This is really bad news for pension schemes across the developed world. Longevity is a problem when you can’t pay for it.
Maybe, just maybe, we could keep Mabel and Bob around for 10 years of re-used tea bags and pot plants, but not 20 years of kickboxing.
A suggestion put forward is that young people will simply have to hand over three times as much in taxes and work in their cubicles until they’re 123 before collapsing from a heart attack, clutching their overfilled catheters. At the very least, we’ll have robots changing their nappies though this doesn’t seem like a credible solution.
The fundamental problem with pensions is that you’re saving for old age diapers, pot plants, and rocking chairs by handing those savings over to entities whose mandates force your capital into asset allocations that no longer make sense. Why, oh why would you buy a European government bond for a negative yield just because the rating agencies still class it AAA and your fund mandate says it’s OK?
For those who still watch TV, I’m told that every night is littered with advertisements for pension companies. Those pension fund companies, sucking in your pot plant money, are actively seeking more suckers so they can move into shinier, taller office buildings in the most
expensive sought after part of town where they will hire more executives to help plan more adverts to bring in more money from more suckers.
But we’re not living in 1964 anymore. Technology has evolved and today I sit writing to you from a home office in a place of my choosing. I manage my wealth from this location but in truth I can -and often am – anywhere. I have friends, colleagues, and clients with multi
by Zero Hedge - August 28th, 2016 11:25 am
My hunt for the gold bar list of the Dutch official gold reserves started in 2015. On September 26 of that year I visited a conference in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, called Reinvent Money. One of the speakers was Jacob De Haan from the Dutch central bank (DNB) Economics and Research Division – you can watch his presentation by clicking here.
In his presentation De Haan repeatedly talked about the importance of transparency in central banking. These statements raised my eyebrows, as I submitted a FOIA request at DNB in 2013 to ask for all correspondence between DNB and other central banks in the past 45 years with respect to its monetary gold, which was not honored. From my experience DNB was anything but transparent.
Slide from is Jacob De Haan (DNB) at the Reinvent Money conference September 26, 2015. Red frame added by me.
After the presentation I approached De Haan and asked him, if transparency is so important to DNB, why has it never published its gold bar list? An act of transparency that could be accomplished within minutes. De Haan offered me he would look into that. He gave me his email address and we agreed to stay in touch.
September 26, 2015, at the Reinvent Money conference. On the left is Jacob De Haan, on the right in the orange sweater is me.
The next day I send De Haan an extensive email explicating my request at DNB to publish the gold bar list of the Dutch gold in excel sheet format. I wrote him it wouldn’t take DNB any effort, as I assumed the bar list was readily available.
De Haan never replied to my email, so I called his office in December 2015 to ask what the status was of my request. De Haan’s secretary answered my inquiry was not rejected but still being processed.
Weeks passed but I didn’t get any reply from De Haan.
On February 24, 2016, I decided to call DNB’s press department to ask about my inquiry. DNB’s spokesman, Martijn Pols, told me over the phone the subject was still being discussed internally, he even confirmed De Haan was involved in the decision making. DNB was considering releasing the document while carefully weighing al pros and cons, he said. In the conversation Pols stated DNB was aware
by Zero Hedge - August 28th, 2016 11:18 am
Though many scoffed when the Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, Jabhat Al-Nusra, rebranded itself Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham, that cosmetic change was apparently enough to convince the US government to start sending them arms.
In the recent push by rebels in the city of Aleppo, Al-Nusra/Al-Sham took a leading role and was reportedly among the rebels groups who received US weapons. Those weapons will first be used to kill Syrian government troops and after that, well, who knows?
Many, if not most, of the rebel groups fighting the Syrian government are jihadist and few have any serious objection to Al-Nusra participating in their operations, especially given that Al-Nusra has proven to be one of the most effective groups on the battlefield. If Al-Sham and fellow Sunni jihadists prevail over Syrian government forces, a genocide will likely commence against religious minorities in Syria, starting with the Alawites and moving on to other Shiites.
From the Atlantic Council:
“Fateh al-Sham’s support extends beyond the immediate political and military opposition. Roshd Virtual University in Istanbul, Turkey offered 100 scholarships to the children of the fighters who participated in Aleppo’s battle. The opposition’s desperation to change the balance of power in Syria has made them embrace Fateh al-Sham and turn a blind eye to the fact that it was until recently the Nusra Front, an internationally designated terrorist group with ties to al-Qaeda.
“According the Syria analyst Charles Lister, there is a significant subsection of the Syrian opposition that does not oppose Fateh al-Sham’s participation in Aleppo related military operations. Moreover, Lister said that opposition forces fighting in Aleppo received for the first time American weapons that are normally designated for forces fighting the Islamic State (ISIS). The opposition’s takeaway is that the United States does not object to preserving the balance on the ground with the Syrian regime, even if doing so indirectly bolsters Fateh al-Sham.”
While it would be a mistake to say this is the first time the US gave assistance to Al Qaeda-linked rebels in Syria, it is a pretty stunning digression from earlier claims from US officials that assisting Al Qaeda and ISIS was completely off limits. Now the US is arming them in one of the most crucial
by Zero Hedge - August 28th, 2016 10:37 am
On Saturday, the 2016 edition of the Fed’s Jackson Hole two-day symposium came to an end, and as many expected, following long bouts of rhetoric, circular statements and hollow bluster, much of it contradictory, both the participants and markets remain as confused as ever.
In addition to Friday’s Yellen-Fischer one-two knock out punch, below are some of the key quotes, courtesy of Dow Jones:
“In light of the continued solid performance of the labor market and our outlook for economic activity and inflation, I believe the case for an increase in the federal-funds rate has strengthened in recent months.”
- Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, Friday, in a keynote speech at the conference:
When asked whether the Fed could raise rates at its meeting next month and again before the end of the year, he said Ms. Yellen’s speech “was consistent with answering yes to both of your questions, but these are not things we know until we see the data.”
- Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer, Friday, in a CNBC interview:
“We should be on a program of gradual rate increases,” though he added, “We can afford to be patient” when it comes to acting.
-Fed governor Jerome Powell, in a Bloomberg television interview Friday:
“If the economy in the next few weeks performs consistent with my sense of the economy, then I think we ought to have a serious discussion at the September meeting” about raising rates.
- Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart, Saturday, in a WSJ interview:
“If we had a lot of good news and we got into the September meeting and other people wanted to go, I could support that--but again I’m talking about one increase and no planned increases after that.”
- St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, Saturday, in a WSJ interview:
“The case for raising rates in the near term “has been strengthened.”
- Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan, in a Bloomberg television interview Friday:
“I see a gradual…upward pace in interest
by Zero Hedge - August 28th, 2016 10:36 am
“My conclusion is that it’s pretty clear—from what she’s saying and the document that she attaches—that they’ve been doing what I’ve been saying they were doing all along: telling clients want to say. These are listed out for the attorneys to ask the witness, and the answers that the witness needs to give are right there. I find that to be extremely telling. It’s exactly what we thought was going on. When they talk about training of the witness, they’re teaching them what to say at trial, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not.”
Excerpted from The DBR…
A Royal Palm Beach attorney alleges an attorney for embattled mortgage servicer Ocwen Financial Corp. improperly spoon-fed questions and answers to unqualified witnesses testifying in foreclosure cases against Florida homeowners.
Foreclosure defense attorney Thomas Ice said he’s uncovered a script that was provided to Atlanta-based Ocwen witnesses to crush homeowner defenses and allegations of robo-witnesses by financial services sector employees who have no first-hand knowledge of mortgage details.
Ice represents St. Lucie County homeowner Thomas Rolle in foreclosure litigation brought by Deutsche Bank National Trust Co.
Ocwen took over servicing the mortgage in early 2013, and the lenders initially brought in national law firm Quintairos Prieto Wood & Boyer to handle the litigation.
Attorneys for both sides exchanged exhibits during trial preparation, but Ice said a group of documents inadvertently emailed during the exchange exposed an in-house strategy to feed witnesses a list of prepared questions and answers.
In several documents, former Quintairos Prieto Wood & Boyer attorney Erin Prete outlined litigation tactics in a series of emails to colleagues addressing foreclosure defenses and strategies for debunking them. In one email thread, she provided a list of questions focused on default notices sent to homeowners to begin the foreclosure process.
Those notices have proven pesky for lenders, who have repeatedly been tripped up
by Zero Hedge - August 28th, 2016 9:38 am
In the latest blow for Obama’s global trade agenda, German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that free trade talks between the European Union and the United States have failed, citing a lack of progress on any of the major sections of the long-running negotiations. “In my opinion the negotiations with the United States have de facto failed, even though nobody is really admitting it” ZDF quoted the minister, according to a written transcript of the interview to be aired on Sunday. “[They] have failed because we Europeans did not want to subject ourselves to American demands.”
He added that in 14 rounds of talks, the two sides haven’t agreed on a single common item out of 27 chapters being discussed. Among the stumbling blocks is a US objection to opening public tenders to European companies. “For me, that goes against free trade,” Gabriel previously commented regarding the issue.
But more than just disagreement on general principles, Gabriel singled out the US as the party making strong demands with no concessions: “We mustn’t submit to the American proposals,” said Gabriel, who is also the head of Germany’s center-left Social Democratic Party.
Gabriel accused Washington of being “angry” about the deal that the EU struck with Canada, known as CETA, because it contains elements the U.S. doesn’t want to see in the TTIP.
Despite strong misgivings among many EU member states over the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, especially by farmers in the European block, both Washington and Brussels had pushed for a deal by the end of the year. As AP reports, Sigmar Gabriel compared the TTIP negotiations unfavorably with a free trade deal forged between the 28-nation EU and Canada, which he said was fairer for both sides.
As AP adds, Gabriel’s ministry isn’t directly involved in the negotiations with Washington because trade agreements are negotiated at the EU level. But such a damning verdict from a leading official in Europe’s biggest economy is likely to make further talks between the EU executive and the Obama administration harder. Surprisingly, Gabriel’s comments contrast with those of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said last month that TTIP was “absolutely in Europe’s interest.”
European critics of the TTIP have claimed that the treaty is dangerous as it could
Central Banks Double Down on the Mistakes of 2008… Creating the Greatest Bubble in Financial History
by Zero Hedge - August 28th, 2016 9:08 am
The common consensus in the financial community today is that the Fed and other Central Banks have somehow managed to end the business cycle. The result of this is that we’ve entered a period of sustained growth (albeit low growth) that will continue in perpetuity until something magical happens and stronger growth returns.
On the surface, this argument is embarrassingly naive. And it is astounding that grown adults actually believe it.
The Fed and other global Central Banks are largely being run by academics with zero real world experience. For centuries leaders and their advisors have tried to generate perpetual growth. None have succeeded. So the idea that this current group of Central Bankers, isolated from the private sector for their entire careers, somehow understand economics better than any other group of humans in history is a ludicrous.
We don’t even have to look back far to see where this ends. A mere 15 years ago, the financial world believed that Alan Greenspan was an economic genius who had brought the world to an era of the New Economy in which we saw non-stop productivity gains.
Today we laugh at the ignorance of this. Not content to have created the since largest stock bubble in financial history, Greenspan doubled down on his foolishness by creating a housing bubble that was three standard deviations away from historic norms.
The fact that he handed off that mess to Ben Bernanke (another ivory tower economist with zero real world experience) before it nearly took down the entire financial system is the greatest accomplishment of his career.
And yet, today, a mere decade later, the investment community has fallen for the same nonsense. Ben Bernanke is hailed by mainstream media outlets as The Hero (!!!) because he, like Greenspan, has doubled down on his idiocy and created yet another bubble… this one in an even more senior asset class (sovereign bonds).
Bernanke, also like Greenspan, has handed this mess off to Janet Yellen, who, like her predecessors, has zero real world experience in the private sector. And yet, she is now sitting atop the largest asset bubble in financial history.
Today, the bond bubble is over $60 trillion in size. This alone means it is more than FIVE times the size of the US housing bubble. Moreover, this bubble is global
by Zero Hedge - August 28th, 2016 9:00 am
Reuters has had some questionable problems with its data in the past like their decision to “tweak” their polling methodology when Trump took his first inexplicable lead over Hillary back in July (see our post entitled “Hillary Lead Over Trump Surges After Reuters “Tweaks” Poll“). Well the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll as of 8/25/16 suggests that Hillary’s “lead” over Trump seems to be vanishing…may be getting close to time for another “tweak.”
But polling data glosses over a critical component of what ultimately determines the winners of elections – namely, voter turnout. For that, Reuters has also launched a tool which helps you analyze various voter turnout scenarios and the resulting electoral college results. “Shockingly,” Reuters doesn’t seem to think a Trump victory is all that likely. In their pre-loaded “How Trump Could Win” scenario, Reuters finds that Trump would need an 11% spike in Republican voter turnout combined with a 9% decline in minority Democratic voters to stand a chance.
Click on the graphic below to create your own interactive scenarios.
by Zero Hedge - August 28th, 2016 8:36 am
In a column earlier this year when the oil price was falling through the $30-level, quite a few people thought that Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Russia would crumble. The Saudi’s are still standing, Venezuela is almost falling off a cliff (and only the continuous gold sales are avoiding a bankruptcy for the time being) but Russia? Russia is still there, and the economy which was in a slow-down modus earlier this year is picking up steam again.
Indeed, even though the Russian Central Bank hiked the key interest rates halfway 2014, it took appropriate action and immediately reduced the interest rates again to give the domestic economy more oxygen, as you can see on the next image.
Source: Danske Bank
The revival is obviously closely correlated with the oil price as the wellbeing of the Russian economy depends on the export of oil. This brings hard dollars into the country’s treasury to help the Central Bank to maintain a healthy ratio of foreign currency on the balance sheet (or to buy more gold, see later).
In the second quarter of the current calendar year, the economy shrank by just 0.6% which was a better performance than what the market analysts were expecting (-0.8%), and it looks like the stabilization in June (with a 0%-change in the Gross Domestic Product) was a positive surprise for most market watchers. However, if we pull up the chart with the oil price, you can indeed see oil was gaining strength in June which does explain the excellent performance during that month.
Does that mean the Russian economy is back in trouble after experiencing a weak July on the oil market? Not really. The export data will very likely come in strong, but the industrial production data from Russia seem to be still relatively weak despite a huge double-digit percentage increase in the production of machinery and equipment.
Source: Danske Bank
What’s even more interesting is that the policy of the Russian boycotts against western products as a counter-measure against the imposed sanctions is having a (very!) counter-productive effect. Not only did the agricultural output increase by in excess of 3% in the first seven months of the year, the YoY performance in July was exceptionally strong with