by Zero Hedge - March 29th, 2017 5:55 pm
Clad in purple, Hillary Clinton took on the Trump administration Tuesday in one of her first public speeches since she devastatingly lost the presidential election.
Under the banner of hashtag-inclusion, AP reports, Clinton criticized Republicans on everything from health care – calling last week’s failure of the GOP health care bill, “a victory for all Americans,” to the shortage of women appointees in top administration positions – declaring herself appalled at a much-circulated photo showing an all-male group of Republican lawmakers last month negotiating women’s coverage in health care legislation.
Cracking jokes about her November defeat and her months out of the limelight since, Clinton spoke to thousands of businesswomen in San Francisco, joking there was no place she’d rather be, “other than the White House.”
“I mean, it’s not like I didn’t know all the nasty things they were saying about me. I thought some of them were kind of creative,” she said. “But you just have to keep going.”
Without mentioning President Donald Trump by name, Clinton faulted the Republican presidential administration repeatedly, including calling its representation of women in top jobs “the lowest in a generation.”
She rebuked White House press secretary Sean Spicer, again not by name, for hours earlier Tuesday chiding a black woman journalist during a news conference for shaking her head.
“Too many women have had a lifetime of practice taking this kind of indignity in stride,” Clinton said.
She ended by urging voters to resist Trump policies that she said included suspicion of refugees and voter suppression in some areas.
“These are bad policies that will hurt people and take our country in the wrong direction,” Clinton said, relaying what she had become one of her mantras since the November election.
“It’s the kinds of things you think about when you take long walks in the woods,” she said. “Resist, insist, persist, enlist.”
Seems like a little different message from that of the campaign “stronger together” or her concession speech…
“I still believe in America, and I always will. And, if you do, then we must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We
by Zero Hedge - March 29th, 2017 5:45 pm
In an example of a FISA-warranted surveillance done right, on Wednesday the FBI announced the arrest of a veteran State Department employee with access to top secret information, who was accused of failing to report numerous contacts with Chinese foreign intelligence agents who provided her with “tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and benefits” in exchange for diplomatic and economic information, federal prosecutors said.
Candace Claiborne, 60, was charged in a Washington federal court with obstruction of justice and making false statements to the FBI. As Reuters reports, Claiborne appeared before a magistrate judge with her lawyer, David Bos, but both declined to speak to reporters. Claiborne will remain confined to house arrest until an April 18 preliminary hearing. According to the Federal complains, Claiborne was given tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and wire transfers by Chinese agents beginning in 2011 in exchange for information about U.S. economic policy in relation to China and other diplomatic matters.
The Justice Department alleges that she wrote in her journal that she could “generate 20k in 1 year” through her work with one of the intelligence agents.
Among the gifts given to Claiborne and an unidentified co-conspirator were such items as beads, a sewing machine, an iPhone, a laptop computer, slippers, cash, tuition payments to a fashion school in China and an all-expenses paid vacation to Thailand.
Claiborne was caught as a result of monitoring under a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISA warrant, which is the same warrant that has been allegedly used to surveil members of Trump’s campaign, and potentially the president himself.
Claiborne, “allegedly failed to report her contacts with Chinese foreign intelligence agents who provided her with thousands of dollars of gifts and benefits,” said U.S. Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord.
“When a public servant is suspected of potential misconduct or federal crimes that violate the public trust, we vigorously investigate such claims,” said State Department spokesman Mark Toner.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) March 29, 2017
The timing of the charges against Claiborne is peculiar: they come just ahead of an April 6-7 meeting between U.S. President Donald
by Zero Hedge - March 29th, 2017 5:30 pm
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
TSA treating law-abiding American citizens like livestock for the privilege of boarding a plane has been a festering problem for over a decade. Such demeaning “security” practices represent just one of many unacceptable privacy invasions we’ve allowed to happen to us as a people since being overwhelmed by irrational fears of terrorism following the attacks of 9/11. Such fears are never allowed to dissipate since they’re constantly reinforced and encouraged by corporate media, hack politicians and the military-industrial-intelligence complex looking to make money from imprisoning Americans in an all-encompassing surveillance grid panopticon where we cheer on our own enslavement.
Today’s story brings a very important yet unresolved issue back to the forefront of public discussion, where it must remain until this practice is done away with forever.
The Daily Mail reports:
A furious mom has blasted the TSA officers who she says gave her disabled son an ‘unnecessary’ and ‘horrifying’ pat-down in a Dallas airport on Sunday.
Jennifer Williamson says that her son Aaron, who has sensory processing disorder, was detained for more than an hour at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport despite not setting off the metal detector.
And although she asked the TSA agent not to perform a pat-down, saying it would upset the boy, the agent went through with it anyway.
Williamson then recorded the ‘traumatizing’ incident in a video that has now been seen more than 1.5 million times.
It’s now up to 5.4 million views.
Sometimes the agent appears to pat the boy on areas that he has already checked.
In a Facebook post, Williamson said that she and Aaron were punished and made to wait ‘well over an hour’ because she asked the TSA agents to respect Aaron’s condition.
‘We were treated like dogs because I requested they attempt to screen him in other ways per TSA rules,’ she said.
Now watch the video.
Yeah, it’s disgusting, inappropriate and anathema to a free people, but that’s the point. We aren’t a free people. We’ve become a bunch of authority-worshiping subjects toiling on a plantation dominated by multi-national companies who write our laws
by Zero Hedge - March 29th, 2017 5:09 pm
1.) Long-term readers of Palisade Research know this chart well. We are now 297 trading days into a bull market on the TSX Venture Exchange, as depicted by our 1990 to Present – Bull & Bear Markets Chart. During that time, the TSX Venture has had some sell-offs, but history says this is inevitable. In fact, we are currently mired in a several month long pull-back. So what comes next? We took a look at the USD and the US equities market to formulate an idea.
2.) The Bloomberg Commodity Index (BCI) is a diversified price index distributed by Bloomberg Indexes. Since January 2016, gold has outperformed its peers, with a significant divergence taking hold. However, the recent pull-back has allowed the BCI to catch-up. That is until recently, when gold started to charge ahead, yet again.
3.) Gold bugs are paying close attention to the US equity markets, which have been embroiled in a multi-year bull market. If money continues to pour into the S&P, little capital is left to fuel a gold bull market. The following chart looks at company leverage, calculated as debt/EBITDA. This is a common metric to assess a company’s ability to pay off its debt. This ratio has been increasing in tandem with the market caps of the S&P 500 companies. When looking at these two numbers as a ratio, it appears debt loads are reaching capacity, and can no longer fuel growth. It seems there is still some runway, but the downtick suggests a swift fall.
4.) Another key indicator and Warren Buffett’s favourite – The S&P 500 market
by Zero Hedge - March 29th, 2017 5:05 pm
“What worries you?” asks a Bloomberg TV anchor of billionaire investor Jim Rogers. Rogers was not shy in his response: “The Federal Reserve… has no clue what they are doing. They are going to ruin us all.”
Having driven rates to record lows and with debt sky-rocketing, Rogers warns “this is all going to end very, very, very badly.” Rogers slams the ‘counterfactual’ arguments that things would have been a lot worse if The Fed had not done all this, “propping up zombie banks and dead companies is not the way the world is supposed to work.”
“It’s been nine years and we have nothing to show for it [economically] except staggering amounts of debt.”
We have missed Mr. Rogers plain, if often painful, truthiness.
by Zero Hedge - March 29th, 2017 4:47 pm
After getting an office (and access to classified information and a government-issued phone) in the White House West Wing, President Trump’s eldest daughter Ivanka is becoming an official government employee, joining her husband in serving as an unpaid adviser to her father in the White House.
As The New York Times reports, this move from being an informal advisor to becoming an official federal employee follows criticism from ethics experts, who said it would allow her to avoid some rules and disclosures.
Ms. Trump said in a statement on Wednesday…
“I have heard the concerns some have with my advising the president in my personal capacity while voluntarily complying with all ethics rules, and I will instead serve as an unpaid employee in the White House office, subject to all of the same rules as other federal employees.”
“Throughout this process I have been working closely and in good faith with the White House counsel and my personal counsel to address the unprecedented nature of my role.”
Ms. Trump’s title will be special assistant to the president.
Her husband, Jared Kushner, has the title of senior adviser.
A spokeswoman for the president said to The New York Times in an email…
“We are pleased that Ivanka Trump has chosen to take this step in her unprecedented role as first daughter and in support of the president.”
“Ivanka’s service as an unpaid employee furthers our commitment to ethics, transparency, and compliance and affords her increased opportunities to lead initiatives driving real policy benefits for the American public that would not have been available to her previously.”
Ms. Trump’s lawyer, Jamie S. Gorelick, said that her decision stemmed from “her commitment to compliance with federal ethics standards and her openness to opposing points of view.”
Does this break the media narrative around Ivanka? Who knows – we are sure Maxine Waters will have something to say about it.
Too late, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews already has… (via Gateway Pundit) Comparing Trump’s children to Saddam Hussein’s sons…
“You know, we kid,” he said, “I kid about everything, but Uday and Qusay working for Saddam Hussein — you couldn’t go to a restaurant and have eye
by Zero Hedge - March 29th, 2017 4:41 pm
Conservative wachdog Judicial Watch today released another 1,184 pages of State Department records, including previously unreleased Hillary Clinton email exchanges which according to the legal organization revealed “additional instances of Abedin and Hillary Clinton sending classified information through unsecured email accounts and contributors being given special access to the former secretary of state.”
The records contain 29 previously undisclosed Clinton emails – of a total of which is now at least 288 emails that were not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over to the State Department. This further appears to contradict statements by Clinton that, “as far as she knew,” all of her government emails were turned over to the State Department. Two of these emails are now available on the State Department’s website.
In one notable email exchange from February 23, 2010, ambassador and long-time friend to Hillary Clinton sought to map out her – and Bill Clinton’s – funerals in 2010 because “planning is best done when they are still with us.”
Capricia Marshall, who was chief of protocol for the State Department when Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state, wrote to Huma Abedin, Doug Band and Cheryl Mills on Feb. 23, 2010, saying “everytime someone significant passes, I am flooded with requests” about the Clintons’ arrangements.
“Planning is necessary and best done when they are still with us,” she wrote to top Clinton aide Abedin.
“As well, Hum – I would make the same suggestion to you – for her it will be a little different … And once affirmed it will be very hard for someone to deny the type of ceremony she wanted — as well I understand that the President can request certain arrangements for her that she/her rep cannot (ie if you want the motorcade to go through DC — stop somewhere),” Marshall wrote.
She told the aides she needed to contact the military to prepare for the funerals — “as Protocol has a lot to do with planning, notification etc.”
* * *
Another email exchange between Abedin and Doug Band revealed tension between Clinton’s top personal aide and the former secretary of state’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills. The rift was revealed when Chelsea Clinton asked Band
by Zero Hedge - March 29th, 2017 4:24 pm
Several “black swans” are looming which could inflict a financial nuclear accident on the U.S. markets and financial system. I say “black swans” in quotes because a limited audience is aware of these issues – potentially catastrophic problems that are curiously ignored by the mainstream financial media and financial markets.
The most immediate problem is the Treasury debt ceiling. The Treasury is now projected to run out of cash by mid-summer. Of course, in the spurious manner in which the markets evaluate the next trade, July may as well be a decade away. My best guess is that the “market” assumes that, after drawn out staging of DC’s version of Kabuki Theatre, Congress will raise the debt ceiling, probably up to $22 trillion. Then the Fed will extend its highly secretive “swap” operations to foreign “ally” Central Banks (hint: Belgium and Switzerland) in order to fund the onslaught of Treasury issuance that will ensue. Problem solved…or is it?
(Note: Plan B would be another one of Trump’s bewildering Executive Orders removing the debt ceiling. Plan B is another form of “fiat” currency issuance)
The second “black swan” seen by some but invisible to most is the ongoing collapse the shopping mall business model, erroneously blamed on the combative growth of online retailing. But when I look at the actual numbers, that argument smells foul.
Is Online Retailing Actually The Cause Of Brick/Mortar Retail Apocalypse?
More than 3,500 stores are scheduled to be shuttered in the next few months. JC Penny, Macy’s, Sears, Kmart, Crocs, BCBC, Bebe, Abercrombie & Fitch and Guess are some of the
marquee retailing names that will be closing down mall and strip mall stores. The Limited is going out of business and closing down all 250 of its stores.
The demise of the mall “brick and mortar” retail store is popularly attributed to the growth in online retail sales. To be sure, online retailing is eating into the traditional retail sales distribution mechanism – but
by Zero Hedge - March 29th, 2017 4:23 pm
LULU shareholders may be stunned, but at least someone at United Airlines is smiling.
Moments ago Lululemon reported Q4 earnings of $0.99, missing consensus estimates of $1.01 by 2 cents, hardly a disaster.
However, it was LULU’s guidance that shocked Wall Street.
According to the press release, for Q1 the company now expects net revenue to decline, and be in the range of $510 million to $515 million based on a total comparable sales decrease in the low-single digits on a constant dollar basis. Wall Street had expected the company to generate $552.8 million in revenue in the quarter.
Worse, the company guided to Q1 EPS of $0.25 to $0.27, far below the consensus estimate of $0.39, and below even the lowest Wall Street forecast of $0.34. LULU noted that the guidance assumes a 31.2% tax rate (perhaps it should simply lower its effective tax rate by reincorporating in Ireland).
For the full fiscal 2017, LULU said it expects net revenue to be in the range of $2.550 billion to $2.600 billion based on a total comparable sales increase in the low-single digits on a constant dollar basis. Diluted earnings per share are expected to be in the range of $2.26 to $2.36 for the full year, modestly higher than the $2.16 estimate however Wall Street does not appear to have some doubts about this longer-term forecast.
While LULU did not explain what caused the sharp slowdown in demand for the company’s products – one doubts the recent United Airlines scandal had a dramatic adverse effect - LULU warned that 1Q comp sales would be down low-single digits, confirming that there is something very strange when it comes to consumer demand in the current quarter, and which certainly does not jive with reports of soaring consumer confidence.
Needless to say, the market is not happy with LULU’s sudden pivot away from being a growth stock, sending it over 17% lower in after hours trading.
by Zero Hedge - March 29th, 2017 4:05 pm
Seriously, this is too easy…
Dow and Trannies were lower on the day as the Nasdaq just kept chugging higher (Nasdaq Composite up 14 of the last 17 days)
On the week The Dow is the laggard (but still green)
For the 6th day in a row, stocks opened weak and ramped non-stop all day…BTFD Much?
NOTE VIX was not paying along today…
Banks closed lower (except JPM)…
Post healthcare vote – Dollar’s down; but Bonds, Stocks, and Gold are up…
Bonds erased most of yesterday’s losses – and are now back lower post-healthcare vote (except for 2Y)
With 30Y back below 3.00%…
The Dollar index traded in an extremely narrow range for most of the day but ironically, after good housing data and very hawkish FedSpeak, the dollar began to sink! Back below post-healthcare-vote close…
On the week, EUR and Cable are weakest offset by a stronger AUD…
WTI and RBOB jumped on inventory data (despite a new cycle high in production) but copper and PMs flatlined…
Finally – this is not how it ius supposed to work… not at all…