Silver and gold was slammed today. Initial jobless claims is at its lowest point in 44 years. BCBG filed bankruptcy. The art bubble is popping. CalPers threatens to slash pension benefits. Trump sent a message to every American that the economy is collapsing. Rickards, Stockman say Trump will not be able to avoid the debt bomb that is ready to go off. The Fed has set the stage to bring down the economy. BofA has analyzed the market and makes a prediction that the economy will collapse in the second half of this year. The witch hunt is on, the deep state goes after Jeff Sessions. There is no evidence showing that he did anything wrong. Tim Pool decided to go to Sweden to film the migrant problem, he needed to be escorted out. San Diego is putting microphones and cameras up to record everyone. Twitter is scanning and banning certain individuals. North Korea says that Kim Jong Un half brother died of a heart attack. North Korea denies they have chemical weapons. Taiwan sets up missiles pointing towards China. UN Libyan backed government is imploding. Russia denies that they bombed the moderate rebels. The US is proceeding with sanction even though the report provides no evidence.
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Current News – 03.02.2017
- Initial jobless claims plunged 19k last week to 223k. This is now the lowest level of initial jobless claims since March 1973, and is very close to the lowest levels since 1969.
- This is now the longest period of declining initial jobless claims in US history (from March 2009 to March 2017) Each time we had the lowest initial jobless claim we started into a recession.
- Federal officials have executed search warrants at three Caterpillar, Inc. facilities in the Tri-County Area — including the corporate headquarters — T
- Dow Jones adds that agents from the IRS, FDIC and Commerce Department are involved in the searches. They are probably not looking for CAT profits.
- “Caterpillar is cooperating,” the brief statement said.
The spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois confirmed that facilities in three communities were the subject of the activity — At the Downtown Caterpillar global headquarters building, at least some company employees were directed to the building’s cafeteria and were told to remain there and not leave, according to one employee at the facility. Another source with direct knowledge indicated those sequestered there include employees in the tax and accounting divisions, as well as from executive offices. At least some of those employees were released to go home for the day at approximately 11 a.m.
- At least some of the agents entering the headquarters building wore jackets bearing an Internal Revenue Service logo, others appeared to be from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
- Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev paid €54 million or $85 million for a landscape by Paul Gauguin in a private transaction in June 2008. Yesterday, he incurred a whopping 74% loss on his store of value “investment”
- In May 2015, we warned about the bubble in the the fine art “investment market or indeed the Hyperinflation in Art Investment Market after a Picasso sold for $179 million.
- At the time, we pointed out that ultra high net worth and family office buyers may be viewing the fine art market as a form of super safety deposit box and as a way to protect their wealth from market crashes, systemic risk and the risk of bail-ins and deposit confiscation today.
- Since then global art sales plunged in 2016 as the number of high-value works of art sold dropped by half,
- CalPERS was threatening to slash pension payments to a group of retired city workers after their City Council members failed to understand basic pension accounting and the unintended consequences of terminating their plan ). Now it seems as though retirees of the East San Gabriel Valley Human Services Consortium may be facing a similar fate after their former municipal employer failed to pay their pension dues.
East San Gabriel Valley Human Services Consortium, left a $406,027 unpaid bill to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which manages benefits for 3,000 local governments and districts.. “We’ve paid 100 percent of our responsibility into it. I just don’t understand how they can come along and cut so much out.” “
- Of course, while CalPERS is the largest public pension in the U.S. it’s certainly not the worst off from a financial perspective (yes, we’re talking about you Illinois). In fact, there is roughly $2 trillion in total underfunded state and local pension liabilities around the country.
- That said, the situation looks even more dire if you adjust that underfunding amount to reflect an appropriate discount rate rather than the 7.5% “dream rate” that CalPERS and most of America’s other pension ponzis use. In fact, we recently took a stab at calculating the real taxpayer liability outstanding to America’s public pensions and found it to be closer to $5 – $8 trillion
- The following are 11 quotes from Trump’s speech to Congress that show that the U.S. economy is in a state of collapse…
- #1 “Ninety-four million Americans are out of the labor force”
- #2 “Over 43 million people are now living in poverty”
- #3 “Over 43 million Americans are on food stamps”
- #4 “More than one in five people in their prime working years are not working”
- #5 “We have the worst financial recovery in 65 years”
- #6 “In the last eight years, the past administration has put on more new debt than nearly all of the other Presidents combined”
- #7 “We’ve lost more than one-fourth of our manufacturing jobs since NAFTA was approved”
- #8 “We’ve lost 60,000 factories since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001″
- #9 “Our trade deficit in goods with the world last year was nearly 800 billion dollars”
- #10 “Obamacare premiums nationwide have increased by double and triple digits. As an example, Arizona went up 116 percent last year alone.”
- #11 “We’ve spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas, while our infrastructure at home has so badly crumbled”
- The upcoming March 15 U.S. debt ceiling deadline is something that is being largely ignored by markets and most media for now.
The Trump team hopes for nominal deficits of about 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) and nominal GDP growth of about 6% consisting of 4% real growth and 2% inflation. If that happens, the debt-to-GDP ratio will decline and a crisis might be averted.
This outcome is extremely unlikely. As shown in the chart below, deficits are already over 3% of GDP and are projected by CBO to go higher.
- Having warned that “everything will grind to a halt on March 15th”
“We don’t need a $54 billion increase in defense when the budget already is ten times bigger than that of Russia. We don’t need $6 trillion of defense spending over the next decade because China is going nowhere except trying to keep their Ponzi scheme together.”
“There is going to be a debt ceiling crisis like never before this summer and that’s what people don’t realize. They’ve burned up all the cash that Obama left on the balance sheet for whatever reason.”
- Stockman added that “…by the time we get to June or July, we are going to see a debt ceiling crisis like never before.”
- Whether or not one agrees that the Federal Reserve is preparing to raise rates again at its upcoming meeting this March, one thing is certain: The Fed has done everything shy of setting its hair-on-fire to leave little doubt that they are seriously considering it.
- there is a 82% expectancy rate for the odds of another rate hike in about two weeks time. It would appear the “market” either A: doesn’t believe the Fed. Or, B: no longer cares. I believe it’s A, and that’s a very big problem.
- Any “market” calamity from this point on sits squarely on the Fed’s doorstep,
- To now not raise? All credibility (no matter how little remained) will be lost. Period, end of story.
- Yes, markets are increasingly overbought (it’s now 96 trading days since SPX fell >1% in one session).
- Historically, once the Fed starts tightening, it keeps tightening until there is a “financial event” (Chart 4). This is likely to occur at a much lower rate of interest in the past given the economy & market’s reliance on QE in recent years,
- * * *
- BofA’s bottom line: “we recommend buying S&P 500 puts for the second half of 2017.“
- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) led the effort late on Wednesday night, accusing Sessions of “lying under oath” during confirmation proceedings about his contacts with the Russians.
- “Jeff Sessions lied under oath during his confirmation hearing before the Senate. Under penalty of perjury, he told the Senate Judiciary Committee, ‘I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.’ We now know that statement is false,” Pelosi said in a statement. She then added that “The Attorney General must resign. There must be an independent, bipartisan, outside commission to investigate the Trump political, personal and financial connections to the Russians.”
- The C-Span transcript of the meeting is as follows:
Franken: CNN just published a story alleging that the intelligence community provided documents to the president-elect last week, that included information that “Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.” These documents also allegedly say “there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.” Again, I’m telling you this as it’s coming out, so you know. But if it’s true, it’s obviously extremely serious, and if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?
Sessions: Senator Franken, I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.
Franken: Very well.
- Of note: Sessions was not actually asked whether he or anyone affiliated with the campaign had any kind of communication with the Russians, ever. He was asked, first, about “a continuing exchange of information” — repeated contacts between the campaign and representatives of the Russian government.
- General Electric, in conjunction with AT&T and Intel Corp, is set to install cameras, microphones, and sensors on 3,200 streetlights in San Diego this year, beginning in July. The installations are part of a new “smart city” scheme that aims to monitor traffic and crime.
- With this news has also come many questioning whether this is an overreach into personal privacy, which is something that wasn’t properly investigated prior to approving this plan. Jen Lebron of the mayor’s office said, “it’s anonymous data with no personal identifiers,” since apparently the video quality will be low enough to avoid individual identification.
- However, this seems somewhat contradictory to what the new technology is meant for, which is, according to GE and the city, “to locate gunshots, estimate crowd sizes, check vehicle speeds and other tasks.” This begs the question, how can the technology properly monitor crime if it the cameras don’t record detailed video?
- Twitter is continuing its crackdown on “abusive behavior” and “hate speech” on the platform
- Twitter’s latest attempts to curb abusive speech on the platform, as users across Twitter reported that their accounts were being “limited” as a punishment for the violation of Twitter’s rules. Their tweets would not appear on people’s timelines and only their current followers could view the tweets on their profile, effectively acting as a temporary shadowban.
- Twitter’s new anti-abuse measures: “We aim to only act on accounts when we’re confident, based on our algorithms, that their behavior is abusive.”
- A North Korean envoy has rejected a Malaysian autopsy finding that VX nerve agent killed Kim Jong Nam, saying the man probably died of a heart attack.
- . The autopsy is especially sensitive because North Korea had asked Malaysia not to perform one, but authorities carried it out anyway, saying they were following the law.
- the former North Korean deputy ambassador to the United Nations, told a news conference that it made no sense to say the two women used such a deadly toxin without also killing or sickening themselves and people around them.
- Ri said Kim had a history of heart problems and had been hospitalized in the past. He said he understood that Malaysian officials found medication for diabetes, heart problems and high blood pressure in Kim’s belongings and concluded he wasn’t fit to travel.
- North Korea does not acknowledge that it was Kim Jong Nam who died. Instead, it refers to the victim as Kim Chol, the name on the diplomatic passport he was carrying. Malaysia has confirmed that the victim was Kim Jong Nam.
- North Korea on Tuesday claimed it has no chemical weapons
- The UN classifies VX as a weapon of mass destruction.
- China has sent warplanes for joint exercise with warships in the Western Pacific Ocean a day after Taiwan deployed advanced anti-aircraft missiles and promised to ramp up military patrols to counter China’s growing military capabilities.
- The NATO-led ‘Resolute Support’ mission in Afghanistan is expecting the Taliban’s spring offensive to focus on the south
- A series of U.S. airstrikes targeted alleged al-Qaida positions on Thursday in a mountainous area where three Yemeni provinces meet, leaving at least four militants dead, t.One media official in Bayda said a total of 23 airstrikes were carried out by U.S. jets. Another official said four al-Qaida militants were killed in the airstrikes that targeted Shabwa’s Saeed district.
- Human Rights Watch called upon the U.S. to carry out an investigation saying that the U.S. needs to “go a step further and provide a full accounting of possible laws-of-war violations.”
- The Syrian military, backed by the Russian Air Force, has completed its operation to liberate the key city of Palmyra from militants, Kremlin has announced.
- Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend described it as taking place in “a bunch of villages” in which US troops and their Arab Coalition allies were attacking ISIS. Russia thought it was also bombing ISIS in the same area, but hit some of the rebels.
- Townsend insisted the matter was quickly resolved with a call to the “deconfliction” channel open with the Russians,
- “To avoid any incidents, the US representative has provided exact coordinates of the US-backed opposition forces in the region to a Russian officer,” the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that the information was “taken into account” by the Russian military.
- “Not a single air strike on the regions specified by the US side was conducted by Russian or Syrian air forces,” the statement said.
- . It has set up a military base in the city and hung up its flag as a “warning sign” to Ankara.The US is “taking all necessary measures” to defend the Syrian city of Manbij in the Aleppo Governorate, 30 kilometers west of the Euphrates, which is currently under control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), from an attack by the Turkish Armed Forces and fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA),”Turkey and the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) are getting ready for an attack on Manbij, and so we are getting ready to defend the city and are in constant talks with our ally, the US,”
- On February 28, Russia and China vetoed a U.S., France and UK-sponsored resolution aimed at introducing new sanctions against Syria. The resolution mentioned the conclusions of the OPCW-UN report [98 pages], which blamed the Syrian government for three chemical attacks using chlorine. Russia and China said the report’s conclusions were unconvincing.
- “When you actually go to the report itself, unsurprisingly for professional investigators, is absolutely full of caveats and reservations,”
- “For example,” “there are three standards of proof listed in the report, one of which is ‘overwhelming evidence’ to support the conclusion, the [second] ‘strong evidence’ and the [third] ‘sufficient evidence’; beyond that is ‘insufficient evidence’. In each of the three cases” (where investigators said there was evidence to say that the Syrian military was responsible for an attack) “it is that very lowest standard of proof that has been reached.”
- “In other words, the evidence wasn’t sufficiently good to declare that Syria had dropped chlorine to a standard that could be considered ‘strong’, or ‘overwhelming’.”
- Therefore, the analyst noted he was quite surprised to hear, “on such a basis of low standard of proof of evidence, that people are saying that this is sufficient to put in place punishments for a government. I think that was part of the case that Russia and China made, along with the very principled point of not interfering in [other countries’] internal affairs.”
- Furthermore, the expert pointed out that “as the report said, a lot of its evidence was reliant on first responders giving information to investigators; because of the security situation, the investigators were not able to visit the scenes these attacks themselves, and were reliant totally on what the report calls ‘first responders’, and what we know to be the White Helmets.”