Argentina has been bailed out by the IMF with the biggest ever loan in IMF history. UK retailers are in trouble, more stores are closing down and the press is contributing this to online sales. Consumer credit growth has slowed, savings is declining, this is a recipe for a disaster. Corelogic reports that more than half the homes in the US are overvalued, just like in 2008. Household wealth rises to an all time high, but it is all funneled into the 1%, we are now back to the great depression levels. Ben Bernanke believes the economy will not make it until 2020. China’s new Silk Road is the new world trading system. DOJ confirms that Obamacare is unconstitutional. DOJ will be release their report on the Clinton email probe around the 14th of June. The DOJ is now bringing charges against a long time leaker which the FBI new about and this goes deep down the rabbit hole and confirms what Q has been saying about the phones. Facebook has said many times they are not a new organization but now with their new policies they might have to abide by the rules. Pentagon looking into why we need to keep troops in Africa, looking to remove them.
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Current News – 06.08.2018
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- Just a few weeks after Argentina became ground zero for the coming Emerging Market crisis, when its currency suddenly collapsed at the end of April amid soaring inflation, exploding capital outflows and a central bank that was far behind the curve (as in “13% of rate hikes in a week” behind)…
- … the IMF has officially bailed out the country – again – this time with a $50 billion, 36-month stand-by loan, and coming in about $10 billion more than rumored earlier in the week, it was the largest ever bailout loan in IMF history, meant to help restore investor confidence in a nation that, between its soaring external debt and current account deficit, prompted JPMorgan to suggest that along with Turkey, Argentina is in effect, doomed.
- there is now more pain for British retailers, with department store House of Fraser saying it plans to close over half its stores, including its flagship premises on London’s Oxford Street.
- The company filed plans in court Wednesday to close 31 stores, which would put over 6,000 jobs at risk. Frank Slevin, Chairman of House of Fraser, said Thursday that the closures are “absolutely necessary if we are to continue to trade and be competitive.”
- Following last month’s notable slowdown in the growth of consumer credit (to its weakest since Sept ’17) expectations were for a bounce but April confirmed search trend data and saw a further slowdown.
- As Bianco Research noted ahead of this data, consumer spending has been rolling over into the spring of 2018.
- Credit searches are also falling, led by home financing. We have offered analysis of credit card delinquencies, which we expect to climb across the top 100 banks to 3.7% over the next year.
- And so, against expectations for a $14.00bn rise in Consumer Credit (from $11.62bn), credit growth slowed to just $9.262bn, the weakest growth since September 2017.
- It also confirms that with the US personal savings level once again near all time lows, and with households no deleveraging on their credit cards, the second quarter is about to get very ugly for the economy which is 70% driven by consumer spending.
- CoreLogic reports that residential real estate prices nationwide increased 6.9 percent year over year from April 2017 to April 2018. The firm’s Home Price Index (HPI) also shows a 1.2 percent rise on the month-over-month basis from March to April 2018.
- CoreLogic Market Condition Indicators showed that 40 percent of the 100 largest metropolitan areas were overvalued in April, compared to 28 percent undervalued, and 32 percent in line with valuations.
- The report uncovers a shocking discovery that of the nation’s top 50 largest residential real estate markets, 52 percent were overvalued in April.
- Home Price to Income Ratio Near 2008 Bubble Levels
- Historically a house in the US cost around 3 to 4 times the median annual income. During the housing bubble of 2007 the ratio surpassed 5 – in other words, the median price for a single-family home in the United States cost more than 5 times the US median annual household income.
- In the Fed’s latest Flow of Funds report released at noon today, the Fed unveiled released the latest snapshot of the US “household” sector as of March 31 2018. What it revealed is that with $116.3 trillion in assets and a modest $15.6 trillion in liabilities, the net worth of US households rose above $100 trillion for the first time ever, hitting a new all time high of $100.8 trillion, increasing for 10 consecutive quarters
- And while it would be great news if wealth across all of America had indeed risen as much as the chart above shows, the reality is that there is a big catch: , virtually all of the net worth, and associated increase thereof, has only benefited a handful of the wealthiest Americans.
- As the following chart from Deutsche Bank shows, the wealth inequality in the US is now as bad as it just during the Great Depression, with the top 0.1% of the US population owning as many assets as the bottom 90%.
- In the CBO’s latest, if somewhat dated, Trends in Family Wealth analysis published in 2016, the budget office showed a breakdown of the net worth chart by wealth group, which sadly shows how the “average” American wealth is anything but, and in reality most of that $100 trillion belongs to just 10% of the US population.
- In other words, roughly 75% of the $1.1 trillion increase in assets went to benefit just 10% of the population, who also account for roughly 76% of America’s financial net worth.
- It also means that just 10% of the US population is worth roughly $90 trillion, while half of the US population was virtually no wealth, and if anything it is deeply in debt.
- Athe wealthy have never been wealthier, while half of America, some 50% of households, own just 1% of the country’s wealth, down from 3% in 1989. And finally, America’s poor have never been more in debt
- what really spooked Bridgewater is what happens in 2020 when the impact from the Trump stimulus peaks, and goes into reverse.
- none other than former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke repeated the same assessment almost verbatim in explaining his own suddenly quite dire outlook on the economy.
- Bernanke, the same man who once charged a room full of bankers $250,000 for the sage projection that interest rates would never normalize during his lifetime, now believes the US economy, which in May entered the second-longest period of expansion in modern history…
- Stealing further from the Bridgewater note, Bernanke said that while the stimulus “is going to hit the economy in a big way this year and next year and then in 2020 Wile E. Coyote is going to go off the cliff, and it’s going to look down“
- China’s ambitious multi-trillion-dollar One Belt One Road Initiative could increase global trade by as much as 12 percent, cutting trading costs by half for the countries involved,
- “Trade between Asia and Europe, not including trade between EU countries, accounts for 28 percent of world trade, so making those trade flows easier has a large potential impact,”
- Countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia are set to benefit most, explaining that the benefits will depend on where trade costs fall.
- while assuming a 50-percent drop in costs. In the most conservative case, which includes only countries along the Eurasian economic corridor (China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, and Poland), BRI will boost global trade by four percent.
- In the most optimistic scenario involving both BRI countries and their partners, nations in Central Asia and Eastern Europe will see the biggest increases. Trade for Russia, Kazakhstan, Poland, Nepal, and Myanmar would rise by an estimated 35 percent to 45 percent. China would see its trade jump by about 20 percent, Konings estimates.
- In a letter to House Speaker Ryan, Attorney General Jeff Sessions affirmed that the Justice Dept will no longer defend the constitutionality of Obamacare
- Sessions writes that the DoJ believes the law’s individual mandate – the provision the Supreme Court upheld in 2012 – has become unconstitutional.
- Notably, the three-page letter begins by saying that Justice adopted its position “with the approval of the President of the United States.”
- Specifically, Sessions writes that the mandate cannot be interpreted as a tax “because it will raise no revenue as Congress has eliminated the monetary penalty,”
- Congress claimed it repealed the individual mandate last year, what it actually did was drop the tax penalty to $0.
- DOJ said the courts should strike down the coverage requirement, as well as the provision of the law that forces insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions.
- Less than three weeks after we learned that the IG report on the Clinton email probe was in its final review, and which has found among other things that James Comey not only “defied authority” but was “insubordinate“, we finally have the long awaited drop date: June 14.
- DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz told Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley in a letter on Thursday that his office is planning to release the highly anticipated report detailing broad allegations of misconduct by FBI and Justice Department officials in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election on June 14.
- It only gets better from there because Horowitz also said that he will testify before the Judiciary Committee on June 18 in what may be the most watched Congressional testimony since Comey spoke on the Hill on June 8, 2017.
- The inspector general’s report has been more than a year in the making.
- “What is taking so long with the Inspector General’s Report on Crooked Hillary and Slippery James Comey,” Trump tweeted. “Numerous delays. Hope Report is not being changed and made weaker! There are so many horrible things to tell, the public has the right to know. Transparency!”
- Of course, should the IG investigation challenge Comey’s work as FBI director, which we now know it will, it will bolster Trump’s argument that he did the right thing by firing Comey. It also brings the debate back to Clinton’s email server.
- Longtime former director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee, James A. Wolfe, was indicted and arrested Thursday night on charges of giving false statements to FBI agents in 2017 about repeated contacts with three reporters, Examiner.
Jim Wolfe, a longtime former director of security at the Senate Intelligence Committee, was indicted and arrested Thursday night for giving false statements to F.B.I. agents during their investigation into leaks of classified information to the media.
According to the Department of Justice, Wolfe lied to F.B.I. agents back in 2017 “about his repeated contacts with three reporters, including through his use of encrypted messaging applications.”
Wolfe is also accused of making false statements about providing “non-public information related to matters occurring before the [Senate Intelligence Committee]” to two additional reporters. –Washington Examiner
- News of Wolfe’s arrest follows an article by the New York Times which claims that the Department of Justice “secretly seized years’ worth of a New York Times reporter’s phone and email records,” in connection with an investigation into classified leaks.
- NYT national security reporter Ali Watkins – formerly of Buzzfeed and Politico, came under investigation as part of a DOJ inquiry into Wolfe. FBI agents approached Watkins about her relationship with Wolfe while investigating unauthorized leaks – the first known instance of the Justice Department seizing a reporter’s data under President Trump.
- But this is much bigger than it appears on the surface,
- there were 4 reporters with whom Wolfe was in contact; two of which were female, one of which was male. And these are, of course, anonymously identified as Reporter 1, 2, 3, and 4.
- And that would basically be where the story ends, except…
- one of these reporters has already been outed by their own news organization, why they would do that?)
- Federal prosecutors seized the records as part of an investigation into leaks of classified information to the news media by a former Senate aide.
- Ali Watkins. Worked for Buzzfeed. Politico. And NYT.
Here, take a gander at her portfolio:
But what does this indictment have to say about Miss Watkins. About “Reporter #2?”
So…. 22 year old Watkins… was shacking up with 53-year-old, married Wolfe…. in exchange for intel… for FOUR YEARS.
They had already had this arrangement going prior to Trump. And when Trump stepped into office, they decided to turn against him.
So this was bad enough that the FBI had already been investigating way back in 2014, during Obama. Wolfe had been caught by the FBI, on film, with his gal pal.v
Anyway, besides clandestine rendezvous, how did these two get away with it for so long?
Now where have I seen that before?
- BOOM! There’s your #QConfirmation right there.
- Lets dig a little deeper
After the 2016 election, wealthy donors paid a former Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) staffer $50 million to continue “exposing” Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
- But really, there was a pattern with Wolfe here. An ongoing pattern, stretching back years and years and years. Stretching back so far… you have to wonder…
- Who was protecting him?
- Who would want to strategically stuff leaked to the press?
- Who would use an underling to accomplish this, and simultaneously allow them to keep their distance?
- So now we’ve got junior senators, ex-staffers, lobbyists, and committee underlings all pointing back to Feinstein.
- What about Ali though?
- Wonder what was on the phone.
- Watch Feinstein fall. Watch it happen.
- Fewer than two months before Facebook announced its plan to publish exclusive content from establishment media outlets, its CEO was assuring congress that the platform “isn’t a publisher.”
- Zuckerberg insisted that Facebook did not “produce the content” that populates the platform, implying that it was therefore not subject to the usual regulations that publishers face (including legal liability for their content).
- Now that Facebook has announced its program of publishing exclusive news content from establishment and left-leaning outlets, it will be much harder for the company to escape the charge that it is no longer a neutral, unbiased platform. This could mean Facebook falls outside the bounds of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which currently grants it legal immunity for content posted by Facebook users.
- If Facebook is held legally responsible for the billions of posts published on the platform, it would be a fundamental threat to its business model.
- days after the company was exposed for sharing data with 60 major device developers – contradicting testimony that Mark Zuckerberg gave to Congress – Recode is reporting that the company has copped to another colossal blunder: as many as 14 million Facebook users who believed they were posting items that only their friends or smaller groups could access instead may have shared that content publicly.
According to Facebook, a software bug, which was live for 10 days in May, updated the audience for some user’s posts to “public” without any warning. Facebook typically lets users set the audiences who get to see posts; that setting is “sticky,” which means it remains the default setting until manually updated.
- Just a day after praising “courageous and mature” President Trump for his plans to meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un , Putin is seeking a meeting with Trump in Europe.
- Over the weekend, they reported the White House is planning for a potential summit between President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin of Russia, “a meeting that would bring to the international stage one of the world’s most enigmatic political relationships.”
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked Austria’s chancellor to organize a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Vienna this summer
- The Pentagon is in the process of debating troop levels for US special forces in Africa. Though no decisions have been made, they look to substantially cut back the number of troops deployed around the continent.
- If the plan is approved, in the next three years special forces levels in Africa would go from the present level, around 1,200, to around 700. Some Pentagon officials are arguing that they would replace this with other military forces, while others argue that only special forces will do in America’s many, many African conflicts.
- That the debate is going on so publicly is particularly noteworthy, as there certainly was never such a debate for sending all those troops there in recent years in the first place. Indeed, the fact that US special forces are in a number of countries, like Niger, in such numbers is a fact that even Congress wasn’t properly informed of.