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"No Violence": Boston Mayor Promises Barricades, 500 Cops At "Free Speech" Rally

6 hours 40 min ago

Boston Police are bracing for violence to break out at Saturday’s “free speech” rally and have taken precautionary measures to prevent it from devolving into a clash between extremists and demonstrators on both sides of the ideological spectrum. To enhance public safety, police have put up road blockades and gone so far as to ban food vendors from the historic Boston Common, where the demonstration is expected to take place, as they hope to prevent a repeat of the Charlottesville attack last weekend according to Reuters.

“Some 500 police officers will be on the streets around the popular tourist destination. They are planning to close some roadways to vehicles, mindful of the car attacks that killed a woman in Charlottesville and 13 in an attack in Barcelona on Thursday.

"We all know the tragedy that happened in Barcelona. That only makes us more vigilant," said Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, who was the department's second-in-command during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.”

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said the city would ban demonstrators from carrying anything that could be used as a weapon, adding that violence would not be tolerated.

"We are going to respect their right to free speech. In return, they have to respect the safety of our city," Walsh said. "If anything gets out of hand, we are going to shut it down."

The flash point will likely arrive when a “Fight White Supremacy” march set to begin in the historically black Roxbury neighborhood collides with the demonstrators on the Commons Saturday afternoon.

“Our job is to make sure that as the peace rally enters into Boston Common that the folks that come in there feel safe, that we don't have an incident that happened like last week in Virginia,” Walsh said.

Organizers of the free speech event have denounced the type of violence that took place at the rally in Charlottesville.  Speakers at Saturday’s event include Kyle Chapman, a California activist who was arrested at a Berkeley rally earlier this year, and Joe Biggs, formerly of Infowars. Mayor Walsh is warning anyone who doesn’t plan on taking part in the demonstration on the Common to avoid the area, according to CBS Boston.

“They say that interacting with these groups just gives them a platform to spread their message of hate,” said Walsh. “They recommend that people should not confront these rallies. So we’re urging everyone to stay away from the Common.”

Somehow, we doubt the "everyone" will heed the mayor's advice.

Bannon Speaks: "I'm Going To War For Trump"

14 hours 38 min ago

Update: that was quick. As Breitbart's Charlie Spiering reports, Bannon jas returned to Breitbart News as Executive Chairman of Breitbart News "and chaired our evening editorial meeting"

????Siren???? Steve Bannon returned to Breitbart News as Executive Chairman of Breitbart News and chaired our evening editorial meeting

— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) August 18, 2017

As The Hill adds, Bannon reclaimed the title of Breitbart's executive chairman and directed the outlet’s Friday editorial meeting, the website said in a statement on Friday.

“The populist-nationalist movement got a lot stronger today,” said Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow. “Breitbart gained an executive chairman with his finger on the pulse of the Trump agenda.

As chairman, Bannon oversaw massive growth of the populist website before leaving to be chairman of Trump’s campaign. Bannon never settled into his role as chief strategist in the White House, where he feuded bitterly with ideological rivals like Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, economic adviser Gary Cohn and national security adviser H.R. McMaster.

Breitbart eagerly accepted Bannon back into the fold. “Breitbart’s pace of global expansion will only accelerate with Steve back,” said Breitbart president Larry Solov. “The sky’s the limit.”

* * *

While Breitbart has warned of war 'against' Trump - should he break from the policies upon which he was elected - former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has spoken for the first time since being fired today.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Bannon said he was "going to war" for Trump...

If there’s any confusion out there, let me clear it up.

 

I’m leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents... on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America,

So, war it is!

Presumably, being outside The White House allows him more freedom to pursue his tactics. The question is - given the narrative being spun is he resigned by mutual agreement - does Bannon stil have Trump's ear? And if so, will Cohn, Kelly, and Kushner stand for it? We already know his agenda is anything but in line with theirs.

Notably The White House formally launched a probe of China's intellectual property practices tonight - invoking Section 301 just as Bannon had said.

With regard his internal adversaries, at the departments of State and Defense, who think the United States can enlist Beijing’s aid on the North Korean standoff, and at Treasury and the National Economic Council who don’t want to mess with the trading system, Bannon was ever harsher...

“Oh, they’re wetting themselves,” he said, explaining that the Section 301 complaint, which was put on hold when the war of threats with North Korea broke out, was shelved only temporarily, and will be revived in three weeks. As for other cabinet departments, Bannon has big plans to marginalize their influence.

 

“That’s a fight I fight every day here,” he said. “We’re still fighting. There’s Treasury and [National Economic Council chair] Gary Cohn and Goldman Sachs lobbying.”

 

“We gotta do this. The president’s default position is to do it, but the apparatus is going crazy. Don’t get me wrong. It’s like, every day.”

Bannon dismissed the far-right as irrelevant:

“Ethno-nationalism—it's losers. It's a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more.”

 

“These guys are a collection of clowns,” he added.

And finally, Bannon scoffed at The Democrats...

“...the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.

*  *  *

Kurt Bardella, a Republican communications specialist who worked for Bannon at Breitbart but later denounced him, predicts the strategist would "feel liberated" by his departure.

"Now, he will be able to operate openly and freely to inflict as much damage as he possibly can on the ‘globalists’ that remain in the Trump Administration."

Pat Buchanan Asks "In This Second American Civil War - Whose Side Are You On?"

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 23:00

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Townhall.com,

"They had found a leader, Robert E. Lee -- and what a leader! ... No military leader since Napoleon has aroused such enthusiastic devotion among troops as did Lee when he reviewed them on his horse Traveller."

So wrote Samuel Eliot Morison in his magisterial "The Oxford History of the American People" in 1965.

First in his class at West Point, hero of the Mexican War, Lee was the man to whom President Lincoln turned to lead his army. But when Virginia seceded, Lee would not lift up his sword against his own people, and chose to defend his home state rather than wage war upon her.

This veneration of Lee, wrote Richard Weaver, "appears in the saying attributed to a Confederate soldier, 'The rest of us may have ... descended from monkeys, but it took a God to make Marse Robert.'"

Growing up after World War II, this was accepted history.

Yet, on the militant left today, the name Lee evokes raw hatred and howls of "racist and traitor." A clamor has arisen to have all statues of him and all Confederate soldiers and statesmen pulled down from their pedestals and put in museums or tossed onto trash piles.

What has changed since 1965?

It is not history. There have been no great new discoveries about Lee.

What has changed is America herself. She is not the same country. We have passed through a great social, cultural and moral revolution that has left us irretrievably divided on separate shores.

And the politicians are in panic.

Two years ago, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe called the giant statues of Lee and "Stonewall" Jackson on Richmond's Monument Avenue "parts of our heritage."

 

After Charlottesville, New York-born-and-bred McAuliffe, entertaining higher ambitions, went full scalawag, demanding the statues be pulled down as "flashpoints for hatred, division, and violence."

Who hates the statues, Terry? Who's going to cause the violence?

Answer: The Democratic left whom Terry must now appease.

McAuliffe is echoed by Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate in November to succeed McAuliffe. GOP nominee Ed Gillespie wants Monument Avenue left alone.

The election is the place to decide this, but the left will not wait.

In Durham, North Carolina, our Taliban smashed the statue of a Confederate soldier. Near the entrance of Duke University Chapel, a statue of Lee has been defaced, the nose broken off.

Wednesday at dawn, Baltimore carried out a cultural cleansing by taking down statues of Lee and Maryland Chief Justice Roger Taney who wrote the Dred Scott decision and opposed Lincoln's suspension of the right of habeas corpus.

Like ISIS, which smashed the storied ruins of Palmyra, and the al-Qaida rebels who ravaged the fabled Saharan city of Timbuktu, the new barbarism has come to America. This is going to become a blazing issue, not only between but within the parties.

For there are 10 Confederates in Statuary Hall in the Capitol, among them Lee, Georgia's Alexander Stephens, vice president to Jefferson Davis, and Davis himself. The Black Caucus wants them gone.

Mount Rushmore-sized carvings of Lee, Jackson and Davis are on Stone Mountain, Georgia. Are they to be blasted off?

There are countless universities, colleges and high schools like Washington & Lee named for Confederate statesmen and soldiers. Across the Potomac from D.C. are Jefferson Davis Highway and Leesburg Pike to Leesburg itself, 25 miles north. Are all highways, streets, towns and counties named for Confederates to be renamed? What about Fort Bragg?

On every Civil War battlefield, there are monuments to the Southern fallen. Gettysburg has hundreds of memorials, statues and markers. But if, as the left insists we accept, the Confederates were traitors trying to tear America apart to preserve an evil system, upon what ground do Democrats stand to resist the radical left's demands?

What do we do with those battlefields where Confederates were victorious: Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville?

"Where does this all end?" President Trump asked.

It doesn't.

Not until America's histories and biographies are burned and new texts written to Nazify Lee, Jackson, Davis and all the rest, will a newly indoctrinated generation of Americans accede to this demand to tear down and destroy what their fathers cherished.

And once all the Confederates are gone, one must begin with the explorers, and then the slave owners like Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Madison, who seceded from slave-free Britain. White supremacists all.

Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay of Kentucky and John Calhoun must swiftly follow.

Then there are all those segregationists. From 1865 to 1965, virtually all of the great Southern senators were white supremacists.

In the first half of the 20th century, Woodrow Wilson and FDR carried all 11 states of a rigidly segregationist South all six times they ran, and FDR rewarded Dixie by putting a Klansman on the Supreme Court.

While easy for Republicans to wash their hands of such odious elements as Nazis in Charlottesville, will they take up the defense of the monuments and statues that have defined our history, or capitulate to the icon-smashers?

In this Second American Civil War, whose side are you on?

Only In Cali: New Bill Would Imprison Healthcare Workers For Using Incorrect Pronouns With Patients

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 22:35

California has a well-earned its reputation for introducing wacky legislation. Jerry Brown's bill specifically written to regulate cow farts is a personal favorite of ours.  For those who missed it the first time around, here is a brief recap of our post entitled "Only In California - Governor Jerry Brown Signs Bill To Regulate Cow Flatulence":

In yet another attack on California businesses, yesterday Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill (SB 1383) that requires the state to cut methane emissions from dairy cows and other animals by 40% by 2030.

 

According to a statement from Western United Dairymen CEO, Anja Raudabaugh, California's Air Resources Board wants to regulate animal methane emissions even though it admits there is no known method for achieving the the type of reduction sought by SB 1383.

 

"The California Air Resources Board wants to regulate cow emissions, even though its Short-Lived Climate Pollutant (SLCP) reduction strategy acknowledges that there’s no known way to achieve this reduction."

 

Among other things, compliance with the bill will likely require California dairies to install "methane digesters" that convert the organic matter in manure into methane that can then be converted to energy for on-farm or off-farm consumption.  The problem, of course, is that methane digesters are expensive and with California producing 20% of the country's milk we suspect that means that California has just passed another massive "food tax" on the country.

But a new bill penned by Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco, dubbed the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Resident’s Bill of Rights (or SB-219 if you're into the whole brevity thing), takes wacky California legislation to a whole new level.  Among other things, the bill makes it illegal for employees of any "long-term care facility" to "willfully and repeatedly fail to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns after being clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns."

This bill would enact the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Resident’s Bill of Rights. Among other things, the bill would make it unlawful, except as specified, for any long-term care facility to take specified actions wholly or partially on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status, including, among others, willfully and repeatedly failing to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns after being clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns, or denying admission to a long-term care facility, transferring or refusing to transfer a resident within a facility or to another facility, or discharging or evicting a resident from a facility.

 

Meanwhile, here are couple of other actions that will now be considered a crime for healthcare workers in California:

(2) Deny a request by residents to share a room.

 

(3) Where rooms are assigned by gender, assigning, reassigning, or refusing to assign a room to a transgender resident other than in accordance with the transgender resident’s gender identity, unless at the transgender resident’s request.

 

(4) Prohibit a resident from using, or harass a resident who seeks to use or does use, a restroom available to other persons of the same gender identity, regardless of whether the resident is making a gender transition or appears to be gender-nonconforming. Harassment includes, but is not limited to, requiring a resident to show identity documents in order to gain entrance to a restroom available to other persons of the same gender identity.

 

(5) Willfully and repeatedly fail to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns after being clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns.

 

(6) Deny a resident the right to wear or be dressed in clothing, accessories, or cosmetics that are permitted for any other resident.

 

(7) Restrict a resident’s right to associate with other residents or with visitors, including the right to consensual sexual relations, unless the restriction is uniformly applied to all residents in a nondiscriminatory manner. This section does not preclude a facility from banning or restricting sexual relations, as long as the ban or restriction is applied uniformly and in a nondiscriminatory manner.

So what is the punishment for failing to observe someone's preferred pronouns?  Oh, just a year in prison and a $1,000 fine, according to CBN...

Just to clarify, 'choosing' your own gender and imprisoning people for failing to observe that 'choice' is wholly consistent with 'science' but Republicans are 'science deniers' for having the audacity to even question inconsistencies in climate change data....got it.

 

Here is the full text of SB-219:

Dilbert's Scott Adams Explains "How To Know You're In A Mass Hysteria Bubble"

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 22:10

Authored by Scott Adams via Dilbert blog,

History is full of examples of Mass Hysterias. They happen fairly often. The cool thing about mass hysterias is that you don’t know when you are in one. But sometimes the people who are not experiencing the mass hysteria can recognize when others are experiencing one, if they know what to look for.

I’ll teach you what to look for.

A mass hysteria happens when the public gets a wrong idea about something that has strong emotional content and it triggers cognitive dissonance that is often supported by confirmation bias. In other words, people spontaneously hallucinate a whole new (and usually crazy-sounding) reality and believe they see plenty of evidence for it. The Salem Witch Trials are the best-known example of mass hysteria. The McMartin Pre-School case and the Tulip Bulb hysteria are others. The dotcom bubble probably qualifies. We might soon learn that the Russian Collusion story was mass hysteria in hindsight. The curious lack of solid evidence for Russian collusion is a red flag. But we’ll see how that plays out.

The most visible Mass Hysteria of the moment involves the idea that the United States intentionally elected a racist President. If that statement just triggered you, it might mean you are in the Mass Hysteria bubble. The cool part is that you can’t fact-check my claim you are hallucinating if you are actually hallucinating. But you can read my description of the signs of mass hysteria and see if you check off the boxes.

If you’re in the mass hysteria, recognizing you have all the symptoms of hysteria won’t help you be aware you are in it. That’s not how hallucinations work. Instead, your hallucination will automatically rewrite itself to expel any new data that conflicts with its illusions.

But if you are not experiencing mass hysteria, you might be totally confused by the actions of the people who are. They appear to be irrational, but in ways that are hard to define. You can’t tell if they are stupid, unscrupulous, ignorant, mentally ill, emotionally unstable or what. It just looks frickin’ crazy.

The reason you can’t easily identify what-the-hell is going on in the country right now is that a powerful mass hysteria is in play.

If you see the signs after I point them out, you’re probably not in the hysteria bubble.

 

If you read this and do NOT see the signs, it probably means you’re trapped inside the mass hysteria bubble.

Here are some signs of mass hysteria. This is my own take on it, but I welcome you to fact-check it with experts on mass hysteria.

1. The trigger event for cognitive dissonance

On November 8th of 2016, half the country learned that everything they believed to be both true and obvious turned out to be wrong. The people who thought Trump had no chance of winning were under the impression they were smart people who understood their country, and politics, and how things work in general. When Trump won, they learned they were wrong. They were so very wrong that they reflexively (because this is how all brains work) rewrote the scripts they were seeing in their minds until it all made sense again. The wrong-about-everything crowd decided that the only way their world made sense, with their egos intact, is that either the Russians helped Trump win or there are far more racists in the country than they imagined, and he is their king. Those were the seeds of the two mass hysterias we witness today.

Trump supporters experienced no trigger event for cognitive dissonance when Trump won. Their worldview was confirmed by observed events.

2. The Ridiculousness of it 

One sign of a good mass hysteria is that it sounds bonkers to anyone who is not experiencing it. Imagine your neighbor telling you he thinks the other neighbor is a witch. Or imagine someone saying the local daycare provider is a satanic temple in disguise. Or imagine someone telling you tulip bulbs are more valuable than gold. Crazy stuff.

Compare that to the idea that our president is a Russian puppet. Or that the country accidentally elected a racist who thinks the KKK and Nazis are “fine people.” Crazy stuff.

If you think those examples don’t sound crazy – regardless of the reality – you are probably inside the mass hysteria bubble.

3. The Confirmation Bias

If you are inside the mass hysteria bubble, you probably interpreted President Trump’s initial statement on Charlottesville – which was politically imperfect to say the least – as proof-positive he is a damned racist.

If you are outside the mass hysteria bubble you might have noticed that President Trump never campaigned to be our moral leader. He presented himself as – in his own words “no angel” – with a set of skills he offered to use in the public’s interest. He was big on law and order, and equal justice under the law. But he never offered moral leadership. Voters elected him with that knowledge. Evidently, Republicans don’t depend on politicians for moral leadership. That’s probably a good call.

When the horror in Charlottesville shocked the country, citizens instinctively looked to their president for moral leadership. The president instead provided a generic law and order statement. Under pressure, he later named specific groups and disavowed the racists. He was clearly uncomfortable being our moral lighthouse. That’s probably why he never described his moral leadership as an asset when running for office. We observe that he has never been shy about any other skill he brings to the job, so it probably isn’t an accident when he avoids mentioning any ambitions for moral leadership. If he wanted us to know he would provide that service, I think he would have mentioned it by now.

If you already believed President Trump is a racist, his weak statement about Charlottesville seems like confirmation. But if you believe he never offered moral leadership, only equal treatment under the law, that’s what you saw instead. And you made up your own mind about the morality. 

The tricky part here is that any interpretation of what happened could be confirmation bias. But ask yourself which one of these versions sounds less crazy:

1. A sitting president, who is a branding expert, thought it would be a good idea to go easy on murderous Nazis as a way to improve his popularity.

 

or…

 

2. The country elected a racist leader who is winking to the KKK and White Supremacists that they have a free pass to start a race war now.

 

or…

 

3. A mentally unstable racist clown with conman skills (mostly just lying) eviscerated the Republican primary field and won the presidency. He keeps doing crazy, impulsive racist stuff. But for some reason, the economy is going well, jobs are looking good, North Korea blinked, ISIS is on the ropes, and the Supreme Court got a qualified judge. It was mostly luck.

 

or…

 

4. The guy who didn’t offer to be your moral leader didn’t offer any moral leadership, just law and order, applied equally. His critics cleverly and predictably framed it as being soft on Nazis.

One of those narratives is less crazy-sounding than the others. That doesn’t mean the less-crazy one has to be true. But normal stuff happens far more often than crazy stuff. And critics will frame normal stuff as crazy whenever they get a chance.

4. The Oversized Reaction

It would be hard to overreact to a Nazi murder, or to racists marching in the streets with torches. That stuff demands a strong reaction. But if a Republican agrees with you that Nazis are the worst, and you threaten to punch that Republican for not agreeing with you exactly the right way, that might be an oversized reaction. 

5. The Insult without supporting argument

When people have actual reasons for disagreeing with you, they offer those reasons without hesitation. Strangers on social media will cheerfully check your facts, your logic, and your assumptions. But when you start seeing ad hominem attacks that offer no reasons at all, that might be a sign that people in the mass hysteria bubble don’t understand what is wrong with your point of view except that it sounds more sensible than their own. 

For the past two days I have been disavowing Nazis on Twitter. The most common response from the people who agree with me is that my comic strip sucks and I am ugly.

*  *  *

The mass hysteria signals I described here are not settled science, or anything like it. This is only my take on the topic, based on personal observation and years of experience with hypnosis and other forms of persuasion.

I present this filter on the situation as the first step in dissolving the mass hysteria. It isn’t enough, but more persuasion is coming.

If you are outside the mass hysteria bubble, you might see what I am doing in this blog as a valuable public service.

 

If you are inside the mass hysteria bubble, I look like a Nazi collaborator.

How do I look to you?

*  *  *

Adams wrote a book about how to persuade yourself to success. Based on reader comments, it is working. His upcoming book, Win Bigly, tells you how to persuade others. (For good.) That comes out October 31st.

The Real Story Behind Goldman's Q2 Trading Loss: How A $100M Gas Bet Went Awry

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 21:45

Goldman Sachs FICC-trading income was an unexpectedly ugly blemish on what was already a poor Q2 earnings report. And while the FDIC-backed hedge fund initially blamed the decline on lower trading revenues, lack of volatility and depressed client activity...

... there was more to the story. The Wall Street Journal has uncovered what really happened: A $100 million bet on regional natural-gas prices gone awry after production problems at a local pipeline sent prices soaring, decimating Goldman’s short position.

“Goldman wagered that gas prices in the Marcellus Shale in Ohio and Pennsylvania would rise with the construction of new pipelines to carry gas out of the region, said people familiar with the matter. Instead, prices there fell sharply in May and June as a key pipeline ran into problems.”

More specifically…

“Goldman’s key miscalculation last quarter was betting that natural-gas prices in the Marcellus Shale would rise relative to the national benchmark price in Louisiana known as the Henry Hub, the people familiar with the matter said.”

The quarter was the worst ever for the bank’s commodities unit, which, as WSJ notes, has been one of the firm’s most consistent profit centers, and a training ground for many of its top executives, including Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein. The trading loss “extended a broader slump at a company once known as Wall Street’s savviest gambler.”

Goldman shares fell 2.6% on the day of the report, which analysts largely attributed to the miss in trading revenues, despite a stronger-than-expected bottom-line profit.

The investment bank has held on to its commodities-trading business even as most other American banks exited following the financial crisis. It is currently the seventh-largest market maker for natural gas in North America, larger than some energy giants like Exxon Mobil. According to WSJ, trading oil, metals and other physical commodities is increasingly dominated by smaller firms like Glencore PLC and Gunvor Group Ltd. that don’t face as much government regulation.

“The loss highlights the trade-offs Goldman made in sticking with the risky commodities-trading business, even as other large banks retreated following the financial crisis. Goldman is the seventh-biggest marketer of natural gas in North America, up from 13th in 2011, according to Natural Gas Intelligence—bigger than U.S. energy giants such as Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chesapeake Energy Corp. It has been the only U.S. bank in the top 20 since 2013, when J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. left the business.”

WSJ explains that Goldman’s position would've produced a profit if a pipeline being built to carry natural gas out of the Midwest had been completed on time. Instead, it faced multiple delays after a series of fluid spills and the accidental bulldozing of a historic Ohio home.

“Essentially, it was a bet on the timely completion of pipelines under construction to ferry a glut of gas out of the region.

 

But one of those pipelines ran into trouble this spring: the 713-mile Rover, which would transport gas from the Marcellus to the Midwest and beyond.

 

Its developer, Energy Transfer Partners, in February bulldozed a historic Ohio home without notifying regulators, and scrambled to finish clearing trees before the roosting season for a protected bat species. In May, federal regulators barred Energy Transfer from drilling on some segments of the route after a series of fluid spills.

 

The first leg of the pipeline, which had been set to come online in July, isn’t expected until at least September. Energy Transfer said it has “been working efficiently and nonstop to remediate” problems and expects to have the entire pipeline operational in January.”

In all likelihood, part of Goldman’s short position was accumulated to offset the risk-management needs of the bank’s clients, WSJ reported. Goldman’s counterparties, the drillers operating in the Marcellus shale, reported strong gains in their derivatives books.

“Goldman was in part likely catering to gas producers in the region that wanted to lock in steadier revenue through swaps and other contracts. Many Marcellus drillers reported big gains in the value of their derivatives portfolios in the second quarter—meaning their trading partners lost money in that period, at least on paper.”

Of course, the bank’s executives would have you believe the loss was solely the result of Goldman fulfilling its duty to help its clients manage risk, and that the bank’s trades didn’t violate the Volcker Rule (a ban on proprietary trading that was part of Dodd-Frank). As WSJ notes, whether or not a trade violates the Volcker rule depends on who initiated it, how long the bank held the position, and myriad other factors.

But with President Trump in the White House and with future Fed Chairman Gary Cohn's only nemesis getting the boot earlier today, soon Goldman will be empowered to take much more trading risks with the explicit blessings of 1600 Pennsylvania.

'Art Of The Deal' Co-Author Slams "Racist" Trump, Says "Endgame Is On, Amazed If He Survives Til Year-End""

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 21:20

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

Tony Schwartz, the man who co-authored Art of the Deal with Donald Trump in 1987, now says that the President will likely resign before the end of the year.

In a series of Tweets earlier this week Schwartz showed his disdain for the President and echoed the sentiments of top Democrats who have claimed that Trump will either be impeached or voluntarily step away from the Presidency:

I said some time ago I wasn’t going to tweet about Trump anymore. He hadn’t yet raised the stakes to the point of survival. He has now.

— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) August 10, 2017

Understand this: Trump will never do what’s ethical and decent because he has no conscience. That’s why I called him a sociopath a year ago.

— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) August 13, 2017

Is Donald Trump a racist? Yes.

— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) August 13, 2017

Trump’s base: Nazis, white supremacists, far right wing lunatics, people who live to hate. A rogue president enabling the worst of humanity.

— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) August 14, 2017

Understand this: Trump will destroy anything & anyone to protect against feeling weak & out of control. It’s not a choice but a compulsion.

— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) August 15, 2017

The more humiliated & threatened Trump feels, the more wildly & impulsively he lashes out . Only love he can find is from far right whackos

— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) August 15, 2017

The end game is on: Trump goes down or we do. He will blow up world to prove he matters. We must stand up in opposition every day.

— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) August 15, 2017

The circle is closing at blinding speed. Trump is going to resign and declare victory before Mueller and congress leave him no choice.

— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) August 16, 2017

Trump’s presidency is effectively over. Would be amazed if he survives till end of the year. More likely resigns by fall, if not sooner.

— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) August 16, 2017

There seems to be a renewed interest from Democrats who are actively working on articles of impeachment that could lead to the President’s removal from office. And though such a move would require a majority vote in the House of Representatives and two-thirds of the Senate, it appears that many Congressional Republicans are now publicly speaking out against the President, suggesting that such a measure could have legs.

Coupled with an”independent” investigation targeting the President as well as members of his administration and former business partners, it is becoming ever more likely that, as Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robery Kiyosaki recently noted, they are going to find something.

While author Tony Schwartz has an obvious beef to pick with the President and may simply be pandering to the liberal left, the pressure being put on Trump could force him to resign in order to avoid impeachment and/or criminal charges, whether real or imagined.

The war to take out Trump’s closest lieutenants has been raging since before he was even sworn in and will continue until the goals of The Deep State have been accomplished.

As Brandon Smith of Alt Market has warned, Donald Trump may well be first used as a scapegoat by the elite in order to usher in the next phase of crisis and a reorganization of the global order:

I have been warning since long before the election that Trump’s presidency would be the perfect vehicle for central banks and international financiers to divert blame for the economic crisis that would inevitably explode once the Fed moved firmly into interest rate hikes. Every indication since my initial prediction shows that this is the case.

 

The media was building the foundation of the narrative from the moment Trump won the election. Bloomberg was quick to publish its rather hilariously skewed propaganda on the matter, asserting that Trump was lucky to inherit an economy in ascendance and recovery because of the fiscal ingenuity of Barack Obama. This is of course utter nonsense.

 

Obama and the Fed have created a zombie economy rotting from the inside out, nothing more. But, as Bloomberg noted rightly, any downturn within the system will indeed be blamed on the Trump administration.

 

Fortune Magazine, adding to the narrative, outlined the view that the initial stock rally surrounding Trump’s election win was merely setting the stage for a surprise market crash.

 

I continue to go one further than the mainstream media and say that the Trump administration is a giant cement shoe designed (deliberately) to drag conservatives and conservative principles down into the abyss as we are blamed by association for the financial calamity that will occur on Trump’s watch.

If Smith is correct, and all signs seem to be pointing to such a scenario, Trump will blamed for what will likely be the most epic financial collapse in world history. Once those goals are accomplished, a push to remove him from office may become reality.

"Almost Cataclysmic": Barclays Reveals Which Restaurants Are Most Exposed To Collapsing Malls

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 21:10

We've spent a lot of time this year discussing the complete collapse of mall-based retailers, a collapse which has resulted in more store closures in Q1 2017 than all of 2016 and will likely claim more victims by the end of this year than any year since the great recession nearly a decade ago.  Here are a couple of recent examples:

But those mall-based apparel companies aren't the only ones suffering the dire consequences of collapsing mall traffic.  For years, the casual dining space has become more and more saturated with new concepts resulting in thinner and thinner margins for the restaurant industry.  Now, with foot traffic in malls collapsing these same restaurants are about to experience the brutal realization that declining traffic, massive fixed costs, rising minimum wages and razor thin margins aren't a great combo. 

Thankfully, Barclays' restaurant team, led by Jeffrey Bernstein, has identified which publicly-traded restaurants are about to get screwed the most.  Here's a summary:

Of the large publicly-traded casual dining chains, Cheesecake Factory 'wins' the 'most screwed' award with 93% of their locations heavily dependent on mall traffic.

 

Meanwhile, proving they went full mall-tard (something you should never do, btw), CAKE's second largest casual dining concept, Grand Lux, is also over 90% dependent on mall traffic. 

 

Here are more details from Barclays:

Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) operates 90%+ of their stores in a location we define as mall dependent. To be fair, CAKE is often viewed as a destination, with its own separate entrance, and therefore less mall-dependent. And most are in ‘A’ malls which house high-end retailers that draw a more affluent consumer. But the consumer shift to on-line shopping is less about affluence, and more about a change in behavior.

 

BJ’s Restaurants (BJRI) & Olive Garden (DRI) are the only other portfolio leading casual diners with an outsized percentage of stores mall dependent, at ~60% & ~50%, resp. With that said, we are Underweight BJRI & Overweight DRI. Importantly, this analysis is just one component of a mosaic when formulating our ratings. BJRI is expanding from regional to national, and competes within a very competitive varied menu segment, both of which pose challenges. Olive Garden is already a strong national brand, and the only one competing within the Italian segment, while offering a strong value platform.

 

As for the remaining casual diners, all operate 25-40% of their stores mall dependent. These include the three steak chains, Outback (BLMN), Texas Roadhouse (TXRH) and LongHorn (DRI), all at 30-40%. We are Overweight all three. Steak concepts are more special occasion, and therefore less mall-reliant, with resilience demonstrated by a positive comp for all in 1H17. Otherwise, Buffalo Wild (BWLD) is also Overweight. While comps have eased and wing prices are elevated, the brand is introducing a new c-suite, has three new activist board members, & potential for large refranchising / cost cutting. Lastly, Chili’s (EAT) also competes within a very competitive varied menu segment, and is viewed as over-stored, and is now looking to redefine a ‘very clear identity’.

Finally, here is a list of states that should probably start preparing for higher restaurant layoffs in the near future...yes, we're looking at you and your $15 minimum wage California.

'Inconvenient' Fact: Morgan Stanley Says Electric Cars Create More CO2 Than They Save

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 20:55

For all the funds out there looking to fill their portfolio with "environmentally conscious" companies working diligently to avert an inevitable global warming catastrophe that will result in the extinction of the human race, we guess in lieu of their actual fiduciary duties to simply make money for their investors, Morgan Stanley has compiled a list of how you can get the most 'environmental healing' per dollar invested. 

As MarketWatch points out, it's not terribly surprising that of the 39 publicly-traded stocks analyzed, the solar and wind generation companies landed at the very top of Morgan Stanley's environmentally friendly the list

Morgan Stanley identified 39 stocks that generate at least half their revenue “from the provision of solutions to climate change,” something it said was a central component of investing to make a difference, as opposed to just a making a buck.

 

“In our view, impact investing needs to begin with companies whose products and services have a notable positive environmental or social impact,” wrote Jessica Alsford, an equity strategist at the investment bank.

 

Not surprisingly, alternative-energy companies ranked the highest in terms of their positive impact, and the “top five climate-change impact stocks” were all manufacturers of solar and wind energy: Canadian Solar, China High Speed Transmission, GCL-Poly, Daqo New Energy, and Jinko Solar.

 

What is surprising, however, is that publicly traded electric car manufacturers, darlings of the environmentally-conscious Left, were actually found to generate more CO2 than they save.  As a stark reminder to our left-leaning political elites who created these companies with massive taxpayer funded subsidies, Morgan Stanley points out that while Teslas don't burn gasoline they do have to be charged using electricity generated by coal and other fossil fuels.

This is where Tesla, along with China’s Guoxuan High-Tech fall short.

 

“Whilst the electric vehicles and lithium batteries manufactured by these two companies do indeed help to reduce direct CO2 emissions from vehicles, electricity is needed to power them,” Morgan Stanley wrote. “And with their primary markets still largely weighted towards fossil-fuel power (72% in the U.S. and 75% in China) the CO2 emissions from this electricity generation are still material.”

 

In other words, “the carbon emissions generated by the electricity required for electric vehicles are greater than those saved by cutting out direct vehicle emissions.”

 

Morgan Stanley calculated that an investment of $1 million in Canadian Solar results in nearly 15,300 metric tons of carbon dioxide being saved every year. For Tesla, such an investment adds nearly one-third of a metric ton of CO2.

Ironically, as we recently pointed out, Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) credits (a nicer way of saying taxpayer funded corporate welfare) is pretty much the only 'product' that Tesla seems to make money selling and is the only reason they managed to 'beat' earnings in Q2.

I'm referring to zero-emission vehicle, or ZEV, credits. California and several other states require that a certain proportion of the vehicles sold by an automaker emit no greenhouse gases. These cars earn the automaker credits, and if they don't have enough to meet their quota, they can buy extra ones from someone who does. As Tesla only makes vehicles that run on batteries and emit nothing, it usually has a surplus for sale.

 

The profit margin on these is very high, perhaps 95 percent. The implied $95 million of profit equates to about 58 cents a share. Tesla reported a loss of $1.33 per share this week -- beating the consensus forecast by 55 cents.

 

This isn't the only time ZEV credits have played a big role for Tesla. Looking back to early 2013, selling credits has given Tesla's earnings extra oomph in many quarters, likely taking them above consensus forecasts in some (on an implied basis, assuming that 95 percent margin):

 

Of course, Q2 wasn't the first time that ZEV credits played a huge role in padding Tesla's cash flow...

 

Ponder that for a moment...as taxpayers we're actually subsidizing a product (and an eccentric Silicon Valley billionaire) that is bad for the environment...

Retired Green Beret Warns "A Domestic Destabilization Is Underway"

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 20:30

Authored by Jeremiah Johnson (nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces) via SHTFplan.com,

Under the guise of “political correctness,” cities (such as Baltimore, MD) are removing their Confederate monuments one-by-one and under cover of darkness.

Here, as reported by CBS News:

“The Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson monument at Wyman Park Dell was removed with a crowd watching.  The Robert B. Taney monument in Mt. Vernon also came down.  Crews are on the site of the confederate Women’s monument at University Parkway to take that one down.  This comes just days after the Baltimore City Council passed a resolution Monday calling for the immediate deconstruction of these monuments.”

There it is!  Straight out of the movie “The Patriot” with Mel Gibson, as with the character he played, Benjamin Martin: “An elected legislature can trample a man’s rights as easily as a king.”

Where’s the vote by the people in the city?  Oh, just that the elected officials, mind you, can make such a decision…by their vote, a tyranny in itself.  At the bare minimum, it should have been put to a vote.

The important thing to keep in mind is that most of these cities, city councils, and their state legislatures are being run by a pack of liberals.  The “paradigm shift” is in full mode: “Democracy in America” did not mention the tyranny of the minority In this case, a minority viewpoint, fueled by Marxists and liberals is attempting to subvert First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution and begin a policy of redaction to support their revisionist history.

We are right around the corner from a Civil War. 

The Left is fueling and funding tensions in order to exacerbate them and cause a revolution.  In the middle of this, the President is being blamed and threatened with impeachment.  The root of it is this: the attempt to destabilize the country and cause anarchy.  Black Americans are being used as the vehicle for the destabilization…a vehicle by the oligarchs, such as Soros.  Now with Charlottesville being trumpeted up and down the country, Obama weighs in “with the most popular Tweet ever.”

I wrote that Barack Hussein Obama II would be back: he will be a most useful catalyst for what is to come.  It was also reported that Hillary Clinton is weighing in on attacking the President, but not with words: with dollars.  Fellowship of the Minds ran a piece that cites the Washington Times.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Joe Schoffstall reports for The Washington Free Beacon, August 14, 2017, that Hillary has donated $800,000 from her campaign funds to Onward Together — a new political action group that she formed three months ago in May which will fund a number of established “resistance” groups that counter President Trump with direct action and protests.

 

According to its mission statement, Onward Together is dedicated to “encouraging people to organize, get involved, and run for office” and advancing “progressive values and work to build a brighter future for generations to come.”

 

Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings show that on May 1, 2017, Hillary’s presidential campaign committee Hillary for America contributed $800,000 to Onward Together. In addition, Hillary also funded other “resistance” groups that have “impressed” her, including Swing Left, Run for Something, Emerge America, and Indivisible.”

Once again, her money and power is wielded to “influence” the way things are.  She is not acting alone, nor of her own initiative.  Read Shadow Party to find the guy pulling her strings.  (Hint: his real name is Georgy Schwarz!)

By removing the Confederate memorials and markers, a part of American history is effectively being relegated to oblivion.  It is all part of redaction and revision.  The Marxists and Globalists have been relentless in their quest to rewrite American history and demonize whites in general…trying to create a cowed, demure, subservient class of guilt-ridden subjects…to destroy the United States from within.  To destroy the “warrior mentality” of the citizen-soldier of America’s citizenry…that is the objective.  A complete orchiotomy and neutering: nothing less.

Unless the United States falls, the New World Order/Global Governance cannot exist.  This is the goal: enmesh it in a war (initiated by a foreign nation and/or orchestrated by the U.S.), and destroy it domestically from within.  “Top down, bottom up,” to quote Van Jones, is their objective.  Their playbook is Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” and the battle lines are being drawn more decisively by the day.  There will come a time when everyone will have to pick a side, and after it begins, the United States may look a lot different than it does now.

"The Entire Dynamic Has Changed" Far-Right Groups Becoming Increasingly Visible On Campus

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 20:05

The “Unite the Right” rally at the University of Virginia last week was only the beginning...

As far-right groups find fertile ground for recruiting on campus, campuses are bracing for a flood of speaking events and demonstrations organized by white nationalist groups, according to the Associated Press, as many schools have determined that they can't, or at least shouldn't, expel members of hate groups on campus. Leaders of these groups say they will no longer limit their efforts to social media or to flyers posted around campus, but intend to hold public demonstrations to bring the movement “into the sun.”

"It seems like what might have been a little in the shadows has come into full sun, and now it's out there and exposed for everyone to see," said Sue Riseling, a former police chief at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who is executive director of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

As the AP reports, the young men who participated in Saturday’s rally marched through the Univeristy of Virginia’s campus holding torches and chanting racist slogans. Then the next morning some of them suited up with helmets and shields and clashed with counter-protesters, until 20-year-old James Alex Fields drove his car into a group of counterprotesters, killing one and injuring 26. The shift toward white nationalist and other far-right groups operating more openly began last year, when racist flyers popped up on college campuses at an unprecedented rate, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The group counted 161 white supremacist "flyering incidents" on 110 college campuses between September and June.

Nicholas Fuentes

These incidents will likely only become more common as leaders of pro-white groups say it’s a cheap and easy way to gin up media coverage.

“Matthew Heimbach, the 26-year-old leader of the white nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party, admits that dropping leaflets on campuses is a cheap way to generate media coverage.

 

As a student at Towson University in Maryland, Heimbach made headlines for forming a "White Student Union" and scrawling messages like "white pride" in chalk on campus sidewalks. His college years are behind him, but Heimbach still views colleges as promising venues to expand his group's ranks. College students are running four of his group's chapters, he said.

 

"The entire dynamic has changed," Heimbach said. ‘I used to be the youngest person at white nationalist meetings by 20 or 30 years.’”

Many colleges are learning first hand that while they can condemn the violence during last weekend’s rally, expelling students because of their membership in a pro-white group would be something of a violation.  

Scores of schools publicly denounced the violence in Virginia this week, including some that learned they enroll students who attended the "Unite the Right" rally.

 

The University of Nevada, Reno, said it stands against bigotry and racism but concluded there's "no constitutional or legal reason" to expel Peter Cvjetanovic, a 20-year-old student and school employee who attended the rally, as an online petition demanded.

 

Other schools, including Washington State University, condemned the rally but didn't specifically address their students who attended it.

Campus leaders say they walk a fine line when trying to combat messages from hate groups. Many strive to protect speech even if it's offensive but also recognize hate speech can make students feel unsafe. Some schools have sought to counter extremist messages with town halls and events promoting diversity. Others try to avoid drawing attention to hate speech.

And some schools are simply refusing to dwell on the issue when hate groups spread leaflets around campus, arguing that’s what the extremists want them to do.

“After flyers promoting white supremacy were posted at Purdue University last school year, Purdue President Mitch Daniels refused to dwell on the incident.

 

"This is a transparent effort to bait people into overreacting, thereby giving a small fringe group attention it does not deserve, and that we decline to do," Daniels said in a statement at the time.”

Nicholas Fuentes, a student who attended the “Unite the Right” rally, said he’d like to transfer to the University of Auburn from Boston University because he believes it will be more tolerant of his right-wing beliefs. “I'm ready to return to my base, return to my roots, to rally the troops and see what I can do down there," Fuentes said in an interview this week.”

*  *  *

Universities can continue to ban events by conservative speakers who they fear might incite violence, but the message is clear: conservative students will be protected from expulsion at most college campuses, but when it comes to the wrath of their Antifa-loving peers, well, that’s a different question entirely.

Why Gun Sales Have Declined Under Trump

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 19:40

Authored by Gun News Daily's Sam Becotta via Free Market Shooter blog,

Many of us welcomed Trump to the Presidency with a sense of pride. However, there is one group for whom the new (ish) president has brought some bad news – gun store owners, and gun manufacturers.

This is because gun sales have seen a significant drop since the election of Trump. But don’t worry – this does not indicate waning enthusiasm for people to own guns. Quite the opposite. It appears that demand has dropped because people feel that their rights to own guns will be protected under the new administration.

The extent to which this is true remains to be seen. While Trump seemed to be pro-gun during the election campaign, and though his campaign eventually won the backing of the NRA, it is not clear that there is a concrete policy position on gun rights. Like a lot of issues raised by the new administration, Trump’s stance on gun rights is frustratingly vague and lacking in details.

Of course, doing nothing to further erode our Second Amendment rights would be a welcome change from the Obama regime. The constant attempt to ban and / or limit ownership of assault-style weapons, though ultimately defeated, was a source of worry for people don’t want their rights to be further limited, or who rely on these guns for their livelihood.

Sales of these weapons peaked, therefore, during the Obama presidency, and specifically during those periods where the president was talking about banning them. There is, of course, a deep irony in this – that a president who was perhaps more anti-gun than any other in our recent history managed to create a huge demand for guns.

Now the Republicans are back, it seems that people are taking it more slowly when it comes to buying weapons. Instead of rushing to purchase a gun before it is banned, people now seem to be taking their time, secure in the knowledge that they have at least 5 years to get the gun that they want.

And so while the drop in gun sales seems like a bad thing on the surface, it is actually a sign of a gun enthusiast community in excellent health.

That is not to say that the recent drop in demand is good news for everyone. Gun store owners tend to be some of the most politically and economically savvy of all small business owners, and so before the election they looked at the prediction of who would win. With almost every major commentator predicting a Clinton presidency, these businesses stocked up, expecting the increased demand for guns to continue.

Many of these businesses now have a glut of product, and are finding it difficult to sell it. With many local gun stores having closed in recent years, this is worrying news, because ongoing low demand could lead to the closure of more of these businesses. On the other hand, of course, there has never been a better time to buy an assault-style weapon. With a huge oversupply, AR-15s and the like can be picked up for next to nothing.

The decreased demand is also bad news for investors. Share prices in gun manufacturing companies have seen a significant drop over the past year, with those in the industry predicting that decreased demand will continue for some time.

There has also been another worrying development. Gun sales are undoubtedly down on a national level, but at the same time some groups are buying more weapons than ever before. Groups and organizations who cater to LGBT and black gun owners have actually seen a spike in interest over the past year, and it seems that more liberals than ever are looking into gun ownership.

The reason for this trend is also related to the Trump presidency. It has been reported that both LGBT and black groups are increasingly worried about violence, and are taking steps to arm themselves. Whilst we are all for more people, whatever their color or creed, owning and learning how to use weapons, we should hope that these groups are not merely buying guns, but are also educating themselves to be responsible gun owners like the rest of us.

Overall, we are faced with a deeply strange situation. We now have a president who is assumed to be pro-gun, though the details of this remain sketchy at best. This has led to a decrease in gun sales, which is simultaneously good and bad news. We don’t wish to see any more local gun stores go to the wall, of course, but if you have been thinking about getting an AR-15 for a while, now is definitely the time.

There's Good News And Bad News For Obamacare Buyers In Iowa

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 19:15

The 'good news' is that if you're an Obamacare buyer anywhere in Iowa there is still one provider willing to sell you healthcare insurance, which wasn't the case just a few weeks back when it looked like large areas of the state would have no providers at all.  The bad news is that your rates are going up 57% so you're probably not going to be able to afford insurance anyway.

As the Des Moines Daily Register points out today, Medica is the only healthcare insurance provider still willing to offer Obamacare plans in the state of Iowa and they're hiking rates by 57% in 2018 just to make it economically feasible.  Of course, Medica was also very clear to point out that it's all Trump's fault.

Iowans who buy their own health insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchange would see their rates increase nearly 57 percent next year under a revised rate proposed Wednesday.

 

The proposal is 13 percentage points higher than previously was estimated by Medica, the one remaining carrier selling individual policies in Iowa next year.

 

Medica attributed the additional increase to uncertainties over federal health care subsidies, the insurer said in a release.

 

“We remain hopeful the federal government will fund the cost-sharing reductions, but we are working with the Iowa Insurance Division to help consumers understand the implications of lack of this funding,” Geoff Bartsh, Medica vice president of individual and family business, said in a statement. “We regret the disruption this creates for consumers.”

Perhaps Medica didn't notice but the Trump administration hasn't even decided to cut federal subsidies yet...maybe we can all agree it's just a little disingenuous to be blaming something that hasn't even happened yet?

 

But, if federal subsidies are cut, even the CBO recently found doing so would cause a 20% increase in Obamacare premiums in 2018, no where near Medica's 57% increase. Here are the highlights from the CBO report:

- The fraction of people living in areas with no insurers offering nongroup plans would be greater during the next two years and about the same starting in 2020;

 

- Gross premiums for silver plans offered through the marketplaces would be 20 percent higher in 2018 and 25 percent higher by 2020—boosting the amount of premium tax credits according to the statutory formula;

 

- Most people would pay net premiums (after accounting for premium tax credits) for nongroup insurance throughout the next decade that were similar to or less than what they would pay otherwise—although the share of people facing slight increases would be higher during the next two years;

 

- Federal deficits would increase by $6 billion in 2018, $21 billion in 2020, and $26 billion in 2026; and ? The number of people uninsured would be slightly higher in 2018 but slightly lower starting in 2020.

Meanwhile, Doug Ommen, Iowa's insurance commissioner, pointed out the real reason Obamacare premiums are soaring in his state...healthy, young, working people who don't qualify for subsidies simply can't afford it and the result is a deteriorating risk pool that grows exponentially more expensive to insure with each passing year.

State Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen said Wednesday that many middle-class Iowans will choose to forgo health insurance rather than pay the "extraordinarily high premiums."

 

"While those that are subsidized may not feel the full impact of this additional increase as their contribution is capped based on a percentage of their income," Ommen said, "those middle-class Iowans who do not receive federal subsidies and are paying the full premium cost out-of-pocket are forced to make very difficult choices."

Perhaps the smart thing for the Trump administration to do would be to leave the federal subsidies in place.  That way when Obamacare fails under it's own weight there will be no ambiguity as to what caused it. 

U.S. Has 3.5 Million More Registered Voters Than Live Adults - A Red Flag For Electoral Fraud

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 18:50

Via Investors.com,

American democracy has a problem - a voting problem.

According to a new study of U.S. Census data, America has more registered voters than actual live voters. It's a troubling fact that puts our nation's future in peril.

The data come from Judicial Watch's Election Integrity Project. The group looked at data from 2011 to 2015 produced by the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, along with data from the federal Election Assistance Commission.

As reported by the National Review's Deroy Murdock, who did some numbers-crunching of his own, "some 3.5 million more people are registered to vote in the U.S. than are alive among America's adult citizens. Such staggering inaccuracy is an engraved invitation to voter fraud."

Murdock counted Judicial Watch's state-by-state tally and found that 462 U.S. counties had a registration rate exceeding 100% of all eligible voters. That's 3.552 million people, who Murdock calls "ghost voters." And how many people is that? There are 21 states that don't have that many people.

Nor are these tiny, rural counties or places that don't have the wherewithal to police their voter rolls.

California, for instance, has 11 counties with more registered voters than actual voters. Perhaps not surprisingly — it is deep-Blue State California, after all — 10 of those counties voted heavily for Hillary Clinton.

Los Angeles County, whose more than 10 million people make it the nation's most populous county, had 12% more registered voters than live ones, some 707,475 votes. That's a huge number of possible votes in an election.

But, Murdock notes, "California's San Diego County earns the enchilada grande. Its 138% registration translates into 810,966 ghost voters."

State by state, this is an enormous problem that needs to be dealt with seriously. Having so many bogus voters out there is a temptation to voter fraud. In California, where Hillary Clinton racked up a massive majority over Trump, it would have made little difference.

But in other states, and in smaller elections, voter fraud could easily turn elections. A hundred votes here, a hundred votes there, and things could be very different. As a Wikipedia list of close elections shows, since just 2000 there have been literally dozens of elections at the state, local and federal level decided by 100 votes or fewer.

And, in at least two nationally important elections in recent memory, the outcome was decided by a paper-thin margin:

In 2000, President Bush beat environmental activist and former Vice President Al Gore by just 538 votes.

 

Sen. Al Franken, the Minnesota Democrat, won his seat by beating incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman in 2008. Coleman was initially declared the winner the day after the election, with a 726-vote lead over Franken. But after a controversial series of recounts and ballot disqualifications, Franken emerged weeks later with a 225-seat victory.

Franken's win was enormous, since it gave Democrats filibuster-proof control of the Senate. So, yes, small vote totals matter.

We're not saying here that Franken cheated, nor, for that matter, that Bush did. But small numbers can have an enormous impact on our nation's governance. The 3.5 million possible fraudulent ballots that exist are a problem that deserves serious immediate attention. Nothing really hinges on it, of course, except the integrity and honesty of our democratic elections.

With Bannon Out, Is War With North Korea More Likely: Here Are The Scenarios

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 15:54

When just three weeks ago today Trump fired Reince Priebus and replaced him Gen. John Kelly, we said that "with a military veteran now whispering in Trump's ear every day, Kim Jong-Un's days are now numbered." Then, just two days ago, Steve Bannon himself confirmed in an interview with The American Prospect, that when it comes to matters North Korean Bannon had been the biggest "dove" in the White House, and the natural anti-neocon foil to Kelly and McMaster, both of whom are painfully eager and itching to launch a some military engagement against the Kim regime with the following surprising, "off the record" statement:

Contrary to Trump’s threat of fire and fury, Bannon said: “There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.” Bannon went on to describe his battle inside the administration to take a harder line on China trade, and not to fall into a trap of wishful thinking in which complaints against China’s trade practices now had to take a backseat to the hope that China, as honest broker, would help restrain Kim.

 

Bannon said he might consider a deal in which China got North Korea to freeze its nuclear buildup with verifiable inspections and the United States removed its troops from the peninsula, but such a deal seemed remote. Given that China is not likely to do much more on North Korea, and that the logic of mutually assured destruction was its own source of restraint, Bannon saw no reason not to proceed with tough trade sanctions against China.

Of course, the implication is that with Bannon now out, the probabilities of a real war with North Korea are substantially higher. How much higher? Well, for the answer take the following analysis from Nomura of 5 specific "scenario" outcomes, and 5-10% to the bellicose ones. As they stand currently, the breakdown is as follows:

  • Continuation of current trajectory: 60%
  • "Killer" saanctions by year end: 20%
  • War sooner rather than later: 10%
  • "Out of left field" event: 10%

Consider today's departure of Bannon to be one such "left field" event, one which skews the entire matrix in a significantly pro-war direction.

As for what a potential catalyst may be, recall that earlier today we previewed next week's main geopolitical event: massive war games held just off the Korean coast:

on Monday US and South Korea are scheduled to begin joint military exercises, a massive show of force which every time in the past has infuriated North Korea, sometimes triggering a show of force.

Held every fall in South Korea, the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian war games are the world’s largest computerized command and control exercise. Some 30,000 U.S. soldiers and more than 50,000 South Korean troops usually take part, along with hundreds of thousands of first responders and civilians, some practicing for a potential chemical weapons attack.

Scheduled long before the recent diplomatic fallout between Washington and Pyongyang, the U.S. and South Korean militaries will simulate warfare with North Korea from Aug. 21 to 31, well aware that North Korea could respond with another missile test.

 

On Thursday, North Korean state media declared that the military exercises will “further drive the situation on the Korean Peninsula into a catastrophe.”

So while one may speculate, the answer of what the "Bannon-vacuum" means for world peace, or in this case, war may reveal itself as soon as next week. Which, incidentally is also the reason why the market isn't surging on the news that Bannon is out: traders have realized that all that took place today is the replacement of some domestic policy security with far more foreign policy insecurity.

Al Gore's Climate Film Flops - Earth Temps Cooler Now Than When He Won Nobel Prize

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 15:40

Via StockBoardAsset.com,

Climate alarmist Al Gore's second film, ‘An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power’ failed to resonate with Americans.

The documentary dropped to 18th over the August 11-13 weekend grossing under $2.3 million since its August 04 release.

Per Newsbusters.org:

Media corporation Viacom pushed the film onto its 700 million subscribers with “An Inconvenient Week” starting July 31, with many of its networks promoting the film. Its support for Gore’s film included an MTV town hall event with the former politician.Two days before the week-long promotion began, Viacom’s blog posted “Four Reasons to Go See Al Gore’s Hopeful, Compelling” film in which it called Gore a “climate change folk hero.”

Earlier this week, President Trump signed an executive order that would streamline the approval process for American infrastructure projects by eliminating the climate change bureaucracy enacted by the Obama administration.

Back in 2012, President Trump spoke his mind about global warming:

The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012

President Trump’s view on global warming is a climate skeptic which has enraged the believers.

In our view, climate change is just big business just ask Al Gore, whose net worth in 2000 was $700k, and now it’s almost $200 million.

Back to Gore’s movie flop: ‘An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power’...

The chart below could be the key in understanding why the documentary has utterly failed even with a Viacom pump.

According to @BigJoeBastardi at Weatherbell.com earth’s temps are cooler now than when Al Gore won the noble prize.

Goldman Sees 50% Chance Of A Government Shutdown

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 15:30

As we pointed out earlier, the chances of government agreeing any kind of debt ceiling deal (and avoiding a government shutdown) is dropping fast as USA default risk spikes and the Treasury Bill curve inverts. Goldman Sachs is now concerned also...

Uncertainty in The White House is starting to make investors realize the chance of successfully navigating the debt ceiling crisis without a government shutdown are dwindling...

Via Goldman Sachs,

Low approval ratings raise legislative risks.

 

In the near term, we believe there is a 50% chance of a brief government shutdown, as the president seeks to solidify support among his base by embracing more controversial positions, despite needing Democratic support to pass spending legislation.

 

That said, we expect that the debt limit, which needs to be raised around the same time, will prevent a longer shutdown from occurring.

It seems the credit markets are a little less sanguine than Goldman... 

 

As we noted earlier, sure, Congress has always come together at the 11th hour in the past.  They’ve raised the debt ceiling 78 times over the last 57 years.  So, won’t they just raise it again?

This time around, we have some reservations.  Quite frankly, this Congress has proven that it is not motivated to do what’s best for the American people.  Each representative has an illogical logic unto himself.  Just ask John McCain – he doesn’t know what he wants until the precise moment he votes.

What’s more, these days the debt ceiling has become ultra-politicized in Congress.  Big time horse trading must first take place before an agreement can be reached.  Big time bluster and chest pounding must take place too.

The point is, over the past six months this Congress has been incapable of getting a doggone thing done.  What makes you think they’ll somehow get their act together in just 12 days?

Trump Jr. Follows Julian Assange, Sparks Media Panic That A Presidential Pardon Is In The Works

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 15:11

Earlier this week we noted that Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) had a three hour meeting with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London to discuss 'helpful' information which Assange purported would prove that Russia was not his source for the DNC / Podesta leaks last year.

Not surprisingly, the mainstream media chose not to focus on that angle and decided instead to focus all of their efforts on branding Rohrabacher as a Russian spy.  That said, here is how Rohrabacher recounted the details of the meeting with Assange to The Hill:

“Our three-hour meeting covered a wide array of issues, including the WikiLeaks exposure of the DNC emails during last year's presidential election,” Rohrabacher said,  “Julian emphatically stated that the Russians were not involved in the hacking or disclosure of those emails."

 

Pressed for more detail on the source of the documents, Rohrabacher said he had information to share privately with President Donald Trump.

 

“Julian also indicated that he is open to further discussions regarding specific information about the DNC email incident that is currently unknown to the public,” he added.

Now, the following tweet from an account that tracks the every move of the Trump family has sparked new speculation that a Presidential pardon of Julian Assange may be in the works...something that is undoubtedly not all that palatable to our friends at CNN and MSNBC.

DonaldJTrumpJr has just followed @JulianAssange.

— Trump Alert (@TrumpsAlert) August 18, 2017

 

Meanwhile, we would note that Jr. is also a long-time follower of @wikileaks so that must necessarily mean that he coordinated the DNC / Podesta hacks directly with them.  Combine that with the fact that we're almost certain that parsing through the nearly 1,200 accounts that Jr. follows would also reveal at least a couple of Russian sounding names and we're pretty sure that Mueller's grand jury has all they need for an indictment.

Of course, if Assange really has concrete evidence that his source is anyone other than a Kremlin-connected official then you would think that information might be deemed useful to Special Counsel Mueller since it's basically the only reason his investigation exists in the first place. 

Moreover, one would think that an immunity deal for Assange in return for such information would also be reasonable...rendering a presidential pardon moot. Certainly, the majority of Hillary's staff was granted immunity deals for far less useful information...

"They're Going Thermonuclear": Breitbart Declares "War" On The White House

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 14:49

The love affair between Breitbart, whose former head Steve Bannon was just fired by Donald Trump, just turned to hate, as confirmed by Joel Pollak, a Breitbart Editor, who moments ago tweeted one word:

#WAR

— Joel B. Pollak (@joelpollak) August 18, 2017

As Axios' Jonathan Swan explains, "Joel is a Breitbart editor. They're going thermonuclear, I'm told. "

Joel is a Breitbart editor. They're going thermonuclear, I'm told. Story tk on Axios. https://t.co/92z4nrZnbT

— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) August 18, 2017

Separately, as iBankCoin reports, investigative journalist and former Breitbart employee, Lee Stranahan, offered a quick quip on today’s news that Bannon has resigned from the White House, suggesting that Steve would ‘unleash the beast’ through his online publication and call out those working against the Trump agenda in the White House.

Dear @POTUS :

You have not yet figured out who your real enemies in the White House are. Best of luck without Bannon. #FireMcMaster

— Lee Stranahan (@stranahan) August 18, 2017

Stranahan has been a long time loyalist to Bannon and ardent opponent to several people inside Trump’s White House, namely McMaster, Powell and Cohn. The theory he’s putting forth is that Bannon will have more power outside the White House than inside. While that might be true for Steve, I fail to see how fomenting more internal strife inside the Trump White House will be constructive at this point.

Nevertheless, it’s about to get real interesting soon. Watch

 

As for what Steve Bannon's next steps would be, Axios reports that it "will be all about the billionaire Mercer family."

I'm told Bannon, who visited New York this week, met with Bob Mercer and together they will be a well-funded force on the outside.

  • Bannon has felt liberated since it became clear he was being pushed out, according to friends. He's told associates he has a "killing machine" in Breitbart News, and it's possible he returns to lead their editorial operation.
  • A source familiar with Breitbart's operations told me they would go "thermonuclear" against "globalists" that Bannon and his friends believe are ruining the Trump administration, and by extension, America.
  • Watch for Breitbart's Washington Editor Matt Boyle to be a central figure in this war — which has already begun — against White House officials like HR McMaster, Dina Powell, Gary Cohn, and Jared and Ivanka.

Then again, Trump may be spared. As Politico's Robert Costa tweets, "One theme I'm picking up: Bannon believes next battle is *not* w/ Trump but w/ Kushner/Cohn/Dina/HR McMaster. "Save Trump," as one R put it."

One theme I'm picking up: Bannon believes next battle is *not* w/ Trump but w/ Kushner/Cohn/Dina/HR McMaster. "Save Trump," as one R put it.

— Robert Costa (@costareports) August 18, 2017

"First They Came For The Statues..."

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 14:44

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

First they came for the statues….

What do you know, long about Wednesday, August 16, 2017, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal) discovered that the United States Capitol building was infested with statues of Confederate dignitaries. Thirty years walking those marbled halls and she just noticed?

Her startled announcement perked up Senator Cory Booker (D- NJ) who has been navigating those same halls only a few years. He quickly introduced a bill to blackball the offending statues.

And, of course, the congressional black caucus also enjoyed a mass epiphany on the bronze and stone delegation of white devils.

I’d like to hear to hear an argument as to why the Washington Monument should remain dedicated to that vicious slave-driver and rebellious soldier, and indeed the name of the city that is the federal seat of government. Or the District of Columbia (after Columbus, who initiated the genocide of Native Americans). Or America, cribbed out of Amerigo Vespucci, the wicked Florentine cartographer who ascertained that the place called Brazil today was not the east coast of Asia but actually a New World — and so all our troubles began!

Well, there has been a lot of idle chatter the past half-century about the root causes of this-and-that, and it seems that we have located one at last. I expect that scientific studies out of our best universities will soon confirm that occult transmissions from the statue of Jefferson Davis (a double-devil named after an earlier devil) are responsible for the murder rate in Chicago.

Just as empires tend to build their most grandiose monuments prior to collapse, our tottering empire is concocting the most monumentally ludicrous delusions before it slides down the laundry chute of history. It’s as if the Marx Brothers colluded with Alfred Hitchcock to dream up a melodramatic climax to the American Century that would be the most ridiculous and embarrassing to our posterity.

In the meantime, many citizens await Monday’s spectacle of a total solar eclipse in parts of the country. They apparently don’t realize that another eclipse has been underway for months: the total eclipse of reality across the entire landscape of the USA. Now that has been an event to behold, not just some twenty-minute freak of astronomy. What’s being blacked out is the perilously fragile condition of the financial system - a great groaning Rube Goldberg contraption of accounting fraud, grift, statistical deceit, and racketeering that pretends to support the day-to-day activities of our national life.

For months, the recognition of this oncoming financial monster has been blocked by the hallucination of gremlins from the Kremlin infiltrating the recent presidential election. But just as that mirage was dissolving, along comes the treacherous invasion of the Confederate statues. It begins to look like the final piece of the puzzle in the Deep State’s quest to eject Donald Trump from the oval office. His response to the deadly statue situation (“…why not Washington and Jefferson…?”) was deemed so obtuse and unfeeling that even the rodents of his own nominal Republican Party want to jump his ship of state.

So, the set-up could not be more perfect! The country will now get down to the business of a months-long 25th Amendment circle-jerk at the very moment that the financial system flies apart.

The damage from the financial clusterfuck will be much more real, and much worse, than anything that might be spun out of the anti-statue crusade hogging the headlines today. It will be interesting to see whether the old legacy media even reports on it as it happens, or whether they will cook up new and more bizarre entertainments to distract the public from what might be the ultimate swindling of a lifetime.

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