With Illinois facing a Friday night deadline by which it has to come up with its first fiscal budget in three years or face a downgrade to junk resulting in what a policymaker called a “death spiral“, another mini drama is taking place in Connecticut, which is also facing big budget problems as wealthy residents, hedge funds and major corporations flee the state’s high taxes and its fiscal future gets murkier by the day.
Just today, we reported that Aetna, the insurance giant founded in Hartford where it has been for the past 164 years, announced it would move its headquarters to New York City despite intensive lobbying efforts by Connecticut officials. The move, which followed a departure by GE of its Fairfield HQ of 40 years, is a blow to the company’s hometown, which is facing severe financial problems. Hartford’s problems are a representation of the troubles facing the entire state: while Illinois’ story is familiar, Connecticut has the distinction of the third-worst ratings in the country, only behind Illinois and New Jersey after S&P, Moody’s and Fitch all downgraded the state last month in what officials described as a “call to action” for state leaders.
‘We’ve been downgraded by everybody in the last six months, and in the last year two or three times,’ Senate Republican President Len Fasano said cited by Fox news. ‘If we don’t pass a budget, I think we will see a further downward spiral.’
And, just like Illinois (and 14 other states), Connecticut faces a Friday day of reckoning: the state has yet to pass a fiscal 2018 budget by the June 30 deadline.
‘We must immediately take the necessary steps to mitigate the current year deficit and then balance the … budget with recurring measures to reduce spending and structural solutions to our long-term problems,’ a spokesperson for the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management said in response to Moody’s downgrade.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 30, 2017.
As the global equity research market continues to wrestle with how they will comply with the European Union’s MiFID II regulations, we noted a new study from McKinsey & Co. last week which effectively predicted that investment banks will have no choice but to fire a ton of equity research analysts who write a bunch of stuff that no one ever reads…which seems like a reasonable guess.
For those who have managed to avoid this particular distraction, the global equity research industry is in the midst of a major disruption which has been brought on by the European Union’s MiFID II regulations, enforced from Jan. 3, which aim to tackle conflicts of interest by requiring asset managers to separate the trading commissions they pay from investment-research fees.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 30, 2017.
While the public’s attention is keenly focused on whether Illinois will reach a budget deal in the next 2 days ahead of the next fiscal year which begins on July 1, avoiding the first ever downgrade to junk for a US state as the state piles up some $15 billion in unpaid bills and now oews more than $800 million in interest on the unpaid balances alone, the financial peril facing Connecticut is just as dire.
We laid out the big picture one month ago in “Connecticut State Capital Prepares For Bankruptcy Amid Collapse In Hedge Fund Revenue.” And now, as the state rushes to iron out its own budget deal ahead of the June 30 deadline, another major hit for the fiscally challenged state has emerged because one of the state’s most reliable sources of corporate tax revenue, Aetna, is leaving Hartford and moving to New York.
According to the NYT, Aetna, the insurance giant founded in Hartford, where it has been for the past 164 years, announced Thursday that it would move its headquarters to New York City despite intensive lobbying efforts by Connecticut officials. The move is a blow to the company’s hometown, which is facing severe financial problems, and a potential boon for Aetna, which stands to receive $24 million in tax breaks over the next decade, among other benefits, for its new headquarters in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 29, 2017.
A couple of days ago we noted that, according to a report from Circa, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe may have made a serious error by refusing to recuse himself from the Michael Flynn investigation. As it turns out, per court documents reviewed by Circa, McCabe may have harbored a personal vendetta against Flynn after he intervening on behalf of an FBI
Special Agent, Robyn Gritz, who had accused McCabe and other top FBI officials of sexual discrimination. Apparently the lack of inter-agency camaraderie didn’t sit well with McCabe as other FBI agents subsequently confirmed that his complete disdain for Fylnn was readily apparent.
But, according to the U. S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), McCabe’s apparent conflict of interest in the Flynn investigation may not be his only issue these days as he’s also the subject of an ongoing investigation for an alleged violation of the Hatch Act for illegally campaigning in his wife’s Virginia Senate race. Per Circa:
Gritz also filed a complaint against McCabe with the main federal whistleblower agency in April, alleging social media photos she found show he campaigned for his wife’s Virginia state senate race in violation of the Hatch Act.
FBI employees are held to a higher standard than other federal workers under the Hatch Act and may not ‘endorse or oppose a candidate for partisan political office or a candidate for political party office in a political advertisement, broadcast, campaign literature, or similar material if such endorsement or opposition is done in concert with a candidate, political party, or partisan political group.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 28, 2017.
Two days ago, Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported that former South Korean President Park Geun-hye had made plans to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, adding that Ex-president Park, who was impeached in a corruption scandal earlier this year, signed a document approving a ‘leadership change’ in North Korea back in 2015. According to the Japanese outlet, South Korea’s intelligence agencies were to prepare operations to carry out the plan.
The report noted that the plotters considered arranging accidents, with a car accident or the derailment of a train carrying Kim Jong-un on the table. Park’s administration also reportedly considered staging a coup in North Korea.
The military activities of South Korea’s communist neighbor, including its nuclear arms development programs, apparently motivated the alleged plot, Asahi Shimbun notes. Tension between Seoul and Pyongyang spiked in August of 2015 as the countries exchanged fire after the North fired a projectile at the border city of Yeoncheon. However, the plans to assassinate the North Korean leader were not picked up by President Moon Jae-in’s administration after Park’s impeachment, the daily reports.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 28, 2017.
Back in March, we highlighted official evidence divulged in unsealed court documents which seemingly revealed collusion between senior executives at the $60 billion ag-chemicals powerhouse, Monsanto, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to kill “inconvenient” research which suggested that Monsanto’s key herbicidal product, RoundUp, might be literally killing people.
We’ve shared the entire sordid tale below but here is one of the key emails from Jess Rowland, the EPA’s Deputy Division Director for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, to a Monsanto executive regarding a piece of damaging research that was pending release:
“If I can kill this I should get a medal.”
Apparently those rather unsettling court documents were all that California needed for the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to add RoundUp’s key ingredient, Glyphosate, to a list of chemicals known to cause cancer. Per Reuters:
Glyphosate, an herbicide and the active ingredient in Monsanto Co’s (MON. N) popular Roundup weed killer, will be added to California’s list of chemicals known to cause cancer effective July 7, the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) said on Monday.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 27, 2017.
Centrally issued money optimizes inequality, monopoly, cronyism, stagnation and systemic instability. Everyone who wants to reduce wealth and income inequality with more regulations and taxes is missing the key dynamic: central banks’ monopoly on creating and issuing money widens wealth inequality, as those with access to newly issued money can always outbid the rest of us to buy the engines of wealth creation. History informs us that rising wealth and income inequality generate social disorder. Access to low-cost credit issued by central banks creates financial and political power. Those with access to low-cost credit have a monopoly as valuable as the one to create money. I explain why in my book A Radically Beneficial World: Automation, Technology and Creating Jobs for All. Compare the limited power of an individual with cash and the enormous power of unlimited cheap credit. Let’s say an individual has saved $100,000 in cash. He keeps the money in the bank, which pays him less than 1% interest. Rather than earn this low rate, he decides to loan the cash to an individual who wants to buy a rental home at 4% interest.
This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on MONDAY, JUNE 26, 2017.
David Stockman joined Boom Bust to discuss the massive storm that is building and about to slam into Wall Street. During the discussion Stockman reveals what he believes is ahead for the stocks in the market and the economy.
The interview began with the Boom Bust host asking the acclaimed author about his concern surrounding a government shutdown. David Stockman began ‘we’re in the midst of the biggest political train wreck in modern history… There will be no governance in Washington. There will be no tax bill, stimulus or infrastructure.’
‘We’re heading for an expiration of the debt ceiling and running out of cash that will create an enormous crisis by August or September. They’re not going to be able to cope with it.’
This post was published at Daily Reckoning
As the opioid epidemic spirals out of control, and more die on the streets in Big Pharma’s war on us, many are becoming aware of the cause of the crisis. One doctor in Oklahoma is now facing justice for over prescribing the medications that lead to the death of five of her patients.
An Oklahoma doctor was charged Friday with second-degree murder in the overdose deaths of at least five patients from the powerful painkillers and other drugs she prescribed, often in combinations that made up an addict’s ‘holy trinity’ of pills, state investigators said.
Oklahoma’s attorney general announced five second-degree murder counts against Regan Nichols, whose patients died while she worked at a Midwest City clinic. An Oklahoma County judge also issued a warrant for her arrest. But Nichols isn’t the only doctor in trouble for the epidemic. Although this crisis could be traced back to Big Pharma and their lobbying the government for privileges, doctors seem to be taking the fall for their refusal to say ‘no’ the pushy and disingenuous pharmaceutical companies.
Opioids, which are primarily prescription painkillers and heroin, were factors in more than 33,000 deaths across the U. S. in 2015, and opioid overdoses have more than quadrupled since 2000, according to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on June 25, 2017.
This is how desperate the Italian Banking Crisis has become.
When things get serious in the EU, laws get bent and loopholes get exploited. That is what is happening right now in Italy, where the banking crisis has reached tipping point. The ECB, together with the Italian government, have just this weekend to resolve Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca, two zombie banks that the ECB, on Friday night, ordered to be liquidated.
Unlike Monte dei Pachi di Siena, they will not be bailed out primarily with public funds. Senior bondholders and depositors will be protected while shareholders and subordinate bondholders will lose their shirts. However, as the German daily Welt points out, subordinate bondholders at Monte dei Pachi di Siena had billions of euros at stake, much of it owned by its own retail customers who’d been sold these bonds instead of savings products such as CDs. So for political reasons, they were bailed out.
Junior bonds play a smaller role at the two Veneto-based banks. According to the Welt, the two banks combined have 1.33 billion (at face value) in junior bonds outstanding. They last traded between 1 cent and 3 cents on the euro. So worthless. Only about 100 million were sold to their own customers, not enough to cause a political ruckus in Italy. So they will be crushed.
This post was published at Wolf Street by Don Quijones ‘ Jun 25, 2017.
This post was published at jsnip4
The Senate health care bill was unveiled on Thursday, and it appears to be dead on arrival. At least four conservative senators say that they can’t vote for the current version because it doesn’t go far enough, while several moderate Republicans are expressing concerns that it goes too far in repealing popular Obamacare provisions. You can read the full text of the bill here. Since Democrats are going to be united in voting against any bill that the Republicans put forward, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only lose two Republican votes if he wants something to pass. I don’t know how that is going to be possible, and so in the end we may be stuck with Obamacare for the foreseeable future and that would be a total disaster.
It is astounding to me that Republicans don’t want to pass the exact same clean Obamacare repeal bill that they got to Obama’s desk in 2016. If they got that same bill to Trump’s desk, he would sign it. Instead of trying to do everything at once, just repeal Obamacare and then start working on various pieces of the health care system one at a time.
According to Real Clear Politics, Congress currently has an average approval rating of just 17.6 percent. It is an institution that has failed the American people over and over again, and we are never going to move things in a positive direction in this country until we do something to clean up that cesspool of filth and corruption.
If we truly want to fix health care in this country, we need to rebuild the entire system from the ground up based on free market principles. But of course the bill that was just unveiled in the Senate simply tries to patch up the system we already have, and that ultimately won’t work…
This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on June 22nd, 2017.
This post was published at H. A. Goodman
U. S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently admitted that America’s official foreign policy includes a regime-change operation in Iran. The CIA has created an office for this sole purpose, tasking Michael D’Andrea – also known as the Dark Prince or Ayatollah Mike – with leading this operation.
Iran just had an election in May, and voter turnout was as high as 70 percent. Even prisoners were allowed to vote, something so-called moderate democratic countries like New Zealand disallow.
In contrast, voter turnout in the 2016 U. S. elections was around 58 percent, and support for Donald Trump’s impeachment is now higher than support for his presidency.
Though Iran is hardly democratic by Western standards given the stringent requirements for becoming a political candidate in the first place, it is still vastly more democratic than most of America’s closest allies in the region. According to a U. S. State Department document:
‘The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a monarchy ruled by the Al Saud family… The following significant human rights problems were reported: no right to change the government peacefully; torture and physical abuse; poor prison and detention center conditions; arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention; denial of fair and public trials and lack of due process in the judicial system; political prisoners; restrictions on civil liberties such as freedoms of speech (including the Internet), assembly, association, movement, and severe restrictions on religious freedom; and corruption and lack of government transparency. Violence against women and a lack of equal rights for women, violations of the rights of children, trafficking in persons, and discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, sect, and ethnicity were common. The lack of workers’ rights, including the employment sponsorship system, remained a severe problem.’ [emphasis added]
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 21, 2017.
Last fall, we spent a fair amount of time reading through John Podesta’s emails, courtesy of Wikileaks, and grew increasingly astonished with each passing day at the number of apparent conflicts of interest created by the Clinton Foundation which seemed to be nothing more than a front created for the Clintons to peddle their influence around the world in return for staggering “charitable” donations.
Take, for example, our posts which questioned whether the CEO of Dow Chemical, Andrew Liveris, made very sizable contributions to the Clinton Foundation just so he could get an audience with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss his failed $9 billion joint venture with Kuwait. Here are a couple of posts which provide some background:
New Hillary Emails Expose Bill Pushing Meetings With Foundation Donors, Requests For “Diplomatic Passports” Did Foundation Donor Dow Chemical Seek Hillary “Favor” To Settle $9 Billion Lawsuit With Kuwait? Or, there was that time that Hillary was offered $12 million from Moroccan King Mohammed VI just to host her annual “Clinton Global Initiative” meeting in his country.
And don’t even get us started on Doug Band who spent years with the Clintons before starting his own “consulting” practice called Teneo (see: Doug Band Exposes Foundation’s “For-Profit Activity Of President Clinton (i.e., Bill Clinton, Inc.)“)
Now, an exclusive report on the “McCain Institute” published earlier today from the Daily Caller (DC) has us wondering who else in Congress might just be running miniature Clinton Foundation-ish organizations and enriching their personal families in the process.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 20, 2017.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn’s interactions with Turkish officials has expanded to include Flynn’s former business partner, Bijan Kian, Reuters reported Tuesday. However, the news agency said it’s unclear whether Kian is suspected of criminal activity, or if investigators are just trying to understand the role he played in a transaction involving their old company, Flynn Intel Group, and a Netherlands-based company owned by a Turkish businessman who’s believed to have connections with the Turkish government.
The announcement also has implications for the Trump administration. Kian had a hand in picking intelligence agency personnel and was privy to high-level conversations regarding US intelligence as a member of President Donald Trump’s national security transition team. He also led most of the Flynn Intel Group’s research and lobbying for the Turkish businessman in question, the Associated Press reported.
‘Investigators are also looking at whether payments from foreign clients to Flynn and his company…were lawful, according to two separate sources with knowledge of the broad inquiry into Flynn’s business activities. That includes payments by three Russian companies and a Netherlands-based company, Inovo, controlled by Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin, they said.
The FBI’s interest in Kian has not been previously reported. Kian played a central role in securing and overseeing the Inovo contract, two people with knowledge of that project said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 20, 2017.
As with all other highly manipulated data, the financial media has a blind bias toward the ‘bullish’ story attached to the housing market. Understandable, as the National Association of Realtors spends more on special interest interest lobbying in Congress than any other financial sector lobby interest, including Wall Street banks.
New home sales were down last month, according to the Census Bureau, 11.3% and missed Wall Street’s soothsayer estimates by a rural mile. Strange, that report, given that new homebuilder sentiment is bubbling along a record highs. Existing home sales were down 2.3%. You’ll note that the numbers reported by the Census Bureau and NAR are ‘SAAR’ – seasonally adjusted annualized rates. There is considerable room for data manipulation and regression model bias when a monthly data sample is ‘seasonally adjusted/manipulated’ and then annualized. You’ll also note that mortgage rates have dropped considerably from their December highs and May is one of the seasonally strongest months for home sales.
It’s becoming pretty clear to me that the housing market’s ‘Roman candle’ has lost its upward thrust and is poised to fall back to earth. I believe it could happen shockingly fast. Fannie Mae released its home purchase sentiment index, which FNM says is the most detailed of its kind.
This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on June 20, 2017.
At least 58 people are feared to have died in the fire that engulfed Grenfell Tower this past week. Prime Minister Theresa May admitted that the government response was appalling. There is mounting anger growing that many are saying that people were told to stay in their apartments and died as a result. They are also exposing the fact that there were no sprinklers to combat the fire. On top of that, many see this as a plot to get them out of a rich neighborhood.
This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Jun 18, 2017.
This is a syndicated repost courtesy of The Daily Reckoning. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
David Stockman joined Fox Business on Varney & Co. to discuss why he believes the current markets are setting up investors for a big drop.
Asked for an explanation regarding his call that the S&P 500 faces a 35% fall and whether the market was seeing the start, Stockman fired away at his logic and reasoning. ‘I think it will happen any day. Because we’re a country that’s out of control.’
Varney, quick to draw conclusion noted that the economist had been making such claims for years. Stockman rebutted, ‘I could have said that in February 2000 and the market dropped by sixty percent. I could have said that in November 2007 and the market crashed. I am old enough to remember October 1987.’
This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on June 17, 2017.
The public-private corruption is both systematic and far-reaching. After reviewing the evidence, a number of disturbing items have emerged indicating poor practice in the installation of flammable cosmetic panels on the exterior of Grenfell Tower in West London. Looking further into the matter, it’s also clear of the an elite bureaucracy presiding over the UK government’s own cynical, profit-driven ‘regeneration’ programs, and more specifically the ‘New Deal for Communities’ backed-up by the shadowy political charity known as Common Purpose – a program pushed through by both New Labour and Lib-Con Conservative governments since the late 1990’s.
The following independent news program was broadcast the day after the Grenfell Tower disaster, as UK Column co-anchors Brian Gerrish and Mike Robinson, joined by 21WIRE’sPatrick Henningsen and David Scott delivering a full breakdown and analysis of the tragic events in London. Watch:
21st CENTURY WIRE
This post was published at 21st Century Wire
on JUNE 17, 2017.