AMERICA’S SECRET WEAPON IN THE OIL WAR

As Saudi Arabia spins from crisis to crisis, U. S. oil hasn’t missed a beat. It’s stronger and more resilient than ever – and it has nothing to do with OPEC oil production cuts.
In this war, U. S. oil wins, and the recent purge of billionaire princes in Saudi Arabia is icing on the cake.
But when Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman arrested key members of the royal family on corruption charges two weeks ago all of them his rivals – oil shot up. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) spiked more than $2 a barrel, closing around $57 a barrel – a nearly two-year high.
OPEC cuts have done little to boost oil prices, and Royal Family arrests are welcome news for oil tycoons the world over, but it’s still not what’s kept the U. S. on the winning side in this war: Fracking bust the U. S. through the front line, and major advancements in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) are cementing the victory.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on NOVEMBER 27, 2017.

Fiscal Sundown In America, Part 1

The Senate Finance Committee tax bill is not supply side and it’s not even a tax cut; it’s a gimmick-ridden policy mongrel that smells to high heaven of political desperation and cynicism.
Contrary to the Donald’s delusional promise that the American people will get some tax cut sugar plums for Christmas, we are reasonably confident that this misbegotten exercise in reverse-robin hood economics won’t reach his desk. But whether it passes in some diluted form or not, we are entirely sure that what the American people are actually getting is a giant lump of fiscal coal—-courtesy of the craven capitulation of McConnell & Co to the K-Street lobbies and Wall Street.
And we do mean craven in the very fullest sense of beltway mendacity. Come to think of it, we have witnessed few exercises in raw partisan brinksmanship that were as meretricious and fiscally irresponsible as the current GOP campaign to pass a tax bill—any tax bill— merely for the sake of posting a legislative victory.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on Monday, November 20th, 2017.

RT & Michael Flynn: Is That The Case Mueller Is Going To Make?

With every other attempt to put together a convincing Russiagate case having failed – the indictments against Manafort, Gates and Papadopoulos make no allusion to the collusion allegations at the heart of it, and the FBI has now admitted to Congressional investigators that it cannot verify the Trump Dossier, the document which appears to have triggered the whole inquiry – it seems that the pressure is now increasingly on Michael Flynn.
Shortly after the indictments against Manafort, Gates and Papadopoulos I speculated that an indictment against Flynn might be pending. News that his lawyers have broken contact with the President’s lawyers hardens that suspicion. There are also rumours that Special Counsel Mueller may also be considering an indictment against his son.
The trouble is that nothing that is known about General Flynn’s activities during the 2016 election campaign give any reason to think that he was involved in any sort of illegal collusion with the Russians.
The only case that can convincingly be made against him is that he failed to register under FARA in connection with paid lobbying work he did for a foreign government. However the government in question is Turkey not Russia.
I wonder whether this may explain the otherwise highly oppressive and legally dubious decision to force RT to register under FARA as a foreign agent?
Flynn did appear on RT on a number of occasions, and did attend an RT dinner where he was famously photographed sitting at the same table as President Putin.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 24, 2017.

FBI Warns Of Growing Threat Of Left-Wing Violence

Via Greg Hunter’s USA Watchdog blog,
Best-selling author Edward Klein’s latest best-selling book is called ‘All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trump.’
Klein reveals that this plot started in the Obama White House just weeks after Donald Trump won the 2016 election. Klein explains,
‘Susan Rice was invited to come to a dinner party and give the President (Obama) a plan, and her plan was to unmask the names of Donald Trump associates who had been inadvertently picked up by electronic intercepts by the National Security Agency (NSA). The names of these Americans were supposed to remain confidential. She (Susan Rice) suggested they would be unmasked, meaning they would become public, and they would be distributed widely throughout the intelligence community. Inevitably, therefore, she admitted those names would be leaked to the mainstream media (MSM), and the story would begin that there was collusion between Donald Trump and the Russians. This, of course, was always a fairytale because we have had an investigation going on for more than a year and a half, and no one has come up with a scintilla of evidence to prove that…
She (Susan Rice) wasn’t doing anything illegal, but clearly she was doing something unethical, to put it mildly, because President Obama and his national security advisor were using the intelligence community as a weapon against their political enemy Donald Trump.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 24, 2017.

Thanksgiving 2017—Why There Is No Peace On Earth

After the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989 and the death of the Soviet Union was confirmed two years later when Boris Yeltsin courageously stood down the red army tanks in front of Moscow’s White House, a dark era in human history came to an end.
The world had descended into what had been a 77-year global war, incepting with the mobilization of the armies of old Europe in August 1914. If you want to count bodies, 150 million were killed by all the depredations which germinated in the Great War, its foolish aftermath at Versailles, and the march of history into the world war and cold war which followed inexorably thereupon.
To wit, upwards of 8% of the human race was wiped-out during that span. The toll encompassed the madness of trench warfare during 1914-1918; the murderous regimes of Soviet and Nazi totalitarianism that rose from the ashes of the Great War and Versailles; and then the carnage of WWII and all the lesser (unnecessary) wars and invasions of the Cold War including Korea and Vietnam.
We have elaborated more fully on this proposition in “The Epochal Consequences Of Woodrow Wilson’s War“, but the seminal point cannot be gainsaid. The end of the cold war meant world peace was finally at hand, yet 26 years later there is still no peace because Imperial Washington confounds it.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on Friday, November 24th, 2017.

In Escalating War Of Words, Saudi Crown Prince Calls Iran’s Ayatollah “New Hitler Of The Middle East”

Godwin’s law states that “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1.” Saudi Arabia’s powerful, and controversial, 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – who in just a few months has made more local (and foreign) enemies than most of his predecessors accumulated over a lifetime, decided he does not need to wait that long, and in a glowing interview with the New York Times‘ Thomas Friedman, which touched on everything from the accommodations of the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton, to the recent power grab anti-corruption campaign, to Donald Trump, to the Saudi social and religious revolution, called the Supreme Leader of Iran ‘the new Hitler of the Middle East’, escalating the war of words between the arch-rivals. For his part, Khamenei has referred to the House of Saud as an ‘accursed tree’, and Iranian officials have accused the kingdom of spreading terrorism.
MbS, as he is also known, and who after the recent purge is also Saudi defense minister, also slapped down the ISIS card and suggested the Islamic Republic’s alleged expansion under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei needed to be confronted.
‘But we learned from Europe that appeasement doesn’t work. We don’t want the new Hitler in Iran to repeat what happened in Europe in the Middle East,’ the paper quoted him as saying.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 24, 2017.

Just in Time for the Holidays, Reckless States Are Coming for Your Online Purchases

If there is anything that gets demagogic politicians and pundits riled up, it’s the closing of tax loopholes, and the tax-hike demagogues might just be getting one of their wishes come December.
Bloomberg reports that most online consumers will pay sales taxes in some shape or form in the next few months.
Currently, consumers pay taxes on goods purchased straight from Amazon, but they can avoid paying taxes on goods if they purchase them through Amazon’s third-party merchants. By the start of December this could all change, as several merchants are expected to start collecting taxes in return for partial amnesty from alleged back taxes.
No stranger to inciting controversy, Donald Trump has even jumped into the fray by stating in an earlier tweet that Amazon has brought ‘great damage to tax paying retailers.’
Those in favor of closing sales-tax loopholes contend that retailers such as Amazon are supposedly responsible for tax-base erosion and other fiscal imbalances in the states that they operate in. Although well intentioned, calls for closing tax loopholes miss the mark. The underlying problems that are overlooked in this discussion are the burdensome tax policies and profligate spending programs already present in many states.
Unbeknownst to many pro-tax politicians, tax hikes not only hurt the businesses themselves through lagging production, they also hurt consumers as companies pass the costs onto consumers via higher prices on goods and services.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on November 24, 2017.

An Equal-Opportunity Thanksgiving Day Cartoon That Can’t Offend Anyone

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman must be worried that some of the royals rounded up during his ‘corruption crackdown’ cash grab are holding out on him. Because the Saudi prince has reportedly hired a crew of American mercenaries who haven’t hesitated to employ an array of ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques.
As the Daily Mail reports, mercenaries purportedly employed by Academi, a successor to infamous US security contractor Blackwater, have been stringing up some of MBS’s ‘guests’ at the Riyadh Ritz Carlton by their feet and savagely beating them during interrogations. The claims have spread rapidly on Arabic-language social media, and even Lebanon’s president Michel Aoun has accused MbS of using mercenaries. Still, the Daily Mail isn’t the most reputable news organization, so these reports should be taken with a grain of salt.
‘They are beating them, torturing them, slapping them, insulting them. They want to break them down,’ the source told DailyMail.com.
‘Blackwater’ has been named by DailyMail.com’s source as the firm involved, and the claim of its presence in Saudi Arabia has also been made on Arabic social media, and by Lebanon’s president.
The firm’s successor, Academi, strongly denies even being in Saudi Arabia and says it does not engage in torture, which it is illegal for any U. S. citizen to commit anywhere in the world.
The Saudi crown prince, according to the source, has also confiscated more than $194 billion from the bank accounts and seized assets of those arrested, and could eventually end up with $800 billion in cash and assets to replenish Saudi’s rapidly diminishing reserves. Given the febrile atmosphere in the kingdom, and the tacit support for the crackdown among Saudi citizens, who have seen their jobs and generous government subsidies cut, MbS has been able to circumvent the country’s legal system.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 23, 2017.

Jamie Dimon Bets Trump Will Last Only One Term As President

In an October 2017 interview, Jamie Dimon famously lambasted Bitcoin as a ‘fraud’ and the people who bought it as ‘stupid’ which, temporarily, halted the ascent in the Bitcoin price. It also led to much heated debate in the mainstream media and much anger across the crypto community. In a just as incendiary follow up, Dimon sat down for another interview, this time as ‘The Economic Club of Chicago’.
We wondered whether he would confirm recent reports that JPMorgan Chase would buy and sell Bitcoin futures for clients after the upcoming launch on the CME. Sadly, he wasn’t pressed on this question. Instead, he had some striking comments about the longevity of Trump’s Presidency, as Reuters reports.
Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co, on Wednesday said he expects to see a new U. S. president in 2021 and advised the Democratic party to come up with a ‘pro-free enterprise’ agenda for jobs and economic growth instead. Asked at a luncheon hosted by The Economic Club of Chicago how many years Republican President Donald Trump will be in office, Dimon said, ‘If I had to bet, I’d bet three and half. But the Democrats have to come up with a reasonable candidate … or Trump will win again.’
Dimon, who in the past has described himself as ‘barely’ a Democrat, has been going to Washington more often since the 2016 elections to lobby lawmakers on issues including changes in corporate taxes, immigration policies and mortgage finance.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 23, 2017.

Alwaleed Bin Talal Reportedly Hung Upside Down And Beaten By US Mercenaries

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman must be worried that some of the royals rounded up during his ‘corruption crackdown’ cash grab are holding out on him. Because the Saudi prince has reportedly hired a crew of American mercenaries who haven’t hesitated to employ an array of ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques.
As the Daily Mail reports, mercenaries purportedly employed by Academi, a successor to infamous US security contractor Blackwater, have been stringing up some of MBS’s ‘guests’ at the Riyadh Ritz Carlton by their feet and savagely beating them during interrogations. The claims have spread rapidly on Arabic-language social media, and even Lebanon’s president Michel Aoun has accused MbS of using mercenaries. Still, the Daily Mail isn’t the most reputable news organization, so these reports should be taken with a grain of salt.
‘They are beating them, torturing them, slapping them, insulting them. They want to break them down,’ the source told DailyMail.com.
‘Blackwater’ has been named by DailyMail.com’s source as the firm involved, and the claim of its presence in Saudi Arabia has also been made on Arabic social media, and by Lebanon’s president.
The firm’s successor, Academi, strongly denies even being in Saudi Arabia and says it does not engage in torture, which it is illegal for any U. S. citizen to commit anywhere in the world.
The Saudi crown prince, according to the source, has also confiscated more than $194 billion from the bank accounts and seized assets of those arrested, and could eventually end up with $800 billion in cash and assets to replenish Saudi’s rapidly diminishing reserves. Given the febrile atmosphere in the kingdom, and the tacit support for the crackdown among Saudi citizens, who have seen their jobs and generous government subsidies cut, MbS has been able to circumvent the country’s legal system.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 23, 2017.

The Delirious Dozen of 2017

Yesterday we noted the massive market cap inflation and then stupendous collapse of the Delirious Dozen of 2000. The latter included Microsoft, Cisco, Dell, Intel, GE, Yahoo, AIG and Juniper Networks—plus four others which didn’t survive (Lucent, WorldCom, Global Crossing and Nortel).
Together they represented a classic blow-off top in the context of a central bank corrupted stock market. When the bubble neared its asymptote in early 2000, the $3.8 trillion of market cap represented by these 12 names was capturing most of the oxygen left in the casino. That is, the buying frenzy had narrowed to a smaller and smaller group of momo names.
That severe concentration pattern was starkly evident during the 40 months between Greenspan’s December 1996 “irrational exuberance” speech and April 2000 (when he told the Senate no bubble was detectable). In that interval, the group’s combined market cap soared from $600 billion to $3.8 trillion.
That represented, in turn, a virtually impossible 75% per annum growth rate for what were already mega-cap stocks. As it happened, in fact, $2.7 trillion or 71% of the group’s bubble peak market cap vanished during the next two years.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017.

The Mother Of All Irrational Exuberance

You could almost understand the irrational exuberance of 1999-2000. That’s because everything was seemingly coming up roses, meaning that cap rates arguably had rational room to rise.
But eventually the mania lost all touch with reality; it succumbed to an upwelling of madness that at length made even Alan Greenspan look like a complete fool, as we document below.
So doing, the great tech bubble and crash of 2000 marked a crucial turning point in modern financial history: It reflected the fact that the normal mechanisms of honest price discovery in the stock market had been disabled by heavy-handed central bankers and that the natural balancing and disciplining mechanisms of two-way markets had been destroyed.
Accordingly, the stock market had become a ward of the central bank and a casino-like gambling house, which could no longer self-correct. Now it would relentlessly rise on pure speculative momentum—- until it reached an asymptotic top, and would then collapse in a fiery crash on its own weight.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on November 21st, 2017.

Mainstream Media Paint Power-Grabbing Saudi Dictator As Roguish, Visionary ‘Reformer’

Two weeks ago, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman carried out a brutal crackdown on his political opponents, arresting dozens of high-ranking relatives, kidnapping the prime minister of Lebanon, and seeing eight of his political rivals die in a convenient helicopter crash. The ‘consolidation of power’ by the de facto Saudi ruler comes as his government ramps up its siege of Yemen and gets even closer to its US sponsor, thanks to Trump’s dopey love affair with – and direct assistance of – the regime.
***
The cynical plan has been met, in some media quarters, with condemnation, but for many in the Western press, Mohammed’s self-serving power grab is the action of a bold ‘reformer,’ a roguish bad boy doing the messy but essential work of ‘reforming’ the kingdom – the ‘anti-corruption’ pretext of the purge largely repeated without qualification.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 21, 2017.

Why Is The DOJ Downplaying Reports Of Proof Linking Obama And Clinton To Russian Corruption

Following the release of the identity of the FBI informant, Justice Department officials in recent days said that informant William Campbell’s prior work won’t shed much light on the U. S. government’s controversial decision in 2010 to approve Russia’s purchase of the Uranium One mining company and its substantial U. S. assets.
***
However, The Hill’s John Solomon has reviewed 1000s of new memos from an FBI informant that clearly show illegal activity surrounding a Russian plot to corner the American uranium market, ranging from corruption inside a U. S. nuclear transport company to Obama administration approvals that let Moscow buy and sell more atomic fuels.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 21, 2017.

Thanksgiving: Celebrating the Birth of American Free Enterprise

This time of the year, whether in good economic times or bad, is when Americans gather with their families and friends and enjoy a Thanksgiving meal together. It marks a remembrance of those early Pilgrim Fathers who crossed the uncharted ocean from Europe to make a new start in Plymouth, Massachusetts. What is less appreciated is that Thanksgiving also is a celebration of the birth of free enterprise in America.
The English Puritans, who left Great Britain and sailed across the Atlantic on the Mayflower in 1620, were not only escaping from religious persecution in their homeland. They also wanted to turn their back on what they viewed as the materialistic and greedy corruption of the Old World.
Plymouth Colony Planned as Collectivist Utopia In the New World, they wanted to erect a New Jerusalem that would not only be religiously devout, but be built on a new foundation of communal sharing and social altruism. Their goal was the communism of Plato’s Republic, in which all would work and share in common, knowing neither private property nor self-interested acquisitiveness.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Nov 20, 2017.

Saudi Purge Claims Its Latest Corporate Victim As Kingdom Holdings Sees $1.3 Billion Bank Deal Collapse

For the past couple of weeks we’ve written frequently about the sudden political turmoil in Saudi Arabia that resulted in two Saudi princes being killed in a span of just 24 hours and dozens others being detained on charges of corruption while having their bank accounts frozen. Here are couple of our most recent background posts on the topic:
The Saudi Purge: The Middle-East Is On The Verge Of A New War If The Saudi Arabia Situation Doesn’t Worry You, You’re Not Paying Attention Now, per an exclusive report from Reuters, it appears as though the latest casualty of the Saudi shakeup is a financing deal sought by the $8 billion dollar Kingdom Holdings which is owned and run by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal…at least until he was recently arrested that is.
Kingdom Holding’s plan to borrow money to fund new investments has stalled because owner Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has been detained in Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption crackdown, according to four banking sources familiar with the matter. Kingdom 4280. SE had approached banks to obtain the loan, but the financing plan has been held up because the lenders are worried about potential repercussions if they lend to the prince’s company, the sources said.
One of the sources, who was approached for the loan, said it would have been worth roughly 5 billion riyals ($1.3 billion).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 20, 2017.

AFTER ADMITTING TO SECRETLY EXPERIMENTING ON TROOPS, ARMY REFUSING TO PROVIDE THEM MEDICAL CARE

In a testament to how the US government views its military service men and women, for decades, troops were used as experimental test subjects and doused with chemicals, injected with drugs, and otherwise treated like human guinea pigs – leading to a slew of negative health effects. When these troops simply tried to get care for the onslaught of medical problems brought on by these experiments the government told them to kick rocks.
For decades, the military flat out denied medical care to those it injured through these unethical experiments. After being poked, prodded, and force-fed with everything from lethal nerve gases like VX and sarin to incapacitating agents like BZ, and given drugs like barbiturates, tranquilizers, narcotics and hallucinogens like LSD, soldiers were told that is what they signed up for and were offered no care after their end of active service.
After being told they were crazy for years, the Army finally declassified the details of these experiments. However, veterans were still denied care. In 2009, thousands of veterans – Vietnam Veterans of America and other plaintiffs who wanted to know which chemical agents they had been exposed to – filed a class action lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency, et al., for the experiments. It took seven years for a court to finally rule in the plaintiffs’ favor.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on NOVEMBER 17, 2017.

Here We Go Again—Swell Numbers Which Aren’t

According to the financial press we have had some swell economic numbers in the last two days—so it’s giddy-up-and-go time for the stock market again. Thursday’s industrial production number was allegedly gangbusters and today’s housing start figure for October was described as a “boom” by the incorrigible headline writers at MarketWatch:
The Commerce Department on Friday said October housing starts surged, rising 13.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.29 million.
Obviously, “surge” is a very different thing than “flat” or “punk”, but those latter terms are exactly what was reported by the Commerce Department this AM.
Last October, for example, single family housing starts posted at a 871,000 SAAR (seasonally adjusted annual rate) and for October 2017 they came in at 877,000. Recalling that this minute difference represents an annualized rate, what we are really talking about here is roughly a 500 start gain for the month of October on a Y/Y basis. And that’s for the entire US of A where the total housing stock consists of about 135 million units!

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on November 17th, 2017.

FBI Informant Has Video Of Russian Agents With Briefcases Of Bribe Money In Clinton-Uranium Scandal

An undercover FBI informant in the Russian nuclear industry who was made to sign an ‘illegal NDA’ by former AG Loretta Lynch, claims to have video evidence showing Russian agents with briefcases full of bribe money related to the controversial Uranium One deal – according to The Hill investigative journalist John Solomon and Circa’s Sara Carter.
The informant, whose identity was revealed by Reuters as William D. Campbell, will testify before congress next week after the NDA which carried the threat of prison time was lifted. Campbell, originally misidentifed by Reuters as a lobbyist is actually a nuclear industry consultant who is currently battling cancer.
As previously reported, Campbell was deeply embedded in the Russian nuclear industry where he gathered extensive evidence of a racketeering scheme involving bribes and kickbacks.
‘The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,’ a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U. S. or Russian officials. -The Hill


This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 18, 2017.

Saudi ‘Corruption’ Probe Widens: Dozens Of Military Officials Arrested

After jailing dozens of members of the royal family, and extorting numerous prominent businessmen, 32-year-old Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman has widened his so-called ‘corruption’ probe further still.
The Wall Street Journal reports that at least two dozen military officers, including multiple commanders, recently have been rounded up in connection to the Saudi government’s sweeping corruption investigation, according to two senior advisers to the Saudi government.
Additionally, several prominent businessmen also were taken in by Saudi authorities in recent days.
A number of businessmen including Loai Nasser, Mansour al-Balawi, Zuhair Fayez and Abdulrahman Fakieh also were rounded up in recent days, the people said.
Attempts to reach the businessmen or their associates were unsuccessful.
It isn’t clear if those people are all accused of wrongdoing, or whether some of them have been called in as witnesses. But their detainment signals an intensifying high-stakes campaign spearheaded by Saudi Arabia’s 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
There appear to be three scenarios behind MbS’ decision to go after the military:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.