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In Surprising Reversal, Pace Of Global Rate Hikes Approaches Pre-Lehman Period

Most of the post-Lehman era has been characterized by unprecedented easy monetary policy meant to inflate asset prices, and sure enough after 705 rate cuts, and $12.4trillion in QE, the S&P is just shy of its all time highs. However, over the past year, a different dynamic has taken place: the Fed’s tightening cycle and ongoing rate hikes have resulted in a sharp drain of USD-liquidity across the globe. Meanwhile, with the ECB set to end its QE and the BOJ taking tentative steps toward tightening while engaging in a shadow taper of its own QE, central bank balance sheets are set to shrink for the first time since the financial crisis. It is this tightening in financial conditions in general, and dollar liquidity in particular that ultimately has been the catalyst that led to a near record divergence in FX volatility between emerging markets and developed nations, incidentally that last time we saw such deltas was just after 9/11 and the great financial crisis. While leads us to the bigger problem: as the dollar becomes more attractive and as carry trades collapse, emerging markets are forced to respond to currency weakness with interest rate hikes to stem capital outflows. And, most concerning as the chart below shows, the pace of global central bank rate hikes has already visibly jumped since EM weakness began in February this year. In...

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We’re All Lab Rats In The Largest-Ever Monetary Experiment In Human History

Authored by Chris Martenson via PeakProsperity.com, …and how do things usually work out for the rat? There are ample warning signs that another serious financial crisis is on the way. These warning signs are being soundly ignored by the majority, though. Perhaps understandably so. After 10 years of near-constant central bank interventions to prop up markets and make stocks, bonds and real estate rise in price — while also simultaneously hammering commodities to mask the inflationary impact of their money printing from the masses — it’s difficult to imagine that “they” will allow markets to ever fall again. This is known as the “central bank put”: whenever the markets begin to teeter, the central banks will step in to prop/nudge/cajole the markets back towards the “correct” direction, which is always: Up! It’s easy in retrospect to see how the central banks have become caught in this trap of their own making, where they’re now responsible for supporting all the markets all the time. The 2008 crisis really spooked them. Hence their massive money printing spree to “rescue” the system. But instead of admitting that Great Financial Crisis was the logical result of flawed policies implemented after the 2000 Dot-Com crash (which, in turn, was the result of flawed policies pursued in the 1990’s), the central banks decided after 2008 to double down on their bets — implementing even worse policies....

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Could The Genoa Disaster Happen In The US?

After the catastrophic bridge collapse in Genoa earlier this week, fears are mounting that the U.S. could experience a similar event. The American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) listed 54,259 bridges that were deemed “structurally deficient” in 2017 and it would take an estimated 37 years to repair all of them. Additionally, as Statista’ Niall McCarthy notes, the data also listed the 10 most-traveled structurally deficient bridges in America. You will find more infographics at Statista All of them are in either California or Missouri with US Route 101 over Kester Avenue having the highest volume – 289,000 daily crossing. In total, American drivers cross structurally deficient bridges 174 million times every day....

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Trump: “Social Media Is Totally Discriminating Against Conservative Voices”

Following the crackdown against Alex Jones and various other pundits on Twitter and other social media outlets, on Saturday morning President Trump joined the big tech censorship debate, and accused social media of “totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices”, claiming that the Trump administration “won’t let that happen”, and arguing that the platforms should allow both “good and bad” content online amid an escalating debate over social media’s growing censorship and role in policing content online. “Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices. Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen. They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others,” Trump tweeted. Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices. Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen. They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others……. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 18, 2018 Trump’s tweet follows just hours after prominent anti-war activist Caitlin Johnstone became the latest voice to be temporarily suspended on Twitter without an explanation for what triggered the ban except to note that she violated our rules against abusive behavior”: Hello Caitlin Johnstone, Your account, caitoz has been suspended for violating the Twitter Rules. Specifically, for: Violating our rules against...

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Russia Offers 2.5 Million Acres Of Farmland To China, Amid Worsening Trade War

China and Russia recently announced a new age of diplomacy between the two countries, at a time when President Trump is targeting both with precision-guided economic warfare. China finds itself reeling under trade disputes with the US, as the next round of tariffs on $16 billion worth of Chinese goods is expected to start on August 23. Earlier this week, Russia offered to bail out China from the trade war with Washington. Moscow offered 1 million hectares (2.5 million acres) of arable land available to Chinese farmers to meet its large-scale demand for soybeans — and of course, prevent a massive soybean shortage that would lead to political/social upheavals across the country. Maybe, the US trade war on China should be interpreted as a piece in a much larger chessboard: A war on Eurasia integration,or the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. Nevertheless, some analyst and experts are skeptical about the quality of the plots available. As reported by South China Morning Post, several Chinese investment firms have shown a keen interest in solidifying an agreement with Moscow. Valery Dubrovskiy, director of investment for the Far East Investment and Export Agency, a non-profit organization, said on Tuesday that Chinese, Russian, and other surrounding countries have already expressed tremendous interest in the farmland. “We expect most of the investment to come from China,” he said. “We expect 50 percent from China, 25 percent...

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Looks Like Italian Default Is Back On The Menu

Authored by Tom Luongo, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini was right to call out the EU over the failure of the bridge in Genoa this week.  It was an act of cheap political grandstanding but one that ultimately rings very true. It’s a perfect moment to shake people out of their complacency as to the real costs of giving up one’s financial sovereignty to someone else, in this case the Troika – European Commission, ECB and IMF. Italy is slowly strangling to death thanks to the euro.  There is no other way to describe what is happening.  It’s populist coalition government understands the fundamental problems but, politically, is hamstrung to address them head on. The political will simply isn’t there to make the break needed to put Italy truly back on the right path, i.e. leave the euro.  But, as the government is set to clash with Brussels over their proposed budget the issues with the euro may come into sharper focus. Looking at the budget it is two or three steps in the right direction — lower, flat income tax rate, not raising the VAT — but also a step or two in the wrong direction — universal income. Opening up Italy’s markets and lowering taxpayers’ burdens is the path to sustainable, organic growth, but that is not the purpose of IMF-style austerity.  It’s purpose is to...

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Leaking Las Vegas: West’s Biggest Reservoir Nears Critical Threshold

Lake Mead – the West’s largest reservoir – is running dry again and is on track to fall below a critical threshold in 2020, according to a new forecast by the Bureau of Reclamation. In 2016, Lake Mead water levels drop to new record lows (since it was filled in the 1930s) leaving Las Vegas facing existential threats unless something is done. Las Vegas and its 2 million residents and 40 million tourists a year get almost all their drinking water from the Lake and at levels below 1075ft, the Interior Department will be forced to declare a “shortage,” which will lead to significant cutbacks for Arizona and Nevada. And now, two years later, the situation appears to be getting worse as The Wall Street Journal reports, in a prediction released Wednesday, the Bureau of Reclamation, a multistate agency that manages water and power in the West, said there is a 52% probability that water levels will fall below a threshold of 1,075 feet elevation by 2020. Source “The very big concern is the perception that water supplies are uncertain,” said Todd Reeve, chief executive officer of Business for Water Stewardship, a nonprofit group in Portland, Ore., that works with businesses on water use nationally. “So if a water shortage is declared, that would be a huge shot across the bow that, wow, water supplies could be uncertain.” The...

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New York’s 19th Congressional District Resists ‘Blue Wave’

The House election in New York’s 19th Congressional District pits a one-term GOP congressman against a first-time Democratic congressional candidate in a district President Trump won in 2016. The race could prove crucial for either party’s ability to control the House of Representatives. New York’s 19th district covers a broad swath of New York State, extending almost 8,000 square miles and containing about 700,000 people. Prior to 2013, the district was made up of counties closer to New York City, including Putnam and part of Westchester. President Obama won this district in 2008 and 2012, both times by more than five points. Since 2013, the district has consisted of Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster counties, and parts of Broome, Dutchess, Montgomery, and Rensselaer counties, giving it a more rural, agricultural character. President Trump won the district by almost seven points in 2016. The progressive base of the Democratic Party in the district is mainly centered on Ulster County, located in the south of the district, which contains a state university and was the only county to not vote for the district’s current representative, Republican John Faso, in 2016. Dutchess County, which is more suburban than much of the district, supported Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, but Faso in the congressional race. Robert Bishop, a member of the Delaware County Republican Committee and president of the...

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A City Still Eternal

The trouble with most of our attempts to tell the story of Rome—to deploy Rome as a metaphor in current events, for that matter—is that we tend to focus on the end points: the failure of the republic, the last days of the empire. The real puzzle of Rome, for historians and political theorists alike, is not its failure but its survival. Even Edward Gibbon, chronicling the long centuries of decline and fall, insisted that “instead of inquiring why the Roman empire was destroyed, we should rather be surprised that it had subsisted so long.” The fall of Rome was inevitable: not just determined by the usual forces of human stupidity, political ambition, and the silent artillery of time, but over-determined, with every historical force working in consort to bring the city low. The question we need to ask is not why Rome fell but why it didn’t. And for that question, Matthew Kneale’s new book is not unhelpful. Kneale, a fiction-writer by training, is the author of English Passengers (2000), an interestingly structured historical novel about Victorians searching for utopia in Tasmania. He intends his latest volume, Rome: A History in Seven Sackings, to be a nonfiction account, drawing on his deep familiarity with Italy, but the episodic, multi-character nature of his tale reminds the reader of the 20 different narrators who populated English Passengers. That’s not to...

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Twitter Bans Anti-War Activist Caitlin Johnstone For “Abusing” John McCain

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com, UPDATE: It looks like the suspension was lifted just after I hit publish on this. A lot of my fans and even a few haters made a big noise in objection to Twitter’s actions, and it worked! As we discussed recently, the plutocratic manipulators work so hard to manufacture our consent because they need that consent, and they can’t act if we don’t give it to them. I’ve left the article as-is below for posterity, and so people can see my experience with #Resistance Twitter’s attempt to silence dissident speech. Never stop fighting. *  *  * I’ve received an email from Twitter which reads as follows: Hello Caitlin Johnstone, Your account, caitoz has been suspended for violating the Twitter Rules. Specifically, for: Violating our rules against abusive behavior. You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. We consider abusive behavior an attempt to harass, intimidate, or silence someone else’s voice. Note that if you attempt to evade a permanent suspension by creating new accounts, we will suspend your new accounts. If you wish to appeal this suspension, please contact our support team. They’re calling it a “suspension”, but nobody can view my page and I can’t perform any activities on it, and it appears to be permanent unless I succeed in going through the anonymous and unaccountable appeals process. Now...

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