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Spain In Crisis: Catalan Police Reject Madrid Takeover, Vow To “Resist”

September 23, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Spain found itself on the verge of a full-blown sovereign crisis on Saturday, after the “rebel region” of Catalonia rejected giving more control to the central government in defiance of authorities in Madrid who are trying to suppress an independence referendum on Oct. 1.

As tensions rise ahead of the planned Catalan referendum on October 1, and as Madrid’s crackdown on separatist passions took a turn for the bizarre overnight when as we reported Spain’s plan to send boatloads of military police to Catalonia to halt the referendum backfired with dockers in two ports staging a boycott and refused access, on Saturday Spain’s Public Prosecutor’s Office told Catalan Police chief Josep Lluis Trapero that his officers must now obey orders from a senior state-appointed police coordinator, Spanish news agency EFE reported on Saturday.

The Catalan Police, however, disagreed and as Bloomberg reports, the SAP union – the largest trade group for the 17,000-member Catalan Police, known as Mossos d’Esquadra – said it would resist hours after prosecutors Saturday ordered that it accept central-government coordination. The rejection echoed comments by Catalan separatist authorities.

“We don’t accept this interference of the state, jumping over all existing coordination mechanisms,” the region’s Interior Department chief Joaquim Forn said in brief televised comments. “The Mossos won’t renounce exercising their functions in loyalty to the Catalan people.”

The Mossos are one of the symbols of Catalonia’s autonomy and for many Catalans the prosecutor’s decision may be reminiscent of the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War and subsequent dictatorship of Francisco Franco, when the Mossos were abolished.

In a joint press conference today with the Catalan home affairs minister Joaquim Forn and the Mossos chief Josep Lluís Trapero, Forn said that the move by Spain was “unacceptable”.

“We denounce the Spanish government’s will of seizing the Mossos, as they did with Catalonia’s finances” Forn said adding that that “the Catalan government does not accept this interference, it bypasses all the institutions that the current legal framework already has in place to guarantee the security of Catalonia.” Additionally, Trapero expressed his intention to not accept the measure, which he described as “interference by the state”, and also warned that “it skips over all the bodies of the legal framework to coordinate the security of Catalonia”.


Catalan minister Joaquim Forn (L) with Mossos chief Josep Lluís Trapero

Earlier on Saturday, El Pais reported that Civil Guard Colonel Diego Perez de los Cobos, chief of staff of the Interior Ministry’s security department, was named by a prosecutor to coordinate the efforts of the Civil Guard, the National Police and the local Mossos.  Spanish media reported unnamed Home Office sources as saying the measure did not mean withdrawing any powers from the Mossos formally, but rather requiring them to submit to a joint coordination operation to stop the Catalan referendum taking place on October 1.

However, shortly after the reshuffling, Catalan police chief Josep Lluis Trapero rejected giving up control to the central government during a meeting with the heads of the other police forces on Saturday, adding that all possible legal challenges would be studied. According to La Vanguardia Trapero “protested at that meeting about the decision to impose central government control” on the regional police force.

Also on Saturday morning, as the police meeting in Barcelona took place, the regional interior minister, Forn, published a defiant message on Twitter: “We will encounter many difficulties. The state wants to take control of our self-government, but they will not stop us! #HelloRepublic”.

Ens trobarem amb moltes adversitats. L’Estat vol intervenir la nostra autonomia, però no ens aturaran! #HolaRepúbica pic.twitter.com/7Wdodq3AA0

— Joaquim Forn (@quimforn) September 23, 2017

Ironically, as Bloomberg writes, while Mossos chief Trapero reports to the regional government, his force’s funding is mostly provided by Madrid and it’s supposed to take orders from judges and prosecutors from across the country. Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution lets the central government take control of a regional administration if it poses a threat to the national interest. Rajoy has already made moves in that direction.

Earlier this week, the budget ministry took over management of Catalan’s finances and will issue paychecks to more than 200,000 public workers in the region, including the police.

That said, any more direct challenge to the Mossos would be fraught with risk because Trapero, its leader, has become something of a local hero since leading the response to the terrorist attacks in August. Separatists are selling T-shirts with his face printed on them.

According to Reuters, the Catalan government also believes that the Mossos takeover bypasses the Catalan statute  – article 164 – and constitutional law and the Spanish prosecutor that ruled in favour of Madrid taking control had overstepped his legal boundaries, saying that it had no power to rule on who had the authority to issue orders to Mossos.

The prosecutor had ordered that the Catalan police, the Spanish National Police and Spain’s Guardia Civil be managed from the Ministry of Home Affairs in Madrid. The decision, according to the prosecution, aims at “reinforcing the operation to prevent crime and to keep public order” a week before the October 1 independence referendum.

 

The decision was announced during a meeting between the prosecutor and the chiefs of the three police forces.

The disobedience will fuel further speculation the Mossos will not work with the national Civil Guard in Spain’s largest regional economy. The standoff came a day after Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government acknowledged it’s sending more reinforcements to help control street demonstrations and carry out a separate court order to halt the vote.

Additionally, the latest move by Madrid will also increase the tension between the two sides which increasingly looks like it could descend into a direct confrontation as neither side appears to be willing to back down.


Catalan President Carles Puigdemont speaking a pro-independence rally

Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia’s president, called the independence vote in an attempt to push the secession movement forward after decades of political and legal fights over the region’s traditions and language. Since Rajoy took office in 2011, he’s had persistent clashes with separatists seeking to foment a backlash against Madrid. Catalonia is home to about 7.5 million people, or 16 percent of the population, but accounts for a fifth of the economy, on a par with Portugal and Finland.

Several pro-independence groups have called for widespread protests on Sunday in central Barcelona. “Let’s respond to the state with an unstoppable wave of democracy,” a Whatsapp message which was used to organize the demonstration read.

The Catalonian government opened a new website on Saturday with details of how and where to vote on Oct. 1, challenging several court rulings that had blocked previous sites and declared the referendum unconstitutional.

“You can’t stem the tide,” Catalonia’s president Carles Puigdemont said on Twitter in giving the link to the new website.

But Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy insisted again that the vote should not go ahead. “It will not happen because this would mean liquidating the law,” he said at the PP event in Palma de Mallorca. Acting on court orders, the Spanish state police has already raided the regional government offices, arrested temporarily several senior Catalan officials accused of organizing the referendum and seized ballot papers, ballot boxes, voting lists and electoral material and literature. The finance ministry in Madrid has also taken control of regional finances to make sure public money is not being spent to pay for the logistics the vote or to campaign.

How this escalating clash between Madrid and Catalonia is resolved over the coming week will define the fate of Spain for years to come.

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Former Democratic Congresswoman Urges All NFL Players To Kneel During National Anthem

September 23, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Having left public office in January, former U.S. Congresswoman from Maryland, Donna Edwards, has decided to get involved in the current meme of the moment battle over respect and freedom of ‘speech’ between President Trump and The NFL…

On Sunday, I hope every @NFL player takes a knee in solidarity w @Kaepernick7 against the white supremacist who squats in our White House.

— Donna Edwards (@DonnaFEdwards) September 23, 2017

We have to admit we are a little confused.

We thought that if you disrespected anything American, you were automatically a ‘Russian puppet’, but now it’s ‘cool’ to bash America’s flag, its anthem, and The White House?

For some reason, Edwards decided to tweet this shortly after…

For the record, I do stand for the flag. I stand because I respect our Constitution and value the freedom of speech of others not to do so. https://t.co/0WW92UwS2d

— Donna Edwards (@DonnaFEdwards) September 23, 2017

So do as I say, not as I do?

This seemed to sum up what we suspect will occur should this former congresswoman get her wishes…

I support NFL players’ right to take a knee, and NFL fans’ right to take a walk.

— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) September 23, 2017

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Cops Delete Facebook Post Of Massive “Weed” Bust After The Internet Corrects Them

September 23, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Authored by Carey Wedler via TheAntiMedia.org,

Last week, officers from Missouri’s Jasper Police Department celebrated a marijuana bust they deemed worth roughly $100,000.

In a now-deleted Facebook post, they disclosed their satisfaction with their operation, which took ten cops and sheriff’s deputies and a National Guard helicopter to conduct.

As the Riverfront Times noted (grabbing screenshots before the post was taken down):

“’What a great team effort today,’ the Jasper department’s now-deleted post read. ‘It was hot and humid and not easy getting these plants. We ALL got in the thick of things and got it done.’

The Times summarized the post’s sentiment:

“In a curious bit of show-your-work math, the department calculated the nearly 290 plants seized would have produced — “on the low side” — 63 pounds of marijuana with a “street value” of roughly $100,000.”

But commenters were quick to point out an apparent flaw in the officers’ bust: it wasn’t cannabis they had seized, but hemp, they said.

You can’t get high from smoking hemp, and the material can be used to create anything from clothing, soap, paper to sails, rope, fuel, and concrete, called “hempcrete.” It is both durable and sustainable.

That’s hemp,” one comment bluntly said, according to the Times, though the rest of the comments are not available to view because the original post has been removed.

 

One of Missouri’s two entities allowed to grow hemp for certain medicinal purposes, Mitch Meyers of BeLeaf, said,Sure looks like hemp to me.”

 

These look to me like wild hemp plants, because they are tall and without buds,” Show-Me Cannabis Executive Director John Payne told the Times, which sent images of the confiscated plants to several experts. 

 

That probably means that no one was actively cultivating them. If that’s the case, the street value of those plants is next to nothing.”

Many comments echoed similar sentiments, “as the post racked up hundreds of comments, among them mocking congratulations to cops for confiscating the raw material of natural fiber rope,” the Times reported.“Jasper Police, who cover an area about twenty miles northeast of Joplin, pulled the post on Wednesday morning.”

However, there is still some doubt as to whether the plants were hemp or cannabis. Dr. Jason Strotheide, founder of licensed hemp grower Noah’s Arc Foundation, said it is “nearly impossible to tell the difference between hemp and marijuana until late in flower.

Rusty Rives, police chief of the Lamar Police Department, which participated in raid stuck by the claim that it was weed. “I’m just looking at the picture,” he said. “but they look like marijuana plants to me.”

It doesn’t matter either way. Both are illegal in the state of Missouri despite nationwide efforts to legalize both marijuana and the hemp plant.

The Times had difficulty obtaining comment other officials involved, but by last Thursday, Jasper police chief Chad Karr responded, defending the Facebook post.

The goal, Karr says, was never to brag about a bunch of pot plants, but rather to serve notice to a suspected meth dealer operating in the area.But the post reached many more people, accruing over 1,000 comments, Karr said, some of which were “abusive.”

As far as the “$100,000” estimation, “Karr says he tried to estimate conservatively. He admits he’s no expert when it comes to marijuana and doesn’t care to be.” However, he suggested the plants were not growing on their own, without human cultivation, because there were trails leading out to the field where they were confiscated.

Nevertheless, he claims cannabis is not an issue for him.

“I think the misconception is we go to work to bust pot heads,” he said. “I personally do not. I know what the problem is — it’s opiates and methamphetamine.”

Hopefully, his sentiment will continue to grow among law enforcement, who are increasingly trolled when they boast of cannabis busts on social media. The Times reports that for now, it doesn’t appear any charges have been filed over the plants.

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U.S. B-1B Bombers Fly Just Off Coast Of North Korea: 4 Reasons Why This Time It’s Different

September 23, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Just before North Korea’s foreign minister was due to address the United Nations, the Pentagon announced that U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers escorted by fighter jets flew in international airspace over waters east of North Korea on Saturday, in a show of force which “demonstrated the range of military options available to President Donald Trump.” The flight was the farthest north of the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea that any U.S. fighter jet or bomber has flown in the 21st century, the Pentagon added.


B-1B Lancer prepares to take off from Andersen AFB, Guam, Sept. 23, 2017

According to Reuters, the B-1B Lancer bombers came from Guam and the U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle fighter escorts came from Okinawa, Japan. The Pentagon saod the operation showed the seriousness with which it took North Korea’s “reckless behavior.”

#USAF bombers, fighters fly in international airspace east of #NorthKorea, farthest north of the DMZ in 21st century https://t.co/R5DLUQigSF pic.twitter.com/fsFx4Q1oKE

— U.S. Pacific Command (@PacificCommand) September 23, 2017

“This mission is a demonstration of U.S. resolve and a clear message that the President has many military options to defeat any threat,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White, calling North Korea’s weapons program “a grave threat” adding that “we are prepared to use the full range of military capabilities to defend the U.S. homeland and our allies.”

#PACOM stands prepared to use our full range of military capabilities to defend the U.S. homeland and our allies if called upon to do so.

— U.S. Pacific Command (@PacificCommand) September 23, 2017

The DMZ is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula near the 38th Parallel, separating North Korea from South Korea. It was created in 1953, following the armistice which ended the Korean War.

The patrols came after officials and experts said a small earthquake near North Korea’s nuclear test site on Saturday was probably not man-made, easing fears Pyongyang had exploded another nuclear bomb just weeks after its last one. Reversing its original assessment, China’s Earthquake Administration said the quake was not a nuclear explosion and had the characteristics of a natural tremor.

While the US has flown similar sorties before, according to The Aviationist, the show of force is a bit more interesting than usual, for four reasons:

  1. it is the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) any U.S. fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea’s coast in the 21st century;
  2. unlike all the previous ones, the latest sortie was flown at night, hence it was not a show of force staged to take some cool photographs;
  3. no allied aircraft is known to have taken part in the mission at the time of writing, whereas most of the previous B-1 missions near the Korean Peninsula involved also ROKAF (Republic Of Korea Air Force) and/or JASDF (Japan’s Air Self Defense Force) jets;
  4. it was a U.S. Air Force job: no U.S. Marine Corps F-35B stealth jet took part in the show of force this time, even though the STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) variant of the Joint Strike Fighter has taken part in all the most recent formations sent over Korea to flex muscles against Pyongyang. The photo here below shows the “package” assembled for Sept. 14’s show of force.


Munitions from a U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps and Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF)

bilateral mission explode at the Pilsung Range, South Korea, Sept 17, 2017.

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Kass Warns: “The Scent Of Group Stink Is As Strong As In 2000 & 2007”

September 23, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Authored by Doug Kass via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,
* In a paperless and cloudy world, are investors and citizens as safe as the markets assume we are? –Kass Diary

Another provocative missile launched by North Korea and another apparent ter…

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NFL Chief Lashes Out At “Divisive, Disrespectful” Trump Over “Son Of A Bitch” Comment

September 23, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Update: Trump’s comments have elicited some responses from NFL players also…

DeMaurice Smith, head of the NFL Players Association

We will never back down. We no longer can afford to stick to sports. pic.twitter.com/Ec3Bc4qt9h
— DeMaurice Smith (@DeSmithNFLPA) September 23, 2017

Lesean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills

It’s really sad man … our president is a asshole
— Lesean McCoy (@CutonDime25) September 23, 2017

Eric Ebron of the Detroit Lions

Does anyone tell trump to stick to politics, like they tell us to stick to sports? Smh.
— Eric Ebron (@Ebron85) September 23, 2017

Chris Conley of the Kansas City Chiefs

“Stick to sports boy… Sit down and do what your told. Say or do something we don’t like and your fired” Well I hate to break it to ya…
— Chris Conley (@_flight17_) September 23, 2017

George Iloka of the Cincinnati Bengals

I can’t take anything our Celebrity in Chief says seriously. He’s a real life clown/troll ????
— George Iloka (@George_iloka) September 23, 2017

Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks

The behavior of the President is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. If you do not Condemn this divisive Rhetoric you are Condoning it!!
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) September 23, 2017

 

*  *  *

As we detailed earlier, after warming up the Alabama crowd Friday night with a recitation of Trump’s Greatest hits (attacks on Hillary Clinton, intransigent Republicans in Congress and, of course, the president’s love of Roll Tide football), Trump abruptly went off on a tangent about the NFL and the growing number of players who are following former San Francisco 49ers back-up QB Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the National Anthem, purportedly to protest racial injustice in the US.

In remarks that predictably provoked a chorus of outrage in the left wing media Saturday, Trump said that NFL owners should fire players like Kaepernick – whom the president implied was a “son of a b***h” for “disrespecting our heritage” by refusing to stand for the anthem – who engage in gametime protests, adding that any owner who did so would become “the most popular person in the country – at least for a week.” He then asked his supporters to leave the stadium if they see players protesting during games, adding that walkouts would force NFL franchise owners to confront the protests.

“When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they are playing our great national anthem – the only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it’s one player, leave the stadium,” Trump said. “I guarantee things will stop.”

 

“I’d love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He’s fired.”

Of course, even the suggestion that the league engage in the active suppression of speech (as if it isn’t doing that already) was enough to provoke an outraged response from Commissioner Roger Goodell.

In a statement issued Saturday morning, Goodell said Trump’s “divisive” comments “demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL.”

“The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture.  There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month. 

 

Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”

Unfortunately for Goodell, Trump has a point about the popularity (or rather, unpopularity) of political protests at sporting events, and their impact on the NFL’s ratings.

As Free Market Shooter pointed out in a Saturday post, ratings truly are down across the NFL, and surveys have suggested that the drop is tied to controversial protests, which have alienated many of the white, working-class fans that comprise the league’s fan base.

Though Colin Kaepernick is still unsigned by any NFL team, other players are continuing the “protest” trend that he started. However, since Kaepernick first refused to stand for the anthem last year, attendance at the team’s games, and its ratings, have declined.

A recent J.D. Power survey shows that the national anthem protests are directly to blame for declining ratings.

The group surveyed 9,200 fans (a sample of 1,000 is usually used in political polling), and 26% of them said they had turned the games off due to the national protests alone.

As Free Market Shooter concludes, at the end of the day, the NFL is facing a number of headwinds that have led to a decline in ratings.  High prices of the game itself, both for the home consumer and the fans in stadium seats, are certainly what gets the ball rolling on fans choosing to tuning out.  Combine that with questions on the quality of the game, accessibility, and a litany of other factors not mentioned here (including the commissioner’s punishments of players and concussion fears), and it seems the political antics of some players is just one of many aspects that has led to the NFL’s sharp ratings drop.

However, when a Trump-voting US military veteran is sitting at home, pissed off about how his team is 0-2, angry that his cable bill is eating into his disability payments, upset that the game “isn’t what it used to be,” and he turns on the game just before kickoff to see a player doing this while the National Anthem is being sung…

…it just might be the straw that breaks this guy’s back and gets him to tune out of this week’s game.  Given the NFL’s current predicament regarding viewership, political antics from players are the last thing the league needs right now. 

*  *  *

For anyone who has been following the Kaepernick saga, the hypocrisy in Goodell’s statement should be strikingly obvious. NFL owners have, in effect, already acquiesced to Trump’s demands that they fire protesting players: case in point, Kaepernick has been blackballed from the league after opting out of his contract with the 49ers back in March.

But then again, hypocrisy is nothing new to the NFL.
 

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Janet Yellen’s 78-Month Plan For The National Monetary Policy Of The United States

September 23, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Authored by Economic Prism’s MN Gordon via Acting-Man.com,

Past the Point of No Return

Adventures in depravity are nearly always confronted with the unpleasant reality that stopping the degeneracy is much more difficult than starting it.  This realization, and the unsettling feeling that comes with it, usually surfaces just after passing the point of no return.  That’s when the cucumber has pickled over and the prospect of turning back is no longer an option.

Depravity and bedlam through the ages. The blue barge of perdition in the lower middle ferries the depraved and degenerate to their final destination, a small slice of which can be glimpsed above… [PT]

 

In late November 2008, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke put in place a fait accompli.  But he didn’t recognize it at the time.  For he was blinded by his myopic prejudices.

Bernanke, a self-fancied Great Depression history buff with the highest academic credentials, gazed back 80 years, observed several credit market parallels, and then made a preconceived diagnosis.  After that, he picked up his copy of A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz, turned to the chapter on the Great Depression, and got to work expanding the Fed’s balance sheet.

Now here is something all those “Great Depression experts” always neglect to mention: the Fed’s holdings of government securities expanded my more than 400% between late 1929 and early 1933. Friedman’s often repeated assertion that the Fed “didn’t pump enough” in the early 1930s – which is held up as the gospel truth by nearly everyone – is simply untrue. It is true that the money supply collapsed anyway – but not because the Fed didn’t try to pump it up. Many contingent circumstances mitigated against money supply expansion: too many banks went bankrupt, taking all their uncovered deposit money to money heaven, as there was no FDIC insurance; only 50% of all banks were even members of the Federal Reserve system; no-one wanted to borrow or lend in view of the massive economic contraction and the Hoover administration’s ill-conceived interventionism. We can also tentatively conclude that the economy’s pool of real funding was under great pressure, which was exacerbated as a result of the trade war triggered by the protectionist Smoot-Hawley tariff enacted in June 1930. The collapse in international trade and investment meant that the pool of savings of the rest of the globe was no longer accessible. [PT]

 

Bernanke’s dirty deed commenced with the purchase of $600 billion in mortgage-backed securities, using digital monetary credits conjured up from thin air.  By March 2009, he’d run up the Fed’s balance sheet from $900 billion to $1.75 trillion.  Then, over the next five years, he ballooned it out to $4.5 trillion.

All the while, Bernanke flattered his ego with platitudes that he was preventing Great Depression II.  Did it ever occur to him he was merely postponing a much-needed financial liquidation and rebalancing?  Did he comprehend that his actions were distorting the economy further and setting it up for an even greater bust?

 

US broad true money supply TMS-2 and assets held by the Federal Reserve… and the perpetrator seen through the lens of various observers. [PT] – click to enlarge.

 

Normalization Principles and Plans

Perhaps Bernanke understood exactly what he was doing.  As many readers have insisted over the years, the Fed works for the big banks and big money interests.  Not Main Street. Regardless, the Fed recognizes that the optics of its $4.5 trillion balance sheet have become a bit skewed.  The Great Recession officially ended over eight years ago.  Why is the Fed’s balance sheet still extremely bloated?

On Wednesday, Fed Chair Janet Yellen attempted to clarify what the Fed is going to do about it.  Following the two day Federal Open Market Committee meeting, the Fed issued its customary statement.  Therein, it mentioned that balance sheet normalization would be initiated in October.  The referenced implementation note offered details on how the Fed will go about contracting its balance sheet:

“Effective in October 2017, the Committee directs the [Open Market] Desk to roll over at auction the amount of principal payments from the Federal Reserve’s holdings of Treasury securities maturing during each calendar month that exceeds $6 billion, and to reinvest in agency mortgage-backed securities the amount of principal payments from the Federal Reserve’s holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities received during each calendar month that exceeds $4 billion.”

 

Ms. Yellen mentioned that the run-down of the balance sheet was going to be akin to “watching paint dry” – this is certainly true, considering its current size of around $4.5 trillion and the relatively small initial monthly drawdowns of $10 billion. But reductions by $50 billion per month are quite sizable and the markets are very likely to anticipate the effects at some point. In other words, this exercise in quantitative tightening could get a lot more exciting rather sooner than expected. [PT]

Moreover, if we correctly interpreted the Fed’s June 2017 Addendum to the Policy Normalization Principles and Plans, the Fed plans to increase this initial $10 billion balance sheet contraction every three months by increments of $10 billion until they reach $50 billion per month.  Then they’ll let it ride until they’re back to normal; though, it is unclear what the Fed believes normal is.  What to make of it?

Janet Yellen’s 78-Month Plan for the National Monetary Policy of the United States

By our back of the napkin calculation, starting with October’s initial $10 billion reduction, then incrementally increasing the reduction by $10 billion each quarter until hitting $50 billion per month, and then contracting by $50 billion a month from there, it will take 78-months for the Fed to get its balance sheet back to $900 billion (i.e., where it was before Bernanke’s act of depravity).  Thus, in roughly six and a half years, or in March 2024, monetary policy will be back to normal.

If you recall, the Soviets operated under five-year plans for the development of the national economy of the USSR.  Now, Yellen, an ardent central planner and control freak, has charted the Fed’s 78-month plan for the national monetary policy of the United States.  Have you ever heard of something so ridiculous?

However, while the Soviets were zealous believers in their plans, we suspect the Fed will be as committed to the cause as a fat person to a New Year’s Day diet.  In truth, the Fed will never, ever reduce its balance sheet to $900 billion.  They won’t even get close; they are well past the point of no return.

In the early 1930s the Soviet planners under Stalin had a great idea: why not fulfill the 5 year plan in four years? This showed that nothing was impossible for the “new Soviet man” and two plus two was henceforth five. As Marxists will explain, this is in perfect keeping with the rules of polylogism. Even the laws of mathematics must bend to proletarian logic. [PT]

 

For starters, financial markets will not allow the Fed to execute its 78-month tightening program according to plan.  At some point, credit markets will have a severe reaction.  This would ripple through stock markets and nearly all assets that are propped up by cheap credit.

What’s more, if this doesn’t panic the Fed from its master 78-month monetary policy plan, the economy will.  No doubt, at some point within the next 78-months the U.S. economy will shrink.  What will the Fed do then? Will they continue to tighten in the face of a contracting economy?

Guess who’s lying in wait… it will be found out that a creature long held to be extinct was merely hibernating in its cave, sharpening its claws. [PT]

 

No way.  They will ease, and then they will ease some more.  They won’t stop until it is near impossible for an honest person to work hard, save their money, and pay their way in life. Many fine fellows were already pickled over by the Fed in the last easing cycle and lost their way. More are bound to follow.

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“Thousands Could Die” – Puerto Rico Scrambles To Evacuate River Valley As Dam Fails

September 23, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Days after Hurricane Maria passed over the island and made its way west toward the Dominican Republican, Puerto Rico is still struggling with the initial response to the storm – rescuing people stranded in remote villages, and moving thousands into government shelters. Meanwhile the island’s first responders are making due without electricity, gas or cell phone service after the storm dealt a knockout blow to its infrastructure.

In what was perhaps the most destructive blow to the island’s aging infrastructure, the NWS warned Friday that the Guajataca Dam in northwest Puerto Rico would soon fail, prompting the agency to issue a flash flood emergency warning for Isabela and Quebradillas municipalities. Now, authorities are scrambling to evacuate the residents of the river valley below the dam before their communities are entirely submurged. If the authorities don’t act quickly, “thousands could die” one official in charge of the rescue response said.

According to federal reservoir data, the lake behind the dam, Lago de Guajataca, rose more than three feet between Tuesday and Wednesday, when the storm was still directly over the island. More recent data were unavailable. With floodwaters gushing into the Guajataca river valley, Reuters reports that emergency officials were scrambling Friday and Saturday to evacuate its nearly 70,000 residents before their villages have been completely submerged.

Video published by CBS shows waters gushing over the top of the 90-year-old dam, sending a wall of water racing into the valley below.

The National Weather Service warned of “imminent failure” and urged residents in the area to “move to higher ground now.”

The evacuation of the valley is perhaps the most high-stakes rescue effort of the past week, according to  Abner Gomez, executive director of Puerto Rico’s emergency management agency. Gomez said Friday that the dam’s floodgates suffered mechanical damage during the storm, which made it impossible for authorities to open and let out normal water currents.

He added that “there is no way to fix it” right now considering the conditions and said if the dam tops over or fails structurally, “thousands of people could die.”

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, which operates the dam, says that the failure is already causing flash flooding downstream. The dam lies across the Guajataca River to form a reservoir that can hold roughly 11 billion gallons of water.

According to Weather.com, local media have reported that residents of one small community near the dam are refusing to evacuate, forcing authorities to invoke a law that allows responders to evacuate children and the elderly in an emergency.

The latest crisis comes as the death toll on Puerto Rico rose to 21 on Friday, when authorities said eight people had died in Tao Baha 30 miles from San Juan, where more than 4,000 people have been rescued from floodwaters.

Meanwhile, some shelters are running out of food and other essential supplies, creating a situation that the island’s governor, Ricard Rossello, described as a “humanitarian emergency.”

Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico early Wednesday as a powerful Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds – the first Category 4 to hit the island since 1932. The storm wiped out the island’s power grid and dumped 20 to 30 inches of rain in 24 hours, with some areas seeing as much as 40 inches. The storm could leave most of the island without power for weeks – or possibly up to six months in some areas.
 

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Will The Deep State’s War On Trump Lead To An Actual Civil War?

September 23, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Authored by Andrew Karybko via Oriental Review,
Oriental Review is publishing the English original of Andrew Korybko’s interview with an Iranian newspaper from earlier this month.

After only eight months after entering into office, we …

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Japan’s Lonely Single Men Are Settling For Virtual Reality “Wives Of The Future”

September 23, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

In a country where over 70% of unmarried men between 18 and 34, and 60% of women, have no relationship with a member of the opposite sex, and where birthrates are among the lowest in the world after Japanese women gave birth to fewer than one million babies in 2016 for the first time since the government began tracking birth rates, Bloomberg reports on an industry that’s profiting off the reluctance of young Japanese men and women to find a human partner.

What Bloomberg calls the “virtual love industry” in Japan has blossomed into a multi-million-dollar concern as unmarried men and women increasingly turn to simulated digital offerings for companionship.  Inventors create applications that essentially allow users to build a ‘virtual wife’ or ‘virtual husband’. While we imagine virtual companions bring badly needed comfort to millions of lonely Japanese, as Bloomberg notes, the industry does have a dark side: Some virtual-reality offerings promote unrealistic and even damaging portrayals of women as submissive. And men as domineering and menacing.

“Starting today, you live here now, with me,” he snarls. “I expect you to keep me entertained.” Wait, isn’t that his job?

 

A real young man on the streets of Akihabara, a district of Tokyo known for its anime and manga culture, is impressed by a demo of the game but declares, cringing, “Getting hit on by a man—it was pretty embarrassing.”

 

Simple companionship isn’t Takechi’s only vision. His virtual world of husband and dutiful wife, he says, “could develop into love, if we keep investigating further.”

One inventor who build a virtual-reality platform said he aims to create a virtual partner who brings greater satisfaction to Japanese men and women than a human companion would. That’s bad news for the Japanese economy, which, thanks to the looming demographic crunch as the population rapidly ages, will need to increasingly rely on the Bank of Japan’s “stimulus” to avoid a deflationary spiral.

“She’s always there, always listening, ready to cater to her husband’s every whim. Meet Azuma Hikari, Japan’s digital “wife of the future,” according to her inventor, Minori Takechi, who believes his AI construct can go some way toward solving Japan’s problem with loneliness.

 

Hikari lives in a bubble—like, an actual bubble, or a little transparent cylinder at any rate—in a skimpy outfit, lending a sympathetic ear to her man’s troubles, responding to commands, and flirting (“bath time—do not peep!”). Age: 20. Height: 158 centimeters. Specialty: fried eggs. Dislike: insects. So, less like Siri, more like Offred.

 

Takechi set out to create a partner who “brings greater satisfaction than human interaction.” Best of all, Hikari is bashful, so her owner “doesn’t have to communicate with her all the time,” Takechi says with a shy grin, in the second video in our Love Disrupted series. He is selling his prototype for $2,700 and reports 300 pre-orders, mainly from men in their 20s and 30s.”

At any rate at matter, should North Korean Leader follow through with his threats to “sink” Japan with nuclear weapons, a decision that, using the logic of certain investment banks, would represent an unprecedented economic stimulus.
 

* * *

Meanwhile, we recently noted that the thriving market for lifelike sex dolls may have jumped the shark after a company offering sex doll rentals shuttered its new venture after less than a week after it inspired a storm of controversy. But we doubt that setback will forestall more advances in sex doll technology. For a look at what’s to come, the Daily Star recently published a look inside the sex doll workshop of Spanish scientist Dr Sergi Santos, who recently produced a talking sex robot named Samantha.

The Daily Star published some exclusive photos of Santos’s “works in progress”…

Many of the images of the dolls mimicking real-life situations are simply uncanny…

It’s a silicone angel…

And here’s video from inside the workshop…

 

 

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