The war on intelligence is in full swing. It’s game time. They’ve been planning this for years. As we explain in Splitting Pennies, the world isn’t as it seems, in fact – the world is a great big illusion to many.In case you’re not fo…Continue Reading
Ralph Nader and leading linguist Noam Chomsky engaged in a much anticipated discussion in early October on Ralph Nader Radio Hour. The two raised questions about changing the media narrative in a totalitatian-like state, and how Chomsky got dismissed from the mainstream altogether.“How often have you been on the Op-Ed pages of the New York Times,” Nader asked Chomsky.For Chomsky, the last time was over a decade ago.“[I was asked] to write about the Israeli separation wall, actually an annexation wall that runs through the West Bank and breaking apart the Palestinian communities… condemned as illegal by the World Court,” Chomsky told Nader.Chomsky would later pen a similar piece for CNN on the 2013 Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. But Chomsky has never been interviewed on the network; Nor has he appeared on NBC, ABC or CBS.“How about NPR and PBS, partially taxpayer-supported.. more free-thinking and more tolerant [outlets]?” Nader wanted to know.“I’ve been on ‘Charlie Rose’ two or three times,” Chomsky told Nader, adding that he had a curious story about a particularly Boston outlet for NPR based in Boston University.“They used to have a program in their prime time news programs all things considered some years ago at 5:25… maybe once a week or so, a five-minute discussion with someone who had written a new book and there’s a lot of pressure,” Chomsky began.NPR was going to allow Chomsky to present his book, “Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies” (1989).“I got a call from the publisher telling me when I should tune [in at 5pm] and I never listened [before], so I tuned in [and] there was five minutes of music… I started getting phone calls from around the country asking ‘What happened to the piece?’” Chomsky remembered.He didn’t know.“I then got a call from the station manager in Washington who told me that she’d been getting calls and she didn’t understand it because it was listed… she called back saying kind of embarrassed … that some bigwig in the system had heard the announcement at five o’clock and had ordered it cancelled,” Chomsky explained.
The irony of Chomsky’s media criticism being dismissed by the media is not lost on the former MIT professor, who remains constantly awed by America’s level of censorship.“Any one of the former Bush-Cheney warmongers like Paul Wolfowitz and John Bolton and others have gotten far more press after they’ve left federal positions; in the New York Times The Wall Street Journal the Washington Post,” Nader said.And unlike Chomsky, “They’ve been on television public television, NPR and they have a record of false statements; they have record of deception, they have record of pursuing policies are illegal under our Constitution under international law and under federal statutes such as criminal invasion of Iraq and other adventures around the world,” Nader pointed out.But the media problem permeates thouroughly throughout other industries, like education and government.“Now a society that operates in a way where propaganda is not only emanating from the major media but it gets into our schools, the kind of courses are taught, the content of the history, is a society that’s not going to be mobilized for its own survival, much less the survival of other countries whose dictators we have for decades supported to oppress their people,” explained Nader.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Monday accused the Federal Reserve of keeping interest rates low for political reasons, the latest in a string of often contradictory critiques of the nation’s central bank.The Fed vehemently defends the setting of its influential interest rate as independent of political considerations — a principle that is considered fundamental not only to the Fed but for central banks around the world. Yet speaking on CNBC, Trump said Fed Chair Janet L. Yellen should be “ashamed” of keeping interest rates so low for so long. “She’s obviously political and doing what Obama wants her to do, and I know that’s not supposed to be the way it is,” Trump said.
The latest such comment came Monday, when Trump responded to a question from a reporter about the potential for a Federal Reserve interest rate hike this year. “They’re keeping the rates down so that everything else doesn’t go down,” Trump said, according to reports. “We have a very false economy.” “At some point the rates are going to have to change,” Trump added. “The only thing that is strong is the artificial stock market.”
Some of the biggest electronic traders are complaining that a new test in the U.S. stock market will compromise their top-secret strategies, one of their most valuable assets. Citadel Securities and KCG Holdings Inc. are among a chorus of brokers questioning elements of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission experiment, which began Monday, designed to whip up more trading in small companies. Their complaint is that the test will force firms to publicly expose detailed trading data with only the thinnest veil of anonymity, allowing competitors to reverse engineer how their prized trading algorithms work. For high-speed trading firms, complex computer code is the secret weapon for profiting from the market. Some brokers say they fear that in their test, regulators won’t sufficiently mask their publicly reported trading data. “It’s going to take someone exactly three seconds to figure out who’s who,” said Jamil Nazarali, head of execution services at Citadel Securities, which is the market-making arm of billionaire Ken Griffin’s Citadel LLC. Trading firms will “likely change their behavior to protect their intellectual property,” making the test’s results less meaningful, he added.
Almost every weekday between the fall of 2011 and early 2015, a Russian broker named Igor Volkov called the equities desk of Deutsche Bank’s Moscow headquarters. Volkov would speak to a sales trader—often, a young woman named Dina Maksutova—and ask her to place two trades simultaneously. In one, he would use Russian rubles to buy a blue-chip Russian stock, such as Lukoil, for a Russian company that he represented. Usually, the order was for about ten million dollars’ worth of the stock. In the second trade, Volkov—acting on behalf of a different company, which typically was registered in an offshore territory, such as the British Virgin Islands—would sell the same Russian stock, in the same quantity, in London, in exchange for dollars, pounds, or euros. Both the Russian company and the offshore company had the same owner. Deutsche Bank was helping the client to buy and sell to himself…Although the bank’s headquarters remained in Germany, power migrated from conservative Frankfurt to London, the investment-banking hub where the most lavish profits were generated. The assimilation of different banking cultures was not always successful. In the nineties, when hundreds of Americans went to work for Deutsche Bank in London, German managers had to place a sign in the entrance hall spelling out “Deutsche” phonetically, because many Americans called their employer “Douche Bank.”
There are a lot more apartments available for purchase these days in Manhattan. And fewer people are buying. Sales of previously owned condominiums and co-ops fell 20 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier as potential buyers grew cautious amid more choices, according to a report Tuesday from appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. There were 5,290 resale apartments on the market at the end of September, 53 percent more than the number available in late 2013, the lowest point for listings.The swelling inventory is providing an opportunity to New Yorkers shut out of a market in which construction has been dominated by ultra-luxury condos aimed at the wealthiest buyers. Resales, particularly those priced at less than $1 million, were in chronically short supply in recent years, and those that made it to the market sparked bidding wars. Now, more owners are listing apartments to profit from climbing values, and they’re finding lots of company. “Rapidly rising prices over the years have pulled more sellers into the market hoping to cash out,” Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, said in an interview. “But buyers are more wary. There isn’t the same intensity of activity to burn through the new supply.”
In fact, this has been the year investors wanted to do anything but try to pick stocks. Active fund managers had their worst first half ever, with fewer than one in five beating a basic market benchmark, according to data from Bank of America Merrill Lynch that go back to 2003.Stock pickers were done in by two major factors: following the crowd and an uneven pattern of correlations among stocks. The 10 most-crowded stocks lagged the 10 least-owned by a whopping 18 percentage points, which BofAML called “an atypically high spread.”
Blackstone, helmed by global head of real estate Jon Gray, is the largest real estate private equity firm in the world. Since raising their first opportunistic real estate fund in 1997, Blackstone has been a dominant player in the industry with their simplified opportunistic philosophy of “buy it, fix it, sell it”. Just this month, Blackstone real estate surpassed a staggering $100 billion in assets under management. As part of a push towards a longer hold, core plus strategy, they recently closed the largest ever PE real estate fund at $15.8 billion. Furthermore, Blackstone recently acquired Chicago’s iconic Willis Tower, which they plan to enhance through value add renovations and a repositioning of the tower’s retail space.
“This whole beautiful landscape’s going to change,” he said. Miami Beach consists of a long, low barrier island accompanied by a scattering of manmade islets. It’s one of the lowest-lying municipalities in the country, and its residents are leading the way into the world’s wetter future. Along the island’s low western side bordering Biscayne Bay, people have come to dread full-moon high tides, when salt water seeps into storm-drain outlets and the porous limestone that provides the island’s foundation, forcing water up and out into the streets and sidewalks and threatening buildings and infrastructure. And Miami Beach is just one small part of a region that’s in big trouble. If sea levels rise as projected, no major U.S. metropolitan area stands to rack up bigger losses than Miami-Dade County. Almost 60 percent of the county is less than six feet above sea level. Even before swelling of the seas is factored in, Miami has the greatest total value of assets exposed to flooding of any city in the world: more than $400 billion. Once you account for future sea-level rise and continued economic growth, Miami’s exposed property will far outstrip that of any other urban area, reaching almost $3.5 trillion by the 2070s. The sea level around the South Florida coast has already risen nine inches over the past century. Among experts, the optimists expect it to edge up another three to seven inches in the next 15 years and nine inches to two feet in the next 45 years. More pessimistic (some say increasingly realistic) predictions say the rise will be much faster. Even the very gradual rise of recent decades will make extensive infrastructure reengineering necessary—Mowry’s job. However, according to a report published by the Florida Department of Transportation, it will become difficult, expensive, and maybe impossible for these efforts to keep up with the accelerated sea-level rise that is actually expected.
Like football, pop music, and democracy itself, pizza follows in the long American tradition of things that began overseas before the United States imported, violently altered, and eventually defined the institution. Although the first pizza shops didn’t open in the U.S. until the early 20th century, hundreds of years after the original Neapolitan pies, we now spend $37 billion a year on pizza, accounting for a third of the global market. The obsession deepens. On any given day, about 13 percent of Americans eat pizza, according to a new report from the Department of Agriculture. One in six guys between the ages of two and 39 ate it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner today. In part due to this obsession, per capita consumption of cheese is up 41 percent since 1995. Drawn from the report, here are seven facts about Americans and pizza, presented free of moralizing comments about whether or not it is healthy or sensible for the American diet to consist so overwhelming of bread adorned with tomato-cheesey gloop.
In 1905, a slice of pizza cost five cents. During the Depression, when families did not have much money, pizza became popular with everyone in the United States. Families were eating different types of pizza on the east and west coasts. A thick-crust pizza was called double-crust pizza or west coast pizza. When they had a large exhibit about pizza at the Texas State Fair, more people inquired about this food than any other.The first recipe for pizza appeared in a fundraising cookbook published in Boston in 1936. The recipe, for Neapolitan pizza, was made by hand. Dough had to be hand-stretched by pizzaiolos and housewives until it was half an inch thick. The pizza had cheese, tomatoes, grated parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Surprisingly, the dough was not made by hand, but cooks were told to buy it at a good Italian bake shop.However, pizza was mostly limited to Italian immigrant communities until after World War II, when American soldiers returning from Italy still wanted their pies. Popularity spread, and various American styles developed. Pizzeria Uno is credited with the invention of the Chicago deep dish pizza in 1943. This is known as tomato pie and was baked in rectangular pans in bakeries. Its crust was extra thick and it had seasoned tomato puree and was dusted with Romano cheese before it went into the oven. Some eventually had meat and thick cheese, and it was so thick, it often had to be eaten with a knife and fork.
In our household, we measure inflation with the “Burrito Index”: How much has the cost of a regular burrito at our favorite taco truck gone up?Since we keep detailed records of expenses (a necessity if you’re a self-employed free-lance writer), I can track the real-world inflation of the Burrito Index with great accuracy: the cost of a regular burrito from our local taco truck has gone up from $2.50 in 2001 to $5 in 2010 to $6.50 in 2016.That’s a $160% increase since 2001; 15 years in which the official inflation rate reports that what $1 bought in 2001 can supposedly be bought with $1.35 today.If the Burrito Index had tracked official inflation, the burrito at our truck should cost $3.38—up only 35% from 2001. Compare that to today’s actual cost of $6.50—almost double what it “should cost” according to official inflation calculations.Since 2001, the real-world burrito index is 4.5 times greater than the official rate of inflation—not a trivial difference.Between 2010 and now, the Burrito Index has logged a 30% increase, more than triple the officially registered 10% drop in purchasing power over the same time.Those interested can check the official inflation rate (going back to 1913) with the BLS Inflation calculator by clicking here.My Burrito Index is a rough-and-ready index of real-world inflation. To insure its measure isn’t an outlying aberration, we also need to track the real-world costs of big-ticket items such as college tuition and healthcare insurance, as well as local government-provided services. When we do, we observe results of similar magnitude.The takeaway? Our money is losing its purchasing power much faster than the government would like us to believe.
Oscar winners, sports stars and Bill Gates are building lavish bunkers — with amenities ranging from a swimming pool to a bowling alley — as global anxiety fuels sales and owners “could be the next Adam and Eve.”
The Elite have invested billions of dollars over a period of 60 years to create a population of semi-conscious happy consumers in the US (and are attempting to do so globally). The form changes from time to time, but the essence is the same: don’…Continue Reading
The CFTC said VTB Bank and VTB Capital cooperated with the U.S. investigation.