Implode-Explode Heavy Industries news feed Tracking the many faces of the global credit implosion. en-us iehi-feed-62842 Wed, 23 Aug 2017 01:47:14 GMT Cash is not the curse iehi-feed-62841 Wed, 23 Aug 2017 01:36:03 GMT Mark Hanson: House Price Bubble 2.0, in Pictures iehi-feed-62840 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 23:54:55 GMT US Gross National Debt to Spike by $800 Billion in October? iehi-feed-62839 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 21:47:41 GMT Parallel currency talk gains ground in Italy Talk of a domestic parallel currency being introduced in Italy is not new. But it has been reinvigorated this week because of an interview with Silvio Berlusconi (a longstanding proponent of the idea) in Italian publication Libero Quotidiano, where he argues the introduction of a national parallel currency will help Italy regain monetary sovereignty in a way that later supports domestic demand.''


Berlusconi's point is that a parallel currency could be launched entirely legally within the constructs of European treaties, with the ECB potentially powerless to intervene once the decision has been taken.

Either way, regardless of whether Italy goes down the path of an explicit parallel currency or the introduction of small-sized Italian government securities, it's clear the will to break up the euro's monopoly in Italy is growing.

According to Citi's analysts more than two thirds of Italian voters currently support parties with an anti-euro stance.

iehi-feed-62838 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:31:20 GMT Stars -- they're just like us! Jay-Z and Beyoncé take out conventional mortgage on $88M Bel Air home iehi-feed-62837 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:06:25 GMT Amazon: Why A Waterfall Decline Might Be Underway iehi-feed-62836 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:02:28 GMT Mnuchin's Wife Mocks Oregon Woman Over Lifestyle and Wealth Louise Linton, the labels-loving wife of Steven Mnuchin, replied condescendingly to an Instagram poster about her lifestyle and belittled the woman, Jenni Miller, a mother of three from Portland, Ore., for having less money than she does.


"Great #daytrip to #Kentucky!" Ms. Linton, 36, wrote under the photograph. She then added hashtags for various pieces of her expensive wardrobe, listing #rolandmouret, #hermesscarf, #tomford and #valentino.

Ms. Miller, 45, wrote under the photograph, "Glad we could pay for your little getaway. #deplorable."... Ms. Miller could not understand why Ms. Linton highlighted her brand labels on a trip to Kentucky, a state with a high poverty rate.

Wait, isn't this the crew that's supposed to be with the deplorables?? The same group that still gives Trump near-election-day approval ratings? So confused.

iehi-feed-62835 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 15:43:01 GMT "The Taps Are Gushing" Hong Kong ATM Withdrawals Surge As Facial Recognition Fears Spread Amid a crackdown on unauthorized mainland currency outflows by forcing ATM users to undertake facial recognition before cash is dispensed in Macau, Hong Kong ATMs are reportedly being hit by a massive surge in withdrawals from China's UnionPay bank cards.


"The rise in ATM withdrawals in terms of volume and number has been staggering. The taps are gushing," a source with knowledge of the situation said.

iehi-feed-62834 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 15:39:03 GMT The Taliban tried to surrender. The US said no. Now here we are. By Ryan Grim (reposted with permission)

Did you know that shortly after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, the Taliban tried to surrender? For centuries in Afghanistan, when a rival force had come to power, the defeated one would surrender and be integrated into the new power structure -- obviously with much less power, or none at all. That's how you do with neighbors you have to continue to live with. This isn't a football game, where the teams go to different cities when it's over. That may be hard for us to remember, because we haven't fought a protracted war on our own soil since the Civil War.

So when the Taliban came to surrender, the U.S. said no way. Only full annihilation was enough for the Bush administration. They wanted more terrorists in body bags. The problem was that the Taliban had stopped fighting, having either fled to Pakistan or put down their weapons and gone back to civilian life. And Al Qaeda was down to a handful of members.

So how do you kill terrorists if there aren't any?

Simple: Afghans that the U.S. worked with understood the predicament the military was in, and so they fabricated bad guys. Score-settling ran amok as all you had to do to get your neighbor killed or sent to Afghanistan was tell the U.S. they were Taliban. Doors would be kicked in, no questions asked. The men left standing built massive fortunes and shipped their wealth to Dubai. "We are not nation-building again," Trump said tonight. Well, we never were. (Unless building highrises with looted cash in Dubai counts.)

After a few years of this, after their surrender efforts were repeatedly rebuffed, the old Taliban started picking up guns again. When they were driven from power, the population was happy to see them go. The U.S. managed to make them popular again.

Liberals spent the 2008 presidential campaign complaining the U.S. had "ignored" Afghanistan -- when in reality the parts of the country without a troop presence were the only parts at peace, facing no insurgency against the Afghan government, such as it was. Then Obama came in and launched a surge in troop levels while announcing a withdrawal at the same time.

And now Trump says he has a new and better strategy. He says the U.S. needs to get Pakistan more involved -- except of course Pakistan's intelligence service has been propping up the Taliban for decades. Really want them more involved?

The defining book on this war -- one of the top one or two books I've ever read, really -- is called No Good Men Among The Living, by Anand Gopal. It reads like a novel, but is a nonfiction portrait of three Afghans as they live through the war -- a civilian woman, a warlord and a Taliban fighter. I don't recommend books much, but this one's just incredible and I can't recommend it strongly enough. (You can buy it here; I've never met Gopal and have nothing to do with the book.) I'd say Trump should read it, but it's longer than a page, which his advisers say is the max he'll look at. And the only thing he seems interested in is the fact that Afghanistan has a bunch of minerals he thinks the U.S. is owed.

Anyhow, sorry, that was a bit more of a rant than I usually like to send, but this stupidity is just crazy-making. The idea of more American kids going over there to put their lives at risk to just make the situation worse, through no fault of their own, is heartbreaking.

I mean, think about it: we are now losing a war to an enemy that already surrendered. That's not easy to do.

Meanwhile, my colleague Jeremy Scahill at The Intercept makes a good point about the underlying endurance of the assassination complex, no matter what Trump does with troop levels in Afghanistan.

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iehi-feed-62833 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 15:28:42 GMT Over Half of Chinese Millionaires Are Thinking About Leaving China iehi-feed-62832 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 03:04:47 GMT The ultra-luxury market had its worst week since Hurricane Sandy (NYC) iehi-feed-62831 Mon, 21 Aug 2017 17:34:33 GMT Buffett Is Beached -- Nothing Cheap Left To Buy ($100 BLN+ SITTING ON SIDELINES) iehi-feed-62830 Sun, 20 Aug 2017 21:52:15 GMT 13 Ways to Strengthen America's Economy iehi-feed-62829 Sun, 20 Aug 2017 19:15:46 GMT The Stock Market Has Been Magical. It Can't Last. The stock market has been so placid that declines of a mere 1.5 percent have been treated like real news. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index dropped that much on Thursday. Days like that can be unsettling, but in the span of market history, they amount to the slightest of headaches.

The deeper news isn't immediately visible day to day, but it is this: The stock market has been operating in an extremely rarefied world of heightened calm, one that is unlikely to continue. It is as if, after the election in November, Wall Street entered an enchanted zone. That is bound to end.

iehi-feed-62828 Sun, 20 Aug 2017 18:45:41 GMT NAFTA Negotiations Start in Secrecy; Corporate Lobbying Heats Up iehi-feed-62827 Sun, 20 Aug 2017 18:39:37 GMT China moves to curb overseas debt-fueled acquisitions (+ENCOURAGE "NEW SILK ROAD" INVESTMENTS) The curbs were announced in a document released on Friday by the state council, China's cabinet, in the latest move to halt a string of foreign acquisitions. This week the International Monetary Fund described China's credit-fuelled economic strategy as dangerous, in a strongly worded statement warning that the country's approach risks financial turmoil.

Raising concerns that some of the companies involved may be taking on too much debt, the council said: "There are great opportunities for our nation's companies to embark on foreign investment, but they also face numerous risks and challenges."


The document limits overseas investments in areas such as hotels, cinemas, the entertainment industry, real estate and sports clubs. It also bans outright investments in enterprises related to gambling and the sex industry. The Chinese government had already flagged hotels as an area of concern, having reportedly asked the insurance group Anbang to sell the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York.


At the same time, the document encourages companies to plough money into projects related to the "Belt and Road" project, President Xi Jinping's signature foreign policy initiative that seeks to link China with other parts of Asia and eastern Europe through multibillion-dollar investments in ports, highways, railways, power plants and other infrastructure.

iehi-feed-62826 Sun, 20 Aug 2017 18:15:32 GMT We're racing towards another private debt crisis - so why did no one see it coming? (UK) Corporations are just raking in the profits and sitting on them. The household sector, on the other hand, is a rolling catastrophe. Austerity has meant falling wages, less government spending on social services (or anything else), and higher de facto taxes. This puts the squeeze on household budgets and people are forced to borrow. As a result, not only are households in overall deficit for the second time in British history, the situation is actually worse than it was in the years leading up to 2008.

And remember: it was a mortgage crisis that set off the 2008 crash, which almost destroyed the world economy and plunged millions into penury. Not a crisis in public debt. A crisis in private debt.

The situation is not much different in the states...

iehi-feed-62825 Sun, 20 Aug 2017 16:56:55 GMT Fed-2nd Fischer: Unwinding Stimulus & Reform "Short-Sighted"; U.S. Treading Empire-Decline Path of Great Britain

Having led a worldwide effort to strengthen financial regulation after the crisis, US politicians are now attempting to throw things into reverse -- something Fischer bluntly describes as "extremely dangerous and extremely short-sighted". America's role as guarantor of global organisations such as the IMF can no longer be taken for granted, he fears. "I had a picture of the world economy in which the United States was an anchor, not a source of volatility," Fischer says. "This really changes things."

This verdict is striking coming from a top US policymaker, but Fischer has seen a similar story play out before. Born in the former UK protectorate of Northern Rhodesia in the 1940s, Fischer grew up in the twilight of the British empire. America is losing its status as the world's hegemonic power -- just as Britain did before it, he suggests.


Human beings, says Fischer, borrowing from Milton Friedman, are not rational, but they are great at rationalising things. He agrees with Greenspan, saying the persistently low level of real long-term interest rates is a conundrum. "I don't feel I understand it fully, and therefore I feel uncomfortable," he says, referring to the rapid ascent of equities. Part of the reason for the post-election stock market surge was a belief that Trump would push through tax reform and infrastructure. That justification for booming equities has evaporated, however, Fischer says. "The truth is our political system doesn't look like it is going to deliver very much in the way of what we hoped it was going to deliver on November 8 2016."

What Republican control of Congress and the White House may well herald, however, is deregulation. Recently the US Treasury put forward a document proposing ways of easing capital standards underpinning banks. The Fed has also been facing Congressional attacks on its independence -- both attempts to curb its ability to lend in an emergency and demands that it pay greater attention to monetary policy rules.

Fischer is openly incredulous, describing the moves to unwind the post-crisis system as "mind-boggling". The US political system "may be taking us in a direction that is very dangerous", he says. For example, the big US banks passed their stress-tests -- the annual Fed-led exercises that gauge their health -- and the cry goes up that it is time to reduce their capital requirements or make the tests more transparent.... ``the pressure I fear is coming to ease up on large banks strikes me as very, very dangerous,'' [Fischer said].

iehi-feed-62824 Sun, 20 Aug 2017 16:45:45 GMT Don't Forget About The Red Swan - Stockman iehi-feed-62823 Sun, 20 Aug 2017 14:07:48 GMT Donald Trump Finally Comes Out of the Closet At this point, something has become undeniable. Trump voters who supported him based on the idea that he would bring forth an agenda of economic populism got played. I understand that many other people just voted for him as a middle finger to the system, but for the true believers who thought he had their backs, it's now long past the time to pack up your bags. I don't say this out of pleasure, I genuinely hoped he would push forth an agenda of economic populism, but now we know for certain this is never going to happen. That much is pretty undeniable.


Populism isn't dead in America, but right populism as it exists today is. I just hope the next iteration is a lot more genuine, and a lot more sane.