Implode-Explode Heavy Industries news feed Tracking the many faces of the global credit implosion. en-us iehi-feed-63883 Thu, 19 Apr 2018 04:18:05 GMT Pharma bro Shkreli, denied minimum security camp, gets sent to federal prison in New Jersey Shkreli, 35, in March had asked to be sent to the minimum-security camp adjacent to another federal prison in Pennsylvania, FCI Canaan. His sentencing judge endorsed that request. But the Bureau of Prisons has the last word in determining where to place its inmates.

[Shkreli's lawyer] Brafman previously said that Judge Kiyo Matsumoto's ruling last September that Shkreli was a public danger would prevent him from being sent to a minimum-security camp because of BOP guidelines.


Matsumoto had said Shkreli was a danger as she revoked his bail for, among other things, his bizarre offer toFacebook followers of $5,000 for each strand of hair they managed to pull off the head of Hillary Clinton, who at the time was in the midst of a book tour.''

So basically he got himself sent to federal prison instead of camping by being a dick (totally superfluously -- Hillary Clinton didn't even have anything to do with his case, as unsavory as she might be).

iehi-feed-63875 Mon, 16 Apr 2018 21:39:38 GMT Hannity-Cohen-Trump: Conflict of Interest in Pro-Trump Media, Much? While his off-air relationships might be just a logical extension of Hannity's on-air cheerleading for Trump, it still came as a surprise, immediately raising questions about both Hannity and Fox.

By any standards of any normal newsroom, the Cohen-Hannity relationship is a glaring conflict of interest.

Fox is not a normal newsroom. And Hannity's viewers are not typical news viewers -- people who watch almost any other show would likely feel lied to when they learned something like this had not been disclosed to them, but Hannity's want him to have this kind of relationship with Trumpworld.


"I never retained him in the traditional sense as retaining a lawyer; I never received an invoice from Michael; I never paid legal fees to Michael, but I have, occasionally, had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective," Hannity said on the radio.

But even according to Hannity's account, he was taking free legal advice from someone on the president's payroll.

iehi-feed-63865 Sun, 15 Apr 2018 13:37:27 GMT "Elon Knew": New Lawsuit Alleges Musk Knowingly Lied About Model 3 Production ...after claiming in May 2017 that the company was "on track" to meet its mass production goal, it's alleged the company hadn't even finished building its production lines, clearly meaning it wasn't "on track". The lawsuit alleges that Musk knew the line was "way behind"


The suit alleges that the company's former CFO, Jason Wheeler - who is one of more than 50 key executives and VPs to have left the company over the last half decade or so - told Elon Musk personally that they wouldn't be able to mass produce by the end of 2017. The entire lawsuit is available at this link and some of the most interesting content was first shared by critics of the company on Twitter.

The drumbeat of accountability for Elon Musk continues to pound louder and louder as each day progresses, with some analysts calling for the SEC to investigate him if the company doesn't meet its stated cash flow positive and "no capital raise" guidance for the back end of 2018.

iehi-feed-63853 Wed, 11 Apr 2018 22:43:41 GMT The Housing ATM is back: Cash-out share of all refis hits pre-crisis levels iehi-feed-63849 Tue, 10 Apr 2018 21:38:09 GMT Trump attorney Cohen is being investigated for possible bank fraud, campaign finance violations - The Washington Post Michael Cohen, the longtime attorney of President Trump, is under federal investigation for possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations, according to three people with knowledge of the case.

FBI agents on Monday raided Cohen's Manhattan office, home and hotel room as part of the investigation, seizing records about Cohen's clients and personal finances. Among the records taken were those related to a 2016 payment Cohen made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had a sexual encounter with Trump, according to a fourth person familiar with the investigation.

Investigators took Cohen's computer, phone and personal financial records, including tax returns, as part of the search of his office at Rockefeller Center, that person said.

In a dramatic and broad seizure, federal prosecutors collected communications between Cohen and his clients -- including those between the lawyer and Trump, according to both people.

The raids -- part of an investigation referred by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to federal prosecutors in New York -- point to escalating legal jeopardy for a longtime Trump confidant who is deeply intertwined in the president's business and personal matters.


Two of the potential crimes being investigated -- bank fraud and wire fraud -- suggest prosecutors have some reason to think Cohen may have misled bankers about why he was using particular funds or may have improperly used banks in the transfer of funds.

Cohen has acknowledged facilitating a $130,000 payment in October 2016 to Daniels, who claims she had a sexual relationship with Trump in 2006.

Trump made his first comments about the payment last week, saying he did not know about the transaction.

Cohen has said he used a home-equity line of credit to finance the payment to Daniels and said that neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign reimbursed him for the payment.

Banks don't usually require much explanation from customers about how they use such credit lines. However, Cohen may have been asked to provide explanation for the large-dollar transfers he made when he moved the money to a shell company and then to a lawyer for Daniels.


To serve a search warrant on a practicing attorney, federal prosecutors are required to obtain approval from top Justice Department officials. That means the acting U.S. attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey S. Berman [A Trump supporter], who was appointed to his role by Sessions in January, as well as Justice Department officials in Washington, probably signed off.


To pursue criminal charges against Cohen for breaking federal election law, prosecutors would have to prove that he made the payment to Daniels to influence the election, rather than for personal reasons -- to protect Trump's reputation, for example, or his marriage.


At some point, Cohen's New York bank, First Republic, flagged the transaction to the Treasury Department as a suspicious payment, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Cohen used his Trump Organization email in negotiating the agreement with Davidson and in communicating with his bank about the funds.

In February, after a watchdog group filed a complaint about the payment with the Federal Election Commission, Cohen released a statement saying he "used my own personal funds to facilitate" the payment. He rejected the idea that the payment should have counted as a campaign contribution.

This article has very comprehensive background with all you need to understand the possible basis for RICO-type charges against Trump, Cohen, and associates.

iehi-feed-63826 Tue, 03 Apr 2018 01:54:00 GMT Trouble for big tech as consumers sour on Amazon, Facebook and co The past two weeks have been difficult for the tech sector by every measure. Tech stocks have largely driven the year's stock market decline, the largest quarterly drop since 2015.

Facebook saw more than $50bn shaved off its value after the Observer revealed that had harvested millions of people's user data for political profiling... Amazon, meanwhile, long the target of President Trump's ire, saw more than $30bn, or 5%, shaved off its $693bn market capitalization after it was reported that the president was "obsessed" with the company and that he "wondered aloud if there may be any way to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law".


Big tech's critics may be forgiven a moment of schadenfreude. But for shareholders and pension plans, the tarnishing of tech could have serious consequences.

Apple, Amazon and Alphabet make up 10% of the S&P 500 with a combined market capitalization market cap of $2.3tn. Add Microsoft and Facebook, with a combined market value of $1.1tn, and the big five make up 15% of the index.

Overall, technology makes up 25% of the S&P. If tech pops, the thinking goes, so pops the market.

"We're one week into a sell-off after a multi-year run-up," says Eric Kuby of North Star Investment Management. "The big picture is that over the past five years a group of mega cap tech stocks like Nvidia, Netflix, Facebook have gone up anywhere from 260% to 1,800%."''


Until recently, investors have been betting on years of unfettered growth. In a tighter, more regulated environment that bet may not look so good.

iehi-feed-63825 Tue, 03 Apr 2018 01:11:57 GMT Tech Thinks It Has a Fix for the Problems It Created: Blockchain ``Investors, for one, see potential. While the price of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies have plummeted this year, investment in other blockchain projects has remained strong. In the first three months of 2018, venture capitalists put half a billion dollars into 75 blockchain projects, more than double what they raised in the last quarter of 2017, according to data from Pitchbook.


"Everything is moving toward people saying, ‘I want all the benefits of the internet, but I want to protect my privacy and my security,'" said [a blockchain advisor]. "The only thing I know that can reconcile those things is the blockchain."


The novel structure allows people to set up online accounts that can securely hold valuable personal information without having to trust a single entity that can hoard, abuse or lose control of the data, as happened with Facebook and the consumer credit reporting agency Equifax.


A range of corporations and governments are trying to apply the blockchain model -- for projects from the prosaic to the radical. Various departments of the United Nations now have blockchain experiments looking to tackle climate change, the delivery of humanitarian aid and the identity challenges faced by stateless people. Coca-Cola and the State Department recently announced a project to register foreign employees on a blockchain in an attempt to eliminate forced labor.


"But somebody needs to ask the question: ‘Is it actually better? Is it measurably better?'"

Many blockchain projects opened themselves to criticism and regulatory scrutiny by raising money through so-called initial coin offerings last year. These fund-raising campaigns often brought in tens of millions of dollars in minutes with little regulatory oversight.

But new blockchain efforts continue apace, motivated in no small part by concerns about the emergence of internet giants like Facebook and YouTube.

Most of the biggest internet companies make their money from collecting personal information and using it to sell targeted advertisements. This kind of massive data collection makes them vulnerable to hackers and outsiders who want to leverage the data -- as was evident when Cambridge Analytica improperly gained access to 50 million Facebook profiles. And start-ups are using the blockchain in an attempt to pry control of all that data out of their hands.

iehi-feed-63824 Mon, 02 Apr 2018 18:27:52 GMT Dow drops 700 points as Amazon tumbles, trade war fears rise The Dow dropped more than 700 points and the Nasdaq plunged 3% on Monday. All three major indexes are now in the red for the year.

The sell-off on the first day of the second quarter came after President Trump once again attacked Amazon on Twitter. Amazon, one of the biggest drivers of the 2017 market rally, tumbled 5%, wiping out more than $37 billion of its market value.

Trump once again accused Amazon of taking advantage of the US Postal Service, and he suggested that Amazon does not pay its fair share of tax.

In fact, Amazon pays the same lower rate that the post office charges other bulk shippers, and it collects sales tax in every state that charges it. Amazon does not collect sales tax on purchases made from third-party vendors.

iehi-feed-63822 Mon, 02 Apr 2018 12:09:16 GMT Disney Cruise Ship Employee Sentenced to Prison For Embezzling $260,000 iehi-feed-63810 Thu, 29 Mar 2018 15:28:07 GMT Musk may have misstepped with Tesla by fetishizing total automation "When it comes to auto production, Elon may have fallen in love with the wrong thing. He's fallen in love with robots and automation," Max Warburton, European autos analyst at Bernstein, said in a Wednesday report.

"There is a body of academic and practitioner research on" how automation is often contrary to the principles of lean production, Warburton said. "It appears [as] though Tesla has chosen to ignore it. Or perhaps Tesla is convinced it's out of date, in an age of better sensors and computers."

iehi-feed-63807 Wed, 28 Mar 2018 20:34:40 GMT Judge rejects Trump push to dismiss emoluments lawsuit A federal judge on Wednesday rejected President Trump's push to dismiss a lawsuit accusing him of violating the Constitution by collecting profits from his luxury hotel in the nation's capital.  U.S. District Court Judge Peter Messitte shot down the Justice Department's request to dismiss the lawsuit, which argued the plaintiffs had no legal standing to sue. The judge, based in Greenbelt, Md., said he will schedule another hearing to weigh the administration's other claims. 

The decision is a blow to Trump, who has long claimed that his business arrangements are legal and do not pose a conflict of interest. 

Critics say that Trump is violating the emoluments clause, which bans presidents from receiving gifts or payments from foreign governments without Congress's explicit approval.

After the 2016 election, Trump broke with precedent by refusing to divest in his businesses. The then-president elect instead placed his assets in a trust controlled by his two adult sons.

Ethics watchdogs say the president is violating the clause every time his hotels or golf courses receive payments from foreign governments because Trump still owns his stake in them.

The Trump Organization has said it would donate all profits from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury. Last month, the Treasury Department said it received a check from the business meant to cover last year, but would not confirm the check's amount or date.

Messitte sided with attorneys general in Washington, D.C., and Maryland who argued they have standing to sue because other hotels in the region must compete with the Trump International Hotel for business. 

It's still a conflict of interest even if Trump returns every penny of profits.

iehi-feed-63799 Mon, 26 Mar 2018 20:33:20 GMT Trump Backs off Trade Hard-Line, To Markets' Delight iehi-feed-63798 Mon, 26 Mar 2018 14:58:05 GMT FBI Had Pulse Shooter in 2013 Probe, Then Informant Dad Stepped In, Court Documents Claim iehi-feed-63790 Fri, 23 Mar 2018 21:39:51 GMT An X-ray of the stock market reveals a bad prognosis iehi-feed-63788 Fri, 23 Mar 2018 18:43:59 GMT Trump Signs Spending Bill, Reversing Veto Threat and Avoiding Government Shutdown President Trump signed a $1.3 trillion spending bill into law on Friday, avoiding a government shutdown that had suddenly become a possibility when the president vented angrily on Twitter about his frustration with the bipartisan legislation.

The president abruptly backed down from his threat to veto the spending bill in a head-spinning four hours at the White House that left both political parties in Washington reeling and his own aides bewildered about Mr. Trump's contradictory actions.


the president was most angry about the lack of funding in the bill for a massive wall on the nation's southern border that he has billed as the centerpiece of his crackdown on illegal immigrants. The measure includes nearly $1.6 billion for border security -- including new technology and repairs to existing barriers -- but not Mr. Trump's wall, as he claimed on Twitter on Wednesday. It provides $641 million for about 33 miles of fencing, but prohibits building a concrete structure or other prototypes the president has considered, and allocates the rest of the funding for new aircraft, sensors and surveillance technology.


If Mr. Trump were to have rejected the new spending bill, he would have defied Republican and Democratic leaders alike.

The president's apparent change of heart came as a surprise but hardly a shock to Republican leaders, who spent much of a snowy Wednesday privately imploring an agitated Mr. Trump to put aside his objections and back the measure, claiming it as a win.

That proved difficult for the president, and not only because of the dearth of wall funding. The measure itself dealt a broad rebuke to his vision for reordering the size and scope of government, rebuffing his efforts to gut many domestic programs even as it provided the sizable military spending increase that Mr. Trump wanted.


Over the weekend, the White House offered to extend protections for hundreds of thousands of current DACA recipients for two and a half years, with no guarantee beyond that time, in exchange for $25 billion for the border wall, according to congressional aides.

Democrats countered by saying they would agree to the full $25 billion only if the president agreed to a pathway to citizenship for a much broader population of young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, well over a million people -- a deal that was similar to an earlier offer from Mr. Trump.

The White House rejected the Democratic offer.

iehi-feed-63782 Wed, 21 Mar 2018 23:05:10 GMT Mark Zuckerberg's Silence on Cambridge Analytica Has Done Irreversible Damage iehi-feed-63781 Wed, 21 Mar 2018 22:59:02 GMT Breitbart's readership plunges The site dropped from 15 million unique visitors in October, per comScore, to 13.7 million in November, 9.9 million in December, 8.5 million in January and 7.8 million in February.


There are several potential causes for Breitbart's troubles, including changes to Facebook's news-feed algorithm, amped up investment in digital by Fox News, and the shifting status of Bannon. Once Trump's campaign chairman, White House strategist and closest ally, Bannon left the administration in August and returned to Breitbart, only to be forced out by the site's board after he criticized Trump and his family in Michael Wolff's book "Fire and Fury." Without its driving force, Breitbart has struggled to find a clear identity. And after a significantly diminished presence at this year's CPAC conference, there is a growing sense its influence is on the wane.

iehi-feed-63778 Wed, 21 Mar 2018 21:48:44 GMT Trump's China syndrome could melt down Washington trade Alcoa opposed the tariffs out concern for its customers in a complex, global supply chain. Also, so far Canada (the largest steel exporter to the United States) and Mexico are exempt, and Chinese steel imports are tiny. Foreign aluminum is flooding in to beat the tariff date. So much for the "easy to win" part of the president's statement.


According to the Wall Street Journal, Beijing is promising a retaliation that is "measured and proportional." Let's hope one adult is in the room. But these things have a way of spinning out of control.

The Journal story has Chinese sources saying countervailing tariffs would be aimed at Trump's base in the Farm Belt. But these could easily affect Washington's vital agricultural sector, too.

Of course, the big enchilada here is Boeing, Washington's export king and a company already hugely dependent on China as a customer -- and facing competition from Airbus and a nascent, homegrown Chinese commercial aviation industry. If things spin out of control, even a little, Beijing can inflict enormous damage by steering orders away from Boeing. That would put the lie to the "trade wars are good" segment of the presidential tweet.

iehi-feed-63772 Tue, 20 Mar 2018 17:05:56 GMT Repubs May Be At Dems Mercy To Fix Mistakes In Rushed Tax Bill As Politico reports, within the first two months of the tax law taking effect, dozens of mistakes have cropped up, some which could either assist or harm entire classes of taxpayers.

For example, a lack of clarity could allow hedge funds and private equity firms to sidestep a provision that would prevent them from counting earnings from their investments as capital gains instead of income--commonly known as the "carried interest" loophole, as capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than income--unless they held the investments for at least three years. The law exempts corporations from this rule but doesn't specify what kind of corporations, leading hedge fund managers to rush to Delaware to create LLCs to duck the new restriction.


In other words, Republicans recklessly passed a bill with all kinds of drafting mistakes, and now they want Democrats to agree to help them solve the problems. Democrats, on the other hand, were shut out of the entire process of the tax law and may not feel inclined to lend their votes to make it work better. Some have suggested that if Republicans want the fixes so badly, they should open up the entire law to changes.

iehi-feed-63764 Sat, 17 Mar 2018 00:35:23 GMT The Rise and Fall of Elizabeth Holmes and the Black Turtleneck With her blond hair and lipstick, her uniform set her apart from the hoodie pack as well as the suits, and made that Jobsian connection, giving her an aura of cool in the way that he was cool (and Apple is cool) but that most digi-geeks are not, when viewed by the non-digi world.

But such an individual uniform has a risk if you don't live up to the promise. In the end, it's the substance behind the style that makes the difference; what you wear becomes its expression. So already, what was once the symbol of her dedication has become the symbol of the backlash, as the revisionism has begun, with various columnists berating themselves for not "looking behind the black turtleneck."

Even on social media, it has not gone unnoticed.


In the same way that Gordon Gekko's suspenders and Michael Milken's toupee became symbols of their greed, Ms. Holmes's black turtleneck is starting to seem less a brilliant frame than a false front; a carefully calculated costume that fooled everyone into assuming she was more brilliant than she was; a symbol of hubris rather than success.

Those who live by the turtleneck, die by the turtleneck. It's enough to make the otherwise derided pantsuit look like the ... well, smart choice.