Implode-Explode Heavy Industries news feed http://implode-explode.com/ Tracking the many faces of the global credit implosion. en-us iehi-feed-65139 Fri, 03 Jan 2020 00:23:02 GMT Merry Griftmas, Mr. Trump! http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-01-02_MerryGriftmasMrTrump.html President Trump is already rich and famous and inclined to treat the federal government like his own personal toy chest. What on earth can you get a guy like this?

Attorney General Bill Barr seems to have hit upon the perfect solution. On Sunday, Mr. Barr is hosting a "Family Holiday Party" for 200 of his closest friends at the Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington. The annual soiree, which Mr. Barr is paying for himself, is expected to deliver the president's business around $30,000. According to the Justice Department, the attorney general went with the Trump property only after other venues fell through, and he is not -- repeat, not -- looking to curry favor with his boss.

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Whatever your price point, nothing says, "Thanks for being such a swell leader!" quite like shoveling gold into the Trump family vault.

Admittedly, Mr. Barr is not the first Trump courtier to discover the charms of the president's properties. Congress members, lobbyists, foreign officials, Republican political candidates and party organizations -- the parade of people making pilgrimages is long and distinguished. Since 2017, watchdog groups and social media accounts have tracked visits to Trump properties by at least 90 members of Congress, 250 Trump administration officials (including 24 cabinet members) and more than 110 foreign officials from around 60 countries.

These visitors have done their part to help shore up the Trump Organization's bottom line. As The Times noted in September, Federal Election Commission records show that "since January 2017, at least $5.6 million has been spent at Trump properties by political candidates or party organizations, including by Mr. Trump's own political operation, according to an analysis by Public Citizen." By contrast, "In the four years before Mr. Trump's bid for president, these same hotels and other venues collected a total of only $119,000 in federally regulated payments from political groups."

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iehi-feed-65134 Wed, 01 Jan 2020 15:09:57 GMT Iraqis storm embassy, another sign of U.S. failure in Middle East http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-01-01_IraqisstormembassyanothersignofUSfailureinMiddleEast.html Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg have raised the issue because Joe Biden makes much of his foreign policy expertise. But as a senator, he voted for the invasion. Sanders voted against it, and Buttigieg thinks it relevant that Biden "supported the worst foreign policy decision made by the United States in my lifetime."

Mayor Pete is too kind. The Iraq War was the worst foreign policy decision made by the United States in anyone's lifetime. Over time, our leaders have made it even worse. And its effects have billowed like a toxic cloud over the national landscape, where they will foul our politics for years to come.

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iehi-feed-65133 Wed, 01 Jan 2020 14:58:56 GMT Ghosn With The Wind (Instrument?): Ex-Nissan Boss Escapes Detention in Japan in Outlandish Plot http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-01-01_GhosnWithTheWindInstrumentExNissanBossEscapesDetentioninJapaninO.html ``One Lebanese TV channel - MTV - reported that Mr Ghosn had fled his court-approved residence in Tokyo with the assistance of a paramilitary group who were disguised amongst a band of musicians.

It said the band had performed at his house and, shortly after they had finished, the 65-year-old hid himself in a large musical instrument case which was then hurried to a local airport. If this really happened, it may have been a tight squeeze even for Mr Ghosn, whose height is reported at 5ft 6in (167cm).

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The newspaper, which cited a number of unidentified sources, said a team was carefully assembled to carry out the plot. The group reportedly included accomplices in Japan who transported Mr Ghosn from his house and onto a private jet bound for Istanbul. From there, he continued his journey to Beirut where he arrived in the early hours of 30 December.

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iehi-feed-65121 Sun, 22 Dec 2019 15:12:12 GMT After Supreme Court homeless ruling, housing is now the only option http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-12-22_AfterSupremeCourthomelessrulinghousingisnowtheonlyoption.html The U.S. Supreme Court decided against hearing an appeal of the landmark case City of Boise vs. Martin, letting stand a ruling that amounts to a broad curb on police powers in California and eight other states to stop people from sleeping on public property if no other shelter is available.

In doing so, the justices took yet another tool out of the municipal toolkit for preventing people from building sprawling encampments that increasingly clog their sidewalks and streets.

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In the past, such efforts have been slow throughout much of California, and often have been met with resistance from local government officials and neighborhood groups. But, for now, it is the only way.

"Our hope is that communities won't be nickel-and-diming this decision and figuring out the bare minimum so they can be legally compliant," said Eric Tars, an attorney with the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, who worked on the initial Boise case and represented several of the plaintiffs involved in the challenge. "We hope they take this opportunity to alter a completely unsuccessful way of dealing with homelessness."

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iehi-feed-65117 Wed, 18 Dec 2019 23:03:27 GMT It's Boris Johnson's Britain Now http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-12-18_ItsBorisJohnsonsBritainNow.html iehi-feed-65111 Sun, 15 Dec 2019 20:53:51 GMT Trump's 'big deal with China' isn't big, isn't a deal, and isn't real http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-12-15_TrumpsbigdealwithChinaisntbigisntadealandisntreal.html The agricultural purchases required in the agreement are both vague and clearly far too small to restore even the conditions that existed before Trump's actions sent China looking to South America and other regions to replace goods they would have previously purchased from America. In 2019, farm debt topped $416 billion--absolutely swamping the scale of Trump's "enormous deal," even when including non-agricultural products. 

Even as bankruptcy is up 24% in a single year, Trump is telling America's farmers that it's time to buy "much larger tractors" to generate all the grain required by this deal. Trump says that he expects China to buy $50 billion of U.S. agricultural products. That $50 billion figure is one that Trump has deployed before. It's just that the date keeps shifting. And shifting. That number is imaginary, but the exploding farm debt and bankruptcies are very real.

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In fact, Trump's massively hyped trade deal is such a preliminary step that it's not even getting rid of the tariffs he's put in place. The 25% tariff on over $250 billion of Chinese products is untouched, while the 15% tariff that was placed on another $150 billion in goods is dropping to 7.5%. Or, 7.5% higher than they were in September--which is not a great sign that a trade war has "ended."

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iehi-feed-65108 Sat, 14 Dec 2019 03:52:09 GMT Lofgren: This Is the Third Impeachment I've Worked On. It's by Far the Most Serious http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-12-13_LofgrenThisIstheThirdImpeachmentIveWorkedOnItsbyFartheMostSeriou.html I'll never forget the impact on Representative Chuck Wiggins--one of the most vigorous defenders of President Richard Nixon--when he confronted the fact that Nixon had lied to him. And I'll never forget when my boss at the time explained impeachment to his colleagues by saying how "[our founders] recognized the frightening power that the president has, that we give the president, and the grave danger to the republic should he abuse it."

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I can say with certainty that if a Democratic president did what Trump very clearly appears to have done, I would be over at the White House saying, "You should resign."

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iehi-feed-65106 Thu, 12 Dec 2019 18:01:34 GMT Despite No-Love From Trump, Jerome Powell is (still) propping up Trump's economy http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-12-12_DespiteNoLoveFromTrumpJeromePowellisstillproppingupTrumpseconomy.html Powell, addressing reporters after the Fed's final meeting of a turbulent decade, predicted smoother sailing next year as Trump gears up to face voters. He said monetary policymakers "expect moderate growth to continue," at a slowed but still healthy 2% pace. Indeed, the Fed's official statement - accompanying the announcement it is holding the benchmark interest rate steady between 1.5 and 1.75% - dropped its mention of "uncertainties" facing the economic outlook.

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Powell's presentation marked a heel turn from earlier this year. Stocks tanked in July after Powell described the Fed's first interest rate cut in a decade as a "mid-cycle adjustment," because investors interpreted the remark as a signal the relief monetary policymakers were providing was only temporary. Now, however, "the cuts look much more permanent," Grant Thornton chief economist Diane Swonk wrote in a note. "The vote to hold rates unchanged was unanimous, the first time that all agreed on what the Fed should be doing since May 2019."

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"Markets liked Mr. Powell's assertion that he would want to see a 'significant' and 'persistent' increase in inflation before he would want to raise rates, and he again drew attention to the undershoot to the target in recent years," Pantheon Macroeconomics chief economist Ian Sheperdson wrote in a note. "Mr. Powell's view is not shared by all his colleagues, given that most of them expect rates to rise slightly over the next three years while core inflation is expected to be little changed. But markets put much more weight on the views of the Chair; that's probably the right approach."

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iehi-feed-65104 Thu, 12 Dec 2019 15:21:53 GMT Johnson and Corbyn Are Both Horrible Choices http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-12-12_JohnsonandCorbynAreBothHorribleChoices.html The two candidates are so alarming that, in an unprecedented intervention, former prime ministers from each of their parties have pleaded with voters to block them. Tony Blair and John Major have urged tactical votes against Mr. Corbyn and Mr. Johnson. Everywhere, exhausted, disillusioned, skeptical voters debate who is worse. British politics has never known anything like it.

These very different men share remarkable, unflattering similarities. Each is ill briefed, hazy on the facts and implications of his policy proposals, uneasy under scrutiny and belligerent when challenged.

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Mr. Corbyn may believe, delusional though it is, that he really can restructure British capitalism overnight without damaging the economy. His stubborn moral certainty means he's deceiving himself along with everybody else. Most politicians, of course, have ambitions beyond their competence and dreams they can't deliver.

Mr. Johnson is playing another game entirely. Amoral and power-hungry, he's lying with knowledge, calculation and abandon. He and his advisers have made a ruthless and sinister decision -- to subvert and smash up British political culture. They have learned from the successes of the Vote Leave campaign, which Mr. Johnson fronted, and, it seems, from Team Trump.

The old assumptions -- that truth matters, that lies shame the liar, that in a democracy the press and the public must have a right to interrogate those who seek the top jobs -- have all been swept aside by the Tories' conviction that in an inattentive, dissatisfied, cacophonous world, victory will go to the most compelling entertainer, the most plausible and shameless deceiver, the leader who can drill home a repetitive and seductive incantation. Facts and details will be irrelevant so long as voters feel a politician is on their side.

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iehi-feed-65103 Thu, 12 Dec 2019 04:55:17 GMT Broke billionaires (and other ridiculous signs of the top) http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-12-11_Brokebillionairesandotherridiculoussignsofthetop.html iehi-feed-65096 Thu, 05 Dec 2019 17:54:11 GMT The repo market is `broken' and Fed injections are not a lasting solution, market pros warn http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-12-05_TherepomarketisbrokenandFedinjectionsarenotalastingsolutionmarke.html "The big picture answer is that the repo market is broken," said James Bianco, founder of Bianco Research in Chicago, in an interview with MarketWatch. "They are essentially medicating the market into submission," he said. "But this is not a long-term solution."

This chart shows the more than $320 billion of total repo market support from the Fed since Sept. 17, when for the central bank began pumping in daily liquidity after overnight lending rates jumped to almost 10% from nearly 2%.

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The goal was to keep banks flush as they deal with month-end funding issues, corporate tax payments, and the deluge of Treasury debt being sold by the federal government to fund its deficit.

Shortly thereafter, former New York Fed markets group head Brian Sack, now director of global economics at hedge fund D.E. Shaw Group, coauthored an article saying that the Fed could get a better control of overnight rates if it were to boost banking system reserves by purchasing $250 billion of Treasury debt.

But the Fed's total support already has eclipsed that threshold with the expansion of daily operations, the introduction of longer-term loans, and its balance sheet expansion through monthly T-bill purchases.

"This is now far bigger than anyone thought this was going to be," Bianco said. "I think they're hoping the market will magically fix itself. I don't see why it would.

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"The Fed really hasn't figured out the problem," said Bryce Doty, a senior portfolio manager at Sit Fixed Income in Minneapolis. "But they kind of have created their own problem."

By that, Doty meant the Fed's rescue operations have worked in terms of supplying banks with quick and cheap funding, but less so when it comes to luring them back to funding each other.

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iehi-feed-65084 Thu, 21 Nov 2019 23:50:58 GMT The World May Have a Bigger Problem Than a Potential Recession http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-11-21_TheWorldMayHaveaBiggerProblemThanaPotentialRecession.html For OECD Chief Economist Laurence Boone, the worry is that the world could continue to suffer in the decades to come if authorities offer short-term fiscal and monetary fixes as the only response.

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The pessimism about the deep seated problems in the global economy contrasts with more upbeat signals coming from financial markets, where investors are increasingly betting on an upswing next year depending on the latest twists in trade talks.

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iehi-feed-65083 Thu, 21 Nov 2019 22:53:16 GMT Greece's Moria Refugee Camp: A European Failure http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-11-21_GreecesMoriaRefugeeCampAEuropeanFailure.html From up close, Moria is a chaotic mass of humanity. Built to house about 3,000 people, it is now home to more than 13,000 (including an estimated 1,000 unaccompanied minors)--more than it has ever held. They wait, sometimes for more than a year, for the slow wheels of Greek bureaucracy to turn, to review their asylum applications, to send them to the mainland for a decision. Winter is approaching, and many of these 13,000 live outside the camp's walls, in tents pitched on the surrounding hillsides, without electricity or running water, which are provided only inside the camp. NGOs, which lease the land for the tents, help run basic services and report atrocious conditions. Fights break out in the hours-long food lines. Women are afraid to use the toilets for fear of harassment. In September, a woman died in a deadly fire.

How did it come to this? Because Europe allowed it to come to this.

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What is Moria? It is where Europe's ideals--solidarity, human rights, a safe haven for victims of war and violence--dissolve in a tangle of bureaucracy, indifference, and lack of political will. It is the normalization of a humanitarian crisis. It is the moral failure of Europe.

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iehi-feed-65080 Wed, 20 Nov 2019 02:38:24 GMT The Future of Banking Is ... You're Broke | WIRED http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-11-19_TheFutureofBankingIsYoureBrokeWIRED.html Better banking isn't a bad idea, nor is it a tough sell. There's definitely an ambient frustration with the megabanks that have destroyed the global economy, bilked consumers with fake accounts and hidden terms, propped themselves up on the comfortable elbow of your overdraft fees, routinely discriminated against people of color, and on and on and on. I mean, there really should be a mission to take customers away from these companies. At minimum, it's smart to capitalize on all of this well-earned consumer rage.

Still, it's deeply depressing to attend a large gathering of executives, founders, and industry veterans, as I did at October's Money 20/20 conference, and hear the same, somber message repeated over and over again: The future of money will be predicated on the fact that the personal finances of the next generation are as fragile as a Fabergé egg. This, according to attendees and speakers, is both a problem and an opportunity. No one bothered mentioning that the sick state of the nation's finances isn't technology's problem to solve.

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iehi-feed-65073 Tue, 12 Nov 2019 20:54:12 GMT Trump, In Foamy-Mouthed Rant, Calls For Negative Interest Rates To "Boost Stock Market Another 25%" http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-11-12_TrumpInFoamyMouthedRantCallsForNegativeInterestRatesToBoostStock.html iehi-feed-65072 Mon, 11 Nov 2019 15:05:25 GMT Warren Would Take Billionaires Down a Few Billion Pegs http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-11-11_WarrenWouldTakeBillionairesDownaFewBillionPegs.html Forbes counts 607 American billionaires. A handful have stated that they support a moderate wealth tax. George Soros, Liesel Pritzker Simmons, Ian Simmons, Chris Hughes, Nick Hanauer and 13 other wealthy individuals signed a letter over the summer in support of such a tax.

"I definitely understand how that would make lots and lots of extremely rich people uncomfortable," said Mr. Hanauer, co-founder of a Seattle-based venture capital firm and an early investor in Amazon. "But I'm more worried about our democracy."

"Don't get me wrong," he added. "I would prefer 3 percent." But even at 6 percent, he said, "we would all survive and continue to be rich and fly around in our planes."

He pointed out that most Americans had been living with meager income growth for decades, while the silk-thin layer at the top shoveled in enormous gains, cumulatively more than 400 percent since 1980.

"All you're doing is saying to the richest percent of Americans that the rate of growth of your assets and wealth will now match what has happened to other Americans over the last 40 years," Mr. Hanauer said.

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iehi-feed-65068 Thu, 07 Nov 2019 23:29:23 GMT Donald Trump to pay $2 million to settle Trump Foundation "personal piggybank" case http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-11-07_DonaldTrumptopay2milliontosettleTrumpFoundationpersonalpiggybank.html iehi-feed-65065 Wed, 06 Nov 2019 23:47:20 GMT Founder of world's biggest hedge fund says ‘world has gone mad' with easy money and ‘system is broken' http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-11-06_Founderofworldsbiggesthedgefundsaysworldhasgonemadwitheasymoneya.html iehi-feed-65063 Wed, 06 Nov 2019 01:53:02 GMT The Self-Defeating Effects of New York's Redoubled Rent Control http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-11-05_TheSelfDefeatingEffectsofNewYorksRedoubledRentControl.html ``Rent regulation has insidious consequences. Unable to recoup their costs, landlords invest less. Conditions in buildings, especially those with lower-income tenants, worsen. Higher-income renters spend their own money on upkeep, and the additional costs wipe out much of the money they save from cheaper rent. "The benefits of rent control, from the tenant's standpoint, are likely to decline steadily over time," a 1997 study by the Department of Housing and Urban Development found.

What we're most concerned about is how rent regulation harms the very class of person it is designed to help -- the renter. (It's not so fundamentally bothersome that property values don't soar to endless heights -- after all, homes are ultimately places to live, first and foremost).

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iehi-feed-65061 Tue, 05 Nov 2019 19:00:06 GMT Worst May Be Over for Global Economy Amid Signs of Stabilization http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-11-05_WorstMayBeOverforGlobalEconomyAmidSignsofStabilization.html One key reason for the potential turn is the wave of interest-rate cuts from global central banks. Of the 57 institutions monitored by Bloomberg, more than half cut borrowing costs this year with the Fed doing so three times and the European Central Bank pushing its deposit rate further into negative territory. Rate cuts also operate with a lag so the positive effects of easier monetary policy have yet to fully flow through, meaning a further impulse likely awaits.

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Also driving sentiment is that President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping are on the cusp of signing "phase one" on a trade deal, which could be enough for global commerce to find a footing. China is reviewing locations in the U.S. where Xi would be willing to meet with Trump to sign a pact.

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"If the U.S.-Chinese trade escalates again, or if the U.S. starts a new trade war against the only other economy of almost equal size, the EU, it could all still go wrong," said Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank. "But in the absence of such new political shocks, chances are that the global downturn could peter out in early 2020 and make way for a modest upturn thereafter."

Back on the "no recession ever" yellow brick road... all it takes is financial meltdown-level central bank intervention...

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