Implode-Explode Heavy Industries news feed http://implode-explode.com/ Tracking the many faces of the global credit implosion. en-us iehi-feed-65200 Mon, 24 Feb 2020 22:20:28 GMT Dow sinks 1,000 points as pandemic fears rattle Wall Street http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-02-24_Dowsinks1000pointsaspandemicfearsrattleWallStreet.html iehi-feed-65199 Mon, 24 Feb 2020 15:58:09 GMT Trump's Seedy & Dysfunctional Relationship With Deutsche Bank: Over $1.7bln In Defaults--$1bln To Outside Bond Investors http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-02-24_TrumpsSeedyDysfunctionalRelationshipWithDeutscheBankOver17blnInD.html iehi-feed-65193 Wed, 19 Feb 2020 22:37:47 GMT Extradition Revelation: Trump Offered Assange Pardon if He Covered Up Russian Hack http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-02-19_ExtraditionRevelationTrumpOfferedAssangePardonifHeCoveredUpRussi.html A lawyer for Julian Assange has claimed in court that President Trump offered to pardon Assange if the WikiLeaks founder agreed to help cover up Russia's involvement in hacking emails from the Democratic National Committee. Assange's lawyers said on Wednesday that former Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher offered Assange the deal in 2017, a year after emails that damaged Hillary Clinton in the presidential race had been published.

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Assange has argued that he should not be extradited to the U.S. because the American case against him is politically motivated... His lawyers told the court that Trump's alleged offer to pardon Assange proved that this was no ordinary criminal investigation.

Edward Fitzgerald, who was representing Assange in court, said he had evidence that a quid pro quo was put to Assange by Rohrabacher, who was known as Putin's favorite congressman.

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iehi-feed-65185 Mon, 10 Feb 2020 04:20:48 GMT Real pay data show Trump's 'blue collar boom' is more of a bust for US workers: in 3 charts http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-02-09_RealpaydatashowTrumpsbluecollarboomismoreofabustforUSworkersin3c.html iehi-feed-65182 Fri, 07 Feb 2020 15:34:19 GMT FT Report: $2B of "Middle Eastern" Money Lies in Kushner Bailout With Secretive Behemoth Brookfield http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-02-07_FTReport2BofMiddleEasternMoneyLiesinKushnerBailoutWithSecretiveB.html On a busy stretch of Manhattan's Fifth Avenue a few blocks south of Trump Tower, a decaying skyscraper stands as a rebuke to the $1.8bn deal that Jared Kushner helped his family sign a decade ago, at the age of 26. It was the most expensive New York office purchase in history, and for a time it looked likely to sink the Kushners' business. Steve Roth, the billionaire who co-owned 666 Fifth Avenue, lamented it would "be worth a lot more if it was just dirt".By 2016, Mr Kushner was searching for a way out. Destined for a top job in his father-in-law's White House the following year, he found plenty of people to talk to, but no one who was buying. Discussions with Anbang, the Chinese insurance group, came to a halt some time before its flashy chairman Wu Xiaohui landed in a Chinese jail. The Qatari finance minister Ali Shareef al-Emadi met Mr Kushner's father in 2017, although Charles Kushner has said he took the appointment "out of respect" and stressed there could be no deal.Then, with months to go before $1.2bn of mortgage payments fell due in February 2019, the Kushners won a reprieve -- one that looked nothing like a favour from a foreign state. It was an investment from financial group Brookfield, which leased the building whole, paying nearly a century of rent in advance.

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To unpack the Canadian group's accounts is to discover not so much a company as a giant, triangular jigsaw board that spreads across the world and covers assets worth $500bn. The pieces are hundreds of corporate entities, all locked together by elaborate contracts, which give 40 people at the top the right to rule huge sections of the puzzle almost as if it were their own. Those insiders wield such power that the companies below them could face risks similar to those of "pyramid control companies", according to a draft investor disclosure that Brookfield filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2013. (The final version warned instead of risks "associated with a separation of economic interest from control".)

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The known links between Qatar and Brookfield all converge on the investment group's listed property fund BPY. About one-tenth of the fund's assets are tied up in skyscrapers in Canary Wharf and Manhattan that are co-owned by Qatar, but the connection goes further. Through a sovereign wealth fund, Doha is one of BPY's biggest investors, holding $1.8bn worth of BPY preferred equity. The securities have a debtlike quality, and Qatar can force BAM to buy them back for $1.8bn over the next six years.In theory, Qatar has significant influence over BPY. It is entitled to choose one person to sit on BPY's board, and to receive confidential information that other investors never see. Brookfield says the kingdom has never exercised either of those rights. (The Qatar Investment Authority declined to comment.) Both sides have previously indicated that, when Brookfield was negotiating a $1.3bn lease on 666 Fifth Avenue, a building that Charles Kushner had discussed with the Qataris the previous year, the kingdom was not involved.No matter who made the decision or knew about it, rescuing the Kushners strikes some real estate investors as ill-advised.

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In the public accounts of BPY, the listed property fund that received Qatari investment, 666 Fifth Avenue has already all but disappeared. Last January, BPY lost control of BSREP III, the private vehicle that owns the building, after reducing its stake to $1bn. New investors piled in, each taking a piece of the Kushner tower, and lifting the private fund's firepower to $15bn.That influx of cash has not made the tower's ownership any more transparent. A handful of US pension funds have acknowledged their participation, but few other investors have been identified publicly. Knowledgeable people insist that no Qatari money is involved. Materials reviewed by the FT show that about $3bn of the total comes from sovereign governments, although they do not specify which ones, and $2bn of it from the Middle East, although the document does not say exactly where.

So, despite claims to the contrary, Qatari money was indeed involved in "bootstrapping" the Kushner bailout (based on God knows what geopolitical pressure). Now a bunch of other anonymous investors have taken their place and piled on, but admittedly, as $3 bln from sovereign governments, $2 bln from the Middle East. The potential conflicts of interest with US foreign policy are unknown (and, given recent experiences with the Trump administration, constitute a realistic, if not critical, concern).

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iehi-feed-65176 Sun, 02 Feb 2020 17:12:51 GMT Slow GDP Growth Undermines Trump "Success" Claims http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-02-02_SlowGDPGrowthUnderminesTrumpSuccessClaims.html iehi-feed-65173 Fri, 31 Jan 2020 01:19:35 GMT "Opportunity Zones" Tax Break Being Investigated For Sweetheart Approvals To Trump Allies http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-01-30_OpportunityZonesTaxBreakBeingInvestigatedForSweetheartApprovalsT.html A federal tax break meant to help poor communities that became a windfall for wealthy investors is being investigated by the Treasury Department, the agency's deputy inspector general said on Wednesday.

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The legislation, part of the 2017 tax overhaul, is supposed to encourage new investment in poor neighborhoods, leading to new housing, businesses and jobs. However, wealthy investors are piling into the initiative, including developers with ties to the Trump administration.

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In October, The Times described how the financier Michael Milken stood to benefit from a move the Treasury Department made over the objections of some agency officials to permit a census tract in Nevada to qualify for the Opportunity Zone tax break. Mr. Milken is a longtime friend of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's.

"Despite these warnings from staff, Secretary Mnuchin instructed Treasury officials to allow the otherwise ineligible tract to qualify for the incentive," the lawmakers wrote in seeking the inquiry. "If the Treasury Department provided a stamp of approval as a political favor, it is not only unacceptable, but in complete violation of the congressional intent of the Opportunity Zones."

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Other potential beneficiaries of the Opportunity Zone tax break, The Times reported last year, were billionaire financiers like Leon Cooperman; Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor; Richard LeFrak, a New York real estate titan who is close to the president; and the family of Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser.

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iehi-feed-65166 Fri, 24 Jan 2020 20:23:57 GMT Someone Made A Killing on Futures Contracts In Advance of Solemani's (Actual) Killing (A KIND OF "LEAK" TRUMP LIKES??) http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-01-24_SomeoneMadeAKillingonFuturesContractsInAdvanceofSolemanisActualK.html iehi-feed-65163 Thu, 23 Jan 2020 18:35:30 GMT Did Donald and Ivanka Trump plunder inauguration funds? Suit filed by D.C. AG says 'yes' http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-01-23_DidDonaldandIvankaTrumpplunderinaugurationfundsSuitfiledbyDCAGsa.html The civil complaint, filed on behalf of the District of Columbia by D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, details the objections of staffers to exorbitant pricing for the use of Trump's Washington, D.C., hotel ballroom space

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Trump's inaugural committee agreed to a contract that would enrich the Trumps at a rate of $175,000 per day--more than twice the amount per day that Wolkoff told Ivanka and Rick Gates, the deputy to the inaugural chairman, should be paid--for the use of their own space. According to the lawsuit, the charges included rental fees for days when the Trumps weren't throwing any events.

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The stories of financial fraud carried out by Trump and his inaugural committee have slowly dribbled out over the past couple of years. Big-ticket items are being investigated by federal prosecutors in New York, with subpoenas getting sent out as investigators try to figure out how all of this money, around $107 million from private "donors," was being spent, and who was pocketing it.

The complaint asks that at least one million dollars be put into a trust and "be restored to a proper public purpose by directing the funds to another nonprofit entity dedicated to promoting civic engagement of the citizens of the United States of America."

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iehi-feed-65157 Wed, 22 Jan 2020 01:47:36 GMT US-China deal is a disaster, former White House economist says http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2020-01-21_USChinadealisadisasterformerWhiteHouseeconomistsays.html "While this deal is great in the sense that it has calmed things, additional tariffs aren't going on, aside from that the deal is essentially a disaster. It doesn't address any of the systemic issues," Chad Bown, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said.

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200 billion in U.S. goods over the next two years, as part of the deal. President Donald Trump, who addressed the Davos forum earlier on Tuesday, said the number of purchases could end up closer to $300 billion.

"These are unrealistic numbers, which puts the whole viability of the deal into question," Bown said, adding that the only way to reach these figures is by diverting trade away from other countries, such as soy beans away from Brazil and fish away from Canada.

Among the additional purchases of U.S. goods, China has committed to buy at least $40 billion worth of American farming products. However, a leading commodities expert at Goldman Sachs casted doubts over whether China will manage to do that. Speaking to CNBC earlier this month Jeff Currie said "there is still a lot of uncertainty about how you would achieve $40 (billion) or potentially even $50 billion of agricultural purchases."

Note that in almost every previous, when Trump announced a big "investment" in the US, it either (a) didn't materialize in anywhere near the scale touted, or (b) was simply re-counting some other investment that was already planned or in-process. Thus, this critique is worrying.

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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