New York City and State are becoming anti-magnets for younger people seeking opportunity. From Kristin Tate at thehillcom:
Are you a young person thinking of moving to a happening city? Chances are New York is not even on your list of potential hotspots, and if you are already living there, then you are looking for a way out. The last dividends of 20 years of leadership under Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg are being squandered by well intentioned but increasingly radical policies.
Dragging business practices, skyrocketing taxes, telecommuting, and loss of special status is a toxic mix for New York. Among young people, New York is becoming passe. During recent years, both the city and the state of New York have lost residents, as waves of educated and high earning millennials have fled. In fact, more than 46 percent of New Yorkers of all ages moving out of the state are in the bracket earning above $150,000.
The Empire State budget is in near freefall, in no small part due to lower revenue from middle class and upper class workers, while growing stateslike Texas and Florida are in surplus. Governor Andrew Cuomo noted a $2.3 billion hole in the state budget earlier this year, caused largely by oppressive policies that have gutted the local population and economy. More than 450,000 people moved out of New York in the last year alone.
The world’s central banks keep spiking the punch bowl. From Sven Henrich at northmantrader.com:
In lieu of my weekly technical update this opinion piece instead: The free money whores are back again. Harsh? Perhaps. Untrue? Not really. As I’ve stated before our market system is broken, central banks, originally created to save economies from disasters have now become the prime movers in preventing so much as a cold propagating free money socialism for the top 1%. Indeed after a series of financial panics (particularly the panic of 1907) the Fed was created in 1913 for central control of the monetary system in order to alleviate financial crises. Now they are in the business of managing markets full time, all the time and have become the primary focal point of price discovery.
It is self evident:
According to Jay Powell the Fed’s primary mission is now to “sustain the economic expansion.” I’ve never used the term “manipulation” before, but let’s just be clear what “sustain the economic expansion” really means: To prevent natural market forces from taking hold. That’s manipulation.
Business cycles are natural. They serve a purpose, they lay the foundation for new growth, they weed out the excess, they permit for a reset of an aging expansion, for a renewed flourishing of innovation, new solutions, creativity, and yes growth.
The second order effect of shutting down the Strait of Hormuz would be to collapse huge derivatives market. From Pepe Escobar at strategic-culture.org:
Sooner or later the US “maximum pressure” on Iran would inevitably be met by “maximum counter-pressure”. Sparks are ominously bound to fly.
For the past few days, intelligence circles across Eurasia had been prodding Tehran to consider a quite straightforward scenario. There would be no need to shut down the Strait of Hormuz if Quds Force commander, General Qasem Soleimani, the ultimate Pentagon bête noire, explained in detail, on global media, that Washington simply does not have the military capacity to keep the Strait open.
would destroy the American economy by detonating the $1.2 quadrillion derivatives market; and that would collapse the world banking system, crushing the world’s $80 trillion GDP and causing an unprecedented depression.
Soleimani should also state bluntly that Iran may in fact shut down the Strait of Hormuz if the nation is prevented from exporting essential two million barrels of oil a day, mostly to Asia. Exports, which before illegal US sanctions and de facto blockade would normally reach 2.5 million barrels a day, now may be down to only 400,000.
The Do No Evil company just keeps getting more evil. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
Google’s Chrome is essentially spy software according to Washington Posttech columnist Geoffrey Fowler, who spent a week analyzing the popular browser and concluded that it “looks a lot like surveillance software.”
Fowler has since switched to Mozilla’s Firefox because of its default privacy settings, and says that it was easier than one might imagine.
My tests of Chrome vs. Firefox unearthed a personal data caper of absurd proportions. In a week of Web surfing on my desktop, I discovered 11,189 requests for tracker “cookies” that Chrome would have ushered right onto my computer but were automatically blocked by Firefox. These little files are the hooks that data firms, including Google itself, use to follow what websites you visit so they can build profiles of your interests, income and personality.
Chrome welcomed trackers even at websites you would think would be private. I watched Aetna and the Federal Student Aid website set cookies for Facebook and Google. They surreptitiously told the data giants every time I pulled up the insurance and loan service’s log-in pages.
And that’s not the half of it.
Look in the upper right corner of your Chrome browser. See a picture or a name in the circle? If so, you’re logged in to the browser, and Google might be tapping into your Web activity to target ads. Don’t recall signing in? I didn’t, either. Chrome recently started doing that automatically when you use Gmail. –Washington Post
Opioids may be the next asbestos or tobacco for state attorney generals. From Chris McGreal at theguardian.com:
Oklahoma is holding the drug giant with the family-friendly image responsible for its addiction epidemic
Day after day, the memos flashing across screens in an Oklahoma courtroom have jarred with the family-friendly public image of Johnson & Johnson, the pharmaceutical giant best known for baby powder and Band-Aid.
In one missive, a sales representative dismissed a doctor’s fears that patients might become addicted to the company’s opioid painkillers by telling him those who didn’t die probably wouldn’t get hooked. Another proposes targeting sales of the powerfully addictive drugs at those most at risk: men under 40.
As the state of Oklahoma’s multibillion-dollar lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson has unfolded over the past month, the company has struggled to explain marketing strategies its accusers say dangerously misrepresented the risk of opioid addiction to doctors, manipulated medical research, and helped drive an epidemic that has claimed 400,000 lives over the past two decades.
I intentionally start writing this mere minutes away from Fed chair Jay Powell’s latest comments. Intentionally, because the importance ascribed to those comments only means we have gotten so far removed from what capitalism and free markets are supposed to be about, that it’s pathetic. The comments mean something for rich socialists, but nothing for the man in the street. Or, rather, they mean that the man in the street will get screwed worse for longer.
And it’s not just the Fed, all central banks have it and do it. They play around with rates and definitions and semantics until the cows can never come home again. And they have such levels of control over their respective societies and economies that the mere use of the word “markets” should result in loud and unending ridicule. There are no markets, because there is no price discovery, the Fed and ECB and BOJ got it all covered. Any downside risks, that is.
But it doesn’t, because the people who pretend they’re in those markets hang on central banks’ every word for their meal tickets. These are the same people we once knew as traders and investors, but who today function only as rich socialists sucking the Fed’s teats for ever more mother’s milk.
The situation in Brazil isn’t getting a lot of attention in the US media, but a recent report in The Intercept made people sit up and take notice. From Pepe Escobar at consortiumnews.com:
The Intercept‘s bombshell about Brazilian corruption is being ludicrously spun by the country’s media and military as a “Russian conspiracy,” writes Pepe Escobar
It was a leak, not a hack. Yes: Brazilgate, unleashed by a series of game-changing bombshells published by The Intercept, may be turning into a tropical Russiagate.
The Intercept’s Deep Throat – an anonymous source — has finally revealed in detail what anyone with half a brain in Brazil already knew: that the judicial/lawfare machinery of the one-sided Car Wash anti-corruption investigation was in fact a massive farce and criminal racket bent on accomplishing four objectives.
Create the conditions for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff in 2016 and the subsequent ascension of her VP, elite-manipulated puppet, Michel Temer.
Justify the imprisonment of former president Lula in 2018 – just as he was set to win the latest presidential election in a landslide.
Facilitate the ascension of the Brazilian extreme-right via Steve Bannon asset (he calls him “Captain”) Jair Bolsonaro.
Install former judge Sergio Moro as a justice minister on steroids capable of enacting a sort of Brazilian Patriot Act – heavy on espionage and light on civil liberties.
Moro, side by side with prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, who was leading the Public Ministry’s 13-strong task force, are the vigilante stars of the lawfare racket. Over the past four years, hyper-concentrated Brazilian mainstream media, floundering in a swamp of fake news, duly glorified these two as Captain Marvel-worthy national heroes. Hubris finally caught up with the swamp.
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