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Obama, Kaine pile on Trump in scorching warm-up for closing night

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 22:24
President Obama and Tim Kaine tag-teamed to deliver a scorching warm-up Wednesday for Hillary Clinton to accept the party’s nomination for president at the Democratic convention, with the president accusing Republican Donald Trump of only offering “slogans” and “fear” – and Clinton’s newly tapped running mate almost upstaging the commander-in-chief with his gusty impression of the billionaire’s New Yawk bravado.

With all eyes on the Conventions, The Department of Justice is about to Issue a Major Decision Impacting Businesses Across the Country

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 20:35
Sen. Ted Cruz didnt show enough love to Trump at the RNC. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz gets canned from the DNC. Every time they say Hillarys name all the Bernie people boo. 2016-07-27T00:01:00-04:00 2016-07-28T01:35:20Z Steve Sherman

Interesting: The Clinton campaign seems to think Hillary’s yoga-related emails are matters of nat’l security

Michelle Malkin - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 20:00

**Written by Doug Powers

At a press conference Wednesday morning, Donald Trump said this about Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails:

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mr. Trump said during a news conference here in an apparent reference to Mrs. Clinton’s deleted emails. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

This is how the Clinton campaign responded:

In response to the Trump email suggestions, Clinton campaign senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan said this is probably the first time a major presidential candidate has encouraged “a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent.”

“That’s not hyperbole, those are just the facts,” Sullivan said in a statement. “This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.”

National security? In March of last year, here’s what Hillary said her deleted emails consisted of:

At the end, I chose not to keep my private personal emails — emails about planning Chelsea’s wedding or my mother’s funeral arrangements, condolence notes to friends as well as yoga routines, family vacations, the other things you typically find in inboxes.

Either the Clinton campaign fears Hillary’s thoughts on the Lotus position falling into the hands of Moscow could threaten national security, or she’s lying about what was in the “non work-related” emails she deleted. Gee, I wonder which it is.

And yes, the campaign of the woman who kept classified information on a very hackable homebrew server next to the dehumidifier and water softener in the basement actually accused somebody else of inviting foreign espionage. I’ve seen it all now!

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

Schumer urges Grayson to drop out of Senate race after abuse report

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 18:44
Senior Senate Democrat Charles Schumer has called on Rep. Alan Grayson to drop out of his Senate primary campaign in Florida following allegations of domestic abuse.

The Silver Lining in Comey’s Decision Not to Indict Hillary

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 18:35
The decision of FBI director James Comey not to indict Hillary Clinton should have been no surprise. 2016-07-27T00:01:00-04:00 2016-07-27T23:35:20Z Peter Ferrara

Bloomberg says Trump a 'dangerous demagogue,' endorses Clinton at DNC

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 17:53
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg formally endorsed Hillary Clinton Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention, saying it was "imperative" that voters back the former secretary of state over GOP nominee Donald Trump.

US board declines to release '20th hijacker' from Guantanamo

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 17:09
A board reviewing the status of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay has decided against releasing a Saudi who U.S. authorities believe narrowly avoided becoming one of the hijackers in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack.

Donald Trump hosts Reddit 'Ask Me Anything' during Democratic Convention

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 16:42
Republican nominee Donald Trump spent the third night of the Democratic National Convention Wednesday taking questions on the website Reddit, revealing which presidents he most admires and appealing to Bernie Sanders voters to back him in November.

Top federal regulator: 'She' will be president

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 15:41
A leading federal regulator appeared to signal her support for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid at a Tuesday event near the Democratic National Convention that also featured a senior adviser to the Clinton campaign.

Site for Obama's presidential library in Chicago chosen, source says

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 15:26
President Obama's presidential library will be built in the Jackson Park neighborhood of Chicago, a source familiar with the decision making process confirmed Wednesday to Fox News.

'Fox News Sunday' to present exclusive interview with Clinton on July 31

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 14:01
FOX News Sunday’s Chris Wallace will conduct an exclusive sit-down interview with Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to air Sunday July 31st, 2016.

Oops! Trump: Clinton's VP pick was bad New Jersey governor

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 13:35
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump took a shot Wednesday at Hillary Clinton's running mate, Democratic U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, for doing a terrible job as governor of New Jersey.

The “Home Storage” Precious Metals IRA Myth

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 12:35
The internet is full of websites promoting Home Storage Gold IRAs, Self Storage Gold IRAs, Home Delivery Gold IRAs, and other enticing captions that lead consumers to believe current law allows them to store gold and silver held in their IRAs at home. 2016-07-27T00:01:00-04:00 2016-07-27T17:35:20Z Mike Fuljenz

Lawmakers push to speed deportation of illegal immigrant criminals

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 11:49
Connecticut lawmakers introduced legislation Monday in Congress that would expedite the deportation of undocumented immigrants who have committed violent crimes in the U.S.

Obama's legacy on the line in Philly

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 11:48
Obama takes the stage tonight to try and do what no one has been able to so far.

Trump accuses convention-going Dems of ignoring ISIS, border security

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 11:45
Donald Trump on Wednesday accused Democrats attending their national convention of ignoring security issues ranging from border policies to the Islamic State, arguing a Hillary Clinton administration would only make the situation worse as security in Europe and beyond unravels.

Thiel's Republicans Depart from Reagan

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 11:35
The primetime airing of remarks of billionaire technology entrepreneur Peter Thiel at the Republican National Convention was no accident. 2016-07-27T00:01:00-04:00 2016-07-27T16:35:18Z Star Parker

Clinton, Trump and Third Party Candidate Possibilities Create More Financial Uncertainty – Part 1

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 11:35
Due to events surrounding the U.S. Presidential campaigns in recent days, U.S. political uncertainty is joining global economic uncertainty at the top of the list of stock, bond and precious metals investors concerns. 2016-07-27T00:01:00-04:00 2016-07-27T16:35:18Z BGASC Metals

IRS looking into Clinton Foundation 'pay-to-play' claims

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 11:28
The IRS confirmed in a letter it is looking into claims of “pay-to-play” practices at the Clinton Foundation, after dozens of Republican lawmakers requested a review of potential “criminal conduct” at the organization founded by the family at the center of this week’s Democratic National Convention.

On the Italian and Eurozone Doomsday Scenario

Cato Recent Op Eds - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 11:23

Steve H. Hanke

On June 23rd, the voters in the United Kingdom (UK) turned a collective thumbs-down on the European Union (EU). The Brexit advocates — the ones who had had enough of the EU’s mandates and regulations — won the day. But, this is only the first step on a long and winding exit road. To formally begin its withdrawal from the EU, the UK must trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, and the new British Prime Minister, Theresa May, won’t do that before the end of 2016. Once triggered, the UK has two years to negotiate its exit from the EU.

The Brexit vote was a surprise that temporarily rocked the markets, sent the pound to a 32 year low, and sent the chattering classes chattering. It also poured fuel on a simmering Italian fire — a fire that could result in an Italian, as well as a Eurozone, doomsday scenario.

In anticipation of poor results from the Italian banks’ stress tests (which will be reported on July 29th), Italy’s Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, has indicated that his government will unilaterally pump billions of euros into Italy’s troubled banks to recapitalize them. There is a problem with this approach: it is not allowed under new EU rules. These rules require that bank bondholders take losses (a bail-in) before government bailout money can be deployed. But, in Italy, a big chunk of bank debt (bonds) is held by retail investors. These retail investors vote in large numbers. So, the EU bail-in regulation, if invoked, will certainly put Renzi’s neck on the chopping block. And that will come sooner rather than later because the Prime Minister has called for a referendum on Italy’s constitution in October and stated that he’ll resign if the referendum is voted down.

If, following the stress tests, holders of Italian bank debt are required to bail-in banks, there will most certainly be a strong backlash that will not only kill Renzi’s referendum but also his government. That would most likely put the Five Star Movement in the saddle. The Movement is already surging, winning control of important local governments in Rome and Turin. This populist-left movement wants to exit the Eurozone. If you think Brexit was big, such a scenario would not only spell doomsday for Renzi but also probably for the euro.

Let’s take a closer look at the Italian economy and its banks. That requires a model of economic activity. The monetary approach posits that changes in the money supply, broadly determined, cause changes in nominal national income and the price level (as well as relative prices — like asset prices). Sure enough, the growth of broad money and nominal GDP are closely linked. Indeed, the data in the following chart speak loudly.

image

Italy’s money supply (M3) growth rate since 2010 has been well below its trend rate (6.53 percent) for most of the period (see the accompanying chart). Not surprisingly, Italy’s nominal GDP growth rate during the 2010-2015 period was only 0.4 percent per year.

image

As weak as the money supply growth rate has been in Italy, it has been stronger than the Eurozone’s average in recent years (see the following table). Indeed, Italy’s money supply growth has been slightly stronger than France’s or Spain’s.

image

If we break down the contribution to the money supply growth, only 17 percent of Italy’s M3 is accounted for by State money produced by the European Central Bank (ECB). The remaining 87 percent is Bank money produced by commercial banks through deposit creation. So, Italy’s banks are an important contributor to the money supply and, ultimately, the economy. Recently, they have been contributing significantly to Italy’s money supply growth. That said, both the money supply and growth in credit to the private sector have been growing below their trend rates. So, anything that would cause banks to contract their loan books — which would cause the money supply and credit to the private sector in Italy to slow down — would plunge Italy into a recession.

It’s no surprise that Renzi has his eye on banks. It’s also easy to see why he is worried and ready to pull the trigger on a state-sponsored bank bailout. The accompanying chart on non-performing loans should be cause for concern.

image

To put the non-performing loans into perspective, there is nothing better than the Texas Ratio (TR). The TR is the book value of all non-performing assets divided by equity capital plus loan loss reserves. Only tangible equity capital is included in the denominator. Intangible capital — like goodwill — is excluded.

So, the denominator is the defense against bad loans wiping the bank out, forcing it into insolvency. A TR over 100 percent means that a bank is skating on thin ice. Indeed, if the non-performing loans were written off, a bank with a TR in excess of 100 percent would be wiped out. All of the five big Italian banks in the accompanying table — including the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS), the world’s oldest bank — fall into this ignominious category.

image

They need to be recapitalized. This could be done by issuing new shares on the market. But, all these banks’ shares are trading well below their book values. BMPS’ price is only about 10 percent of its book value, and Intesa Sanpaolo (the best of the lot) is only about 66 percent. In consequence, any new shares issued on the market would dilute existing shareholders and be unattractive. This is why an Italian state rescue is the most attractive source for the recapitalization.

Renzi holds the right cards. If the EU continues to refuse to let Renzi play them, the Italian banks will be bailed-in by the bondholders, who will receive a close haircut. Renzi’s constitutional changes will probably go down in flames, and with them Renzi’s government. With that, the Five Star Movement will form a government and Italy will exit the Eurozone. So, if the EU does not bend and allow one of the loopholes in its rules to be used, the Boys in Brussels could set a doomsday machine into motion.

Steve H. Hanke is a professor of Applied Economics at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C.

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