“In a remarkably frank talk at a Bank of England conference, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund has speculated that Bitcoin and cryptocurrency have as much of a future as the Internet itself. It could displace central banks, conventional banking, and challenge the monopoly of national monies. Christine Lagarde–a Paris native who has held her position at the IMF since 2011–says the only substantial problems with existing cryptocurrency are fixable over time.”

“The intelligence division at the Treasury Department has repeatedly and systematically violated domestic surveillance laws by snooping on the private financial records of US citizens and companies, according to government sources. Over the past year, at least a dozen employees in another branch of the Treasury Department, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, have warned officials and Congress that US citizens’ and residents’ banking and financial data has been illegally searched and stored. And the breach, some sources said, extended to other intelligence agencies, such as the National Security Agency, whose officers used the Treasury’s intelligence division as an illegal back door to gain access to American citizens’ financial records.”

“If the administration succeeds in wiping the record clean, it will need to defend only Trump’s latest ban, which followed a three-month review of immigration procedures. Keeping the lower court rulings on the books would give opponents more support for claims that the new ban exceeds the president’s authority and discriminates against Muslims. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit had ruled that Trump lacked proof the earlier ban was needed, and the 4th Circuit appeals court said it discriminated based on religion.”

“Government bodies are increasingly turning the tables on citizens who seek public records that might be embarrassing or legally sensitive. Instead of granting or denying their requests, a growing number of school districts, municipalities and state agencies have filed lawsuits against people making the requests – taxpayers, government watchdogs and journalists who must then pursue the records in court at their own expense.”

“It wasn’t always this way. We never used to get a giant, speculative bubble every 7–8 years. We really didn’t. In 2000, we had the dot-com bubble. In 2007, we had the housing bubble. In 2017, we have the everything bubble. I did not coin the term ‘the everything bubble.’ I do not know who did. Apologies (and much respect) to the person I stole it from. Why do we call it the everything bubble? Well, there is a bubble in a bunch of asset classes simultaneously. And the infographic below that my colleagues at Mauldin Economics created paints the picture best. I don’t usually predict downturns, but this time I bet my reputation that a downturn is coming. And soon.”

“Currently, according to Ned Davis Research, stocks represent 40% of total household financial assets, much higher than the 28.2% average allocation since 1951. There’s been only one other occasion since 1951 in which stock allocation was higher than it is today — at the top of the late 1990s internet bubble, when it rose to 47.5%. Every other major stock market top of the last seven decades, in contrast, occurred when households’ equity allocation was lower than today’s level. At the 2007 stock market top, for example, the allocation peaked at 37.1%.”

“In the U.S., margin debt is at more than three times the level recorded before the 2008 financial crisis began, and is even greater than its peak in 2000 before the dotcom crash, according to research released last week from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the Journal indicates.”

“Even those making over six figures said they struggle to make ends meet, the report said. Nearly 1 in 10 of those making $100,000 or more said they usually or always live paycheck to paycheck, and 59 percent of those in that salary range said they were in the red.”