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News Items covers four subjects: (1) World in Disarray, (2) Financialization of Everything, (3) Advances in Science and Technology, and (4) Electoral politics, foreign and domestic. Six days a week, not Sundays. Weekdays by ~6:45am ET. Saturdays: sometime in the morning, usually. Tom Smith, who heads up research, contributes daily to the morning note.
1. A revolutionary money laundering system involving Chinese organized crime, Latin American drug cartels and Chinese officials – In 2017, Drug Enforcement Administration agents following the money from cocaine deals in Memphis, Tennessee, identified a mysterious figure in Mexico entrusted by drug lords with their millions: a Chinese American gangster named Xizhi Li. As the agents tracked Li’s activity across the Americas and Asia, they realized he wasn’t just another money launderer. He was a pioneer. Operating with the acumen of a financier and the tradecraft of a spy, he had helped devise an innovative system that revolutionized the drug underworld and fortified the cartels. As they investigated Li’s tangled financial dealings, U.S. agents came across evidence indicating that his money laundering schemes involved Chinese government officials and the Communist Party elite. China’s omnipresent security forces tightly control and monitor its state-run economy. Yet Li and others moved tens of millions of dollars among Chinese banks and companies with seeming impunity, according to court documents and national security officials. Some U.S. officials believe that Chinese authorities permit criminals like Li to operate because dark money benefits the elite, strengthens China’s economy and weakens the West. Beijing rejects such accusations. Read the rest. (Source: propublica.org via sinocism.com. Italics mine)
2. Federal Reserve officials signaled they are more concerned about doing too little to rein in soaring US inflation than doing too much and doubled down on plans to tighten monetary policy so it constrains the economy, according to an account of their latest meeting. Minutes from the September meeting — at which the Fed implemented its third consecutive 0.75 percentage point rate rise — underscored the high bar for the central bank to back off in its historically aggressive campaign to bring prices under control. According to the account, central bankers remain committed to “purposefully” tightening monetary policy in the face of “broad-based and unacceptably high inflation”. “Many participants emphasised that the cost of taking too little action to bring down inflation likely outweighed the cost of taking too much action,” the account said. (Source: ft.com)