en Paul Craig Roberts: "ISIS Is Defeated, The US Is Next In Line" <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,</em></a></p> <p><em><strong>Is the US really a superpower or just the biggest collection of stupidity on the planet?</strong></em></p> <p><a href=""><img height="309" src="" width="581" /></a></p> <p><strong>Washington has already lost the Syrian war once. Now it is about to lose it a second time.</strong></p> <p>A few days ago the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, <a href="">declared a &ldquo;complete victory&rdquo; in Syria</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;Two hours ago, the (Russian) defense minister reported to me that the operations on the eastern and western banks of the Euphrates have been completed with the total rout of the terrorists.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>The Iranian commander of the forces which support the<a href=""> <strong>Syrian and Iraqi governments sent a note to the U.S. to let Washington know that any remaining U.S. forces in Syria will be fought down</strong></a><strong>:</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;The commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp Brigadier General Haj Qassem Soleimani sent a verbal letter, via Russia, to the head of the US forces commander in Syria, advising him to pull out all US forces to the last soldier &lsquo;or the doors of hell will open up.&#39;&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;My message to the US military command: <strong>when the battle against ISIS (the Islamic State group) will end, no American soldier will be tolerated in Syria. I advise you to leave by your own will or you will be forced to it.&rdquo; </strong></p> </blockquote> <p>According to reports, Russia has confirmed that Iran will stay in Syria as long as Syrian President Assad, who insists on liberating all of Syria without exception for the Americans, decides. Washington&rsquo;s plan to occupy a corner of Syria and revive ISIS is dead in the water, as will be all US troops sacrificed to this purpose.</p> <p>According to reports,<strong> CIA director Mike Pompeo sent a letter to Soleimani expressing his concern about Iran&rsquo;s intention to attack American interests,</strong> declaring Washington &ldquo;will hold Soleimani and Iran accountable for any attack.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>According to reports the CIA&rsquo;s letter had no effect and was treated with total contempt:</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, a senior aid to the Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei confirmed Pompeo&rsquo;s attempt to send a letter but said &nbsp;&lsquo;Soleimani refused to read it or to take it because he has nothing further to add.&rsquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sources in the area believe it is not unlikely that Kurdish troops &ndash; operating in al-Hasakah and who are faithful to the government of Damascus &ndash; are willing to be spearheaded against the US forces. Many of these troops remained loyal to Syria: they reject any occupation forces on its land or the partition of the country.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>There are references to 1983 events where hundreds of US Marines and French paratroopers were killed following double suicide attacks by Islamists in Beirut. </strong>As a consequence of these attacks, the American forces left in a rush. <a href=""><strong>The future could well mirror this past event</strong></a>.</p> <p>Possibly this is fake news.</p> <p>If not, we must accept that the humiliation that the United States, its government and its peoples have suffered is the work of the Neoconservatives and their doctrine of American World Hegemony. It is the Neoconservatives who caused the US to be at war with Muslims for 16 years. It is the Neoconservatives acting through Obama and Hillary who brought America to humiliating defeat in Syria.</p> <p><u><em><strong>There are only a handful of these neoconservatives. Why do Americans tolerate them?</strong></em></u></p> <p>Why doesn&rsquo;t Trump have them arrested? They are anti-American, pro-Israel to the core. The Neoconservatives are the worst enemy of Americans and of all mankind.</p> <p><strong>It looks like the Russians have had <a href="">enough of Washington&rsquo;s arrogance</a>. </strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Russian general Konashenkov, whose Su-35 chased away the inferior US F-22 that was attempting to interfere with a Russian attack on ISIS said that any claims made by US military officials concerning the fact that there is &ldquo;any part of the airspace in Syria that belongs to the US&rdquo; are &ldquo;puzzling.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Konashenkov also said that &ldquo;Syria is a sovereign state and a UN member and that means that there can be no US airspace &lsquo;of its own.&rsquo; Unlike the Russian Air Force, the US-led coalition is operating in Syria without any legal basis.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p><em><strong>Will Washington realize that it has squandered its leadership in the Middle East and go home, or will Washington bring more humiliation upon America?</strong></em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="581" height="309" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bashar al-Assad Central Intelligence Agency Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War Iran Iranian people Islam Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Middle East Middle East Military Mohammad Operation Inherent Resolve Persian people Politics Politics of Syria Qasem Soleimani Russian air force Syrian Civil War Twelvers United Nations Vladimir Putin War Wed, 13 Dec 2017 04:55:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609039 at Ron Paul Says He Was "Surprised" His Followers Prefer Bitcoin To Gold <p><a href="">Earlier this week,</a> former Congressman Ron Paul posted a Twitter poll asking his followers to choose between four different assets for a long-term investment, with the stipulation that the bearer would need to keep their money locked up for ten years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">A wealthy person wants to gift you $10,000. You get to choose in which form you&#39;ll take the gift. But there&#39;s a catch: You must keep the gift in the form that you choose, and you can&#39;t touch it for 10 years.</p> <p>In which form would you take the gift?</p> <p>&mdash; Ron Paul (@RonPaul) <a href="">December 5, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Paul admitted he was surprised when he saw that a majority of respondents &ndash; 54% - selected bitcoin over gold, dollars and a 10-year Treasury bond.</p> <p><iframe allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" gesture="media" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>During an interview with the Street, a reporter asked Paul if he was surprised that his followers prefer bitcoin to gold.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Yea a little bit. I was a little bit - of course I wasn&rsquo;t surprised that only 2% would store it in Federal Reserve notes, nor do they think they should buy Treasury bills. <u><strong>Gold has 36% but bitcoin has;s the sort of information that tells me where my viewers are and what they&rsquo;re thinking. Most of my viewers know how supportive I am of gold, and they know I&rsquo;m tolerant of digital currencies.</strong></u></p> </blockquote> <p>Still, Paul believes cryptocurrencies are an interesting experiment and is generally supportive of their development and increasing popularity. But when asked for his thoughts on where bitcoin might be in ten years, he demurred.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>What&rsquo;s it going to be like in ten years? Nobody knows. But we have a pretty good idea where gold will be. It&rsquo;s been around a long time and it&rsquo;s not going away.</p> </blockquote> <p>Though the market for gold is still much larger than the market for bitcoin, Paul&rsquo;s interviewer asked if the interest in cryptocurrencies could be one reason for gold&rsquo;s recent stumbles.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>I think we could still be in a phase where gold could take off. It&rsquo;s just a matter of figuring out when&hellip;the fed has created so much money and people have sort of caught on to it like a fever.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Paul said he doesn&rsquo;t invest in bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies, and has no plans to start.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>No, I don&rsquo;t intend to at all. I find it fascinating, but as an investor, no&hellip;&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>At the interview&rsquo;s conclusion, Paul explained that digital currencies have helped demonstrate an important principle about government and sound money: When a government loses all credibility and its currency becomes worthless, people will work out an alternative monetary system on their own. Venezuela and Zimbabwe have been perhaps the best examples of this: bitcoin trades at a premium in both countries. And in Venezuela, bitcoin miners risk being prosecuted by the government.</p> <p>&ldquo;Take a country like Zimbabwe or Venezuela. They change their attitudes quickly when they get in trouble.&rdquo;<br />&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="744" height="386" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin Bond Cryptocurrencies Currency Digital currency Economics of bitcoin Federal Reserve Finance Legality of bitcoin by country or territory Money Ron Paul Twitter Twitter Wed, 13 Dec 2017 04:35:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609032 at John Lennon Was Right: The Government Is Run By Maniacs For Maniacal Means <p><a href=""><em>Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,</em></a></p> <p><strong>Not much has changed in the 37 years since John Lennon was <a href="">gunned down by an assassin&rsquo;s bullet</a>.</strong></p> <p>All of the many complaints we have about government today - surveillance, corruption, harassment, political persecution, spying, overcriminalization, etc. - were used against Lennon, who never refrained from speaking truth to power and calling for social justice, peace and a populist revolution.</p> <p>Little wonder, then, that the U.S. government saw Lennon as enemy number one.</p> <p><strong>A prime example of the lengths to which the U.S. government will go to persecute those who dare to challenge its authority, Lennon was the subject of a four-year campaign of surveillance and harassment by the U.S. government (spearheaded by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover), in an attempt by President Richard Nixon to have him &ldquo;neutralized&rdquo; and deported. As Adam Cohen of the <em>New York Times</em> points out, &ldquo;The F.B.I.&rsquo;s surveillance of Lennon is a reminder of how easily <a href="">domestic spying can become unmoored from any legitimate law enforcement purpose</a>.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>Years after Lennon&rsquo;s assassination, it would be revealed that the FBI had collected <a href="">281 pages of surveillance files</a> on him. As the <em>New York Times</em> <a href="">notes</a>, &ldquo;Critics of today&rsquo;s domestic surveillance object largely on privacy grounds. They have focused far less on how easily government surveillance can become an instrument for the people in power to try to hold on to power. &lsquo;The U.S. vs. John Lennon&rsquo; &hellip; is the story not only of one man being harassed, but of a democracy being undermined.&rdquo;</p> <p>Such government-directed harassment was nothing new.</p> <p><strong>The FBI has had a <a href="">long history of persecuting, prosecuting and generally harassing activists, politicians, and cultural figures</a>, including Martin Luther King Jr.</strong></p> <p>In Lennon&rsquo;s case, the ex-Beatle saw that his music could mobilize the public and help to bring about change. Yet while Lennon believed in the power of the people, he also understood the danger of a power-hungry government. &ldquo;The trouble with government as it is, is that it doesn&rsquo;t represent the people,&rdquo; observed Lennon. &ldquo;<a href=";dq=%22establishment,+it%E2%80%99s+just+a+name+for+evil%22+john+lennon&amp;source=gbs_navlinks_s">It controls them</a>.&rdquo;</p> <p>By March 1971, when his &ldquo;Power to the People&rdquo; single was released, it was clear that Lennon was ready to participate in political activism against the U. S. government, the &ldquo;monster&rdquo; that was financing the war in Vietnam.</p> <p><strong>The release of Lennon&rsquo;s <em>Sometime in New York City</em> album, which contained a radical anti-government message in virtually every song, only fanned the flames of the government&rsquo;s war on Lennon.</strong></p> <p>In 1972, Nixon had the ex-Beatle served with deportation orders &ldquo;in an <a href="">effort to silence him as a voice of the peace movement</a>.&rdquo; Despite the fact that Lennon was not plotting to bring down the Nixon Administration, as the government feared, the government persisted in its efforts to have him deported. Equally determined to resist, Lennon dug in and fought back. Finally, in 1976, Lennon won the battle to stay in the country. By 1980, the old radical was back and ready to cause trouble.</p> <p>Unfortunately, Lennon&rsquo;s time as a troublemaker was short-lived.</p> <p><a href="">Mark David Chapman was waiting in the shadows</a> on Dec. 8, 1980, just as Lennon was returning to his New York apartment building. As Lennon stepped outside the car to greet the fans congregating outside, Chapman dropped into a two-handed combat stance, emptied his .38-caliber pistol and pumped four hollow-point bullets into Lennon&rsquo;s back and left arm.</p> <p>John Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.</p> <p>Much like Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Robert Kennedy and others who have died attempting to challenge the powers-that-be,<strong> Lennon had finally been &ldquo;neutralized.&rdquo;&nbsp; </strong></p> <p><strong>Yet Lennon&rsquo;s legacy lives on in his words, his music and his efforts to speak truth to power.</strong></p> <p>Even so, his work to change the world for the better is far from done.</p> <p>As I make clear in my book <a href=""><em>Battlefield America: The War on the American People</em></a>,<strong> peace remains out of reach. </strong>Activists and whistleblowers continue to be prosecuted for challenging the government&rsquo;s authority. Militarism is on the rise, all the while the governmental war machine continues to wreak havoc on innocent lives. And those who do dare to speak up are labeled dissidents, troublemakers, terrorists, lunatics, or mentally ill and tagged for surveillance, censorship or, worse, involuntary detention.</p> <p>As Lennon shared in a 1968 interview:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><u><em><strong>I think all our society is run by insane people for insane objectives&hellip; </strong></em></u></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>I think we&rsquo;re being run by maniacs for maniacal means.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If anybody can put on paper what our government and the American government and the Russian&hellip; Chinese&hellip; what they are actually trying to do, and what they think they&rsquo;re doing, I&rsquo;d be very pleased to know what they think they&rsquo;re doing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>I think they&rsquo;re all insane. But <a href="">I&rsquo;m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that</a>. That&rsquo;s what&rsquo;s insane about it</strong>.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>So what&rsquo;s the answer?</p> <p><strong>Lennon had a multitude of suggestions.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there&rsquo;d be peace.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Produce your own dream. If you want to save Peru, go save Peru. It&rsquo;s quite possible to do anything, but not to put it on the leaders&hellip;.You have to do it yourself.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Peace is not something you wish for; It&rsquo;s something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And something you give away.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;War is over, if you want it.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p><u><em><strong>In other words, fighting the evil of the American police state can only come about by way of conscious thoughts that are put into action.</strong></em></u></p> <p>Do you want an end to war? Then stop supporting the government&rsquo;s military campaigns. Do you want government violence against the citizenry to end? Then demand that your local police de-militarize. Do you want a restoration of your freedoms? You&rsquo;ll have to get the government to recognize that &ldquo;we the people&rdquo; are the masters in this relationship and government employees are our public servants.</p> <p>The choice is ours.</p> <p>The power (if we want it), as Lennon recognized, is in our hands.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;The people have the power, all we have to do is awaken that power in the people,&rdquo;</strong> concluded Lennon. <strong>&ldquo;The people are unaware. They&rsquo;re not educated to realize that they have power. The system is so geared that everyone believes the government will fix everything.&nbsp;<a href="">We are the government</a>.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>For the moment, the choice is still ours: slavery or freedom, war or peace, death or life.</p> <p>The point at which we have no choice is the point at which the monsters&mdash;the maniacs, the powers-that-be, the Deep State&mdash;win.</p> <p><u><em><strong>As Lennon warned, &ldquo;You either get tired fighting for peace, or you die.&rdquo;</strong></em></u></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="282" height="137" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American government American police B+ Cohen Corruption ETC F.B.I. FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation John Lennon Jon Wiener Lennon Mark David Chapman Music New York City New York Times Nixon Administration Politics Rutherford Institute Such government The Beatles US government Wed, 13 Dec 2017 04:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609038 at Toronto's Housing Bubble Is Crushing The Strip Club Industry <p>Until now, Canada's soaring housing prices were just another innocent asset bubble spawned by low interest rates and an endless supply of Chinese cash that needed to get laundered.&nbsp; That said, massive bubbles are almost always followed by severe unintended consequences that can have a crippling impact on society as a whole...and in Toronto those unintended consequences are now manifesting themselves in the form of a rapidly deteriorating supply of strip clubs.</p> <p>As <a href="">Bloomberg </a>points out today, the soaring value of<strong> Toronto real estate has made it all but impossible for strip club owners to turn down multi-million offers from condo developers</strong> leaving only a dozen strip clubs in a city whose purple neon lights used to be easily visible from the distant fringes of our solar system.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Condos are killing the Toronto strip club. </strong>In a city that once had more than 60 bars with nude dancers, only a dozen remain, the rest replaced by condominiums, restaurants, and housewares stores. Demand for homes downtown and for the retailers that serve them is driving land prices to records, tempting owners of the clubs, most of which are family-run, to sell at a time when business is slowing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“Sometimes I feel like the last living dinosaur along Yonge Street,” </strong>says Allen Cooper, the second-generation owner of the famous—or infamous—Zanzibar Tavern. The former divorce lawyer says he has been approached by at least 30 suitors for his property in the past few years but is holding out for a “blow my socks off” offer.<strong> “I don’t know how many condos we’re going to get, but it seems like just a wall”</strong> of them, Cooper says. </p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Zanzibar" width="600" height="352" /></a></p> <p>Of course, with <strong>~1-acre plots of land selling for C$225 million</strong>, it's not difficult to understand why strip club owners are increasingly choosing to shut off their neon signs for good...<strong>even with the consolidation of market share it's nearly impossible to make that lap dance math pencil out.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>R<strong>emington’s Men of Steel, a male dance club behind a heavy door, sold to KingSett Capital Inc., which last year flipped it to Cresford Developments as part of a bigger portfolio on that block that went for about C$160 million ($125 million),</strong> according to real estate data supplier Altus Group. That club is closing next year, to be replaced by a 98-story condo.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The fading of the strip-club era can be seen in a five-block area along Yonge Street, near Toronto’s counterpart to Times Square, Yonge-Dundas Square. It was once dubbed Sin Strip for its neon-clad bars, sex shops, and movie theaters. Today there are about 20 development applications for condos and commercial buildings on the stretch.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Farther north, an entire city block is a construction site as two condo towers and some retail space replace a strip of colorful and creaky buildings that once offered body piercing and pole-dancing shoes. “We target a very specific market, mostly men. We’re not a shopping destination, so more people doesn’t mean a lot more business,” says Bill Greer, general manager and three-decade veteran of the Brass Rail Tavern, a two-story club in the area. “I don’t think we’ll be around in 10 years’ time.” Just outside the Brass Rail’s doors, a 75-story residential tower opened this year on a piece of land that cost C$53 million. <strong>An 80-story luxury tower is under construction following a C$225 million deal for less than 1 acre, according to data from Altus.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>But at least one Toronto strip club owner, Spiro Koumoudouros of the House of Lancaster, has drawn a line in the sand saying he's not going anywhere...<strong>"What am I going to do, sit at home and die?"</strong>...if only we could all exhibit such courage in times of extreme crisis.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Finally, since we know your interest in this story was only prompted by your desire to see a larger version of the teaser you go:<strong><br /></strong></p> <p><strong><img src="" alt="Stripper" width="600" height="358" /><br /></strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="541" height="323" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Erotic dance Greater Toronto Area Housing Bubble Housing Prices Market Share Nudity Ontario Real estate Sex industry Strip club The Brass Rail Yonge Street Zanzibar Tavern Wed, 13 Dec 2017 03:55:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609018 at GE Is Trying To Figure Out Who Knew About Immelt's "Chase Plane" <p>The <a href="">Wall Street Journal</a> broke one of the most memorable news stories of the year over the summer when it reported that former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt &ndash; who bowed out in June amid intensifying pressure to revitalize the company&rsquo;s long-suffering share price &ndash; would routinely use a &quot;chase plane&quot; when flying to foreign destinations - <strong>that is, a second completely empty jet would fly behind Immelt&#39;s aircraft. The company has provided multiple justifications for the second plane, including saying it was for security purposes, and to ensure timely arrival for &quot;business critical&quot; meetings. </strong></p> <p>The story, which has become emblematic of GE&rsquo;s longstanding tradition of grossly overspending on executive perks, was a major embarrassment for Immelt, who denied reports that he specifically requested the jet, claiming instead that his air transportation was arranged by the company&rsquo;s corporate air team. Finally, he admitted that he had used two GE corporate jets in this manner up until 2014, when he changed the policy to use &quot;locally sourced jets&quot; as chase planes instead of one of the GE fleet.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 193px;" /></a></p> <p>Now, in what looks like yet another hollow gesture to try and assuage investors&rsquo; concerns about out-of-control spending at the company, <a href="">WSJ </a>i<strong>s reporting that the results of yet another internal investigation into Immelt&rsquo;s in-flight preferences were &ldquo;discussed at the company&rsquo;s latest board meeting.&quot;</strong></p> <p>This investigation was purportedly led by William &ldquo;Mo&rdquo; Cowan, GE&rsquo;s vice president of litigation and legal policy, is leading an effort in recent weeks to find out who knew about the extra plane and when they knew it. <strong>At first blush, the investigation has the feel of a purge, meant to help the company justify cutting loose any remaining Immelt loyalists.</strong></p> <p>A similar investigation was reportedly carried out in 2014 after an employee complained to the board about the jets. Though the findings of that probe are unknown, one thing is clear: Nobody was fired because they knew about the jet but didn&#39;t inform the board.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>General Electric Co. recently conducted an internal review into the flying of a spare business jet to accompany former Chief Executive Jeff Immelt, <strong>as it seeks to understand an unusual practice that went on for years and surprised investors when they learned of it in October.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The investigation was discussed at a GE board meeting last week, people familiar with the matter said. <strong>William &ldquo;Mo&rdquo; Cowan, GE&rsquo;s vice president of litigation and legal policy, led an effort in recent weeks to find out who knew about the extra plane and when they knew it, one person said.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>It is unclear whether any findings would be made public.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Immelt has said, including in a recent letter to GE&rsquo;s board, that he wasn&rsquo;t aware of the backup jet and that he ended the practice when he discovered it in 2014. <strong>GE has said that the two-plane practice was discontinued in 2014 and that it was limited to overseas trips with security risks and so-called business critical itineraries.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>That&rsquo;s right: GE conducted a separate &ldquo;internal investigation&rdquo; into the two-jet practice back in 2014 after an employee complained to the board. According to Immelt, the practice was discontinued shortly after. But flight records cited by <a href="">WSJ </a>show the jet was in use as recently as this spring. Furthermore, during Immelt&rsquo;s 16-year tenure as CEO, GE spent millions of dollars a year on air travel.</p> <p><strong>Since Immelt left the company before the <a href="">WSJ </a>story broke, the only person who has been disciplined by the company so far for their involvement in corporate-jet gate is Susan Peters,</strong> the company&#39;s former head of HR, who recently &quot;retired&quot; after 38 years at the company.</p> <p>GE&rsquo;s market cap has shrunk by $125 billion this year as the company&rsquo;s finances have deteriorated. After taking the reins, Flannery wasted no time slashing expenses, including shedding thousands of jobs and halving the company&rsquo;s annual dividend.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 252px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Jeff Immelt</em></p> <p>Meanwhile, Immelt will remain chairman until his retirement at the end of this year.</p> <p>At that point, Flannery &ndash; who has only benefited from this story, which cast his predecessor in a negative light while highlighting his reputation as a fiscally responsible cost-cutter &ndash; will be emboldened to continue his push to undo his predecessor&#39;s legacy by downsizing the business.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="758" height="293" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business Business Corporate Jets Economy of the United States General Electric General Electric Jeff Immelt Jeff Immelt Technology Wall Street Journal Wed, 13 Dec 2017 03:40:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609000 at In Stunning Victory, Democrat Doug Jones Wins Alabama Senate Seat; Trump Responds: "A Win Is A Win..." <p>Update: President Trump has reacted to Doug Jones&#39; victory:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard fought victory. The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win. The people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never ends!</p> <p>&mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="">December 13, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Update:</strong></span> <strong>US equity futures are sinking after Democrat Doug Jones unexpectedly wins the Alabama Senate special election against Roy Moore, </strong>the state&rsquo;s Republican former chief justice who was dogged throughout the campaign by sexual misconduct accusations.</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 311px;" /></p> <p>AP reports that Jones has 49.6% to Moore&rsquo;s 48.8% with 88% of vote counted, enough to give him the win according to news stations.<strong> As a reminder, in 2016 President Trump carried the state election by nearly 30 ppts over Democrat&nbsp;Hillary Clinton.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Jones wins seat vacated by&nbsp;Jeff Sessions, who became Trump&rsquo;s attorney general.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Jones, 63, a former federal prosecutor, becomes <strong>first Democrat in U.S. Senate from deeply-Republican state of Alabama in over 20 years </strong>(last Ala. Democratic senator was Howell Heflin, who left office in 1997; the state&rsquo;s senior senator Richard Shelby was a Democrat but switched parties to the Republicans in 1994)</p> </blockquote> <p>Putting Jones&#39; victory in context, T=the last time a new Democrat was elected to the Senate from Alabama is 1978. That senator, Howell Heflin, left in 1997.</p> <p>In a twitter post, Alabama&#39;s new senator was laconic, stating simply &quot;thank you Alabama&quot;...</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Thank you ALABAMA!!</p> <p>&mdash; Doug Jones (@GDouglasJones) <a href="">December 13, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <p>... while top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said &quot;things are looking better and better for 2018.&quot;</p> <p><strong>Once Jones is sworn in, GOP&rsquo;s Senate majority would narrow to the smallest possible 51-49... </strong>which explains why US equity futures are sliding...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" height="304" src="" width="504" /></a></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>Shortly after 8pm EST this evening, the voting results of one of the most controversial special elections in modern history, which pits Republican Roy Moore against Democrat Doug Jones for Jeff Sessions&#39; vacant Senate seat, will start to flow in to news desks all around the country.</p> <p>While this election would have been a complete blowout just a few months ago, allegations of sexual assault which surfaced against Moore in November and which reportedly occurred in the late &#39;70s, have made it a complete toss up.&nbsp; As we noted earlier this morning, even pollsters have no clue how to predict voter turnout tonight with Fox News predicting a 10-point win for Jones and Emerson predicting a 9-point win for Moore.</p> <p>For those looking to get an early read on how the night might turn out, <strong>we would suggest keeping a close eye on Mobile which is the second largest county in Alabama and is home to a disproportionate share of the state&#39;s affluent republicans who are the most likely to abandon Moore.</strong>&nbsp; Otherwise, while voter turnout will undoubtedly be down from the 2016 presidential contest, shifts in support in Jefferson and Montgomery counties, both with high concentrations of African-American voters, could provide an early signal on whether Jones has been successful in turning out his base.</p> <p><a href=" - AL race.jpg"><img src="" style="width: 500px; height: 278px;" /></a></p> <p>With that intro, tune in below for the live results:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="337" src="" width="600"></iframe></p> <p>* * *</p> <p>For those who missed it, below is the preview we shared earlier this morning.</p> <p>After a last weekend of campaigning with celebrities, Doug Jones (D) with Alabama native Charles Barkley and Roy Moore (R) with Breitbart News chairman Steve Bannon and controversial former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, <strong>election day for one of the most controversial special elections in modern U.S. history has finally arrived.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>As <a href="">The Hill</a> points out, <strong>Moore&#39;s chances to become the first Democrat to win an Alabama Senate seat since 1992 rely on his ability to turnout African-American voters in cities like Birmingham and Montgomery.</strong>&nbsp; Moore&#39;s fate, on the other hand, depends on voters in the more affluent city of Mobile and rural white voters from around the state.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Jones spent the weekend on stops with prominent black Democratic lawmakers such as Alabama Rep. Terri Sewell and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, while Congressional Black Caucus members Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) and Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) held get-out-the-vote events down state.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While African-Americans make up roughly a quarter of Alabama&rsquo;s population, years of dismal Democratic returns have left his party without much of a ground game.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I wish that the [Democratic National Committee] had focused more on states and making certain they had infrastructure here,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While Moore&rsquo;s time on the trail has been limited recently &mdash; there were rumors he attended the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia on Saturday &mdash; he did sit down for an interview on &ldquo;The Voice of Alabama Politics&rdquo; at the state Republican Party headquarters, which aired Sunday.</p> </blockquote> <p>Of course, as <a href="">we pointed out yesterday</a>, the<strong> polls headed into election day are almost completely useless</strong> as pollsters admit they have no idea how to handicap voter turnout today.&nbsp; While voter turnout in mid-cycle elections is always difficult to predict, this one is especially complicated in light of the sexual assault allegations against Roy Moore.&nbsp;</p> <p>Which is precisely why the latest <a href="">Fox News Poll</a> of likely voters showed a commanding 10-point lead for Democrat Doug Jones....</p> <p><a href=" - Moore 1.JPG"><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 339px;" /></a></p> <p>Even though a poll released the day before by Emerson showed the exact opposite with a 9-point lead for Moore.&nbsp; Per <a href="">Real Clear Politics:</a></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="RCP" height="592" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>As <a href="">CNN</a> notes, <strong>the key to victory in Alabama could come down to Mobile</strong>, a region that is home to scores of more affluent, moderate, business-type Republicans who are most likely to abandon Moore for Jones or simply elect to sit this election out.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>There&#39;s a reason Trump&#39;s event was in Pensacola, and Moore closed his campaign with big rallies in Fairhope a week from election day and Midland City on Monday night: They&#39;re all in the Mobile media market.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If Jones is going to win, he can&#39;t rely purely on turning out his base and hoping Republicans stay home. He&#39;ll need some white, conservative supporters, and the Mobile region is his best chance to win some.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those are the voters Moore&#39;s supporters have targeted with a message that the election is a referendum on Trump&#39;s agenda.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s an up-or-down vote tomorrow between the Trump miracle and the nullification project,&quot; Bannon said Monday night in Midland City.</p> </blockquote> <p>As a quick reminder, here is how Alabama voted in the 2016 Presidential election.&nbsp; Hillary performed well in the heavily African-American cities of <strong>Birmingham (+7.6%)</strong> and <strong>Montgomery (+26.8%)</strong> while Trump carried <strong>Mobile (+13.7%)</strong> and most of the rural areas of the state.</p> <p><a href=" - Trump AL.jpg"><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 366px;" /></a></p> <p>All of which ultimately resulted in a massive <strong>27.7 point blowout victory for Trump.</strong></p> <p><a href=" - Trump AL 2.JPG"><img src="" style="width: 500px; height: 274px;" /></a></p> <p>So, after weeks of intense media focus on an election that should have been a foregone conclusion, we are now just a few hours away from finding out whether Republicans made their first a serious special election blunder by choosing to support a highly controversial candidate who was potentially doomed from the moment sexual assault allegations against him first surfaced last month.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="311" height="162" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alabama Alabama Senate army Confederate States of America Democratic National Committee Discrimination against LGBT people in the United States Dominion Theology Doug Jones Fox News Get out the vote GOP’s Senate Howell Heflin James D. Martin Jeff Sessions Opinion poll Politics Politics Politics of the United States Republican Party Richard Shelby Roy Moore Roy Moore sexual abuse allegations Senate Southern Baptists Twitter Twitter United States United States elections United States Senate United States Senate special election in Alabama Voter turnout Wed, 13 Dec 2017 03:31:26 +0000 Tyler Durden 609033 at Bitcoin Bears Unleashed? Interactive Brokers Folds, Will Allow Clients To Short Futures <p><a href="">A week after</a> Thomas Peterrfy, the founder, Chairman and CEO of Interactive Brokers and one of the &#39;giants&#39; of electronic trading in US financial markets warned that:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&quot;the introduction of bitcoin futures into a clearing house could increase systemic risk.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>And just days after the firm said its</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&quot;clients would be unable to short the bitcoin futures market because of the extreme volatility of bitcoin.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Interactive Brokers has reportedly flip-flopped and as <a href="">Bloomberg reports,</a> plans to let bitcoin bears bet against the digital currency&rsquo;s recently debuted futures contracts.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Starting this week, the brokerage will allow its users to take short positions on bitcoin futures under certain conditions,</strong> according to company spokeswoman Kalen Holliday, who said<strong> the decision was made &ldquo;in response to client demand.&rdquo; </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Interactive Brokers has accepted long positions with a <strong>margin requirement of at least 50 percent </strong>since the contracts debuted Sunday on Cboe Global Markets Inc.</p> </blockquote> <p>That is <strong>great news for the arbs </strong>who can now actively compress the $1000 Bitcoin futures premium...</p> <p><img height="324" src="" width="600" /></p> <p>Of course, <a href=";source=lnms&amp;tbm=isch&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwic1LWX_YXYAhWO14MKHd7EA_QQ_AUICygC&amp;biw=1749&amp;bih=1098">as Bloomberg notes</a>, <strong>shorting bitcoin futures, or betting that their price will fall, is potentially an even riskier strategy.</strong></p> <p>It&rsquo;s possible to lose an unlimited amount of money on a short position, particularly if the cost of the digital currency and its derivatives continues to climb.</p> <p>Bloomberg reports that <u><strong>Interactive Brokers has a few requirements for shorting bitcoin futures</strong></u>, which seem to suggest this is not quite as cut and dried a short futures position as &#39;bitcoin bears&#39; would hope.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><ul> <li>the spread must be one-to-one, and</li> <li>the short leg must have the earlier expiry date so that once it expires the surviving leg will be long...</li> <li>Trading won&rsquo;t be offered in retirement accounts or to Japanese residents.</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p><em><strong>Sounds more like IB is allowing traders to short the front-month against the back-month </strong></em>- not exactly what most were hoping for, but it&#39;s progress perhaps. For now, <strong>the news has prompted some selling pressure across the complex.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 362px;" /></a></p> <p>So prepare for the pending short squeeze as all &#39;the smartest people in the room&#39; pile in short on this no-brainer bubble...</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="244" height="157" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin Business CBOE Cryptocurrencies Currency Finance Futures contract Futures exchange Futures market Futures markets Interactive Brokers Money Volatility Wed, 13 Dec 2017 03:20:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609037 at CNN & MSNBC Attempt Coverup of Bogus Story They Started <p><em><a href="">Authored by Mike Shedlock via,</a></em></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" /></a></p> <p><em><strong>CNN &amp; MSNBC refuse to provide any transparency on how they blew a major anti-trump story.</strong></em></p> <p>The headline image is from the BBC story <a href="">Russia-Trump: Who&#39;s who in the drama to end all dramas?</a></p> <div> <div> <div> <p><strong>The BBC names the key players,</strong> but it missed one: <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>the media.</strong></span></p> <p>On December 9, Glen Greenwald at the Intercept reported <a href="">The U.S. Media Suffered Its Most Humiliating Debacle in Ages and Now Refuses All Transparency Over What Happened</a>.</p> <p>I covered the story in <a href="">Trump Accuses CNN of Purposeful Fake News &quot;Fraud on American Public&quot;</a>.</p> <p><strong>In a nutshell, three news outlets, starting with CNN and followed by MSNBC broke a bombshell story on Trump that false. CBS jumped on the bandwagon but later blamed CNN.</strong></p> <p>Supposedly, multiple, credible sources said Trump had access to Wikileaks information on Russia before Wikileaks posted it.</p> <p><strong>The story timeline was false.</strong></p> <h3><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Coverup Begins</span></h3> <p>Days later, <strong>CNN refuses to disclose its sources or say what happened.</strong></p> </div> </div> <p>Greenwald blasted CNN in a Tweet again today...</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Slate notes that because CNN &amp; MSNBC completely refuse to provide even the most minimal transparency about how they got their big story so wrong, we still don&#39;t know the answer to the key question - and probably never will, since they&#39;re burying it: <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) <a href="">December 12, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src=""></script><h3><span style="text-decoration: underline;">How Did It Happen?</span></h3> <p>The Slate reports <a href="">We Still Don&rsquo;t Know Why Three Different Outlets &ldquo;Confirmed&rdquo; the Same Bogus Russia Story Last Week</a>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&quot;None of the outlets disclosed anything about the identities and/or motivations of the sources - and there are supposedly at least two of them! - who made such a consequential error of reading comprehension.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Nor did any of them provide further information when I contacted them this afternoon asking whether they&rsquo;d found out anything more about last week&rsquo;s mysterious, sudden D.C.-wide inability to distinguish between 4 and 14,&quot; </strong>says the Slate, offering six possibilities.</p> </blockquote> <h3><u>Six Possibilities</u></h3> <ol> <li>The outlets were relying on solid sources who all made the same honest mistake.</li> <li>The outlets were relying on secondhand sources who were just B.S.-ing the whole time and repeating a bad story that had gotten to them via a game of national security telephone.</li> <li>The outlets were relying on bad-faith sources who were intentionally trying to make the mainstream media look bad. (The Sept. 14 email in question is in the possession of the House Intelligence Committee; maybe some Trump loyalists on the committee pulled a James O&rsquo;Keefe.)</li> <li>Only one source ever actually misread the date of the email; the rest of the sources that &ldquo;confirmed&rdquo; the story simply confirmed the existence of the email, not when it was sent. These &ldquo;confirming&rdquo; sources were then all conflated together by outlets overeager to rush out a big scoop.</li> <li>&ldquo;Fake news.&rdquo; (As in, the reporters made all of it up to GET TRUMP.)</li> <li>Aliens.</li> </ol> <p><u><strong>Trump Blasted CNN</strong></u></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">I know you can&rsquo;t help but spread <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#fakenews</a> <a href="">@cnn</a>, but now that you know the truth you should have the decency to retract the false story, make the correction, take down the bs tweet, and apologize to the 2 or 3 people that still believe you to be credible <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#yourewelcome</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) <a href="">December 8, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p>That Tweet was on the day it happened. Here are some followups. </p><p>&nbsp;</p> <p><u><strong>Trump on Fake News</strong></u></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Despite thousands of hours wasted and many millions of dollars spent, the Democrats have been unable to show any collusion with Russia - so now they are moving on to the false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don&rsquo;t know and/or have never met. FAKE NEWS!</p> <p>&mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="">December 12, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p><u><strong>Trump on Dumbest Man on Television</strong></u><br /> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Another false story, this time in the Failing <a href="">@nytimes</a>, that I watch 4-8 hours of television a day - Wrong! Also, I seldom, if ever, watch CNN or MSNBC, both of which I consider Fake News. I never watch Don Lemon, who I once called the &ldquo;dumbest man on television!&rdquo; Bad Reporting.</p> <p>&mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="">December 11, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script></p><p><u><strong>Trump on Coverup</strong></u><br /> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Very little discussion of all the purposely false and defamatory stories put out this week by the Fake News Media. They are out of control - correct reporting means nothing to them. Major lies written, then forced to be withdrawn after they are exposed...a stain on America!</p> <p>&mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="">December 10, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script></p><p>&nbsp;</p> <h3><u>Which Door?</u></h3> <p><strong>The Slate writer opted for door number four. I suggest it&#39;s safe to rule out door number one, an honest mistake, and door number six, aliens.</strong></p> <p>After that, many combinations are possible.</p> <p>But regardless of the answer, <em><strong><u>it&#39;s clear that CNN is willing to rush unconfirmed garbage to the press, from sources that are not exactly credible.</u></strong></em></p> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="679" height="313" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent Business CNN Donald Trump Donald Trump on social media Donald Trump presidential campaign Fake news Government House Intelligence Committee MSNBC Politics Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Transparency Twitter WikiLeaks Wed, 13 Dec 2017 03:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609036 at Satellite Images Show North Korea Building New Tunnel At Nuclear-Test Site <p>Despite earlier hope amid Tillerson&#39;s comments on diplomacy with North Korea, a new batch of satellite images suggests that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is ignoring warnings from Chinese (as well as American and South Korean) scientists <strong>and instead pressing ahead with the country&rsquo;s nuclear testing regimen at Punggye-ri, a facility situated in the country&rsquo;s mountainous northeast.</strong></p> <p>As <a href="">scientist from several countries </a>have tried to explain, satellite images suggest Punggye-ri is suffering from <strong>&ldquo;Tired Mountain Syndrome&rdquo;</strong> &ndash; <strong>a phenomenon first documented by spy satellites examining Soviet nuclear test sites. </strong>After being warned by Chinese scientists about the dangers, two tunnels collapsed near the testing chamber back in October, <a href=";q=zerohedge+north+korea+tunnel&amp;oq=zerohedge+north+korea+tunnel&amp;gs_l=psy-ab.3..33i21k1.2602.3337.0.3905.">killing 200 North Korean workers.</a></p> <p>According to <a href="">38North</a>, a blog that closely tracks North Korea related news, work on what appears to be a new tunnel near the site&rsquo;s West Portal is progressing,<strong> leaving the North Portal - where the last five tests were conducted&mdash;mostly dormant and likely abandoned, at least for the time being.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 376px;" /></a></p> <p>Meanwhile, recent commercial satellite imagery indicates that despite the continuation of small tremors near Mt. Mantap, a supervolcano not far from Pyunggye-ri, will probably raise the anxieties of Chinese living near the North Korean borderlands. <strong>A few months ago, Beijing increased radiation monitoring around the border and closed many crossing points, allegedly because of fears that Pyungge-ri might implode, sending a giant plume of radioactive dust into the sky.</strong></p> <p>The North conducted its sixth and most recent nuclear test in early September. The 300-kiloton explosion was the most powerful ever measured in North Korea, which held its first nuclear test in 2006.<br />&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="856" height="351" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Disaster Environment Geography of Korea Hapsu Station KIM North Hamgyong North Korea Punggye-ri Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site radiation SPY Underground nuclear weapons testing Wed, 13 Dec 2017 02:40:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609009 at This Time Is Different - Part II: What Bitcoin Really Is <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Mark Jeftovic via,</em></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p class="graf graf--blockquote graf-after--blockquote" id="30ba"><em><strong>To me and many others, bitcoin is not a technical revolution as much as it is a triumph of political and economic incentives.</strong></em></p> <p class="graf graf--blockquote graf-after--blockquote">-Two Bit Idiot</p> <p class="graf graf--blockquote graf-after--blockquote">&nbsp;</p> <p class="graf graf--blockquote graf-after--blockquote"><em><strong>&ldquo;Systems like Ethereum (and Bitcoin and NXT, and Bitshares, etc) are a fundamentally new class of cryptoeconomic organisms?&mdash;?decentralized, jurisdictionless entities that exist entirely in cyberspace, maintained by a combination of cryptography, economics and social consensus&rdquo;</strong></em></p> <p class="graf graf--blockquote graf-after--blockquote">-Vitalik Buterin</p> </blockquote> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--blockquote" id="1f55"><strong>In Part I we took a look at <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank">&ldquo;What Bitcoin Isn&rsquo;t&rdquo;</a>,</strong> where all the usual comparisons and analogies around Bitcoin were shown to be poor fits in explaining what the phenomenon really is, ending on the obvious next question:</p> <h2 class="graf graf--h3 graf-after--p" id="3392"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">What is Bitcoin&nbsp;then?</span></h2> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--h3" id="8d91">Money is one of those &ldquo;aquarium characteristics&rdquo; of life. Aside from worrying about our bills or investments, the general structure of &ldquo;money&rdquo; is a background medium that underpins everything and for the most part we don&rsquo;t really pay attention to it. Other examples are the base utilities like electricity and running water.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="1cec" name="1cec">As we live our lives in these &ldquo;aquariums&rdquo;, we don&rsquo;t really question the nature or the delivery mechanisms of these structural/cultural mediums we&rsquo;re immersed in, unless they stop working or until they undergo a radical change.</p> <h4 class="graf graf--h4 graf-after--p" id="b821" name="b821"><u>A brief history of monetary innovation</u></h4> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--h4" id="0e98" name="0e98">What we are experiencing today is a technological innovation that is moving the nature of money itself from one form to the next and that is something that has only happened a few times throughout recorded history. It is because we are talking about a fundamental restructuring of the nature of money, and not an asset bubble occurring within the confines of the prevailing monetary system, that we can apply the <em class="markup--em markup--p-em">&ldquo;This time is different&rdquo;</em> label to Bitcoin.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="e3a6" name="e3a6"><strong>Centralized, opaque, debt-based, money is being disrupted by decentralized, open source, competitive crypto-currencies.</strong></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="9a9d" name="9a9d">This disruption has occurred out of necessity, given the irreparable harm central bank policies have inflicted on the citizenry over the last century, reaching what can only be considered a crack-up crescendo of targeted inflation, QEternity, ZIRP and NIRP, the war on cash and capital controls over the last 10 years. The most fitting label for all this is <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" data-="" href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank">Chris Martenson</a>&rsquo;s &ldquo;financial repression&rdquo;.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="20c2" name="20c2">During the era of debt-based money/fiat currency whenever an asset bubble occurred, &ldquo;this time is different&rdquo; was never actually different. Galbraith&rsquo;s observation from the Part 1 bears repeating and it holds up:</p> <blockquote class="graf graf--blockquote graf-after--p" id="c618" name="c618"><p>The world of finance hails the invention of the wheel over and over again, often in a slightly more unstable version. All financial innovation involves in one form or another,<strong class="markup--strong markup--blockquote-strong"> the creation of debt secured in greater or lesser adequacy by real assets</strong>.&rdquo;<br />&nbsp;(emphasis added)</p></blockquote> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--blockquote" id="4117" name="4117">But as mentioned in Part 1: Bitcoin is not a debt based bubble. Leverage doesn&rsquo;t account for the majority of the price action, at least not yet. As I write this, CBOE futures went live this week. Also, most exchanges are offering margin and a lot of traders are dumb enough to try using it, but that is not the driving factor pushing Bitcoin adoption. These emerging stories of people mortgaging their homes to buy bitcoin are &ldquo;newsworthy&rdquo;, and thus still sporadic. Debt would be a driving force of the bubble when it&rsquo;s systemic.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="0298" name="0298">Looking at Bitcoin as a technology shift, there have only been a handful of really big shifts in money throughout history: We had barter, then either money then debt, or debt and then money.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="f72b" name="f72b">Anthropologist David Graeber (<a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" data-="" href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank">Debt: The First 5,000 Years</a>) makes a case that contrary to conventional theory, barter did not beget money, but rather <em class="markup--em markup--p-em">debt</em> in the form of <em class="markup--em markup--p-em">obligations</em> came first. This was the first true abstraction of deferring present consumption into future value. Owing somebody something, whether it was returning a favour, or later, some symbolic representation of that favour, and that was the progression toward &ldquo;money&rdquo;.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="b882" name="b882"><strong>Graeber&rsquo;s larger point is that debt, the first big monetary innovation after barter, has been used ever since by a small minority of people to enslave the rest of the populace.</strong></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="9c85" name="9c85">It&rsquo;s a compelling argument. In either case, aside from subsequent innovations such as the creation of the banknote, which facilitated transmission of value at a distance, and double entry accounting, nothing much has happened in the structural shape of money since the last big innovation, which was the rise of fractional reserve banking.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="4ef0" name="4ef0">Everything since then, from various fiat currencies, to credit cards to the magnetic strip or PIN chips have been variations on a theme, the theme being <em class="markup--em markup--p-em">debt is money</em>. As long as the various modern welfare states continue to spend more than they receive, they have to keep creating and monetizing more debt in order to keep the wheels on the system as a whole.</p> <h3 class="graf graf--h3 graf-after--p" id="dae8" name="dae8"><u>Crypto-currency is not&nbsp;debt</u></h3> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--h3" id="2f4b" name="2f4b">Crypto-currency is built on mathematics, open source, consensus and decentralization. These attributes combine to give us a monetary system with defining characteristics which set it apart from the current, fiat based model:</p> <h4 class="graf graf--h4 graf-after--p" id="77a9" name="77a9"><u>Inelastic</u></h4> <p data-external-src="" data-height="378" data-image-id="0*XoU9Nh5XVZJBsr0c.png" data-scroll="native" data-width="630">It&rsquo;s Inelastic because as we all know there are only a set amount of coins that will ever be created. This is in stark contrast to the supply of money in fiat terms. As somebody jokingly tweeted the <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" data-="" href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank">chart I included from Part 1</a> &ldquo;Wow look at that bitcoin price! Oh wait, that&rsquo;s the chart of the money supply&rdquo;?&mdash;?more on this below.</p> <p data-external-src="" data-height="378" data-image-id="0*XoU9Nh5XVZJBsr0c.png" data-scroll="native" data-width="630"><img data-="" src="*XoU9Nh5XVZJBsr0c.png" style="height: 360px; width: 600px;" /></p> <p><figure id="59e4" name="59e4">&nbsp;</figure><br /> </p><p class="graf graf--p graf-after--figure" id="73be" name="73be"><em>Source: St Louis Fed</em></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="fce6" name="fce6">This inelasticity makes Bitcoin and any other similarly constructed crypto-currency&hellip;.</p> <h4 class="graf graf--h4 graf-after--p" id="7df4" name="7df4"><u>Deflationary</u></h4> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--h4" id="251c" name="251c">A deflationary currency is closey related to being inelastic, but we need to look specifically at the deflationary aspects of Bitcoin because conventional economic thought is that &ldquo;deflation is bad&rdquo;, and it is?&mdash;?if you&rsquo;re using debt for money.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="9839" name="9839"><strong>The reason why is because debt-based money, enabled by fractional reserve banking allows monetary units to &ldquo;exist in two places at once&rdquo;, so to speak.</strong> When I first started thinking about and researching all this economics and history stuff, it was in the immediate aftermath of the crashing of the dot com bubble. It was then when I realized that I had no understanding of economics, or finance and ultimately, money. So I began a &ldquo;deep dive&rdquo; into these matters which continues to this day.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="bdfe" name="bdfe">One of the first books I read about it was Ferdinand Lips <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" data-="" href="" rel="noopener nofollow" target="_blank">&ldquo;Gold Wars&rdquo;</a>. Lips, Swiss banker, and expert on the Classical Gold Standard was reputed to have been the cryptic and anonymous &ldquo;<a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" data-="" href="" rel="noopener nofollow" target="_blank">Friend of Another (FOA)</a>&rdquo; financial and gold markets commentator of the late 90&rsquo;s (foreshadowing of Satoshi Nakamoto?).</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="1a7c" name="1a7c">When I pulled out my copy of the book recently I found I had scribbled the following into the back cover after I had finished reading it:</p> <blockquote class="graf graf--blockquote graf--startsWithDoubleQuote graf-after--p" id="24ff" name="24ff"><p>&ldquo;Gold, like every other &lsquo;normal&rsquo; thing cannot be in two places at once. Fiat money, however, is credit, redeemable into nothing, that is simultaneously counted as &lsquo;money&rsquo; by multiple parties?&mdash;?this works as long as the bubble is growing?&mdash;?but can&rsquo;t work if it starts to contract. If N parties hold the same &lsquo;fiat&rsquo; and one suddenly uses it to retire debt, N-1 parties have the carpet pulled from underneath them. Because under a paper fiat money system, reducing debt (either by paying it off or defaulting) reduces the money supply&rdquo;</p></blockquote> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--blockquote" id="5d73" name="5d73"><strong>My understanding of this today, is that Bitcoin is inelastic and thus deflationary. It has no counter-party risk (but there is consensus risk, but fiat has it as well), and it solves &ldquo;the double-spend problem&rdquo;. Fiat money, by contrast is one big double spend problem. The defining characteristic of inflationary debt-based money is mathematically and cryptographically eliminated under crypto-currency.</strong></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="fabd" name="fabd">Under an inelastic or hard-backed monetary regime, such as the era the Classical Gold Standard (when there was no income tax and mild deflation) or the one emerging today, deflation is virtuous, not the other way around.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="6aef" name="6aef">By contrast, debt-based inflationary money creates a treadmill economy, which perniciously pushes assets up the wealth inequality ladder, as the Plutocrats on top spend their compounding wealth on buying up assets, while the lower tiers (the non-super rich) must continually and incrementally spend more of their purchasing power on <em class="markup--em markup--p-em">staying alive</em>.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="3bec" name="3bec">Many conventional economists say deflationary currencies wouldn&rsquo;t work because:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="656f" name="656f">1) There wouldn&rsquo;t be enough &ldquo;monetary units&rdquo; to go around to purchase all the good and services available within the economy, and</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" name="656f">&nbsp;</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" name="656f">2) It leads to HODLING, or hoarding. The theory states that people wouldn&rsquo;t spend any money today, because doing so would forgo the increased value the money would have tomorrow.</p> </blockquote> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="dba6" name="dba6">Detlev S. Schlichter&rsquo;s <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" data-="" href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank">&ldquo;Paper Money Collapse&rdquo;</a> is a dispassionate, objective look at why fiat money always goes to zero, every time, throughout all history, no exceptions and what would happen in an environment with a deflationary currency instead:</p> <blockquote class="graf graf--blockquote graf--startsWithDoubleQuote graf-after--p" id="1408" name="1408"><p>&ldquo;A monetary system with a money commodity of essentially fixed supply will experience secular deflation. A growing economy, with an entirely inflexible money supply will exhibit a tendency for prices to decline on trend, and for money&rsquo;s purchasing [power] to steadily increase. But the key question now, is why should this be a problem? We have already seen that historically secular deflation was rather minor and that it certainly never appeared to present any economic difficulties. <em class="markup--em markup--blockquote-em">[ What economists today fear in a &lsquo;deflationary death spiral&rsquo; scenario is debt collapse and accompanying contraction of the money supply, not deflation itself?&mdash;?markjr]</em> No correlation between deflation or recession or stagnation is evident under commodity money systems. We will now show that there are no reasons on conceptual grounds to consider deflation to be a problem&rdquo;</p></blockquote> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--blockquote" id="6cc5" name="6cc5">Which he then spends the rest of the book doing exactly that. From personal experience, as a merchant who has been accepting bitcoin payments since 2013 I know that the increasing price of bitcoin has not slowed down transaction volume or aggregate payments received (in dollar terms):</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="eb87" name="eb87"><strong>A deflationary currency sees prices drop over time as purchasing power increases.</strong></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" name="eb87"><img class="progressiveMedia-image js-progressiveMedia-image" data-="" src="*_eFs7xwwmbCPPEWz.png" style="height: 300px; width: 601px;" /></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--figure" id="1078" name="1078"><em>easyDNS Bitcoin sales and transaction trend lines 2013?&mdash;?present (2017)</em></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="5c81" name="5c81">The chart above depicts the trendlines of transactions in Bitcoin on easyDNS from 2013 to present. I haven&rsquo;t put the Bitcoin price trend line in there but we all know what it looks like, if it were in the graph it would be a hockey stick with the inflection point starting around Jan 2016. We clearly see the pricing in BTC dropping as the price rises, yet the transaction volume and sales in CAD remain steady, with a moderate uptrend.</p> <h4 class="graf graf--h4 graf-after--p" id="f48d" name="f48d"><u>Bitcoin is Transparent</u></h4> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--h4" id="3ab2" name="3ab2">It&rsquo;s Transparent in two ways, first is the blockchain, where we can see the flow of bitcoin and all the transactions; and second the underlying code is open source.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="630f" name="630f">Anybody can <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" data-="" href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank">look at any block in the blockchain</a>, and anybody can <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" data-="" href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank">pull down the source code</a> that actually runs all this and read it for themselves.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="df65" name="df65"><strong>Contrast this radical transparency with, say, The Federal Reserve, which has an exclusive monopoly on the creation of money, creates it out of nothing and then <em class="markup--em markup--p-em">lends</em> it to the State and<em class="markup--em markup--p-em"> charges interest</em> on it. Further, it is owned by a cartel of private banks and operates with no oversight. This is the crux of the current monetary era. For the longest time it was possible to dismiss criticisms of this system as &ldquo;conspiracy theory&rdquo;, but given that the damage Fed policies have caused to the economy, especially since the GFC is felt by all but a few, it is increasingly difficult to ignore this reality.</strong></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="50a0" name="50a0">Anybody who actually analyzes this system going beyond the mainstream narrative of what The Fed is supposed to be doing would come up with the<a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" data-="" href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank"> same conclusion I did</a> some time ago:</p> <blockquote class="graf graf--blockquote graf--startsWithDoubleQuote graf-after--p" id="9e28" name="9e28"><p>&ldquo;if smart, scholarly people happen to believe that government fiat money is both feasible and beneficial to society, and they put serious thought into devising such a system, what they will not come up with is one run by private central banks issuing debt-based money. They just won&rsquo;t. Any critical analysis would grasp that such an architecture would become a parasitic cancer on the entire society. When you realize this, it&rsquo;s hard not to posit a far-reaching conspiracy to institutionalize inequality. While I am a big believer in the maxim &ldquo;never ascribe to conspiracy what can be explained by stupidy&rdquo; it to me falls short in this case. When we look at the structure of the entire monetary system and realize that it&rsquo;s the worst way possible to design a such a system if you have the best interests of the wider society in mind then you can&rsquo;t help but ask &lsquo;in whose interests was it designed and implemented?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p></blockquote> <h4 class="graf graf--h4 graf-after--blockquote" id="8605" name="8605"><u>Antifragile</u></h4> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--h4" id="ca7e" name="ca7e">Nassim Taleb, in his <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" data-="" href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank">seminal work by the same title</a>, invented the term &ldquo;antifragile&rdquo;, describing any phenomenon that gets stronger when it encounters volatility.<strong> The &ldquo;imminent death of Bitcoin&rdquo; is probably the one thing that has been predicted even more than the &ldquo;imminent death of the Internet&rdquo;, which was a popular recurring theme back in the late 90&rsquo;s or so.</strong></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="9283" name="9283">Both technologies? - ?the Internet and then crypto-currency are decentralized, largely open source protocol stacks that have transformed our civilization.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="db92" name="db92"><strong>These qualities make crypto currency something that is anathema to the previous paradigm&rsquo;s debt-based fiat. </strong>As such, it poses an existential threat to existing incumbents, be they technocrats, banksters, career politicians, or complicit corporate cartels, whose position depends on their proximity to and relationships with the money centre apparatus that creates money and preferentially distributes it out amongst this network.</p> <h2 class="graf graf--h3 graf-after--p" id="e4c1" name="e4c1"><u>What does it all&nbsp;mean?</u></h2> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--h3" id="5b61" name="5b61">When we ask ourselves this question we&rsquo;re back to Graeber&rsquo;s assertion that the entire monetary system is a control mechanism that uses debt to keep the wider populace in line.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="ea07" name="ea07">This was largely tolerated by a general population that was largely ignorant of the working dynamic of the money system and how it enslaves them. Keynes himself observed that</p> <blockquote class="graf graf--blockquote graf--startsWithDoubleQuote graf-after--p" id="d1d5" name="d1d5"><p><em><strong>&ldquo;By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.&rdquo;</strong></em></p></blockquote> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--blockquote" id="2eb1" name="2eb1">For a long time Keynes was right. Then, as the century-long debt super-cycle started to crescendo a couple of key events happened.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="3e35" name="3e35">The first was the Global Financial Crisis 2007&ndash;2009 and the purported &ldquo;near-death experience&rdquo; of the modern economy. Wall Street was bailed out, who used the money to give themselves bonuses, while the middle-class was decimated and continues to be ground into poverty to this day. There was incongruence in this picture, on one hand incompetence and financial recklessness was rewarded while the rule-following middle class were penalized.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" name="3e35"><img class="progressiveMedia-image js-progressiveMedia-image" data-="" src="*6Zcuuf1wyWx87KAY.png" style="height: 358px; width: 600px;" /></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--figure" id="68c2" name="68c2"><em>Twitter financial commentator and humorist @RudyHavenstein nails it&hellip;</em></p> <h4 class="graf graf--h4 graf-after--p" id="d40a" name="d40a"><u>The 95 White&nbsp;Papers</u></h4> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--h4" id="9772" name="9772">It was at this moment, that the <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" data-="" href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank">Satoshi White Paper</a> appeared on the scene, and proposed a different way to structure the monetary system.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="7511" name="7511"><strong>Nobody really noticed. But it set off a chain of events as sure as Martin Luther&rsquo;s &ldquo;95 Theses&rdquo; set in motion the secular decline of another hitherto undisputed hegemonic central power: The Catholic Church. In that time the result was The Reformation and the Catholic Church never regained its central power position.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 329px;" /></a></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="4f6f" name="4f6f">One document galvanized an entire movement, and the harder the Papacy pushed back on Luther to try to contain it, the faster Protestantism spread?&mdash;?there&rsquo;s that antifragility again.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="cf63" name="cf63">Protestantism presented enough benefits to enough royal houses throughout Europe that when weighed against the authoritarian and decadent papacy, the upside to the new paradigm looked better than the old system?&mdash;?and that is precisely what it is happening, again, today, in the monetary sphere.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="207f" name="207f">For the first few years after Satoshi&rsquo;s paper, Bitcoin didn&rsquo;t really break into the public consciousness but the wheels were certainly in motion and those people who had a lot at stake and were coming to gain a visceral understanding of the hypocrisy and capriciousness, not to mention the <em class="markup--em markup--p-em">destructiveness</em> of the current monetary regime were paying close attention.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="43cb" name="43cb">It wasn&rsquo;t until another event, years later, that people would begin to see the efficacy of crypto-currency in protecting wealth and savings. That event was the Cyprus bail-in. The framework for &ldquo;containing&rdquo; that event was quickly adapted by other nations, slipped into the &ldquo;back pocket&rdquo; to be used down the road. It <a class="markup--anchor markup--p-anchor" data-="" href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank">became law here in Canada</a>:</p> <blockquote class="graf graf--blockquote graf--startsWithDoubleQuote graf-after--p" id="ba2e" name="ba2e"><p>&ldquo;In the unlikely event that a systemically important bank depletes its capital, the bank can be recapitalized and returned to viability through the very rapid conversion of certain bank liabilities into regulatory capital.&rdquo;</p></blockquote> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--blockquote" id="4657" name="4657">This provision, originally from the Harper government has been reiterated under Trudeau the 2nd.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="dc25" name="dc25"><strong>Of course, the language here is telling, belying the assumption on the part of the political elites that the rabble is ignorant and easily fooled. Similar to how barely &ldquo;one man in a million&rdquo; can diagnose inflation, they assumed even fewer would know that &ldquo;certain bank liabilities&rdquo; <em class="markup--em markup--p-em">are the depositors&rsquo; savings.</em></strong></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="993a" name="993a">But people do know what that means. Now it was clear?&mdash;?unless we owned a bank we were all pretty much on our own, and even worse, whenever those banks went off and painted themselves into a corner of insolvency, <em class="markup--em markup--p-em">we</em> were the ones who were going to have to make them whole. Banks are &ldquo;too big to fail&rdquo;, everybody else is expendable.</p> <h4 class="graf graf--h4 graf-after--p" id="a3d1" name="a3d1"><u>Bitcoin is a hole&nbsp;&hellip;in a burning&nbsp;building</u></h4> <blockquote class="graf graf--blockquote graf--startsWithDoubleQuote graf-after--h4" id="b621" name="b621"><p>&ldquo;I had the thought that Bitcoin is like a hole in the wall of a burning building. The burning building is the petrodollar. The Bitcoin hole in the wall doesn&rsquo;t meet any standard definition of a door. It wouldn&rsquo;t pass a building inspection and it may not last long. It will most certainly be replaced by something else in the long run. But in the short term, no one inside that burning building really cares about any of that and the ones that first smelled smoke are already pouring through it. Many more will follow and some, sadly, will die in the fire. There are other exits from the building too, some may be safer than others, but the most important thing is getting out of the burning building as quickly as possible.</p></blockquote> <blockquote class="graf graf--blockquote graf-after--blockquote" id="ec1a" name="ec1a"><p>&mdash; from the <a class="markup--anchor markup--blockquote-anchor" data-="" href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank">comment thread on Zerohedge</a> for Part 1 of this article (the only thing I would add to this is that the other exits lead to other burning buildings?&mdash;?markjr)</p></blockquote> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--blockquote" id="fc9c" name="fc9c"><strong>And this finally brings us to what I think Bitcoin really is. It&rsquo;s a type of capital / currency flight. </strong>In a way, (and I didn&rsquo;t coin this analogy but I can&rsquo;t find who did) all fiat currencies are experiencing a hyper-inflationary collapse against Bitcoin. It makes a certain amount of sense, the logical outcome for the vast monetary printing of the last century is an inflationary blowout. But that conjures up images of Weimar Germany and wheelbarrows full of cash, the recent Zimbabwe collapse or perhaps Brazil?&mdash;?where banks installed a second clock to display the value of your money eroding while you waiting in line, it all seems so unthinkable here.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="fb6b" name="fb6b">And yet, here we are with Bitcoin in a bubble, stocks in a bubble, bonds in a bubble, real estate?&mdash;?in a bubble, is everything in a bubble? Or are we experiencing a slow motion breakdown in the underlying fiat regime in a typically cavalier and nonchalant Western way? Not some James Rawles &ldquo;end of civilization&rdquo; novel but rather a mass exodus into anything perceived as &ldquo;an asset&rdquo; whilst Bitcoin surpasses them all because of a combination of inertia and the fact that&rsquo;s it&rsquo;s effectively an antidote to a global parasitic economic blight?</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="3e21" name="3e21"><strong>Having said this, even if this were true, it doesn&rsquo;t mean &ldquo;the price of bitcoin will go up&hellip;forever&rdquo;. Even true hyper-inflationary episodes themselves usually last about 12 to 18 months, after which a new currency regime comes in to replace it.</strong></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="4f76" name="4f76">What we could be seeing here are the early innings that usher in the end of USD as the world reserve currency and the beginning of &ldquo;what comes next&rdquo;. The fact that USD hegemony will eventually end is no surprise to anybody, even mainstream economists. However &ldquo;eventually&rdquo; has this vexing habit of showing up sooner than most people expected.</p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p" id="0a2c" name="0a2c"><strong>So while there have only been a handful of monetary innovations throughout history, there have been many currency regimes, rising, overshooting, collapsing and giving way to the next.</strong></p> <p class="graf graf--p graf-after--p graf--trailing" id="b36d" name="b36d"><u><em><strong>What may be unique about this one is that we&rsquo;re rare witness to a double faceted shift: the technology shift from a debt based fiat money system to a decentralized crypto currency regime; along with the demise of the prevailing currency regime.</strong></em></u></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="552" height="293" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin Brazil CAD Catholic Church CBOE Central Banks Chris Martenson Cryptocurrencies cryptography Currency Deflation Economy ETC Fail Federal Reserve fixed Fractional Reserve Banking Germany Gold standard Harper government Inflation Macroeconomics Monetary economics Monetization Money Money Supply Nassim Taleb PIN chips Price Action Purchasing Power Real estate Reality Recession Reserve Currency St Louis Fed St. Louis Fed Too Big To Fail Transparency Twitter Twitter US Federal Reserve Volatility Wed, 13 Dec 2017 02:20:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609035 at