en Doug Casey On What Happens After The Next 9/11 <p><a href="">Authored by Doug Casey via,</a></p> <p><em><strong>Is a police state in the US possible? Absolutely.</strong></em></p> <p><a href=""><img height="332" src="" width="593" /></a></p> <p><strong>That&rsquo;s because people are essentially the same the world over, regardless of their culture, religion, race, or what-have-you. A certain percentage of them are sociopaths.</strong></p> <p>There is a standard distribution of sociopaths across time and space. It&rsquo;s a function of Pareto&rsquo;s Law, better known as the 80-20 rule. 20% of the people do 80% of the work. Another 20% are responsible for 80% of the crime. 20% of the population always winds up with 80% of the wealth. And so forth, through all areas of human endeavor. This observation can be represented by a bell-shaped curve&mdash;a &ldquo;standard distribution&rdquo;&mdash;with a small minority at each extreme, but the large majority in the middle. The people who will take us to a police state are sociopaths&mdash;criminal personalities who don&rsquo;t respect the liberty or property of others. And sociopaths gravitate towards government, and eventually come to control it.</p> <p><strong><em>My view is that 80% of human beings are basically decent, get along, go along types. 20% are what you might call potential trouble sources, that can go either way. But then you take 20% of that 20% and you&rsquo;re dealing with the sociopaths.</em></strong></p> <p>When social conditions reach a certain stage these really bad guys come out from under their rocks and take advantage of the situation. We&rsquo;re seeing that right now in the US, across the political spectrum. Just as we&rsquo;ve seen in the past in hundreds of places throughout history.</p> <p><strong>A major tipping point occurred sixteen years ago, on September 11, 2001, with the attacks in New York and Washington. They were disastrous. But not nearly as disastrous as the government&rsquo;s reaction to them.</strong></p> <p>Among them the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. Anybody that speaks German knows that a reasonable translation of Homeland Security is Geheime Staatspolizei, which is usually abbreviated to Gestapo. Anybody that goes through airline security these days should ask themselves, &ldquo;Where the hell did they find these people? Didn&rsquo;t they have jobs before they went to work for this moronic agency?&rdquo; The answer is that there are people out there who like wearing costumes, are willing to boss, herd, interrogate, and go through the dirty laundry of their fellow citizens. They take their jobs seriously and you better not even look at them sideways. There&rsquo;s no reason to believe it&rsquo;s going to get better as they groove into their jobs, and their employer cements itself into place. More likely the trend will accelerate.</p> <p><u><em><strong>Is America currently a police state? </strong></em></u>Well, let&rsquo;s see. You can still get in your car and go anywhere, although you might be stopped by the police and you might be detained if your papers aren&rsquo;t in order. Or the officer thinks you&rsquo;re not properly respectful. Or you have &ldquo;too much&rdquo; cash.</p> <p>Was there any particular day that Germany became a police state in the 1930s? I&rsquo;m not sure you can put your finger on any one particular day, even after Hitler was legally and democratically elected. It was a progression, with new laws, new regulations, new taxes every day. While more fear and hysteria were worked up among the populace. Kristallnacht didn&rsquo;t occur the day after the National Socialists took power.</p> <p><strong>It&rsquo;s a case of the frog being put in a kettle of water where the temperature is gradually raised to a boil. That&rsquo;s what&rsquo;s occurring in the US.</strong> After 9/11, in addition to Homeland Security, we got the Patriot Act, with, among other things, its suspension of <em>habeas corpus</em>. That means that the government can lock anybody up for any reason and not even have to tell them why. Accuse them of being an &ldquo;enemy combatant&rdquo;&mdash;a neologism that justifies anything, and is robotically and thoughtlessly accepted by <em>Boobus americanus</em>&mdash;and anything is possible. Including a trip to a CIA black site in some Third World hellhole. This is something I thought was settled in Western Civilization with the Magna Carta and King John. But we&rsquo;re going backwards in most areas of personal freedom. And America, of all places, is leading the way&mdash;even while falling behind economically.</p> <p><strong>I don&rsquo;t know if I can put my finger on exactly when we&rsquo;re going to go over the edge, but if I was going to guess I would think the real catalyst is going to be the next 9/11-type event. And I don&rsquo;t doubt it&rsquo;s going to happen.</strong></p> <p>How are we any different than the Germans in the 1930s? This was one of the most civilized, best educated countries in Europe and they fell into the abyss. I suppose we&rsquo;re a bit different. Americans are addicted to welfare, anti-depressant drugs, food, and electronic devices. That should certainly give us a better outcome&hellip;</p> <p><strong>There&rsquo;s a joke I like to tell. Let me ask you this: Which is the gravest danger? Is it the ignorance, or is it the apathy of the average American today? Stumped? Here&rsquo;s the answer: I don&rsquo;t know and I don&rsquo;t care.</strong></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><em>When we do tumble over the political edge&mdash;which will likely happen sooner rather than later&mdash;complete economic collapse is sure to follow. That&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;re sharing our field guide to Surviving and Thriving During an Economic Collapse. <a href="" target="_blank">Click here to download your free PDF copy now.</a></em></p> <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="593" height="332" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Central Intelligence Agency Department of Homeland Security Enemy English-language films Fear (of the Unknown) Germany Gestapo Music Music history Oral literature pdf Today Sat, 16 Dec 2017 22:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609288 at Mueller "Improperly" Obtained "Tens of Thousands" Of Trump Transition Emails <p>Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team has taken possession of "<strong>many tens of thousands</strong>" of emails from the Trump transition team, obtained through the General Services Administration - the government agency responsible for hosting the transition email system which used a "" address, <strong>and which according to a Trump lawyer were improperly obtained through "unlawful conduct." </strong></p> <p>The trove of documents, which includes sensitive emails to and from Trump son-in-law and top advisor Jared Kushner, comprise 12 email accounts - one of which reportedly contains around 7,000 emails. Mueller's team has reportedly been using the emails as the basis for witness interviews, sources tell&nbsp;<em><a href="" target="_blank">Axios</a></em>.&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>The transition emails are said to include sensitive exchanges on matters that include potential appointments, gossip about the views of particular senators involved in the confirmation process, speculation about vulnerabilities of Trump nominees, strategizing about press statements, and policy planning on everything from war to taxes</strong>. -<em>Axios</em></p> </blockquote> <p>“<strong>Mueller is using the emails to confirm things, and get new leads</strong>,” a transition source adds.</p> <p><em><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="333" /></a><br />FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller III</em></p> <p>Transition officials had reportedly pre-sorted emails in anticipation of Mueller's investigation, separating "privileged" communications from the rest of the cache, and sources&nbsp;say they were surprised to learn of Mueller's use of the emails - as they have been fully cooperative with the special counsel investigation.&nbsp;“<strong>They ask us to waive NDAs [nondisclosure agreements] and things like that</strong>,” a second source said. “<strong>We have never said ‘no’ to anything.</strong>”</p> <p>Tranistion team lawyer Kory Langhofer says the Special Counsel obtained the documents through <strong>"unlawful conduct"</strong>&nbsp;by the General Services Administration, reports&nbsp;<em><a href="" target="_blank">Fox News</a></em>.&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>In a letter obtained by Fox News and sent to House and Senate committees on Saturday,<strong> the transition team’s attorney alleges “unlawful conduct” by the career staff at the General Services Administration in handing over transition documents to the special counsel’s office</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Kory Langhofer, the counsel to Trump for America, wrote in the letter that the special counsel’s office is aware that the GSA “did not own or control the records in question.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But, Langhofer says, Mueller’s team has “<strong>extensively used the materials in question, including portions that are susceptible to claims of privilege.</strong>”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Trump transition team lawyer argued the actions “<strong>impair the ability of future presidential transition teams to candidly discuss policy and internal matters that benefit the country as a whole.</strong>”&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p>The emails could shed light on the details leading up to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn's communications with Rusian ambassador Sergey Kislyak - with whom Flynn had several call to discuss sanctions, as well as an upcoming UN Security Council vote on whether or not to condemn Israel's building of settlements, which the Obama administration was preparing to allow to go through. The <em><a href=";action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;clickSource=story-heading&amp;module=span-ab-top-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">New York Times</a> </em>reported in early December that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel asked the Trump transition team to lobby other countries to help Israel.&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>According to prosecutors, on Dec. 22, Mr. Flynn discussed with Mr. Kislyak an upcoming United Nations Security Council vote on <strong>whether to condemn Israel’s building of settlements</strong>. At the time, the <strong>Obama administration was preparing to allow a Security Council vote on the matter</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Investigators have learned that <strong>Mr. Flynn and Mr. Kushner took the lead in those efforts</strong>. <strong>Mr. Mueller’s team has emails that show Mr. Flynn saying he would work to kill the vote</strong>, the people briefed on the matter said. -<em>NYT</em></p> </blockquote> <p>In September, <em><a href="" target="_blank">Politico</a></em>&nbsp;reported that<strong> Jared Kushner continued to use a private email account that had been set up during the transition to communicate with fellow administration officials during Trump’s first nine months in office - </strong>however it was used to send <em>"less than 100 emails" </em>which mostly consisted of "<em>quips about news items and minor commentary.</em>"&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>“Mr. Kushner uses his White House email address to conduct White House business,” Abbe Lowell, a lawyer for Kushner, said in a statement Sunday. “Fewer than 100 emails from January through August were either sent to or returned by Mr. Kushner to colleagues in the White House from his personal email account. These usually forwarded news articles or political commentary and most often occurred when someone initiated the exchange by sending an email to his personal rather than his White House address.”</p> </blockquote> <p><em>Politico</em> also noted that Kushner’s use of a private email account was <strong>part of a larger pattern of Trump administration aides using personal email accounts for government business</strong>. Kushner allegedly used the private account to communicate with <strong>Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, Gary Cohn and Josh Raffel</strong>. Buried deep within the report, however, that that <strong>There is no indication that Kushner has shared any sensitive or classified material on his private account</strong>, or that he relies on his private email account more than his official White House account to conduct government business. <strong>Aides say he prefers to call or text over using email</strong>.</p> <p><em><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="281" /></a><br />Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner</em></p> <p>As ZeroHedge reported at the time, <em><a href="" target="_blank">Politico</a></em> said <strong>Kushner and Ivanka Trump set up their private family domain late last year before moving to Washington from New York,</strong> according to people with knowledge of events as well as publicly available internet registration records. At the time, Kushner, who served as a senior campaign adviser, was expected to be named to a White House role, while Ivanka Trump was publicly saying she didn’t plan to work in her father’s administration, though she ended up taking an unpaid role with an office in the West Wing. <strong>People familiar with the account say it was primarily set up for personal use, but that Kushner has used it to communicate with acquaintances outside the White House about matters relating to Trump and the administration,</strong> according to people who have received messages.</p> <p>In November, the Senate Judiciary Committee said Kushner <strong>failed to turn over relevant documents</strong>&nbsp;pertaining to a "Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite" as well as emails received from WikiLeaks. Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) wrote in a letter to Kushner's attorney, Abbe Lowell: "<strong>We appreciate your voluntary cooperation with the Committee’s investigation, but the production appears to have been incomplete</strong>.”</p> <p>According to leaked information,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Kushner allegedly neglected to disclose</a>&nbsp;that Aleksander Torshin, a powerful Russian central banker and former senator with ties to both President Vladimir Putin and Russian organized crime, had reached out to the campaign with a "dinner invite" and an offer to connect Trump with Putin. Kushner, who was on the email chain, reportedly instructed junior campaign aides to rebuff the meeting. As reported by <em>NBC</em>, "<strong>Kushner rebuffed the request after receiving a lengthy email exchange about it</strong> between a West Virginia man and Trump campaign aide Rick Dearborn, the sources said."</p> <p>Grassley and Feinstein's letter point to several omissions, and addresses concerns raised by Kushner's attorney over "Executive Privilege" by creating a "privilege log" to segregate communications.&nbsp;</p> <p>“<strong>If, as you suggest, Mr. Kushner was unaware of, for example, any attempts at Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, then presumably there would be few communications concerning many of the persons identified</strong>,” the letter reads, asking Kushner to turn over all responsive documents by Nov 27. As <em>Politico</em>&nbsp;reported at the time:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>According to the lawmakers, Kushner’s attorney suggested providing some documents might “implicate the president’s Executive Privilege.” </strong>In their letter, <strong>they asked Lowell to resolve those issues and produce the documents or create a “privilege log” to detail over which documents the president is asserting executive privilege.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Grassley and Feinstein also said Kushner declined to produce documents connected to his security clearance application, citing their confidentiality. The lawmakers said they intend to take Lowell up on a separate request to visit his office to review the documents in person, but they said the committee would not waive its request to obtain its own copies.</p> </blockquote> <p>Lowell responded, stating that they had "provided the Judiciary Committee with all relevant documents that had to do with Mr. Kushner's calls, contacts or meetings with Russians during the campaign and transition, which was the request," adding that Kushner had told the committee they would be open to additional requests for information.&nbsp;</p> <p>And <a href="">according to Transition team attorney Kory Langhofer</a>, <strong>Mueller's team ignored any sort of "privilege log" and obtained the emails through "unlawful conduct," </strong>after which they extensively used the materials in question, <strong>"including portions that are susceptible to claims of privilege</strong>."&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The transition legal team argues it could be a violation of the 4th Amendment – which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. Kory Langhofer, the counsel to Trump for America, wrote in Saturday's letter that the GSA “did not own or control the records in question.” </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The transition attorney said they discovered the “unauthorized disclosures” by the GSA on December 12th and 13th and raised concerns with the special counsel’s office.</p> </blockquote> <p>Langhofer also wrote that some of the records obtained by the special counsel’s office from the GSA <strong>“have been leaked to the press by unknown persons</strong>” and argued that the actions “impair the ability of future presidential transition teams to candidly discuss policy and internal matters that benefit the country as a whole.” </p> <p>Given the reported use of private email accounts by Jared Kushner other transition team members, it stands to reason that if Robert Mueller's team finds anything 'of interest,' sent to or from said accounts, they will become subject to a full review as part of the ever-expanding investigation.</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="500" height="295" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent Business Climate change skepticism and denial Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Fox News General Services Administration Israel Jared Kushner Judiciary Committee national security NBC New York Times Obama Administration Obama administration Politics Robert Mueller Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Security Council Senate Special Counsel investigation Trump Administration Trump family U.N. Security Council United Nations United Nations Security Council United States Vladimir Putin West Virginia White House White House WWE Hall of Fame Sat, 16 Dec 2017 22:32:22 +0000 Tyler Durden 609298 at Austria's Anti-Immigrant Freedom Party Enters Government; Wins Key Ministry Posts <p>Two months ago, in Europe's latest shocking, anti-establishment outcome, Austria's 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz became the <a href="">world's youngest leader </a>after his conservative People's Party won the Austrian National Council elections, making him Austria's youngest Chancellor in history, while the establishment Social Democrat party suffered its "<a href="">worst result since Hitler rule</a>."</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="281" /></a><br /><em>Sebastian Kurz and his girlfriend Susanne Thier</em></p> <p>And now, two months later, in a double whammy for Europe's outraged liberal establishment, the anti-immigrant Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) - which finished third in October's elections with 26% of the vote, less than a percent behind the Social Democrats, has joined a coalition government with Sebastian Kurz and his People’s Party (OVP). The agreement between the People’s Party and the Freedom Party, <strong>which is returning to government after more than a decade's absence</strong>, was struck on Friday, the two parties’ leaders, Sebastian Kurz and Heinz-Christian Strache announced in a joint news conference. </p> <p>Austria's president approved the new coalition on Saturday, two months after inconclusive elections. According to <a href="">BBC</a>, the coalition government makes Austria the only country in Western Europe to have a far-right party in power.</p> <p><em><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="281" /></a><br />Sebastian Kurz and Freedom Party chair Heinz-Christian Strache</em></p> <p>Introducing the new government, and the 180-page document setting out its agenda, Mr Kurz said the two parties had agreed "<strong>on a clear pro-European outlook"</strong>. Meanwhile, Strache, who in January advocated a law similar to the ban on Nazi practices to be <a href="">introduced against “fascist Islam</a>,” spoke about “<a href="">mutual appreciation</a>” with Kurz, adding that they share “the responsibility for our homeland Austria and for the people in this country.”</p> <p>While the two parties have yet to unveil the details of the coalition agreement, some of the key points that will shape the next government have already been discussed: among them is a further crackdown on migration </p> <p><strong>“We want to reduce the burden on taxpayers ... and above all we want to ensure greater security in our country, including through the fight against illegal immigration,”</strong> Kurz said. </p> <p>And while the FPO will be the junior coalition partner, it has already secured several critical posts in the new cabinet. Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache will be vice-chancellor, while his party colleagues will <strong>run the ministries of the interior, defen<em>s</em>e and health and social security. </strong>Specifically, Herbert Kickl, will be the new iterior minister: the party's general secretary and campaign director, 49, was a speechwriter for the late party leader Jorg Haider and is a close confidant of the current leader, Hans-Christian Strache.</p> <p>For one, the sweep assures that any and all benefits for migrants will be eliminated. To be sure, the opposition has expressed concern that the police and the security apparatus are now all firmly in the hands of the Freedom Party.</p> <p>Separately, the new foreign minister will be Middle East expert and writer Karin Kneissl, who is not a Freedom Party member <strong>but was nominated by the party</strong>, which to some suggests that the Freedom Party now effectively runs Austria.&nbsp; At the request of Austria's president, the posts of justice minister and interior minister would not be held by the same party, Mr Kurz said.</p> <p>Today's crowning success of the far-right Freedom Party, which gained 7 percentage points on the previous elections, come amid a backlash to the immigrant wave that swept Europe in 2015 in the aftermath of Angela Merkel's now defunct "open door" policy. The party's hardline anti-immigrant stance emerged after Austria was overwhelmed by a wave of refugees fleeing the US-stoked proxy war in Syria. <strong></strong></p> <p><strong>Since 2015, the Alpine country took in some 150,000 asylum seekers, which accounts for over 1 percent of its population, one of the largest shares per capita alongside Sweden. </strong>The signs of the growing popularity of the far-right was evident in December last year, when Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer’s bid to become modern Austria's first far-right president was only narrowly defeated in a neck-and-neck contest with centrist Van der Bellen.</p> <p>And so, with Austria set to form a right-wing government, institutionalized opposition to Europe's liberal “open door” policies on migrants is no longer restricted to the EU's eastern territories. Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, with their own conservative governments, remain staunchly opposed to the EU relocation scheme and refuse to take in a single refugee. Now, with Austria joining the "resistance", the anti-migrant wave have officially broken into central Europe. </p> <p>And now, <strong>we await Europe's response: when the Freedom Party last entered a coalition in Austria in 2000, the country's fellow EU member states froze bilateral diplomatic relations in response.</strong> While they were lifted months later, such measures are unlikely to happen again, as resurgent populist groups have been promoting anti-immigration and eurosceptic agendas across much of the EU, and the last thing any other establishment party wants is to experience a similar revolution in the top political echelons.</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="1023" height="575" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Austrian National Council Central Europe Czech Elections in Austria Europe European Union Euroscepticism Freedom party Freedom Party of Austria Freedom Party of Austria German nationalism in Austria Heinz-Christian Strache Hungary Jörg Haider Kurz and Freedom Party Middle East Middle East National liberalism People ' s Party People's Party People’s Party Poland Politics Politics of Austria Politics of Europe Sebastian Kurz Slovakia Social Democrat party Social Democratic Party of Austria Social Issues western Europe Sat, 16 Dec 2017 21:59:50 +0000 Tyler Durden 609296 at WTF Chart Of The Week <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Jeffrey Snider via Alhambra Investment Partners,</em></a></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>Back in early October, <a href="">I noted that</a> repo fails had jumped above $250 billion (combined &ldquo;to receive&rdquo; and &ldquo;to deliver&rdquo;) for three weeks straight. That wasn&rsquo;t an auspicious result, as sustained collateral problems like that don&rsquo;t correlate to happy things.</strong> It all began the week of September 5, in what seemed like a minor one-day nuisance over the 4-week bill yield.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;">October was something of lull in repo and other things, too. Nothing ever goes in a straight line, of course, so it wasn&rsquo;t surprising to find by mid-November a resumption of concerns based so much in repo. The week of Thanksgiving, fails totaled again more than $400 billion, similar in scale to that week of September 5. Then they spiked by 50% more to $600 billion the week after.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>FRBNY records $523 billion in repo fails now for the first week of December. </strong>That&rsquo;s three straight more than $400 billion, two in a row better than half a trillion. </span></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-48870" height="357" src="" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;">The 8-week average is even just shy of $350 billion. <u><em><strong>You can get rich being a collateral owner under these terms, raising the question where are they all?</strong></em></u></span></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-48872" src="" style="width: 601px; height: 351px;" /></p> <p><u><em><strong><span style="color: #000000;">While these are good charts, important charts, neither is our Chart of the Week. What we are looking for in this context of really another burgeoning &ldquo;dollar shortage&rdquo; episode is, as always, <a href="">escalation</a>.</span></strong></em></u></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><span style="color: #000000;">I&rsquo;m going to go out on a limb and claim there is something seriously wrong in repo. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="color: #000000;">All jokes aside, I know it sounds like a broken record but the dimension that matters is not intermittent collateral problems so much as the greater intensity to them and in a condensing timeframe. Escalation is a description you really don&rsquo;t want to fit the circumstances.</span></p> </blockquote> <p><span style="color: #000000;">Just as raging wildfires have a horrific tendency to jump fire-lines and even whole valleys given enough energy,<strong> funding issues can jump markets. </strong>The global &ldquo;dollar&rdquo; market is not a monolithic whole and never has been. It may be (very likely is) more fragmented today than at any point in the past owing to persistent balance sheet capacity problems (therefore the breakdown of <em>covered interest parity</em> that used to keep various funding markets working together in what sure seemed like a seamless whole). It would be a clear point of magnification, then, to find serious problems in one part of the eurodollar system spilling over into another one.</span></p> <p><u><strong><span style="color: #000000;">Leading us to our Chart of the Week:</span></strong></u></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-48869" src="" style="width: 601px; height: 357px;" /></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>The 3-month &euro;/$ cross currency basis swap has plunged this week, a descent that really started the week after Thanksgiving. It has reached a level today last seen during the 2011 crisis. </strong>And this latest detour clearly marks its inflection where else but the week of September 5. In other words, you rarely find an exact match like the one we have here repo to &euro;/$ swaps.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;">This particular instrument isn&rsquo;t alone among XCurrBasisSwaps, either, it is merely the tenor and counterpart currency that right now is at the most extreme.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>Because these are two very different funding mechanisms, repo and FX (Footnote dollars), there can be little doubt what is really at issue &ndash; &ldquo;dollar&rdquo; shortage as a matter of supply and therefore balance sheet capacity. </strong></span></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;">That&rsquo;s the one common element linking collateral flow with the <em>severe unwillingness</em> (broken covered interest parity) to make a killing lending FX dollars to euro counterparties.</span></p> <p><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-48871" src="" style="width: 599px; height: 375px;" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>This doesn&rsquo;t mean there is a crash right ahead. It does, however, suggest coming difficulties in various markets and more than that the global economy.</strong> </span></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;">You can blame regulations all you want, as the mainstream has already rushed to do, being forced by such a huge move in &euro;/$ cross to at least report on it, but there is no way this comes out as anything other than an escalating warning.</span></p> <p><u><strong><span style="color: #000000;">As a reminder, what negative premiums on XCurrBasisSwaps <a href="">mean</a>:</span></strong></u></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><span style="color: #000000;">The cross currency basis swap is somewhat unique in that by fixing exchange values at both the outset and back end, <strong>it reveals purely financial perceptions in its values</strong> and changing values about the differences in interest payments. For example, in the 1990&rsquo;s the basis swap for Japanese banks (again, not companies) was structurally negative, meaning that they had to pay a premium to swap into dollar funding because of negative perceptions of creditworthiness. This is the legacy of the downside of the &ldquo;global dollar short&rdquo;, as Japanese banks had accumulated large dollar asset positions (long US$ assets, short US$ funding) leaving them susceptible to such vagaries in dollar funding, whether repo or basis swaps or anything else someone on Wall Street or in London might dream up that wasn&rsquo;t gold or actual cash&hellip;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="color: #000000;">The negative yen basis swap acts like leverage where even yields on the interim &ldquo;investment&rdquo; are negative. Any speculator or bank with spare &ldquo;dollars&rdquo; could lend them in a yen basis swap meaning an exchange into yen. Because you end up with yen you are forced into some really bad investment choices such as slightly negative 5-year government bonds, but that is just part of the cost of keeping risk on your yen side low. Instead, the real money is made in the basis swap itself since it now trades so highly negative. <strong>The very fact of that basis swap spread means a huge premium on spare dollars; which is another way of saying there is a &ldquo;dollar&rdquo; shortage. </strong></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="color: #000000;">Because of the shortage and its premium, you can swap into yen and invest in negative yielding JGB&rsquo;s in size and still make out handsomely. There has been, in fact, a rush of foreign &ldquo;money&rdquo; into Japan to take advantage of this dollar shortage;<em><strong> the fact that there has been such enthusiasm and it still has not alleviated the imbalance proves scale and intractability.</strong></em></span></p> </blockquote> <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="556" height="287" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Counterparties Currency swap EuroDollar Finance Global Economy Japan Money Repurchase agreement Swap Systemic risk Yen Sat, 16 Dec 2017 21:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609287 at Somebody Hacked Starbucks' WiFi To Mine Cryptocurrencies <p>As the values of the largest cryptocurrencies have multiplied this year, so too have reports of digital-currency miners stealing resources to amplify the profitability of their operations.</p> <p>In Venezuela, where electricity is heavily subsidized by the (crumbling) government, the government&rsquo;s intelligence agents are ferreting out and jailing people caught mining bitcoin or other digital currencies.</p> <p>Yesterday, we reported that the world&rsquo;s largest oil-pipeline company discovered unauthorized digital-currency mining taking place on the company&rsquo;s hardware.</p> <p>And today, <a href="">Cryptocoinsnews</a> pointed out that a Starbucks in Buenos Aires had its wi-fi hacked to force a 10 second delay when connecting so it could mine Monero - currently the world&rsquo;s 11th largest cryptocurrency - with people&rsquo;s laptops.</p> <p>The presence of the CoinHive code was discovered by the chief executive of a New York-based tech company, Noah Dinkin, who noticed something was off when he was connecting to the service. He then used Twitter to share what he found:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Hi <a href="">@Starbucks</a> <a href="">@StarbucksAr</a> did you know that your in-store wifi provider in Buenos Aires forces a 10 second delay when you first connect to the wifi so it can mine bitcoin using a customer&#39;s laptop? Feels a little off-brand.. cc <a href="">@GMFlickinger</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Noah Dinkin (@imnoah) <a href="">December 2, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Initially, Dinkin believed his laptop was being forced to mine bitcoin, users noted Coinhive only works with Monero, a cryptocurrency optimized for CPU mining that recently hit a new all-time high above $300, and has surged over 1,500% this year so far, according to data from CoinMarketCap.</p> <p>A few days after Dinkin shared his findings on Twitter, Starbucks responded. The company acknowledged the issue and announced that it&rsquo;s been resolved.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">As soon as we were alerted of the situation in this specific store last week, we took swift action to ensure our internet provider resolved the issue and made the changes needed in order to ensure our customers could use Wi-Fi in our store safely.</p> <p>&mdash; Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) <a href="">December 11, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A spokesperson later on clarified that this wasn&rsquo;t an isolated incident, and that the problem stemmed from the internet service provider, not Starbucks. Speaking to Motherboard, the spokesperson added that Starbucks hoped to ensure its customers are &ldquo;able to search the internet over Wi-Fi securely,&rdquo; and that it&rsquo;s working with its service provider to remedy the issue.</p> <p>Earlier this year, CCN reported the Pirate Bay&rsquo;s efforts to use visitor CPU to mine Monero in order to monetize its traffic and replace the ads on its pages. The torrent index website used Coinhive, a JavaScript code that allows website admins to mine the anonymity-centric cryptocurrency with visitor&rsquo;s CPUs.</p> <p>Ever since the Pirate Bay tested Coinhive on its website, various actors started using the code to access other CPUs. The code was even placed on Google Chrome extensions, and on a subscription streaming service called Fight Pass, which exists to stream UFC matches.<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="672" height="282" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin Cryptocurrencies Cryptography Currency Digital currency Finance Google ISP Monero Money Starbucks Technology Twitter Twitter wi-fi Sat, 16 Dec 2017 21:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609271 at 'Murica? An Entire Arizona Family Now 'Identifies' As Transgender <p><strong><em>Presented without comment...</em></strong></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 559px; height: 231px;" /></a></p> <p><a href="">DailyCaller&#39;s Grace Carr reports</a> that <strong>an entire family in Arizona says every member now identifies as transgender.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;It feels like you&rsquo;re getting to live for the first time,&rdquo; </strong>said Daniel Harrott, who lived most of her life as a woman and is now transitioning to male,&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">according to KJZZ</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;And my children are getting to be who they&rsquo;ve always wanted to be,&rdquo; </strong>she added, explaining that<strong> her family of four is happier now that they are all living according to the identities of their choice.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Harrott&rsquo;s 11-year-old, Mason, is a girl but decided she wasn&rsquo;t her biological gender and now goes by a boy&rsquo;s name and sports boy&rsquo;s clothes.</p> <p>Harrott&rsquo;s first child, 13-year-old Joshua - who is wheelchair bound - was born a male but now also says he is not of the right body and is choosing to become a female. Joshua says he was only 6 or 7 years old when he knew he was a girl.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 293px;" /></a></p> <p>The children&rsquo;s mother, Daniel, is engaged to&nbsp;Shirley Austin, a man who identifies as a woman. Daniel&nbsp;said that Josh came out as transgender first, followed by Mason, after which Daniel felt it was okay to accept her male identity. Following their identity changes, Daniel met transgender Shirley, who joined their family to make up a family of four transgenders.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;The whole family is in transition,&rdquo; </strong>Austin said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Both Daniel and Shirley were previously married to partners opposite of their biological sex, and both had children in those marriages.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;They&rsquo;re trans, and I know it&rsquo;s true &ndash; because I am, too,&rdquo; </strong>Daniel said, telling KJZZ that her son Joshua had wanted to join the Girl Scouts, which made her start to think the whole family must be transgender.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Daniel posits that transgenders have been in her family for at least 100 years, and recounts that people used to call her great aunt a cross-dresser.</strong></p> <p>One of the world&rsquo;s leading experts in childhood gender dysphoria, Dr. Kenneth Zucker, <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">lost his job</a> for <strong>challenging the new orthodoxy that children know best and for&nbsp;presenting evidence that most children with gender dysphoria eventually overcome the feelings without transitioning.</strong></p> <p><iframe allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" gesture="media" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <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="617" height="255" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Gender Gender dysphoria Gender dysphoria in children Gender identity Gender studies Genderqueer Identity Legal recognition of non-binary gender Social Issues Transgender Transgender youth Transitioning Sat, 16 Dec 2017 20:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609285 at Congresswoman Says Rumor Is That Trump Will Fire Mueller Before Christmas <p><strong>Republican lawmakers have been increasingly frustrated</strong> by revelations that one of the FBI agents who had a pivotal role in both the early stages of what became the Mueller investigation and the bureau&rsquo;s decision to excuse Hillary Clinton shared anti-Trump sentiments with his mistress, also an FBI employee.</p> <p>Earlier this week, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley <a href="">fired off a letter </a>to the DOJ asking Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein to explain this and other disturbing revelations indicating bias toward Trump from within both the DOJ and the Mueller probe specifically. To wit, nearly every Mueller team member donated to at least one of Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s campaigns. Furthermore, <a href="">Mueller&rsquo;s right-hand man Aaron Zebley </a>represented the IT staffer who installed Clinton&rsquo;s illegal server.</p> <p><strong>These frustrations came to a head earlier this week when <a href="">Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Rosenstein</a> engaged in a testy exchange </strong>during the latter&rsquo;s public testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.</p> <p><iframe allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" gesture="media" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>Given the mounting pressure on Mueller,<strong> it&rsquo;s perhaps unsurprising that Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said Friday that the rumor on Capitol Hill is that President Donald Trump is planning to fire Mueller before Christmas, but after Congress leaves Washington for the winter recess.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;The rumor on the Hill when I left yesterday was that the president was going to make a significant speech at the end of next week. And on Dec. 22, when we are out of D.C., he was going to fire Robert Mueller,&quot; Speier told California&#39;s KQED News.</p> </blockquote> <p>According to<a href=""> the Hill,</a> Speier, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said that Trump was trying to shut down the committee&#39;s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. As evidence, she pointed to the lack of interviews scheduled for the new year.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 241px;" /></a></p> <p>The New York Times<a href=""> reported Friday</a> that the committee is scheduling its final witnesses of the year to testify in New York despite important votes coming up in Washington, DC, and confirmed no additional witnesses are scheduled yet in 2018.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&quot;We can read between the lines I think,&quot;</strong> Speier said.<strong> &quot;I believe this president wants all of this shut down. He wants to shut down these investigations, and he wants to fire special counsel Mueller.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>The ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), also said Friday that he is worried that Republicans leading the committee are seeking to shut down the committee&#39;s investigation by the end of the year.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&quot;Republicans have scheduled no witnesses after next Friday and none in 2017 [sic]. We have dozens of outstanding witnesses on key aspects of our investigation that they refuse to contact and many document requests they continue to sit on,&quot; he tweeted Friday.</p> </blockquote> <p>Of course, <u><strong>there&rsquo;s also reason to take Speier&rsquo;s comments with a grain of salt</strong></u>: Rumors that Trump might fire Mueller have been circulating since May.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><u><em><strong>&quot;There is no intention or plan to make any changes in regards to the special counsel,&quot;</strong></em></u> White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in October.</p> </blockquote> <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="560" height="270" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent Congress DOJ Donald Trump Donald Trump FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Bureau of Investigation House Intelligence Committee Jackie Speier Judiciary Committee New York Times None Politics Robert Mueller Rod Rosenstein Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Special Counsel investigation Testimony United States United States Department of Justice United States intelligence agencies White House White House Sat, 16 Dec 2017 20:17:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609286 at CSX CEO Hunter Harrison Dead, Days After Medical Leave <p>Just two days after taking medical leave from his role as CEO of CSX, the <strong>company has confirmed 73-year-old Hunter Harrison has passed away</strong>.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="315" src="" width="591" /></a></p> <p>Hunter Harrison, CEO of rail company CSX, has passed away, the company confirmed in a statement Saturday.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&quot;It is with great sadness that we announce that E. Hunter Harrison,</strong> President and Chief Executive Officer of CSX, died today in Wellington, Fla., <strong>due to unexpectedly severe complications from a recent illness,</strong>&quot; the company said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Harrison had taken medical leave on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported.</p> <p>Jim Foote has been named acting CEO in the wake of Hunter&#39;s passing, according to CSX board chairman Edward Kelly.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&quot;With the passing of Hunter Harrison, CSX has suffered a major loss,&quot;</strong> Kelly said. &quot;Notwithstanding that loss, the board is confident that Jim Foote, as acting Chief Executive Officer, and the rest of the CSX team will capitalize on the changes that Hunter has made.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The Board will continue to consider in a deliberative way how best to maximize CSX&#39;s performance over the long term,&quot; Kelly said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Harrison, who <strong>turned around three railroad carriers during a five-decade career </strong>before being tapped by&nbsp;CSX Corp.&nbsp;to improve the company&rsquo;s lackluster performance, had heart bypass surgery in 1998, occasionally used a portable oxygen tank to treat shortness of breath.</p> <p><strong>His reputation among analysts and investors was so strong that CSX shares jumped 23 percent on a single day in January 2017 when reports emerged that Harrison was in talks to take the helm. </strong>Shares fell almost 8 percent when the company announced his medical leave.</p> <p>His health emerged as a concern for investors after he joined Canadian Pacific. In 2015, Harrison contracted pneumonia and missed several weeks of work after undergoing surgery to have stents implanted in his legs. In 2017, before being appointed by CSX, he turned down the company&rsquo;s request that an independent physician designated by the board review his medical records.</p> <p>Harrison and his <strong>wife, Jeannie, had two children.</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="591" height="315" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business CSX Corp CSX Corporation CSX Transportation E. Hunter Harrison Harrison, New York Medical Records Rail transport by country Rail transportation in the United States Stent Transportation in the United States Wall Street Journal Sat, 16 Dec 2017 20:16:55 +0000 Tyler Durden 609292 at The Great Oil Swindle <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Chris Martenson via,</em></a></p> <p><em><strong>... is leading us to destruction.</strong></em></p> <p><img height="298" src="" width="500" /></p> <div class="content clearfix"> <p>When it comes to the story we&#39;re being told about America&#39;s rosy oil prospects, we&#39;re being swindled.&nbsp;</p> <p>At its core, the swindle is this:&nbsp;<em>The shale industry&#39;s oil production forecasts are vastly overstated.</em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>Swindle:&nbsp; Noun&nbsp; - A fraudulent scheme or action.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>And the swindle is not just affecting the US.&nbsp; It&#39;s badly distorted everything from current geopolitics to future oil forecasts.</p> <p>The false conclusions the world is drawing as a result of the self-deception and outright lies we&#39;re being told is putting our future prosperity in major jeopardy. Policy makers and ordinary citizens alike have been misled, and everyone -- everyone -- is unprepared for the inevitable and massive coming oil price shock.</p> <h2><u>An Oil Price Spike Would Burst The &#39;Everything Bubble&#39;</u></h2> <p>Our thesis at Peak Prosperity is that the world&rsquo;s equity and bond markets are enormous financial bubbles in search of a pin. Sadly, history shows there&rsquo;s nothing quite as sharp and terminal to these sorts of bubbles as a rapid spike in the price of oil.</p> <p>And we see a huge price spike on the way.</p> <p>As a reminder, bubbles exist when asset prices rise beyond what incomes can sustain.&nbsp; Greece is a prime recent example. In 2008 when the price of oil spiked to&nbsp; $147/bbl, Greece could no longer afford imported oil. But oil is a necessity so it was bought anyway, their national balances of payments were stressed to the point that they were exposed as insolvent and then their debt bubble promptly and predictably popped.&nbsp; &nbsp;The rest is history.&nbsp; Greece is now a nation of ruins and their economy might as well be displayed alongside the Acropolis.</p> <p>What happened to Greece will happen to any and every financially marginal oil-importing nation. As a reminder, the US still remains a net oil importer (more on that below).</p> <p>Well, if you thought that world debt levels were dizzyingly high back at the beginning of the Great Recession in 2008, then you might want a fainting couch nearby before looking at this next chart:</p> <p><img src="" style="height: 347px; width: 500px;" /></p> <p class="rtecenter">(<a href="" target="_blank">Source</a>)</p> <p>Global debt is a full $68 trillion higher in 2017 than it was in 2007(!). In terms of global GDP that represents a whopping increase of ~50% (from 276% to 327%).&nbsp;</p> <p>At approximately 96 million barrels per day of oil consumption, each $10 rise in the price of oil per barrel means that oil consumers have to redirect an additional $960 million dollars each day(!) away from such things as profits, discretionary spending, and debt payments. Instead, that money is sent to the oil producers.&nbsp;</p> <p>So a future price shock that tacks on an addition $50/bbl to the current price (bringing the total price of oil back over $100/bbl) would translate into $4,800 million ($4.8 billion) per day. That&#39;s some $1.7 trillion per year of &ldquo;redirected spending&rdquo; that used to go to some other purposes but will now go to oil producers and oil producing nations.</p> <p>Without belaboring the details, at the margin plenty of economically viable companies, countries and individuals would suddenly become &lsquo;unviable&rsquo; and go bankrupt. Their debt and equity holders, employees, and communities that service these companies, will be wiped out.&nbsp;</p> <p>This is why I love quoting Jim Puplava&#39;s observation that <strong>the price of oil is the new Fed Funds rate</strong>.&nbsp; It has more ability to determine the future of the economy than interest rates.</p> <p>For example, if you want to bring credit growth into a screeching halt, just jack up the price of oil. That&#39;s exactly what happened in 2008.</p> <p>And it can -- and very predictably <em>will</em>&nbsp;-- happen again.</p> <p>For reasons I&#39;ll explain shortly (in <a href="" target="_blank">Part 2</a>), I project the next major upwards-surprise oil price spike to arrive somewhere between the second half of 2018 and 2020.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <h2><u>The Middle East Is Now A Lot More Volatile</u></h2> <p>Now, if there&rsquo;s a war in the Middle East that accelerates my timetable. Higher prices would arrive within weeks of the outbreak of hostilities, especially if they impact shipping traffic through the all-critical Strait of Hormuz.</p> <p>As a quick reminder, roughly one third of all exported oil in the world passes through the Strait of Hormuz:</p> <p><img src="" style="height: 327px; width: 500px;" /></p> <p>It&rsquo;s a critical bottleneck. Even one missile flying towards one oil tanker will halt all oil shipments for quite some time.</p> <p>Maritime insurers do not cover acts of war (<a href=";p_document_id=20747880">see Rule 58</a>) and the ship owners themselves will quickly stop shipments if it worried about taking massive losses on sunk tankers.&nbsp;</p> <p>All of which means that the very first missile lobbed towards a vessel there will quickly result in no ships at all transiting the Strait.</p> <p><img src="" style="height: 356px; width: 499px;" /></p> <p class="rtecenter">(<a href="" target="_blank">Source</a>)</p> <p>I raise this risk again here, as I did in my report on the <a href="" target="_blank">recent concerning developments</a> in Saudi Arabia, to remind everyone that an outbreak of war in the Middle East will prick the world&rsquo;s global set of financial bubbles (stocks, bonds, real estate, fine art, etc) via a very sharp oil price spike.</p> <h2><u>Oil Economics</u></h2> <p>To get to the heart of the swindle being perpetrated, we only need understand a very simply equation describing the oil business.&nbsp; Money is spent drilling a hole in the ground, and then money is earned based on how much oil comes up out of that hole.</p> <p>Money in, money out.</p> <p>(Of course, there&rsquo;s a lot of complexity involved in oil drilling and I don&rsquo;t mean to diminish the incredible talents of the many gifted people who coax our energy out of the ground. But the high-level financial math isn&#39;t that hard to grasp.)</p> <p>We can understand the oil industry&#39;s financial math using just three variables: C, P and A.</p> <ul> <li><strong>C</strong> -&nbsp; the <span style="text-decoration: underline;">cost</span> of drilling the well and then producing the oil.</li> <li><strong>P</strong> &ndash; the <span style="text-decoration: underline;">price</span> of oil when we sell it</li> <li><strong>A</strong> &ndash; the <span style="text-decoration: underline;">amount</span> of oil that comes out of the well.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>The formula for profits is simply the (price of oil) times (the amount) minus (costs).&nbsp; &nbsp;<strong>(P * A) &ndash; C = profits</strong></p> <p>For example, let&rsquo;s say that we spent $10 million drilling a well when oil commands a market price of $100 a barrel the entire time we&rsquo;re selling it.&nbsp; The &lsquo;break-even&rsquo; for that well -- i.e., when the money we spent was finally returned in full -- would be when C = (P * A).</p> <p>So break-even would be 100,000 barrels in this example. 100,000 bbls * $100/bbl = $10 million.</p> <p>If instead our well ultimately produced 200,000 barrels, we&rsquo;d have a lot of profits.&nbsp; And of course, if we drilled a well that only produced 50,000 barrels, we&rsquo;d lose money.</p> <p>Now here&rsquo;s where the swindle happens:&nbsp;</p> <p>The cost to drill and operate the well (C)?&nbsp; That&rsquo;s known with fine precision.&nbsp;</p> <p>The amount of oil that will come out of that well, or A?&nbsp; That, too, is calculable and known.&nbsp;</p> <p>But the price of oil (P) a driller receives for the oil it produces?&nbsp; Well, because that&#39;s an unknown it represents the major risk in the business.&nbsp; There&#39;s just no way to predict the future price of oil.&nbsp; So, what to do about this?</p> <p>Well, one way to fix the price variable is to ask a different question than &quot;how much will we make?&quot; and instead ask &quot;at what price of oil will our well break-even?&quot;&nbsp; This is a firm, calculable number and it brings us to the heart of the swindle.</p> <h2><u>How Much Oil Do Shale Wells Really Produce?</u></h2> <p>If you&rsquo;ve been following the US shale industry over the past few years, you&#39;re likely quite perplexed.</p> <p>On one hand, the shale oil producers sport negative free cash flows in every year of operation. They are cash burning machines.</p> <p>But on the other hand, their reported break-even prices have been falling dramatically, and are often reported to be well below the current retail price of oil. Meaning they should be nicely profitable.</p> <p><em>Which is it?</em></p> <p>How is it possible to both produce above your break-even price point <em>and</em> be losing money hand over fist?</p> <p>Well, one way is if the reported break-even prices aren&#39;t correct.&nbsp; Let&rsquo;s recall our simple formula for the break-even: C = (P * A).&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>When break-even prices are being reported in the media, what the companies are really doing is answering to this question:&nbsp;<em>At what average price of oil will this well, once fully exhausted, have fully paid itself back?</em></p> <p>It works like this.&nbsp; Suppose we knew a well costs $7 million to drill and operate over its lifetime, and we wanted to know what the breakeven price was.&nbsp; Well, that all depends on something called the EUR.&nbsp;</p> <p>The total amount of oil that&#39;s projected to come out of a well over its lifetime (variable A in our equation) is called the Estimated Ultimate Recovery, or EUR.&nbsp;</p> <p>The following table shows that the reported break-even might be anywhere from $70 to $9 if the EUR varied from a lifetime output of 100,000 barrels to 800,000 barrels:</p> <p><img src=" 2017-12-14.jpg" style="height: 153px; width: 498px;" /></p> <p>So, clearly the EUR is <em>a very important number</em>. And not just for reported break-even costs to investors.&nbsp; Those EUR estimates form the basis for our expectations of how much oil is going to be produced from not only a given well, but from an entire shale basin, because&nbsp;the EUR&#39;s are baked into the production models.</p> <p>In fact, they are the single most important number so getting them right, or close to right, is not just important, but absolutely critical.</p> <p>Now let&rsquo;s use that knowledge to read a recent article I came across in a prominent oil and gas journal.&nbsp; The entire article is centered on the Bakken play in North Dakota. In both tone and conclusions, it&rsquo;s exactly similar to articles we might read about the other large shale plays like the&nbsp;Eagleford&nbsp;and Permian basins.</p> <p style="margin-left: .5in;">The average well cost for drilling and completing a well in 2016 is estimated at around US$6.8 <em>million, with the potential for additional reductions by year-end. </em></p> <p style="margin-left: .5in;"><em>Based on the current well cost estimates, <strong>the average wellhead breakeven price is expected to average US$40 per bbl for 2016, about a 20% reduction from the 2015 level. </strong></em></p> <p style="margin-left: .5in;"><strong><em>This is a big achievement for shale companies operating in the Bakken;</em></strong><em> operators have managed to increase the average well performance while reducing well costs.</em></p> <p style="margin-left: .5in;">(<a href="" target="_blank">Source</a>)</p> <p>Before we move onto the supporting charts from the article (below), let&rsquo;s just note what we&rsquo;ve read.&nbsp; The average break even is now just $40 per barrel, a whopping 20% reduction from 2016 (which also saw a huge reported reduction from 2015).</p> <p>If you stopped reading there you&rsquo;d probably think, <em>&ldquo;Cool! We&rsquo;re figuring out better and faster ways to drill and unlock tons more oil. I guess all of those projections of a US shale production bonanza for many decades to come are confirmed by this news.&rdquo;</em></p> <p>The first chart offered in this article supports that contention very nicely.&nbsp; In it, we see that the break-even price has plummeted every year since 2013; going down from $70 to just $40. That&rsquo;s amazing!</p> <p><img src="" style="height: 333px; width: 500px;" /></p> <p>But a sharp eye would also notice that the drilling costs have not fallen nearly so much.&nbsp; They&rsquo;ve only fallen around 17% per well while the break-even cost has collapsed by 42%.</p> <p>What accounts for the difference?&nbsp; You already know, don&rsquo;t you&hellip;it&rsquo;s the EUR, the total amount of oil expected to come out of each well.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s the supporting chart from the article:</p> <p><img src="" style="height: 370px; width: 500px;" /></p> <p>Holey smokes!&nbsp; The EUR has climbed from 400,000 barrels to 700,000 barrels.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s an increase of 75%!!</p> <p>That one feature alone accounts for nearly all of the reported drop in the break-even case.&nbsp; Again, the casual reader would be forgiving for thinking,&nbsp;<em>Cool!&nbsp; That confirms what I&rsquo;ve been reading about all the amazing technological breakthroughs in horizontal drilling and fracking. We&#39;ve got this!</em></p> <p>Which brings us to&hellip;</p> <h2><u>The Great Oil Swindle</u></h2> <p>Our commitment at Peak Prosperity is to find the data and let that tell us the story.&nbsp;</p> <p>Fortunately, huge amounts of publicly available data exist on the production profiles of oil wells, right down to the monthly production values of each well.&nbsp; Gigantic data sets exist containing the results for thousands and thousands of wells, carefully sorted by vintage (year started) and precise location.</p> <p>Even more fortunately, there are a few analysts out there that carefully download that data and then present it to the world so we can form our own conclusions.</p> <p>But much of that data is ignored or removed to make shale producers look healthier than they actually are. Here&#39;s a chart from the above article which has rather unhelpfully cherry picked the production data it used to make its point, But even with that attempt of duplicty, the chart still reveals the fraud:</p> <p><img src="" style="height: 415px; width: 500px;" /></p> <p>The chart shows cumulative production over time.&nbsp; It paints a story&nbsp;saying that for each vintage year more oil seems to be flowing out of the ground.&nbsp; 2013 is the lowest, 2014 is better, and finally 2016 seems to be on track for the best year ever.</p> <p>Why is this data unhelpfully presented?&nbsp; Because it stops at 18 months for each vintage even though we have many more years of data.&nbsp; These wells are principally depleted in 36 months, so why not show each vintage for 36 or more months, where possible?&nbsp; Is it because that might&nbsp;undermine the impression being conveyed, possibly?</p> <p>Before we show that is indeed the case, just use your eyeballs and mentally carry those curves out. You can see them flattening even within the first 18 months.&nbsp; The EUR and the cumulative production become the same number at the end of a well&rsquo;s life (at ~30 years, or 360 months).&nbsp; Can you mentally project any of those (asymptotic, flattening) curves ever reaching to 400,000 barrels on the y-axis?&nbsp; How about to 500,000?&nbsp; Could you make the case for 700,000?&nbsp;</p> <p>To my eye, those puppies are flattening out. Even if I give them a generously long time, I can see them getting to maybe 300,000 to 350,000 -- tops.</p> <p>Fortunately, we have more data to definitively address that question.</p> <p>The first comes to us from Art Berman, who shows that when you allow the data from each vintage to run, you&#39;ll notice something quite obvious and very serious: faster initial rates of production cause faster rates of decline later on:</p> <p><img src="" style="height: 355px; width: 499px;" /></p> <p class="rtecenter">(<a href="" target="_blank">Source</a>)</p> <p>While this chart is showing <em>monthly</em> production rather than <em>cumulative</em> production (stay with me on this&hellip;I know it takes some mental effort) it&rsquo;s not hard to appreciate that a faster initial rate of production will <em>add </em>to the amount of oil coming out of a well while a steeper decline rate later will <em>subtract </em>from that value.</p> <p>In other words, all of the fancy new technology and drilling techniques seems to only have accelerated the initial rate at which oil comes out of the ground, not the total amount!</p> <p>Next, let&rsquo;s again look at the cumulative production values, this time by vintage, or year.&nbsp; This data comes from the excellent website run by Enno Peters who has done all that heavy lifting of the data and then gone the extra mile to make it easily graphed.&nbsp; Kudos Enno!</p> <p>Shale wells deplete non-linearly.&nbsp; There&rsquo;s some complexity there but it&rsquo;s not too inaccurate for the layman to think that they deplete exponentially.&nbsp; Close enough to get you there.&nbsp;</p> <p>Accordingly, when the daily and cumulative output of those wells are plotted on a log chart, the resulting decline &quot;curves&quot; become straight lines.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; To figure out how much oil is going to eventually come out of those wells over their lives, or the EUR, it is not too terribly inaccurate to simply extend a straight line through the data and see where it points.</p> <p>When that&#39;s done for the Bakken&nbsp;wells we get this next chart:</p> <p><img src="" style="height: 583px; width: 500px;" /></p> <p class="rtecenter">(<a href="" target="_blank">Source</a>)</p> <p>Every single oil well is plotted for every year between 2010 and 2015, broken into vintages of a quarter of a year each.&nbsp; That is, every well brought into production within a three-month window is lumped together and given a different color line.</p> <p>First, the blue dotted line that I&#39;ve extended on the chart suggests that the most stellar vintage is on track to produce an EUR of roughly 300,000 barrels, give or take.&nbsp; The worst vintage might be expected to produce just 120,000 barrels.</p> <p>To get to even 400,000 barrels (far less than the claimed 700,000 in the above article!) a very pronounced shift in the very best vintage would have to magically take place.&nbsp; No such &lsquo;line shift&rsquo; has ever been seen in any of this data by myself and I&rsquo;ve looked through a lot of it.&nbsp;</p> <p>Remember, this is what is currently being widely reported for the Bakken right now:</p> <p><img src="" style="height: 370px; width: 500px;" /></p> <p>There&rsquo;s an enormous discrepancy between the above chart and the data we&rsquo;ve got in hand and I&rsquo;ve no good explanation for the difference except that they must come from different sources.&nbsp; My preferred data comes from the well head, but other&rsquo;s take theirs from company presentations.</p> <p>Why does any of this matter at all?</p> <p>Because the inputs to a great many energy reports and if the actual data is correct, then every assumption about the future prospects of the US as an oil producer are wildly, dangerously wrong.</p> <p>For example, if the EURs are half what is being assumed, which seems likely, then every future oriented analysis depending on them will be overstating things by 100%.&nbsp; A 2x error seems pretty significant to me.</p> <p>For those who like their data, you could also read <a href="">Art Berman who has done a similar (and far more sophisticated) analysis of the Permian basin</a> and come to precisely the same conclusions (also deriving EURs roughly half of what&rsquo;s being claimed).&nbsp;</p> <p>Or this analysis of the Eagleford basin which derived an EUR of 250,000:</p> <p style="margin-left: .5in;">This study derives typical production curves of tight oil wells based on monthly production data from multiple horizontal Eagle Ford shale oil wells. Well properties initial production (IP) rate and production decline rate were documented, and estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) was calculated using two empirical production decline curve models, the hyperbolic and the stretched exponential function.</p> <p style="margin-left: .5in;">IP&nbsp;=&nbsp;500&nbsp;bbl/day,&nbsp;<em>D</em>&nbsp;=&nbsp;0.3 and&nbsp;<em>b</em>&nbsp;=&nbsp;1 resulting in an EUR of 250&nbsp;kbbl with a 30-year well lifetime, however, with the recognition that this extrapolation is uncertain.</p> <p style="margin-left: .5in;">(<a href="" target="_blank">Source</a>)</p> <p>Each of these analyses are pointing to EUR&rsquo;s that are in the range of 250,000 to 350,000 barrels and across every shale basin.&nbsp;</p> <h2><u>The Danger Of This Deceit</u></h2> <p>The summary is we have lots and lots of actual data and supporting studies all pointing to the idea that the amount of oil that will come out of these shale wells is half or less what&rsquo;s being popularly reported.</p> <p><em>In <a href="" target="_blank">Part 2: The Massive Coming Oil Shock</a>, we connect the remaining dots that show an oil price spike caused by an oil supply shortage is inevitable at this point, likely within the next 2 years. Thought $5 a gallon gas was bad back in 2008? You&#39;re really going to hate gas $10 a gallon (yes, it could get that ugly).</em></p> <p><em>An oil price of this magnitude will smash many a budget. Families on the edge will not be able to afford the gas to get to their jobs, nor the commensurate rise in price of all the other goods and services they depend on to live (as oil is an input cost in nearly everything).&nbsp; Millions of households will be financially wrecked many communities will become largely unlivable as they lose their anchor employers.</em></p> <p><em>Add the popping of the financial markets on top of things, and we&#39;ve got a true crisis greater than anything we&#39;ve lived through so far.</em></p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank">Click here to read Part 2</a><a href="" target="_blank">&nbsp;</a>of this report&nbsp;(free executive summary,<a href="" target="_blank">&nbsp;enrollment&nbsp;</a>required for full access)</em></p> </div> <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="354" height="211" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> B+ Bond Business Chris Martenson Energy economics ETC Extraction of petroleum Ford Greece Middle East Middle East Peak oil Petroleum geology Petroleum industry Petroleum politics Price of oil Pricing Primary sector of the economy Real estate Recession recovery Saudi Arabia US Federal Reserve World oil market chronology from Sat, 16 Dec 2017 19:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609284 at Trump Set To Accuse China Of "Economic Aggression" On Monday <p>Just a few short <strong>days after Chinese <a href="">regulators gave the greenlight to petro-yuan futures trading</a></strong>, signaling an escalation in the war against dollar hegemony, President Trump is <a href=";segmentId=ce31c7f5-c2de-09db-abdc-f2fd624da608">reportedly </a>set to <strong>accuse China of &quot;economic aggression&quot; in efforts to &quot;undermine international order&quot; </strong>during his national security strategy speech on Monday.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="317" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>The last week has more intriguing than usual in the world of Sino-US relations - not only did <a href=""><strong>China push ahead with its plans for a yuan/gold-backed oil futures contract</strong>,</a> directly threatening the great military-servicing global petrodollar recycling scheme; but Washington appeared to do an <a href=""><strong>about-face in its rhetoric towards North Korea</strong></a>, as Secretary of State Tillerson indicated that <strong>the US would be willing to hold talks with North Korea without any preconditions. </strong></p> <p>Both actions could be seen as tilting towards China (obviously with the oil trading and more what China had hoped for on North Korea), appear to have prompted Trump to go on the offensive,<a href=";segmentId=ce31c7f5-c2de-09db-abdc-f2fd624da608"> as The FT reports, </a><em><strong>Donald Trump will accuse China of engaging in &ldquo;economic aggression&rdquo; when he unveils his national security strategy on Monday, in a strong sign that he has become frustrated at his inability to use his bond with China&rsquo;s President Xi Jinping to convince Beijing to address his trade concerns.</strong></em></p> <p>Several people familiar with the national security strategy - a formal document produced by every US president since Ronald Reagan - said Mr Trump would propose a much tougher stance on China than previous administrations.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;The national security strategy is likely to <strong>define China as a competitor in every realm. Not just a competitor but a threat, and therefore, in the view of many in this administration, an adversary,</strong>&rdquo; said one person.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;This is not something that they just cooked up. Mar-a-Lago interrupted the campaign rhetoric, and Xi Jinping took a little gamble and came here and embraced Trump. Trump said &lsquo;fine, do something on North Korea and on trade&rsquo;, but that didn&rsquo;t work out so well.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Mr Trump castigated China repeatedly on the campaign trail. But in office, and particularly since his Mar-a-Lago summit with Mr Xi, he had taken a less combative stance, partly because the US believes&nbsp;Chinese pressure on North Korea is crucial to tackling the nuclear crisis.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;The national security strategy is the starting gun for a series of economic measures against the Chinese,&rdquo; </strong>said Michael Allen, a former Bush administration official at Beacon Global Strategies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It is sort of the Rosetta Stone for translating campaign themes into a coherent governing document.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Some people familiar with <strong>the strategy said it would be the most&nbsp;aggressive&nbsp;economic response to China&rsquo;s rise since 2001</strong> when the US backed its entry into the World Trade Organization. It points to the waning influence of Gary Cohn, the White House National Economic Council head who many people believe will leave the administration next year.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s like a Peter Navarro PowerPoint presentation,&rdquo; </strong>said one person, referring to the provocative economist and author of &ldquo;Death by China&rdquo; who is now a White House official.</p> </blockquote> <p>And while &#39;trade&#39; is the cover, perhaps it was comments from <strong>HR McMaster,</strong> US national security adviser who oversaw the strategy, this week that confirm the threat to dollar hegemony as he said <strong>China - along with Russia - was a &ldquo;revisionist power&rdquo; that was &ldquo;undermining the international order.&quot;</strong></p> <p>And that would be the unipolar world order with Washington on top.</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="668" height="353" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent Bond Bush Administration Business China China Climate change skepticism and denial Donald Trump Donald Trump Greenlight Mar-a-Lago national security North Korea Peter Navarro Peter Navarro Politics Rex Tillerson The Apprentice United States White House White House White House National Economic Council World Trade World Trade Organization WWE Hall of Fame Xi Jinping Yuan Sat, 16 Dec 2017 19:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609281 at