en Bitcoin Futures Open Above $20,000... Then Dump <p>Both CME and CBOE Bitcoin Futures contracts opened above $20,000 this evening (with Bitcoin spot hovering around $19,000).</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="313" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> However,<strong> as soon as trading started, Bitcoin futures got hammered lower...</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="315" /></a></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="958" height="499" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin Bitcoin Cash Business CBOE Chicago Board Options Exchange Cryptocurrencies Currency Economics of bitcoin Economy of Chicago Finance Futures contract Money Sun, 17 Dec 2017 23:42:38 +0000 Tyler Durden 609338 at Vince McMahon Considers XFL Relaunch As NFL Fans Evaporate <p>WWE owner Vince McMahon is considering bringing back his ill-fated football league, the XFL, amid <a href="" target="_blank">sagging NFL viewership</a>&nbsp;and a racially charged kneeling epidemic of players who won't stand for the National Anthem which began during the summer 2016 pre-season. In a recent "30 for 30" documentary about the XFL, McMahon and his partner in the 2001 endeavor - former NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol, pondered the possibility of relaunching the league once promoted as having fewer rules and rougher play than other leagues. </p> <p><em><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="333" /></a></em></p> <p><em>Vince McMahon</em></p> <p>“I don’t know what it would be,” McMahon told Ebersol, adding “<strong>I don’t know if it’s gonna be another XFL or what it may be or how different I would make it. It seems like in some way it would tie in either with the NFL itself or the owners</strong>.”</p> <p>Then, on Friday, journalist and pro wrestling fan Brad Shepard tweeted "<strong>EXCLUSIVE: Vince McMahon is looking to bring back the XFL and may announce it on January 25th, 2018." </strong>Then on Saturday, Shepard said that McMahon pointed to the "30 for 30" interview&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">EXCLUSIVE: Vince McMahon is looking to bring back the XFL and may announce it on January 25th, 2018.</p> <p>— Brad Shepard ???????? (@TheBradShepard) <a href="">December 16, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">EXCLUSIVE: Vince McMahon told people in WWE that he developed the desire to bring back the XFL when he was doing the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on it.</p> <p>WWE employees have been told internally to “get ready” because it is coming.</p> <p>— Brad Shepard ???????? (@TheBradShepard) <a href="">December 16, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src=""></script><p>Without much else to go on, Deadspin's David Bixenspan approached the WWE - which neither confirmed nor denied the rumor, but did state that McMahon is "<strong>personally funding a separate entity from WWE, Alpha Entertainment, to explore investment opportunities across the sports and entertainment landscapes, including professional football,</strong><strong>" </strong>followed by another tweet stating that WWE has filed for <strong>two new XFL trademarks this year</strong>.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">A WWE spokesperson issued the attached statement to me &amp; <a href="">@Deadspin</a> in response to my inquiry about tonight's rumors of a soon to be announced XFL revival. They declined further comment. Whatever Vince McMahon's "Alpha Entertainment" is, it's self-funded &amp; separate from WWE. <a href=""></a></p> <p>— David Bixenspan (@davidbix) <a href="">December 16, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src=""></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">In what I’m sure is a complete coincidence, WWE filed for two new XFL trademarks this year, both long after the 30 for 30 premiered.</p> <p>— David Bixenspan (@davidbix) <a href="">December 16, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src=""></script><p>And while the NFL has recently instituted a <strong><a href="" target="_blank">concussion protocol</a></strong>&nbsp;to address the league's growing <a href="" target="_blank">brain injury epidemic</a>, perhaps a rougher, <strong>more violent</strong>&nbsp;version of the NFL is exactly what America needs right now.</p> <p><em><img src="" width="500" height="375" /></em></p> <p>As Mike Florio of <em><a href="" target="_blank">PFT</a></em> writes,&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Arguably, the time may be right for the XFL or something like it. A November 2016 Sports Illustrated article regarding the current state of football in America created the distinct impression that fans want old-school football, with all the big hits and none of the obsessions over safety.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“<strong>Those attitudes from fans coupled with the messages that invariably will be sent by the incoming Commander-in-Chief,</strong>” we wrote on November 16, 2016, “<strong>suggest that the time may be right for someone to roll the dice with $250 million or so in the hopes of launching a football league that would essentially operate like a modern-day XFL — loud, proud, violent, brutal, bloody, and everything that the NFL was before political, legal, and social sensitivities forced the league to change</strong>.”</p> </blockquote> <p>Is Vince McMahon going to make football great again?&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="800" height="450" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alpha Charlie Ebersol concussion protocol Entertainment McMahon National Football League NBC None Professional wrestling Sports Sports entertainment Twitter Twitter Vince McMahon Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame WWE XFL Sun, 17 Dec 2017 23:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609308 at President Trump: "I'm Not" Considering Firing Robert Mueller, But It's "Not Looking Good" <p>After a week of <a href="">rumors</a>, denials, <a href="">whistleblowers</a>, <a href="">backlash</a>, demands, threats, <a href="">lies</a>, <a href="">bias, and anti-bias</a> surrounding Robert Mueller and his investigation, <strong>President Trump said Sunday that he is not considering firing the Special Counsel.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 560px; height: 302px;" /></a></p> <p><em><strong>&quot;No, I&rsquo;m not,&rdquo; Trump told reporters, when asked if he intended to fire Mueller, </strong></em>according to <a href="">Politico</a>.</p> <p>The president was returning to the White House from a weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat.</p> <p>Trump&#39;s allies&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">complained</a>&nbsp;this weekend about the way Mueller&#39;s team went about obtaining from the presidential transition. Mueller&#39;s spokesman Peter Carr said Sunday that the office had followed appropriate steps to obtain the transition emails. Pro-Trump lawmakers and pundits also have accused the special counsel&#39;s office of bias after it was revealed that two FBI officials who previously served on Mueller&#39;s team had exchanged anti-Trump text messages.</p> <p>And while Trump said &quot;I&#39;m not,&quot; <a href=";utm_source=alert&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=alerts_politics">Axios </a>notes that he did<strong> criticize the fact that Mueller accessed&nbsp;<a href="" target="_self">&quot;many tens of thousands&quot;</a>&nbsp;of emails from the presidential transition, saying it was<em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"> &quot;not looking good.&quot;</span></em></strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>Additionally, <a href="">as The Hill reports, </a>Treasury Secretary&nbsp;<a href="">Steven Mnuchin</a>&nbsp;on Sunday said he has no reason to believe&nbsp;<a href="">President Trump</a>&nbsp;intends to fire special counsel Robert Mueller amid the ongoing investigation into Russia&#39;s election interference.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&quot;I don&#39;t have any reason to think that the president is going to do that, but that&#39;s obviously up to him,&quot;</strong> Mnuchin told host Jake Tapper on CNN&#39;s &quot;State of the Union,&quot; adding that the topic did not arise when he dined with Trump and Vice President Pence on Saturday night.</p> </blockquote> <p>The finance chief argued,&nbsp;however, that <strong>the ongoing probe is &quot;a giant distraction&quot;&nbsp;that needs to wrap up &quot;quickly.&quot;&nbsp; </strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="363" src="//;customer=cnn&amp;edition=domestic&amp;env=prod" width="645"></iframe></p> <p>Going by Trump&#39;s previous comments, we would not be surprised in the least if news breaks tomorrow of Mueller&#39;s firing.</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="644" height="347" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent Business Climate change skepticism and denial CNN Donald Trump FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Politics Presidency of Donald Trump Robert Mueller Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Steven Mnuchin The Apprentice United States United States presidential election White House White House Sun, 17 Dec 2017 23:03:41 +0000 Tyler Durden 609335 at The Latest Crazy Idea From Economic Experts: Abolish Cash (But Don't Tell The People) <p><a href=""><em>Via GEFIRA,</em></a></p> <p><strong><a href="">In a recent paper - </a><a href="">The Macroeconomics of De-Cashing</a><a href="">, Alexei Kireyev of the International Monetary Fund </a>advises abolishing cash without having the citizens aware of the process.</strong></p> <p>First, large banknotes are to be withdrawn from circulation, next limits on cash transactions are to be imposed, then computerization of the world&rsquo;s financial system and control of international cash transactions are to be enforced and, finally, private companies are to be encouraged to avoid cash transactions.</p> <p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.7729220222793488" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="800" id="doc_80566" scrolling="no" src=";view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-OLiJ1yzrvItKYNkEJBB0&amp;show_recommendations=true" title="IMF De-Cashing" width="600"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Kireyev draws on the ideas of former IMF chief Kenneth Rogoff.</strong></p> <p>In his 2016 book <em>&ldquo;The Curse of Money&rdquo;</em>, he advocated the abolition of cash. In his opinion, it would contribute to the fight against crime, tax evasion and the reduction of the grey area.</p> <p>The ECB obliged him and promised not to print the 500 euro note after 2018.</p> <p>The government of India did the same thing: on November 9,2016, it unexpectedly devaluated all 500 and 1000 rupee banknotes over the night &ndash; a severe blow against the black economy and corruption. <em><strong>The next day, chaos reigned on India&rsquo;s streets &ndash; crowds of people in front of banks, empty ATMs &ndash; everyone wanted to withdraw his money, exchange the old rupees for new, valid ones, and there were even casualties.</strong></em></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>The other governments eagerly followed this ideas of great economic gurus, not worrying about what was happening in the Indian streets: </strong></span></p> <p>Australia wants to withdraw its 100 notes from circulation,<sup> </sup>and Venezuela has already abolished the 100 bolivar note.</p> <p>France, Italy, Spain and Greece already have ceilings for cash withdrawals, and a ceiling of EUR &euro;5000 is currently being discussed in Germany.</p> <p><strong>In some countries, the renunciation of cash is becoming a means of political struggle. </strong></p> <p>In Poland, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki introduced cashless payments to the state postal service. Soon it will also be possible to pay his tickets directly on the patrol car. Not all Polish politicians probably like the idea that officials will not come into contact with cash &ndash; for example, the head of the Polish National Bank Adam Glapi?ski, who introduced the new 500 zloty note at the same time.</p> <p><u><strong>The abolition of cash is only one step on the road to even greater insanity:</strong></u> Kenneth Rogoff has other crazy ideas behind him.</p> <p><u><strong>The craziest:</strong></u> he demanded <strong>negative interest</strong> from European politicians, on the grounds that they are necessary anyway when the next crisis comes. We remind the reader that negative interest rate is limited by cash. If interest becomes too negative, people will hoard cash.</p> <p><em><strong>What consequences would his idea have if it were implemented?</strong></em> What if the negative interest rates were introduced? The money from accounts would flow into tangible assets, especially jewellery, gold bars and other precious metals. Their prices would rise to unprecedented levels, as would inflation driven by speculation. This would be boosted by rising real estate prices, as people would invest in houses rather than in worthless plastic money. The barter trade and black market would flourish as it did in times of war &ndash; the opposite of what is desired would be achieved. And the criminals and corrupt politicians would certainly find another means of exchange to conduct their business &ndash; it is well known that arms dealers and terrorist groups pay with diamonds<strong>. The abolition of cash and introduction of negative interest rate would dispossess ordinary citizens, making them transparent to the authorities at any time &ndash; after all, it would be easier to control and influence the transparent people whose lives can be traced by account statements.</strong></p> <p>The renowned economists, bankers and governments forget that cash cannot be abolished, only money printed by central banks can be abolished. They do the calculation in their ivory towers without considering the host, without ordinary citizens. <strong>The citizens will be outraged by this and take to the streets, as they did after the devaluation of banknotes in India. </strong>In the end they will find alternative currencies to do their business without the government&rsquo;s interference.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="523" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>The economic gurus don&rsquo;t care &ndash; the experiment on the living organism is important, even if it kills them.</strong></span></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="882" height="321" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> 500 euro note Australia Automated teller machine Bank Banknote Business Cash Cashless society Central bank Central Banks Corruption Currency Economic history of China Economy European Central Bank Financial services France Germany Greece India International finance International Monetary Fund International Monetary Fund Italy Money Payment systems Poland Precious Metals Real estate state postal service Written communication Sun, 17 Dec 2017 22:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609329 at Chicago Commissioner Pleads With UN To Deploy Foreign Troops On US Soil <p>Under the guise of stopping violent crime, a County Commissioner in Cook County, Illinois, went to New York City late last week to<strong> <a href="">request</a> that the United Nations deploy foreign troops in Chicago to tackle the city&rsquo;s&nbsp;&ldquo;quiet genocide.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 194px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>Perhaps, the geopolitical instability on the Korean Penisula and in the Middle East is just one giant distraction.</strong> The real action is currently unfolding in America&rsquo;s&nbsp;out of control inner cities, such as Chicago. There is a pattern emerging across the United States, where inner cities such as Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Oakland, Mephesis, and St. Louis are experiencing&nbsp;out of control violent crime with local officials paralyzed.</p> <p><strong>Earlier this year, President Trump <a href="">threatened</a> Chicago with sending in the Feds, </strong>after crime statistics warned of an alarming surge in violent crime.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">If Chicago doesn&#39;t fix the horrible &quot;carnage&quot; going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!</p> <p>&mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="">January 25, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p><strong>Some politicians&nbsp;in Chicago have recommended deploying the National Guard to aid in combating gun violence, </strong>but&nbsp;Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin went straight to the United Nations last week and pleaded&nbsp;with Oscar Fernandez-Taranco of Argentina, the U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for deployement of foreign troops on United States soil.&nbsp;Boykin is seeking international assistance with&nbsp;&ldquo;horrific levels of shootings&rdquo; and violent crime mainly on the West Side and South Side communities.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Boykin said at O&rsquo;Hare International Airport on Thursday, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m hoping to appeal to the U.N. to actually come to Chicago and meet with victims of violence, and maybe even possibly help out in terms of peacekeeping efforts, because I think it&rsquo;s so critical for us to make sure that these neighborhoods are safe.&rdquo;</p> <p>Boykin told <a href="">Inc</a>. before his meeting, &ldquo;the United Nations has a track record of protecting minority populations. There was tribal warfare between the Tutsis and the Hutus in Africa, and they deployed peacekeeping troops there to help save those populations and reduce the bloodshed.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;We have to do something &mdash; black people in Chicago make up 30 percent of the population but 80 percent of those who are killed by gun violence,&rdquo; </strong>he added.</p> </blockquote> <p>Throughout 2017, President Trump has been fairly vocal about the carnage in Chicago. Last week, he addressed FBI grads in&nbsp;Quantico, Virginia, and asked one simple question:&nbsp;&ldquo;What The Hell Is Going On In Chicago?&rdquo;&nbsp;(See:&nbsp;&ldquo;<a href="">What The Hell Is Going On In Chicago&rdquo; And Other Highlights From Trump&rsquo;s&nbsp;Speech To FBI Grads</a>)</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Trump on the rise in violent crime: &quot;What the hell is going on in Chicago, what the hell is happening there?&quot; <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) <a href="">December 15, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Courtesy of stats from <a href="">HeyJackAss!</a>,&nbsp;here&rsquo;s&nbsp;a quick recap of &ldquo;<a href="">what the hell is going on in Chicago</a>.&rdquo;&nbsp;&nbsp;In aggregate,&nbsp;3,451 people have been shot so far in 2017, or roughly 1 person every 2.4 hours, and 651 have died from there injuries.</p> <p>Per the chart below, the violent crime is a persistent cloud over the city of Chicago with shootings and murders happening on a daily occurrence.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 254px;" /></a></p> <p>Meanwhile, this long-term chart shows why Boykin has met with the United States for the assistance of foreign troops to occupy Chicago. It&rsquo;s&nbsp;the sheer velocity in homicides in recent years which has local officials frightened.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 509px;" /></a></p> <p>And lastly,<strong><em>&nbsp;&ldquo;we can&rsquo;t wait until the mayor comes up with another 1,000 police to try to make the streets safer. Quite frankly, the people want to be safe right now in their homes and their neighborhoods, and we want to make sure that they&rsquo;re safe,&rdquo; </em></strong>Boykin said.</p> <p>* * *</p> <p>Meanwhile in Maryland, just outside the hellhole which is&nbsp;known as Baltimore, an entire unit of heavily armed United Nations vehicles sits behind a mysterious Kellogg Cereal Plant (as of September 2017).</p> <p><iframe allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" gesture="media" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></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="1024" height="331" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Boykin Chicago Detroit Donald Trump Donald Trump on social media Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Bureau of Investigation Government Illinois Middle East Middle East National Guard New York City Twitter United Nations United States War Sun, 17 Dec 2017 22:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609324 at The Output Gap Is Screaming For The End Of The Business Cycle <p><a href=""><em>Via,</em></a></p> <h1><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Output Gap Explained</strong></span></h1> <p><em><strong>The output gap is the difference between actual and potential economic output and is used by economists to understand the health of the economy.</strong></em></p> <p>There will never be a metric which tells us how the economy will perform with absolute certainty. Not only is it difficult to predict the future, it&rsquo;s even more difficult to know where the economy is in the present. The <a href="">yield curve</a> is one of the metrics we use to let us know where we are in the business cycle. Knowing what part of the cycle we&rsquo;re in helps with investment weighting decisions. Timing the changes in the cycle takes a lot of research and the ability to utilize experiences learned from previous cycles.</p> <h1><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Output Gap Example</em></span></h1> <p>You can think of the output gap in terms of a factory. If a factory&rsquo;s potential output is 100 products per day, but its only producing at a rate of 85 products per day, it&rsquo;s at 15% below potential. Subsequently, if the rate of production in a factory is at 115 products per day, it is 15% above potential. In an economy, much like in a factory, running below potential would mean missing out on potential profits and operating at above capacity would result in deteriorating quality control.</p> <p><strong>Operating at either above or below potential is not ideal for the economy. </strong>When the actual output is less than the potential, inflation and wage growth are low. The economy usually operates at the furthest below its potential at the end of recessions. It recovers from below the potential to above the potential during expansions. When it&rsquo;s above the potential, it usually means the economy is at the end of the cycle. Demand causes resources to be overworked and inflation pressures to mount. At this point, the Fed is nearing the end of its rate hikes.<strong> Just like how recessions occur at varying times after the yield curve inverts, it takes varying times to reach a recession after the economy begins to run above capacity.</strong></p> <h1><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Output Gap Suggests Inflation &amp; End Of Business Cycle</strong></span></h1> <p><strong>You&rsquo;re probably wondering where the economy is at. </strong><a href="">The chart below</a> shows the economy&rsquo;s historical output compared to its potential.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="299" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>The Commerce Department gives us the information on the actual state of the economy and the Congressional Budget Office give us information on the economy&rsquo;s potential output.<strong> The current output has recently moved to being above its potential. This provides another supporting factor for the thesis that <a href="">inflation will increase in 2018</a> </strong>which we explored in a previous article.</p> <p><strong>The output gap for the OECD nations looks similar to the measurement for the U.S.</strong> The GDP is expected to be growing <a href="">above the potential</a> rate in 2018.</p> <div class="wp-caption aligncenter" id="attachment_2877" style="width: 675px;"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 464px;" /></a><br /> <p class="wp-caption-text"><em>OECD Economies Expected To Be Above Capacity In 2018</em></p> </div> <p><strong>On average, in the past 3 cycles, it takes the OECD nations about 3.33 years to go from operating above capacity to operating below capacity.</strong> This implies the global economy will be in a recession in about 3.33 years. Because the 2008 financial crisis resulted in such a prolonged recession, the global and domestic economies have taken awhile to get above capacity. It&rsquo;s notable that the domestic output was barely above capacity in 2007, while the OECD output was almost 3% above capacity. The European Union, Germany, and Latin American &amp; the Caribbean were operating far above capacity in 2007. Currently, the US has a slightly higher output relative to potential GDP compared to the OECD metric, implying the domestic output relative to potential will be higher than the OECD this cycle.</p> <h1><u><strong>Economy&rsquo;s Output Potential Is An Opinion</strong></u></h1> <p>The output potential varies along with the actual measurement of the economy. The output potential increases when the productivity growth accelerates. Therefore, if the productivity growth were to accelerate, the economy could grow a few more years without inflation spiking. Inflation catalyzes recessions, so the expansion would be elongated. Making things even more uncertain, the measurement of the economy&rsquo;s output potential is an opinion. The slack the economy has is just like the slack in the labor market. Different stats can lead to different conclusions. The Fed was wrong about the amount of wage inflation that occurred in 2017 which exemplifies how the measurement of the labor market slack can be incorrect.</p> <p><strong>With the understanding that the economy&rsquo;s output potential is an opinion, let&rsquo;s look at one forecast for 2018.</strong></p> <div class="wp-caption aligncenter" id="attachment_2878" style="width: 581px;"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 388px;" /></a><br /> <p class="wp-caption-text"><em>Morgan Stanley Cycle Prediction</em></p> </div> <p>As you can see, <a href="">Morgan Stanley expects</a> demand to outstrip supply in the economy which is growing above potential.<strong> This will lead to a peak in economic growth, inflation, Fed rate hikes, and a bond selloff, with junk bonds hit the hardest. The next step is a recession.</strong></p> <h1><u><strong>Measuring Economics Can Be Challenging </strong></u></h1> <p>Some find economics infuriating because of how uncertain every aspect of it is. This is why you might see some people complain economics is like astrology. Rest assured, economics has value. The fact that it is tough to master is what makes it beautiful and creates so much opportunity for those who are unbiased investors. The other aspect of economics which angers viewers is the politicization of key concepts. Ever since politicians saw the economy as an important issue for voters, they have made it a central feature of their campaigns. <strong>Because economics isn&rsquo;t as straightforward as math, it&rsquo;s the perfect place for politicians to misconstrue facts and opinion.</strong></p> <h1><u><strong>GOP Tax Plan Will Provide Temporary, Ill-Timed Benefits </strong></u></h1> <p>The fact that economics can be a heated topic is great news for investors because it means you can get ahead by taking an unbiased approach while other are squabbling about which candidate is the best for the economy and which one will ruin it. <strong>One non-biased outlook we can share is that the GOP tax cut is probably mistimed if you look at it like a stimulus. </strong></p> <p>Stimulating the economy at the end of the business cycle leaves little dry powder for when the economy is in a recession. Realistically, the plan is temporary because some of the cuts fade away before the 10 year window ends. Since the Democrats oppose it, they will look to limit it as soon as they win an election. The fact that it adds over $1 trillion to the debt over the next 10 year is another aspect that makes it temporary. That being said, there will be beneficiaries of the plan in the near term which will provide profitable investing opportunities.</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="962" height="479" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bond Business Business cycle Capacity utilization Caribbean Congressional Budget Office Congressional Budget Office Department of Commerce Economic growth Economics Economy European Union European Union Germany Global Economy Gross domestic product Inflation Macroeconomics Morgan Stanley OECD Output Gap Output gap Potential output Recession Recession Republican Party Stimulus US Federal Reserve Yield Curve Sun, 17 Dec 2017 22:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609326 at I'll Get A Ton Of Hate Mail For This <p><em style="line-height: 20.8px;"><span style="color: #800000;">By Chris at&nbsp;<a href=""></a></span></em></p> <p>Before we get started. </p> <p> <img src="" width="600" height="95" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter wp-image-18764" /> </p> <p> Soooo... if you're looking for seed capital let me know. I'll put you in touch. </p> <h3><strong>Silent Wednesday?</strong></h3> <p> I've a friend who never works Wednesdays. It's the middle of the week, he tells me. Why work when everyone else is?</p> <p>Fair point. And so this past Wednesday I did just that. Well, for some of the day, anyway. And I received complaints for not writing a pithy, intelligent, mind-blowing blog for you. </p> <p> I'm sorry. I was seeing a man about a horse. No, really!</p> <p><img src="" width="350" height="323" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter wp-image-18753" /> </p> <p> Finicky bloody beasts - horses. I thought they were like hydrogen molecules, all exactly the same.</p> <p>But I'm assured this isn't the case. I can guarantee you this, though: It's easier to figure out parabolic curve theory or quantum mechanics than it is to understand all the complexities of these beasts.</p> <p>And then there's the little issue of cost.</p> <p>You think cars are expensive until you buy a horse, which actually means that you've got to upgrade your car because pulling a half ton nag about can't be done with just any car. </p> <p> No, no, no.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13.008px;">You need something that&nbsp;Schwarzenegger would drive when heading into battle with aliens. And once you've got one of those, you've got to spend even more money on the carriage to cart your nag around in. You'd be forgiven for looking at these "floats" as they're called, and coming to the conclusion that they're simply glorified tin cans on wheels and as such would be as cheap as chips.</span></p> <p></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">Your former evaluation would be correct (boxes on wheels), but your latter conclusion (cheap as chips) would be as wrong as Miley Cyrus swinging naked on a wrecking ball. So, of course, they're ludicrously expensive, which means you'll need to sell your Porsche and your boat to get one.<br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><br /> That's just for starters.</span></p> <p></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">And don't get me going on "horse people." They're all collectively off their rocker. I mean a horse can kick a child's head clean off and it'll get all the sympathy of an old lady tottering across a pedestrian crossing. The poor darling got "</span><em style="font-size: 13.008px;">spooked</em><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">". The now headless child and parents for their part will be scolded for upsetting the poor thing. Crazy. I've never seen anything like it. Horse people are completely mad.<br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><br /> And this got me thinking how similar horse </span><del style="font-size: 13.008px;">crazies</del><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"> people are to fanatics of all stripes.<br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><br /> Now, I know I'll get hate mail for this but hear me out.<br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><br /> It's like a religion. I mean you can explain to the Zulu's that their belief in the </span><a href="" target="_blank" style="font-size: 13.008px;" rel="noopener">Tikoloshe</a><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">, an evil little creature that can become invisible by drinking water and can cause illnesses and even death, is up there with the tooth fairy.</span></p> <p><img src="" width="450" height="300" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter wp-image-18754" /> </p> <p> And it wont matter a jot. This is their belief, and it's as unshakeable as our <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">W</a><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ahhabi Saudis'</a>&nbsp;belief in their own gods or indeed ISIS, who've been on a murderous rampage due to their beliefs in some medieval superstitious nonsense that was supposedly handed down to an illiterate peasant in the desert.</p> <p>In fact, history is littered with beliefs and religions which have since disappeared, though we have evidence that folks killed each other over those beliefs. Powerful stuff, beliefs.</p> <p><img src="" width="450" height="450" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter wp-image-18751" /> </p> <p> Every investor thinks they're immune, but the evidence proves they're not. </p> <p> Show a gold bug that gold will get cut in half, and they'll nod their head, furrow their brow, and mutter away. But there is NO WAY they're selling. No, Sirreee! </p> <p> You see, gold has that magical attribute to convert people to believers. And as such, it's really excellent for manias.</p> <p>Show a Japanese bond fund manager, who's known nothing but positive returns for 25 years why the risks to owning JGBs may not really be as peachy as commonly thought and you're an heretic. And yet <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">there's the other side of asymmetry you never hear about.</a> </p> <p> And this is what's to love about any setup where folks can have an ideological, religious-like belief.</p> <p>Without them it's literally impossible to have truly epic, tell-your-grandkids-one-day manias.</p> <p> The dot-com era was one such epic mania.</p> <p>Believers could never be told that even though the Internet was revolutionary there is no such a thing as "no price is too high," which is basically the tenet of every mania.</p> <p>Sure, the Internet completely changed our world. In fact, it's why I suggested <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Jamie Dimon should learn about lemons,</a><strong>&nbsp;</strong>but remember we've got that odd old curmudgeon from Omaha to remind us that...</p> <p><img src="" width="450" height="338" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter wp-image-18755" /></p> <p>Believers are absolutely necessary. Or should I say, the ingredients to allow for the formation of believers are necessary for truly epic manias. And this is something we should all love. Why? </p> <p> Who doesn't want to ride a mania, provided you know it's a mania? Or indeed bet against one as market saturation becomes evident.</p> <p>We're doing ourselves a disservice if we're not on the lookout for these attributes all the time. They're quite easy to spot. Especially if we're lucky enough to have a <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">cult leader</a> as they're more evident that way.</p> <p><img src="" width="600" height="338" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter wp-image-18756" /> </p> <p> And this is one reason to love Bitcoin. </p> <p> For the believers there is no price too high for it... or too low. They'll never sell. </p> <p> <em>Side note: If someone wants to launch "The Church of Bitcoin" right now, hit me up. I'll structure the deal for you, we'll run an ICO, and then take the sucker public. Call me!</em> </p> <p> Speaking of true believers...</p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="279" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter wp-image-18761" /> </p> <p> Let's all hope that we see it at US$490,000 in 3 years. </p> <p> <em>"So we need to be afraid and get out, Chris?"</em> </p> <p> Let me put it this way:<em> "Buckle up, you ain't seen nothing yet."</em></p> <p><em></em></p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="282" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter wp-image-18760" /> </p> <p style="text-align: left;"> And if ever you needed evidence that the bubble in Bitcoin has a way to go yet, I present to you the WSJ:</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img src="" width="650" height="75" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter wp-image-18757" /></a></p> <p>Well, the one thing I have learned over the years is that economists, who, let me remind you, never manage money, will be more wrong than central bankers, which is saying something.</p> <p>Right now, they think we all ought to be losing sleep over Bitcoin. The simple fact that they believe this makes me sleep like a rock. </p> <p> I'll go on record here and now, and you, readers, can hold my feet to the fire. I'm going to say that these economists are going to be spectacularly wrong, and when they're justifying some truly insane prices my rock-like sleeping habits will be severely disrupted. </p> <p> Yes, Bitcoin returns have been insane. To show you how insane, here is a Bitcoin chart.</p> <p><img src="" width="700" height="420" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter wp-image-18758" /> </p> <p> Shoot, I'm sorry. Wrong chart. What was I thinking? </p> <h3>Something Else to Remember</h3> <p> And this is important to understand context of where we're likely at. </p> <p> Here's Amazon at the peak of the Nasdaq bubble and the subsequent bust.</p> <p><img src="" width="700" height="355" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter wp-image-18762" /></p> <p>But in hindsight we now all know that the underlying technology and way of doing business was fundamentally changed forever, and Amazon managed to gobble up market share in the same way that a pack of lions would gobble a herd of one-legged antelope.</p> <p><img src="" width="700" height="352" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="aligncenter wp-image-18763" /></p> <p>The parallels with Bitcoin and blockchains of many flavours are striking.</p> <p>The jury's still out on whether the Bitcoin blockchain (remember Bitcoin the currency is the mechanism by which the bitcoin blockchain operates and provides security) captures that market share in the long run or not. But back to manias, right now we've <strong>the ingredients:</strong></p> <ol> <li>Revolutionary technology,</li> <li>A completely screwed massively over leveraged financial system,</li> <li>Fiat currency that by any metric and in any other circumstance would be completely 100% worthless</li> <li>Eroding faith in political and corporate establishments</li> <li>A fanatical religious following, and</li> <li>An entire (Wall Street) sector who've not even begun to have their fun yet.</li> </ol> <p> You wanna short that? </p> <p> Have yourself a wonderful weekend! </p> <p> - Chris </p> <p> <em>"Stock market bubbles don't grow out of thin air. They have a solid basis in reality, but reality as distorted by a misconception."</em> — George Soros</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">--------------------------------------</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Liked this article? Then you'll probably like my other missives on</p> <p style="text-align: center;">this topic as well.&nbsp;<a href="">Go here to access them (free, of course).</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">-------------------------------------</span></p> Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin Bond Church of Bitcoin Cryptocurrencies Currency Digital currencies Exonumia George Soros Jamie Dimon Market Share NASDAQ Numismatics Porsche Reality underlying technology Sun, 17 Dec 2017 21:55:14 +0000 Capitalist Exploits 609332 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 Sun, 17 Dec 2017 21:49:22 +0000 Tyler Durden 609298 at Congress May Enact "Bolt And Wire Cutter Sanctions" On Russia After Putin Threatens Underwater Internet Cables <p>The headlines could hardly be scarier and more apocalyptic. In a speech delivered by the head of Britain&#39;s military last week, the world learned that Russian President Putin could bring about<strong>&nbsp;global financial collapse and return civilization to a communications dark ages by a mere snip-snip of underwater transatlantic internet cables!</strong></p> <p>Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach warned <strong>Russia could in an instant end 97% of global communications capabilities and disrupt trillions in daily financial transactions, ushering in a &quot;catastrophic&quot; economic collapse, </strong>as the roughly 200 international undersea network cables are under imminent threat. Peach said that Russia&#39;s modernized Navy constitutes a &ldquo;new risk to our way of life.&rdquo;</p> <p><em><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 334px;" /><br />Putin engaging in undersea collusion with Trump. Image source: AFP/Getty</em></p> <p>The speech <em>from a lone British military chief</em>&nbsp;<strong>generated endless fear-inducing headlines and thousands of lines of anxiety and panic-driven commentary, a mere sampling of which is below...</strong></p> <ul> <li>Russia could cut off internet to NATO countries, British military chief warns (NBC)</li> <li>Russian Navy &#39;could cut underwater cables and devastate UK economy&#39; warns UK Armed Forces chief (IBT)</li> <li>UK defense chief says Russia poses risk to undersea cables (AP)</li> <li>Top British Officer: Russia May Be Able To Cut Undersea Cables (NPR)</li> <li>How Russia could use drones armed with explosives to destroy vital underwater cables linking Britain&#39;s phone and internet to rest of the world (UK Mirror)</li> <li>Russia&#39;s naval updates threaten undersea comms network, says top British military officer (Defense News)</li> <li>Russian Ships Could Cause &#39;Catastrophe&#39; for West by Cutting Transatlantic Internet Cables (Newsweek)</li> <li>Could Russia cut undersea communication cables? (BBC)</li> <li>Russia could cut off internet to Nato countries, British military chief warns (The Guardian)</li> <li>Russia &#39;could cut UK&#39;s undersea internet cables&#39;, defence chief warns (The Independent)</li> <li>Russia &#39;could CRIPPLE Britain by cutting undefended undersea internet cables&#39; (The Sun)</li> <li>Senior British Officer: Russia Could Cut Undersea Cables (Newsmax)</li> <li>Top UK military official says NATO must protect underwater cables from possible attacks by Russia (EuroNews)</li> <li>Russian navy ship Yantar can sever internet cables (Sunday Times)</li> </ul> <p>Meanwhile, Defense News included in its coverage the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">following casual and passing reference</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;In addition to new ships and submarines, Russia continues to perfect unconventional capabilities and information warfare. Therefore, we must continue to develop our maritime forces with our allies to match Russian fleet modernization,&rdquo; said Peach,&nbsp;<em><strong>who will give up his job as Britain&rsquo;s top military commander next year to become chairman of the NATO Military Committee.</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>So NATO&#39;s future military chief needs to increase those budgets before sliding into his new position you say? His speech also emphasized how member countries need to ensure their own fleet modernization keeps pace with the oh-so-scary &#39;Russian threat&#39;.&nbsp;<em>Budgets, budgets, budgets people! Cause the Russians are coming!</em></p> <p>But we&#39;ve seen those headlines before - they are essentially the same as a barrage of stories that came out in 2015, also based on military officials speculating and ruminating on all the possible scariest Russian threats.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Oops! Though it sounds like a fresh new Russian threat the media had yet to tap into,&nbsp;<strong>it turns out the British commander is merely channeling these old headlines, most from October 2015 after a New York Times story ran which relied on the usual &quot;anonymous officials&quot;.</strong>&nbsp;Well, perhaps it just sounds more legit the second time around when delivered through a British accent?</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">RUSSIA COULD CUT UNDERWATER INTERNET CABLES. If my aunt had balls, she&rsquo;d be my uncle. <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#mediahysteria</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#whatif</a></p> <p>&mdash; aLleluia (@DumbJam) <a href="">December 16, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p>The&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">2015 NYT story</a>&nbsp;cited the Russian underwater cable threat as &quot;raising concerns among some American military and intelligence officials that the Russians might be planning to attack those lines in times of tension or conflict.&quot; Below is a small sampling of the headlines generated from that more than two year old reporting originally based on &quot;some American military and intelligence officials&quot;:</p> <ul> <li>Russian Ships Near Data Cables Are Too Close for U.S. Comfort (NYT, Oct. 2015)</li> <li>Why Is Russia Interested in Undersea Internet Cables (VOA News, Nov. 2015)</li> <li>Fears over Russian submarine and spy ship patrols near vital undersea internet cables (Daily Mail/Reuters, Oct. 2015)</li> <li>How Bad Would It Be If The Russians Started Cutting Undersea Cables? Try Trillions In Damage (Forbes, Nov. 2015)</li> <li>We Asked an Expert What Would Happen if Russia Cut the Pipeline to the Internet (Vice News, Oct. 2015)</li> <li>US fears Russia could sever undersea internet cables (The Verge, Oct. 2015)</li> <li>Russia, the Internet and a new way to wage war? (CNN, Oct. 2015)</li> <li>US fears that Russia is plotting to sever its undersea internet cables (The Inquirer, Oct. 2015)</li> <li>Russia possibly mapping underwater internet cables in Mediterranean (Washington Times, Oct. 2016)</li> <li>Undersea Cables: How Russia Targets the West&rsquo;s Soft Underbelly (Oct. 2015)</li> <li>In Case Of Nuclear War, Cut Internet Cables (Oct. 2015)</li> </ul> <p>Naturally, Congress should impose new sanctions on Russia, banning all bolt and wire cutters from being shipped to the country... Before it&#39;s too late!</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="962" height="478" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bodies of water Britain's military Congress Equipment Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe headlines NATO Military Committee NBC New York Times Politics Reuters Russian Navy SPY Submarine communications cable Telecommunications equipment War World Sun, 17 Dec 2017 21:35:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609305 at Venezuela’s Grim Reaper: Hyperinflation Started on December 17, 2016 and Continues Today, With Annual Inflation Hitting 4304% <p class="p1"><strong style="box-sizing: border-box; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; color: #000000;">Authored by Steve H. Hanke of the Johns Hopkins University. Follow him on Twitter @Steve_Hanke.</strong></p> <p class="p1">The Grim Reaper has taken his scythe to the Venezuelan bolivar. The death of the bolivar is depicted in the following chart. A bolivar is worth less, and with its collapse, Venezuela is witnessing today the world’s worst inflation.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1"><span><img src="" width="975" height="706" /><br /></span></p> <p class="p1">As the bolivar collapsed and inflation accelerated, the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) became an unreliable source of inflation data. Indeed, from December 2014 until January 2016, the BCV did not report inflation statistics. Then, the BCV pulled a rabbit out of its hat in January 2016 and reported a phony annual inflation rate for the third quarter of 2015. So, the last official inflation data reported by the BCV is almost two years old. To remedy this problem, the Johns Hopkins – Cato Institute Troubled Currencies Project, which I direct, began to measure Venezuela’s inflation in 2013. We measure the monthly and annual inflation rates on a daily basis. We measure. We do not forecast.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1">The most important price in an economy is the exchange rate between the local currency and the world’s reserve currency — the U.S. dollar. As long as there is an active black market (read: free market) for currency and the black market data are available, changes in the black market exchange rate can be reliably transformed into accurate estimates of countrywide inflation rates. The economic principle of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) allows for this transformation.</p> <p class="p1">We compute the implied annual inflation rate on a daily basis by using PPP to translate changes in the VEF/USD exchange rate into an annual inflation rate. The chart below shows the course of that annual rate. Today, a new high of 4304%/yr has been reached (see the chart below).</p> <p class="p2"><img src="" width="973" height="706" /></p> <p class="p1">When it comes to the categorization of an inflation as hyperinflation, we use the following criteria:<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <ul class="ul1"> <li class="li1"><span class="s1">&nbsp;</span>An episode of hyperinflation occurs when the monthly inflation rate exceeds 50%/mo for 30 consecutive days<span>&nbsp;</span></li> <li class="li1"><span class="s1">&nbsp;</span>The hyperinflation episode ends when the monthly inflation rate falls below 50%/mo, unless the monthly inflation should exceed 50% per month for another 30-day period within a year after the first episode is terminated. In this case, the second episode is not counted as a new hyperinflation episode, and but is instead considered a continuation of the original episode.<span>&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p><!-- p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #454545} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #454545; min-height: 14.0px} li.li1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #454545} span.s1 {font: 10.0px Menlo} span.Apple-tab-span {white-space:pre} ul.ul1 {list-style-type: disc} --><!-- p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #454545} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #454545; min-height: 14.0px} li.li1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #454545} span.s1 {font: 10.0px Menlo} span.Apple-tab-span {white-space:pre} ul.ul1 {list-style-type: disc} --></p> <p class="p1">In Venezuela, the monthly inflation rate exceeded 50%/mo on November 13, 2016 and remained above 50%/mo until December 14, 2016 (32 consecutive days). On December 15, 2016, the monthly inflation rate fell below 50%/mo. Then, on November 3, 2017, the monthly inflation rate exceeded 50%/mo threshold, and has remained there ever since (for 43 consecutive days). So, Venezuela has been engulfed in a hyperinflation episode since November 3, 2016, with the current monthly inflation rate at 64%/mo (see the chart below).<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1"><span><img src="" width="973" height="705" /><br /></span></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-blog"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_blog" width="973" height="706" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Banco Central de Venezuela Business Cato Institute Chronic inflation Countrywide Economy Economy of Venezuela Hyperinflation Hyperinflation Inflation Macroeconomics Monetary inflation Money Purchasing Power Reserve Currency Steve Hanke the Johns Hopkins University Twitter Twitter Venezuelan bolívar Sun, 17 Dec 2017 21:33:56 +0000 Steve H. Hanke 609331 at