http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml/591417 en Brandon Smith Warns 'The Virtual Economy' Is The End Of Freedom http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/brandon-smith-warns-virtual-economy-end-freedom <p><a href="http://www.alt-market.com/articles/3332-the-virtual-economy-is-the-end-of-freedom"><em>Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,</em></a></p> <p>There is one simple rule to follow when understanding the tragic history of economies: <em><strong>Never put blind faith in a system built on an establishment-created foundation</strong></em>. You would think this would not be a difficult concept to grasp being that we have so many examples of controlled economies and collapse to reference over the centuries, <em><strong>but in our era more than ever the allure of a virtual world with promises of endless wealth and ease is overwhelming.</strong></em></p> <p><em><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_alt.jpg"><img height="265" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_alt.jpg" width="488" /></a></em></p> <p>Yes, I am referring primarily to cyptocurrency &quot;tulip-mania&quot; (sorry bitcoiners, the description is too fitting, it isn&#39;t going away), but not this issue alone.<strong> I am also referring to a far-reaching problem of which cryptocurrencies are a mere reflection. </strong></p> <p>Namely, the fact that <strong>humanity is swiftly losing sight of what a true economy is and what it is supposed to accomplish.</strong> It is because of this reality that crypto is thriving.</p> <p>First, let&#39;s be clear, fiat currencies are one of the first machinations of the virtual economy. Once paper currencies printed from thin air by central bankers were separated from tangible backing and accepted by the masses as &quot;valuable&quot; and worth trading labor for, the seed of financial cancer was planted. Today, there is one final step needed for the establishment to accomplish complete tyranny in global trade and that is to disconnect the masses fully from private transactions. In other words, we must be tricked into going digital, where privacy is an absurd memory.</p> <p><strong>Virtual economics is appealing for several reasons, most of them bad.</strong></p> <p>Americans and much of the west in particular are increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of real production. The latest generation coming into political and social influence, the millenials, is a perfect example. Surveys show American millenials more than any other generation lack basic workplace competency skills, including scoring low on arithmetic and reading comprehension. Often portrayed as &quot;tech savvy&quot; in popular culture and the media, <a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/deb387b1-dd1a-4c4d-bda2-d4a05da95a73/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">millenials are quite inept</a> when it comes to core skills that fuel strong business and trade, which is part of the reason why the U.S. is falling into the shadow of foreign workforces.</p> <p>Millenials in the West also exhibit abysmal technical skills in international testing and <a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/75a0ee3b-d017-485d-8e70-3cfef0affce3/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">lag far behind foreign peers</a>. This has come as a surprise to many mainstream economists and social analysts, primarily because millenials are also considered the &quot;most educated&quot; generation ever. But, of course, we have not only been given a virtual economy in recent decades, but also a virtual educational system. A majority of millenials are lacking when it comes to key production skills and entrepreneurship methods because they have been trained to dismiss such skills as negligible. In other words, millenials have been conditioned to be <a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/9e46d7f6-6c6b-4dd9-acd9-05f7914d151c/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">academic idiots</a>.</p> <p><em><strong>Why go through the struggle and hardship required to become an effective producer of tangible necessities when it is far easier to join a collectivist drive for socialism and a structure in which little to no work is required to obtain such necessities?</strong></em> Why not steal from a productive minority and spread it thinly enough to keep the unskilled majority fed? It is only within this kind of culture that virtual production, a virtual society and virtual &quot;money&quot; is seen as an ideal solution.</p> <p>The notion is becoming more and more prevalent in our popular media, and I believe this is rather symbolic (or ironic) of our conundrum.</p> <p>For example, <strong>consider the book <em>Ready Player One</em>, </strong>a pop-culture craze and archetypal zeitgeist for millenials soon to be released as an intended Hollywood blockbuster directed by Steven Spielberg. The novel depicts the world of 2045, a world in which fossil fuel depletion and &quot;global warming&quot; have triggered economic and social decline (Remember in the 1980s when they used to tell us that global warming was going to melt the polar icecaps and we would be under water by the year 2000?). A totalitarian governing body controlled by corporate behemoths rules over the dystopian sprawl.</p> <p>In response to an ever painful existence in the real world, the masses have sought to escape to a virtual world called &quot;the Oasis,&quot; created by a programming genius. <strong>The Oasis becomes a nexus for the global economy and a virtual society.</strong></p> <p>This sounds like a rousing background for a story of rebellion, and it is about that... sort of. Unfortunately, here is where the disturbing ties between our world and the fictional world of <em>Ready Player One</em> meet. The &quot;rebellion&quot; is for all intents and purposes also virtual, and for millenial audiences in particular, this is supposed to be inspiring.</p> <p><u><strong>Perhaps this is why cryptocurrencies are <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-08/millennials-ready-to-ditch-stocks-to-keep-bitcoin-rally-alive">so appealing to the millenial crowd</a> in particular.</strong></u> Think about it &mdash; the dismal economic doldrums of <em>Ready Player One</em> exist NOW; we don&#39;t have to wait until 2045. Millenials are already feeling disaffected, indebted and disenfranchised, and most of them are also skill-less. Self reliance to them is an idea so alien it rarely if ever crosses their minds. So, how do they fight back? Or, how are they tricked into thinking they can fight back against a virtual system that has left them in the gutter? Why, with a virtual community and a virtual currency, of course.</p> <p>Millenials and others think that they are going to rebel and &quot;take down the banking oligarchs&quot; with nothing more than digital markers representing &quot;coins&quot; tracked on a digital ledger created by an anonymous genius programmer/programmers. Delusional? Yes. But like I said earlier, it is an appealing notion.</p> <p><em><strong>Here is the issue, though; true money requires intrinsic value. Cryptocurrencies have no intrinsic value. They are conjured from nothing by programmers, they are &quot;mined&quot; in a virtual mine created from nothing, and they have no unique aspects that make them rare or tangibly useful. They are an easily replicated digital product. Anyone can create a cryptocurrency. And for those that argue that &quot;math gives crypto intrinsic value,&quot; I&#39;m sorry to break it to them, but the math is free.</strong></em></p> <p>In fact, for those that are not already aware, <a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/af6acf98-f864-488a-9079-f61c2c25a41c/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 hash function</a>, created by none other than the National Security Agency (NSA) and published by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST).</p> <p><u><strong>Yes, that&#39;s right, Bitcoin would not exist without the foundation built by the NSA. </strong></u>Not only this, but the entire concept for a system remarkably similar to bitcoin was published by the NSA way back in 1996 in a paper called &quot;<a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/acfc973b-e0dd-4e15-a139-ba7b95f1cbca/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">How To Make A Mint: The Cryptography Of Anonymous Electronic Cash.</a>&quot;</p> <p>The origins of bitcoin and thus the origins of crytpocurrencies and the blockchain ledger suggest anything other than a legitimate rebellion against the establishment framework and international financiers. I often cite this same problem when people come to me with arguments that the internet has set the stage for the collapse of the globalist information filter and the mainstream media. The truth is, the internet is also an establishment creation developed by DARPA, and as Edward Snowden exposed in his data dumps, the NSA has total information awareness and backdoor control over every aspect of web data.</p> <p><strong>Many people believe the free flow of information on the internet is a weapon in favor of the liberty movement, but it is also a weapon in favor of the establishment. </strong>With a macro overview of data flows, entities like Google <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeQsPSaitL0">can even predict future social trends </a>and instabilities, not to mention peek into every personal detail of an individual&#39;s life and past.</p> <p>To summarize, cryptocurrencies are built upon an establishment designed framework, and they are entirely dependent on an establishment created and controlled vehicle (the internet) in order to function and perpetuate trade.&nbsp; <u><em><strong>How exactly is this &quot;decentralization&quot;, again?</strong></em></u></p> <p><strong>TOTAL information awareness is the goal here; and blockchain technology helps the powers-that-be remove one of the last obstacles: <a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/a8059e0b-19f7-4237-88ba-e41d23b78b3c/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">private personal trade transactions</a></strong>. Years ago, a common argument presented in favor of bitcoin was that it was &quot;completely anonymous.&quot;&nbsp; Today, this is being proven more and more a lie. Even now, in the wake of open admissions by major bitcoin proponents <a href="https://www.technologyreview.com/s/608716/bitcoin-transactions-arent-as-anonymous-as-everyone-hoped/">that the system is NOT<em> </em>anonymous</a>, people still claim anonymity is possible through various measures, but this has not proven to sway the FBI or IRS which have for years now been using resources such as <a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/029eb92f-1f54-4fd9-a7e5-da392e918d1f/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">Chainanalysis</a> to track bitcoin users when they feel like doing so, including those users that have taken stringent measures to hide themselves.</p> <p>Bitcoin proponents will argue that &quot;new developments&quot; and even new cryptocurrencies are solving this problem. Yet, this was the mantra back when bitcoin was first hitting the alternative media. It wasn&#39;t a trustworthy assumption back then, so why would it be a trustworthy assumption now? The only proper assumption to make is that nothing digital is anonymous. Period.</p> <p><strong>With the ludicrous spike in bitcoin prices, champions of the virtual economy are unlikely to listen to any questions or criticisms.</strong> I have never argued one way or the other in terms of bitcoin&#39;s potential &quot;market value,&quot; because it does not really matter. I have only ever argued that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are in no way a solution to combating the international and central banks.&nbsp; In fact, cyrptocurrencies only seem to be expediting their plan for full spectrum digitization and the issuance of a global currency system.</p> <p>Bitcoin could easily hit $100,000, but its &quot;value&quot; is truly irrelevant and consistently hyped as if it makes bitcoin self evident as a solution to globalism. The higher the bitcoin price goes, the more the bitcoin cult claims victory, yet the lack of intrinsic value never seems to cross their minds. They have Scrooge McDuck-like visions of swimming in a vault of virtual millions.<strong> They&#39;ll only accuse you of being an &quot;old fogey&quot; that &quot;does not understanding what the blockchain is.&quot;</strong></p> <p>The fact is, they are the one&#39;s that do not really understand what the blockchain is &mdash; <u><strong>a framework for a completely cashless society in which trade anonymity is dead and economic freedom is destroyed.</strong></u></p> <p>Ask yourself this: Why is it that central banks around the world (including the BIS and IMF) are investing in Bitcoin and other crytpocurrencies while developing their own <a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/3e0d2878-524e-47ed-9814-22b508af5674/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">crypto systems</a> based on a similar framework? Could it be that THIS infusion of capital and infrastructure from major banks is the most likely explanation for the incredible spike in the bitcoin market?&nbsp; Why is it that globalist banking conglomerates like <a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/e66d61fd-3162-4bde-8e06-edd318b03728/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">Goldman Sachs lavish blockchain technology</a> with praise in their white papers?<strong><em> And, why are central bankers like <a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/ee47bdbf-0418-47ec-b3e4-f12db2b90dcc/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">Ben Bernanke</a> speaking in favor of crypto at major cryptocurrency conferences if crypto is such a threat to central bank control?</em></strong></p> <p><u><strong>Answer&nbsp;&mdash; because it is not a threat.&nbsp;</strong></u></p> <p>They benefit from a cashless system, and liberty champions are helping to give it to them.</p> <p><u><strong>Above all else, the virtual economy breeds weakness in society. </strong></u>It encourages a lack of tangible production. Instead of true producers, entrepreneurs and inventors, we have people scrambling to <a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/22890790-7365-46d2-bc5e-0b6f32b78c5c/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">sell real world property</a> in order to buy computing rigs capable of &quot;mining&quot; coins that do not really exist. That is to say, we may one day soon be faced with millions of citizens expending their labor and energy in order to obtain digital nothings programmed into existence and given artificial scarcity (for now).</p> <p><strong>It also encourages false rebellion. </strong>Real change requires actions in the real world. Removing banking elitists and their structures by force if necessary (and this will probably be necessary). Instead, freedom activists are being convinced that they will never have to lift a finger to beat the bankers. All they have to do is buy and mine crypto. The day will come in the near future when the folks that embrace this nonsense will wake up and realize they have wasted their energies chasing a unicorn and are ill prepared to weather the economic reset that continues to evolve.</p> <p><u><strong>To maintain a real economy in which people are self reliant and safe from fiscal shock, you need three things</strong></u>: <em>tangible localized and decentralized production, independent and decentralized trade networks that are not structured around an establishment controlled system (like the internet is controlled), and the will to apply force to protect and preserve that production and those networks.</em> If you cannot manufacture a useful thing, repair a useful thing or teach a useful skill, then you are essentially useless in a real economy. If you do not have localized trade, you have nothing.&nbsp; If you do not have the mindset and the community of independent people required to protect your local production, then you will not be able to keep the economy you have built.</p> <p>This is the cold hard truth that crypto proponents do not want to discuss, and will dismiss outright as &quot;archaic&quot; or &quot;not obtainable.&quot; The virtual economy is so much easier, so much more enticing, so much more comfortable. Why risk anything or everything in a real world effort to build a concrete trade network in your own neighborhood or town? Why risk everything by promoting true decentralization through localized commodity-backed money and barter systems? Why risk everything by defending those systems when the establishment seeks to crush them? Why do this, when you can pretend you are a virtual hero wielding virtual weapons in a no risk rebellion in a world of electronic ones and zeros?</p> <p><em><u><strong>In truth, the virtual economy is not legitimate decentralization, it is a weapon of mass distraction engineered to kill legitimate decentralization.</strong></u></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="488" height="265" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171213_alt.jpg?1513206884" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/brandon-smith-warns-virtual-economy-end-freedom#comments Alternative currencies Ben Bernanke Ben Bernanke BIS BIS Bitcoin Bitcoin Blockchains Central Banks Cryptocurrencies Cryptography cryptography DARPA Decentralization FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Finance Global Economy Global Warming goldman sachs Goldman Sachs Google Internal Revenue Service International Monetary Fund lavish blockchain technology Legality of bitcoin by country or territory Money National Institute for Standards and Technology national security National Security Agency None Reality US Federal Reserve virtual community Virtual currency Virtual economy Thu, 14 Dec 2017 03:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609108 at http://www.zerohedge.com "What The Hell Is Going On?": Trey Gowdy Absolutely Destroys Farcical Mueller Probe In Epic Monologue http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/gowdy-absolutely-destroys-farcical-mueller-probe-nothing-compromised-political-witch <p>If there is any remaining doubt in your mind that Special Counsel Mueller's probe is anything but a farcical, politically-motivated witch hunt, then you'll be summarily relieved of those doubts after watching the following exchange from earlier this morning between Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. &nbsp;</p> <p>Presented with no further comment for your viewing pleasure...</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2DkrOjQ0lkI" width="600" height="337" frameborder="0"></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="610" height="334" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017.12.13%20-%20Gowdy.JPG?1513204799" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/gowdy-absolutely-destroys-farcical-mueller-probe-nothing-compromised-political-witch#comments Criminal law Gowdy Law Linguistics Rosenstein Special prosecutor Trey Trey Gowdy United States Witch-hunt Thu, 14 Dec 2017 03:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609109 at http://www.zerohedge.com Is Jihad Festering In America? http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/jihad-festering-america <p><a href="https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/11448/jihadists-students-america"><em>Authored by A Z Mohamed via The Gatestone Institute,</em></a></p> <div> <ul> <li>Saudi influence on American administrations, and relationships between senior officials in both countries, is behind Washington&#39;s ignoring Riyadh&#39;s &quot;well-established... involvement in supporting terrorism and terrorist groups.&quot; - Report by the Institute for Gulf Affairs (IGA), released on June 1.</li> <li>The IGA report, covering the three-year period since then and including extremely serious charges against both Saudi Arabia and previous U.S. administration and security officials, indicates the urgency with which the current administration needs to treat the issue and act upon it.</li> </ul> </div> <p><strong>A new <a href="https://www.gulfinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/From-US-Campuses-to-ISIS-Camps.pdf" target="_blank">investigative report</a> reveals that hundreds of Saudi and Kuwaiti nationals residing in the United States -- some with dual citizenship, and most students subsisting on government scholarships -- have joined ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq during the past three years.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_isis.jpg"><strong><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_isis.jpg" style="width: 580px; height: 317px;" /></strong></a></p> <p><strong>Titled &quot;From American Campuses to ISIS Camps: How Hundreds of Saudis Joined ISIS in the U.S.,&quot; the report -- released June 1 by the Washington-D.C.-based think tank, The Institute for Gulf Affairs (IGA) -- provides details of the flow of students leaving American institutions of higher learning to fight in the Middle East.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.nber.org/papers/w22190" target="_blank">According</a> to a 2016 working paper produced by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Saudi Arabia is the second-largest source of ISIS fighters from Muslim-majority countries, with an estimated 2,500. If the IGA report is accurate, a whopping 16% of these fighters were in the U.S. when they joined ISIS.</p> <p>An equally disturbing finding of the report is that the Saudi government, which has been monitoring its nationals in the U.S., is fully aware that many of their own citizens are joining ISIS and not only has done little to stop them, but has kept information about the subject from American authorities.</p> <p><strong>This finding completely contradicts the 2014 <a href="https://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2014/239407.htm" target="_blank">State Department assertion</a> that &quot;Saudi Arabia has continued to cooperate with the United States to prevent acts of terrorism ... through information exchange agreements with the United States.&quot;</strong></p> <p>Meanwhile, according to the report&#39;s authors -- IGA director Ali al-Ahmed, a Saudi Shiite expatriate critical of the Sunni regime in Riyadh, and researcher Mohamed Dhamen -- the FBI failed to notice the steady stream of would-be jihadis exiting the U.S. and heading for Iraq and Syria. This failure should not come as a surprise, given the fact that one of the FBI&#39;s own employees -- Daniela Greene, a translator with top security clearance &ndash; absconded to Syria in June 2014 and married the ISIS recruiter she had been assigned to investigate. The rogue agent lied to the FBI about where she was going, alerted the terrorist that he was the subject of an FBI probe and shared classified information with him.</p> <p>In a May 10 <a href="https://www.grassley.senate.gov/sites/default/files/constituents/2017-05-10%20CEG%20to%20FBI%20DOJ%20-%20ISIS%20Bride.pdf" target="_blank">letter</a> to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley requested additional information on how Greene -- who eventually turned herself in, and reached a lenient plea deal -- was able to slip through the system undetected. Two days later, Grassley released a <a href="https://www.grassley.senate.gov/news/news-releases/grassley-how-was-fbi-unaware-employee%E2%80%99s-relationship-isis-operative" target="_blank">statement</a>. &quot;I&#39;m troubled that a relationship between an FBI employee and a prominent ISIS recruiter went unnoticed, and more troubled that there wasn&#39;t a safeguard to successfully catch this incident,&quot; he said.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>&quot;It&#39;s important for the public to understand how this happened and how similar problems will be prevented in the future. We also need to know how prosecutors settled on the charges in this case. A sentence of two years seems unusually light for such a potential threat to national security.&quot;</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>Greene&#39;s case sheds light on the findings of the IGA report and its claim that Saudi influence on American administrations, and relationships between senior officials in both countries, is behind Washington&#39;s ignoring Riyadh&#39;s &quot;well-established... involvement in supporting terrorism and terrorist groups.&quot;</p> <p><strong>The number of Saudi students in the United States in 2016 reached 125,000, the &quot;most in the world,&quot; </strong>according to a June 14 <em>Arab News</em> <a href="http://www.arabnews.com/node/939256/saudi-arabia" target="_blank">report.</a> <strong>Those who leave to join a terrorist group and subsequently return -- enabled by their U.S. citizenship, combined with lax monitoring of and leniency with them -- present a clear and present danger to America&#39;s home front.</strong></p> <p>As then-FBI director James B. Comey <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mx53liIBres" target="_blank">said</a> during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing in September 2014:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>&quot;Foreign fighters traveling to Syria or Iraq could... gain battlefield experience and increased exposure to violent extremist elements... they may use these skills and exposure to radical ideology to return to their countries of origin, including the United States, to conduct attacks on the Homeland.&quot;</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>The IGA report, covering the three-year period since then and including extremely serious charges against both Saudi Arabia and previous U.S. administration and security officials, indicates the urgency with which the current administration needs to treat the issue and act upon it. American blood is at stake.</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="580" height="317" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171213_isis.jpg?1513213242" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/jihad-festering-america#comments B+ Department of State FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Bureau of Investigation Gatestone Institute House Homeland Security Committee Institute For Gulf Affairs Iraq Iraqi insurgency ISIS Islam Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Judiciary Committee Middle East Middle East Middle East National Bureau of Economic Research national security Osama bin Laden Politics Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia Saudi government Terrorism US Administration Wahhabism War Thu, 14 Dec 2017 03:10:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609110 at http://www.zerohedge.com Seller Of Luxury Miami Condo Demands To Be Paid Exclusively In Bitcoin http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/it-starts-miami-condo-owner-demands-be-paid-exclusively-bitcoin <p>And they said bitcoin would never work as a currency.</p> <p>While that might be true for small transactions - for now - real-estate markets across the US are increasingly demonstrating that bitcoin is a viable medium of exchange. Case in point: the seller of a luxury Miami condo will only accept payment in bitcoin. The asking price - <a href="https://www.redfin.com/FL/Miami/480-NE-30th-St-33137/unit-2206/home/43370743">according to real-estate listings site Redfin </a>- 33 bitcoins, or about $550,000 at bitcoin’s present valuation.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/redfin%20miami.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/redfin%20miami_0.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 639px;" /></a></p> <p>According to Redfin, this is the first time a seller is exclusively accepting payment in bitcoin. The seller’s identity wasn’t immediately clear.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">It begins: Miami condo on sale for 33 bitcoins - seller won't accept any other currency. First time that's happened in U.S., per Redfin <a href="https://t.co/hAvnpcL5zX">https://t.co/hAvnpcL5zX</a></p> <p>— Mike Rosenberg (@ByRosenberg) <a href="https://twitter.com/ByRosenberg/status/941016961135210496?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 13, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><p>But while this might be the first time that Redfin has noticed the phenomenon, homesellers have been asking to be paid in bitcoin since at least 2013, when an anonymous seller of a luxury condo in the Trump Soho of all places listed the price as 24,700 bitcoin, according to the <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/real-estate/trump-condo-offered-24-700-bitcoins-priciest-bitcoin-article-1.1334192">Daily News.</a> While this sale was t\he first that was documented in the media, it’s also notable that it occurred before the first bitcoin bubble burst.</p> <p>Also over the summer, a realtor in Texas revealed that one of her clients had accepted payment for their home in bitcoin. The number of coins – and the identity of the seller and buyer – weren’t disclosed.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/12/13/2017.12.13bitcoin.JPG"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/12/13/2017.12.13bitcoin_0.JPG" style="width: 500px; height: 348px;" /></a></p> <p>And as we recently reported, more realtors in hot markets like New York City and Miami are demanding to be paid in cryptocurrency, sometimes exclusively.</p> <p>This trend in broader crypto acceptance - contrary to mainstream media reports - is undoubtedly a factor behind the unprecedented price appreciation whch has seen bitcoin soar from $1,000 to $19,000 in 2017.</p> <p>Meanwhile, any buyer who has accepted bitcoin as payment and kept it, has so far managed to generate a staggering profit, given the digital currency’s aggressive appreciation. The real test will come after the digital currency inevitably tanks again.</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="879" height="374" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017.12.13bitcointwo.JPG?1513217444" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/it-starts-miami-condo-owner-demands-be-paid-exclusively-bitcoin#comments Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin Business Cryptocurrencies Cryptography Currency Digital currencies Economics of bitcoin Finance Financial cryptography Legality of bitcoin by country or territory Money New York City NTrust Rosenberg Thu, 14 Dec 2017 02:47:09 +0000 Tyler Durden 609114 at http://www.zerohedge.com Gundlach Reveals His Favorite Trade For 2018 http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/gundlach-reveals-his-favorite-trade-2018 <p>One day after Stanley Druckenmiller <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-12/druckenmiller-ive-had-terrible-year-it%E2%80%99s-going-be-my-first-down-year-currencies-ever">confessional to CNBC </a>that as a result of central planning and markets that make no sense, the legendary hedge fund manager had a "terrible" year, and his "first down year in currencies ever" (he also said many not very nice things about bitcoin), it was Jeffrey Gundlach's turn to confess some of his more controversial views. And so, the man who two years ago correctly predicted the Trump presidency, first discussed his best investment idea for the new year. To those who listened to his <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-05/live-jeff-gundlachs-latest-webcast-so-far-so-good">latest DoubleLine investor presentation last week</a>, the answer will hardly be a surprise: namely commodities, because they're "historically, exactly where you want it to be a buy."</p> <p><strong>"I think investors should add commodities to their portfolios," </strong><a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/13/doublelines-gundlach-says-best-idea-for-2018-is-commodities.html">Gundlach says on CNBC's Halftime Report</a>.</p> <p>Gundlach said commodities are just as cheap relative to stocks as they were at historical turning points, while the macroeconomic backdrop also supports the case for commodities; he was referring to the following chart which he highlighted last week.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/equities%20vs%20commodities%20gundlach.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/equities%20vs%20commodities%20gundlach_0.jpg" width="500" height="346" /></a></p> <p>Echoing his presentation from last week, Gundlach said that once "<strong>you go into these massive cycles... the repetition is almost eerie</strong>. And so if you look at that chart the value in commodities is, historically, exactly where you want it to be a buy." </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Investors should add commodities to their portfolios. There is a really remarkable relationship between a market cap or the total return of the s&amp;p 500 and the total return something like the Goldman Sachs commodities index. The cyclicality is really repettiive.</p> </blockquote> <p>Gundlach also noted that commodities are just as cheap relative to stocks as they were at turning points in previous cycles that began in the 1970s and 1990s. The S&amp;P Goldman Sachs Commodity Index is up 5% this year, versus the S&amp;P 500's 19% gain. </p> <p>There is also a fundamental case for investing in commodities, Gundlach said. He pointed out that global economic activity is increasing, a tax cut could boost growth and the European Central Bank is implementing "absurd" stimulus policies in the euro zone.</p> <p><iframe src="https://player.cnbc.com/p/gZWlPC/cnbc_global?playertype=synd&amp;byGuid=3000678677&amp;size=530_298" width="530" height="298"></iframe></p> <p><a href="https://www.cnbc.com/video/2017/12/13/jeffrey-gundlach-investors-should-add-commodities-to-their-portfolios.html?__source=cnbcembedplayer">Jeffrey Gundlach: Investors should add commodities to their portfolios</a> from <a href="//www.cnbc.com/?__source=cnbcembedplayer">CNBC</a>.</p> <p>In addition to his favorite trade, Gundlach touched upon several other topics including:</p> <p><strong>What drives the dollar:</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"Short-term fed moves are not what drives the dollar. It correlates much more to what the bond market thinks vis-à-vis the fed say 18 months forward. So if you actually rook at the bond market pricing for 2019 now, there’s a pretty big discrepancy between the bond market and the fed, so that’s going to be really interesting in driving the dollar, and this time i think the bond market is going to be right."</p> </blockquote> <p><iframe src="https://player.cnbc.com/p/gZWlPC/cnbc_global?playertype=synd&amp;byGuid=3000678662&amp;size=530_298" width="530" height="298"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Why the markets are so calm:</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"I think it’s because of central bank pegging of rates and quantitative easing going on full bore in&nbsp; europe and in japan. <strong>One of the charts that i love to reference is the nearly linear rise in central bank balance sheet holdings ever since 2011, where the Fed stopped quantitative easing back three years ago, and japan and the ecb just took over the slack, and it’s just a linear rise."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe src="https://player.cnbc.com/p/gZWlPC/cnbc_global?playertype=synd&amp;byGuid=3000678654&amp;size=530_298" width="530" height="298"></iframe></p> <p><a href="https://www.cnbc.com/video/2017/12/13/jeffrey-gundlach-this-has-been-a-great-year-for-investors.html?__source=cnbcembedplayer">Jeffrey Gundlach: This has been a great year for investors</a> from <a href="//www.cnbc.com/?__source=cnbcembedplayer">CNBC</a>.</p> <p><strong>On ECB president Mario Draghi:</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"That’s going to slow things down a little bit, but the real worry from the central bank activity would be forward about a year. Because Mr. Draghi has said astonishingly that they’re going to continue 30 billion euros per month of quantitative easing at least until September and then he threw&nbsp; in, just to put a cherry on top of the cake of stimulus, he said, and negative rates well past the end of quantitative easing. Which means – sounds to me you’ll have negative rates as long has Mr. Draghi is around which is a little under two years."</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>On tax cuts and bonds:</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"If there is a net tax cut, it has to be bond unfriendly. we already have growing bond supply. we’ve been liiving in a world for the last three years thanks to quantitative easing of negative net bond supply, really, from sovereign bonds in the developing world. and that’s gonna flip because the fed is now letting bonds roll off, the budget deficit is increasing, a tax cut would increase the deficit further, and to the extent that a tax cut might be stimulative to the economy, that’s bond unfriendly, because bonds don’t like economic growth and also it’s more bonds, expanding the deficit, so even more supply."</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>On tax hikes and risk:</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"If i'm correct and i’m going to receive a seven-point bump in my tax rate, which is actually about a 15% tax increase, i have a feeling that i’m probably going to be less able and willing to buy risky assets or buy all the other things that are bubbling up these days, and maybe that side of the narrative will start showing up."</p> </blockquote> <p><iframe src="https://player.cnbc.com/p/gZWlPC/cnbc_global?playertype=synd&amp;byGuid=3000678666&amp;size=530_298" width="530" height="298"></iframe></p> <p><a href="https://www.cnbc.com/video/2017/12/13/jeffrey-gundlach-tax-plan-could-have-unintended-consequences.html?__source=cnbcembedplayer">Jeffrey Gundlach: Tax plan could have unintended consequences</a> from <a href="//www.cnbc.com/?__source=cnbcembedplayer">CNBC</a>.</p> <p><strong>On stimulating the economy:</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"While we’re not probably going to get 3% real for the year, we’ve had it for two quarters in a row. and gdp now at the atlanta fed has been bouncing around but it’s around 3% for the third quarter. when is the last time we had something like 3% growth for three quarters in a row? it’s a long time. why would you be stimulating the economy?"</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Finally on bitcoin:</strong></p> <p> <iframe src="https://player.cnbc.com/p/gZWlPC/cnbc_global?playertype=synd&amp;byGuid=3000678675&amp;size=530_298" width="530" height="298"></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="530" height="298" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/gundlach%20teaser%20goatee.jpg?1513205564" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/gundlach-reveals-his-favorite-trade-2018#comments Bitcoin Bond Bond Budget Deficit Business Cyclicality Economic policy Economy European Central Bank European Central Bank European Central Bank Eurozone fed Finance Financial markets goldman sachs Goldman Sachs Gundlach Inflation Japan Jeffrey Gundlach Mario Draghi Monetary policy Money Quantitative Easing Quantitative easing S&P 500 Thu, 14 Dec 2017 02:33:54 +0000 Tyler Durden 609103 at http://www.zerohedge.com The Enemy Within - The "Intelligence Community" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/enemy-within-intelligence-community <p><a href="http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2017/12/10/the-enemy-within-2/"><em>Authored by Justin Raimondo via AntiWar.com,</em></a></p> <p><strong>It was the Holy Grail of #TheResistance, the smoking gun they had been desperately searching for, solid evidence that Trump had colluded with the Russians to steal the presidency from its rightful owner</strong>: <em>an email written and sent before WikiLeaks published the DNC material directing Trump&rsquo;s attention to the data dump and even offering an &ldquo;encryption key,&rdquo; whatever that may be, so he could get a jump start on the news cycle.</em></p> <p><u><em><strong>Collusion! Impeach! Gotcha!</strong></em></u></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_enemy.jpg"><u><em><strong><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_enemy_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 324px;" /></strong></em></u></a></p> <p><u><strong>Except it wasn&rsquo;t true.</strong></u></p> <p>CNN, which initially reported the story, had the date of the email wrong: a 14 had somehow morphed into a 4. It turns out that CNN had never actually seen the email, but only had it described by &ldquo;multiple sources.&rdquo; CBS ran a story supposedly &ldquo;confirming&rdquo; the provenance of the incriminating email, and MSNBC followed suit with former <em>Los Angeles Times</em> national security reporter Ken Dilanian, whose reputation as a mouthpiece for the CIA is <a href="https://theintercept.com/2014/09/04/former-l-times-reporter-cleared-stories-cia-publication/">well-earned</a>: Dilanian went on the air endorsing the story and tying it into the by now elaborate conspiracy theories that preoccupy #TheResistance.</p> <p><strong>Of course it was the <em>purest</em> coincidence that no less than three major media outlets got the Trump email story wrong. Yes, those &ldquo;multiple sources&rdquo; sure were busy.</strong></p> <p>It&rsquo;s absurd to think that this episode is a case of simply getting it wrong: <em><u><strong>this was undoubtedly a deliberate lie, planted in the media by the same rogue &ldquo;intelligence community&rdquo; that invented Russia-gate</strong></u></em>. It didn&rsquo;t matter that the truth would eventually come out: look at how many times the original story was tweeted and retweeted over social media, and then consider how many people don&rsquo;t know it&rsquo;s been debunked.</p> <p>It seems like years since the Russia-gate investigation was launched, amid predictions of Trump&rsquo;s imminent doom. So what have they come up with so far? Enough evidence of foreign meddling in American politics to drive the Podesta Group out of business. Mike Flynn is in trouble not because of his Russia contacts but due to his lobbying on behalf of Turkey while in office. Of the many Russia-is-after-us stories that have come down the pipeline recently, a good many have been <a href="https://theintercept.com/2017/06/27/cnn-journalists-resign-latest-example-of-media-recklessness-on-the-russia-threat/">debunked</a>.</p> <p><strong>In short, Russia-gate is getting old, and going nowhere.</strong> It needed a jolt to kick it back into life again, and who cares what&rsquo;s true and what isn&rsquo;t? The point of circulating a lie, even a debunked one, is to normalize the inconceivable. A coup against the President? Why not? Violence directed at his supporters? Oh, it&rsquo;s a moral <em>obligation</em>. War propagandists don&rsquo;t need fact-checkers, and this is a war we&rsquo;re in. We&rsquo;re all living on a battlefield as the struggle for power goes on around us and our intelligence community &ndash; or at least the leadership &ndash; conducts open warfare against the President.</p> <p><strong>We&rsquo;ve seen the same pattern unfold abroad, as the CIA and its ancillary organizations undertook regime change operations in countries throughout the world. </strong>Remember the &ldquo;color revolutions&rdquo; of the Bush II era? Or look at what happened in Ukraine, where the elected president was driven out of office by a CIA-bought-and-paid-for mob. They hope to replicate their Ukrainian success in the US.</p> <p><u><em><strong>Is it really necessary to explain why this is a deadly threat to the Constitution, the rule of law, and everything we stand for as a nation?</strong></em></u></p> <p>Are we to be turned into some Third World banana republic, with coups, counter-coups, and a political police answerable to no one?</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/ndaa-legalizes-propaganda-2012-5">repeal of the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948</a>, which forbade the CIA from carrying out actions designed to influence US domestic opinion, was justified by officials on the grounds that these limits prevented them from doing their job. Of course, if we had known that they considered it their job to pick and choose who can be President, perhaps Smith-Mundt would still be intact. As it is now, our spooks can use government resources to push their political agenda, and rest assured they have one: they are a de facto political party as well as a welter of government agencies.</p> <p><strong>Particularly frightening is the politicization of the FBI, which seems to have become a bludgeon in the hands of the President&rsquo;s enemies.</strong> Their involvement with the Trump &ldquo;dossier,&rdquo; their refusal to hand over key documents to congressional oversight committees, not to mention the bizarre grandstanding of former FBI director James Comey &ndash; all point to a worrisome partisanship that has somehow infiltrated US law enforcement and called into question the integrity of our entire legal system.</p> <p>We have given these people access to our most private information: they have a &ldquo;legal&rdquo; mandate to invade our privacy at will. We&rsquo;ve given them unlimited resources, although nobody knows how much they really spend. We&rsquo;ve allowed them to roam the earth, overthrowing governments, assassinating opponents, and engaging in dirty tricks that we&rsquo;ll never even know about. <u><em><strong>So the question isn&rsquo;t &ldquo;How did they get to the point where they can conceivably pull off a coup?&rdquo; &ndash; it&rsquo;s &ldquo;Why didn&rsquo;t this happen sooner?&rdquo;</strong></em></u></p> <p>We are facing a mortal threat to our republic, to our liberties, and to the future of democracy in America, and it&rsquo;s not coming from overseas. <strong>The danger is coming from within our own government &ndash; the permanent national security bureaucracy, which was never elected by anyone to anything, and is now determined to impose its will on a country that voted the &ldquo;wrong&rdquo; way.</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="686" height="371" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171213_enemy.jpg?1513204067" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/enemy-within-intelligence-community#comments Central Intelligence Agency Central Intelligence Agency Donald Trump presidential campaign encryption FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Government Hillary Clinton presidential campaign James Comey MSNBC national security Politics Politics Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Secrecy Turkey Ukraine WikiLeaks Thu, 14 Dec 2017 02:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609102 at http://www.zerohedge.com "Trump Should Go F Himself" - Texts Leak From FBI Agents On Russia Probe, Hillary Emails Investigation http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/anti-trump-texts-between-fired-fbi-agents-having-extramarital-affair-leak-and-theyre <p>Over 10,000 text messages sent between two top FBI investigators - one of whom led both the Clinton email investigation and the early Trump-Russia probe, have been turned over to Congress Tuesday evening and promptly leaked to the press. The profanity-laced messages reveal a deep hatred for Trump between veteran agent Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page, who were having an extramarital affair while working together on the Clinton email investigation when the texts were exchanged. Strzok and Page were fired from Robert Mueller&#39;s special counsel in mid-August over the messages, yet the reason was not revealed until last month. Strzok notably changed the wording of then-FBI Director James Comey&#39;s statement on Clinton&#39;s mishandling of classified information from &quot;grossly negligent&quot; to &quot;extremely careless.&quot;</p> <p><img alt="" height="282" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/12/13/strozk%20page_0.jpg" width="503" /></p> <p><em>Peter Strzok and Lisa Page</em></p> <p>The leaked texts leave no doubt that Muller&#39;s probe has been tainted from the beginning. In one exchange obtained by <em><a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/here-are-peter-strzoks-texts-to-lisa-page-about-trump/?linkId=45835739" target="_blank">Fox News</a></em> sent on March 4th, 2016 - right around the time Trump emerged as a serious threat in the GOP primary race, Page texted Strzok &quot;<strong>God, Trump is a loathsome human</strong>,&quot; to which Strzok responded <strong>&quot;Yet he many[win]&quot; </strong>Strzok responded, adding <strong>&quot;</strong>Good for Hillary.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p>Later that day, <strong>Strzok texted Page, &quot;OMG [Trump&#39;s] an idiot&quot; </strong>to which Page replied <strong>&quot;He&#39;s awful.&quot; </strong>Strzok then texted Page &quot;<strong>America will get what the voting public deserves</strong>,&quot; to which Page responded <strong>&quot;That&#39;s what I&#39;m afraid of.&quot;&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>In messages obtained by <em><a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/here-are-peter-strzoks-texts-to-lisa-page-about-trump/?linkId=45835739" target="_blank">CBS</a></em>, Page wrote to Strzok &quot;<strong>I just saw my first Bernie Sander </strong>[sic] <strong>bumper sticker. Made me want to key the car,&quot;</strong>&nbsp;to which Strzok replied &quot;<strong>He&#39;s an idiot like Trump. Figure they cancel each other out.&quot;</strong></p> <p>On election night, Strzok called the glowing red map showing Mr. Trump winning &quot;<strong>F***ing terrifying.</strong>&quot; A week later when Jeff Sessions was the top contender for Attorney General, Strzok texted Page &quot;<strong>Sesions for AG,</strong>&quot; to which Page replied &quot;<strong>Good god.</strong>&quot;&nbsp;Page and Strzok <strong style="font-size: 13.008px;">also disparaged House Speaker Paul Ryan</strong>, with Page telling Strzok she hopes Ryan &quot;<strong style="font-size: 13.008px;">fails and crashes in a blaze of glory</strong>.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Fox </em>reporter Shannon Brem tweeted that Fox News producer Jake Gibson <strong>has obtained 10k texts between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page</strong>, one of which says &quot;<strong>Trump should go f himself</strong>,&quot; and <strong>&quot;F TRUMP.</strong>&quot;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Our <a href="https://twitter.com/FoxNews?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FoxNews</a> producer <a href="https://twitter.com/JakeBGibson?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JakeBGibson</a> has obtained 10K texts between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page</p> </blockquote> <p class="twitter-tweet">&mdash; Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) <a href="https://twitter.com/ShannonBream/status/940770703317585921?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 13, 2017</a></p> <p><script src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Strzok/Page texts obtained by Fox&#39;s <a href="https://twitter.com/JakeBGibson?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JakeBGibson</a></p> <p>&quot;LP &ndash; Jesus. You should read this. And Trump should go f himself. Moment in Convention Glare Shakes Up Khans American Life <a href="https://t.co/1nZ11E3gBC">https://t.co/1nZ11E3gBC</a></p> <p>PS &ndash; God that&rsquo;s a great article. Thanks for sharing. And F TRUMP.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p class="twitter-tweet">&mdash; Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) <a href="https://twitter.com/ShannonBream/status/940785243715403777?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 13, 2017</a></p> <p>In another tweet posted by Bream, Peter Strzok says <strong>&quot;I am riled up. Trump is a f*cking idiot, is unable to provide a coherrent answer</strong>,&quot; and <strong>&quot;I CAN&#39;T PULL AWAY, WHAY THE F*CK HAPPENED TO OUR COUNTRY (redacted)??!?!&quot;</strong></p> <p>Page responds <strong>&quot;I don&#39;t know, But we&#39;ll get it back. ...&quot;</strong></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Strzok/Page texts 10/20/16</p> <p>PS - I am riled up. Trump is a f*cking idiot, is unable to provide a coherent answer.</p> <p>PS - I CAN&#39;T PULL AWAY, WHAT THE F*CK HAPPENED TO OUR COUNTRY (redacted)??!?!</p> <p>LP - I don&#39;t know. But we&#39;ll get it back. ...</p> </blockquote> <p class="twitter-tweet">&mdash; Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) <a href="https://twitter.com/ShannonBream/status/940797491338993664?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 13, 2017</a></p> <p>Page then messages Strzok, saying &quot;And maybe you&#39;re meant to stay where you are because you&#39;re meant to <strong>protect the country from that menace</strong>. (links to NYT article), to which Strzok replied &quot;<strong>I can protect our country at many levels</strong>.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Strzok/Page texts</p> <p>LP &ndash; And maybe you&rsquo;re meant to stay where you are because you&rsquo;re meant to protect the country from that menace. (links to NYT article)</p> <p>PS &ndash; ... I can protect our country at many levels, not sure if that helps</p> </blockquote> <p class="twitter-tweet">&mdash; Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) <a href="https://twitter.com/ShannonBream/status/940779309802942464?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 13, 2017</a></p> <p>If you&#39;re still confused as to who they&nbsp;wanted to win the election, look no further than Peter Strzok&#39;s text to&nbsp;Page: &quot;<strong style="font-size: 13.008px;">God Hillary should win. 100,000,000-0&quot;&nbsp;</strong></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Strzok/Page texts obtained by <a href="https://twitter.com/JakeBGibson?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JakeBGibson</a> - &quot;PS: God Hillary should win. 100,000,000-0. LP: I know&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p class="twitter-tweet">&mdash; Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) <a href="https://twitter.com/ShannonBream/status/940771617013149696?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 13, 2017</a></p> <p>The messages between Strzok and Page make it <strong style="font-size: 13.008px;">abundantly clear</strong>&nbsp;that the agents investigating both candidates for President were <strong style="font-size: 13.008px;">extremely biased </strong>against then-candidate Trump, while going <strong style="font-size: 13.008px;">extremely easy</strong>&nbsp;on Hillary Clinton over her mishandling of classified information.&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">MORE: Timeline of texts from former Special Counsel investigator Peter Strzok may raise concerns about his impartiality and will likely raise more questions about the Clinton server investigation, <a href="https://twitter.com/PaulaReidCBS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PaulaReidCBS</a> says</p> </blockquote> <p class="twitter-tweet">&mdash; CBS News (@CBSNews) <a href="https://twitter.com/CBSNews/status/940772980690444288?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 13, 2017</a></p> <p>The messages sent between Strzok and Page, as well as <strong>Strzok&#39;s conduct in the Clinton investigation and several prior cases are now under review for political bias by the Justice Department</strong>. Furthermore, the fact that the reason behind Strzok&#39;s firing was kept a secret for months is of keen interest to House investigators. According to <em><a href="http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/12/03/mueller-aide-fired-for-anti-trump-texts-now-facing-review-for-role-in-clinton-email-probe.htm.html?x" target="_blank">Fox News</a> </em>two&nbsp;weeks ago<em>:&nbsp;</em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&quot;While Strzok&rsquo;s removal from the Mueller team had been publicly reported in August, the Justice Department never disclosed the anti-Trump texts to the House investigators.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Responding to the revelations about Strzok&rsquo;s texts on Saturday, Nunes said he has now directed his staff to draft contempt-of-Congress citations against Rosenstein and the new FBI director, Christopher Wray.&quot; -Fox News</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Strzok also relied on the Trump-Russia dossier</strong>&nbsp;created by opposition research firm Fusion GPS.&nbsp;In August, 2016 - nine months before Robert Mueller&#39;s Special Counsel was launched, the New York Times reported that <strong>Strzok was hand picked by FBI brass to supervise an investigation into allegations of Trump-Russia collusion</strong>.&nbsp;The FBI investigation grew legs after they received the infamous anti-Trump &quot;dossier&quot; and decided to act on its salacious and largely unproven claims, According to <em><a href="http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/12/03/mueller-aide-fired-for-anti-trump-texts-now-facing-review-for-role-in-clinton-email-probe.htm.html?x" target="_blank">Fox News</a></em>:</p> <div> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div> <p>House investigators told Fox News they have long regarded Strzok as a key figure in the chain of events when the bureau, <strong>in 2016, received the infamous anti-Trump &quot;dossier&quot; and launched a counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling in the election that ultimately came to encompass FISA surveillance of a Trump campaign associate.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The &quot;dossier&quot; was a compendium of salacious and largely unverified allegations about then-candidate Trump and others around him that was compiled by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS. The firm&#39;s bank records, obtained by House investigators, revealed that the project was funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. -<em>Fox News</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Weeks before the 2016 election, <strong>Peter Strzok&#39;s FBI team agreed to pay former MI6 agent and Fusion GPS operative Christopher Steele $50,000 </strong>if he could verify the claims contained within the dossier - which relied on the cooperation of two senior Kremlin officials.&nbsp;</p> </div> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user237925/imageroot/2017/12/10/officialsa.PNG" style="width: 558px; height: 143px;" /></p> <p><em><a href="https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/03/how-the-explosive-russian-dossier-was-compiled-christopher-steele" target="_blank">Vannity Fair</a></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When Steele was unable to verify the claims in the dossier, <strong>the FBI wouldn&#39;t pay him</strong>&nbsp;according to the <em><a href="http://archive.is/QrLS8" target="_blank">New York Times</a></em>.&nbsp;</p> <div> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div> <p>Mr. Steele met his F.B.I. contact in Rome in early October, bringing a stack of new intelligence reports. One, dated Sept. 14, said that Mr. Putin was facing &ldquo;fallout&rdquo; over his apparent involvement in the D.N.C. hack and was receiving &ldquo;conflicting advice&rdquo; on what to do.</p> <p>The agent said that, if Mr. Steele could get solid corroboration of his reports, the F.B.I. would pay him $50,000 for his efforts, according to two people familiar with the offer. <strong>Ultimately, he was not paid</strong>. -<em>NYT</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Did you catch that? Despite the fact that Steele was not paid by the FBI for the dossier, <strong>Peter Strzok used it to launch a counterintelligence investigation into President Trump&#39;s team</strong>. Steele was ultimately paid <a href="http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/358362-fusion-gps-paid-ex-british-spy-168000-for-work-on-dossier" target="_blank">$168,000</a> by <strong>Fusion GPS</strong>&nbsp;to assemble the dossier.&nbsp;</p> </div> <p><strong>There&#39;s more - </strong>according to journalist Sara Carter <strong style="font-size: 13.008px;">there are more anti-Trump messages exchanged between&nbsp;<em>other</em>&nbsp;members of Mueller&#39;s team</strong>:</p> <div> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div> <p>Sean Hannity:<strong> I&rsquo;m hearing rumors all over the place Sara Carter that there are other anti-Trump text-emails out there. And we know about them.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Sara Carter: I think you&rsquo;re hearing correctly Sean and<strong> I think a lot more is going to come out. In fact, I know a lot more is going to come out based on the sources I&rsquo;ve spoken to.</strong></strong></p> </blockquote> </div> <div> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0.25em; margin-bottom: 0.75em; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.3; font-family: lucida_granderegular, Verdana, sans-serif;">The clip is below:</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0.25em; margin-bottom: 0.75em; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.3; font-family: lucida_granderegular, Verdana, sans-serif;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8i5fDEmTHvA" width="560"></iframe></p> </div> <p>The text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page are <strong>highly compromising</strong>, and prove that both FBI investigations into Clinton and Trump were headed by a man, aided by his mistress,&nbsp;who did not want to see Trump win the White House.&nbsp;Furthermnore,&nbsp;if&nbsp;anti-Trump text messages&nbsp;were exchanged&nbsp;between <em>other</em>&nbsp;members of Robert Mueller&#39;s special counsel, which are apparently on deck for later this month or January, it&#39;s hard to imagine anyone taking anything concluded by this dog-and-pony show seriously.</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="600" height="338" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/strzok%20page.jpg?1513171695" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/anti-trump-texts-between-fired-fbi-agents-having-extramarital-affair-leak-and-theyre#comments B+ Congress Democratic National Committee Department of Justice Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Dismissal of James Comey Dismissal of United States Attorneys controversy Donald Trump F.B.I. FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Bureau of Investigation Fox News GPS Hillary Clinton email controversy James Comey New York Times Republican Party Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Trump campaign–Russian meetings United States United States Department of Justice United States intelligence agencies White House White House Thu, 14 Dec 2017 02:29:09 +0000 Tyler Durden 609052 at http://www.zerohedge.com China Unexpectedly Hikes Rates Despite Disappointing Retail Sales Growth http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/china-unexpectedly-hikes-rates-despite-disappointing-retail-sales-growth <p>China, <strong>somewhat unexpectedly, hikes rates this evening,</strong> minutes before dumping economic data that showed no major surprises other than a modest disappointment in retail sales growth.</p> <p>Of course, we had a suspicion that China might hike rates, as it has done in response to previous rates hikes by the Fed in 2017.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">So what time is China hiking by 25 Bps</p> <p>&mdash; zerohedge (@zerohedge) <a href="https://twitter.com/zerohedge/status/941117162651029504?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 14, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>PMIs and other early indicators have pointed to continued robust growth in China&rsquo;s economy, writes Bloomberg Economics economist Qian Wan. On November&rsquo;s industrial production, she says:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>&ldquo;Government curbs on air-polluting industries are a downside risk. Surprisingly strong November exports though, point up.&rdquo; </strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>And tonight&#39;s data shows no major surprises:</p> <ul> <li>China Retail Sales&nbsp;(Nov.) <strong><span style="color:#ff0000;">MISS </span></strong>+10.2% YoY vs +10.3% exp; prior 10%</li> <li>China Industrial Production&nbsp;(Nov.) <strong><span style="color:#ff8c00;">MEET </span></strong>+6.1% YoY vs +6.1% exp; prior 6.2%</li> <li>China Fixed Asset Investment&nbsp;(Year-to-Date) <strong><span style="color:#ff8c00;">MEET </span></strong>+7.2% vs +7.2% exp; prior 7.3%</li> </ul> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_china.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_china_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 440px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, as Bloomberg notes,<strong> minutes before the data, a surprise move by the PBOC to boost interest rates in open-market operations, acting after the Fed increased its benchmark rate overnight.</strong> A suggestion that policy makers are confident the economy is strong enough to withstand further deleveraging.</p> <p>This is the 3rd rate hike of the year for China.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_china1.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_china1_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 309px;" /></a></p> <p>The current money-market rates are significantly higher than the open market operation rates and<strong> the small increase in OMO rates could narrow the gap appropriately and help ease market distortion,</strong> PBOC says in statement on website.</p> <p>The move reflects supply and demand in the market and is <strong>the market&rsquo;s normal reaction to the U.S. rate hike.</strong></p> <p>The move was modest, and they haven&#39;t touched their main rate, but, as Bloomberg&#39;s Enda Curran notes, <strong>nonetheless it&#39;s a tweak that hadn&#39;t been expected and hints that there&#39;s more to come.</strong></p> <div> <div id=":49u.co"> <p data-tooltip="December 13, 2017 at 5:56:56 PM UTC-8" id=":49z.ma" title="December 13, 2017 at 5:56:56 PM UTC-8">As a reminder, <strong>the Chinese yield curve had been inverted for weeks </strong>before the latest shift and as the MLF rate rises, it gets ever closer to the 4% trigger rate on the long-bond that appears to be the line in the sand for China right now...</p> <p data-tooltip="December 13, 2017 at 5:56:56 PM UTC-8" title="December 13, 2017 at 5:56:56 PM UTC-8"><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_china2.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_china2_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 308px;" /></a></p> <p data-tooltip="December 13, 2017 at 5:56:56 PM UTC-8" title="December 13, 2017 at 5:56:56 PM UTC-8">Here&#39;s what Qin Han, chief bond analyst at Guotai Junan Securities, said about the PBOC&#39;s move today:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&quot;This is good news for bonds, as the PBOC only raised the rates by 5 basis points. </strong>This could be interpreted by the investors as a signal that the policy makers do not want to worsen the recent selloff in bonds and stocks.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Bond yields will drop in the coming few months, as the authorities may refrain from tightening monetary policy and toughen financial regulations too quickly.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>So at the end of the day, <strong>all the data was pretty much as expected, with no signs of a steep down turn which is maybe what gave the PBOC confidence to move.</strong></p> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="967" height="498" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171213_china1.jpg?1513217688" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/china-unexpectedly-hikes-rates-despite-disappointing-retail-sales-growth#comments Banking in China Bond Bond Business Business China Economy Finance fixed Fixed income Guotai Junan Securities Interest rate Investment Junan Monetary Policy Monetary policy Money People's Bank of China US Federal Reserve Yield Curve Yield curve Thu, 14 Dec 2017 02:19:14 +0000 Tyler Durden 609115 at http://www.zerohedge.com Global Negative Yielding Debt Surges To $9.7 Trillion Despite ECB's QE Taper http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/global-negative-yielding-debt-surges-97-trillion-despite-ecbs-qe-taper <p>As <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-16/ecb-has-bought-%E2%82%AC19-trillion-bonds-here-who-sold-and-what-they-did-money">we noted</a> a few months ago, ever since the ECB launched its sovereign debt QE, initially known as PSPP, in March 2015 and later expanded to include corporate debt, or CSPP, in June 2016, the world's biggest <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">hedge fund</span> central bank has created enough money out of thin air to purchase bonds with no consideration for price to grow its balance sheet, i.e. investment portfolio, by nearly €2 trillion. </p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/10/14/ecb%20citi%20sale%201.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/10/14/ecb%20citi%20sale%201_0.jpg" width="500" height="282" /></a></p> <p>Not surprisingly, that massive buying spree triggered a multi-year plunge in sovereign yields. But, with the Fed now raising rates on expectations of higher inflation and <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-26/ecb-announces-dovish-%E2%82%AC30-billion-qe-taper-through-september-2018-or-beyond-eurusd-pl">promises</a> from the ECB to cut their QE targets in half for 2018 to a measely €30 billion a month "from January 2018 until the end of September 2018," you might expect global yields to be slowly normalizing as well...but you would be wrong. &nbsp;</p> <p>As <a href="https://www.fitchratings.com/site/pr/10014210">Fitch</a> noted recently, despite moves by the Fed and ECB to "normalize" their various stimulus programs, <strong>the amount of negative-yielding debt around the world has actually increased YoY from $9.3 trillion last year to $9.7 trillion today.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>The total amount of global negative-yielding sovereign debt remains at elevated levels despite the European Central Bank's (ECB) plan to reduce monthly asset purchases amid improving economic fundamentals in the Eurozone, according to Fitch Ratings.</strong> As of Dec. 4, 2017, there was $9.7 trillion of negative-yielding sovereign debt outstanding, up from $9.5 trillion on May 31, 2017 and $9.3 trillion one year ago.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Eurozone GDP growth in 2017 has exceeded Fitch's initial expectations and momentum is expected to continue into 2018. Improving growth has led the ECB to plan to slow the pace of asset purchases to EUR30 billion per month beginning in January 2018. Fitch currently forecasts 2.3% and 2.2% GDP growth in 2017 and 2018, respectively. However, these changes have not led to materially higher yields on government debt for short or long-term maturities in the Eurozone. </p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/12/13/2017.12.13 - Fitch.JPG"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/12/13/2017.12.13%20-%20Fitch_0.JPG" style="width: 500px; height: 476px;" /></a></p> <p>Of course, the negative yields might have something to do with the fact that even at a prevailing purchase rate of just $30 billion per month the ECB is still on track to purchase some 2.25x more bonds in 2018 than the expected new issuance volume.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/10/14/ecb%20citi%20sale%202.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/10/14/ecb%20citi%20sale%202_0.jpg" width="500" height="185" /></a></p> <p>Then again, maybe asset managers have simply decided that the sovereign debt market is the most attractive bubble when compared to the risks associated with all the other bubbles around the world.</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="858" height="484" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017.12.13%20-%20Fitch%20Tease.JPG?1513201154" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/global-negative-yielding-debt-surges-97-trillion-despite-ecbs-qe-taper#comments Business Economy Euro Europe European Central Bank European Central Bank European debt crisis European Union Eurozone Eurozone Fitch Government debt Policy reactions to the Eurozone crisis ratings Sovereign Debt US Federal Reserve Thu, 14 Dec 2017 02:10:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609100 at http://www.zerohedge.com Gold Will Soar... As China Kneecaps The Dollar http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/gold-will-soar-china-kneecaps-dollar <p><a href="http://www.internationalman.com//articles/gold-will-soar-as-china-kneecaps-the-dollar"><em>Authored by Nick Giambruno via InternationalMan.com,</em></a></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong>I recently spoke with my friend and colleague Chris Lowe about <strong>China&rsquo;s new alternative financial system - and how it could mortally wound the US dollar</strong>. It was such an important discussion that I had to pass it along.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_gold11.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_gold11.jpg" style="width: 560px; height: 331px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Chris is the editor of Bonner &amp; Partners&rsquo;&nbsp;Inner Circle. His&nbsp;publication shares insights from Bill Bonner&rsquo;s personal global network of analysts and investment experts.</em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p style="text-align: left;"><em>Using force to compel people to accept money without real value can only work in the short run. It ultimately leads to economic dislocation, both domestic and international, and always ends with a price to be paid.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;">&ndash; Former U.S. Congressman Ron Paul</p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>He who holds the gold makes the rules.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;">&ndash; Old saying</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Chris Lowe: </strong>Why did you start researching the petrodollar system and its potential unraveling?</p> <p><strong>Nick Giambruno:</strong> This has been on my radar since 2006. That&rsquo;s when Ron Paul, then a Republican congressman, spoke to Congress about the collapse of the dollar-based global monetary system.</p> <p>As I recently told my <em>Crisis Investing</em> readers, I think it&rsquo;s his most important speech ever. <strong>It&rsquo;s called &ldquo;The End of Dollar Hegemony.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p><strong>During the speech, Dr. Paul lays out why a global monetary order built around a fiat currency is doomed to fail.</strong></p> <p>Crucially, he pointed out the one thing that would precipitate the US dollar&rsquo;s collapse&mdash;the end of the petrodollar system.</p> <p>I recommend <a href="https://www.lewrockwell.com/2006/02/ron-paul/why-the-us-hates-iraq-iran-and-venezuela/" target="_blank">reading the speech in full</a>...</p> <p><iframe allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" gesture="media" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/44wo8IhuHfQ" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><iframe allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" gesture="media" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/JUacN9pRWII" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><iframe allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" gesture="media" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gl1EE2-z5C8" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>But this is the most important part:</p> <p style="margin-left: .5in;"><u><em><strong>The economic law that honest exchange demands only things of real value as currency cannot be repealed. The chaos that one day will ensue from our 35-year experiment with worldwide fiat money will require a return to money of real value. We will know that day is approaching when oil-producing countries demand gold, or its equivalent, for their oil rather than dollars or Euros.</strong></em></u></p> <p>I discussed this with Dr. Paul at a past Casey Research conference. He told me he stood by his assessment.</p> <p><strong>In a nutshell, he&rsquo;s saying we&rsquo;ll know the dollar-centric monetary system is on its way out when countries start trading oil for gold instead of dollars.</strong></p> <p>That&rsquo;s already starting to happen.</p> <p><strong>Chris Lowe:</strong> To catch up real quick, why is the petrodollar at risk?</p> <p><strong>Nick Giambruno: </strong>Under the current petrodollar system, all global oil sales are made in dollars. However, the Chinese government recently announced a new mechanism that will allow oil producers anywhere in the world to trade oil for gold.</p> <p>China&rsquo;s new mechanism will totally bypass the US dollar and the US financial system&hellip; along with any restrictions, regulations, or sanctions from Washington. So for many oil producers, it will be much more attractive than the petrodollar system.</p> <p><strong>I call it China&rsquo;s &ldquo;golden alternative&rdquo; to the petrodollar. Whatever you call it, though, it will allow for the large-scale trade of oil for gold, instead of dollars.</strong></p> <p>Here&rsquo;s how it will work. The Shanghai International Energy Exchange is launching a crude-oil futures contract denominated in yuan, China&rsquo;s currency. This will allow oil producers around the world to sell their oil for yuan.</p> <p><em><strong>Of course, the yuan is a fiat currency, just like the dollar. And most oil producers don&rsquo;t want large stashes of yuan. The Chinese government knows this. That&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s linked the crude-oil futures contract with the option to efficiently convert yuan into physical gold through gold exchanges in Shanghai and Hong Kong.</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Chris Lowe:</strong> How soon will this new system be up and running?</p> <p><strong>Nick Giambruno:</strong> I spoke with officials at the Shanghai International Energy Exchange. They told me they plan to go live with it before the end of the year, or shortly thereafter.</p> <p><strong>Chris Lowe:</strong> But isn&rsquo;t that a good thing? Isn&rsquo;t gold, as a currency, more reliable than the dollar?</p> <p><strong>Nick Giambruno: </strong>I think it&rsquo;s high time gold played a more central role in the global monetary system. The problem is ditching the petrodollar would negatively affect the US economy.</p> <p>Think about it. If Italy wants to buy oil from Kuwait&hellip; or Argentina wants to buy oil from Brazil&hellip; they have to buy dollars on the foreign exchange market first.</p> <p>This creates a huge artificial market for dollars.</p> <p>It means the US can simply print dollars and exchange them for real things like French wine, Italian cars, Korean electronics, or Chinese manufactured goods.</p> <p>It also helps create a deeper, more liquid market for US Treasury bonds. This pushes up prices&hellip; and pushes down yields&hellip; which allows the US federal government to finance enormous and permanent deficits.</p> <p><strong>The petrodollar has allowed Washington to spend astronomical amounts of money on welfare and other benefits for over half the population. This gives Americans a much higher standard of living than they would have otherwise. Most of them don&rsquo;t know this or understand how it affects their everyday lives.</strong></p> <p>Thanks to the petrodollar, Washington can also sanction or exclude virtually any country from the dollar-based global financial system at the flip of a switch. By extension, it can also cut off any country from the vast majority of international trade.</p> <p><strong>Chris Lowe:</strong> Others have argued that this has led the US Deep State into military actions against anyone who threatens the petrodollar system. Is the Deep State that scared about the effects this could have on the economy and on its position as the world&rsquo;s top power?</p> <p><strong>Nick Giambruno:</strong> Let&rsquo;s put it this way, world leaders who have challenged the petrodollar system have ended up dead. Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi are prime examples.</p> <p>In October 2000, Saddam started to sell Iraqi oil in euro only. He said Iraq would no longer accept dollars for oil because it did not want to deal in the &ldquo;currency of the enemy.&rdquo;</p> <p>A little over two years later, the US invaded Iraq. After Baghdad fell to US forces, all Iraqi oil sales were switched back to dollars.</p> <p><strong>And thanks to WikiLeaks&rsquo; release of Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s emails, we know that protecting the petrodollar&mdash;not humanitarian concerns&mdash;was the main reason for America&rsquo;s involvement in the ousting and killing of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.</strong></p> <p>According to the leaked emails, the US&mdash;along with France&mdash;feared Gaddafi would use Libya&rsquo;s vast gold reserves to back a pan-African currency. This gold-backed currency would have been used to buy and sell oil in global markets. It would have likely displaced the CFA franc&mdash;a version of the euro used in 14 central and west African nations.</p> <p>As I&rsquo;m sure you recall, the US and France backed a rebellion that overthrew Gaddafi in 2011. After his death, plans for the gold-backed currency&mdash;along with Libya&rsquo;s 4.6 million ounces of gold&mdash;vanished.</p> <p><strong>Chris Lowe: </strong>What&rsquo;s Russia&rsquo;s role in all of this?</p> <p><strong>Nick Giambruno:</strong> The dollar is not just a currency. It&rsquo;s a political weapon&hellip; and Washington is not shy about using it.</p> <p>Most recently, it tried to punish Russia for its actions in Ukraine by imposing economic sanctions. This made it harder for Russia to access the dollar-based financial system. So it&rsquo;s no surprise that Russia struck a deal to sell oil and gas to China for yuan afterward.</p> <p><strong>Chris Lowe:</strong> How big a deal is it that Russia is working with China on bypassing the dollar?</p> <p><strong>Nick Giambruno:</strong> Russia is one of the world&rsquo;s largest energy producers. And China is the world&rsquo;s largest energy importer. Historically, they would trade with each other exclusively in US dollars.</p> <p>But the Shanghai International Energy Exchange futures contract will streamline and solidify the process of selling oil to China for yuan&mdash;or effectively for gold.</p> <p><strong>When two of the biggest players in the global energy market totally bypass the petrodollar system, it&rsquo;s a very big deal.</strong></p> <p>And it&rsquo;s not just Russia and China. Other countries want to sidestep the US financial system and US economic sanctions, too. China&rsquo;s &ldquo;golden alternative&rdquo; will give them the option to do just that. This will make the US dollar a much less effective political weapon.</p> <p>Take Iran, for example. It&rsquo;s the world&rsquo;s fifth-largest oil producer. And it&rsquo;s now accepting yuan as payment for its oil. So is Venezuela, which has the world&rsquo;s largest proven oil reserves. I think others will soon follow.</p> <p>This all makes perfect economic sense. Oil-producing nations can continue with the petrodollar system and sell their oil for dollars. But there&rsquo;s not much financial incentive to do that anymore. The Fed has deliberately pushed down US Treasury yields to &ldquo;stimulate&rdquo; economic growth. Plus, the system exposes US rivals to the whims of Washington.</p> <p><u><em><strong>Now oil producers have a second option. Through China&rsquo;s &ldquo;golden alternative,&rdquo; they can sell their oil for yuan, then quickly and easily convert it to gold.</strong></em></u></p> <p><u><em><strong>Unlike the dollar, gold is an international form of money with no political risk. From the perspective of an overseas oil producer&mdash;especially one with a poor relationship with the US&mdash;this is a no-brainer.</strong></em></u></p> <p><strong>Chris Lowe:</strong> Russia may be one of the world&rsquo;s largest oil producers. But Saudi Arabia is still the world&rsquo;s largest oil exporter. And a lot of that oil goes to China, the world&rsquo;s largest oil importer. The Saudis were also America&rsquo;s partner in the petrodollar agreement back in 1974. Can&rsquo;t the House of Saud use this influence to protect the petrodollar system?</p> <p><strong>Nick Giambruno: </strong>For now, the Saudis are refusing to participate in China&rsquo;s &ldquo;golden alternative.&rdquo; That&rsquo;s because selling oil for anything but dollars would break the petrodollar deal they made with the US back in 1974. Remember, the Saudis agreed to sell their oil exclusively in dollars in return for US arms and military protection.</p> <p>Last year, on the campaign trail, Donald Trump said, &ldquo;If Saudi Arabia was without the cloak of American protection, I don&rsquo;t think it would be around.&rdquo; He&rsquo;s absolutely correct. If the Saudis started selling oil for yuan, they would immediately lose American diplomatic and military protection.</p> <p>But Saudi Arabia is already looking for alternatives to American protection.</p> <p><strong>Chris Lowe:</strong> Who is it turning to?</p> <p><strong>Nick Giambruno: </strong>This is where the story gets really interesting. Russia and Saudi Arabia have been enemies for decades. The Saudis, along with the US, supported the Afghan mujahideen that drove the Soviet Army out of Afghanistan. The Saudis also supported a number of Chechen rebellions against Russia. And more recently, the Saudis and Russians have been on opposite sides of the Syrian Civil War.</p> <p><u><em><strong>But recently, the Saudi king&mdash;along with 1,500 members of his royal entourage&mdash;visited Moscow. It was the first official visit by a Saudi king to Russia. The trip coincided with a $10 billion Saudi investment in Russian energy projects and a $3 billion arms deal.</strong></em></u></p> <p>As part of that deal, the Saudis will buy Russia&rsquo;s S-400 missile system. It&rsquo;s arguably the most capable air defense system in the world. It&rsquo;s a powerful deterrent to even US fighter jets.</p> <p><strong>Chris Lowe: </strong>I didn&rsquo;t know the Saudis bought Russian weapons systems.</p> <p><strong>Nick Giambruno:</strong> They didn&rsquo;t&hellip; up until now. Ever since the birth of the petrodollar, the Saudis have depended on American military protection. After all, it&rsquo;s what they get in return for pricing their oil in dollars.</p> <p><strong>Chris Lowe:</strong> So why would the Saudis enter into an arms deal with Russia?</p> <p><strong>Nick Giambruno:</strong> The Saudis are hedging their bets. First, they&rsquo;re not buying an American-made air-defense system. Second, they&rsquo;re buying a Russian air-defense system that&rsquo;s capable of deterring an American attack. The House of Saud is making significant moves, in other words, to give itself alternatives to American protection.</p> <p><strong>Chris Lowe:</strong> Is there any other evidence that Saudi Arabia is moving away from the US?</p> <p><strong>Nick Giambruno: </strong>Last August, Saudi Arabia announced it was willing to issue &ldquo;Panda bonds&rdquo; to finance its government spending deficit. These are yuan-denominated bonds from non-Chinese issuers that are sold in China.</p> <p>This is remarkable. The Saudi currency, the riyal, is pegged to the dollar. Up until this point, Saudi Arabia has exclusively used US dollars for all of its major financial initiatives. Issuing debt in yuan is a significant move. It means that financially, Saudi Arabia is drifting closer to China.</p> <p><strong>Chris Lowe: </strong>Why does Saudi Arabia need to hedge its bets like this?</p> <p><strong>Nick Giambruno: </strong>A few years ago, Saudi oil made up over 25% of Chinese oil imports. They were Beijing&rsquo;s No. 1 supplier. Today, the Saudis&rsquo; market share has dropped below 15%.</p> <p>The Saudis are losing massive market share and getting pushed out of the biggest oil market in the world&mdash;mainly because they refuse to sell oil to China in yuan.</p> <p>China has made itself clear. It&rsquo;s willing to expand business with anyone who will accept yuan as payment.</p> <p><strong>Chris Lowe:</strong> If the Saudis bow to Chinese pressure, where does all that leave the petrodollar system?</p> <p><strong>Nick Giambruno:</strong> The Saudis haven&rsquo;t made a clean break with the US and the petrodollar&mdash;yet. But they are drifting toward China financially and Russia militarily. These moves are already sidelining the petrodollar. The Saudis are clearly setting up the option to dump the petrodollar.</p> <p>If the Saudis start to sell oil to China in yuan, it would kill the petrodollar overnight.</p> <p>Short of that, things still look very dire for the petrodollar. What is baked into the cake&mdash;thanks, in large part, to China&rsquo;s &ldquo;golden alternative&rdquo;&mdash;is the petrodollar&rsquo;s significant erosion.</p> <p><strong>Chris Lowe:</strong> What specific advice do you have based on this prognosis?</p> <p><strong>Nick Giambruno:</strong> The increased demand for gold from China&rsquo;s &ldquo;golden alternative&rdquo; to the petrodollar is going to shock the gold market. And this demand shock clearly hasn&rsquo;t been priced into the gold market yet. As many of your readers will be aware, gold is still down significantly from its 2011 peak.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s why I am so bullish on gold right now. As the petrodollar dies, gold is going to replace it as the go-to currency for the oil trade. That makes the yellow metal the single best way to profit from this major shift in our monetary order.</p> <p><strong>I started warning about the end of the petrodollar late last year. That&rsquo;s when I told <em>Crisis Investing</em> readers that the death of the petrodollar would be the No. 1 black swan event of 2017.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_gold12.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_gold12.jpg" style="width: 560px; height: 353px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>Eventually, people will look back and see China&rsquo;s &ldquo;golden alternative&rdquo; as the catalyst that made it happen.</strong></p> <p>*&nbsp; * *</p> <p><em>Few people appreciate how unstable America&rsquo;s monetary system is. Our colleague and financial world legend Bill Bonner has an unparalleled track record for making spot-on political and economic predictions... and he says we&rsquo;re teetering on the edge of a full-fledged economic shutdown. <a href="https://secure.bonnerandpartners.com/chain?cid=MKT339563&amp;eid=MKT343858&amp;step=start&amp;plcid=PLC028570" target="_blank">Click here for more straight from Bill.</a></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="503" height="317" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171213_gold12.jpg?1513204730" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/gold-will-soar-china-kneecaps-dollar#comments Afghanistan Black Swan Brazil Business China Chinese government Congress Dollar Donald Trump Economic history of the United States Economy Economy of the United States Fail France Gold standard Hong Kong International trade Iran Iraq Italy Kuwait Market Share Nixon shock Petrodollar recycling Petroleum politics Presidency of Richard Nixon Ron Paul Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia Soviet Army U.S. federal government U.S. Treasury Ukraine US Federal Reserve World Yuan Thu, 14 Dec 2017 01:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609105 at http://www.zerohedge.com