en Have We Lost The Ability To Adapt To Rapidly Changing Circumstances? <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,</em></a></p> <p><em>Successful adaptation requires a willingness to accept the risks of experimentation, innovation, flexibility and failure.</em></p> <p><strong>The idea that the pace of change in technology, the economy and society is accelerating is increasingly self-evident.</strong> That this acceleration exceeds our built-in ability to adapt to change is the thesis of the influential 1970 book <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B008PBFBBY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=charleshughsm-20&amp;linkId=2TCOMNESXDDLISH6" target="resource">Future Shock</a>: as the pace of change accelerates, we can no longer process the transformative circumstances and enter a sort of brain-freeze/shut-down mode.</p> <p>I discussed this most recently in <a href="" target="resource"> Future Shock and the Greening of America</a> (June 19, 2015) and <a href="" target="resource"> Present Shock and the Loss of History and Context</a> (May 22, 2013).</p> <p><img align="middle" border="0" class="wide" src="" width="550" /></p> <p><strong>My insightful Facebook friend/correspondent A.A. recently proposed another reason why we&#39;re failing to adapt to rapid, systemic change:</strong> we have grown too accustomed to affluence and comfort and have consequently lost the tools and values required to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances.</p> <p>Here is an excerpt of A.A.&#39;s Facebook post: <em> &quot;My own theory is easy postwar affluence leached intelligence from the US population. That is to say, the survival pressures that normally select for the smart and realistic were no longer operating.&quot; </em></p> <p><strong>The word <em>intelligence</em> is of course loaded, but A.A.&#39;s commentary defines this as <em>smart and realistic</em></strong>--in other words, <em>practical intelligence</em> that enables successful adaptation.</p> <p>This calls to mind one of the key elements of natural selection: that <em>the ability to adapt successfully boils down to recognizing and conserving/ encouraging advantageous traits and eliminating /discouraging disadvantageous traits.</em></p> <p>Here is Charles Darwin&#39;s definition of natural selection: <em>&quot;This preservation of favorable variations and the rejection of injurious variations, I call Natural Selection.&quot; </em></p> <p>Two other quotes attributed to Darwin shed light on the role of intelligence in this process:</p> <p><em>&ldquo;Intelligence is based on how efficient a species became at doing the things they need to survive.&rdquo; </em></p> <p><em>&ldquo;In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.&rdquo; </em></p> <p><strong>In summary: our ability to adapt successfully is based on enabling a wide range of variations and weeding out those that are injurious.</strong> Entrenched interests--self-serving fiefdoms and elites--have zero interest in the risky process of adaptation: their goal is to preserve their status quo power and income. If this requires sacrifices and risk, they push the sacrifices and risk onto others.</p> <p><strong>Successful adaptation requires a willingness to accept the risks of experimentation, innovation, flexibility and failure.</strong> As A.A. observed, decades of easy affluence leached out the pay-offs to accepting risk and sacrifice. Easy affluence nurtures a counter-productive sense of entitlement: affluence should be automatic, risks should be near-zero, and nobody should have to sacrifice or take risks to get their share of affluence.</p> <p><strong>In effect, the skills, moxie and values required for fast, successful adaptation had little selective advantage in the decades of easy affluence.</strong> And as easy affluence gave way to rising wealth and income inequality, access to cheap credit was widely viewed as the easy solution to the end of <em>earned affluence based on savings.</em></p> <p>This reliance on easy credit further leached the system of adaptive traits, and incentivized a mal-adaptive dependence on credit as the &quot;solution&quot; to every structural obsolescence.</p> <p><strong>The decline of selective pressures and the decay of adaptive resilience has parsed the populace into three categories:</strong></p> <p>1. Those who still believe the Status Quo narratives of credential-based meritocracy, a democratic, functioning central state, and a marketplace that can seamlessly solve whatever the central state cannot.</p> <p>Those in this class are finding the gulf between these narratives and reality is widening to the breaking point.</p> <p>2. Those who are losing faith in the Status Quo narrative but are resigned to its eventual messy demise.</p> <p>Those in this class indulge in dystopian visions of the future, a world view that compellingly combines resignation, powerlessness, distraction and entertainment.</p> <p>3. Those who understand the Status Quo is unsustainable and toxic and <strong>who see its demise as enormously positive and a huge opportunity for the planet, communities, families and individuals.</strong></p> <p>This is the group which understands that obsolete systems cannot survive the encounter with emerging realities, and that the only way to adapt successfully is to <em>let a thousand flowers bloom</em> and nurture what works for all participants and eliminate what is mal-adaptive and injurious to the interests of the many.</p> <p><strong>The status quo benefits the few at the expense of the many;</strong> it is exploitive, rapacious, increasingly fragile and morally indefensible. It is optimized for a specific type of cheap-energy/ cheap-credit /growth-must-be-permanent affluence--an era that is fading into history, whether we like it or not.</p> <p>Those who cling to this status quo are clinging to a toxic collection of mal-adaptive values, incentives and traits that will only hasten the collapse of the current unsustainable arrangement.</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="242" height="132" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Adaptation Behavior Biology Competition Ethology Evolutionary biology Natural selection Prevention Psychological resilience Reality Resilience Risk Sexual selection Wed, 23 Aug 2017 21:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 602173 at Russian Ambassador To Sudan Found Dead, Drowned In Own Pool <p>Eight months after the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was shot dead in broad daylight, on Wednesday yet another Russian ambassador has died. According to <a href="">Russian news agency RIA Novosti, </a>the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Sudan, Mirgayas M. Shirinskiy, was found dead in his home in Khartoum Wednesday. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="304" /></a></p> <p>Al Arabiya <a href="">adds that the ambassador was found drowned </a>in the swimming pool at his home. </p> <p>Employees of the embassy discovered Shirinsky at his residence around 6pm local time, the press secretary of the Sudan mission, Sergey Konyashin, <a href="">according to RT. </a>The diplomat, who was 62 years old, appeared to have symptoms consistent with a serious heart seizure, Konyashin said, adding that doctors were immediately called to the scene, but were unable to save his life.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="278" /></a><br /><em>Russian embassy in Khartoum</em></p> <p>According to Sputnik, before taking his post in Sudan, Shirinskiy served at the Russian embassies in Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Rwanda. The diplomat’s body was taken to a morgue in a Khartoum hospital, the spokesman said, adding that procedures are now in place to arrange for its return to Russia.</p> <p>The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed the death: </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"We inform you with regret that Russian Ambassador to Sudan Mirgayas Shirinsky died in Khartoum on August 23," the Russian ministry said. "Immediately after receiving detailed information from employees at the Russian embassy in Khartoum, we will inform you about the circumstances of our colleague's death," the ministry said. </p> </blockquote> <p>The Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs also praised Shirinskiy's "friendly and sincere efforts to develop relations between the two countries and their peoples in various fields."</p> <p>The death of Shirinskiy marks the 9th Russian diplomat who has died in the past year. Here is a list of the more prominent recently deceased Russian diplomats:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Sergei Krivov, 63, </strong>a Russian diplomat at the Russian Consulate in New York was found dead on November 8. Krivov served as duty commander involved with security affairs, according to Russian news reports<strong>&nbsp;</strong></li> <li><strong>Russia's Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov </strong>— assassinated by a police officer at a photo exhibit in Ankara on December 19.</li> <li><strong>On the same day, another diplomat, Peter Polshikov, </strong>was shot dead in his Moscow apartment. The gun was found under the bathroom sink but the circumstances of the death were under investigation. Polshikov served as a senior figure in the Latin American department of the Foreign Ministry.</li> <li><strong>Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, </strong>died in New York in May. Churkin was rushed to the hospital from his office at Russia's UN mission. Initial reports said he suffered a heart attack, and the medical examiner is investigating the death, according to CBS.</li> <li><strong>Russia's Ambassador to India, Alexander Kadakin, died after a "brief illness January 27, </strong>which The Hindu said he had been suffering from for a few weeks.</li> <li><strong>Russia's Consul in Athens, Greece, Andrei Malanin, was found dead in his apartment January 9. </strong>A Greek police official said there was "no evidence of a break-in." But Malanin lived on a heavily guarded street. The cause of death needed further investigation, per an AFP report. Malanin served during a time of easing relations between Greece and Russia when Greece was increasingly critiqued by the EU and NATO.</li> <li><strong>Ex-KGB chief Oleg Erovinkin, who was suspected of helping draft the Trump dossier, was found dead in the back of his car December 26, </strong>according to The Telegraph. Erovinkin also was an aide to former deputy prime minister Igor Sechin, who now heads up state-owned Rosneft.</li> <li><strong>The top official of Russia's space agency, 56-year-old Vladimir Evdokimov, </strong>was found dead in his prison cell (where he was being questioned on charges of embezzlement). Investigators found two stab wounds on Evdokimov's body, but no determination had been made of whether they were self-inflicted.</li> </ol> <p>Speaking on CNN's State of the Union in May during the peak of the Trump Russian witchhunt, Former Director of National Intelligence and Trump's arch-nemesis, James Clapper, discussed the "pattern" of dead Russians:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"Well, this obviously has been a curious pattern... We have had difficulty, though, in actually generating an evidentiary trail that could equate convincingly and compellingly in a court of law a direct connection between certain figures that have been eliminated who apparently ran afoul of Putin." Clapper said it is an “interesting pattern. I will put it that way." </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The wife of one of Putin’s most prominent critics, activist and journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza, said her husband had been poisoned again, after experiencing kidney failure and being put in a medically induced coma in February. She reportedly said the doctors diagnosed him with an “acute poisoning by an unidentified substance."</p> </blockquote> <p><iframe src="" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Perhaps the former head of US intelligence was merely projecting US tactics onto the Russians.</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="288" height="175" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alexander Kadakin Andrei Karlov Assassination of Andrei Karlov Donald Trump–Russia dossier European Union Foreign relations of Russia Government of Russia Greece Greek police India International relations KGB Khartoum Khartoum hospital national intelligence National Intelligence North Atlantic Treaty Organization Russian Consulate in New York Russian embassy Russian embassy in Khartoum Russian Foreign Ministry Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Russia–Turkey relations Russia–United States relations Saudi Arabia Sudan mission Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Turkey U.S. intelligence United Nations Vitaly Churkin Wed, 23 Aug 2017 20:54:54 +0000 Tyler Durden 602209 at CNN Gets Steamrolled By Their Own Charlottesville Panel: "The Media Is Not Being Honest" <p>CNN's Alisyn Camerota got steamrolled by a panel of 6 people brought on to discuss Trump's reaction to the Charlottesville tragedy.&nbsp; You could tell the panel segment wasn't going to play out the way Camerota envisioned it from the very start when she asked who was "troubled" by the President's response to the violence in Charlottesville and precisely no one raised their hand. Meanwhile one panelist gave this response regarding Trump's controversial "blame on both sides" comment:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>“I didn’t see anything wrong with it. I mean he addressed the problem. <strong>Let’s face reality, there are problems on both sides."</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“I think it’s ridiculous to have me choose between Hitler and Stalin which is what I consider both groups are."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"The Antifa group to me is totally a very Stalin-ish kind of group.&nbsp; If you’re willing to set fires and burn places to the ground, that doesn’t seem like a very peaceful group to me.”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Asked to comment on whether there were "very fine people" protesting in Charlottesville, Camerota once again got a surprising response from panelist Daphne Goggins:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"It hasn't been investigated so we don't really know who was out there.&nbsp; <strong>But I'm telling you, I've seen videos of other people who were out there who were not neo-Nazis."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Finally, panelist Robert McCarthy commented on the media's blatant unwillingness to cover the Antifa counter-protests in which people showed up with "helmets, body armor and clubs...ready to do battle."</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"That's the night before the clash happened.&nbsp; The Antifa people didn't show up Friday night, they showed up Saturday.&nbsp; <strong>They came there to do battle.&nbsp; They showed up with helmets, body armor, clubs... They showed up with ballons filled with urine."</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"The media is not covering it.</strong>&nbsp; They're only focused on making neo-Nazis and white supremacists out to be Trump supporters."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"He said there was trouble on both sides.&nbsp; Was there not trouble on both sides?&nbsp; I saw bats on both sides."</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Here is a video of the segment courtesy of the <a href="">Daily Caller</a>:<strong><br /></strong></p> <p><iframe src="//" width="600" height="337" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Why do we suspect that whoever screens the panelists at CNN is about to find himself unemployed?&nbsp; How is CNN supposed to advance the "Trump's base is turning on him" narrative if panels are being filled with people like this?</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="621" height="340" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alisyn Camerota American people of German descent Antifa BATS CNN Donald Trump Politics of the United States Reality Unite the Right rally United States Wed, 23 Aug 2017 20:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 602181 at They're Using Bernie Madoff Math To Hide A Crisis <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Nick Giambruno via,</em></a></p> <p><strong>Politicians are always generous with other people&rsquo;s money&hellip; until it runs out.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><strong><img alt="" src="" /></strong></a></p> <p>Near the peak of the late-&rsquo;90s tech bubble, California&rsquo;s legislature passed the largest pension increase in its history.</p> <p>Today, with as much as <strong>$750 billion in unfunded public pension debt</strong>, California has one of the worst pension situations in the country. But it&rsquo;s far from alone.</p> <p>Illinois has a staggering $250 billion in unfunded pension obligations. State pension plans in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and many other states are taking on water, too.</p> <p>Unfunded public pension liabilities in the US have surpassed <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">$5 trillion</span></strong>.</p> <h3><u><strong>Taxpayers Are Stuck With the Bill</strong></u></h3> <p>There used to be a simple formula for a secure retirement. American workers would work for a big company for decades. Then, at a certain age, they were eligible for a monthly pension check&hellip; for life.</p> <p>Once common, pensions have virtually disappeared from the private sector. Today, less than 4% of companies offer them. It&rsquo;s another vector in the devalued standard of living of the average American.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Essentially, only government employees get pensions now.</span></strong></p> <p>The government isn&rsquo;t subject to the same constraints as the private sector. So it has no problem promising benefits it can&rsquo;t afford to pay.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s because government revenue doesn&rsquo;t come from the voluntary exchange of goods or services. It comes from taxes, which it extracts via coercion.</p> <p>Politicians only care about the next election. So there&rsquo;s no way to hold them accountable in the long term.</p> <p>They automatically do the most expedient thing in the short term, like promising extravagant pension benefits. In the long term, their successors have to deal with the consequences.</p> <p>Naturally, not one of the politicians who voted for California&rsquo;s record pension increase is still in office.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s bad enough that politicians give themselves and other state employees extravagant retirement benefits and stick the taxpayers with the bill.</p> <p><strong>But the story gets worse&hellip;</strong></p> <p>Government pension plans use all sorts of accounting wizardry that would land someone in the private sector in prison.</p> <h3><u><strong>Bernie Madoff Math</strong></u></h3> <p>The single most important number for a pension plan is its <strong>assumed rate of return</strong>. This is the rate the plan&rsquo;s investments are expected to make.</p> <p>As in other areas of life, the government takes special privileges here. It uses accounting practices that the private sector can&rsquo;t&mdash;not legally, anyway.</p> <p>Essentially, government pension plans choose whatever rate of return they&rsquo;d like.</p> <p>Lawrence McQuillan&mdash;a senior fellow at the Independent Institute&mdash;says that government pension plans &ldquo;work on the assumption that they&rsquo;re going to generate returns 25% higher than Warren Buffett every single year into perpetuity.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">These assumptions are totally disconnected from reality.</span></strong></p> <p>Government pension plans overestimate investment returns using unrealistically high rates of return. They routinely pull numbers out of thin air.</p> <p>The results they come up with are insane.</p> <p>In effect, this artificially shrinks a pension fund&rsquo;s liabilities, making it look more solvent than it really is.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">In other words, the government is using Bernie Madoff math.</span></strong></p> <p>This lets politicians contribute less money than the fund needs to be truly solvent. That, in turn, frees up money to bribe constituents for votes, or do whatever else the politicians want.</p> <p>On average, government pension plans assume about a 7&ndash;8% rate of return (even after years of underperformance).</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>False Assumptions</strong></em></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>A recent study found that the average 2016 return for a public pension was an awful 0.6%, compared to an average assumed return of 7.6%.</strong></em>At those assumed rates, a dollar invested today would double in around nine years. This rosy assumption allows a pension plan to say, for example, that $25,000 in the fund today will cover a $50,000 obligation in 2026.</span></p> </blockquote> <p>California&rsquo;s public employee pension plan is the largest pension plan in the US. It recently voted to reduce its assumed rate of return from 7.5 to 7% over three years.</p> <p><strong>The move&mdash;which doesn&rsquo;t go nearly far enough&mdash;generated enormous political controversy.</strong></p> <p>Lowering the rate of return to a more realistic number, if even slightly, means politicians would need to contribute more to a pension fund. That means drastic spending cuts or higher taxes elsewhere.</p> <p>This is why, in most cases, it&rsquo;s politically impossible for a government pension plan to stick with anything close to realistic assumptions.</p> <h3><u><strong>The Biggest Financial Bubble in World History&hellip; and Pensions Are Still Broke</strong></u></h3> <p>In the &rsquo;50s and &rsquo;60s, government pension funds were, on average, over 90% invested in bonds and cash.</p> <p>Most importantly, they were structured so that assets matched future liabilities. It was conservative, and it made sense.</p> <p><strong>That&rsquo;s not how public pensions look today.</strong></p> <p>Matching liabilities with safe fixed income investments has become impractical, thanks to the Federal Reserve and the historic bubble it&rsquo;s created in the bond market.</p> <p>The economy has been on life support since the 2008 financial crisis. The Fed has pumped it up with unprecedented amounts of &ldquo;stimulus.&rdquo; This has created enormous distortions and misallocations of capital, especially in the bond market.</p> <p>Think of the trillions of dollars in money printing programs&mdash;euphemistically called quantitative easing (QE) 1, 2, and 3. In short, the Fed created trillions of dollars out of thin air and used them to buy up bonds, creating an epic bubble.</p> <p><strong>Meanwhile, with zero and even negative interest rates in many countries, rates are the lowest they&rsquo;ve been in 5,000 years of recorded human history.</strong></p> <p>What&rsquo;s happening in the bond market could not happen in a free market. It&rsquo;s only possible in the current &ldquo;Alice in Wonderland&rdquo; economy created by central bankers.</p> <p>This is not hyperbole. We&rsquo;re really in uncharted territory. (Interest rates were never lower than 6% in ancient Greece and ranged from 4 to over 12% in ancient Rome.)</p> <p><strong>Allegedly, the Fed has done all of this to save the economy.</strong></p> <p>In truth, it&rsquo;s warped the economy and turned the bond market into the largest financial bubble in human history.</p> <p>This, of course, affects pensions.</p> <p>First, today&rsquo;s artificially low interest rates make it very difficult to match future liabilities with income from bonds at a reasonable cost. So pensions have had to turn to riskier assets like stocks, real estate, and alternative investments.</p> <p>With interest rates near all-time lows, bond prices are at an all-time high. That benefits pension plans because it pumps up asset values and makes the funds look more solvent.</p> <p>But, even with the bond market in a historic bubble&hellip;</p> <p>Even with the stock market at all-time highs and more overvalued than almost ever&hellip;</p> <p><u><em><strong>And even with the Bernie Madoff math&hellip;</strong></em></u></p> <p><u><em><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Public pensions are still insolvent.</span></strong></em></u></p> <p>Despite the eye-watering returns in the bond and stock markets over the past 10 years, pension liabilities have still gone up.</p> <p>According to Moody&rsquo;s:</p> <p style="margin-left: .5in;">The optimistic &quot;best case&quot; of cumulative 25% investment return would reduce net pension liabilities by just 1% through 2019 year-end because of past bad investment returns and weak contributions. Meanwhile, the &quot;base case&quot; scenario of 19% returns would see net pension liabilities rise by 15%.</p> <h3><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">This is an unsolvable problem.</span></strong></h3> <p>Many public pensions are hopelessly insolvent. It will all be apparent in the next market downturn, which probably isn&rsquo;t far off.</p> <p><strong>I think we&rsquo;re headed into an enormous crisis.</strong></p> <p>Unfortunately, most people have no idea how to prepare.</p> <p><strong>I think everyone should own some physical gold. Gold is the ultimate form of wealth insurance.</strong> It&rsquo;s preserved wealth through every kind of crisis imaginable. It will preserve wealth during the next crisis, too.</p> <p><strong>But if you want to be truly &ldquo;crisis-proof,&rdquo; there&#39;s more to do&hellip;</strong></p> <p><em>How will you protect yourself when this crisis explodes? New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and I just released a PDF guide that will show you exactly how. <a href="" target="_blank">Click here to download it now</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="572" height="378" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bond Business California’s Legislature Economy Federal Reserve Finance Financial markets fixed Greece Illinois Independent Institute Interest rate Labor Monetary policy Money New York Times pdf Pensions Pensions crisis Personal finance Politics Quantitative Easing Quantitative easing Real estate Reality Retirement Social Issues Social law US Federal Reserve Warren Buffett Wed, 23 Aug 2017 20:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 602198 at Shutdown Shivers Sink Stocks But Bonds, Bullion, & Black Gold Bounce <p>US stock market investors as the debt ceiling deadline looms...<strong><em> (if you just looked up, you&#39;d see it coming)</em></strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><u><strong>Surveying the post-Trump damage...</strong></u></p> <p>Trump&#39;s government shutdown guffawing overnight sparked more debt ceiling anxiety...</p> <p><a href=""><img height="389" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And the inflection is getting worse...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 297px;" /></a></p> <p>As Treasury cash dwindles...</p> <p><a href=""><strong><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 302px;" /></strong></a></p> <p>Trump also trounced the Mexican Peso on border wall/NAFTA talk (but MXN was bid as soon as the US equity market opened and then went dead once Europe closed)...</p> <p><a href=""><img height="328" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>Bonds and golds rallied today as stocks and the dollar unwound yesterday&#39;s exuberant tax-hype... (NOTE: <strong><em>Dollar is below yesterday&#39;s lows, Gold above yesterday&#39;s highs, and TSY yields below yesterday&#39;s lows... while stocks were only modestly lower</em></strong>)</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Stocks did not retrace all of yesterday&#39;s gains...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Trannies were worst...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 405px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The S&amp;P 500 failed to hold last night&#39;s close above the 50-day moving-average...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 377px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Small Caps continue to underperform, flashing big red warnings signals that we have seen before...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 623px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Implied Vols picked up across all the major equity indices...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 317px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Treasury yields tumbled today, erasing all of yesterday&#39;s losses...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 316px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With 30Y yields back below 2.75% - the lowest since Draghi&#39;s hawkish comments in June...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 310px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Dollar Index round-tripped all of yesterday&#39;s gains...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 306px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>USDJPY broke back below 109.00...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Gold gained on the day as the dollar fell after shutdown chatter erased the tax hope losses...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 328px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And WTI Crude bounced after inventory draws...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 327px;" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="600" height="77" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bond Business Crude Debt Ceiling Investment S&P 500 Stock market index Trump's government United States debt ceiling Wed, 23 Aug 2017 20:03:50 +0000 Tyler Durden 602203 at Uber Burned $600 Million In Q2: Key Results <p>With Uber once again in the media spotlight, following <a href="">yesterday's WSJ report </a>that several mutual funds have - for the first time ever - cut their valuation of the world's most valuable private company by up to 15%, and today's <a href="">lengthy Reuters expose questioning </a>just what the company's true value is, moments ago <a href="">Uber's Q2 financials were leaked courtesy of Axios</a>, which reports the following summary: gross bookings up 17% in Q2, number of trips taken up 150% in the past year while the company's adjusted loss fell modestly while EBITDA improved fractionally.</p> <p>Still, despite a modest improvement in operations, the company still burned $600 million in Q2, reducing its cash from $7.2Bn to $6.6Bn.</p> <p><em>Some more details, <a href="">via Axios</a>:</em></p> <ul> <li><strong>Gross bookings </strong>rose 17% in the second quarter to $8.7 billion (and doubled from a year earlier).<br /><strong>&nbsp;</strong></li> <li><strong>Adjusted net revenue </strong>was $1.75 billion in Q2 vs $1.5 billion in Q1 and around $800 million in Q2 2016.<br /><strong>&nbsp;</strong></li> <li><strong>Adjusted net loss </strong>fell almost 9% quarter-over-quarter to $645 million and over 14% year-over-year.</li> <li><strong>Q2 EBITDA loss was $534 million, down from $598 million in Q1.</strong> Uber's global ride-share business was margin positive last quarter, which is a flip from Q1.</li> <li><strong>Global trips increased 150% year-over-year, </strong>including 90% growth in developed markets and over 250% growth in developing markets. This excludes China, which Uber exited last summer in exchange for an equity stake in Didi Chuxing. It includes Russia, where Uber's recently-announced partnership with Yandex has yet to be approved by local regulators.</li> <li><strong>Revenue note: </strong>Uber is no longer reporting <em>adjusted net revenue </em>to its investors, due to new guidance from the SEC.</li> <li><strong>Cash: </strong>$6.6 billion at quarter's end, down from around $7.2 billion at the end of Q1.</li> <li><strong>Tips: </strong>Uber drivers have earned around $50 million in tips between when the program was rolled out in select markets on June 20 and the beginning of this week. For context, Lyft reported a similar $50 million figure for a 2.5 month period ending in the middle of this past June, but that was for a longer time period and for all of its markets (Lyft originally launched tipping nearly five years ago, generating over $250 million to date).</li> </ul> <p>All in all, a modest improvement but not nearly enough to leave a major dent in the company's cash burning ways. Still, it is an improvement: putting Uber's roughly $600MM in quarterly cash burn in context, it is roughly half that of Tesla, <a href="">which as reported earlier last month</a>, burned through a record $1.16 billion in the second quarter.</p> <p><strong></strong> </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="323" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="2560" height="1536" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business Business China Didi Chuxing Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization Economy Lyft NET Reuters Transport Transportation network companies U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Uber Wed, 23 Aug 2017 20:02:22 +0000 Tyler Durden 602204 at Former Art Advisor Turned Crypto Guru Seeks to Raise $100 Million Fund to Buy ICOs <p><em>Content originally published at <a href=""></a></em></p> <p>For those of you unfamiliar with what an ICO is, I recommend you read one <a href="">my previous missives</a> on the subject.</p> <p>In short, they are scams built on top of scams that are scams. </p> <p>However, just like in previous bubbles and scams, at least before the bubble popped, there are winners. Back in the dot com bubble, I got rich, until I lost most of my money in the 2001 meltdown.</p> <p>Jehan Chu, a former art advisor in posh Hong Kong, made a fortune investing in Bitcoins -- starting off in 2013. He made so much money, he quit his job and is now seeking to raise $100 million to invest in ICOs.</p> <p>If you're worried about the speculative nature of investing in an 'asset' that does not have voting rights, ownership in the entity, regulated by anyone outside Github and Reddit forums, don't worry. Mr. Chu said he 'isn't interested in speculation' and will only buy coins with strong funds and potential.</p> <p>How nice.</p> <p>To br clear, <a href="">this isn't speculation</a>.</p> <p>Source: BBG</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>“When we make a call for what we think is a good investment, it’s not because we think it’s a speculative play,” Chu said in an interview in Hong Kong. “It’s because we’re looking at the fundamentals based on years of experience.”</p></blockquote> <p>His pitch.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"We have a different level of access to tokens than the average person off the street,” Chu said. “We have relationships and we add value to these teams and these businesses and companies that we’re committed to longer term.”</p></blockquote> <p>Presently, the cryptocurrency market is valued at $152 billion, a new record. Most of the gains are found in Ethereum backed ICOs -- as evidenced by Bitcoin's 45% dominance in the entire cap.</p> Alternative currencies Bitcoin Chu Cryptocurrencies Economic bubble Economy Hong Kong Meltdown Speculative Wed, 23 Aug 2017 19:50:13 +0000 The_Real_Fly 602202 at McConnell Responds To NYT "Trump Feud" Article: "We Are Working To Prevent A U.S. Default" <p>In addition to Trump's bombastic Phoenix rally promise that he would shut the government, if needed, to build his "Great Wall", among the catalysts for today's risk off sentiment in the market was <a href="">a bombshell NYT report according </a>to which the relationship between Trump and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell had "disintegrated", and the feud between the two esclated to a point where after a recent screaming fest on the phone, the two Republican leaders had not spoken in weeks, and that McConnell voiced doubts that "<strong>Trump can save the presidency", </strong>suggesting the animosity between the president and the most important person in Congress had never been worse. </p> <p>Moments ago, McConnell responded to the NYT article, and without explicitly denying any of its findings, said that he continues to work with Trump on a "share agenda together and anyone who suggests otherwise is clearly not part of the conversation", and that his and Trump's teams remain in "regular contact" to prevent a US debt default.&nbsp; </p> <ul> <li>MCCONNELL SAYS HE AND TRUMP, THEIR TEAMS, `IN REGULAR CONTACT'</li> <li>MCCONNELL: COMMITTED TO ADVANCING `SHARED' AGENDA WITH TRUMP</li> <li>MCCONNELL SAYS HE, TRUMP WORKING TO PREVENT U.S. DEBT DEFAULT</li> </ul> <p>Judging by the lack of reaction in the market, all McConnell managed to do with his comment is confirm the NYT's underlying story that there is now a wall of ice between the two political leaders, and that the probability of Trump passing any tax reform is virtually nonexistent. </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="840" height="526" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent Business Climate change skepticism and denial Congress default Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign Mitch McConnell Politics Politics of the United States Senate The Apprentice Trump: The Art of the Deal United States WWE Hall of Fame Wed, 23 Aug 2017 19:45:22 +0000 Tyler Durden 602201 at Tesla Bonds Are Now Riskier Than Ukraine's <p>Considering both entities are &#39;<em>backed</em>&#39; one way or another by the US Government, it is perhaps not a total surprise that the risk of Ukraine government bonds and the risk of Tesla bonds are &#39;similar&#39;...</p> <p>But the last few days have seen the <strong>world&#39;s 4th largest automaker (by market cap) trade at a more risky level that the war-torn, coup-prone, neo-nazi-run nation of Ukraine</strong>.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="313" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>However, this is just further evidence of the chaotic reach for yield occurring globally in the junkiest of sovereign debt.</p> <p><a href=""><em>As Bloomberg notes</em></a>, <strong>as recently as 1999, investors seeking a 6 percent yield on a government bond could have bought 10-year U.S. Treasuries. These days they can&rsquo;t even get that from Mongolia</strong>.</p> <p><strong>Central-bank bond buying has compressed yields in developed markets to unprecedented levels,</strong> pushing investors further down the risk spectrum in a hunt for higher returns.<strong> </strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 328px;" /></a></p> <p>Yields on Mongolian dollar bonds maturing in 2021 fell below 6 percent for the first time on record late last month after dropping 3.5 percentage points this year.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 286px;" /></a></p> <p>Yields on 2019-maturity Ukrainian debt and seven-year Belarussian bonds issued in June have also moved below 6 percent in the past two months.<em><strong> All three former Communist nations have a Bloomberg Composite rating of CCC+, or seven levels below investment grade.</strong></em></p> <p>We have four simple words for all of the above...<strong><em> &quot;This Can&#39;t End Well&quot;</em></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="962" height="502" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bond Bond Business Corporate bond Debt Economy Finance Financial markets Fiscal policy Government bond Government bonds Government debt Investment Grade Money Municipal bond Sovereign Debt Ukraine Ukraine government United States Treasury security US government Yield Wed, 23 Aug 2017 19:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 602194 at Former CIA Agent Is Raising Cash To Buy Twitter And Delete Trump's Account <p>Unveiling a novel, if oddly circuitous attempt to shut up President Donald Trump on his favorite social network, former undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson has launched a crowdfunding campaign in hopes of raising enough money to buy Twitter so she can then ban Trump from using it.</p> <p>The blonde ex-spook launched the fundraiser last week, tweeting: “If @Twitter executives won’t shut down Trump’s violence and hate, then it’s up to us. #BuyTwitter #BanTrump.” </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">If <a href="">@Twitter</a> executives won’t shut down Trump’s violence and hate, then it's up to us. <a href="">#BuyTwitter</a> <a href="">#BanTrump</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Valerie Plame Wilson (@ValeriePlame) <a href="">August 18, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>The GoFundMe page for the fundraiser says Trump’s tweets “<a href="">damage the country and put people in harm’s way</a>.”</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="219" /></a></p> <p>From <a href="">the campaign</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Donald Trump has done a lot of horrible things on Twitter. From emboldening white supremacists to promoting violence against journalists, his tweets damage the country and put people in harm's way. But threatening actual nuclear war with North Korea takes it to a dangerous new level.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It’s time to shut him down. The bad news is Twitter has ignored growing calls to enforce their own community standards and delete Trump's account. The good news is we can make that decision for them. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Twitter is a publicly traded company. Shares = power. This GoFundMe will fund the purchase of a controlling interest in Twitter. At the current market rate that would require over a billion dollars — but that's a small price to pay to take away Trump's most powerful megaphone and prevent a horrific nuclear war.</p> </blockquote> <p>And the punchline: "<strong>Let's #BuyTwitter and delete Trump's account before he starts a nuclear war with it. The whole world will thank us when we do!"</strong></p> <p>Plame's pitch is simple: <strong>raise enough cash to buy a controlling interest of Twitter stock. </strong>If, on the "odd chance" Plame is unable to raise enough to purchase a majority of shares, she said she will explore options to buy “a significant stake” and champion the proposal at Twitter’s annual shareholder meeting. </p> <p>Considering that her campaign's stated goal is only $1 billion, a (very) minority stake is the best the former CIA agent can hope for. As of Wednesday, a majority stake would cost just over $6 billion (TWTR's market cap is $12.33 billion). Still, a billion dollars of TWTR shares would make her Twitter’s largest shareholder (or rather bagholder) and give her a dominant "activist" position to exert influence on the company. Of course, whether kicking Trump off Twitter is worth the hassle is a different question, especially since anyone who wishes <strong>not to follow Trump </strong>can do so for free. </p> <p>Another problem is that almost a week into the campaign, it has raised just under $8,000, meaning it is about $999,992,000 shy of its lofty goal. </p> <p>The White House responded to the campaign, and in a <a href=";utm_source=Twitter&amp;utm_medium=AP">statement to the AP, </a>press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the low total shows that the American people like the president’s use of Twitter. "Her ridiculous attempt to shut down his first amendment is the only clear violation and expression of hate and intolerance in this equation," the White House read.</p> <p>As a reminder, Plame’s identity as a CIA operative was leaked by an official in former President George W. Bush’s administration in 2003 in an effort to discredit her husband, Joe Wilson, a former diplomat who criticized Bush’s decision to invade Iraq. She left the agency in 2005. </p> <p>Some cynics have dared to speculate that Plame's campaign is just a (not so) veiled attempt to regain social and media prominence. It is unclear if their Twitter accounts will also be banned by the up and coming CEO. It's also unclear what happens to the raised cash once the campaign fails to reach its target, although we are confident <a href="">Jill Stein has some ideas</a>...</p> <p><strong><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="346" /></a><br /></strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1536" height="914" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent Central Intelligence Agency Climate change skepticism and denial Computing Donald Trump Donald Trump Economy of the United States First Amendment George W. Bush’s administration GoFundMe Iraq Microblogging North Korea Real-time web Social media Software Text messaging The Apprentice Twitter Twitter Twitter Valerie Plame White House White House WWE Hall of Fame Wed, 23 Aug 2017 19:43:31 +0000 Tyler Durden 602191 at