en Gov. Cuomo Wants To Remove Names Of Confederate Generals From New York Streets <p>As a tidal wave of cultural revisionism sweeps America in the aftermath of this weekend's tragic Charlottesville clashes, prompting governors to tear down Confederate statues across the country, the governor of New York has a different idea and if Gov. Andrew Cuomo gets his way, the names of the two Confederate generals - Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. Stonewall Jackson - will be removed from streets on an Army base in New York City, according to the <a href="">NY Daily News</a>. </p> <p>General Lee Avenue is a main thoroughfare stretching through the center of Fort Hamilton, an Army installation in Brooklyn. Stonewall Jackson Drive is located in the southwestern corner of the base. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="316" /></a></p> <p>A recent attempt by local leaders to have the names removed from the Fort Hamilton streets was denied by the Army on August 7. The Army said renaming the streets would be "controversial and divisive." However, on Wednesday Cuomo decided that the army's idea of divisiveness is less important than his own, and called on the Army to reconsider its recent decision not to rename two streets in Brooklyn honoring Civil War Confederate generals. “<strong>Renaming these streets will send a clear message that in New York, we stand against intolerance and racism, whether it be insidious and hidden or obvious and intentional</strong>,” Cuomo wrote in a letter sent to acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy.</p> <p>"Given the events of this week, including the violence and terrorism perpetrated by white supremacists in Charlottesville and the resulting emboldening of the voices of Nazis and white supremacists, I now strongly urge the U.S. Army to reconsider its decision and I call on them to rename these streets," Cuomo said. </p> <p>“Symbols of slavery and racism have no place in New York,” said Cuomo, who has long been discussed as a possible 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. The governor wrote that New York condemns language and violence of white supremacy “in no uncertain terms.”&nbsp; “Unlike President Trump, we stand together to say that there are not many sides to hatred and bigotry; they do not belong in our communities and must be denounced for what they are."</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="319" /></a></p> <p>In rejecting the initial request to rename the two streets, Army Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff Diane Randon wrote to Brooklyn Rep. Yvette Clarke that the naming of the streets after Confederate generals was originally done in “the spirit of reconciliation” and to honor soldiers who were “an inextricable part of our military history.”</p> <p>“After over a century, any effort to rename memorializations on Fort Hamilton would be controversial and divisive,” Randon wrote.</p> <p>Cuomo's request comes as other cities and states consider what should be done with monuments honoring Confederate generals and pro-slavery advocates. </p> <p>In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan wants a statue of former Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney removed from the State House grounds. Taney wrote the decision in the Dred Scott case, which prevented black people from becoming U.S. citizens. The city of Baltimore removed four Confederate statues overnight Tuesday. Earlier in the day, a <a href="">Chicago pastor called for the names of "slave owner</a>" presidents such as George Washington and Andrew Jackson, to be removed from Chicago parks. </p> <p>On Wednesday, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. called for the removal of Jackson and Lee busts from the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, which is on the Bronx Community College campus.&nbsp; </p> <p>Cuomo has been outspoken about Charlottesville since the weekend. He launched a petition urging President Donald Trump to condemn white supremacists. He also proposed changes to the state's hate crimes law that would increase penalties for riots that target people based on race, gender, religion or other protected classes.</p> <p> "The events of Charlottesville and the tactics of white supremacists are a poison in our national discourage, and every effort must be made to combat them," Cuomo wrote in his letter to McCarthy.</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="1200" height="798" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American Civil War Andrew Cuomo army Bronx Community College Carter family of Virginia Donald Trump Fitzhugh family of Virginia Military personnel New York City Politics Randolph family of Virginia Robert E. Lee Social Issues State House Stateless people Stonewall Jackson Supreme Court United States Army Thu, 17 Aug 2017 01:52:54 +0000 Tyler Durden 601823 at Pastor Wants Names Of "Slave Owner" Presidents Removed From Chicago Parks <p>Imagine being <strong>triggered </strong>by George Washington.</p> <p>Bishop James Dukes, a pastor at Liberation Christian Center located on Chicago&rsquo;s south side, is demanding that the city of Chicago re-dedicate two parks in the area that are named after former presidents George Washington and Andrew Jackson. His reasons? Dukes says that monuments honoring men who owned slaves have no place in the black community, <strong>even if those men once led the free world.</strong></p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" id="cbsembed" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>Dukes is also demanding that the city remove a bronze statue of Washington on horseback that stands at the corner of 51st and King Drive, at the northwest entrance to Washington Park, according to <a href="">CBS Chicago.</a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;&rsquo;When I see that, I see a person who fought for the liberties, and I see people that fought for the justice and freedom of white America, because at that moment, we were still chattel slavery, and was three-fifths of humans,&rsquo; </strong>he said. <strong>&lsquo;Some people out here ask me, say &lsquo;Well, you know, he taught his slaves to read.&rsquo; That&rsquo;s almost sad; the equivalent of someone who kidnaps you, that you gave them something to eat.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Dukes said, even though Washington was the nation&rsquo;s first president and led the American army in the Revolutionary War, he&rsquo;s no hero to the black community.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&lsquo;There&rsquo;s no way plausible that we would even think that they would erect a Malcolm X statue in Mount Greenwood, Lincoln Park, or any of that. Not that say Malcolm X was a bad guy; they just would not go for it,&rsquo;</strong> he said. &lsquo;Native Americans would not even think about putting up a Custer statue, because of the atrocities that he plagued upon Native Americans. And for them to say to us &lsquo;just accept it&rsquo; is actually insulting.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>To be sure, Dukes has proposed a solution that would allow the parks to keep at least part of their names. The city could re-dedicate Washington Park to former Mayor Harold Washington, and Jackson Park could be renamed after Michael Jackson (or maybe even one of his sisters). <strong>Dukes also emphasized that he&rsquo;s not trying to &ldquo;erase&rdquo; history, but rather that black people should have a say over who is and isn&rsquo;t honored on land in their community.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;I think we should be able to identify and decide who we declare heroes in or communities, because we have to tell the stories to our children of who these persons are,&rdquo; he said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Dukes said parks, statues, or other monuments honoring Presidents Washington and Jackson might be appropriate elsewhere, but not in black neighborhoods.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;In an African-American community, it&rsquo;s a slap in the face and it&rsquo;s a disgrace for them to honor someone who was a slave owner.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>He said he&#39;s sent letters to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Park District asking them to change the names of Washington and Jackson parks. He shared the letter on Facebook.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;I am feeling ambivalent that I would have to walk my child, attend a parade or enjoy a game of softball in a park that commemorates the memory of a slave owner,&rdquo; </strong>Dukes wrote in his Facebook post, according to CBS&rsquo;s Chicago affiliate.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Therefore, I call on the immediate removal of President George Washington and President Andrew Jackson names from the parks located on the southeast side of Chicago. <strong>They should not have the distinct honor of being held as heroes when they actively participated in the slave trade.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="300" scrolling="no" src=";width=500" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" width="500"></iframe></p> <p>Dukes&rsquo; call to remove Washington&rsquo;s statue follows the toppling of a monument commemorating the Confederacy during an<a href=""> &ldquo;emergency protest&rdquo;</a> held over the weekend. <strong>Antifa leader Takiya Thompson was hit with several charges, including at least one felony, after she led a crowd of angry protesters to topple a statue of a Confederate soldier located outside the historic Durham, N.C. courthouse.</strong> The 15-feet tall monument was erected in 1924 and engraved at the base with the words, &ldquo;In memory of &lsquo;the boys who wore the gray.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p>Takiya Thompson, who is part of the far-left Workers World Party, described her actions as tearing down &quot;vestiges of white supremacy.&quot;</p> <p><strong>Is this the beginning of a widespread campaign to remove all statues and public memorials that are in some way tainted by a racist or violent past?</strong> If so, Americans should go visit their favorite public works of art now, before the repressive left succeeds in either sanitizing them, or having them removed altogether.<br />&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="859" height="490" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American army Americas Duke far-left Workers World Party George Washington Jackson Park Malcolm X Michael Jackson Michael Jackson Military personnel Parks in Chicago Rahm Emanuel Smallpox survivors South Side, Chicago United States World's Columbian Exposition Thu, 17 Aug 2017 01:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 601796 at "The Maduro Diet" - Venezuelans Suffer Drastic Weight Loss As Hunger Crisis Strikes <p><strong>Shortages are becoming ever more severe in Venezuela.</strong><a href=""> As Deutsche Welle reports, according to t</a>he World Health Organization, hospitals lack 95% of necessary medicines. Many people are undernourished and they receive no help from the government.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&quot;An estimated <a href=""><strong>75% of Venezuelans lost at least 10 kilos last year</strong></a> because there is not enough food to go around... <strong>people here call it &#39;The Maduro Diet&#39;</strong>...</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&quot;When we say <strong>people are eating from the garbage, we are not joing, it&#39;s our reality</strong>... people don&#39;t have enough to eat.&quot;</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Furthermore, a lack of food and basic services is also creating an education crisis with<strong> more than 1 million children no longer attending school due to a lack of food, running water and/or electricity.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>About 30 percent of students who now stay home do not attend school because of water problems at home or on campus, 22 percent do not attend because of electricity blackouts and 15 percent do not attend due to school strikes, the survey found.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>About 10 percent said a lack of food at home or in school was the reason for their absence.</strong> The survey said those in that category are considered among the poorest who previously never skipped school because they did not have food at home.</p> </blockquote> <p>Of course, the failure of Venezuela&#39;s socialist utopia likely means that civil war is all but inevitable at some point in the future absent a quick doubling of crude prices...</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="554" height="273" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> 2014–17 Venezuelan protests Americas Crude Economic policy of the Nicolás Maduro administration Economy of Venezuela Education Extreme poverty Food security Humanitarian aid Malnutrition Poverty Reality Shortages in Venezuela Structure Venezuela World World Health Organization Thu, 17 Aug 2017 01:05:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 601811 at Bannon Breaks Silence: Slams "Far-Right Clowns", Vows "Economic War With China" <p>After <a href="">weeks of speculation about his future</a>, Trump White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has broken free of <a href="">his self-imposed exile</a>, unloading a torrent of Scaramucci-esque comments to none other than <a href="">Robert Kuttner - the editor of The American Prospect</a>, a progressive publication (the cover lines on whose first two issues after Trump&rsquo;s election were &ldquo;Resisting Trump&rdquo; and &ldquo;Containing Trump.&quot;</p> <p><a href="">Kuttner </a>sets the surprising scene...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Trump&rsquo;s embattled strategist phones me, unbidden, to opine on China, Korea, and his enemies in the administration...</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Needless to say, I was a little stunned </strong>to get an email from Bannon&rsquo;s assistant midday Tuesday, just as all hell was breaking loose once again about Charlottesville, saying that Bannon wished to meet with me.</p> </blockquote> <p>But unload Bannon did:</p> <p>He began with <strong><u>China</u></strong>...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re at economic war with China,&rdquo; </strong>he added. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s in all their literature. They&rsquo;re not shy about saying what they&rsquo;re doing. <strong>One of us is going to be a hegemon in 25 or 30 years and it&rsquo;s gonna be them if we go down this path.</strong>&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Bannon said he might consider a deal in which China got North Korea to freeze its nuclear buildup with verifiable inspections and the United States removed its troops from the peninsula, but such a deal seemed remote. Given that China is not likely to do much more on North Korea, and that the logic of mutually assured destruction was its own source of restraint, Bannon saw no reason not to proceed with tough trade sanctions against China.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;To me,&rdquo; Bannon said,<em><strong> &ldquo;the economic war with China is everything. And we have to be maniacally focused on that. If we continue to lose it, we&#39;re five years away, I think, ten years at the most, of hitting an inflection point from which we&#39;ll never be able to recover.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>Contrary to Trump&rsquo;s threat of fire and fury, Bannon said of <u><strong>Korea</strong></u>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&quot;On Korea, [China&#39;s] just tapping us along.<strong> It&rsquo;s just a sideshow.&quot;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s no military solution [to North Korea&rsquo;s nuclear threats], forget it.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don&rsquo;t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don&rsquo;t know what you&rsquo;re talking about, there&rsquo;s no military solution here, they got us.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Bannon went on to describe his battle inside the administration to take a harder line on China trade, and not to fall into a trap of wishful thinking in which complaints against China&rsquo;s trade practices now had to take a backseat to the hope that China, as honest broker, would help restrain Kim.</p> </blockquote> <p><u><strong>Bannon&rsquo;s plan of attack includes</strong></u>: a complaint under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act against Chinese coercion of technology transfers from American corporations doing business there, and follow-up complaints against steel and aluminum dumping.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re going to run the tables on these guys. We&rsquo;ve come to the conclusion that they&rsquo;re in an economic war and they&rsquo;re crushing us.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>With regard his <strong><u>internal adversaries</u></strong>, at the departments of State and Defense, who think the United States can enlist Beijing&rsquo;s aid on the North Korean standoff, and at Treasury and the National Economic Council who don&rsquo;t want to mess with the trading system, Bannon was ever harsher...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;Oh, they&rsquo;re wetting themselves,&rdquo;</strong> he said, explaining that the Section 301 complaint, which was put on hold when the war of threats with North Korea broke out, was shelved only temporarily, and will be revived in three weeks. As for other cabinet departments, Bannon has big plans to marginalize their influence.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s a fight I fight every day here,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re still fighting. There&rsquo;s Treasury and [National Economic Council chair] Gary Cohn and Goldman Sachs lobbying.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We gotta do this. The president&rsquo;s default position is to do it, but <strong>the apparatus is going crazy.</strong> Don&rsquo;t get me wrong. It&rsquo;s like, every day.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p><u><strong>Bannon dismissed the far-right as irrelevant:</strong></u></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;Ethno-nationalism&mdash;it&#39;s losers. It&#39;s a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;These guys are a collection of clowns,&rdquo;</strong> he added.</p> </blockquote> <p>And finally, Bannon scoffed at The <u><strong>Democrats</strong></u>...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;...<strong>the longer they talk about identity politics, I got &rsquo;em.</strong> I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, <strong>we can crush the Democrats.</strong>&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><em>Read more here...</em></a></p> <p>Bannon going down with a fight or a massive effort to distract from the carnage of the last few days? You decide.</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="548" height="308" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> China default goldman sachs Goldman Sachs KIM Nationalism None North Korea Politics White House White House Chief Strategist Thu, 17 Aug 2017 00:40:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 601820 at FBI 'Reopens' FOIA Case On Lynch-Clinton Tarmac Meeting After Getting Caught In Lie <p>Last October Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) received the following letter from the FBI regarding his FOIA request for any documents related to the now-infamous Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting in June 2016.&nbsp; The letter quite simply stated there were<strong> "no records responsive to your request."</strong></p> <p><a href=" - ACLJ 1_1.JPG"><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 363px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, since the DOJ has subsequently provided numerous documents which include email traffic with various FBI officials (see: <a href="">FOIA Dump Reveals Collusion Between Lynch, FBI And Media To Bury Bill Clinton Meeting</a>), <strong>we now know that the FBI's original response was either (i) just a simple reflection of their complete incompetence (best case) or (ii) an outright lie (worst case).</strong></p> <p>Alas, it seems as though the FBI has finally admitted in a new <a href="">letter </a>sent to Sekulow that maybe, just maybe, there are <strong>"records potentially responsive to your request" and, as such, they've 'reopened' the case to search for those records.&nbsp; </strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"...your request has been reopened under the FOIPA number listed above as <strong>the FBI has determined records potentially responsive to your request may exist.&nbsp;</strong> We are currently in the process of searching for any responsive material."</p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="FBI Letter" width="600" height="768" /></a></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, and for obvious reasons, the FBI's continued refusal to acknowledge basic facts about a FOIA case that have been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt by DOJ records prompted a <a href="">scathing retort from Sekulow</a> who posted the following to the <a href="">ACLJ website</a> earlier:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>After being caught hiding the truth from the American people, the FBI has just “reopened” our FOIA case.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ACLJ just received a letter from the FBI bureaucracy informing us that it has “reopened” our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request into the clandestine meeting between former Obama Attorney General Lynch and former President Clinton while the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI were conducting a criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The FBI’s letter – dated one week after we publicly excoriated the FBI for lying to us when the Comey-led FBI told us last October that it had “no” records responsive to our request – now states that “records potentially responsive to your request may exist.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>It is unbelievable that the FBI bureaucracy still only admits that some documents “may exist.”</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>We know they exist.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>What else was the FBI hiding?</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While we appreciate that the FBI has “reopened” the case file and is now “searching” for documents responsive to our duly submitted FOIA request from more than a year ago, it stretches the bounds of credulity to suggest that the FBI bureaucracy just discovered that “potentially responsive” records “may exist” on its own accord.</p> </blockquote> <p>Sekulow also appeared on Fox News this morning to discuss the 'reopened' case:</p> <p><iframe src="" width="600" height="337" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Perhaps it's time to refile all of those FOIA requests related to the various Hillary Clinton investigations that were submitted under the Obama administration...who knows what treasures may have been 'overlooked' in the initial FBI/DOJ responses...</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="748" height="464" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American Center for Law & Justice American Center for Law and Justice Conservatism in the United States Department of Justice Department of Justice DOJ FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Bureau of Investigation FOIA Fox News Freedom of Information Act Freedom of Information Act Government Hillary Clinton email controversy James Comey Jay Sekulow Law Law enforcement in the United States Obama Administration Obama administration Politics Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections United States United States Department of Justice United States intelligence agencies Thu, 17 Aug 2017 00:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 601807 at Americans Are Rapidly Descending Into Madness <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,</em></a></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 382px; height: 120px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>I don&rsquo;t live in an echo chamber, partly because there aren&rsquo;t enough people out there who think like me, but also because I constantly and intentionally attempt to challenge my worldview by reading stuff from all over the political map.</strong> I ingest as much as I can from a wide variety of intelligent sources, picking and choosing what makes sense to me, and then synthesizing it the best I can.</p> <p>Though I&rsquo;m certainly grounded in certain key principles, my perspective on specific issues remains malleable as I take in additional information and perspectives. I try to accept and acknowledge my own ignorance and view life as a journey of constant mental, emotionally and spiritual growth. If I&rsquo;m not growing my capacity in all of those realms until the day I die, I&rsquo;m doing it wrong. <strong>Life should be seen as a battle against one&rsquo;s own ignorance, as opposed to an obsession with the ignorance of others</strong>. You can&rsquo;t legislate morality, nor can you legislate wisdom<strong>. The only way the world will improve on a long-term sustainable basis is if more of us get wise.</strong> That&rsquo;s a personal journey and it&rsquo;s our individual duty to accept it.</p> <p>While I&rsquo;m only in control of my own behavior, this doesn&rsquo;t mean that the behavior of others is irrelevant to my life. <strong>Unfortunately, what I see happening to the population of America right now seems very troublesome and foreboding</strong>. What I&rsquo;m witnessing across the board is hordes of people increasingly separating themselves into weird, unthinking cults. <strong>Something appears to have snapped in our collective consciousness, </strong>and&nbsp;many individuals I used to respect (on both sides of the political spectrum) are becoming disturbingly polarized and hysterical. People are rapidly morphing into radicalized mental patients.</p> <p><strong>What&rsquo;s worse, this environment is providing a backdrop for the most destructive people of my lifetime - neoconservatives and neo liberals - to preen around on corporate media as &ldquo;the voices of reason.&rdquo; </strong>This is one of the most perverse and dangerous side-effects of the current political climate. As I noted earlier today on Twitter:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">What the entrenched political class is doing now, is exactly what the Fed did after the crisis. Posing as saviors to a disaster they created</p> <p>&mdash; Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) <a href="">August 16, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">This is how humans who are dangerous failures stay in power. They claim they&#39;ll help handle a problem of their own doing.</p> <p>&mdash; Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) <a href="">August 16, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p><span id="cke_bm_511S" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><strong>If in your disgust with Trump, you&rsquo;re willing to run into the cold embrace of these destroyers of the middle class and the Middle East, you&rsquo;ll get what you deserve<span id="cke_bm_511E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span>.</strong> In contrast, if we really want to deal with our very real and very systemic problems, the last thing we need is a population-level mental breakdown that leads to a longing for the criminally destructive political status quo, yet that&rsquo;s exactly what seems to be happening.</p> <p><em><strong>Ok fine, so everything seems to be rapidly collapsing, but what are we supposed to do?</strong></em> First of all, don&rsquo;t lose your minds.</p> <p>As I suggested in February&rsquo;s post,&nbsp;<strong><a href="" rel="bookmark noopener" target="_blank" title="Permanent Link to Why Increased Consciousness is the Only Path Forward">Why Increased Consciousness is the Only Path Forward</a></strong>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>As noted earlier, Wilber thinks 10% is a key tipping point. In other words, if we can get 10% of the population to center around a yellow second-tier level of thought, which consists of a momentous leap in consciousness, the entire world will change for the better. I agree. I&rsquo;m not here trying to sell you a seminar on how to expand your consciousness; rather, I think these article can&nbsp;help spark some sort of revelation in the minds of many of you who are already at yellow, or at least at the cusp of such a transformation. Since consciousness can and does regress under conditions of stress and fear, it&rsquo;s extremely important to be conscious of your consciousness so that you don&rsquo;t fall back into lower states.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Unfortunately, I see many people regressing at the moment, and I see the media as an intentional force in trying to get people to lower their consciousness. A perfect way to tell if someone is operating at a low level of consciousness is if they&rsquo;re constantly placing tens of millions of their fellow citizens into an outside group they subsequently demonize. It&rsquo;s perfectly fine and healthy to harshly criticize the system itself and the many powerful individuals doing awful things within it, but once you start dehumanizing large swaths of the population&nbsp;as a matter of your worldview, you are most certainly on a very counterproductive&nbsp;path that will lead to merely a blackhole of nothingness for society.</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p><u><strong>Beyond maintaining one&rsquo;s sanity, it&rsquo;s imperative that conscious humans create systems and communities that have as little connection as possible to the existing and rapidly disintegrating paradigm. </strong></u>This will create &ldquo;anti-fragile&rdquo; units of strength within the collapsing Potemkin village socio-economic structure that dominates our culture right now. Some of these projects need to be local, while others can be global. Community farming/food production is a great example of a local initiative, while Bitcoin (and cryptocurrencies in general), represent global initiatives to replace the hopelessly corrupt and archaic&nbsp;entrenched&nbsp;financial system. While crazy, power-obsessed tribes focus on taking over the hopelessly corrupt centralized government in Washington D.C., we need to continue to build separate, decentralized paradigms &mdash; and there isn&rsquo;t much time to waste.</p> <p><strong>Fortunately, there are plenty of very decent, very conscious people out there. I want this piece to provide encouragement to those of you already engaged in this invaluable work, </strong>as well as inspiration for those of you looking for an outlet for your creative and intellectual energies. It&rsquo;s never been more important to keep our heads steady and not permit ourselves to be sucked into the mental sickness infecting so many of our fellow humans. It&rsquo;s imperative that we vigilantly guard our wisdom and consciousness, because the best solutions will only come from a place of spiritual and mental health. If you descend into the gutter with everyone else, your output will also end up looking like trash. That&rsquo;s the last thing we need.</p> <p><em><strong>Stay strong and stay conscious.</strong></em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="382" height="120" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bitcoin Cognitive neuroscience Cognitive science Consciousness Emergence Middle East Middle East Neuropsychological assessment Neuropsychology Neuroscience Today Twitter Twitter US Federal Reserve Washington D.C. Wed, 16 Aug 2017 23:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 601808 at Iran’s President Tacitly Admits Iran is Cheating on Nuclear Agreement <h1 class="post_title" style="font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; font-size: 25px; line-height: 1.4em; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; letter-spacing: -0.9px; color: #40271c !important;"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; background-color: #f8f8f8;">The following article by <strong>David Haggith</strong> is from <strong><em><a href="">The Great Recession Blog</a></em></strong>:</span></h1> <div class="singlepost entry" style="border-bottom-left-radius: 5px; background-color: #f8f8f8; border-top-width: 1px; border-top-style: solid; border-top-color: #610906; font-family: Arial, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, sans-serif, sans-serif; line-height: 1.5em; margin-top: 4px; padding: 2px 4px 1px; width: 647.953125px; font-size: 16px; color: #40271c;"><img src="" alt="(Black hole as symbol of negative interest rates policy.) By XMM-Newton, ESA, NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons" width="500" height="400" style="float: left; margin-right: 6px; margin-left: 6px; border-top-left-radius: 3px; border-top-right-radius: 3px; border-bottom-right-radius: 3px; border-bottom-left-radius: 3px; padding: 4px; box-shadow: none !important; border-style: none !important; opacity: 1 !important;" class="attachment-single-post-thumbnail size-single-post-thumbnail wp-post-image" /><br /> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">Countering recent US sanctions and President Trump’s talk of ending the “bad” nuclear agreement with Iran, Iran’s president threatened to restart its nuclear program. If his threat is true as stated, he unwittingly admitted something highly supportive of Trump’s position:</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">&nbsp;</p> <blockquote style="margin: 15px 0px; padding-left: 40px;"><p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; display: inline;">Mr. Rouhani said that a reconstituted nuclear program would be&nbsp;<em>“far more advanced,</em>” a veiled threat that the country could start enriching uranium up to the level of 20 percent….&nbsp;“<em><strong>Iran will definitely revert to a far more advanced situation than it had before the negotiations, not in a matter of weeks or months but<span style="text-decoration: underline;">&nbsp;in a matter of days or hours</span>.</strong></em>” (<a href="" style="text-decoration: underline; color: #c43a18;"><em>New York Times</em></a>)</p> </blockquote> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">If Iran is capable of ratcheting up its program in a matter of weeks to enrich uranium to 20%, that means it has been purchasing and stockpiling all the equipment it needs to do that because such equipment cannot be built and installed that fast. So, the equipment is “stored” in a manner that is ready to go. That, in itself, probably violates the terms of the agreement (known as the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action”).</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">HOWEVER, there is only one way Iran can have the capability to ratchet up production to “more advanced” levels than it had&nbsp;<em>before the negotiations</em>&nbsp;“in a matter of days or hours.” While I have no expertise in such equipment, it does not strike me as the kind of production process where you push a button, and you’re up and running with 20% enriched uranium coming out the other end in a matter of hours.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;"><em>The New York Times</em>&nbsp;seems to have missed that little tidbit. In fact, all the mainstream media stories today are missing this. Reuters, the BBC, CBS, the&nbsp;<em>Wall Street Journal</em>&nbsp;and CNN are all reported yesterday that Iran’s president said Iran could&nbsp;<em>abandon the nuclear deal</em>&nbsp;within hours. He did NOT say that. He stated quite plainly that Iran could be in “a more advanced&nbsp;<em>situation</em>” than it had before negotiations within hours — not that it could be out of the deal in that much time, but that it could show itself to be<em>&nbsp;in a more advanced situation than existed before the deal.</em></p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;"><a href="" style="text-decoration: underline; color: #c43a18;">CBS News</a>&nbsp;almost got it right. They reported the words of the Iranian president as follows:</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">&nbsp;</p> <blockquote style="margin: 15px 0px; padding-left: 40px;"><p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; display: inline;">“<em><strong>I</strong><strong>n an hour and a day, Iran could return&nbsp;<span style="text-decoration: underline;">to a more advanced (nuclear) level</span>than at the beginning of the negotiations”</strong></em>&nbsp;that preceded the 2015 deal, Rouhani said.&nbsp;He did not elaborate.</p> </blockquote> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">But then they minimized those words in their own reportage to match the rest of the MSM by claiming Rouhani said he could exit the deal in that much time, missing completely the import of their record of his words, which said he could get to&nbsp;<em>a more advanced nuclear level</em>&nbsp;in just that much time. Unlike the rest of the MSM, they did, however, admit,</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">&nbsp;</p> <blockquote style="margin: 15px 0px; padding-left: 40px;"><p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; display: inline;">It was not immediately clear what Rouhani was referring to – and whether he meant Iran could restart centrifuges enriching uranium to higher and more dangerous levels.</p> </blockquote> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">There is a huge difference between what Iran’s president actually said and the way the mainstream media is trying to minimize his words. No doubt the MSM doesn’t want to admit Trump was right when he said during the campaign, “Never ever EVER in my life have I seen any transaction so incompetently negotiated as our deal with Iran.”</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">The words of Rouhani’s nuclear chief below certainly clarify what Rouhani was threatening if some people are finding it difficult to understand (because they don’t want his statement to mean what he appears to have said).</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">&nbsp;</p> <h3 style="font-size: 1.4em; line-height: 1.6em; margin-top: 5px; margin-bottom: 3px;">What did Iran’s president actually threaten?</h3> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">The head of Iran’s nuclear program made clear that Rouhani did mean 20% enrichment&nbsp;<em>and</em>&nbsp;that Iran would be able to demonstrate that ability in a surprising way:</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">&nbsp;</p> <blockquote style="margin: 15px 0px; padding-left: 40px;"><p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px; display: inline;">Ali Akbar Salehi, president of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said&nbsp;<em><strong>the country could go up to 20 percent enrichment to “</strong><strong>surprise the Americans.</strong></em>” (from&nbsp;<em>The New York Times</em>&nbsp;article above)</p> </blockquote> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">The clarification, if it is really needed, is right there in the original story. The MSM just doesn’t want to see it.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">It would be no surprise whatsoever to find out that Iran could exit the deal in a day and an hour. It would also be no surprise at all to find out that Iran could build up the resources needed to&nbsp;<em>start</em>&nbsp;enriching uranium to 20%. They’ve already done that in the past. It would, however, certainly be a surprise to many to see 20% uranium being produced in a matter of hours, as that would indicate they were already carrying out such enrichment or that they never got rid of their 20% uranium as the JCPA required, either of which would verify that Trump was right about the agreement being a bad deal.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">The only way Iran could now demonstrate production increases to 20% enrichment<em>&nbsp;within hours</em>&nbsp;(or “a day and an hour,” depending on which version of the story you read) is if its equipment is already producing highly enriched uranium so that all Iran would have to do to beat the high levels of enrichment that were known before the negotiations would be to start revealing what they are already producing!</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">Iran’s existing 20% enrichment fueled the JCPA in the first place. It is why the JCPA required Iran reduce its stock of 3.5% to a level that would not allow it to make enough 20% to become rapidly dangerous. So, how is it that Iran is now able to surprise the Americans with 20% enrichment in “days or hours?”</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">You can say this is just typical Iranian saber rattling, but since Iran’s president made this statement to the world as an argument against congress’s new sanctions and Trump’s statements that they are violating Obama’s nuclear agreement, I say we take him at his word. It is, after all,&nbsp;<em>his</em>&nbsp;argument as&nbsp;<em>he</em>&nbsp;chooses to make it. His word is that Iran can demonstrate 20% enrichment to the US&nbsp;<em>within hours.</em>&nbsp;(And it’s possible he even meant something more than 20% enrichment. I’m just limiting my understanding of his words to what his top energy dog claimed.)</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">Prior to the JCPA, Iran was known to already have enough 3.5% in the right gaseous form for further enrichment to make&nbsp;<em>seven</em>&nbsp;bombs if enrichment continued, using the centrifuges Iran already had. So, showing the world some uranium enriched to 3.5% wouldn’t cause anyone to raise an eyebrow because 1) the JCPA already allows that, and 2) it would not be “a far more advanced situation than … before the negotiations.”</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">In fact, even having some 20% is not a situation that is advanced beyond what existed before the negotiations.&nbsp;Iran already had hundreds of kilograms of 20% enriched uranium prior to the agreement in both solid (fuel) form and gaseous form (ready to be enriched to bomb-grade). That fact alone causes one to lean beyond the nuclear boss’s statement of a surprise at 20%. At 20%, the only surprise could be in how quickly Iran is able to produce that level of enrichment, meaning that the agreement hasn’t curtailed Iran’s breakout time to a nuclear bomb.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">&nbsp;</p> <h3 style="font-size: 1.4em; line-height: 1.6em; margin-top: 5px; margin-bottom: 3px;">How long does uranium enrichment take?</h3> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">The&nbsp;<a href="" style="text-decoration: underline; color: #c43a18;">Washington Institute</a>&nbsp;stated just before the nuclear accord was signed that it would take 18,000 centrifuges (the maximum number Iran was known to own before the agreement) only five weeks to turn the 3.5% level of enrichment that Iran is openly allowed under the accord into enough highly enriched uranium (90%) to make a single bomb (27kg enriched to 90%). That is why Iran was also required under the JCPA to reduce its number of available centrifuges to 6,500.</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">While that is a rapid leap to a bomb, it certainly doesn’t sound like the kind of fast process that would yield a surprise for Americans in a matter of&nbsp;<em>hours</em>.&nbsp;It takes much longer to enrich uranium up to Iran’s allowed 3.5% than it takes to go from 3.5% up to the agreement-violating step of 20%, which is used in research reactors, and then takes very little time and effort to go from 20% to the 90% used for bombs. So, what level is Iran now at that would allow a “surprise” in mere hours?</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;"><a href="" style="text-decoration: underline; color: #c43a18;" rel="attachment wp-att-77362"><img src="" alt="graph of time to enrich uranium to weapons grade" width="500" height="298" style="max-width: 97%; padding: 4px; height: auto; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center; border-top-left-radius: 3px; border-top-right-radius: 3px; border-bottom-right-radius: 3px; border-bottom-left-radius: 3px; border-style: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; opacity: 1 !important;" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-77362" /></a></p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">The World Nuclear Association states that&nbsp;<em>restarting</em>&nbsp;centrifuges (just restarting, not installing and building) is a costly process. So, even if Iran’s centrifuges were not taken down as required, simply getting them back online sounds like it takes significant time as “costly processes” on the level of production that the World Nuclear Association cares about do not &nbsp;happen in a few hours. (Only closely mistakes happen that fast.)</p> <p style="margin: 5px 5px 10px;">An alternative explanation of the Iranian president’s warning would be that Iran, under the cloak of the JCPA, has managed to acquire and stockpile much better equipment than the already advanced equipment it was required to dismantle by the agreement. The JCPA would, indeed, be “a very bad deal” if it allowed Iran to purchase and store more advanced technology than what it had before negotiations and, thereby, reduce its breakout time to a bomb.</p> </div> Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Enriched uranium Foreign relations of Iran Iran Iran–United States relations Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action National Security and Nuclear Diplomacy Negotiations leading to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action New York Times Nuclear energy in Iran Nuclear physics Nuclear program of Iran Nuclear technology Politics Politics of Iran Recession Reuters Uranium Uranium Wall Street Journal Washington Institute World Nuclear Association Wed, 16 Aug 2017 23:40:38 +0000 Knave Dave 601818 at How To Hedge A Near-Term Market Shock: Here Are The Best Trades <p>As we showed earlier today, <a href="">last Thursday's unexpected, historic VIX explosion, </a>driven by a surge of geopolitical worries about North Korea,<a href=""> </a>and subsequent collapse was remarkable in both how fast and furious it was both on the way up and then, on the way down.As Bank of America said "<em>both the spike in vol and the speed of its retracement were almost unmatched</em>."<strong></strong> </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="196" /></a></p> <p>The move was also unprecedented in the sheer volume of VIX-related products - futures, options and ETFs - that participated in the surge higher as thousands of vol sellers suddenly scrambled to cover their positions (even if they were ultimately replaced with a new set of vol sellers). As BofA calculated, "volume in VIX-linked products reached an all-time high" with volume in VIX call and put options reaching a $250M<br />vega. VIX futures also had a record volume day with $850M while VIX ETP volumes hit $830M. </p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong> </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="453" /></a></p> <p>In retrospect, the biggest surprise about last week's move - especially considering the loud warnings by famous Wall Street names such as Jeff Gundlach and Howard Marks predicted such a move - is how many people were taken by surprise by it. Or maybe they were not surprised, but just did not want or know how to hedge.</p> <p>As Bank of America's Benjamin Bowler writes, "<strong>most people ignore extreme risk as it’s simply too hard to price." </strong>One possible reason is because deciding whether to hedge tail risks is difficult not only because of the challenge of estimating the probability of a “rare event”, but it’s also compounded by the difficulty of gauging the size of the shock, <strong>if the event occurs. </strong>This is likely why a majority of cross-asset volatilities remain near historical lows despite the threat of a nuclear conflict becoming most acute perhaps since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, according to Bank of America.</p> <p>And yet, if the events from last week demonstrated something, it is that just when there appears to be virtually no risk, is when the likelihood of a historic surge in volatility is greatest, as many experienced first hand last Thursday. Hence the need to hedge.</p> <p><strong>But what?&nbsp; And using which product? </strong></p> <p>Because, as Bowler also shows when it comes to discounting the probability of the next severe market shock, virtually every derviative product has a different perspective. As the strategist notes, "the decision about whether it’s rationale to hedge is really a matter of looking at the price of tail insurance embedded into option markets and asking if the probabilities they assign are “fair” or not." As he further writes, when it comes to predicting what the next "severe tail event" could look like, <strong>"we find that not only are some markets like Gold pricing in a very low probability of Korean risk escalation, there are significant differences across assets in terms of what they imply about potential risks.</strong>"</p> <p>The chart below shows how historical worst 3M drawdowns since 2006 are priced by 3M 25- delta options across asset classes; hedges that are most underpricing their historical drawdowns are at the top and those most overpricing their tails are at the bottom. What the chart shows is that <strong>gold call options still imply less than a 1 in 100 chance of a severe tail event over the next month, </strong>despite being among the most reactive assets to rising Korean tensions last week. With record low Gold vol slaved to record low real rates vol, this represents a loose anchor which likely won’t hold in any significant geopolitical risk escalation. In contrast to gold, <strong>Nikkei is at the other end of the spectrum with options assigning over a 5% chance of a near term tail-event.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="326" /></a></p> <p>Looking at 3M 25-delta options, however, may not be the best measure of the price of “rare event” risk priced into options. </p> <p>As BofA suggests, "<em>to get a better understanding of this implied risk for six assets – Gold, S&amp;P 500, NKY (Japan equity), KOSPI2 (Korean equity), UKX (UK equity) and SX5E (European equity) – we estimate what options are pricing into their extreme tails using the following methodology:</em>"</p> <ul> <li>For each asset across its entire sample history, we identify the ten largest “vol-adjusted” drawdowns within 1-month periods. The reason for normalizing by volatility is that we have shown that while nominal asset drawdowns can significantly vary historically, vol-adjusted drawdowns are more evenly distributed. In other words, the probability of a 1-day drop in the S&amp;P 500 equivalent in magnitude to the 1987 US stock market crash (-21%) is virtually zero at today’s low vol levels. So for each historical drawdown, we adjust for the prevailing vol level and assume we were to see a similar “sigma-drawdown” today.</li> <li>We then compute the probability that options are assigning to markets falling to (i) their 10th worst historical drawdown and (ii) the average of their 10 worst drawdowns in each asset (as shown in Chart 10).</li> </ul> <p>BofA's analysis confirms that Gold is indeed pricing in the smallest probability of a “tail event”. The implication also is that should a "tail event" occur, the return from a gold-based hedge would be the one with the highest return.&nbsp; Here are the details: </p> <ul> <li>As implied from Gold (GLD ETF) options, the probability that Gold rallies over the next month by 10.3% (equivalent to the 10th largest vol-adjusted rally in Gold’s history) is 1.7%. The probability that Gold rallies by 14.6% (equivalent to the average of the 10 largest vol-adjusted rallies) is a mere 0.7%. <strong>This suggests GLD calls are implying less than a 1 in 100 chance (1 out of 143) of its average historical tail event occurring in the next month</strong>.</li> <li>At the other end of the spectrum is NKY, <strong>where options imply the probability that Japanese equities fall by 8.2% (10th largest drawdown) over the next month is 6.1% and the probability they fall by 10.4% (average of 10 largest </strong><strong>drawdowns) is 5.1% (1 in 20 chance).</strong></li> </ul> <p>In other words, just between gold and Nikkei options, the "priced in" probability of a crash is either ~1% in the case of gold, or 5% in the case of the Japanese Nikkei. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="347" /></a></p> <p>What about S&amp;P 500 puts? As the chart above shows, they are currently pricing in the second-highest level of&nbsp; tail risk after NKY, following the strong rise in S&amp;P skew last week. <strong>The probability that US equities fall by 7% (10th largest drawdown) over the next month is 4.5% and the probability they fall by 8.65% (average of 10 largest drawdowns) is 3.1%</strong>.</p> <p>* * * </p> <p>Why is gold such a great hedge to future volatility? One possible explanation for the relative attractiveness of gold-based hedges hinges on gold’s optionality being historically depressed. This has primarily been driven by realized volatility which has been steadily declining since the gold rally in Q1-16 and is now at multi-year lows (Chart 11). An important force behind gold’s declining volatility is real rates volatility.&nbsp; Indeed, real rates have a traditional relationship with gold through the channel of rational investment decisions, whereby investors measure the relative attractiveness of gold by how much they can earn elsewhere. As interest rates rise, so does the opportunity cost of holding a non-interest bearing asset such as gold.</p> <p>While the relationship is not linear as not all real rate environments are created equal, and other important factors – such as the USD – impact underlying price dynamics, never before has this relationship has been so strong (see Chart 12). Importantly, real rates volatility itself has fallen to levels unseen since the start of the 2000s. This in turn has caused gold volatility to fall to ultra-low levels as correlation between gold/rates volatilities recently climbed to multi-year highs (see Chart 13).</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="210" /></a></p> <p>* * * </p> <p>What are the conclusion? BofA's analysis reveals that for <strong>those "hedging" an imminent market crash (over the next month) should be aware that the payout ratios of “tail options” is highest for Gold, and lowest for NKY and SPX. </strong></p> <p><em>So, for those who believe the above implied probabilities are too low relative to the potential geopolitical risks at hand, buying far out of the money “tail options” may be the best trade. </em>While there is more art than science to deciding on precise strikes and maturities, however, Table 2 below illustrates payout ratios for these six markets assuming 1M options are struck at the 10th worst vol-adjusted drawdown, but that markets fall to the average of their 10 worst drawdowns. In other words, if we get a shock that is worse than the 10th worst historical event but equal to the average of the 10 worst, what is the payout relative to cost of the tail insurance purchased today?</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="192" /></a></p> <p>As shown in the table above, <strong>deep out of the money GLD calls would offer 56 to 1 payout ratios with this methodology, far more than any other asset, followed by UKX (35 to 1), SX5E (25 to 1), KOSPI2 (9 to 1), SPX (6 to 1), and NKY (5 to 1).</strong></p> <p>Finally, some parting words from BofA:<strong></strong> </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>We see the escalation of ongoing geopolitical tensions as a very plausible candidate for <strong>propelling both rates and gold volatility </strong>higher as investors flee to Treasuries and gold (both perceived as ‘safe haven’ assets). Indeed our rates strategists <strong>recently recommended accumulating US rate volatility in anticipation of a potential political risk-induced risk-off in September.<br /></strong></p> </blockquote> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="789" height="474" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bank of America Bank of America Drawdown Economy Finance Futures contract Gundlach Howard Marks Japan Jeff Gundlach Market Crash Mathematical finance Money Nikkei Nikkei 225 North Korea Option S&P 500 S&P/ASX 200 VIX Skew Technical analysis VIX Volatility Volatility Wed, 16 Aug 2017 23:28:21 +0000 Tyler Durden 601815 at House To Hold Hearing On White Supremacist Threat Amid Financial, Social Media Crackdown <p>Now that Trump's "Russian collusion" ties, and various assorted Congressional hearings on the topic have quietly moved away from the front pages, there is a new hot topic in the Hill, and as <a href="">Reuters reports</a>, the Homeland Security Committee of the House of Representatives will hold a hearing next month "<strong>about threats from extremist groups, including domestic terrorism</strong>", following a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend.</p> <p>In a letter to the panel's top Democrat, Representative Bennie Thompson, panel's chairman, Republican Representative Michael McCaul, announced that he will hold a hearing on Sept. 12.&nbsp; "We must stand together and reject racism, bigotry, and prejudice, including the hateful ideologies promoted by neo-Nazis, the KKK, and all other white supremacy groups," McCaul said.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>McCaul's letter was in response to a request from Thompson and the other Democrats on the committee to hold a hearing on the subject. "It is past time for this Committee on Homeland Security to act," the Democrats wrote to McCaul. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The committee will invite leaders of the Homeland Security Department, the FBI and the National Counterterrorism Center to discuss the most serious threats the United States faces, </strong>McCaul said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, the financial crackdown against extremist organizations is picking up speed. According to <a href="">Bloomberg</a>, Discover Financial announced it was ending merchant agreements with extremist organizations that incite violence.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>“In light of recent events, we are terminating merchant agreements with hate groups, given the violence incited by their extremist views,” the Riverwoods, Illinois-based credit-card company said Wednesday in an emailed statement. “The intolerant and racist views of hate groups are inconsistent with our beliefs and practices. While we do not share their opinions, we recognize their right to voice them, no matter how reprehensible we find them.”</p> </blockquote> <p>Advocacy groups have been calling on major credit-card companies to stop providing financial services for groups such as white supremacists. Color of Change, a racial-justice advocacy group, said Monday that financial services provided by major credit-card companies have been enabling hate groups. <strong>Discover declined to say how many groups it’s ending agreements with, or name them</strong>.</p> <p>Separately, Mastercard said it will continue to actively monitor the use of its network by websites that “unlawfully promote or incite violence,” according to a statement from spokesman Seth Eisen. If the network is made aware of activity that is illegal or violates its rules, then it will work with the merchant’s bank to ensure the activity stops, Eisen said. Still, Eisen said the company has consistently stated its belief that offensive speech “has and will be seen for what it is.” “For that reason, we generally do not prohibit the acceptance of Mastercard-branded payment cards by merchants based on our disagreement with specific views espoused or promoted,” Eisen said in the emailed statement.</p> <p>Visa has also reviewed the list of hate sites, religious organizations, and political groups provided to it by “concerned organizations,” Amanda Pires, a spokeswoman, told Bloomberg. The company determined that a number of the sites weren’t adhering to the merchant acquirer’s acceptable-use policies or were engaging in illegal activities.</p> <p>“For this reason, these sites are no longer able to accept Visa payments,” Pires said. “Visa does not, however, restrict transactions that are legal and involve free speech or lawful expression of views, even if we may find the organization or its positions to be offensive.”</p> <p>* * * </p> <p>Finally, the crackdown is also taking place on social media, where <a href="">Reuters reported that Twitter </a>on Wednesday suspended accounts linked to the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, keeping up pressure from Silicon Valley. Twitter said it would not discuss individual accounts, but at least three accounts affiliated with the Daily Stormer led to pages saying "account suspended."</p> <p>The San Francisco-based social network prohibits violent threats, harassment and hateful conduct and "will take action on accounts violating those policies," the company said in a statement. Facebook, which unlike Twitter explicitly prohibits hate speech, has taken down several pages from Facebook and Instagram in recent days that it said were associated with hate speech or hate organizations.&nbsp; </p> <p>The Daily Stormer has been accessible only intermittently the past few days after domain providers GoDaddy Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google Domains said they would not serve the website.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>By Wednesday, Daily Stormer had moved to a Russia-based internet domain, with an address ending in .ru. Later in the day, though, the site was no longer accessible at that address. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Facebook confirmed on Monday that it took down the event page that was used to promote and organize the "Unite the Right" rally, saying it was "actively removing any posts that glorify the horrendous act committed in Charlottesville." </p> </blockquote> <p>On Wednesday, Facebook said it had removed accounts belonging to Chris Cantwell, a web commentator who has described himself as a white nationalist and said on his site that he had attended the Charlottesville rally. Cantwell's YouTube account also appeared to have been terminated.</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="890" height="501" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alt-right Cashless society Committee on Homeland Security Credit cards Criticism of feminism FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Finance Google Hate group Hate speech Homeland Security Committee Homeland Security Department House of Representatives Internet trolling Ku Klux Klan MasterCard Money National Counterterrorism Center Reuters The Daily Stormer Twitter Twitter Worthington, Ohio Wed, 16 Aug 2017 23:25:54 +0000 Tyler Durden 601817 at Why Elites Are Winning The War On Cash <p><a href=""><em>Authored by James Rickards via The Daily Reckoning,</em></a></p> <p><strong>Visa recently unveiled its own offensive in the war on cash. </strong>Visa is offering certain merchants a $10,000 reward if they refuse to accept cash in the future.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, Visa&rsquo;s competitor is also part of the war on cash. Mastercard is increasing its efforts to encourage merchants to refuse cash. Here&rsquo;s Bloomberg, quoting the CEO of Mastercard:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>&ldquo;Mastercard Chief Executive Officer Ajay Banga has been one of the most ardent supporters of ditching paper currency in the U.S. The 57-year-old first declared his war on cash in 2010.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>These private efforts by Visa and MasterCard exist side by side with official efforts to eliminate or discourage the use of cash coming from governments in India, Australia, Sweden as well as the United States.</p> <p><strong>These efforts are always portrayed in the most favorable light.</strong> Private parties talk about convenience and lower costs. Governments talk about putting pressure on tax cheats, terrorists and criminals.</p> <p>Governments always use money laundering, drug dealing and terrorism as an<strong> excuse to keep tabs on honest citizens and deprive them of the ability to use money alternatives such as physical cash and gold.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img height="298" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><strong>But the so-called &ldquo;cashless society&rdquo; is just a Trojan horse for a system in which all financial wealth is electronic and represented digitally in the records of a small number of megabanks and asset managers.</strong></p> <p>Once that is achieved, it will be easy for state power to seize and freeze the wealth, or subject it to constant surveillance, taxation and other forms of digital confiscation.</p> <p><u><strong>The war on cash has two main thrusts. </strong></u></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The first is to <strong>make it difficult to obtain cash in the first place. </strong>U.S. banks will report anyone taking more than $3,000 in cash as engaging in a &ldquo;suspicious activity&rdquo; using Treasury Form SAR (Suspicious Activity Report).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The second thrust is to <strong>eliminate large-denomination banknotes. </strong>The U.S. got rid of its $500 note in 1969, and the $100 note has lost 85% of its purchasing power since then. With a little more inflation, the $100 bill will be reduced to chump change.</p> </blockquote> <p>Last year the European Central Bank announced that they were discontinuing the production of new 500 euro notes. Existing 500 euro notes will still be legal tender, but new ones will not be produced.</p> <p>This means that over time, the notes will be in short supply and individuals in need of large denominations may actually bid up the price above face value paying, say, 502 euros in smaller bills for a 500 euro note. The 2 euro premium in this example is like a negative interest rate on cash.</p> <p>The real burden of the war on cash falls on honest citizens who are made vulnerable to wealth confiscation through negative interest rates, loss of privacy, account freezes and limits on cash withdrawals or transfers.</p> <p><strong>The whole idea of the war on cash is to force savers into digital bank accounts so their money can be taken from them in the form of negative interest rates. An easy solution to this is to go to physical cash.</strong></p> <p><u>The war on cash is a global effort being waged on many fronts. </u>My view is that the war on cash is dangerous in terms of lost privacy and the risk of government confiscation of wealth.<strong> India provides the most dramatic example.</strong></p> <p>How would you like to go to bed one night and then wake up the next morning to discover that all bills larger than $5.00 were no longer legal tender? That&rsquo;s essentially what happened in India not long ago.</p> <p><strong>The good news is that cash is still a dominant form of payment in many countries including the U.S. </strong>The problem is that as digital payments grow and the use of cash diminishes, a &ldquo;tipping point&rdquo; is reached where suddenly it makes no sense to continue using cash because of the expense and logistics involved.</p> <p>Once cash usage shrinks to a certain point, economies of scale are lost and usage can go to zero almost overnight. Remember how music CDs disappeared suddenly once MP3 and streaming formats became popular?</p> <p><strong>That&rsquo;s how fast cash can disappear.</strong></p> <p>Once the war on cash gains that kind of momentum, it will be practically impossible to stop. That&rsquo;s why I&rsquo;m always saying that savers and those with a long-term view should get physical gold now while prices are still attractive and while they still can.</p> <p><strong>Given these potential outcomes, one might expect that citizens would push back against the war on cash.</strong></p> <p>But in some places, the opposite seems to be happening.</p> <p><strong>A recent survey revealed that more than a third of Americans and Europeans would have no problem at all giving up cash and going completely digital.</strong></p> <p>Specifically, the study showed 34% of Europeans and 38% of Americans surveyed would prefer going cashless.</p> <p>Notably, <u><strong>Germans are the most resistant to going cashless.</strong></u> Almost 80% of transactions in Germany are done in cash, and many Germans never use credit cards.</p> <p><strong>The German experience with hyperinflation after WWI and additional monetary chaos after WWII certainly plays a part in this resistance to the cashless society.</strong></p> <p>Incidentally, the German word for debt, <em>schuld</em>, also means guilt.</p> <p>Other countries, such as Romania and Bulgaria, which have recent experiences with currency and financial crises, also tend to use cash extensively.</p> <p>Of course, there&rsquo;s no denying that digital payments are certainly convenient. I use them myself in the form of credit and debit cards, wire transfers, automatic deposits and bill payments.</p> <p><strong>The surest way to lull someone into complacency is to offer a &ldquo;convenience&rdquo; that quickly becomes habit and impossible to do without.</strong></p> <p>The convenience factor is becoming more prevalent, and consumers are moving from cash to digital payments just as they moved from gold and silver coins to paper money a hundred years ago.</p> <p><strong>But when the next financial panic comes, those without tangible wealth will be totally at the mercy of banks and governments who will decide exactly how much of your own money you&rsquo;re allowed to have each day.</strong></p> <p>Just ask the citizens of Cyprus, Greece and India who have gone through this experience in recent years.</p> <p><u><strong>It will come to the U.S. soon enough.</strong></u></p> <p>Other dangers arise from the fact that digital money, transferred by credit or debit cards or other electronic payments systems, are completely dependent on the power grid. If the power grid goes out due to storms, accidents, sabotage or cyberattacks, our digital economy will grind to a complete halt.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s a good idea to keep some of your liquidity in paper cash (while you can) and gold or silver coins. The gold and silver coins in particular will be money good in every state of the world.</p> <p><em><strong>I hold significant portion of my wealth in nondigital form, including real estate, fine art and precious metals in safe, nonbank storage.</strong></em></p> <p><strong>I strongly suggest you do the same.</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="780" height="388" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Australia Bulgaria Business Cash Cashless society CDS Credit cards Debit cards Digital currency E-commerce Economy Embedded systems European Central Bank European Central Bank Finance Germany Greece Hyperinflation India Legal tender Money MP3 Payment systems Precious Metals Purchasing Power Real estate Romania Wed, 16 Aug 2017 23:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 601809 at