en Epic Pictures From Arizona's Heatwave: "Everything Is Literally Melting" <p>Ask any Arizonan whether their summers are more tolerable because <strong>"it's a dry heat" </strong>and you're likely to be asked to <strong>turn your oven to 150 degrees, stick your head inside for 20 minutes and report back as to whether or not the humidity within the oven ever crossed you mind.</strong>&nbsp; Probably not. </p> <p>And while Arizonans have learned to cope with the "dry heat," this summer has been particularly brutal for people living in the Southwest as temperatures have already soared to over 120 degrees in certain areas.&nbsp; <strong>What's worse, it's only June.</strong></p> <p><a href=" - AZ5.JPG"><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 461px;" /></a></p> <p>And while the heatwave may not be that fun for the people living through it, it does making for some amazing pictures of stuff melting.</p> <p>Perhaps that <strong>plastic mailbox post wasn't such a great idea in retrospect.</strong></p> <p><a href=" - AZ1.JPG"><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 450px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On the bright side, you can get all your baking done outside in mother nature's free oven.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">"arizona isn't that hot"</p> <p>BET <a href=""></a></p> <p>— antonihoe (@confuzzledteen3) <a href="">June 23, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Plastic fences...also not a great idea</strong>.&nbsp; Come on're better than this.</p> <p><a href=" - AZ2.JPG"><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 366px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, this Tempe resident (undoubtedly an ASU student judging by all the cheap alcoholic beverages) was just trying to do his part to fight climate change by recycling his beer bottles...<strong>it seems that ManBearPig won this round.&nbsp; </strong></p> <p><a href=" - AZ3.JPG"><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 605px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Breakfast is served...</p> <blockquote class="twitter-video"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">You already know whats going on in Arizona <a href=""></a></p> <p>— ? ??c??d? ? (@Finessegawd3000) <a href="">June 20, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, even the road signs are melting down...</p> <p><a href=" - AZ4.JPG"><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 393px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...which is going to make it even harder for this guy to get around town...</p> <p><a href=" - AZ6.JPG"><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 415px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Al Gore is going to have a field day with these pics.</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="652" height="98" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Arizona Arizonan Chemistry Environment Manufacturing Matter Polyethylene terephthalate Twitter Twitter Sun, 25 Jun 2017 19:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 598616 at Is This Uber's "Theranos Moment"? <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Mark St.Cyr,</em></a></p> <p>There comes that moment where the veiled threats against logic such as the go-to <strong>excuse of &ldquo;it&rsquo;s different this time&rdquo; are exposed against the harsh light of reality</strong> for all to see with such clarity, &ldquo;it&rsquo;s different this time&rdquo; is precisely the apt statement to show why it was all fallacy to begin with.</p> <p><strong>Uber&trade; has just had that moment, and the resulting fallout as I&rsquo;ve iterated before: Will. Be. Legend.</strong></p> <p>To think, let alone, believe that the current implosion (and yes, I mean implosion) will be isolated within Uber is as much of a fantasy as was believing: &ldquo;it&rsquo;s different this time.&rdquo; Why? Because: It is precisely that.</p> <p><strong>I believe (and have written) the remaining unicorns along with entire &ldquo;tech&rdquo; or &ldquo;Valley&rdquo; model for valuation are now facing what I called,&nbsp;<a href="">&ldquo;an extinction event.&rdquo;</a>&nbsp;</strong>Or said differently: The moment Uber is made to state publicly its current valuation going forward? It&rsquo;ll be the&nbsp;equivalent<span style="letter-spacing: .05em;">&nbsp;for both &ldquo;The Valley&rdquo; and &ldquo;unicorn&rdquo; metric modeling &ndash; as was for the dinosaurs. e.g., Stick a fork in it, it&rsquo;s done.</span></p> <p><strong>Now to be fair Theranos&trade; was/is caught up in what has been deemed as fraud for their product offering, Uber is not.</strong> However, why I use the &ldquo;moment&rdquo; appraisal is this: Once it was shown that the whole &ldquo;so worth it&rdquo; valuation metric was no longer above reproach? The jumping-of-ship for those closest happened so fast even rats took notice.</p> <p><img height="254" src="" width="600" /></p> <p><strong>Ms. Holmes publicly declared any, and all, accusations as false before finally having to recant in the form of pulling, or re-verifying prior testing results. </strong>But as she was doing that publicly, quietly many either working for, or involved in management were reported to be heading towards any and all exits.&nbsp;<a href="">Then, precisely one year ago this week</a> (yes, it&rsquo;s the anniversary) Forbes&trade; revised, and declared Ms. Holmes net worth had gone from $4.5 BILLION &ndash; To Nothing. And just like that it was over almost as fast as it had began.</p> <p>So exactly where is the equivocation argument? Good question, and it is this:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><u><em><strong>The revising of valuations and more came when suddenly everyone no-longer could justify the valuations based on &ldquo;it&rsquo;s different this time&rdquo; arguments.</strong></em></u></p> </blockquote> <p>That argument works fine when the Fed&rsquo;s QE program is in full effect and works like some magical cloak to hide the naked fallacy&nbsp;that a company with less than $100 Million in revenues is worth some $9 BILLION because the VC&rsquo;s invested say it is. (I can&rsquo;t help myself from laughing as I typed that, it&rsquo;s so far beyond ludicrous.)</p> <p><strong>But once the term &ldquo;law suits&rdquo; and more get thrown across a unicorns saddle?&nbsp;Let&rsquo;s just say &ndash; viewpoints, and valuation metrics begin to change, and change quickly.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Uber is currently valued via all reports at around $68 BILLION dollars. </strong>And with that valuation it is currently the #1 unicorn, and most valued startup, and private tech company, in the world. <strong>And it&rsquo;s core product? It&rsquo;s an app to hail a cab.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><u><strong>Re-read the above line a few times, and let it sink in.</strong></u> Because as I implied earlier &ndash; this is where the equivocation moment comes. e.g., When all-hype suddenly meets law suits? All, and I mean just that &ndash; all &ndash; perspective changes. Especially for those of the unicorn variety.</p> <p>Theranos, for all that it was going through at that time, one could argue (<a href="">and some did making snake-oil salesmen look trustworthy</a>) that there was at least some possible future if the law suits turned out to be defendable, or were misplaced. After all, it was about patented machines, diagnosis, and more. Nevertheless &ndash; it was over with near immediacy once it was blatantly obvious people once loyal and intimately involved, along with companies using the service publicly began jumping ship.</p> <p>Suddenly every &ldquo;news&rdquo; outlet that once couldn&rsquo;t get a flattering story out quick enough tripped all over themselves to re-write the now how, and why, for the imminent collapse of the once storied unicorn.</p> <p><strong>This time &ndash; is no different, <a href="">for the stories have already begun</a>. Again, once the unquestionable becomes questioned? I believe you already know the answer. But if you need reminding &nbsp;&ndash; again &ndash; just look to Theranos.</strong></p> <p>Now, much like Ms. Holmes, the founder and CEO had to quit, or resign, to appease those calling for change. And, much like the previous example &ndash; <a href="">those closest, and who should be the greatest ally for change and stay as to help weather out the storm are also jumping</a>. Sound familiar?</p> <p>The optics of such a &ldquo;jump&rdquo; while in the midst of such a sh*t-storm at Uber, from my perspective, shows only one thing: You know the jig is up, it&rsquo;s all about managing the fall, and there&rsquo;s no need to do that in plain view.</p> <p>If I&rsquo;m wrong, then why would such a staunch defender of the company and its CEO resign when the negative optics of such a move are clearly visible? Unless? See above.</p> <p><strong>And just like Theranos &ndash; <a href="">Uber&rsquo;s valuation has already began slipping</a>.</strong></p> <p>The real difference here? <strong><em>Remember: Theranos was said to be worth $9 Billion when their fall from grace began. And that was all based upon the idea that they were involved in life changing medical technology. Uber? They are said to be worth $68 BILLION &ndash; and they&rsquo;re an app to hail a cab. Think about that, again.</em></strong></p> <p><strong>And lest one forget &ndash; <a href="">Uber burns through, not makes: $BILLIONS</a>. </strong>And its &ldquo;world domination&rdquo; thesis has already been cleaved when it gave up on China. And that realization alone has yet to be priced in, or out, one might say. Add to that just some of the above and &ldquo;cleave&rdquo; might be an understatement for future valuation adjustments going forward.</p> <p>Just ask Ms. Holmes.</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="1121" height="475" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> A Business China Economy Neologisms Reality Theranos Transport Uber Unicorn US Federal Reserve Valuation Sun, 25 Jun 2017 18:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 598619 at "Boo Hoo Hoo" - New Jersey College Fires Black Professor For Making Racist Remarks <p>Essex County College in New Jersey has fired adjunct professor Lisa Durden after she made racially insensitive remarks during an interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News two weeks ago, <a href="">according to the Associated Press.</a> College officials said they received complaints about Durden&rsquo;s interview, with some university constituents upset about statements that were disparaging to white people. <strong>During the interview, Durden, who is black, discussed a Memorial Day event held exclusively for black people hosted by a Black Lives Matter group. </strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>When <a href="">Carlson asked Durden for her thoughts,</a> she interrupted the host, saying: <em><strong>&ldquo;Boo hoo hoo. You white people are angry because you couldn&rsquo;t use your white privilege card&rdquo;</strong></em> to attend the event. The show aired June 6, and the school suspended Durden with pay two days later. She addressed the matter during a public meeting Tuesday with school officials, but was soon fired, <a href="">according to the AP. </a></p> <p>In a statement from College President Dr. Anthony E. Munroe obtained by <a href="">the Daily Caller,</a> Munroe quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and said he&rsquo;s committed to maintaining a welcoming environment for people of all races. He added that the school will be forming a committee devoted to making students of all backgrounds feel welcome.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;Munroe said that in light of these events he wanted to assure the public that Essex is committed to <strong>&ldquo;maintaining a welcoming environment to all students from a variety of races,&rdquo; even&nbsp;quoting Martin Luther King and then adding, &ldquo;racism cannot be fought with more racism.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The school will be forming a committee devoted to &ldquo;unity in diversity&rdquo; with the aim of helping students of all backgrounds to feel welcome, including those who identify as white, he said.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Munroe added that while the school respects first amendment freedoms, he believes the &ldquo;health and wellbeing&rdquo; of students supersedes many of these concerns.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&quot;Munroe addressed first amendment concerns in the statement that have arisen over&nbsp;Durden&rsquo;s suspension,<strong> saying the school values free speech and academic freedom, but believes that the &ldquo;health and well being&rdquo; of students trumps any personal views held by an adjunct. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He said the college also rejects &ldquo;any conduct that implies that all students are not welcome to participate in, <strong>or benefit from, our program or activities on the basis of their race, color, orientation or national origin.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Durden, meanwhile, claims that her firing was tantamount to being <strong>&ldquo;publicly lynched&rdquo;</strong> and compared her treatment by the school to a rape victim being blamed for their assault, <a href="">the AP reports.</a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;Durden told on Friday that she has received a lot of support from school staff members and students, but compared her experience to a rape victim who is blamed for the crime, and a person who returns from war to a hostile environment.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>Unsurprisingly, she is already lawyering up:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&quot;Durden&rsquo;s attorney, Leslie Farber, said she believes her client&rsquo;s free speech rights were violated. Farber said they were considering whether to take legal action in the matter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I fully believe that institutions of higher learning must provide a safe space for students to explore, discuss and debate, not only academic philosophies, but the harder issues related to living harmoniously and growing together in our communities and as a country,&rdquo; Munroe wrote in a statement announcing the firing. <strong>&lsquo;The character of this institution mandates that we embrace diversity, inclusion, and unity. Racism cannot be fought with more racism.&rsquo;&rdquo;</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="1629" height="800" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Black Lives Matter County College Durden Education Essex County College Essex County College First Amendment Fox News Politics Race and society Racism Social Issues Structure Sun, 25 Jun 2017 18:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 598610 at Perfect Storm 2.0 - Will The Auto Industry Ever Be The Same Again? <p dir="ltr"><em><a href="">Authored by Daniel Ruiz via Blinders Off blog,</a></em></p> <p dir="ltr">To better understand <strong>why the automotive industry is in the middle of a <a href="">perfect storm</a>,</strong> first go back and consider the also perfect set of events that led to a robust recovery and a record setting 2016 sales year.</p> <h3 dir="ltr"><u>Our Last Recession</u></h3> <p dir="ltr">In 2009, the automotive industry faced a great challenge. New light vehicle sales dropped to 10.4 million, GM and Chrysler went through bankruptcy reorganizations, retail dealers closed and many folks lost their jobs. <strong>The US &nbsp;government felt the need to act in order to support the very vital automotive industry (3% of GDP &amp; 10% of manufacturing). The Fed also stepped in to help stimulate the overall economy by reducing interest rates.</strong></p> <h3><u>Consumer Purchasing Power</u></h3> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-629c3165-d9fa-610b-f424-2c17c443f751">For the purpose of this piece, the central focus will be placed on the purchasing power of the consumer. With no bottom in sight for falling new vehicle sales, our government attempted to stimulate demand by approving the 3 billion dollar <a href="">Cash for Clunkers</a> program beginning on July 1, 2009. Consumers received as much as $4,500 for trade vehicles that qualified for &ldquo;clunker&rdquo; status. The trade value of $4,500 represented a $75-$90 reduction in monthly payment on a 60 month loan assuming good credit. The program would run until a specific end date or until the total approved funds ran out. Consumers responded very well to the stimulus and sales spiked sharp for a brief period till the program ended on August 24, 2009. <strong>This program also had an impact on the supply of used vehicles since all qualifying trades were destroyed as part of the transaction.</strong></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 370px;" /></a></p> <p dir="ltr">In December of 2008, the Fed also stepped in to stimulate the overall economy by lowering interest rates to a historic low between 0-.25%. In the following years, the 0% auto loan became the norm. Zero percent loans significantly boost consumer purchasing power by providing monthly payments of only $16.66 and $13.88 per thousand financed for 60 and 72 months respectively. These two forms of stimulus also had residual effects that further boosted sales volume and auto price inflation.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>After the recession ended and demand returned, used vehicle values made strong and steady gain</strong>s from 2009 till 2011 and peaked in 2014<strong> due to a supply shortage, lower interest rates and increased demand from subprime borrowers after many folks damaged their personal credit by defaulting on a variety of loans.</strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 368px;" /></a></p> <p dir="ltr">This period of strong used vehicle value performance resulted in very short trade cycles, which significantly boosted new vehicle sales velocity. To illustrate this, consider this chart of a 60-month loan on a Toyota Camry. The black line represents the principal balance owed. An optimal trade cycle occurs when the principal balance owed on a loan intersects with the market value of the vehicle. The black dotted line is representation of peak used passenger vehicle values. Note how quickly the value line crosses the principal balance line.<strong> Those who kept their vehicles slightly longer, found themselves with equity in their trades which further boosted their purchasing power.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 332px;" /></a></p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-629c3165-d9fd-5efb-d6ac-fa18043465eb"><strong>However, nothing gave consumers more purchasing power than leasing during this time period.</strong> Higher used vehicle values led to higher residual values. &nbsp;The most impactful portion of a lease is the gap between the sale price of a vehicle and the residual value. I&rsquo;ve personally witnessed leases that boosted consumer buying by producing monthly payments that required as little as $10.00 per thousand of a vehicle&rsquo;s MSRP. As a result, leasing became more and more popular with 2016 setting a lease penetration record.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 287px;" /></a></p> <h3 dir="ltr"><u>Asset Price Inflation</u></h3> <p dir="ltr"><strong>The stimulating effects of all the items listed above have created significant auto price inflation. </strong>The average new vehicle transaction price in 2008 was $28,350 and has increased to $35,309 in 2017 (24.5% inflation) while the <a href="">median household income</a> has increased by only 12.3% as of 2015. (Data for 2016 will be available in September of this year.) Some segments have inflated even more as shown below:</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 255px;" /></a></p> <p dir="ltr">The price of a new Chevrolet Tahoe LT 4WD was $39,560 in 2008. Today, the price of that vehicle has inflated by 40.1% to $55,455. &nbsp;<strong>The highest trim level has inflated by an astounding 64.6%.</strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-629c3165-d9ff-2bf6-7073-ac495994728a">However, the 0% loans could only take us so far. The <strong>effect of ultra low lease payments due to abnormally high residual values helped to further inflate the value of new vehicle prices above and beyond what 0% loans could achieve. </strong>Here&rsquo;s a look at the vehicle most often leased from the manufacturer with the highest lease penetration ratio. The Infiniti G37, now known as the Q60, has inflated in price by 43.8% since 2008.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 253px;" /></a></p> <p dir="ltr"><span><strong>Once the price of a new vehicle gets so high that even 0% loan for 72 months no longer makes it affordable, the customer can &nbsp;simply be converted to a lease to keep the sales moving. </strong>This is very evident today as manufacturers have become more and more dependent on leasing.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><img alt="" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 710px;" /></p> <h3 dir="ltr"><u>Why The Perfect Storm</u></h3> <p dir="ltr"><strong>The automotive industry needed every single ingredient listed above to reach last year&rsquo;s record setting sales number.</strong> However, something has changed.</p> <p dir="ltr">Well, in reality, <u><strong>everything has changed</strong></u>. The set of ingredients that perfectly fueled the recovery have all reversed and now power the <strong>perfect storm</strong>:</p> <ol> <li> <p>Interest rates are rising. It&rsquo;s getting harder and more expensive for manufacturers to subvent (buy down as a form of incentive) interest rates.</p> </li> <li> <p>Used vehicle prices are falling and will continue to fall. Falling used vehicle values prolong the negative equity period (elongated trade cycles) limiting the buying power of the consumer slowing the velocity of new vehicle sales.</p> </li> <li> <p>The last is the most dangerous of all. Residuals values, which lag used vehicle values, are adjusting and will continue to adjust lower.</p> </li> </ol> <p dir="ltr"><strong><em>What will happen when the new vehicle prices that have inflated beyond the affordability of 0% loans are no longer supported with the buying power that leasing provides? What will happen to the sales volume of the above manufacturers that rely on leases for more than 50% of their total sales?</em></strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><u><strong>Allow me to answer&hellip;</strong></u> &nbsp;Inventory at dealers will begin to backup. We will start witnessing big discounts from manufacturers that keep rising in effort to control a rising day supply problem because new vehicles will &nbsp;no longer be affordable. Incentives will stop working because as the price of the new vehicle is reduced, it will simultaneously put downward pressure on the trade value of the 1-3 year-old version of the vehicle. Production might slow or stop for a period of time, but it won&rsquo;t change the fact that new vehicle prices will have inflated beyond the buying power of the consumer.</p> <p dir="ltr">Utilize the same Chevrolet Tahoe from the chart above to illustrate:</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 539px;" /></a></p> <p dir="ltr">Note how the 0% loan today after price inflation is 19% higher than the standard rate loan before inflation ($643 vs $770) and 28% higher than the 0% loan ($554 vs $770). Interest rates are currently rising. If the same standard rate with today&rsquo;s price is used, the monthly payment will be 38.7% higher ($643 vs $892) than where it started before the stimulus.</p> <h3 dir="ltr"><u>Did Manufacturers Fail to Sufficiently Advance Technology?</u></h3> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Nothing can be more disruptive to an industry than newer and better technology offered at a lower price. </strong>New technology goes through a process of consumer behavior and price changes. To date, consumers have welcomed the technology from Tesla, leaving price as the next barrier or chasm to mass-market adoption. We are only months away from what I believe will be the introduction of a mass-market electric vehicle. The chart below illustrates the progression of Tesla as a car company through the process of Rogers&rsquo; Diffusion of Innovation.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 392px;" /></a></p> <p dir="ltr">It&rsquo;s important to note that the $7,500 electric vehicle rebate is included in the estimated payments above and will be a significant factor in the demand for the Model 3. The rebate equates to $193 in monthly payments on the scenarios listed above.<strong> If the rebate remains, I challenge you to consider the timing of this new model&rsquo;s introduction.</strong> Over the next year, new vehicles will become more expensive (in regards to monthly payments) due to rising interest rates and falling residual values. <strong>The model 3 will then be offered to the public at this time and will represent the newest technology at a lower price (again, payments).</strong> The timing of these events might force new vehicle manufacturers to compete in the electric vehicle market sooner than expected, but I believe that Tesla has a commanding technological lead in this segment.</p> <h3 dir="ltr"><u>Will The Auto Industry Ever Be The Same?</u></h3> <p dir="ltr"><strong>I believe that we will witness significant changes in the way that we purchase our vehicles after the downturn that I expect in the auto industry. </strong>Profits for manufacturers and retail dealers will fall significantly in the coming years. As I write this, dealer groups are investing in more and more retail storefronts. Falling new vehicles sales will mean more dealers competing for fewer customers. This sales environment will lead to massive margin compression and newer entries may not survive.<strong> Both manufacturers and retail dealers will be forced to reconsider the cost structure of their business</strong> to better compete with companies like Tesla which have a much lower cost of distribution.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Something that&rsquo;s very different today than it was during our last recession is the ability for companies to replace or reduce the size of their workforce with technological alternatives.</strong> I believe that when the smoke clears, manufacturers and dealers will adopt a much more cost-effective way of retailing new vehicles to the public. <strong>This will have a negative impact on both the quantity of jobs and wage growth in the automotive sector</strong>.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><em>For investors, please consider that everything stated is actively measured. The value of my service is the ability to confirm the statements made far ahead of monthly, quarterly and annual data releases.</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="637" height="421" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business Car dealerships in North America Cash For Clunkers Chrysler Economy Electric vehicles Fail Inflation Leasing Purchasing Power Reality Rebate Recession recovery Toyota Transport US Federal Reserve US government Value Line Vehicle leasing Sun, 25 Jun 2017 17:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 598617 at Spot The Odd One Out: Hillary & Losing Presidential Candidates' Ratings Edition <p>Many have defined Hillary Clinton as &#39;unique&#39;, a &#39;one off&#39;, or &#39;special&#39; and now we have confirmation. Over the past quarter century, the <strong>favorability ratings of losing presidential candidates generally have increased after the election</strong>, however, <a href=";utm_medium=twitter&amp;utm_campaign=sharing">as Gallup&#39;s latest poll shows</a>, <strong>seven months after her failed bid for the presidency, she remains as unpopular now as she was then</strong>.</p> <p><strong>Typically, losing candidates&#39; favorable ratings improve </strong>because political independents and supporters of the opposing political party grow to view the candidate more positively after the election.</p> <p><strong>However, this has not happened for Clinton.</strong> Her current ratings among Republicans (11%) and independents (33%) are just as low now as last November before she lost to Trump. Democrats maintain a mostly positive view of Clinton, with 79% viewing her favorably.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="455" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=";utm_medium=twitter&amp;utm_campaign=sharing"><u><strong>Gallup&#39;s Bottom Line</strong></u></a></p> <p>November&#39;s election was unlike any other before it, with <strong>both major party candidates having some of the&nbsp;<a href=";g_medium=search&amp;g_campaign=tiles">lowest favorable ratings of any candidates</a></strong>&nbsp;in Gallup&#39;s history. This situation has had unique consequences for the losing candidate as well as the winner.</p> <p><strong>Seven months after her loss, Clinton&#39;s image remains near its record low since 1992 -- even though prior losing candidates&#39; images improved after their defeats</strong>. Trump, like previous winners, did get an&nbsp;<a href="">increase in favorability</a>&nbsp;shortly after his win, though his current 40% favorable rating remains low in an absolute sense.</p> <p>Some <strong>former Clinton supporters have been openly resentful of the failed candidate, calling her toxic and divisive,</strong> and unhelpful in any efforts to resist Trump and his agenda. Republicans, meanwhile, haven&#39;t softened to Clinton in the way they did to Gore after his 2000 loss, or the way Democrats did to Romney and McCain. To some degree, that may be an outcome of the increasingly partisan political environment, but it may also reflect Republicans&#39; long-held and deep-seated antipathy toward Clinton.</p> <p>At this point, then,<strong> it is unclear when or if Clinton&#39;s image will recover.</strong> Americans have liked Clinton most when her role was less political -- such as secretary of state or first lady weathering her husband&#39;s public scandal -- and her ratings have suffered each time she has run for office. If she doesn&#39;t seek to run again, her favorability is far less relevant and frees her from the constraints of public opinion.</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="884" height="670" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American Presbyterians Bill Clinton DeWitt Clinton Donald Trump Gallup Hillary Clinton New York Politics ratings Rodham family United States Sun, 25 Jun 2017 16:57:02 +0000 Tyler Durden 598614 at Obama Ordered Cyberweapons Implanted Into Russia's Infrastructure <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Jason Ditz via,</em></a></p> <p>A<a href=";utm_term=.c5d304219896"> new report from the Washington Post today quoted a series of Obama Administration officials</a> reiterating their official narrative on Russia&rsquo;s accused hacking of the 2016 election. While most of the article is simply rehashes and calls for sanctions, they also <strong>revealed a secret order by President Obama in the course of &ldquo;retaliation&rdquo; for the alleged hacking.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 322px;" /></a></p> <p>This previously secret order involved having <strong>US intelligence design and implant a series of cyberweapons into Russia&rsquo;s infrastructure systems</strong>, with <strong>officials saying they are meant to be activated remotely to hit the most important networks in Russia and are designed to &ldquo;<a href="">cause them pain and discomfort</a>.&rdquo;</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The implants, developed by the NSA, are <strong>designed to hit Russian networks deemed &ldquo;important to the adversary and that would cause them pain and discomfort if they were disrupted,&rdquo;</strong> a former U.S. official told the Post.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>They could be activated in the event that Russia attacked a U.S. power grid or interfered in a future U.S. presidential race.</p> </blockquote> <p>The <strong>US has, of course, repeatedly threatened &ldquo;retaliatory&rdquo; cyberattacks against Russia,</strong> and promised to knock out broad parts of their economy in doing so. These appear to be the first specific plans to have actually infiltrate Russian networks and plant such weapons to do so.</p> <p>Despite the long-standing nature of the threats, by the end of Obama&rsquo;s last term in office this was all still in the &ldquo;planning&rdquo; phases. It&rsquo;s not totally clear where this effort has gone from there, but<strong> officials say that the intelligence community, once given Obama&rsquo;s permission, did not need further approval from Trump</strong> to continue on with it, and he&rsquo;d have actually had to issue a countermanding order, something they say he hasn&rsquo;t.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&quot;U.S. <strong>intelligence agencies do not need further approval from (President) Trump, </strong>and officials said that he would have to issue a countermanding order to stop it,&quot; the Post reported.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The officials said that they have seen no indication that Trump has done so.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>The details are actually pretty scant on how far along the effort is</strong>, but the goal is said to be for the US to have the ability to retaliate at a moment&rsquo;s notice the next time they have a cyberattack they intend to blame on Russia.</p> <p><a href=""><strong><img alt="" src="" style="width: 601px; height: 312px;" /></strong></a></p> <p>Unspoken in this lengthy report, which quotes unnamed former Obama Administration officials substantially, advocating the effort, is that in <strong>having reported that such a program exists, they&rsquo;ve tipped off Russia about the threat.</strong></p> <p>This is, however, reflective of the <strong>priority of the former administration</strong>, which is<strong> to continuing hyping allegations that Russia got President Trump elected</strong>, a priority that&rsquo;s high enough to <strong><u>sacrifice what was supposed to be a highly secretive cyberattack operation.</u></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="691" height="359" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent Business Climate change skepticism and denial Donald Trump Obama Administration Politics of the United States Presidency of Barack Obama President Obama The Apprentice U.S. intelligence United States WWE Hall of Fame Sun, 25 Jun 2017 16:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 598615 at You Know It's Bad When... Prices For Used Jets Are Cratering <p>America&rsquo;s wealthiest individuals are thriving thanks to an imbalance in wealth accumulation that favors the already asset-rich. But even though the number of millionaires and billionaires living in the US has been climbing, and is on track to increase by nearly 700,000 a year between now and 2021 &ndash; so long as the market avoids another crash &ndash; an influx of new potential buyers has done little to alleviate a supply glut that has been weighing on used jet prices for years.</p> <p>As the <a href="">Financial Times reports</a>, sales prices for used jets have fallen <em><strong>as much as 35% over the past three years, with the average price falling from $13.7 million in April 2014 to $8.9 million today.</strong></em></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 279px;" /></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Prices for second-hand private jets, many of which have barely been flown, have dropped as much as 35 per cent over three years to the end of April. The average price of a pre-owned business <strong>jet has fallen from $13.7m in April 2014 to $8.9m, according to research by Colibri Aircraft, which specializes in the marketing, resale and purchase of pre-owned private aircraft.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Owners have lost millions of dollars on the value of their existing business jets as a glut of planes came on to the market in the wake of the economic downturn. The resale price of <strong>a Bombardier Global XRS, which sold for $50m, has dropped from $31.3m to $20.4m &mdash; down just under 35 per cent, according to Colibri&rsquo;s figures.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>The collapse of the private-jet bubble isn&rsquo;t a new phenomenon, though the markdowns that some owners face are probably even larger than what <a href="">the FT </a>is reporting: <strong>Back in 2015, Delta purchased a used Boeing 777 for just $7.7 million, <a href="">equivalent to a 97.2% discount off its list price of $277.3 million.</a></strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 350px;" /></a></p> <p>Delta CEO Richard Anderson raised some eyebrows in October when he said there was a &ldquo;huge bubble&rdquo; in used widebody aircraft, pricing a 10-year-old 777-200 at $10 million.</p> <p>Anderson said that the market would be &ldquo;ripe&rdquo; for Delta to buy used 777s. To be sure, Boeing president and CEO Dennis Muilenburg was among those who pushed back against Anderson, saying the Delta CEO was valuing used 777&rsquo;s much too low. <em><strong>Turns out, Anderson&rsquo;s estimate was $2.3 million too high.</strong></em></p> <p>To be sure, the supply of new jets has fallen sharply in the past decade. In 2008, 1,313 business jets were delivered, compared with 661 in 2016. <strong>But the drop hasn&rsquo;t been fast enough to balance out oversupply in the used-jet market. One theory is that the glut is being caused in part by wealthy individuals dumping their old jets to buy a new one.</strong></p> <p>The airlines say they&rsquo;ve adjusted supplies in response to the market glut, but whatever they&rsquo;re doing, it&rsquo;s clearly not working.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Bombardier said it did not comment on specific pricing of its aircraft, but it said the company had realigned its production in the light of market demand.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Newer models coming on to the market had also caused prices to fall further, said Oliver Stone, managing director of Colibri.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Customers are selling their current jet to upgrade to the new one,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Supply is increasing, but not demand.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Yet even with the release of new aircraft, with many manufacturers targeting the larger cabin market, the delivery of new business jets has fallen dramatically over the past decade. In 2008, 1,313 business jets were delivered, compared with just 661 last year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Pre-2008, the jet market was in a massive bubble and prices have been decreasing ever since,&rdquo; said Mr Stone.</p> </blockquote> <p>Airplane manufacturers helped create the oversupply by embracing a strategy familiar to anyone who&rsquo;s followed our <a href="">coverage of US new-car sales data</a>: For years, manufacturers relied on discounts and other incentives to meet delivery goals. <em><strong>Then, when the financial crisis hit, repossessions climbed between 2009 and 2012, according to Edwin Brenninkmeyer, chief executive of Biggin Hill-based Oriens Aviation.</strong></em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;To keep pace with sales volume, manufacturers increased discounts to continue the high delivery volumes, often with 30 per cent discounts which became the &lsquo;industry norm&rsquo;.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>If there is a silver lining, it&rsquo;s that the chartered plane industry stands to benefit as more owners give their planes up for charter. As the FT reports, the rise in available planes hasn&rsquo;t had much of an impact on the price of a charter hour, which has changed little in the last decade.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>&ldquo;It has been exactly the same price to charter a private jet for the past 10 years,&rdquo;</em></strong> said Adam Twidell, chief executive of PrivateFly, a global booking service for private aircraft hire.<br />&nbsp;</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="666" height="371" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Aircraft Airliners Aviation Boeing Boeing 777 Bombardier Inc. Business Business Business jet Civil aircraft Delta Diamond D-Jet Private Jet Very light jets Sun, 25 Jun 2017 15:40:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 598605 at EXPOSED: CIA drug connection shows how they support USD and manipulate foreign markets <p style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 30px; color: #282828; font-family: Lato, serif; font-size: 16px;">(<a href="" style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; background-color: transparent; color: #1b8289; text-decoration-line: underline; transition: all 0.25s ease-in-out; border-color: #901818;">GLOBALINTELHUB.COM</a>) – 6/26/2017 — Drugs have been a part of human society forever – however far back you go, humans have used drugs in one form or another; medicine, recreation, spirituality (Shamans of simple tribes often ate psychedelics). &nbsp;In the world today there is an interesting schism between the puritan “America” and “Europe” about this issue – in Europe they consider drug addiction a health issue, and in places like Switzerland you can literally get strong narcotics like heroin from the Government. &nbsp;In America it’s the opposite, there is an &nbsp;exploding prison population for small non-violent offenses. &nbsp;But as with many things in America there are lots of ironies and hypocrisies, America also has the highest per capita rate of users of legal pharmaceuticals ‘drugs’ – and is one of the only countries in the world where drug companies are allowed to advertise on TV (In Europe you won’t see commercials for Prozac, Viagra, or other questionably useful drugs).</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 30px; color: #282828; font-family: Lato, serif; font-size: 16px;">As the CIA represents the main head of the octopus that controls America’s society on behalf of their Illuminati owners, it is only fitting that the CIA has its hand in the international drug trade. &nbsp;It is also an interesting side note that since its early days the CIA has been interested in drugs for the use of interrogation, mind control, crowd control, and other purposes. &nbsp;In fact there have been suggestions based on circumstantial evidence that the entire ‘hippie’ movement came straight out of a CIA drug lab vis a vis Tim Leary and other affiliated icons.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 30px; color: #282828; font-family: Lato, serif; font-size: 16px;"><a href="" style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; background-color: transparent; color: #1b8289; text-decoration-line: underline; transition: all 0.25s ease-in-out; border-color: #901818;">The inspiration of this article is the book and legend of Gary Webb, the book is Dark Alliance – a must read for any trader or investor</a>. &nbsp;Here’s a real blueprint how groups like the CIA manipulate markets. &nbsp;While the story of Dark Alliance which was originally published in a small California regional newspaper the San Jose Mercury News. &nbsp;The book is a great example of how to properly research a topic where its difficult to find information (in this case, because most of the CIA involvement was ‘secret’ and thus information was classified or destroyed, mostly). &nbsp;In trading, information is also difficult to find – analysts can learn a great deal from reading this book and understanding how one investigative journalist broke open the biggest secret the CIA had in its closet of deep secrets: &nbsp;The CIA was managing the international drug trade. &nbsp;The book concludes with the impeccable logic of the agency and how they could be involved in such dastardly deeds. &nbsp;When the topic was officially investigated it was discovered that the CIA had a secret legal agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) stating that through the CIAs business of spying, it was not their obligation to report illegal activities they witnessed to the DOJ (such as drug trafficking) as it may compromise their intelligence gathering. &nbsp;And lo and behold, most of the CIAs international assets happened to be major drug kingpins like Manuel Noriega. &nbsp;So based on this understanding, no employee of the CIA ever directly brought drugs into the USA, and likely never touched the operation directly. &nbsp;It was CIAs job to provide logistic support, planes, pilots, operational instructions, airfields, needed gear, and most importantly – protection from prosecution in USA due to ‘national security.’ &nbsp;And there were side benefits to this operation. &nbsp;They got to redirect funds from Central and South American cocaine to the fledgling contra revolution in Nicaragua which the US Congress didn’t want to continue funding. &nbsp;They got to destroy the black community in South Central Los Angeles with the crack explosion (not only by health, but by using it as a tool to pass draconian laws). &nbsp;They also could easily use the information on the drug trade to go after their enemies in Central America. &nbsp;It seemed to be a win-win-win for USA. &nbsp;And according to this secret agreement with DOJ it was all legal!</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 30px; color: #282828; font-family: Lato, serif; font-size: 16px;">Before continuing, let’s un-muddy the waters about key points on this issue. &nbsp;An investigation found that no CIA employee was found bringing illicit narcotics into USA. &nbsp;That’s probably true. &nbsp;In “Dark Alliance” there is no suggestion that the CIA itself was bringing drugs into the country. &nbsp;The drug kingpins such as Norwin Meneses, Danilo Blandon, and others – were simply protected as ‘assets’ – the CIA not only looked the other way, they stopped other US Government investigators from uncovering anything substantial. &nbsp;Several instances where the drug operations were discovered by DEA, FBI, and others – turned into a situation where they were instructed to cease the investigation and if they did not, the individual was targeted.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 30px; color: #282828; font-family: Lato, serif; font-size: 16px;">So how is all this connected to the markets? &nbsp;The CIA is a fairly large organization, 20,000 employees working in the US and in practically every country in the world. &nbsp;Their operations are vast, just to name a few not commonly known but public CIA operations, they are active angel and seed investors in Silicon Valley and have even created a budding DC based VC community that develops technology with primarily intelligence and military applications (such as face recognition). &nbsp;<a href="" style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; background-color: transparent; color: #1b8289; text-decoration-line: underline; transition: all 0.25s ease-in-out; border-color: #901818;">The most absurd example of a CIA project was when they hired psychologist BF Skinner to train pigeons to aid in missile guidance systems:</a></p> <blockquote style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; padding: 20px 40px; margin: 0px 0px 30px; font-size: 17.5px; border-left: 5px solid #eeeeee; font-style: italic; color: #282828; font-family: Lato, serif;"><p style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; margin-bottom: 30px;"><em style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word;">One of the most seemingly preposterous military programs of all time occurred during WWII, when famed behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner was enlisted by the government to try and train pigeons for use in a missile guidance system. At the time, Skinner was known as one of the major practitioners of operant conditioning, a system that used reward and punishment as a means of controlling behavior. With these ideas in mind, Skinner placed a series of specially trained pigeons inside missiles. A camera on the front of the missile recorded its flight path, which was then projected on a screen for the pigeon to see. The birds were trained to recognize the missile’s intended target, and they would peck at the screen if it was drifting off course. This information was fed to the weapon’s flight controls, which would then be changed to reflect the new coordinates. Skinner was originally given $25,000 to get the project up and running, and he actually managed to make some minor progress with it. But government officials were never quite able to get past the obvious&nbsp;<a href="" title="Top 10 Strangest Music Videos" style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; background-color: transparent; color: #1b8289; text-decoration-line: underline; transition: all 0.25s ease-in-out; border-color: #901818;">absurdity</a>&nbsp;of the program, and it was eventually shut down. &nbsp;<strong style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word;">&nbsp;.. and another one “Acoustic Kitty”</strong></em></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word;"><em style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word;">Most people wouldn’t think of the common house cat as being a potential master of espionage, but the CIA sure did. In the 1960s, American intelligence is said to have spent over $20 million on “Acoustic Kitty,” a top-secret project that used cats as recording devices. The project took a group of specially trained cats and surgically implanted microphones, antennae and batteries into their tails, and then set them loose near the Russian embassy. The idea was that an unassuming cat would be able to stride right up to groups of communist officials and listen in on their conversation, which it could then beam back to agents with its sophisticated radio equipment. The plan was eventually put into action, but the first&nbsp;<a href="" title="Top 10 Lives of Catwoman" style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; background-color: transparent; color: #1b8289; text-decoration-line: underline; transition: all 0.25s ease-in-out; border-color: #901818;">cat</a>&nbsp;sent into the field was supposedly run over by a taxi before it could make a recording, and operation ‘Acoustic Kitty” was abandoned shortly thereafter.</em></p> </blockquote> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 30px; color: #282828; font-family: Lato, serif; font-size: 16px;">Why did we use this ridiculous example? &nbsp;Because it is a known project, that the CIA was using Pigeons to guide missiles – it’s not so hard to believe they provided drug traffickers with the logistic and legal support needed to bring Cocaine into USA (and many other activities). &nbsp;For more absurd CIA programs see&nbsp;<a href="" style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; background-color: transparent; color: #1b8289; text-decoration-line: underline; transition: all 0.25s ease-in-out; border-color: #901818;">this article.</a></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 30px; color: #282828; font-family: Lato, serif; font-size: 16px;">But the primary role of the CIA, is that of intelligence gathering and analysis which puts them right in the middle of the information war – and the battlefield is&nbsp;the financial markets. &nbsp;As we explain in our book&nbsp;<a href="" style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; background-color: transparent; color: #1b8289; text-decoration-line: underline; transition: all 0.25s ease-in-out; border-color: #901818;">Splitting Pennies Understanding Forex</a>&nbsp;– the only thing that backs the US Dollar are bombs. &nbsp;Basically, the US Military, and in this case the CIA primarily, protects the US Dollar globally. &nbsp;If you look at any foreign CIA operation it’s all about one thing: money. &nbsp;Cuba became an enemy only after the communist government nationalized US owned businesses there (effectively, seized). &nbsp;You can literally overlay a global map of CIA activity which is negatively correlated with Coca Cola and McDonald’s sales (which are all denominated in US Dollars). &nbsp;And by the way, that is the connection to the CIA and FX – wherever there’s a foreign market, there is the CIA. &nbsp;They fight for market domination of the US Dollar (and the US corporations and culture that comes with it) no different than a major US corporation competes for market share. &nbsp;But their ‘client’ is one single entity: The US Government (and US Citizens, but rich ones). &nbsp;They are protecting capitalism at the front lines – fighting communism while making a few dollars along the way – what could be more American than that? &nbsp;They use the same playbook as they’ve developed internally for most of their operations – thus, by understanding the Contra-Cocaine operation one can understand any operation. &nbsp;They aren’t really so different.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 30px; color: #282828; font-family: Lato, serif; font-size: 16px;"><a href="" style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; background-color: transparent; color: #1b8289; text-decoration-line: underline; transition: all 0.25s ease-in-out; border-color: #901818;">Here’s a document that shows how the CIA has been supporting the US Dollar, regarding Gold markets</a>&nbsp;(bear in mind, this document is dated 1970, one year before Nixon created the free floating FX regime we use today, which means the US Dollar was pegged to Gold). &nbsp;CIA support of US Dollar and USD interests is implied; that’s at the core of what they do – it is their doctrine. &nbsp;Intelligence gathering, is the tactical level and Communism, and other threats to the USD global hegemony are strategies. &nbsp;And relatively speaking, they do a good job. &nbsp;The USD has never been used so widely around the world, the US stock market has enjoyed a bull run never seen before in history. &nbsp;All the crap in the news and investigations into their drug operations are really an irrelevant side issue – what the CIA was created for, they succeed.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 30px; color: #282828; font-family: Lato, serif; font-size: 16px;">Probably, let’s hope this is not the case, probably – there wasn’t a CIA plot to bring Cocaine into America and turn it into crack and flood the black community. &nbsp;These were all convenient circumstances to achieve what they wanted operationally – fund a covert war and at the same time make a little money and use the issue to ruin their local enemies. &nbsp;Central America has few natural resources to speak of without sophisticated mining and/or manufacturing operations to tap them; in other words, there isn’t any ‘oil’ to exploit, as in the middle east. &nbsp;The one thing that is easy to grow and is more valuable than any other naturally growing substance, is Coca (when refined into Cocaine). &nbsp;And as explained in the book, before it was realized that it could be turned into crack – Cocaine was the habit of the Elite themselves, due to price and the fact that you could literally continue working while you were high on the powder&nbsp;(such as Wall St. traders during the trading session). &nbsp;So while it seems extreme, and the crack epidemic of Los Angeles is clearly a huge social problem – it isn’t really surprising that the CIA was involved in such profitable business. &nbsp;Similar circumstantial evidence suggests that a similar operation was run in Afghanistan, a land where the Poppy plant grows wild. &nbsp;George H.W. Bush’s CIA nickname was George “Poppy” Bush. &nbsp;Like “Grandpappy” right? &nbsp;In the book Gary Webb claims that Pablo Escobar had a photo of “Poppy” standing in front of a huge pile of cash and cocaine, but the photograph never surfaced and he was killed shortly after making this statement about the photograph (it may be another funny coincidence).</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 30px; color: #282828; font-family: Lato, serif; font-size: 16px;">In conclusion – this book is a must read for any trader or investor:&nbsp;<a href="" style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; background-color: transparent; color: #1b8289; text-decoration-line: underline; transition: all 0.25s ease-in-out; border-color: #901818;">Dark Alliance</a>. &nbsp;Also it’s a must read for any lawyer – as this is a unique situation where you have a hidden hand protecting defendants in Federal cases with ‘national security’ – silencing witnesses (with gag orders) and other mechanisms not common in district courts.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 30px; color: #282828; font-family: Lato, serif; font-size: 16px;">To get a full picture of how the financial world REALLY works, check out&nbsp;<a href="" style="box-sizing: border-box; word-wrap: break-word; background-color: transparent; color: #1b8289; text-decoration-line: underline; transition: all 0.25s ease-in-out; border-color: #901818;">Splitting Pennies.</a></p> Afghanistan American intelligence B+ California Central America Central Intelligence Agency Central Intelligence Agency CIA transnational anti-crime and anti-drug activities Cold War in popular culture CRAP Dark Alliance Department of Justice Department of Justice FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation FX Gary Webb Government Human rights violations by the CIA Market Share McLean, Virginia Middle East Newspaper Russian embassy Switzerland U.S. Congress United States US Federal Reserve US government US military Sun, 25 Jun 2017 15:12:28 +0000 globalintelhub 598613 at Bitcoin Buyer Beware <p>Entrepreneurs have a new trick to raise money quickly, and it all takes place online, free from the constraints of banks and regulators. <a href="">As Axios reports,</a> since the beginning of 2017, 65 startups have raised $522 million using initial coin offerings &mdash; trading a digital coin (essentially an investment in their company) for a digital currency, like Bitcoin or Ether.</p> <div> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div> <p>One recent example, as <a href="" target="_blank">NYT reports</a>, saw <strong>Bay Area coders earn $35 million&nbsp;in less than 30 seconds&nbsp;during an online fund-raising event</strong><a href="" target="_blank">.</a>&nbsp;They sold Basic Attention Tokens (BAT coin) which will grant buyers access to an innovative ad-free web browser the coders are intending to create, but have yet to launch.</p> <p><strong>And that&#39;s the catch: these investors are buying promises in the form of coins for a product or service that doesn&#39;t exist.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Similar to the Bay Area example, a group of entrepreneurs in Switzerland secured $100 million last week by selling a coin that will one day be used on Status, an online chat program that&#39;s still being developed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Proponents argue that these<strong> initial coin offerings are &quot;a financial innovation that empowers developers and gives early investors a chance to share in the profits of a successful new enterprise,&quot; </strong>NYT notes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, many say it potentially violates securities law and that this trading of digital currencies is ripe for hackers, from NYT:<strong><em> &quot;Last year, the first blockbuster coin offering, the Decentralized Autonomous Organization, quickly raised more than $150 million. But the project&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">blew up</a>&nbsp;after a hacker manipulated the code and stole more than $50 million worth of digital currency.&quot;</em></strong></p> </blockquote> </div> <p>By selling these coins for Bitcoin or Ether,<strong><em> &quot;conventional banks and financial institutions are essentially shut out, allowing initial coin offerings to take place beyond the control of regulators,&quot; </em></strong>and that could lead to a whole host of issues for the entrepreneurs and investors alike.</p> <p>So, it is no wonder that <a href="">Fred Wilson&#39;s advice</a> with regard ICOs is simple &quot;<strong><em>buyer beware, do your homework, don&#39;t be greedy.</em></strong>&quot;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Yes, buyer beware. Do your homework. Don&#39;t be greedy.</p> <p>&mdash; Fred Wilson (@fredwilson) <a href="">June 14, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p><a href="">;s Fred Wilson has a lot more to say</a>...</p> <p>Whether you are buying in a private placement of securities as a venture capitalist or buying in an ICO as a crypto enthusiast,<strong> there are certain things that you need to be careful about. </strong>And right now, with all of the enthusiasm for crypto assets out there, I am very concerned that nobody is being careful about anything.</p> <p>So here are some things to think about before placing your order on that next ICO:</p> <ol> <li><strong>The amount raised matters, a lot. </strong>More money is not generally a good thing. I wrote <a href="">a blog post about this</a> a while back. In my experience, the startups that are careful and raise modest amounts of capital outperform the startups that raise crazy amounts of capital and are overly aggressive. I would look for capped ICOs and modest amounts of capital. Teams should raise enough money to do what they want to do but you can do a lot with $10mm and a tremendous amount with $50mm. Ethereum raised $18.5mm USD (in BTC) in their token offering and lost some of that due to a decline in BTC value. And look at what they have been able to accomplish with that funding.</li> <li><strong>You should understand what the token that is being offered does and have some feel for how large of an opportunity that is.</strong> I remember friends buying hot Internet IPOs in the late 90s and I&rsquo;d ask them why they were investing and they would say to me &ldquo;I heard its a hot deal&rdquo; and I would say &ldquo;But what does the company do?&rdquo; and they would say to me &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know, but I know I&rsquo;m going to make a lot of money.&rdquo; That kind of investing is dumb. Be smart and understand what you are buying and why. And if you can&rsquo;t hold the investment through to the point at which the token will have real utility and real value, you might want to think twice about buying it in the first place.</li> <li><strong>Valuation matters.</strong> I know that many in startup land don&rsquo;t really agree with this. There are VCs who want to be in the best deals and don&rsquo;t really care what they have to pay to get into them. That might work as an investment strategy but it requires a lot of luck and market timing. If, instead, you focus on valuation when you make your investments and buy into investments at prices that make sense to you and have a model for why and how the investment will be worth 10x your entry price in 5+ years, you stand a much better chance at making solid returns. There are <a href="">people in the crypto space who are building valuation models</a>. You should follow them and understand their work. And you should try to apply that kind of thinking to your crypto investing.</li> <li><strong>Avoid scams and things that feel like scams. </strong>Scams are not limited to the crypto sector. They exist in all forms of investing (and many other sectors too). As VCs we often get pitched an opportunity that has red flags all over it. You learn quickly to delete those emails and not return those calls. But an emerging sector, like crypto, where there is less regulation, scrutiny, due diligence, and knowledge, scams are going to be more common. There have already been a bunch of well publicized scams in the crypto sector and I would bet that one or more successfully funded ICOs that have already been done will turn out to have been a scam in some measure. There is a difference between a intentional scam and an accidental scam, but if you are the investor, you were scammed in both instances. Be on the lookout for scams and avoid them. The best red flag for a scam is lack of detail on the technology, how it will work, and a lack of credibility of the people behind the project. Do you homework on these investments and make sure the technology and the people are credible before you part with your money.</li> <li><strong>Look for projects where the technology is well specified and is working in the wild.</strong> It is much easier as a VC to invest in companies where the product has been shipped and you can use it. I would venture to guess that more than 80% of USV&rsquo;s investments over the years have been into companies where that was the case. You can use Bitcoin, you can use Ethereum, you can use Steem, you can use Zcash. These are fully functioning crypto assets that have been &ldquo;shipped&rdquo; and are widely used. That does not mean they will be successful, but it sure gives you more confidence that they might be successful. Investing on a white paper is way more risky than investing in a working technology that you can use yourself.</li> <li><u><strong>Don&rsquo;t be greedy. </strong></u>This goes for both buyers and sellers in the market. You might be able to make a killing right now. But I would suggest you resist that urge. Those who play this market right over the long term will do extremely well. But trying to make a killing overnight is always a bad idea. So for sellers that means raising reasonable amounts, not all you can get. And selling more into the market over time, as Vitalik suggests in <a href="">this blog post</a>:<br /><em>If we want to strike at the heart of this problem, how would we solve it? I would say the answer is simple: start moving to mechanisms other than single round sales.</em> For the buyers, this means not putting all of your assets to work in one ICO, or even all of your assets into crypto. Markets can crash. You need diversification to manage risk, particularly in highly volatile markets.</li> </ol> <p><strong>I have been a big booster of Bitcoin, blockchain, crypto tokens, <a href="">and the like on this blog for the past six years.</a> I am a big long term believer in this sector.</strong> USV is investing in this sector. We are investors in token funds and I believe we will start directly buying tokens soon. So we are bullish on crypto.</p> <p><strong>However, there are many things going on in the sector right now that are head shakers to us.</strong> We have been investing in startups and emerging tech sectors for over thirty years. We have seen this movie before . We know how it plays out and we know that all is not up and to the right forever.</p> <p><strong>When people are afraid, be greedy.</strong> And when people are greedy, be afraid. <strong>We are much closer to the latter scenario in crypto right now </strong>and while I am not afraid for my investments and USV&rsquo;s investments in this sector, I am afraid for the sector and those who are being the most greedy right now.<strong><em> I am cautioning our portfolio companies to tread carefully and we are treading carefully. And I would advise all of you to do the same.</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="894" height="453" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin Blockchains Business Cryptocurrencies Decentralized Autonomous Organization Economy Ethereum Finance Financial technology Initial Coin Offering Market Timing Money Payment systems Startup company Switzerland working technology Sun, 25 Jun 2017 15:05:37 +0000 Tyler Durden 598612 at THe USuAL SuSPeCTS... <p><a href="" title="THE USUAL SUSPECTS"><img src="" alt="THE USUAL SUSPECTS" width="1024" height="576" /></a></p> <script src="//"></script> Baseball Hall of Fame balloting Education Politics Sun, 25 Jun 2017 14:43:56 +0000 williambanzai7 598611 at