en The EU Needs A Three-Child Policy – And China Should Pay For It! <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Andrew Korybko via Oriental Review,</em></a></p> <p><strong>The EU&rsquo;s policy of &ldquo;replacement migration&rdquo; is an economic failure and threatens to undermine China&rsquo;s New Silk Road strategy for Europe by diminishing the continent&rsquo;s much-needed consumer market potential, which should thereby serve as an impetus for Beijing to consider investing in social programs there as a means of encouraging replacement fertility for the EU&rsquo;s citizens. </strong></p> <p><a href=""><strong><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 312px;" /></strong></a></p> <h3><u><strong>The Roots Of &ldquo;Replacement Migration&rdquo;</strong></u></h3> <p><strong>The EU&rsquo;s liberal-progressive ruling elite aided and abetted <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">the Migrant Crisis</a> as a means of encouraging &ldquo;replacement migration&rdquo; to compensate for their falling populations,</strong> naively believing in the dogma of their bloc&rsquo;s de-facto &ldquo;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Cultural Marxist</a>&rdquo; ideology that civilizationally dissimilar migrants will seamlessly adapt to their new host societies and quickly become productive citizens. They expected that the relatively impoverished and in many cases largely uneducated &ldquo;New Europeans&rdquo; from Africa, the Mideast, and South Asia who have uncontrollably flooded into Europe would have no problem climbing the ladder of socio-economic success in one day replacing their dying European counterparts in all professional spheres.</p> <p><strong>It should also be reminded in this vein that these &ldquo;New Europeans&rdquo; didn&rsquo;t just appear out of nowhere, but are the product of the unipolar wars that created them in the first place</strong> and the NGO-assisted human trafficking networks that then imported these &ldquo;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Weapons of Mass Migration</a>&rdquo; to Europe, both activities of which the EU elite have been complicit in. As could have been anticipated by any objective observer not under the influence of &ldquo;Cultural Marxism&rdquo;, this irresponsible multi-layered policy has totally failed in its presumed economic intentions, though it&rsquo;s cynically succeeded in planting the seeds for a massive socio-cultural reengineering of some leading European countries&rsquo; demographics.</p> <h3><u><strong>China&rsquo;s Strategic Stake In The EU</strong></u></h3> <p>While one might be led to immediately think that the consequences of this epic disaster would be limited solely to the bloc&rsquo;s borders, <strong>few people realize that it will also affect China&rsquo;s grand strategy by eventually depriving Beijing of the robust consumer-driven marketplace that it needs from the EU in order to make its large-scale infrastructure investments there worthwhile.</strong> China&rsquo;s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity is driven by Beijing&rsquo;s desire to develop and secure new consumer markets to which it could offload its overproduction, as the failure to do so would with time lead to socio-economic consequences in the People&rsquo;s Republic as state-sponsored firms are forced to lay off countless workers if they dramatically downscale production or can&rsquo;t make ends meet anymore.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="The New Eurasia Land Bridge Economic Corridor" class="size-full wp-image-16966" src=";ssl=1" style="width: 599px; height: 281px;" /></a></p> <p><em>The New Eurasia Land Bridge Economic Corridor</em></p> <p><strong>The Eurasian Land Bridge, the Silk Road connectivity project through Kazakhstan and Russia, as well as the Balkan Silk Road through Greece all the way up to Central Europe, are intended to connect China&rsquo;s East Asian producers with Western European consumers,</strong> but if Europe is no longer the consumption powerhouse that it once was after a decade of &ldquo;replacement migration&rdquo;, then the whole strategy is nullified with potentially disastrous consequences for Beijing. Although it&rsquo;s &ldquo;politically incorrect&rdquo; to admit as much in the West, the &ldquo;New Europeans&rdquo; from the Global South consume more in government subsidies than they do in actual products, and when &ndash; or in many cases, if &ndash; they enter the labor force, it&rsquo;s usually in low-end and low-paying sectors which aren&rsquo;t in any way capable of replacing the ever-aging consumers that are steadily dying out.</p> <p>In addition, many of the &ldquo;New Europeans&rdquo; self-segregate themselves by refusing to assimilate and integrate into their host countries, which in and of itself increases domestic tensions even without considering the crime wave that some of them have helped contribute to. <strong>When the newly imported &ldquo;replacement population&rdquo; does acquire a little bit of extra money to spend on the economy, they&rsquo;re more prone to patronize local neighborhood stores run by their fellow ethnic or religious compatriots (usually migrants themselves) inside of their anchor communities. </strong>Altogether, these socio-economic habits undermine the whole Silk Road spirit of inclusivity and are extremely problematic for China because of the country&rsquo;s future dependency on EU consumption trends remaining as traditionally strong as they used to be.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="Migrants in Europe" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-16969" src=";ssl=1" style="width: 601px; height: 325px;" /></a></p> <h3><u><strong>Looming Problems</strong></u></h3> <p><strong>Left unchecked, &ldquo;replacement migration&rdquo; in the EU will inevitably lead to a decrease in the bloc&rsquo;s economic prowess, which in turn will jeopardize China&rsquo;s grand strategy of using its New Silk Roads &ndash; and especially the EU-Chinese vectors of the Eurasian Land Bridge and Balkan Silk Road &ndash; as a vehicle for realigning global trade patterns and therefore building the sustainable framework for the <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">emerging Multipolar World Order</a>. </strong>In what could be seen as both a blessing and a curse, however, the rise of populist sentiment in the EU could divert the bloc&rsquo;s present globalist trajectory towards a more &ldquo;nationalist&rdquo; course in both of its interlinked socio-cultural and economic manifestations. On the one hand, the masses might succeed in pressuring the elite to downscale or outright suspend their &ldquo;replacement migration&rdquo; policies, but on the other, they might also naturally advocate for semi-protectionist trade measures such as the &ldquo;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">investment screening framework</a>&rdquo; that European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker recently proposed.</p> <p>This initiative aims to give EU governments the power to selectively prevent the sale of strategic economic assets to foreign state-controlled or state-funded companies and is generally thought to be directed against China. Although grounded in plausible national security concerns and already implemented to varying extents in some EU and non-EU countries, the timing and nature of Junker&rsquo;s proposal suggests that he&rsquo;s more interested in capturing European markets for the bloc&rsquo;s leading German, French, and Italian companies by crafting legislation which could deny their Chinese competitors equal access to them. Even though it&rsquo;s being spearheaded by one of the EU&rsquo;s most reviled bureaucrats and outspoken enemies of populism, this motion is expected to enjoy a surprising level of grassroots support because of its superficial channeling of populist energy, particularly as it relates to the perception of non-European foreigners taking over the continent.</p> <p><strong>China is therefore presented with a dilemma because it arguably stands to lose in the long-term if the &ldquo;Cultural Marxist&rdquo; policy of &ldquo;replacement migration&rdquo; is allowed to mature and begin systematically degrading the EU&rsquo;s consumer market capabilities, but it also gains from the associated globalist policy of allowing unregulated investment from Chinese state-affiliated companies into strategic EU industries.</strong> From the reverse perspective in respect to populism, China&rsquo;s Silk Road strategy would be safeguarded if &ldquo;replacement migration&rdquo; was done away with and replaced with populist initiatives encouraging the increased fertility of a nation&rsquo;s population, though Beijing needs to be wary of the &ldquo;economic nationalism&rdquo; manifestation of populism which could see severe restrictions placed on its plans to invest in more of the EU&rsquo;s strategic industries and maintain access to their national markets.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="First Chinese cargo trains arrives in Hamburg" class="aligncenter wp-image-16970 size-full" src=";ssl=1" style="width: 600px; height: 399px;" /></a></p> <h3><u><strong>A Populist Solution For The Silk Road</strong></u></h3> <p><strong>The best approach that China could follow in encouraging higher birthrates in its top Silk Road target market </strong>while simultaneously pioneering creative ways for its state-linked companies to ingratiate themselves with their host states is to replicate the West&rsquo;s new economic model in the &ldquo;Third World&rdquo; but apply it to European &ldquo;First World&rdquo; conditions. What&rsquo;s meant by this is that China should &ldquo;sweeten its deals&rdquo; with the promise of investing in, or dispersing grant money to, soft infrastructure projects such as schools, healthcare facilities, and job-training programs in order to improve the quality of life of its partner state&rsquo;s citizens. Western companies rarely implement this strategy like they&rsquo;re supposed to because they&rsquo;re more concerned about using it as a public relations ploy for boosting their attractiveness in other markets, and the host governments generally don&rsquo;t hold them accountable because the ruling party/elite are often bribed through this plausibly deniable money-transferring channel to keep quiet about it.</p> <p>China, however, doesn&rsquo;t have to fall into this short-term trap and could order its state-linked companies to adhere to this model like it was originally intended in improving the living conditions of the recipient state and &ldquo;winning hearts and minds&rdquo; because of it. In the context of contemporary populism and with an eye on Beijing&rsquo;s long-term New Silk Road interests in protecting the EU&rsquo;s future consumer market potential, China could even subsidize (whether openly or discretely) the financial incentives that populist governments hand out to their citizens in encouraging higher fertility.<strong> After all, China knows that replacement birthrates produce better consumers than &ldquo;replacement migration&rdquo; does, and Beijing&rsquo;s Silk Road strategy hinges on the EU retaining its impressive consumer market potential</strong>. Likewise, populists are against &ldquo;replacement migration&rdquo; and in favor of improving their citizens&rsquo; fertility, so this theoretically represents a win-win solution for both sides.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="EU China trade " class="alignnone size-full wp-image-16967" src=";ssl=1" style="width: 601px; height: 338px;" /></a></p> <h3><u><strong>Concluding Thoughts</strong></u></h3> <p>To reiterate the main point being expressed in this proposal, China needs to find a way to confront the dual challenges of the expected drop in the EU&rsquo;s consumer market potential following the &ldquo;successful&rdquo; implementation of its &ldquo;replacement migration&rdquo; policy and also devise a creative strategy for preventing its state-affiliated companies from being denied access to the bloc&rsquo;s strategic industries due to superficially populist initiatives such as Juncker&rsquo;s &ldquo;investment screening framework&rdquo;. This necessitates that China craft a comprehensive policy which highlights its value-added differentiators in appealing to the rising populist zeitgeist in Europe, one which has already seen the Central European countries of <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Poland</a> and <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Hungary</a> promote higher birthrates through state subsidies and could probably become the continental standard in the next decade if the failed policy of &ldquo;replacement migration&rdquo; is eventually replaced. That said, this could only happen if the EU countries experience a surge in births across the coming decades, but many of them might not be able to afford the social costs that that this entails and would therefore have to look abroad for financial support if want to have any chance at sustainably implementing this proposal.</p> <p>Therefore,<strong> the ideal win-win solution that China and the populists (whether in each individual EU country or the bloc as a whole) could forge with one another would be if Beijing agrees to an arrangement to bankroll an ambitious fertility-increasing policy and its attendant social requirements (schools, healthcare facilities, job-training programs, etc.) in exchange for continued and preferential access to their strategic industries and markets.</strong> Considering how far behind the EU&rsquo;s population replacement rate is, then China and its partners should set the bar high by aiming for a three-child policy that the People&rsquo;s Republic would help pay for by channeling its &ldquo;communist spirit&rdquo; to redistribute some of its state-supported companies&rsquo; wealth to the host country&rsquo;s citizenry so as to ensure Beijing&rsquo;s long-term interests with respect to the Silk Road.<strong> So long as China can succeed in preserving the EU&rsquo;s consumer market strength and even enhancing its capacity, then Beijing won&rsquo;t have much to worry about regarding its long-term strategy for Western Eurasia</strong>, but if the &ldquo;Cultural Marxists&rdquo; win by having &ldquo;replacement migration&rdquo; ruin all of this, then China will face a major threat which could jeopardize its future global leadership plans.</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="708" height="368" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Asia Central Europe China Demographics ETC European Commission European Union Foreign relations of China Greece Hungary Kazakhstan national security Nationalism One Belt One Road Initiative One Belt, One Road Poland Populism Road transport Silk Road South Asia World history Mon, 25 Sep 2017 07:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 604095 at Visualizing The Massive Impact Of EVs On Commodities <p><strong><em>What would happen if you flipped a switch, and suddenly every new car that came off assembly lines was electric?</em></strong></p> <p>It&rsquo;s obviously a thought experiment, since right now EVs have close to just 1% market share worldwide. We&rsquo;re still years away from EVs even hitting double-digit demand on a global basis, and the entire supply chain is built around the internal combustion engine, anyways.</p> <p>At the same time, however,<a href=""> as Visual Capitalist&#39;s Jeff Desjardins notes</a>, <strong>the scenario is interesting to consider.</strong> One&nbsp;<a href="">recent projection</a>, for example, put EVs at a 16% penetration by 2030 and then 51% by 2040. This could be conservative depending on the changing regulatory environment for manufacturers &ndash; after all, big markets like China, France, and the U.K. have recently announced that they plan on&nbsp;<a href="">banning gas-powered vehicles</a>&nbsp;in the near future.</p> <h2><span style="text-decoration: underline;">THE THOUGHT EXPERIMENT</span></h2> <p><strong>We discovered this &ldquo;100% EV world&rdquo; thought experiment in a&nbsp;<a href="">UBS report</a>&nbsp;that everyone should read.</strong> As a part of their UBS Evidence Lab initiative, <strong>they tore down a Chevy Bolt to see exactly what is inside</strong>, and then had 39 of the bank&rsquo;s analysts weigh in on the results.</p> <p>After breaking down the metals and other materials used in the vehicle, they noticed a considerable amount of variance from what gets used in a standard gas-powered car. It wasn&rsquo;t just the battery pack that made a difference &ndash; it was also the body and the permanent-magnet synchronous motor that had big implications.</p> <div style="clear:both"><a href=""><img src="" style="border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; height: 913px; width: 600px;" /></a></div> <div><em>Courtesy of: <a href="">Visual Capitalist</a></em></div> <p>As a part of their analysis, they extrapolated the data for a potential scenario where 100% of the world&rsquo;s auto demand came from Chevy Bolts, instead of the current auto mix.</p> <h2><span style="text-decoration: underline;">THE IMPLICATIONS</span></h2> <p>If global demand suddenly flipped in this fashion, here&rsquo;s what would happen:</p> <p><a href=""><img height="401" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><em><strong>Some caveats we think are worth noting:</strong></em></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>The Bolt is not a Tesla</strong></span></p> <p>The Bolt uses an NMC cathode formulation (nickel, manganese, and cobalt in a 1:1:1 ratio), versus Tesla vehicles which use NCA cathodes (nickel, cobalt, and aluminum, in an estimated 16:3:1 ratio). Further, the Bolt uses an permanent-magnet synchronous motor, which is different from Tesla&rsquo;s AC induction motor &ndash; the key difference there being rare earth usage.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Big Markets, small markets:</strong></span></p> <p>Lithium, cobalt, and graphite have tiny markets, and they will explode in size with any notable increase in EV demand. The nickel market, which is more than $20 billion per year, will also more than double in this scenario. It&rsquo;s also worth noting that the Bolt uses low amounts of nickel in comparison to Tesla cathodes, which are 80% nickel.</p> <p><strong>Meanwhile, the 100% EV scenario barely impacts the steel market, which is monstrous to begin with.</strong> The same can be said for silicon, even though the Bolt uses 6-10x more semiconductors than a regular car. The market for PGMs like platinum and palladium, however, gets decimated in this hypothetical scenario &ndash; that&rsquo;s because their use as catalysts in combustion engines are a primary source of demand.</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="752" height="373" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Atomic physics Business Chemical elements Chevrolet Bolt China Cobalt Dietary minerals Electromagnetism Ferromagnetic materials France Hatchbacks Lithium-ion battery Market Share Matter Nickel semiconductors Technology Transition metals UBS Evidence Lab Mon, 25 Sep 2017 06:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 604088 at People Ignore Facts That Contradict Their False Beliefs <p><em><a href="">Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,</a></em></p> <p><strong>The more people there are who&nbsp;ignore&nbsp;facts&nbsp;that contradict their beliefs, the likelier a dictatorship will emerge within a given country. </strong></p> <p><a href=""><img height="328" src="" width="605" /></a></p> <p><strong><em>Here is how aristocracies, throughout the Ages, have controlled the masses, by taking advantage of this widespread tendency people have, to&nbsp;ignore&nbsp;contrary&nbsp;facts</em></strong>:</p> <p>What social scientists call <strong>&ldquo;confirmation bias&rdquo; and have repeatedly found to be rampant, is causing the public to be easily manipulated, and has thus destroyed democracy </strong>by replacing news-reporting, by propaganda - &lsquo;news&#39; that&rsquo;s false - in a culture where lies which pump the agendas of the powerful (including lies pumped by the billionaire owners of top &lsquo;news&rsquo;media and of the media they own) are almost never punished (and are often not even denied to be true). Thus, lies by those powerful liars almost always succeed at enslaving the minds of the millions, to believe what the top economic-and-power class want those millions of people to believe &mdash; no matter how false it might happen actually to be.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Recently, a particularly stark example of this came to my attention. On 15 September 2017, an article that I wrote for the Strategic Culture Foundation, and which was titled by a true statement that I had only recently discovered to be true, was republished at a news-site that I consider one of the best around, &ldquo;Signs of the Times&rdquo; or &ldquo;SOTT&rdquo; for short, and a reader-comment there, simply rejected that title-statement and the entire article, because it contradicted what the person believes. This commenter entirely&nbsp;ignored&nbsp;the evidence that I had provided in the article, which proved the statement to be true.&nbsp;</em></p> <p><strong>No matter how irrefutable the evidence is, most people reject anything which contradicts their deeply entrenched false beliefs, and this reader-comment crystallized for me, this phenomenon of &ldquo;confirmation bias&rdquo; &mdash; the phenomenon of&nbsp;ignoring&nbsp;evidence that contradicts what one believes.</strong></p> <p>The article was titled&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">&ldquo;Liberalism doesn&rsquo;t respect a nation&rsquo;s sovereignty.&rdquo;</a>&nbsp;I never knew that&nbsp;fact&nbsp;until I researched it, but I found, after looking through (and my article quoting key documents from) the history of the matter, that it&rsquo;s&nbsp;actually the case:&nbsp;that liberalism (as it&rsquo;s understood and defined by the scholars of the subject, and as it&rsquo;s based upon the key formative documents of the historical tradition, &ldquo;liberalism&rdquo;)&nbsp;rejects a nation&rsquo;s sovereignty. This&nbsp;fact&nbsp;shocked me to discover; so, I wrote an article documenting it, and SCF accepted it, and it then became republished at a few other sites, including SOTT.</p> <p>The reader-comment at SOTT which for me personified confirmation-bias, was (in its entirety): <em>&ldquo;This is a rather new twist blaming liberals for invading countries. I&#39;ve always associated liberalism with the left wing and democratic, progressive politics. I&#39;ve always associated conservatism with the right wing, big business, militarism and invading other countries. Trying to move the goal posts, are we?&rdquo;</em></p> <p>That person never clicked onto my article&rsquo;s links documenting the case, nor even read the quotations given in the article itself from John Locke and from Adam Smith, who were key founders of &ldquo;liberalism&rdquo; as that tradition has come down to us. He instead&nbsp;ignored&nbsp;all of that evidence, and stated &mdash; entirely without evidence of&nbsp;any&nbsp;sort &mdash; that I (and SOTT, and SCF, for publishing it) were <strong><em>&ldquo;Trying to move the goal posts.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>I (a Bernie Sanders voter, and a lifelong progressive and opponent of conservatism) am &ldquo;Trying to move the goal posts&rdquo; &mdash;&nbsp;how? By pointing out the manufactured phoniness of &lsquo;liberalism&rsquo;? By pointing out a key way in which liberalism was designed by its aristocratic sponsors (in this case by the aristocrats who sponsored Locke and Smith), to be an ideology that would encourage conquest, empire, and discourage democracy (which is based upon the sanctity of national sovereignty &mdash; based upon the lack of imposition of government by or on behalf of anyone who&nbsp;isn&rsquo;t&nbsp;a resident on the land). Liberalism, I show there, was designed for Empire,&nbsp;not&nbsp;for democracy. That reader simply refused to consider the evidence.</p> <p><u><strong>People who insist upon deceiving themselves disgust me.</strong></u> Anyone who blocks out the key relevant&nbsp;facts&nbsp;and persists in believing the lies they were raised with, or became fooled into believing, doesn&rsquo;t harm&nbsp;only&nbsp;themselves by the lies they believe; they vote on the basis of the lies they believe, and thus these people who refuse to be open-minded&nbsp;destroy democracy, and invite control of the nation by the aristocracy (who sponsor the proponents of those lies). People who refuse to question their own beliefs, become increasingly putrid pools of their own false beliefs, which have been created and nurtured and sustained and become larger and larger pools of lies, by constant repetition from the media and lobbyists of the rich and powerful, so as to enable the exploiters to enslave the masses, via those constantly repeated and embellished lies.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Such self-&lsquo;justifying&rsquo; fools, who refuse to clean-up their conceptual pool that&rsquo;s been increasingly polluted by lies, are enemies of democracy, no matter how much they may consider themselves to be &lsquo;liberals&rsquo;. They don&rsquo;t even know the reality of what liberalism&nbsp;is. One thing that it definitely is&nbsp;not&nbsp;(as my article documented) is progressivism (which is utterly opposed to foreign conquest and to the entire imperial project of imposed rule, regardless whether by outright invasions or else by coups).</em></strong></p> <p>Thus, we have&nbsp;two&nbsp;dominant ideologies against progressivism: One is&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">conservatism</a>, which everyone recognizes to be against progressivism and for Empire and constant conquest, profitable war for the arms-merchants and for the &lsquo;news&rsquo;media owners who also benefit from stirring up invasion-fever, not only like William Randolph Hearst did but today like they all do. The other is liberalism, which hides that it&rsquo;s actually conservative &mdash; hides this, by being ever-so-sweet toward certain ethnicities or other groups that are being oppressed domestically, and by vociferously condemning conservatives for what is actually nothing more than the&nbsp;blatancy&nbsp;of conservatism&rsquo;s favoritism toward the aristocracy.</p> <p><strong>An authentic democracy cannot be based upon a &ldquo;demos&rdquo; (a public) that is overwhelmingly composed of suckers - manipulated fools. </strong>Only by means of the tiny aristocracy plus the huge mass of their suckers, does a democracy degenerate into a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">fascism</a>. <em>(For example, something like&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">this</a>&nbsp;can be supported overwhelmingly by the political Party that dominates the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, state capitals, state legislatures, and runs the U.S. White House, in this &lsquo;democratic&rsquo; nation &mdash; &lsquo;democratic&rsquo; according to the propaganda; but if this were really a democracy, then none of those politicians would be able to win public office.)</em></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>A well-established central finding of psychological research, concerning &ldquo;confirmation bias&rdquo; or &ldquo;motivated reasoning&rdquo; (which are two phrases referring to people&rsquo;s tendency to believe whatever they want to believe, regardless of any contrary&nbsp;facts), is that individuals evaluate whatever they read or hear according to their pre-existing ideas about the given subject. Specifically, psychologists have found that people tend to pay attention to whatever confirms their existing ideas, and tend to&nbsp;ignore&nbsp;whatever contradicts those pre-established beliefs.</p> <p><em><strong>For examples, the following studies are available online</strong></em>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;Motivated Skepticism in the Evaluation of Political Beliefs,&rdquo; in the July 2006&nbsp;American Journal of Political Science, reported: &ldquo;We find a confirmation bias &ndash; the seeking out of confirmatory evidence &ndash; when [people] are free to self-select the source of arguments they read. Both the confirmation and disconfirmation biases lead to attitude polarization ... especially among those with the strongest priors [prior beliefs] and highest level of political sophistication [the highest degree of exposure to, and involvement in, the given subject-matter that the study was dealing with].&rdquo; Prejudices were stronger among supposed experts than among non-&ldquo;experts&rdquo;: The more indoctrinated a person was, the more prejudiced. &ldquo;People actively denigrate the information with which they disagree, while accepting compatible information almost at face value.&rdquo; Moreover, &ldquo;Those with weak and uninformed attitudes show less bias&rdquo; (and this is actually one reason why the best jurors at trials are generally people who are not personally or professionally involved in any aspect of the given case &ndash; they are &ldquo;non-experts&rdquo;).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sharon Begley&rsquo;s article in the 25 August 2009&nbsp;Newsweek&nbsp;titled &ldquo;Lies of Mass Destruction: The same skewed thinking that supports a Saddam-9/11 link explains the power of health-care myths [such as that Obama&rsquo;s health plan had &lsquo;death panels&rsquo;]&rdquo; summarized the study in the May 2009&nbsp;Sociological Inquiry, &ldquo;&lsquo;There Must Be a Reason&rsquo;: Osama, Saddam, and Inferred Justification,&rdquo; which had surveyed, during October 2004, 49 conservative Republicans who admitted they believed that Saddam Hussein had caused the 9/11 attacks. This study found that 48 of these 49 extreme conservatives were utterly impervious to the overwhelming&nbsp;factual&nbsp;evidence which was provided to them by the presenters that contradicted this false belief they held.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A study concerning not political conservatism but merely resistance to new technologies is James N. Druckman&rsquo;s &ldquo;Framing, Motivated Reasoning, and Opinions about Emergent Technologies,&rdquo; which was presented at a technological conference in 2009. He reported that, &ldquo;factual&nbsp;information ... is perceived in biased ways ... (e.g., there is motivated reasoning).&rdquo; &ldquo;Facts&nbsp;have limited impact on initial opinions.&rdquo; Moreover, &ldquo;Individuals do not privilege the&nbsp;facts. ... Individuals process new&nbsp;factual&nbsp;information in a biased manner. ... Specifically, they view information consistent with their prior opinions as relatively stronger, and they view neutral&nbsp;facts&nbsp;as consistent with their existing&rdquo; views.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Motivated Reasoning With Stereotypes,&rdquo; in the January 1999&nbsp;Psychological Inquiry, found that, &ldquo;When an applicable stereotype supports their desired impression of an individual, motivation can lead people to activate this stereotype, if they have not already activated it. ... People pick and choose among the many stereotypes applicable to an individual, activating those that support their desired impression of this individual and inhibiting those that interfere with it.&rdquo; Similarly, another research report, &ldquo;The Undeserving Rich: &lsquo;Moral Values&rsquo; and the White Working Class,&rdquo; in the June 2009&nbsp;Sociological Forum, found that John Kerry had probably lost the 2004 U.S. Presidential election to George W. Bush at least partly because white working class voters overwhelmingly believed that Bush was like themselves because he behaved like themselves, and that Kerry was not like themselves because his manner seemed &ldquo;snooty.&rdquo;</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="605" height="328" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Belief Bernie Sanders Confirmation bias Conservatism Conservatism in the United States Liberalism None Political culture Political ideologies Political philosophy Political terminology Politics Politics Reality Social theories Strategic Culture Foundation Thought U.S. House United States Senate White House White House Mon, 25 Sep 2017 06:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 604093 at China's ICO Crackdown Boosts Hong Kong's Hopes Of Becoming Blockchain Hub <p><strong>China&rsquo;s decision to shutter digital-currency exchanges based on the mainland, </strong>a strategy meant to extinguish the rampant fraud and abuse associated with initial coin offerings, or ICOs,<strong> is brightening Hong Kong&#39;s hopes of asserting itself as a hub for blockchain technology.</strong></p> <p>As <a href="">Bloomberg </a>reports, while China has at least nominally embraced blockchain technology - even building a prototype digital yuan &ndash; Hong Kong&rsquo;s city government has gone a step further by encouraging blockchain startups to set up shop in the city. One firm run by Johnson Leung, who has found success in finance and shipping, and now runs a blockchain startup, is focusing on applications for container ship operators.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 296px;" /></a></p> <p>The city&rsquo;s embrace of blockchain is its latest attempt to nurture a domestic technology industry that could compliment the city&rsquo;s dominance in banking and shipping. But as Bloomberg notes, betting on blockchain, a technology that has generated a ludicrous amount of hype, much of it undeserved, could be a risky proposition. Despite Hong Kong&rsquo;s status as a financial hub, the city, one of the most expensive in the world for average working families, has zero &ldquo;unicorns&rdquo; &ndash; a term for startups valued at over $1 billion.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Skeptics say it&rsquo;s a risky bet on an unproven technology - one with more than its fair share of hype and, in some cases, fraud. But a growing number of Hong Kong entrepreneurs and policy makers are convinced the online ledger system that underlies cryptocurrencies like bitcoin will eventually reshape everything from financial services to supply chains. They say the city&rsquo;s laissez faire approach toward regulation, along with its expertise in finance and logistics, make it a natural hub for blockchain startups.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t see why Hong Kong can&rsquo;t be a leader of blockchain technology,&rdquo;</strong> said Leung, who co-founded after more than a decade in the financial industry that included stints as a research analyst at JPMorgan Chase &amp; Co. and Jefferies Group LLC. <strong>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s so new that it&rsquo;s not like any country has a huge advantage compared to us.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>As <a href="">Bloomberg </a>explains, the city&rsquo;s government has been throwing resources at the technology, developing its own digital currency and testing different blockchain use-cases.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The city&rsquo;s monetary authority is developing its own digital currency and is testing blockchains for trade finance, mortgage applications and e-check tracking. Hong Kong&rsquo;s securities regulator has joined R3, a global consortium that develops blockchain technology for financial transactions, while a government-backed research institute has worked on a blockchain-based system for tracking property valuations, among other initiatives. Hong Kong Exchanges &amp; Clearing Ltd., the city&rsquo;s publicly-traded exchange monopoly, plans to start a blockchain platform for early-stage companies and their investors next year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Blockchain is a very high priority for us,&rdquo; said Charles d&rsquo;Haussy, head of fintech at InvestHK, a government economic development agency.</p> </blockquote> <p>To be sure, the city is, like China, imposing restrictions on some of the shadier aspects of the blockchain ecosystem &ndash; namely ICOs, a new financing trend that involves selling a digital token that&rsquo;s tied to a given platform or product. In theory, these tokens should get more valuable as the underlying product becomes more widely used. Some ICOs have raised millions of dollars, all without a working prototype &ndash; only a white paper that sketches out the company&rsquo;s idea.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>That doesn&rsquo;t mean Hong Kong is giving the industry carte blanche. This month, the city&rsquo;s Securities and Futures Commission told investors to be on the lookout for fraud in initial coin offerings - a form of cryptocurrency fundraising - and warned ICO issuers that they may be subject to local securities laws.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;We have to be very careful with this because on the one hand, we encourage innovation and free markets, but on the other hand, we do have to look after our small investors,&rdquo; </strong>Paul Chan, Hong Kong&rsquo;s financial secretary, said in a Sept. 11 interview.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Still, the city is taking a softer approach toward regulation than China, which banned ICOs this month and called for a halt in trading on domestic cryptocurrency exchanges.</p> </blockquote> <p>In its battle to lure blockchain companies, Hong Kong is competing directly with its longtime rival, Singapore, which has also taken many steps to explore uses for blockchain technology while also encouraging the creation of a thriving startup community. As Bloomberg points out, Hong Kong doesn&rsquo;t have a great track record when it comes to tech startups. Its Cyberport business incubator has been criticized as a housing development in disguise, while many local workers are reluctant to leave their steady jobs for riskier ventures because of the extremely high cost of living.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Building a sustainable blockchain hub in Hong Kong won&rsquo;t be easy. Many applications for the technology, including Leung&rsquo;s proposal to create digital tokens for the shipping industry, are still largely theoretical. (Leung says his tokens could be used in conjunction with so-called smart contracts to reduce the risk of default on shipping agreements.)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At the same time, competition to lure the most promising blockchain firms is fierce. Singapore, Hong Kong&rsquo;s biggest regional rival, is pouring resources into its local fintech industry, as are other financial hubs including Dubai.</p> </blockquote> <p>One official with InvestHK, the portion of the city government responsible for luring foreign investment, said that the city is keenly aware of the hype surrounding blockchain but has decided to move ahead anyway.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;There is hype, and there is the fast grab of money with ICOs in some cases,&rdquo;</strong> d&rsquo;Haussy said.<strong> &ldquo;But what we are looking at building here in Hong Kong is an infrastructure for new businesses and existing businesses, to make sure the technology and innovations remain a key enabler for financial sector growth.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>So far at least, blockchain has been closely associated with fintech, or financial technology, which city officials believe should give Hong Kong an edge in attracting companies, given its large financial sector. Many of the city&rsquo;s early startups include financially focused firms like BitMEX, a bitcoin derivatives exchange; Bitspark, a remittance platform; and Kenetic Capital, a blockchain investment firm. While Hong Kong doesn&rsquo;t publish statistics on the growth of the local blockchain industry, InvestHK&rsquo;s d&rsquo;Haussy said anywhere from 10 to 20 companies are expected to raise funds via ICOs in the city over the next six months.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 268px;" /></a></p> <p>However, with the technology still largely unable to scale, the question of whether these companies will be able to survive long enough to achieve profitability before their backers throw in the towel. Not every function &ndash; especially not in the world of finance &ndash; is suitable for automation and decentralization. What works with blockchain, and what doesn&rsquo;t, has yet to be thoroughly explored.</p> <p>Which is, of course, one of the reasons why the industry is so interesting: <em><strong>The risks are large, but the payoffs, in terms of job creation and the attendant tax-revenue and growth bump, is potentially huge.</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="773" height="458" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin Blockchain technology Blockchains Business China Cryptocurrencies default Digital currency Dubai Economy Finance Financial technology Hong Kong Initial Coin Offering InvestHK JPMorgan Chase Money R3 Securities and Futures Commission unproven technology Yuan Æternity Mon, 25 Sep 2017 04:05:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 604090 at Chris Hedges On The Silencing Of Dissent <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Chris Hedges via,</em></a></p> <p><strong>The ruling elites</strong>, who grasp that the reigning ideology of global corporate capitalism and imperial expansion no longer has moral or intellectual credibility, <strong>have mounted a campaign to shut down the platforms given to their critics</strong>. The attacks within this campaign include blacklisting, censorship and slandering dissidents as foreign agents for Russia and purveyors of &ldquo;fake news.&rdquo;</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 540px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>No dominant class can long retain control when the credibility of the ideas that justify its existence evaporates.</strong> It is forced, at that point, to resort to crude forms of coercion, intimidation and censorship. This ideological collapse in the United States has transformed those of us who attack the corporate state into a potent threat, not because we reach large numbers of people, and certainly not because we spread Russian propaganda, but because the elites no longer have a plausible counterargument.</p> <p><strong>The elites face an unpleasant choice. They could impose harsh controls to protect the status quo or veer leftward toward socialism to ameliorate the mounting economic and political injustices endured by most of the population.</strong> But a move leftward, essentially reinstating and expanding the <a href=";oq=new+deal&amp;gs_l=psy-ab.3..35i39k1j0l3.4978.15877.0.16219.">New Deal programs</a> they have destroyed, would impede corporate power and corporate profits. So instead the elites, including the Democratic Party leadership, have decided to quash public debate. The tactic they are using is as old as the nation-state&mdash;smearing critics as traitors who are in the service of a hostile foreign power. Tens of thousands of people of conscience were blacklisted in this way during the Red Scares of the 1920s and 1950s. <strong><em>The current hyperbolic and relentless focus on Russia, embraced with gusto by &ldquo;liberal&rdquo; media outlets such as The New York Times and MSNBC, has unleashed what some have called a virulent &ldquo;<a href="">New McCarthyism</a>.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p><u><strong>The corporate elites do not fear Russia. </strong></u>There is <a href=""> no publicly disclosed evidence</a> that Russia swung the election to Donald Trump. <a href="">Nor does Russia appear</a> to be intent on a military confrontation with the United States. I am certain Russia tries to meddle in U.S. affairs to its advantage, as we do and did in Russia&mdash;including our clandestine bankrolling of Boris Yeltsin, whose successful 1996 campaign for re-election as president is estimated to have cost up to $2.5 billion, <a href="">much of that money</a> coming indirectly from the American government. <u><strong><em>In today&rsquo;s media environment Russia is the foil. The corporate state is unnerved by the media outlets that give a voice to critics of corporate capitalism, the security and surveillance state and imperialism, including the network <a href="">RT America</a>.</em></strong></u></p> <p>My show on RT America, &ldquo;<a href="">On Contact</a>,&rdquo; like my columns at Truthdig, amplifies the voices of these dissidents&mdash;Tariq Ali, Kshama Sawant, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Medea Benjamin, Ajamu Baraka, Noam Chomsky, Dr. Margaret Flowers, Rania Khalek, Amira Hass, Miko Peled, Abby Martin, Glen Ford, Max Blumenthal, Pam Africa, Linh Dinh, Ben Norton, Eugene Puryear, Allan Nairn, Jill Stein, Kevin Zeese and others. These dissidents, if we had a functioning public broadcasting system or a commercial press free of corporate control, would be included in the mainstream discourse. They are not bought and paid for. They have integrity, courage and often brilliance. They are honest. For these reasons, in the eyes of the corporate state, they are very dangerous.</p> <p><strong>The first and deadliest salvo in the war on dissent came in 1971 when Lewis Powell, a corporate attorney and later a Supreme Court justice, wrote and <a href="">circulated a memo</a> among business leaders called &ldquo;Attack on American Free Enterprise System.&rdquo;</strong> It became the blueprint for the corporate coup d&rsquo;état. Corporations, as Powell recommended in the document, poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the assault, financing pro-business political candidates, mounting campaigns against the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and the press and creating institutions such as the Business Roundtable, The Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the Cato Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy, the Federalist Society and Accuracy in Academia. The memo argued that corporations had to fund sustained campaigns to marginalize or silence those who in &ldquo;the college campus, the pulpit, the media, and the intellectual and literary journals&rdquo; were hostile to corporate interests.</p> <p>Powell attacked Ralph Nader by name. Lobbyists flooded Washington and state capitals. Regulatory controls were abolished. Massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy were implemented, culminating in a de facto tax boycott. Trade barriers were lifted and the country&rsquo;s manufacturing base was destroyed. Social programs were slashed and funds for infrastructure, from roads and bridges to public libraries and schools, were cut. Protections for workers were gutted. Wages declined or stagnated. The military budget, along with the organs of internal security, became ever more bloated. A de facto blacklist, especially in universities and the press, was used to discredit intellectuals, radicals and activists who decried the idea of the nation prostrating itself before the dictates of the marketplace and condemned the crimes of imperialism, some of the best known being Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Sheldon Wolin, Ward Churchill, Nader, Angela Davis and Edward Said. These critics were permitted to exist only on the margins of society, often outside of institutions, and many had trouble making a living.</p> <p><strong>The financial meltdown of 2008 not only devastated the global economy, it exposed the lies propagated by those advocating globalization. </strong>Among these lies: that salaries of workers would rise, democracy would spread across the globe, the tech industry would replace manufacturing as a source of worker income, the middle class would flourish, and global communities would prosper. After 2008 it became clear that the &ldquo;free market&rdquo; is a scam, a zombie ideology by which workers and communities are ravaged by predatory capitalists and assets are funneled upward into the hands of the global 1 percent. The endless wars, fought largely to enrich the arms industry and swell the power of the military, are futile and counterproductive to national interests. <a href=";oq=deindustrailizatio&amp;gs_l=psy-ab.1.1.0i10k1l4.207525.211919.0.213736.">Deindustrialization</a> and austerity programs have impoverished the working class and fatally damaged the economy.</p> <p>The establishment politicians in the two leading parties, each in service to corporate power and responsible for the assault on civil liberties and impoverishment of the country, are no longer able to use identity politics and the culture wars to whip up support. <strong>This led in the last presidential campaign to an insurgency by Bernie Sanders, which the Democratic Party crushed, and the election of Donald Trump.</strong></p> <p><strong>Barack Obama rode a wave of bipartisan resentment into office in 2008, then spent eight years betraying the public.</strong> Obama&rsquo;s assault on civil liberties, including his use of the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers, was worse than those carried out by George W. Bush. He accelerated the war on public education by privatizing schools, expanded the wars in the Middle East, including the use of militarized drone attacks, provided little meaningful environmental reform, ignored the plight of the working class, deported more undocumented people than any other president, imposed a corporate-sponsored health care program that was the brainchild of the right-wing Heritage Foundation, and prohibited the Justice Department from prosecuting the bankers and financial firms that carried out <a href="">derivatives scams</a> and inflated the housing and real estate market, a condition that led to the 2008 financial meltdown. He epitomized, like Bill Clinton, the bankruptcy of the Democratic Party. Clinton, outdoing Obama&rsquo;s later actions, gave us the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the dismantling of the welfare system, the deregulation of the financial services industry and the huge expansion of mass incarceration. Clinton also oversaw deregulation of the Federal Communications Commission, a change that allowed a handful of corporations to buy up the airwaves.</p> <p>The corporate state was in crisis at the end of the Obama presidency. It was widely hated. It became vulnerable to attacks by the critics it had pushed to the fringes. Most vulnerable was the Democratic Party establishment, which claims to defend the rights of working men and women and protect civil liberties. <strong>This is why the Democratic Party is so zealous in its efforts to discredit its critics as stooges for Moscow and to charge that Russian interference caused its election defeat.</strong></p> <p>In January there was <a href="">a report on Russia</a> by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The report devoted seven of its 25 pages to RT America and its influence on the presidential election. <strong>It claimed &ldquo;Russian media made increasingly favorable comments about President-elect Trump as the 2016 US general and primary election campaigns progressed while consistently offering negative coverage of Secretary [Hillary] Clinton.&rdquo;</strong> This might seem true if you did not watch my RT broadcasts, which relentlessly attacked Trump as well as Clinton, or watch <a href="">Ed Schultz</a>, who now has a program on RT after having been the host of an MSNBC commentary program. The report also attempted to present RT America as having a vast media footprint and influence it does not possess.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>&ldquo;In an effort to highlight the alleged &lsquo;lack of democracy&rsquo; in the United States, RT broadcast, hosted, and advertised third party candidate debates and ran reporting supportive of the political agenda of these candidates,&rdquo; </em></strong><a href="">the report read</a>, correctly summing up themes on my show.<strong><em> </em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>&ldquo;The RT hosts asserted that the US two-party system does not represent the views of at least one-third of the population and is a &lsquo;sham.&rsquo;&nbsp;&rdquo;</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>It went on:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>RT&rsquo;s reports often characterize the United States as a &lsquo;surveillance state&rsquo; and allege widespread infringements of civil liberties, police brutality, and drone use.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>RT has also focused on criticism of the US economic system, US currency policy, alleged Wall Street greed, and the US national debt. Some of RT&rsquo;s hosts have compared the United States to Imperial Rome and have predicted that government corruption and &ldquo;corporate greed&rdquo; will lead to US financial collapse.</p> </blockquote> <p><u><em><strong>Is the corporate state so obtuse it thinks the American public has not, on its own, reached these conclusions about the condition of the nation? Is this what it defines as &ldquo;fake news&rdquo;? </strong></em></u>But most important, isn&rsquo;t this the truth that the courtiers in the mainstream press and public broadcasting, dependent on their funding from sources such as the Koch brothers, refuse to present? And isn&rsquo;t it, in the end, the truth that frightens them the most? Abby Martin and Ben Norton ripped apart the mendacity of the report and the complicity of the corporate media <a href="">in my &ldquo;On Contact&rdquo; show </a> titled &ldquo;Real purpose of intel report on Russian hacking with Abby Martin &amp; Ben Norton.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>In November 2016, The Washington Post reported on a blacklist published by the shadowy and anonymous site PropOrNot. </strong>The blacklist was composed of 199 sites PropOrNot alleged, with no evidence, &ldquo;reliably echo Russian propaganda.&rdquo; More than half of those sites were far-right, conspiracy-driven ones. But about 20 of the sites were major left-wing outlets including AlterNet, Black Agenda Report, Democracy Now!, Naked Capitalism, Truthdig, Truthout, CounterPunch and the World Socialist Web Site. The blacklist and the spurious accusations that these sites disseminated &ldquo;fake news&rdquo; on behalf of Russia were given prominent play in the Post <a href="">in a story</a> headlined &ldquo;Russian propaganda effort helped spread &lsquo;fake news&rsquo; during the election, experts say.&rdquo; The reporter, Craig Timberg, wrote that the goal of the Russian propaganda effort, according to &ldquo;independent researchers who have tracked the operation,&rdquo; was &ldquo;punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy.&rdquo; Last December, Truthdig columnist <a href="">Bill Boyarsky wrote</a> a good piece about PropOrNot, which to this day remains essentially a secret organization.</p> <p><strong>The owner of The Washington Post, Jeff Bezos, also the founder and CEO of Amazon, has a $600 million contract with the CIA.</strong> Google, likewise, is deeply embedded within the security and surveillance state and aligned with the ruling elites. Amazon recently <a href="">purged over 1,000 negative reviews</a> of Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s new book, &ldquo;What Happened.&rdquo; The effect was that the book&rsquo;s Amazon rating jumped from 2 1/2 stars to five stars. <strong><em>Do corporations such as Google and Amazon carry out such censorship on behalf of the U.S. government? Or is this censorship their independent contribution to protect the corporate state?</em></strong></p> <p>In the name of combating Russia-inspired &ldquo;fake news,&rdquo; Google, Facebook, Twitter, The New York Times, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed News, Agence France-Presse and CNN in April imposed algorithms or filters, overseen by &ldquo;evaluators,&rdquo; that hunt for key words such as &ldquo;U.S. military,&rdquo; &ldquo;inequality&rdquo; and &ldquo;socialism,&rdquo; along with personal names such as Julian Assange and Laura Poitras, the filmmaker. Ben Gomes, Google&rsquo;s vice president for search engineering, says Google has amassed some 10,000 &ldquo;evaluators&rdquo; to determine the &ldquo;quality&rdquo; and veracity of websites. Internet users doing searches on Google, since the algorithms were put in place, are diverted from sites such as Truthdig and directed to mainstream publications such as The New York Times. <strong>The news organizations and corporations that are imposing this censorship have strong links to the Democratic Party. They are cheerleaders for American imperial projects and global capitalism. Because they are struggling in the new media environment for profitability, they have an economic incentive to be part of the witch hunt.</strong></p> <p>The World Socialist Web Site reported in July that its aggregate volume, or &ldquo;impressions&rdquo;&mdash;links displayed by Google in response to search requests&mdash;fell dramatically over a short period after the new algorithms were imposed. <strong><em><a href="">It also wrote</a> that a number of sites &ldquo;declared to be &lsquo;fake news&rsquo; by the Washington Post&rsquo;s discredited [PropOrNot] blacklist &hellip; had their global ranking fall. The average decline of the global reach of all of these sites is 25 percent. &hellip;&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p><a href="">Another article</a>, &ldquo;Google rigs searches to block access to World Socialist Web Site,&rdquo; by the same website that month said:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>During the month of May, Google searches including the word &ldquo;war&rdquo; produced 61,795 WSWS impressions. In July, WSWS impressions fell by approximately 90 percent, to 6,613.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Searches for the term &ldquo;Korean war&rdquo; produced 20,392 impressions in May. In July, searches using the same words produced zero WSWS impressions. Searches for &ldquo;North Korea war&rdquo; produced 4,626 impressions in May. In July, the result of the same search produced zero WSWS impressions. &ldquo;India Pakistan war&rdquo; produced 4,394 impressions in May. In July, the result, again, was zero. And &ldquo;Nuclear war 2017&rdquo; produced 2,319 impressions in May, and zero in July.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To cite some other searches: &ldquo;WikiLeaks,&rdquo; fell from 6,576 impressions to zero, &ldquo;Julian Assange&rdquo; fell from 3,701 impressions to zero, and &ldquo;Laura Poitras&rdquo; fell from 4,499 impressions to zero. A search for &ldquo;Michael Hastings&rdquo;&mdash;the reporter who died in 2013 under suspicious circumstances&mdash;produced 33,464 impressions in May, but only 5,227 impressions in July.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In addition to geopolitics, the WSWS regularly covers a broad range of social issues, many of which have seen precipitous drops in search results. Searches for &ldquo;food stamps,&rdquo; &ldquo;Ford layoffs,&rdquo; &ldquo;Amazon warehouse,&rdquo; and &ldquo;secretary of education&rdquo; all went down from more than 5,000 impressions in May to zero impressions in July.</p> </blockquote> <p>The accusation that left-wing sites collude with Russia has made them theoretically subject, along with those who write for them, to the Espionage Act and the Foreign Agent Registration Act, which requires Americans who work on behalf of a foreign party to register as foreign agents.</p> <p><u><strong>The latest salvo came last week. It is the most ominous.</strong></u> The Department of Justice called on RT America and its &ldquo;associates&rdquo;&mdash;which may mean people like me&mdash;<a href="">to register</a> under the Foreign Agent Registration Act. No doubt, the corporate state knows that most of us will not register as foreign agents, meaning we will be banished from the airwaves. This, I expect, is the intent. The government will not stop with RT. <strong>The FBI has been handed the authority to determine who is a &ldquo;legitimate&rdquo; journalist and who is not.</strong> It will use this authority to decimate the left.</p> <p><strong>This is a war of ideas.</strong></p> <p><em><strong>The corporate state cannot compete honestly in this contest. It will do what all despotic regimes do - govern through wholesale surveillance, lies, blacklists, false accusations of treason, heavy-handed censorship and, eventually, violence.</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="222" height="153" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American government American Presbyterians Barack Obama Bernie Sanders Cato Institute CATO Institute Central Intelligence Agency Chris Hedges Citizens for a Sound Economy Communication Corruption Crude Deception Democratic Party Democrats Department of Justice Department of Justice Donald Trump Fake news FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Communications Commission Federalist Society Ford Global Economy Google Heritage Foundation India Manhattan Institute Mass media Meltdown Middle East Middle East MSNBC Naked Capitalism National Debt national intelligence National Intelligence New York Times North Korea Politics Politics Propaganda in Russia Propaganda techniques PropOrNot Real estate RT State media Supreme Court Twitter Twitter US government US military Mon, 25 Sep 2017 03:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 604091 at Who Made Dennis Gartman "The Commodities King?" <p><em>Content originally published at <a href=""></a></em></p> <p> Who's in charge of doling out such titles anyway? Is there a chance, perhaps, someone in the media could title me "The Blogging Emperor" -- enabling me to make wide sweeping proclamations about the future of online media?<br /> &nbsp;<br /> The craven vultures from CNBC are out with a fresh story this evening, discussing "The Commodity King's" stance on gold and how it's heading 'demonstrably' higher.<br /> &nbsp; </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"A year from now, gold will be demonstrably higher than it is right now," The Gartman Letter's founder told "Futures Now" in a recent interview. "I would certainly think we could see $1400 [an ounce] in dollar terms."<br /> &nbsp;<br /> "This is a correction but let's understand the last rally that we had took off from $1200 to $1370. The fact that we've fallen back below $1300 I think is relatively inconsequential," he added.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> "I am not a gold bug. I don't believe the world is going to come to an end. I don't think you own gold because you think governments are going to be collapsing around the world," he said.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> His reason to own gold: Central banks and easy money.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> "The monetary authorities are all still remaining expansionary," noted Gartman, given that easy central bank policy tends to undermine major currencies like the dollar and euro. "In that instance, the one currency that will probably do the best of all is gold."<br /> &nbsp;<br /> <strong>He doesn't believe the Federal Reserve's intention to start reducing its $4.5 trillion balance sheet in October will be a headwind for gold. The unwinding of the Fed's crisis-era policy "is going to take five or six years. This is not something that will occur overnight,"</strong> he said.</p></blockquote> <p> &nbsp;<br /> I'm so glad that I sold the last of my gold position on Friday. There isn't any reason to be on the same side of a Dennis Gartman trade, not now, not ever. This whole Commodity King business is awfully tiresome. It reminds me of boiler room tactics, where some brokers would declare themselves to be child prodigies in investing -- born geniuses, sent to a phone bank inside of a third rate firm to save the average investor from the dreadful underperformance of white shoe firms.</p> <p>Even still, a 7% move from current levels isn't exactly something to beat off to. The idea that gold is set to trade 'demonstrably' higher because the Fed is set to tighten their balance sheet by $4.5 trillion over 5 years is nonsensical, inane, and tragically stupid.</p> Atomic physics Blog Boiler Room Business Central Banks CNBC Dennis Gartman Digital media Futures contract Gold Matter NBCUniversal Ounce Precious metals U.S. Route 9W US Federal Reserve Mon, 25 Sep 2017 02:34:12 +0000 The_Real_Fly 604101 at Sales To "Common Sense Preppers" Soar Amid Nukes, Quakes, Floods, & Storms <p>With North Korea threatening to detonate a nuclear weapon over the Pacific Ocean as its leader and President Donald Trump casually bandy about threats of thermonuclear annihilation,<strong> people in the US and Japan are understandably starting to worry</strong>.</p> <p>After all, <strong>US intelligence agencies revealed during the summer that they believe the North will soon possess a nuclear warhead-tipped ballistic missile capable of striking most of the continental US.</strong> In fact, chances are good that, with a little luck, the North already has missiles in its arsenal that could probably strike a large area of the western US.</p> <p>But, aside from nuclear threats looming in North Korea and Iran, the worst hurricane season in the Atlantic in more than a decade, and the continuing rumblings underneath the Yellowstone caldera, which could signal a potentially humanity-extinguishing eruption,<strong> it&rsquo;s understandable that <a href="">Americans and Japanese</a> are increasingly worrying about their safety, and have begun purchasing more &ldquo;doomsday preparation&rdquo; gear to help assuage those fears.</strong></p> <p>Now, <a href="">Reuters </a>is reporting that survivalists across the US are clearing store shelves to stock bunkers in anticipation of Earth&rsquo;s final chapter. A few survivalists who spoke with Reuters said that North Korea&rsquo;s threats, and the images of the destruction caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma, have inspired them to stock up.</p> <p><u><strong><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 280px;" /></a></strong></u></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s been a very busy six or seven weeks here - <u>sales tripled practically overnight,&rdquo;</u></strong><u> </u>said Keith Bansemer, vice president for marketing for Idaho-based My Patriot Supply, an online store catering to preppper needs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;It all started when North Korea shot the missile that was capable of reaching the U.S. Then the hurricanes and two Mexican earthquakes increased sales from California and Cascadia in the Northwest,&rdquo; </strong>he said, referring to the corner of the country where many survivalists have settled because of its relative isolation.</p> </blockquote> <p>One guy on the west coast said he&rsquo;s worried about a catastrophic earthquake. He has piled enough survival supplies in a closet that could last he, his wife and their dogs for a month, if necessary.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>David Yellin, a self-described prepper who lives in California&rsquo;s San Diego County, said his main concern was the long-expected &ldquo;big earthquake&rdquo; along the West Coast.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The 31-year-old police officer has piled enough survival supplies in a closet of the apartment he shares with his fiance and their two dogs to allow them to hunker down for a month.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;I&lsquo;m more of what I consider a common sense prepper,&rdquo; Yellin said. &ldquo;Because at the end of the day, we are responsible for our own safety.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Both he and his wife have &ldquo;bug out bags&rdquo; prepared should disaster strike.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>If disaster forces the couple to flee, each has a &ldquo;bug-out bag&rdquo; stuffed with three days of food, water, first aid and water purification supplies, fire-starting materials, a tent and sleeping bag, change of clothes and important documents.</p> </blockquote> <p>One purveyor of<strong> survivalist gear said sales on items like gas masks have spiked over the last two months</strong>, a period which notably featured the US&rsquo;s escalating war of words with North Korea and the catastrophic hurricanes.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>At Ready To Go Survival, founder and chief executive Roman Zrazhevskiy said gas masks were quickly moving off the shelves and overall sales<strong> &ldquo;are up like 700 percent over the last two months.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A prepper himself, he said his greatest fear was a U.S. economic collapse as a result of the country&rsquo;s unsustainable debt.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;Once people go hungry, they are going to get to the streets and look for food,&rdquo; said Zrazhevskiy, 31, who grew up in New York City&rsquo;s borough of Brooklyn and now lives in Texas.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Customers were snapping up $500 CBRN suits to withstand chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attack and $200 gas masks <em>in sizes that fit children as young as 5.</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Another prepper who has spent thousands of dollars on gear said he fears political and economic collapses as much or more than North Korea.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;Gas masks? I&rsquo;ve got tons of those,&rdquo; said prepper Jerry McMullin, 62, a retired risk assessment analyst whose bunker-like home in Yellow Jacket, Colorado, was built to withstand nuclear attack, biological warfare and a range of natural cataclysms.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Although North Korea is one of his biggest concerns, McMullin is also worried about political instability in Washington leading to riots and mayhem in the cities, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;I&lsquo;m not a paranoid guy. I just want to be in a position that when it does go to Hell, I&lsquo;m in a good location to get whatever I need,&rdquo;</strong> said McMullin, who has his own water filtration system and burns his own trash in his solar-powered home.</p> </blockquote> <p>In addition to the obvious threats, many continue to believe in &ldquo;doomsday&quot; hoaxes like 7/7/2007 and end of the Mayan calendar on Dec. 21, 2012.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 300px;" /></a></p> <p>Now, some Christians are touting a Bible prophecy that marks September 23, 2017 as the beginning of a seven-year period of catastrophic events that will bring humanity to its knees.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>David Meade, a Christian numerologist and author, has said that, based on the Book of Revelations, a constellation would appear over Jerusalem on Saturday that would start the seven years of mayhem.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But McMullin said his own respect for Bible prophesy assures him that disaster is not around the corner.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;As far as getting wiped out this weekend, I&lsquo;m not too worried about that,&rdquo;</strong> McMullin said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;Maybe it&rsquo;s a timeline marker and things are going to start getting really ramped up. We are not about to go through mass destruction and fatality. I think people are a little more stable - except for Kim,&rdquo; he said, referring to North Korea&rsquo;s President Kim Jong Un.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>After spending thousands on gear, some preppers told <a href="">Reuters </a>that the flooding in Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico have left them feeling vindicated.</p> <p>We imagine that feeling will persist as economic and political tensions, coupled with the impending economic disenfranchisement of much of America&rsquo;s working and middle classes, continue to simmer, while the US&rsquo;s leaders continue to risk an unparalleled disaster by trading threats with unstable North Korea.<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="715" height="401" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Apocalypticism Bug-out bag Disaster Disaster preparedness Donald Trump Economy Florida Gas mask Iran Japan KIM New York City North Korea Puerto Rico Reuters Social movements Survivalism U.S. intelligence West Coast western US World history Mon, 25 Sep 2017 02:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 604084 at In Major Disappointment, Merkel Wins German Election Despite Worst Result Since 1949; AfD Surges To Enter Parliament <p>Update: FX markets just opened and as expected there is some Euro-selling pressure in the early going...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="260" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Update: here is the latest breakdown according to ARD:</p> <ul> <li>Merkel’s CDU/CSU projected to win 32.9% of votes</li> <li>SPD projected to win 20.8% </li> <li>AfD projected to win 13.1% </li> <li>FDP projected to win 10.5% </li> <li>Greens projected to win 8.9% </li> <li>Left projected to win 8.9% </li> </ul> <p>The following Bloomberg projection of the Bundestag's projected seat breakdown shows just how strong the AfD surge has been in context, and how splintered Germany's establishment is as a result. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="249" /></a></p> <p>* * * </p> <p>The German polls have officially closed, and the first exit polls numbers come in, confirming the expected fourth victory for Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU, however getting a unexpectedly low 32.5% of the vote, which according to Europe Elects <strong>was the worst result for Merkel's CDU/CSU (EPP) since 1949. </strong>Merkel's main challenger, the SPD, got 20%, <strong>also its worst result since Nazi era 1945; </strong>furthermore, the SPD has said it plans to enter the opposition, collapsing the current CDU/CSU-SPD "grand coalition."&nbsp; </p> <p>In other words, just like in the recent Franch elections, <strong>the German establishment was just trounced:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>Worst result for Merkel's CDU/CSU since 1949</strong><strong> <br /></strong></li> <li><strong>Worst result for SPD Since 1945</strong></li> </ul> <p>Meanwhile, there was an unexpected surge for the newcomers: the dramatic (late) surge for the nationalist AfD party, which got a higher than expected 13.5% of the vote, has made it not only the third most popular German party but also the first far-right German party to enter the Bundestag in 60 years. </p> <p>The first exit poll breakdown from ARD is as follows. </p> <ul> <li><strong>CDU/CSU - 32.5% </strong></li> <li><strong>SPD - 20% </strong></li> <li><strong>AfD - 13.5% </strong></li> <li><strong>FDP - 10.5% </strong></li> <li><strong>Greens - 9.5% </strong></li> <li><strong>Left party - 9%</strong></li> </ul> <p><img src="" width="500" height="500" /></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="231" /></a></p> <p>An exit poll from ZDF has a similar breakdown:</p> <ul> <li>CDU/CSU-EPP: 33.5%</li> <li>SPD-S&amp;D: 21%</li> <li>AfD-ENF: 13%</li> <li>FDP-ALDE: 10%</li> <li>LINKE-LEFT: 9%</li> <li>GRÜNE-G/EFA: 9%</li> </ul> <p>Even more troubling for the German establishment <strong>is that the far-right AfD was the second strongest party in former Eastern Germany:</strong></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Germany, ARD exit poll: Far-right <a href="">#AfD</a> (ENF) second strongest party in former Eastern Germany. <a href="">#btw17</a> <a href="">#Wahl17</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) <a href="">September 24, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>According to the Exit Poll, the likely coalition options include CDU/CSU-SPD or CDU/CSU-FDP-GREENS. The various possibilites are shown below.</p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="372" /></p> <p>However, according to SPD's Schwesig, <strong>the leadership is united on entering opposition</strong>, <strong>meaning a grand coalition is unlikely and the CDU may have to settle for a government with the FDP and the Greens, a so-called "Jamaica Coalition."&nbsp; </strong></p> <p><strong><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="309" /></a><br /></strong></p> <p>* * * </p> <p>Contrary to earlier reports of muted participation, Europe Elects predicted today's turnout could be as high as 80 per cent, potentially the highest turnout of the past two decades. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Germany, turnout:</p> <p>2005: 77.7%<br />2009: 70.8%<br />2013: 71.5%<br />2017: ~80% (prognosis)<a href="">#btw17</a> <a href="">#gehtwaehlen</a></p> <p>— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) <a href="">September 24, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>Furthermore, as Europe Elects adds, today could mark the highest turnout in a key German state since 1988.&nbsp; In Sachsen-Anhalt, as of&nbsp; 4pm, turnout today is around 56 per cent - quite a bit higher than in 2013, 2009, 2005 and 2002. Turnout is not quite as high as 1988 yet, when turnout was around 62 per cent at the same time.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Germany (Sachsen-Anhalt), turnout at different times of the day. Highest turnout since 1998 so far. <a href="">#btw17</a> <a href="">#gehtwaehlen</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) <a href="">September 24, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>Turnout is particularly significant in this election, as fewer CDU and SDP voters heading out to their booths means a larger vote share for the AfD. </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="1080" height="588" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> AfD party Alliance 90/The Greens Angela Merkel Christian Democratic Union of Germany Eastern Germany Environment European Green Party European Parliament European Union Free Democratic Party German federal election German party Germany Grand coalition Helmut Kohl Jamaica Coalition Left Party Politics Politics of Europe Politics of Germany Twitter Twitter Mon, 25 Sep 2017 02:06:36 +0000 Tyler Durden 604078 at SocGen: "If Anyone Thought That Populism Isn't A Threat To EU, Today's Vote Is A Wake-up Call" <p>Earlier today, <a href="">we said that as more sellside commentary </a>on today's startling German election result came out, the knives would be out for the Euro. Sure enough, that's precisely what happened, and nobody captures the sour mood better than SocGen's FX strategist Kit Juckes who writes that "if the election of President Macron suggested to anyone that populism isn't a threat to EU, then today's vote is a wake-up call."</p> <p>Selected excerpts from his note "European Trouble"</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The CDU and CSU will be comfortably the biggest party bloc in the Bundestag when the final count comes in after Germany's election, <strong>but Chancellor Merkel is going to have to conjure up a collation with the FDP and the Greens, as well as facing the arrival in the Bundestag of the far-right AFD</strong>. <strong>If the election of President Macron suggested to anyone that populism isn't a threat to EU, then today's vote is a wake-up call</strong>, even if in practise, despite the difficulty of forming a coalition government, relatively little may change.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We'll write (much) more about the implications for German and European politics when the final result is in. For now, the market reaction is to sell the euro, but only modestly. <strong>As I wrote last week, it's now or never for a EUR/USD correction. </strong>The euro has done better than shifts in relative interest rates, short or long-term, nominal or real, can justify. EUR/USD 1.17 is a natural chart target and may well be tested in the weeks ahead. A strong IFO would help the euro and the market has already embraced the idea both of a smooth start to the Fed's balance sheet normalisation, and a December Fed rate hike. But those are reasons to expect a modest euro pull-back, not to look for one to be avoided completely. EUR/SEK, EURNOK and EUR/PLN shorts, meanwhile, all of which we have written about in recent weeks, still appeal. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>That said, there isn't an awful lot to get me too excited about the dollar here. US TIPS yields have moved yup, but drifted back down on Friday, and are back below 40bp. Then recent pattern of real yield moves is down in Japan (stay long USD/JPY and CAD/JPY)., up a bit in the US and Germany (meh!), flat after the recent rise in the UK (trouble brewing for sterling) and supportive of both CAD and AUD.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="303" /></a></p> </blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, as SocGen expect storm clouds for the Euro, here is Goldman doing what it does best, "explaining" how yet one more material and key development will have no impact or significance whatsoever. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Exit polls reported by the German media show the victory for the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) party of Angela Merkel arriving in the first position with a 13pp lead over the Social Democrats (SPD) party. In line with expectations, only two possible coalitions – benefiting from a large parliamentary majority – can be envisaged: either (a) a continuation of the current 'Grand coalition' with the Social Democrats (SPD); or (b) a 'Jamaica coalition' in collaboration with the Liberal Party (FDP) and the Green Party (Die Grüne). </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>We do not expect these electoral results to have a significant impact on markets from tomorrow as the victory of Ms. Merkel was largely anticipated and time is required to form a new government. </strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Actually, that's dead wrong, but what difference does it make at this point. We look forward to finding out which of these two explanations will be proven right in the coming days. </p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="500" height="260" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Angela Merkel B+ CAD CDU/CSU Christian Democratic Union of Germany Christian Democrats European Parliament European Union Free Democratic Party German federal election Germany Grand coalition Green Party Jamaica coalition Japan Liberal Party Politics Politics of Europe Politics of Germany SocGen Social Democratic Party of Germany US Federal Reserve Mon, 25 Sep 2017 02:00:01 +0000 Tyler Durden 604098 at Silicon Valley Snake Oil: It's Passed Its 'Sell By Date' <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Mark St.Cyr,</em></a></p> <p><em><strong>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s different this time!&rdquo;</strong></em> One of the greatest examples of Silicon Valley &ldquo;snake oil&rdquo; ever devised, embraced, and consumed <em>en masse.</em></p> <p><strong>The problem with &ldquo;snake oil?&rdquo; It&rsquo;s never different.</strong> And today&rsquo;s newest and improved version has passed its expiration date &ndash; and is <strong>beginning to turn rancid.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 332px;" /></a></p> <p><em><strong>Remember when &ldquo;unicorns&rdquo; were the thing?</strong></em> I know, they still are in a sense. But <strong>they are far from the once mythical enablers of turning $Millions into $Billions via IPO&rsquo;s</strong>. As a matter of fact, that process has become so tainted, the only way to keep attention focused that a company may still be worth what investors declare? Is to keep it under the cloak-of-darkness, also known as &ldquo;private.&rdquo;</p> <p>One has to marvel at how rapidly ineffectual the &ldquo;It&rsquo;s different this time&rdquo; elixir argument is becoming with every passing day.</p> <p>Why? Ask yourself this: <strong><em>Why is it, not only have the most highly valued unicorns yet gone public, but also, at the same time, the stock &ldquo;market&rdquo; is at never before seen in human history highs?</em></strong></p> <p>Yet, that isn&rsquo;t even the main issue, there&rsquo;s another even more telling one. And it is this: There&rsquo;s not even been a set date or road show scheduled, (except vague innuendo) when basically this same condition has applied for months, if not years!</p> <p><strong><em>What, market conditions at &ldquo;all time highs&rdquo; aren&rsquo;t suitable? No money to be made in &ldquo;tech?&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>Well, there is money to be made in tech, but only if your sticker symbol has the right marking such as the coveted &ldquo;bulls-eye&rdquo; of the central banks. (Hint: FAANG)</p> <p><strong>If you&rsquo;ve any misgivings about that. Just pull up a chart of any &ldquo;disruptor&rdquo; IPO darling of choice from 2015 onward. If you were one of the so-called &ldquo;lucky ones&rdquo; to get in on opening day? I&rsquo;ll garner you no longer need, or look, at any of those charts. And, you have my condolences. (Hint: try TWLO, SNAP, or APRN for clues.)</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 260px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>The issue for Silicon Valley today is this: It&rsquo;s going to get worse, much worse. And the only ones not getting it is the entire tech complex.</strong></p> <p>Sorry, but, once again, hint: It&rsquo;s over. As in dot-com mania over.</p> <p><strong>The only thing left to happen is the inevitable crash.</strong> But make no mistake &ndash; it&rsquo;s a matter of when, not if. And &ldquo;when&rdquo; is soon. Soon as in months, maybe a few earnings cycles, not years. For the seismic, tectonic shift, once known as Fed. largesse that has enabled all of it, has now not only been halted, but reversed, as in money from the Fed. will be withdrawn, and destroyed.</p> <p><strong>That&rsquo;s what &ldquo;balance sheet normalization&rdquo; truly means. </strong>And the first to feel &ldquo;the burn&rdquo; as they say will be what was once the hottest, of hot sectors. i.e., Tech, especially, no earnings to sub-par earnings tech. Hello unicorns, and ads-for-eyeballs disruptor models aka known as social-media.</p> <p>This all begins in earnest this coming October, just a week or so from now. And with it everything changes, especially, any and all past assumptions of &ldquo;It&rsquo;s different this time&rdquo; accolades or defenses from traditional business metrics. i.e., making a net profit.</p> <p>The reason? It&rsquo;s going to be precisely that: different, this time.</p> <p><strong><em>Let&rsquo;s use today&rsquo;s deca-corns (yes, that&rsquo;s an actual term because &ldquo;uni&rdquo; is just so blasé) for a little context shall we?</em></strong></p> <p>I posited back in <a href="">April that Uber&trade; was in far greater trouble</a> than anyone (especially the mainstream business/financial media) not only dared say, but rather, was able to intellectually extrapolate. I also contended, that this had major implications for &ldquo;The Valley&rdquo; at large.</p> <p>Not only has that premise further crystalized. It&rsquo;s crumbling even faster by the day. To wit:</p> <p>Market Watch&trade;: <a href="">&ldquo;Uber stripped of right to operate in London in latest blow to ride-sharing app&rdquo;</a></p> <p>Can you say: &ldquo;<em>Uh Oh?&rdquo;</em></p> <p>So let&rsquo;s see: <u><em><strong>From a claimed $68Billion, to an assumed $40&rsquo;ish (or less) on rumored buy outs, and now London says &ldquo;&hellip;not fit and proper to hold&rdquo; a license in the city. You know, a city that&rsquo;s basically a mecca for taxi cabs and service.</strong></em></u></p> <p>What&rsquo;s the valuation assumptions from here? Half of $40? Or, even less? Why? Easy&hellip;because who&rsquo;s next? New York? Chicago? It&rsquo;s an open question, just like its valuation. For nothing is yet truly settled.</p> <p><strong>Oh, but wait, there&rsquo;s AirBnB&trade; that&rsquo;ll save the apocalypse from venturing any further I&rsquo;m told.</strong> Well, in my opinion, that&rsquo;s a maybe, to a flat out no. &ldquo;Why,&rdquo; you ask? Again, fair question, and it is this:</p> <p><strong>Just like Uber &ndash; the longer it remains private &ndash; the more time is allotted for any, and all lawsuits either resting, or being drawn, to ferment ever further.</strong></p> <p>Uber has its driver issues and such. AirBnB has its own regulatory hurdles to still fight. And those fights just may get hit with an accelerant if the latest proposals being bandied about for increasing its presence draw it closer into the spotlight. Case in point:</p> <p>A new start-up called <a href="">Loftium&trade; has been launched to help prospective home buyers</a> with up to $50K for a down-payment, but there&rsquo;s a catch: You have to list a bedroom for three years on AirBnB and share the revenue.</p> <p>Sounds great right? Here&rsquo;s how I view it&hellip;</p> <p><strong><em>Much like Uber, this will have (and encourage) lawsuits, and more because of this one factor: Much like the &ldquo;independent contractor&rdquo; issue has yet to be fully resolved for Uber (let alone all the other suits.) AirBnB rentals in many cases break the social contract of not only knowing who is your neighbor, or tenant. But also: what business is allowed to openly operate within a residential neighborhood.</em></strong></p> <p>Say what you want about, &ldquo;Renting out a room in my house is no different that letting a friend or family member stay the same period.&rdquo; I&rsquo;ll respond with, &ldquo;<em>Au contraire mon ami,</em>&nbsp;it sure is.&rdquo;</p> <p>It is also very different in the eyes of both business law, as well as zoning. And this latest example of &ldquo;disruption&rdquo; is going to bring all of that, and more, to the forefront for AirBnB, in my estimation.</p> <p><u><em><strong>Hint: You think the hotel associations and such alone are going to just stand by and allow (as well as pay) all the taxes and restrictions for code enforcement while a neighborhood of homes around it gets to do it all without zoning, OSHA, mandated handicap access and egress, fire and safety requirements, and more?</strong></em></u></p> <p>Tack all of the above onto where now, <a href="">there is a vocal, and concerted push</a> (with incentives and more) by AirBnB to make &ldquo;business traveler deals&rdquo; available. If you believe the industry alone (let alone people in neighborhoods just sitting back as transients come too-and-fro into their neighborhood where their children are), I have some wonderful oceanfront property in Kentucky you can lease out, on the cheap. &ldquo;Trust me.&rdquo;</p> <p>I used the unicorns above for examples because these are/were used as the touchstones against any, and all calls of criticism against the &ldquo;It&rsquo;s different this time&rdquo; mantra. And now? (In my opinion) They are well past their sell by date, especially since now the Federal Reserve has indeed made it official and declared &ldquo;&rdquo;normalization&rdquo; will begin in October.</p> <p>And if you still believe in: &ldquo;this time it&rsquo;s different?&rdquo; Here&rsquo;s something to remind you, that it is &ndash; exactly that. To wit: <strong><em><a href="">&ldquo;Spiking Silicon Valley Unemployment Dragging down California&rsquo;s Economy&rdquo;</a></em></strong></p> <p>Just as a reminder of how fast the whole &ldquo;It&rsquo;s different this time&rdquo; meme can go awry. Here&rsquo;s what <a href="">I said back in October of 2015</a>. to ridicule from many of the Valley&rsquo;s aficionado set and business media cheerleaders.. To wit:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;However, you know what changes everything? When the meme of &ldquo;Gonna stay here till I cash-in and then I&rsquo;ll buy me a McMansion!&rdquo; turns into the underlying realization that quite possibly &ndash; you&rsquo;re going to end up living in a shipping container! Possibly forever if things don&rsquo;t change.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>But it&rsquo;s different this time. right? Or, maybe, it&rsquo;s not. Better check that &ldquo;bottle&rdquo; for an expiration date. I think it may be well passed.</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="458" height="304" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Airbnb Ambition Car sharing Central Banks Commuting E-commerce Federal Reserve Federal Reserve Location-based software Market Conditions Music industry Occupational Safety and Health Administration Transport Uber Uberisation Unemployment Unicorn US Federal Reserve Mon, 25 Sep 2017 01:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 604087 at