It appears that when North Korea's Kim Jong-un isn't personally hacking Sony Pictures' 40-some firewalls, he is busy flying planes.
2014 is in the bag and there's something for everyone to celebrate. Here are the narratives that painted the past year - what’s real about them versus what we’re being told they are about.
- Behind the Scenes at Sony as Hacking Crisis Unfolded (WSJ)
- Oil Set for Biggest Slump Since 2008 as OPEC Battles U.S. Shale (BBG)
- Praet Warning of Oil Effects Signals Higher Chance of ECB QE (BBG)
- U.S. Opening Door to More Oil Exports Seen Foiling OPEC Strategy (BBG)
- Venezuela confirms recession, inflation hits 63.6 percent in Nov (Reuters)
- U.S. to station 150 armored vehicles in Europe (Reuters)
- China Stocks Rise to Finish Off Big Year (WSJ)
- RBS Suspends Bonuses of 18 Traders Amid FX Rigging Fine (BBG)
I Hate North Korea’s Leaders ... But They Didn't Do It
First it was, with "absolute certainly", North Korea. Then, out of the blue, an even more ridiculous theory emerged about the origin of the Sony hackers: Russia. Now, we finally get the truth, and as it turns out it was neither of the abovementioned sovereign actors who had nothing better to do than to hack movie scripts and racist emails: it was Sony's own disgruntled worker who was the source of the hack. According to Politico, FBI agents investigating the Sony Pictures hack were briefed Monday by a security firm that says its research points to laid-off Sony staff, not North Korea, as the perpetrator."
What scares me about the Clash of Civilizations is that the three leaders of the three biggest civilizations – the US (Western), China (Sinic), and Russia (Orthodox) – will misplay their hands and take on another civilization directly or, worse, take on each other, and that will vaporize the Narrative of Central Bank Omnipotence in a nanosecond. The existential risk here for markets is not that China/Russia/Europe/America might “collapse”, whatever that means. No, the existential risk is that the great civilizations of the world will be “hollowed out” internally, so that the process of managing the ten thousand year old competition between civilizations devolves into an unstable game of pandering to domestic crowds rather than a stable equilibrium of balance of power.
Remember when evil North Korean hackers were blamed by everyone in the administration for penetrating the firewall of one of the wealthiest, most sophisticated, most secretive multi-national corporations in what now everyone realizes was an epic publicity, not to mention, punking stunt? Well, now that Kim Jong-Un has served his purpose, and the Interview has generated far more revenue than it would have otherwise (but not before North Korea got to troll the US, showing it too has lost all respect for the leader of the free world after it called Obama "A monkey in a tropical jungle") it is time to milk The Interview for some more propaganda talking points. And sure enough, here comes the Seattle-based cyber security firm Taia Global, which according to the NY Daily News as cited by the Mail has analyzed the "data" and concluded that not so Lil' Kim was right (the FBI was wrong) and it wasn't North Korea after all. So who was it? Why the evil Russians of course.
While North Korea had made it very clear that it had nothing to do with the Sony hack, it did demand a full UN-backed investigation, a proposal quickly shot down by none other than the US which always demands full "transparency" of all actions except when actions are its own, or when the resulting transparency would shine an unwanted light on the hypocrisy behind US national interests. Furthermore, in its first statements regarding The Interview, North Korea was actually quite cordial, and said nothing offensive regarding Obama. All that changed overnight when in its first official statement since its Internet went dark - something which if indeed North Korea did not hack Sony, as it claims, would be seen as a clear act of war if it were to happen to any other "developed" country - North Korea finally lost it and decided that the time to troll the US president has finally arrived, when, as the TV anchor says beginning 1:10 minutes in the clip blow, "Obama always goes reckless in speech and action like a monkey in a tropical jungle."
Do you see what happens Larry, when you, supposedly, use all of your crack 16MHz 80286 supercomputers to dictate to Americans what C-grade comedy flops they can and can not watch?
According to KickassTorrents (KAT), which is now the world’s most popular website to download torrents, showed that the number of downloads for “The Interview” surpassed 1 million on early Friday. The tally includes copies which were later deleted due to copyright infringement claims but does not include downloads through other file-sharing services. The figure puts “The Interview” on track to become one of the most pirated movies of the year.
- Japan inflation slows to 14 month low, output slips (Reuters)
- Russia says ruble crisis over as reserves dive, inflation climbs (Reuters)
- Ruble rebounds sharply from lows as exporters sell dollars (Reuters)
- Xbox, PlayStation Networks Attacked, Hackers Claim Credit (BBG)
- Sony’s ‘The Interview’ Packs Theaters Without Violence (BBG)
- Oil edges above $60 as Libyan output slumps (Reuters)
- Shoppers’ Late Rush Gives Hope to Retailers (WSJ)
- Japan says close to deal with South Korea and U.S. on North Korea defense (Reuters)
- NYPD Arrests Seven for Threats After Slayings of Officers (BBG)
"I find it so disturbingly illogical that we Americans are willing to die so that our political class can enjoy ill gotten riches and power yet we cower when it comes to defending our great nation against the political class, something our founding fathers pleaded for us to do. The truth, which the political class legislates so hard for us to overlook, is that they are powerless without us. It is us that fight their fights, fund their wars and enforce their laws that enslave us yet we bow down and call them Mr. President and Madame Secretary. And so I ask each and everyone of you, when will we wake up and recognize that we are the power and the wealth and that the political class has only managed, through deception, to harness our strengths and pass them off as their own? For until that day of awakening, we will continue to live as an oppressed people ruled by others for others."
“It’s Just A Matter of Time Before [Torture] Spills Back Into Domestic Territory. Historically, It Always Has”Submitted by George Washington on 12/24/2014 02:03 -0400
War Always Comes Home
Since the ultimate goal of the ongoing hacking scare tactic appears to be the implementation of an Internet "Kill switch" which would likely be achieved by a controlled take down of the energy grid to demonstrate just how scary "hackers" may be, here comes the "other" Korea with an appetizer of what is to come to the US on short notice. According to RT, a South Korean nuclear plant operator’ computer system was hacked. The perpetrator has leaked blueprints and manuals, says if his demands for three reactors’ closure aren’t met, those living near the facilities should “stay away” from home.
And so, what is perhaps the greatest marketing campaign in movie history, comes to a close with the following update from Bloomberg, Sony executives talking about possibility of releasing “The Interview” on Dec. 25 during a conference call scheduled for 10am in Dallas, Dallas News reports, citing people familiar.
The terrorists un-win!