Sep 22

Today’s News 22nd September 2017

  • "You're Going To See A Rush For Gold" – Katusa Warns De-Dollarization Is Accelerating

    Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

    Global strategist Marin Katusa is the New York Times best selling author of The Colder War, which details the geo-political power shift that threatens the global dominance of the United States. He’s also a well known resource hedge fund manager who legendary investor Doug Casey has called one of the best market analysts he’s ever worked with.

    His prior forecasts noted that countries around the world would soon stop trading commodities like oil in the U.S. dollar, something we’re already seeing with China, Russia, Iran, and Venezuela, all of which are preparing non-dollar, gold-backed mechanisms of exchange.

    This trend, according to Katusa in a must see interview with Future Money Trends, will only continue to weaken the U.S. dollar going forward and the result will be a massive capital flight to gold in coming years:

    I think we’ll have a near term bounce on the U.S. dollar… then it’s going to be very weak… and then it’s going to go much, much lower… With China and Russia working together to de-dollarize the U.S. dollar starting with oil, which is the biggest market… and then all the other commodities.

     

    You’re going to start seeing a massive unwind of these U.S. dollars in the emerging markets.

     

     

    When that money comes back… which it will… and the world starts cluing in that the emerging markets need gold to convert the Yuan and the Ruble and all these different factors, you’re going to see a massive rush for gold.

    Watch the full interview:

    Katusa notes that he is preparing to “load up” on gold-based assets as the dollar strengthens and puts additional pressure on gold prices, but says that by next year major fund managers will start moving capital back into precious metals in response to dollar weakness, global de-dollarization and economic crisis:

    Everybody wants to rush in when something’s exciting… but you take your position before the massive flow of money…

     

    I think we have a near term dead cat bounce for the U.S. dollar… which will mean we’re going to have a little bit of weakness here in gold in the near term… the next six months is my time to load up.

     

    …And when the funds flow come in… it’s going to be the equivalent of Niagra Falls coming through your garden hose.

    The geo-political realignment taking place now stands to upend the financial and economic systems as we know them. This shift will not come without crisis and panic. The time to position yourself in gold-based assets is now.

  • Complete Preview Of Theresa May's "Florence" Brexit Speech

    On Friday – a day many have called  “the most important day for Brexit since the referendum” – Theresa May will delivers her much anticipated Brexit speech in Florence. The roughly 5000-word speech is scheduled at begin around 09:15 EDT and is expected to provoke an immediate response from Brussels.

    Among the flurry of last minute preparations, earlier this week, the Telegraph reported that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will resign if May veers toward a “Swiss-style” EU arrangement in her speech (more here). Earlier today, BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg reported that May’s Friday speech will say the UK willing to pay €20BN during transition period “BUT only if we have access to single market + some form of customs union.” As RanSquawk added, the €20BN does not cover long term liabilities, so the eventual total departure bill to taxpayers will potentially be far higher.

    Taking a step back, here is a bigger picture preview of what is known – and unknown – about tomorrow’s speech courtesy of RanSquawk

    What will May Say?

    Few specific details are available on what UK Prime Minister Theresa May will cover in her speech, to be delivered from Florence, Italy, on 22 September. However, it is expected that the material will be significant given that the UK delayed the fourth round of Brexit talks (which were set to take place in the week of 25 September). A spokesperson for May has been quoted as saying that the speech would outline the UK’s hopes for a “deep and special partnership” with the EU following Brexit. May was said to have discussed the particulars with her Cabinet on Thursday 21 September. At the time of publication, no firm details have been leaked, although a BBC reporter was told that May will seek a transitional agreement, with a time frame of two years being touted.

    “In the wake of slow progress on Brexit negotiations, the United Kingdom may be preparing to adjust its approach,” analysts at Stratfor write. “Brexit negotiations have achieved limited progress so far, and the EU side has warned that talks are still far from the ‘sufficient progress’ necessary to move to their second phase, which is meant to address the future bilateral relationship” which the UK was eager to begin in October.

    One theory that is gaining traction, therefore, is that the UK will offer some concessions to the EU which will help move the discussions on.

    Tensions Within May’s Cabinet

    The secrecy surrounding her speech was causing tension in May’s Cabinet. Reports in the Telegraph newspaper suggested that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson would tender his resignation if May pivoted towards a ‘Swiss-style’ arrangement. The news drove sterling higher, with traders seemingly taking comfort from the idea that some of the more extreme, ‘hard’ voices around May would leave the Cabinet, allowing her to pursue a ‘softer’, more amenable deal.

    However, the story was denied and it has been subsequently reported that May made moves to appease Johnson; the Telegraph reported “the Cabinet truce over Britain’s future payments to the EU involves paying substantial sums to the bloc, but no further payments after Britain’s transition period.”

    The FT later wrote that PM May believes the UK can achieve a “bespoke” final deal with the EU, and May reportedly said neither a Canadian-style nor a Norway-style deal for single market was appropriate for the UK.

    Divorce Bill

    The Financial Times this week reported that the UK was set to make an “offer to fill a post-Brexit EU budget hole of at least €20bn” in an attempt to settle its so-called “diovrce bill.” The FT adds “UK officials have indicated Britain would ensure no member state would have to pay more into the EU budget or receive less money from it until 2020, the end of EU’s current long-term budget planning period. The expected hole in those two years after Brexit would be at least €20bn when payments the UK receives back from Brussels are excluded.

    “A figure of €20bn is pretty close to estimates for what the UK’s net contribution to the EU budget would have been under the status quo ‘Remain’ scenario,” say analysts at RBC Capital, “however, it is unlikely that monies relating to the current EU budget period will be the end of the financial settlement negotiation between the UK and the EU.” Later reports, which followed Ma’s Cabinet meeting, suggested any financial settlement – which May would not directly address in her speech – would be contingent on single market access.

    It is unclear how the EU might respond, given earlier demands from some suggesting a figure of as much as €60bln may be needed.

    “On the EU side, any response next week which hints progress is sufficient to move towards discussing the future UK-EU trade deal before year end should be supportive of a view that the two-year Article 50 process isn’t too far off-track,” RBC says.

    Transitional Period

    May is also expected to acknowledge the need for a transitional period to avoid a ‘Brexit cliff’, where the UK would continue to abide by EU rules in some areas, while phasing out a withdrawal in other areas. “While the British government seemed to be aiming for a two-year transition, we have been told May prefers a longer hiatus of three years, which would give her enough time to prepare for elections, to be held on their scheduled date, in 2022,” analysts at SGH Macro argue.

    * * *

    Want more? Here is another preview, this time from Barclays?

    Media speculation is mounting over the content of UK PM May’s Brexit Speech in Florence tomorrow. This is the first big Brexit-specific speech by the PM following the General Election. It is designed to outline the basis for negotiations at the fourth round of EU-UK negotiations in Brussels next week. Following that, the UK Conservative Party Conference will take place on 1-4 October, where PM May will need to satisfy her own party members with regards to the tone set over Brexit. Hence, the challenge for the PM in her speech will be to appear constructive to her EU partners, so as to advance the negotiation process, while at the same time not angering those within her own party, who may prefer a less accommodative course vis-a-vis the EU in the negotiations.

    May is expected to outline three key issues – The transition, the EU withdrawal bill, and the future relationship.

    • Transition – Highlights were provided by Chancellor Hammond last week. He insisted that the UK will leave the Single Market and the Customs Union in March 2019. The UK will seek to maintain the status quo of trade and access. A two-year transition period is seen as most likely to stop cabinet in-fighting.
    • EU Withdrawal bill – PM May is likely to commit to the UK paying what is deemed reasonable during a transition period. Her traditional style has been vague and there is a chance she may continue with this approach, and stop short of stating an actual figure that could leave herself open to attack during the upcoming Tory Party conference. However, press speculation is mounting of a £20bn figure as a starting point for negotiations, conditional upon access to the single market and some form of Customs Union (source: BBC). We expect an eventual figure in the region of £40-50bn may be negotiable. The reaction to this from Brussels and the UK media will be important for PM May going into the Tory Party conference.
    • Future relationship – Hammond gave some colour last week, focusing on financial services, and recognised concerns about the UK potentially deviating from high EU regulatory standards. We expect PM May to reiterate the importance of regulatory homogeneity in the short run. May is likely to try to insist on the need for the UK to negotiate trade deals, even if legally, this cannot begin until the second phase of negotiations.
    • Reaction following the speech: The key to watch here would be the reaction from EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, as well as the UK press. The speech lays the foundations for the EU-UK negotiations next week, and EU officials have voiced increasing frustration over delays, bearing in mind that the principles for the first phase of negotiations, covering  guarantees, commitments on citizens rights, are due to be agreed between October to December before it is possible to move on to trade issues in Phase 2.

  • One Simple Chart Proves That Facebook Thinks You're A Moron

    Last week we jokingly wrote about a Facebook press release that was apparently an honest effort by the social media giant intended to summarize Russian efforts to undermine the 2016 election using their social media platform. That said, at least to us, it seemed as though Facebook unwittingly proved what a farce the entire ‘Russian collusion’ narrative had become as, after digging through advertising data for the better part of full year, Facebook reported that they found a ‘staggering’ $50,000 worth of ad buys that MAY have been purchased by Russian-linked accounts to run ‘potentially politically related’ ads.

    Not surprisingly, after being attacked by the mainstream media and even Hillary for “assisting” the Russians, Zuckerberg is once again in the press today fanning the flames of the ‘Russian collusion’ narrative by saying that Facebook will release to Congress the details of the 3,000 ads that MAY have been purchased by Russian-linked accounts.

    And while it seems obvious, please allow us to once again demonstrate why this entire process is so utterly bizarre… 

    The chart below demonstrates how the $50,000 worth of ad buys that MAY have been purchased by Russian-linked accounts to run ‘potentially politically related’ ads compares to the $26.8 billion in ad revenue that Facebook generated in the U.S. over the same time period between 3Q 2015 and 2Q 2017….If $50,000 can swing an entire presidential election can you imagine what $26.8 billion can do?

     

    Of course, not all of that $26.8 billion was spent on political advertising so we took a shot at breaking it down further.  While Facebook doesn’t disclose political spending as a percent of their overall advertising revenue, we did a little digging and found that political advertising represented ~5% of the overall ad market in the U.S. in 2016.  We further assumed that political share of the overall ad market is roughly half of that amount in non-election years, or 2.5%. 

    Using that data, we figure that Facebook may get ~3.5% of their annual revenue from political advertising in an average year, or nearly $1 billion per year…give or take a few million.  Unfortunately, as the chart below once again demonstrates, this still does little to support Zuckerberg’s thesis that the $50,000 he keeps talking about is in any way relevant to the 2016 election.

     

    Of course, the pursuit of this ridiculous narrative proves that Zuckerberg has no interest in spreading the truth about how his company impacted (and by “impacted,” we mean “had no impact at all”) the 2016 election, but rather is only interested in shoving his political agenda down the throats of an American public that he presumes is too stupid to question his propaganda. 

    That said, if Zuckerberg is really just on a mission for truth, as he says he is, perhaps he can stop patronizing the American public and disclose the full facts surrounding political advertising on Facebook.  We suspect a simple financial disclosure detailing how much political advertising was sold on Facebook from 3Q 2015 – 2Q 2017, broken down by political affiliation, would go a long way toward proving just how meaningless $50,000 is in the grand scheme of things. 

    That said, somehow we suspect ‘truth’ is not really Zuckerberg’s end goal, now is it?

  • India Stack and Bitcoin (An Insider's View)

    By Chris at www.CapitalistExploits.at

    Before the good stuff… the fun stuff.

    Here’s a fan mail I received in response to this.

    I guess he/she never made it as far as this part:

    “Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against EVs, and I’m all for technological innovation.”

    Though, in all fairness, it may be the collagen talking. Either way, definitely not an Insider member, otherwise he/she/it would be well aware of where we’re actually invested. Ha!

    Dregs from the bottom of the barrel occasionally drift into my corner of cyberspace. That they respond like this must be due to this fascinating misconception that I give a damn.

    Still, if we poke them hard enough in the chest, they’ll bugger off leaving us with the fine specimens that make up the overwhelming majority of our distinguished readership. Which brings me neatly to:

    “Hi Chris,

     

    I’m not sure if this gets to you or is stuck in the admin box.

     

    Love your work, really enjoy it.

     

    Your current one on the knock off effects of banning gasoline and diesel cars made me want to bring up another point that is seldom discussed when people talk about the future of EVs… the profitability of refineries when they don’t have a market for gasoline.

     

    When a barrel of crude is refined, about half of its volume ends up as gasoline.  The other half ends up as diesel, jet fuel, bunker oil, chemical feedstocks, etc… Gasoline is great for running automobiles, but pretty lousy for any other industrial process.  Industrial processes such as mining, refining, transporting, and processing cobalt, lithium, and molybdenum into EV parts.  These processes depend on the other half of the barrel.

     

    Driving away (pun intended) the demand for gasoline by mandating EVs means that refineries have half of their product become much less valuable.  I don’t have the research or know of who has done the research, but I wonder what such a move would mean for the price of diesel, jet fuel, bunker oil, chemical feedstocks, etc…?

    Hope all is well, cheers!”

    Fair points and worth thinking about.

    For example. Do those industries taking up the “other half of a barrel” benefit? To what degree? For how long? And is the market pricing this?

    All fun stuff which we spend all most of our time doing here.

    Anyway, today I’ve got something special for you and it’s got nothing to do with EVs or gasoline.

    Bitcoin and India Stack

    It was Raoul Pal who first brought to my attention the incredible galactic sized project that is India Stack.

    I’ve since spoken with quite a variety of people both in India and out in order to better understand the dynamics of what’s taking place in India. I think it provides a fascinating and illuminating view into how certain problems can be dealt with.

    In particular (and I’ve not seen anyone mention this), the ability to recapitalise a banking system on the brink and to do so while transitioning over a billion citizens onto a digital system.

    Pre-cash elimination, India’s banks were in a shocking state. What better way to “fix” them than to get the poor to bail them out.

    Ever since man began forming communities, we’ve had a setup where those at the top manufacture ways and means to have those at the bottom pay for the things they want.

    Kings told stories about their “divine rights”, people believed it, priests told stories about the church’s relationship with God, people believed it. And today politicians tell stories about “the greater good”… and people believe it. Some things never change.

    Aside from the banking system being recapitalised…

    It’s been fascinating to watch what was up until recently one of the world’s largest cash economies and where millions never even had a bank account suddenly goes digital.

    So there were two steps here.

    The first being the elimination of cash in the economy, and the second bringing online the digital platform otherwise known as IndiaStack, an open source platform where information is a utility.

    The set of open API for developers includes:

    • The Aadhaar for authentication
    • The e-KYC documents that have been generated
    • Digital lockers
    • e-signatures (software based as against the present dongle based e-signs)
    • The Unified Payments Interface which rides on top of the National Payment Corporation of India’s Immediate Payment System.

    You can check out a presentation which provides a decent overview of it here.

    I’ve spoken with a lot of guys who see this as being a major boon for India’s economy, eliminating fraud, destroying swathes of bureaucracy, and bringing millions of people into the economy who previously never had access.

    I don’t disagree with any of this, but what I wanted to do was to find someone who wasn’t very bullish, someone who would challenge some of these thoughts. And with that in mind, I found and spoke to Deepankar Kapoor.

    Deepankar Kapoor – as you can probably infer from his name – is not only Indian but he’s also the founder of Bitcoinwiser, a well known face in the digital advertising industry in India with his most recent stint being as the Vice President & National Strategy Head at Ogilvy India.

    He has 9+ years of full time recognised experience in digital business transformation of Fortune 500 brands and won many accolades throughout his career. Academically, he holds an MBA from University of Calcutta wherein he majored in Marketing [Forecasting & Econometrics], BMS from Symbiosis International University and a Diploma in Cyber Laws from the Government Law College, Mumbai. Additionally, he is a Google and Twitter Certified Professional.

    You can listen to our conversation below. I apologise for the dodgy line at times – Kenyan Wi-Fi isn’t the best in the world.

    And a Question for This Week

    Wow Poll 21 Sep
    Cast your vote here and also see what others think

    – Chris

    “Change is opportunity.” — Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister for Commerce

    ————————————–

    Liked this article? Then you’ll probably like my other missives on

    this topic as well. Go here to access them (free, of course).

    ————————————–

  • Are We Really Capable Of Shooting Down North Korean Missiles?

    Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,

    According to some analysts, Americans may be overly confident in our military’s ability to shoot down North Korean missiles if the country were to attempt to strike.

    Maybe the reason we haven’t shot down North Korea’s test missiles is that we can’t. While we all certainly hope that our military would be able to successfully defend the country against incoming missiles, we need to be prepared for any possibility.

    According to an article by Joe Cirincione of Defense One, the reason we don’t shoot down North Korea’s missiles when they fire them over Japan is because…

    We don’t have the capability.

    Joe Cirincione is the president of Ploughshares Fund and the author of several books about nuclear weapons, including Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late.

    According to Cirincione, when Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, “We didn’t intercept it because no damage to Japanese territory was expected,” this was only partially true. It wasn’t a threat, but they didn’t have the capability to shoot it down due to the altitude.

    Neither Japan nor the United States could have intercepted the missile. None of the theater ballistic missile defense weapons in existence can reach that high. It is hundreds of kilometers too high for the Aegis interceptors deployed on Navy ships off Japan. Even higher for the THAAD systems in South Korea and Guam. Way too high for the Patriot systems in Japan, which engage largely within the atmosphere.

     

    All of these are basically designed to hit a missile in the post-mid-course or terminal phase, when it is on its way down, coming more or less straight at the defending system. Patriot is meant to protect relatively small areas such as ports or air bases; THAADdefends a larger area; the advanced Aegis system theoretically could defend thousands of square kilometers. (source)

    Well, that’s unsettling. So, what if we engaged the missile before it reached that high?

    Cirincione says that too is unlikely to be successful.

    There is almost no chance of hitting a North Korean missile on its way up unless an Aegis ship was deployed very close to the launch point, perhaps in North Korean waters.

     

    Even then, it would have to chase the missile, a race it is unlikely to win. In the only one or two minutes of warning time any system would have, the probability of a successful engagement drops close to zero. (source)

    But don’t take Cirincione’s word for it. In his article, he cited other experts who echo his sentiments.  Jonathon McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, tweeted in response to someone questioning why we didn’t shoot down NK’s missiles:

    As well, he quoted Jerry Doyle, deputy business editor for Asia at The New York Times:

    “It’s actually virtually impossible to shoot down a missile on the way up. Midcourse or terminal are the only places you have a shot.” (source)

    While I’m not sure how a business editor has special knowledge of our nuclear defense system, all of these sentiments certainly raise the question:

    IF WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO SHOOT DOWN NORTH KOREAN MISSILES, WHY HAVEN’T WE DONE SO?

    If we attempted to shoot down a North Korean missile and missed, it would be a major propaganda coup for Kim Jong Un.

    When our military practiced this, they managed to shoot down 2 out of 3 missiles.

    A lot of people are putting a great deal of hope in American missile defense systems, but it’s important to note that a couple of weeks ago in a test over the Pacific, our defense system failed. This was subsequent to a previous success.

     

    A medium-range ballistic missile was launched from a test range in Hawaii at 7:20 pm local time, but the interceptor missile fired at sea from USS John Paul Jones, a guided-missile destroyer, missed the target.

     

    “A planned intercept was not achieved,” the statement said. (source)

     

    That’s disconcerting. After the failed test, there was a third test which was successful, but it’s very important to realize that our military isn’t infallible. If our rate is 2 out of 3 missiles shot down, that means that 1 out of 3 still gets through and wreaks destruction.

    So, could we actually shoot down a missile “gift package” as Kim Jong Un creepily calls it?

    The unsettling answer is, maybe.

    Maybe, if we were expecting it, if the conditions were right, if we were close enough, if it was low enough, if we were in a perfect position.

    There are way too many “ifs” in there for me to feel fully confident in our ability to shoot down North Korean missiles before they strike the mainland, which experts now believe they have the ability to reach. We also know that North Korea also possesses the ability to create hydrogen bombs. And as I’ve written before, if you believe this is all a big set up for a false flag event, that would hardly matter to those nearby if such a thing were to happen.

    If you aren’t prepped for the potential of a nuclear strike, it’s time to start learning what you need to do. (This article and this class can help you.)

  • Florida Parents Outraged After Teacher Demands Her 5th Graders Use Gender Neutral Pronouns

    Over the past year or so, we’ve observed in amazement as one ‘institution of higher indoctrination’ (a.k.a. “university”) after another came up with replacement pronouns for politically incorrect ‘hate speech’ like ‘freshman’.  Vanderbilt even forced its teachers and administrators to wear name tags defining their pronouns just so there would be absolutely no gender confusion that might lead to a nasty “triggering” event or unnoticed “microaggression (see: Vanderbilt University Name Placards For Faculty Offices Will Now Include “Preferred Pronouns”).

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

     

    But, while such things are expected from our millennial youth on progressive college campuses, parents of a 5th grade class in Tallahassee, Florida were somewhat shocked when they received a letter from “Mx. (pronounced Mix)” Bressack demanding that her students only refer to her using gender neutral terms like ‘Mx.’ instead of ‘Ms.’ and “they, them, their” instead of “he, his, she, hers.”  Per the Tallahassee Democrat:

    “One thing that you should know about me is that I use gender neutral terms. My prefix is Mx. (pronounced Mix). Additionally, my pronouns are “they, them, their” instead of “he, his, she, hers”. I know it takes some practice for it to feel natural, but my experience students catch on pretty quickly. We’re not going for perfection, just making an effort! Please feel free to reach out to me or administration if you have any questions. My priority is for all of my students to be comfortable in my classroom and have a space where they can be themselves while learning.”

     

    Of course, it didn’t take long for the parents of Mx. Bressack’s students to post their outrage to a Facebook group called “Tally Moms Stay Connected.” One mom bluntly asked  “is this fucking for real?” while another dad wondered whether it might makes sense to just stick to teaching math and science if your job is to be a math and science teacher.

     

    Meanwhile, principal Paul Lambert assured parents that Mx. Bressack enjoyed his full support but that “teachers in our district will not be allowed to use their influence in
    the classroom to advance any personal belief or political agenda.”

    “We support her preference in how she’s addressed, we certainly do,” Lambert said. “I think a lot of times it might be decided that there is an agenda there, because of her preference — I can tell you her only agenda is teaching math and science at the greatest level she can.”

     

    Lambert acknowledged there have been some calls to the Canopy Oaks front office regarding the letter.

     

    “There has been some (contact from concerned parents), the thing that has brought good understanding is, it’s not a preference that’s being applied to anyone other than the teacher.”

     

    “According to Principal Lambert, the teacher addresses students daily by using the pronouns he, she, him and her.  The teacher also uses ma’am and sir when responding to students. As a personal preference, however, the teacher simply prefers to be referred to in gender neutral terms as that of a coach,” Hanna wrote.

     

    “I can assure you that teachers in our district will not be allowed to use their influence in the classroom to advance any personal belief or political agenda. At this time, I do not believe that is the case in this instance.”

    So what say you…necessary step toward forming a more perfect progressive society or just complete insanity?

  • Dallas School Board Designates Founding Fathers As Having "Confederate Links"

    "Just if we saw Confederacy named in it, we then highlighted it" says a school board spokesperson while describing a list which contained Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and Sam Houston.

    The Dallas Independent School District is in damage control mode after an internal school board list was obtained by local press which shows schools under consideration for name changes due to possible "connections with slavery or the Confederacy." News of the list, obtained by the Dallas Morning News early this week, caused outrage for the fact that it includes Texas revolutionaries and founders such as Sam Houston, James Bowie and William Travis, as well as Dallas pioneers James Gaston and William Brown Miller. It further names other early American figures who very obviously lived long before the existence of the Confederacy such as U.S. presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and, inexplicably, Ben Franklin.

    Battle of the Alamo: Even the Texas revolutionary defenders of the iconic Alamo were on a list of "controversial" historical figures which Dallas ISD needed to "research" for review of whether school names could stay.

    Of course, William Travis and Jim Bowie both died at the Alamo in 1836 while the Confederacy didn't come into existence until 1861. Sam Houston too lived most of his entire life before the civil war and was perhaps the greatest Native American rights supporter of the time, and was adopted as an "honorary Cherokee" by the tribe, having also married a Cherokee woman. Ben Franklin, one of the American founding fathers named on the Dallas ISD list, was a vocal abolitionist. It is stunning and extremely worrisome that school board trustees would be both so historically illiterate and politically correct that they would put such names on the list in the first place.


    Dallas school board member Dustin Marshall confirmed the list via social media. It's amazing that even founding fathers like Ben Franklin – an early vocal abolitionist – or Declaration of Independence author Thomas Jefferson should have to be debated. 

    But Dallas ISD is currently attempting to backtrack and spin the narrative now that the leaked list is receiving so much push back from Texans. There's likely some level of embarrassment which motivated the new stance as well. A subsequent Dallas Morning News update explained, "Instead of more research, the district is focusing on a narrow set of parameters to only rethink schools named after Confederate generals, said chief of school leadership Stephanie Elizalde." The board now claims that while the original list was merely for "research" purposes, it is only four schools that are being seriously considered to undergo a name change: Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston and William L. Cabell elementary schools.

    Disturbingly, it appears that "research" into Confederate links is being conducted by a mere one person staff, this according to language used by board spokesperson Stephanie Elizalde. She was quoted further in The Dallas Morning News:

    The additional names were never part of any specific renaming plan. Instead, Elizalde said, the list was originally so broad because she wanted to do "due diligence" on the names of the district's 226 campuses.

     

    "The more I researched, the more I was going to find," she said.

    The more detailed explanation of her methodology is strange considering many of the names that actually made the school board's list:

    This was just a very quick review of looking at the biographies of the individuals, and if there was any association with Confederacy — not making a judgment for or against — just if we saw Confederacy named in it, we then highlighted it. We are now in the process of doing a second [look].

    Yet that doesn't explain how authors of America's founding documents and Texas revolutionary came to be "highlighted", unless the Dallas school board's knowledge of history is really that appalling (a real possibility it seems). 

    Rod Dreher, writing for The American Conservative, summarized the sad state of Dallas ISD with the following:

    Imagine the impoverishment of the minds who believe the most significant thing to know about Jefferson, Madison, and Franklin, is that they were in some way tainted by slavery. Imagine the ignorance of school leaders who are going to investigate whether William Travis and Jim Bowie — both of whom died in 1836 at the Alamo — could have been involved with the Confederacy, which came into existence in 1861…

     

    It’s disgusting, this iconoclasm. In 2015, 40 percent of DISD’s schools received a failing grade from the state. To be fair, over 90 percent of DISD’s students come from low income homes, meaning that the school system has tremendous barriers to overcome in educating them. Still, the fact that the DISD trustees are even considering a cosmetic, p.c. gesture like this is a farce.

    As we've asked many times before: who will the PC mob come for next? If there's talk of purging history – even Texas history in Texas schools – then clearly it can and likely will happen anywhere. Will there perhaps be a future time when Texans themselves will no longer "Remember the Alamo!"…?

  • Jim Rickards Warns "QT1 Will Lead To QE4"

    Authored by James Rickards via The Daily Reckoning,

    There are only three members of the Board of Governors who matter: Janet Yellen, Stan Fischer and Lael Brainard. There is only one Regional Reserve Bank President who matters: Bill Dudley of New York. Yellen, Fischer, Brainard and Dudley are the “Big Four.”

    They are the only ones worth listening to. They call the shots. The don’t like dots. Everything else is noise.

    Here’s the model the Big Four actually use:

    1. Raise rates 0.25% every March, June, September and December until rates reach 3.0% in late 2019.

     

    2. Take a “pause” on rate hikes if one of three pause factors apply: disorderly asset price declines, jobs growth below 75,000 per month, or persistent disinflation.

     

    3. Put balance sheet normalization on auto-pilot and let it run “on background.” Don’t use it as a policy tool.

    Simple.

    What does this model tell us about a rate hike in December?

    Disinflation has been strong and persistent. The Fed’s main metric for this (core PCE deflator year-over-year) has dropped from 1.9% in January to 1.4% in July. The August reading comes out on September 29. This time series is moving strongly in the wrong direction from the Fed’s perspective. This is what caused the September “pause” (which we predicted for readers last March).

    After seven months of decline, one month of increase, if it comes, will not be enough to get the Fed to end the pause. It would take at least two months of increases to change the Fed’s mind.

    That’s unlikely given the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Those effects may be temporary, but they come at exactly the time when the Fed was looking for a turnaround in core inflation. They won’t get it. The pause goes on.

    How do I know this?

    For one thing, the Fed explains this all the time. It’s just that the media won’t listen; they’re too busy chasing dots.

    But this was also explained to me in detail by the ultimate Fed insider. I call him, “The Man Without a Face,” and I identify him by name in chapter six of my New York Times bestseller, The Road to Ruin.

    It’s true that Stan Fischer is leaving the board soon, but the White House has been in no hurry to fill vacancies. The Big Four will still be The Big Three (Yellen, Dudley and Brainard) when the December meeting rolls around and the analysis will be the same.

    Eventually the markets will figure this out. Right now, markets are giving a 70% chance of a rate hike in December based on CME Fed Funds futures. That rate will drop to below 20% by Dec. 13 when the FOMC meets again with a press conference. (There’s another meeting on Nov. 1, but no one expects any policy changes then).

    Now, with respect to quantitative tightening (QT), the same way they tapered QE, they’re going to “taper” QT. This time however, they’re going to taper upward. Meaning they’re going to go from $10 billion a month not being rolled over to $20 billion, $30 billion, etc.

    Eventually, the amount of securities they don’t roll over will go up until the balance sheet controlled by the Fed comes down to the targeted figure. The projection is that it could take five years to achieve. The problem is we might not make it that far before the entire system collapses.

    We’re in a new reality. But the Fed doesn’t realize it.

    Here’s what the Fed wants you to believe…

    The Fed wants you to think that QT will not have any impact.

     

    Fed leadership speaks in code and has a word for this which you’ll hear called “background.”

     

    The Fed wants this to run on background. Think of running on background like someone using a computer to access email while downloading something on background.

    This is complete nonsense. They’ve spent eight years saying that quantitative easing was stimulative. Now they want the public to believe that a change to quantitative tightening is not going to slow the economy.

    They continue to push that conditions are sustainable when printing money, but when they make money disappear, it will not have any impact. This approach falls down on its face — and it will have a big impact.

    Markets continue to not be fully discounted because they don’t have enough information. Contradictions coming from the Fed’s happy talk wants us to believe that QT is not a contractionary policy, but it is.

    My estimate is that every $500 billion of quantitative tightening could be equivalent to one .25 basis point rate hike. The Fed is about to embark on a policy to let the balance sheet run down.

    The plan is to reduce the balance sheet $30 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017, then increase the quarterly tempo by an additional $30 billion per quarter until hitting a level of $150 billion per quarter by October 1, 2018.

    Under that estimate, the balance sheet reduction would be about $600 billion by the end of 2018, and another $600 billion by the end of 2019.

    That would be the equivalent of half a .25 basis point rate hike in each of the next two years in addition to any actual rate hikes.

    While they might attempt to say that this method is just going to “run on background,” don’t believe it.

    The decision by the Fed to not purchase new bonds will be just as detrimental to the growth of the economy as raising interest rates.

    The Fed’s QT policy that aims to tighten monetary conditions, reduce the money supply and increase interest rates will cause the economy to hit a wall, if it hasn’t already.

    The economy is slowing. Even without any action, retail sales, real incomes, auto sales and even labor force participation are all declining. Every important economic indicator shows that the U.S. economy is slowing right now. When you add in QT, we may very well be in a recession very soon.

    Because they’re getting ready for a potential recession where they’ll have to cut rates yet again. Then it’s back to QE. You could call that QE4 or QE1 part 2. The Fed has essentially trapped itself into a state of perpetual manipulation.

    The problem continues to be that the stock market is overpriced for this combination of higher rates and slower growth.

    The one thing to know about bubbles is they last longer than you think and they pop when you least expect it. Under such conditions, it’s usually when the last guy throws in the towel that the bubble pops. We’re not there yet.

    Is this thing ready to pop? Absolutely, and QT could be just the thing to do it.

    I would say the market is fundamentally set up for a fall. When you throw in the fact that the Fed continues to have no idea what they’re doing, and has taken a dangerous course anyway, I expect a very severe stock market correction coming sooner than later.

    As market perceptions catch up with reality, the dollar will sink, the euro and gold will rally, and interest rates will resume their long downward slide.

    Do you have your gold yet?

  • Jamie Dimon Faces Market Abuse Claim Over "False, Misleading" Bitcoin Comments

    A week after Jamie Dimon made headlines by proclaiming Bitcoin a "fraud" and anyone who owns it as "stupid," the JPMorgan CEO faces a market abuse claim for "spreading false and misleading information" about bitcoin.

    Unless you have been living under a rock for the past week, you will be well aware of JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon's panicked outburst with regard the 'fraud' that Bitcoin's 'tulip-like' bubble is. To paraphrase:

    "It’s a fraud. It’s making stupid people, such as my daughter, feel like they’re geniuses. It’s going to get somebody killed. I’ll fire anyone who touches it."

    One week later, an algorithmic liquidity provider called Blockswater has filed a market abuse report against Jamie Dimon for "spreading false and misleading information" about bitcoin.

    The firm filed the report with the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority against JPMorgan Chase and Dimon, the company's chief executive. Blockswater said Dimon violated Article 12 of the European Union's Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) by declaring that cryptocurrency bitcoin was "a fraud".

    The complaint said Dimon's statement negatively impacted "the cryptocurrency's price and reputation".

     

    It also said Dimon "knew, or ought to have known, that the information he disseminated was false and misleading".

     

    "Jamie Dimon's public assertions did not only affect the reputation of bitcoin, they harmed the interests of some of his own clients and many young businesses that are working hard to create a better financial system,” said Florian Schweitzer, managing partner at Blockswater.

    Blockswater said JPMorgan traded bitcoin derivatives for their clients on Stockholm-based exchange Nasdaq Nordic before and after Dimon's statements (as we detailed here), which Schweitzer said "smells like market manipulation".

    Blockswater works with blockchain-based assets based in London and Austria. Its full complaint is below:

    Blockswater Files Market Abuse Report Against Jamie Dimon in Stockholm
    Blockswater LLP believes that Dimon violated EU’s Market Abuse Regulation by "spreading false and misleading information" about bitcoin

     

    STOCKHOLM/NEW YORK/LONDON/VIENNA, September 21, 2017 – Algorithmic liquidity provider Blockswater LLP filed a market abuse report with the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (FI) against JPMorgan Chase and Co. CEO Jamie Dimon. Blockswater believes that Dimon violated Article 12 of the European Union's Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) by declaring that cryptocurrency bitcoin was "a fraud.”

     

    The complaint filed with the Swedish authorities demonstrates how Dimon's statement negatively impacted "the cryptocurrency's price and reputation.” The document also lists evidence that suggests Dimon "knew, or ought to have known, that the information he disseminated was false and misleading.”

     

    "Jamie Dimon's public assertions did not only affect the reputation of bitcoin, they harmed the interests of some of his own clients and many young businesses that are working hard to create a better financial system,” says Florian Schweitzer, managing partner at Blockswater. JPMorgan traded bitcoin derivatives for their clients on Stockholm-based exchange Nasdaq Nordic before and after Dimon's statements fueled volatility in the market. “That’s a clear case of double standards and it smells like market manipulation.”

     

    Article 12 of the European Union's Market Abuse Regulation prohibits the manipulation of markets through practices such as spreading false or misleading information. Nasdaq Nordic, where exchange-traded notes on bitcoin are listed, defines the term “market manipulation” in accordance with the EU’s definition as “dissemination of information through the media, including the Internet, or by any other means that gives, or is likely to give, false or misleading signals as to Listed Products, including the dissemination of rumours and false or misleading news, where the person who made the dissemination knew, or ought to have known, that the information was false or misleading.”

     

    FI confirmed receipt of the report but did not comment further except to state that the financial markets regulator "will handle it according to [FI's] procedures."

     

    Blockswater LLP is an algorithmic liquidity provider for blockchain-based assets based in London (UK) and Vienna (Austria).
     
     

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