Dec 04

Today’s News 4th December 2017

  • Crypto Surge Sparks Establishment Panic: Bans, Crackdowns, & Fatwas As Bitcoin "Undermines Governments, Destabilizes Economies"

    The last few months have seen increasing notice being paid to Bitcoin (and the broader cryptocurrency space) by those that control the status quo.

    At first it was simple 'negative'-speak – "you'd be a fool to buy Bitcoin"-esque comments spewed forth from the truly ignorant or intentionally-ignorant (this group included bank CEOs, asset managers, payments systems, and remittance services) but to no avail, those fools saw the value of their bitcoins surge… Like the Winklevoss twins

    Then – as the price soared and the market cap of Bitcoin topped that of General Electric and Goldman sachs – the world's central bankers began to take notice… but in their standard manner, played down any risks, explaining that any systemic fragility "was contained" since cryptocurrencies were not big enough (this group included various Fed presidents, Bank of Canada, Bank of France, Bank of Japan, Bank of Korea, and so on all echoing similar phrases)… even though Bitcoin is now the 6th largest currency in circulation

    But this week has seen a new group of establishmentarians jump on to the offensive against anti-decentralization, de-control, pro-freedom cryptocurrencies – urging bans, crackdowns, fatwas, taxation, creating their own cryptocurrencies, demanding citizens sell, and outright confiscation (this group includes governments world wide and their mainstream media mouthpieces)

    India

    India's finance minister, Arun Jaitley, has clarified that the government does not recognize bitcoin as legal tender. According to the Economic Times, when asked about the government's plans to regulate the cryptocurrency, Jaitley told reporters, "recommendations are being worked at." He continued:

    "The government's position is clear, we don't recognize this as legal currency as of now."

     

    Concerned over bitcoin's anonymity and its potential illicit uses, justices issued a notice to the central bank and other agencies asking them to answer a petition on the matter, reports indicated.

    Turkey

    Turkey has claimed Bitcoin is in fact “not compatible” with Islam due to its government being unable to control it.

    In a statement from a meeting of the state Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), lawmakers said that Bitcoin’s “speculative” nature meant that buying and selling it was inappropriate for Muslims.

    “Buying and selling virtual currencies is not compatible with religion at this time because of the fact that their valuation is open to speculation. They can be easily used in illegal activities like money laundering, and they are not under the state’s audit and surveillance,” Euronewstranslates the statement republished by local news outlet Enson Haber.

    Diyanet added that the same principles of “unsuitability” in particular applied to Ethereum.

    South Korea

    Kim Dong-yeon, South Korea’s deputy prime minister and the minister of strategy and finance, revealed earlier this week that the government is investigating various methods to better regulate the local Bitcoin market and tax Bitcoin users accordingly.

    While the South Korean government and its local financial authorities are actively discussing the possibility of enforcing a policy on Bitcoin taxation, at a press conference, Deputy Prime Minister Kim stated that the government does not intend to include any Bitcoin taxation policy in 2018’s amendment of the tax law.

    Holland

    A Dutch news paper urges its citizens to sell their bitcoins patriotically because cryptocurrencies can undermine government and destabilize the economy.

    A bitcoin world can destabilize the real economy, a euro is also solidified trust.

    First, the bitcoin undermines the government because a lot of transactions are about money laundering and tax avoidance. Another problem is that the profits of new bitcoins that come with it do not benefit the government (as with normal money creation), but are absorbed in heavily environmentally harmful computer power.

    Central banks also have less influence on keeping the economy stable. In times of crisis, central banks can, through their influence on ordinary banks, ease credit conditions and encourage people to consume. The bank has no control over the bitcoin economy and an economic crisis can become deeper.

    The investor has air in his hands when the bitcoin crashes, but also when the company turns out to produce baked air.

    France

    Putting money in an empty type of asset is “very, very worrying,” Robert Ophele, chairman of France’s market regulator. Bitcoin has no link to the real economy, Ophele says in a panel discussion at the Paris Europlace Financial Forum, warning that cryptocurrencies are a way to commit cybercrimes, allowing access to illicit goods and services.

    If bitcoin was a currency, "it would be a bad one," Ophel exclaimed, as it poses major challenge for central banks and regulators.

    UK

    The Telegraph reported just around the time of the big drop, UK "ministers are launching a crackdown on the virtual currency Bitcoin amid growing concern it is being used to launder money and dodge tax."

    Taking a page out of the Chinese playbook, the UK Treasury has announced plans to regulate the Bitcoin that will force traders in so-called crypto-currencies to disclose their identities and report suspicious activity. 

    According to the Telegraph, while "until now, anybody buying and selling Bitcoins and other  digital currencies have been able to do so anonymously, making it attractive to criminals and tax avoiders. But the Treasury has now said it intends to begin regulating the virtual currency, which has a total value of £145 billion, to bring it in line with rules on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financial legislation."

     
     

    John Mann, a member of the Treasury select committee, said he expected to hold an inquiry into the need for better regulation of Bitcoin and other alternative currencies in the new year.

     

    He said: "These new forms of exchange are expanding rapidly and we've got to make sure we don't get left behind – that's particularly important in terms of money-laundering, terrorism or pure theft.

     

    "I'm not convinced that the regulatory authorities are keeping up to speed. I would be surprised if the committee doesn't have an inquiry next year. "It would be timely to have a proper look at what this means. It may be that we want speed up our use of these kinds of thing in this country, but that makes it all the more important that we don't have a regulatory lag."

    The proposed changes come amid increasing fears that Bitcoin is being used by gangs to launder the proceeds of crime while also attracting currency speculators – with the value of the coin soaring in the past 12 months.

    In other words, the same reason why the IRS is cracking down on Coinbase clients in the US is also why UK and European regulators are joining China in cracking down on capital flight.

    United States

    The US Senate Judiciary Committee is currently tackling bill S.1241 that aims to criminalize the intentional concealment of ownership or control of a financial account. The bill also would amend the definition of ‘financial account’ and ‘financial institution’ to include digital currencies and digital exchanges, respectively. According to ranking committee member Senator Dianne Feinstein, the proposed bill is needed to modernize existing AML laws.

    The bill would amend the definition of ‘financial institution,’ in Section 53412(a) of title 31, United States Code, to include:

    “An issuer, redeemer, or cashier of prepaid access devices, digital currency, or any digital exchanger or tumbler of digital currency.”

    If passed, the bill would likely have far-reaching effects for users of digital currencies both in the US and abroad.

    Earlier reports also indicate that the White House is actively monitoring cryptocurrencies which could only mean more attempts to regulate the world’s first successful decentralized monetary system. With the growing involvement of Wall Street and the ever escalating media attention, it is not surprising that governments are stepping up their attempts to regulate digital currency.

    image courtesy of CoinTelegraph

    But as usual, any regulation-related-headline that the machines instantly sell, is bid back up, since it seems the algorithms have not figured out that there is no real way to 'stop' Bitcoin… which is exactly why the world's elite are so desparate.

    Several industry commentators have issued their opinions on the various proposed laws. Tone Vays claimed that he expects a confrontation between the Bitcoin team, including the holders and users, and the US government.

    “It’s bad… I think it’s gonna end in a very confrontational way between Bitcoin – even Bitcoin holders and users – and the US Government.”

  • America's Military-Industrial Addiction

    Authored by JP Sottile via ConsortiumNews.com,

    Polls show that Americans are tired of endless wars in faraway lands, but many cheer President Trump’s showering money on the Pentagon and its contractors, a paradox that President Eisenhower foresaw…

    The Military-Industrial Complex has loomed over America ever since President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of its growing influence during his prescient farewell address on Jan. 17, 1961. The Vietnam War followed shortly thereafter, and its bloody consequences cemented the image of the Military-Industrial Complex (MIC) as a faceless cadre of profit-seeking warmongers who’ve wrested control of the foreign policy. That was certainly borne out by the war’s utter senselessness … and by tales of profiteering by well-connected contractors like Brown & Root.

    Over five decades, four major wars and a dozen-odd interventions later, we often talk about the Military-Industrial Complex as if we’re referring to a nefarious, flag-draped Death Star floating just beyond the reach of helpless Americans who’d generally prefer that war was not, as the great Gen. Smedley Darlington Butler aptly put it, little more than a money-making “racket.”

    The feeling of powerlessness that the MIC engenders in “average Americans” makes a lot of sense if you just follow the money coming out of Capitol Hill. The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) tabulated all “defense-related spending” for both 2017 and 2018, and it hit nearly $1.1 trillion for each of the two years. The “defense-related” part is important because the annual National Defense Authorization Act, a.k.a. the defense budget, doesn’t fully account for all the various forms of national security spending that gets peppered around a half-dozen agencies.

    It’s a phenomenon that noted Pentagon watchdog William Hartung has tracked for years. He recently dissected it into “no less than 10 categories of national security spending.” Amazingly only one of those is the actual Pentagon budget. The others include spending on wars, on homeland security, on military aid, on intelligence, on nukes, on recruitment, on veterans, on interest payments and on “other defense” — which includes “a number of flows of defense-related funding that go to agencies other than the Pentagon.”

    Perhaps most amazingly, Hartung noted in TomDisptach that the inflation-adjusted “base” defense budgets of the last couple years is “higher than at the height of President Ronald Reagan’s massive buildup of the 1980s and is now nearing the post-World War II funding peak.” And that’s just the “base” budget, meaning the roughly $600 billion “defense-only” portion of the overall package. Like POGO, Hartung puts an annual price tag of nearly $1.1 trillion on the whole enchilada of military-related spending.

    The MIC’s ‘Swamp Creatures’

    To secure their share of this grandiloquent banquet, the defense industry’s lobbyists stampede Capitol Hill like well-heeled wildebeest, each jockeying for a plum position at the trough. This year, a robust collection of 208 defense companies spent $93,937,493 to deploy 728 “reported” lobbyists (apparently some go unreported) to feed this year’s trumped-up, $700 billion defense-only budget, according to OpenSecrets.org. Last year they spent $128,845,198 to secure their profitable pieces of the government pie.

    The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Defense Department, as viewed with the Potomac River and Washington, D.C., in the background. (Defense Department photo)

    And this reliable yearly harvest, along with the revolving doors connecting defense contractors with Capitol Hill, K Street and the Pentagon, is why so many critics blame the masters of war behind the MIC for turning war into a cash machine.

    But the cash machine is not confined to the Beltway. There are ATM branches around the country. Much in the way it lavishes Congress with lobbying largesse, the defense industry works hand-in-glove with the Pentagon to spread the appropriations around the nation. This “spread the wealth” strategy may be equally as important as the “inside the Beltway” lobbying that garners so much of our attention and disdain.

    Just go to U.S. Department of Defense’s contract announcement webpage on any weekday to get a good sense of the “contracts valued at $7 million or more” that are “announced each business day at 5 p.m.” A recent survey of these “awards” found the usual suspects like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. The MIC was well-represented. But many millions of dollars were also “won” by companies most Americans have never heard of … like this sampling from one day at the end of October:

    • Longbow LLC, Orlando Florida, got $183,474,414 for radar electronic units with the stipulation that work will be performed in Orlando, Florida.
    • Gradkell Systems Inc., Huntsville, Alabama, got $75,000,000 for systems operations and maintenance at Fort Belvoir, Virginia
    • Dawson Federal Inc., San Antonio, Texas; and A&H-Ambica JV LLC, Livonia, Michigan; and Frontier Services Inc., Kansas City, Missouri, will share a $45,000,000 for repair and alternations for land ports of entry in North Dakota and Minnesota.
    • TRAX International Corp., Las Vegas, Nevada, got a $9,203,652 contract modification for non-personal test support services that will be performed in Yuma, Arizona, and Fort Greely, Alaska,
    • Railroad Construction Co. Inc., Paterson, New Jersey, got a $9,344,963 contract modification for base operations support services to be performed in Colts Neck, New Jersey.
    • Belleville Shoe Co., Belleville, Illinois, got $63,973,889 for hot-weather combat boots that will be made in Illinois.
    • American Apparel Inc., Selma, Alabama, got $48,411,186 for combat utility uniforms that will be made in Alabama.
    • National Industries for the Blind, Alexandria, Virginia, got a $12,884,595 contract modification to make and advanced combat helmet pad suspension system. The “locations of performance” are Virginia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

    Sharing the Largesse

    Clearly, the DoD is large enough, and smart enough, to award contracts to companies throughout the 50 states. Yes, it is a function of the sheer size or, more forebodingly, the utter “pervasiveness” of the military in American life. But it is also a strategy. And it’s a tactic readily apparent in a contract recently awarded to Raytheon.

    On Oct. 31, 2017, they got a $29,455,672 contract modification for missions systems equipment; computing environment hardware; and software research, test and development. The modification stipulates that the work will spread around the country to “Portsmouth, Rhode Island (46 percent); Tewksbury, Massachusetts (36 percent); Marlboro, Massachusetts (6 percent); Port Hueneme, California (5 percent); San Diego, California (4 percent); and Bath, Maine (3 percent).”

    Frankly, it’s a brilliant move that began in the Cold War. The more Congressional districts that got defense dollars, the more votes the defense budget was likely to receive on Capitol Hill. Over time, it evolved into its own underlying rationale for the budget.

    As veteran journalist William Greider wrote in the Aug. 16, 1984 issue of Rolling Stone, “The entire political system, including liberals as well as conservatives, is held hostage by the politics of defense spending. Even the most well intentioned are captive to it. And this is a fundamental reason why the Pentagon budget is irrationally bloated and why America is mobilizing for war in a time of peace.”

    The peace-time mobilization Greider referred to was the Reagan build-up that, as William Hartung noted, is currently being surpassed by America’s “War on Terror” binge. Then, as now … the US was at peace at home, meddling around the world and running up a huge bill in the process. And then, as now … the spending seems unstoppable.

    And as an unnamed “arms-control lobbyist” told Grieder, “It’s a fact of life. I don’t see how you can ask members of Congress to vote against their own districts. If I were a member of Congress, I might vote that way, too.”

    Essentially, members of Congress act as secondary lobbyists for the defense industry by making sure their constituents have a vested interest in seeing the defense budget is both robust and untouchable. But they are not alone. Because the states also reap what the Pentagon sows … and, in the wake of the massive post-9/11 splurge, they’ve begun quantifying the impact of defense spending on their economies. It helps them make their specific case for keeping the spigot open.

    Enter the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), which notes, or touts, that the Department of Defense (DoD) “operates more than 420 military installations in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico.” Additionally, the NCSL is understandably impressed by a DoD analysis that found the department’s “$408 billion on payroll and contracts in Fiscal Year 2015” translated into “approximately 2.3 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).”

    And they’ve become a clearinghouse for state governments’ economic impact studies of defense spending. Here’s a sampling of recent data compiled on the NSCL website:

    • In 2015, for example, military installations in North Carolinasupported 578,000 jobs, $34 billion in personal income and $66 billion in gross state product. This amounts to roughly 10 percent of the state’s overall economy.
    • In 2014, Coloradolawmakers appropriated $300,000 in state funds to examine the comprehensive value of military activities across the state’s seven major installations. The state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs released its study in May 2015, reporting a total economic impact of $27 billion.
    • Kentuckyhas also taken steps to measure military activity, releasing its fifth study in June 2016. The military spent approximately $12 billion in Kentucky during 2014-15. With 38,700 active duty and civilian employees, military employment exceeds the next largest state employer by more than 21,000 jobs.
    • In Michigan, for example, defense spending in Fiscal Year 2014 supported 105,000 jobs, added more than $9 billion in gross state product and created nearly $10 billion in personal income. A 2016 study sponsored by the Michigan Defense Center presents a statewide strategy to preserve Army and Air National Guard facilities following a future Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round as well as to attract new missions. 

    Electoral Impact

    But that’s not all. According to the DoD study cited above, the biggest recipients of DoD dollars are (in order): Virginia, California, Texas, Maryland and Florida. And among the top 18 host states for military bases, electorally important states like California, Florida and Texas lead the nation.

    President Trump speaking at a Cabinet meeting on Nov. 1, 2017, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Trump’s right and son-in-law Jared Kushner seated in the background. (Screen shot from whitehouse.gov)

    And that’s the real rub … this has an electoral impact. Because the constituency for defense spending isn’t just the 1 percent percent of Americans who actively serve in the military or 7 percent of Americans who’ve served sometime in their lives, but it is also the millions of Americans who directly or indirectly make a living off of the “defense-related” largesse that passes through the Pentagon like grass through a goose.

    It’s a dirty little secret that Donald Trump exploited throughout the 2016 presidential campaign. Somehow, he was able to criticize wasting money on foreign wars and the neoconservative interventionism of the Bushes, the neoliberal interventionism of Hillary Clinton, and, at the same time, moan endlessly about the “depleted” military despite “years of record-high spending.” He went on to promise a massive increase in the defense budget, a massive increase in naval construction and a huge nuclear arsenal.

    And, much to the approval of many Americans, he’s delivered. A Morning Consult/Politico poll showed increased defense spending was the most popular among a variety of spending priorities presented to voters … even as voters express trepidation about the coming of another war. A pair of NBC News/Survey Monkey polls found that 76 percent of Americans are “worried” the United States “will become engaged in a major war in the next four years” and only 25 percent want America to become “more active” in world affairs.

    More to the point, only 20 percent of Americans wanted to increase the troop level in Afghanistan after Trump’s stay-the-course speech in August, but Gallup’s three decade-long tracking poll found that the belief the U.S. spends “too little” on defense is at its highest point (37 percent) since it spiked after 9/11 (41 percent). The previous highpoint was 51 percent in 1981 when Ronald Reagan was elected in no small part on the promise of a major build-up.

    So, if Americans generally don’t support wars or engagement in the world, why do they seem to reflexively support massive military budgets?

    Frankly, look no further than Trump’s mantra of “jobs, jobs, jobs.” He says it when he lords over the sale of weapon systems to foreign powers or he visits a naval shipyard or goes to one of his post-election rallies to proclaim to “We’re building up our military like never before.” Frankly, he’s giving the people what they want. Although they may be war-weary, they’ve not tired of the dispersal system that Greider wrote about during Reagan’s big spree.

    Ultimately, it means that the dreaded Military-Industrial Complex isn’t just a shadowy cabal manipulating policies against the will of the American people. Nor is the “racket” exclusive to an elite group of Deep State swamp things. Instead, the military and the vast economic network it feeds presents a far more “complex” issue that involves millions of self-interested Americans in much the way Eisenhower predicted, but few are willing to truly forsake.

  • Did Mike Flynn Wear A Wire During Conversations With Jared Kushner?

    By now, other potential Trump administration officials who might’ve interacted with Michael Flynn following his Jan. 24 interview with FBI agents – where the former general lied about the details of his conversation with then-ambassador Kislyak – are probably tearing their hair out trying to discern whether the former National Security Adviser – who served in that post for less than a month before being fired for allegedly misrepresenting these same conversations to Vice President Pence – might’ve worn a wire during their interactions.

    Of course, there’s nothing in Flynn’s Nov. 30 plea agreement that definitively answers the question of whether Flynn wore a wire.

    So, in the interest of reading the tea leaves, the Guardian spoke to a handful of experts about whether there was any language in the plea agreement to suggest that Flynn – who tried to cover up the fact that he intimated to then-ambassador Kislyak that Trump would roll back some of the sanctions against the Putin government while also soliciting a Russian veto of a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements – might’ve been wired for sound.

    Their conclusion? That certain language in the Flynn plea about ‘covert actions’ suggests that, yes, he did wear a wire.

    Section eight of the deal reached by Donald Trump’s former national security adviser in the inquiry into Russian meddling in the US election is entitled “cooperation”. It specifies that as well as answering questions and submitting to government-administered polygraph tests, Flynn’s cooperation “may include … participating in covert law enforcement activities”.

     

    Long-time students of federal law enforcement practices agreed, speaking anonymously, that “covert law enforcement activities” likely refers to the possibility of wearing a concealed wire or recording telephone conversations with other potential suspects. It is not known whether Flynn has worn a wire at any time.

     

    “If the other subjects of investigation have had any conversations with Flynn during the last few months, that phrase must have all of them shaking in their boots,” said John Flannery, a former federal prosecutor in the southern district of New York.

    And if there’s one member of the Trump inner circle who might have something to worry about thanks to Flynn, it’s senior Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner.  

    “The one who must be particularly terrified is [Trump son-in-law and adviser] Jared Kushner, if he spoke to the special counsel’s office without immunity about the very matter that is the subject of Flynn’s plea. I think he must be paralyzed if he talked to Flynn before or after the investigators debriefed him."

    But aside from the language about covert action, few other details about what actions might’ve taken can be gleaned from the plea. Even the date when Flynn began cooperating with Mueller’s investigation remains a mystery – though at least one prominent Republican donor was telling friends in July this year that Flynn was already helping the Mueller probe, the Guardian reported.

    The exact nature of the information that Flynn provided to Mueller also is not yet known (though we imagine, given the sieve-like nature of the Mueller camp when it comes to media leaks, some of these details will likely begin appearing in the pages of the New York Times and Washington Post). However, if there’s one clue as to the magnitude of the assistance that Flynn provided to Mueller, it’s the updated sentencing guidelines for the single charge of obstruction that Flynn has chosen to eat instead of trying his luck with a trial.

    Considering the severity of Flynn’s crimes in the eyes of the FBI (which doesn’t look kindly on people who knowingly hinder investigations), the dramatic reduction in the former general’s sentencing suggests that he is going to help Mueller take down at least one other senior member of the Trump inner circle.

    The main clue in the plea agreement about the importance of the information Flynn has already provided lies in the discrepancy between the maximum penalty for the crime he has admitted and the maximum sentence the special counsel has promised to recommend.

     

    According to the document made public on Friday, Flynn could have been sentenced to as much as five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. As long as he cooperates in full with all of the special counsel’s requests, the document says the “estimated sentencing guidelines” range from zero to six months, with a possible fine of between $500 and $9,500. The proposed sentencing reduction also partly takes into account the fact Flynn has no criminal record.

     

    “No prosecutor I know would agree to reducing a sentence that dramatically unless the witness had provided very significant information about at least one other target of his investigation,” Flannery said. “You wouldn’t get such a low sentence unless you had implicated a big target. The person that you’re lifting up allows you to sit on the ground.”

    The exact language in the plea agreement requires Flynn to cooperate “fully, truthfully, completely and with this Office and other Federal, state and local law enforcement authorities identified by this Office in any and all matters as to which this Office deems the cooperation relevant”.

    If Flynn refuses to cooperate fully, “the agreement will be considered breached by your client.” The agreement says any breach will have a serious impact on Flynn’s sentence.

    Experts told the Guardian it was notable Flynn pleaded guilty before being indicted by a grand jury, though the logic here is easy to spot. By sparing Flynn this very public embarrassment, Flynn has more reason to feel genuinely grateful toward the former FBI director. It also makes sense from a strategic perspective: By preserving Flynn’s cover, the former National Security Adviser was free to begin recording incriminating information that could be useful for Mueller.

    Whatever the nature of the agreement, Flynn has every incentive to provide Mueller with as much useful information as he possibly can. According to the agreement Flynn must cooperate “fully, truthfully, completely and with this Office and other Federal, state and local law enforcement authorities identified by this Office in any and all matters as to which this Office deems the cooperation relevant”.

    If Flynn refuses or fails, “the agreement will be considered breached by your client.” The agreement says any breach will have a serious impact on Flynn’s sentence.

    To be sure, the idea that Flynn – or even Papadopoulos before him – wore a wire is still, at this point, mere speculation. While it sounds like prosecutors wanted both men to do so, in Flynn’s case, Mueller may have included the suspicious passage in his plea for another unrelated purpose: To scare other potential witnesses or targets into being completely truthful with investigators.

    Since there was no legal requirement for Mueller to include this information about covert law enforcement activities in the plea agreement, Flannery believes it was put there “to put the fear of God” into anyone who may have given the special counsel answers that conflict with Flynn’s information.

    Of course, the nature of Flynn’s cooperation was immediately overblown by ABC in an error that might cost one senior correspondent his career – indeed, it has already greatly damaged what little credibility he had left. ABC suspended Brian Ross – who erroneously reported that Flynn would testify Trump instructed him to contact the Russians during the campaign. Flynn was actually preparing to testify that a senior Trump official 0 revealed to be Kushner – ordered him to do so during the transition. Outreach between the transition and foreign regimes is legal and common.

    So, aside from undermining President Obama during the waning days of his administration, Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak was otherwise completely legitimate, which begs the question: Why’d Flynn lie? His actions, of course, were technically violations of a rarely enforced law against soliciting these types of quid-pro-quo arrangements. But the risk of being caught in a lie was far greater than risking possible punishment for his conversations with Kislyak.

    So why’d he do it?

    * * *

    Full Flynn Plea Agreement:

  • The Legal System Is Failing America When It Comes To Immigration

    Authored by Scott Greer via The Daily Caller,

    The illegal immigrant who fired the gun shot that killed Kate Steinle was able to beat a murder charge this week.

    Jose Garcia Zarate, a five-time deportee from Mexico and convicted felon, walked away with only a gun conviction after his legal team convinced the jury their client accidentally fired a gun three times and had no intent of killing anyone.

    The Steinle case has attracted national attention ever since her murder occurred in 2015 in the sanctuary city of San Francisco. The murder became the focal point in the debate over illegal immigration, showing the dangers of sanctuary city policies and how America can’t secure its borders from convicted felons with multiple deportations.

    Presidential candidate Donald Trump highlighted the murder several times on the campaign trail for why America needs to get tough on illegal immigration and eliminate sanctuary city policies.

    There was always a political element to the case, and that comes into play as to why a San Francisco jury sought fit to let Zarate go free without even an involuntary manslaughter charge.

    The prosecution team does warrant some of the blame for why that occurred. As RedState’s Sarah Rumpf argued, prosecutorial overreach trying to get a harder to prove first-degree murder charge bears some responsibility for the exoneration of Zarate for Kate’s killing.

    However, that factor can’t be solely responsible for the not guilty verdict for an illegal immigrant who somehow accidentally fired off a gun three times with no malicious intent in mind.

    San Francisco is a very liberal area and jury selection, according to Zarate’s defense team, was ensured to better benefit their client.

    “We are very pleased with the jury,” said Matt Gonzalez, the lead defense lawyer for Zarate, upon the completion of jury selection.

     

    “We have such great diversity built in in San Francisco and I think we have a jury that understands a lot of the concerns about the defendant receiving a fair trial.”

    That diversity was reflected in the jury consisting of three immigrants, at least one of whom’s primary language was Spanish. Potential jurors were quizzed about their thoughts on immigration, Latinos, guns and crime when being taken into consideration.

    Gonzalez also asked them how they would be fine with a verdict that came out contrary to President Trump’s wishes.

    While the judge presiding over the case urged the jury to leave aside their opinions on immigration and guns and focus on the facts, it was always hard for this case to escape from politics.

    Juries don’t always make the right decision, as anyone who is still upset by O.J. Simpson walking free can attest. The Steinle case seems to be emblematic for how America’s legal system seems incapable of adequately dealing with immigration issues.

    Zarate should’ve never been in the country to begin with, yet a San Francisco prison let him go free while under a sixth deportation order three months before Steinle’s murder. All thanks to sanctuary city policies.

    And this isn’t the only case where the legal system failed to find justice for illegal immigrant crime.

    In October, a Texas woman who lost her husband and two children to a car crash caused by an illegal immigrant expressed outrage that the man responsible only received a two-year sentence for the crime.

    In May, an Oregon circuit court overturned the conviction for an illegal immigrant who ran over and killed two girls playing in a leaf pile. The court bought the driver’s story that she didn’t realize she ran over anything as she drove away from the scene of the killing.

    That reversed conviction was not for vehicular homicide, but for the driver being found guilty of failing to perform her duties as a driver. The courts also managed to dismiss her deportation case over the incident.

    There’s also the example of San Francisco feeling embolden to continue to defend their sanctuary city policies, which give protection to illegal immigrants from deportation, after the Steinle verdict.

    A convicted felon who will apparently fire off guns without thinking isn’t exactly the poster boy you want for your policies, but San Fran seems comfortable with that association.

    Then again, the city should feel emboldened by how the courts continue to strike down the immigration orders of the president.

    Even more important than the individual cases of leniency given to illegal immigrant criminals is how the courts are presently shaping our country’s immigration policy.

    The White House has sought to punish jurisdictions that refuse to follow federal immigration law, yet courts have blocked the administration’s attempt to do so. In November, a U.S. district judge in California ruled the administration could not reduce federal funding to sanctuary cities because it “will cause them constitutional injuries.”

    Earlier the same month, another U.S. district court judge argued from the bench that the Department of Justice was wrong to say a city was failing to meet law enforcement requirements by giving protection to illegal aliens.

    Even more expansive than these court arguments on sanctuary cities is the legal system’s opinion on who the government can bar from entry into the country.

    Increasingly, the courts have inched towards the opinion that the federal government cannot restrict immigration from any part of the world. The various versions of Trump’s travel ban have been knocked down by the courts for the alleged reason they discriminate on the basis “of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.”

    In spite of the lengthy legal history of America restricting immigration based on national origin, judges have taken the initiative to make their own interpretation of migration policy. No matter how many times the Trump administration revises the executive order to prove it is not a Muslim ban, the courts still find it too discriminatory to take effect.

    By declaring that the government cannot restrict immigration based on national origin, judges are declaring any attempt to limit migration is inherently racist. This thinking operates under the delusion that there is some hidden open borders clause in the Constitution.

    We must take in any and all newcomers to the country because the Statue of Liberty poem says so. It doesn’t matter whether they come here legally or illegally, we must unquestionably welcome these immigrants or we are no longer America.

    Many Americans find this argument ridiculous, as a large percentage of our country supports immigration reduction. But courts don’t have to answer to the people, and judges have used their power to impose their own will on immigration policy.

    From the leniency shown to illegal alien criminals to preventing the president from enforcing immigration law, America’s legal system is proving it cannot be trusted to side with the interests of the nation’s citizens.

    Fortunately, Trump is reshaping the federal judiciary with conservative picks and one hopes thatrestores sanity to the courts soon.

    Until then, try not to be killed by an illegal immigrant in a sanctuary city. A jury may find it’s more important to send a message to the president than find justice for your murder.

  • Pentagon To Deploy THAAD Anti-Missile Systems On West Coast To Protect Against North Korean ICBM Attack

    Days after North Korea launched its most advanced ICBM which reportedly can hit a target anywhere in the United States with its 8,000+ mile range, Pyongyang said the U.S. is “begging” for a nuclear war by planning the “largest-ever” joint aerial drill with South Korea, according to Bloomberg. “Should the Korean peninsula and the world be embroiled in the crucible of nuclear war because of the reckless nuclear war mania of the U.S., the U.S. will have to accept full responsibility for it,” North Korea’s state-run KCNA said Saturday, citing a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    As we previously reported, the statement came after Yonhap News reported that six U.S. Raptor stealth fighters planes arrived in South Korea on Saturday for a joint air drill named “Vigilant Ace 18” scheduled for Dec. 4 to 8. The F-22s flew into South Korea together in a show of force. The stealth fighters, however, were just a small part of the upcoming show of force: according to local media, some 230 aircraft and up to 16,000 soldiers and airmen are taking part in the drill, which is one of the biggest ever of its kind.

    Meanwhile, in addition to Lindsey Graham’s warning that US civilians in South Korea should evacuate ahead of “military conflict”, in response to North Korea’s recently enhanced capabilities, the United States is beefing up security on the West Coast.

    Last week the New York Times reported that Hawaii was bringing back its Cold War-era early missile warning system designed to warn residents of an impending nuclear attack.

    The Attack Warning Tone, described as a “wailing tone,” will be heard for about 50 seconds on the first business day of every month, beginning on Dec. 1. It will sound after the regular monthly test of the sirens that warn residents of hurricanes or tsunamis, the Emergency Management Agency said.

    Now, according to Congressmen Mike Rogers who sits on the House Armed Services Committee along with Democrat Adam Smith, we learn that the Pentagon is also exploring locations on the West Coast for anti-missile hardware. Rogers and Smith said the Pentagon is looking to distribute the THAAD anti-missile system made by Lockheed Martin Corp at west coast sites.

    “It’s just a matter of the location, and the MDA making a recommendation as to which site meets their criteria for location, but also the environmental impact,” the Alabama Congressman and Republican told Reuters during an interview on the sidelines of the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in southern California, although the Congressmen said the number of sites that may ultimately be deployed had yet to be determined.

    As Zero Hedge reported in September, the THAAD ground-based regional missile defense system has a 100% success rate in test interceptions according to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency as of May 2017, hitting 13 out of 13 targets (unlike the new SM-3 Block IIA missile developed jointly by the US and Japan failed its first test in June). 

    Reuters elaborates:

    THAAD is a ground-based regional missile defense system designed to shoot down short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles and takes only a matter of weeks to install. In addition to the two THAAD systems deployed in South Korea and Guam in the Pacific, the U.S. has seven other THAAD systems. While some of the existing missiles are based in Fort Bliss, Texas, the system is highly mobile and current locations are not disclosed.

    A Lockheed Martin representative declined to comment on specific THAAD deployments, but added that the company “is ready to support the Missile Defense Agency and the United States government in their ballistic missile defense efforts.” He added that testing and deployment of assets is a government decision.

    The United States also tested the THAAD system in July, shooting down a simulated, incoming intermediate-range ICBM.

    The addition to boost West Coast defense, THAAD locations will significantly beef up the existing ground-based Midcourse Defense System (GMD) located in Alaska and California, along with the ship-mounted Aegis system deplyed on U.S. Navy vessels. The THAAD system has a much higher success rate than the GMD. The Missile Defense Agency also told Congress in June that it planned to deliver 52 more THAAD interceptors to the U.S. Army between October, 2017 and September 2018, bringing total deliveries to 210 since May 2011, Reuters reports.

    There is a bit of conflicting information on the plan, however, as Missile Defense Agency deputy director, Rear Admiral Jon Hill, stated “The Missile Defense Agency has received no tasking to site the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense System on the West Coast,” directly contradicting reps Mike Rogers and (R-AL) and Adam Smith (D-WA).

    As reported in September, South Korea has already installed the THAAD system in the province of Gyeongsangbuk, which hundreds of residents took to the streets to protest in a major clash with police. 

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    Perhaps the South Koreans (and certainly China) are not especially excited by the U.S. military buildup, but now that the neighbor to the north has the ability to sling an ICBM over 8,000 miles, they may reconsider.

  • Elon Musk's First Payload To Mars: His "Midnight Cherry Tesla Roadster Playing Space Oddity"

    In late November, we reported on Elon Musk’s desperate attempt to boost market confidence with a shock and awe performance unveiling Tesla’s new semi-truck and roadster. While the event was a thriller, it appears the laws of physics may have finally caught up with Tesla’s stock – now in a bear-market from September highs.

    Musk is undeniably the greatest snake oil salesman modern financial markets have ever seen, and that is why he is planning the next spectacular event before a further correction.

    On Friday evening, Musk tweeted what the payload of the Falcon Heavy would be— his “midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity”.

    But the story gets better, because the powerful Falcon Heavy rocket will launch his Tesla into the orbit around Mars. Musk added, the Tesla “will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent.”

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    As Musk would say, the show must go on with the Falcon Heavy launch expected “next month” (January 2018) from Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. According to ARS Techinca, “a static fire test of the rocket’s three cores, and 27 engines, on the launch pad this month.”

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    In simplest terms, the Falcon Heavy is three of the company’s Falcon 9 rockets strapped together. It will then create enough lift as proposed by Musk to propel his Tesla out of low Earth orbit onto a trajectory to Mars. When it comes to timing— don’t take the company seriously. Musk has pushed back Falcon Heavy’s maiden flight more than once: it was originally planned for a summer launch but moved to November and now to January 2018.

    Musk said, at a press conference in July, that the Falcon Heavy might not even make it to orbit on its first attempt to leave the atmosphere. That means the upcoming event could turn into a very expensive firework showing.

    While the practical use for a Tesla roadster on Mars is still unknown, it would buy Musk some time to keep the stock elevated for perhaps a few more secondly offerings. If Musk is successful in this latest endeavor, it would signal that NASA’s ambitions to Mars could be fulfilled by a Falcon Heavy. So far, no private company has launched a rocket beyond low-Earth orbit, nevertheless to another plant.

    Phil Larson, an assistant dean at the University of Colorado, and a former SpaceX official said, “the launch of the biggest rocket since the U.S. Moon booster is a game changer for our country’s space exploration future and for national security. The fact that development of such a capability is coming from U.S. industry is a very positive sign for our economic competitiveness.”

    As we have highlighted before, the short thesis for Tesla (see: Jim Chanos Adds To Tesla Short, Sees Musk Stepping Down) explains the financial circumstances of why Musk is attempting to conduct the great show ever known to man through SpaceX, as it means the cross promotion would keep his scheme alive. In the mean time, the short theses build:

    1. Negative Cash Flows

    “If you can’t make money selling a $100,000 car to rich people, how are you going to make money selling a $45,000 car to normal people?” Rocker told The Times. He was referring to the upcoming mass-market Model 3. “I’m saying they’re going to lose money on every Model 3 they build and sell,” Spiegel said. Based on Tesla’s Q4 2016 earnings report, he figured the combined average selling price for non-leased Model S and X is about $104,000 and the combined average cost of building them about $82,000.

     

    2. Competition from the Big Guys

    Electric vehicles are still only a tiny fraction of total new vehicle sales in the US. Tesla sold about half of them. In March, according to Autodata, Tesla sold 4,050 vehicles in the US, similar to Porsche. All automakers combined sold 1.56 million new vehicles. This gave Tesla a market share of 0.26%. “Tesla faces a formidable set of competitors, and they’re coming in with guns blazing,” Wahlman told The Times. “Once the market is flooded with electric vehicles from manufacturers who can cross-subsidize them with profits from their conventional cars, somewhere around 2020 or 2021, Tesla will be driven into bankruptcy,” Spiegel said.

     

    3. Tesla’s vanishing tax credits

    The federal tax credit of $7,500 that EV buyers currently get is limited to 200,000 vehicles for each automaker. Once that automaker hits that point, tax credits are reduced and then phased out. Of all automakers, Tesla is closest to the 200,000 mark. Under its current production goals, the tax credits for its cars could start declining in 2018. This would give competitors, whose customers still get the full tax credit, a major advantage. About 370,000 folks put down a refundable $1,000 deposit on Tesla’s Model 3, perhaps figuring they’d get the $7,500 tax credit. But as it stands, many won’t. Rocker thinks that this is going to be an issue. The refundable deposit “commits them to nothing,” he said. Those that don’t get the tax credit may just ask for their money back and buy an EV that is still eligible for the credit.

     

    4. The Question of patent protection

    Tesla has made its patents available to all comers, thus lowering its patent protections against competitors. Also, the key part of an EV, the battery, is produced by suppliers; they, and not Tesla, own the intellectual property. This is true for all automakers. But Tesla might still be closely guarding crucial trade secrets that are not patented.

     

    5. Musk’s distractions from his day job

    Musk has a lot of irons in the fire: Tesla, SpaceX (with which he wants to build a colony on Mars or something), solar-panel installer SolarCity which Tesla bailed out last year; projects ranging from artificial intelligence to tunnel digging; venture capital activities…. “He’s all over the map, from tunneling to flights to Mars to solar roof tiles,” Rocker said. These announcements have the effect of boosting Tesla’s stock: “It’s ‘Let’s get the acolytes excited. Implant in the brain! Let’s buy Tesla stock!’”

     

    6. Execution risk

    “Investing is all about possibility and probability,” Yusko said. “Is it possible that Tesla will produce 500,000 cars in the next two or three years? Yes. Is it probable? No.” Tesla has missed many deadlines and goals, and quality problems cropped up in early production models. As Tesla is trying to make the transition to a mass-market automaker, execution risk will grow since mass-market customers are less forgiving.

     

    7. Investor fatigue

    Having lost money in every one of its 10 years of existence, Tesla asks investors regularly for more money to fill the new holes. In March, it got $1.2 billion. In May last year, it got $1.5 billion. Tesla will need many more billions to scale up production and to digest the losses. Tesla has been ingenious in this department. But when will investors get tired of it? “We’re awfully close to the point where people wake up and realize these guys are seriously diluting our equity” with new stock and convertible bond issues, Yusko said. According to The Times, Yusko “is looking for the moment when the true believers begin to lose faith.”

     

    *Update

    8. Emerging solid-state battery technology

    Musk has invested a lot into his Gigafactory and technology producing lithium-ion batteries. The EV game is all about the best battery technology and a new threat has emerged using solid-state technology. If Tesla does not adopt to these new battery trends consumers would likely gravitate to EVs who posses such technology, because of the longer distance and shorter charge time.

     

  • "We're Getting Close To Military Conflict": Sen. Graham Urges Evacuation Of Americans From South Korea

    Neocon Senator Lindsay Graham was stoking the flame of what is looking like increasingly probable war with North Korea today, when he warned on national TV that rising tensions between the the US and Pyongyang means preparations for war need to be taken, and that dependents of U.S. military personnel in South Korea should be relocated after the latest North Korean missile test.

    Speaking on CBS News’ “Face the Nation”, Sen. Graham said that “we’re getting close to a military conflict because North Korea’s marching toward marrying up the technology of an ICBM with a nuclear weapon on top that cannot only get to America but deliver the weapon. We’re running out of time.”

    Graham then urged American dependants should no longer be sent to South Korea, and added that it’s time to start evacuating dependents out of North Korea’s southern neighbor: “South Korea should be an unaccompanied tour. It’s crazy to send spouses and children to South Korea, given the provocation of North Korea. So I want them to stop sending dependents. And I think it’s now time to start moving American dependents out of South Korea.

    On Saturday, North Korea said the U.S. is “begging” for a nuclear war by planning the “largest-ever” joint aerial drill with South Korea just weeks after concluding an exercise with three nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. “Should the Korean peninsula and the world be embroiled in the crucible of nuclear war because of the reckless nuclear war mania of the U.S., the U.S. will have to accept full responsibility for it,” North Korea’s state-run KCNA said Saturday, citing a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    As reported earlier on Sunday, Pyongyang’s statement came after Yonhap News reported that six U.S. Raptor stealth fighters planes arrived in South Korea on Saturday for a joint air drill named “Vigilant Ace 18” scheduled for Dec. 4 to 8. The F-22s flew into South Korea together in a show of force. The stealth fighters, however, were just a small part of the upcoming show of force: according to local media, some 230 aircraft and up to 16,000 soldiers and airmen are taking part in the drill, which is one of the biggest ever of its kind. As part of “Vigilant Ace”, US and South Korean forces will be rehearsing for a full-scale war with North Korea, with Yonhap noting that “allies plan to stage simulated attacks on mock North Korean nuclear and missile targets.”

    The massive drill, and the latest verbal escalation, takes place after North Korea carried out its latest missile test last week, in which the reclusive country launched its third ICBM test, and the first of what North Korea is calling its Hwasong-15 missile. According to expets, the new missile may be able to travel a distance of more than 8,000 miles – enough to strike anywhere in United States.

    Prior to Graham’s warning, national security adviser H.R. McMaster said Saturday that the chances of war with North Korea are “increasing every day.” Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in California, McMsater said: “I think it’s increasing every day, which means that we are in a race, really, we are in a race to be able to solve this problem.”

  • Comey Tweets Bible Quotes And Nature Scenes, Gets Wrecked By Sebastian Gorka In Spectacular Fashion

    Content originally published at iBankCoin.com

    James Comey has been quite the chatterbox on Twitter since revealing his new handle in early November (@Comey) – firing off tweets about nature scenes, bible quotes, social gatherings, and most recently quoting himself – proclaiming how ‘honest’ and ‘strong’ the FBI is amid revelations that he put an anti-Trump / pro-Hillary agent in charge of both the Clinton email investigation and the early Trump-Russia probe – for which the FBI is now facing a contempt action over their anti-Trump bias during the election.

    “I want the American people to know this truth: The FBI is honest. The FBI is strong. And the FBI is, and always will be, independent.” -Me (June 8, 2017) 

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    Comey is quite the deep thinker. To be honest, you have to have a pretty high IQ to understand: 

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    And look – Comey and his wife Patrice Failor love making onion rings! 

    Then Gorka shows up…

    Comey’s PR campaign then attempted to appeal to the religious demographic, quoting a bible verse (after quoting Churchill but before his Messiah complex kicked in and he quoted himself):

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    Oh man, throwing Amos 5:24 around like he owns the joint… until former Trump advisor, new Fox commentator, and all around badass Dr. Sebastian Gorka shows up to call James out over exonerating Hillary Clinton in the email investigation before the anti-Trump / pro-Clinton agent in charge, Peter Strzok, was finished looking at the evidence 

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    Hours before, Gorka dinged Comey for buring the investigation into Tony Podesta – brother of Hillary Clinton’s campaign advisor, John Podesta, “influence-peddling for Uranium 1 with Hillary?” 

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    Tony Podesta is of course the disgraced co-founder of the Podesta group, who left his firm in late October when he reportedly became a central focus in Robert Mueller’s FBI Special Counsel investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

    As a former long-time Podesta Group executive who was “extensively” interviewed by Robert Mueller’s special counsel told Tucker Carlson Tonight, Tony Podesta and Paul Manafort were bringing a “parade” of Russian oligarchs into Washington D.C.through a shell corporation operating as a pro-Russia Ukrainian think tank.

    The former exec also said that in 2013, John Podesta recommended that Tony hire David Adams, Hillary Clinton’s chief adviser at the State Department, giving them a “direct liaison” between the group’s Russian clients and Hillary Clinton’s State Department, and that Tony Podesta regularly met with the Clinton Foundation while lobbying for Uranium One – the Canadian mining company bought by the Russia’s state-owned Rosatom after obtaining approval from the Obama administration.

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    And on Friday, Gorka posed the question as to how Comey got to head the FBI after only 12 years in the field:  

    Maybe it’s because Comey has had deep ties to Democrat / Clinton interests for years; earning $6 Million dollars in one year as Lockheed’s top lawyer – the same year the egregiously overbudget F-35 manufacturer made a huge donation to the Clinton Foundation. Comey was also a board member at HSBC shortly after NY AG at the time Loretta “tarmac” Lynch let the Clinton Foundation partner slide with a slap on the wrist for laundering drug money.

    So as James “hand of the devil” Comey continues to tweet like everything’s normal – letting everyone know the FBI is “honest” and “strong,” while the noose is tightening, enjoy the white-hot phosphorous Dr. Gorka drops to illuminate the target.

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  • Cameron And Tyler Winklevoss Are World's First Confirmed Bitcoin Billionaires

    The Winklevoss twins are officially the founding members of what we'd like to call the bitcoin billionaires boys club.

    When Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss settled their lawsuit against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, the twins probably thought they had missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become billionaires.

    Nearly ten years later, the twins have reached a net worth of $1 billion thanks to a timely $11 million investment in bitcoin during April 2013, just as the world’s largest digital currency was entering mainstream consciousness.

    That original $11 million was only part of a $65 million settlement they received from Facebook in 2008. Their lawsuit against the company provided much of the narrative grist for the Hollywood movie “The Social Network”.

    Since the Winklevii opened their positions, the price of a single coin has risen from about $130 four-and-a-half years ago to an all-time high north of $11,000 last month.

    According to City AM, the brothers’ have refused to disclose their exact return. Though it’s estimated that the size of their stake is around 100,000 bitcoins, a figure that will further cement their re-brand as bitcoin entrepreneurs. The Winklevii nearly three years ago became the first people to petition the SEC for a rule change that would effectively as

    Other notable investors in the cryptocurrency include infamous entrepreneur Charlie Shrem who served a two-year stretch in federal lockup because his old company was accused of helping facilitate notorious black-market drug bazaar the Silk Road.

    Furthermore, the secretive inventor of the Bitcoin currency – known only by his digital pen name Satoshi Nakamoto -has never been publicly identified.

    As City AM explains, bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that is created and stored on a digital ledger known as the blockchain. The digital currency’s recent success has been widely attributed to an influx of new buyers from China, South Korea and other countries across the region.

    Last year, Tyler Winklevoss told the Telegraph the currency could be worth trillions and was “like a better version of gold”.

    Many investors, including hedge fund pioneer Mike Novogratz, believe the price of a single bitcoin could reach $100,000 – or even $1 million – by late next year.

    However, signs of turbulence are beginning to emerge: Just after 430pm ET on Sunday, we showed that bitcoin and the entire crypto space tumbled – with Bitcoin plunging from session highs just under $12,000 to a low of $10,600 – on news that Just after 430pm ET we showed that bitcoin, and the entire crypto space, tumbled, with Bitcoin plunging from session highs just under $12,000 to a low of $10,600 on what appeared at first sight to be no news….

    …But later investors realized the move was driven by reports that UK government "ministers are launching a crackdown on the virtual currency Bitcoin amid growing concern it is being used to launder money and dodge tax."

    Taking a page out of the Chinese playbook, the UK Treasury has announced plans to regulate the digital currency that will force traders to disclose their identities and report suspicious activity to government authorities.
     

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