The Scaling Debate & Hard Fork Highlight Several Key Differences Between Bitcoin And Gold

Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

You know stuff’s going down when I write two posts in a row about Bitcoin, something which almost never happens anymore.

In Friday’s piece, Is the Bitcoin Civil War Over? Here’s How I’m Thinking About Bitcoin Cash, I discussed a potential strategy that “big blockers” might attempt to execute should the 2x part of Segwit2x not happen later this year. Today, I want to discuss how the entire episode has actually served to highlight one of Bitcoin’s (and cryptos in general) huge competitive advantages in the realm of monetary-type assets, but also examine why gold is still important.

There’s been a lot of FUD written at length about the whole scaling debate, in addition to the fair observation that network splits cause confusion and can be bad for the Bitcoin “brand.” As I mentioned in Friday’s piece, I don’t see this being the case with Bitcoin Cash (BCC), since I don’t think there will be any real debate about which one is Bitcoin and which is an alt-coin. Interestingly enough, although the nastiness of the scaling debate has left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths, it’s also highlighted one of Bitcoin’s greatest strengths.

Earlier today I came across a tweet from an account I had never seen before, but it was simply genius in its poignant simplicity.

What this person is referring to is how the lack of support for BCC from several popular wallet providers/exchanges like Coinbase and Bitstamp, has led to a flood of requests from Bitcoin holders to move their coins off the exchange in order to access the BCC if desired after August 1st. This is essentially akin to a run on the bank, and any third party playing games with their customers’ assets will be exposed in due course. The fact that it’s so easy for a Bitcoin holder to initiate a withdrawal from a third party holding their asset is a huge advantage of Bitcoin versus gold and other traditional monetary safe-havens. It doesn’t take long to see why if you think things through.

Storing your own Bitcoin private keys is very much like holding actual gold or silver in your possession. One thing that hardcore gold bugs like to say over and over is “if you don’t hold it, you don’t own it.”

At the end of the day, I think that’s right. It’s also what makes a gold backed digital asset less appealing than you might think at first glance.

When you hold your own Bitcoin private keys, not only do you have possession, but you also have a spendable asset. Gold can never replicate this competitive advantage. If you trust someone else to hold your gold, you’re exposed to counter-party risk. You are trusting someone else to secure your asset and be honest. You don’t need to do that with Bitcoin. Likewise, if China, Russia or any other government launch a gold-backed digital currency, you’re trusting the honesty of governments to have the gold they say they do. We know governments lie constantly, so I think it’d be completely foolish to trust such a monetary regime, and we don’t have to.

Before gold bugs start turning red in the face and cursing my name, let me finish. This is not to suggest that Bitcoin is a substitute for gold, or that I think the advent of crypto-currencies makes gold irrelevant as an asset. If I really felt that way, I wouldn’t still own precious metals. In fact, whenever the next economic criss happens I think gold will do exceptionally well, particularly versus stocks and bonds, as the traditional financial world will not rush headlong into cryptos as a safe-haven asset (though some will). Most funds probably aren’t even set up to be allowed to do that, so they’ll go to what has always worked and what they’re comfortable with, and that is precious metals.

We don’t need to be binary when it comes to the question of gold and Bitcoin.

Gold has advantages Bitcoin will never be able to surmount, including thousands of years of history and genuine immutability.


On the flip-side, Bitcoin has advantages gold will never be able to totally overcome. Namely, it’s an easily spendable asset that you can hold in your possession with zero counter-party risk. Moving large amounts of Bitcoin around is trivial compared to gold, which is an undeniably important attribute in the world we live in. You still need someone else’s help to move gold from a vault in let’s say Zurich to one in Singapore. You have to ask permission. Such permission is unnecessary with Bitcoin.

In summary, I think both are important for different reasons, and both should be included in a portfolio of assets. One was created by humans and one wasn’t. As such, one can create genuine value in a changing world, while the other preserves value over generations. Both of these characteristics are instrumental to human freedom and we shouldn’t belittle one in favor of the other. They are very different things, and I appreciate both for different reasons.

via Tyler Durden

Frustrated California Conservatives Are Moving To Texas

Some frustrated California conservatives have finally found a solution for the bad schools, creeping crime and outrageously high taxes fostered by the liberal politicians who dominate the state’s legislature and executive branch.

It’s called “moving to Texas.”

Fox News reports that some conservative Californians who’re tired of “high taxes on everything from your home to your plastic bags,” “violent crime that may be seeping into…seemingly idyllic neighborhoods,” and “subpar public schools” have found refuge in the Lone Star state, with many Sunshine state expats clustering in the suburbs near Dallas. The cable network spoke with Paul Chabot, a 43-year-old native of Southern California, who twice ran for Congress as the Republican candidate in the state’s 31st Congressional district.

Following his second defeat in 2016, Chabot, his wife Brenda and their four children arrived in McKinney, a town about 30 miles north of Dallas. They soon realized that many of the 168,000-plus residents of the town were also California expatriates.

Chabot, who grew up during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s when the golden state was ruled by Republican governors like George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson and Ronald Reagan, said the state has done a “180” since the days of his youth.

“‘When I was growing up in a Republican state, we had safe towns and great schools,’ Chabot told Fox News. ‘But California has done a 180. It’s not a family-friendly state anymore so we decided to move to Texas.’


While California during the 1980s and early 1990s was anything but serene – there was the crack cocaine epidemic, widespread tensions between the African-American community and the police and a rash of homelessness, just to name a few issues – Chabot argues that unlike that time, it is almost impossible to maintain the type of middle-class existence he had during his childhood. He added that things like rising taxes, legalized marijuana, gun restrictions, sanctuary cities and declining public schools have all added to the disappearance of the state he once knew.


“California is no longer the representation of the American Dream,” he said. “California has fallen morally on so many levels.”

Shortly after arriving in his new home, Chabot sensed a business opportunity in helping conservative families living in blue states settle in a more agreeable place. So Chabot started a company called “Conservative Move.” The company helps its clients up with realtors to sell their property and help them find a new home in Texas. More importantly, Chabot says, it helps them find a job by connecting them with prospective employers. In its first five months in operation, Chabot said he has received more than 1,000 inquiries from people in 40 states, with the vast majority being from California.

“Leaving California is like leaving a bad relationship,” Chabot added. “When you’re gone, you can see all the problems much more clearly.”

However, the state’s shifting demographics could threaten its status as a conservative inverse of California, as cities like Austin and Dallas threaten to transform Texas into a purple state, according to Fox.

“Texas is not doing any better now than California,” Daniel Hamermesh, a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Texas in Austin, told the Los Angeles Times. “California costs more to live in, but for many, you get what you pay for. The California coast is a much more pleasant place to live.”

Still, Chabot seems well positioned to capitalize on the striking polarization that exists in modern American politics. As we’ve noted, 12 northern California countries went for Trump in November. Some residents have complained to the New York Times about the state’s one-sided political culture.

To this, Chabot says Texas’ “fighting spirit” makes a great destination for disillusioned Californians.

“Texas represents the fighting, freedom-loving spirit of America,” Chabot said. “I don’t miss California, the California I knew growing up and that is what I found in Texas.”

via Tyler Durden

New White House Leak to WaPo Over Trump Jr.-Russian Meeting is Backhanded Slap to the Face of Gen. Kelly

Content originally published at

HAHAHAHAHA — Scaramucci is gone and the General is in, so you thought the leaks would end.


This might be one of the worst leaks yet. Or, you might want to simply call it ‘fake news.’ Either way, General Kelly will have his hands full at the Trump White House, which appears to be populated with the scummiest people on the face of the planet — real self-fellatiors.

According to the Washington Post, an unnamed source inside the White said Trump directed Trump Jr. media response, addressing his meeting with Russians.

Flying home from Germany on July 8 aboard Air Force One, Trump personally dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said that he and the Russian lawyer had “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children” when they met in June 2016, according to multiple people with knowledge of the deliberations. The statement, issued to the New York Times as it prepared an article, emphasized that the subject of the meeting was “not a campaign issue at the time.”
The claims were later shown to be misleading.
Over the next three days, multiple accounts of the meeting were provided to the news media as public pressure mounted, with Trump Jr. ultimately acknowledging that he had accepted the meeting after receiving an email promising damaging information about Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to help his father’s campaign.
The extent of the president’s personal intervention in his son’s response, the details of which have not previously been reported, adds to a series of actions that Trump has taken that some advisers fear could place him and some members of his inner circle in legal jeopardy.
As special counsel Robert S. Mueller III looks into potential obstruction of justice as part of his broader investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, these advisers worry that the president’s direct involvement leaves him needlessly vulnerable to allegations of a coverup.
“This was .?.?. unnecessary,” said one of the president’s advisers, who like most other people interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations. “Now someone can claim he’s the one who attempted to mislead. Somebody can argue the president is saying he doesn’t want you to say the whole truth.”

The rat continues…

“He refuses to sit still,” the presidential adviser said. “He doesn’t think he’s in any legal jeopardy, so he really views this as a political problem he is going to solve by himself.”

WaPo offers us the play by play details, as if a fly on the wall was reporting directly from the scene.

Air Force One took off from Germany shortly after 6 p.m. — about noon in Washington. In a forward cabin, Trump was busy working on his son’s statement, according to people with knowledge of events. The president dictated the statement to Hicks, who served as a go-between with Trump Jr., who was not on the plane, sharing edits between the two men, according to people with knowledge of the discussions.
In the early afternoon, Eastern time, Trump Jr.’s team put out the statement to the Times. It was four sentences long, describing the encounter as a “short, introductory meeting.”
“We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up,” the statement read.
Trump Jr. went on to say: “I was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance, but was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand.”
Over the next hour, word spread through emails and calls to other Trump family advisers and lawyers about the statement that Trump Jr. had sent to the Times.

There you have it folks. The President of the United States dictated a statement for his son, which was then sent to the NY Times. When do the concurrent prison sentences begin?
Whoever leaked this information to the Post, in light of recent events, neither respects or fears General Kelly. Given that it was Scaramucci’s job to find the rat’s in the White House, who exactly will be honored with the task to do that job now?

via The_Real_Fly

Killing Them Is Killing Us

Authored by Robert Gore via,

The murdered cannot forgive. Their blood won’t be washed.

There is something eerily fascinating about cold-blooded murderers – a staple of Hollywood thrillers and crime dramas—killing without emotion or remorse. Ordinary humans, afflicted with guilt for minor, not even criminal transgressions, can’t conceive of pulling the trigger and then sitting down for dinner. In real life, the number of people who can is glancingly small. Even for those few, actions have consequences. The blood never washes away.

“Live and let live,” is, in American mythology, a benevolent and almost uniquely American attitude. We destroyed Japan and Germany in World War II and then helped rebuild them. Live and let live goes down well with the living, the winners. However, it’s often nothing more than balm for an uneasy conscience, hand sanitizer for bloodstained hands. A century and a half later, many Southerners lack this “unique” American attitude towards their conquerers in the War of Northern Aggression.

The war on terror has laid waste to large swaths of the Middle East and Northern Africa. Cities, towns, and villages have been reduced to smoking, bombed-out rubble, chaos reigns, the carnage is ubiquitous. The US military keeps count of its own personnel wounded and killed, a number in the thousands. Civilian casualties —or collateral damage as the military calls it—across Chaostan (Richard Maybury’s apt coinage) are in the millions, as are the number of people displaced (an estimated 11 million in Syria alone).

Imagine the American fury and media sensationalism if a small US town was carpet-bombed by a foreign power. YouTube’s servers would melt from the overflow of viewers watching videos of parents pulling their dead children from collapsed homes.

The war on terror’s refugee flows threaten to upend civic order and submerge the cultures of the countries receiving them. It’s a vicious act of intellectual corruption to maintain that the war on terror does not create terrorists, that those killed, wounded, or displaced have no friends or family who will exact what they consider justified vengeance. The terrorism we see now is lava trickling from a volcano of hatred that has boiled, bubbled, and occasionally erupted for centuries, and will continue to do so. There will be no live and let live. Blood will have blood, not banalities.

Macbeth was a dramatic psychological study of two murderers. They screwed their courage to the sticking place, but they couldn’t turn themselves into killers without conscience. In Mafioso parlance, “button men” are hit men. Figuratively they “push a button,” literally they murder. With the US government, the figurative and literal have merged. Someone pushes a button on a drone, missile, or bomb control and murder is done in furtherance of never-ending American war. It’s as disassociated, remote, and cold-blooded as murder gets. Nevertheless, neither the murderers nor the public from which they try to hide reality will have any more success eluding the psychological turmoil and toll than the Thane of Cawdor and his lady.

During the entirety of President Obama’s terms and most of President Bush’s, the US has been fighting one or more wars. Odds are there will be no peace during Trump’s tenure either. What does it do to a government, and the people in it, when collateral damage, a bloodless term that now applies to millions of bloody deaths, wounds, and lives upended, prompts no remorse or reappraisal, and only occasionally half-hearted apologies to meet the exigencies of diplomacy and public relations?

How does evil become banal? Practice, practice, practice. Killing becomes the routine, what the government does. Like many bloodthirsty, tyrannical regimes the US government has warmed up on foreigners. However, the functionaries and politicians who now push the Kill the Enemy button also push the Domestic Surveillance button. They will not hesitate to push the Enemies of the State, Mass Detention, Concentration Camp, and Execution buttons when the time is right. Rotten government, like rotten fruit, gets more rotten, until it’s finally tossed in the trash.

Try as it might, the government cannot entirely shield its constituents from the knowledge and consequences of its murderous ways. Having learned its lesson in Vietnam, it can keep its media puppies docilely distant from much of the killing, but the Internet has proven not entirely controllable. And although most people don’t make the connection, institutionalized murder is responsible for an appreciable part of the government’s $20 trillion debt and $200 trillion in unfunded promises, as well as its cronyism and corruption, loads under which the economy now strains and will finally collapse.

Any American who travels abroad is liable to run into a forthright foreigner who will tell them that the US government is the most hated institution on the planet. That sentiment is increasingly directed at the US population at large, who’ve tolerated these homicidal megalomaniacs for so long. Aside from its fellow travelers in other governments, multilateral fronts for world government, useless NGOs, universities, corporations, and the media, the world’s peoples would little mourn the overthrow of the US government by an enraged citizenry.

But that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Executioners have a short ‘life’. They get tired of the work. The soul sickens of it. After ten, twenty, a hundred death-rattles, the human being, however sub-human he may be, acquires, perhaps by a process of osmosis with death itself, a germ of death which enters his body and eats into him like a canker. Melancholy and drink take him, and a dreadful lassitude which brings a glaze to the eyes and slows up the movements and destroys accuracy. When the employer sees these signs he has no alternative but to execute the executioner and find another one.


-From Russia With Love, Ian Fleming

Killing them is killing us. Does any phrase more aptly characterize the US population than “dreadful lassitude”? The US government murders in their name. They accept its rationalizations, bread, and circuses, avert their eyes, and sink into technological and pharmacological oblivion. Despite these dubious efforts the knowledge seeps in, drop by drop, like rainwater under leaky sills during a hard storm. The government has its buttons for those few who protest and resist, but even the most oppressive regimes can’t seal off their people entirely.

Red, white, and blue are no more; it’s bureaucratic gray and charnel-rubble carmine. Americans grow “tired of the work” and soul sickness spreads. Birnam Wood advances and the empire crumbles. A somnambulant Lady can’t wash away the blood; her Thane can’t sleep.

America cannot wash its hands…or know an innocent’s slumber.

via Tyler Durden

RBA Preview: Beware Of Doves, Leaks And Stop Hunts

In addition to the Chinese Caixin Manufacturing PMI due out shortly, which will either confirm or deny Sunday’s modest decline in the official Mfg PMI, the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) decision (due at 2:30pm Sydney time) headlines the region’s risk events this week.

All of those surveyed expect the RBA to stand pat, which would leave its cash rate sitting at 1.50%. The minutes from the July meeting reaffirmed labor and housing markets as particular areas of interest, with both leaving many questions unanswered. The most interesting note to take from the minutes was the discussion surrounding the neutral interest rate, which some market participants deemed as hawkish, and which sent the AUD surging. However, in his most recent address last week, RBA Governor Lowe turned unexpectedly dovish and rejected this view, with Westpac suggesting that he reinforced the Bank’s ‘firmly on hold’ stance. Lowe also tried to talk down the currency, stating that it “would be better if the AUD was a bit lower”.

This was underscores by last week’s sub-consensus headline 2Q CPI print (0.2% QoQ vs. 0.4% expected) which supports the RBA’s view that domestic inflationary pressures are lacklustre, but officials may take some comfort in the slightly firmer core readings, according to analysts at ING.

Despite rhetoric from Lowe and his deputy Guy Debelle the AUD has continued to rally, so any language pertaining to the domestic currency will be closely scrutinized. Heading into the announcement, the Australian dollar has been rising amid concerns the RBA may talk down a currency that’s trading near the highest level in more than two years. At pixel time, AUDUSD trades back above 0.80, rising as high as 0.802 with the next resistance the July 27 high of 0.8066, a level unseen since May 2015.

As RBC adds, while there is some risk the RBA is forced to nudge its near-term growth forecasts lower, the longer-term profile is still likely to show an expectation of a return to above-trend growth and within-target inflation. Its confidence around these forecasts has likely increased given recent data on the global and domestic economies, though the bank adds that it “still expects the message to remain clear enough that rates are unlikely to move in either direction for some time yet.”

On Friday, the RBA’s Statement on Monetary policy (SoMP) will supplement the decision. No material revisions are foreseen within the economic projections.

In terms of the bigger picture, RanSquawk points out that ANZ posit Lowe’s most recent rhetoric suggests that “financial stability seems to rule out further rate cuts. This is not necessarily the case, in our view. Importantly the current choice is against the backdrop of an expected improvement in the economy. Should this improvement falter then the trade-offs facing the RBA will change significantly.

In other words, while immediate upside in the pair may be capped, a strong emphasis on the recent dovish rhetoric could send the AUDUSD plunging. Should stops be taken out to the downside, the pair could plunge as much as 150 pips according to some.

FX traders will want to keep a close eye on sharp AUDUSD moves seconds before the announcement: on at least one occasion, most famously in April 2015, the RBA statement was leaked in advance, with the entire currency move taking place roughly 7 seconds before the official release.

h/t RanSquawk

via Tyler Durden

Beijing Blowback Begins: China Orders Anbang To Sell Its Overseas Assets

Two weeks ago, when discussing the troubles plaguing one of China’s conglomerates and “boldest dealmaker”, HNA Group – recently best known for acquiring Anthony Scaramucci’s SkyBridge capital in a transaction that has yet to close – we said that what until recently was one of the world’s most aggressive roll-ups of varied companies from around the globe, including stakes in Hilton Companies and Deutsche Bank, as well as countless Chinese acquisitions, could very soon become the “reverse roll-up from hell”, as the stock price of HNA tumbled, putting the roughly $24 billion in loans that had been taken against HNA stock in jeopardy of breachin their LTV limits, forcing a massive margin call, and potential firesale liquidation of the company’s assets as shown in the chart below…

… which have been hit with the double whammy of various rating agency downgrades in recent months, further eroding the collateral value of all of HNA’s various assets.

Yet while the fate of HNA’s conglomerate future still remains largely in the hands of the market, which could easily prompt a firesale if it were to push HNA stock low enough, another Chinese conglomerate may not have the benefit of the market’s potential generosity, because according to Bloomberg, Chinese authorities have asked HNA’s peer, Anbang Insurance Group, the insurer whose chairman was recently detained in June and was classified as a potential “systemic risk” to China’s economy, to sell its overseas assets.

In addition to demand a liquidation of many if not all assets acquired by Anbang over the past three years, the government also asked the company – whose Chairman will surely comply following his brief “detention” – to bring the proceeds back to China after disposing of holdings abroad, suggesting not only growing concerns about Chinese capital outflows, but Beijing’s apparent intention to undo the massive Chinese M&A wave that swept the globe from 2014  through most of 2016, and led to the infamous “Chinese acquisition premium.”

Bloomberg notes that it is not clear yet how Anbang will respond, and in a WeChat message, the insurer said that “Anbang at present has no plans to sell its overseas assets,” although that is sure to change once Beijing asks again, less politely this time. “Currently, Anbang’s various businesses and operations are all normal, and the company has ample cash and sufficient solvency capabilities.”

Anbang, together with HNA, Wanda and Fosun, were the four most prominent Chinese conglomerates which unleashed a buying binge across the globe, fueled by soaring sales of investment-type insurance policies. Since 2015, the four companies completed a combined $55 billion in overseas acquisitions, 18% of Chinese companies’ total, and according to some, were instrumental in accelerating China’s capital outflows over the same period.

Anbang first emerged in the public arena with its high profile 2014 acquisition of New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel. Subsequently, Anbang and its peers acquired such trophy assets as AC Milan, Legendary film studios and Hilton Worldwide.

Anbang alone made billions in acquisitions in such businesses as the Westin St. Francis, InterContinental Miami, Rabobank’s mortgage portfolio and various other M&A targets around the globe.

However, it all ended with a thud in mid-June, when Anbang Chairman Wu Xiaohui was detained for questioning, while the policies fueling the company’s growth have been all but banned by regulators. At this moment Anbang is merely a shell corporation, with virtually no new business creation, one whose massive debt load threatens to careen the company soon if it does not find sources of cheap liquidity and fast.

At a twice-a-decade conference on financial regulation convened by President Xi Jinping this month, policy makers pledged to rein in corporate borrowing and said that preventing systemic risk was an “eternal theme.”

Making matters worse is that Anbang’s rise in recent years was fueled by sales of lucrative wealth-management products that offered among the highest yields compared with peers, a key spoke of China’s $9 trillion shadow banking universe. China’s insurance regulator this year started clamping down on what it termed “improper innovation” and tightened rules on high-yield, short-term investment policies. Anbang and other aggressive insurers such as Foresea Life got caught up in the crackdown.

Where Anbang’s death spiral could turn especially aggressive, is if Anbang customers start surrendering their policies and stop buying new ones, a feedback loop that would accelerate a continuing cash drain at the company, while forcing its existing product suite of wealth products to default, leading to the biggest risk facing China’s economy: a shadow bank run.

One Anbang product, called Anbang Longevity Sure Win No. 1, boosted the firm’s life insurance premiums almost 40-fold in 2014 by offering yields as high as 5.8 percent. That helped provide fuel for the firm’s more than $10 billion of overseas acquisitions since 2014 and equally ambitious investing in the domestic stock market.

If investors realize that not only China’s M&A party is over, but that the shadow banking sector is facing a potential default cliff, the scramble to recover invested capital will be unprecedented.

For now, Anbang can delay the inevitable cash call by following Beijing’s demands, and slowly – at first- begin liquidating its trophy offshore assets, and repatriating the proceeds, effectively inverting the outbound M&A surge that marked the past three years. The good news is that at least at this moment, there are plenty of willing buyers for the upcoming Anbang firesale..

via Tyler Durden

Trump Must Embrace His Revolutionary Self Or Politically Perish

Authored by Andrew Korybko via,

President Trump’s first six months in office have left his supporters with decidedly mixed feelings.

There are those who still “believe” in him and are convinced that he’s perfectly executing some “master plan”, while there are others who have given up all hope on him and are convinced that he disappointedly “sold out”.

The reality, as it usually is, lies somewhere between these two extremes.

Trump has clearly made several major foreign policy concessions to his opponents in the permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (the “deep state”), though he doesn’t seem to have fully given up on his campaign promises to be a revolutionary president.

What happened, though, was that the “deep state” expertly exploited Trump’s deal-making propensities to push him into a corner and capture control of most of his administration’s foreign policy.

Trump’s appointment of multiple individuals with a neoconservative worldview completely contradictory to the one that he campaigned on isn’t “to keep his political enemies forever guessing his real intentions”, as everybody already knew what he supposedly intended to do if he was ever elected president.

Instead, these people were placed in their respective positions because Trump was conned into thinking that he was cutting a deal with the “deep state” whereby he sacrificed some of his ambitiously revolutionary foreign policy promises in exchange for encountering less opposition to the implementation of his desired domestic agenda.

As could have been expected, the “Republicans In Name Only” (RINOs) didn’t abide by this “gentlemen’s agreement” between the President and the “deep state”, and they continued to make it all but impossible for Trump to govern except in the select instances when he could rely on Executive Orders.

Whereas Trump thought that he was wheeling and dealing in the foreign policy sphere in order to obtain advantageous outcomes in the domestic one, he soon found out that the domestic and foreign policies of the US are so intertwined as to be inseparable, meaning that a loss on one front inevitably leads to further losses on the other.

Trump has thus been caught in a trap from which he’ll have immense difficulty escaping, and which requires legendary “deep state” management skills and strategies to reverse, if it’s even possible to do so after all the negative momentum that he’s been tricked by his adversaries into generating.

Reflecting on how he got into this whole mess, it’s obviously due to the inter-services “deep state” collaboration which concocted the conspiracy theory about “Russia’s intervention” in the 2016 elections, and which therefore placed Trump on the strategic defensive and made him more likely to inadvertently enter into a series of disadvantageous deals.

Now that his back is to the corner on both the foreign and domestic policy fronts, Trump has no choice other than to embrace his revolutionary self that was proudly on display during the campaign trail if he wants to stand any feasible chance at implementing his policies.

It’s presumed that he’s working behind the scenes with his trusted advisors to slowly but surely place “his people” into key positions so as to facilitate this at a later time, but the clock is ticking, the momentum is turning against Trump, and he’s already been pressured into walking back many of his promises, whether as “tactical retreats” for the short term or as genuine strategic reversals.

If President Trump doesn’t bullishly embrace “Candidate Trump”, then he’s bound to politically perish and go down in history as one of the most ineffective and hamstrung leaders that the US has ever seen.

via Tyler Durden

Hong Kong Interbank Rates Spike To Highest Since Lehman

For only the third time since Lehman, the price of liquidity in the Hong Kong Dollar interbank markets has exploded higher.

Overnight HKD Hibor soared over 60 basis points to 0.71407% in Monday trading – the highest since October 2008…


Note that the two previous spikes were around year-end, so this is unusual in both its velocity and size.

Of course, the narrative of a panic in Asian liquidity is not a good one for supporting risk assets and so the spike is being dismissed as a one-off due to several factors (as Bloomberg reports)…

Monday’s rise in Hong Kong dollar overnight interbank rate was due to major fund providers being more cautious in lending at month-end, and because of demand from some market players, a Hong Kong Monetary Authority spokesperson writes in an emailed reply to questions from Bloomberg. Interest rates subsided when fund providers responded by lending out more Hong Kong dollars. Relatively large movements in short- dated interest rate Monday was probably a result of thin market conditions ahead of the month-end. The market continued to function normally.


Monday’s sudden spike in HKD overnight funding cost is probably due to short-term funding activities, likely for I Squared Capital’s purchase of Hutchison Telecom’s unit and HSBC share buyback announcement, says Angus To, deputy head of research at ICBC International Research.

Rate likely to drop soon as HKD liquidity remains ample in general, To says in a phone call.

So just ignore the fact that the HKD liquidty markets just exploded due to month-end (well it hasn't before – see chart) and some M&A (there's been no M&A in the last 9 years?)… it's probably nothing.


via Tyler Durden

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) Walks Out Of Interview After Question About Awans

Independent journalist Austin Fletcher went to this year’s Politicon in Pasadena, CA to cover the festivities and interview some folks – one of whom was Democratic congressman Brad Sherman, from Sherman Oaks, CA.

After cracking a cardboard joke about “Sherman from Sherman Oaks” I’m sure his wife never gets tired of, Fletcher asked a question about the Awan brothers – Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Pakistani IT staffers who had access to the emails of the entire House of Representatives – including Brad Sherman, who is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs and Financial Services Committees, and is the top Democrat on the Subcommittee on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade.

Witness a man who collects $174k from the taxpayer dodge a simple question. Of course, Sherman probably also realizes House Democrats have been severely compromised by the Awans, and anything he says or does can and may be used against him in a court of law.

via ZeroPointNow

The Race Against Time

Authored by Jeff Thomas via,

For decades, in discussing the ever-increasing hegemony of the world’s principal governments (US, EU, et al.), I’ve been asked repeatedly, “When will the governments understand that this obsession they have to become all-powerful is not in the interests of the people?”

The answer to this question has also remained the same for decades: never.

Although most all thinking people will readily admit that they regard their government (and governments in general) to be both overreaching and corrupt, they somehow attribute political leaders with a desire to serve the people. This is almost never true.

In my own experience in working with (and against) political leaders in multiple jurisdictions, I’ve found them to be remarkably similar to each other in their tendency to be shortsighted, self-aggrandising, and almost totally indifferent to the well-being of their constituents. Indeed, it’s a real rarity to encounter a political leader who does not fit this description.

Therefore, we should take as a given that all political leaders will continue to pursue their own power and wealth, at the expense of their citizenries.

This, then, begs the question: “If they won’t stop themselves in this progression, is there no other outcome than eventual total slavery to the government?”

Well, here, history informs us that this is not the case. All governments will tax the people as much as they can, regulate them as much as they can, socially dominate them as much as they can, and remove as many rights as they can. However, they rarely totally succeed and, even when they do, the clock is ticking against them.

In 1999, I began to warn that the US military would steadily increase its warfare against other nations and would only cease their military expansion if and when economic collapse made it impossible to continue the expansion.

In 2008, I began to warn that the US, EU, and other jurisdictions would eventually attempt to eliminate the use of paper currency, or “cash,” and force all people to rely almost totally on electronic transfers of money. (I had pictured plastic credit cards being used—I hadn’t imagined at that time that smartphones would make such transactions even easier.)

In addition to the above abuses, I projected that these jurisdictions would become more collectivist, would increase legislation to dominate their citizens socially, and would eventually come to resemble police states.

But, at the same time, I projected that, although I believed that all these developments would increase steadily, both in magnitude and frequency, they would reach a peak point, then begin to unravel—and would do so more quickly than they had been implemented.

This would happen for two reasons, and neither of these reasons come from some crystal ball. They come from history.

As has always occurred, for millennia, such rapidly expanding excesses cannot be created by governments without creating debt. The more rapid the level of change, the greater the debt necessary.

Today, we’re witnessing the greatest level of debt the world has ever seen. As always in history, this is a ticking time bomb.

The second reason is that such rapidly-expanding excesses cannot be created by governments without creating resentment. The more rapid the level of change, the greater the resentment.

Taken as a whole, what this means is that all of the increased hegemony, of every type, rises to a peak, then collapses—often all at the same time.

We can see the economic warning signs as the financial institutions have run out of new measures and are now relying on band-aid measures. This tells us that we’re entering the final years (or possibly months) of the debt mania. Consequently, the only remaining measures will come under the heading of abuse to the consumer within the system.

Militarily, we see the end nearing, as the world becomes ever more resentful of the US as the self-imposed world policeman. (This is particularly acute outside of the US, as those who live outside the reach of the US media understand that the US has, for years, been inventing its excuses for warfare where there was no real justification.)

For many years, I’ve said that we’ll know that the unravelling will be very near when the creators of the abuse begin to realise that the hegemony is nearing its end and is due for a reversal.

Recently, two events have occurred that suggest that this part of the process has begun.

First, the EU has launched public consultation to get the pulse of the people of Europe on their War on Cash programme (which they term, “de-cashing”).

The findings, even though the questions were phrased to make it difficult to oppose the concept, indicate that more than 99% of respondents see no benefit in de-cashing. Further, 87% regard the use of cash as an essential personal freedom.

Although the people of Europe have tolerated one hit after another from Brussels, de-cashing may well prove to be their Waterloo.

As this was occurring, across the pond in the US, the military performed a study to learn how much further they can push the world with their present level of aggression and have determined that “the status quo that was hatched and nurtured by U.S. strategists after World War II,” and has been dramatically expanded in recent decades, “is not merely fraying but may, in fact, be collapsing.”

It’s often assumed that empires tend to expand until a point at which they subside, but this is not the case. Very much like a market bubble, they tend to reach a dramatic peak just before they collapse. Almost invariably, those who are the last to understand that the end is near are those who are at the very apex of power. Therefore, rather than back off their programme of hegemony, they expand it right until economic collapse destroys it. Like heroin addiction, greater amounts of the drug are injected, right until the fatal overdose takes its toll.

What this means to the reader is that, although he may either live in or in some way be under the control of one of the current empires, his lot is far from hopeless, but he must be wise enough to keep his powder dry until the collapse is under way.

From the present day until the collapse, the empires will increase taxation, increase regulation, increase warfare, increase social dominance, and remove the rights of their people in ever more dramatic ways.

Those who seek to sidestep this process might well pursue international diversification as a bridge to freedom. In this race against time, nations will make it increasingly difficult to escape, and freedom will only be realized after the collapse. The greater the preparedness today, the greater the likelihood of coming out the other side in several years with wealth and freedom intact.

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Doug Casey can show you how to protect and increase your wealth and freedom during the coming collapse. You’ll find all the critical details in our Guide to Surviving and Thriving During and Economic Collapse. Click here to download your complimentary copy.

via Tyler Durden