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[structure:climate-and-people] Frozen Christmas: The teenage migrants trapped in Bosnia's bleak forests Published:12/12/2019 12:12:47 AM
[FBI] Michael Horowitz’s flawed epistemology (Paul Mirengoff) As John discussed below, Michael Horowitz testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee today. He told the committee that there were 17 instances of misconduct by the FBI in connection with the FISA application process. Horowitz also said that his team found no evidence of intentional misconduct. However, he added that the FBI agents involved were unable to provide satisfactory explanations for their actions. But the absence of an innocent explanation Published:12/12/2019 12:12:46 AM
[worldNews] Exclusive: Protest-free Macau to win financial policy rewards from China Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Macau next week to announce a raft of new policies aimed at diversifying the city's casino-dependent economy into a financial center, according to over a dozen interviews with officials and corporate executives.
Published:12/12/2019 12:12:46 AM
[worldNews] Foreign experts quit Hong Kong police probe questioning its independence Foreign experts said they had quit advising a Hong Kong police watchdog on Wednesday due to doubts over its independence and ability to conduct an investigation into police conduct during months of anti-government protests.
Published:12/11/2019 11:42:48 PM
[Markets] NATO Secretary General Targets "Rising China": Why Cold War Newspeak Never Went Away NATO Secretary General Targets "Rising China": Why Cold War Newspeak Never Went Away

Authored by  Cynthia Chung via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

On December 3rd, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that NATO must address the “security implications” of China’s rise as a “military power”, and in true Orwellian doublespeak, insisted that he did not want to make an adversary out of Beijing but rather was interested in analysing how best to respond to the challenges China poses in a balanced way…by announcing it a ‘security threat’.

What are these challenges? That China now has the second largest defense budget in the world and has modern capabilities such as long-range missiles that can reach the whole of Europe and the U.S. This alone is apparently enough cause for Stoltenberg to announce publicly that NATO must address this as a challenge to western ‘security’ rather than actually engaging in diplomatic talks with China in order to resolve their concern in the matter like civilised people do. Let’s not forget that the American navy has been actively expanding their presence around China for several years now, yet despite this transparent hostility, it is China who is deemed a ‘security threat’ for having a competent defense budget.

But we know this is not the whole story.

Of course no bully likes it when their victim suddenly learns the art of self-defense, and who would be more paranoid of aggression than those who have been practising it for years on others only to increasingly find the tables turned.

This western paranoia of the communist boogeyman has its roots in Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech which ushered in the Cold War.

Last month was the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and along with its celebration the continuation of a false narrative, not only as to what had instigated the Cold War, but more importantly what the world was promised and ultimately denied when they were told that the Cold War was supposedly finally over.

In a recently published paper, On Churchill’s ‘Sinews of Peace’, I went over the drastic shift in geopolitics that occurred with the passing of Franklin D. Roosevelt who had upheld, along with his vice-president Henry Wallace, an anti-colonial post-WW II vision known as “The Century of the Common Man”. Churchill was very much dependant on American support to destroy the Frankenstein monster that the Bank of England had helped fund into significance and though Churchill loathed FDR’s vision, he was not in a position where he could outright resist it and instead found himself needing to make large compromises and often, most likely with the thought that this would all be temporary…and so it was.

Upon the death of FDR in 1945, the Iron Curtain speech shortly after created an oppressive division throughout the world, the effects of which we are still reeling from.

The Cold War division

Germany was officially divided according to this map by the Soviet Union, the UK, USA and France from 1945 to 1949. This was done to ensure that Germany would not attempt any further military action after WWII. It was Churchill’s Iron Curtain announcement in 1946 that turned the USSR into the free world’s public enemy #1, without any specific reason as to what the Soviets had done to warrant this declaration of the ‘Cold War’ division. This split with the Soviets was formalised in May 1949 when the British, French and American zones were joined to form the Federal Republic of Germany. The Soviets had no choice but to form a separate German republic in October 1949; the German Democratic Republic.

Despite these two German republics being set up, the British, French and American militaries would remain in West Germany until May 5, 1955, and ended their nearly 10 year occupation only after West Germany had joined NATO in 1954. Under these terms, West Germany would be allowed to establish a military force of up to half-million men and resume the manufacture of arms. The end of the Allied occupation of West Germany meant a full recognition of the republic as a member of the western alliance against the Soviet Union.

It should be evident that such manoeuvres were a clear show towards the USSR of not only a hostile stance but an ever increasing aggressive military doctrine that was preparing for a war.

Although West Germany was given ‘independence’ on a short leash, Allied presence never left West Berlin up until at least 1990. Berlin, as the capitol of Germany, held great strategic significance and became a form of battleground in intelligence gathering and espionage. Berlin had been split in two after WWII, and the Allied occupied West Berlin not only became a symbol of ‘freedom’ in response to the ‘tyranny’ of the Soviets, but was an important stronghold to keep in the Cold War, since it was in the middle of Soviet-held territory.

The blockade of roads and rail lines into West Germany by the Soviets in 1948-1949 and the later building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 were terrible decisions made by the USSR but should be measured in the context that such reactions were primarily instigated by an escalating western military aggression against them.

West Berlin would be surrounded by a wall that stretched out to 140 km, was 11.8 ft high, was for the most part electrified and had over 116 watchtowers and over 14, 000 guards and dogs. It would divide Berlin for 28 years.

This was indeed a very terrible period not only for those in Berlin but for much of the world. The Cold War thinking had allowed for the justification of the Spanish Inquisition-like Red Scare that occurred in the United States and elsewhere, where Americans who refused to follow the very narrow line of what was deemed acceptable thoughts and opinions in the free world newspeak could at any point in time face a judicial inquisition on them, akin to having committed a thoughtcrime.

Schools and workplaces were put through drills on a regular basis of how to react if the Soviets were to launch a nuclear bomb against America. Such tactics were used to put the American people in an ongoing fear state and thus quickly, the former allies who had by far the largest death toll in WWII in their essential role in combating fascism, were turned into a terrifying race of boogeymen with seemingly no sense of ‘humanity’ or ‘morality’.

As a quick side note, I want to bring attention to Elbe Day April 25, 1945, which marked the day when the American and Soviet forces met for the first time near the end of the war. There was a very strong comradery that occurred, and these men would become forever united since they experienced together the brutality and hardship of a hard won war.

It is also important to note that the Russians and Americans never had any historical conflict with each other at this point. In fact, Russia’s navy would place itself along both east and west coastlines of the United States during its Civil War to protect Lincoln’s Union from foreign intervention- that is, from Britain and France. The Russian navy were treated as heroes during their seven month stay in the US

Therefore, American and Russian soldiers had always been comrades in arms up until the point of the Iron Curtain speech by Churchill, upon which a division would be forcefully imposed between the two.

China’s invisible role

China’s involvement in both WWI and WWII is too often forgotten today. What is also forgotten is that the Iron Curtain was also directed against their country, and the level of extreme betrayal that occurred against them was on par with that suffered by the Soviet Union. Recall that under FDR’s post-war vision, both Russia and China were intended to be equal partners alongside the USA and Britain in shaping a multi-polar world order.

When WWI had started, China offered their support militarily to the cause of the Allies. Japan had already become a member of the Allied force and it was recognised that their relationship with China was not on ‘friendly’ terms, especially since the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895. China’s loss in this war allowed for a series of treatises that divided chunks of China amongst several nations. One particular region that China very much wanted back was Shandong, which was considered sacred land for the Chinese people since it was not only Confucius’ birthplace but also home to the ancient state of Qin, the last kingdom conquered by Qin Shi Huang, who proclaimed himself China’s first emperor in 219 B.C. Japan was at the time in possession of this region.

Japan was asked whether China could be ‘permitted’ to contribute military support for the Allied cause, to which Japan refused since this would give China a more equal footing with its relations to the West. Despite this refusal, China offered to support the Allies as laborers. Starting in 1916, China began shipping thousands of men to Britain, France and Russia who would work to repair tanks, assemble shells, transport supplies and munitions. Since China was officially neutral, commercial businesses were formed to provide the labor.

After a year of supplying labor, the Chinese contribution remained largely unrecognised diplomatically. By the end of the war, Chinese workers would rank as the largest and longest-serving non-European contingent in WWI.

By the end of the war, western powers ultimately awarded the Shandong territory to Japan in the Treaty of Versailles. China was understandably upset and refused to sign the treaty. The Versailles Treaty became a clear sign to the Chinese that they could not trust the European nations to support China’s welfare and that China would have to look elsewhere for support moving forward. [America did eventually intervene on this decision and awarded the territory to China in 1922.]

Another blow would be China’s earning of only two seats at the Paris Peace Conference, relative to Japan’s five seats, the reason why China had fewer seats was because they did not play a military role in the war- a role they were forbidden to play.

When WWII started and Japan had taken the side of fascism, China contributed its military forces on the side of the Allies. China had the second highest death toll in WWII after the Soviet Union. However, if you look more closely at the graph depicted above, the number of civilian deaths is much higher than military deaths (by about 12 million). This is because the Japanese fascists committed genocide on the Chinese people. The most notorious being the Nanking massacre which not only had a gruesomely large death toll but became infamous for its horrific torture and mass rape on the Chinese people. During this ethnic cleanse by the Japanese fascists throughout the entire WWII (which overlapped the second Sino-Japanese war), mass graves were dug out and millions of Chinese people would be told to step inside before they were shot to death. The Jewish holocaust is recognised as one of the worst crimes against humanity in recent history. However, not much is given to the memory of the mass genocide that was committed on the Chinese people during the same period.

Despite their great sacrifices, both the USSR and China would be labeled less than a year after the war as the new face of anarchy and barbarism, not by their actions but simply because Churchill and the British Empire had decided it so.

The empty promises of a post-Cold War world

On November 9th, 1989 the Berlin Wall fell and the end of the Cold War quickly followed… or at least this is what we are told.

The USSR agreed to the destruction of the Berlin Wall specifically on the basis that the western powers would agree to dismantle the war drive and that NATO would cease to expand its military bases any further. Many of the terms of these agreements were outlined in the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. However, this treaty that promised the dissolution of the Cold War paradigm was ultimately breached by NATO, with Russia suspending its participation in 2007 and in 2015 ultimately removing its participation in the treaty since NATO had no intention to honor it. Since the supposed end of the Cold War, NATO has only continued its expansion, increasing tension towards an ultimate conflict with Russia.

In 2007, President Putin gave a now famous speech at the Munich Security Conference. In this speech he discussed the fallacy of a unipolar world order envisioned by NATO and that there can only exist a multipolar world at this stage in history:

This universal, indivisible character of security is expressed as the basic principle that “security for one is security for all”. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said during the first few days that the Second World War was breaking out: “When peace has been broken anywhere, the peace of all countries everywhere is in danger.”

I consider that the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today’s world. And this is not only because if there was individual leadership in today’s – and precisely in today’s – world, then the military, political and economic resources would not suffice. What is even more important is that the model itself is flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral foundations for modern civilisation.”

Where are we now?

We need to grow up, and grow up fast. We cannot afford to be led by childish stories of the boogeyman and be governed by fear so easily any longer.

It is time we, the West, recognise our faults and hypocrisy. The western hegemony over the world is coming to an end and we should be happy for our brothers and sisters who have a renewed hope for a better life, largely from the New Silk Road. We have no place to condemn their rise as a threat to western stability. Western powers have been guilty of breaching trust with the Russians and Chinese time after time. We need to correct this monstrous inability to be able to trust and love those outside the western sphere. These cultures, some which may have been considered by us backwards not that long ago, have grown and cultivated themselves such that we today look very small next to them. We have become the backwards culture. We have become the barbaric culture that only knows war and is a disbeliever in peace. We who are privileged enough to never have experienced war in our homelands for almost a century, are the ones who condone it as necessary on others. What an ugly belief this is. It is time the West, and its people, have the humility to admit that they have something to learn from the rest of the world. Only then can there be a true dialogue amongst civilisations towards the common goal of peace.

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 23:45
Published:12/11/2019 11:15:50 PM
[e18edb98-cc63-585e-9112-21f6d42623b4] Sara, Erin Foster felt ‘emotional turmoil’ while dad David Foster raised Jenner boys Sara and Erin Foster had a hard time with their father once step-brothers Brandon and Brody Jenner came into the picture. Published:12/11/2019 11:15:50 PM
[Entertainment] Aimee Song's Holiday Gift Guide 2019 E-Comm: Aimee Song Holiday Gift GuideWe love these products, and we hope you do too. E! has affiliate relationships, so we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchases. Items are sold by the retailer, not E! You...
Published:12/11/2019 11:15:50 PM
[History] History, Holidays & Observances on December 12

Today: British opposition grows to the American Revolution, Marconi makes the first transatlantic radio signal, the Paris Climate Agreement is signed, the First Crusade is fought, Christmas Music . . . And More Holidays and Observances on Dec. 12 Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Catholic title for the Blessed Virgin Mary associated with […]

The post History, Holidays & Observances on December 12 appeared first on Bookworm Room.

Published:12/11/2019 11:15:50 PM
[5ddd85a5-c1e1-5b54-a12a-5107dbb7a35c] Judge Andrew Napolitano: FISA – utilized to OK FBI surveillance of 2016 Trump campaign – is unconstitutional The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is repugnant to the Constitution and to the concept of an independent judiciary. Published:12/11/2019 11:15:50 PM
[topics:places/new-zealand] Plans for dangerous mission to recover bodies from volcanic island in New Zealand despite eruption risk Published:12/11/2019 10:45:04 PM
[Markets] Hashrate Domination: China Controls Two-Thirds Of The World's Crypto Network's Processing Power Hashrate Domination: China Controls Two-Thirds Of The World's Crypto Network's Processing Power

A new report from Reuters, citing CoinShares, indicates that China's Bitcoin miners now control a whopping 66% of the world's crypto network's processing power. This could be bad news for US miners as it signals China is quickly advancing.

Also known as "hashrate," it's the speed at which a computer is performing an operation in Bitcoin code to unlock coins, China has been steadily gaining hashrate share this year.

In June, China's Bitcoin miners controlled 60% of the global hashrate, and now the figure is up to 66% in December.

Chris Bendkisen, head of research at CoinShares, believes the rapid increase in the Chinese share of hashrate could be due to the deployment of advanced mining technology.

"This is beneficial to the Chinese mining industry," said Bendiksen. "If you are the first to increase your proportion of the hashrate, and you can do that before your competitors, that's generally good."

Mining crypto has become more difficult over the last several years as profitability sags. The overall Bitcoin hashrate has risen 80% since June, which in recent times, has created stronger profitability for miners who have access to cheap energy.

With China controlling more and more of the world's Bitcoin hashrate, some worry that the US could be falling behind the crypto curve, as Beijing is making a state effort to be a leader in blockchain.

Xiao Wunan, an executive vice-chairman of the China-backed Asia Pacific Exchange and Co-operation Foundation (APECF), recently told CNBC that Beijing's crypto initiatives are strategically important to the communist party.

"Blockchain is the technology field that China started to develop almost at the same time as other countries in the world," said Xiao, who was employed by the Chinese government. "It's hard for China to claim technological supremacy on fields like Internet Plus [China's initiative on information technology] or artificial intelligence, but the blockchain technology would be a perfect fit for China's technological dominance."

"It's called 'corner overtaking' strategy in Chinese," Xiao added.

The largest mining facilities in China are in Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, CoinShares said, which account for at least half the world's hashrate.

Other top mining hubs are in the US, Russia, and Kazakhstan.

China could be laying the groundwork for a state-backed digital currency in the mid-2020s as it wants to become a leader in crypto in the intermediate timeframe.

So what's next for Bitcoin? 

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 23:25
Published:12/11/2019 10:45:04 PM
[Markets] Most Asian markets higher after Fed signals it will hold the line on interest rates Gains in Japan and Hong Kong led an otherwise mixed early Asian stock session Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled it will likely keep interest rates on hold throughout 2020 amid a solid economy. Published:12/11/2019 10:45:04 PM
[Markets] Asia Markets: Most Asian markets higher after Fed signals it will hold the line on interest rates Gains in Japan and Hong Kong led an otherwise mixed early Asian stock session Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled it will likely keep interest rates on hold throughout 2020 amid a solid economy.
Published:12/11/2019 10:45:03 PM
[Politics] Rep. Collins Rips Dem's Inquiry as 'Sham,' '3-Year Vendetta' House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga., blasted the "sham" impeachment proceedings as an abuse of power and said President Donald Trump has done nothing wrong but to seek the truth. Published:12/11/2019 10:21:05 PM
[Issues] Beacon Extra 12/11/19

Welcome to the Washington Free Beacon’s morning newsletter, your comprehensive briefing on the Enemies of Freedom. To get this newsletter sent straight to your inbox every morning, sign up here.

The post Beacon Extra 12/11/19 appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:12/11/2019 10:21:05 PM
[Markets] SoCal Church Displays Holy Family As "Caged Refugees" At The Border SoCal Church Displays Holy Family As "Caged Refugees" At The Border

Authored by Eoin Higgins via,

A Nativity scene in the southern California city of Claremont depicting the Holy Family as a separated family held in cages at the U.S. border is sparking controversy and conversations over President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

“If this isn’t your church’s politics, you’ve got the wrong faith,” tweeted music journalist Zel McCarthy.

Vanity Fair writer Anthony Breznican said that the Claremont United Methodist Church tableau, depicting Joseph and Mary in cages on either side of a caged baby Jesus Christ, was an accurate representation of the meaning of the Bible story.

“I love the Nativity story,” said Breznican.

“I love it not because it is warm and fuzzy, but because it is about perseverance against cruelty.”

Breznican added that the Nativity story points the finger at those who, when faced with evil, do nothing.

“The monster of the Nativity story is not King Herod, the bloodthirsty tyrant,” said Breznican. “He is just the backdrop.”

“The villain is the innkeeper, a common everyday person, who sees their dire situation and chooses not to help,” Breznican continued.

“No room. Sorry. America is full of innkeepers these days.”

The exhibit represents “a not-so implicit criticism of the Trump administration’s border separation policies,” said Politico reporter Dan Goldberg.

Claremont United Methodist Church Rev. Karen Clark Ristine told L.A. Times reporter James Queally that the scene was intended to use the Holy Family to highlight the “nameless families” who are victims of the border crackdown.

“We’ve heard of their plight; we’ve seen how these asylum seekers have been greeted and treated,” said Ristine.

“We wanted the Holy Family to stand in for those nameless people because they also were refugees.”

“We don’t see it as political; we see it as theological,” she added.

Ristine’s sharing of a photo of the scene on Facebook sparked controversy, with some commenters calling the pastor “an instigator; a trouble maker who does not have this country’s best interests,” and questioning the purpose of the scene.

In her post, Ristine said that the Nativity scene was meant to send a message.

“Imagine Joseph and Mary separated at the border and Jesus no older than two taken from his mother and placed behind the fences of a Border Patrol detention center as more than 5,500 children have been the past three years,” wrote Ristine. “Jesus grew up to teach us kindness and mercy and a radical welcome of all people.”

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 23:05
Published:12/11/2019 10:21:05 PM
[worldNews] New Zealand police plan to recover bodies from volcanic island on Friday Police in New Zealand are planning to go to the volcanic White Island on Friday to retrieve bodies of people killed in this week's eruption, while the known death toll from the disaster climbed to eight, with two people dying in hospital.
Published:12/11/2019 10:21:05 PM
[Politics] Vulnerable Dems Under Pressure on Impeachment Democrats in Pro-Trump districts are being pressured by their constituents to oppose articles of impeachment against the president, The Hill reported.Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., claims Republicans have spent $460K on TV ads telling voters to call his office to oppose... Published:12/11/2019 9:45:10 PM
[Politics] House Judiciary Committee prepares for historic vote on impeachment articles against Trump

The House Judiciary Committee is finalizing articles of impeachment against President Trump as Democrats prepare to make him the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.

Published:12/11/2019 9:45:09 PM
[afcc6f56-61ed-5934-83c9-28f9395b0e69] Jack Black says he's almost ready to retire: 'I'm looking to wrap it up pretty soon' Jack Black is considering an early retirement. Published:12/11/2019 9:45:09 PM
[Markets] The Warfare State Lied About Afghanistan, Iraq, & Syria. They Will Lie Again! The Warfare State Lied About Afghanistan, Iraq, & Syria. They Will Lie Again!

Authored by Tho Bishop via The Mises Institute,

This week saw the Washington Post published a bombshell report titled “The Afghanistan Papers,” highlighting the degree to which the American government lied to the public about the ongoing status of the war in Afghanistan. Within the thousands of pages, consisting of internal documents, interviews, and other never-before-released intel, is a vivid depiction of a Pentagon painfully aware of the need to keep from the public the true state of the conflict and the doubts, confusion, and desperation of decision-makers spanning almost 20 years of battle.

As the report states:

The interviews, through an extensive array of voices, bring into sharp relief the core failings of the war that war is inseparable from propaganda, lies, hatred, impoverishment, cultural degradation, and moral corruption. It is the most horrific outcome of the moral and political legitimacy people are taught to grant the state. persist to this day. They underscore how three presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump — and their military commanders have been unable to deliver on their promises to prevail in Afghanistan.

With most speaking on the assumption that their remarks would not become public, U.S. officials acknowledged that their warfighting strategies were fatally flawed and that Washington wasted enormous sums of money trying to remake Afghanistan into a modern nation....

The documents also contradict a long chorus of public statements from U.S. presidents, military commanders and diplomats who assured Americans year after year that they were making progress in Afghanistan and the war was worth fighting.

None of these conclusions surprise anyone that has been following America’s fool's errand in Afghanistan. 

What makes this release noteworthy is the degree to which it shows the lengths to which Washington to knowingly deceive the public about the state of the conflict. This deception extends even to the federal government’s accounting practices. Notes the report, the “U.S. government has not carried out a comprehensive accounting of how much it has spent on the war in Afghanistan.”

As the war has dragged on, the struggle to justify America’s military presence accelerated. As the report notes:

A person identified only as a senior National Security Council official said there was constant pressure from the Obama White House and Pentagon to produce figures to show the troop surge of 2009 to 2011 was working, despite hard evidence to the contrary.

It was impossible to create good metrics. We tried using troop numbers trained, violence levels, control of territory and none of it painted an accurate picture,” the senior NSC official told government interviewers in 2016. “The metrics were always manipulated for the duration of the war.

Making Washington’s failure in Afghanistan all the more horrific is how easily predictable it was for those who desired to see the warfare state for what it is.

In the words of Lew Rockwell, in reflecting on the anti-war legacy of Murray Rothbard:

War is inseparable from propaganda, lies, hatred, impoverishment, cultural degradation, and moral corruption. It is the most horrific outcome of the moral and political legitimacy people are taught to grant the state. 

On this note, it is important to note that the significance of the Washington Post’s report should not distract from another major story that has largely been ignored by mainstream news outlets.

Recently, multiple inspectors with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have come forward claiming that relevant evidence related to their analysis of the reported 2017 chemical gas attack in Syria. As has reported:

Assessing the damage to the cylinder casings and to the roofs, the inspectors considered the hypothesis that the cylinders had been dropped from Syrian government helicopters, as the rebels claimed. All but one member of the team concurred with Henderson in concluding that there was a higher probability that the cylinders had been placed manually. Henderson did not go so far as to suggest that opposition activists on the ground had staged the incident, but this inference could be drawn. Nevertheless Henderson’s findings were not mentioned in the published OPCW report.

The staging scenario has long been promoted by the Syrian government and its Russian protectors, though without producing evidence. By contrast Henderson and the new whistleblower appear to be completely non-political scientists who worked for the OPCW for many years and would not have been sent to Douma if they had strong political views. They feel dismayed that professional conclusions have been set aside so as to favour the agenda of certain states.

At the time, those who dared question the official narrative about the attack - including Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Rep. Thomas Massie, and Fox News’s Tucker Carlson - were derided for being conspiracy theorists by many of the same Serious People who not only bought the Pentagon’s lies about Afghanistan but also the justifications for the Iraq War.  

Once again we are reminded of the wise words of George Orwell, “truth is treason in an empire of lies."

These attacks promoted as justification for America to escalate its military engagement in the country, with the beltway consensus lobbying President Trump to reverse his administration's policy of pivoting away from the Obama-era mission of toppling the Assad regime. While Trump did respond with a limited missile attack, the administration rejected the more militant proposals promoted by some of its more hawkish voices, such as then-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. 

In a better timeline, the ability of someone like Rep. Gabbard to see through what increasingly looks like another attempt to lie America into war would warrant increased support in her ongoing presidential campaign.

Instead, we are likely to continue to see those that advocate peace attacked by the bipartisan consensus that provides cover for continued, reckless military action abroad.

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 22:25
Published:12/11/2019 9:45:09 PM
[Entertainment] Why Rachel Lindsay Isn't Afraid to be ''Bold'' With Her Bachelor Nation Opinions Rachel LindsayRachel Lindsay is unfiltered and unbothered... as she should be! The former Bachelorette star, who is partnering up with Ideal Image MedSpa, is known for keeping it real and telling it...
Published:12/11/2019 9:45:09 PM
[Politics] Brexit: Saturday Night Jive, On Election Eve To gauge what passes for progressive humor on topical politics, one can do worse than watching each week's cold open that precedes the credits for "Saturday Night Live." For more than three years, its mainstay has been to heap ridicule on President Trump. Last weekend, SNL widened its net to capture Britain's Prime Minister. Published:12/11/2019 9:45:09 PM
[World] Why Did the Saudis Kill U.S. Sailors While Three Others Filmed It?

We need to get over the old trope that they hate us because we are free.

The post Why Did the Saudis Kill U.S. Sailors While Three Others Filmed It? appeared first on The American Conservative.

Published:12/11/2019 9:45:09 PM
[] Kimberley Strassel finds one line buried in IG report 'that is central to everything' and must be answered We learned a lot about the inspector general's report as its author testified Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. For example, we learned that not even Michael Horowitz could say the FISA warrant against Carter Page and its three renewals actually turned up important information, and yet it just kept]] Published:12/11/2019 9:13:07 PM
[worldNews] Pompeo says U.S. wants to work with Russia on Libya, reminded Lavrov of arms embargo The United States wants to work with Russia to end the conflict in Libya, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday, but he added that he reminded Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov a day ago of the arms embargo that is in place on the North African country.
Published:12/11/2019 9:13:06 PM
[Politics] 'Don't Write Ethics Books,' Gowdy Trolls Comey on Vindication Blasting fired FBI Director James Comey's claim of vindication of wrongfully spying on the Trump campaign, former Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said Comey should stop writing "books on ethics.""I don't know what report Comey read," ... Published:12/11/2019 9:13:06 PM
[Entertainment] The Masked Singer Says Goodbye to the Leopard and Thingamajig The Masked Singer, Thingamajig, Season 2Four Masked Singers remain. In its semi-final episode tonight, the Fox reality competition series eliminated two more contestants, revealing its final three: Fox, Rottweiler, and...
Published:12/11/2019 9:13:06 PM
[1a4e35e9-a0b8-57db-9f37-9e3daa68c0bf] Rep. Andy Biggs: Democrats continue baseless rush to impeach Trump despite no evidence of wrongdoing The House Judiciary Committee, on which I serve, met Wednesday night to continue work on the baseless articles of impeachment that partisan Democrats are considering against President Trump – despite the obvious absence of any grounds for seeking his removal from office. Published:12/11/2019 9:13:06 PM
[Markets] Californians Flock To Texas As Corporations Seek Cheaper Pastures Californians Flock To Texas As Corporations Seek Cheaper Pastures

Around 700,000 people left California last year, with more than 10% moving to Texas.

According to a new report by Yardi Systems, over 86,000 people abandoned the Golden State. In terms new Texas residents overall, ex-Californians constituted around 15%, according to the Dallas Morning News.

The influx of Californians should come as no surprise, as businesses have been migrating out of the high-tax, high-crime, heavily regulated state for cheaper pastures.

Last month, we reported that Charles Schwab's relocation of their headquarters from San Francisco to Dallas, a move they expect to complete in the second half of 2020. Announced following the company's $26 billion acquisition of TD Ameritrade, their new 70-acre Dallas-Fort Worth campus will cost around $100 million, and provide 500,000 square-feet of office space.

Chairman and founder Charles Schwab noted that one of the drivers behind the move from California was that "the costs of doing business here are so much higher than some other place."

Schwab is far from alone, as some 660 companies have moved 765 facilities out of California over the last 24 months, according to a new report.

The departures from the Golden State between January 2018 and now involve corporate headquarters, manufacturing facilities, data centers, research hubs, software and engineering centers and a few warehouses, according to business relocation expert Joe Vranich, president of Spectrum Location Services.

Obviously a lot of them are going to Texas,” Vranich said in an interview with the Dallas Business Journal. “It just makes sense.”

California companies large, midsize and small are shifting their regional or corporate headquarters to North Texas because of the DFW area’s generally lower taxes, more affordable housing, lower expenses, central location, access to an international airport and other factors. -Dallas Business Journal

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal noted last month that " The Lone Star State imposes a 0.75% franchise tax on business margins (total revenue minus compensation), which is substantially less than the corporate tax rates in California (8.84%) and Nebraska (7.81%), where TD Ameritrade is currently headquartered. The city of San Francisco also imposes a 0.38% payroll tax and a 0.6% gross receipts tax on financial service companies."

One California law cited in the exodus requires companies to hire workers as employees, not independent contractors, with limited exceptions. Aimed at giving basic labor rights and benefits to hundreds of thousands if people working for Uber, Lyft, Doordash, and similar companies, the companies affected say it's not feasible.

"I don’t know how companies can continue to deal with this brutal assault that is on them," said Joe Vranch, adding "Most of the municipalities in Texas are easier to get along with, and that’s a benefit in addition to things like no income tax and an easier regulatory environment."

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 22:05
Published:12/11/2019 9:13:06 PM
[] Wednesday Overnight Open Thread (12/11/19) *** THE QUOTES OF THE DAY Quote I Of course it’s unfair, but life is unfair. Simply running around talking about unfairness, is this gonna convince people who are on the fence that what’s being done to President Trump... Published:12/11/2019 9:13:06 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Jim Jordan gives BLISTERING speech condemning Democrats for their hatred of Trump and his supporters Rep. Jim Jordan just gave a blistering five minute speech condemning Democrats for their hatred of Trump and the American people who put him there: "They dislike us so much they are . . . Published:12/11/2019 8:52:18 PM
[Politics] Horowitz: No, Comey Is Not Vindicated, No One Who Touched This Is Vindicated

The following article, Horowitz: No, Comey Is Not Vindicated, No One Who Touched This Is Vindicated, was first published on Godfather Politics.

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz shot down Comey’s claim that the IG report on FISA abuses vindicates the former FBI director. “I think the activities don’t vindicate anybody who touched this,” Horowitz told Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham while testifying this morning. Graham: “The former FBI director James @Comey said this week that your report ...

Continue reading: Horowitz: No, Comey Is Not Vindicated, No One Who Touched This Is Vindicated ...

Published:12/11/2019 8:52:18 PM
[FBI] If This Is Exoneration… (John Hinderaker) …I’d hate to see inculpation! James Comey and other Democrats are absurdly claiming that Michael Horowitz’s report vindicates or exonerates them. That is ridiculous, as anyone who follows the news even casually knows. Horowitz testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee today–testimony that, as I understand it, was not broadcast by the television networks. Horowitz’s testimony was summarized in a White House email a few hours ago: As Horowitz made clear Published:12/11/2019 8:52:18 PM
[Uncategorized] WaPo punctures Elizabeth Warren narrative: She represented large company “trying to avoid having to clean up a toxic waste site” Much like her Native American scandal, Warren's lucrative legal practice when she was at Harvard Law feeds a narrative that Warren has not been honest and transparent about her personal history. Published:12/11/2019 8:52:18 PM
[3b96ccce-77e9-5936-9324-2ca3d6d45de8] Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra set unscripted wedding series at Amazon Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas are bringing an unscripted series about an Indian pre-wedding tradition to Amazon. Published:12/11/2019 8:52:18 PM
[Markets] "This Pattern Of Clumsy Manipulation Is Everywhere In The Record Of CrossFire Hurricane Probe" "This Pattern Of Clumsy Manipulation Is Everywhere In The Record Of CrossFire Hurricane Probe"

Authored by Charles "Sam" Faddis via,

The Hidden Hand

The essence of a coup, which some might refer to as covert action, is the hidden hand.  One does not announce that a foreign power is overthrowing the government and installing a new government.  One pulls strings as if from behind a curtain, making events that are all part of a carefully orchestrated plan appear disconnected, spontaneous and serendipitous.

As I read through the recently released IG report for the second time, as someone with a great deal of experience in military and intelligence matters, I see that hand everywhere.

Per the IG report, a single report is delivered to the FBI in the summer of 2016.  It concerns a meeting between a cooperative contact of a foreign intelligence service and a junior level employee of the Trump campaign, George Papadopoulos.  The report relates what are frankly very amorphous comments by Papadopoulos concerning the Russian government and its alleged possession of information on Hillary Clinton.

On any other day this report would command no attention whatsoever.  The source in question has no track record of any kind with the FBI. Papadopoulos has been employed by the Trump campaign for perhaps 90 days at this point, and there is no reason to believe he has contacts of significance in the Kremlin.

Not on this occasion.  This one report from a foreign intelligence service goes directly to the top of the FBI.  The Director himself, James Comey is briefed.  A full investigation is launched.  Multiple confidential human sources are tasked.  Wiretaps are ordered.  A task force is organized. Crossfire Hurricane is born.

There is a problem, though.  This hand, perhaps because it is controlled by individuals who have made their bones riding desks in Washington, DC and not in the field running actual operations, is clumsy.  The information regarding Papadopoulos provided the needed pretext to start an investigation, but most of the people who will now form the investigative team are not in on the plot.  They will have to be led to the pre-ordained conclusion, so that it appears that they did so without outside interference.

And these investigators have a pesky habit of actually doing their jobs.

Almost immediately these investigators demonstrate that Papadopoulos does not have the access within the Trump campaign necessary for the suspected Russian connections.  If there is a conduit, Papadopoulos cannot be it.

Suddenly, Carter Page is shoved forward as the new focus of the investigation.  His contacts with Russians are long-standing and well-known.  He will serve well as the new target.  Human sources are mobilized.  Wiretaps are ordered.

But, there is another problem.  Those wielding the clumsy hidden hand have forgotten the first rule of real operational personnel.  Never move against a target until you have run “traces.” until you have run the individual’s name through our databases, checked the records and found out what we already know about him.  Maybe the conspirators really don’t know that.  Maybe they just don’t dare do so, because it will mean involving working-level personnel who are not in on the joke.

In any event, they apparently did not run “traces” and as a consequence they clearly do not know that, yes, Mr. Page has extensive Russian contacts and, yes, he has been reporting to “another government agency” for many years on those contacts.  Page is a source.  Our source.

This is problem.  It is a huge, never fully resolved problem for the conspirators.  The “other government agency” sends a formal memo documenting the fact that Page is a source.  The hidden hand tries hiding that.  Any mention of it is removed from applications for FISA warrants, and it is never mentioned in renewal applications either.

But, again, as new FBI personnel, unwitting of the plot are assigned to the investigation they keep doing their jobs.  Already they have determined that the only evidence they can develop is exculpatory.  Already they have established that there is no basis to believe any of the allegations against Donald Trump and his campaign.  Now, they circle back to the issue of Page.

Are they, in effect, focusing investigative resources on a man, Page, who has been cooperating with American intelligence for years?  If so, this is the definition of “crossing lines.”  Inquiries are made.  A second memorandum is sent by the “other government agency.”  This one spells out in excruciating detail Page’s relationship with that agency.

The conspirators, behind their curtain, are now desperate.  What was supposed to be an elegant plot is now in danger of collapsing.  The hand directs crude measures.  An attorney assigned to the investigation materially alters the memorandum inserting words not found in the original and making it appear to say exactly the opposite of what it said, in plain English, originally.  The trail is covered, temporarily, but there is now hard, physical evidence of the conspirators intervention.  The “other government agency” retains the memorandum in its original form, waiting to be discovered by investigators scrutinizing the record at a later date.

This pattern of often clumsy manipulation of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation is everywhere in the record.  It is at the heart, for instance, of the entire Christopher Steele narrative.

Shortly after Crossfire Hurricane is initiated, Steele, a former British intelligence officer, appears to provide a dossier, actually multiple files, concerning alleged connections between Donald Trump and his campaign and the Kremlin.  The dossier also includes a number of gratuitously salacious allegations concerning President Trump and Russian prostitutes, which likely says more about Steele and the way his mind works than anything else.

Steele is working for a law firm employed by Fusion GPS, which is in effect, an extension of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.  He is in Washington, DC frequently.  He has a wide range of contacts at senior levels on multiple continents.  He has had contact of some kind with the FBI for years.

Yet, when Steele appears to deliver his information he chooses to pass that information to a junior FBI agent working for an FBI Legal Attache (Legatt) in a European city and then rely on this individual to get the “intelligence” to the right people.  Why?  Because in the minds of those individuals masterminding this operation this will make the information more “organic.”  It will not arrive on the desks of the special agents working Crossfire Hurricane as if hand delivered.  It will not appear to be too neatly packaged and perhaps arouse suspicion.  It will seem to the people working the investigation, most of whom of necessity can never know what is really happening, that this information was developed in the field and therefore is more credible and to be afforded more weight.

But, again, the hand is clumsy.  Steele is a loose cannon.  He talks to the press.  He discusses his contact with the FBI.  This is discovered.  Formal contact with Steele is shut down.  He is no longer an FBI source.

As with the alteration of the memo from the “other government agency” the conspirators must become more forceful and more visible.  If Steele’s “intelligence” cannot continue to be fed into the investigation there is no plot.  There is no way to lead the investigators in the desired direction and ensure the desired result.  The entire operation is in danger of collapsing.

Again, per the IG report, Bruce Ohr, a senior Department of Justice lawyer with no role of any kind in the investigation, but a wife who works for Fusion GPS, suddenly appears and makes himself a conduit between Steele and the FBI.  Beyond that, in fact, he meets directly with the head of Fusion GPS, Glenn Simpson, obtains at least one thumb drive full of Steele’s reports and ferries those to the FBI. The pipeline is reestablished.

No one in the Department of Justice or FBI has asked Ohr to play this role.  It is, in fact, in direct conflict with his status as an attorney.  Ohr actively hides his actions from his superiors.  His behavior is transparent and without justification.  It is almost certain to attract attention.  This is not all the way covert action should work, but the conspirators, backed into a corner by the FBI’s refusal to meet Steele directly have no choice.  It is the files compiled by Steele, which are the key to their efforts to delegitimize and destroy Donald Trump.

The IG report on the Crossfire Hurricane investigation runs to hundreds of pages, and it contains a wealth of information.  It is the product of what can only have been a massive amount of investigative work by a team of dedicated professionals and is a huge resource for those attempting to understand the origins of the Russian collusion hoax.  Yet, at the same time it misses the essence of what just transpired.  It is like reading a description of the actions and motivations of a troupe of marionettes in a stage play and missing the fact that they are all simply doing what those pulling the strings make them do.

The FBI did not conduct an investigation of Donald Trump and his associates that ultimately proved to be based on false information and continue that investigation long past the time it should have been shut down simply because some people made some errors in judgment or some procedures need to be changed.  That investigation was simply the most visible piece of a deliberate, covert attempt to overthrow the democratic process.  The perpetrators of that crime have yet to be brought to justice and identified. 

Let’s hope that happens soon.

Time for the hidden hand to be revealed.

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 21:45
Published:12/11/2019 8:52:18 PM
[Markets] The Moneyist: ‘He took my jewelry and never saved a penny’ — how can I stop my husband from getting his hands on my IRA and bank accounts in our divorce? ‘I have a safety deposit box that he doesn’t know about.’
Published:12/11/2019 8:52:18 PM
[41edd01f-3b87-58be-bad1-23dbf238ed2d] Kevin Hart gives update on his recovery from car crash: 'I'm about 65 to 75 percent back to my physical self' Kevin Hart is addressing his recovery from a dangerous car crash in September. Published:12/11/2019 8:52:18 PM
[] Whistleblower's lawyers preparing him for possible Senate trial testimony as Manchin hints he'll let Trump call witnesses C'mon, they're not getting 51 votes to call the whistleblower.

Although, as you're about to see, they might be a little closer than anyone expected.

The legal team is taking no chances, in any case:

Depending on how senators structure their likely trial, a subpoena could compel the whistleblower to cooperate with]] Published:12/11/2019 8:14:12 PM

[Politics] CNBC: Navarro Pushes Pro-Tariff Memo Amid Talks Days before a deadline to impose more tariffs on China amid trade talks, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro is circulating a pro-tariff memo under the name "Ron Vara," according to CNBC.... Published:12/11/2019 8:14:11 PM
[Politics] IG Horowitz: No One at FBI Is Vindicated, Including Comey

Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz said Wednesday that his report does not vindicate anyone who worked on the FISA application to surveil members of the Trump campaign, including former FBI director James Comey.

The post IG Horowitz: No One at FBI Is Vindicated, Including Comey appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:12/11/2019 8:14:11 PM
[Culture] Megan Fox Says Her Kids Go To ‘Vegan School’ That Teaches Them Plants Have ‘Feelings, Thoughts, And Emotions’

The following article, Megan Fox Says Her Kids Go To ‘Vegan School’ That Teaches Them Plants Have ‘Feelings, Thoughts, And Emotions’, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Megan Fox raved about the ‘organic, sustainable, vegan school’ her children attend. ‘We send them to an organic, sustainable, vegan school where they’re seed-to-table, they plant their own food,’ Fox told People Monday. ‘They grow it, they harvest it and they take it to local restaurants to sell it, so they understand how all of that ...

Continue reading: Megan Fox Says Her Kids Go To ‘Vegan School’ That Teaches Them Plants Have ‘Feelings, Thoughts, And Emotions’ ...

Published:12/11/2019 8:14:11 PM
[worldNews] Israel to hold March 2 election, its third in less than a year Israel will hold an election on March 2, its third in less than a year, parliament decided on Thursday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main rival failed to parlay the previous two ballots into a new coalition government.
Published:12/11/2019 8:14:11 PM
[Markets] Costco Reports Earnings Tomorrow. Here’s What to Expect. Costco stock has had a good year. Shares are up about 45% year to date. Investors hope the strong performance will continue after the company reports earnings after the close of trading Thursday. Published:12/11/2019 8:14:11 PM
[Entertainment] Google's Top Trending Searches of 2019 Reveal We're Obsessed With Celebrity Scandals Lori Loughlin, James Charles, Jordyn WoodsThe tea was hot, hot, hot in 2019. According Google's 2019 Year in Search, people were living for the drama. Of course, it's easy to see why considering we were flooded with...
Published:12/11/2019 8:14:11 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Jim Jordan gives BLISTERING speech condemning Democrats for their hatred of Trump and his supporters Rep. Jim Jordan just gave a blistering five minute speech condemning Democrats for their hatred of Trump and the American people who put him there: "They dislike us so much they are . . . Published:12/11/2019 8:14:11 PM
[Markets] Is It Garbage Or Is It Art? Is It Garbage Or Is It Art?

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

Artwork Made from Old Bananas Shows Value Is Subjective

Last week, Miami art gallery Art Basel sold, for $120,000, a piece of art composed of a banana duct taped to a wall. At least one other identical piece sold for a similar amount. A third piece was priced at $150,000. The banana used in the display is a real banana, and on Saturday, a performance artist named David Datuna ate some of it.

Datuna's stunt merely illustrated what everyone should have already known: the value of the artwork had almost nothing to do with the banana itself. Its value came not from the amount of labor that went into it or from the cost of the physical materials involved. A spokeswoman for the museum summed up the real source of the item's value, noting,He [Datuna] did not destroy the artwork. The banana is the idea.

In other words, the people who purchased the art weren't actually purchasing a banana and tape. The person who purchased the art was buying the opportunity to communicate to peers that he or she was rich enough to throw around $120,000 on a work of art that would soon cease to exist. This was a transaction that involved purchasing status in exchange for money. The banana was only a tiny part of the exchange.

Moreover, the transaction offered the opportunity for the gallery, the art seller, and the art buyer to all further increase their status by being the topic of discussion in countless news articles and discussions in social media. As was surely anticipated by the artists and everyone else in the banana sale, the media could be counted on to act as if this art was something new, outrageous, or exciting. "Art world gone mad," the New York Post announced on its front page. Hundreds of thousands of commentators in various social media forums chimed in to comment on the matter.

One wonders, however, how many times this shtick can be repeated over and over until people lose interest. Apparently: many times. After all, this sort of art is not a new thing. For decades, avant-garde artists have been using garbage and other found objects to create art. And people with a lot of disposable income have been willing to pay a lot of money for it. It's all basically an inside joke among rich people. And regular people have the same reaction over and over again.

But there's absolutely nothing at all that's shocking, confusing, or incomprehensible from the point of view of sound economics. Transactions like these should only surprise us if we're still in the thrall of faulty theories of value, such as the idea that goods and services are valued based on how much labor and materials went into them. That's not true of any good or service. And it's certainly not true of art.

Is It Garbage or Is It Art?

In fact, two identical items can be valued in two completely different ways simply if the context and description of the objects changes.

According to the Daily Maila 2016 study suggests that people value ordinary objects differently depending on what they are told about the objects:

"According to the new research, being told that something is art automatically changes our response to it, both on a neural and a behavioural level."

In this case, researchers in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, told subjects to rate how they valued objects in photographs. When told that those objects were "art" people valued them differently. 

In other words, the perceived value of objects could change without any additional labor being added to them, and without any physical changes at all. 

The value, it seems, is determined by the viewer, and we're reminded of Carl Menger's trailblazing observations about value

Value is a judgment economizing men make about the importance of the goods at their disposal for the maintenance of their lives and well-being. Hence value does not exist outside the consciousness of men.

One moment the viewer may think he's looking at garbage, which he has likely learned is of little value. When told that said junk is really "art," the entire situation changes. (Of course, we would need to see their preferences put into real action via economic exchange to know their preferences for sure.)

The change, as both Menger and Mises understood it, is brought about not by changes to the object itself, but by changes in context and in the subjective valuation of the viewer. 

A glass of water's value in a parched desert is different from that of a glass next to a clean river. Indeed, a glass of water displayed in a museum as art — as in the case of Michael Craig-Martin's "An Oak Tree" — is different from water found in both deserts and along rivers. Similarly, the value of a urinal displayed in a museum as art — as with Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain" — is different from a physically identical urinal in a restroom. 

The Daily Mail article attempts to tie the researchers' observations to the theories of Immanuel Kant on aesthetics. But, one need know nothing about aesthetics at all to see how this study simply shows us something about economic value: it is, to paraphrase Menger, found in the "consciousness of men." 

And it is largely due to this fact that centrally planning an economy is so impossible. How can a central planner account for enormous changes in perceived value based on little more than being told something is art? 

Is a glass of water best utilized on a shelf in a museum, or is it best used for drinking? Maybe water is best used for hydroelectric power? Exactly how much should be used for each purpose? 

When discussing the problems of economic calculation in socialism, Mises observed that without the price system, there simply is no way to say that a specific amount of water is best used for drinking instead of being used for modern-art displays. Nor is the fact that people need water for drinking the key to determining the value of water. (See the diamond-water paradox.)

In a functioning market, consumers will engage in exchanges involving water in a way that reflects how much they prefer each use of water to other uses. At some moments, some consumers may prefer to drink it. At other moments, they may prefer to water plants with it. At still other moments, they may want to contemplate an art display composed of little more than a glass of water. The price of water at each time and place will reflect these activities. 

Without these price signals, attempting to create a central plan for how each ounce of water should be used is an impossible task.

Do we need to know why people change their views of object when told they are art? We do not. Indeed, were he here, Mises would perhaps be among the first to remind us that economics need not tell us the mental processes that lead to people preferring different uses for different objects, although we can certainly hazard a guess. It's unlikely that the buyer of the taped banana bought it because he or she planned to eat it.

But even if we are wrong about the buyer's motivation, the fact remains that the buyer valued the banana at $120,000 for some reason — and the value was subjective to the buyer.

Similarly, we can't know for sure why each individual values water for drinking over "art water" or vice versa. And a government planner or regulator — it should be noted — can't know this either.

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 21:05
Published:12/11/2019 8:14:11 PM
[a92778b3-4bde-5329-a37c-4c35d830aa3d] R. Kelly faces new allegations in trailer for follow-up 'Surviving R. Kelly' docuseries Lifetime has released a trailer for "Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning," the follow-up to the revealing "Surviving R. Kelly" docuseries. Published:12/11/2019 8:14:11 PM
[2019 News] Biden Paid Women Less Than Men in Each of His 35 Years as Senator

Biden Paid Women Less Than Men in Each of His 35 Years as Senator. Well, between hair sniffing, groping and now paying female staffers less than men we predict Biden will definitly grab the women’s vote in 2020. He makes grabbing them by the pussy look tame.

The post Biden Paid Women Less Than Men in Each of His 35 Years as Senator appeared first on IHTM.

Published:12/11/2019 8:14:11 PM
[Politics] In New DC Comic, Darkseid and Joker Work to Reelect Trump President Donald Trump will be depicted in the upcoming DC comic book, "The Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child," though not by name, according to The Hollywood Reporter.... Published:12/11/2019 7:42:28 PM
[Markets] GE Stock Is Rising Because One Analyst Finally Got Off the Fence UBS analyst Markus Mittermaier upgraded GE’s stock to the equivalent of Buy from Hold, taking his price target to $14 from $11.50, about 28% above recent levels. He calls 2020 an “inflection year” for the controversial conglomerate. Published:12/11/2019 7:42:28 PM
[Entertainment] Jordyn Woods Sets the Record Straight on Apparent Khloe Kardashian Shade Khloe Kardashian, Jordyn WoodsIt's all love! Jordyn Woods would very much like to excuse herself from this narrative. The model is opening up about the seeming shade fans think she keeps throwing at Khloe...
Published:12/11/2019 7:42:28 PM
[25dc1935-d3c3-5075-811a-aee0b0d2c396] Gregg Jarrett: IG Horowitz confirms shameful and deliberate FBI misconduct in investigating Trump campaign In its investigation of the Trump campaign, the FBI persisted in its quest to prove a Trump-Russia “collusion” conspiracy that officials knew was unsupported by credible evidence. Published:12/11/2019 7:42:28 PM
[26685649-347e-5dcb-b313-21a58e149458] Taylor Swift on crossing over to the ‘different world’ of pop: ‘Country music is a real community’ When Taylor Swift entered the pop world with her 2014 album "1989," her foray into the music genre was different than what she had experienced with country music. Published:12/11/2019 7:42:28 PM
[Markets] Sin Taxes & Other Orwellian Methods Of Compliance That Feed The Government's Greed Sin Taxes & Other Orwellian Methods Of Compliance That Feed The Government's Greed

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

- C.S. Lewis

“Taxman,” the only song written by George Harrison to open one of the Beatles’ albums (it featured on the band’s 1966 Revolver album), is a snarling, biting, angry commentary on government greed and how little control “we the taxpayers” have over our lives and our money.

If you drive a car, I'll tax the street,

If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat.

If you get too cold I'll tax the heat,

If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.

Don't ask me what I want it for

If you don't want to pay some more

'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman.

When the Beatles finally started earning enough money from their music to place them in the top tax bracket, they found the British government only-too-eager to levy a supertax on them of more than 90%.

Here in America, things aren’t much better.

More than two centuries after our ancestors went to war over their abused property rights, we’re once again being subjected to taxation without any real representation, all the while the government continues to do whatever it likes—levy taxes, rack up debt, spend outrageously and irresponsibly—with little concern for the plight of its citizens.

Because the government’s voracious appetite for money, power and domination has grown out of control, its agents have devised other means of funding its excesses and adding to its largesse through taxes disguised as fines, taxes disguised as fees, and taxes disguised as tolls, speeding tickets and penalties.

With every new tax, fine, fee and law adopted by our so-called representatives, the yoke around the neck of the average American seems to tighten just a little bit more.

Everywhere you go, everything you do, and every which way you look, we’re getting swindled, cheated, conned, robbed, raided, pickpocketed, mugged, deceived, defrauded, double-crossed and fleeced by governmental and corporate shareholders of the American police state out to make a profit at taxpayer expense.

We have no real say in how the government runs, or how our taxpayer funds are used, and no real property rights, but that doesn’t prevent the government from fleecing us at every turn.

Think about it.

Everything you own can be seized by the government under one pretext or another (civil asset forfeiture, unpaid taxes, eminent domain, so-called public interest, etc.).

That house you live in, the car you drive, the small (or not so small) acreage of land that has been passed down through your family or that you scrimped and saved to acquire, whatever money you manage to keep in your bank account after the government and its cronies have taken their first and second and third cut…none of it is safe from the government’s greedy grasp.

And then you have all of those high-handed, outrageously manipulative government programs sold to the public as a means of forcing compliance and discouraging unhealthy behavior by way of taxes, fines, fees and programs for the “better” good.

Surveillance cameras, government agents listening in on your phone calls, reading your emails and text messages and monitoring your spending, mandatory health care, sugary soda bans, anti-bullying laws, zero tolerance policies, political correctness: these are all outward signs of a government—i.e., a societal elite—that believes it knows what is best for you and can do a better job of managing your life than you can.

This is tyranny disguised as “the better good.”

Indeed, this is the tyranny of the Nanny State: marketed as benevolence, enforced with armed police, and inflicted on all those who do not belong to the elite ruling class that gets to call the shots.

So-called “sin taxes” have become a particularly popular technique used by the Nanny State to supposedly discourage the populace from engaging in activities that don’t align with the government’s priorities (consuming sugary drinks, smoking, drinking, etc.).

Personally, I don’t think the government really cares how its citizens live or die: they just want more of the taxpayers’ money, and they figure they can rake it in by using sin taxes to appeal to that self-righteous segment of every society that sees nothing wrong with imposing their belief systems on the rest of the populace.

Examples abound.

For instance, a growing number of cities and states (Washington DC, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle, among others) have adopted or considered imposing taxes on sugary drinks, as much as a dollar more for a two-liter bottle of soda, supposedly in the hopes of forcing lower-income communities that struggle with obesity and diabetes to make healthier dietary choices by making the drinks more expensive.

The faulty logic behind these sin taxes seems to be that if you make it cost-prohibitive for poor people to pursue unhealthy lifestyle choices, they’ll stop doing it.

Except it doesn’t really work out that way.

Study after study shows that while sales of sugary drinks decreased sharply in cities with a soda tax, sales figures spiked at stores located outside the city. In other words, people just shopped elsewhere.

You won’t convince former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg of this, however. Bloomberg, a 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful, believes the government needs even greater tax powers in order to force Americans—especially poor people—to make smarter lifestyle choices. “When we raise taxes on the poor, it’s good because then the poor will live longer because they can’t afford as many things that kill them,” stated Bloomberg.

Folks, this right here is everything that is wrong with the power-hungry jackals that aspire to run the government today: by hook or by crook, they’re working hard to frogmarch the citizenry into complying with their dictates, because they believe that only they know what’s best for you.

It’s this same oppressive mindset that’s been pushing social credit systems (here and in China) that reward behavior deemed “acceptable” and punish behavior the government and its corporate allies find offensive, illegal or inappropriate.

It’s the same mindset that supports the government’s efforts to compile a growing list—shared with fusion centers and law enforcement agencies—of ideologies, behaviors, affiliations and other characteristics that could flag someone as suspicious and result in their being labeled potential enemies of the state.

It’s the same mindset that has government agents spinning a sticky spider-web of threat assessments, behavioral sensing warnings, flagged “words,” and “suspicious” activity reports using AI eyes and ears, social media, behavior sensing software, and citizen spies to identify potential threats.

It’s the mindset behind the red flag gun laws, growing in popularity as a legislative means by which to seize guns from individuals viewed as a danger to themselves or others. “We need to stop dangerous people before they act”: that’s the rationale behind the NRA’s support of these red flag laws, and at first glance, it appears to be perfectly reasonable to want to disarm individuals who are clearly suicidal and/or pose an “immediate danger” to themselves or others.

And it’s the same mindset that allows squadrons of AI censors to shadowban individuals for expressing their unfiltered, politically incorrect opinions and beliefs on social media: all in an effort to keep them in line.

Rounding out this dystopian campaign to impose a chokehold on the populace is a technology sector that has been colluding with the government to create a Big Brother that is all-knowing, all-seeing and inescapable. It’s not just the drones, fusion centers, license plate readers, stingray devices and the NSA that you have to worry about. You’re also being tracked by the black boxes in your cars, your cell phone, smart devices in your home, grocery loyalty cards, social media accounts, credit cards, streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, and e-book reader accounts.

Clearly, those helping to erect the prison walls that now enclose us purportedly for our own good are not people that understand the concept of freedom or individual rights.

Unfortunately, this is what happens when you empower the government and its various agencies, agents and corporate partners to act in loco parentis for an entire nation.

All of the incremental bricks that have been laid over the years as part of the police state’s prison wall—the invasive surveillance, the extremism reports, the civil unrest, the protests, the shootings, the bombings, the military exercises and active shooter drills, the color-coded alerts and threat assessments, the fusion centers, the transformation of local police into extensions of the military, the distribution of military equipment and weapons to local police forces, the government databases containing the names of dissidents and potential troublemakers—have helped to acclimate us slowly to a life in prison.

Funded with our taxpayer dollars and carried out in broad daylight without so much as a general outcry from the citizenry, these prison walls have been sold to us as a means of keeping us safe  behind bars and out of reach of danger.

Having allowed our fears to be codified and our actions criminalized, we now find ourselves in a strange new world where just about everything we do is criminalized.

Even so, how did we go from enacting laws to make our world safer to being saddled with a government that polices our social decisions? As with most of the problems plaguing us in the American police state, we are the source of our greatest problems.

As journalist Gracy Olmstead recognizes, the problem arose when we looked “first to the State to care for the situation, rather than exercising any sort of personal involvement… These actions reveal a more passive, isolated attitude. But here, again, we see the result of breakdown in modern American community—without a sense of communal closeness or responsibility, we act as bystanders rather than as stewards.”

Olmstead continues:

[Communitarian libertarian Robert] Nisbet predicted that, in a society without strong private associations, the State would take their place — assuming the role of the church, the schoolroom, and the family, asserting a “primacy of claim” upon our children. “It is hard to overlook the fact,” he wrote, “that the State and politics have become suffused by qualities formerly inherent only in the family or the church.” In this world, the term “nanny state” takes on a very literal meaning.

Unfortunately, even in the face of outright corruption and incompetency on the part of our elected officials, Americans in general remain relatively gullible, eager to be persuaded that the government can solve the problems that plague us, whether it be terrorism, an economic depression, an environmental disaster, how or what we eat or even keeping our children safe.

We have relinquished control over the most intimate aspects of our lives to government officials who, while they may occupy seats of authority, are neither wiser, smarter, more in tune with our needs, more knowledgeable about our problems, nor more aware of what is really in our best interests.

Yet having bought into the false notion that the government does indeed know what’s best for us and can ensure not only our safety but our happiness and will take care of us from cradle to grave—that is, from daycare centers to nursing homes—we have in actuality allowed ourselves to be bridled and turned into slaves at the bidding of a government that cares little for our freedoms or our happiness.

The lesson is this: once a free people allows the government inroads into their freedoms or uses those same freedoms as bargaining chips for security, it quickly becomes a slippery slope to outright tyranny.

Nor does it seem to matter whether it's a Democrat or a Republican at the helm anymore, because the bureaucratic mindset on both sides of the aisle now seems to embody the same philosophy of authoritarian government, whose priorities are to remain in control and in power. 

Modern government in general—ranging from the militarized police in SWAT team gear crashing through our doors to the rash of innocent citizens being gunned down by police to the invasive spying on everything we do—is acting illogically, even psychopathically.

When our own government no longer sees us as human beings with dignity and worth but as things to be manipulated, maneuvered, mined for data, manhandled by police, conned into believing it has our best interests at heart, mistreated, and then jails us if we dare step out of line, punishes us unjustly without remorse, and refuses to own up to its failings, we are no longer operating under a constitutional republic.

Instead, what we are experiencing is a pathocracy: tyranny at the hands of a psychopathic government, which “operates against the interests of its own people except for favoring certain groups.”

So where does that leave us?

Having allowed the government to expand and exceed our reach, we find ourselves on the losing end of a tug-of-war over control of our country and our lives. And for as long as we let them, government officials will continue to trample on our rights, always justifying their actions as being for the good of the people.

Yet the government can only go as far as “we the people” allow.

Therein lies the problem: we have suspended our moral consciences in favor of the police state.

The choice before us is clear, and it is a moral choice. It is the choice between tyranny and freedom, dictatorship and autonomy, peaceful slavery and dangerous freedom, and manufactured pipedreams of what America used to be versus the gritty reality of what she is today.

Most of all, perhaps, the choice before us is that of being a child or a parent, of obeying blindly, never questioning, and marching in lockstep with the police state or growing up, challenging injustice, standing up to tyranny, and owning up to our responsibilities as citizens, no matter how painful, risky or uncomfortable.

As author Erich Fromm warned in his book On Disobedience, “At this point in history, the capacity to doubt, to criticize and to disobey may be all that stands between a future for mankind and the end of civilization.”

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, if you have no choice, no voice, and no real options when it comes to the government’s claims on your life, your movements, your property and your money, you’re not free.

Personally, I’d rather die a free man having lived according to my own dictates (within the bounds of reasonable laws) than live as a slave chained up in a government prison.

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 20:25
Published:12/11/2019 7:42:28 PM
[] Who Is the Best Two Hit Wonder Band? Two hits. No one ever thinks about the Two Hit Tyros. Once you have your second hit, a lot of people just forget about you. For some reason, one hit wonders tend to be remembered. It's hard to define what... Published:12/11/2019 7:42:28 PM
[] Watch Sen. Josh Hawley say the IG report shows 'our own government meddling in the election' We've posted a lot of highlights from Wednesday's Senate Judiciary Hearing at which Inspector General Michael Horowitz was a witness, and the whole idea that the intelligence community was "exonerated" has crumbled all day long.

One of the highlights of the day was Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley asking which was worse:]] Published:12/11/2019 7:11:38 PM

[] Pelosi spox: How dare McConnell delay the USMCA we sat on all year long! A lack of preparation on Democrats' part does not constitute an emergency for Senate Republicans, Mitch McConnell said yesterday -- but the White House might disagree. The Senate Majority Leader told reporters that there would not be enough time left on the legislative calendar to give the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)]] Published:12/11/2019 7:11:38 PM
[Politics] Biden Denies Considering 1-Term Presidency Former Vice President rejected reports he was considering a vow to restrict his presidency to one term.Politico had reported aides were advising a public announcement... Published:12/11/2019 7:11:37 PM
[Academic left] Why Do So Many Young People Vote Left? (John Hinderaker) Here are a couple of data points that suggest part of the answer, at least, is that they are remarkably ill-informed. First, a video in which students are asked whether they favor Medicare for all. Of course they do! Then they are told a few basic facts about the Sanders proposal, now widely adopted by Democratic politicians, all of which come as a surprise. (“What, you have to pay for Published:12/11/2019 7:11:37 PM
[Politics] Kamala Harris asks IG Horowitz to investigate AG Barr -[VIDEO] Kamala Harris asked IG Horowitz today to investigate AG Barr for trying to ‘do Trump’s bidding’ and proving that Russia didn’t interfere in the 2016 election: Kamala Harris details Bill Barr's extensive . . . Published:12/11/2019 7:11:37 PM
[Politics] Kamala Harris asks IG Horowitz to investigate AG Barr -[VIDEO] Kamala Harris asked IG Horowitz today to investigate AG Barr for trying to ‘do Trump’s bidding’ and proving that Russia didn’t interfere in the 2016 election: Kamala Harris details Bill Barr's extensive . . . Published:12/11/2019 7:11:37 PM
[worldNews] United Kingdom votes to decide the fate of Brexit, again Voters go to the polls on Thursday in an election that will pave the way for Brexit under Prime Minister Boris Johnson or propel Britain toward another referendum that could ultimately reverse the decision to leave the European Union.
Published:12/11/2019 7:11:37 PM
[World] Russia is nowhere and everywhere in the impeachment saga

The two articles of impeachment against President Trump don't mention Russia, but Moscow's meddling in 2016 underlies the current constitutional crisis.

Published:12/11/2019 7:11:37 PM
[topics:things/bone-health] Sitting around at Christmas could damage your health for life Published:12/11/2019 7:11:37 PM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [David Bernstein] The New York Times Continues to Misreport the Trump Executive Order on Antisemitism Once can be an honest mistake; now it looks intentional Published:12/11/2019 7:11:37 PM
[2019 News] Vatican Uses Donations for the Poor to Plug Its Budget Deficit

Vatican Uses Donations for the Poor to Plug Its Budget Deficit. According to WSJ, alter and choir boys aren’t the only thing getting plugged at the Catholic Church.

The post Vatican Uses Donations for the Poor to Plug Its Budget Deficit appeared first on IHTM.

Published:12/11/2019 7:11:37 PM
[Markets] Visualizing The Dramatic Rise And Fall Of Cannabis Company Stocks Visualizing The Dramatic Rise And Fall Of Cannabis Company Stocks

The unprecedented expansion of cannabis across North America took the investment world by storm, as investors raced to cash in on the “green rush”.

Yet, as Visual Capitalist's Imam Ghosh details below, even as changing regulations unlock new opportunities, it seems as though the cannabis stock bubble has already burst - at least temporarily.

Today’s visualization dives into the roller coaster of cannabis company stock valuations over the past few years, and which companies remain standing in this hazy market.

A Wild Ride for Cannabis Stocks

The North American Marijuana Index tracks the equally-weighted stocks of leading companies operating in the legal cannabis industry in U.S. and Canada. Companies listed on the index must have at least 50% of their business strategy focused on the legal industry, including ancillary operations that support companies and consumers.

At the tail-end of 2017, the promise of upcoming legalization in two immense markets—California state and Canada—had investors all fired up. The index’s low (105.31 on June 27th, 2017) shot up almost three times to 358.93 by January 8th, 2018.

Things took a sharp turn in the second quarter of 2019, as the expectations for cannabis company stocks encountered a harsh reality post-legalization.

What are the reasons behind such a nosedive? Could the cannabis industry still make a comeback in 2020? We look at some opposing perspectives to answer these questions.

So Much For the Green Rush

The cannabis industry is experiencing significant challenges. In the U.S., legal cannabis faces high taxes—come the new year, consumers in California will see an 80% mark-up on their cannabis at checkout, up from 60%.

North of the border, federal legalization led to immense consumer demand for Canadian cannabis—but supply can’t keep up. To make matters worse, retail stores are slow to roll out, which means Canada is feeling the crunch.

Steep prices, and difficulty purchasing products post-legalization, allow the black market to thrive. It’s clear many cannabis companies have taken a big hit as a result.

According to the Marijuana Index, here are the 10 biggest companies in the space now:

Only one company outside of North America—and even the cannabis sector—lands on this list. The UK-based Big Pharma company GW Pharmaceuticals is steadily growing its industry presence, as it currently holds 41 cannabis patents in the U.S. and Canada combined.

Still, even these big players have seen their valuations drop since the industry was at its peak. Unless the aforementioned issues are ironed out, investors may continue to pull their dollars from the cannabis industry.

A psychological shift has taken place from everyone wanting to own (cannabis) to everyone involved now feeling burned. I think many investors are now over it.

- Chris Kerlow, portfolio manager at Richardson GMP

On the flip side, some investors aren’t calling it quits quite yet.

Long-Term Prospects Are High

While cannabis seems plagued with issues, some argue that these are simply short-term growing pains and will be solved as the industry matures.

Particularly in the U.S., experts predict that cannabis sales could reach immense heights in the next decade:

  1. $30 billion by 2025 (New Frontier Data)

  2. $50 billion by 2029 (Jefferies Group LLC)

  3. $75 billion by 2030 (Cowen Inc.)

  4. $100 billion by 2029 (Stifel Financial Corp)

Compared to a benchmark of $13.6 billion today, these numbers may seem ambitious—but they’re backed by major industry trends. 2020 could well be the year the market stabilizes, as consumers explore an array of retail options and vote with their wallets.

What’s more, key players in consumer industries—from alcohol and tobacco to beauty and fitness—are making big bets in cannabis and CBD-infused products. A higher number of partnerships could spark the next uptick for the industry’s potential.

The marijuana business is not for the faint of heart. But this is a big long-term game.

- Mark Zekulin, CEO of Canopy Growth Corp.

An Eye on What’s to Come

It’s clear there are differing viewpoints on the future of cannabis companies and their respective investors. As this snapshot of cannabis stocks unfolds and transforms in 2020 and beyond, could companies potentially buck the current trend and bounce back? Or will stocks continue to go up in smoke?

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 20:05
Published:12/11/2019 7:11:37 PM
[] Report: Snopes contacted the White House after president retweeted a Babylon Bee parody We've never heard of Disrn, but the site is reporting Wednesday night that fact-checking site Snopes contacted the White House after President Trump retweeted a story from the satirical Babylon Bee.

Here's the original tweet that Trump retweeted, posted by Jenna Ellis, senior legal advisor to the Trump 2020 campaign:

Disrn]] Published:12/11/2019 6:41:52 PM

[] Mark Levin: "The next president who's a Democrat must be impeached" Okay, although I don't know that the GOP needed Democrats' impeachment of Trump as motivation to impeach a modern Democratic president. I was reminded today that Andy McCarthy of NRO called for impeaching Hillary Clinton preemptively, two months before the 2016 election, in order to bar her from assuming]] Published:12/11/2019 6:41:52 PM
[Politics] Jared Kushner: Trump Stands Against 'Anti-Semitic Hate' President Donald Trump's executive order Wednesday is a strike against "anti-Semitic hate" in colleges, and offers support and defense for Jewish students, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner wrote in The New York Times Published:12/11/2019 6:41:51 PM
[worldNews] With Netanyahu's fate in question, Israel heads to new election Israel headed on Wednesday toward a third national election in less than a year with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu facing the fight of his life for political survival after a criminal indictment.
Published:12/11/2019 6:41:51 PM
[Entertainment] Time's Up Reacts to Harvey Weinstein's ''Flawed'' $25 Million Settlement Harvey WeinsteinThe Time's Up Foundation is speaking out against a multi-million dollar settlement Harvey Weinstein recently reached with dozens of women who accused him of rape and sexual harassment in civil...
Published:12/11/2019 6:41:51 PM
[Markets] Vatican Caught Using Charity Donations To Cover Budget Shortfalls Vatican Caught Using Charity Donations To Cover Budget Shortfalls

While Pope Francis has long preached about the ills of economic inequality and sins of capitalism, the Catholic church has been robbing Peter's Pence to the tune of over $50 million annually to plug holes in their out-of-control budget - after paying over $3 billion in pedophile priest settlements around the world.

According to the Wall Street Journal, most of the roughly $55 million the church takes in annually goes towards "plugging the hole in the Vatican’s own administrative budget, while as little as 10% is spent on charitable works."

The little-publicized breakdown of how the Holy See spends Peter’s Pence, known only among senior Vatican officials, is raising concern among some Catholic Church leaders that the faithful are being misled about the use of their donations, which could further hurt the credibility of the Vatican’s financial management under Pope Francis. -Wall Street Journal

Of note, Peter's Pence is an annual collection event held every June, billed as a fundraising event for the needy. It is described as a "gesture of charity, a way of supporting the activity of the Pope and the universal Church in favoring especially the poorest and Churches in difficulty. It is also an invitation to pay attention and be near to new forms of poverty and fragility."

A section of the website dedicated to “works realized” describes individual grants, such as €100,000 in relief aid to survivors of last month’s earthquake in Albania or €150,000 for those affected by cyclone Idai in southeastern Africa in March. -WSJ

"The purpose of the Peter’s Pence Collection is to provide the Holy Father with the financial means to respond to those who are suffering as a result of war, oppression, natural disaster and disease," according to the website of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Except that for at least the past five years, just 10% of the money collected (over $55 million in 2018) - actually goes towards the types of charitable causes advertised for the collection, according to 'people familiar with the matter,' who added that approximately 2/3 of the funds have been used to help plug the budget shortfall at the Holy See - which consists of the central administration of the Catholic Church as well as the global papal diplomatic network.

Last year, the budget deficit reached around $78 million on total spending of around $334 million.

The 'reallocation' of charitable donations comes as the Holy See is facing a ballooning budget deficit which the pope has warned cardinals could have a "grave impact" on the economic future of the church. Francis was elected in 2013 with a mandate to overhaul the Vatican's finances following allegations of corruption, waste and incompetence, according to the report.

News of the Vatican's financial mismanagement couldn't come at a worse time - as the church grapples with a scandal over dodgy London real estate investments which led to the dismissal of its chief financial regulator, René Brülhart, in November. First revealed in October, the latest scandal centered on the Holy See's attempts to secure an €100 million ($110 million) loan to acquire luxury property in London's Chelsea neighborhood.

Church law allows the pope to use donations as he sees fit, including to support his administration. According to the collection's website, "Peter’s Pence also contributes to the support of the Apostolic See and the activities of the Holy See,” emphasizing activities that help “populations, individuals and families in precarious conditions."

And now we find out, it contributes a lot.

The assets of Peter’s Pence now total about €600 million, down from about €700 million early in the current pontificate, largely on account of unsuccessful investments, said the people familiar with the funds’ use.

The use of Peter’s Pence donations mostly to plug the budget deficit is particularly sensitive for Pope Francis, who began his pontificate by calling for a “poor church for the poor,” and has continually emphasized the church’s mission to care for and advocate on behalf of the most vulnerable. -Wall Street Journal

Last month, Pope Francis said: "When the money from Peter’s Pence arrives, what do I do? I put it in a drawer? No. This is bad administration. I try to make an investment and when I need to give, when there is a need, throughout the year, the money is taken and that capital does not devalue, it stays the same or it increases a bit."

He forgot to include that he uses it to pad the budget.

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 19:25
Published:12/11/2019 6:41:51 PM
[] Reckoning: Techno_Fog Posts Thread Quoting the Tweets of Those In the Media (Including the Fake Conservative AEI Media) Who Perpetrated Comey's and Schiff's Lies on the Public For Three Grueling Years I'm not going to post them all -- there are a lot of bad actors, obviously -- but you can scroll through the Hall of Shame here. Much of this has to do with the lie that the Steel "dossier"... Published:12/11/2019 6:41:51 PM
[] Harvey Weinstein reaches deal with dozens of his accusers The outlines of this deal were reported back in May. Now the NY Times reports that all of the principles involved have agreed to the deal, though it will still take more work by lawyers and approval by two judges before this is over. But if approved, an insurance]] Published:12/11/2019 6:13:35 PM
[Avengers: Endgame] Google Reveals Top News, Questions, People, TV Shows We Searched in 2019 In 2019, Americans were puzzled by the location of Sri Lanka and what exactly Brexit is. Published:12/11/2019 6:13:35 PM
[Politics] Sen. Paul: Immediately Suspend Saudi Military Training Until Probe Finished Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on Monday called for the U.S. military to suspend training Saudi military units in the wake of Friday's deadly shooting at a naval base in Florida of three sailors by a Saudi Air Force lieutenant ... Published:12/11/2019 6:13:34 PM
[Entertainment] Nicole Richie and Joel Madden Celebrate 9 Years of Marriage: Look Back at Their Most Blissful Moments Joel Madden, Nicole RichieStill going strong! When Nicole Richie and Joel Madden--arguably two of the biggest celebs of the early 00's--started dating in 2006, no one knew that what would follow would be more...
Published:12/11/2019 6:13:34 PM
[worldNews] 'Highly volatile' NZ volcano prevents body recovery, death toll rises to eight The New Zealand volcano that fatally erupted earlier this week is "highly volatile" and could explode again in the next day, making it too risky to send in recovery teams to retrieve bodies, officials said on Thursday.
Published:12/11/2019 6:13:34 PM
[0ec9daf7-fc3a-5ced-b5ce-5e0577c98a7e] Keanu Reeves' 'John Wick 4' and 'Matrix 4' to be released same day, Internet dubs it 'Keanu Reeves Day' This year was a big one for Keanu Reeves and it's beginning to look like 2021 will be, too -- or at least one weekend will be. Published:12/11/2019 6:13:34 PM
[Uncategorized] Virginia Election Fallout: Dems “Cave” On Confiscation, Submit Mandatory Gun Registration As Compromise When a "cave" is just part of the gun-grabbing strategy Published:12/11/2019 6:13:34 PM
[topics:things/a-levels] 10,000 wealthy students would have to be denied access to top universities each year to meet equality targets Published:12/11/2019 6:13:34 PM
[Markets] Chicago, Detroit "Least-Prepared" For A Recession, Says New Moody's Report Chicago, Detroit "Least-Prepared" For A Recession, Says New Moody's Report

Authored by Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner via,

Moody’s says 23 of the nation’s 25 largest cities are ready for a recession. Two aren’t. They are Detroit and Chicago. Both cities are junk-rated by Moody’s.

Moody’s analyzed four key factors to determine which cities are ready for a recession: fiscal volatility, reserve coverage, financial flexibility and pension risk. The top cities in preparedness were Boston, Charlotte, Denver, San Antonio, San Francisco and Seattle. They scored “stronger” in Moody’s recession preparedness measure, while Chicago and Detroit scored “weaker.” 

Moody’s message should be particularly worrisome given that the city’s firefighter pensions are just 18 percent funded, while the police and municipal funds are less than 25 percent funded. They are among the worst-funded pension plans in the country.

The rating’s agency highlighted Chicago’s poor condition in its report, saying: 

“…both direct city obligations and those of overlapping units of government – continue to weigh heavily on its credit profile. In this scenario analysis, Chicago’s extraordinarily high fixed costs, coupled with its escalating pension liabilities, make it one of the cities least prepared for a near-term recession.”

At Wirepoints, we’ve highlighted those overlapping debts in our recent report, “Wealthy” Chicago households on the hook for up to $2 million in debt each under progressive approach to pension crisis and in an accompanying video.

Chicagoans’ overlapping state and local retirement debts total over $150 billion based on Moody’s pension calculations. That’s the equivalent of a $400,000 “hidden mortgage” on the Chicago households with the means to pay down that debt over time – those earning more than $75,000 annually.

But if the city and state want to take a “progressive approach” to paying down that $150 billion over the next two to three decades – by targeting only those making over $200,000 annually – then the hidden mortgage on those households totals nearly $2 million.

Moody’s added in its report, “Houston, Chicago and Fort Worth stand out as negative outliers in terms of fixed costs, with Chicago and Fort Worth particularly burdened by rising pension contributions.”

Which makes it all the more amazing that neither Gov. J.B. Pritzker nor Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will endorse an amendment to the Illinois Constitution’s pension protection clause.

They shouldn’t wait until a recession comes. By then, it might be too late to save Chicago’s city worker pensions. The city’s population is already shrinking and as that hidden mortgage increases, expect more Chicagoans to flee.

Read more about Chicago’s fiscal crisis:


Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 19:05
Published:12/11/2019 6:13:34 PM
[Visual Studio] Visual Studio 2019 for Mac version 8.4 Preview 4 is now available

Today, we released Visual Studio 2019 for Mac version 8.4 Preview 4. This preview version of Visual Studio for Mac brings support for the latest stable version of .NET Core, Scaffolding support for ASP.NET Core projects, and additional improvements to overall product accessibility.

The post Visual Studio 2019 for Mac version 8.4 Preview 4 is now available appeared first on Visual Studio Blog.

Published:12/11/2019 5:42:55 PM
[] The coming era of genetically modified superhumans Ready or not, the arrival of a generation of gene-edited humans that will dominate competitive sports and many other aspects of life are on their way, possibly in the next two or three years. Or they may just turn out to be freakishly deformed mutants. One or the other.

That seems]] Published:12/11/2019 5:42:55 PM

[Politics] ICE Arrested Fewer in 2019 as Resources Shifted to Border U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested fewer people during the 2019 budget year than last year, in part because resources were shifted to help handle the massive surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, the agency said Wednesday.And the average number of... Published:12/11/2019 5:42:55 PM
[757d69b0-ef07-5b7a-93d7-f72ca9d139c8] Kelly Ripa reveals 2019 family Christmas card Just one week after unveiling the family’s Christmas tree, dubbed “The Lady,” Kelly Ripa is back again -- this time to reveal the Consuelos family holiday card. Published:12/11/2019 5:42:55 PM
[Politics] Inspector general says Comey not vindicated by Russia report Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said Wednesday that his lengthy investigation into the origins of the probe into Russia and President Trump’s campaign didn’t vindicate the former FBI chief James Comey — or anyone else. “I think the activities we found here don’t vindicate anybody who touched this,” Horowitz said during a Senate Judiciary... Published:12/11/2019 5:42:55 PM
[cb307ba5-d4a7-5f8f-a736-c2e98cb95760] Gutfeld on the terrorist attack nobody is talking about Somewhere in a parallel universe, there's a huge news story going on. Published:12/11/2019 5:42:55 PM
[Markets] Blain: Tomorrow’s UK Election Will Be Shockingly Binary Blain: Tomorrow’s UK Election Will Be Shockingly Binary

Blain's Morning Porridge, submitted by Bill Blain

“Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there’ll be sun!”

One day more….

As trade war mumbleswerves rumble on (no more tariff increases), the Impeachment case continues to build its own pointless momentum,  Aramco opens limit up (+10%) (Hint – sell!), and we get ready for Christine Lagarde facing the media after running her first ECB Meeting, all eyes are on the UK – our little island set in a silver sea - where tomorrow we get to vote for the least bad of some very poor choices.  

Suddenly, we have last minute wobbles in UK election predictions. Suddenly, the predicted Tory landslide may be less than expected.   Suddenly, a hung Parliament is, apparently, a “real” possibility. Suddenly, these long Sterling positions look very dangerous.  Suddenly, Labour party are eating into Conservative Support – or so says one poll.  Suddenly I see… the Great Game of British Self Flagellation might be extended for another 5 years or so. Joy oh Joy.. !

Please remove all sharp objects from my desk if it happens. 

Of course, hungoparlphobia is exactly what they Tory strategists want us to fear most.  Scare the Bejesus out of us. Present us with a shocking vision of five more years of excruciating Laura Kuenssberg opinions reports, Andrew Neil public vivisections, Naga and Charlie insulting guests on the Brek-drek couch.  Who would possibly not want that..? (The BBC and Channel 4 will love it – 5 more years of political indecision will ensure no one is asking them the hard questions about what they think their role is in elections. Should they merely report the news, or continue to set the news?) 

Like it not, this election is a critical moment for the UK.  We can move forward and elect a government no one (particularly me) is going to be particularly happy about, or we can continue to wallow in our ongoing collective cognitive dissonance over Brexit.  It’s really simple. It’s not actually about parties, party politics or policies – good or bad as they might be. It’s about making a choice of having a government empowered to act, or not.

Imagine the future. 10-years time and the UK is doing much as it always does, and no one really remembers the Brexit nonsense. We’re still drinking French Wine and Proseco, skiing in the Alps, driving EVs designed in Germany and made in Sunderland, and spending summers in the Med. Or,  we’re still arguing about where to stay or leave. Take your pick.  The Europeans don’t care – they just want it done.   

The horror of a shock defeat or hung-parliament is a narrative the Tories have been pushing since the start – raising the spectre of a small number of tactical voters in key constituencies stealing the election. The message is simple: if we Brits don’t vote Tory tomorrow then the UK will be trapped forever in a hung parliament, unable to move forward, and likely to suffer another 5 years of indecision, political vacuum and dither over Brexit.  

That may be about the truest thing the Tories have said through the whole election.  

Meanwhile, the opposition have done surprisingly well redirecting voter fears towards saving our beloved National Health Service.  In order to deny the Tories a chance to move forward, Labour – the party I naturally and have always supported – have redirected the debate down a pointless avenue about how the NHS isn’t safe in Tory hands. Without money and focus it’s not safe in anyone’s hands. A few well-placed front page stories to show the dismal state of the NHS, pin it on Tory indifference and suddenly it’s the number one issue for the electorate.  

From a political perspective – well done Labour, snatching something back from the Tories. From the perspective of the UK's Future – it’s a disaster. We now have an unholy alliance of voters who think a wrecking vote for a hung parliament – consigning the UK to five more years of directionless whittering in Parliament – means they get a chance to reverse the referendum and stay in Europe and save the NHS at the same time. Wrong.

Democracy really is a terrible way to run a country…. 

It would be easier to accept the need to vote for them if the Tories accompanied the Get-It-Done message with some really sensible initiatives on growth, trade, AI, Robotics, sellable polices about rebuilding social infrastructure, opening up and focusing education and making it free.  But that’s not the fight they chose to fight. 

The NHS is a key matter –  it can no longer remain a sacred cow. Doctors and Nurses are the most valuable people in our society, and they will tell you the NHS needs reform, less management and more leadership, and funds redirected to get the elderly into long-term care rather than filling hospital beds and emergency rooms. A root and branch grub out of entrenched bureaucracy will do more to make it fit for purpose than screaming headlines. Reforming the Health Service will be a massive undertaking, and doesn’t for one moment mean privatising it – yet no UK political party has the bravery to address it. 

Tomorrow’s UK election will be shockingly binary. Either:

  • We move forward – which happens with a Conservative Majority, or 
  • We start the Brexit debate all over – which happens under a hung parliament, a Labour led coalition or an unlikely Labour majority. 

Buy or sell the UK and Sterling on that basis. The vote actually boils to down to the choosing a government that will govern and move the UK out of its current hole.  If we fail to do so, then don’t blame the politicians – blame ourselves. 

Election Coverage

The plan for the Election here at Shard is going to be an all-nighter from 10-pm onwards. I’ll be putting out a stream of commentary on, and posting Porridge Specials early morning, a round up at 6.00 am and a final porridge comment at the usual time…   

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 18:25
Published:12/11/2019 5:42:55 PM
[Politics] 6 Big Takeaways From Watchdog’s Senate Testimony About FBI Spying on Trump Campaign

The Justice Department’s inspector general, appearing Wednesday before a Senate committee, explained his findings of 17 inaccuracies and omissions by FBI agents in seeking court... Read More

The post 6 Big Takeaways From Watchdog’s Senate Testimony About FBI Spying on Trump Campaign appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:12/11/2019 5:42:55 PM
[] Just Because a Man is On Social Media Does Not Mean He Is Required to Begin Acting Like a Woman (or a Tweener Girl, More Accurately)Does It? A MANIFESTO RE: sidebar item about Jonah from MisHum... Jonah denigrates the Keurig coffee. Fine. But when Keurig devises a powdered-gravy pod, he'll be running an IV from the fucker right into one of his whale-flippers and riding the Brown... Published:12/11/2019 5:42:54 PM
[] Cruz to Horowitz: Did an FBI attorney defraud the FISA court? Horowitz: Yup Call this the moment that Republicans well and truly pounced. At least that's how The Hill reports it, with a headline blaring that "conservatives rip FBI over IG report." While The Hill also includes a short clip of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) expressing his anger over the "indictment" of the FBI's]] Published:12/11/2019 5:12:05 PM
[World] Solar energy investment tax credit outlives purpose

Two things never really die: zombies and government programs.

One example of this is the solar investment tax credit, which came to life in 2005 with the purpose of getting the emerging solar industry to compete in the market by 2015, when the tax break would wind down. It was ... Published:12/11/2019 5:12:05 PM

[3af92fc0-cc79-57a7-91a3-dd19744db849] Marine accused of trying to smuggle 2 Chinese women into US is identified A Marine accused of attempting to smuggle two Chinese women into the U.S. from Mexico last week has been identified.  Published:12/11/2019 5:12:05 PM
[Markets] The Fed: Powell says changes to Fed’s inflation-fighting framework will be meaningful Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday that changes to the Fed’s inflation framework, to be announced next year, will be meaningful.
Published:12/11/2019 5:12:05 PM
[Politics] UPDATE: Jersey City shooters had a pipe bomb in U-Haul It turns out the Jersey City shooters had a pipe bomb in the U-Haul they drove to the Jewish supermarket after killing Detective Joseph Seals and wounding another officer at a cemetary: . . . Published:12/11/2019 5:12:05 PM
[Politics] UPDATE: Jersey City shooters had a pipe bomb in U-Haul It turns out the Jersey City shooters had a pipe bomb in the U-Haul they drove to the Jewish supermarket after killing Detective Joseph Seals and wounding another officer at a cemetary: . . . Published:12/11/2019 5:12:05 PM
[Markets] Dow Jones Futures: Lululemon Lags Late; Why These 3 Earnings Reports Matter For Stock Market Rally Futures: Lululemon Athletica fell late on weak guidance after Apple and chips led Wednesday's stock market rally. Thursday night's Adobe, Broadcom and Costco earnings will be key. Published:12/11/2019 5:12:05 PM
[In The News] ‘It’s Pretty Bad’: Michael Horowitz Sums Up FBI’s Surveillance Abuses Against Trump Aide

By Chuck Ross -

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz pulled no punches Wednesday when describing the actions of FBI agents who withheld information regarding Carter Page in order to obtain surveillance warrants against the Trump campaign aide. “It’s pretty bad,” Horowitz told the Senate Judiciary Committee. Horowitz offered the assessment during an exchange ...

‘It’s Pretty Bad’: Michael Horowitz Sums Up FBI’s Surveillance Abuses Against Trump Aide is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/11/2019 5:12:05 PM
[worldNews] Death toll from New Zealand volcano eruption rises to 8 as island remains inaccessible New Zealand officials lifted the death toll from this week's volcano eruption to eight on Thursday after two victims died in hospital, as ongoing seismic activity prevented teams from accessing the island to recover bodies.
Published:12/11/2019 5:12:05 PM
[Entertainment] Shahs of Sunset's Mercedes ''MJ'' Javid Dishes on Her First Christmas With Newborn Son Mercedes Javid, MJ JavidThis Christmas will be a very special one for Shahs of Sunset star Mercedes "MJ" Javid. After welcoming a baby boy earlier this April with husband Tommy Feight, MJ is ready to...
Published:12/11/2019 5:12:05 PM
[Markets] Harvey Weinstein Reaches $47 Million Settlement, Wiping The Civil Slate Clean Harvey Weinstein Reaches $47 Million Settlement, Wiping The Civil Slate Clean

Money talks and sexual predators walk.

That appears to be the anticlimatic end of the #MeToo story arc, which started with Harvey Weinstein, and is set to end with a multi-million cash settlement ending effectively all civil cases against the former Hollywood mogul.

According to the WSJ, Harvey Weinstein, his former associates, insurers and accusers have all reached a nearly $47 million tentative settlement of virtually all the civil cases pending against him, about $25 million of which will compensate women who have accused the Hollywood producer of sexual misconduct.

Under the terms of the agreement, Weinstein and his former associates won't admit wrongdoing; the deal still needs to be approved by a bankruptcy judge and a judge overseeing a proposed class-action lawsuit.  Even better for the "not guilty" Weinstein, the bulk of the settlement money will be paid not by him but by his insurance policies, including those held by his former studio.

While the deal will resolve all but two of the civil sexual-misconduct lawsuits and other legal claims filed against Weinstein, the settlement won’t impact the criminal case brought by Manhattan prosecutors against the former producer, which is set to go to trial on January 6. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty and denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.

The WSJ reports that the settlement is the culmination of more than a year of negotiations, which involved countless parties, including Weinstein's lawyers, his former film studio, the New York attorney general’s office, insurers and alleged victims. The negotiations also included the former associates of Mr. Weinstein who some women claimed had enabled Mr. Weinstein’s alleged abuse. It also resolves a suit filed by the New York attorney general that accused his former studio’s executives and board of failing to protect women from his alleged misconduct.

Here is how the money will be divided up according to the proposed deal:

  • $6 million will go to women who have filed lawsuits and legal claims and their attorneys.
  • $18.6 million will be set aside to create a settlement fund for additional alleged victims, including those covered by the attorney general’s suit.
  • $7 million will go to some creditors of the film studio
  • $12 million will cover the costs of lawyers who defended Weinstein’s former associates against the suits.
  • $1 million will fund Weinstein’s defense costs to fight lawsuits against two victims who aren’t participating in the settlement.

In other words, for every dollar Weinstein's alleged victims receive now, his lawyers will get two.

Lawyers for those women who refused to take part in the deal portrayed the settlement as unfair. Douglas Wigdor, a lawyer for one of those women, said in a statement that he didn’t believe the deal was the best possible settlement. "It is shameful that $12 million of the settlement is going to the lawyers for the directors who we alleged enabled Harvey Weinstein."

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 18:04
Published:12/11/2019 5:12:05 PM
[Science] Blue Origin moves closer to human spaceflight with 12th New Shepard launch Jeff Bezos -founded Blue Origin has recorded another successful mission for its New Shepard sub-orbital launch vehicle, which is a key step as it readies the spacecraft for human spaceflight. This is also the six flight of this re-used booster, which is a record for Blue Origin in terms of relying and recovering one of […] Published:12/11/2019 5:12:05 PM
[] Another pollster finds more opposed to impeaching and removing Trump than in favor Yesterday it was Quinnipiac, today it's Monmouth. This new one isn't as bad for Democrats inasmuch as it doesn't show opposition to impeachment and removal growing, as Quinnipiac did. The Q-poll had it 45/48 in November versus 45/51 this week. Monmouth sees the trend going ever so slightly]] Published:12/11/2019 4:42:09 PM
[] Missouri State Rep. proposes 'three-word fix' so that only US citizens can vote in his state Here's a thread that was brought to our attention by Dana Loesch, and it's really worth a read. In short, Missouri State Rep. Curtis Trent is proposing a clarification to the state's constitution that would ensure only U.S. citizens could vote in Missouri elections. In the meantime, states like California]] Published:12/11/2019 4:42:09 PM
[Politics] WSJ: US Cracking Down on 'Extraordinary Ability' Visas Athletes, trainers, and coaches in the Olympic-type, non-professional sports are finding it increasingly difficult to prove their "extraordinary ability" case for a green card under the Trump administration, The Wall Street Journal reported. Published:12/11/2019 4:42:09 PM
[Entertainment] Kate Middleton Sparkles in Iconic Lover's Knot Tiara at Buckingham Palace Reception Kate Middleton, Prince WilliamThe iconic Lover's Knot tiara was a favorite of the late Princess Diana and now the Duchess of Cambridge is following in her footsteps. On Dec. 11, Kate Middleton was spotted wearing...
Published:12/11/2019 4:42:08 PM
[Markets] Only a tenth of Vatican donations directed to charity The Vatican has used the majority of donations to Peter’s Pence collection on plugging its administrative budget.
Published:12/11/2019 4:42:08 PM
[TC] Atomico VCs say that “everybody cares” in Europe about where the startup dollars are coming from Today, on stage at TechCrunch Berlin, four of Atomico’s most senior partners took the stage together for the first time, flying into the city from London, Stockholm, and Geneva to talk about a wide range of issues. Among the many things we discussed the four —  including Sophia Bendz, Siraj Khaliq, Niall Wass, and Hiro […] Published:12/11/2019 4:42:08 PM
[Markets] Porsche Has Received 30,000 Pre-Orders For Taycan Electric Sports Car Porsche Has Received 30,000 Pre-Orders For Taycan Electric Sports Car

As Tesla's market share of the electric vehicle space becomes more contested in early 2020, Reuters has reported that Porsche CEO Oliver Blume told Germany's Handelsblatt newspaper that 30,000 customers in Europe have already placed down payments for its Taycan electric sportscar. 

Blume told the paper that each customer had paid 2,500 euros to reserve the vehicle, and 10,000 of them have placed a firm order to buy the car. 

He said the numbers so far have exceeded the company's expectations.

Taycan, which is Porsche's first series production electric car, will head to US dealerships in 2020. The company is planning on delivering 20,000 of the vehicles next year.

Taycan will compete against the Tesla Model S, both have comparable ranges of approximately 300 miles, and similar acceleration time of 0-60 mph in 3 to 3.5 seconds. 

Porsche is introducing its first electric car into the US market as Tesla controls about 75-80% of US electric vehicle sales. 

Shown below, Tesla Model 3 (estimates via automakers, Clean Technica) was the top-selling electric car in the US in Q3, with about 43,000 units sold. Next was the Tesla Model X with about 6,000 units, Chevy Bolt with 4,800 units, and Tesla Model S with 4,000 units sold.

US electric vehicle sales for the first nine months of the year show that Tesla dominated the US electric car market.

Tesla has noticeably had a jump in the electric vehicle space, but its domination could be running out of time in the early 2020s as major manufacturers, like Porsche and Audi, are bringing online new models that have started series production, which will start entering the US markets in late 2019 and early 2020, ultimately will unleash electric car deflation and drive down prices that could financially strain the "modified Ponzi scheme" known as Tesla. 


Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 17:25
Published:12/11/2019 4:42:08 PM
[Markets] The Dow Rose 30 Points Because the Fed Didn’t Make a Move All three major stock indexes closed slightly above the break-even line on Wednesday. The Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged following a two-day meeting and indicated that rates will likely stay on hold for the foreseeable future. Published:12/11/2019 4:42:08 PM
[worldNews] Honduras lawmakers urge president to shut down anti-corruption body Honduran lawmakers allied with President Juan Orlando Hernandez have voted against renewing an agreement with the Organization of American States (OAS) to extend the mandate of an anti-corruption body.
Published:12/11/2019 4:42:08 PM
[Law] My Son Was Addicted to Pot Vaping. Now, Congress Wants to Aid the Industry.

Raphael Rodriguez recently made the switch from smoking marijuana to vaping it, after taking a trip with a friend to a medical marijuana dispensary in... Read More

The post My Son Was Addicted to Pot Vaping. Now, Congress Wants to Aid the Industry. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:12/11/2019 4:42:08 PM
[World] The Margin: Banksy is the latest artist drawing attention to homelessness this holiday season Stars like Helen Mirren and Will Smith also slept rough in the ‘World’s Big Sleep Out’ last weekend
Published:12/11/2019 4:42:08 PM
[Politics] The Nunes memo was mostly right about the FBI's FISA application (and Comey was wrong) In case you've forgotten, the Nunes memo was a major battle in the long history of the Russia collusion investigation. Released in early February of 2018, the Nunes memo (full text here) pointed out significant problems with the FBI's FISA application. A few excerpts from the memo. See if]] Published:12/11/2019 4:12:21 PM
[Politics] CNN Poll: Trump Leads Biden by 1 Point in Texas In the latest Texas poll by CNN, President Donald Trump leads former Vice President Joe Biden by just one percentage point. Published:12/11/2019 4:12:21 PM
[World] Financial Transactions Tax plan would hit retirement savers hard

Retirement savers, small scale investors and startups: These are the people who stand to lose the most with a Financial Transactions Tax. The tax would directly reduce household savings for retirement and education, shut off a proven avenue of building financial security for young Americans and disrupt American markets.

Ostensibly ... Published:12/11/2019 4:12:21 PM

[Politics] WATCH: Josh Hawley sums up the FBI’s FISA abuse scandal in one epic question… In the Senate IG hearing today, Josh Hawley asked a rhetorical question that really summed up what happened with the FBI’s FISA abuses laid out in the IG report: "Which is worse, . . . Published:12/11/2019 4:12:21 PM
[Markets] This is how dangerous ‘dollar-cost ravaging’ can be for your retirement Dollar-cost averaging is a popular strategy in which an investor purchases an asset at regularly timed intervals to mitigate the risk of buying high. But what about “dollar-cost ravaging?” Published:12/11/2019 4:12:21 PM
[worldNews] Spain's Sanchez accepts mandate to form government amid fragmented parliament Spain's acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Wednesday that he had accepted a mandate from the king to try and form a government, and would contact other parties starting next week to drum up support amid a deeply fragmented parliament.
Published:12/11/2019 4:12:21 PM
[Entertainment] Hayden Panettiere Debuts Dramatic Transformation as She Returns to Social Media Hayden Panettiere Welcome back to social media, Hayden look different. The 30-year-old Nashville alum returned to Twitter for the first time in 10 months on Wednesday, with a throwback...
Published:12/11/2019 4:12:20 PM
[Markets] NewsWatch: Own stocks, thank the Fed and don’t expect the next U.S. recession to start anytime soon, says BCA Research U.S. economy may chug along for another two years without a blip thanks to the Federal Reserve’s low rates, which makes it a good time to own stocks, say analysts at BCA Research.
Published:12/11/2019 4:12:20 PM
[Uncategorized] Horowitz: ‘I Think the Activities We Found Here Don’t Vindicate Anybody Who Touched’ the FISA Applications “We believe this circumstance reflects a failure not just by those who prepared the FISA applications, but also by the managers and supervisors in the Crossfire Hurricane chain of command, including FBI senior officials who were briefed as the investigation progressed." Published:12/11/2019 4:12:20 PM
[cec8fd95-b530-5ad0-8c1d-05cbb3adcd2d] Jason Greenblatt: Trump order to fight anti-Semitism at colleges shows he strongly supports Jews and Israel President Trump’s signing of an executive order Wednesday requiring colleges and universities to protect Jewish students from anti-Semitic discrimination or lose federal funds is further evidence that the president is a true friend of the Jewish people and the Jewish state of Israel. Published:12/11/2019 4:12:20 PM
[Markets] "This Is The End Of The World For The Average Person..." "This Is The End Of The World For The Average Person..."

Authored by Mac Slavo via,

According to Roey Tzezana, a future studies researcher at Israel’s Tel Aviv University, technology will continue to advance, and therefore, so will automation.  As this happens, the gap between the wealthy and the poor will increase as the middle class fades into nonexistence.

According to Haaretz, this is the grim reality Tzezana sees for our future: one without jobs or purpose. He argues that the jobs that will survive automation will be lower-paying, unskilled laboring jobs.  And since machines won’t need to be paid, companies can profit without having the overhead costs of labor.  But what most of the futurists fail to mention, is that without jobs and some sort of income, people won’t have the money to help corporations profit anymore. It’s a double-edged sword, but worth mentioning.

Recently the Boston Consulting Group released a report on global trends in future jobs and found that the jobs of the future are ones such as waiting on tables, cleaning, child care, and nursing care – and the groups of job skills with the highest rate of growth after digital skills is social services and education. –Haaretz

“This figure is the end of the world for the average people,” Tzezana said, speaking about the growing gap between labor productivity and wages.

“It reflects a rather depressing picture: The state and the economy are advancing by storm - but the workers are almost not benefitting from this progress and are left behind. It is almost a catastrophe.

This will all happen faster than we think too, says Tzezana.

“The deeper and more interesting questions are not whether new jobs will be created, but what is the pace that old jobs disappear and new jobs open up, or what is the pace at which the tasks the jobs require change and create a demand for new expertise, specializations, and skills. The speed of closing tasks and opening new tasks is changing, and it is overwhelming,” he says.

“All the reports of the McKinsey consulting firm talk about technological progress requiring ‘up skills’ and the ability to adapt; a view that is possible to develop, learn and grow and a way of thinking of an entrepreneur – all the time looking for opportunities. All these are wonderful slogans that the large international consulting companies spread and there is a reason for it – the profile of the employees in these organizations is that of young workers who learn all the time,” says Tzezana.

Tzezana added that currently, we are seeing people moving from the middle class, for example manufacturing workers whose factories closed down because the work moved to China.

“It doesn’t match the ideas of democracy because democracy is based on the middle class,” Tzezana told Haaretz.

“It is harder for workers from the lower class to vote in an intelligent manner and make intelligent decisions. It is a situation that over time does not enable the continuation of democracy as we know it.”

Now factories are returning to the United States, and this doesn’t help anyone because those jobs are not back; they are now automated, he says.

“This is not the problem of just one or two people,” Tzezana continued.

“When a lot of people experience this drop, we are talking about an economic crisis: It is not just a problem only for those who can’t pay their mortgages — 60% of the sales of most companies are to the general public and if the public can’t afford to buy a new computer, the entire economy enters a crisis.

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 17:05
Published:12/11/2019 4:12:20 PM
[] More Horowitz Hearing Catch-Up Mollie Hemingway live-tweeted the day's events. I'll just quote some of it, but if you want more, click on the tweets below for the whole thread.... Published:12/11/2019 4:12:20 PM
[] Should we just ban all NDAs? I realize that #MeToo hasn't been on the front page all that much lately and even Epstein (who didn't kill himself) has been shoved to the side by the impeachment follies. But both of those stories highlighted something that's still worth considering. A common thread in so many of those]] Published:12/11/2019 3:40:40 PM
[Politics] Minn. Rep. Craig Undecided on Impeachment Published:12/11/2019 3:40:40 PM
[structure:news/uk-news] Jaden Moodie: The little boy with dreams who ended up playing gangster  Published:12/11/2019 3:40:39 PM
[Entertainment] Charlize Theron Reveals The Bombshell Shocker That Will Surprise Audiences The Most Charlize TheronMake room for the bombshells! Bombshell tells the very public story of the Fox News sexual harassment scandal, but according to star Charlize Theron, there are still so many details that...
Published:12/11/2019 3:40:39 PM
[2019 News] Jim Jordan Makes BOMBSHELL Discovery – Trump Has Been Alerted

Jim Jordan Makes BOMBSHELL Discovery – Trump Has Been Alerted. “Oh! What a Tangled Web We Weave, When First We Practice to Deceive!” There’s no shortage of deceivers in this government. Buried deep in the 434-page report is an explosive piece of information that Democrats have lied about for years. Jordan revealed the FBI spied […]

The post Jim Jordan Makes BOMBSHELL Discovery – Trump Has Been Alerted appeared first on IHTM.

Published:12/11/2019 3:40:39 PM
[TC] ‘Disney Plus’ was Google’s top U.S. trending search term in 2019 Google today released its annual “Year in Search” data that takes a look back at some of the most notable searches of 2019. Specifically, Google looked at the biggest trends — meaning, search terms that saw the largest spikes in traffic over a sustained period in 2019 compared to 2018. In the U.S., Disney’s new […] Published:12/11/2019 3:40:39 PM
[In The News] ‘Blew This Story’: Even Liberal Writers Are Shredding The New York Times’ Reporting On Trump’s Anti-Semitism Executive Order

By Peter Hasson -


The New York Times on Tuesday night badly butchered a story on a forthcoming executive order from President Donald Trump addressing anti-Semitism on college campuses. The story, which quickly went viral on Twitter alleged that Trump was redefining Jewish-Americans as a separate nationality, leading some Trump critics to draw comparisons ...

‘Blew This Story’: Even Liberal Writers Are Shredding The New York Times’ Reporting On Trump’s Anti-Semitism Executive Order is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/11/2019 3:40:39 PM
[War on standards] An “unexpected” Ferguson effect that was entirely predictable (Paul Mirengoff) We have discussed from time to time Jim Scanlan’s insight that reducing an adverse outcome tends to increase relative racial differences in rates of experiencing the outcome. Thus, for example, if one lowers the passing score for an employment test because that test is disqualifying minority applicants at a disproportionate rate, more minority applicants will pass the test but the test will disqualify members of this group at an even Published:12/11/2019 3:40:39 PM
[Markets] Chris Hedges: The Great American Shakedown Chris Hedges: The Great American Shakedown

Authored by Chris Hedges via,

The Democratic Party and its liberal supporters are perplexed. They presented hours of evidence of an impeachable offense, although they studiously avoided charging Donald Trump with impeachable offenses also carried out by Democratic presidents, including the continuation or expansion of presidential wars not declared by Congress, exercising line-item veto power, playing prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner to kill individuals, including U.S. citizens, anywhere on the planet, violating due process and misusing executive orders. Because civics is no longer taught in most American schools, they devoted a day to constitutional scholars who provided the Civics 101 case for impeachment. The liberal press, cheerleading the impeachment process, saturated the media landscape with live coverage, interminable analysis, constant character assassination of Trump and giddy speculation. And yet, it has made no difference. Public opinion remains largely unaffected.

Perhaps, supporters of impeachment argue, they failed to adopt the right technique. Perhaps journalists, by giving voice to opponents of impeachment—who do indeed live in a world not based in fact—created a false equivalency between truth and lies. Maybe, as Bill Grueskin, a professor at the Columbia University Journalism School, writes, impeachment advocates should spend $1 million to produce a kind of movie trailer for all those who did not sit through the hours of hearings, to “boil down the essentials of the film” and provide “a quick but intense insight into the characters, setting the scene with vivid imagery—to entice people to come back to the theatre a month later for the full movie.” Or perhaps they need to keep pounding away at Trump until his walls of support crumble.

The liberal class and the Democratic Party leadership have failed, even after their defeat in the 2016 presidential election, to understand that they, along with the traditional Republican elites, have squandered their credibility. No one believes them. And no one should.

They squandered their credibility by promising that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would, as claimed by President Bill Clinton, create 200,000 new, well-paying jobs per year; instead, several million jobs were lost. They squandered it by allowing corporations to move production overseas and hire foreign workers at daily wages that did not equal what a U.S. unionized worker made in an hour, a situation that obliterated the bargaining power of the American working class. They squandered it by allowing corporations to use the threat of “offshoring” production to destroy unions, suppress wages, extract draconian concessions and push millions of workers into the temp and gig economies, where there are no benefits or job security and pay is 60% or less of what a full-time employee in the regular economy receives. They squandered it by forcing working men and women to take two or three jobs to support a family, jacking up household debt to $13.95 trillion. They squandered it by redirecting wealth upward, so that during the Clinton administration alone 45 percent of all income growth went to the wealthiest 1%. They squandered it by wiping out small farmers in Mexico, driving some 3 million of them off their lands and forcing many to migrate in desperation to the United States, a human tide that saw the U.S. right wing and President Trump direct mounting rage toward immigrants. They squandered it by turning our great cities into urban wastelands. They squandered it by slashing welfare and social service programs. They squandered it by supporting endless, futile wars that have an overall price tag of between $5 trillion and $7 trillion. They squandered it by setting up a surveillance system to spy on every American and then lying about it. They squandered it by catering to the big banks and gutting financial regulations, precipitating the 2008 economic meltdown. They squandered it by looting the U.S. Treasury to bail out banks and financial firms guilty of massive financial crimes, ordering the Federal Reserve to hand over an estimated $29 trillion to the global financiers responsible for the crash. They squandered it by not using this staggering sum instead to provide free college tuition to every student or universal health care, repair our crumbling infrastructure, transition to clean energy, forgive student debt, raise wages, bail out underwater homeowners, form public banks to foster investments in our communities at low interest rates, provide a guaranteed minimum income and organize a massive jobs program for the unemployed and underemployed, whose ranks are at least double official statistics. They squandered it by cutting child assistance programs—most drastically during the Clinton administration—resulting in 16 million children going to bed hungry every night. They squandered it by leaving over half a million Americans homeless and on the streets on any given day. They squandered it by passing laws that keep students burdened by massive college loan debt that has climbed to $1.4 trillion, debt they cannot free themselves from even if they declare bankruptcy. They squandered it by militarizing police and building the world’s largest system of mass incarceration, one with 25% of the world’s prison population. They squandered it by revoking due process and habeas corpus. They squandered it by passing massive tax cuts for the rich and for corporations, many of which—such as Amazon—pay no federal income tax, ballooning the federal deficit, now at $779 billion and climbing. They squandered it by privatizing everything from intelligence gathering to public education to swell corporate bank accounts at taxpayer expense. They squandered it by permitting corporate money—an estimated $9.9 billion will be spent this presidential election cycle on political advertising—to buy politicians in a form of legalized bribery that sees corporate lobbyists write legislation and create laws. They squandered it by doing nothing to halt the looming ecocide.

The problem is not messaging. The problem is the messenger. The mortal wounds inflicted on our democratic institutions are bipartisan. The traditional Republican elites are as hated as the Democratic elites. Trump is vile, imbecilic, corrupt and incompetent. But for a largely white working class cast aside by austerity and neoliberalism, he at least taunts the elites who destroyed their communities and their lives.

The shakedown that Trump clumsily attempted to orchestrate against the president of Ukraine in the hope of discrediting Joe Biden, a potential rival in the 2020 presidential election, pales beside the shakedown orchestrated by the elites who rule over America’s working men and women. This shakedown took from those workers their hope and, more ominously, their hope for their children. It took from them security and a sense of place and dignity. It took from them a voice in how they were governed. It took from them their country and handed it to a cabal of global corporatists who intend to turn them into serfs. This shakedown plunged millions into despair. It led many to self-destructive opioid, alcohol, drug and gambling addictions. It led to increases in suicide, mass shootings and hate crimes. This shakedown led to bizarre conspiracy theories and fabrications peddled by a neofascist right wing, deceptions bolstered by the lies told by those tasked with keeping the society rooted in truth and verifiable fact. This shakedown led to the end of the rule of law and the destruction of democratic institutions that, if they had continued to function, could have prevented the rise to power of a demagogue such as Trump.

There is zero chance Trump will be removed from office in a trial in the Senate. The Democratic Party elites have admitted as much. They carried out, they argue, their civic and constitutional duty. But here again they lie. They picked out what was convenient to impeach Trump and left untouched the rotten system they helped create.

The divisions among Americans will only widen.

The hatreds will only grow. And tyranny will wrap its deadly tentacles around our throats.

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 16:25
Published:12/11/2019 3:40:39 PM
[Law] Pot Pushers and Cartels Would Reap Benefits From This Bill

Last month, the House of Representatives passed a bill known as the SAFE Banking Act, a seemingly innocuous bill offering the nascent, state-legal marijuana industry... Read More

The post Pot Pushers and Cartels Would Reap Benefits From This Bill appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:12/11/2019 3:40:39 PM
[Markets] Stocks snap two-day losing streak as Fed signals go-slow stance U.S. stocks closed slightly higher Wednesday as investors digested a decision by the Fed to stay on hold indefinitely. Published:12/11/2019 3:40:39 PM
[20cd9b2e-e1ba-542c-83da-4d25c3c05930] Harvey Weinstein, accusers reach tentative $25M settlement: report After a lengthy stalemate, Harvey Weinstein and the board of the now-bankrupt film studio bearing his name have reached a tentative agreement with a number of his alleged sexual misconduct victims, this according to The New York Times. Published:12/11/2019 3:40:39 PM
[Markets] In One Chart: Own stocks, thank the Fed and don’t expect the next U.S. recession to start anytime soon, says BCA Research U.S. economy may chug along for another two years without a blip thanks to the Federal Reserve’s low rates, which makes it a good time to own stocks, say analysts at BCA Research.
Published:12/11/2019 3:40:39 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Josh Hawley sums up the FBI’s FISA abuse scandal in one epic question… In the Senate IG hearing today, Josh Hawley asked a rhetorical question that really summed up what happened with the FBI’s FISA abuses laid out in the IG report: "Which is worse, . . . Published:12/11/2019 3:40:39 PM
[Politics] Sen. Coons: Barr Pumping Up Trump's 'Fake Conspiracy Theories' Attorney General William Barr's criticism of Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report was a further move to try to "pump up" the "fake conspiracy theories" being used by President Donald Trump's re-election campaign, Sen. Chris Coons said Wednesday.  Published:12/11/2019 3:12:31 PM
[World] Trump must encourage Iranian people toward prosperity, not provocation

The Bazaari Revolution of 2019 in Iran may have commenced, and America must act wisely. In 1979, when Iranian clerics overthrew the regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the administration of President Jimmy Carter was taken unawares, having acted ineffectively to encourage the shah to quell dissent through domestic reforms. 

Published:12/11/2019 3:12:31 PM
[Issues] NY School District Blocks Christian Club

A  New York school district blocked a high school student from forming a Christian club on campus in violation of anti-discrimination laws, according to a religious freedom group.

The post NY School District Blocks Christian Club appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:12/11/2019 3:12:31 PM
[Startups] Here are the five Startup Battlefield finalists at Disrupt Berlin Fourteen startups presented on-stage today at Disrupt Berlin, giving live demos and rapid-fire presentations on their origin stories and business models, then answering questions from our expert judges. Now, with the help of those judges, we’ve narrowed the group down to five startups working on everything from productivity to air pollution. These finalists will be […] Published:12/11/2019 3:12:31 PM
[8365f877-8402-5ade-b70a-dcbf6623ba21] Jessica Biel is 'standing by' husband Justin Timberlake after hand-holding incident: source Jessica Biel is moving forward in her marriage to Justin Timberlake despite his recent "strong lapse in judgment." Published:12/11/2019 3:12:31 PM
[storytype:standard] Sleeping nine hours a night could raise stroke risk by a quarter Published:12/11/2019 3:12:31 PM
[worldNews] French PM defies unions with pension overhaul, they pledge more strikes France's prime minister said on Wednesday its people should work two years longer to get a full pension, drawing a hostile response from trade unions who said they would step up strike action to force an about-turn.
Published:12/11/2019 3:12:31 PM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [David Bernstein] The New York Times Misreported Trump's Executive Order on Antisemitsm No, the order does not "interpret Judaism as a nationality" Published:12/11/2019 3:12:31 PM
[Markets] U.S. stocks finish higher after Fed leaves rates on hold U.S. stocks finish higher after Fed leaves rates on hold Published:12/11/2019 3:12:31 PM
[Markets] Dollar Dumps To 5-Month Lows As Stocks, Bonds Jump On Fed Fold Dollar Dumps To 5-Month Lows As Stocks, Bonds Jump On Fed Fold

The fed officially capitulated...

Source: Bloomberg

...removing any expectations for rate changes until the end of 2020 at the earliest...

Source: Bloomberg

Which sparked initial weakness in the dollar, dumping it to 5-month lows

Source: Bloomberg

But when Powell admitted he would consider bond purchases (not just Bill purchases), the dollar and Treasury yields tumbled...

Source: Bloomberg

Stocks were broadly higher on the day (though Small Caps lagged)...

The S&P dived briefly in the last few minutes on Navarro comments but bounced off vwap...

Treasury yields tumbled across the entire curve by 4-5bps (the belly was a modest outperformer)...

Source: Bloomberg

And the yield curve is tumbling...

Source: Bloomberg

Today was the biggest drop in the dollar in two months, down 8 of the last 9 days...

Source: Bloomberg

Cable roundtripped yesterday's "Johnson might not win by a mile" fears, as the latest polls suggested that he will...

Source: Bloomberg

With the most hedging since the Referendum vote...

Source: Bloomberg

Yuan also roundtripped on the day, despite more

Source: Bloomberg

Cryptos continue to limp lower...

Source: Bloomberg

Copper continued its charge higher today, crude was weaker as PMs gained on a weak dollar and Fed promises...

Source: Bloomberg

Oil prices tumbled after last night's API and this morning's DOE data showed a surprise crude build (but the machines bought the F'ing dip...

Silver soared back today as the dollar skidded - erasing a large part of the payrolls panic puke...

And gold did run the stops above the payroll sprint before fading back...

And gold in yuan erased the payrolls plunge...

Source: Bloomberg

So, summing it all up - it seems Powell and his merry men (and women... and any non-binary members of the FOMC) are not all-seeing... and we will have to 3wacth the 'turn' repo rate to see if they really can hold this shitshow together through year-end...

Oh and about that Aramco IPO - remember the last time a massive sovereign energy firm went public at over a trillion dollars...

Source: Bloomberg

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 16:02
Published:12/11/2019 3:12:31 PM
[Markets] US STOCKS SNAPSHOT-Wall Street edges up after Fed holds rates steady Published:12/11/2019 3:12:31 PM
[Politics] Watchdog Group Opposes Nadler TV Bill A top government-waste watchdog group is urging the Senate to pass a simple extension of the Satellite Television Reauthorization Act of 2019 (STELAR) - which if ignored could lead to untold costs to service providers and the loss of national broadcast TV programming to... Published:12/11/2019 2:45:28 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Ted Cruz lays out the top three “grotesque abuses of power” in IG hearing and it’s devastating… In his questioning of IG Horowitz, Ted Cruz laid out the top three errors in the IG’s report, errors that he said were much more than just ‘errors’, but rather “grotesque abuses . . . Published:12/11/2019 2:45:28 PM
[Avengers: Endgame] Google Reveals Top News, Questions, People, TV Shows We Searched in 2019 In 2019, Americans were puzzled by the location of Sri Lanka and what exactly Brexit is. Published:12/11/2019 2:45:28 PM
[National Security] GOP Senators: Treat Drug Cartels As Terror Groups

A group of Republican senators is pushing for the United States to treat drug cartels the way it does terrorist organizations following the massacre of nine American women and children in Mexico. The Significant Transnational Criminal Organization Designation Act would prohibit cartel members and family members from entering the United States, freeze their assets, and allow ...

The post GOP Senators: Treat Drug Cartels As Terror Groups appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:12/11/2019 2:45:28 PM
[Markets] Stock Market Ekes Out Gains As Fed Keeps Rates Untouched; Watch This Retailer's Earnings The stock market put in a mixed performance Tuesday, as the Fed left interest rates unchanged after its final meeting of the year, as expected. Published:12/11/2019 2:45:28 PM
[d819bbec-4d7e-5b24-9f60-bee88f8ae958] Reese Witherspoon reveals she almost lost 'Legally Blonde' role: 'They thought I was a shrew' Reese Witherspoon nearly lost out on landing one of her most career-altering roles, all because she might have played her previous acting role a little too well. Published:12/11/2019 2:45:28 PM
[Entertainment] Dan Levy Calls the Schitt's Creek SAG Awards Breakthrough a Great Way to Begin the End of the Series Schitt's CreekDan Levy was startled awake by an early morning phone call on Wednesday, Dec. 11, but there was no need to worry. "I got a phone call at like 7 a.m. and I was like, 'What the hell...
Published:12/11/2019 2:45:28 PM
[Markets] Hours-Long Taliban Assault On Bagram Repelled By US Airstrikes Days After 'Peace' Talks Resume Hours-Long Taliban Assault On Bagram Repelled By US Airstrikes Days After 'Peace' Talks Resume

In awkward timing for the Trump administration, which just this week reinvigorated direct peace negotiations with the Taliban this in Doha, the United States' largest military base in Afghanistan came under massive attack Wednesday by the Taliban insurgency.

"Apache attack helicopters ran gun runs near Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan on Wednesday while F-16 fighter jets soared overhead in response to car bombs detonating near the perimeter," military journalist Jack Murphy reports.

Reports say it began upon at least two suicide car bombs being detonated along the bases' perimeter, targeting a medical facility, followed by a some three hour gun battle, resulting in at least 3 Afghan allied forces killed and over 70 wounded; however, no US forces were among the casualties, but 5 Georgian coalition forces were injured.

Afghan security forces inspect the site of an attack in a US military air base in Bagram, north of Kabul, via Reuters.

Afghan authorities finally declared the operation to repel the assault and secure the area had ended 12 hours after it began.

It appears the attack significant and coordinated enough that US forces had to call in airstrikes to put it down. "Taliban fighters who remained after an unsuccessful attempt to breach Bagram airfield were killed in a series of airstrikes this evening," a US coalition spokesman said. "The fighters barricaded themselves inside the medical facility building they attacked early Wednesday morning."

"Coalition forces, in coordination with Afghan Security Forces, informed local residents and blocked off the area before conducting these airstrikes to ensure their safety," the military official added. 

And ABC News reports, citing local sources:

The explosion at the site of the medical facility was “huge,” according to the Parwan police chief.

Scene of a car bombing near the US Bagram Air Base on Wednesday, EPA-EFE.

The major assault came days after on Saturday chief US negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad resumed discussions with the Taliban in Doha, in a first meeting following Trump's prior cancellation of a controversial meeting which was scheduled for Camp David to be held days before the Sept. 11 anniversary.

Of the renewed talks, the State Department indicated, "The focus of discussion will be a reduction of violence that leads to intra-Afghan negotiations and a cease-fire," according to ABC News

There's currently growing bipartisan calls after this week's Washington Post bombshell revelations centered on the 'Afghanistan Papers' — previously classified documents revealing top US officials knowingly lied about the war to the public for years — to immediately end America's longest running war and hold Congressional inquiries as to how it dragged on this long.

One among many 'Afghan Papers' testimonies: "Conflict generates wealth," top general admitted

“We ought to call for public hearings on Afghanistan based on the Post’s reporting of the ‘Afghanistan Papers,’ and we’ll ask what our mission has been, why did it go wrong, who all lied to the American people,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, urged on Wednesday.

“Subpoena all of the people who were mentioned and have them account and explain to the American people in some cases why they lied and in other cases why they were utterly incompetent,” Khanna added.

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 15:30
Published:12/11/2019 2:45:28 PM
[worldNews] Suu Kyi tells U.N.'s top court charge of Rohingya genocide is 'misleading' Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday rejected accusations of genocide committed against her country's Muslim Rohingya minority as "incomplete and misleading", and said the case should not be heard by the U.N.'s highest court.
Published:12/11/2019 2:45:28 PM
[storytype:standard] Harvey Weinstein and company reach $25 million settlement in civil suit Published:12/11/2019 2:45:28 PM
[] Ted Cruz Obliterates the FBI Acrually, he just repeated what was in the report, which Sean Davis and Mollie Hemingway already wrote about a day or two ago. But we know that most people in the media do not read, ever, and so Ted Cruz's... Published:12/11/2019 2:45:28 PM
[] 'Burn it down'! Harvey Weinstein has reportedly reached tentative civil settlement with accusers that won't require him to admit wrongdoing or cost him any of his own money Harvey Weinstein is having a really rough time, you guys. Just look at the poor guy:

OK, well, maybe his life isn't actually so terrible ...

Not too shabs. For Weinstein, anyway.

More from the New York Times:

The [civil] settlement would require court approval and a final signoff by all parties. It]] Published:12/11/2019 2:12:42 PM

[Politics] Elizabeth Warren revises income disclosure from controversial coal case

New figures show Warren previously misstated how much she received for her work on a controversial case involving coal miners' health benefits.

Published:12/11/2019 2:12:42 PM
[Entertainment] Harry Styles' Description of Keeping Up With the Kardashians Is Hilariously Spot-on Kendall Jenner, Harry Styles, The Late Late ShowHarry Styles and Kendall Jenner's epic "Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts" segment from last night's The Late Late Show With James Corden has been making headlines all day for many...
Published:12/11/2019 2:12:42 PM
[Markets] Fed signals no change in interest rates in 2020 in more upbeat view of the economy The Federal Reserve Wednesday signaled it is more upbeat about the economy and policy is on hold for now. Published:12/11/2019 2:12:42 PM
[Markets] Upgrade: Once you hit this age, you’re far more likely to feel lonely 4 risk factors that can predict if you’ll be lonely as you get older
Published:12/11/2019 2:12:42 PM
[Uncategorized] NSA Pensacola Pilot to Bosses: ‘Our Message is Simple: Arm Us’ Mother of one of the victims: "It doesn’t really anger me as much as it hurts me. My baby was standing watch and he lost his life because he wasn’t armed." Published:12/11/2019 2:12:42 PM
[Cloud] Many smart home device makers still won’t say if they give your data to the government A year ago, we asked some of the most prominent smart home device makers if they have given customer data to governments. The results were mixed. The big three smart home device makers — Amazon, Facebook and Google (which includes Nest) — all disclosed in their transparency reports if and when governments demand customer data. […] Published:12/11/2019 2:12:42 PM
[worldNews] About 70 soldiers killed in attack on Niger military camp About 70 soldiers were killed in an attack on a remote military camp in Niger near the border with Mali on Tuesday evening, four security sources told Reuters, in the deadliest raid against the Nigerien military in living memory.
Published:12/11/2019 2:12:42 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Ted Cruz lays out the top three “grotesque abuses of power” in IG hearing and it’s devastating… In his questioning of IG Horowitz, Ted Cruz laid out the top three errors in the IG’s report, errors that he said were much more than just ‘errors’, but rather “grotesque abuses . . . Published:12/11/2019 2:12:42 PM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [Eugene Volokh] More on Seattle Public Library "Considering" Whether to Cancel Meeting of Trans-Skeptical Feminist Group The ACLU of Washington speaks out. Published:12/11/2019 2:12:42 PM
[Politics] Ex-sanitation worker to run against Michael Gianaris over Amazon debacle This retired sanitation worker wants to take out the trash! Ignazio “Iggy” Terranova has filed papers to challenge Queens Sen. Mike Gianaris in next year’s Democratic primary over the scuttled Amazon campus in the district. Gianaris’ opposition helped prompt Amazon to abort its plan to open a 25,000-worker East Coast headquarters on his turf in... Published:12/11/2019 2:12:42 PM
[Markets] Three Men Arrested In NJ For Running Alleged $722 Million Crypto Ponzi Scheme Three Men Arrested In NJ For Running Alleged $722 Million Crypto Ponzi Scheme

Authored by Kollen Post via,

United States authorities in New Jersey have announced the arrest of three men who are accused of defrauding investors of over $722 million as part of alleged crypto ponzie scheme BitClub Network, per a Dec. 10 announcement from the Department of Justice.

image courtesy of CoinTelegraph

The accusations against BitClub Network

According to the press release, BitClub Network promised massive rates of return in exchange for investments in a shared cryptocurrency mining pool. The parties at the center of the scheme then allegedly misappropriated over $722 million of those funds into their own lavish living rather than the promised mining pool. 

Authorities further accuse the three men arrested of falsifying information on returns in order to solicit more investment as well as 

The three accused are Matthew Goettsche and Jobadiah Weeks — both from Colorado — and Joseph Abel of California. Authorities are charging the first two with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, as well as conspiracy to offer and sell unregistered securities. Abel, who was apparently less central to the scheme, has only been charged with conspiracy to offer and sell unregistered securities, a charge that carries a maximum prison term of 5 years.

The press release mentions additional conspirators who have not been named or charged with crimes.

A suspicious history

This is not the first indication that BitClub may not be a fully above-board operation. Back in 2016, crypto news outlet 99Bitcoins warned against investing in BitClub, despite removing an earlier “scam” label from the company. The author, Ofir Beigel, explained: 

After gathering the facts I can’t prove that Bitclub network is a scam beyond a shadow of a doubt. I do however still think that Bitclub Network’s business model is lacking and wouldn’t invest in it personally.”

Back in March of 2017, Cointelegraph reported on accusations that BitClub had launched a malleability attack on the Bitcoin (BTC) network.

Ongoing legal action against OneCoin

Arguably the most famous crypto exit scam in history, the case of OneCoin has seen notable recent legal action. In November, a jury in Manhattan found an attorney guilty of laundering over $400 million on behalf of OneCoin’s famed founder Ruja Ignatova, also known as the Cryptoqueen. For his services, he was allegedly paid $50 million. 

Ignatova’s location remains unknown. Only last week, OneCoin’s website finally went offline, having helped the scheme garner $4 billion.

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 15:10
Published:12/11/2019 2:12:42 PM
[] Bill de Blasio announces new NYPD unit to investigate extremism and terror threats, but only targeting 'far-Right and neo-Nazi organizations'? Earlier today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio — who is apparently unaware of what's been going on in his city — announced that the NYPD has formed a special unit focusing on terror threats. According to the New York Times' Ali Watkins, the unit will be chiefly]] Published:12/11/2019 1:40:57 PM
[] Did we give too much away to Big Tech and Big Pharma in the USMCA? Earlier today I talked about how this trade deal might be the best we could hope to achieve while still having serious flaws that left me with misgivings. Now let's take a look at a couple of those flaws if only to establish some signposts to keep]] Published:12/11/2019 1:40:57 PM
[Politics] Rep. Bass: House Could Re-Impeach Trump If He Wins Next Year The House of Representatives could bring more articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump if he is re-elected next year, Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., said Tuesday. Published:12/11/2019 1:40:56 PM
[Politics] CNN’s John King reveals the most damning part of FISA hearing thus far… CNN’s John King played this exchange between Lindsey Graham and IG Horowitz from the hearing today that he says is ‘damning’: Again, this is related to the FBI lying to the FISA . . . Published:12/11/2019 1:40:56 PM
[Entertainment] Taylor Swift "Would Have Paid So Much" to Obtain Her Album Masters Taylor Swift, BillboardTaylor Swift is setting the record straight on all of the rumors surrounding her music battle. As fans of the superstar singer will know, T.Swift has been at odds with Big Machine...
Published:12/11/2019 1:40:56 PM
[Law] IG’s Report Reveals 4 Spurious Allegations as Basis for FBI Spying on Trump Campaign Aide

A shocking report by the Justice Department’s inspector general lays bare the FBI’s “serious performance failures” in conducting a counterintelligence operation in 2016 against the... Read More

The post IG’s Report Reveals 4 Spurious Allegations as Basis for FBI Spying on Trump Campaign Aide appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:12/11/2019 1:40:56 PM
[e0643a3e-3d4d-54a0-875b-3e95cd598fbd] Child actor and ballet dancer Jack Burns dead at 14 Jack Burns, a young actor and dancer, has died at 14 years old. Published:12/11/2019 1:40:56 PM
[Markets] Watch Live: Fed Chair Powell Avoid Admitting QE4 Has Begun & Repocalypse Is Imminent Watch Live: Fed Chair Powell Avoid Admitting QE4 Has Begun & Repocalypse Is Imminent

The Fed's balance sheet is expanding at a record rate and 'turn' repo rates are soaring (despite endless daily liquidity provisions); so today's FOMC press conference will be fun to see Powell squirm as he desperately avoids any admission that The Fed is in panic mode - which it is - and will never, ever raise rates ever again (which it won't)...

If everything's so awesome in the economy, why is all of the above occurring?

Watch Live (due to start at 1430ET):

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 14:25
Published:12/11/2019 1:40:56 PM
[Politics] Fed puts hold on interest rates in quiet end to busy year

The Federal Reserve's decision comes after three straight rate cuts to get ahead of slumping manufacturing and trade worries.

Published:12/11/2019 1:40:56 PM
[topics:things/conservation] David Bellamy, naturalist and broadcaster, dies aged 86 Published:12/11/2019 1:40:56 PM
[World] Why Maddison Brown Is the Partner Liam Hemsworth Needs Now Liam Hemsworth, Maddison BrownMaddison Brown has already called it--she and Liam Hemsworth won't ever be walking down the aisle. Though, to be fair, that was before she dreamed it was even a remote possibility...
Published:12/11/2019 1:40:56 PM
[Markets] The Fed Stands Pat on Rates—And, More Importantly, Expects to for a While The Federal Reserve held interest rates steady and signaled it expects to remain on hold for the foreseeable future. Published:12/11/2019 1:40:56 PM
[Alphabet] DOJ Probes Google’s Fitbit Acquisition Over Consumer Health Data Concerns The $2.1 billion merger is slated to be complete in early 2020—but that's now likely to change. Published:12/11/2019 1:40:56 PM
[] Sundown Joe Biden, Suffering From Rapid Cognitive Decline, Reassures His Worried Staffers That He'll Only Serve One Term as President I can do you one better, Sundown Joe -- How about zero? In what is actually a hilarious report over at Politico, several aides to Joe Biden have been told by the former vice president that he's only in it... Published:12/11/2019 1:40:56 PM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [Jonathan H. Adler] About those "Trump Judges" While political attention is focused on impeachment, the Senate continues to confirm judicial nominees Published:12/11/2019 1:10:57 PM
[Law] Man Who Illegally Voted in 5 Federal Elections Sentenced to Prison

A Mexican national who said he supports President Donald Trump was sentenced in Sacramento on Tuesday to three years, nine months in prison for illegally... Read More

The post Man Who Illegally Voted in 5 Federal Elections Sentenced to Prison appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:12/11/2019 1:10:57 PM
[72998229-1e4c-5941-8164-985d458e370c] Beyonce's dad claims singer and Kelly Rowland were 'harassed' as teens by Jagged Edge band members Beyonce's dad has claimed the singer and her former "Destiny's Child" counterpart Kelly Rowland were treated inappropriately by male musicians when they were teens. Published:12/11/2019 1:10:57 PM
[Entertainment] Never Forget Harry Styles and Kendall Jenner's PDA-Filled Yacht Vacation Kendall Jenner, Harry StylesThere's a reason why Kendall Jenner and Harry Styles' joint appearance on The Late Late Show went so swimmingly. The singer filled in for James Corden as a guest host on...
Published:12/11/2019 1:10:57 PM
[Politics] CNN’s John King reveals the most damning part of FISA hearing thus far… CNN’s John King played this exchange between Lindsey Graham and IG Horowitz from the hearing today that he says is ‘damning’: Again, this is related to the FBI lying to the FISA . . . Published:12/11/2019 1:10:57 PM
[topics:places/usa] Pigeons in cowboy hats spotted flying around Las Vegas Published:12/11/2019 1:10:57 PM
[Markets] Federal Reserve signals no rate hikes in 2020, just one in 2021 The Federal Reserve left its benchmark interest rate unchanged and signaled no changes next year after its latest meeting to evaluate the economy. The Fed's so-called dot plot shows no rate hikes in 2020 and just one in 2021. The "current stance of monetary policy is appropriate to support sustained expansion of economic activity," the Fed said Wednesday. The U.S. appears to have stabilized at steady but slower rate of growth and inflation is still below the Fed's 2% target. The vote was unanimous to leave the short-term fed funds rate at a range of 1.5% to 1.75%. Published:12/11/2019 1:10:56 PM
[Markets] FOMC Leaves Rates Unchanged, Signals No Action Until 2021 Earliest FOMC Leaves Rates Unchanged, Signals No Action Until 2021 Earliest

Since The Fed cut rates in October, stocks have surged, bonds and the dollar have flatlined, and gold has leaked lower...

Source: Bloomberg

However, the yield curve is significantly flatter (despite a brief steepening)...

Source: Bloomberg

Oh, and as a reminder, repo rate for the 'turn' are soaring...

Despite endless daily repo liquidity and a balance-sheet that is expanding at its fastest rate ever...

The last few months have seen the market price-out most of the uber-dovish sentiment, with less than one rate-cut now priced-in before the end of 2020...

Source: Bloomberg

Which has left the market pricing in a 5% chance of an actual rate-hike today!!!!

Source: Bloomberg

*  *  *

So what can Powell say today? Expectations are for marginal language changes at most but as MacroHive's Bilal Hafeez notes,m there are three main scenarios:

  • Base-case: With the trade deal uncertainty still hanging over the economy and markets, the Fed will maintain a cautious tone but likely refrain from delivering new easing measures (either rate cuts or a new facility, like the SRF or more QE). Data has been mixed but last week’s solid employment report gives the Fed some cloud cover to take a wait-and-see approach into 2020. The FOMC will likely reiterate that policy remains appropriate and that rates will remain on hold for 2020. At this meeting the press conference matters more than the statement and Summary of Economic Projections (SEP) forecasts. We expect Chair Powell to downplay concerns over the repo operations. He will likely state that reserves in the system are slowly returning, but that the Fed remains on alert around year-end.

  • Hawkish-case: It’s a low probability outcome, but we are re-introducing the hawkish case in this preview in the event the Fed is increasingly more confident that it has managed to ‘soft land’ the economy. Although we do not think SEP projections have the same sort of cache as before, the risk is that their path will maintain the upward bias for 2021 and 2022.

  • Dovish-case: Building upon the base case scenario, which is already leaning to the dovish side, the Fed could deliver a dovish message in a couple ways. The most straightforward way would be to flatten the dot plot and suggest hikes are no longer on the cards as far as the eye can see. In many ways, recent Fed speeches suggest that they would only raise rates if inflation is consistently running above their 2% target. Related to this would be if Chair Powell mentions that the Fed is close to making a change on their 2% target and would be introducing a new framework that would allow for periods of inflation overshooting ahead.

*  *  *

As expected, The Fed held rates steady:




but all eyes are on the Dot-Plots, as they collapse to a relatively flat view of the rate-path ahead...

Source: Bloomberg

This is what capitulation looks like...

Source: Bloomberg

And the 2020 terminal rate has been ratcheted lower and lower in the last year...

Source: Bloomberg

It would be a shocker to everyone if markets move on this announcement.

*  *  *

Full Statement Redline below...



Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 14:04
Published:12/11/2019 1:10:56 PM
[Markets] The Fed: Fed upgrades economic outlook and signals it is on hold for now The Federal Reserve Wednesday signaled it is more upbeat about the economy and policy is on hold for now.
Published:12/11/2019 1:10:56 PM
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