North Korea has tested an ICBM that can hit the world, including all of the US. Some say that this might be an opportune time to talk about things, since they have an EMP-creating warhead to go with it..
Various report suggest that the North Korean government is initiating bitcoin mining operations to utilize its excess supply of coal. Due to its ongoing conflict with the US and its allies, the UN imposed stronger sanctions against North Korea, restricting its shipping and international sale of coal and other resources. As a result, researchers believe that North Korea is allocating its resources which the country can no longer sell to bitcoin mining, to create a more liquid asset that can be sold and traded overseas.
Bitcoin already uses more electricity than 159 countries, including North Korea, even including Ireland, and has increased that by about 28% in the last month.
Kunstler says to get out of Bitcoin while it's up. (It topped $11,000 this morning. Also, confiscating Bitcoin could be an economic sanction against North Korea.)
"Pardon me if I seem skeptical about the whole scheme. Even without Bitcoin bringing extra demand onto the scene, America’s electrical grid is already an aging rig of rags and tatters. There are a lot of ways that the service could be interrupted, perhaps for a long time in the case of an electric magnetic pulse (EMP). I’m not convinced that crypto-currencies are beyond the clutches of government, either... There are already over 1300 private cryptos and, apparently, a theoretically endless ability to create ever new ones — though the electricity required does seem to be a limiting factor. Maybe governments will shut them down for being energy-hogs. My personal take on the phenomenon is that it represents the high point of techno-narcissism — the idea that technology is now so magical that it over-rides the laws of physics. That, for me, would be the loudest “sell” signal."
Selling-short the risk for market losses, on the assumption that "the Fed's got your back" has been a big winning play in the markets for the past 8 years, because, the Fed had "the market's" back. (That's not a market, by the way.) The VIX, "volatility index", "fear index", has gone down-down-down. So have the returns from that bet. (Are you final suckers shorting VIX yet?) This does not merely stand to wipe out the VIX shorters...
David Stockman on the current Republican tax plan, which cuts a bit for everybody through 2019, to boost Republicans in 2020 elections, and fades to nothing for most people quickly after that, with only the lovely corporate tax cut not fading out.
"That's right. The great Republican "tax cut" slithers off the stage in 2027 raising taxes by a net of $75 billion on individual filers, $123 billion on business filers (aside from the corporate rate cut) and $4 billion on international companies...
The bottom 30 million tax filers would get an average "tax cut" which amounts to the grand sum of $1.15 per week----and, no, we did not omit any zeros. Similarly, the next 30 million filers would only get $7 per week; and the middle quintile----the 30 million tax filers between $55,00 and $95,000 per year and the heart of the middle class----- would get just $17 per week of tax relief in 2025. That is, before it all disappears into the sunset!"
Nobody can agree to what Brexit will cost the UK, or the EU, or other trading partners. It does appear to have cost 300 million pounds a week since the June 2016 vote, though, and it has not yet even happened.
Brexit requires that one treaty or another be broken. There cannot be an open border between Ireland and Northern Ireland when Britain leaves the EU, unless Northern Ireland reunifies with Ireland, or the EU ends, or something like that.
"The aggression against the Syrian state initially saw a compact front comprising the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Jordan, Israel, France and the United Kingdom. All were at the forefront of arming, training, financing, assisting and treating the injured of the tens of thousands of terrorists sent to Syria. It was a destabilization operation with few precedents in history.... (Two important changes:) Donald Trump becoming president of the United States. Leaving aside all the negatives related to his presidency, his victory has ensured that there is no direct intervention in Syria against Assad and against Russia. This is in contrast to what would have happened had Clinton won the election, the former Secretary of State prepared to trigger a regional conflict between the great powers by giving the order to shoot down Russian planes in Syria... The other event that has upset the balance of power in the region concerns the events that have occurred in Turkey over the last two years. Both the failed coup and the downing of the Russian fighter plane played an important role. The turning point was reached with the reconquering of Aleppo, which indicated a clear military failure by the opposition to overthrow Assad. Erdogan faced an unavoidable choice: support the terrorists and have to deal with a Kurdish enclave on the Syrian border; or reach a peaceful solution with the Russian Federation... What we see is a Middle East that is trying to restore a regional order that is practical and functional. Meetings in Sochi between Turkey, Russia and Iran aim precisely to achieve this. In this scenario, Washington's absence is notable... MBS's domestic actions, together with Netanyahu's threats to Iran and Hezbollah, reveal a refusal to acknowledge defeat as well as, in the case of MBS, an extreme attempt to avoid losing control of the country. For Israel, the problem is more complicated. Already in 2006 it was unable to defeat Hezbollah, and now Hezbollah is more developed, better trained, and better able to inflict damage on the Jewish State. Saudi and Israeli military leaders are more than aware that they do not have the ability to defeat Iran or Hezbollah and that only Washington's direct involvement would be able to change the course of events... The new Middle Eastern order coincides with the near-end of the conflict in Syria and the intention to find a political solution to the conflict by pacifying all parties. It is a solution that is increasingly successful, especially in light of Turkey's abandonment of the anti-Assad front. Moscow is slowly replacing the US as the fulcrum in the region and beyond, solving conflicts and accompanying the progressive withdrawal of US military and economic influence in the region."
Last words upon loss of appeal of 20 year prison sentence, to judge at court in the Hague:
“I just drank poison,” he said. “I am not a war criminal. I oppose this conviction.”
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