by Wolf Richter, Wolf Street:
The weekend started Friday night with layoff news from GE’s power division, in two locations.
First, there was Greenville County, South Carolina, where GE Power is one of the largest employers with 3,400 workers.
“Based on the current challenges in the power industry and a significant decline in orders, GE Power continues to transform our new, combined business to better meet the needs of our customers,” GE’s statement said in flawless corporate speak: “As we have said, we are working to reduce costs and simplify our structure to better align our product solutions, and these steps will include layoffs.”
GE Power has not disclosed the number of workers that are part of this layoff. The facilities make large gas turbines and turbine generator sets used by power plants. The plant also makes wind turbines.
Then there was GE Power’s facility in Schenectady, New York, which announced the layoff of an undisclosed number of employees, blaming “a significant decline in orders.”
GE Power has a problem: Electricity consumption in the US peaked in 2007 and has declined since, despite population growth of about 24 million people over the 10 years and despite economic growth.
The chart below, based on data from the Department of Energy’s EIA, shows annual electricity generation from 2001 through 2016. Note the growth in generation through 2007, the plunge during the Financial Crisis, the recovery, and the uneven decline since:
This trend continues in 2017. On Friday, the EIA released its Electric Power Monthly, with power generation data through September 2017. Over these nine months, electricity generation has fallen by 2.6% compared to the same period a year ago. Part of the year-over-year drop in August and September was due to the damaged electric grid in the areas affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Read More @ WolfStreet.com
Just after 430pm ET we showed that bitcoin, and the entire crypto space, tumbled, with Bitcoin plunging from session highs just under $12,000 to a low of $10,600 on what appeared at first sight to be no news.
However, in retrospect this appears to not have been the case, and as the Telegraph reported just around the time of the big drop, UK “ministers are launching a crackdown on the virtual currency Bitcoin amid growing concern it is being used to launder money and dodge tax.“
Taking a page out of the Chinese playbook, the UK Treasury has announced plans to regulate the Bitcoin that will force traders in so-called crypto-currencies to disclose their identities and report suspicious activity.
According to the Telegraph, while “until now, anybody buying and selling Bitcoins and other digital currencies have been able to do so anonymously, making it attractive to criminals and tax avoiders. But the Treasury has now said it intends to begin regulating the virtual currency, which has a total value of £145 billion, to bring it in line with rules on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financial legislation.“
John Mann, a member of the Treasury select committee, said he expected to hold an inquiry into the need for better regulation of Bitcoin and other alternative currencies in the new year.
He said: “These new forms of exchange are expanding rapidly and we’ve got to make sure we don’t get left behind – that’s particularly important in terms of money-laundering, terrorism or pure theft.
“I’m not convinced that the regulatory authorities are keeping up to speed. I would be surprised if the committee doesn’t have an inquiry next year. “It would be timely to have a proper look at what this means. It may be that we want speed up our use of these kinds of thing in this country, but that makes it all the more important that we don’t have a regulatory lag.”
The proposed changes come amid increasing fears that Bitcoin is being used by gangs to launder the proceeds of crime while also attracting currency speculators – with the value of the coin soaring in the past 12 months.
In other words, the same reason why the IRS is cracking down on Coinbase clients in the US is also why UK and European regulators are joining China in cracking down on capital flight.
While such legislation by the UK alone would hardly have a major impact on crypto pricing – after all the UK is a very minor player in a market that is dominated by Korea and Japan (as proxies for China), and to a growing extent, the US, the new rules will also be applied across the European Union, and “are expected to come into force by the end of the year or early in 2018, the minister in charge has said.”
As for the EU, the new regulations are expected to be included in amendments to current European Union wide legislation designed to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing.
In terms of actual changes, the Telegraph notes that cryptocurrency exchange platforms and wallet providers will be obliged to report suspicious transactions and carry out due diligence on customers. That means the identities of Bitcoin users will no longer remain anonymous.
Read More @ ZeroHedge.com
from Zero Hedge:
The Winklevoss twins are officially the founding members of what we’d like to call the bitcoin billionaires boys club.
When Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss settled their lawsuit against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, the twins probably thought they had missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become billionaires.
Nearly ten years later, the twins have reached a net worth of $1 billion thanks to a timely $11 million investment in bitcoin during April 2013, just as the world’s largest digital currency was entering mainstream consciousness.
That original $11 million was only part of a $65 million settlement they received from Facebook in 2008. Their lawsuit against the company provided much of the narrative grist for the Hollywood movie “The Social Network”.
Since the Winklevii opened their positions, the price of a single coin has risen from about $130 four-and-a-half years ago to an all-time high north of $11,000 last month.
According to City AM, the brothers’ have refused to disclose their exact return. Though it’s estimated that the size of their stake is around 100,000 bitcoins, a figure that will further cement their re-brand as bitcoin entrepreneurs. The Winklevii nearly three years ago became the first people to petition the SEC for a rule change that would effectively as
Other notable investors in the cryptocurrency include infamous entrepreneur Charlie Shrem who served a two-year stretch in federal lockup because his old company was accused of helping facilitate notorious black-market drug bazaar the Silk Road.
Furthermore, the secretive inventor of the Bitcoin currency – known only by his digital pen name Satoshi Nakamoto -has never been publicly identified.
As City AM explains, bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that is created and stored on a digital ledger known as the blockchain. The digital currency’s recent success has been widely attributed to an influx of new buyers from China, South Korea and other countries across the region.
Last year, Tyler Winklevoss told the Telegraph the currency could be worth trillions and was “like a better version of gold”.
Many investors, including hedge fund pioneer Mike Novogratz, believe the price of a single bitcoin could reach $100,000 – or even $1 million – by late next year.
However, signs of turbulence are beginning to emerge: Just after 430pm ET on Sunday, we showed that bitcoin and the entire crypto space tumbled – with Bitcoin plunging from session highs just under $12,000 to a low of $10,600 – on news that Just after 430pm ET we showed that bitcoin, and the entire crypto space, tumbled, with Bitcoin plunging from session highs just under $12,000 to a low of $10,600 on what appeared at first sight to be no news….
…But later investors realized the move was driven by reports that UK government “ministers are launching a crackdown on the virtual currency Bitcoin amid growing concern it is being used to launder money and dodge tax.”
3 AMIGOS! LIVE STREAM DECEMBER 2017 – Clif, Joe, Bix
Governments have a rule they like to enforce. Defining the standards for citizenship is fundamental to the organization of society. The State has emerged as the final arbitrator for disputes, especially conflicts between the ‘person’, and the government. But is any person a citizen? The wording within the U.S. Constitution on this topic is clear and indisputable.
Amendment IV: Section 1 – “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” From the outset, it should be obvious that persons who were not born and have not completed the naturalization process, are not considered to be a citizen. When arguments are offered up that the Constitution defines a person to include both natural and artificial persons, the courts have departed from the original meaning, and have greatly expanded their interpretation.
So you ask what are the differences among a person, persons and an artificial person or persons? Well, to our surprise a person is: “in law, an individual or incorporated group having certain legal rights and responsibilities”. A natural person is a human being, while an artificial person is often a corporation. And the artificial version can be either a singular or plural person. Confused yet?
Well that is just the result that the legal system intends. Now the application of these distinctions becomes even more inconsistent. The Fourteenth Amendment has been held to mean that the phrase “no person” in the equal protection clause includes both natural and artificial persons; see 118 U.S. 394, 396. But the same term in the Fifth Amendment’s “privilege against self-incrimination” clause applies to only natural persons. It seems that the corporation does not have the personal privilege because it is an artificial person; see 201 U.S. 43.
Now go back and read again the first sentence of the Fourteenth Amendment, and consider its intent and meaning. Any reasonable ‘person’ will conclude that a citizen is an individual, born or naturalized. Right? What is interesting is that the artificial person or corporation, enjoys the advantage of the equal protection and due process of the government, but does not have the same responsibilities of the individual citizen.
We should not be surprised that the interests of money, influences the meaning of the law. That is basic human nature. But what is significant is how far we have come as a culture, in ignoring the idea of the ‘social contract’ that was central to nineteenth century classical liberalism. There are those who are avid to extend the terminology of ‘person’ to anyone who inhabits our shores. Legal or illegal aliens, fit their definition. Even foreign nationals that reside outside our borders, are deemed to be protected under our Constitution. At what point does the absurdity of the artificial incorporation meet the inclusion of the non-native person?
What is the significance of these rights and protections, that we hold dear; if they defy the meaning of language? If a foreign national falls under the broadest viewpoint of interpreting the Constitution, why does the unborn not enjoy the same protection because of their inhabitancy within the confines of the womb? Is that border so foreign that it is excluded from the approved list for immigration?
Let’s bring some common sense back into the debate. The reason that governments enshroud citizenship on individuals, is to empower the jurisdiction of their laws over each ‘person’. Protecting rights of individuals, is seldom a consideration, but becomes a necessary inconvenience. For laws to be observed, more than force is required. People must accept the justification, fairness and agree that the codes are valid. When the law is allowed to defy reality, and substitutes inane distortions of meaning, we all suffer as part of the society.
By birth we do not choose our country of origin. That is a decision made by families and offen dictated by circumstances. But we all have the right to seek admission as an applicant to become a citizen of another country. Since the world is organized by governments, it is most difficult to renounce any citizenship, as a practical matter. Therefore, every government decides who they will consider and invite, to become a naturalized citizen. Some may object to this obstacle to free migration, but this is the reality of the modern world.
If the Constitutional status of ‘person’ was broadened to all inhabitants on this planet, our nation would no longer exist as an example for others to admire. So why are the powers that rule, so bent upon self implosion, with the rush to advance amnesty for illegal aliens?
by Karl Denninger, Market Ticker:
That would be “never”, right?
You’d think I’d killed a cat on national television yesterday with my article on where Trump sits right now in regard to Flynn’s guilty plea. The claims of incipient (in other words, “you’re guilty even though you haven’t done it yet”) bad faith on my part, including “wow, man, I’m gonna archive this post before you change it” crap on Twatter, never mind the hate-email, rivaled that which I got back when I started the series on Obama and his little document forgery exercise.
Never mind more than 10 years of reporting on political sleaze in this country on both sides of the aisle. I call ’em like I see ’em, and who gets pissed off about that doesn’t bother me in the least.
Here’s the real issue and why it’s barely worth the time to write on anything any more. Despite utterly irrefutable evidence, as it’s been admitted, that Hillary not only broke the law when it comes to classified information our government has, in prison right now, people it has jailed for doing far less than she did, some of whom were active service members that never let any of the information travel beyond their personal devices (unlike Hillary who both did and intended to — cough-Huma-cough-cough), despite clear evidence and admissions that our own FBI and BATFE intentionally ran guns into the Mexico, including weapons that were then used to murder a border agent, despite proof that Herr Clinton sold targeting technology to the ****ing Chinese in exchange for illegal campaign contributions in the 1990s while knowing at the time that the Chinese had stolen an advanced nuclear warhead design from us not one economic or political retributive action was taken in response and in fact hundreds of billions a year in trade deficit has continued to accumulate since under every single Administration and Congress forward, both Republican and Democrat.
The fact of the matter is that irrespective of any of this there has not been one response by anyone in the American public that is not partisan horse****.
There has been no concerted economic effort (legal, I remind you) to demand that this crap stop instantly under pain of economic and political destruction.
There has not been one concerted economic effort (legal, I remind you) to demand and enforce over the last two election cycles that those “big three megacap silly valley enterprise” (that would be Google, Facebook and Twitter) which in the last election cycle had their employees display a 96.7% to 98.9% preference in campaign contributions for Hillary Clinton stop censoring fully half of the opinion in this nation or they will be legally and economically destroyed by said censored half through targeting every single one of their advertisers and other economic partners they rely on to remain in business, never mind their employees and families who made those political contributions. Every single one of these individuals and firms are fair game legally, economically and socially when they abuse their political preference and amplify same through corporate visages either as owners or employees to silence dissenting voices.
Instead the attack any time someone points out that yes, sleaze and tolerance of same crosses the aisle (like, for example, the 1995 “Abuse your Sexatary Act”) and is damned near unitary in our Government is directed at the person who points out same by those same partisan hacks who remain silent when their own side does the same ****ing thing.
Read More @ Market-Ticker.org
by Martin Armstrong, Armstrong Economics:
QUESTION: You have said that the future will be cryptocurrencies. The Bank of Canadahas come out and acknowledged what you have been saying that such private issue challenges the government’s profit structure. Do you think electronic money will be viable sooner or later down the road?
ANSWER: Electronic currency is ALREADY the bulk of the money supply. When you deposit $100 in a bank, it lends out $90 from your deposit and your bank statement still reflects you have $100. However, the person who borrowed the money now has $90 in their account. The government did not “print” money to cover that extra $90, rather they just created “electronic” money.
So what is the big thing about cryptocurrencies? The idea is that it is money that will not depreciate and is strangely not “fiat.” Yet, it is no different than the electronic money created by the bank, which is also outside the strict domain of government.
If you just look at the price of Bitcoin, it demonstrates that this is merely a speculative boom indistinguishable from the Dot.COM Bubble, which also reflected a new era in technology. If Bitcoin was truly an alternative currency that was supposed to retain its value, the mere fact that the rice has soared like any stock proves that it is by no means a “store of wealth” that somehow is better than currency in which it must still be converted to use in the bulk of the economy.
If the power grid failed, everyone would be broke. You could not even buy food. Society would revert immediately back to barter. There are risks to any form of electronic money be it a bank or crypto. The government WILL move toward cryptocurrencies THAT THEY WILL CONTROL, not the private sector. I have stated before, they argue electronic money eliminates cash crime from bank robberies, drugs, prostitution, etc., but it introduces more sophisticated hacking computer crimes.
Read More @ ArmstrongEconomics.com
by Ricky Twisdale, The Gateway Pundit:
If this gets around, it could end up being special counsel Robert Mueller’s worstnightmare.
Former national security advisor Mike Flynn has now pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, but the hysterical deep state-controlled Fake News Media, smelling blood, has doubled down on its attempts to destroy Donald Trump’s presidency by proving “collusion” with Russia.
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The insinuation throughout this process has been that Trump’s team holding discussions with Russia – whether regarding sanctions or the price of bread in Timbuktu does not matter – is somehow tantamount to treason.
Well, that’s not how Barack Obama’s administration saw it – here’s the deputy spokesman at State, Mark Toner, answering that very question just a week before the inauguration:
The president himself weighed in on Saturday:
I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2017
So General Flynn lies to the FBI and his life is destroyed, while Crooked Hillary Clinton, on that now famous FBI holiday “interrogation” with no swearing in and no recording, lies many times…and nothing happens to her? Rigged system, or just a double standard?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2017
The insane Russia inquisition may have some desperate last gasps of life left, but essentially, there is nothing to find – and there never was.
Read More @ TheGatewayPundit.com