"50-Cent" Shifts Away From VIX 'Catastrophe Insurance': "Gold Is Now The Right Place To Be For Battles Ahead"

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"50-Cent" Shifts Away From VIX 'Catastrophe Insurance': "Gold Is Now The Right Place To Be For Battles Ahead"



Having  'come out' as the infamous VIX-whale "50-Cent," London-based fund manager Jonathan Ruffer has called it quits on his VIX-call-buying strategy:








Believe All Women, Right? Biden Accused Of Sexual Assault

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Believe All Women, Right? Biden Accused Of Sexual Assault

Joe Biden has been 'credibly' accused of sexual assault - and in a world where Democrats set the rules for these types of claims, she must be believed.

Biden with visibly uncomfortable girl (not accuser)

The woman, Tara Reade, accused Biden last year of inappropriate behavior when she worked in his Senate office in 1993. Now (well actually, last Ap

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ril), Reade says Biden touched her inappropriately when she was in her mid-20s.

"My life was hell," said Reade. "This was about power and control. I couldn’t get a job on the Hill."

Now, She's given a graphic podcast interview with Rolling Stone's Katie Halper where she tells her full story.

Reade describes a graphic incident from 1993 in which as superior asked her to run a gym bag to Biden "down towards the capital." When Biden greeted her (not allegedly of course, since we're believing all women), he forced her up against a wall and shoved his hands up her skirt.

Biden's "hands were on me and underneath my clothes," she said, after he "had me up against the wall."

"I remember him saying first, like as he was doing it, ‘Do you want to go somewhere else,'" she said, adding "And then him saying to me when I pulled away, he got finished doing what he was doing, and I kind of just pulled back and he said, ‘Come on man, I heard you liked me.’ And that phrase stayed with me because I kept thinking what I might’ve said and I can’t remember exactly if he said ‘i thought’ or ‘I heard’ but he implied that I had done this."

Reade then went on to say that “everything shattered in that moment” because she knew that there were no witnesses and she looked up to him. “He was like my father’s age,” she said. “He was like this champion of women’s rights in my eyes and I couldn’t believe it was happening. It seemed surreal.”

Reade then said Biden grabbed her by the shoulders and said, “You’re okay. You’re fine” and proceeded to walk away.

Reade said that Biden also told her something after the alleged assault that she initially didn’t want to share because “it’s the thing that stays in my head over and over.” But after some pressing from Halper, Reade decided to share:

He took his finger. He just like pointed at me and said you’re nothing to me.”

Halper said she spoke with Reade’s brother and close friend, and both of them recall Reade telling them about the alleged assault at the time. -NewsOne

Reade says that after she revealed some of Biden's inappropriate behavior, she was accused of doing the bidding of Vladimir Putin, according to The Intercept.  

Probably nothing, right?

Tyler Durden

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 21:53

After 450 years, tiny Channel island Sark will finally earn the right to exist on the internet with its own top-level domain

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We talk to the guy who spent 20 years trying to make it happen

The island of Sark, a United Kingdom royal fiefdom located in the Channel Islands and measuring just two square miles (517 hectares), has succeeded in its 20-year quest to be officially recognized by the International Standards Organization (ISO).…


After 450 years, the tiny feudal Channel island of Sark will finally earn the right to exist on the internet with a domain

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We talk to the guy who spent 20 years trying to make it happen

The island of Sark, a United Kingdom royal fiefdom located in the Channel Islands and measuring just two square miles (517 hectares), has succeeded in its 20-year quest to be officially recognized by the International Standards Organization (ISO).…


What do you not want right now? A bunch of Cisco SD-WAN, Webex vulnerabilities? Here are a bunch of them

logicfish Security what want right bunch cisco sd-wan webex vulnerabilities here them All https://go.theregister.co.uk   Discuss    Share
Switchzilla says remote networking gear has a grab-bag of holes

Cisco has issued a series of security updates for its SD-WAN and Webex software, just when they're most needed.…


Biden Clinched The Nomination Last Night: But Will Bernie 'Do The Right Thing' And Drop Out?

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Biden Clinched The Nomination Last Night: But Will Bernie 'Do The Right Thing' And Drop Out?

Bernie Sanders primary campaign has been over since Sunday's debate against Joe Biden. The low-energy back-and-forth between the two aging Democrats left many viewers with the distinct impression that Sanders might finally be sucking up to Biden in the hopes of a juicy assignment in his administration (since Trump's odds of being reelected will decline with every addition

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al week millions of Americans go without a check).

Many of Sanders' most hard-core supporters aren't great with numbers, as we learned the other week, which is why it might take them a little while to figure out that the primary math is simply out of reach for Bernie. But we'd like to help.

Following Biden's string of victories last night in Florida, Illinois & Arizona last night - his string of victories seemed almost preordained - Biden's latest sweep of delegates has given him half of the roughly 2,000 delegates he needs to leave Milwaukee with the nomination. As Bloomberg explained, though the coronavirus outbreak will likely keep older voters (who overwhelmingly favor Biden to Sanders) away from the polls, the elderly often vote by absentee. And the fact that millions of college students are returning home to live with their parents in a scramble means many are missing out on primary voting.

But the biggest tailwind for Biden is the fact that times of crisis elicit a desire for a steady hand, an experienced manager with the skill to lead a major world power like the US through an unprecedented international crisis.

After all, the American health care system has already been destabilized by the outbreak: a 'revolutionary' rejiggering of the US healthcare system into something more akin to the NHS would disappoint millions.

The public health crisis could work to Biden’s advantage, as Democratic voters seek his experience as vice president over Sanders’s promise of a political revolution.

"If people were in a position where they were willing to take a risk, Bernie could have some appeal," said former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, who has endorsed Biden. "But I think what they want now is reassurance, and they want someone who is experienced, someone who is mature."

But since five states including Ohio have delayed their primaries, Biden might not be able to mathematically preclude Sanders from winning the nomination until June. With the country in crisis, will Bernie Sanders listen to Democrats' pleas for him to drop out and allow the party to rally around its nominee during the crisis?

NBC News

He's already given up on campaigning. In a video released by Sanders after last night's drubbing, he didn't even mention Biden's name.

The problem is - as Sanders alluded to last night - is that the geriatric socialist sees this crisis as an opportunity to win more converts to his ideology. Can't say we blame him: More economists using "the 'D' word", which is like throwing fuel on the fire of America's incipient socialist movement.

"Joe has won more states than I have. But here’s what we are winning. We are winning the ideological struggle,” the Vermont senator said, citing exit polls showing a majority of Democrats favor his Medicare-for-All health care plan. Sanders argues that the coronavirus pandemic makes his government-run health insurance plan even more essential.

So, will we see Sanders drop out on Wednesday, as some Democratic pundits have predicted? Once again, it seems Bernie Sanders is squandering an opportunity to bolster party unity and improve the Democrats' chances of winning - or possibly even demolishing - President Trump in November. We suspect that millions of Americans aren't exactly surprised.


Tyler Durden

Wed, 03/18/2020 - 06:57

Appareils électroniques: Right to repair gets European Commission backing

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What about my iPhone?

The European Commission has introduced ambitious reforms to back the "right to repair" by forcing electronics manufacturers to improve the design, durability and recycling and reuse possibilities of devices they sell.…


Wi-Fi of more than a billion PCs, phones, gadgets can be snooped on. But you're using HTTPS, SSH, VPNs... right?

logicfish Security wi-fi more than billion phones gadgets snooped youre using https vpns right All https://go.theregister.co.uk   Discuss    Share
Encryption keys forced to zero by chip-level KrØØk flaw

A billion-plus computers, phones, and other devices are said to suffer a chip-level security vulnerability that can be exploited by nearby miscreants to snoop on victims' encrypted Wi-Fi traffic.…


Zyxel storage, firewall, VPN, security boxes have a give-anyone-on-the-internet-root hole: Patch right now

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It's 2020 and pre-auth, superuser command injection is still a thing

Zyxel's network storage boxes, business VPN gateways, firewalls, and, er, security scanners can be remotely hijacked by any miscreant, due to a devastating security hole in the firmware.…


Hedge Fund CIO: Guys Text Me All Day, The Dumbest Of The Dumb Are Making Hundreds Of Thousands Daytrading Tesla Right Now

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Hedge Fund CIO: Guys Text Me All Day, The Dumbest Of The Dumb Are Making Hundreds Of Thousands Daytrading Tesla Right Now

Submitted by Eric Peters, CIO of One River Asset Management

"You always knew you’d know it when you saw it,” said Roadrunner. “But you could never be sure what it would look like until you saw it,” continued the market’s biggest equity vol trader. “This is it - now we know. We’re in this cycle’s euphoria stag

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e,” said Roadrunner.

“The Tesla move we just saw is unlike anything I’ve experienced.” Amazon trades 2.5-3.0mm shares on a busy day. Tesla traded 60mm. “1.4mm Tesla options traded. And vol was 170. I’m guessing that in notional terms it was the busiest day for a single stock in history."

"The Tesla flows are mostly retail,” continued Roadrunner. “And most of the flow is in one-week options.” Which tells you it’s pure speculation. “Guys text me all day. And the dumbest of the dumb are making hundreds of thousands in their personal accounts right now.” Animal spirits have been unleashed. The shift by brokers to offer zero-commission equity-trading added to the market’s energy.

“This is Millennial kind of action. It’s like it was in 1999. It’s a race to the top, fear of missing out kind of move,” said Roadrunner, glancing left, right, up.

"This year is set to be wild,” said Roadrunner. “The big bear market probably waits till right after the election, and it won’t matter if Trump wins or loses,” he said.

So that means you need to get out well ahead of Nov, because bear markets have a way of outsmarting almost everyone,” said Roadrunner. “And as this phase ends, the question is what will replace it?” he asked, stopping to scan the horizon. “I wonder if Larry Fink’s recent ESG theme kicks off a self-fulfilling bubble in a whole group of new names. Maybe Tesla is showing us the way."

"Sentiment is not yet off the charts,” bellowed Biggie Too. “And the data does not say boom or bust, inflation or deflation,” continued the global chief investment strategist for one of Wall Street’s too-big-to-fail affairs. “It’s just that when you get rates this low, liquidity this high, and volatility so tame, something unexpected shows up and wrecks the party,” barked Biggie, no stranger to a late-night rager.

“When you get growth stocks this stretched, technology, bonds, something comes along, always,” said Too, eyes closed, breaking into a gentle groove.

"Scratch and sniff this bull market and you smell something not quite right,” continued Biggie. “Something deflationary. Not reflationary,” he said. 10yr bond yields dropped 6bps on Friday’s +225k payroll. “Maybe it’ll be a break to new lows in bond yields or a burst above 100 on the dollar index that brings on our next Minsky moment,” said Biggie, his golden smile widening, bringing it home.

“Maybe it took investors 10yrs to realize that lower interest rates equal higher asset prices, only to discover that lower interest rates equal lower asset prices."

Tyler Durden

Sun, 02/16/2020 - 14:58

This is also a system for GPs, right? UK doctors seek clarity over Health dept's £40m single sign-on funding

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Docs keen to hear how, as promised, project will make their own logins less of a Hancockup

UK doctors' union the British Medical Association (BMA) is seeking clarification on how GPs will access the £40m funding for single sign-on to health systems recently promised by health and social care secretary Matt Hancock.…


Dear friends in DevSecOps: Don't forget, security is your responsibility, too – now learn how to do it right

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Tune in to hear from Veracode on how to stay secure

Webcast  What is DevSecOps? Simply put, it is the merging of DevOps and security processes to ensure code is secure from development through to testing and deployment.…


Eric Peters: Peter Navarro Was Right - Tariffs Have Spurred Growth, Not Hampered It

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Eric Peters: Peter Navarro Was Right - Tariffs Have Spurred Growth, Not Hampered It

Submitted by Eric Peters, CIO of One River Asset Management

“Conventional economic models ignore how Trump’s tariffs boost investment and national security,” wrote Peter Navarro, the President’s Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.

His Jan 13th WSJ opinion piece, like most things Navarro publishes, provide real insight into Trump

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policy/thinking. But Navarro is an annoying hothead, so most people dismiss him.

I’ve condensed his piece: “Critics of Trump’s transformational trade policies continue to insist that the tariffs are hindering rather than helping the boom. Yet with each new tariff the economy remains robust, wages continue to rise, and inflation stays muted (while the economic losses for China continue to grow).

Tariffs have spurred growth, not hampered it. Why have the gloom-and-doom forecasters been so wrong? The errors come from flaws in traditional economic models. Anti-tariff analysts typically rely on static "partial equilibrium" models. While a tariff on steel might boost employment in that industry, for example, the price of steel would rise for car makers downstream, which would then suffer lower production and fewer jobs.

Each tariff shrinks total employment, depresses wages, and increases inflation—or at least that’s how these forecasts typically go. Yet what is missing from these forecasts is a 'general equilibrium' analysis of tariffs, which would assess the whole economy, with a concomitant 'dynamic scoring' of their effects, to account for the new investment tariffs induce. Over time this tariff-induced investment, along with lower taxes and sensible deregulation, will boost growth and job creation. Higher domestic production will also help offset any price hikes from the tariffs.

Trump’s imposition of actual tariffs has made the threat of tariffs more credible, and a variety of tariff threats have borne robust results. In addition to missing the upside of supporting American industries, critics overlook the ways the US has suffered under open trade. Expanded trade with China in the 2000s contributed to the loss of tens of thousands of American factories and millions of manufacturing jobs and the hollowing out of many communities. What followed was an associated rise in the rates of divorce, drug addiction, crime, depression and death, particularly among blue-collar men no longer able to support their families at a decent wage.

The national-security externalities associated with Trump trade policy may be even more consequential. A case in point is the tariffs being used as leverage to defend America’s technological crown jewels from being forcibly transferred to Chinese companies—from artificial intelligence, robotics and autonomous vehicles to quantum computing and blockchain. These industries comprise the core of the next generation of weapons systems needed to repel threats from rivals like China, Russia and Iran.

One must ask the anti-tariff forecasters: Where are the benefits of a freer and more secure American homeland counted in your models? An honest, modern analysis of the Trump tariffs would acknowledge the widespread market distortions that currently disadvantage American workers, parse the complex ways tariffs affect trade partners’ behavior, appropriately discount short-term price impacts, and dynamically score the many long-term positive effects.

Tyler Durden

Sun, 01/19/2020 - 18:10


Business Finance


"GAO Is Wrong" - Dershowitz Says Trump Had Right To Withhold Ukraine Funds

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GAO Is Wrong - Dershowitz Confirms Trump Had Right To Withhold Ukraine Funds

Authored by Alan Dershowtiz via The Gatestone Institute,

U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has gotten the constitutional law exactly backwards. It said that the "faithful execution of the law" - the Impoundment Control Act- "does not permit the president to substitute his own policy priorities for those congress has enacted into law .

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Yes, it does - when it comes to foreign policy.

The Constitution allocates to the president sole authority over foreign policy (short of declaring war or signing a treaty). It does not permit Congress to substitute its foreign policy preferences for those of the president.

To the extent that the statute at issue constrains the power of the president to conduct foreign policy, it is unconstitutional.

Consider the following hypothetical situation: Congress allocates funds to Cuba (or Iran or Venezuela). The president says that is inconsistent with his foreign policy and refuses to release the funds. Surely the president would be within his constitutional authority. Or consider the actual situation that former President Barack Obama created when he unilaterally made the Iran deal and sent that enemy of America billions of dollars without congressional approval. I do not recall the GAO complaining about that presidential decision, despite the reality that the Iran deal was, in effect, a treaty that should require senate approval that was never given.

Whatever one may think about the substantive merits of what President Donald Trump did or did not do with regard to the Ukrainian money— which was eventually sent without strings —he certainly had the authority to delay sending the funds. The GAO was simply wrong in alleging that he violated the law, which includes the Constitution, by doing so.

To be sure, the statute requires notification to Congress, but if such notification significantly delays the president from implementing his foreign policy at a time of his choice, that too would raise serious constitutional issues.

Why then would a nonpartisan agency get it so wrong as a matter of constitutional law.

There are two obvious answers:

  1. In the age of Trump there is no such thing as nonpartisan. The political world is largely divided into people who hate and people who love President Trump. This is as true of long term civil servants as it is of partisan politicians. We have seen this with regard to the FBI, the CIA, the Fed and other government agencies that are supposed to be nonpartisan. There are of course exceptions such as the inspector general of the Department of Justice who seems genuinely non-partisan. But most civil servants share the nationwide trend of picking sides. The GAO does not seem immune to this divisiveness.

  2. Even if the GAO were non-partisan in the sense of preferring one political party over the other, it is partial to Congress over the president. The GAO is a congressional body. It is part of the legislative, not executive, branch. As such, it favors congressional prerogatives over executive power. It is not surprising therefore that it would elevate the authority of Congress to enact legislation over that of the president to conduct foreign policy.

In any event, even if the GAO were correct in its legal conclusion — which it is not— the alleged violation would be neither a crime nor an impeachable offense. It would be a civil violation subject to a civil remedy, as were the numerous violations alleged by the GAO with regard to other presidents. Those alleged violations were barely noted by the media. But in the hyper-partisan impeachment atmosphere, this report received breathless "breaking news" coverage and a demand for inclusion among the articles of impeachment.

If Congress and its GAO truly believe that President Trump violated the law, let them go to court and seek the civil remedy provided by the law. But let us not continue to water down the constitutional criteria for impeachment by including highly questionable, and on my view wrongheaded, views about violations of an unconstitutional civil law.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 01/18/2020 - 12:30




"The Elites Don't Give A F*ck": Bannon Explains Why Boris Won, Blacks Dig Trump, And What GOP Needs Most Right Now

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"The Elites Don't Give A F*ck": Bannon Explains Why Boris Won, Blacks Dig Trump, And What GOP Needs Most Right Now

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon sat down with The Guardian, offering his take on everything from Boris Johnson's win the the recent UK election, to why minority support for Trump is on the rise, and finally - why the GOP needs its own version of AOC.

Bannon says that Boris Johnson's swe

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eping UK victory over Labour's Jeremy Corbyn is a "victory for populism," noting how he was fascinated by focus groups on British TV during the election campaign. "These were Labour voters and they were not going to vote for Labour and the reason was they kept asking, ‘How are these programmes going to be paid for?’ What I was most impressed with was the specificity and the granularity of the questions.."

"People don’t want to be spun any more. They don’t want to be BS’d any more. They want to know what you’re laying out and how you’re going to effectuate it and, most importantly, how you’re going to pay for it and ‘if paying for it means more increased taxes or less opportunities for me, you’re not going to get my vote no matter how good it sounds’."

"I think the Democrats, on whether it’s Green New Deal or healthcare for illegal aliens or whatever, ought to take the lessons of the working class. These are lifetime Labour members that voted for a Tory," Bannon added.

Bannon regards Johnson as neither a nationalist nor a populist and likens the prime minister’s vision of Brexit to “Singapore-on-the-Thames” – very different from the version hoped for by those who voted for him. Even so, Bannon argues that both the Conservatives and Republicans should aim to seize their traditional rivals’ territory by appealing to the working class. -The Guardian

Bannon explains that nationalism is about protecting the working class from both illegal and legal immigration - which disproportionately hurts minorities. 

"Look, this is what drives me nuts about the left. All immigration is to flood the zone with cheap labour, and the reason is because the elites don’t give a fuck about African Americans and the Hispanic working class. They don’t care about the white working class either. You’re just a commodity".

"So they have unlimited labour and they’re paying you nine bucks an hour. ‘Let more guys in and, by the way, it’s bigger markets.’ It destroys the working class. That’s what we’ve got to protect. Once we show working-class people of every ethnicity and race that you being a citizen you get a special deal, you get that realignment."

"As soon as we won in London at the end of June, I kept saying this is a lock for Trump, we’ve just got to drive the same topics. That’s why, when I took over the campaign, it was let’s get back to some basics: stop mass illegal immigration, limit legal immigration, protect your workers. Why do you think Trump today is at 34% approval rating in the Emerson polls among blacks and 36% among Hispanics? He’s going to get 20% of the black vote and here’s why: everybody’s working," said Bannon.

Why the GOP needs an AOC, and Trump can thank Bloomberg for impeachment

"We’ve turned the Republican party into a working-class party," said Bannon, adding "Now, interestingly, we don’t have any elected representatives who believe that, but that’s a legacy issue. We’ll get over that. We’ve got to find our AOCs."

In short, while Trump swept into office on an America First policy aimed at supporting the working class - particularly those in flyover states, the Republican party needs "more bartenders."

Bannon says that the Democrats took back the house in 2018 for two reasons; Mike Bloomberg - whose PAC injected $110 million into supporting Democrats in the midterm elections (21 of the 24 candidates he supported won their races), and "better casting."

Ocasio-Cortez, a 30-year-old former bartender from New York, was elected to Congress last year and has built a huge social media following as a member of “the Squad”, a group of four progressive women of colour. Her eagerly sought presidential endorsement went to fellow progressive senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

The Democrats and their supporters have “better casting”, Bannon admitted. “They did an amazing job in 18. I keep saying I admire AOC. I think her ideology’s all fucked up, but I want her. I want to recruit bartenders. I don’t want to recruit any more lawyers. I want bartenders.” -The Guardian

He notes that in addition to AOC and 'the squad,' Democrats had military veterans such as Max Rose of New York and Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey. "That’s perfect casting. That’s why we got smoked."

On Bloomberg, Bannon says "people are missing the point."

"Trump wouldn’t be impeached if it were not for Bloomberg. It’s Bloomberg’s hundred million dollars that won the seats … The Democrat party is just like Republicans: a pass through. There’s no actual people to do anything. They’re not out in any state ringing doorbells. Those activist groups are. That’s where Bloomberg put his hundred million dollars."

Tyler Durden

Tue, 12/17/2019 - 11:46


Social Issues


"It Was Real Sloppy": Comey Comes Clean On FISA Abuse: "Horowitz Was Right, I Was Wrong"

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"It Was Real Sloppy": Comey Comes Clean On FISA Abuse: "Horowitz Was Right, I Was Wrong"

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times,

Former  FBI Director James Comey admitted fault following last week’s Justice Department Inspector General’s report that detailed at least 17 serious errors during the launch of the agency’s investigation into Trump’s campaign.

Comey had previously d

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efended the FBI’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) courts during the investigation, but Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that the FBI’s investigative team made errors and omissions when applying for a warrant to surveil Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide. Horowitz, in a Senate hearing, criticized the “entire chain of command” at the FBI and Justice Department for their failures in handling the warrant. Comey was in charge of the FBI when the investigation was launched.

“He’s right, I was wrong,” Comey told “Fox News Sunday” about how the FBI used the FISA system, adding that

"...I was overconfident in the procedures that the FBI and Justice had built over 20 years. I thought they were robust enough. It's incredibly hard to get a FISA. I was overconfident in those because he's right, there was real sloppiness. Seventeen things that either should have been in the applications or at least discussed and characterized differently. It was not acceptable, so he's right, I was wrong."

Horowitz said the FBI’s investigation into Russian election interference and alleged connections to the Trump campaign was properly initiated, but he said there is a “low threshold” for that to happen. In the report, the inspector general said there was no documentary or testimonial evidence implying that the investigation was started due to political bias. However, when he was prodded about the bias claim during the Senate hearing, Horowitz didn’t rule it out.

During a line of questioning, Horowitz replied to Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), “I think it’s fair for people to sit there and look at all of these 17 events and wonder how it could be purely incompetence.”

He also said that he “agrees completely” with the assertion that someone at the FBI needs to be fired. The “culture” also needs to be “changed” at the FBI, he told senators.

In the Fox interview, Comey downplayed the role that former British spy Christopher Steele’s unverified information played in the FISA process. There were “significant questions” raised about the “reliability of the Steele dossier that was used in the Carter Page FISA applications,” Horowitz concluded, adding that “the FISA applications relied entirely on information from the Steele reporting to support the allegation that Page was coordinating with the Russian government on 2016 U.S. presidential election activities.”

The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for Steele’s work, a fact the FBI did not disclose in the warrant application. A number of FBI officials directly involved in preparing and signing the FISA warrants have all either left or been fired from the bureau, including Comey, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok.

Comey told the news outlet that Steele’s work was “not a huge part of the presentation to the court,” but he noted that “it was the one that convinced the lawyers” to move forward on the warrant.

The former FBI chief claimed the Bureau didn’t intentionally commit wrongdoing, but he said there was “real sloppiness” at the FBI. “I was responsible for this,” he said.

In 2018, Comey told MSNBC that the FISA process is “incredibly rigorous” and criticized Republicans of the Page FISA warrant for trying to interject politics into the process. And after the IG report was released on Dec. 6, Comey said the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s campaign “was just good people trying to protect America.” That was before Horowitz went in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and faulted the FBI’s leadership.

In a statement to the Judiciary Committee, Horowitz said he’s “deeply concerned” that numerous “basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked investigative teams on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations.”

And it came “after the matter had been briefed to the highest levels within the FBI; even though the information sought through use of FISA authority related so closely to an ongoing presidential campaign; and even though those involved with the investigation knew that their actions were likely to be subjected to close scrutiny,” the inspector general remarked.

Finally, Wallace asked Comey:

“If you were still there, and all of this came out, and it turned out it happened on your watch, would you resign?”

“No, I don’t think so,” said Comey.

“There were mistakes I consider more consequential than this during my tenure.”

Proclaiming that the central conspiracy that President Trump and his allies have pushed about the Russia investigation — that it was a "treasonous" attempt by the FBI to overthrow the president - was "nonsense."

"The facts just aren't there. Full stop. That doesn't make it any less consequential, any less important, but that's an irresponsible statement."

For many, including former Rep. Trey Gowdy, it is “too damn late” for James Comey to admit he was wrong about FBI abuse of the FISA process.

“I think this morning Comey admitted he was wrong. Sometimes, Maria, it’s better late than never, and sometimes it’s just too damn late,” Gowdy said in an interview on “Sunday Morning Futures,” hosted by Maria Bartiromo.

“We could have used his objectivity, as head of the FBI helping Republicans figure out what was happening with FISA instead of thwarting us and obstructing us,” he said.

He said it was policy and procedure issue. It’s not, Maria. There always has been policies against manufacturing evidence and withholding exculpatory evidence — that’s not new. This is a personnel issue. It’s the wrong people in the wrong positions of power. That’s not going to be fixed with a new policy or procedures. It’s going to be fixed by replacing the people who did what they did in 2016.”

So much for "vindicated"?!

Tyler Durden

Sun, 12/15/2019 - 13:55




Sociopaths On The Left & Sociopaths On The Right Work To Break Potential US-China Alliance

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Sociopaths On The Left & Sociopaths On The Right Work To Break Potential US-China Alliance

Authored by Matthew Ehret via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Donald Trump is in a painful bind.

The China-bashing traitors within his own party trying to pass themselves off as American patriots have done everything imaginable to destroy the one chance the President has to save Ameri

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ca from the policies of economic and social decay which have mis-shaped the past 50 years of world history.

Before breaking under the pressure to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act on November 27, Trump attempted desperately to push against the hard liners stating a day earlier:

“I stand with Hong Kong, but I also stand with President Xi. He’s a friend of mine, he’s an incredible guy. We have to stand, but I’d like to see them work it out, OK? We have to see them work it out. I stand for Hong Kong, I stand for freedom, I stand for all those things we want to do. But we are also in the process of making the largest trade deal in history.”

Of course, Trump’s desire to use protective tariffs, rebuild decayed infrastructure and industries while reversing the regime change wars abroad are good things. However, the ugly fact is that the Trans-Atlantic financial system is also set to crash, and a serious military confrontation between the US military and the Russia-China alliance is both very real and very dangerous.

This is also why the passage of the anti-Beijing Bill on November 27 is so tragic, since the desperately needed economic alliance which Trump has desired may have suffered a wound from which it cannot recover. Not only this, but those anti-China hawks pervasive across Washington are now emboldened to go even further starting with Sen. Ted Cruz’s new bill to recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty, thus undoing the 1972 ‘One China’ agreement which established Beijing as the capital of China.

Cruz’s Taiwan Symbols of Sovereignty Act aims in Cruz’s words to “peel back some of the extreme insults of the Taiwanese that are inflicted by the One-China policy protocol” including the banning of Taiwan officials from visiting US government agencies, and Taiwan students studying at West Point military academy from wearing the Taiwan flag.

Already, the US-military have vastly amplified their presence on China’s border ever since Obama’s “Pivot-to-Asia” and “Air-Sea Battle” were put into practice in 2011-2012 and which heavily relies on a militarized anti-China force in Taiwan ready to do the US’s bidding.

Many leading figures in Taiwan are stuck in a Cold War traumatized mindset established 60 years earlier, and still see their life’s mission and Taiwan’s destiny through the outdated lens of their Kuomintang forebears- as the only rightful leaders of China, destined to reconquer the mainland lost to the Communist Party in 1949. These groups would do anything to fulfill that quasi-religious sense of purpose, making them the perfect puppets for the Deep State which would be more than happy to undermine both China and America as viable sovereign nation states undoing the common cause for which both Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Sun Yatsen dedicated their lives.

Bannon, Soros and Falun Gong: Golems of the Great Game

An ugly and overlooked example of this operation includes the renewed effort by China-basher Steve Bannon who Trump rightly booted from his team in August 2017. Bannon has been a dangerous character attempting to coral Trump supporters in America and the European right into a new anti-Chinese united front while reviving the neo-con “clash of civilizations” doctrine with a vengeance.

One of the main conduits Bannon chose to unleash this assault was the Committee on Present Danger-China which he founded alongside a group of raging neocons in March 2019. Labelling China’s Belt and Road as a new empire threatening to undo America and enslave the world, Bannon’s think tank stated:

 “As with the Soviet Union in the past, communist China represents an existential and ideological threat to the United States and to the idea of freedom – one that requires a new American consensus regarding the policies and priorities required to defeat this threat.”

Bannon has also found himself working ever more tightly with the anti-Beijing CIA-funded cult Falun Gong which has been banned from China since 1999 and used by the CIA as a propaganda weapon against China claiming anecdotal evidence of Beijing-sponsored organ harvesting and killing of religious minorities. Though pushing itself as a meditation group, its leader Li Hongzhi is based in the USA and promotes the idea that he has magical powers that keep the forces of evil from destroying the world.

Bannon most recently produced the Falun Gong-funded film “Claws of the Red Dragon” putting him into the same boat as his left-handed mirror image George Soros who also supports the Falun Gong through Open Society Foundation’s Freedom House.  The contradiction arising from this alliance of pro-Trump sociopaths working with anti-Trump sociopaths only makes sense when you look at the anti-human game from the top down rather than the bottom up.

It is here, that we start getting a fuller picture of the nature of the false ‘left vs right’ game being played, as we look at a City of London-based think tank which Bannon leads called the Dignitas Humanitae Institute alongside 5 other highly connected figures which were recently exposed in a powerful expose by journalist Stan Ezrol who described Bannon’s four other co-patrons of this Catholic group as “Archduke Otto Von Habsburg, successor to the throne of the Holy Roman Emperor when it was dissolved; His Royal Highness Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies and Duke of Castro, a leading figure in the anti-Renaissance wing of European nobility; Field Marshal the Lord Guthrie GCB (Knight of the Grand Cross), LVO (Lieutenant of the Victorian Order), OBE (Order of the British Empire); and Father Matthew Festing.”

The forces managing this international battle are desperately afraid of the fact that western and eastern renaissance traditions may be awakened in the face of the existential crisis facing the human species today. These groups are very much aware that the essential character of any society fit to survive is rooted on certain moral principles that are found in both Christian and Confucian cultures alike, making the USA and China potentially very strong and organic allies.

When one reads the writings of such founding fathers of either great nation as Dr. Benjamin Franklin or Dr. Sun Yatsen, the common moral worldview and sense of human nature as a species made in the image of the creator endowed with inalienable rights is electric. It is thus no coincidence that Dr. Franklin saw in Confucius the key for the foundation of America and Sun Yatsen saw in America’s Constitution the key for China’s future. This is a concept which Hong Kong rioters, Taiwan militarists, Open Society ideologues and right wing Bannonites know nothing about.

Today, Xi Jinping and President Putin exemplify this common outlook wonderfully as their alliance has transformed the international rules of the game on every level, and if Trump wasn’t constrained by such bigoted agents as Cruz, Bannon or the rabid hive of leftist hacks frothing at the mouth for impeachment, then the USA would make an organic ally in this new multipolar alliance.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 12/06/2019 - 23:05

"I'm Pissed About Multiple Things Right Now" - Ilargi On Assange, Nitrogen, Pensions, & John Solomon

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"I'm Pissed About Multiple Things Right Now" - Ilargi On Assange, Nitrogen, Pensions, & John Solomon

Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog,

I’m getting pissed off about multiple things right now, too many to make them all separate essays.

Let’s give it a combined shot:

In Holland, the talk of the town is nitrogen emissions.

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ng> I’d never seen it raised as that kind of problem, but there you go. The government last week decided to lower the max speed limit on highways to 100km (66miles) , from 120-130. Their reasoning was that this would allow the building industry to build more -by now hugely overpriced- homes and apartments.

Oh, but agriculture (aka cattle) is responsible for 46% of nitrogen emissions. So they have a plan to alter cattle feed (I am still serious here). I understand that neighbors Germany and Belgium have had nitrogen policies in place for years, so their cars can keep on pedaling to the metal because they don’t have a problem. Huh?

Also in Holland, big discussions about cuts to pensions. Which of course leads to big protests, which in turn makes the government make sure that cuts this year will be minimal. Okay, but how about next year? No comment. Holland is supposed to have one of the best pension systems on the planet, but they don’t get to escape the BIG erosion either.

Aging population, fewer contributors, lower wages, it’s happening everywhere. Our pension systems are Ponzi schemes. Every single penny you give a pensioner today is taken away from one tomorrow. The entire system is broke, we just don’t want to face that simple fact.

15 years ago, pensions systems were required by law to hold only AAA-denominated assets. Look at that today. They all have 7-8% in their prospectus, and bonds pay 1%, if that. Unless you gamble. So they have all moved into equities, which look fine because central banks prop them up, but the model itself has changed like Jekyll becames Hyde.

Then, Sweden decided to drop the 2010 rape charges against Assange 9 years later. In reality, there never WERE any rape charges. But still, prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson re-opened the “investigation” in May 2019. Just so Julian could be dragged from the Ecuador embassy in London on a seemingly legit charge. Eva-Marie Persson should be in Belmarsh prison, not Julian. But she represents the law, and he does not. He has exposed its dim-witted lackeys. My comment earlier today at the Automatic Earth:

“Sweden has dropped its rape inquiry into Julian Assange. Good f%@$#ing Lord, what year is it? The f%@$#ing job is f%@$#ing done, isn’t, you f%@$#ers? How can you be a Swede and not protest this? What kind of people live in that country? No, I know, the same kind as live in the UK and US. Ignorant f%@$#s.”

Oh, and now they’re arresting Epstein’s prison guards? Come on guys, you got to recognize a joke as a joke.

Then a CNN piece about John Solomon, who was thrown out of the Hill recently though he was their best reporter. Now, he was already fired from the Hill despite being their ace reporter, but that’s not enough for CNN, they want the owner too. So for CNN, it’s a direct link from Trump to Giuliani to Solomon to Hill owner Jimmy Finkelstein:

Jimmy Finkelstein, The Owner Of The Hill, Has Flown Under The Radar

James “Jimmy” Finkelstein, the owner of The Hill newspaper, is not a widely known media executive, but he is one of the era’s most consequential. Finkelstein resides at the nexus of President Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and John Solomon, the now-former executive at The Hill and current Fox News contributor who pushed conspiracy theories about Ukraine into the public conversation. While Solomon has received significant media attention for his work at The Hill, Finkelstein has stayed out of the headlines, despite having himself played a crucial role in the saga.

One, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, said of one of Solomon’s stories, “I think all the key elements were false.” Pressed further on the matter by Rep. Lee Zeldin, a New York Republican, Vindman said, “I haven’t looked at the article in quite some time, but you know, his grammar might have been right.” [..] After CNN Business reached out to a representative for The Hill for comment, The Hill Editor-In-Chief Bob Cusack announced in a Monday morning email to staffers that Solomon’s work was under review.

“As you are aware, John Solomon left The Hill earlier in the fall, but in light of recent congressional testimony and related events, we wanted to apprise you of the steps we are taking regarding John Solomon’s opinion columns which were referenced in the impeachment inquiry,” Cusack wrote. “Because of our dedication to accurate non-partisan reporting and standards, we are reviewing, updating, annotating with any denials of witnesses, and when appropriate, correcting any opinion pieces referenced during the ongoing congressional inquiry,” Cusack added.

Now, I have followed, and quoted, Solomon for quite some time, and I think he’s thorough, well documented, and in short what a journalist should be (nothing to do with opinion). Calling him conspirational is really quite a jump. But this is CNN. They do conspiracy like no-one else. And apparently they got what they wanted, because the Hill now is this:

Trump’s Ukraine Scandal Rooted In Fear Of Biden

Why is President Trump so nervous about the 2020 race? He has a record amount of campaign cash. Russian bots are still working for him. And he still has the backing of more than 80 percent of his party. So, how do I know he’s so nervous? As Trump loves to say: Read the transcript. At the heart of the phone call that has led to impeachment hearings is Trump going out on a shaky limb to ask Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for a “favor.” That “favor” included a request for Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s son, Hunter. The only reason for Trump to risk asking a foreign leader for help getting political dirt on an opponent is that he feared that rival’s power.

Me personally, I’ll stick with John Solomon for now. I haven’t caught him on a lie, and not on propaganda. Which is much better than I can say about just about every other outlet out there. Yeah, Hannity is a very loose cannon, Tucker Carlson not that much, but it’s the CNN people, and Rachel Maddow, that are far worse when it comes to propaganda.

And Adam Schiff too, who gets to conduct his fake trial in which he doesn’t have to say a single true word because he’s not under oath and the “witnesses” can be 2nd-3rd-4th hearsay ones. Anyone can say anything as long as it is negative for Trump. You know, that guy the American people elected as their president 3 years ago. Let’s move this into a courtroom -like the Senate- and do away with the absurd theater.

*  *  *

Please support the Automatic Earth on Paypal and Patreon so we can continue to publish.

Tyler Durden

Tue, 11/19/2019 - 22:05
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Before you high-five yourselves for setting up that bug bounty, you've got the staff in place to actually deal with security, right?

logicfish Security before high-five yourselves setting that bounty youve staff place actually deal with security right All https://go.theregister.co.uk   Discuss    Share
Katie Moussouris speaks out on modern-day flaw finding and infosec jobs

Disclosure  Bug-bounty pioneer Katie Moussouris has urged companies to hire the necessary staff to handle vulnerability disclosures before diving headlong into handing out rewards.…


Ransomware freezes govt IT in Canadian territory of Nunavut, drops citizens right Inuit

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As US picks up its game, scumbags seek new targets

A malware infection has crippled the IT operations in the remote Canadian territory of Nunavut.…


Ransomware freezes govt IT in Canadian province of Nunavut, drops citizens right Inuit

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As US picks up its game, scumbags seek new targets

A malware infection has crippled the IT operations in the remote Canadian territory of Nunavut.…


Roger Waters Stunned At Assange's Plight: "Orwell & Huxley Were Both Right"

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Roger Waters Stunned At Assange's Plight: "Orwell & Huxley Were Both Right"

Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters has been an outspoken advocate for Julian Assange, but the most recent sight of the reporter's physical and mental health, at his recent court appearance, has Waters stepping up his criticism of the establishment's slow-assassination of the exposer of US war crimes.

Referring to a UK judge’s decision on Monday to deny t

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he WikiLeaks founder a delay in US extradition proceedings, Waters proclaimed:

“Orwell and Huxley were always arguing about who had the closest view of what dystopia might look like in the future... I think we got a lot of both.” 

As RT summarizes, the world described by George Orwell in ‘1984’ was one of mass surveillance and paranoia, where anyone could be snatched off the street by the state and made disappear for ‘wrongthink’. In ‘Brave New World’ Aldous Huxley, on the other hand, described a future where mass entertainment and the easy availability of pleasure-giving drugs made dissent virtually impossible.

“We have the ‘Big Brother’ Orwellian dystopian nightmare, it happened two days ago in that magistrate’s court,” he explained to RT.

And, exposing our 'Brave New World'-isms, Waters points out that:

“You only have to look out in the street and see the people, the walking dead going by... and taking absolutely no notice of the fact that this journalist is being murdered by our government.”

“And we walk by with our earbuds in... clicking away on our iPhones as we walk unthinking, unfeeling, uncaring through our lives, and allow this bullshit to take place in our names, in our courts,” Waters concluded.

Together with veteran journalist John Pilger, the Pink Floyd frontman hosted a rally for Assange in front of the British Home Office in September, that went unreported by every single British newspaper.

As Craig Murray recent concluded, the campaign of demonisation and dehumanisation against Julian, based on government and media lie after government and media lie, has led to a situation where he can be slowly killed in public sight, and arraigned on a charge of publishing the truth about government wrongdoing, while receiving no assistance from “liberal” society.

Unless Julian is released shortly he will be destroyed. If the state can do this, then who is next?

Tyler Durden

Wed, 10/30/2019 - 02:45




"My House Could Be Burning Right Now": LA Menaced By Wildfires Burning Across California

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"My House Could Be Burning Right Now": LA Menaced By Wildfires Burning Across California

Wildfires burning across the state of California have charred nearly 30,000 acres. Once again, high, dry winds blowing across the state helped ignite the fires, even as PG&E sporadically cut power to different areas hoping to prevent its equipment from sparking another blaze.

But PG&E has restored power to approximately 93% of customers impacted by the "Publ

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ic Safety" shutoffs that started Wednesday after approximately 178,000 customers across 18 counties were affected by the shutoffs. Power has been restored to 165,000 customers.

Less than 40 customers in Kern County are still out of power. The all-clear for Kern County is expected midday tomorrow.

"PG&E expects all customers to be restored Friday pending any damage to equipment that must first be repaired before safely restoring power," the press release said.

PG&E said it had deployed more than 6,000 employees to conduct safety patrols, inspections, and power restoration operations.

As far as the fires go, they seem to be slightly more tame than the wildfires that burned through the state last year and the year prior. The largest of the group of nine, the Tick fire, is burning at 0% containment, said Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby during a Thursday evening press conference. The fire is burning just north of LA.

"There are plenty of hotspots out in the incident," Osby said during a news conference. "We’ll have firefighters out all night trying to work on those hotspots and trying to work on increasing our containment line."

He also said that local, state, and federal authorities are working to put out the Tick fire, which has impacted 10,000 structures and damaged several more, with more than 500 firefighters on the ground. They are experiencing winds at 20 miles per hour, with some gusts reaching as high as 40 miles per hour.

One woman who spoke to the LA Times said the fires have never gotten this close to her home before.

Canyon Country resident Marcia Armijo, 60, left her office at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department early Thursday for a doctor’s appointment. The staff there told her to evacuate — and fast.

"I rushed home and started gathering all the important papers,” she said.

She packed an overnight bag and got her cat, Maxwell, and her dog, Hope, ready to leave.

"The fires have gotten close, but never like this," said Armijo, who has lived in Canyon Country for 20 years. "I have no idea if my house is burning down right now."

Despite President Trump's comments last year about refusing to offer federal funds to fight the wildfires in the state, California has secured money from FEMA to help fight the Tick Fire, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Meanwhile, the Kincade Fire, which is burning northeast of Geyserville in Sonoma County, has now reached 16,000 acres and is only 5% contained, officials from Cal Fire said. Offering some unsettling information about the fire's provenance, officials from the company said the fire started near a PG&E transmission tower in Sonoma.

CNN has a brief summary of the biggest fires currently burning in the state:

The Kincade Fire ignited Wednesday night in Sonoma County, and burned 16,000 acres by Thursday night. It is at 5% containment. 49 structures have been destroyed. It's unclear how many of those lost were homes.

It was fueled in part by high winds that had already prompted California electric utilities to intentionally cut power to thousands of residents.

The Tick Fire, in Los Angeles County, has burned about 3,950 acres, and is also at 5% containment. 40,000 residents are under evacuation orders, and there are 10,000 structures under threat. At least six structures have been burned, but final figures are not yet known.

The Old Water Fire, in San Bernadino County, had burned 75 acres with 30% containment as of earlier this afternoon. There were several more flare ups during the day, but the county fire department said the threat to the national forest has been "mitigated." All evacuation areas have reopened to residents with proper identification.

The Cabrillo Fire, south of Pescadero in San Mateo County, broke out earlier this evening. It has burned 95 acres and is 25% contained.

the fires are expected to burn through the weekend and well into next week, if not longer.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 10/25/2019 - 06:03


Disaster Accident


Shiller: Recession's "Not Right Around The Corner" Thanks To Trump-Inspired Consumption

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Shiller: Recession's "Not Right Around The Corner" Thanks To Trump-Inspired Consumption

“Consumers are hanging in there," says Nobel-prize winning economist Robert Shiller, who believes a recession may be years away due to a bullish Trump effect in the market.

Speaking on CNBC’s "Trading Nation" on Friday, the Yale professor said Trump is creating an environment that’s conducive to strong consumer sp

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ending, and it’s a major force that should hold off a recession.

Consumers are hanging in there. You might wonder why that would be at this time so late into the cycle. This is the longest expansion ever."

"Now, you can say the expansion was partly [President Barack] Obama... But lingering on this long needs an explanation.”

Specifically, Shiller told CNBC that he believes that Americans are still opening their wallets wide based on what President Trump exemplifies: Consumption.

“I think that [strong spending] has to do with the inspiration for many people provided by our motivational speaker president who models luxurious living."

Finally, Shiller concludes that the next recession may not hit for another three years, and it could be mild.

“Let’s not make the mistake of assuming it’s right around the corner,” Shiller said.

“If the economy is strong, which is what he built is case on, ‘make America great again,’ he has a good chance of getting re-elected.”

But, before the markets can take-off, Shiller stresses President Trump needs to get past the impeachment inquiry.

“If he survives that, he might contribute for some time in boosting the market,” said Shiller.

“We’re maybe in the Trump era, and I think that Donald Trump by inspiration had an effect on the market - not just tax cutting.”

He sees this as the biggest threat to his optimistic forecast.

Tyler Durden

Mon, 10/21/2019 - 18:05


Business Finance


No one would be so scummy as to scam a charity, right? UK orgs find out the hard way

logicfish Security would scummy scam charity right orgs find hard All http://go.theregister.com   Discuss    Share
Research blames 'culture of trust' for weak fraud protections

UK charities are misjudging the risks of fraud, according to research from the Charity Commission and the Fraud Advisory Panel.…


Goldman: These Are The Two Huge Risks Facing Traders Right Now

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Goldman: These Are The Two Huge Risks Facing Traders Right Now

Back on September 8, just hours before September's notorious "quant crash" that sent "momentum" and "growth" stocks tumbling and "value" and "most-shorted" names surging...

... alongside a sharp spike in interest rates which crashed the "market-neutral" momentum index...

... and which also crippled Long/Short hedge funds who had

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ridden the growth vs momentum divergence to unprecedented extremes only to suffer in the fallout of the trade's reversal, sending Goldman's Hedge Fund VIP basket tumbling as stock with a high hedge fund ownership concentration hit a 1+ year low...

... Morgan Stanley made an prescient warning, one which we discussed in "Morgan Stanley Spots A Major Challenge Facing Today’s Market: What If Things Get Better?"  As the bank's cross-asset strategist Andrew Sheets wrote that "this week’s rally shined a light on the market’s bull case, and the importance of a better economy to that story. Given our cautious views on growth, trade progress and central bank action relative to consensus, we maintain our cautious stance. But this week was a shot across the bow: if we’re wrong and growth is set to reaccelerate, the market isn’t positioned for it. The moves could be large."

Ever since then, traders have been obsessed by the threat that the world is shifting away from a decelerating growth trajectory and re-entering growth, albeit week; more specifically, traders have been extremely cautious in identifying key inflection points which transform the "bad news is good news" regime to a "bad news is bad news" again.

Well, as Goldman writes on Friday, after being mostly negative YTD, macro surprises have turned positive for the first time since April 2019, if only marginally, as Goldman's "global CAI Innovations index" has turned sharply higher in recent weeks, even if it remains negative.

A less subjective interpretation of incoming data, if one coming sentiment surveys, confirms that an inflection point was recently reached, as the global manufacturing depression appears to be finally bottoming out; to wit, after the longest slowdown in global manufacturing PMIs on record, PMI prints have finally posted an increase in the last 2 months.

Of course, with some $15 trillion in debt still trading at negative yields and traders still predominantly positioned for continued downside in yields, what the above observations of a potential inflection point to global growth - and inflation - imply, is that yields could go sharply higher from here as a waterfall liquidation, coupled with the occasional VaR shock, results in a furious selloff in duration as inflation expectations reprice higher.

This, as Morgan Stanley first hinted over a month ago, and as the quant crash from mid-September showed vividly, is a major problem, because as Goldman's Christian Mueller-Glissman explains, "a sustained increase in real yields due to better growth could also drive a violent procyclical rotation across and within assets, similar to 2H 2016. This could hit a lot of the popular rotation trades YTD as the combination of structural and cyclical growth concerns and lower real yields has led to concentrated positioning."

To dramatically underscore this point, the Goldman strategist also brings attention to the "sharp (albeit temporary) rotation in September", which served as a "preview" of what is to come should growth return to the global economy. More importantly, as the chart below - which plots the 3-month correlation of popular rotation trades with real yields - shows,  the extreme negative correlation, or "asymmetry" between real yields and "consensus trades"  has never been greater!

In other words, whereas the S&P500 is up roughly 20% YTD, not only are most traders lagging - as we showed recently in our latest hedge fund performance report - the broadest benchmark, but they all appear to be pursuing the same consensus trades.

Intuitively this makes sense: after all, the worse the news, the most likely central banks are to engage in further easing and unroll even more accommodative policies. And sure enough, as Goldman notes, support from monetary policy is already fading:

Initially this came alongside a sharp steepening of US yield curves and an increase in US 10-year TIPS yields - a reversal of the ‘risk off’ move in August - as PC1 ‘ Global growth’ recovered at the same time. But since October PC2 has declined further, even as PC1 fell sharply at the beginning of the month.

In short, as Goldman concludes, in the near-term it seems increasingly difficult for G3 central banks to surprise in a dovish direction without weaker growth first.

What the above means, said simply, is that the biggest risk traders face, is not some geopolitical shock, Impeachment inquiry, trade war, or economic slowdown, but - paradoxically - the threat that things are getting better again. Or as Morgan Stanley warned more than a month ago, "if growth is set to reaccelerate, the market isn’t positioned for it. The moves could be large."

Ok... so if growth is the biggest risk then the playbook is simple: hope for even more bad news, and more easy policies. Simple, right?

Well, not quite, because as Goldman admits, whereas "good news" is the biggest near-term risk to consensus trades, more bad news could end up being just as bad. Or, as Glissman writes, "until a meaningful growth pick-up comes, markets remain vulnerable to negative shocks, and as a result the range could get 'fatter.' With the fading search for yield, the correlation of the VIX with US 10-year TIPS yields has turned sharply negative.

This is notable, because a similar extreme correlation between the VIX and TIPS yields was observed during the Tech Bubble Burst (2001/02), the GFC (2008), the Euro area crisis (2011) and the EM/Oil crisis (2015/16).

Intuitively, this too makes sense, as lower real yields from here "could signal increased recession risks, e.g., a spillover from weak global manufacturing to services and the labor markets, and thus higher risk premia across assets would outweigh lower discount rates."

Of course, since there is now at least one generation of traders who has never appreciated that bad economic news actually means bad news for stocks, Goldman points out that - at least in theory, and in a world where central banks don't manipulate all signals - "S&P 500 volatility tends to increase with weaker US growth" yet since this is anything but a normal world, as Goldman's US Current Activity Indicator has declined YTD, the VIX has barely budged.

This will change, because as Glissman writes next, "shocks from policy, politics and geopolitics could quickly drive more volatility: there is a growing gap between the VIX and global/US economic policy uncertainty indices given increased concerns around geopolitical developments in the Middle East and Hong Kong, as well as domestic politics in the US."

In other words, after years in which both good and bad news was interpreted as good news for stocks by traders, we are now entering a rather unpleasant phase for market, one where any "good news" could spark an unprecedented collapse in consensus trades, wiping out years of gains, on one hand and where continued economic slowdown could in turn spark a VIX shockwave, similar to the one seen just as the tech bubble burst and global financial crisis erupted.

In short, after years in which every idiot trader made money regardless of how they were positioned, mean reversion is finally coming... and it will be a bitch.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 10/19/2019 - 15:22


Business Finance


Waffling Warren Confirms Gender-Reassignment Surgery Is Now A Right

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Waffling Warren Confirms Gender-Reassignment Surgery Is Now A Right

Authored by Kelli Ballard via LibertyNation.com,

What is a right? We often hear politicians running for office standing on their soapboxes and preaching to the masses about individuals’ rights and how they, if elected, will make sure their constituents get what they are owed. The distinction between what is just and what is privileged is

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blurred, and now more confusing than ever. Prisoners, for example, do have some rights: food, shelter, health care. But, when it comes to medical issues, should the taxpayers be forced to fund transgender reassignment surgery? Apparently, Rep. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) now thinks so.

At a recent LGBTQ town hall meeting, Warren received thundering applause for stating that the gender reassignment surgery should be provided free of charge to transgender prisoners: “gender-affirming surgery,” she said was “important and the appropriate medical care.”

This is a direct about-face from her 2012 statement:

“I don’t think it’s a good use of taxpayer dollars.”

Fauxcahontas backpaddled and asked forgiveness for the earlier statement, saying it had been a “bad answer.”

“I believe that everyone is entitled to medical care and medical care that they need and that includes people who are transgender who – it is the time for them to have gender-affirming surgery.”

Elizabeth Warren

But is reassignment surgery a medical necessity? Opposers relegate the surgery as akin to aesthetic procedures such as face-lifts or breast augmentation. A female with a small bust may feel inadequate and uncomfortable and may choose to enlarge her breasts. Is this necessary for the continued health of the individual? No, not physically. But it plays a part in mental health, which is what Warren and those who support such nonsense base their logic on.

However, this same female, who is satisfied with her birth sex, would not get the equal option to surgically adjust her physical appearance. Although, if she identified as a male, supporters like Warren would be howling at the moon, demanding taxpayers to pay for her change. As a born female, this woman’s insecurities and desire to physically alter her body while in prison would be considered nothing more than cosmetic. And the incarcerated are not there to have their wishes and desires met; they are there for punishment for a crime against society – the same society Warren expects to foot the bill for their physical alterations.

How Much Would It Cost The Taxpayers?

We could sit here and debate what prisoners are entitled to all we want, but let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and see just how much it would cost us to help transgender people feel better in their bodies.

Before Surgery

Reassignment surgery isn’t just a trip to a clinic or hospital and – poof – you’re transformed. There are a lot of steps – costly steps – that precede the actual procedure. At least a year before the surgery, the individual must undergo counseling; it takes two letters of recommendation from therapists before the procedure can be approved. These appointments can cost anywhere from $50 to $200 each session, which, when combined with the recommendation letters, can cost up to $5,000 for that first year. Hormone therapy is another must before surgery, and this can cost up to $2,000 or more per individual, per year, depending on the hormones required.

The Surgery

The costs associated here vastly vary depending on the type of surgery (male-to-female or female-to-male) and which reconstructive procedures are to be performed. According to health.costhelper.com:

“…basic male-to-female surgery that includes testicle removal, genital surgery and breast augmentation would cost a little over $30,000 while for basic female-to-male surgery that includes mastectomy, areolar reduction and genital surgery, would cost between $12,000 and $25,000 depending on the type of genital surgery chosen.”

Post Care

But we’re not done here. The decision to undergo reassignment surgery is a lifelong undertaking. Once the surgery is completed, patients still need to see a therapist as they adjust to their new lifestyle, and hormone therapy for life is usually required. So, if a prisoner is serving a life term, taxpayers would be paying for their hormone prescriptions, counseling, and (yes, I’m going to mention it) a new wardrobe to match their new gender. TSRoadmap.com estimated that it is typical to spend a total of $40,000 to $50,000 for a mid-range transition, including surgery. That’s “mid-range,” folks, not the full works.

Warren’s Warpath

Warren didn’t stop at just declaring transgender people should get special treatment in jail and receive free surgeries. No, she promised other initiatives for inmates that are just as controversial.

If she has her way, prisoners will be able to choose which facilities they are incarcerated in based on the gender they identify with, not their biological sex. There’s a reason genders are segregated, and just because someone identifies as something other than what they were born with, that doesn’t mean they should be able to choose which population they wish to join.

Talk about asking for trouble.

Tyler Durden

Tue, 10/15/2019 - 18:40


Health Medical Pharma
Social Issues


Is President Trump Right On Syria?

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Is President Trump Right On Syria?

Authored by Boyd Cathey via The Unz Review,

The unified foreign policy establishment in Washington, the Deep State politicos - from Lindsey Graham and Lynne Cheney in Congress, to the inveterate Never Trumpers like Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal, [“he’s (Trump) all impulse, blithely operating out of his depth”], to the near totality of the progressivist Left (e.g. Chuck Schumer, Diane

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Feinstein, and others) - have come together (as they always do) to protect their sacred commitment to globalism and, this time, in opposition to President Trump’s decision to finally withdraw American support troops from northeastern Syria.

If there's one thing that brings the “Swamp” together in solidarity it is a serious threat to their hegemony in administering America’s foreign policy. From the pseudo-conservative “right” to the loony Left, the one issue that unites these agents of the Managerial Administrative State is the absolute imperative for the United States “to be involved” practically everywhere in the world, the zealous pursuit of “democratization” and the imposition of “egalitarian” values—most significantly in our export of “educational” programs and the various strings attached to our voluminous aid packages. Such programs always follow in the wake of any boots on the ground. They are part and parcel of the Deep State’s attempt to re-fashion the world along the lines and with globalist postulates that are, in fact, inimical to the traditions and heritage of the American founding.

Such initiatives mirror in numerous ways the goals of international financiers and subversive globalist instigators such as George Soros, whose multiple “Europe without Borders” (“Europe sans frontiers”) initiatives involve the virtual destruction of that historic continent by dissolving national borders and via an open door policy towards immigration, most especially from “Third World” countries. Soros and his apparatchiks have run into fierce opposition from Hungary and its valiant Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and, to some degree, from Poland and now from Italy, under its more rightist populist government. Yet, for Soros such opposition is a mere hindrance. He and those internationalists like him continue feverishly their scheming towards a global “nation” founded on ruins of an older, Christian civilization.

Just as with the massive “re-education” of Europe following German defeat in 1945, the results are not always what we are informed they will be. In the case of post-war Germany, it was not only the tearing out, root-and-branch, of any supposed trace of Naziism and antisemitism, but the real and practical disauthorization of ANY actual, traditional conservative presence (including traditional, non-Nazi conservatives), to the point that German history was so completely re-written and sanitized as to make any defense of even pre-1918 Germany—of Prussian history—any defense of a “national German spirit,” the equivalent of “the recrudescence of antisemitism and Hitlerism.” Germans were taught and continue to be taught to despise and reject their past, not just the twelve year interregnum under Adolf Hitler, but in fact its near entirety. The German nation has become, in a real sense, one immense bog of continuous apologies and imposed, never ending penance.

The ignominious demise of Soviet Communism, a threat to us and our existence prior to 1991, in no way lessened the beating war drums and the dreams of international “democratization” or the desire for imposing “egalitarian values” emitted from the American foreign policy establishment. Nor its implicit, if not always seamless, tacit collaboration with the aims of uber-globalists like Soros. The specter of the George W. Bush years, of a John McCain and Lindsey Graham, and of Neocon “thought leaders” like Bill Kristol and James Kirchick demanding that the full panoply of “gay and lesbian rights” be implemented in Russia, that “democratic values” be imposed in Iraq, and that America intervene in Syria, are stark reminders that those policies continue full blast in the Swamp.

And thus when Donald Trump uttered the unutterable and ordered the withdrawal of American troops, he enraged not just the fanatics over on the progressivist Left, but the unelected managerial bureaucrats and Republican and “conservative” denizens of that same Swamp (who hold themselves condescendingly above all those rubes and deplorables out in the American hinterland). How dare the Trumpster question the “national consensus”! How dare he challenge the irrepressible advance towards world democracy and equality for everyone, everywhere! How dare he be so petty and insular as to reject “progress”!

Thus the howls of disapproval and anger directed at the president for his announcement last week that he is doing exactly what he declared he would do, both during his presidential campaign and back in December: withdraw American “advisers” from the Turkish border in extreme northeastern Syria.

Unlike the jeremiads one hears from nearly all the media, including Fox News and pundits like Chris Wallace and Brian Kilmeade, this decision was not unexpected, but had been in the planning stage and in the offing since this past December (when General Mattis resigned because he disagreed). The president just finally decided to follow through on his promise.

Perhaps the most pointed—and poignant—argument used by those who oppose the president is that we are leaving “our Kurdish allies in the lurch, we are deserting them,” placing them at the mercy of the Turks just across the border who have already begun to attack them. Those who make this argument appear to forget that the Marxist Kurdish resistance in that region has been and continues to be, in many respects, an anti-Turkish terror group hoping to carve out of Turkey a large area to be part of an independent Kurdish nation. Over the years they have engaged in various barbaric acts of terrorism and mayhem directed not only against the Turkish military but also against civilians. Our alliance with them, such as it was, was one of convenience: that we would offer them some temporary aerial cover, a kind of shield against their hereditary enemies, and in return they would assist us in that small area of northeastern Syria that continued to be subject of ISIS attacks.

This they did.

But too often we Americans suffer from both strategic and historical myopia. We did not win the war against ISIS, and neither did the Kurds. The vast majority of the fighting was done by the Syrian Army of Bashar al-Assad, backed strongly by Russian assistance—and with the near unanimous support of Syria’s beleaguered Christian population. Some 80% of the country was liberated by the Syrians themselves.

Now the Kurds in that part of Syria may have to look to President Assad for an alliance and protection, and that would not be a bad thing at all. Assad is, after all, the legitimate president of Syria. Despite the best efforts and machinations of the American State Department (abetted by the late Senator John McCain) to undermine his struggle against Islamic extremists, Assad has been largely successful in defending his nation’s geographical integrity and its independence. Just as in Iraq, American intervention—in the name of “human rights” and “spreading democracy”—was wrongheaded from the beginning and woefully counter-productive. Would there have even been such involvement in Syria had it not been for “protecting Israel’s flank”?

Certainly, there are some outstanding issues that need resolution: no one wishes to see additional civilians—Kurdish women and children—caught up in more cross fire. And there are approximately 10,000 ISIS prisoners being held in the area (which European countries don’t wish to take, and who we don’t want either). Hopefully, discussions between Donald Trump and President Erdogan of Turkey will result in some kind of solution for these questions.

Yet, over it all there is the overarching and searing reminder that for thousands of years the Middle East has presented an almost unsolvable conundrum, a morass where armies perish in the sands, where whole nations seem to disappear into the recesses of history. Just reflect, if you will, on efforts over the past fifty years to engineer (that is the correct word) peace between the Israelis and their Arab neighbors…of the immense hostility existing between the Sunni and Shi’a and Wahabi Muslims…of the enmity between the Saudis and Gulf States, and Syria and Iran. These conflicts are not isolated, nor new: they reflect millennia of violence, carnage, and hate. And there are few signs that that will change, with or without Americans in the region.

And, given our very dubious record (at best) in the Middle East, our efforts at “democratization” and “peace-keeping” should have taught us a lesson or two.

Unfortunately, the foreign policy Swamp and the globalists continue to believe that they can reconstruct human nature, with enough American advisers, enough American aid, enough secularized education and population re-programming and re-educating…and maybe a few body bags thrown in for good measure.

In so doing, they actually bring on the eventual demise of the America Empire.

Tyler Durden

Mon, 10/14/2019 - 17:10




That was some of the best flying I've seen to date, right up to the part where you got hacked

logicfish Security that some best flying seen date right part where hacked All http://go.theregister.com   Discuss    Share
Raytheon has a punt at aviation security with bus software suite

US defence firm Raytheon is punting a security suite that apparently promises to harden military aircraft against "cyber anomalies".…

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zerohedge News Editorial   Discuss    Share

What's Right About France's Overtures Toward Russia?

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What's Right About France's Overtures Toward Russia?

Authored by Dominique Moisi via Project Syndicate,

French President Emmanuel Macron is convinced that now is the right time to reset relations with Russia. He has therefore made it a diplomatic priority to restore a climate of trust between Paris and Moscow.

Three compelling reasons underlie this move...

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First and foremost, the international strategic context has changed dramatically. China is rising, while the United States, although still the world’s dominant power, is distancing itself from its global responsibilities. And Russia, with an aging, shrinking population and a huge, largely uninhabited landmass, is a natural prey for China’s long-term ambitions.

European leaders should not resign themselves passively to seeing Russia, lacking any other alternative, align with China. Instead, they should try to convince Russians that their future is with Europe, and not as China’s junior partner in a deeply unbalanced relationship. Russia’s destiny lies in the West, not the East.

Moreover, although Russia is no match for China, it has returned as a serious global actor. Many current conflicts, from Eastern Europe to the Middle East, simply cannot be addressed without involving Russia.

This represents a triumph of sorts for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who first came to power nearly 20 years ago pledging to restore his country’s geopolitical clout. In particular, Putin wanted the US to treat Russia not as a mere object of history, as it had done under his predecessor Boris Yeltsin, but as a real interlocutor. And while it might be impossible to restore the bipolar world of the Cold War years, at least the US would be forced to recognize the importance of a modernized and operational Russian army that could intervene in the former Soviet sphere and beyond.

In other words, Russia is back. For Europe to deny this, or simply to try to contain Russia, cannot be a satisfactory basis for a long-term strategic doctrine and realistic diplomacy.

The second reason for France’s new diplomatic initiative toward Russia is to fill a leadership vacuum in Europe. The United Kingdom, which had lately been the most resolute in denouncing Russia’s behavior, has simply put itself out of the game. Obsessed with the Brexit tragicomedy that has led to the country’s worst political crisis since World War II, the UK has faded from the scene as a serious diplomatic actor.

Meanwhile, Germany, the European power with the closest historical and cultural relationship with Russia, is at the end of a political cycle. It is both dangerous and unfair to underestimate German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but she no longer has the clout or the energy to lead Europe in its dealings with the outside world, nor to rally Europeans themselves.

With the UK and Germany currently incapable of playing a major diplomatic role, and Italy, Spain, and Poland in no position to be principal actors, the conclusion is quite simple: partly by default, and partly because of the sheer energy and imagination of its young president, this is France’s moment.

Finally, Macron’s attempt to reset relations with Russia is perfectly in tune with France’s Gaullist tradition. Mediating between different systems, and looking beyond the current incarnation of other countries, was Charles de Gaulle’s natural instinct. Behind the Soviet Union or Mao Zedong’s China, the first president of France’s Fifth Republic saw eternal Russia or eternal China. In dealing with another country, therefore, one should not be paralyzed by the nature of its regime.

Reconnecting with that tradition also may fit with Macron’s domestic calculus. By reaching out to the Kremlin, he can appease the economic sectors that are most affected by Western sanctions against Russia, while challenging the traditionally pro-Russia parties of France’s extreme right and left.

But it is one thing to explain the roots of a policy, or the rationale behind it, and another to justify the decision fully. Central and North European governments in particular are suspicious of France’s new diplomatic initiative. Why a rapprochement with Russia, they ask, and why now?

Coming from secular France, such Christian charity – giving before having received anything in return – seems either naive or Machiavellian. Furthermore, it seems to contradict France’s emphasis on values in a European Union context. Surely, critics of Macron’s Russia initiative say, the dichotomy between the defense of political principles within the EU and the practice of diplomacy outside it should not be so great as to endanger the cohesiveness of both.

Furthermore, they argue, Macron is acting alone without having really consulted his European partners and allies. He can hardly claim to speak in the name of Europe if he keeps operating that way, always presenting the other EU members with some kind of fait accompli.

Although I understand these criticisms (and share some of them), I nonetheless support Macron’s effort. The West’s strict policy of containment has failed. A policy of engagement may therefore be justified, provided it is not pursued naively or with complete disdain for principle.

Moreover, Macron would be the last person to entertain false illusions about Putin’s Russia. During the 2017 French presidential election, Russia actively campaigned for his far-right rival, Marine Le Pen, by systematically spreading disinformation and fake news. Nor will Macron want Putin to appear to be having his cake and eating it – not least because Russia is persisting in the behaviors that caused its relations with Europe to deteriorate in the first place.

France has made a bold first move to reset relations with Russia. The ball is now in Putin’s court.

Tyler Durden

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 03:30



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