Cyber-Criminals Abandon Bitcoin; Homeland Admits “It’s A Lot More Legitimate Than People Think”

Regulators in the US, Europe and Asia who’ve sought to crack down on bitcoin – many of these regulators are also proponents of a “cashless society” – have been dealt a stunning setback by an unlikely defender of the pioneering digital currency: The US Department of Homeland Security.

To wit, one anonymous DHS source told CNBC that bitcoin has become “a lot more legitimate” than many believe.

"We're getting a lot better through law enforcement tracking those [criminals] and holding the exchanges more accountable," the Homeland Security official said. "I think [bitcoin]'s a lot more legitimate than people give it credit for."

Another source told CNBC that criminals have backed away from using the digital currency as bitcoin transactions have become much easier for authorities to trace. Earlier this month, the IRS announced that it had developed, with the help of bitcoin security firm Chainalysis, a tool to unmask the owners of bitcoin wallets.

“Although hard numbers on criminal activity in digital currencies are difficult to pin down, Shone Anstey, co-founder and president of Blockchain Intelligence Group, estimates that illegal transactions in bitcoin have fallen from about half of total volume to about 20 percent last year.


"Now it's significantly less than that," he told CNBC earlier this month, noting that overall transaction volume has grown globally.”

Bitcoin is vulnerable to law enforcement because each user must display a public ID, a complex cryptographic combination of numbers and letters, in order to tansact in bitcoin. By tracing the movement of coins between accounts, CNBC explains, intelligence and security agencies can follow the money and arrest the criminals when they try to withdraw their ill-gotten games in US dollars, or another fiat currency.

Last month, US authorities partnering with Interpol and local law enforcement shut down AlphaBay and Hansa, two of the largest dark-web marketplaces for drugs and illegal goods. Before that, they took down BTC-E, a shadowy digital-currency exchange, arrested its Russian-born founder and seized the company’s website.

Another cybersecurity expert who spoke with CNBC noted that, when a user tries to convert bitcoin into cash, the digital-currency’s veneer of anonymity disappears.

"Bitcoin basically introduced a situation where we could bypass the money mules," said Rickey Gevers, cybercrime specialist at RedSocks Security, which detects and fights against malware.


But, Gevers said, "in the beginning [bitcoin] looks very anonymous, and in the end it doesn't look very anonymous."

Paul Triolo, a consultant at Eurasia Group, said bitcoin has “changed quite a bit” since it was first launched in early 2009. It’s now primarily used by legitimate investors, not dark-web criminals.

"The whole use issue of digital currencies has become a big industry. Bitcoin isn't this weird, odd currency that's being used on the dark web," said Paul Triolo, practice head of geotechnology at consulting firm Eurasia Group.


"Since the early days of bitcoin on some [levels], the world has changed quite a bit."

Instead of bitcoin, the DHS told CNBC it’s focusing on other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Monero. For those who are unfamiliar with the latter, it’s one of a handful of digital currencies featuring enhanced privacy controls. For example, Monero scrambles a user’s public ID, making it more difficult for authorities to trace transactions.

Even the European Union admitted that bitcoin was never popular with organized crime groups, which overwhelmingly prefer payment in large-denomination bills like the 500-euro note, production of which has been discontinued by the ECB, part of the European elites' war on cash.

Still, global authorities remain skeptical. Earlier this week, Russia signaled an about-face when the country’s deputy finance minister told local media that the ministry of finance and central bank were seeking to “regulate” digital currencies by forcing users to execute trades on the country’s public stock exchange, allowing the government to monitor transactions.

In the US, the SEC decreed last month that digital currencies are financial securities that must be registered with the agency. However, the ultimate significance of the agency's ruling remains unclear.

Brandon Smith: “Sorry, Joe Biden – The ‘Soul’ Of America Is Conservative”

Authored by Brandon Smith via,

Some political figures truly embody the classic role of the divider; their purpose seems to be to agitate and provoke, to instigate conflict rather than mediate peace. Al Sharpton and Nancy Pelosi come to mind. Let's not forget John McCain or Lindsay Graham. Barack Obama was known as the "great divider" for much of his presidency. While many leftists would argue that Donald Trump is the "most divisive" president in generations, I think the mainstream media has proven far more provoking than he has. In the case of Charlottesville, we see a whole host of individuals and institutions seeking to promulgate continued social tensions well beyond anything Trump has done. One of these individuals is Joe Biden.

In a short essay for The Atlantic, Joe Biden was quick to capitalize on the death of a protester in Charlottesville at the hands of an apparent white nationalist, spewing forth a host of cliches on "dark forces" creeping out from the hidden corners of America to smother the light and happiness of the silent Kumbaya majority like some kind of J.R.R. Tolkien novel.

This narrative is nothing new. It is the narrative that was promoted throughout the 2016 presidential election cycle as well as the Brexit debate in the U.K. – the notion that dangerous and "ignorant" portions of the citizenry in western society (labeled "populists") are quietly organizing for a last stand against the "inevitable evolution" of progressive multiculturalism and globalism. They are presented as the throwbacks, the cave people, the Cro-Magnons, the people who refuse to get with the times and embrace the social justice revolution.  They are, according to gatekeepers like Biden, in the way.

While a host of names and labels are used to define this group of malcontents preventing society from achieving full-blown Utopia, we all know who establishment snake oil peddlers are really referring to: conservatives.

The racism subplot to this scripted conflict has always been present. When the vote on the U.K. exit from the European Union proved successful, the automatic accusation in the media was that this was driven by "hidden racism," along with the consistent idea that older generations were trying to live off the backs of younger generations while interfering with "natural" shifts in cultural consciousness. These claims were greatly amplified during the rise of the Trump administration.

I have to say, these assertions are fascinating to me. The amount of propaganda and projection involved is truly staggering.

Biden's hope along with other establishment con-men, I believe, is that he can continue to simplify the narrative down to a series of false associations. White nationalists were present at Charlottesville? Indeed. White nationalists were standing in defense of the confederate statue issue? Yes. White nationalists faced off against Antifa counter-protesters? Certainly. A white nationalist drove his car into a group of counter-protesters and killed one of them? It would seem so, though I still think the man deserves a fair trial before being convicted in the media. But here is where Biden and his ilk deliberately go off the rails in order to incite wider tensions…

At this point, the narrative moves from facts to wild assumptions and misconceptions. White nationalists were present in Charlottesville, but does this mean everyone (or even most people) in Charlottesville protesting in defense against the removal of confederate statues was a racist? No. Does this mean that people who support the existence of confederate statues are automatically racists? No. Does this mean that anyone that stands in opposition to groups like Antifa is a racist or a fascist? No. Just because one man acted violently in response to Antifa and other leftists groups, does this mean that Antifa represents the "good guys" in Biden's little screenplay? No.

But this is the story we are being sold. Not just by Biden, but by many other political interests.

I would specifically reference a recent panel of Trump supporters by CNN, during which the "journalist" was dismayed to discover that none of the people involved was willing to play along with the message that Donald Trump's response to Charlottesville was anything other than logical.

I want readers to take note of a specific assertion made by CNN, as well as Biden, here – the assertion that it is the job of leftist groups like Antifa to "fight" or even destroy "hate groups" or "fascist groups." CNN outright compares Charlottesville to World War II, claiming that because the allies were justified in going to war with Nazis back then, that Antifa is justified in going to war with "Nazis" today. But again, when you consider the reality that Antifa and similar groups associate all conservatives with fascism, this narrative opens the door to a level of intolerance and violence that is unacceptable and also misplaced.

Beyond that, it seems to me that CNN, Biden and others are happily supporting the false assumption that "hate speech" is not protected speech in America. I don't personally care for the white nationalist platform, being that skin color and genetic background is ultimately irrelevant, and as I noted in my last article, some of these groups end up being led by government paid provocateurs. But these groups still have the Constitutional right to protest grievances in public spaces. It does not matter how distasteful one person or another finds them to be.

Laughably, Biden spends the majority of his diatribe in The Atlantic admonishing the very existence of these groups as if they are a threat to the constitution. Stating:

"The giant forward steps we have taken in recent years on civil liberties and civil rights and human rights are being met by a ferocious pushback from the oldest and darkest forces in America. Are we really surprised they rose up? Are we really surprised they lashed back? Did we really think they would be extinguished with a whimper rather than a fight?


Today we have an American president who has publicly proclaimed a moral equivalency between neo-Nazis and Klansmen and those who would oppose their venom and hate.


We have an American president who has emboldened white supremacists with messages of comfort and support


….This is a moment for this nation to declare what the president can't with any clarity, consistency or conviction: There is no place for these hate groups in America. Hatred of blacks, Jews, immigrants – all who are seen as "the other" – won't be accepted or tolerated or given safe harbor anywhere in this nation."

Biden has the audacity to concoct this fallacy and then associate it with the "defense of the constitution" at the end of the article.  I guess the "medal of freedom" he received as a surprise gift from Barack Obama was just a meaningless trinket after all.

I don't know that anyone claimed a "moral equivalency" between racists and people opposed to racism. That is not what the confederate statue issue is about anyway. What I do know, though, is that under the law every group present at Charlottesville had a Constitutional right to be there, regardless of how Biden or others view their "morals."

I would point out that many people, myself included, actually find the communistic fanaticism of Antifa and other social justice groups to be a much greater threat to the freedom and stability of our nation than anything white nationalist groups promote. But many conservatives, myself included, still defend Antifa's right to free speech in public places as long as they do not interfere in the free speech rights of others. This is something leftist groups are not willing to do. These groups should be thanking their lucky stars for conservatives and conservative principles, otherwise they might have been stomped out of existence a long time ago. It is conservative thought that defends the rights of any group or individual, acting in accordance with the law, to speak freely in public forums.

It is conservative thought that defends the speech of Antifa. It is conservative thought that defends the existence of confederate statues. And yes, it is conservative thought that defends the speech of white nationalists and many others. This does not mean we necessarily agree with any particular group's position.  The nature of the speech is irrelevant. In this kind of open social environment, ideas can do battle, rather than people. When one group begins to assert preeminence and says the speech of others is now unprotected, the door is opened wide to battles between people, rather than ideas.

If a person does not agree with certain views, they can always go back home, or back to their own private websites and forums. But, as soon as they enter the public sphere, they are not entitled to insulation from the ideas of other people.

What Biden and others are championing is at bottom the ideology of "futurism," a movement launched in Europe and Russia in the early 20th Century driven by violent change or extermination of traditional principles. Futurism is often credited as being a precursor to both fascist and Bolshevist political movements (as well as globalism), and its core mantra is that all "new" ideas and systems must take precedence over old ideas and systems. New generations must advance the dominance of their ideologies over older generations. Heritage must die out. Traditions must be abandoned. Progress must be pursued.

The problem is, there are very few "new" ideas in the world. In cultural terms, society is cyclical. The same ideas come and go over the centuries; rehashed and rebranded, but certainly not new. What Antifa represents is classic communism and cultural Marxism. These are old ideals. The destruction of a nation's history and heritage in the name of expedient political progress and "social justice" is a classic strategy turned into a science by the likes of Lenin and Mao. And this strategy is merely an extension of one of the oldest ideas ever — collectivist tyranny.

If we are to be honest here, the conservative philosophy of individual freedom and Constitutional liberty as a foundation of political life is the newest of ideas to be adopted by any culture in human history.

When we examine the mindset of the average American, there is definitely a sizable division.  But, one thing the vast majority of us agree on is that government power is not to be trusted.  Only 20% of Americans today believe the government will "do what is right" most of the time.  The largest ideological group in the US according to recent polls continues to be conservatives.  Conservative principles of limited government and individual liberty are the bedrock upon which America was founded.  While many Democrats (and some Republicans) will insist upon larger government as the solution to all our societal ills, this is predicated on the notion that THEY are in control of that government.  Place a host of Republicans in seats of power in Washington and the liberals become just as distrustful of the establishment as any hardcore libertarian (aka – true conservative).

You see, the fact is that most people are really conservative at heart until they think they have the reins of government in their hands.  What Biden and other establishment elites want is to use government power as a temptation; a prize that will corrupt anyone that attains it and alienate anyone that doesn't.  In the case of his Atlantic article, Biden is luring leftists into stupidity and ruin.  Biden WANTS domestic strife and conflict.  He wants the left to believe they are fighting a righteous fight when they on the wrong side of history not to mention nothing more than cannon fodder.  And they think he is actually on their side…

Biden claims that today we are in a battle "for America's soul," but the reality is that establishment elites and the useful idiots they employ are seeking to suffocate the soul of our nation so that they can build their own vision on top of the ashes. This is what futurists do. This is what communists and fascists do. This is what globalists do. America has survived as long as it has because some ideas never become outdated. The Bill of Rights and the Constitution itself are merely the legal embodiment of the eternal principles of natural law and individual liberty. What is new is the idea that these principles must be protected by government, that they actually RESTRICT government, and that, in fact, the only job government should really be concerned with is to ensure the continuation of these restrictions on leadership and these freedoms for citizens.

This is conservative. This is the soul of America. You cannot call for the exact opposite and still claim you are a champion of America's soul.

If Korean War Breaks Out, Seoul Will Send Special Forces To Assassinate Kim Jong-Un

Confirming reports that first floated several months ago, the Telegraph reports that South Korea is preparing to send special forces units into Pyongyang to conduct a “clinical strike” – searching for, and taking out Kim Jong-un and his closest advisers, in the event that North Korea should start a conventional war. The plan is among the revisions being made to South Korea’s latest strategy for dealing with an attack from the North.

Senior officials briefed South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, about revisions to the present defence of the nation on Monday, one day before North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan. Moon told the ministry to implement reforms to the military to meet the challenges that are increasingly being posed by North Korea. He added that the military should be ready to “quickly switch to an offensive posture in case North Korea stages a provocation that crosses the line or attacks the capital region”, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported. The prime minister also requested that the military “increase its mobility as well as its ability to carry out airborne and sea landings” and upgrade air defences.

South Korean army soldiers during the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise

Meanwhile, this is what a “hot” war attack by Pyongyang could look like from the South Korean perspective:

  • In the event of a conventional conflict breaking out on the Korean Peninsula, North Korean artillery is expected to bombard the South’s defences along the Demilitarised Zone as well as shelling Seoul, which is less than 50 miles south of the border.
  • Massed tanks and infantry units, assisted by saboteurs and agents already in the South, would attempt to swiftly seize Seoul and other key cities and facilities in South Korea before the United States and, potentially, other allied nations could land reinforcements.

In retaliation, under the existing US-South Korean plan for the defence of the South, known as OPLAN 5015, the two nations would aim to bring their overwhelming air and naval superiority to bear from bases in South Korea and Japan, as well as aircraft carriers in the western Pacific, although it would take weeks before large-scale reinforcements, including heavy tanks and other equipment, could be landed.

Furthermore,as the following naval map as of August 24 shows, in practical terms there is no carrier support around the Korea penninsula, so at least one aspect of the theoretical plan is currently impossible.

The new South Korean plan will identify more than 1,000 primary targets in North Korea to be eliminated by missiles and laser-guided munitions – including nuclear weapons and missile launch facilities – at the same time as the conventional attack is halted.

South Korea’s F-15K jets drop bombs during training at Taebaek Pilsung Range

Additionally, the military has been tasked with training special forces units that could be infiltrated into Pyongyang in order to target key members of the regime, including Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, in order to bring about a more rapid conclusion to the fighting. While on paper such a “decapitation” move appears enticing, in reality the retaliation by the crippled NKorean regime against its southern neighbor, especially once it has lost its leader, would likely result in countless casualties and serve as the start of a gruesome regional, if not world, war.

Box shares down 4% despite what Levie calls “one of our strongest quarters”

 Cloud storage company Box reported second quarter earnings after the bell on Wednesday. And although the company beat expectations on revenue and losses, it wasn’t enough to please Wall Street.  The stock fell almost 4% in after-hours trading.
It seems that part of the issue related to the company losing its cash flow positive status for the quarter, coming in at a negative $14.7 million. Read More

What Happened To Making America Great Again?

Authored by Curt Mills via The National Interest,

With Steve Bannon out of the White House, regrets are abounding in some corners of the right over how President Trump staffed his administration.

As a candidate Donald Trump excoriated his party’s reigning orthodoxies. As president, however, he is running a fairly conventional administration in his first seven months, at least in the policy realm. What happened to making America great again?

The truth is that the new movement had troubling signs from the beginning. “People who went all-in for Trump were engaged in total wishful thinking,” complains one former Trump campaign policy adviser. According to him, “I think that in his gut Trump isn’t wedded to the establishment. But the idea that Trump’s sort-of vague intuition about this stuff would translate into any serious effort to cultivate the kind-of ideological team that could really catalyze a shift . . . there’s just no evidence of that. I didn’t see it on the campaign. And I don’t think—from what I know of how they’ve done hires—I don’t think ideology is a factor.”

Prominent backers of the New York mogul who were there with him from the early days—Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie and even former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski—did not get senior roles in the administration. At the Cabinet level, only Jeff Sessions and perhaps Michael Flynn seemed dyed-in-the-wool ideological national-populists. Instead, his White House was staffed with business titans and generals with whom he had limited previous association—Rex Tillerson, Jim Mattis, Steven Mnuchin, Gary Cohn and Wilbur Ross. He seemed to largely eschew bomb-throwers or the politicians who most robustly voiced support for Trumpism the ideology, such as Duncan Hunter or Kris Kobach. As early as January, one Washington conservative political professional (who refused to vote for Trump) boasted to me that he was both thrilled and stunned with the cabinet selections.

Roger Stone Jr., the controversial political consultant who sometimes has the ear of the president, has been saying in the press for months that Steve Bannon and his ilk made a mistake by not using more of their “political capital” on staffing choices, leaving them isolated when their mercurial boss had a change of mood.

Flash forward to this month and the editor of the magazine charged with defending Trumpism—trade protectionism, noninterventionism in foreign affairs, and skepticism of immigration and globalization—has renounced the president. Julius Krein of American Affairs is now on the warpath. “Bannon’s vision,” he says, “of nationalist populism is completely idiotic.” He blames the president for messing this up: “The core problem is at the top. It was always going to be such a weird administration . . . It had to be very nimble, and unite all these different strands. And, when that’s missing at the top. It obviously doesn’t work.” Krein singles out Mattis and Ross as excellent choices, but says that their influence is constrained by a wholly undisciplined president.

Are Neocons Better at Playing the D.C. Game?

In the first days following Trump’s election, establishment, even neoconservative, personnel were considered for roles. Nikki Haley, now UN ambassador, has been reported to have been offered the job of secretary of state before Rex Tillerson. In April in New York, she denied the offer, but confirmed the consideration. “The original call that I received to go to Trump Tower was to discuss Secretary of State,” Haley said. “No, he did not offer it.” Haley is firmly associated with the neoconservatives Trump has claimed to loathe, and during the primary she attacked Trump and endorsed his rival, Marco Rubio.

One reason the likes of Haley rose to the top is that many realists shunned Trump. “There is also the problem that few credentialed realists were eager to work with [Trump],” Scott McConnell, founding editor of The American Conservative, told me. “None were willing to play the game of looking for entry points—as the neocons did early on, with at least some success. . . . [Trump] seemed to have made most initial choices based on whom he might have seen on TV, and relied heavily, and probably overly, on the military, where top people were willing to work with him. He never really had connections to either nationalists/populists or realists—though neither group is that well entrenched in the D.C. think tank world.”

Haley likely came right up to the line of the only hard-and-fast rule of Trump world: no prior explicit and total renunciations of the man himself.

“I do think if you’re on the record saying nasty things about Trump, or the Trump family, that stuff can really hurt you,” the former campaign aide told me, in line with a longstanding rumor about Trump’s hiring.

Elliot Abrams, the former Reagan official nixed as the State Department’s number-two man, was one victim of this policy. Abrams declined comment to the National Interest for this story. And Haley’s position clashes and own personal ambition have had very real policy implications already. Widely thought to be a future presidential candidate, Haley has often stepped out ahead of the State Department with far-more hawkish language in her statements and public appearances as ambassador.

John Bolton is another example. Though Trump is an outspoken Iraq War critic, he considered the George W. Bush administration’s colorful cheerleader for secretary of state, national security adviser and deputy secretary of state. Bolton also declined comment for this story. Krein protested to me that Bolton is misunderstood, and actually would have been a great choice. McConnell ferociously disagrees: “The problem with Bolton is simple. If you liked George W. Bush’s foreign policy, especially the Iraq War and the idea of regime change carried out by the American military on a multi-country, pan-regional scale, and you want get that kind of policy going again, the search is over: he’s definitely the guy,” he wrote in December.

Could Things Have Been Different?

McConnell, a prominent ally of the Pat Buchanan movement that many contend augered the age of Trumpism, has argued that with Bannon gone, there effectively is no White House agenda, only a day-to-day quest for survival. And with Bannon’s exodus, along with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer (establishment professionals who nonetheless helped sell Trump to the party elite), it’s worth asking what sort of questions were asked of job applicants on the campaign and during the transition and afterward, if any.

One political professional who has advised Republican campaigns, including during 2016, finds the hiring of H. R. McMaster as national security adviser particularly curious, remarking “I don’t know how they could of” asked him any serious ideological questions, “given what they got.”

“When H.R. McMaster at his first staff meeting tells the collected staff that he does not agree with the use of the term ‘radical Islamic terrorism,’ one would have thought would have come up in the job interview.”

That sentiment—and the sense of absolute obliteration of the Bannon wing in the administration—was seemingly confirmed by the resignation letter of Sebastian Gorka on Friday.

“Regrettably, outside of yourself,” he wrote to the president. “The individuals who most embodied and represented the policies that will ‘Make America Great Again,’ have been internally countered, systematically removed, or undermined in recent months. This was made patently obvious as I read the text of your speech on Afghanistan. . . . The fact that those who drafted and approved the speech removed any mention of Radical Islam or radical Islamic terrorism proves that a crucial element of your presidential campaign has been lost.”

The former campaign aide says he spoke with Stephen Miller, now White House senior advisor, and nothing of the sort came up, at least during the hiring phase.

“I did have one conversation on ideology,” the former aide tells me.

“After I was hired and everything, I got a call from Steve Miller. . . . Steve calls me and tells me: ‘The biggest contrast we want to draw is ‘Globalist Hillary’ versus ‘Nationalist Trump.’”

If anyone has the profile in the West Wing to directly ideologically succeed Bannon, it is Miller. But should he have such ambition, he might argue for a more scrupulous, even rigid system for hiring, lest the administration lets more globalists in around the president.

“I was a little surprised by that” conversation, the former aide tells me.

“And I probably discerned around that time that it probably wasn’t going to be a good ideological fit. But, again, it wasn’t like he and I talked about this or he asked for my views or anything. He just sort of said this is what we’re doing. . . . He had every reason to know that I wasn’t a Trumpian ideologue. . . . But it never really came up directly.”

A Silver Lining For Trumpists?

If there is a counterview, it’s that the so-called establishment forces now around the president—particularly the troika of Tillerson, Mattis and Chief of Staff John Kelly—aren’t really moderates, at all.

Mattis has been labeled by some as a stealth agitator for regime change in Iran, and an opponent of the nuclear deal, having developed a uniformly negative impression of that country’s government from his days in Iraq, where units under his command warred with the Shia militias.

Tillerson, of course, has been called a Russophile by critics—like his boss, too chummy with Vladimir Putin. And his efforts to pull the State Department away from global democratization efforts have been roundly criticized in the establishment.

Least commented on has been General John Kelly, now chief of staff. He’s a confirmed hardliner from his days heading up U.S. Southern Command—a portfolio of Central and South America. Not just anyone with that kind of knowledge of the situation and professional background would sign up to be the Homeland Security chief for a president who vowed to deport millions of people and build a wall on the Southern border, but Kelly readily did.

And who knows? Bannon might not be permanently out of the fold, if he even is at all. Trump is known to take late-night calls from a wide-range of actors, including from chums like Stone. Bannon has also argued that he is going to war “for” the president outside of the White House. His battlecry is clear, but whether he will win that war remains unclear.


Here’s The Cartoon Mocking Harvey Survivors That Politico Deleted

Under pressure from an avalanche of social media backlash, Politico has deleted a tweet containing a cartoon appearing to mock the survivors of Hurrican Harvey

Drawn by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, Matt Wuerker, the cartoon shows a person in a Confederate flag shirt, thanking god for being rescued from a flooded house bearing a secessionist sign (and a Gadsden flag). The cartoonist’s irony appears to be that the federal government sent the helicopter to rescue him.

As Wuerker tried to explain…

This did not sit well with many conservatives… and Politico deleted the tweet soon after.

Similarly, even The Washington Post described the cartoon as “tone-deaf” and “unhelpful,” saying it was a “needlessly vast oversimplification of a very complex issue at a very sensitive time.”

“It’s almost a caricature of what you’d expect a liberal cartoonist to draw in response to conservative Texans relying upon the government in their time of crisis,” said Aaron Blake, a Post blogger.


“The Confederate flag T-shirt. The Gadsden Flag. The reference to being saved by God (which seems extremely dismissive of Christianity). The Texas secession banner. It’s all kind of … predictable?”

Just luck that President Trump didn’t retweet it before they deleted it.

Gold Flash-Crashes Below $1300

After the shenanigans in US mega-tech stocks over the last two days and the seemingly well orchestrated melt-up to pre-J-Hole levels in the dollar, why should anyone be surprised that 'someone' decided to try to sell $1.1 billion notional into the Asian open…


Sending Spot Gold back below the Maginot Line of $1300…


Silver followed suit… with 1300 contracts ($115 million notional) dumped at 21:43:30ET


The Dollar Index spiked as precious metals were 'handled' – note that in the last 48 hours, no dips in the dollar have been allowed…


Was The Bank of Japan at work again?


The flash crash lows coincided with the oddly-timed spike from Monday (that really had very little in the way of specific catalyst)…

One witty Twitterer asked mischieviously, "Was Kim buying Gold futures ahead of his launch?"