WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said in an interview broadcast on Saturday that he wanted to give a shot at achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians before moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
IPO soars anew, big art display debuts
Uncle Sam already has unfunded liabilities of $210 trillion. The additional spending required by the Sanders plan–unless it is financed by higher taxes that could have been used to pay down these liabilities–would add $61 trillion to this total. In short, America cannot afford this new entitlement
Just days after the horrific massacre in Las Vegas, and just 5 miles away from the scene, a University of Nevada-Las Vegas professor told her class that President Trump is to blame.
In a video obtained by Campus Reform, UNLV Assistant Professor Tess Winkelmann is seen addressing her History 407 class.
Referring to Trump, Winkelmann noted that “when he got elected, I told my classes three semesters ago, some of us won’t be affected by this presidency, but others are going to die. Other people will die because of this.”
"I don’t know whether these events would have inevitably happened whether or not he got elected, but he has the same rhetorical powers every president has, to encourage or discourage,” she continued.
“So far, all he has done is to encourage violence.”
Winkelmann also charged President Trump with equating “right nationalism” with “anti-racism,” referring to the president’s comments on the violence in Charlottesville, VA.
She then asserted that Trump has “threatened nuclear violence against North Korea, and other places,” proclaiming that “words, especially coming from someone who is the President, have consequences.”
Some students weren’t happy with Winkelmann’s comments.
One UNLV student, who spoke with Campus Reform on condition of anonymity, called the speech a “politically-driven rant” to make the point that “President Trump somehow incited this violence.”
“We just experienced one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. History. It’s a mile [sic] away, and we don’t know what happened, we don’t know why it happened, and we’re pushing political agendas, and that’s what this is about, taking advantage of the situation for political belief, when we should be uniting, healing as a community,” the student remarked.
“At every chance the President got, he condemned this violence. The professor is taking away from the dialogue that should be happening to attack the President,” the student added.
“Professors are in a position of trust, and they’re abusing it to promote their political ideology or agenda. I think it’s dangerous when you blame the President for a massacre, and basically shut down students who disagree.”
“I think it is despicable that a professor at an institute of higher learning, one that is located in the same city in which this attack occurred, would use her platform to spew such hatred and divisive rhetoric,” agreed another student, who also wishes to remain anonymous.
The second student did, however, say the incident was not entirely surprising because “this professor had previously made comments in opposition to Trump.”
Campus Reform reached out to Assistant Professor Tess Winkelmann, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
With the dollar’s recent post-Fed bout of appreciation providing some much-needed relief for Haymarket Capital’s P&L, its founder Kyle Bass sat for an interview on Friday with Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker. During the 20 minute discussion, Bass expounded on the importance of holding gold, his cautiously optimistic view on digital currencies, the misguided notion that holders of Puerto Rican debt will someday be made whole – oh, and Bass’s next big call: Long Greece – particularly the stocks and debt of Greek banks.
A few weeks ago, Bloomberg view published a Bass-penned editorial in which the hedge fund founder and CIO called on the IMF to stop bullying Greece – publicizing the fact that he is now effectively long Greece. Greek government bonds have performed reasonably well so far this year: They’re up about 16%.
And if Bass is right, they could have another 20% to 30% over the next 18 months if the IMF abandons its insistence on austerity and acknowledges that debt relief will need to be part of the long-term alleviation of debt. Bass added that, in the near future, voters will elect a more business-friendly government that will help reestablish the country’s creditworthiness, much like the government of Mauricio Macri did for Argentina.
I think you also have an interesting political situation in Greece where I think there's going to be a handoff from the current Syriza government to kind of a more slightly-center-right but very economically independent new leadership in the next, call it, 18 months.
And so, I think you asked why now? And I think you're starting to see green shoots. You're starting to see the banks do the right things finally in Greece and you are about to have new leadership.
So, I think that you're going to see – and if you remember Argentina as Kirschner was going to hand-off – hand the reins over to someone that was much more let's say focused on business and economics than being a kleptocrat, I think you're going to see something again slightly similar in Greece where you have leadership today that might not be the right leadership and the government-in-waiting, I believe, and I think you know Mr. (Mitsutakous) – I think you're going to see something great happen to Greece in the and next, kind of, two years.
Asked if he still considers himself a China bear after the yuan’s surprising run of strength against the dollar, Bass answered in the affirmative. But the language he uses to talk about China has softened notably, with the investor now expecting a correction instead of an all-out collapse.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has been laser-focused on consolidating power during this year’s quinquennial Communist Party National Congress, set for Oct. 18. Once it passes, Bass believes that the PBOC’s grip on the yuan exchange rate will loosen and market forces will reassert themselves. Meanwhile, the country will also relax its focus on appeasing President Trump.
What I'm telling you is my guess is their laser-like focus on exchange rates and dealing with the Trump Administration is going to be relaxed a bit once Xi consolidates his power.
You know, their electoral cycle is a little different than ours if you want to call it that. Their NPCs happen every five years. Xi – this is the end of his first term. He's going to solidify a second term. He's going to reconstitute the Standing Committee of the Politburo and we think that he has consolidated power.
He's quickly becoming the most powerful Chinese ruler since Mao and the question is will he have a third term. And so, once this consolidation of power is over and the NPC is finished I think you're going to see more natural economic forces acting on their banking system.
He acknowledged that the appreciation of the yuan "has been terrible this year" for his hedge fund, which has predicted that the yuan would fall more than 30%. But he’s standing by the position for now with the expectation that over the next nine months “you’ll see the rubber hit the road.”
It's been terrible this year. And again, you think about the time continuums of these big global macro events.
Unfortunately, it doesn't fit into a nice envelope that works every month, every quarter, every year. And so, you have to stick with it as long as you can and in this environment, I think in the next call it nine months from October you'll see the rubber hit the road.
Bass scoffed at the notion of investing in Puerto Rican debt, saying that investors would be lucky to walk away with between 10 and 20 cents on the dollar. The idea that the island, with a workforce of just 1.4 million people, will ever be able to pay back $70 billion in debt is ridiculous, he said.
These are two different questions – one is, should we help with hurricane? Absolutely. We should do everything possible.
Puerto Rico is just a simple math 101 question.
But on the debt question I just think you have to be a little crazy to think that $100 billion worth of debt or even $70 billion of on-balance sheet debt is worth anything with 1.4 million workers in an economy like Puerto Rico's.
When you look at sovereigns and you look at history of sovereign defaults, recoveries and wipeouts are $0.10-$0.20 on the dollar – that's what I think people are going to end up with.
Asked for his view on bitcoin, Bass said he’s accepted that he was wrong to dismiss it early on, saying he failed to grasp the technology. He acknowledges now that digital currencies are a “real asset class”. While he hasn’t yet figured out how to value digital assets, bitcoin’s deflationary features would presumably make it a strong performer as inflation rebounds over the coming years, Bass said. Bass said he doesn’t own digital currencies.
Early on I summarily dismissed bitcoin and I shouldn't have. And didn't understand – truthfully, I don't understand the depth of the algorithms, the technology and the fundamental foundation of bitcoin I didn't understand. I spent a lot of time trying to understand it in the last call it six months and I believe that the digital-asset class of cryptocurrency is a real asset-class but in terms of kind of how the world views digital currencies we talked – when you look at global cash positions today given global Q/E, they're now north of 110 percent of global GDP. So, we're talking about almost $100 trillion of cash in the world.
That has never happened before in world history and so when I think about inflation – you're starting to see wages move. You're starting to see the price of all goods and services move. The thing that's been really deflationary in the globe has been technology. It's been a very positive deflationary force and I think that's played out.
The technological deflation has played out so, now I think you're going to start to see inflation and wages move. And this gets into crypto-currency.
The collective value of crypto currency is a little over $100 billion today. Global M2, global cash is like $80 trillion, $100 trillion; so, what's $100 billion? The question is, what's it worth? And as a store of value, a media of exchange and other currency I don't think there's any true institutional investor has any money in bitcoin – I know some have a little bit. They have nominal amounts invested but I think it will be an asset class that will work over time. I'm not sure how to value it yet – I really have no idea.
To be sure, Bass expressed skepticism about the red-hot market for ICOs, referring to it as a “digital gold rush” that will end with “a lot of people losing a lot of money.”
I think there's a digital gold rush that's gone on.
I think a whole bunch of people are going to lose a lot of money. These ICOs – you're going to see a bunch of them go completely broke – a bunch of them are frauds. And that's going to be problematic for all the people that just rushed in and so I feel like it's a bit of a mania at the moment but
With the end of the interview approaching, the conversation veered toward gun control. Bass said that he and his son own dozens of guns and are close to many members of the armed service. However, he still believes that the state and federal government should maintain comprehensive gun registries, even though such precautions probably wouldn’t have stopped Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock from carrying out his horrifyingly deadly crime.
My son and I have this – we have this place here that we enjoy and when I think about this debate – should guns be registered? Absolutely. Should people be able to sell a gun from one to another without recording the buyer and the seller? Should every gun have a serial number and be registered with the federal government and local authorities?
I think this is a no-brainer. That's just a pragmatist. The NRA fights that tooth-and-nail.
After all, people need to register their cars with the state, Bass said. Why not guns, too?
So, to sum up: Buy Greek bonds, buy Greek debt; hold gold, hold bitcoin; sell Puerto Rican debt, sell ICOs, sell yuan warning that "within nine months, the rubber will hit the road" on China's currency collapse, and register all your guns…
The World Gold Council has reported that the Central Bank of Russia has more than doubled the pace of its gold purchases, bringing its reserves to the highest level since Putin took power 17 years ago.
Russia’s desire to break away from the hegemony of the U.S. dollar and the dollar payment system is well-known. Over 60% of global reserves and 80% of global payments are in dollars. The U.S. is the only country with veto power at the International Monetary Fund, the global lender of last resort.
Perhaps Russia’s most aggressive weapon in its war on dollars is gold. The first line of defense is to acquire physical gold, which cannot be frozen out of the international payments system or hacked.
With gold, you can always pay another country just by putting the gold on an airplane and shipping it to the counterparty. This is the 21st-century equivalent of how J.P. Morgan settled payments in gold by ship or railroad in the early 20th century.
Russia has now tripled its gold reserves from around 600 tonnes to 1,800 tonnes over the past 10 years and shows no signs of slowing down. Even when oil prices and Russian reserves were collapsing in 2015, Russia continued to acquire gold.
But Russia is pursuing other dollar alternatives besides gold.
For one, it’s been building nondollar payments systems with regional trading partners and China.
The U.S. uses its influence at SWIFT, the central nervous system of global money transfer message traffic, to cut off nations it considers to be threats.
From a financial perspective, this is like cutting off oxygen to a patient in the intensive care unit. Russia understands its vulnerability to U.S. domination and wants to reduce that vulnerability.
Now Russia has created an alternative to SWIFT.
The head of Russia’s central bank, Elvira Nabiullina, has reported to Vladimir Putin that “There was the threat of being shut out of SWIFT. We updated our transaction system, and if anything happens, all SWIFT-format operations will continue to work. We created an analogous system.”
Russia is also part of a reported Chinese plan to install a new international monetary order that excludes U.S. dollars.
Under that plan, China could buy Russian oil with yuan and Russia could then exchange that yuan for gold on the Shanghai exchange.
Now it appears Russia has another weapon in its anti-dollar arsenal.
Russia’s development bank, VEB, and several Russian state ministries are reportedly teaming up to develop blockchain technology. They want to create a fully encrypted, distributed, inexpensive payments system that does not rely on Western banks, SWIFT or the U.S. to move money around.
This has nothing to do with bitcoin, which is just another digital token. The blockchain technology (now often referred to as distributed ledger technology, or DLT) is a platform that can facilitate a wide variety of transfers — possibly including a new Russian-state cryptocurrency backed by gold.
“Putin coins,” anyone?
The ultimate loser here will be the dollar. That’s one more reason for investors to allocate part of their portfolios to assets such as gold.
People will be able to make two return train journeys a month free of charge to attend an interview.