Gary Cohn quits as Trump’s top economic adviser

  • Adviser becomes latest departure from Trump administration
  • Cohn reportedly strongly opposed decision to impose tariffs

Gary Cohn, Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, has quit, the latest in a series of high-profile departures from the Trump administration.

Cohn, who heads the National Economic Council, had reportedly threatened to leave after Trump’s incendiary comments following the deadly race riot in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Related: Trump’s tariff plan a black day for the world, BHP boss says

Will be making a decision soon on the appointment of new Chief Economic Advisor. Many people wanting the job – will choose wisely!

Related: The five biggest White House resignations (so far)

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World’s Largest Crypto Exchanges Are Raking In $3M A Day

It doesn’t matter whether the price of bitcoin (or any other cryptocurrency) is rising or falling. The exchanges that execute the bulk of global crypto transactions are winning either way.

As Bloomberg points out, while investors have fixated on the massive price appreciation across cryptocurrency pairs, in reality, it’s the exchanges that are pulling in the real money. The largest exchanges are generating as much as $3 million a day in fees – an amount that could eventually reach more than $1 billion for the year.

And that’s using the lowest range of the fee scale…

“The exchanges and transaction processors are the biggest winners in the space because they’re allowing people to transact and participate in this burgeoning sector,” said Gil Luria, an equity analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co, who reviewed the methodology for the revenue estimates.

“There’s a big business there and it would not surprise me if they’re making hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and possibly even billions a year.”

Tokyo-based Binance, which has a reputation for listing almost every ICO, and Hong Kong-based OKEx are handling the largest volume of trading, equal to about $1.7 billion daily. Based on fees of 0.2 percent, which are higher than OKEx’s 0.07 percent for the most active traders, Binance is probably bringing in the most cash. Binance, which first launched in July, has experienced growth that’s unprecedented, even for the world of cryptocurrencies.

Huobi, Bitfinex, Upbit and Bithumb, all of which are also based in Asia, are next in the rankings. These exchanges process between $600 million and $1.4 billion of trading volume and charge fees of 0.3 percent on average.

Crypto

More than half of the crypto currency trading happens on Asia-based exchanges, according to data compiled by smart contract platform Aelf. “They don’t make users go through the know-your-customer process until withdrawal,” Slaughter said. “It’s a complicated process. You can lose customers in the two or four hours that it takes. In Binance, you can go from not having an account to having funds on an account in less than 20 minutes.”

South Korean exchange Upbit, which is among the top five in trading volume, only started operating in October. It’s controlled by Dunamu Inc., which also owns Kakao Talk, the most popular messaging app in Korea. Upbit is integrated in Kakao Talk and lists over 120 cryptocurrencies, thanks to a partnership with the US-based exchange Bittrex.

All of the exchanges are privately held and only a few years old, which often means it’s difficult to pinpoint financial information or details about their management – and indeed, as we’ve pointed out before, some of the largest exchanges have attracted the scrutiny of regulators due to their shady business practices. HitBTC, the 10th largest, doesn’t provide any information on who runs it or where the firm is based, even as customers asked these questions on the exchange’s forum. Bit-Z, WEX and EXX, among the 20 biggest by trading volume, are some of the others that don’t provide those details either.

However, competition from established financial institutions – like, say, Goldman Sachs –  public companies and traditional financial firms may push crypto exchanges to be more transparent and even reduce costs.

“More conventional businesses like banks and funds are likely to acquire crypto platforms at some point to make sure they have a strategic foothold in the market,” he said. “It’s a no-brainer. Financial services is where all the real business revenue in crypto is,” said Chris Slaughter, co-founder of crypto investment platform Samsa.

Dictator For Life: The Rise Of The American Imperial President

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

I’m not a fan of Communist China.

It’s a vicious totalitarian regime that routinely employs censorship, surveillance, and brutal police state tactics to intimidate its populace, maintain its power, and expand the largesse of its corporate elite.

Just recently, in fact, China – an economic and political powerhouse that owns more of America’s debt than any other country and is buying up American businesses across the spectrum – announced its plan to make its president, Xi Jinping, president for life.

President Trump jokingly thinks that’s a great idea.

Trump thinks the idea of having a president for life is so great, in fact, that America might want to move in that direction. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday,” joked Trump.

Here’s the thing: we already have a president for life.

Sure, the names and faces and parties have changed over the years, but really, when you drill down under the personalities and political theater, you’ll find that the changing names and faces are merely cosmetic: no matter who sits on the throne, the office of the president of the United States has, for all intents and purposes, become a unilateral power unto itself.

Although the Constitution invests the President with very specific, limited powers, in recent years, American presidents (Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton, etc.) have claimed the power to completely and almost unilaterally alter the landscape of this country for good or for ill.

The powers amassed by each successive president through the negligence of Congress and the courts—powers which add up to a toolbox of terror for an imperial ruler—empower whomever occupies the Oval Office to act as a dictator, above the law and beyond any real accountability.

The presidency itself has become an imperial one with permanent powers.

As law professor William P. Marshall explains, “every extraordinary use of power by one President expands the availability of executive branch power for use by future Presidents.” Moreover, it doesn’t even matter whether other presidents have chosen not to take advantage of any particular power, because “it is a President’s action in using power, rather than forsaking its use, that has the precedential significance.”

In other words, each successive president continues to add to his office’s list of extraordinary orders and directives, expanding the reach and power of the presidency and granting him- or herself near dictatorial powers.

So you see, we have been saddled with a “president for life”—i.e., a dictator for life—for some time now.

This abuse of presidential powers has been going on for so long that it has become the norm, the Constitution be damned.

The government of laws idealized by John Adams has fallen prey to a government of men.

As a result, we no longer have a system of checks and balances.

All of the imperial powers amassed by Barack Obama and George W. Bush—to kill American citizens without due process, to detain suspects indefinitely, to strip Americans of their citizenship rights, to carry out mass surveillance on Americans without probable cause, to suspend laws during wartime, to disregard laws with which he might disagree, to conduct secret wars and convene secret courts, to sanction torture, to sidestep the legislatures and courts with executive orders and signing statements, to direct the military to operate beyond the reach of the law, to operate a shadow government, and to act as a dictator and a tyrant, above the law and beyond any real accountability—were inherited by Donald Trump.

These presidential powers—acquired through the use of executive orders, decrees, memorandums, proclamations, national security directives and legislative signing statements and which can be activated by any sitting president—enable past, president and future presidents to operate above the law and beyond the reach of the Constitution.

These are the powers that will be passed along to each successive heir to the Oval Office.

This is what you might call a stealthy, creeping, silent, slow-motion coup d’etat.

Donald Trump has already picked up where his predecessors left off: he has continued to wage war, he has continued to federalize the police, and he operates as if the Constitution does not apply to him.

As tempting as it may be to lay all the blame at Trump’s feet for the totalitarian state of the nation right now, remember that he didn’t create the police state.

He merely inherited it, along with the dictatorial powers of the presidency.

If we are to return to a constitutional presidency, we must recalibrate the balance of power.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the only thing that will save us now is a concerted, collective commitment to the Constitution’s principles of limited government, a system of checks and balances, and a recognition that they—the president, Congress, the courts, the military, the police, the technocrats and plutocrats and bureaucrats—answer to and are accountable to “we the people.”

As historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. points out, “Holding a President to strict accountability requires, first of all, a new attitude on the part of the American people toward their Presidents, or rather a return to the more skeptical attitude of earlier times: it requires, specifically, a decline in reverence… The age of the imperial presidency has produced the idea that run-of-the-mill politicians, brought by fortuity to the White House, must be treated thereafter as if they have become superior and perhaps godlike beings.”

Schlesinger continues:

If the nation wants to work its way back to a constitutional presidency, there is only one way to begin. That is by showing Presidents that, when their closest associates place themselves above the law and the Constitution, such transgressions will be not forgiven or forgotten for the sake of the presidency but exposed and punished for the sake of the presidency.”

In other words, we’ve got to stop treating the president like a god and start making both the office of the president and the occupant play by the rules of the Constitution.

Teenage ISIS Supporter Arrested After Utah School Backpack Bomb Fails To Detonate

A Utah Teenager who supports ISIS has been arrested after a backpack bomb failed to detonate at Pine View High School.

17-year-old Jack Whalen and his friends noticed a bag near a vending machine that was “smoking and sizzling.” After administrators evacuated the school’s 1,100 students, the bomb squad moved in and determined that it contained an explosive device which had the “potential to cause significant injury or death,” according to police. 

Student Jack Whalen and friends discovered the bomb

“I could smell a smoke smell and my friends actually saw it before I did,” said Jack Whalen, the teen who found the bag containing a “round, really fat” canister. 

Evacuated students wait outside

The suspect is an ISIS-supporting male classmate enrolled in the Junior ROTC program – who admitted to another incident at a neighboring high school in which he replaced the American flag with the ISIS flag, along with graffiti saying “ISIS IS COMI–“

Invoved in the response were the St. George Police, the Washington County Bomb Squad, Washington County Sheriff’s Deputies, a bomb-sniffing police dog named Jax and his handler, and the local FBI.

Upon a search of the suspect’s home, Police found bombmaking materials and evidence of his support for the Islamic State.

Based on our investigation we can confirm this was a failed attempt to detonate a homemade explosive at the school,” police said in a statement. “It was also determined that the male had been researching information and expressing interest in ISIS and promoting the organization.

The suspect has been preliminarily charged with the manufacture, possession, sale, use or attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, with more charges pending. 

“There were several factors that came into play yesterday which led to a positive outcome,” police said in their statement. “We’d like to recognize and thank the students who notified faculty and the [school resource officer] of the suspicious backpack. Their immediate action played a large role in this incident ending with no injuries.

Officer Lona Trombley of the St. George Police Department issued the following statement:

There were several factors that came into play yesterday which led to a positive outcome. First, we’d like to recognize and thank the students who notified faculty and the SRO of the suspicious backpack. Their immediate action played a large role in this incident ending with no injuries.

Second, the School Resource Officer program which allowed an officer to immediately be on scene to access and address the situation appropriately. He was then able to call inappropriate teams, such as; the Washington County Bomb Squad and Jax, the bomb-detecting K-9 from Dixie Regional Medical Center, to identify and disarm the explosive device. We’d also like to say thank you to the Bomb Squad and to Jax and his handler for responding to the call out.

Third, the Washington County School District, who have implemented drills to practice for incidents such as this, which led to a quick and seamless evacuation of the school.

Finally, we’d like to thank the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI, who responded to assist with everything from the investigation itself to barricading roads.