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Supertankers tested at Port Corpus Christi (SLIDESHOW)

(NYSE: OXY) crude oil export facility just two hours south of San Antonio in the San Patricio County town of Ingleside. Classified as a Very Large …The post Supertankers tested at Port Corpus Christi (SLIDESHOW) appeared first on crude-oil.news.


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Why Bother?

Authored by Robert Gore via Straight Line Logic blog,
The best strategy for dealing with crazies is to keep your distance.

You try to ignore the ravings of the paranoid lunatic on a street corner, but if he’s waving a gun, you can’t. &nbsp…

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Ex-Texas nurse accused of killing dozens of kids in 1980s

Author: 
The Associated Press
Sat, 2017-05-27 03:00
ID: 
1495849586195520200

DALLAS: A Texas nurse who is in prison for the 1982 killing of a toddler has been charged with murder in the death of an infant a year earlier, and authorities said Friday that they think she may have killed up to 60 young children around that time.
Genene Jones, 66, is serving concurrent 99-year and 60-year sentences at a Gatesville prison for the 1982 killing of 15-month-old Chelsea McClellan and the sickening of a 4-week-old boy who survived. The girl was given a fatal injection of a muscle relaxant and the boy received a large injection of a blood thinner.
Jones was due to be freed next March under a mandatory release law that was in place when she was convicted. But on Thursday, the Bexar County district attorney’s office announced that she has been charged in the 1981 death of 11-month-old Joshua Sawyer, who investigators say died of a fatal overdose of an anti-seizure drug, Dilantin.
During Jones’ time working in hospitals and clinics in San Antonio and elsewhere in Texas, children died of unexplained seizures and other complications.
At a news conference Friday in San Antonio, District Attorney Nico LaHood said investigators believe Jones may have killed some or all of those children because they died under unusual circumstances during or shortly after her shifts.
“She’s been suspected in dozens of infant deaths and she’s only been held accountable in one,” he said.
It’s not clear why Jones’ actions, involving so many suspected victims, were not detected earlier. But Sam Millsap, a previous district attorney in Bexar County, told KSAT-TV in 2013 that medical records at the San Antonio hospital at one point were accidently destroyed, hampering efforts by investigators to prove their suspicions.
Chelsea McClellan died after receiving an injection at a clinic in Kerrville, northwest of San Antonio, and prosecutors at Jones’ 1984 murder trial said the nurse lethally injected children there to demonstrate the need for a pediatric intensive care unit at a nearby hospital.
Other prosecutors theorized that Jones’ tactic was to take swift medical action and save some of her victims, making herself appear to be a sort of miracle worker.
LaHood said the new murder charge is based on fresh evidence that came to light and a review of old evidence. He also said the deaths of some of the other children are being re-examined and that additional charges could be coming.
Jones has been consistently denied parole over the years. She was due to be released next March after serving one-third of her sentence under a mandatory release law adopted in 1977 to help alleviate prison overcrowding. The law was overhauled 10 years later.
Jones, whose case has been chronicled in two books, a TV movie and numerous articles, was “emotional” when she was served an arrest warrant Thursday, LaHood said.
“We have every reason to believe that she fully expected to get out next year,” he said.
Because of the new charge, Jones will be transferred to the Bexar County jail and held on a $1 million bond while the case is prosecuted. A murder conviction brings a maximum sentence of 99 years. LaHood said Jones is not eligible for the death penalty because Texas did not have such a sentence at the time of the 1981 death.
“We will do our best to ensure that Genene Jones takes her very last breath behind bars,” LaHood said.

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Pelosi Concerned POTUS’ Trip Wasn’t Alphabetized: “I Mean, Saudi Arabia. It Wasn’t Even Alphabetical”

Over the years, Nancy Pelosi has garnered somewhat of a reputation for saying things that don’t seem to make a whole lot of sense.  As most will recall, the pinnacle of her illogical ramblings seemingly came in March 2010 when she argued that voters would only be allowed to read the details of the Obamacare legislation after it had been passed. 

For those who somehow managed to miss it…here you go:

 

Oddly, comments like the one above seem to have had absolutely no impact on San Franciscans who continue to re-elect her to public office year after year.  And while we find that somewhat disturbing, it at least affords us all the opportunity to enjoy an endless supply of gaffes from Pelosi’s very active public speaking schedule.

In fact, the latest gift from San Francisco to the world came yesterday when Nancy held her weekly press briefing and was caught completely off-guard by a journalist who asked for her thoughts on Trump’s first international trip.  While this would seem like a ‘softball question’ designed specifically for Nancy to knock out of the park, she proceeded instead to have yet another on-air nervous breakdown that ended with her questioning why Trump’s first foreign stops weren’t organized in alphabetical order.

“I thought it was unusual for the President of the United States to go to Saudi Arabia first. Saudi Arabia!”

 

“It wasn’t even alphabetical. I mean, Saudi Arabia.”

 

She goes on to point out that 4 of the 5 previous presidents all visited Canada for their first foreign trip which she seemed to find more appropriate given its rank in the alphabetical list of foreign countries.  Of course, it does beg the question of why Obama didn’t visit Afghanistan first…hmmm, quite suspicious indeed.

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Ariana Grande plans Manchester show to benefit attack victims

Author: 
AFP
Fri, 2017-05-26 21:53
ID: 
1495849085625503500

NEW YORK: Pop star Ariana Grande said Friday she is planning a charity concert in Manchester after a suicide attack on her show in the English city earlier this week killed 22 people.
In her first substantive comments since Monday’s attack claimed by the Daesh group, Grande hailed the compassionate spirit of her fans and vowed not to give in to divisions.
The 23-year-old, who suspended her tour and returned to her Florida home after the tragedy, said she planned a concert as “an expression of love for Manchester.”
She said that the concert would raise money for the victims of the attack and their families. The date is not yet set.
“Our response to this violence must be to come closer together, to help each other, to love more, to sing louder and to live more kindly and generously than we did before,” she said in an essay posted on her social media accounts.
Grande, whose fan base is dominated by girls and young women, said she had seen a “beautiful, diverse, pure, happy crowd.”
She said that she saw her concerts as a place for her fans “to escape, to celebrate, to heal, to feel safe and to be themselves.”
“This will not change,” she said.
Grande plans to resume her “Dangerous Woman” tour in Paris on June 7. Despite the name of her tour and album, the former television child star has rarely triggered controversy.

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On Gold, Dollars, & Bitcoin

Authored by Paul Brodsky via Macro-Allocation.com,

We have been bullish on gold – the barbarous relic; King Dollar – the modern hegemon; and Bitcoin – the crypto currency investors love to hate. One might say our feet have been planted firmly in the past, present and future. (We may not have three feet, but let’s go with it.) Are we hedging our bets, being too cute by half, or is there a cogent rationale that unifies bullishness for money forms most would consider incongruous and at-odds with each other?

The short answer is we like:

1) gold, because central banks around the world own it and are buying more, ostensibly to devalue their fiat currencies against it someday, after they are forced to hyper-inflate in order to reduce the burden of systemic debt service and repayment;

 

2) the dollar, because dollar-denominated financial markets are broader and deeper than any other market and because the Fed is years ahead of other major central banks when it comes to normalizing policy and maintaining bank solvency (i.e., other fiats are in worse shape), and;

 

3) Bitcoin, the borderless digital currency that is already being perceived as a better store of value than gold and all fiat currencies, and potentially a more expedient means of exchange too. All three should win in different ways.

It may be easier to accept this discussion by first reminding one’s self that monetary regimes come and go every fifty years or so. The last transition was in 1971 and the world is due for another. We have a high level of conviction that the evanescence of the current global monetary system is rooted in sound economics and already has been firmly established. A global monetary reset is necessary and likely.

To understand why we must break down money into its two main components: a means of exchange and a store of value. When it comes to using money in exchange for goods and services, fiat currencies have it all over gold and crypto currencies presently. That’s because governments demand taxes be paid with their fiat currencies (legal tender), forcing producers and labor to demand compensation in those currencies. As a result, banking, payment systems and all goods and service channels are set up to use fiat-sponsored currencies.

When it comes to a store of value, however, the factors of production may choose to save in whatever form of money they want. If the general perception is that government-sponsored, bank system-created fiat currencies will have to be greatly diluted in the future so that systemic debts can be serviced and repaid, then savers will migrate to money forms with capped floats, like gold and Bitcoin.

Prior to 1971, if a major government-sponsored currency was threatened with dilution, global sovereigns and savers and producers would exchange that currency for gold at a fixed exchange rate to the dollar. Or, they could simply exchange that currency for another currency less likely to be diluted. In the current regime, all economies are highly levered and all fiat currencies must be greatly diluted in the future. It comes down to timing and we think the US dollar is the best positioned of all major fiat currencies. That said, it will eventually have to be diluted too and will lose value in gold and Bitcoin terms.

As mentioned above, gold is still owned by the world’s major treasury ministries and central banks. (In fact, it is effectively the only asset on the Fed’s balance sheet that is not someone else’s liability.) If US or global economic growth were to fall enough, or contract, and central bank monetary and credit policies were to fail to stimulate positive growth, then the value of all outstanding sovereign, household and corporate debt (and bank and bondholder assets) would become stressed.

The Fed would have no choice but to devalue dollars against its other asset – gold. Other central banks would either follow suit or go along with a coordinated plan to fix their currencies to the dollar (i.e., a new Bretton-Woods agreement). If this were to happen the price of gold in dollar terms would rise by as much as five to ten times current levels, in our view. (We arrive at this magnitude of change by taking the level of bank assets needed to be reserved and then using the Bretton Woods formula for currency valuation, base money divided by gold holdings.)

The new gold price would reflect a level at which gold holders would be willing to exchange their gold for the diluting currency. This dynamic is basically what happened in another form with US interest rates in 1980/1981. US treasury yields were forced higher by the Fed (22 percent to 15 percent along the inverted yield curve), a level at which trade partners like OPEC would accept dollars with a floating exchange rate.

Finally, Bitcoin. The BTC/USD exchange rate has gotten a lot of notice lately because it has almost doubled in the last month (se chart below)…

To listen to financial media commentary, the extraordinary move must be the result of unsophisticated financial rubes looking to get rich quick on the latest tulip fad.

We disagree. While the dollar price of BTC may drop significantly any time as it reflects people’s understanding of dynamic global economic and monetary conditions and of Bitcoin itself, we are highly confident the exchange rate will appreciate dramatically from current levels over time.

To be sure, faith in the flexible exchange rate fiat monetary system remains strong in G7 economies and those that actively trade with them. But major currencies require continued faith in perpetual growth without recessions and that highly leveraged, irreconcilable balance sheets will never have to be diluted.

Meanwhile, access to Bitcoin takes only internet connectivity, it is free to store, and there is no need to hide it traveling across borders. Bitcoin, itself or as a proxy for all crypto currencies, is quickly becoming a more reliable and accessible store of value for 5 billion people across the world residing in economies without major currencies, strong central banks or stable pegs.

The store-of-value benefit is beginning to make itself clear to wealth holders in developed economies too, those becoming aware of the need for future fiat currency inflation by monetary authorities.

Those unfamiliar with crypto currencies tend to fear bubble bursting outcomes. While this fear is understandable given its newness, complexity, past volatile market action and lack of a central or sovereign regulator, it is not reality-based. Bitcoin cannot be successfully hacked due to its underlying block chain recordkeeping system, which documents every transaction and every sequential custodian in the chain (all anonymously to the world). No one can create Bitcoins outside its system or sell Bitcoins that do not exist.

Further, Bitcoin’s float cannot be diluted without the express agreement of 51 percent of all Bitcoin holders. Bitcoins are widely dispersed across the world and there is no central authority with a political agenda. It is inconceivable why Bitcoin holders would agree to being diluted anytime soon.

At a $50 billion total market valuation, of which Bitcoin is about $30 billion, crypto currencies have almost incalculable appreciation potential vis-à-vis fiat currencies. They should gain significant market share for store of value purposes, and this could be sped up if payment systems adopt Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, or another crypto currency as a global means of exchange. After all, global fiat money amounts to nearly $100 trillion.

Many of us who have toiled over the years as professional investors are deluded with the explicit or subconscious expectation that the perception of wealth and markets will someday revert to what they were five, ten or twenty years ago. They will not, in our view. Yes, this time IS different (as it always has been). Our money will change (as it always has).

Given the highly leveraged state of the current monetary regime, the most dominant variable for future wealth maintenance and creation, in our view, may not be asset selection but rather money selection. Something to think about…

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Connecticut Credit Risk Soars To Record High As Tax Receipts Tumble

Connecticut’s general-obligation bonds are riskier than ever as plummeting income-tax collections and a $2.3 billion budget deficit moved all three credit rating companies to downgrade its debt.

 

As Bloomberg details, tax receipts for the current fiscal year ending in June will be about $451 million short of estimates from January, prompting Governor Dannel Malloy to empty the state’s already small budget stabilization fund. To help close the gap, public employees agreed to accept a 3-year wage freeze and to contribute more for their pension and health-care benefits under a tentative deal that would save more than $1.5 billion over the next two years.

As we previously detailed, The state of Connecticut has been hit hard by the double whammy of a deteriorating local economy, coupled with a plunge in hedge fund profits – as well as hedge fund managers permanently relocating to Florida – leading to a collapse in tax revenues. According to the the latest Connecticut budget released last week, the state is reeling from the consequences of sliding tax revenue from the super-rich, i.e. the state’s hedge fund managers. The latest figures showed that tax revenue from the state’s top 100 highest-paying taxpayers declined 45% from 2015 to 2016. The drop adds up to a $200 million revenue loss for Connecticut.

In a dramatic, if of questionable credibility, soundbite Department of Revenue Services Commissioner Kevin Sullivan says these wealthy people are “dramatically less wealthy than they were before.” He was referring to annual income, not actual asset holdings, because judging by the all time high in the S&P, the local financial elite have never had a higher net worth.

“When you look at the top 75, top 50 … this is a group of wealthy people who are dramatically less wealthy than they were before,” said Kevin Sullivan, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. “These folks, for a number of reasons, are either not realizing as much income or don’t have as much income.”

Just don’t expect tears from the general public. Sullivan also noted how several international hedge funds have recently failed, resulting in “significant retrenchment” from investors. That drop in tolerance for risk brings smaller margins and ultimately less personal income for the state to tax, he added. It’s fascinating how the Fed’s central planning, superficially meant to restore “confidence” in a rigged, manipulated market is having such proound and adverse 2nd and 3rd order effects on state budgets.

Sullivan also acknowledged part of revenue decline can also be attributed to “a handful” of wealthy individuals who moved to more tax-friendly states — an issue frequently raised by legislative Republicans, who argue Connecticut’s tax policies encourage the state’s super-rich to move out.

None of this should be a surprise… it’s no wonder more people than ever are looking to leave the increasing tax burden of this troubled state?

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Shari’ah-Compliant Crypto Gold: Could Islam Be Preparing For A New World Reserve Currency?

Authored by Shannara Johnson via HardAssetAlliance.com,
It all started pretty harmlessly: in December 2016, after about 12 months of deliberations, the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and the World Gold …

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