Market Morning: Libra Letdown, Bezos Hacked, Trump Complains, Dirty Water

Market Morning

Libra Stablecoin Gets Door Slammed in Face in Australia, Switzerland

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Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) stablecoin cryptocurrency Libra  is bashing its head against a wall of regulators and the wall won’t budge. Monetary authorities in Australia and Switzerland are the latest to give Libra a hard time, which is understandable since if and when it goes into circulation, it could displace the banking system and its symbiotic/parasitic relationship with the government/citizenry respectively.

Swiss authorities went so far as to say that the project is a “failure” even though it hasn’t even gotten off the ground yet. Swiss finance minister Ueli Maurer called it “insufficient” because they weren’t approved by the guardian monopolists of the currency supply, central banks. Apparently, authorities outside the United States are taking their cue from the Securities and Exchange Commission. At this point it is still technically possible for Libra to eventually get off the ground, but considering the intense vested interests here, it is at this point highly unlikely to ever be approved by any major economy.

Bezos Phone Hacked By Saudis, Probably

In yet more damning evidence that Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman was responsible for the murder and butchery of Washington Post columnist and Saudi regime critic Jamal Khashoggi, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) CEO who also just happens to be the owner of the newspaper and therefore Jamal Khashoggi’s employer Jeff Bezos, had his phone hacked after a WhatsApp exchange between himself and the Crown Prince. Investigators found digital evidence suggesting a video sent from bin Salman’s personal Whatsapp account contained code that led to the breach of the phone. The monarch had sent Bezos an infected video file from his personal account. No word on whether it was of cute baby animals, but it’s possible.

This hack may be connected to Bezos’s high profile divorce, which was connected to intimate text messages leaked from his phone following the text from bin Salman. Bezos’s security detail believes that the Saudis may have provided the texts to the tabloid that ended up publishing them, citing the tabloid’s business relationship with the Saudis. The chances that this new evidence will lead to anything substantive in terms of altering the US relationship with Saudi Arabia is essentially zero, since the global hegemony of the US dollar, and therefore Washington’s ability to impose sanctions on any country, depends mostly on the backing of Saudi Arabian oil.

Trump Continues to Complain that the Fed Isn’t Printing Enough Money

President Donald Trump thinks the Federal Reserve still isn’t printing enough money, even though it is printing between $75 and $100 billion every day now in order to keep the repo markets afloat. He said that economic growth, as measured by GDP which is just a measure of the amount of money being transferred and therefore is usually commensurate with the amount of money in the system, would be closer to 4% if the Fed hadn’t tapped the breaks ever so slightly in 2015 when it barely raised interest rates at all. Making excuses for the low growth rate since his presidency began, he said in an interview with CNBC, “But we had Boeing. We had the big strike with General Motors. We had things happen that are very unusual to happen.” He also said the Dow (NYSEARCA:DIA) would be 5,000 to 10,000 points higher, which he thinks is a good thing.

US Drinking Water Far More Contaminated Than Previously Thought

Thirsty? Better hope not, because the water isn’t so clean. Contamination of US drinking water with man-made “forever chemicals” is much worse than previously though. The worst cities are Miami, Philadelphia, and New Orleans, according to a report by the Environmental Working Group publicizing unpublished Environmental Protection Agency documents. The chemicals, called PFAS, were first spilled into the water supply by DuPont (NYSE:DD), who used PFAS as a precursor in the manufacture of Teflon, Scotchguard, and other stuff that makes things waterproof and scratch-resistant. According to the EWG, previous estimates in 2018 by the EPA as to the level of contamination, are probably far too low.

The chemicals do not break down naturally in the environment, making it similar in that sense to the consequences of a Chernobyl-style nuclear accident, except this time it wasn’t exactly an accident. Tap water taken by EWG from 44 sites in 31 states had detectable PFAS in it. Seattle and Tuscaloosa are OK, so if you want safe water, go there. In 34 places where EWG conducted tests, the results were not reported by the EPA or any state environmental agency, probably since it would make them look bad and they can’t be fired so why bother. The EPA has said that it is “working to put limits” on the chemicals but didn’t say when it would actually finish “working” on this, having known about the issues for nearly 20 years now.

The US Department of Health and Human Services, in charge of health and serving humans, also said in a report in 2018 that the risk level of exposure to these chemicals should be 10 times lower than what the EPA recommends. Both the White House and the EPA tried to stop the report from being published, according to Reuters. But hey, the stock market’s really high, and would be so much higher if the Fed just printed more money. So that’s nice.




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