Monday, 19 December 2016

The Electors Meet.

Baltic Dry Index. 946 -20   Brent Crude 55.58

LIR Gold Target in 2019: $30,000.  Revised due to QE programs.

Eurasian Snow cover. (How bad will winter be?)

What improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconveniency to the whole. No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.
Adam Smith. The Wealth Of Nations, Book I.

We open today with America, where later today the US Electors are expected to remain faithful, and vote to confirm Donald Trump as the next US President.  Far left Democratic sore losers are muddying the waters with allegations that “it’s Putin what won it” for Trump, to alter Murdoch’s Sun newspaper  notorious headline of April 11, 1992, after John Major’s unexpected Conservative Party victory in the general election.  Despite the Democratic attempt to dump Trump, few electors are expected to be swayed. Besides WikiLeaks says that the emails were an internal leak and not an outside hack.

U.S. electors expected to officially confirm Trump victory

Mon Dec 19, 2016 | 1:03am EST
The U.S. Electoral College is expected on Monday to officially select Republican Donald Trump as the next president in a vote that is usually routine but takes place this year amid allegations of Russian hacking to try to influence the election.

At meetings scheduled in every state and the District of Columbia, the institution's 538 electors, generally chosen by state parties, will cast official ballots for president and vice president.

It is highly unlikely the vote will change the outcome of the Nov. 8 election, which gave the White House to Trump after he won a majority of Electoral College votes. The popular vote went to Democrat Hillary Clinton.

But the conclusion by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia hacked into the emails of the Democratic 
National Committee in an attempt to sway the election for Trump has prompted Democrats to urge some electors not to vote as directed by their state's popular ballot.

The leaked emails disclosed details of Clinton's paid speeches to Wall Street, party infighting and inside criticism about Clinton's use of a private server to send emails while U.S. secretary of state. The disclosures led to embarrassing media coverage and prompted some party officials to resign.

Trump and his team dismiss intelligence claims of Russian interference, accusing Democrats and their allies of trying to undermine the legitimacy of his election victory.

Russian officials have denied accusations of interfering in the election.

On Sunday, Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta, said it was an open question whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia about the emails, an allegation that Trump's incoming White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, denied. A bipartisan group of U.S. senators called for a special committee probe of cyber attacks by Russia and other countries.

The number of Electoral College electors equals the number of representatives and senators in Congress, with each state receiving a share roughly proportional to its population size.

In rump EUSSR news, the lack of any planning for a Brexit result is finally sinking in. Just how much the EU will have to pay to access the UK market tariff free, has yet to be negotiated, but since the UK runs a big trade deficit with the rump EUSSR, most members of the rump EUSSR will want continued access to the planets 5th biggest economy. However, after Brexit, the rump EUSSR is going to have to cut its cloth according to its reduced means.

Every tax ought to be so contrived as both to take out and to keep out of the pockets of the people as little as possible, over and above what it brings into the public treasury of the state.
Adam Smith. The Wealth Of Nations, Book V.

Brexit Will Mean Cuts for the Rest of the EU, Denmark Says

by Peter Levring
Without Britain’s contributions, the remaining European Union members will need to get by on a smaller budget, according to Denmark.

No one, including Germany, wants to fill the 7.6 billion-euro ($7.9 billion) hole that will be left once Britain -- a net contributor to the EU -- leaves the bloc, Danish Finance Minister Kristian Jensen said in an interview in Copenhagen on Friday.

“The EU cannot continue spending the same amount of money when one of the largest countries, one of the largest contributors, leaves,” said Jensen, who had been foreign minister before a new Danish government was formed last month.

The comments offer a preview of the bitter talks ahead on a key challenge facing the EU once Britain exits. The bloc has operated with an annual budget of about 140 billion euros, an amount that is agreed every seven years after national governments fight over everything from agriculture subsidies to research support. The current budget period, which ends in 2020, marks the first time the bloc has reduced spending, following insistence from former British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Denmark, which is also a net-contributor to the EU, last month snubbed a European Commission proposal to increase spending. The Danes argued it would be inappropriate to commit to budget changes before there’s more clarity on what Brexit means for the bloc.

Jensen says the EU needs to accept that there won’t be room for the kinds of programs that have existed to date. More specifically, the “enormous sums” in agricultural subsidies that Denmark, and others, received from the EU over the years will probably shrink, according to Jensen. That means “we need to look very critically at the expenditure, even the more difficult parts,” he said.

Subsidies are a particularly sensitive issue for the EU’s eastern members, which have relied on the bloc’s regional development, agricultural and industry development funds to build up their economies. Jensen says Britain’s departure means there’ll now be less money for that kind of investment in the future.

Elsewhere in the wealth and jobs destroying EUSSR, tiny Ireland is playing David to Brussels’s Goliath. This time around, the smart money is betting on Goliath.

EU Interferes With National Powers in Apple Case, Ireland Says

by Dara Doyle
European Union competition investigators exceeded their powers in a probe that ended in a record 13 billion-euro ($13.6 billion) tax bill for Apple Inc., Ireland said, as it challenged the decision.

The EU in August ordered Ireland to collect arrears from Apple over its tax arrangements in the nation. The government in Dublin has said it doesn’t want the windfall, insisting the company got no sweetheart deal and the EU misunderstands the proper application of Irish tax law.

“The Commission has no competence, under state aid rules, unilaterally to substitute its own view of the geographic scope and extent of the member state’s tax jurisdiction for those of the member state itself,” the Irish finance ministry said in a statement on Monday in Dublin, as it set out its grounds for an appeal to the EU General Court.

The case centers on how Apple allocated almost all its European sales profits to what the EU said were “head offices” not subject to tax by virtue of their tax status in Ireland. Apple says the units, Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe, were never exempt from tax -- and that under the law they are subject to deferred U.S. tax.

“These branches carried out routine functions, but all important decisions within ASI and AOE were made in the U.S., and the profits deriving from these decisions were not properly attributable to the Irish branches of ASI and AOE,” the finance ministry said.

Moreover, the EU failed to clearly explain its reasoning behind the verdict, and its decision contains factual findings on which Ireland didn’t get a chance to comment, the ministry said.

In the coming weeks, the EU is expected to publish more details of the investigation. At about the same time, Apple will likely lodge its own appeal in the EU court. Though Apple will have to pay its tax bill within weeks, the money will be held in escrow, and the issue will probably take years to be resolved.

The tax which each individual is bound to pay ought to be certain, and not arbitrary. The time of payment, the manner of payment, the quantity to be paid, ought all to be clear and plain to the contributor, and to every other person...
Adam Smith. The Wealth Of Nations, Book V.

At the Comex silver depositories Friday final figures were: Registered 37.28 Moz, Eligible 144.82 Moz, Total 182.10 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today false news. Hasn’t false news been around since at least the time Lord Rothschild scammed the London Stock Market over the outcome of the Battle of Warterloo?
Why did I take up stealing? To live better, to own things I couldn't afford, to acquire this good taste that you now enjoy and which I should be very reluctant to give up.

Lord Rothschild, with apologies to Cary Grant. To Catch A Thief.

Napoleon Is Dead! Wait. That's a Stock-Market Scam.

Dec 16, 2016 12:48 PM EST Dec 17, 2016 10:37 AM EST
The news media have been abuzz for a few weeks about the proliferation and effect of fake news. Facebook Inc. is changing how it handles news from dubious sources, while Twitter Inc. is rethinking how to respond to bots promoting fabricated articles. Alphabet Inc. (Google) has rejiggered its algorithms to fight phony stories.

All of which raises some very interesting questions for investors and traders. It's worth remembering that financial markets have been dealing with hoaxes, frauds and fake news for a long time. The wrong response can be costly.

Back in the bad old days, faxes and message boards were used to defraud investors. Recall what happened to Emulex Corp. after a news release that was sent out over a business news wire -- its stock plunged 60 percent. PairGain Technologies Inc., Lucent Inc. and other companies were also victims of fake releases posted on message boards. The list goes on and on: Avon Products Inc., Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Inc., Tower Group International Ltd., Sina Corp., Local Corp., Javelin Pharmaceuticals Inc. and General Mills Inc. were targets of similar scams. Last year, Twitter’s price spiked after an article from a hoax domain that looked like a Bloomberg News site trumpeted a phony $31 billion takeover offer.

The manipulation of stock prices with false news stories has a long and ignoble history. Consider the trial of Lord Cochrane as recounted in the “Quarterly Journal of Jurisprudence: Volumes 9-10” (Jan. 1, 1860):
About midnight, on the 21st February, 1814, a person calling himself “Colonel du Bourg, aide-de-camp to Lord Cathcart,” presented himself at the ship hotel at Dover. He represented that he had just arrived from Calais by a French smack—that he was the bearer of important intelligence from Paris, to the effect that Buonaparte had been killed by the Cossacks—that the Allied armies were in full March for Paris and that immediate peace was certain.

Confederates of du Bourg “dressed as French officers distributed leaflets in London announcing that Napoleon had been killed.” Rumors of Napoleon’s demise had been spread before, but a willing public was easily duped when told what it wanted to hear.

Not surprisingly, as reports of Napoleon’s death spread through London, British government securities on the stock exchange soared. But someone at the exchange noticed 1.1 million pounds in government-based stocks was being quietly sold. An investigation revealed that du Bourg was not a colonel -- he was really one Charles Random de Berenger. He was convicted, as were other parties to the fraud. They all served jail time.

Time magazine labeled the Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814 one of top 10 hoaxes of all time. All of which is a long-winded way to say that fake news has been with us for a very long time and is likely to be with us for the foreseeable future.

It doesn't require a faux colonel to move markets or stocks today. Algorithms are harvesting social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to drive new types of hedge fund. Some are looking for changes in sentiment to make macro bets; others are looking for company-specific information. But can they continue to generate profits if fake stock news begins to compete with real? A new arms race is likely already underway between algos separating real news from fake as they trawl the social networks looking for intelligence.

If we are lucky, these quant funds might find it profitable to lease these fraud-finding algos to Facebook, Twitter and Google (unless it's more profitable for them to keep the code to themselves).

“The world is a place that’s gone from being flat to round to crooked.”

Mad Magazine.

Solar  & Related Update.

With events happening fast in the development of solar power and graphene, I’ve added this section. Updates as they get reported. Is converting sunlight to usable cheap AC or DC energy mankind’s future from the 21st century onwards? DC? A quantum computer next?

New graphene-based system could help us see electrical signaling in heart and nerve cells

Team creates a system to visualize faint electric fields

Date: December 16, 2016

Source: DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Summary: Scientists have enlisted the exotic properties of graphene to function like the film of an incredibly sensitive camera system in visually mapping tiny electric fields. They hope to enlist the new method to image electrical signaling networks in our hearts and brains.

Scientists have enlisted the exotic properties of graphene, a one-atom-thick layer of carbon, to function like the film of an incredibly sensitive camera system in visually mapping tiny electric fields in a liquid. Researchers hope the new method will allow more extensive and precise imaging of the electrical signaling networks in our hearts and brains.
The ability to visually depict the strength and motion of very faint electrical fields could also aid in the development of so-called lab-on-a-chip devices that use very small quantities of fluids on a microchip-like platform to diagnose disease or aid in drug development, for example, or that automate a range of other biological and chemical analyses. The setup could potentially be adapted for sensing or trapping specific chemicals, too, and for studies of light-based electronics (a field known as optoelectronics).
A new way to visualize electric fields
"This was a completely new, innovative idea that graphene could be used as a material to sense electrical fields in a liquid," said Jason Horng, a co-lead author of a study published Dec. 16 in Nature Communications that details the first demonstration of this graphene-based imaging system. Horng is affiliated with the Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute, a joint institute at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and UC Berkeley, and is a postdoctoral researcher at UC Berkeley.
The idea sprang from a conversation between Feng Wang, a faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division whose research focuses on the control of light-matter interactions at the nanoscale, and Bianxiao Cui, who leads a research team at Stanford University that specializes in the study of nerve-cell signaling. Wang is also a UC Berkeley associate professor of physics, and Cui is an associate professor of chemistry at Stanford University.
"The basic concept was how graphene could be used as a very general and scalable method for resolving very small changes in the magnitude, position, and timing pattern of a local electric field, such as the electrical impulses produced by a single nerve cell," said Halleh B. Balch, a co-lead author in the work. Balch is also affiliated with the Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute and is a physics PhD student at UC Berkeley.
"One of the outstanding problems in studying a large network of cells is understanding how information propagates between them," Balch said.
Other techniques have been developed to measure electrical signals from small arrays of cells, though these methods can be difficult to scale up to larger arrays and in some cases cannot trace individual electrical impulses to a specific cell.
Also, Cui said, "This new method does not perturb cells in any way, which is fundamentally different from existing methods that use either genetic or chemical modifications of the cell membrane."
The new platform should more easily permit single-cell measurements of electrical impulses traveling across networks containing 100 or more living cells, researchers said.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished November

DJIA: 19124  +53 Up NASDAQ:  5324 +41 Up. SP500: 2198 +58 Up

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