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Airline Confirms Flight Over Japan Saw Last Week’s North Korean ICBM Launch, Reportedly Handing Out Satellite Phones In Case Of Attack

Officials from Hong Kong’s flagship Cathay Pacific airline confirmed that the crew of a flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong reported seeing what they believed to be North Korea’s recent test of its most powerful ICBM conducted last Wednesday, according to the South China Morning Post.

According to flight trackers, flight CX893 was over Japan when the missile was launched on November 29 at approximately 2:18 a.m. Hong Kong time. A spokeswoman from the airline said that the crew made a report of the suspected re-entry of the North Korean missile after the incident.

Be advised, we witnessed the DPRK missile blow up and fall apart near our current location.” –Mark Hoey, GM of operations, Cathay

Though the flight was far from the event location, the crew advised Japan ATC [air traffic control] according to procedure,” said the spokeswoman, adding that the sighting did not affect operations, and that while the airline will remain alert and review the situation with North Korea as it evolves, there are no plans to change any routes or operating procedures.

 

Rerouting affected routes is always an option, says Hong Kong lawmaker and former Cathay pilot Jeremy Tam Man-ho, adding that virtually no passenger planes are equipped with military-grade radar, making them susceptible to missile threats in the event a rogue nation targets them.

As Asia Times notes, A passenger jet has a very “slim” chance of escape if targeted by a missile, as seen in multiple past incidents, including Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down by a surface-to-air missile while en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in 2014, as well as a Korean Airlines plane that was downed by a Soviet fighter after it deviated from its original route in 1983.

Such incidents fall under the purview of Hong Kong’s Security Bureau and Civil Aviation Department, which Tam Man-ho says should establish a panel to coordinate intelligence sharing efforts with their counterparts in the region, including Russia, Japan and South Korea.

According to a leaked memo Mark Hoey, Cathay airlines will start providing satellite phones for crews on its flights bound for South Korea, Canada and the United States.

Cathay Pacific Sat Phone

Via Asia Times:

Several Hong Kong newspapers reported this Monday that satellite phones, among others, have been allocated to crews operating flights to and from South Korea in the event that if normal communication is rendered dysfunctional within the Seoul Flight Information Region should there be an attack from the north, Cathay pilots can still contact the airline’s Hong Kong headquarters.

A Cathay Pacific cargo flight from Hong Kong to Anchorage was also over Japan during the launch, and could have been quite a bit closer.

Looking at the actual plots, CX096 may have been the closest, at a few hundred miles laterally,” Hoey wrote.

 

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U.S. Looks To Whip Out West-Coast THAAD After North Korea Tests Long-Range ICBM

Following last week’s launch of North Korea’s most advanced ICBM which has a theoretical 8,080 mile range – allowing it to hit anywhere in the U.S., Little Rocket Man (LRM) Kim Jong Un’s government said the U.S. is “begging” for a nuclear war by planning the “largest-ever” joint aerial drill in South Korea, according to Bloomberg.

Should the Korean peninsula and the world be embroiled in the crucible of nuclear war because of the reckless nuclear war mania of the U.S., the U.S. will have to accept full responsibility for it,” North Korea’s state-run KCNA said Saturday, citing a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The statement came after Yonhap News reported that six U.S. Raptor stealth fighters planes arrived in South Korea on Saturday for a joint air drill named “Vigilant Ace 18” scheduled for Dec. 4 to 8. The F-22s flew into South Korea together in a show of force. The stealth fighters, however, were just a small part of the upcoming show of force: according to local media, some 230 aircraft and up to 16,000 soldiers and airmen are taking part in the drill, which is one of the biggest ever of its kind.

Hawaii on alert

In response to North Korea’s new threat, the U.S. is beefing up West Coast security. Last week the New York Times reported that Hawaii bringing back its Cold War-era early missile warning system designed to warn residents of an impending nuclear attack.

The Attack Warning Tone, described as a “wailing tone,” will be heard for about 50 seconds on the first business day of every month, beginning on Dec. 1. It will sound after the regular monthly test of the sirens that warn residents of hurricanes or tsunamis, the Emergency Management Agency saidNYT

Furthermore, the Pentagon is exploring locations on the West Coast for anti-missile hardware, according to Congressmen Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Adam Smith (D-WA).

Rogers and Smith said the Pentagon is looking to distribute the THAAD anti-missile system made by Lockheed Martin Corp ($LMT) at west coast sites.

“It’s just a matter of the location, and the MDA making a recommendation as to which site meets their criteria for location, but also the environmental impact,” the Alabama Congressman and Republican told Reuters during an interview on the sidelines of the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in southern California.

How good is THAAD?

As ZeroHedge reported in September, the THAAD ground-based regional missile defense system has a 100 percent success rate in test interceptions according to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency as of May 2017, hitting 13 out of 13 targets – whereas the new SM-3 Block IIA missile developed jointly by the US and Japan failed its first test in June. 

Reuters elaborates:

THAAD is a ground-based regional missile defense system designed to shoot down short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles and takes only a matter of weeks to install.

In addition to the two THAAD systems deployed in South Korea and Guam in the Pacific, the U.S. has seven other THAAD systems. While some of the existing missiles are based in Fort Bliss, Texas, the system is highly mobile and current locations are not disclosed.

A Lockheed Martin representative declined to comment on specific THAAD deployments, but added that the company “is ready to support the Missile Defense Agency and the United States government in their ballistic missile defense efforts.” He added that testing and deployment of assets is a government decision.

The addition of the West Coast THAAD locations will significantly beef up the existing ground-based Midcourse Defense System (GMD) located in Alaska and California, along with the ship-mounted Aegis system deplyed on U.S. Navy vessels. The THAAD system has a much higher success rate than the GMD.

The Missile Defense Agency also told Congress in June that it planned to deliver 52 more THAAD interceptors to the U.S. Army between October, 2017 and September 2018, bringing total deliveries to 210 since May 2011, Reuters reports.

There is a bit of conflicting information on the plan, however, as Missile Defense Agency deputy director, Rear Admiral Jon Hill, stated “The Missile Defense Agency has received no tasking to site the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense System on the West Coast,” directly contradicting reps Mike Rogers and (R-AL) and Adam Smith (D-WA).

Perhaps loose lips sink ships, but I’m gonna go with Rogers and Smith, who sit on the House Armed Services Committee.

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Comey Tweets Bible Quotes And Nature Scenes, Gets Wrecked By Sebastian Gorka In Spectacular Fashion

James Comey has been quite the chatterbox on Twitter since revealing his new handle in early November (@Comey) – firing off tweets about nature scenes, bible quotes, social gatherings, and most recently quoting himself – proclaiming how ‘honest’ and ‘strong’ the FBI is amid revelations that he put an anti-Trump / pro-Hillary agent in charge of both the Clinton email investigation and the early Trump-Russia probe – for which the FBI is now facing a contempt action over their anti-Trump bias during the election.

“I want the American people to know this truth: The FBI is honest. The FBI is strong. And the FBI is, and always will be, independent.” -Me (June 8, 2017)

 

Comey is quite the deep thinker. To be honest, you have to have a pretty high IQ to understand:

And look – Comey and his wife Patrice Failor love making onion rings!

Then Gorka shows up…

Comey’s PR campaign then attempted to appeal to the religious demographic, quoting a bible verse (after quoting Churchill but before his Messiah complex kicked in and he quoted himself):

Oh man, throwing Amos 5:24 around like he owns the joint… until former Trump advisor, new Fox commentator, and all around badass Dr. Sebastian Gorka shows up to call James out over exonerating Hillary Clinton in the email investigation before the anti-Trump / pro-Clinton agent in charge, Peter Strzok, was finished looking at the evidence

Hours before, Gorka dinged Comey for buring the investigation into Tony Podesta – brother of Hillary Clinton’s campaign advisor, John Podesta, “influence-peddling for Uranium 1 with Hillary?” 

Tony Podesta is of course the disgraced co-founder of the Podesta group, who left his firm in late October when he reportedly became a central focus in Robert Mueller’s FBI Special Counsel investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

As a former long-time Podesta Group executive who was “extensively” interviewed by Robert Mueller’s special counsel told Tucker Carlson Tonight, Tony Podesta and Paul Manafort were bringing a “parade” of Russian oligarchs into Washington D.C. through a shell corporation operating as a pro-Russia Ukrainian think tank.

The former exec also said that in 2013, John Podesta recommended that Tony hire David Adams, Hillary Clinton’s chief adviser at the State Department, giving them a “direct liaison” between the group’s Russian clients and Hillary Clinton’s State Department, and that Tony Podesta regularly met with the Clinton Foundation while lobbying for Uranium One – the Canadian mining company bought by the Russia’s state-owned Rosatom after obtaining approval from the Obama administration.

And on Friday, Gorka posed the question as to how Comey got to head the FBI after only 12 years in the field: 

Maybe it’s because Comey has had deep ties to Democrat / Clinton interests for years; earning $6 Million dollars in one year as Lockheed’s top lawyer – the same year the egregiously overbudget F-35 manufacturer made a huge donation to the Clinton Foundation. Comey was also a board member at HSBC shortly after NY AG at the time Loretta “tarmac” Lynch let the Clinton Foundation partner slide with a slap on the wrist for laundering drug money.

So as James “hand of the devil” Comey continues to tweet like everything’s normal – letting everyone know the FBI is “honest” and “strong,” while the noose is tightening, enjoy the white-hot phosphorous Dr. Gorka drops to illuminate the target.

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Paul Tudor Jones Shutters Macro Fund, Fires Managers And Regroups After Crappy 2017

Billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones is closing his firm’s Discretionary Macro fund, allowing investors to shift funds into his flagship BVI fund as of Jan. 1, according to an investor letter seen by Bloomberg News.

Co-chief investment managers Andrew Bound and Aadarsh Malde have been canned after the Discretionary Macro fund lost 1.6 eprcent through Nov 3. The S&P 500, meanwhile, was up over 18% during the same period.

Meanwhile, Tudor Investment Corp has had a rough year of withdrawals, losing $500 million from Tudor in the third quarter, leaving the firm’s assets at $7 billion – half the assets under management from just just two years ago.

Tudor Jones will take more of an active role in his remaining BVI fund:

I will be the largest risk taker and will manage a notional capital account equal to the AUM of the Tudor BVI strategy itself,” Jones said in the letter, referencing assets under management. “This means that my results will have a one-for-one performance impact on Tudor BVI. I relish this challenge.” –Bloomberg

Jones also launched a new $300 million macro fund in October that uses machine-learning algorithms to help with trading decisions.

Low volatility to blame

Jones says “years of central bank monetary easing has suppressed market volatility, hurting macro fund returns and spurring investor withdrawals.”

The low volatility market environment has been an “anathema” to traditional macro funds and is becoming a “dangerous place,” lulling investors into a false sense of complacency, Jones wrote in a separate Nov. 30 market note.

“In the face of a shock, investors may be surprised to find themselves jammed running for the exit,” he wrote. The amount and quality of liquidity is lower than people recognize, and hidden leverage in the market will make a mass exit even more challenging, he said. –Bloomberg

Tudor opened his Discretionary Macro fund in 2012 with $500 million. It had 14 managers who expected to benefit from things such as the European sovereign debt crisis.

Unfortunately, the strategy sucked wind along with other Macro funds, which only gained an average of 3.8% through October – ranking as the worst strategy globally according to Hedge Fund Research, Inc.

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Anti-Trump FBI Agent Fired From Mueller Probe Relied On Russian Farytales From Fusion GPS Dossier

A rabidly anti-Trump FBI agent who was fired from Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation relied on claims made in a largely unsubstantiated and highly salacious dossier provided by Washington DC-based opposition research firm, Fusion GPS – which paid former MI6 agent Christopher Steele to assemble the 34-page ‘Dirty Dossier’ in mid-2016.

Veteran FBI agent Peter Strzok – who headed up the Hillary Clinton email investigation, was dismissed from Mueller’s Trump-Russia probe in mid-August and relegated to the FBI’s Human Resources department, after the DOJ opened an inquiry into anti-Trump / pro-Clinton text messages Strzok sent to his Trump-hating mistress – FBI lawyer Lisa Page, while the two were working together on the Clinton probe. Page was also fired from the Mueller investigation into Russian meddling earlier this year.

Strzok’s conduct in the Clinton investigation is now under review by the Justice Department, along with his role in a number of other politically sensitive cases, according to Fox News.

“While Strzok’s removal from the Mueller team had been publicly reported in August, the Justice Department never disclosed the anti-Trump texts to the House investigators.

“Responding to the revelations about Strzok’s texts on Saturday, Nunes said he has now directed his staff to draft contempt-of-Congress citations against Rosenstein and the new FBI director, Christopher Wray.” –Fox News

Of relevance – Strzok concluded that Hillary Clinton was “careless,” in her mishandling of classified information, yet found “no proof of intent,” an opinion which former FBI director James Comey based his recommendation not to prosecute. Comey, as it turns out, drafted Clinton’s exoneration letter long before the FBI had finished reviewing evidence in the case.

Strzok’s team and the Trump-Russia dossier…

In August, 2016 – nine months before Trump fired Comey which led to the creation of Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel, the New York Times reported that Strzok was hand picked by FBI brass to supervise an investigation into allegations of Trump-Russia collusion.

The FBI investigation grew legs after they received the infamous anti-Trump “dossier” and decided to act on its salacious and largely unproven claims, According to Fox News:

House investigators told Fox News they have long regarded Strzok as a key figure in the chain of events when the bureau, in 2016, received the infamous anti-Trump “dossier” and launched a counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling in the election that ultimately came to encompass FISA surveillance of a Trump campaign associate.

The “dossier” was a compendium of salacious and largely unverified allegations about then-candidate Trump and others around him that was compiled by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS. The firm’s bank records, obtained by House investigators, revealed that the project was funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. –Fox News

Dead ends

Weeks before the 2016 Presidential election, Strzok’s team agreed to pay former MI6 agent and Fusion GPS operative Christopher Steele $50,000 if he could verify his claims that the agency had already used to take action. Of note, Fusion separately paid Steele $168,000 to assemble the dossier which had the cooperation of two senior Kremlin officials.

The agent said that if Mr. Steele could get solid corroboration of his reports, the F.B.I. would pay him $50,000 for his efforts, according to two people familiar with the offer.

One report, filled with references to secret meetings, spoke ominously of Mr. Trump’s “compromising relationship with the Kremlin” and threats of “blackmail.

He [Steele] provided the documents to an F.B.I. contact in Europe on the same day as Mr. Comey’s news conference about Mrs. Clinton. It took weeks for this information to land with Mr. Strzok and his team. –NYT

After meeting with the FBI in October to deliver a ‘stack of new intelligence reports,’ the agency ultimately decided not to pay Steele because he could not corroborate the information he had provided.

Never let a dodgy dossier get in the way of a good witch hunt! 

Despite such a low level of confidence in Steele’s dossier that they didn’t pay him, the FBI used the document to obtain a FISA surveillance warrant on one-time Trump foreign-policy advisor Carter Page – who was described as having a “secret meeting” with Putin associate Igor Sechin and Deputy Chief for International Policy, Igor Diveykin during a July 2016 trip to Moscow to deliver a commencement speech.

Not true according to Page

While Page did travel to Moscow to deliver a commencement speech, he told the House Intelligence Committee that he’s never heard of Diveykin nor met with any of the men mentioned in the dossier. 

Page did testify that he spoke with Russia’s deputy prime minister, Arkadiy Dvorkovich, who was in attendance at the commencement ceremony. Upon his return, Page relayed their meeting in a memo to the Trump campaign, writing “In a private conversation, Dvorkovich expressed strong support for Mr. Trump and a desire to work together toward devising better solutions in response to the vast range of current international problems.”

Page claimed he hadn’t spoken more than a few words to Dvorkovich, and had instead gained insight into the Russian’s opinion from listening to the Russian’s speeches.

Back on point

We now know that the original, pre-Mueller FBI investigation into Trump-Russia collusion was spearheaded by Peter Strzok – an anti-Trump senior FBI agent who was fired for sending anti-Trump / pro-Clinton text messages to his mistress during their investigation into Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information. 

We also know that the FBI probe led by Strzok relied on the salacious 34-page Steele dossier, paid for in part by Hillary Clinton and the DNCto launch their Trump-Russia investigation and obtain a FISA warrant on Carter Page.

This raises a multitude of questions about Strzok, the Clinton email investigation, and any other politically charged cases he’s worked on – which are now under review by the DOJ’s Office of Personnel Management. 

And while Strzok is stapling cover sheets on TPS reports in the FBI’s HR department, it is of particular interest that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes is also honing in on Rod Rosenstein and the new FBI director, Christopher Wray for their roles in the decision to withhold the reasons for Strzok’s dismissal in August.

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S&P 500 Bounces Back As Market Digests Case Against Flynn

The S&P 500 has staged a sharp recovery after this morning’s announcement that Michael Flynn has plead guilty to lying to the FBI on January 24th about his contact with the Russian ambassador.

To summarize the plea agreement from the FBI Special Counsel’s “Statement of the Offense

  • On December 29, 2016, Flynn called a senior official of the Presidential Transition Team to discuss whether or not to talk to the Russians about recent U.S. sanctions imposed by Obama.
  • Flynn got the go-ahead from someone (does not name Trump) and called the Russian Ambassador, requesting that Russia not escalate the situation – asking that they only respond to the U.S. sanctions in a reciprocal manner.
  • On or about December 30 – the next day, Russian President Vladimir Putin released a statement indicating that Russia would not take retaliatory measures in response to U.S. sanctions.
  • Flynn lied about this on January 24 in a voluntary interview with the FBI
  • Flynn also lied to the FBI about calls he made to the Russian Ambassador and other countries to try and influence a UN resolution submitted by Egypt regarding Israeli settlements, stating he only asked the countries’ positions on the vote

ABC news takes it a step further, reporting from an anonymous source that “Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians, initially as a way to work together to fight ISIS in Syria.”

Observation and takeaways

  • The fact that Flynn spoke with the Russians in December, well after the election, has been known since February.
  • Mueller’s “Statement of Offense” establishes is that there wasn’t an existing backchannel between the Trump campaign and Russia – at least through Flynn, as it pertains to pre-election collusion. 
  • It’s perfectly reasonable to expect an incoming President to instruct his incoming National Security Advisor to establish a dialogue with a country like Russia over recent and contentious sanctions, as well as fighting ISIS in Syria.
  • If Flynn’s contact with Russia was related to “collusion” in regards to election meddling, he would be pleading guilty to an espionage conspiracy, not the “process crime” of lying to the FBI.

As Andrew McCarthy of the National Review points out;

when a prosecutor has a cooperator who was an accomplice in a major criminal scheme, the cooperator is made to plead guilty to the scheme. This is critical because it proves the existence of the scheme. In his guilty-plea allocution (the part of a plea proceeding in which the defendant admits what he did that makes him guilty), the accomplice explains the scheme and the actions taken by himself and his co-conspirators to carry it out. This goes a long way toward proving the case against all of the subjects of the investigation. That is not happening in Flynn’s situation. Instead, like Papadopoulos, he is being permitted to plead guilty to a mere process crime.

So why lie?

Why would Flynn lie about his contact with the Russians in late January, five days after the Inauguration? Was it because the nation had been whipped into an anti-Russia frenzy? Or, as some have suggested, does the rabbit hole go much deeper and there are aspects of the Trump-Russia story that haven’t been made public yet? Again, if that were known, Flynn would be pleading guilty to a much more serious crime.

That said, Flynn is facing a whopping six months in prison and a fine of up to $9,500 for lying to the Special Counsel.

Who’s next?

President Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he asked Russia’s Ambassador whether the Trump transition team could use Russia’s embassy to communicate with Moscow about Syria.

The meeting with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, “occurred in Trump Tower, where we had our transition office, and lasted twenty [to] thirty minutes,” Kushner wrote in an 11-page statement detailing his contacts with Russian nationals during the election and transition period.

“Lt. General Michael Flynn (Ret.), who became the President’s National Security Advisor, also attended … I stated our desire for a fresh start in relations.”

Kushner said Kislyak, whose tenure in the US ended this past weekend, asked whether there was “a secure line in the transition office to conduct a conversation” about the US’s Syria policy.

“General Flynn or I explained that there were no such lines,” Kushner wrote. But he said he went on to ask whether the Russian Embassy “had an existing communications channel … we could use where they would be comfortable transmitting the information they wanted to relay to General Flynn.” –Business Insider

And now it emerges that Kushner allegedly asked Flynn to contact the Russian Ambassador…

So – unless there’s more than meets the eye, it appears that the coverup is far greater than the crime in regards to Flynn’s decision to lie to the FBI. And whatever the outcome, the hard bounce in the S&P 500 would seem to suggest this is perhaps another nothingburger and not quite the end of Drumpf.

Where were you when it happened?

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JP Morgan Calls For Tesla Shares To Fall 40% In 12 Mos While Germany Cuts Model S Subsidies

JP Morgan has called for investors to short electric-car maker Tesla over concerns that the company is going to need to dillute its stock by raising more capital, and that competition from other automakers will take a big bite out of Elon Musk’s pie, says analyst Ryan Brinkman.

Brinkman is calling for a 40% decline in $TSLA shares, with a $185 price target.

“Tesla will face several milestones in 2018 relative to the ramping of production of the Model 3, which we believe will be difficult for the company to meet, particularly if its substantial miss to volume targets in 2017 are to be any guide,” wrote Brinkman on Friday.

“Competition for electric vehicles will increase in 2018 even as the regulatory environment in the United States may become less of a tailwind, including possible tax law changes and exhaustion of the $7,500 US federal tax credit available to buyers,” he wrote.

Production woes and short calls

Tesla has been under pressure from short sellers for a while, with some pointing to Tesla’s struggle to bring its mid-priced Model 3 to full production after falling far short of expectations, while others have pointed towards the auto industry’s steady shift toward and electric and autonomous future.

One of our principal concerns relates to how Tesla is going to be able to earn even an industry average EBIT margin if it must compete against competitors that are pricing electric vehicles without even the intention to make money, but rather to subsidize the rest of their lucrative internal combustion engine portfolios from a legal and regulatory compliance perspective,” added Brinkman.

Germany cuts subsidies

As ZeroHedge reports,

Apparently German government officials have finally woken up to the realization that it’s utterly ridiculous to use tax revenue generated primarily from middle and low-income households to fund subsidy payments to rich people buying $100,000 luxury sports cars. As Business Standard notes this morning, the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Controls announced that it will no longer subsidize the Tesla Model S as it can not be delivered in a configuration that meets the 60,000 euro price limit.

A German government agency has removed Tesla’s Model S from the list of electric cars eligible for subsidies because it is not available in a version that falls within a 60,000 euro ($71,448) price limit.

Tesla customers could not order the Model S without extra features that pushed the price of the car above the limit, a spokesman for the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Controls (BAFA) said on Friday.

German magazine Auto Bild had reported that BAFA was looking into the issue and could take Tesla off the eligibility list.

Reuters notes that Germany launched their 1 billion Euro subsidy scheme last year in an effort to boost electric car purchases, whereby new owners of electric vehicles get 4,000 Euros off fully electric cars and 3,000 Euros off plug-in hybrids.

A price cap was included to exempt premium models, which Tesla has claimed doesn’t apply to the Model S.

Tesla has replied with a vigorous defense:

“This is a completely false accusation. Anyone in Germany can order a Tesla Model S base version without the comfort package, and we have delivered such cars to customers,” Tesla said in a statement.

”If a sales person told a customer they could not buy the Model S base version without the comfort package, this is not accurate and clearly outside our policies and procedures and we will investigate and take appropriate action as necessary.”

As ZeroHedge also notes – On the bright side, Tesla’s new Model 3 should meet German subsidy price caps…if only they could figure out how to weld them together

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John Podesta Bites Head Off Feminist Over Pizzagate Question At Duke University [VIDEO]

Former Clinton campaign manager John Podesta jumped down the throat of feminist and Political Science major Nicole Kiprilov in front of 300 people at Duke University Wednesday, after the undergrad asked Podesta questions about how he responds to various controversies including ‘Pizzagate,’ Uranium One, The Podesta Group, and Joule Unlimited – a now-defunct Boston green energy company Podesta sat on the board of along with to two Russian officials, which received $35 million from the Kremlin while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.

Via the Duke Chronicle:

“when junior Nicole Kiprilov asked him how he was dealing with accusations of being involved with the now-debunked “Pizzagate” scandal, that he owned 75,000 “undisclosed” shares of stock from a company with Russian Kremlin ties and Uranium One being a client of the Podesta Group—among other allegations—he didn’t hold back.

This is how the alt-right does fake news,” Podesta said. “It’s personally painful because a lot of this is really total bullsh*t. My family and I have been put through this Pizzagate bullsh*t now for a year—which has totally been debunked, by the way.

Kiprilov didn’t have a chance to ask a followup question such as what playing dominoes on cheese vs. pasta means, before the 68 year-old Podesta launched into a defense of his involvement with failed green energy company Joule Unlimited – which he owned 75,000 shares he transferred to his daughter via a shell corporation before joining Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

My relationship with the company that you talked about, that was based in Boston, an American innovative company—I totally disclosed, and Fox has had to correct that twice” –John Podesta

Yes – it’s an American company, which received $35 million from the Kremlin and had two high ranking Russians on its board of directors aside from Podesta; senior Russian official Anatoly Chubais and oligarch Reuben Vardanyan – a Putin appointee to the Russian economic modernization council.  

The Podesta Group

In response to the next question from an audience member about how John feels about his brother Tony Podesta of the Podesta Group being under FBI investigation, John Podesta made sure to distance himself from Tony as he stammered through his response:

“Look I think my brother, uh, uh, A) I’m not my brother. Does it worry me? You know, I, I, It’s, it’s painful. I mean his firm, uh, uh, after many years in business, uh, uh, un-unraveled as a result of, I think of the fact that it was under investigation,” adding that he thinks Tony’s involvement with Manafort’s partner Rick Gates and Congressman Vin Weber (R-MN) was ill advised.

Alas, nobody asked him about explosive claims from a “long time former Podesta Group executive” who was “extensively” interviewed by Robert Mueller’s FBI Special Counsel and claims that in 2013, John Podesta recommended brother Tony hire David Adams – Hillary Clinton’s chief adviser at the State Department, giving the Podesta Group a “direct liaison” between the group’s Russian clients and Hillary Clinton’s State Department.

Nicole Kiprilov responds

Kiprilov – a Political Science junior and UN intern who has studied at Stanford, Oxford, and is the president of Duke University’s ‘premier feminist magazine,’ Phoenix – was disappointed in Podesta’s responses, telling the Duke Chronicle

“Pizzagate was a conspiracy theory, but the other allegations, I don’t know,” Kiprilov said. “If he had been a bit calmer and more mature in answering the questions, I would have been satisfied. I was disappointed that he got so angered and triggered by my question.”

A self-identified Republican who says she is not part of the alt-right, Kiprilov said she felt that Podesta misunderstood the nature of her question.

I did not imply that I believed any of this,” she said. “I think he immediately assumed I did, so he lumped me with the alt-right crowd, which was very unfortunate that he jumped to that conclusion.”

Kiprilov caught up with Podesta after the event to let him know she’s not a member of the alt-right.

Before the night was over, Podesta answered questions about Russia’s effect of the election, stating that while he didn’t think Russia’s efforts to interfere with voting on election day succeeded, bots and Facebook ads spreading fake news did.

“I do think that had an effect,” Podesta said, adding “It eats away at you underneath. You don’t fully sense it because it’s not bubbling up to the mainstream.”

Or, maybe Russian internet bots, Pokémon Go and Facebook ads promoting liberal activism are perhaps the lamest possible excuses for why Hillary Clinton lost the election.

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88 Year Old Pervy John Conyers Hospitalized, Nancy Pelosi Calls For Resignation

One day after word that Michigan Rep. John Conyers wouldn’t seek re-election next year after over 50 years in the House, the 88 year old accused of sexual harassment by multiple women was reportedly hospitalized after returning to the Detroit area.

Conyers’ office confirmed this report, and political consultant Sam Riddle told reporters that the Congressman was hospitalized due to stress. Riddle spoke with Conyers’ wife, Monica Conyers, Thursday morning:

“I just spoke with Monica Conyers on the phone and we want you to know that the congressman is resting comfortably in an area hospital. He’s doing OK, as well as he can be expected for a gentleman that’s approaching 90 years of age,” Riddle said. “The congressman’s health is not what it should be and lot of that is directly attributable to this media assault.”

Marion Brown

One of Conyers’ acusers, Marion Brown, spoke early Thursday – describing the Senator’s conduct while she worked for him:

“Some of the things that he did, it was sexual harassment,” she said. “Violating my body, propositioning me, inviting me to hotels with the guise of discussing business, and then propositioning for sex. He just violated my body. He has touched me in different ways, and it was very uncomfortable and very unprofessional.”

Brown recounted a 2005 incident in a Chicago hotel room, in which she claims Conyers “invited me into the hotel and he has undressed, you know, down to his underwear. And again, it was the proposition of sexually satisfying him.”

He pointed to areas, genital areas of his body, and asked me to touch it,” said Brown

Conyers settled a sexual harassment claim with Brown back in 2015.

Buzzfeed reported last week that Conyers had used taxpayer money to pay settlements to several former staffers who accused him of sexual harassment.

Wait till you see my dick!

The Mercury News reports:

Deanna Maher, 77, who ran a Michigan office for Conyers from 1997 to 2005, came forward and told The Associated Press Tuesday that the first incident occurred in 1997 during a three-day Congressional Black Caucus event in Washington, which she said she “felt honored” to attend.

Maher said while she was in the bedroom of a hotel suite, Conyers walked in, called room service and ordered sandwiches.

“I had my nightclothes on,” said Maher, who now lives in the Holland area in western Michigan. “I was just scared to death. I was married at the time. He sat in the bedroom taking his clothes off. I didn’t say anything and he didn’t say anything.”

Pelosi Throws Conyers Under The Bus

Weeks after praising Conyers as an “icon” who fought for civil rights and women’s rights, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi says Conyers should step down over “serious,” “disappointing” and “very credible” allegations.

That’s nice Nancy, but NBC News reports that Conyers’ attorney has defiantly rejected Pelosi’s calls for his client to resign and insisted no such decision would be coming any time soon.

It is not up to Nancy Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi did not elect Mr. Conyers,” the attorney, Arnold Reed, said at a press conference Thursday in Detroit. “And she sure as hell won’t be the one to tell the congressman to leave.”

Meanwhile, the highest-ranking African-American Democrat in Congress, Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, of Maryland, both said later Thursday that they felt Conyers should step down. –NBC

Let’s see if he does…

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Crypto Carnage Continues As Fed Warns Digital Currencies Could “Pose Serious Financial Stability Issues”

originally published by ZeroHedge

Update: Bitcoin and Ethereum are holding at the lows of the day, but following ECB comments earlier (see below), The Fed’s vice chariman of supervision, Randy Quarles, warns that digital currencies like bitcoin pose “serious financial stability issues” as they grow…

Today, the vast majority of our payments by volume and value are processed by regulated financial institutions. In the U.S. payment system, digital currencies are a niche product that sometimes garners large headlines.

While these digital currencies may not pose major concerns at their current levels of use, more serious financial stability issues may result if they achieve wide-scale usage.

Perhaps most ironic is Quarles’ description of the ‘drawbacks’ of cryptocurrencies…

But from the standpoint of analysis, the “currency” or asset at the center of some of these systems is not backed by other secure assets, has no intrinsic value, is not the liability of a regulated banking institution, and in leading cases, is not the liability of any institution at all. Indeed, how to treat and define this new asset is complicated.

So because it’s not backed by ‘other secure assets’ – analysing its value is complicated… like the dollar.

*  *  *

It’s a bloodbath in cryptocurrency markets this morning…

Having bounced overnight to over $10,600, Bitcoin prices are tumbling once again as we approach the US equity market open…

Ethereum is down over 20%…

While there is no immediate catalyst, CoinDesk notes that ECB Vice President Vitor Constancio  – ever eager to talk citizens away from decentralized ‘anything’ – warned about the risks of investing in bitcoin at current valuations.

Speaking to CNBC, Vitor Constancio said developments in bitcoin’s price make it “a speculative asset by definition,” continuing: “Investors are taking that risk of buying at such high prices.”

Even so, Constancio told CNBC that the ECB is not in a position to regulate the cryptocurrency, saying, “We don’t have responsibility or even instruments that point to particular prices of particular assets, that is certainly not the role of central banks.”

His comments echo those of ECB president Mario Draghi, who in September indicated that the central bank does not have the authority to regulate cryptocurrencies.

“It would actually not be in our powers to prohibit and regulate” bitcoin and other digital currencies, he said at the time.

However, on the more optimistic side, CoinTelegraph reports that Ronnie Moas has upped his End 2017 target for Bitcoin to $20,000.

Moas looks at Bitcoin as a whole, incorporating all the chain splits in his split-adjusted price is and considering the price of the forked Bitcoin chains alongside the original was $12,740 when Moas made his new prediction, $14,000 looked undervalued again.

$20,000 is a month away

Moas now puts the line in the sand at $20,000 for the split-adjusted price when the new year hits. Looking at how things have gone so far for Moas, a month is a long time, and perhaps $20,000 will be broken before that time.

Many pickers, investors and money movers have thrown their hats into the ring trying to hit the sweet spot of this volatile asset when it comes to prediction.

Tom Lee, rather conservatively, set a Bitcoin growth of 40 percent to happen by the middle of 2018. His prediction put him at $11,500. That prediction was made a week ago, and in that time Bitcoin topped at around $11,300.

Max Keiser has a much more bullish view, but over a longer time frame as the host of Russia Today’s Keiser Report believes that $100,000 Bitcoin is an eventuality.

Why split-adjusted?

Moas, as one of the most well-regarded stock pickers, is clearly in the Bitcoin game for its investment potential rather than the technology side which has seen different factions at war with each other. Some people are vehemently Bitcoin Cash supporters, and others true fans of the original chain.

Moas, however, with his investor’s hat on, sees that by buying Bitcoin he not only received free Bitcoin Cash, but also free Bitcoin Gold, and thus counts them together in his portfolio, urging others to d the same as a diversification strategy.

Bitcoin Diamond and the real gold

“I am raising my 2018 fork- and split-adjusted price target on Bitcoin from $14,000 to $20,000,” Moas explained. “The current price is $10,720 and the split-adjusted price is now $12,740 when factoring in Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold and Bitcoin Diamond.”

Bitcoin Diamond is another fork of the Bitcoin chain that went largely unnoticed. Its aim is to switch from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake after mining is completed – after just 10,000 blocks.

“Bitcoin is now up split-adjusted by 394 percent since my July 3 recommendation,” Moas went on.

“There is no way to justify Gold $7 tln at 40X Bitcoin ($180 bln). An argument can be made that Bitcoin will be equal to Gold within 10-15 years. I do not know how much Gold there is in the ground … I do not know how much Bitcoin there is.”

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